Zero no Tsukaima:Volume4 Chapter1
Chapter One: The Saint
On the Bourdonné Street in the town below the Tristain castle, a magnificent parade was being held in commemoration of their victory. The parade was led by Princess Henrietta’s chariot, which was pulled along by the legendary beasts known as unicorns. Renowned nobles in their chariots followed after her. Around them, the magical defence squad served as their bodyguards.
The narrow road was filled with spectators. People cheered as they watched from the windows and roofs of the buildings as the chariots passed by.
“Long live Princess Henrietta!”
“Long live Tristain!”
The crowd was extremely enthusiastic. Princess Henrietta had led the Tristain forces to victory at the Plains of Tarbes the other day against the Albion forces who had broken their treaty. Princess Henrietta, who had defeated the enemy which outnumbered them, was praised as a ‘saint’ and was as popular as it was possible.
After the parade was over, a coronation was awaiting Henrietta, in which she was to assume the throne. This was proposed by Cardinal Mazarini, with most of the court’s nobles and cabinet ministers agreeing.
The marriage of the prince of the neighboring country, Germania, with Henrietta was canceled, much to their disappointment. After all, they could not afford to be unyielding to a country that defeated the invading forces of Albion.
Of course, cancellation of the alliance was out of the question. Tristain was a strong country that Germania, who was frightened of the wrath of Albion, could not afford to be without.
In other words, Henrietta had gained her freedom through her own hands.
A party of the defeated Albion soldiers were watching the triumphant return in the corner of the plaza. They were the nobles of the Albion forces who were taken as prisoners. Even though they were prisoners, they were treated fairly well. Their wands were confiscated, but they were not tied up, and could freely stand. Guards were placed around them, but none of them were thinking of escaping. When nobles are captured as prisoners, they undergo an oath. If they were to break that oath, then their honour and name would turn into ashes. For nobles, who valued honour very highly, it was equivalent to death.
Within that party of people, there was a scorched man with a bold face. It was Sir Bowood, who was the captain of the Lexington warship, which Louise sunk by engulfing it in flames with her Void magic. He nudged at the noble beside him and spoke to him.
“Look Horatio, It’s the ‘saint’ who defeated us”
The noble called Horatio turned his fat figure and replied.
“Hm… There hasn’t been an enthronement of a princess in Halkeginia before. Even though they defeated us, the war still isn’t over. Furthermore, isn’t she a bit young?”
“Horatio, you should study some history. There’s been one instance in Gallia and two in Tristain where the princess has been enthroned.”
Horatio scratched his head.
“History you say? If so, we’re just a ribbon decorating the first page of Saint Henrietta’s brillant history. That light! Not only did it annihilate my ship but yours as well!”
Bowood nodded. That ball of light which shone above the Lexington expanded to a huge size in just a matter of seconds. Not only did it cause the fleet to be engulfed in flames but it also destroyed the ‘wind stones’ on board the ships, causing them to sink towards the ground.
What was even more surprising, was that the light did not kill a single person. The light destroyed the fleet, but had no effect on the people. They managed to glide down onto the ground with what little control they had left. The flames did injure many people but there were no casualties.
“A miraculous light… I can’t believe it. I haven’t even heard or seen that kind of magic before. Our country has chosen a fearsome enemy.” Bowood whispered.
He called out to a soldier who was holding a large halberd.
“You. Yes, you.”
Raising his eyebrows the soldier approached Bowood.
“Did you call for me, Your Excellency?"
No matter if the person was an enemy or ally, nobles were to be treated with respect. The soldier waited for Bowood’s words in a polite manner.
“My subordinates aren’t locked up are they? Are they being fed properly?”
“The soldiers who were captured are being gathered and are being invited into the Tristain forces. There is compulsory labour imposed on them but most of them should be aspiring to join our forces. After all, it was a big victory. Don’t worry about their stomachs, Tristain is not such a poor country as to be considering whether or not to give prisoners food.”
“Here’s a cup to celebrate the ‘saint’s’ victory.”
The soldier laughed.
