I do not own Familiar of Zero or Kamen Rider OOO. They belong to their respective creators and not me. I hope everyone enjoyed this season from start to finish.
Familiar of ZerOOO
By Ten-Faced Paladin
CHAPTER 14: The Void, The Combo, and The Final Battle
The academy was abuzz with chatter as the students poured out into the courtyard to examine the Dragon's Raiment. True to his word, Colbert had contacted the headmaster and had him send out some people who rode on griffons to lift the plane up and fly it back to the academy for examination. The courtyard was of course the only place big enough to place the thing in the entire school. With something so massive and strange, I wasn't surprised that it was gaining so much attention.
"Hey Partner," Derflinger spoke up. "Are you going to try to take this thing through the eclipse so you can get home?"
"Seriously considering it," I nodded. "Tristain isn't so bad…but it's not my home. The only problem is that if I decide to do it, how the heck am I going to fuel this thing?"
"Fuel?" asked the sword.
"Yeah. This isn't run by magic," I explained. "It runs on a special kind of fluid that combusts in the main engine and propels the plane along. The unique body shape allows it to lift off the ground. With the engine and the propellers on the front moving air across the wings, this thing can stay up in the sky for as long as the fuel lasts."
"It is," I agreed. "I don't know the first thing about engines, but as long as I'm touching this thing I can tell how it's working and how to use it at its best. It's in near perfect condition and only out of fuel. Other than that, there's nothing stopping me from using it."
"Wow. Now I want to see if this thing can live up to its legend," Derflinger admired.
"We may just get a chance," I nodded.
"Hey, doesn't that professor guy do all those crazy experiments? Maybe he can help with your little fuel problem," Derflinger suggested.
I blinked. "Hey, you're right! Come on, Derf! We gotta find Professor Colbert!"
I dashed off to find the professor. If there was anyone who I could count on to at least try to find a way to fuel the Zero Fighter, then it would be him.
Louise was at the moment just wandering about the courtyard, glancing absently at the Dragon's Raiment which everyone was making such a big deal about. She supposed it was cool, but there was more on her mind than just looking at the strange machine which she and her classmates had discovered. She had overheard her Familiar and Professor Cobert discussing the story of Siesta's ancestor and how he arrived due to the eclipse. The teacher had theorized that since the second Raiment vanished into the eclipse, it was possible for someone to go from her world back to the world her Familiar came from. It certainly meant that her Familiar's claims of being from another world were now true without a doubt. However…
…it meant her Familiar might be leaving her too.
Well what did she care if he went?-! He was way more trouble than he was worth! He was always finding something to backtalk about, flirting with Kirche, getting into trouble, not listening to her orders, and getting her worried about him all the time. Who cares if he was the first real proof that she could use magic? It didn't matter to her that he was one of the people who believed in her, treated her like she wasn't a zero, and defended her when she really needed it. No way, she didn't care! He could go do whatever he wanted! It wasn't like she was able to control him even though she summoned him as her Familiar.
"Stupid dog," Louise grumbled weakly, rubbing her eyes to stop them from watering. "Who cares if you decide to go? Give it a week and everyone will forget about you. You can just go do whatever you want." Her eyes started watering more as she thought more and more about life without that one pillar of support. "Why do you even need to go in the first place? Isn't it good here? Can't you be satisfied with what your master has given you?"
Wetness rolled down her cheeks as she turned away from her classmates.
'…please don't go.'
I had managed to track down Colbert at his lab where he was going through his supplies to try and find enough scrolls, ink, and pens to write with so he could get some preliminary observations on the Zero Fighter done. Once I managed to find him, I asked him about a fuel source.
"Yes," I nodded. "The Zero…I mean, Dragon's Raiment requires a special kind of fuel to be able to fly. I figured that if anyone would know about it, it would be you. I mean, you did spend a lot of time researching the history and looking for leads on this thing right?"
"Well, yes I have," the man nodded, rubbing his chin. "I had to go through dozens of possible leads and ended up with things that people would claim come from it. Most of them were just false leads and scams. In fact, one of the best leads I got was the dragon's blood."
"Dragon's blood?" I blinked.
"Let me show you," Colbert gestured me to his nearby chemistry table which had dozens of beakers on it. Looking through the collections of glass and fluids, he picked out one of the larger flasks, revealing it to be filled with an amber liquid. "Here. It took some negotiating but I managed to get my hands on it. The man I got it from said he got it from his ancestors who took it from a sleeping dragon. After I dug for some facts, I determined that it came from Tarbes."
"Which you suspected was where the Dragon's Raiment was," I nodded. "Can I take a closer look at it?"
"By all means," the educator nodded as he held out the flask.
I gently took the flask and held it close to my nose before taking a whiff. The smell instantly hit a point of recognition for me. As someone who had to cut grass and such during my life, I had considerable experience with certain machines which ran on gasoline. What I was smelling certainly wasn't blood, but gasoline. Since these people didn't know about machines as advanced as the Zero Fighter, I could guess they only assumed that it was blood that they had gotten hold of. Likely some wiseass in Tarbes managed to siphon some out of the plane after Sasaki landed, thinking he'd be able to sell it off and get rich or use it in some kind of spell. That or Sasaki swapped it for money. There was no way to be sure.
"Pungent, isn't it?" Colbert chuckled as he saw me grimace. "I've run some tests on it and found it to be extremely flammable and it sizable amounts even combustible. And the fire doesn't go out very easily. I suspect this is one of the reasons why dragon fire is so hard to put out, but why that is I have yet to discover."
"I…hate to break this to you," I grimaced, clearing my nostrils of the scent. "But what you have here isn't dragon blood. What you have here is the fuel needed to make the Dragon's Raiment fly again."
"R-Really?-!" Colbert gasped, stunned. "Then this-!"
"Is a substance which comes from my world," I replied. "We use it all the time. If you can find a way to replicate this stuff, we just might be able to get the Dragon's Raiment off the ground once again."
Colbert visibly shivered in delight at the thought, "Oh what an achievement that would be! If we could get it flying again, we could even send you back home!"
"There's a thought," I nodded.
"I'll start right away!" Colbert grinned, taking back the fuel and bringing it over to his chemistry sets.
I was promptly forgotten as the professor set to work. Shrugging, I decided to leave him to his task. I wasn't any great shakes at chemistry anyway so I would probably just get in his way. All I really could do at the moment was wait and see if Colbert could really pull it off.
Leaving the small hut, I travelled across the courtyard and decided to see if there was something I could do to pass the time. I was way too excited to try and do anything mundane since a way home was just days away from opening up to me. There was no way I could just lay back and try to pass the time by doing chores or something! By this time three days from now, I could be back in my hometown with my friends talking about the wild adventures I had been on! Not that they'd believe me, but it would be fun to tell the story anyway!
I'd be back home, in my own room, with my old friends, just hanging out and goofing off, talking about the latest in tokusatsu. I would have my normal life again. I wouldn't have to fight, I wouldn't have to transform into OOO, the Core Medals would just be props, and I would be…without Louise. Ah, why the hell am I thinking about her? She only summoned me to be her Familiar. Sure, we got along now, barely, but sometimes she could be haughty and prideful, always treating me like I was less than human…and when we got along we had mutual respect for each other. I was going to miss her. I was going to miss Siesta, Kirche, Tabitha, heck I'd even miss Guiche and Montmorency. Even Princess Henrietta and Professor Colbert would just be a fond memory.
"Damn it…" I cursed. This was bad. I was getting too attached to this place and the people here. I needed to decide. I needed to go home.
"Hey, Partner, you okay?" Derflinger asked.
"Oh, what?" I responded. I hadn't been paying attention. "What was that?"
"You were quiet there for a second. I mean, I thought you'd be whooping and cheering because you'd be able to go home soon during the eclipse."
"I…just got a lot on my mind."
"Ah, I see…" I always wondered how he could. He didn't really have eyes so how could he see? "Partner, you want to go home but after awhile this place has become-"
"Hey, Derf, how about we cut down some Trash Yummies to pass the time?" I suggested, cutting him off. I didn't want him to finish that sentence.
I didn't want him to confirm what I was feeling.
All was not well at the academy that day. A messenger had arrived with the news that Albion, now renamed Reconquista, had declared war on Tristain. Many of the students were afraid and not too sure what to do. The headmaster had called an assembly of all of the students once the sun set and informed everyone of the situation. It had been Osmond's decision to have the school closed until the situation was resolved and all of thee students would be sent home. Of course, some of them decreed that they would be joining the campaign, specifically those who came from military families like Guiche did.
Louise heard the announcement, but she was only half listening. Grimacing, she decided that she had heard enough about what was going on and decided to go do something about it. However, there were some loose ends that she needed to tie up first before she could. Turning away from the headmaster, she began heading for the door.
"Louise? Where are you going?" asked Kirche.
"Do you need to ask?" Louise retorted curtly.
"Well, if you see Darling then let him know he's invited to come back to Germania with me," the redhead called.
"Right, right," Louise muttered as she left the room.
Walking down the halls, Louise reflected on what she would have to do. The Princess…no, her best friend Henrietta would no doubt be in the thick of things. She took her role as a ruler very seriously and would no doubt be with the soldiers to fight against Reconquista. It was often her philosophy that if a ruler does not lead personally, then how could their subjects expect to follow. No doubt she also felt that the responsibility of such an event was falling on her shoulders. Both Wales' death while she tried to reclaim her love letter and the lack of military might Tristain could offer because the marriage agreement fell through weighed heavily on her mind. Say what you would about Louise's attitude and personality, but she would never leave a friend to rot during a bad situation.
Still, that left the issue of her Familiar. He was going to leave in three days during the eclipse and despite wanting to keep him around she knew she didn't have the right. She recalled his stinging words to her the first day they met. He really did have a point. Her summoning spell had plucked him up from his home world and dragged him to hers without his permission. In a way, that was kidnapping. He hadn't wanted to come and despite making the most of his situation he no doubt wanted to go home. With the war looming over Tristain, he may very well feel obligated to help her and even risk his chance at going home.
She couldn't allow that.
Not out of maliciousness or something like that of course. It would have been immense relief to her knowing that her Familiar would be with her to lend whatever support he could. Using the Core Medals during the battle would be a tactical advantage as well. However, she just couldn't in good conscience do that to him. He didn't have any loyalty to Tristain and he certainly didn't owe the country anything either. Fighting thieves out of a sense of right and wrong or going on a mission because Henrietta personally asked them to was one thing, but this was a war. There was a far, far greater chance of getting killed in war than in simple scuffles with one person. She may have wanted loyalty from Matthew, but she didn't want him to give up his life. Not for her.
