Zero no Tsukaima:Volume13 Chapter2
Chapter 2: Saito's Decision
The fifth month of the year, the month of Eir, was already half over as it was the day of Yul in the 3rd week, Aiello. The sun lit all of the Academy’s four central courtyards as the sky was clear.
After school, the students who had finished their classes would go to their favorite courtyard to discuss where to go during their vacation, about Tristania’s new ‘tavern’, about who was dating who, the delayed Frigg Ball which had been scheduled for the week of Tiwaz… hitting up cheerful topics to kill time.
However, the students’ cheerful atmosphere was suddenly broken by unexpected intruders.
“Aaaaaaaaaahhhh! The shameless chevaliers have arrived!”
“Everybody! This isn’t good! Run!”
The girls’ screams went through out the Austri Plaza. The boys raised their eyebrows against these guys who did whatever they felt like (in the end, they received treatment worse than bugs), they couldn’t be forgiven.
Walking proudly with a bunch of scornful gazes were the members of the Knight Corps of the Water Spirit. They had solemn expressions from the beginning to the end, separated in two columns as they walked forward.
Commander Guiche, who was leading them, raised his imitation rose wand. Malicorne, who was behind him shouted.
Their movements shifted to a halt simultaneously. This was the fruit of their training. To the Knight Corps, “marching forward” was an important job. It looks like the one hour training they had every day had effect.
Guiche lowered his raised wand. Then, Malicorne shouted loudly again.
“Squadron! Prepare yourselves!”
The students of the Knight Corps drew something from their backs. Instead of wands, there were brooms. They were using big brooms made of Berala fern leaves.
“Targets! All kinds of trash in Austri Plaza! Sweep! Sweep! Sweep!”
The squadron scattered while shouting “Waaaaaah!” as they started cleaning in a sweeping motion. Since all of the Academy of Magic’s nobles threw food scraps and empty bottles around as they please. It was normally the maids and servants who patiently cleaned after them.
As for why the Knight Corps of the Water Spirit had to clean the plaza after school in place of the servants, it was because of what happened three days ago. It was punishment the Academy gave them for peeping into the girls’ bath.
Malicorne withdrew and approached the area where the school girls were gathered.
“Yaaaaaaaaaaah! The shameless knight is coming!”
Malicorne, his face showing a smile mixed of perversion and joy, flew toward the middle of the schoolgirls.
“How can you, young ladies! Throw trash on the ground as and when you please!"
The girls, who saw Malicorne in this state, fled one after another.
“Don’t come here! Don’t come!”
“But, there is trash there too… on the ground…” Thus, Malicorne, with a mysteriously joyful expression, approached the girls.
In the middle of the fleeing girls, there was a reserved, black-haired maiden who had come to listen to Malicorne’s poems at some point.
“Hey, Brigitta. How’ve you been?”
Her forehead glimmering with sweat, Brigitta tearfully shouted at Malicorne, who had a bright smile on his face.
“Malicorne-sama, you liar! I-I didn’t think that you would actually be the type of person to peep at people when they bathe!”
Malicorne, who was picking trash, said as if he was speaking to himself.
“I’m a man.”
“… sometimes when you know that you will lose, you still have to keep fighting!”
Huu…，Malicorne smiled absentmindedly.
“I don't understand what you mean! Ma, Malicorne-sama is trash among people!”
Ding! Malicorne’s back went stiff.
“Trash…, you said trash…, aaaah…”
“I take it back! You are below trash!”
The overly jolly Malicorne rolled on the ground and started trembling strangely. He really was a troubled fatty.
On the other side, Commander Guiche’s face had a nervous expression while he hurriedly cleaned the ground with his broom. Suddenly, the ground surface broke apart. Guiche’s mole familiar stuck its head out.
Guiche’s tears blurred his vision for a moment.
Guiche quickly kneeled down and embraced his dear familiar’s head.
“… Forgive the shameful me. Forget the fault I’ve committed because of a thoughtless moment!”
The mole Verdandi used his gauntlet-like claws to pat Guiche’s head.
“One thoughtless moment you say? You dare say that when you have thoughtless moments all the time!”
A harsh voice came from behind the gentle Verdandi.
For certain, the girl with dazzling, blond, curly hair standing there was Montmorency. She looked downwards at Guiche, who was kneeling on the ground, and said while looking at him with a cold glare.
“At least now I know～～～what kind of guy you are. Goodbye.”
Montmorency opened the wine bottle she was holding, and dumped it on Guiche’s head.
“You said goodbye! What does this mean? Montmorency!”
Guiche, his head soaked of wine, shouted.
“It means what it means literally. I say, you should have known when I rejected your invitation for the dance.”
Guiche held his head on the ground. Legend says that couples at the Ball of Frigg will be together forever. Although there isn’t any proof, a myth is still a myth.
But, since the peeping affair, Guiche didn’t have the opportunity to have a conversation with Montmorency. He had planned to use the opportunity of next week’s ball to invite her as a dancing partner. To be on good terms with her, he would hold a giant bouquet of roses and say:
“This bouquet is not yet complete. The last flower… is you.” It was only Guiche who could use this comparison to invite her.
But Montmorency ignored Guiche’s hand, turned her head and left. Guiche, still holding the rose bouquet, stood expressionlessly and didn’t move…
“Then, is it a sign that we are breaking up?”
“Exactly. Don’t speak to me again. So goodbye.”
Guiche hung his head deeply, cursing his own foolishness.
