|Louise & Yuka K.|
| Book: Be Careful What|
You Wish For, Chapter 22
|Written by||Vanishing Trooper|
Be Careful What
You Wish For
Be Careful What
You Wish For
Be Careful What You Wish For
Disclaimer: Vlad is most definitely not a vampire!
Be Careful What You Wish For
"Mother please!" I heard my master's pleading just as I rounded the corner into the hallway that led to Cattleya's room. I did not run here like Eleanore did so I arrived a bit later than the elder sister did. I saw Louise being held back my Eleanore as my master desperately tried to pry away from the blonde woman's grasp.
"Settle down little runt! There's nothing you can do even if you go in there! You'll just be in the way!" Eleanore pointed out to Louise but my master wasn't going to hear any of it.
"I don't care if I can't do anything to help her! I just need to be by her side! I have to do something! If I don't! If I don't! Chii-nee-sama will! Chii-nee-sama will..." Louise all but screamed out. The hope of using logical arguments to be able to get her point across was long gone and was replaced with a single-minded determination to be with her older sister no matter what. Eleanore grunted as Louise nearly escaped her grasp. The eldest sister forcefully pulled Louise back into an embrace and refused to let her go.
"There's nothing we can do right now but hope and pray...hope and pray...Cattleya isn't weak. All we can do is believe in her and the healers..." Eleanore said to her sister with gritted teeth and tears in he eyes as Louise started openly bawling. I clenched my jaw at the scene and saw Ruukoto standing a distance away from the sisters and were staring at them intently. The two of us made eye contact and I touched the 'Hey-Listen' in my ear.
'How is Cattleya?' I asked Ruukoto.
'Fuga. Fuga.' The gynoid immediately replied. It did not seem to be good but Ruukoto did not want to disclose any information until Louise can calmly know about it.
"Cease this prattling at once!" I heard Karin forcefully yell out as she exited Cattleya's room. The former manticore knight commander narrowed her eyes at her two daughters before speaking. Even when wearing nothing more than a robe, she still had enough presence to immediately silence both of her daughters.
"Your screaming and whining will not cure Cattleya of her illness and will simply be a waste of time and effort. Go back to your room and sleep." Karin stated before ordering my master and her sister back to their rooms.
"But..." Louise was about to argue when she was stopped by Eleanore who pulled her back forcefully.
"We understand. Good night, mother." The blonde stated before pulling Louise, who was still in her embrace, along with her. Further protest from my master were interrupted when Eleanore covered her mouth with her hand. The blonde looked at me in the eye and jerked her head in a gesture for me to follow her. I nodded before noting that Ruukoto was already walking alongside her. The direction where Eleanore pulled Louise away was in the opposite side of where I was at the time. That meant that I had to pass Cattleya's room in order to catch up with them. I sighed and followed them anyway. Karin was still in front of the door to the middle sister's room when I walked by and heard her say something...
"Make sure that Louise doesn't do anything stupid." Was what the woman said before going back into the room without as much as a parting glance to me. I stared at the now closed door for a moment before continuing to follow my master and the rest to wherever Eleanore was taking her.
The place we ended up in was, surprisingly enough, the eldest sister's room. I closed the door to the blonde's room and took stock of the situation.
Louise was sitting on the bed and had her head down. Her hands were on her lap and were gripping her nightgown so tightly the fabric was wrinkling beyond all recognition. I couldn't see her face from this angle but I could clearly see her tears falling from her face.
Eleanore was standing in front of the large window that adorned her room. She had her arms folded around her and she had her back to me so I couldn't see more than that. Although she was almost as visibly tense as her younger sister.
Ruukoto was standing completely still in a corner of the room like some piece of furniture. The gynoid's eyes and expression did not betray any hint of emotion but I knew that it had more comprehensive information abou the situation than anyone else.
"Ruukoto..." I called out to the gynoid and finally ending the silence in the room. The gynoid looked at me when I called out but neither Louise not Eleanore acknowledged that anything happened.
"Activate White Noise and explain what happened and what you think the cause was." I said to Ruukoto, who nodded before closing its eyes. My mention of White Noise made Louise look up to me questioningly while Eleanore merely glanced at me before looking back out the window.
"Done. This unit is now able to give a report on my scans of Lady Cattleya Yvette La Baume Le Blanc de La Valliere." Ruukoto stated in Halkeginian as it opened its eyes to reveal the soft blue that replaced the cold red whenever it uses this mode. Those words were more than enough to give a rise out of the sisters as Eleanore stared at the gynoid with a glare while Louise stood up from the bed before turning to Ruukoto. I clearly saw the hurt on Louise's face and decided that I most definitely hated that expression coming from her. The ever unflappable Ruukoto did not even blink when the tension in the room rose with its words and simply began its report.
