The dreaded rewrite cometh!
So, since I obviously couldn't find inspiration to write chapter 29, I decided I'd go back to the root of the issue and rewrite everything in an effort to get my groove going again. Believe me, I've actually tried many, many times before, but I can't seem to manage to sit down and put in a few thousand words. Hopefully, re-reading and rewriting everything might help me get my mind back to where it should be.
I will not apologize over the delay of Chapter 29. Because frankly, I'm an asshole and I delight in other people's suffering. If I were saying that I was sorry, I'd be lying.
This venture is also helped by my total lack of anything resembling success trying to write something else, too.
If anyone were to be willing to make fanart for me, I'd much appreciate it, because my artistic talent, whether it be in the practical or the literary arts, is null.
Chapter 1: You're totally cramping my style
It was a mostly normal and rather boring day, that much was certain. Absolutely nothing interesting had happened. For most people, this would not be a concern. For a certain ex-teacher, however, it was a rather worrying concept. His days were not this peaceful. Most of the time, anyway. Still, he decided he might as well enjoy it while it lasted. Everyone knew that.
Chachamaru shared his sentiments. He'd sent her home earlier, told her that she was free to do as she pleased, because they both knew that Negi would not be tired when he got home. Sometimes, he wondered when his robotic partner had decided that the line between secretary and servant had blurred to this point. Regardless, he didn't dwell on it for long. She had found happiness, and, to an extent, so had he. He found his happiness in hers. The guilt that sometimes gnawed at the back of his mind was never present during those times.
Call him weak. He knew he was. He didn't care. Neither did the source of his weakness and strength, apparently.
Still, he looked at a picture framed and hanging against the wall of his office. Her face was as youthful, filled with energy and joy, as he remembered it being. She had truly been one of a kind. So much time had passed, yet so little. His eyes dwelt perhaps a second too long, and a smile drew itself on his face. He imagined the scolding she'd give him about it.
She'd probably call him a dumbass, tell him to stop worrying, man up and go through life with a smile. And to an extent, he did. He faced his days with a smile, and with his friends by his side. She'd approve of that, because he remembered her being angry when he tried to do everything on his own. He tried to suppress the voice that told him he still had the tendency to at least try, but hey, at least he recognized when he was overwhelmed these days. The fact that he'd practically begged Chachamaru to continue her job as his assistant after giving her just two days off proved it.
He couldn't say he was unused to paperwork. As a teacher, paperwork was plentiful. The problem was that no warnings were given that managing the International Solar System Development Agency would be such a hell of it. These days, he was glad for Evangeline's resort being available. Otherwise, he might have become a slouch. Kotaro had been dangerously close to kicking his ass the last time they'd gone at it, to the point that Negi had to use every ounce of his speed to win. Being forced to depend on the Perpetual Lightning Form to win that fight had been kind of humiliating.
Up until the moment that Kotaro pointed out that not only had he actually created the technique, it was only that and it was as such fair to use in a fight. Kotaro always had a way to punch his funk away. Most times, anyway.
Those that he couldn't punch away... Wounds that had never quite scarred, that continued bleeding to this day... those couldn't quite be ignored.
Still, he couldn't remain dwelling in the past for too long. Chachamaru certainly expected him at home soon, in any case. He ignored his cellphone ringing. If it were anything important, he'd be contacted through telepathy anyway. It was probably something that would require his attention soon, in either case. However, he had to admit that he was bored and didn't exactly want to deal with whatever it was at the moment.
Another teaching that had needed to be punched into that thick skull he called his. Rest is important. No matter how indestructible you might be, if you go insane due to stress, you'll only make everyone's lives that much harder. So he closed the drawer that was open, absent mindedly locked it, poked it to activate the magical security measures, and stood up to leave.
He hadn't quite expected the green portal where his door had once been. He blinked. He didn't know what it was. Regardless, he knew very few ways to get through his office's security, and most of these were only possible because of the sheer, raw power he possessed. Others involved his ministrae's artifacts. One in particular, came to mind, one that had been impressively useful in his quest to create the ISSDA in the first place. Ayaka had been a very useful, her artifact allowing her to bypass any and all security measures and meet with whoever she wanted to meet, regardless of prior appointments or circumstances.
Even if the person didn't wish to respond to the message, after a while it would simply force you to. The Artifact induced a Geass in the target. He didn't know what effect it had on magically potent beings, but since he had all of the magically potent rulers on his side to begin with (since the survival of the Magic World was in their best interests), they'd never had to use it. Although it was the first time he was on the receiving end.
He was a magically potent being. He wasn't certain if it'd work the same way on him. Regardless, he didn't think things through too many times. Or any, at all. If Ayaka was using her artifact to meet with him, it had to be damned important.
Only when it sucked him in did he hear that little voice that sounded like Evangeline calling him an idiot. It even called him Boya, despite Evangeline only using that when she was playfully berating him instead of genuinely doing so. And oddly enough, Rakan's voice congratulating him on learning the ways of the idiot and wandering into something without thinking it forty six times over. But by then, he was pretty damn busy following the light in the darkness...
Surprisingly, perhaps most of all to myself, he could not hear the narrator and the writer discussing whether or not this was an appropriate enough start for the story.
