Zero no Tsukaima:Volume13 Chapter8
Chapter 8: The Meaning of the Smile
Saito woke up in Mister Colbert’s room. Lying down on the table, he was covered by a blanket. It seemed that the one who put the blanket on him was Mister Colbert, who was asleep in his bed.
It seemed that Saito had inadvertently fallen asleep. Rays of morning light shone through the window.
Now I remember. I was so tired from crying yesterday that I fell asleep.
While thinking that, Saito stared at the display of his notebook computer. It seemed like the power supply had been taken off.
I was thinking about asking Mister Colbert to reconnect my notebook to the battery, but decided against it.
I memorized it last time, so I am able to recall it... so it is not necessary to do it again.
From the window, he gazed up at the sky.
Somehow, this world was connected to Earth, one way or another.
What could it be that connected these two worlds together?
Considering how tanks and aircraft could come to this world, it should also be normal for electromagnetic waves to enter.
Ah, that seems to be the case. Saito looked around absent-mindedly as he thought.
After all, I was a weak man.
I have comrades, so I think that I can accomplish something, since that's what I can accept while living in this world. Nevertheless, when I read the mail, I was suddenly overcome by the feeling of homesickness.
To put it plainly, I am a weak man.
It can't be helped since I suddenly read the mail. Thinking this, Saito left his notebook computer behind in Mister Colbert’s room.
Saito felt depressed. While he trudged through the corridor he muttered:
"Tomorrow will be a troublesome day. The three-year anniversary of the Pope's coronation... My spirit must not be like this."
At any rate, my mood must be kept hidden from Louise.
I don't want her to get depressed again.
I should be thinking about more immediate concerns. Saito positively thought.
Okay, Let's hide this depressed face of mine. While forcefully doing that, Saito opened the door to the living room.
"Louise, forgive me for not coming back yesterday. I was drinking with Mr. Colbert in his room and collapsed..."
Louise was sitting in the chair looking at the mirror. But it seemed that she wasn't going to scold Saito. Instead she smiled back, almost as if a it were a trap.
Louise’s sudden smile surprised him.
"What the...? What's with your clothes..."
"Eh, this? I went out to buy this last evening."
Louise wasn’t in her usual Tristain Academy uniform, but a cute blouse with a short, deep blue silk skirt and a red ribbon which trailed from the collar.
Saito asked, amazed. Of all days, why today? No, even if this is a joke in Romalia's great cathedral, Saito still couldn't understand the reason.
"Oh I understand, it's for tomorrow’s ceremony isn't it? But is it okay to be wearing that?"
Then Louise smiled pleasantly and said.
"No, it's for going to town to shop with you today."
"In the town, there is a festival for the celebration of His Holiness the Pope’s third anniversary. In noble society there are festivals; here on the streets it seems like they have festivals too. Now, I want to go to the festival with you."
"But tomorrow... shouldn't we be using the time we have today to prepare ourselves?"
"No, it's okay. Practicing right now would not change the result. It would be a pointless effort. Besides, sometimes relaxation is important too."
Looking innocent, Louise grabbed Saito’s arm.
"Okay, let's go?"
In the end, attracted by Louise’s unusually cute behavior, Saito went to town. Louise was glued to Saito’s arm. What, was something wrong? He turned for a moment toward Louise. Louise only smiled back.
As expected, I have a bad feeling about this.
"Hey Louise?" Saito asked.
"What are you scheming?"
But Louise was laughing. Kyahaha.
Kyahaha? Louise laughing? Saito's head was full of questions, but Louise remained glued to Saito arm.
"I'm not scheming anything."
"It's not a lie. Honestly, for today I just want to take a stroll with you through town. That's all."
Looking at it from all sides her smile was not a scheming one. Still, there is something hidden, Saito thought. Then Louise pointed at something.
"Eh, that's right, for today I will listen to anything you request."
"Really, I'm serious. So don't be reserved, okay?"
Smiling and leaning to him. Saito felt more and more suspicious. For the sake of testing, he said.
"Then, show me your underwear."
He thought he was going to be kicked, so he prepared for that.
But, neither kick, punch, nor magic attack was launched. Instead, Louise shyly began to slowly lift up her skirt.
It's been a while since I last saw Louise's underwear, he thought.
She didn't seem to be angry.
