Louise carefully lifted her head out of the bush she had found refuge in. Nothing to the left. Nothing to the right. She carefully took stock of her surroundings and satisfied that noone was in sight, crawled over behind a large tree and permitted herself to relax just a tiny bit.
It had been a few days after the fight with Fouquet and many things have happened. She had been knighted, there were less jeers and taunts at school and Happosai had started training her which brought her to her current predicament.
Happosai's training regime was simplicity itself. He would burst in to her room at random intervals during day or night and if she failed to whip out her wand and blow the little pervert up he would tie her up in her own blanket and carry her away in the forests surrounding the Academy.
There he would leave her in a clearing or something on whatever clothes she happened to wear at the moment of her abduction and tell her to find her way back to the academy. While the damned old pervert somehow rounded up every wolf, jackal and wild boar in the forrest and set it on her trail. Oh and lets not forget that he would pop up from time to time to steal her underwear and foddle her if he felt that his student was "Slacking off".
On the upside this had made Louise very fast in the draw indeed! Running for your life from slavering wolves determined to make you their next lunch or from bigass hairy pigs trying to gore you for looking at them wrong had honed her reflexes to a hairtrigger. As soon as something broke cover and tried to eat her her wand would be out and a spell away in a fraction of a second. No more concentration, no more hemming or hawing on which spell she would try just big explosions and animal parts all over the place. The forest itself have acquired a few new clearings on spots where wolf packs had come a bit to close to making Louise-kebbob out of her.
On the other hand this whole *training regime* had left her nerves in a rather delicate state. Some of her less charitable classmates would call her paranoid but who listened to them right? Right!
Who cares if startling, making sudden movements in her presence , bumping on her , or just plain staring at her the wrong way was likely to have a rather explosive response and a hurried trip to the water mages in the infirmary. After all that unfortunate first year that tapped her in the back to get directions would be out of traction in a few weeks and with any luck the gardener she had failed to notice during her walk in the academy garden and chose the most unfortunate moment to raise his head from the roses he had been tending to would eventually get back on his feet. Everyone had the right to overeact a bit right? Right!
Those were the thoughts of Louise Franηoise Le Blanc de La Valliθre as she left the cover of her tree. "Damn old pervert." She mumbled under her breath, taking care to cover all angles of her advance with her wand. "Where are you? I swear if you dare show your head this time I will blow you back to whatever hellhole spawned you." Reaching another bush she went to her knees in order to offer the smallest possible target and poked her head out again to check around.
Happosai on the other hand would beg to differ. He stealthily dropped behind his mumbling student and shuffled his feet. No reaction from Louise who was giggling to herself thinking about blown up perverted trolls and which spell would make the best explosion. Lighting his pipe with a quick flare of his Ki he stepped on a dry twig that broke with a loud crack. He was again ignored in favour of some rather detailed rambles about how many wolves she would feed his remains to after poisoning them to make certain that the slavering beasts would die a most painfull death as well.
Happosai frowned. He knew women were weak and inafectual creatures and that Louise was a coddled noblewoman but this was ridiculous! He allowed her a whole hour of undisturbed sleep every day and he had even gone as far as allowing only the smaller wolves and wild hogs to go after her when his normal repertoir would include bears, lions and tigers. He had even allowed her to keep her clothes for budhas sake and even left her near streams that were not infested with piranhas or crocodiles! But unbeliavable as it seemed she was already exhausted! This would not do. This would not do at all!
Happosai sighed as he walked around his still oblivious student and eyed her was a disgrace. He was so soft so patient with her and still she was reduced to this! With a certain degree of glee he gave a hearty smack at her bottom. " WAKE UP YOU DISGRACE! YES IM TALKING TO YOU"
Louise gave an unearthly scream of terror and clung to the nearest tree, zeroing on her tormentor, a rather big red mark on her bottom.
"Really girl" sighed Happosai taking a drag from his pipe "This is a disgrace! Im going so easy on you yet you aren't even able to sense me and leave a few scrawny animals give you a hard time!" pausing melodramaticaly he brought his arm in his brow "Oh the discrace! The tragedy! To have such a weak little girl as a student! Truly how the mighty have fallen!" Genma eat your heart out!
Louise's answer was shot and to the point.
