Campione!:Volume 4 Prologue
【Excerpt From the Meeting Minutes with Associated Individuals, Written by the Traveling Archeologist Sherilyn from London, Beginning of the 21st Century】
Dragons have nine similarities.
Heads like a camel, horns like a deer, eyes like a ghost, ears like a bull, appearances like a snake, bellies like a mirage, scales like a carp, claws like an eagle, palms like a tiger.
Such is the [Dragon]'s appearance as written in Chinese books.
But it was merely a fantastical description written in text, combining various creatures to form a strange biological existence.
At the same time, the dragon's greatest similarity was its considerable semblance to snakes.
Whether it was eastern or western, dragons always had a thin, snake-like body, and at the same time exhibited characteristics of other beasts special to the region; therefore it always looked different given variations in location and time. The greatest unchanging aspect of this beast was that it always had its foundation as a [Serpent], which, regardless of region, has not differed since ancient times.
【Notes of the Witch Lucretia Zola, Regarding the Mythology of Perseus and Andromeda】
The monster perched by the waterside (likely a great serpent or dragon-kin) required them to present a girl as sacrifice.
At this moment, the timely appearance of a hero defeated the monster; he then took the rescued girl as his wife.
We have confirmed that even in the far-eastern Japan, there were also stories like that of Perseus and Andromeda. The most renowned examples would be the tales surrounding the Yamata no Orochi.
Susanoo defeated the Yamata no Orochi before marrying Kushinada.
Then from the tail of the slain serpent, he was granted the blessing of a divine sword.
Therefore, Susanoo acquired the [Sword] from the body of the [Serpent].
There were several similarities to the formula that we European witches are familiar with.
In other words --- confronting dragons was the hidden symbiotic relationship between heroes of steel and the gods of the earth and water.
【Liliana Kranjcar, about to go on vacation, just before meeting the [King]】
It was already late July and about to change months.
Europe was in the middle of summer, the season of long vacations.
Spending the long vacation in either resorts that avoid the summer heat or coastal locations was good; renting a villa to spend leisure time was alright as well, even relaxing at one's own home from morning to night was not a bad call.
So for Liliana Kranjcar to assess her own swimsuit in front of the mirror in her room, it was not something others should gossip about.
Because it should be like that.
"...No, no this isn't good either, how can I wear something like this in front of everyone!"
Liliana was looking at herself in the mirror, frankly pointing out that it was impossible for her to dress like that.
The long vacation was scheduled to be spent by the sea this year. Therefore, she was now trying out the new swimsuit now. But...
What was wrapped around her slender body were the upper and lower portions of a bikini.
Although her body was very slender, the lush and delicate chest, as well as the feminine waistline, were both very soft, while her slim legs were like fine glass, all of it giving a fairy-like cuteness and the dangerously-balanced charm of a girl.
Liliana looked despairingly at her posture.
--- Definitely not! This is way too exposed! Way too vulgar!
Liliana's white skin tone overwhelmed the blue lines of the swimsuit that was covering her.
It was way too daring.
Even though it fit perfectly, it was still problematic.
Although such an appearance may create some opportunities for her, things that could not be done just could not be done.
......The blistering summer sun, the scorching hot beach.
......At this time, the shy Liliana strolled in her swimsuit, watched by a gentleman (definitely a handsome guy, clad in swimwear, with the tanned skin of an athlete) who could not keep his eyes off her.
......The shy Liliana occasionally made eye contact, but the guy sent an elegant smile her way. She thought it would finish with just that, but the two of them met again several hours later.......
"J-just what am I thinking, really...... compared to this, Karen!"
"What are your orders, Liliana-sama? Does that swimsuit still meet your wishes?"
As Liliana addressed the exclusive maid who stood behind her, the other replied in a calm steady voice.
A petite and cute girl who was wearing a maid outfit.
At age fourteen, she was at an age when studying should be her focus.
But, Karen was currently an apprentice sorceress studying at the Kranjcar family's [Bronze Black Cross] magic association. She already finished her high school courses, a result of constantly skipping grades while studying within the private school ran by the association.
Now she worked besides Liliana, receiving an education necessary for witches.
"It's rare to come here to shop, but I feel like this swimsuit doesn't fit me; seems way too showy."
"Not at all; I think it fits you perfectly."
"No! F-for a lady, just wearing such a thin swimsuit is already a problem!"
"Don't you often emphasize that you are a knight and not a lady?"
"Eh, that is completely true, b-but what about as a girl! That's right, a pure girl shouldn't wear such shameless clothes."
Liliana declared in a high tone.
But Karen sighed with a tiny sound, and with gentle eyes that looked like she was dealing with a selfish child, she said:
"Really? Since Liliana-sama says that, there's also another swimsuit that I prepared...... but you might mind what others think of it."
Karen replied in a teasing tone.
Karen Jankulovski was not only an excellent witch, but also a capable maid, not to mention someone with an unforgiving tongue full of critique for others.
"Since it's a swimsuit, it's natural to be very thin; the fact you mind such minor details also means that your tolerance is far too low...... ah, I'm really sorry, I accidentally spoke my mind, please forgive me."
Liliana could not help but frown as she heard these words that lacked the sincerity of an apology.
But, such a level of criticism was not enough to change her views.
"Then, what do you think of this swimsuit? I prepared it as a backup just in case. This is a blue one-piece swimsuit, completely lacking any cuteness; its simplicity and lack of sexiness is its only trait, a piece that completely lacks any sense of interest---"
"If you already prepared a plain swimsuit, then take it out in the first place."
As she watched, Karen pick up a swimsuit from the nearby table, Liliana relaxed and let out her breath at last.
But the calmly plotting maid purposefully made a worried expression.
