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Louise & Yuka K.
Book: Be Careful What
You Wish For, Chapter 9
YukaMale2
Release date 03-10-11
Written by Vanishing Trooper
Chapter Guide
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Chapter 22
Be Careful What
You Wish For
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Chapter 23-5
Be Careful What
You Wish For

YukaMale3LouiseOpeningT


Chapter 23
Be Careful What You Wish For

Author's Notes: Hey, it's up here again. First and foremost, Katawa Shoujo was a fun read. Download it if you can since it's free and its nice way to pass the weekend.

Anyway, here's the entire match between Yuka against Louise and Eleanore. I'm assuming that people are still reading this fic since I can see the hits and people are still adding this to their Story Alerts or Favorite Stories or whatnot. However, it would be nice to get some feedback from you readers on how I'm doing with the story pacing, scene flow, characterizations, and whatever else you can think of.

One of the biggest complaints I've had in the story was the disturbingly large amount of references I jam into the chapters and I've been trying to take that part down as much as possible in recent chapters. Seriously, some reviews and feedback would be great because otherwise I have no idea what you guys think about this story.

Otherwise, please enjoy~

In case no one noticed yet...Three-hundred thousand words! Holy Balls!

Disclaimer: Pooltable Hanako is the sexiest!


Chapter 23
Be Careful What You Wish For

"Hmm?" I raised a brow when I saw Eleanore raise both of her hands in the air, her right one holding her wand, with her eyes closed. Cirno just started the match but neither sister had made any move to attack and I was wondering of they were still having any doubts. I then saw the eldest sister take a deep breath before opening her mouth and swinging her hands downward. I tensed up and prepared to begin the fun when I stalled for a second when I noticed what Eleanore was doing.

She was singing.

That second was more than enough for them as a pair of jaws made of stone suddenly sprang from under my feet and tried to clamp down on me. The jaws were as tall as I was and it seemed that Eleanore intended to end this in one turn. I jumped backwards just in time to avoid getting clamped down by the stone jaws. I felt the telltale sign of Louise's magic spiking up and I quickly dashed to the right side just as an explosion detonated on the very spot I jumped back to.

Louise was the least of my problems in this match. I was here through most of her training sessions so I know very well how she moves and casts and what to watch out for when she's about to use one of her broken spells.

I jumped up high into the air when I felt the ground around me vibrate. My timing allowed me to be able to cleanly jump away from several stone spikes that burst out of the ground at an angle, making the whole thing look like a stone cage. I managed to admire the spellwork for another second before I heard the sound of the ground rumbling. I glanced around and saw Louise being launched up in the air after me using a stone pillar as a springboard.

"Zero!" Louise yelled out as soon as she was able to get a bead on me. I twisted mid-air to avoid the explosion and drop back down to the ground. I was a bit worried that Louise might not be able to land safely since we were pretty high up but I found that worry to be unnecessary. Just as my master was starting to fall a stone pillar suddenly burst out from the ground under her to catch her before lowering her down at a reasonable speed. That was enough for me to confirm one thing though.

Louise was just a persistent distraction, the real threat will come from Eleanore.

I was assuming that Eleanore was a pure Earth mage just like how Karin was apparently a pure Wind mage. Instead of making a hybrid effect by adding a new element to their original element, they just stack their original element again to make it stronger.

The style of the eldest sister was a new one to me in regards to Earth mages. My experience with that element were confined to Matilda and Guiche and their preferred means of combat involved making golems and using them to smash things. However, this was the first time I was facing one who could cast spells that allows the caster to seemingly manipulate the earth at will. I understood that each action required a new spell to be cast, which was why Guiche and Matilda chose to create and maintain golems instead since that was more energy efficient. Eleanore on the other hand was casting spell after spell with little to no delays between them. Wait...

The singing!

"Zero!" My master's declaration snapped me from my thoughts as I instinctively dashed laterally in relation to where she was. Moving forward or backward against Louise's broken spells was a bad idea. Even if you change the distance between you and her, she still has you in her line of sight and therefore within the range of her explosions unless you get beyond her maximum range. Moving to the side negates that advantage since Louise needs to re-aim her wand to be able to cast again instead of simply recasting the spell over and over again.