Our other protagonist's day was marginally less boring, and only because she did not, in fact, have to authorize the newest delivery of the toilet paper that supplied an immense tower's bathrooms. Alas, she knew not what modern toilet paper is, and cannot compare to the luxury that is wiping your ass with something that does not leave you butthurt. I wonder, sometimes, if certain people suffer from this, as well. But I digress, because talking about other people's asses is all well and good provided they're fictional, and the people I am talking about are most decidedly not fictional.
ARGH, focus, narrator, focus! Need Focusin!
"Congratulations, everyone, for making it to your second year!" Louise wanted to ignore the rather plump elderly woman that spoke. She really did. She was far too upbeat for the early hours. Louise had been terribly nervous, and incapable of getting a proper night's sleep. This left her somewhat grumpy, but even so, she knew one fact that she could never forget.
Since her magic sucked, her academical scores had to remain the best in the class, otherwise, she'd fail entirely. She had, in every piece of theory, the best grades ever recorded in the entire... well, she had the best grades ever recorded in theory. In practice, she had the worst. Even pathetic mages could get weak spells off. Hers?
Hers just went boom. And while tremendously useful in certain circumstances, including chastising members of the male sex, since her explosions were harmless if painful, it was still humiliating that a noble of her stature couldn't get off the simplest spell.
"From this year onwards, I will be teaching in this academy, and I am quite glad to have you all in my class." This time the woman was a fair bit calmer, which Louise could be thankful for. Her ears were kind of sensitive that morning. It didn't help that the nightmare she'd gotten for the five minutes she'd managed to sleep for had left her with a headache and the urge to murder everything that annoyed her. Except that one was common. It was just more potent that morning. "My name is Chevreuse, my attribute is Earth."
If Louise had to guess, she'd say that the woman was a line class mage, or a very low level Triangle. Most of the teachers in the school were lines. The more powerful mages generally rose ranks in the nobility fast enough that they would never bother with the school.
"My runic name is Chevreuse the Red Clay."
Louise was mildly interested in how she'd attained the name. Because a runic name was actually kind of serious business, and it generally corresponded to the kind of mage you were. For example, her mother's own runic name was based on her personal and most powerful spell. Though, mostly, Louise wondered how someone named 'Red Clay' would wear purple.
Yep, the aged teacher who had just given her boring introduction had a, frankly, ridiculous purple robe and wizard hat combo. It's an insult to the dignity of magic. Unless it's Magicka and you're blowing things up, at which point it's a nod to the spirit of mages everywhere. The teacher's eyes scanned through the crowd, wondering why there was one student that seemed to be furiously taking notes of her introduction, while most people looked, as she expected them to, bored.
She wisely chose to ignore the closeness between a redhead and a silver haired boy. Evidently, she'd been told of that particular redhead's antics and the fact that she actually had permission to be a flirt. It was... weird, but just that. So she went on with the explanation of her role and task.
Louise was too engrossed in her book to particularly care. More important studies had her attention. She was currently trying to reduce a particularly fat book into a more manageable handbook she could rapidly study from, so that it was more convenient for her. Simple concepts were easily remembered, whilst long and drawn out explanations were rather hard to reproduce verbatim.
"Now, can anyone tell me which are the four main elements?" The pinkette nearly scoffed at this. Anyone could. Even commoners! Normally, she'd have droned the answer, and simply continued reading. She probably wouldn't even have to pay attention... but that morning she wasn't feeling particularly up to the task of multitasking. So she let it pass. Participating in these pointless quizzes helped not her grades.
Louise would always wonder how that blonde fop had managed to obtain a rose as a wand, but he raised it and almost let off bishie sparkles. Did he really think he was that pretty? She couldn't deny that he was mildly attractive, but that was at best. She never understood her peers in their adoration for his looks. Blonds really didn't do it for her.
"The four elements are fire, water, wind and Earth!" He'd emphasized the last. "Oh, what a coincidence! Just like yours, my element is Earth! My name is Guiche de Gramont, runic name Guiche The Bronze. Please, keep it in mind!"
Clearly, he needed a lesson in how to not overly dramatize everything he did, but Louise was not fit to give it. Unless it involved exploding him. Again, her headache made the urge hard to resist entirely. What annoyed her was not the exaggerated motions he'd utilized, or the unnecessary introduction. It was...
Sucking up to the teachers. The blonde girl next to the fop seemed vaguely annoyed by his overly dramatic gestures. Louise couldn't care less either way.
"Pleased to meet you, Mr. Gramont." Though she sounded almost like she wanted to suck up to Guiche. Maybe a lesser noble that just had more talent than average wanting a name for herself through help of a high name family?
Guiche's family didn't have such a high standing, or did it..?
Regardless, for some reason she frowned at the idea of a teacher pandering to certain students more than the others. She just didn't find the idea particularly palatable, and although she'd been mostly on the benefitted side of the equation, it had been due to her hard work at keeping her grades up enough that her abysmal practical grades couldn't force her to drop out.
She rubbed the bridge of her nose and willed the headache away, wishing she could magically make it go. As all the matters involving magic, it only worsened.
Old Osmond got bitch-slapped by Longueville. He wasn't entirely certain how the secretary had managed to do it from across the room, but he was certain he didn't want to provoke her further by asking. After all, his poor, old ribs probably wouldn't survive another beating like that.
At least he'd gotten to see for himself that white thong. Black definitely suited her better...
