Zero no Tsukaima
Volume 22 Chapter 13
At the same time, Guiche and the other youths of the Ondine Knight Corps worriedly gazed towards the "Holy Land" where Saito flew from the deck of the "Ostland".
"That guy, Saito will be fine."
"Anyway, even if we stopped him, he wouldn't listen."
Guiche casually replied to Malicorne's leisurely muttering.
"No matter how many times he was beaten or laid out, He still courageously faced my Valkyries. He's an unyielding person and there's no way he'd be made to give up. He is an extremely stubborn person."
At this time, Colbert returned from repairing the steam system.
"What's the situation in the 'Holy Land'?"
"No abnormalities, the army has almost finished landing...."
Reynald, who monitored the "Holy Land" with "Farsight" magic, answered.
It was at the same time as Colbert moved his hand toward his chin.
At the same time, Malicorne, who was also observing the "Holy Land" with "Farsight" suddenly shouted.
"What is it, Malicorne?"
Guiche wrinkled his brow.
"The situation in the 'Holy Land' doesn't seem right!"
"The one that doesn't seem right is you."
After the noncommittal response, Kirche chanted "Farsight" magic.
She then exclaimed "Oh no."
"What is it, Ms. Zerbst?"
"Not good! The 'Holy Land' is slowly falling!"
"What did you say?!"
A rumbling sound, like the sound that the earth makes, rang through the sky.
The "Holy Land", packed with the landed army, was as if sizzling like a frying pan.
Because the "Holy Land" that was originally floating in the air was now slowly falling.
Dragon knights and magicians could still fly in the air, but there wasn't another way for the common soldiers. The soldiers charged towards the ships in a panic.
"The power of the 'Void' is lost... I didn't think this actually could happen...."
On the swaying ground, Vittorio Serevare looked to the sky and sighed.
He could clearly feel the power of the 'Void', granted by the Founder, gradually flowing out of his body.
The huge "Door" that was opened in the air began to slowly close....
Facing the Founder's long desired "Holy Land", Vittorio could only stand where he was, dumbly.
There was only two ways to eliminate the power of the "Void" from this world.
The first, was to recover the "Holy Land", and the second was....
For the 'Gandálfr' to kill his master with his own hand.
Where did she learn the second method?
"No, under the circumstances, that's already unimportant...."
The self-deprecating Vittorio shook his head.
It's was his loss. At the last moment, she lost to her love.
She had measured the life of the man she loved and Halkeginia on a scale and chose the former. She had choses to sacrifice her own life to save the young man from his fated death.
The "Holy Land" was crumbling, and big cracks appeared in the ground.
In the chaos and noise, Vittorio stared at the setting of the destroyed Ruby of Fire.
"All hope is gone. Mother, I'll see you soon."
After chanting the Founder's prayer, Vittorio jumped into a crack in the ground.
Be it the ground shaking, or the all-encompassing noise, Saito didn't hear a thing.
Still holding the bloody remains of Louise in his arms, he kept on crying and crying.
"Louise... Hey, Louise... Please open your eyes, okay!"
Louise had already stopped breathing.
The deep brown eyes that used to move so delicately could no longer open.
No smile would appear on her face which had lost its blood.
"Why... Why like this... Louise!"
Saito tightly hugged Louise, with her pink-blonde hair.
Louise... My love, my favorite master.
A stubborn temperament, high self-esteem, a strong sense of justice....
The girl that told Saito that she loved him....
- Drip, Drip*, the tears that couldn't stop, wet Louise's cheeks.
The rune on his left hand weakened and gradually disappeared.
"Don't go away... Please, don't vanish, okay...?"
Squeezing his left hand, Saito shouted.
This is the link between Louise and I....
"Damn... Isn't this the same as 6,000 years ago...?"
If Gandálfr were to kill his master, the power of the "Void" would be wiped out.
Louise, who dreamed the same dream as Saito, knew this and tried to get Saito to kill her.
That would be the only way to save both Saito and the world of Saito's homeland.
Even if it meant sacrificing herself and Halkeginia's future, Louise wanted to save Saito.
Saito reached out his hand, touching the gradually cooling cheeks of Louise.
