War, War, War
He saw a sea of blood in his dream.
He felt that he must never let of these hands.
But, whose hands were these?
The slender fingers were white as snow.
A girl’s fingers.
He had to protect her no matter what, but he couldn’t exert strength with his arm.
He remembered now, her name was——
The instant he remembered, that girl sunk into the sea of blood.
Only dream like whispers lingered in his ears:
Why did you let go?
Besides Bastian who suddenly sat up was the face of a girl on the verge of tears.
This was a room from somewhere.
Light as mellow as the morning sun shone in through the window.
Bastian laid on the bed covered in white bandages, patches of blood that turned black after drying was on him everywhere.
“Erm, well, Bastian… Are you still… alive?”
“... Elise, you… are here… Is this heaven?”
“Wonderful, it really is Bastian!”
Bastian hugged Elise suddenly.
He felt that body was squirming.
Soft tender body.
And her beating heart.
“Great! You are alive! You are alive right!? You didn’t sink in right!? I… didn’t… let go right!?”
“Let, let go Bastian… Ah, no… Dummy… She can see us!”
Bastian lifted his head and shift his gaze.
There was a young girl with glasses who was blushing red in the room with them.
Dressed like a maid, she had a head of red hair that would definitely be compared to that of the emperor if she was in Belgaria.
She looked to be about Bastian’s age.
The girl’s face turned even redder and averted her face after adjusting her glasses.
“I, I didn’t see anything, please continue!”
“No… Continue what…?”
“Baka-tian! What shameless things are you planning to do!”
Elise waved her arms around frantically.
Oh right, I am hugging her right now.
Bastian released her reluctantly.
“I think I was called an incredible name just now.”
“That name suits you just fine! Doing such shameless things the moment you get up! My heart almost stopped from embarrassment! I was thinking that I, I finally had the chance to help you.”
Suddenly, her face turned entirely red.
The two girls were blushing so much that smoke was almost coming out from their face.
“... What is going on?”
Bastian scratched his head, confused by all this.
The glasses maid served some water to him.
“Please take this.”
“You can call me Shia. I have been serving the house of Tiraso Laverde since I was ten, I am seventeen now.”
“Ahh, then you are a year older than us. I am Bastian an exchange student from Belgaria…”
Elise cut him off.
“Allow me to make the introduction, Bastian is the third son of a Earl house in Belgaria, and is here in High Brittania as a student. However, we were attacked by bandits while we were in the city of Gray Bridge.”
“Ah, I see.”
“It is a bit late, let me to introduce myself, I am Elise Archibald. To attend a funeral in my family, we left Applewood private academy, and on our way home… A journey with only children is dangerous indeed.”
She is lying without batting an eye— Bastian thought.
Shia who seemed like an honest girl didn’t suspect anything and listened with interest.
“Ah, I remembered falling into a river, thanks for saving me.”
Elise became mad immediately.
“You didn’t jump off thinking that you will die right!?”
“Ah, erm, no such thing…”
To be frank, it would be fine as long as Elise was safe—— He did thought that way, but if he said it out loud, Elise will definitely get angry.
“We drifted in the river and met with a strong current. Luckily we didn’t get hurt, but Bastian lost consciousness and drank a lot of water. It was really dangerous, we were really lucky indeed.”
The carriage of the Tiraso Laverde family happened to pass by with a doctor onboard. Thanks to his quick actions, we were saved.”
There were few nobles, and fewer skilled doctors, I was really lucky. Bastian was thankful for his great luck.
“If the cut into your abdomen was any deeper, it would have been serious.”
“Ahh, is that so… I have that book to thank for that.”
Bastian checked his abdomen, apart from the white cloth wrapped around him, there was nothing else.
“Huh!? Where’s my book!? My future masterpiece!”
“If, if you mean that…”
Elise looked towards somewhere.
Besides the chair on the bed was a book— Or something that should be a book.
Most of the pages were falling off and the pages were warped. It had been pierced by some kind of blade, crumbled after soaking in water and were dyed with blood.
Bastian’s mouth was trembling.
“Aw, awesome! Doesn’t it look cursed!? Isn’t that cool!?”
“Your personality is hopeless.”
“Ahh, but it really is cool! Ah, but what do you think?”
“... Yes… It is completely drenched, half the pages had been smeared, it can’t even be called a book anymore.”
Since he jumped into the river, it couldn’t be helped if the book became like this.
Elise lowered her head.
“Sorry… It is my fault…”
“It’s just some water, it’s fine.”
“I’m still alive— Which means my masterpiece can just be written again. I thought of some new ideas, so I will definitely write a better book!”
Yosh! Bastian shouted spiritedly.
Elise was teary eyed.
“When you are done, please… Let me read it…”
“No matter how boring it is.”
“Don’t say that while crying! I don’t want it to be bad and boring!? Do you have to put it that way!?”
“You two are so close. I recalled that she is your fiancee?”
Bastian didn’t think and looked at Elise immediately.
