AN: Took me a while to get this out. I recently learned that an old friend of mine was arrested by US Marshalls. I've been having trouble coming to terms with what he was charged with and confessed to. Then violated terms for his bail. It's hard imagining him doing what he did. That's why this update took so long. Some complicated emotional shit went down for me. It was done yesterday, but I didn't want to put an author's note like this on April first.
Anyway, I'll answer a few reviews:
Dark Ianos, American military because I know more about it, and yes age difference.
Tylermech66, sorry it took so long.
And wow, people like Siesta and didn't like Saito's little lash out.
"Princess Henrietta." The Princess gracefully rose from her ornate bed, stretching out. "You must get ready quickly; we have a busy day today. Her Royal highness is holding court today."
Henrietta gasped, she wasn't expecting that. Her mother rarely held court. Court was seldom held since the King passed. The Queen rarely participated in anything. "Why is the court being held today?"
"A few nobles have been pushing harder for court to be held. Count Mott in particular has been insistent on having action taken to resolve the damage to his estate, and he has leveled some very severe accusations upon others." The servant informed.
"Thank you Roderick." Today was going to be dull. Holding court, while necessary, was so boring.
"Saito!" He shook himself awake, trying to work his tired eyes open. "Saito, are you in here!"
"I'm awake…" Saito was not used to others waking him up in the morning, as he worked his heavy eye lids, trying to rub the sleep from them. If he stayed up late it was an alarm clock or he just woke up early on his own.
"Miss Vallière? What are you…" Colbert yawned. "What are you doing here so early?"
"I'm looking for Saito, we need to be leaving."
"Right, the Princess and stuff." Saito stood from the chair he was in, stretching his tired joints.
"Try to act like you have some Noble blood." Louise condescendingly said as she entered the lab. "What were you two doing in here?"
"We were trying to make the transmuted dragon's blood better fit for flying." Colbert announced cheerfully. "Careful, Saito has been a bit upset. I've calmed him down but he's still quite upset." He whispered in an aside to Louise.
"I'm not nearly as optimistic as you, Jean, all we've done so far is add lead and liqueur, and there is zero reason to be proud of the lead." Saito muttered as he wandered to his discarded weapons.
"Please, we have accomplished so much. We made it more combustible in a few cases but it is more stable."
"Ahh, negativity is my way of saying we need to do more. And we will be working more on it when I get back, I guarantee it." Saito added with a groan as he grabbed all of his weapons. "You ready Derf?"
"I'm always ready Partner."
"Great. Let's get going Louise." Saito stated with a grin as he marched out.
"You're bringing the Staff of Destruction?" Louise asked flatly.
Saito stopped for a moment, trying to figure out why that was relevant. He gave up after a moment's thought. "What's wrong with it?"
"Fouquet stole it again when it was being taken to the palace so it could be stored." Louise blankly stated.
"Should we let them know that I have it?"
"Not yet. We're revealing a lot by telling everyone that you are Gandàlfr. Revealing that you also bought the Staff of Destruction from Fouquet would be too much." Louise explained as she started guiding Saito.
Saito set the launcher down by the door. "Jean, can you keep an eye on the LAW?"
"Of course!" Jean Colbert shouted.
"Thanks!" Saito ran out and caught up to Louise. "Now where's the carriage?"
"We're riding horses." Louise succinctly said.
"Riding horses…" Saito had never ridden a horse before.
"Yes, riding horses."
"Saito! Louise! I've been looking for you!" It was Guiche. Saito groaned, he didn't have time for flower power. "I want to pay you both back."
Both Saito and Louise stopped in their tracks and turned toward Guiche, both uttering "Really?"
"…I can't pay right now." He muttered apologetically.
Louise groaned "I don't know why I thought he would pay his debt."
"I feel stupid too." Saito muttered as they both turned around and continued walking. "Oh yeah, and Louise, I don't know-"
"I'm going with you! I was going to sell some of the items I purchased with your ècu." Saito and Louise once again stopped in their tracks, and turned toward Guiche, jaws dropped. "You two shouldn't be so surprised, I am a Gramont. I will honor my debts."
"Will we need a carriage for the stuff you bought?" Louise asked.
"Of course." Guiche cheerfully said.
"Good, I don't know how to ride a horse." Saito said as he walked ahead.
Now Guiche and Louise were staring at Saito, gaping at the thought that he couldn't do something as simple as riding a horse. "How do you get anywhere without riding a horse?"
