Zero no Tsukaima:Volume17 Chapter10
Chapter 10: Garden Party to Celebrate the Enthronement
It happened in the first week of Ansuul, on Hagar the day of Freya.
In order to attend the garden party, the most recognized Tristainian nobles turned their caravans and headed towards Versailles.
Heading towards the territory of Gallia, the main caravan of Tristain finally arrived at the docks of the port city of An-Re.
The view of all the vessels belonging to all nations of Halkeginia stationed in the port of this giant lake was truly admirable.
Once ashore, the main caravan of Queen Henrietta went to "Varsenda". From there it would take about 4 hours to reach Versailles via wagon. Unfortunately, at the time they were about to leave the harsh summer sun slowed their progress.
Then they decided to take a break someplace after crossing the bridge of La-Vaare. However, if they were to meet with the ambassadors of Gallia on time the caravan would need to continue immediately. Along the main road they could see the growing commotion produced by such movement of people; and throughout the surrounding areas that were without houses, people now crushed as if a festival was happening.
The first thing to consider at that time was the arrangement of Queen Henrietta's tent.
So the pages and some soldiers started collecting straw bales from the surrounding houses, which were used to construct a couch.
Soon, some farmers at that place had started selling baskets of fresh bread and fruit to the members of the caravan. Some vendors were even able to provide wine. After a while, as could be expected, the sounds of laughter and singing could be heard everywhere.
Among the buyers were the Ondine Knights who had a good supply of wine and snacks, which give them a desire to join the growing commotion. Even for this selected group of the Queen, it seemed that the current conditions were nice enough to want the 'enjoyment' provided by this small town.
Besides, it was fair to all those present, both noble and soldiers, to be allowed a little fun after the constant battles they had to fight recently.
Even so, within the happy commotion that had arisen, a face that did not appear anywhere in the festival could be seen.
It was Saito.
Over the course of two weeks he had been devoted to a frantic search for Louise; however, after his arrival at the first provincial town all traces of the whereabouts of Louise disappeared.
No matter where he looked, no matter who he asked, he could not find signs of Louise anywhere. So as expected, because of the growing anxiety on the part of parents and sisters of Louise, they themselves organized a search party. That was the information he had obtained from the letter sent by Cattleya.
Saito had planned to make a home visit to La Vallière and report everything so far; however:
"Due to the circumstances, it would be a great inconvenience if my careless father happened to kill you; so I ask you right now to refrain from visiting La Vallière". Saito read the letter.
Ultimately, Saito was convinced to leave the search to them so that he could return to fulfill his obligations. This is the reason why Saito at this time was one of the members of the caravan ambassadors.
He had no choice; he had to fulfill his duty as part of the bureau of negotiations, as the partner he was to Louise...
But... after unsuccessfully searching for her relentlessly for two weeks... Saito, do you really think you'll be able to see her again?
While he was lost in these thoughts, Saito had walked away from his official duties.
The crestfallen and heartbroken Saito decided to leave the caravan and go to a place where he could be alone. Then with a stick he picked up off the ground he began to strike the earth.
I cannot be with Louise.
When thinking about this, it seemed that he had lost all desire to continue with his life. Nothing mattered. Not the fact that he let the people who attacked him escape, nor the party to celebrate the coronation, nothing in the world seemed real; he came to believe that what he saw with his eyes was seen only as a spectator who was in front of the TV.
Tapping the earth once again, Saito suddenly found himself drawing the figure of Louise in the dirt.
His grief, desperation and pathos gathered everyone in a sad view of how Saito was now.
"Peach hair, oh-so pretty, lit-tle girl, who took you away..."
As Saito sang his version of a kindergarten nursery rhyme, he finished his drawing and looked at it well; and he did not know if what he had drawn was Louise or an alien.
When Saito came to these conditions, Siesta without fail always appeared and tried to encourage him; however at this time she was in Des Ornières. She along with Professor Colbert had decided to stay there in case Louise finally returned to Des Ornières.
"But why put on an ugly face? Now do not worry, just drink!"
Malicorne had come to say this, and put a bottle of wine in Saito's mouth.
"Gu Fuh gugugugugugugu!"
Malicorne didn't stop until the wine bottle was empty, then detached it from the mouth of Saito with a "PPAH".