After looking surprised, Elise turned her face away.
He could tell her face was blushing, even her ears was red.
— Don’t say it if you will get embarrassed!
However, this setting was more acceptable to explain her traveling with a Belgarian noble.
That was what she told the bearded driver back then.
Shia said this place was related to both Belgaria and High Britannia.
“Tiraso Laverde house’s main family is a noble of Belgaria. However, they were originally from a small nation to the south, and their property might get confiscated is a war breaks out. Despite that, they set up a branch family here in High Brittania fifty years ago.”
“Hmmm, that means the main family is in Belgaria, the branch family is in High Brittania?”
“It is as you said, they are involved in business with these two nations, and right now was a great chance to do business, that’s what the master said.”
“Ahh, I have yet to greet your master yet.”
“You can’t get up yet. I will do the greeting, Bastian you just rest here and recuperate.”
“Is that so? Well, okay.”
Greeting them while drenched in blood will earn their ire anyway.
Shia stood up.
“Seeing that you are so energetic, you can eat right? The doctor said that if you are able to, you should eat more. Shall I bring something for you?”
“Thanks, that will be a great help.”
With that, Shia left the room.
This should be the Tiraso Laverde family mansion. The footsteps in the corridor grew further away. Bastian clenched his fist.
“There is nothing to apologize for, Bastian.”
“But! What day is it!? Where is this place!?”
“Today is the 24th, this is the mansion of Tiraso Laverde family, located in hill Smiles, which is to the south of Gray Bridge.”
“... I was out for so long.”
“It is a miracle you survived despite those heavy wounds. You should be aching all over right now.”
“This is nothing.”
“If your wounds will heal, anything else doesn’t matter.”
Elise was gentle.
Why couldn’t he fulfill her dreams?
Bastian suffered the first setback since his birth. He failed and was useless.
“... I should had… escorted you… to the royal capital.”
“It can’t be helped.”
“But, you worked so hard!”
“We failed because I suggested we go to Gray Bridge, I should say that about you, Bastian… You worked so hard to help me… The knights too…”
Elise’s voice was trembling.
Her tears were falling.
“I, I… I was… asked by her majesty… I even lost that ring…”
“Woooo… I… did my best… I did my best… Ahhh… Nothing! I didn’t do anything ahhhh!!”
Bastian embraced Elise.
And Elise embraced Bastian.
The two of them embraced each other helplessly, and cried like children.
“Wahhh… No… it’s… me…. Wahhh…”
“It’s because… I lost to him…”
— What if he had won against Oswald during the duel?
What if he understood the situation in High Britannia better?
What if, he did more research before going to Gray Bridge?
His sense of regret kept welling up.
Elise was also blaming herself.
She had only one wish, but she let a lot of people down and lost so many things—
Both of them failed.
After Elise finally calmed down, the door was knocked.
Was she waiting along the corridor all this while?
Bastian wiped away his tears and did his best to speak in a calm voice:
“... Please, please come in.”
Shia came in while holding a tray.
A saltish fragrance filled the room.
“Mr Bastian, I brought you some stewed chicken and jacket potatoes, please enjoy yourself. Ah, Elise’s share is here too.”
“... Thank… Thank you.”
“Don’t mention it, please cheer up.”
On the tray was a newspaper.
Bastian picked it up.
“Ah, you slept for four days, so you probably wanted to read this, that’s what master said.”
“Is that so. Thanks.”
He could imagine the news on it was not something he would be happy to learn. Even so, he had to confirm it.
Elise leaned in with her shoulder.
Bastian opened the newspaper and they read it together.
“The coronation of the new Queen, Margaret Steelart!”
Steelart year 42, April 23th.
The senator announced during the ‘Dawn of Declaration’ the coronation of Her Majesty Margaret Steelart!
In Her Majesty’s speech, she said: “For the sake of the nation’s stability and prosperity, I promise to focus on foreign diplomatic affairs.”
Bastian did not release the newspaper even after he read it.
He still couldn’t accept this fact.
Footsteps could be heard approaching.
Without even knocking, a maid opened the door forcefully.
“Shia, bad news!”
“What is the matter!?”
“It’s war! Look, the men are all moving.”
When she heard that, Shia opened the windows.
Outside the window was a large courtyard.
Everyone from butlers, gardeners and labourers were all gathered and bustling. Everyone was holding a thin piece of news.
“It’s war! War is breaking out!”
“Ahh, finally, we had declared war on the Belgarian Empire!”
“War is coming!”
Steelart year 42, April 23rd.
High Britannia declared war against the Belgarian Empire.
On the same morning, they opened fire on the harbour of Chaineboule, situated in the Trouin Duchy.
In response, the Belgarian Empire deployed the 2nd Army to intercept.
The first ground battle between the two nations, ‘the battle of Chaineboule, showed the world the power of the new model rifles and cannons of High Britannia.
The battle between High Britannia and the Belgarian Empire escalated into an all out war.
Volume 4 End