Zero no Tsukaima

Volume 3 Chapter 8

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Chapter Eight: Colbert's Laboratory[]

Mr Colbert was forty-two years old. He had been in the service of the academy for twenty years. He was a mage whose nickname was “Flame Serpent”. His hobby… or more accurately, his life was centered around research and invention. He had rushed down to the courtyard once he had seen the object being carried by the dragons from his research laboratory. His curiosity had been set alight.

“You, what’s that? Can you explain to me?”

Colbert’s face shone as he looked at Saito, who was watching the Zero fighter being lowered.

“Ah, I wanted to talk to you about it actually.”


Colbert was taken aback. Who exactly was this young commoner? All he knew was that he was the legendary familiar, Gandálfr, summoned by Miss Vallière. Born in Rub' al Khali, he was the only person to have called Colbert’s invention “great”.

“This is called an airplane. In my world, they’re seen flying everywhere.”

“This flies!? Wow! Wonderful!”

Colbert started looking at different parts of the zero fighter with a deep interest.

“Could it be that this is the wing! It seems like it can’t flap like normal wings! What about this windmill?”

“That’s called a propeller. When it spins it causes the airplane to go forward.”

Eyes wide in amazement, Colbert drew closer to Saito.

“I see! When it spins, it causes the power of wind! It’s well made, isn’t it! Could you fly it for me? Look, my hands are shaking from my curiosity!”

Troubled, Saito scratched his head.

“Um… To turn the propellers, I need gasoline.”

“Gasoline? What’s that?”

“That's what I want to talk to you about. You know the class we had where you showed us that invention of yours?”

“The joyful snake?”

“Yes! You had to burn oil to make it move right?”

“So you need oil? That’s a problem that is easily solved!”

“No, I don’t think that will work. It has to be gasoline.”

“Gasoline? Hm… well there are many different types of oil.”

Saito suddenly realized the dragoons were grinning broadly at them. Guiche whispered in Saito’s ear.

“Sorry if you are busy, but if you don’t pay the transportation fee…”

“You guys are nobles too aren’t you? Stop constantly bickering about money.”

“Hey, soldiers are poor you know.”

Saito smiled at Colbert.

“Mr. Colbert, could you possibly pay the transportation fee for the time being?”

Colbert’s laboratory was situated in a small area between the central tower and the fire tower. It was much like an old dugout shed.

“At first I conducted experiments in my own room, but noise and bad smells come naturally with research. I was complained to by the people next to me shortly afterwards.”

The wooden racks were cluttered with bottles of medicine, test tubes, jars containing nostrum and the like. Next to that was a wall of bookshelves, crammed with books. There was a celestial globe made from parchment stuck on a sphere, and other various maps. There were lizards, snakes and birds that he had never seen before inside cages. A musky smell which was neither from dust nor mold filled the entire room. Saito pinched his nose.

“You’ll get used to the smell soon. A woman however wouldn’t, which is the reason why I’m single.”

Colbert sat down while muttering answers to questions he wasn’t being asked. He sniffed the gasoline he had gotten from the bottom of the zero fighter's fuel tank. Since a permanence spell was placed on the Zero fighter, the gasoline had not undergone any change in chemical composition.

“Hm… It’s a smell I’ve never smelt before. Giving off such a smell without even being heated… This must be quite easy to burn. If this were to be used as an explosive, it would be of alarming strength.”

He reached for a piece of parchment near him and started jotting down notes.

“If I duplicate this oil, that ‘airplane’ will fly?”

“Probably… If it hasn’t broken already.”

“Interesting! Concocting substances is tough work but I’ll try it!”

Muttering to himself, he took out all sorts of substances and lit his alcohol lamp.

“You’re called Saito, right?”

Saito nodded.

“You said in your home town, these could be seen flying everywhere? The technology of the lands the elves govern in the east seem to far outclass any technology in Halkeginia.”

