That wraps up all four books of Allison. The sequel, Lillia and Treize, is six volumes long. I'll be starting that straight after Gakuen Kino 5. I hope you enjoyed the series!
Before the Prologue - b
Another uneventful day of classes came to an end. In a few days, it would be summer break.
“Bye. See you later.”
I left my friend—who was busy with club activities—took my bag, and headed for the gates.
To get home, I have to take a bus from here, transfer to the subway, and then walk a little more.
I chose to attend this secondary school—and I like it very much. But it’s true that it’s a bit of a chore to commute here every day. It’d be nice if someone could come pick me up, but I’m going to have to refuse Mom showing up in a slick, flashy sports car like last time, or her friends from work driving here on their way to see her sometimes on a green four-wheel drive vehicle topped with a machine gun.
That’s how things always are.
I decided to kill time by reading on the bus, and stepped out the school gates. About a dozen or so female students were crowded in the school parking lot outside.
One of them asked someone, “Where are you from?”.
Someone was surrounded by the sixth-year girls. I couldn’t tell who. But I guess it doesn’t really matter. At least, that’s what I thought as I passed by—
“Ah! There you are.”
I heard a familiar voice from the crowd. It was a male voice.
Over twenty eyes glared daggers at me from the five o’clock direction.
Don’t call me by name!
“Miss Lillianne Aikashia Corazòn Whittington Schultz!”
Don’t call me by my full name!
I turned with a furious glare. The sixth-years flinched like they spotted a wild animal from the zoo on the loose, and moved aside so I could see the owner of the voice. Tch. Talk about being uselessly considerate.
“It’s been a while, Lillia. How’re you doing?”
Surrounded by the girls was a motorcycle equipped with a sidecar. It was a pretty new model, and the sidecar was spacious. The owner was sitting on the motorcycle. Put simply, he’s a boy one year older than I am. Done.
I gave him a look. He suddenly spoke up.
“Huh? Don’t tell me you forgot about me. We used to play together all the time—heck, we used to sleep together, too.”
The sixth-years shrieked in unison. It occurred to me that I should give this guy a good punch or three. I went up to him, ready to do just that, when a senior-classman— who was both ridiculously beautiful and ridiculously rich—spoke up.
“Is this your childhood friend?”
“Yes. Looks like this is goodbye for you and me, ladies. What a shame.”
“Flattery will get you nowhere.”
The senior-classman scrutinized me like a product on display. Then, she called her friends away as she headed for the luxury car that waited for her. If you stare, the least you could do is apologize. Talk about rude.
I went up to the guy who was waving like a smiling idiot and scolded him.
“What are you doing here?! Why?!”
He is my childhood friend. I remember playing with him a lot when I was little. But that’s only because he lives next door to the most famous inn in the Kingdom of Iks—the country in the Central Mountain Range on the western tip of Roxche that I visit with Mom every holiday season—and because there aren’t many other kids our age in that valley.
Incidentally, Iks has been the most popular tourist destination as voted by Roxche for the past ten years. Under the rule of the wise and beautiful Queen Francesca, Iks has been drawing in tourists while maintaining its trademark culture and history. It’s also on very good terms with the royal families of Sou Be-Il. I don’t know her name, but there’s also a princess. The next ruler is also going to be a queen.
Anyway, this guy’s name is Treize.
I don’t know his family name. After he gave me this embarrassing gem—“Call me Treize of Ikstova”—it sounded kind of stupid to use a title for him. So I just call him Treize. We met once or twice a year in over the past few years. I’ve never met him in the Capital District.
I couldn’t even pay lip service to his messy pants and patched-up jacket. He wore a long pair of boots—which I couldn’t tell if they were for horseback riding or motorcycling—and he had a belt pack around his waist.
I don’t really dislike this guy or hate him. But he does get on my nerves.
Treize finally answered me.
“Your mom—Allison—sent me.”
“Yeah. When I got to the Capital District, I called the Air Force number she gave me before. She told me, ‘It’s about time for classes to end, so seduce or kidnap my daughter home’.”
I could not find the words to answer.
“She also said, ‘Lillia’s school’s pretty far from home, so I’m sure she’ll appreciate it’.”
