Author's Note:

… It lives. Sorry for the wait, but laziness + lack of inspiration does that. Not to mention I'm just writing this as it comes to mind.

So, here's the end of arc 1, you could say. I've basically started drifting off canon here, and am trying to think of various ways to screw around, now that I've got a source of info to work with. As always, read, review etc.

It was just before noon, and Louise and I had moved out after having packed for the mission. Currently, we were waiting for Guiche to arrive, as well as the fourth member of our little party. Apparently, Henrietta has assigned one of her knights to help us as well. And since I had the time, I decided to address a previous headache. "Louise, I need to know something." I began, keeping myself from going on a rant.

"Hmm? What is it?" She asked while making sure she had not forgotten anything.

"That Water Ruby. It's blue, so how is it a ruby? Shouldn't it be a sapphire?" I tried to keep the irritation that was still left in me out of my voice. Tried being the key word, I still sounded annoyed. Louise looked at me, opened her mouth, but did not speak. She closed it, opened it again, then looked at the ring herself.

"Huh... You know, you're right." She scratched her head as she said so. I sighed and hung my head. I should just let it be. I should know by now that there are things which will never make sense to me. That assault on my sanity aside, I could see Guiche arriving, carrying his bag with him. Odd, I don't see his familiar with him. I thought he'd bring it along.

"Hello! Sir X! Louise!" He greeted as he approached us. I smiled and waved at him. No need to be rude; Louise already tore into him yesterday evening. Said little girl just absentmindedly waved back. Looks like someone else is trying to wrap their head around that anomaly called a Water Ruby. No; no ranting. I did that already. "Prepared for the journey I take it?" I nodded.

"Yes, we're just waiting for the escort the Princess assigned to us. Also, Guiche, where is your familiar? I thought you would bring it with you." I looked around for the giant mole he had with him. Where- Oh. Right. Giant mole. "Er, it's underground, isn't it?" He nodded.

"I'm surprised you're alright with me bringing her." I quirked an eyebrow. "Ah, I never introduced you to her! Her name is Verdandi. She should be coming up now." I felt a few small tremors in the ground below me, and heard something digging underneath us. The digging was getting louder, so she must be close now. I heard Louise squeak, and sharply turned around to see... The mole had popped up right beside her, surprising her. "Ah! There she is. Isn't she cute?" I stared at Guiche, then back at the mole, which was looking at Louise for some reason. Said mole made a happy squeal, then jumped on Louise, dragging her to the ground.

"AAH! GUICHE! GET IT OFF!" Louise screamed as the mole kept sniffing her hand. Guiche just tilted is head, and I mirrored his action. That was... odd. "X! HELP!" Shaking my head, I walked over to pry the mole off my little master.

"That's rather strange... She's usually quite composed with strangers." Guiche spoke, as curious about this development as I was. I then heard him hit his hand. "Ah, she is going after the ring you are wearing. Verdandi likes precious rocks, and can easily find them." I noticed the mole was specifically trying to smell Henrietta's ring, so Guiche was correct.

While prying it off, I asked Guiche, "Did you ever consider prospecting? Your mole could help find minerals and ores." I managed to pull the mole off, and it struggled a bit in my arms. I petted it gently on the head, and it calmed down.

"Hmm, that is a good idea, Sir X. My family has a few financial troubles so that would be very helpful..." Guiche continued thinking to himself as I gently placed his familiar next to him. He then bent down and patted the mole, and it squeaked happily. I smiled at the scene, then turned to the direction of the sound of wings flapping. It seems our escort has arrived. From what I could see, it was a man on what looked like a griffin. I have seen the mechanical versions that were made in Neo Arcadia, but the original being itself is quite a sight. Now all I need to see is a manticore...

"Hello there, I suppose you're the ones I am to escort?" The man called out as his griffin landed. Louise seemed to start at his voice, while Guiche was staring with awe. I kept a look of indifference, studying the knight carefully. He was dressed in immaculate clothing, with a well-made cloak over them. He was wearing a wide brimmed hat with a feather stuck in it- a bit cliché I'd say – and carried what looked like a sword on his side. His features were fair, with grey hair and a well-kept beard. All in all, he was what Axl would call a 'pretty boy' , much like Guiche. Except for the fact that I could tell he was a good soldier by the way he seemed to be on guard. A soldier, through and through.

