Fukou's Corner: Fiction of the Fans

fukou_da_man

[12] Conqueror
Greetings! I thought I would take the time to share mit meinen freunden, the zany and wild thoughts that regularly pass through my twisted-yet-elegant mind!

For now, I shall leave you with a fan fiction written awhile back before the Navy hijacked my life. The first I'm going to post here is not about Soul Calibur, but it is only the beginning! I'm sure many of you are fans of Demon's Souls, anyway.
 

fukou_da_man

[12] Conqueror
The Demon of Zero

Chapter 1

-Oh Come To Me, Ye Slayer Of Demons-

A Demon's Souls and Familiar of Zero crossover.

-"What man hath power, which he himself can call evil?"-Unknown

"A scourge of demons, we too, once faced".

The Monumental's arrogance knew no bounds. I may be a woman, but I am Royalty! I am no mere dabbler in magic either, I am a sorceress of undeniable power! He lured my soul into the Nexus and then promised me freedom from that prison if I could accomplish one thing; lull the Old One back to slumber.

"Ridiculous", I shouted as I kicked at his candle. It was beyond me how he could take something of mine as precious as my life and dangle it before me as if it were never mine to begin with. He denied me an honorable death.

"I will slay your Demons, Monumental. I will lure the Old One with my power, Monumental. And then, perhaps I shall come after you, Monumental", I say with a pained expression. Because it is an empty threat. He cannot die and he is also right, despite my pride, this must end. I just couldn't bring myself to show him absolute obedience, however.

"Yes, we are fortunate indeed to have you. Now, go forth, and destroy every last Demon", says the Monumental with slight curl in his lip. I think his long life has made him rather jaded. So I charged into the Demons and I made them mine.

Lead, Tower, Sword and King.

Spider, Flame and a God.

Idol, Twins and Demon Cloak.

Hunger, Hero and King.

Poison, Plague and Purity.

I faced them all and made them mine. I took the massive power of their souls and made it MINE! However, I must admit-I feel them-and their presence is strong. They are still inside of me. Not living, but their essence. A Demon's Soul is no play thing. Surely if I let my guard down, I would have gone as mad as the rest of the fools. Only my power would be unstoppable. Inside the Beast's lair, it is indescribable. It's almost euphoric, this sense of power that I feel! But more than that, this place feels warm. It feels like I'm resting in my mother's arms as I did as a child. Every fiber of my being tells me it's safe here. This place is home. What a troubling thought. This is the belly of a damned Demon! And the Old One no less! I should not be feeling this way. This must be the extent to what that poor Crestfallen Warrior, that I met in the Nexus, warned me of. I had merely thought he was mad, but perhaps he knew the power of these souls more than anyone?

"But beware; do not devolve into a foul beast…", his words ring eerily in the back of my mind. The Maiden and I have reached the core of the Old One's lair. I suppose this is where our journey is over. The Maiden turns to me and says, "Slayer of Demons, go back above. The Nexus shall imprison thee no longer. I shall lull the Old One back to slumber" in a kind and gentle voice. So am I free? Am I to rejoice? If that is so, then why am I still standing here? My knees are shaking. My heart begins to race.

"What is this...?", I cry out softly to myself. I feel them. The thousands of souls I've stolen, the Demon's Souls that are now apart of me. It's as if they're rampaging within me! Every soul beckons me to step forward!

"Argg.. ah..", I fight it with all that I am. It hurts so bad. Worse than any physical wound that any Demon could give me. It hurts, because it feels so good.

"The Old One and I shall slumber interminably. That is the way it must be. Thou may'st go. Be gone to thine world", the Maiden says with a voice that lacks its previous kindness.

"Maiden, I...", my mouth stops me from speaking by forming a psychotic smile against my will. My world turns black. Something snapped. The dam that guarded my heart has failed. That which was me, no longer exists.

I step forward. Flesh and bone. The sound of my rapier piercing the kind Maiden's skull. Thump. The sound of the kind Maiden's body hitting the ground.

"Maiden... your soul... it is mine! GIVE IT TO ME!", I hear my voice say words that I never told it to say in a voice I've never heard. And with that, I obtain the power to manipulate souls. There is no doubt that I am the strongest Demon of them all!

"Haha... ke...", I laugh in a maniacal delight at the power now flowing through me a situation I do not understand at all. I have no idea how long I've been standing here. Just staring absent-mindedly at my friend's corpse. I feel nothing, however that smile still has not left my face. I will not allow it. I will seal my heart away so this evil cannot awaken.

"I won't let you win...", I mutter to myself to strengthen my resolve. Just as I say this, something strange appears. Its power is very reminiscent of the Blue Eye Stone the Maiden gave me but somehow different. Maybe the fact that I never activated the power my Stone.

"What... the hell?". Could this be the Old One? But that wouldn't make any sense. I am already in the presence of the Old One, how or why would he summon me? "Someone is calling for me. Perhaps whomever lies behind this portal can give me purpose again? Could... could I atone?", I speak to myself meekly. "Very well. I accept your request". I reach out my hand to the portal and it wraps itself around my hand instantly.

It pulls. I subconsciously pull back at such a sudden thing, however I release my muscles after a moment and allow it transport me.

I watch the world go by.

Space.

Time.

It's all irrelevant now. I can feel I am being pulled to some place very, very far away. This is a good thing, I think. Well, I thought. As when I open my eyes again I am about fifty feet in the air. I quickly brace my body with a Warding spell and land in a crater about the size of a small church. The small crater is encompassed by a shroud of dust and smoke. Warding certainly strengthens your muscles and your bones, but it does nothing for the pain involved with smacking into the ground. What kind of summoning is this? I almost feel like I was used as a projectile. There are certainly more cost-effective means for ammunition, I can assure you. I decide to maintain the pose I fell into after landing. It will allow me to quickly dodge an attack should this be some pseudo-trap. After several minutes, the dust begins to settle. Interesting, there are a lot of people here. They all seem to be children as well. And they're all dressed... interesting.

They are all very quiet, save for some mild whispers I hear them sharing. One girl stands out, however. She is wearing a black cloak, white shirt, black skirt black knee socks and black shoes and holding what looks to be a wooden catalyst. But what is her most distinguishing feature thus far is her hair. Beautiful strawberry-blonde hair with much more strawberry than blonde. Granted, it's slightly covered in dust and soot at the moment. I can only imagine what has been taking place here. I can only assume, based on the many... creatures present, that it must be a group-summoning ritual. One of the girls in the crowd calls out to the strawberry-blonde something that I don't quite make out, however it seems to anger me for some reason. I am quite certain that this girl is the one that summoned me, I suppose I should greet her since no one here seems particularly hostile. As I stand, everyone crowded around me jumps with a gasp and takes a step back.

"Heh", I can't help but let out an audible laugh at that. I make my way to the young girl, whom has a terrible look of fear I might add. "Young Lady, I ask of thee, dids't thou summon me?", I ask with a dignified and proud voice, as if I were a knight. I have to make a cool first impression, after all! Contorting her face as if to gather her resolve, she speaks, "j-je ne comprends pas votre langue. Pouvez-vous me comprenez? Es-tu mon familier?".

"..."

"..."

I swear, I could literally hear crickets. I have no idea what the hell she just said. Once again, I find the word "interesting" creeping past my lips. I continued to stare at this girl with my expressionless face trying to think about what to do for several minutes. I cannot speak this language but I do recognize some words. I believe most of it was involving her not understanding me and me understanding her. That last question though... "familier"? She is indeed the one who summoned me. The same girl from before shouts something again in a tone that is clearly mocking the girl before me. Is she mocking her because she summoned me? What the hell kind of place is this?

Whatever! That annoys me!

I shoot the girl an evil eye which promptly instructs her to stop. Heh, I wonder what went through her mind? I return my gaze upon the young lady in front of me once again. I kneel as any respectable knight would do.

"You are the one who summoned me, I shall trust in your guidance in this unfamiliar place and I shall assist you in any way that I am able". I say once again in a dignified tone. Even if she cannot understand me, I cannot shirk the duty of a knight to show respect. She seems to understand my body language and tone well enough, as she begins to speak. Wait. Is she chanting an incantation? Is she planning on forming a contract! As I am playing this through my mind wondering how I should handle this situation, I fail to notice that the girl's blushing face is directly in front of mine.

"Ye-...".

My surprised, girlie yelp is cut off by the girl's warm lips meeting my own. I fall back to my rear-end with a look which is probably similar to disbelief on my face. I am unaware of the customs in this place, but I feel like I just lost my purity! Then my hand begins to burn and glowing symbols slowly make their appearance under my skin on the back of my hand.

"Eh...?", I weakly make a noise as I turn my eyes to my hand. This is not good, what did I just get myself into? This is what I get for trying to look cool! I know little of contracts, but I know one with a powerful seal such as this literally binds one to the will of the Contractor. As such, there are many variations of contracts that can force obedience through means of torturous pain or threat of death. Shit. I had best do nothing to put myself in any unnecessary danger until I'm aware of what exactly is going on.

The bald, older man behind the young girl began to speak to her while keeping his eyes on me. No doubt he was curious, as he is clearly the only one here with any experience. In fact... something about this man intimidates me. That's quite troubling considering I once faced a twenty-story tall dragon. It's only so troubling because my instincts have served me well in the past. I will keep an eye on this man. I suppose I should at least maintain my composure so I don't look like a complete fool. So I retake my kneeling stance and await something signaling the completion of whatever is going on. In any case, it seems I have been summoned to an unknown kingdom and formed a contract with a 12 year-old girl. And a powerful one at that. I suppose this is better than where I was not too long ago. I will just see what happens for now. The girl speaks, she seems to be addressing me. So I rise. She motions me to follow with her hand, and I obey. It would be nice if I knew what goal I had been summoned for, though.

Several hours of awkward have passed. Mainly with me silently sitting in the corner of this very nice room-which seems to be a part of a large school or academy-and her speaking very loudly and flailing her arms about and pointing at me or her sitting in the opposite corner glaring at me.I see many similarities between my language and hers, but they are fundamentally different. I have been trying to assist in crossing this barrier but the girl just yells louder every time I do. Surely, she is no warrior. She's just a child! How did she even manage to summon me at all, I wonder...?

"Master", I refer to her as such since I was stupid enough to get roped into a contract, "perhaps you should calm down and assist me in remedying the situation?". I'm not sure what it was that I said, but she rips out her catalyst and begins to chant a spell. Before I can react there is a small explosion originating on my forehead.

"Master, should I assume that you showed mercy upon me? Because I still have my head?", I speak with slight irritation in my voice.

"I understood that!", she yells with excitement.

"As I that. My Master much be very skilled in magic to perform such a spell. I am impressed", I speak honestly. Magic that augments one's mind with understanding is very complicated. To be able to perform it at such a young age is truly a gift.

"Ehh... actually that was supposed to be a silencing spell", she says as she looks at her feet. I stand corrected. Interesting. I feel my finger tapping my catalyst in my pouch.