"Lady Cattleya Yvette La Baume Le Blanc de La Valliere is suffering from chronic cell degeneration that is affecting most of the critical internal organs in her body. The advance of the degeneration seems to be slow but the length of time in which she has been suffering from it has caused her body to weaken significantly." Ruukoto stated in a cold clinical tone of voice. A far cry from the usual warmth that came with White Noise.
"I don't understand...what are you talking about Ruukoto? What is happening to Chii-nee-sama?" Louise asked her gynoid in a subdued and very frightened voice. I folded my arms and clenched my hands tightly into fists. Someone like my master should never have to use such a voice. I barely even registered that Eleanore had taken a few steps closer to Ruukoto.
"Cattleya's body is breaking down little by little. Do you know the cause?" I simplified for Louise and Eleanore before asking Ruukoto if it knew what was doing this to the middle sister. I saw Eleanore and Louise's expressions turn to horror before I heard the gynoid respond to my query.
"Exact cause is unknown. No recorded pathogens or diseases are known to cause this kind of effect in a human body. However, this unit has observed that the internal cells in Lady Cattleya's body seem to have an unfavorable reaction to the ambient prana present in the air." Ruukoto's words made my eyes go wide in surprise. This was...different.
"Yuka...what did Ruukoto mean by that...what is causing this to happen to Chii-nee-sama?" Louise voice was cracking. I looked at her and she looked like she was about to break down emotionally as she looked at me. Eleanore had a similiar expression but was not as extreme as my master's. I grit my teeth and flexed my fists as I took a few deep breaths in order to subdue the sick feeling I was starting to have. After all, such a fate that Cattleya had was something even I did not expect.
"Your sister...Cattleya...her body does not react well to the magic in the air." I stated and gave out another sigh when I saw that neither sister did not seem to understand me...or refused to believe what they were apparently hearing.
"The ambient amount of magic that circulates throughout Halkeginia is not compatible with Cattleya's body. Because of this, her health has been very slowly deteriorating since she was small. The magic around her has been slowly poisoning her for years...it likely gets even worse when she tries to cast spells." I explained before glancing at Ruukoto for verification. It was ridiculous. The notion that a magician could be poisoned by magic itself. It was absurd...and it was happening to Louise's sister.
"Correct. It is likely that the use of magic while in this condition would accelerate the rate of cell degeneration." Ruukoto confirmed and Louise fell to her knees in shock. I see...was that the reason why Cattleya seemed so hesitant when she stated that she was an Earth mage? Did she know that even finding out her primary element was already shortening her life even further?
"...is there a cure?" I barely heard Eleanore say something for the first time since the start of Ruukoto's report.
"I don't care how you know this or what you did to find out. If your information is as accurate as it seems...then you should know the cure for it." Eleanore reasoned with a trembling voice. The usual hard-edged snarking from the blonde was completely absent as she spoke to Ruukoto. There was a very tense moment when streams of light flashed across her eyes before it finally responded.
"This unit does not know of any form of cure or treatment for this kind of condition. Please be advised that Lady Cattleya will die in approximately three weeks if her condition does not change." Ruukoto stated and my master was on me in a matter of seconds.
"Do something! You have to save Chii-nee-sama!" Louise all but screamed as she grabbed onto my shirt. I was able to unfold my arms just as Louise launched herself at me but the look of absolute fear and desperation in her face prevented me from doing anything else. I had...never seen her look this scared about something before...even after everything she had already experienced up to this point.
"YUKA!" Louise screamed at me and snapped me from my momentary trance. I thought about her request and wondered if anything can be done about it. Ruukoto had no idea what exactly was causing Cattleya's illness nor did it know how to treat it. All it knew was the effect, that Cattleya's body was dying because of the magic that was all around her. It was like the whole world was slowly trying to end her life. It was unlikely that the healers in this realm could provide any better aid either. If they could, Karin and Eugene would have likely already moved the heavens themselves if it would have saved her daughter. The cure cannot be found in Halkeginia as far as we know and Ruukoto's technology cannot fix it either.
"Can your nanomachines cure Cattleya's condition?" I asked the gynoid when the thought crossed my mind as I held on to Louise's shaking shoulders in a poor attempt to calm her down.
"Negative. The nanomachines I posses do not have such a function. They can only mend physical damage to internal wounds." Ruukoto shot down that idea immediately. I narrowed my eyes at the ceiling as the situation looked more impossible with every passing conversation. I suddenly had a thought...if the situation was impossible then something that can overcome that impossibility can help Cattleya.
"Yukari Yakumo...Kaguya Houraisan...Yamame Kurodani..." I muttered absentmindedly.
"What are you talking about?" Louise asked me. I glanced back down and saw her and Eleanore looking at me intently.
"Yukari can manipulate the border of sickness and health. Kaguya is currently the best physician in Gensokyo, taking over for Eirin after the woman went back to the moon to help stabilize the Lunarian Empire. Yamame's special ability is the manipulation of illnesses. Any one of them could likely help but..." But I was hesitant in bringing anyone from Gensokyo to this realm and vice versa. Even brining Cattleya into Mugenkan left a bad taste in my mouth because of how long I have banned nearly all humans from entering my border of dreams. Unfortunately, Louise seems to have picked up on what I was about to say.