Magic level: Square. Element: Wind

A rather powerful one, at that. "V-v-visount Wardes... It's g-good to see you again..." Louise spoke up shyly. Louise knows him?

"Ah, Louise. It's good to see you as well. Why, you've grown quite a bit I have to say." The man stepped down and walked to her, smiling warmly. "How are you, my dear fiancee?" I heard Guiche gasp. Louise just turned even more red. Well, I didn't think she'd be engaged, especially at her age.

"V-visount! There are people present..." He then turned to us, with a scrutinizing glare.

"I see, and who would they be?" Guiche gulped, having never been subject to a glare like that. I just remained stoic, ignoring the glare completely. He was studying me now, having seemed to notice how different I am.

"They are Guiche de Gramont," At this Guiche nodded, still shaking, "And my familiar, X." She pointed at me, and I gave a simple wave. "He's... different than most familiars."

"Different than most, eh? Well, I'd say he's different from most people as well. People usually breath, after all." Oh? He can tell? "So then, what is he, Louise?"

"Um... He's a... Golem. Of a sort." Wardes continued studying me. "He's like humans; he can think for himself..." She was still nervous. Well, considering how her fiance was practically glaring at me, I can't really blame her.

"What my Master is trying to say is that I'm a golem that is alive. I am just like a human, simply put. So, you are my Master's fiance, then?" He nodded slowly. I smiled. "Then I am pleased to make your acquaintance, Viscount." I made a short bow. Might as well be polite to Louise's fiance; Zero is better at the indifference routine. The man stared for a second, before chuckling lightly.

"Well, then it's an interesting experience to meet you as well, Mister X. My Louise has summoned a truly unique familiar, and a strong one as well, to have captured Fouquet!" He knows about that? Well, Louise did become a Chevalier, and him being sent here means that Henrietta might have informed him of her achievement, so naturally he must have been curious as to how.

"Wardes, where did you learn that?" Louise spoke up once the man stopped chuckling. He looked at her, smiling.

"I was curious. I heard my little Louise had become a Chevalier, so I asked some of the staff about the details behind it. And may I say I was surprised. You, your familiar, and two other students captured the thief. I heard various versions of the story, but I understood the gist of it enough." He explained. I thought as much. I walked over to them, lifting up Louise's bags, and placing them onto the horses near us.

"Well, then. Shall we be on our way?"

"I see why you didn't need a horse, Sir X..." Guiche stared at me as I jogged next to him. Louise was ahead with Wardes on his griffin, presumably catching up. Or being embarassed to the point of turning completely red. Most likely both. That aside, Guiche was with me, just a short distance behind them. Or rather, Guiche was on horseback, and I was running with the horse.

"Well, I actually didn't want to burden it with my weight, though I suppose it could have handled me anyway. To be honest, I just felt like working out any kinks in my legs, that's all." Guiche stared at me, then shrugged and looked at Wardes and Louise up ahead. He looked thoughtful, then nodded, before turning to me.

"Sir X. What do you think of the Viscount?" I turned to the blond, then looked at the man up ahead.

"Hmm, he seems to be a nice fellow. A good soldier, from the way he seems to be on guard even now; not to mention his rank. And I can tell, he's a powerful mage." He also makes me want to re-evaluate my understanding of nobles here. The children are spoiled brats, to put it bluntly, and the teachers are not necessarily doing too much to teach them in that respect. Then again, wisdom and age are usually proportional. Usually. The viscount acts and behaves in a way that deserves the respect the students in the academy claim they deserve.

"And what do you think of his relation to Louise?"

"Frankly, it's too soon." He blinked, quirking a brow, while I continued, "I mean, she's what? Sixteen? The man seems to be at least ten years her senior. And while I know marriages like that are not uncommon in some cultures, I do think it would be better if Louise is allowed to be a free woman for a few more years. Of course, in the end, it's her decision." Choice is something everyone should have. Once she's married, she will have less free time for herself due to her duties as a wife. She should be allowed to know what she wants in life first.

Guiche kept silent, then looked forward again. "So tell me about yourself, Guiche." He started a bit, then looked at me. I might as well learn more about him, since we have the time.

"Myself? Well, as I told you when... when we dueled... I am the son of a General. The third, with two elder siblings. My family has its' roots in the military, and I intend to follow my fathers' footsteps."

