Zero no Tsukaima:Volume22 Chapter 7
Chapter 7: A Wavering Heart
Tiffania was deeply dismayed in the VIP room prepared for her aboard the flagship of the Romalian fleet, "St. Mark". In order to take care of the injured Fatima, when she arrived on the Romalian ship, she was immediately surrounded, and half-forced by the Templars into here.
Of course, even if Tiffania was on the "Ostland", she can only surrender as long as the other party held Fatima as a hostage.
The room assigned to Tiffania is fully furnish, and quite stylish. But they confiscated her wand to prevent Tiffania from using magic. She couldn't leave the room without permission, which was essentially house arrest.
"What should I do now?"
Sitting on the bed, Tiffania stared at the ring on her right hand that was left to her by her mother. The stone previously set on the ring was the Spirit Stone of Water, and now only the setting is left. Previously, she used up the Spirit Stone of Water, in order to treat Saito's life threatening wounds.
An unspeakable uneasy had lingered in her heart for a long time.
A war could break out with Saito's world... and as a bearer of the void, she could become an accomplice.
"Do I have to do such a terrible thing...?"
Tiffania tightly clasped her hands.
Let the "Four of Four" chant the "The Founder's Void". Once chanted, Saito's world would be littered with corpses. However, if they didn't do this, the "Wind Stones" going out of control would lead to the deaths of many Halkeginian people. Like the Pope's warning, mankind and Elves would fight bloody war after bloody war in order to fight for the remaining land.
At that time, the first sacrifice would be the orphans, like those that Tiffania took care of, those who are weak.
"Saito, I... what should I do?"
With her eyes close, Tiffania quietly prayed.
Just saying his name, she felt gut-wrenching pain.
Whenever, without regard for the threat to his own life, he sacrificed himself to save me. Even when I had lost my home, when I simply wanted to die, he would willingly become my home.
Originally I had already given up on it, but he was my first love. But I absolutely cannot love him. Because Saito already has a lover he treasures, and that lover is also Tiffania's most important friend. The two have conclude that they can't allow a third person to intervene, and their link's strength is unmatched.
After falling in love, was the first time I understood my mother's feelings.
Presumably, mama had long known. Exactly how sinful it is for an Elf to fall in love with a human... but mother still fell in love with a human.
I want to see Saito... but Saito is now a prisoner of the Romalian army, and is locked away in a distant Elven prison....
As Tiffania was staring off in the distance, and whispered uneasily... the sound of a knock came from the door.
"....Who is it?"
"It's me, Tiffa."
Tiffania immediately stood up, and walked to the door.
Opening the door, she saw Louise with a depressed and frustrated expression.
"Oh, Louise... I was worried about you."
"I'm fine. You haven't been treated roughly by them, have you Tiffa?"
The two immediately hugged each other.
"Louise, what should we do now? We can't go back to everybody, and even Saito has been captured...."
Tiffania spoke in this way,
Louise shook her head slightly, and decisively said.
"Soon, everything will be over."
Louise's tone made Tiffania feel a little wrong
...Over? What exactly will be over?"
While Tiffania was feeling surprised... Louise's expression seemed like she'd come to some kind of decision and said.
"This, Tiffa... I have one thing, I want to ask you."
After nodding her head, Louise said.
"I hope that you can use your magic again, and eliminate the memory of Saito from my mind."
"...What did you say?"
This request rendered Tiffania speechless.
"What is going on, Louise, Why do you want to say this!"
Tiffania, who rarely showed strong emotion, grabbed Louise's shoulders. It was hard to believe that Louise would say this.
"...It doesn't matter."
"I want to forget everything about Saito. Because... because there's no way that I can face Saito again, so...."
Louise's voice trembled with her eyes full of tears.
"Please Louise, calm down, what is going on?"
In the past, Louise was forced to ask Tiffania to eliminate the memories related to Saito. At the time, it was to escape from the sorrow of being separated from Saito. However, the Louise that lost the memories of Saito, simply became a different person.
Now she unexpectedly made the same request to eliminate memories.
This is definitely a very difficult matter, thought Tiffania.
"Otherwise, how could Louise ask this...?"
Wiping tears from her eyes, Louise said.
"I decided. In order to save Halkeginia, I will become a 'Saint'."
Hearing this, Tiffania suddenly paled.
"Louise, you mean... to destroy Saito's world?"
"Yes, in order to save everyone... to save this world, this is the only way."
Nodding her head, Louise's voice carried a tragic determination.
Hearing this, Tiffania was speechless, and at the same time understood that what Louise said was true. And she was troubled by that for a long time, suffered and suffered... and had finally arrived at this answer.
"Is this really okay, Louise? If you do this, Saito will...."
Even if the two are in love... No, exactly because they are lovers, there will definitely be no way to forgive the lover who destroyed their homeland.