"What do you think you're doing?"
"Really, that face you were making... Like I say, Louise is not coming back, so give up."
"B, but that would be..."
"To tell you in the clearest way possible, she does not want to see you anymore; can you even realize the significance of her actions?"
Due to shock Saito dropped to his knees on the floor while a sudden tremor came from his body.
Then Guiche and others who could not let these actions pass unnoticed promptly withdrew Malicorne from Saito's side.
"Oh, hey, that's wrong, and let me go!"
"But you're saying..."
Then Malicorne addressed them with an emphatic scream and said:
"You see, it has to be now. Do not you think this is a critical time to see if Saito may or may not become a man? You know, a man must accept a separation and approach it as an aspect of himself; this is what makes one grow as a person. Now what this guy needs is to face reality." After saying this Malicorne could not stop assenting himself, as if what he had said was the absolute truth.
"Certainly much of your impromptu speech is true, but..." This was added by Kirche (who was very overwhelmed by her desire to return to see her friend Tabitha), who had also appeared on the scene accompanied by Tiffania.
"This is very problematic." Tiffania said. Malicorne shook his head.
Then with a gentle gaze he began to approach her. Tiffania reacted immediately and placed both of her hands against her chest, as a precaution to what she knew was coming.
"Miss Westwood, actually..."
In the instant Malicorne said that, Tiffania instinctively shook her head.
"But I did not say anything."
"No matter what you say, I can guarantee those 'things' are unlikely."
At this point, the only thing Malicorne could do was to show a smile full of sadness on his face.
"Ahh I give up... I guess that's what I get for doing what I always do, but since... but this time I swear I was going to say something serious."
After this strange apology, Tiffania could not help but give it a try.
"Well, you mean."
"Well, ...did you not please Saito with those big breasts?"
With an unpleasant feeling, they heard these words arise from a disturbingly eloquent Malicorne; his tone nevertheless actually showed off that he had said it for the sake of his friend. His serene face only further helped convince others of his pure intentions; but in the end everyone was frustrated by his lack of tact, saying the worst possible words.
"I thought, you see, that when one is depressed you must have breasts; and most importantly they gotta be huge, if you think things cannot get any better. And indeed, those breasts... we have the owner of those breasts. I do not think there is anyone more qualified than you, Miss Westwood."
As could be expected to happen, Tiffania seemed disposed to use the Void. She was heaving and started waving her wand, but despite this Malicorne did not stop his words.
"Magic? You're thinking of using it? You used that to help Saito before, right? Then use that to help Saito now! Seriously just do it for the good of Saito!"
"Ei." After reciting a little spell, Tiffania waved her hand.
"I'm a chicken! Pio, pio, pio, pio."
Then Malicorne left the area while waving his arms like wings.
After that happened, Tiffania glanced toward Saito and then approached him.
What she found was a disabled Saito muttering only nonsense. Seeing him in that state, Tiffania could not help but feel a great sadness.
"Saito, do not worry; I assure you fully that Louise will come back, and when she does be sure to apologize to her properly, do you understand?
"Really? Really she'll come back again...?"
Tiffania nodded sweetly to that question.
"Do not worry, Louise really likes to return to do her job, I guarantee you that she will return home..."
Tiffania kept saying this over and over again to comfort Saito.
In her tent Queen Henrietta was preparing to hear the report of Agnes, who only a moment ago had just arrived on her horse at full gallop.
"You finally arrived." Henrietta said, letting out a sigh.
The report was about the discovered information about the criminal group that attacked Saito in the village of Cherphis. Then Agnes continued relating the research findings.
However, the information obtained after the completion of the research process was still incomplete.
"We are sure to inspect in detail the entire area where the village Cherphis is located, but... still we could not find a trace of the criminal group. Also it was reported that investigations were carried out simultaneously on the nobles that you suspect or have motive of some resentment against Chevalier Hiraga-dono, yet..."
Seeing the difficulty Agnes was having to describe the situation with words, Henrietta deduced the reason for her distress.
"Too many, that's what you're saying, right?"
"It's just as you say. The main reason seems to be his position as a commoner who acquired a peerage; but apart from the above I can not imagine anything more. Plus you have to add the fact that although he is popular with the masses it might arouse jealousy among them for his privileged position."
