Zero no Tsukaima:Volume17 Chapter2
 Chapter 2: Flight
Louise walked lifelessly on the street. She left the mansion on a horse but after leaving the Des Ornières mansion, she hid in a nearby farm so now she was on foot.
Louise had some hesitation at the fork leading to Tristainia and Western cathedral. Even though it’ll be easier to hide in the capital, there was no way to guarantee who she would encounter. If she went in the opposite direction, she would be more visible but the worry of being exposed is smaller. In the end, Louise headed in the direction of the cathedral.
Saito and the others were heading towards the direction of Tristainia to give chase, so this fork in the road cwould be described as the turning point of fate.
She hurried through the night. When the sun rose, Louise rested under the shade of a tree along the street. She woke up exactly at noon. Looking at the bright sun, a burst of intense sadness suddenly hit Louise.
“There is already no place for me to return to”
Whether it’s Saito or Henrietta, I don’t need anyone.
Louise thought to herself.
“Although I’m treated as a void user, I’ve done nothing to match up to it. I’m always holding back and bringing trouble to Saito. I’m tired, of course.”
Even though there couldn’t be a situation like this virtually but after watching the look on Saito and Henrietta together, Louise could not believe herself.
There was only a huge sense of powerlessness and sadness surrounding the whole body of Louise.
She bowed her head, her tears dropping one by one constantly. “Are you alright, miss?” a passing farmer asked but Louise did not respond and continued crying.
Many passing farmers and travelers looked at Louise with surprise as they walked past her.
How long have I cried?
By evening, her sadness turned into a deep emptiness.
“So, what do I do now?”
There was no place to return to and there was no place she wanted to go. Returning back home was also not an option. Might as well say that she didn’t want to meet anyone she knew.
Having said that, staying around there would not help. With an absent-minded expression, Louise started walking again. In order to stay away from the Des Ornières mansion......
That night Louise reached a village inn and stayed there. Even though it was an old inn, it at least had a private room. For three consecutive days, Louise cried there. Gradually, her tears dried up.
On the morning of the third day, Louise washed her face with cold water. Finally, her head became clearer. Searching all her pockets, she found only about 100 ECU. The other things she brought with her are some change of clothes and daily necessities. Then there was the wand, prayer book and the ruby of water.
This hotel charges me a half ECU a day. If I save on meals, that’s half of the amount. If I calculate it this way, I can stay here for another 4 months but I cannot always live in one place. Maybe hiding in a monastery is the best after all?
“But I’ll be discovered quickly.”
Louise whispered with a deep sigh.
I do not have the experience of earning money for a living. Even though I ran away from home, what am I to live on?
Thinking of that, Louise shook her head.
Yes. It doesn’t matter anymore. Next, she’ll take one step at a time. Louise pulled out a small mirror from the luggage and gazed into it. Cloudy dull dark brown eyes, dry tears sticking onto her face. Her hair was messy, because she did not comb during these days. Her lips lost their color and the shirt she had been wearing all this time was crumpled. This look is a far cry from the world-famous girl image.
“this was the face of the Horrendous Louise Françoise Le Blanc de La Vallière”
Louise sighed deeply.
“This face, isn’t it the same as your nickname? Zero. Louise the Zero……. Yes, I was originally a ‘Zero’. I don’t have anything. From the start, it was like that. The void users of legend, Aquileia's saint, the me who is suddenly raised to such a high position is only a woman”
Haha, Louise laughed to herself.
“Speaking of which, Saito and the Princess are also very welcomed by the people.”
Murmuring, she felt a big empty hole surrounding her heart. Although she felt lonely, there was a feeling that her heart had already completely stopped beating.
“Anyway, I'll go get a drink first”
Louise went downstairs and decided to go to the pub to drink. This was indeed a small hotel. The floor made crunching sounds; the table was full of dust and food leftovers. Mice scuttled across chairs. One look and the rumor about how ‘a noble like Louise can stay in an inn like this’ seems to be already exposed. The travelers there looked straight at Louise with faces of curiosity.
Not caring about the sight, Louise turned to the wine shopkeeper and pointed to some of the older rosacea. The shopkeeper stared suspiciously at Louise,
“Although I have been living here for three days already, this inn is not a place a noble should live in”
Louise looked around her. Faces full of curiosity; men with ill intent seemed to be staring at her.
