|Louise & Yuka K.|
| Book: Be Careful What|
You Wish For, Chapter 4
|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: A few more things I want to clear up before the chapter after reading some reviews. First, the lack of spark attacks. The reason why I didn't have Yuka throw sparks left and right is simple, I didn't want him to. Yuka is known as the Flower Master of the Four Seasons, I want to use that aspect of him more than his spark attacks. That said, expect him to utilize his flower manipulation and overall physical strength to settle fights instead of using sparks. Of course, that does not mean that he will not use sparks when the need arises.
Another thing is something that a friend of mine pointed out when he read the story thus far:
Be Careful What You Wish For
Why no Tsundere Louise?
I would like to believe that Louise's Tsun-Tsun tendencies are directly tied to her inferiority complex. She acted like a Tsundere because it was the only way she could cope with her conflicting feelings with Saito. On one hand, she is attracted to the guy so her dere side will inevitably shine through as evident in the show. On the other hand, she still sees herself inferior to other women because of fact that Saito openly still goes after other women even after he declared her love for Louise, hence the Tsun.
Yuka avoided all this for the most part because he made it a point to try to pull Louise out of her inferiority complex issues due to her lack of self-esteem. It also helps that Yuka does not have any open interest to the female cast thus far.
Of course…this does not mean that Yuka will be immune to tripping Louise's Tsundere tendencies. They're very much still there, it's just that Yuka has avoided flipping the right switch. This won't last forever of course…
By the way, Louise's hat is based on Marisa's hat from the Koumajou Densetsu games, better known as the Touhouvania games.
Lastly…Holy Crap! The story is on the FoZ recommended fic section of TV Tropes! My life is complete~!
Other than that, I want your reactions on how I handled this chapter…particularly the first encounter with Foquet. Please enjoy~
"Wait! No…okay! What about you…show your wings and do some acrobatic flying above the crowds?" Louise enthusiastically said as she spread her arms out to emphasize the kind of excitement that display would make.
"I refuse." I immediately responded before taking another sip of tea. My master pouted in her seat beside me but I chose to pretend that I did not notice.
"Why not?" Louise complained. It was another day and another afternoon, meaning it was time for our routine tea party with Guiche, Monmon, Kirche, Tabitha, and Siesta. My master and I were our new hats but Siesta refrained from doing the same, saying that she will use it on special occasions such as when she visits her family back home. I am proud to say that Louise has been getting compliments with her new hat, that should help her with her little issues with self-esteem and whatnot.
"Because you are asking me to fly around like a pet for the entertainment of strangers I have never even met, Yuka Kazami is no item for entertainment." I pointedly said to my master, who made a disapproving sound.
"Wait a second, you can fly?" Monmon voiced the unasked question for the rest of the occupants of the table.
"Yes, I can do a lot of things. Flying is simply one of them." I provided.
"That doesn't even bother me that much anymore, I can't believe that I'm getting used to this." Monmon said while rubbing her ever shining forehead.
"Seriously though, the Evaluation Fair is pretty important for second years. That means that it's important to your master too." Monmon continued, standing up for Louise.
"Monmon…" Louise muttered her name with teary eyes. It took a while for Monmon to get used to her nickname. At first she was irate that we would shorten her name to that extent and said that it was insulting to her actual name. Her defiance was cut short after Guiche said that he liked the nickname and that it sounded very cute. As of right now, only Guiche and Louise were allowed to call her Monmon. I call her Monmon too but she knew that she couldn't stop me from calling her that, so she just didn't bother to try.
"It's true though, Mister Yuka. We are all working hard with our familiars to make sure that we perform our best during the fair." Guiche spoke up next with a bit of an awkward smile to me. He was still rather apprehensive towards talking with me on subjects other than flowers, but he says that he's working on it.
"Why is this so important to all of you anyway?" I asked, intrigued as to why they were all putting so much effort into this whole thing. I have seen several of Louise's classmates, including her friends here at the table, practicing a sort of routine during their free time, but I never understood why they all seem to be so…enthused about it.
"Princess." Tabitha spoke up without removing her gaze from her current book, turning all eyes toward her.
"Princess?" I asked the blue-haired girl.
"Yep, the Princess of Tristain will be personally coming here to witness the evaluation and grant a prize to the winner." Kirche elaborated with a warm smile toward me. I was still very much ignoring her advances to seduce me, but she was a good influence toward my master in a way. By that I mean, my master has been doubling her efforts in trying to figure out her element if only to finally silence Kirche's incessant teasing.
"A Princess and a prize…" I muttered thoughtfully while sipping my tea. I saw my master's hat bob up and down, indicating a nod even though I could not see her face.
"Yes. This is my first real chance to show everyone, including the Princess, that I am not a Zero…that I have an amazing familiar." She muttered. I glanced around the table and saw that everyone else, including Siesta, were looking at me with pleading eyes…except for Tabitha who was just blankly staring at me. I sighed and put down my empty cup before clearing my throat.
"Give me until the end of the day. I will…arrange something." I finally conceded, eliciting smiles from everyone…except Tabitha who went back to reading her book. Louise looked up at me with an expression of disbelief.
"Now that I think about it, I guess it is time for your world to find out just how amazing of a familiar I am." I added with a cocky grin, making Louise light up with a smile that could make sunflowers turn her way.
After the tea party was over, I quickly ducked out and made my way to the garden before entering Mugenkan through the door there. I made sure that there were no witnesses when I did so, Tabitha was quiet enough but I didn't want anyone else from finding out about my dream world just yet. Think of me as being paranoid but I've had it with children suddenly breaking into my realm unannounced and suddenly making a mess of things. Granted, that happened several centuries ago, but still…
"Now where did the mansion materialize it?" I asked as I rummaged in my room in my new mansion. I left my parasol with Louise before I came here, no reason to bring it here and I could simply conjure up disposable spares if the need arose. I was currently looking for the item I would use for my…performance in Louise's little evaluation fair. I sighed as I realized the kind of effort I was putting into this simply for the sake of my master. Was it because I was being affected by the familiar contract or because I genuinely wanted to do this for Louise? Regardless, I was not going to be able to do anything about it until I found that missing item.
"Looking for this?" A very familiar voice said from behind me. I suddenly regretted not bringing along my parasol. Severely damaging my new mansion would be worth it if it meant that I could get a Master Spark off right in her face.
