|Louise & Yuka K.|
| Book: Be Careful What|
You Wish For, Chapter 12
|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: Ta-da! Here's the update that has gone through three revisions because I kept hitting walls for some reason. Anyway, have fun hunting for references and the like. I hope you all like my replacement to the Zero Fighter.
As per standard protocol, please enjoy!
Disclaimer: You should know this by now.
Be Careful What You Wish For
"Louise, at some point, you must realize that jumping in front of a throwing knife without any means to neutralize its stabbing and slicing properties is a very bad idea." Cirno flatly stated after Louise recounted what happened in Albion. Obviously we were all back in Mugenkan, except for Yukari who left as soon as she brought Cirno into the border of dreams. She was likely up to something again in Gensokyo...but that wasn't my problem. This was Louise's first return to Mugenkan after she had tea and exchanged stories with Yukari back when we were still in Albion. Her fatigue got to her more than we had anticipated and she was more like being out cold than sleeping and dreaming whenever she turned in for the night after we returned to the academy.
"I didn't even think about it at the time, all I saw was the knife and it was headed straight for the prince. I knew that if I just called out to him, he wouldn't be fast enough to evade it. I'm nowhere nearly good enough with my aim to blast the knife out of the air. The only way I was going to save Prince Wales back there was to take the hit for him." Louise admitted, giving the rationale of her actions after deliberating that it was the best option at the time. Cirno considered her words for a few moments before giving a nod of understanding.
"Just don't make a habit of it. You can't respawn in your realm if you die like you can in here." Cirno pointed out, earning a confused look from Louise.
"Respawn?" Louise asked quizzically.
"It means, getting brought back to life after a certain period of time after you die." I explained before turning to Cirno.
"Just because she can slip into non-sequiturs does not mean that she understands what she is talking about. She certainly wouldn't know about jargons like that, so keep that in mind while teaching her." I pointed out to the ice fairy, who pouted at me before shrugging.
"Got it. Well, aside from getting stabbed in the arm, you did pretty well. You managed to use Keyword Casting smoothly multiple times even while suffering from blood loss. Your accuracy is significantly improving as well, so I believe that it will continue to improve as long as you keep casting. I have to admit, you're pretty talented aren't you?" Cirno said with a smile. The sudden praise and the assumption that she was a talented magician caught Louise off guard and she started stuttering again.
"Wh-wh-wh-what are you talking about? I'm not a talented! I can't even cast any magic that doesn't turn into an explosion!" Louise yelled out, earning sighs from both me and my former student.
"Didn't you already say that you weren't a Zero?" I asked my master with a raised brow. She frowned and me and snorted.
"Of course I'm not a Zero! But that doesn't mean that I'm talented! Every spell I cast explodes! That's not talent! That's controlled chaos!" Louise responded, exhibiting surprising finesse at twisting words.
"Louise, you're looking at this the wrong way." Cirno cut in while looking a bit upset. Louise noticed this and gulped but she still stood her ground. The ice fairy rubbed her chin with her hand for a few moments, likely gathering her thoughts before nodding to herself.
"Teach already told me about that element that you have, Void was it?" Cirno said before asking me for verification, I nodded in response and she turned back to Louise to continue.
"The short version is that you're not actually doing anything wrong when you cast your spells. The problem is that none of the spells available to you are compatible with the element that your body is set to use. It'll either be a Void spell or explosions, those are your only options." Cirno laid out the apparent ground rules when it came to Louise's element. Void, for one reason or another, is the magical element with the most restrictions for use. Any magician who can use that element is forever bound to only use spells tuned to that particular element or else the spell will fail and turn into an explosion. Louise has already started to use that limitation to her advantage but the fact remains that she's not actually casting any real spells, she was only shaping failed spells to suit her needs.
"But I don't know any Void spells." Louise said with a sigh.
"Yeah, that does suck...how are things going on that end anyway?" Cirno asked me. She already knew that I was looking into the Void element and, in fact...
"We actually recently received something that would help in that regard significantly...or so we hope." I answered just vaguely enough to earn a raised brow from my former student. I was talking about an artifact called 'The Founder's Prayer Book'. Henrietta sent the book to us after she had a clear enough head to remember that she had the object. The letter that came with the book stated that the artifact was supposed to be Brimir's personal Grimoire, a book that detailed every Void spell that the man ever developed six-thousand years ago. Louise was ecstatic when she found out and wanted to start trying out Void spells but...
"The book is a lie!" Louise yelled out, turning Cirno's attention back to her.
"We can't be sure of that yet. Derf said that the book will reveal what it knows when the time is right. Possibly the book has some form of system that will allow it to determine if the user is ready for it." I argued but my master simply scoffed at my words.
"It'd be nice if I was in the loop you know...just saying..." Cirno muttered, clearly not understanding what it was Louise and I were arguing about.
"The Founder's Prayer Book is the item that we recently received. It is a book that is supposed to contain every Void spell ever made. The problem is...it seems to be encrypted." I provided and thus explaining Louise's obvious disappointment.
"Define 'Encrypted'." Cirno said, intrigued at the prospect of a Grimoire that would have an enchantment on it that would encrypt the contents.
"The book is blank. Completely and utterly blank." Louise answered bitterly while folding her arms and leaning back. Cirno blinked at Louise for a few moments before turning to me.
"Seriously?" My former student asked me with a look of surprise.
"Yes. The sword of the first Gandalfr, as well as Professor Colbert and Headmaster Osmond, vouched that the book is genuine." I answered. It turned out that the 'Founder's Prayer Book' was the reason for Colbert and Osmond's trip to the country of Romalia. Apparently, they were summoned by the pope and were given the book to be placed under the care of the country of Tristain. The two men immediately gave the book to Princess Henrietta because they both felt that it was the safest place in the country to store it in after the Fouquet incident proved that the academy was less than impenetrable. It was a stray comment from Louise back at the Royal Castle that revealed her status as a void magician. The awkward silence that followed was deafening. Of course, I made sure that everyone there swore secrecy to the matter on the grounds that they will have me to deal with if Louise's secret was ever revealed. I understood that her status as a Void magician will eventually be revealed but I wanted to make sure that she was ready when that time came. Thus it came to pass that the Founder's Prayer Book found its way into Louise's possession.
"And I take it that you guys haven't cracked it yet?" Cirno asked rhetorically.
"Derflinger was able to clue us in that the book will show its contents once the user is ready. I suspect that the book will only start revealing its secrets once Louise is skilled enough to handle the spells stored therein." I answered. Cirno eyed me for a few moments before saying...