"Drove or rode a bike." Saito nonchalantly said.
"Drove what?"Louise asked.
"And what's a bike?" Guiche added.
Saito stopped. Bikes didn't exist here. Even when he could drive he still rode his bike around. "I hate this place…"
"It's all together… I fixed it!" It was the first time I ever repaired a bike. It was a small pink one that used to belong to my best friend's youngest sister. "This could totally work."
"You sure?" My best friend asked. He was my expert on being handy, and he had just taught me how to make and fix bikes.
"Definitely. I can use this as my service project. I know a few charities that would take bikes; I'll just need people to donate old and broken bikes. My mom's friend owns a bike store; he'd probably be willing to donate some parts. Just need to write up a proposal."
"You'll also need to teach others how to fix bikes."
"I don't need to teach them how to fix a whole bike. I can make it like an assembly line. Teach them to fix a part, pass it along." I said as we stepped out of the garage. I hopped on the tiny bike and pedaled. I went off the curb, and everything was in working order. I then just started biking in small circles.
"That's actually a pretty good idea. Definitely a good Eagle project. Let's get something to eat."
"Yes, let's bike somewhere!"
"No! Aren't you tired yet? Lets drive" My friend whined.
"I will get there on this tiny, girly bike! And I NEVER GET TIRED." I announced proudly.
"No, get off the bike!"
My friend ran into the garage and came out with a super soaker. "Take this Bitch!"
I shrieked when I felt the icy water. I still don't know why it was already full. He didn't have nearly enough time to fill it. I still refuse to believe that he kept a full squirt gun in his garage just in case.
Louise was leading Saito ahead trying to stay in control of the situation. Guiche had already left with the carriage to sell the things he bought with their money. Now they were going to the Palace without warning. "Do you think that Guiche will get our money's worth for the stuff he got?"
"No." Louise succinctly said.
"Yeah, I agree. He'll get at most half the value."
"You are too optimistic. Now remember, act proud, and have some class." Louise knew that she didn't have to remind him. Saito was proud enough already.
"Okay, so… Lets do this?"
"…Try to be more eloquent than that." Louise muttered as they approached the Palace. Louise was always in awe of the Palace, made entirely of stone transmuted by square class earth mages. The fact that it was still the most magnificent palace she had ever seen was a testament to the care put into its creation hundreds of years ago. The tall and inspiring walls were at least twenty meters tall, with towers on each corner, guards along the walls, all trained in magic. They were all mages so they wouldn't be forced to use undignified cannons.
"Halt, what is the purpose of your arrival?" A man dressed in the garb of the Manticore knights, guards of the Royal Family and the most prestigious of the armed forces, asked.
"I am Louise François le Blanc de la Vallière, I am here to see Princess Henrietta." Louise said with all her Noble grace.
"I apologize, but I need to know why you are here, Louise François le Blanc de la Vallière. Today is not a good day." The guardsmen said.
"Look, go to the Prin-"
"It's you!" Louise and Saito turned to the newcomer.
"Hi André, how have you been?" Saito asked with a grin.
"I've been better, why are you here?" He was tense, visibly nervous.
"I am here with Louise François le Blanc de la Vallière. I'm here to meet with the Princess."
"I don't know why any of you are here." The guard interrupted.
"Of course. I'm here because Count Mott has accused me of destroying his home." André quickly composed himself.
As André talked with the guard Louise hastily pulled Saito away, "How do you know him?"
"He tried to kill me." All of a sudden the brief mention of assassination attempts made sense.
"You didn't kill him?" She would have expected Saito to just get rid of a threat.
"Of course not, that would have been suicide." He was right; if Saito had killed a Noble everyone would have been after his head.
Louise turned back to the guard as André walked in. "You will let us in."
"I don't have to."
"I should have brought a book."
"I am close to the Princess. If you inform her of my arrival she will allow me entrance."
"No." The guard succinctly answered.
"We could just walk in. There's only one guard."
"Saito, just… no." Why would he even suggest that out loud?
"Be quiet peasant."
"…Peasant?" Louise almost groaned at Saito's tone.
"Saito, don't." He couldn't make a scene yet.
"Hold yourself to a higher standard."
Saito was glaring at the guard. "Fine." He seethed "Just make a big explosion. That should attract the Princess."
"Saito, no that is not how we do things."
"How do we do things, sit here impotently while this ass does nothing."
"Excuse me." The guard muttered.