He still thought he ought to thank Miss Valliere for the interruption, even if she'd probably destroyed a desk... and a teacher.
During the day, despite the headache subsiding slightly, at least enough that Louise could multitask properly, Louise's mind had begun to wander. It wandered to an specific event, in truth. And the nervousness still plagued her. Why wouldn't it?
Also, at some point, she'd realized she needed to buy several new pairs of socks. Or find a way to protect the two she still had. Anti magic enchantments weren't cheapt, but surely her parents would understand that it would only save them further money in the long run, right?
However, even if she assured herself that everything would go right, because she'd do everything the right way, she made her hopes explode along with the teacher's desk. But then she stood up, chin high again.
It was, after all, only a little miscalculation. A small mistake. Nothing cripplingly wrong with her magic. It wasn't like she was a colossal failure that couldn't do anything but explosions.
"Even today your success rate is still zero percent!" Guiche screamed at the top of his lungs, as he emerged from behind the desk he'd hidden under.
"Louise the Zero!" snapped the stupid dark skinned, Germanian, curvaceous, strangely attractive boob monster...
The scolding wasn't even the worst part, no. The thing that stung the most was that she wasn't the one being blamed for the explosion. She wasn't being blamed because it was considered the Teacher's fault for allowing her to perform magic, as if she were a dangerous monster that could only bring destruction! It made her blood boil, and it made her want to bitch slap both herself and whoever was at range.
Then again, she couldn't argue with the evidence. Even if she claimed it was only a small mistake, she only got weird looks and Old Osmond laughing like a jackass. He was actually a jackass, but that's beside the point, because it still meant that they didn't think she could ever be a mage and were just humoring her to get in her family's good side. it angered her to no end. But she knew what she needed to prove them wrong.
All she needed was a powerful, beautiful, strong and magnificent familiar! She'd show them! She wouldn't fail!
It would be her familiar, the strongest, most beautiful and magnificent being summoned EVER!
"Bad feeling." was all that Louise remembered from the conversation that she'd had one thousand times. It was odd for that particular girl to openly state her thoughts. It had to be a strong feeling to provoke her to speak...
She slapped herself. What could that girl know? She didn't know anything. Then again, it was the first time that she'd responded when the boob monster asked what she thought about the coming spring ritual. And when she'd said it, the bluenette had been staring straight at Louise. Something about her had inspired the bad feeling, and Louise couldn't shake off the thought of it. What... what if everything went wrong... what if everything went spectacularly wrong?
But... No. No. No! She. Would. Not. Fail.
Busy rinsing herself off the day's grime, a lone redhead mused. "A bad feeling..." she ignored the water droplets running down her neck and into her plentiful bosom. "I wonder why." She hadn't even bothered dismissing the second year boy that was drooling on her carpet. She would allow him to rest for a while before sending him to his room. She couldn't shake her friend's prediction.
She herself was also expecting something from the spring summoning ritual. And her expectations for herself aren't what I'm talking about. Her petite friend had merely given more credence to the feeling she herself had. The anticipation...
... She was truly anxious to see what the Zero managed to summon.
Meanwhile, in her own room, Louise cursed herself for boasting as she buried her head on her pillow. If she'd just shut up, then she wouldn't be humiliated...
"Answer my call!"
The darkness is vast and eternal. The darkness is the all consuming creator. From darkness everything came, and to darkness everything went. It was the cycle of existence and there was nothing about it.
The darkness of the human heart is something just as vast and infinite. And he knew it well. He knew the darkness of the human heart as well as one could claim to know oneself, because of what his particularities, he was acquainted with it more than anyone else would ever be. Still, it felt odd to interact with darkness that was not his own. Even the darkness of the universe was something he was used to, as he needed to manipulate it to cast spells of the element. However, he hadn't quite felt something like this.
This tug at the darkness of his own heart. This string that connected him to some other source of darkness. Pure, unadulterated, and made of the concentrated sorrow, anger and pain of an innocent. Sometime ago, he had been an innocent as well. This darkness was much like his own, if different. But it was darkness, nonetheless.
Darkness that he felt drawn to. The tiny light ball that had spoken was flying at incredible speeds, but he was easily keeping up. After all, being one with darkness, he was everywhere and nowhere in a plane of darkness. He existed everywhere because the darkness was him and he was the darkness. It was, again, a strange experience.
A brief flash of green and what would have been an imposing building, hadn't the sight been given from miles above, were the only confirmation he had that he'd followed the light correctly. He would have smiled, at getting that odd sensation of being omnipresent removed from his system. However, he had a bit of trouble. So far, he'd been okay. Even if he had to get used to existing everywhere at once, he couldn't have been prepared to have that feeling suddenly ripped from him.
Now was the time when he actually felt somewhat dizzy from losing it. He would have groaned, but his mouth wasn't working... if he even had one.
Guiche really had to leave the theatrics for when he was in private. By the look on the teacher's face, Colbert agreed. His verbal putdown had been the most interesting thing Louise had heard all morning. Clearly, one does not fuck with Jean Colbert, because Jean Colbert will fuck with you, and for being a forty year old or so man, he knew how to put down a teenager and strike where it hurt.