"Louise, when I was beaten by Guiche, you took care of me for three days and three nights. After that, not only did you go with me to buy a sword, you also faced Fouquet's golem with Kirche, Tabitha and I... Also, the Ball of Frigg, was the first time you danced with me. To now, I still remember the feeling of my heart race seeing you wearing your formal dress."
Saito gently combed Louise's hair with trembling fingers.
"After that, I fought against Wardes in Albion, we worked together at the 'Charming Fairies' Inn, and experienced many adventures. You remember when we returned to your home, didn't you tell me that there was a neccessity for the reward of my loyalty? At that time, I thought that you finally agreed with me. I was so very happy...."
The memories he made with Louise flashed through Saito's mind without stopping.
A wedding ceremony held in Albion, going to the Sleipnir Dance, and the adventure with everyone to save Tabitha. The date in Romalia, reuniting with Louise when she wiped her memory, and living steadily in Des Ornières. (The time you saw me kiss the princess, causing you to leave home)....
There were happy things, fun things, sad things, and difficult things... full of memories.
(When I was in Tokyo, I never thought about my life goals. I lived the boring life of going to school and eating....)
Saito tightly embraced Louise's remains.
"However, Louise. After you met me, I understood a lot of things. You followed me to somewhere different. Somewhere which wasn't here......"
Saito didn't know where the voice calling him came from.
Looking back, he saw Siesta, Tiffania, and Henrietta desperately shouting from the other side of a large crack in the ground.
"Saito, escape quickly! If you stay there you'll die!"
Tiffania yelled with concern.
But Saito shook his head and signaled that he was very sorry. That he would stay here, together with Louise.
Of course he understood... If he died here, he would waste all of Louise's effort. However, living in a world without Louise had no meaning.
To go back to Earth, or the future of Halkeginia, none of it mattered.
The agreement he made with Louise before, to die together....
So at death's door, he wanted to stay at Louise's side.
"Tiffa, Siesta, Princess... Sorry! Say goodbye to everyone for me!"
After shouting at the three, Saito picked up Louise's remains and stood up.
Rumble, Rumble, Rumble... The ground shook and the cracks got bigger and bigger.
Tiffania's group continued to call Saito's name, but finally the ground completely split apart, and the three couldn't be seen again.
Louise's body was very light. That tiny body had been constantly bearing the weight of the fate of the world... Thinking that, his tears could no longer be held back.
Such a tiny girl actually gambled her life, trying to save me and the Earth....
With Louise's body still in his arms, Saito slowly moved towards the crack.
Louise, my most beloved....
We have to be together forever.
Although I don't know if there's a heaven in Halkeginia....
If there is a heaven, we'll get married in heaven.
Saito looked down in the dark crevice.
Even if you're mentally prepared, in the moment of truth, you still hesitate.
It couldn't be that the reason he couldn't gather his courage was related to the disappearance of the "Gandálfr" rune?
Then Saito yelled, trying to hide his fear, when he suddenly discovered the body of Louise in his arms was emitting blue and white light.
"....What's going on?"
Saito couldn't help but frown.
The source of the light was Derflinger.
"Oh, partner, don't be a total idiot."
At this time, Derflinger spoke.
"You can't ruin this little lady's intent."
Saito was at a total loss....
"I remembered... my final duty."
The light of Derflinger's blade got more and more intense.
"Well, that's right... Say partner, I've always felt strange. I doubted my ability that I grant my 'Wielder' to act using magic power... The actual use of this kind of ability."
"What to do with... it isn't to try and keep the familiar alive?"
"Well, I thought so at the beginning. But I was wrong. That wasn't the case at all."
He saw Derflinger's light get brighter and brighter.
"I-I, always thought that the person who built me was Sasha."
"You're telling me that's wrong?"
"No, it's not wrong... I didn't say that. The correct answer is that I was the creation of Sasha and Brimir, the achievement of the two working together."
"Right, the will of both of them was injected into my body. When you think about it, the block on my memory is very much like the will of Brimir... but that doesn't matter. The main point is that just before Brimir died, it seems like he injected 'Void' magic into me."
"And this is the ability to let Derf's 'Wielder' move?"
Hearing this, Saito asked.
