Zero no Tsukaima

Volume 3 Chapter 9

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Chapter Nine: Declaration of War[]

The Germanian king, Albrecht the Third, had arranged for Princess Henrietta’s wedding ceremony to take place in Germania’s capital, Vindobona. The date of the ceremony: the first day of the month Nyuui.

Currently, the Mercator flagship of the Tristain fleet was to welcome the guests of the New Albion government by leading them to La Rochelle, where they would stay anchored in the skies above it.

The commander in chief of the fleet, Count La Ramée, sat in the quarterdeck in formal attire. Next to him, Captain Fevisu was stroking his moustache. It was far past the arranged time.

“They sure are late, Captain.”

La Ramée replied with an irritated voice.

“Those Albion dogs who killed their king with their own hands are probably still busy acting like dogs.”

The sailor on the top deck suddenly informed him of the fleet’s approach in a loud voice.

“A fleet! From the left!”

With a large ship leading in front, which could easily be mistaken as a cloud, the Albion fleet had started to descend.

“So that’s the standard of Albion’s ‘Royal Sovereign’ fleet…” said the captain, watching the large ship in awe.

It was the ship that would have had the ambassador on it.

“Something that no one would want to meet on a battlefield, that’s for sure.”

The Albion fleet descended until they were level with Tristain's fleet. The Albion ship began sending signaling messages from the mast.

“We thank you for your fleet’s welcome. This is the captain of Albion’s Lexington.”

“We have an admiral on board! Using a captain to correspond… we’re being treated like fools” the captain said resentfully, while looking over Tristain’s weak array of ships.

“They’re probably thinking the world is within their grasp now that that they have that ship. Reply to them with ‘We give you our warmest welcome. This is the commander in chief of the Tristain fleet’”

La Ramée’s words were passed on to the sailor who was standing on the mast. The signaling flag for the message was then hoisted up.

The Albion fleet fired their cannons in salute. There were no shells inside the cannon, they had merely let gunpowder explode.

Though the Lexington fleet had done a mere cannon salute, the air around it shook. La Ramée retreated slightly. Even though he knew that live ammunition couldn't possibly reach across the distance separating them, the force of the cannons from the Lexington fleet was able to make the experienced admiral retreat.

“Fire our cannons in response.”

“How many shells shall we fire? For the top nobles, eleven is required.”

The number of shells to be fired depended upon the person’s rank and social status.

“Seven will do,” ordered La Ramée watching with a grin on his face like a stubborn child.

“Prepare the cannons! Seven shots, one by one! Fire when they’re ready!”

On the afterdeck of the Lexington, flagship of the fleet, Bowood was looking at the Tristain fleet. Next to him was Sir Johnston, the commander in chief, responsible for the entire invasion squad. Being a member of the council of nobles, Cromwell trusted him deeply. However, he had no experience. He was a politician after all.

“Captain…” Johnston said to Bowood in a worried voice.


“Is it alright to go so close to them? We have those new long range cannons equipped right? Put some distance between us. His Excellency has entrusted me with important soldiers.”

“Cromwell’s puppet, huh…” Bowood whispered coldly to himself.

“Yes we do have the new cannon model, but if we fire from maximum range, they won’t hit.”

“But I bear his Excellency’s task of letting off those soldiers safely in Tristain. We can’t have the soldiers scared. Their morale will drop.”

I don't think it's the soldiers that are scared… Bowood thought.

Ignoring Johnston, he issued a new command. No law governs the sky, after all.

“Prepare the left cannons.”

“Yes sir! Prepare the left cannons!”

The sailors on the deck started to load the cannons with gunpowder and shells.

A thunderous roar could be heard from the Tristain fleet, which was aimed at the skies. Tristain was returning the cannon salute.

The battle plan had commenced.

During that moment, Bowood had turned into a soldier. The political details, his human feelings, the cowardice and foul play of this operation were all forgotten. As the captain of the Lexington fleet of The Republic of the Holy Albion, he proceeded to rapidly issue orders.