"Quite long ways from home aren't you?" I raised a brow as I turned toward Yukari who was leaning through one of her borders. In her hands was the item I was looking for, a violin case. I felt a very powerful urge to cringe when the border youkai looked up and down my frame before giving me one of the smiles that Kirche had been giving me.
"I could say the same to you, Yuka. I must say, you turned out to be quite the specimen." Yukari said slyly with a glint in her eye.
"Don't even think of going there. So, how did you even get here?" I asked her while folding my arms and leaning back, changing the subject.
"I'm currently inside your mansion in Mugenkan, the one in Gensokyo anyway. Since your dream world is constant no matter where you are, all I had to do is look for a mansion like this one. Chances were that you would be there, and here we are." Yukari explained, I nodded at her words. So Mugenkan was still connected to Gensokyo thanks to my other mansion. Convenient but…
"I'm assuming that the actual distance between the two mansions is rather significant." I postulated since I have never been able to sense the presence of the other mansion while I was in this mansion.
"That's right. I can't even begin to imagine how long it would take to travel between your mansions if you used normal flight. I only managed to get there myself because of my power." Yukari affirmed. I unconsciously scowled when she mentioned her power, she must have noticed this and tensed up.
"Hey now. I'm sorry for turning you into a man, well not really considering how nice you turned out, but you know what I mean." Yukari said while waving her hands in front of her, my violin still in her right hand, as she misinterpreted my reaction.
"Not that, I was just thinking of something. Tell me…" I started while I reached out and took the violin case from her. I laid it down on my bed before turning back to the border youkai.
"Aside from you, is there any possibility of another border manipulator to surface? A human border manipulator in particular…" I asked, once again Yukari tensed up. Did I hit a nerve or did I get lucky?
"A…human border manipulator you say…hehehe…" She said uncomfortably as she suddenly took a keen interest at staring at my plaid wallpaper.
"So it is possible then…" I answered for her. Yukari sighed before shaking her head.
"It happened way back when Reimu and Marisa were still alive and young. It was a very…unique circumstance, but yes, that one girl from the outside world could manipulate borders to a degree." Yukari confirmed my suspicions. Then was it really possible for Louise? I rubbed my chin with my right hand as I contemplated the news that it was possible for a human to be a border manipulator.
"As nice as it is to stare at you while you look all serious like that…" Yukari's words snapped me out of my thoughts and made me turn to her.
"…anything you'd like to explain?" The border youkai asked with a sense of interest in her voice. I weighed my options in regards to answering here. On one hand, this is Yukari Yakumo we are talking about here. Getting her involved with Louise could result in anything, especially if she finds out that I suspect my little master to be a manipulator like her. On the other hand, Yukari is the expert in the matter I was thinking about and her advice on how to deal with Louise would be invaluable. I shook my head to clear my thoughts. I was doing it again, focusing on only one possibility even though it was not the only one available.
"For now…I will say that I managed to find change in my life. Not what I was expecting, but it has been quite the novel experience thus far." I stated with a hint of a smile.
"Ooooh? Tell me more~" Yukari said as she leaned in closer, more interested with my current state of living than me becoming a member of the opposite sex. I cleared my throat before delivering the news.
"I have become the familiar of a young female mage in the world I am currently on." I said while showing Yukari the familiar runes on my left hand.
"Are you finished?" I asked Yukari who was still laughing while clutching her sides. Somewhere close to twenty minutes had passed since I told Yukari about me being a familiar and she had been laughing at me since. If I hadn't expected that reaction from her, I would have punched her in the face on the spot.
"I-I-I'm so-rry…but that was ju-ju-ju…" Yukari stuttered out before looking at me and laughing again.
"You can stop now, I have things I need to ask you about my master." I stated seriously, it didn't seem to deter her. In fact, my seriousness seemed to make her laugh harder.
"M-m-master! Y-Y-Yuka Kazami! Said Ma-ma-mast-! Oh! Oh! My sides! They hurt so!" Yukari said as she continued to laugh at me. I growled at her, losing my patience. I walked right up to her, grabbed the back of her head, and mashing my lips on hers. I drew back and looked at her absolutely shocked face. Yeah, that shut her up.
"Enough. I need to ask you a few things and they are quite important." I stated before walking up to my bed and sitting on it. Yukari cleared her throat, her face still very red from what I just did, before looking at me with a more serious expression.
"You suspect you master to be a manipulator of borders." She stated, piecing together the hints that I have laid out earlier in our conversation, I nodded in affirmation.
"Her name is Louise, she is the third daughter of a prestigious family of mages from this world. However, she cannot perform any magic native to this world properly…none that we know of anyway." I explained Louise's circumstances. Yukari simply shrugged at my words before waving her gloved left hand at me dismissively.
"So she's the black sheep of the family of mages, nothing particularly special there aside from the fact that you master seems to be a failu-" Yukari cut herself off when she realized what she was going to say. She made a thoughtful sound as she contemplated about Louise's circumstance. Yukari is wise, no matter how much she plays the fool. She knows that if Louise was a failure as a mage, then she shouldn't have been able to perform a summoning ritual…especially one that could pull me, of all things, into a summoning portal.
"I need more information…" Yukari stated with a professional tone. Yes, this was the Yukari I was looking for. She was showing interest in Louise now so I would be a gamble on how interested she will be with my master. Too little and she won't be able to give me any help. Too much and she might decide to interfere with my master's life.
"Whenever she casts any conventional spell from her world, they break at the moment of release. I have confirmed the phenomenon with my own eyes. Eyewitness reports from her peers and even herself support the theory that all her spells completely break at the final millisecond. As to why, I am not sure." I gave Yukari the abridged version of my earlier discussion with Louise. She nodded at my words before humming.
"And the same thing happens for all spells? Regardless of casting method or spell element used?" Yukari asked for clarification.
"Yes, ever single time. There is one more element she hasn't tried yet, but that element is ancient and hasn't been used for millennia, hence we lack the information to actually try it. As for casting method, they only have one casting system here, using foci such as wands to focus magical energy and shape it into the spell they want." I supplied, eliciting another few nods from the border youkai.
