|Louise & Yuka K.|
| Book: Be Careful What|
You Wish For, Chapter 19
|Release date||03-10-11 Rev2|
|Written by||Vanishing Trooper|
Be Careful What
You Wish For
Be Careful What
You Wish For
Chapter 19 Updated: 02-13-12 - Published: 03-10-11
Author's Notes: Here it is! The BIGGEST chapter ever in this story and the finale of 'Season One'. I thank all of you who have supported this fic after all this time and I hope that you enjoy this. I will be taking a break from writing this for a while so I can review the material for Season Two and such. In the meantime, please enjoy the new chapter! EDIT: Due to several people complaining about my sudden and out of left field inclusion of Touhou Rider Reimu, I have revised the ending of Season One with my original plan for it. Disclaimer: FUS RO D'AWWWWW~
There were many things that Duchess Karin Desiree de la Valliere was known for:
A perfect example of nobility not only in Tristain but also in all of Halkeginia.
The wife of the mighty Duke Valliere who was famous for his political and military exploits.
A vision of beauty that persistently refused to be affected by the sands of time.
A devout follower of the rules established by the founder and enforced by the Tristain royal family.
A mother of three daughters, each having her beauty and strength of character.
There were also things that Ducthess Karin Desiree de la Valliere was not publicly known for: A rebellious daughter who was once eager to prove herself to her family, her peers, her country, and to herself in military discipline.
A Chevallier who was once mistaken for a man by the then Royal Princess of Tristain and was enamored by her.
A knight who was once involved in a number of dangerous missions that risked her life and the lives of her comrades.
A Square-Class Wind Mage of the highest caliber.
A captain of the Manticore Knights which she rose to levels once thought impossible.
A brilliant tactician that could even give her husband a run for his money.
The greatest enforcer of 'Rule of Steel'.
The legendary 'Heavy Wind' of Tristain.
And...there were also things that Duchess Karin Desiree de la Valliere wished people would just forget, regardless if no one knew that she was affected by those things or not:
A rumor that Duchess Valliere was actually immortal because of a pact with a spirit.
The story where 'The Heavy Wind' managed to face and defeat an Elf Warrior in single magic combat.
The story where 'The Heavy Wind' was able to utterly destroy an entire Germanian Vanguard Battalion using never before seen 'Anti-Army' wind spells.
The story about that one time when 'The Heavy Wind' managed to move the floating country of Albion itself using only her magic.
The rumor that the mighty Manticore of 'The Heavy Wind' was not a familiar but a magical construct created from scratch by the legend for the sole purpose of destroying all foes.
As much as people knew her or did not know her or were just exaggerating everything beyond all redemption, Karin was purely one thing in her own mind.
Ducthess Karin Desiree de la Valliere, legendary Captain of the First Squadron of the First Order of Tristain Manticore Knights and once known as 'The Heavy Wind', is forever loyal to her country and to the crown.
"What are you thinking about, Karin?" A voice called out to the living legend as she stood frozen in a certain room one night. It was one of the most secure and most secret rooms in the entire Valliere estate. Why you ask? It was because this was the room...the armory...that held all that could link former Manticore Knight Captain to Duchess Karin Desiree de la Valliere. The duchess and former knight was wearing a fine white silk nightgown with a white shawl. Her strawberry-blonde hair, which was inherited by two of her daughters, was let down and flowed freely down her back. Indeed, at a single glance, she was not someone who looked like she had three daughters and once lived the life of a knight. The only indication of her previous life were her eyes. Eyes that were as hard as the finest steel.
"What is your opinion about the news that the Albion Armada is invading us and is only a day away from the village of Tarbes?" She asked as she tore her eyes away from the stand that held her armor. She leveled her ever stern gaze at the only man that she had ever considered her equal. The man that she loved. The man that fathered their three daughters. Duke Valliere made a thoughtful hum as he considered his wife's question. The man absentmindedly stroked his finely kept mustache as he thought about what Karin just asked him. Like his wife, Duke Valliere was in his eveningwear, a fine blue robe. Duke Valliere had also lived the life of a knight until he finally stepped down from his duties and took up politics instead. This was also around the time when he married Karin and when the legend of the 'Heavy Wind' finally ended. He ran a hand through his blonde hair, which their second daughter inherited from him, and almost tried to adjust the monocle that he wasn't even wearing.
"Admiral Highwind will not win. Our fleet is too small, our skilled mounted knights are too few. If only Jaques were there and the Sixty-Sixth not had been-" Louise's father never managed to finish his sentence as his wife cut him off. "Jaques is a traitor and his subordinates had to suffer for it!" Karin's voice was full of malice and disappointment at what her greatest student had done.
She had learned of the betrayal and what happened in the floating country of Albion when she made a personal inquiry to Princess Henrietta. It several days after Louise and Yuka came back with Prince Wales and Father Benedict so she did not see her daughter or her daughter's familiar when she went to the Royal Palace. Imagine her surprise when she saw none other than Prince Wales Tudor when she finally got her audience with Princess Henrietta.
It was a long conversation. A very long, very grueling conversation wherein both heirs to their respective countries' thrones did their best not to upset the duchess any more than she already was. Henrietta and Wales explained everything over and over again without divulging the fact that the daughter of the woman in front of them was involved in the incident. All Karin knew was that Viscount Wardes was sent out on a secret mission to escort an emissary that was hand picked by Henrietta to Wales' safe house in Albion.
Withstand the wrath of the duchess so they didn't have to deal with the wrath of Louise's familiar.
The whole ordeal took up the entire day and it was well into the evening when Karin begrudgingly accepted the fact that her prized student betrayed her country. To say that Karin had a bad day then was an understatement.
"And what do you think of all this, Karin?" Her husband's voice pulled her out of her recollection. The man did not look at all startled or bothered by her wife's outburst, he had seen far worse a long time ago.
"The fall of Tarbes will doom all of Tristain." Louise's mother said without any hesitation and saw her husband nod in agreement. Karin had called Duke Valliere as soon as she returned from her trip to the capital and quickly led him into their private study and locked the door. She gave strict orders, very strict orders, to her Eleanor and Cattleya as well as to the servants not to disturb them until they willingly came out.
Karin then told everything she had learned to her husband and equal. Duke Valliere very nearly took up his own wand to go on a warpath against the Wardes family for what Jacques tried to do. He was the man that he and his wife hand picked to marry their youngest daughter! Karin let her husband calm down on his own before continuing. She knew that, as emotional as he can become when it came to anything involving their daughters, he was not as simple as to loose his composure over a man who was already reported dead.
"And you will do something about it, I assume? Otherwise you wouldn't be staring at your armor like that." The Duke gave his wife a knowing grin, he was the only person known in Halkeginia who could do that to her and live. Karin gave her husband a measured look before turning back to her armor. She reached out and touched the shuttlecock that adorned the wide-brimmed hat which was part of her armor, the most distinct symbol of her rank in the mounted knight corps.
"Prepare the army. Make a second, third, and final line of defense. You are the only one who can convince the rest of the generals." Karin stated matter-of-factly without turning back to her husband.
"Prepare for the worst...and protect our daughters should I fall in battle. Do not let those Albion dogs even catch sight of our-" Was all the legendary Manticore Knight Commander was able to say before she was swept up in a powerful embrace by her husband. Karin did not fight against the grasp of her love. Only here, in this heavily locked up room, in the presence of the man she loves, was where Karin showed that she was still like any other wife and mother.
Cattleya and Eleanor looked on worriedly as they watched their mother leave the next day in full combat gear while she rode on her manticore. Duke Valliere was already on his way to the capital to prepare what his wife requested. After all, even if he was not asked to by his beloved, he would not allow any invader to even gaze upon his daughters.
"I guess that takes care of the evacuations." Louise stated absentmindedly in relief as she looked around the town square which was mostly empty now. Henrietta's soldiers and Louise's party were the only ones left in the village.
"Yes, it is certainly a relief that Ruukoto and Yuka managed to buy us some time. I thought we were all done for after the surprise attack by Viscount Wardes." Guiche stated with equal relief, earning nods from the rest of his friends. They were all gathered in one spot save for Sylphid, whom Tabitha sent away to the relative safety of the mountainside in order to recover, and were all talking amongst themselves. If one didn't know any better, one would not think that there was a large battle happening not too far away.
"Dame Valliere." Louise heard Helgarose call out to her from behind. She and her friends turned to find the blue-haired knight walking toward them along with Agnes and Princess Henrietta. Louise glanced around for any sign of Ilfriede or Lunateresia but she did not find them.
"Lunateresia and Ilfriede are helping with fortifications for the village, they send their regards." The chevalier provided after seeing Louise glancing around. "Oh, okay..." The young void mage said with a smile and a nod. She then turned toward Princess Henrietta and saw that the monarch was giving her a measured look.
"I'm sorry for going against your wishes, your highness. I simply wanted to do what I believe is right. I will gladly accept any punishment you would deal to me because of my actions once this is all over but I beg of you to spare my friends the same fate." Louise pleaded to her princess with a bow, eliciting gasps from her friends and the princess herself.
"Raise...your head, Louise Francoise." Henrietta finally said after a few tense moments. Louise hesitantly did as she was told and was immediately engulfed in an embrace from her childhood friend.
"Y-y-y-y-your highness?" The strawberry-blonde girl stammered as she instinctively held onto Henrietta's arms to prevent the taller girl from completely smothering her.
"You need not worry yourself about that matter, my friend. I will not punish you or your companions for trying to protect your countrymen." Henrietta responded while stroking Louise's hair.
"But...I disobeyed a direct request from you." Louise pointed out in slight shock.
"You were doing what you had to do as my friend. I have very few who I can call that and I rely on you to set me straight when no one else will. Though I suppose that Mister Yuka would have done so if he was here." Henrietta countered before shifting the discussion to Louise's familiar. The young void mage gulped at the mention of Yuka's name as she had yet to explain anything about what they all already know. Henrietta separated herself from her friend and gave her a small smile.
"What happened with Mister Yuka after that sudden attack? Helgarose said that you and know quite a bit about this battle and promised to explain more once things settled down." The Princess of Tristain asked her friend and Louise visibly stiffened at her words. She glanced over to Agnes and Helgarose and saw that they had matching expressions while looking at her expectantly.
"Louise..." Monmon called out to her friend as she put a hand on Louise's shoulder. The girl in question turned around and found her friends smiling at her with confidence.
"No point hiding things now right~? The only thing we have to worry about now is protecting this place and having an army to back us up doesn't sound too bad a deal~" Kirche pointed out with her usual sultry tone before winking at Louise. The strawberry-blonde silently complained as to why the redhead had to make so much sense before turning away from the Germanian and trying to hide her blush. Louise cleared her throat before turning back to Henrietta to start explaining what she knew of the situation when...
'I'm sending this message out to everyone. Please attention because I don't have time to repeat myself.' Yuka's voice made Louise stall her explanation. She turned to everyone else and saw that they were each touching their 'Hey-Listen' on reflex and were looking at her.
"Louise Francoise? What is wrong?" Henrietta called out to her friend when she noticed that Louise and her companions flinch at the same time before looking at each other.
"I don't know yet. Please give is a few moments your Highness." Louise said with a bow before tapping her 'Hey-Listen'. 'Go ahead Yuka. What is this about?' Louise asked her familiar, an uncertain feeling of foreboding building up inside her.
'What I am about to tell you all may sound odd and crazy, but let me finish before you say anything else. Also, I want Ruukoto back with Louise and the others for this. Break off from Wardes on my mark...' I said as my double and I flew closer and closer to where Wardes and Ruukoto were still clashing.
'Three, two, one...mark.' I calmly said just as the two of them broke off from one another from what seemed to be a melee duel. The undead Viscount still had both of it runed lances while Ruukoto had its Anti-Material sword out and was wielding it with both hands. At my word, Ruukoto immediately broke off from battle and headed straight for Tarbes. Wardes was about to pursue the gynoid but I had other plans.
"Shoulder check." I commanded by other half and she gleefully followed my order with a salute before flying to intercept her target.
"Ramming speed!" She yelled out, getting her target's attention. I saw Wardes give what sounded like a frustrated roar right before it cast a hastily made wind shield just as my other half slammed her shoulder into it.
"Don't kill it yet, just keep it in check for now." I told my other half before turning my attention back to the others. 'Ruukoto is already there I presume?' I asked my master when I heard them voice their surprise at something.
'I have rendezvoused with the mistress and the others. Everyone is safe and accounted for.' The gynoid confirmed my question. "Yes, she's here. Shocked everyone else here though, what's going on? What happened to keep as much of this a secret as possible?" Louise asked me from the other end of our contact.
'The endgame is already here. The Tristain Fleet will fall soon but we still have a way to win without me turning it into a genocide.' I explained even though I still considered genocide as another game for me to play. I decided to continue when I did not hear anyone else speak.
'Prince Wales is here and is currently on one of the few remaining Tristain vessels that are still in the air. He is here to try to convince the Albion Armada to cease its assault. I can't really see them changing their minds even with his words but possibility seems to be good enough for it to actually be effective.' I stated and glanced at my other half as she dodged or slapped away Wardes' attempts at shooting her down with tornadoes and razor wind spell combinations.
'Because of this, I need Ruukoto and Louise to rendezvous with Prince Wales for that plan to be completed.' I finished the layout for said plan.
'What? Why do Ruukoto and I need to be there?' My master asked the obvious question.
'Ruukoto, do you have any system that will allow a human to be heard over a very large area?' I decided to ignore my master's inquiry for now and confirmed if Ruukoto really was capable of what we needed for this little plan.
'Yes. White Noise and Level Six Shift both have a system that can allow one to be heard by all sentients over a maximum area of one-thousand miles in all directions. Caution. Please be advised that this Ruukoto Unit One Version Four will be completely unable to defend itself while using that system as all power will be redirected to maintaining it.' Ruukoto responded and made me raise a brow. One-thousand miles? What would prompt the gynoid to even have such a system on two of its special modes no less. I shook my head free of such trivial things. What mattered was that it had what we needed. The Viscount's former squadron should be capable of protecting Louise, Wales, and Ruukoto while the Prince is doing his business and while I make sure that all traces of Wardes is gone from existence.
'You haven't answered my question yet Yuka.' Louise reminded in a somewhat annoyed tone.
'Ah yes. I was planning on having Ruukoto help Prince Wales out in speaking to his fellow countrymen to try to convince them to stop trying to kill everyone. However, Louise is Ruukoto's master and the only one who can order it to do that, so I thought it prudent to bring you along for the ride as well.' I explained the reason for the plan and the need for Louise to be there.
'Are you crazy? Are you seriously asking Louise to go to the middle of that battle so that Prince Wales can try to talk the Albion Armada out of an invasion they were already more than ready for? How do you know that this will even work?' Monmon screamed through my ear-piece, eliciting pained hisses and urks from the rest of the group.
'Oh! I'm so sorry! I didn't mean for you all to hear that too!' The blonde girl profusely apologized after finally realizing that she had ended up yelling into everyone else's ears as well. The only voices I didn't complain about the girl's outburst were Ruukoto and Tabitha, though that was to be expected.
'Well yes, according to Yuka-well I'm sure he's safe your highness but-I'll be fine, if this will end the fighting then-' I heard Louise suddenly start saying. I assumed that she was with Henrietta and the princess was now both grilling my master and worrying about the safety of her childhood friend. I sighed at the way they were all handling a situation that should require a prompt response.
I was almost starting to long for the days when I could just vaporize all my problems away...almost.
'We don't have time for this. We need to accomplish this while we still can or else Prince Wales will die and the Tristain Fleet will fall. Now, before anything else happens, we need-' Was all I was able to say before something else did happen. I did not sense it until it was too late, but Wardes, my double, and I were all suddenly hit with what felt like a solid wall of force from an undeterminable distance. However, I was rather certain that it came from within Tristain territory.
