Don't own either Familiar of zero or Zero. The Zero used is the Zero from MMZ series, and the stylized art that includes. all rights go to their respective owners.
This is a reupload. Hopefully it doesn't all get bolded again. And hopefully the breaks in the scenes will work correctly this time.
Chapter One: I'm a Familiar... Of me?
Zero looked down at the world below him. He'd lost contact with Ciel. The platform he was on rumbled below him. He'd made it in time. He'd saved the new world Ciel was sure to bring. Another rumble from below. The world looked so beautiful from here. For the first time in so long, he looked down at the world and was hit with a realization. Reploid. Human. It didn't matter. All were looking for a place. He supposed that X realized that long ago. Ah well he'd be seeing is partner again soon. He closed his eyes and waited, not seeing the portal that opened up below him.
Zero landed awkwardly. Opening his eyes, as he no longer felt the vacuum of space, he saw nature. Had they teleported him out in time? His eyes came to rest on a young girl in front of him.
"Who are you?" asked the girl intently, examining Zero's face, the clear blue sky behind her. He recognized the language. French. Odd, considering the language had mostly died out.
She seemed to be in her mid teens. Underneath a black cloak, she wore a white blouse and a gray pleated skirt. She looked, shocked, at his face.
Her face is...cute. Reddish-brown eyes danced upon the stage of her flawless, white skin and strawberry hair. Was she a reploid? No, she was definitely human, but he'd never seen one with hair quite that color before.
Zero noticed a crowd of people in black cloaks were curiously examining him. In the distance, on an endlessly rich grassy plain, he saw a huge castle with stone walls, just like the ones that were developed in early Europe.
It's just like a fantasy novel that X used to love reading. That had always been funny, that the great X had a weakness for such human pursuits. Then again, that might have been why he loved them so much.
Giving his head a shake at the thought of his friend, he responded "Who am I...? I am Zero."
"Z-z-z-zero!" the girl demanded in anger "Are you toying with me, commoner! Who paid you to do this! Where is my familiar! And why are you in those weird clothes!"
Commoner? What does she mean by that? Everyone around him had some sort of stick in their hand and wore the same uniform as that girl's. Where am I? I don't sense any electronic devices. Anywhere. Doing a self diagnostic scan, he noted that he was mostly undamaged from his fight with Weil, and what little damage had been done was being repaired.
"Louise, what were you thinking, calling a commoner with 'Summon Familiar'?" someone asked, and everyone but the girl who was looking at his face started to laugh.
"I... I just made a little mistake!" the girl in front of Zero shouted in a refined voice that carried like a bell.
"What mistake are you talking about? Nothing unusual happened."
"Of course! After all, she's Louise the Zero!" someone else said, and the crowd burst into laughter again.
It appeared the girl looking into Zero's face was named Louise.
Just where the hell was he?
"Mr. Colbert!" Louise, shouted.
The crowd parted, revealing a middle-aged man. Zero thought it was funny, because the man looked ridiculous. He carried a big wooden staff and was covered in a black robe.
Zero decided that he ought to stay quiet until he understood what was going on.
The girl named Louise seemed to be in a panic, begging to redo something and gesturing frantically.
I feel sorry for her, it seemed something important had gone wrong.
"What is it that you want from me, Miss Vallière?"
"Please! Let me try the summoning one more time!"
Summoning? What's that? They mentioned it earlier.
Mr. Colbert, the man wearing the black robe, shook his head. "I cannot allow that, Miss Vallière."
"It is strictly forbidden. When you are promoted to a second year student, you must summon a familiar, which is what you just did."
A familiar? Wait, wasn't that what wizards used? Small creatures or the like to augment their powers? At least X's reading habits came in handy. For once. Too bad X always read them instead of just downloading the data.
"Your elemental specialty is decided by the familiar that you summon. It enables you to advance to the appropriate courses for that element. You cannot change the familiar once you have summoned it, because the Springtime Familiar Summoning is a sacred rite. Whether you like it or not, you have no choice but to take him."
"But... I've never heard of having a commoner as a familiar!"
Everyone around laughed. Louise scowled at them, but the laughter didn't stop.
'Springtime Familiar Summoning'? What's that? I don't understand. What are they talking about? I mean really, where is this place? Man, this felt so troublesome.