Actually, this chance for him to return to his home world was a stroke of good luck in light of the situation. In truth, Louise had been feeling rather acceptable about Kirche's offer and would have even ordered him to go. Kirche certainly seemed fond of him and her -shudder- mother was even more so. If all went well, he likely could have begun a relationship and decide to build a new life in Germania away from the trials in Tristain. Germania had a much stronger military and would be able to fight off Reconquista and Tristain if it needed. He would be safe there and his powers would have helped turn the tide of any battle.
With his chance to go home, she just had to make sure that he took it.
I had spent the rest of the day fighting Trash Yummies in my TaToBa Combo and now with the night sky over me, I knew I had best leave it for the night. It still didn't make me feel any better beyond a way to vent my frustration. Any way I sliced it, I'd be leaving behind a bunch of friends that I came to care about. They were a unique bunch of characters and I don't think I'd ever meet anyone like them ever again. Hell, all of Halkenginia was a unique place I'd never see the likes of again. I'd really miss it…if I actually left.
Which I would.
I was sure…
"Feeling better Partner?" asked Derflinger as we walked through the halls back to Louise's room.
"Sort of," I sighed. "Still a little bummed out but feeling a little better anyway."
"You've got a big choice coming up. It makes sense to be a little nervous about it," the sword commented. "I mean, on one hand this is your chance to go home where everything and everyone you love is. On the other hand, there's this place where you've made a bunch of pretty cool friends, a big shot in the making thanks to your lineage, and you've got an awesome sword like me to keep you company."
I blinked and glanced over the shoulder at my weapon, "You're oddly insightful for a sword."
"Years of experience."
I reached Louise's room and gently opened the door. Inside the room was dark and the bed was being occupied by Louise. She was still in her uniform and was fast asleep on her bed. Either the day had really gotten to her or she had been waiting for me to come back but couldn't stay awake. Shaking my head, I stepped softly toward her and with experiences of my parents doing this for me, picked her up in a bridal carry. With what space my occupied hands had, I pulled back the sheets before gently depositing Louise on the bed with her head squarely on the pillow. After a moment to remove her shoes, I slipped the sheets over her to let her sleep. She gave off a soft 'fuuuu' noise before she turned to cuddle deeper into the soft pillow.
"Smooth Partner," Derflinger whispered.
I snickered softly and turned towards my pile of straw. It was a shame they didn't at least have futons or I would have tried to ask for one by this point. Laying down and making myself comfortable, I set Derflinger aside before I allowed my eyes to closer. I drifted off into sleep not long after.
Louise stifled a yawn as she sat up in her bed. It took her a few moments to get herself out of her daze, but when she did she realized that she was in her uniform and under the sheets of her bed. She knew she fell asleep on top of the bed while she was waiting for her Familiar to return but…
"Oh," Louise gasped softly as she turned and spotted Matthew lying on his pile of straw, sound asleep. Louise realized that he must have come back late, saw her asleep, and properly put her to bed. She was something of a heavy sleeper so she of course wouldn't have noticed. It was just another example in a growing number of examples revealing why she had lucked out into having a Familiar like him. She had no clue at the time how lucky she had gotten that day the second years began summoning their Familiars.
It made doing what she was about to do that much harder.
Silently removing herself from her bed so not to wake her Familiar or Derflinger, she walked across to her writing desk. Quickly getting a piece of paper and dipping her quill in some ink, she began writing a quick message. After waiting for a moment to let the ink dry, she took it to her Familiar's side and left it where he would notice it. After that, she quickly put on her shoes and headed out of the room to see one of the servants about a horse.
She had a friend to go meet.
I blinked at the note that had been left for me when I woke up the next morning. I had woken up with it next to me and unfortunately couldn't read it. The only part I could recognize was Louise's name on the bottom and my name at the top. The rest was French gibberish to me. So I had to have Derflinger translate for me. My sword could even read. How handy was that?
"Says right there in black and white," Derflinger confirmed.
I was more than a little confused as to what the hell was going on. I was fired? Why? Did I do something to piss Louise off? Sometimes I don't get what goes on in that girl's head at times. But how could she fire me as her Familiar? Wasn't our bond permanent? I glanced at the runes which decorated my hand.
"She's fired me as her Familiar, but she hasn't fired me as her friend," I frowned.
"Partner?" Derflinger questioned.
"Something's up," I replied as I stood up. Grasping my animated sword, I slung it over my shoulder once again. "Louise just wouldn't fire me for no reason. If we had an argument then that would be one thing, but out of the blue like this? That's not like her, which means that there's something wrong."
"You think so?"
"Well, the only way to be sure is to ask someone," I shrugged as I headed for the door.
Moving through the halls, I found a strange silence had overcome the place. None of the students were around or even socializing. It kind of creeped me out to see things so quiet rather than a bustling building of kids and teachers like it usually would be. I came out of the tower and into the courtyard, spotting the Zero Fighter at the other end near the front door of the academy proper. Walking around to the plane, I found the area still as empty as the tower was.
"Okay, just where is everybody?" I wondered.
I managed to get my answer when I heard chatting coming from inside of the front doors of the school. Turning to see who it was, I saw that Kirche and Tabitha were coming out. I quickly saw my opportunity and called out, "Kirche! Tabitha!"
The two noble girls perked up when I called their names and turned to see me approaching. Tabitha was as stoic as always, which wasn't a surprise. In polar opposite to her best friend, Kirche broke out into a large smile and began heading towards me, "Darling!" She came up to me and once again engulfed me in one of her hugs. Thankfully, it was a more respectable hug with her breasts pressed up sensuously against my chest rather than engulfing my face.
"Hello to you too," I nodded, patting her on the shoulder. Letting her get her squeezes in, she backed away so I could speak. "Have either of you seen Louise? She's vanished on me and she left a…weird message."
"Hmm," Kirche huffed, stepping back. I could tell she would rather have preferred a more enthusiastic greeting from me rather than asking about Louise, but something was up so I didn't feel too bad about disappointing her. "Well, I overheard that she grabbed a horse and left the academy. I don't suppose that's hard to understand why though. Everyone's going to be leaving."
"Everyone's leaving?" I blinked. "Why?"
"Haven't you heard?" Kirche gasped in surprise. "Darling, were you under a rock all of yesterday? Albion has been conquered by the rebels and now they've declared war on Tristain! All of the students are going home for their own protection since the school is such a good target."
"Say WHAT?-!" I screamed, feeling like I had been sent for a loop via punch to the face. War?-! That meant that things were really getting serious. Wait, then why did Louise fire me…unless…
"I have to go find Louise!" I said quickly, turning to leave in a hell of a hurry. That girl would probably put herself in the thick of things if it meant serving Henrietta to the best of her abilities! Hell, if the princess went to the front lines then Louise would follow her! She would be a sitting duck. She may be a Void Mage, but she had no clue how to use her abilities and she certainly couldn't defend herself in a non-magical sense either!
"Do you even have a clue where she is?" asked Kirche, halting my charge.
"Do you?" I asked, hoping she had an answer.
"Ah, Matthew. You're here too."
My panicked inquisition was halted by Professor Colbert as he walked into the courtyard from the direction of his lab. Floating in the air beside him were four barrels which all sounded like there was a liquid stashed inside of them. He looked tired, but the smile on his face was unmistakable. Waving, he walked up to us with the barrels following until he reached the plane. Depositing the barrels, he turned to us, "I was just going to go find you. It took me all night, but I managed to synthesize the dragon bloo- I mean, gasoline."
"Ah…thanks," I nodded. Of all the times for good news to come and remind me of my impending decision, it just had to be now. "Say, you wouldn't happen to know where Louise has run off to, do you?"
"Miss Valliere?" Colbert murmured, but then started to think about it. "Well, I heard from some of the servants tending to the horses that she took one of them and headed out. She hadn't had anything packed so I assume she's headed somewhere nearby."
"Like say…the princess?" I guessed.
"Knowing how fiercely loyal she is to that girl, I don't doubt it," Colbert nodded. "You don't know?"
"She left me a note saying I was fired and I'm a little worried about her since this is radically outside of what I'd call normal behaviour," I replied, scratching the top of my head.
"Even if Louise was with the princess, I doubt they'd let you into the castle now," Kirche spoke up, catching my attention. "With this note, she can claim that you aren't with her anymore and keep you out. I honestly don't think there's much you can do in the situation but wait for her to come back so you can talk to her."
"In the face of a war?" I deadpanned. "She's more likely to follow the princess to the front lines."
"True," Colbert nodded, grimacing at the thought of his students fighting in wars rather than learning.
I dropped my head and sighed, "So there's nothing I can do huh?"
"Wait," Tabitha murmured, for once not looking in a book.
"That's right!" Kirche nodded, but then snagged my arm and buried in her chest. She smiled up at me in her patented saucy way which would make most guys turn into weak-willed piles of mush. I on the other hand was a little distracted so I just was busy trying not to choke on my tongue. "In the meantime, would you like to visit Germania with me? You certainly don't have anything else to do."
"Oh, so you decided to stay after all?" Colbert smiled while adjusting his glasses. "Excellent. I dare say we'd miss having you around if you left."
"Wait, leaving?" Kirche gasped, her body turning rigid as she grasped my arm tightly.
"Why yes," Colbert nodded, seemingly oblivious to Kirche's sudden distress. "We theorize that when the eclipse occurs, a gateway between Matthew's world and our own opens. It's how the Dragon's Raiment here arrived in our world. Matthew had an idea of flying the Raiment into the eclipse when it occurs in two days so he could return to his own world."
"Oh…I…see," Kirche muttered, sounding quite stiff in her voice. "Professor…would you…excuse us?"
"Of course," Colbert smiled. "I'm sure you'd like to spend time with friends before you head back to Germania. Don't let me keep you."
"Thank you," Kirche nodded stiffly. She then she began yanking my arm as she drew me away from the Zero Fighter. I mean, she was pulling me hard enough I feared for my arm. I yelped in pain, but the redhead didn't listen as she continued pulling me towards the girls' tower again. Tabitha merely shot me a glance as we passed and then turned to find a place likely to read her book. Kirche was uncharacteristically silent as she yanked me through the doorway of the tower and up several flights of stairs. I swear, the girl was stronger than she looked since I had tried digging my feet into the ground and only got nearly yanked off said feet for it.
