|Louise & Yuka K.|
| Book: Be Careful What|
You Wish For, Chapter 8
|Written by||Vanishing Trooper|
Be Careful What
You Wish For
Be Careful What
You Wish For
Be Careful What You Wish For
Author's Notes: Well, here we are! The love potion arc and the start of the latter part of 'Season 1'. I'm sure a few people will be happy with what I did and what I plan on doing in the next few chapter because of a little something in the end of this chapter.
Things will turn a bit to the serious during the Albion arc and expect Yuka to show a bit more of her old-school self during that.
Other than that, please enjoy this chapter and tell me your opinions on how I handled it.
Disclaimer: I am the bone of my swor—wait…
Be Careful What You Wish For
"I am assuming that there is a logical explanation for all of this, yes?" I asked the only two coherent occupants of the room, Derf and Matilda.
"Yuka! Gesticulate later! Hel-Eeek! Louise! Stop it!" Matilda yelled out as Louise started rubbing her face between her tutor's breasts. I turned to the sentient sword as it started to chuckle at the sight of Louise assaulting Matilda on her bed.
"And you just watched as all this transpired?" I flatly asked Derf. The six-thousand year old magical sword just gave me a sword-shrug before replying.
"Believe me, if I could, I'd join in! Hehehehe..." Derf replied before chuckling like an old man...which it technically is. I sighed before deciding to end Louise's conquest for Matilda's body before she ended up doing something she'd likely regret for the rest of her life.
"Oh-ho! Gonna take them both at the same time, eh? Make sure to satisfy them both thoroughly! Hahahahaha!" Derf said as I started to approach Louise bed. Really, the sword is as bad as Kirche but much more direct with the lecherous teasing.
"L-L-Louise! Come back to your senses at once!" Matilda said to her student as she continued to try to push Louise off of her. I was perplexed at how the older woman was unable to do so herself considering how light my master is.
"Matilda~n!" Louise cooed as she continued to grope her tutors chest while burying her face in her cleavage. Matilda noticed me approach and her blush intensified. Louise's rustling and groping had all but pulled off her nightgown, effectively making her two-thirds naked. Her eyes widened and her blush brightened even more as I leaned over them both and reached out.
"Y-Y-Yuka...you can't...I'm not...I'm not...rea-" Matilda's stammering was cut off as I promptly put my hands under my master's arms and lifted Louise off of her, my master immediately struggled to break free.
"H-h-h-hey! Let go of me Familiar! How dare you get in the way of true love! Matilda was going to be my first!" Louise yelled out as she flailed around in my grasp, reminding me of the time when I had to lift a tiny Hakurei Reimi from one of my sunflowers when she wandered into the Garden of the Sun and started climbing one of my sunflowers. Thankfully, I was a great deal stronger than Matilda, so I had no problems in keeping my master under control. I found her words deeply ironic considering how adverse to the idea of her chastity being taken by another woman she was when she was in Yukari's grasp in Mugenkan.
"Louise, why are you trying to undress Matilda and trying to make her 'your first'?" I calmly asked Louise, checking if there was still any sense of logic in the girl.
"Love is a pulse of the stars!" She immediately replied. I guess not.
"What happened?" I asked Matilda, who was trying her best to recover some semblance of dignity by fixing up her nightgown. She glanced at me before quickly looking away, her blush still very prominent on her face. She had her right hand over her chest, clutching her nightgown, while her left hand was grasping the bedding. The moonlight that had just shone through Louise's window highlighted the sweat the glistened on her body, likely caused by her tousling with my master. She turned to me with a completely vulnerable expression, her blush still in effect and-why am I noticing all of that in such detail? I shook my head to clear my thoughts of such trivial matters and awaited her response.
"I don't know..." Matilda replied in a shaking voice.
"I don't understand. You were with her in this very room, someone as perceptive as you should have noticed something amiss before this happened. Obviously, Louise is not of right mind after a point, so something must have happened. Derf couldn't possibly have managed to cast a spell that would make Louise amorously minded toward you, I know that you couldn't -wouldn't- do it either, so what happened?" I asked her again, ignoring my master's anguished declarations of love for Matilda. Surprisingly, it was the sword that replied to my question.
"Louise wasn't in this room the whole time you were gone. She suddenly left after saying that she had something important to take care of." Derf supplied. Strange, I was sure that she and Matilda were already changing into their eveningwear when I left to look for Professor Colbert and Headmaster Osmond. Wait...
"Louise left the room? In her nightgown?" I asked in honest surprise. It was one thing for Louise to walk out of her room in her uniform. It was another thing for her to walk out of her room wearing one of the 'Skimpy Maid Oufits'. But Louise walked out of her room wearing nothing more than her pink lace panties and translucent pink negligee? Why would she ever do something like that?
"Why would she ever do something like that?" I repeated the question in my head.
"I don't know either. She just suddenly stiffened up after going through her wardrobe and said that she had something to take care off before darting out. I think she was carrying something when she left." Matilda answered, finally regaining her composure. I suddenly noticed my master swoon in my grasp, which was fairly impressive since she was still off the ground.
"Ohhh~! Matilda~n! You look so sexy when you're all serious like tha~t!" Louise stated in my grasp as she once again tried to break free and resume her conquest on Matilda's body.
"Odd, I don't remember Louise having anything that would elicit such a reaction from her. Certainly not anything that would prompt her to walk in the open with next to no clothing on." I mused, ignoring my master's words and Matilda's shuddering on the bed.
"Me neither. Why don't you ask the little miss herself?" Derf said, which was actually a good idea of Louise wasn't spouting Matilda's name every other sentence. I sighed and decided to ask her anyway, it wasn't like we were risking anything by doing so.
"Well, Louise? Where did you go and what happened to you before you came back?" I asked my master. She stopped struggling after I asked her, making me hope that she would answer coherently instead of-
"You will see the tears of time!" That...Louise once again started struggling after her declaration and we were back to square one. I went back to my initial suspicions when I first laid eyes on this situation and promptly crossed out the possibility of a Moriya Shrine Conspiracy and Yukari fooling around again. That left Magic and a Shady Drug, likely not made by Eirin.
"Do you know of any magic or drug that could do this to Louise?" I asked Matilda, who looked down thoughtfully while cupping her chin with her right hand. I truly hoped that the cause was not a love potion. The last time I had to deal with such a thing was when Marisa unleashed a pitcher of the stuff and gave her enough love to power her Final Master Spark to match my own Master Spark...and rendered nearly half of Gensokyo completely in love with her for a week. To this day, I still don't understand why she would weaponize something like 'love', an emotion as fleeting and unstable as that was a horribly inefficient way to power high-end spells.
"The only thing I could think of would be a Love Potion." I cursed inwardly after Matilda gave the result of her deliberation. It just had to be a love potion...I shook off the uncomfortable feeling I had on the subject and decided to focus on the matter at hand.
"And? Do you have any idea how Louise would have come in contact with such a thing?" I asked as I sat on a chair and put Louise on my lap while putting my arms around her waist, preventing any hope of escape.
"No. Love Potions in general are notoriously hard to obtain, especially one that is as...effective...as what Louise seemed to have been exposed to." Matilda explained with a bit of dread at the end.
"You wouldn't happen to know how long these things last before they wear off, do you?" I asked her, in hope that the former thief would have had experience dealing with such a thing in the past. Matilda blinked at me a few times before shaking her head, her expression grim.
"No, this is the first time I have ever encountered the effects of a love potion up close because of how rare they are. If the effect on Louise wasn't so...pronounced...then I wouldn't have ever expected the cause to be a love potion in the first place." Matilda admitted sheepishly as she fidgeted in place. If it wasn't for the apparent conspiracy going on, I would have noted the sight to be rather cute at the time...not that I'd ever admit such a thing.
"So, let us review." I stated as I adjusted Louise, who had already fallen asleep in my arms because of all the exertion she did while struggling, on my lap to make it more comfortable for her. I heard her mumble something about a 'Chii-nee-san' as she adjusted herself and rested her head back near my left shoulder. I did not believe that Matilda was the one she was talking about, so it must mean that this love potion only affects her if she is conscious. I turned back to Matilda, who was now sitting on the edge of the bed, and continued our review of the known facts of this...incident.
"Sometime after I left this room to look for Professor Colbert and Headmaster Osmond, Louise managed to find 'something' in her wardrobe that alarm her and provoke her to leave the room immediately even though she only had her lace panties and negligee on." I started, going over the the period of time when Louise and I left the room.
"How long was Louise gone?" I asked Matilda.
"I'm not too sure. She certainly came back before you did." Matilda muttered as she tried to recall how long it took for my master to return.