"This is a tradition, Miss Vallière. I cannot allow any exceptions; he," the middle-aged wizard pointed at Zero, "may be a commoner, but as long as he was summoned by you, he must be your familiar. Never in history has a human been summoned as a familiar, but the Springtime Familiar Summoning takes precedence over every rule. In other words, there is no other way around it: he must become your familiar."
"You have got to be joking..." Louise shoulders slumped in disappointment.
"Well then, continue with the ceremony."
"Yes, with him. Hurry. The next class will begin any minute. How much more time is this summoning going to take? After mistake upon mistake, you have finally managed to summon him. Hurry and form a contract. Or would you rather be expelled?" Everyone voiced their agreement.
Louise stared at Zero's face as if troubled.
"Hey," Louise addressed Zero.
"Its Zero" i respond not liking the tone. She grimaced but continued.
"You should count yourself lucky. Normally you'd go your whole life without a noble doing this to you."
Noble? How stupid. What nobles are you talking about? Nobility had gone out of style hundreds of years ago.
Louise closed her eyes with an air of resignation. She waved around the wooden stick in her hand.
"My name is Louise Françoise Le Blanc de La Vallière. Pentagon of the Five Elemental Powers; bless this humble being, and make him my familiar."
She chanted those words over and over, like a magic spell, and touched Zero's forehead with the stick. Her lips then slowly drew closer.
"What are you doing?" Zero asked calmly.
"Just stay still," Louise said, a touch of irritation in her voice. Her face got closer
Louise's lips touched Zero's.
What is happening? What kind of contract is this? The touch of her soft lips confounded Zero even more. Zero remained frozen, paralyzed. He'd dealt with so much crap. Being shot at. Being slashed at. Being blown up. Being dead. Being energy. But all this crap together? Zero was beginning to think that he had a few files corrupted.
Louise removed her lips. "It is done."
Her face is all red. Is she embarrassed by her boldness? Zero couldn't help but feel lost.
"I should be the one embarrassed, not you. It was me who was kissed all of a sudden."
But Louise ignored Zero completely.
"You have failed 'Summon Servant' many times, but you have managed to succeed with 'Contract Servant' in one try," Colbert said happily.
"It's just because he's only a commoner."
"If he was a powerful magical beast, she wouldn't have been able to make a contract." came another, from a red head who seemed to have a rather large red lizard standing near her.
Some of the students laughed.
Louise scowled at them. "Don't make fun of me! Even I do things right once in a while!"
"Truly 'once in a while', Louise the Zero," laughed a girl with gorgeous curly blonde hair.
"Mr. Colbert! Montmorency the Flood just insulted me!"
"Who are you calling 'the Flood'? I'm Montmorency the Fragrance!"
"I heard that you used to wet the bed like a flood, didn't you? 'The Flood' suits you better!"
"I hadn't expected better manners from Louise the Zero."
"Watch it! Nobles ought to show each other the proper respect," the middle-aged wizard interjected.
What are they talking about? What contract? Who are they calling a servant? And why is my name part of hers?
Suddenly, Zero's body started to heat up. Zero stood up. "I'm burning up!"
"It will be over soon; just wait. The Familiar's Runes are being inscribed," Louise said, irritated.
"Stop it! What are you doing to me?" Zero hadn't ever felt like this before, it was like his entire body had turned molten. After a few moments, the fire cools, and he takes a breath as he drops to his knee. That was on his list of things never to let happen again.
"By the way."
"Why do you allow yourself, a commoner, to use language such as that in front of nobles? And why do you keep calling yourself Zero!" the little girl demanded.
"That was quick..." The middle-aged wizard, known as Colbert, approached the kneeling Zero and checked the back of his left hand. After removing Zero's gauntlet much to the reploids growing annoyance, jumping out at him, were unfamiliar letters.
Are those runes? Zero stared at it and thought, If this isn't a trick, then what is it?
"These are very unusual Runes," said the middle-aged wizard.
At this point, Zero just couldn't stay silent anymore. "Who are you people?" he asked calmly.
"Well, let's go back to class, everyone." the older man stated, ignoring him completely.
The middle-aged wizard turned on his heel, then rose gently into the air. Is he floating in the air? Unbelievable! The other people who looked like students also floated up. No jet packs. Nothing.
It can't be! One person could rise up into the air by some trick, but so many? Zero looked for wires or even a crane, but the surrounding area was just a large grassy plain. There was nothing to suggest that any tricks or setups were used.