“Allow me to offer a cup to Your Excellency’s health.”
Feeling cheerful, Bowood whispered while he watched the soldier leave.
“If this annoying war ends and you go back home, what would you do, Horatio?”
“I’m going to retire from the army. I wouldn’t even mind if I gave up my wand, after seeing that light.”
Bowood laughed loudly.
“We think alike! I feel exactly the same”
A smile arose on Cardinal Mazarini’s face while he sat next to Henrietta. It was a smile that he had not shown for ten years, a smile without worry. Opening the carriage windows, he waved his hands in response to the deafening cheer of the crowd. He was glad that the two weights on his shoulders were lightened. Internal administration and diplomacy. He was considering leaving them to Henrietta and acting as an advisor himself.
Mazarini noticed that his new lord had a sad expression on her face. Tweaking his moustache, he asked her, “It seems that you are not feeling happy. I haven’t seen you cheerful since you’ve stepped in this carriage.”
“Why must I take the throne? Mother is here isn’t she?”
“She won’t even respond if we call her ‘Your Majesty the Queen.’ She said that she is not a king, merely the king’s wife and your mother, and she would definitely not accept the crown.”
“Why did my mother refuse to accept?”
A sad expression came over Mazarini’s face.
“The queen is still mourning. She still longs for your late father.”
“Then I’ll just be like my mother. The throne can remain empty. The coronation won’t proceed.”
“Don’t say such selfish things! Your coronation is something your mother has hoped for as well. Tristain cannot be a weak country right now. The nobles and citizens of Tristain, our allied countries as well, are hoping for you to take the throne.”
Henrietta sighed again. She looked at the wind ruby on her left ring finger. It was the ring which Saito had brought back to her, a memento of Wales’. The victory that had ascended her to the throne… was in a sense Wales’ victory. The ring had given Henrietta courage to face the enemy.
If mother left the throne empty because she was longing for father… then I want to do the same. I don’t want to become a queen.
But she could hear the crowd’s cheers. As if admonishing, Mazarini quietly whispered.
“The citizens are all hoping for the coronation. Your Excellency’s body is already something that is not yours.”
With a cough, he continued.
“I’ll explain the procedures of the coronation. So that you won’t make any mistakes.”
“It’s only wearing a crown… Why is it such a big fuss.”
“Don’t say such things. It’s a holy ritual. It’s a ritual where you bear the power bestowed by the founders and declare it to the world. The procedures are all a tradition.”
In an air of importance, Mazarini explained the procedures.
“…Then, when the ritual is finished, your excellency will approach the queen at the altar. You will state the written vow to the founders and the gods and your mother will place the crown on you. Then everyone in Halkeginia, including me, will be addressing you as ‘Your Majesty’.”
Pledging something that she didn’t really hold true in her heart… isn’t that blasphemy? Thought Henrietta.
I just can’t think of myself as queen. That victory… the victory at Tarbes that ascended me to the throne was not through my leadership, but by the abundant experience and wit of the generals and Mazarini. I was only leading, I didn’t do anything else. If Wales were alive right now, what would he say to me? Me, who’s been given the duty of rising to the apex of power…
My dear Wales.
The only person I have loved…
Before that or even after that, the only time I have truly vowed with the words ringing true with my heart has been that one time in the Ragdorian Lake. The great victory and the brilliance of the coronation did not lighten Henrietta’s heart from such thoughts.
She blankly stared at the parchment in her hands.
It was the report that had been delivered to Henrietta the other day. Recorded there was the interrogation of the prisoners done by a guard. There was something written about Saito’s Zero fighter shooting down the dragoons. A prisoner who had been a dragoon said that it flew with great agility and used powerful magic based attacks, shooting down his allies one by one. But, such a dragoon did not exist in the Tristain forces. Puzzled by this, the guard had investigated further in the matter. A report from the village of Tarbes continued. The ‘dragon’ the dragoon was using was in fact a magical item called the Dragon’s Raiment belonging to the Village of Tarbes. But it seems like it wasn’t a magical item, but instead an unknown machinery.