If she gets drunk here, it will only be a matter of time before it gets out……this is the same as announcing that she is here.
Ah, drinking wine is also troublesome……muttering that, Louise left the inn.
The next place to go is a town called Seoul Bi, from Thalia. it is a two day trip. The Earl governance of this town, is connected with many streets, it was a big village. It is an ideal place to hide one’s identity temporarily.
In this town, Louise prepared a program.
After settling down in the inn, she took the most beautiful clothes from among the clothes she brought. Then, using the makeup she once bought in the ‘Charming Fairies Inn’, she put on a heavy makeup. From the bottom of her makeup props, she noticed the magic dye she used to rescue Tabitha. Louise dyed her striking pink wavy hair brown.
“With this, I will also become the perfect woman of the night”
Her clothes and her makeup were completely disproportionate but Louise was very satisfied. With this, no one would think I am a noble.
When evening came, Louise walked proudly into a wine market and ordered wine. Although the shopkeeper looked at Louise suspiciously, he still passed the things she ordered to her.
Louise wanted to pour the red wine into the cup but changed her mind. She was currently not a noble. If she wants to drink quietly, she must act appropriately.
“That’s right. An idling person like me should just drink straight from the wine bottle”
Louise grabbed the wine bottle and put her mouth on it, gulping down the contents. After drinking one-third of it in one breath, she started coughing intensely.
“Cough! Cough, Cough!”
Her face turned red all of a sudden. Louise who was not really good with wine, stared with hate at the wine bottle. Saito’s face appeared on the wine’s surface.
“I hate you,” Louise muttered With squinted eyes as she drank another mouthful of wine. But, even with her drunken trance, she started to remember the happy times with Saito……
The day when he got summoned ... being rescued from the hands of a golem ... Dancing together for the first time ... the first time they kissed.
The feelings in her chest, One by one, clearly awakening，made Louise sad.
“Forget. Must forget. People who idle don’t get bound to longing”
Louise drank a mouthful of wine again. From the deep within the pub, a young drunkard stood up and went closer towards Louise’s direction. Looking up, his face was not welcoming.
“Miss, that’s a really bold way of drinking. Can I have a cup too?”
Louise lifted her eyes at the voice laced with alcohol.
Well, don’t say that……the man reaching out to touch her shoulder was kicked by Louise and sent flying.
“Who do you think I am? You dare to touch the Duke!”
Louise stops speaking up to here. She cannot expose her noble identity. The man that was sent flying stares angrily at Louise.
“I-I’m just a hostess. Idling away. Err, Cough. “
Louise put her hand up to lean against her chin, desperately pretending to be a hostess.
“That’s why I want to drink with you” Well, there’s nothing wrong with that.
“Who wants to drink something with you……Ah!”
Louise gasped when The man grabbed Louise's hand.
“Let go! Let go of me NOW!”
She wanted to chant a spell but realized that she left her wand in her room. While struggling，Louise realized that she was no match for the muscular man, yet she continued.
“Even though I don’t know where you come from, you stubborn chick, but let me teach you a lesson”
The man dragged Louise towards the outside of the pub. The shopkeepers and the other customers turned a blind eye for fear they might be implicated. In the end, Louise got dragged outside the pub.
“Let go of my hand!”
As Louise cried, she bit the hand of the man bitterly. The sweaty hand made her feel like vomiting.
“That hurts! What are you doing!”
The man jumped up and brandished his fist towards Louise.
Louise was filled with anger when she almost called out Saito’s name without realizing it.
“I hate this kind of ‘you’”
The man lowered his fist, Louise stood proudly. But before the man’s fist can touch Louise, he was knocked to the ground by an invisible bullet.
“I really can’t stand it I really can’t stand it I really can’t stand it”
From the darkness, a girl appeared, her chant like a whisper. Her body was dressed in a black dress wrapped with layers of white hemming. Inside the black headscarf was a doll-like fair face and shining green eyes.
“W-what are you doing! You jerk!”
The man who was standing was in a rage but when he noticed the short stick in the hand of the girl, his face was drained of color.
“Huh? I'm not a noble; not anymore at least, but I am still able to use magic. Of course, to you, both sides are the same”
The girl smiled. At the same time, a strange formidable boldness from that upright face surfaced. "Dame," the man cursed, and then left.