Reynal, who assumed the Knight Corps of the Water Spirit clerical affairs, was working ascetically, picking trash far away.
“It looks like Reynal is really serious… you really can’t judge someone by his appearance!”
“Shh! That kind of guy is the scariest! There has to be unthinkable thoughts running through his mind!”
Reynal, unable to bear the whispers of the girls, looked up and said:
“No! I tried to stop them! I tried at the very beginning! But, But…”
Looking at Tiffania encircled by classmates from afar, Reynal dropped to the ground.
“Aaaaaaah! At that time I was just thinking whether they are real or not… Oh God, Founder Brimir, please accept from your sincere servant, my deep regrets! I shall whip myself to punish the shameless me!”
Reynal chanted an incantation and created an air whip. Slowly removing his shirt, he used the air whip to continuously hit his back.
The schoolgirls on the scene all ran away screaming.
The remaining guys’ situations were similar. Their bodies momentarily shivered. They clenched their teeth, cursing their own situation.
“Really…I don’t like people who know no shame. They are a disgrace to nobility. It’s a wonder why Her Majesty decided to make them part of her Imperial Guard.”
A shocked Louise exclaimed. From the window of her living quarters in the girls’ dormitory, the pitiful scene that stretched out at Austri plaza could be seen…
In front of the pinkish-blond haired girl sat another girl with black hair. In front of them rested a set of teacups. Siesta, dressed in plain clothing, took a sip of tea from her cup and murmured with an expression of slight disgust.
Siesta recalled the scene from her memory and blushed.
“…but, we were also considerably shameless ourselves. I mean…that time…with that thing from Jessica…and the…”
Louise’s face also flushed red as well.
Louise glared at her, implying that she ‘drop the topic’. Then, she lifted her chin up at the attending maid.
The maid’s headband on top of black hair trembled as a low, shaky voice uncharacteristic of the attire muttered.
“…Isn’t putting your familiar in such an appearance quite shameless on your part?”
Dressed in maid attire and serving the both of them was in fact one Hiraga Saito.
And lo and behold, his appearance was a miserable one indeed.
“It’s fine. You like maids after all.”
“That’s not the problem.”
“The problem is that someone caused an incident.”
Louise glared at Saito sharply.
“If you were truly the cause, you would have joined the sniveling, hated bunch out there sweeping the courtyard.”
“Hey, how many times have I said that I was dragged there in the first place without knowing anything about peeking already!”
Saito pinched his maid outfit and yelled.
“If I had known that you were going to make me wear this, I would have been better off sweeping with them!”
Louise slowly finished off her tea and then shot Saito a glare.
“It’s not just for the peeking.”
“What the hell were you doing with that girl?”
“She was trying to help me! So you go out of your way to pull me out of the cleaning punishment and instead casually turn me into a maid. I am grateful. How’d you know that I always wanted to be a maid?”
Saito said unpleasantly, while wearing a borrowed outfit from the Academy’s largest maid. Somehow, he was the only one who didn’t receive the punishment the others got, but that didn’t mean that he was excused. While he did arrive at the scene without knowing anything…, the fact that he peeked didn’t change. He thought about whether any of the Knight Corps had ratted him out.
On top of that, the cleaning punishment was better than the maid outfit, even with all the belittling by others. Saito still had his pride.
“Anyways, I want another cup. Pour some for Siesta also.”
Saito snatched up the teapot and poured tea for both of them.
“…uh, I’m sorry Saito-san.”
Siesta bowed deeply to Saito.
“Hm? Why are you apologizing, Siesta?”
“…Well, at that time, didn’t I kick you out of my window? Even though it was because of the potion…”
“It’s ok. In the end, you didn’t use the potion.”
Siesta smiled widely.
Louise interrupted Saito with an irritated voice.
“Enough of this now. Anyways, I don’t ever want to hear the word ‘potion’ again. Look, you are a maid right now, so go get us some snacks.”
Siesta stared at Saito absentmindedly.
“…what’s wrong, Siesta?”
“You won’t get angry?”
“Uh… Saito-san, as I thought, you are really cute in that. It suits you.”
Saito grabbed the skirt and flapped it.
“Yes…, I think it was the right choice.”
“Right choice…, don’t tell me that you were the one that chose this outfit?”
“Yes, that’s right. Miss Vallière kept going on and on about a suitable punishment for you. Something that was a change from the usual, painful punishment that she inflicted on poor Saito-san. Then, I thought if not painful, what about something cute?”
Siesta smile was as wide as it could be.
Saito was disappointed with the people in this room.
In this room, he had no allies. Oh yeah, he had no one anyways.
With that, he really couldn’t help being devious. Although he shouldn’t be, that was part of his nature.
While humming a playful tune, Saito opened the cookie tin that was placed on top of the closet.
Next to it was a jar of cream spread for the cookies.
First, Saito took out the cookies and placed them on a plate in front of Louise and Siesta. Then, while spinning around like a ballerina, Saito brought out the jar of cream in front of them.“Mademoiselle.”
“… This, is cream right? If you spread some on your cookies, it will be more delicious.”
Louise’s temple twitched.
“Oh, is that so?”
“The two of you seem to know this well…”
Saito gave a polite bow.
At that point, a small shudder passed through him.
However, Louise calmly took up the jar and uncapped the lid. Using a spoon, she spread the cream on a cookie. But then..., her stoic expression disappeared. Gripping the spoon with all her might, she smashed the cookie into pieces all over the table.