"Kirche! Ow! Hey!" I cried, trying to get some means of control, but the Germanian wouldn't hear of it as she continued tugging me along
We finally reached her room and Kirche pushed the door open before pulling me inside. Once we were in, she unceremoniously threw me onto her bed. I landed on my chest with a soft thud and I heard the door slam shut. Flipping over, I didn't get a chance to get up before Kirche leaped at me and pinned me down onto her bed.
"Kirche, wha-MPH!" I tried to say, but was interrupted by a Kirche's kiss. This wasn't some kind of romantic kiss on the lips either. This was an 'open-your-mouth-so-our-tongues-can-play' kind of kiss!
"Mmn! Mmm! Nnn!" Kirche gasped through our kisses as she tried to knot our tongues together.
I had to admit, it was really hot. I wouldn't mind if we did this for a while…
"Mwa!" Kirche finished, pulling back slightly. She was panting for breath and it was doing interesting things to her chest. She looked down at me, appearing more distressed than lusty as she sat on top of me. I almost didn't catch her next words thanks to the distraction. "Please don't go."
"Wha…" I began.
"Please don't go," Kirche repeated. She leaned down and pressed herself against me again, obscuring part of my view with her red hair. "Please stay. You don't have to go. If you don't like it in Tristain, you can come back with me to Germania. You can live with me at our estate. Just please don't leave."
Great, my worst fear. Well, one of them. Upsetting my friends and here was Kirche trying to convince me to stay. Still, this was extremely out of character for her but considering that I've never seen her distressed before I guess I would be shocked by what I was seeing. "It's got nothing to do with Tristain."
"Then what? Why do you have to go?" she asked.
"I got…family back home. They're probably wondering what happened to me."
"Can't you just send a message?" Kirche begged. "A signal, a letter, a sign, anything?"
"But what if it doesn't reach them?" I asked.
"It'll reach somebody," Kirche reasoned. "The message can be sent to your family from whoever finds it."
"Kirche…" I sighed. She was clasping at straws now.
"No, please don't say it! Don't say you're leaving!" Kirche sobbed, tears running down her cheeks. "I can't take it again! I can't deal with being rejected by someone I love again!"
"L-love?" I blinked, a little stunned by the proclamation. Shaking my head, I concentrated on her other words. "Kirche, what are you talking about?"
Kirche sniffled and pressed her face into the crook of my neck, "A long time ago…before I came to Tristain…there was this boy. He was handsome, kind, popular, everything a girl could want. I saw him…and I thought I was in love. I was determined to have him court me…seduce me…love me back. We got along very well in class, talked all the time, I was sure that he was interested in me. Every other boy was. I was sure he would love me back."
"Did he?" I asked softly.
"No!" Kirche sniffled. "He wasn't interested in me at all! He had someone else! He didn't want me! Hearing that…it hurt so much…I felt like I just wanted to die!"
I grimaced at the rather extreme feeling of rejection. Of course, Kirche seemed to be someone who wore their emotions and even their heart on their sleeves. Being rejected probably hurt and rather than bottle it up like a lot of people were in the habit of doing, she likely let it all out. However, I knew that kind of pain didn't go away overnight. It stayed with you for a while and lasted depending on what you did about it. It could even change you if it was bad enough. It was never a fun experience, especially for someone who was so outgoing like Kirche was. It was likely murder on her heart.
"So what did you do?" I asked, steering the conversation away from my leaving.
"I just started seeing other boys. My age or older if I could manage it. I had affection. I had pleasure. I thought that was good enough. It made me feel better knowing that even if the man I wanted didn't want me back, so many other men did," Kirche continued, rubbing her face against my shirt to dry her tears. "It gave me a somewhat scandalous reputation, but Zerbsts consider that an accomplishment rather than something to be ashamed about. My school certainly didn't agree when I got caught seducing one of my teachers and almost destroyed my school's reputation, having many students being threatened to be pulled out and ruin the place. To save the school, the headmaster there expelled me. My parents were furious and my father suggested I marry that brute Alejandro."
"And yet I remember kicking his ass," I commented, hoping to make her laugh.
"Hm, yes. He didn't really appeal to me or Mother. Too stuffy," Kirche sighed. "Mother suggested I come here to finish my education. I found more boys who would care about me, want to be nice to me, openly want me. It felt just as nice before…until that night I brought you to my room."
"I remember," I nodded. "I seem to also remember stating why I was so cautious about getting involved with you."
"Yes. You were right to be," Kirche sighed sadly. "You were the man of the hour and I wanted to be the one on your arm. The popular couple I suppose. But then…I saw your red armoured form. Seeing you like that just mesmerized me. So much like the flames of passion and life I cherish, but it was like I had forgotten all about commoners and nobles. To me then, you were just a man and I was just a woman. Everything else was just an unnecessary label."
I had to admit, despite the situation hearing that was certainly an ego booster.
"Then you gave me that feather and I just felt my heart pound," the redhead continued, speaking fondly as she recalled the night in question. "And then I felt what I did before I was rejected. I felt love again. Any fears I had about pursuing it vanished when I held that feather and I couldn't help but want to be closer to you."
"And that's when you tried seducing me at every turn," I nodded.
"Yes. Is it working?" she asked hopefully.
"Sorely, sorely tempted each time," I admitted. "But what held me back was wondering how serious you would take a relationship and how different our classes are. Not everyone is as accepting of others as you are."
Why did Kirche have to make this so difficult?
"Have you decided yet if you are going or staying?" she asked quietly.
"Not yet," I answered honestly. I had been trying to avoid it for a while, but it seemed I would have to consider the pros and cons of it sooner than I anticipated.
"Then before you do, please do one thing," She sat up, looking down at me. "Please sleep with me. I want to be in your arms just once before you go, if you decide to go."
She looked vulnerable and perhaps a little desperate. Part of me wanted to say no out of a sense of propriety. However, Kirche was baring her heart out to me and I wasn't callous enough to even consider turning down such a request simply because I felt a little uncomfortable. I doubt Kirche would recover completely if I did and I would have never forgiven myself for it.
As night fell, Louise and Guiche were at the castle on horseback as soldiers and the Griffon Knights were preparing to head out to face Reconquista soldiers. News had reached the castle that a warship had descended from the floating island and occupied Tarbes to start off the invasion. Louise and Guiche both insisted on going since they both knew Siesta was there and now in the direct line of fire. The princess herself was dressed in her armour and was getting ready to head out to face the enemy. The Griffon Knights were slightly demoralized though since their captain had turned traitor and would now be their enemy on the fields of battle. Traitor he may be, Wardes was still a skilled warrior and a very proficient mage.
Louise had arrived at the castle early that morning and requested the privilege to stand next to the princess during this time of strife. Henrietta had actually shed tears, thanking Louise for her presence. Despite showing nothing but steel to her advisors, Henrietta was still very much afraid of what the war might bring. Knowing that her best friend was there to help her shoulder the burden any way she could brought waves of relief to the princess and helped reaffirm her resolve.
"So they're here already," Guiche grimaced, watching as the princess said goodbye to her mother and advisors.
Louise remained silent, not wanting to express her fears nor wanting to lament on wishing her Familiar was there. She made her choice to keep him safe and away from battle. She could only focus on the here and now and pray to the Founder that wherever he ended up would be the happy ending he deserved for helping so much during the short time he was with her.
And so I spent the night with Kirche. Not the flirtatious and sexy Kirche that would have gotten me into having hot monkey sex with, but the more vulnerable Kirche who had rediscovered what having real romantic feelings for someone was like and was sorely afraid of losing it a second time. We didn't move far from the bed since Kirche tossed me onto it. We just lay there for the rest of the day with her buried against my side. Of course, I had removed Derflinger since laying back with a sword jamming into me wouldn't have been comfortable at all. So I put him under the bed so Kirche and I could have some privacy.
I had passed the time, letting my fingers run through her hair or just rest on the small of her back. We didn't talk much, merely sitting back and enjoying the warmth of each others' bodies. Time kind of lost meaning for me then to be honest. Having a hot girl cuddle against you would do that.
At the moment, dawn had approached and I had returned to consciousness. Kirche and I were both still on the bed, but I was without my shirt and Kirche was in her usual sleepwear once again, a purple nightie which hid nothing and her panties. It was the only sign of seductive Kirche I had seen since we entered the room but I think it was her way of trying to add more incentive to me staying. Feeling her practically bare breasts pressing against my shirtless torso as she cuddled along with her leg thrown over mine made sleep somewhat difficult, especially with a resulting condition from her close proximity and how she slept in practically nothing. Thankfully she didn't make me watch her change or I was pretty sure I would have jumped her. Last night was about companionship and affection, not sex.
I also had to admit that she was making it harder to make my decision.
Seeing this side of Kirche did assuage some of my fears about dealing with her. She was flirty and took a lot of boyfriends because she wanted to feel care and affection. If the horn dogs she attracted wanted a second chance at her, they would have to serenade, care, and want her. Apparently that episode in her room made her feel something stronger which she wanted to pursue with all of her heart. Well, I was attracted to Kirche of course and as I got to know her more serious and gentler sides I liked what I saw. At least now I wouldn't feel like she was just after me for a fling.
I still had to decide if I was going to stay or go.
A sharp intake of breath alerted me to Kirche waking up. I looked down at her as she looked up, brushing some of her hair out of her eyes. A slight yawn escaped her lips before she smiled at me, "Good morning Darling."
"Morning," I grinned. "Sleep well?"
"The best," Kirche smiled. "Stay with me a little longer?"
"Sure," I nodded. "I don't have anywhere to be at the moment. We'll have to get breakfast eventually though."
"We'll get it later," Kirche nodded, pressing her head into my chest again. "I just want to enjoy this time right now."
"As the lady wishes," I nodded, resting my hand in her hair again.
For what I could only guess was another hour did Kirche and I enjoy our time together. Eventually though we had to get up. Kirche perched herself on the bed and watched me as I retrieved my shirt and jacket along with Derflinger before getting dressed.
"Fun night Partner?" Derflinger asked cheekily.
"Shut up," I hissed.
"I'll meet you outside," Kirche smiled, ignoring the sword. "Just let me get my clothes on and we can eat downstairs."
