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Chapter Two: Saito Goes Shopping in the Triumphant Town
Wardes woke up. He tried to get up and frowned. Wondering, he looked at the bandage that was rolled up around his body.
Where am I? I am sure I was hit by the magic from the flying machine that Gandálfr piloted and lost consciousness.
He looked around. It was a plain room with a wooden floor and walls, a bed and one desk. There was a pendant on the desk, which he used to wear around his neck. Seeing a pitcher, he reached out for it. But he could not reach it, as his body still ached all over. At that moment, the door opened up and he saw a familiar face.
“Oh, you've regained consciousness.”
“Crumbling Dirt? You...”
Fouquet placed the plate of soup on the desk. Wardes tried to get up again and felt a jolt of pain throughout his body.
“You still cannot move. Your body has been pierced by bullets in numerous places. It took all the water element mages casting the ‘Recovery’ spell for three days and three nights to heal you.”
Wardes made a suspicious face.
“Was I shot by a 'Gun'? Is this the power of a ‘Gun’?”
A gun is a weapon that commoners use. The pressure of the gunpowder, ignited by the spark of the flint, pushes a round bullet out of the weapon. Although its power in short distance is superior to the bow's, the need to load the bullet and gunpowder separately makes it hard to fire quickly. In addition, the hit accuracy is not better than a bow’s either. A gun’s great advantage is that you don’t need any additional practice to use it. It isn’t a great weapon for a mage.
“Really? You didn’t even know the weapon that defeated you? What a careless man.”
Saying so, Fouquet scooped soup with the spoon and carried it to Wardes's mouth.
Wardes thought, It must be that strange flying machine that Gandálfr used…
Not only could it fly very quickly, but it also was equipped with a 'Gun' that could fire in rapid succession.
And then, in that instant, a whirlpool of light appeared...
Albion's entire fleet had been destroyed in a moment by that light…
What was the light that I saw?
Something must have happened in Halkeginia.
I could take advantage of the change, because this event might be connected in some way with that...
My desire to get Louise’s abilities.
And Sacred Emperor Cromwell's manipulation of strange magic…
Even if he was going to follow Cromwell and go to the Holy Land, his plan might not work out, remembering that the whole fleet was destroyed by just one person.
“Hey, the soup's getting cold.”
Fouquet, in an exasperated tone, said to Wardes. He was lost in his own thoughts.
“Where is this place?” Wardes inquired, not giving the soup a glance.
“Albion. This is a temple located on the outskirt of Londinium, in which I had been in service in the past. Good thing you were able to return in one piece, you have to thank me for that.”
“Albion? What happened to the military invasion?
“Aah, I guess you didn't know the circumstances because you were out. It was a complete failure. After the airship fleet's annihilation, Albion’s army was routed. Geez, ‘Sure Victory’ my ass. If you couldn't defeat Tristain, whose numbers you vastly overpowered, you'll probably have a hard time recapturing the Holy Land.”
“I didn't know you joined the invasion troops as well. You should have told me about it.”
Fouquet was amazed.
“I actually informed you! I was dispatched there as a scout unit because Albion's army was unfamiliar with the foreign country's geography! It seems you are the type that forget things which don't interest you!”
“Is that so? Aah, that’s right. Sorry.”
Then Wardes muttered “I'm hungry, give me some soup,”
Although Fouquet made an ugly and unpleasant face, the soup was still carried to Wardes's mouth.
“Is 'hungry' all you can say? I hurriedly nursed you after seeing you fall, immediately treating you with my ‘Water’ spell. After that, using my illegal connections as a thief, I somehow got on the ship leaving to Albion, and escaped safely. Really, I shouldn’t have saved such an ungrateful person!"
Wardes pointed at the table.
“Can you bring that pendant to me?”
The pendant was a silver locket. Fouquet brought the pendant to Wardes. He took it and he put it on his neck.
“Is it very important to you?”
“Not exactly, but it calms me down.”
“She's a very beautiful woman.”
When Fouquet watched Wardes with a smile on her face, Wardes' cheeks became tingled with red.
“You saw it?”
“Yes, by impulse. You were holding to it tightly in your sleep, so it made me curious.”
“As expected from a thief.”
“So tell me, who is that person? Your significant other?”
Fouquet asked Wardes while bending herself forward. Wardes said in an unpleasant voice,
“She's my mother.”
“Your mother? Your looks deceived me, I didn't know you had a mother complex. Do you live with her?”