Therefore, even apart from the families of the students of the academy of magic, arguably everyone could have a reason to attack. If I may be frank, this is a situation where you will not get anywhere from research only.
Henrietta had no other choice but to assent to the conclusion of Agnes and then thought to herself: What would have happened if he had also been given the title of Baron...
"But we also have something good in our behalf. Investigations ultimately yielded a significant trail."
"Please say what you have learned."
"It's the name of the group that dominates the underworld, perhaps as a result of infiltration of the Tristainian kingdom."
"Yes. Apparently a group specializing in dirty jobs, some individuals with incredible skills, apparently belonging to the army of Gallia; what was the name...? Oh yeah they are members of the Order of Chevalier of North Parterre. As reported in Tristain, they managed to sneak in after the change of government abruptly caused in Gallia."
The Chevalier of North Parterre, a secret order of knights of Gallia. Henrietta was also aware of the rumors that were said about them. Military intelligence, murders... an order of chivalry dedicated to shady jobs, gentlemen who were engaged to what a gentleman would not do.
"This so called 'group' right?"
"Yes, the 'Elemental Siblings', that's what they call their group."
Henrietta recalled the words of Saito, when the woman who attacked him called "onii-sama" to her partner...
"I'm pretty sure they are."
"In fact, by various rumors circulating in the kingdom, I have heard of them several times. They work like ghosts, they never let their prey escape, and also... they are known for never having failed in one of their missions."
"But Saito-dono returned alive. They only knocked him out..."
"I do not know why, but it may be the case that their mission was only to intimidate."
"If that was the reason, he was lucky, but..."
"But the next time may not be so good."
Then with a mortified expression on her face Henrietta shook her head.
"Perhaps we could offer a reward, giving citizens a promotion to give us help with the case."
"That's an interesting idea. However, it is likely that the whole thing might end up in chaos."
As imagined, right now is when I think I should marry an influential nobleman to have their support. How can I even be able to protect one of my knights?!
Even knowing the cause, Henrietta could not help but feel disappointed in Louise who had just disappeared, leaving her duty. And now she was really needed.
"...Oh I envy it, to live only for love!"
"What are you trying to say?"
"No... It's nothing."
"Please, I wish you were more considerate and would think of my position, because in reality I have nothing. At least I would like to try comfort you a little, in these times when you really need it..."
The caravan had finally arrived at Versailles. The members were assigned to a guest house but even having said that, the truth was that they only prepared rooms for Queen Henrietta and a few members of her cabinet. As for members of her entourage, which included the knights and soldiers, they had been assigned quarters on a field where they had installed hospitality tents.
"As of tomorrow it will be a busy day due to the celebration, so please take the time today to rest calmly." This was the message that the emissaries of Gallia left for the visitors in the guest house. Then they exited the lobby to continue their activities.
After talking to Agnes and the ladies of the court, Henrietta was left alone in her room. She had several things in mind for the long awaited garden party.
But the main reason for her visit was definitely checking the true intentions of the new Queen Charlotte. Queen Charlotte who had decided to join forces with Romalia to achieve her crowning... Could it be that her cooperation with Romalia was because they wanted to continue the crusade? That was precisely the matter Henrietta wanted to confirm.
Even knowing they were at critical moments... the government was fighting to destabilize the kingdom after she allowed knights of plebeian origin, purely out of jealousy; someone out there had even hired a murderer to realize their hatred. And Louise just deciding on her own, without consideration for others, to flee to disappear completely.
"Everyone is so selfish. Is there no one who feels a real desire to help others?"
Henrietta then summoned Saito, thinking at least to take a walk with him to clear her head. She also considered talking to him concerning her meeting with the Queen of Gallia and also she had to deal with the issue of the group that attacked him. All of this was imperative to relate.
But the main reason for calling him was...
"I want to see him."
She just wanted to be with him and see his face. She had raised a number of reasons, but in the end her desire to meet him was what drove her actions.
Henrietta then rang a bell to call one of her servants.
"At this moment I feel like taking a little ride... then, as I must also discuss official matters with him, please send Chevalier Hiraga-dono of the Ondine Brigade."
In just a moment the servant had brought Saito into the presence of the Queen.
With a face as if experiencing an extreme fatigue and a total lack of strength, Saito said:
"You called me?"
