|Louise & Yuka K.|
| Book: Be Careful What|
You Wish For, Chapter 10
|Written by||Vanishing Trooper|
Be Careful What
You Wish For
Be Careful What
You Wish For
Be Careful What You Wish For
Author's Notes: One-Hundred Reviews! Wohoo! Remember when I said that this was going to be the Albion Arc? Well...it is...but it is only like half of it. For better of for worse, this is Cirno's chapter. I have a surprise for the next chapter, two if I can find a way to fit the Tarbes treasure hunt arc into it. As always, please enjoy!
Disclaimer: I do not own anything in this fic that can be used against me in a court of law.
Be Careful What You Wish For
Louise Françoise le Blanc de la Vallière continued to dream of Danmaku and Battle.
And she did not know what to think.
She did not know what to say.
She did not know what to believe.
Everything she had experienced up until now when it came to her familiar did very little to prepare her for what she was witnessing. Her training? The piranha plants that plagued her nightmares and continually turned her to cinders? They were nothing compared to what she was seeing right now. There on the ground, her familiar, unleashing a beam of light that completely outclassed any fire or lightning spell she had ever seen before. She believed that such concentration of raw magical energy could even overwhelm one of her mother's best wind spells. In the sky, her familiar's former student, who had just unleashed a rain of icy death upon her former teacher. Yuka's death ray was able to clear the skies of the oncoming onslaught but Cirno was doing something she thought should be impossible.
Louise should have learned by now, the residents of Gensokyo actively replace the word 'Impossible' with the phrase 'Try it and see what happens'.
Yuka's attack was a massive ray of death that was released in the form of light and heat. Cirno took advantage of that by creating a curved sheet of ice that served as a mirror. Normally, Master Spark would simply vaporize such a counter, but Cirno is far from being a normal opponent. Instead of using the ice to try to reflect of redirect the beam, she chose to use her creation to skid across the beam, allowing the reflective property of the ice to keep her afloat. The ice was kept from melting away into nothing by virtue of Cirno simply creating more and more ice to replace what was being lost.
Louise couldn't understand it, how was Cirno able to do something like that without any shred of fear?
Cirno was riding the spark straight toward her master, her expression held a smile while her eyes held purpose. Simply put, she had a plan. This was obviously not the first time she had gone up against Yuka but her former teacher had the advantages of being superior to her in most aspects of combat and the fact that she taught Cirno how become the fighter she that she was. The ice fairy didn't have any delusions of being able to defeat her teacher in a straight-up Danmaku battle...but it won't stop her from trying. After all, that was the most important lesson that Yuka taught her.
Don't stop trying.
"Spark Slider..." I muttered as I watched my student skid across the Master Spark with a smile on her face. Very few would be brave enough to try to graze one of my Master Sparks, even fewer would be skilled enough to succeed. Cirno is the only one to try and succeed at 'riding' one of my sparks. Some call it idiocy, some call it bravery, Cirno calls it a calculated risk, I call it my student following my advice and getting results. She raised her hands in the air and created dozens of bullet-sized icicles and fired them at me in cascade like a machine gun. I raised a brow as to why she would try something so pedestrian, then I started going through every possible reason why Cirno was grinning like she already won our match...wait...
No one declared the winning conditions of the match yet!
"First Hit Wins!" Cirno triumphantly declared just as her ice bullets were about to hit me. I cursed inwardly at not being able to notice that sooner and canceled Master Spark before jumping away from the path of the bullets. I looked up when I heard Cirno laughing and I saw that the ice fairy had her hands on her hips and was looking at me with a smirk.
"What's wrong? Teach wouldn't have fallen for a trick like that?" My student taunted me with a bored look and a dismissive wave. As much as I hated to admit it, she was right. Normally I wouldn't let her get the jump on me like that. It seemed that my time in Tristain has made me a bit complacent since there were so few challenges in that realm. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath, finding my center. Cirno's gambit was clever and managed to nearly allow her to get an easy win over me. However, it was a gamble for her to declare this match as a 'First Hit Wins' match. If she declared the condition a second later, then she would have already won. However, she didn't and I slipped free. Additionally, we were in Mugenkan and I have every advantage available in this realm. That was probably the reason why she used a gambit like that. Now that I have overcome her trap, now that I clearly know what I need to do to win, she does not have any hope of defeating me in a head-on battle. She should already know that, yet she continues to smile. This was either because she was putting up a front and trying to bluff her way out of this or she really does have a plan to be able to defeat me in my own realm while we were using this set of rules. Regardless, this was a match she made to have me prove that I was indeed Yuka Kazami, despite the overwhelming evidence that proves my identity and the fact that Cirno should know that Yukari was indeed fooling around again. Oh well...it should be fun.
"And my student should have been able to follow through with that tactic and capture victory." I shot back with a sly smile. Cirno blinked at me a few times before she started laughing again. I prepared to begin out match in earnest when I heard my master call out my name. I turned to her and saw that she was standing alongside Yukari, who was still only half there, and had an expression of disbelief and fear.
"What in The Founder's name are you doing?" She yelled out at me. The momentary distraction proved to be enough for Cirno to whip up another Itano Carnival, which she immediately fired at me without any reservations. I looked at the oncoming wave of projectiles and turned back to Yukari.
"Keep her safe." I said and the border youkai simply gave me a smile and winked at me.
"Only if I get a kiss later~" She said before throwing up a Quadruple Barrier around Louise. I heard my master yelp in surprise at suddenly being enclosed in a pulsing box of pink and purple energy. I decided not to think about what Yukari just said and focus on the matter at hand. Cirno already knows that I cannot be defeated in Danmaku inside Mugenkan, that was why she used 'First Hit Wins' to give her a chance to win against me. Even so...
"You asked me what I was doing..." I addressed Louise as I pointed my parasol at the oncoming icicles, a good number of my sunflowers turning to face Cirno.
