Zero no Tsukaima:Volume4 Chapter9 ~Preview~
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 Chapter Nine: Confrontation of Sadness
Riding Tabitha‘s wind dragon, Saito, Louise, Kirche and Tabitha herself, flew towards the royal palace, having left the Academy of Magic two hours ago. It was one hour after midnight.
The courtyard was in an uproar. Louise and Saito felt that their bad premonitions had come true. When the wind-dragon landed in the courtyard, it was instantly surrounded by the magic guardian troops.
The commander of Manticore Corps, loudly ordered.
“Hey you! The royal palace is off-limits now! Leave!”
However, he already recognized the group from sight. They were the same that came here right before the war against Albion started. The commander puckered up his brows.
“You again! You only come at troublesome times!”
Louise jumped down from a wind dragon. She had no time to play games of questions and answers with the captain of the guard. She asked in a breathless haste.
“Princess-sama! No, Her Majesty, is she alright?!”
The courtyard was humming like a beehive. The nobles were carrying the shining magical wands, while solders – torches, looking for something. It was clear that something happened in the royal palace.
“I don’t have to tell you anything, damned one. Leave at once.”
Her face red with anger, Louise pulled out something from her pocket. It was the permit paper that Henrietta gave to Louise before.
“I am a court lady who is under immediate control of Her Majesty! In my hand I hold the permit papers signed by the Queen! I have the right to exercise Her Majesty's jurisdiction! I request an immediate explanation of the circumstances!“
The commander grabbed the permit papers from Louise's hands with blank surprise all over his face. They were indeed authentic permit papers signed by Henrietta that read - ‘Louise Françoise Le Blanc De La Vallière is presented with the right of being a royal representative. Her demands must be granted.” With the royal signature attached.
The commander stared with astonishment at Louise. Such a young girl… had such a document from Her Majesty.
He was a serviceman though. No matter how one looked, a superior officer was still a superior officer. Standing upright at once, he reported the situation concerning Her Majesty.
“Two hours ago, someone enticed Her Majesty away. One of the guards was knocked down as they escaped with horses. The griffon squad is chasing after them. We were searching around here to find some evidence.”
Louise's complexion changed.
“Which way did they leave?”
“They went south over the highway. Apparently they escaped towards the district of La Rochelle. Without a doubt, Albion has a hand to this. Though the instruction to block the port was sent at once… Dragon Knight corps were almost annihilated in the last war. So the only way we can catch up with them are either by griffons or horses…”
Wind dragons are much lighter than griffons thus they normally would take the pursuit… but the way things were now - it iwas questionable whether it was possible to catch up. Louise jumped onto the wind dragon again.
“Hurry! The thief who kidnapped princess-sama escaped towards La Rochelle! We will be in serious trouble if we aren't able to catch up by the time the morning dawns!”
Everyone, hearing the circumstances, nodded, looking tense. Tabitha gave the orders to the wind dragon.
Sylphid flew up in the darkness of the night again. Louise shouted.
“Fly low! The enemy is riding a horse!”
The wind dragon kept on flying following the highway with a surprising swiftness.
It was a thick dark night, but even though one could not see even few steps ahead, the wind dragon kept on flying using its sharp nose, avoiding trees and buildings.
The griffon unit had split into two, one flew by griffon along the highway, the other rode on horses. It was to be expected as the Griffon Corps was the lightest of the three squads and they could see better at night. Therefore, it was chosen as the chasing unit. A lot of people in the squad were burning with anger. The enemy attacked the court under the cover of darkness. Even in their wildest dreams one could not imagine that someone would dare to attack the palace of the capital. Moreover, it was young queen Henrietta that was abducted, a successor of the throne. For magic knights that have been guardians of royal family there could not be a greater disgrace than this.
Griffons taking use of their wings and feet rushed forwards. Though the departure was delayed due to all the confusion, the enemy was still using horses. There was no reason they should not be able to catch up. The commander scolded the unit harshly.
“Run! Catch up with Her Majesty as soon as possible!”
One group of the Griffon unit dashed forward.
There was a big hustle between the Griffon units going ahead.