"An ancient element, a new casting method, a completely new element, and border manipulation. I suspect you reached the same conclusions?" She said with a smirk, I sighed and shook my head. I cannot believe that we thought of the same thing in the end.
"Yes, I couldn't think of any other possibility. So, what do you think? Could my master be a border manipulator?" I asked Yukari, who gave me a lazy shrug.
"I can't really say until I see one of her spells in person. I'm thinking that the ancient element angle is the most likely possibility. No matter how ancient it was, it still existed. That means that it can happen again and is far more likely than having to come up with a new casting method, which could take decades mind you, or trying to figure out a new element, which could take centuries." Yukari pretty much affirmed my earlier suspicions about Louise's power.
"Your little master has a lot of magical power to be able to bind you into a summoning contract but it doesn't prove that she is a manipulator. Even if she can make spells break instantaneously, it does not mean that she's manipulating the border of magic to do so. If she is as inexperienced as you say she is, then manipulating the border of magic and creating an accidental spell break should have resulted in something much more…messy." Yukari added, confirming that border manipulation, no matter the degree, requires significant control to pull off…control that Louise simply does not have as of this moment.
"I understand, I'll look into it further then. Thank you for your input." I stated before standing up and picking up my violin.
"Leaving already~?" Yukari said with a teasing voice, back to her old self again I see.
"I still have to prepare for something for the sake of my master." I simply said before opening the door to the hallway of my mansion.
"My, my. Such effort the mighty Yuka Kazami makes for a mortal human girl!" Yukari said in mock disbelief, I simply shrugged before replying.
"What can I say, I wanted change after all." I admitted before leaving Yukari in my room alone.
"Indeed…" I heard her say before I completely closed the door.
I walked out of the mansion and walked across the yellow brick road leading to the door back to the academy. I was not worried about Yukari following me outside or even fully crossing over to this side of the dream realm at all. Ever since the Lunarian invasion on Gensokyo several centuries ago, the border youkai has been more protective of her realm. I smiled at the memory, the battle that ensued because of some stupid power struggle on the moon. That was the very first incident that Reimu's daughter, Reimi, was involved in. Quite the trial by fire the young shrine maiden was put through. Luckily, she and her mother had a lot of help. That was also the incident that took Reimi's father's life. It took Reimu months to recover from that, leaving Reimi to keep the peace in the meantime. Though again, she was not alone.
Would Louise ever experience a large scale battle as what had transpired during that incident? Will she ever have to experience the pain of losing a loved one in the middle of a battlefield? Will she be able to overcome the challenges she will face in her life once we confirm what power she truly possesses?
"Of course she will…" I muttered to myself as I opened the door to the garden.
After all, she has me.
"So…" I stated as I looked at the odd sight of my master and Derf sitting across from each other with a round table between them, Derf wasn't as much as sitting as being propped up on a chair. Louise was drinking tea and was likely waiting for my return with what I was going to do for the fair.
"So…" Both sword and magician said to me. I sighed and closed the door to the room.
"I am rather surprised that you would get along so well with a sword." I said with a slight smirk, eliciting a grumble from said sword.
"An ancient, talking, magical rusted sword." I corrected, making sure to emphasize the word 'rusted'.
"I'm only rusted because you won't clean me!" Derf shot back in defiance, shaking in its scabbard as it did.
"What is that?" Louise asked as she pointed to the item I was carrying, changing the subject at the same time.
"This is a violin case, it is typically used to store a violin and its bow when it needs to be carried." I explained as I held up the case for both of them to see. The two of them looked at each other…well, Louise looked at Derf…then back to me.
"And what are you planning to do with an instrument?" Louise asked me. I raised a brow at the strange question. Louise was not stupid, she should already know my intention if I had-
"Probably going to bash someone's skull in with it." Derf followed up, I then saw something very strange. Louise looked back to Derf and smirked, if the sword had lips it probably would have smirked back. I shook my head at the sight. It was surreal seeing my master and my 'sword' work together to take a jab at me. It was far from being the strangest thing I have ever seen, but a surreal sight is a surreal sight.
"Well played, however…" I stated as I placed the violin case on Louise's desk next to my parasol before turning back to the two other occupants of the room.
"Have you gotten anywhere with researching about the Void?" I asked Louise, who immediately gave an 'urk' which meant that she still had nothing on the matter.
"I've been looking everywhere in the library, from history to folklore to magical theory. I still can't get any leads on what exactly Void is and what it can do, much less how the founder managed to cast them." Louise admitted with a defeated sight, I expected as much. The legend of the founder Brimir was over six thousand years old, far longer than the existence of Gensokyo as I know it. The actual facts of the mechanics of Void magic would either be too diluted in legend over the millennia to be useful or would be locked in some ancient grimoire or artifact, and those tend to be highly coveted, guarded, or lost to the sands of time.
"Hmmm…Void, eh?" Derf suddenly spoke up, making both Louise and I look at the ancient blade in curiosity. Has in heard something about Void before? It was conceivable as it was an ancient artifact and…wait…
"Please don't tell me that you were an enchanted blade that was once wielded by one of Brimir's familiars, the Left Hand of God: Gandalfr, and simply forgot about it because of how distant in the past it was." I postulated, my master was giving me an incredulous look after I said that. Louise had given me a run through of the current version of the legend days before. The mighty Brimir wielded Void magic and was aided by four special familiars with unique abilities depending on the required situation. Gandalfr was the combat specialist, a humanoid familiar said to be capable of wielding any weapon like a grandmaster. I could have asked why she was looking at me like that, but she had a tendency to speak her mind about things when in the presence of people close to her.
"That's awfully specific of you to say, Yuka." My master voiced her opinion, see?
"Still, are you really the sword that was wielded by the Gandalfr?" Louise asked the blade, a tiny glimmer of hope and awe in her eyes.
"Who knows, I can't remember if I was nor not, six thousand years is a very long time you know." Derf said casually while giving the best impression of a shrug a sword could possibly do. I heard Louise give out a heavy sigh of disappointment. It was a long shot, a veritable miracle if Derf really was a blade that was somehow associated with the very man Louise was researching about. Sadly, the only miracles I know of are the ones that demand great effort and sacrifice to achieve.
"I am assuming that you have mostly exhausted the resources available in the academy on the subject?" I asked Louise as I pulled up a chair and sat on the table with them.
