Zero no Tsukaima:Volume3 Chapter3 - MTL
|This text is a machine translation (MTL).
Be warned that the degree of translation error may be higher than usual.
This page was created before the updated (July 19, 2015) MTL guidelines and has not been reviewed.
Chapter Three: The Founder's Prayer Book
Sir Osmond was staring at the book the palace had delivered and absent-mindedly twirled his beard. The cover, sheathed in old leather, was so worn out that it looked like it would tear from a single touch. The book's pages had a tawny color to them.
While muttering, Sir Osmond turned a page. Nothing was written on it. There were about three hundred pages in the book and they were all blank.
"‘The Founder's Prayer Book’ has always been handed down through the Tristain royal family…"
Six thousand years ago, Founder Brimir offered a prayer to God and wrote down his spells using magical runes as letters.
“Isn't this a fake?”
Sir Osmond looked suspiciously at the book. Fakes… they're all too common with ‘legendary’ artifacts. Apparently, only one ‘Founder's Prayer Book’ exists in the world. Rich nobles, temple priests, and royal families of all countries... everybody claims to have the real ‘Founder's Prayer Book’. But regardless of each one's authenticity, all of them were collected in the library as genuine articles.
“But if it is a fake, it's an awful one. All of the characters are gone.”
Sir Osmond had seen the‘Founder's Prayer Book’ several times before in numerous occasions. The runes always seemed to leap from the pages. However, he never saw a book with no characters like this one. Could it be genuine?
At that moment he heard someone knocking. I should hire a secretary Sir Osmond thought as he invited the guest into the room.
“It’s not locked. Please, come in.”
The door opened and a slender girl stepped in. She had pink-blonde hair and big, reddish-brown eyes. It was Louise.
“I heard you called for me, so…” Louise said.
Sir Osmond stood up and spread his hands, welcoming the petite visitor.
He wanted to thank Louise for her efforts from the other day,
“Oh, Miss Vallière. Have you rested after the tiresome journey? Your great efforts ensured the alliance's safety and prevented a crisis in Tristain.”
Sir Osmond said in a soft voice.
“And, next month in Germania, there will finally be a wedding ceremony held for the princess and Germania’s emperor. It's all thanks to you. Be proud of yourself.”
After hearing this, Louise's spirit momentarily faltered. Her childhood friend Henrietta was going to be used as a political tool and marry Germania’s emperor without love. Even though there was no other solution for the alliance, Louise chest tightened whenever she recalled the sad smile on Henrietta’s lips.
Louise silently bowed. Sir Osmond became silent for a while and watched Louise. Then, remembering that he had the ‘Founder's Prayer Book’ in his hands, he held it out for Louise.
Louise looked at the book with suspicion.
“The Founder's Prayer Book.”
“The Founder's Prayer Book? This?”
It was given to the royal family. And it's a legendary book. But why does Sir Osmond have it?
“According to tradition in Tristain’s royal family, when a royal family member is wed, one aristocrat is chosen to take the role of the bridesmaid. Following the imperial edict, the selected bridesmaid is traditionally given the ‘Founder’s Prayer Book'.”
Louise, who wasn’t aware of such detailed palace etiquette, replied blankly.
“And the princess has chosen Miss Vallière to be that bridesmaid.”
“That's right. The shrine maiden must also come up with a written edict when receiving the‘Founder’s Prayer Book’”
"A...ah! I must think of an edict?"
“Indeed. Of course, there is still certain palace etiquette that you need to learn… traditions can be rather bothersome. However, Miss Vallière, the princess is looking forward to it. This is a great honor. So follow the palace regulations and write the edict, because something like this happens only once in a lifetime.”
Henrietta, my childhood friend, chose me to be her bridesmaid. Louise firmly looked up.
“I understand. I will obey respectfully.”
Louise accepted the ‘Founder’s Prayer Book’ from Sir Osmond’s hands.
Sir Osmond smiled, looking at Louise.
“You are willing to undertake it. Good, good. The Princess will be pleased.”
That evening, Saito was preparing a bath. Certainly, Tristain Magic Academy had a bathhouse. It was a Roman style bathhouse lined with marble. It had a huge swimming pool filled with perfume mixed in hot water, and it was said to feel quite heavenly. Of course, Saito could not enter; only nobles were allowed to use it.