"Yes, from now on I will never be able to meet Saito and show him my smiling face. However, I can't bear it all. Even now, my determination is constantly shaking... So in order to save the world, I hope that you can eliminate the memories of Saito."
Louise's sorrowful determination deeply touched Tiffania. Even from now on, she will never see Saito's face... She still wants to save Halkeginia?"
"No, not like this Louise! If you do this, you won't be saved!"
Tiffania desperately shook her head.
"You are very considerate Tiffa. But I don't care anymore, really...."
"Please Louise, rethink this! There must be, there has to be another way!"
"No there is none.... I've desperately thought about it, but there's no way to save my most important person without sacrificing anybody."
Overflowing tears dripped off of Louise's chin.
That made Tiffania feel overwhelmed.
It seemed like Louise had made up her mind. No matter what she were to say, there definitely would be no way to change her opinion....
Troubled to the end... Tiffania slowly raised her head.
"I'm sorry, Louise. I can't agree to your request."
Then she resolutely decided and shook her head.
"Louise becoming unlike Louise is too sad, and I don't want to repeat the same mistake. And...."
Saying this, Tiffania tenderly embraced Louise's shoulders.
"Even if you use 'Void' magic, there's no way to eliminate your thoughts about Saito, right?"
Tiffania's word made Louise's eyes open wide in shock.
Saying this, Louise bit her lip.
"Sorry for the unreasonable request. I'm sorry, Tiffa."
After wiping the tears from her eyes, Louise bowed her head, and immediately walked away.
"Wait a moment, Louise...."
Just when Tiffania was about to pursue her,
"Don't move, you can't go."
The guards in the hallway blocked her.
In desperation, Tiffania could only stare at the gradually departing back of Louise.
Just after Louise left... Tiffania idled about for a while
Numerous thoughts were stirring in her mind, and her mind was in chaos.
Unexpectedly, Louise wanted to destroy Saito's homeland....
To save Halkeginia on the verge of crisis, perhaps that was the only way.
However, it was reasonable to say that Louise originally opposed Halkeginia seizing the land of the Elves.
What was she really doing...?
It couldn't be that she was brainwashed by some magic or medicine, to obediently follow Romalia?
However, from her current appearance, the likelihood of that was negligible. If she was truly brainwashed, it would be impossible for Louise to ask her to "eliminate my memories of Saito".
"Louise's heart is very tormented...."
Thinking of Louise's tragic expression, Tiffania's heart didn't feel well.
After quietly closing her eyes, Tiffania thought.
What exactly can I do for Louise...?
At this time, if it was Saito, what would he do...?
Right, if it's Saito... maybe he can persuade Louise. No, the only person who is able to persuade Louise now is Saito.
However... Saito is currently locked up in a distant Elven prison.
The Pope must be deliberately separating these two....
"There's no way to ask Saito now...."
Just as Tiffania's long ears hung down in depression.
"Ms. Westwood, I've brought new sheets and a meal."
The voice of a maid came from outside the door, interrupting Tiffania's thinking.
Opening the door, she saw an elderly woman enter the room holding sheets.
"Thank you, but it doesn't matter, you don't need to look after me."
"We can't do that, you're the honorable guest of the Pope."
The maid leaned close to Tiffania's face.
As this movement cause Tiffania to furrow her brow,
"It's me Tiffania."
Tiffania saw the appearance of the maid disappear like it melted, and another face was revealed underneath.
Tiffania shouted in surprise. It turned out that the maid was Matilda, the one she looked up to as her big sister.
"How did you get her?"
Tiffania ask, with her eyes wide open.
"Really, how could you say this? I heard that you were taken to a Romalian ship, and I came because I was worried about your safety."
Matilda... Fouquet "The Crumbling Earth" shrugged.
Tiffania, who tightly clung to Matilda, couldn't help but shed tears.
Before her nerves were really tense, then meeting someone she truly trusted, all the tension relaxed in a moment.
Tenderly stroking Tiffania's head, Fouquet said.
"Although I really want to take you away from here immediately, but after all, we're on the sea. And we're surrounded by the Romalian fleet... As strong as I am, I need to prepare a little, so let's be patient."
"Well, I have no issue...."
Having said that, Tiffania suddenly had a thought flash in her mind.
...Escape from here?
"This, Matilda-nee... I have something I want to ask you."
Fouquet frowned in surprise.
"What's up? It's rare for you to actually take the initiative and ask me something."
Returning to the room arranged for by Romalia, Louise directly plopped onto the bed.
She buried her face in the pillow and held it tightly.
Thinking about her embarrassment and stupidity, she felt her cheeks get hot.
What Tiffa said was right. Even if I use Void magic, I can't forget Saito....