"Everything available to the students. There's an old rumor that there is a hidden library somewhere in the school that houses an unbelievable amount of books. What we are looking for might be there but…" Louise trailed of, frustrated that she was reduced to relying on a baseless rumor for her research.
"Don't give up, we've just started delving into this." I pointedly said, making Louise glare at me for a few moments. The fire in her eyes tells me that she knows that but…
"Do you have any idea how frustrating it is? Knowing that you have power but you can't control it properly? That you don't even know what it is?" Yes, actually I once did. And since I did, I simply gave Louise a warm smile.
"That simply means that you are determined to find out. Do not forget that you are not alone in this, I will help with that as well." I stated softly to my master. Sadly, it seemed to have the opposite effect as I saw her eye twitch.
"And what kind of help have you done so far? You said that you'd look into the other possibilities about my magic but you come here as empty handed as I am." Louise bitterly said.
"Not really. I managed to at least confirm that the Void element angle is still our best possibility." I stated before pouring tea for myself. It had cooled somewhat, but still consumable.
"Elaborate…" Louise flatly stated, very nearly commanded.
"I have it on good authority that figuring out a new casting style that would be compatible for both yourself and the elements of this world could take decades." I started. Really, I thought about teaching Louise how to use spell cards when I remembered that their system of magic is drastically different from ours and could result in some very unique accidents, far worse that what Louise had been able to do so far.
"Discovering a new element would either take centuries or would not be possible at all. Otherwise, someone else would have already discovered it by now." I continued. I had asked Guiche and the others about what they thought of Louise's magical failures and the possibility that she had a completely new element that she needed to perform spells. The students had replied with varying degrees of 'no', stating that the system in use today was what was used by Brimir in the first place and it would be impossible for a human to be able to discover a new element out of nowhere. Tabitha had even opted to simply state that it was impossible. What about the so called 'elves' then? They are supposedly capable of wielding magic far beyond what humans are capable of. That would not make sense either since that would mean that Louise was not human and I know for a fact that she was very much human.
"The last possibility would be flat out impossible since you should have destroyed magic in the world altogether if one of your accidents got out of hand when you tried to use a spell with that particular ability with no control whatsoever." I was met with stone dead silence in the room and a shocked Louise and Derf. It was true though. Manipulation of the border of magic was more dangerous than I expected, especially after Yukari's uneasiness at the thought of what could happen if an inexperienced human child had an accident with it.
"I told you that ability was dangerous…" I simply said with a shrug. It took a few moments for Louise to compose herself before sighing again.
"So Void is the best possibility? The magic that hasn't been heard of since the time of the founder is the best bet that I have to actually be able to use magic. Haahahah…" Louise bitterly said before going into a bout of mocking laughter.
"No matter how ancient it is, it still existed. If it existed once, it might exist again. It is better than trying to do something that does not even exist as far as anyone knows." I stated objectively. I assumed that Louise understood this but was still too broken up about it to affirm.
"Changing the subject for a moment…" I said before slightly grimacing at the sensation of drinking cold tea that was not meant to be served cold.
"You mentioned before that the princess of your country is arriving for the fair, yes?" I asked, making Louise perk up immediately and start nodding vigorously.
"She actually arrived this afternoon! Sometime after you disappeared! It was wonderful!" Louise gushed as she told me about the entrance of her beloved princess. I had surmised from the girl's flowery description of the arrival of the princess that Louise was a fan of hers, or at the very least, someone who admired her greatly. It seemed that the beloved princess of Tristain had arrived in grandeur befitting her title, a parade of colors and carriages that were pulled by Unicorns. I have never seen a Unicorn before…
"And then! And then! She even waved to the students! To us!" Louise explained in giddy delight, showing the same smile she gave me when she flew with me.
"I wonder if there's something in the tea that caused this reaction…" I heard Derf say offhandedly considering how quickly Louise shifted from despair to exaltation at the mere mention of the princess.
"You are quite fond of her aren't you?" I asked, fully amused at my master acting like a child many years younger than she is.
"Of course! She's the princess!" Louise stated matter of factly, as if all princesses deserve the same praise. Sadly, my only dealings with princesses were with Lunarians. None of them elicited the kind of reverence from me that Louise was currently showing for hers. Especially Kaguya…
I was about to ask Louise to calm down when I sensed something outside. The aura was not hostile but it belonged to a very strong spell caster by this world's standards…and it wasn't Tabitha or one of the teaching staff. I inhaled and found the sweet odor of fine perfume, female then…or a man as flamboyant as Guiche. I slowly stood up and gestured both Louise and Derf to remain quiet. I walked to the desk and picked up my parasol, hefting it over my right shoulder as I stood in front of the door. If the person on the other side of the door was an assassin, and alone, it would be over in a second. Although, I wondered who would want to kill Louise and for what ends. I also briefly though of what kind of idiot assassin would try to kill someone by going through the front door. I swiftly opened said door, shocking the intruder into letting out an 'eek', before I pointed the tip of my parasol right between her eyes. Yes, it was female, wearing a simple dark brown cloak and hood.
"You have five seconds to give me a very good reason why you were standing outside this door in the middle of the night like a thief or assassin." I coldly stated to the figure that trembled for a moment before instantly calming down. Interesting, I made sure to let my killing intent flow out freely when I said those words. Whoever this was, she was used to dealing with great pressure.
"Umm…Louise Francoise?" The woman stated softly before lowering her hood to show us who she really was.
"Princess Henrietta!" Louise exclaimed in sheer surprise. The princess? Here? Sneaking around like a thief in the middle of the night? Just to visit Louise?
"How can I be sure that you are really who you say you are?" I continued to point my parasol between her eyes, ready to impale her head with it if she twitched the wrong way. She was still a powerful magician and Louise has her guard completely down. It would be easy for a shape shifter or a master impostor to take advantage of such a situation and strike. Not that I'd allow any sort of hostile action toward Louise past me of course.
"Yuka! Don't deny the validity of the claims of the Princess!" Louise immediately yelled at me, missing how absurd her words sounded. I sighed and lowered my parasol, making way for Princess Henrietta to come in. I closed the door and placed my parasol back on the desk. The princess quickly made her way toward Louise and embraced her. She was only able to make it that far alive because I did not sense any ill intent at all coming from the woman.
