Zero no Tsukaima:Volume22 Chapter 10
Chapter 10: The Escape
With a shout, Saito woke up.
Gasping desperately, he looked around.
He was still confined within the stone walls of the "Prison Island" cell.
Looking down at his chest, he saw a sweat-soaked jacket. It seemed like the "Lífþrasir" rune hadn't reacted.
After a while... the sound of a drop, a drop of water dripped on his leg, confusing Saito.
Water drops continued to drip down, gradually wetting his pants.
"Huh... are you telling me, that I'm crying?"
Saito rubbed his eyes.
But his tears didn't stop. No matter how much he wiped them, they continued to flow.
"... Strange. Huh? Why am I crying...?"
Floating on the inside of Saito's closed eyelids, was Brimir's expression of sadness.
"Barely, I just vaguely remember... that something very sad happened."
The words Derflinger incidentally had said before floated through Saito's mind. Such a sad tragedy had occurred six thousand years ago, which led to Derflinger sealing his memory.
"Brimir and Sasha were originally in love...."
They held no hatred for each other.
But, in the end it had come to that kind of ending....
Brimir only wanted to save his people, and Sasha... had to avenge those people who had been massacred.
Saito wiped his eyes with the cuff of his sleeve.
"Yes, now isn't the time to cry...."
In his mind, he desperately contemplated the meaning of the dream he just had.
Why is it that the familiar rune let Saito dream of a memory from six thousand years ago....
6,000 years ago, the "Great Catastrophe", which had caused the death of half of the Elves, was the "Void" spell "Life" cast by the Founder Brimir. In order to eliminate the cause of the wind stones going out of control, which was actually a giant chunk of "Spirit Stone", Brimir blew up the "Holy Lands" along with the Elven city.
But... at that same time, a doubt floated up in Saito's mind.
"But isn't this a bit weird?"
Since the "Holy Land" had been flattened 6,000 years earlier, why was the issue of the "Wind Stones" going out of control happening again...?
Saito, racking his brain, tilted his head in doubt.
"I don't understand... but that this has some meaning is right."
Why should the "Holy Land" be destroyed again...?
No, wait a moment... Saito suddenly remembered something as he racked his brain.
In Saito's mind, the remnants of the crater made in the desert, as well as a large chunk of the "Holy Land's" mountain range coincided with the scene of the "Dragon's Nest" surrounded by the formation of strange rocks.
"...Right, isn't all of the 'Holy Land' sunk to the bottom of the sea?"
Perhaps the "Holy Land" hadn't been completely destroyed....
In other words, the "Life" that Brimir fired didn't completely destroy the "Holy Land"...?
That made sense. Why were the "Wind Stones", which should go out of control once every several tens of thousands of years, about to go of control again... Was the current instance of the "Wind Stones" going out of control because Founder Brimir didn't completely destroy the "Holy Land" 6,000 years ago...?
"That's right, this must be it...."
Saito was convinced. At that time, Brimir had failed to completely destroy the cause of the "Wind Stones" going out of control.
It only leveled half of the "Holy Land", thus delaying the destruction of Halkeginia.
"Wait a moment, if that's the case...."
Saito, with his hands across his chest, sunk deeper into thought.
The "Holy Land", which had sunk to the bottom of the sea.
The Founder's Void, which had awakened in Louise.
Saito softly cried.
As long as Louise's "Void" destroyed the "Holy Land" sleeping at the bottom of the sea again, wouldn't it be possible to stop the "Wind Stones" from going out of control, and save Halkeginia? That way, they could avoid a battle in order to compete for land and war breaking out with the Earth.
"There's a chance... this way there's a chance."
This caused hope to suddenly spring up in Saito's heart.
"I have to tell Louise about this immediately...."
Thinking this... Saito was suddenly shocked.
How could he tell Louise about this from the prison...?
If the combined force of the "Coalition Army for the Restoration of the Holy Lands" began to invade the Earth, it would be too late....
At this time, there was a clatter in the corner of the cell, the sound of a pile of books.
Looking, Saito saw Tabitha's surprised face gazing at him.
"Tabitha, you're awake?"
Saito promptly asked.
Right then he'd been too absorbed in thought and had completely forgotten that Tabitha was also there.
"You were just talking in your sleep, were you dreaming?"
"Well, a little. You didn't see me crying just now, did you?"
Asked the question, Tabitha was hesitantly silent, then nodded her head. 
"Really. I let you see an embarrassing side of me."
"It's nothing, everybody, cries."
Tabitha shook her head.
Then Saito stood up, and sat next to Tabitha.