Louise was temporary frozen on the spot; she hurriedly bent her head down to the girl.
“T-thank you for your help during that dangerous moment……”
“Nothing! It does not matter, right? Not injured are you?”
Louise shook her head.
“You are drinking here?”
The girl pointed at the pub. Louise nodded her head,
“Then, I’ll drink a little too. Can you accompany me? If it’s one person drinking, don’t you think it' s boring”
For a moment, Louise was confused but before she could answer, the girl walked carelessly into the shop and she had to chase after her.
“I’m called Jeanette. What’s your name?”
They gave a toast as the girl called Jeanette asked Louise for her name. Louise stare at Jeanette. other then their hair, eyes, and clothing, the two girls didn't look too different.
However……she can use magic but is not a noble... a Mercenary or something.
But, looking at how she dresses up, she does not look like a mercenary. Who is she?
Noticing that Louise was staring at her suspiciously, Jeanette smiled.
“Relax. I’m not going to do anything to you. I am only trying to find someone to spend my time with”
Although suspicious ... but it seems she really had no other motives. In short, she doesn’t seem to look like she knows Louise's own identity.
Louise faint from this girl who exudes dangerous air feel care. Although it seems older and own similar, but the even in suspicious Sakai none of her fear color stride. Guests around from time to time to steal a glance look here, but not seen as just now come entanglement. Seems to be overwhelmed by Jeanette have momentum like.
No matter if she didn't give out her real name, Louise gave a fake name. This is the name of a popular actress in the past. It just happened that the actress’s photo was posted on the wall.
Jeanette looked at Louise’s face.
”I keep feeling that I’ve seen you before……must be an illusion”
Five days earlier, Louise and Jeanette past by each other at the street of Des Ornières. The woman that Saito was trying to catch up with, was the exact same Louise seen here and now.
But, already having the commission stopped(T/L: Not really sure, here is Chinese: 已经终止委托的人), for a long time her memory of the woman was fading, and she only remembered the hair color, and the lady present had used magic to dye her hair tea colored, so it was improbable for her to recognize her as the same person from before.
Louise , on the other hand was, at that point of time not in the mood to pay attention to these details so it is impossible to remember. You might say that she did not even notice that she passed by Jeanette.
“I think so. I have no impression of you”
Is it because of some reason she had come to find her? Louise secretly thought. Is she a Romalian spy or a detective that Saito hired to find her? She gave herself this answer.
But if that is the case, she would not say "seems to have seen you before", that kind of words. It should be that she is pretending not to have any relationship.
This sentence of Jeanette won over Louise’s trust.
And ...... Louise wanted to find someone to talk to. If this goes on she would only feel more and more lonely, drinking alone was also boring. The hearty mysterious girl in front of her is the suitable candidates to chat with. “Can you say your name one more time?”
“Fake, right? You’re not really good at lying”
“N-no, it isn’t a fake name……I am the idling Vanessa. The notorious Vanessa. I just arrived here!”
Louise sips the wine with a guilty expression.
“You are not a noble?”
Pu! Louise spit her drink out.
“No. I’m a bad woman. Bad! Woman!”
“I completely couldn’t tell. Because you…… “
Jeanette licked Louise’s cheek suddenly.
"That one did not know it right? Taste and smell can understand. You’re giving off the taste only a noble’s daughter of the 深闺 can have”
Louise’s face turned red. Taste can understand……What’s going on? Although regarding to this kind of mysterious person she felt a keen sense of admiration, but regarding to the questions that were asked a feeling of shame overrode it.
“O-of course I know! Every day we sleep and talk together!”
“But, did he hug you before?”
Jeanette moved her face closer again.
“A noble like you is actually drinking alone in a place like this with weird dressing. In other words, you were dumped by that person. Or, you witnessed an affair scene? Oh, Oh, don’t tell me it is only a one-sided love? You felt restless and in the heat of the moment, you ran away from home. In order to prevent the search party to find your whereabouts, you dressed up like this. Is that the case?”
Her words hit a raw nerve; Louise's mind became blank despite a desperate attempt to cover up.