"Yes. I'll take a walk, and I command you to be my escort."
Then Saito fully recovered his composure and gave the Queen a respectful reverence. Due to the sudden seriousness of Saito, Henrietta could not help but feel a little weird for her actions.
All the way from her room to the exit in the lobby, Henrietta showed the face of a Queen of exemplary decency, which not even for a moment showed signs of familiarity with her escort Saito, who was always a step behind her.
But at that very moment, the guest house of Versailles seemed to have become a popular social meeting place. Everywhere eminent nobles were dressed in their most splendid attire. Along with the ambassadors, they could be seen happy and enjoying their casual discussions.
As the Queen passed by, those nobles noticing her presence recovered their composure and made a bow. However, Henrietta walked past them as if they were just air, ignoring them because this was not an official event and she did not have an obligation to greet them. But although she did ignore them only for practical reasons, she did not seem to dislike their attitude.
When one stopped and looked at her, Henrietta was seen as a magnificent Queen despite appearing to forget those who were around her. Her Majesty's presence was enough for them and by her side Saito did not seem, at this moment, to hold the slightest interest for Queen Henrietta.
Then Saito thought: could it be possible the Henrietta that he had seen that time in that little inn... and also at that time in the basement of Des Ornières... be the same person?
Outside the guest house, the day seemed to be coming to an end in order to give way to night, but they found the large amount of people out there, which was composed of all those invited foreign nations, surpassed by far the fuss found behind them.
Then Henrietta decided to hide beneath the hood of her robe.
The Palace of Versailles was broad, almost the same dimensions as the country through which they passed en route to here.
In their walk they came to a large garden full of flowering shrubs, which by its composition resembled a maze; the shrubs of the place were filled with summer blue flowers, which they did not know the name.
So without a second thought Henrietta set out to explore it, entering the labyrinth...
In their trek through the maze they found a small bench. Henrietta sat down and removed her hood.
With the flowers' essence combined with the cool dampness from the plants, the rigid presence of Henrietta vanished. Then with an air like a young villager, she stretched her body before turning to Saito.
"You should also sit down," said Henrietta with a melodious voice.
Saito then sat down beside her.
"I did not want anyone to hear us."
Hearing this, Henrietta felt a bit of excitement.
"No, actually this isn't anything of such importance." she said.
Then Saito nodded to her in a crude form.
Lately, this was the condition in which they developed the meetings between them: as an implicit agreement that they avoided each other talking. To break the tension, the first to say something was Henrietta.
"It will be tomorrow... how should I explain it... about Queen Charlotte. I wonder what are her true intentions. I want to find out what are the circumstances that are still involved with Romalia."
Saito's voice sounded as if it came from an empty place, evidenced by his lack of courage.
"Also... the information concerning the thugs who attacked you. Apparently they are known as the 'Elemental Siblings' and are a group coming from Gallia which specializes in dirty jobs, a subject quite dangerous..."
"They really are." Saito said without showing any sign of strength.
"You speak as if talking of matters concerning another person. You should get out of that depression, for your sake and that of others."
"Sorry, but... as is, there's no more strength left in me. I know that what I say is unacceptable but..."
Henrietta then furrowed her brows. She felt as if the words of Saito were trying to blame her for something.
"Everything you say, it seems as if everything was my fault!"
Saito stared at Henrietta for a moment. He could see the anger in her eyes. Then Saito worriedly said,
"E, that is... course not. Here I am the only culprit. I was the one..."
"Tell me, perhaps did we do something wrong?" said Henrietta and then she pursed her lips.
"Well, that would be..."
"Louise is gone. At this time we cannot do anything about it, we can not conclude her true intentions and yet you aren't able to act according to your own feelings. If so, let me be the only one receiving the consequences of that sin. But then maybe... you would have not..."
"You would not have the right to feel so dejected as how you feel now!"Saito then lowered his head in embarrassment.
"...Not that I can accept my own feelings!"
After hearing this, Henrietta gave Saito a cold stare.
"...You don't look like a man!"
"What did you say?"
"It's not like you lost control of yourself for lust, right? It seems that you're blaming me for having been seduced, that is so dumb!"
"And was it not!?"
"Where did you get that idea, please tell me!"