"Hey, Tabitha. Is there any way to escape from here?"
"No, there is no way at the moment."
"Oh... That's true."
On the day they had been locked up here, Saito had tried all the escape methods he had seen in the dramas or movies. But reality wasn't that simple... it could be said that the fantasy world isn't that naïve. What's more, even if they suffered through the effort to escape here, outside was an island in the middle of the ocean. Even with Tabitha's magical flight, it definitely wouldn't take long to exhaust her magical power.
Just then, Tabitha's words suddenly piqued Saito's curiosity.
"... You just said, there's no way at the moment?"
Tabitha nodded her head, and gently pushed up her glasses.
"When the time is right, there will be a chance to escape. So wait quietly."
"But we don't have much time left...."
Saito couldn't help but whisper this. Before the "Coalition Army for the Restoration of the Holy Land" began to invade the Earth, he had to tell Louise about the dream he just had now. And....
Saito looked down at his chest.
"Time may be running out...."
Consequently, Tabitha silently pulled something from her cloak.
It was a piece of parchment that had be folded repeatedly.
"Mixed in with the breakfast things today, the secret code of the Knights of Parterre."
Saito almost couldn't help but blurt this out, and immediately covered his mouth.
"The Knights of Parterre, is it Isabella?"
Asking in a low voice, Tabitha silently nodded.
"After learning I was arrested, she started the rescue operation alone. The secret code corresponds to 'The Book of St. Aegis' and can be deciphered."
Tabitha's sight fell to Brimir's holy scripture in her hands.
"So that's it...."
Saito felt a great sense of admiration, no wonder she was so calm, since that's how it is. Tabitha had known for a while that her cousin Isabella would begin acting immediately.
"When's the escape?"
"When the next meal is delivered."
The moment Tabitha responded with this.
The deafening explosion caused all of "Prison Island" to shake.
"Wh-what's going on?"
The ship's deck sharply rocked with the violent impact.
Colbert's "Ostland" launched a kamikaze attack on the buildings of Prison Island.
Guiche emitted a mournful screech.
The teenagers of the Knights of the Water Spirit desperately clung to the side of the ship, standing firm to avoid being thrown off of the ship.
Malicorne, who hit the side of the ship, bounced back and forth a few times across the deck.
The hit collapsed a sturdy wall and stirred up a lot of dust.
After the impact subsided, a momentary silence enveloped everything.
"Truly useless, and you still call yourselves the Queen's personal bodyguards!"
Éléonore roared as she held the steering wheel.
But even her hands were shaking slightly.
Due to the low buildings of "Prison Island", to collide they had to fly with the bottom of the ship almost touching the ground, requiring rather sophisticated maneuvering techniques, unlike the suicide attack on the Elven tower.
Of course, extreme low altitude flight was easy to say and hard to do, so the bottom of the ship cut through the ground, and crashed into the building.
"... The ship seems to be fine."
Kirche said as the dust made her cough.
"Well fortunately I anticipated this earlier, so I reinforced the ship in advance."
Colbert, standing on the front deck of the ship, proudly nodded.
Before their departure, Colbert had attached the armor of the "Tiger Tank" to the front of the ship with "Alchemy". The steel armor of the "Tiger Tank" was harder than all the metal from Halkeginia.
"Prison Island", with a diameter of two leagues, sounded a low alarm.
Then Colbert pointed his wand at the collapsed stone wall and fired a "Fireball", blowing open a large hole for everyone to invade inside with.
"Okay everyone, are you ready?"
Colbert said with a serious expression as he looked back.
The youths of the Knights of the Water Spirit stood up together and silently pulled out their wands.
Although some people looked a bit timid, and some people looked stubborn, no one had complained. After all, everyone had a noble's dignity.
"This is a race against time. While the Elves are confused, you have to find Saito and Ms. Tabitha. Per the plan, I and Ms. South Gotha will distract the Elves and fight for time. You have to find those two as soon as possible."
"We can't hold it for too long. If you want to save them, you have to move fast."
Fouquet grinned, and immediately jumped into the diffusing dust.
"Then let us move too."
Like the combat plan, the soldiers going to save Saito and Tabitha divided into three routes.
Guiche, Malicorne, Kirche, along with Sylphid formed one team, and the remaining people were divided and led by Reynald and Gimli. Although there were few people in Guiche's group, there was the "Triangle Mage" Kirche, and the "Rhyme Dragon" Sylphid. Colbert believed that it was sufficient combat power.
Each group leader was allocated a "Holy Land" weapon to hand over to Saito later. Derflinger was placed in a magic bag, and carried with them.
