Zero no Tsukaima:Volume6 Chapter8 ~Preview~
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 Chapter Eight: The Atonement of Flame
Early morning, four o'clock. The sun had not risen yet, the sky was dark.
In the sky above the Academy of Magic one small war frigate appeared.
Menvil stood on the deck, watching the sky right ahead. Wardes, with inaudible steps, approached Menvil from behind.
The wind’s square indicated by itself that it was the same sky.
Wardes came out to test Menvil.
Can this man lead such a difficult plan to success? He had his doubts.
However, Wardes's doubts seemed to be unfounded.
Not taking his eyes from the sign, Menvil called Wardes out of distance,
“So what trial is it now, Viscount?”
Wardes was surprised.
Menvil did not even turn around.
Even if you did turn around – it’s just too dark. One couldn’t even make out an approaching silhouette.
Yet… what kind of skills did he use to notice Wardes approach from such a long distance?
“Now then, we're almost there.”
Menvil muttered without turning around. Wardes, while feeling admiration, carefully approached Menvil.
“We're lucky. Oh dear, as an attacking side, we should not let them know from which side they will be attacked.”
They managed to avoid mage's familiars that were patrolling in the air… it was fortuitous that they managed to get this far without being spotted.
“In order to express our gratitude, when you return to Albion, please let me treat you to something, Viscount.”
“Don’t think too much about it, think about surviving first,” Wardes said. Menvil suddenly pulled out a cane and pointed it at the scruff of Wardes's neck.
“Watch your mouth youngster. Or do you want to turn to ashes right here and now?”
Wardes expressionlessly watched Menvil.
“I’m joking, Viscount. Don’t stare like that.”
Laughing, Menvil jumped from the deck into the air.
One after another, all other members, wrapped up in black cloths, followed Menvil.
A lot of people disappeared from the deck with a surprising swiftness.
Fouquet, who came up there, muttered in an unpleasant voice.
“Creepy guy. And scary.”
“But he has the skills needed. Can’t hope for more.”
“Is he more skilled than you?”
Fouquet laughed, asking Wardes a mischievous question.
The Musketeers Corps assigned two musketeer crew members to an artillery tower to watch over the cannon.
That was the greatest number of military troops that the army could allow to stand as sentinels.
Something moved under the moonlight.
The older member of the two squat down in silence, and unwrapped gun powder and bullets from small paper bags.
Another musketeer, following her partner’s movements, also loaded her musket with gunpowder.
And when she looked carefully… she saw something moving in the darkness.
But before she could open her mouth, both guards' throats were cut by Wind magic.
Two bodies were caught before hitting the ground. Not making any noise, Menvil laid the musketeers on the ground.
“Women. Still young. Shame.” One assassin informed Menvil with a smile.
“There is no place for old courtesy, men or women have to be treated the same.”
Menvil said, smiling rapaciously.
“Equally when death is given.”
“Only nobles’ children should not be killed. They must be taken as hostages.”
“Apart from them, I can kill everyone else?”
Menvil, while fiddling with his cane, muttered in a happy voice.
One member took out the map.
It was the map of the school drawn by Fouquet. It was covered with a special cloth that didn't leak out light, but slightly illuminated the map itself.
Looking at the corpses of the guards, one member muttered.
“Guards only armed with guns.”
“How many mages are there? Not counting the regular musketeers.”
The member who was studying the map informed Menvil.
"Commander, there are three targets. This tower, the dormitory tower and the tower nearside.”
Menvil handed down the orders quickly.
“I’ll take the dormitory tower. Jean, Ludwig, Germain, Attas – you four together with Giovanni take this tower. Celestin and the rest take the last one.”
The mages nodded.
Tabitha woke up.
There were strange sounds coming from the courtyard.
After thinking for a moment, she decided to wake Kirche up after all. She went out of her room and headed to Kirche’s room downstairs. After she knocked against the door, Kirche, dressed only in a thin nightgown on her bare skin and still rubbing her eyes, appeared.
“You what… it’s too early… even the sun hasn’t started to rise yet.”
“Strange sounds,” was all she said.
Kirche closed her eyes.