"Well...that was unexpected..." I muttered as I stabilized myself before cracking my neck to get the kinks out. I glanced at my other half and saw that she was glaring at something. I glanced at Wardes and saw that it was slowly backing away from the origin of that sudden attack. My other half and I held up our parasols at the same time and opened them just when I sensed another attack. The same wall of force hit our parasols, but obviously did not break them, so we held our shields until the attack lost power.
Fool me once...
Wardes was not as lucky as it was blown back quite a distance because of the attack. I looked back to where the magic attacks came from and saw that it came from a single source, a magician...a human one. That alone prompted me to raise a brow considering the kind of raw power those attacks had compared to what I have dealt with so far with human magicians of this realm.
Whoever the magician was, he or she was certainly dressed up for a fight. Wearing a faded but heavier looking version of the armor that I saw on Wardes' former comrades, the various knicks and notches that were randomly marked all over the enchanted metal. Yes, that armor was enchanted as was the clothing that covered the body parts that the metal could not.
The mystery magic knight also had a wide brimmed hat that had an oddly prominent shuttlecock on it. More interestingly though, most of the knight's face was covered by a metal mask while the knight's neck was covered by a somewhat faded mantle. All in all, the only visible feature on the knights face were the eyes. They were eyes that held great power and discipline, reminding me of Shou Toramaru's eyes whenever I managed to goad her enough to fight seriously. Yet, they were eyes that seemed familiar to me somehow for a different reason, but I couldn't place my finger on it. A runed lance was in the knight's right hand while the left was holding onto the reins of his or hers mount.
Yes, the mount itself was quite the specimen as well. During my stay in this realm I have seen dragons and griffins being used as mounts by magicians but never something like what that knight was riding on so effortlessly. The beast was...robust and ancient...that was the impression I had when I felt its presence. It had the head and body of a large male lion complete with a dark mane, the wings of a dragon, and the tail of a giant red scorpion.
I have read of such creatures back when I accompanied Cirno to the Scarlet Devil Mansion's Voile Magic Library for her lessons with little Patchouli. They were supposed to be mythical beasts that were quite hostile to humans, they're power and intelligence were also apparently directly proportional to their age. Because of those things, it would seem that this mystery magic knight was quite powerful to have tamed a manticore that seemed to be quite ancient. That did raise a question though...
If such a knight existed, why didn't Henrietta bring this one with her when she first showed up?
"Hm!" I grunted as any further speculations and observations were put on hold when the knight made a sweeping motion with the runed lance. It was then that I finally understood what that wall of force that hit us was.
It was wind.
"Hmph!" A particularly heavy wind considering the amount of power I had to put behind my now closed parasol in order to swat the spell away. I saw a flash of what seemed like surprise in the knight's eyes for a second before the manticore propelled itself at me. The knight wordlessly cast spell after spell at me in rapid succession, likely trying to overwhelm me with it. Really? Of all the targets here, the knight goes after me?
"Cease your foolish actions. If you are a a knight in ther service of the country of Tristain, then I'm not the one you should be attacking." I said to the knight who still continued to attack me with wall after wall of wind. Despite the odd situation, I could not help but be curious as to who this knight was. The knight was silent-rapid casting wind spells that had more power behind them than a full-blown punch from Matilda's golem.
The knight then pulled back immediately cast a wall of wind to the left side while launching three wind lances in the same direction. I frowned when the sneak attack that my double tried to pull off was detected. My other half hissed in annoyance before she smacked away the wind lances launched at her, I narrowed my eyes when I noticed that it nearly took a full two seconds for her to break apart each lance. My double persisted despite that little surprise and thrust her parasol straight through the shield of wind.
"Hmmm..." I hummed contemplatively when I saw my other half's expression. It was confusion laced with surprise. Why? Because the shield held. A magic shield made by a human magician, who wasn't a Hakurei nor from Gensokyo, held fast against a direct strike from my other half. It was at that moment that I decided that I was likely facing the most powerful conventional human magician in Tristain, probably even the entire realm. I then blinked before growling in realization that Wardes had once again slipped away. Okay, that does it.
"Return!" I declared humorlessly and my double instantly stopped its pursuit of the mystery magic knight. She smiled before blowing a kiss at her target and turning into a pile of sunflower petals before disappearing. The momentary surprise the knight had after my other half dissolved in mid-pursuit was all I needed. A simple rustle from my deep dark green wings later and I was upon my foe. To the knight's credit, he or she managed to catch my killing intent fast enough to cast another wind shield...as if that would help any.
"Who. Are. You?" I growled the question at the knight as I sank the fingers of my left hand into the shield. At the moment, I had no intention of killing the knight. If my foe really was a knight of Tristain then he or she will have some use...so long as the knight did not do anything monumentally stupid.
"I have no name to give to a monster drenched in the blood of man and beast." The muffled voice of the knight said before pulling away from me as I broke the wind shield with my bare hand.
"A woman?" I questioned. I did not notice it from the knight's appearance because of all the armor before but...that voice, though muffled and distorted because of the metal mask, was definitely that of a woman.
'Yuka! What is happening up there? Where are you? Ruukoto says that Viscount Wardes is headed right for us and sh-' The transmission cut off and a loud explosion of force came from the direction of Tarbes. My mouth went dry and I felt my heart stop. One moment. One single moment of fear the kind I have never felt in my entire existence. It only took one moment...and I exploded.
"LOUISE!" I roared before flying full tilt towards Tarbes. Wave upon wave upon wave of emotions assaulted me as I the seconds on during my approach to the village.
Why did I play around so much?
Why didn't I take this situation more seriously?
Why did I underestimate Wardes?
Why didn't I just vaporize that monster the moment I saw it?
Why did I let myself get so distracted by little things?
My thoughts raced as my anger rose when I saw the damage caused by the sudden attack. Half of the village square was completely destroyed along with several nearby buildings. The other part of the square looked untouched though it looked like something was hurled at one of the buildings and made a hole. I snarled when I didn't see Wardes anywhere.
I was torn.
I wanted very, very, very badly to end the existence of that wretch. However, my concern for Louise was just as great as my desire to kill, if not more. I was just about to call out my double once more when I was blindsided by that knight. I found myself on the ground, pinned down by the knight's manticore. I wondered how she managed to catch up to me so quickly as she pointed her lance between my eyes while her mount threatened to bite my throat off at a moment's notice. I didn't have time for this! I have to-
"WHERE IS SHE?" The knight all but screamed at me. I grabbed the runed lance with my left hand while pointing my parasol between her mount's eyes.
"I don't have time to worry about Henrietta, I have to fin-" A sudden explosion from one of the larger nearby houses caught both of our attentions and interrupted our little standoff.
"You didn't have to destroy the house!" The unmistakable sound of Louise reprimanding someone almost made my brain halt all functions. She was safe? She was safe and scolding someone...
"I apologize, mistress." I heard Ruukoto say just as it emerged from the newly made hole in the house. The gynoid had disabled its wings but still had its G-Revolver in its left hand. It turned to the situation I had myself in before tilting its head in contemplation.
"Do you require assistance Yuka?" It asked simply, likely dubious as to how much help I would actually needed in this situation. I was about to wave it away and disable the knight and its mount when I heard some noise and assorted voices from within the structure.
"Yuka? Yuka's here? Yuka! Get your butt over here! Now!" I heard Louise yell out. I did not know why, but my first impulse upon confirming my master's safety...was to laugh.
And laugh I did. I ignored the low threatening growl of the manticore as well as the annoyed look that the knight was giving me through her mask.
"What's going on? Why are you laughing? I'll be fine Helgarose. If Yuka's out there then we should be safe. Just stay here and help guard the princess." Louise said in a surprisingly commanding voice. I assumed that Ruukoto managed to get everyone into that building before Wardes made its attack. The gynoid also seemed to have protected said structure from the attack as well. I'll need to ask it about that later or see if Nitori's notes have anything on that kind of ability.
"It may not be safe to come out yet, mistress. Yuka seems to be in a sort of situation." Ruukoto warned Louise with a glance before looking back to me, probably formulating the best way to resolve the...situation...in case I was not able to.
"Please, Yuka is out there. What's the worse that could-" Louise's words froze along with her body when she saw me and the mystery knight. My master looked rather silly frozen mid-step while coming out of the hole Ruukoto made, though I was mildly impressed that she could remain balanced on all that loose stone with only one foot on the ground.
"Louise, we both know that this isn't the worst thing you've caught me doing..." I deadpanned, trying to snap Louise out of her trance. No response. In fact, she stayed that way even after everyone else in that building managed to come out. Even Kirche wasn't able to snap her out of her frozen state. Henrietta came out last and gasped when she saw me still being pinned down by the mystery manticore knight. Agnes and one other female knight, a blue-haired one kept their guard up at the strange but intimidating sight and made sure that they were between us and their princess. Tabitha looked at me directly, looking for something to go on. I gave a small shake of my head to indicate that she should do nothing. As powerful as the quiet girl was, this was a foe none of them can face and come out victorious.
"It brings me joy to see you safe, Princess Henrietta." The knight suddenly said after a momentary glance at the princess. "That armor...that mantle..." The blue-haired female knight beside Agnes muttered loud enough for everyone to hear. Henrietta regarded the scene with a critical eye, not even flinching at the sight of me with wings or covered from head to toe with blood.
"That is the armor of the Tristain Manticore Knights..." The princess said carefully as if the snarling manticore on top of me wasn't evidence enough. "Tell me...what is your name?" The princess asked the knight. She could have asked her to get the beast off of me before she asked that question but I supposed that Henrietta had her own sets of priorities.
"I was once known as Karin, former commander of the First Squadron of the First Order of Tristain Manticore Knights." The knight named Karin responded immediately. I heard the sound of something falling on the ground before Monmon started to frantically call out to Louise. I glanced at my master and saw that she had fainted.
That seemed familiar somehow but I couldn't place my finger on it at the time...
"Well...now that we've established that you are of the Tristain military, or was once one, would you please get your manticore off me?" I asked in a bored tone as I pointed at the offending beast with my parasol. I was tempted to poke it on the nose but I thought that the creature might try to bite my parasol and I would have ended up having to rip its head off for doing something so silly.
"Silence monster! You do not belong in this world!" The knight now known as Karin yelled at me while trying to look as intimidating as possible. I rolled my eyes at the gesture, both because I've been through something like this before and because nothing in this realm scares me short of Scarron...or possibly losing Louise, not that I would ever admit that.
"Karin, Knight of the Heavy Wind, I would ask you to please release Sir Kazami." Henrietta said to the masked rider. Karin regarded the princess with narrowed eyes as soon as she realized what Henrietta was asking.
"Yuka is fine. Though, releasing me would be a good idea lest I start becoming uncomfortable with my current position." I commented offhandedly, which Karin decided to ignore and address the princess instead.
"You know this...monster?" Karin asked. Since I wasn't really doing anything, my mind started to wander for a moment and I realized something. The only real way for a beast as hostile to humans as a manticore would ever willingly serve as a mount to one was if it was the familiar of the rider. Obviously, that shows how powerful Karin was to be able to summon and bind a manticore as a familiar, but it also showed something else. The beast was a familiar...but it wasn't afraid of me. Up until now, every familiar that first encounters me shows some degree of fear because of what I was. But this creature that was pinning me down...that I let pin me down...showed none of that. It was then that I decided that this 'Karin of the Heavy Wind' was an extremely interesting woman. She gets to live because of that.
"In fact I do. I owe Mister Yuka and his master, Louise Francoise Le Blanc de La Valliere, great debts that I don't think I will ever be able to repay. Now please...I do not wish to make this an official order, especially to one who has done so much for our country." Henrietta explained before once again asking Karin to get her manticore off me. I noticed Karin look between me and the still unconsciousLouise before looking back to Princess Henrietta.
"Very well..." The knight reluctantly obeyed the request but was still obviously on guard against me. I simply shook my head before sighing and dusting off my shit and vest...which was still caked with blood, but still. I stood up and gave Karin a momentary glance before walking to where my master and her friends were. There was another thing I didn't quite understand though. I saw Karin look to me and then to Louise directly when Henrietta told her that the strawberry-blonde girl was my master. Out of all the people there, how did she know who Louise was in relation to everyone else?
"Mister Yuka! What in Halkeginia happened to you? Are you hurt? By the founder, there's so much blood!" Guiche suddenly started blurting out when he finally got a good look at me, everyone else, except for Tabitha, had the same expression. Monmon also looked revulsed by my current appearance but chose to turn her attention back to Louise instead. I supposed that she was taking her duty as the team medic seriously, more so since her best friend was the patient.
"Oh darling~! You look absolutely terrible~! Please don't tell me that all that blood is yours..." Kirche asked me in an oddly worried manner despite having her teasing voice.
"I'm fine. The blood isn't mine at all.." I responded with a casual wave of my hand.
"Take a bath after the battle." Tabitha muttered as I passed her before turning away.
"Thank you for the advice." I said to the young Gallian. I walked up to where Louise was lying just in time for Monmon to look up at me before-
"By the Founder, you look like you swam in a lake of blood! Gah! And you smell like a slaughter house!" Monmon exclaimed before covering her mouth and nose with her left hand.
"Yes, I am well aware of that. How is Louise?" I quickly dismissed Monmon's shot at me and asked about my master.
"She just fainted but I'm having quite a time trying to wake her back up." Monmon answered in slight frustration while keeping her hand over her nose.
"I can wake her up." I told her before kneeling at Louise's left side with Monmon across from me on my master's right. I leaned in close and tried something that Yukari once did to get Louise back up to her feet in Mugenkan.
"What is love~?" I whispered to Louise in a slightly sing-song voice. Monmon gave me a look that seemed to doubt my sanity but I simply smiled at her and waited for the effect to take place.
"Baby don't hurt me~!" Louise suddenly sat up and yelled out in a similar sing-song voice, grabbing everyone's attention. Louise looked around a bit confused before settling her eyes on me and scowling.
"What is love? How dare you use that on me! Do you have any idea how embarrassing that is?" Louise yelled at me with a furious blush on her face before starting to smack me on the arm with her hands.
"Mind the blood Louise." I reminded my master and she responded by trying to hit me harder as if doing so would actually hurt me.
"Are...are you alright now, Louise Francoise?" Henrietta called out to her friend. The effect was immediate as my master ceased her 'attacks' on me and stood up to greet the princess.
"I'm perfectly alright, your highness! I'm-" Louise's response was cut short when she suddenly froze up again after seeing Karin.
"...doing it again. Snap out of it Louise." I said as I poked my master at the back of the head.
"Come on, we don't have time for this. We still need to rendezvous with Prince Wales and get him to talk to the Albion Armada on top of destroying your undead former fiance as well as keeping Wales and Henrietta alive through the whole ordeal." I reminded her while poking her head at regular intervals. I chose to leave out keeping Charlotte Helene Orleans De Gallia alive since we didn't know that she was even here or where she was at the moment. No need to deal with something that would just waste our time.
"Keeping Prince Wales and I alive?" The princess of Tristain blinked in surprise at what I just said. I looked around and it seemed that all eyes were upon me. Even the knight, Karin, was looking at me with narrowed eyes. I glanced at her manticore and almost raised a brow when I saw that it too was looking at me. I thought that it just regarded me as a threat and was just keeping its guard up but I saw the kind of clarity its eyes had and it looked like...understanding. As intriguing as that was, I didn't have the time for it.
"Yes. The current running plan right now has three objectives..." I then relayed the 'Victory Conditions' that 'The Voice' gave me earlier. They all seemed to doubt it at first but I then pointed out that we needed to accomplish two of those three objectives anyway and that the last objective was just something that Prince Wales himself wanted to do.
"Well? What are you all still doing here then? The remaining soldiers along with the rest of us should be enough to protect Tarbes and Princess Henrietta while you and the rest go off and save the day~" Kirche pointed out and provided a rough strategy on how to pull it off.
"Agreed." Tabitha agreed with the Germanian's suggestion.
