Zero no Tsukaima:Volume21 Chapter 4
Chapter 4 : Lífþrasir
Just as Louise and the others bravely rushed headlong into the Elven stronghold... Saito and Ari attempted with great effort to subdue the ferociously struggling Elven girl who was on the deck.
"Ugh... L-Let go of me, you bunch of devils!" Fatima, whose hands were held behind her back by Ari, was squirming like a fish that was hooked on land, while cursing the entire time.
"Let go of me now, or I will..."
"Or you will what?" Ari said coldly.
"Ugh..." Fatima could only bite her lips in frustration.
The Elven "Firstborn Magic" was indeed far stronger than the magic of the magi, but it cannot be freely used at will anywhere. The elf who had a bond with the spirit of the boat was Ari, so she has no power here.
"I can let you go, but we're right in the belly of the sea, you know?"
"What did you say?" Fatima looked towards the round cabin windows.
Only to find that it was completely dark outside.
"So this is a sea dragon ship, huh..."
"That's right. If you didn't want to be thrown into the sea, shut your mouth."
Fatima finally stopped struggling, and calmed down.
"Does this mean that I'm a hostage?"
"Mm, well, you can say that." Ari said.
"I expected nothing less from a traitor like you to use such despicable measures."
"Whatever you say then, at least I'm better than a zealous fanatic like you."
"Bastard, how dare you insult our party!" Fatima raised her head and bellowed. Her eyes then laid on Tiffania, who was still sleeping on the bed. "Shajal's daughter... Could it be that she was still alive?"
"Yes. And you were actually the one who injured her so heavily." Saito opened his mouth.
"Humph, that was what she deserved anyway."
"What did you say...!"
This made Saito boil in rage. The flames of anger that was barely suppressed flared again in his heart.
"It was her... She was the one who shot Tiffa." Saito stared daggers at Fatima.
"You damned devil, do you hate me? If you do, then just kill me now, it would be better than being insulted by you!"
Saito looked like he was going to say something, but he stopped just as the words were about to leave his mouth. This was because he noticed that Fatima, who had been putting up a brave face, showed fear in her eyes.
Saito took a deep breath. "No, I won't do that. That will only make Tiffa sad."
If he extracted revenge from an enemy who cannot resist in any way, what is the difference between him and her.
After collecting his composure and stifling his rage, Saito thought of why she would hate Tiffania.
Well, elves and humans have been facing off against each other for eons.
In the eyes of an elf, a half-blood like Tiffania would either be a mongrel or a traitor. Elves who are friendly towards humans like Luctiana are a special case. However, even if that was so, the hatred Fatima had towards Tiffania was too abnormal.
"Hey you, is there some kind of bad blood between you and Tiffania?"
"Bad blood? Of course there is. Do you understand how much pain and suffering our clan had endure because of the mother of this traitor!"
This sentence made Saito understand everything.
"Could it be that you and Tiffania were from the same clan?"
Saito thought of what he had heard from Tiffania about her background.
Tiffania's mother, came to Halkeginia from the land of the elves alone, and became the beloved concubine of an Albion Duke.
"Ah I see, it's because she's Tiffa's relative!"
No wonder they look so similar in appearance.
"That's right. Our clan was banished because of her mother. You would never understand how badly we will be treated if there was a traitor from our clansmen... We were insulted by everyone and banished out of the town, where we were left to wander near the borders of the desert, living a life where we could only drink muddied water!"
Fatima bit her lips so hard that it looks like she was almost going to make herself bleed.
The intense hatred she had, that seemed to have invaded her very core, overwhelmed whatever aura Saito had projected for a brief moment unknowingly.
So that was why... she hated Tiffania so much. That hatred of hers was also probably why she was used by the bastards in the "Steel-Blooded Party".
"The act of marriage between an elf and a human in of itself is treason."
"B-but that's not Tiffania's fault, right?"
Fatima's case was understandable. However, that was not related to her daughter, Tiffania. There was no reason for her to carry the crime on behalf of the mother.