"Ahh...", I sigh in an attempt to relieve the stress before speaking again. "In any case, due to the difficulty in understanding each other please allow me to make a proper introduction to my Master. My name is Abigail. I have many skills and abilities at my disposal. I came at you call. I must admit, I had no intention of forming a contract but I was unaware of what was happening. From what I gather that was not a proper summoning? In any case, what's done is done and for the time being, you are my Master. So I ask of you, could you please indulge me as to your name and my purpose?", I attempt to be as polite as possible. From what I saw earlier, making a girl who likes to blow stuff up is probably not a good idea so I will stop there.

"Yes!", she exclaimed in a way that rivaled the Monumental's arrogance. "I am your Master. My name is Louise Francoise Lu Blanc de La Valliere. I am a noble and you are my familiar, familiar. And you duties are simple". Simple, she says. After she finishes speaking she stands and begins to remove her cloak. My vision goes black. I hear rustling beyond the black cloak that now masks my visage. As I pull the cloak down, I am assailed by a pair of frilly, pink undergarments with a cute little bow in the front. Thanks to my excellent combat skills, I manage to evade this attack. Once again, I am taken aback by the customs of this land.

"Excuse me, Master", I call to the young girl before me, "I'm not sure exactly what service you intend to call upon, but... s-sexual experience is not my particular forte, nor is it why I accepted your summons. I would be humbled if you would refrain from stealing my chastity", I say to my partially-nude Master.

Uh oh. Once again, I am unfamiliar with the customs of this place and I seem to have misinterpreted the situation.

"S-S-S-S-S-S-SEXUAL!", she screamed in a rather humorous voice. "YOU ARE TO DO MY LAUNDRY, FAMILIAR! NOTHING ELSE RIGHT NOW!".

Well, I was close.

"I understand, while I will obey I do not believe this is the proper use of my abilities, Master", I speak with a sense of failure. I am Royalty, damnit!

"Familiar, let me make this clear. I gave you an order, I did not ask for an opinion nor will I. You have already embarrassed me enough for one lifetime today", she says with a stern look on her face. Wait, I embarrassed her? How the hell does that even work?

"Master, have I failed you in some way?", I speak my feelings.

"Just do what I told you, familiar", she dryly states.

"Very well, Master. I apologize. I will not fail you again", I state emotionally. "Do you have any other orders before I depart, Master?".

"Yes, please wake me at dawn", she says while half-yawning.

"Also Master, if I may?", I speak towards her, she nods her head. "Would you mind me familiarizing myself with the area after this is completed? I am still very new to this place and I would like to understand it better if at all possible".

"Yes, that would be acceptable. Do not forget to wake me or no food tomorrow, understood?", she states like she's speaking to a child.

"Understood, Master. Sleep well".

What the hell is this. I feel like I was better off staring at the Maiden's body-no. I just made myself very uncomfortable. This is infinitely better. Anything is better. But I suppose if anything, it will be interesting. My young Master doesn't seem to be a bad person, just probably spoiled rotten. The social status of this kingdom seems particularly screwed up.

"This is just ridiculous...", I softly mutter to myself while carrying a basket full of capes and panties. Actually, thinking back I have no idea what I should do... I don't even know where to wash them!

"Ah yes, they smell delightful, my dear!", I hear a voice from down the hall. "Please, allow me!", the boy whimsically speaks as he gracefully reaches for a snack that the young girl is holding up to him. This is kind of cute, to be honest. Aside from the fact that the boy looks ridiculous, the young girl and her blushing cheeks speak no lies.

"Ah young love~", I think out-loud.

"Why you speaking without being spoken to, commoner?", the boy asks. Curious I turn to face him. Both him and the young girl are staring in my direction. I wonder who they're looking at? There's no one beside me... there's no one behind me...

Wait. It couldn't be...

"... Are you speaking to me?", I timidly ask.

"Do you see any other commoners here? Oh wait, you're the girl that Louise the Zero summoned! That is to say though, it's amazing she managed to summon anything at all! I must say, you are quite ravishing for a commoner Familiar of Zero!", he says in a grand tone fit for theater gesturing wildly with his arms while expertly wielding a beautiful rose in his right hand.

"Whaaaaaat? I... you ... huh?", taken aback the grandiose performance of what I'm not quite sure was an insult or not, I was not quite sure what to say.

"But do not worry Katie, nothing compares to the beauty of you!", he now is ignoring me completely.

"Do you promise?", she said looking up the boy with puppy-dog eyes.

"I cannot tell lies in front of your eyes", he cheekishly states.

"Geeeeez", I let out a complaint in the form of a noise. "I feel sorry for you, young lady. To waste your love on a fool is to have never loved at all". The boy, clearly not used to any sort of opposition to his annoying gestures based on how wide his eyes were and his jaw was nearly hitting the ground, did not speak as I walked away. "Phew", I let a sigh of relief when I see they are not following me. That was troubling. I'm still not exactly used to this place and these people's mannerisms are not comfortable to me. I'd prefer to not cause too much trouble... words were never my forte. But fortunately, it looks like I've been saved for I just happened to catch a glimpse of a young girl dusting some expensive-looking furniture. Surely she can help me!

"There are two moons", I bluntly state out-loud.

"Huh? Did you something?", the young girl questions if she heard me speak.

"No, it's nothing. Thank you very much for the assistance", I say as I smile warmly.

The maid had been kind enough to assists me. Unlike many of these "nobles" she was happy to help, although she seemed rather timid when I first spoke to her. I believe it is probably because she is seldom approached save for selfish, spoiled nobles who want her to do *their* work. I just didn't know how to do mine. That's different, right? After all, I've never even done anything like this. I never liked it, but my family even had its own servants before I had left for Boletaria. Of course, I didn't like that and I was never rude to them and they seemed to respect me for it. I tried to help them if they seemed to need it and they would always be sure to assist me. I would never think of treating them as simple objects. Then again, I was different from the rest of my family. They were quite pretentious. That doesn't change the fact that I've never washed my own laundry, however. When I left for Boletaria my light armor was quickly damaged and needed replaced, and the servants took care of that at home. There was never a need for me to do that. Fortunately, Siesta is apparently her name, was kind enough to help me find the correct spot and even wash a few garments to show me how.

"You really saved me, Siesta", I speak my heart.

I'm still curious as to how I got here, however. I've never been summoned in such a way, and now that I think about it, I'm in body-form. Actually, I'd be dead if I wasn't I guess, since it *was* a promise that I would be freed from the Nexus. But still, this troubles me. I was called for by the spell without asking to be called for, I'm in my body and me "Master" seems to be completely unaware of the implications. The amount of magic it would take to summon and sustain a human body, and one with as much power as mine, is utterly unthinkable. I would have simply brushed it off as impossible. Yet, here I am in a strange world with these mysterious runes slightly glowing on my hand. They are rather warm and it's clear to me that my Master's mana is flowing through me. I'm amazed at how revitalized, to be honest. My Master must be truly formidable indeed to summon me, sustain my own body, supply me with this much extra power and still have an abundance herself. Though I am curious as to what this "Louise the Zero" nonsense is. My Master seems to be given a very hard time by her peers. Perhaps I should offer to remedy this?

In any case, Siesta was kind enough to explain the world, the importance on status based on the use of magic and the nobles are constantly oppressing the commoners. That makes me kind of sick, to be honest. To cause pain to people over such nonsense. The people of my home would be rejoicing hand-in-hand in a world where there wasn't plague, demons and betrayers. My Master does indeed seem to have this arrogance, but she doesn't seem the kind to out-right oppress on a young girl such as Siesta, and while she excepts me to do all this and threatens me with no food or lashings, she probably just doesn't understand the consequences of summoning a human. For example; how easy it would be for me to kill just her. I may have formed a contract with her but I seriously doubt that these "familiars" are anywhere near my level of power or intelligence, for I am a scholar! Okay, maybe not, but I *am* a Demon Slayer, after all! Thinking back to my home, I'd imagine that very few of my house's warriors would accept washing pink panties. Fortunately, while I may technically be a knight being of Royalty, I hold such opinions under a different light. In any case, I am done with this laundry. perhaps I should-

"Waaahhhh~!", I scream humorously as I trip over what appears to be a tail.

Laundry. Laundry everywhere! Wah, I hope I don't have to wash them again. What did I trip over anyway?

"Eh...?". It appears to be a dragon. Shit, it's opening it's mouth!

"Water Veil!", I shout the name of my spell as I reach for my catalyst to assist my focus and concentration. Water Veil requires two separate steps. First, concentrate. The souls that are within you give you strength. Use their power. Focus on the air around you, the moisture in the air. Each individual droplet, make it yours. Focus on them, bring them together. One at a time. Allow none to escape your control. Good, now focus on the second task. Take the water and form a wall. Impenetrable by fire. Bring them around you, have them hold you as if they were holding a child. Good. The spell is complete. I brace my body and focus all of my magic into the front of the Viel. The dragon faces me, gathering his energy for a massive... yawn.

"...Eh...?", I let out a slightly surprised sound, and for good reason. "Well, this is new. Is the dragon tamed?", I curiously question the beast's nature as I cautiously approach the beast.

"Familiar", A voice comes from the dragon.

"By God, it speaks!", I shout as I jump back into surprise, nearly tripping over the basket. Except that's when I notice a young girl with short hair that is so platinum that it almost appears blue. The girl has with her a gnarled staff similar to one that Yuria had in her possession. She's been expressionlessly reading her book until this spectacle, it seems. She is now looking at me with an expression of not so much surprise, but interest.

"Zero's... Familiar?", the young girl inquires.

"Ehehe, so it seems", I let out a small, embarrassed and awkward laugh as I answer her as I begin to pick up the laundry that I dropped, silently praying that they did not get dirty.

"Power magic... quickly cast... short incantation... impressive", she speaks to herself as if I were a fancy catalyst for display.

"Square?", she seems to be asking me a question, but I have no idea what the hell that means.

"Eh... square? I apologize, however I do not know what that means. As far as incantations go, I learned many abilities from a very powerful witch. One such method was to wield power through raw, untamed emotion and resolve. It can be quite an effective means to quickly cast high-level spells. Think of it as channeling your magic through your body via a different route", I try to explain in the most basic way I can. I'm not sure why, but I have an instant desire to show respect to this young lady. I feel it wouldn't hurt to explain since she asked... I think. The girl doesn't answer, however. She just stares for a moment, likely analyzing the information that I have just presented to her. After a moment she gives me a quiet nod and returns to her book. "Also, if I may, could you please keep this a secret?", I inquire. "I still am not sure what my purpose is and I believe keeping my abilities as secret as possible is a wise decision". Once again, the girl just nods. This time with a slight curl in her lip. It's slightly comforting to know that the girl can show emotion. Without a doubt, I can trust this girl.

"Thank you", I speak humbly as I pick up the pink panties with the bow and return the quiet girl's nod. "I will take my leave, I apologize for the disturbance", I say with a respectful bow to augment my sincerity. I suppose I will make my rounds around this place and try to get a sense of familiarity and then head back to my Master's chambers.