"Seriously, you're wondering what you've done!? That's what you're saying?"
Upon hearing these mean words, Henrietta looked back at Saito with disdain.
"That was just something you wanted to do on your own, not that I tried to seduce you or something."
"Well, I, I do not remember it like that! With all the sensuality that I didn't try to hide from for a second."
"You say that everything was the fault of sensuality, that's all you have to say?"
Defeated, Saito lost his strength again and dropped his shoulders.
"...If I had to say it in a way, is that I did not realize what I had until I lost it. I realized that I need Louise at my side, and so I really want it. I did not fight those 70000 soldiers to rescue Tristain, I did it to save Louise. Because Louise was here, I decided to stay in this world."
"And now that Louise has disappeared, you're leaving behind everything you just said and want to go back to your world. Is that the meaning of your words?"
Saito said, shaking his head.
"No... What I said was what I considered my reason. But that reason after all is just an excuse. In the end all I'm doing is being irresponsible, so after that moment of weakness let me make amends. Forgive me for I have caused concern to all."
Listening to Saito regain his senses, Henrietta's face turned a little surprised and then she blushed with embarrassment.
"...I apologize, apparently for a moment I lost control of myself."
"Maybe it's because I do not know many reliable people but over time I have come to depend on you. I can assure you it is the same with her. Louise has come to depend on you as much as you depend on her."
For a moment both were looking at each other, but... regaining their senses, they looked away quickly. Then Saito said, almost sighing:
"I... When I was in my world, my life was quite common. Even without actually behaving in a bad way, I cannot say I was a good person. In my world, I never found anything to be able to become passionate about. The days just constantly passed one after another without change, until one day I just became an adult and still nothing major happened. If it was just to pass the time for the sake of time itself then it seemed normal, as things should be, or so I thought."
"But coming into this world, I found for the first time my reason for living. The meaning of my life lay in this world. And it was pretty simple, it was Louise. Never in my life have I seen a girl so pretty. She may be flippant and selfish, but still that's part of who she is. In my attempts to protect her, little by little I gained achievements, and in the end... different people started to need me. And then my reason was becoming larger. The fact that all needed me, really made me very happy, because until now it had never been like that in my life.
Henrietta silently listened carefully to what Saito had to say.
"And that's why I, that's why I became lighthearted, leaving and neglecting what was really important. So I ended up losing both Louise and Derf, but it was not until it was too late that I realized that. I really hate myself."
For a moment Henrietta was silent but... She closed her eyes slowly.
"...Seems that now is the time to return."
The two got up, then made their way to the guest house. Without realizing when, the two moons in the sky lit up the garden, making all that beautiful glow on the flower bed.
While Saito was watching the brightness of the moon, he failed to avoid himself wondering:
What is the meaning of me being in this place?
The meaning of his own existence.
He was 'solo' until he came to this world and noticed that idea... so far not even going through his head that there was 'a meaning'.
Probably if he was still in his world, he would not have raised this question and would spend his life without thinking about it, just being born, growing and eventually dying.
Only recently the meaning was very clear to him.
Everything was for Louise.
He did for the welfare of that young girl that made his heart vibrate... But now she was gone, she had decided to disappear forever from his sight.
After he had reached this world, Saito had discovered endless things that before were unknown to him, things that he would never be able to discover if he had stayed in Tokyo...
But right now, I can not find a reason to move forward. Wherever I look the world has turned gray. I have to do something to regain its meaning, but I do not know what.
However, he knew he had work to do; he knew that an imminent danger was hanging over them.
Henrietta had said 'I could do it'. However, inside me, I can not even trust and believe in myself to do it again.
The next day, a garden party was held to commemorate the coronation of the Queen.
Early on, enormous fireworks could be seen flying through the sky and cheering the environment, the musicians played continuously from a selected range of musical pieces.
In the front garden of the recently completed Grand Troyes Palace, leaders and renowned personalities of all nations had gathered. They were astonished to learn that the palace of Her Majesty had been built in such a short time. They could not help but praise the incredible potential of the labor force in Gallia.
Afterwards, the palace gates opened and unveiled the figure of Queen Charlotte. The distinguished guests were amazed to see the childlike Queen. They had heard that her age was only 16 years, however, one would think it was 2 or maybe 3 years younger.