“Not anymore. Either way, it is none of your business.”
“After nursing you, that's the attitude you return?”
At that moment, the door opened with a clank. It was Cromwell, accompanied by Sheffield.
Seeing Wardes, he smiled thinly. That smile never changes. Just like a doll, Wardes thought.
They just experienced defeat. An unthinkable stumble at the first step of Albion's ambition. Yet the fact didn't seem to unnerve Cromwell. He was either a truly strong man or a carefree optimist. It was hard to tell.
“Looks like you regained consciousness, Viscount.”
“I beseech your forgiveness, Your Excellency. I failed you not once, but twice.”
“But it seemed your failure was immaterial.”
Sheffield, who was standing by Cromwell's side, nodded, then read the parchment scroll that seemed to be the report, and muttered,
“A sphere of light appeared in the sky and blew off our fleet.”
“In other words, the enemy used an unknown magic against us. This was a miscalculation and it's no one's fault. If there was anyone to blame… it was our leadership's fault for not properly analyzing the enemy’s war potential. A mere soldier like you should not be blamed for that. You should just focus on recovering your health."
Cromwell offered his hand to Wardes. Wardes kissed it.
“I thank your Excellency’s kindness”
Wardes remembered Louise’s long, pinkish blond hair. Louise was in that flying machine. Such magic never…
Wardes saw through Louise’s talent. He wanted to have it in his own hands.
…The element that Founder Brimir used. The lost element, ‘Void’.
He shook his head. Cromwell said that ‘Void’ is an element controlling life. But how can it create such a light that would defeat an entire fleet?
Even if it was really powerful magic, it was hard to imagine Louise having control over it.
“Was the ‘Void’ the source of that light? But the ‘Void’ that your Excellency talked about and that light seems to be completely different.”
“No one can say that they have a full knowledge about what ‘Void’ is. ‘Void’ is a great mystery.”
Sheffield stepped in.
“It is wrapped up on the other side of an ancient, dark history.”
“History hides many interesting things. Once, I happened to come across a book that named one of the Founder’s shields as Saint Aegis. It has a fairly small amount of information regarding ‘Void’.”
Cromwell spoke as if reciting a poem.
“Founder created the sun, to shine upon the ground.”
“Indeed. There was no light within that small sun.”
“Mystery upon the mystery, I feel ill. Awakening is also bad.<!> Is it so, Viscount?"
“It is as you say.”
“It is said that Tristain’s army was led by Henrietta. For what reason has an inexperienced princess fought? That princess made use of the ‘Founder’s Prayer Book’. Maybe she sniffed out the sleeping secret of the Royal Family.”
“What is the sleeping secret of the Royal Family?”
“The Royal Family of Albion, Royal Family of Tristain, and Royal Family of Gallia… were one branch in the beginning. And the Founder's secret was split between them. Isn’t that so, Miss Sheffield?”
Cromwell urged the woman at his side.
“It is as Your Excellency says. The treasure that was given to Albion’s royal family was the 'Ruby of the Wind'… However, where the Ruby of the Wind disappeared to is yet to be found. Since the investigation has not ended so far.”
Wardes watched the woman with a dubious feeling. Because her face was hidden by the deep robe, it was not possible to see her expression. Though one could think she was Cromwell's secretary… she didn’t give an impression of being just a secretary. No strong magic was sensed from her. However, because she was promoted here by Cromwell, she might have some special ability.
“Now, Henrietta, a worshiped ‘Holy Woman’, enthroned to a queen.” Cromwell muttered.
Sheffield said. “The ruler of the kingdom. The queen of the country will also get the Royal Families' secret.”
Wales, who was revived by Cromwell, entered the room from the corridor.
“You called, Your Excellency?”
“I want to offer congratulations for your lover’s… the Holy Woman’s coronation. I want her to come to my castle of Londinium. However, the journey seems to be very tedious so keep her company to dispel the boredom.”
Wales muttered, “Certainly” in a monotone voice.
“Then, Wardes-san. Take care of yourself. I will leave it up to you to invite the ‘Holy Woman’ to the dinner party and ensure her safe arrival.”
Cromwell and others left from the room. Fouquet muttered absent-mindedly.
“Disgusting man. Baiting one lover with their dead lover is not a way a noble should act.”
Fouquet added, though she herself hated nobles.
“That man is not a noble. Haven’t you heard? He was a mere bishop at first.”
Then Wardes snuffled loudly.