"Hm!" I let out before spinning away from a large stone fist that suddenly burst out of the ground at an angle to my right side. It seems that Eleanore has the same idea. Suddenly casting a spell to hit someone in the side adds the advantage of having the possibility of blindsiding your target. However, you needed an advanced sense of timing to be able to make such a casting style effective or else you'd just keep missing as your opponent passes by. In that sense, Eleanore was quite impressive. Then again, she was the eldest daughter of Karin and Louise's older sister.

I hopped, skipped, and jumped to avoid a series of stone fists that came in different angles while I could faintly hear the eldest sister's singing voice in the background. I even had to somersault over three fists that came at me all at once from three different points. Really, Eleanore's casting speed was quite impressive.

I avoided another entrapment of stone spikes and I finally noted the reason why she seems to cast her spells so quickly. It all went back to why she seemed to be singing. Eleanore was performing her incantations to a melody, allowing her to cast spells one after the other in a steady rhythm. It a rather creative way of casting spells but I wondered how she can cast so many so quickly without tiring out.

I spun away from another set of stone jaws and noticed Louise jump off one of the stone fists that I avoided. She aimed her wand at me but I was cleanly able to dash to the side as usual. That was when a large stone hand sprang up from directly behind me. The hand was close, very close to grabbing onto me and ending the match. However, an unexpected assitance came in the form of an explosion moments before the stone hand was able to wrap its fingers around me. I looked back in surprise and saw Louise standing on the now closed stone jaw and was aiming at me with her hidden wand in her left hand. Louise started to turn pale before she started trembling once she realized what she did.

"Oops..." Was the only thing she could say. That awkward moment only lasted for a little over a second before I had to resume my evasive tactics against Eleanore's spells. Louise also managed to snap out of her daze and resumed her chase on me, now wielding both her regular wand and her hidden wand in both hands. That little unintended accident confirmed me and Cirno's previous concern on how Louise did not have any real experience in fighting in tandem with another mage.

"I could use that..." I muttered as I continued to dodge Eleanore's spells, which now included stone mallets.

...

"Guh!" I grunted as I watched Yuka move around and weave through Big Sis Eleanore's traps like he was dancing. Even with my sister's 'Hymn of the Juggernaut' it still felt like trying to gather rainwater with an open palm!

"Zero!" I took another shot at hitting my partner with the wand in my left hand. I was only able to do so after I got a clear view of him between the rock formations that have been building up thanks to my sister. I saw Yuka glance at me before giving a small smile. I wondered why until my explosion was blocked by one of Big Sis Eleanore's stone fists. Guuuu! This was so frustrating!

It was easy to try to aim at him when we started but I could barely see him anymore. The best I can do now is to follow the Earth spells my sister uses to keep track of where he was. Cirno-nee was right, just attacking him normally won't work. I jumped up the rock formations and tried to aim at him again-

"Whaaaaah!" I suddenly screamed out when the stone fist I hopped on suddenly launched up into the sky with me still on it. The momentum caused me to continue moving up even after the stone fist already stopped ascending. I immediately tucked in my legs under me and spread out my arms sideward. Cirno-nee trained me to do this whenever I either jump from up high or if I was launched up in the air to stabilize myself and to prevent my legs from getting caught by anything from below.

I was high enough to see Yuka still dodging my sister's spells with a small smile on his face. This was nothing more than a game to him, wasn't it? The thought made my head hot with anger. I'll show him!

"Zero!" I cast another broken spell using my main wand. As expected, Yuka was able to avoid it by moving to the side.

The main problem you have when it comes to your Keyword Casting is that it can only be effective at a straight line. Moving laterally will completely negate any advantage you have with it being untrackable within your fifty-foot range. You can't curve or re-aim your explosions mid-cast, as far as we know, so keep that in mind whenever you plan on using them.