"Will do," I nodded. Heading to the door, I stepped outside and shut it behind me. I took a perch beside the door and simply waited for Kirche to get herself ready. Derflinger was snickering softly, obviously amused that I was getting somewhere with a girl. He was probably living vicariously through me since a sword couldn't get lucky. I had half-expected Kirche to take a while to get herself ready, but she was actually able to get herself together quickly. She came out looking as sexy and beautiful as ever, running her fingers through her hair to straighten it out.
"Shall we?" she smiled softly.
"Let's," I nodded, offering her my arm. She took it and we headed down to reach the main dining hall for some grub.
We travelled down and through the courtyard and into the academy proper for some breakfast. Kirche and I took a seat and waited for the servants to serve the food. Many students were still there, but there were several chairs empty and everyone looked a little nervous with the threat of war hanging over their heads. I felt a little guilty about forgetting about it after my night with Kirche, but at the very least I could admit that I had a nice night.
Kirche sat next to me while maids passed out platters of hot breakfast for everyone to enjoy. Specially prepared eggs with a number of spices were prepared and I quickly dug into them. Kirche took some tea and I helped myself to some juice. Once more, Kirche and I simply enjoyed the ambience and each other's company. She scooched her chair closer to mine so she could rest her head on my shoulder and I didn't miss the smile on her face…or the cries of dismay from some of the boys who watched us.
"I think I just made some enemies," I grimaced.
"Ignore them," Kirche sighed, taking my arm again.
We finished breakfast and Kirche pulled me outside for a walk around the courtyards. Again, I knew she was trying to convince me that I should stay in Halkenginia. Still, I decided to just enjoy how she was trying to convince me and take it as a good memory either way I went in my decision. The two of us moved through the grass and admired some of the decorative flowers and shrubs. The gardeners did good work. It was just too bad I never noticed before. I knew several people who would have killed to have gardens that looked this nice.
"Mother sent a letter asking about you recently," Kirche spoke up as we walked by some colourful flowers which I had never seen before.
"Oh?" I nodded, slightly fearing what that letter may have entailed.
"She's been asking about your exploits and the progress I've made in snagging you," the redhead explained, smiling at me. "So I told her about your mission to Albion which ended up with you fighting both that brute Wardes and that monster at the church," she broke into a giggle. "Her reply came quickly and said if you got any more impressive she'd snap you up first."
"Isn't she married?" I asked feeling a little stunned about the admission, forgetting about the fact that she spilled the contents of a secret mission. It was rather moot since now though since Tristain was now at war with the former Albion and the Germanian marriage fell through anyway.
"She and father have flings all the time," Kirche waved off the casual mention of proposed infidelity. "They both love each other but because of my father's career they can't be together as often as they like and people have needs. Of course, they do love each other and always come back to one another. The dalliances are only just for pleasure and once they get back together at home, I don't see them for days on end. I really wonder why I don't have a flock of siblings sometimes."
"Okay…" I blinked. Apparently Germanians really believed in open love. It was kind of more information than I needed to know or was she aiming for another reason for me to stay?
We started chatting a little about Kirche's family, whom I learned had a long and impressive history in the Germanian military, and a lot of scandal which they were more proud than ashamed of. A good portion of it dealt with how they tweaked with the Valliere family. Apparently her mother Emma and Louise's mother Karin had something of one of the fiercest rivalries. I mean, according to her it was something that legends were made of. That and the rest of the rivalry which stemmed from the Zerbsts and Vallieres fighting over fiancées and fiancés, stealing one or the other from each other. It honestly sounded ridiculous, but a woman and a noble's pride was not something to trifle with lest you want to get your ass kicked.
We walked into the Vestri Court which held several memories to me, mainly about kicking someone's butt. Passing through though, we spotted a familiar head of blue hair walking towards us. It was Tabitha, and she wasn't reading her book and she was walking quicker than she usually would. It was odd for me, but Kirche seemed to be able to sense that something was wrong.
"Tabitha? What is it?" she asked.
"Warship. Tarbes," the bluenette replied.
"Huh?" I blinked.
"A warship from Reconquista landed in Tarbes, beginning the invasion," Kirche translated, turning from her softer side to serious once again.
"…what?" I gasped out, my face turning pale.
"It seems Reconquista has begun invading Tristain," Kirche frowned. "They sure didn't take long."
"Troops. Marching," Tabitha murmured.
"So the army has already headed out to take it back?" I asked, hoping I understood the bluenette right. Tabitha nodded in response.
I felt my gut sink at the announcement. Siesta was still back in Tarbes with her family! Knowing how those Reconquista assholes fought, they probably came in with a violent explosion and decimated something in one of their showy bids of power. I already figured that Reconquista were a greedy group of assholes, and attempting to conquer Tristain so soon after they managed to take Albion just proved it. There would be no reasoning with them unless it was something they wanted to hear and all they wanted was everything in Halkenginia. Seeing that asshole Wardes being so smug, no doubt believing he deserved it all just made my blood boil.
"Darling?" asked Kirche.
"I need to see a man about a plane," I growled, turning to head towards the Zero Fighter.
"Darling! Wait!" Kirche cried as she and Tabitha chased after me. "Where are you going?"
"I'm going to take the Dragon's Raiment to Tarbes and shoot down as many of those pricks as I possibly can before they start killing innocent people," I answered coldly.
Wardes watched as the Reconquista warship hovered over the conquered town of Tarbes with the Dragon Knights just waiting to be deployed. Cromwell had whipped all of the knights up into a frenzy, denouncing the corrupted royalty and strengthening the values of the new government. It made the traitorous captain want to laugh. Cromwell was as corrupted as they came, just as prone to his whims as any of the nobility he spoke out against. He was just more subtle about it. After all, any man who started a civil war simply because he believed he was destined to lead was hardly a moral person. The man was a slave to his ambitions and had only grown more arrogant as his successes piled up, forgetting that those successes were brought upon by agents like Wardes.
Well, not that Wardes was better in some ways.
The grey-haired captain was a man of ambition and that ambition drove him to desire the seats of the highest powers in Halkenginia. To him, all of the countries were cesspools of corruption brought upon by fat and lazy nobles who rode on the coattails of their predecessors and abused every advantage they had. They never knew how to work for their gifts like he had done. After his parents' death, Wardes had to work his way up through the hierarchy, using a military career to advance himself through his numerous accomplishments and the skill in magic he possessed. He had to forge ties with numerous families, prove to them he was worthy of their time and notice. All of it he worked for. His former engagement to Louise, his gold, his titles, his property, he earned all of it but he deserved so much more. He worked harder than any noble in any of the countries!
Guessing that Louise was a Void Mage was a stroke of luck and he had intended to use his engagement to empower his line to help pave the way as future rulers. Even if he had to use Cromwell's blasted ring to force her to see things his way he was sure to have his empowered line. However, that blasted Gandalfr and his artefacts managed to derail everything. He lost Louise, he lost the artefacts, he lost the letter, and he lost everything he worked for in Tristain! Now he was forced to live on Cromwell's generosity as a 'convert' and would have to start all over again!
A growl came to the man's lips as he raised his hand to his left eye. It would be scarred for sure with three diagonal slashes over the area. He was lucky he hadn't lost the eye entirely and that Reconquista had managed to bring some excellent Water Mages to their side. Still, the eye-patch he now wore was just painful evidence of how much he lost, his defeat, something which left a foul taste in his mouth and a burning hate in his heart. Oh he managed to kill Wales and secure victory for Reconquista, but failing all of his other objectives tarnished his reputation and made Cromwell less willing to trust him. That just made his goal of eventually taking control of Reconquista that much more difficult.
Snorting, he reached into his jacket and pulled out one of the Cell Medals which he had managed to steal from Louise's room. He had said to the boy that Reconquista had them, but Wardes lied. They were in his personal quarters and no one else knew of them. They were to be his secret weapon…if he learned how to control them. The first with the disgraced Viscount from Germania was just a test to see if they worked. When he used one to make the Yummy from the princess' letter, he expected to be able to control it like he would a golem. Instead, it simply went on its merry way and did what it wanted to do and even so much as punched Wardes clear out of the church.
Wardes suspected that was the case simply because the creature was made from an object rather than a person. So he came up with his own theory. Bringing the Cell Medal up to his own head, Wardes felt like a hole had opened inside. Steeling himself, he inserted the Medal and let it drop. There was a metallic clinking noise before the opening closed and Wardes waited for a reaction. It quickly came when he felt an opening appear in his back through his outfit which something crawled out of and hit the deck with a thud. Turning around as the void closed, Wardes was treated to the sight of a gray creature covered in white bandages.
"Nnnn," the creature groaned as it stood up, staring at the former Viscount blankly.
"Who do you serve?" he asked, expecting a positive answer.
He didn't get one.
"I asked you a question, golem!" Wardes frowned.
"Nnnn." The creature grunted.
"Do you even know your own purpose?" the irritated man snapped, feeling like he had failed in creating his weapon.
"The glory of Wardes," the creature muttered.
Wardes blinked at the reply, but soon got a grin. Now that was more like it.
Finding Colbert had been easy enough since he was checking over the Zero Fighter and taking notes about it. When I quickly briefed him on what I planned to do, he actually got behind me on it. He had fuelled it up the previous day so now all there was to do was try to see if it would fly. Hefting myself onto the wing, I pulled open the cockpit canopy and jumped inside. Once my hands touched the controls my runes activated and I knew exactly what to do to get the engine going.
"Professor!" I shouted to the man as he stood out front. "Get the propeller turning!"
"Right!" Colbert nodded and raised his staff. His magic activated and began pushing the propeller on the front so it would spin. I hit the ignition and heard the engine roar. I kept the pressure on the ignition and the engine roared to life, sounding like a beast ready to battle. I shut the cockpit and let Colbert get out of the way. Manipulating the controls, I turned up the acceleration and let the plane move forward to pick up speed. As I moved, I saw Kirche and Tabitha catch up to where the professor and I were and Kirche began trying to chase after me but Tabitha hooked the back of her blouse with her staff and restrained her.
I gunned the accelerator and saw the wall surrounding the school racing up to me. I knew I didn't want to crash so I yanked back on the steering controls and tried to get some lift. Sure enough, the plane lifted and I cleared the wall and began my flight into the wild blue yonder. I didn't take the time to admire the view or be amazed at the fact that I was actually flying a plane. Instead, I adjusted my path and began flying in the direction of Tarbes.
