It's been a while, it isn't? Well I have not well definite excuses, barring lack of inspiration, university and vacations. But I'm back and this is what matter. I think.
Blake0831: Yes You're right, silly me. Corrected.
Chargone: Right, I can see it too. I'm going to correct it.
Gamazek: Yeah, I'm surprised myself.
CyberAngelOne: I'll show one or two different point of view in this chapter.
Peanuckle: Yes, not my brighter idea. I'll avoid it from now on.
MisterSP: Yeah, Evangelion is pretty confused. I'm using terms like 'Father' and 'Mother' solely because Angels thoughts are hard to translating and they are the closest match.
Scott pike: Yes, but only if she look closely. Siesta don't have much Japanese blood.
Le Roi des Ombres: Zeruel is strong and resilient, but not fast. And magic, of the energetic type, can more easily punch through At Field. The problem is, well, that all the Angels can develop a counterattack to anything if given enough time. Like Sachiel growing a second mask with a beam attack. And now you make me imagine the duel Karin vs Zeruel...shit will really hit the fan...
Sky Zephyrus: Sorry, I will sticking to the novel.
Dudeabides: A comedy series? Where?
Malterex: The true troll is the one who didn't have to do much, just pointing out the truth in the worst manner possible.
It had been a few days since the incident with Guiche and Louise understanding of just how much responsibility the task of managing a familiar is worth. Even more so if the familiar in question can trash a mage with just one hit. But if there was just one thing she got from the whole mess, was that now nobody taunts her anymore, not with Zeruel constantly hovering behind her. Now they just send angry glares. The servants on the contrary, happy that a stinking noble and one of the most persistent molester of young maids is out of the way for a while, had elected the Apostle their number one responsibility and provided with great efforts their best meals to her and her master: even if she's a noble many sympathize with the young Vallière for the harsh treatment from her peers. And hey, cleaning and repairing rooms is what they are paid for. No sense complaining.
Zeruel is currently returning from the library to the master's room, in her hands books Louise needed for her studies. There is no one in sight. And then, just suddenly, she finds herself hovering in mid-air. "Uh?"
"Ah ah! Catch you, at least." From behind a corner make their appearances a group of six students, all second-years beside the one at the front who from the cape is a third-year. He is a fairly unremarkable fellow, with slicked-back black hair and emanating an almost delusional air of authority and smugness about him. Oh, and he is waving a wand in the direction of Zeruel. "Now, little birdie, you will pay for the grave sin of laying your hands on a noble. As for the divine mandate of The Founder it is the holy duty of nobles, who are superiors to all other creature in virtue of the gift of magic, to punish those who doesn't know their place. Now, prepare yourse..."
"Release me." The quiet and yet sharp command of the winged girl cut through the ranting of the boy, who simply blinks owlishly. She continues. "Master assigned me a task. I must...complete it. You are obstructing...my reunion with her. Release me."
"Ahahaha! You have no right to make demands, beast!" He and the others laughed. "This will also be a lesson for your master, so that a Zero like her could finally understand that she doesn't belong here but with the other commoners!"
At those words Zeruel's eyes narrow. "You are threatening Master." It is not a question.
"Of course!" He admits without shame.
"Then you will removed."
'Levitation' is a simple Dot class Wind spell. Almost any student can use it: some of the lazy ones (read: everyone) use it to cover great distance or go to class without using the stairs. The basic principles are simple: manipulating the air around the target to create an air cushion and lift them off the ground. Simple inclinations can induce all kind of movements.
Angels, on the other hand, use the AT Field to literally move the space around them, producing the illusion of movement. Gaghiel used it to moved the impressive mass of his body in the water with the speed of a torpedo and the maneuverability of a motorboat. Sandalphon swam in magma. Sahaquiel and Arael moved through the void of Space. In short, the nature of an Apostle's propulsion is beyond even the capacity of Earth's current technology to replicate.
Zeruel's AT Field flashes and the spell simply shatters. Next with her right palm, while the left arm carry the books, she slaps the third-year, trying to restrain her strength. He was still sent flying out of the window, thank goodness it is only the ground floor, several of his teeth clattering on the floor.
The next moment hell broke loose: fireballs, blasts of wind, whips of water and oversized fists of rock, all the remaining students pulled out their wands and began to launch all the spells they can think about. But even when burned, blasted, whipped and crushed Zeruel doesn't stop even an instant, any possible interference from the outside stopped by a flickering multicolored hexagonal barrier surrounding her body. She just fell a little heat from the fire. The Apostle's fist is swung another six times.
