Zero no Tsukaima:Volume5 Story2
Story 2: The Encounter with the Flame and the Friendship with the Wind
Well, this was the Tristain Magic Academy. The summer vacation had just started and in the dorm, two nobles were killing time.
They were Kirche the “Ardent” and Tabitha the “Snowstorm”. Kirche was laying lazily on Tabitha’s bed in a very immodest pose. She had undone all her shirt buttons and was fanning her large chest with her hand. Kirche did like the heat but could not stand warmth.
She was not able to control the boiling heat in the sun-baked room.
“Hey Tabitha, would you mind making some wind for me?”
Tabitha waved her staff without looking up from her book.
“Give me a cold one. One that will cool me to the bone, just like your second name.”
As expected, there was some ice mixed in the wind. The snowy wind immediately cooled Kirche’s body.
“Ahh- that feels good.”
Drinking in Tabitha’s cool wind, Kirche finally took off her shirt. She crossed her legs in a manner that would never be seen by any of her dozen of male friends that worshipped her like a goddess.
She gazed at Tabitha who was reading her book the whole time. Tabitha did not shed a single drop of sweat, as she was completely immersed in her book. “Maybe her second name ‘Snowstorm’ cools her body as well as her mind,” Kirche murmured.
“Hey ‘Snowstorm’? You really like to read books don’t you? Just like a Protestant. Could that be the popular Protestant book about the ‘The Practical Doctrine’?”
“The Practical Doctrine” was a book that the Protestant sect of religion recited by following the interpretation of the book “The Founder’s Prayer Book," that recorded the great deeds and teachings of the Founder, Brimir.
Although every version of “The Founder’s Prayer Book” claimed to be the “original,” their contents were slightly different. Furthermore, there were theories that “The Founder’s Prayer Book” was written hundreds of years after the fall of the Founder Brimir. “The Founder’s Prayer Book” that had been passed down through the Tristain royal family didn’t even have words in it. Therefore, many theologians interpreted it in such a sketchy way so that it would improve the political powers of the Halkeginia’s churches and themselves. The main body practitioners of the “Practical Doctrine” started in the religious center of the country Romania and was built of commoners who wanted to reform the corrupted churches that exploited people. This soon became an international circumstance. It spread out from commoners and farmers, they stripped power and land from the monks and priests, but no one knew for sure if their practices and interpretation were right. The only one that could possibly answer that was the Founder Brimir himself.
Tabitha closed her book and showed Kirche the title. It wasn’t a religious book, but an ancient magical research book.
“Just reading,” said Tabitha.
“I know. In any case there is no way you're a Protestant. Ahh, it’s really hot today. REALLY hot. That’s why I invited you to go to Germania with me. It’s much cooler there.”
Tabitha reopened her book and continued reading. Kirche, who knew the situation of Tabitha’s family, decided to invite her to the Zerbst House, but Tabitha would not agree to come. With no other choice, Kirche decided to keep Tabitha company in the Magic Academy.
She couldn’t stand to leave Tabitha alone.
“We're probably the only ones who would remain in this kind of sauna.”
Kirche thought about having a water bath in the courtyard. Since all the students and teachers had left and gone back to their homes, there shouldn’t be any danger of peeping Toms.
A scream was heard from the floor below.
Kirche and Tabitha exchanged a quick glance.
Kirche quickly put on her shirt and jumped out of the room with her wand. Tabitha soon followed behind her.
In a room a floor below, another pair of students were in the middle of a quarrel.
“What were you thinking?!”
“Um, I’m… I thought it was hot, and I was trying to help you!”
The clamor was between Guiche and Montmorency. Why haven't this pair left the dorm for summer vacation?
“I see, so that was your purpose! ‘Let's make potions together,' my butt! I shouldn’t have listened to your cajolery about being able to make any Forbidden Potions I want. Just what were you trying to do?”
“That was my objective! I'm not lying!”
“You're having weird thoughts because no one is around, right? Sorry, but I’m not gonna give you one finger until I’m married!”
Guiche shook his head.
“Don’t come any closer!”
“I’ll swear, I’ll give you my word.”
Guiche put his hands on his chest.
“I swear in the presence of the Founder and God that I, Guiche de Gramont, did not unbutton the sleeping Montmorency because of any bad intentions, but I really thought you looked feverish. You were sweating profusely so I was worried you were going to be steamed to death.”
Montmorency regarded him with a doubtful look.
“Swear to God.”
Guiche answered solemnly.
“…not gonna do anything weird?”
“No, not even gonna think about it.”
After Montmorency thought for a moment, she raised her skirt and flashed her panties. Since Guiche jumped at her in an instant, she screamed out loud.
“Dear God! A liar! He’s a liar!”
“White! White! It was really white!”
“No! Stop! Please stop!”
After they fooled around for a while, the door opened with a bang. Kirche and Tabitha came in and their eyes met Montmorency’s eyes, who was just pushed onto a bed by Guiche.
“…oh, you were just about to do it,” sighed Kirche.
Guiche, who suddenly became serious, stood up and said in a very dignified way, “Oh, I was just… straightening the wrinkles in Montmorency’s shirt.”
“By pushing her onto a bed?” Kirche asked with a scoff.
“Straightening the wrinkles,” Guiche repeated himself.
Montmorency said in a cold tone, “Quit it already. That’s all you have in your head.”
Kirche opened her mouth and said tiredly, “You two are a really cheap couple. You don’t have to do it in this suffocating dorm.”
“We are not doing anything! …and I should ask what you're doing. It’s summer break.”
“It’s just not worth the trouble for us. Although it is a vacation, it’s a pain to cross the border just for that. So what are you two doing anyway?”
“We were, um…”
Montmorency fidgeted, as she could not say that she was making Forbidden Potions.
“Well, you were doing some kind of research.”
“It was Guiche who wanted to do weird research! His brains are probably fried in this heat!”
Thus criticized Guiche hung his head.
Kirche muttered, “What do you mean, ‘I guess’?”
“Let’s go out. It wouldn't be a surprise if we fry our brains in here.”
“Let’s go to the town. It’s gonna be a long break, so let’s have some fun.”
“Well, I do want to drink something cold…”
Guiche agreed. Montmorency, who didn’t even want to think about what would happen if she was left alone in the dorm with Guiche, also agreed.
“Really cool your head down when you drink, ok?”
“I will, swear to God.”
“So, what about that little fella?”
Montmorency pointed her finger at Tabitha. Kirche answered.
“You can tell by just looking at her?”
Kirche said it as though it was obvious.
Tabitha then closed her book, walked over to the window sill, and blew a whistle with her mouth. A flapping noise was heard. In a blink, Tabitha jumped out of the window. Kirche followed.
As Montmorency peeked outside the window, she saw Tabitha’s floating Wind Dragon. Kirche was riding on its back and was waving.
“Hurry up or we’ll leave you!”
Guiche and Montmorency both jumped after her and Guiche, who went ahead, tried to catch Montmorency.
Then Montmorency started screaming things like ‘don’t touch me’ and ‘don’t look at me’ to tease Guiche.
“But…I was only trying to catch you.”
“Where do you think you’re touching?”
“I thought you two were lovers,” muttered Kirche with surprise.
The group finally arrived at Tristain’s castle town and went to a road that forked from Bulton Avenue. It was just about sunset. In the darkening streets, the magic lamps started to color the surroundings. That magical, wondrous sight created a happy atmosphere that wrapped around the street with the summer heat.
