Zero no Tsukaima:Volume8 Chapter6 - MTL

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Preview symbol.gif This text is a machine translation (MTL).

Be warned that the degree of translation error may be higher than usual.

This page was created before the updated (July 19, 2015) MTL guidelines and has not been reviewed.
For details, see the machine translation guidelines
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Chapter Six: The Nations Conference[edit]

It was just the second moon of January since the end of the war… On the first week of the moon of Haegl, on Freyja's week, one by one, nobles from all countries gathered up in Albion’s capital Londinium.

Londinium.

Compared to all other cities of Halkeginia, it had a new atmosphere around it. The central portion of the town was skillfully built from stone, which continued to build up due to constant ruling.

One hundred years ago, Londinium was hit with a conflagration, and because the town was built of wood, it almost burned down completely. By order of Albion’s king at the time, the construction of wooden buildings had been forbidden in Londinium ever since.

This order was also meant to increase Albion's air power, which would roar over Halkeginia, as it protected the timber resources Albion needed. It had a powerful fleet established with abundant timber, and looked down on all Halkeginia from above the clouds…

However, now it was only a fairy tale of the past.

At present – Albion was like a chicken placed on the table. Wings and nails were taken off and put on the plate – burnt poultry. Halkeginia’s most powerful figures were staring at the meat like starving wolves.

The Havilland palace of Londinium was filled with people like in a party.

Gallia, Germania, Romalia… the kings and emperors of each country came on their will with many vassals and waiters just to fight over their share of this poultry.

The Queen of the Kingdom of Tristain, Henrietta’s name was also listed in the ‘Nations Conference’, as she was invited to attend the party two weeks ago.

Henrietta sat at the round table of Whitehall.

Next to her, Cardinal Mazarin could be seen. Near them was Germania’s Emperor, Albrecht the III, once Henrietta's fiance. In a battle for power between 40 men, he won the Emperor's seat and was now looking at Henrietta with a lecherous stare.

When Henrietta glared back courageously, he gave a broad grin.

“Nice to meet you, Your Highness, Princess Henrietta.”

“I’m afraid I am a queen now, Your Excellency.”

The nose of Albrecht the III turned pale.

He looked gratefully at Romalia’s ambassador, who sat in front of Henrietta. Romalia, who had a small militia participation, had very little say in this conference.

Therefore, only the ambassador was attending.

Nearby, General Hawkins was fulfilling his duty as the Plenipotentiary Albion Ambassador. The man had dauntless features; he was in his prime. Even though kings were sitting in a row before him, he had no fear. His chest was puffed out in a dignified manner, not showing the pathos of the defeated army general. Germania’s Emperor who sat next him, didn’t like such an attitude at all.

“But… that guy is late.”

Albrecht the III muttered to Henrietta.

“You mean King Joseph?”

Joseph, the King of Gallia, had not shown up yet.

“Yes. The incapable womanizer. No one else from the country was suited to be Gallia’s king. Do you know? It is said that he got the throne by killing his younger brother. What a shameless person.”

Such were the rumors…

Loud steps were heard behind the door, then it opened.

There stood a beautiful looking blue-haired man.

The announcer called in a perplexed tone.

“His Majesty; King of Gallia!”

He seemed to have a charming figure. His back muscles bulged like a gladiator's. The neatly tightened face, framed by a blue beard.

It was Joseph, King of Gallia.

The King of Gallia watched everyone who gathered, with a broad smile on his face.

“This, this! Everyone is here! All Halkeginia’s kings meeting in this place, unbelievable! A happy day! A happy day!”

Joseph noticed Albrecht the III and tapped his shoulder.

“Dear Emperor, Your Excellency! I am sorry for not attending the coronation! Are your relatives doing fine? I mean the ones to whom you lent your castle, so that you may hold that crown.”

Albrecht the III turned pale. This castle ‘lending’ - scathing sarcasm. Joseph was making fun of Albrecht the III, who imprisoned his rivals in the castle's tower.

“A hard door and splendid chains were used for their own protection! Moreover, they were even given food. One bread crust, one glass of water, and firewood after two weeks when their bodies became cold. Just to keep them healthy. Such luxury is bad for the body. You are really a kind emperor! I would like to learn that too!”

“Aye, thank you.” Albrecht the III muttered, losing his composure. Then Joseph turned his face and this time took Henrietta’s hand.

