Chapter Two: Her Majesty’s Melancholy
Louise’s classmates stared wide-eyed at her as she entered, mostly because she towed behind her a chained, locked, and badly broken being with her into the classroom. Her face emitted an extremely dangerous aura, and her beautiful brow curved in anger.
She quickly fell into her chair.
“Whoa, Louise. What did you just drag in here?” Montmorency the Fragrance asked Louise, her jaw dropping.
“Oh right… it does look like that if I look closer.” Montmorency nodded. Although huge welts and dried blood plagued the face, one could still definitely recognize that this thing used to be called Saito. His head was locked up with his wrists, and he was dragged in like a sack of trash.
“What did he do?”
“He snuck into my bed.”
“OH!” Montmorency exaggeratively showed her shock, fraying her beautiful curvy hair. “Vulgar! Oh, sneaking into that bed is so… Oh! Dirty! Unclean! Very unclean.” She bit on her handkerchief, while mumbling about reputation and ancestors and the like.
Ruffling her fiery red hair, Kirche entered the classroom staring at Louise. “It must be your seduction, right, Louise? Dirty, dirty Louise, you seduced Saito like a whore, didn’t you?”
“Who’s dirty here? Isn’t that you? No way I’d seduce him!”
“Geez... all injured like that... poor kid... let me heal you.” Kirche hugged Saito’s head. Her huge breasts nearly suffocated him, but he offered no resistance, and rather enjoyed the sudden heaven that came to him.
“Whoa whoa whoa...”
“Are you all right? Where does it hurt? I’ll heal you with a spell.”
“Quit lying. You can’t use water-type healing spells, can you? Your runic name is “Heat”, as in heatstroke. Go and cool down a little.” Louise said indignantly.
“It’s Ardent. AR-DENT. I never thought your memory was Zero too.” Kirche glared at Louise’s chest. “Looks like the name Zero isn’t just about your chest and your magic!”
Louise’s face went red in an instant. Despite that, she laughed coldly, biting her lip. “Why do I have to take this from a woman who can only boast of her breasts? Are you saying that all a woman’s worth is in her breast size? That’s a really messed up way to think. Your brain must be empty or something... all the nutrients went to your b-breasts... your brain must... m-must be e-em-empty...” Although she tried to appear calm, her voice shook. She seemed to have taken a very personal offense.
“Your voice is shaking, Vallière.” And Kirche gently held Saito, his body still full of bruises and injuries, and touched his face with her chest. “Oh, my dear, do you think that big-breasted Kirche is stupid?”
“N...no... y-you’re very intelligent!” Saito appeared in ecstasy, burying his face into Kirche’s chest. Louise’s brow raised at that, and she forcefully pulled in the chain in her hand.
“You come over here!” Saito, locked head, wrists, and entire body, heavily fell on the ground. Louise stepped on his back, and coldly spoke to him. “Who gave you permission to speak in human? You’re supposed to say ‘woof’, dog.”
“Woof. Yes, ma’am.” Saito replied quietly.
“Stupid dog. Do it again. When you say ‘yes’ what do you do?”
“Exactly. You say ‘woof’ once. Then what do you do with ‘I understand, mistress’?”
“Riiiiight. You say ‘woof’ twice. What about ‘I wanna go to the bathroom’?”
“Woof woof woof!”
“Eeeeexactly. You say ‘woof’ three times. That’s pretty good vocabulary even for a stupid dog, so you don’t have to say anything else, got it?”
“A 'woof'ing dear is cute too!” Kirche said as she caressed Saito’s chin. “Awww... you can come to my bed tonight. How’s that? I can let 'woof woof' lick a lot of places you’d like!”
Saito suddenly sprang up on his knees, wagging his tail, which is a broom that Louise tied on his behind last night. There were even ears made of rags on his head.
“Woof! Woof! Woof woof!”
Louise silently and forcefully pulled the chain tight. “You little...” And she angrily stepped on him.
“Didn’t I say ‘woof’ the way you told me to?!” Saito had enough, stood up with a ‘I better give you a lesson’ face, and dove towards Louise. All she had to do, though, was pull the chains on his foot, and he fell with a heavy thud.