"Humph, nobody asked her to be the daughter of a traitor. Her very existence in this world is a crime. I heard that after my aunt ran away, she became the lover of a noble, and her daughter grew up shamelessly in a world of comfort without knowing what sort of humiliation our clan was forced to go through!"
This made Saito extremely furious.
"You said that Tiffania grew up shamelessly in a world of comfort without knowing any adversity?"
"Stop acting all high and mighty. You know nothing about her at all!"
"Do you even understand how difficult it is for elves to live in the land of men? She had to conceal her identity no matter where she went. If she were to accidentally reveal her real self, she would be killed instantly... That is how Tiffania spent her childhood."
"Humph, this is nothing compared to the humiliation our clan faced."
"Tiffania's mother has been killed by the humans."
"What did you say?"
Fatima's sea blue eyes went round instantly when she heard that.
"Tiffa had been living in a country called Albion with her mother, but the identities of both the mother and daughter were discovered by the king. Even though Tiffa's father tried to help them escape, but they still managed to find them... In the end, Tiffa, who could hide in the closet as she trembled in fear, even heard her mother get killed with her own ears."
"Aunt Shajal... is dead?" Fatima mumbled in dazed state.
Just like she was thinking repeatedly about this truth, she kept saying this... before laughing out loud.
"Is that so? She died, huh... Aunt has died... Ha, ha ha, ha... In the end, she fell into the trap she dug herself. She got seduced by pretty words of a barbarian, and got discard like she was nothing to him, isn't this just the perfect way to die for a traitor!"
Just as Saito, who could not resist her malicious words any longer, was about to say something.
Saito immediately turn back his head at the source of the sound when he heard it.
Tiffania, whose entire body was covered in bandages, tried to prop the upper half of her body up on the bed with great effort. Her chest heaved heavily after she took off the oxygen mask but her eyes were still fixated at Fatima.
"Tiffa! You don't have to get up! You have to lie down..."
Saito instantly rushed to her side and said that when he saw her doing so.
"No, I'm fine... Thank you, Saito." Tiffania shook her head weakly.
"Tell me then, Shajal's daughter, which part of what I said was not true."
Fatima glared resentfully at Tiffania with a pair of vicious eyes.
"Father has always loved Mother."
"That's a lie! How can a barbarian and an elf even really love each other!"
"That's the truth. Elves and humans are able to whole-heartedly understand each other... to the extent of even loving one another. I think that, I, am the perfect proof of that."
As Tiffania said that, she used her hands to hold on the edge of the bed.
"Tiffa, I told you to stop moving around!"
Saito hurried to support Tiffania, who was on the verge of falling off the bed.
"D-don't worry... This isn't, too bad..." Tiffa shook her head. She moved her body off the bed slowly, and knelt on the ground.
"... Ouch... Ugh..."
"What are you trying to do...?" Fatima asked, unsure of her intention of doing so.
"Nevertheless, in the end... It is an undeniable fact that your clansmen were forced to suffer because Mother broke the law. As her daughter, I should be apologizing in Mother's place... Please forgive us." Tiffania lowered her head after she said this while panting heavily.
However, this only made Fatima so angry that her eyes went wide and her teeth rattled in rage.
"Doing this now... Did you really think that doing this now would absolve yourselves of the responsibility of every sort of humiliation my clansmen felt!"
Fatima heaved and escaped Ari's hold on her as she lunged towards Tiffania.
However, Saito reacted quickly and immediately caught her before suppressing her hard on the ground.
"Dammit... Let go of me, you devil!"
"Like hell I will!"
Saito pressed on Fatima's struggling arms tightly, while Ari seems to be chanting something as he placed his hands on Fatima's head.
The "anomaly" happened to Saito's body.
Saito felt the weird feeling of having all his power siphoned out of his body.
Hypothermia followed as Saito felt his muscles shiver uncontrollably on their own.
Before he could even think about saying "Eh...?" in his mind, Saito's body has already fallen to the ground limply.