"Indeed. As long as you can keep Viscount Wardes in check or simply get rid of him, I think that we can manage holding Tarbes until you accomplish everything." Guiche piped up with a smile. I noted that he was standing right next to Monmon and was holding her trembling hand. I looked at my master and she was staring at me rather intently.
"Can we really do this?" Louise asked me simply.
"Of course we can. Ruukoto and I were only holding back because our original objective was simply to defend Tarbes. Now that we have actual objectives for victory...they won't stand a chance." I replied with a smile, one that Louise returned. She then turned to the oddly silent princess.
"Princess! Please let us do this! Yuka, Ruukoto, and I will defeat Viscount Wardes and help Prince Wales to speak with the Albion Armada!" Louise all but shouted to her old friend with as much fire and determination that she can muster. I could still sense that she was scared about what might happen while we were up there, but the courage and confidence she developed through her training in Mugenkan and her own experience here in her realm overshadowed that fear by a large margin. Henrietta and the two knights with her looked rather surprised at the enthusiasm my master was showing even though she was asking to dive head first into a major aerial battle.
"Louise Francoise...are you sure about this-" Henrietta was not able to complete her question because Karin cut her off.
"With all due respect, your highness. However, you cannot be serious in putting your faith in a plan that was concocted by a monster and endorsed by a child!" The masked knight stated as she dismounted her manticore and approached Henrietta. She seemed to have left her lance with her manticore but I could still see a sword on her side and she probably had some surprises hidden in that armor as well. Louise winced and started to take steps back when Karin started to walk toward us. I stepped behind her and held her shoulder with my left hand like when she first met Yukari. Louise stiffened at my grasp before visibly relaxing when she realized that it was me.
The princess regarded the masked knight for a few moments before turning back to us. Must have been quite the sight. A young teenage magician standing in front of a blood covered dark green winged monster behind her and a white winged maid to her side.
"I believe in them." Princess Henrietta De Tristain finally said before turning back to Karin.
"You are willing to place the fate of this country in the hands of a child and a monster?" The former manticore knight commander asked before glaring at me and Louise. I wasn't about to take any more of that so I moved in front of my master to shield her from any more hard looks and harsh words from the former commander. I glanced to my side when I saw Ruukoto move in front of me to look at the knight dead in the eye.
"And who are you? You obviously don't look like a normal human either." Karin cooly regarded the gynoid. Ruukoto remained silent while tilting its head to the side. I couldn't see its expression because I was behind it but I assumed that Ruukoto was just staring at Karin with those strangely warm blue eyes whenever it uses 'White Noise' ability. The gynoid straightened out before giving a perfect curtsy to the knight.
"I am Ruukoto Unit-One Version-Four. I have been known as many things by many beings. The Metal Maid of the Shrine Maiden of Paradise. The successor and final surviving product of Project KOS-MIC. The Steel Goddess of Tarbes. However, I have recently swore lifelong service under Mistress Louise Francoise Le Blanc de La Valliere as her protector and personal maid." Ruukoto provided its name and various other titles that it had built up during the course of its existence. It stood up straight once more before giving a low bow to the knight. I raised a brow at the odd gesture but the gynoid gave the reason once it straightened up again.
"It is unexpected but still an honor to meet a relative of my mistress. May I ask your exact relation to Mistress Louise?" Ruukoto casually stated but the words it spoke and the question it asked were quite...surprising to say the least.
"Karin 'The Heavy Wind' is related to Louise?" Monmon suddenly exclaimed nearby, likely voicing everyone's thoughts at the moment. Everyone there had looks of varying surprise aside from Louise, Karin, and Ruukoto. Even Tabitha looked between the knight and my master with widened eyes.
"Is this true?" I asked my master. Louise fidgeted in place and suddenly found something on the ground that was very interesting to observe. Instead of Louise, or even Karin, Ruukoto was the one who answered.
"Lady Karin and Mistress Louise share enough biological information to infer that they are of close blood relation. Minimum estimate is at least that of an aunt and niece." The gynoid explained matter-of-factly.
"And how pray tell did you come across a sample of Karin's 'biological information' for you to reach that conclusion?" I asked dubiously while folding my arms and leaning back.
"The area currently saturated with..." Ruukoto started to explain the reasoning behind its conclusion. The contents therein were finely detailed and sounded very straight to the point...but none of us could understand it. I could somehow get the basic concept of how it did it but the actual specifics were lost on me as with everyone else if their expressions were to be believed.
"...Are there any questions?" Ruukoto asked the standard question after giving a long informative lecture on something. I glanced around and noticed that the whole thing seemed to have sailed over everyone's heads...even Karin and Tabitha. I decided to move things forward and get this done so I cleared my throat to get everyone's attention.
"For the benefit of those who did not quite understand your explanation..." Which was likely everyone here... "...basically, you created an energy shield to take the brunt of Wardes' attack. However, you needed to disperse nanomachines into the air to help make the shield dense enough and strong enough to prevent it from breaking. The nanomachines lingered in the air long enough so when Karin and I came here, some of them managed to stick onto her and register her biological information before they all dissolved into nothingness. Was that right?" I explained and asked the gynoid for any clarification.
"That was...an abridged explanation but not incorrect." Ruukoto answered with a nod.
"What are nanomachines?" Henrietta suddenly asked.
"It's complicated." Louise, Monmon, Guiche, Kirche, Tabitha, and I all said at the same time.
"I see..." The princess responded with an uncertain smile.
"How did you even figure all that out on your own anyway darling~? I mean, I knew that you are ama~zing, but to understand all that mumbo-jumbo as well~? I'm falling in love all over again~" Kirche gushed while looking like she was writhing in place. She still kept her distance from me though because of all the blood on me.
"Stop that..." Louise immediately interjected after Kirche finished speaking. My master still looked uncomfortable but even that wasn't enough for her to stop taking shots at the Germanian.
"You don't have to be so jealous, Louise~! I'm sure I can still...squeeze you in somewhere comfortable~" The red head shot back, earning her a red hot glare from my master. I suppressed a smile when I realized what Kirche was really trying to accomplish. The girl was trying to take Louise's mind off all the stress, if only for a few moments. It was times that this when I was reminded that Louise had good friends, even though they don't all seem to get along on the surface.
"To answer your question...I did not actually understand the specifics of what Ruukoto said. However I understood the underlying concepts involved to a degree because I've encountered situations similar to that in the past." I explained to get everything back on track. I noticed Henrietta and her two escorts look at me with somewhat awed but curious eyes.
"I've had an interesting life..." I stated simply.
"So the legendary Karin 'The Heavy Wind' really is your aunt? That's amazing! Why didn't you ever tell us?" Monmon exclaimed in surprise and awe at the apparent discovery. Louise winced at her friend's words and glanced at Karin before looking back down on the ground.
"No...she's not...my aunt..." Louise muttered as if ashamed about something.
"That is correct." Karin finally spoke up while looking right at us. Louise started to back away again but Monmon walked up next to her and held her friends hand. Kirche did the same and took Louise's other hand. Guiche stood at Monmon's side while Tabitha stood at Kirche's. My master looked at her friends in bewilderment and was rewarded with warm smiles from each of them. Louise pursed her lips and looked down as if trying to bite back tears. I glanced at Henrietta and saw that the crown princess looked like she wanted to join in and embrace Louise like she normally does. I saw Karin regard my master and her friends for a few moments before speaking once more.
"My full name is Karin Desiree de la Valliere and I...am her mother." Karin clearly stated, adding more shock to everyone there. The metal mask she was wearing made her voice slightly muffled but the sound echoed within it making it sound like the rumbling growl of a powerful beast.
"No! That can't be!" Guiche suddenly blurted out, voicing his disbelief.
"That's impossible!" Kirche added immediately afterward. Considering her original opinion about Louise, the news must have been quite the shock to her as well. Karin looked straight in my eyes and I had a realization just as she started speaking again.
"Search your heart, if you have one...you know it to be true." The woman said in a way that left no room for any argument. That was the reason why her eyes looked so familiar to me. They looked like Louise's eye whenever the fire of her determination started to burn. Karin's eyes were the same but they seemed to always have that look. I was starting to understand where my master's stubbornness came from.
Louise remained silent while everyone else looked too surprised to do much else, even Tabitha was uncharacteristically blinking in confusion at the revelation. I did not know the kinds of exploits and accomplishments Karin had but due to the way she fought me earlier and the reactions of everyone here, I concluded that my master's mother was quite the woman. She reminded me of a much more stubborn and hard edged version of Reika Hakurei. Considering what Reika's daughter ended up becoming, I couldn't help but start drawing strange parallels between Louise and Reimu. Of course, Reimu never had any problems when it came to the talent department but I was certain that Louise will take her magic into her own once we learn more about the Void Element.
I suddenly gave out a chuckle when I imagined Louise performing high-end Hakurei spells like 'Dragon Slaying Circle' or one of the many 'Fantasy Seal' variants. I noticed my master's mother narrow her steely eyes at me and I wondered if she thought that I found her words amusing. I huffed and inclined my head respectfully to her. I did not fear the human but she would be quite useful in our plan.
"I apologize if I offended you, Madame Valliere. I did not realize your relation to my master." I offered with a warm smile before continuing.
"I am Yuka Kazami. I was summoned by your daughter during their Springtime Familiar Summoning Ritual and subsequently became her familiar. I am a being from a realm different from this one but I have found living in Halkeginia to be quite...novel. As you have likely deduced, I am no mere mortal and quite formidable in combat. Of course, given better circumstances, you will find that I am one with refined tastes and decorum." I continued with the same warm smile before shifting to one of 'those' smiles.
"After all, a youkai's politeness is directly proportional to their power." I concluded my formal introduction to Karin. It had the effect that I expected with Karin suddenly giving me more than a measured look while Henrietta stared at me with renewed curiosity. Louise and her friends all already knew what I was and Ruukoto came from the same place I did so they all just took my words in stride. I chose to keep the fact that Louise was a Void Mage a secret from her mother for now. I did not know how she would react to the news, even though she and Henrietta's knights were the only ones who didn't know, and you never know who might be listening in. I would personally like to thank the Lunarians for my apprehension towards possibly hidden eavesdroppers.
"Now that we have all that cleared up, I would like to move things on and ask for your assistance in our little mission plan." I said with another one of my warm smiles and the tension in the air suddenly got thicker.
"And why should I help a monster like you?" The woman asked me with thinly veiled disdain. I smiled at the way she was treating me. She was treating me like a monster...a very wise woman indeed. I shook my head when I realized my increasing interest in my master's mother and answered her question.
"Because your daughter is willing to risk her life to save this village regardless if you agree to come along or not. Of course, any additional help from one as skilled as you would be appreciated." I stated something that should have been obvious. The woman gave tried to burn a hole between my eyes with the way she was glaring at me before turning to my master. I was almost starting to think that Karin didn't like me.
"Do you really think that the battle will just end if the objectives of your familiar are accomplished?" Karin asked her daughter. Louise flinched at the sudden scrutiny, as did her friends. I saw Ruukoto look at me before starting to maneuver to stand between its mistress and Karin. I gave the gynoid a brief shake of my head to stop it from doing so. Ruukoto narrowed her eyes at me in silent protest but backed off all the same. Now, how will you handle this Louise? The fear mingling with persistently burning determination in her eyes show that my master held great fear of her mother. There was probably a time when she would simply obey the woman without any question because of how overwhelmingly intimidating Karin was.
Of course, that was then...
"I..." Louise started, squeezing Monmon and Kirche's hands before her friends obliged her by squeezing back.
And this is now...
"I believe in Yuka's judgment!" Louise said out loud for all to hear. Even Karin herself showed the slightest hint of surprise in her eyes for but a second before her usual look was restored as if nothing happened.
"I know...I know better than anyone that I wasn't talented at magic. I know that I was incapable of performing even the simplest of spells without it failing spectacularly and blowing up in my face. I know how far I have to go to even get any sliver of your approval. But its different now mother..." Louise explained with her voice clear and void of any hesitation or stuttering she used to have. My master looked at me and her features softened for a moment before regaining her hardened edge when she turned back to Karin.
"When I summoned Yuka this past spring and he willingly became my familiar...my partner...it all started to change. Yuka has been through a lot. He has been around for over a thousand years and has become arguably the strongest in his realm. At first, I didn't believe him...I thought he was just a commoner and my summoning was just another notch in my long list of failures. But he proved me wrong. You should know by now how powerful Yuka is." Louise continued her explanation. Karin looked at me as soon as her daughter reminded her of my power.
"Yes, and I wonder why exactly a being like that would willingly stay as a familiar of a mortal girl who was a failure at magic?" Karin asked accusingly while giving me a look of hidden anger. I let her words slide and decided to answer in my master's behalf since I never really told anyone just why I remained as Louise's familiar.
"It was because I have been where she was at the time." I said, getting everyone's attention and taking the heat off my master for a bit.
"Explain yourself." The woman commanded as if her words held any sway on me. I chuckled it away since it was amusing to see a human who was still rather fearless before me despite the situation. I ignored her reactive glare at my chuckle and answered the question.
"I intimately know the feeling of helplessness of being unable to do anything right. What you see before you is the peak of my ability, fifteen-hundred years of experience and power. Of course, everything starts somewhere. There was a time when I was young, when my innate power to manipulate flowers was all I had. That was it. Nothing else. I once thought that 'a stupid ability like that will never be useful or ever amount to anything'." I started before giving my master a smirk. She gasped and blushed when she realized that those were the very words she told me the day we first met. I turned back to Karin and continued.
"Unlike Louise, I did not grow up in relative comfort. The realm I grew up in was a harsh place to live in at the time. Death was a very common thing there regardless of what you were, human or otherwise. A savage world. I was alone. I was weak. I barely had any means to defend myself. I lost count how many times and how many ways I would have died during my first half-century." I stated, earning a few gasps and surprised expressions from the others. Whatever they were imagining as to what life was like back then, the reality was worse. Louise in particular looked at me with renewed disbelief. It was understandable since the stories she had heard about my life, even her dream about my memories of the Mystic Square incident, all took place long after I became powerful enough to be such a big a threat that very few would dare try to challenge me.
"That is horrible...how did you survive?" Guiche asked the unvoiced question.
"I dealt with it." I said with a smile while folding my arms and leaning back. That seemed to be rather vague for them so I elaborated.
"I refused to die. No matter how close I was to losing my life, no matter of man or monster I faced, no matter how much my body wanted to simply give up and die...I refused to do so. After a series of events that finally helped me established a means for me to become stronger, I never looked back." I said with a nod. Of course, I was talking about my establishment of Mugenkan, my continuing mastery of my flower manipulation, my discovery of Master Spark and subsequent meeting with the Golden Witch, and countless other things great and small that helped me become as strong as I am today.
"I have been through much, as your daughter has already stated Madame Valliere. I willingly stayed with Louise because she reminded me of myself during the time when I thought myself the weakest in my realm. That obviously changed and I wanted to know if my master was also capable of overcoming or working around her limitations." I continued and saw Karin glance at her daughter and narrowed her eyes. Blink and one might have missed the hidden question in her gaze: 'Did she?'
"You should be proud of your daughter. She was nothing more than a pile of doubt and self-loathing when we first met. She used her anger and pride as a shield against the truth. However, through experience and teaching, she overcame that and more." Louise blushed furiously at my words and refused to meet anyone's eyes.
"She has learned to respect the power and value of others, regardless of their origin. She has learned to see the possibilities that hid even in failure. She has learned how to turn her bane into an advantage. She has learned how to overcome great fear, even the fear of death itself if the situation called for it. She has learned how to maximize the gifts that the world gave her. As you can see, she has even gained friends that are willing to brave a battlefield with her." Louise's blush deepened even further and I even saw Monmon wince a bit, probably because of how hard my master was squeezing her hand.
"Louise Francoise Le Blanc de La Valliere has grown a great deal without you looking and she will continue to grow still. I have watched her every step of the way thus far and I can honestly say that a being like this..." I pointed at myself while smirking at Karin.