“I just cannot stay calm. If only the wound would be done healing… I could do my work instead of playing with corpses…”
After that, Wardes regrettably buried his face in his hands.
“Damn! I… Am I powerless? Hasn't the Holy Land slipped away again…”
Fouquet laughed with a smile, and placed her hand on Wardes's shoulder.
“You are a weak man… Yet, I knew that from the beginning.”
And then, Fouquet brought her face close to Wardes’s and placed her lips on his.
Slowly pulling her lips back, Fouquet muttered.
“Rest for now. I do not know what you are hiding… Yet once in a while you need to rest as well.”
In Tristain’s royal palace, Henrietta was waiting for her guest. Even though she was a queen, she never sat on the throne. She mostly did the king’s work.
After the coronation was finished and she became queen, the number of things to do in the domestic and foreign areas greatly increased. Some were demanding loans, some were asking it in a good nature, and Henrietta, from morning till night, was always meeting someone. And, because of the war, there were more guests than usual.
Because she was always straining to show her dignity, she became very tired. Even though Mazarini assisted, she had to come up with the answers herself. It was too late for Henrietta to revert back to being a princess.
However… for the new guest, she neither showed or made such expressions or attitude.
A refrained voice called outside the room, informing Henrietta about the guest's arrival.
Right after that, the door opened.
Louise stood there, reverentially bowing her head. Next to her, Saito’s figure could be seen. Even now, a restraining device used to tame wild creatures was attached to his body.
“Louise, aah, Louise!”
Henrietta ran up and embraced Louise closely. Looking up, Louise muttered.
“Princess-sama… No, I have to call you Your Majesty now.”
“I don’t like it when you say it so formally. Louise Francoise. Aren’t you my beloved friend?”
“Then, I will call you princess-sama, as usual.”
“Please do it for me. Aah Louise, I didn’t want to be a queen. It is twice as boring. It is three times more straining. And ten times more worrisome.”
Henrietta muttered, looking bored.
After that, Louise became silent, waiting for Henrietta’s words. This morning, the messenger from Henrietta came to the Academy of Magic. They boarded the carriage that Henrietta prepared and came here.
I guess I was called for a specific reason thought Louise. Is it about the ‘Void' spell? However, she seems hesitant to talk about that.
Henrietta just looked into her eyes, not talking. Reluctantly, Louise said “I ought to give my congratulations on the victory”. Louise tried to find a harmless topic to talk about with Henrietta.
“This victory was all thanks to you, Louise.”
Louise watched Henrietta’s face with a startled expression.
“You can’t hide such a great secret from me, Louise.”
“B-but I didn't do anything…”
Louise still tried to pretend not to know.
Henrietta smiled and handed a report, written on parchment, to Louise. After reading it, Louise sighed.
“You scouted even that?”
“Well, since it is the war results, it is better not to overlook anything.”
After that, Henrietta faced Saito who was left out up till now. On the way there, he heard from Louise that Henrietta became a queen, so he felt very nervous.
“For controlling the foreign country flight machine that destroyed the enemy’s dragon knight corps, I express my greatest gratitude.”
“No… it’s not like that.”
“You are the hero of this country. So now I am giving you a noble’s title… "
“That’s so wrong! Turning a dog into a noble!”
“N-no… it doesn’t matter” Louise murmured with a blush.
“Then, I will grant you a peer’s title.”
When Henrietta said this, Saito muttered, ‘Haa’. Then he remembered Kirche's words a while ago. That in Tristain, if you are not a mage from birth then you cannot become a noble.
But, despite his thoughts about the peerage, he didn’t open his mouth. Either way, when returning to Japan, all the titles would lose their meaning.
“Great… a really great war outcome. Louise Francoise. The way the war ended is all thanks to you and your familiar. There has never been such a victory in the whole of Halkeginia’s history. By all means, Louise, you should be given a territory the size of a small country and a title of duchess for this. And your familiar awarded with a peer's title.”
"I d-don't need anything... this deed was my familiar‘s...“
Louise muttered hesitatingly.
“Weren‘t you the cause of that light, Louise? That light was called a miracle of the castle, yet I do not believe in miracles. The light came from the flying machine that you were flying in. Aren't you the cause of it?”
Henrietta intently watched Louise. It was impossible to hide anything this way.
And what about Saito? Even though he constantly pulled Louise’s shirt sleeve, trying to cut in with “By the way…”, she slowly began talking about the Founder’s Prayer Book. She could not consult about it with anyone else. It was too risky to do so.
