|Louise & Yuka K.|
| Book: Be Careful What|
You Wish For, Chapter 20
|Written by||Vanishing Trooper|
Be Careful What
You Wish For
Be Careful What
You Wish For
"Blood Dragon Tooth and Overdrive System NT-D..." I muttered as I read through Nitori's report on the sealed systems that she managed to find a way to unlock. It turned out that Professor Uzuki was extraordinarily thorough when it came to making sure that the really dangerous things that Ruukoto had were secure.
Each of the sealed equipment and abilities had their own encrypted password as well as a unique a keycode to even be able to enter the password proper. Both password and keycode needed to be entered by Ruukoto's master through a special interface that the gynoid had just for that purpose. Nitori said that Ruukoto required a master to access the interface and enter the code and password for each system. The kappa postulated that this was to prevent the gynoid or anyone or anything else who wasn't Ruukoto's acknowledged master from trying to crack into its system instead.
Again, a very thorough woman...
I opened the door of Mugenkan that connected my realm to the Tristain Magic Academy before closing and dematerializing it. I looked up and saw the sky start to give out a soft orange glow. It appeared that my meeting took all day. It wasn't my fault that Nitori decided to give me a detailed lecture on the systems she was able to decrypt.
I continued to read the report on the two new things that would become available for Ruukoto as I walked back to the dormitory tower. Louise should have been doing her independent training while I was away, so she was probably in her room exhausted by now.
Ruukoto's Blood Dragon Tooth was apparently the next logical step in the development line of the R-Blade...according to Nitori anyway. According to the report, the weapon was a handheld device as opposed to the R-Blade, which requires Ruukoto to transform her entire arm into the weapon. Included with the report was a diagram of the device which had so much detailed information about each part, even though I will not bother to comprehend all of it, that one could probably manufacture it if they had the materials and methods to do so.
It was a sleek silver device that was basically comprised of a simple handle and an energy emitter. Of course, there were much more pieces and components involved, but I didn't really care to know about them because I was not the one who will use it. The only thing that mattered to me was what it can do. What it can do is create a four foot long energy blade, which could extend to twelve feet if needed. It can also be used as a ranged weapon by turning the energy utilized by the blade into projectiles, effectively making it a laser gun. In addition, Ruukoto should also be able to switch between those two modes at will.
It was an incredibly versatile weapon but the overall damage output of the Blood Dragon Tooth was lower than its closest equivalents, which would be R-Blade and G-Revolver. A trade-off for being able to do two things at once I supposed.
Ruukoto's Overdrive System 'NT-D' was an internal enhancement ability like 'White Noise'. While White Noise apparently enhances Ruukoto's communications systems, NT-D enhances the gynoid's defenses. According to the report, the system disperses a large amount of nanomachines which lines the gynoid's frame in a very specific manner. It seemed that the way it was set up was to allow Ruukoto to deflect non-physical attacks in addition to increasing its toughness to physical attacks.
However, it also said that NT-D was an unfinished technology. It seemed that, even though it was a usable system, it was rather inefficient compared to White Noise. It can only be deployed for a maximum of six-hundred seconds at a time because of how much it pushed the Erde Kaiser Sigma Type-Seven Engine. Nitori postulated that the version of the system that was put into Ruukoto was either a proof-of-concept prototype or an incomplete version that was put in anyway because of time constraints or desperation. Nitori also warned not to let Ruukoto use the system for the full six-hundred second limit as it may render the gynoid inoperable for a time because its engine needed time to cool down.
A powerful but impractical system to be relied on constantly. However, it would be a nice trump card for Ruukoto to keep around just in case. I walked up to Louise's room and rearranged the pages of the report. I wanted to discuss this with Louise and Ruukoto at length so my master would know what else her maid was capable of and so I can clarify a few things with Ruukoto in regards to her weapons and abilities. I knocked on the door twice and raised a brow when no one responded.
"Louise, Ruukoto, I'm back." I knocked again before opening the door. I looked inside and it was vacant save for a 'Hey-Listen' on Louise's desk and a small note underneath it.
"What now?" I asked irritably to no one in particular. I put Nitori's report inside Louise's dresser along with her previous report. I closed it immediately when I heard footsteps approaching.
"Mister Yuka, is that you?" I heard Siesta's voice from the hallway.
"In here." I responded and saw the maid enter the still open door with a worried expression.
"I assume that you know something of where Louise and Ruukoto are?" I asked Siesta, who nodded immediately.
"Miss Louise's older sister arrived earlier today and took her away along with Ruukoto!" Siesta stated with a mild sense of alarm. I gave a thoughtful hum before rubbing my chin with my left hand.
"Louise's sister..." I repeated the young woman's words while mulling over the information. My master did say that she had two other sisters. Perhaps Karin finally wanted to speak with my master at length along with Louise's father so she sent one of her other daughters to fetch her.
"Thank you for clarifying that for me." I thanked the still visibly worried Siesta.
"Is Miss Louise in trouble? Her sister looked really mad when they left." The maid asked me. I wondered about that myself. On all accounts, Louise should be in trouble when she returns to her home because of her involvement in the battle of Tarbes. On the other hand, we had practically saved that battle for Tristain.
"I'm not sure...but I can find out." I told her honestly before picking up the Hey-Listen and putting it in my ear as well as picking up the note and reading it.
Escorting Mistress Louise to the Valliere Estate.
The mistress is being brought back by Miss Eleonore Albertine Le Blanc De La Blois De La Valliere, the eldest sister.