“Oh. Princess Henrietta. You have grown. I wonder if you still remember me? We met at the end of a certain garden party at Ragdorian Lake. At the time, you were beautiful like a flower, that made all Halkeginia’s weeds hang their heads in shame. And now you are a beautiful queen of peaceful Tristain. Aye. Peaceful.”

Without looking at Hawkins and the ambassador from Romalia, King Joseph sat at the head of the table. As if it was a most natural thing.

Though Albrecht the III made a face as if wanting to say something, Joseph waved it off. Then, as if still in his own royal palace, he cracked his finger joints.

Then trays with various dishes – like Howai, Toho, etc… were brought in by the servants.

Before Henrietta and Albrecht the III, a large amount of food was placed. Henrietta and others looked at it in astonishment. It included even the finest ingredients in abundance. For some people, not even a year's wages would earn such a dish.

“The dish and the wine I obtained from Gallia. I apologize for the shoddiness, but this dish is nothing compared to the treat from the whole country, so enjoy yourselves!” The waiter poured wine into the cup, which King Joseph hung.

Henrietta’s and others cups were filled with blood-red wine as well.

“Leaders of all Halkeginia. Though it is small, first of all, let us hold the feast of celebration. The war ended. Let us toast to peace!"



The feast continued for three hours… and ended because King Joseph of Gallia suddenly decided to retire. After only making noises of eating and drinking, he yawned, and said "I am sleepy" and stood up, leaving in a hurry.

As for the conference itself - nothing was done. Whenever the King of Gallia opened his mouth, he did nothing but recommend cooking to kings, who sat in a row, and toasting, repeatedly.

Puzzled, Henrietta and others left as well.

“We are being conciliated - the real thing will start tomorrow.”

Germania’s emperor muttered and, shaking his belly stuffed with gorgeous dishes, went out of the White Hall. Henrietta stood up listlessly, her elbows tightly pressed against her side.

That moment… General Hawkins came in front of Henrietta and bowed deeply.

“With all due respect, may I have a word with Your Majesty?”

Mazarin, who was nearby, tried to intervene, but Henrietta stopped him.

“First of all, thank you for the generous treatment all of Albion’s people received. They are exhausted by a long war. You controlled not with the wand, but with the bread. By the power that Her Beautiful Majesty shines upon everyone, the people of the White Country were led well. We will accept any treatment if only Your Majesty can provide us with your words.

“Whether or not the war was just, the people deserve no punishment. Do not worry.”

Hawkins bowed deeply. Henrietta tried to pass him, but he still detained her.

“Is there something else?”

“Your Majesty… Your Majesty’s army was saved by only one hero. Do you know that?”

Henrietta shook her head.

As a matter of fact, the rumor about Saito stopping the Albion army was not delivered to Henrietta. Senior military officials could never admit being saved by a single fencer. As a result, such a rumor was silenced before reaching Henrietta in a shape of report.

“I do not know.”

“Honestly. Honestly… cowardly generals, running to save their own hides, changed the story in their country.”

“What was that?”

Hawkins told Henrietta.

How the Albion army, that pursued the Allied Forces, was stopped by a single swordsman.

As a result, the Albion army missed the Allied Forces which tried to run away from Rosais…

Henrietta’s mind was in turmoil. The heart that never trembled after the end of the war, now began to shake.

“A swordsman… Really?”

“Yes, a swordsman. A black haired boy with a foreigner’s face.”

Not hiding his feelings, with a straight look, Hawkins said.

“The hero raged on. He even pointed a sword to the tip of my nose, until he fell down exhausted. Then, he started to move again and disappeared into the forest… I guess, he did not survive with all those injuries. Yet, it was his deed that saved Your Majesty’s army. Only one swordsman… held back tens of thousands of army troops. A proper ceremony of honor is needed."

“I see. Thank you.”

Henrietta thanked him in a shaky voice.

A black haired swordsman from a foreign country…

…Could it be Louise’s familiar, listed between the names of killed in action?

Saito Hiraga.

A strange sounding name.

A boy who came from the different world.

The Void’s familiar.

Legendary Gandálfr…

Some time ago, when my mind was blinded, when I turned my wand to Louise… He stopped my spell, Henrietta recalled.

Once again, he stopped.

Not once, but twice… he stopped it.

Hawkins said, looking distant.