"You can bring them here to help Chii-nee-sama! No...you can bring Chii-nee-sama into Mugenkan and have her treated there! You can control anything inside there right? You can cure her yourself in there!" My master frantically threw out her desperate reasoning as she tried to shake me with her feeble strength. I was disliking this situation more and more.
"I cannot cure her even inside Mugenkan. I can keep her from dying but she will just become sick again once she leaves. I don't even want to bring any humans in there because of what Reimu and Marisa did back when-" My reasoning was cut off by Louise's words.
"That was over five-hundred years ago! Get over it and save my sister!" My master screamed at me. She was asking me...telling me to discard a rule I had enforced for half a millennia. Even for Louise...
"I...cannot do that so easily..." I stated with less conviction than I had originally intended.
"Then accept if I win." I blinked at Louise's sudden words. My master backed away from me and glared at me with focused intensity.
"I challenge you...if I win, you will help Chii-nee-sama." She declared while pointing at me.
"And if you lose?" I asked but already knew the answer. If Louise loses...Cattleya will die. I shook my head when I realized that I was letting emotions, of all things, get the better of me and my judgement.
"You cannot defeat me in a Danmaku Battle alone. You can't even come close to matching Cirno in your current state." I calmly pointed out while folding my arms and leaning back. Louise shirked back as if struck by my words. She knew I was right. There was no way she could possibly defeat me. Even hitting me was next to impossible for her.
"Then I challenge you alongside her." Eleanore suddenly made herself heard as she stepped beside her sister. I looked at the eldest sister and saw that her eyes had the same fire my master did. It did not seem like either of them were going to back down from this. I glanced at Ruukoto, who hasn't said a thing for a while now, and saw that the gynoid had already reverted back to its regular mode and simply shugged when our eyes met. I sighed and thought about the whole situation.
Louise and Eleanore were basically taking a gamble on something that may not even pay off. There was no guarantee that any of the beings I had mentioned could fully cure Cattleya or even be willing to try. Then again...giving up for them would be the same as letting their beloved sister die. I shook my head when I recalled the most important lesson I had taught Cirno.
Don't stop trying.
"Even with both of you, I still will not be defeated." I stated and held up my right hand to prevent any premature retorts.
"If you can get a clean hit on me before you lose to your own exhaustion...then I will accept that as your victory and open Mugenkan's doors to you sisters so long as it exists." I posed and saw Louise's expression visibly brighten up. I sighed when I wondered what exactly I was getting all of us into just as my master started embracing me and thanking me for agreeing to duel them.
That was also a first for me...
"So...what happened to your Golden Rule of Mugenkan? I thought humans were banned from stepping foot here?" Cirno asked me with a raised brow as I walked up to her with Louise and Eleanore behind me. My master was slowly guiding her wide eyed sister as the blonde Valliere continued to mutter various words that this whole situation was impossibility after impossibility. I should have expected as such when she very nearly screamed when I created a door to Mugenkan right there in her room.
"The situation has changed somewhat. Louise will not be having her usual lessons with you tonight." I explained before turning back to the sisters and saw that Eleanore was rubbing her eyes with her right hand.
"This...this...this is absurd. It goes beyond all logic and magical theory for someone to have their own pocket realm..." Eleanore said out loud while shaking her head in an attempt to deny the reality that was right before her eyes. Whoever said that seeing was believing obviously had not seen anything particularly absurd in their life. I noticed Cirno float up next to Eleanore and gave the woman a friendly pat on the shoulder.
"Don't sweat the small stuff. Anything is possible if it happens after all." Cirno stated with a big smile that was directed at Louise. My master smiled back but Eleanore had a different reaction when she opened her eyes and saw my former student.
"What...who are...you?" Eleanore barely managed to ask as she slowly comprehended the fact that Cirno was floating in the air next to her and that she had icicle wings.
"The name is Cirno! I'm the strongest fairy in Gensokyo! Nice to meet you!" The ice fairy introduced herself in a friendly manner while backing off from Eleanore and putting her hands on her hips, which was a throwback to her old pose when she was young and silly.
"A fairy...you're a fairy...?" Eleanore asked my former student as she stared at her dumbfounded.
"Ice fairy to be specific. Now while it is understandable for you to be...surprised...about the current situation, please remember that we are on a schedule. The faster you can get over your shock, the better." I stated, finally snapping Eleanore out of her trance. The blonde Valliere sister set her jaw and took a few deep breaths before looking at me.
"You're right. If this whole absurd situation is what it takes to save Cattleya...then so be it." She finally said before turning back to Cirno.
"Greetings Ice Fairy Cirno. I am Eleanore Albertine Le Blanc De La Blois De La Valliere." Eleanore introduced herself to Cirno in a far more graceful manner than she did to me. Cirno blinked a few times before looking between Eleanore, Louise and myself.
