AN: Hah! Bet you didn't expect to see more of this, especially on the same day as another post for this collection!
The castle staff had needed to add a new table to the Alviss dining hall; the 'Ala Alba' simply had too many members to fit in with the second years. And more kept appearing.
Two more had arrived since the young prince had retired with his companions to the Valliere's quarters the previous night, one of them a massively tall young woman with a very developed figure (who seemed perfectly capable of navigating the Academy without opening her eyes, which no one had yet seen her do), the other appearing to be some sort of stoic with metal fins protruding from her skull.
Currently, they were picking apart the lavish meal the cooks had provided, apparently accustomed to different cuisine, though what exactly they were saying, only Louise and Colbert could understand, as no one else held the benefit of an appropriate translation spell. At least, until a particular maid came out of the kitchen to serve the next course to the table of foreign nobles (and royals). She startled rather sharply when she recognized the tongue they were speaking, and quite a number of the visitors were far too observant to miss that.
"Oh, you understand us, don't you?" Sakurazaki Setsuna said, turning a sharp, but not hostile, gaze upon the young woman, "You're hm, a quarter, perhaps half Japanese?"
"H-hai?" The maid said haltingly, proceeding with excessive caution to place the tray of pastries she had brought out on the guest's table, "Ah, pleased meet you?"
She bowed swiftly, a motion that would have been nothing more than expected to the local nobles, but the members of Ala Alba recognized as bearing a commonality to the bowing of Japanese social custom.
"Oh, wonderful!" Konoe Konoka said, "You can tell us all about what life is like here in Halkeginia, since Louise-chan is..."
She turned to look at the pinkette, who was more or less being spoon fed by Chachamaru, chewing mechanically as her glazed eyes stared off at distant nothings. Nodoka had spent the last few minutes trying to figure out if she had actually seen smoke wafting out of the girl's ears before Chachamaru had given her something to drink.
"Anyways!" Konoka said, turning back to the nervous maid, "Come, sit with us, tell us about your home!"
"Um," The Maid said, clearly struggling to understand properly, "You want, chairs?"
"Negi!" Asuna called, "Can't you see the poor girl needs some help?"
"Oh, of course," Negi said, nodding and drawing his wand, "I'll see to it at once."
The maid began to tremble slightly as Negi turned his attention, and wand upon her, and Asuna suspected that if it was not for Negi's good-natured smile and overall harmless (and adorable) appearance, she might have fled. A single quick incantation and wand gesture later, and the girl was blinking with shock, as she found herself able to understand the Ala Alba's table talk with ease.
"Hello!" Konoka said brightly, "I'm Konoe Konoka, pleased to meet you!"
And then she bowed in greeting to the girl, causing her eyes to widen in shock, and most of her higher brain functions to lock up.
"Konoka," Ayase Yue said calmly, "You're breaking too many of her social conventions at once, she doesn't know how to respond."
"Oh, I'm sorry," Konoka said, standing up and gently taking the shocked girl's hand, "Let's go somewhere a bit more private so there's less peer pressure."
Then she lead the girl out of the dining hall, Setsuna (of course) trailing after the pair, her swordcase slung over her shoulder.
"Ten to one they end up in the kitchens," Asuna said with a smile.
"No bet, de-gozaru," Kaede said with a smile, "Konoka-chan always finds the kitchen."
"Sucker bet," Yue agreed, not even looking up from where she was mixing every different kind of juice visible on the table in her cup, "I'm sure she'd love to learn more western cooking for Negi."
"She really doesn't need to," Negi said self-consciously, speaking from where Asuna was ensuring he ate adequately, "I appreciate her Japanese cuisine quite well, she doesn't need to go out of her way for me."
"Says the boy who makes a habit of punching Fate in the face," Asuna said under her breath.
"Ah, excuse me," Louise said, startling everyone at the table except Chachamaru, the others not having noticed that she had snapped out of her reverie, "But isn't Miss Konoka a Noble?"
"Yeah," Asuna said with a nod, "She's the only one of us aside from Negi and me with any kind of title. Why do you ask?"
"What?" Louise said, clearly startled, "But I thought you all were magi?"
"Ninja," Kaede said, raising her hand.
"Gynoid bodyguard/personal servant," Chachamaru said.
"Librarian and Archeologist," Nodoka said meekly.
"Philosopher and Mage Knight," Yue said, before taking a sip of her latest concoction.
"Schoolteacher," Negi said brightly, waving at Louise with a smile.
"I run a paper route," Asuna said, "Konoka and Setsuna are the only ones who aren't either a major part of a club, or have an after school job, but Konoka cooks for us a lot, and Setsuna is Konoka's bodyguard, so I guess that sort of counts."
"But I've seen you using magic!" Louise said accusingly as she pointed at Nodoka.
"Ah, yes?" Nodoka said nervously, "S-so?"
"Allow me to explain," Yue interjected, draining her glass and setting it aside to give Louise a measuring gaze, "Would I be correct in assuming that your society is divided by class, with the Royalty and Nobility being magic users, and the commoners being those incapable of magic?"
