Zero no Tsukaima:Volume8 Chapter2 ~Preview~
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 Chapter Two: Saito's Morning
RING RING RING RING RING RING!... The alarm clock rang, and Saito opened his sleepy eyes.
He slowly climbed out of his bed.
This was Earth’s Japan, Tokyo in his own family’s two-story six-bedroom home. In his own bedroom. In an instant, he had a strange feeling, one that was difficult to explain.
It was his bedroom! But why did he have a sense of unease?
Still half asleep, Saito looked at the cat-like alarm clock: 8:30AM. The sense of unease vanished as he screamed “CRAP!” and flipped out of bed.
Wasn't he nearly late?
Saito leaped down the stairs and reached the first floor, then yelled at his mother who was washing dishes in the kitchen.
“Mother! Why didn’t you wake me up?”
“Don’t I always tell you, you have to get up on your own in the morning?”
In that instant, an overwhelming sense of homesickness nearly ran him over.
Looking at his mother’s back, Saito felt he was seeing a loved one lost long ago. He saw his mother’s shadow everyday, so what was this feeling?
But now was not the time to worry about it; he was almost late for school. Saito flew into the living room, put on the school uniform he left there, and then ran back to the kitchen with his mother: “I'm already late, gotta go mom!” grabbing a piece of toast from the kitchen table, then stuffing it into his mouth like a mouse, swallowing as he dashed out the door.
Out of the house and straight into the residential streets.
Saito suddenly froze on the spot.
Mother often complained about the house across the streets and its terrible red walls. Saito took the time to “borrow” a couple fruits from the neighbor’s persimmon tree. Nearby was a vending machine for fruit juice.
The usual, and normal, scene. Although it was an scene he was used to, there was an overwhelming sense of longing, that made everything feel dearer.
This was the third time today he felt this strange.
Saito stood there dumbfounded, unable to come up with a reason for this.
In that moment, someone called out to him from behind.
Saito turned around, only to find a black-haired girl in his school's uniform standing there.
There was no mistake, it was really Siesta.
Though she used to be a maid in the Tristain Academy of Magic, she now stood there wearing a school uniform.
Siesta wore the western clothes Saito saw before, giving her a fresh sense of cuteness. Along with the mini-skirt worn by other students, blue western blouse with a white shirt, and knee-length socks.
What was Siesta doing in Tokyo?
Why was she wearing his school’s uniform?
Although he still had some difficult questions to answer, he took care of the first question that came to mind. “Why are you dressed like that?”
Siesta answered Saito's question with a confused look.
“Because Saito-san and I go to the same school, isn’t it normal I wear the same uniform?”
Oh, it was so. Saito nodded in understanding. The way she said it seemed to be correct, but right now Saito’s head was a little fuzzy, so he couldn’t really pinpoint what was wrong.
Siesta ran by, grabbing onto Saito’s arm.
“Wait, wait, wait, wait…”
Siesta’s face turned red, unable to finish her sentence.
“I have been waiting for you for a while… I want to go to school together… so…”
“Oh, is that so? Ok, let’s go together.”
Forget it, she is so cute. Going together shouldn’t be a problem. Saito dismissed the question that came floating into his head.
“Great!” Siesta said smiling and took a step forward. The spring wind flew against her body.
“Oh!” The strong wind lifted her short skirt.
The skirt revealed snow-white flesh, causing Saito to pinch his nose in reflex.
“Why, Siesta, why are you not wearing any underwear?”
Siesta using her hands to hold down her skirt, shamefully replied,
“Because, because I am not one of those noble-born girls, who own those flowery panties…”
“Japan doesn’t have any nobility!”
“That is true…”
That is a really strange answer, Saito thought, feeling the incompatibility.
Everything seemed to make sense, yet it felt as though nothing did…
Just as the two stood there dumbfounded…
Saito was sent flying by a force slamming into him from behind and instantly collapsed on the ground.
The person who knocked him down was a pink-haired girl. She had a piece of toast in her mouth and complained at the same time,
“Late, late, I am late!”
The young girl continued to complain then turned around, stomping Saito several more times with her foot.
Saito desperately tried to get up.
“Ah, late, really late!!”
The young girl swang her foot again, this time aiming for Saito’s face; Saito collapsed again with a yelp.
“Ah… late, I said we are late!”
The girl named Vallière continued to scream "late", yet at the same time danced on Saito’s fallen body.
Saito lying on the ground, shouted loudly, “If you know you are late, then stop dancing on my body!”