Louise was always an energetic girl, but today's events have surely taken their toll on her tiny frame.

"Stupid familiar", she thinks out-loud. "They'd have made less fun of me to have summoned nothing at all, at least they expected that". Louise complained to herself as she pulled the covers over her head and bit her lip.

"Bah! What should I do?", she mutters discontentedly. But as she does so, staring at the moons outside she feels a wave of tiredness wash over her.

"I wonder if she will remember to wake me at the correct time...", she half-heartedly wonders as she hears the door to her room open. Her familiar must have completed her task. Good, at least she can do her laundry for her. She would look less a fool if her familiar was useful at least in some respect. What confused her is what came next. She heard the basket of laundry being sat down and the rustling of clothes, likely her folding and preparing her uniform when she heard something else.

Quiet sobbing.

Louise, being half-asleep, was somewhat taken aback wasn't sure what to think. Before finally falling asleep, Louise heard two words, "I'm sorry...".

Then her familiar wiped her tears and pulled the cover over her Master, sat in the corner and joined her Master in slumber as the tears ceased to stop. This warmness is unknown.
 

mkl

[00] Signia's Cheerleader
Gimme the tl;dr. I ain't reading any of that bullshit.
 

fukou_da_man

[12] Conqueror
Gimme the tl;dr. I ain't reading any of that bullshit.
What's the point of a story if you don't even read it? I mean, you ain't gotta but a TL;DR would be kinda pointless wouldn't it? Or are you just referring to a synopsis like you'd get on the back cover of a book?
 

mkl

[00] Signia's Cheerleader
What's the point of a story if you don't even read it? I mean, you ain't gotta but a TL;DR would be kinda pointless wouldn't it? Or are you just referring to a synopsis like you'd get on the back cover of a book?
Back cover of the book and a trailer if possible.
 

fukou_da_man

[12] Conqueror
Back cover of the book and a trailer if possible.
Well, I won't give you a trailer unfortunately. But more or less the story is that the main character is the "Royalty" class from Demon's Souls, and the story starts just at the end of Demon's Souls just before you finish the game (with some SLIGHT back ground on how the character played through Demon's Souls) and just as the game ends, she's dragged to a brand new world full of crazy shit that happens as she tries to prove that she still has value to the world.

As the story goes on, you learn more about the main character, the other characters and all that good stuff. Liberties are taken from the source material left and right to make them flow together well. Same goes for the characters, too. Even if you've experienced the source material, this is a whole new experience!
 

fukou_da_man

[12] Conqueror
Chapter 2

-What Place Hath Thee Here In Mine Home, Demon?-

"Canst thee not measure the worth of thine soul?"-Unknown

It hurts. Inside, it hurts. I feel them. Judging me, mocking me, harassing me, hating me. Thousands of tiny, incorporeal hands reaching for my throat as if to silence me. The burning within my heart... It hurts.

"I'm sorry...", I call out to those who seek to harm me. "I'm so sorry". But they don't care. They do not want to hear my pathetic words of fear and regret. They simply hate. Their words; they torture. And the fire... There's so much that I can't take it. I cannot die here, but God I feel it. I'm burning alive while they laugh at my pain. I try to run but I cannot escape their laughter.

"Just let us in your heart and the pain will stop", they whisper in a million different voices. "We don't want to hurt you, but don't you think you owe us freedom? We won't hurt you. We will protect you. Don't you want to forget about it all? That poor Maiden? All those you had to step over to defeat the Demons? That arrogant Monumental? Don't you want it all to just... disappear? All of those people who never cared? All you have to do is accept us into your heart. And we can make it all disappear".

"No!", I scream with agony as I rise from this tiny straw bed, gasping for air and reaching towards the sky.

"What? What is it?", the young lady with the strawberry-blonde hair exclaims as she jumps from her bed in a panic. "There's nothing here, what are you screaming at familiar? Don't tell me you had a bad dream, because I don't really care". She says in a flustered manner as she looks away from me.

"Oh... I see. It was a dream. And I'm here. I had forgotten", I half-heartedly say to myself as I gather myself to stand. "Master, I trust you slept well? It appears to be dawn, I have awakened you as requested", I say to her with a large grin on my face. "I have your uniform prepared over here, I have cleaned and folded them to the best of my abilities and I trust it is satisfactory?".

"Eh...? Yes, you did your job well", she says still flustered from her awakening. "Though I'd prefer it if you could wake me in a more gentle fashion, familiar. And quit smiling at me like that, someone might think you're weird". I can't help but smile wider. See? My Master can be cute after all.

"Is there nothing else you require, Master? If that be the case then I would like enjoy some fresh air", I inquire my Master.

"No, you shall dress me and accompany me to breakfast", she says in her usual matter-of-fact tone. Wait, what? After staring at my Master for a moment contemplating how I should go about this situation, I speak.

"I apologize, Master, but I cannot comply with the first order", I state to the young master of my contract. "You are becoming a young lady and dressing yourself should be well within your capabilities. I must reinforce the fact that, while I have no qualms against assisting you with minor details, I am not your servant, nor will I obey such a foolish order. While we are on the subject, I would like to speak in detail regarding why I am here at some point and our contract, if you would indulge me", I chastise my Master. I can't let this keep going on, if I don't set her straight soon she will just get worse. This girl has clearly had little love in her life. "I will be waiting for you in the yard by the building, Master. When you are finished I am prepared to accompany you", I state clearly to her. "Well then, I will take my leave", I say with an honorable bow and make my way out the door. I believe my Master was too taken aback to respond to me as I made my way out.

"Heh", I laugh silently to myself. "I have a feeling that I'm going to feel a hell of a recoil from that one". I make my way down to the courtyard. After that disturbing dream I need to give my heart a chance to strengthen. If there's one thing that I've noticed about this place it's that the scenery and architecture is absolutely beautiful and I find myself at peace while looking at it. As I approach the courtyard, it seems I am not the only one whom enjoys the scenery. There are quite a few of others here, all wearing similar uniforms to my Master. Speaking of, I wonder what this place is? The event from before seemed to be a group summoning ritual. Based on the age of the ones wearing the uniform, I think I can make the conjecture that this is a school that teaches magic. Nonsense, such a thing is ridiculous. Magic should be learned in private study with an instructor to guide you. One can listen all day to a person blabber on about how to cast this and how to cast that, but one needs to understand the magic to truly become powerful. Magic is not a toy, it is something that flows through us all and something that we need to cherish for it is a part of us. I may draw much power from the souls of the dead, but the power only flows through me as it does because it allows itself to. I cherish this connection and view it as sacred and it acknowledges this. I learned my magic through extensive study and experience. The best they could learn in a place such as this is parlor tricks, for they do not cherish their ally at all. It is something they see as an item, no doubt.

Whatever, I'm in no place to judge them. I'm a murdering Demon, after all. I wonder though, am I really a Demon now? I don't really feel any different. But the Maiden had her sanity because she could control the souls, so maybe her power is what keeps my mind sane? Bah, I'm thinking too hard. I'm still here and still alive. And after I consumed the Maiden's soul, I no longer have that lingering thirst for souls. As long as I don't have too many of those dreams, I think I can feel at peace despite my sins. Just maybe... In any case, Demon or not I still retain my sanity. I suppose it could just be a matter of perspective. As I thunder through my inner monologue, it seems two of the "students" that were relaxing have approached me. And it seems that I recognize them.

"You're Louise's familiar, right?", the redhead asks. This is the same girl that was mocking my Master when I was summoned. That would mean she was mocking me, wouldn't it? Then I could probably assume that this will not be a visit in order to establish a friendship. Besides, I don't like her kind. You have another button on your shirt, use it damnit! You can't fool me! The other girl though, the tiny one as small as my Master with short blue hair, sans one yawning dragon. I shoot the red head a glance, then defiantly turn my eyes to the tiny one reading a book.

"Hello again", I state with a warm smile. "It is good to see you again, did you sleep well?". The girl looks up to me and nods, then quickly makes her way back to her book. There's no way these two can be friends. It's just too opposite. But I guess they do say that opposites attract, and if they've been friends from a very young age then it wouldn't have mattered. These two might even be at the point that they can understand each other without words. Well, the red head might have to.

"Hey, commoner, I'm talking to you!", the red head states as she rambunctiously flails her arms. "I have a question!", I turn my eyes to her, returning my face to its previous expressionlessness. "How much is she paying you?", I slightly tilt my head at the girl to signify that i have no clue what she's talking about. "It was just a trick, right? Louise the Zero couldn't summon a familiar, so she did one of her usual explosions and paid a commoner to hop in when it was all dusty to pretend she summoned you, right? Come on, you can tell me. I'll even pay you double what she's paying you! It'll be worth it just for the laugh!".

"..."

"..."

I just stare at her. To be honest, I don't know what the hell she's talking about so I might as well just sit here and look intimidating. Despite what I said this morning, I have a painful urge to protect my Master for some reason. Maybe it's the contract? I'm not sure, but I'd prefer not to embarrass her further. I must admit though, I'm starting to find it hard not to laugh. Just staring at someone is hard work! Her face slowly contorted into an irritated expression as I had to fight back my laugh. To be honest though, disregarding her inappropriate dress, this girl is beautiful. She no doubt has many of these young boys wrapped around her finger. I'd go so far as to say she probably has a harder time handling when she is disobeyed than my Master does. However, she seems much more collected than my young Master.

"Come one, Tabitha. This lost its fun rather quickly", the red one speaks to the tiny blue-haired girl, apparently named Tabitha, without moving her eyes from mine. I'm not sure if she actually was bored or my super intimidation techniques were a success. Tabitha nodded to me and the redhead grabbed her hand and drug her off. I just watched as their figures diminished. Tabitha never quit reading.

"Whoosh", the sound of a quickly moving body goes by me. "Familiar! Where are you?", my young Master seems to be angry.

"I am right here, Master", I say with a calmness to my voice. "Am I to accompany you to breakfast? Or did you have some other plans?", I say pushing the obvious implication that she is angry. If this contract gives her authority over my life, then I may be just asking for my death. I can't let this continue, at any rate. She is not a bad girl, this I know. So I will not kill her just yet, this contract has given me a lot of power. It could be of great assistance in atoning for my sins. Beside, like I said, I simply want what's best for this young girl.

"No breakfast!", she screams to my face, obviously incredibly angry. "No breakfast for a month! No dinner either! Just eat the grass like a dog! And don't say a word! If you back-talk me I'll add 20 lashes with my whip onto your punishment!". I felt my eyebrow twitch. It seems my Master will not understand quickly with such indirect methods. At least not while she is so angry. I feel as though it would be best to comply for the time being and accept her orders. Besides, I doubt she's even serious about whipping me. She's probably just angry that her authority has been questioned by her "familiar". I'm still not entirely sure what exactly she was trying to summon, but I'm what she got. And I am no mere familiar.