"So that is why you asked for training?" Beyond maybe impressing girls. He nodded. I closed my eyes, then made my decision. "I see, but remember Guiche. Swordplay would keep you alive, but not your men." He was listening to me intently now, with the same attention as when we were training earlier. "If you want to be a leader, remember that your troops are just as important as your own life. Never, ever see them as just numbers or reserves. You must be willing to bear the burden that any decision you make will affect their lives, as well as their families. You must set an example for them. Be a good man, soldier, and comrade. Your men will follow a man they admire and are well treated by. I'm not saying treat them as nobles, but be willing to go through the same conditions as them." I finished, letting him take it in.

"Sir X, were you a leader once?" I sighed, smiling.

"Yes, I was. I was the commander of an entire army." His eyes widened.

"So you are a general... Wait, 'was'? Did you retire?" I shook my head.

"No. The army was reformed after our last victory. I had moved out, and into the... political sector." I frowned as I said so. The humans of Neo Arcadia were almost impossible to please back then, and still were when my copy was around. I never did ask Ciel why she built him.

"You sounded upset, was it that bad?" I looked at him seriously. This was the most important advice I could ever give him, or anyone else for that matter.

"Guiche, avoid getting involved in politics as best you can. More than half the problems' of the world can easily be traced back to it." He blinked, then nodded dumbly. I don't think he understood the gist of what I said, but my grave tone might have set off a few alarms in his head.

Arriving at our destination, a port town named La Rochelle, we stopped at an inn for the night, and would then depart tomorrow around noon. Wardes helped Louise dismount, then moved to remove the luggage. "Excuse me, Viscount." He turned to me. "If it's alright, I can help with the luggage. I think it would be better if you arrange for our lodgings." He blinked, then nodded.

"Ah, thank you. Very well, I will see you inside." He walked away, with Guiche following him, though Louise stayed behind. As I placed the baggage together, she walked up to me, looking rather indecisive.

"Is something wrong, Louise?" She mumbled something. Or rather, she mumbled 'nothing', but that usually means something. "Hm? Well?" She took a breath.

"I just wanted to talk... about Wardes." I quirked a brow.

"What about the Viscount?" She fidgeted a bit, mumbling to herself again. To be honest, it was rather cute. I believe that most people would compare her antics to that of a kittens'.

"... X, what do you think about him?" I closed my eyes.

"He is alright, I suppose. I can't really say much more unless I knew him better. Why do you ask?"

"..." She didn't respond. I sighed, then lifted the bags and moved them near the entrance. "It's about the marriage." I turned to face her, letting her know I was listening. "It was arranged, by our families. Since it was believed that I had no talent in magic, my parents instead prepared me for the duties of a wife." She looked aside sheepishly. "I... wasn't exactly good at that either... But the Viscount has always been kind to me. And he is a strong and respectable noble, but..."

"You're not sure about it?" She nodded, folding her arms.

"Yes... Before, I would have been alright... I suppose... If I got married to him soon. Now though, I don't really know if it's what I want." She took a breath, then continued. "I don't mind getting married to him, but if I do, I..."

"You won't be able to do what you want? Or even find out what that is?" She nodded.

"Yes. If I marry now, I will have more obligations to fulfill, and won't have time to learn about my magic, or how I can use it. But if I don't, I may offend him and my family for calling it off. So I wanted to ask you, X. What do you think I should do?" She sighed. I walked over to her.

"I think you should do what you want." She looked at me. "What you do with your life is your choice. It always is." She looked aside again. I patted her head, and smiled. "Don't worry about it too much. Just follow your heart, as they say." I noticed her lips curl just the tiniest bit into a smile. "Now then, should we head inside?"

It was late in the evening now, and time for dinner. For everyone else at least. Wardes was talking with Louise, asking questions and telling his own experiences since their last meeting, Guiche was eating his food quietly, probably still thinking over what I said. Though given the amount of times he'd just stop all together and pale ever so slightly, I think he may be rethinking on our little duel earlier as well. And I was just observing Wardes as he talked with my Master.

"I must say though, Louise. I am truly impressed that you managed to call something so human-like. It's just like you to do something like that." Louise turned red at that, probably embarrassed.

"U-um... It is rather uncommon..." She stammered. Wardes shook his head.

"No no, it truly is a great feat." He turned to face me. "So tell me, is it true you and Guiche here dueled?" Guiche choked slightly. Wardes glanced at him. "Is there something wrong?" Guiche shook his head quickly.