"Big sis... I will definitely save you, chirp!"
Sylphid, who had turned into a girl, held up Tabitha's wand.
"Hey~ please, wait for me for a moment."
They saw Guiche embrace a mole that had to be held with two hands.
It was Guiche's familiar, a giant mole.
"You want to take that mole along, Guiche?"
"Yes. My Verdandi's nose is very effective, maybe it coming along could be useful?"
"Are you sure it won't get in the way?"
Hearing this, Kirche wrinkled her brow.
"Please don't look at her that way, her footsteps are very nimble."
Guiche gently placed Verdandi down by his feet, and with a "sniff sniff sniff", her nose moved as she smelled the air.
"The first team to rescue those two, immediately use the "Little Snake" to signal, and all teams must quickly retreat at the signal. If you are discovered by an Elf, you can't fight, you have to run away. Don't fight, if you can't escape, surrender."
After listening to Colbert's reminder, the youth of the Knights of the Water Spirit strongly nodded their heads.
"I wish you all the best."
Finally, Colbert sighed.
After the impact subsided, Saito trembled and looked up at the ceiling.
"Wh-what was the just now... That wasn't Isabella, was it?"
"At least the Knights of Parterre wouldn't do it like this."
At this time, the sound of footsteps gradually approached from the other side of the metal door.
This immediately made Saito nervous. It shouldn't be the Elven guards coming to see what the two of them were up to.
After a while... the sound of the door lock came in from outside.
While Saito tilted his head wondering, "What's going on?" the cell door opened and the light from the passaged shined into the cell.
"I've made you wait, Lady Charlotte.", an Elven guard, holding a magic lamp, lowered his voice and said.
Saito was confused by the situation in front of him.
What's going on? Saito turned to look at Tabitha.
"Chikasui", Tabitha said.
Hearing this, Saito got it.
On a closer look, there was a familiar dagger held in the elf's hand.
"Chikasui" was one of the spies of the Knights of Parterre, and its true form was an "Intelligent Dagger" that can manipulate the essence of the wielder.
At first, even Saito thought that Chikasui was just a simple cross-dresser. When he learned the truth from Tabitha, he was greatly surprised.
"Elves have training against mental control, which is really difficult to deal with."
"Is the explosion just now you?"
"No, I'm also unclear about the situation."
To Saito's question, Chikasui shook his head.
"But this is still a great opportunity to escape. Although it's a little earlier than scheduled, please take advantage of this time to quickly escape."
Then Chikasui gave Tabitha a tiny, baton-like wand.
"You may not be used to it, but it'll be like this for the time being."
"It will do."
After nodding, Tabitha put the wand in her cape.
"Good, let's go...."
Just when Saito was about to stand up, he felt dizzy.
Tabitha immediately supported Saito's staggering body.
"What is it?"
"Oh, I'm fine... Just a little vertigo...."
While preparing to stand up on his own, Saito suddenly lost all the strength in his body and fell to the ground on the spot.
"Wh-what? Are my feet... not listening, to me...."
"What are you doing?"
A surprised Chikasui inquired.
"Sorry Mr. Chikasui... can you give me a weapon as well?"
"Yeah, I just need to hold a weapon, and I should be able to move...."
"Then please use me."
Chikasui pulls out a short sword from his waist and handed it to Saito.
When he held the short sword in hand, the rune on Saito's left hand immediately lit up. Even using the power of Gandálfr, there was no way to restore his lost strength, but his body definitely relaxed a lot.
I should be able to move for a while....
In the chaos of the explosion, Saito and Tabitha escaped their cell.
"Huff, huff, huff... Wa-wait a minute, you guys."
In the prison passage, with the sound of the alarm, Guiche and the others were running like crazy. As Colbert expected, the Elves seemed to be in a state of confusion. However, after all, the chaos can't last for too long. If they don't hurry and save Saito and Tabitha, they would become nothing but rats in a bag.
"Well, I never thought we'd go as far as to invade an Elven fortress a second time."
Malicorne said with sweat on his forehead.
"But after this mission is successful, we can all be honored. No, maybe we can also be granted territory? Moreover, th-there's also Her Majesty Queen Henrietta's lips...."
"The premise is to first return alive? I don't want to pursue knighthood lying in a coffin."
"Tiny, where are you! Answer me, chirp, chirp!"
"Please, we'll be discovered if you call with such a loud voice!"
Kirche, running in the front, looked back to remind Sylphid.
"You guys also, cut the irrelevant chatter, look."
Kirche pointed her wand to the front.