"I can't say I expected this." Derf piped up, making the princess stare at the sword for a few moments while still having Louise in her arms.
"Did that sword just talk?" Henrietta asked the room at large, possibly doubting her own sanity for a moment.
"Yes…a lot has happened, Your Highness." Louise sheepishly said as Henrietta finally let her go. My master saw my raised brow as I chose to lean on the door with my arms folded, my expression asking the unvoiced question: 'Why does the princess of your country know you?'
"I had the honor and the privilege of becoming a royal playmate in my youth." Louise stated shyly while glancing at me, making the princess look between the two of us. My master talks as if she was no longer in her youth…
It was then that I noticed the glint of understanding in the princess' eyes. I sighed and shook my head at what she was probably going to say.
"I would rather think of us as childhood friends, Louise Francois…" Henrietta said before glancing back to me for a moment.
"Although, I do apologize for ruining your rendezvous with your lover." There it was…and predictably, Louise reacted to the notion that she and I were romantically involved in the most appropriate way she could.
"Lo-lo-lo-lover? He's not my lover! Look at him! He looks like a gardener! Do you honestly think that I would fall in love with someone like that? I can't even imagine how anyone would think that I would be romantically involved with that man! He and I are not lovers! He is my familiar that I summoned during the springtime summoning ritual weeks ago! Did I mention that we're not lovers?" By blabbering incoherently and blushing as bright as a red sun, making her look even guiltier of what the princess was implying.
"Wait…familiar?" Henrietta thankfully chose a safer subject to talk about with my master.
"I am Yuka Kazami, Your Highness. I was summoned by Louise and am currently her familiar and partner." I stated with a polite bow, enough to save face for my master but not enough to imply that I regarded the princess with the same amount of subservience that her regular subjects did.
"It is a pleasure, Yuka Kazami. I experienced first hand how much you take Louise Francois' safety seriously. I am impressed with your concern and loyalty toward her." Henrietta complimented my earlier display instead of taking offence to it. She is also officially the very first person to get the pronunciation of my name correctly on her first try. I like her already.
"Not at all. I will protect Louise from all who would do her harm. Even in the face of Armageddon itself, I shall not compromise." I boldly stated, eliciting another blush from Louise and a whistling sound from Derf.
"If only those in my court were as dedicated as you…" Henrietta said with a tinge of sadness before quickly adopting a warm smile and offering her hand. I pondered for a moment on what she might want me to do before I blinked at the realization. She was either offering me a handshake or asking me to kiss the back of her hand. Considering she was royalty and a lady, I was going to assume that it was the latter. I took her hand and kissed her knuckles lightly, using the grace I have honed through countless years of life. I took it a bit further as I glanced up at the princess while my lips were still on her hand, giving her a serious and noble gaze. The light pink that appeared on her cheeks showed that it had worked. I learned that one from the man who had captured Reimu's heart so long ago. I let go of her hand and the princess immediately turned back to Louise and gave her another hug.
"It has been wonderful to see you again my old friend, even better now that I know that you are in good hands." She said as she let my master go before glancing at me and Derf with a smile.
"I wish you luck in the fair tomorrow." She said before pulling up her hood again and headed for the door. I opened the door and made way for her exit. I made sure that she had cleared the hall before closing the door and turning back to Louise who looked absolutely exhausted.
"The princess was here. She came here just to see me. Hehehe…" Louise muttered to herself as she made a silly smile while staring blanking into oblivion.
"Has to be something in the tea…" Derf concluded to itself as I sighed one more time before helping my master prepare for sleep. She and I have quite the day ahead of us. That reminded me…
"I wonder what I should play?" I muttered I helped the still dazed Louise into her nightgown.
I stood in front of a crowd of nobles and commoners alike. I glanced to the side where my master was looking on expectantly along with her friends. I nodded toward the teaching staff and the princess who were acting as a panel of judges. I looked up to the clear blue sky at took a breath.
"My name is Yuka Kazami. I am the summoned familiar of Louise Francoise le Blanc de la Valliere. Allow me to play to you a song of my people." I said while tipping my straw hat toward the crowd at large before putting my violin in position and readying the bow. After pausing for a few moments, making sure that everyone's attention is firmly situated with me, I began playing. This was a song that I came up with during a certain midsummer's day, a year after Reimu passed away. It was a song that made me recall the past and revel in the present. It was a song reminded me of a constant throughout everything that has happened so far.
Gensokyo Past and Present ~ Flower Land
It was a song that I played in the middle of the Garden of the Sun. It was a somewhat slow melody that evokes a sense of nostalgia in me, reminding me of where I came from and how I came to be who I am today. I chose this song for that very purpose. I wished to see if it will draw out the same feelings from Louise that it did to me, to reflect on your past and appreciate what you have in the present.
Yes, I can be surprisingly philosophical if I was bored enough.
I opened my eyes as I wound down the song, lifting the bow from the violin and removing the instrument from its position. I gazed at the crowd, at Louise and the other, at the judging panel. The entire place was absolutely in silence for several moments before they all erupted in cheers and applause at the same time. I smile and tipped my hat to the crowd one more time before exiting the stage.
"Th-Th-That was amazing!" Louise gushed before she ran to me and embraced me where I stood, very nearly throwing her hat off her head. I will admit that it was a very odd experience for me. After all, this was the first time someone ever hugged me in joy.
"That was a superb piece, Mister Yuka! I was in tears at the beauty of the melody." Guiche said as he flamboyantly expressed his feelings about my performance. The expressions of Kirche and Monmon were those of admiration and joy as well. Even Tabitha put her book away during the performance, though she left immediately afterward to prepare for her own performance. I turned my gaze to Siesta and saw that she had a bit of a complicated expression under her straw hat. I was wondering why when I saw Kirche leering at me with a very amused expression.
"Aren't you being a bit too close with your familiar, Louise~?" The redhead teased, making my master blush as red as Kirche's hair. That girl and Yukari would probably get along well enough…not that I would ever let that happen.
"Wh-wh-wh-what are you talking about?" Louise let out as she quickly pushed herself away from me and grabbing the rim of her hat. It was a new thing for Louise ever since she got her hat. Whenever she gets embarrassed, she would grab the rim of her hat and pull it slightly downward. Very cute but I was glad that it was made of leather, I doubt that a cotton or wool hat could take that kind of abuse for too long.