The commoners' bathhouse, compared to the nobles' bathhouse, was rather shabby. The joint bathhouse for commoners looked like a hovel. It was placed on stones with fire burning underneath, the strong smell of sweat and the tightly pressed bodies only made one sweat more.
One day in that bathhouse was enough to make Saito disgusted. Saito, who was raised in Japan, set up a bath using a kettle filled to the brim with hot water. The sauna was just too unsatisfying.
Bothered, Saito asked Marteau, the head chef, for a big old kettle. He burned firewood below the kettle to heat the water, placed the wooden lid at the bottom of the kettle for him to stand on and voila! A hot water bath was created.
Saito made his personal bath in the Vestri Courtyard’s nook. It was convenient since people did not come often to this courtyard.
The day was coming to an end and the two moons appeared, shining faintly. Once the water was hot enough, Saito quickly threw off his clothes and sank into the big kettle.
“Aah... the water is nice and hot.”
He put a towel on his head and started humming a melody.
Derflinger, who was leaning against the wall of the kettle, called out to Saito:
“Does it feel good?”
“By the way, partner, why didn’t you take advantage of the young mistress a while ago?"
Saito threw Derflinger a tepid glance.
“Don’t look at me like that. It feels bad, partner.”
“Hey, legendary sword.”
“Indeed I am a legendary sword. What is it?”
“During the past six thousand years, did you find someone important to you to protect?”
Derflinger shook lightly.
“I do not protect. It is the one that holds me that protects.”
“You poor thing…” Saito said from the bottom of his heart in a sympathetic voice.
“Poor, you say? On the contrary, it is quite comfortable.”
“Is that so? By the way, what things do you remember about this ‘Gandálfr’? How great was he, and what kind of things did he do?” Saito, showing his inborn curiosity, asked Derflinger.
“It was a long time ago. Besides, partner, someone is coming.”
A shadow appeared in the moonlight.
“Who is it?”
Saito’s call startled the shadow. It dropped something that it was carrying with a clatter. Under the moonlight, one could hear the sound of a breaking pot.
“Waaah, it broke… I'll be scolded again… sniff”
From that voice, Saito was able to recognize the person hidden in the darkness.
Illuminated by the moonlight, the figure of a housemaid working in the Alviss Dining Hall - Siesta - appeared. She had just finished her work and, although she was still wearing her usual maid clothes, the kachusha covering her head was now gone. Her loose shoulder-length black hair shone glossily in the moonlight.
Siesta squatted down to pick up the pot that she had dropped earlier.
“W-what are you doing here?”
Saito’s call made Siesta turn around.
“Uhmmm... today I was able to get some really tasty goods and I wanted Saito to try it! I would have given it to you in the kitchen, but you didn’t come today! Waah!” Siesta said in panic.
Indeed, there was a tray lying next to Siesta, an overturned teapot, and some cups. Surprised by the sudden call, it seemed like Siesta had dropped one cup.
“A treat?” Saito asked, still submerged in the bath.
Suddenly Siesta became aware of Saito’s nudity and, for a moment, averted her eyes in shame.
“That’s right. Some unusual goods came from the east town ‘Rub' al Khali’ today: Tea.”
Tea was an extremely rare commodity. Siesta poured some from a teapot into a cup that was not broken and gave it to Saito.
Saito lifted it to his lips. The sweet aroma of tea tickled his nostrils. And when it was in his mouth, it tasted like Japanese green tea.
Saito suddenly felt overwhelmed with nostalgia. Aah, Japan. Dear mother country. In his big kettle bath, Saito spontaneously wiped the corners of his eyes.
“W-what’s the matter! Are you alright?”
Siesta bent over the edge of the kettle.
“N-no, I just felt nostalgic for a moment. I’m alright. Yeah.”
After saying that, Saito brought the cup back to his mouth. Though a tea and a bath made a strange combination, they both soaked Saito with longing.
“Do you miss it? That’s right, Saito-san comes from the east.”
Siesta flashed a shy smile.
“I... I probably feel that way. However, did you know that I was here?"
Saito’s words made Siesta blush.