Everyone who was floating quietly moved towards the stone walls of the castle in the distance.
"Louise, you'd better walk back!"
"She shouldn't try to fly. She can't even manage levitation."
"A commoner is perfect as your familiar!" the students jeered as they flew away.
The only ones left behind were Zero and the girl named Louise.
As soon as it was only the two of them, Louise took a deep breath, turned toward Zero, and yelled, "Who are you?"
That was it. Zero was mad. That's my line! he thought. Pull me from falling to my death and then demand... His trail of thought was swiftly replaced by one of confusion. After the brief moment of confusion he fired back, "Who are you? Where is this place? Who were all those people? Why can they fly? What did you do to my body?" Zero demanded, he was going to lose his cool if he didn't start getting answers.
"I don't know what backwoods you came from, but all right, I will explain it to you." The pink haired girl replied in a falsely modest fashion.
"Backwoods? This, you see? This is the backwoods! I can't even hook into the satellites. How the hell is where I'm from backwoods. Is there some kind of interference? Why the hell can't I link up to the resistance base? Why can't I transfer out of here?" The angry reploid demanded.
"Satellites? What is that? What is interference?" the cute girl asked, showing no signs of lying through her body langauge. She looked more confused than anything.
"Satellites. They orbit the world, and allow data to be sent through waves of energy or in many cases lasers or other such energy or information transfers they're the basics for the world's communcations. You wouldn't be able to have international real time connections without them. Even children should know that." Zero rebuked.
Louise puffed out her chest as best as she could and made a dismissive gesture. "I have never heard of them. Of anything you're talking about. And I'm no child. I am a noble."
"Anyhow, why are they flying? You saw it too! They flew, and i didn't see them using anything to propel them! I mean yeah they were really, really slow but they kinda just were defying the laws of physics." Zero complained. "Have I been out for a little while? No. No, I didn't deactive even after the fight with Weil."
"Of course they flew. What would we do if mages couldn't fly? And what do you mean your fight?"
Zero grabbed Louise's shoulders and yelled, " It doesn't matter. If you're with my you'll see them often enough. Anyhow, what is all this about mages? Where the hell am I? This sounds like some stupid story out of X's old library!"
"This is Tristain! And this is the renowned Tristain Academy of Magic!"
"Academy of Magic?" Zero deadpanned.
"I'm a second year student, Louise de La Vallière. I am your master from now on. Remember that!"
All of Zero's fire suddenly disappeared. He was starting to get a really bad feeling about the situation. "Uh... Louise..."
"What?" she snapped back at her familiar who seemed less than interested in listening to what she said.
"Did you really summon me here?"
"That's what I've been telling you over and over again. I can't believe you're that dense. Why does my familiar have to be so uncool... I wanted to have something wicked like a dragon or a griffin or a manticore. At least an eagle or an owl."
"A dragon or a griffin? Really?" Zero asked.
"Yeah, those would be totally cool familiars."
"Really? Do they actually exist? Is that what you wished for? Power? The power to destroy your enemies?" Zero asked
"They do exist, and I am unsure what you wanted me to answer. I asked for powerful, it is all in how the prary is recieved. i din't want the power for anything but to porect me and help me carry out my station as a noble. And strong familiars often are exactly the same element as the person that summoned them?"
"You've gotta be kidding me," Zero said, laughing. But Louise didn't seem to be joking. X would have loved it here.
"Well, you've probably never seen them before," Louise said seriously, pity in her voice.
The mages who had flown away and the fantasy words they used suddenly connected.
He felt a chill run down his spine, and broke out in a cold sweat. "Maybe... These people, they really flew, didn't they? Are you really witches and wizards?"
"Of course we are! Not witches, they are nothing like us. Wizards though, that is what we are. A witch is a heretic against the founder. Now, let go of my shoulders! You shouldn't even be talking to me!"
"I'm totally a cache of corrupted data. Its gotta be. This is so illogical that it can't be anything but. " Slowly, his strength left him, and Zero fell to his knees.
"Louise", he said with a weak voice.
"Don't call me directly by name."
"Hit me." he said, removing his helmet.
"What did you say?"
"Please, hit me in the head as hard as you can."
"I want to see something."
"I don't know what you're talking about, but you want me to hit you, right?" Louise clenched her hands into fists.
Her fists began to tremble. Louise's expression became unreadable, but it seemed a lot of thoughts were going through her head. "Aren't you concerned at all about being summoned?"
