Zero no Tsukaima:Volume18 Chapter1
Chapter 1: Lovers
Location: Capital of Gallia, Lutetia. In the courtyard of the palace of Versailles located in the suburbs of the capital, in a camp where a huge amount of tents were erected.
Inside one of these tents, a small canvas tent with a dark blue peak and three supports, was where Saito and Louise were kissing.
Saito only some few hours ago had been miraculously rescued by the timely intervention of Louise in his battle against Jack, one of the ’Elemental Siblings’. And now he was lost in a dream as his lips lay next to hers, while strongly embracing her sweet little body.
After several weeks of not seeing her, it was expected that the love that radiated from them were to overflow uncontrollably. Yet no matter how strong it was, Louise’s frustration hadn't been dissipated.
In silence, while still wearing the habit that she always wore during her stay in Saint Margarita, Louise offered no resistance as Saito carried her in his arms.
Then without thinking Saito stretched his hand to reach the small chest of Louise. In doing so, Louise caressed his hand gently in response.
"Sorry... for not treating you well, sorry for being so selfish." After restraining himself, Saito cleared his mind and finally released her little body.
Apparently the issue in which Louise looked on the scene of Saito and Henrietta kissing had finally disappeared. Although it seemed that Louise was willing to forgive him, it was clear that trying to ignore the issue as if it had never happened was a bad idea.
Louise then just stared at Saito with those beautiful reddish brown eyes... a little embarrassed by what she was doing, thinking her body was little. However, looking at those deep eyes one could not see any anger or reproach.
After watching for a few moments, Louise glanced toward the habit she worn for so long. It had remained on her body from the moment she decided to escape from the convent of Saint Margarita.
Because that was all she had worn throughout her journey and even in her battle against Jack, it was only to be expected that it was already quite dirty.
Then Louise gave a little sigh: "Hauu", then resolutely said:
"I would like to take a walk."
At the moment they left the tent they saw the light of the two moons shining in the sky.
The courtyard of the palace of Versailles that Louise and Saito left was dimly lit because of the various campfires burning in that place. The courtyard was flooded with tents as small as that of Saito’s, but these could contain up to 10 people. All the guests that were staying here were from various nations, and whose status was noble or little-renowned soldiers.
The atmosphere was still high because of the party that was still being held in the garden to celebrate the coronation of the new Queen of Gallia. Despite the congestion due to such events, Louise made her way swiftly among that sea of tents with speed and firmness.
But it seemed that Saito did not share her ability to move as he quickly fell behind, unable to keep pace with Louise.
"Where are we going?" Saito asked, but received no response.
It seemed as if they were taking a walk, but with no particular destination.
The land occupied by the Court of Versailles was broad enough to allow a walk. This was of a size comparable to a large avenue and they soon realized they had gone some way from the tumult of tents.
The place they arrived was located between a large number of plants with flowering shrubs. Because it was the month of Ansuul (August), the heat had reached its highest point this year.
Despite being at night, the heat in the atmosphere dried the surrounding air. This place, full of boxes, was devoid of any nearby fire to light their way thus leaving only the moonlight to guide their steps.
Then suddenly the two heard a faint sound of water flowing from somewhere nearby. Approaching the source of the sound, they found a great source of water (a fountain).
Immediately, Louise approached and sat right next to it while crossing her legs. Then she set her sights on the sky. As if murmuring she said:
"I've been thinking about the past events."
What could Louise be wanting to say next? Perhaps she decided that I can no longer stand by her. Really, would she be able to say that?
An indescribable anxiety invaded Saito. However, it only terrified Saito for a few seconds.
Then from Louise's face came an expression as if at last all the thoughts that filled in her head had been put in order. Having done that, the words began to come out from her mouth:
"Um , during the time I spent away from you, I got to think about a lot of things seriously. I thought I could just forget everything by not thinking about it, not thinking about sad and difficult things. But at the end of the day, I realized what I was doing was just to escape the unpleasant things that were happening, the difficult things I didn’t want to face..."
At this point, Louise stopped for a moment and stared at her right hand.
"But after all that was just cowardice, even though it was so painful that I felt my heart would break. However, within me there is a great power; and there are people who need that power, however I... I ran away trying to pretend not knowing it."
That is... what I came to think... Louise added.
"Right." Saito nodded.