Although they didn't hear Sylphid's voice, they were still coming... a team of two Elven guards were yelling something in Elvish (Elf language) as they ran towards the group.
"Okay, let's go!"
Guiche and Malicorne immediately turned right.
"Wait a second, magic incoming!"
The magic they saw the Elven guard begin to chant was Firstborn wind magic.
A tornado-like air vortex fired from the palm of their hand.
The panicked Malicorne immediately chanted the "Air Hammer" spell.
Speaking in terms of results it saved their lives, but the Firstborn wind magic caused an earth-shattering boom, which exploded in the center of the passage. Guiche's group was blown away by the wind and rolled on the floor.
"Go-goodness, what a terrible power."
A pasty-faced Guiche said.
If they had actually taken that attack right then, their skeletons would cease to exist....
"I-it's coming again!"
"Everybody flee, I'll stop them here."
Like he'd made up his mind, Guiche suddenly stood up.
"Facing Elves, your Golem is just child's play!"
"Anyway, you can watch and be amazed, I've also matured."
Then Guiche chanted a spell, and waved his rose-wrapped wand.
The petals flying in the air immediately became eight "Bronze Valkyries".
"How's that? One more than usual... Woah!"
As a result, the bronze valkyries were broken into pieces in the blink of an eye by the magic the Elves fired.
"Really, what the hell are you doing?!"
Kirche launched "Fireball" magic at the same time. Triple the firepower, three balls of flame with tracking abilities rushed towards the Elves.
Then the fireballs exploded, causing a succession of violent noises in the prison.
"Oh, did I win?"
"No. The difference in the power of our magic and "Firstborn" magic is too vast."
Just before the fireballs hit, a stone wall appeared to block it that Kirche couldn't see through.
From the other side of the burning flames came the sound of Elves chanting.
"Sylphid, what kind of magic can you use?"
Guiche asked, sounding anxious, but Sylphid shook her head apologetically.
"I can't do anything, the spirit power is being suppressed by the Elves. Without spirit power, Sylphid is useless."
"How could this be...."
Guiche held his aching head. Even if she changed back into a "Rhyme Dragon", there was no way to fly here and would hinder their action....
"In short, run first!"
With that, Kirche fired a "Fireball".
The flames and sound of the explosion should be enough to block the line sight.
When everyone returned up the passage, they escaped around the corner of cross passage of the intersection.
"The enemy is chasing us, chirp!"
Kirche looked back and cast another "Fireball".
"Really, if you keep that up, you're quickly going to run out of mental energy."
Just then, they found two familiar figures in front of them.
"Oh, isn't that Saito, Saito!"
"Chirp, chirp, big sis is also there!"
"Hey~ Saito! We came to save you!"
Malicorne shouted as he waved his arm.
However, the situation really felt off, and Guiche, noticing the abnormality, frowned.
Say, how exactly did those two escape from their cell...?
Saito and Tabitha seems to not notice everybody, and passed by Guiche and the others.
After stopping, they turned around.
The next moment, the two people were engulfed in the magic launched by the Elves pursuing Guiche and the others.
In the hall where the alarm went off, Saito and Tabitha made a mad dash for the exit.
The sound of an explosion came again from another location.
The sound of footsteps and the roar of Elves can be heard everywhere. However, the pursuing elves, are being scattered all over the place to a major degree by small magic dolls that look exactly like Saito and Tabitha.
This is one of the "Magic Tools" used by the "Mjöðvitnir", a magic doll that can change its appearance to look just like someone by absorbing their blood. When King Joseph had perished, the Knights of the Parterre were detained and brought here by Chikasui. They were suitable to be used as bait.
At the corner of the passage, Tabitha stopped Saito with her hand.
Then she cast the "Summon Water" spell, and created a puddle at her feet. She used the water surface as a mirror to confirm whether there was an Elf down the passage.
Going a few steps forward, Tabitha waved at Saito behind her.
"There are very few guards."
"Um... It feels like they don't have time to round us up."
Saito nodded. He didn't know if it had anything to do with the violent explosion just now....
At the end of the passage was a metal door, that was much like what Saito saw in Adyl. It may be a magically driven lifting device, similar to an elevator.
"Tabitha, do you know how to use this?"
Tabitha shook her head.
"It may only react to the Elvish language."
"Isn't that a dead end...?"
"Even if the device doesn't move, you can still fly"
That made sense. It seemed like Tabitha wanted to fly in the elevator shaft using "Flight" magic. That was certainly the fastest way to the surface.
After chanting a spell, Tabitha shot an "Ice Javelin" towards the metal door.
