Zero no Tsukaima:Volume19 Chapter9
Chapter 9: Confrontation with Ali
Morning, six days later...
They were awakened by the sound of the opening door. Three elf warriors entered and ordered, "Get up. It's time."
Saito and Tiffania got up from the beds and looked at each other. Saito looked at the elves, but none of them had any weapons.
Saito jumped at one of the warriors. He knew it was pointless and had given up already, but he had no intention to be obedient.
They reacted immediately and tried to hold him down. Magic fists flew into Saito's abdomen, making him faint from pain.
Saito was tied by air ropes and lay on the floor.
Tiffania ran to him but was also stopped immediately by an Ancient Magic rope.
A cup with strong citrus smell was put to his mouth. Apparently he was supposed to just drink it... they didn't bother to mix it into the food... they probably just wanted to be certain...
He desperately tried to keep his mouth shut but had to open it when they covered his nose. Tiffania felt ashamed to be an Elf.
The warriors turned to Tiffania.
One of them said to her.
"You are the disgrace of the elves."
"You are the disgrace of all living creatures."
The man's face become crimson. He poured the liquid into Tiffania's mouth. She almost choked but swallowed it involuntarily.
Saito tried to throw up but the moment liquid was in his mouth he was hit into abdomen and swallowed.
He lay on the floor and waited for the potion to work...
In about a minute he didn't feel any changes. A surprised Tiffania looked at him.
"What? It didn't work yet?"
One of the warriors cried out in surprise when the magic lantern giving light to the room went out. At the same time something flew over Saito and two elves fell on the floor.
Saito was stunned... then he heard a young woman's voice.
"...please be quiet. I will release you."
It was Luctiana's voice.
Saito heard a short spell and felt that he could move again.
"Why are you doing this?" asked Saito.
Luctiana replied from the darkness, "Because this is right. Quickly, put on their clothes."
Saito took a robe off one of the elves lying on the floor and put it on. Tiffania didn't know what was going on. He took off another robe and told her to wear it.
"Ok. Thank you."
Then Luctiana returned to them their sword and wand.
"Why are you helping us?"
"You said you came from the other world."
"I am very interested in it. And I don't like the way the Council handled it."
"I owe you big time. Thank you."
"You have to promise me something."
"Ask whatever you want. We don't have many options."
"I am helping you out of academic curiosity. You must promise to not participate in revival of the Devil. Swear to your god to stay with me and to never run away."
She said it very seriously. Saito though about it a bit, then nodded.
"Ok. I promise."
"I returned your weapon but you can never kill an elf. You have to promise me."
"Then we should hurry."
Tiffania and Saito raised the hoods of the robes and followed Luctiana. Outside was a corridor with plastered walls that looked like concrete. There were plenty of doors similar to one they came from.
Luctiana went forward walking with dignity.
They turned at the corner and saw five elves in official looking clothes. Few guards accompanied them. Tiffania and Saito tensed but Luctiana stopped and said to them in a low voice.
"Grandfathers of the Council. Don't talk. Lower your heads when I do."
Luctiana stood by the wall; Saito and Tiffania followed her lead. The leading old elf asked,
"Is it done?"
Luctiana bowed with dignity. Saito and Tiffania did the same.
And they went away toward the room where the prisoners were held. Luctiana waited for them to pass and told the two people.
Luctiana bolted; Saito and Tiffania followed. There was a magic elevator at the end of the corridor. When everyone was there, Luctiana said "first floor".
A disc Saito was standing on started to raise. Somehow the feeling was completely different from one in an Earth elevator.
The elevator suddenly reached the first floor. It was a vast area, like the lobby of a large hotel. They walked off the disk and a few elf warriors got on it. Then a low siren resounded through the lobby.
"They know." said Luctiana.
Here and there elves were asking, "What is it? What happened?"
Most of them didn't seem to be informed about the situation. Reaction was slow. A few warriors ran somewhere, but most just stood there looking confused.
Luctiana went directly to the exit among the elves moving around. When they reached a large stone door, someone behind them yelled.
"Close the front door!"
Two or three soldiers were running to the door.
"What? What is going on?"
A clerk at front door reception lifted his glasses.
"Close the door! Council's order!"
"May I see this order?"
"Stop wasting time! Hurry!"
Meanwhile people were coming in and out of the building. Luctiana and the prisoners joined the flow and went outside.
Saito gasped looking at the magnificent view. The Council building was a huge cylindrical structure. Stone steps surrounded it and led to a beautiful park full of flowers. Elves were walking in the park. About a hundred mails from the stone steps was a city border. Rows of stores and houses, streets and canals were surrounding the central tower like a baumkuchen.