"Can't you just use Ult-"
"I will not use Ultimate Magic to remove the encryption enchantment through brute force." I flatly said, interrupting Cirno's catch-all when it came to problems I couldn't deal with normally. My former student started grumbling about something I couldn't quite make out but it was Louise's reaction that bothered me.
"U-U-U-U-U-Ultimate Magic?" She all but screamed. Whoops. I was very glad that we were in Mugenkan when she yelled that out and not inside the academy. Cirno tilted her head to the side in apparent confusion at my master's reaction. She blinked a few times and mouthed an 'Ah!' when she finally realized the reason for Louise's sudden outburst.
"She was unconscious when we talked about it before...wait, you haven't told Louise about Ultimate Magic yet?" The ice fairy asked me with an accusatory glare.
"She never asked." I simply stated with a noncommittal shrug. I suddenly felt Louise tug on my sleeve roughly. Turning my attention to my master, I saw that she had a very irritated expression that was bordering on fury.
"Well, I'm asking now! What is all this talk about Ultimate Magic?" She asked me while still pulling on my sleeve as if she was trying to rip it off. I sighed and conjured up some chairs, a table, and a tea set.
"Take a seat. This will take a while...it happened centuries ago." I said before pulling up one of the chairs I conjured and sitting on it. Louise sat across from me while Cirno sat between us. I poured myself a cup of tea while trying to think of a good starting point for this story.
"Did you know that there are fundamentally three kinds of magic? Those that destroy, those that create, and those that can change how everything works...and that...that magic was all three." I started before sipping my cup of tea. Cirno already knew this story so she was just helping herself to tea and was simply relaxing. Louise, on the other hand, was intently listening to every word I said.
"Around five-hundred years ago, there was an incident that engulfed all of Gensokyo. One day, a portal that lead to Makai, the Demon Realm, suddenly opened and out came a flood of demons from that place. Since you've already spoken to Yukari about Gensokyo, you should already know about Reimu Hakurei and Marisa Kirisame, yes?" I asked Louise and she nodded in response.
"They were supposed to have been very powerful mages that solved a lot of incidents a long time ago, right?" Louise answered before turning to Cirno, who started chuckling at my master's response.
"Yeah...it has been a long time since those two were around, huh?" The ice fairy said nostalgically before downing all the tea in her cup in one swig.
"Indeed it has..." I concurred with a smile before turning back to Louise and continuing.
"During the course of that incident it became apparent that simply eliminating the demons as they arrive wasn't going to work because they just keep flowing out of the portal like a river. That was when Reimu decided that enough was enough. She gathered those who were willing and she personally led a team into Makai to stop the flow of demons. Among them were the Ordinary Witch, Marisa, the Evil Spirit, Mima, and the Sleeping Terror...me." I said with a proud smile but I raised a brow when I noticed that Louise looked like she had just realized something.
"It's just like the dream I had before..." Louise muttered before looking down at her tea.
"Dream? What dream?" Cirno inquired, immediately getting interested in Louise's dream. I chose to remain quiet and hear what my master had to say.
"The night after you duel with Guiche...I had a dream about you. In that dream you were still a woman and you were fighting countless demons. One of them had a feeling of malevolence that I've never felt before. It looked like a woman with white hair and was wearing a red dress...with six purple wings. I just brushed it off as some weird dream since it was too surreal to be anything else." Louise recounted her dream, Cirno and I looked at each other before turning back to her. For whatever reason, Louise seemed to have been able to access my memories on the Mystic Square incident. Wait...
"The night after my little match with Guiche was also the night when you first slipped into Mugenkan. The transition from when your subconscious mind drifted from your body to Mugenkan may have cause that little dream of yours." I postulated, earning a hum from Cirno.
"Wait...if she was already in Mugenkan at that point, wasn't she already dreaming by then?" Cirno asked me while scratching the back of her head.
"Well yes, why?" I asked back.
"If Louise was already dreaming when she slipped into Mugenkan, why was she having another dream inside the dream?" Cirno asked with a genuinely confused expression. Ah, I see.
"That sometimes happens. Not often, but it possible to have a dream within a dream within a dream within a dream. I'm not sure about the specifics but it only affects certain individuals. Anything more than that and you'll need to ask the dreamwalker sisters about that phenomenon...wherever they may be." I explained. Cinro seemed to have accepted my explanation with a few nods. We suddenly turned back to Louise when we heard her groan.
"We need to go deeper..." She mumbled to herself while clutching her head.
"Right...so about Ultimate Magic?" Cirno said to me, catching Louise's attention and steering the conversation back to the main topic.
"Right, back on topic. The woman with the white hair that you saw in your dream within the dream was the creator and 'goddess' of the demon realm, Shinki." I stated. Louise started choking on her tea after I said that though.
"Y-Y-Y-You fought a goddess? The creator of a demon realm?" Louise asked me with a yell. Because of her proximity to my master, Cirno winced and leaned away from Louise during her outburst.
"Yes, but I certainly wasn't alone. Along with Reimu, Marisa, and Mima, we started..." I continued to tell the tale of the incident that earned me the right to wield Ultimate Magic. The incident where we first met Alice Margatroid. The incident where we lost contact with the Evil Spirit, Mima. The incident that changed both Reimu and Marisa in surprising ways. And at the end of the journey...
"...a vacation..." Louise flatly muttered.
"That's what I said. Apparently, the reason why Shinki opened up a portal to Gensokyo was because she was intrigued at the realm's unusual abundance of magic. It seemed that she thought that it would be an ideal vacation spot for her denizens." I explained, recalling the conversation that Shinki and I had before I fought her. At the time, Reimu was busy dealing with the Doll of Misery, Yumeko, while Marisa and Mima were still fighting Alice and her sisters.
"It was at that point that Shinki asked me why I was in Makai. She asked me why I was there, fighting all her denizens and even challenging her personally..." I continued before trailing off and letting the question of the Infinite Being sink in.
"And...what was your answer?" Louise asked hesitantly, anxious to find out what I said to a being as powerful as Shinki. I smiled as Louise never even noticed my other half sneak up on her and lean in from behind her. I was thankful that Cirno was able to hold in her laughter until my other half managed to say her piece.
"Genocide is nothing more than a game for me. Whether it is humans, demons, youkai, even gods. The only thing I really need to worry about is keeping score~" My other half said in an eerily haunting voice. It was at that point that Cirno started laughing after she saw Louise's face go pale and contort into a nearly indescribable expression of terror. Mission accomplished, my other half walked up to me and I raised my left hand as she was about to pass by, just in time for us to share a high-five before she continued to walk away before disappearing into the sunflowers.
"Ahahahaha~! L-L-Louise! Louise! You should see your face! Here! Look!" Cirno exclaimed before creating a mirror made out of ice and pointing it at Louise. She stopped laughing after Louise still refused to move even after three solid minutes.