"...is proud to have a master such as her." I pointed to Louise while keeping the same smirk. As though through some sort of ridiculous timing, Ruukoto suddenly looked tense and looked at me and Louise in turn.
"Alert! Anomaly Cloud has resumed advance towards Tarbes! Immediate action is advised!" The gynoid stated with no small sense of urgency. Everyone suddenly looked tense because of the news and how Ruukoto delivered it.
"What does that mean?" Henrietta asked Louise and I, her tone changing to a neutral and professional one that one would expect from a ruler. The Anomaly Cloud was what Ruukoto called Wardes and the Albion Armada back when we didn't know that it was them. The fact that it was moving again meant...
"The Albion Armada is advancing...and it looks like nothing is preventing them from doing so anymore." I answered directly.
"What about Prince Wales? Isn't he still out there?" My master suddenly interjected.
"Yes, I left him in the care of Wardes' old squadron when they rendezvoused with an intact Tristain ship...the Challenger, I think it was called. We are almost out of time..." I muttered while thinking of the best way we could still accomplish everything that 'The Voice' said.
"The Sixty-Sixth...yes, they are capable knights." Henrietta nodded with understanding that was obviously overshadowed by her worry for her lover. I grunted a reply and turned to Karin.
"We need your help." I said as a statement and not a question. If Karin refused to assist us then the battle was lost and I would have no choice but to minimize damage by annihilating everything in the sky. I didn't think my master would appreciate that course of action, so everything was hanging on her mother's cooperation.
"You still believe that victory is possible?" The masked knight asked me.
"If we can get Louise and Ruukoto to Wales and if the prince is still alive, yes. I'll deal with Wardes." I immediately responded with a serious expression. The woman studied me for a few moments before glancing at Ruukoto and Louise in turn.
"Karin...please...trust in your daughter and her familiar." Princess Henrietta de Tristain pleaded, which sounded like a thinly veiled order because of her tone of voice. The former commander looked at her princess then to me and to her daughter.
"You will be riding with me." Karin said to Louise before immediately turning to her manticore and walking away, the action making her cape billow in the air. I smiled at the development while Louise looked absolutely shocked at the prospect of riding to battle with her mother.
"Don't just stand there staring at your mom like a monkey. Move!" Derf finally spoke after remaining silent for so long...I actually forgot that the six-thousand year old sentient magic sword was still strapped to Louise's back. The sword's words seemed to have snapped my master out of her trance and glanced at me and Ruukoto. We both nodded to her and she began to follow her mother, who was already mounting her manticore and re-arming herself with her runed lance.
"Wait." Tabitha suddenly called out to Louise. My master looked at the Gallian with a confused expression but Tabitha just ignored it and put her thumb and index finger in her mouth and whistled. Sylphid flew over us and landed nearby in short order and Tabitha started to walk to her familiar.
"Come over here." She said to Louise and my master followed her friend. They both reached Tabitha's drake and I raised a brow when the blue-haired girl reached into a large bag that was strapped on her familiar's back.
"Oh..." I muttered with a nod when Tabitha pulled out Louise's hat along with the Founder's Prayer Book. Even more surprising, she then pulled out my straw hat as well.
"You forgot these..." Tabitha said simply before handing Louise her hat and book.
"Thank you!" Louise exclaimed before giving Tabitha a big hug and putting on her hat, but not before placing the Founder's Prayer Book on her head first.
"Why does Tabitha get a hug and I don't~?" Kirche muttered before glancing at me with hopeful eyes. The hope died when she remembered that I was still a walking bloodbath. She looked around and smiled before gesturing a hug from Guiche.
"Oh no you don't!" Monmon immediately exclaimed and stood between Kirche and Guiche.
"Monmon..." Guiche called out the girl's name with tears in his eyes. I smiled when I saw Monmon start blushing deeply while glaring at the redhead. It seemed that Guiche finally earned his lover back. My smile went away when Kirche looked at Monmon and smirked.
"Fine, you'll do~" Monmon didn't even get the chance to look at the Germanian incredulously before she was swallowed up by Kirche's embrace. I shook my head at the scene and walked up to Louise and Tabitha to retrieve my hat.
"Thank you for bringing them along. Although, why did you wait so long before telling us about it?" I asked the young magician with a raised brow.
"You never asked." Touché...
"Very well. Take care of everyone else here, would you? We all know that you are the most capable one among your little group." I told Tabitha while putting on my hat. I cast a spell on it to make sure it does not leave my head unless I personally took it off. I did the same for Louise's hat, but not before explaining to my master what the spell did.
"Come back alive." Tabitha added, to which Louise and I nodded. My master gave her friend one more hug before walking up to Princess Henrietta.
"Prince-" Was all my master got out before she was engulfed in an embrace...it seemed that the princess was not able to contain herself any longer.
"Come back safely. This is an official Royal Command from your princess. Do you understand, Louise Francoise? I will not tolerate anything less." Henrietta said, her voice cracking with each word uttered.
"I will..." Louise responded while returning her old friend's hug. The princess reluctantly let my master go and backed away. Her escorts stood by her side but their eyes showed that they wished us well.
"Louise." Monmon called out to her friend after finally freeing herself from Kirche. Guiche stood at her side and both of them were smiling at my master.
"Be safe..." Was all Guiche said with a nod.
"Come back to us, okay?" Monmon said before hugging Louise, which my master returned.
"Of course." Louise answered. They let go of each other and the strawberry-blonde girl turned to meet her former nemesis Kirche.
"I'm not going to hug you." Louise immediately said in an annoyed tone. Kirche responded by barking out a laugh. "Silly Louise~! Hugs are so outdated between us~" Kirche said before suddenly grabbing the sides of my master's face and leaning in to kiss her on the forehead. Several gasps could be heard and my master was suddenly reduced to a stammering pile of goo.
"Hawawawawawawawawa!" Louise repeated over and over again with her face as bright red as it could possibly get. I saw Kirche smile gently at her friend before gently pressing their foreheads together and closing her eyes.
"In brightest day or darkest night. May the spirits and the founder watch over you and keep you safe. I give you my strength and my blessing so you may overcome the challenges you may face." Kirche solemnly said, snapping Louise out of her stupor. The redhead moved back a bit before leaning in again to give another kiss on Louise' forehead. Thankfully, my master didn't short out this time.
"One more, just to be sure~" Kirche playfully said with a wink. She and Louise stared at each other for a few moments before bursting out in laughter.
Twenty minutes later, we were in the sky and headed off to intercept the Albion Armada. It was time to end this little battle.
'Follow me and try to keep up. Ignore the Red Dragon Knights as much as possible.' I stated from the front of our group as we flew closer and closer to the Albion Armada.
I had Ruukoto provide Karin a 'Hey-Listen' before we left for communication purposes. The knight was very wary of the device and it took Louise ten minutes to convince her mother to use it and another five to teach her how it worked.
'Are you certain that you can find the prince?' Karin inquired, proving her skill at adapting to a situation quickly as well as her policy of getting the job done by tolerating me and treating me as one would an ally...at least for now. Louise was riding with her and was hanging onto her mother's cape as they flew. The spell I put on our hats did its job and prevented our headwear from being blown away. However, Louise still sometimes reached up to hold her hat steady whenever a particularly strong gust blew. I momentarily wondered how Karin and the other mounted knights prevented their hats from being blown away before answering the woman's question.
'I have a pretty good way of finding out.' I said with a smirk before switching from the 'Hey-Listen' to the wind enchantment that Scarface put on me.
'Scarface, are you there? This is Yuka. Captain Falcone?' I called out to the knight using the enchantment. I felt the spell work and my words seemed to have been sent out but no one was responding yet.
'Yuka to Scarface. Yuka to Scarface. Answer me dammit!' I tried again. I blinked when I thought I heard something. Was I out of range?
'This is Griffin Knight Lyner Alec la Pyrean, call sign Red...We're-dammit!' A different voice replied before getting interrupted by something. I remembered that voice as the knight that gave that snide comment about Prince Wales' judgment of character.
'What's going on? What happened to Scarface?' I asked as we flew past the first few ships. Some Red Dragon Knights tried to pursue us but Ruukoto and Karin managed to pick them off without much trouble.
'It's Captain Wardes! He's trying to go after Prince Wales! We're holding him off but he's kicking our ass!' Red stated with obvious effort. I concentrated and found the trail of magic that linked the wind enchantment on me with the rest of the Sixty-Sixth. The brighter trail of magic indicated the active link between me and Red.
'Understood. Help is on the way.' I said simply before switching back to the 'Hey-Listen'.
'The Sixty-Sixth are in trouble. Wardes is trying to kill Prince Wales and they're trying to stop him. We're not about to let that abomination do that, so follow me.' I told Louise, Karin, and Ruukoto before speeding up.
'Understood, remaining in formation.' Ruukoto immediately replied.
'Don't get used to this, monster. I don't take orders from you.' Karin coldly stated and I could almost feel her trying to burn a glare right through me.
'We don't have time for this mother! Prince Wales is in danger and we have to save him!' My master exclaimed in protest before pointing out the obvious.
'Do not think to raise your voice against me, daughter. I am only going along with this in order to get these Albion dogs off my skies.' The apparent living legend warned her daughter.
'Now now, no need to fight. It was merely a request.' I pointed out just as a flight of four Red Dragon Knights came around one of the Albion ships we were passing before making a bee line right for us.
'Where do these Red Dragon Knights keep coming from?' I asked in mild annoyance. I prepared to face the fools but Ruukoto beat me to the punch as gynoid accelerated past me.
I heard the weapon declarations before Ruukoto's right arm turned into a sleek white cannon while its left hand held the newly materialized revolver. The gynoid took quick aim and fired with uncanny precision, making very short work of the interception attempt.
"Like shooting faries in a hallway." I commented to myself after Ruukoto demonstrated how effective its weapons were when they were used within their intended range.
'Nicely done.' I stated after Ruukoto moved back in formation. Its right arm morphed back to normal but its left hand was still holding its G-Revolver.
'I will not let anything harm my mistress.' Ruukoto said with a nod.
'Good job Ruukoto!' Louise exclaimed with no small sense of pride.
'Thank you, Mistress Louise.' The gynoid responded to its mistress' voice with a ghost of a smile.
'Effective weapons.' Karin commented nonchalantly as she glanced at Ruukoto before focusing her eyes forward. I felt her magic rise faintly for a moment before settling down. She was good at masking her emotions. That small rise in her magic may as well have been the equivalent of a gasp of surprise from Louise.
'Thank you, Madame Valliere.' Ruukoto responded, taking the words of Louise's mother as a compliment.
It didn't take much longer for us to finally find Wardes and his old squadron doing battle a fair distance away from the ship that should be holding the prince.
'Madame Valliere, Ruukoto, Louise, get to that ship and see if Prince Wales is alive. If he is, then explain that Ruukoto can help him speak with his countrymen. Ruukoto can take care of it there.' I stated while pointing to the 'Challenger'.
'What about Viscount Wardes?' Louise asked.
'I'll take care of it. Remember your training, Louise.' I answered before flying right at Wardes. The abomination was about to skewer one of Scarface's subordinates with its runed lance when it suddenly turned to me, just in time for me to slam into it with a shoulder tackle. Wardes was not able to put up a shield before I hit it, making that the first clean hit I've made on it. The force of the blow made it scream across the sky and slam into an unsuspecting Red Dragon Knight before smashing into an unsuspecting ship.
'Haha! Not bad!' I heard the griffin knight I assisted say. I turned to the knight and saw that his uniform was damaged in various places but his armor seemed to be mostly intact.
'Thanks for the help. Call sign Larry.' The knight who presented himself as 'Larry', such a bland call sign, continued before extending his left hand for a handshake.
'My name is Yuka. A pleasure to meet you.' I replied before shaking the man's hand. He looked older than the other members of his squadron, even older than Scarface and Wardes before my double killed the former Viscount, but his eyes spoke of cunning and experience. 'Yo buddy, still alive?' Another of the knights called out using the wind enchantment as he and his mount flew closer. I saw that this knight had long black hair and had dark skin like Kirche. The rest of the knights flew closer to us and I saw Scarface among them.
'Very funny, Trombe.' I heard Larry quip before he and the knight known as Trombe bumped their fists together.
'Glad to see you decided to join the fun. I thought you said that you'd take care of Jaques?' Scarface dryly said when he and his subordinates got close enough.
'I apologize. He slipped away when an unexpected guest showed up and attacked me and the former Viscount.' I explained. 'Friendly?' The Knight Captain asked with a raised brow.
'Indeed, and quite powerful as well. Do you know of Karin 'The Heavy Wind'?' I answered and asked them with a sly smile. 'By Brimir's Beard, 'The Heavy Wind' is here?' The knight known as Trombe exclaimed, Scarface and the other knights looked just as surprised.
'You're certain?' Scarface asked me with a particularly serious voice.
'Indeed. Karin should be on the Challenger by now and helping Prince Wales with something. In the meantime, Wardes needs to die...again.' I stated just as a loud explosion was heard from the ship where Wardes crashed into. The former Viscount shot out of the ship just as the vessel started to capsize and likely start falling to its doom.
'Do you need any help?' Scarface asked as we all looked at our foe.
'No. I have some things I wish to personally work through with the former Viscount. I highly suggest that you rendezvous with Karin on the Challenger in case some more Red Dragon Knights decide to test their luck.' I responded and heard a sigh from the knight with the red griffin.
'Where do those guys keep coming from anyway? Do they have Red Dragon Factories or something?' The knight asked with a frustrated huff. I heard some of the other knights chuckle to that.
'Alright. Give him hell for us.' The Knight Captain said before maneuvering his squadron back to the Challenger. I cracked my neck to prepare to take out Wardes once and for all. I hummed before tapping on my 'Hey-Listen'.
'The Sixty-Sixth are headed your way to reinforce your position. I'll be taking care of Wardes now.' I informed Karin, Louise, and Ruukoto before flapping my wings once and flying right at the abomination.
"Your highness!" Louise exclaimed just as her group reached the Challenger. Wales could be seen on deck and issuing orders as well as helping the wounded. The heir to the Albion throne looked up from where he was and saw Louise waving. He wasn't sure what to think of her company though.
A masked armored knight riding a large manticore that had a Commander-Rank Shuttlecock provided Louise's means of transportation.
A white winged flying armored maid that was armed with an odd but deadly looking white-silver pistol.
Wales couldn't even begin to fathom how a teenage student of the Tristain Magic Academy would even meet such people.
"Milady Valliere, what are you doing here?" Wales asked Louise after Karin's manticore landed on the deck of the Challenger. Both the young Void mage and her mother dismounted the familiar while Ruukoto landed a short distance away.
"Louise is fine, your highness. Anyway, we're here to help you. Yuka told me that you want to know how you can talk to the Albion Armada and we have a way how." Louise quickly explained. Wales nodded as he considered her words before his gaze drifted to the masked Manticore Knight Commander and the winged maid. Louise noticed his gaze and suddenly became a bit uncomfortable.
"Umm...this is...I mean..." Louise stuttered tried to come up with some way to explain why she came in with a Manticore Knight, an officer no less! She knew how big a deal it was to keep her mother's identity a secret because of her legend. The only reason why she revealed who she was back in Tarbes was because of the situation and because it was a direct question from Princess Henrietta. Prince Wales may be royalty but he was the prince of a different country...the very country that was invading! Thankfully, her mother decided to speak up instead.
"Greetings Prince Wales Tudor. It is an honor to finally meet you, though I wish that we would have met under better circumstances." Karin stated respectfully before bowing to the prince. Thanks to the general craziness of the situation, the mask that she was wearing was enough to distort her voice enough so one could not determine if the speaker was a man or a woman. Karin stood back up straight before continuing.