"N-no, I mean, yes. We ah... dueled." I stifled a light chuckle. Wardes blinked, then turned to me again.

"And is it true you used the Staff of Destruction when you captured Fouquet?" I blinked. I have the feeling I might need to recheck my weapons again. I nodded.

"Yes, I did... Where did you learn that?"

"From the court, of course. And because it was related to Louise, you can understand why I might have been very keen on the topic." I tilted my head slightly. He had a point, but... "Also, I would like to duel you." I narrowed my eyes, while Louise startled.

"Refused." Wardes frowned slightly, looking disappointed. Louise looked at me with concern, knowing my feelings on fighting.

"Hmm... Is there a reason you do not wish to duel?" Wardes asked calmly.

"He does not like to fight, Viscount." Louise spoke up, answering his question. He looked at her, then back to me.

"So then, why have you... Ah... I think I understand. You fight mainly to protect, am I right?" How he drew that conclusion is beyond me, even if it is correct. I nodded, then he smiled a bit. "In that case, how about a test? If you are to protect my fiancee, then I wish to know if you are as strong as I have heard." My hands clenched under the table. That was very underhanded of him. Even Louise is looking at him with wider eyes. I sighed, nodding.

"Very well. If you want to judge my ability, then we may as well. Tomorrow morning then?" The man smiled again. I wonder if he'll still be smiling after tomorrow.

"Agreed. Now then, shall we go, Louise?" He turned to my Master, who started a bit at that.

"B-but, Viscount!," I don't think she can get any redder than that, "we're not married yet! It isn't..."

"It's alright, we are engaged after all." Louise nervously glanced at me. I got the message.

"Visount Wardes." They both turned to me, surprised at the change in my tone. "Correct me if I'm wrong, but I do believe one should be gentle with a lady, especially one as young as Louise." I smiled. "I'm afraid that you sound a tad bit forceful, even if that is not your intention." His eyes narrowed as he listened, while Louise gulped to herself, and Guiche stared at me with wide eyes. "Of course, if she agrees, then I trust you will be a gentleman." I stood up, still smiling. "Now then, if you don't mind, I'll be outside for a while. Have a good night." I walked away, and chuckled lowly when I heard Wardes mutter something to Louise, who just laughed nervously.

While everyone slept, I stood outside on the roof, staring at the night sky. The stars here aren't like the ones back on my world either; I couldn't see a single constellation that looks familiar. Sighing, I observed the port town. A few ships were arriving, and some were leaving. Few buildings still had lamps lit, while the moons provided the rest of the town's light. I could see the ship we would depart on in port, a rather large trading ship if I recall correctly. However, I wasn't on the roof to watch the city. Closing my eyes, I took a breath, mainly out of habit.

Begin systems check. Report weapon recovery progress.

Weapon recovery in progress. 40% of all data recovered, 20% repaired. 10% data permanently lost. Delete missing weapon data?

No. Compare missing weapon data to recovered data. Merge compatible weapon data and develop new weapons, or upgrade existing weapons.

Acknowledged. Beginning weapon development. Upgrading fire based weaponry: Adding 'Fire Wave' properties to 'Speed Burner'. Weapon 'Dark Hold' repairs complete, adding weapon to available slot.

Dark Hold has been repaired? I guess I'll test it during Louise's next training session, or alone if she decides to get married.

Weapons check complete. Buster check in progress. Right-arm Buster unlocked, charge shot and storage system unlocked. Max-type combination shot disabled. Icarus-type shot enhancer disabled. Buster operating at 30% current max capacity. Increase output?

Negative. Buster to remain on current operational output till upgrade command is given.

Acknowledged. Beginning Armor check. Ultimate Armor Mk 1 at optimum condition.

Scanning Ultimate Armor Mk 2. Results: Armor levels optimum, all weapons ready.

Resuming systems check.

All systems checked and operating at optimum efficiency. Ending systems check.

Having finished that, I jumped off the roof, down to the floor. Landing as quietly as I could, I went back inside the building, and walked past Louise's room. The lack of noise means that I may have to increase my defensive measures in case Wardes feels like relieving some stress.

"Well then, are you ready, familiar?" Wardes asked, holding his strange sword. I removed Derflinger from my back, and placed it aside. "Hm? You are not using your sword?" I shook my head.