Either that or Guiche's reaction to the giant mole thing that came out of the ground. She had to admit, the blond fop was proving uncharacteristically entertaining that day. She pointedly ignored Colbert's praise for Kirche's summoned salamander. Because, evidently, it wasn't the teacher's fault that the boob monster could work her charms in any situation. Stupid bouncy goodness!
"It's a result that fits my runic name, Kirche The Ardent perfectly!" Though she seemed way too pleased with her summon, she didn't seem to be bragging about it so much as she was simply stating how proud she was of her summoned creature. She simply liked her familiar.
Louise jumped to mentally accusing her of bragging, though. It's what happens when you hate that person for their curiously attractive, round, firm brea- stop that, bad thought! Get back to writing mode, brain! Save porn for later! Actually, no, I can write and watch porn at the same time. I can multitask!
"Is that everyone?" Asked Colbert, the teacher, as he scanned the class. He didn't truly have to, as he assumed that students would be loathe to leave the clearing without their familiars. He just wanted to get a second look at what had been summoned. And, by the way, he still found that dragon to be mighty impressive.
"Not yet." Kirche smirked evilly. "Miss Valliere still hasn't summoned her familiar." Oh, if she hadn't souned like a bitch, Louise might've been inclined to believe that Zerbst was actually not trying to do this to annoy Louise. Again, the damnable Germanian sought to ruin Louise's good mood!
Of course she'd be put on the center of attention right after that. The murmurs and whispers regarding her 'runic' name were starting to get on her nerves about the third repeat through. She wasn't about to fail.
"After what you said yesterday, I'm sure you'll summon something more impressive than me!" Kirche sounded way too condescending with that one. Unknown to Louise, she was actually hopeful that the pinkette would manage to summon something impressive enough that she'd make the name calling stop. It wasn't funny the 2593926th time. Maybe she'd even get them to make up a new nickname or something... Maybe Louise the Wormtongue? It would be hilarious if she did summon a worm, considering she'd used the insult once or twice in regards to the Germanian herself.
"Of course!" Louise nearly shouted, thinking that, for a second, she'd channeled a man by the name of Raul Julia although she was confused as to why. She did not know who Raul Julia was, nor did she know why Raul Julia is awesome. Because to him, it was the last movie he worked on, but to her, it was just a slow week day.
"Please..." A soft murmur, something she'd never say out loud, a Valliere did NOT ask for things, a Valliere demanded them, she just wasn't in a position to do so right now. She felt the energy gather. She felt it pool. She enhanced it. She poured everything she had. She had to dig into the depths of her willpower, and bring everything out. Her inner strength. She found it, and pulled all of it out. She did not notice the circle, once pink underneath her, darken into a deep red. "My servant who is in some place of the confines of the universe!" She ignored the further questioning of her abilities and the snickers. She knew her chant was uncommon. Because her familiar would be uncommon, no, unique. Her familiar would be the familiar to end all familiars! The best familiar ever summoned! "The sacred, beautiful and above all else powerful familiar..!"
It would be a holy spirit unlike no other, beautiful enough to make the Zerbst green with envy, and powerful enough to match a mage of her caliber!
Kirche didn't miss the way her blue haired companion's eyes seemed to widen the slightest fraction, or how she'd dropped the staring-into-the-book thing in favor of staring at the girl shouting the odd incantation. Because her own bad feelings had intensified. She knew something was wrong. Something felt wrong. Louise wanted a powerful familiar...
"I summon you from my heart, I ask you to answer my call!"
Louise's hand drew a circle with her wand in the air, taking care to make it as perfect as her pulse would allow. Then, she punched her wand through, and the circle she'd drawn took transparent form, only to crash like glass, as did the circle that had appeared and widened considerably under her. The ground was eaten away by the ever expanding red lines, that grew closer and closer to black by the second. Then they vanished, and the grass was back where it'd been before.
A spark left the tip of her wand. It was a spark of darkness. It was the only thing that Louise could call it. All of a sudden, everything felt wrong. She feared her spell had failed. She feared that everything she'd worked for, every scrap of power she'd poured into the spell, had been in vain. The spark fadded, although the feeling of wrongness did not.
The sound of a thunderclap, so close, nearly made her eardrums burst, and she was violently thrown off her feet when the usual result of her magic took place. There was a dustcloud formed from the explosion. Louise felt her butt hit the floor and she was certain she'd been thrown at least a few meters away, because the epicenter of the explosion was still shrouded in moving dust. There was a second, distant thunderclap, and a sound like lightning hitting the ground.
Seconds later, the complaints about her failure began, along groans of pain for those who'd been scared enough to try to jump away or fallen facefirst. They'd been swept away by the explosion, and it had to have been painful. Louise had been at the center of it herself, so she understood it.
Oddly enough, both Kirche and her silent companion appeared to be standing without too much difficulty, but Louise was too afraid of failure right now to notice that. The pinkette stood back up and walked forward, braving the cloud of dust.
Guiche de Gramont did not consider himself a man who was truly hard to impress. In fact, it was fairly easy to impress him, all things considered. However, this summoning took the cake, as it had been possibly the most violent example of the ritual ever. Heck, she had probably killed whatever she had summoned. Guiche didn't feel sorry for whatever poor creature it'd been, though. He was too busy picking up his jaw, as both he and the one he'd actually dived behind, Montmorency (entirely so she fell on him and the pain she'd had upon hitting the ground was reduced, it was not because her bottom landed squarely in his lap, no sir!), stared at the new arrival.