"How should I know?"
"How could I, the third daughter of the Vallière family... a noble who takes pride in her proper pedigree and ancient lineage, end up having to make someone like you my familiar?"
"How should I know?" Zero repeated.
"...And just who decided that the contract had to be sealed by a kiss?"
"How should I know?"
Louise clobbered Zero in the head with all her strength. "That was my first kiss!"
Perhaps she was a bit too forceful... a small crack was heard from her small fist, And she cried out in pain.
"Hey, are you ok!" Zero asked, suddenly concerned for her.
"My hand!" she had tears in her eyes.
Taking up her hand, he felt it carefully. Nothing seemed to be broken. She seemed to have a nice bone bruise on her knuckle. Wait. She was bruised. He was fine. That was actually logical. The only logical thing to happen... was...he for once in his life, Zero felt an overload as everything that was illogical slipped into place, and his eyes went lifeless as he tried to make sense of it.
*** Break ***
Zero, hundreds of years old. Comrade and friend of X.
Athletic ability: Exceptional. Duration without a girlfriend: Whenever Iris had died. Overall Purpose: Destruction and killing machine.
Maverick hunter's evaluation:"Ah, Zero. S-class hunter. He refuses to give up, and he has a strong sense of curiosity, but at times his courage is near on suicidal. Always rushes in. Best suited for battle."
Creator's thoughts: "You shall be my greatest creation. I will rule the world with you."
Ciel's thoughts:"The protector of the world. My protector...Where are you?"
To put it plainly, he just didn't think too deeply about things before acting. If it needed to be done, it would get done. Regardless.
Also, he had a fiercely competitive spirit. In that sense, he might have been quite similar to Louise in personality.
Anyway, a mere thirty minutes ago, Zero had been falling to his certain doom on the space station Ragnarok. When he opened his eyes...He was in a strange world.
*** Break ***
"Is that true?" asked Louise, looking at Zero with an expression of disbelief. In her hand, she held bread from tonight's dinner.
They were in Louise's room. Louise had brought Zero here once he had regained consciousness.
Zero, answered her, "So what if it wasn't?"
If there were a nation with wizards who flew through the sky, even only a few, he certainly would know. And even if there were, what about those huge moons floating in the sky? They were easily twice the size of Earth's. Their huge size was not the issue; it was known that in some countries there were nights like that. However, that there were two of them was strange. Not to mention the fact that they had different colors. The only thing that explained that was atmosphere. This was definitely not Earth.
It was dark now... Night had already fallen. I guess Ciel is worrying about me right now, he concluded sadly.
From the window, he could see the grassy plains where he'd been lying. Across the plains, illuminated by moonlight, he could also see a tall mountain range. Over to his right was a vast expanse of dense forest. Zero let out a sigh.
Evergreen forests like this one simply should not exist. Not with the state of the world. Those trees all seemed natural and there wasn't the rough landscape to show towards previous disasters.
The castle and the grounds he had passed on his way looked very much like something directly out of the Middle Ages. It had been a curious spectacle that would've amazed him if he'd come here on a trip.
An entrance arch and a sturdy staircase, both made of stone... This was the Tristain Academy of magic, Louise had explained. All the Academy students lived in dormitories on the school grounds.
Academy of Magic? Wonderful! Dormitories? He was going to kill X if he ever got out of this hibernation. He started as he recalled, that X was already dead. Even his cyber form would probably be fading now. What little of his good spirits faded almost immediately.
"I can't believe it." she replied
"Look, neither can I." Zero agreed," I mean our science has shown in many cases that the chances to go between dimensions isn't alll that hard and thateach one would possibly work in ways the same as ours or sometimes in rules that are unusual or downright unworkable. This seems to be that one. To end up on another world like that it's pretty easy to see how there could be differences but I don't even want to think of the chances of you breaking through that wall and somehow grabbing me just as I was about to be destroyed.
"By another world, what do you mean?"
"There aren't any magicians. And there's only one moon."
"There's such a world like that?" Louise asked suspiciously
"I'm telling you, it's where I came from!" Zero shouted.
"Don't yell at me, you commoner."
"Who are you calling a commoner?"
"Well, you're not a mage, right? So you're a commoner."
"Why does it matter if I'm a mage or not?"
"Look, do you really know nothing about the world?"