"Uhhh...I think you overdid it with you stealth hi-bye." Cirno muttered as she lowered her ice mirror while giving me an awkward smile.
"I...hate...you...both..." Louise muttered vehemently as she fought to catch her breath. After she finally recovered from her initial shock, Louise made it a point to show her displeasure toward my little prank by making full utilization of her Keyword Casting. What followed was an impromptu assessment of Louise's proficiency at finding, chasing, and hitting moving targets. Louise managed to score rather competently at the first and third aspects, in fact, she was rather above average at her awareness and accuracy than a regular human would be. It was possibly because of natural talent or because of her blood, something she inherited from her parents. However, as Louise's panting points out, her endurance needed some work.
"Are you okay, Louise? It'd be pretty embarrassing if you collapsed from hyperventilation after doing so well." Cirno pointed out. Louise gave her response by pointing her wand, one that I conjured up for her for this little exercise, at Cirno.
"Zero!" Louise declared and my former student casually leaned away and floated a bit to her left. The explosion detonated but Cirno was able to avoid it by mere inches.
"Give it up, Louise! I taught you how to use Keyword Casting. You can't beat me using a technique I taught you." Cirno confidently said while placing her hands on her hips and giving Louise a smug smile. In contrast, my master just gave Cirno a dry look before aiming her wand at her senior again.
"...zero..." She muttered in a nearly inaudible voice. Cirno started laughing before floating backwards.
"Ha! It doesn't matter how softly you declare your spell! As long as I can see where you're aiming at, you won't be able to hit-Augh!" Further taunting by Cirno was halted when an explosion detonated behind her. The aim was off, high and left, and it detonated several feet behind the ice fairy so it didn't do any real damage...but it proved a point.
"Wait, what? Where'd that come from?" Cirno complained as she looked behind her to the spot where Louise's explosion detonated.
"Ah, yes. Louise's explosions can bypass solid objects. It does not behave like something moving in a straight line or in a ballistic trajectory. Put simply, Louise points and things explode. Of course, her aim still needs some fine tuning." I provided, earning a glare from Cirno while Louise folded her arms and leaned back, an expression of satisfaction on her face.
"And you didn't tell me about that because..." My former student trailed off.
"...you never asked. Also, I had expected that you would have been smart enough to figure it out on your own. It seems that I've overestimated your intellect." I said with a smug smile. Cirno glared at me for another moment before giving a resigned sigh and landing back on the ground.
"Well, nothing for it I guess. Good job, Louise! Your aim still kinda sucks when you don't have adrenaline pumping in your blood but, as a proof of concept, you did pretty well." Once again, Louise suddenly blushed from the sudden compliment given by her senior.
"Now that is out of the way...time for some real training!" Cirno declared with renewed vigor, which was the complete opposite of Louise's expression of dread.
"There's more?" My master asked with fear thick in her voice.
"Aww...don't say it like I'm out to kill you, I'm not teach you know. Speaking of..." The ice fairy turned to me after trailing off, likely going to ask me to conjure up something to help with Louise's real training tonight.
"...can you set up a bunch of balancing poles, teach?" Cirno asked and I raised a brow at her request. If I remember correctly, China uses balancing poles for training purposes to keep her sense of balance razor sharp even when moving at high speeds...
"Three-dimensional movement..." I muttered while eyeing my former student.
"Yep. We put off her parkour lessons in exchange on getting her geared up for Keyword Casting. I wanted to start on that tonight but Wriggle said that I should make sure that her balance is sound before I throw her into parkour." Cirno explained.
"Wriggle? You consulted Wriggle for this?" I asked her. Nightbug's input was valid but I didn't expect Cirno to bring anyone else from her team in on this.
"Yeah, I kind of asked the whole team about this." Cirno admitted without batting an eye.
"Team?" Louise inquired, curious as to what Cirno was talking about.
"Ah, I guess Yukari hasn't told you about that huh?" The ice fairy mused while rubbing her chin with her hand.
"Cirno has an unofficial 'team' back in Gensokyo, they are collectively known as Seventh Heaven. They used to call themselves One Night Stand but Shikieiki had a few things to say about that name. The members of the group are Mystia Lorelei, Wriggle Nightbug, Rumia, Letty Whiterock, Hong Meiling, Reisen Udongein Inaba, and Cirno of course. They've gained a reputation for being the second line of defense when it came to incidents, regularly providing assistance to the Hakurei and Moriya shrines when needed." I told Louise and she seemed fascinated at the thought of having a team that goes around and solves incidents and the like.
"Of course...they've started their fair share of incidents themselves. Remember the Advent Cirno incident~?" I added with a teasing tone.
"Advent Cirno?" Louise asked while looking at her senior who was grimacing.
"Okay, it wasn't the smartest thing I've ever done. But it seemed like a good idea at the time!" Cirno exclaimed with a slightly panicked and embarrassed expression.
"What happened?" Louise asked, her interest completely piqued.
"Something absolutely hilarious. Cirno and Letty are still not allowed inside Hakugyokurou because of what they did." I said while smirking at Cirno who was blushing very hard.
"Just...just drop it, okay. Now about those balancing poles?" Cirno desperately tried to change the subject while trying to force down her blush. Louise still looked like she wanted to know what that incident was but I guess I can tell her about it when Cirno is not around. I conjured up thirty balancing poles equidistant from each other but were of varying heights, all of which I made sure Louise could traverse on so long as kept her balance.
"Wh-wh-what are those things?" Louise asked as she gawked at the sudden emergence of the wooden pillars. In hindsight, I guess I should have crafted them to look like Kanako's beloved 'Onbashira'...oh well.
"Tonight's lesson." Cirno stated simply, earning a gulp from Louise.
"See, it says 'Dispell' right here." Matilda said as she pointed at the jumble of symbols that were currently written on a seemingly random page of the Founder's Prayer Book. It was the day of our little outing and Louise had the sudden urge to flip through the Prayer Book before we left. As it turned out, a previously blank page was suddenly filled up with strange writing. Unfortunately, Louise and I couldn't make heads or tails of the writings...that was until Matilda got her hands on it.
"You can understand that gibberish?" I asked Matilda, who just blinked at me a few times before shrugging.
"When you've been hunting ancient treasures as much as I have, you kind of pick up linguistics as you go. This in particular is really old Halkeginian, which makes sense since this was supposed to have been made by Brimir himself. I once uncovered a round mirror inside a deep ruin a few years ago, that ruin was literally slathered with these symbols." Matilda explained as she scanned the pages that had the newly revealed writings on them.
"What happened to the mirror?" Louise inquired, interested in her tutor's old exploits.
