Campione! / Campione! Vol 2 Prologue


Prologue
[Excerpt from the notes of the Council of Elders, Folklore of Dalmatia,
Croatia 1
One day, the bad wolf tried to break into the castle of the pig king.
“Wow, it’s been a long time since I came to such a splendid place. Lovely
little pigs, please let me enter your castle. I will do nothing bad.”
“No, absolutely not. We will give you anything you want, so please leave,”
the king replied to the wolf, who was begging outside with a coaxing voice.
The wise king knew that the wolf would not keep his promise.
“There is nothing I want. I only wish to enter the castle. If you won’t let me
in, I will choose other means, you know?”
“Please stop, please stop! As long as we don’t have to let you in, we will do
anything!”
Ignoring the pig king and his desperate, wailing pleas, the bad wolf
breathed out deeply.
When he did, the wolf’s breath became a whirlwind that blew away the
castle of the pig king. The castle made from many bricks went flying like
cotton.
Just like that, the whirlwind escalated into a great storm and blew away
everything around the castle.
“Look, isn’t it just like I said? You should’ve calmly let me into the castle.
Take this as a lesson to never oppose me again, okay?” the bad wolf
sneered at the pig king.
{Commentary} The “The Three Little Pigs” had been derived from its
original folklore stories “The Wolf and The Goat” and “The Wolf and The
Pig”. But there is another, bold hypothesis regarding the origin of this
legend.
In 1854, Devil King Dejanstahl Voban used his infamous Authority over
storms, [Sturm und Drang], to drive the Dalmatian^ port city Zadar^ to
the brink of destruction. Some researchers believe that, over the course of
many years, the memory of this tragedy took an influence on the folktale.
[From the section about Voban, Sasha Dejanstahl, European Mage
Di rectory 1
He was called [Marquis Voban], but he was by no means a noble.
Born in the first half of the eighteenth century in the area of modern
Hungary, he probably didn’t have a single relative since birth. The boy lived
his life by moving from place to place for more than ten years, struggling
daily just to get some bread, until one day he had succeeded in slaying a
god and suddenly rose to become a Campione.
Campione are those who seized a portion of the [Authorities] from the god
they murdered. They are feared existences whom magi called [Kings].
But at that time, he was not a [Marquis] yet.
Just a few years later, he attacked the castle of the marquis governing the
area and usurped the marquis’s status and dominion. But he grew tired of
the status within a few years and abandoned it in the end. However, it was
the source of the title he still uses – Marquis Voban.
Furthermore, the name Voban came from his peculiar and ghastly sense of
humor.
Knowing that the previous marquis had kept a savage dog called “Voban”,
he picked it as his own family name. Then he ordered the former marquis
to serve his relative, the former pet dog…
[Dame^ Liliana Kranjcar, Achieving an Audience with the [King] in
Budapest!
They were in a room of a high-class hotel, the kind that could be found in
any country.
As luxurious and pleasant as it was the room that held the [audience] was
still a little too common to be called a devil king’s palace.
The master of the room was called Sasha Dejanstahl Voban.
He was one of the Campione whom magi throughout the world feared as
kings, devil kings.
All of them possessed a tremendous magic power called [Authority]. Those
were all plundered from the gods and goddesses murdered by the devil
kings’ own hands.
“You’re Kranjcar’s granddaughter? We met four years ago, but I have no
memory of your face… ahh, don’t think of me as a senile old fool. People in
your generation grow up too fast. The same would happen even with a
person other than me.”
His voice was clear, even intellectual.
His physical appearance was the same. He had a wide forehead, deeply
sunken eyes, and his complexion was terribly pale. If one claimed that he
taught at some university, everyone would consent.
His silver hair was combed straight and his beard was also carefully
shaved clean.
“It is only natural. At that time I was nothing but a child and we met for not
even ten minutes. Please bear it no mind.”
Liliana Kranjcar bowed as she replied courteously.
She fell on one knee and held her right arm over her chest.
For a greeting in a hotel suite, it was extremely unusual. But on top of
being in front of a [king], a knight had an obligation to present herself with
suitable courtesy.
The girl who belonged to the magic association “Bronze Black Cross” was
still sixteen.
Her handsome features, which gave the impression of a fairy, were more
gallant than lovely. Her long silver hair was drawn up in a ponytail.
Yet despite her youth, the girl was a mage holding the title of Great Knight.
Even in Milan, where outstanding talents from all over the world gathered,
the only one with comparable talent was the Erica Blandelli of the ‘Copper
Black Cross’.
“That’s splendid. Now then, I think you already know, but I am impatient by
nature, so let’s get to the point. I called you here all the way from Milan for
one reason.”
Voban narrowed his emerald eyes ever-so-slightly.
Whenever those evil eyes glittered, any living being before them would turn
into masses of salt. It was an authority that he was said to have usurped
from the Celtic demon god Balor^.
[Eyes of Sodom], [Legion of Hungry Wolves], [Sturm und Drang], [Cage of
Undead Servants].
Among the mages of Europe, every single one knew a few of his
Authorities.
“I take it you haven’t forgotten the ritual four years ago? That ritual for the
great sorcery to summon a heretic god. I’ve been thinking about attempting
that secret ritual you helped me with once more.”
Liliana fixedly looked back at the devil king’s face.
That great magic had produced more than just a few victims. Why was he
trying such a dangerous ritual again? After pondering over that question for
only a moment, Liliana realized.
‘A godslayer summoning a god. How can there be any other reason except
a fight?’
