Zero no Tsukaima:Volume18 Chapter5
Chapter 5: Confession of the Pope
"Seriously, seeing all these guards, I’m sure we could never do anything against them." said Guiche.
Hundreds of Templar Knights were lined up, stationed in front of the mansion. It really made for a show which was qualified as "too exaggerated".
The next morning... Saito and the others were able to get right in front of the official residence of Vittorio thanks to the uproar caused by the citizens of Lutetia, who had taken to the streets looking for an opportunity to see the Pope before his return to Romalia.
Saito, Louise, Kirche, and the Ondine Knights Guiche, Reynald and Malicorne.
Henrietta was in a reserved seat at the official residence that was prepared for her as a guest of honor. Near Henrietta was the representative of the Ondine Knights, Gimli, and Agnes, who were doing their duty as escorts for the Queen.
So the group to perform the rescue mission was Saito and company.
It was true that if Saito and others were not involved in the farewell ceremony, this would cause suspicion by Romalia. That is why Isabella devised a plan to prevent this from happening.
She used "Skillnir". These puppets, which were sprayed with the blood of the person she wanted them to mimic, transformed immediately into an identical copy of the owner of the blood used thus preparing a perfect double.
Previously, thanks to Myoznitnirn, they had already proven the effectiveness of these dolls. Having seen one of these magical objects, they had been able to produce a walking doll identical to Siesta. Even Louise and company had been able to experience first-hand the fearsome potential possessed by such tools.
Considering the current situation, they had to be treated with the highest standards of accuracy. Any error, however small, without a doubt would inevitably be discovered.
Saito and the others were looking for a disguise which would not attract any attention. So they decided to dress up as monks.
Actually, if you think about this setting, the robe of monks had a hood that covered their entire head. These were the perfect attire for those who wished to hide or go unnoticed. Truly, a very useful tool for a situation like this.
"Is it true that we can see Tabitha here?" Louise asked with a voice that reflected her concern.
"I'm sure we will. For Romalia, keeping a captive like Tabitha is like they’re carrying a barrel of gunpowder everywhere. It is logical that they will not take the risk to keep this up for a long time, as they still have some degree of disadvantage being in another country. That is why I'm certain that the Pope planned to take her with him back to Romalia." said Kirche. Guiche, with a simplistic voice, spoke without any hesitation of a terrible possibility:
"But, why would they keep her alive? If she was in their way, wouldn't it be a sufficient reason to eliminate her?"
"Guiche..." said Saito. Guiche was rebuked for his lack of tact but he still continued with his words:
"It's like... It doesn’t really make sense to fight for someone who is no longer alive..."
"Why are you thinking like that?..." Saito said with a shocked face, thinking of more appropriate words to say while looking at Guiche.
"What you said may be true, but we have to think about the worst case scenario and prepare for what we have to do in the event that it happens. That's the only way to prevent unnecessary sacrifices. Tell me, would you risk the life of your subordinates for someone who was already dead?" Guiche said with a completely serious face.
"Ehhh..." Saito could only nod silently.
"Certainly, it is as Guiche said. But I'm sure Tabitha is still alive."
"Tell me, how can you be so sure?"
"I decided to believe in it from the beginning. And besides, no matter how long we wait we just have to keep hoping. For now, we just have to wait and see what Chikasui has to say. I think she was a member of the Chevalier of North Parterre, right?"
"What if she was murdered, what would you do then?" Reynald asked Kirche.
"I, myself, would be the one to kill all those Romalian bastards!" Kirche said without a second thought.
"Hey, if you do that it will start a war!" Guiche said in a surprised voice.
"If so, one would have to take the initiative and make the first attack with all our strength."
"You shouldn’t be saying things like that, it’s dangerous!"
"That would be the most obvious conclusion." Saito could not think but to conclude with those words.
If my friends and the most valuable to me were killed... What should I do?
What if someone dared to lay a hand on Louise?
At that moment, Louise, who stood beside him, stared at the long lines formed by the Templar Knights. Positioned in front of the mansion, each one wore a magnificent military uniform and all the troops were accommodated so that they formed one line to the right and one to the left. This scene made Saito remember watching toy soldiers in his childhood.
If Louise was killed by those guys... Would the only option be to go to war to take revenge?
Before he could imagine an answer to that question, the mansion doors were opened wide. Then the loud cries of the people were heard as they saw Pope Vittorio, who had finally been presented before them.
Afterwards a lot of carriages appeared from the bottom of the avenue. They passed right in front of where Saito and the others were and stopped in front of the mansion.
Inside the largest carriage were his secretary and the Prime Minister. Before entering his carriage, Vittorio addressed the people by waving and showing big smiles at them.
After that the ranks of soldiers began to move slowly. Leading those soldiers were the Templar Knights, followed by a large caravan of carriages where the cabinet ministers and a group of priests were seated. Behind the Pope's carriage were 5 wagons which were apparently intended to carry their luggage.
So, with the carriages in the middle, what was left behind was a huge number of Templar Knights who guarded the church members. The whole army was composed of about 500 units. It was truly enormous, as would be expected from an escort who secure the safety of the Pope.
"I cannot see Julio anywhere." Saito said.
Apparently Julio, who always stood right next to Vittorio like a shadow, could not be found anywhere.
"Surely he must be with the impostor who replaced Tabitha. They needed someone to keep an eye on her all the time, right?" Louise said. Saito nodded showing that he fully agreed with her.
"That’s correct!" A voice boomed from behind them. This led Saito to turn around. What he found was a young woman dressed in a maid uniform, standing there watching. Apparently Saito did not remember seeing her face before.