“You are absolutely no different from a dog at its passionate phases. Not only did you wag your tail at a Zerbst woman, you even attacked your own mistress. Despicable. Very, very, very, very unbecoming.” Louise retrieved her whip from her bag, and began to vigorously beat Saito with it.
“Ouch! Stop! Stop! S-T-O-P!” His body locked up, Saito could only roll around on the floor.
“Ouch? Isn’t it ‘woof’? It’s ‘Woof’! Don’t all dogs say ‘woof’?”
Sounds of whipping reverberated throughout the lecture hall. Louise’s hair flew around as she chased Saito, who was trying to crawl away, and continuously whipped him. Saito made whimpering ‘woof’s whenever a hit connected. Nobody would have thought that this Saito was the legendary familiar.
The students in the classroom watched this embarrassing scene, wondering: Did this commoner really beat Guiche the Bronze? Did he really catch Fouquet of the Crumbling Dirt?
The students silently watched her beat Saito. She only noticed just now, with her full attention at beating Saito, that everybody was looking at her, and her face grew red. She hastily put away her whip and held her wrists. “Di...disciplining ends here!”
We know it’s disciplining, but geez...horrified by the scene, the students turned away.
“Aren’t you the one with the heat, Vallière?” Kirche said in boredom.
Louise viciously glared at her. Saito, under continuous injuries and pain, fainted, and simply laid lifeless on the ground. The teacher’s door opened, and Professor Kaita appeared.
The students sat in their seats. Professor Kaita was the one who scolded Professor Chevreuse, who fell asleep on guard duty during the Fouquet incident, and was told by Osman 'You’re pretty easy to anger'. Sporting long, jet black hair, and a pitch black cape, his every move gave an unfriendly, uncomfortable feel. Although he was quite young, his unfriendly manner and cold look earned him ill repute from the students.
“Let's start the class. As everyone knows, my runic name is ‘gust’. Kaita the Gust.” He was enveloped with shocked stares, and satisfied by that, he continued. “Do you know what the most powerful element is, Zerbst?”
“Isn’t that the ‘Void’ element?”
“I’m not asking for something of legends. I want something realistic.”
Kirche then confidently answered, “Then it has to be the fire element, Professor Kaita,” along with her irresistible smile.
“Oh? Why do you think that?”
“Heat and passion can burn anything and everything, isn’t that so?”
“I’m afraid that is not so.” Kaita said as he pulled out his wand from his waist. “Let's give that a try. Attack me with your best fire elemental attack.”
Kirche stood still in surprise. What is this teacher doing?
“What is it? I recall that you work best with fire elemental spells, am I right?” Kaita challenged.
“It won’t be a simple scald.” Kirche winked.
“No problem. Give me your best shot. Don’t tell me the flaming red hair of the Zerbst family is there just for looks?”
Kirche’s usual brisk smile disappeared. She retrieved her wand from her cleavage, her fiery, crimson long hair stood on their ends and crackled as if flames were erupting from them. She waved her wand, and from her extended right hand appeared a small fireball. As Kirche chanted her spell, the fireball expanded, resulting in a huge flaming sphere of a meter in diameter. The students ducked under their desks in panic. Her wrist turned and spiraled towards her chest, and released the fireball.
Kaita made no attempt to dodge the giant sphere of fire heading towards him. He raised his wand, and made sweeping waves as if swinging a sword. A raging gale suddenly began, and instantly scattered the huge fireball. It even knocked down Kirche, who was standing on the far other side of the room. “Everyone, I now tell you why the wind element is the strongest. It is quite easy. Wind can sweep up everything. Fire, water, and dirt alike cannot find footing when faced against strong enough winds.” Kaita briskly announced. “Unfortunately, reality does not let me experiment this, but even Void would probably not stand. That is the wind element.”
Kirche stood, displeased, and locked her arms. Kaita paid her no attention, and continued. “The unseen wind shall be the shield that protects everyone, and if needed, the lance that scatters enemies. And one more reason that wind is the most powerful is...” He raised his wand, “YOBIKISUTA DERU WIND...” as he chanted his spell.
However, at this very moment, the door to the classroom opened, and a nervous Colbert entered. He was dressed strangely, a huge, golden wig over his head. In close examination, his suit had the most intricate borders and decorations. Why is he dressed like that? Everyone thought.