Slowly… Louise talked to Henrietta.
She took Henrietta’s ‘Water Ruby', placed it on the pages of Founder’s Prayer Book and an ancient script appeared.When she read it out back then, she cast a spell of the light.
“The Founder's Prayer Book was written using the element of 'Void'. Is this true, Princess-sama?”
Henrietta stared over Louise’s shoulder.
“You knew, Louise? Founder Brimir gave rings to three children from three royal families to keep as a treasure. Tristain got the ‘Water Ruby’ and Founder’s Prayer Book, which are now both in your possession.”
“It has been handed down like this among the royal families. Royal families were the ones that inherited the Founder’s power."
“I am not from a royal Family.”
“What are you saying, Louise? The ancestor of Duke of La Vallière was the king’s illegitimate child. And you are the Duke’s child."
Louise was startled.
“You, too, have the Tristainian Royal Family's blood. And that is good enough.”
After that, Henrietta took Saito’s hand. Seeing the runes, she nodded.
"Is this the sign of 'Gandálfr'? The sign of the Familiar that Founder Brimir used for protection while casting spells?"
Saito nodded. Sir Osmond also said the same thing.
“Then… I am really a 'Void' user?”
“I think it really is so.”
“That’s why you understand that I cannot reward you that way, right, Louise?”
Saito, who didn't understand, asked why.
Henrietta answered with a clouded face.
"If I were to give the reward, Louise's secret services would be exposed in the daylight. That would be dangerous. Louise's power is too big. Even one country could not manage such power. If an enemy learned about Louise's secret, they would become frantic about it and would do anything to get it. I alone should be the enemy’s target.”
After that, Henrietta sighed.
“Enemies are not the only ones interested in 'Void'. Even inside the palace… those who know about that power, will always try to use it for their own purposes.”
Louise nodded with a scared look.
“Therefore, Louise, you should not talk to anyone about that power. Your secret is safe with me.”
Then Louise thought for a while…
And, in a slowly determined way, she opened her mouth.
“Don’t worry princess-sama. I want to dedicate my 'Void' to you.”
“No… it is all right. You must forget that power as soon as possible. And never use it again.”
“But… Princess-sama I want to help you with the powers I was granted!”
However, Henrietta shook her head.
“Mother said, great power drives people mad. Who could be sure that you, after gaining the power of ‘Void’, would not turn out the same way?”
Louise proudly lifted her face. It was the face of a person who had decided her mission. However, such a face was somewhat dangerous.
“I always wanted to dedicate my power and body to princess-sama and the mother country. I was taught so, I believed so, and I grew up with that. However, my magic always failed. As you know, I was nicknamed 'Zero'. Behind sneers and contempt, I was always shaken with regret.”
Louise clearly asserted.
“However, God gave such power to me. I, myself, believe in using this power. Still, if you say that Your Majesty will not need it, then it is necessary to return my wand to Your Majesty.”
Henrietta was touched by Louise’s speech.
“Louise, I understand. You are still… my best friend. From the times when you helped me on Ragdorian’s lake. You took the blame for me…”
Louise and Henrietta tightly embraced each other. Saito, who as always was left out, swung his head absentmindedly. Louise is too eager to promise without thinking… he thought, though he didn’t say that.
Though it was nice to help Henrietta… but what about the travel to the east to find a way to return me home…
By helping Henrietta, it seemed like they would not go there.
“After this, I will help Louise too.”
“Then I give the 'Founder's Prayer Book' to you. However Louise, promise me. Don’t tell anyone that you are a ‘Void’ user. And do not use it recklessly, either.”
“After this, you will become my court lady and will obey only me.”
Henrietta then took out a quill pen and smooth parchment. After that, she signed the document and put down the quill pen.
“Take this. This is my formal permission. With this, whether in the royal palace, or inside or outside the country, you will have supreme authority over everything, even over the police. If there is no freedom, one cannot work well.”
Louise reverently received the permission with an expression of gratitude. Henrietta's authorization. This meant that Louise was granted with the right to act in the queen’s name.
“If I face a problem that only you can solve, I will surely consult you. Officially, please act as a student of Academy of Magic like you have up to now. Since it is you, you will, without a doubt, do well.”
After that, Henrietta turned towards Saito. Having an idea, she fumbled within the pocket of her dress. When she took out some golden coins, Saito gasped audibly.
