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“I’ll be waiting. For your arrow to reach that blue, frozen star.” 1
Sizurite ― a star looking so blue that you would think it was completely frozen over ― shone in the sky for a very short period during winter. It was said that one able to shoot that star with their arrow would be able to fulfill one’s every wish.
This was a fairy-tale, passed down across generations in the land where the girl grew up.
On the wintry night before tomorrow would greet their farewell, a boy made up his mind and confessed his feelings to the girl of his heart. Boy and girl they might be, yet different were the countries they were born and raised, different were the paths they ought to tread, and above all, different were their respective positions.
Even the boy was painfully aware that he was no match for her, that he’d be no more than a burden to her. Nonetheless, he could not bear the idea of separating without speaking his heart.
The girl shook her head. Her position did not allow for an answer other than that. But, the girl looked up to the sky where the stars were twinkling, and recounted a single fairy-tale.
The girl did so while fully aware of the boy’s outstanding skill in archery.
His name was Tigrevurmud Vorn while she went by the name Ludmila Lourie.
At the time of their parting, both were fourteen years old.
Tigre had been cornered. His hair was disheveled and exhaustion had edged itself deeply into his face. His clothes were mud-caked, and on top of that, his body was riddled with gashes and scratches all over.
He still had his bow, but the arrows left in his quiver numbered few.
Currently he was halfway up a small hill that was located quite far away from any major road. He and the less than fifty soldiers accompanying him had assembled there.
The sky was blue and the sun was mercilessly scorching the surface from its zenith. It was so hot that people and animals alike got sweaty from just standing still.
Tigre had entertained that thought many times over since stepping onto Muozinel land, but no matter how he spun it, he couldn’t believe the current season being just spring.
Around a hundred cavalrymen were staring up at them from the hill’s base. Black cloths were coiled around their heads, leather armor hid their bodies, curved swords adorned their waists, and they held spears or bows in their hands. The few patches of skin visible through the openings in their clothes were dark brown as it was characteristic for Muozinel folk.
In short, those were their enemies.
“Twice our numbers and all of them mounted, huh…?” Tigre muttered in annoyance while looking down at the enemy formation from his horse.
The sweat streaming down all over his body, stung as it penetrated his wounds.
This year he had turned seventeen years old, and although he was officially called Tigrevurmud Vorn, his friends and family commonly referred to him as Tigre. He was a noble of Brune, and the son of Urs who ruled over Alsace. And right now, he was the commander of the roughly four dozen soldiers on this hill.
“Even if you attack poor lads like us, there’s not a single copper to be gained from us…I wonder how you say that in Muozinel.”
Tigre’s adjutant Raphinaque laughed in desperation. With his age of 27 years, he was exactly ten years older than Tigre. He possessed a balanced physique and looked rather good overall. A handsome guy if only he kept his mouth shut, was the common evaluation of him in his home village.
“Unfortunately, even paupers like us can be turned into money. I already told you about the slavery over here, didn’t I?”
Slavery existed in the kingdom of Muozinel. As a rural lord and his liegemen, they had no value as hostages. It was pretty much set in stone that they’d be turned into slave, if they surrendered. And Tigre had heard that most of the male slaves would pass away without ever being released while tolling away in mines, or pulling the rows on galleys.
“We sure are in deep shit here,” Raphinaque sighed.
With his eyes he asked his younger commander what they should do next. Tigre looked back at his men. They were poorly equipped, sporting battered leather armor and shields with their surfaces covered by nothing more than leather. Their weapons were a mix of clubs, spears, and hatchets. None of them was unhurt, but in return, everyone was just as exhausted as Tigre himself.
“We’re going to fight them,” Tigre declared to his soldiers, fighting spirit dwelling in his reddish brown eyes.
“So you’re saying we should fight bravely and take as many with us as possible rather than becoming slaves with no future and hope…?” Raphinaque asked with a face full of sorrow.
Tigre shook his head, “Don’t be silly. I have no plans to croak in a place like this.”
The smile of his loved one crossed Tigre’s mind. A smile more precious to him than anything else.
He couldn’t afford to die without having managed to reunite with her. Besides, he also had his duties as their commander. If he gave up on searching for methods to let his soldiers get through this alive while exhausting all possibilities, he’d feel too ashamed to meet his father again.
“Maybe we get lucky and friendly units find us here. We’ll hang on while hoping for such a development.”