"I don't use a sword as my main weapon. I am honestly more of a ranged fighter. But I can fight unarmed just fine." Against reploids. Even with the limiters I've currently placed on myself, I could still easily break a bone. He cocked his head.

"Odd. From what I've heard you mainly use a sword. Regardless." He readied himself. "Would you like to make some conditions?" Conditions would be a good idea.

"How about this, for the first round, I have to avoid your strikes, and cannot block any of your attacks as well. You can use magic as you will." He quirked a brow.

"So you will not attack?" I shook my head, and he shrugged. "In that case, how about we have a second round after this, with you on the offensive?"

"Do you really have to do this, Viscount?" Louise spoke up from the side. She and Guiche had found themselves some makeshift seats and were now watching us. Louise was still hesitant to this whole duel, and I don't blame her at all, while Guiche looked slightly eager to see the fight. Wardes turned to her.

"I wish to test your familiar, Louise. If he is to protect you, he should be strong enough to fight me. And I'm curious after all, it's not everyday you get an opportunity to fight such a unique being." Louise just sighed, and looked at me apologetically. I shrugged, then spread my legs and arms slightly, ready to move. "Are you ready?" I nodded. "Louise, if you could?" My Master stood up, and took a breath.

"Duelists, ready." I bent a bit, ready to run, while Wardes raised his sword slightly. "Begin!" With that, I ran at him, surprising him as I closed the distance between us in seconds. But rather than freeze up, he swung his blade at me, swinging at my side. I hopped over him, dodging the blade and landing behind him, and moved aside as his sword slashed where I was moments ago. Turning quickly, he began stabbing at me, aiming mainly for my chest. I jumped back, then felt a shift in the air. I could hear him chanting. He then made another thrust with his sword, but a large blast of air erupted from it this time, rushing at me. I braced my legs and brought my arms forward, as the wind hit me, pushing me back slightly, and I could feel something akin to sword slashed across my upper body. The spell stopped, and I looked at Wardes, who stared at me, dumbstruck. I lowered my arms, and stood straight.

"I take it by the look on your face that was supposed to do more?" Wardes shook himself out of his shock, now watching me with interest.

"Yes... I held back of course, but even with the amount of power I had out in it, it should have sent you flying at least... What is your body made of? It's heavy, of course, but even most golems would have been pushed back further than that." I would rather not tell people about my own specifications, especially someone who is in the army. Although, I could give him a small amount of information. Nothing he can actually use.

"Well, it's not a natural made metal. The alloy may not exist in this world as far as I know." Hopefully that discourages him from reporting it to people who CAN make it.

"But even so, you are still faster than most humans would be... I'm not a blacksmith, but perhaps the metal is lighter and stronger than steel?" I nodded. "Amazing, simply amazing... And considering your speed and strength... If you allowed yourself to attack, how would this have ended?" I closed my eyes, and hummed.

"I could have stopped that first swing and broken your sword." At the very least, I didn't say. His eyes widened at my admission, and Guiche flinched a bit, possibly remembering how our duel went. "Speaking of which, that sword, you used it to channel your magic. Is that standard for knights?" It was his turn to answer me, and he nodded.

"Yes, all knights have a wand-sword similar to this. It's more convenient than carrying a sword and a wand separately, wouldn't you agree?" I nodded. It makes sense to have a way for knights to protect themselves in mid-cast. On that note, it seems that the 'nobles' of the academy have a lot of room for growth. I'm still slightly disappointed with their lack of technological advances. At least Colbert is doing something. "Anyway, X." I pushed my thoughts aside. It seems he respects me more now. "You have certainly proved yourself. I don't think a second round is necessary." He smiled at me. I smiled back. "Anyway, Louise. May I talk with you?" He walked over to Louise, and began speaking with her, before the two of them walked off. It must be private, so I suppose Wardes wants to go somewhere else. Guiche stared at me with awe, before walking off as well, back to the inn. I walked over to Derflinger and placed it on my back again.

"Well partner, that was impressive. So how much were ya holding back?" I looked back to the Viscount, before shaking my head, smiling wryly.

"If I was actually fighting, he would have died at the first second of the fight."

"Where are they?" I walked around the plaza. Louise and Wardes have been gone a long time now, and it was almost time for our departure.

"Maybe they went on ahead partner. Pretty sure old Wardes thinks you could run there." Derflinger spoke up. I grumbled, then straightened up quickly. Something was wrong.