"Of course!" Louise said, "As the Founder ordained it!"
"Ah," Yue said, nodding sadly, "You see, in Japan, the nation most of us come from, the nobility is largely defunct, and the Emperor's role is largely ceremonial. Science has made most common magic unnecessary, only Master Magi like Negi are capable of magical feats that science cannot replicate."
"What?" Louise said, clearly completely perplexed.
"Excuse me, young Prince," An unexpected voice came, interrupting any further attempts to explain things to the newest member of Ala Alba, "But could I speak with you for a moment?"
"Oh, certainly," Negi said, turning to face the speaker "I don't believe we've met, mister...?"
"Guiche," The young man, a slender blonde with a rather foppish appearance, said, "The Bronze, of the Gramont family. I'm honored to met you, Prince Springfield."
"Just call me Negi," The young teacher said, waving his hands in some distress, "I'm really not used to being addressed by royal title."
"As you wish, Lord Negi," Guiche said, not noticing the boy's slight wince, "I simply had to ask, how you can keep so many women, who all know of your other... dalliances, at the same time, and, in fact, on such good terms with each other?"
Negi opened his mouth to respond, clear lack of understanding on his face, but Asuna rather abruptly appeared between the two of them.
"Excuse me," She said, bright anger in her voice, "But did you just imply that my friends were loose women?"
"I had thought that keeping concubines was a common practice in the East," Guiche said, confusion writ clear on his face.
Every conversation, and indeed, all motion, in the hall, came to a halt at the ringing sound of a very harsh slap.
Twenty minutes later, most of the school's population was assembled in the Vestri court, for the traditional settling of grievances; namely, dueling. The students were gossiping, what few teachers present were torn between arguing with Royalty, and the school rules which forbade dueling, and desperately wishing that one of the more decisive teachers would show up and take responsibility for things. Even some of the staff were watching, as much because Siesta seemed to be hobnobbing with the nobility and royalty as because of the duel.
Siesta herself was suffering from a severely overloaded brain, as Konoka helped her serve drinks to the assorted members of Ala Alba.
Asuna was giving Guiche The Glare, Setsuna was shadowing Konoka, Negi was discussing likely styles of combat with Kaede, Yue was persuading Nodoka to take a read at the thoughts of Guiche (who was busy grandstanding for his peers on the far side of the court), Louise was torn between worry on Asuna's behalf and hoping Guiche got the idiocy beaten out of him, while Chachamaru-
"Negi-sensei," Chachamaru said quietly, "Master wishes to join us."
"Ah," Negi said, "You've told her what this place is like, and that we don't know how to get back yet?"
"Yes, sensei," Chachamaru said, nodding calmly, "Master has been informed of our situation."
"Well, Master wouldn't ask to come if she wasn't sure," Negi said, before pulling a pactio card out of one of his pockets, and concentrating for a moment.
With a burst of darkness, a short blonde with long hair, about four feet six inches tall, appeared in front of Negi. A lazy, superior smirk was spread across the young blonde's face, and she opened her mouth to speak, but was cut off by a faint 'eep!' from Nodoka.
Yue, it turned out, had succeeded in convincing the shy librarian to take a look at Guiche's mind with her artifact diary, and what she had found shocked the shy girl. Her small exclamation drew the attention of Asuna, Negi, Chachamaru, and the newly arrived blonde. Asuna took one look at the words, and images spread across the pages of Nodoka's book, and promptly covered Negi's eyes with her hand before he could catch a glimpse. Chachamaru began to steam. Yue scowled. Nodoka began to have a small panic attack.
Eva raised a single eyebrow.
"Eva," Asuna said, "One of us, was going to duel with... him," She spat the pronoun like it was a curse, "I was going to do it myself, but now, he needs to be humiliated, and nobody humiliates like you do."
"Oh-ho-ho!" Eva chortled, a predatory grin spreading across her face as she looked Asuna up and down, "Looks like someone bit the lemon. Sounds like fun, it's been too long since I've shown bratty nobility their place."
"Grind his face into the dirt!" Asuna growled under her teeth, flipping Nodoka's artifact shut with one hand, which freed the other up to begin gripping spasmodically at nothing, as though it were trying to take hold of a blade.
"With pleasure," Eva crooned, sauntering out into the middle of the court with an imperious gait.
"Oy, Boya!" She called to Guiche, "Get out here so I can show everyone here what a prissy little girl you are!"
Guiche, interrupted mid-boast, stared at his diminutive opponent in shock. She appeared to be somewhere around eleven years old, but she moved like some kind of... she moved like Kirche!
"We're not having a staring contest, blondie," Eva said mockingly, "Get your cowardly ass over here and fight me!"
The last words were more snarled than spoken, and carried sufficient rancor to jerk Guiche out of his shock.
"You cannot be serious!" He said, drawing himself up in affront, "I cannot fight a child, even at the behest of Royalty!"
"Well," Eva said with a smirk, "That's easily enough handled."
She snapped her fingers, and without so much a flicker or a puff of smoke, took on the appearance of a woman who could be just on either side of twenty.