“If not for him… Today, Your Majesty’s and mine seats would have been reversed. By all means, bless that brave man. In the name of Your Majesty, give him the blessing.”



That night… in one of Havilland’s palace rooms, Henrietta was lost in thought. It was a gorgeous room made to entertain the guests from the foreign countries.

Someone knocked against the door. One long, two short knocks. It was an arbitrary sign.

“Come in.”

The door opened, revealing Agnes. She carried no weapons or armor and was dressed in simple, plain clothes.

“Did you find anything?”

When Henrietta asked, Agnes shook her head.

“No… there were no clues.”

“I see.” Henrietta nodded.

Following Henrietta, Agnes came to Albion. The Saxe-Gotha revolters from the Tristain army… suddenly, as if waking from a dream, launched an attack on their former allies of the Albion's army.

All soldiers and officers answered the same upon explaining the temporary revolt – “I thought it was necessary to do so.” Was it the cause of some sort of magic – no one knew. It was strange that tens of thousands of officers and experienced men sudden abandoned the victory; still, the cannon ball was shot out and no one could return it. Agnes, following Henrietta’s orders, investigated it for a long time.

“We thought that the water of Saxe-Gotha might be the cause, and let mages to examine it. Yet, no matter how long we examined it – it was still common, normal water. Though nobles pointed out the possibility of Ancient Magic… there is no evidence. We are in a deadlock.”

“I see… Though a mysterious event, you should not give up the hunt for the truth. There are no limits.”

Agnes bowed.

“I did not match Her Majesty's expectations; there are no excuses.”

“Lift your head Agnes. My commander. You are not responsible. Mysterious things that never have been clarified happen in this world, all the time. Ancient Magic, sacred ground, demi-humans, elves, lands of the east, the other side of the ocean, and Void. All of them puzzle the mind."

“Indeed.”

Agnes said in a tired voice. Agnes was always in motion these days. Her face looked as if it lost its zeal somewhere.

“Commander, I want to give you a new duty.”

“With pleasure…”

Henrietta spoke about what she heard from General Hawkins in White Hall today.

“Miss Vallière’s boy familiar?”

“Correct. He saved the Allied Forces… and the mother country. By all means, it is necessary to confirm if he is alive or dead. The point where he fought against the Albion army in the Saxe-Gotha area… I hear that it is in the northeast of Rosais.”

“Certainly.”

Saying this, Agnes bowed and tried to go out of the room again.

“Please wait.”

“What is it?”

To the surprised Agnes, Henrietta offered a cup from the table.

“Sake?”

Though Agnes lifted the cup while talking, she didn’t press her lips to it.

“There is something I want to ask you. Not as a queen, but as a woman… asking a senior woman.”

“What?”

“…What does revenge bring? Emptiness? Sorrow? Do you regret your doings?”

“Revenge?”

Agnes shut her eyes.

“I, too… cannot find it.”

After the musketeer commander left...

Henrietta thought about the boy that saved the mother country and herself..

She poured wine into the cup again.

Watching the liquid sway inside, Henrietta slowly traced her lips with a finger.

The lips, as if by some spell, felt like they were on fire… Henrietta’s cheeks blushed slightly.



Saito glared at the firewood, hanging on some rope thrown over the tree branch.

“Kiiiiiiiiiiiiieeeeeeeeeeee!”

While screaming, he pulled out the sword and lowered it.

-Kachink- came the sound of it hitting the firewood

Then again, he aimed the sword at it and lowered. The wood was diagonally cut and fell to the ground. Applause came from the children who were watching that sort of show from the surroundings.

Saito wiped away the perspiration from his brow.

He was practicing since the morning. He was doing it together with rehabilitation. Whenever he got up in the morning - he instantly ran around the forest. The run was long. After that, he swung his sword; he practiced every day without fail. Derflinger was a useful coach. And the children watched curiously.

“Hey?”

"How was that?" Saito asked Derflinger for his opinion.

"That looks okay, not so bad, I think. Hmm, you have been swinging your blade for such a long time that your muscles have grown a bit, and you retained some muscle memory, eh?

"Really? However, I was really useless against those mercenaries......"

"Of course. Those guys are professional, you know? How could they have lost to some brat who had just played with a sword?"

"Don't say it that bluntly, please?"

Saito shot a spiteful glare at Derflinger.