Meaning...? “Hey, this is the middle of the street, there are a lot of people here.” Saito said while furiously trying to stop her.
"Stop, people can see you!"
With a smile, Louise returned the skirt to its original position.
Is this really the real Louise?
Could it be that someone transformed into her?
Right, Myoznitnirn’s magical tool, for instance...
That was an act, Saito thought. The tension began to build with his next words.
"Ah, then, let me touch your breasts."
Louise nodded almost instantly, with a smiling face.
"Okay, I won't hold back then."
Gulp, Saito swallowed his saliva and began to touch her small breast. Mofu, mofu.
Even with her small breasts, touching her there, Saito’s excitment began to rise.
When he looked back at her, she was still smiling brightly. A face with a color of happiness. Prepared for death, Saito started to shake. If this is the real Louise, let's try that. He thought.
"And... you call this a breast?"
she positively nodded with a smile.
This was absolutely not Louise!
"Wahaha! I suggest that you gather Tiffania's sweat and make it into a potion?"
"No need, I'm fine with what I have."
Saito jumped back that instance, taking a stance.
"Who or what are you!"
"Just like I keep saying, I am me. Please believe me."
"Why aren't you angry?"
She hesitantly said those words, and when she figured out something, she raised her face.
"Yes! You see, tomorrow there’s going to be a fierce battle. The enemy seems to be Myoznitnirn, right? So this is some kind of reward! you see?!"
Louise said that in what seemed to be a joyful manner.
You would normally, even in a situation such as this, object.
In the end, Louise seemed to have changed her way of thinking. Perhaps it was the noble pride within her. Saito reached understanding. Louise spoke again.
"You want to touch more?"
"It’s alright! Go ahead! Touch them! Please!"
For the ninth time, she smiled. 'Oh well, if she is enjoying this then I should too.' Saito thought. This leisurely situation is not a reckless action. Besides, there is the possibility that one of us may be lost tomorrow. Anyhow, however bad the situation turns out to be we will survive.
Tomorrow is the commemoration of the Pope’s coronation and things are busy in this Romalian street. Of course, it shouldn't differ too much from the festivals usually held in Tristania.
As expected of the street stalls and the performances, the atmosphere here felt busy. Even in Romalia, in every place around here, pilgrims could be seen crowding merchants. The various goods brought by them were put in the front of the stalls.
Louise stood in front of clothes shelves that were displayed in the front of a stall, doing her best to search for something.
"What, do you really want a scarf that much?, I will buy it for you, so go ahead to choose something better."
Even with that said, Louise only shook her head. And then determined to choose a plain scarf, she requested this one.
"...Hey Louise, what do you plan to do with a scarf of that color?"
The scarf’s color didn’t fit with women's tastes. A black one, with lattice pattern embroidery. But Louise just answered by shaking her head.
"See this black color, it suits you."
"What, did you buy that for me?"
Louise nodded and smiled sweetly.
"Could it be that you somehow accidentally drank a love potion again?"
"That's not it. Like I said, its a reward."
"I see, so this is a reward too," Saito murmured.
For the time being for today I will accompany Louise, Saito thought.
Saito and Louise loitered around the street. Around noon, priests went out too to drink and sing war songs with their comrades-in-arms.
The impression that I had, when first entering this place, though it's quite strict, it is still not too different with other towns in Halkeginia. In the middle was a dance party provided by a band using a flute and drum to perform.
Louise pulled Saito and brought him to the center.
With cheerful rhythm accompanying them, Louise and Saito danced. A pleasant waltz. Louise was dancing, and Saito was trying to follow her lead.
After they were satisfied they went to the tavern that they had been chased into by the Templar knights.
When they entered the tavern, they saw that the table had been replaced by high class looking sparkling one. It seemed that the money Kirche had given as compensation was quite sufficient to repair all the damage. The window and stand counter had been replaced with a glass one.
This entire store became so posh it was like a different establishment altogether.
The shopkeeper too was wearing first class brand-new polished clothes. Seeing this, Louise and Saito looked at each other and laughed.
When they entered, the shopkeeper recognized Louise and Saito and looked away awkwardly.
"Sorry for the trouble last time." Saito grinned at the shopkeeper devilishly. And so, the shopkeeper, without a word, started sending plate after plate of food to their table.
And then he whispered silently to Saito's ear.