They might have found something. Under the commander’s signal, a fire user went forward and launched a flame spell. It lit the highway 100 mails ahead, and one could see distant figures of the riders.
There were ten times as many of them.
The commander put on a brutal smile.
“First of all aim for the horses! Do not hurt Her Majesty!”
The Griffon Corps dashed forwards, launching one spell after another.
After the wall of spells rounded upon the enemies, the knights launched an attack in an instant.
The flame ball, the blade of wind, the spear of ice, all aimed at the horses that enemies rode on. Doh! Earth trembled, making horses fall one after another. The commander confirmed that Queen Henrietta, dressed in her white gown, was riding behind the first horse. In an emergency situation like this, he hesitated – it was necessary to retrieve Her Majesty without injuries. If she were to be injured, he would get some major scolding later.
After muttering an apology, the commander cast the wind spell, cutting the leg of the first horse off and throwing the Princess and the rider down to the ground.
Without mercy, the griffon squad surrounded the fallen enemy knights. The necks of the abductors were cut with wind blades and ice spears went through their hearts. The knight who was leading the run had his head cut of by the commander’s wind blade, a deadly wound.
The match was decided in a moment.
When the commander nodded approvingly, the unit stopped.
Then he jumped down from his griffon, and the moment he approached the queen who fell into the grass…
Knights, who should have been dead, stood up one after another.
Griffon knights, who had relaxed their guard thinking that enemy was annihilated were now caught by surprise by enemy magic.
“Ah!” groaned the commander trying to pull out his wand when his body was wrapped up by tornado.
Limbs were cut off by the tornado, finishing them off in a moment, as the knight who should have been finished by the commander stood up, with a clearly visible torn up wound in his neck, and smiled.
When Wales finally placed the wand to his side he approached the grass where Henrietta had fallen down.
Henrietta only now started to recover from the shock of being thrown to the grass. She watched Wales approach with disbelieving eyes.
"Wales-sama, you… what on earth?”
Henrietta pulled out her crystal wand that she always carried with herself and aimed it at Wales.
“Who are you?”
“I am Wales.”
“Lies! You killed the magical knight corps…”
“You want to kill me? It is all right. Scoop me out with your magic. Pierce this heart of mine with it if you want.”
Wales pointed at his chest. The hand gripping Henrietta’s wand started to tremble.
The magic spell did not come out of her mouth. What came instead was a choked sob.
“Why are you doing this?”
“Trust me, Henrietta.”
“But… but, this…”
“I will tell the reasons later. Many different circumstances are the cause of this. For now, come with me without asking.”
“I-I do not understand. Why did you do these kind of things… What are you trying to do?”
Wales answered softly.
“You do not need to understand. You do not need to like oath, you just need to follow it. Do you remember? The words of the oath you said at the Ragdorian lake. Words you said before the water spirit.”
“By no means could I forget. I will remember until the day I die.”
“Please say it, Henrietta.”
Henrietta said the oath word for word.
“...I, Henrietta, the princess of Tristain vows before the spirits of water that she will love Wales-sama for eternity.”
“Only one thing changed now from the oath in the past. You are a queen now. However, does everything else remain unchanged? And will not change?”
Henrietta nodded. I always dreamt only about the day when Wales would hold me in his arms.
“Even though the way things are, the oath sworn before the water spirit cannot be broken. You only have to believe only in your own words. Please leave everything to me.”
Each gentle word of Wales turned Henrietta more and more into a girl that did not know a thing. Henrietta kept nodding many times, just like a child. She was completely persuaded.
After that, Wales stood up and approached his knights. One could see open mortal wounds on their throats or chests.
However… ignoring them, they moved just like any living creature.
They went to check the fallen horses, yet, they all were dead.
Then they hid themselves in the tall grass, one after another disappearing from sight.
The line of the ambush.
Without words they and Wales formed a line of ambush, and stopped moving. Just like one living creature.
Saito and the others flew on the wind dragon following the highway until they saw a tragic sight of corpses scattered around. The wind dragon stopped, and they jumped down. Not getting off, Tabitha looked around attentively.