"This, Louise, is Danmaku." I declared before starting. Each one of the thirty-two sunflowers I activated started glowing before starting to fire yellow energy bullets in a deliberate frequency. Over the years, the most difficult part of fighting Cirno in a Danmaku battle was because of her analytical mind, her ability to make well thought out decisions under pressure. The second most difficult part was because she can freeze Danmaku, both physical and energy based ones. I set my sunflowers to fire in set intervals to prevent them from clumping up and making it easier for Cirno to freeze them all in one go. Of course, that meant that there were literally entire corridors of open space for my student to weave through. Cirno did just that and navigated through the curtain fire while countering with icicles as much as she could. Her projectiles were easily intercepted by my sunflowers but I knew that Cirno was just biding her time, her mind should already be going over every possible way she could get a clean hit on me and win. I compensated by making seven sunflowers fire streams of lasers aimed deliberately in the path that Cirno was using to navigate through the field. My student's eyes went wide when I effectively boxed her in. She had one way out, and that was to burn a third spell card to do so...which she did. I just didn't expect that she'd use that particular card so soon.
Perfect Freeze~Flash Freeze
In an instant, a bright blue flash consumed the entire sky. This was Cirno's second most powerful spell, the upgraded version of her Perfect Freeze. It could instantly freeze all Danmaku up to a maximum range of nintey-nine feet, regardless if the projectiles were physical or energy based. I once even saw her freeze up Kaguya's Salamander Shield spell card during a duel, Cirno subsequently lost that duel but I think she made her point that she wasn't just some dumb fairy. The same thing was happening in the skies of Mugenkan as well. The projectiles that came from my flowers, both bullets and lasers, were frozen right above us and were giving off a soft blue hue and made them look like odd pieces of art. They were odd pieces of art that were made up of ice which were currently surrounding an ice fairy who was at the peak of her power. The result was pretty much what one would expect it to be. The impromptu ice sculptures shattered and rained down upon me like a hail of shrapnel that prevented me from evading in any direction. I had to burn a card to prevent myself from getting hit, I decided on a second Master Spark. I used the beam of light to destroy the rain of ice from the sky and I smiled when I realized something.
Cirno was nowhere in sight.
I immediately turned around and aimed my sunflowers at the empty skies and fired ruthlessly. Cirno had already burned two Itano Carnivals and a Flash Freeze, Spark Slider was not a spell card and was just a regular technique, which means that she only had one spell card left. I have only used two Master Sparks, so I still had two cards left to play. I can either hit her right now and win or simply wait for her to use her last card and survive it until it breaks. I grinned when I saw a small blue flash of light weaving through my bullets. I stopped grinning when I saw three more blue flashes flying around. I narrowed my eyes when I finally saw what they were. It was Cirno's most dangerous spell card, the spell that she learned from a certain vampire.
Fairy Storm~Four of a Kind
That was fine, as long as I kept firing at them, they won't be able to get close enough to counter. All I had to do was to wait until the spell breaks and I win. The most dangerous aspect of Cirno's version of Four of a Kind was that she can coordinate their attack patterns to entrap their target and finish them off. No matter what her opponent does, she will find a way as long as the four managed to get close enough to get started. That was the reason why I kept this match in a longer range than either of us were normally used to. I still made sure to keep a close eye on them though. Range advantage or not, this was still Cirno I was facing and there were currently four of them in the air. two of them were flying one behind the other, likely setting up for Frost Stream Attack if they got the chance to. One of the other Cirno's was trying to get closer, testing the waters as it were, as she tried to graze through the bullet screens I was making. The last one was simply hanging back and watching the events unfold, that was either the real Cirno or simply a decoy.
I was wondering what she was planning when the Cirnos finally made their move. They created three large chunks of ice and threw them at me. That was it? I felt slightly disappointed but kept my head in the game and used my sunflowers to fire at the oncoming ice. The chunks of ice were large enough to withstand sustained fire from my sunflowers but I was still able to alter their courses and they crashed around me, missing me by several feet but managing to take out a few of my sunflowers. This was her plan? I wasn't given any more time to speculate as the Cirno that was trying to get past my kill zone was able to get closer and start firing icicle bullets at me, while the others were starting to weave closer as well. I decided to end this and pointed my parasol up for another Master Spark just as the four Cirnos were lined up just right. I fired and managed to take out the first one and one of the two in the midd-what? My eyes went wide as the Cirno that was trailing one of the others came out of my Master Spark without any damage or even registering that it was anywhere near my Master Spark...no...that Cirno...it was an after-image that had mass?
The large chunks of ice that landed around me shattered and exploded in waves of frozen fog and shrapnel, revealing the real Cirno hiding in one of them. Well played Cirno. However, the chunks of ice her copies threw at me were too far away to tag me as soon as they exploded so I still had time to cast my last card of the match. If this didn't convince Cirno of who I was, then nothing will.
Blossom Sign~Reflowering of Gensokyo
"Yo buddy~! Still alive~?" I heard Yukari asked teasingly as she floated above Cirno who was lying on the ground and was completely covered by a pile of flowers. I was standing with Louise who predictably was reduced to a stammering pile of disbelief.
"What was...but that was...I mean there was...and the four...and the flowers...and the ice...and...and..." Louise muttered while looking straight at the ground like she had just witnessed a slaughter of innocents and was still in shock. I waved a hand in front of her face to check if she would respond. I sighed when she didn't and conjured up a glass of water and splashed the liquid on her face. I blinked a few times when she still did not respond, was seeing a Danmaku battle that much for her? I wondered what it would take to get her to snap out of her shock, probably something that would be even more shocking. I decided to take a page from Marisa's book and leaned in closer to Louise and whispered...
"Look, Yukari is trying to take Henrietta's chastity." I said and immediately stepped back after I felt Louise's magic spike higher than I ever felt before. Maybe I overdid it a bit by using the princess as-
"YOU OLD HAG! EXPLOSION!" Louise roared as she pointed her finger at Yukari and tried to cast a broken Explosion spell, nothing happened and Yukari simply blinked at my master a few times while pointing to herself. I was rather thankful that she didn't have her wand at the time because I personally did not want to see what a broken Explosion would look and feel like while Louise was that emotionally charged up. It was around that time that the pile of flowers that was covering Cirno started to stir before my former student sat up and spat out a few flowers.
"Yep...you're teach alright..." Cirno said with a lopsided grin before standing up and brushing off the flowers that were still caught on her hair and clothes...she suddenly made a bitter expression before spitting out one more flower.
"Blegh! I hate getting hit with 'Reflowering'..." She muttered before gazing upon Louise and adopting a neutral expression.
"She doesn't seem that special...wait, before that..." Cirno shook off her train of thought and turned back to Yukari.