“T-that’s, that’s. I’m just here because I saw you going this way with hot water and…”
Saito’s voice saying that was blank. Siesta hastily shook her head.
“N-no, I didn’t mean it that way!”
Flustered, Siesta tripped over the edge of the kettle and with a loud splash, fell into the kettle.
Siesta screamed, but her shriek was suppressed by the hot water inside the iron kettle.
“Are you alright?”
Saito asked in blank surprise.
“I-I’m alright… Wah, but I am soaked now…”
Siesta stuck her wet head out of the hot water.
The poor girl’s housemaid clothes were sodden. And when she became aware of Saito’s naked state, a furious blush spread on her face.
“S-sorry! Even though the bath is on a stove, it is still possible to fall in!”
“N-no, I’m sorry!”
Although she was apologizing, Siesta didn’t try to get out of the bath. Saito then decided to take a defiant attitude as well. He pretended in a somewhat manly manner that it was not big deal she was not getting out.
At such times, he tried to act in a calm and collected manner. Was it manly? Saito thought so. Which meant that Saito was a fool as well.
Siesta laughed still soaking with her maid clothes inside the big kettle. Though it wasn’t a laughable situation, she still laughed.
Perhaps his size was a laughingstock? Though it was dark and no one could see below the surface of hot water, Saito suddenly felt insecure.
“Nothing, but, it feels good. Is this how you bathe in Saito-san’s country?"
Feeling relieved, Saito answered.
“That’s right. Though, it is unusual to get in while wearing clothes."
“Ara? Is that so? Yet, if you think about it, that must be true. Well then, I’ll take them off.”
Pop-eyed Saito asked Siesta.
“What did you say just now?”
Siesta, who is usually hesitant and shy, for some reason became bold. Slightly biting her lips she looked at Saito in a determined way.
“I said, I’ll take them off.”
“But Siesta? I am a man…”
Saito said dumbfounded.
“That’s alright. I know that Saito-san is not a person who would hurt me.”
Saito nodded, though he hadn’t heard a single word.
“No, oh my, don’t do such a thing…”
“But I also want to use this ‘Bath’ properly. It is nice.”
And, eh? Saito stared as Siesta rose from the hot water and started taking off her soaked clothes. Saito turned his eyes away in panic.
“S-stop it! Siesta! Wait a moment! This is awkward!"
However, Saito’s ‘Stop’ sounded weak, betraying his real thoughts.
“B-but I am dripping wet… The Chief would be mad if I return like this to the room. I think I should dry my clothes off on the fire first.”
Although she was usually obedient, Siesta could be really bold when she decided to.
The buttons of the blouse and the hook of the skirt were unfastened in a flash. It felt good taking off wet clothes.
Siesta took off her housemaid uniform and underwear and left them to dry on the firewood, close to the fire. After that, she stepped into the hot water again. Saito with the corner of his eyes watched the submerging Siesta’s legs. He had never seen Siesta’s bare legs, as they were always hidden behind the skirt. They were white and healthy. Aah, if only he could turn his face that way, he would be able to worship her entire body.
“Uwaa! It feels good! Sharing a bath this way, soaking in the hot water really does feel good! It feels like taking a noble’s bath. I am so jealous, but I can make it myself, right? Saito you are really smart.”
Saito answered, his face still turned away. It felt as if the hot water suddenly turned hotter. Next to him was a naked girl. In that sort of situation, Saito felt dazed and almost fainted. Siesta said with a shy smile on her lips.
“Please don’t be so shy. I’m not shy as well. It is all right to turn this way. Look, my breasts are hidden behind my arms… besides it’s so dark that you cannot see through the water anyway, so stay calm.”
Saito, feeling half-confused, half-happy, turned around.
Siesta was sitting right before Saito, submerged in the hot water. Because it was dark, you couldn’t clearly see the body behind the surface of the water. He was somewhat relieved.
Yet, Saito took a deep breath.
In the darkness, Siesta's wet black hair was glittering fascinatingly.
From a close look one could see that Siesta was actually a very lovely girl. He hadn’t noticed until now, but she was different from Louise or Henrietta, she was like the charm of a lovely flower, freely blossoming in the field. Her big dark eyes, friendly nature and tiny nose were charming and pretty.
