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The flag of the Black Dragon (Zirnitra) waved with the evening winds. The flag fluttered in the evening wind.
The Zhcted army, under the direction of Tigre, Ellen, and Lim, had begun the journey back to Celesta. Tigre, Ellen, and Lim moved ahead of the Zhcted Army and returned to Celesta.
Batran and a few others had set off toward Celesta ahead of the rest. They were to inform the people of their victory and begin arrangements for a feast. Some soldiers, including Batran, returned to Celesta earlier to inform the people of their victory and to prepare a feast.
From Tigre's perspective, this would accomplish two things: first, it'd allow him to express his gratitude toward the Zhcted soldiers, and secondly, it would give his people an opportunity to rest and recuperate before the enormous task of rebuilding that lay ahead of them. Even if it was a small form of gratitude, Tigre wished to greet the soldiers of Zhcted. He also wanted to restore the beauty of his town. Its revival would begin tomorrow.
On a side note, Tigre had emptied all eight of the quivers that Batran had brought for him. Incidentally, Tigre had emptied the eight quivers Batran held for him.
Generally speaking, an archer wasn't capable of carrying more than two quivers at a time; any more than that would prove a hindrance to mobility. Moreover, even in the thick of heated battle, it would be impossible to fire more arrows than that. Usually, archers carry two quivers at most. Any more and it would hinder movement. He could only use that many in a fierce battle.
When Rudrick heard this tidbit several days later, he couldn't help but mutter, a serious expression on his face, "Seriously, what a monster." Later, after hearing this, Rurick muttered solemnly.
"——Okay, this will do." “--- All right.”
Ellen bound Tigre's hand with a new strip of cloth, laughing lightly. With a new cloth wound about Tigre's hand, Ellen laughed quietly.
"Thank you. This is much better." “Thanks. You really saved me.”
Tigre thanked her directly. The strip Teita had helped him bind his wound with had been nearly dripping blood, and so he'd solicited Ellen's aid. Tigre gave his thanks. The cloth Teita wrapped around his hand was drenched in blood, so he had it changed.
"It looks like we can call this a victory. For now, anyway." “For the time being, consider this a victory.”
"'For now,' huh?" “For the time being, it is.”
Tigre repeated Ellen's words. Tigre repeated Lim's words.
Her description was appropriate. The affairs which had been set in motion could no longer be stopped. That was the truth of the matter; fate had made its move. It was impossible for there to be no retaliation.
Thenardier, who had lost his only successor, would not simply leave Tigre be. Thenardier, after this defeat, would not forgive Tigre.
He would seek Tigre's life no matter the cost, and leave Alsace a smoking ruin. He would kill Tigre no matter the cost. He would surely try to destroy Alsace.
Thenardier aside, there were many other concerns on his mind. He had many things to think about besides Thenardier.
In addition to the great noble who rivalled Thenardier in power - Ganelon - he feared the response of his own king and the aristocracy. Moreover, the matter of how Zhcted would treat both Ellen and himself was a matter of great concern. It was not just Duke Ganelon and Thenardier, he worried about the reaction of the King and the various aristocrats. He was also anxious about Zhcted and Ellen.
Most worrisome of all, however, was the black bow that he now held in his hand. Above all, he was worried about the black bow in his hand.
——At the moment, it lay dormant, but it had definitely spoken earlier. --- Though it isn't reacting now, it definitely did back then.
Though to be precise, it was more like it had conveyed its will - that was his feeling. He communicated with it. Was it telling him its intent?
——Moreover, it had acted in concert with Ellen's Silver Flash... --- It resonated with Ellen's Silver Flash...
On that point, Ellen wasn't all that clear herself. Ellen did not understand the reason for this.
"There is no bow to be found among the Viralt of the Vanadis. In this world, there are countless holy sword- or cursed sword-type legends, so for there to be a weapon with unfathomable power existing outside the Viralt is nothing to be surprised about. That said..." “Amongst the many Viralt[Dragonic Tools] wielded by the Vanadis, there is no bow. I have never heard of a weapon which could call upon the power of a [Dragonic Tool], either...”
Tigre, too, had often heard tales of such weapons, but he'd always considered such things nothing more than childish fairytales or legends. Ellen's Silver Flash was the first he'd ever seen with his own eyes. Tigre had heard of such weapons, though he thought of them as fairy tales and legends. Still, he had seen the Silver Flash first-hand.
Why had it reacted with Silver Flash? Why did the [Silver Flash] respond?
He directed a pointed, curious gaze toward Silver Flash, hanging from Ellen's waist. Its only response, however, was a light breeze blown his way, as if mocking him. Though he looked in interest at the Silver Flash at Ellen's waist, the wind only blew, as if teasing him.
Tigre pondered the matter for a time longer before sighing and throwing his hands up in surrender. After thinking for a time, Tigre sighed and gave up.
He had no clues off which to work, so considering the matter was a futile endeavor. For now, he'd simply treat it as any other bow. That should be enough. It was meaningless to worry about something he did not understand for the time being. It was enough that he could use it.
"When it comes to mysterious bows..." “A mysterious bow.”
Lim was suddenly struck by a thought, and she opened her mouth to speak. Lim began speaking, as if she remembered something.
"I heard something once, a legend from long ago." “I have heard of only one such bow, though it is a legend.”