"Okay, no offense but, that's an even longer name that Louise's. And Valliere? What's the relation?" Cirno commented before asking me her question with folded arms.
"Eleanore is Louise's eldest sister. We're here in regards to a dillema that concerns the middle sister, Cattleya Yvette La Baume Le Blanc de La Valliere." I explained to her.
"Another incident, and this time with Louise's family. So, what's the deal? It should be something big and urgent if you're foregoing your ban on humans in Mugenkan and even bringing Louise and her sister in while in their physical bodies. By the way, why are they wearing nightgowns?" Cirno postulated while asking the question when she pointed at the two sisters.
"We were in a bit of a hurry at the time..." I provided and wondered why I didn't ask them to change into something more practical before going here. We had left Ruukoto behind to continue monitoring Cattleya's condition and I thought I had heard the gynoid call out to me about something. I guess it noticed that both Louise and Eleanore jumped right in without being properly dressed for the situation.
"Okay...care to elaborate on that? I'd like to be on the same page too if you don't mind." Cirno asked while gesturing with her hands to move the conversation forward.
"My older sister, Chii-nee-sama...Big Sis Cattleya, is very ill right now. She started coughing up blood a while ago and..." Louise trailed off, unable to finish recalling what happened to her dear sister. I turned to Cirno, who now had a much more serious expression and decided to continue the exposition on my master's behalf.
"I had Ruukoto stay with Louise and Cattleya for it to check her health. I did so after learning that she has been suffering from a weak body for years now. I was...concerned...that the continued trend in her health would end up in a most unfavorable conclusion if left alone, especially since no one in this realm seems to have been able to cure her yet." I started and got a thoughtful hum from Cirno.
"Wait...that's why Ruukoto insisted to be in the same room as us?" Louise asked me with a surprised expression.
"You knew that this would happen?" Eleanore followed up with another question and a similar expression.
"Yes, I asked Ruukoto to check if it could find out what was causing Cattleya's illness as discreetly as possible. I wanted to know what we were dealing with first before taking any sort of action. Unfortunately, I did not expect that Cattleya's condition was as far along as it is." I admitted shamelessly. I was no hero. I did not see any reason to hide that fact or feel any sort of shame from trying to descreetly confirm the situation. If it turned out to be nothing then no one would have to worry about anything...sad that Louise's life never seems to be that simple.
"So? Does she have Tuberculosis or some other lung based nasty that's making her cough up blood like that?" Cirno asked me as she floated down on the ground.
"From what Ruukoto said, Cattleya is suffering from long-term cel degeneration because her body is reacting like the ambient magic in the air is poison. A weak poison, but the length of time she has been exposed to it has left her body in dire straits. She will die in less than a month if nothing is done." I laid out the current incident that Louise has gotten herself caught up in.
"A magician being poisoned by the very magic she relies on...that's just bad. Should I ask Yukari to call up Princess Loony or Yamame?" My former student asked me with a stern expression.
"Both are viable options...however, there is no guarantee that Kaguya knows any kind of treatment that can cure this illness, she's still not up to par with Eirin when it comes to being a doctor. Also, a small part of me has a strange foreboding feeling that she'd likely just jam a Hourai Elixir down Cattleya's throat to cure her." I stated with a shake of my head. The former princess of the Lunarian Emipre has come far after taking over the clinic in Eientei thess past five-hundred years but she did not have the brilliant mind of her former guardian and teacher.
"Heh...yeah, I can see her doing something like that if she gets frustrated enough." Cirno mused while scratching the back of her head.
"Hourai Elixir...I've heard that from Yukari's stories from before..." Louise piped up after hearing our exchange.
"Yes, the Hourai Elixir could cure Cattleya...by turning her into an Immortal instead." Cirno curtly explained with a dry chuckle. I shook my head when I recalled the early days when Kaguya started studying medicine in earnest after Eirin went back to the Moon to help the Watatsuki sisters quell the civil war up there. She used to just say 'Eirin still has that stock of Hourai Elixirs in case any of the patients die. It'll be fine.' Suffice to say, everyone stayed away from Eientei for a while after Aya got the word out on the former princess' health coverage. In fact...the Hidea no Akyu of that era was very close to accidentally becoming immortal because of that policy. I couldn't even imagine the blowback that Shikieiki would have caused if the Yama found out that the chronicler managed to find a way around their original arrangement of continuous reincarnation.
Then there was that thing with Tenshi and those silly Celestials...I don't want to think about that incident right now.
"I-I-I-Immortal?" Eleanore suddenly exclaimed.
"It's a long story and that option isn't really a sound one since it would doom Cattleya to an immortality where she would be forced to watch everyone and everything she cares about wither and die eventually." I handwaved the kind of immortality that the Hourai Elixir provided.
