Zero no Tsukaima:Volume22 Chapter 12
Chapter 12: The Choice of the Saintess
Saito stepped on the pedal and rolled the aircraft. He reduced the throttle to decelerate and used the hydraulic system to lower the landing gear.
In front of him was a soldier with surprised expression, and a group of magicians pointing their wands at him. "Magic Arrow", "Fireball", and "Air Hammer" were launched simultaneously.
"Dodge it, partner!"
"No, like hell this can be dodged!"
The magic of the magicians poured into the front of the wing like a thunderstorm. The aircraft was largely off-balance in the air and slammed towards the soldiers.
"MOVE YER ARSES----!"
As he pulled the control stick towards him, Saito loudly shouted.
As the Zero Fighter flowed out of the black smoke, it charged into the soldiers.
The soldiers which had been in a tight formation, now scattered to the left and right like birds.
When the aircraft wheels touched the ground they immediately sparked.
Saito quickly stepped on the floor pedal to activate the hydraulic wheel brakes.
But the aircraft, whose speed hadn't been reduced enough, slid like it was on a slippery surface. The slanted wing hit the ground and was effectively torn off.
"Partner, escape quickly! The plane is breaking into pieces!"
"Don't say stupid things!"
While shouting, Saito quickly undid his seatbelt and body harness. Since it was the Zero Fighter it had no ejection device, but there was a parachute... However, there was no time to use it now.
Holding Derflinger in his hand, Saito jumped out of the sliding aircraft.
After being thrown from the aircraft, Saito rolled across the ground many times. The out of control Zero Fighter hit a rock, violently bounced several times, and was severely damaged when it suddenly slammed into the ground.
Saito, who still didn't dare let go of Derflinger, unsteadily stood up.
Looking around, he saw that he was already surrounded by Templars holding wands.
His vision was dim, and there was a limit to the power that Derflinger could grant his "Wielder". If he didn't rely on the magic that Derflinger accumulated, there was no way that Saito could move his body....
"You alright, partner?"
"My vision is blurry... I can't see the things around me clearly...."
"I'll be your eyes, partner."
Saito looked up, and at the end of his blurry vision was a ball of light like a small sun.
It was the light that he had seen in the rune dream.
Louise is there....
"Can I finally reach Louise's side?"
"If it's you, partner, it'll be just fine... actually, I can't say that."
"Come on, you're too honest."
Hear this, Saito laughed.
"Hey, Derf, I still don't want to die. I can't mentally prepare myself to die that easily, since I'm not a hero at all, just an ordinary high school student."
"I want, to see Louise again."
Clenching Derflinger, Saito suddenly rushed at the Templars.
As soon as he charged into the enemy, he forgot his fear. Derflinger didn't hold anything back, and granted all the magic he had accumulated so far into Saito.
Saito charged forward to the enemy like a whirlwind. The Templars didn't even catch sight of Saito as they were cut down one after another.
"Don't be afraid, there is but one enemy!"
"Protect His Holiness and the 'Saintess'!"
A young man who appeared to be the leader of the group of knights, raised his wand and shouted.
The group of knights raised their wands to the sky, and began to chant a spell. The Romalian Templar's pride and joy, the group chant "Hymnal Aria".
Magic arrows were released in just one instant.
After several hundred magic arrows changed direction in the arrow, they immediately turned their heads towards Saito.
That was the same as "Fireball", which was a magic that automatically tracked the enemy. As fast as "Gandálfr" was, he wasn't faster than magic, but Saito waved Derflinger and absorbed the magic power. The absorbed magic power could be turned into power to drive Saito, so the more magic he absorbed, the more explosive his speed became.
"Oh, thank you very much! With this I'll can continue to fight."
"Don't be too crazy."
"I shall take their words and return them to you, partner."
A bitter smile showed on Saito's face. A hole opened in his shoulder, and blood spayed from it. No matter how strong he was, he could not block hundreds of magic arrows completely.
A magician riding a fire dragon followed up the attack from the air. Relying on the fire dragon's vision, they could grasp the gale wind speed-like movements of Saito.
"Partner, up and right!"
In response to Derflinger's words, Saito recklessly waved his sword. The throat of the fire dragon, which was about to use its breath, was torn up in an instant and enveloped in fire.
"Louise, are you there...?"
At that time, it already seemed like Saito's eyes couldn't see anything.