"I sold it off to someone in Romalia. I have no idea where it is now." Matilda answered before focusing back on the book and humming thoughtfully.
"Still, this is a Void spell huh?" She muttered after a few moments.
"Anything useful?" I asked her as I secured our bags for this little treasure hunt.
"I can't say for certain. The incantation is horribly long...and I mean, long. Even my incantations for advanced golem creation aren't this long. I guess this is why Brimir needed a Gandalfr to guard him while he casts his spells. The good news is that, if what this book is saying is true and provided Louise can actually finish the incantation, this particular spell can potentially neutralize any other spell it hits." Matilda said with a focused expression as she continued to scan through the pages.
"Interesting...Louise, can you read it?" I asked in the off chance that being a Void magician can give her the clarity needed to read those symbols. Louise peered at the book and squinted, as if the action will allow her a better understanding of what it was she was looking at. She then gave an audible sigh before shaking her head and looking at me.
"No...they look like Halkeginian letters but they're different enough from what we have now that I can't understand what they're supposed to mean." Louise said dejectedly. She then blinked when she felt a hand on her head. She turned and saw Matilda giving her a soft smile...one that Louise couldn't help blushing at.
"If you want, I can give you a translated version of the incantation and you can see if you can cast the spell with that." Matilda offered and Louise literally lit up with glee before embracing her tutor.
"Have I told you that I love you, Matilda~?" Louise happily asked as she continued to cuddle the older woman.
"Yes, you have. Several times. Extremely enthusiastically in fact." I pointed out and both of them froze while blushing bright red before they glared at me.
"That doesn't count!" Both tutor and student stated at the same time. It was then that I heard the familiar sound of rattling steel as Derf decided to pop out of its scabbard.
"As much as I love seeing the little miss express her love toward other women, I'd have to say nay to her using a translated incantation that comes from that book." The sword stated with a surprising amount of seriousness.
"Explain." I said while folding my arms and leaning back on the wall.
"I can't explain it very well...but from what I remember, that book was made by Brimir for the exclusive use of Void mages. That means that a Void mage needs to take the spells from that book exactly as they are written there. Translating the spells, no matter how well you do it, will still change some of the meaning hidden beneath each incantation. At best, the spells will just fizzle out...at worst, something really bad will happen if you try to cast a translated Void spell. Like it or not, the little miss will need to take the spells straight from the book and nowhere else." Derf stated its case, I suppose it was correct. Changing anything in a spell as potent as one that was designed to neutralize every other spell would likely have...interesting results if Louise cast it wrong.
"Then how is she supposed to cast this 'Dispell' if she can't understand what is written in the book?" I pointed out and I was rewarded with one of Derf's sword shrugs.
"Maybe she'll just 'know' what to do and how to cast it when the need for the spell arises? I don't know..." Derf said with an obvious sense of uncertainty.
"Great...now we're back to square one." Louise muttered before hanging her head low.
"Wouldn't it be more appropriate to say 'square zero'~?" Kirche's teasing voice said from the other side of the door. Said door slowly opened to reveal the Germainian dressed in her uniform and was sporting a smirk that would do Yukari proud. I felt a familiar spike of magic coming from Louise before she took her wand out from within her clothing and pointed it at the redhead.
"I'll show you-" Louise's attempt at vengeance was cut off when placed my hand on her wand and slowly lowered it. Louise glared at me when I did that but I simply shrugged and nodded toward the door.
"I don't think Tabitha, Guiche, and Siesta would appreciate getting a face full of explosion right before we all leave." I stated and Louise paled when she saw her other friends standing behind Kirche. She quickly hid away her wand as she face started to flush, realizing what she nearly did.
"You all were taking too long to get ready so we decided to check to see what you were up to." Kirche said as she strode into the room like she owned the place before giving me one of 'those' winks and tracing her finger across my chest. I ignored her gesture and looked back toward the door where Tabitha and the others were waiting.
"Kirche's idea." The young Gallian provided before turning back to her book. I wondered how she would she be able to turn the page since her other hand was holding her wooden staff. I suddenly heard a loud and deliberate cough. I turned to the source and saw that both Matilda and Louise were looking at me rather crossly while Siesta, who was now standing next to them, was looking at me with disappointment. I raised a brow as I wondered why when I noticed something soft pressing against my right arm. I turned and nearly groaned.
"Hu~Hu~" Kirche cooed at me with hungry eyes. It seemed that during the very short span of time when I turned my attention toward Tabitha and the others, Kirche managed to maneuver herself to my side and latch onto my arm like a leech. I heard disapproving grumbles from Louise, Matilda, and Siesta as Kirche started grinding her body against my arm. I noticed Guiche was glancing away from the spectacle with an uncomfortable expression while Tabitha took time to glance up from her book to make sure that, yes, we were all still there.
What a wonderful way to start this trip.
"Zero!" Louise yelled out before another one of those miserable little creatures received an explosion right in the face.
"This makes no factual sense..." I commented as I watched Tabitha encase two of those creatures in ice before Guiche's golems shattered them to pieces with bronze war hammers.
"They're goblins...what sense would you want them to make?" Derf pointed out and asked after it emerged from its scabbard which was strapped on my back.
"Exactly as I said. This mountainside should not have enough resources to maintain a stable goblin population, especially one that has these numbers." I stated as I watched Matilda's earth golem slap away a dozen goblins who were trying to go after Siesta.
"I mean...what do they eat?" I asked as a bright red stream caught my eye. Kirche was roasting the goblins that Matilda took down to make sure that they were really dead.
"I dunno...I've never really thought about it. Now that you mention it...even back then, Sasha was always complaining about where these things keep coming from while Brimir only pondered as to why they sometimes drop gold or items when you kill them." Derf mused as we continued to observe the rest of our party plow through a rather large number of goblins that were came across during our hike along the mountains near Tarbes. I was amazed at how well everyone was working together considering none of them, aside from Kirche and Tabitha, has had any real experience in fighting alongside one another. I guess they all just had good chemistry with each other just like Cirno's little ragtag team.
"Yuka! Don't just stand there staring at us like an idiot! Help us!" Louise yelled at me as she nimbly dodged utterly uninspired charging attacks by the goblins. Louise's impressive ability to take in and implement the things she learns in Mugenkan were showing once again as she managed to use the rocks and boulders scattered around the place they were fighting in to evade pursuit. After she managed to make her way to the top of the largest boulder in the area with nothing more than her legs and her sense of balance, I decided that she was almost ready for Cirno's parkour lessons.
"Zero! Yuka!" Louise shouted at me after dealing with the goblins that were after her before making her way back down on the ground and continuing the battle.