The one who was controlling it was the familiar of her friend, La Vallière. And… there was a slight hint of information regarding the light which destroyed the enemy fleet as well. That light had appeared near the flying machine. The guard had made quite a hypothesis, that La Vallière and her familiar were the source of that light. However, the guard seemed troubled whether to directly contact the two. The report ended with a request for further directions regarding the investigation.
The light which brought me victory.
The intense light that resembled the sun.
Even by thinking about the light her body grew warm.
“Was it you, Louise?” Whispered Henrietta quietly.
Meanwhile, in contrast to the excitement on Bourdonné street, the same old repetitive days continued on for the Academy of Magic. The headmaster of the academy, Osman, had praised the victory of the Kingdom’s forces at Tarbes, but other than that, nothing else had happened.
But then again, they were in a school, an environment that had no place for things like politics. Even in the midst of war, the students were off somewhere doing their own things. For the nobles of Halkeginia, war was something that occurred every year. There was always some quarrel somewhere in the world. And when things got more serious, there would be an uproar, but when the battles had settled, things would be like always.
Within this process, another little war had been set in motion in the quiet Vestri courtyard.
On a bench under the warm sun, Saito opened the package in his hands.
His face shone brightly.
“Wow! That’s great! A muffler!”
A blushing Siesta sat next to him.
“Well, um, what was it called… an aeroplane? It’s cold when you’re riding that right?”
It was three hours past noon. Since Siesta had something to give him, she had told him to go to the Vestri courtyard. And the present was a muffler. A muffler as white as snow. It was warm like Siesta’s soft skin.
“Yeah! It does get quite cold when I open the windshield.”
Saito wrapped it around his neck to try it on. It was the start of summer, but the skies were cold and all the more cold when the windshield was open. During takeoff and landing he needed to stretch his head outside of the windshield to check below him. It was different from the modern aeroplanes where they could do everything with the windshield closed.
On the white muffler, words were written with black knitting wool. At first they looked with letters from the alphabet but on closer inspection they were Halkeginian characters, quite different from the alphabet.
“What does this say?”
“Hm? Ah, you can’t read our words because you’re from another world. Um, your name is written there.”
Saito was moved. “Ah, so that’s how my name is written in this world’s characters” he thought while looking at it with fascination. Four characters were grouped together, which was probably pronounced “Saito”. Close to that group of characters was another group of six.
“How about this?”
“Eheh… that’s my name. Sorry, I couldn’t help myself. You don’t like it?”
“N-No, that's not it!”
Saito frantically shook his head.
“I’m really happy that you knit a muffler for me.”
It was the first time in his life that he had received a present from a girl. He remembered the tragedies that had happened every year. His birthday was on a national holiday so school was off. He hadn’t had a single girlfriend to congratulate him. Only once, did his mother give a watch to him, which broke the following day. On Valentine’s Day, there was actually one time where his seat was mixed up with the person’s next to him and a chocolate was placed in his desk.
“Who is it?! Who is it that likes me?! I’ll most likely like you as well!!” he shouted, dancing around in joy. An ordinary looking girl came up to him and said “Sorry, got the seats mixed up.” Embarrassed at his own excitement he ended up sulking in the toilets.
And so, receiving a present from a girl was enough to make him teary. The fact that it was hand made raised Siesta’s charm by 120%. The usual cute Siesta had been elevated to the status of an angel.
“But is it really alright to give this to me? It must have been a lot of work to knit this.” Saito said quietly.
“It’s ok. You know, when the Albion forces attacked I was so scared. But when I heard the battle had ended and came out of the forest, you had already landed with that aeroplane right?”
“I was really, really happy. Which is why I…”
The two found themselves blushing. Siesta had hugged Saito and kissed him on the cheek during that time.
The village people came out of the forest soon after. Many of them had been intently watching Saito defeat the enemy dragoons with his Zero fighter. They had praised Saito and Louise as heroes for crushing the enemies. Celebrations were held for three days and three nights, and both of them received treatment as fine as royalty. They had also restored Siesta’s grandfather’s honour, as they proved the Zero fighter could really fly.