"Fifteen minutes!" Derf suddenly piped up. I turned to the sword that was leaning against the wall and saw that it had come out of its scabbard again, I really need to know how it could do that without any assistance.
"Are you sure?" I asked the blade.
"Yep! Fifteen minutes and forty-seven seconds to be precise! By, comparison, it took you twenty-two minutes and seven seconds to return!" Derf stated precise times of how long Louise and I were gone from the room. Both Matilda and I were silenced at the accuracy of the sword's readings.
"If you had waited seven minutes and fifty-three seconds before you came back, you would have been able to walk in on the little miss ravaging Miss Matilda there in earnest! Ahahahaha!" Derf added, making Matilda shiver in her seat and wrap her arms around herself. I guess she doesn't like the idea of being 'taken' by another woman either, especially one as young and as diminutive as Louise.
"Ignoring the last part, we can assume that Louise had encountered someone who exposed her to the love potion within that fifteen minute time span. The question becomes, how far can Louise go for a fifteen minute round trip with the kind of clothes she was wearing?" I asked. Once again, Matilda had a contemplative expression as she tried to figure out a suitable answer for the query.
"If she was trying to avoid detection as she went through the halls and stairs, I'd guess that she can get to the main entrance of the dormitory tower in about five minutes if she was really in a hurry. The trip back would take around the same time so that would leave approximately five minutes for her to meet the one to exposed her to the love potion." Matilda postulated, likely basing her figures from a handicapped simulation of the situation in her mind to make up for the difference in skill between her and Louise when it came to sneaking around.
"Hmm...that also means that she could likely go to any room in the dormitory tower within the same time frame. Additionally, if the room she was going to was particularly close, it would extend the time she would have been with the person that exposed her to the love potion even more." Matilda added before biting the nail of her right thumb in frustration.
"We also need to take into account the possibility that Louise wouldn't care if she was seen or not and simply headed straight for her destination no matter what." I added, making Matilda grumble in frustration.
"Too many variables. Not enough information." Matilda ground out. I agreed with her, too many things could have happened within that fifteen minute time span that could have caused Louise to be exposed to that love potion.
"You people are too focused and thinking about the wrong thing." Derf suddenly chimed in. Matilda and I looked at each other before turning to the blade.
"And don't worry! Brimir had the same problem back then too!" The sword added. Wait...did he just say-
"Did you just say Brimir?" Matilda finished and asked the question for me in complete surprise. I narrowed my eyes as I recalled an earlier conversation my master and I had with the sword.
"So you were related to The Founder Brimir after all." I stated accusingly at the blade. Not only was it a sword that knew about Brimir, it seemed the Derf actually knew the man personally. Such a big source of information for the biggest lead to Louise's true power was right under our noses and was withholding information. Obviously, I was not amused.
"Hey now! Take it easy! I just remembered it just now after watching you two!" Derf stated defensively. If it had arms, I'd imagine it would have been waving them in front of its face to emphasize its point.
"Explain. Now." I said in a commanding tone, making both Matilda and Derf gulp at the same time. I was very thankful that Louise was asleep and was not thinking straight right now because she would have freaked out if she found out that the sword she occasionally had tea with knew Brimir.
"You two jogged my memory because it reminded me of how Brimir and Sasha used to brainstorm ideas back in the day." Derf started to explain.
"Who is Sasha?" Matilda asked, obviously curious after unraveling such important information about the founder of their civilization out of nowhere.
"Sasha was the one who forged me. She was the original Gandalfr, the Left Hand of God, and Brimir's first familiar!" Derf answered. Impressive. A woman that managed to forge a blade like Derf and was also the very familiar that wielded it.
"She was also Brimir's wife!" Derf added before giving out a low chuckle. I blinked at that piece of information. Brimir married one of his familiars?
"Sasha once told me how pissed she was at Brimir when he made her his familiar! You should have seen the way she imagined strangling the guy with her bare hands! Of course, in the end, they still fell in love with each other and got married." The sword finished. This makes this a bit easier if Derf knew Brimir. If we could jog enough of its memory, then we might be able to uncover significant amounts of information regarding Void magic. I was contemplating the long-term ramifications of getting the information that Derf has in its memory when I noticed Matilda start to fidget again.
"A-a-and...Yuka and I...remind you of them?" Matilda timidly asked Derf. That's what she's thinking about? I heard Derf give out a thoughtful sound before answering.
"Sort of. Brimir and Sasha were like complete opposites of each other. Sasha was calculating and careful while Brimir was reckless and had a devil may care attitude. In that sense, they complimented each other since filled up what the other lacked." The blade repiled. So Brimir and the first Gandalfr had that kind of dynamic. It reminded me of how Rumia and Cirno acted after they matured and realized their true potential. Rumia, the reckless but effective berserker. Cirno, the opportunistic and analytical combatant. I forced down a smile at the memory of my former student, Cirno. Hard to imagine that, before she discovered her talent at split-second analysis, I had trained her as 'Cirno Smash' Cirno. I wonder how she is doing these days?
"In your case, you two seem to be on the same wavelength. You two think alike, which would probably be why you two would get along. The problem with that is that if one of you gets stuck in a problem, the other would likely get stuck at the same point." Derf reasoned. So that is how it sees Matilda and I? It seemed that the ancient blade had been analyzing us during the time when it was simply sitting in the room. Additionally, since it seemed to be an artifact that was forged and wielded by Brimir's familiar and beloved, it would likely be advantageous to bring it along for any future endeavors. That would mean that I will need to find a blacksmith that could clean up all the rust that it had accumulated over the millennia. Well, I'll ask Siesta about that later. For now...
"You mentioned before that we were focusing on the wrong thing. Elaborate." I got back on the main topic at hand: Finding out what happened to Louise and who was responsible for it.
"You two were focusing on 'the how' and 'the why', but there'd be too many things to worry about if you consider them." Derf reasoned, I nodded in agreement. That was the conclusion Matilda and I got to after trying to analyze the routes Louise might take when she left and why she would do so.
"Instead, you guys should try to figure out 'the who' instead!" Derf pointed out. I silently considered the sword's council. The who...the who...Matilda and I looked at each other with expressions of realization after understanding what the blade meant by that.
"Who would Louise have reason to visit..." I started.
"...and who would have access to a Love Potion." Matilda concluded. We turned to Derf after we heard it start laughing again.
"I told you guys that you were on the same wavelength!" The sword let out before it started laughing again. I ignored its words and stood up before setting my master on the bed again. Louise grumbled something about 'Cosmo Babylonia' before grabbing a pillow and continuing her sleep.
"Stay with Louise in case she wakes up." I told the blushing Matilda who refused to meet my gaze.
"And what if she wakes up? She'll be all over me again!" The former thief complained indignantly.
"And we can't leave her alone here either. She'll likely look for you if you come with me and we both know that outcome would not end well for anyone." I chastised Matilda while folding my arms and leaning back. The woman fixed her gaze on the ground before turning to her sleeping charge.
"Besides, she's your student. A teacher will always do what is best for their pupil." I said in a soft tone while looking at my master.
"You speak like you know what its like to teach." Matilda pointed out with a raised brow and a bit of a smirk.
"I did have a student once. She begged and begged for me to teach her how to properly...fight. Eventually, I took her in simply to shut her up and...she managed to find and unleash her true potential." I stated with a shrug.
"What was her name?" Matilda asked me, curious about my having a student.
"Cirno. Though recently, she's being called Big-Sis Cirno by the younger generation." I answered with a chuckle. Matilda hummed thoughtfully before she climbed back onto the bed and placed herself beside Louise.
"Alright, just make sure you come back as soon as you can. I shudder to think what would happen if I would fall asleep and Louise would wake up." I chuckled at the woman's words, earning me a glare from Matilda.
"What's wrong? Scared of being 'taken' by a younger girl?" I teased, maintaining my folded arms. Matilda had a very cross expression before she answered back.
"Of course I am! If I'll be taken, I'd rather have my first time be with...someone I actually love..." Matilda yelled at me, though the last part was more of a whisper after a beat. I then recalled what had happened to her in the past...or what nearly happened to her.
"It seemed that I...struck a nerve. I apologize." I stated with a polite bow. I saw her rub her forehead with her left hand.
"It's...fine. Just find out what caused this and find a way to fix it...then come back." Matilda stated in a tired tone.
"I will. I doubt that Louise will rouse again after everything that has happened, so I believe that it will be safe for you to sleep. Now if you'll excuse me..." I stated before exiting the room. I stood in the hallway and considered my options.
