Zero no Tsukaima:Volume7 Chapter8 ~Preview~
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Chapter Eight: King Of Gallia
The Kingdom of Gallia - the large country that has the highest population in Halkeginia. The population is about 15 million people. Gallia is an advanced country in magic… there are a lot of nobles too. Its capital, Lutèce, was the biggest city in all Halkeginia.
The city is positioned on the banks of Shire River that disgorges into the ocean. The so called “Old Town” developed significantly. However, the political center of Lutèce is not located there now.
It is located on the left bank of the river, rather away from the city, in the huge palace of Versailles. Not only was the palace elegant and complex, but so was the garden of Versailles, creating various shaped lines in front of the building.
This garden and building were expanded by the hands of the architects and the gardening masters invited from all over the world. All the growing cultures were used to change the outlook of Versailles.
Inside Versailles' palace, there was a building of particularly great dimensions. The royal family of Gallia had unusual blue hair color. In order to imitate this hair color, the building called the Grand Troyes was made from blue bricks.
In that Grand Troyes lived a man who had control over the 15 million lives in Gallia’s kingdom.
He was Joseph – King of Gallia.
His blue hair and blue beard framed his face, making it look breathtakingly beautiful. Tall and muscular he looked like a living statue. Though he was 45 years of age, he looked youthful in every way as if only hitting 30.
This beautiful face of a handsome man had a strange look on it.
Surrounded by two pages, he looked rather bizarre.
A lady’s voice came from the other side of the damask.
“Your Majesty…Your Majesty! The one which you looked for was found and came!”
Joseph elbowed his way towards the entrance in the room. A beautiful lady stood there surrounded by the blooming roses. Joseph’s face started to glow.
“Mrs. Molliere! Mrs. Molliere! You are the best!”
The lady who was called Mrs. Molliere presented a box to Joseph.
“Besides His Majesty’s Troops.”
With eyes sparkling like boys, Joseph opened the box. Once looking inside, his face glowed even more.
“This! This is ancient Kaap period’s heavy magic knight! Such an excellent article! Mrs. Molliere, you are a wonderful person!”
Taking out the approximately 20-centimeter sized knight doll out of the box, Joseph gave a joyful voice.
After that, he took Mrs. Molliere's hand and guided her to the center of the room.
“Saahsaah, I want you to look at this! It’s ‘My World’!”
The entire room had been converted into one huge miniature garden. Mrs. Molliere's eyes grew.
It looked like a map imitating Halkeginia. A huge model.
“Oh dear! What a beautiful miniature garden! It is wonderful!”
“Gardening masters from the whole country were called to make it! It took an entire month to complete!”
“Is this a latest play model? Have you gotten tired of chess?"
“Nononono. I am not tired!”
“Oh dear! May I ask what is it? I always thought it was strange for it to be fun.”
“Because, there is no opponent at hand. Enemy's horse and ally's horse move according to you, what fun is there in that?”
“Sadly as you can see there are no opponents around here.”
Mrs. Molliere laughed bitterly. Though the king was rich and had a pretty face he was often despised because he was not skillful in magic. He was called an imbecile and stupid. Therefore…the king who spent an obscure boyhood, became crazy in solitude. He highly devoted himself to chess.
“Chess has no changes from the original formula, it follows a certain pattern to focus on. But this play is different!”
Joseph said, pointing at the miniature garden.
“Geographical features are made following reality - the horses, spearmen, bowmen, musketeers, knights, dragon knights, artillerymen, warships… all made imitating the original army, fights as well! To decide cavalry’s victory or defeat dice is used! As a result the outcome is always different and gives you a feeling of an actual combat!”
Mrs. Molliere was interested in playing the war together that the king spoke so fondly about, though she couldn’t really understand it… She was glad seeing his happy face.
“Then can I too be one of Your Majesty’s bodyguard troop?”
“With pleasure. Knight of the Parterre. You‘ll make a splendid knight.”
Joseph placed the knight doll that Mrs. Molliere had brought onto the miniature garden. Jokingly, Mrs. Molliere bowed.
“Oh dear! Honorable Gallian knight of the Parterre? I will be begrudged by everyone!”
“A toast for the most beautiful knight leader in the world!”
Joseph lifted up the cup at his side. A page ran up and filled it with wine. Then the page filled Mrs Molliere’s cup as well and passed it to her.
“And in this play, Your Majesty will be both - friend and foe?”
The woman asked gracefully drinking from the cup.
“Obviously. Haven't I told you? In this Halkeginia game I am not a figure. I am setting up the strategy… A clever, exact strategy! That’s how it is. Oneself who is triumphant is crushed by the hand of oneself… Like I said I am setting a play for this sandplay stage, like a playwright.”
“Oh dear, this miniature garden is really precise.”
Mrs. Molliere who was taking a long look at it felt admiration. Hills, mountains, rivers… Ups and downs were applied to match real geographical features, even the small buildings in the city and the village were detailed. On a pass stood a soldier doll.
“What kind of drama unfolds here? Please explain it to me more."
“Currently, that single blue army occupies this city.”
Joseph pointed at the city in a round rampart.
“Now it and the Red Army, which shut itself up in a city here, watch each others movements.”
He said pointing at the city standing on left from there. The city was lined with the building models of great dimensions. Many doll soldiers were placed there. There were also placed a few monster and dragon figurines. There were also ship models.
“Now that’s where it gets interesting. A blue army is reveling to a victory! But Red Army uses an unexpected ‘Trump Card’ and reverses it!”
Such a child, Mrs. Molliere muttered in her mind. Domestic affairs and diplomacy were neglected due to the King’s craziness… These were the rumors. And they were not wrong.
Joseph smiled and took the doll from the miniature garden.