With that shout, the tiny pink-haired girl stopped. With her arms around her chest, she stared at Saito and asked,
“Where were you staring? Your face is red!” There was a sense of unease in her voice as she asked.
This young lady wore the same style of uniform as Siesta’s - Saito’s school uniform. But the way she wore it was different. She kept her tux’s buttons left open, and kept the tie loose, which made her appear to be very loose herself. But that pink hair and those tea-colored eyes were indeed Louise.
“Why are you wearing your clothes like that?”
But Louise didn’t even seem to notice Saito’s question.
“Where were you looking? Speak!”
“It has nothing to do with you!” Just as Saito finished, he was rewarded with Louise’s foot in his face.
“Of course it has to do with me! You are my familiar, so no matter what happens you are only allowed to look at me! If you look at other people, I will teach you a lesson!”
Louise angrily stared at Siesta.
“So, so, so when you go stare at the big-breasted maid, it means serious punishment! Do you understand?”
“What are you joking about?” Saito yelled. He jumped up and grabbed Louise’s shoulder.
“Eh…” Louise yelped sharply as she collapsed on the ground, and Saito landed on top of her, his eyes transfixed on her face.
“You, what are you doing? …You, you plan to attack your master?”
“Don’t you dare doing anything! I am a noble, you are a commoner!”
“Noble princesses wouldn’t dress like this!”
Yelled Saito pointing at Louise’s loose socks.
“What, what’s the matter? What I wear is my own business! You are only a familiar, mind your own business!”
“What familiar? What nobility? What Master? It is not same here! Because we are in Japan!”
“Don’t talk nonsense!” Louise yelled raging. Saito restrained the raging Louise and looked into her burning eyes.
“You… wanted this to happen, right?”
Though words came from his mouth, they did not seem to be his. Even though he talked… it felt as if he was watching a movie about other characters.
“You wanted to be pushed down by me, didn’t you? That’s why you wore that black cat costume. For me to push you down. Right? Speak up. Heeey, speak up!”
These words have been said some time ago, Saito thought strangely calmly, while shouting.
Then the girl's cheeks turned pink, like the color of her hair. She turned her head and looked the other way.
“D-don’t be s-silly. Who wanted to be pushed down? S-stop joking, let me go in this instant or I’ll kick you.”
Hearing such strong words, Louise bit her lip.
“D-don’t anger me….” She said in a feeble voice.
“Well then, itadakimasu.” He nodded seriously and started unfasten the shirt at her knolls. I did this before, he thought. Then his head was hit with the frying-pan by Siesta who stood behind.
“This is the middle of the road. It’s embarrassing, please stop.”
“I carry it to cook.”
“Butt out!” Louise screamed rudely at Siesta. Siesta turned to Louise.
“Why are you so mad, even though I helped you? Then all these words about ‘anger’ must be a lie. It’s not your real intention. You wanted to be pushed down after all.“
“L-lies! Maids should be silent and do the laundry!”
“I would do the laundry if you would lend me the washboard.”
“Haah? I don’t have a washboard!”
“Not true. You have a splendid one over there.”
She pointed at Louise’s chest. Louise let out a penetrating scream.
“Wash with plain chest♪ With bubbles wash♪ Scrub scrub scrub♪”
Louise jumped at Siesta's singing.
“Whaaat! Big breasts are all that you have, maid! Flirting with men is all that you think about! Not even wearing underwear!”
“Aren’t you the same! You always think about how to get laid! Wearing next to nothing! Ridiculous noble! Always eagerly awaiting with shiny eyes to be pushed down by Saito-san! Don’t you have any shame?!”
"What! Undeveloped! Stupid maid!" The quarrel turned into a cat fight between the two. Skirts fluttering, claws spread, gripping each others hair, they were rolling on the ground like two raging chickens.
“S-stop…” Saito muttered, though the pair were not listening at all.
Then... A black limousine drove up.
The door at the driver's side opened and Mazarin, dressed up in white gloves and a black suit, stepped out. When Mazarin opened the door at the back seat, he bowed reverently.
Henrietta appeared, in a white dress. She wore a brimless hat decorated with flowers. Her dress was befitting more of a young lass than princess. She held an elegant handbag at her side.
Henrietta ran up to Saito and offered her hand.
“You stopped an army of 70,000.”
“Yes.” Saito replied boldly.
“You were truly unstoppable. Aaah, you are a savior of Tristain. Though this useless queen cannot do anything, I can’t leave such loyalty unrewarded. Well, kiss this hand.”
Saito took the hand and pressed it to his lips, next, Henrietta wrapped her arms around Saito’s neck.