"Wait...aren't you immortal?" The blonde Valliere sister followed up with another question.
"No. I may have been around for a long time but I am not immortal. In fact, I have the amusingly odd feeling that I may be closing in on the end of my life as well." I quickly dismissed that claim with a combination of a handwave and a shrug.
"Holy crap...that was what you were talking about last fall?" Cirno suddenly brought up a conversation we had before I went through my winter sleeping cycle.
"Wait! Everyone slow down first!" Louise suddenly yelled out and was glaring right at me. All of us paused because of her sudden outburst and my master took full advantage of it by walking right up to me and poking my chest with her finger.
"What did you mean when you said that you are closing in on the end of your life?" Louise bit out at me, her eyes trying to sear holes into mine. I grumbled a bit but I'll never admit that I got rather uncomfortable at how my master was glaring at me. I was not afraid of her in any sense, her glares were about as impotent on me as they have always been. However, her eyes showed much more than simply anger at me for not telling her about that little thing. She was also worried and scared. Understandable since her sister was apparently already terminally ill. Adding someone else to the list of people she could potentially lose would not help her emotional stability.
"That is something I assure you I will explain later on now that it is has been made public." I told Louise while holding the hand she used to poke my chest with before lowering it. I then gave a sidelong glance to Cirno who was covering her face with her hand. She saw me glance at her and she quickly cleared her throat rather deliberately.
"I thought that you already told her about that..." Cirno mumbled before scratching the back of her head. I shook my head slowly before looking back to my master.
"Believe me when I say that I'm not about to keel over and pass away any time soon. Right now, we have more pressing matters to address. I promise that I will explain everything to you once the opportunity arises." I told Louise and almost sighed when she didn't look anywhere near convinced with my words.
"Louise, do you trust me?" I asked her, making my master flinch. I saw her lower her head and wondered if she was going to say otherwise. That worry proved unnecessary as I felt the hand I was holding adjust itself until Louise's fingers intertwined with mine before my master stepped forward and rested her head on my chest.
"Don't you dare think that I don't trust you after everything we've been through." Louise stated with a small hint of annoyance before I felt her take a deep breath.
"Huhuhu...you smell like sunflowers." My little master pointed out and I couldn't help but smile at her.
"I'd be worried if I smelled like something else here. I apologize for my previous assumption." I said while rubbing the top of her head with my free hand. I saw and felt her give a nod before Eleanore coughed rather loudly.
"Do you two mind not doing that kind of thing?" The eldest sister said rather irritably, making us conscious of our proximity and our actions. Louise quickly went red and pushed herself away from me before going into another bout of denials with her older sister. I rubbed the back of my neck at the scene and saw Cirno float nearby.
"Never thought you'd be that heartwarming with anyone. So, you and Louise huh?" The ice fairy pointed out before asking me with a very sly grin.
"Before you take that thought anywhere else...no, Louise and I don't have that kind of relationship. We are simply partners and friends. You know how well I treat my friends, yes?" I explained before asking her with a warm smile. I saw Cirno gulp before giving me some distance and glancing away.
"Hehehe...yeah, I guess you're right." My former student said while nodding to herself and rubbing the back of her head. I assumed that her recollection of the time when I told her that I considered her as a friend and not just as annoying student was the reason why she seemed to be blushing. I most certainly hope that this was the case.
"Back to the matter at hand..." I stated after getting everyone's attention with a clap of my hands.
"Now that Cirno is up to speed about Cattleya's condition, I would like to discuss the little arrangement that we've agreed upon in regards on getting her aid." I pointed out, finally getting back to the heart of the matter. Louise and Eleanore visibly tensed at my words as they recalled our conversation before heading to my realm. I saw Cirno rub her chin with her hand before glancing at me with a sharp expression.
"You don't want anyone from Gensokyo to go to their realm and you certainly don't want any humans stepping foot in Mugenkan either. Is that arrangement the reason why you brought Louise and her sister here in their physical bodies?" My former student's ever sharp mind deduced the reasoning behind my words before asking me for verification. I smiled at how well she was able to reason that out. Cirno never had the kind of intuition that the Hakurei clan has nor the luck that Sanae Kochiya's descendants now enjoy. Instead, she took on Marisa's mantra of hard work and experience. The sharp mind that she wields now is the result of a lot of work on her part. I've said it before and I'll say it again, I am proud in the way Cirno has matured these past few centuries.
"Indeed. However, Louise was rather insistent on getting help for her sister since no one in their realm could cure her. Understandable as it is, I simply cannot disregard a rule that I have enforced for five-hundred years." I validated Cirno's theory before expounding on it. The ice fairy seemed to have picked up on what I meant by that and suddenly looked between me and Louise and Eleanore.
"You're not going to make them do a Danmaku battle against you for the right to travel here are you?" Cirno asked me in mild shock and worry. I saw Louise tense up at her senior's question while Eleanore simply narrowed her eyes at me. The eldest sister did not likely know what a Danmaku battle was but she was more than perceptive enough to realize that it was something serious based on Cirno's question to me.