"Stop shouting. You have Tabitha and Matilda with you, you've already won by default." I stated in an uninterested tone. I have been attacked by a couple of goblins when this encounter started but the rest of them steered away from me and simply targeted the others after what I did to the two that did attack me. They were both still being consumed by the piranha plants that I made when Louise yelled at me. I tipped my straw hat, which I thankfully remembered to bring along, toward Siesta who was running toward me. The maid stopped in front of me and fought to catch her breath before looking at me with a somewhat distressed expression.
"Can I stay here with you?" She asked almost pleadingly.
"Of course you can." I said with a smile before adjusting her straw hat to make sure that it was on properly.
"Why are there so many of them?" Siesta asked as she joined me to watch the rest of our party continue the battle.
"I was pondering the same thing. Is there any history of major goblin attacks on Tarbes?" I asked the maid, who pondered it for a few moments before shaking her head.
"No, there hasn't. As far as I can remember, the goblins mostly keep to themselves in the mountains even during winter. They've never actually gone and attacked villages before. However, if you go into the mountains unprepared, they will attack you without hesitation." She said and I nodded in understanding...but it only raised another question.
"Why hasn't there been any effort to wipe them out? I would imagine that the local government would be rather uncomfortable to have such things so close to their town." I asked and the answer strangely came from Matilda who had wandered closer to where we were.
"Goblins like to hide and they are very, very, very good at it." Matilda started her explanation while guiding her golem to fight in tandem with Guiche's Bronze Valkyries...which pretty much meant that Guiche was just trying to make sure that his bronze golems stayed out of the very large earth golem's way. Bronze may be harder than bog standard earth but Matilda's golem had mass, volume, and density on its side. It also helped that Matilda is skilled enough to be able to change the consistency of the earth that made up her golem from regular dirt to hardened granite within seconds.
"They also breed faster than rabbits which explains the numbers they sometimes have. It simply isn't practical to try to wipe them all out since, unless you can be certain that you've wiped them all out, they'd just start to breed while in hiding and start the whole thing all over again." Matilda added as she adjusted her fedora before continuing to prove that a hundred-foot tall earth golem was overkill in this situation. So these goblins were more akin to a pestilence than an actual threat to a civilized culture. I briefly entertained the idea of a possible way to release a specialized virus strain that could render ninety-percent of the female goblin population sterile, hence providing a clamp on their numbers while making sure that they don't go extinct, when I noticed that the sounds of battle have ended.
"Well, that took longer than I expected." I mused as I watched the rest of our party approach.
"It would have taken less if you helped us!" Louise yelled at me with a very displeased expression. I shrugged and pointed at the two goblins, or the remains that the piranha plants didn't like, that I took down when the battle started.
"Inadequate." Tabitha stated in a tone that almost sounded irritated.
"Don't be like that~! My darling Yuka only wanted to watch me in action, didn't you~? Did my heated performace please you, darling~?" Kirche asked me, while latching herself on my arm once again, with a voice that was dripping with sensuality...sensuality that I simply didn't care for. I turned when I heard another round of displeased grumbling from Louise, Matilda and Siesta and saw them looking at me with seemingly disinterested expressions...odd.
"Can we just...move on already? The dead goblins are starting to smell already." Guiche suggested tiredly, a few sniffs later and we all agreed to move on.
We eventually came across a nondescript cave that matched the point on the map that was marked as the entrance to the cavern that held what we were looking for. It was a treasure known as the 'Steel Goddess'. From the name, both Guiche and Matilda postulated that the treasure is some kind of ancient golem...possibly a massive steel monster that may have vaguely resembled a woman. Kirche and Louise on the other hand both agreed, which was an amazing turnabout in itself, that the 'Steel Goddess' was some sort of statue. Siesta said that it was supposed to be a guardian goddess that has protected Tarbes since the days of her great grandfather and was currently sleeping to regain her power from the world. I have personally known goddesses and I have never heard of one that was attributed to something like 'Steel'. Kanako was a goddess of the Winds, Mountains, and Lakes in addition to technically being a War Goddess. Suwako was an ancient native goddess of the Suwa river and the avatar of frogs and other amphibians. It was strange that this was the very first time I have heard of a 'Steel Goddess'. Provided that the rumors were true, this might prove to be a very interesting experience.
"It's dark..." Louise muttered as we entered the rather dank hole in the wall.
"It's a cave, of course it's dark." Kirche shot back and once again earning a glare from my master.
"Watch your step instead of arguing. The last thing we need is someone getting injured." Matilda said sternly from the front. We were walking in a line as we braved the depths of this cave as per Matilda's instructions to minimize the risk of injury. Our resident Treasure Hunter was leading us through the cave. I was walking close behind her while Louise, Kirche, Tabitha, Siesta and Guiche made up the rest of out little marching line.
"Yes, ma'am." Both of them obediently said at the same time.
"Can't Kirche light a torch or something? It's pretty hard to watch my step when I can barely see anything at all." Guiche asked the Germanian, making all of us halt.
"Well?" I asked Matilda, who was already considering the suggestion. I, for one, didn't particularly need a torch since I can see just fine in the dark. I'm also certain that Matilda can do just fine in a completely dark cave since she is a very skilled earth mage so she should have some tricks to navigate through a place like this. Unfortunately, the rest of our party was less than prepared to walk into a pitch black cave.
"Okay, just don't make it too bright." Matilda said while halting our progress to allow the others to light up a torch.
"Why not?" Siesta asked curiously as she put down her massive backpack before fishing out a fresh torch that they could use.
"Because you might scare the bats that live in these caves or you might alert any anti-theft system that could be set up here...or you might just alert other treasure hunters of our location. I don't particularly want to deal with any other treasure hunters right now, especially since I don't have my whip anymore." The former thief answered with a shrug.
"You used to have a whip?" Louise asked her tutor in surprise and I could see that Matilda smiled at the memory.
"Yes, it was a long time ago when I was about your age. You'd be amazed at how useful a whip can be when it comes to spelunking." Matilda stated fondly. I could hear Louise mumble something about a 'Lost Ark' before the familiar red glow of a flame caught our attention. We turned to see Guiche carrying the torch after it was lit by a little fire magic by Kirche.
"Much better." Guiche said with a smile. Judging from the expressions of Kirche, Siesta, and Louise, they seemed to agree...though, as usual, Tabitha didn't seem to care for it. We continued our way through the caves with nothing but Matilda's expertise to guide us. Sadly, the map that Kirche provided for this little trip only led us to the location of the cave's entrance and she did not have a map that detailed the interior of the caves.
"Are you sure this is the right way? We've been walking for ages." Kirche complained before being glared at by Louise.
