Zero no Tsukaima:Volume19 Chapter8
Chapter 8: Two Prisoners
"Damn... nothing!" Said Saito, hitting the door. They had spent two days here, and except for meal delivery they were left completely alone.
He remembered exactly the conversation with Bidashal under the influence of the 'truth serum'. The potion's effect had long since dissipated, but the damage was already done. The elves took the katana and the wand so Saito and Tiffania couldn't use their abilities.
The room wasn't bad. There were two beds, a chair, a desk and a neat rest room.
Still, it was a prison cell.
It seemed to be located underground. It was very different from Halkeginia's cells... the walls were thick and well plastered and a strong iron plate buried in the wall served as a door.
Saito's eyes were bloodshot from searching for any way to open it, but he didn't find anything.
"Saito, you'd better stop it. You are tired." said a worried Tiffania, sitting on a bed. She was right. Saito sat next to her.
"Do you think they really will use this potion..." Said Tiffania with fear.
"That's what they say. They will do it."
Saito was frustrated. To spend the rest of his life in this place, mentally incapable... it was hard to imagine something worse.
It would also prevent Void resurrection... what would happen to Halkeginia?
Saito though about it all the time. They had to escape somehow. Twice a day a meal was delivered, but it was given through a small slot in the bottom of the door. There was no way to use it.
There was one option... Saito shook his head...
No, he can't do this... Tiffania needs him.
But he didn't see any other way.
"We Elves are quite merciless creatures."
Saito was confused by these words at first, then he shook his head.
"No, Tiffa, you are different!"
"That's good. I am glad. Just because my mother was an Elf I thought that they all were like her... friendly people." Tiffania looked pensive.
"I was thinking. Before we lose our hearts..."
"Forget about it, it's a bad idea."
"But... Isn't losing our heart the same as being dead?"
Saito had nothing to respond to this.
"If we have to die anyway, wouldn't it be better to help everyone? I am afraid to die. I want to live, but if it would help everyone... shouldn't we consider it?"
It was difficult to argue with Tiffania. There was no way for them to escape. Even if they could, they wouldn't be able to cross the desert.
Elvish magic is powerful. Even with a weapon, Saito's chances would be poor.
"If we die, humans will get new Void bearers. But if we stay here, out of our minds, everyone in Halkeginia will suffer."
"It's not that I want to do something great, you know? I mean, I don't want to be a saint. What was the word? Martyr, right? No, I don't want it. It's just a simple calculation. Happiness of tens of millions of people versus one life. Rather simple, right?"
Saito didn't respond and Tiffania continued.
"This power... 'Void'. It was such a burden. Me saving the world, I never thought I could do it. And I still don't. But, thanks to it, I met you and the others and could see the outside world. I am grateful for it. I didn't do anything... I was just observing the others fighting. So, I want to help however I can in the end."
"You are helping."
"No. I am an alien to humans. If war with the Elves started I would have to hide. And I am an alien to the Elves, too. I wish there was a place where I belonged."
To Saito, Tiffania didn't look pathetic. She was very flustered but the way she thought about everything... even though she was getting along with everyone, there always was a line separating her from the others.
Involuntarily he blurted.
"There is such place."
"I will always be there for you."
Tiffania looked surprised.
"You are in love with Louise."
Saito said quickly.
"Hmm... not like that. As a friend. Friends can support you, right?"
"Thank you. But a lover is better than a friend."
Tiffania said it without any hesitation, Saito was confused. Tiffania quickly waved her hands.
"That's not what I meant. I am not coming on to you... There should be someone for me too. Someone else..."
"Ah, I see." said Saito to defuse the strange mood.
"Of course I didn't mean it! I know you don't like me like that!"
"Thank you, but I know better whom and how I like."
Tiffania laughed and said with a hint of anger in her voice.
"You know, it's pointless, Saito."
"This... me talking about friendship."
"What do you mean?"
"Because I want to rely on..."
She said shyly picking up the hem of her robe.
"To rely on you!"
Saito involuntarily grasped Tiffania's shoulders. Then he noticed it.
"Sorry about that."
He tried to take his hands off her but Tiffania held them.
"Wait! This is wrong! Tiffa! Tiffa?"
He noticed that Tiffania was crying.
"I am afraid... to lose my mind. And to die too. To sit here and do nothing... Why? Saito, why?"
Her crying was the last drop that broke the dam. Looking at Tiffania, Saito was overwhelmed with a feeling that they absolutely must escape.
Saito pushed Tiffania away. She was staring at him stunned.
"Ouch! Damn!" Saito crouched holding his belly.
"What happened? Saito! Are you ok?"
"It's bad... stomachache... must be that dish we ate earlier... elvish food doesn't fit me..." said Saito sweating.
Tiffania yelled "Someone! Help Saito!"
The guard on the other side of the door asked "What happened?"
"He is in pain and..."
The guard told them to wait a moment and started to fiddle with some device near the door. Saito was thrilled.
Is he opening the door? Good... I will take his weapon and take him as a hostage. And... then we escape... What happens then we will think through later.
But the door didn't open. The guard laughed behind it.
"Hey, barbarian, don't be stupid. Your condition is being monitored with water magic. They don't want you to die. And, by the way, I don't have any weapon. We know about your abilities."
Saito quietly cursed and stood up.
"Saito?" said Tiffania, who had apparently taken seriously Saito's feigned illness. The guard continued.
"You should be grateful. We could use the potion immediately. You have six more days. It's not much but you shouldn't waste them."
"Well, thank you so very much, kind sir." replied Saito sarcastically. Then he lay on the bed.
"I though about it and decided. We can't do anything."
"What did you decide?" asked a worried Tiffania.
Saito declared "I give up!"
"Loss of heart is reversible. Tabitha's mother recovered. Tiffa and me dying for the future of Halkeginia... it would be an epic story. But I don't like it at all. I have too much to lose. I am not joking."
Saito stared at the ceiling and said frankly, "I am going to believe... In everyone. They will help us."
He had nothing to support his words, but for some reason they calmed down Tiffania for the first time in a long while.
"Never say you have nowhere to turn. You have them. And they all love Tiffa very much."
"You are right."
Tiffania wiped her tears and clung to Saito.
"You know, Saito?"
"I love you. Thank you."
Tiffania suddenly kissed his cheek. Saito panicked.
Tiffania noticed his reaction, realized what she just said and blushed.
"No, not like that! I always blurt out whatever I think. Not in this sense..."
"If you say what you think then... you do love me... For me there is only Louise."
Tiffania's long ears drooped. She seemed to be worried.
"Ah, well, damn hesitation. We are where we are, we have what we have. It's good that we are together."
Serious Tiffania was nodding at Saito's words. She was still clinging to him, so the miraculous objects with the softness of marshmallows and the size of melons were pressed to him.
This closeness of Tiffania gave Saito confidence.
No matter how desperate the situation is, a beautiful girl by his side makes everything better.
We gave up. What else could we do? Nothing, thought Saito, lying next to Tiffania.
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