Treize pointed at the sidecar and told me to get in. It was covered in dirt. It wasn’t exactly the kind of thing you wanted to escort someone in. There was luggage and travel gear piled on the back of the seat and the sidecar. Bags, a sleeping bag, a tent, pots, and stuff like that.
“Don’t tell me… did you come all the way here from Iks on your motorcycle?”
“Of course.” Treize answered simply.
I was at a loss. Does this guy even know how many thousands of kilometers it is from Iks to here?
“I didn’t have enough money to stay at hotels, so I camped out on the plains on the way. I came as fast as I could, but it still took twenty days.”
“Are you an idiot? It only takes three days by train or aeroplane.”
Aeroplanes are the hottest mode of transport for vacationing these days.
“Stuff I don’t fly or drive myself just isn’t that fun. You know what I mean, right?”
I didn’t answer. I understood what he meant.
The reason Treize bugs me is because he shares the two talents I have that other secondary school students don’t. My two specialties.
One is flying.
When I was little, Mom used to leave me at the daycare on the Air Force base. When flights were grounded due to bad weather, Mom would bring me to the hangar and show me the aeroplanes. When I got a little bigger—big enough to sit in an aeroplane seat—she wold often take me out for a ride. Mom drove me to a primary school near the base. After class, I would often go to the base to play, and Mom would take me on an aeroplane ride whenever she had the time. And when I was around ten years old,
“Why don’t you give it a shot, Lillia? No one’s watching, anyway.”
It was unbelievable, but that’s when I started learning to pilot an aeroplane.
Just like a normal mom teaches her daughter how to bake cookies, Mom completely ignored official Air Force pilot training programs and taught me to fly.
Once I started getting the hang of flying to my heart’s content, she taught me takeoff and landing procedures, aerobatic maneuvers, how to read the instrument panel, how to read the weather, and about different types of aeroplanes. Maybe she’s just that good of a teacher, or maybe I had talent, just like she said. Right now, I’m better at flying than I am at riding a bicycle.
Treize also knows how to fly an aeroplane.
Thanks to Queen Francesca’s love of planes, there are apparently a lot of crafts used for tourism in Iks. Maybe that’s why Treize knows. When I expressed my disbelief, the next day, he brought a small aeroplane from somewhere and flew it right in front of my eyes. To be honest, he was a better pilot than me. He was doing aerobatic maneuvers to the background of the incredible Central Mountain Range.
The other talent we share is our fluency in Bezelese.
I can speak Bezelese, the official language of Sou Be-Il. That’s also thanks to Mom. We spoke both languages at home ever since I was little, and until I started going to daycare, I thought that was what all families did.
Unlike before, there’s a lot of activity between Roxche and Sou Be-Il, both on the cultural and economic levels. Students in good academic standing are chosen as exchange students and are given full scholarships by the government to study Cross-River. People can go by train, ship, or aeroplane, but not many people can speak both languages yet.
My school offers Bezelese classes, but when I asked the Bezelese teacher if I should take the class, I received the credit on the spot and was told that I had nothing more to learn in secondary school. According to the teacher, I should take it in university for writing a thesis or something.
Treize also speaks Bezelese. That’s another mystery, but it’s probably because Iks gets a lot of visitors from the West.
“So are you gonna stay at our place?”
“Allison gave me permission. Although I’m not sure if a certain childhood friend will. Hey, did you just snort?”
Man, he’s got good ears.
“Never mind. Fine. So you’re taking me home, right?”
“Of course, Milady. Please, have a seat. The helmet’s in there, right?”
I picked up the leather hat that was rolling in front of the sidecar seat. It looked like an aviator hat. I put it on and pulled the tinted goggles over my face so no one would recognize me.
The streets in the Capital District are sometimes incredibly congested, and sometimes completely empty.
Treize followed my directions. He was pretty good at riding a motorcycle. Much better than the subway, which brakes out of nowhere every five minutes.
At this speed, we probably have time for a detour. I told Treize to take another route because I wanted to drop by somewhere.
We arrived at a park in the middle of the Capital District. It’s a refreshing place where the entire area is covered in grass and woodland.
“‘Bemarte Park’, huh? Funny name.” Treize remarked, parking the motorcycle by the road. I walked onto the grass. I laid down and looked up at the blue sky.
“Ah… that feels good.”