If Bulton Avenue was Tristain’s front face, then this Chicton Street was the bowel. Indecent bars and gambling dens were lined up along the street. Montmorency frowned, but Kirche walked on unworriedly. While walking, the group discussed which bar to go to. “Do you know any of the bars around here?” Kirche asked Guiche.
Guiche answered with a smile,
“Well, I do know a good one that I've always wanted to go to.”
“It’s not a weird bar, is it?” Montmorency asked as she heard an amorous tone to his speech. Guiche shook his head.
“It’s not weird at all!”
“Then what kind of a bar is it?”
Guiche fell silent.
“See, it is a weird bar! Just say it!”
Montmorency started to choke Guiche.
“N-, no it’s not! It’s just girls in cute clothes bringing wine for you… Arg!”
“If that's not weird, then what is?”
“That kind of sounds like fun.”
It seemed to have piqued Kirche’s interest. She suggested to Guiche,
“Let’s go there, just some plain bar would be too boring.”
“WHAT?” Montmorency bellowed.
“Why don't Tristainian women have any confidence in themselves? Makes me sick.”
Because Kirche said that in such a taunting way, Montmorency suddenly stood up and said,
“It’s just that wine will taste bad if we just let some low-class women pour it.”
But because Guiche, who had been backed up by Kirche, started to skip away, Montmorency had no choice but to follow.
“Hey! Wait for me! Don’t leave me here!”
As they went into the shop, a tall man who wore a leather shirt welcomed them to the shop.
“Oh, are you new? More noble ladies! How beautiful! How très bien! The girls in the shop will be jealous! I’m the storekeeper, Scarron. Please enjoy yourselves today!” he said while he twisted his body and bowed. Although he seemed kind of obscene, he complimented them so Montmorency was now in a better temper. She combed her hair with her fingers and said clearly, “Guide us to the cleanest table”.
“Every table in this store is scrubbed to shine as much as Her Majesty’s palace.”
Scarron lead the group to one of the tables. The bar seemed to be really prospering.
Just like the rumors said, girls wearing suggestive clothing were carrying wine and food.
Guiche, who was already looking around the bar in ecstasy, ended up with his ear being pulled by Montmorency.
After the party settled down around the table, a strawberry blond haired girl came to take the orders, but for some reason, hurriedly covered her face with a tray. Her whole body started to tremble slightly.
“Why are you hiding your face?” Guiche asked discontentedly. Without answering, she gestured to ask for the order. By looking at the girl’s hair color and height, Kirche quickly realized something and, for the first time this summer, an extra-large smile appeared on her face.
“So, what do you recommend?”
The girl who was hiding her face with a tray pointed at the neighboring table. On it was a dish with a honey grilled baby chick wrapped in piecrust.
“And what’s the recommended wine?”
The girl pointed at a wine that had been served to another table, a well-aged Gernew wine.
Then Kirche said in a surprised tone, “Ah, Familiar-san is flirting with a girl!”
The girl came out from behind the tray and stared around the room with sharp eyes.
Everyone in the group except for Kirche shouted.
Louise noticed the broad grin on Kirche’s face and realized that she had been tricked, and once again hid her face with the tray.
“It’s too late, La Vallière.”
“I’m not Louise.”
Louise spoke in a shaking voice. Kirche pulled on Louise’s arm and laid her on top of the table. Kirche grabbed on to the right arm, Guiche on the left, Tabitha grabbed the right leg and Montmorency held on to the left leg. The immobile Louise faced to the side and said with a shaky tone,
“I’m not Louise! Let go of me.”
“Really, what are you doing here?”
Louise would not answer. Snap! Kirche snapped her fingers and Tabitha cast a spell. With the power of the wind, Tabitha coiled the air around Louise and controlled her. Louise bounced on top of the table to a seiza pose.
“Wha-, What are you doing?!”
Kirche snapped her fingers once again. Silently, Tabitha waved her staff. The mass of air which controlled Louise became multiple invisible fingers and started to tickle her body.
“Ahahaha! Stop! It tickles! Stop!”
“So under what circumstances are you working here?”
“I’m not saying! Ahahaha!”
The fingers of air continued to tickle Louise but she wouldn’t confess. Eventually her body went limp.
“Such a tight-lipped kid. You've been hiding many things recently.”
“If you understand… then leave me alone…”
Kirche picked up the menu dully.
“Hurry up and order something.”
“This,” said Kirche pointing at the menu.
“I can't tell, which?”
“Well first of all, everything written on this menu.”
Louise stared at Kirche blankly.
“Just bring me everything.”
“You're really rich… I’m so envious.”
Kirche then said to Louise,
“Oh, of course it’s your treat. I’ll happily accept the offer, La Vallière-san.”
“What? Don’t sweet-talk! Why do I have to treat you?!”
“Or I’ll tell everyone in school that you're working here.”
Louise dropped her jaw.
“If you say it… I’ll, I’ll kill you.”
“Oh my, I wouldn’t want to die. So could you bring all the food quickly?”
Louise sadly dropped her shoulders and disappeared toward the kitchen while hitting many things on the way.
Guiche said shaking his head,
“You really are a nasty woman.”
Kirche happily replied.
“Don’t misunderstand me, I just don’t like that girl. We're basically enemies…”
Kirche cut off her speech and fixed Tabitha’s disorderly cloak.
“You should really fix that habit of messing up your hair and cloak when you cast spells. Women are about appearances and smarts are secondary.”
Kirche was fixing up Tabitha’s hair like an older sister taking care of a little sister or a mother worrying for her daughter.
Guiche looked at Tabitha. Why does this mean Germanian woman trust Tabitha and only Tabitha? thought Guiche. Although it was summer vacation, the two didn’t go home and stayed together at school. Moreover, they seemed to be communicating telepathically. Maybe it’s because Tabitha rarely speaks, but they were able to understand each other by just exchanging looks and were as close as sisters.
But… Guiche puzzled over his memory. They weren’t this close when they first enrolled. I'm not sure because I was fooling around with other girls too much but didn’t they even start a duel?
Just when Guiche wanted to inquire about it, a group of new customers came into the bar. They were good-looking nobles. They were wearing hats with large brims furnished with stylish feathers and had sword-shaped wands sticking out their cloak. They seemed to be officers from the royal army.
They probably had been training the whole day; they came in without a care and started to look around for tables.
The officer started to talk about the different girls in the bar. Many different girls poured the wine but none seemed to satisfy the officers. One officer noticed Kirche and winked at her.
“Isn’t that a noble girl? Women that could be together with us will have to carry a wand around!”
“That’s right! This is a rare break that her Majesty has given to us, the officers of the royal army. We can’t just have some commoners pour our wine.”
While saying such words, they were loudly deciding whom would go and pick up the girls. It seemed Kirche was used to these kinds of things and continued drinking wine calmly, but Guiche was feeling uneasy. He supposed himself to be in a position where he should be escorting the girls, but couldn’t be firm in front of nobles that were officers in the royal army. He would probably get beaten up.
Eventually the decision was made for whom to go talk to them. One of the nobles stood up. He was a handsome man who was just over twenty years old.
Full of confidence, he played with his mustache and elegantly bowed to Kirche.
“We are the officers that belong to the Navaaru regiment. We were stricken by your august beauty and would like to invite you to our dining table.”
Kirche answered without even looking.
“Sorry, but I’m having a good time with my friends.”
The officer’s friends started hooting. If he got rejected now, it would bruise his pride. He tried to persuade Kirche with enthusiastic words.
“I will plead you to ignore that. Please bestow a moment of happiness upon us who have nothing but unforgiving battle awaiting us.”