"Holy cow!" Derflinger exclaimed. "This is way better than being on a dragon!"
"Just wait until you see this thing in a fight," I grinned savagely. "The guns still have ammo left in them. If you think this is cool then wait for the fireworks to start!"
"Then let's get a move on Partner!" my sword laughed.
Flying towards Tarbes, I realized that my plane wasn't invincible. I would need a backup plan. So I reached into my jacket and retrieved my O-Driver. After that, I pulled out my Medal Book and plucked out three of the red Core Medals. I silently thanked Louise for not bringing them with her when she left as I dropped the Medals into their slots. I left the Driver unlocked since I didn't need the constant pulsing noise messing with my concentration.
Preparations complete, I placed the book back in my jacket pocket and focused on the distance where I knew Tarbes was.
…where black smoke was rising into the sky.
Louise grimaced as the warship launched another volley onto the ground forces. The armies had arrived to try and retake Tarbes, but Reconquista was using their aerial advantage to the max. Dragon Knights were fighting the Griffon Knights and managing to win thanks to the strength of their steeds and long-range capabilities. The cannon fire was ripping through the forces like it had Tarbes. The town was half in shambles no doubt with Reconquista's posturing and would claim in was Henrietta's fault it happened since she wouldn't surrender. Tristain forces tried to fight, but the Reconquista forces wouldn't come down to fight, making it most difficult to do so.
The monster was making it harder.
When the forces arrived, a figure had leaped from the warship and crashed onto the ground. When soldiers went to inspect it, fearing a trap, they were attacked by a White Yummy. It was battering them, even denting their armour and crushing their swords and shields with its blows. Knights tried stabbing it, but none of them dug in and any strikes which hit it only seemed to disorient the beast momentarily before it got its senses back and went on the assault again. As terrifying as that was though…
"FOR THE GLORY OF WARDES!"
…it would scream that out.
It made the knights and grounded Griffon Knights fear that Wardes had gotten a hold of some kind of new magic that allowed him to create such a creature and likewise made them fear if he could make more. Louise had tried to scream out that voicing such thoughts would make the monster stronger, deducing that the Yummy was made from the desire to make Wardes famous. However, the knights were either too busy fighting or just didn't listen to her. They continued fighting and fearing Wardes' possible magic power and in turn making the Yummy stronger. If it continued going on, the Yummy would evolve and become even more powerful. The situation couldn't have been any bleaker.
"Wait, what is that noise?" asked Guiche suddenly, looking into the sky.
Louise blinked, but then heard a roaring noise which was slowly getting louder and even beginning to drown out the sounds of battle.
What was that?
I managed to reach Tarbes quickly enough, and was horrified that several of the buildings had been bombed. I saw several figures flying around what looked like a galleon floating in the air. More crates were on the ground and I saw figures on the ground scrambling about. Ignoring them in favour of the figures in the sky, I saw that several were flying griffons while the others were flying dragons. I knew Tristain employed griffons for their soldiers so I decided to focus on the dragons instead.
"Gotcha," I said as I saw the enemy forces. I knew what I had to do. I didn't have to like it though. This was war after all. I never thought I would have to fight in one but that was then and this is now. In order to protect the people I cared about, I would have to fight. "Time to show them the power of good old fashion technology." My runes, which marked me with Galdalfr, allowed me to understand any weapon I held onto. That was how I knew how to use the OOO armor, that was how I was able to use Derflinger without any prior training, and that was how I was able to fly the Zero Fighter.
It was not just a flying machine. It was a weapon of war and now that it was flying again it was within its element.
War was never a good thing, especially if both sides fought for selfish reasons. The Reconquista called themselves revolutionaries but they were just a bunch of greedy nobles who wanted power to themselves. That was just like the original OOO. Eiji, the second OOO, had wanted to help people but his good will brought forth a tragic war and caused the death of a little girl he'd befriended. Now, I was the new OOO and unlike Eiji I had a desire, I wanted to go home.
However, I wasn't going to abandon my friends when they needed me the most. I had a desire, a desire to protect them, a desire to protect Princess Henrietta and Louise.
"Take this!" I yelled, hitting the trigger.
The machine guns on the plane set off and for the first time as fully automated weapons started shooting. Nearly a heartbeat after the gun started shooting, the first dragon went down and took its rider with it. The dragon behind it went down not long after. Turning so to adjust my aim, I took down a third and fourth with another burst of gunfire. The griffons and their riders seemed to realize I was on their side and left me alone but made sure to keep out of my way too.
"I'm just shooting dragons, not people," I panted, trying not to let my vision go tunnelled. That was a sure fire way to miss someone shooting at you. "Shooting dragons, not people. Shooting dragons, not people."
"What is that?" Princess Henrietta questioned.
"The Dragon's Raiment," Louise uttered.
"Louise, you know what that is?" Henrietta asked her childhood friend.
"It's…it's Matthew!" She clenched her fists. Her ex-Familiar had disobeyed her yet again. She had plainly fired him but here he was fighting for her sake, yet again. She wasn't sure if she should be angry or grateful that he'd come. Either way, she began to feel better knowing he was there.
Up above the battle, Wardes was obviously angry. He saw the fabled Dragon's Raiment and knew it was the Gandalfr yet again coming to get in his way and ruin his plans, not to mention humiliate him again. His dragon was cutting down the Albion breeds with startling ease. Already they had lost over ten with the numbers still rising. Snarling, he turned and spotted one of the deckhands scurrying about and transporting supplies. Stomping over to one that wasn't carrying something potentially explosive, he grabbed him by the shoulder and yanked him around to face the former Viscount.
"Get one of the dragons ready for me!" he barked. "I'm entering the battle!"
"Y-yes sir!" the startled deckhand nodded before he dashed to where the dragons were kept in their pens for the Dragons Knights.
"Wardes!" Cromwell shouted from above on his perch near his cabin. "What's going on?-!"
"A simple wrinkle in the plan," Wardes replied, heading for below deck. "I'll deal with it personally."
On the ground again, the White Yummy clobbered another Tristain soldier before it looked up to the Zero Fighter.
I shot off more lead and cut down more Dragon Knights from the sky. It was getting easier to do, but I wasn't enjoying that. I just wanted to stop that warship and send everyone packing so no one else would lose their lives today.
"FUCK!" I bellowed as the Zero Fighter suddenly shook. Looking out to the right wing, I saw that a hole the size of a baseball had been cut through it and smoke was billowing out from the resulting hole. I just prayed it didn't hit the fuel lines. Craning my neck so to see who had shot at me, I spied a black dragon which from where I was able to see had a familiar rider on its back with a sword wand glowing with electricity.
"We meet again, Gandalfr!" I heard Wardes crow, likely using some kind of wind spell to carry his voice or something. Considering how our last encounter had went, he probably wouldn't turn down the chance to gloat over me. I mean, I had pretty much ruined his eye.
"God damn," I growled. Of all the people to show up now, it had to be the one guy who had a grudge against me. Pulling on the controls, I turned the plane around and started aiming at the black dragon and for once, wanting to aim at the murderer who was sitting on its back. "You die today Wardes!" I then hit the trigger.
I was out of ammo.
"Oh fuck me!" I hissed.
The aircraft shook again, this time much more violently. I was temporarily blinded by the flash of light Wardes' attack made but then the light I saw came from behind me. Glancing back, I spotted that Wardes, true to a soldier's training, had picked a spot which looked vulnerable and attacked it. In this case, it was the tail of the plane which was now broken and on fire.
"Shit!" I hissed. Turning back to the front, I frowned, "Okay, bailout time!"
Reaching to my side, I grabbed the O-Scanner and locked the buckle into place. I then passed it over the Medals with my now standard cry of "Henshin!"
Louise cried out in horror as she saw the flaming Zero Fighter plummeting down towards the ground. However, before she could cry out her Familiar's name, she saw red flames burst from the cockpit and saw a figure flying into the air. On his back were wide, red wings and as he floated in the air he formed peacock feathers of energy which sprouted from his back.
"Is that…" Henrietta began, eyes gawking at the majestic sight. It was like a phoenix rising from the ashes. "Is that Matthew?"
They witnessed as OOO spread his arms and swing them forward, launching beams of energy which hit several of the remaining dragons who thought they would get the honour of finishing him off. The beams all flew past Wardes, though, like OOO was saving him for last.
The pinkette yelped and turned to see Slyphid coming down for a landing nearby. Tabitha was as expected flying with her best friend as the passenger. Kirche was off the dragon's back in a heartbeat and dashing at her looking rather panicked, "Louise! Where is Darling?-! Tell me where he is!"
"Wha-!" Louise gasped, somewhat shocked by seeing Kirche so unnerved by something.
"Where's my Darling, Louise!" Kirche screamed out. "Tabitha and I followed him this far so where is the machine he was-!"
Conversation halted when the sounds of the Zero Fighter were heard when it hit the ground. It wasn't a direct crash, but instead it had been flying level enough after Matthew bailed out to skid across the ground, wrecking the machine and leaving a brown skid across the ground.
"…" Kirche gaped, recognizing the wreckage. Tears dropped down her cheeks almost immediately and she started to tremble, "Darling…Darling…DARLING!"
"Up," Tabitha spoke, approaching the group.
"Ah, right!" Louise gasped. "He's up in the air still! He's fighting in his red armour!"
"He…is?" Kirche blinked and looked up. She looked up and spotted the red figure and the black dragon charging at one another. Inhaling deeply, she turned to Tabitha, "Tabitha, let's get up in the sky! We have to help Darling!"
"I'm going with you!" Louise called, hopping off of her horse.
"Fine, whatever!" the Germanian called as she ran back for Slyphid. "Just hurry!"
As more of the enemy forces fell due to my Peacock Missile attack, Derflinger cheered, "WOO-HOO! Partner, now that's firepower!" I drew Derflinger, which had transformed into the Medajalibur, and eyed Wardes.
"Hey, Wardes. Or should I call you 'Cyclops' now?" I mocked as I saw the eye-patch he now sported. It was a good look for him. He was a scoundrel after all.
"I plan to pay you back for this!" Wardes growled, fingering the eye-patch.
"Oh, I am shaking in my little boots," I chuckled.
