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Das Resultat sagt alles

Prologue

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            Once upon a time, in a flourishing land, there lay a kingdom.

 

            In this kingdom, there was a very beautiful princess.

            The princess was very kind, popular, and loved by her people.

 

            The kingdom brimmed with happiness, and was full of faces that never stopped smiling. But one day, soldiers from a neighboring kingdom suddenly invaded, seeking the kingdom’s national treasure.

 

            It was a war more terrible than anyone had ever seen.

 

            It was a long, long battle.

 

            In the middle of it all, the kingdom’s strongest knight betrayed the princess, defecting to the enemy kingdom.

 

            The result was a devastating loss of military power.

 

            —... All would have been lost.

            But a single knight was able to prevent this.

 

            That knight defeated the traitorous knight who had left his own realm, and went on to protect the princess and defend the kingdom.

 

            And so, with the kingdom’s peace safely restored and the knight watching over them, the princess and the prince lived happily ever after.

 

 

            The end.

 

 

***

 

 

            This is just another fairy tale that everyone hears at least once as a kid.

 

            And at the end of the story, the parents would conclude with, “See why you shouldn’t give up so easily?”

 

            ... I was also told this at bedtime when I was young.

 

            At that time, even while I was moved, thinking, “I’m so happy for the princess!” I felt hatred toward the traitorous knight, and sheer admiration for the knight who brought peace back to the kingdom.

 

            I wonder what kind of person the knight was?

            He must have been incredibly strong, huh?

 

            With drowsiness slowly eating away at the corners of my thoughts, I would often wonder these things as I drifted off to sleep.

 

 

            ... I figured it was just a great story. That was what all my friends thought, and even the adults around me, so it was only natural that I would think so too.

 

 

            —... But, soon. I would make an unimaginable discovery.

 

            Yes. It was during a soil survey for the construction of a new building. I had been casually observing the dug up sediment when a dull gleam caught my eye.

 

            Using a shovel to carefully dig away the clay covering it, I unearthed a cracked and worn stone.

 

            It might have just been my imagination. But, I had seen this stone, clean and pretty, somewhere before. With my interest piqued, I took it home, and for a while, my days were spent rummaging through old books.

 

            —... And then, I stumbled upon one fact.

 

 

            Long ago, this stone had been called our kingdom’s “National Treasure.”

 

            I didn’t know why it was in a place like this. But it was certain that I had found it in the sediment.

 

            —... So, it hadn’t taken much speculation for me to come to a conclusion.

 

 

            Could the fairy tale be true?”

 

 

            After that, I looked through the histories of wars that I had believed to be unrelated to the fairy tale. Year after year, over and over again.

 

 

            Finally, I came upon an unexpected fact.

 

            Our kingdom had not always been one. Around five hundred years ago, the kingdom we know today was split in two. And indeed, there had been a large war around this time.

 

            Despite my efforts however, I was unable to find a trace of “the traitorous knight” or “the lone knight” from the fairy tale. After searching and searching, all that came from it was the name of the knights’ order.

 

            ... As expected, the knights in the story were undoubtedly made-up characters.

 

            Thinking that, when I tried to close the old book, I carelessly caught its back cover on the edge of the desk, tearing it.

 

            —... Ahh, oh no! This is valuable, and borrowed!

 

            I hurriedly rolled back the torn area to try to paste it back together, when I noticed something stuck inside.

 

            Taking care so as not to tear it, I pulled it out, revealing a terribly dirtied letter.

 

 

            The sender was, “Fate T. Harlaown.”

 

            ... A name I had never heard before. Just who could it be?

 

 

            And the recipient was... When I saw the front of the letter, a gasp escaped my lips.

 

 

            The recipient was, “Nanoha Takamachi.”

 

            I didn’t have to be an archaeologist to know that name.

 

            —... That’s right; five hundred years ago, this person was the princess of this kingdom.

 

 

            I forced myself to stay calm as I carefully opened the letter. The characters had faded with the passage of so many years, and some of them were difficult to make out.

 

            Despite that, I read it frantically.

 

            There were many crumpled wavy marks, possibly caused by falling tears. Further on, the elongated characters began to tremble, and, by the end, were greatly distorted.

 

            ... I couldn’t even read the final words.

 

 

            What was this person feeling when she wrote this letter?

 

            ... I don’t know.

            But, it must have been unbearably painful.

 

            Because for me, just reading it was this—... painful.

 

 

            I’ll leave this letter as an offering in front of the princess’s grave.

            —... I’m sure that would have been what the author of this letter wanted.

 

            This thought suddenly crossed my mind.

 

 

            Visiting the princess’s grave for the first time, I discovered another truth. The name carved on it was “Nanoha Takamachi.”

 

            And....

 

 

 

            ... Ah, I see.

 

            So that’s how it was.

 

 

            The moment I realized this—... for some reason, I couldn’t stop my tears.

 

            I prayed before the princess’s grave, and firmly swore...

 

            Before this time, where we have been raised comfortably...

 

            There was a time of great pain and sadness, now faded...

            And there, in that time was—... the truth of the story.

 

 

            I will tell this tale until the day I die.

 

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