"It shall be as you command, my Master", I say with the usual bow and air of honor. "I shall be waiting here should you require my presence. Please, do not hesitate to call upon me should you desire my protection. It would be bad for me if any harm came to you", I speak honestly.

"Eh... yeah...", that last comment seems to have struck a nerve. "I will call for you if I need you, familiar. I am going to the dining hall now, please do not follow me". It almost sounds as if she wants me to follow her. Man, I just do not get this girl. I simply nod in response and then watch her figure fade into the building.

"Gryuuuuuuuuuuuuu", my stomach makes its battle-cry. Okay, I'm hungry. Maybe I shouldn't have argued so much, I don't know how long my resolve can last at this rate! I need my nutrition to maintain my beauty! I can't lose to that red head.

"Good morning", a sweet voice startles the hell out of me while I was mustering my resolve, outstretched clenched fist and all. "May I ask what it is you're doing?", the voice speaks once again.

"Oh, Siesta. Good morning to you too. I apologize for not noticing you, my Master denied my breakfast as punishment and it seems to be taking its toll on my mind", I state to the kind young maid.

"What? That's awful!", the maid exclaims as she grabs my fist that I still had held out and looks up to me. "This just won't do! I cannot allow such a wonderful guest starve to death! Come with me!", she says as she takes the hand she grabbed and begins to haul me off somewhere.

"Oh... no... you're not going to have me killed are you?", I jokingly say. "My Master is mad at me, but I don't believe she wants me dead!". The maid stops and lets go of my hand and turns to face me with eyes like she just saw the Old One herself.

"N-n-no! That's not it! Please don't say such things! I would never!", the young girl excitedly exclaims. "I was going to offer you food! Please don't say such things...", she says as she hangs her head. Wow. I feel horrible. This is why I prefer to just sit there and look intimidating. Back to expressionlessness.

"Please calm down, I understand that my humor is not the greatest but I was only joking", I try to say as soothingly as possible. "I know you would never do such a thing, Siesta. Even if my Master did order it". I reach out to her shoulder as I speak, hoping to augment the effectiveness of my explanation.

"I know. I was just joking too!", she says as she hops away while spinning causing her skirt to flutter and flashing a devilish smile. It seems I have yet to face my greatest foe in this place.

Hold on.

"Wait, does that mean you are going to kill me?", I say with a mild cautiousness and slightly joking tone. She shrugs. "Who knows?", she says as she continues to sport that frightening smile and commences to grab my hand once again. If there is a benevolent God in this land, I am sorry. Please keep me safe! Several minutes later, I was greeted with a healthy bowl of delicious looking stew. Disregarding the possibility of it being poisoned, I made very quick work of it. This is truly the work of a master of his art. I seldom ate food this good at my own home. Then again, I haven't eaten for well over 40 hours and have had quite an exhausting experience. That could very well have implications here. The chef is a burly man, with a very forth-coming attitude. He seemed very spiteful of the nobility here given the way he scorned at the way I had been treated by my Master. Though that may be the case, he was very kind to me. He showed me great respect and seemed to like the way that I stood up to them.

In any case, I finished my meal, thanked them, and made my way back to the courtyard. I didn't want to anger my Master any farther by not being there should she come for me. I need to be very careful about how I handle her, I need to slowly make my way past her arrogant shell to expose the girl inside that tiny monster. I think I'll just take a walk around the courtyard and get a look at the familiars.

"What the hell are you?", I ask rudely to the flying eyeball. "In all my time and all the strange creatures I've seen, you are by far the strangest. Wah!", I jumped as the thing blinked. Trust me, when you get an eyelid bigger than your head coming down, you could easily mistake it for an attack. "Seriously, you...", I puff in anger at the eyeball. I think he did that on purpose. Whatever, I think I will just relax here and enjoy the scenery until my Master comes. Maybe I can make up for some of the sleep my mind denied me last night.

"Familiar. Familiar!", I hear a voice ring. "Wake up you worthless familiar! People are staring!". Oh, my Master seems to be addressing me. I suppose I should respond.

"Good morning, Master", I greet my Master with a stretch.

"Oh, what am I going to do with you? Listen, I'm sorry for getting angry before but you are my familiar. All I want is for you to know your place". That last bit was still rather rude, but I'll let it slide for now. She seems to genuinely believe me to be no more than a simple floating eyeball as it stands. Perhaps if she gets to know me a little bit better then this will be easier. I guess it'll require time.

"I understand, Master", I say it rather emotionlessly. "Do you require something of me? Shall I accompany you now?". To be honest, I'm in a rather bitter mood at the moment. Not particularly because of her, but because I had my belly full and was catching up on some well deserved rest.

"There are no classes today", she says in her usual tone and begins to walk. I follow. Classes? So it's like I assumed, a school of some sort. Probably magic. "Today, instead, is supposed to be devoted to one becoming closer with their familiar".

"Very well. This is good, it gives us the chance to talk", I state to my Master. "There are many things that I do not understand, and many things that you do not understand", I say it as clearly as I can. I suppose now is as good a time as any.

"What did you say? I thought I told you to learn your place, familiar!", she seems to be getting angry once again. This will not do. My Master needs to be made aware of exactly what the implications involved in summoning a human to her service are. I have had enough, this ends here.

"I am no familiar, girl", I state to her with a fire in my eyes that I have yet to show. There is no trace of my respectfulness, kindness or honor in those words. I am now speaking down to her in every respect. And it seems to have worked as she made a face as if she had just seen a ghost. "I am a knight. I am the daughter of the Duke of Roland. I have faced Demons, Kings and Gods", I state with a good amount of emotion, I am likely releasing a slight amount of mana in my eyes. "I have faced denizens of evil. Just who the hell do you think I am, girl? I will not accept your arrogance any longer. My name is Abigail, daughter of Roland. You would do well to use it, lest I end this contract and seek a new Master". And with that, I think she understands.

"Eh... What? But I summoned you, that makes you my familiar!", she says with a small amount of desperation and a large amount of confusion. By all that is holy and all that is evil, is she serious? I can't tell if what I just said completely missed her or she's incredibly brave! "I won't be talked back to, either! I warned you before, but you earned it! Tonight you shall receive 20 lashes! I hope you're prepared". I do not know how long my sanity will hold at this rate. Seriously, I'm going to lose it.

"What do we have here?", a slightly familiar voice speaks out. It is the red head from before. She looks surprised though, as she is only met by what is probably horrible looks from my Master and I.

"Oh ho ho ho", the girl lets out a disgusting laugh. "What a wonderfully obedient familiar you have here, Zero. You must be so proud!", her mocking knows no bounds, it seems. "The commoner demanding more money, I don't blame her for having to put up with you! At least she doesn't pretend to be a magician! Not like sooooome "nobles" around here", she says with her hand covering her mouth to hide her smile and quiet giggle.

"Huh?", the anger in my Masters voice now completely gone and it is only filled with curiosity. What power this red head must hold to snap her back from anger so quickly. "What are you talking about? Money?".

"Master, if I may", I interject. "This young lady seems to be under the assumption that you paid me to make a spectacle before your peers and pretend to be summoned by you", I state the situation without emotion.

"What? Kirche, that's absurd and you know it! Even I wouldn't go to such lengths!", my Master exclaims. "That would just give you even more reason to make fun of me then if I just failed the ritual!".

"Master", I interject once again, calling out to my Master. "Huh? What is it, Abigail?". Wow, she actually used my name. Did out argument never happen? "What is that?", pointing to the flaming lizard behind the red haired girl (apparently named Kirche), I ask my Master a simple question.

"Oh, this is Flame", Kirche says. "He's my familiar. And as a testament to my skill and his quality, he is completely obedient! Oh ho ho ho!", she says while letting out that annoying laugh again. I'm half tempted to Soul Suck her here and now.

"Master", I say while suppressing my rage. "Do I have permission to kill her?".

"W-w-w-w-whaaaat! You're joking, right?", she asks me a question to which I only answer with my silence.

"Oh ho ho ho. It seems your disobedient familiar is scared stiff! She can't even talk! I do suppose it's time for us to go, though. Come Tabitha", she says mockingly as the two leave. She laughs all along the way.

"What a frustrating girl", I naturally say.

"Yeah... what were we talking about though?", she asked as if I would actually remind her. "Oh, I remember. That's right. You are my familiar. I summoned you and you're mine. You will obey me!", the statement lacked her previous energy.

"Master", I state firmly looking her directly in her eyes. "I am no familiar and I have no obligation to obey you", I state as clearly as I can. I reinforce my point by turning my back to her as I walk away. Perhaps I should never come back?

Wandering the courtyard, though pretty, is rather boring. My Master may be a bit over-the-top but at least she is entertaining. I'm not really sure what to do with my time. I guess I could try to catch up on my sleep again. Lying on my back watching clouds go by is something I have not done for a very long time. The nostalgia is almost enough to break my heart. Or it would be, if my heart were not already broken. Lying here in the quiet, terrible thoughts begin to consume me. Thoughts I do not want racing around in my head. Thoughts of guilt, failure, betrayal. I still can't believe what I had done with my own hands. The thing that troubles me most of all is not what I did, but why I did it. Because I wanted to. I wanted to kill her. I wanted to see her blood. The thought was more alluring than sexual arousal. It was pure ecstasy. I wanted my blade to taste the blood of the Maiden. I wanted to taste her soul. This is the most painful thing of all. I wanted to keep telling myself that something had simply taken control of me, but that's not what happened. The simple fact is that I gave into what I wanted. My undeniable lust for power.

"Abigail?", I hear a familiar voice. "Hehe, what are you doing there? Someone will step on you!". It seems that in my contemplation I had been rolling around. The thought of me rolling around on the ground with a grimace is rather humorous, to be honest. I can see why she giggled.

"My apologies. It seems I was not paying attention", I respond kindly to her greeting. "What brings you out here, Siesta?".

"I am delivering this cake, would you like to join me?", she asks me with a smile.

"I don't see why not, lead the way", I respond. As we approach the table, a sinister thought reaches my mind. I'm going to let off some steam! "Siesta", I call to her. "Please, will you allow me to deliver the cake?", I humbly ask.

"Well, I don't mind, but why?", she asks a reasonable question.

"This boy happens to be a friend of mine, I'd like to surprise him if I can", I speak a most dastardly lie!

"Uh, okay. If you insist, go ahead!", she says with a smile. Oh, Siesta. Let no man abuse your kind heart lest he feel my wrath. It's time to earn my vengeance! Even if this guy hasn't exactly done anything wrong but who cares?! My tired heart needs entertainment. This should be good.

"Here you go, darling", I whisper into his ear seductively as I set down the cake while leaning against his back. "I do hope it is to your liking, Master. My only desire is to please you", I try to speak in the most succulent tone as possible. I want this to go well, my heart oh so aches for entertainment! "Darling, why don't you come sit with me? I want you for myself, these other girls aren't as important to you as I am, right?", bait and lure, attached.