"Well, that's how it is. The thing Brimir left me is the 'Void' magic to endow life. As opposed to the 'Life' intended for destruction, a different kind of 'Life' magic."
"So what exactly are you saying, Derf...?"
When Saito said this....
A small crack appeared on the surface of Derflinger.
"Think about it, for 6,000 years, I may have lived all this time for this moment."
The cracks scattered across the surface gradually expand.
At the same time, the light from the blade of Derflinger gradually increased....
Saito was shocked, and shouted the name of his partner.
Then Saito realized what Derflinger wanted to do.
"Derf, don't tell me you...."
"Don't make that face, partner."
Derflinger's tone was the usual one.
"I'm truly happy to be able to meet you partner. Although it's a pity to say goodbye, but I have no regrets. After living for 6,000 years, I've completely fulfilled my mission. This life as a tool wasn't lived in vain."
"...You aren't a tool, Derf isn't some kind of tool!"
Saito cried as he spoke.
"You aren't a tool... You're my friend."
"Well, hearing you say that makes me very happy."
He saw the tip of Derflinger's blade gradually crumble....
Up to now, Saito could only dumbly sit there and watch.
"Partner... Let the little lady be happy. Don't be unfaithful again."
At that time, Saito noticed.
Louise's fingers, which were just becoming cold, moved slightly.
"It seems to be successful...."
Derflinger's voice was like gossamer.
"Goodbye, partner. This time is really goodbye."
"Derf, wa-wait I, Derf...."
"I am truly happy to have met you."
At that moment, the light shrouding Louise and Derflinger's blade in radiance shattered instantly.
"... un, wh..."
... Louise slowly opened her eyes.
In front of her was a black-haired teenager.
Crying tears, with snot coming out his nose, and no idea what he was saying.
Saito is shouting my name.
What? What's going on?"
This confused Louise. Because didn't she just die?
In order to save Saito's life, she chose to die by being run through by Derflinger.
Well, that's definitely right. I died at that time, without a doubt.
So, where is this? Why is Saito here?
At this time, Louise was shocked.
This can't be heaven?
Well, it must be like this, right?
It turns out that I went to heaven....
Louise understood this.
Uh, no, wait. If this is heaven....
Why is Saito here?
I'm in heaven now, I am here... so, that is, um....
After thinking for several seconds, Louise came to a conclusion.
"You, you, y-y-you, you...."
"W-what did you do ()!"
Louise kicked Saito in the crotch hard.
"That hurts ever so very much-------!"
Immediately afterwards, there was no mercy, Saito was kicked rolling across the ground.
"You idiot, I obviously died to save you, and you ended up following me! Idiot, you, big, idiot! W-w-waaaaaaaaaa!"
"W-wait! Wait a moment, calm down a bit, Louise!"
Saito, being angrily kicked by Louise, shouted.
"Y-you still dare to tell me to calm down! Y-you actually, actually did this...."
"You were resurrected."
This sentence confused Louise.
After looking around, she realized this place was just the "Holy Land".
"...You say I was resurrected?"
"Well, although it's kinda hard to believe...."
Saito stood up and grabbed Louise's hand.
From the palm of Saito's hand, she really felt warmth.
"W-why? But, didn't I, die... right?"
The uneasy Louise said.
"It was Derf that saved you."
Saito sorrowfully said.
She saw the wreckage of Derflinger fallen at their feet.
"Derf saved me?"
"Well, He said something about his final duty... he gave his life to you."
Then Saito told Louise Derflinger's final words.
In order to not repeat the tragedy from 6,000 years ago, the Founder Brimir injected Life into Derflinger. Then Derflinger used that Life to bring Louise back to life....
Louise was in a daze for a bit after hearing this, finally her tears overflowed.
After collecting the wreckage of Derflinger, piece by piece, she tightly held them to her chest.
"Derf, you always, always helped us."
"I... I also think, that you were my most important friend."
Louise's tears, dampened Derflinger, who had turned into ordinary broken iron.
"Derf, thank you."
Louise whispered with her eyes closed
Saito also silently closed his eyes.
In fact, even Saito wanted to cry.
But instead of sorrow, Saito thinked that they were to happily thank Derflinger.