The forest got yet another clearing and when the smoke cleared and debris stopped falling Happosai bounced of to the academy holding a gagged and bound Louise over his shoulder. "I must admit that you have gotten slightly faster at your casting though." He added as an afterthought.
"Um, Sensei you don't really have to attend my class you know. I'm sure you have much better things to do with your time don't you?" Louise asked Happosai who for some reason was adamant about escorting her to her classes after his hellish training has begun.
"Nonsense my girl. What kind of teacher would I be if I didn't check on my cute little student's progress?" Happosai chuckled walking beside his *Master* "You do remember what the punishment will be if you lose control of your spells dont you?" he asked sharply.
"Urk!" Louise hurried ahead "Off course I remember!" she gasped rather breathlessly. In the last few days she had shown a huge improvement to her control of the amount of power she put in her spells but she didn't dare slack off after the last incident that had her hanging from the Academy flagpole in her underwear.
Happosai shook his head. Really the girl behaved so silly some times. IT was a teachers duty to keep his students on their toes at all times. Only then was true progress possible at all!
Today's teacher was the balding man from the summoning ritual. He seemed like just another flighty, absentminded proffesor but Happosai had seen a lot in his long life and knew a fighter when he saw one. Whatever this Proffesor Colbert was now had the moves and bearing of a fighting man. He would be someone to keep an eye on at any case.
Happosai looked on with interest as the man started his class. He had a large metal box on a table with tubes protruding in random intervals. Several of the students gave it strange looks indicating that it was something new and also gave him and Louise a rather large bearth since she had the habbit of blasting anything and anyone that startled her and he was rather unpredictable to say the least.
After the whole Fouquet affair there were all sorts of rumours flying about as its bound to happen in a school ranging from the most ordinary to the most peculiar. Surprisingly Kirche and Tabitha gave a rather acurrate account of the whole incident taking care to highlight Louise's and her familiar's contribution at apprehending the thief , something Louise was very glad about.
She was much less appreciative when the redhead recounted in lurid detail the thiefs punishment. Several of Kirche's admirers collapsed with nosebleeds when they pictured the scene, the girls glared daggers at Happosai and off course new rumours were spawned about the depraved life and times of Louise the Zero. Strangely enough noone said anything about Tabitha. Maybe they simply overlooked the quiet bookworm or simply remembered the ease with which she could flash freeze someone with nary a thought.
Proffesor Colbert started his lesson and for once Happosai felt his interest piqued. Fire magic was after all the most destructive of the various disciplines and it was always good to know what to look for if it was to be used against you.
As it turned out the box on the table was a very rudimentary engine. It burned oil that in turned moved a series of pistons painted like students off course were not impressed.
"What's exactly the use of it Proffesor?" asked Kirche "We have magic for things like that after all so its useless isn't it?" Murmurs of agreement rose from the rest of the class along with the occasional sniker. Proffesor Colbert slumped down at the dismissal of his masterpiece.
"Not really there girlie." objected Happosai "We have had things like that in my homeland for the last 150 years or so. They were not much in the beggining but nowadays they are used for everything from moving iron ships thousands of tons from one side of the world to the other to powering flying machines." Snorts of derision and murmurs about senile old men filled the room but before he took offense and did something about it Proffesor Colbert all but teleported in front of him.
"Really mr Happosai? Your homeland had such wonderful devices?" begged the teacher a disturbing gleam in his eyes "Do you by any chance know how they are built? What materials are used? What kind of fuel?" with every question Professor Colbert leaned closer and closer to Happosai who looked on bemused.
Ignoring Louise's frantic gestures the Professor grabbed Happosai and turned to her " You must let me have him Miss Valliere! Think of all the wonderful thing we could built together! Science demand it!" hugging the old man to his chest the Proffesor gave her the dreaded Puppy Dog Eyes "please!"
"Sure..." mumbled a dazzed Louise eyeing her familiar with growing unease. He hadnt moved in all the time the Proffesor manhandled him.
Proffesor Colbert suddenly found himself on his back a few feet away from a rather iritated Happosai."Not that I dont appreciate the sentiment my boy but I don't swing that way." he let his eyes burn red and bestially cruel as he glared at the downed Proffesor "See that you forget that in the future. If you want to have a future."