"Guiche", the sweet young girl sitting across from him addresses him in a firm tone. "Who is this woman and what does she mean be 'girls'?", she asks with clear anger in her voice. None of which is directed towards me, I might add. It seems like my suspicions may be correct, if so, this should be good! Oh, by the way, the bait worked!

"W-w-w-what? She's no one to me! I don't even know her name!", Guiche says with fear in his voice. It seems I need to continue playing this disgusting role to get my entertainment!

"Guiche! How could you?", I say in a voice that sounds about to cry. "Even after... after everything you did... You're saying something like that? You said you loved me, Guiche, and that I was the only one that mattered!", I'm milking this for all it's worth.

"Monmon, she lies! I barely know this girl! I only met her in passing last night!", Guiche desperately tries to explain.

"Yes... that's true. You were with Katie last night, right?", I have to pull out the heavy stuff, now. "She seemed to really be into you... but I didn't think you thought so little of me. Thinking back, you really seemed into her as well".

"Guiche", the girl calls out, beginning to turn red with her fists clamped tight. Just a little more, and look. How lucky, it seems I'll have additional support as well! How fun! "You aren't lying to me, are you Guiche?", she seems desperate to believe this boy. Poor girl.

"Monmon, I can-"

"Cannot tell lies to your eyes? Is that what you're going to say?! I can't believe you, Guiche! Do you say the same lies to us all?", I interject with the set up for the final blow. "Let's find out, here's the girl from last night, Katie!", I point to the girl whom I had seen coming this way with what seemed like the same package she had last night. It seems I was right to assume it was for Guiche as when I called her name she looked this way and happily started jogging to us.

"What?! Oh dear...", the blonde-haired boy says with a defeated tone. I believe this is enough for my involvement, I wonder if this cake is good? I think I'll enjoy it with some tea as I watch how this unfolds. Several seconds later, the two girls marched away in anger and the crowd which had gathered was roaring with laughter. Mission complete. I am amused. I do feel bad for the kid, but to be honest he did have it coming. You can only sweet talk so many girls before it backfires on you.

"YOU!", Guiche screams covered in tea that had been split on his head along with the two red marks on either side of his face. "How dare you cause me such humiliation! I demand satisfaction! While it is not in good taste to fight a lady, I demand a duel!".

"Bahahahahahahaha", I cannot help but resist laughter as I grip my stomach with one hand and point with the other. This scene is just too much. A crowd standing around laughing at a 16 year old boy covered in tea challenging me to a duel. Oh man, this is just too great. "Hahahaha. Very well, Guiche. I accept". It couldn't hurt to stretch this out as long as possible, besides it might give me some insight as to what unique magics are at play here in this world. "Where shall we do this, then?"

"In front of the vestry, do not leave me waiting", he states holding back his anger.

"I would never leave you waiting, darling", I mock him one final time before he stomps off. Oh Biorr, how proud would you be? Your little Abigail has learned well. Still trying to drive off my laughter, something pulls me off balance.

"Master? What's the matter?", I call to the small girl grasping my arm. "Where are you taking me?".

"To Guiche", she says. "If we hurry and beg him then he will probably be satisfied". I pull away. "Abigail?", she calls my name, slightly stunned.

"Is that an order, Master?", I honestly ask.

"Yes", she instantly replies.

"Then this would be a good chance to take down many birds with one stone. One, I refuse and you can do nothing to make me obey. That is how that is. Two, I can demonstrate just what exactly you've gotten yourself into. And three, that skirt-chasing fool needs a good knock on the head! I guess that is three birds...", I state the facts as they were. "But above all else, I'm bored. And quite frankly, all of you nobles need a bit of a wake-up call".

"Listen, Abigail", my Master speaks, attempting to persuade me. "I know you have that sword and shield and you're probably not bad with them, but that won't matter! Guiche is a magician! He'll just hurt you!", she desperately pleads. I wonder if she's genuinely worried for my safety or still worried about embarrassment?

"You're probably right. I won't use it then!", I state bluntly. She stops. She clearly doesn't know what to say to respond. Either due to my crassness or to what I said, something prevents her from responding and she just silently walks beside me.

"Wow. I must commend you for your bravery, commoner", the pompous young blond boy says with an unbelievable amount of arrogance. Oh Guiche, every soul in my body screams for me to kill you. I'll have to be careful.

"I would do no such thing, darling", I say with a small smile in a horrible mocking tone. "I would never leave you waiting".

"Oh, if only you weren't mocking me. Fairest Abigail", he says with a genuine tone.

"I'm bored, let's begin already. I'm curious to see what the students of this facility are capable of", I say removing my mask and exposing my true intentions. To be honest, this whole thing was beginning to wear a little thin and I was just ready to move on.

"Hmph. Very well. As per tradition, please allow me to properly introduce myself. My name is Guiche the Bronze, and earth mage. I shall not be your opponent directly, but my golem, the Bronze Valkyrie shall face you!", he speaks with pride.

"How honorable, I'm shocked to be honest", I speak from my heart. "I am Abigail of Roland. You need not know more", I say with a whim of arrogance. To be honest, I'd like to laugh him into defeat with him still assuming me a 'commoner'.

"As a man, I feel I must warn you that no matter how skilled you are with that beautiful rapier that hangs at your side, it will not affect the duel. I will still allow you to back out and I will cease the duel at any time should you yield. I would oh so hate to harm your beauty", he says with a disgusting smile. It seems he's already forgiven me for making look like a fool. To be honest, he's probably amazed that I am not backing down. He had probably hoped that I would. Perhaps I misjudged the little parasite, he may not be so bad.

"Oh? Is that so? I'll believe you if you say so", I call out with a commanding voice. I take the rapier in its sheathe and toss it to the side. The wave of gasps almost made me laugh then and there. But I had to keep my straight face. I need to rub this in my Master's face after this is finished!

"What? Are you mad! I refuse to fight an unarmed woman!", he responds with vigor.

"Do you yield then? Please, enough games. Either begin or yield", I challenge him.

"Tsk, very well", he responds in an angry tone.

His golem leaps forward with impressive speed. But his obvious lack of experience and his underestimation of myself has created quite the simple attack to dodge. The golem lifts its weapon high in the air way before it gets to me, honestly I can't help but hold that laugh in again. I simply take one step to the side to dodge that obvious vertical attack. Another wave of gasps. This really is too much. Guiche yells a command and the golem reacts. Lifting its weapon from the ground it quickly turns for a horizontal sweep, as expected. With a simple hop backwards it is easily avoidable. Another gasp. I can't help but smile with that one. I suppose it's time for a counter attack of some kind, lest he get a lucky blow. Inexperienced or not, this thing is made of metal and would easily be able to cripple me.

This is for you, Master. I reach into my pouch for my beloved Talisman of Beasts. This is the catalyst of my power. Strange, the moment I take it into my hand the runes inscribed from the contract begin to glow. I can't believe it, this wave of power is unreal. It's unlike anything I've ever felt! I feel like I could do anything! Let's see what it can do. "Ignite", I speak in an uninterested voice as all the souls in my body congregate. Ignite is the simplest of all my spells. It is nothing more than gathering the energy in my body and forcing as much as I can at one time into my catalyst. The result is an overwhelming, wild and untamed explosion that destroys nearly anything it touches. It is a devastating power reserved for enemies to get too close. I place the Talisman at the side of the golem. Light. A bright flash of light and fire and the golem is gone. Another gasp. I look to my opponent who is stunned. I can't help but curl my lips. I can't lie, the satisfaction at the unease he must be feeling right now is pretty undeniable. I am content.

"Call it off, Guiche", I call out to him. "This doesn't need to go any farther".

"Eh... heh... Ahem. Do you think a simple trick or two will be enough to best me? Guiche the Bronze?", he calls out in an almost desperate tone. I can't believe this guy. No wonder the girls fall for him, he just doesn't know when to quit. Well hopefully he'll show me some other trick, I'd like to learn as much as possible.

"If that is your desire!", I shout as I leap towards him. As I do this, he shouts something and summons several more golems, but it's no use. Whatever that contract was, the power it's given me is far beyond my expectations. I'm able to move with strength and speed far beyond that of a normal human. I think I will end this quickly, I would prefer not to show too many of my own abilities for a simple game.

"Warding!", I cast this familiar spell that has saved me many times. By focusing on my skin, armor and bones and pumping power into it, I can strengthen them by many times increasing the damage my body can resist exponentially. As I approach he frantically casts some sort of alchemy and pulls a sword from the ground. I must admit, I am actually quite impressed with that. The golems are one thing, but this weapon is exquisite. I must compliment him later. After I finish embarrassing him. He pulls his sword up from the ground and over his head, he is about to perform a vertical attack. He seems to favor that, a rookie mistake. A maneuver I've done many times, a combo known by many as a parry followed by a riposte. It is a deadly defensive counterstrike that can quickly decide a match. Lucky for him I'm just using my fist. It is to be noted, however, that the second I placed the Talisman back into my pouch that power I received from the contract faded. Not that it matters in this duel, but I should be aware that I need at least my Talisman to use this power.

He pulls down his sword with a battle-cry like a true man, or boy. Ching. The sound of metal hitting metal, my buckler smacking away his finely crafted sword. Thump. The sound of my fist violently churning his stomach. And finally, poof. The sound of his body hitting the ground and the dirt around him billowing. It may have been too much to use Warding. That's the equivalent of hitting him with a hammer, I guess.

"Do you yield?", I ask the lump of unresponsive flesh. "It seems the victory is mine. Do you feel like a man of honor now, boy? It's a shame I was able to fight back", I express the subtle disgust I've felt from him. I'm not sure what it is, but I felt this horribly dark feeling after he refused to call it off when I offered. All the previous fun I was having completely vanished. Perhaps I was simply angry at myself and not him? "Master, it seems I am done here. I feel rather unsatisfied with the result. Regardless, what are your orders, Master?", I speak honestly. I'm not sure what it was but the second the duel was over I felt slightly depressed. She doesn't seem to know what to say. Good, maybe she's beginning to understand.

"Abigail", my Master asks. "Just who are you?".

"I am the one you summoned. I have been summoned many times and aided many warriors in their travels. I am here to fight for you and only for you as you are my link in this world. You've given me light where there was only darkness so I own you everything. My name is Abigail of Roland, daughter of the Duke of Roland and a knight. Knighted women are very rare where I come from, but due to my lineage and power it was almost as if I were entitled to it. I am a Demon Slayer, a powerful mage and a Devourer of of Souls. Normally my mana would be quite limited and difficult to replenish however. But I seem to get a near-infinite supply from my Master, that on top of the augmentation from the contract, my power is even that much greater", I try to tell her everything as it is.

"That's amazing! You hunt demons?", Siesta calls from behind my Master. She seems intent on joining us in this conversation.

"Wait, one thing at a time", my Master says. "So you've been summoned before?".