"Why is teach a GUY?" She asked while scratching the back of her head and glancing back at me.
"Who cares, he's hot?" Yukari replied while trying her best to look innocent. I suddenly felt something tug on my sleeve and turned to Louise who was looking at me like I was a sexual deviant.
"What. Are. They. Talking. About?" Louise emphasized each word by pulling my sleeve harder and harder as she said them. I made a thoughtful sound before rubbing my chin with my felt hand while using my parasol like a walking stick with my other hand.
"Haven't I told you yet? I was a woman before you summoned me to Halkeginia." I stated with a tilted head. Louise promptly responded by fainting on the spot. Maybe that was too soon...
"That is the human that managed to snag you as a shikigami?" Cirno asked as she walked up before looking down on Louise's unconscious form while putting her hands on her hips.
"The technical term for what I am is apparently a familiar and not a shikigami." I corrected her before kneeling down and checking if Louise would wake up from light slaps on the face. She didn't.
"So...about you gender-flipping out of nowhere?" Cirno asked while folding her arms and leaning back. I looked up at her and shrugged before pointing at Yukari. Cirno turned to the border youkai, who promptly turned away and started whistling, before turning back to me.
"Templates like that are forbidden." She replied automatically after understanding what I was implying.
"No, seriously. It really was Yukari fooling around again." I stated while giving a pointed look at the border youkai who puffed up her cheeks while placing her hands on her hips.
"And why are you complaining? I turned you into an incredibly delicious specimen of the male gender! You should be grateful!" Yukari shot back, determined to reject our logic and replace it with her own.
"So, why haven't you changed back? You should be able to Ultimate Magic your way out of being a guy right?" Cirno asked me accusingly while kneeling down before poking Louise's cheek with her index finger, my master gave a scowl but still seemed to be unconscious. Yes, this was Cirno's response to any problems that involved me. Fairies swarming around the Garden of the Sun? Ultimate Magic! Newcomer youkai suddenly think that they can defeat the strongest youkai in Gensokyo? Ultimate Magic! Lactose Intolerance? Ultimate Magic! Constipation? Ultimate Magic! Ultimate Magic causing reality to warp into itself? Ultimate Magic!
"No, Cirno. I will not use Ultimate Magic to turn be back into a woman. If anything, I find the experience rather novel." I stated and Cirno merely shrugged and continued to closely peer over my master's face, probably trying to gather as much information as she could about Louise while she was asleep.
"BY THE POWER OF GREY SKU-Augh!"Of course, this was the perfect moment for Louise to suddenly wake up screaming more nonsense as she suddenly sat up and hit her head against Cirno's. I internally hoped that those two weren't two of a kind when it came to these situations. The last thing I needed was having to teach another nine-ball. Then again, it might give Cirno an easier time to teach Louise if they were on the same wavelen-no...having another nine-ball wouldn't be worth it.
"Birds of a feather, aren't they~?" Yukari commented teasingly as she floated beside me.
"Don't joke like that." I flatly responded before turning my attention back to Louise and Cirno, who were still clutching their respective foreheads in pain.
"I assume that the two of you already know each other by now?" I asked the two of them as I leaned against my parasol. They both looked at me before looking back at each other, Cirno smiled before offering her hand to my master. Louise looked at my former student's hand before she hesitantly took it.
"The name is Cirno, the strongest and smartest fairy in Gensokyo! Ice Fairy by birth, butt kicker by trade!" Cirno proudly declared after she helped my master to her feet. Louise dusted herself off before straightening up her clothes and recovering her composure. I smiled despite myself, dream or not, she was still a proud daughter of the Vallière family and she will not be one who would embarrass her family name during an introduction. Such is the pride of my master for her family. Louise gave Cirno a near-perfect curtsy before introducing herself.
"I am Louise Françoise le Blanc de la Vallière, third daughter of Duke Vallière of the country of Tristain. Noble by birth, student of magic by trade. I'm the one who summoned and made Yuka Kazami as my contracted familiar." She finished and I saw that Cirno was giving her an appraising look before nodding to herself and turning to me.
"First of all, long name is long. Seriously, and I thought that Shikieiki Yabadabadoo's name is the hardest name ever to pronounce." Cirno said while shaking her head. Louise narrowed her eyes at the ice fairy, likely not appreciating my former student complaining about the length of her name.
"First of all, it's pronounced 'Yamaxanadu' and not 'Yabadabadoo'. If you're going to complain, do it right." I shot at my former student who just gave me a snort before turning back to Louise.
"Secondly, I'm actually pretty impressed by you. That magic spike I sensed from you when you tried to cast a spell on Yukari was pretty awesome. Chaotic and unrefined, but it gets the point across." Cirno commented while gesturing with her hands to emphasize her point. Louise nodded shyly as a blush crept on her cheeks from the sudden compliment from her senior.
"Third, I'm assuming that you'd want some answers from teach about her-ahem-his...circumstance in regards to gender confusion." Cirno stated slyly before giving me a sidewards glance. Me turning into a man would be par for the course in Gensokyo which was why Cirno didn't seem too broken up about it, just another little incident for someone who came from a realm where the fantastic was commonplace. Louise on the other hand...while Halkeginia was a fantastical realm, it just wasn't as 'out of the box' as Gensokyo was.
"That's right! Familiar! What is all this talk about you being a woman before I summoned you?" Louise suddenly yelled at me, making Cirno wince because of her proximity to my master. I turned to Yukari, the perpetrator of my gender change and found that she had already gone.
God Dammit Yukari!
"It is exactly as you heard. I was a woman up until the moment when you summoned me, my original gender was indeed female." I admitted and Louise looked like she was trying very hard, and failing, to understand what I had just said.
"That makes no sense! The Springtime Summoning Ritual can't change a familiar's gender! Especially someone with your power!" Louise yelled at the absurdity of the circumstance surrounding my summoning. Cirno had already learned her lesson the first time and made sure to be a few steps away from Louise in case any further news about my gender would prompt her to yell.
"You are correct. While I was being pulled into the summoning portal that you seem to have created, Yukari thought it would be amusing to change me from a woman to a man." I explained to Louise the last thing that happened to me while I was still in Gensokyo.