“Aren’t secondary school students supposed to go home straight after class?”
“What are you, my teacher?”
“Then cut your worrying. And move away a little. Someone might think we’re friends or something.”
“One ‘sure’ is enough.”
“What’s with the Old Roxchean?”
I lay on the grass for a while, looking up at the cool green trees and the sky filling my view. I almost never visit this park, but ever since Mom brought me here for my birthday, Bemarte Park’s been one of my favorite places.
With my right hand I drew an aeroplane.
It climbed, then twisted at the apex and dropped straight down. I repeated the motions for fun. Now that I think about it, I haven’t gone flying recently because of school. I should ask Mom once summer break starts.
Wait, summer break? Something’s not right here. I spoke with my eyes still on the sky.
“You just took a twenty-day trip. What about school?”
“I don’t go to school. Didn’t I tell you?”
I turned and looked at Treize. He was sitting with his legs stretched, looking back at me.
“Then do you work? Don’t tell me you pilot tour planes?”
He trailed off. I asked him what he did every day. This is what he said.
“It’s a secret.”
What the heck? Surprisingly, he looked pretty serious. I asked,
“Doesn’t your family say anything about it?”
“I can’t tell you.”
“What? But you know everything about my family. Tell me.” I said, sounding a little more pushy.
Treize stared at the sky for a while. Was he just going to ignore me? But at that moment, he clenched his right hand into a fist, put it over his chest, and said in a completely serious tone,
“That’s a secret. The moment I tell will be when I propose to you, Lillia.”
What. The. Heck?!
Who does he think he is, some sort of mysterious prince? I leapt off the grass and kicked him in the back.
“Driver, we’re going!”
“One ‘sure’ is enough!”
Once I returned home on my servant’s motorcycle, I found Mom’s sports car in her usual parking space. After a car company moved in by the narrow road next to the apartment complex, people wouldn’t stop parking illegally there. So they had no choice but to dedicate one lane to parking and make the other lane a one-way street. People rub bumpers as they squeeze into any space they find.
We parked the motorcycle and took the elevator up to the top floor. Of course, I didn’t carry a single piece of luggage for Treize.
I left Treize at the door as he struggled with his things, and ran into—
“Welcome back. It’s been a long time.”
Not Mom, but Mr. Hero. He’d walked out of Mom’s room.
He was a man in a brown uniform. He had black hair and wore glasses. Mr. Hero put a finger to his lips and slowly shut the door, leaving it slightly ajar.
“Hello…” I said. Mr. Hero spoke in a quiet voice.
“Hello, Miss Lillianne. Do you remember my name?”
I replied half-mechanically.
“Yes, Major Travas.”
He was Major Travas of the Sou Be-Il Royal Army. He could speak Roxchean as well, but right now he was speaking Bezelese.
“You were on a date with Mom today, right? Thank you for taking the trouble to bring her all the way home.”
“Not a problem. Your mother was complaining about being tired, and she just fell asleep.”
“I see. Thank you.”
“Actually, I’ve been invited to join you for dinner. May I wait here?”
“Be my guest.” I replied, and said no more.
Major Travas thanked me and headed for the living room further down the hall. He’s come here a few times, so he naturally knows the layout.
I stood in front of Mom’s door and peered inside. The setting sun was casting an orange light into the room, and she was lying on the big bed in her comfy military-issue sweats.
She looked happy as she slept. How many times have I seen that expression on her face?
I closed the door completely.
And just as I turned toward the living room, I remembered someone. I turned and switched gears to Roxchean. It didn’t really matter what language I spoke, but still.
“You come in too. The spare room’s open, so just put your stuff there or whatever.”
“All right. Who was that?”
“Mom’s boyfriend. From Cross-River.”
“Does he come often?”
“Not much these days. Well, doesn’t really matter.”
“Is this really all right?”
“I said it is. It’s fine.”
Treize looked a little upset. He began to put down his armful of stuff in the spare room. I walked in the opposite direction from where Major Travas disappeared to. And,
“Here. Let me help.”
Treize looked strangely sincere. Almost like a kid. I’d almost never seen him make that face.
“What? Puppy-dog eyes won’t get you anywhere with me.” I said, trying to hide my surprise.