There were a number of people that Louise might go to if she was going to give or return something that was embarrassing for her if others found out about it. The obvious suspects would be Kirche and Siesta. Kirche is pretty much a given but I also added Siesta after I discovered the girl's fondness for certain types of...reading material. I had heard Siesta ask Louise to try reading one of those books before so it was plausible that my master had that item hidden away in her wardrobe. The problem with that is that Kirche left with Tabitha some time ago and is no longer here. Siesta was a possibility but I met her while trying to find Professor Colbert and Headmaster Osmond. We were in a completely different part of the academy at the time and Siesta was about to do some laundry as well, so it would have been impossible for Louise to get in contact with her.
On the possibility of those who would have access to a Love Potion, I had no ideas as to anyone who would since even Matilda had never gotten her hands on one. The obvious suspect would be Guiche but the boy seemed to be the type to rather use his own charm to capture the hearts of women instead of relying on a shady magical drug. Drawing a blank on that subject, I decided to go to the only person I know who was an expert when it came to potions.
"Mister Yuka! What a pleasant surprise!" Oddly enough, it was Guiche that greeted me after I knocked at the door instead of Monmon. We both turned to the sound of clattering porcelain after Guiche greeted me and found Monmon seated at a table. It seemed that she and Guiche were having a late night tea party.
"Am I interrupting anything?" I inquired while tilting my head to the side.
"Not at all! We were merely having tea while discussing love and life. Please, you are welcome to join us." Guiche gracefully offered while gesturing to within Monmon's room. I took in the scent of the tea they were having. Nilgiri tea? How on earth did they have access to that kind of tea? I shook my head to clear my thoughts of such trivial matters.
"As much as I would like to have such fragrant tea on such a nice night, I'm afraid I am here on business." I stated as I entered the room. I sensed Monmon tense up when I did and she suddenly stood up and walked up to Guiche. Strange...
"Business?" Guiche inquired quizzically, obviously confused as to what kind of business I might have with his lover.
"Yes. You see, for reasons still unconfirmed, Louise had apparently been exposed to a Love Potion. I am looking for the one who could possibly have such a potion." I stated my reasons. Guiche looked surprised at the mention of someone possessing a Love Potion in the academy while Monmon looked aghast by my statement.
"And Louise was exposed to it? Who did she target, you?" Guiche inquired after recovering from his initial surprise.
"No, I was not in the room when the effects took hold of her. Matilda was the one Louise had her sights on when the effect activated." I stated simply. We both noticed Monmon start coughing and Guiche quickly guided her to a chair and gave her a cup of tea.
"Miss...Matilda...was the one...who Louise...targeted?" Monmon slowly stated between breaths.
"That is correct. When I returned to Louise's room I found her on top of Matilda and trying very hard to disrobe her tutor." I described the events that I witnessed when I opened the door to Louise's room.
"Oh really?" Guiche inquired, not even bothering to mask his interest in the event. His apparent enthusiasm prompted Monmon to step on his foot, eliciting a yelp of pain from the young man. Guiche looked apologetically at Monmon, who just looked away from her lover. The young man cleared his throat before looking back at me.
"And...you suspect my Monmon to be the one responsible? Is that why you are here?" Guiche asked wearily. I opened my mouth to tell them that I was only here to inquire with Monmon on who she might know that could obtain such a thing when I sensed something. It was fear, intense fear...and it was coming from Monmon. I admit that the girl was still intimidated by me at times but this kind of reaction was just...
"I'm sorry! It was an accident!" Monmon suddenly yelled out while standing up straight. Both Guiche and I looked at the girl who was at the verge of tears and were...confused.
"You...were responsible?" Guiche asked her and she silently nodded. I sighed. From the way she was acting, it seemed that she did not intend for Louise to be the one that her Love Potion affected.
"Monmon, sit down and tell me what happened." I stated, no anger or malice in my voice. This was not intentional and it was clear that Monmon regretted doing that to her friend, so I simply wanted to know what happened and how we can fix it. Monmon quietly complied and Guiche took a seat beside her while holding her hand. I stood before the two lovers and folded my arms and leaning back before waiting for Monmon's explanation.
"It happened earlier this evening. Guiche and I were walking back to my room when Louise suddenly popped out from a corner and bumped into him." Monmon started while affixing her gaze at the floor.
"She bumped into you?" I asked Guiche and he nodded in response.
"Yes, I was so surprised that I very nearly spilled the cup of wine I was holding." Guiche stated while shaking his head.
"It was amazing, Mister Yuka. I lost my grip on the cup of wine and was certain that it would spill but...Louise caught it in mid-air without spilling a drop of wine." The young man stated while grabbing the side of his head, probably still not believing what he saw. I guess Louise's training had another unexpected side effect. If her hand-eye coordination has become that good then we could use this on future lessons.
"What happened next?" I asked, bringing Guiche out of his thoughts. The young man cleared his throat before continuing.
"Well, she looked tired. Monmon and I were actually confused as to why she looked like she just ran all over the dormitory tower and why she was only wearing her nightgown. I tried to point out the latter but was...stopped...by my dear Monmon." Guiche explained with a hint of pain at the end.
"You were ogling her Guiche. You were ogling Louise of all people." Monmon said while seething at what her lover had done. Guiche gulped before taking a deep breath.
"Louise had my cup of wine and asked if she could drink it. She looked like she really needed a drink so I said that it was okay. She drank the whole thing in one go the sauntered off, likely back to her room." The young man finished with a sigh. I mulled over what Guiche just said. All things considered, the mystery item that prompted Louise to bolt out of the room could be considered as a red herring and thus be ignored. The bottom line was Louise bumped into Monmon and Guiche and caught the cup of wine that Guiche was carrying before consuming the contents. Assuming that Louise never encountered anyone else on the way back to her room...
"The wine was laced with the Love Potion." I concluded, my gaze firmly fixed on Monmon. The girl flinched at my words and glanced up, when she noticed my unamused expression, she quickly looked away.
"I didn't mean for that to happen...Guiche should have been the one to drink that and not Louise..." The blonde girl muttered.
"My beautiful Monmon, if your love for me is so deep that you would attempt such a thing, then worry not! I am already a slave to your beauty, my Montmorency the Fragrance." Guiche flamboyantly declared before placing his hand on Monmon's cheek and giving her one of his best smiles.
"Guiche, you have cheated on me seven times over the past month. Don't try to deny it because I have spoken to each girl personally and kindly asked them to reject any further advances from you. I didn't want anything like that to happen again so that is why I came up with the idea to use a Love Potion on you. If Louise hadn't bumped into us, then you really would be 'a slave to my beauty'." Monmon flatly stated, each word made Guiche's smile falter until he was reduced to a stammering pile of embarrassment. So it appeared that Monmon decided to reign in her lover instead of leaving him. Unfortunately, my master ended up as collateral damage in her attempt at doing just that.
"And now we know 'the who', 'the where', 'the how', and 'the why'." I muttered as I looked at the brewing lover's spat in front of me. Monmon looked at me once again before standing up and bowing her head. Guiche gasped and I raised a brow at her action.
"I'm really sorry for what happened to Louise." She clearly stated before raising her head, she was at the brink of tears. I knew for a fact that Monmon was a proud young woman, possibly on par with Louise, so I understood how how hard it must have been for her to do that just then. It was also a testament to how dear a friend she thought Louise as, she really was sorry for what she did to her.
"I'm not the one you should apologize to." I stated while shaking my head. Monmon grimaced because she knew that I was right, that she should apologize to Louise instead.
"And you can do so later. Right now, I need to know how to fix what you did." I continued, getting to the matter at hand.
"You can wait for it to wear off..." Monmon answered sheepishly.
"How long will it take?" I quickly asked, making her wince. She looked away from me before answering.
"Six to twelve months, give or take." She answered in a subdued voice but enough for me and Guiche to hear. The young man paled when he heard the duration of the effects of the potion.
"My dear Monmon...you were going to have me drink a Love Potion that lasts that long?" Guiche asked with no small sense of dread. After all, it was a potion that would essentially turn him into what Louise currently was for quite possibly a full year.
"I assume that you already realize that waiting that long is unacceptable." I stated, my stern gaze seemed like it was burning holes through her. She was lucky that it was an accident and she truly was sorry for what she did, otherwise this room would have been completely saturated with my aura or terror by now.
"I know. There is a way to counteract the effects of the potion but I'll need to look for the list of the exact ingredients needed and how to mix them. I'll probably be able to get the full list by tomorrow afternoon." Monmon stated firmly. I continued to look at her intently, trying to ascertain if her will is for real.
"I'm sorry for what I did to Louise. Even though it was an accident, it's still my fault. I'll bring her back to normal, I promise." I couldn't help but give a small smile at her words and her expression as she delivered them. It reminded me of Louise whenever she was serious about something. It seemed that this girl had conviction as well.