The extremely sharp ice spear hit the door directly.
But the metal door is motionless.
"... Firstborn magic."
"Can't destroy it?"
"We can only find a different route."
Just as quick as they gave up on the thought, and as they turned away to leave....
The lifting device door slowly opened.
"Oh, Tabitha, we're soooo lucky...."
Saito didn't have a chance to be happy.
Elven guards immediately appeared from the open door.
"How is there another Saito!?"
"There's also another big sis here, chirp!"
"God~ What the hell is going on!? I'm losing my mind!"
Guiche held his head and groaned. A little magic doll tumbled at his feet.
"It's a magic doll that can change its outer appearance, Tabitha must be the one spreading them."
"It's good that it can confuse the Elves, but even we can't find the boss."
After all, it's impossible to distinguish from their exterior.
"However, with this stuff scattered all over the place, it means the two of them most likely already escaped."
"Oh, but time is running out...."
"Oh, what's this here?"
"Why are you asking that now, this is an Elf's... huh, who's voice is that just now?"
A skeptical Guiche looked back, and the other three showed a look of incomprehension as they shook their head.
"What? What did you say about Elves?"
They heard the voice again.
"Did you wake up?"
At that time, Kirche was shocked, and pulled Derflinger out with her hand.
"Oh, isn't this Ms. Big Tits? Where's my partner, and where exactly are we?"
"It's Saito's talking sword! How come you suddenly woke up?"
"I just woke up, so what exactly is going on?"
"This is an Elven Prison."
"Prison? What are you saying, how come we're in this kind of place?"
"We came here to rescue your master."
Then Kirche simply explained how Saito was arrested and locked up in "Prison Island". She briefly explained that they had come to help him.
While silently listening to the explanation, Derflinger responded,
"... Gotcha. No wonder it constantly feels like my partner is nearby."
"Really? You can tell which are fake?"
"Of course, don't underestimate the bond of my partner and I."
Derflinger's blade started clicking
"This is really reliable."
"Oh, Verdandi, what are you doing?"
At that time, Guiche's familiar was trying to dig in the ground.
"There are no 'Earthworms' here."
They heard Verdandi digging around, absorbed in trying to dig a hole in the ground.
Guiche and the others looked at each other in surprise.
The trio of Elves charged out of the lift, and immediately surrounded Saito and Tabitha.
Tabitha quickly pulled out her wand and chanted "Icicle Blast" magic.
The Elf in front couldn't defend against the spell, and were directly hit by a flying ice arrow. Not letting an enemy sense the spell is a specialty of the Knights of Parterre.
The other two cursed in Elvish. The next moment, they pulled out sabers and threw them like boomerangs.
Saito acted quickly. The "Gandálfr" runes allowed Saito to react quickly, he cut in front of Tabitha to protect her, and reflected the saber.
That wasn't over. The sword that was reflected turned around in the air and went straight for Saito. That and Ali's "Sword of Will" were the same Firstborn Magic.
But Saito expected that. If this was the first time you saw this trick, you might get stabbed in the back. However, as long as you know the trick, it was nothing to be scared of. Moreover, Ali could manipulate 4-5 swords at the same time, but the Elven guards could only manipulate one.
After reflecting the sword, Saito charged directly forward. The Elf, with a horrified expression on his face, took a body shot from Saito, and dropped to the floor. Tabitha followed up and fired an ice arrow. The elf laying on the floor was frozen hand and foot, and couldn't move.
The last Elf yelled something, then the stone wall burst with a rumble and a human-shaped stone doll appeared. The stone doll raised its first and tried to flatten Saito.
Saito shouted, "Wow," and rolled on the ground. The stone doll wielded its fist like a giant hammer, and smashed a giant hole in the ground. Tabitha immediately launched "Ice Javelin", and a huge ice spear hit the head of the stone doll. However, even if the stone doll's head shrank, that didn't hinder its movement as the "boom, boom," sound of it fists sounded as they smashed towards Saito.
Saito continued to dodge in a sequence of close calls. The sword techniques he was proud of were useless against the stone man. If Derflinger was in his hands, he might be able to smash the stone man. However there really was no way with the short sword in his hands.
"... Dammit, what should I do?"
Saito's forehead broke out in cold sweat. They were in a pinch, one where they were being cornered.
If they uses up their time here, reinforcements would soon come from the lift.
If it was the normal Saito, no matter how many enemies, he could get out of danger with the power of "Gandálfr". However, the current Saito had used up too much physical strength, and without Louise there to stimulate her familiar's emotions....