“Uwaaa.” Kirche felt her salamander, Flame, beating against the window.
The moment Kirche opened her eyes again, her sleepiness was gone.
Kirche hastily began putting clothes on.
The moment when she took her wand, the sound of a breaking door echoed.
Kirche and Tabitha looked at each other.
“Retreat,” Tabitha murmured.
Not knowing the enemies number or location, you have to pull back to recover. It was war basics.
Kirche and Tabitha jumped down from the window and hid themselves in the bushes and from there watched what was going around.
It was getting brighter - the sun started rising.
At that time Agnes woke up in her bedroom and grabbed the sword placed at the bedside.
Pulling it out from its sheath, she waited at the door.
It was the second floor of the artillery tower. The room was always used as a warehouse and was only recently made into a bedroom.
In all, twelve members lived here.
They all resided in the room next door.
Agnes noticed the mirror placed in the center of the room. It was the "Liar's Mirror". The ugly made into beautiful, the beautiful into ugly – everything was turned upside down by the mirror. Agnes tried to not look at the mirror while setting the trap.
Four people led by the mercenary mage Celestin went up a spiral staircase to the second floor of the artillery tower. They queued at the two doors.
Two men were positioned at each door while another one waited in the hall.
The doors were kicked open.
In the middle of the room a handsome mage set up his wand.
Alarmed, the mages started to chant their spells.
However, they were also hit by magic. With his heart pierced by an ice spear, Celestin fell on the floor.
Agnes, who hid herself behind the door, noticed the success of her plan.
Celestin mistook his own reflection in The Mirror of Fibber, which was placed here by Agnes, for an enemy and released a spell which was reflected by the mirror and pierced his heart.
Agnes felt gratitude to Celestin who was foolish enough to shoot himself with his own spell reflected by the mirror.
Another assassin, hastily flounced into the room.
But his throat was cut deeply from the side by Agnes's sword, and he fell down.
Then, her musketeers jumped into the room.
“Commander Agnes! Are you all right?”
She nodded answering their question.
“I’m all right.”
“Two people sneaked into our room. However, we finished them…”
Two people in my room. Two people in the next one. Four people in total…
Apparently these thieves crept into the artillery tower to kill them off…
Muttered Agnes, quickly understanding where they came from. The squad only consisted of mages. It was impossible to mistake them for simple thieves. They must be mercenaries employed by Albion...
Then, Agnes became worried about the situation outside.
Right now, there were only schoolgirls left in the academy.
“In two minutes I want you fully armoured and following me,” Agnes ordered her subordinates.
Menvil took over the women's dormitory without any problems.
Noble daughters were so frightened by his invasion that they showed no real resistance. He took all the schoolgirls’ wands and rounded them, still dressed in their nightgowns, up to the dining hall where he confined them. There were approximately ninety people.
During that, his partners from the other tower joined him.
Seeing the academy’s headmaster Old Osman being one of the captives put a smile on Menvil’s face.
Menvil now gathered all captives in the dining hall and tied their hands behind their backs.
Thanks to the magic spell that someone recited, the rope moved and twined around their wrists by itself.
All the teachers and students were female and were trembling.
Menvil sweetly muttered to everyone,
“Whaaat, calm down, if none of you try to stand out or make noise and if you do what you are told to, no one will get hurt.”
Someone began to weep.
However, the schoolgirl didn't stop crying. Menvil came closer and pointed his cane at her.
“Do you like cinders?”
The words were not a direct threat, but it could be understood as one. The schoolgirl stopped crying.
Osman opened his mouth.
“Don’t use violence against women. Albion wants us as hostages, right? To use us as additional cards in negotiations, right?”
“How do you know?”
“Experienced guys from far away barged in here – it’s easy to see what you came here for. Not for the riches for sure. So, be more patient.”
“Old man, and what value do you have?”
The mercenaries laughed loudly.
“How important is one old man for the country? Consider this.”
When Osman ducked his head, the intruders started to look around Alvíss Dining Hall.
One could clearly read, “I don’t want to be here,” on the mages faces.
Fuuun, Osman thought. They might still have a chance.
“Old man, are these all the members of the academy?”