"Derflinger, why is there no one here?" I looked around. The plaza was empty. I could hear something... large. Unless this world has giants, I have a feeling I know what that is.

"Sir X!" Guiche's yelling echoed throughout the plaza. I turned to the blonde, as he ran to me, panting. "Sir X, The ship...!" I narrowed my eyes, and looked towards the port, before grabbing Guiche and jumping a good distance away from the giant foot about to crush us.

"Hello again, Gandalfr." I looked at the giant golem. I remember that voice.

"Fouquet. How did you break out of prison?" How did she know we were here? Why is she even here? Rather than reply, she positioned her golem in a way to prevent me from running. In other words, she blocked all exits with her golems' arms, the debris of the buildings, and the golems body. This was wrong, why would she prevent me from running? She's the one at a disadvantage. It's as if she... I looked towards the port, and saw a very familiar ship floating away.

… "Damn it."

I can't believe this. On the other hand, I'm not surprised. These betrayals seem to pop from where you least suspect them. "Guiche, you wouldn't know another way to get to Albion would you?" He looked at me nervously, as I walked towards Fouquet. I didn't have time to waste here.

"Do you really think you're getting out of here?" I could hear the uncertainty in her voice. Even she knew this was her loss.

Buster unlock. Remove all limitations.


As I lifted my arms, a burst of fire sprouted on the golems' head. Turning my head, I saw a familiar blue dragon fly down to where I stood. "Do I want to know why you two are here?" Kirche jumped off Sylphid and ran at me, grabbing my hand.

"Where's that handsome man? I must save him from Louise's evil!" I stared at her, then palmed my head.

"Now is really not the time, Kirche." I walked past her, my arms transforming. I heard a few gasps, mainly from Guiche and Fouquet.

"Both arms? You have two of those?" Fouquet was panicking now. A few pieces of rock lifted off the ground, floating above her. Energy began gathering in my arms, and the whine of the energy gathered began increasing in intensity. I aimed both busters and shot. The first blast melted through the lower body of the golem, causing it topple, and then my second shot obliterated the upper chest and head, allowing me to see Fouquet inside the golem. I ran at her, firing a few uncharged shots to melt the golems' body a bit more, before dashing right into the body, smashing into Fouquet, and through the back of the golem. Fouquet screamed from the impact, and we both landed behind the golem. Fouquet lay on the floor, coughing and trying to move. I made a small scan and confirmed she had no fractured or broken bones. She must have softened the golem, but my body still hurt her. I stood over her, and aimed a buster at her. "I'm sure you know what I want to ask, right?" She grunted, glaring at me. "Tell me. Who helped you escape, and told you to stop me?"

"What... makes you think..." She was breathing hard.

"Because I know you're not stupid enough to come after someone who could have beaten you without that weapon. Also, I doubt the guards here are that lax to let someone like you escape." She sighed.

"... Fine. They're probably... going to execute me anyway... But, could you... promise me something?" Her voice was resigned. I nodded.

"If you go... to Saxe-Gotha... there's an orphanage there. Tell a girl named Tiffania... that Matilda has found a man, and is happy." … Another criminal due to circumstance.

"Alright. I'll tell her, if I meet her." Satisfied by my answer, she nodded her head. By now she was breathing normally.

"It was the Viscount. He helped me escape, and ordered me to delay you, if not kill you. I guess I delayed you enough, but seeing how little Miss Tabitha is here, I suppose it was pointless. He also asked me about your fighting ability, and I told him your sword skills and general strength. I decided to skip out on that arm of yours, since he probably wouldn't have believed me, and because I'll consider it as a slight bit of payback for sending me on a fool's errand." I narrowed my eyes. It seems my Master will have to cancel her marriage plans after all.

"Thank you for that." I disengaged my buster, and walked away.

"Wha-what are you doing? Aren't you going to restrain me?" I turned back to Fouquet, no, Matilda. She was sitting up now, staring at me with wide eyes. I walked on, back to where the others were.

"You have someone to take care of. Go, and stay there for a while." I spoke out, without watching for her reaction. The others stared at me as I approached them, each with a different expression on their face. Guiche began first.