“Hey, Saito, what kind of place is your country?”
“Yes, please tell me about it.”
Siesta innocently bent forward listening. Ah, when bending forward so much one could see, ah, aah… Saito fell backwards in panic.
“W-well! There’s only one moon, there are no magicians, that’s why they use switches to turn the light off, and they fly in the sky with planes…”
Because Saito was so incoherent, Siesta puffed her cheeks.
“Stop it. One moon, no wizards, are you making fun of me? Don’t look down on me just because I’m a village girl.”
“I-I’m not making fun of you!”
Saito thought that even if he told her the truth it would only confuse her. After all, the only ones that knew at the moment that Saito was from a different world were Louise, Sir Osmond and Henrietta.
“Well then, tell me the truth.”
Siesta looked up into Saito’s eyes. Siesta’s black hair and dark eyes wistfully reminded Saito of a girl from Japan. Of course, the face was different from a Japanese. However, a simple, nostalgic feeling still shot through Saito, making him flurry.
“R-right… We have different eating habits.”
Saito started talking about the distant Japan. Starry eyed Siesta listened attentively to his story.
Though it might have felt like a vapid talk, Siesta was eagerly catching every single word. And before they realized it, Saito and Siesta lost any track of time, as he told her about his hometown.
After some time passed, Siesta stood up covering her breasts. Saito hastily turned his eyes away. However, for one moment, he still saw Siesta’s breasts through a gap of her arms, and felt his nose bleed. Without a word, a thin trickle rolled down. Holding his nose, Saito looked the other way, while Siesta put on her now dry clothes and bowed her head thanking him.
“Thank you. It was very fun. This bath was great, and Saito-san’s story was amazing as well.”
Siesta said gladly.
“Can I hear it again sometime?”
After that, Siesta cast her eyes down with a blush, and shyly fiddled with her fingers.
“Well, err? The talk and the bath were great, but you were the most amazing…”
But Siesta ran away in tiny steps.
Such a thing happening with this girl from a foreign world felt like a joke to Saito, so he dazed off and snuggled in the big iron kettle.
After the bath, he returned to Louise’s room and found Louise doing something on the bed. Once she saw Saito, she hid a book in panic. It was an old, big book.
Why? Though, he didn’t worry so much about it since she was Louise. He might not have understood even if she told him about it. Besides Saito’s head was filled with the sight of Siesta’s body. What he saw through the gap of her hands was firmly imprinted in Saito’s mind.
Saito approached the laundry basket, while shaking off the worldly thoughts. He decided to start doing laundry right away. He planned on using the remaining bath’s hot water, so his fingers would not be cold.
However, the basket was empty.
“Louise, where’s the laundry?”
When Saito asked, Louise shook her head.
And then Saito saw Louise. "Huh!?" He was shocked. Louise was wearing his nylon parka that he took off and left in the room before going to take a bath. Whenever Saito went to a public bath, he always took off that nylon parka and went there wearing only his T-shirt, because, right after stepping out of the bath, his body always felt too hot.
Louise was probably wearing it right over her underwear. Because the sleeves were too long and waist was too loose, it made it look like some weird dress.
“You, why are you wearing my best suit?!”
Hearing Saito, Louise buried her mouth behind his nylon parka. Louise, whose cheeks blushed for some reason, said.
“Because…after doing the laundry, I had nothing left to wear.”
“Nonsense! It’s full!”
Saito pointed to the closet. There were a lot of Louise’s clothes. Because Louise was a noble, she had many expensive dresses to choose from.
“Still, I wanted to try something else on.”
Louise, sitting straight on the bed, said in a sulky tone.
“Couldn’t you wear these casual clothes?”
Saito took a plain dress in his hands.
“I don’t want to wear something like that!”
“But these are my only clothes. Return them.”
However, Louise didn't try to take it off. On the contrary, she rolled sheets around her fingers.
“Well it is light and fits nicely. What is it made of?”
Indeed. Saito had to agree that it really fitted her rather nicely. Reluctantly, he decided to give up. In the room it was not cold, even if wearing only a single T-shirt.
“That’s a fabric from my world. It is made from oil.”