But still, Kirche just waved him off.
The noble disappointed, went back to his friends .
“You’re not popular with women,” said an officer. But the young man shook his head.
“Did you hear her accent? She has to be a Germanian woman. Quite suspicious as a noble, if you ask me!”
“But I heard Germanian women are really lewd. Quite rare to see a woman with firm conduct.”
“Probably a Protestant to boot!”
Maybe it was partly because of the alcohol, but the officers started throwing insults against Kirche. Guiche and Montmorency looked at each other and asked Kirche if she wanted to leave the bar.
“But we were here first,” muttered Kirche as she stood up. Her long hair seemed to be burning as though it was a wild inferno. Other customers and waitresses and practically everyone who was watching the whole incident fell quiet.
“Ah, so have you changed you mind and decided to accompany us?”
“Yes, not with goblets… but with this.”
Kirche smoothly pulled out her wand.
The men fell out of their chair laughing.
“Don’t even try, young lady. We are nobles and will not point our wands at women.”
“Are you scared of Germanian women?”
The men continued laughing aloud.
“Then I will make you draw your wand.”
Kirche swung her wand. Fireballs equal to the number of men came out of the tip of her wand and instantly incinerated the decorative feathers on their hats. The bar stirred. Kirche stood up to bow to the audience.
The men who were being turned into the laughingstock stood up all at once.
“Miss, this joke has gone a little too far.”
“Really? But I’m always serious. And, wasn’t it you who invited me?”
“We invited you to drink, not to fight.”
“Then could I duel you gentlemen for insulting me just because I didn’t accept your offer to drink?”
The atmosphere in the bar froze.
One of the officers spoke determinedly,
“Foreign young lady, are you aware of the No Duel Policy? Under the order of Her Majesty, we are restricted from dueling. But you are a foreigner. As long as we reach an agreement among ourselves, we could do practically anything to you. Are you speaking under this knowledge?”
“Nobles in Tristain really give long speeches. If this was Germania, the duel would have ended by now.”
They couldn't back down after they had been made fun of like this. The officers looked at each other and one of them gripped his hat’s brim and said, “Choose your opponent, you have the right.”
But Kirche didn’t change her expression. But there was fiery anger swirling inside her. The more Kirche got mad, the more composed and mannered she became.
“As you have said, Germanian women are lewd, so I’ll take care of all of you together.” Applause was heard inside the bar for Kirche’s brave words. The officers’ faces were flushed bright red due to anger from the insult.
“We are nobles but at the same time also soldiers. When insulted, when challenged, we will not hold back even if the enemy is a woman. Come.”
The noble pointed outside of the bar with his chin. Guiche was shaking under the situation. Montmorency was just drinking wine as though it was none of her business. Louise was talking about how the stupid woman was getting herself into useless trouble again and hiding in the kitchen. Saito unfortunately fell victim of Louise’s anger against Kirche and was passed out because of the pain that Louise had inflicted upon him; so he couldn’t intervene.
So, the one who stood up was Tabitha.
“You don’t have to worry about it. Sit down, it will be over in an instant.”
But Tabitha shook her head.
“Do you mean I won’t be able to beat them?”
“No. But I’ll go.”
“This doesn’t involve you,” said Kirche, but again Tabitha shook her head.
“I owe you.”
“You mean the incident in the Ragdorian Lake? Don’t mind it. I did it out of my own will anyways.”
Then Tabitha clearly muttered,
“Owe you one.”
Kirche recalled with those words.
“That’s quite a long time ago.” Kirche smiled.
She thought for a moment but finally decided to leave it to her friend.
“What happened? Got scared? We will forgive you if you apologize now.”
“You’ll still have to pour drinks for us though.”
“You’ll be lucky if it ends with you just pouring drinks.”
The officers laughed. Kirche pointed at Tabitha.
“Beg your pardon, but she has even more skill than me. She even has the title Chevalier.”
The officers put on a doubtful expression.
Tabitha just walked toward the entrance of the bar reticently.
“Do any of you gentlemen have the Chevalier title?”
The officers twisted their necks in disbelief.
“Then she should prove to be more than a match.”
As Kirche finished speaking, she sat down on a chair as though her job was over. The officers, who couldn’t back down, followed Tabitha to the outside of the bar.
“Is she gonna be ok?”
Asked Guiche. Kirche was just drinking her wine elegantly.
“That girl never forgets this kind of old fashioned promises.”
Kirche muttered happily.
Outside, Tabitha was facing the officers at 10 paces. Around them neighboring residents surrounded the duelers excitedly but also by keeping a good distance back. In reality, though the No Duel Policy was in effect, it didn’t all together stop the fights between the nobles. This kind of fight was an everyday occurrence.
However… the opponent of the team of three apparent officers of the royal army was a very young little girl. That combination drew the attention of the spectators.
“Gentlemen, our opponent is a kid. After this people will call us bullies. Our honor is going to be ruined no matter if we win or lose. What shall we do?”
As the man that was inviting Kirche said, the youngest of three answered, “Why not let her act first?”
The man who was silent until now said in a happy tone,
“Hah, teaching children is an adult's responsibility!”
Chevalier? She must be joking. There is no way such a little girl can be given such a title.
Although she is a kid, she still is a noble. We cannot forgive such a lie. On top of that insulting an officer from the royal army is just absurd.
Tabitha was just standing ominously there with her staff in her right hand. Nothing could be inferred from her expression. It seemed neither the crowd nor the three officers could ruffle her emotions.
“Little lady, please draw your staff first.”
Said the oldest of the nobles.
The onlookers held their breath and watched over them attentively.
Tabitha simply waved her staff easily, like the time she made wind to cool off Kirche. The battle ended in an instant.
As the customers saw Tabitha coming back to the bar, they gave her a huge welcome mixed with astonishment and wonder. There was a huge commotion outside. Because with just one hit from a huge “Air Hammer,” a hammer made of compressed air, Tabitha blew the officers to the other side of the street and knocked them out cold. One customer peeked outside the window timidly and saw that one of the officers had regained consciousness and was dragging the other two away.
“You are amazing despite your size!”
Although the bar was filled with applause, Tabitha was flipping a page in her book, not paying attention.
Kirche poured wine in to Tabitha’s cup with a smug expression.
“Let's have a toast.”
Guiche asked Kirche as if he was confused.
“Why are you two so close? You two are like sisters.”
“We just get along.”
But they were the opposite of each other. What’s more … Guiche pondered on what he recalled earlier. The two actually had a duel like the one outside as soon as they enrolled to the school.
“Were you two always this close? What happened between you two? Tell me.”
This also triggered Montmorency’s interest and she leaned forward.
“What happened? Tell us.”
Kirche looked at Tabitha, but Tabitha was silent. However Kirche nodded.
“She said I can talk about it so I will. It’s not that great of a story though.” Kirche took a full wine glass.
She gulped down the wine, and started telling the story with drowsy eyes.
Kirche entered Tristain Magic Academy as Spring was in the air, during the fourth month, Feoh's moon's 2nd week, the middle of Heimdallr's week.
The entrance ceremony was held in Alvíss Hall. There, every year, the ninety or so new students would be divided into three classes. Children of aristocratic families, gathered from all over, had waited for Principal Osman with nervous looks on their faces.
Osman, leading the teachers, appeared on the 2nd floor and looked over the students a floor below.
“Students, you are Tristain's... Argh!”