The city looked impressive from the sky, but from this viewpoint its beauty was breathtaking.
There was nothing like it even on Earth. The buildings were different from those in Halkeginia and on Earth. They had white walls, light blue window frames and orange roofs. The buildings were different but there was some reasonable uniformity that turned the city into eye candy. Saito was impressed by the commitment to keep the buildings about three stories high.
Plenty of boats were coming and going in the canals. Imitating natural objects like birds, fish or lightning made it look like a theme park.
"We must go! Fast!"
Rushed by Luctiana, Saito and Tiffania started to walk.
"Don't attract attention. Don't run. However, don't waste time." said Luctiana tensely.
Streets went in eight directions from the center, and Luctiana entered one of them.
The street had sidewalks and roadways. In the roadways dragons pulled cars along the street.
Glass-walled stores distracted Saito. It was a strange fusion of a modern world and Earth's Middle Ages.
"The city of the Elves..."
Nobody paid any attention to Saito and Tiffania in elvish robes with their heads fully covered by hoods.
"Where are you taking us?"
"My old friend's place."
Luctiana went to stairs which led to a canal on one side of the street. There was a strong smell of the seashore.
"It's slippery, be careful."
Seaweed grew along the way to the canal, so Tiffania grasped Saito's hand. She slipped a few times, but Saito didn't let her fall. Her impressive breasts brushed his hand occasionally but he had no problem with that.
Unlike the vivid activity on the street, it was quiet here.
Luctiana restlessly looked around.
"There was a small boat here that I prepared."
"Yes. Probably stolen."
From about fifteen mails across the canal someone said "the boat was confiscated."
"Ali!" Luctiana exclaimed.
"What did you do? What is wrong with you, woman?"
Ali's handsome face was distorted. Luctiana spread her hands and replied.
"I made a promise. I will take care of them."
"It was the Council's decision, you can't just change it!"
"I know. But I disagree with this decision." Luctiana declared with dignity.
"Please return the boat."
It was a familiar attitude, 'I know better'. Louise had acted like that in the past. Ali's impatience grew.
"Well, Luctiana. Do you know what you are doing? You are betraying your race. Give them up quietly and I will leave you out of it. Now only a few people know about this matter."
"Why are you doing this?"
Saito sympathized with Ali even though he was an enemy. To be abused like that by a selfish Luctiana... She was exactly like Louise.
"In that case they will be taken by force."
"Then our engagement will be canceled. A man who takes away a valuable research subject of his lover is not a lover."
Ali was stunned but didn't give up.
"I am a knight with a title. Personal matters and duties can't be mixed."
"Wonderful. Are your duties more important than me?"
"There is no point in arguing about it."
Ali pulled his sword from his waist. It shone like a mirror in the morning light.
"Barbarian, your turn."
"Hey! Wait a minute!"
"As we agreed, you can't kill. Despite appearances, I somewhat like my fiancee."
Anyway, it seemed that they couldn't escape without dealing with this guy somehow. Saito pulled out the sword and it glinted ominously in the sunlight.
When Ali started to cast a spell, Saito jumped over the canal. Then Ali quickly lowered his sword. Without crossing swords he jumped back and dodged.
"Hey, wouldn't it be a problem if you killed me?"
Ali replied coldly,
"It would. The power would survive and the Devil still could be reincarnated."
Saito held his sword. He remembered his previous fight with an elf, Bidashal. The reflection spell was a problem. If Ali used it, without Louise here, Saito would have no chance.
I have to use the katana before it happens.
Before his opponent could cast another spell Saito interrupted him. He reached Ali in one leap and hit him.
Ali was a good swordsman, but the elf warrior was overwhelmed by the speed of Gandálfr. Forced into defense, he suddenly lost his sword. With a clank the sword fell behind him. Saito shoved his katana toward Ali.
"Game over. Will you return the boat?"
Ali grinned. Luctiana noticed it and yelled.
Saito groaned. The curved sword ran deep into his right shoulder... then it flew to the hand of Ali.
"Barbarian, hand to hand combat is your strong point. It seems you'd better meet 'their' will."
Then four, five song swords raised up behind Ali and danced around him like butterflies.
"Spirits, may your hunt be easy."
The song swords flew toward Saito.
If Saito held the katana in his left hand he could brush them off, but they flew to his blind spot.
Saito's swordplay was incredibly fast, but it still wasn't fast enough. Far from being able to attack Ali, he was locked in defense.
If the swords attacked from one direction, like an arrow, it wouldn't be a big problem. But these swords, as if having a will of their own, used a wide range of attacks. It was almost like fighting five experienced warriors. On top of that, they had no bodies.
In other words, the opponent seemed to be invincible.