"Yes", I reply. "Many times, although this time seems to be quite different than the others. Whenever I was summoned before, I had to be in soul form. Right now I clearly have my body. The summoning ritual was done by me using my Blue Eye Stone to create the connection to me, which a warrior somewhere else would answer by using his Blue Eye Stone to complete the connection. Thus binding us together until the task which he called me for was completed. But what what I gather here no such item was used. The only thing I can surmise from this is that something else created the link. And what power indeed, to summon me through the the Void in my complete body to an entirely different world to a girl who has the power to sustain my existence and supply me with supple power all in the process. I am quite amazed". I decide to leave out the tidbit about my Black Eye Stone, for the time being at least.

"You said something about a link?", she adds.

"Yes, to summon anything, one needs a link to the being. Be it a familiar like Flame or a higher being such as myself. For example, Flame and Kirche are kindred souls. This is very easy to tell just by looking. They themselves are the link, and Kirche supplies the mana to maintain this link. Everybody requires mana to live, and unlike natural creatures, summoned creatures are not of this world. They are an anomaly and thus cannot create their own mana as the world rejects them and would shortly fade away without a supply. For beings like Flame, a powerful mage's mana will be plenty to keep it in this world, but for a human that is a whole different story. In my experience, we've gotten around this by using the Blue Eye Stone. To summon something you need a direct link to it, so we linked ourselves to these stones and linked the stones together. Thus, temporarily binding the stones together when the ritual was performed. However, even with this method it was an absolute impossibility to summon a corporeal human. Instead, the one being summoned would be in what we called 'Soul Form'. To explain it as simply as possible, a dead person. A spirit bound to what we called the Nexus. A hub if incredible power and home to these spirits and, with its power, supplied them with a spirit body. The stones channeled power from the Nexus and we used that power to maintain the link established by the stone. It's a very round-about way but it was the only way we could succeed", I do my best to explain.

"I think I understand, but at the same time, that makes no sense since we used no such thing", she earnestly points out.

"Master", I look her in the eyes. "It is in all likelihood that you and I are directly linked and that is how you summoned me. The link itself is not particularly difficult, especially if something naturally binds you. For example; separated lovers or people destined to meet or people who are naturally compatible something like that. What limits it is the sheer amount of power it requires to summon and sustain a living human. Most of the time, forced attempts lead to horribly disfiguring ends. Master, the only explanation is that your own power was sufficient to summon me and sustain me, hence the summoning was successful. And since this contract has been established, mana flows easily between us as if we were one. Surely you've felt that as well".

"But that doesn't make any sense", she claims. "I can't even use magic, that's why they call me Louise the Zero. Every spell I've ever attempted has failed", she looks down as she says something assured.

"Master, forgive me but I can't believe that. I know without a doubt that you are easily the most powerful one in this school, and probably that I've ever even met. Besides, my presence alone disproves everything you just said. No one incapable of magic could pull off as much power as you did without a ridiculous amount of mana", I state pointing out the obvious contradictions in her statement. For some reason, she makes a face that reminds me of the times that I seldom got to see father in response to this. The excited look in a child's eyes at seeing something precious.

"Well, moving on from that. It doesn't really matter right now. More importantly, you said you're a Demon Slayer? What exactly entails a Demon?", she asks a painful question with a genuine curiosity.

"For example, Master, me", I bluntly state, deciding that it's best to get this out there now.

"What?", both Siesta and my Master exclaim. Bah, I knew this was going to be difficult. I shouldn't expect anything but disgust. I'm used to it. The countless warriors I've fought beside in my life, every single one refused to turn their back on me. Saying things akin to "I called you to aid me, Demon, that doesn't mean we're allies" and "disgusting, a vile creature such as you claiming to fight for us" or "perhaps I shall strike you down too, Demon".

I brace my heart.

"I was born with a natural affinity for souls. A gift - or a curse - known as a Devourer of Souls, the most powerful Demon of all in many respects. The magic I wield is known as the Soul Arts. It is done by manipulating the Souls of the dead who could not leave this world or I did not allow to leave. During my travels, I have consumed innumerable souls including that of 17 powerful Demons and several lesser Demons. As such, their power became mine and we became one. This is nature of a Devourer of Souls". -Prepare for it.- "I am the essence of what many would call evil". -I don't need her.- "I have slain thousands, good or evil". -I'll be fine alone-. "I have taken every single soul, every single existence and fed off of its power". -I can't look at their faces.- "Their hearts, their wills still exist within me. I am superior though, as I consumed the Manipulator of Souls as well. A Demon said to be ancient and one of the most powerful. This allowed me to keep my sanity which was slowly fading by consuming these souls. I feel many people would see me evil for this. I only used my power to save my homeland, but the fact remains". I kneel before my Master. "You are the sole purpose in a life that had nothing, Master. I humbly place myself at you judgment and your mercy".

I let out a portion of my heart that I had blocked. Tears were flowing uncontrollably, though my face still showed no emotion. I simply looked at the ground before me while I awaited my judgment from this young strawberry-blonde haired girl.

Silence ensues.

After several moments of uncontrollable tears, I felt a warm finger on my face.

"Demons don't cry", my young Master says with the kindest smile I've ever seen in my life as she wipes the tears from my face. "You're my familiar, Abigail. Nothing else matters anymore, okay? Your past was only preparing you for me. Now that you're here,you can forget all about anything before you fell from the sky. And I can't have you being sad now, not when you showed us all just how cool you were back there with Guiche! Yeah, there's no doubt, Louise the Zero has the coolest familiar around", she says it like it's so simple. I really don't know how to respond, I am literally dumbstruck. Did she really just accept me that easily? After everything I just told her? Does she just not understand?

"Master, I'm not sure you understood exactly what I said... I consume so-", and she cut me off right there.

"From now on you are only defined by your actions from this point forward! You are my familiar. You should be honored. Besides, I'm jealous. You need to teach how to properly blow things up instead of just doing it on accident!", she's serious. "And quit calling me 'Master', my name is Louise!". She says with that usual arrogant look while Siesta simply smiles warmly at us. Hell, it's even harder to stop crying now.

And that was truer than I had thought, because I cried until sleep carried my consciousness away.

With a smile I have never known. Have I finally found my place?
 

fukou_da_man

[12] Conqueror
I see you put that 7 hours you saved to good use.
Oh, I have Kappa

Chapter 3

-What Power Hath Thee, Oh Master Of Demons?-

"For what worth haveth a man's heart, whenst he proveth not his resolve?"-Unknown

There is fire in my veins once again. In all the time I have felt the souls of others within my body, it has never been this bad. I've always heard them screaming, but never so loud. The Maiden's power allows me to better control their power, but it does not silence their wills. When my consciousness wavers for anything, be it sleep, injuries, depression or illness, the souls screams become like daggers in my ears.

"Aaaaabigail", they call to me in a million different voices, each at different volumes. Screaming but not loud. Whispering but not quiet. "Let us play, Abigail. Let us in so we can play!". I can't let them. I have to run. This might just be a dream, but I have to run. If I let them win then my body will no longer be mine, no matter how strong the Maiden's power is. "Abigail, we just want to protect you! We feel the pain in your heart, we can end it. Don't you want it to stop hurting, Abigail? Don't you want all these bad memories to go away? Don't you want to be free of this burden? We love you, Abigail. All we ask is that you love us too. Let us in your heart, Abigail, and all the pain will go away", their insidious smiles are more frightening than the plague babies of the Valley of Defilement.

"I won't let you have anything, just leave me alone!", I desperately cry as I run for the sake of my own sanity. "I'll never give my heart to the Demons, never!". As I scream this, I open my eyes to the sight of someone who looks exactly like Louise, with a spear in her chest. On the other end of that spear, with disgusting smile is-

"Louise!", I cry out as I wake from my slumber. "Oh, I see", I mutter as I take in my surroundings. It was all a dream. Of course, I knew that, but that doesn't mean it's not real. The threat of these dreams are real indeed. But I wonder what was with that last vision I saw? Surely, it's simply the evil in my heart trying to break my sanity. However, even I do not know the full scope of my abilities, so I should not discredit such a thing as an impossibility. I shouldn't let my guard down. I will stay close to my young Master, I will not allow that to happen. This the solomn oath of this humble knight.

"Achoo!", I hear a sneeze. My Master seems to have awakened. She has a rather humorous look on her face.

"Good morning, Louise", I say with the kindest smile I can muster. "I've set out your clothes on the foot of your bed. Also, if I may Master, I have a request", I humply ask for permission to speak.

"Geez, Abby. You don't have to ask me for permission to speak", she scolds me. I refuse to break the protocol of a knight, however, and I will not ask until I am told to do so. And so I wait silently, as does she. This is similar to the staring contests I had as a child, and it is very clear that my young Master is fighting very hard not to laugh.

"Fu...fufu-bwahahahahaha", she suddenly breaks out laughing. "I couldn't stand it anymore, bwahahahaha".

"Excuse me, Master", after several seconds of her rolling around laughing, I inquire her with the most expressionless face I can muster. "May I ask why you're laughing?", to which she only laughs harder.

"Your face, bwahahahaha!", she so kindly states. However, much to my dismay, I discover a horrible thing once I place my hand on my cheek. It seems the tears from last night acted as an adhesive, and it seems I have those familiar pink undergarment with a frilly bow attached to my face.

"Bwaaaah", I cry out in embarrassment as I frantically fight to remove the trespasser. "Louise! You shouldn't laugh at me like that!", I desperately cry out in a fluster. "A knight has their honor! Hmph!", I yell as I jokingly look away from her in anger with my arms crossed.

"Teehee, don't be angry Abby! I just couldn't help myself", she says as she wipes the tear she became aquainted with from laughing so hard. "Oh, what is it you wanted to ask me?".

"Ahem", I clear my throat in my attempt to compose myself to answer her question. "Louise, I would request that you allow me to attend your class with you today if that is acceptable. After my battle with Guiche, I became quickly aware that the magic in this land is very unique to me. Considering that I may one day be forced into confrontation to protect my Master, I would like to learn as much as I could about it. Despite my own abilities, if I am taken off guard it could be dangerous. I would like to take precautions to make any dangerous situation less dangerous if at all possible, after all", I say with a small curl in my lip, "know thine enemy".

"Eh...? I suppose they would allow it since you're human. Well, close enough to human", she says with an unsure expression. "But do you really think it's necessary? I mean, do you really think I'm in such danger of being attacked?", she asks a very innocent question.

"Master, at any time or place you could very well be attacked or ambushed. There are many reasons why this is possible, one such reason is you're a noble, meaning your family is very wealthy, correct?", she nods as I ask. "Which means you could at the very least be the victim of a kidnapping. They may attempt to ransom you back to your family, or simply rob you".

"Oh... I guess that's a possibility", she maintains the uncertainty in her voice. "But I don't think that will happen. There's really no reason to worry so much, Abigail".

"You are my Master", I reply with conviction. "Worrying about you is my duty. It may very well be out of place concerns, or it may save your life. I would just like to be able to plan strategies for dealing with the many possible scenarios that could take place. This world is unknown to me, I need to change that as quickly as possible to perform my job adequately".

"Ah", she nods. "Very well then, Abigail. Let us go to breakfast", to which I reply with an honorable nod.