"Well, I did prepare it, but when I heard that Erica Blandelli-sama's swimsuit this year was not only light and functional, but also a bikini that emphasized her boldness and sex appeal, I thought that if this continued, you won't even have a chance to compete against her......"
"......What did you say?"
Although Liliana wanted to pretend those words were just a passing wind, she was completely hooked after hearing the name of her rival.
"Karen...... how do you know what Erica's swimsuit will be like this year?"
"Do you know Arianna Arialdi? She's Erica-sama's maid and a long-time friend of mine; just yesterday on the phone we ended up chatting about this topic."
"You, when did you build such a relationship with that devil woman?"
"Please don't be surprised by something like this; this was only to grasp Liliana-sama's and our [Bronze Black Cross]' enemy --- Erica-sama and her intentions."
The petite maid showed a calm and natural expression to her surprised mistress.
"Erica-sama and Liliana-sama are connected by an inexplicable fate, so it's likely that you'll meet her on some beach or at some swimming pool...... given that, I'm extremely worried about such a plain swimsuit; I'm not sure if it even has the right to compete with her."
"You are worrying over nothing; that fox woman is definitely staying in Japan, trying to beguile that seventh godslayer. I definitely will not meet her this summer.
Trying to use my rivalry with Erica to dress me up so shamefully? I will not let you succeed.
Hmph...... Liliana rejected Karen's suggestion with a cold smile.
"Ah, didn't you know? Erica-sama accompanied her lover --- Kusanagi Godou-sama and arrived in Italy."
......Now she received some completely unexpected information.
Liliana fell silent and into deep thought; she had repeated her days of conflict with Erica Blandelli since childhood. Their martial arts shared the spotlight equally with neither side gaining any advantage, and while her magic was not as good as that woman in iron alchemy, she was still one-step better overall.
Then there were social skills, where Erica held an overwhelming advantage.
Just on this matter she was never as good; as a woman, her charm and her presence has always lost to Erica. She did not feel like her appearance or attitude lost in any way, then just why?
No...... I'm definitely somewhat blunt, and I don't really know how to talk......
But, that woman does not understand chores at all, especially when it comes to cooking, where she herself held an overwhelming advantage. Liliana Kranjcar could be counted as a homemaking type of woman after all.
"Then, we won't need the swimsuit you have on now, is that alright?"
The maid suddenly asked as she was pondering over things.
Liliana wanted to nod, but she hesitated. Was this alright? Was this really alright?
From a normal standpoint, without prior arrangements, her chances of meeting Erica on the beach were almost zero. But when she thought of her luck regarding that woman, going to a ten or even twenty percent chance from zero was possible......
"......No, let me carefully look over this again; this is actually alright. However please prepare the one piece for me as well, even though this year I'll wear the first one."
"Is that so? I understand."
Liliana pretended to be calm, while Karen coolly accepted the orders.
......Truthfully, as the head of the Kranjcar family, Liliana's grandfather was also worried about his granddaughter's lack of appeal, therefore he instructed Karen to "at least make her choose some more appropriate styles, but just how?", "Well Sir, please leave it to me.", "Oh~~ if successful, I'll reward you with a special bonus......" and similar dialogue, none of which was appropriate to the topic right now.
Nevertheless, the mistress and her exclusive maid finally came to a result, immediately followed by......
The ring tone sounded on Liliana's cell phone.
"Hello, I am Kranjcar...... yes, it has been a long time, Diana. Eh, Sir Salvatore? Yes, though I can get in touch with him...... Is there any reason to request his divine power? Unless some rare occasion has happened? The Heraion? The Seal of the Snake and the Cow!?"
After finishing her conversation, Liliana immediately opened her cell phone's contact list.
She called Italy's proud godslayer of the sword --- Salvatore Doni.
To request his help, she had to reach him first.
At the same time, Liliana called the maid that stood beside her.
"Karen, my apologies, looks like this year's vacation is cancelled, right now we need to find Sir Salvatore, then immediately head towards Naples. Please make the travel arrangements.
"I understand, Liliana-sama."
This would drag Liliana Kranjcar into battle with the [Heretic Gods], and marked her prelude to new adventures.
Translator’s notes & references
- Perseus and Andromeda: Perseus is the Greek Hero who killed Medusa; on his return trip, he saved Andromeda, a Princess of Aethiopia, who was chained to a rock as a sacrifice to pacify Cetus, a monster sent by Poseidon (Greek god of the ocean) to punish the locals for their Queen's insolent boasts. Perseus slew Cetus, then freed and married Andromeda.
- Yamata no Orochi: literally meaning 'Eight-Branched Giant Snake', Orochi was an eight-headed and eight-tailed Japanese dragon slain by Susanoo, Japanese god of the sea and storms.
- Kushinada: the eighth daughter of an elderly couple, whose previous seven daughters were all eaten by Orochi. After Susanoo offered to take her away to be saved, he then turned her into a comb to accompany him into 'battle' with Orochi (he actually got Orochi drunk and killed it).
- Divine Sword: After killing Orochi, Susanoo discovered the sword Ame-no-Murakumo (also known as the Sword of Kusanagi) within its body, one of the most famous artifacts of Japan which would later become one of the three pieces of the Imperial Reglia.
- Siegfried and Fafnir: Siegfried of the German epic Nibelungenlied (and also known as Sigurd in Norse mythology) slayed the dragon Fafnir, before he bathed in its blood which made his body invulnerable. However, a leaf was stuck on his back as he bathed where the blood did not touch, and this vulnerable spot later caused his death.
- Lancelot and the Sword: As a baby, Sir Lancelot was carried off by the Lady of the Lake who raised him in the faerie realms. The Lady of the Lake was also renowned as the one who presented Arthur with Excalibur, although in some earlier Arthurian stories Lancelot was the one who received the famous sword instead.
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