"That was wonderful my Monmon! Such dedication and elegance! There is no one else like you, my Montmorency!" Certainly more conviction than her lover. I decided to trust Monmon's words and left the two before they started another lovers' spat. All that was left was to wait for Monmon and keep Louise from ravaging Matilda in the meantime.
That shouldn't be too hard.
"This shouldn't be this hard..." I stated while rubbing my forehead with my right hand while serving as a human shield for Matilda against Louise. My master's eyes darted around, trying to look for a way past me. As nice as it was to see her applying her training on something other than dodging fireballs, I wished that she wouldn't use it so she can simply start groping her tutor. My eyes narrowed as I saw a glint in her eye. Louise tensed up before making her move.
"Universe!" Louise yelled out before she darted to the right. I moved my body to block her advance but she quickly changed direction to the left and even spun around to try to get past me. Thankfully, the dimensions of the room conspired against her and she ended up crashing into her desk.
"Augh!" Louise grunted as her left knee hit the wooden desk. My master cringed at the pain and sat down on the floor while clutching her knee. Matilda and I shared a look, she of worry and mine of mild irritation, we knew that Louise will end up doing something very stupid if this keeps up.
"I don't understand...I should be three times faster..." Louise grumbled as she blew on her sore knee. I noticed Matilda starting to move to check on her but I blocked her path with my arm.
"I think that going near Louise would be a very bad idea right now." I warned the woman. Matilda put her hand on my arm and gently lowered it.
"I've been thinking. Louise is acting like this because of that Love Potion, right?" She asked. I raised a brow and simply nodded in response.
"And you said that Miss Montmorency intended that the one exposed to that potion would be lovingly devoted to the first person that they saw, right?" She asked another question. Once again, I nodded in response but still kept my eye on Louise in case she decided to pull a fast one on me, I know Cirno would have by now.
"Then that means that Louise should follow whatever I say without question, right? All in the name of her love for me." I turned to Matilda after she said those words and saw that she had a familiar smirk on her face.
"Are you willing to risk it after what happened last night?" I asked right back. She was completely under Louise's mercy last night before I came in and was terrified of the prospect of getting 'taken' by her student.
"Louise is my student. She believed in me when no one else did and gave me a new way to be able to support my sister. The two of you practically saved our lives. I owe that young woman more than she will ever realize. So yes, I am willing to risk it." Matilda answered immediately. I looked into her eyes and saw the determination within. I sighed and allowed her to pass, moving myself to the side to make sure that I could quickly yank them apart if Louise really did try to assault Matilda again. The former thief took a breath before walking up to Louise and crouching down beside her. Louise turned to Matilda and gave her a 'sad puppy dog eyes' expression that would have rendered most mortal men to incoherence.
"Matilda~n...my knee hurts..." Louise sniffled while clutching her right knee. I guess she hit that desk a lot harder than I thought but I didn't think that it would have been enough to break anything. Matilda breathed a sigh of relief before she started rubbing the sniffling Louise's back.
"I'll take care of things here, just wait for us outside." The former thief said. I hummed thoughtfully before picking up my parasol and walking up to the door.
"Just scream if she decides to pick up where she left off before." I slyly stated before exiting the room, not waiting for Matilda to give her response. I decided to walk up to Monmon's room to check on her progress with the hunting down the required ingredients for the antidote to the Love Potion. I saw Guiche standing in front of her door looking worried. The young man turned to me when he noticed the distinct sound of my footsteps and parasol. I greeted him with a curt nod, which he returned in kind. I looked at the door and saw that there was a wooden sign on it. I placed a mental note to have Matilda teach me the local written language since I could not read what was written on the sign.
"Guiche, what does it say?" I asked the young man while nodding to the sign. Guiche blinked at me for a few moments before turning back to Monmon's door.
"'Do not disturb on the grounds of total annihilation'." Guiche stated before sighing. I guess the young woman took her own words very seriously, I like that.
"How is Louise?" Guiche asked me, his eyes not leaving the door.
"Matilda seems to have her under control so she sent me out. I'm headed outside, are you coming?" I offered the young man. He looked at me for a moment before turning back to the door.
"Yes...I think I will join you." He muttered before walking in step with me. We walked through the nearly empty halls of the dormitory tower in silence. I had nearly forgotten that it is summer break for the students because of all the incidents that kept popping up one after the other. Most of the students opted to go home for the rest of their vacation but some have decided to stay in the academy, such as Louise, Monmon, and Guiche.
"You understand that you are partly responsible for what happened to my master, yes?" I casually pointed out, making the young man wince. I stopped walking and Guiche turned back to me before gulping. I had folded my arms and leaned back, my parasol hanging from my right hand.
"You were unfaithful to a woman you have repeatedly declared your love to, a woman who is clearly in love with you which led her to try to use a Love Potion on you...the very potion that my master accidentally ingested. I don't understand, Guiche de Gramont. Why must you persist on courting other girls when you already have Monmon? It does not logically make any sense." I stated while tilting my head to the side. Guiche scratched the back of his head while finding part of the tower wall to be quite interesting.
"You see...umm...love cannot be understood by something like logic..." Guiche started while gesturing with his hands, slowly building up steam for more of his flowery bravado. Sadly, I had not the patience for it.
"Then make me understand, Guiche de Gramont. Put it in words that would make sense for me. Make me understand why you are unable to remain faithful to your lover. Make me understand why you continue to lust after other women despite already having Monmon. Make me understand why it was justifiable for my master to have been caught up in your problem." I said in a stern tone, the tone I used to use when I caught Cirno and her friends doing something stupid when they should have known better.
"But I did not make Louise drink the potion! Monmon was the one who got that potion and tried to-" I cut off his retort after I struck the wooden floor with the tip of my parasol.
"Which is precisely why she is taking responsibility for her actions and trying to find a way to restore Louise. You are very fortunate to have one such as Monmon, Guiche de Gramont. If you cannot realize why, then you do not deserve her. Either become completely faithful to her or end your relationship once and for all, it is your choice. Regardless, this shall not happen again." I stated with a tone of finality. This was not a negotiation. This was not a lecture. This was not a slap on the wrist. This was an ultimatum for the young man. Even I, who had no experience in the realm of love, can tell that Guiche was a fool for doing what he did and Monmon deserved better than a fool. I narrowed my eyes at the boy when he did not answer.
".Clear?" I asked him, emphasizing each word to make sure that he knew how serious I was about it. The young man silently nodded while keeping his gaze on the ground.
"Excellent! I will go on ahead, I see that you have much to think about." I stated, regaining my casual tone of voice before walking past Guiche.
"Remember, Sir Gramont. This will not happen again." I whispered to the boy as I passed him.
"Good morning Mister Yuka!" Siesta exuberantly greeted me after I had stepped outside and opened my parasol.
"Good morning Siesta. Radiant as always, I see." I greeted the ever hard working maid as I rested my open parasol on my right shoulder as was routine for me. Siesta's face flushed at the complement and she started twiddling her thumbs while looking down at the ground.
"N-n-not at all...I...umm...isn't Miss Valliere and Miss Matilda with you today?" The maid inquired while looking around for my master and her tutor.
"Matilda and Louise are taking longer than usual to get ready. There was a minor...incident...involving a Love Potion last night and well...you'll see." I answered with a shrug. I was surprised when Siesta suddenly gasped at my words before leaning closer.
"A-are you sure that it was a real Love Potion?" Siesta asked, her voice were naught but a whisper and sounded worried for some reason.
"Yes, we are certain. Is something wrong?" I inquired. There must have been a reason why the normally vibrant and level-headed young woman would be so concerned about this.
"Well, I don't know how it works in your realm but...Love Potions, along with any magic that can take over a person's will, are banned by international law. You could be sent to the city dungeons for simply possessing them!" Siesta whispered to me frantically. So what Monmon tried to do was a criminal offense...but she tried to do it anyway?
"So...did someone try to use a Love Potion on you? Was it...was it Miss Matilda?" Siesta brought me out of my thoughts with her questions. I tilted my head in curiosity as to why she looked so worried at the possibility of Matilda using a Love Potion on me. Even if she did, it would not have worked. If I could resist Marisa's Love Potion, I could resist any Love Potion.
"No. We were not directly involved with anything involving the possession or use of any Love Potions. However, Louise accidentally ingested a dose of the substance that was meant for someone else...and no...it was not meant for me." I explained, preventing Siesta form insinuating that anyone had any intentions of using a Love Potion on me.
"Then...Miss Valliere is currently under the effects of the Love Potion and has fallen completely in love with you?" Siesta asked in wide-eyed surprise.
"Well, no...not me..." I answered half-heartedly. Siesta gave me a confused look when the answer decided to walk out into the open.