"...What's this? What happening to me?"
His first thought was that Fatima did something to him.
However, it did not seem so since she has already lost consciousness. Maybe Ari made her fall asleep with "Firstborn Magic".
What was this feeling of exhaustion...?
"Hey, what happened, barbarian." Ari noticed something strange with Saito, and asked him as he placed his palm on Saito's shoulder.
"Saito?" Tiffania also asked out of worry.
However, Saito almost could not hear anything the both of them said.
As if he fell down into a bottomless abyss, Saito felt an intense migraine as strength slip out of his body.
He could feel that he was losing body heat and turning cold. Nevertheless, in spite of his ice cold body, he could feel that there was some place somewhere on his body that burned intensely.
The chest... My chest, feels like it was going up in flames!
The burning sensation emanating from his chest turned into pain, making Saito claw at this chest frantically.
"Saito, your chest is glowing!" Tiffania yelled out.
Saito looked down at his chest.
Under his jacket, the eerie glyphs, glowing sky blue, were shining brightly.
"Is this the runes of a familiar?"
Just then, Tiffania suddenly realized something. She thought about when she casted the "Summon Servant" spell in the "Dragon's Nest", and made a contract with Saito to make him her familiar.
"However, this isn't right... Isn't Saito already Louise's familiar?"
"A double contract... I have become your familiar too, Tiffania."
Saito answered while panting heavily, his whole body sweating profusely.
"How, how did this happen... W-what should I do..."
Tiffania's face went chalk white because she was incredibly shocked.
The glowing runes carved onto Saito's chest gradually increased in intensity.
"Ah, ah, aaah..."
Tortured by the acute pain on his chest, Saito could only writhe in pain on the ground.
It's not only the pain coursing through his entire body... The power within his body was also being siphoned away. However, it was not just a simple case of losing his strength, but it was more like the feeling that his very core, his own existence was brutally torn apart before it was taken away from him.
Dammit, will I... lose my life here?
Will I just die here, before I even get to meet Louise...
"What the heck... Dammit, partner, have you really turned into 'that'!"
Suddenly, Saito heard someone around him say this.
Saito jolted awake, and saw that the voice came from the katana that was leaning by the wall.
Saito called out this name amidst his hazy consciousness.
His partner, who had been silent all along, finally awoken.
"Derf... What... What do you mean by 'that'...?" Saito asked, out of breath.
"Partner, calm down, and listen to me clearly. The glowing runes on your chest, are the runes of the Lífþrasir."
"Líf... þra... s... ir?"
"It's the last familiar. Lífþrasir will use its own life to channel power into the bearers of the void." Derflinger said.
"W-What is that... So you mean that... The reason why I felt exhausted, was because my life was being used?"
"That's right... Using the life force of Lífþrasir, the bearers who have made a contract with Lífþrasir, would be able to continuously cast powerful 'Void' spells even if they did not use their mental will. In other words, partner's body has turned into a 'magic power supply'."
Hearing this, Saito could not help but feel goosebumps on his skin.
He has become the "magic power supply" for the bearers of the Void. In other words, this familiar was completely different from Gandálfr, Vindálfr or Mjöðvitnir, it was an existence that consumed its own life force for its master... He would have never thought that the power of the last familiar, would be something this scary.
... And yet if this was true, there were some things that cannot be explained.
"However, Tiffa, isn't even using any Void spells at all..."
"There is another bearer of the Void, that has made a contract with partner."
"Would that person be Louise?"
"Yes, that's right. Partner was originally the familiar of the pink-haired miss, and even if you make a contract with another, the original contract with that pink-haired miss will not disappear."
When Tiffania heard this, she instantly burst into tears.
"Saito, I'm terribly sorry. It's my fault, I made you my familiar, and cause this to you..."
"No... This isn't Tiffa's fault."
Saito tried his best to console her.
After hearing what Derflinger had said, Saito finally understood something.
... By the way, if Louise was using the "Void", wouldn't this mean that she was in the midst of a serious crisis?
