Zero no Tsukaima:Volume21 Chapter 5
Chapter 5: Break-Out
There was hardly a break in the Elf fleet's depth charge attack.... Saito's group had no choice but to abandon ship and run for their lives.
After the boat avoided the depth charges, and barely made it into the bay, the group immediately used the 'underwater breathing' enchantment on everyone in the boat and escaped.
The bed-ridden Tiffania and Luctiana were carried out on Ali and Saito's back as they swam out.
Fatima, still under the effect of the sleep enchantment, was carried out on Madalf's shoulder. Originally, Ali's people suggested leaving her to die on the ship, but gave up on the idea at Tiffania's request.
Idris, bringing up the rear, finally left after stuffing as many of the 'weapons' [waterproof automatic pistols, hand grenades, bazookas] they brought from the Holy Land that he could into a travel bag.
The sea dragon Shallar, who had pulled the ship to here, was released back to the sea by Ali. You could just see the lonely expression on Ali's face as his eyes followed the gradually receding silhouette of the carefree Shallar into the sea.
Just as Saito's group escaped the ship, the sea dragon ship took a direct hit from a depth charge, and the wreckage sank to the bottom of the sea.
Afterward, the group swam for several hundred mails, and after climbing on the beach, immediately hid in a cave concealed by reef rocks.
The cave walls had the mark of water on them, and it could be seen that this place would be submerged in seawater at high tide. Saito did his best to find a dry spot, and gently placed Tiffania on the ground.
"Tiffa, it's nothing."
"Uhh, because Saito is by my side."
Tiffania smiled, trying her best to maintain an optimistic expression.
Saito's heart suddenly skipped a beat.
The soaked traditional Elven clothes, that were closely stuck to Tiffania's soft body, immediately revealed her curves... as well as being transparent, and clearly exposing her chest. Moreover, you could clearly see everything. Saito promptly shook his head, as if it was that time already. Was he still daydreaming?
"Sorry, you don't need to say anything." Saito said as he held Tiffania's hand.
"Saito, has the pain already gone away?"
"Eh? Oh, yes...."
Having heard the question, Saito elaborated on his answer.
"The light from the 'Lífþrasir' mark has already extinguished. Also, now the strange feeling like my life is being sucked out by something is gone."
"Don't worry, this pain is probably just a side effect of becoming a familiar. At the time I became Louise's familiar, it also hurt a whole lot."
"But Derf said, that it would take your life...."
"Oh, indeed a little of my strength was taken, but now it isn't an issue."
Saito rotated his arm, brandishing it for Tiffania to see.
Thinking about it, although he used Gandálfr's power, he was still able to swim and carry Tiffania all the way here on his back. In fact, it's possible that the mark didn't consume too much of his strength.
"Whatever. If you think about it, this ability really is quite convenient."
Lífþrasir's ability is to take the power of the familiar's life, change and add it to the master's magical power. If Saito becomes a magic generator, then there will be no need to worry about Louise overusing her magic power and collapsing.
If this can reduce Louise's burden, naturally it's a good thing.
Saito viewed this matter quite optimistically.
"Yes, very good...."
After Tiffania's quietly relieved voice stopped, she closed her eyes and went to sleep.
On the other side of the cave, Ali chanted Firstborn magic, and started a little fire.
"I caused you a bit of trouble, Ali."
Luctiana weakly said from the rock she was laying on.
"Therefore, I have also become a traitor to the Elves, and it's possible that there is no way for me to again set foot in the Sahara for the rest of my life."
"I'm truly sorry. But perhaps the barbarian's world isn't all that bad."
"Ai, detestable... every time you get into trouble, there's no way I can leave you."
Seeing the interaction of those two, Saito suddenly reminisced about the times he bickered with Louise.
He really understood Ali's mood, and always thought that Luctiana and Louise were very similar. Not just being flat-chested, but their personalities were also very similar.
"Although I'm also always ordered around by Louise, but also similarly obedient to her."
Thinking like this, in the beginning he really disliked this Elven youth, but now he discovered that he couldn't help but feel the beginning of a certain closeness to him.
At that time, Madalf, who first went to use 'Far Sight' magic to check on the naval vessels, returned.