"I love you Matilda~n!" We both turned to Louise's absolutely elated voice and found her happily latched onto Matilda's left arm. Matilda had the expression of resigned acceptance but it did not seem that she was 'taken' by Louise while I was away. I blinked when I noticed that Matilda was without her hat. I was about to ask her why she did not have it when I noticed that Louise was wearing it instead.
"Why is Louise wearing your fedora?" I asked Matilda. She blinked at me before glancing at Louise and smiling.
"She wanted to wear it." She stated simply with a smile and a shrug.
"Matilda~n's ha~t!" Louise exclaimed as she savored the feeling of her tutor's hat on her head. By her actions, she was starting to remind me of Chen when she was young. I immediately dismissed the thought of Louise with cat-ears and a tail and turned back to Siesta instead. I saw that she had her mouth agape at Louise and Matilda and she seemed frozen in that state. I snapped my fingers in front of her face to get a reaction but she remained still.
"Siesta, breathe." I said as I continued to snap my fingers in front of Siesta. She finally flinched and started breathing again...no, she looked like she was starting to hyperventilate.
"Wha-wha-wha-Miss Valliere...Miss Matilda...two...women...a younger woman...and an older woman...in bed...together...I...I..I...I need to sit down...G-g-good day..." Siesta stammered out in panic and confusion before walking off. The three of us that remained merely stood there in silence for a few moments before Louise ended it.
"Puru~puru~puru~puru~puru~" Louise cooed while rubbing her face on Matilda's sleeve.
"And on that note, I suggest that the two of you get some breakfast." I stated before starting to walk toward the flower garden.
"You won't be eating with us? You haven't eaten anything since last night." Matilda pointed out with a hint of concern. I turned back to her and shook my head slowly.
"No need, I'll be fine." I assured her with a dismissive wave. Unfortunately, the woman didn't look convinced.
"Look, if you're worried that you're not a noble then..." Matilda trailed off before clearing her throat and looking away, likely realizing the irony in her statement. I smiled, even I could appreciate the sentiment...misplaced as it was.
"I have lived for over sixteen-hundred years, Matilda Chevalier de Tristain. I have come to the point in my life where my very power sustains me. I don't even need to eat or drink anymore, I only do so to suit my fancy. However, there have been very few instances in my life where one would care enough for me to ask if I was eating enough. Though unnecessary, I...appreciate the thought." I stated before walking away while twirling my parasol. I was pretty sure that Matilda was gawking at me after I casually admitted that I was not human and had been living for over a millennia-and-a-half.
I walked through the open areas of the academy and noted how quiet it was without the students and the teaching staff around. I walked to the open field where I was first summoned. Louise had unwittingly yanked me away from my first Danmaku Battle of the year and gave me a new outlook in life, Yukari's involvement notwithstanding. I had originally thought a male body to be cumbersome and inelegant, the height and weight difference were rather inconvenient for the first few moments. Of course I had overcome that like all the other challenges I have faced in my life. I was originally uncertain about staying here as the familiar of a pompous, no-talent, human magician. However, a certain ironic similarity in our lives compelled me to stay on and see where this partnership would lead. I'm actually rather glad that I did.
I walked to the Vestry Court, the place where Guiche de Gramont challenged me to a duel. It was not the first time that someone was stupid enough to challenge me without looking into who I was first, and it wouldn't be the last. It was only by virtue of my master that the young man survived the duel. I will admit that I was rather...excited to be in a realm where the binding rules of the Hakurei clan did not apply. After the duel, I decided to continue the proud Hakurei tradition of having tea with the defeated as a sign that there was no further ill will between the combatants. This was the time when my master and the people she would come to know as friends knew what I truly was.
I walked to the flower garden of the academy, the place where I re-established my link to Mugenkan. This was also the place where I discovered that Siesta was more than just another maid. The young woman was a studious and thorough caretaker of the flowers and I appreciated that greatly. This was also the place where I first encountered the late Lord Mott. I did have to thank him though, it was through his actions that I was able to once again kill without worrying about the consequences as long as I knew to clean up after myself. I did hear in passing from Siesta that Tarbes seemed to be thriving under the rule of a much more competent noble, though she did express sadness when she heard of Lord Mott's passing, such a kindhearted girl.
I walked to open area where the Evaluation Fair was held and to the clearing where 'Fouquet the Cumbling Dirt' made her daring heist. The earth magician gave me the best fight I have had in this realm thus far. Because of that, I had taken interest in her, even more so after I discovered how well she had been hiding under everyone's noses for so long without detection. My master had originally been adamant at capturing Fouquet for her crimes but Matilda's story was enough for her to revise her previous assessment of the woman. We devised had originally devised a plan to catch Fouquet in the act and apprehend the thief after exposing her true identity, an entrapment similar to what Cirno devised to help catch the perpetrator of a certain incident one-hundred years ago. Once again, Fouquet did not disappoint and came in with an improved version of her golem and gave me a very interesting battle before we launched our trap. The revisions done in the plan was enough to defeat Fouquet, save Matilda, and protect her sister and orphanage. Not bad for a day's work.
Indeed, a lot has happened since I had come to this world. Incidents happening one after the other, meeting and befriending new people, discovering things I never even knew existed because of how I used to look upon the world. In fact, we were in the middle of another incident right now. My recollection of that little fact brought me out of my recollections. I looked at the sky and noticed that some time had already passed since I left Louise and Matilda. I turned to direction of the dining hall and wondered if the Love Potion on Louise had worn off yet.
"My right hand burns with awesome passion~! It roars for me to share my desires with you~!" I would guess not...
"Louise! Stop it right now!" Matilda's frantic yelling was enough to get me walking to where they were. I finally saw them and found that Monmon was already with them and was failing at prying my master off of the older woman.
"Yuka! Louise has gone nuts again!" Monmon yelled at me, pointing out the obvious in the process. I walked up to them and handed my parasol to Monmon.
"Hold this." I stated. The blonde girl took my parasol and took a few steps back as I assessed the current configuration of my master and her tutor. I nodded to myself as I decided to take a page from Reimi Hakurei's book on discipline. I jammed my right thumb in the crook of Louise's neck at a very specific point and angle. The effect was immediate as she suddenly released Matilda and started laughing uncontrollably. My master looked at me, Monmon, and Matilda in turn with an expression of panic and fear while she continued to laugh away.
"What...did you do to her?" Monmon asked in obvious confusion. Matilda seemed to share the sentiment on wanting to find out what just happened.
"It is a technique once used by a certain protector of the peace back in my realm." I replied. Reimi never had the raw power that her mother wielded with unmatched grace, but what she did have was creativity. The brilliant use of the Reimi Pressure Point Strike, along with several other unorthodox skills, made Reimi the fastest incident solver in the entire history of the Hakurei Clan.
"It will wear off, right?" Matilda asked out of worry for her charge as Louise continued to laugh out loud without end. I held out my right hand to Monmon, prompting her to return my parasol. I settled it on my right shoulder as always before turning back to Matilda and responding.
"Don't worry, she should stop laughing after another half-hour." I said with a smile. Louise did not share my sentiment as she looked at me in horror while continuing her laughing marathon.
"I'm sorry, Louise! I'm so sorry! I'll fix this, I promise!" Monmon declared in concern as she held the hands of her still-laughing friend.
"On the subject, I assume that you have found the means to get my master back to normal?" I asked. Monmon turned to me before giving a complicated expression and letting go of Louise's hands.
"I have most of the ingredients needed in stock. The problem is the most important ingredient, it's nearly impossible to get." Monmon explained the reason behind her previous reaction. The blonde lowered her head in shame and was seemingly at the verge of tears, we can't have that now can we?
"Nothing is impossible. Which ingredient do you speak of?" I asked the young woman, who looked up at me in surprise after noticing the certainty of my tone of voice.
"It's called the 'Tears of the Water Spirit' and is exactly what it says. The problem comes from the fact that even communing with the water spirit is nearly impossible in itself. The only reason I was able to was..." Monmon trailed off as she stated her point.
"...because of your lineage." Incidentally, it was Matilda that finished the sentence for her. I turned to the former thief, who had her gaze rooted on the ground with her right elbow propped up by her left arm so she could rub her chin with her right hand contemplatively.
"Monmon's lineage?" I repeated in question form. Matilda looked at Monmon, then back at me, and nodded.
"I once heard a rumor back when I was still a treasure hunter, before I became 'Fouquet'. A few veteran hunters were talking about finding and selling rare potion reagents, they eventually got to the topic of the 'Tears of the Water Spirit'. They were arguing about the feasibility of obtaining a sample of the reagent, even citing that it would be as difficult as obtaining a Rhyme Dragon Scale. One of them said that only those of the Montmorency bloodline can make the Water Spirit appear and obtain the tears because one of their ancestors gained the favor of the ancient spirit." Matilda finished her explanation. I turned to Monmon and hummed in keen interest.