Siesta trembled in fear as she stood up.
“I’m sure I said this before, but nothing more than kissing happened! The reason we were covered in cream at the time was because of the potion! Somehow, because the effects transferred many times, they were not as strong!”
“I-I did lick a little bit, but that was all! I’m still pure! Um, I’m saving that part for…, po-”
Louise stopped her before Siesta could get any further.
Then, she stood up and stretched. Calmly walking over to a hunched-over Saito, who had sweat and tears streaming down him, she smiled widely.
“Oh really. You are such a dutiful familiar.”
“How very kind of you.”
“…after all, whenever I am about to snap, you know it well. You know it too--- well. You always come up with a good reason for me to vent.”
“Then, I shall take my leave. Really, I knew the outcome, which wasn’t good. If you would please, I’ll be careful from now on.”
“Being careful is fine, but before that Saito, you have to receive a light punishment. After all, you were being devious.”
“I see. A light one. Ok.”
“However, I am really nice. Since it is a light punishment, it will not be the usual. I’m going to give you a choice. Well, you better think hard about your choice because it may be the most important decision in your life.”
“One: You regret that you were ever born.”
“That’s no good.”
“Two: You think that you would be better off dead.”
“That’s also bad.”
With a deep breath, Louise nimbly leapt on top of a chair like a cat. Hooking Saito by the neck with her foot, she tossed him onto the bed.
“Make your choice. Here. Here! What about the cream! W-What did I say about the cream!"
Saito was in the middle of apologizing over and over again as Louise kicked him but her attacks stopped abruptly.
Louise got off him and stood up.
“Hmmm? You love cream, right! Ok, nice cream! Nice cream! From today on, I’ll be ‘Nice Cream’.”
“What the hell is ‘Nice Cream’!”
The party had just begun.
At the same time, in the headmaster’s office…
“I see… As I thought, we were not able to receive permission.”
The one that said that was Mister Colbert, shaking his head with disappointment. In front of him was a large table in which Old Osman was sitting there, puffing his pipe.
“I applaud your enthusiasm. I too wish that we could do something for him.”
“I am thankful for your words.”
“However, Mister Colbert. The royal place is one big issue. Out of Halkeginia’s lands, it has the worst air of unrest flowing through it… Therefore, their reply will persistently be ‘no permission to fly’.”
“It is… as I thought.”
“Jokes aside, your face belies the stubbornness of your character. Aren’t you like a starved thief waiting to prowl again into the territory of a mansion?”
“Mhmm, I surely must be.”
Colbert recalled the earlier adventure that he personally helped with and scratched his head. With such an incident, the affected country shouldn’t have any reason to let something just ‘pass over their heads’. For the soured relationship with the royal castle of Gallia, the request of one nobleman would of course be brushed aside.
“Well, don’t lose hope. At least, take heed of this account. Later on, I’ll give you my support…, I have no choice but to accept your wishes.”
Old Osman handed Colbert a parchment letter. On the letter was Colbert’s signature along with a written resignation letter.
“You are an indispensible person at this academy. I’m sorry, but I don’t plan to let you go.”
“I had not planned on retiring yet. I was simply going to expand my horizons for a short time.”
Old Osman’s eyes narrowed at Colbert. For a moment, a glint in his eyes shone.
“Your forte is in research. I realize that. One of my guilty pleasures is that various people that I come upon become a target of my interest. That is my opinion. Ah, new things to see and hear, and all of the novel experiences I have. I still see your form from that time in the back of my eyelids. I feared that you wouldn’t be able to return. But that choice you made has all but disappeared as a haze in the back of your mind.”
Colbert couldn’t object to this, as it would make the situation worse.
“It’s true that I owe you a debt of gratitude, and I won’t hesitate to repay you…”
“If you would just do this, I have nothing more to say.”
“You are overestimating my capabilities. For twenty years time, I have been thinking about this neglected thing.”
Old Osman coughed as a signal that Colbert was making it worse.
“This is how times of peace are. Boredom causes interests and memories to snatch our attention.”
“Then, even in the ominous clouds that surround present time, I take it that I will be under your service for the rest of my life with no expectations of my own?”
“I didn’t say anything of the sort. Rest of your life? What a grandiose man you are! Didn’t I say? Learn from the situation. Hmph! If the time comes, the only thing I will oppose is your travel expenses. But, for now, no. That is final. Mister…”
Old Osman stood up and placed a hand on Colbert’s back.
“Well, don’t make such a sad face. I know of a great place in the town of Tickton to lift your spirits up. It’s a place called the ‘Charming Fairy Inn’, where your wine glass can be filled by waitresses in skimpy outfits… Let’s go have a glass, my treat.”
“If it’s that place, I know of it.”
“Well, that makes things easy. I will call for some horses. Wait, at my age, riding horses will be tough. For times like this, my dragon is needed.”
“For today…, I think I’ll pass.”
“What’s this, didn’t you love women? Even more so than me? Really? What kind of wind is blowing today?”
With a cough to hide his embarrassment, Colbert put on a serious face.
“I need to deliver this notice to a friend of mine now.”
As Colbert said that, Old Osman shook his head at the party pooper.
“As you get older, it gets harder to enjoy things. To take away such little pleasures from an old man…”
Colbert excused himself with a bow and started to leave the headmaster’s office.
“Is there something else?”
Old Osman was looking at the sky outside his window. Dusk appeared to be approaching.