"Not exactly. Even together, they will nowhere be a match against me in an actual Danmaku battle. You yourself would probably be victorious against them without even trying." I pointed out and predictably earning glares from both sisters. I raised my right hand to prevent any protests so I could explain how I intend for them to be able to have a chance at besting me.
"Instead, I decided to let them go all out against me while I simply dodge everything. I will not make a move against them and will simply focus on avoiding their attacks. Additionally, it will be their victory if either of them can land a clean hit on my person. However, if they become too tired to continue then it shall be my victory instead." I explained the ground rules of this little match of ours. Louise and Eleanore looked at each other with uncertainty before looking back to me and nodding.
"Those seem to be acceptable conditions." Eleanore stated.
"I also accept those terms." Louise also agreed.
"So that means it will be an unlimited spell card survival run for you teach?" Cirno asked me while tilting her head to the side.
"Not exactly unlimited but they can try and try all they want until they either hit me or simply give up. I would also like you be the judge since you can freely fly to accurately assess the match as it happens." I clarified before asking Cirno to be the judge. She made a thoughtful hum before nodding.
"I can do that. But I'd like to talk to these two before you start. Would that be okay?" The ice fairy asked me while gesturing to the two Valliere sisters.
"That's fine. We will begin once you are all ready." I stated before folding my arms and leaning back.
"That's fine. We will begin once you are all ready." My partner stated before he folded his arms and leaned back. I gulped at the prospect at actually having to challenge Yuka head on for the first time. I mean, I've gone through a lot of training in here and even saw some Danmaku battles between Yuka and other residents fo Gensokyo. But the thought of going against Yuka myself...?
"Okay, both of you listen up." Cirno-nee snapped me from my thoughts as she floated in front of us with her back to Yuka.
"While I'm going to try my best to be an impartial judge here, I don't really want you two to lose especially considering what's on the line here. With that in mind I'll give you the kind of help that I can only give in this situation: advice." My senior stated while holding up her right index finger in front of us.
"Advice?" Big Sis Eleanore asked dubiously while placing both of her hand on her hips and raising a brow at Cirno-nee.
"Advice. The first thing is to throw away any assumptions that this will be any easier just because teach won't fight back and you can go all out until you can't cast any magic anymore." Cirno-nee confirmed before warning us not to take thing lightly.
"The thing you have to understand is that teach is used to these kinds of matches. Why? Because sh-he's the one who trained me to be as good as I am today and there were times back then when some of my friends and I would try to see if we can take teach if we worked together." Cirno-nee elaborated on that with a very serious tone.
"Even when it was four on one, teach looked like he was just toying with us. Granted that we were still pretty young back then, it still means that teach can take on multiple opponents at once. Even though he won't be fighting back, that just means that he can focus on simply not getting hit. Never. Ever. Ever. Forget this fact." She concluded while leaning in closer to us to emphasize each word at the end. She breathed out before leaning away from us again and nodding.
"With that in mind, my advice on even having a chance of being able to hit teach is to be as unpredicatble as you can. Mix things up. Be unorthodox in the way you cast your spells. Go crazy if you have to! This is an anything goes match where the only objective it to get a clean hit on teach. Always keep than in mind during the match. You're not trying to impress him, you're not trying to dazzle him, you're not trying to get his apporval or admiration. You're here to hit him so do whatever it takes for you to be able to." Cirno-nee concluded before giving us both a big smile.
"Good luck you two. Remember, when the going gets too tough, just remember why you're doing this in the first place." She gave us her parting worde before floating off to where Yuka was. The unease I was feeling before was just compounded by Cirno-nee's words.
"Hey runt." I turne to Big Sis Eleanore when she called out to me.
"Can you even cast any sort of magic competently or will you just be dead weight?" My older sister asked me with narrowed eyes. I unconsciously flinched back at her words before nodding and straightening my posture.
"I can make explosions with my spells." I clearly stated.
"Explosions?" Big Sis Eleanore asked me with a raised brow. I nodded to her in response as I recalled all the training I've gone through here as well as my own experience outside Mugenkan.
"I'm very good at making things explode." I stated in confirmation. I saw my sister grimace before she reached out to me with blinding speed and gave me a headlock.
"That's it? You can make things explode? What good will that do us here huh?" Big Sis Eleanore started hissing at me as she maintained the hold. It wasn't really painful or anything. I can honestly say that I have endured worse...much worse than this. I instinctively grabbed on to the arm that was wrapped around my neck with both my hands. I wasn't trying to get her to let me go, even though it was what I wanted her to do. I was just making sure that she knew that I acknowledged why she was upset at me.
"I promise that my magic will be useful! Yuka has been training me here for months so I can use my explosions effectively! I won't be a burden to you! I want to save Chii-nee-sama as much as you do!" I exclaimed back to her and suddenly felt her hold on me loosen up.