"And that was the reason why you were able to obtain such a rare reagent in the first place. Is that correct?" I asked her, even though I already knew the answer. I simply wanted to hear it from her directly. I got my answer when she solemnly nodded.
"And? Where is this Water Spirit located?" I asked while straightening my posture.
"Ragdorian Lake in Gallia. But you don't understand, the Water Spirit won't agree to give another piece of itself to someone who has already asked for its favor." Monmon stated with a hint of panic in her voice. I was about to respond when I noticed that I don't hear Louise's laughter anymore.
"Louise Francoise, launching~!" Louise happily declared before she started after Matilda again, who started dodging her advances. I decided to ignore them since Matilda should hold her own at least until I finish with Monmon.
"You promised that you would bring Louise back to normal. You declared such in front of me, Guiche, Matilda, and Louise herself. I am here to ensure that you make good on that promise. One way or another, we will obtain that reagent." I stated firmly, leaving no room for second guessing or argument.
"Alright...I'll show you the way." Monmon answered, her own fire of conviction regaining its light.
The country of Gallia, as it turned out, was right next to Tristain which made it relatively easy to get to on horseback or via carriage. Our objective, located in Ragdorian Lake, was a few days ride from the academy using the carriage we were in right now. Admittedly, I would have been able to get to our objective by flying but that would mean that I would need to wait for everyone else for days. So it had been me, Louise, Matilda, and Monmon who were headed to that particular lake to retrieve the last ingredient needed for the potion that will bring my master back to normal and thankfully, we were only a few hours away from our goal. I had originally asked Guiche to join us for the trip but the young man declined, he stated that he had much to think about after I confronted him about how he was treating Monmon. I also made a point to ask Siesta for a blacksmith competent enough to clean up Derf and get him back to fighting form. The maid happily declared that she knew such a smith and I handed over the ancient blade to her. Siesta stated that a full de-rusting, sharpening, and polishing will likely take a couple of days to finish, hopefully by the time we come back from this little outing. That said...
"Are you sure it is wise for you not to sit with Louise?" Monmon asked from my side. We were currently in a rather roomy four-person carriage, it probably could hold eight-people if you tried hard enough. Monmon and I were sitting next to each other, while Louise and Matilda were sitting across us. Well, I put the term sitting loosely since Louise was practically sprawled on her tutor's lap like an overgrown cat. I swear that she even purred a few times. Matilda was more than happy to treat her student thusly as she absentmindedly stroked Louise's strawberry-blonde hair while looking out the window.
"Nonsense. As you can see, Matilda has Louise under control." I pointed out. Indeed, it was rather impressive the way Matilda managed to deduct why Louise was acting the way she did while under the influence of the Love Potion. It was no secret that Louise has had trouble in expressing her true feelings because of how she had been treated due to her previous failings in life. Because of this, she had no idea how to act when she suddenly found herself overwhelmingly infatuated with Matilda. Her mind was not able to keep up with her heart and the end result was her trying to express her love for her tutor in the most...basic ways possible. We believed that the strange things that she was spouting were also a product of the emotional overload she was getting from the Love Potion. Once we knew the reason for Louise's extreme behavior, it was easy to come up with a way to keep her under control. A compromise was made between Louise and Matilda. Louise will be allowed to hug, cuddle, and remain close to Matilda as long as she wants provided that it does not go beyond that. Obviously, Louise was initially infuriated with the prospect of only getting the minimum skinship privilege with Matilda and even challenged me to a Danmaku Battle for the right to be with Matilda for the rest of our lives. Thankfully, the woman who was to be the prize prevented that from happening by actively chastising Louise for even thinking of treating her like an object. She followed this up with an ultimatum that Louise can either settle with the conditions that Matilda laid out for her or she will never return Louise's affections no matter what and make sure that my master will never see her again. Louise immediately caved and accepted the compromise and thus their current condition.
"And that actually brings up a rather interesting point I wanted to discuss with you." I stated, my tone becoming more professional. I looked at Monmon in the eye before continuing.
"I can understand why you did what you tried to do to Guiche...well, no not really...since I have never felt that particular emotion before." I stated while gazing at the ceiling of the carriage. I turned back to Monmon and saw that she was looking at me with a raised brow.
"What? You've never been jealous before?" Monmon asked. I simply shrugged after mentally noting that Parsee would have been the expert in that particular emotion.
"Not in the romantic sense because I have never actually fallen in love before." I clarified. Monmon's other brow shot up and she gave me a surprised expression. I heard a gasp and turned to Matilda and saw that she had her left hand covering her mouth while her eyes betrayed a certain sense of surprise as well. I had to suppress a sigh after seeing their reactions, must I really explain this every time?
"Seriously? You've never been in love before?" Monmon asked me, still in a state of mild shock.
"No, never." I immediately answered.
"And you are how old?" She followed up while holding the side of her head with her right hand.
"Sixteen-hundred years old, give or take. And before you ask again, no. I really have never fallen in love before, that is fact. It is one of the very few things that I have never experienced before in my long life...and I have experienced a lot of things." Being turned into a man for example. Monmon still did not looked convinced while Matilda went back to gazing out the window and stroking Louise's hair.
"Regardless of my lack of experience with that particular aspect in life, I can provide an objective opinion on what you did. And I must say, it is not good." I said in a more serious tone, making Monmon gulp.
"Is this really the time for that?" I turned at Matilda's voice and saw her sternly glaring at me.
"It is. Monmon needs to realize the ramifications of what she has done and reflect on them, the sooner the better." I stated in a firm voice. Matilda narrowed her eyes at me before sighing and gazing back outside. I turned back to Monmon and saw that she was starting to pale after losing Matilda's support. I slowly shook my head as I recalled giving out similar lectures to Cirno and her friends whenever they did anything particularly stupid. I recall Mystia being the most receptive to my words while Rumia being the least receptive.
"What you did was try to forcibly control someone's emotions without their consent. What you did was to try to sway someone's emotions to your favor without a way to regulate it or dispell it if it ever went out of hand. What you did, Montmorency Margarita la Fere de Montmorency, was incredibly foolish and blew up in my master's face." I stated, making sure that Monmon was looking right in my eyes as she listened.
"W-w-w-what do you mean...re-re-re-regulate...or di-di-dispell...if it went...out of...h-aand..." Monmon stuttered out, likely both surprised and intimidated that I managed to fluently use her full name instead of just her nickname. I took a deep breath and recalled a particular incident.
"I know someone who had the power to be able to control people's emotions, their hearts. Now normally, she was rather harmless and if she did use her power...it was only to make others feel the emotion 'love'." I started my story, this was of course about Satori's younger sister Koishi. I made sure that Monmon was listening intently before continuing.
"One day in early spring, she had the bright idea to making everyone fall in love with her. When I say everyone, I mean...everyone. She let loose a wave of her power that rendered nearly the entire population of Gensokyo devotedly in love with her. There were exceptions, but they were few and far in between." I continued.
"But why did she do that?" Matilda asked, shifting in her seat. Louise murmured something about 'Solar Furnaces' before purring and continuing her nap on Matilda's lap.
"The reason, as I understand it, was tied to her powers. Originally, that girl's power was to be able to see what others are thinking. Mind reading in a literal sense. However, she was afraid of her power and the persecution that might follow because of it. So she forcibly shut it down. From what her sister told me, she ended up developing a completely different power, which is the power to control hearts. As an ironic side effect, shutting down her original power also completely locked her own emotions. She became completely unable to feel any emotions at all. A girl who can't feel any emotions having the power to control the emotions of others, I expect that you can see where this is going." I answered. Matilda and Monmon both had somber expressions but said nothing, I too that as a cue to continue.
"That said, even she did not realize how much it actually takes to make sure that someone's emotion is firmly controlled by her, much less the emotions of thousands of hearts. It eventually became too much for her and she mind started breaking down because of it. Her sister, who was immune to her power, realized this and approached others who were also unaffected by her power and asked for their help." I continued.
"And you were one of them." Matilda said as a statement, not a question. I nodded in to affirm her statement. Satori approached Hikaru Hakurei, me, and...surprisingly...Lily White to help her save Koishi.
"Yes, after the annoyance of having to fight several beings that I have already defeated before, we eventually managed to stop her and return everyone to normal. Monmon, the moral of this story?" I asked her after I finished.
"Umm...be careful whenever doing something dangerous?" Monmon sheepishly tested. I narrowed my eyes at her and she got the message that she answered wrong.
"Power without control is dangerous." Matilda answered with a sense of guilt and regret. I raised a brow at her tone of voice before shaking my head.
