Zero no Tsukaima:Volume11 Chapter3
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 Chapter Three: Karin the Heavy Wind
It was the morning of the second day since leaving Tristain when the Queen's carriage crossed the drawbridge of the La Vallière residence. Since it was a low-profile visit, other than Agnes and Colbert, there were only five musketeers guarding the wagon.
As the party passed the bridge and gates, the servants who gathered there rejoiced. The flagpole in the front yard had the Lilies emblem, the arms of the Tristanian royal family, on it. A small courtesy for the incognito queen.
When Agnes got off the horse, she opened the door of the carriage.
The armor of a magic knight was seen in the center of the stairs that continued to the castle. Agnes squinted at it.
“What’s the matter, commander?”
Then Henrietta saw the knight who stood at the center of the stairs, and gasped in surprise.
“That’s the armor of the Manticore Corps.”
Indeed, the armor had the big black mantel with the Manticore Corps' emblem sewn on it.
“But the Manticore Corps works at the castle now. Besides, that shuttlecock decoration… That hat belongs to a commander.”
“But the body is too thin to be De Cesaire.”
“Perhaps it’s not his to begin with.”
The knight slowly went down stairs. Musketeers, surrounding the Queen, watched the figure intensely with their hands on their guns.
Then Agnes took one step forth and blocked the knight’s path. The lower half of his face, under the knight's hat decorated with shuttlecock, was covered with an iron mask. Feeling intense pressure for the moment, Agnes grasped the handle of her sword.
“Are you a friend of Duke of La Valliere? To go out to meet Her Majesty like this - it’s too much even for a prank. Introduce yourself.”
However, the knight ignored Agnes's words, and knelt down on one knee in respect.
“It's been a long time, Your Majesty. However, you will surely not remember me, because it has been a good 30 years since the last time I served the castle.”
Henrietta, with an open-jaw, looked at the knight. Indeed, though the mantle's colors faded a lot over the years, it was still nicely kept - neither stain nor tear could be found.
“I am Karin, the former commander of the Manticore corps. However, even though I introduced myself with a different name back then, my loyalty for the royal family has not changed.”
Henrietta had heard about the former commander of Manticore Corps, so her face turned pale.
“Then, you are Karin the Heavy Wind?!”
“Yes, I am honored that you know the name.”
“Of course I know – you are infamous! Agnes, this is Karin the Heavy Wind, the legendary magic knight commander! I grew up hearing about her heroic adventures!”
Henrietta had the face of a starry-eyed little girl as she took Karin’s hand.
“I had yearned to meet you so much since childhood! Fire dragon extermination! Rescue of a city attacked by orcs… Gorgeous use of weapons! Presence massive as a mountain! Ages when nobles were still noble, and true knights. A lot of knights respect you and try to be just like you!”
“What would you say?! I-I know all your adventures by memory! You are a woman, right? After you retired, though, I heard that you disappeared like the wind, but you were with La Vallières. What are you doing now?”
Karin removed her mask abruptly. Seeing her face, Henrietta’s eyes almost popped from their sockets.
“Duchess! You are the Duchess!”
Agnes was surprised too.
“In other words, I am the Duchess of La Vallière – the mother of Louise…”
“I took the opportunity to marry and took off my armor. But it is a long story since that time, so please pardon me.”
“I understand, but why…”
Henrietta wanted to ask why she now wore the armor that she previously took off.
Karin stood up straight.
“For today, I am not the Duchess Karin. I am Karin, the former commander of the Manticore Corps, who respects the rule of steel. And I will punish that law breaking daughter of mine. This will be the proof of my loyalty to Your Majesty and family.”
“Punishment?! Heavy Wind’s punishment on Louise?!”
Henrietta watched Karin in deep shock, shaking her head. Her face turned pale. She had gone there with the intention to punish Louise, so her feelings withered for a moment. But this person would give a much more severe punishment than she herself intended. Should the punishment be dealt, Louise would die for sure!
“You should not be violent! I came here to deal with Louise’s punishment myself. Because I am young, at first I was resented. However, I thought about it a lot. Though Louise passed national borders certainly without my permission… I am also worried about it as a friend too. Just a strong reprimand will do, I do not intend to give a violent penalty.”
“Your Majesty, your words are kind, and you feel regretful. However, Your Majesty's royal prerogative is of the sacred non-aggression given by the Founder. Thus, you have to protect the laws of the country promulgated in that name, too.”