Saito muttered. Burning corpses with their hands and feet cut off were laying around. Griffons and horses were lying in pools of their own blood. This must have been the griffon unit.
“There’s someone alive!”
Saito and Louise ran towards Kirche’s voice.
Despite a deep wound in his arm, someone survived.
“Are you all right?”
Louise now regretted not taking Montmorency with them. In cases of wounds, her water magic would be irreplaceable.
“I’m alright… And you are?”
“We, just like you, ran after the gang that kidnapped Her Majesty. What on earth happened to you?”
The knight answered in a shaky voice.
“They, their wounds were really fatal…”
However, the knight could not tell anything else. Feeling secure now that help had come, he fainted.
At that moment, a magical attack was unleashed from all directions. Tabitha reacted in an instant. Expecting an attack beforehand, she created a wall of air above and let it fly down with her magic.
Out of the grass, shadows stood up, swaying in slow motion.
They were once dead Albion nobles now revived by Andvari’s ring.
Kirche and Tabitha took a stance. However, for some reason, the enemy didn’t launch an attack any more. Tension started.
Then, Saito was astonished to find a well known shadow there.
“Crown Prince Wales!”
Wales, who was dead and was given a fake life from Cromwell using the Ring of Andvari, stolen from the water spirit, had abducted Henrietta.
Thinking so, Saito was getting angry at such unfair doing.
He gripped Derflinger on his shoulder. The rune on his left hand started to shine.
“Return the princess.”
However, Wales didn't drop the smile.
“You are saying strong things. I cannot return her as she follows me on her own free-will.”
Behind Wales back, Henrietta, dressed in the gown, appeared.
“Please do not go there! That prince Wales is not the real Wales! It is a revenant of the prince, revived by Cromwell’s hands with the Ring of Andvari!”
However, Henrietta didn't step forward. She just bit and tightened her shivering lips.
“See? Now then, how about a deal?”
“That’s right. Though we would like to quarrel here with you, we lost our horses. And traveling without horses through the night can be dangerous, so I would like to save as much magic as possible.”
Tabitha chanted the spell.
‘Windy Icicle’ – attack spell by skillful Tabitha.
Right in the middle of his words the arrow of ice went through Wales’ body.
However… surprisingly, Wales did not fall down and the wound healed itself in another moment.
“It is useless. I cannot be damaged by your attacks.”
Yet, even after seeing this, Henrietta's expression did not change.
“Look! It is not the prince! It is something else! Princess!”
However, Henrietta did not want to believe, and shook her head from right to left. Then said to Louise in a constrained voice.
“Please, Louise, put away the wand. Please do it for me. Please let us go.”
“Princess? What are you saying?! Princess! That thing is not Crown Prince Wales! Princess, you have been tricked!”
Henrietta gave a smile. A ghastly smile.
“I know that. In my room, when our lips met, I knew that 100 times over. However, still, I do not care. Louise, you haven’t loved a person so strongly yet. When you really are in love you are willing to throw away everything. You want to follow him anywhere. Even if it is a lie. You cannot do anything else but believe. I swore, Louise. I made an oath before the water spirit saying ‘I swear eternal love to Wales’. Even if the whole world says it is a lie, my feelings alone are not a lie. Therefore, let us go, Louise.”
“It’s an order, Louise Françoise. My last one, from me to you. Please, step out of our way.”
Louise’s hand that was aiming the wand dropped down to her side. Understanding Henrietta’s firm decision, she helplessly gave in. Why should she stop such said strong love…
The line of deceased people tried to pass through the dumbfounded Louise.
But, before them…
Saito, holding Derflinger, blocked the way.
He was terribly sad. He understood Henrietta's feelings. But Saito’s mind could not permit it. His mind screamed that he should not let it happen. Saito said in a voice that contained sadness and anger.
“Princess, if I am allowed to say, talking in one's sleep is not good.”
His shoulders and body trembled.
“Passion, love, being together with a woman, not caring about anything else. Is such love true? It is just a mere blindness. Blood goes up to the head and one cannot think straight.”
“Leave! It’s an order!”
Henrietta shrieked with all her remaining dignity.