Osman, spreading out his arms and legs, had jumped from the railing of the 2nd floor, preparing to land on a desk downstairs. In mid-air, he waved his staff to use “Levitation” to land safely, but failed. He'd grown old; the time he took to invoke spells had lengthened too much and he fell straight onto the desk. The hall was filled with an uproar as teachers jumped down to help him up. Osman had pulled something badly and someone had to heal him with Water magic. He continued, with no hint of embarrassment,
“Everyone, Become the aristocrats who will support Halkeginia in the future!”
Such brave words. Everyone started clapping, feeling pity for Osman who was trying so hard to maintain his composure.
In the crowd... There was a beautiful girl who stood out even amongst the nobles. This was Kirche, who held the title of “Ardent”. Giving a big yawn as she looked at the clumsy principal, she wondered if she'd made a mistake applying here.
For Kirche, however, who'd left Vindobona Magical Academy in Germania's capital... There were no further alternatives, other than going abroad to study. Her parents staying in Zerbst had planned to marry Kirche, who'd been loafing around home after leaving school, off to some old Marquis. Kirche, who had no present desire for marriage, literally flew out of the country to Tristain seeking asylum.
Her impulses moved her to act.
From a young age, once she took a liking to something she did all she could to get it. If someone protested, she'd shut him up with her specialty, “Fire”. The reason for her dropping out, the “Incident” that had occurred in Germania, was a result of this aspect of her personality..
The personality you grow up with is a hard thing to change. Even in Tristain, her arrogant ways were in full play.
Getting back to the present, sitting next to Kirche was a petite, blue-haired girl. Compared to the beautiful goddess Kirche, possessor of a devil's body, this girl's body hadn't even hit puberty. She really was a child, after all. The jade eyes behind the glasses still carried a hint of childishness. Even though she was at an Entrance Ceremony, those eyes were still wide open, engrossed in reading her book.
For no apparent reason, Kirche started to get irritated with her attitude. To Kirche, good kids who liked to study were good targets for bullying. She asked in a low voice, “What are you reading?” and snatched away the book. The other girl looked at her with emotionless eyes.
The words in the book were too hard for Kirche, she couldn't understand a thing.
“The hell is this... 'Wind's Power's Influence on Atmospherics and Consequences'? Dunno what it's saying. Can you even use this kinda high level magic?”
The girl did not reply, only stretching out her hand.
“Hey, when you're asking a favor from someone, you should give your name, didn't your parents ever teach you?”
To be honest, it wasn't really asking a favor, just trying to get back something that had been taken away... The girl took a moment to consider, and said her name - “Tabitha”.
“Whats that? Does everyone in Tristain use such weird names?”
Kirche was close to rolling on the floor in laughter. The teacher in charge of assigning classes shot her a glare, but Kirche, ignoring him, continued to laugh.
Tabitha looked at Kirche with cold eyes. The chain that held her parents' destinies... to hers had been mocked by someone. At that moment, Kirche totally didn't see the change in Tabitha eyes.
A girl with strawberry-blond hair, unable to take it any longer, stood right up.
“That girl over there! Something important is being announced now! Why don't you shut up!”
She'd probably been enduring Kirche's arrogance from before.
“Who are you? I am Louise Françoise Le Blanc de la Vallière. To think there are people like you attending, shocking!”
Kirche looked happily at Louise's face.
“Please look after me. I'm Kirche von Zerbst, your neighbour. To think we'd meet here! What a privilege!”
On hearing this Louise's entire body began to tremble.
“W-W-What did you say?”
“Oh, please look after me.”
Kirche gave a charming laugh. A teacher who saw them shivering in rage roared at the three,
“All of you quiet down!”
“Okay.” Saying this, Kirche returned to her seat. Tabitha snatched her book back from Kirche's hand and glared at her from the corner of her eyes, her lips pressed tight.
Every year was divided into three classes, named for the 3 legendary saints, Suen, Iyer and Seger. Kirche and Tabitha were in Suen, Louise in Iyer, while Guiche and Montmorency had been assigned to Seger.
After leaving a big impression at the entrance ceremony, Kirche was being ignored by the girls of her class. That special wild attractiveness of Germanian girls, as well as that generous bust, the hormones in the air just couldn't be shut out. In a second, she had all the boys in class to herself. This made the Tristain girls, already famous for being jealous, burn in envy.
Her personality was one of the reasons she was disliked. Even in Germania, the land of Fire, Kirche had been ostracized for her arrogance. Her personality just rubbed the Tristainians, who worshipped caution as a virtue, the wrong way. Within a short time of starting school, she'd already seduced three boys. There were two reasons. Firstly, those three boys were the better looking ones in class. Secondly, and more importantly... she was just so bored.
Number one, a seductive glance thrown in the hallway. Number two, sticking her bust out as she pretended to trip. Number three, crossing her legs in front of him.
Just like that, the three had already asked Kirche to go out with them. Kirche received their requests as though she were getting court summons. She went out with all three at the same time without hiding anything, and so the three were soon locked in combat.
At the end of the pitched battle, the third boy emerged victorious. Just as he was congratulating himself over finally getting Kirche to himself, she found a fourth one.
Several girls interested in these boys formed an alliance to negotiate with Kirche. Kirche, who'd just found five and six, and was once again three-timing, snorted with contempt at the forsaken girls.
“Don't you know when to stop? How many boys do you want before you're happy?”
“Who knows, I don't.”
Said Kirche as she sat at her desk polishing her nails.
“Quit acting dumb!”
“I didn't do anything. They just found me by themselves, saying 'Kirche, wanna come to my room and drink,' or 'I've written a poem, wanna hear it,' stuff like that.”
Kirche said, imitating the boys.
“It's always like this, I'm pretty irritated too, so I have to accept, in your language 'Oui'.” Did I pronounce it right?”
Her attitude made the girls' envy rocket to new heights instantly.
“Listen here. This is Tristain, where we prize prudence and tradition, unlike your barbarian country. Even in love there are proper ways. An ignorant country-girl who doesn't even know that should just go back home!”
“If you're really so concerned about your lover, why not lock him up in your room?”
“What did you say?”
“I'm just so confused. If you've got the time to be jealous, why not try to persuade him to stay?” If you like him you should compliment him a bit. All y'all only know how to put on an angry face, you don't even know how to say things that make a man happy, do you?”
“That's what guys should do!”
“Well I'm not like that, if I want someone, I'll praise him as much as possible, otherwise, I'm gonna be very sad.”
“Don't treat us like idiots!”
“However, all of you can rest assured. Although I follow the philosophy of “Do whatever it takes to get what I want,” I'd never take what's most important to someone.”
“Liar! Haven't you tried to grab our boyfriends with your dirty hands?”
Kirche turned her gaze slowly to the girls surrounding her.
“To you, It's really not the most important thing, is it.”
“What did you say?”
“If it was such an important thing, you wouldn't have formed a team to negotiate with me. You'd have taken my head off my shoulders a long time ago, or am I wrong?”
The jealous girls had nothing to say.
“I don't want to die yet. Therefore, I won't take what's most precious from someone.”
The girls had been struck by Kirche's imposing manner and started to look at each other.
“If I plan on taking someone's most precious possession, I'll be ready to fight for it. My element is “Fire”. “Fire” controls destruction and passion. I too, want a passionate affair that turns all life to ash and burns everything to the ground.”
Just like that, Kirche's lovers continued to increase, but she was unable to make a single friend. Tabitha, however, was not much better off.