It wasn’t as though he had no plan whatsoever. It was possible for their allies to be nearby. Remnants of the Brunian army that had fled into this area like them, or the friendly troops who were scheduled to join up with them today or tomorrow ― Zhcted’s army.
“I see. That’s youth speaking out of you, huh?” Raphinaque laughed feebly, as if all strength had left his shoulders.
His laughter caused his two front teeth, which were protruding more than the other teeth, to stand out. Whenever he allowed his front teeth to peek out, he lost all visual appeal, no matter what expression he put on otherwise.
At that moment, a single rider advanced his horse out of the cavalry group at the base of the hill, and shouted in Muozinel, “Brunian losers! My friend is a very kind-hearted slave dealer! If you surrender without giving us any further trouble, I’ll let you choose whether you’ll work in the mines or row on a galley!”
Laughter broke out among the Muozinel soldiers.
Raphinaque stared at Tigre with a puzzled look, “What did that guy say just now?”
“That he doesn’t have any decent friends.”
Tigre had learned the Muozinel language, albeit only for a bit. Because of that, he got the gist of what the Muozinel soldier had said, but he couldn’t muster the willpower to translate it properly.
“Got it, we’ll surrender! Please wait a moment for me to come down!” Tigre answered in Muozinel while harboring the thought, As long as it allows us to buy at least some time.
He got off his horse and started to walk. Slowly. He still held onto his bow, but the Muozinel soldier didn’t tell him to discard it. Tigre suspected that he didn’t see it as a threat since Brunians were known to disdain archery.
It was at that moment that the faint sound of hooves hitting the ground reached Tigre’s ears. He stopped walking, and surveyed the area. Just to spot a single girl fiercely driving her horse his way with her vibrant blue hair fluttering in the wind.
She looked as old as Tigre. And while possessing a beauty that would remind anyone of a sheltered, noble lady, fighting spirit gleamed deep in her blue eyes.
Even from the distance, Tigre could see that she was tightly grasping a spear of magnificent make in her hand. It was adorned with intricate ornaments that skillfully combined blue and golden colors. The spearhead looked as if it had been directly cut out of a pure crystal, a big ruby deeply embedded in its center. The whole spear appeared to be more of a work of art than a weapon.
While it seemed to be contrasting her delicate body at a first glance, the spear suited her in a mysterious way.
Tigre widened his eyes and gasped, immediately running down the hill at full speed. A miracle has occurred, was all he could think at this moment.
“Mila!” He shouted her pet name, giving reign to his overflowing emotions.
Apparently having heard his voice, Mila ― Ludmila Lourie ― lifted her face and turned her eyes in his direction. A beautiful smile bloomed on her face.
However, she immediately shifted her eyes back to the Muozinel troops.
Tigre realized. Close to fifty riders were galloping this way from the other side of the steppe, as if not wanting to be left behind by Mila. Their horse’s hooves thundered across the ground while leaving a cloud of dust and sand in their wake.
The flags they were flying depicted a black dragon ― Zirnitra ― the national flag of Zhcted Kingdom. And the flags fluttering in the wind next to Zirnitra showed a blue spear on white ground ― the crest of Olmutz Principality.
Tears blurred his sight as he rejoiced over their reunion rather than the relief of their impending rescue.
Wiping away those tears, he put strength into the hand holding his bow. For the sake of fighting at her side.
This spells the beginning of a new story in the universe of Tigre and his friends. This prologue and the series’ title pretty much spoils the heroine of this spin-off, so all the Mila-supporters may rejoice.
Moreover, you can also tell that the author’s writing has clearly improved thanks to his experience with Madan no Ou to Vanadis. He’s also dropped the Japanese beta MC-like writing that has been quite popular back when he started on Vanadis, and as such this story is more straightforward when it comes to romantic relationships, which I consider more appropriate for a story revolving around love and war.
Anyway, currently there have been twelve volumes released for this series, so you can look forward to lots of reading content.
Please bear in mind that I’m but a single, small translator trying to make a living on my measly translations. So if you wish to see this series to completion by my hands and value my efforts, consider supporting me on Patreon. Just as with Madan no Ou to Vanadis, this story will be released weekly as long as 40+ Patrons support it, and it’ll upgrade to twice a week if we reach 100+ Patrons.
Have a lot fun reading it.
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