"I am a former Manticore Knight Commander and an ally of the Valliere family. I'm afraid I cannot provide my true name because of circumstances but you may refer to me as...Kain." Karin stated with a nod of her head. Louise blinked and repressed the urge to give out her characteristic 'urk' when she realized what her mother had done. Karin had effectively created a practically anonymous code name just by removing the middle letter of her real name.
"I understand. Any ally of Milady Louise's family is an ally of mine and thus an ally of the true Royal Family of Albion." Wales said before extending his hand towards Karin for a handshake. The former Manticore Knight Commander obliged the prince by shaking his hand, though it was a somewhat odd experience for her to be shaking the hand of the heir to the Albion throne. Although, the young man's words raised a few questions for Karin.
"You seem to personally know Louise and have quite a high opinion of her." Karin casually pointed out before ending the handshake. Louise felt herself tense up at her mother's comment.
Of course she would wonder why Prince Wales and I know each other! We never told her about the mission to Albion! Louise thought in horror. Ruukoto looked at her mistress in wonder when she noticed her increased heart rate and tension. The gynoid decided to chalk it up to Louise's usual quirks after she did not find any evidence that Louise's condition was life threatening. Louise's distress went unnoticed by Prince Wales and the young man answered Karin's question with a smile.
"That and more Sir Kain! I would not be here today were it not for Milady Valliere's bravery as well as the power and creativity of Sir Yuka Kazami. They saved my life on Albion and I have placed my full trust in both of them since. I am certain that Princess Henrietta is of the same opinion as well. Milady Louise is a paragon of what young nobles should aspire to be!" Prince Wales stated enthusiastically before looking at Louise and giving her a warm smile, one that Karin clearly noticed. Louise momentarily blushed from the sudden praise and the gesture...but said blush froze over when she noticed her mother giving her a not so amused glance. Even when only her eyes were visible, Louise knew very well that Karin was not happy about finding out about the Albion rescue incident.
"I see..." Karin said simply before looking straight at Louise. The young Void Mage fidgited uncomfortably at her mother's unrelenting glare and she couldn't even understand why! This was not the best situation for a scolding!
"Louise...did you not have a means of helping Prince Wales?" Karin finally spoke and Louise blinked in realization.
"Right! Your highness, this is Ruukoto. She will help you to be able to speak with the Albion Armada." Louise quickly stated as she gestured to her gynoid. Ruukoto stepped forward and bowed deeply to the prince.
"Greetings, your highness. I am Combat Maid Gynoid designation Ruukoto Unit-One Version-Four, though calling me Ruukoto would be adequate." Ruukoto introduced herself before standing back up straight.
"A pleasure to meet you Miss Ruukoto." The good natured prince returned the greeting with a smile, his eyes glancing at the white wings that adorned the gynoid's back.
"Hmm?" Karin suddenly hummed when she heard the 'Hey-Listen' in her ear make a faint crackling noise which she had since associated with someone trying to contact her.
'The Sixty-Sixth are headed your way to reinforce your position. I'll be taking care of Wardes now.' The voice of her daughter's familiar suddenly stated before cutting out abruptly. The woman narrowed her eyes before turning to the others.
"It would appear that your familiar has sent the Sixty-Sixth back here and will be dealing with Wardes on his own." Karin casually stated as if giving out a common situation report. She glanced at her daughter and she had her finger in her ear that had her ear piece, Karin deduced that the familiar sent out the message to all of them because of that.
"I see, do you believe that Mister Yuka can defeat him?" Wales asked Louise. The young woman blinked at the prince for a moment before breaking out into a confident smile.
"There is no one here that can beat Yuka when he gets serious." Louise stated with equal confidence...only to immediately regret doing so when she saw the way her mother looked at her. She cleared her throat to get some semblance of dignity back before continuing.
"Well, since Yuka will be keeping Viscount Wardes in check...Ruukoto will be helping you in communicating with the armada." Louise said before gesturing toward Ruukoto.
"And how will you be able to do that, if you don't mind my asking?" Prince Wales asked just as Karin noticed the six griffin knights that made up the Sixty-Sixth come into view.
"We will accomplish this by..." Ruukoto started to explain in the same way she explained how she got a sample of Karin's DNA. Louise immediately thought that it was going to be a long battle.
"So..." I muttered as I swatted away another of the many Red Dragon Knights that suddenly showed up to block my advance toward my prey. I wasn't where they came from nor why they didn't seem to display any sort of hesitation or fear anymore despite the number of their comrades that I've already ended.
"Come now...you're all starting to act like those incessant fairies back home." I stated with thinly veiled annoyance as I grabbed one of the red dragons by the neck before throwing it at the others. I was almost tempted to bring out my other half again but I restrained myself since she might try to take out Wardes before me. I knew that technically, I would be the one to destroy the abomination, but it was the principle of the thing.
That was when the dragons did something I did not expect. They all charged at me at once, they and their riders roaring like savages going through their final charge. I swatted a few of them away but I was suddenly overwhelmed with the sheer number of them. It only took a few moments for me to be completely engulfed in a mass of man and dragon. Those closest tried to injure me by any means possible before they died due to the heat, pressure, or getting caught in a swipe of a claw or a swing of a sword.
It was getting ridiculous...
"That's enough from all of you." I stated though I doubted if any of them could even understand me. I touched one of them with my left hand and let my flower grow. Immediately after my silent command, the unfortunate dragon that I first touched suddenly had countless steel vines bursting out of it and ripping through the rest of the offending dragons and knights. Once I confirmed the mass of man and dragon to be all dead because of my plant, I commanded it to give me room to escape. I slipped out of my impromptu ball of vine-based death and took in a breath of fresh air. I glanced at the motionless Wardes and noted that its body was spasming in odd ways. I raised a brow at the sight before turning back to the ball of death in front of me. I dismissed the thought as to why it was still airborne before smiling at it and then at Wardes.
"Here, I think this belongs to you." I said before kicking the ball of Red Dragon Knights at the undead. I had fully expected Wardes to dodge the mass of death or even deflect it in some way. Instead, it just stayed where it was as it lifted both of its runed lances and focused magic into them. Then just as the ball was about to hit it, Wardes swung both lances down diagonally in an 'X' and effectively slashing through the mass. I idly wondered who was going to clean up all of that as I watched the mass of dead bodies drop like a sack of...well, dead bodies.
"Hm?" I hummed as I looked up and blinked when I noticed that Wardes was already right in front of me. The abomination quickly thrust both of its runed lances at my chest with oddly substantial force before casting a triple-tornado at point blank range.
"Augh!" I grunted as I felt myself sent back because of the triple-tornado spell before crashing onto the deck of a nearby ship. I wasn't able to tell which side the ship was from because Wardes made it a point to follow up on its initial attack by crashing right on top of me.
"That's the spirit!" I commended the abomination's sudden enthusiasm at fighting me. The panicked cries of the crewmen of the ship we crashed on were everywhere. I supposed that this wasn't exactly the kind of thing they thought they'd have to deal with when they signed up as soldiers. Meanwhile, Wardes' griffin half pinned me on the deck just as it readied a thrust with the runed lance in his right hand.
"Not so fast!" I stated with a smile as I caught the lance with my left hand and pulled...hard. Wardes and its griffin half roared inhumanly in pain and anger as I ripped off its arm at the shoulder. I then used the recently acquired melee weapon to smack the griffin's head to get it off me. Wardes staggered away from me and I used the opportunity to take the runed lance and hold it in my left hand. The runes of the Gandalfr started to glow as the ancient magic made by Brimir taught me everything I needed to know on how to properly wield a lance. I smiled at the applications of that knowledge as I looked at the lance in my hand...all those things I could try out with my parasol.
I noticed a flash of serpentine-like movement from the corner of my vision and instinctively put up the runed lance at an angle that provided the best protection based on the information imparted to me by the Gandalfr runes. I blinked when the runed lance was cleanly sliced in half by something before following through and managing to slash me on my chest. The wound was shallow and already healing when I finally saw where the attack came from.
"Well...this is new." I muttered as I saw that the attack came from a whip-like appendage that came from the back of the griffin part of Wardes. It was the mount's tail...
Although, it was not the normal tail of that kind of creature if I recalled correctly. The fur and skin was all but stripped off, leaving only the bloody muscle and bone that protruded from the meat like thorns on a vine. The tip of the tail had a particularly large sharpened piece of bone that looked like the blade of a thick curved ivory sword.
The surprises continued to roll as I saw the shoulder of the recently disarmed former Viscount, the one that used to have an arm attached to it, suddenly quiver while making wet meaty noises. I raised a brow when the armless stump suddenly started spewing out blood before a large, overly muscled, bloody, four fingered arm suddenly burst out. Like the griffin's tail, the arm did not have any skin and only had bone and muscle. Although, there was a rather large and prominent bone spike protruding from the elbow and the four fingers on the 'hand' reminded me of those butcher knife-like fingers that Matilda's golem had during the Staff of Destruction Caper incident.
THIS was the full effect of the resurrection property of the Ring of Advari? I supposed that this was one reason why the Embodiment of Water didn't want any humans getting their hands on it.
"Viscount Wardes...what big knife-like fingers you have you have. All the better to scratch your back with or are you just happy to see me?" I couldn't help but quip with a smirk. Sadly, it seemed that I was the only one who thought it funny as Wardes remained motionless while both the human and griffin halves glared at me with their glowing red eyes while the other occupants of the ship saw it fit to start panicking at the sight and start abandoning ship. Really, all it takes is for two monsters to fight nearby and they all start going crazy with fear?
'THIS IS PRINCE WALES TUDOR OF THE TRUE ALBION ROYAL FAMILY! FRIENDS! BRAVE SOLDIERS! COUNTRYMEN! LEND ME YOUR EARS!' The surreal booming voice of one Wales Tudor suddenly interrupted my thoughts. His words were not carried through the air as with regular speech would. Instead, it seemed like his voice resonated in your skull which gave it uninterrupted clarity. I supposed that this was why Ruukoto was so confident that it could help out Wales in this particular problem...the volume was a bit of a problem though.
'Can you turn it down? I can hear Wales just fine, no need to have him yelling at me...also, could you make it so that only Albion soldiers can hear it?' I asked Ruukoto but did not get a response. I parried another attempted cheap shot by Wardes' whip tail with the remaining half of the runed lance before throwing said lance at my foe. Wardes caught the lance with its new appendage before crushing it between its sharp clawed hand. I narrowed my eyes when I did not hear a response from the gynoid. It did say that it would be focusing all of its resources to the system that was allowing Wales to get inside everyone's heads and won't be able to do anything in the meantime.
'Louise, Karin, can either of you ask Ruukoto to turn down the volume or even possibly tune out everyone who isn't from Albion from the broadcast? It's kind of distracting especially since our old friend Wardes decided to start showing a few surprises in our fight.' I asked the two Valliere women as I dodged a charging claw strike from Wardes. I took to the air before kicking the ship's mast toward the abomination. It managed to rip it apart using a series of razor wind spells from its remaining runed lance and from the beak of its griffon half.
'I already tried but Ruukoto won't respond to me. She placed Prince Wales inside some weird and complicated magic circle that had a ridiculous amount of numbers and symbols before asking him to start speaking.' My master was the one who responded to my call and I hummed at the information she provided as Wardes displayed surprising improvement in its speed. I noted that the wings on the griffin looked larger than they were before and were starting to shed feathers. I twisted away from an attempted impalement via a runed lance before applying that knowledge at swordsmanship that I gained from the Gandalfr runes when I held the newly cleaned Derflinger. I used my parasol like a one-handed sword and slashed off Wardes' left arm, albeit not as cleanly as it would have had I used a proper blade. Regardless, the amount of force I applied was enough to achieve the intended result as Wardes suddenly found himself disarmed yet again.
'I speak to you all here in hopes that we may prevent further bloodshed because of a tyrant that...' Wales' voice once again rang in my head but it was at a much more reasonable volume that I had little to no trouble in tuning it out. If you have gone through having to deal with a certain gang of youkai that was previously known as Team-Nine, you'd end up developing that kind of skill as well.
'Thank Ruukoto if that was its doing.' I commented to Louise and Karin before turning my focus back on Wardes. True to form with the current gimmick that it was using, the stump that was his left shoulder started to spew out copious amounts of blood before another gory appendage spontaneously grew out of it. Unlike the right arm, which looked like it was a giant overmuscled arm with hands that had steak knives for fingers, the left arm took it a step further and looked like the bloody monstrous bone version of Ruukoto's R-Blade. From shoulder to elbow, it looked like a standard skinless bloody monster limb. However, instead of finding a forearm and hand from the elbow, what I saw was a massive chunk of bone that was held together with several strands of thick sinew. The bone itself was shaped like a large broadsword and I suspected that the sharpened edge if the biological weapon was much tougher than regular bone.
I have fought monsters with such properties and abilities in the past, during my earlier centuries as a youkai in fact. Though I have never seen a human turn into such a thing so...thoroughly. Wardes stared at its new bladed arm for a moment before looking back at me and giving a ghost of a smile. The griffin half flapped its wings once, shedding more feathers in the process, and revealing bloodied membrane wings that resembled a dragon's. I returned the smile and cracked my neck and fingers before giving it one of my more traditional pre-battle smiles.
"Shall we continue then~?" I offered before I took the initiative and flew right at Wardes, who had its new weapons at the ready. I expected it to be a good old fashioned full-on bloody brawl that went on until I've hacked my foe to pieces that couldn't be put back together. Unfortunately, Wardes decided to be cheap and its griffin half opened up its mouth and let loose a tornado spell. I wasn't about to let something like that stop me, so I smacked away the annoying spell and was met with the blades of Wardes' new appendages that dug themselves into my flesh. My natural resistance to physical damage did not allow the blades to pierce my body too deeply but I still FELT IT. And that pain alone was more than enough to get my bloodlust boiling over again.
"Ahahahaha! More! And don't you dare die on me too quickly!" I screamed out. However, due to my...enthusiasm...I ended up lopping Wardes' head off with a swing of my parasol. I stared at the rapidly falling head of my foe with an odd sense of disappointment as I thought the fight to be prematurely decided. That disappointment died when I heard the tell tale fleshy noise of sudden growth coming from the former Viscount's neck, which was starting to squirt out quite a lot of blood as well.
"Hm?" I hummed with a raised brow at the odd scene right before a tendril with a bony sickle at the end burst out of Wardes' neck and swung down to strike at my head.
"I thank all of you once more for giving me this opportunity to be able to speak with my countrymen." Wales stated after he had ended his speech. It was still too early to gauge the effects of his words but the young man hoped and prayed that the soldiers of his country still knew what it meant to fight for what was right.
"Not at all, your highness. We were glad to help you." Louise exclaimed with a bright smile before checking up on Ruukoto. The gynoid gave off a soft white glow before turning back to normal. Its wings were absorbed back into her body in order to be able to redirect more resources into broadcasting Wales' speech. Ruukoto backed away a few steps before several panels on her shoulders, arms, back, and legs suddenly opened up to discharge steam from within her body. Ruukoto noticed the surprised looks from the prince and her mistress and decided to explain to avoid any further confusion.
"The system I used to be able to broadcast Prince Wales Tudor's words took up nearly all of my processing capabilities. While not dangerous to me in any way, it does tend to make my core heat up significantly when used for a duration. I am currently performing cool down protocols to pull my temperature back down to levels that would be considered safe in combat situations. Estimated time to completion is three-hundred seconds." Ruukoto explained as well and as simply as she could. Unfortunately, neither one of her audience seemed to have understood it too well.
"Put simply, I need three-hundred seconds of undisturbed rest for me to be able to properly protect Mistress Louise." She settled on and saw the light of understanding in the eyes of Louise and Wales. Ruukoto wondered idly as to what it would take for her to be able to teach her mistress enough about science for her to at least comprehend the gynoid's words to a competent degree.
Karin remained mostly silent throughout the whole thing but was otherwise very much alert and aware of what was going on around her. The former Manticore Knight Commander silently reviewed and considered everything she had learned about what her daughter had done ever since the start of the school year.