“…really, it’s not fun getting old. Even though I don’t want to, I can see the color of the sky.”
A sudden change from before, an empty, solemn expression plastered his wrinkled face as Old Osman spoke again.
“Though the war is over, no sign of the dark clouds hanging over this world can be seen. Sorry, this is a regretful topic…, but we are necessary for these times.”
“What is necessary?”
Colbert questioned with a serious face.
“That boy, his master, his companion and also all of the excellent instructors like you. All your power is necessary. So for just a bit longer, I want all of you to accompany me in my decrepit world.”
Colbert mumbled that it would be fine with him.
“…how is the boy? He is not a person of this world. Despite that, he has repeatedly aided this country. Simply awarding him with nobility would not be enough. Despite that, can he still talk about ‘aiding’ us?”
With a gloomy voice, Colbert softly replied.
‘Are we not nobles? Can we not lift up our own wands and risk ourselves to do something?”
“You are correct. If this was Tristain’s sole problem, I would probably give the same answer. However… with the upcoming ‘crisis’ in our hands, I’m afraid that this is not the only thing we have to worry about.
Colbert swallowed his breath.
“The price that will be paid to save Halkeginia will not be paid by nobles, but by heroes. People like you. And… like that boy. Please don’t bear a grudge on me. Seeking out these heroes is not a task to be done by others. In this day and age… times are quickly changing. Someone has to look out for it. Please understand, Mister Colbert.”
In Louise’s room, the dreadful party was still storming.
Fearing her own involvement, Siesta retreated from the room. Even after that, the scuffle between Louise and Saito seemed to continue without end.
The furious Louise was nimble. Like a cat pouncing all around the room, she inflicted damage on Saito with accuracy. Saito finally managed to grab onto the bouncing Louise.
“Let go of me! I still haven’t finished punishing you!”
“… hey, this has gotten more out of hand than usual!”
Saito threw Louise onto the bed.
Covering the yelling Louise with a blanket, he pinned her down.
With that done, Louise settled down as if a demon was exercised from her. She was too quiet though, so Saito started to worry and flipped the blanket to check on her.
At that point…
Louise looked up at him with swollen eyes.
Saito said to her.
“…I’m still angry.”
Louise replied in a defeated tone.
“The one that should be angry is me. M-making me wear this of all things…”
Ignoring Saito’s protest, Louise instead fumed about her own dissatisfaction.
“You like maids after all.”
Narrowing her eyes, she stared at Saito. Even though it was a joke, there was a strangely tempting ring to it. For a moment, Saito became flustered like his heart had stopped.
“Well, I like maids, but it’s the person inside that matters. It’s not like I particularly like this piece of clothing, especially more so when I’m wearing it myself.”
Teary-eyed, Louise said.
“If I hadn’t been around, you would have spread cream onto Siesta.”
“I-I wouldn’t have done that! What the hell!”
“L-like a dog, you would have licked the cream.”
“No, I wouldn’t!”
“Yes, you would!”
Louise pouted loudly. Looking at such a face, a grin floated onto Saito’s face.
“What? Are you jealous?”
“I’m not jealous! I’m not, I’m not!”
Louise violently flailed around. Saito tried to hold her down, though it was futile.
“Hey, hey. Calm down~.”
As expected of Louise, she gave a kick to Saito’s nether regions. However…, since Saito was currently wearing a skirt, she couldn’t aim very well, so her foot only managed to hit his thighs.
Triumphantly, Saito stirred up Louise.
“Hey~, you really love your familiar, don’t cha, Louise-chan~.”
With a face dyed completely red, Louise bit his arm. But…, it didn’t hurt him at all. An evil smile drifted instead on Saito’s lips.
“What’s wrong, Miss Vallière? It doesn’t hurt at all? I see! You love me after all. You love your familiar that does nothing but act like a dog, don’t cha. Of course, you wouldn’t bite me for real.”
Louise instantly let go, and yelled loudly at him.
“I-I don’t like you!”
“Well then why?”
Saito glared at her forcefully.
From that, Louise uneasily frowned and looked to the side.
“…be-because you’re my familiar.”
“You’re still saying that?”
“Yes! Yes, I am! Because I’m unfortunate. And… that I have Founder Brimir’s magic. I instinctively get angry when you ignore me when you are supposed to be protecting me. I really am quite unfortunate.”
“It’s not a lie. It’s the truth.”
Louise mumbled softly with a pout, as if she was telling herself that.
Saito sighed deeply.
“I get it.” Saito said, standing up.
“What do you mean you get it~ ~ ~?”
Louise asked him as she started getting up, with the bedding still covering half her face.
“I’m going to look for a way home.”
Louise’s eyes got really wide. As if testing Louise, Saito continued speaking.
“Thanks for taking care of me. Goodbye. I will be taking my leave. If I make it back home, you will be able to summon another familiar. Have him protect you from now on. Later.”
“Hey! Wait a minute! Why all of a sudden?! No no no!”
Leaping out of bed, Louise stood in front of the door with her arms spread. Then, she noticed Saito’s expression. He had what looked like a strange smirk floating on his face.
Louise’s face was dyed completely red. As if she was going to smack Saito’s cheek, she struggled to hold her hand back.
“How dare you trick me…”
As her angry tone started rising, Saito suddenly stared at her face with a serious expression, which made Louise swallow her next words.
“I love you, Louise.”
That phrase was a surprise attack, such that Louise couldn’t move.
“I-I, someone like you…”
Before she could finish her sentence, her lips were covered.