"That's right, runt. This is for Cattleya. If you love her as much as you always say you do then don't you dare let me down!" She suddenly exclaimed before completely letting me go.
"I know that. Please trust me Big Sis Eleanore." I solemnly stated with a determined nod while looking right into my sister's eyes. She huffed before turning away from me.
"You're my sister. Of course I trust you...stupid little runt." I heard her mutter before walking up toward Yuka and Cirno-nee. I smiled at her words as it gave me renewed confidence. When the Valliere sisters stand shoulder to shoulder, not even Yuka would stand a chance against us.
I saw my former student fly up to me after apparently giving Louise and Eleanore some last minute advice on how to face me. Figures that she would try to help them in any capacity she could especially after finding out the circumstances behind the match.
"Conjure them up some clothes before the match starts. Wouldn't be much of a fair fight if they have to deal with you in their nighties now would it?" Cirno suddenly pointed out while pointing at the sisters with her left thumb.
"I know. That will be the first thing I will do before we begin." I agreed with a nod before glancing at my master and Eleanore.
"We've never trained Louise in tandem battles..." Cirno pointed out with a hint of worry in her voice.
"I know. Until now, there was no reason to and she didn't really have a partner who could help her train in that in here." I agreed before remembering that I had originally wanted Matilda to help Louise in that manner of combat. Unfortunately, our resident Treasure Hunter and former Master Thief disappeared on us right before that whole mess at Tarbes started. I silently hoped for her safe return to us as I raised a brow at how Eleanore seemed to have Louise in some sort of weak headlock.
"Yeah...they're gonna have a hard time if Eleanore can't coordinate their attacks on you properly." Cirno noted with a grim nod. I knew that she wanted to help the sisters greatly since she practically considered Louise as her own little sister as well. However, she respected my decision and knew the reasoning behind this challenge. If Louise and Eleanore can get past this hurdle, there will be very little in Halkeginia that can threaten them when they work together.
"Please tell me that you'll go easy on them..." Cirno nearly pleaded to me after my lack of a response to her previous statement.I noted that her hands were clenched into fists at her sides and were trembling. I was not able to give her any sort of response as I noticed Eleanore walk up to me with Louise close behind.
"We're ready." Eleanore simply stated as she stood with full confidence and determination before me, a common trait in their family it seems. I glanced at Louise who stood right next to her sister and saw her nod to me and Cirno in turn.
"Excellent." I simply stated before holding up my right hand and snapping my fingers. Both sisters yelped in surprise when their clothing suddenly flashed white before fading to reveal their new clothing for the match. Both of them looked between what they were now wearing, what the other was wearing, and me in turn while sporting confused expressions.
"You two didn't really expect to try to take me on in your evening wear, now did you?" I asked them with an amused smirk and a raised brow. Cirno chuckled when both of them started blushing after realizing what I meant. I did not give them any weird clothing or anything like that. Eleanore was wearing what she had on when she fetched Louise while my master was wearing her usual school uniform including her mantle.
"Now then. Cirno I would like you to stay up in the air so you can properly view the match. I will not fly and remain here on the ground. Again, you have free rein on how you will come at me so long as you can hit me." I reviewed the rules with everyone just to make sure that they all understand the conditions for this match.
"Are you sure? We won't be holding back you know. This is for our sister's sake after all." Eleanore pointed out with a raised brow. I gave a soft smile at her concern before responding.
"Worry not. I am much tougher than I look. I appreciate that you are worried about my safety but rest assured that my body is ready." I answered before giving Eleanore a polite nod. The eldest sister suddenly tensed up before blushing at my words.
"Wo-wo-worried? Don't be ridiculous! Who would be worried about someone like you? I'm just making sure that you don't end up dead before you keep your end of the bargain!" She suddenly exclaimed much in the same way Louise does when she's embarrassed about something emotional.
"You say that as if it is a foregone conclusion that you will emerge triumphant." I couldn't help but point out with a smirk while folding my arms and leaning back again.
"Of course! You face two scions of the Valliere family! There is nothing we cannot accomplish together!" Eleanore declared with as much, if not more, fire in her eyes as Louise does whenever she's absolutely determined in accomplishing something.
I could do nothing but nod respectfully in the face of such determination.
"Of course! You face two scions of the Valliere family! There is nothing we cannot accomplish together!" I felt a tinge of electricity pass across my skin after hearing Big Sis Eleanore say those words. She was right. We are daughters of the Valliere family, the best noble family in Tristain!
I gripped the wand in my hand that I pulled out of my skirt pocket earlier. Yuka had managed to recreate my uniform perfectly aside from my hat and the Founder's Prayer Book. I grimaced at the fact that I wouldn't have access to my Void spells in this match and hoped that my explosions would be enough. I was thankful that Yuka was able to conjure up my hidden wand along with my clothes. However, that meant that he knows about it and will be expecting me to use it at some point.