I grit my teeth after I recalled Cirno-nee's assessment of my casting style after we continued to refine my use of broken spells. I was already at the peak of my ascent and was about to start coming down but I decided to take one more shot at Yuka with my spare wand.

"Zero!" I cast my spell. Unfortunately, Yuka simply ducked behind one of the stone constructs that my sister made and used it to mess with my judgement of distance. Predictably, without a clear estimate on where exactly Yuka was, my explosion just defaulted to hitting the rock instead.

"Augh!" I grunted after landing on a stone pillar that Big Sis Eleanore made and waited for it to lower me enough for me to jump off and resume my chase on Yuka. I was able to get a good view of my partner before I landed on the ground and I immediately set off after him. I paced by breathing while I mentally reminded myself on how I was taught to do pursuits.

"Run and jump." I muttered as I started to go through the increasing number of stone constructs that my sister has littered everywhere.

"Why doesn't she just get rid of them after Yuka dodges them? It just makes it harder to move around!" I hissed irritably as I hopped over another stone fist. I'm not sure if Big Sis Eleanore had a plan...no...Big Sis Eleanore always had a plan. I just hoped that it was worth me running myself ragged like this!

...

"That won't be enough you guys..." Cirno muttered as she continued to observe the ongoing match. The ice fairy was mildly impressed at the way her junior's elder sister was casting her spells.

Cirno had read books in the Scarlet Devil Mansion's Voile Magic Library about using songs to cast magic spells. She had once asked Patchouli about how one would even be able to do so since you'd need both a melody and an incantation in order to pull it off. Last time Cirno checked, it's not really that easy to be able to tie a spell to a melody unless the caster specifically wrote each spell incantation themself as a song.

That was when The Unmoving Great Library hit Cirno on the face with the side of the book she was reading at the time. After a few minutes of scolding - for disturbing Patchouli's reading-, being called an idiot -for not trying to figure it out for herself-, and Cirno rubbing her face for a while -because Patchouli was reading a new large wild youkai beastiary she compiled thanks to Koutaro Hakurei.

After that sequence of events, and some first aid for Cirno's nose, Patchouli called up Koakuma to bring her certain books from the many many shelves of the famous library. The succubus assistant returned with a half-dozen books. Koakuma was always deceptively strong but preferred to keep that fact a secret. Cirno still didn't know if that was just how the Little Devil was or if was under Patchouli's orders.

Patchouli then proceeded to show the ice fairy the contents of those books, all of which turned out to be grimoires. They all detailed several means of being able to covert a spell into song or use song as a feasible means of creating and casting a magic spell. Cirno then found out to her amazement that these books were one of the oldest books in the library and the only kinds of grimoires that Marisa never dared to take. When Cirno asked why, Patchouli merely gave her a very flat stare and asked:

'Have you ever heard Marisa sing?'

Regardless, Cirno understood the reasoning behind making a spell casting system using song. Even without the use of words, one could create spells simply by using melodies since casting magic is still basically the manipulation and shaping of magical energy into an intended effect. Incantations are just a way for one to be able to categorize and utilize spells using a medium that one could understand and distinguish. Similarly, songs can also be used for the same purpose. It was just that the medium used was a bit different. It was like comparing a manuscript or a book that was made of printed words to one that was done in braille. Both can be used in order for one to be able to read something, it was just the means of getting the information was different.

Cirno was so caught up in keeping an eye on the match, as well as her own thoughts, that she did not notice the distinct sound of something tearing right next to her.

"Oooohh~! What did I miss?" Cirno flinched when she suddenly heard Yukari's voice from her right side. The ice fairy looked in the direction where the voice came from and blinked a few times.

Yukari was leaning out of one of her gaps...upside down.

"Something wrong?" The border youkai asked, seeming not bothered by her odd orientation. Cirno furrowed her brows when she noticed something else about Yukari. She was obviously upside down but her hat, hair, and clothes weren't even disturbed at all and looked like she was standing completely normally.

"I'm...no, it's nothing to worry about." Cirno started but shrugged off asking Yukari how she was doing what she was doing. Yukari gave out her own shrug but turned back when she heard the distinct voice of Yuka's tiny pink-haired human.

