Chapter One: A Secret Boat
Louise was lying on her bed. She was dreaming that she was back in her homeland, a three day ride away from the Tristain Academy, where she was born.
The young Louise in her dream was running around near the house, eventually hiding in the bushes of the labyrinth-like vegetation to hide from her pursuers.
“Louise, where are you? Come out now!” shouted her mother. In her dream, Louise was being reprimanded due to her poor results in magical studies. She was constantly being compared with her sisters, who had much better results than her.
Louise saw a pair of shoes that appeared below the bushes.
“Miss Louise really is hopeless at magic.”
“I completely agree. Why can’t she be like her two older sisters who are very good with magic?”
Louise, upon hearing those words, felt sad and dejected as she bit her lips. The servants started to look for her in the vegetation. Louise tried her best to escape. She retreated to the place she called the “Secret Garden” – the central lake.
The Secret Garden was the only place where Louise felt at ease. It was tranquil, with no one else around. Flowers bloomed everywhere and birds gathered on the benches near the lake. And in the middle of the lake there was a small island on which a small house made of white marble rested.
Next to the island was a small boat originally used for leisure, but now derelict and forgotten. Her older sisters had grown up, and were busy studying magic. Her father, who had retired from his military duties, now spent his time mingling with the nobles nearby. Her father's only pastime was hunting wild game. Her mother's only interest was to teach her daughters and she could not care less about anything else.
Therefore, besides Louise, no one ever came to the forgotten lake anymore, much less remembered that small boat. That is why whenever Louise was reprimanded, she would come to this place.
In Louise’s dream, the younger version of her jumped onto the boat and snuggled into a blanket that was prepared earlier.
As she hid inside her blanket, a noble clad in a cloak appeared from the mist-covered island.
The noble was about sixteen years old. In Louise’s dream, she was only six years old, a ten year difference lay between them.
“Have you been crying, Louise?” His face could not be seen as it was covered by a large hat.
But Louise knew exactly who he was: he was the Viscount, the noble who had just inherited the lands around her homeland. Louise felt warm and fuzzy inside; the Viscount was the man of her dreams. They had often frequented banquets together and, furthermore, their fathers had already made an engagement.
“Is that you, Viscount-sama?”
Louise haphazardly covered her face; she did not want the man of her dreams to see her crying. It would be embarrassing.
“I was invited by your father today regarding the engagement.”
Hearing this, Louise was even more embarrassed to the point that she did not even dare lift her head up.
“Really? But that would not be possible, Viscount-sama.”
“Louise, my small and dainty Louise, do you dislike me?” the Viscount said in jest.
Louise gently shook her head and said abashedly, ”No, it’s not that. It's just that I’m still young and unready ...”
The face hidden underneath the hat revealed a smile and extended a hand out to Louise.
“Lady, please take hold of my hand. Quickly, the banquet is about to start.”
“Have you been scolded again? Don’t worry. I’ll talk to your father.” the Viscount said.
Louise nodded, stood up and reached for the Viscount’s hand. What big hands, aren't those the hands that she had always dreamed of holding?
Just as she was about to grasp the Viscount’s hand, a sudden gust of wind blew the hat from the Viscount’s head.
“Eh?!” Louise looked at his face, perplexed. Because it was a dream, Louise had returned to her sixteen year old self.
“What... What are you doing?”
The person underneath the hat was not the Viscount, but her familiar, Saito.
“Louise, come quickly.”
“It doesn’t matter whether I come or not, why are you here?”
“Don’t be so narrow minded, haven’t you fallen for me already?” replied Saito, who was impudently dressed in the Viscount’s clothes.
One had to wonder where he got that much confidence from.
“Don’t be stupid, I was just muddle-headed that time, you better stop dreaming!”
“Stop making up excuses, my Louise.”
“Who is 'your Louise'?!”
Saito pretended not to hear her at all, and instead, came closer to Louise.
“What are you trying to do, you idiot?!”
Ignoring her complaints, Saito proceeded and lifted Louise, who was in the boat, into his arms.