“Back then, that damn Salvatore got the better of me. I had not anticipated
that a fool would get to the summoned god first and snatch it away. You
see, I had never dreamed that such a greenhorn would appear in our
world!” Voban said indifferently, but the iris of his evil eyes flickered.
Four years ago, that incident had spread the fame of the young devil king
Salvatore Doni and his Italian origin throughout the European magical
world like thunder. The story of the godslayer stealing the old [king]’s
spoils.
Liliana, who happened to be present at that time, remembered the entire
story well.
“In three more months, the stellar constellations and the flow of ley lines
will form the right conditions to call a god for the first time in four years. I
may not be interested in that kind of knowledge myself, but I made a
professional make sure. Isn’t that right, Caspar?”
All of a sudden, Voban happily redirected his gaze behind Liliana.
Suddenly feeling an eerie presence behind her, Liliana grew anxious as
someone had come up unseen and unheard. Just who could sneak up on
a great knight like her?
She hurriedly turned around only to sigh.
Standing behind her was an old man dressed in black. The old man
nodded awkwardly at Voban’s question, as if he was a machine that lacked
oil.
There was no expression on his pale face. Neither was there any light in
his eyes. They were terribly empty and unfocused.
The appearance of death.
The old man with such an expression couldn’t be called anything other
than a moving corpse.
(This is a [Dead Servant]!)
Liliana instantly remembered one of the authorities of the old king.
Forcing a human he personally slaughtered to stay in this world as one of
the living dead and enforcing absolute obedience as a faithful servant.
It was atrocious. Liliana couldn’t help but feel that way.
It was most likely that this corpse once opposed the devil king when he
was still alive. He was probably one of the mages who once fought against
him. It wasn’t something doable through ordinary courage. It was a feat
worthy of respect.
But, this Authority defiled that courage and ridiculed that dignity.
Because she inherited the blood of the notable Kranjcar family and
belonged to the magic association [Bronze Black Cross], resistance
towards this devil king would not be forgiven. Otherwise she would have
left on the spot.
No.
If the leader of the Italian mages, Salvatore Doni, was in perfect condition,
she might have been able to request his protection. But that was currently
impossible.
Since the wound he had received two months ago had only just healed, it
was still too early for him to resist another Campione.
“Kranjcar. You were one of the miko^ I gathered four years ago. Do you
remember who showed the most outstanding talent back then?”
To summon a god, he had used his influence as a king to gather dozens of
miko. When the ritual was over, two-thirds of them had lost their sanity,
caused by the deep emotional trauma they had suffered.
Luckily, Liliana belonged to the third that had managed to stay safe.
“At that time, I found out that quality is more important than quantity.
Rather than gathering riffraff, I should handpick the very best miko
instead.”
The emerald evil eyes pierced Liliana with amusement.
Like they had seen through her rebellious spirit.
“Unless I was mistaken, wasn’t she Asian? You wouldn’t happen to
remember that girls name and lineage, would you?”
In this instant, Liliana hesitated.
Should she answer honestly or not? Considering the danger, it was of
course the latter. But even if she successfully feigned ignorance here, he
would just hear it later from another.
And as a proud knight, she should do the former.
She should brave this situation and deeply involve herself, then give her all
to make sure that he produced no uninvolved victims. Following her
characteristic sense of justice, Liliana resolved herself.
“Her name was Mariya. She is Japanese and said that she came from
Tokyo. It may be insolent of me, but if you order it, I shall find her and bring
her before you,” she proposed while lowering her head. But the reply was
unexpected.
“I’ve got an even better idea. I’ve thought about going to Japan myself.
Hmm, now that I think about it, it’s been a while since I’ve traveled the
continents.”
“You are a Campione, yet you will go in person?”
“I also want to breathe some foreign air once in a while. Isn’t it fine? I am
an old man with only a few years left that just wants to enjoy a transient
vacation, yes?”
Mixing this declaration with his ghastly sense of humor, the devil king put a
stop to the knight’s objections.
“But having a companion is certainly useful. I order you to fill that role. Any
objections?”
Even if she had objections, there was no way for her to express them.
While contently watching the compliant Liliana, Voban said:
“Then make preparations right away. You better not make me wait for a
second too long.”
“Understood. But, is it alright for me to say one thing first? One of your
brethren is in Japan. Would it not be better to contact him ahead of time?”
Kusanagi Godou. The boy who had defeated the ancient Persian god of
war Verethragna and became a Campione.
He had command over the ten incarnations that the war god could change
into and had the crimson knight, who was Liliana’s rival, wait upon him as
his lover.
But the most senior devil king simply rejected this proposal with a scornful
laugh.
“There’s no need for that. If he has something to talk about, he can just
come to me.”
It was the whim of a devil king with far too much free time.
It would not be long before this developed into the turmoil that would
swallow up Kusanagi Godou and Tokyo.
References
1 . t Dalmatia: a historical region on the eastern coast of the Adriatic
Sea, in Croatia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dalmatia
2. t Zadar: Capital of the old Dalmatia
3. t Dame: the female title equivalent of ‘Sir’ when addressing or
referring to a Knight
4. t Balor of the Evil Eye: king of the Fomorions, a race of semi-divine
giants in Irish mythology similar to the Titans, who had a mystical eye
in the center of his forehead and one directly opposite on the back of
his head; following a prophecy he was killed by his grandson, despite
his best attempts to stop it.
5. t Miko: Miko are usually Japanese shrine maidens. However, in this
story the term also refers to a type of magic-user, and not all of those
magical miko are shrine-maidens, or Japanese. That is why we left the
term as miko whenever it shows up.

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