During the feast, Siesta had diligently attended to Saito and had drawn closer to him. At this moment, her body was also leaning lightly against him.
Confused, Saito fiddled with the muffler around his neck.
He noticed something.
“Siesta, the muffler is quite long…”
“Hehe… that’s because it’s made for doing this.”
Siesta took the end of the muffler and wrapped it around her own neck. When she did that, the muffler’s length was just right.
“I-It’s made for two people?”
“Yep. You don’t like it?”
There was an incredible charm as Siesta looked into his eyes after saying that. It was as if she had the eyes of a loving puppy.
A muffler made for two… what are you, the perfect maid? A maid like you would be sentenced to death in Japan, y-y-you…
Saito’s thoughts had started to not make sense. Siesta’s maid-like manner had landed a critical hit in his mind.
Siesta launched another attack. Closing her eyes she pouted her lips and leaned towards him.
Saito gulped. His reaction would make him press his lips against hers. But… the memory of her father’s words during the banquet resurfaced in his mind. He had approached Saito when Siesta had left her seat for a while. He praised Saito as the hero of the village, as he had defeated the dragoons from Albion. His smiling face however quickly wore a much more sinister expression as he directed a bloodcurdling glare at Saito.
“You’re the saviour of this village, and the hero that protected Tristain from Albion. I love you for that. But…”
“Um, but what?”
“If you make my daughter cry, I will kill you."
Saito would never forget her father’s face as he said that. It was more daunting than orcs, dragoons, even Louise’s magic that destroyed the enemy fleet.
He couldn’t just carelessly make a move on Siesta. He was someone who had to return home after all… If he kissed her, then he would make Siesta sad. And if that happened, Siesta’s father would probably follow him to Earth and hunt him down. The terror that his face had emitted was menacing enough to stop him from laughing off the idea.
But, as Siesta’s lips approached even closer, his hesitation had started to feeble. Since Saito wasn’t moving any closer, it seemed Siesta was planning to close the distance between them herself. Grabbing Saito’s head, she daringly drew him in. Siesta was a girl who was unbelievably daring when she wanted to be. Saito couldn’t resist.
Ah, no…but if it’s only a kiss then… He thought as his body stiffened.
And with loud thud, Saito fainted from a large rock thrown at his head.
About 15 metres behind the bench where Siesta and Saito were seated, there was a gaping hole in the ground. In it was a girl catching her breath. It was none other than Louise.
Louise stamped her feet. Beside her was the large mole that had dug the hole, Verdandi, and the intelligent sword, Derflinger. After making Guiche’s mole dig the hole, Louise had hid in it, popping her head up to quietly watch over Saito and Siesta. She had brought Derflinger along since she had some things she wanted to ask him.
“What's with that familiar?!”
Grumbling, she hit the wall of the hole with her fist.
“Don’t die Saito!” could be heard from the bench as Siesta tended to Saito. Louise had thrown the rock that had hit Saito in the head. It was unforgivable to kiss another girl since he was her familiar.
“Hey, noble girl.” said Derflinger with an expressionless voice.
“What? Start remembering my name already.”
“Who cares about that? Moreover, has it become popular to dig holes to watch over familiars?”
“Why would it be popular?”
“Then why are you peeping from this hole?”
“If I’m seen I’m going to look bad.” Louise said while glaring at the sword.
“Then isn’t it better to just stop peeping at him? It’s okay to leave him to do whatever he likes right?”
“No it’s not okay. That idiot familiar, without even consulting me, would spend a whole day f-f-f-flirting with that girl.”
Louise’s voice had started to shake when she reached the word “flirting.” She was quite angry.
“I might even be the legendary ‘Void’ mage yet I can’t even find anyone to talk it over with. I was even going to find that useless, incompetent fool of a familiar of mine but he was off somewhere f-f-f-flir…”
“Don’t copy me!”
“But, wasn’t throwing a rock a bit too much? My partner could have even died.”
Louise crossed her arms while sitting in the hole.
“Flirting somewhere without even fulfilling the duty of a familiar; he’s still 10 years early for that!”