“I ask you to look after Louise…my important friend, kind Familiar-san.”
“T-that’s… I cannot take it.”
Saito looked amazed at the golden and silver coins in her hand.
“By all means, please accept it. Giving you this as a sign of “Chevalier” is the least what this powerless queen can do. You showed your loyalty to me and to the mother country. This should not be unrewarded.”
Henrietta said with sincere eyes.
When seeing such eyes… it becomes impossible to refuse. After accepting this, he could not refuse to help Louise, as it seems…
Because Saito was not from this world, he wasn’t Henrietta’s vassal either, but even if he didn’t have to feel responsible,
Saito felt a strong sense of obligation either way.
Aah, it might be fate, he thought.
No, it was his personality rather than fate. When such a beautiful woman like Henrietta said 'please', he could not find it in his heart to refuse. What a light-hearted fellow I am. Haa…
He wasn’t so welcomed in the Japan of his time.
Anyway, I should search for the way to return home, Saito thought, putting the golden coins into his pocket.
Saito and Louise went out of the royal palace in line.
“Really… you are too eager to give promises…”
“What do you mean?”
Louise stared up at Saito.
“Because you said that you will help princess-sama, but then it will be impossible to go east.”
Saito said in a disappointed voice.
“Don’t leave without permission. Everyone remains here, so stop asking.”
Louise averted her face and started walking leaving Saito behind. Saito ran after her panicking.
“How can you say that? Release me from this!”
Saito pointed at the restraining device used to tame wild creatures that was attached to his body.
“Do not argue!”
“If the familiar is acting on its own, it's the master's duty to put a chain on him.”
Louise answered nonchalantly.
Saito, trying to get attention, suddenly gripped Louise’s shoulder.
They were in Bourdonne's Street already, right in front of the Royal Palace. The Main Street. And what about passers-by? They were all staring.
“Hey! People are looking! Let go!”
Saito said in a lowered voice.
“You…are you thinking that I should not return?”
Louise went ‘Huu!’ at these words and changed her expression.
“So that’s it, isn’t it? You are worried about me leaving, right? It would be hard to help princess-sama otherwise.”
It's not like that, Louise wanted to say, but shut her mouth. That’s not the reason why I don't want Saito to return to his former world. However, by saying this, she would reveal her hazy feelings for Saito. Louise's pride couldn't permit such a thing.
In that sort of division, Louise nodded reluctantly.
“T-that’s right! No one would worry for a familiar like you otherwise!”
“Lovely. So that’s how it is.”
Saito muttered, and began walking again.
What he really thought was, she didn’t have to say ‘because I love you’, but she could have said ‘I would be lonely’ or at least ‘I want you to be near’, if she would have said that, he would not have minded helping her and would have searched for the way to return later.
When Henrietta asked for his help a while ago, though he thought it was bothersome, he was also glad for a moment. No one really needed him in Japan. The earth kept on spinning, even with Saito gone. However, it was different in this world. Siesta and Henrietta… there were some people that needed him.
Yet he wanted to feel needed by Louise more. However, judging from her words earlier, all that she cared about were his ‘Gandálfr’ powers.
Saito pouted. He was sulky.
Determined, he started to push his way through the crowd. The town was still crowded from the victory celebration. A drunken group was yelling out toasts while hanging out their cups filled with wine.
Louise, still in shock from Saito’s ‘Lovely’, was petrified for a while. With face down, she bit her lower lip. When she looked up after a while, Saito was already gone in the crowd and could not be seen. Louise ran out panicking.
Louise bumped hard into a man. A man, who looked like a mercenary, collapsed. In his hand he had a bottle of sake, which he was gulping down vigorously. He seemed to be completely drunk.
Though Louise tried to pass that man sideways, he grasped her hand.
“Wait, Miss. You ought to apologize for bumping into a person in the middle of the street.”
Then another man, who seemed to be a mercenary, noticed Louise’s mantle and muttered “A noble, huh?”
However, the man who was clasping Louise's arm didn't move.
“Today is the festival celebrating the victory at Tarbes. Put aside the rank. Today nobles, mercenaries and salesmen are equal. Hey, Miss Noble, how about sharing one drink with me as an apology for bumping into me?”
Saying so, the man thrust out his jar of wine.
“Let me go! You brute!"
Louise shouted. The man's face became brutally distorted at once.
“What did you call me. Hey! Who do you think attacked Albion's army in Tarbes! ‘Holy Woman’ or nobles like you, no, us – soldiers!”