“That's right. That's all of them.“
Then the mercenaries noticed that their comrades had not returned from the artillery tower. Are they taking their time? No, he shook his head. The longer it takes, the more chances for the enemy to get reinforcements. And they should be aware of that. Therefore, Menvil ramified.
From outside the dining hall a voice was heard.
“Those that shut themselves up in the dining hall! Listen! We are Her Majesty's musketeers!”
Menvil and others looked at each other. Apparently Celestin failed. However none of the mercenaries changed their complexion. A single mercenary glared at Osman.
“Hey hey. Didn’t you said ‘That's all of them’?”
“Musketeers are not part of the staff,” Osman said calmly.
With a smile on his lips, Menvil stepped to the doors to negotiate with the musketeers outside the dining room.
Agnes hid herself behind the tower staircase landing. She drove one group of commoner staff away from the courtyard so that they would not get too involved with the incident.
The morning sun had not risen yet.
At the door of the dining hall a tightfisted mage appeared. The moonlight from a gap in the clouds lit his figure.
Agnes held her finger on the trigger, while aiming her pistol at the mage.
“Listen! Thief! We are Her Majesty's musketeers! One battalion of our troops has you and your damned accomplices surrounded! Release the hostages!”
Agnes’ “one battalion of troops” was a bluff. In reality, there were only about ten people.
From the dining hall she heard voices laughing hard.
“We couldn’t care less about a single battalion of musketeers!”
“These musketeers have killed four of your partners already. If you’ll surrender peacefully we’ll spare your lives.”
“Surrender? Isn’t it the time to start negotiations now? Well, call Henrietta here.”
“Indeed. And for the time being, promise to withdraw soldiers from Albion. My client seems to hate it when your soldiers dirty the country's land with their shoes.
Usually the army doesn't turn back because of a hostage. However… because ninety children of nobles were taken as hostages, it might be a different matter. The invasion troop's withdrawal was a real possibility.
My responsibility. Agnes bit her lower lip.
She tried to concentrate herself – A blunder is a blunder. The court people - they are still my responsibility.
One musketeer whispered into Agnes’s ear.
“…we could send a courier to Tristania and ask for reinforcements.”
“It is useless. It doesn’t matter how many soldiers we have, as long as they hold hostages.”
Seeing such a consultation, Menvil shouted.
“Hey, remember. Whenever you call a new soldier, one hostage is killed. The only ones you can invite here are the Cardinal or Henrietta. Be nice. Clear?”
Agnes said nothing.
Then, Menvil shouted again.
“Decide it in five minutes. Call Henrietta or not. If there is no answer after five minutes, one hostage will be killed every passing minute.”
Another musketeer poked Agnes.
Agnes painfully tightened her lips.
A voice sounded from behind.
Turning around she saw Colbert standing and staring with surprise at Alvíss Dining Hall.
“Do not get involved,” Agnes said, trying to cover Colbert with herself.
“You'll be caught.”
“My laboratory is in the tower. What happened?”
Agnes got angry at Colbert's carefree attitude.
“Can’t you see? Your students were captured by Albion’s henchmen.”
Colbert looked over her shoulder and, once he noticed the mage standing in front of the dining hall, his face turned pale.
“Enough already. Go back.”
Annoyed, she sent Colbert off.
“Psst, Miss Musketeer.”
She was called from behind again. This time it was Kirche and Tabitha, who stood in the shadows smiling.
“Aren’t you students? Thank goodness you are all right.”
“Hey, we have a good plan…”
“Yeah. Right now you can’t reject any help.”
“And what is that plan?”
Kirche and Tabitha explained their plan to Agnes.
Agnes, after listening to it, laughed.
“Sounds fun to me.”
“How about it? That’s the only plan we have.”
Colbert who heard the plan opposed to it.
“It is too dangerous. The enemy is a mercenary. You can’t be seriously thinking that such cheap tricks will work.”
“No one cares about your opinion, teacher.”
Kirche said, not trying to hide her contempt.
Agnes stopped paying attention to Colbert altogether.
“They do not know about your existence. The key here is surprise.”
She whispered while pointing her finger at Kirche, Tabitha and herself.