"Louise, your resistance only makes my teasing harder~" Kirche quickly followed up and suddenly found herself being chased around by my master.
"Ignoring what just happened, I'm honestly impressed by your skill with that instrument." Monmon complimented me on my performance.
"Thank you. I don't really care for winning but if it helps Louise then I don't really mind it." I said with a shrug, earning a genuine smile from the blonde girl.
"I really hope that you win though, that was beautiful." Siesta suddenly muttered, making Guiche, Monmon, and I turn to her.
"Ah! Did I just say that out loud?" The maid suddenly said in surprise before clutching my parasol tighter. I had Siesta hold onto my parasol before I went on stage instead of giving it to Louise. It was to prevent Louise from thinking that I was using her as someone to carry my things for me and to show her that having Siesta around is very convenient.
"Yes, and I am very happy that you feel that way. Can you put this in Louise's room for me?" I asked as I gave the maid my violin, now back in its case, and traded it for my parasol.
"Of course!" Siesta happily said before trotting of toward the dormitory tower.
"I have to say though, you have that maid wrapped around your finger." Monmon commented with a bit of a smirk.
"Good help is hard to find, especially one like Siesta." I honestly said and the blonde simply nodded in agreement.
"Umm…maybe we should stop those two?" We heard Guiche say as he pointed to the skirmish between Kirche and Louise. It was starting to devolve into a shouting match between two children as Kirche started poking the tip of my master's hat and I was sure that it would regress into physical violence if nothing was done about it.
"I'll take care of it…" I said with a bored tone as I opened up my parasol and let it lean on my right shoulder before I walked toward the two young magicians.
"Honestly though…you are too easy to provoke." I said while shaking my head. Louise and I were walking back to the dormitory tower at my insistence. My master had wanted to stay until the very end of the fair, saying something about watching the princess awarding the winner, but I managed to convince her to return when I pointed out that half the class were still due to perform and she would be stuck with Kirche in the meantime. We agreed to come back after a while, hopefully before or soon after the awarding. It was a very sound plan…if it wasn't for the sudden spike in magic I sensed in the distance. I raised a brow at the sensation. It was not something that was unusual to feel in a school such as this, Professor Colbert and the headmaster easily had enough magical power to make that spike, but the situation was too unusual for them to do so. Also, it was coming from a completely different direction from where they were judging the participants of the fair.
"Louise…I believe that something just came up." I muttered as we rounded a corner, just in time to hear the sound of the castle wall being hit by the fist of a hundred foot tall earth golem. Why so specific a description? Because we were currently watching a hundred foot tall earth golem do just that.
"Wh-Wh-What the heck is that?" Louise stuttered in panic as she pointed at the golem before it hit the wall with another punch.
"I believe that is what you would call an earth golem, very well made too." I commented. It was much larger than Guiche's golems and looked much tougher even though it was made out of packed dirt. Although…
"The castle wall is holding up surprisingly well, I wonder what is on the other side..." I muttered as I watched the golem hit it one more time. It was strange, if the wall was made out of stone, it should have been broken to bits by now considering the repeated pummelling it was being subjected to. The only explanation would be that it was magically reinforced. Usually that would mean that someone or something important or valuable would be on the other side of that wall. It would also mean that whoever that cloaked figure was, who was standing on the golem's right shoulder, is trying to get to it.
"Why are you wondering about something like that? Someone is destroying part of the school! Do something!" Louise yelled at me. The golem stopped and it turned to us, along with its rider. I narrowed my eyes as the cloaked figure smiled and pointed at us and the golem quickly aimed a punch to crush us. I closed my parasol and picked up Louise before jumping clear of the fist.
"Eeeek!" Louise shrieked in surprise as we narrowly missed getting hit by the golem, though construct did not retract its appendage even after it was obvious that we managed to evade it. I got the reason why when the ground surrounding the fist suddenly erupted into a wave of stalagmites. The wave managed to reach us but the patterns were too predictable and I was easily able to weave through them before jumping up and clearing them altogether.
"Stay here…" I said to my master as I put her down a safe distance away from the golem. I gripped my parasol with my right hand and ran to the side of the golem, flanking it and keeping it away from Louise. The golem retracted its fist from the ground and wound up its other fist to try to punch me even though I was far beyond its reach at the moment. I found out why when the golem's fist separated from the arm after it threw its punch.
A projectile attack, very creative.
I was easily able to jump away from the fist just as it impacted the ground like wet mud. I was suddenly taken slightly by surprise when the dirt that made up the first reshaped itself into a stalagmite that burst out at me. I was able to twist out of the way from the tip of the earthen spike and was able to land safely on the ground. So, this is the power of the more experienced magicians of this world? I like what I'm seeing so far. I smiled at the prospect of actually having a fun fight dropped onto my lap and charged right at the behemoth. The golem took a step forward before throwing another punch straight at me. However, I was already close enough so it didn't have to toss its fist at me anymore. I met the golem's fist with the tip of my parasol and the earth parted in the face of my trusted weapon. The golem's fist, along with a good portion of its arm blew away as I made my parasol dig deeper into the construct. I saw the rider grimace after seeing its creation take that much damage. I was also close enough to notice something…perfume. The rider was female? I did not manage to confirm this because the golem sent its other fist at me. I was able to lean my shoulder toward the blow to absorb the impact. The fist that hit me shattered but it had enough force to send me to the ground. I skid a few feet away from the construct and saw that the golem's legs were shifting in place. I realized why when the arms that I had just destroyed started growing back. The golem was using the earth beneath its feet to restore itself.
"Most impressive…" I said with a smile. I admit, this was the very first time I had fought against someone specifically tuned to weaponize earth. Sure, I had fought against creatures that can throw around entire mountainsides, but I have never been able to have the pleasure of facing an actual manipulator of earth. I must say, this human magician was proving to be worth the fight. I charged at the golem once more and it once again threw another punch at me. I was ready for it and met the fist with my own left fist. I raised a brow when my fist felt like it was seeping into mud. The magician changed the density of the earth that made up the fist, seemingly trying to trap me into part of the construct. It was very clever and I saw that the other fist was already headed straight for me. I noticed that the rider was smiling at me, seemingly certain of her victory. Good, I gave a smile of my own. Long before the fist reached me, I let my flowers bloom. From the arm that caught my fist, six plants suddenly burst forth. They were flowers that I had encountered before, flowers that I had grown fond of using as time went by. The blossoms were not your ordinary kind. Instead of petals, each one had a single red spherical bulb with white dots of varying sizes. The most interesting about them is that each bulb was actually a head, each head had a gaping maw with teeth made of thorns. The flowers had neither eyes nor ears but they can sense another's presence. These were predatory plants, affectionately known as piranha plants.