From the sudden kiss, all of her energy drifted away from her body. Saito held her up, as she started melting to the floor. With him holding her tight, Louise couldn’t think of anything at all. She was really such a simple girl.
As their lips parted, Louise mumbled softly.
“…S-someone like you should just go home already.”
“I-it’s not like I don’t want to go home.”
Louise started getting angry again and closed her eyes. Saito embraced her again, and like that, he moved her to the bed and laid her down.
Louise continued to lay there motionlessly with her eyes closed.
Sweat started to run profusely from Saito’s forehead, and he let out a deep breath that he had been holding in. The smoothness of his actions had stopped dead. He could no longer act like one of those suave guys anymore. With panicky, stiff motions, Saito sat down next to Louise.
With Louise still blushing deep red, he laid down next to her.
Was it really ok?, Saito thought. Should he take it as a sign it was ok? With all of the usual misunderstandings that made her mad and led to failures, Saito was quite skeptical.
First, he took a deep breath.
A deep breath, which he then exhaled.
But after that, he still had no idea what to do. Instead, he wanted to run away in frustration. If he did that though, he knew that he would regret it for the rest of his life.
As many vague questions danced around his head, his steaming head was certainly overheating.
“Uh…, for the moment, can I see your boobs?”
Louise’s eyebrows rose. Even without Louise’s complex about her size, this was not a question to be asked usually. However, Louise accepted his rather blunt request.
For now, Saito started undressing her. He was extra careful to be gentle and delicate, so that he wouldn’t overstep her expectations. With her eyebrows twitching, Louise bore with the situation.
“I’m undoing the b-bu-buttons.”
Those foolish words that tried to hide his embarrassment bothered Louise a bit. Without thinking, she opened her mouth and glared straight at Saito.
“I love you.”
Although her words were a bit rushed, the pure feeling of them was like a magic spell cast straight into Saito’s heart. Pink flowers were swirling inside of his head as he looked at Louise, who looked away with enchanted eyes and her mouth slightly open.
Basically, the thought of Louise undressing not only affected her, but also Saito greatly.
With shaky hands, Saito unbuttoned the first button on her shirt.
A gust of wind blew into the room from the window, and both Louise and Saito fell to the floor.
“W-what was that?!”
The two of them rushed to their feet. Outside the window, a wind dragon was floating around. On its shoulders was a blue haired girl who, as usual, had an emotionless expression.
“Hey! What are you peeking for?!” Don’t get in the way… er, I mean thanks for stopping him from attacking me!”
Louise’s pride had instantly kicked in, but as she shouted that, the fires of jealousy quickly raged in her.
Why did she have to butt in?! That girl!
Ah, it must have been the work of that idiot mutt…
Those thoughts ran through her head.
Then, something hit her. From the back of her mind, the incident at Alvis dining hall that involved a naked Tabitha with Saito on top of her resurfaced.
What’s this? She was just helping him that time, wasn't it?
That was definitely a lie!
Really…, that guy…
Forgetting all about the situation, Louise delivered a swift kick to the back of Saito’s head as he stood there dumbfounded still.
Saito’s head dropped straight forward and to the ground from the kick. Louise barked at him while placing her foot down.
“Y-You, you did lay a hand on Tabitha, didn’t you?”
“Huh? I don’t get what you’re saying!”
“Quiet! If you had been telling the truth, there wouldn’t have been a reason for her to blow us away just then.”
Louise was kicking Saito everywhere at a speed of 3 kicks per second.
“I’m sure you used the same words with me as you did that time! Now, tell me! Here, here! Like, ‘let me see your boobs?’ I’m not stupid! Being all sweet with me! All sweet!”
Not knowing what the hell was going on, Saito groaned.
“That’s not true.”
Tabitha softly denied Louise’s misunderstandings.
“It’s fine, so you be quiet!”
Then, Tabitha pointed with her wand to something behind Louise.
Louise turned around. Mister Colbert had arrived at some point. He was standing in the doorway, holding onto the doorknob with a blank expression.
“Sorry for barging in suddenly.”
Colbert said, while scratching his head. Both Saito and Louise shrank in their chairs in embarrassment. At some point, Siesta had returned to set some tea out for them. Tabitha was sitting on the window sill, content with reading her book. It seemed that she was planning on staying there to keep an eye on Saito.
Then, Colbert, who was also sitting in a chair, let out a big sigh. Apparently, there was some matter.
“What’s wrong, Sensei?”
Saito looked towards his water with his head down as Colbert sighed. It seemed like he didn’t even notice the current maid attire Saito had on. What incredible concentration this teacher had.
“First, I have to apologize to you.”
Saito looked blankly as Colbert started explaining the details.
It’s about the expedition to the East on the Ostland. We will not be able to head east because Gallia will not allow us to pass through its airspace.
Whether it’s merchant ships or exploration ships, foreigners must have official documentation in order to pass through their territory, in which permission is obtained through allied countries.
Colbert once again let out a deep sigh.
“You couldn’t obtain permission from Gallia?”
Saito asked with a concerned tone. For that matter, something was off. A situation as simple as this shouldn’t cause such a heavy expression. Well, getting permission from Gallia was not exactly something that they knew much about…
“No, first of all I don’t have a permit for that country. I asked Old Osman to arrange for one…”
Colbert shook his head.
A strange silence enveloped them. Then, Colbert slowly looked up.
“… was it that much of a surprise?” Saito asked.