Menvil sat on a chair looking at the pocket watch on the table.
*Tick tick* the clock hand moved.
“Five minutes passed.”
Hearing that, the students shuddered. If there were no words from Agnes about calling Henrietta after five minutes, Menvil said he would kill one of them.
“Don't hold a grudge against me,” Menvil said, pulling out his cane.
“Take me instead.”
Osman muttered, but Menvil shook his head.
“You are necessary as a key in negotiation. Hey, who will it be? You choose.”
An indescribably cruel question. No one answered in shock.
“Understood. Then I will choose. Do not hold a grudge.”
But the moment when Menvil said that…
A small paper balloon flew into the dining hall.
And once all of their eyes were focused on it…
The paper balloon exploded with a very loud bang.
With it, yellow blinding phosphorus flew out of the balloon.
It was directed to fly into the dining hall by Tabitha’s Wind and was lit up by Kirche's Fire magic.
The schoolgirls screamed.
Those mages that looked at it directly were now holding their faces.
Then Kirche, Tabitha, and the musketeers with muskets prepared broke into the room.
The strategy seemed to be successful.
A lot of fire bullets flew up aimed at Kirche.
Kirche, who lowered her guard thinking about success, fired her own fire bombs at it.
In such violent flames, the gunpowder of a nearby musketeer's gun exploded.
Fingers were blown-off, and the musketeer started rolling on the ground holding her hand.
Kirche tried to stand up but did not notice the spell aimed at her.
A fire bomb exploded in front of her belly, and she received the full force of the shock wave from a close distance, knocking her outside.
Wrapped in flames, it was an effective attack. It takes time for flame to burn ... but an explosion gives an instant impact. Opposite to burning slowly.
She saw Tabitha staggering trying to stand up.
But then another shock wave hit her head… and she fell onto the ground again.
Menvil showed up from the white smoke.
Spell! But there was no wand.
Then she noticed one lying on the ground.
She reached for it, trying to pick it up but he stepped on it.
Menvil towered above Kirche, looking down on her.
“Too bad… Light bombs only blinds one's eyes…”
Menvil said while smiling.
That moment Kirche noticed.
Menvil's eyeballs were not moving at all.
Menvil extended his fingers towards one eye.
And took it out. An artificial eye.
“Not only were my eyelids burnt, but my eyes as well. I can’t see the light.”
But Menvil moved as if he was able to see.
“A snake finds its prey by temperature.”
“I’m a Fire user, thus I am very sensitive to temperature. Distance, position - one can know everything in full detail by knowing how high or low the temperature is. You can even recognize different people by knowing their temperature.”
Kirche‘s hair stood up on her head from fear.
Who is this man…
“Are you scared? Afraid?”
“When one’s feelings turn in turmoil, one’s temperature changes as well. Temperature changes tell a lot of things about one’s thoughts.”
Menvil’s nostrils widened upon taking a full inhalation of the scent.
“I want to smell.”
“The aroma of you burnt, I want to smell it.”
For the first time in her life she felt pure fear.
The fear that made a Queen of Fire whisper ‘No…’ like a small girl. However, Menvil just gave an anxious smile and said.
“How would you like to burn? There are many different ways of burning. This time you will be the one to burn.”
Not willing to see it coming, Kirche closed her eyes.
Menvil put out his cane, but the moment when flames started gathering around Kirche…
The flame was pushed back by another flame.
And once Kirche cracked her eyes open, she saw…
Colbert standing next to her, with a wand in his hand.
With an ice-cold face, Colbert muttered.
“Get away from my students.”
As if noticing something, Menvil looked up.
“Ooh, you… You! You! You!”
With a joyful expression on his face, Menvil roared.
“Is my temperature sense tricking me?! You! Colbert it’s you! I've missed you! It’s Colbert’s voice!”
Colbert's expression did not change. He stubbornly stared at Menvil.
“It’s me! Have you forgotten? It’s Commander Menvil! Aaah! So long ago!”
Menvil spread out his arms and shouted happily.
Colbert puckered up his brows.
That face had something dark in it.
“How many years passed since our last meeting? Haaa! Captain! Twenty-years! That’s right!”