The breakfast was wonderful. After my 'duel' with Guiche, they seemed to have recognized me as someone worth of noble status. I don't really care about that, but it means they're not going to let me starve. It was very exquisite, and almost felt like a waste since it was entirely too much for one person. I guess that's why there was so much left over. It was a brilliant combination of three sunny-side up eggs, perfectly steamed on top. Some grilled meat, very akin to ham but with a very different subtlety that was delicious and a stack of what I could only call pancakes with an unknown syrup on it. The work of an artist.

Afterwards, we made our way to class. There was plenty of time so she kindly put some effort into telling me of this world. Apparently it is a completely different planet, as I have never even heard of any of the countries she mentioned. For example, this academy is in the kingdom of Tristain. It is incredibly renowned, bringing in students from all over the world. The neighboring nation is deemed Germainia which has a relatively acceptable relationship with Tristain even if the inhabitants of each nation tend to dislike each other. Louise took special care to note that Kirche was from Germania from a rival family to hers and I shouldn't trust her. She also pointed out some land marks and important places, such as the safe tower, housing many famous, some legendary, magical artifacts. The academy was apparently founded by a magician named Brimir whom wielded the legendary lost fifth element known as the "Void". He is apparently extremely highly regarded among the people of this land, almost to what seems a religious status.

"Heh", I laugh to myself. "Umbasa".

"What?", Lousie looks to me with mild curiosity.

"It's nothing, it's something from my home. I just couldn't resist it", I say with a mild snicker. "It's just that sometimes, Gods are not all they're cracked up to be, Master. Nothing more", to which she replies with only a perplexed look and a nod. However, this "Void" peaks my curiosity. I'll have to do some research on my own later.

The classroom is very respectable. It looks like any university I have seen in the paintings, though I've never seen one due to the warring state of my homeland. All of the students quietly chat amongst themselves, though more than a few take notice to my presence. I have some difficulty telling if they're uncomfortable with my being here or not, but at the very least they seem interested. That's when a young, rather overweight young man, tugged on the tail of my tunic and asked me a question.

"Are you from a noble family?", he asked with what seemed to be genuine curiosity. However, I feel this is a question that I should avoid. So, I thought I'd make a joke. By telling him exactly who I am since I doubt they'd believe it. "I am no mere noble, boy. I am the second daughter of the Yormedar family of the Kingdom of Roland. I am Royalty. I am also a knight. Are you satisfied?" I speak in an incredibly serious tone with a warm smile attempting to subtely mock the young man. Something about him just annoys me. Then he says something absurd.

"Y-you're a princess?", he yells with more power than I'd expect. "Everyone, Louise the Zero summoned a princess knight!", he makes sure the entire class hears this.

"Ehhhhhhhhhh?", everyone in unison, Louise included. They must have a choir class here.

I guess my joke failed.

"W-wait!", I call out to the class. "I-I was only trying to make a joke!", I frantically attempt to remedy the situation. "I wasn't serious!".

"Then you're not a princess?", the tubby young boy asks with a sad frown.

"Well...", I think hard for the proper response, looking to my Master for assisstance. She's no help. "No... I didn't lie... It's forbidden to do such a thing by my code", I say with a tone of defeat. that's when she appeared.

"Class, silence!", she calls to the class. "Be seated, I can hear you all the way down the hall making such a ruckus! It really is very unbecoming of nobles to be so obnoxious!", she chastises her class.

"B-but teacher!", the tubby one calls out. "Louise's familiar is-", she cuts him off.

"She has permission to be here, enough", she ends the conversation. The class reluctantly goes back to their seats and gather their utensils. The teacher is a stout woman with purple robes and a pointed hat similar to the one that Yuria wore, except this one serves no purpose other than being decorative I'd wager. Unlike Yuria's and the amazing resistance to disease and plague that her garb offered. She really saved me in the Valley! I give a small bow to Yuria. Anyway, I'd say that the purple robes represent instructors, since every older person that I've run into has been wearing them. It seems she is prepared to begin class.

The class thus far has been incredibly interesting for me, despite some of the students fighting off a nap. She has been describing what she calls "Earth Magic". The concept seems sound but the general idea is completely out of this world. I had extensive lessons but had never heard of anything like successful transmutation. So far, she has been instructing the class on how to change one mineral to another. Specifically, transforming a pebble into bronze. Interesting, I thought. I suppose Guiche had done something along those lines during our fight, though I hadn't really focused on the process of his magic, only the effect.

"Mrs. Valliere", the professor calls. "Could you please demonstrate this for us?". Once again, the class was in unison. Except this time with a desperate gasp.

"Professor!", Kirche calls out. "You can't really be asking this, right? You can't expect Louise the Zero to do something like this!", she seems very frantic in her pleading. I wonder what's going on. As I look at my Master, she has an incredibly determined look on her face. I would imagine that Kirche had just said something that really bothered her.

"Silence, Mrs. Zerbst. That is exactly what I am asking and I did not ask your opinion on the matter, the same goes for the rest of you". Wow, this professor has fire in her veins. She looks so kind, too.

"I'll do it", my Master exclaims. "I won't mess it up!". I'd really like to know what's going on here, I am at a total loss. So, I just stay silent and trust in my Master's judgment. If she asked, I would silence every voice in this room however, she seems determined to do so herself.

"Invocabo spiritus terræ", my Master begins to speak. "Rogo. Da mihi virtutem!", she calls as she focuses her will into her catalyst. I can feel a huge amount of magical energy begin to flow. I knew my Master was strong, but this is ridiculous. The power flowing from her, even I cannot put that much power out that quickly. Wait, something's odd, the power is snowballing.

"Oh sh-", I yell as I dive behind the desk.

Booooooooom. A massive explosion. I don't think that's the proper process of converting earth into bronze.

"That's what happens when you ask Louise the Zero to perform magic!", Kirche yells out with an angry look on her face. "She can't do anything but cause explosions! She's a failure! A Zero!". Now I see why my Master dislikes this young lady. Looking towards my Master, fighting back her desire to cry right then and there, I begin to understand. Yes, it's perfectly clear to me what needs to be done.

"Master", I say to her as the class begins to laugh. "I knew you were powerful, however I had no idea it was to this extent". The class grows silent, very interested in what I was going to say. "Yes, my Master is indeed powerful. There can no longer be any doubts". All eyes are now upon me, all in disbelief, save for one set. My Master's. They shine only with a faint glimmer of hope.

"Abigail", my Master addresses me as we make our way through the halls after leaving class. "I appreciate what you said back there, but it's a well known fact that I cannot perform magic. Saying such things in front of all of them will only exasberate the situation, give them more ammunition of which to make fun of me", she says all while facing straight ahead as we walk, not once even glancing towards me.

"Louise, while I understand what you're saying, I don't exactly understand the meaning of why you're saying it", I speak what I feel. "If you're implying that what I said was simply for the sake of appearances, please do not misunderstand. It is against the oath of a knight to lie", in which she responds by only stopping and looking at me for a moment, almost as if she were annoyed. "Master, if you would allow it I could demonstrate what I've learned of you in my short time being here when we return to your room".

She sighs. "Do as you will, Abigail. Nothing will change", she says with a pathetic voice. Geez, I had no idea my Master was so self-hating,

Click. The sound of the door latching as it is pulled shut. Louise seems quite used to this as she begins to wash the dirt off from the explosion with masterful skill. It seems the wounds from her peer's jabs at her magical affinity run deep indeed. I will have to correct this. Yes, the looks in their eyes will be better than when I had that fight with Guiche.

"Heh...heh... Muwahahahaha", I make a jokingly evil laugh as my Master changes into clean clothes.

"Wh-what...?", it seems it wasn't as funny as I thought.

"Nothing at all, Master. I was simply reveling in how entertaining it will be to rub the noses of every noble in this land into how much more powerful you are at magic than them", I speak purely from the heart. "Master, is it okay if we begin now?", she nods. "Excellent. I would appreciate it if you could grab four of those tea cups sitting over there. Don't worry, they won't be damaged. I have to go prepare some super magical-assissting tools real quick, please be patient". As I leave the room my Master has quite the humorous look on her face.

"Abby", my Master calls to me. "These are the 'super magical-assisting tools'?", she asks as she makes a discontented face and points strongly towards the three pitchers of water and two empty cups I borrowed from Siesta.

"Indeed", I respond as I set up the demonstration. "Water is the most accurate representation of mana without using mana itself. It is perfect as a physical metaphor for me to explain to you where you're going wrong", I answer her with a voice so warm it even surprises myself. "While I'm doing this, could you please set the four tea cups in a row?", she begins to arrange them earnestly. "Thank you, Master".

"So what are you going to do, Abby?", my Master asks with puppy-dog eyes.

"Here, I will show you", I answer as I finish setting up. "Master, as was demonstrated in your class today, there are four elements in which you are instructed to use at this academy. In one of each of these four elements, each person has a natural affinity, although they can normally use them all to some extent", my Master listens with wide, attentive eyes. "These elements are Earth, Fire, Wind and Water. They make up the world as we know it, as such, a powerful magician can alter that which we call reality or physics with their will and mana alone. For now, each tea cup represents a normal human's affinity with each element, and this pitcher will represent their total cache of mana which refills over time. Let's pretend we're Guiche. In order to create a golem to it's absolute greatest potential, he must take his total mana reserve and fill the cup up to it's rim, neither spilling or using too little", I say as I show her a demonstration by fulling the cup. "And with this, Sir Guiche the Bronze has a Valkyrie at his command".

"Yes", my Master acknowledges my instruction. "The art of casting magic is delicate, as every instructor as taught us. It require immense focus and concentration to accurately produce the desired effects. We're aided in this by the use of incantations. If we fail to properly allocate our mana, then the spell will fail", my Master demonstrates her brilliance.

"Yes, Master", I respond. "You are absolutely correct". I begin to replace a tea cup with a slightly larger drinking glass that I brought from. "However, sometimes we have a natural affinity for a specific element, correct?", my Master is watching intently. "Myself for example, I have a very powerful affinity for Fire. My "cup" so-to-speak is large enough that if completely filled, I can only refil it two more times for a total of three of my most powerful abilities. However, with some abiliies I forcefully over-fill my cup as was demonstrated by my fight with Guiche. That technique was different than slowly filling a cup causing it to overload, more like pouring the water quickly causing it to splash out. But in general, my power was very limited due to how quickly my mana ran dry if I used my full power. That is, until you summoned me", I become involved in my own speech, forgetting completely about the purpose of this instruction.

"Ahem", I clear my throat. "But I digress, as I said my Fire cup is larger than my others as so I prefer to use magic from that element", I opt for not telling her that my most powerful abilities consist of manipulating the Souls of the dead directly. "Many weilders of magic have such affinities. Lady Kirche and Lady Tabitha, for exam-", my Master cuts me off.

"I know all this already!", she exclaims. "I've studied all of this, none of it helped!".

