Sunday, May 1, 2016

Zero no Tsukaima Volume 04

Prologue

The Ragdorian Lake in between the Kingdoms of Tristain and Gallia was one of Halkeginia’s most beautiful places. It spanned across six hundred square kilometers and its width could be compared to that of the distance of Tristania, the capital of Tristain, from the Academy of Magic. The lake was located on relatively high ground, and was as beautiful as if it were a painting. The lush green of the forests woven with the clear water of the lake was a masterpiece which couldn’t have possibly been made by a god carelessly waving his axe around.

However, that lake was not something humans owned. It was a place inhabited by the water spirits, who were the original inhabitants of Halkeginia. It was the paradise of the water spirits who had a much longer history than the humans. The water spirits had made a castle and town at the bottom of the lake and developed their own culture and kingdom. It was said that those who saw it, no matter how evil they were, would turn over a new leaf.

These water spirits were called the spirits of oath and it was said that oaths made by them would never be broken. That being said… the water spirits, who were said to surpass the beauty of the woven colors of the forest, the sky and the lake, rarely appeared in front of humans. Tens of years ago, they had appeared once to renew their oath with the royal family of Tristain, but since then, they had not come up from the depths of the lake. Which is why, even though it was said that “oaths made by them would never be broken”, it was an extremely difficult task to prove it.

The first time Henrietta and Wales met was at that Ragdorian Lake. It was three years ago… Celebrating the Queen Marianne’s birthday, the Kingdom of Tristain invited guests from each nation and held a large garden party at the Ragdorian Lake. The nobles and royals invited from all over Halkeginia - the Kingdom of Albion, the Kingdom of Gallia, and the empire of Germania, gathered at the lake all dressed up and socialized to their hearts content. Fireworks of magic were set off and under a large tent, a ball was held throughout the night with the world’s finest food and wine prepared.

On the night at the end of the first week, as the celebrations were half over, the fourteen year old Henrietta left her tent and made her way to the shore of the lake without any attendants or guards. She was tired of the celebrations, which seemed to stretch on. The days had been packed with events, such as feasts, dance balls, poetry recitals… She was already fed up with all the greetings and flattery. She wanted to be alone and take in some fresh air.

She had passed through the area where the tents and buildings stood with her face hidden under a large hood and had made her way to the quiet bank side. The moon shone brightly, creating an illusionary atmosphere. Captivated by the sight, Henrietta simply stared at the river, which reflected the dazzling bright moon. It seemed that just being captivated by the sight did not satisfy her. Henrietta looked around her. After checking that no one was around, she boldly slipped off her dress. With a mischievous smile arising on her beautiful face, she slowly made her way into the water.

The cool water enveloped her body. It was just the beginning of summer, so the coolness felt pleasant in the warm night. She would be scolded if she were to be found in such a place by the chamberlain La Porte, but she had endured the constrained garden party for so long. I’ll be forgiven for something like this, Henrietta whispered as she began to swim out. After swimming for a while, she suddenly sensed someone on the bank side. Henrietta’s face became red and she hid her body with her hands.


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