"You're letting her go? She's Fouquet! You can't just-"

"She has someone to care for. I'm not taking her away from that person." I cut him off. She steals from the rich, and knows someone from an orphanage. If my guess is right, and if I can still see the good in people, she steals to send money to that orphanage. "That aside, Tabitha." I turned to the blunette. "I'm going to need Sylphid. Guiche." I turned back to the blonde, who jumped at my serious tone. "I'm going to need Verdandi." He nodded dumbly. "Alright, let's go then. We have a ship to catch."

"Nice work, you two." I praised the two familiars, while petting their heads. Verdandi squeaked happily, and Sylphid trilled. "And thank you for lending them, Guiche, Tabitha." Tabitha gave a short nod, while Guiche made a dramatic pose.

"Of course, Sir X. It was my pleasure." I rolled my eyes at his antics, smiling as I hopped off the dragon. As I walked forward, Kirche grabbed my arm.

"Please, reconsider this! Do you have to arrest him?" I stared at the red head, and could feel a sweat drop forming on my helmet. Given the nature of the situation, I'm not going to question how.

"Kirche, the man is planning on killing a royal, and is probably supporting the rebellion that may target Tristain and even Germainia afterwards. There are better men for you to find." I said that while trying to pry the lustful girl off my arm, with mild success. At which point Tabitha pulls her back using her staff. "Thank you, Tabitha. You mind looking after them?" She nodded. I took a breath, then walked to the church. As I approached, I activated my thermal scanners to see inside the building. There were a lot of people inside, mainly guards given the lance like shapes, and there appear to be three people standing on a platform, one small, and two larger ones. I can guess that those would be my little Master, her soon to be ex-fiance, though I don't know the third one. I walked towards the doors, and pushed them open, causing them to slam against the walls. "Wardes, I'm rather disappointed. I suppose I was wrong to have pegged you as the gentleman type."

Every guard was now staring at me, Wardes was shocked, Louise looked at me with dull eyes, while the man in front of them, the Prince if I'm correct, looked outraged at my interruption. "Who are y-" He started, but I dashed forward as he did. Wardes unsheathed his blade, but was barely able to swing as I grabbed his arm and threw him over my shoulder. The guards, who now noticed that there was an armored man standing near their Prince, took up their spears and rushed towards me. I raised my hands up.

"Wait. I'm not here to fight." I turned to the Prince. "Prince Wales I assume?" He looked at me with suspicion. I smiled. "I'm here to rescue my Master, if you don't mind." Wales blinked. "I am the familiar of Miss Louise Valliere here." I pointed to Louise, who was still staring at me with dull eyes. He looked at her.

"Is this man speaking the truth?" Louise nodded dumbly.

"Yes..." Her eyes refocused themselves, and she blinked several times. "Yes, this is my familiar." She then threw off the veil on her head, and glared at Wardes, who was still recovering from the force of the impact. "Your Majesty! Viscount Wardes is a traitor!" Wales' eyes narrowed, before looking at Wardes, who was now standing, and glaring at me. But then he smirked. He turned around, and began casting, at which point something smashed its way into the building from the window behind us. Grabbing Louise and Wales, I leaped out of the way as Wardes' griffin landed where I was standing, and Wardes himself cast that same spell he used against me earlier at the guards. My eyes widened as I saw the winds rip and tear through all the guards, leaving nothing but blood and dismembered corpses. Wardes mounted his griffon, and turned to me, smiling maliciously.

"I was hoping to have done this the easy way... I should have known that woman wouldn't have been able to delay you long. It seems I will have words with her when I'm done here..." My eyes narrowed. Wardes' actions have made something easier for me, as much as I detest it.

"What makes you think you're going to leave here alive, Viscount?" He looked at me as if I said something stupid, while Louise looked at me with concern. "I should thank you for helping me realize something, Wardes..." I looked at the dead bodies once more. Another reminder of why I should act faster. More reasons for me to understand that I can no longer follow the ethics Dr. Light set into me to the letter. In a way, they were basically a reinforcement of the Three Laws, while letting me choose to break them as well. Of course, I was shown what would happen if I ever broke them. Those tests... I remember even now...

Reploids were modeled after me, and I was modeled after humans. As such, reploids were like humans. Behavior, mindset, everything. Reploids were labeled maverick due to either the virus, a glitch in their minds, or; as I saw in Neo Arcadia, just doing something other than what they were 'made' to do. Even after the virus was gone, reploids were STILL called maverick for some reason or another. Even if they weren't actually mavericks. But humans who do the same would not always be called criminals. That was a prejudice that always existed, and made worse by that bastard Weil. Weil, and now the Viscount... have made me realize something. Dr. Light may have wished I never thought about it, or if I did, it was after I understood humanity more.