"Master, I have returned." Zeruel speaks opening the door.
"Good." Louise sat up from the desk and take the books. She notes they seem strangely warm, too warm. Her eyes narrow. "Did something happened?"
"Again?" The pinkette shouts exasperate. "What it is that, the fourth time in less that a week? Don't they have something better to do? No, more importantly, can't they take a clue? How many?"
"You left them alive." It is not a question. The flat tone in which Louise speaks of life and death would have unnerved even her big sister Cattleya. It eerily resembles her mother's speech.
"As you have ordered." Still, not as flat as Zeruel's.
"Good. As usual they will probably be too embarrassed to tell someone who did this to them." She massages her temple. Worrying is useless: she had seen first hand how strong her familiar is. And those were just her incredibly powerful defensive spell and strength. Who knew what else she has up her sleeve. "But I can't let it continue. Alright, tomorrow is the Day of the Void. We'll visit the city and buy you a sword."
"Sword?" Zeruel tilts her head, not knowing the meaning of the word.
"A weapon. I know you don't need it, but at least the sight of it would make people think twice before attacking."
"...Weapon." The winged girl ponders. 'A tool or instrument used in order to inflict damage to living beings or artificial structures and to gain an advantage toward an opponent.' Like the tools of the Lilim. In her weakened state such an accessory would be most welcome, to better protect the Master. The runes agree and tell her to not worry for her ignorance of how use it. All will clear in time. She nods. "A most...favorable course of action. Anything...else I can do?"
"Not for now." She shakes her head. "Rest. Tomorrow we have a lot to do."
Tabitha surveys the damage done to the hall after having witnessed the battle concealed under an 'Invisibility' spell. The results are...worse that she expected.
'The first was taken by surprise, but not the rest. Still, she didn't even defend herself: just charging ahead and hitting. Not one of the four elements was able to prevail, or at least appeared to have a slight advantage. And if I'm not mistaken that barrier was capable of containing even Vallière's explosion.'
She grimaces. Zeruel, an 'Apostle': she knows nothing about such species, apart from the facts that this particular specimen is strong like an Troll, fly more swiftly than a Wind Dragon and can deploy a shield spell of unknown element with the same defensive capabilities as the scales of a two headed dragon. And it is exactly this lack of information that concerns her the most. Still not even this element would be sufficient to make her do more that keep her guard up and ears open to catch any possible development.
Except that she trusts Sylphid. And when her familiar told her the winged girl is the most horrifying and dangerous being in the whole academy she believes her. Nor she was not capable of seeing that something was wrong herself.
But at the end the main point remains the same: Kirche could be in danger. The rivalry between her and Louise's family is well known among the students and her exuberant friend make no effort since the first year of Academy to stop the 'tradition'. She believes it is for the pinkette own good, the use of well placed jabs to take her away from depression. That it's fun and makes Kirche look good is just a nice plus.
Many times Tabitha was very tempted to tell her the only results of her stunts were to just push the Vallière more and more deep into despair. Instead she keeps silent, because such an action would force her to expose her own darkness.
And now Louise attains a powerful familiar who fulfill her every order at the letter. More like a Golem that a living being. And if the girl in a fit of rage say something like 'I wish you are dead'...To be honest she too had to say to Sylphid to not eat humans, horses and other familiars but the dragon quickly understand the logic being it. The Apostle would follow everything her master wanted without a second thought.
She definitely needs to keep an eye on her.
"...Master, what is the...purpose of those creatures?" Zeruel asks eying the strange quadrupeds before her.
"What do you mean? They're horses, we need to use them to go to the capital."
"Ah...and how we use them?"
"...You seriously don't know. Why I even...never mind. Listen, we need to ride them to travel. Is the best way short of taking a carriage or a flying...Wait a minute, you can fly!" She points at her, only now remembering that particular bit of information. "Can you carry me all the way to the capital?"
"I don't know how much distant is...this 'capital', but I am confident...I can cover a long distance in little...time."
"Perfect!" Louise claps her hands. "Pick me up in your arms and fly in that direction. Be careful not to drop me or I will die!"
"Acknowledged." Zeruel bows and embraces Louise. She closes her eyes.
"What are you...?" Louise starts but is interrupted when she feels a strange and yet warm feeling, like a blanket fresh from laundry, enveloping her. The next instant they both ascend in the sky.