“Professor Colbert?” Kaita raised a brow.
“Ahhh! I’m sorry, please excuse the intrusion, Professor Kaita.”
“Class is in session.” Kaita tersely replied, staring at Colbert.
“Today’s classes are henceforth canceled.” Colbert sternly announced. Cheers emanated from the classroom. To stop them, Colbert waved with both arms, and continued. “I have something to tell everyone.” Colbert exaggeratively tilted his head back, causing his wig to slide off to the ground. The tense mood Kaita built suddenly collapsed, as laughter enveloped the classroom.
Tabitha, who sat in front, pointed at his balded head and suddenly said, “Shiny.”
The laughter grew more intense. Kirche laughed while rapping Tabitha’s shoulder, “You can really talk when you speak up once in a while!”
Colbert blushed, and loudly yelled. “SILENCE! Only commoners laugh out loud! Nobles only covertly snicker with their heads down even if they find something funny! Otherwise, the royal court will question our school’s educational results!” The classroom finally quieted to those words.
“All right. Everyone, today is the most important day for Tristain Magical Academy. This is our great Founder Brimir’s birthday, a very celebratory day.” Colbert’s face straightened, and he placed his arms behind his back.
“It is highly probable that His Majesty’s daughter, the beautiful flower that we Tristainians can proudly boast to the rest of Halkeginia, Princess Henrietta, will, to our great fortune, pass by the Academy on her way back from visiting Germania.”
Whispers and chatter filled the room.
“Therefore, we must not allow any slack. As this is very sudden news, we have begun preparations to receive her to the best of our abilities. Due to this, today’s classes are hereby cancelled. All students, please put on your formal wear, and assemble at the main entrance.” The students anxiously nodded in unison. Colbert severely nodded in return, and loudly announced, “This is an excellent opportunity to let Her Majesty the Princess know that everyone has matured as model nobles. Everyone must prepare to their best to let Her Majesty witness this fact! Dismissed!”
Four golden-helmeted stallions led a carriage quietly on the road to the Magic Academy. The carriage was exquisitely adorned with gold, silver, and platinum sculptures. Those sculptures were the Royal Seals. On one of those, a unicorn crossed with a crystal staff signaled that the carriage belonged to Her Majesty the Princess.
One could find, upon closer examination, that the stallions drawing the carriage were not normal horses. They were unicorns like the one on the Royal Seal. Unicorns, which, by legend, would only allow the purest girls ride them, were the best for leading the Princess’s carriage.
The carriage’s windows had ivy borders and coverings, as if to disallow anyone the outside from looking in. Behind the Princess’s carriage was Cardinal Mazarin, who held all Tristain political authority with an iron grip since His Majesty passed away. His carriage’s splendor was not less than Her Majesty the Queen’s. In fact, his was even more embellished. The difference of these two carriages on the road clearly showed who currently had the most authority in Tristain.
Around the two carriages was the Imperial Guard, a division of mage guards. Composed of the most prominent noble families, the Magic Imperial Guard was the pride of all nobles in the country. Every noble male dreamed of wearing the black cape of the Magic Imperial Guard, and every noble female dreamed of being their brides. This Imperial Guard was Tristain’s symbol of prosperity.
The road was paved with flowers as commoners cheered from the roadside. Every time the carriages passed them, one could hear “Long live Tristain! Long live Princess Henrietta!” and sometimes even “Long live Cardinal Mazarin!” though that paled in comparison to the Princess. He was not well-regarded as he was rumored to be of commoner blood. Some said it was jealousy toward his position. As the carriage’s curtains opened, and as the crowds saw the young Princess, the cheers got ever more passionate. She also returned a genial smile to the people.
Henrietta closed the curtains, and deeply sighed, losing the rose-like smile that she just sent to the crowds. All that was left was distress and deep melancholy unbecoming of her age. The Princess was 17 that year. With a slim figure, light blue eyes, high nose, she was an eye catching beauty. Her slender fingers played with her crystal staff. As of Royal blood, she was, of course, a mage.
Neither the cheers along the road nor the flowers flying in the air could cheer her up. She seemed to be holding deep political and romantic anxieties.