"Why...why would she even do something like that?" Louise asked, seemingly unable to comprehend the reasoning behind Yukari's actions. Cirno and I looked at each other, then back to Louise, before shrugging at the same time.
"Because she can." We both said at the same time.
"Wh-wh-wh-what?" Louise screamed while gawking at us incredulously.
"Don't think about it too hard, you'll just hurt yourself." Cirno admonished my stuttering master while shaking her head almost ruefully.
"F-f-fine...I'll drop the reasoning for now...but..." Louise trailed off before turning back to me.
"...why didn't you ever tell me that you were a woman before?" My master asked me with accusing eyes.
"First, you never really asked." I answered before holding up my left hand just before Louise was about to retort.
"Also, would you have believed me?" I added and Louise's counter-argument died in her throat. I walked up to the diminutive young magician and placed my hand on her shoulder.
"What is important is that I am your familiar and partner now. My gender, my origins, my circumstances, they don't matter to me and they shouldn't matter to you either." I stated honestly while giving Louise a warm smile that she returned.
"Now that is out of the way, I want to get down to business." I said as I turned to my former student, who gave me a knowing smirk while rubbing her chin with her hand.
"Got yourself an incident on the other side?" Cirno inferred while looking more and more interested about what would prompt my personal request for her presence.
"Nothing as simple as that, I'm afraid. Circumstances have arisen which prompted my need to have Louise trained in things beyond basic dodging discipline." I started before giving Cirno a rundown of what we had been experiencing in Louise's realm up until Henrietta's request for Louise to infiltrate the currently war-torn Albion.
"Damn, having to handle incidents left and right one after another in such a short period of time...who the hell are you, Touma Kotiya?" Cirno snarked at me with a raised brow. She was talking about a priest of the Moriya Shrine a few generations after Sanae passed away. That man had the ungodly knack of being at the wrong place at the right time whenever an incident happened, so much so that he was most well known for vexing about his misfortune whenever something bad happens while he was around.
"I must admit, it keeps things interesting. Although, the frequency is slightly annoying." I admitted while shaking my head. Cirno nodded to herself before turning back to Louise with a smile.
"Well then, let's get started! I want a baseline of your abilities, so we'll have a Danmaku battle right now!" She declared enthusiastically while Louise could only look at her in shock before muttering...
"They just don't make magicians like they used to...she can't even fly." Cirno commented as she poked Louise's face who had a thin layer of ice coating her entire body.
"You've got the touch..." Louise muttered in a daze as she laid on the ground after her 'Danmaku Battle' against Cirno. My master had started off rather well against Cirno, managing to endure Icicle Fall~Easy with only minor grazes. Unfortunately, she was suddenly introduced to Cirno's other spell cards and Louise didn't last very long after that.
"You overdid it, Cirno. She's not Marisa nor is she Alicia." I pointed out to the ice fairy. Louise had raw power in her grasp but she was still not ready for high-speed Danmaku at her current level of skill.
"You've got the power..." Louise continued muttering as Cirno and I continued our discussion.
"I guess. Is Explosion really the only spell she can cast?" The ice fairy asked me as she begun her analysis of Louise.
"Yes and no. Explosion is simply the result, not the intent." I answered vaguely, a small test to see if Cirno's intellect was still as sharp as before.
"When all hell's breaking loose you are right at the eye of the storm..."
"So every spell that Louise casts...turns into an explosion? How does that work? If a spell fails, it should just fizzle out of existence or nothing should happen at all." Cirno asked, both in curiosity and surprise.
"You've got the touch..."
"Louise is a bit different than most magicians in her realm. You see..." I then explained Louise's circumstances as a void magician. The results of all the spells she had previously tried to cast, our discussions about what we thought her power was, the subsequent revelation that I was a Gandalfr, and the fact that we didn't know how to find out more about Void Magic at the moment.
"You've got the motion..."
"Spontaneous Spell Breaking because of incompatibility of element and spell as well as casting method. Whatever this Void element is, the guy that came up with it went through a lot of trouble to bend a lot of rules. Needless to say, those spells, whatever they might be, better be worth all those restrictions." Cirno commented. I smiled at how knowledgeable my student had become over the centuries. I remember back when I had to literally drag her to the Scarlet Devil Mansion's Library in order for her to be taught by little Patchouli on the nuances of spell casting. The magician was apprehensive about letting Cirno into her sanctum but I made sure to remind her that the family of the Scarlet Devil owed me after I helped them with a certain little something involving the little sister. Thanks to her lessons with Patchouli, Cirno started learning more about how spells work and it had resulted in many instances where her creativity shone through as well as her abuse of some technicalities of the spell card rules. Her initial gambit against me during out match in front of Louise is a prime example of that.
"You know that when things get too tough..."
"That is exactly why I needed your expertise. Because of the fact that Louise and I will be going into hostile territory soon, I wanted her to learn a few basic skills when it came to maximizing the utilization of her one spell." I said and Cirno gave me a knowing smirk.
"You've got the touch..."
"So you want me to teach your master to completely abuse her ability to turn any spell she casts into an explosion? I'll probably end up teaching her how to deal with any situation using explosions, size, shape, proximity, intensity, wow...now that I think about it, explosions are actually pretty versatile. Alright, I'll do it!" Cirno accepted my request with a smile before turning back to my master.
"And what has she been muttering about anyway? Some kind of incantation?" The ice fairy asked as she pointed out what Louise had been muttering while the two of us were discussing things.
"It probably doesn't mean anything at all. Louise has been occasionally slipping into random non-sequiturs ever since the incident with the Love Potion. It usually manifests when she is under great stress or is unconscious." I explained as I knelt down and sat Louise up before shaking her unceremoniously, waking her up and shaking off the layer on frost all over her.
"No! Ultra Magnus!" Louise yelled out before blinking a few times and looking at me and Cirno in turn.
"Where am I?" My master asked in a daze.
"Still in Mugenkan, Louise." I explained as I helped her to her feet.
"Your master has issues. Then again, she has you as her familiar." Cirno snarked before preparing for an attack from me for that comment. I let it slide for now because I needed Cirno to teach Louise as soon as possible.
"Oh right...what was that? I've never seen so many things thrown at me at once...I just panicked and I couldn't move." Louise said as she recalled her first real Danmaku Battle.