The instant Louise fled, he had realized it. He realized the cowardice that lay within him. But now his determination was back, Louise had gained strength thanks to it, so he had to give her an answer.
He had lost to his own desires, which caused his betrayal of Louise.
"I... as I dare to kiss you knowing that I am so unworthy... I could not help falling into lust and lost control of my actions... forgive me." Saito said while bowing his head deeply. This gesture drew Louise's gaze upon him. But all Louise could do was to show her tired face with a bitter smile.
"Yes you did. I thought the same thing many times, 'why is it that this person tries so hard to make me suffer forever?' At that time anger fills my head, all I want to do is to throw a punch and then run. But you know, I'm also tired of it and that's why, from now on you can do whatever you want!"
Those words were her final verdict. Saito felt as if a hammer had hit him directly in his head, and depression now filled his face... he knew that he had disrespected Louise, and he could never escape the doom decided in this tent.
"...What I want to do... is just to be by your side. But I stupidly couldn’t keep my faithfulness to you... So treat me like a mere familiar, if that's what it takes. That would be enough for me, so..." Saito could say no more. The words had stuck in his throat. Seeing that, Louise did not hesitate to push him to finish what he was saying.
"So, ‘and therefore’ What?"
"If you ever come to have another lover, I'll still protect you as a familiar… I am... so... but I'm saying, if from the start I have been more than just your familiar..."
After hearing this, Louise could no longer just listen without saying anything.
"Hey you! Listen, you could stop and stick with that. If I were to take a lover, I promise you I would not ask you to risk your life to save me anymore!"
"Huh? That’s silly! I’ll still save you!"
"Yes, I know, you're a man with the pure sense of duty that you are ready to save me if I needed it no matter whether you’re my lover or not."
"I do not know if I’ll be able to say this again, but literally, you have always been there to save me no matter how selfish or rude I have been to you. You even risked your life for me, and yet knowing this I have been so abusive to you... always hitting and punishing you, and worst of all was when I ran away just like that without saying anything... making everyone worry about me... and, and, and so... I think we're even!--"
Louise gave a little sigh, then continued talking.
"--If I’ll have a lover you say? If I wanted to have a lover then I'd have had one a long time ago. But if I did, would you feel painful too? Would it make you angry? Tell me, would you abandon me too?
"Yes, really; when you kissed me, my head was totally blank. All the time that I could be with you, all I did was to think of you. Also if I am asleep, you always appear in my dreams, why? I have to wonder, is it because you're my familiar? Why are you always there to rescue me? How many times have you told me you loved me? Or all the times you've strongly embraced me? Or all those kisses you gave me?"
The more Louise talked, the more surprised Saito was. He couldn't remain still. Even Louise didn’t want to hear what Saito had to say. So he was only able to continue listening to what she had to say without making any movement.
"There might be something else, or it might be everything, however it's no longer important to me. That's the conclusion I reached after thinking so much. It's so frustrating but... that's the truth. No matter how angry I was, I still realized that! And that's why I told you to do what you want! I, no matter what you do, how I feel about you will not change at all!"
After she had said that, Louise began to mutter something to Saito that he could barely understand. By listening carefully:
"Oh God, in truth I'm a fool, as you may have come to believe my words... although I cannot deny that everything I said is true... but as I already said it, I'll finish this well. I admit my defeat so easily, but I think this has nothing to do with winning or losing, so I think you win..."
Seeing Louise watching him with those eyes, muttering, Saito could not help but feel really moved.
Louise... Is what you feel for me true...? Ahh... So this is the result of putting my life in danger...
So what's the next thing I have to say to her? Do I have to look away and run? But that’s nonsense!
There is no justification for that pitiful action, I shouldn’t do that to her. I must not make fun of what she said!
Louise's words sum up in simple but serious words: No matter what happens, my feelings for you will never change.
Overwhelmed by his own weakness, Saito thought about all the times he betrayed this girl.
How is she lost to all her affection for me? How is it possible that all the feelings that I ever have had for her have not been processed in vain?
But with the words that Louise said a moment ago, Saito was lost and didn't know what to answer.
He knew he had to say something, but no words came out of his mouth.
I have to say clearly the reasons why I love her.
Saito then took a deep breath and look in the eyes of Louise.
"Um, can I say something?"
"Huh?" Louise could only return a puzzled look at Saito.