“Why is it you?” Louise asked in frustration while punching Saito. But Saito did not get angry at all, instead his grin became wider. This made Louise slowly turn red from embarrassment. She did not know the exact reason, but she felt good in Saito’s arms. This made Louise even more anxious.
Saito, lying in his bed, slowly opened his eyes. The twin moons in full circle shone onto the room, lighting it up brightly. Louise, sleeping in her bed, moaned as though she was having a nightmare.
Saito prayed that she would continue to sleep. He quietly got up and slowly approached the sleeping Louise.
“What is it partner? Not Sleeping?” Derflinger asked Saito quite abruptly.
“Shhhh...” Saito turned around and put his index finger onto his lips.
“Don't want me to speak? Why not?”
“Shhhh...” Saito shook his head, once again drew his middle finger across his lips and stared at his partner, Derflinger, with annoyance.
“I won’t forgive you for giving me the cold shoulder. My partner wakes up in the middle of the night without telling me a reason. This makes me angry and depressed!”
After saying this, Derflinger moved and shook his body, like he was really angry. What a difficult sword.
Awakened by the rattling of the sword, Louise turned around and opened her eyes.
Saito’s heart skipped a beat.
Sitting up, Louise started to scold Saito.
“Don’t be so full of yourself! You better do some cleaning up, don't you see the dust gathered everywhere? Don’t tell me that you have done it already, you slow-witted fool. You’re such a dimwit!”
Saito’s body was frozen solid, as though the “Harden” spell had been casted on him.
But after Louise finished scolding Saito, she lay down once more and slept. Apparently, she was just talking in her sleep. Even in her sleep, Louise was ordering Saito about. Saito felt simultaneously relieved and saddened.
Derflinger, who was watching Saito all this time, gave a hapless sigh.
“She’s talking in her dreams, huh? But it doesn’t seem to be music to your ears, Saito.”
Saito stared angrily at Derflinger, who had almost spoiled his plan and quickly walked towards him and said, “You better keep quiet, you idiot!”
“You’re really too much, I shall not forgive you! If my partner wants me to be silent, then I will definitely be silent! But for suddenly waking up in the middle of the night and being so sneaky about it, you’ll definitely suffer retribution even if you tell me your reason now.”
Derflinger’s sense of curiosity was the same as his partner's. It seemed that he wanted to know Saito’s reason for waking up in the middle of the night no matter what it took.
Saito sighed, and then pointed to the sleeping Louise.
“What about the Noble’s daughter?”
“What do you think partner?”
Saito used his hands and made a gesture resembling a heart.
“What does that mean?”
“It represents love.”
“That girl likes you, partner?”
“How do you know?”
Saito stood up, and danced while not making any noise.
“Ah... you are referring to the ball?”
“You saw Louise’s expression while we were dancing, right?”
“Yeah, I saw it.”
“Her face was so red...” Saito said while in a daze.
“Yeah, it was very red.”
“She seemed to want to hold my hands and not let them go.”
“Are you sure!?”
“Derf, you’re just a piece of metal, so you’ll never understand a girl’s heart. If a girl looks at a boy like that, it means she’s indirectly telling him that she likes him.” Saito said, while knocking on the sword.
“True, I’m but a sword, and I don’t understand interpersonal relationships at all. But since you say so partner, it must probably be true.”
Saito nodded happily and said, “You’re really sensible, Derflinger!”
“Then, my good partner, since you’re sure that she likes you, are you going to ravish her?”
“Yes! I’m sure that she likes me, and I think I'm gonna ravish her!... Err, what does 'ravish' mean?”
“That’s impossible. I’ve been around for a long time and this is the first time I’ve heard of a familiar ravishing its master. You’re incredible!”
“Ah... that feels good. Come, praise me again.”
“My partner, you’re fantastic!”
Saito stood up and buoyantly asked, “Derf, who's the most handsome man in the world?”
“Of course it’s you, partner.”
“Who is the greatest person in this world without magic?”
“Of course it’s you, partner.”