"Zero!" Cirno couldn't help but grimace when Louise's explosion was rendered ineffective once more by Yuka's clever use of cover. By now, the clearing where the match was being held at was all but covered by various stone constructs of varying types and sizes. The only place that was left relatively clear was the spot where Eleanore was casting her spells from.

"So, what's transpiring here?" Yukari asked with a tilted head to the side. Obviously, the border youkai would have realized that this was some sort of match between Yuka and Louise along with one other. However, even someone as clever as Yukari Yakumo needed some help with the context.

"It's a match that will decide whether or not teach will end up lifting the ban on humans in Mugenkan for Louise and her sisters." Cirno explained, this time without taking her eyes away from Yuka. These kinds of matches tend to either drag on close to forever or would decisively end in a second, Cirno didn't want to be caught with her proverbial pants down if it ended up becoming the latter. Even without looking though, Cirno could tell that Yukari immediately perked up at what she said. Yukari suddenly disappeared into her gap before reappearing out the other end, effectively making her right side up from Cirno's perspective.

"Ooohhh~! Tell me more~!" Yukari asked with nearly as much intense curiosity as Aya or Hatate whenever those two found something interesting to write about. Cirno considered not telling Yukari but knew that she would find out anyway by her own means. Might as well deal with it now instead of having to take care of it later.

"The long and short of it is that Louise's older sister, Cattleya, is suffering from acute prana poisoning. The bad news is that she's had it since she was apparently a kid and she's at the point where the ambient magic in their realm is very very close to killing her. You can imagine how Louise took the news when she found out about it." Cirno summarized the story behind the current situation. She glanced at Yukari and saw that the border youkai no longer had a playful air around her and was now observing the events with a critical eye after she folded her arms under her breasts.

"And little Louise wanted Yuka to fix it?" Yukari postulated before pulling out her fan from within her gap and opening it in order to cover the lower half of her face. Cirno never liked it when Yukari did that. She only did that if she was either scowling or grinning, her eyes betrayed nothing about what the border youkai's expression was.

"Not exactly. Louise wanted to bring her sister into Mugenkan so teach could at least stabilize her condition until either you, Kaguya, or Yamame could cure her." Cirno clarified, earning a visible scoff from Yukari.

"Please. To assume that Kaguya could handle something as delicate as that condition is laughable. Although I admit that either I or the Earth Spider could probably do something about it. So, who's the blonde woman? She looks a bit like Louise." Yukari confidently stated before asking about Eleanore while pointing at where the blonde was with her now closed fan.

"Louise's eldest sister, Eleanore. Cattleya is the middle sister while Louise is the youngest. Louise challenged Yuka to a match with the condition that Cattleya be allowed in Mugenkan if she won. Teach told her that there was no way that she could win against him so Eleanore challenged him too." The ice fairy answered with a shake of her head when she recalled the sheer absurdity of a pair of humans openly challenging Yuka Kazami to a match.

"And I take it that Yuka couldn't help but take the bait?" Yukari asked the rhetorical question, this time no longer taking her eyes off the ongoing match.

"Pretty much. Teach is going for a one hit pacifist run. They either hit him or he outlasts them. If they win, all three sisters get a free pass to Mugenkan until teach says otherwise. If they lose...well teach will have to deal with Louise after her sister dies." Cirno responded with a nod before slightly shivering at the thought of dying because of a condition like Cattleya's. She turned to Yukari when she heard the border youkai start giggling. Yukari noticed Cirno's raised brow and gave the ice fairy one of her 'fooling around again' smiles.

"Oh, they'll win all right." Yukari clearly stated with no hint of doubt or hesitation. Cirno narrowed her eyes at the sheer certainty and confidence that the border youkai was showing.

"You don't think that teach would actually throw the match, do you? Or are you going to give Louise and Eleanore some 'help'?" Cirno asked with a bit of an edge in her voice. She didn't really like the idea of either possibility since it would be an insult to both sisters after all the work and pride they've already invested in this match.