“Call me Ann. Next, on the lips, for compassion.”
Flustered Henrietta embraced Saito's head closely and puckered up her lips.
Not good, Saito thought and in an instant heard growls.
“What are you doing to the Princess?!”
“Always nobles! You always prefer them! It’s impossible for a village girl to be noticed!”
Saito, knowing very well what it meant to become Louise’s and Siesta’s target, quickly shook off Henrietta’s arms and ran away.
“Wait! Let’s continue the evening from the cheap hotel!”
“Continue what from the cheap hotel?! What?!”
“What did you do in there! Surely you wore weird clothes again!”
Siesta and Louise ran after him shouting.
While he was trying to escape, an American bike appeared out of the corner. Scarron and Jessica were sitting on it, all dressed up in tight leather clothes.
Saito leaped over the pair’s motorcycle and fell.
Jessica jumped out of the bike's sidecar and looked down at the sprawled Saito.
“Stop being useless. Quickly, help me to sell this oil."
“Huh? Not energetic? Then how about this to motivate you?”
She threw him a mischievous glance and through the crevice of her leather jacket led Saito’s hand into the valley of her well-developed bosom.
Now he was in a trouble.
“W-wait a second!”
“Wait for what?” Jessica said in an amorous voice that tickles man’s heart, and watched him through sparkling eyes.
“You're a girl right? So don’t act like this…”
But Jessica’s eyes made Saito hold his breath…
“That brunette again!”
“My cousin! What the?!”
Saito left Jessica and began to run again. He escaped to Main Street, and while elbowing his way through the crowd, he knocked against someone.
He knocked against a woman with long pink hair. She wore a thin purple cardigan and was holding a leash to which many dogs were connected.
Bark. Bark bark. Bark bark bark.
The dogs drew closer to Saito.
“Dog! Many dogs! Good doggies! Uwaa! Waawaa!”
“Huh, they seem to like you a lot.”
He knew that woman by sight. She was part of Louise’s family.
The gentle aura around this woman with long pink hair.
She pressed her hand to her mouth, trying to suppress a giggle. This woman was Cattleya, Louise’s elder sister. Cattleya’s dogs nuzzled against Saito.
“Ah! Hey! Stop! Stop it!”
Sniff sniff, bark bark, sniff sniff, bark bark.
“Whaaa! Now between dogs! Don’t you match well! Adorable! What! What are you doing to my big sister!”
Louise ran up shouting.
“Even with dogs! I can’t allow it!”
Both had a terrible look on their faces. If he was caught by those two, his life would be in danger. But because of the leaning dogs he could not do anything.
“You perverted dog!”
The moment when Louise shouted, jumping at him… Saito was lifted in the air.
Saito looked up, and found himself caught by a wind dragon. Sitting on the drake was a blue-haired girl. They turned out to be Tabitha and her familiar, which was carrying Saito on its back.
For some reason, Tabitha was wearing an airplane stewardess outfit. A young girl like Tabitha wearing a stewardess dress, appears very, very strange. Like a gag in a story.
Even though Tabitha was dressed like this she still remained focused on her book.
“What, what the… Oh, it is you… never mind, thank you for saving me.”
Saito expressed his gratitude, feeling massive relief.
But Tabitha remained the same as a ever, without making a sound.
Saito remained silent for a moment too, but everything became even more awkward, so he decided to find a topic to chat about, and finally saw Tabitha’s book.
“You know I always wondered… what kind of books are you always reading?”
Tabitha refused to answer.
Without any other method, Saito decided to go behind her and peek at the book. When he saw the title, he could not stop laughing: “Ah? Romance Technique - How to make boys like you… you… it is this kind of book?? Ahahahaha! You interested in this kind of stuff?"
Tabitha, without replying, continued to leaf through the book. Her eyes did not reveal a sliver of emotion, so it was impossible to tell if she was mad or embarrassed.
“That kind of thing, no matter how many books you read, is useless. First you have to learn how to talk to a boy. Because the purpose of your heart is important.” Saito appeared to be very knowledgeable about the matter and added: “No matter what, a person like you who never talks, is in an impossible situation.”
Saito lightly patted Tabitha’s head, and Tabitha just nodded her head toward his hand.
“Right, use me as an model, let’s practice talking.”
The blue-haired girl silently stared at Saito’s face. No matter how hard he tried, nothing was coming out of Tabitha’s mouth.
“Hey, what are you planning? If it's like this you will never find a boyfriend! Come, come on! You should know more words than spells, come on! Say something!”
He remained half joking, shaking the little girl’s head left and right. In that moment, Tabitha stood up.