Sitting beside her, Mazarin watched her while playing with his beard. Wearing a hat like that of a priest and a grey formal suit, he was a slim and frail man of forty-some years old. His hair and beard had already grown white, and even his fingers looked like skin on bones, creating an appearance far too old for his age. Ever since His Majesty died, his iron grip on both foreign relations and internal politics had considerably aged him.
He just left his carriage and entered the Princess’s.
He wanted to talk about politics, but the Princess only sighed, and paid no attention.
“That is your thirteenth time today, Your Majesty.” Mazarin noted, annoyed and concerned.
“That sighing. Those of royalty shouldn’t do that all the time in front of their subordinates.”
“Royalty?! What?” Henrietta was shocked. “Aren’t you the King of Tristain? Doesn’t Your Highness know about his rumors on the streets?”
“I am not aware.” Mazarin replied indifferently. He was lying. He knew about everything in Tristain, and even Halkeginia, down to the amount of scales on the fire dragons living in the volcanoes. He knew all about it. He just pretended that he didn’t.
“Then let me tell you. Tristain’s Royal family has beauty, but not its scepter. Cardinal, you’re the one holding the scepter. Bird’s bones wearing a gray hat...”
Mazarin blinked. The words ‘bird’s bones’ coming out of the Princess stung. “Please don’t speak of commoners’ rumors so carelessly...”
“Why not? They’re just rumors. I’ll marry the King of Germania as you told me to.”
“We can’t help that. An alliance with Germania is extremely important to Tristain.” said Mazarin.
“That I know.”
“Your Majesty understands the rebellion being carried out in that ‘White Country’ Albion under those idiots? Those people can’t seem to tolerate the existence of royalty in Halkeginia.” He frowned.
“Impolite, unrefined imbeciles! They’re trying to hang that poor prince! Even if the entire world can forgive their actions, Founder Brimir shall not forgive them. I wouldn’t forgive them.”
“Indeed. However, Albion’s nobility has unsurpassed power. The Albionian Royal Family might not even survive tomorrow. One of Founder Brimir’s three bestowed royalties is going to fall, just like that. Meh... countries that cannot solve their own internal strifes have no right to exist.”
“The Albionian Royal Family is nothing like Germania’s. They’re all my relatives. You have no right to say that even as Cardinal.”
“I humbly apologize. I will ask for forgiveness from Founder Brimir before I go to bed tonight. However, what I just said is the truth, Your Majesty.”
Henrietta only sadly shook her head. Even that gesture radiated her beauty.
“Word is that those stupid Albionian nobles have the gall to declare how they’re going to unite all of Halkeginia as one. It certainly seems like those people would set their sights at Tristain after extinguishing their royalty. If it really turns out like that, it would be too late if we don’t take steps to prepare right now.” Mazarin severely explained to Henrietta. She looked out the window, pretending to pay no attention. “Reading the opponent’s actions and countering it at the first available opportunity is true politics, Your Majesty. If we can create an alliance with Germania, then we can create a covenant to counter Albion’s new government, and ensure this little country’s survival.”
Henrietta continued to sigh. Mazarin opened the curtain and looked outside, and saw the shadow of his pride. A young, breathtakingly sharp-looking noble, sporting a feather-hat and long beard, marched with the convoy outside. A medal of a griffin fastened his black cape, and one look on his mount showed why. It had an eagle’s head, wings, and talons, and it had a lion’s body and hind legs. A griffin.
This man was the leader of one of three Mage Guard divisions, the Griffin Knights, Captain Lord Wardes. His division was the most memorable amongst the entire Mage Guard, and especially to Mazarin. Wielding formidable magical prowess, the Mage Guard was organized through extremely selective trials amongst nobles, and each member rode a magical beast to his division’s name. They were the Tristainian symbols of fear and pride.
“You summoned me, Your Highness?” Wardes’s eyes twinkled, and approached the carriage window on his griffin. The window slowly opened. Mazarin looked out.
“Wardes-kun, Her Majesty is feeling depressed. Can you get something for us that can cheer her up?”
“Understood.” Wardes nodded, and observed the road with the gaze of an eagle. He quickly found a small section of the street, and had his griffin head there. Pulling out his long staff from his waist, he chanted a short spell, and briskly waved it. A small gust erupted from the ground, collecting all the petals strewn on the ground into Wardes’ hands. He returned to the carriage with the bouquet, and presented it to Mazarin. Mazarin stroked his beard, and suggested, “May Captain please present this to Her Majesty yourself?”