The praises went straight to Saito's head. He felt as if the whole world was cheering for him. One had to wonder if he had a problem with his IQ.
“Louise is really fortunate that I have taken a liking to her. The great and handsome me.”
“If that haughty girl really likes you, then why did she have to scold you even in her dreams?”
Derflinger wanted to continue voicing his opinions, but was stopped by Saito. “Louise is in reality extremely stubborn. She would not bare her heart that easily.”
“Is that so?”
“If I went over and asked her, she would definitely reply: 'What are you saying? You stupid familiar!' “
“Like you said, do you really know her inside out, partner?”
“Of course! Although she’s always denying it, in reality she desperately wants me to ‘conquer’ her. She’s already deeply in love with me, but Louise is a very headstrong girl, she won’t tell me that she likes me directly due to her pride.”
“Partner, you must be a genius to have deduced this.”
“So now, I’m to represent planet Earth and 'ravish' this Bishojo from Halkeginia. You understand don’t you, Derf? So could you do me a favor and keep your mouth shut?”
Derflinger shook his body, signifying agreement.
“If that’s the case, I will remain silent then.”
Saito thanked Derflinger and once again approached Louise.
Louise was still in deep sleep. No matter from what angle you looked at the sleeping Louise, she still looked as beautiful as ever. Saito took a deep breath; the room was filled with a nice fragrance.
Saito, trembling slowly, lifted Louise’s blanket.
Moonlight shone onto Louise who was wearing a nightgown. Even though Louise was wearing her nightie, one could still feel her smooth and supple skin through it. Although just slightly, her breasts had developed. Also, Louise did not like to wear undergarments when sleeping. Saito knew this extremely well - he was the one who prepared her undergarments every morning.
Saito was so touched that tears nearly came out of his eyes. From now onwards the petite and cute girl will finally be mine, he thought to himself. He has been waiting for this moment for a week, ever since the ball.
Rubbing his hands together, Saito approached the sleeping Louise and said,“Itadakimasu… ” saying that, he snuggled under Louise’s blanket.
“Ah, Louise, Louise your skin is really so smooth and supple. Haha… Saito you idiot…”
Saito did not know why he called himself an idiot, but nonetheless he was becoming more and more aroused.
He hugged Louise without thinking twice and kissed her cheek. Louise did not look like she would wake up anytime soon; she was quite a sound sleeper.
“Louise, my dear Louise, your face; you have the cutest face in the world...” Following that, just as Saito was about to lift up Louise’s nightgown, she suddenly awoke. Saito was initially shocked, but he recovered quickly and hugged Louise tightly.
“What... What are you doing?!”
Louise immediately realized what was going on and struggled to break free from Saito’s arms.
“Can’t you just stay still?”
“Why... why... are you hugging me?
“What are you saying? I thought that you liked me!?” Saito stared at Louise in frustration; Louise felt the anger and stopped struggling.
Saito placed his hands on Louise’s shoulder and asked, “Aren’t you in love with me?”
“What... what... nonsense are you blabbering?”
“It’s all right Louise, I understand how you feel. I’m the one that understands you the most. Don’t be nervous, just relax.”
Saito slowly moved his lips towards Louise’s; Louise’s face became paler and paler.
Me, in love with you??
Louise’s dream just now flashed before her eyes again. Saito was exactly the same as in her dream, speaking to her in that audacious manner. Thanks to that, the more Louise looked at Saito, the angrier she became. Both the Saito in her dream and the Saito in reality made her mad, really mad. You could say it was pure rage.
Louise was now trembling in anger, but Saito mistook it for shyness, as Louise had had no prior experience.
“Are you still nervous, this is my first time too. Relax while I take off my pants...”
Louise felt Saito holding up her waist...
As swift as a flame salamander catches its prey, Louise shot her right leg upward and struck Saito between the legs.
Saito immediately felt his spine carry the excruciating pain from his groin all the way to his brain. Saito, not able to take the pain, began foaming at the mouth and rolled off of Louise’s bed. Louise slowly got up and grabbed the horse whip which was placed next to her bed.