"Are you doubting Matilda? If you are, then you should have brought a map that showed the inside of the cave!" My master hissed at the Germanian, both in defense of her tutor as well as pointing out Kirche's oversight.
"Sshhh! Quiet!" Matilda suddenly said while gesturing for us to stop. I wondered why she made us stop when I narrowed my eyes after picking up the sound of footsteps.
"We're not alone." She added as she crept closer and closer to the source of the footsteps while very carefully pulling out her wand. I gestured the others to stay back as I readied my parasol for any ambush. The source of the footsteps were getting closer and closer and I could already see the telltale glow of a torch from around the corner. Matilda looked back to me and nodded, gesturing that she will take down whomever it was that was approaching. I raised my left hand to stop her when I noticed something very familiar about the one approaching us. The magic power that I can sense from it was familiar...very familiar indeed. I relaxed and smiled when I finally remembered where I felt that magic before. Matilda looked at me with a confused expression before I went ahead and greeted our mystery man.
"Professor Colbert! Can you hear me?" I called out prompting everyone to look at me in shock before registering what I had just said.
"Mister Kazami? Is that you?" The familiar, but obviously echoing, voice of the professor called out in response in order to verify who just called him.
"Professor Colbert?" Louise, Kirche, and Guiche all said at the same time. A few moments later, Colbert emerged from the corner where the footsteps came from and looked at all of us in surprise.
"Oh my, this is unexpected. What are you all doing here?" He asked with his trademark smile. Matilda subtly took a few steps back to make sure that she wasn't too close to the professor but all she did was bump into me.
"Hya!" She yelped as I put my hands on her shoulders to steady her.
"Easy. No one is going to hurt you, Matilda." I said assuringly. Matilda looked down, making sure to use her fedora to cover as much of her face as possible.
"Miss Matilda? Are you well enough to be walking about?" Professor Colbert asked as he approached us. Oh yes, he helped Guiche get Matilda to the infirmary when whole Wardes debacle was in full swing.
"I-I-I'm fine!" Matilda stammered as I felt her shoulders tremble in my grasp. I blinked a few times at the strange reaction before letting her go to greet the professor.
"It is good to see you, though I must wonder what you are doing here?" I greeted and sent the professor's question back at him. I thought I heard Matilda give out a disappointed sigh but I ignored it in favor of hearing Colbert out.
"Ah yes! I'm here because I finally had some free time to investigate a certain local legend I got wind of." Colbert explained with a smile, ever glad to dispense knowledge as usual.
"Let me guess, the 'Steel Goddess' right?" I asked him before folding my arms and leaning back. The professor blinked at me a few times before smiling and nodding.
"Why yes I am! Do you know of it?" He asked and was rewarded with a shrug.
"Likely only as much as you do. Kirche provided us a map detailing the way to the entrance to this cave. She suggested that we see if there was anything worthwhile here as a way to unwind and cap off the summer break." I supplied as Colbert looked at the rest of our party with a thoughtful hum, Louise and the rest simply gave awkward smiles and waved at their professor...Tabitha simply glanced up from her book and nodded before continuing to read. How she was still able to read that book in a dark cave...I didn't really care.
"Normally, I would be against student going out adventuring on their own. However, you are accompanied by two capable adults so I guess it's not so bad. Now then, do you all mind terribly if I tag along?" The professor offered. Having him in the party would be very useful, as it would mean that I would have fewer things to worry about.
"I don't know...splitting the treasure with so many people would be troublesome." Kirche mused, seemingly convinced that there would be substantial amounts of wealth waiting for us at the other end of this cave. Her question was met with a good natured laugh from the professor.
"Don't worry Miss Zerbst. I am only here to see if the legends were true. The legend of the 'Steel Goddess' is relatively new compared to most other legends, so I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. Confirming the existence, or lack thereof, of the goddess will be enough to sate my curiosity." The man shamelessly admitted, an intellectual through and though.
"Well in that case, onwards!" Kirche enthusiastically declared while pointing deeper inside the caves.
"Amazing...it's like an entirely different part of the forest that is isolated from the rest of the mountainside." Colbert stated in awe after we finally exited the caverns. The other end led to a patch of forest that was cut off from the rest because it was surrounded by mountains, hence the professor's comment.
"So? Where is it?" Kirche asked impatiently.
"We may need to look for a shrine or some sort of structure...something that could have been used to pay homage to the Steel Goddess." Matilda said, her previous shakiness replaced by her veteran treasure hunting instincts. It didn't take long for us to find a structure that fit Matilda's criteria...especially since it was the only structure in the whole area. We all gazed at the front doors of what looked like an old aircraft hangar, if I remembered the books I used to read correctly. Odd, an aircraft hangar was extremely out of place in Tristain. No, a better question was what it was doing here in the first place.
"What is it?" Siesta asked in awe of the strange structure before her. The structure itself didn't look too bad, though there was overgrowth crawling all over the place which was a testament to how long this thing has been here.
"This structure is called an Aircraft Hangar." I stated, pulling everyone's attention to me.
"You know what this is?" Professor Colbert asked in excitement. I nodded in response, noting that Matilda was also looking at me with sharp interest.
"I know of it. I read books that featured this structure in my home realm. These things were used to house aircraft...flying machines...as well as the parts and tools needed to maintain them. I suppose this means that the Steel Goddess is some sort of aircraft." I explained. I noticed a familiar head of pink hair from the corner of my vision and saw Louise and Tabitha looking at some sort of stone monument.
"What is it?" Louise asked the young Gallian but Tabitha merely shook her head in response. I walked up to them and raised a brow at what was written there. It was severely eroded to the point of being unreadable but the engravings on the stone were undoubtedly Japanese characters. I noted the remains of a clay incense holder as well as the dried up remnants of flower stems.
"It's a grave..." I muttered. I noticed Siesta walk to my side before touching the face of the stone.
"It's...my great grandfather's grave...isn't it?" Siesta said in a distant voice.
"Great grandfather?" Louise asked and the maid nodded. She was so close to it that the action nearly made the brim of her hat touch the grave marker.
"I was always told stories when I was a child. Stories that great grandfather came from a different world, a fantastic one where humans and magical beings lived together in harmony. It was a place like Halkeginia but different. According to my grandfather, my great grandfather came here along with the Steel Goddess from a hole in the sky. The goddess protected Tarbes with my great grandfather until his death. They said that he was buried near where the goddess slept, waiting to be awakened again when she was needed once more." Siesta told her story with a voice tinted with melancholy. She smiled sadly at the grave maker and added...