"That's a beginner's issue. Having too many things to keep track of makes you doubt your own decision-making which is why you froze up, you couldn't decide where to go until it was too late. Don't worry, we'll work on that." Cirno explained as she patted Louise on the shoulder.
"Work on that?" Louise repeated, unsure about what Cirno had meant by that.
"Cirno has agreed to teach you a few things that should be able to help you once your little mission for the princess is underway." I explained and Louise started looking at me and Cirno in turn before adopting a look of horror.
"Hey, now! Don't go panicking right off the bat! Don't worry, I already have a good baseline for your abilities so we'll just start with a little lecture." Cirno stated as she tried to steady my master, who looked like she was about to faint from fear.
"A-a-a-a-a l-l-l-le-lecture?" Louise stammered and Cirno nodded before giving Louise a big smile.
"That's right. Welcome to Cirno's Perfect Math Class~"
"And that is why you should learn how to take in and use every surface possible. You can't fly, so you have to make due with utilizing your surroundings instead." Cirno logically pointed out as she tried to reason and prove to Louise that learning parkour would be a good idea for her in order to improve her mobility. Their lecture started out with Cirno gathering information from me on how well Louise managed against my training regiment. The ice fairy then concluded that Louise needed a way to utilize the three dimensions that was available to her and not just relying on 'two dimensional thinking' as she put it. Hence, Cirno's insistence that Louise learn parkour as the start of her use of three dimensional maneuverability.
"I understand that much but...jumping around all over the place like how you described it...that should be impossible, right?" Louise countered. Indeed, in her realm, the very concept of free running and parkour would sound very foreign and insane since one cannot utilize such skills outside of major cities.
"Louise...magic should be impossible, flying should be impossible, the fact that we're having this conversation should be impossible, you having teach as your familiar after being genderbent should be impossible. What I'm trying to explain to you still falls well within the Laws of Physics." Cirno countered and Louise suddenly looked at my former student with an expression that said 'you lost me'.
"The laws of what now? Is this Physics person some kind of lawmaker or king?" Louise honestly asked and I swear that I could literally hear Cirno's opinion of my master drop a few points. My former student looked at me like she had just seen so something utterly impossible that all she could do was gawk at me with that expression.
"They never taught Physics in her school?" Cirno asked me like she was trying to confirm if what she had just said was a lie or not.
"Their society seems to be built upon a system of Magocracy. However, it seems that their understanding of their own magic is limited to what they can feel and the results of their spells. The mere fact that they don't seem to have a firm grasp of how exactly their own magic works, I doubt that they would have time to think about the fundamental laws of the Universe." I gave Cirno my assessment as to how Halkeginian society in general understood how their world works.
"Is that true? You've never been taught the fundamental laws of Physics? Your society doesn't even know the SCIENCE behind your magic?" Cirno asked Louise frantically as she shook my master's shoulders.
"N-n-n-no! I don't even know what you're talking about! Now explain what you're babbling about!" Louise yelled back while pushing away from the increasingly frantic ice fairy.
"Okay...okay...just give me a minute to gather my thoughts..." Cirno stated before she took a few deep breaths to regain her composure.
"Okay, I'm not even going to touch your magic system because I don't know anything about it and that isn't what I was called here for. Instead, I'm going to give you a quick lesson on the Laws of Physics. Specifically, the Law of Gravity and the Laws of Motion. All of which will be instrumental to how I'm going to teach you later on, so pay attention." Cirno outlined her lesson plan for Louise before making a pair of crystal clear glasses made of ice and putting it on. Louise, being the good student that she was, nodded before preparing to listen to what her senior was about to tell her about.
"We'll start with the simplest one, something you should already know about to a degree, Gravity. Gravity works off a painfully simple concept, which is: 'What goes up, must come down'. It is one of the laws that will almost always work unless something is preventing it from acting upon something...which is tied to the other Laws I want to teach you about." Cirno said, giving Louise a very simple version of the concept of Gravity.
"Question, what do you mean by 'what goes up, must come down'?" Louise asked with a raised hand as if she was in a classroom. Hmmm...
"Before you two continue..." I interrupted their little session, making the both of them turn to me. I closed my eyes and reached into the border of dreams until I found what I wanted to manifest.
"Ohhh...nice!" I opened my eyes at Cirno's words and saw that what I conjured up came out properly. It was a simple chair and desk for the student and a white board for the teacher.
"Thanks teach! Okay Louise, take a seat." Cirno instructed and Louise obeyed like a good student should. My former student created a snowball in her hands and started tossing it up and catching it over and over again.
"This is what I'm talking about. Anything that leaves the ground will inevitably go back down because of the force known as Gravity. Another example of this would be if you jump up off the ground. No matter how high up you jump, you will still end up coming back down eventually." Cirno emphasized the point by tossing the snowball so high that it disappeared in the sky. After a few moments the snowball fell back down and into her hand.
"But what about things that can fly like birds, dragons, griffins, manticores, the country of Albion...?" Louise countered as she listed the things she knows can keep themselves up in the sky.
"Good question, Louise. However, I go back to the part where I said that Gravity will always be applied on something unless a force prevents Gravity from pulling something to the ground. Everything you listed aside from that floating country requires the act of flapping wings to be able to stay off the ground. I'm not sure what Albion uses to stay afloat, but it should be some force that prevents it from coming down on the ground. Simply put, Gravity is always active as long as you don't do anything to cancel it out or use something that can overcome it." Cirno clarified and Louise seemed to have grasped the concept just fine.
"So...did anyone make this Law of Gravity? Is there a sorcerer powerful enough to enforce such an absolute law in different realms?" Louise suddenly asked, both awed and frightened at the prospect of a magician powerful enough to create and maintain the Law of Gravity. It seemed that she didn't quite get the concept completely if she thinks that the Law of Gravity was created using magic.
"No...no, Louise. The Law of Gravity was not made by magic. It has just been that way ever since the beginning of time. It's one of the corner stones of how everything works the way they do. No one created the Law of Gravity, it is just the way it is ever since the very start." Cirno explained, trying her best to emphasize that magic had nothing to do with the creation of one of the Laws of Physics.
"So who called it a law then? If no one made it, then how was it called a law in the first place?" Louise asked with puffed cheeks, not appreciating that her idea was shot down so quickly by her senior.