“I know it.”
Tabitha remained expressionless, but like a machine-gun she spat out a string of words:
“Can’t find a boyfriend? Mind your own business! Stuck between the maid and the boob-less mage, you have no right to talk about me. Someone like you, all you need to see is the princess, the village girl or elder sister with big breasts and you instantly have that “look”, really a mess. Then you will say ‘no no, I can’t do this kind of thing, because I am from another world, so I cannot support your feelings.’ But while you talk, your body doesn’t react the same way.”
“You, You,” Saito’s head became red as a tomato.
“A person like you would seriously annoy them both, you make them want to come after you with violence.”
Saito looked at Tabitha’s height and replied, “You, you little kid, don’t talk so spirited like that.”
The girl’s was a head shorter than Louise, but Tabitha’s expression remained unchanged, and added, “Who is a kid? You are the real kid! A brainless person like you who tries to step into two ships with one foot, you are ten years too early!”
Saito suddenly curled into a ball aboard the wind dragon. He had apparently been kicked in the groin by Tabitha. Then Tabitha followed it with a straight kick to Saito’s face.
“I should keep you as a pet.”
“What are you talking about? Aren't you very happy? You like it, don't you? When a loli dominates you. It is written all over your face!”
Saito sprang to his feet, grabbing Tabitha’s shoulder. Then the two’s gaze met. In this moment, Tabitha’s cheeks turned red and she turned her face away. Her change made Saito’s heart leap.
“How did you manage to show emotion like that?”
But Tabitha’s next attack knocked Saito beyond belief:
“Please be gentle with me.”
Please, please be gentle?! You, you, Saito looked like an air-less goldfish with his mouth opening and closing.
The next offensive completely ripped his command center open.
“Kissing, teach me.”
What is she talking about? Saito was completely unable to understand.
But, it was really cute.
Because she was always expressionless, such an attack surprised Saito. Yet it wasn’t an unpleasant surprise. It was a so-called pleasant surprise. The surprise, joy, and the excitement somehow almost made Saito faint. No, it wasn’t "somehow".
On closer inspection, Tabitha had beautiful snow-white skin. Her blue eyes were like sapphires. Those blue lakes, still young, were very charming and made Saito’s heart throb. Like Louise, she had those noble, elegant features… Though he did not notice before because he thought her to be too young, she was definitely beautiful…
What the heck I am thinking about - she’s still a child, he thought shaking his head.
“F-foolishness, your father would be angry at me if he caught me kissing you!"
Not flinching, Tabitha pushed her lips out.
Foul play! On a wind dragon, writhing in big conflict, Saito heard roaring from behind. When he turned around, he saw the Zero Fighter flying.
Within the cockpit he could see Louise’s and Siesta’s faces.
“How do you know how to fly it?!” He yelled.
“I learned it from my grandfather!” Siesta shouted.
He wondered how he could hear her voice through loudly roaring engine, and soon, undoubtedly, he heard Louise’s angry voice.
“Now you are going after a child who is even smaller than me! You love anyone - big or small! Either way will do! You are the worst!”
Don! Don! DoDo! The Zero Fighter's wings trembled.
How can they shoot twenty-millimeter bullets when they're supposed to be out of ammo?
He thought, when a jar of wine flew at him.
“Have a drink!” came Siesta’s drunken voice.
She was drunk while piloting the airplane. Saito was terrified.
“No, fly the plane.”
He muttered, before getting hit by a jar. It hurt!
Saito shouted impatiently.
“Tabitha, evade! Speed the wind dragon up to run away from the Zero Fighter!”
“Tabitha? I am Kirche, Darling.”
Somehow Tabitha turned into Kirche. Moreover, only a few seashells were covering her most important body parts.
“Aah! Quickly, get away from me! We will get killed! Flying too fast!"
“It can’t fly.”
“Isn’t this a wind dragon?!”
“Nope, my salamander, Flame-chan.”
Unnoticed by Saito, it was indeed Kirche’s salamander Flame.
The salamander went down like a rock. Saito tried to grab Derflinger. Using my Gandálfr's power, I’ll jump onto the Zero Fighter and save myself!
“Awa! Why doesn't my body feel lighter?!”
Looking at his left hand, he saw the runes disappear.
“Wa! Uwa! Waah!”
He steadily approached the ground.
“Falling! Falling! N? What’s this?!”
He saw something.
“…it shines. Gold?”
On the moment of the crash, dazzled, Saito was wrapped up by the golden light.
Screamed Saito, waking up.
He was breathing heavily for a while, before muttering to himself.