“No. You’re wrong.”
As Louise turned her blushing face away, Derflinger imitated Louise’s tone of speech.
“Why would he not try to kiss me?”
“I was even pretending to be asleep. I’ll cry you know.”
“If you say that again, I will melt you with my ‘Void’ magic. I swear, I will melt you.”
Derflinger shook uncontrollably with laughter. Eyeing it with great distaste, Louise asked Derflinger.
“Hey, I guess there’s no one else to ask but you. A fine noble like me, is asking a rusty sword like you a question, be grateful.”
Louise gave a slight cough. With a blushing face, she asked Derflinger in a tone of voice that desperately tried to savour any dignity she had.
“State in which areas that maid is more attractive than me, in a concise and easily understandable way.”
“What use is it asking?”
“That’s none of your business. Just answer the question.”
“I said that wasn’t it didn’t I?!”
“And you even passionately kissed me back then… I’ll cry you know.”
“Right, now to melt you.”
Louise firmly held her wand while muttering an incantation. Derflinger quickly answered in a panic. He couldn’t possibly withstand an explosion of magical light.
“O-Ok I understand! There’s no helping you is there?! Well firstly, that girl can cook.”
“I guess so. But so what. You can just order food.”
“Guys like girls like that. She also seems to be good at sewing.”
“I can also do that. I was taught by my mother you know.”
“You are like a lizard, and she is a dragon if one were to compare you two in sewing.”
“Well, the face… I guess it’s a matter of preference. You’re quite good in this area but that girl also has her own charm. But that girl has a weapon you don’t have.”
“What would that be?”
“People grow you know.”
Louise said as she stuck out her chest. A magnificently flat chest.
“How old are you?”
“Oh. Grown up already. No hope left.”
Louise started muttering an incantation.
“Wait! Stop! Hey! Guys naturally like girls with large breasts. He literally was off in fairyland when he had a bath with that girl.”
Derflinger said, as fury started to fill Louise’s eyes.
“What? What did you say just now?”
“Eh? When they bathed together…”
Derflinger explained the incident where Saito and Siesta took a bath together.
Louise had been deeply inhaling and exhaling. She was shaking uncontrollably with anger. Derflinger decided to keep quiet after being scared by her, something rare for a sword like him to feel.
Meanwhile the mole had popped its head up from the hole. It had seen the glad figure of its master who had been searching for it. Kneeling down, Guiche put his arms around his familiar and rubbed his cheek against it.
“Ah! I was looking for you Verdandi! You cute hairy thing! What on Halkeginia have you been doing, digging a hole here like this? Hm? Eh, Louise?”
Guiche looked perplexed as he peered in the hole to find Louise.
“Why are you in this hole?”
With a troubled expression, Verdandi looked at both Guiche and Louise. Guiche gave a slight nod and started to speak in a convinced manner.
“I understand Louise. You let Verdandi dig the hole, so that you could go looking for earthworms? In the mood for concocting beauty serums I see. And your familiar seems to be occupied with that maid from the dining hall as well…”
Guiche said, as he glanced over at the scene of Siesta nursing Saito. Just as usual, Saito was unconscious. Siesta was clinging to his chest and making a big fuss.
“Ahaha! You’ll have to work hard on your beauty to win back that familiar of yours! Being taken by a peasant girl…your honour will surely be ruined!”
"Crap." Derflinger muttered.
Louise grabbed onto Guiche’s ankles and pulled him into the hole. In a mere two seconds she finished him off. The mole worryingly prodded its nose against Guiche’s unconscious face. Clenching her fists, she muttered in a low voice.
“Next up is him.”
“Seems like this ‘zero' is a hundred times more scary than the previous ones.” Derflinger said to himself.
Rubbing his sore head, Saito returned back to Louise’s room to find Louise simply sitting cross-legged on the bed staring at the window.
The room was dim. It was already evening but Louise hadn’t turned any lights on. Saito felt a slight shiver down his spine from the ominous atmosphere.
“Is anything wrong Louise? Isn’t the room a bit dark?”