According to him, there was a total of four naval vessels chasing them, and they were still continuously attacking the already abandoned Sea Dragon Boat wreck with depth charges at present.
"They apparently have yet to discover that we have already escaped."
"If this represents their belief, that we really went down with the ship, is a good thing."
"Aishmail can't be that naïve, he would notice right away."
Hearing Saito's words, Ali shook his head.
"He's the leader of the Steel-Blooded Party, and he's virtually in charge of the navy. In the end they exist to kill demons, regardless if we're alive, they won't relax until they've found our bodies.
"Meaning this isn't a good place to stay for long."
"Correct, if they follow the coastline and thoroughly search while they advance, it's over. Moreover, as soon as it's high tide, this place will be submerged in water."
"Also, there's no way to get proper medical treatment here."
Idris stated this. Indeed, although Tiffania and Luctiana had regained consciousness, they were still severely injured.
"The town you called Eumenes, is it far from here?"
"The distance from here is about 30 leagues."
In the end, we'll have to cross the blisteringly hot desert. Carrying two severely injured people and having to go that far, was really quite harsh.
"I'll use some of the sand in the vicinity to make a 'doll' to carry them. However, this will take some time."
Ali headed towards the beach.
"Be careful not to be discovered by the naval vessels."
Luctiana reminded Ali from behind him.
At this moment Saito was leaning his back against the cave wall.
Then Saito pulled Derflinger from his scabbard, and in a quiet voice asked,
This time Derflinger immediately responed to Saito.
"Currently I'm the familiar of Louise and Tiffania at the same time, this is a double contract, correct?"
"There is such a thing."
"One magician only can use one familiar... Is it not a big deal to break this rule?"
"This I really don't know. But I remember that Sasha was also this way."
"Eh, Mjöðvitnir and Vindálfr were separated into different people. But Gandálfr, and that... Lífþrasir, yet both were Sasha's... they ought to be."
Sasha...? Saito recalled the previous dream he had at the Cathedral of Romalia. The Sasha and Brimir he saw in that dream looked like they were on good terms with each other.
"Derf, you said 6000 years ago, Sasha killed Brimir, correct? Is it related to this matter?
"What's with these wishy washy answers?"
"Uh, me as well, I don't know what happened, I really don't know. Only, it must have been a very sad event. Probably, nothing could be done, you know... eh, sorry, I'm at my limit. If we continue further, it seems like my consciousness will become foggy, or something of the sort."
"Would that be Sasha's spell that you spoke about?
"Sorry, partner, I can't help you."
"That's not your fault."
Derflinger is a sword magically created by Sasha. Most of these matters are detrimental to Sasha. Thus, in cases when Derflinger wants to speak, this starts a strange 'Brake', and though this isn't the situation that Derflinger desires, it makes it so he can't speak.
"For now let's not talk about this... you actually have a more immediate problem."
"It goes like this, the matter of you and Miss Half-Elf kissing, little Miss Pink is going to find out."
Hearing this, Saito had no choice but to break out in a cold sweat of fear
This is really bad... really really bad.
Lowering his head, Saito looked at the sleeping Tiffania, drawn by the cute sound of her breathing.
And her huge chest, as well as her totally soft lips, all slowly moving to the sound of her breathing.
Unable to forgive or control his arousal, Saito smacked his head. I really am an idiot... didn't I swear not to do this again, to not make Louise sad again?
But even though that was the case, Saito was well aware of the fact that when he kissed Tiffania, the kiss wasn't simply a kiss to complete the familiar contract. Similarly, Saito could pretty much guess the feelings of Tiffania at the time she cast Summon Familiar... thinking about those that couldn't be returned to Tiffania, there's no way his heart wouldn't ache for her.
"Derf, what should I do...?"
"It's tough being a popular guy, huh?"
"It's not nice to act like this doesn't concern you...."
At that time, Ali returned from outside the cave.
"Preparations are complete, let's go."
Ali brought along a large 'Sand Doll'. The Sand Doll, which could change its form freely, extended two large hands, capable of carrying Tiffania and Luctiana.
"Hey, what should we do with this woman?"
Madalf asked, looking at Fatima, still under the influence of the sleep spell.