In the span of less than a year, her daughter had acquired the loyalty and services of two powerful intelligent and sentient non-human followers, one of which was a familiar that Louise herself had summoned. Not only that, the girl had also managed to surround herself with competent companions from her school that were of various nationalities and families...even a daughter of the Zerbst. She had also somehow managed to gain the complete favor of both the future ruler of Tristain as well as the crown prince of Albion, clout that would no doubt aid her daughter in the future. Most of all, and most important of all, the whining failure of a girl that Karin once thought did not have the qualities of a true Valliere changed almost completely. What she saw in front of her eyes was a confident and driven young woman who had a strong sense of loyalty and justice. The qualities of a true member of the Valliere family. Karin will never admit it to Louise or likely to anyone else other than her husband...but she was very proud of how her daughter had grown.
All because of that...familiar of hers. If my daughter's words were as true as she made it seem. Karin thought as she continued to watch her daughter speak with the prince.
"By the light of the sun! What in blazes is that?" Char exclaimed in complete shock, getting everyone's attention.
The Sixty-Sixth had managed to rendezvous with the Challenger soon after the start of Wales' speech. What followed was a series of awkward silence between Karin and certain members of the squadron, particularly Trombe and Char due to their relations with Karin herself and to the Valleiere family. Most of it went unnoticed since neither Trombe nor Char would dare piss off the legendary Manticore Knight Commander by doing something stupid as saying 'Hi! It's been a while!' to her. Red on the other hand was simply in awe to be able to fight alongside a living legend and the knight that trained both their former Captain Wardes and Trombe.
Everyone looked to where Char was pointing at and saw one of the larger Albion ships slowly being...infested...with a strange and obviously disgusting mass of what looked like flesh, blood, bone, and screaming men. All of them were completely speechless at the grotesque sight before them. Even Karin was overcome with a feeling of...concern. Yes, concern...not fear. Vallieres do not get scared after all. They only get concerned.
"Ruukoto...what is that?" Louise asked her gynoid with great concern. Ruukoto turned her head to the mass of flesh and bone in question and streams of light immediately started going across her eyes.
"Unknown. Currently scanning. Stand by. Suggest that you contact Yuka in the meantime for possible situation report." Ruukoto stated as it continued its comprehensive long range scan of the entity. Louise nodded at the suggestion and immediately tried to get ahold of her familiar.
'Yuka! Where are you? What is that thing that just showed up? Is it another enemy? What happened to Viscount Wardes?' Louise quick-fired her questions to Yuka but got absolutely no response from him.
I have a bad feeling about this... Louise thought as she watched the mass continue to grow as it consumed the Albion vessel.
"By the founder..." Scarface muttered as he watched the rapidly growing mass of flesh and bone almost completely consume an Albion battleship. The crewmen of the vessel were either being ripped to pieces before being pulled into the mass or were jumping off the ships altogether and dooming themselves to death anyway.
'Hans, what do we do? I don't know what the hell that thing is but it sure as hell doesn't look friendly.' Larry asked his captain using their wind-comms. Scarface weighed the situation they were in and clearly saw that the battle had gone way out of hand. It wasn't so much as winning anymore but more of surviving the battle at hand...or whatever the hell that monster was.
'Stephan, go the Challenger's captain and get him to pull the ship back. Prince Wales has already managed to accomplish what he wanted and I don't think we'll be able to do a counter attack with the state our remaining ships are in. There's no more need for them to stay here any longer.' Scarface ordered Stephan, who was one of the closest to the ship along with Char.
'You got it boss!' The griffin knight immediately acknowledged.
'Boss, I think there's something you should know.' Char's voice suddenly caught the knight captain's attention.
'Go ahead.' Scarface allowed his subordinate to speak.
'Former Manticore Knight Commander, codename Kain, as well as newly minted Chevaliere Louise Francoise Le Blanc de La Valliere wanted in on our wind-comm network. Prince Wales already gave his okay but I wanted to check with you first.' Char explained, making sure to emphasize the code name that Karin was using as well as giving Louise's full name. It didn't take a veteran like him to realize that Karin didn't want anyone to completely confirm that she was there right now. He wondered why she brought her daughter along though, the stories that Jaques and James told him about her didn't really paint her as the type who would bring one of her children to an obviously hostile battlefield. The knight captain put it on the back of his mind since a living legend like her probably had a good reason for doing what she was doing.
'Do it. From the looks of things, we'll need as much help as we can get at this point.' Scarface stated before waiting for the two women to connect to their comm network.
'This is former Manticore Knight Commander, you may refer to me as Kain. This is not my real name but I would ask to be called this for security purposes.' Karin stated as soon as she managed to connect to the knights.
'Well met, Commander Kain. You are speaking to Captain Hans Solan Millennius de Falcone, callsign 'Scarface' and squadron leader of the Sixty-Sixth Squadron of the Sixth Order of the Tristain Griffin Knights. I assume that Dame Louise Francoise Le Blanc de La Valliere is with you?' Scarface greeted Karin using her chosen code name and asking if Louise was already connected.
'Excuse me...can anyone hear me? Is this thing on?' Louise made herself known by showing just how little she knew when it came to Wind Magic based communications.
'Yes, I can hear you loud and clear Dame Valliere. This is Captain Hans Solan Millennius de Falcone, callsign 'Scarface' and squadron leader of the Sixty-Sixth Squadron of the Sixth Order of the Tristain Griffin Knights-' Scarface was not able to get past his initial introduction to Louise when the girl in question interrupted him.
'Thank goodness! You need to help! I can't contact Yuka! He was supposed to have the same wind enchantment as you do so please see if you can reach him!' Louis said frantically in borderline panic. Karin's daughter knew Yuka? The man said that he had a master...was it the daughter of the Heavy Wind? No matter, the issue was that Yuka was missing and the last he checked, the man was supposed to be fighting Jaques.
'Yuka. Yuka, this is Scarface. Can you hear me? Yuka!' Scarface tried to reach the youkai with no response.
'Everyone, try to contact Yuka. I can't raise him for some reason.' Scarface ordered his squadron before switching back to a channel to Louise.
'Dame Valliere, when was the last time you were able to contact him?' Scarface inquired while waiting for his squadron's response.
'I can't raise him boss.' Stephan said in response to Scarface's order.
'It was a little after Prince Wales started his speech. He's supposed to be fighting Viscount Wardes but he hasn't contacted me since...' Louise trailed off after giving her account of what happened before she lost all contact with Yuka. At least their information matched up. Yuka was fighting Jaques the last time anyone saw or made contact with him. Scarface didn't think that someone as blood soaked and confident as Yuka would die so easily but...
'I got nothing Hans.' Larry reported.
'No good boss.' Trombe followed up soon after.
'I can't reach him boss.' Char also reported.
"That thing showed up after Yuka stopped contacting Dame Valliere..." Scarface muttered while glancing at the disgusting entity that had already completely consumed the Albion ship it appeared on. How it was still able to stay airborne, Scarface wasn't sure.
'Negative. Do you think something happened to him?' Red responded and asked the question Scarface was asking himself.
'I don't know but he can take care of himself. For now, we need to focus on getting Prince Wales away from the battle zone.' Scarface stated just as he saw Karin's Manticore take to the air.
'Hey! Don't leave me down here!' The knight captain suddenly heard Louise yell out through the channel.
'Boss! The Challenger's Captain okay-ed the retreat and Prince Wales agreed so they could get the injured away from whatever the nine hells that thing is. Problem is that Commander Kain wanted to leave behind Dame Valliere and her maid as well. The young lady isn't taking it too well.' Stephan reported. Wonderful.
'Captain Falcone, will escort the Challenger to safety or will you stay here to fight the beast?' Karin asked and Scarface smiled at the question.
'Jaques and Yuka are both missing, Commander Karin. Soon afterward, that...thing started growing on an Albion ship. I doubt that it is a coincidence.' Scarface pointed out to which Karin gave a grunt of agreement.
'Hey! Stop ignoring me! I can't leave until I make sure that Yuka's okay, that Viscount Wardes is defeated, that Tarbes is safe, and whatever that thing that suddenly showed up is destroyed!' Louise stated her case and Scarface wondered why the girl had so much invested in this battle that she would willingly go to the field and refuse to leave until she was certain that the major threats were gone.
'And why do you feel the need to do so?' Karin voiced the question in Scarface's head with a somewhat harshly if one would ask him.
'Because I promised the princess. I promised Prince Wales. I promised my friends. I promised Yuka. Most of all, I promised myself that I would help protect Tarbes...and a Valliere always keeps their promises.' Louise immediately replied without any hint of hesitation. Karin could almost feel her brow twitch with her daughter's declaration. The words she used and the way she said them reminded her too much of her own youth and the stupid things she did in order to prove herself back then. Based of that alone, no one will ever doubt that Louise was Karin's daughter.
Scarface wasn't sure what to do about the girl. He'd much rather not have to babysit a noncombatant in the middle of all the crazy that's been happening lately. Case in point was the entity that just consumed an entire Albion battleship and was still continuing to grow. As if to punctuate his point, the thing suddenly shot out a thick bloody sinewy tendril which smashed right into another nearby ship, the barely airworthy Tristain ship 'Bonaparte'. Just like the first ship, the mass of flesh and bone started to grow and seemingly consume the other ship as well. Scarface and everyone else who saw this knew that they had to destroy that monster before it grows too big to stop. Scarface was about to let the Challenger leave with Louise on it when an unexpected voice responded before he could do so.
'I'll take her.' Red suddenly said out loud, mildly surprising Scarface and the rest of his squadron.
'Really? Thank you! Where are you?' Louise immediately replied in joy and relief.
'I'm on my way to the Challenger. Please stay where you are.' Red provided to the young woman.
'What the high heavens do you think you're doing Red?' Trombe asked his comrade just as Scarface saw the young knight's griffin reach the Challenger.
'Helping out a fellow knight.' Red stated simply, reminding everyone there that yes, Louise is a Chevaliere and therefore a knight in the service of the crown.
'Identify yourself and state your intentions, knight.' Karin suddenly cut in with a none too pleased tone in her voice. The living legend had wanted the prince of Albion and her daughter out of the battlefield so she would have less things to worry about and therefore focus on winning. She grudgingly admitted that Louise's maid should have been more than capable of keeping her safe until they reached safer skies which was why she left Ruukoto behind as well.
'It is an honor to be able to speak and fight alongside you, Commander Kain. I am Griffin Knight Lyner Alec la Pyrean, call sign Red, of the Sixty-Sixth Squadron of the Sixth Order of the Tristain Griffin Knights. My only intention in my action is to provide a fellow knight, who is willing to fight for the innocent despite the odds, an opportunity to assist us in battle.' Red responded to Karin and explained his actions.
'Louise Francoise Le Blanc de La Valliere does not have any military training nor substantial battlefield experience.' Karin immediately countered.
'With all due respect commander...Dame Louise Francoise Le Blanc de La Valliere earned her title as a Chevaliere, otherwise she wouldn't be one. She must have displayed the qualities required of a knight to be able to have such a title. I want to believe in her conviction, ma'am.' Red responded. What everyone didn't realize was that Red was scared out of his wits as he was saying those words. He was trying very, very, very hard to make it seem that he was confident in his words so he didn't make himself look like an idiot in front of everyone there.
'Th-th-thank you, S-S-Sir Red...' Louise stammered her thanks to the red-haired knight. Scarface and the rest weren't sure if Louise intended for everyone to hear her embarrassed gesture of thanks. Char, Stephan, and Larry thought it was kind of cute in a little sister kind of way, they did well to keep that opinion to themselves.
'It's your ass if anything happens to Dame Valliere, Red. You understand that, right?' Trombe reminded his junior. 'Are you sure about this, both of you?' Scarface asked both Louise and Red one more time, a question that Karin didn't appreciate. 'You can't possibly be serious Captain Falcone. I would never allow such blatant insubordination in my ranks if it was my squadron.' Karin commented, her personal opinion of the new knight captain deteriorating because he tolerated such a thing from his subordinate.
'With all due respect, Commander. Last time I checked, this was my squadron. If they're so driven to pull that off, then I'd be more than happy to see them try to make it work.' Scarface replied evenly. Living legend or not, he wasn't about to roll over and do whatever Karin said.
'Thanks boss.' Red gave his earnest thanks to his captain before giving Louise a small smile. The young void mage blushed at the gesture and the fact that the knight openly declared that he believed in her. Louise still wasn't used to such direct methods of attack on her maidenly emotions. Kirche and Yukari didn't count because Louise the notion to be rather uncomfortable. Also, she firmly denied that her heart was racing when Kirche kissed her. She also made it a point to utilize the use of her broken spells to vaporize the notion that she might have, possibly, maybe, liked it. Definitely not! "You heard him, please mind your step." Red stated before offering his hand just as his mount lowered itself to make it easier for Louise to climb on it.
"Thank you, Sir Pyrean." Louise thanked the young man before she was pulled onto his griffin. It wasn't very difficult since she had experience getting on various mounts such as horses, griffins, and her mother's manticore. However, she suddenly found herself overcome with embarrassment when Red placed her in front of him when she climbed on, like the way she rode with Viscount Wardes before.
"Glad to help. Just call me Red by the way." Red responded before reaching out and grabbing the reins of his griffin, effectively putting his arms around Louise.
"Okay...umm...you can...just call me Louise...then..." The young woman replied in an uncharacteristically quiet voice. She then noticed Red shifting around in his seat continuously as if uncomfortable.
"Is something wrong...Red? I can just get sit behind you if..." Louise inquired before trailing off when she turned her head and saw Red trying to adjust himself to be able to see around Louise's hat as well as Derflinger.
"Hurm...can you do something about your hat and your sword? Isn't that blade a bit too big for you?" Red asked her passenger with a knitted brow. Louise was about to answer that when the sword in question decided to answer instead. Derflinger rattled in its scabbard for a moment before partially popping out of it, nearly hitting Red in the face in the process.
"You calling me fat, kid?" Derflinger in a confrontational manner.
"What the-" Red's reaction to the sword's sudden outburst was cut short when a low bellowing growl could be heard from the distance. They turned to the source and found that it came from the disgusting entity.
"It can make noises now?" Derflinger commented but Louise noticed something else which unnerved the girl a great deal. "Is it getting bigger?" Louise asked in worry.
'Heads up! That monster just finished eating the Bonaparte and just started going after three more ships!' Stephan exclaimed and red noticed that his squadron was forming up with Karin and Scarface at the forefront.
'It's getting bigger!' Char yelled out, confirming Louise's observation.
"We need to go. Now." Red firmly stated before grabbing Derflinger's hilt and pushing the sword back into its scabbard. The knight ignored the sword's rattling complaint and pulled Louise closer to him, making the young woman blush. Her blush deepened when Red went around his apparent visibility issue by slightly tilting Louise's shoulder to the right and placing his chin on the young Void Mage's left shoulder.
"Milady Valliere! Sir Red!" Wales called out to them. He gave them a determined look before nodding. "Good luck and may the founder protect you." Wales told them with a warm smile.
"Of course, your highness! Ruukoto!" Louise replied before calling out to her gynoid. The robot maid stepped up and bowed to her mistress.
"I am at full combat capacity, Mistress Louise. Deploying G-Wing Type-Zero." Ruukoto declared before standing back up straight and letting her white feathered wings grow out. Louise nodded to her maid before shifting slightly, trying very hard not to react openly to her proximity with Red.
"Okay, let's go Red. Ruukoto will help us too." Louise said to the knight, who nodded into his shoulder. Red, on his part, was trying very hard not to think about how warm Louise was or how nice her hair smelled.
"Let's go Ash!" Red ordered his griffin and it squawked in acknowledgement. Louise stiffened at the sudden movement of the mount before they went off the side of the Challenger and flew, Ruukoto right behind them.
I felt myself weightless and I could not feel anything nor perceive anything about my surroundings. All my senses will not work, even my sensitivity to magic.
That had strange yet familiar implications.