Almost as if in a cosmic sense of timing, shadows overtook the lands. I glanced up and saw that the sun was being blocked out by both moons that looked over Halkenginia. Well damn if that wasn't just perfect timing. That damn eclipse just had to happen during this fight and just after I got my ass shot down. As if I wasn't pissed off enough as I was by having to deal with this trash.
"You die today, Gandalfr!" Wardes shouted, firing another bolt of lightning at me.
I quickly raised Derflinger and let the blow strike him. Thankfully it seemed that his magic absorbing qualities were still present and he swallowed the bolt. Smirking, I dove forward at Wardes, intent on punching out his other eye and wiping that stupid arrogant look off of his face! He quickly recovered and shot more bolts at me, but I either dodged them or just let Derflinger eat them. Once I got closer enough, I poured on the speed and slashed at him with my sword. Wardes' own blade blocked the attack and I landed on the dragon's neck. Being unable to resist the opportunity, I swung a punch at him with my free hand.
The man managed to duck away from the blow and scrambled onto his feet atop the saddle. The dragon didn't appreciate our movements and was flying around in all directions to try and get me off. The only reason it didn't try a barrel roll was likely because of its true rider still on its back.
The two of us only took a moment to steady ourselves before we lunged at one another with our blades. Sparks clashed as they collided with one another and those runes helped me keep up with the trash so I could properly kick his traitorous ass.
Our blades collided once again and we pressed out body weight against them, "Colour me curious, but why did you even bother going through with this traitor act? You already had glory and power. Did you really need more?"
"I did it because I was tired of simply being a captain to a squad of nobles who only got in because their corrupt parents bought positions for them! I did it because I knew I deserved more!" Wardes growled. "I worked all my life for everything I had which is more than any other noble has done in generations! For all that I've done for this kingdom, I deserve to have it all!"
"Heh!" I snickered leaping back onto the dragon's neck, making it screech in anger. "So you decided that because you managed to master your magic and win some battles enough to hold a medal, you deserve to sit on a throne? So not only are you trash, but you're arrogant trash too. It seems that humans are no different no matter where they are."
"Silence!" the trash snarled, hurling a small tornado at me. I retaliated by shooting a fireball from the Taja Spinner. The two attacks collided with a small bang which caused both to fizzle out, but neither of us stayed still for it. We charged at each other again and clashed with our blades. However, I was quickly getting tired of this trash and his egotistic blathering. I was taking him down and I was going to do it hard!
I lashed out with a kick which he blocked with his arm, but he automatically cried in pain as the tip of the blade on the front of my foot slashed his bicep. It made him flinch and I quickly pressed my advantage by lashing out with a punch. My fist cracked against his eye patch, making him stumble backwards to get his bearings back again but he wouldn't get the chance to retrieve them. I charged forward, moving the fight between the dragon's wings as I kept punching Wardes in the face, not once lifting Derflinger to deal more damage. I wanted the trash to feel the pain, not die a clean death on a sword blade. No, I was going to enjoy this and get every ounce of satisfaction for that prince's death.
"You honestly believe a few accomplishments makes you worthy?" I snapped with a punch.
"You think you deserve it all just because you worked a little harder than those lazy slobs?"
Bloody lip. Maybe some missing teeth.
"You honestly think you are meant for such high positions just because you killed or married the right people?"
Bashed in a rib or two with that one I think.
"You're as arrogant as the rest, thinking it should be so simple!"
Jaw might be fractured there.
"You? Deserving it all when you're just an uppity peon who distinguished himself by following orders better than others?"
Broken nose. Excellent.
"You just don't have what it takes to be a king! And the fact that you don't see that just proves it!"
Wardes apparently had enough and bellowed much like a wounded animal as he charged at me despite his wounds. The blade of his sword wand was glowing brightly, the same kind of attack he had used to kill Wales. It seemed that in the heat of battle where ego, status, and wealth all mean nothing he just revealed himself to be the petty little warmonger who fought to prove he was better than everyone else. You earn what you get, you get what you want, but what you want reveals what kind of person you are. He wanted glory and status, showing himself to be petty and arrogant just like the other corrupt nobles he thought himself better than.
His blade charged at me and I quickly moved to defend myself. I thrust to meet it.
We both froze as the attacks landed. The empowered blade of the sword wand dug against my side deeply enough to cut through the armour and hit my rib, making me grimace from the pain but I was able to deal with it. Wardes on the other hand was dealt a blow of Derflinger buried several inches into his chest and out through his back, likely destroying a chunk of his lung if not his heart. He was frozen, looking quite shocked at what had happened and probably in no small amount of pain. Blood trailed down his face from his nose and mouth while he tried to gasp for air.
"Regret your arrogance in hell," I snarled.
"Gan…dal…fr…" the dying man growled before the light in his eyes vanished. He collapsed and slipped off of Derflinger's edge, falling from the dragon's back and towards the ground below. I remained silent for a moment since trash or not, he had been a worthy foe. The dragon's roar seemed to be a befitting death cry as I spread my wings again and took to the sky. Now all that was left was to deal with that blasted airship and-
The knights were still trying to defeat the White Yummy on the ground, but still it managed to beat them off and proclaim Wardes' might. Still, the knights were growing more confidant when a large portion of the Dragon Knights had been killed, leaving a much smaller attack force to be used against them and possibly a better chance of success. The Griffon Knights were holding up and were able to team up against the Dragon Knights now that they had the advantage of numbers. It seemed that the advantage was theirs.
But the Yummy had other ideas.
"RRRRRAAAAAAAAWWWWWWW!" it suddenly bellowed, coincidentally when the rider of the black dragon died at the hands of the Dragon Raiment's rider. Red fire burst from its skin as it seemed to begin some kind of transformation. The knights drew back in fear, wondering what would happen as the magic took hold. Cracks spread across the monster's right arm before it burst into a cloud of dust, revealing a giant black feathered wing. More cracks spread across the Yummy's body before it too exploded in a haze of dust and dirt.
Emerging from the cloud was a MASSIVE black crow which easily dwarfed the dragons that the Dragon Knights were riding. Its torso was covered in a crest of red feathers that looked like a grasping hand while the backs of its wings held the same image. Rather than talons, its feet looked more like humanoid hands which greedily clutched at the dirt while it stood. Its head held a serrated beat which again looked like hands pushed together to form the shape. On its forehead was a bone crest which like the rest of it, looked like a grasping hand.
"CAW!" the beast bellowed out before it flapped its wings and took off into the sky.
"What is that?-!" Kirche cried as she, Tabitha, and Louise rode up on Slyphid's back.
"I-I don't know," Louise gaped as she witnessed the crow monster take to the sky. "It…it can't be a Yummy. It's too big."
"Trouble," Tabitha murmured.
"Great. That's all I need," I sighed eyeing the Crow O-Yummy taking to the skies.
Grunting, I dove towards the ascending O-Yummy and began peppering it with fireball attacks from the Taja Spinner. Small explosion rippled off of the monster's body, but the damn thing barely flinched. All I saw as a result was some singed feathers falling from the thing's body.
"Dammit, this isn't working," I grunted.
"Hey Partner," Derflinger spoke up. "Sure we can take out something this big?"
"That damned Multi-King did, so I can too!" I shot back and dove for the Crow O-Yummy once again. This time, I drew my sword and dove at the damn bird's back. It gave off a screech and tried to snap at me with its disfigured beak, but I managed to fly around it and flew over the feather expanse of the creature's back. I the jabbed Derflinger down into the beast's back and dragged it along, creating a sizable gash which oozed Cell Medals. The amount I saw within the beast almost made me drool. Whoever it came from must have been a greedy bastard! Oh well, more for me!
The O-Yummy screeched in agony as I finished my carving and flew to do a U-turn. It likewise did the same and turned around to face me. Luck was with me since the thing seemed to be simply brute force rather than skilled. That would make things easier for me anyway, as if anything about the day had been easy thus far. Swooping around, I reared back my arm for another fireball attack. The O-Yummy likewise turned around and opened it's beak before spewing out black smoke at me.
"Aw hell!" I growled.
The smoke hit me like the force of a bullet, knocking me silly through the air and obscuring everything from sight as I tried to get myself right-side up again. I didn't get long before something truly massive cut through the smoke and bashed into me, knocking me out of the smoke and making he see stars.
"Gah!" I cried, spiralling through the air from the force of the blow. I tried manipulating my wings so to get my balance back and it was rough going with so much force having been used to hit me. The Crow O-Yummy wasn't remaining idle as it turned around for another blow as well. "Damn!"
Another caw came from the O-Yummy as it turned to come at me again. In a slight bid of desperation, I fired at it several times with the Taja spinner to try and get it to break its attack run. The fireballs impacted, but only a few burnt feathers were the result and it didn't seem to be enough to get it to back off. Cursing under my breath, I flapped my wings and went strait up, letting the O-Yummy pass by underneath.
"I don't think our strategy is working Partner!" Derflinger commented.
"No shit!" I hissed. "We'll have to get in close, but the problem is getting the damn thing to stand still long enough!"
"Can we distract it with something?"
"With what?" I shouted. "The only thing big enough for it to notice is that damn warship and it hasn't been doing anything since this whole fight started!"
"Huh?" Medajalibur and I blinked as we turned to see what had happened. We both froze when we saw a cloud of smoke from one side of the warship which until now had been a useless lump of wood and magic. Coming from it and flying right at us though, was a black cannonball.
"Oh fuck me!" I cried while diving for the sides as the cannonball flew past into the open air. Balancing myself again, I turned to glare at the warship as it seemed to begin moving again, trying to adjust its position. "Is there anything out there that doesn't want to try pissing me off?-!"
Another cannonball was my reply.
"Shoot down that man!" Cromwell barked out, sounding more than a little panicked. More than half of the Dragon Knights had been killed by that strange green beast and now the rider was flying around like a bird and had actually killed Wardes. The men were scared and demoralized at seeing their forces and one of their heroes defeated so quickly and easily. The only thing which was keeping them from trying to run was the giant bird beast which Wardes had made. Seeing the situation, Cromwell knew that the only way he'd get the momentum back into his invasion was to destroy that flying man. The beast seemed able to do the job, but the corrupt leader never was one to leave things to chance.
Two of the three girls cried in fright when they saw the warship begin shooting their cannons at Matthew while he was fighting against the crow monster. He was already struggling with trying to wound the beast and now Reconquista was trying to pin him in. If they hit him with even one of those cannonballs then he was going to die!