Karin quickly raised her right hand. From the shade of the castle, a huge, black shadow flew. A strong dust storm rose as it touched the ground.
It was an old and huge mythical beast, the Manticore.
“If the laws of the country that should be respected are neglected, Your Majesty should keep her royal principles. But because the law-breaker is my own daughter, I cannot forgive it all the more.”
Karin effortlessly flew up fifty meters and straddled the manticore.
The Manticore flapped its huge wings. And, with amazing speed, the mythical beast flew up to the sky with its master.
La Vallière's castle was closer to the border of Germania than the capital. After passing the nation's borders at three o'clock, they could already see the high steeples of the castle.
“H-Hey Louise… Your mother is really the Heavy Wind of the Manticore Corps?”
Saito opened his mouth, breaking the heavy silence. However, Louise did not say a thing. Those days, Louise passed her time trembling and staring at the ceiling.
“As good as thirty years passed, maybe she's changed? Nah? It is not unreasonable that the scary knight of the past mellowed out over the years. Even if you say punishment, I think you will just be grounded, at most.”
“…You don’t understand.”
Louise said in the voice of someone at her own execution.
“Violence is part of youth, no human can keep it steady forever,”
“…You just don’t understand.”
“Don't worry so much.”
“…Saying so plainly, my mother. That person…”
After those words, everyone in the wagon felt nervous. It became impossible for Saito to bear the tension, and he laughed aloud. Mere bravado.
“Ahahaha! Worrying this much!”
“Really! Even if she was the legendary Heavy Wind, she may just be a Duchess now! Refined by society, she may have completely forgotten the dust and dirt of the battlefield!”
At that time, Tabitha pointed to the window,
“A manticore-riding knight.”
Louise suddenly sprung to her feet, and as if overtaken by panic, broke the window of the carriage and flew outside.
Gooooooooooooooooo! A huge tornado appeared and followed Louise’s tracks.
The moment Saito was dumb-founded… the tornado enlarged and hit the entire carriage with enormous strength. The violent power blew off the harness that tied horses to the wagon and sucked it and the horses in, lifting them up into the sky.
“What’s thaaaaaaaaaaaaaat!” Saito shouted.
“Giyaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!” Guiche screamed.
“Uwaaaaaaaaaaaa!” Malicorne bellowed.
“Nooooooooooooooooooooo!” Montmorency cried.
“I give uuuup…” Kirche complained.
“…” Tabitha was silent.
It was as if a huge hand made of wind grabbed the carriage and lifted it up. Six people in the wagon were shaken like a cocktail in a shaker.
“Aii! Dee! Giyaaa!”
The six screaming people were hitting walls, seats, and each other. Then the tornado stopped abruptly and the wagon fell to the ground.
“Falling! Falling! Falling!”
Is this how it feels to be in a lift that had its cable cut? Saito thought dumbly as the carriage casually floated in the air.
The knight had placed the “Levitation” spell on them.
Though the wagon slowly landed, the party was lying scattered and worn out inside the carriage. Saito, thinking desperately, crawled out of the wagon. Louise was lying shaking on the ground.
Though he tried to shout and run up to her, he could not move well.
Riding atop a huge manticore, the knight wearing a black mantle appeared. That must have been Louise’s mama. However, she was frightening. Standing there, it looked like “stern” was the character of this knight and that “fear” was deeply emblazed in this armored doll-like figure.
Then she stopped at the fallen Louise and called out her daughter.
“Get up, Louise.”
Louise raised herself.
She was shaking violently as if suffering from a strong cold. Like a small dog threatened by a big German shepherd. Though Louise could be scary when she was angry as well, this had a completely different feeling to it – it was like comparing a bear to a rat.
“You. Report what you have broken to your mother.”
“That… b-border without permission, umm…”
“I cannot hear you.”
“B-Border crossing without permission.”
The tornado flew. It caught Louise and threw her two hundred meters up into the sky, and once she started falling down, the wind started spinning her around like a tiny fallen leaf.
“Is this what your mother taught you?”
Her pink hair was disheveled and her skirt was blown off somewhere, revealing her underwear in their full glory, but it was not the place for Louise to feel shy about it.
“I-I’m sorry for breaking the laws of the country! But there were extenuating circumstances!”
The knight extended the wand.
“Your little good deeds do not matter much in this respect. Whatever the circumstances were, the law has been broken. As a result, it can make a lot more people unhappy.”