"Close. What I was going for is that power without responsibility is what's dangerous. The girl who did that had supreme control over her power but she overestimated it and thought that she could do what she wanted with it. Just because you can do something, does not mean that you should." I stated with a heavy tone. It was a personal experience that I had that made me say those words with certainty. There was a point in my life where I did something so incredibly stupid with Ultimate Magic that I continue to regret it to this day. I have done many things that will never be forgotten, but that was one thing I did that should never be forgiven.
"It is the same thing with your Love Potion. Think, Montmorency Margarita la Fere de Montmorency. What if you were successful in making Guiche drink that Love Potion that you made? What if it made him act the same way as Louise did right now? What would you do? What would you really do?" My use of her full name made her realize how serious I was about this subject. Monmon looked off to the side to consider what I just told her. Monmon's eyes went wide before she shut them tight, as if trying to deny what she realize she would have ended up doing to Guiche.
"Louise will likely forgive you for what you did, water under the bridge between friends. Matilda will also likely forgive you for what you did because she knows that it was an accident. I will not hold this against you so long as you get Louise back to normal. Guiche...I have talked with him and made him think about responsibility as well. As for you, Monmon...will you be willing for forgive yourself after all this is over?" I asked Monmon, who looked at me in despair before looking away and biting back tears. I also noticed Matilda gazing back out the window with a bitter expression on her face.
"You don't need to answer that right now. Take all the time you need...just make sure that you are satisfied with the answer once you find it." I said somberly.
The rest of the trip was spent in silence.
"Wh-wh-what happened here!" Monmon asked out in utter disbelief at what she was seeing. She had originally suggested that we spend time in a town at the side of the lake to rest and recompose ourselves before heading out to meet the Water Spirit. Unfortunately, the town she spoke of was now below the waterline of the lake.
"I would assume that this is somehow related to the Water Spirit we area after?" I asked the rhetorical question.
"Are you certain that we can even call it?" Matida asked in concern. Louise was once again wearing Matilda's fedora and was currently latched onto her waist. Once again, the woman didn't seem to mind and was once again absentmindedly stroking Louise's hair even though her expression showed worry, possibly a testament of her time taking care of orphans.
"We can. As long as one of the Montmorency bloodline is present, the Water Spirit will answer our call." Monmon answered with a firm nod. The issue is whether or not we can convince the Water Spirit to give up a sample of the tears we need or if I have to 'befriend' it first, as Sanae Kotiya used to put it. Monmon stepped forward and produced a needle from her clothes and pricked her finger with it, allowing drops of blood to taint the pure blue of the lake. She stepped back and we all stared at the lake in silence until the spirit in question showed itself.
I smiled when I saw it. A spike of water slowly raised skywards before collecting and forming into an amorphous blob of water. It slowly started to ripple, possibly addressing us. So it was an embodiment of water? An elemental? Interesting…
"I am Montmorency Margarita La Fere de Montmorency. I am a user of water, and a member of the lineage of the old oath. If you understand my words, please answer in a way that we can understand." Monmon implored the Water Spirit, the being responded by rippling a few more times before slowly and deliberately reforming itself into a fifteen-foot tall Monmon made of water. I hummed thoughtfully as I studied how the water reformed itself. It was not something that was manipulated by an outside force, but instead the water itself formed into this construct. Very interesting. I turned to my companions and saw that Matilda looked absolutely shocked at what she had just witnessed while Louise didn't seem to care enough about it and just continued to embrace Matilda. Monmon gulped and took a deep breath while waiting for the response of the Water Spirit. I hefted my closed parasol on my right shoulder and waited for the being's answer as well.
"I recognize you, insignificant child of that woman. In accordance with the pact, I have appeared. State your purpose." The Water Spirit's voice resonated through the air as its expression shifted over and over again. I cracked the bones in my left hand and resisted the growing urge to test the power of a being of this world that was considered as a divine entity. Monmon clenched her right hand into a fist and put it over her chest before responding.
"We seek a piece of your body, o great spirit. We need your tears." Monmon said with a slightly worried voice.
"Denied." The spirit immediately replied without a second thought. Monmon looked devastated but recomposed herself before looking back up at the Water Spirit and taking a step forward.
"Please! I beg of you! Please reconsider your judgment! I implore you, great one!" Monmon all but screamed in desperation, her eyes frantic and her body was shaking.
"Miss Montmorency…" Matilda muttered from behind the blonde. Louise got her head out of the clouds and just started to comprehend what was going on.
"It's a spirit…" She whispered with her eyes wide.
"Denied. You have already asked for that favor once, insignificant one. No more." The water spirit repeated its answer and elaborating somewhat as to why. Monmon collapsed to her knees and her own tears started to stain the ground.
"N-no…no…please…" Monmon muttered as she continued to look at the Water Spirit in shock with tears flowing from her eyes. I noticed a flash of pink from the corner of my vision and saw Louise run up to Monmon and embrace her from behind.
"Lo-Louise…?" The blonde said as she turned to her friend.
"It's fine! Don't cry anymore! I'll be fine! I'm happy being in love with Matilda~n! So please don't cry anymore Monmon!" Louise yelled as she held onto her friend tighter. Monmon broke down and returned Louise's embrace and started crying in earnest. I sighed at the sight and decided to take things into my own hands. I stepped forward and struck the ground with the tip of my parasol.
"You will reconsider your decision, Embodiment of Water." I said in a tone of voice that nearly declared it as a command. All three of my companions gasped and looked at me in shock.
"I understand that you made those rules for very good reason and you would not be the one to break them. However, our need is great and I will have to insist on it. So again, may we have the 'Tears of the Water Spirit'?" I asked the spirit personally while folding my arms and leaning back. The entire area was dead silent as we waited for the response of the spirit. It rippled several times before settling down and was seemingly looking right at me. Well, will you attack or will you ask for a compromise?
"A compromise, Sanctuary," The spirit finally said. Sanctuary? This is the first time that anyone has called me such. I raised a brow at the way it addressed me but nonetheless it offered the tears for a favor.
"What are your terms?" I asked it, relaxing my posture and hefting my parasol on my right shoulder again.
"I require your assistance, Sanctuary. I am being attacked nightly, by ones of their kind. Defeat the assailants and your request shall be granted." The water spirit answered immediately. Human magicians were attacking it? Who would be stupid enough to actually try to attack an Embodiment of Water? No matter, I smiled at the thought of being able to accomplish our goal and breaking a few skulls in the process.
"So be it." I said with a warm smile.
"And why are we hiding amongst the trees when we can simply wait for the attackers?" Monmon asked as the four of us waited in the shadows of the trees next to the lake.
"Obviously, if the attackers notice the four of us waiting for them, they will know that something is wrong and they might plan an ambush." I pointed out, Monmon made an 'ah' of understanding before nodding at my words.
"Or worse, they might just leave and prevent us from accomplishing the Water Spirit's request." Matilda added. By her side, Louise nodded studiously at her words while sporting a look of determination to help her tutor, her familiar, and her friend. I smiled at the irony of her being so willing to help us when we were doing this to help her in the first place.
"So, what's the plan?" Monmon inquired as she scanned the edge of the lake. Matilda and I looked at each other before responding.
"When they show up, we throw Yuka at them." Matilda stated with a shrug. Monmon blinked at us a few times before pursing her lips and nodding.
"It's a good plan." She commented as she probably remembered what I was capable of. We heard Louise suddenly gasp and noticed that two figures came into view, one taller and one shorter, likely the assailants that were annoying the Water Spirit.
When they both turned to the waterline, I launched my attack. I burst from the trees and leaped at the two figures, my left hand reaching out like a claw while my right hand kept my parasol at the ready for a follow up in case my initial attack did not kill them. Both magicians spun around and pointed their foci at me, a wand and a crooked wooden staff, before casting their spells. The tall one sent out a jet of flame while the short one sent out a freezing tornado. My eyes widened a bit when I saw their spells meld together into one, it was a Fire Blizzard. I couldn't dodge it because it will make the spell go right into my companions' hiding place. I clicked my tongue when I realized I had to block it. I stopped to open up my parasol when a wall of hard granite erupted from the ground, blocking the Fire Blizzard that was about to hit me…unnecessary, but appreciated. The wall crumbled as soon as the attack ended and the two magicians suddenly split up. I blinked when I noticed their auras and their scents. There was no mistaking it…well, this is interesting. What could those two hope to achieve by attacking the Water Sprit? No mater, I always wanted to see how strong they were and this was my chance.