Saito was a bit confused, which started making him flustered.
“Well, to be honest, it was a surprise...”
Colbert’s expression got sour.
“But, anyways, there are some unsettled matters to attend to, so for now I’m staying here…, no, I want to stay here.”
Louise’s eyes opened wide.
Tabitha raised her eyebrows briefly.
Siesta’s cheeks turned red.
The frankness of his own statement personally surprised Saito. Truly, it was a heartfelt statement. Taking a glance at Louise’s face to the side, he confirmed it to himself.
“You may be giving up a great opportunity. If that is the case, you may never be able to return.”
As Colbert said that, images of his friends ‘performing their services’ in the courtyard floated within Saito’s heart. However stupid and short-sighted they were, and how much of simpletons they could be… they were friends that faced the dreaded dragon knights for his sake.
With guys like them here…, it wouldn’t be so bad to just stay in this world.
“Well, when the time comes, I’ll worry about it then.”
At Saito’s carefree statement, Colbert shook his head in disappointment.
“Unlike you, I cannot wait patiently for events to happen. I want to see it for myself! A world that revolves around the principles of technology, rather than magic! A world with different values, different people… Well, if you say so, I suppose we can postpone it for now.”
Shaking his head all the while, Colbert exited the room.
Some time passed between the inhabitants left in the room. The first one to break the silence was Siesta, whose voice was full of glee, embarrassment, and comfort towards Saito.
“U-um! It is really unfortunate for Saito-san~! But, but, I am just a bit glad. I mean, I am glad that Saito-san has decided to stay in this world for us,” she said.
“Miss Vallière thinks so too!” Louise turned her head away, staring at her water.
“I’m not glad at all.”
Louise replied with an angry tone.
“Since you have to stay here anyways, it can’t be helped.”
“That cannot be true! Saito-san has helped Miss Vallière and the rest of us and saved Tristain from its crises countless times, hasn’t he!”
“Well, I will acknowledge that. But, I did not summon him to seduce other girls.”
Louise looked at both Siesta and the silently reading Tabitha. At that, Saito casually mumbled.
“A-ah, it was unfortunate for me. After all, I’m such a selfish, undutiful familiar…”
“Then it would be better if you went home.”
“If I could, I would have right away.”
The two of them were heartlessly exchanging verbal blows with their backs turned. Then, Saito put his foot in his mouth.
“But, that’s not all I’m dissatisfied with.”
That statement made Louise red in anger.
Then, Saito made his way to the door.
Louise stared at Saito with a face like that of an uneasy puppy. But, she refused to ask where was he going.
“Saito-san, where are you going?”
“Like that, you are?”
Saito looked down at himself, still clad in the maid outfit. Saito began changing in a panic.
Siesta ‘kya-ed’ from overload as she tried to hide her face from the scene. But her fingers didn’t quite hide her eyes. Tabitha continued reading her book, completely ignoring the scene. Louise blushed and turned away.
After he finished changing, he appeared to have remembered something and started looking for it. That particular item had ended up on top of Louise’s things. Grabbing it, Saito left the room.
The door closed with a bang, drowning the room in a brief silence. Acting like nothing ever happened, Louise wordlessly grabbed a snack from the tabletop and started eating. Not having any appetite, Siesta started cleaning.
As Louise silently nibbled on her cookie, she looked towards Tabitha sitting on the window sill and the darkness of night behind her.
“It’s getting late. You should head back to your own room.”
However, Tabitha neither replied nor moved. The sound of pages turning, Louise nibbling her cookie, and Siesta sweeping the floor were the only things heard in her room.
“Hey Tabitha, are you planning to stay here tonight?”
Tabitha nodded slightly.
“Why? Don’t tell me because Saito is here?”
Siesta’s broom immediately stopped. Tabitha nodded again.
“What is the meaning of this?”
Somewhat seething in jealously, Louise approached her. Tabitha closed her book and faced her.
“You are going overboard.”
“What? You have a problem with that? I’m telling you that Saito is my familiar. I am free to deliver whatever punishment I see fit.”
“Even so, I cannot allow you to endanger him. Eventually, he will get hurt.”
“What? Have you taking a liking to him?”
“Not a ‘liking’.”
Louise’s eyes narrowed.
“…I’m saying that you are trespassing onto some serious grounds.”
Tabitha looked straight at Louise, who was seething with jealousy and anger.
Louise furiously took out her wand. Tabitha readied her large wand at the same time. Louise’s body swayed from the impressive magical aura flaring around her.
An aura of ‘void.’
The growing jealousy in her heart was fueling Louise’s magic.
Likewise, an icy aura comparable to Louise’s enveloped around Tabitha’s body, chilling the air around her. To onlookers, they appeared as two weak girls locked in a stare down. In fact, an ominous atmosphere spread around them, much like the calm before a confrontation between a dragon and a wyvern of equal strength.
Instantly, Siesta picked up on the bloodthirsty air between them.
“Well! You two! Well, well!”
Breaking the deadlock, Siesta got between the two girls and handed them wine glasses.
“I got ahold of an old bottle of Anjou wine! For now, shall we try some? Well? Well? Please put away those dreaded wands!”
While still staring at each other, the two girls downed their wine.
Once again, Siesta filled their glasses.
Louise and Tabitha downed that as well. Emptying the first bottle, Siesta brought the next one out and continued pouring more wine.