Saito, seeing the whip, tried to escape, but the whip-bearing Louise already had her foot on Saito’s head.
“What did you want to do to me just now?!”
Saito, slowly recovering from his pain, managed to speak, ”Aren’t we just like lovers whispering sweet nothings to each other just now?”
Louise using her foot to apply more pressure on Saito’s head replied, “That’s only wishful thinking on your part.”
“Does it mean that I’m mistaken…? Aren’t you fond of me?”
“Who is fond of whom?”
“Well, don’t you like me, Miss Louise?”
“Haha… Please tell me the reason for you believing that, but you’d better make it simple to understand, otherwise I will not be able to tell what will happen to you…”
“Well, during the ball, you looked at me, your familiar, with those lovelorn eyes.”
Louise with her face turning red replied, “So that’s why you thought that I’m fond of you and climbed into my bed?”
“That’s correct, Miss Louise. Is your humble familiar really mistaken?”
“You’re definitely mistaken, I have never heard of a familiar climbing into its owner’s bed.”
“I will take note of it the next time.”
Louise gave a sigh and said in a tone that seems to pity Saito, “There won’t be a next time.”
“Master, Look! Look! The twin moons are shining so beautifully tonight!” Saito said in desperation.
“Anyway, it’s too late…” Louise said in a voice trembling in anger. Under the twin moon’s moonlight, Saito’s cries of pain could be heard many miles away…
The same time that Saito was being badly beaten up, Fouquet was staring idly at the ceiling somewhere far way from the academy in the City of Tristain’s Genoa prison. She was the triangle earth mage, who was apprehended by Saito and Co. two days ago for the theft of the “Staff of Destruction”. As she was infamous for stealing valuable treasure from various nobles she was placed in Genoa prison, the maximum security prison located in the City of Tristain.
She would be charged in court the following week. As she had caused a great deal of shame to nobles all over the country, she would most probably either be exiled or be given the death sentence. Either way, she wouldn't be allowed in Tristain anymore. At first, she thought of escaping, but she later gave up that thought.
Inside her cell, there was nothing except for shoddy looking bed and a table that was made of wood. Even the utensils she used were made of wood. Things would be quite different if there was just something made of metal… Like a spoon.
She had wanted to turn the prison walls and iron bars into soil using alchemy. Without her wand, which was confiscated, that would not be possible. Magicians were helpless without their wands. Furthermore, the prison walls and iron bars were specially enchanted to resist magic. Even with the use of alchemy, she would not be able to escape.
“It’s really mean of them to lock up a feeble female like myself here.” Fouquet grumbled to herself. Then she thought about the youth that had apprehended her, That boy is quite strong, can’t believe that he’s an ordinary human. Who exactly is he? Then again, it doesn’t concern me anymore.
“Time to sleep...” Fouquet closed her eyes and laid down. Just as she had closed her eyes, she quickly opened them again.
Fouquet heard someone walking down to the dungeon where she was held. She heard peculiar noises that sounded like a spur. She deduced it could not be a warden, as they did not wear spurs on their boots. Fouquet quickly sat up.
A person wearing a cloak appeared next to her cell, his face unseen as it was covered by a white mask. Judging from the long wand visible beneath his cloak, he was a mage.
In a rather scornful manner, Fouquet exclaimed “I’m surprised to see a visitor in the middle of the night!”
The man in the white mask did not reply, and instead gave Fouquet a cold stare.
Fouquet instinctively knew that this person was hired to kill her. Some nobles she had stolen from must have thought that sentencing her in court was too much of a hassle and had decided to hire an assassin to kill her. Some of the items she had stolen from the imperial family were likely stolen goods to begin with, and in order not to let such a truth surface the imperials had probably decided to silence her.
“Well, as you can see, this doesn’t look like a place to entertain someone. But I think you’re not here just for a cup of tea, right?” Fouquet said.
She began to think, Though I’m without my wand, I will not easily give up without a fight. I’m not only well versed in magic; I’m pretty good in close combat too. However, I’m powerless to stop him should he use magic. Therefore, I must somehow lure him inside my cell.