Tabitha hardly spoke to anyone at all. Whether it was break time or lunchtime, starting class or ending, even in the dorms or social spaces. She said nothing to anyone. Silent, with a world-weary look on her face... only reading. No matter who tried to speak to her, Tabitha totally ignored them. Not just ignored, it was as though she was totally ignorant of their even existing.
Because of this, Tabitha turned into an object of ridicule. For some reason, she refused to give her last name, so the rumors were that she was a bastard.
The time when she really raised the ire of the entire class was during their first class.
Tabitha, who'd been taken as just a 'normal' bookworm, was found to be an adept “Wind” mage during the first “Wind” magic lesson.
Mr. Quito was in charge of “Wind” class. The first words out of his mouth were,
“This year's students are just too sorry.”
Displeasure was immediately written on the faces of the students, who'd gathered in the central courtyard.
“Looking at your school record, almost all of you are 'dot' mages, only a few are 'line'. Not even one is a 'triangle' mage. What's going on?”
Dot and triangle referred to the number of elements that could be stacked. 'Dot' meant one element, 'line' meant the mage could combine two. Even if it was the same element, as long as it could be stacked, a powerful spell could be created.
“I have absolutely no hopes for any of you, but this is my job, after all.”
After Mr. Quito finished speaking in a low voice, class started. “Wind”'s basic skill's are “Flight” and “levitation”.
However... Tabitha began to show her abilities at this point.
She was the first to soar far up quickly using the “Flight” spell. Even so, to try to avoid attention, she'd deliberately not used all her power. Mr. Quito was rather confused.
“For a 'dot' mage, that pretty good.”
Not knowing Tabitha's true ability, it was unavoidable that he'd say that.
For various reasons, the only person who knew Tabitha's real power was Principal Osman. Moreover, Mr. Quito hadn't looked at the exchange students' records.
“No matter what, all of you lost out to the youngest girl in class. Don't you feel ashamed?”
With Mr. Quito's words, the entire class started to get angry.
During the break after lunch, one of the boys asked Tabitha to spar with him.
Sparring like this was basically the same as dueling. Since it was sparring, there was no little danger of any loss of life, at least not in this time period. In times past, it was said that giving your opponent the coup de grace was the way of the noble, but that age of heroes had disappeared into history. The modern method was to use spells with low lethality, and once someone was injured, the bout would be decided. Although at times there were incidents were a finger was broken, it was far safer than placing one's life on the line. In most cases, stealing your opponent's wand was considered the most elegant way of winning.
The youth who had challenged Tabitha was named de Lorraine. Born into a family famous for “Wind” magic, he was one of their year's elite 'line' magicians.
He carried a grudge from having been beaten at “Flight” by some unknown like Tabitha. He liked to boast that there was no one who could compete with him in “Wind” magic, and wanted a chance to get back at Tabitha.
Walking towards Tabitha, reading in the central courtyard, he issued a declaration of war,
“Milady, I would like your instruction in “Wind” magic.”
When Tabitha gave no reply, de Lorraine started to get angry.
“To continue reading while someone is challenging you, isn't this far too rude?”
Tabitha still did not reply. De Lorraine's words went by her ears unheard as though it were sound of the breeze.
“So, when it comes to sparring you don't have what it takes. That isn't hard to understand. After all, these contests put one's life on the line! Totally different from flying and jumping around a bit in class!”
Tabitha continued to flip through her book. De Lorraine's insulting words had no effect on the jade-eyed girl.
De Lorraine snorted, and smirked.
“So. It seems that the rumors of you being a bastard are true. I fear you don't even know who your mother is. To feel envious of some low-born person like you would dishonor my family's reputation!”
As he gave these words and prepared to leave, Tabitha finally stood up. If Kirche were to see her now she would probably feel it. Within those emotionless jade eyes, an icy wind was howling.
“Have you finally gotten serious?”
Tabitha set her book down on the bench, and turning, walked towards an open area.
Tabitha and de Lorraine stood facing each other about ten meters apart.
“Although I don't want to give my name to a bastard like you, this is the common practice. I, Verrieres de Lorraine, shall be your opponent.”
Tabitha did not give her name.
“It's so pitiful to not have a name to give, even at a time like this! I shall not show mercy! En guarde!”
De Lorraine shouted, and began to chant, “Wind Break.” He planned to send Tabitha flying at once. Tabitha did not take a stance, and merely silently prepared to take the wind that seemed set to blow her away.
What was going on? She totally made no attempt to take an invocation stance. De Lorraine's “Wind Break” was a powerful spell, a spell to counter it would take some time to cast.
Was it because she had never sparred like this before, or had she been scared witless by de Lorraine's spell...
Whatever the reason, time was up.
Just as de Lorraine felt he had victory in his hand...
Tabitha raised her wand, and as though clearing spiderwebs from her path, waved it randomly. A single word was spoken, and just like that, Tabitha had control of all the air currents in the area.
This minute adjustment in air flow changed de Lorraine's spell's forward momentum, returning it to the caster.
De Lorraine was flung against the wall by his own wind. Giving him no time, Tabitha immediately began to cast again. Water vapour in the air froze to ice, turning into countless frozen arrows, which plunged towards de Lorraine.
With a clear tinkling sound, the ice arrows pinned de Lorraine to the wall by his cloak and clothes. He was scared stiff by this power he had seen for the first time in his life. “Wind,” could it really be all that powerful? A giant ice arrow flew towards the pinned de Lorraine from the front.
“I'm going to die! Save me!"
He shouted reflexively. The arrow, as thick as his arm, stopped in front of his eye. It started to melt, turning into a puddle.
At the same time, the arrows that pinned his body to the wall too began to melt.
The newly released de Lorraine trembled uncontrollably. At his feet, a pool began to form, not from the defrosting ice arrows, but from some other liquid. From between his legs liquid flowed, forming a body-temperature puddle. He sank to his knees.
Throwing away his wand, and begging, ”Please spare me,” he crawled away.
Tabitha's little feet suddenly filled his vision, scaring him so much that he shrieked. She stood there looking down at him, her expression unchanging.
“Spare me! Let me live! S-Sparring's merely a game! Duels where you gamble your life are old history!”
De Lorraine said, denying everything he had said earlier. Tabitha stuck out a wand.
“Let me go! If you let me live, I'll do anything you say!”
Tabitha pointed at the wand in her hands, saying simply,
“You forgot this.”
It was the wand de Lorraine had thrown away.
Those were the reasons why Kirche and Tabitha were hated by the rest of their class... Kirche especially by the girls whose boyfriends she had stolen, and Tabitha by de Lorraine, who she had beaten so badly.
De Lorraine suggested a plan to the girls.
On hearing his plan, the girls clapped and agreed. This would keep their identities from being known and take care of the two most hated girls in class.
The welcoming dance party for the new students would be held on the weekend of the second week, the week of Heimdallr, in the month of Ur. As the focus of the party was the new students, the senior students decorated the hall and entertained the new students as hosts.
The table was filled with delicacies prepared specially to welcome the stomachs of the new students. The splendidly dressed seniors were discussing which new juniors to invite for a dance.
Needless to say, the most eye-catching person was naturally the foreign student studying at the academy from Germania, Kirche.
Basically, the new students were still not used to social activities, so in terms of their tastes in attire, or dancing moves, they were still considered very bad. Consequently, they were not qualified to be dance partners of the senior students yet. Nonetheless, this new Germanian student who had been very “lively” in the social sector in all manners was another case. She possessed a strong sexy charm, her beauty was comparable to a flower giving off the scent of sweet nectar. The chatting topic of these senior students was focused on who would invite this new student for a dance.