It was not something that was seen every day.
The stranger was tall... although not enough to be a terrible difference. He was probably a fully grown adult man, or very close to. His hair was a shade of red dissimilar from Kirche's, and he wore strange clothing that he assumed was of commoner make, even though from a preliminary glance he was forced to admit that the make was probably beyond most clothing he'd seen, and the fabric was very much unlike what he knew. A foreigner, then, since it was clear that he was somewhat confused as to his whereabouts.
A commoner that the Zero had hired to make it seem as if she'd summoned something?
"What a violent summon..."
Maybe it was the fact that he seemed to talk in an odd, unintelligible language, or how he seemed to be that much more than the naked eye could see, but Guiche felt the comment about commoners die in his throat. No, it had to be the aura of power the man had around himself. Or the fact that he had come out unscathed from being blown right the hell up by the Zero.
"A... A human?"
"Is it a commoner?"
"No doubt, it's a commoner."
"Yep, no matter how you look at it..."
Guiche almost laughed when whatever had been possessing him dispelled with his classmates' dismissal.
The man frowned for a minute, he seemed pensive, thinking to himself about something unfathomable. What they did not know, was that the man was identifying their language. "Where am I?" Now that one had been perfectly understandable... if a bit accented.
Louise didn't much care. "Is t-this my sacred, beautiful and above all else, powerful familiar?" Commoners were commoners, and she wouldn't dignify him with an answer. For the moment, anyway. Because her sheer surprise had dulled her manners, and she would not reply. Meanwhile, the man in front of her looked confused at her words. This was so not going well.
"Who are you?" She didn't have good manners, it seemed, or couldn't understand or hear him. Either way, he was a perfectly groomed English Gentleman and therefore, he'd actually answer. He'd been taught to treat ladies nicely.
"My name is Negi Springfield." He replied. "Who are You?"
She continued to ignore his question. "Where are you from, commoner?"
He frowned, or rather, smiled the smile that concealed a frown, at being ignored again, while still looking down on the pink thing that wasn't trying to get up. "Wales." he replied on reflex. "Where am I?" He made an attempt at ignoring how she'd called him. He wouls be unfailingly polite, as he needed the answers and being gung ho was simply not his style. A gentleman's style was very important to said gentleman.
"Oh my! This does match up with your declaration!" It sounded like an insult, but had anyone been listening and been familiar with Kirche, they'd have realized there wasn't an ounce of sarcasm in her voice. She had a faint blush on her face and a perverted smirk, all that Louise needed to know that she'd have to pry her off her familiar with a crowbar, if she'd seen it. She only wished those had been invented at some point... "This commoner? No... can't be... too refined..." The camera cuts away before her hands reach her chest, and only her perverted giggle is heard, muffled as it was. I'm totally not going to jeopardize my ability to continue posting here.
He focused on Louise, and the pinkette's knees grew weak, both from shock and a sensation she couldn't quite place. She blushed in clear embarrassment, and fell on her butt yet again. Her poor rear had taken quite the abuse that day, and it'd probably bother her later. He offered her a hand, clearly looking apologetic at having surprised her, and it was even worse when she squeaked, which made her even further indignant.
"It's only a little mistake!" Louise cried, scrambling back to her feet and ignoring the hand that had been extended her way. She wouldn't give that commoner the benefit of touching someone of her position, even if he was impossibly handsome!
"As expected of Louise the Zero!"
"Always surpassing our expectations!"
Negi smiled at her, trying his best to look as mellow as Takamichi did, the insulting nature of the comments flying right over his head. He didn't even know what the hell was going on, yet. So far, he'd managed to gather the information that she'd summoned him. That much was clear. Although he wasn't certain about the nature of the summons, according to what Zazie had explained, so long as you had the power, you could potentially summon anything that can be classified as a 'demon'. Even Zazie herself could be summoned at a moment's notice, if someone could muster enough power to reach high enough in the demonic hierarchy.
Demons were often summoned to accomplish tasks that mortal mages cannot do on their own. Demons are mercenaries, in a sense, whose only price is whatever you're willing to give them. If it is good enough and they accept, then they do it. If it isn't, then they cancel the summons and go home. So long as it wasn't morally reprehensible, a random task for someone else was a welcome break from routine.
He did find it odd that he could be summoned just like that, since as far as he knew he was pretty high ranked, as demonkind go, granted he'd willingly walked into the portal... Why were they laughing, anyway?
"Mr. Colbert, please allow me to try again!" The girl shouted at the oddly unmoving teacher. Negi stared at the staff he was clutching. It'd only been moved a fraction of an inch, and it'd dug up the ground on where it'd been moved. The teacher had been close to the center of the explosion, but he was totally unharmed. Not to mention, the man had narrowed his eyes at him, examining him.
"I can't do that!" Jean Colbert spoke, the spirit of the flames of youth possessing him and gifting him the passion of a young man.
"Why not!" Louise screamed, clearly exasperated at her situation. Her, a daughter of the Valliere family, summoning of a commoner was an insult to her name!
"This ceremony is a sacred ritual that dictates the life of a mage!" he explained, oddly passionately. "Asking to repeat it is to dishonor the entire ordeal, nevermind allowing it!" he finished, his eyes only slightly narrowed.