The man reached out to grasp Louise's hair. However, his hand was stopped.
Saito, who showed up right before their eyes, firmly gripped the man’s hand.
“What? Go away kid!”
Saito said in a quiet voice. If it were the old days… his legs would be shaking while threatening such a scary looking man.However, now it was Saito who had gone through many battles. Thus he had gained courage. Now he only had to grip Derflinger who hung on his back when the time came. Not pulling it out, just grasping it would be enough to knock all those soldiers out.
The man looked at the sword on Saito’s shoulder, with a similar look. The experience that he had gained through battlefields in many years told him that Saito’s attitude wasn’t just a bluff. Then the man spat nonchalantly and, urging his companions, left.
Saito silently took Louise's hand. And began to walk.
Louise tried to say something to Saito. However, being all flustered, she could not find the words. Saito walked rapidly, pushing through the crowd.
"Are you angry?" Louise asked in a small voice.
“Not really,” Saito answered snappishly.
The clasp of his hand made Louise flurried for a moment. Does Saito feel the same? However, because Saito walked straight ahead, she couldn’t see his facial expression.
Louise followed while being dragged.
It was chilly just as much as a pleasant feeling that Louise could not understand or explain.
Louise, while walking and holding hands with Saito, cheered up. The town was filled with colorful festivals, joyful shows, food carts and stalls where unusual goods were sold were stretched all the way down the street.
Being a local lord’s daughter, Louise never walked in such a lively town this way. More so, she never walked in a town holding hands with someone of the opposite sex. Those two things combined, made Louise’s head light and dizzy.
“So very noisy,” Saito said.
“True,” Louise muttered happily.
“Feels like my world’s festivals.”
“Yeah. The showy street stalls line up just like this… gold fish catching, yo-yo fishing, okonomiyaki shops, and food carts queuing in line…”
While saying so, Saito’s eyes turned distant. Louise tightened her grasp on Saito’s hand. Somehow, the thought about Saito suddenly leaving to some place made her feel bad.
Sometime… the day when Saito leaves, will surely come.
However, when walking together this way, the one that I want you to see is me, Louise thought. Just for now. And nothing else matters.
And at the same time she was angry at herself for thinking that way.
Because of love? That’s not it. It was her pride that was the problem.
After convincing herself of that, Louise looked around blankly.
And then, shouting “Waa”, stopped still.
“What is it?”
Saito turned around. Louise was looking at a jewelry shop. There, on a cloth, various rings and necklaces were displayed.
“Do you want to take a look?” Saito asked, and Louise, with a blush on her cheeks, nodded.
Seeing two people approaching, a merchant with a turban on the head rubbed his hands together.
“My! Please come in! I see you are a noble miss. We have rare goods to offer. This is made from “Wrought gold” and it is not a sham.”
The presented jewels were suited for nobles to wear; beautifully ornamented to satisfy the most various tastes.
Louise took a pendant. It was a pure-white pendant, carved in a shape of a shell. There were a lot of big jewels placed around. However, upon closer look, the jewels were nothing but cheap crystals.
Still, Louise liked this shiny pendant. Within the atmosphere of noisy festival, filled with quality goods, such a showy one attracted attention.
“Do you want it?”
Louise shook her head embarrassed.
“Don’t have the money.”
“Well then, I will cheapen it. It will be only four écus."
The merchant sweetly smiled.
“You don’t have that much?”
Saito asked amazed, Louise puffed her lips nonchalantly.
“I would if I hadn’t bought that impertinent sword the other day. I spent all my month’s pocket money on that.”
Saito reluctantly fumbled in his pocket. He tightly gripped the golden coins that he got from Henrietta a little while ago.Holding the golden coins that were approximately of the size of one yen coin on his palm, Saito asked.
“How much is this worth?”
The merchant was surprised that it was Saito who was carrying money.
“T-this is! Hii, fuu, hmm…This is splendid.”
Taking up four gold coins on which an old king’s portrait was carved, the merchant passed the pendant to Louise.
Louise was taken aback with surprise, her cheeks unintentionally loosened up a bit. The first thing that Saito did with the money given by Henrietta was shopping for me. She was very happy. After it was in her hand for a while, she cheerfully put it on her neck. "It suits you well", said the merchant gracefully.
I want Saito to have a look, she thought while pulling his sleeve. However Saito, whose attention was on the stall near the sides, didn’t move. What on earth is he staring at?