"You are an ass. Go to Princess Henrietta."
"I don't like you, so no."The guard stoically said.
"If you get her you won't have to deal with me." Saito said with a grin.
"Are you really appealing to how annoying you are?" Louise muttered.
"Clearly he is, and no. I prefer you unhappy here." Louise was starting to like this guard.
"Why are You so stuPid." Saito spat as he stepped closer to the guard, spitting on the ps and vs. (1)
"Step away or I'll make you step away." The guard seethed.
"You think you can do that?" Saito asked with a cocky grin.
"SAITO!" Louise screeched.
"Did you hear that?" Henrietta muttered. She could have sworn that she heard an explosion.
"Are we under attack?" Her butler Roderick fearfully muttered.
"No." Henrietta muttered as she started running toward the explosion. There was only one person she knew who could make explosions like that.
"Princess! You shouldn't run toward explosions!" Her butler shouted.
"I'll be fine!" Henrietta was giddy. It wasn't like Louise to just drop by the Palace. Then she got outside, and saw the spectacle, and was thoroughly confused. Her dear friend was shouting with a swordsman in blue. Watching the shouting match were a few guardsmen. She walked over to the guardsmen and asked "What's going on here?"
"Princess! Oh, umm, well, Louise François le Blanc de la Vallière arrived with that idiot in blue and he just acted crazy. Then Louise François blew him up with some kind of spell, not sure which element. Then they just started shouting at each other." The guardsman informed.
"That's the Princess?!" The swordsman in blue shouted.
"What are you- Princess Henrietta!?" Louise shrieked incredulously.
"Hi, I'm here to meet you!" The swordsman shouted with an obnoxious grin.
"Saito! Be respectful! This is the Princess! Bow!" Louise shouted as she bowed.
"…no…" Henrietta gaped at the swordsman's answer. The guards glared.
Louise clearly looked horrified. "What." She was seething.
"I haven't bowed to anybody since I got here, why would you think that would change now?" He dismissed.
"She is the Princess, it is a sign of respect, you peasant." A red haired guardsmen hissed.
"Is it mandatory?"
"In your case it is." Another guardsman sneered.
"I see. In that case, no." He rested his hand on his sheathed sword.
"Partner, there's a lot of them." His sword talked!
His eyes darted for a moment before he smirked, "There's nine, and they are in no position to win." It seemed he was extremely arrogant.
"Saito, just be respectful!" Louise screeched.
"If an act of respect is mandatory it is an act of submission. I don't submit." The swordsman hissed as he glared at the guardsman. "Now if you are going to try and force me to submit then attack, any fight you start I'll end."
"If a fight happens you are the one starting it." A guardsman said as he stepped forward.
"You all have your weapons ready, mine is sheathed." He tightened his grip on the sword.
She needed to get this all under control. The guardsman sneered. "You have a warped view."
"Please put your wands away." Henrietta calmly and quietly ordered.
The guards turned to her in shock. "But we are trying to defend your honor as Princess! We can't let such disrespect go unanswered."
"Please." Henrietta serenely requested.
All of the guards were glaring at the swordsman, Saito, and he was returning it with greater fury. "Of course, Princess." One of the guardsmen muttered as they one by one sheathed their combat wands.
"Very good, thank you." Henrietta turned and walked up to Louise with a wide smile on her face and threw her arms around her friend. "Louise François! It's great to see you again!"
"Please Princess. You shouldn't be so kind to someone as lowly as I." Louise enthusiastically said as she returned the embrace.
"Louise, you are always welcome here. Guardsmen, whenever Louise François le Blanc de la Vallière comes, I want her taken directly to me."
"Of course, Princess," they chorused.
"Princess Henrietta, I don't deserve such an honor."
"You do deserve this. I thought today was going to be dreadful, but your arrival is sign that this will be a magnificent day." Henrietta beamed.
"Princess! What could possibly make a day dreadful for you?" Louise kindly asked.
"Oh, I was going to be trapped in court all day."
"Court, when was the last time Queen Marianne held court? Who's pushing?"
"I have no idea who is pushing for court to be held? There are probably a few families looking to have disputes resolved. It has been 3 months." It has been a long time. Ever since her father passed mother was walking like she was half dead. Cardinal Mazarin organized everything.
"3 months?" Louise gaped.
"I know, that's far too long. Still, it was a welcome respite. Why can't families solved their own disputes?" Henrietta gently held Louise's hand and pulled her past the palace walls, the boy who refused to bow following behind.