Looking at the struggling Saito, a worried Luctiana said "Oh... It looks like Ali's 'spirit swords' are too much for him."
"Don't make carefree observations, help Saito!"
Luctiana shook her head.
"I can't. The power of spirits in this area is controlled by Ali now. He is good at this. There is no way I could intervene."
Saito was desperately fighting using one hand. Tiffania started to cry. Was there something she could do?
Hmm... The magic she could use was 'forget'. It's a close range spell. But... could she approach?
It was difficult to jump into the middle of this sword fight, Tiffania hesitated.
"Oh, this is bad" said worried Luctiana.
"It looks like Ali is using a 'sleep' spell."
Ali was casting a spell. After a small finishing gesture he pointed his hand at Saito, and Saito's eyes became muddled.
Tiffania remembered the strong drowsiness she felt during their kidnapping and trembled. Saito's position was desperate already and Ali continued to chant, reinforcing the spell.
At this rate, Saito would fall asleep.
Tiffania gathered all her courage and ran forward. She took out her wand and prepared to cast the Void spell.
She heard a voice.
Tiffania looked around restlessly. But there seemed to be nobody who could have said this.
She heard the voice again. It sounded directly in her mind.
"'Sleep' is a spirit spell and 'forget' can't cancel it. I know it. If you do it, the song swords will impale you."
"What? What? What?"
The voice continued.
"We need to keep him awake somehow."
Tiffania asked desperately. It wasn't a good time to investigate the source of the voice.
"Hmm. Is he sleeping already? It doesn't seem to be going well for him."
"Quick! Tell me how I can help him!"
"Ah, got it! Bingo!"
The voice gave Tiffania short instruction.
"Huh? Really? This?"
"Well, I think it should work."
Saito continued the fight, desperately trying to suppress the drowsiness. If he relaxed even a little bit, he would lose consciousness. Naturally it slowed him down.
Finally he couldn't block one of the swords and felt sharp pain in the right leg.
The pain didn't drive away the drowsiness though. In fact... the pain seemed to increase it. Too bad...
"Sa, Sa, Saito!"
He heard Tiffania's voice. What is it, is she in trouble? He looked at her...
He suddenly saw two fruits... huge, shining, white and magnificent.
Wow, Tiffania rolled up her robe and underwear and revealed her huge breasts to the bright sunlight.
Moreover, trembling from embarrassment, Tiffania turned her face to the side and bit her lip. Saito involuntarily commented.
His drowsiness disappeared completely.
Said Ali and the song swords attacked simultaneously from five directions. But Saito's will to live was boosted by this single glance. And he didn't want to lose his heart either. Forgetting this image would be a blasphemy to life itself.
Anyway, the rune on his left hand shined. Louise probably would cry if she knew, but it did.
The katana in Saito's left hand attacked the song swords.
They were cut into halves. Saito, with a bleeding nose, muttered.
"Thank you Tiffa. It's good to be alive. Sorry Louise."
Expressing gratitude, observation and apology, Saito tried to press Ali who suddenly lost his song swords. Blood dripped from his shoulder, he was dragging his right leg. Just a little more... he thought, covered with cold sweat.
But at this moment something surfaced in the canal like a submarine.
It was a huge dragon with silver scales, loudly exhaling. It glittering form was larger than wind or fire dragons.
Suddenly the creature spit out a thin stream of water in Saito's direction. Saito was slammed into the canal's wall.
"You can't defeat Shallar. Give up and surrender."
"Huh? That dragon! What is it?" Tiffania shouted.
Luctiana, seemingly distracted, replied "What, you don't know about water dragons? They are the dragons that live in the sea. They are the largest of all dragons and the strongest, but they can't fly. This is the one Ali keeps, Shallar. Wow, you have big ones, don't you?"
Tiffania quickly lowered her robe.
"Well, I lived in the sky mostly..."
"Right. I heard that they are not known very well among barbarians. It's because barbarians don't use the sea much. But they are popular creatures here. Are they really that large?"
"How we can fight it?"
"We are at a disadvantage here. An adult water dragon and an elf are hard to beat. They are fake, aren't they?" said Luctiana. She was preoccupied with Tiffania's breasts and looked alternately at Tiffania and herself.
"Forget about the breasts! Anyway, what should we do?"
"We can't escape without dealing with this water dragon first. I give up."
"We are not defeated yet, are we?"
"By the way, is showing breasts a barbarian's way of cheering?"
"The strangest thing happened! I heard a voice..."
"Yes, it was the best partner ever..."
Tiffania suddenly realized.
There was a certain item that Saito had called a partner...
Saito fell on the stone pavement breathing heavily. In front of him the huge water dragon was taking aim again.