Louise, still fuming, sighed dejectedly.
"Wether you approve or not, it has been decided that he is your familiar." That one made Negi stop for a second. A familiar? Those kinds of contracts lasted for the entirety of the mage's lifespan! That was not good.
Simply walking into such a contract was a very stupid decision, it was indeed a very important moment in the life of a mage... He'd chosen his own familiar after careful consideration (or rather, after Chamo had suggested it, but that was beside the point) and as a gentleman, it was his task to have this man reconsider. Because, clearly, the man couldn't possibly be entirely sane.
"Excuse me, choosing a familiar is a very important matter." Negi said, trying not to be too intrusive. "While I do agree that it's a sacred ritual, shouldn't she be allowed to try again if she doesn't like the result? She's gonna be stuck with me for a long time, after all..." what he didn't say, was that that long time would be the rest of her life. He was mildly hopeful that the spell would reverse once he was dismissed and he'd be back on the ISSDA's headquarters. The man chose to ignore him, further adding to Negi's annoyance level. He was a gentleman, but even his patience had its limits. They were still far from reaching them, though.
"I've never heard of anyone with a commoner as a familiar!" Louise seemed to still be hopeful about Colbert reconsidering, though she still glared at the next round of laughter. It was clearly getting on her nerves.
"Be it a commoner or anything else, I don't accept exceptions!" Colbert finished, slamming his staff against the ground to shut everyone up. "Bind the familiar with the contract." He ordered, a tone of finality that broke for no argument.
Negi gulped. He'd gone and gotten himself into more trouble like a moron. Both he and Louise seemed to react similarly, though her discomfort had been much more obvious. "Eh..? With this..?" Okay, that would get annoying after a while. Not the name calling, the poking with the wand. Seriously, that thing is pointy!
"Hurry." the balding teacher ordered. "Or I will have to expel you." That prompted another wave of taunts and laughter that went ignored. Oddly enough, they were only male voices this time...
She turned to him and reluctantly came close to him. "You should be grateful. Normally, no commoner would receive this from a noble in their entire life!" She said, noticeably angry. She raised her wand and seemed to fall into chanting mode, clearly concentrating yet again. Negi felt the power being gathered, and he cursed his fate.
He could get out. He could incapacitate everyone in the clearing in less than a few seconds. Had he been a knave, he would have. His mind warred. He had been raised to be the perfect gentleman, and robbing a young lady of the chance to accomplish a ritual that was considered sacred by some was NOT a gentlemanly thing to do. Clearly, he only had Nekane to blame because she'd done too good a job raising him to be a nice, polite and kind young man.
"My name is Louise Françoise Le Blanc De La Valliere! Pentagon of the five elemental powers, grant your blessing upon this creature, and bind it as my familiar!"
Getting a wand swung into his face wasn't a new occurrence for Negi. Generally, they proceeded to unleash some sort of spell, most of the time. The last time he'd visited the younger classes in Ariadne he'd almost gotten his face blown up by an overenthusiastic first year student. But that being directly followed by a kiss, however, was. Generally, people didn't try to make out with him directly after blowing up. Okay, maybe some did.
When Louise pulled back, they were both pink in the face, although she was significantly more so.
While to her it'd probably been her first kiss, to him it was a slow Tuesday at the office. My god I just repeated this joke!
"It seems you've completed the contract with your familiar."
There was an odd stinging sensation running through Negi's arm, soon it became a burning pain that coated his left fist. He stared at it bemusedly. Was that normal? He hadn't marked Chamo... Maybe he was being branded so he'd be recognized as hers. Still, he should probably slap himself. Wait a minute. Why was he being so calm about the whole deal? Maybe it was just the fact that his hand was f*cking burning and he was thus more concentrated on the pain than much else. He bit back the need to scream.
"It'll be over soon. You are getting the runes of a familiar engraved." Louise explained, still looking everywhere but at him. He noticed Colbert's eyes widening when the man spent a second staring at the newfound runes in his hand. However, his eyes focused once again on Louise and the rather displeased frown on her face.
So she hadn't wanted him as a familiar, and he, if he were to be honest, didn't want to be her familiar either. A wonderful partnership. He'd have to suck it up.
"That was certainly painful." He said, frowning slightly... Meaning his smile hadn't even faltered a bit.
Once the rest was done (apparently, they were all too giddy about fraternizing with their familiars to fly off right away), Louise finally allowed herself to relax and let the gravity of her situation sink in. It just wasn't salvageable at all. She'd summoned a commoner in the middle of class and brought shame to her name. At least it couldn't go any worse, right?
She wondered if thinking the words had the same effect as saying them. That tended to jinx her almost instantly. And once she turned around again to face her familiar, she found him chatting rather amicably with Kirche. The redhead rapidly turned around to change target to Louise. She didn't even notice the vein throbbing in the latter's forehead, a clear sign of anger.
Frikkin' Boob Monster trying to steal her familiar.
"Congratulations, Louise, you've summoned a mar~velous familiar!" her perverted giggle further drove up the pinkette's nerves. Her familiar had no right to be so calm and collected when talking to women other than herself!
Wait, calm and collected? In fact, his sight hadn't lowered to Kirche's cleavage even once, although the Germanian seemed mildly offended by that, and was probably intending to fix that issue at once. At least that was the image given, seeing as she seemed to be tugging at and lowering the line of her cleavage. It still failed to work spectacularly.