And they couldn't help but notice: Her attire, for whatever reason, had strongly attracted their eyes.
Though it was normal that during these events one must wear the most dazzling and glorious dresses that one could use, by becoming the ruler of a great nation like Gallia she had the most skilled tailors in the kingdom. It would be weird if she didn't always present her most magnificent clothes possible.
At this time, the ladies in rows closest to the new Queen could distinguish the extravagance of the current outfits worn by her Majesty. In truth, one could say that the dress of the Queen of Gallia was a trendsetter throughout the fashion world of Halkeginia.
Still... It must be said that her clothes were somewhat rare.
Her enormous dress resembled an outfit of that of a nun, with its white, simple and austere design that was adorned by a jewel in her chest as if it was some kind of pendant; it was stamped with a cross.
To the her right and left stood a group of nobles who offered a bow. Then acting as if following the script of a play, they prepared to cast the spell of 'Detect Magic'.
This was a crucial part of the ceremony. They had to prove in front of all present that she was the real Queen Charlotte.
After waiting for a while, not seeing any reaction from the magic launched just a little earlier, the distinguished guests let out a sigh that released the uncertainty that accompanied the ceremony.
Finally, this had proved the true identity of the Queen.
Then Queen Charlotte went to the table prepared in her honor, occupying the leading place among the guests. From there she would give her words of greeting as the program planned.
Then everyone present imagined that her next move would be to accompany them in celebration after going downstairs.
Still... Queen Charlotte stood motionless in the place she had occupied. Then as if ready to report something, she raised her right hand.
The commotion increasingly grew among the guests who waited expectantly.
"As the Queen responsible for governing the Kingdom of Gallia, I took the initiative in forming an alliance with the rulers of Romalia. So, with all our power as a nation we will continue our role in the crusade. Halkeginia will always have the divine protection from the Founder!"
For a moment the whole place was silent, then quickly an intense outcry spread as if it were a wave.
As expected, the new government is just a puppet of Romalia. So this was the real intention of why Romalia invaded Gallia. These were the kind of comments that were beginning to be heard from the congregation.
"But you said..."
Upon hearing this statement Henrietta had gone into shock, completely pale and then her body ended up collapsing. Only the timely help of Agnes and Guiche prevented her from falling to the ground. Then her two companions were set in place to safeguard the Queen.
Just steps away, Saito who had been assigned the task of leading Ondine had turned completely pale.
But what do those words mean just now?
How can Tabitha collaborate with Romalia?
In truth, it devastatingly shocked all those who were present.
For a moment he thought that perhaps it was not Tabitha, chances are it was someone else. He thought that perhaps she had been hypnotized by some kind of potion...
But then he remembered, and shook his head.
He had seen only moments ago, they had cast Detect Magic on her. Therefore it was clear that this was the real Tabitha...
"If you think about it, maybe it means that outfit similar to what a nun wears... We anticipated little on what she had planned to do..."
"I think this is very strange, as if Romalia had planned everything to ensure this will result in coronation and so... Romalia, indeed has some guys who are very skilled." This was the dialogue that came from Malicorne and Gimli.
"You are wrong," Saito said.
"In which way we are wrong?" She had just said that she would cooperate for the continuation of the crusade.
"Tabitha cannot say that kind of thing!"
"What? But you heard her just now, didn't you?"
By her saying this, Saito had been shocked. Though he had never heard directly from the mouth of Tabitha that she was against continuing the crusade, he thought that because of the close friendship they had their ideals and principles would be the same. Or at least that's what he had always thought...
"Hey you, let me explain: political beliefs and friendship are two entirely different matters. It may be true that your friendship with her is very close, however, note that it is no wonder that she thinks in a different way than you." Reynald somehow was trying to comfort Saito.
Saito could not help but shake his legs. Tabitha went to her desk to receive the praises of her guests.
Seeing this, Saito started running.
In front of Tabitha's table a lot of famous people had gathered to give their praises. As expected, there was huge line formed. Saito helplessly was trying to break through the line of people, which as a result caused the discontentment of the nobles that were present.
"Hey that's wrong! Go to where you came from peasant!"
Then he had no choice but to go to the end of the line.