"Alright! Walk twenty paces away from them please!" I heard Cirno-nee say to Yuka as she floated up higher into the air. My partner complied and started walking away from us. I saw Big Sis Eleanore walk up to my side before facing back in the direction where Yuka is.
"How effective are your explosions and how do you cast them?" My sister curtly asked as she fished around her dress for her wand. I glanced at her for another moment before turning back to where Yuka was.
"Yuka and Cirno-nee trained me to be able to cast an explosive spell using just one word, my 'magic word' as it were. I simply point at something with my wand, say my magic word, and whatever I'm pointing at blows up. My effective range right now is around fifty feet or so but my accuracy is near pinpoint as far as explosions go. Any further than that and I can't aim it accurately anymore. The delay between casting and explosion is almost instantaneous within that fifty feet range and can bypass solid objects as well as long as I know precisely where my actual target is." I gave Big Sis Eleanore a summary of the current state of my explosive spells. I looked back at her when she did not say anything and saw that she was looking at me with an almost surprised expression.
"Big Sis Eleanore?" I called out to her in wonder if she was okay. I saw her blink before pulling her wand out of her dress and clearing her throat.
"Yes...well I can imagine that the applications of such a spell would be quite...extensive." I heard her say without looking at me and I could swear that I saw her blush.
"That's right! I thought they were crazy at first when they said that I should try to develop this kind of casting style but now I realize how useful it can be if applied in the right way! Cirno-nee and Yuka even taught me how to effectively move around and dodge while casting on the fly so I can chase Yuka around when the match starts!" I exclaimed excitedly after hearing such rare words from my sister. I was happy! I was so very happy that my sister acknowledged the fruits of my hard work and did not simply see my magic as just as failed spell.
"Calm down runt! And what did you mean by 'casting on the fly'?" My sister said in annoyance while roughly rubbing my head with her free hand. I waited for her to finish and fixed up my hair before answering. I didn't really mind it since it was very rare for me to be able to make my sister embarrassed about anything that did not involve insults.
"It's an expression Cirno-nee taught me. Apparently it means to be able to do one action while in the middle of doing something else, like casting magic while moving." I explained and Big Sis Eleanore hummed at my words before nodding.
"Okay. Here's the plan. As soon as the match starts, go after your familiar and start pelting him with explosions. I'll stay here and use my spells to try to catch him off guard. Before you say anything else, yes, I will be using 'that' so keep your wits about you and keep moving lest you want to get caught in one of my traps." My sister instructed to me. I nodded at her every word but gulped as soon as she mentioned using her special kind of casting spells. I've only ever seen it once during a sparring match between her and mother and I still find it very impressive. I still find it hard to believe that Big Sis Eleanore was still a Triangle Class Earth Mage even with the kind of talent she has when working her spells after she gains enough momentum. I gulped at that thought...
Big Sis Eleanore was going to use 'The Hymn of the Juggernaut' and I have to run through it all and keep pressure on Yuka. I took a deep breath to steady myself just when I saw Cirno-nee raise her hand to start the match.
Author's Notes: Yep, back down here again. If any of you are wondering why I'm going multi-chapter for this arc, it is because I rewatched S2 of FoZ and re-read the events it covers in the books and I come to the conclusion that nothing really big happens in S2 aside from the introduction of Julio, the introduction of Louise's family, the whole underground library thing, and the war against Albion. If I just ran through everything in that way then S2 would finish in half the length it took me to write S1.
Because of this, I will be changing up and fleshing out those incidents and maybe even adding one or two new ones.
And yes, I intended for Cattleya's illness to be that way. It was the only way for me to make her sick enough to threaten her life and being incurable in Halkeginian standards while giving the guys in Gensokyo a chance to be able to deal with it.
Also, this is the very first time we get a chapter that has Louise's perspective instead of a third person. I just put that in there because I wanted readers to see what it was in her head while this was happening.
If any of you are wondering if Louise End is True End after reading Epilogue, all I can say is that it is a possibility. I'm trying to balance out the 'Flag Trigger Scenes' and the fluff to give each potential girl a chance at the limelight. Technically, Louise and Siesta are in the lead whether anyone realizes it or not but Yuka is still open game. As a poster from Spacebattles said, and I pointed out in a previous chapter, the only way for any girl to even have a CHANCE with Yuka is if they come forward and honest about it and work at making Yuka fall for her. In that sense, Matilda went from the top to the bottom of the pile in S2 because of Sheffield. Whether or not she manages to make up for it later on is still a secret.
And in case you haven't already read it, please read Making Magick which finally realizes my dream of a Magicka crossover with Familiar of Zero. If you're a fan of either of these, please read it with an open mind and a light heart.
I ship Cattleya x Vlad in that fic because Vlad is a fine upstanding man of class and education. He is also most definitely NOT a vamipre.
Now that Viscount Wards fellow seems might suspicious and Vampire-like though...