"As I've been telling you all this time, I'm not from this one!"
At that, Louise set her elbows on the table with a troubled look.
On the tabletop was a lamp . It seemed as if electricity wasn't used.
Jeez, electricity isn't that complicated to set up, is it? Even basic systems were easy to make.
"Send me back... I have people who rely on me"
"Why...? I'm sure you'll get just as powerful a creature next time." Zero objected.
"Because you've been bound by a contract as my familiar; it doesn't matter if you come from the countryside or a completely different world like you've said. Once the bond is established, it can't be undone."
"You gotta be kidding..."
"Look, I don't like this either! Why do I have to be stuck with a familiar like you? And what is it that makes you so powerful."
"Well then, send me back."
"Are you saying you're really from another world?" asked Louise, seemingly still perplexed.
"Yeah." Zero nodded.
"Show me some proof."
Zero stood up, pulled the handle for his saber, and released its lock. Holding out the energy saber, he let her inspect it, with awe filled eyes.
"What is that?" Louise gave a surprised yelp as the blade appeared before her.
"Its an energy saber, also called the Z saber," replied Zero.
"I've certainly never seen anything like this. What kind of magic artifact is it?"
"It's not magic. It's science."
"It's pretty... What element of magic does it use? Fire? Air?"
"Science. I doubt you'd understand the specifics."
Louise stared at Zero blankly. Clearly she didn't get it. "So, what kind of element is this 'science'? Is it different from the four elemental powers?"
"I told you, it's not magic" Zero said calmly, moving the blade around, creating a near dazzling light show.
Louise sat on the edge of her bed and dangled her feet. Then, shrugging, she said with a dispassionate look, "Hmm. But I don't really understand it..."
"Why? Is there anything like this in this world too?"
Louise pouted. "No, but..."
"Then just believe me, I doubt you'd understand how this works. Most people where I'm from wouldn't understand it."
Clutching her long hair, Louise just shook her head. "All right! I'll believe you!"
Crossing her arms and cocking her head, Louise gave an annoyed growl. "Only because you would've gone on about it if I didn't say so."
"Well, it doesn't matter, as long as you've got it. Now, send me back."
Louise bit her lips gently as she shook her head. "I told you, it's impossible."
"Why is it impossible?" Zero demanded, pressing for advantage as he saw when the girl wrapped in around herself. He knew she was hiding something.
Louise's face was etched with discomfort as she answered Zero. "That's because there's no spell that can connect this world to your world."
"Then how did I end up here?"
"I wish I knew!" Louise cried out angrily. "DO you think I'm lying to you? Listen, I'm being completely honest when I say there's no such spell. Nobody's even heard of another world."
"There obviously is one if I'm here" Zero said quite simply.
"'Summon Servant' is used to call living beings from within Halkeginia. Normally, only animals or magical beasts are summoned. This is actually the first instance that I've seen it work on a person."
"In that case, cast that spell on me one more time."
"It might return me to my world."
Looking discernibly perplexed, Louise tilted her head to one side.
"...That won't work. 'Summon Servant' is a strictly one-way spell. No incantation of any kind exists to return a summoned familiar back to where it was brought from."
"Whatever, just try it."
"It's impossible. And I can't even cast it now."
"...Using 'Summon Servant' again is..."
"...Completely ineffective unless the familiar you first summoned has died."
"Say what?" Zero froze.
"Would you like to die?"
"Die? How is that possible?." He looked straight ahead, then his eyes trailed down to the runes that had been inscribed on his left hand.
"Let me guess, people where you come from, don't die?" was the sharp, sarcastic comment.
"No... They do. But I'm not alive. So how can i die?" Zero looked at her with a puzzled face.
"W-w-what did you say? Of course you're alive! You're talking and everything" Louise had to wonder if perhaps her familiar was touched in the head.
"Yeah? That doesn't mean I'm alive. Just like the rest of my kind, I'm not alive. I've technically never been alive" He said, looking at her quite seriously. But he had to wonder, if this spell took living beings, just how close were reploids?
"What do you mean the rest of your kind? I know some nobles treat commoners like animals, but none have ever taught them that they're not even living! That's barbaric!" Louise replied.
"Commoners... Huh" Zero said. "Louise... Do you have scientists here, people that study the world, and how it works?"
"Well. Mages do that" Louise said simply.