Enclosed Hey-Listen is already connected to my communications system as well as the mistress' own ear piece.
Travelling by carriage. Estimated time of arrival is between five to seven days barring any significant delays.
Please contact me directly if you wish to know directions on how to reach our destination or if you wish to catch up to us.
"Is it from Ruukoto? I've never seen that kind of language before." Siesta asked as she peered at the letter from my side.
"Yes. This is the written form of a language from my realm known as English. I supposed that Ruukoto chose this to ensure that I would most likely be the only one who could read it." I explained before putting the note in my pocket.
"So, what did it say?" The maid continued her line of questioning. I nodded in response before picking up my parasol from the corner of the room and sitting down on one of the chairs.
"It seems that Louise and Ruukoto were escorted to the Valliere estate by her elder sister, one Eleonore Albertine Le Blanc De La Blois De La Valliere. Ruukoto was nice enough to leave behind one of the 'Hey-Listen' so I can contact them once I try to find them." I explained while pointing to the 'Hey-Listen' in my ear. Siesta shuffled a bit from where she stood as she looked at me a bit uncomfortably.
"So...why aren't you trying to contact them or go after them?" She finally asked after staring at my obviously lax way of dealing with this. It was an understandable question. I mean, the last time when Louise disappeared on me, it eventually ended up with the Albion invasion...whether or not Louise was the direct cause of that sequence of events or was merely part of it would be up for debate of course. However, my confidence stemmed from the fact that we now had something that we did not when Wardes abducted my master. We now had Ruukoto.
"Because Ruukoto is with her. After the events at Tarbes, Ruukoto has proven that it is far more than capable of protecting Louise barring giant, constantly mutating, tendriled monsters...of course, I doubt that they would encounter such a thing on their way to the Valliere estate." I explained before lazily cracking the kinks in my neck.
"Are you alright, Mister Yuka? You look...tired." The maid pointed out, though she slightly hesitated in the end considering how odd the questioned sounded when being directed at me. I hummed at her observation before giving out a tired sigh. So this is my limit? I'm a bit disappointed. Was it because I was away from my Garden of the Sun for so long?
"Your observation may not be...incorrect." I gave her before starting to feel a migraine start. It has been a long time since I had felt that sensation and it was reminded at how much I disliked it. Siesta stepped forward after I started rubbing my forehead with me left hand.
"Have...have you been sleeping well?" The maid worriedly asked before kneeling down and placing her right hand on my left cheek.
"I...have not slept since Louise and I returned from Albion..." I told her, much to the maid's shock. It was true. The only times when I could really go to sleep at night was when Louise did not show up in Mugenkan...times that were now few and far in between. I glanced at Siesta's fearful expression before shaking my head slowly.
"I hope that I do not need to remind you that I am not human..." I pointed out before removing the hand on my cheek with my own. I felt Siesta's hand squeeze my own for a moment before I let go. She glanced away as she held her right hand close to her chest with her left, her cheeks giving off a faint pink tinge.
"I am not human...I never was...I never will be...I have come to the point in my long and particularly violent life where sleep, food, and drink are no longer required for my continued existence. However...it seemed that I have overestimated myself this time." I reminded her before conceding the point that I was not feeling as well as I should.
"My dependence on my garden has finally let itself known...as much as I did not want to admit." I muttered before trying to stand up. The feeling of myself faltering and my legs suddenly giving out was something I have not felt...in a very long time. Imagine my surprise when Siesta had to catch me and guide me to Louise's bed.
"Maybe you should get some sleep. At least take a nap before you catch up with Miss Louise and Ruukoto." Siesta said to me before pushing me down on the bed.
"I can't believe that I'm being forced into something as...pedestrian...as taking a nap without my consent." I grumbled and raised a brow when the maid gave out a small giggle as she removed my footwear before lifting my legs onto the bed.
"Isn't this nice every once and a while though? You must at least miss being able to have a peaceful sleep every now and then, right?" Siesta asked me with a gentle smile. The way she worked with her words and actions, despite who she was saying them to...Sakuya would have liked to have had a maid like Siesta on her team.
"Yes, I suppose. Thank you..." I thanked the young woman before closing my eyes, the darkness of unconsciousness taking me a few moments later.
Siesta blinked at how quickly Yuka seemed to fall asleep. The steady rhythm of his breathing betrayed his current state. The young woman dared to reach out with her left hand and brush off some stray strands of hair that were on his face.
"Not...human..." Siesta repeated Yuka's words in a voice just above a whisper.
"Not..." She repeated even as she found herself being drawn closer and closer to the green-haired man's sleeping face.
"...human..." She managed to let out before lightly pressing her lips on his for all but a moment.
Siesta silently stepped out of the room a few moments later. She sighed as she leaned against the closed door which held a fifteen-hundred year old monster on the other side.
"Even so..." The young woman whispered to herself before lightly touching her lips with her right index finger.
It took her quite some time before she could cool down her blushing face before returning to the servant's wing of the academy.
"Well...this is different..." I commented as I found myself in what looked like a room that was completely dark save for the one spotlight that was illuminating the spot where I was standing. While it had been some time since I have experienced an actual Lucid Dream, I did not expect that this was all I would get.
Hollow words from one who was bored out of their skull for decades. I blinked at the sound of the voice. It was my voice, the voice of my other half...the voice I had when I was still female. Another spotlight turned on, which illuminated the spot a few feet in front of me. As expected the one in front of me was my female self. It was not my double for the one before me did not have the feel of barely contained madness. It also helped that her hairstyle was the one I had before I was sent to Halkeginia.