Proffesor Colbert stiffened for a moment and his hand darted to his wand but recovered like a pro. "Ah off course mr Happosai.I apologise for my actions. Some times I forget myself." Dusting himself off the Proffesor turned to his class "Well now that that is over maybe someone would like to make the engine move?" still a bit out of sorts he glanced at Louise "Maybe you miss Valliere?"
All movement stilled in the room. Sure Louise was much less prone to uncontrolable explosions lately but old habbits die hard. Several students ducked slowly under their desks while Tabitha made her way to a nearby window.
Louise hesitated for a moment but spurred on by Happosai's glare stepped forward. "Off course Professor" she said and walked stiffly to the engine.
"Proffesor are you sure this is wise?" jumped in Kirche desperate to avoid a misscast by Louise "Valliere must still be tired after the whole Fouquet deal after all . Surely you dont want to put much strain in her do you?"
Colbert was confused for a second and then remembered just what Louise was famous for. "Now that you mention it miss Zerbst you are right! I certainly dont want to put such a strain on miss Valliere! If you could go back to your sit mis Valliere?"
Louise grit her teeth at this. So they still thought that she was useless! She would show them all."I'm fine sir" she gritted out and whiped out her to the machine she said "Ignite" softly while several students dived for cover.
To almost everyones surprise the resulting explosion was tiny but since it lacked flame it failed to ignite the oil. On the other hand the room was still intact something decidedly unusual as an aftermath of on of her spells.
"It didn't blow up?" Kirche asked surprised at the lack of big boom.
"Uh...A nice try miss Valliere." Ventured Proffesor Colbert aproaching her cautiously. Gently taking her by the hand he escorted her back to her seat."Now let the rest of your costudents have a try huh?" he said eager to get her away from his precious engine.
"A nice try girl." murmured Happosai and Louise shifted uncomfortably at her seat. "I had plenty of motivation" she replied dryly earning a chuckle by her nemesis.
The rest of the morning passed quietly in the most part, with Louise struggling through her classes under the watchful eye of her tormentor...Er sensei! Yes thats the word sensei! enduring the surprised glances of her fellow students as she failed time after time to transform the class in to a crater when casting a spell. Truly it did sting her pride a little to still be regarded with so much misstrust but she guessed that the habbits of so many years couldn't be overcome overnight.
She and Happosai were on their way back to the dormitory tower when the most unlikely person intercepted them boldly stepping in their path.
"Uh, can I help you Guiche?" Louise asked dubiously. She hadn't had much contact with the blond fop since the duel and its humiliating ending and he had gone out of his way to avoid her as well since Happosai made it a point to glare at him every time their paths crossed.
"Its not you I wish to talk to Valliere" he declared possing pompously with his rose wand . With a dramatic flutter of his cloak he pointed to Happosai. "Its with your familiar I wish to have a word."
"Indeed?" Asked Happosai puffing away at his pipe. "And what is there that you posibly have to say to me boy?" Leering at the blonde noble Happosai added "I though we said all we had to say the other day."
Guiche faltered a bit but stepped in front of Happosai and fell on his knees. " Indeed Master Happosai! I Guiche de Gramond ask of you to teach me your art!"
Happosai blinked in surprise while Louise gapped at the blond. He couldn't be serious right? "Are you insane" she asked "do you even know what you ask?" Surely he was a disgusting two-timing moron but even he didn't deserve that fate!
"Don't listen to her Master Happosai" Guiche started digging his grave. " The day I fought you opened my eyes to so many new posibilities! To have the power to disable a man with just a touch! Surely it is a persuit worthy of a noble! If you can train the useless Louise the Zero surely you would do wonders with a worthy student such as me!"
A vein bulged on Louise's forehead. Ubheading of his nearing doom Guiche pressed on.
"If that pathetic excuse of a mage can benefit from your tutolage then I shudder to think of the hights I can reach!"
Uh Oh. Make that a double bulge.
"And all the other things you could show me! The fiery Kirche speaks of how you disabled the dreaded thief Fouquet and reduced her to a puddle of pleasure!"
Poor boy. His tongue didn't have much contact with whatever passed for a mind did it?
With a final flourish of his rose Guiche looked hopefully at Happosai "So what do you say Master Happosai will you take me as your student?"