"That would explain it then" Zero said looking at the lamp
"Explain what?" she demanded, feeling like there was an insult planted in that statement.
"Don't be offended by this, please. This place seems to be very uncivilized. There are little to no technologies present, and in the over all view of things, i can't see them being needed, at least not by the nobles of the world who can do enough low tech jobs, that they don't care enough to research them" Zero said simply.
"Low tech? What's that, and what do you mean uncivilized? An uncultured commoner like you!" Louise near shrieked, finding the insult at the academy, and nobles in general to be more than she could take after all he'd said.
"It wasn't said as an insult" Zero said holding his hand up for silence. "There are some good things about this. In industrialized societies, more pollution happens. the world itself can be damaged. With higher technology, more powerful weapons can be developed"
"Powerful weapons?" Louise asked
"A club, while messy, is not as dangerous as a sword, right?" Zero asked, and after a nod continued "But, a bow allows you to attack someone at range before they can ever harm you. Lets say you have, a weapon called a gun"
"We do have guns!" Louise said quickly, as if to prove that her kingdom wasn't as far behind this mere commoner's. "But they're nothing compared to a good mage.
"I see. That's too bad. Guns are only the start. You first have a simple type of gun. Then a gun that can fire and reload faster. And a gun that can fire multiple shots without reloading. Then one that can fire really far. Then, one that can destroy buildings. Then you get to bombs, large explosive devices." Zero said, a cold, logical tone to his voice, with what seemed like a hint of regret.
"We have those too..." Louise said, quietly. She didn't want to brag after hearing him talk like this. He seemed sad for some reason.
"That's too bad as well. At first, bombs are just simple explosives. As technology gets better, you learn to send the bombs to other places. Then you learn how to send them across the world. Getting bigger all the while. In one day, all it took was one being like me to revolt. To break our trust. And millions were killed. The only good thing you can think about it, is that they probably didn't feel it. The ones that were close to the blast anyhow" Zero said, looking out at nature.
"Millions?" Louise asked in horror.
"Millions. And it never got better from there. Weapons of that magnitude don't just do damage to the people. It can destroy the world around it. Irradiate it so that plants can't grow. Kick up enough dust to lower the world's temperature. but it still gets worse from there"
"Worse, how can it be worse than that?" Louise asked. The things that he was saying were just too horrible to imagine. She couldn't believe such things existed.
"Eventually, you get to creations like me, or my partner X" Zero said looking at her quite seriously.
"Creations? What do you mean? And who is X?" Louise
"Zero, X. That is our names, made by Dr. Wily and Dr. Light" Zero paused "Our creators were at odds. I was designed to be the ultimate killing machine. To take over the world. X was designed to protect the world. We were both given wills. Something that was forbidden at the time of our creation. This is why we were given our names, as a hint at our powers, and capabilities"
"What? Why would zero be a hint of power?" she asked.
"It can be seen, as the start of all things, just as X is a variable in our mathematics. Our ability to evolve, change, grow, and become more powerful is inherent in our names. Hmm. Delusion from stasis or corrupt files or not... This world is beautiful, like mine once was. And will be again."
"This can't be true. You have to be lying" Louise responded, almost whining as it all started to sink in. "For me, to just summon something like you? You're powerful right? How could i do that? You're saying you're not even alive! You think you can just mock me like this? You think I'll accept it! I know i'm no good at magic, but I'll find my element some day!"
Smiling at the girl, Zero shook his head. Insecure, just like someone else he used to know. "Everyone else summoned creatures from this world. You little girl, summoned something from so much farther away. I doubt you can even understand the distances involved. Something with so much power, and potential. Something so... dangerous" Zero said, with a hint of regret in his voice at the last part "I fail to see how that makes you no good. And supposedly i am your familiar because of this mark. That means that you have some potential"
"So you'll serve me?" she looked at him
"I will protect you" He said looking at her simply. "lately, I've come to understand X better. The need to bring peace between reploids, and humans. Its not about which side you're on. Its about protecting those who can't protect themselves" looking at his clenched fist, he sighed
Louise stood up and crossed her arms. This close, she was actually quite cute. Slender and well-proportioned legs, thin ankles. Not very tall. Her eyes were like a curious kitten's, and her eyebrows traced a subtle line over them. Also, what the hell was he thinking?
"But what exactly does a familiar do?" asked Zero.
"Firstly, a familiar is able to grant its master an enhancement in vision and hearing."