"I take a nap for the first time in weeks and this is what I get?" I pointed out with a raised brow before folding my arms and leaning back. My female self sneered at me as she placed her hands on her hips before leaning forward and giving me an evil grin.
The Sleeping Terror not getting enough sleep? Do you have any idea how laughably ironic that is?My other self asked me with before laughing at me.
"Quite ironic. What are you even supposed to be? I am certain that I was able to fall asleep on my master's bed, so this must be a dream." I acknowledge the observation for what it was before asking my female self my own question. The grin on her face disappeared and she stood back up straight before mirroring my own stance, folding her arms and leaning back.
Master? You truly acknowledge a female human mageling as your master. It would be like making the thieving witch your master! Have you no pride as a youkai? Have you no pride as the most feared in Gensokyo? Have you no pride as the strongest in Gensokyo?My female self asked me her questions, which were dripping with venom with each word uttered, as she walked around me, the spotlight she was under followed her movements.
"Pride? Of course I have pride. However, it is not so fragile as to be affected by something like having Louise as my master." I responded with my own sneer. My female self stopped walking just as she came up behind me. I need not see where she was. She was I and I was her. I could tell where she was just as accurately as I can tell where was hand is relative to open space.
What happened to us?She asked sullenly, the hate and the contempt in her voice changing to one of wonder and self-pity.
We used to be the most feared monster in Gensokyo.My female self reminded me as she walked around me while tracing the width of my back with the fingers of one of her hands.
We used to treat the silly humans like insects to be stomped on underfoot.She continued as she circled me, still tracing her fingers across my shoulder and chest before stopping right in front of me. She was slightly shorter than I was so she had to look up a bit to be able to meet my eyes.
We only used to care about ourselves and our garden, about how to become stronger than we already were, about what we could do to the next idiot that wanders into the Garden of the Sun. My female self said as she placed both of her hands on my cheeks before leaning closer and pressing her lips on mine. I did not react. I was not offended nor was I flattered by the action. This was a dream. She was me. There was no need for those kinds of reactions in this situation. I simply remained quiet to see if there was anything else that she was going to say or do.
Hey, tell me. What has become of Yuka Kazami?She asked me longingly as she wrapped her arms around my neck and pressed herself against me. I thought about her questions and what they represented. There must be a reason why this dream was happening...this strange self-introspection of my subconscious mind. I closed my eyes and thought about how I should answer. The starting point to which I could link each and every one of the questions to. The origin and catalyst of what has been happening to me.
"Louise happened to us." I finally answered while opening my eyes.
She is nothing more than a failure of a magician that had no talent.She countered evenly.
"She is a magician that did not have the means to realize her true potential. She is a magician that managed to call us as her familiar." I responded just as evenly.
We bowed down to her will and submitted to that binding contract. We let her bind us!My female self continued her arguments.
"I was curious to see what kind of human was able to summon us and bind us to a familiar contract." I pointed out but she quickly countered.
She is weak. She does not have any confidence in herself nor does she have anything to show for her efforts. She is a laughing stock.My female self responded to me.
"She reminded me of us when we were still a whelp. A few moments ago, you reminded me of her." I stated with a smile. The female me narrowed her eyes before finally letting go and taking a few steps back.
Even so...why do we care about the other humans so much as well? The students. The teachers. The maid. The thief. Why?She asked me, more as an honest question than something to be used to spite me. I opened my mouth to give my answer but I found myself lacking one.
Why did we start caring about the silly little humans? What exactly are they to us? Something to pass the time with? Entertainment? Pets? What compels you to remain with them, care about them, and protect them if needed?She asked the questions I found that I did not have an answer to.
I don't know...that is your answer.My female self sadly stated with no small sense of certainty.
Do you love them? Do you see them only as a responsibility? Do you see them as friends? Companions? Ask yourself Yuka Kazami. Just what exactly are those humans to you? What does each of them mean to you?She asked me as she stepped forward again.
Find the answers for those questions for yourself...while you still can.I heard her say just as the world around me faded into a bright white light.
I opened my eyes, feeling both lethargic and refreshed at the same time. I sat up and looked out the window. The sun was rising.
"How long..." I started before I shook my head. It was obvious that I was asleep for at least the duration of the night after Siesta forced me onto Louise's bed. How could I have let myself sleep for that long? I idly asked that to myself as I put on my boots before standing up. I checked to make sure that the 'Hey-Listen' was still in my ear before stepping outside. I managed to walk off the languid feeling I had when I first woke up around the time I exited the dormitory tower.
I took in a deep breath and savored the first few rays of the morning sun. I felt much better than I did before I went to sleep. It seemed that Siesta's council was not misplaced.
"Good morning Mister Yuka." I heard Siesta happily greet me from the side. I turned to her and saw the young woman carrying a bundle of laundry in her arms.
"Good morning to you too." I returned the greeting with a smile.
"It looks like you had a good night's sleep." The maid added in an upbeat tone, seemingly making the most of her small victory over my own judgment.
What does each of them mean to you?
"Indeed. Would you like some help with that?" I acknowledged before offering to help Siesta and ignoring that question my female self posed in my dream. It was the least I could do for the young woman.
"No need. I can take care of these myself, I always do." Siesta declined before heading off to her destination. Lacking anything else to do, I found myself walking with her. I looked at the girl with a raised brow when she suddenly started giggling to herself for no apparent reason.