"No no, nothing like that. I wouldn't want Yuka to get mad at me after all. No, I really think that those two will be able to pull it off." Yukari said with another of those smiles of hers. Cirno remained quiet and tried to think of how Yukari could possibly come to that kind of conclusion.

"The song of victory will ring out once silence consumes the unexpecting beast." Yukari said cryptically. Cirno turned to Yukari to try to clarify that but the border youkai already disappeared into her now closed gap.

...

It was starting to get tricky to be able to move around on the ground. I idly thought of this as I continued to avoid the ever increasing barrage of stone constructs that Eleanore created to try to hit me with. I also made sure to keep one eye out for the telltale pink hair of my master. I was far from dismissing Louise as an actual threat in this match. She may me clumsy and second guesses herself on occasion, but she gets lucky at some critical times and was rather very stubborn. I'd rather not admit that I lost to the Valliere sisters simply because of a lucky shot.

I spun away from a stone needle that was shot out from one of the stone fists that I've already evaded. I was wondering why Eleanore refused to dispel the constructs she created and why she didn't utilize them for anything else. Someone as creative as Matilda would have abused the spell casting system that Eleanore uses by creating a veritable Danmaku Field using earth and stone. Why Eleanore was only utilizing her constructs in such a way so sparingly was something I still couldn't grasp but I chose to take note of it anyway just in case.

Having all these possible attack points all around me reminded me of dueling Sakuya back in the day. Too bad for Eleanore that I have a lot of experience in dealing with possible transient attacks from multiple directions.

I hopped over a series of slanted stone spikes that were trying to catch me off guard when I saw a flash of pink from the corner of my vision.

"Hm!" I immediately dashed to the right but had to sidestep a few obstructions that were in the way. Nevertheless, I was still able to avoid Louise's explosion by about a little over a foot. The disruptions caused by Eleanore's constructs worked both ways sadly. They help me prevent Louise from getting a clear shot at me with her broken spells but it also meant that spotting my already short master all the more difficult, not even taking into account the obvious trouble of simply moving around the field.

"Zero!" I instinctively dashed to the right after hearing Louise say her magic word. Unfortunately, a stone spike suddenly burst out of the ground from the direction I was running toward. I was able to jump over it but I glanced behind me and saw Louise aiming right at me with her spare wand.

"Zero!" I immediately dropped myself down onto the ground and rolled forward in order to avoid getting hit by the shockwave from Louise's explosion. I had to get back on my feet in short order because another set of stone jaws burst out from under me and tried to chomp on me.

"They're learning..." I mutter as once again try to lose Louise in the growing maze of stone constructs. Both Louise and Eleanore have been starting to work together more fluidly than when the match started...or at the very least they learned how to stay out of each other's way. Still, I was not about to be done in by such methods of attack. That was when the stone constructs around me started trembling. I had a bad feeling about that and quickly maneuvered myself away from the stone constructs that Eleanore had created so far. I glanced around and saw that Louise had the same feeling after she ran out of the artificial stone maze made by her sister.

My master nearly doubled over but managed to keep herself on her feet my supporting her weight by simply bending over and putting her hands on her knees. She was clearly very tired. This was probably the first time she had exerted so much effort on something with her physical body so it was understandable. Still, I assumed that she was the most physically fit among her little circle of friends save possibly for Tabitha. Louise saw me as she looked up and immediately pointed one of her wands at me, fully prepared to try to cast another explosion despite having a pained expression on her face. I prepared to break into another string of evasive maneuvers but both of us weren't able to do much of anything else when the ground started shaking along with Eleanore's stones.

The sheer amount of ambient magic that was concentrating on the direction where Eleanore was located was immense by human standards. It was like she was pouring everything she had into this. It seemed that the eldest sister was finally ready to make her move.

I could hear Eleanore's singing voice slowly get louder and louder, even so much as echoing, as the amount of magical energy she gathered continued to increase despite our relative distance away from her. I did not move from the spot I was standing on simply because I looked forward to the final result of the spell that Eleanore was putting so much of herself into...almost like a Last Word.