"There is something I need to tell you, Princess."
"Of course Louise, we can talk while-"
"Privately, please." Louise looked really nervous.
She had never seen Louise like this. "Of course, we will go to my chambers." What could Louise have to say that would merit such concern? It was nice that Louise had such confidence in her that she would come to her. Arriving at her room she flung the door open and led her friend inside. "So…" He was still there, the boy who refused to bow. Then it hit her. Louise summoned a human.
"How should I start this?" Louise muttered to herself.
"Is he the 'Devil Dog,' Saito Hiraga?"
"How do you know the term- wait, how do you know my name?" So this boy was the one Louise summoned.
"How do you know his name?"
"You told me when I came to visit."
"Well, uh, I am Saito Hiraga. My friend at my waist is Derflinger."
"Hi." The sword chimed.
"I'm here to meet you, I guess."
"He's your Familiar?"
"Ally, he's my ally, and well… I don't know how to put this." Louise muttered.
"I'm Gandàlfr, the Left Hand of God, Louise is a Void mage."
"Saito, don't just be so… so… Blunt!"
"Is that true?"
Louise jumped at the question, nervously twitching. "Well… um… yes."
His family had everything ready. The Count was going to lose so much today. The Fézensaguets were ready to help, and they had witnesses ready to speak. The commoner Familiar was the only possible problem, but so long as he didn't show up, everything would work out. Most importantly the guard wasn't letting that commoner Familiar in.
Gazing at the Court he could see Nobles from countless different families, sitting and observing Mott and André. No one wanted to miss the Court, considering how seldom it was held since King Henry's passing, Founder rest his soul.
"André du Châtelet, you stand accused of aiding a criminal, and the destruction of the Mott estate. What say you?" Cardinal Mazarin asked, speaking for the melancholy Queen Marianne.
"Of course I would never aid a criminal, in fact it was the unknown thief who destroyed Count Mott's estate. I simply pursued him while the Count fled." André explained calmly.
"Liar! You were covering his escape. You conveniently show up at the same time as him, then you light everything on fire to cover his escape!" Mott was seething. His wounds had been healed, all that remained was a single, thick scar going down the left side of his face.
"I was only trying to recover your staff." André kept a straight face, praying that his foe would be foolish enough to deny.
"I still have my staff." Mott growled, revealing a new staff adorned with a blue gem at the end.
A short man stood, Viscount Bernard de Fézensaguet and his friend Gerald's father. "How odd, considering that my son Gerald recovered the cane you favor." The Viscount revealed the staff, with a single knot at the top, a band of blue at the middle, the wood twisted counter-clockwise near the bottom before transitioning once again to blue at the base.
André had to struggle to keep the smile off his face. "We aren't here for me; you and your family are the ones being judged."
"For what? The thief was very well prepared. I never used a single spell above line. I never used a spell capable of destroying the Mott estate." That was the truth, from a certain point of view. He did find gunpowder stores, and strategically place them to destroy the estate. His mother, Gabrielle du Châtelet rest her soul, had a personal vendetta against Mott. She would be proud that her son was orchestrating that pig's fall.
"There is a much bigger problem we must look at concerning these events." Marquis Mattieu de Montmorency declared. "I recognize the staff Viscount Bernard has brought forth; there is no doubt that it once was Count Mott's. I have concerns that he had lost the most important aspect of Nobility, he lost his staff. Count Mott is the Royal Messenger, I am aghast to consider what might happen if he should lose a message of vital importance to the crown."
There was the final nail in the coffin. There was no way for the Count to escape now. "We are not here to discuss me. It was André and the thief!"
"We need to discuss how you were bested by a commoner."
"It was working with André!" the disgusting view of Mott. Commoners were tools to be used, but André knew better. It was the duty of the Nobles to care for the little people, to lead the flock as they couldn't lead themselves. It may require a heavy hand at times; teach them their place, but the straight abuse Mott placed upon them was dangerous.
"I tried to kill him, but he fled. He had an escape route already prepared. I have to question the preparedness of Mott's guard."
The doors to the Grand Hall opened, and in came Louise Franҫois le Blanc de la Vallière, Princess Henrietta, and… "That common filth is the thief!" Mott screamed, unleashing a stream of water.
(1) Remember, they're speaking French.
AN: Once again, sorry this took so long. Promise the next one will come sooner and be longer.
Now, this is Lee, and I'm Out!