"I will try to be as honest as possible until the end."
"What's with this "until the end", that's so nasty!"
"Do not say nasty. Aren't you the one who still accepted me even after being so nasty?"
"Yes, you're right, especially when you say you're nasty!"
"Sor... sorry, but could you be quiet while I'm talking, because really, I... maybe this sounds a little weird but, every time I see you it's like you are transporting me to a different world... this... because that's the way you make me feel. To an exciting place, to a distant place that is maybe not here. It is a special place that is beyond all good and evil, that's for sure. You opened my eyes and led me through those places that up till now have been unknown to me. Yes, and they were all equally precious no matter how hard they have been on some occasions nor the sadness that sometimes I feel. Even in the times when I truly believed that my life was slipping through my hands, all were equally important. But all the happy times we passed through have been the most precious part you'll ever have in my life, and that's the truth."
"Hey! Stop talking nonsense! I give you permission to leave aside the compliments!"
"No way they are nonsense! Well, if I were being totally honest, you would have been a little upset."
"Then I'll punch you!"
"But honestly, the majority of what I felt were funny moments. Yes, those moments that made my heart tremble! And believe me I would never lie about this: the one who is able to trigger these feelings inside me, it's you! I feel like you are able to take me to a special place other than this."
Then Louise stared Saito and give him a cold stare.
"Surely, the Princess also made your heart tremble right?"
"No, she didn’t..." Said Saito as a cold sweat ran down his body.
"Always telling lies. You know, I still remember that face you made when you kissed her huh?"
Indeed it seemed that Louise was remembering the time she saw them kissing, as her small shoulders began to shake with anger. Also after giving a little 'Hoa' she exhaled, almost at the same time one of her legs raised up, which caused Saito to be inclined to protect himself from a possible attack by reflex.
However, the kick that always came flying on these occasions did not land.
Seeing her raised leg in the air, Louise could only think 'you're a hopeless swordsman' as she shook her head and then lowered her leg back to its original position.
"Aren’t you going to kick?"
"I'm not going to kick you for being honest. Say, were you moved? When you kissed the Princess?"
Saito under her gaze without a second thought raised his head and took a deep breath.
"Uh, a bit."
Louise's leg rose once again in the air. Seeing this Saito seemed prepared for the consequences of what he said and before crying, he screamed to answer the question of Louise.
"Ye-yes, I was moved during the kiss! It was amazing!"
Louise's entire body began to shake as if a wave, then she lifted her other leg and began to move in the air. It was really as if preparing to launch a countless number of kicks, but eventually Louise somehow managed to contain her anger.
"The moment I kicked you, that would be your end!" While muttering this, Louise set her legs once again on the floor.
"Well, it seems that I cannot blame the Princess, for this useless sensuality is revealed only after becoming an adult, and what it's for..."
"Louise..." Saito said her name while cold sweat ran down his body that seemed to never stop. And then Louise looked at him. Saito couldn’t escape from that icy stare.
"Ahhh, I decided I won’t be bothered by that. All those little things will just stack up one after another. Being angry about that is just a waste of energy."
After saying this, Louise then began to approach gradually the place where Saito was. She extended both her hands and with her little palms tried to wrap his face.
"But you’re not going to forget that I am the most important of all."
"Of course!" Without thinking Saito approached her face and tried to kiss her, but she promptly did everything possible to get away from those lips.
With a worried face Saito tried to ask what happened:
"Louise? " Then, Louise trying to apologize, issued a few words that left him surprised.
"Um, um, I.. , I would like to take a bath."
As if he did not understand those words, Saito replied to the request from Louise.
Seeing him respond this way, Louise tried to say it again in the most clear way possible.
"I said right now I want to take a bath." This is what Louise said quietly, but with a strong determination that was evident from her tone.
"A bath... but why now?"
"Well, since I left Saint Margarita I couldn’t bathe even once and see... I've sweated and also these are the only clothes I've been wearing..."
"B-, but... Taking a bath at this hour?...?"
In the guest house she could prepare a bath, but at this hour of the morning I see it as being very unlikely. After thinking this, what happened next was a new declaration of Louise that was surprising.
"But here's a place I can take a bath. See? Just look at the shining water as it flows." What Louise was pointing at the time was the source of water which was right in front of them.
"Ehh, but we do not know where this water comes from? Really, think about it...?"