"Besides, partner, weren't you so scared that your whole body was shaking? How could anyone lose to someone whose body is shaking."

"Damn it......"

“Even though it’s not enough, swing the sword. Right now, partner is not Gandálfr anymore…”

“I know.”

Under the care of Derflinger, Saito continued training.

It continued for two hours…

“T-tired…”

Saito was lying on the ground.

“Mercy. I’m wasted.”

“…You’ve been saying that since the morning.”

Still, it was a comfortable tiredness. He never moved around so much in Japan. The sun shone through the cracks in the trees, and Saito closed his eyes.

“However…”

Saito watched his hand.

“What?”

“I did not know I could move this way.”

He said slightly surprised.

Compared with the time in Japan, he was considerably stronger. If it were the old days, it would be impossible for him to run such distances while swinging a sword. Derflinger was not light at all; it was a large sword. His old self would not have been able to swing it around at all.

“Therefore, it is good for you to practice hard. However, I am saying it clearly, as an experienced veteran in combat – you are still an amateur, don’t get cocky."

“I’m not cocky.”

“You are not yet on the level to withstand an actual combat. Do not be so confident.”

“Nonsense.”

“Aah, partner, you should practice with a sword at least…”

Derflinger muttered hurt.

“Mo, I know that myself! But I can’t do that unflaggingly.”

Saito stood up.

“U-ummm…”

Turning around, he saw the hesitant Tiffania standing.

“What's wrong?”

“…W-will you eat lunch?”

The surrounding children shouted with joy.

The lunch was prepared in the garden behind Tiffania's house, if you could call it garden; since it didn't have any separations from the forest, it was impossible to tell where the garden ended and the forest began.

Tiffania started placing dishes on the table. It was bread with mushroom stew. Seeing that Saito suddenly noticed that he was very hungry.

“Itadakimasu!”

He shouted loudly and began to eat greedily. For a moment, Tiffania was astonished, but then smiled gently. The children were also interested in Saito's behavior, who was loudly gobbling and munching it up.

Noticing such attention, Saito blushed, and started to eat more slowly.

“It is delicious. Thank you.”

Tiffania laughed while smiling.

Those children who finished the meal, began to pester Tiffania.

“Tiffa-neechan! Let’s play!”

“Hey hey, I still haven’t finished eating yet…”

“Uwaa! Tiffa onee-chan, mama…”

The boy, approximately ten years of age, buried his face between Tiffania’s breasts, making Saito instinctively spout the stew.

“Gim! Aren’t you big already? You can’t depend on mother forever.”

“Because… Tiffa-neechan grew bigger, just like mother…”

Saito became suspicious about what the boy named Gim said.

“…Hey, your eyes are not discerning. After two-three years, your eyes should be able to distinguish them. Busted!”

When he said so, Gim glared at Saito.

“Tiffa-neechan belongs just to me!”

“Yes?”

Gim ran away.

“What… he misunderstood.”

When he faced Tiffania, he saw her firmly grasped fist resting on her knee.

“Tiffa?”

“N-no! I, I watched you practicing only because you looked happy, and I was just c-curious, so…”

Apparently, she was watching the practice, and Gim felt jealous.

Saito smiled wryly.

"I understand. Because I am close to your age, you are interested, right?”

Tiffania nodded silently. Tiffania grew up in a limited space and had not spoken to the teens of a similar age.

“…But, I wonder.”

“About what?”

“I am not scared of you. The dragon knight boys that I helped some time ago, were scary somehow…”

“I wonder why.”

“Oh well… I thought that maybe the reason that you are not afraid of me, as when I am scared, I become insecure myself, but it is somehow different with you…”

Apparently, Rene and the others were afraid of Tiffania. Oh dear, that could be it. Halkeginia’s nobles seemed to be afraid of elves due to the wars…

However, since Saito was not a noble from Halkeginia, he did not take part in wars either.

“Nonsense. Who would be afraid of such a cute girl like you?”

When Saito said so, trying to comfort Tiffania, she hesitantly turned.

However… when she hesitantly turned with both of her hands on her knees, naturally, her breasts were squeezed by her arms. Huge, shape-changing fruits. He did not know where to look.

Tiffania, noticing that Saito turned his eyes away shamefully; in a panic, covered her chest.

Though she gave Saito a light glare… as if remembering something, she became serious again.

“But… you really don’t want to inform them?”