Louise didn’t reply. She simply kept her back to Saito. She seemed to be in a bad mood. What could she be angry about? Saito wondered.
“Quite a late time to return isn’t it? What have you been doing?” Louise asked without moving an inch. Her tone of voice was cold, but it didn’t seem like she was angry. Saito gave a sigh of relief and replied.
“I met up with Siesta in the Vestri courtyard. She said she had something to give me. And then a rock from nowhere hit my head… it really hurt.”
“Really. Must have been divine punishment. By the way, I have something to say to you… so sit on the floor.”
“Eh, the floor?”
"Ah, back to dog~", muttered Saito as he slowly backed towards the door. Don’t curse the gods, as they say. Heck, Louise was scarier than a god. Was it because of the Founder or the Void magic, he didn’t know, but it was Louise – who had annihilated all the enemy ships with a single spell.
Louise gave a flick of her wand when Saito tried to open the door.
"Huh?" When he tried to turn the knob it wouldn’t turn.
“Strange, huh… seems like I can do common magic with ease now.” Louise said with her back still turned towards him.
“L-Louise?” asked Saito in a trembling voice.
Louise was terrifying. Her voice was normal, but still, she was terrifying.
“I’ve always failed on the spells of the four major branches of magic up until now… perhaps I really am the one chosen to bear the void. And then day after day there’ll be growth. What do you think, dog?”
Saito was now desperately trying to turn the door knob, but it wouldn’t budge.
“It’s useless. I cast a ‘Lock’ spell on it. By the way dog, your master has been very uneasy. I might even be the one chosen to bear the void magic, but I can’t even find anyone to talk over something with. No one knows that I can use void magic at the moment. It seems like my explosion spell has just been treated as a miracle by the people…. But I think the castle will know soon enough. Then what will become of me? In such a dire moment, my ungracious fool of a familiar decides to go on a date with a maid.”
And you even k-k-kissed me – Louise was about to say before she quickly shut her mouth. Taking a deep breath she chose her next words.
Saito’s face had grown pale already as he continued trying to turn the knob. No matter how hard he tried to turn it, the knob wouldn’t turn. The ‘Lock’ spell was very strong.
“A date is alright I guess. But a bath. Now that won’t do at all. That’s the worst of the worst. Ignoring your master and taking a bath with a maid? I’m pretty sure that’s enough for a death sentence. You’re so lucky I’m a kind person.”
Louise started trembling.
You even k-k-k-k-kissed me. A bath. A bath with the maid.
Something was flying towards the window. It was a pelican.
“Ah. That was quick.”
Louise untied the package at the pelican’s feet, placed it on the bed and put some gold coins in its beak. Seems like pelicans are used as the equivalent of home delivery services in this world.
“W-What did you buy?”
“I’ve come to realise that dogs just don’t learn when you use a whip.”
Saito’s face stiffened as he madly tried to turn the door knob.
“I told you, it’s useless.”
When he glanced backwards, Louise was standing right behind him. Saito gave a scream at the sight of her face.
Louise was biting her lip with her eyes lit up. She was probably even scarier than Siesta’s father.
Just as usual, Louise aimed a kick at Saito’s nether region, which resulted in Saito collapsing on the floor.
“Aaaaaah… W-Why are you so inhuman to my sensitive parts?”
Louise pressed a foot down on to Saito’s neck.
“Listen up dog. It seems like what you’re lacking is dignity. Always wagging your tail here and there – which is why I’ve bought this.”
Louise started to tie something that seemed like leather ropes on his body. And with a clink, the lock on his chest was locked. It was some kind of body suspender.
“A magical restraining device used to tame wild creatures.”
"You have to be joking me!" Saito cried as he tried to stand up. Louise muttered a short incantation.
With a gasp of pain, Saito fell down onto the ground.
“It’s got water and wind spells on it. At the master’s signal, it will start giving out electric shocks.” Explained Louise, but Saito was already unconscious from the shock.
Louise dragged his body across the floor and tossed him into his haystack.
“You’re a hundred years too early to bathe with a girl!”
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