“That would truly be a great honor.” Wardes saluted, and turned to the other side of the carriage. The window slowly opened, Henrietta extended a hand to receive it, and showed her left hand to him. Wardes emotionally held her left hand, and lightly kissed it.
Still quite upset, Henrietta asked, “What is your name?”
“Your Majesty’s Mage Guard, Griffin Knights leader, Lord Wardes.” He gratefully lowered his head and replied.
“A model of nobility. How very fine of you.”
“I am merely a lowly servant for Your Majesty.”
“There have been fewer nobles who would say this lately. When Grandfather was still alive, oh my... under the great Philippe III’s reign, the whole nobility shared that kind of marvelous chivalry.”
“Sad times nowadays, Your Majesty.”
“May I expect your sincerity when I get in such upsetting times again?”
“When that happens, no matter where I am, in battle or in the skies, no matter what I must leave behind, I will run over to serve Your Majesty.”
Henrietta nodded. Wardes saluted once again, and left the carriage’s side.
“Is that noble quite capable?” she asked Mazarin.
“Lord Wardes. His runic name is ‘Lightning.’ Even the ‘White Country’ can only boast of few people who can prove to be a match against him.”
“Wardes... I think I’ve heard of that place before.”
“I think that is close to Lord Vallière’s territory.”
“Vallière?” Henrietta’s memory came to being, and she nodded. That name was now in their destination, the Magic Academy.
“Cardinal, do you remember the name of the noble that caught Fouquet the Crumbling Dirt?”
“I’m afraid not.”
“Aren’t you about to knight them soon?” Henrietta was shocked.
Mazarin was uninterested. “I think it’s high time for knighting rules to change. One needs to serve in the military to deserve that. How can the title of a knight be so easily given away for arresting a thief? Either way, it seems we will be fighting Albion with Germania soon, and it would not be a good idea to lose our nobles’ loyalty due to jealousy.”
“You made a lot of decisions without me knowing.”
Mazarin did not reply. Continuing to mumble, Henrietta remembered that the name Vallière was among the nobles who caught Fouquet. It will all work out, Henrietta thought, and calmed down.
Mazarin looked at the Princess. “Your Majesty, it seems that there is some... instability between the Royal Court and part of the nobility.”
“Something about intervening in the Princess’s marriage, and destroying our alliance with Germania.”
Cold sweat dripped from Henrietta’s forehead.
“You have not been exposed to them, have you, Your Majesty?”
After a length of silence, Henrietta replied annoyingly, “...No.”
“I’ll take Your Majesty’s word for it then.”
“I am the Princess. I do not lie.” Henrietta breathed a sigh of relief.
“...your fourteenth time, Your Majesty.”
“Just something in my mind. All I can do is sigh now.”
“As royalty, your country’s stability comes before your feelings.”
“I’m like that all the time.” Henrietta replied apathetically. She looked at the flowers in her hands, and said dejectedly, “...are flowers on the road not a blessing, Cardinal?”
“All I know is a flower picked to a person’s hands is the flower’s blessing.”
As the Princess went through the Academy gates, rows of students raised their staffs in unison, silent and serious. After the main gates were the doors to the central tower. Osman stood at attention there to receive the Princess. As the carriages stopped, servants rushed to lay down red carpet to its door. Guards tensely announced her arrival.
“Her Royal Highness of the Kingdom of Tristain, Princess Henrietta has arrived.”
The first out the door, however, was Cardinal Mazarin.
The students grunted, but Mazarin paid no attention, standing at the side of the carriage, holding the Princess’s hand as she alighted. The students finally applauded. A youthful, flowery smile emerged from the Princess’s face as she elegantly waved.
“That’s the Princess of Tristain? Heh... I’m better looking than that.” Kirche mumbled. “Oh my dear, who do you think is prettier?” She turned to Saito, locked tight and lying flat on the ground.
“I can’t understand you if you just woof! Who is it?”
Saito looked towards Louise, who was attentively looking at the Princess. If only she could stay quiet like that, she is a very pure, moving, and quite beautiful. No matter how mad she gets, how cold she treats him, and even if he is treated like a dog, this soft look and such a stunning appearance can put Saito in a trance.