Louise was at the verge of an epic meltdown when she caught sight of her familiar. Happosai's face was split with the most evil smile she had ever seen in her young life. She finally relaxed and decided that Guiche indeed deserved whatever fate had in store for him. After all who was she to stop a fellow student from attaining his potential?
"Why certainly my boy" chuckled Happosai and turned away "You are in luck! I will give you a test to see if you are worthy immediately!"
Guiche full of self important joy followed him. " Fear not Master Happosai I will pass any test put in my path!"
"Um master Happosai what are we doing here?" inquired Guiche. They were at the back of the dormitory tower only the towers wall in front of them while all other sides were choked with trees and rolling grassland. What would his test be? A test of endurance? Of combat? Whatever it was he would pass it!
"Just stand there my boy" Happosai walked to the wall and eyed it critically. "This will only take a moment." Taking out his pipe he tapped the wall which disintegrated revealing that on the other side were the female students baths and at the moment were filled with naked and half naked witches.
Happosai posed dramatically while enjoying the view. "Pretty Ladies! You make this old mans heart good to see tou like this! Its a happy day to see so many pretty ladies wearing so little"
"Its the little pervert!"
"Kyaaaah! kill it ! kill it!"
Various magical attack were launched all of them dodged or redirected with minimal effort.
Happosai savoured the abandance of battle aura as he landed on a blonds perky breasts and proceeded to foddle them most thoroughly.
Shrieks of terror and outrage echoed through the bath as he jumped from bountiful bussom to perky rear untill he came up to a familiar readhead.
Kirche gasped as the horrifying little troll landed on her chest and proceeded to foddle her breasts and steal her underwear in the proccess.
"DIE YOU LITTLE TROLL!"
Happosai avoided an attempt to fry him and slithered to her bottom stealing her panties as well. Yet another set for his collection!
"hubba hubba would you look at these babies!" he crowed jumping to the front again and burrowing at his favourite spot in this world "So big yet so firm! Im in heaven!"
Kirche was shaking with barely suppressed fury and embarassment. She could try to fry the pervert yet again but she knew that it would only make it worse! Taking a deep breath she forced herself to calm down and hissed "Why are you doing this you little creep? Arent the daily humiliations enough I have to suffer like this in front of the rest as well?"
"Ha! This is a test of course my dear! Really you should recognise it!" Happosai answered as he burrowed deeper in to her cleavage.
"Test? What kind of test? What in the world are you testing me on?" Kirche hissed trying and failing to clobber him again.
"You? Im not testing you my dear." Happosai answered easily avoiding her swings "Im testing blondie over there. He is my new student you see."
Every eye turned to Guiche's horrorstricken face still standing frozen outside the breach.
"Yes Guiche. My beloved student. And he has seen you all butt naked!" with that Happosai flashed away and vanished faster than anyone could track leaving the unfortunate blond as the sole focus of the witche's ire.
Terrorstricken Guiche barely managed to move away as the first spells started howling after him. Desperately he called up his golems to act as meatshields as he sped away with every single witch in the academy in hot persuit.
Happosai chuckled from the top of the Dormitory tower as he followed his progress. If the boy survived he would see to start his training formally.
Some time later in her room Louise was rather ambivalent about her familiar. On one hand he had just molested every witch in the academy and the fallout would not be pretty. On the other hand he had just sent yet another one of those who mocked her running for the hills. It was sweet in a twisted and depraved sort of way but did he have to go out of his way to aggravate everyone in the vicinity?
Just as she was gathering up steam to berate him he decided to throw her a curveball.
"Oh yes by the way I found out why you can't cast normal magic my girl" Happosai stated like it was the most casual thing in the world. Taking a long drag from his pipe he chackled at the sight of Louise freezing up. mouth open for a few moments.
"WHAT?" Louise shrieked and seemingly teleported in front of him. "What? How? I have been searching all this time for the tiniest clue and you tell me you know what's wrong?" brandishing her wand threateningly she added " You better not lie to me familiar. Because if you do I will blast you all the way to the holy land!"
Happosai sighed melodramatically. "Oh the tragedy of it all! Here I am, her humble and devoted teacher , going out of my way to find a way to fix her problems and my ungrateful student threatens me with violence! Oh the humanity!" Happosai posed for effect "Truly the path of the teacher is treacherous in the extreme!"