What does that mean? The students started to whisper.
“What? Captain! You are a teacher now?! Isn’t it funny? You - a teacher! What precisely do you teach? You who were named ‘The Flame Serpent’… Ha, ha, ha! Hahahahahahahahahahahaha!”
Menvil shouted with laughter.
“I will explain to you. This man here is a flame user that was called ‘The Flame Serpent’ before. He was a commander of the special troops… Women or children – he did not care, he burned them all completely.”
Kirche stared at Colbert.
“And he was the man… who took my eyes!"
Colbert was emanating something scary.
The aura around him felt very different from normal.
Burning his own people, even Kirche’s Zerbst lineage, never engaged in such atrocities. After all, those were nobles’ duels.
However, the air that Colbert emanated today was different.
If you touch – you’ll burn.
You’ll burn and die.
The smell of burning flesh, the smell of death.
From the tip of Colbert’s casually thrust out wand, a huge snake of flame, that looked too big for the delicate wand, sprang out. The snake bit the wand of one mage, who had silently started to chant a spell.
The wand turned to ashes in an instant.
A cold smile without feelings, like a reptile’s.
Colbert asked Kirche who stared at him in shock.
“Miss Zerbst. Do you remember the Fire element’s characteristics?”
From the edge of a bitten lip, a stream of blood trickled.
Red blood, like flame, like Colbert’s mantle.
“…fire’s characteristics are zeal and destruction.”
“Fire’s zeal purpose is solely destruction. That’s what you think. Twenty years ago I thought so too.”
Colbert muttered in an unusual voice.
“However, it is as you say.”
The moon hid behind a cloud again.
Their surroundings turned black as if painted by a dark brush.
A fight in the dark is difficult for an ordinary man. Because one cannot see his opponent.
However, for the blinded Fire user there is no light to begin with, thus darkness is not a handicap at all.
Menvil thought while gripping his cane and preparing a spell.
20 years ago my flame was defeated.
It was because of immaturity.
However, it is different now.
With time I became much stronger.
Though I lost light, I gained strong Fire instead.
Inner body senses were straightened and the nerves became twice as strong.
Now I can detect even the most subtle changes in the air.
Temperature of a person, flow of air coloured a shadow and the sight was projected into Menvil's mind.
“Take your friend and run away from here.”
Kirche nodded, and supporting Tabitha, tried to run away. However, the mage that lurked in the dining hall shot an ice arrow aimed at their backs.
A thin flame dashed out of Colbert's cane and entwined the arrow.
The arrow of ice melted and fell.
Once Colbert's flame was unleashed, Menvil's flame flew.
A ball of flame that followed Colbert's movements…
However, it was instantly burned down by the flame escaping from Colbert’s wand.
Menvil launched one flame after another, aiming at Colbert.
Suddenly Colbert was cornered into defense.
In the darkness he ran from side to side trying to escape them.
Even if you want to attack, challenging Menvil in the dark is not easily done.
“What’s wrong?! What’s wrong captain?! Don’t just run around!”
Menvil shot one fireball after another. The edge of Colbert’s mantle flamed up.
“Too bad! Just your mantle turns into scorch! Next is your body! I want to smell your burning body! This is me! Uwaha! Uha! Hahahahahahahaha!”
Wearing a smile tinged with madness, Menvil launched his flames.
Colbert shot his own flame of magic aiming at the source of Menvil's flame.
However, there was no response.
Menvil moved at once when the spell was cast and disappeared in the dark, not giving Colbert the chance for a counterattack.
One cannot attack an opponent whom one cannot see. Colbert frowned.
Yet his position was fully exposed to Menvil who could "see" in the dark.
Colbert hid in the bushes, then tried to hide himself in the shadow of the tower. However, it was not possible to escape from Menvil, who could track one's temperature very accurately.
Colbert, while running around and trying to escape, soon found himself in the center of the plaza. There was no place where he could hide.
“The best stage is prepared, Captain. You cannot run away anymore. There is no place where you can hide yourself either. Give up.”
Colbert took a deep breath.
And spoke towards Menvil's direction in the darkness.
“Young Menvil, I have a favor to ask.”
