Zero no Tsukaima:Volume9 Epilogue
The next morning...
Gathering around, students and teachers from the Academy of Magic surrounded and stared at the Ostland, which was parked on a grassy field a distance away from the Academy of Magic.
At first glance, it was just like a gigantic ship.
The length of its wing span was roughly 150 mails. Although the hull of the ship was the same as the ones in Halkeginia, the huge propellers which were installed on its back, together with its huge wings, caused the ship to emanate a bizarre atmosphere. The propellers were installed one-by-one beside the extending wings.
“There are 3 spinning wings that provide the huge amount of horsepower needed to power this ship. The power which causes the revolving wings to operate... is acquired from the pressure of the steam which originates from water heated by coals. I call this a 'steam engine.' This is a design which resembled the installed power devices from that 'Dragon's Raiment,'”
Colbert explained to Mr. Osman who was standing beside him.
“What an awesome ship... Why did you install such huge wings?”
“To travel to the east. To work hard to travel long distances... we must by all means minimize the expenditure of wind stones. With those huge wings, the ship can get the buoyancy it needs to float, gliding and flying at the same time. Its principles are the same as the albatross and the oscar.
Mr. Osman rubbed his white beard.
“Well, this is splendid. If this is applied to warships, what type of air force would be able to form...?”
“I do not have any intention to use this as a warship. In the end, this is still an 'exploring ship.' Weapons needed to defend itself have been installed... but I have no intention to hand it over to the king's army. The expenses to construct this ship has been paid for by Miss Zerbst's family. So regardless, the ship belongs to Germania. If the Tristainian government inspects this ship, it would become a diplomatic issue. Well... in any case... besides me, no one else can fly this ship.”
Mr. Osman nodded, satisfied.
“If that's the case, I have nothing else to say. Believe in yourself, just like that, and decide your own path, Flame Serpent.”
Colbert smiled, and nodded.
At a place far away from that conversation, students were there watching attentively.
Kirche, Guiche, Montmorency, and Saito.
Montmorency muttered in a dispirited voice.
“That teacher is still alive huh... or should I say, why did you lie and say that he had died?”
Kirche combed her hair upwards triumphantly and replied.
“That's because... I had to lie to that scary Onee-san from the Musketeer Corps, right? At that rate, my Jean would be killed.”
“What do you mean by 'my Jean'?”
“Hey, isn't that his name?”
Apparently embarrassed, Kirche wriggled her body and murmured.
“Haaa? His name?”
“Yeah. What a lovely name...”
Absentmindedly, Kirche replied.
Montmorency who had realized Kirche's feelings from her look, asked in a amazed tone.
“You... don't tell me...”
“Yeah, that is it. But my Jean, he's so powerful, yet never shows off his powers, a knowledgeable person, and able to make such a magnificent thing like this ship!”
The expenses for the construction of the ship were apparently forked out by Kirche, or Kirche's family. The Zerbst of family of Kirche was wealthy and famous, but that's not the way to use it... How dreadful it is for someone who fell completely in love! Montmorency thought.
“What is your age gap?”
“For me, an age gap is not an obstacle at all.”
“What about his bald head?”
“Just like the sun. The symbol of passion.”
At that moment, Colbert called out to Kirche.
“Yeeeessss! Just call me Kirche! I've already told you many times! No way, my Jean!”
As if she skipped and tread, Kirche leaped to his side energetically. She clung onto him, and Colbert grimaced, looking troubled.
“Sigh... Things which must at a certain time happen will happen, huh?"
Guiche extended his arm towards Montmorency's shoulder.
“I don't really get it... but let us let things which must happen at a certain time to happen... with love."
Montmorency pinched the back of Guiche's hand and raised her eyebrows.
“You, while Saito and the others were in danger, what were you doing?”
“Ummm, in the ball...”
“And you formed the knight corps! You, get down to work! You're the Commanding Officer, right!?”
“Gyagya!” Guiche yelled, and dropped his shoulders, dejected.