Just then, the man in the cloak spoke, “Are you Fouquet of the Crumbling Earth?”
His voice sounded strong and youthful.
“I’m not sure who gave me this nickname, but yes, I am Fouquet of the Crumbling Earth.”
The man in the cloak raised both of his hands, implying that he did not intend hostility.
“I have something that I would like to tell you.”
“What is that?” Fouquet replied in a rather surprised tone. “Don’t tell me that you’re going to speak on my defense. What a weirdo.”
“I’d be happy to speak in your defense, my dear Mathilda of Saxe-Gotha”
Fouquet’s face became pale. That’s a name I had forgotten, or rather, was forced to forget, she thought. There should be no one in this world that knows that name anymore…
“Who exactly are you?”
The cloaked man did not answer her question and instead asked, “Mathilda, do you wish to serve Albion again?”
Fouquet, who had lost her cool, replied, “That’s impossible! I will never serve those who had murdered my father and annexed my home!”
“Don’t be mistaken, no one is asking you to serve the Albion royal family. They’re going to be overthrown soon.”
“What do you mean?”
“A revolution is taking place. We’re going to overthrow the weak and powerless Imperial family, and succeeding them will be more capable nobles like ourselves.”
“But aren’t you part of Tristain’s nobility? What has Albion’s revolution got to do with you?”
“We are a consortium of nobles without borders who are worried about Halkeginia’s future. We wish to unify Halkeginia and regain the holy land that founder Brimir had once set foot on.“
Fouquet smirked, “Please stop talking nonsense. If that’s the case, why does your consortium of nobles without borders need me? I’m just a prisoner.”
“We need skilled magicians now more than ever. Will you lend us your help, Fouquet of the Crumbing Earth?”
Fouquet waved her hands and replied, ”Please stop dreaming…”
“You wish to unify Halkeginia? The Kingdoms of Tristain, Germania, Albion, Gallia, and a number of smaller kingdoms which are constantly at war with each other? Unifying them would be like a midsummer night's dream.”
“Hmm! Getting the holy land back… how would you fight against the all-powerful elves?”
For hundreds of years, the holy land had been in the possession of the elves living east of Halkeginia. Humans had attempted countless crusades to get back the holy land, but failed miserably each time.
The elves, distinguished by their distinctly pointed ears and unique culture, had long life spans and were highly proficient with magic. As such, they were highly effective warriors. Defeating them would be an uphill battle.
“I have no love for nobles and I have no interest in Halkeginia. As for regaining the Holy land, the elves can stay there for all I care!”
The man in the black cloak took out his wand and replied, “I’ll give you a choice, Fouquet of the Crumbling Earth.”
“Let’s hear it out.”
“Either you become our comrade or…”
Fouquet finished the sentence for him, “Or I would immediately perish here? Am I correct?”
“That is correct. Since you already know our secret, I cannot let you live.”
“You nobles are really a conceited bunch. You’ll never consider other people’s feelings,” Fouquet said with a chuckle, “To put it nicely, you’re inviting me to join you, but in reality there is no other choice, is there?”
The man in the black cloak too replied with a chuckle, “That’s correct.”
“Let me be a part of your consortium then. I hate people who do not know how to give orders.”
“Let’s go then.”
Fouquet placed both her hands onto her chest and asked, “What's the name of your organization?”
“Do you really wish to join us, or are you just toying with me?”
“I just want to know the name of the organization I will work for from now on.”
The man in the black cloak removed a key from his pocket, unlocked Fouquet’s cell and answered, “The Reconquistadors.”
Translator's Notes and References
- Bishojo ???, Bishojo? ; ??????; means "beautiful young girl" in Japanese.
- "Itadakimasu" is a Japanese Honorific used when one is about eat. In this case, it means that Saito beginning to 'devour' Louise ^^
- "Genoa" I'm not sure about the exact translation so if anyone has it please replace it for me. Thanks!
- Old medieval German duchy. Here's the Wiki page