Saito nodded with a serious look as well. This morning, Tiffania asked if he didn’t want to inform his family that he is all right. He said to Tiffania that though he wanted to return back to that place, no one cared if he was alive or not…

“Your family who was left in Tristain does not worry?”

“It’s all right.”

“I could send a letter…”

“It’s all right.” Saito repeated lonely.

“Your family will surely be worried about your safety.”

“There is no family in Tristain.”

“Then, where are they?”

“In a place where letters can not reach.”

“…Eh?”

“It is nothing. Please forget it.”

Tiffania, not knowing what to say, fell silent. Then noticing that Saito's stew plate was almost empty, Tiffania picked it up.

“I, I’ll bring seconds.”

Saying so, she disappeared in the house.

Saito lightly bit his lip.

After all, maybe he should tell the truth?

That there is a Void user besides Tiffania; to whom I was a familiar.

Though, that might worry her…

He felt someone's presence. Did Tiffania return already? That was very fast. Though I wanted some time to prepare my mind for this moment, there is no other way.

Saito said in a constrained voice.

“Though I do not have family in Tristain, however… There is an important person. Yet… I do not have the skills needed to appear in front of that person anymore. I’m not a familiar of that person already. Therefore…”

His hesitant explanation was interrupted by a low woman's voice.

“What are you doing here?”

It wasn’t Tiffania’s voice.

Frightened, Saito looked up.

The commander of the musketeers stood there.



“I thought it would be harder to find you. I’m disappointed.”

In the living room of Tiffania's house, Saito sat opposite from Agnes.

Agnes, who took off her black mantle and sat on the chair in a green tunic, amazed, watched Saito.

“I was going to enter the forest through the road, and search for you in all the villages that I walked past. Look, I came fully prepared for this. Since I was going to conduct a search operation in such a huge forest, I prepared at least two weeks of rations ..... along with items that could keep dew away as I stayed overnight. I've even brought along boots for me to change. And then I found you eating lunch in the first village I reach...... Seriously, what an anticlimactic ending.”

Agnes pointed at the stuffed rucksack and said.

“I see. So you are saying that the Princess looked for me?”

Asked Saito, after hearing about circumstances. Tiffania, with an embarrassed face, stood hesitantly as usual. There was no time to put a cap on her head either.

After drinking the tea on the table, Agnes stood up.

“Let’s go then. Miss, we are indebted to you. Though this is not much, take our expression of gratitude.”

After throwing a bag with golden coins towards Tiffania, Agnes turned to the doorway.

“What?”

Seeing Saito not moving, Agnes made a suspicious face.

“Umm… could you tell the Princess that I died?”

“What? You don’t want to be honored by Her Majesty and removed from the commoner’s list?”

Saito said.

“The Princess will inform Louise about it.”

“So what? Aren’t you Miss Vallière’s familiar?”

“Not anymore.”

“What?”

Saito showed to Agnes the left hand on which runes disappeared.

“Though I do not understand because I am not a mage… there should be letters engraved.”

“At the time when I was dying, the runes disappeared. Since I am not a familiar, I am a free human now. Therefore, please say that I died.”

Though Agnes was gazing Saito… her glance stopped on Tiffania. Being watched by Agnes, Tiffania shamefully hid her ears. Though she was going to erase the memory from behind… was she seen through? 

“Elf?”

“…Half.”

“Is that so.” Agnes muttered.

Seeing that Agnes was not afraid of her, Tiffania asked timidly.

“You are not scared of elves?”

“I don't make a habit of being scared by those who do not show malice.”

Sighing, Agnes slumped back into the chair again.

“All right. I will say that you are dead.”

“Really?”

“Aah. Instead… I will stay here for a while.”

“What?”

Saito and Tiffania stared at Agnes with their mouth’s agape.

“There is no date specified. Besides...“

Agnes said in a somewhat tired tone.

“I want to take some rest. Ever since the war started, I haven't had much sleep.”



That night...

Saito, laying on the bed, stared at the ceiling, unable to fall asleep. He heard creaky sounds coming from the corridor. Then, someone knocked against the door.

“Agnes-san?”

He thought it was Agnes who was sleeping in the living room, but he was wrong.

“It's me.”

Came the shy voice of Tiffania from the other side of the door.

“Come in.”