Saito was gazing at the loot, taken from the Albion army, displayed on the ground.
Things that soldiers captured were taken to merchants.
They were articles taken from the enemy… swords, armor, clothes and clocks. Saito took one of the clothes.
I want him to look at me, Louise pouted lips sulkily. However, Saito’s full attention was on the clothing. It was not unreasonable to want new clothes after all.
“What, you want clothes? But it is not a good idea to wear second-handed middle aged clothes that the enemy used to wear, there are much better ones.”
However, Saito didn't answer. He reached out for one piece of clothing, his hands shaking.
“Dear customer, you have an excellent eye. This is a seaman uniform from Albion. Though it is cheaply made, it is also convenient. Turning a collar this way up, protects neck from the wind.”
Seaman uniform? Indeed!
B-but in Saito’s world it was called a sailor uniform…
Saito’s head started working at full power.
Though the size was too big, it could still be modified for Siesta to wear…
He imagined Siesta wearing this.
It looked good.
The enjoyment increased. No, that’s not it. Not personal enjoyment. Gratitude. It was gratitude for the muffler! He still felt slightly guilty though.
That’s right, Saito cooled down. Money, he should absolutely use it for this.
“How much?” Saito asked in a voice overcome with emotion.
“Three for one écus would be fine.”
Louise was amazed. Paying such money for second-handed clothing was too much.
However, Saito paid the asked price.
Louise, who returned back to her room, was lying on the bed, listing the Founder's Prayer Book while humming. It seemed like she was in a good mood. Saito tried to slip out of the room quietly, he wanted to go to Siesta to deliver the goods he bought today, but the door was locked by Louise who waved her wand and put the 'Lock' spell on it.
“Are you going somewhere in the middle of the night?”
Surely he could not say that he was going to Siesta’s place to deliver the sailor uniform that he bought today.
“J-just wanted to take some night’s air! Wah! Wahhahha!”
Louise scowled at Saito. Then, determined, she walked up to Saito and started eagerly taking his parka off.
“Wh-what are you?!”
“Taking it off.”
“Take it off? The Wild Creature's restraining device is in the way!"
When Saito shouted so, Louise removed the lock of the restraining device, looking down for a moment. Because he bought a pendant in town today, he thought she had forgiven him. Yet she could not forgive him taking a bath together with a girl so easily.
Louise unfastened the restraining device and took off Saito’s parka. Her face was always angry. She chewed her lower lip hard.
Then Louise went back to bed, hugging the taken off parka tightly and said “Face that way”.
With all her clothes taken off, Louise, wearing only Saito’s parka, pouted.
“Still want to go for a walk?”
Giving it to Siesta will have to wait for tomorrow night, Saito thought, now wearing only a T-shirt. Even though it was an early summer, the climate in Halkeginia was very different from Japan. Walking this way, he would catch a cold. Without a doubt, Louise knew that too.
“There are more important things than the night wind, don’t you agree~? And a partner who doesn’t serve his master is no good, don’t you agree~?”
Louise said, while lying down on her stomach and swinging her feet.
Reluctantly, Saito sat on the bed.
Louise, lying down on the bed, began to read the Founder's Prayer Book.
“Isn’t it all blank?”
“I can read it.”
Louise showed “The Ruby of Water” on her finger to Saito and explained its relation to the Founder’s Prayer Book.
“Hee, Element of Void…”
Saito remembered the magical light, which blew off the fleet that day.
‘Void’. The legendary element that Founder Brimir used…
And, I am a Familiar that Founder Brimir is said to have used - 'Gandálfr'.
The legendary Familiar that has the ability to master all kinds of weapons, in order to protect the Founder, while he casts his spells…
“Then you are the strongest wizard in this world? Cool! Destroying with one swing.”
“I wouldn’t say so. I haven’t said this to princess-sama since I didn’t want to disappoint her…”
With a sigh Louise took the wand.
After that, Louise slowly began uttering an incantation.
“Eor Sun Fuir…”
It would be terrible if such explosion were to happen in a place like this. However, Louise didn't stop chanting.
Finishing the chant uninterrupted. Louise lifted the wand. Saito dug himself into his pile of hay, scattering the straw all around.
And then Louise’s eyes rolled back and she crumbled to the bed suddenly.
Saito shook Louise in panic. After being shaken for a while, Louise opened her eyes.
“Wh-what? What’s wrong?!”
Shaking her head Louise got up abruptly.