"Tabitha, isn't there anything we can do?" asked Louise desperately.
The bluenette nodded and tapped Slyphid's head. The dragon understood and swooped closer to the battle. Louise trembled at the sight of the giant crow coming closer, but she remained vigilant and tried not to show her fear.
The beast let out another screech and dove for Matthew a second time with its jaws opened, ready to try to swallow him. At the same time, the warship had levelled off again at a new height and fired off another cannonball. Tabitha reacted quickly and raised her staff while at the same time Kirche pulled out her own wand and took aim at the crow monster. Tabitha fired off a wind spell while Kirche launched a fireball at high speeds. Kirche's struck home first, crashing into the monster's eye, causing the creature to screech and halt its charge. Tabitha's own attack struck the cannonball and veered it off course from where it was aimed at Matthew.
In a rather odd chain of events, the veered off cannonball actually missed Matthew by quite a margin, and instead flew through the air and collided with the crow monster's chest, making it screech further and flap rapidly backwards as a hole of shifting silver appeared where the impact point was. Louise could see sparkles of light falling from the hole, proving that the creature was in fact a Yummy as she could tell that the sparkles were Cell Medals.
"Duck," Tabitha suddenly spoke as she had Slyphid start flying quicker than before and veer away from the battle. Kirche and Louise yelped at the sudden change of pace, but they managed to hold on. Craning her head, Louise discovered just why Tabitha had her Familiar move so suddenly. Dragon Knights from Reconquista were chasing them and several were already charging up their spells to attack them.
"Fly faster, Tabitha!" Kirche cried, spotting the same knights.
Tabitha merely nodded.
I was a little confused as to what had happened for a moment. The Crow O-Yummy had been diving towards me from the right while that blasted warship had shot at me from the front yet again. I was ready to dodge, that action being the only sensible one that I could take. However, a flash of heat came from behind and when I turned to see what it was, it had already passed and collided with the O-Yummy's face, making a small explosion which caused the beast to screech and halt its approach as it tried to stop the pain. Whoever had fired it certainly had better aim than I did.
After the fireball, a gust of wind sounded off and once again I turned to face it only to see the cannonball that had been flying towards me suddenly veer off course and amusingly enough, crash into the O-Yummy's chest, tearing it's flesh open and spilling out numerous Cell Medals in the process. Still confused, I turned in the direction I was sure that the attacks had come from and spotted a blue dragon flying in the distance. On its back were three people with either red, blue, or pink hair.
"Can't those girls ever keep out of trouble?" I grumbled. I then spied the remaining Dragon Knights beginning to chase after the group.
I would have given chase, but the damn bird decided to get my attention again with a loud caw while starting to dive at me again. I flapped my wings and rose into the air above the freak, giving me some time to do my next move.
"I don't have time to screw around with you anymore!" I snarled, gripping my fists. "So if you think you're man or bird enough to do this, then come and get me!"
Suddenly, my hand felt hot. Turning to look at my left, I spotted light coming from my hand even through my armour. They were blurry, but I could see that the light was in the form of the Gandalfr runes which everyone seemed so damn interested in.
"When the hell?" I blinked.
"Ah, finally," Derflinger spoke softly.
As Slyphid dove to avoid a fireball, Louise suddenly gasped and turned very still. Her usually brown eyes turned dull and she felt as if all sensation had left her body. Standing up, she drew her wand before turning to point it at the space between the horde of Dragon Knights and the warship that was beginning to rise as to get her Familiar in range of its cannons again. Target locked on, she began to chant softly under her breath.
The O-Yummy let off another caw as it began to fly up at me, but I had been distracted slightly by the glowing runes, wondering what was happening to me now. At the same time, I felt a twinge at my side before a pulse jumped through me. As if taking the pulse as a cue, eight jolts passed through my body, "The hell-?" Looking down, I saw that a void had opened up in my side and that several Core Medals were moving out of the void before coming to hover in front of my face. There was one for each colour I possessed and each one was a Head-type Medal. I was slightly unnerved by the sight to be honest. Were the consciousnesses of the Greeed waking up?
The Taja Spinner reacted next, opening wide to reveal its empty spaces. The Medals in turn flew to the spaces and set themselves inside before the weapon shut itself again. I blinked, but the caw of the O-Yummy brought me back to the fight. Quickly grabbing the O-Scanner, I pulled back the release level of the Taja Spinner to let the Medals spin before placing the Scanner over it.
As the Medals began to chime, the sun began to shine as the moons left their position.
Louise's chanting continued as Kirche tried to get the pinkette to sit down again to no avail.
The tip of Louise's wand began to shine as an orb of densely concentrated magic appeared.
Louise's chanting grew faster as she approached the end of her spell.
The power! All of the power of eight Core Medals flowed straight through me! Around me, the symbols of the Medals appeared in a circle like a mandala with me in the centre. They spun in place before transforming into orbs of their respective elements. Taka turned into fire, Kuwagata to lightning, Raion to wind, Sai to gravity, Shachi to water, Kobura to earth, Sasori to liquid venom, and Putera to ice.
Transformation complete, the orbs began spinning around me at a faster pace, blurring and appearing as if they were a disc of colours. I glared down at the approaching O-Yummy and it didn't seem at all concerned about what I was doing. Instead, it opened its mouth and spewed out another stream of that black smoke. I growled at the sight of the fumes and dove down headfirst at the mass of blackness. I made impact against it, but didn't feel a thing since the disc of elements was cutting through the substance with ease. I ignored the distractions and focused on the source of the stuff. No hesitation. No fear. I was taking this thing down!
"SEE-YAH!" I bellowed, crashing into the Crow O-Yummy's mouth. At first I only saw the inside of its mouth, but my spinning disk cut through the flesh and soon I found myself soaring through masses of Cell Medals that rang against my armour like rain. I poured on, burrowing through the O-Yummy and soon enough broke through a barrier of Cell Medals into the open sunlight again. The disk of elements faded as I turned around to see that the O-Yummy was sporting a massive hole through its body with its head split in two through the middle. The beast itself gave off a large squawk of pain before exploding into a giant fireball, sending Cell Medals raining down in all directions.
"Heh," I smirked. "Serves you right for picking a fight with me."
Then the world went white.
Not literally, but it almost did. A bright light suddenly appeared near the warship and I turned to see just what the hell it was. It started off as a small sphere of light, but then in a pulse of white energy it just grew and engulfed everything. The warship was swallowed, the remaining Dragons Knights were swallowed, hell even some of the trees got swallowed by the growing light. It was sheer luck that it was so high in the air or else all of Tarbes and the surrounding countryside could have been swallowed. I shielded my eyes to stop myself from going blind, but I still had to see what was going on.
"Just what the hell is this?" I asked.
"It's a void spell!" Derflinger cried. "The girl pulled it off! I knew she had the right stuff! Ha ha ha!"
"Void?" I blinked. "You mean the brat actually pulled it off?"
"Yup!" the sword laughed. "Go see for yourself!"
I peered into the surrounding area, trying to find out just where that blue dragon had gone, but couldn't see anything because of that damn light! After several more minutes of blinding power, it died down as quickly as it began. However, a few changes had happened in the meantime. All of the Dragon Knights who had gotten caught up in the light had vanished. One could have thought they were teleported somewhere but the warship remained. It was burnt black was little more than scrap now. It looked ready to fall apart and a good portion of it did as it fell to the ground and hit with a resounding boom. If that had been done to a sturdy ship, it made me believe the knights had been vaporised.
"Remind me not to piss that girl off while she's holding her wand," I muttered.
"Only if you promise to bring me with you when you run," Derflinger chuckled.
With the light gone, I managed to see Slyphid heading for the ground. Moving my wings, I quickly followed them and landed on the ground not too far away from them. Kirche and Tabitha were helping Louise off of Slyphid's back since it seemed that the pinkette had fallen unconscious by using her magic like she did.
"Zero my ass," I snickered. "Took down a warship by herself."
I approached the trio and saw that aside from being out cold, the pink girl seemed to be fine. The red and blue ones were okay too, which was as far as I was concerned a miracle since one usually didn't get through a battle in war unscathed. Hell, the best you could hope for as far as I knew was a bunch of scrapes and bruises but these girls had none of those.
"Darling!" Kirche cried as she took notice of me. She dashed away from her friends and latched onto me, grapping me in a grip I was sure not even a Yummy would match.
I grunted slightly from the impact and the force she clutched me with, "Okay girl. I'm fine! –wheeze- I'm fine! Leggo already!"
"No! I have you now and I'm never letting go!" she sobbed into my chest. "Now get out of that armour so I can kiss you already!"
"What?" I blinked, but then yelped as I felt her hand grab the O-Driver. "No! Wait!"
The latch was undone and the belt was removed, taking my armour and my consciousness with it.
Louise yawned slightly and rubbed the sleep from her eyes. Why was she so tired? She wasn't doing anything too tiring was she? The last thing she remembered was…
"THE BATTLE!" she screamed, sitting up. The battle for Tarbes! What happened? Did they win? Did they lose? What? Where was she now?
Looking around herself for clues as to what had happened, she blinked as she realized that she was back in her room in the castle. She was also in her nightgown which was again slightly confusing for her. Rubbing her eyes again, she got out of the bed and walked to the window. Peering through the glass, she saw that everything was peaceful and it didn't look like what she would have expected to see when a battle was lost. She didn't see demoralized soldiers, wounded men trying to get around, or Water Mages scurrying about trying to heal everyone. Instead, from her vantage point it seemed that everyone was in a pretty jovial mood. The air was filled with cheer, she could hear people celebrating, and the sun was shining…
"The sun!" Louise gasped, remembering something. "The eclipse!"
Was her Familiar gone like he had wanted to?
A creaking door caught her attention and she turned to see who was coming to see her. She gasped when she spotted Henrietta arrive in her white gown and a smile on her face.
"Louise Francoise!" Henrietta beamed. Running across the room, she embraced Louise warmly, discarding decorum for the moment so to be fully relieved that her friend was okay. "I was so worried! When you and Matthew were both found unconscious we feared the worst for the moment! I'm so relieved!"
"Ah…th-thank-you, Your Highness," Louise mumbled into her friend's chest. After a moment, Henrietta backed away and allowed Louise to speak. "You saw Matthew? He's still here?"