While this was going on, Saito had arrived at the neighboring Tower of Fire, where Mister Colbert’s laboratory is. The object that he hastily picked up as he left was still clutched in his arms. After knocking on the door, Kirche peeked her head out. Clad in a skimpy negligee, it was quite a bothersome distraction for Saito’s eyes.
“Is Sensei here?”
“He’s here but… He had a few drinks and has been mumbling about something. Is something the matter?”
As Saito got closer, Colbert, apparently drunk, was sprawled on top of the table.
“Sensei, what happened?”
“…Mmhmm. Royalty! And noblemen, blast them! Magic is all they ever think about! Even though there are plenty of undiscovered technical and cultural things in this world… All of these meaningless quarrels for the sake of pride… Blasted superiors, the lot of them!...”
Not receiving permission from the royal court appeared to be a considerable shock to him. Saito had taken a liking to the Colbert before him now.
If it was him…, perhaps he could hand it over, Saito thought.
Saito tapped on Colbert’s shoulder.
“…mmhmm. Wha? Aah, Saito-kun. What brings you?”
His breath reeking of alcohol, Colbert lifted his head up.
Saito set the object that he was carrying on top of the table.
“Hm? This is…, what exactly?”
Looking at the silver, rectangular flat object, Colbert’s eyes lit up.
“… This is from your world? There’s no doubt!”
Instantly, Colbert’s drunkenness disappeared from his face.
“Yes. It was the only thing that I was carrying when I arrived here…, it’s called a notebook computer.”
“Marvelous! Truly marvelous! Look at this, Miss Zerbst. It’s like the craftsmanship of Germania!”
Next to him, Kirche had an impression like that of a helper looking over his best interests, as she also marveled at it.
“No, Jean. This is much more elaborate than Germania craftsmanship. Hey Saito, what exactly is this? Is this a jewelry box crafted by someone from your world?”
The words ‘your world’ rang through Saito as he looked over at Colbert.
“… Forgive me. I accidentally let that slip.”
“Isn’t it fine, if it’s me? Hey, I won’t tell anyone. The fact that you are a person from another world.”
Kirche nodded with a carefree smile. Honestly, he didn’t mind Kirche knowing. Knowing that she was in fact an honorable girl with tight lips, Saito simply mumbled ‘oh well.’
“Sensei, this wasn’t crafted to be a jewelry box. How do I put this…, while it’s kind of hard to explain, it can be thought of like a type of library that is packed full of books.”
“A library? This thing? Truly, surprising! This small box being called a library of sorts! This world of yours, just how exactly does it work?”
Kirche’s eyes were also wide open.
“Are we supposed to shrink and enter it?”
“No…, that’s not it. Words, pictures, and sound are made smaller into what is called ‘data’, and that data is packed into this thing. I did say that it was a library at first, but it can really store much more information than what you can find in a library. That stuff appears here. It is like a magical mirror that projects an image.”
Saito opened up his notebook computer to show them the LCD monitor.
“Speaking of which, is information of your world in here?”
“… since I’m the only one that has used it, I don’t think anything important is in here. What this machine can really do is set up a terminal, which can exchange information with various other people.”
“In other words, with other people far away from you. Is this what you mean?”
Saito gave him a nod.
In reality, he had only used his computer to surf the internet, so there really wasn’t much data. Well, even if he were to have some data, whether that would be of any use is another story.
“Then, if you were to use this, you would be able to access the information of your world. Am I correct?”
At this point, Saito mumbled in disappointment.
“Well, if I only had power.”
“Power? What is this power?”
“It’s that thing. Electricity. This machine runs on electricity.”
“Electricity! I see!”
“Hey Jean, what is electricity?”
“In this world, it exists in many forms. Like a flash of lightning or the shock that you get from touching the staircase on a cold, winter day. These are all forms of electricity. However, there are not many scholars that study this…”
Kirche lifted her arms up and shrugged in confusion.
“We also call upon it in magic. It is the branch of ‘lightning’ spells.”
“How strange. I had certainly thought of it as some sort of poison or what not.”
“… there is a battery inside of it. Ah, what I mean by battery is something that stores electricity. Hmm, it seems to be completely empty.”“I do not really understand that part, but if there is no electricity, it will not be of any use.”
Kirche fluttered around them.
“But, it may be of some use for research.”
Colbert nodded in agreement.
“Just being able to look at this collection of parts closely… makes my heart pound with excitement.”
Colbert continued looking at the notebook computer with the eyes of a child who had been given a present.
“The least I can do for now, is let you study it as you wish.”
Colbert looked at Saito worriedly.
“But… are you sure? I am certain to be absolutely careful with it, but I may end up destroying it. Is this not important to you?”
Saito shook his head.
“It’s ok. Either way, I can’t use it.”
Somehow cheerfully, Saito replied.
Colbert nodded and buried his face in the notebook computer again. He couldn’t stop himself from taking it apart and analyzing it now.
As Saito turned to leave, Kirche complained to him.
“Really, you’ve done an unnecessary thing. He’s going to be so busy studying it that after a week, he will forget all about me.”
Arriving back to his room, Saito looked around at the ridiculous scene. Tabitha and Siesta, who had somehow got herself drunk, were snoring away.
Louise was the only one who was still drinking wine. Looking up at the returned Saito, the words from her mouth slurred out.
“Wher diya go~~?”
“C-Colbert-sensei’s place. What the heck happened here…, you guys….”
Three empty wine bottles were laying on the floor, which surprised Saito.
“One fer each o’ us, we merrily drank. Wait, wassit merrily? Ahh, wha-ever.”
