Disclaimer: Zero no Tsukaima's turn. Let's shred my credibility with an Original Character!
Everything and Nothing
As far as blunders go, this one's pretty epic.
Louise Françoise le Blanc de la Vallière let out a sigh as her classmates marveled at their newly summoned familiars. Bugbears, Moles, Parrots, even a Salamander by that top-heavy Zerbst, probably the biggest of them brought into the world. With her success rate of magic use–zero–she was regretting her defensive boast to that barbarian and her little clique more than ever.
"Just you watch, I will summon the most sacred, beautiful, and powerful familiar spirit that will be unmatched, even with everyone's familiars combined!"
She'd made her bed, and now she was about to sleep in it. How could she hope to compete with a salamander? Maybe if their teacher forgot about her, she could go off and summon a familiar without anyone seeing it.
That's what she hoped, at least, before she heard Kirche Augusta Frederica von Anhalt-Zerbst call her out.
"Professor Colbert, Miss Vallière hasn't summoned yet," Kirche replied to the bald and bespectacled teacher's inquiry regarding the completion of the summoning.
As all eyes fell on her, Louise's cheeks became as pink as her hair from embarrassment
Louise narrowed her eyes at Kirche, and steeled herself before walking over to the center of the gathered group. All around her, she could hear her peers musing over what will happen, if she'd summon a familiar of if it'd all explode in her face, as all her attempts at magic happened to before.
"It's the Zero again," she heard one amongst the yammering.
"I wonder if we should be this close, it could be a really big explosion this time," another murmured.
Taking a deep breath, Louise snapped at her detractors. "I need to concentrate, would you please let me so I won't mess up!"
"Yes," Colbert said, "please let Miss Vallière focus."
To Louise's side, Kirche was seated on the grass petting her salamander, as red as her hair, while its flame-tipped tail lashed about. "Right, because to summon the most sacred, beautiful, and powerful familiar spirit you need the utmost concentration."
Louise clenched her tiny fist around her wand as Kirche's familiar seemed to laugh with her. "Of course, now stand back!"
She raised her wand to the air. "Oh Brimir who watches over me and Pentagon that Governs the magic that powers me, hear my call! Through time and space, beyond all reality, send forth to me a familiar of power beyond all thought!"
The unique chant surprised Louise's peers, but she paid them no mind as she finished it. "I have told my desire, now hear and guide it to me!"
She pointed her wand forward, and to the surprise of everyone nothing happened. No explosion, no smoke, not even a spark from the wand. Blinking, Louise stared down her wand at where she had expected her familiar to appear and then pouted. "W-what…? Where, where is it? What happened?"
Confusion became amusement in the crowd of students, with Kirche laughing the loudest at the tiny mage's failure. "Oh! So it would seem that Zero Louise has summoned a zero!"
"Miss Zerbst," Colbert tried to say in order to defend Louise, but one of the other students suddenly let out a cry and pointed. Turning around, Colbert's eyes widened as a glowing point appeared in the ground and began to grow. The laughter subsided to quieted surprise, as the students, especially Kirche and Louise.
"Wait, what is that?" Kirche asked as she stood up.
Another student called out, "It's the summoning symbol, but…!"
The symbol of summoning, a star within a pentagon within a circle, had indeed appeared and was changing dramatically. The star began to grow outward, shattering first the pentagram and then the circle that ringed it as it transformed into a much simpler shape, a five-pointed asterisk.
"An asterisk…?" Louise asked as she stepped back from the growing symbol.
The arms of the asterisk continued to grow, causing the students in their way to quickly get clear before they came in contact. They did so at the right moment, the arms of the asterisk suddenly shot outward across the ground, smashing through anything that was in their path with violent force as rays of light shot skyward from them. The force of the eruption threw Louise to the ground.
Separated by the walls of light on either side of her, Louise looked towards the center of the symbol, and could see something coming up through it, but she could barely make it out before the light turned a deep red, and then promptly extinguished, leaving five narrow lines of scorched earth extending towards the horizon, a strange light raining down on everyone, and a whole lot of smoke.
"Is everyone all right?" Colbert called out as he waved his wand to clear the smoke. "Louise, are you okay?!"
Louise was unharmed, she was staring at her summoned familiar, now standing atop the bare, glassy ground that the center of the symbol had appeared in. She could not believe what had happened.
It was very much a young male human, almost six and a half feet tall, a bit on the thin side, and wearing a hooded red sweater and blue pants of an unknown, heavy-looking material. He looked like a commoner, but around his waist was a dark-green belt with several pouches on it and a sheathed broadsword attached at his hip.
Disoriented, the summoned human looked around, first at the scorched earth, and then at the robed students and teacher staring at him. Seeing robes and wands and oddly colored hair, most notably the pink-haired girl directly in front of him, he brought his hand up to run his fingers through his short brown hair and shook his head.