I saw the rider's stunned expression at what had just happened but it was not over yet. The six piranha plants all turned to where the rider was standing and opened their jaws. The rider's expression went from surprise to fear when balls of fire came from within each plant. The magician quickly redirected the golem's other arm to block the oncoming blasts. Once again, the magician demonstrated that she can change the consistency of the earth that made up her golem by making the blocking arm as hard as granite. The magician countered my sending a wave of spikes across the surface of the arm that had my plants, impaling four of them in the head. The remaining two kept belching out fire until the other arm of the golem smashed into them destroying the arm that was holding onto me. I dropped down to the ground and considered making more piranha plants when I caught the telltale pink of my master's hair. She was behind the golem…and she was pointing her wand at the rider.
"Fireball!" I heard her yell out. The rider quickly made her golem turn around and use its arms to block the magician. Several moments passed and nothing happened. A failed spell? No if that was a failed spell then...
On cue, an explosion rocked the field where we were fighting on. Louise's concussive blast went wide to the right, taking out the wall that the golem had been trying to destroy with one shot. It was also strong enough to blow a good chunk of the golem's left shoulder and arm. My master had a look of fright when she realized what she had just done. The momentary pause was enough for the rider as she quickly leaped into the hole made by Louise, the golem covering the newly made entrance like a sentry. The construct did not stay still though. As soon as the damage it took regenerated, it quickly aimed a punch at my master. I dashed toward my master who was still frozen in place, mesmerized by the promise of certain death from being crushed under the golem's fist. I managed to make it in time and pick up my frozen master, who did not even react when I suddenly carried her over my shoulder. The golem's fist hit the ground and it once again sent a wave of stalagmites our way. I easily avoided them like last time but the golem also threw stone spikes at us from the surface of its shoulder. I did not have enough room to try to graze them without endangering Louise. I opted to drop my master onto the ground, making her grunt at the sudden action, before opening up my parasol and using it as a shield. The spikes were either shattered or deflected by my parasol but the golem just kept throwing them at us. It was buying time for the magician.
I suddenly noticed a familiar presence coming from the sky. I smiled when I saw several large icicles rain down onto the golem. I glanced up toward the direction where the ice came from and sure enough saw Tabitha riding Sylphid. The quiet magician girl gestured with her staff and sent another wave of icicles at the golem. The construct blocked the projectiles with both arms before retaliating with stone spikes from its shoulders. The blue drake easily managed to maneuver away from them as it let its master continue with the barrage. Tabitha's distraction was enough to get the golem's attention away from us so I took the time to check on Louise.
"Are you hurt?" I asked Louise who was still wide eyed and on the verge of tears.
"I…failed…again…" She muttered over and over again as she sat on the ground, staring into oblivion. I'll need to take care of that later. I turned back to the golem who was shrugging off the rain of icicles made by Tabitha. I briefly entertained the thought of finishing the battle with a Master Spark when I remembered that such an attack would probably destroy much of the school. My master probably wouldn't approve of that. Instead I opted to use other means…
I gestured my left hand upward and the ground beneath the golem's feet erupted into masses of vines and flowers that entangled themselves around the legs of the construct before working their way up the body. I saw the rider come back out the hole in the wall and glanced at my handiwork. She turned to me and smirked before climbing onto the golem's shoulder. The entire upper torso of the golem suddenly reformed itself and enveloped the rider in a sphere made of earth. A barrier? No, a magician that can fight that well can't be so stupid to trap themselves using their own power. I got my answer when the sphere suddenly shot our and slammed into the ground. I thought that it was going to roll away but I was mistaken. Instead of using the sphere as a bowling ball to knock down the walls, the clever made it meld into the earth on the ground. It almost looked like the sphere was dissolving into the ground, when in fact, it was shifting the earth to make way for the magician to make her escape right under everyone's feet. I felt the presence of the magician fade away into the distance until it could not longer be sensed.
Not bad, human…
Once I was certain that the threat was gone, I turned back to where Louise was still sitting on the ground. The girl was holding onto the brim of her hat as she trembled where she sat. I knelt down and placed my hand on her head.
"We really need to work on your evasion…" I softly said to my master, ignoring the shouts of the late arriving human guards. I felt the presence of Tabitha and turned toward the blue-haired girl, her drake opting to fly circles above us.
"Unnecessary?" She asked, tilting her head to the side slightly. It was then that I noticed that she had a small bronze crown on her head. I ignored it for now and shook my head.
"Perhaps…" I replied before looking back to my trembling master.
"Scared…" Tabitha commented when she noticed Louise's current state.
"Her first battle and her first brush with death." I supplied the quiet girl who walked to the other side of my master and started gently rubbing her back. It was nice to see that people were starting to care for Louise.
"Have you calmed down?" I asked my master who was sitting across from me. All the students were sent back to their rooms following the skirmish with the earth magician. Princess Henrietta was quickly extracted from the academy grounds by a large group of griffin knights, probably a bit twitchy after something like that happening so close to where their sovereign was located. Louise had not said a word since the incident, even after being visited by her friends. Monmon and Siesta had wanted to stay with her longer but the teaching staff was strict in enforcing a lockdown of the academy for now.
"First near-death?" Derf asked me from his seat beside me. I found it a bit odd that Louise still propped up the sword on a chair next to us as Siesta served us some tea at my request.
"Yes, a particularly close one." I said while nodding, the blade humming in understanding.
"That happens a lot times to those who haven't fought for their lives before." Derf commented, earning another nod from me. A six-thousand year old sword would know a thing or two about that wouldn't he?
"Is it always…that…" My master quietly started, her eyes covered by the brim of her hat.