The spells she is using now, certainly was not just normal magic. It was to the extent of having to consume the life force of Saito, the magic power supply, Lífþrasir. What she needed now, was definitely large amounts of mental will.
"If that's the case, then it's fine..."
His consciousness fading away as exhaustion claimed his body, Saito thought.
As he was now, Saito knew that he was unable to rush to Louise's side and protect her as Gandálfr. However, if this power could save Louise, then the result would be the same, so Saito thought, "This is fine"...
His consciousness faded even further...
The intense pain that burned his chest also gradually lessened.
However, that may just be that his body has gone numb to the pain...
"Mr. Derf, what should we do? If this continues, Saito will die!" Tiffania yelled, as she was in tears.
"Calm down, elf girl. Partner is okay for now."
"Even if his life force was taken away, he should be able to weather through one or two 'Void' spells."
"Hey, what's going on now? I don't understand what you've said at all." Ari said, confused.
"Partner, you have to hold on. It shouldn't last long."
"Even if you say that..."
Just as Saito fell to the ground moaning...
Suddenly, Saito felt as if someone was holding his head gently.
Tiffa used her thin arms to hug Saito's head lightly. At the same time, on the other hand, her pair of unbelievably bouncy large breasts the size of honey melons, were pressed into Saito's face.
If it was the normal Saito, then he would definitely feel his heart thump at the touch of those breasts. However, Saito currently had no energy to even increase his heartbeat. Nevertheless, the soft feeling of the warm breasts against him made him feel that peace he had been longing for.
If he could only just plant his face into Tiffania's breast...
Not long after that, the runes on his chest stopped glowing and that feeling of exhaustion also disappeared.
"Saito, are you okay now?" Tiffania asked, worried.
"Yeah, I'm alright... It's should be okay for me now."
After Tiffania slowly let go of her arms, Saito lay down on the ground limply.
"The heck is 'Lífþrasir'... You've never even mentioned it even once to me." Saito grumbled at Derflinger.
"Sorry, partner. I woke up a little too late." Derflinger apologized to Saito regretfully.
"Hey, what exactly happened? Explain the details to me, could you."
Just as Ari, who was the only one on board that did not know what was going on, came and ask them about it.
They heard a huge explosion, and the ship rocked violently.
Tiffania, who had lost her balance, fell on the floor.
The explosions and tremors continued on and on without stopping.
"What was it this time?"
"This is bad, we got discovered by the navy marshal's ships." Ari couldn't help but yelp in surprise.
"What did you say?"
"They're attacking us with depth charges, a Elven magical weapon that explodes whenever there's a vibration."
"Captain, the navy is onto us!" Idris and Madhav rushed into the cabin and said.
"Dammit, are they trying to sink this ship along with the hostage?" Ari lowered his head to look at Fatima on the ground and said angrily.
The "Steel-Blooded Party" did not seem to care if she was dead or not.
"Captain, what should we do?" Idris asked Ari for further instructions.
Ari gritted his teeth in frustration. They were not able to return fire at all, because this "Sea Dragon Ship" was not outfitted with any battle gear, so it could never fight off the "Whale Dragon Ships".
"We have no other choice than to escape at full speed."
"Is that even possible? They are the navy, you know?"
"We'll never know if we don't try anyway."
"That just impossible. Calm down, you guys."
A cool voice came from somewhere.
Everyone turned to look at the source of the sound.
"Luctiana!" Ari shouted.
It was Luctiana, who had been unconscious like Tiffania.
Propping her upper body on the bed, Luctiana said as she twirled her golden locks of hair.
"Seriously. How am I supposed to sleep peacefully with this racket."
"Luctiana, is it okay for you to get up?" Worried about Luctiana, Ari asked.
"Now is not the time to get worried about that." Luctiana answered, her face distorted by the pain.
"It's impossible for us to escape from the navy like this, why don't we just leave the ship?"
"Are you planning to swim to shore? That's too dangerous."
"It's better than being blasted to the sea bed."