The storm blew hard against Louise.
Not able to look at this anymore, Saito ran up to stand in front of Louise.
“And you are?”
Wearing black mantle, her lower half of the face hidden behind the mask, Karin asked Saito.
“Well… umm, Louise’s familiar.”
“You were the boy accompanying Louise the other day. So, you were a familiar.”
Saito then knelt on the ground and took Louise in his arms, trying to wake her up.
“Hey! Are you alright? Are you alive?”
“Fhn… mou, no… fhn”
Louise’s eyes were still spinning and she looked out of shape. It could hardly be otherwise. It was as if she had been thrown into a huge washing machine– washed, rinsed, dried and blown. Even the prettiest girl in the country would look a mess after such ride.
Karin set up the wand again.
“W-Wait! Can’t you stop for now! Louise is already worn-out!”
Seeing Saito acting like this, Guiche called out.
“Stop it, Saito. It’s a problem between family members. Are you tired of living?”
Karin quietly watched Saito.
“A familiar is their master’s shield. For that reason, the shield needs to be blown off. No hard feelings I hope?”
A huge tornado appeared behind Karin. It was almost on the same size as the one that blew the wagon. Saito grasped Derflinger. The runes on his left hand started to shine.
“Is it bad?”
Saito pointed at the huge tornado.
“It is bad. It isn’t just a wild tornado. The layer of the vacuum narrows around it and will cut deeply if touched. Frightening square spellcraft…”
There was no time to hear the explanation.
It leaped right at him and Saito, aiming the sword forward, received it at once.
“Stop! Run away!”
Though Derflinger shouted, there was no time. Long, deep cuts, as if done by innumerable sharp razors, appeared all over Saito’s body.
“Told you so! This fellow is a ‘Cutter Tornado!’ You will be cut to pieces before I can absorb it!”
Though Saito was soaking with blood, he did not move an inch.
Confused and paralyzed with fear, Louise’s eyes caught the sight of the wounded Saito. In an instant, her mind, dyed with the pure white of fear a few moments before, now blazed with anger like a raging fire.
Normally, Louise would never rebel against her mother. She grew up disciplined like that.
Without thinking, Louise lifted her wand and recited the "Void" spell.
Once the sounds of spell chanting reached Karin’s ears, she slightly puckered up her brows. She never heard of such spell. It was not fire. Not water. Nor wind. It wasn’t even an earth spell.
Louise rejected the wand and lowered it. The rampaging "Cutter Tornado," that engulfed Saito, started to shine.
Not used to such light, Karin flinched for a split second.
What on earth was that spell that her daughter cast?
Though the preparation time was short, it was still strong enough to cancel her own spell.
Louise’s "Dispel Magic" made her mother’s "Cutter Tornado" vanish…
When Karen finally recovered from the shock and started to utter an incantation again, something pressed against her back.
“Please stop it! That’s enough! Please stop!”
It was Henrietta, who rode by the horse all the way from La Vallière castle. Agnes was right behind her.
“I won’t tolerate any more fights in front of me! Moreover, you are parent and child! If you want to continue, you’ll have to turn your wand against me!”
Following the queen’s words, Karin put down the wand. Louise and Saito, who had already reached the limit of their physical strength and energy, both crumbled to the ground.
Henrietta ran up to the fallen Saito.
“You are badly injured!”
Panicking, she started to recite a water magic spell. Saito's injuries were healed by the queen’s "Healing." He lifted up his bloody face.
“Don’t talk! You are badly hurt!”
Henrietta recited another water magic in succession.
Henrietta's cheek trembled.
“It’s alright – she is safe. Her friend is looking after her.”
It was Montmorency who left the wagon and now was tending Louise.
“I see…” muttered Saito and fainted.
Next to the tending Henrietta, Karin knelt down
“Your Majesty, I punished my sinful daughter. Hope you will show her a greater punishment than mine.”
Henrietta let out a long sigh.
“Mo! What is that! You! When child and parent point their wands at each other – it makes the Founder Brimir grieve! Didn’t I say that I did not intend to give any punishment since the very beginning!”
“Solving everything with wands - is the way of old nobles.”
“Unnecessarily bloodshed is what I hate the most! You there! Quick, carry these two injured people to the residence!”
Following Henrietta's orders, Guiche and others put "Levitation" on Louise and Saito and started to carry them to the castle.
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