"Hello, great grandfather...my name is Siesta. It's very nice to finally meet you." The young woman said with a polite bow. Louise and Tabitha allowed her a few moments of peace for her first meeting with her great grandfather while I stayed quiet and thought about her story. Her great grandfather fell from the sky along with the Steel Goddess. It would either be a gate portal or a gap that sent them here. He seemed to have been Japanese or of Japanese descent considering the written language used on his grave marker. However, she also said that he came from a realm where humans and fantastic creatures lived together. Aside from Gensokyo, I didn't know of any other realm like that...especially a Japanese one. Could it be a completely different realm altogether? Or could it be possible that Siesta was a descendant of someone from Gensokyo? If her great grandfather really was a human from Gensokyo...then who did he bring with him? Even if it was a little more than a century ago, there wasn't any incident where someone that could be mistaken as a Steel Goddess disappeared. In fact...everyone who was a non-human resident of Gensokyo for the past three hundred years should still be in Gensokyo...except for me of course. Very strange indeed...
"How do you open this thing?" Kirche complained, breaking the solemn silence that we were having until that point. We all turned to the hangar and saw Kirche, Guiche and a few of Guiche's golems trying to pry open the door. I sighed when I noticed that they were trying to swing them open, even though the hangar doors were made to slide to the side instead.
"You're doing it wrong." I said as I walked up to them and gestured for them to move aside. Once Kirche and Guiche were out of the way, I gripped the point of connection between the two sliding doors and tried to open them...it didn't budge. There was an enchantment on it that was preventing any entry, likely to make sure that whatever was inside was safe from bandits as well as making sure that whatever was inside was not subject to natural corrosion. An enchantment that protects the structure...hmm...
"I can't open it. It's protected by a powerful enchantment that prevents anything from entering." I stated while looking straight at Louise.
"Is there any way to bypass it?" Colbert asked me as he placed at hand on the left door.
"Maybe...if we had something that could 'dispell' the enchantment." I answered, making sure to maintain eye contact with Louise and making sure that I emphasized the word 'dispell'. My master blinked at me for a few moments before giving me a very uncomfortable expression.
"I can't do it..." She muttered.
"Then we came here for nothing." I responded while folding my arms and leaning back, earning a glare from her.
"I can't even read it!" She countered while mirroring my stance. It seemed that Matilda caught wind of what we were arguing about since she walked up to Louise and asked her to open up the Founder's Prayer Book.
"But..." Louise muttered while using both her hands to hold the brim of her hat, indicating her uncertainty.
"I have an idea, trust me." Matilda sweetly said. Louise still looked unsure but she eventually lifted up her hat and fished out the book from the top of her head. That was where she was hiding it? I was wondering where she put that book but I was amazed that she was able to fit that thing in her hat without making it fall out or making it uncomfortable for her.
"Is that?" Colbert asked tentatively as he eyed the Founder's Prayer Book.
"Ironic isn't it?" I asked back, answering his question. The man gave a soft chuckle before shaking his head.
"Indeed it is..." He replied. The next few minutes was spent in silence as Louise and Matilda whispered to each other while pointing at or gesturing to the symbols that were written in the book for the 'dispell' spell. Kirche, Tabitha, and Guiche took this time to relax while Siesta offered a few prayers to her great grandfather. Colbert and I watched the two of them intently until the professor gave a thoughtful hum.
"Miss Longueville really does look different after a makeover, doesn't she?" Colbert asked me, not even bothering to hide his suspicion but making sure to keep his comment out of earshot.
"She no longer goes by that name nor does she go by any of her previous names. She is simply Matilda now." I provided. Colbert eyed me curiously before turning back to Louise and her tutor.
"Do you care for her? Miss Matilda, I mean." He asked me.
"She is Louise's tutor now. It was her decision to allow her to survive. It was the right call considering how much she has helped my master since." I answered. Colbert gave another chuckle at the rather unsubtle way I evaded his question.
"So you are not sure yet then. I guess even beings as powerful as you can still be uncertain when it comes to matters of the heart." He mused with a knowing smile.
"I have no romantic feelings towards her." I clearly stated.
"Yet you don't say it loud enough for her to hear." He shot back before chuckling. I narrowed by eyes at him and he cleared his throat after realizing that he had gone too far.
"I apologize if I offended you. I am merely commenting of what I see. And what I see is that you two seem to suit each other." He stated with a shrug.
"I am a sixteen-hundred year old monster." Not to mention that I was a woman until recently. Instead of arguing any further, Colbert merely shrugged and gave me another knowing smile before walking toward Siesta. I simply sighed and shook my head at the absurdity of the man's insinuation.
"Well, I'm a six-thousand year old sword and I still think the two of you look good together." I ignored Derf's whispered comment and simply waited for Louise and Matilda to finish whatever it was they were doing.
"Alright! I got this!" Louise suddenly yelled out as she took several deep breaths before pulling out her wand and closing her eyes. Did Matilda find a way for her to be able to cast the spell? Did she translate it for Louise? I made sure to observe the proceeding spell casting by Louise to see how she would be able to manage it...or be there to make sure to protect her and Matilda if the spell backfired. What followed was a fifteen minute incantation in a language I couldn't hope to understand. An unfamiliar magic circle appeared at Louise's feet while the pages of the Founder's Prayer Book began to glow.
"And that's what I meant when I said that book will show the little miss what to do when the right time came." Derf commented at the display being shown by Louise. Matilda was right though, the incantation for this spell was cumbersomely long and impractical to use in battle unless Louise was thoroughly protected. Louise finally ended her incantation and opened her eyes, a massive spike of magic came from her and focused on her wand before she finally declared the spell.
"Dispell!" My master roared and a strange steady wave of rainbow colored energy fanned out from her wand and slowly made its way to the hangar. Now that was impracticality incarnate...
However, the wait was rewarded when the spell made contact with the enchantment placed on the hangar. A sharp sound could be heard at the moment of contact, like the breaking of fine glass or porcelain, and the hangar glowed for a moment before it dissipated and vanished. I walked up to the hangar doors and placed at hand on it. The enchantment I felt from the hangar was...gone. I decided to act on my discovery and pried open the hangar doors, enough for us to get inside. I turned back when I heard a squeal of delight coming from Louise.
"I did it! I cast Dispell!" She yelled out triumphantly as she hugged Matilda in joy. Her tutor returned the hugged and laughed along with Louise. I smiled at the scene. This was the very first time, aside from her summoning of me, that Louise was able to successfully cast a spell like it was designed to. The Keyword Casting she learned from Cirno was merely making a broken spell work to her advantage. No matter how effective it was, it was still a failed spell. I couldn't help but feel proud of Louise for what she did, it reminded me of the very first time that Cirno was able to defeat Remilia Scarlet at a Danmaku Battle thanks to her training with me. I walked up to them, unable to hide the smile on my face.