The water stream hit him like a dump truck. Pain paralyzed his body.
The noise of the fight attracted the attention of elves in the street and a few of them were looking down into the canal.
"What is going on?"
Ali waved his hand to them.
"Nothing. My water dragon is acting up. He is in a bad mood."
Even if Ali won, if the commotion was big enough someone could call the guards. It would be bad; he wouldn't be able to protect Luctiana.
Still, it didn't change Saito's desperate situation.
Ali triumphantly said to Saito.
"You fought well, barbarian. But it's over. Throw away your sword."
But Saito declared decisively "No way!"
"Then I have to defeat you. Don't blame me."
The water dragon opened his mouth. The moment the water stream flew out...
Saito's body rolled to the side, moving freely. The water stream hit the stone and water fell around like rain.
What is it? What happened?
Then the sword said.
"Even though we are in trouble the beautiful half-elf girl showed her unbelievable treasures."
The moment Saito heard the familiar high-pitched voice, tears filled his eyes.
The voice that he had missed. The voice that always was with him in battle. The voice that had helped him in so many predicaments...
A real comrade in arms...
Cried Saito. The sword seemed to be embarrassed by his yell.
"I missed you too partner. I possessed this katana quickly but it took time to complete the process. All these layers of folded iron were difficult to handle."
"Derf! Derf! You are alive! How?" yelled excited Saito. His shock was larger than Tiffania's breasts.
"I will tell you later. Anyway, we have to do something about this water dragon."
Tiny drops of splattered sea water were hanging in the air like fog. Saito gathered all the remaining energy and stood up. Derf's revival galvanized him.
"Tell me about his weak points, Derf!"
"Let's see. This animal is protected by tough scales."
The fog cleared up and the water dragon noticed Saito and tried to hit him with his tail.
Saito dodged. The thunderous strike broke the stone pavement and debris flew in the air.
The water dragon immediately swung the tail.
Saito tried to jump over it even though the wound in his right leg shackled him.
He floated into the air.
"This is bad. I will help as much as I can but there is a limit."
Yelled Saito, but he still had no idea what to do. The strength of Gandálfr relies on his weapons. To deal with such a monster he would need something like a tank.
Saito was locked in defense again. Now there just was no point to attack. The way it was going defeat was only a matter of time.
Saito desperately dodged the attacks of the water dragon. Water charge, tail slam, tail swing, talons... It was like fighting a heavy tank.
"Saito! The elf is casting again!"
He heard Tiffania's warning. Indeed Ali was casting another spell.
Ali seemed to finish chanting and pointed his hand at Saito. His hand was shining intensely.
It was an Ancient Magic "lightning" spell which had knocked out Louise.
Ali bet everything on this shot. He used every last drop of willpower to stun Saito with "lightning".
Saito braced himself preparing to dodge the spell somehow, but Derflinger intervened.
"Don't dodge! Catch it with me!"
It looked like it had an idea. A discharge flowed from Ali's hand toward Saito. It reached him instantly.
The discharge hit Derflinger like lightning hits a lightning rod. Derflinger was electrified, the surface of the sword emitting a bright blue shining.
"Now! Stab the dragon in the head!"
The water dragon was preparing to hit Saito with another stream of water. The moment his head approached Saito flew into the air.
Screaming he hit the dragon's head with the sword. The thick scales were impenetrable for such an attack, but the moment Derflinger touched the dragon's head it released the charge.
An intense electric current flowed into the water dragon's body. The dragon was frozen in place... the whole body of the beast was emitting a shining light.
The water dragon fainted. It slowly collapsed into the channel.
Tiffania and Luctiana ran to him.
Saito jumped to the stone pavement and pointed his sword toward Ali who was stunned by surprise.
"You lost. Return the boat."
Ali shook his head in disbelief.
"Impossible... How could a barbarian defeat Shallar..."
"Do it Ali. If you don't return the boat immediately, the engagement is off."
Shocked Ali blew the whistle. A boat tugged by dolphins appeared on the other side of the canal.
Two dolphins noticed Luctiana and bleated happily.
"Come on, get in!" Luctiana suggested. Saito boarded the boat; but suddenly gripped by pain, he laid down. Tiffania hurried to help him.
When Luctiana boarded the boat Ali said,
"You are really selfish. I don't know you anymore."
"Huh? What are you talking about? When this matter blows over we will get married! Love you!"
Luctiana looked askance at the stunned Ali and took the reins that led to the dolphins' snouts.
- Baumkuchen is a German variety of spit cake (cooked on a rotating spit). When sliced it reveals the characteristic rings that resemble tree rings, and give the cake its German name. It is a traditional pastry of many European countries, and also a popular snack and dessert in Japan. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baumkuchen
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