“D- don’t be stupid. If you want to be a fortune teller, you still have time. Go do it somewhere else”
“There is no need to hide it. There are two reasons for a young lady of your age to run away from their home. Falling out of love or had a fight with her parents. Only one of two. But, if it’s a fight with parents, you would not be drinking wine. It’s falling out of love, right?”
Jeanette laughed. Looks like this girl dressed in black and white is sharp. Louise turned her head to the side slowly.
“So what do you want? The thick-skinned Vanessa is very busy. I have no time to chat nonsense with a person like you. Just now, thank you. Now then, I’ll be leaving”
Louise kept feeling a sense of uneasiness, she wanted to stand.
Suddenly, her wrist was grabbed by Jeanette. Jeanette only stared intently at Louise. This tight gaze made Louise felt oppressed.
“You, I’m fond of you”
She could not help but feel her chest thumping hard. Louise tried very hard to suppress the strong heartbeats. W-what……the other party is a girl……
Nevertheless, Jeanette still exudes a certain charm. In this danger, she felt like she remembered something. It was her first time to encounter such a person, Louise was interested in her again.
“The risk of whatever and something whatever, does not matter. It already does not matter” Louise sat back in her chair.
Jeanette touched the cup。
“Eh，is it so. As the best friend of a friend ……This really is a big blow”
“Yes. That kind of woman ……only her allure is enough to see. Obviously her work is not something fantastic but she still has an arrogant look! Then that idiot……did not have any resistance to that dangerous allure. Well, that idiot had no idea”
Louise poured out all her complaints without thinking. She had already referred to Henrietta as ’That kind of woman’.
“Hug L-like this on the bed. Like this! Tightly! Don’t joke! W-Who does she think she is～～～～～～!”
Louise stomped on the floor angrily.
“Then he place his lips L-like this...... what exactly are they doing~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~! So enchanted ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~! Incredible! T-that woman actually ... said 'best friend' ... what kind of best friend! If stealing someone else's boyfriend is necessary to be a best friend why don’t you say you’re desperately releasing hormones here and there? To tell you the truth, it’s just trouble. If you have so much time, go do your job properly! This kind of thing- do it when you’re alone in the room, release as much as you like there.”
Her anger rose higher. Once she has spoken it out, Louise could not stop. One sentence followed by another, curses were spat out.
Then as if to quell her anger, Louise poured wine into her throat. Of course, although she cannot stop talking, she was not so foolish as to say the name of the duo.
Jeanette smiled at Louise who was venting her anger,
“The friendship between women is not reliable”
“Yes……it really is like that”
“But that’s okay. Let me be your friend”
Jeanette went closer to Louise. Louise winced slightly. This girl……don’t tell me, is not the same?
Didn’t I hear this before?
Obviously a girl, yet she likes girls……
“W-what are you doing?”
Wanting to change the subject, Louise inquired. Indeed, she cared about this.
“That……how should I put it. Well, something close to a House of everything?”
“House of everything?”
“Hehe, Yes. As long as it is commissioned, it is basically acceptable”
Jeanette smiled as if she was implying something. House of everything? What is that? What kind of person?
“Only one person doing it?”
“A few brothers working together. Right now, big brother is negotiating the commissioned work. Only I am asked to wait on this street. Really! My brothers always treat me like a child! How rude!”
Jeanette sulked. This expression made Louise felt a sense of closeness. She remembered being treated as a child too, including having anger issues……
However, this kind of feeling seems to have been a very long time ago. After shedding tears, memories like this ... it feels like someone else's story.
To the Louise who was dwelling in her past memories, Jeanette said in a pleasant voice.
“Do you have something you want to do?”
“For example, revenge……I especially like you, so I’m giving you a special discount”
“What are you saying? Don’t joke”
“I’m not joking……Anyway, what are you going to do next?”
Louise whispered with a sigh.
“Yes……I would like to go to a place where no one knows who I am, no one is to disturb my quiet days. But, this is difficult”
“Wait a while” , after Jeanette finished saying that, she looked thoughtful。
“Erm——，In fact，I remember such a place……where is it?”
Louise cannot help but ask.
“In the past, there was once an illegitimate child who was sent there. It will definitely adhere to your conditions.”
“Erm--，It’s over there……I don’t quite remember. I would like to ask my brothers, to know. They will come within two to three days, let’s wait here”
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