"That means what the familiar sees, the master can also see."
"But it seems that doesn't work with you. I can't see anything."
"Yeah, probably the fact i use optics instead of eyes," Zero said offhandedly.
"Also, a familiar will retrieve items that its master desires. For instance, reagents."
"They're catalysts used when casting certain spells. Something like sulfur, or moss..."
"But you won't ever find me stuff like that, will you? Considering you don't even know what kind of reagents there are."
"Not a clue"
Louise frowned irritably, but continued talking. "And this is most important of all... A familiar exists to protect its master! The task of protecting them from any and all enemies is a duty of the highest priority!"
"Hmm. Fairly sure i covered that."
"...A powerful magical beast would almost always defeat its enemies, but I don't think you could even beat a raven."
"If i so chose, i could probably destroy everything in this world." Zero stated flatly.
"D-d-don't say things like that! You're just a commoner, even if you have that sword! That's why I'm only making you do things I'm fairly sure you can do: laundry, cleaning, and other miscellaneous tasks."
"No, I don't think I will."
"Why you...I won't feed you if you don't!"
"I don't need to eat. Its pleasant, but totally unnecessary" Zero responded simply receiving a skeptical look in return.
"Right then, all this talking has made me sleepy," said Louise with a great yawn. She threw him a blanket.
"Its okay. I won't get cold."
She then brought her hand up to the top button of her blouse.
One by one, the buttons came undone.
Soon she was down to her underwear. Zero stammered. "Wh-wh-what are you doing?"
Louise answered as if it was the most obvious thing. "I'm going to sleep, so I'm getting changed."
"Do it somewhere else where I can't see you!"
"Because! It makes the situation awkward! Where I'm from even the female reploids have this modesty!"
"It's not awkward at all."
"Is that because you're a mage? You're okay with doing that in plain sight of a guy?"
"A guy? Who? I don't need to think anything of being watched by my familiar."
What the hell. That's exactly how you'd treat a dog or cat. Is that waht this was going to be? Zero, the one and only Zero treated like a household pet?. Shaking in almost uncontrolled rage, Zero turned away. She really was getting on his nerves.
"Oh, and these. Wash them for me tomorrow." Several items came flying over to land softly beside him. He picked them up, wondering what they were.
A lacy camisole and matching panties. "No."
He bolted upright, without even realizing he'd done so. Louise was pulling a large nightgown over her head. While he couldn't make any details, it didn't seem as though she was embarrassed. It was kind of disappointing. Although again, he kept wondering WHY he was disappointed. A murmur or two in the back of his head said something, but not loud enough for him to hear.
"Who do you think is going to support you? And just whose room are you going to sleep in?"
"Don't need sleep either" Zero said indifferently.
"You're my familiar, right? Laundry, cleaning, other menial tasks - they're naturally your job."
"You can say it all you want. Doesn't mean its gonna happen. If you're in danger, I'll protect you."
As he saw down in the corner he thought to himself, 'I need to find some way of returning. I'll try asking someone. But from what Louise told me earlier, nobody even knows another world exists, so there's no way they'll believe me. I need to think this through rationally. In any case, struggling won't get me anywhere. I don't have any clues, and even if I escaped from here, there's no guarantee that I'll even find a way back. I'll live as a familiar, and in the process, I'll look for a way to return home.'
No matter the situation, Zero's amazing adaptability had always saved him. Where anyone else would've panicked and crumbled, Zero came through thanks to his flexible personality and strength of will.
Louise snapped her fingers, and the glow of the lamp died out.
The lamp is magical too? I guess that means there really is no need for electricity, Zero reasoned.
A shroud of darkness descended upon the room which his eyes quickly adjusted to.
Outside the window, the two moons shone down mysteriously.
And so began Zero's life as a familiar.
*** Author's notes ***
At this point, Zero was taken from certain death, and put into a rather odd situation. As is brought up a few times, he's not even sure what he's experiencing is real.
As for Zero's personality, in my view, the old Zero from MMX was actually the harder one, while in MMZ he mellowed a bit, esp at the beginning. He was more like X during MMZ, and towards MM2+ he started filling his own shoes again complete with distrust for authority(not that you can blame him with his past experiences), but seemed to be more moderated, like he'd picked up some of X's original traits, due to being in the same sort of situation. Waking up, not knowing anything, and finding himself pressed to defend the people who woke him.