Seeing Saito desperately gasping, even the power of the "Gandálfr" eventually had a limit. Sneaking a peek at Tabitha, you could see an anxious expression that she rarely showed.
At that time... with a crash, small pieces of stone fell on Saito's head.
This made Saito look up.
The next moment, a huge "bang" sounded, and something dug through the ceiling.
Before Saito could even make a sound, a lot of rubble poured down and buried the Elven guards along with the stone doll.
Just as Saito opened his mouth in confusion....
A round object fell from the hole in the ceiling.
This puzzled Saito.
What fell in front of his eyes was a mole with big eyes, shining with intelligence.
Just at the brink of confusion....
Saito suddenly realized that this mole looked very familiar.
"Aren't you... Guiche's familiar!?"
It must be true. Not only did this mole save his life in Albion, but he also stayed in his tent when he lost his partner before. Even if it's a mole, he wouldn't forget how his partner looked.
"How did you get here...?"
As Saito wrinkled his brow in confusion, a familiar voice was heard coming from the hole in the ceiling.
"Hey~ It that Saito there?"
"This is the boss right?"
"That looks right."
"Big sister, Sylphid came to save you, chirp!"
"Malicorne, Kirche, and Sylphid!"
The Saito and Tabitha looked at each other.
Guiche's group cast "Float" magic, and jumped down from the hole in the ceiling.
"Big Sis, luckily you're alright, chirp!"
Sylphid hopped onto Tabitha's head, and hugged her tight.
"How did you get here?"
Saito asked everybody.
"It was on Queen Henrietta's order."
While answering, Guiche posed with his hair waving.
"In short, we pretended a bit, you see... hey, uhh, what are you doing!"
Saito burst in to tears, and tightly grabbed Guiche and Malicorne.
"E-enough, you can let go. Please, you're nose is running!"
Kirche, with a wry smile, pulled out a magic bag from under her cloak.
"Here, we also helped you out by bringing your sword."
After taking out Derflinger, she handed it to Saito.
When Saito received Derflinger.
"Hey Partner, long time, no see!"
Shocked by Derflinger, Saito couldn't help with opening his hand.
"D-Derf! You finally woke up!"
"Hey, do you have to be so surprised, I'm a little sad, ya know."
Derflinger said in his usual tone.
"What have you been doing until now!? Even if I talked to you, you kept sleeping!"
Saito complained with an unhappy voice.
"Sorry, I was sleeping."
Saito couldn't help but smile. Just hearing Derflinger's voice, he felt energized.
"Hey, pick me up partner."
The moment he held Derflinger's handle in his hand, the runes on Saito's hand lit up and he felt like power gradually flowed into his body....
Derflinger said in a sad voice.
"What is it?"
"I thought about it all. Really, thought about everything."
This made Saito feel uncomfortable and he also didn't know what to say to comfort him.
Thought about everything....
Saito thought about everything he saw in the dream from Derflinger's point of view, the tragedy that occured 6,000 years ago.
Including the moment that Sasha ran her beloved Brimir through the chest....
"Derf... I have a lot of things I need to ask."
"Yeah, I know. I'll tell you everything."
Seemingly determined, Derflinger answered.
"Hey, you two, can you talk about this later? Basically, we need to escape from here first."
"Elf reinforcements have come."
Tabitha extended her wand from within Sylphid's arms,and looked up as she raised her head.
The sound of the Elves' footsteps approached.
"Send the signal to retreat to everyone."
Saying that, Guiche pulled out a small tube given him by Colbert, and ignited the magic inside the tube.
A shrill, ear splitting sound rang throughout the prison.
The "Little Singing Snake" was the modified magic weapon "Little Flying Snake", and could produce a sound that can be heard no matter how many leagues away it was. Originally, it was a failed weapon Colbert made to be used on the "Zero Fighter", so he never thought it would used in this manner.
"*sigh*, you guys seem fierce."
Colbert wiped the sweat from his forehead.
His tone was a bit casual, and his expression was very dignified. Although the distraction had succeeded in attracting many Elves, he was quickly run into a dead end, and he couldn't escape from the firstborn magic he couldn't oppose.
"This seems to be the end of the road."
Colbert muttered with a despondent expression.
With eight Elves in pursuit, the results weren't bad.
Colbert's lips were twisted coldly. His present expression was not that of the gentle teacher he usually had, but that of the captain of the experimental team of the Magic Research Institute, the "Flame Serpent" that people were afraid of.
"I never hated you guys, but please join me on this journey."
The determined Colbert raised his wand upright. In order to protect the lives of his students, Colbert was ready to become the merciless "Flame Serpent" again.