“The plankton that is collected at the bottom of the sea is stored for years, and later becomes oil.”
Louise stared blankly at him, she looked like a child parroting Saito’s words. Her expression was unreadable as half of her face was hidden behind Saito’s parka. For a moment Saito thought that this Louise looked irresistibly cute.
Furthermore, Louise even washed for him. It was impossible. Saito became scared somehow. Up 'till now, such actions were unimaginable for Louise.
Her cheeks were red. Saito was concerned so he decided to check to make sure she wasn't ill and had a fever.
Louise got startled when Saito approached her. She trembled, and… turned away.
Trying not to think how she must hate this, Saito grabbed Louise’s shoulders and brought his forehead close to her. Louise’s body stiffened but she didn’t fight and quietly closed her eyes.
Just as I thought, her body condition must be really bad, Saito thought.
“It seems you have a fever.”
When Saito pulled his forehead away from hers, Louise for some reason clenched her fist in tightly.
“What is it?” he asked, as Louise turned away from him and after some quiet rustling snuggled under the covers.
“Hey,” Saito poked.
“Sleep,” Louise answered and became silent again.
Wow, the fever must have eased up, Saito thought as he crawled into his pile of hay.
It was quiet for a moment and then a pillow flew at him.
“Bring back the pillow I just threw. Didn’t I tell you to sleep in the bed from now on? Idiot.”
Louise’s sulky voice was heard.
He just couldn’t understand Louise’s mood, whether it was gentle or saucy as usual. What does it matter?, Saito thought as he slipped into Louise’s bed.
Though Louise was stirring restlessly in her futon, she soon quieted down.
Now he could think about how the day passed. Anyway, now his head was filled with Siesta. Siesta’s parting words were repeated in his head again.
Siesta certainly said “The most amazing was you…”.
Was it a confession? No, was she making fun? That’s not so. Am I popular? He wasn’t popular either. The only one who showed interest was Kirche, but it was surely because I am convenient.
Aah, but, Siesta was cute. Although Louise was cute, too, Siesta had a completely different allure.
Naive, simple, but honest. Unlike Kirche, she looked wonderful when taking her clothes off. Ghaah. T-that’s right. Nice. W-w-w-what. Damn. Beaten. I’m beaten.
For something that he hadn’t considered much until that moment, the impact was huge. Fascinated by the girl, Saito started to think of the ways to return back to earth.
He would find it surely, even if he hadn’t even the slightest clue how.
Then, feeling dizzy, he started thinking about Louise. He loved Louise. But, because Louise is a noble she would never think of me that way. Besides I decided to protect her. This way I wouldn’t be that far from a lover.
Still, to be lovers one would need to sway a girl… No, even Siesta might be only having fun. Aah, I guess that’s how it is.
Becoming sleepy while thinking about various things, Saito fell into the happy sensations of the dream world.
Outside Louise’s room window, Tabitha’s Sylphid was floating. On top of which, as usual, Kirche's and Tabitha’s figures were sitting. Tabitha was reading a book in the moonlight. Kirche was staring into Louise’s room from the crevice of the window.
“After all, it is not looking good.”
She remembered the blush on Louise’s face as she cuddled with Saito on the back of the dragon, returning from Albion. Louise seemed to not be her usual self.
“Really, he doesn’t treat me seriously? Every time I approach him, I get rejected, it makes me worried against my will.”
Until now, there was no man who would refuse courting her. It was Kirche’s pride. Truly, Kirche felt forgotten like an inconvenient thing.
Kirche was irritated. A little while ago, he even bathed with a commoner's daughter. She was ignored and two-timed. Kirche’s pride was shaken. She was defeated by Louise, she was defeated by a commoner girl, this made her name of “Ardent” cry. She had to plunder Saito from Louise, by any means possible. Snatching away La Valliere’s lovers was an old Zerbst tradition.
“Yes, though plotting isn’t my specialty, I can still think of some strategy. Right, Tabitha?”
Tabitha shut a book, and pointed at Kirche.
Kirche blushed. And then she shook her head at Tabitha’s words.
“D-don’t say that! I’m not jealous! I cannot feel jealousy! A game! This is just a game of love!”
Nevertheless Tabitha was not convinced. She repeated the same word again.
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