She smiled, the most perverted smile so far. "I don't intend to do anything..." An obvious lie. "For now." Okay, that much is true. "I'll come later to greet you formally some other time. See you!" Insert heart emoticon here.
"See you later, Ms. Zerbst!" Negi said, waving as Kirche levitated away. "Man, flying like that seems really convenient." he said, not even blushing at the sight of Kirche's rather racy undergarments. Still tame in comparison to what he had become used to. But really, he had to learn to fly under his own power. Spending nine years behind a desk and all of his battles as a sentient bolt of lightning hadn't reminded him of that little fact.
"We're going back too." Louise said.
"I kind of need you to explain a few things to me." Negi said, trying not to sound too ignorant of their customs. He was only used to the kind of magic he was taught (and a bit of eastern magic he'd seen used), so learning something new was interesting. As much as teaching someone something new, or at the very least, close enough that the comparisson was pointless.
She wasn't the most pleasant company he'd ever had, that was for sure. Although he wouldn't ever say so to her face, as he was a gentleman, he really thought she could relax for a minute. The hypocrisy of that statement failed to hit him.
"Another world?" She seemed fairly disbelieving of his tale. Well, he would be, too.
"Yes. Earth." He explained, seeming as patient as ever with her overly demanding attitude. Again, he'd dealt with worse. "So, I assume ending this contract is not easy."
"One of us has to die." Louise explained, sighing as they continued walking. She'd wanted to fly, but for obvious reasons, she'd been denied the chance. Negi couldn't fathom why, however, although the walk across the forest was nice.
It clearly wasn't going to be him who would die. So he just smiled and faced her once again. "Well, about the summoning..."
Louise sighed. "You're a commoner, so I guess I can explain." She took it in stride, apparently she was very well versed into the material that she was talking about. "The summoning determines which type of magic a person will use. Fire, Water, Wind, Earth, and the lost element of 'Void'." Negi frowned slightly. They used far less elements than he did, apparently. Perhaps they qualified more complex elements than the basic ones as composites? It was an interesting idea, even if he could form Ice, Lightning, Darkness and Light untainted by the other elements. "All magic is intimately related to life." Or the taking of it.
But he didn't want to correct her on that one. No need for an idealistic student to be exposed to the harsher truths of the world, not yet, anyway. He didn't want anyone to have to suffer through what he'd had to. Not without a damn good reason.
"And so, magic users are naturally all..." She seemed to pause for dramatic effect. "Nobles!"
He blinked. What kind of culture had he been summoned to that placed mages as the nobility? Admittedly, it was normal for mages to be mild bigots regarding mundanes (although Negi himself could prove them all wrong by simply telling his ministrae to kick the Magic World's collective rear ends), but going to those lengths seemed a bit extreme.
Negi did not take kindly to bigotry. The magical community was guilty of it, as was the mundane society, however, he still couldn't help but note that she didn't seem to have any malice in her when she made the distinction between nobles and commoners. To her, it was just a fact of life that simply was. Not something of novelty. That didn't mean he liked it. But this was another culture. Just as he wouldn't accept people telling him how he should live, he would not tell others how to live... Unless, of course, the right reasons were given.
He noticed that the building she'd been leading him through was a very old fashioned place. All wood and stone. Not a single electrical socket in sight. The technology level of this world was far lower than Earth's, particularly after the advent of Magitek. He did have to admit, however, that her room was exquisitely decorated.
It was only after she'd began undressing that he'd realized something very important. "Um... You bound me to a contract, but you haven't given me a task yet." He was fearing the worst. Summoned demons were often given menial tasks. Although summoning something as powerful as himself for such a thing was... overkill.
"Isn't it obvious? You're my familiar. That means that whatever I order you to do, you should obey like a good dog."
Going from the Director of the ISSDA to familiar was kind of a sharp drop. Being given the same name as he'd often used to annoy Kotaro was worse. His smile faltered the slightest bit.
"Having said that, go wash these for me, okay? Today was tiring."
It was at that moment that Negi began cursing his inability to simply say 'No', as with his cursed luck he set Louise's clothes and undergarments in a small pile. He didn't know where to go, after all, so he guessed he'd ask her next morning. For the moment, he was blessing the experience he'd had. Had this happened a mere nine years ago, he'd been reduced to a flustered mess by the mere presence of the underwear in close proximity to his face. As it was, her petite, under developed body was far away from being capable of flustering him by mere proximity.
So he decided to wait until next morning and instead get himself familiarized with the castle-like dormitory's layout. When she was sleeping, he had to admit she was sorta cute, if in a childish way. People who were at peace often did look better than when they were tense. And it seemed she was having a nice dream, so he just let her sleep.
She had much more tame taste in panties than most of his, ahem, companions, but she still had even less of a nudity taboo than them, it seemed... Well, some of them, anyway. He was entirely certain that Haruna would've had a field day in teaching her the most over the top way to seduce males with her body as it was.
He was kind of on auto pilot as he walked, because he was busier taking in the sights of the dormitory.
"I'm really good preparing Souffle!" Most decidedly the voice of a young female.