"Find a spot to leave her, someone will find her eventually."
"No. If she's found by someone, you can be sure the Steel-Blooded Party will find out about us."
But Ali opposed this.
"Let's take her with us for now, we still can't say she has no value as a hostage."
The Sand Doll extended a third arm and picked up Fatima.
Thus, Saito's group set out for the free city of Eumenes.
And then, a little earlier...
The military forces from Romalia, Gallia, Germania and Tristain that made up the 'Coalition Army for the Restoration of the Holy Lands'. The army of each nation, under the leadership of their rulers, advanced on the Sahara.
The Coalition Army forces were composed of the reorganized former Albion fleet, as well as Halkeginia's strongest dragon knight corps, the Grand Duchy of Guldenhorf's 'Aerial Armor Brigade'. Of course, every country wasn't in the best situation to deploy troops. Gallia's dual-use fleet was practically destroyed, and Tristain and Germanian forces were also exhausted from all of their previous fighting. Only Romalia, that had prepared their army in secret for the Holy War, were able to prepare their army satisfactorily.
That being said, since this time they faced an unprecedented threat, all the nations of Halkeginia joined together in the end.
The 'Coalition Army for the Restoration of the Holy Lands' that set out from Gallia, set up camp on the outskirts of the city of Alhambra.
Previously, Saito's group had rescued Tabitha and her mother from this town, situated on the border of Gallia and the Sahara desert.
This was originally a town built by the elves, but almost 1000 years earlier, it was captured by the bitter sacrifice of Holy Land Restoration Army (Crusaders). Afterwards, a great many more battles were fought, however, it was this place with interesting history that had finally determined the border.
Facing it, a vast desert is spread out before it.
This was the final resupply base on the way to the Sahara.
The light of dawn shown off the clouds, illuminating the beautiful city of Alhambra. The geometric shapes decorated the walls, just as they had come from the walls' original owners, from the hands of the elves.
Henrietta, guarded by Agnes, entered the city.
What met their eyes were the ruins of the main entrance hall. This was the scar left by the battle between Saito's group and the elf, Bidashal, during the rescue of Tabitha and her mother.
Henrietta went up the stairs, and arrived at the door to a particular worship room on the top floor of the castle.
She wanted to directly persuade the pope, and try again, in order to avoid war.
"Agnes, wait here."
After paying her respects, Agnes immediately assumed an erect and immobile position.
In front of the worship room door stood two Templar Knights.
"Why, if it isn't Queen Henrietta."
"Is the Pope in?"
Hearing Henrietta's question, the Templar responded with a look of terror:
"The Pope is currently alone praying, no-one can enter currently."
"Really? Then I'll just wait here."
Thus Henrietta stood in front of the door, leaving the Templar not sure what to do.
At that time.
"It's not a problem, please come in."
A voice came from inside the worship room.
"Your Holiness, but...."
"It's not a problem, please let her enter."
After hearing what was said, the two Templars looked at each other, finally opened the door, and let Henrietta enter.
The dark interior of the worship room was lit by only a few tiny rays of light. As soon as Henrietta entered the worship room, Vittorio revealed an earnest smile.
"Your Holiness, may I ask what you're praying for?"
"I pray that we're able to find Saito-dono and Ms. Westwood, and that true peace can descend on Halkeginia."
"I shall also pray for this wish."
Facing forward, Henrietta knelt beside the Pope. However, while praying with her eyes closed, Henrietta's mind was thinking of other matters.
'What was the Pope actually praying for'
Of course, the answer to that question was the Founder, Brimir.
'But it shouldn't only be that....'
This young Pope was a simple devout believer in Brimir. Yet he also wasn't only interested in worldly ambitions, like the Germanian emperor.
What was the motivation driving him? Was it the belief of a follower of Brimir, to succeed in the mission of the Founder's will, or was it some other matter?
After finishing praying, Henrietta faced Vittorio.
"We still haven't found a trace of Saito-dono, or Ms. Tiffania."
"Yes, it's a pity."
Vittorio calmly shook his head.
"But we're already dispatched highly skilled people to seek them out. Please be at ease."
"How can I be at ease?"