"Another good question. The guy who discovered and made this concept a law is the same guy who made the concept of the Laws of Motion into laws. He was a human that lived a really long time ago. I forget his name but he's supposed to be the deadliest something-or-other in space. He didn't make the laws, he was just the guy who educated everyone else about it." Cirno answered and my master seemed to accept it.
"So this person must have been a really smart man to do all that..." Louise muttered, earning a laugh from Cirno.
"If you only knew Louise. In any case, you'll be very well acquainted with those particular laws during the course of our lessons since they will be the keys to your success in becoming a one-of-a-kind spell caster. By the time I'm done with you, you'll be a Physics Crunching Badass! You'll be the complete package!" Cirno declared triumphantly as she pointed skyward while giving Louise a confident smile.
"I assume that you will need a few things to get the ball rolling when it comes to teaching Louise about Inertia?" I interjected, making Cirno think about it for a few seconds before nodding.
"I'll need a lot of duct tape, a sledgehammer, and a penguin." Cirno said with a smirk as the gears in her head started turning.
"So anything that moves will keep moving unless something stops them..." Louise muttered sleepily as we both stood in front of the front gates of the academy while waiting for the griffin knight that was supposed to accompany us. I had Matilda hit the books as soon as Louise and I got ready to leave, though the former thief still tried to convince me to bring her along one more time. I admired her determination to stay with her charge even in the face of the very people that were threatening her life and the lives of her sister and the children of their orphanage. Unfortunately, we can't take any further risks with this little mission any more than what we were already risking. She then settled on speaking with Louise alone for a while before we left. I saw nothing wrong with it and allowed the two of them to speak in private in Louise's room, making sure to take Derf and my parasol with me before I left. I waited for Louise at the front of the main academy gates and she joined me after several minutes with a look of determination on her face and her cowboy hat on her head. Whatever my master spoke about with Matilda, it seemed to have done wonders to her resolve. Unfortunately, she was still sleepy, hence her current grogginess.
"So, the little miss has been taking Physics lessons lately?" Derf suddenly commented as it partially came out of its scabbard which was strapped to Louise's back. I had Louise carry Derf for me both because it was practical weight training for her later parkour lessons with Cirno and because I don't want to be bothered to carry Derf and my parasol at the same time.
"You are familiar with the concepts of Physics?" I asked the sword in slight surprise that a mostly inanimate object would know more about science than most of the people in the country.
"This comes back to Sasha. I've heard her talk to Brimir about the Laws of Physics and how they can be used to their advantage in battle against numerically superior foes." The sword answered, earning and intrigued look from me while Louise glanced back a bit to regard the sword.
"It was a bit of a rough patch in their lives." Derf added, a bit more information as to why The Founder and the first Gandalfr needed to utilize the Laws of Physics in combat while they were outnumbered.
"To answer your question...yes, Louise is currently studying up on the Laws of Physics to help her if she ever found herself in a combat situation." I explained. If the sword was capable of nodding, it probably would have given an understanding nod at that point.
"Just remember, little miss. Speedy thing goes in, speedy thing comes out." Derf dispensed its words of wisdom to my master, making Louise look back to the sword.
"What the founder does that mean?" Louise inquired. Derf merely gave a sword shrug, which rattled Louise a bit since she was carrying it on her back.
"I dunno, something Brimir said one time. The context is still really hazy but I'm sure you'll understand once the time comes. Just keep it in mind just in case." The sword answered before going back into its scabbard.
"It might be a clue about Void magic. I suggest you keep that phrase in mind as well, just in case." I threw in my two cents and Louise nodded in response before adopting a very serious expression.
"Speedy thing goes in, speedy thing comes out. Speedy thing goes in, speedy thing comes out. Speedy thing goes in, speedy thing comes out. What does it all mean?" Louise yelled out before scratching the back of her head. Before any further conversation can be made, I suddenly heard the flapping of wings in the air along with a particular aura of magical power...one I have not encountered before.
"It would seem that our escort has arrived." I stated before looking up. Louise followed by gaze and saw a small dot in the sky grow larger and larger until it formed into a familiar shape.
"It's a griffin..." Louise muttered in awe as the beast landed some distance in front of us.
"Yes, that would be what one would expect considering our escort is a member of the Griffin Knights." I flatly stated while ignoring Louise's glare and Derf's snicker. Instead, I focused on the man who had just dismounted from the griffin. The way he carried himself suggested that he had confidence in his ability. From what I had sensed from him, he seemed to be a magician on par with Matilda. At least the Princess provided a competent companion for this journey. He was well dressed, his clothing in perfect condition in addition to his cloak. He had a wide brimmed hat on, complete with a long white feather stuck in it like a character in a book from the outside world. He also carried a sword at his side, an odd looking one since it was too big to be a rapier but too small to be a broadsword like Derf. Nevertheless, it was a given considering his status as a knight in the service of his country. His light blonde, nearly ashen, hair was long and well cared for. His facial features were dignified and gave a certain sense of rugged handsomeness that Rinnosuke had during the later years of his life. His features were punctuated by a neatly trimmed beard which he was stroking as he stared at Louise and I. That was when I noticed an odd spike in Louise's magical power. I turned to my master and...
"V-V-V-Vi-Vi-Vis-Visc-Viscount Wardes!" Louise stammered in recognition of who our escort was. The man smiled at Louise and tipped his hat to her, my master returned the gesture using her own hat and making me wish I had brought my straw hat along. I raised a brow at the scene. Louise and our escort, Viscount Wardes as Louise stated, knew each other personally. Was this a coincidence or something Henrietta intended if Louise was willing to accept her request? Regardless, this man seemed to be someone that Louise knew so at least it would not be an awkward first meeting.
"That's a lovely hat you have on Little Louise." The Viscount complimented my master's hat, earning a blush and a nod from Louise. Well, if he likes hats, he couldn't have been that bad. I then noticed that he raised a brow before narrowing his eyes when he noticed what Louise was carrying on her back.
"Little Louise, I understand your concern for your safety during this mission for the Princess. However, don't you think that carrying a sword may be a bit much? I can assure you that no harm will befall you so long as you are with me." The Viscount stated before giving Louise a smile and a wink.
"Th-th-th-this isn't...I-I-I mean..." Louise continued to show her loss of the ability to speak coherently while under great emotional stress, this time being embarrassment in front of an older man.