'Keep your buddies! Stay in formation!' Scarface roared out as he and Larry dodged several bladed tendrils that shot out from the monster. The others were in the same situation as they tried to do enough raw damage to the entity to make it stop eating the ships.
'It's got another one!' Char yelled out through the wind-comm as he and Stephan watched another Albion ship get completely covered up with blood, muscle, and bone.
I tried to grasp at something but I could not even feel myself making the attempt. This situation reminded me greatly of when I was first pulled into Louise's summoning portal. This void gave off the same kind of feeling...or lack thereof.
Was I being sent back?
Was I set free and going back to Gensokyo?
"Begone from my sight!" Karin declared with anger as she rapid dual-casted her signature Heavy Wind using both her runed lance and sword-wand. The continuous concussive blasts of wind slammed into the monster and tore off chunk after massive chunk of meat and bone. The beast retaliated with darting spiked tendrils tendrils or bone darts. Karin was able to either deflect or block them with her wind barrier spells or she simply dodged them altogether.
"This isn't working." A deep growling voice came from below the former knight commander as the entity rapidly started healing the damage Karin dealt it. It was Karin's familiar, the ancient manticore that had become so powerful that it ended up developing intelligent sentience and a comprehensive grasp of human speech. It mostly kept quiet since it didn't really like the attention, only speaking up to Karin, Duke Valliere, and Cattleya when no one else was around.
"Your grasp of the obvious is astounding." Karin dryly stated as she and her manticore dodged even more attacks. Karin crossed her sword-wand and runed lance and created a howling vortex of wind that she shaped into a giant lance.
"Engrave this upon your soul!" Karin roared out before launching the spell at the still growing mass.
Was the whole thing about me being summoned by Louise just a strange lucid dream and I never really moved from that void in the first place?
No, that would mean that I was either losing my mind again or that I had quite the imagination.
I deny that possibility and concentrate. Louise was real...I just knew that she was real.
What was the last thing that happened to me again?
'Nail them down! Nail the ends down!' Trombe yelled out as he cast yet another tornado spell at the swarms of tendrils that were threatening to consume him and his griffin.
"Zero!" Louise declared as she used her broken spells to blast away any offending tendril as well as trying to break through the sheer mass of the entity.
"Guh!" Red grunted as he led his griffin into another tight turn in order to avoid more and more hostile tendrils. He was so focused on maneuvering that he couldn't even cast a single spell. The added weight of Louise and Derflinger made Ash slower so Red had to rely more on his focused control of his mount for them to stay in the fight.
"Ha!" They were about to be blindsided by a few tendrils, that came from a newly formed chunk of the entity that managed to take another Albion ship, when they were saved by Ruukoto and her Arondight Anti-Material Sword.
'Are you alright Mistress Louise?' Ruukoto asked her mistress as she flew down to work on hacking apart the newly growing part of the shapeless monster.
I remember a battle...
I was fighting one who was supposed to be dead but not in the same way that Yuyuko Saigyouji was dead.
No...it reminded me more of a very poorly made dead that was even less inspired than Yoshika Miyako.
I was fighting it and...
Something is wrong...
What is this...?
What is this sickening feeling?
Like something terrible was about to happen.
"They just keep coming!" Red complained as he maneuvered Ash through impossible gaps between the almost interlocking tendrils that were assaulting them. Even with the combined efforts of Louise, Ruukoto, and Trombe, the attacks just kept coming. It was like the monster was specifically going after them for some insane reason.
"Red!" Louise screamed out as part of the mass suddenly shaped itself into the visage of a giant zombified griffin head with no feathers. It then opened its maw and let out a blast of toxic wind aimed right at them.
"Dammit!" Red tried his best to push Ash to the brink to try to avoid the blast but it was too large and they were too close.
"Mistress!" Ruukoto yelled out in near panic before flying off to protect her mistress.
Only to be blindsided and smashed into a nearby ship by a massive tendril.
'Get the hell out of there Red!' Trombe all but screamed at his junior while barely being able to fend off the attacks on him.
"Karin!" The ancient manticore called the attention of its master when it noticed what was about to happen. The living legend turned and saw her daughter and the knight that was carrying her trying desperately to get out of the way of a blast of toxic wind.
They won't make it.
Karin's experience knew it...but she couldn't accept it.
She was too far away.
Karin's instinct told her.
She cannot prevent what was about to happen.
Karin knew this deep in her heart...and the thought of losing her child in such a way assaulted her with a sense of true fear she had not felt since Cattleya nearly died from a fever in her first year of life.
"We won't make it!" Louise pointed out as the wall of death bore down upon them.
"It's made of magic! Use me!" Derflinger suddenly yelled out after popping out of its scabbard and rattling it to emphasize its point.
"What?" Red didn't know what the sword was talking about but Louise did. She immediately pulled out Derflinger using both hands, nearly cutting Red's face in the process, and swung the sword at the blast of wind right as it was about to hit them.
"Ghaaaaaaaaaaaah!" Derflinger screamed out in pain as it tried to absorb a massive magic spell all at once. It tried, it really did. But it was simply too much for one sword, no matter how much of a legend it once was.
"Nghhhhhhaaaaaaaaaaahhh!" Louise screamed along with the sword as the force of the spell hitting Derflinger felt like her arms were being slowly broken into pieces. It was taking everything Red and Ash had to keep them all airborne despite the tempest happening right next to them. It was only a matter of time before something gave out.
A massive shockwave erupted as Derflinger was no longer able to take in any more of the spell and was forced to blow it back to the source. The event made the world slow down all around the young void mage.
She suddenly remembered her lessons with Cirno about the Laws of Physics. In particular, the Third Law of the man known as the deadliest in space, where it was stated that:
'Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.'
Louise was blown clean off of Red's griffin and found herself momentarily looking right at the clear blue sky. She thought it a beautiful sight until Derflinger made her snap back to the current situation.
"Aaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhh!" The sword screamed out as it fell out of the sky. The blast knocked the sword out of Louise's hands before the young woman was thrown off her ride. Derflinger quickly became but a speck in the distance since it fell at a much faster rate that Louise.
"Noooooo!" Louise heard Red scream out before attempting to catch her. Unfortunately, the monster kept him from reaching the girl by continuously either trying to consume him and his mount or trying to consume Louise herself. The young knight was too busy keeping the tendrils and spikes off them to be able to fly fast enough to catch her.
'Someone! Catch her!' Red yelled out over their communications and soon saw Char and his red griffin as well as Karin and Ruukoto speeding toward them...but they were to far away.
Louise was falling...
She could feel the air rush around her as she came closer and closer to hitting the ground. It was an odd feeling, like a constant breeze being blown on her back. Wind Resistance, she recalled, from what Cirno had taught her.
She could see Red and his griffin trying to catch up to her and fending off the monster's tendrils with sword and magic. She tried to scream but no sound came out. She tried to move but the force of the air felt like she was being pinned to the ground.
Louise mouthed but the words did not even reach her ears, how could it possibly reach his?
She then remembered something...something that did reach Yuka even though they were literally worlds apart. So she spoke them out as best she could.
I beg of you…
"Oh Founder, what now?" Trombe complained when the entity started to give out another growl before starting to stir. It completely stopped its attacks and just continued to growl and move its mass around.
My slave who lives somewhere in the universe!
Oh sacred, beautiful and strong familiar spirit! I desire and here I plead from my heart!
Louise! Karin thought as she poured more and more magic into her acceleration spell. The distance between her and her daughter was immense and it felt like she wasn't gaining any ground at all.
That was when part of the mass suddenly bulged out and the entity gave out a loud roar that one would usually attribute to pain.
Answer to my guidance!
The bulged out part of the mass suddenly exploded with a searing white light that headed straight to Louise in an unimaginable speed.
Louise saw the flash of light in the distance and thought it familiar...
Master Spark? She immediately thought as the beam of light reminded her of her familiar's trademark spell. She was incorrect though. The light was akin to Master Spark but it was differently utilized.
Master Spark was a directed energy blast designed to overwhelm one's foe with raw magical power. The thing that was headed to Louise was something of a reconceptualization of that spell. Just as when Marisa Kirisame took Yuka's Master Spark as her own spell, Yuka took one of Marisa's as well. While Yuka was never able to name said spell since it already had a name...it didn't really matter. The ray of light that was heading right at Louise was her trusted familiar, friend, and partner...
Care of a ~Blazing Star~
I call out to her and reach out with my left hand while keeping my parasol steady with my right. I did not have a broom I could ride on like Marisa did whenever she used this spell so I had to use one of my hands to stabilize the thrust cause by the spell.
Louise saw me and her eyes widened before she tried to reach out with both of her hands. I cut the spell when I was close enough to reach her with standard flight and pulled her into an embrace when I finally reached her.
"Hang on..." I whispered before flapping my wings hard to bleed off the remaining speed I had.
"You're here...you really came when I called out for you..." I heard my master say as she buried her face into my left shoulder.
"Was there ever any doubt?" I asked her with a wry smile on my face just as we finally slowed to a stop in the air. 'Mistress!' Both of us looked around when we heard Ruukoto's voice through the 'Hey-Listen'. I saw that the gynoid, Karin, the knight with the red griffin, as well as the knight known as Red were flying toward us.
"Please stay still Mistress Louise." Ruukoto, who arrived first, stated before placing a hand on Louise's head and making both of them glow softly.
"What do you think you're doing to her?" Karin, who arrived next, immediately asked with a bit less composure than she usually had though no less as harsh.
"Health diagnosis and utilization of nanomachines to repair any internal damage to Mistress Louise's body." Ruukoto briskly explained just as Red and the other knight arrived.
"Is she hurt?" The red headed knight asked worriedly. I raised a brow at the concern the young man had for Louise but my master only compounded to it by pulling herself off my shoulder and giving the knight a smile.
"I'm okay now." My master said softly just as the glow made by Ruukoto died out.
"No internal bleeding. Noted minor bruising on the forearms but those are already being healed as we speak. Only superficial damage on Mistress Louise's person otherwise." Ruukoto reported before giving Louise and I more space.
'Guys! Whatever the hells just happened, I think it just pissed our monster off.' I heard one of Scarface's knights point out. I looked at the growing mass of flesh and bone and scoffed.
What a miserable final form you have Viscount Wardes.
'Just to let everyone know. That entity you are all looking at right now is the final result of Viscount Wardes' stint as one of the undead after I damaged him enough.' I informed everyone using the wind enchantment that the griffin knights were using. I didn't need to use the 'Hey-Listen' because Karin, Louise, and Ruukoto were close enough to hear me.
'Are you telling me that...that...THING is Jaques?' Scarface growled in disgust.
'No. The man known as Jean-Jacques Francis de Wardes died on Albion. What showed up here was nothing more than a pathetic attempt at creating a controlled undead warrior. The current result illustrates just how poorly the ones who did that understood the magic they were dabbling with.' I explained for the benefit of them all since none of them were actually there when my other half killed the traitor.
'And the good times continue to roll...' Larry's voice cut in with a generous amount of sarcasm.
'It's started to mend the damage from before and started attacking the ships again.' Another one of Scarface's knights informed us.
'Stephan's right. The remaining battleships on both sides and Red Dragon Knights are all attacking it but they're just pissing it off and getting eaten instead.' The knight captain stated the current situation. It seemed that Wardes' sudden and indiscriminately hostile transformation was forcing the Ablion and Tristain forces, what was left of them anyway, to work together for the simple reason of survival.
Give enemies a great enough common threat and they won't hesitate to march through hell itself together.
"Yuka...let me back on Red's griffin." Louise quietly asked me, prompting another rousing bout of eyebrow raising.
"How do you think I got up in the air?" She flatly replied with only the faintest blush on her face. I hummed thoughtfully as I looked at the knight in question who seemed to be conversing the knight on the red griffin.
"You still intend to continue this foolishness? You nearly got yourself killed. Don't think that you will be lucky twice in the same battle. We cannot even effectively damage it permanently, you will only get in the way." Karin suddenly interrupted the moment and gave her daughter a cold glare like she usually does apparently. On the point she was trying to make though...
"That...may not be the case." I mused as I idly stroked Louise's strawberry-blonde hair. There were things I noticed while I was inside that...thing. It reminded me too much of that void I had originally been pulled into. If it was something similar...something that was able to muffle my senses enough for me to not be able to perceive anything...
"The creature we are all facing right now is a crude amalgam of meat and bone held together and being moved by a substantial amount of magic. I believe that the reason why it keeps growing and consuming is because it converts biological matter into something it can use to do...whatever it is it does, either processing it into raw magic or converting it into more body mass." I pointed out while looking at the entity that was currently shrugging off everything the combined forces of the Tristain and Albion fleets were throwing at it. I also noted that the Sixty-Sixth were already assaulting the thing save for the knight known as Red, who was still hanging around nearby.
"Yuka's analysis is correct." Ruukoto picked up the conversation and seemed intent on continuing or expounding on my point.
"Explain yourself, false pegan god." The former Griffin Knight Commander all but commanded Ruukoto with a sneer. I noticed Louise's magic spike up because of her mother's words to her maid and squeezed her shoulder to get her attention. My master looked at me with a mildly irritated expression but I just shook my head at her. Louise getting mad at her mother because of what she called Ruukoto won't help anyway, least of all Louise herself.
"I am designated as Ruukoto Unit-One Version-Four. I request that you refer me as such or simply Ruukoto, Madame Valliere. Classifying me as a pegan god will not only create cultural and religious misunderstandings, it would also be inaccurate. I am not a god, Madame Valliere. I am neither invincible nor all-powerful. I am simply very good at what I do." Ruukoto smoothly pointed out, completely unfazed by Karin's disparaging remark. Louise blinked at her gynoid's response and once again turned to me. I said nothing and just gave her a small smile.
"More on my explanation...I have made comprehensive scans on the entity, which I will designate as 'Death Wardes', is being held together and moving using a dynamic arcane fusion spell. Specific spell is not registered in my systems. However, spell components seem to be derived from the disciplines of Necromancy, Conjuration, and Alteration. In conclusion, Death Wardes is made up more of magical energy than actual physical matter." Ruukoto gave her points of argument. I was impressed that Ruukoto was able to find out all of that just by scanning Wardes...or Death Wardes, I suppose. I was able to determine that the creature was being held together by magic but I didn't know that more than one dicipline of magic was involved in making and maintaining it. That was very interesting since Necromancy isn't really a kind of magic that can be attributed to any of the four common elements of the Halkeginian spell system.
Which meant that it came from somewhere else...
"And how does that help our situation? While we know that the beast is primarily made up of magical energy, it is not like we can simply disrupt or dispel it." Karin pointed out at Ruukoto, to which the gynoid only shrugged to.
"Fus!" Louise suddenly let out as soon as her mother mentioned dispelling the spell. Karin glanced at her daughter but quickly dismissed it.
"And what if we could?" I asked the woman before turning to Red and gesturing him to come closer. The knight blinked for a moment before moving his mount closer. I gently sat Louise down in front of the knight, who quickly made room for Louise when he realized what I was doing. If Louise was going to use Dispel, then she will need both hands free. This configuration should allow her to do so while making sure that she was securely seated on the griffin. Louise and Red quickly adjusted themselves with my master leaning back onto Red while the young man placed his chin on Louise's left shoulder for better visibility because of my master's hat. The odd thing was that they seemed to do it so naturally.
Did I miss something?
I shrugged off the odd feeling and turned to Karin when I noticed her glaring at me again through her iron mask.
"You mean to say that you have a way to be able to destroy that thing once and for all?" Karin asked me with a barely visible raised brow.
"I do, but it is too dangerous to use around humans because it would cause them to spontaneously combust or melt." I pointed out and thought that I heard Louise suddenly blurt out 'Ro' or something after I said that. Karin didn't seem pleased about my response so I decided to tell her my real answer.
"While I cannot utilize my ability, Louise has something in her repertoire that should be able to do the trick." I casually noted with a shrug.