A little blazing ball lit up the tip of his wand.
That was Colbert's trump card.
Fire, Fire Earth, a triangle spell of two parts fire combined with Earth. The water vapor in the air was converted to vaporized fuel oil with "Alchemy", and then ignited. A huge fireball would instantly expand and exhaust all the nearby oxygen, killing any creature within range.
This was the deadly magic "Explosion", which didn't distinguish between friend and foe.
It was also mostly effective against the Elves, but this magic does have its drawbacks.
Using it in this confined space, there was nothing Colbert could do for himself....
He saw the magic was about to be complete.
The wall in front of him collapsed with a rumble.
This cause Colbert to lost his chant.
The small fireball that lit up the tip of his wand disappeared.
The thing that destroyed the prison wall was a giant stone golem that was nearly twenty feet tall.
Ms. South Gotha.
"What, you were here? Get out of the way, quick."
Fouquet grinned as she sat on the shoulder of the golem.
As soon as he held Derflinger, Saito's actions immediately became like the wind. He charged in between the Elven guards that were blocking their advance. Deftly dodging the magic arrows fired at him, he used Derflinger's blade to absorb them.
It didn't matter how strong the Elves' firstborn magic was, it was meaningless if they couldn't chant. As soon as he saw an Elf try to chant magic, Saito immediately stunned the enemy with a melee attack.
"This situation isn't too bad, partner."
"Well, you really are the best."
"It's nice to hear you say that."
Derf's blade shook with laughter.
Of course it wasn't only that. The source of "Gandálfr's" power came from the movement of his heart. Everyone had come to rescue him... Guiche, Malicorne, Kirche, Sylphid, Colbert-sensei, and the members of the Knights of the Water Spirit... That lit a fire in Saito's heart.
Magic flew from behind him, providing cover for Saito. Kirche's fireballs burst; Tabitha's ice arrows accurately attacked the Elves' magic. Malicorne used "Air Hammer" to clear the path, and Guiche used an earth wall against the the soldier pursuing behind them.
"Sylphid will cheer for everybody, chirp!"
The group rushed straight ahead and it didn't take long for a wall to block their way.
"It's a dead end!"
"Do we go back?"
"No, that won't do. We'd be easy pickings...."
Saito grabbed the magic bag that Kirche brought along.
"Here, I'll use this."
He took out a "Weapon" of the "Holy Land".
"The M72 anti-tank rocket."
It was the same type as the "Staff of Destruction" that was used to smash Fouquet's golem.
After removing the safety pin, Saito pulled out the back cover, and placed it on his shoulder after extending the inner tube. Without aiming, Saito undid the safety and shouted at the same time.
"Everybody, don't stand behind me, and cover your ears!"
He pulled the trigger.
A rocket-type warhead with a tail was fired, exploding on impact.
They were surrounded by a loud noise, and the wall in front of them shattered.
On the other side of the hole blasted in the wall, the sun was shining on the surface of the sea.
Guiche shouted with joy.
About twenty feet down was the deck of the "Ostland", that had crashed into the prison.
The other youths of the Knights of the Water Spirit seem to have already returned to the ship.
"Get ready to jump."
Kirche grabbed Saito's hand and jumped straight down.
The frightened Saito screamed in terror.
But before they hit the deck, their bodies suddenly started to lightly float.
It turned out that Kirche had cast "Float" magic earlier.
"Hey, Saito, you're okay!"
As soon as they landed on the deck the members of the Knights of the Water Spirit immediately stepped forward and surrounded Saito.
"Gimli, Renault, and everybody... wow!"
"Boom!" a loud bang sounded, and a huge golem fell from the sky.
"What's going on?"
Saito looked up and saw Colbert riding in the hands of the golem.
"Oh, Saito, you're safe."
Jumping quickly to the deck, Colbert immediately shouted at the back deck.
"Can you take off, Ms. Éléonore?"
"No, the steam system is broken!"
Éléonore yelled in reply as she held the steering wheel.
The impact from colliding with the prison just now seemed to have damaged the steam system.
"If we don't escape immediately, we'll be surrounded by Elves!"
Kirche reminded them.
"Hey, give it to me."
Colbert, chanting fire magic, injected "Fire" into the system.
Right after it came in contact with the steam system. It began to rumble.
"It's moving, it started!"
The "Ostland" slowly floated and flew up into the vast sky.
At dawn... Louise, who was lying in bed, woke up.
After sitting up, Louise wiped her eyes with her pajama cuffs.
Because Louise had cried a lot in her dreams.
It was a sad dream, a dream so sad that no more sadness could be added....