"Did I get transported to Hogwarts or something?" he asked.
"W-who are you? Answer me!"
He looked down at Louise when she snapped at him.
"Who am I?" he shot back at her, growing distressed. "Who are you?!"
One minute, he'd been minding his own business, enjoying a day off for once, and the next he was here…wherever here was. He shook his head and calmed down before he began to assure himself.
"Okay, calm down, you're a man of the world; you're used to this by now. You somehow got transported somewhere by a weird little wizard girl…"
Louise took offense. "Who are you calling little?"
"You're over a foot shorter than me," he answered. "I think you fit the bill."
Peals of laughter interrupted them, and the summoned young man turned to see the other magical folk were enjoying the show. One student said to another. "Leave it to Louise the Zero to summon a commoner."
"This makes your boasting worth it."
He turned his attention to the dark-skinned, red headed beauty that spoke next, and stared at her.
"She… she looks just like Barb…" he thought before his gaze wandered down to her chest. "… In every way. Well, except she's definitely shorter and that red hair, unf–ah, focus."
He turned to face Louise, whose embarrassment was mounting under the jeering from the crowd. Sympathy took the edge off his mix of feelings.
"Look, I'm sorry. I just would like to know where I am, how I ended up here, and if I can perhaps go back."
Louise seemed intent on ignoring him, as she turned to Colbert. "Please Mr. Colbert, let me try again!"
The summoned youth grew more agitated. "Uh, hey, I was asking a question! You guys are speaking English, right?"
It certainly sounded like English to him. He looked for Colbert, and his heart sank when he heard his answer. "I'm sorry, I can't let you."
"What?!" both Louise and her summoned human shouted together.
The latter pressed forward. "Why?! I don't belong here!"
"This is a sacred ceremony to determine a mage's life. Redoing it would be a desecration of six thousand years of tradition. Regardless of whether you like it or not, he has been decided as your familiar spirit," Colbert explained.
Louise was not happy about this, the poor schmuck she summoned even less. Marching up to Colbert, he grabbed him by the robes. "Hold on, what about if I like it or not? You can't just pluck some guy out of thin air and make him a…!"
He stopped and grew horrified. "Wait… I'm her what?"
The other students were aghast, and Louise immediately jumped and grabbed him by the hood of his sweater. "Put him down, right this instant!"
"Huh?! Hey!" A repulsing force from Colbert threw the summoned youth onto his back with a thud.
He quickly got up. "Just one minute, I don't have time to be someone's familiar! I have my own life damn it, and I'd like to go back to living it!"
Louise, seeing this as an opportunity, quickly joined his side. "Yes, so let me send him back so I can do it over!"
Colbert wanted to be sympathetic, but tradition was tradition, and more importantly… "You can't send him back, Louise. Once summoned, a familiar spirit cannot be returned from whence it came."
Well, this was a day-ruining experience. The summoned young man fell down onto his backside, slapped his palms to his face and dragged them down off his chin. "I don't believe this…!"
Louise was just as despondent. "I can't take a commoner as my familiar!"
"Commoner or not, there will be no exceptions, Louise," Colbert said, "continue the ceremony or you will be expelled."
And just like that, Louise abandoned any notion of trying to do it over amidst the laughter of her peers. Expelled from school because she refused to make this… this… thing her familiar! She'd never be able to face her sister.
With great shame, she turned to face the young man as he looked up at her.
"Look, I understand you don't want to get thrown out of school, but I am not your thesis, okay?" he asked as he tried to creep back from her.
As students encouraged her, Louise scowled and grabbed him by his collar before dropping down to straddle his lap. He leaned back from her, shaking his head. "Hey! What did I just tell you?"
"You should be grateful," she quickly said to him, "this is a once in a lifetime opportunity for a commoner to get this from a noble."
"Sorry, where I'm from the idea of aristocracy as you know it is long-!"
She rested her wand on his lips, silencing him.
"My name is Louise Françoise le Blanc de la Vallière," she said as the wand began to glow, "Pentagon that governs the five powers…"
He stopped protesting for a moment. "Five? That's just like…"
"… Give this person your blessing, and bind him as my familiar!" Louise called out before she removed the wand from his lips and gave him a short, chaste kiss.
And just as quickly a flash of light ensued and Louise was sent flying through the air, to crash into Colbert, sending both to the ground with a thud. Once again, the other students were silent at another unprecedented event, and the would-be familiar slowly got up, as confused as they were.
"Guys, what just happened?" he asked.
Louise got up with help from Colbert, and shook her head. "I don't understand, I did everything right, why did that… ow… ow… OW!"