Saito felt somewhat bad for lying to Colbert, who had been more than willing to help him in concocting gasoline and had also paid for the transportation fees.

“Mr Colbert, actually, I’m… not from this world. This airplane, and also the “Staff of Destruction” which destroyed Fouquet’s golem and I, are from another world.”

Colbert’s hand suddenly stopped.

“What did you say?”

“I came from another world.”

Colbert gazed steadily at Saito and then proceeded to nod his head, as though he were impressed.

“I see.” he whispered.

“Aren’t you surprised?”

“Well, of course I am. But you definitely seem like it. The way you speak and your behavior has a different feel. Hm, this is becoming more and more interesting.”

“You’re a strange person aren’t you, Mr Colbert?”

“I get called strange by many people. I haven’t even found someone willing to marry me yet. But I have a belief.”

“A belief?”

“Yes. The nobles of Halkeginia treat magic as a mere tool… Like a broom, they only see it as a handy tool. I don’t think magic is something like that. Magic could be used for so much more. Instead of simply sticking to the traditional uses of the different branches of magic, we should be experimenting to find different ways to utilize it.”

Nodding, Colbert continued.

“After seeing you, my belief has grown stronger. Who would have thought there was another world! This shows that the rules of Halkeginia are not absolute! Interesting! Such an interesting topic! I want to see this world. There are probably lots of new things to be discovered! It’ll probably add a new page to my research! If you have any questions at all, just come and talk with me. Colbert the Flame Serpent will always help you.”

In the Austri courtyard, Saito was sitting in the cockpit of the Zero fighter and inspecting its parts. When he grasped the control stick, or even if he merely touched a switch, the runes on his left hand shone. Information would then flow to his brain, and tell him the condition of the part. When he moved the control stick, the ailerons of the wings and the elevator on the tail moved with a clank. The tail rudder moved when he stepped on the rudder bar and a cross shaped pointer appeared on the glass pane when he pushed the sight device switch on the instrument board. The engines on either side of the body of the plane were still alive. The shining Gandálfr runes told its user quite a bit. A smile appeared on Saito’s face.

“Partner, can this fly?”


“Something like this flying… Your world is a strange one.”

Numerous students were watching Saito in the Zero fighter, but they quickly lost interest and left. There are only a few nobles who would be interested in this, like Colbert, Saito thought. Suddenly a girl appeared, proudly brushing her pinkish blond hair with her hand.

Louise stared at Saito and the thing he was in. As if she were angry, she pointed her finger at it and said, “What’s that?”

Saito raised his head from the cockpit and simply replied, “An airplane”. As they still weren’t on good terms, he said it while facing away.

“Come down from that airplane thing, then.” Ordered Louise, pouting her lips while placing her hands on her hips. He ignored her and continued inspecting the parts of the Zero fighter. Louise grasped the end of a wing and started to make the Zero fighter wobble.

“I said come down, didn’t I?”

"Fine", whispered Saito as he got off and headed to Louise.

“Where did you go?”

“Treasure hunting.”

“What were you thinking, going without telling your master?”

Louise crossed her arms and stared at Saito. Saito noticed that her eyes were puffy.

“Didn’t you fire me?”

Louise cast her eyes downwards and spoke with a voice as if she were about to cry.

“I suppose you deserve a chance to explain yourself. If you have anything you want to say, then say it now.”

“What is there to explain? I didn’t do anything. This is about Siesta right? Siesta was just about to fall down so I tried to catch her. I then fell down as well, making it look as if I had pushed her down onto the bed."

The real reason was because Siesta had suddenly started to take off her clothes, but for Siesta’s sake he didn’t say that.

“Then, nothing really happened?”

“Nothing. Why were you so angry? That was the first time she came to the room. As if something like that would happen. Why were you angry, anyway? What me and Siesta do is none of your business, right?” Said Saito.