At Lim's words, Tigre, who had been idly plucking his bowstring, to turn to her with interest. Hearing Lim's words, Tigre looked at her in interest while touching the bowstring.
"A goddess once gifted a certain man with a bow that would never miss its target. With that bow, he went on to defeat countless enemies, and eventually became king. ——Legend has it that the people came to call him 'The King of the Magic Bullet' (Madan no Ou)." “A man received a bow from a Goddess. As long as he wielded it, he would not be defeated by his enemies. It is said he became King and was called the Madan no Ou[King of the Magic Bullet].”
"The king you're referring to... is it the one books call the incarnation of the Black Dragon?" “This King, is he the incarnation of the Black Dragon?”
Lim politely shook her head in response to his question. Lim shook her head at Tigre's question.
"The story of our nation's founder makes no mention of any goddess. This story likely predates even that one. Unfortunately, as I was not an eyewitness to the power of your bow, I can offer no other advice." “The Goddess does not come out in the founder's story, so it is possible the story is even older. Since I did not see the power of your bow, I can't say anymore.”
"The 'King of the Magic Bullet,' huh..." “Madan no Ou[King of the Magic Bullet], is it?”
Ellen giggled happily as she watched Tigre. Ellen glanced at Tigre and laughed as if pleased.
"That sounds pretty good to me. Maybe I'll call you that from now on." “Not bad. I'll call you that from now on.”
"In that case, I won't refer to you as 'Ellen' anymore. From now on, it'll be either 'Vanadis-sama' or 'Young Mistress of the Silver Flash.'" “Then I'll have to call you [Vanadis-sama] or Silvfrau[Wind Princess of the Silver Flash] from now on.”
He was instantly dealt a vicious knock atop his head. She poked his head.
"Listen here, you. My point was that you have the mettle to become a king. I wasn't making fun of you." “It's fine. It just means you've got the mettle to become a King. It's not like I was making fun of you.”
"You know your face doesn't match your words at all, right?" “At least fix your facial expression.”
Ellen's voice was severe, but she couldn't hide the corners of her lips, upturned in a smile. Nevertheless, Tigre could tell from her smile that she was expressing her sympathy for him in her own way. He scratched his head in response, causing Lim to sigh at his unconcerned response. Though she spoke formally, Ellen's mouth was loose as she held back a smile. Tigre scratched his head and sighed without any tension.
"Well, it's certainly an interesting story, but it has nothing to do with my bow." “The story is interesting, but it has nothing to do with my bow.”
Indeed, the voice Tigre had heard was a woman's. Certainly, the voice Tigre heard was female.
However, no matter how he looked at it, the bow's appearance was far too plain to be a gift of any goddess. It was simply pitch-black, without any decoration whatsoever. However, the bow had no tasteful decoration or adornment. It was simply a black bow.
——In any event, to call me a king? That joke's just going too far. --- Above all, it is never good to joke about becoming King.
From the perspective of a rural noble, such thoughts were pure fantasy. Such stories were numerous in the land of nobles.
"You don't want to be a king?" “Do you not want to become King?”
Ellen inquired, tilting her head questioningly, seemingly having discerned his thoughts from his expression. Ellen tilted her head, as if she had read what was deep in Tigre's heart.
His true thoughts on the matter were that it was impossible even had he the inclination, but what he said was different. Though he had not given it much thought, he responded in such a way.
"Because if I were a king, I don't think I'd be allowed to sleep in until noon or go hunting when the mood strikes." “Sleeping until noon, going out for a hunt.”
As Tigre shrugged with a wry smile, Ellen, a light having gone off in her mind, spoke, her ruby eyes flickering expectantly. Tigre shrugged his shoulder and smiled bitterly. Ellen's ruby irises sparkled as she recalled his words
"Allow me to remind you of something, Tigre." “Tigre, I have something to say to you.”
Ellen paused for a moment. Tigre's surprised reaction caused her to finally act her age, and an innocent, maiden's smile revealed itself. Looking at Tigre, Ellen took a deep breath and bewildered Tigre with a smile suiting her age.
"——You're mine." “--- You belong to me now.”
Only now did Tigre remember that he was still Ellen's captive. Tigre recalled that he was still a prisoner of war.
"That reminds me, before the feast begins, you're going to have to explain clearly about that maid of yours. You were pretty desperate back there." “That's right. First of all, how about you tell me more about that maid of yours? You were so desperate to help her before.”
Tigre scratched his head, looking away from the smiling girl with the swaying silver hair. Running his hand through his red hair, Tigre looked away from the smile of the girl with silver-white hair, which waved in the wind.
——How to answer... --- How should I answer...
It wasn't just Ellen; he also needed to explain things to Teita. Once he explained the circumstances behind his captivity, how would the maid respond? It was not just Ellen. Teita was waiting in the town. If he explained that he was still a prisoner of war, what would she say?
Tigre looked to Lim, pleading for assistance with his eyes, but no help was forthcoming. Though Tigre looked to Lim for help with a glance, he was ignored.
"I'll be looking forward to it, Tigre." “I'm looking forward to it, Tigre.”
Finally, Celesta came into view, the town filled with shining lights. Before long, Celesta came into view, lights shining throughout the town.
The celebration was waiting.The people were waiting.
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