I turned to Louise and saw that she was staring wide eyed and slacked jawed at what her sister was doing. It seemed that my master was not expecting this sort of thing either. I turned back to the direction where Eleanore was after I noticed that there was a soft golden glow coming from there.

I could not hide my smile in anticipation for what the blonde was planning on doing.

...

"By the Yama's black panties!" Cirno yelled out after she saw, heard, and felt what Eleanore was doing. The ice fairy flew higher to get a better view of what was happening. She couldn't see Eleanore anymore because she was completely being engulfed by a shining golden light.

"What the..." Cirno muttered after she saw all the stone constructs littered all over the field suddenly move across the ground like it was made of water. The rocks all started to meld together to form a mass of stone that just kept getting larger and larger and larger. It was mostly still formless but Cirno couldn't help but gulp at the sheer amount of magical energy being poured into the mass. It wasn't just what Eleanore was drawing from within herself, she was also taking in and using the magical energy that was present all over Mugenkan.

To think that a human magician would even dare to try to use Mugenkan's magic against its master.Cirno couldn't help but chuckle at the irony. She wasn't sure why...but the ice fairy was starting to believe what Yukari said.

...

This is it!Eleanore thought as she continued the closing part of her Hymn. It took her much longer to be able to figure out how to use the magic in Mugenkan for her finale than she had hoped. Thankfully her little sister was able keep her familiar busy enough to allow her to lay the groundwork for her spell.

Mother said that such a casting style was too inefficient and risky to use in a conventionally shifting battlefield. Thanks to the runt's familiar though, this battle is nowhere near conventional!Eleanore thought before raising her arms up one more time to be able to finish her work. This was it. Everything they have been working on led up to this moment. Their victory and Cattleya's salvation hinged on the next few minutes. The eldest daughter of The Heavy Wind opened her eyes and unleashed her most powerful spell, the final product of the overture that her hymn provided!

Behold! Eleanore's Juggernaut!

...

When I first saw Guiche's bronze golems, I was mildly amused at how he thought that such flimsy constructs would actually harm me.

When I first encountered Matilda's earth golem, I was impressed at how she was able to control and even convert parts of it to a different consistency at will despite its size.

The completed stone golem I was staring at right now was dwarfed by Matilda's hundred-foot golem by more than half. It looked to be only around thirty-five to forty feet tall. In addition, it was made completely out of stone instead of earth. I glanced around and saw several holes on the ground that Eleanore used to make up her golem. I gave the impressive construct a closer visual inspection.

Since the thing was composed of several stone pieces, the final product looked like it was covered with skin made out of jagged upward-pointing stone spikes. The body structure looked vaguely sapient with two legs, two arms, a central torso, and a head.

Its thick pillar-like legs and feet seemed to be necessary for the sake of stability in order for it to support the weight of the rest of the body. Its torso was thick and looked solid but was also covered by stone spikes but it vaguely looked like the torso that an overmuscled human male would have...like Scarron for example.

I ignored the sick feeling at recalling what that...man...looked like and looked at the construct's arms. As if to adhere with the overall theme of the golem, the arms were also rather thick and covered with stone spikes. Unlike Matilda's earth golem, which had four fingers made of malleable earth, Eleanore's stone golem did not seem to have the malleability to be able to have fingers. Instead, the construct was much more...direct in making its point. The entire forearm up to the part where the hand was supposed to be was made up entirely of a mass of stone spikes. Its hands were clearly intended to smash things.

The thing's head was a lump of spiked stone that was vaguely shaped into a human head with two horns on either side of its head. It had no mouth but it had two holes that resembled eyes which held bright red lights. All in all, it was a rather intimidating sight. The effect was compounded by the fact that the stone that made up said golem was darkened to near obsidian in color. I wasn't sure if that was intended or if it was just a side effect of the spell.

I didn't have much time to think about it any further after the golem suddenly took a single step forward before leaning toward me and giving me a low but loud growl.

A stone golem that growls...that was different.