Fuzzy-headed, he reviewed the clattery drama.
He was chased by Siesta and Louise, and was urged by Henrietta, Jessica, dogs and Tabitha – what an absurd hubbub and mess.
If it’s not a dream then why were Louise and Siesta in school uniforms from Saito’s Japan or Tabitha dressed up as stewardess? But why would I be having such dream…
“Such strong desire, I…” he writhed in embarrassment for a moment. He grew worried – what if anyone saw him now? He looked around in fear.
Indeed, there was an audience.
In front of Saito’s eyes, there were faces of children watching him.
There were various faces - big and small, boys and girls. Golden hair, red hair, brunette…, there were various other hair colors too. Some were hesitant, embarrassed, relieved or worried watching Saito’s suspicious behavior. Though the children clothes were a little dirty, their eyes sparkled.
A single boy with blond hair, leaned towards Saito and quietly looked into his face.
“Well… did you see me just now?” Saito asked, for some reason the boy jumped back in fear.
“Weird person! Suspicious person!” he ran away shouting.
“H-hey… it's a misunderstanding, misunderstanding!”
“Freak! Someone people should avoid!"
Others joined in.
“Wa-wait a minute! I am not a strange person!”
However, Saito’s excuse didn't reach them, and all of the children rushed out of the room like lightning.
“Wha-what… they. A while ago, I was having this embarrassing dream… Anyway, where am I?”
Saito looked around the room where he was in.
It was a cozy room. A window on one side of the bed, and a door on the other side. A small round table was placed in the center of the room, two wooden chairs near it.
Though the bed that Saito slept in was coarse, it was clean, with white sheets and a soft blanket pulled over.
“Must be some kind of inn… But, why am I here… I mean. I was heavily injured…”
Saito in a hurry looked down at his body. He was covered with bandages. At that time, in a fierce battle, he was definitely driven to the point of death.
I… let Louise and others leave and went against 70,000 alone. He shuddered remembering the fierce battle.
After he clashed with the 70,000 army, following Derflinger’s advice he aimed at the commanders.
He attacked a fair amount of mages, but due to spell hits, he started loosing consciousness. Starting to stagger, he saw a general surrounded by mages and knights, and leaped at him.
After that, he couldn't remember anything…
“…Anyway, seems like I survived.”
Feeling relieved, Saito whispered in a discouraged voice.
At the same time with a relief, various doubts crept in.
Spell arrows and fireballs hit him, or was it, but there were no deep wounds. Then an explosion hit at close range, and he remembered his left-hand becoming like a charcoal. It was nothing. He felt blood running out in streams from his body. There was a gaping wound in his belly. His bones were broken like sticks and his inner organs torn. In other words, he was close to death.
Yet, looking at my body now…
The vicious burns on his left arm had disappeared, the pink skin showing through the cracks between the bandages. The body wounds did not hurt for the time being either.
Saito looked doubtful.
What on earth happened to my body?
“Well, it’s a wizard world after all, so some miracles do happen…” showing his inborn optimism, Saito said to himself.
For now, the only thing known was that he "survived", and other things did not matter all that much. Once feeling relieved, he was reminded of other things.
That’s right, there are more important concerns than my body.
My clash with the army of 70,000…
Were the enemy forces confused enough?
Did it buy enough time for our allies to withdraw?
Did Louise and everyone else escape safely?
“Uuuh… what’s true? Now I’ll worry. Aaah, I’ll ask Derf.”
Saito looked around, searching for Derflinger.
However, the wise sword was nowhere to be found in the room. I’ll look for him, I cannot learn anything this way, Saito thought and tried to stand up…
A frog-like voice leaked from his throat.
The acute cramping pain pierced through his sides, feet, arms, ankles and neck. The pain covered his whole body and did not stop making Saito see black and white. Though his life was saved, he still might be badly injured.
That fierce battle that felt like a dream since he woke up was now rapidly gaining real outlines. Saito shook and started to tremble. Even though he tried to suppress it, it didn’t stop.
One wrong step and he would have been dead. He had definitely escaped death by a hair.
Until the trembling settled, he decided to lie back in bed.
“But… I may still be asleep.”
He needed to confirm it.
I want to know precisely how I was brought back to life.
Therefore, he tried to get up many times.
Tch! Ouch! He shouted, whenever he tried to stand up he was instantly taken over by pain…
“You should not move.”
From the door where the children ran to… a smooth smell flowed and a cool, sweet voice spoke.
Ah, when he turned towards the open door, he saw a girl, with fair, river-like flowing hair, standing.
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