“Stop making such a fuss. I only fainted for a moment.”
“Been chanting 'Explosion' till the last minute, but nothing… After that time, no matter how much I chant, I faint in the middle of it. The explosion only happened once.”
“What kind of thing?”
“I think the reason may be that the willpower is insufficient.”
“Right. Willpower is consumed when the magic is chanted. Didn’t you know?”
“How could I know such a thing?”
Then, Louise sat up straight demurely, lifted a finger and started explaining, proud as a peacock.
“Listen, the number of elements that a mage uses can be increased, and his class changes accordingly. A mage who can use only one element is a dot. Ability to have two – makes one a line. Being able to use three - triangle. Spells are also applied to the class. The spells from three elements are called 'Triangle spells'. Each time the spell class rises, the consumption of willpower doubles.”
“For instance, the line spell would cost the mage eight willpower, but when that mage decides to use the dot spell, only four of his willpower will be consumed. The cost depends on each person individually, however the same rule applies to all. “
“The main point is, that mage could cast two ‘Dot’ spells instead. Eight divided by four is two. Therefore, you could cast the spell twice. But when you cast a line spell only once, because twice of the willpower consumed, and eight divided by eight is one.”
“When the line mage grows up to a triangular mage, consumption of the willpower spent on dot spells decreases by half. Therefore, four divided by two - two, he can use the dot spell four times. The line spell can be used twice. Triangular spell – one time. That’s because the mage grows up.”
“Haa. In other words, the low class spells can be chanted many times, while the high class spells can be chanted only so many times.”
“Right. So now you understand the relation between spells and willpower?”
“Somehow. Then, you fainting a little while ago…”
“Yeah. I fainted a while ago because I overworked and used up my willpower. The spell was too strong and my willpower was insufficient.”
“Then, why were you able to cast it the other day?”
“Well… Really why… I wonder myself…”
“How does willpower recover?”
“Basically, it recovers while sleeping.”
Saito thought while folding his arms together.
“Ummm… Well, up till now, you haven’t used many spells correctly?"
“Therefore you collected a lot of willpower, right? And that time you used it all up at once.”
Louise made a startled face.
“For instance, let's assume that your willpower is 100. The ‘Explosion', consumed all 100 at once. While usually the willpower is recovered while sleeping at night, the amount needed is too large for you… Since it is as much as 100, you cannot store that much just with one night of sleep.”
Saito plainly stated his hypothesis.
“What? To me it seems that it might be the end of your magic.”
However, Louise's face was serious.
“It might be so..”
“Applying the Earth magic Square Class spell ‘Wrought Gold’, gold can be created. But do you know why the world still uses money?”
“It is said the square mages simply cannot chant the square spells many times. It’s too unreliable, one time the recovery might take one week, the other – one month. Besides, the amount of gold you could convert this way is too little. Therefore money is used instead of gold.”
“In other words, powerful spells use up more willpower and take more time to recover. For me, it might be so as well.”
“Then…when would you be able to chant again.....”
“Don’t know. I… One month or maybe one year…”
“Don’t say such scary thing.”
“But, it was successful.”
“Oh well. No one can understand ‘Void’ fully. Anyways, the incantation’s power was demonstrated. There are no other spells like this one.”
“It’s too little now. Uuu, my hay…”Saito said while watching the scattered around pieces of straws.
“Isn’t it all right? Even if there is no pile of hay.”
Louise muttered, blushing for some reason.
"Haa", Saito held his breath once he noticed something. What! He became crazy from the view that Louise gave him, not aware of it herself. The parka’s hem had rolled up to Louise’s buttocks. Just a little more, mooore, he peeked.
Saito instinctively held his nose. Due to Saito’s gesture, Louise finally became aware that the parka rolled up. Instantly she sprang to her feet and held down the Parka’s hem while blushing.
“Na! You saw! You saw, you saw! You saaaaaw!”
“I-it’s your fault for not wearing panties!”Saito shouted as well.
“I cannot sleep with them! It was always that way!”
Then Louise bit her lower lip and, with some rustling, slipped under the futon.
Saito reluctantly slipped behind the blanket’s edge. He heard the voice of a sulky Louise within the futon.
“Sleep in the pile of hay, peeping familiar.”
“It was scattered.”
Though he heard Louise groaning a few times within the futon, she calmed down after a while. "Aah", thinking about the sailor uniform that he will deliver to Siesta tomorrow night, Saito fell asleep.