"It's just that Ruukoto offered to help me carry the laundry just yesterday as well. I remembered the coincidence and it seemed funny to me." She explained, seemingly knowing the reaction I would have to her sudden emotional shift.
Siesta, a regular human girl. A servant of the Tristain Magic Academy and the first human that I got along with in this realm. Of course, I was originally only using her to take Louise's laundry off my hands and to get a better layout of where I was. Then the incident with Count Mott happened. It was odd...the moment I realized that she was taken away from the academy, I had the strange desire to bring her back no matter what. She had since become a member of Louise's circle of friends whether they realized it or not...practically becoming the group's personal maid even after Ruukoto joined us.
If one of us needed something or required help from the servants, the first name that pops up was always Siesta's.
What exactly are they to us?
I was still not sure that I could give an answer to that question that would satisfy me. All I was certain about was that I couldn't really imagine our afternoons without the young woman serving us tea and snacks.
"Mister Yuka, is everything alright?" I blinked at the sudden question. I glanced at Siesta, who was already unloading the laundry she was carrying into a set of basins. I looked back and saw that we were already quite a ways away from the entrance to the dormitory tower.
"Mister Yuka?" Siesta called out, the worry in her voice was obvious.
"I am alright, Siesta. I was simply thinking on a question that was posed to me..." I assured the young woman before giving her something of an explanation while shaking my head.
"What kind of question?" She pressed even as she started going about her work.
"The kind which I have yet to find an answer to." I vaguely answered with a shrug. Siesta nodded and I thought that she had already let the subject drop when she said nothing else and tended to the laundry.
"Is it a difficult question?" The maid asked without turning back to look at me.
What compels you to remain with them, care about them, and protect them if needed?
"In a way..." I answered after several moments of silence between us.
'Ruukoto? This is Yuka. Can you hear me?' I finally found time to try to contact Ruukoto after leaving Siesta to her duties. I was currently standing on the roof of one of the towers of the academy after I returned to Louise's room to retrieve my hat and parasol. As to how I managed to get there...I flew.
'Fuga. Fuga?' Ruukoto replied, making a dry comment on how it almost did not expect me to contact them at all before asking me if I was already on my way to where they were.
'I am still at the academy. I haven't been able to catch up yet because Siesta forced me to take a nap...that ended up as a full night's sleep.' I explained before wondering if Louise was with Ruukoto and was listening in.
'You were asleep? Do you have any idea how worried I was? You didn't contact either of us last night and you didn't even show up in Mugenkan!' The rather passionate hissing of Louise's voice answered that question for me.
'I apologize. I did not realize how much I slept until I had already awakened. Are you still in transit to your family's lands?' I asked Louise after explaining what happened to me, effectively changing the subject.
'We're not even halfway there. The carriages are really slow compared to flying. We'd probably be home by now if Ruukoto flew us there.' My master replied with a tired sigh. Although, the seemingly open way in which Louise was talking to me through her 'Hey-Listen' made me wonder about something.
'Are you not travelling with your elder sister? Is she not with you?' I asked the question that was bugging me with the situation.
'Fuga Fuga.' Ruukoto was the one who answered instead of Louise. It seemed that their group was currently resting for a while to let the horses recover. Louise and Ruukoto slipped away from her sister's supervision simply for the sake of getting away from her sister...that was when I contacted Ruukoto.
'Please tell me that Ruukoto already gave you the answer you were looking for.' Louise deadpanned even though she should already know the answer.
'She told me enough. I'll be flying to catch up to you now. Ruukoto, can you give me directions while I do so?' I replied before asking Ruukoto.
'Fuga.' Ruukoto responded and I was in the air in short order and on my way to where my master and her gynoid were.
The distance I had to cover was not all that far once I was already in flight. I decided to fly high to avoid anyone visually detecting me and for me to be able to have a better view of everything else. Ruukoto originally gave me directions that were far too accurate for me to actually use. So much so that it gave me the exact coordinates of where they were by using something called triangulation. The gynoid explained that it used signal coming from my 'Hey-Listen' and measuring how far it was relative to Ruukoto's location as well as the location of its hangar at Tarbes.
I quickly made sure to let it know that I did not need such specific information and that all I needed was for it to tell me if I was flying in the right direction or not. Thanks to that, I was able fly without much hassle aside from Ruukoto occasionally reminding me to adjust my flight path to the left or to the right.
'Fuga.' I heard Ruukoto notify me that I should be able to see their carriages soon. I looked down and saw the road that they were likely using before lowering my altitude while maintaining my speed. Just as the gynoid stated, I saw two small objects moving along the road just as I came below the cloud line.
'I see you. I'll stay up here until you stop again.' I stated as I moved right above their carriages.
'Why can't you show up now? No, it's nothing Big Sis Eleanor-augh! I'm sorry for moving away without your permission!' I blinked at my master's sudden interruption and apparent ongoing battle with her sister.
'I doubt suddenly dropping out of the air near a pair of moving carriages would be a good idea.' I answered her question anyway while I continued to wait for their little convoy to stop.
They eventually stopped late in the afternoon, just as the sun started to set. It was an open road with just rolling plains all around them so I assumed that they will be camping in for the night. I landed some distance away from them and simply walked to where they were. I had originally considered landing right in front of them, but doing it this would likely give me less fuss about the whole thing. I started hearing their voices as I walked closer and closer to their location, the voice of a woman seemingly giving out orders in particular.
"Don't you 'Fuga' me! Just hurry up and help set up the fire pit already! Louise, you litte runt, why are you looking around like that?" The woman's nagging filled the otherwise peaceful area. I would expect that such a voice would be an effective deterrent against wild animals during the night. I walked up into view to save my master any further headaches from the woman, who I was assuming was her sister.