The impact of the dream was too big, and Louise was stunned for a while... At that time, there was a knock at the door.
"My apologies. Ms. Vallière, are you awake?"
The one who came was Siesta. Louise staggered as she stood up to open the door.
Seeing Louise's expression, Siesta was surprised.
"What happened, Ms. Vallière?"
"How could it be nothing, aren't you crying?"
Louise looked away from Siesta.
"I had a dream."
"Dream? A nightmare?"
"No, it was a sad dream."
Saying that, Louise's eyes fell on the clothes held in Siesta's hands.
"What clothes are these?"
"This is the outfit that the Pope asked for Ms. Vallière to wear...."
Held in Siesta's hands was the holy white garments worn by a priestess of Brimir. That was the outfit that Louise wore previously in "Aquileia" when she had served as a "Priestess".
"Well, I'm prepared."
Seemingly determined to do it, Louise groaned.
Louise changed into the holy garments of the Brimir faith and, accompanied by Siesta, went to the deck of the "St. Mark" as it floated in the air.
Under the endless blue sky, you could see scattered clouds and the deep blue sea of the "Holy Land".
A large number of Romalian warships surrounded them in the local airspace, protecting the "St. Mark" that the Pope was on. Outside that, the fleets of the countries of Gaulia, Germania, Albion, and Tristain were deployed. In the center of Tristain's fleet was the "Versanda", a particularly eye-catching "Dragon Carrier Ship", that Henrietta was aboard.
With a total of over 700 ships, this was the largest fleet in the history of Halkeginia. Of those, 250 were warships, and the rest were galleons carrying soldiers and supplies.
The 80,000 soldiers of the first wave of the "Coalition Army for the Restoration of the Holy Land" were on those ships. The remaining troops were on standby in the camp in the suburbs of Adyl, ready to proceed to the front lines.
The huge fleet was covered in flags, and the mighty army shocked Louise.
"Wow, it's amazing...."
Siesta was stunned in bewilderment.
But... Louise though.
No matter how large an army they prepare, the "Holy Land" was sleeping at the bottom of the sea.
"How is he going to send such a huge army?"
Tiffania and Josette, who had changed into the same holy garments as Louise, stood on the back deck of the ship.
As soon as Tiffania saw Louise, she rushed to her.
Tiffania, looking restless, held Louise's hand.
"Louise, you really... really aren't changing your mind?"
Louise nodded her head.
"The only way to save Halkeginia is to capture the 'Holy Land'."
Louise gently put her hand on Tiffania's trembling shoulder.
"Tiffa, please, trust me."
Seeing Tiffania's pained expression, cause Louise's chest to ache.
It's my fault that I involved this half-elf girl, who quietly had lived in the forest of Albion, in such a cruel fate.
"Don't worry, Tiffa. I'll bring all of this to an end...."
"Right, yes, Louise, Saito, he...."
Just as Tiffania started to say something.
"I made you wait, ye 'Saints' who shall save Halkeginia."
A smiling Julio stepped forward and saluted the two.
"The Pope's prayers will be over soon. This way, please."
Looking at Julio with cold eyes, Louise silently followed in his steps.
Tiffania and Siesta both watched Louise leave, looking uneasy.
Pope Vittorio Serevare had been praying on the bow deck of the ship.
They saw him with his eyes closed, chanting a spell in a whisper.
The Pope, without a wink of sleep, or a drop to drink, prayed through the night continuously.
"What is his Holiness doing now?"
Louise asked Julio.
"You'll know soon."
Julio smiled happily, and turned his eyes to the sea.
Soon, Vittorio quietly stood up.
Looking at the sea from the bow of the ship, he opened his hands, and read what seemed to be rune characters.
An ear-ringing sort of rumbling sound rang through the nearby air.
Louise couldn't help but cover her ear because it sounded like the annoying sound of insects flapping their wings.
"This is the power of the 'Void'... the sound of the tiny particles that make up everything in the world shaking."
"You say that this is the Void?"
Then came the huge "rumble rumble"-like sound.
"The sea, is dividing...?"
At that moment, Louise's eye widened in surprise.
The sea that divided below them exposed a huge black mountain range.
The mountains slowly rose out of the sea, and a lot of sea water poured down them like a waterfall.
"Really, what just happened...?"
Louise asked with a look of shock.
"This is what the "Holy Land" originally looked like."
- Here's a little tidbit about Japanese affirmations/denials - if someone asks a question which is negative (In this case, "you didn't"), the Japanese way to affirm that is by nodding, as if to say "you are correct, I didn't".
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