At that same moment... Louise was in her room, confronting Henrietta.
Henrietta was investigating about the ones who had attacked Louise.
But she did not understand the details.
What she had confirmed was something like their opponent was Myoznitnirn, the opponent of the "familiar of Zero."
She planned to call Saito later to listen to the whole incident again.
“Because of my rash actions... I exposed you to danger again... My apologies.”
“No... It was not really Princess's fault...”
Louise replied in an unpleasant-like voice.
Both of them exchanged glances, and fell silent.
Louise tried to ask Henrietta about the things which filled her head.
Yet... those words could not come out.
To ask Henrietta about those things... meant that her relationship with Henrietta would crack.
Louise was troubled.
Should she ask or not?
No... the answer was already out.
Though their friendship since a young age would be broken apart, she had to ascertain it.
What she lacked was the courage to take the first step out.
“Princess, there's something I want to ask.”
“Wh-What is it?”
“Princess's actions in the ball, were they from your true feelings?”
Henrietta shook her head in a sad-looking face.
“Supposing those were my true feelings... what would you do?”
Louise who was distressed for a moment...
“I don't know.”
Henrietta became anxious. She looked far into the distance, and bit her fingernails for a moment.
Louise realized that Henrietta's manner was as if she did not consider her state at all.
Evidently, this princess... was as if she did not realize Louise's feelings at all.
In contrast to friends or any other people, she did not appear to be any one of them.
Instead of being angry, Louise was shocked.
It could not be helped that she was a true princess. For her to conjecture things like other people's feelings, she could not do it at all. So it was inevitable for Louise to get mad at her.
I was like that during those days as well, huh?
“What's wrong? What's so funny? Louise. I haven't said anything funny...”
Henrietta looked nervous.
While smiling bitterly, Louise said,
“No... Princess is only innocent. Sometimes, it looks like there are situations when the people around you could not agree with your innocence, no matter what.”
Depressed, Henrietta dropped her shoulders.
Henrietta was after all, still a human.
The same as herself; even Henrietta got troubled by trivial things... became weak and helpless, her feelings hurt due to petty matters... fell in love... She was just a normal girl like that.
Until then, Louise kept regarding the things Henrietta did as absolute. Since the start, she believed that they were correct. However, that was not the case. Henrietta made mistakes as well. She fell in love. And sometimes......Henrietta may also try to fight for the person she likes, even if the person was Louise's lover.
She thought that... and somehow felt that this was like the first time she could understand Henrietta.
“That's okay. Princess' feelings are Princess' feelings. Please guard that valuable thing gently. To take it out, or to leave it locked all the time, this is Princess' freedom. I do not find any fault with it.”
“I don't get it. I... what is that? Really, what do you mean...?”
Henrietta who was perplexed like that, appeared to be just like a childish kid.
Louise bowed at Henrietta once.
“Please forgive me for my discourtesy.”
With a serious look, Louise slapped the left cheek of Henrietta who was taken aback.
Paaaaannnggg! The dry sound echoed in the room.
Next, just like before, she landed another slap on the dumbstruck Henrietta's right cheek.
In that instant, Henrietta could not understand what happened... She just stared fixedly at Louise. Since she was born, she never had any experience with things like being slapped by someone else.
Louise knelt at Henrietta's feet.
“I have been very rude. However, that is my familiar. Since you were prepared to strike, please come with suitable readiness as well.”
Louise looked up at Henrietta. Anger and possessiveness were swimming in those eyes.
“Please be aware of that. Next time, if I use my flat hand again, I beg your pardon.”
In a daze, Henrietta stroked her cheek... after which she displayed a smile slowly.
She squatted, and hugged Louise's shoulders.
“Yes. To a mage, a familiar is the most valuable existence; just like the two moons in the night sky, a relationship which can not be severed. I will be aware of it. When I meet you, I will approach you with suitable readiness.”
The other royal lass was...
...in her own room, with a letter spread out in front.
A brand new letter without any signature or stamp.