If a Bearer of the Void is in the hands of the elves, it would be better to directly kill them, since finding a new bearer was much easier... at least, that was how Romalia thought.
But this thought, Henrietta could only keep to herself.
"How many sacrifices will this 'Holy War' create in the end?"
"I'm also unsure. Although you can be sure the sacrifice we'll pay is appropriately disastrous, it's necessary. After all, if Halkeginia is destroyed, the people will also not be able to live.
"It seems that his Holiness isn't worried by this in the least."
Henrietta said, dripping with sarcasm. In a sense, she even envied this person in front of her, that could make the 'right' decision and not feel troubled by it at all.
"Because this is my mission."
"I have already sent many soldiers to their deaths, and even my closest friends and family."
In the war started by Albion, Henrietta caused many people to sacrifice their lives, and to this day she is still deeply troubled by it. Is this war truly right? Didn't she just want revenge on those people who killed Prince Wales...?
"Your Majesty, do you feel regret?"
"I don't know."
Henrietta calmly shook her head.
"But, if I speak of regret, then I feel very sorry for those officers and soldiers that died. Does your Holiness have these kinds of regrets?
Saying this, Vittorio looked down at the relic of his mother's, the "Ruby of Fire".
"Since I serve as the Pope, I'm absolutely not allowed the feeling of 'regret'."
In that moment, it seemed like an opportunity to peek into the emotions hidden in the depths of the heart of this young Pope, but Henrietta had no way to truly see his heart.
"Your Holiness, I still believe there can be peace with the Elves."
"Of course, through communication, a peaceful solution to the matter would be ideal. However, our counterparts aren't necessarily willing."
"Ah, I know. but reclaiming the 'Holy Land', can this truly save Halkeginia?"
The objective of the 'Coalition Army for the Restoration of the Holy Lands' was to retrieve the 'Magical Equipment' to prevent the continent from rising. But Henrietta felt several doubts she couldn't ignore about what the Pope said about the magical equipment found in the Holy Lands.
This man is still concealing some major secrets.
"This is what I believe, Your Majesty."
The Pope responded in this way, with an earnest expression that didn't change during the entire conversation.
After Henrietta left the worship room...the beautiful youth with heterochromatic eyes entered the room like a shadow, the two people just missing each other as they passed.
The person entering the room was Julio, with an owl standing on his shoulder.
"The messengers report that they are in the outskirts of Adyl, in battle with the Elven fleet. Ms. Valliere appeared to use the Void, and crushed the fleet."
"Are they alright?"
"That still is a little unclear."
According to reports from secret agents in Adyl, Saito and Tiffania had already escaped Kasbah. And the likelihood for Louise and the others to meet them was very low, but if they could find Saito, of course, that would be the best result....
Vittorio placed his hand on the mirror located on the alter.
"'The Founder's Round Mirror' produced an omen... The fourth familiar has finally appeared."
Upon hearing this news, a pained look passed across Julio's face, but he immediately resumed his calm expression.
"It's really him."
"Ah, it is truly ironic. He was summoned by love, but bears the cruelest fate."
Vittorio stood for a while next to the window where light was coming into the room, singing the Founder's song.
The left hand of God is Gandálfr, the ferocious shield of the lord. His left hand wields a large sword and his right hand wields a long spear, protecting me with endless vigilance.
The right hand of God is Vindálfr, the kind-hearted flute of the lord. He dominates all beasts of life, leading me through earth, sky, and water.
The mind of God is Mjöðvitnir, the book that carries the crystallization of thought. It carries all knowledge and provides advice whenever I am in need.
There was one more person, but remembering its name gives me trouble...
Taking the four disciples, I came to this land...
"The final familiar, Lífþrasir, otherwise known as 'The Heart of God', will complete the four users and four familiars to create the "Founder’s Void".
"How much life does he have left?"
"The four users and four familiars are already all present, there shouldn't be much left."
Saying this, Julio couldn't help tightly biting his lip.
"I really like him. I... truly wish to become friends with him."
This was the truth, with no pretenses.
Julio thought, although this line sounded cliché, if their positions were different...
"But he is a world saving hero, he will receive eternal praise."
"The same as the name of the saint, yes?"
"Yes, the same as the 'Saint' whom he loves."
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