And he was constantly advancing, charging towards the small sun that was shining brightly.
"A big one is coming, right in front."
Saito kicked the ground and accelerated.
What stood in his way before his eyes was a rock golem, three mails in height.
Saito, holding Derflinger in both hands, held his sword high and slashed in a rough manner.
Saito swept past, and it lay flat on the ground like ears of wheat after a windstorm blew through.
Those terrible tactics caused a lot of the soldiers to begin to cower.
"Still not enough, partner."
However, the damage in his body had accumulated, making Saito's movements gradually slow down.
In fact, Saito's body already had numerous injuries. He's broken several bones, and he'd already been fatally injured.
"Partner, this time it's above, a wind dragon is coming."
A strong wind blew from overhead. In the next moment, Saito's body was sent flying horizontally. The wind dragon's claws had scratched Saito's shoulder.
"Stand up quick, partner! It's coming again!"
Saito, who stood up, immediately raised his head and glared upwards.
A wind dragon that was bigger than Sylphid, flew back after circling.
"It's amazing, Saito. I can't imagine you being able to escape from 'Prison Island'."
"Julio, it's you!"
Saito couldn't help but roar, hearing a familiar voice.
The wind dragon is Julio's mount, Azuro. The wind dragon controlled by "Vindálfr", launched a high-speed dive attack.
"Derf, what side!"
"Right... no, left? That bastard, he can freely change his actions!"
Almost instinctively, Satio rushed forward. As he passed the wind dragon, Derflinger flashed.
However, the blade only cut one of the wind dragon's hard scales.
"Sorry, I won't let you approach the 'Saintess', brother."
Saying that, Julio pulled out the saber from his waist.
The scene of the Templars being beaten down one after another caused the Pope's guards to fall into a panic.
After all, the guards knew nothing about the true face of the enemy.
The enemy who they couldn't see at all, gradually approaching whistle of a sudden whirlwind.
But Tiffania, who was there, immediately noticed the true face of the one who approached.
Tears appeared in her clear, dark blue eyes.
"Oh, that is the left hand of god that rivals an army. It is exactly the same as the legend."
Saito coming here was definitely outside of the Pope's expectations.
However, his expression was still mostly calm.
"Maybe even Julio can't oppose him."
Josette pulled out her wand and prepared to cast the "Void" at Saito. But at the same time, Tiffania also pulled out her wand and pointed it at the Pope and Josette.
"I won't let you lift a hand against Saito."
Tiffania's voice shook.
That was already the most nerve that the gentle half-elf girl could drum up.
As soon as the Pope or Josette made any unusual moves, she was ready to chant "Decompose".
But Vittorio's face continued to maintain a calm expression.
"It's alright. In any case, Ms. Vallière will choose to save her beloved Saito. Maybe she won't make the same mistake as the Founder Brimir."
"Look, you've been beaten black and blue Saito! You still want to play with me with that body covered in injuries!"
"Shut yer trap!"
Julio, cleverly controlling Azuro, repeatedly made a dive attack.
While rolling on the ground, Saito dodged the dragon claws that were aimed at him.
"So this is a wind dragon controlled by Vindálfr!"
He had fought with Julio one-on-one, but never against the power of "Vindálfr". Although he couldn't cast spells, he was more difficult to fight than a magician.
Julio's saber blade slashed Saito's cheek, drawing blood.
"Damn... Louise is right in front of me...."
Seeing Julio turn around to attack again, Saito staggered, and his body swayed.
"The next time it passes, I'll cut off that wind dragon's wing...!"
But Saito guessed wrong. Azuro opened his mouth and spit fire with a "Boom--" at Saito.
That fierce fire was comparable to the fire dragons of Fire Dragon Mountain.
Saito quickly rolled on the ground, dodging the fire by an inch. But Julio, seeing how Saito moved, wielded his saber to attack Saito, who had lost his balance.
Saito reacted instantly, pushing away the attack with his own sword.
"Partner, sorry to tell you some bad news."
"Actually, the power that's letting you move is running low."
Saito clenched his teeth as he fell to the ground.
Under his tattered coat, the "Lífþrasir" runes shined violently.
"Just a little bit, just a little bit more...."
At least he barely reached the place that Louise can hear his voice....
Saito slowly advanced as Derflinger hung powerlessly.
With his back to the sun, Julio, riding on Azuro's back, glided forward.