"Huh, what's wrong? It's not as if it's dirty water, and we're in summer." With that, determined, Louise took the bottom of the habit in her hands to start undressing.
"Tsk! Hey! We're practically in the street."
"It’s alright, as we are totally in the dark and I don’t hear anyone walking around. If anyone is watching us now, it would be the moons."
The situation had become just as he heard. Perhaps the reason that Louise had brought him to this place was precisely for this. That was the idea born in the mind of Saito.
As she walked, she seemed impatient for something as she looked everywhere... So that's what she was looking for... It was a fountain!
Still lost in his rambling, Saito did not realize at that time that Louise had completely removed the habit on her shoulders. But then he realized, with eyes wide open, that the habit that until recently he envisioned she was wearing lay thrown at the feet of Louise.
The figure of Louise wearing only her underwear seemed to float while being illuminated by the soft light of the moon. Without thinking, Saito quickly looked away from that beautiful vision.
"Eeh, hey you..."
Immediately and unmistakably a faint sound of clothing rubbing began to resonate. Then at that point he heard the sound of water churning "Chapun" because those little bare feet had entered the water.
"This is cold, but it feels good."
"As you say, but hurry!" Saito said as he turned his head not to look. He was about to give in to the temptation to peek, but if he were to see that white and smooth skin of hers at this moment he would no longer be able to contain his instincts.
In the past Louise showed no hesitation about changing clothes in front of Saito but... he rarely got an opportunity like this, a chance to see directly her beautiful skin.
Anxiety grew almost unbearable within Saito and at that time a new declaration of Louise, a wonderful one in fact, was heard by Saito:
"Could you wash my back?"
"B, b, b but..."
...Really can I? Did you mean it?
"Bu-but you are not allowed to touch everywhere except my back, ok?" Louise said with a slight tone of anger in her voice.
At that moment Saito was dumbstruck. Louise came to the fountain's edge, sat there and put her back right in front of him. He could see a little white light glowing on her back because of the moonlight. The beautiful line of her body was seen as a mirage of dreams within the intense summer heat.
Truly tiny. But the uncontrollable heart-throb of Saito proved that he knew very well that this little back was full of a strange and intoxicating sensuality.
Without thinking, Saito suddenly began to gulp. He couldn’t stand it, but he kept it together some way and then went along taking his first step.
At edge of the fountain he took off his shoes and then rolled up his jeans. Then hesitantly he prepared to enter into the water; and there, looking down, he saw that the beautiful back of Louise was finally within the reach of his hand.
Her long pink hair was separated in two at her neck, and then dropped on her shoulders. They were tinged with a lovely hue. Oh, no matter how many times I've hugged Louise, this... this feeling of touching her skin directly is a rare opportunity.
Saito slowly extended his arm until he finally touched the back of Louise.
The feeling of touching her skin with his hand made his entire body tremble.
It was smooth and warm. The experience of playing with this delicate naked body caused a strong impression in Saito's mind: the certainty of 'I am really alive', 'This is the person I love.' He was experiencing the strongest feelings of love that he had ever felt before.
After letting the water run over the back of Louise, he prepared to wash her back. When Saito began to move his hand, he could not help but feel a small tremor from Louise's body.
Saito felt as if his throat was completely dry. From this point, if he only stretched out his hand, if he only stretched a little more... that soft part of the body of Louise... indeed at this time any part of the body of Louise was within the reach of his hand.
But then Saito thought, was it worth having this great opportunity? He who betrayed Louise, did I really had the right to even touch her, to feel her with my dirty hands and warm her beautiful naked body? That's what Saito thought at this time.
Funnh. Feeling Saito's hand stop, Louise seemed to have realized the guilt whipping Saito's heart. With a desolate air she managed to whisper a few words:
"M, m, Ye? Yes?"
"Do, I... Do I look pretty?" It was very smooth, a sound so soft that her voice seemed to fade, but still, he could perfectly understand what she said.
"Yes, of course you do!" Saito said almost without thinking. Louise slowly stood up before him.
"Ohh! Ohio! Hey you! Wait!" Saito could not be more confused, but what the hell was Louise thinking? Really it was a mystery that totally exceeded Saito's mind.
But one thing was clear to him: he certainly understood that though the world was crumbling before his eyes, at this very moment, his beloved Louise was right in front of him as God brought her into the world.