Saito could not yet perceive something strange in Tabitha at the distance he saw her, though her aura seemed somehow changed, there was no basis for thinking it was something more than just his imagination.
Then Saito noted that Tabitha had makeup for the occasion. Her lips had red lipstick, her eyelashes were curled and makeup was fairly simple, yet... Would that change her aura just now, was it because of the makeup?
After waiting an hour, it was finally his turn. Then Saito, opposite to Tabitha, looked into her eyes. She returned his gaze. However, Saito could not find in her eyes any affection or even the feeling of longing to meet an old friend.
"I am an ambassador of the Kingdom of Tristain. My name is Saito Chevalier de Hiraga Des Ornières."
Not wondering about his greeting, because it was a courtesy that required the label.
"It's been a long time."
"Do you still remember me? "
Then he thought, "that's obvious isn't it?" But it was a question that had assaulted his mind after meeting with Tabitha in such strange conditions.
"I remembered you."
In this strange conversation, nobles surrounding them demonstrated bitter amazement, however the man who was behind Tabitha came to them, and as if by explaining said:
"The Knight Hiraga Chevalier is a friend from the academy of Her Majesty. If we have a cordial meeting, I assure your Highness will be glad for it."
The man dressed as a priest had such a friendly aura, Saito wondered if he was really that young. But for some strange reason, the calculation of age became elusive. His strong jaw had a strong voice of determination that conveyed his presence.
Noticing the look of Saito, the man offered a bow.
"My name is Barberini and I am the Prime Minister and if I'm not mistaken you should be the fabled hero who accomplished the feat on the Tiger Highway."
Then Saito also corresponded with a bow, and from that moment,
"Excuse me, but I want to talk to Her Majesty Queen Charlotte..." Saito said.
Hearing this, Lord Barberini with a polite but firm determination shook his head in denial.
"My sincere apologies, but now Her Majesty is very busy."
"Um, actually I am not a mere knight; I am an official ambassador of the Kingdom of Tristain and member of the bureau in charge of negotiations with Gallia." he said, to prove it. Saito was released by the Queen, however Lord Barberini remained firm with his refusal.
"It's really a shame..."
Seeing that Lord Barberini was inaccessible, Saito decided to go directly to Tabitha.
"I have something to tell you."
However, all she did was to stare at Saito helplessly.
"Hiraga-dono, being rude..." Lord Barberini interrupted Saito.
"No. I'm not asking you. I'm asking Tabitha... I'm asking Her Majesty. Please, indeed I have something to ask you."
However, the answer was harsh and short:
Saito lost his composure.
"Well, tell me are those words true? The words you said just now? You seriously plan to collaborate with the crusade?"
Then Tabitha nodded with an expression on her face as if to say: 'Is there a problem?'
"Your... But what, why? What the hell happened?"
Due to the volume reached by the conversation the surrounding nobles grew restless.
"Mr. Ambassador, please leave for later. If you just want to talk, I assure you I will open a space in my schedule to assist you personally."
"Hey Tabitha! Explain what is going on! Tell me, perhaps you've given in to Romalia?! What happened?"
Then trying to end this once and for all, Lord Barberini pressed Saito.
"That's enough. If you say another word, I'll have no choice but to accuse you of heresy!"
In the time Saito was about to answer, a voice from behind stopped him.
"Hey Saito! Time to go! You've bothered all these gentlemen enough!"
It was Guiche. Looking carefully, all the boys that had gathered were Ondine Knights. Then Guiche whispered something in his ear.
"...I understand your feelings, but you have to be careful! You have to take account your actions here! We are not in Tristain."
Because of his words, Saito finally calmed down.
Then he made a deep bow and Saito started to leave.
Within the celebration it was almost entirely the topic of conversation: the proclamation that only a few moments ago had made by the Queen Charlotte. Nearly all the nobles were present, they were in a state of turmoil and grief.
It was inevitable; in their memories came vividly the image of the entire imperial fleet reduced to ashes at Carcassonne due to the magic created by the previous elf priest, that immense fireball...
Besides, the fact was that they were raised with the idea that engaging in a fight with the elves was just crazy.
Still... There was no nobleman that could try to go against the orders of Romalia or the Queen of Gallia.
Indeed it has been decided to battle against the elves, was heard in conversations, as if the matter had nothing to do with them.
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