"Why yes!" Henrietta nodded with a smile. "He was placed in a different room while he recovered. I believe your friend Miss Zerbst hasn't left his side since he got here."
Louise's eyes bulged, "Wh-wh-what?-! Wh-where is he now?"
"Just down the hall," Henrietta blinked. "He should still be there. We'll be having the ceremony soon."
"CEREMONY?-!-?-!" Louise shrieked.
Dashing away from her confused friend, Louise ran into the hallway and dashed in the direction she suspected her Familiar was in. She kept her ears near the door so she could hear what may be going on in any of the rooms. Most of the rooms she either heard nothing or something she really didn't want to hear. After a few tries, she finally found the voices that she had been listening for.
"What do you think about this one Darling? I bought it especially for the ceremony."
"Looks nice. Hopefully my new outfit won't be too gaudy,"
"Oh perish the thought! I had my outfit specially picked to go with yours!"
Louise growled. So that Zerbst was trying to lure her Familiar away by marrying him eh? Well not while she had anything to say about it! Stepping back she grabbed the door handle and slammed it open with her battle cry.
A lot had happened since we kicked Reconquista's ass. The majority of the surviving soldiers had fled and the ones who remained were captured as were the crew of the warship that Louise had shot down with her Explosion spell. Kirche had been kind enough to tell me how Louise had gone into a trance and cast the spell. I already knew the result. Best of all though, the leader of Reconquista Cromwell had been captured as well. Tabitha and Kirche had gone to inspect the remains of the ship when they saw him stumble out of the woods mumbling to himself. The jerk had actually tried to use the Ring of Andvarii to force the two girls to serve him until Guiche bashed him over the head with a stick. I asked if he still had the ring with him, but Tabitha said he didn't by the time they got to the castle so he likely threw it away to keep it out of our hands.
Waking up in the castle had been pleasant. It had been a while since I got to sleep in a bed instead of straw. Kirche and Tabitha had both been there when I woke up. Before I could ask anything though, Kirche had kissed me again, almost rendering me unconscious again from lack of breath. After she calmed down, she told me that the princess was honouring us with an award ceremony for recognition for our roles in winning the battle and retaking Tarbes. Of course, Kirche being Kirche decided to go buy a dress for the occasion from Quinn who had asked her to deliver my newest outfit which she had completed, the black one with the black Cores on it.
Upon her return and my bill of clean health, she asked me to show her my outfit while she got into hers. My outfit looked more like a tuxedo than anything else. The images of the black Core Medals were along one sleeve while the combined Combo crest was over the heart. The undershirt was white with runic designs stitched in but they were hard to see unless one looked closely. I also had a black tie which had an obsidian stone at the end. All in all, this was the kind of thing I would have worn to a ceremony since unlike the others there was no way to wear it casually.
Kirche had decided to wear a slinky one piece dress which hugged her figure suggestively. The skirt wasn't as frilly as a ballroom gown but it wasn't as thin as one of those proverbial 'little black dresses' would be. The straps barely hung on her shoulders with frilly decoration and with anything she wore it was equipped with a plunging neckline that showed off one of her best physical assets.
And she was wearing it in my room while she was alone with me.
"What do you think about this one, Darling?" she asked as she posed against the post of the bed. "I bought it especially for the ceremony."
"Looks nice," I complimented. "Hopefully my new outfit won't look to gaudy."
"Oh perish the thought!" Kirche giggled, removing herself from her pose. "I had my outfit specially picked to go with yours!"
I chuckled slightly at all of the effort that Kirche was putting into the ceremony. Still, it was a big deal. It wasn't everyday that someone received an award from the princess for their actions in a war. Thanks to my friends and I, we managed to drive off an invasion and capture the enemy leader. How many people could claim that?
"And you look quite dashing in it too," Kirche added, coming towards me for what I expect would be a kiss…until the door was thrown open revealing Louise and…oh crap, she was pissed.
"Ma~tthew!" she growled.
"Oh, you're awake, Louise," I said, my mind racing to find a way to avoid being attacked with a blunt instrument. "Just in time too. You should get ready for the ceremony and…"
Louise suddenly threw herself at me and hugged me. "Idiot dog! You said you wanted to go home! So why did you stay!-?"
So that's why she was here. Chuckling I patted her head so to try and calm her down, "As much as I wanted to go home, I couldn't just leave my friends high and dry when they could get themselves killed in a war. If I did, I'd be wondering for the rest of my life if you guys were okay or not. So I hopped in the plane and brought it to the battlefield to kick some ass."
"But now the Dragon Raiment is ruined!" Louise sniffled as she backed up. "How will you get home if you can't fly it into the next eclipse?"
"Well, TaJaDol can fly," I shrugged. "I don't know how high but if everything's safe by the time the next eclipse comes about I can try it then."
"Not if I convince you to stay first," Kirche purred, slinking around behind me and gripping my shoulders.
Louise turned her glare at the redhead in a flash, nothing but fire in her eyes, "Zerbst! I'm not going to let you take my Familiar away no matter how much you offer your body to him!"
"Uh…" I blinked.
"Huh?" Kirche pondered.
"I know everything!" Louise hissed. "You managed to trick him into agreeing to marry you! Well I'm going to put a stop to it! I'm not going to let a Zerbst steal away something of mine like your ancestors did to mine!"
"Marriage?" I blinked. Where the heck had she gotten that idea from?
"Marriage? What a wonderful idea!" Kirche beamed. "The princess can wed me and Darling after the award ceremony!"
"What?-!" I cried.
"Award ceremony?" Louise asked, her fires of rage distracted for a moment.
I was feeling like we were in the middle of a circle game of some kind with accusations and confusion dashing around us, using our words to keep ourselves moving at a rapid pace so we wouldn't be able to catch them. Unfortunately, I felt like I was being dragged into the middle of it with the responsibility of catching them.
"Yeah," I nodded. "You, me, Kirche, Tabitha, and Guiche are getting medals for our roles in defeating the invasion force, their secret weapon, and capturing the leader of Reconquista. I'm told that it's a pretty big honour."
"So…it's not a wedding ceremony?" Louise questioned.
"No," I answered at the same time Kirche answered, "Maybe." I gave the redhead a meaningful glare but she just smiled playfully.
The thing I can say about the people here was that, like back home, award ceremonies were a really huge deal. Of course a medieval ceremony would be different from those award shows I saw on TV. This one would be more like a pompous ceremony like out of a romantic era film. Guiche, Tabitha, Louise, Kirche, and myself were standing in front of Henrietta's throne with courtly officials lining the sides of the room as they witnessed the heroes of what was now known as The Battle of Tarbes step forward to receiving their due honours. All of us were dressed in our cleanest and brightest for the occasion with Kirche and I wearing something new to the event. However, despite how well-dressed I was, I was still the odd man out with a few of the officials looking at me oddly since I wasn't a noble like the others.
"People of Tristain, we have gathered here today to honour these brave souls in their duty in serving our country in its time of need," Henrietta announced, standing in front of us with her staff held in hand. Behind her was a woman whom I assumed to be her mother who looked like she had a big burden taken off of her shoulders. "For their service, they have our everlasting gratitude. For this, I award each of them the Elven Medal for bravery and service above and beyond the call of duty."
Trumpets sounded off as an attendant walked forward with a pillow. On it were five ribbons with gold crosses with silver decoration. Giving her staff to another attendant, Henrietta picked up the first medal and stepped in front of Guiche before pinning it to his shirt.
"Guiche de Gramont," she smiled. "You have done your family and your ancestors proud with your faithful service to your country."
Guiche preened under the praise. Henrietta and the medal attendant moved to Tabitha before the princess placed the medal on her chest.
"Tabitha de Chevalier Ivaldi, though this is not your home country we are eternally grateful for your friendship and help."
Tabitha nodded, but her cheeks had turned slightly rosy. Henrietta then moved to Kirche, pinning the medal on the strap of her dress.
"Kirche Augusta Fredricha von Anhalt Zerbst, Germania and its people will be proud of your accomplishments."
Kirche smiled with a curtsey before Henrietta moved on to Louise happily placing the medal on her friend's chest.
"Louise Francoise le Blanc de la Valliere, your gifts have truly been granted to us by both God and The Founder. We are lucky to have you with us."
If Louise could have smiled any brighter, she would have been glowing. Henrietta moved to me before taking the last medal and pinning it over the crest on my chest.
"Matthew MacGregor, though you were brought here without warning, I am pleased and relieved to know that Tristain has the support and power of the Multi-King with it."
Whispers and questions immediately spread through the room, asking what Henrietta had meant by Multi-King. The queen seemed likewise confused by the title that her daughter had called me by. She'd likely ask her about it later. I ignored the quiet whispering and nodded to the princess as she returned to her original position and reclaimed her staff from her second attendant. Both then returned to the sides of the throne.
"I give your our heroes of The Battle of Tarbes!" Henrietta announced, gesturing to us. The five of us turned and faced the crowds of nobles who began clapping and cheering with the trumpeters playing another song for us. It all really began feeling a little surreal for me. I mean, being awarded medals by royalty? Winning decisive battles in war? I could hardly believe it was happening but it was happening just the same. Still, it was best to enjoy it. I was going to be in Tristain for a while so I may as well make myself comfortable.
For better or for worse, I wasn't going anywhere.
A/N: Yahoo! My first completed story! Season 1 of Familiar of ZerOOO is complete! PARTY!
I want to thank all of you who took the time to read this story and stuck with it from beginning to end. I know I'm not the fastest or the most schedules with updates so when I started this story, I made sure it was finished before I began posting it. So now you guys have a completed story to enjoy amoing my many incompleted ones.
For those of you who asked if or when you'd learn more about Matt, that will come in season 2. Season 1 was about establishing Matt in Halkenginia and you'll learn more about his past in the next season. There will be thrills, spills, romance, and so much more for the upcoming season. Just to let you all know though, Kirche and Matt are not truly together yet, although he is certainly running out of reasons as to why he shouldn't resist her attempts at seduction. There are some other girls who will have their eyes set on him and his personalities whenever he uses his Full Combos may have a different opinion. It's not going to be easy for Kirche to get what she wants. Oh no.
Anyway, now that this story is finished I'll turn my attention towards my Fate/Stay Night fics for a while and try to make some progress on them before I look back to Kamen Rider. So just be a little bit patient and Familiar of ZerOOO: Return of the Multi-King will be hitting your computers in no time!