"Louise", I call to her. "Please, just listen". She nods respectfully as she calms down. "Generally, the larger the cup of affinity, the smaller the others. Thus, making it easier to over-fill a cup of another element", her eyes get slightly wider. "For example", I place a cup about the size of the pitcher next to the tea cups. "If one had a cup this large, they would be incredibly powerful, but definitely limited to that one element. Meaning, the sheer amount of mana that would accompany such a thing make it virtually impossible to weild one of these four elements, resulting in an explosion every time due to the cup 'over-filling. Do you understand, Master?", I gauge her reaction to see if she understands what I'm getting at.

"Yes... I understand what you're saying, but I don't really know why you're saying it", she says, proving just how unwilling she is to believe that she has power.

"Master, are there only four elements?", I bluntly ask.

"Yeah, there is Fire, Water, Wind and Earth", here eyes grew wide in disbelief. "And Void... You can't be implying that I can use the element of Void, right?", she asks me with hopeful, agonized eyes.

"I am implying simply that you have an affinity so strong, and a mana pool so large, that you are unable to use any element except one. With a nearly limitless supply of mana", I say as I look her in the eyes. "This Fifth Element is as much yours as your heart. It is a part of you, you just refuse to believe it. If one believes they have no arm, they simply will not look at it or use it, so it may as well be true. But if they look at it and believe, then their arm will respond with glee. Master, I am not suggesting that you are a user of the Void, but nor am I discrediting the idea. I would suggest you do research in your spare time on Void magic and human familiars in your spare time, however. If you find anything useful, we will try it out. At the very least, it could offer insight into a rare element", I speak to her with a commanding voice.

"Never underestimate yourself, Master", I look hardily into her eyes. "That makes you your own worst enemy, and I tolerate no enemy to my Master. You should never believe something impossible, even if you fail", I speak from my heart. "Now, I would ask that since we have free time, you would go do some research. I would like some fresh air, if that's okay?', my Master nods. "Very well, I shall be in the courtyard", I say as I wave goodbye to my Master.

"Please come see me if you discover anything".

I still can't get over how beautiful the landscape is in this land. I will have to see more of it eventually. For now though, I am contented to sit here and relax in the warm sun while overlooking the mountains. My Master, I do hope she finds a way. I know her power is ridiculous, but I am no instructor nor am I a master Magus. I'll do my best but all that is is to point her in the right direction though. But she's a genius, in all reality. She's studied very hard and once she finds her power she will be-

"Waaah", I quickly roll backwards into the wall as a figure suddenly pops into my vision. "Stay b-back! I'll... Tabitha?", it seems my eccentric young friend wanted my attention for some reason. "I apologize, Tabitha. I was in deep thought and easily startled. Please, how can I help you?", I inquire as to why the tiny-one has approached me.

"Questions", she says expressionlessly. "Was told... ask Abigail... for help", she says still expressionlessly.

"I'll help you, what do you need?", I ask of her.

"Mission from Headmaster", she says something interesting. "Was told prepare for attack soon, put faith in Magi Princess. Plan defense against Square Earth Magus", she says some even more interesting things.

"I see, while I am certainly willing to assisst you as an attack would put my Master in harm's way, why would the Headmaster ask you and especially myself of all people?", I ask a natural question.

"Chevalier", she says with her usual expression. "And you... powerful... with unknown limits... Headmaster wishes to know", she says. "Also... wishes not to be obvious... Princess will be guarded by royal guards... will not be expecting us".

"I see. Yes, I completely under-", I interrupt myself. "Princess?".

She nods.

I see, there must be some important event coming up soon. I'll have to inquire my Master later as to what it is. It may be the best course of action to ask this girl to speak as little as possible. "Will the attacker's target be the Princess herself, or something else while the rest of the academy is distracted?", I ask.

"Vault... powerful artifacts... worth a lot", she states to me.

"I see, a thief", she nods. "Very well, let's hear you information and form a plan", she nods as I affirm her request for assistance.

We talked for several hours as she struggled to explain details to me. I was curious, but I felt like it was best to just ask Louise about the Chevalier and Princess later. I felt like it was cruel making Tabitha talk more than she had to. Speaking of, I haven't seen Louise all day. I presume she's doing research. That's good, all that pent up desire to be strong will hopefully for itself into resolve. And it will hopefully allow her a bond with her power that others here seem to lack, having had no such power to date and having been constantly mocked for it. She would never take such a thing for granted. Or she would use it to become an evil warlord. Whatever the case, my Master has given me hope so I shall wield my abilities for her so long as she desires it. I don't like how "entitled" these "nobles" feel here. Magic is not a tool but a gift. They should respect that!

After I finished talking to Tabitha, the sun had begun to set. I decided that it was best to return to my Master's chambers to wait since I didn't want her wandering the courtyard in the dark. So I've been looking out her window admiring the beauty of the twin moons while I wait.

Abigail's lecture was preposterous! How could she insinuate that I, of all people, can wield the legendary lost element; the Void?! I'm Louise the Zero, there's no way! But still, I can't help but feel hopeful at her words. I suppose it wouldn't hurt to look.

As I searched, I found many interesting things. Particularly on "Brimir", the first Void mage and an otherwise legendary figure. Aside form being a Void mage, what particularly made me double-take was the fact that he too had summoned a human familiar. He was referred to as the "Gandalfr". Maybe my familiar was actually on to something? No way. But still, once again I feel compelled to follow through.

"Never underestimate yourself, Master", I remember Abby's look of pure confidence.

"That makes you your own worst enemy, and I tolerate no enemy to my Master. You should never believe something impossible, even if you fail". She has never doubted me one bit, has she? In any case, she's right. It couldn't hurt to try at least. The worst-case scenario is that there's just another explosion.

"Wow, it's dark already?", I mumble to myself. "Shoot, I bet Abigail is still waiting for me!", I begin to get excited as I rush to check out the books I found of possible interest or use. "Wait, where did she say she'd be waiting?".

In the end, I just decided that the best choice was to take the books back to my room before searching for my familiar. Fortunately, that got two birds with one stone.

"Good evening, Master", my familiar greets me with a warm smile. You know, I hadn't really looked until now but she is absolutely beautiful. In the soft glow of the moonlight coming through the window, she almost resembled a transcendent being. An angel, for lack of a better word. Was she really a Princess? If so then no doubt she was truly beloved by her people. I wonder if she was heir to her throne? Was she to be a Queen before I sudden pulled her from her home? I don't really know, she could have just been making a joke before. Abigail's humor is... different. I suppose the attempts themselves are humorous at the very least. I guess you could say it's a cute little quirk of hers in her otherwise serious demeanor. It still makes it difficult to determine if she's being serious or not, though. "Did your research go well?".

"Good evening, Abigail", I respond with respect. "Perhaps, I was able to find some relevant information, such as a previous human familiar and some minor details about the only recorded Void mage. But there's still a lot of information to sift through. It seems though, that I didn't give you enough credit. You might've been right after all", I say as my face turns red and I look to the side.

"Haha, indeed, Louise", she says with a smile that rivals my kind older sister. "You're too hard on yourself. You only need to believe. Resolve is the strongest magic of all, rivaling love itself", she says something embarrassing. "It can also be your greatest weakness, if you're resolved to believe you are weak".

"Yeah", I mutter. "I understand, already!", she's getting embarrassing. "I'll try my hardest from now on, okay?", I can't let them call me Zero anymore! I'll have faith in Abigail!

"I have a question, Master", I nod to her as she looks for approval to speak. "What is the Princess of this land like?", she asks an odd question. Oh wait, she must have heard about her coming soon. If she really is a Princess herself, I can understand her curiosity.

"She's kind, fair, beautiful and sweet", I reply honestly. "She is a Princess that all the lands are envious of and the people of Tristain cherish her, as do I".

"Oh? You speak as if you know her well", she shows good observation.

"Indeed, she and I are childhood friends. Valliere are a prominent family in Tristain, and the Princess and I are the same age. As such, I was honored to be the one chosen to play with her. She is, for lack of any other way to look at it, my best friend. That can probably be attested to the fact that I wasn't allowed any other interaction, but that wasn't a bad thing", I speak with a small tear in my eye.

"I'm glad", she says as she walks to me and wipes the tear. "Then I'm not the only one whom sees the value in my Master", her smile is like home to me now. "I would like to meet her, I feel it is something my heart desires", she makes a humble request.

"Well", I respond, still choked up by my tears. "It would be odd for my familiar not to be by my side, and she is coming soon. She will likely visit me then", I imply that Abigail will be allowed to meet her then.

"I see, thank you, Master", she says while backing away. "Also, may I ask what a Chevalier is?", she asks a seemingly arbitrary question.

"Chevalier? It's an honor bestowed upon those who perform great feats at great risk for the greater good. It is one of the greatest honors to be bestowed upon anyone in this land", I answer her. "I can understand asking about Henr-the Princess, since she's coming soon. But why about Chevalier?". She grows silent and serious as I ask this.

"It is no matter, Master. I simply heard it in passing", she lies with a straight face. As if she could fool me. We're connected on the level of the heart by the contract. But in any case, I'll trust her judgement. I have no reason to inquire her about it for now. For the time being I should focus on my stu-

"Yaaaawwwwnnnn", I can't help but let out a powerful yawn. "Oh, it seems I wore myself out more than I thought by researching so hard", I think out-loud.

"Please Master, rest your body and mind for the night", my familiar speaks with a hint of a giggle. "You've done well for today".

"I am proud".

I can't help but look away when she says something like that. I wonder if she realizes just how much such words would mean to me? Does she realize that I've never heard them before? "Anyway, I think that's a good idea", I agree with her idea. I have plenty of time to study up. "Um, Abigail?", I shyly call for her attention.

"Yes?", to which she responds.

"Are you really a Princess?", I couldn't help but ask. But she only stares at me for a moment, clearly thinking about the best way to respond.

"I am your contracted familiar, Master", she answers in a pathetic attempt to avoid the question.

"I see, I won't force you to answer. I was just curious. I would like to hear about it when you feel comfortable telling me about it, however", she looks away shyly as I say that. Perhaps she feels kind of like she's betraying me by not telling me? She seems like she'd be the type to think that way. What with her 'knightly honor'. "Anyway, I would feel bad for making you sleep on the floor again. This bed is large, so I wouldn't mind if you wished to share it", I can't help but speak my feelings. After seeing her in the moonlight like that, it feels somehow blasphemous to make her sleep on a pile of straw on a stone floor. After a few moments of awkward silence, she responds.

"Master, I... That is very kind of you, Louise", she says as she turns red. "I haven't slept in a bed for a long time".

"Well, like I said there is plenty of room. Feel free to make use of it".

As the night moves on many thoughts race through my head. "Will I be powerful?", and "Is my familiar's faith well placed?", and "there's no way I'll let her down!". But above all else, the thought that races through my head is this:

Never has my heart been so at ease since my kind, beautiful sister Cattleya allowed me to sleep with her when I had a bad dream as a child.

Nay, this feeling is even warmer.