Just then, they heard another round of explosions, and the ship shook violently again.
"Yeah, maybe you're right..."
Having said that, Ari nodded his head, as if he made up his mind on something, and looked at Saito.
"Barbarian, can you carry the half-blood on your back and swim to shore?"
"Sure, no problem..." Saito, still dazed, stood and said.
The feeling of exhaustion has almost left him. The weird thing was, after some time, Saito found out that not much of his strength was gone.
Does this mean that instead of his strength, something else was taken away from him... Saito shook his head as he thought of this.
Anyway... With the power of Gandálfr and Elven magic, there is a high probability that he would be able to carry Tiffania and swim out of here.
"Alright, that's it then. Abandon ship."
After taking the president of the Elven Council, Turuk, hostage, Louise and the others immediately turned back towards the "Ostland". Up till they left the hall, Louise and the others were surrounded by the hostile stares of the elves, making Guiche and the others shake their legs in fear.
"Hey, Malicorne, we'll be alright, right?"
Kirche said to Tabitha who had been walking forward as she pressed her wand into Turuk's throat.
"Tabitha, this is a huge accomplishment!"
"That's not it."
"I'll explain it to you later."
Kirche was momentarily confused at what Tabitha had said indifferently.
"Can't you walk a little slower?" Kirche said, as she pointed her wand at Turuk's back.
"Seriously, you are really barbaric."
"We'll let you go if you can bring us to where Saito is." Louise said.
"So then, where is the 'Dragon's Nest' that Saito and the other were heading?"
"It's pretty far from here, but I would say the both of them aren't there anymore."
"What's that supposed to mean?" Louise glared at Turuk as she questioned him.
"I heard that the Navy has bombed the 'Dragon's Nest'."
"What did you say!" Louise hurriedly asked Turuk when she heard that.
"Didn't you say that you wouldn't kill the bearer of the Void?"
"It wasn't under the Council's orders. The 'Steel-Blooded Party' did that on their own."
"The 'Steel-Blooded Party'?"
"They are the war-advocating faction of the Council that also controls the navy, a force that wouldn't hesitate to go into a full fledged war with the barbarians. Naturally, they aren't afraid of the devil's revival."
"Hm, they might even have sunk to the bottom of the sea." Having said that, Turuk shook his head.
"If that's the case, then I'll never let you guys go."
Even though she heard this, Louise did not lose her calm.
This was because there was something she staunchly believed in.
"Saito was still alive."
Just as she chanted the Void spell, a mysterious power flowed into her body... She felt certain of Saito's existence through that power.
Even if he was far away from me, Saito still came to my aid...
"Kyuu kyuu! Big sister you guys are back!"
Slyphid called out to them as they crawled onto the deck of the Ostland, which was stuck in the middle of the large tower after it rammed into the walls.
"Miss Vallière! A-ah, this is great... You guys are all safe!"
After everyone climbed past the stairs into the ship, Siesta immediately hugged Louise.
"N-no, don't be like this..."
Louise pushed Siesta away with a bright red face.
After looking around at everyone's faces, Siesta asked with a confused face, "Um, may I ask, where is Saito and Miss Westwood?"
"They aren't here. I heard that they escaped long ago."
"Escaped... To where?"
"I don't know. But it seems the elven army are in pursuit of them."
Siesta could not help but cry out in surprise.
"It's nothing, right? They are going to be okay, aren't they?"
"Don't worry. Saito's still alive."
Louise said as she placed both of her hands on Siesta's shoulders.
"How would you know?"
"I would know, because Saito's my familiar." Louise puffed out her tiny chest, and proclaimed with confidence.
Truth be told, even if Louise said this, Siesta still could not feel relieved... However, seeing as to how confident Louise is, she felt just that tiny spark of hope.
"Understood. I believe in Miss Vallière."
Just as everyone was walking on the tilted ship corridors, Éléonore walked out to meet them, her white robe full of coal powder. She looked at them with wide eyes when she saw Turuk, who was escorted by their wands on board the ship.