The crew of the old Hobart ship trailing at the end of the fleet had finished their preparations, and started to evacuate via the boats they had made levitate with the “Fly” spell.

A startling scene unfolded before La Ramée’s eyes. The ship trailing at the end… the oldest and one of the smallest ships had started to go up in flames.

“What? A fire? Was it an accident?” whispered Fevisu (?????)

The next instant, another startling thing occurred. The ship that was engulfed by flames exploded in the air.

The Albion ship was reduced to ruins and came crashing down to the ground.

“W-What is this? Did the fire reach the ammunition storage?”

The Mercator was in an uproar.

“Calm down! Calm down!” Fevisu (?????) yelled at the sailors.

A signal flag was seen from the Lexington. A sailor started reading the signals with a telescope.

“From the Lexington fleet captain. Explain the meaning behind sinking Hobart.”

“Sinking? What is he saying?! It exploded by itself!”

La Ramée was panicking.

“Send a reply. ‘The fire from my ship was a response to your salute. The salvo didn’t contain any live shells’”

A reply was sent promptly by the Lexington.

“Your ship's attack used live ammunition. We shall return your intent of war.”

“What nonsense!”

La Ramée’s cry was drowned by the bombardment from the Lexington.

Impact. The mast of the Mercator broke off and a few holes were made in the deck.

“How can their cannons reach from such a distance?!” said a surprised Fevisu (?????) on the shaking deck.

“Send a message! ‘Cease fire, we have no intent of war’”

The Lexington replied with a barrage of cannon shells.

Impact. The ship was shaking and fires had started here and there.

Like a shriek, Mercator’s message repeated over and over.

“We repeat! Cease fire! We have no intent of war!”

The Lexington’s fire showed no signs of stopping.

Impact. La Ramée’s body was sent flying out of Fevisu’s (?????) sight.

The shock of the impact had thrown Fevisu (?????) onto the floor. He suddenly realized that the attack was all planned. They never had any intention of a “good-willed visit” at all. They had all been deceived by Albion.

The ship started to go up in flames and the injured sailors groaned in pain. Shaking his head while standing up, Fevisu (?????) yelled, “The commander in chief is dead! The flagship captain will now take control of the fleet! Damage report! Full speed ahead! Prepare the right cannons!”

“So they’ve finally realized.” Said Wardes, who was standing next to Bowood, as he leisurely watched the Tristain fleet. Wardes also believed the commander in chief, Johnston, didn't deserve the title and would be unable to do anything. Wardes was in effect, the commanding officer.

“Seems like it, Viscount. However, it seems we will win soon enough.”

The Albion fleet, which had superior mobility, had already taken action to suppress the full on charge of the Tristain fleet.

The Albion fleet kept a fixed distance, and continued firing their cannons. Their fleet numbered twice that of Tristain’s and in addition they had the huge Lexington, which had the new cannon model. There was no contest in firepower.

As if they were tormenting the Tristain fleet, the Albion fleet continued their fire. The Mercator, which was already on fire, had started to slant. In an instant, the Mercator exploded with a deafening roar. None of the ships in the Tristain fleet were undamaged. The fleet was thrown into chaos with the loss of the flagship.

Destroying them was only a matter of time now. Ships could be seen flying their white flags already.

On the Lexington, cries of “Long live Albion! Long live the holy king Cromwell!” could be heard. Bowood knitted his eyebrows. During the days of the Royal Air force, no one used to say things like “Long live so and so” during battle. Even the commander in chief, Johnston had joined in.

“Captain, a new page in history has begun.” Said Wardes

As if mourning for his enemies, who didn’t even have a chance to cry out in pain, Bowood whispered, “No, only a war has begun.”

Soon after the news that the entire Tristain fleet in La Rochelle had been wiped out arrived, a declaration of war was issued by Albion. It blamed Tristain for breaking the non-aggression treaty by attacking their fleet without reason, and stated “As an act of self-defense, The Holy Republic of Albion shall declare war on the kingdom of Tristain.”