Louise suddenly yelps in surprise at the strange sensation: there are no feelings of movement, nor she can feel the wind on her face. Weird, truly weird. She raises her head to demand an explanation from Zeruel when she notes for the first time two things. One, there is a big ring of energy floating above her familiar's head.
Two, her familiar's wings aren't flapping.
"Z-Zeruel..." She began in a trembling voice. "What...what are you doing?"
"I'm using my Light of the Soul...to propel both of us." She stated in a flat tone.
Louise eyes widen. "You're using Magic to fly? But that's impossible, no one has high enough Willpower to do it at the level of a winged creature for a long period of time." She looks down. "And surely not at this speed! Founder, I can already see the Capital ahead! Why don't you use your wings?"
Zeruel tilts her head. "Those appendages are an...unexpected by-product of my recent restoration. I ignore...the causes behind them, but I can...exclude flight as one of their...functions."
"I...I am not even sure I understood even half of what you have said. Tell me, all the others of your species have this ability?"
"I see." 'No I don't. But maybe...' "...Zeruel, get down. I want you to land...here, in the middle of that clearing."
Once landed took out her wand. "I'm going to try the 'Shared Perception' spell to feel through your senses. This spell at least should not blow up. Don't oppose resistance to my conscience slipping in." After she receives confirmation she makes an elaborate motion with it before whispering to herself. "I see, I hear."
The world explodes. Thousands of different sensations and data flooded Louise's mind. Everything is sharper: 360 degree view shows her every single detail of every single angle of every single speck of dust in an area of several meters. Colors she didn't even know existed breaks themselves from the Sun's light. She can hears an ant walking and the heartbeat of a bird flying in the sky. Someway she can smell the hue of a leaf. Taste the blood system of the ground below her. The whole scenery dissembles into four sided triangles and other impossible geometric figures in five dimensions.
And at the center of all of this there is the melody. She doesn't hear it with her ears but with her heart: it sing of loneliness, of a spirit hurt by others, of insecurity in its own abilities. A child trys to be stoic but crys inside. Guilt and low self-esteem. A mask of steel with too many cracks covers a despair always hidden. A hollow pride without foundations.
And below the abyss of darkness and Void a single Light shines with the heat of a thousand dying suns.
Louise understands. A truth too strong to be denied. An absolute Gospel. She understands she is seeing herself and screams.
"MASTER!" With the cry of Zeruel comes the sudden severing of the psychic link and Louise finds herself cuddled into her familiar's arms. "Master! Are you alright? What...is wrong?"
"Ah...ah..." She is aware she is bleeding from her nostrils, but she made no effort to wipe herself clean. "Wow. Just. Wow. Is this how you see the world, Zeruel? I have no idea. No I'm pretty sure I do something wrong because there is no way some of that is real, no way that exist organs capable of sensing things like that and I am shivering right?" She asks with a trembling voice.
Zeruel can only nods and continues embracing her master, her hand massaging her back to sooth the pain in an unconscious reflex. They remain both silent for several minutes, until Louise speaks again.
"...Zeruel." She begins without meeting her eyes. "Before...I saw myself. I hear a melody and I saw the truth about myself. What does this mean?"
"The Light of the Soul and the...Melody of the Soul are one and...the same. One self stripped of all...lies. No secrets and no deceptions. You listen...to your own melody. It is not a...simple task facing one true self."
"...No, I suppose it's not."
After somewhat recovering from the ordeal they complete the journey and arrive at Tristain, the capital. More that one curious stare was directed at the strange being accompanying a noble, but for all that Zeruel cares they could be all dancing naked and she would spare not even a bit of her attention. 'Master was hurt. She could not bear the full might of my mind.' It was a problem she not foreseen, but now she understands why the flow of communality is restricted. Her master is not ready to be one with her. This must be corrected, but in the meantime she needs to be even more on alert.
The weapon shop is down an alleyway. They enter: despite the bright sunlight outside, the interior is quite dim. Walls and shelves display a disorganized mix of weapons and shields. A detailed suit of armor decorates the room. A rotund man in his fifties with a pencil mustache and mouse-like front teeth, idly smoking a pipe, eyes the newcomers with suspicion. His eyes widens on seeing the pentagram on Louise's cloak clasp. "My lady! My noble lady! All of my wares here are real and reasonably priced! There's nothing criminal here!" He squeaks. How fitting.