And so, when Kirche -wearing a black sexy dancing gown that brought out her well-developed breasts even more, her hair combed to a hairstyle popular on the streets, and adorning a ruby necklace that symbolized a slight fever- appeared, all the gentlemen in the area gave an emotional sigh. The sigh spread out like a ripple, and in a moments notice, Kirche had captured the eyes of all the people in the area.
The females at the scene, upon seeing Kirche’s appearance, shifted their eyes away, and began finding faults with her dressing and hairstyle. This was because having the attention grabbed by a foreign female had made them feel very unhappy.
The male seniors surrounded Kirche, all trying to invite her to dance. Kirche showed a proud expression, and squinted her eyes like an arrogant queen.
As soon as Kirche took up a wineglass, there would be someone pouring grape wine for her. Whenever she bit a piece of cheese, there would be someone bringing her a plate with meat. If she told a joke, everyone would laugh heartily. Kirche’s every move drew the eyes of everyone at the scene.
The music had started. Kirche chose a noble to be her dance partner. He was a tall and handsome second year student. This handsome guy showed a smile like a perfect sculpture, and kissed the back of the hand Kirche stretched out to him. Anyone could tell easily that these two were the highlight of the day.
There were a bunch of people on their seats a distance away, watching this with ice cold eyes.
They were the group that intended to take revenge on Kirche and Tabitha. One of them, who bore love for that second year handsome student, bit her handkerchief and shook her head in anger.
“Ah~~ What is that! How dare she get so close to Pelisson-sama…”
The leader of this revenge group, Thonet Charente, said softly as she flicked her gray hair.
“Just watch. We are going to shame you right before everybody…”
Following that, she sent a signal to De Lorraine. He had been hiding behind the curtains at a corner of the hall, waiting for this moment to arrive.
He followed the script that he had practiced beforehand, and began chanting a spell while pointing his wand at Kirche.
Kirche was holding onto the second year student and walking into the hall, when suddenly, a small whirlwind wrapped around her body.
“What is this?”
Before she finished her sentence, the whirlwind began to twist and turn and entangled her gown.
Countless thin small wind blades cut Kirche’s skirt and underwear, tearing them to shreds.
The one who gave off this scream of exclamation was not Kirche, but a girl standing near her. Other than the shoes at her feet, Kirche was just like a newborn, dumbly standing at the center of the hall, naked.
The second year student who was supposed to be with Kirche had a nosebleed, and fell after losing a pool of blood. All the gentlemen at the scene, including the teachers, all stared straight at Kirche, as if swallowing her whole being. As for the ladies who did not have a good impression of Kirche, even though they gave off something similar to a sigh of pity towards this sudden incident, in their hearts they were laughing in secret, feeling that their unhappy feelings were vented out.
Yet… Kirche did not panic from this unfortunate accident, and instead, she brought her queen stance into play.
She did not cover her bronze-colored body, which was giving off a wild charm, at all. She walked to the side of the wall, looking very natural, and sat on the sofa there.
And, under the stare of surrounding students, she crossed her legs, murmuring comments like “it got cooler”. At this moment, the culprit, De Lorraine acted indifferently and walked over.
“What a disaster.” He said as he draped his coat over Kirche.
“Just who… Did, did such a thing…”
De Lorraine said, shifting his eyes away from the body Kirche was so proud of. His face could not help but blush red.
“Basically I can more or less guess who it is.”
Kirche stared at a bunch of girls in the far corner. They were looking in this direction, and smirking as they whispered to each other.
De Lorraine placed his mouth by the side of Kirche’s ear.
“Erm… I saw someone that seemed like the culprit in the shadows from the curtains…”
Kirche used suspicious eyes to look at De Lorraine.
“Yes. If I tell you who it is, would you go on a date with me?”
De Lorraine repeated from the script that they had prepared beforehand. Mainly because Thonet Charente argued very strongly that, by asking this, Kirche was more likely to believe what he said.
Kirche studied De Lorraine slightly. He had a face that looked rather inflexible… He belonged to the type that, even though confident in their studies and magic, had absolutely no idea about boy-girl relationships. It looked as though he might be secretly in love with her?
Kirche gave a charming smile. Looking down on him, she thought to herself: What is this? So this guy is just another secret admirer of mine. For people who are overly narcissistic, their eyes that are meant to see the truth tend to be blinded very easily as well.
“Sure, so tell me.”
De Lorraine told Kirche softly.
“…It was a small sized girl. She was looking at you and waved her wand, so I think that it must be her.”
“So then who is she?”
“I did not get to see the face clearly though.”
De Lorraine seemed embarrassed as he added.
“Yeah, after that, my attention was shifted onto you, with your gown turned into cloth strips. It was after that that I thought that she might be the culprit for this. But when I turned my head again, she was no longer there."
“Oh… Is there anything with you that can act as proof?”
De Lorraine took out a thread of hair from his pocket. That was a thread of blue hair.
“This hair color is very uncommon.”
“To possess hair of such color, there shouldn’t be many?”
De Lorraine nodded.
“Thank you, I think I know who it is.”
Kirche said so softly, looked across the area and… Her eyes stopped at a small girl wearing spectacles. That kid, I think her name was Tabitha?
De Lorraine, who is standing beside me now, didn’t he have a duel with her? As she was not interested in this sort of thing, she had only heard a little of what happened.
“Didn’t you have a duel with her?”
“Yes.” De Lorraine nodded. “Though it is shameful, but I lost very miserably.”
“So I heard. The reason for the duel?”
“Because she was very disrespectful towards me, I said: “I wonder what your mother is like.” As you know, that girl has a strange name right? She must be hiding lowly birth. The moment I said that, she suddenly acted, that is why I lost against her.”
De Lorraine lied.
Kirche tilted her head and thought about it.
She had made fun of her for a bit during the entrance ceremony, could that be the reason? Besides, she seemed to have made fun of her name before.
She narrowed her eyes and stared at Tabitha, her face showing a cold smile.
Seeing this scene, De Lorraine judged that his plan seemed to be going smoothly, he couldn't help but give a smirk in his heart.
Kirche appeared to be completely convinced… That Tabitha bore a hatred towards her for making fun of her name, and consequently took revenge.
The reason Thonet Charente presented this idea to De Lorraine was because she remembered that there had been some friction between Kirche and Tabitha during the entrance ceremony, so she put that incident into use in this plan.
The next morning… Kirche walked into the classroom, and sat beside Tabitha. Tabitha on the other hand read her book without moving. Kirche took action and snatched her book over.
Tabitha looked towards Kirche, those blue eyes that still did not allow others to detect any emotions in them shone with a certain glow.
“You… The method of revenge you thought of is really clever.”
Tabitha did not reply.
“Is it that unforgivable to have your name made fun of?”
Tabitha tilted her head, looking at Kirche, she did not seem to understand that Kirche meant that incident.
Kirche threw pieces of her gown before Tabitha.
“This is very expensive.”
Tabitha used her finger to rub the cloth, and looked at it for a while.
“I intend to make you suffer the same humiliation, will you accept that?”
Tabitha shook her head, as if implying “I have no idea what you are talking about.”
“Stop acting. You excel at “Wind” magic right? I hated the wind originally, but now I hate it even more. To be like you, sneaking at some dark corner to release a whirlwind… That is really too annoying!”
“It wasn’t me.”
With things developed to such a state, Tabitha finally opened her mouth.
“Things have already gotten to this stage, and you still intend to act innocent?”