The palace, which had been busily occupied with Henrietta’s departure for Germania, was thrown into a state of confusion from the turn of events.

The generals, cabinet ministers and other officials immediately held a meeting. But the meeting was little more than a disordered ramble. Opinions that they should inquire Albion about the circumstances of the events, or that they should dispatch messengers requesting aid were thrown about.

Sitting in the meeting’s seat of honor was a shocked Henrietta. She was wearing her beautiful wedding dress that had just been finished. She had originally planned to head to Germania by carriage after the dress was finished.

She was like a blooming flower in the meeting room. But no one even noticed.

“Albion states that our fleet attacked them first! However our fleet says they only did a cannon salute.”

“Accidents can cause misunderstandings.”

“Let’s hold a meeting in Albion to sort this out! Perhaps there is still a chance to mend this misunderstanding!”

While the powerful nobles stated their opinions, the Cardinal Mazarini nodded.

“Right. Dispatch a special envoy to Albion. We will approach this cautiously, before it turns into a total war over a mere misunderstanding.”

At that moment, an urgent report arrived.

The messenger carrying the letter from the carrier owl, rushed into the meeting room.

“It’s an urgent report! After landing, the Albion fleet has started capturing land!”

“Where did they land?”

“The outskirts of La Rochelle! It seems like in the field of Tarbes!”

In the garden of her parents' house, Siesta hugged her young siblings, watching the skies with an uneasy face. An explosion had been heard not long before in the direction of La Rochelle. Surprised, she went out to the garden and saw the dreadful scene in the sky. Numerous ships were on fire and sinking, crashing onto the mountain’s surface and dropping into the middle of the forest.

The village was in a state of confusion. A short while later, a large ship had descended from the sky. The ship, so large that it could be easily mistaken for a cloud, dropped its anchor on the field in the village.

Numerous dragons flew out of it.

“Sister, what’s happening?” asked her younger brothers and sisters.

“Let’s get in the house,” urged Siesta, hiding her fear.

Inside the house, her parents were looking out of the windows with troubled expressions.

“Isn’t that Albion's fleet?” her father said, looking at the ship anchored in the field.

“Could it be … A war?”

Her father shook his head.

“That’s not possible. We have a non-aggression treaty with Albion. The lord proclaimed it recently.”

“Then why is the sky full of sinking ships?”

The dragons flying above the ship headed towards the village. Her father grasped his wife and stepped away from the window. With loud cries, the dragons descended upon the village and set the houses on fire.

Her mother screamed. The house was alight and the glass from the windows scattered everywhere. The village was saturated in the blazing flames, roaring of the dragons and the shrieking of the people. Carrying her unconscious mother, the father turned to Siesta, who was shaking.

“Siesta! Take your siblings and run to the forest!”

Straddling a large wind dragon, a smile appeared on Wardes’ face as he trampled on his home country. The dragoons under his command rode fire dragons. A wind dragon cannot match a fire dragon in power, but surpasses a fire dragon in speed. He had chosen the wind dragon solely because he was commanding. To clear the path for the main force, Wardes mercilessly set the village on fire. In the background, soldiers were dropping down one by one with ropes from the Lexington. The field was an excellent strategic foothold for the invading troops.

From the direction of the field, dozens of the neighboring lord’s troops were charging forward. The Tristainian troops could pose a significant threat to the soldiers disembarking onto the field. Wardes signaled his underlings to crush the small opposition force. A barrage of fire magic flew from the dragons but still, the Tristainians ferociously charged forward. The reckless force was utterly devastated by the dragon’s flames.

It was past noon. Reports of the events came bursting in the conference room.

“The lord of Tarbes has died in battle!”

“The scout sent to investigate the dragoons has not returned!”

“We still haven’t received a reply from Albion regarding our enquiries!”