"Poor partner... You truly are a great man to carry so many burdens..." Derflinger piped in from his corner.
"Happosai..." Louise growled as sparks started to gather around her his head Happosai decided to stop tormenting her just this once. Truly the girl had no patience at all. "Relax girl. Do you remember the wierd name the delectable miss Longueville called me when she tried to off us all?"
Lowering her wand Louise's forehead furrowed at concetration. "Yes... She called you Ganl.. no Gandalfr wasn't it? So what of it?"
"Well as it turns out that is the name of this here rune." Happosai pointed at his hand. "I asked around a bit and finally the headmaster had the answer. Apparently Gandalfr was the name of one of the familiars of this Brimir character you people keep going on and on about."
Louise was flabbergasted " One of the Founders familiars? How can that be? And what does it do any way?" she asked unwilling to believe what he was saying.
"It looks like whoever has this rune is able to yield any weapon with the skill of a master" Happosai continued " that is why I keep getting magic boosts when I wield Derflinger there" he pointed to the sword.
"Oh yes! Now I remember! I was yielded by Gandalfr a long time ago!" Exclaimed Derflinger. "No wonder this situation seemed so familiar!"
" So wait." Louise sat heavily on her bed "If you are the Gandalfr then that means that my element..."
"Exactly girl. Your element is the void." Happosai finished for her "There is no doubt about it."
"But but there hasn't been a yielder of the void element for the last 6000 years! There are no spells of spellbooks that detail the founders spells." Louise despaired "Void is well and good IF what you say is true. How am I supposed to utilise it though?"
"Well more research I guess for you girl." Happosai noted mercilessly " If this Brimir guy was so famous there must be books that at least describe the effects of his spells. You will just have to find them."
"But.." Louise was about to continue when a soft knock at the door interrupted them.
Louise swiftly rose and opened the door revealing a familiar figure."Princess Henrietta?" she exclaimed and immediatly turned and on Happosai brandishing her wand. "Don't you dare molest the Princess familiar! Im warning you!" she threatened ominously.
"Wouldn't dream of it my dear." Happosai answered with a mischievious glint in his eyes "I have already had my fill of pretty ladies for today" He winked at the princess that shuddered.
Princess Henrietta stepped in to the room and claimed a spare chair and sat heavily.
"Princess its always a honour to have you here but I did not expect you." Louise fretted "Why are you here?"
"I will get straight to the point my dear friend." stated the princess " I need your services for a crucial mission"
"Off course your highness! Anything I can do for you I will do without hesitation!" Louise exclaimed ignoring Happosai's glare. Happosai for his part shook his head in disgust. No matter what he did it seemed that even the slightest shred of wisdom was simply impossible to penetrate his students thick skull. Here she was jumping again head first in some unknown situation without care in the world.
"If its not much trouble I would like a bit more of a backround about this mysterious mission." Happosai asked "Your Highness." He added after he saw the glare sent his way by his student.
"Well its pretty simple mr Happosai." started the princess. " The country of Albion has fallen in dire straights. A revolution has erupted against the royal family and it looks like the rebels will be victorious in this straggle. The rebels a seeking to overthrow all the royal families of the surrounding nations so when Albion falls, Tristain will probably be their next target." The princess paused to catch her breath and continued. " In order to safeguard my country my hand was offered in marriage to the Emperor of Germania. With his support we will be able to handle whatever the rebels throw our way but there is a complication."
"What kind of complication you Highness?" Louise asked "It seems pretty straightforward to me."
"Well as it happens I have had a relationship these last few years with the crown prince of Albion." Ignoring Louise's scandalised gasp the princess forged on. "The prince holds certain letters of mine that if they fall to the hands of the rebels they could be used to undermine my upcoming marriage. There are certain fanctions both in Tristain and in Germania that would leap at the chance to ruin the marriage so the letters must be retrieved as soon as possible." She raised her eyes at Louise " That is where you come in my friend. Will you go to Albion on my behalf and retrieve those letters?"
"Off course your Highness! Consider it done!" Louise leaned forward and hugged the princess "Nothing will stand in my way."
Happosai simply shook his head ignoring for once the two young women. A treck through a country in the process of tearing itself to pieces to reach a besieged position and retrieve valuable documents. Well Louise had to get her feet wet at some point and this seemed as good a chance as any.