Nevertheless, she understood the sender's intent, painfully.
The gist was simply... the deprivation of her "Chevalier" title, and the arrest of her confined mother at the shore of Ragdorian Lake. A short, two-line letter.
After finishing reading the letter, Tabitha tore it up into shreds... and let the pieces fly out the window.
Gazing at the paper shreds which scattered like snowflakes, Tabitha thought to herself.
I do not regret my conduct.
Anyhow, my mother is already an imprisoned body.
Her residence has merely changed.
I will retrieve my mum with my own hands.
That day is not far.
No, I have no plans to make it far.
After the scattered letter shreds had been blown by the wind till they disappeared... Tabitha faced the window, and whistled.
From the sky, Sylphid descended.
Jumping onto its back, Tabitha muttered a short sentence.
After Mr. Osman joined Kirche and explained something, Colbert turned towards Saito for the first time.
Saito became very nervous.
Meeting Colbert whom he had thought all this time to be dead... what was the best thing to say first?
There were many things to say.
The war at Albion.
Many people had died.
The air battle between the dragon knights.
The occupation of the city of Saxe-Gotha.
And the escape.
His standing at the rear, stopping the army of 70,000.
Because of his achievements, his conferment of the title "Chevalier"...
However, he could not say anything when he saw Mr Colbert walk towards him. Saito could only press his lips together tightly, resisting the urge to cry as tears began to well up in his eyes.
He did not spend that long a time with Colbert.
But the value of a human is not decided through the length of time spent together.
Saito gazed at the middle-aged man of this world who appreciated him.
Someone who understood him significantly better than Louise.
In a familiar voice as if he met him in the academy, courtyard, or laboratory, Colbert spoke,
“Yo! Saito-kun. Long time no see, huh? During my absence, looks like you had gone through troubles and hardships.”
Saito hesitated, not knowing what to say.
He wanted to say something complicated, to show that he had grown.
Yet, those words could not come out.
Mixed with tears, a sad voice came out.
“Teacher... I... I kept thinking that you were dead...”
“My death, huh? No, my probable death, huh? I was going to ask you for a request. To show me your world.”
The tears which Saito had been fighting back overflowed.
“Why are you crying? What a worrisome pupil you are! Come now, shouldn't we go together? To the Ostland!”
Colbert clapped Saito's shoulder.
Saito was shedding tears of joy.
While he was shedding tears of joy... a question arose.
What is the true motive of the Myoznitnirn who had appeared again?
Henrietta said that she would look into it, but... I can't wait any longer. I will find out her true motive somehow, and ensure she will not be able to meddle with my affairs anymore. If I can't work out a plan...
And it seemed like Tabitha and that Myoznitnirn had some sort of connection.
There were many things he was worrying right now. Where is Tabitha now?
I will speak to her afterwards... but her figure could not be seen.
Passing through the Academy's gate, Louise went outside... and in front of her, an amazing scene was spread out.
The ship which possessed those huge wings, was parked on a grassy field.
The mast was of Germania... and the flag of the Von Zerbst family was fluttering. Apparently, they were saved by the ship of the Von Zerbst family of Germania.
Surrounding it were students and teachers who were admiring that ship and laughing.
Amongst them, she discovered Saito's figure... and Louise rushed over.
She must continue the incident from yesterday night.
At that time, she had planned to hit him many more times... but she could not do it.
Somehow that IDIOT began to stand out... and because of that, gathering attention to himself. Anyhow, he had even fascinated Henrietta...
How many times should I be fretting over him?
Leaving that aside, there was something else she was dissatisfied about.
After this, I'll get irritated many more times, right?
I would also get upset many times in my anger as well, right?
But still, whenever that happened...
“How could I be deluded with a kiss?”
That was her dissatisfaction.
Somehow, with only a kiss... with only a gentle embrace, nngh... that 'me' who would just think that 'Never mind, it's okay.' is unforgivable...
As she grew increasingly impatient, an angry-looking appearance surfaced, and Louise sped down the path towards that grassy field.
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