Louise only thinks of me as a familiar. The only reason she treats me better is because of her newfound compassion for animals.

“It’s none of my business, but in some ways it is.”

“Which one is it?”

Louise glared at Saito and groaned.

Louise tugged at his sleeve. She was whispering things like “Hey, apologize” and “Why are you being so uptight, you made me so worried”, but Saito wasn’t looking at Louise anymore. He was looking at the Zero fighter in a daze.

Louise had jumped to her own conclusions. She was ashamed that she had shut herself in her room and sulked. She drew out the deadly technique she had been saving. It was a girl’s secret technique, which would sweep away any suspicion, anger, contradiction, and even the fact that Louise drove Saito out. She burst into tears.

Buckets of tears came streaming down from her eyes.

“Where did you go all this time! Idiot! I hate you!”

Sniffling, she wiped the streaming tears with the back of her hand.

“H-Hey, don’t cry.”

Panicking, Saito placed his hands on Louise’s shoulder. Louise cried even harder.

“I hate you! I hate you!”

Kirche approached them, holding a mop and a dust cloth in her hands. Because they had skipped lessons, their punishment was to wipe the academy’s windows clean. As Saito was neither a noble nor a student at the academy, he didn’t have to do anything.

Guiche looked at Saito, who was comforting Louise, and grinned.

“You can’t just make your master cry like that.”

Kirche said dully, “Made up already? That’s no fun…”

Tabitha simply pointed at the two and said, “After the rain comes fair weather.”

That night…

Louise lay in her bed, tightly grasping her pillow. After Saito removed his parka, Louise slipped into it, as though it was a given. She was frantically pretending to read a book. Saito looked around the room which he had been away from for a week or so. Tableware was scattered everywhere.

“So you’ve been absent from lessons?”

Montmorency had mentioned it when they passed by her in the corridor. Montmorency told Louise that she had been absent for too long, but Louise just ignored her and walked off.

Louise glared at Saito, slightly taken aback.

“So what?”

“Are you feeling ok?” asked Saito, who seemed to be worried.

She was about to say "Whose fault do you think it was that I have been skipping lessons?" but her pride got the better of her. Putting the blanket over her head, she snuggled under it. Saito scratched his head and looked at the haystack. So she didn’t throw it out, he thought, warmly glancing at Louise.

Three days passed.

Colbert awoke to the sound of hens. It seemed like he had fallen asleep without realizing. He had been absent from lessons and had shut himself in the laboratory for the past three days. In front of his eyes was a flask placed on top on an alcohol lamp. A glass tube stretched out of this, which let the heated catalyst cool and coagulate in the beaker to the left. This was the final step. Colbert sniffed at the gasoline he received from Saito and started cautiously reciting the alchemy incantation at the substance in the beaker while concentrating on the smell of the gasoline.

A poof of smoke rose from the beaker and the color of substance inside changed to a yellowish brown. He smelt it. The strong smell of gasoline drifted to his nose. Colbert opened the door with a thud and rushed outside.

“Saito! Saito! I’ve made it! I’ve made it! I’ve finished concocting it!”

Out of breath, Colbert approached Saito, who was inspecting the Zero fighter. Within the wine bottle he held out, there was a yellowish brown liquid. Saito opened the cover of the fuel tank, which was in front of the windshield. There was a lock on it, so he had Colbert cast the unlock spell on it. He poured two bottles of the gasoline in to it.

“I analyzed the composition of the oil you gave me,” said Colbert proudly.

“It seemed to be made from microorganisms in fossils, so I searched for something similar. I decided to use the fossils of trees… in other words coal. I soaked that in a special catalyst and extracted a similar composition. After spending days doing that, I cast the alchemy spell on it. And that turned it into…”

“Gasoline, right?”

Colbert nodded and urged Saito “Quickly, turn those windmills for me. I was so excited that I didn’t even sleep.”