"I would assume that she is looking for me." I spoke up, getting everyone's attention. I quickly saw Louise standing nervously in front of a taller woman with long flowing blonde hair and glasses. Other than those features, she looked like a bigger version of my master...including the small chest. Ruukoto was a short distance away working on what looked like a fire pit alongside two men, who I assumed were the coachmen. Unlike the surprised looks that the humans were giving me because of my sudden appearance, Ruukoto did not even acknowledge it. Since the gynoid was the one that led me here in the first place, its reaction...or lack thereof was to be expected.
"Yuka! What took you so long?" My master called out before weaving her way past her sister to get to me, an act that seemed to have surprised the older woman somewhat.
"I landed a bit of a ways away from here and walked in order to prevent a scene." I explained with a shrug before reaching out and adjusting Louise's hat.
"Well, you could have joined us earlier..." My master grumbled as adjusted her hat but otherwise did not resist.
"I'm here, aren't I?" I retorted with a soft chuckle. I glanced at the approaching figure that was my master's sister. Considering how she was looking at me and Louise, I already had an idea of what she was thinking.
"Little runt, who is this commoner?" Eleanore asked her sister suspiciously. My master suddenly stiffened up and started trembling like a small animal that was successfully stalked by its natural predator and was moments away from being devoured.
"And if you tell me that he's your secret lover, I will end you and just tell mother that some wild goblins got to you because of your stupidity." The blonde Valliere daughter deadpanned in an eerily similar manner that Louise does. The effect was immediate as my master blushed bright red before whirling around to face her elder sister and delivering her counter-argument in her trademark style.
"Lover? Lover? Yuka? Me and Yuka? Lovers? No way! There is no way that I would ever find myself romantically attracted to Yuka! Even if he has saved my life a few times! Even if he did everything he could to give me confidence in myself! Even if he did teach me how to make the most of the magic I did have and turn it into something I can completely abuse! Even though he was the first one to truly believe in me and my magic! Even though he...even...so..." Louise once again blabbered out a suspiciously specific denial before finally trailing off. I noticed her lower her head for a few moments before turning back to me. Her eyes widened when she looked at me, prompting a mandatory raised brow from me, before blushing harder than before and turning back to her sister.
"No! Absolutely not! Never going to happen! Did I mention that we're not lovers?" My master quickly stated in a state of near-panic, apparently picking up her second wind, and even flailing around her hands and making gestures with them to emphasize her point. Meanwhile, Eleanor was managing a rather well done impression of their mother with the way she was glaring between her younger sister and I.
"And you are still terrible at making intelligent arguments!" The blonde woman responded before proceeding to dig her knuckles into the sides of my master's head. She continued the direct assault on Louise for a few moments despite my master begging for mercy.
I was not sure if what her sister was doing to her really hurt my master, since Louise's pain threshold should be higher than an average human now because of everything she has been through and the fact that she had her hat on which was made of leather, or if she was simply humoring the blonde because this was the status quo they had as sisters. Regardless, I did not intervene because I was not convinced that Louise was really getting hurt by her sister's actions. Ruukoto's continued stance of ignoring what was happening, in favor of getting their camp set up for the night, seemed to support my theory.
"And you!" Eleanore suddenly yelled at me while continuing her attacks on Louise.
"I don't know who you are or what your relationship with this little runt is, but know that you will regret taking advantage of a Valliere...even if it is this runt!" She stated as menacingly as she could. It seemed that an emotional mean streak was a shared trait between Louise and her family if provoked enough. The only real variance between them was their control and the way they utilized their sudden burst of emotions...which were usually hostile. Even so, I suppose that I should clear up the misconception that the older sister seemed to have about the relationship between Louise and myself before it escalates pointlessly any further.
"I apologize for the confusion and subsequent misunderstanding that Louise's reaction caused. Allow me to introduce myself." I stated as I removed my straw hat with my left hand while using my parasol as a walking stick. I placed my hat over my chest and gave the blonde a curt bow.
"I am Yuka Kazami. This past spring, your younger sister summoned me as her familiar during the Tristain Magic Academy's Springtime Familiar Summoning Ritual. It is a pleasure you meet you Miss Eleonore Albertine Le Blanc De La Blois De La Valliere." I introduced myself to Eleanore. The blonde stared at me for several moments before her right eyebrow started twitching. Said twitching apparently spread to her right cheek right before she finally responded.
"Are you telling me...are you honestly trying to tell me...that this runt summoned you, a commoner, as her familiar?" The woman said in a seething voice as my master started flailing her arms around even more in protest.
"Owowowowowowow!" I could hear Louise voice out the discomfort she was experiencing while under her sister's mercy.
"Well, I'm not really..." I started to say when the older sister suddenly shoved the younger sister away and pulled out her wand from within her clothes. The motion she utilized in order to do so was efficient and left no room for wasted movement. A discipline acquired from their mother no doubt. I wondered why Louise did not seem to have possessed the same skill set before she started her training with me and Cirno, completely ignoring the implied threat of a drawn and pointed wand that Eleanore was trying to show, when the woman in question once again spoke out.
"You not only insult the Springtime Familiar Summoning Ritual by doing this farce, you also dare to try to deceive me into thinking that a human could even be summoned? I should have you imprisoned, tortured, and executed for this!" She declared with all her terrible self-righteous fury. I was about to argue on that point when a pink blur suddenly appeared between us. It was obviously my master, who was standing right in front of her sister and had her arms out wide in an unnecessary but sincere attempt to shield me from her sister's wrath.