"Unfortunately, I am not your subordinate. Your orders mean nothing to me. Even if you keep on ordering me… I won’t listen. I will cut through that spell of yours.”
It was Wales who moved first. Though he tried to utter a spell, Saito jumped at him.
However, a wall of water blew Saito off.
Petrified Henrietta, gripping the wand, trembled.
“I won’t allow you to lay even a single finger on Wales.”
The crushing wall of water moved to Saito again. However, the space in front of Henrietta exploded in the next moment. Henrietta was blown away.
Louise had cast an explosion spell.
“Even though you are a princess, I won’t allow you to lay a single finger on my familiar, either.”
With her hair ruffled, Louise muttered in a shaking voice.
Due to this explosion, Tabitha and Kirche, who had been watching the scene in blank surprise, started chanting spells as well.
The fight started.
Saito kept on blocking the magic spells with his sword, in front of Louise. Though the magic flitted around, no one was wounded seriously. Though Tabitha’s and Kirche’s unleashed magic was knocking down the enemies, the enemies themselves preserved their willpower, hoping to weaken them up little by little with dot spells.
However, the enemy's teamwork was skillful. Little by little, Saito and the others were cornered.
Before they realized it, Louise, Saito and the others were enclosed in a tight circle.
They were cornered in a defending position. The number of enemies was too great, thus there was no chance to attack.
Kirche released another fire ball, burning down a single mage.
“The flame is effective! It only has to burn!”
Kirche launched another flame attack. Tabitha switched the attack to cover Kirche at once. Saito also turned to support. The spells that flew at Kirche were inhaled by Derflinger.
The enemies recovered and tried to cut him with wind swords.
Yet, Kirche’s flame burned down another three of them…
The enemy dashed away from the range of her magic and then regrouped.
“The way it is, if you burn them by the flame little by little… we may have a chance to win.”
However, heaven turned away from them.
Gradually, Tabitha noticed something wet hitting her cheek.
With a worried expression she looked up into the sky.
A huge cloud of rain segregated above them.
Rain that started as a light sprinkle, changed into a heavy pour soon.
“Throw your wands away! I do not want to kill you!”
“Just wake up, princess! Please!”
Louise shouted, but her voice was drowned by the sounds of the increasingly heavier raindrops
“Look! Rain! Rain! ‘Water’ spells will always win in the rain! Thanks to this rain, our victory was decided!”
“Is that so?”
Saito shouted anxiously. Kirche, who was about to say that, nodded as if she were expressing her disappointment.
“Really, the Princess can cast a wall of water on us with this. My flame is worthless now. Tabitha’s wind and even your sword cannot damage them… Well, it is over. Defeat!”
Louise muttered in a constrained voice.
“Though I do not want this, let’s run away. We cannot die here.”
“But how can we run away? We are surrounded, aren’t we?”
Everyone became silent.
Then Derflinger thoughtfully voiced out.
“I recalled. They use a very nostalgic magic…”
“When I saw the water spirit, it tickled something in the back of my mind… No, partner, sorry – I forgot. I recalled it!”
“Their and our source is the same type of magic. Anyway, it is different from the base of your four great element system - magic of 'Life’”
“What?! Legendary sword! Say something only if you have something useful to say! Good-for-nothing!”
“The good-for-nothing is you. Though being a ‘Void’ user, firing ‘Explosion’ in rapid succession is foolish, I saw and remembered. Though that person might be very strong, the amount of willpower consumed is immense. Like today, launching huge ones like that may require a year to shoot again. We need different fireworks today.”
“Turn the pages of the prayer book. Dear Brimir, great guy. He sure has some perfect counter.”
Louise looked through pages, like she was told.
However, besides the ‘Explosion’ it was blank as usual.
“There isn’t even written anything! White-on-white!”
“Turn further. If in need, you will be able to read.”
Louise saw the page on which the letters were written.
It was written down in runes of an ancient language.
“That’s right. ‘Release’. The potion that you took a while ago is the reason why you can read it.”
Henrietta sadly shook her head. Though she told Louise to run away, because of the rain, she didn’t run away. Moreso, Louise stepped closer into the center of the tight circle.