"Tell me, do you think I am more beautiful than Princess?" Louise asked in a calm voice.
"Yes... because, I have never seen the princess look this beautiful..."
"Tell me, do you think I am more beautiful than Siesta?"
"Well, I have not been able to see Siesta look this pretty."
"Is that so, good!"
Then without Saito having a moment to prepare his heart, he saw Louise suddenly turn around to face him.
If I see her I’ll die.
Saito really thought he would die if he did it, but this idea was not enough for him to look away.
What he saw was something that just had appeared in his dreams. He was finally in front of her. The glory to see the beautiful naked body of his beloved Louise.
The moonlight was dim, but this was enough to stain an amazing shine to Louise’s naked body. The light illuminating her small chest gently made it appear to be of a volume never seen before. From the delicate curves from which they were born until those delicate points at which they ended, I could say that it was the most beautiful sight in the universe.
And even the body of Louise below her navel, though blurred by a faint shadow, was still a part that had not escaped the view of Saito, who at that time, could see absolutely everything.
"Louise..." Then in a voice that seemed to reveal that a great weight had been taken off her shoulders Louise said:
"Stop, stop thinking things, don't you realize that this is my gift for you, really, really, all I said were things I wanted to say but the truth, what you’re doing is also what I wanted to do, like when you kissed me I also wanted to kiss you, or when you pushed me down, I also wanted you to do it. But I was so embarrassed to ask you, so I did not."
Then Louise lifted her face and stared at Saito.
"You also have to show me..."
Saito nodded at her request while putting a really serious face, and then begin to take off his cloak, his sweatshirt, his pants and finally his underwear: all of which he put aside on the edge of the fountain.
Then they both looked at each other in the same way as they had come into the world. At that time it was a little hard to stretch their arms in order to reach each other, but still they ended up in a hard hug.
"I, I feel like I was born only for this moment." Saito said in the most serious voice he could, yet still a voice full of warmth.
It was something mysterious, as at this time the atmosphere had become calm. Then from her breast a feeling of total peace flooded the whole body of Saito.
"I feel the same Saito." For a brief moment the two held each other in that way, as if murmuring when Louise said:
"Saito, hey, you know, I have a favor to ask."
"You know, I do not mind you seeing other women, or even doing this with one of them but..."
"Please do not die before me. Please promise me only that. I surely could never endure the fact that you're not by my side."
"That's just what I would say." Saito also said: "Never mind you kissing other men, no matter what you do to them, but please, never dare to die before me."
"Well, then when we die, let's be together. " Saito slowly lifted her chin, and Louise dutifully did it. Then as they closed their eyes, the two joined their lips.
After a long kiss, Louise began to feel in her hips an unpleasant feeling. When she looked to see what it was, she could see that thing. Her face flushed completely, but with a face full of commitment she said:
"...Do we have to do it?"
For a moment she saw Saito put on a pained expression as he bit his lip forcefully. But immediately Saito showed a smile on his face.
"No, that's fine."
"...You do not want to do it? But you are a man and..."
"...And, uh, obviously I want to. But it's too soon, at the moment there are lots of things I should do before... and also..."
"We will do it... once we're married."
Then Louise looked away as if embarrassed and then painfully muttered:
The two set out to leave the water and dress again. The hot, dry summer weather of Halkeginia almost immediately dried their bodies.
Preparing to return, Saito reached out to Louise and she gladly accepted it.
"Hey Saito, I may have said it just a while ago but I think if I cheat you you’ll be mad too, right?."
"That's normal, you know. If you were to fool me, I would not forgive you."
"After everything you've done you dare to say such things." Louise said in a slightly annoyed tone, but this seemed to be nothing to worry about.
Then Louise moved closer to Saito and as they walked together they finally returned to their tent.
Full happiness invaded Saito as he observed Louise in his arm.
Then at that time.
A feeling inside Saito was born.
Louise is back. And told me she trusts me to take care of everything.
I am extremely happy. But...
Now I have everything I want in the world. This is a feeling I never had before in my life.
What is this?
Louise noticed the strange expression of Saito.
"...Is something wrong?"
"No... It's just that..." As he left his thoughts Saito observed that Louise seemed to have a really worried face.
"But you're all pale."
"No, really, it's nothing."
The moonlight illuminated them both gently as his figure mysteriously glowed.
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