"Eeep!" I heard Louise yelp out at the sudden show of agression from the stone golem. Said angered geological formation suddenly rushed at me with the speed that one would not normally associate with a giant moving hunk of stone. The ground shook with each step and it was rather clear that the construct was going after me. I did not have time to snap Louise out of her shock and tell her to get clear so I had to lead the golem away from her instead. Match or not, I was not about to risk the life of my master inside my own realm.

I quickly ran away from where Louise was in hopes of keeping her away from the imminent confrontation. I was a bit sad that I made the condition that I would not fight back during this match. I expected that facing this golem toe-to-toe would have been a fun experience.

Despite the construct's surprising speed, I was still much faster that it was. I knew that Eleanore somehow managed to syphon the ambient magic in Mugenkan to be able to complete the construct, but I also knew that she wasn't pulling in any more magic in order to move and maintain its form. That meant that the eldest sister was relying on her own magical reserves to be able to manipulate the construct. Because of this, all I had to do was to continue evading this new threat and it should eventually run out of magic to sustain its form.

I narrowed my eyes when the golem whipped both of its arms at me, resulting in them extending much far too much than they should have been able to. I raised a brow when the two oncoming stone clubs seemed to twist around each other in a way that resembled a sort of helix even as they hurtled toward me. Of course, I had more than enough common sense than to just stand there and take the attack like an idiot. I demonstrated said common sense by jumping away from the offending pair of stone appendages a few seconds before they impacted on the spot I was on moments ago.

Now, one would anticipate that the golem would pull its arms back into the main body to try another attack or something. However, it seemed that Eleanore had quite the creative daredevil in her. The golem most definitely reel in its arms...but it did it in the opposite way. Instead of freeing its arms from being buried under the earth, it opted to pull its entire body to where the club-like fists were instead. Of course, with the arms twisted around each other when the construct whipped its fists at me, it ended up rifling at me. I did not know how or where Eleanore had picked up such a concept. As far as I knew, Halkeginian firearms had yet to develop past the use of musketballs if Agnes' pistols were any indication.

I smiled at the fact that I was musing about such things while I backpedaled away from the incoming projectile. I had expected for the stone construct to slam into the ground with a significant amount of force, like a ground punch from one of those Devas, but would otherwise be intact. What I did not expect was for the golem to completely dig itself underground and only leaving behind a rather large hole.

"Well, that's rather-" I cut myself off from futher instances of talking to myself when I noticed the familiar flare of my master's magic.

"Zero!" I was only able to barely get out of the blast zone of her explosion in time by taking things just a tad bit more seriously. And Cirno wanted me to go easy on them. I should really keep in mind who I am facing and what they were capable of.

As if to punctuate my point, the stone golem that was still underground decided to remind me of its presence. It did so by smashing its club-like fists out of the ground a few feet in front of me. Noticing that it did not hit its target, the golem proceeded to whip its fists around wildly like flails to try to get me. Avoiding the improvised attack was easy enough, certainly easier than what Eleanore opened up with when the match started.

I managed to get out of the golem's reach and tried to pin where my master was by trying to sense for her magic. I could faintly tell that she was behind me somewhere but her signature was muddled nearly the entire field was laced with Eleanore's magical signature instead. I supposed that meant that I would only be able to accurately pinpoint where she was once she tries to attack. I was not sure if this was intentional or not on Eleanore's part but the result was quite amusing. I could have easily cleared the area of the eldest sister's magic by using a certain flower, but I was only relegated to evasion for this match so I will just need to deal with it.

Besides, it has been a while since I've had this much fun in a match without attacking anyone.

"Zero!" I instantly noted the origin point of Louise's spell before moving to the side in order to once again avoi-

"Zero!" I smiled when I was forced to change the direction of my movement again after-

"Zero!" I blinked at the third cast. Cirno and I have confirmed that Louise could rapid cast her magic word twice using her two wands in succession but she needed to rest for a few seconds afterward in order to stabilize herself for any further attempts at spell casting.