Meaningless discussions repeated themselves in the conference room.

“We should request aid from Germania!”

“Aggravating the matter like that would…”

“How about attacking them with our whole dragoon force?”

“Round up the remaining ships! All of them! No matter how old or small!”

“Let’s dispatch a special envoy! Attacking them will only give them an excuse to engage in a total war!”

The meeting could not reach an agreement. Mazarini was having difficulty coming to a conclusion himself. He was still hoping for a way to settle things diplomatically.

Amongst the heated debate, Henrietta looked at the wind ruby she wore on her ring finger. It was a memento from Wales. She was reminded of the man’s face she entrusted herself to.

Did I not vow upon this ring back then?

If my dear Wales has courageously died then… I too should live courageously.

“Tarbes is up in flames!”

She was surprised at her own voice but quickly regained her composure. With a deep breath, she stood up. Everyone looked at her. Henrietta spoke in a trembling voice.

“Aren’t you all ashamed of yourselves?”


“Our lands are being captured by enemies. There are things we need to do before bickering about alliances and special envoys, isn’t there?"

“But… princess… It’s just some tension caused by a misunderstanding.”

“Misunderstanding? How can you still say that? Sinking a ship during a cannon salute is a bit extreme isn’t it?”

“We have signed a non-aggression treaty. It was an accident.”

“And that treaty is broken as easily as paper. They had no intention of keeping that treaty. It was just a lie to gain time. Albion’s actions clearly show that they have intention to war.”


Henrietta hit the table and started yelling.

“The blood of our people is being spilled while we are doing this! Is it not the duty of nobles to protect them? For what reason do we bear royal and noble names? Have they not let us reign over them so we can protect them in times of need like this?”

Everyone was speechless. Henrietta continued with a cold voice.

“You’re all scared, aren’t you? Albion is a large country after all. If we counterattack our chances of winning are slim. Is it because you think you will be held responsible as one of the leaders of the counter attack after the battle is lost? You all plan to cower here to lengthen your lives?”

“Princess,” interjected Mazarini.

"However," Henrietta continued.

“I will ride forth. You can continue your meeting here.”

Henrietta burst out of the conference room. Mazarini and numerous nobles tried to hold her back.

“Princess! You should rest before your wedding!”

“Ugh! It’s so hard to run in this!”

Henrietta tore her wedding dress so that it was above her knees and threw the torn piece at Mazarini’s face.

“Perhaps you can go get married.”

“My carriage and my guards! Come!” she yelled when she reached the courtyard.

Her carriage was brought, led by the holy beasts, unicorns.

The remaining magical defense squad in the courtyard assembled at once on Henrietta’s call.

She unfastened one unicorn and straddled it.

“I shall command the troops! Regiments, assemble!”

Aware of the situation, every soldier saluted simultaneously.

Henrietta hit the unicorn’s stomach.

The unicorn magnificently raised its hooves up high under the bright sun and set off.

“Follow the princess!” cried the soldiers while following Henrietta, mounted on the beasts.

“Follow! A delay brings shame to the family name!”

The nobles in the courtyard dashed out. The word spread through the regiments scattered about the town.

Watching this absent mindedly, Mazarini looked up at the skies.

"I knew we would go to war with Albion someday, despite my efforts, but… our country is not prepared."

He was not concerned about his own life. He bore the worries of his country in his own way, and for the sake of the people, he had made his decision. Even if it meant a small sacrifice, he didn’t want to engage in a lost battle.

But, it was as the princess said. His efforts and devotion to diplomacy had been boiled away. Of what use is clinging to it? There are things to be taken care of first.

One of the high-class nobles whispered in Mazarini’s ear.

“Cardinal, about the special envoy…”

Mazarini slapped the nobles face with his cap. He coiled the torn piece from the wedding dress, which Henrietta had thrown at him, on his head.

“All of you! To your horses! If we let the princess go alone we will be forever cast in shame!”

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