"Fast? Fierce? Frightening?" I asked, prodding my master to continue. Louise was quiet for several moments after that. Derf was about to say something but I gestured him not to. The first step needs to be taken by Louise herself.
"Close…" She finally answered, lifting her gaze up to the point where I could see her still scared expression.
"Yes, particularly if both sides were serious about killing each other. That is how fights usually are." I said with a shrug.
"Sure, you can say that so easily. You're a powerful youkai that managed to go barehanded against the most well constructed earth golem I had ever seen. I'm just a squishy wizard who almost got myself killed." Ah, so it wasn't fear that was the ruling emotion. It was frustration due her apparent powerlessness during the battle.
"Even Tabitha was able to hold her own. All I could do was fail miserably again and be a burden to everyone. I'm completely usele-" I cut the girl off right there by slamming my left palm on the table, making the tableware, the girl, and the sword suddenly shake.
"And that is as far as your little episode of self loathing will get." I firmly stated before picking up cup and taking another sip of my tea.
"Why did you do what you did?" I asked Louise before she could start anything.
"What?" Louise asked in seemingly genuine puzzlement. I heard Derf sigh before slipping back into its scabbard. It seemed that the blade knew where I was going to take this and decided not to be involved.
"At the time of the battle, you were witness to me fighting toe to toe with 'the most well constructed earth golem you have ever seen', yet you still stepped forward and tried to fight it anyway. Why?" I clarified for my master, putting down my cup before crossing my arms across my chest.
"I didn't want you to fight it alone…" She admitted.
"Even though you knew that something like that couldn't possibly kill me?" I asked, Louise did not answer.
"Even though you knew that I had the fight under control?" I added, still no response.
"Even though you knew that I would have won?" I continued, leaning back.
"I didn't want you to fight it alone!" Louise screamed her earlier answer at me.
"Even though I knew that the golem wasn't strong enough to kill you. Even though I knew that you had the fight under control. Even though I knew that you would have won. Even though what I did would have been unnecessary. I still wanted to help you…" Louise said as she bit back tears, I merely remained quiet and allowed her to get it all out.
"You've been around for a very long time…you have fought against beings I can't even begin to imagine. But you almost always fought alone, even though you're in a completely different world now. Even though you are already my familiar…you still fought that golem alone. I didn't want that because…" Was as far as Louise got before she started crying. Was that how she saw me? Was it merely something she was latching onto in the hopes that she and I would have something in common? I smiled at the thought, a tiny human magician crying in front of me because she was worried about me being lonely. Sixteen hundred years and this was the first time someone has cried for my sake. I stood up and walked over to Louise, my body moving before I even registered what I was really doing.
"Yuka, what are you-?" Louise yelped out after I knelt before her and gave her a gentle hug. It was not something romantic or familial. It was merely a hug to comfort my master…my…friend. Louise was quiet for a few moments before returning the hug.
"I couldn't even hit it…my spell missed and broke the wall…" She muttered, recalling her missed attack. Her words made me blink a couple of times before I made the realization. Of course! I pulled away from her and stared at her intently, making her blush furiously before turning away from me.
"You missed…" I muttered, making my master turn back to me with a glare. Her previous embarrassment turned to anger as she pushed me away.
"Yes I did! Louise the Zero missed the broad side of a hundred foot tall golem! Rub it in my face more!" She yelled as she raised her arms up, exasperated.
"No…you don't understand Louise…" I muttered before standing back up and returning to my seat.
"I don't understand what? How much I have failed?" Louise sarcastically asked me in self contempt.
"Think…" I stated, holding my right hand up to prevent further protests from my master.
"Your spell went wide to the right and destroyed the castle wall and a good portion of the golem's left side…" I started, hoping the gears in her head start turning soon.
"A castle wall that was hit three times by that golem without as much as a dent on it and a golem that shrugged of Tabitha's icicle attacks." I pointed out, making Louise's eyes go wide.
"You missed but you managed to produce enough power to damage two things that I'm pretty sure were meant to be resistant to magic in the first place..." I said with a smile.
"I did…" Louise affirmed, recalling what she had done earlier.
"And that proves it, my master has immense power within her. The only issue would be control, awareness, and a bit of evasion." I muttered to myself.
"Evasion?" Louise asked, tilting her head to the side.
"Had you not frozen up and got out of the way of the golem's counter, you could have had another shot at the thing." I simply stated, making my master do another 'urk'.
"Well, what was I supposed to do? That was my first battle!" Louise said as if her words justified her actions.
"Usually, the ones who act like that in the battlefield ended up with that as their final battle." I said with a more serious tone. Louise gulped at what I was implying before clearing her throat.
"So…what are we going to do about it?" She asked me.
"I already have something in mind…although…" I trailed off as I saw my master yawn.
"You need your sleep. Today has been exciting for you to say that least." I said with a smile before standing up and walking to Louise's wardrobe to fetch her nightgown. My master grumbled a few times but eventually complied. She quickly got to sleep and I picked up my parasol before walking to the door.
"Watch over her?" I asked Derf.
"Not like I'm going anywhere…" The sword replied with another of its sword-shrugs. I smiled at the sight of my sleeping master before walking out. Time to get to work…
Louise opened her eyes and saw that she was in the middle of the sunflower field again. Great, another one of these…
"Hello Louise." A familiar voice startled the pink-haired girl, making her turn to the voice. She saw her familiar standing in front of her, with his parasol open even though the sun wasn't out anymore. This was just a dream so it didn't strictly have to make sense.
"Continuing where we left off…" Yuka trailed off as he produced a tall glass of red wine in his hands. He walked up to Louise before giving the glass to her. He stepped back a few steps and three of those piranha plants burst from the ground.
"As I stated earlier, you need to work on your evasion to prevent you from freezing up whenever something threatening suddenly approaches you. Thus, this exercise..." Her familiar trailed off and Louise glanced at the menacing looking plants as they swayed from side to side.
"You are to try to evade the fireballs generated by my plants as best you can…without spilling a drop of wine from the glass." Yuka said with a wicked smile. Dodge fireballs while keeping the wine in the glass? What kind of crazy training is that supposed to be?
"Don't worry about dying if you get hit…this is just a dream after all." Her familiar said in a sickeningly sweet voice before the piranha plants opened their maws and fired.
It was at that moment that Louise decided that she didn't like this dream…