“You guys… really overdid it.”
It was rather strange for the normally, lightweight Louise to drink this much.
Louise yelled out in an irritated tone.
“…but, Shaito didn’t come back,” she mumbled out weakly.
Don’t tell me that she was waiting this whole time for me! Saito thought as Louise looked more and more cute to him.
“ShaitoShaitoShaito,” she yelled his name repeatedly.
“Wha’s wid Shaito…
“Ya reely shink is o-k to na go home?”
She asked whether it was ok for him not to go home. As she was drinking, Louise kept dwelling on the meaning of those words.
“Because you’re here.”
“I’m not lying. Whatever.”
“Wha er ya gonna do in da few-cha?”
The considerably drunk Louise bounced from topic to topic. As embarrassing as it was, Saito thought that the drunken Louise wouldn’t remember it anyways, so an incredible response came from his mouth.
“Reely? Wid me? Reely?”
“Yea. I have to be responsible. You called me after all.”
“I wanna hab two childden.”
Louise continued to say unbelievable things.
“I, I guess.”
“Yep, yep. I… hab a requessst.”
Louise suddenly got up and held out her hand.
“What is it?”
As she tiredly talked in her drunken state to Saito, Louise jabbed him with her finger.
“I… wanna hab a bigga chest, so ya should exercise ‘em.”
“Ya know, da dis and dat chest exercise.”
The air got tense.
As Saito was petrified in confusion, Louise grabbed his hands.
“Like dis, they say it’ll git bigga.”
Louise was encouraging Saito’s hands to rub her bosom.
Saito did not know what the heck was going on anymore, as Louise whispered into his ear.
“If dey git bigga, ya may like ‘em. But ya might like ‘em small instead. I’b bin worryin bout zat.”
As the moonlight hit them… all Saito could think about was Louise.
Louise drew close to Saito and started licking his cheek.
How cute she was right now. If this was what she was like drunk, then he wished she would stay drunk forever. He wanted to push her down so badly, but he couldn’t.
She was drunk after all. If he took advantage of her like this, he wouldn’t live it down. Ah, but it was so hard not to. What should I do, ah, what should I do? his mind screamed…
A shadow flew across the night sky.
At the same time, something twinkled under the moonlight.
Feeling the presence of danger, Saito instantly returned to normal.
He gently pushed Louise back onto the bed.
“Wass wid you, hab a problem wid me afta all?”
“Just go to sleep.”
Saito quickly reached for Derflinger on his back.
Edging his face out the window, he saw a nimble shadow gliding across the sky!
Something shining was heading straight towards him.
An ice arrow.
Noticing it coming at him, Saito quickly back-stepped away. The ice arrow shattered as it crashed into the wall.
The shadow glided around in the night sky…ntil finally, it lunged at Saito.
Whatever it was… there appeared to be a rider on it. The magic that was thrown at him… had to be this person.
Was it Gallia?
While he was pondering this, his battle-hardened body reacted instinctively. As it drew close, Saito jumped from the window, crashing into the shadow’s rider.
As the rider cried in shock and tried to regain his balance, Saito pinned him down with Derflinger.
The rider began crying loudly.
Saito had heard that voice before.
“Please! Put down your sword! It’s me! René! René Vonke!”
The surprised Saito withdrew Derflinger. The face that was traced in the moonlight… was the dragon knight that Saito fought with in Albion. It was the plump face of René.
It was a very nostalgic face.
“Since it has been a long time, I thought that I would give you a surprise! But you got the drop on me instead. It was impressive how you managed to stop an army of 70,000 back in Albion! That was quite some feat!”
Dropping to the ground, the two of them gave each other a strong embrace.
“Not really. I haven’t seen you since we parted in Albion!”
“Since then, I’ve been assigned to the Dragon Knight Squadron that guards the capital. Every single day, it’s been tiresome patrols non-stop. It sucks.”
René looked up and down at Saito’s appearance with an amused expression.
“Huh…, I had heard that you became a Chevalier, but you don’t seem to be swimming in gold. You look the same as before. How much are you getting annually?”
“Five hundred ECU.”
“What, that’s better than me. Well, you’re an Imperial Guard after all. Anyways, you should at least buy some new clothes.”
“I bought… or rather I ended up buying a horse. Because of that, I’m broke.”
“What an expensive horse that was, huh?”
René said with a laugh. A forced laugh was Saito’s reply.
“Hey, come in. Let’s have a drink.”
As Saito said that, René shook his head.
“No, I didn’t really come to hang out. I have a duty. It is to hand you this letter and return as soon as that’s done. Since they are making a dragon knight do this, it can’t be any ordinary errand! We don’t exactly fly half-heartedly through the skies.”
“Oh yeah. For the time being, allow me the formalities. In any case, it is official business after all.”
Saying this, René straighten up and acted like a soldier.
“Vice Commander of the Knights of Ondine, Saito Chevalier de Hiraga-dono!”
Saito instinctively straightened up as well.
“From her Majesty the Queen, I present to you a handwritten letter! I advise you to take care of it!”
The Queen? Henrietta gave me a letter? What does this mean?
From the inside pocket of his coat, René took out an important looking envelope bearing a seal. Then, he gently handed it to Saito like it was made of glass.
“Please break the seal and follow the instructions contained inside.”
René said to Saito in a serious tone.
Saito nodded heavily and took out the letter inside.
Looking at what was written, Saito’s eyes started spinning.
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