The door opened revealing Tiffania. She wore a thin night cloth and had a candlestick with a wax candle in her right hand. The candlelight melted smoothly with Tiffania's blond hair.

“What's wrong?”

Saito said in a strained voice.

“I want to talk to you about something. Can I?”

“Alright.”

It was the first time he saw Tiffania changed into her nightclothes. Though the nightclothes were loose, it hugged Tiffania's developed body tightly. Because of her young features, when the outline of her body was hidden, she looked very childish.

When Tiffania put the candlestick on the table, she sat on the chair.

And asked Saito in a serious voice.

“Hey Saito. Who are you? You don't have any family in Tristain, however, the Queen of Tristain is searching for you. 'I am not a familiar anymore' you said. How can a human be a familiar? If you don't want to tell me, it’s alright, however… However, I feel uneasy.”

Saito worried.

If he had to explain it, the talk would touch "Void".

That there is a girl named Louise, who, like Tiffania, is a user of Void…

But maybe he should not tell that to Tiffania, who lives peacefully in the forest. It might put her in an unnecessary danger.

When Saito kept being silent, Tiffania continued asking.

“When I played the harp, you cried…”

“You saw?”

“Yes. When listening to that tune, tears fell from my eyes. I remembered mother and the place where she was born. Though I do not know about it… for some reason, I still call it my hometown. Do you remember your home?”

Saito nodded. Apart from the explanation of Void, he could talk about himself...

“Where is it? If you want to talk that is.”

“…In a country of Earth.”

“What?”

Tiffania stared at him with wide eyes.

“As I said, I am not from here. From another world. I am a human that came from there.”

“I don’t understand.”

“You don’t? That’s why I did not want to talk about it.”

“Where you come from? How?“

“That… somehow I was summoned as a familiar. I do not understand it myself really.”

“There must be some reason…”

“There may not be one. As for the reason I ended up in here…”

“I absolutely want to know.”

“Well I became a familiar with an ability to use any weapon.”

Saito said in a soliloquy way.

“You can’t use them anymore?”

“Yeah.”

“That’s why you do not return to Tristain? But what about your master…”

“It’s all right.”

“You don’t want to meet that person?”

“That’s not why - I cannot meet her. It’s because as a human, I am useless now and have lost any purpose…”

Seeing Saito like this, Tiffania said in a sympathetic voice.

“You love her, don’t you?”

Once she said so, tears started flowing from Saito's eyes. Feelings that had been restrained till now broke free, and Saito cried raggedly. Tiffania stood up and hugged Saito’s head close to her.

“I'm sorry, I'm sorry. Don’t cry, don’t cry.”

After a while, once Saito’s sobbing subdued, he apologized to Tiffania. 

“I'm sorry for crying.”

“It’s all right. I also cry sometimes…”

Tiffania, even after Saito stopped crying, rested his head on her chest. Tiffania’s soft and big bosom settled Saito’s mind down.

“…That is so. That’s why I felt close to you.”

“To me?”

“Aye. It was the hometown to which you cannot return. I have one as well. I think this was the reason why you started crying after hearing my harp.”

He looked at Tiffania’s slumber attire.

“Do these clothes look unusual to you?”

“That’s right.”

The night clothes that Louise wore, were of a different design.

“These are Elven clothing. I got them from my mother. Because Elves live in the desert… they wear such clothes. The texture protects from the sun during the daytime, and the warmth protects from night’s cold. Because it is warm, I made it into nightclothes.”

Tiffania said in a longing tone.

“When the night comes, I remember mother. She was very beautiful and gentle. When I go to sleep and put these clothes on, I feel like I am held by mother again.”

“Yeah.”

“Lands in the east… Mother's hometown… I want to go there. But I cannot.”

”Why?”

“Elves dislike humans. When they see the ‘mixed’ me, they will not understand.”

In a sad voice, Tiffania said.

“And humans are afraid of Elves. They will not be afraid of me as long as I'm an unknown girl. Human in daytime. Elf at night. And neither in the end. A failure.”

“You are not a failure.”

Looking up, Saito said.

“Why?”

“You are very beautiful. When I saw you for the first time, I honestly thought you were a fairy. So have more confidence.”

Tiffania blushed.

“…”

“S-sorry… I didn’t have anything strange in mind when I said that…”

“Don’t say that again. It’s embarrassing.”

“Alright.”

“It was the first time someone told me I am beautiful. You are really a weird person. Instead of being afraid of me, you say I am beautiful.”