"You can't do that to Yuka! He's-" Louise started to argue on my behalf when Eleanore cut her off while pointing her wand at her younger sister. I felt my master tense up at the gesture before tensing up even more with her sister's words.
"Don't you dare stand up for you fake familiar! I expected more from you Louise. You are a Valliere! Even if you are a failure as a mage, it does not mean that you can just commit a fraud like this! Do you have any idea how much shame this would bring to our family? Is this why you were being called back? Because mother and father found out about yo-" Eleanor's verbal onslaught was suddenly halted when I heard the familiar hum of Ruukoto's mode change and sure enough...
A fraction of a second after the declaration of the weapon, Ruukoto had already yanked away the blonde's wand with its left hand while standing in front of its mistress defensively and showing Eleanore its R-Blade as a warning. Everything happened so fast for the humans that the delay in their actions was enough for Ruukoto so speak uninterrupted after streams of light finished running across the gynoid's now blue eyes..
"Allow me to speak. While your earlier statements were correct in the conventional rectitude of this kind of situation, please know that Mistress Louise's situation is not conventional. Also, I apologize for my actions if you take them for disrespect. While I assume that you will never intentionally bring actual bodily harm to Mistress Louise, I am bound by my directives to protect her from any potential threats." The gynoid stated before relaxing its stance and continuing.
"This Ruukoto Unit-One Version-Four hopes for your fair understanding and hopes that you would allow a more comprehensive explanation to be given to you before you pass your judgment. This is so you will be able to form an intelligent and rational conclusion based on facts provided." Ruukoto requested before dismissing the R-Blade, returning her right arm to normal, before offereing Eleanore's wand back with a respectful bow. The elder Valliere sister quickly snatched her wand back, prompting Ruukoto to stand back straight, before looking between all three of us in silence. I saw my master about to speak up when Eleanore finally spoke.
"You! Explain everything to me as comprehensively as you can!" She suddenly declared while pointing at Ruukoto with her wand before glaring at both Louise and I.
"And it better be convincing..." She added, much to my master's chagrin. I wasn't really bothered by it since she couldn't do anything to harm Ruukoto or myself and she can't harm Louise because of us and the fact that she is her little sister. I was sure that Ruukoto's logical thinking and attention to detail will satisfy the blonde.
What's the worse that could happen?
"That doesn't sound convincing at all!" Eleanore yelled out while shaking Ruukoto's shoulders. The gynoid had just given the elder Valliere sister an account of what had happened to Louise and I after my summoning to Halkeginia. Based on her reaction, she seemed less than convinced.
Of course, it omitted the parts where Louise is a Void Mage and I am a Gandalfr, where I have my own realm in the border of dreams, where Ruukoto and I were both powerful enough not to be threatened by anything in this realm as far as we knew, where we were both several lifetimes old, where Louise went on a dangerous secret mission to Albion, was kidnapped, and had to fight for her life and the life of an exiled prince, where we were all instrumental in beating back the recently attempted Albion invasion, where Louise's personal tutor in Halkeginian magic was once the infamous Fouquet 'The Crumbling Dirt', where Louise personally knows and has the favor of both Princess Henrietta de Tristain and Prince Wales Tudor.
You know, the little things.
Now that I thought about it, Ruukoto effectively had to omit most of the interesting things that happened since I came here. Add that to the fact that Ruukoto's explanation was technically second hand information and I was starting to understand why Eleanore wasn't really inclined to believe the story.
After all, without those aspects, the whole thing sounded like some predictable piece of fiction which would be likely riddled with bland characters, an absurd story, and things Kaguya terms as 'Fanservice'.
"Headmaster Osmond of the Tristain Magic Academy can vouch for the validity of Yuka Kazami's status as Mistress Louise's familiar." Ruukoto provided matter of factly. I placed a hand on Louise's shoulder when I noticed her starting to tremble again while her magic level began fluctuating as well.
"Neither Ruukoto nor I will allow any harm to befall you." I reminded her and was rewarded with Louise calming down. I looked back to her older sister, who was now looking right at me very intently.
"So the little runt really summoned you?" She asked me in all seriousness.
"Indeed she did." I replied with a smile before showing her the familiar contract runes branded into the back of my left hand. The blonde started grumbling in a similar manner that Louise does before shaking her head and walking up to me.
"You could have just told me you had summoning runes." She complained as she took my left hand to inspect it.
"I would, but you did not seem to be very open to reason earlier." I shot back with a raised brow, earning a narrowed glare from Eleanore. The woman scowled at me for a moment before turning her attention back to the runes on my hand.
"The little runt summoned a smart mouthed commoner as her familiar...unbelievable..." She muttered to herself even as she drew her face closer and closer to the back of my hand, even opting to raise her glasses off her eyes to look at the runes directly.
"...what are you doing Big Sis Eleanore?" Louise inquired as she looked between her sister and my hand. I glanced away for a moment and found that Ruukoto had opted to go back to setting up camp, particularly tonight's dinner, after confirming that the elder Valliere sister won't be trying anything really violent on her sister anymore.
"I can't understand what these runes are supposed to represent...but at the same time...I feel like I've seen them somewhere before." She muttered before turning back to Louise.
"Go get ready for the night, your maid is already preparing the meal. We still have a lot of road to cover before we make it home." Eleanore told her little sister, who immediately scowled at being told to go away. The blonde seemed to have picked up on that and sighed.