"No get in here and fight me you fop!" Eva growled.
"Er," Guiche stuttered, then shrugged, and strode forward into the middle of the court, "I am Guiche Gramont, my runic name is 'The Bronze,' and I am an Earth mage; your opponent for this duel will be one of my Valkyries."
With that, he drew out a rose wand (which drew some surprise from the Ala Alba members, Kaeda even opened her eyes fully when she caught sight of the girly implement), and dropped a single petal to the ground, which sprouted into a bronze golem, in the form of a shapely woman with a spear, about the size of a tall man.
"I," Eva said, her grin shifting from 'predatory' to 'bloodthirsty,' "Am Evangeline Athanasia Katherine McDowell, and I have many titles, the first of which I will introduce to you is 'The Doll Master,'" She flicked a hand out towards the Valkyrie, which had begun to advance on her, "And this looks like a lovely doll."
And then the Valkyrie turned around, brandished its spear with a graceful twirl, and charged Guiche. For an instant, Guiche froze in shock, completely bewildered by what he had just seen. For most students at the Tristain Academy, that moment of frozen hesitation would have meant death; however, Guiche was not most students. His confidence in a duel was not wholly unwaranted; not only could he conjure golems, but his father had drilled him extensively in their use, and hard-earned instinct caused him to reflexively conjure a second to defend himself from the first.
Eva seized control of that one, too.
This time, however, Guiche was over his shock, and responded in the only way that his limited combat repetoire really allowed, summoning a full spread of seven Valkyries, and sending them to take down the two that his opponent had seized, hoping that he had created more than she could steal.
Eva stole those seven, as well.
It was about then, that the running started.
Deep within the Fire wing of the Tristain Academy, there was a certain laboratory, that few dared enter, for fear of the bizarre experiments conducted by its owner. Within were strange metal devices, glass tubes much like those of an alchemist, but filled with vile, tarry substances, odd pipes made out of brass and steel, and many other mystifying articles.
Within, Jean Colbert lay hunched over his work bench, snoring peacefully, blissfully unaware of the world around him.
"That's it?" Eva said, nose crinkling in disgust, "You didn't even last five minutes!"
Guiche lay against one of the courtyard walls, face bright red as he gasped desperately for air, his pathetically out of shape body having handled the three minute and some seconds run for his life about as well as an egg handles being stepped on by the moon. He tried to speak, but diminishing his rate of oxygen exchange even slightly caused his vision to fuzz over, so he said nothing. He would have tried to move, but an array of Valkyrie spears were pinning his clothes to the wall, making such efforts rather pointless.
"Well then," Eva said, "We'll just have to teach you a lesson before sending you home to your mother to teach you how to be a proper young lady."
With another flick of her fingers, Eva took control of Guiche, and he rather abruptly found himself doing a graceful Waltz with one of his Valkyries. Only the Valkyrie was taking the lead, putting Guiche in the woman's role in the dance.
"Hm," Eva said consideringly, as she inspected his dance form, "You dance pretty well, for a little girl, when you've got proper direction. You're still not in quite the right outfit, however."
Eva snapped her fingers again, and Guiche's school uniform swiftly, but visibly, morphed into a rather elegant black dancing gown; if he wasn't already red-faced from his shortness of breath, he would very quickly have become so.
"Much better!" Eva declared cheerfully, and then proceeded to spend the next five minutes directing Guiche and the Valkyrie through a number of dance steps around the courtyard, summoning a string quartet's instruments, as well as a piano, and setting the other Valkyries about to providing music.
She decided enough was enough, however, when some of the other girls began making noises about getting Negi to go and dance with them, and drew the performance to a close, walking Guiche, who was still breathing hard, and the Valkyries up to stand in front of her.
"Right, young lady," Eva said, "I think you still haven't quite learned your lesson, so it's time to really drive it home.
Then she conjured a chair for herself, sat down, bent Guiche over her knee, and spanked him firmly. And thoroughly, smacking him on the butt repeatedly for more than a minute, before shoving him off of her lap into a mud puddle (which no one recalled seeing before Guiche landed in it.)
"I think the point's been made, girly-man," Eva said, reaching over to physically take hold of one of the Valkyries, "Treat women with respect," She paused to, by sheer physical strength, crush the Valkyrie into a small ball of metal (making a horrific shrieking sound in the process), and drop it by his head, "Don't think too much of yourself, idiot."
She grabbed another Valkyrie, and gave it similar treatment.
"Real men," Eva growled, glaring down at the moad-soaked, bedressed, exhausted, and terrified Gramont, "Know that sometimes you need to think with your fists, but never with your nuts."
A single sharp gesture with one hand crushed the rest of the Valkyries into similar balls of brass, and she turned and stalked away, leaving him surrounded by the crushed ruins of his summonings. And his stunned peers amongst the students, ans half of the faculty, and a fair number of the serving staff.
AN: I really am quite fond of this story; not as much as with Summoning Kushina, but it's good for fun stuff and ROFLstompage.
Also, to say it again, I've been E-published, link should be up on my profile. Please go buy, read, and enjoy!