“But you are beautiful…”

When Saito said that, Tiffania quietly pushed Saito away.

“Tiffa?”

“…Muu, I told you not to say that again.”

“W-w-why you are so angry? It is not bad to be called beautiful.”

“S-stop saying that I am beautiful. I, I want you to be silent.”

Saying so, Tiffania stood up.

Confused, Saito scratched his head.



The next morning...

“Get up.”

N? Saito thrust out his head, but it was still dim.

“Isn’t it night still…?” he muttered and dived back under the blanket. Then the blanket was torn away.

“What the!”

He shouted and felt a sword pointed at his nose.

“Get up. I won’t repeat myself three times.”

In the darkness, he recognized Agnes' face. He also noticed that the pointed sword was Derflinger.

”It’s great, partner!”

“Ah?”

“The commander of the musketeers will be taking care of your training from now on! Under her guidance, you will gain skills in no time!”

Agnes smiled.

“Since I’m bored anyway, to kill time, I will train you, with pleasure.”

“I-is that so…”

He said scratching his head, but his cheek was pulled.

“W-what auch auch?!”

Then a hand gripped Saito’s ear and brought his face close to Agnes, who said.

“Alright? From today on, your only answer is ‘Yes’. Is that clear?”

She had a power different from Louise, and Saito nodded instinctively. It was a musketeer commander with stern look and not a young, beautiful woman.

“Y-yes…”

“I can’t hear you.”

“YES!”

“One minute. Put your clothes on and come to the garden.”

And once he ran to the garden, still hastily putting his clothes on, Agnes stood there with her arms crossed. When Saito stood before her, she reported in a lowered voice.”

“Ten seconds late.” 

“That, only ten seconds…”

She roughly pulled his cheek, Saito shouted in an almost crying voice.

“Yes! I’m late!”

“Well then, one hundred push-ups.”

She said simply, and Saito started doing push-ups.

After that, the basic training of hell continued. He was made to run around the forest for a long time, then his strength was trained using a log. The hard and intensive training that he was doing seemed like games now.

Once no one was around, Saito, as one would expect, collapsed on the ground. Then water was sprinkled on him.

“Dog. Exhausted already?”

Being called a dog made Saito clink.

“Sorry, but my name is not dog. My name is Saito.”

“If you want to be called by a human name, become an equal person.”

Then she pulled out a wooden sword.

“Next – swords.”

As soon as Saito struggled to his feet, she turned around and drove it straight into his belly.

“I-I haven’t taken the stance yet… w-why…”

When he muttered, fainting in agony, Agnes smiled.

“Do you think ‘taking a stance’ would matter in actual combat? First of all, you need to train your basic physical strength for half a year and only then start training the skills…”

Agnes then turned again and thrust the sword out at a high speed.

ZnT08-177.jpg

“Fighting is not elegant. Skip the ‘art’. I’ll teach you the meaning of the word ‘sword’.”

After one hour, Saito collapsed again. He fainted. Agnes poured a bucket of cold water on him again.

Saito, who woke up, stared at Agnes absent-minded.

During the one hour… Saito burbled and received a lot of damage. Saito’s sword didn’t even scratch Agnes. She just dodged, blocked it, and then hit any part of him with her sword.

“Do you know why you cannot land a hit on me?”

“I don’t know.”

“It’s because our swordsmanship is not the same. Do you understand at least that?”

Saito nodded. If you swing a sword at Gandálfr’s speed, there is no need to avoid enemy attacks.

“It works if it is a surprise attack. However, if the enemy anticipates it, you will never hit.”

“Yes.”

“Alright, halt your own attacks and wait for the chance to attack the opponent. Use your eyes to seize the opportunity.”

“If there is no opening… then what do I do?”

“Create it.”

Until the evening, no matter how hard Saito wielded sword against Agnes, he could not graze her.

Laying on the ground, exhausted, Saito muttered.

“Why… why can't I even graze…”

Agnes said in an amazed voice.

“Pfft, with the sword, the swordsman gain a noble's fame. Without actual combat experience, you are just an amateur to be defeated.”

“…A little while I had this thought. I am useless after all. I am no good with blades.”

Saito whispered, to which Agnes answered.

“There is no time to ridicule yourself; take the sword. A dog doesn’t have the right to belittle itself.”


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