“What? You want to burn without suffering? Well for the old time's sake, I will burn you in an instant.”
In a perfectly composed voice, Colbert said,
“I want you to give up. I already decided not to kill anyone with magic.”
“Hey hey, have you lost your mind? Can’t you understand the current situation? You can’t see me. However, I can see you perfectly. Where do you see a winning chance for you?”
“Still, I am begging you. This is true.”
Colbert fell on his knees and bowed. The Menvil's voice was filled with disgust,
“I… I was chasing such a coward for twenty years… you good-for-nothing… I cannot permit that... I cannot permit that to myself. I will roast you bit by bit, taking my time, without any sympathy, from head to toes.”
Menvil began utter an incantation.
“Even if I ask, you won’t listen.”
“I am not a persistent enough guy.”
Colbert shook his head in sadness and pointed his wand to the sky.
The ball of a small flame shot up.
“What? Illumination plan? Unfortunately, the fire size is not enough to light the area around.
It was as Menvil said. The small ball of flame only lightly shined upon their surroundings. It could not replace the sun.
The moment when Menvil's spell was completed…
The small flame ball that was hanging in the sky exploded.
The small explosion turned into a huge one in an instant.
Fire, Fire, Earth. One earth and two fires.
Using "Gold transmutation" water vapor in the air was turned into oil.
With a spark it turned into a huge bolide…
The combustion of the huge bolide sucked up all oxygen around, causing every living thing within its range to suffocate and die.
It was a matchless "Flame bomb."
Menvil, opening his mouth to chant the spell, felt the oxygen being plundered from his lungs and suffocated in an instant.
If the enemy hides in the darkness… consign him to the darkness.
However, this spell kills everyone nearby. Therefore, Colbert did not use it until they moved to the center of the plaza.
Colbert turned around and, while holding his mouth, approached the lying Menvil.
“You couldn’t turn into a complete snake, Lieutenant.”
Colbert whispered, while coldly looking down at Menvil’s face drawn with pain.
News about Menvil’s defeat shook the morale of his mercenaries.
Kirche, Tabitha and the musketeers who escaped injuries did not lose momentum and rushed into battle again.
Inside, between the screams of schoolgirls who stretched out on the floor, a single mage who had barricaded himself in the dining room was knocked down.
Agnes stabbed the last mage with her sword.
However, the sword did not come out.
The last mage released a spell aiming at Agnes’s back…
Many magic arrows flew.
Kirche, Tabitha and other musketeers were not able to react in time.
A black shadow jumped into the way.
He blocked the arrows from reaching Agnes with his own body. He uttered a spell and a snake of flame flew out the wand’s tip burning up the wand that the other mage used.
Agnes stared in blank surprise at Colbert.
Colbert's eyes opened wide.
The voice that escaped his mouth was full of concern for Agnes.
“…are you all right?”
Mechanically, Agnes nodded.
The next moment Colbert toppled to the ground, coughing blood.
Students ran up in panic and began uttering the recovery spells for Colbert.
However… the injury was severe.
Agnes who recovered herself pointed the sword at Colbert.
Shocked, students stared at Agnes.
“Wait! What are you doing?!” shouted Kirche.
Colbert with a weak face looked up at Agnes.
“You… You are the leader of the Magical Research Experimental Group platoon? You broke the royal list of military material in storage?”
“I will tell you. I am D'Angleterre‘s survivor.”
“… I see.”
“Why was my hometown destroyed? Answer.”
“Stop! He’s injured! Badly injured! Don’t talk!”
Montmorency, who was desperately trying to chant a Water healing spell, cried.
Colbert answered looking down.
“…it was reported that an epidemic occurred there. To prevent it from spreading we were told to burn it. We burned it reluctantly.”
“Idiot… That is a lie.”
“…Ha ha, afterwards, I learned about that too. In short it was the ‘New Religion Hunt.’ I am tormented by the guilt every day. It was… like Menvil said. Women, children - I burned them all. It was not permitted. But the memory still haunts me. I left the army. I swore… not to use Fire for destruction again.”
“…but those feelings didn’t stop your hand?”
Colbert shook his head.