“You could at least get me a cup of tea or something.”
That was pretty rude.
I guess I can brew a cup of tea for the two of them.
“I’m gonna go change, so watch TV or something. Also, don’t even think about peeping.” Lillia said as she went into her room. The boy and the man sat at the table with two steaming cups of tea between them.
Lillia opened the glass door and disappeared into the room along the hall.
When Treize turned, his eyes met those of the major. He was looking at him.
“Huh…?” Treize gasped.
“What might be the matter?” Major Travas asked in Roxchean. Treize shook his head, answering that it was nothing. Then, he picked up his cup and happily sipped his tea.
Suddenly, he realized that Major Travas had not even touched his cup.
“You think Lillia poisoned it or something?” Treize asked, a little annoyed. Major Travas shook his head.
“No, it’s just that I’m not very good with hot foods and drinks. It’s a habit I could never fix.”
“I see.” Treize replied, and returned to his tea. He was about halfway through when,
“It’s been a long time. It’s an honor to be able to meet you again.” Said Major Travas.
Treize put down his cup and gave the man a quizzical look.
“Have we met before?”
“Yes. Although it’s been nearly ten years now. You’ve grown quite a bit, Your Highness.”
Treize silently glared at the man.
Major Travas slowly bowed. Treize glanced at the hall. Thankfully, Lillia was still in her room.
“…Please, raise your head. Who are you?”
Major Travas did as he was asked.
“The one you suspect me to be.”
“I see… so it’s you. The one Father and Mother always spoke of.”
“Yes, Your Highness.”
“The true Hero of the Mural, the Magician who saved Mother, Allison’s trustworthy subordinate, and—”
“Did they tell you that much?”
“—Lillia’s father, Wilhelm Schultz. I knew I saw a resemblance. She has your eyes.”
“Ah, so that was why—”
“I am happy to hear that.”
Wil picked up his cup, blew on it, and finally began to drink.
“This tea is delicious. It’s the first time Lillia’s ever brewed tea for me.”
Treize silently emptied his cup. When he placed it on the table, Major Travas said quietly,
“I came here today because I was told you came to the Capital District. I’d wanted to let you know about me.”
“I see. …I will protect your secret with my life.”
“Thank you. But your life comes before my secret. You must protect yourself, and—”
“The one you love.”
Treize and Major Travas continued to quietly chat over tea, making sure to occasionally glance down the hallway.
Major Travas asked about Treize’s family. Treize explained.
That his mother Queen Francesca, and his father Benedict—who had left the Sou Be-Il military to help his wife—were both doing very well and were in good health. That they were so relaxed that they could often go back and forth between the royal palace in Kunst and the valley. That the only hard worker in the family—his sister the princess—was left to grumble about how it was all up to her to get things done.
“Meriel thinks she’s the older sister, but I think she’s the younger one. We argue about it every time we meet. Being twins sure is a bother. But Mother was right to choose Meriel. I like being able to come here like this.”
“I see.” Major Travas replied, an amused smile on his face.
Treize asked how Wil was able to gain Sou Be-Il citizenship.
Although he added that Major Travas did not have to answer, Travas told him. That, upon graduating from Confederation Capital University after three years of study, he became the adopted son of a trustworthy Sou Be-Il aristocrat. That he attended university in Sou Be-Il for about two years under the tutelage of a distinguished individual. That, as planned, he took on the job of clearing up international problems at the embassy.
“It was quite painful to kill ‘Wilhelm Schultz’, but I did not wish to get an innocent person involved.” Major Travas confessed, his eyes narrowed.
“You mean Lillia?” Treize asked for confirmation.
Major Travas nodded. He then explained that he had fewer dangerous missions now, and that thanks to that, he was able to spend more time with Allison as her ‘boyfriend’.
“One day… will you be able to tell Lillia the truth?”
“I’m not sure. Would it be best to tell her, or keep her in the dark? What do you think?”
“I’m not sure…” Treize answered, mirroring Major Travas’s answer.
At that moment, Lillia finished changing and came out of her room. Major Travas also noticed that she had come outside.
They ended the conversation they had as their true selves.
“Please take care of Lillia.”
Placing a hand over his chest, Treize quietly but firmly nodded. Then he added,
“Although I have no idea what she wants of me…”