… Humans can be mavericks as well. Isn't that what a reploid criminal is? A maverick. So by that logic, wouldn't human criminals be called the same? Not all reploids have glitches after all. Lumine's batch showed me something important. If reploids have free will, then why have humans, and reploids themselves for that matter, always judged other reploids with the Three Laws as the basis? If reploids are maverick for thinking differently, then what about humans? By this line of thought, they can be mavericks as well.

Of course, that doesn't mean I can retire them. They're human, and I don't have the right to judge them. That is what other humans should do. But right now, there is a murderer in front of me, threatening someone under my protection, and a royal. "Wardes. You're a maverick." Louise's eyes widened as I spoke that simple statement. She knew what I meant. "And I am a Maverick Hunter."

Wardes narrowed his eyes, but they widened as I leaped at him, Derflinger drawn, and my right arm buster charging. His griffin leaped back, trying to distance itself, when I took aim and released a semi-charged shot, surprising Wardes, who was thrown off his griffin as it took the blast to save its' Master. I ran to the Viscount, as he prepared another spell. "Partner, hold me in front of ya when he casts that spell!" Derflinger spoke urgently, and just as I reached Wardes, he pointed his sword at me. Listening to my swords' advice, I held it in front as it absorbed the howling winds into itself, glowing with magic. "Ha! I knew I could do that!" Not wasting any time, I shot Wardes with my buster, burning holes through his body, and then cut his head off, his blood spraying over me as his body fell. "Well... That was messy..." I sheathed Derflinger, then walked back to Louise and the Prince, who were both gaping at me.

"Louise, are you alright?" She stared at me, then nodded slowly.

"Y-yes. Wardes used some kind of mind altering spell... X, are you alright?" I gave a short nod. She looked at me with concern in her eyes, then turned to Wales. "Your Majesty, it's not safe any more for you to stay here." Wales looked at the dead men lying around the room, then sighed.

"It seems I will have to take your advice after all Miss Valliere..." He spoke with resignation. "Thank you for your help, X, was it?" I shook my head.

"You are welcome, but I wish I had acted sooner." I wish I could have saved your men as well. "Anyway, we should go. If you don't have a ship ready, don't worry. I've brought transportation." As I spoke, Louise staggered a bit. "Need some help?" I moved to hold her with an arm. She nodded, using me as a crutch to walk, while Wales walked beside us. I looked at the dead men one more time. It saddens me to know that I have seen worse than this. Much worse.

I found myself back on the roof of the Academy's tower again. The last few hours were rather hectic, I'd say. Henrietta was happy to see Wales alive, and thanked Louise deeply, while expressing sympathy for the Wardes issue, while Louise told her not to think much of it, and that it didn't bother her too much, and various other things. In the end, we were asked to keep Wales' existence in Tristain a secret, and I had advised Henrietta to begin measures for a defense against any possible invasion from Albion. It's only a matter of time before they come here, after all.

That aside, Louise slept for the rest of the day, exhausted due to said events, Kirche was probably explaining to one of the staff as to why she ditched her classes, and no doubt Tabitha was doing the same. I sat down, and stared out at the schools surroundings. It was peaceful, and helped me arrange my thoughts better. I kept running the incident with Wardes through my mind. Years ago, I would have wondered. I would have been frantic with worry, I would have blamed myself. But now, I just have to ask myself: How many more people will I kill by the end of my time here?

Louise is loyal to Henrietta. Henrietta has enemies, and I have no doubt there will be a war against Albion. While I am not completely sure, I have a feeling Louise will want to help, but at the same time, she knows my thoughts on fighting. Unless Henrietta asks her directly, Louise may not go to war. But that is only a small hope. I sighed. "Hello again Tabitha, Sylphid." I spoke as the two of them landed near me. Sylphid trilled as she pressed her head against me, and I saw Tabitha give a short nod. "Why are you both here?"

"View." The small girl replied. I smiled. She sat near me, while Sylphid lay down behind us, so that her head rested between us. I watched the clouds with the two, and almost didn't notice that Sylphid had started snoring. Tabitha looked at her dragon, then gently patted her head, not waking her. I smiled at the sight. Even if I fight... At least I know I will have positive memories to keep as well.