After that… he slowly shut his eyes. Though Montmorency desperately kept uttering an incantation… her willpower was drained with time - she fainted and toppled to the ground. For the spell of "Recovery" to heal such a serious injury, it needed special medicine… but now and here there was none.
Therefore, though willpower tried to replace the specific medicine… it had its limits.
Other Water users ran out of willpower one after another and fainted. With many fainted mages surrounding Colbert, Agnes raised her sword.
However, Colbert was protected - Kirche covered him with herself. Her ever-present silly smile was now gone from her lips. Making a serious face, Kirche said.
“Please stop it!”
“Get away! I was living for this day! Twenty years! Twenty years I have waited for this day!”
Agnes and Kirche glared at each other.
The moment when tension in the air was about to break loose…
Kirche grabbed Colbert's wrist.
“Get away I said!”
Kirche answered in a stone-like voice.
“Please, lower your sword.”
Kirche shook her head and muttered.
With those words, Agnes's wrist lost its strength.
Shocked, Agnes fell to her knees. Her body began shaking little by little.
“…Hold your grudge if you want. However, at least pray. Teacher Colbert may certainly be your enemy… but he is your saviour right now. He shielded you with his body and saved you.”
Kirche said in a constrained voice.
Agnes stood up again without power, and said two words, three words, words that could not reach one’s ear. Then she lifted her sword and lowered it. The students averted their eyes, only Kirche alone did not shut her eyes and watched.
The sword stuck deeply into the ground next to Colbert.
Turning on her heels, Agnes began to slowly walk away.
After Agnes disappeared… Kirche tried to carry Colbert's body, a red ruby ring shone on her finger.
A crimson ruby, like burning fire.
While watching the ruby… tears escaped Kirche’s eyes.
It was the ring that he gave me.
He said, “I’m giving this to my student,” and gave the ring to her, who was acting like a spoiled brat. Remembering that, Kirche started to weep.
On the deck of Redoubtable Malicorne and Styx sat down with blank surprise all over their faces..
The number of warships had decreased to two-thirds while making a sortie aimed at Albion’s fleet.
Tristain's fleet won the battle. Somehow they were able to repel Albion’s fleet. Albion’s fleet lost more than a half of their ships and scrambled to get away.
It was a big victory.
But… Malicorne thought.
Is this a victory?
He was alive just to see such devastation. It was like a painting of hell. The deck was burning like kindling, heavy losses everywhere. The number of naval guns in the portside was reduced by half, as for the starboard - the battery was completely lost on every deck.
After receiving as many as five direct hits, the starboard of Redoubtable was annihilated.
200 hundred people from the 600 crew were either killed or injured.
However, Redoubtable was still slicing through the sky.
Malicorne was alive too.
To survive among flying spells, bullets and cannonballs – guess he must be lucky. Whenever a new enemy ship passed, Malicorne created a dark cloud while yelling. Otherwise, he would have fainted from fear. He had no idea whether it was effective or not.
Malicorne said in a dying voice.
Styx responded in an exhausted voice.
“Life is a weird thing, don’t you think?”
“I fully agree with you.”
On the deck, Bowood and the commander of a warship walked. They were talking about the battle progress.
The officer cadet that was guiding them both, spotted two people sitting on the deck and bellowed.
“Hey! You! No time to sit around! Stand up! Stand up now!”
Hastily Malicorne and Styx stood up.
“Start preparing. Wait with commanding officers and officer cadets inside.”
Malicorne and Styx looked at each other. They just survived one deadly battle. How can they vigorously start preparing for another one?
“Move it! Don’t make officers wait!”
Then… Bowood admonished the officer with a smile.
“Ah, senior, they just experienced their first battle campaign. You must let them take a rest for today.
“Ah! But, however…”
“I guess, that this is your first time smelling the smoke of powder as well? Once I had, too.”
Hearing the Albion officer speaking like that, the senior officer nodded.
“Very well, you may take a rest for tonight.”
Relieved, Malicorne and Styx saluted. Malicorne watched them leaving and muttered.
“Ironically, we were saved by a person from Albion.”
Styx weakly muttered and they both slumped on the deck again.