"I won't try to kill or take away your familiar, if that is what you are worried about little runt." She added and Louise gave out her trademark 'urk' in response.
"Go on. I won't be leaving you any time soon." I provided to my master when I saw her giving me a worried glance.
"Alright..." Was all she said before heading back in the direction where of the camp, where Ruukoto had already started cooking. Eleanore was intently staring at my hand for the duration of our exchange, but finally looked up to meet my eyes once Louise was out of earshot.
"Are you of any use to her?" The blonde suddenly asked me as looked intensely into my eyes, as if trying to divine an answer from them. The question itself and the seriousness of the way she asked it prompted a raised brow from me.
"Or are you nothing more than a responsibility to her?" Eleanore added in a darker tone of voice before letting go of my hand. I looked into the woman's eyes and saw the same fire I had seen in Louise and Karin's eyes. This was my master's older sister, the woman who constantly berates and generally bullies her, the woman who seemed to act like she really did not want anything to do with her...and she's basically asking me if I was a burden to Louise or not. And from the look in her eyes, depending on my answer, she may be more than willing to try to kick my ass.
Well, I did recall Alice's sisters being rather mean spirited to the girl one moment, then be more than willing to protect her from harm the next. Was this the same kind of situation?
Was that kind of dynamic simply a 'sister' thing?
"Your silence does not inspire confidence, Yuka Kazami." The woman's voice snapped me from my thoughts, as well as inducting Eleanore as one of the handful of people than managed to pronounce my full name correctly on their first try. I supposed that I should say something to prevent her opinion of me to decline any further than it already seemed to have. However, I was not entirely sure what I should tell her.
I still had all the knowledge and raw physical prowess to wield a sword, a knife, and a lance with near-masterful efficiency thanks to the Gandalfr runes. Should I tell her that I was a warrior that would be more than capable of protecting her sister? No. Based on how she seems to see commoners in general, telling her that I was a weapon user would likely not impress her.
I sighed wistfully when I noticed that I was thinking about this too hard again. I smiled at Eleanore and gave her my response.
"I am extremely adept at making any kind of flower bloom under any condition or circumstance..." I stated with confidence before blinking for a moment and clearing my throat.
"...and I mean that literally. That is not some sort of euphemism for something entirely different and offensive." I quickly added, prompting a raised brow from the elder Valliere sister.
"And why would you imagine that your statement would be misunderstood as something else?" The woman asked me curiously while placing her hands on her hips.
"I've had an interesting life." I replied with a shrug. The woman gave out a thoughtful hum before looking up and down my frame.
"So you are some sort of...gardener?" Eleanore asked, shifting the conversation back to the main topic.
"I prefer to be known as a Botanist who mostly specializes in flowers." I answered with a warm smile and enthused voice. And why not? We were talking about flowers after all.
"Botanist? I'm afraid that I am not familiar with that term." The blonde admitted while rubbing her chin with her right hand, a gesture I had seen used by Louise in multiple occasions. I also found it interesting that Eleanor had enough of a curious mind to forego dismissing my claim altogether in favor of the prospect of learning something new.
"A Botanist is the title from the land I hail from. It is given to those who comprehensively study plant life professionally for academic purposes." I provided and saw the woman's eyes widen before narrowing them inquisitively.
"You...are a scholar?" Eleanore asked carefully, as if doubting her own words. I gave her another smile before giving out a small chuckle.
"I suppose you can say that I was born to do this." I responded lightheartedly. The blonde blinked at my response before giving another thoughtful hum.
"And you are not lying are you?" She asked me with only the barest hint of doubt.
"You may ask Louise of my prowess with plant life and you may ask anyone in the Tristain Magic Academy about my loyalty to your sister. Let me make this clear. I am Louise's familiar, partner, and friend. Very few can openly call me a friend and I take that seriously." I stated clearly and seriously to get the point across before putting my hat back on, folding my arms, and leaning back.
"Or do you doubt Louise's words from earlier?" I reminded her with a smirk. Eleanore stared at me for another few moments before sighing and rubbing her forehead with her hand.
"The things we have to deal with for that little..." I heard her mutter under her breath. Situation dealt with, I stepped forward to check on Louise and Ruukoto.
"You are a good woman and a good sister. Letting Louise know about that side of you would likely do wonders for your relationship as siblings." I whispered my observation to Eleanore as I passed by.
I continued on to where Louise was starting to eat the meal Ruukoto prepared for her and the other humans, completely ignoring the feeling of Eleanore's gaze on my back.
"Oh! Look who's back! We were wondering if you'll show up or not" Cirno stated as I approached her and Louise inside Mugenkan. My former student greeted me with a smile while my master was staring at me with a pout.
"I apologize if I took so long. I had to make sure that everyone was already asleep before I could make a new door." I explained as I hefted my parasol on my right shoulder. I had originally considered on leaving my parasol and my hat with Louise or Ruukoto before coming to the border of dreams, but I remembered all those times I had wished that I had brought along my parasol here and decided to play it safe for now.
"Makes sense. Louise already told me why you weren't here last night. I was wondering when you go to sleep considering what you do during the day out there and during the night in here. I guess the answer is that you don't." Cirno said with a nod before shaking her head. I smirked at her observation before glancing at Louise, who was still giving me a rather displeased expression.
"Is something wrong Louise?" I asked my master. Cirno blinked at me before looking at her junior as well.
"What did you and Big Sis Eleanore talk about after I left?" Louise stated evenly. I raised a brow at the way she asked her question.