"Dah!" Louise squeaked out in surprise. Karin narrowed her eyes at me before looking at her daughter who was, in turn, glaring at me.
'What do you think you're doing? I thought you said to keep anything regarding my real magic a secret!' Louise hissed at me using her 'Hey-Listen'. I looked at her and turned around before tapping my 'Hey-Listen'.
'I said that we need to keep it a secret until you are ready. Unfortunately, circumstances dictate that your Dispell is the most effective means of destroying Death Wardes.' I explained to Louise as quietly as I could.
'It's too big! There's no way I can cast Dispell large enough to take it all out!' Louise stated a bit louder.
'You managed to break an enchantment that Ruukoto guaranteed to be unbreakable by any modern Halkeginian magic. You can do this Louise...remember your training with me, Cirno, and Matilda. Who knows...the Founder's Prayer Book might give you something to help you out.' I stated just in time for Karin to move her manticore right in front of me.
"What. Are. You. Two. Talking. About. In. Secret?" Karin asked me very politely while pointing her runed lance between my eyes. I supposed that she didn't like being put out of the loop.
"It is commonly known as a Strategy Meeting. I had hoped that one as skilled and experienced as you would know of it." I innocently said, very tempted to give Karin one of those stupidly annoying grins that Yukari gives out whenever she really annoys someone. Karin had enough and thrust her runed lance right at my face...to which I stopped with two fingers.
"I do not doubt your prowess, strength and skill. Your legend alone attests to that. However, you of all people should appreciate when one would like to keep a secret a secret. We will reveal what we can to you in time...but not now and not here...not in the middle of a battlefield when you don't know who could be listening in." I stated in all seriousness. Karin glared at me before giving a low growl and backing off. I let go of her lance to accommodate that before turning to my master. I raised a brow when it seemed that my display unnerved Louise and Red. I sighed and decided to let everyone know of my plan to finally take care of our not so little friend. I tapped into the wind enchantment of the Sixty-Sixth while tapping my 'Hey-Listen' to make sure that everyone was listening to what I was about to say.
'Ladies and Gentlemen. I have a way to be able to destroy this monster but I will need everyone's help in order to do so.' I stated, waiting for the inevitable questions.
'You sure it will work?' Scarface was predictably the fist one to respond.
'Indeed, my dear captain. Otherwise, I wouldn't be suggesting it.' I responded confidently.
'Alright, let's hear it.' Scarface said after a few moments of silence. I ignored the glare being sent to me by Karin and started to tell him what we needed to do. It was simple really:
Buy enough time for Louise to cast a very large Dispel.
"-augh! Oooowww!" Derflinger screamed out in fear, then in pain, after hitting the ground by the tip of its blade after falling from an incredible height. Due to the location where it landed the six-thousand year old sword was surrounded with wreckage and various dead bodies.
"Yeeesh! Even Brimir didn't make this much of a mess back then!" The sword commented, quickly getting over its initial reaction to its impromptu freefall. If you've been around as long as Derflinger, you tend to shrug away a lot of things...even if a sword shouldn't be able to shrug.
"They'd better look for me soon. This isn't exactly the safest place to be if you're a six-thousand year old sentient magic sword." It idly said to no one in particular. Which was why it wished that it had a neck to be able to turn around when it heard footsteps from behind it.
"Ummm...hello?" The sword called out tentatively.
"Hello~! A talking sword. That's something you don't see everyday." A sultry mature female voice called out. That alone was enough to really get Derflinger's attention...if not for the fact that the mystery woman's voice also sounded...dangerous. It felt itself being pulled out of the ground and held sideways so it finally saw who it was that spoke out.
She about as tall as Matilda was but was paler than the former thief. Then the sword saw that the woman had long deep violet hair and matching eyes and lipstick, quaint really. She had black fang-like markings under her eyes and was wearing a black robe that covered most of her body.
"Such a beautiful sword...do you have a name dearie?" The woman said in a sickly sweet manner. Derflinger couldn't help but gulp in the way the woman could easily exude both sexiness and a sense of danger as well.
"Derflinger, my dear! The name is Derflinger! Sword forged and wielded by the original Gandalfr, one of Brimir's familiars!" Derflinger proudly stated. That spiel usually ended with the sword being tossed away or laughed at then tossed away or looked at blankly before being tossed away. However, the woman did none of that. Instead, she smiled and her eyes showed a sense of mischief and hunger.
"Gandalfr...what a coincidence..." The woman said before her forehead started to glow showing a set of runes...runes that Derflinger was very familiar with. It was then that the sword realized just how badly it screwed up.
"Myoznitnirn..." The sword managed to mutter just as the woman gave a sinister smile at it and the runes on her forehead glowed even brighter.
'Everybody get that? Deal as much damage to that thing and keep it off Red. We need to buy Dame Louise enough time to let off whatever spell she has that can take this thing down permanently!' Louise heard Scarface yell out through the wind-comm. She still wasn't sure how she was supposed to cast a Dispel large enough to affect the entire mass of Death Wardes. With that in mind, the young void mage took out the Founder's Prayer Book from under her hat, which mildly surprised Red, before flipping through the pages.
There are new pages filled up... Louise thought as she examined the new pages that were covered with the same ancient Halkeginian text as Dispel did. She did the same thing that she did back in front of Ruukoto's hangar and let the contents of the book flow into her mind instead of trying to force herself to comprehend the text. Louise blinked when she found that she had not one but two new spells to take in.
Void Explosion and Void Fusion. Louise thought before trying to check how what those spells do and if either of them could help their situation.
'What is the matter James? You were faster than this when I trained you! I'm disappointed!' Karin berrated her former student as she and Trombe worked together to deal as much damage to Death Wardes as possible in order to keep its attention away from Red and Louise. Said plan involved intense use of the entire library of wind spells that the two mages had at their disposal.
Unfortunately for the second-in-command of the Sixty-Sixth, her former teacher decided that an air battle against a mass of bloody death was a great opportunity for an exam.
I dodged tendril after tendril of the creature as I moved closer to it. Its effort was great and well enthused, but it lacked any sort of skill at trying to hit anything. To one who has been through countless Danmaku battles, this was nothing.
I sliced away a mass of offending tendrils that tried to overwhelm me with mass using my parasol before landing on the deck of a ship that was in the process of being infested and consumed by Death Wardes. I touched the wooden floor of the deck and a field of piranha plants burst out and started firing at the bloody mass that was attached to the ship. I had heard once that fire was rather effecting against the dead so I checked if it was true. That seemed to be the case as the monster tried to get rid of my plants using its tendrils. I had a surprise for it though.
"Oh no you don't." I said before pulling at my magic and making a grabbing motion with my left hand. The action made several vines materialize and become entangled around my left arm. I pulled harder and uprooted the plants I made and retracting them closer to me. Most of them managed to avoid getting attacked and so I ended up with an arm that had a little over a dozen piranha plants attached to it. I allowed them to continue what they do best, firing at anything I want them to with impunity.
'Yuka! I got it! I have something that I can use to destroy Death Wardes!' Louise triumphantly stated through our 'Hey-Listen'.
'Good. What do you need?' I asked as I ducked and weaved through another mess of tendrils that my plants reduced to ashes soon afterward.
'The spell I'm going to use can be cast faster than the regular Dispel but I need to get closer to the core to be able to maximize the effect.' Louise exclaimed and I quickly understood what she needed.
'Got it. I'm on my way there.' I stated as I flew to where Red, Louise, and Ruukoto were. The young knight slightly recoiled when it saw me and my plants but kept his composure well. My master just gave me a raised brow and a small frown but nothing else. "So, what is it? How close do you need to be?" I asked my master.
"Around a hundred feet or so…" Louise stated in concentration as she stared at the contents of the Founder's Prayer Book, which seemed to have new pages filled up.
"That's a bit too close don't you think? That thing will be all over us at that range." Red pointed out, to which my master merely nodded.
"Yes, but this is the best way to make sure that we can destroy that thing." My master responded, not taking her eyes off the book. Red looked at me with slight worry in his eyes. I just gave the young man a wry smile and shrugged.
"Alright, are you up for this Ruukoto?" I asked the gynoid, who brandished its G-Revolver and R-Cannon in response.
"For Mistress Louise, always." It stated simply. And with that, we quickly flew right at the mass of death with me and Ruukoto flying in front of Red's griffin. Tendril after tendril came at us but Ruukoto and I managed to destroy them well before they ever became a threat to my master. Those that did get too close were easily dodged by the griffin that carried its master and Louise. I was slightly impressed at the control the young knight had over his mount to be able to perform such precise movement with it.
"Red, fly me closer! I want to hit it with my spell!" I heard Louise yell out just as she raised her wand up in the air before closing her eyes and starting her incantation. I noticed the griffin accelerate in response and Ruukoto and I matched its speed and movement. The closer we got, the more tendrils attacked us. Ruukoto and I ended up flying right next to Louise and Red to be able to effectively defend them, though we also needed to give them enough room to dodge should the need arise. The way the tendrils tried to box us in and trap us felt like we were flying in a narrow corridor or canyon while trying to dodge attackers.
We managed to get within a few hundred feet of the main mass when I felt Louise's magic spike significantly, like she was pouring everything into the spell she was about to use. I wondered what it was when Louise pointed her wand right at her target and declared her spell.
Void Fuse! Explosion alt Dispel!
All that magic I felt building up in Louise suddenly drained out of her in one moment but I didn't see anything happen. "Dame Louise!" Red suddenly exclaimed and I saw my master slump against the knight exhausted. Was it a failed spell? I was wondering that when I suddenly saw a glint of light coming from the point where Louise was aiming at. A moment later, I saw a massive rainbow colored explosion blast out and quickly consume the mass of death as it groaned and started to dissolve. The wave of magic swept over us and I felt the magic in the wind-comm, as well as my plants suddenly die out. It was dispel…but it was used as an explosion…and Louise combined them using another spell. I resisted the urge to laugh right there.
Louise Triple-Casted…for real this time.
"Why the long face?" Monmon asked my master as we rode a carriage provided by Princess Henrietta back to the Tristain Magic Academy. Louise and I were riding with Monmon and Guiche while Tabitha, Kirche, and Ruukoto opted to fly instead.
"Hurm…" Louise grumbled in response, still tired from her last spell. The battle ended soon after Death Wardes' sudden…and somewhat anti-climactic end. What remained of the Albion Armada quickly surrendered and were escorted somewhere else. The Sixty-Sixth were part of the force that ensured that the Albion ships didn't do anything stupid in the meantime.
Prince Wales went back to the capital with Princess Henrietta. Apparently, they were going to form a coalition against the despot Cromwell on the grounds of the monstrosity it made in the form of Death Wardes and the threat it poses to Tristain and the other countries of Halkeginia as well.
"I have never seen anyone look so depressed after achieving such a victory before." Guiche commented with a small chuckle. Indeed, both Princess Henrietta and Prince Wales offered to give Louise a much grander title after what happened since she effectively won the battle in the end for us. My master, true to form, embarrassedly turned down their offer and stated that she was more than happy to simply save Tarbes and protect her friends. There was some bad news though. We lost Derflinger during the battle when Louise dropped the sword. Ruukoto, Tabitha, and I managed to search the ground where the sword likely fell to but found nothing. Louise was determined to find the sword since it saved her life during the battle and refused to leave the sword missing. I agreed with her but reminded her that she needed to rest first. We can take care of everything one at a time. Speaking of which…
"Louise seems to be less than enthused at the thought of going home for a bit, I guess." I said while giving my master a small smirk. She returned the gesture with a tired scowl but did not give anything more. Yes, after the battle, Karin practically ordered her daughter to return to their home so she and her parents could have a long talk about a few things. Louise was less than enthused at the notion and tried to wriggle her way out of by telling Karin that she still has classes at the academy.
Karin shot down that argument by pointing out that Tristain was still in a state of emergency and that school was suspended until further notice from the capital. The former manticore knight commander gave her daughter a week to prepare before someone from their estate was to escort her back to their manor. She also told me to take a bath because I was apparently starting to smell like rotting flesh. I agreed with her and went back to Mugenkan to freshen myself up at the first opportunity…much to the confusion of the others when I suddenly returned without a speck of dirt or blood on me.
I looked out the window of the carriage and smiled. We've been through a lot, Louise and I…and I can only guess as to what else could be in store for me and my little master. Although, I was rather certain that there wasn't anything else in this realm that could surprise me anymore.
A few days later…
Matilda was running through the forests of Southern Saxe Gotha. She had come there to check up on her sister and their orphanage when she heard a rumor that someone was actively looking for Tiffania Westwood. The former thief immediately decided to investigate even if it meant leaving behind Louise and Yuka. As much as she wanted to stay with her pupil and her familiar, she was worried about her sister.
However, when she reached the location of their orphanage…all she found were wreckage and ashes. It took all of Matilda's concentration to remain focused to be able to investigate what happened. She found no bodies or blood, which meant that Tiffania and the orphans were not killed or harmed…here anyway.
"Hooo~! What have we here?" Matilda turned around when she heard a woman's voice. She turned around and saw a pale skinned woman with purple hair. She was wearing a black robe and was wielding what looked like a chained staff with a crescent at the tip.
"I come here to find a half-elf and I see a traitor instead. It seems that Vittorio got to the elf before we did…a shame." The woman's words immediately made Matilda think and her mind paid the price as she was attacked with another migraine.
"And it looks like the enchantment still works too. How does it feel, Fouquet?" The woman sneered at her. She knew who Matilda was so that meant that she was working with the people that did this to her. The train of logic gave the former thief a new headache but she pushed through it and pointed her wand at the woman. Her earth golem started to form up to attack the intruder but her eyes widened in shock when a blast of yellow light destroyed it in but a moment. She then saw that it came from the staff that the woman was wielding.
"You like? This is a magic staff that was left behind by an evil spirit before it passed on. It has incredible power if one knew how to use it properly. It was never really used for centuries since no one could ever figure out how it was supposed to work. Of course, such a thing was easy to figure out for the Mind of God." The woman stated confidently as it raised the staff in the air and Matilda could feel the magic building up at the crescent. It was incredible. The amount of magic being gathered was far more than anything she could gather with her own wand and the staff was doing it at an insane speed.
"I am Sheffield, Myoznitnirn the Mind of God." The woman calling herself Sheffield said and Matilda knew that she had to get out of there. She pulled herself to her feet and started to run. Sheffield simply smiled and said one thing that gave Matilda a headache worse than any before it.
Matilda screamed at the pain she was experiencing at the moment and felt her consciousness fading before her.
"Louise…Yuka…Tiffa…" Matilda called out in an effort to block out then pain but it di not work"Oh, stop crawling around like a worm~" Sheffield said and the former thief before casually walking up to her and kicking her side. Matilda coughed out violently as a result and curled up in pain.
"Well, master Joseph did say not to come back empty handed. I guess I can settle with you instead of the elf. I'm sure you can assist us in your own way little earthworm~" Sheffield sneered with contempt as she knelt down in front on Matilda. Just in time for the green-haired woman to pull out her spare wand and cast a desperation spell. A pillar of earth launched Sheffield into the air, letting Matilda struggle back to her feet and try to escape.
"Feisty worm!" Matilda's blood froze when she heard Sheffield's voice from directly above her. Matilda looked up in horror as she saw the Myoznitnirn looking at her with a rather annoyed expression. Sheffield's cloak was open and looked like a pair of wings.
Is it a spell? An artifact? How is she doing this? Matilda thought just as her headache finally became too much to bare and her vision blacked out.
"Hmph! Foolish whore!" Sheffield angrily said to the woman before landing and giving her another kick.
"Oh I will so enjoy breaking you~" The Mind of God said with a smile as she pulled out a black collar from a bag on her waist that looked far to small to carry such a thing but still did. Her forehead started to glow as she drew closer to the unconscious woman...
There! That was the original ending of Season One I had planned out! I'm sorry!
I regret nothing…NOTHING!