After filling the gas tank, Saito returned to the cockpit. Information on how to start the engine and fly the Zero fighter came rushing to his brain. To start the engine, the propeller must first be spun. Saito popped his head from the windshield.

“Mr. Colbert, could you spin the propeller using magic?”

“I thought it turned using the power from burning the oil?”

“To start the engine, the crank inside must be rotated manually first. I don't have a tool to turn the propeller, so if you could use magic please.”

Colbert nodded. Saito began to prepare the plane.

Firstly, he set the fuel source to the tank he had just put the fuel in.Then he set the mixture ratio lever and the propeller pitch lever to their optimum states. Saito’s hands moved by themselves. His Gandálfr power carried out all the operations. He opened the cowl flap and closed the lid of the oil-cooling radiator. The propellers rumbled as Colbert used his magic. With his eyes wide open, Saito pressed the ignition with his right hand at the proper time. His left hand gripping the throttle lever, he tilted it forward slightly.

A sputtering sound was heard and the engine started to run after the spark plug’s ignition. As they ratted, the propellers started to turn. The body of the airplane vibrated. The brake wasn’t on and so the plane started to propel itself forward.

Colbert watched with a moved expression on his face. After checking that the engine gauges were moving, Saito turned the ignition switch off.

Jumping out of the cockpit, he hugged Colbert.

“Mr Colbert, the engine started!”

“Yes, we did it! But why didn’t it fly?”

“There’s not enough gasoline. In order to fly, we would need at least five barrels.”

“That's a lot to make! But since I’ve already done so much, I’ll finish it!”

After Colbert had returned to his laboratory, Saito continued his adjustments. He didn’t have any tools however, so he cleaned the parts. Louise called out to Saito who was seemingly absorbed doing this.

“Hey, it’s time for dinner. What have you been doing? It’s already dark.”

“I started the engine!” yelled Saito happily.

But Louise replied back dully.

“Really now. Good for you. What happens after you get the engine running?”

“It flies! It will fly!”

“What will you do when it flies?” Asked Louise in a lonely voice.

Saito told Louise of the ideas that had gone through his mind in the past two to three days.

“I’m going to try to fly east.”

“East? I can’t believe you. Are you saying you’re heading to Rub' al Khali? I seriously can’t believe you!”

“Why? The owner of this airplane flew from there. I could maybe find some clues on how to return to my own world.” Said Saito feverishly.

Louise didn’t seem to bear any interest however. She replied back in a lonely voice.

“You’re my familiar. You can’t just do what you want. Also, the princess’s wedding is in five days. I have to read an edict then. But I haven’t thought of anything good to say.”

Absorbed by the Zero fighter, Saito nodded as if he were listening. Once he knew that it could fly, he had become mesmerized by it.

Louise pulled his ear. She was bored. He hasn’t paid any attention to me since he’s returned and instead just gazes at this ‘airplane’.

“Listen to me!”

“I’m listening!”

“You’re not. You’re daydreaming. There’s no familiar that listens to its master while looking away!”

Louise dragged Saito back to her room.

Louise opened the Founder’s Prayer book in front of Saito.

“I’ll read out what I’ve thought already for the edict.”

With a cute cough, Louise began to read her edict.

“On this beautiful day, I, Louise Françoise Le Blanc de la Vallière, praying for the holy presence of the Founder, shall read the blessed edict…”

And then, Louise stopped.


“From here on I have to give thanks to the four branches of magic. It has to be poetic and also in rhyme….”

“Then just make it rhyme.”

Louise pouted her lips as if she were sulking.

“I can’t think of anything. Writing it poetically is a pain in the neck. I’m not a poet or anything.”

“It’s ok, just read what you have written there.”

With a troubled look, she read her ‘poetic’ lines.

“Um, as fire is hot, one needs to be careful.”

“’Needs’ isn’t poetic. You should probably remember that.”

“Shut up. When the wind blows, those who sell barrels prosper.