"She spoke to me before we went to sleep...she asked me if it was true that you were really good at making flowers bloom and if that was what you did for a living." She elaborated on the reasoning behind her question. Louise's words had a completely different effect on my former student though. I briefly saw Cirno cover her mouth and suppress a laugh after hearing what Louise said before she turned around to make her amusement in the matter less obvious.
"I see. And what did you tell her?" I inquired while folding my arms and leaning back.
"I told her that you were the best at what you do." Louise responded and her face scrunched up into a sour looking scowl.
"What's the problem then?" Cirno finally got over her previous bout of laughter and asked. Louise glanced at her senior before looking at me and shaking her head.
"Big Sis Eleanore said 'not bad for a little runt' before she turned away from me and went to sleep." My master answered before giving out a sigh. I heard Cirno give out a thoughtful hum and saw her scratching the back of her head.
"Could someone help me out with this? I mean...was that a compliment or not?" My former student voiced her apparent confusion, earning an 'urk' from Louise.
"Well?" I asked my master when she simply remained silent without answering Cirno's question.
"About as close a compliment you will ever get from Big Sis Eleanore in my experience...but that isn't what bothered me..." Louise finally answered. Cirno and I raised a brow each before looking at each other for a moment then turning back to Louise. My master's expression turned sour again before looking at us with an uncomfortable expression.
"She said that while smiling at me...a grin really...Big Sis Eleanore never grins without something horrible happening to someone else! That's just what is supposed to happen! Seeing her smile like that like a normal person would...it disturbs me...a lot..." Louise explained the reason for her emotional discomfort. I blinked a few times in honest confusion because of my master's reaction to what her sister apparently did. I glanced at Cirno and saw that she was scratching the top of her head with a rather lost expression.
"Ooo~kaaay...I...what do you think?" Cirno attempted, and failed, in addressing the issue and quickly asked me about my thoughts on the matter.
"Considering the effects this subject matter has on Louise, I suggest that we step away from that topic for now. No use thinking about it right now, especially since you have a few things you need to cover with Louise." I responded while nodding to myself.
"What things?" Louise immediately asked, apparently snapping out of her previous funk.
"After you left last night, Cirno and I talked about where to take you training. Since we observed that your aim has been improving greatly but your overall firepower in your broken spells is weaker, Cirno thought that the best way to get around that limitation is by adjusting the way you use them." I provided and Louise nodded along with my explanation.
"So what will be the lesson about?" My master inquired while looking between me and my former student.
"Cirno, please explain." I said to the ice fairy, who was more than happy to do so.
"Remember when we talked about shaped charges?" Cirno asked my master, who nodded repeatedly in response.
"That is what I want to start on with you now. Since your aim is good enough now, we can start working on how we focus your explosions." Cirno stated, quickly going into her Lecture Mode.
"Focus my explosions? Like making them smaller?" Louise asked inquisitively.
"Not quite. You see, even if we make your explosions smaller, it still behaves like any other explosion. By that I mean, a sudden release of a large amount of force in all directions." Cirno explained while gesturing with her hands to show the effect of a regular explosion, just an opening palm or a blossoming flower.
"We don't want that for shape charges. Instead, we need to be able to direct the entire force of the blast in one direction or at one point." The ice fairy followed up while emphasizing her point by hitting her left palm with her right fist.
"Directing all the force in one direction…is that even possible? How can I do something like that?" My master inquired, intrigued and skeptical about such a concept. I saw Cirno give her a mischievous grin before glancing at me then back at Louise.
I knew that look…
"Well, it's actually pretty easy~! Focus you magic in the way you want to shape it. Mutter the spell tenderly. Point your wand at someone you dislike. Then Unleash Your Annihilation of Lo-" Cirno started enthusiastically before I cut her off with a loud cough.
"Please don't...just...don't..." I flatly stated while shaking my head.
"What? What are you two talking about?" Louise asked in honest confusion. I gave out a sigh and decided to just get it over with and tell her.
"What Cirno was trying to say was the…official…explanation of one Marisa Kirisame on how one can cast Master Spark." I stated bitterly when I was reminded of what Marisa wrote on her version of Master Spark in her famous 'Grimoire of Marisa', which was now part of the Voile Magic Library's archives. Louise seemed deep in thought about my explanation as she closed her eyes and rubbed her chin with her left hand.
"Focus your magic…mutter the spell…aim…and unleash your…what was the last part again?" Louise asked with a raised brow after opening her eyes.
"Love…" I stated simply.
"Excuse me?" My master asked after thinking that she may have misheard me.
"Just as I said. Marisa's spark spells are all powered by love as opposed to my own which just uses raw magic." I clarified and Louise looked at me with a very perplexed expression before turning to Cirno.
"Love?" She asked her senior.
"Love." The ice fairy responded.
"How is that even possible? No, how can you even gather that much love to fuel that kind of spell?" Louise exclaimed in confirmation of the rather absurd ways Marisa developed her most famous spells.
"That was just the way Marisa was. She was an innovator and being one means going on paths no one has gone through before. She was also one of the first and the few that combined both magic and science into one, effectively making her spells much more powerful and efficient than before." I explained with a shrug.
"No…no…no…using the power of love as energy to cast her spells…that's just crazy!" Louise protested while clutching the head with both her hands while trying to make sense of Marisa's personal spell casting system.
"Maybe we should just move on to the lesson…" I suggested to Cirno.
"Agreed…" My former student replied before walking up to Louise to try and calm her down.