Louise's eyebrow rises up. "That was a rather specific denial."
"Ah...ehm..." He stutters.
"Forget it." She waves and and to drop the subject. "I'm here as a customer. To buy a sword for my familiar."
"Oh yes! I have just the thing! A sword fitting nobility, forged by the famous..."
"Any slab of iron with an edge would do." Louise cuts him off. Honestly, he thinks she was born yesterday? She will not fall for pretty things, and certainly not handled by shady guys like him. Besides she only needs an intimidating decoration.
The shopkeeper's shoulders slumps. "Oh...in that case you can check the pieces on the wall."
"Heard him? Choose what you like." Louise says. Zeruel nods and began to examine the various tools on display. The runes tell her to simply touch one and they will provide an opinion. She complies and touch a long spear. The Gandalf's powers activates and the answer is immediate.
"Trash." The shopkeeper sputters. She pays no mind and reach another weapon, a rapier. "Will break with one swing.
An axe. "There is no edge."
A shield. "Too fragile."
Another sword, a massive Zwieihander. "Made of painted brass."
Louise snickers. "So, nothing criminal here, uh?" The mouse-man cringes.
"AHAHAHA! They have you by the balls, you old cheater!" A deep, male voice resounds through the shop. "Serves you right! Hey you, little lady: do the world a favor and toss him into prison. Then sell me to the executioner: I promise I will do a good job!"
All their heads turn in the direction the voice come from. But there is nothing there, just...
"Is that...a talking sword?" Asks Louise.
"That's right, my lady. It's a sentient, magical, intelligent sword. I wonder what kind of mage could make a sword speak… but it's got a rotten tongue and a bloodthirsty personality, always arguing with my customers. Hey, Derf! Keep up the insolence and I'll ask this noble here to melt you!"
"You can't! Ahahaha! Nobody can! The great Derflinger is indestructible! Not even my creator could do it, and to tell you the truth she tried nearly everything...frustrated she tossed me in a swamp, but even if I can rust I will never break!" It was the same length as a huge broadsword, more thin and a blade slightly less broad. Its surface was coated with rust, and the quillion was moving up and down like a mouth. "You! Winged girl! You searching for a weapon? Then pick me! The rest are a fraud." It declares with confidence.
Zeruel is interested. From what she could tell this tool possess a soul of its own even with a body not made of flesh, and the flavor resemble the energy of her Master. Obeying the compulsion of the runes she extends her left hand and grips the handle.
The instant she does it a new rush of information pours into her brain. The runes flash and with joy the runes tell her this a most formidable weapon of par with the Lance of Longinus, the damnable weapon which sealed the Father and her brethren for a long time. Just like that she knows how to wield it with maximal proficiency, how to strike with minimal effort to attain the greatest damage. Defense, offense, it can do both. With one smooth motion just learned she pulls the blade, oddly shinning with a hue of red, out and swings it at the wall.
The wooden panel and the other weapons shatters like glass, the blade opening a gash large enough to fit a man inside.
The stunned silence is broken when Zeruel nods in satisfaction. "This will do."
"Oh...OhahahaHAHAHAHAHAH! That was amazing partner! This strength! This power! They were ages since I see something like that. What I am saying? This is the first time! Just loosen a little your grip, would you? Ahh, much better. And you're a user...uhuhuh, it's been a while since the last female one. So, what's your name, partner?"
"A girl of few words, aren't you? That's fine, I can speak for both. Name's is Derflinger, but you can call me Derf. Now just stab the old man and we can be on our merry way." It says chuckling darkly. The shopkeeper pales.
"What?" Louise shrieks. "No Zeruel, no murder remember!" She turns to the man. "I'm sorry. How much I own you for the sword and the...damages..."
"Nothing!" He shouts trembling like a leaf. "You own me nothing! Just go away please and never come back!"
"You suuure don't want to do it, child? I can tell you one or two convincing reasons: like that time he sold a priest a huge load of..."
"We're leaving!" Louise grab the belt and scabbard and shoves the sword back inside its scabbard before taking Zeruel's hand and running out.
That day the most dangerous being of a world and the most dangerous weapon of another became a team.
And many will suffer.
...Eh, weren't expecting that, weren't you? I told you in Chapter 3 that I will include someone to compensate for Saito. Sort of. There is a reason, I assure you.
Sachiel: I don't believe you.
Ramiel: Neither do I.