"Derf, I have a request of you."
"Oh, what is it?"
"Infuse me with all of the magic power, and let me move."
With Derflinger still hanging in his left hand, Saito waited for Julio's attack.
"What, are you giving up?"
Julio spoke in surprise, seeing this. At that moment, Derflinger injected his magic into Saito's body in a moment, and then he immediately jumped.
Saito drew a perfect parabola.
Although Julio was shocked for a moment, he immediately drove Azuro to turn. Daring to attack from the air facing a wind dragon was simply suicide.
But Saito pulled out the automatic pistol hidden on his body in the air.
The trigger was instantly pulled, the crisp sound of a shot rang, and blood sprayed from Julio's shoulder.
Julio, who lost his balance, fell head over heels and headlong for the ground....
Azuro immediately flew after his owner.
"With that, we're even."
Finally, Saito's body slammed into the ground.
The place Saito fell was a large hole sunk in the middle of the "Holy Land".
This blind charge had already brought Saito to Louise's side.
In his fuzzy vision, suffused with white, he faintly saw a girl with pink hair, wearing a Romalian priestess' outfit.
Although there was no way he could see her, he could tell it was Louise.
Saito, gasping for breath, barely squeezed out a sound. Louise was just a few dozen feet away, his beloved master was in front of his eyes. With this, the familiar's heart violently moved.
Then Saito struggled to stand up. Propping himself up with Derflinger, he dragged his feet as he stepped forward. The Pope's guardian knights pointed their wands at the stumbling Saito.
"Partner, they're aiming at you."
"Even if you tell me... I can't dodge."
At that time, Louise quickly wielded her wand and pointed it at the guards."
"Anyone who dares to chant a spell, I'll drop the 'Void' on their heads!"
Hearing Louise's threat, the guards suddenly froze.
Then the guards looked at Vittorio, asking for instructions.
After seeing the Pope quietly shake his head, the guards lowered their wands. No one was in a rush to gamble if the threat of the "Saintess" who controlled the "Void" over their head was only giving a verbal warning.
"...Anyway, the Pope wouldn't dare to kill me."
What's more, Saito, the power source, was necessary to cast 'Life'.
With staggering steps, Saito walked towards Louise.
"Dammit, my body won't listen to me...."
Even now, the "Lífþrasir" rune was still mercilessly draining Saito's life, and Derflinger had little power left. If there was any distraction, he'd definitely fall on the spot.
But he still couldn't die now. Before "Life" attacked the "Holy Land"....
Saito's eyes could see nothing but Louise.
No one had taken action, and no one has said a word.
A wonderful silence covered the heart of the "Holy Land".
There was only Saito advancing step by step.
It was hard to get to Louise's side and he was immediately exhausted, falling to the ground.
The two called the others name at the same time. As soon as he heard Louise... The voice of his loved one, a warmth suddenly filled Saito's chest.
"Saito, I waited for you for a long time."
Louise said, as she wiped tears from her eyes.
"What... It seems like you knew that I would come."
Saito, who was still on the ground, had a bitter expression.
"I had a dream."
"Yeah, Saito appeared in my dream. You told me, between the two of us... the link of master and familiar. It also said that you'd come."
Saying that, Louise showed a shy smile.
The phenomenon had happened several times before. When Louise was about to die at the hands of Wardes, Louise's vision merged with Saito's. Also, when Louise had lost her memories due to Tiffania's magic, they exchanged memories when they kissed.
"It looks like you've been waiting for me, Louise."
"Yeah", Louise nodded.
Saito was filled with emotion.
Right, I have to tell Louise about it....
"Louise... I have something I have to tell you."
Saito, who was struggling to stand up, desperately squeezed his voice from his throat.
"Say, I saw the memory of the runes in a dream again... In the dream of 6,000 years ago, Mr. Brimir told me. The 'Wind Stones' going out of control that will lead to the destruction of Halkeginia is cause by this 'Holy Land'... So you only have to blow up this 'Holy Land' with your 'Void', and Halkeginia will be saved...."
At this time, Louise suddenly interrupted Saito's words.
"Do you remember when you and I first met?"
Hearing Louise suddenly say this, a confused expression appeared on Saito's face.
"I still remember it clearly. At the Academy's Austri Plaza, you passed through the glowing portal and appeared in front of me. At that time, I directly told Colbert-sensei, saying that I absolutely wouldn't let a commoner be my familiar. I also beat you with a whip, told you to sleep on straw, and didn't give you food... I did a lot of bad things to you."