“Why would you use that proverb here?”

Louise, who didn’t seem to have any poetic talent, threw herself on the bed as if sulking and whispered, “I’m going to sleep.”

As was now usual, she changed while hiding her body behind her bedsheets. After turning off the lamp she called out to Saito, who had dove onto his haystack already.

“I said to sleep in my bed, didn’t I?”

Saito’s heart started racing.

“Really? It's ok?”

Louise didn't respond. Saito slipped into the bed thinking that she would probably get angry if he didn’t do what he was told.

Louise was still awake. She opened her mouth, as if she had wanted to talk to him.

“So, you’re really going to the lands in the east?”

“Yeah.” Saito replied.

“It’s dangerous you know. Those elves hate humans…”

“But humans live in the areas beyond the lands of the elves right? Like that place called Rub' al.”

“The nature of those humans is completely different. It’ll be dangerous.”

It seemed like Louise was worried about letting Saito go.

“You’re still going to go?”

Saito thought about it briefly and nodded.

“Well, I might be able to find a clue to go back home.”

Louise was moving around under the sheets. Just as he was wondering what she was doing, she rested her head on his chest.


“I'm just using it instead of my pillow!” Said Louise in a sulky and angry voice.

Louise placed her hands on his chest and lightly traced her fingers on it. Electricity seemed to flow through Saito’s spine.

“Don’t misunderstand me. This doesn’t mean I like you or anything!” Louise said in an embarrassed voice.

She then went back to her usual angry voice.

“Are you still going to go even if I say no?”

Saito remained silent.

“I thought so…” Louise whispered.

“This isn’t your world, is it… Of course you’d want to go back.”

Louise’s hair had a beautiful fragrance. The sound of her breathing was close as well. The two were silent. Saito was thinking of many things. Saito wasn’t talking, and Louise didn’t know what else to say, so she simply hugged Saito’s chest tightly.

“I don’t want you to leave. When you’re beside me I can sleep without worrying. You make me angry…” Louise said in a tiny voice while embracing Saito.

Looks like those puffy eyes were because she didn’t sleep, thought Saito. Soon, Louise’s steady breathing, like that of a child’s, could be heard near Saito’s chest. She was fast asleep.

Louise was so pampered it made his heart race. Seems like she’s uneasy without me around. Well, I’m a familiar after all.

Listening to her breathing, Saito was deep in thought. He thought of the people he had met in this world.

He had met many people within his few months in Halkeginia. There were evil people, but also kind people.

There was Marteau from the kitchen who gave him food.

Osman, who had told him he would lend him his hand if he needed help.

Colbert, who had gladly concocted the gasoline for him.

A snob and often offensive, but a friendly person who had his own qualities, Guiche.

Not a human but a sword, a partner he had depended on, Derflinger.

Henrietta, the beautiful princess.

Courageous… and dead because of it, Prince Wales.

Tabitha, a silent person but someone who had saved him on numerous occasions.

The seductive Kirche, who said she liked Saito, though it might have been a joke.

Siesta, the cute and kind maid… who probably had feelings for him.

And lastly, his master next to him, who made his heart race. Arrogant and stuck up, but one who occasionally showed kindness that would melt his heart, Louise. A girl with pinkish blond hair and big reddish brown eyes.

When the time comes for me to go home, will I be able to leave these people with a smile on my face?

Will I be able to leave Louise with a smile?

I don’t know.

But… Saito thought

The people who have been kind to me, I want to do the most I can for them.

At least while I’m in this world, I want to do something for them.

He hadn’t felt these feelings before up until now.

For the time being, Saito embraced Louise’s head gently.

Louise groaned in her sleep.

  1. "When the wind blows, those who sell barrels prosper":????????????, means "Bliss often falls into the hands of an unexpected person.Actually, it's meaning is: When the wind blows (typhoons), the barrel maker (or seller) gets rich. Barrels were used to bury the dead.

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