Shock became amazement, as Louise gripped her wrist and fell to her knees before Colbert could catch her. "It…i t burns…! Why…?!"
Colbert stared in disbelief. "Wait, no, this can't be!"
Louise screamed and fell forward, clutching her hand.
Of all the other students watching, it was Kirche who was first to rush over. "Louise!"
The summon shook his head, "I don't know what happened, honest, your spell must've backfired!"
Just as quickly as it began, it was over and a heavily taxed Louise gasped for breath as the burning sensation from her left hand faded. Kirche and Colbert looked down at her hand, and both gasped when they saw, carved into her flesh in bold black lines, a single asterisk.
On seeing it, the young man's eyes briefly widened.
"What kind of symbol is that…?" Kirche asked.
Colbert shook his head. "I've never seen it." Louise had caught her breath, and was trying to rise. "Louise, are you all right?"
"It doesn't hurt anymore, it…" Louise stopped and stared at her hand. "Why… why is the rune carved into my hand?"
"My word…" Colbert stared at it.
Kirche, also staring, brought the back of her hand up to her mouth and began to laugh. "L-Louise… you… you…?"
She fell back, laughing uproariously. "You became the familiar?!"
Hilarity ensued, as the other students joined her in laughing.
Colbert, still amazed by this unprecedented moment, held up Louise's hand to examine the mark. "I've never seen a rune like this…"
It was a going theme; he looked at the strange young man as he stared at Louise. Who was this man?
Louise, shutting her eyes tightly, tensed up as her humiliation was completed. After barely making it through her first year and trying so hard, she wound up embarrassed in front of her entire class like this. It was all she could take, but she wouldn't let them have the benefit of seeing her cry and she buried her face in her hands.
Seeing her on the verge of breaking down despite her efforts, the man she summoned sighed and looked around the students treating it like a big joke.
"All right, that's enough!"
Some looked towards him, but he found the reaction unsatisfactory. Letting out a frustrated growl, he tried again.
"Hrr… I said that's ENOUGH!"
The force in his shout quickly got their attention, it almost felt as though a wave of force came off the young man with his yell. As Louise looked with surprise at the young man, he removed his hand from his sword and walked over to her and Colbert.
"I don't know what happened," he said, "but it's my fault so I'll take responsibility. Mr. Colbert, right? What exactly happened?"
Colbert stared at the young man, surprised by the power in his voice. "Young man, Louise's contract binding you to her backfired for some unknown reason, she is bound to you as your familiar now."
He figured that much already, but it looked like he wasn't getting any better answers from the bald dude. The young man scratched his head in disbelief, and then looked down at Louise again as she looked up at him. Kirche was staring too, all eyes were on him.
"Uh…" I see," he said quietly, "is… is there a way to fix it?"
"I'm afraid this is unprecedented, so I wouldn't know where to begin," Colbert explained to him gravely, "I'll have to discuss this with the Headmaster. What is your name?"
About time someone asked, he remarked to himself before he answered. "Ryan Ingram."
Colbert nodded and then turned to the rest of the class. "The ceremony is over. You may return to your dormitories! Hurry along now!"
Taking immediate advantage of the distraction away from her, Louise did her best to shore up her composure and got up as her classmates quickly heeded their teacher. This had to be a mistake, there was no way she was the familiar of this commoner.
Colbert faced Ryan and Louise as Kirche followed the other students away. "Again I apologize, this has never happened before. I will try to have it sorted out, but in the meantime we should get you situated Mr. Ingram. As Louise summoned you, you are her responsibility."
He looked a little despondent as he asked. "There really isn't any way for me to return home, is there?"
"The spell has always been about summoning here, not returning them to where they belonged," Colbert explained.
"We'll see about that." Ryan inwardly remarked before he looked again to Louise, who had largely recovered. "I see."
He looked to Louise. "Uh, is there someplace I can get cleaned up then? I was out for a hike when I got snatched up, so I'm a little dingy."
Louise regarded him silently for a moment, before she begrudgingly nodded and gestured for him to follow her. There just had to be some way out of this, she wasn't going to be the familiar of a commoner! She was a noble, a Vallière! If her family found out about this, her life would be over from the embarrassment!
She looked at the rune on her hand and clenched it into a fist. No, maybe the rune meant nothing and she was still the master in this situation. She could still take control of the situation. So what if she summoned a commoner, she was the mage here, damn it!
Ryan also looked at Louise's hand, and felt a great dread as he reached behind himself to scratch his back. That rune meant trouble was coming, and it was only a matter of time before it showed up…if it wasn't already here.
He rested the hand on the hilt of his sword and sighed as he thought. "What have I been dragged into this time?"
"I'm not sure," a voice replied in his thoughts, "but it should be interesting, shouldn't it, eh boyo?"
A/N: All chapters updated!