Saying this, Louise deep brown eyes filled with tears.
"But... but you've always helped me, always protected me. When I was about to be squashed by Fouquet's Golem, or I was about to die by Wardes' hand, you always came for me. Trying to block Albion's 70,000-strong army alone, or when you clearly had the chance to return home, but you didn't hesitate to fight or get injured for my sake alone. But there was no way for me to be honest with you.
Tears flowed down Louise's cheeks.
"However, you've always been willing to stay with me, telling me that you like me. That you like this sour, tiny, uncute me. I truly, feel so happy...."
An inexplicable uneasiness emerged in Saito's heart.
What's happening, why is Louise mentioning this now...?
"Louise, sorry, what you're saying, and what I want to say...."
"I already know."
"I also had the same dream as Saito, a dream from 6,000 years ago."
Saito was shocked.
The "Rune Dream" where Sasha killed Brimir, Louise also saw it...?
But, no, think carefully... In fact, it wouldn't be unexpected. Previously, Saito and Louise have shared visions and memories many times.
"Then, you already know the true face of the 'Holy Land'...."
"Well, as long as you use the 'Void' to level the 'Holy Land', you can save Halkeginia."
Louise nodded, with a trembling voice.
"But... that isn't enough."
"...? What are you saying...?"
"Because, there's... no way to save you."
The dam holding back Louise's tears finally broke, and they fell.
"Louise... Louise, you...."
This confused Saito. What was Louise thinking about....
"So, Saito... I thought, of the best way."
Then, Louise began to chant the "Void" spell.
The ball of light overhead swelled, and the runes on Saito's chest began flicker violently.
"This, is the only way to save Saito."
The wand in Louise's hand pointed at the "Door" to the US military base.
"... Loui... se... ah...."
The "Lífþrasir" runes consumed Saito's life, and strengthened the power of the "Void". Like the pain of life itself burning, Saito, in pain, can't help but grab his chest, and roll on the ground.
"The Pope and the 'Founder's Prayer Book' told me, that as long as we conquer the 'Holy Land' and fulfill the Founder's desire, the power of the 'Void' will disappear from the world... and Saito's life can be saved."
The light ball of "Life" expanded further.
The breathless Saito was reluctant to say anything.
That wasn't to save Halkeginia.
In order to save Saito's life, Louise intended to destroy the "Earth"....
"You can't... Loui... se... Louise...!"
Saito, tightly gripping Derflinger, struggled to stand up.
The final image of the Founder Brimir, seen in the dream of 6,000 years ago, reemerged in his mind.
He remembered before his death, the sigh filled with regret and anguish.
At this moment, in Saito's heart, protecting the Earth became less important.
"Absolutely not like this... I'll never let Louise taste such sorrowful pain...!"
"Stop it now----!"
With the last of his strength, Saito pulled out Derflinger. Stepping forward, trying to stop Louise, who is casting "Life", at that moment....
Louise dropped her wand and turned to face Saito.
Saito's head suddenly went blank.
Louise turned, with a smile on her face....
Her body suddenly jumped... rushing towards Saito.
Because her action was too natural, too inconspicuous, Saito was too late to react.
The next moment, Derflinger's blade that was held in Saito's hand easily penetrated Louise's chest.
That froze Saito on the spot.
"... This, God, ah... Ahhhhhhhh...."
With his eyes wide open, he stood there, dumbstruck.
It was hard to believe that the situation in front of him was reality.
He watched as the pure white priestess outfit Louise worn, gradually was tainted red.
"Like this, is good... with this, everything will be..."
Louise, with her face losing color, showed a strong smile.
"This way, I can save your life... Although I couldn't fulfill the promise that we two would die together... I have realized another promise... to you, to your former world...."
Then, Louise leaned on Saito's chest.
"See, the 'Door' will disappear soon. Mo-move quickly... this is the last chance for you to return to your original world...."
"Because you're a boy, you must return to the world you were born in... but I'm a girl. Even though I couldn't be a saintess, dying as your lover, I'm so happy...."
Louise, her face revealing a smile, said her final words.
"... I love you, Saito. I love you."
At that moment, the power of the 'Void' disappeared from the world.
- In case you've forgotten, one mail is one metre.
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