In the strategic conference room of Varsenda, General De Poitiers received the report.
It came from Rosais, from one dragon scout of the first unit. General De Poitiers smiled gloatingly.
Chief of Staff Wimpffen, watched his superior officer’s face.
“Must be good news,” he muttered.
“The troops in Rosais area are said to be gone. Void managed to lure the enemy to Dartanes.”
“That’s just the first obstacle.”
De Poitiers nodded and gave the command.
“All fleets ships head to Rosais. We must decide upon landing. Gather all commanders.”
The messenger received the General's instruction and dashed out.
De Poitiers nodded.
“Now then, I wonder if I can become field marshal now or not, I don’t want to wait for one more week.”
Even if the landing succeeds, it will still probably be a tough fight.
Albion still had 50,000 untouched troops resting.
In the sky of Dartanes, Saito’s plane headed towards the confluence point with the Tristain fleet.
The plan was to join the fleet at Albion’s boundary.
Saito, who sat in the pilot’s seat, was silent for a long time.
Whatever Louise tried to speak about, he did not answer.
Only once Saito opened his mouth.
However, Saito did not say anything since then.
Louise found a letter within Colbert’s manual. But because of all the craziness around she did not pay attention to it.
This got Saito’s attention.
“Yes. Mister Colbert’s. Read it?”
Louise spread the letter and started to read it aloud.
Saito-kun, was my invention useful?
If it is so, then I am glad. For you… no, to all students, not just as a teacher, it would make me happy if it would be of any use for you. Very happy.
Now, why did I decide to write this letter today – I have a request. No, nothing weird. And be relieved it is not about money either.
As to what this discourse is about, it is some dream of mine.
If things which one can only do by magic, could be done by technologies that everyone could use.
Have you seen? Happy Little Snake.
Well, that certainly is not just a toy…
I hope that there will be a use for every splendid technology some day.
It is my dream.
Let's get to it, though I‘m still worrying whether to say it or not…
In the past, I committed a crime.
Too big a crime.
It is so big that it will never be forgiven.
As a redemption for this crime I have devoted myself to research…
Recently I thought.
No, my crime will never be forgiven.
Even if my inventions are useful… It won’t erase the crime I committed.
Therefore, I want you to promise me one thing.
Look, you will be facing a lot of difficult situations.
And you will go into war, and you will see many people die.
Do not get used to it.
Do not become accustomed to people's death.
Do not think it is natural.
The moment you do that – something will break.
I do not want you to become like me.
Therefore, I ask repeatedly.
Do not become accustomed to war.
Do not become accustomed to killing each other.
Do not become accustomed to death.
Behind the cloud... one could see the Tristain-Germania united fleet heading to Rosais.
The number had decreased a lot.
Still… most ships were still intact, so they likely won the battle.
Even though they won, the ones that survived looked worn-out. Many of the ships' hulls were damaged, masts were broken. There was a ship that lost all cannons completely as well.
Louise continued to read the letter aloud.
Well, my request is coming to an end.
Remember, what you said to me once?
That you came from a different world.
In this world of yours, the flying machines that you use pierce the sky, and technology is much better developed than in Halkeginia, right?
This is what I would like to see.
I could use it in my research.
Therefore, when you go east… I want you to take me with you.
No, I am not joking. Seriously.
Therefore, do not die.
Return alive absolutely.
Even if I can't go to the east with you.
In that world, are there "cars" that everyone can use and they drive on the roads?
Are there little boxes with which one can communicate over long distances?
Has a person really reached the moon?
To be able to do that without magic, must be really wonderful.
I want to see that kind of world.
“That’s it. Weird person. He really wants to go to your world.”
Saito, while sniffing, thanked Louise.
Louise gently embraced Saito's neck. And murmured,
“Idiot. Why are you crying?”
“…felt like crying.”
“…Many things happened today, you're just tired. Once we're back on the ship, let's just get some rest.”
Louise closed her eyes, and softly kissed Saito’s neck.
Once Varsenda appeared, Saito turned the nose of the plane towards it.
On the bright sunny day, the sooty fleet looked as though it was dyed in a beautiful black paint.
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