"The sword was not meant to be wielded by Louise. It is simply something that she brought along as part of a training regiment to improve herself." I helped out my master to explain the reason why she had a sword on her back. The Viscount eyed me carefully while stroking his beard while I simply leaned on my parasol casually like a walking stick.
"And you are?" He finally asked, an edge and a tone of curiosity in his voice. I gave the man a small smile and a curt nod before introducing myself.
"I am Yuka Kazami. I am the contracted familiar of Louise Françoise le Blanc de la Vallière whom she summoned during the springtime summoning ritual in this academy. And you are?" I asked him after introducing myself. The man eyed me carefully for a few moments, probably considering my words, before laughing out loud.
"I am Viscount Jean-Jacques Francis de Wardes. Captain of the Sixty-Sixth Squadron of the Sixth order of the Tristain Royal Griffin Knights. My runic name is 'Lightning', I am a Square-Class Wind mage, and I am Little Louise's fiancé." The Viscount introduced himself with a sweeping bow. Interesting...did he provide all those titles to intimidate me? To make me see that he was more than capable of protecting Louise on his own and-
"Fiancé?" I suddenly asked while turning to my master who was now redder that she had ever been.
"Indeed, it was something that was originally arranged by our respective families but I eventually could not help but be drawn to Louise over time. You could say that it was a love that blossomed long after the seed has been planted." Wardes eloquently elaborated as he walked up to Louise and picked her up bridal style, Derflinger and all.
"Lord Wardes! What are you doing?" Louise panicked at the sudden action and was feebly trying to free herself from her fiancé's grasp. Wardes merely laughed before he started walking back to his griffin. I wordlessly followed them and noticed that Wardes' griffin took a few steps back when it noticed me approaching. I took another step forward and noted that it was trying very hard not to take another step back. I see...that griffin was Wardes' familiar which was why my presence was unnerving it quite a bit. Although, I admitted that it was very disciplined since it hadn't ran away in terror yet.
"Don't worry, this is just Louise. Now come, we must make haste to La Rochelle. I will provide further details of the mission as we ride there. Shall I wait until you get your horse Sir Kazami?" Wardes asked as he mounted his griffin with Louise before pointing out that I did not have a horse. I blinked a few times and shook my head, as if I would actually ride a horse to our destination. No, I had other plans on getting there.
"Yuka is fine, Sir Wardes. Don't worry about my transportation, I will meet you at La Rochelle later." I said with a curt nod.
"You're not riding with us?" Louise asked in surprise while Wardes simply raised a brow and nodded.
"Worry not, Louise. I promise that I will meet you at our destination. Besides, I'm sure that your beloved Viscount can keep you safe while I am not around." I stated a bit teasingly at my master. She puffed her cheeks at me before snorting.
"Fine, just don't take too long! I want you by my side the moment that we arrive there!" She stubbornly said while glaring at me.
"I will do my best." I replied with a warm smile.
I flew above the cloud line, just high enough so that no one would notice a human shaped object flying in the sky. I gazed down and saw the griffin that was currently headed for the port city of La Rochelle, the griffin that carried my master and her beloved, and Derf too I guess. While it was reassuring to have a mage knight of Wardes' standard accompanying us, less things for me to worry about, it did raise a few questions. If the Princess had someone like Wardes as an ace in the hole, why did she have to send Louise? The knight seemed more than capable of accomplishing this mission by himself, especially without the need to look after a civilian like my master. Was this all some clever gambit that the Princess or someone in her court orchestrated to ensure that this mission is accomplished? Was this just Henrietta not trusting one of the Captains of the Griffin Knights to do this alone? Was this something else, a ploy made by someone about something far more sinister than what I had previously expected?
As I flew toward my destination, I could not help but feel that something is off. I rarely have bad feelings about situations seeing as I could simply blast my way out of them. This was different though. I silently hoped that this was just me overthinking things again as I continued toward La Rochelle.
"What is all this?" I asked as I approached Wardes and my master as they stood in front of an inn, behind them were luggages that I was sure that we did not bring along when we left the academy. Louise turned to my voice before smiling then quickly giving me a scowl.
"These are luggages. And I thought I said that you were supposed to be by my side the moment that we arrived here!" Louise stated, completely ignoring the fact that we did not leave the academy with any bags. Instead, she chose to grill me because I had arrived late.
"Yes, but what are they doing here? Why so much stuff?" I asked, sidestepping the issue about being late and instead asking where the mystery packages are and how they got here. I was 'late' because I had to stay in the air and see where Wardes' was planning on stopping for the night. I wasn't about to walk around a city I had never been in before without knowing how to get to my destination. I made sure to take note to the location of the inn he had chosen before going to the city outskirts and landing, making my way to my master on foot afterward.
"That doesn't matter!" Louise yelled at me before stomping her way into the inn, an odd scene considering she still had her hat on her head and Derf on her back. I was wondering why she seemed so angry at me and hoping that the people within the inn did not mistake her for a hooligan when I noticed that Wardes was laughing the way see always seems to before patting my shoulder with his hand.
"Quite the master you have there!" He stated in a friendly tone.
"Quite the fiancé you have there." I shot back, earning another round of laughter from the man.
"Indeed, we must make sure to keep her safe until this mission is over." Wardes suddenly said in all seriousness. I raised a brow at the sudden mood whiplash when the Viscount decided to continue.
"I did not approve of the Princess' decision to send Louise to Albion, it was just too dangerous to do so with everything happening up there. Unfortunately, both the Princess and Louise seemed adamant about it so I had no choice but to go along with it and hope that I will be strong enough to protect her." The Viscount voiced his opinion about this whole mission, it seemed that he was not happy about the arrangement either.
"Tell me, are you capable of protecting Louise?" The man suddenly asked me in all seriousness.
"If it comes down to it, I will protect Louise from any harm." I answered simply, not letting it known just how safe Louise was if she was with me. I resisted to frown when I heard the Viscount sigh before giving me a pitying look.
"I admire your dedication, but you seem to be a commoner. As it stands, even with the sword that Louise carries, I do not think that you will be able to protect her by yourself. I do not mean any disrespect but..." Wardes trailed off before looking at the late afternoon sky. I was not sure if this was just him stating that I had no means to be able to protect my master so I should just stay out of the way or if this was genuine concern that harm may befall both to my master and to myself if I went with them the rest of the way.