"So, how'd you manage it?" I asked Louise while folding my arms and leaning back.
"I felt it instead of reading it!" Louise immediately answered with glee. Felt it? I looked up to Matilda and raised a brow to indicate the unvoiced question. The woman merely gave me a radiant smile before answering.
"It was actually thanks to your conversation with Derflinger back at the academy. It said that the Founder's Prayer Book will only reveal its contents once the mage was ready to cast that spell. Since the incantation for Dispell was already out in the open, it shows that Louise was ready for that spell. The only issue was interpretation..." Matilda explained while patting Louise on the head, or hat as the case was.
"And? How did she interpret it?" I asked, interested in how Louise was able to decipher the contents of the book. Matilda suddenly looked embarrassed and glanced away from me with a tinge of red on her cheeks.
"I don't actually know...Louise, how did you feel the magic?" Matilda redirected the question to the caster herself.
"I felt the magic in the words! I'm not sure how I was able to but when Matilda asked me to try to concentrate on the symbols, I suddenly felt them talking to me." Louise explained recounting her experience. I see…the book interpreted itself for her. Instead of making a translation spell built into the book, it was designed to simply provide the purest interpretation of the spell to the caster in case he or she couldn't read the native text. Not bad Brimir.
"So that was why the book glowed...it was transmitting the core meaning of the spell to you as you were performing the incantation." I concluded. I was suddenly made aware that we weren't the only ones there. I glanced around and, predictably enough, everyone was looking at us in shock...except for Tabitha who simply put her book away.
"What was that?" Guiche muttered after seeing the spell that Louise just cast.
"Louise called it Dispell. I've never heard of a spell like that..." Kirche muttered as she rubbed her chin with her hand, probably trying to recall a spell that would be similar to what Louise just cast.
"That was a very pretty spell." Siesta chimed in, and indeed, a slow moving rainbow wave would look pretty when you look at it the right way.
"That...that was..." Colbert trailed off, unable to finish his sentence in disbelief.
"Void." As usual, Tabitha was able to hit the nail on the head perfectly.
"No way..." Kirche muttered.
"Yes, that was the first and only Void spell Louise has ever been able to cast so far." I supplied, not even bothering to hide it at this point since they all should already know that Louise was a Void Magician…except for Siesta but I trusted her enough not to tattle.
"What?" Guiche yelled out.
"That's amazing!" Siesta exclaimed.
"Not bad." Tabitha muttered before returning to her book.
"So that was a Void spell..." Colbert muttered while looking down on the ground, trying his best to recall as many details about the spell as he could.
"So wait...Louise the Zero really is a Void mage?" Kirche asked in verification. It seemed that the comment back at the capital wasn't enough to convince them of Louise's status as a Void Magician.
"I'm not a Zero! The only reason why I haven't been able to cast any other spell properly is because they weren't compatible with me!" Louise yelled back at Kirche. The Germanian made a thoughtful hum before looking back at the slightly trembling Louise.
"That makes sense. Well done, Louise. Congratulations on successfully casting a spell." Kirche said with a warm smile, much to the surprise of everyone...especially Louise.
"Awha?" My master blurted out, thoroughly caught off guard at what her long-time nemesis just said.
"I said congratulations. The only reason why I kept teasing you was because I thought that you weren't a mage worth her salt. You proved me wrong, which is why I'm congratulating you." Kirche explained with a smile. It was ridiculously simple logic but it was still enough to keep my master off balance for a few more moments.
"I don't know about all of you, but I'm very interested to see what the Steel Goddess looks like." I stated before walking back toward the entrance of the hangar. Everyone else seemed to have snapped out of their surprise and followed me. I stopped in front of the threshold and remembered something I needed to confirm with everyone.
"I would like to remind you all that Louise's status as a Void Magician remains secret for her safety. Anyone who betrays our trust will die by my hand." I let the reminder hang in the air before walking inside.
It was pristine. So much so that someone like Nitori would likely drool over all the tech inside. The inside of the hangar looked brand new but instead of having airplane parts and various tools, there were computers and various other electronic devices littered everywhere and were all interconnected to the thing at the very center of the hangar. It was a metal capsule, large enough for someone to fit inside. I glanced back to where everyone was and saw that they were looking around in awe at all the various devices and blinking lights and strange sounds coming from everywhere.
"Don't touch anything." I warned them. I still wasn't sure what was powering all of these things so I wanted to make sure that no one touches anything that might turn out to the power supply...or a self-destruct button. I know that I've had it with those things thanks to the kappa.
"What is all this?" Colbert asked, completely out of his element in this place.
"I don't know yet...but it seems that this Steel Goddess is of a rather advance race." I answered as I continued to walk toward the white coffin-like capsule. This is the kind of technology I'd expect from the Lunarians or one of the more extreme experiments by the Kappa. I don't know what all these devices did so I didn't touch any of them just to be sure. I reached my destination and looked down upon the sealed metal capsule. Strange...
"It has frost on it..." I muttered as I wiped away a thin layer on ice that was encasing part of the object. I noticed an engraving on it and wiped away enough frost to make it readable.
Military designation? Or was it simply a model number or a serial number. The familiar sound of a 'Big Red Button' being pressed snapped me from my thoughts. That sound was never a good thing. When I heard that sound, things explode. I whipped around and saw that Louise was looking at me in panic while her hand was on a 'Big Red Button'.
"I'm sorry!" Louise cried out, only realizing what she had done. I once again cursed the allure of the 'Big Red Button' before I heard a hissing sound coming from the capsule.
"Stay back! All of you!" I roared as I stood between the opening capsule and the others. White frost burst from the seams of the opening device as the capsule slowly opened up like a clam shell, revealing the contents inside. I did a double-take at what was inside...or rather, who was inside.
A pristine blue maid uniform with a short skirt and a white apron. Black shoes with white stockings. Black laces gloves that extended to most of her arms with silver bracers that looked more like thin gauntlets. Flawless long green hair that had a certain sheen to it. A silver visor that looked more like a circlet wrapped around her forehead. The front part of the visor was circular and held the same model number that was on the capsule, I postulated that the visor could easily cover her eyes and most of her face if it was pulled down. The sides of the visor had what looked to be heat sinks but looked more like fins or silver wings. The eyes open to reveal cold, doll-like, red eyes. I knew this thing. It looks slightly different from the last time I saw it but there can be no mistake. Streams of light ran across its eyes before it blinked a few times as it focused it gaze upon me.
"Fuga?" It asked me and I immediately knew that I was right. Somehow, someway, against all odds, I was looking at something that dropped off Gensokyo so very long ago.