(Thank you... Thank you for resurrecting my most beloved person, Louise.)
After the two mourned Derflinger for a while... the ground suddenly swayed.
"It's related to the power of the 'Void' vanishing. The spirit power guiding the 'Holy Land' is out of control."
"Let's go, this is the life the Derf gave you. We can't die here."
After collecting the fragments of Derflinger, Saito put them into his jacket pocket.
"Saito, your body is already beaten black and blue... Are you okay?"
"Well anyway, the 'Lífþrasir' rune has already disappeared, and I can still stand up."
Then Saito looked around.
The Zero Fighter was destroyed a while ago. Although there were ships....
"... Basically, we need to leave the center first."
Leading Louise by hand, Saito broke into a run.
The ground swayed violently. After all, it was still floating in the air, and the degree of shaking wasn't comparable to an earthquake. There were large and small cracks everywhere, and Saito and Louise stumbled several times.
"The falling speed is accelerating!"
"Because the 'Void' has lost its power."
When preparing to jump over a small crack in front of them, the ground at their feet suddenly collapsed.
Louise, with a foot stepping into mid-air, was promptly pulled back by Saito.
Their original foothold followed the collapse and fell into the ocean directly below.
"Thank you, Saito."
Louise's body was week and she sat on the ground. Her feet had already reached their limit, and it seemed like Saito had no power to continue running. Although the "Lífþrasir" rune had disappeared, it stillwas very admirable for him to have run to there with his abused body.
The rock continued to fall, and the two of them were stranded on a small rock that had separated from the bigger rock.
"Damn, at this rate...."
The current Louise had no way to use "Flight" or "Float", they could only wait for someone to discover them and provide assistance. However, this rock obviously couldn't last for much longer....
"Saito, look at that...."
At this time, Louise, who turned around, pointed up.
When the "Holy Land" collapsed and gradually fell, only the huge central section glowed and gradually rose into the air.
That must be the "Spirit Stone" body known as "The Great Will".
It was the main culprit that will trigger the mainland's "Great Uprising" by resonating with all of the "Wind Stone" in Halkeginia.
If they couldn't think of a way to deal with it, there would be no way to save Halkeginia....
"Ultimately, how do we deal with that...."
At this time, Saito noticed a light ball glowing in the distance overhead.
At first he thought it was the sun... but it wasn't.
Although the light ball had shrunk, the brilliance didn't decay. The enormous "Void" power still existed, from the life consumed by "Lífþrasir".
Then Saito spoke.
"That, can you still chant?"
Louise looked up overhead, and immediately understood Saito's meaning.
"...I don't know. But maybe there is value in trying."
After answering with a seriou expression, Louise pulled out her wand from her cloak.
From the the size of the light ball, it wouldn't have the original power of "Life".
Moreover, Louise didn't chant the final verse of "Life".
In other words, it was not "Life", at most it's just a very large "Explosion".
But maybe it's enough to blow up the heart of the "Holy Land".
After taking a deep breath, Louise raised her wand.
Saito nodded, placed his hand on Louise's arm, and tightly hugged her body.
She felt a weak, fever-like excitement.
That excitement felt very comforting, and let Louise calm down.
As if all of the emotions flowed out her body with the sound of her chanting.
Louise committed to that feeling.
That was the final "Void" magic.
The most basic "Void" spell, which wasn't even for beginners.
An expanding flash swallowed the heart of the "Holy Land".
At the same time, the ground collapsed under their feet, and the two fell straight down....
"Success, Louise... you really saved the world."
Seeing this, Saito spoke, with mixed feelings.
"Um... but, already...."
If things continue, it's definitely a dead end.
The two were both mentally prepared and closed their eyes.
At that time, an unknown force suddenly picked up Saito's body.
Taking a glimpse up... He saw that a large wind dragon had caught Louise and him.
"Hey, you two, you've done wonderfully."
Azuro, who had caught the two, was holding the exhausted Pope in his mouth.
"With this you owe me a favor, Saito."
"Ha ha ha, hold on you two. After all, I'm no longer 'Vindálfr', so the flight might be a little rough."
Azuro chirped, and flapped his wings as he flew into the sky.