Kirche’s red hair danced like fire. She showed an effortless smile and said in a calm voice.
“Then remember this, it shouldn’t take long for me to make you remember it.”
With that, Kirche stood up and walked back to her seat.
Thonet Charente and De Lorraine sneakily hid at one corner of the classroom to eavesdrop on their conversation; following that they exchanged glances, and secretly gave a smile.
They initiated the second part of their plan very quickly.
After school that day, Tabitha returned to her room, only to find it in a pathetic state. The room was filled with a burnt smell, books, which had been Tabitha’s only friend, and the bookshelf to put them were all burnt to pieces. Tabitha picked up the remains of one of the burnt books. The pages inside were burnt to ashes, and flew off, falling back onto the floor.
Tabitha bit her lips hard. She used her emotionless eyes to look around, and found a thread of hair that fell onto her bed. She picked up that thread of hair and with the kerosene lamp in her room, she saw the red long hair shining with luster.
Within Tabitha’s deep blue eyes, a strong cold blizzard began to blow.
Deep in the night, there was a knock on Kirche’s door.
Kirche had been furious about having provided her body at the party for free for the admiring of all the students and teachers in school, she asked the person outside the door: “Who is it?”
“It is me.”
It was Tabitha’s voice. The side of Kirche’s lips raised in a vigorous manner, revealing a cruel smile that would never be displayed before others. She opened the door to her room.
Tabitha held a large wand in her hand, standing outside the door.
“You finally intend to settle things once and for all?”
Kirche asked, looking from above at this girl whose height was only up to her chest. Tabitha did not reply, and just used cold eyes to stare at Kirche.
Those eyes gave a clear reply to Kirche’s question.
Kirche asks once more.
“Anywhere is fine.”
Kirche took up her wand, and walked off before Tabitha.
At the center of the Vestri Courtyard that barely had anyone there even in the day, Kirche and Tabitha turned their bodies to face each other. It seemed that the moon would be their only audience.
Yet… There were other spectators hiding behind bushes or the shadow of the tower. That would be De Lorraine, or the group of girls seeking revenge, with Thonet Charente as their leader. And Thonet Charente was the culprit for sneaking into Tabitha’s room and burning her bookshelf.
This bunch of people were rejoicing over the success of their plan. They wanted to witness the final results, and so they arrived here, sneaking up behind Tabitha and Kirche.
Darkness quietly surrounded the cold moist air in the night of spring.
Kirche raised her wand before her.
“Firstly, I would like to apologize. Regarding making fun of your name… I have no bad intentions. As you can see, this is just my personality~ It seems that unintentionally, I tend to make others angry.”
Tabitha placed her big wand down towards the ground, and was prepared to chant a spell anytime.
“But, I never expected you to make me suffer such a humiliation, so I will not go easy on you.”
Yet Kirche noticed that Tabitha was still very small. Even though she was really angry, but to fight against a girl as young as her… Is this really right? This query appeared in her heart faintly.
“Don’t take me for a normal flirt and underestimate my capabilities. I am a von Zerbst of Germania, you have heard of it right?”
“Then, you should know the rumors that my family has on the battlefield. My family is cheerful and free like fire, but we are not just that. We will cheerfully and freely burn everything to ashes. And not just our enemies… Sometimes even our own men if they do not listen to us.”
Tabitha looked at Kirche motionlessly, the expression on her face seemed to be saying: “So what?”
"The thing I am most boastful about is the Zerbst flame that flows within my body. So as long as something obstructs my path, no matter what it is, I will burn it to a crisp. Even if it is our King… Or a child, they are all the same."
Tabitha began spell-chanting. It seemed that Kirche’s threatening words did not have any effect on Tabitha.
“I have already warned you.”
Kirche waved her wand. Because of the considerable amount of military training she had received, when she got serious, her chanting speed was faster than anyone else.
From the tip of her wand a fireball, not conservative in terms of size or power, flew towards Tabitha. Tabitha changed her spell in an instant, making an ice wall right before herself.
A thick ice wall blocked Kirche’s fireball… And melted into water. But this ice wall was unable to completely block Kirche’s fireball, causing Tabitha’s hair to be burnt by the spitting flames.
Tabitha jumped backwards, and then turned defense into attack. She made the water vapour in the air condense into ice, sending ice arrows flying at Kirche from all directions. She was serious as well, compared to the time when she nailed De Lorraine to the wall last time, the number of ice arrows was about three times as many… All hurdling straight towards Kirche.
Kirche waved her wand. Flames spinned around her body, wrapping onto the sharp ice blades, and melting them entirely. But, one of the ice arrows that had yet to melt completely scratched her cheek.
A drop of fresh blood fell along Kirche’s cheek.
Yet… Both Kirche and Tabitha stopped after that… The attacks from both sides ended there.
Both of them lowered their wands, and stared at each other.
Kirche stretched her tongue out to lick the blood that was falling down her cheek.
Tabitha used her hand to check her burnt hair as well.
De Lorraine who was hiding in the bushes asked Thonet Charente beside him, who was holding her breath to observe the battle.
“…What is going on? Is it over already?”
“…How should I know. Geez, get on with the fight already. There's no result yet is there?”
Why did Tabitha and Kirche stop fighting after releasing one attack each? De Lorraine and Thonet Charente could not understand the reason at all.
“What a headache… It seems that this is a misunderstanding after all.” Kirche said, pouting.
This mindless speech made De Lorraine and gang even more confused. Now is not the time to make such a relaxed speech is it? The two of them should be dueling, betting their lives on it shouldn’t they?
Tabitha seemed to have the same opinion as Kirche, and nodded.
Following that, she walked up to Kirche, and handed the burnt book to Kirche. Kirche took a look, and shook her head, saying.
“I didn’t do this.”
Tabitha raised her head to look up at Kirche. Kirche gave a faint smile, and patted her shoulder.
“My, if there is something I want, I would rob it, but my rule is to 'not rob the most treasured items of others'.”
Tabitha openned her mouth to say.
“Because, if I rob that, it would cause a situation where I have to risk my life, isn’t that kind of thing very troublesome?”
Kirche laughed cheerfully.
Tabitha, led by Kirche, revealed a tiny smile.
Kirche seemed to have noticed that smile, and said to Tabitha.
“You are cuter when you smile like this.”
After that, Kirche raised her wand high. A few tiny fireballs were fired towards the sky like fireworks, lighting up the area as though it was morning.
De Lorraine and gang who had been hiding amidst the darkness were instantly revealed in this light.
“You people… What are you doing here?”
“N-no, just taking a stroll!”
“A stroll? Go for that a little later. Yeah, regarding the humiliation I suffered thanks to you… I would like to 'repay' you.”
The girls and De Lorraine intended to run, but their legs were tied tightly by Tabitha’s ropes of wind.
Kirche closed in upon De Lorraine who fell down.
“Are you trying to ask how we realized it?”
De Lorraine nodded vigorously as if he had a cramp.
“Listen well, have you heard the phrase 'The strong will know the strong?' When you become 'Triangle class' like us, you will be able to understand the level of the magic being cast on you. The whirlwind that tore my gown at the party, compared to the ice arrows this child has used just now, even though they are both of “wind” magic, the magical powers in the two are completely different!”
“Hi! Hi! Hiiiii!"
Hearing the term 'Triangle Mages', all the people who fell to the floor were so scared they began trembling.
“Tabitha and I realized that both of us are triangle mages; that is why we let our wands down. If burnt by my flames, how can there be any book that retains its original shape? Remember well, my “fire” will burn everything 'to a crisp'.”