"I'll be in your care next year too."
Louise and Saito looked at each other and laughed once more.
When all the plates had arrived, Louise scooped up some thick broth with a spoon and brought it near Saito's face.
With Louise started to say that, Saito still felt a little troubled. Even if this was a reward, it was still too much.
"Hey Louise, please tell me the truth. I won't get angry. Did you destroy the zero fighter by accident? So you're trying to get on my good side."
"That's not it. Today I'm cute, so I want you to see more of my cute side. Please believe me, that’s the only reason."
When he heard that, he was dumbfounded and couldn’t say anything. Looking happy, Louise just smiled.
Once again, they walked through town. Louise gazed at Saito, and lightly said, "Let's go over there."
"Hey, let's kiss," she said.
"Еh? Right here?"
Something outrageous had been said. Even her face looked shy. Is it possible she wants to do that in a place where there are less people? Looking flustered, Louise suddenly started to push Saito into the nearest alley.
After that, she fixed her gaze on Saito's face, and stood there on her tippy toes. Full of passion the two of them pressed their lips together. It was a deep kiss.
For a moment, they pressed each other’s lips together. After satisfying themselves, the two of them separated. Once again, Louise showed him an extraordinary smile.
Saito could not understand the meaning behind her smiles, but Saito too tried to smile back vaguely.
While the two of them were walking, Saito would take a peek at Louise, and when she noticed that, she would return a smile, a very lovely one. In the end, they continued walking. Saito thought, for Louise, he would do anything to protect her.
But it couldn't be helped, sometimes he would remember his mother’s face. When that happened his chest would hurt.
"Nothing at all, really."
Every time this happened, Saito would forcefully make a smile and shake his head.
Wholeheartedly, the two of them spent their time together, and when the night drew near they returned to their room. In the end, Saito was with her the whole day. Calmly thinking, from whatever aspect, it was too suspicious.
"Here, have some water, you must be tired."
Louise poured water into a cup and gave it to Saito. After taking a breath, he drank it. Saito asked.
"...You, just why did you show me your smile so assertively today?"
Once more, Louise smiled a sweet smile.
"It's very strange you know! As long as I remember, this whole year you've only smiled twice! However, today you smiled 72 times."
"So you were counting... I'm so happy, thank you."
Once again, she smiled. It was an angelic smile, a lovely smile.
"So, I've smiled my whole life's worth today."
"Twice a year, huh. If we always stay together from now on, it will take thirty years, no, forty years I think? If it was fifty years' worth it'd be even better... At that point, you will have seen the number of times I smiled at you today."
"What are you talking about?"
"You see, I won’t smile again for the rest of my life."
Even with her smiles still surfacing, tears began to flow down Louise's face.
"I won't love anyone else for the rest of my life. But you must not be like me. No matter who you end up falling in love with, you have to treat her like you do me and protect her well, over in your world..."
Tears joined into a line across Louise's face, and dripped down from her beautiful chin.
Having said that, Saito suddenly became very drowsy.
It was magic. But the moment he noticed that, the magic had already taken effect.
"Louise... you... the water before..."
Losing strength, Louise hugged Saito, touched his face with her hands, and pressed her lips against his.
Strength completely left Saito’s body.
The water before, just like as Saito said, had a sleeping potion put into it beforehand.
While gently embracing Saito, Louise whispered,
"Goodbye, my gentle person... Goodbye, my chevalier(knight)."
Hick. (sounds of crying from Louise)
After embracing Saito for a while, she put Saito in the bed. After a moment, she stood up.
"...It's okay now."
A moment after that, the door behind her opened; Julio was standing there with a smile surfacing on his face.
"Are you really sure about this?"
With no expression, Louise nodded.
"Yes, for the sake of Saito too, to open the [Door world]."
"Then for that sake too, you will......"
"With all my pleasure, I will give you my cooperation. Whether to capture Myoznitnirn or to take back the Holy Land... All of it. Not only that. For the sake of Halkeginia’s ideals, I will give my life, my Void ability and my noble status."
"It seems like a saint has been born. Then, let's go immediately. We will explain the modification to our plan for tomorrow, since he won't be here anymore."
Just a moment before she left the room, Louise turned her head once more. Endless tears still flowed on her cheeks. Wiping those tears, Louise whispered,
"Goodbye, my most important person in the world."
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