Louise suddenly blushed, which Saito saw. What is this about? He turned towards whatever she was facing. A hat-wearing, rather cool-looking noble, riding on a magical beast with an eagle’s head and a lion’s body. Louise was watching him enthralled.
Saito found it weird. That noble seems like a nice guy, but that’s no reason to look at him so deeply and even blush like that. Am I being jealous? He thought. No, that can’t be. I don’t have that kind of relationship with Louise. He rebutted himself.
No matter, Saito thought. I still have Kirche. A brunette with a well-endowed cleavage. A passionate beauty. If it turns out like that, I might as well go for perfect Kirche. He thought rather excitedly. But Kirche was blushing and watching that noble as well. Saito lowered his head, suddenly feeling the heaviness of all the chains on him, weighing him to the ground. Tabitha simply read her book as if the Princess’s arrival meant nothing to her.
“And you just stay like that.” He said to Tabitha. She raised her head and looked at what Louise and Kirche saw, looked at Saito again, and simply mumbled, “Just three days.”
Saito laid in his straw bed, watching Louise. It seemed like she couldn’t calm down. She would stand up one moment, and sit down the next, worrying about something while hugging her pillow. She had been like that ever since she had seen that noble that day. After that, she had said nothing, returning to her room like a ghost, and since then she had been sitting on her bed just like that.
“You’re... acting weird.” Saito started, but Louise made no answer.
He stood up, and waved in front of her eyes. She didn’t move.
“A bit too weird.” He then pulled on her hair. Louise’s hair was very delicate, very soft, as if even pulling them slightly would break them off, that kind of soft. He put in some force to the pull, and she still made no reaction. Same for when he pulled on her face.
“Time to change to your pajamas.” He grandly saluted to Louise, and reached for her blouse, slowly unbuttoning it. Now she had only her underwear left. Still, she did not move, as if in a spell. Boring... what’s wrong with her? Geez... Saito coughed.
“Louise-sama. From my world there’s this art called ‘breast-expanding massage’.”
He made that up, of course. Saito blushed.
“You rub it like this, and then it’ll slowly get bigger. You can say it’s a kind of magic.” Saito extended his hands, reached around as if to hug her, and started rubbing her back. “What’s this? Where are they? Why aren’t they there? Oh... this is the back.” And then he shook his head on purpose. “Geez... I got it wrong. They’re both flat, that’s why.”
Louise still didn’t move, not even to this rather disgusting act from Saito.
“I... what am I...IDIOT! WHAT DID I JUST DO?!” After realizing that, he forcefully shook his head, and beat it with his own hands on the bed. He was visibly embarrassed that he actually did that. And then he was depressed. He knew that as a person, being scolded and yelled at was sometimes glory. But if it only hurt if someone said something, then he wasn’t worth being noticed.
Just as he was thrashing about, somebody knocked on the door.
“Who could it be?” Saito asked Louise.
The knocks were very orderly. It started with two long knocks, and then three short ones...
Louise suddenly woke up from her trance. She put on her clothes, stood up, and opened the door.
Standing there was a girl, covered entirely in a black veil.
She looked around, and then walked in, closing the door behind her.
“...you are?” A shocked Louise barely managed to voice.
The veiled girl made a ‘shh’ gesture with a finger on her mouth, and took out a staff from her black cape, lightly waving it while chanting a short spell. Glowing powder filled the room.
“A silencing spell?” Louise asked. The veiled girl nodded.
“There might be extra ears and eyes around.”
After making sure the room had no magical ears and no peeping holes, she slowly removed her veil.
In front of them was really Princess Henrietta. Saito held his breath. Louise was already very cute, but this Princess could match her in cuteness, and still have this admirable elegance.
Louise frantically went down on her knees. Saito didn’t know what to do, and just stood there, with no idea what was going on.
Henrietta coolly, and gently spoke. “It has been a while, Vallière.”
Translator's Notes and References
- whore?? was used here.
Kirche was very insulting to Louise. And, because of her character, she used a rather formal/literature-sounding word of "whore". Or because the author intentionally used a formal one because he/she didn't want ZnT to be vulgar/vile/dirty. (Thanks akiha)