"This is surprising. I'd never have thought you really take an elf hostage."
"Can the ship move, miss Éléonore?" Colbert asked.
"Yes, barely. However, the steam engine isn't really stable at the moment."
"Let's just try our best. Even though our stockpile of 'wind stones' is also a little worrying..."
"Mr. Colbert, let's hurry to the 'Dragon's Nest'." Louise prodded.
"That wouldn't be right." Turuk suddenly spoke.
"Huh, what do you mean?" Kirche spoke as her eyes narrowed into a line.
"You have to bring me to the barbarian representative."
"What did you say?"
Hearing Turuk's request, Louise and the others did not know how to respond.
"Before I explain myself, can you all please put away those dangerous weapons of yours? Ha!"
Everyone's wands flew far away just as he gave out a shout.
"Don't be so guarded. I let you capture me on purpose."
Everyone present was confused.
Only Tabitha remained impassive.
"The stone 'Golem' was really impressive, wasn't it? However, if I really wanted to defeat you, there are even more cleverer ways of doing it. I could have just used 'Inferno' and burn all of you to crisp cinders."
Turuk showed his tongue cheekily, as if he was boasting about the tricks he had shown just now.
"Wh-what does this mean?"
"I had this Gallian princess help me, put on a show."
The person who answered, was a young elven man who appeared in the ship cabin out of nowhere.
Everyone had a deep impression of this elf.
"Y-you were at Alhambra...!"
That's right. He was the one assisting the previous Gallian king Joseph, and made the lives of Louise and the others who went to save Tabitha difficult, Bidashal.
"This was all just a show... Is this true, Tabitha?"
Hearing Kirche's inquiry, Tabitha nodded.
"Mr. Elven President, what is this supposed to mean."
Colbert asked, as he shot Turuk a severe glare.
"I have no intention of playing out some covert plan. I am here, because I want to seek peace with you."
Everyone was dumbfounded as they heard this.
"Of course, in the case of a total war between both sides, us elves will naturally be victorious. However, if you use 'the Work of the Devil', then we'll no doubt have heavy casualties of our own. And so no matter what, I want to prevent this meaningless war from happening on this Saharan desert."
"Then why don't you do that from the start then, aren't you the highest ranked elf?"
Hearing Louise say that, Turuk shook his head helplessly.
"I am but the representative of the council, so I don't have end-all-be-all executive powers like a barbarian king. Also, most of the council members, will not agree to a truce with the barbarians. Not to mention the 'Steel-blooded Party' clamoring for war with the barbarians and their antics."
"And thus the Council must not know what we are doing." Bidashal opened his mouth to speak.
"Oh, in that case, you really want peace between both sides, don't you?" Colbert wanted to confirm their intentions again.
"I'm not sure about that yet, but I have to know what the representative of Halkeginia thinks about it. I have to confirm the reason why he would want to find the 'Devil's Gate', or what you call the 'Holy Land'."
"Ah, this, is really unexpected... I could only say thank the Founder."
Colbert could not help but express his gratitude towards the Founder's blessing.
They rushed kamikaze into the Elven tower, and it brought an unexpected result.
If they were able to have Turuk talk to the Pope in Romania, then maybe they could prevent an all-out war with the elves.
"H-however, now we have to find Saito." Just then, Louise said something different.
"That's right, aren't Saito and the others being pursued?" Siesta concurred with Louise's opinion.
However, Turuk shook his head. "That is nigh impossible. Finding a person in the sea, is as hard as finding a gold nugget in the desert. We should ratify the peace treaty as soon as possible and stop the 'Steel-blooded Party' in their tracks to improves the chances of saving your friends."
"W-well, that is true..."
What Turuk had said was rational.
Louise had nothing to refute his argument.
Colbert then advised Louise, "Miss Vallière, I understand that you're anxious about him, but we don't have enough wind-stones in the ship, so we couldn't fly too far in this situation. We could barely return to Gallia as of now."
Louise finally nodded somberly after hearing Colbert has said.
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