"I understand your concern Viscount. However, it will not change the fact that I will do whatever I can to protect Louise. Besides, my master is not as helpless as she looks." I stated confidently. Wardes sighed one more time before looking at me with a warm smile.
"True. She did help defeat Fouquet of the Crumbling Dirt after all. I apologize if I offended you." He said before walking into the inn after Louise. I looked at the back of the man that was going to marry my master someday and wondered. What is this uncomfortable feeling I keep getting when I see him with Louise?
I had arranged the luggage that mysteriously appeared in front of the inn to be sent to my master's room. She was roomed with the Viscount while I was in the next room over. She had originally protested about being roomed with a grown man but the Viscount assured her that he would be the perfect gentleman while she was with him. Louise went along with it eventually since she trusted the man to an extent and the fact that she knew what I would do to him if he tried to force her into anything she did not want. I made sure to wait until they were both asleep before making my way outside and into a nondescript alleyway. Not exactly the most ideal place to set a door to Mugenkan but I couldn't be picky about it right now. I entered my dream realm and saw that Louise was already there and was talking with Cirno.
"...and that is what shape charges are." I heard Cirno say, seemingly at the end of her explanation while Louise nodded to her words.
"That does sound very useful." Louise admitted before they both turned to me after noticing my footsteps.
"Sup teach? Just giving Louise an overview of tonight's lesson." Cirno stated with a confident smile.
"You will not be teaching her parkour?" I asked with a raised brow.
"No time. Louise gave me a rundown on the current situation on your end. She has you and a badass magic knight to keep her safe so I can afford to push back that lesson to a later date. Instead I want to get her started on the practical applications of her explosive spells." Cirno explained.
"Hence 'shape charges'." I pointed out.
"I'm still not sure about all of this though. I didn't know that explosions can be that versatile if you use it correctly. I'm not sure that I can do half the things Cirno-nee was talking about." She admitted sheepishly as she fidgeted in place. She suddenly gave a surprised yelp when Cirno slapped her on the back.
"Don't worry. For now we'll work on your casting time and your accuracy, we can start with the rest of the stuff if we have time before you wake up." Cirno stated, she seemed to have thought this out well. I guess having a pseudo-apprentice got her in a good mood.
"Casting time?" Louise inquired, not sure about what Cirno was talking about.
"Yep. The best thing about your explosions is that it can activate regardless of what spell you try to cast. Do you have any idea how exploitable that is?" My former student asked rhetorically. When Louise didn't seem to catch on, I decided to do it for her.
"What Cirno is trying to tell you is that any spell you cast turns into an explosion...regardless of how long it takes to cast that particular spell." I provided, earning a nod from the ice fairy and a tilted head from Louise.
"Look, why don't I just show you. Teach, could you set up some dummies for us?" Cirno asked and I complied by making three mannequins a short distance away that resembled Sunnymilk, Lunachild, and Star Sapphire. I also conjured up a wand for Louise to use for the duration of tonight's lesson.
"Nice...now, I want you to cast a spell with the shortest incantation that you know." Cirno instructed while pointing at the Sunnymilk mannequin. Louise nodded and complied and the mannequin was turned to splinters five seconds later.
"Now, I want you to cast a spell with the longest incantation that you know." My former student continued while pointing to the next target. My master obeyed her senior and blew up the second target thirty seconds later.
"Now, I want you to cast a spell with an incantation of average length." Cirno said while pointing at the last mannequin. Louise destroyed the last target in little over twelve seconds.
"Now, what have we learned?" Cirno asked Louise, who looked at her wand and the mannequins that she destroyed before turning to her senior.
"I can make explosions faster by trying to cast a shorter spell." She stated with a bit of surprise in her voice.
"Exactly. That will be the focus of our lessons today. Your accuracy will improve as you keep casting but what I want you to get out of this is to be able to cast explosion with just one word." Cirno revealed her plan for Louise.
"Just one word? Is that even possible?" Louise asked at seemingly absurd concept of being able to cast magic with a single word.
"Keyword casting. It is a method of casting by which you bind a spell to a certain word and cast it as soon as you focus enough magical energy for it and say the magic word." I provided.
"That's right. Normally, this is used to really mundane spells since trying to bind powerhouse spells into a single word is horrendously hard. Then again, teach can silent cast Master Spark...so yeah." Cirno explained, I smiled as I finally understood what Cirno was trying to do.
"I see...since Louise can turn any spell into a explosion, she can bind a simple spell to a word and still be able to create an explosion using it." I said, earning a smile from the ice fairy.
"You got it. Eventually, I want Louise to be able to create shape charges or rapid cast explosions but for now...this should be enough." Cirno said with a confident smile before turning to my master who was still in an uncertain state.
"Whenever you're ready, Louise." My former student said, snapping my master from her thoughts. She gulped before nodding as she gripped her wand tightly.
"Alright...let's do this." She said with determination.
"Louise, Viscount. It is already dawn, it is time to leave." I called out to my master and her fiancé as I knocked on their door. I raised a brow from the lack of a response. Louise's lesson was most productive and she was able to bind an explosion spell to a particular word of her choice. Cirno and I asked her why she chose such a word to bind her spell to but Louise only answered 'because it is appropriate'. We let the subject drop and I left Mugenkan a few minutes ago before making my way back to the inn.
"Louise? Louise?" I called out to my master while practically banging on the door. She should be up by now. I sensed that uncomfortable feeling again and I decided to enter the room without their consent. I gave the door a gentle nudge and the lock broke without much resistance. I opened the door and narrowed my eyes before gritting my teeth. I immediately left the inn and went back into Mugenkan where I saw Cirno and Yukari talking.
"Where is Louise?" I quickly asked. They blinked at me for a second before looking at each other.
"She just popped out a few moments ago, why?" Cirno answered and I suddenly felt something I have not felt in a long time.
"What happened?" Yukari asked with concern when she noticed my expression. Both Yukari and Cirno knew what I was like when I was angry. You wouldn't like me if I was angry.
"Louise is missing..." I said through gnashing teeth, trying to figure out what could have happened. There was only one possibility to this, one reason why Louise is gone.
"...and someone is going to die."