Looking up, Henrietta began to utter an incantation. I do not want to kill if possible. However, if you keep on blocking my way…
With Henrietta’s cantrip aria, the raindrops began to harden.
One by one the ally mages had an armor of water hanging on them. The enemy's 'Flame' was sealed off with this.
In addition, Henrietta uttered another incantation.
Wales’ spell joined with hers. Wales watched Henrietta, smiling coldly. Though she noticed the lack of warmth, Henrietta’s heart still felt moistly hot.
They both were surrounded by the tornado of water.
'Water', 'Water', 'Water', and, 'Wind.', 'Wind', 'Wind'
The sixth power – water and wind
Triangle mages usually cannot make such strong spells as this. To say almost never, would not be an exaggeration. However, the chosen blood of the royal family enables it.
Only the royal family were able to do a hexagon spell.
Their combined spell increased to an impossible size.
Two triangles intertwined, creating a huge tornado of six.
The tornado was like a tsunami. If hit, it could even blow away a castle.
The sound of Louise’s chanting mixed with the sound of rainfall.
Behind Saito's back, Louise's spell could be cast comfortably.
To Louise nothing was impossible today. She kept on concentrating her willpower while uttering sounds of ancient runes one after another with her mouth.
“What’s wrong with this girl?”
Kirche asked with a smile.
“Aah, she's just acting like a legend for now.” Saito grasped the sword and answered in a joking voice. Hearing Louise casting a ‘Void’ spell gave him courage. Courage that allowed him to smile. Courage that can turn death into a joke.
“So. It is good and all. Yet if that ‘Legend’ doesn’t leak something at least, we won’t be able to win against that tornado.”
The huge tornado of water whirling around Wales and Henrietta's grew rapidly.
Louise's silent chant continued still. As expected from ‘Void’. It was as lengthy as one could be.
“This is bad. The other side is faster after all.”
“What to do?”
“You should know what to do. It is your work to stop that tornado, Gandálfr.”
Saito’s face twitched. Yet, he was not scared. The hard-handed courage shook his whole body.
“No, I wonder.”
“Aren’t you scared of such a huge tornado?”
“It may be so. You misunderstood, Gandálfr. Your work is not to attack the enemy but to defend your master while the spell is chanted. This is your only work.”
“But it’s not easy.”
“You gain the courage while hearing your master’s spell. Your face reddens, you want to laugh out loudly, your pulse quickens. This all has a reason.”
“I leave it to you,” Kirche muttered.
Tabitha watched Saito's face.
Saito muttered, “I am the familiar of Void.”
Wales and Henrietta’s spell was completed. The huge tornado of undulating water flew towards Saito and the others. Though it was huge, it was also surprisingly fast.
It was like a castle of water. A castle of water that was swirling around viciously and trying to swallow them.
Grasping Derflinger, Saito dashed towards the tornado using dancer’s steps and pushed Derflinger into the core of the rotating tornado of water.
Though he was almost swallowed, he stood firmly on his feet.
Pain assaulted his body. He could not breathe. The water viciously hit him, tearing his skin off.
However, Saito endured.
His fingernails ripped off.
His eardrums tore.
His eyelids were cut, raging pain ran through his eyeballs.
He could not breathe.
The right arm released the sword as joints broke.
Derflinger was swallowed by the water.
The moment when everything seemed to tumble down, Louise finished her spell.
Even though he could not hear a sound or see anything, Saito could feel it.
“At last, idiot.” Saito muttered and lost consciousness.
Before Louise’s eyes, who completed her spell, a huge tornado raged. However, it didn’t reach her. Saito stood in the middle of the tornado, and she could see him desperately enduring the pain.
Eventually Saito lost to the raging force of nature and crumbled to the ground before the massive waterfall leaving a small gap in it.
Louise bit her lip. Through the gap she aimed her ‘Dispel Magic’ at the enemy.
Henrietta’s surroundings turned into dazzling shining light.
With a thump the body of Wales, who stood next to her, crumbled to the ground. Though Henrietta tried to run up to him, she lost consciousness as completion of the spell took all of her willpower and she toppled to the ground.
All at once, she was wrapped in silence.
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