Without a second thought, Guiche and Reynald took her arms to hold her and led her to a nearby alley.
Malicorne unsheathed his wand and immediately pointed it to the mysterious visitor.
"You! Who the hell are you?"
"I'm a faithful vassal of Isabella. She ordered me to act as a 'communicator' between you and the Order."
"What’s your name?"
"How suspicious! Especially that skirt you're wearing..."
Malicorne then raised his wand to his mouth and began to lick it. He seemed to be a member of the committee of torture. However, that girl who had called herself Chikasui bent her body and, showing her ability, broke free and knocked over both Guiche and Reynald. At the same time, she had taken out a dagger at her waist and with a flick of her hands the slash of a blade struck Malicorne's waist.
Malicorne’s belt had been cut, and his pants were lying on the floor. In a panic, Malicorne immediately reacted and tried to fasten it up again.
"My honor!... Don’t worry about me, my friends, it seems that my honor is still intact!"
Saito then stared at the girl closely.
"Really? Don’t you remember the girl who brought you to Isabella earlier?"
"Your face is different from the last time we met."
She hadn’t shown her childish figure as she did now. Saito looked at her and even the color of her hair was different.
"Well, I advise you not to think too deeply about it."
Chikasui laughed for a moment and then her face turned completely serious.
It must be magic, but what kind of magic? Surely it is a magical "spell" to disguise oneself. Saito ended up convincing himself of it.
"Her Majesty Queen Charlotte and her family were induced into a deep sleep, and then transported inside of one of those carriages."
"I thought so."
"Which carriage is it?"
Chikasui said quietly:
"The carriage of His Holiness the Pope."
At the same time in the Palace of Versailles...
Josette worriedly watched Julio, who was about to leave.
"Do you really have to go?"
"I’ll be back soon, I promise."
At that point, Josette repeatedly shook her head showing her dismay caused by the departure of Julio.
"I, I will be left alone, and I don’t know what to do if you are not with me."
"But Lord Barberini will stay here, just follow his instructions until I return."
"But I'm fine with you. I do not want anybody else."
Then Julio, trying to comfort Jossette who seemed about to start out a tantrum as if she were a little girl, said:
"I get it; when I return, I promise that we will always be together."
"Yes, I'm serious. I'll be with you even if you do not want it."
That said, the face of Josette seemed to become a little angry.
"Of course not, I always want to be by your side... but tell me, are you really serious?"
After hearing this, Josette's face lit up with joy.
"I said it seriously."
"If so, I will be patient."
Julio kissed Jossette and then opened the window to reveal an approaching flying dragon with bright blue scales, which gave a mighty roar at the sight of his master: KyuWah!
Afterwards, Julio jumped out of the window and held on to the back of the wind dragon. The dragon quickly began to climb out of sight in the vast blue sky.With an uneasy expression on her face, Josette, now alone in the palace, watched the winged dragon depart from her window.
Meanwhile, inside a carriage Tabitha finally opened her eyes and saw Sylphid at her side, who remained asleep while whistling a gentle sound.
And in front of them, Pope Vittorio was reading a book.
"Oh! You’re finally awake."
Vittorio closed his book and then turned his gaze towards Tabitha.
Inside the carriage the windows remained covered by curtains, making it impossible to see from the outside what was happening inside.
Also, a magical device had been placed on the roof which emitted a dim light that shone quite well inside the carriage. Tabitha placed her hand over the mouth of Sylphid.
Then, resuming reading the book he was holding, Vittorio said:
"Let me give you some advice: I would like you to put aside the idea of trying to fight or flee from here. This carriage is surrounded by two companies of Templar Knights, and you are stripped of your wand. Therefore, if you tried to perform any reckless action you would surely be killed."
Tabitha's eyes shifted to the book held by Vittorio.
"Does this book get your attention? Well, this is the proof of my faith, history often repeated in the past... The void users and their familiars... and also, the four treasure rings. It would be convenient to say that they have always been the ‘four of four’. Why do you think they were called that?"
Tabitha could only shake her head in response.
"After running away from his homeland, Founder Brimir took refuge here in this land, Halkeginia and in this land he got the power to move, to breathe, and turned into something that was present here for a long time and I assume you already know what I'm talking about, right? The powerful spirit that we have been calling 'the former resident'... only a few of us know of it. The power of water: the ‘WATER STONE’. The one used in the production of golems: the ‘EARTH STONE’. The ‘FIRE STONE’ that King Joseph used recently and also...
Vittorio then pulled a small bottle from his pocket, and there was a transparent crystal glowing inside it.
By shaking the bottle, the crystal brightened even more. Then Vittorio released the crystal. It remained floating over his hand.
"This is a ‘WIND STONE’. We use this in order to raise boats in the air. For a wind mage like you, this should look familiar."
After saying this, Vittorio pointed his finger to the sky.
"Also, the reason why the continent of Albion kept floating was because of the power of the ‘WIND STONE’ and I assume you already knew of these facts also."
Tabitha couldn’t respond, but stared silently at Vittorio.
"The power of the ‘former resident’ is something that provides both greatness and fear. The nature of that great power is like an immense force with sharp fangs! The four of four must reappear in this world! Up until now they have never been assembled, so the miracle hasn’t occurred yet. But believe me, now it’s different."
Tabitha opened her mouth in wonder. She was completely immersed listening to the eloquent speech of the Pope.
"Now an impending crisis is looming, a terrible danger threatens to destroy us all. Now is the time that four of four must be reborn... we must use all of our power to once again reach the Holy Land."
"...a looming crisis?"
"Yes, and that's exactly what I plan to show you."
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