De Lorraine struggled to get up to escape. Tabitha was about to chant a spell, but Kirche stopped her.
“Leave it to me.”
Tabitha shook her head.
“What are those books! I will become your friend in place of your books! But my humiliation… I am unable to find anything in replacement. So, I will take revenge for you as well, just watch!”
Something warm was created within Tabitha’s heart. Ever since she had abandoned her name, this is the first time someone had said something like “become your friend”.
This sentence… Seemed to have made the blizzard that has been rampaging in her heart melt slightly… Tabitha had that feeling.
“I owe you one.”
Tabitha nodded to say.
Her voice was very soft… She sounded a little shy, and there seemed to be a little happiness mixed in her tone. Having someone whom she could owe something to, this made Tabitha very happy without knowing why.
“Fine, you shall owe me for now. You better return the favor in the future!”
Kirche used a calm voice and a solemn demeanor to begin spell-chanting. A fireball flew at De Lorraine and his gang, who had no idea which way to run to.
The queen of flames sent more fireballs in concession, her actions seemed as though she was dancing, her tone sounded as though she was singing in happiness……
The angrier Kirche got, the cooler her speech, and the calmer her attitude.
After listening to the story of their past, Montmorency seemed to find it hard to believe and said,
“So that incident with De Lorraine and Thonet Charente’s hair and clothes burnt, and even hung upside down on the tower, was done by you!”
“That’s right", Kirche nodded cheerfully, admitting it.
The next morning, when De Lorraine and Thonet Charente were rescued from the tower, they insisted that they had climbed up to hang themselves upside down on their own. But the truth behind that incident? No one knows. It seems that they might have been threatened by Kirche.
Guiche nodded hard in agreement.
“That is to say, just now when Tabitha used "owe you one" as her reason, and took on the duel for you… Is due to you taking revenge for Tabitha as well then?”
Louise, who was originally serving wine and dishes, and Saito, who had been washing plates in the kitchen, had joined the group at the table, and were listening attentively.
Louise, who was wearing a thin shoulder strap close-fit vest and skirt, used an indifferent tone to say.
“But, that time you were just intending to punish De Lorraine and gang yourself, so you robbed Tabitha’s right to revenge by your own account right? So what is there to say she owes you one?”
“You can say that too.”
“You are really overboard.”
Guiche expressed his views in a helpless tone.
“I, am really…”
“Really willful… Maybe that's the case?”
Kirche shook her head and mumbled, vexed. Everyone sighed deeply. So this person never realized it all along!
“You do not really need to take the place of this woman for that duel, right? According to what she said herself… As Louise said earlier, you owe her nothing.” Montmorency said to Tabitha, who was reading a book.
No------ Tabitha was shaking her head in objection to Montmorency’s comment. She didn't feel that she owed Kirche because Kirche helped her take revenge then.
“I will become your friend.” This sentence was the reason why Tabitha felt that she owed Kirche.
In other words, that was a proof of their friendship. So… If Kirche were humiliated by others, she would fight for her in replacement, and she viewed this action as proof of their friendship.
What is owed, must be returned.
Yet Tabitha did not go the extra mile to try to explain this, and just nodded slightly.
“Huaaaaa~” Kirche made a big yawn. “Drinking wine and chatting for so long, I feel sleepy.”
“Is that so, good, go back already.” Louise replied in a cold tone.
“It is so troublesome to go back~ I want to stay here.”
“What about the money?”
“Thanks for the treat.”
“What is that you are saying! How much do you think this meal costs!”
“I am going to tell everyone in the academy...”
Louise shut up and lowered her head.
Following that, Kirche dragged Tabitha and stood up, going up to the guestroom area on the second story and leaving Montmorency, Guiche, Saito, and Louise still sitting there.
“That, that, that woman! One, one, one day I will definitely kill her…” Louise was so angry that her whole body kept on shaking.
Guiche pulled the lower portion of Montmorency’s clothes.
“What are you doing?”
“Let’s, let’s stay here today?”
“…Fine, but there must be two beds!”
“You will pay for your own bills, right!?” Louise glared at the two of them.
“Err, we don't have any money… Don’t be so calculating, since you are paying for those two already, might as well pay for us as well.”
“What the hell are you talking about!”
As Louise was shouting at the two, Saito recalled that he had given them his money last time, and then he heard nothing about it. At first, they said they needed money to make the antidote for the love potion, so he should have given them around five hundred écu gold then. He had not gotten his money back from them up till now.
“What is it?”
“I gave you guys some money, right? Return it quickly.”
Guiche and Montmorency put on awkward expressions and looked at each other.
Saito began sweating a cold sweat down his back.
“Hey… Don’t tell me you guys spent it all already?”
“No… No we didn’t… Just that…”
“Erm, that is to say… Due to the necessary expenditures when making the medicine…” Montmorency gave a smile as if trying to curry favor with Saito.
“So you spent it all, right!?”
“I will return you the money after some time!”
“How long is some time! You poor noble!”
“Who are you calling poor!”
Then, just as they intended to put up an ugly fight…
The nobles that were taken care of by Tabitha earlier came into the shop once more. They noticed Guiche and Montmorency, and walked over.
“What do you guys want?” Saito asked.
Guiche and Montmorency were shocked, and began shivering following that.
The middle aged noble among the group spoke.
“Where did the ladies earlier go?”
“They, they went upstairs to rest.” Montmorency replied as she was trembling.
The military officers looked at each other.
“They got away?”
“Seems like it.”
“May, may I know what is the matter?” Guiche queried.
The other party gave a cheerful smile and replied.
“No, it is nothing much. We just thought that we might thank them, regarding what happened earlier. But, if it is just the few of us, we may not be able to thank them properly… So, please look, like this, we brought an entire squadron over.”
Louise and gang were shocked, and hurriedly looked outside the shop.
Because there were several hundreds of military men lined up outside, the scene scared them so much that they almost fell off their chairs.
“Stand attention~~~ Line up towards your right!!”
After the military officer standing before the squad shouted out the commands loudly, all the soldiers adjusted their groups instantly, the weapons in their hands gave off a clear sound.
“I will get them down now!” Guiche stood up, and intended to escape to the second storey.
“No, no, no, if you escape as well, then we would be very troubled. No problem, it is fine for their friends to accept our thanks as well. Because, be it taking revenge for a friend, or taking revenge in place of a friend… They all are part of the privileges of being friends, and a duty as well.”
Saito and gang hurriedly tried to make their escape. But they were easily caught by the military officers. The four of them were dragged out of the shop together.
“You guys should be expert magicians as well! Since you are friends of those two ladies! So please, don’t be shy, you must show us your strength!”
“Help! We are not their friends!”
The screams of the four of them echoed in the night skies.
Two hours later……
In the end, Kirche still had not drank enough, and came down to the shop… And she found Louise, Montmorency, Guiche and Saito lying on the table, barely alive.
The group were beat up by those military men, and were half-dead. Louise had used too much "explosion" magic in the past few days, and that consumed all her willpower. Saito, as usual, had left Derflinger at the small room at the attic, and so was of no use. As for Guiche, he was taken down in a mere two seconds. Since Montmorency hated fighting, she made a declaration of neutrality, but the other party did not accept what she said.
Kirche, who knew nothing of what had happened, scratched her head, at a loss.
“You guys… What happened?”
The party lying on the table used a hateful voice to reply at the same time.
“You owe us one!”
|Back to Story 1||Return to Main Page||Forward to Story 3 - MTL|