The small one, guess who, stopped and pointed her staff at me before unleashing several icicles at me. I easily managed to dodge them all and smirked, you have to do better than that. I raised a brow when I heard the ice shatter from behind me before I felt a growing heat from the same direction. I turned around and saw the icicles turn into small shards of ice that were floating like a veil. The taller one, guess who, pointed her wand at me and unleashed a wall of flame that fused with the veil of ice for form a massive cloud of scalding steam. I smiled at their teamwork and creativity, well done you two. I was about to block the oncoming wall of steam when the sound of splashing water caught my attention. A second passed before a wave of water from the lake intercepted and smothered the wall of steam. The Water Spirit? No, this was magic…Monmon's. Come now, what am I, bait?
The tall one, guess who, cast another spell, a fireball, but I was ready for it. I dashed forward and opened my parasol to block it. I swept my parasol to my side as soon as the spell was gone and the tall one suddenly started running to the side. I found out why when I glanced up and saw several icicles floating in the air waiting for me. The ice fell like a ceiling of death but I quickly closed my parasol and swung it at the ice, shattering them. The tall one, guess who, cast another fireball at me but I saw it coming and stomped my right foot on the ground. Instantly, a thick wall of vines erupted from the ground and blocked the fireball. The vines burned but they did not die. I would like you to meet the Steel-Vine, plants that grew massive masses of vines that were as hard as steel but as dexterous as any vine. The vines shot out from within the flames and right at the taller one, what will you two do now? I got my answer when a beam of ice shot out and encased the vines in ice. It did not stop the vine's advance but it slowed it down long enough for the taller one to get out of the way. They both met up and prepared to unleash another combination spell when…
"Louise Francoise, sniping the targets!" Louise yelled out before an explosion detonated on the ground a few feet from the two attackers. Well, her aim is improving.
"Louise!" Matilda yelled out as she tried to shield my master from any further retaliation.
"Louise?" The tall one spoke out in confusion.
"That voice…Miss Zerbst?" Matilda asked in surprise.
"Matilda." The short one pointed out as she removed her hood, as did Kirche.
"Tabitha?" Monmon said in shock while walking out of the clearing.
"Montmorency?" Kirche once again spoke out. She and Tabitha shared a glance before looking back to me.
"Yuka." They both said at the same time, Kirche blushed while Tabitha merely nodded at me.
"Kirche. Tabitha." I greeted them with a smile and a curt nod. I was impressed at their skill despite being young.
"Metal Gear?" Louise suddenly screamed out. An awkward silence settled upon us as no one really had a response to what my master just said. Louise realized this and shrugged before embracing Matilda from behind again.
"Wait…what are you all doing here and what is wrong with Louise?" Kirche spoke up again, putting her left hand on her waist while looking genuinely confused.
"It's a very long story…" Monmon said with a tired shrug.
"And what are you two doing here?" Matilda asked as she walked up to the rest of us with Louise in tow.
"Long story." Tabitha responded while pulling out a book from her clothes before she started reading.
As it happened, neither story was really that long. We managed to explain what happened to Louise, the Love Potion, and why we ended up all the way here in Gallia. Monmon managed to convince Kirche that she will not make a Love Potion for her long enough for Tabitha to give an extremely abridged explanation of why they were here. Apparently, the reason why she was called back home was because her family wanted her to get rid of the Water Spirit because it just drowned the town and the surrounding land that was owned by her family.
"Why can't these things be simple? Just once, I want to do a quest where you just have to do what's written on the request without having to deal with extra work along the way." Matilda said with a sigh while rubbing her eyes with her right hand. Complaints aside we managed to hold up our end of the bargain so I asked Monmon to call on the Water Spirit again.
"We have accomplished you task, Embodiment of Water. We ask that you uphold you end of the bargain." I stated to the giant Water-Monmon who detached part of itself and made it hover right in front of us. Monmon produced a vial and sealed the sample and nodded to me with a smile before placing it in her clothes for safe keeping. I turned back to the Water Spirit, who looked like it was about ready to leave, and addressed the other part of this issue.
"Allow me to speak, Embodiment of Water. I have another request of you that pertains to the ones who were attacking you before." I stated, the Water-Monmon rippled again before settling down.
"State your case, Sanctuary." The Water Spirit answered, waiting for my request.
"There will be more assailants who will attack you because it seemed that the rising waters alarmed the humans. They had no choice but to try to attack you in desperation to see if that will lower the water level. Obviously, if the water recedes, then the attacks will stop. Of course, you had a reason for doing this in the first place, yes? A compromise?" I offered while folding my arms and leaning back.
"In what you comprehend as time, Sanctuary, it has been two years since a treasure of mine was taken from me. I raise the waters to search the land for it." It responded and I chuckled at the reason for this. Someone actually had the audacity to steal from an Embodiment of Nature? I would like to have a word with that human.
"And? What is this treasure, who took it, and where can we find them?" I asked with a smile.
"The Ring Andvari." It stated and another sphere of water emerged from the lake and formed the shape of the ring. I made sure to memorize the shape of the ring before turning back to the spirit.
"It has the power to bring one back from the dead for a limited time, though that borrowed time is not truly life." It continued. A ring that can bring the dead to life? No, it was Necromancy. Why would the Water Spirit even have such a thing?
"The one who took it was one called…Cromwell. I know no other details." The spirit admitted and another round of silence fell among us.
"Crom…well…?" Matilda said in a dazed and confused voice before she clutched her head and screamed in pain.
"Matilda~n!" Louise cried out in panic and held her tutor's shoulders. Monmon was also by her side and was trying to use some spells to try to ease the pain Matilda was experiencing. The name Cromwell triggered the spell that was locking down Matilda's mind. I narrowed my eyes as I realized that this Cromwell also had something to do with what happened to her. Oh, how I will enjoy hunting this human down.
"Cromwell…I know I've heard that name somewhere before." Kirche muttered contemplatively.
"Emperor of Albion." Tabitha provided and Kirche snapped her fingers in realization.
"Of course! He's the new Emperor of Albion! Wait, that's the guy who stole the Ring of Andvari?" Kirche yelled out as she realized that we will have to go through an empire to be able to return the Water Spirit's ring.
"Even so, I will ensure its return." I stated with certainty and the spirit accepted. It seemed that things were becoming more serious around here. Conspiracies, conspiracies, I wondered if they were anywhere near as devastatingly clever as the Moriya Shrine's or Eirin's conspiracies. I will need to make arrangements for a surprise.
As soon as we got back to the academy, Monmon ran to her room and said that she will start on the antidote immediately. I nodded to her and went to the flower garden and then to Mugenkan, ignoring the inquiries of the others as to where I was going. I walked up to my manor and looked around, no changes or anything was made recently. I looked up to the stars of the border of dreams and called out.
"Yukari! Yukari!" I called out to the border youkai. I did not really want to call for her help but I needed her assistance to get the one I really wanted over here. I tearing sound came from behind me and I turned to see someone else.
A blond haired woman wearing a two-pointed hat, which covered her fox ears. She was wearing a blue and white dress, blue was covering the front with intricate symbols on it. She had long puffy sleeves that hid her sharp clawed hands. The most eye-catching things about her were her nine, large, white-tipped yellow tails. The power of a Kitsune is defined by how many tails it has, with nine as the limit. That means that this Kitsune is one who has achieved the highest form and power her kind can attain.
I was of course talking about Yukari's shikigami, Ran.
"Yes? May I help you?" Ran asked with a tilted head.
"Where is Yukari?" I asked back to the fox. She merely shrugged before responding.
"She is currently assisting Touya Hakurei with an incident along with Captain Murasa Minamitsu and Fujiwara no Mokou. Is there something you need from my master?" She answered. Well, that explains it.
"Not right now. However, certain incidents here have prompted me to a course of action. I will return here soon with my master and I need Yukari to bring Cirno here when I do. Can you ask that of her?" I stated my request. The fox considered my words for a moment before nodding.
"I believe that I can arrange that for you." She stated with a smile. Good, Louise will need to learn a few things from my former student if she ever ends up in a real fight with nothing but explosions in her arsenal.
"Mister Yuka! Welcome back!" Siesta greeted me as I made my way back to Louise's room. I turned to her and smiled.
"Hello Siesta. Are Professor Colbert and Headmaster Osmond back?" I asked her and she shook her head.
"Not yet but they should be back by tomorrow morning. Also, that talking sword of yours is already in Miss Valliere's room and is as good a new!" She answered while pointing out that Derf had come back from its overhaul.
"Excellent news, thank you again Siesta. Now if you'll excuse me…" We said our goodbyes and I headed back to Louise's room where I heard a familiar voice along with Matilda's, Louise's, and Derf's. I opened the door and sure enough, standing there with her cloak and hood was the Princess of Tristain who was once again embracing Louise.
I have an annoyed feeling about this…