It was a tall and slim female figure with dark hair.
Joseph placed the doll to his ear.
And, as if the doll spoke to him, Joseph nodded many times.
After that, Joseph spoke to the doll.
”That's right! Oh yes! Plans are underway! This is a colorful and fun plan indeed! Oh Muse! Muse's more than cute! Take a reward! However, now it's "stuffed"! I want to grab the toys, dolls, even more than I already have! I think it's time to get the plan underway!“
The look that Mrs. Molliere gave the Joseph who was talking to the doll was full of pity. He was not a king, he was not an owner of the pining pretty face, it was an eccentric behavior of the one whose heart never was never loved.
Compared to his younger brother who was good at everything... he was exposed to throne threats... to the whirlpools of political strife... which troubled Joseph's mind eventually.
“Your Majesty, Your Majesty… Aah, Your poor Majesty…”
Mrs. Molliere with a theatrical gesture patted Joseph's mandible. Joseph gently embraced Mrs. Molliere.
“Aah, Your Majesty… stop with the pranks…”
“Well, you see a dramatic reversal is the attempt to end the game. It must be decided – victory or defeat.“
While watching the two cities Joseph muttered… and called the page.
Page nodded and threw two dices. Joseph looked at the fallen eyes and nodded.
“Oooh, seven! Delicate number! Hmmm… In this case…”
After meditating for a while, Joseph called the minister.
“Minister. The imperial rescript.”
From the shadows a small man showed up and bowed.
Joseph lightheartedly informed the minister who moved the horse in the miniature garden.
“Summon the fleet. Blow off Albion’s enemies. You have three days to prepare.”
“As you wish.” Not showing any emotions, the minister bowed and left.
Mrs. Molliere started trembling while watching the display in utter shock.
It wasn’t a miniature garden play anymore.
Just now, the instruction to a real war was given.
“What’s wrong, Mrs. Molliere? Are you cold? Page, put more wood in the fireplace. The madam shivers.” Joseph ordered page in a steady voice.
“Your Majesty… Ooh, Your Majesty…”
“What is wrong madam? The leader of the Gallia's Parterre knight corps cannot embarrass herself with such cowardice."
On the day when the Advent Festival started… thirty leagues away from the snowy city of Saxe-Gotha, figures, wrapped up in dark clothes, walked.
“I’m getting used to… mountain walks.”
Muttered a tall man. A dauntless face peeped from the opening of a deep hood.
It was Wardes. Fouquet's face popped up next to him.
They were sent here as Sheffield’s guards.
However, Fouquet had another reason to be here.
“Mathilda of Saxe-Gotha - I think I heard this place’s name from somewhere before.”
Wardes said to Fouquet, who answered back while stepping briskly.
“So nostalgic. I never thought I would be walking through this mountain path again.” She gave out a white exhalation.
“Is it still a territory of Saxe-Gotha?”
“The ‘City’ also includes this mountain range.”
“This land belonged to you as your home?”
“The city's council has been in charge. Sort of like viceregal.“
“Still, it’s considerable.”
“I am guiding another to the land from where I was driven out long ago. How ironic.”
“Your father, I know that he somehow shunned Albion’s royal family… But why was this land and the tittle taken from you and your father?"
“That’s royal family lies.”
“Indeed. My father dutifully served Albion’s royal family… But once the royal family told ‘Give it’ and he didn’t."
“Haah, and what was that?”
Fouquet laughed teasingly and looked into the man's face.
“I’ll tell you only when you’ll tell me your mother’s story.”
Then Wardes turned his face away. Fouquet snuffled in dissatisfaction.
“Hey, Jean-Jacques Wardes, whom do you love more – me or your mother?”
But then Sheffield, who was walking behind, called them.
“How close is the nearest river?”
Fouquet stopped, squat down, elbowing away the snow… and touched the soil. Fouquet, who was a triangular Earth element mage, understood the soil well. Besides, because she grew up in here, she understood the earth here even better.
“Far. But it is not the only water source… one third of the city wells take the water from the mountains.”
“That should be enough.”
Fouquet elbowed her way through bush… and reached a cracked rock. Though the snow covered it, the water was visible from the crack. Luckily the center was not frozen.
Sheffield took out a ring from her pocket. Wardes and Fouquet recognized the ring at first sight.
“That… isn’t it Cromwell’s ring?"
Fouquet muttered. Sheffield shook her head.
“No, it is different from Cromwell’s ring.”
A secretary calling the emperor by name? Wardes and Fouquet exchanged the looks.
“What are you going to do with the ring?”
Sheffield smiled. Because it was the first time they saw her smile, Wardes and Fouquet were perplexed.
“Water is considered a living thing and the Ring of Andvari has the power to control it… as it’s an element that looks like the water spirit. Or should I say it’s almost identical.”
“The water spirit’s tears are expensive material used in making various potions. The power of water rules the composition of the body… with a potion, one can manipulate both – body and mind.”
“That’s a nice lecture. Now then, tell what on earth you are going to do with it?”
“The power of water to condensate… In other words, I can manipulate the town with this…”
Sheffield’s body began to glow.
Wardes remembered this light. The left hand of Louise's boy-familiar glowed in such light as well. Immediately after that… his left arm was chopped off.
On Sheffield’s forehead, half covered with hair, an ancient rune glowed.
Wardes screwed up his eyes.
“What are you doing?”
Sheffield did not answer anymore. She seemed to have been concentrating. She thrust out the hand with the ring towards the water. Gradually, the ring began to shine… and melt.
It looked as if… it was melted by the heat of Sheffield’s body.
Melted drops of the Ring of Andvari began to trickle down… and then a strong stream of water broke through the crack and flowed towards the city of Saxe-Gotha.
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