In the end, she just wanted to escape. In order to alleviate some of the guilty feelings of destroying Saito's world... she could only rely on Tiffania's magic.
I truly am a coward... Louise laughed at herself in her heart.
"I will have to bear this sin for the rest of my life...."
Staring at the "Water Ruby" set on her hand.
Thinking of the terrible action she was about the take, Louise's chest appeared to ache from despair.
"Saito, what should I do...?"
In fact, right now she wanted to immediate fly to the arms of her lover.
Admit everything to Saito, commit everything of hers to Saito.
But she can't do it herself. If Louise were to tell the truth, Saito will most likely choose self-sacrifice first.
"Why... why me?"
Louise sobbed, with her head buried in her pillow.
Why was I chosen to be a "Bearer of the Void"...?
I don't need any legendary power at all, I just want to awaken to the normal four-system magic. Like mom's wind system, or dad's water system... no, it doesn't matter if I don't use magic. No matter how despised I am by others, I just want to continue to be Louise the "Zero".
"Founder, why did you give me this power...?"
After sobbing in the pillow for a while... the sound of the door opening came.
"Ms. Vallière, I brought you a change of clothes."
Siesta opened the door herself, and walked in.
Unexpectedly, Siesta actually brought baggage, and approached the Romalian fleet by boat. Then she declared that she was Ms. Vallière's maid. While arguing with the Romalian soldiers, Louise, who was passing by, discovered and protected her. Regarding the enigmatic actions that Siesta took from time to time, Louise was amazed, yet steamrolled over by her.
"Ex-excuse me, how do you just walk in without permission."
Louise couldn't help but complain as she got up from the bed, but Siesta didn't hesitate to walk into the room, and hand off the pajamas to Louise.
"It's miserable to cry, Ms. Vallière. It truly ruins your cute looks."
"Le-leave me alone."
Louise promptly rubbed her eyes.
"How long will you stay here? It's almost time for you to return to Mr. Colbert's side."
"Never. I want to stay next to Ms. Vallière."
Siesta said decisively.
"I just told you to go back soon."
Once Siesta had shown that attitude, she would definitely not move. Louise, who knew that, sighed and raised her hands in surrender.
With a smile showing on Siesta's face, she sat down next to Louise to help her.
"Ms. Vallière, why are you crying?"
"Wh-what crying, you're talking nonsense...."
"Don't be reluctant. Come on, or you'll be laughed at by Saito."
Just as Siesta took out a handkerchief to wipe Louise's face, tears suddenly flowed from Louise's eyes.
"Wha, wh-what is it, Ms. Vallière!?"
Upon hearing Saito's name, the originally suppressed feelings burst out again.
The miserable Louise broke down in tears.
"Don't, don't cry now... come on."
Siesta caressed Louise's back. But Louise's crying didn't stop, and it got louder and louder.
This made Siesta feel overwhelmed.
"Wh-what should I do... seeing Ms. Vallière cry, always makes me feel sad."
Not knowing why, even Siesta started to cry.
Just like this, the two of them cried until they were too tired to make a sound.
Waiting until when Louise finally stopped crying....
Siesta, who didn't ask a thing, said, "I'll come again," and left the room. Possibly waiting for Louise to take the initiative, her consideration was sweet.
But Louise didn't intend to tell anybody.
Whether it was Siesta, Tiffania, or even Henrietta....
"This pain must be borne by me alone...."
Standing up shakily, Louise took the Founder's Prayer Book from her cape.
Then, with a quivering hand, turned the pages of the prayer book.
The "Water Ruby" on her finger responded and a page was slightly illuminated.
That was a new page that was revealed with the help of the Pope.
Louise read the page repeatedly, and confirmed it over and over....
This record lists the three qualms... of the final familiar, "Lífþrasir". Because of its doomed fate, it had to give its life to complete the "Final Void". Apostles, if you desire to break that doomed fate, you must strive to recover the "Holy Land" captured by the infidels. For the sake of the your Magi comrades' incomplete ambitions, destroy the "Varyag" that are hostile to the gods. In this way, the "Void" will lose power and free the familiar from its fate....
That right, if it were to go like that, the power of the "Lífþrasir" would take the life of Saito.
Even if Louise insisted on not chanting "Void" magic, Saito would also be killed.
However, as long as the Founder's wish of recovering the "Holy Lands" is achieved... the "Void" would lose power and the familiar runes will be destroyed.
Recovering the "Holy Lands", was the only way to save Saito from death.
To save Halkeginia, was actually a lie.
The truth was that in order to save Saito's life, she had to launch the "Void".
Louise understood why the Pope was calm.
Because the Pope already knew that.
He also knew that Louise couldn't do anything to save Saito.
Moreover, he knew that Louise would promise to recover the "Holy Lands" in order to save Saito's life....
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