"Zero!" I forcefully turned my head to where Louise was after I heard yet another declaration of her magic word. I saw Louise charging at me with as much fervor as Tenshi whenever she challenged either me or Yukari once she gets the chance to get out of Bhava-Agra. My little master had both of her wands pointed right at me and had a very determined expression. I was wondering what could have possibly brought this sudden surge of aggression about-

"Zero!" Louise cast another one of her broken spells at me. She was casting them at a much higher rate than what she normally does but it was nowhere near enough to be able to catch me unawares. After all, I helped her develop it alongside me former student. Her endurance had improved significantly thanks to all her training but even Louise should be getting tired now. Wait...

Louise was getting tired!

"Hm!" I jumped away from the spot I was on when I heard the ground under me start to rumble again. Just in time for Eleanore's golem to break out into the surface from underneath me. The golem shot its fists out like whips again after I evaded the intended surprise but I successfully twisted away from the stone appendages. Before landing unscathed.

"Zero!" To which I had to start moving as soon as I touched the ground because of my master's stubbon attacks. Both sisters should be running low on their magical reserves considering the exertion that they have made over the course of the match. I knew that Louise was getting physically and magically fatigued which was why she was going on a desperation attack on me before she collapses from exhaustion. I wasn't sure if this sudden seemingly coordinated attack that Louise and Eleanore's golem are doing was intentional or if they were just taking cues from one another but it was effective nonetheless. Not effective enough to tag a clean hit on me, but I expect that they could likely give any other Halkeginian mage a big headache.

The stone golem launched its right fist at me but I was easily able to avoid it just like everything else. I noted that some of the stones that were holding the construct together were starting to fall off. The fist it launched at me was embedded into the ground so the golem used that anchor to pull itself toward me.

"Zero!" I twisted away from another one of my master's explosions and saw Louise starting to stagger and was barely even able to stay on her feet. She was breathing and sweating heavily as well, a testament to the amount of effort she had put in throughout this entire match. I doubt that she will be any more of a threat for the rest of the match , so long as I stayed out of her broken spell's range, that meant that the only threat left was the golem. Right on cue, the stone construct slammed into the earth and proceeded to run right at me. I noted that the entire golem was slowly but steadily shedding the rocks that it was composed of a few shards at a time.

"Just a little more..." I muttered as I prepared for the closing part of this match. I gave a wistful sigh as the golem lacklusterly swung its stone fists at me. I easily dodged the increasingly clumsy attacks that were being aimed at me. More and more pieces of the golem were starting to break apart. It became most obvious when it swung it right fist at me and it completely broke off from the rest of the arm. The chunk of rock smashed into the ground and stayed there this time. I gave it no more than a passing glance as the golem did not seem to have given up on trying to take me down yet.

The thing continued its desperate but futile final assault at me. I knew that Louise was no longer a threat and it was only a matter of time before the stone golem completely broke apart. I gave out a bitter smile when I thought about what the consequences of my victory would entail. Cattleya would not be granted access into Mugenkan no matter what Louise says. The middle sister will die and my master would be left without one of the people in Halkeginia that she loved the most. I would be victorious over the two sisters and prevent their ailing sibling from any possible chance at a cure for her accursed illness.

The slowly crumbling stone construct seemed like an accurate metaphor of what the situation looked like for Louise and Eleanore. I thought about this while smoothly dodging the last few attacks that the golem made, almost on autopilot. Yes, the refusal to surrender until the last moment...the golem was indeed a good metaphor to what was happening.

"And that's that." I stated as I sidestepped away from the golem as it finally fell over, not really liking the fact that I had won. I steadied my footing to finish my spin when I noticed a flash of yellow as I turned. At that singular moment, I remembered a few key things I should have given more serious thought on...

The area we were having the match in was saturated with Eleanore's magic signature.

Eleanore had proven that she could indeed sneak up on me when I was not actively looking for any hidden presence.

Eleanore had stopped singing after her golem finished forming.

"Ah..." Was all I was able to let out right before Eleanore Albertine Le Blanc De La Blois De La Valliere connected her right fist to my face while sporting a rather angry expression.

I was amazed that she was still able to keep her glasses on.

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