"I would love to try it!" A suave, smooth voice replied. Maybe it was just someone trying to be smooth and suave. Most definitely that. Lovers, maybe? Ignoring them both, Negi shoved his hands into his pockets and went about on the most honest imitation of Takamichi he could manage. Because Negi had, through out all of his life, always thought that Takamichi was really cool. Even when he could face Takamichi face to face and come out winning nine times out of ten, he had always thought Takamichi looked cooler than him.
Besides, he didn't have anything else to do with his hands.
"Really?" she sounded hopeful. Overly so.
"Of course, Katie! I cannot tell a lie to your eyes!" If one squinted, the bishie sparkles around the blonde boy's face were almost visible. Negi smiled and walked past them. It was nice to see two people who weren't stuck in a very difficult relationship for a change. Even if it was a bit exaggerated. Ah, to be young and in love... To be young and act like an old man...
"Lord Guiche..!" Okay, that was a bit of an overreaction. The blond boy seemed to be trying too hard, however, and Negi would've smacked him for the overly sappy line. Clearly, he was an amateur.
"There exist no lies in my feelings for you!" Too sappy. "Hey, it's the commoner the Zero summoned." He said, possibly because he hadn't a followup even sappier than that one. Negi hadn't exactly been trying to pass by stealthily, after all. "Aren't you?" Guiche asked, mildly uncertain. In the dimly lit hallway, it wasn't all that easy to tell, even if Negi stuck out like a sore thumb during the day.
"Oh, today was the ceremony, right? It's very important news, even amongst the first years!" The girl commented.
Negi just smiled and nodded his head. "Yes. Now, if you will excuse me..."
Nothing more of note happened that evening. Except Negi getting mildly lost and somehow coming across Ryoga Hibiki. Next reports place him somewhere in the same solar system as Namek. As it was, he decided that he'd better try to get himself acquainted with this new world, and then he'd work on trying to get back home.
There was, after all, much to do, even if currently, time wasn't of the essence, and even if he had been around, trying his best to get a mental image of the place he was in, he still couldn't properly guide himself around. A chance to get fresh air would be much appreciated, nonetheless.
Omake: Because I needed to show that Louise could've gotten a much more overpowered summon!
Louise had asked for a familiar to surpass all others so, of course, she got one that was exactly that. However, she had most decidedly not expected her familiar to break down into thirteen pieces the moment she'd summoned it. Neither had she expected the entity that had seemed by far the most terrifying of the lot of eldritch abominations to remain standing firmly in place.
It seemed to be floating above the ground, it's long, black and crimson cloak billowing even though there was no wind, the chains wrapped around its chest rattling with every bit of movement, clashing against each other. It waved two metallic weapons around, and its head, which was covered in bloodied bandages, only let Louise see one of its eyes. The fact that the eye was perpetually open, as it seemed to be just the organ jammed into the socket, was probably the creepiest parts.
Terrified beyond belief, Louise whimpered as the creature focused on her. She knew not where the knowledge came from, nor did she care. At the moment, all that she cared about was that she was staring at the eye of the Reaper, of the anthropomorphic personification of a metaphysical concept she wasn't entirely acquainted with. And it was staring back.
The Magician didn't go too far. Death caught up easily. The being made of hands could not escape fast enough, and a single, small projectile made of what Louise guessed was brass from its color, pierced through it, gaining its attention. Louise didn't know why she'd been grabbed by the scruff of the neck by her familiar and brought to the ceiling. All things considered, she didn't terribly care, either, for one simple reason.
She was too busy being terrified about it.
The Reaper shot the creature a few more times, until it stopped squirming, and Louise almost gouged her eyes out in the spot, when her familiar began eating the other creature.
The Priestess and the Lovers hadn't gone very far before meeting each other and, as was customary amongst the Major Arcana, they began trying to eat each other.
Louise didn't even bother beginning to complain when her Familiar wrapped a chain around her leg and dragged her off to meet the Arcanas' battleground. She was pleased to note, however, that Death had improved its table manners considerably since the scolding she gave it.
Death took offense at the Water Spirit being something that thought itself beyond Death. Therefore, Death rectified the issue by shooting it.
When that didn't work, Death just shot it some more. Eventually, it began to work.
Kirche shivered. "Remind me to never, ever piss off Louise again." She told Tabitha.
Death looked not entirely satisfied.
"Okay, you can go, just make it quick." Louise said, groaning.
There was a sound that might've been a squeal of joy coming from the reaper, who shot the sky in seeming celebration...
...Only for a Myriad Arrows to rain on the Albion army.
The Survivors thought this was a natural disaster.
Death shot randomly once again.
There were a couple spheres of purple smoke that descended into the gatherings of soldiers.
Megidolaon shook the flying island.
The giant ass dragon faced forward.
Death levelled its revolver at its face. "I know what you're thinking. Did he fire six shots or only five? To tell you the truth, I've lost count myself." It sounded oddly enough like an overly violent policeman. "Seeing as this is the most powerful handgun ever made, you've gotta ask yourself a question."
The dragon roared.
"Do you feel lucky?" The reaper asked.
The dragon roared, again, and tried to breathe fire into Death's face. Its coat was a little singed.
"Well, do ya, punk?"
The reaper squeezed the trigger.
Woah. This took far longer than I thought. Still, I'd like to think this is a fair bit better than the original first chapter. To tell the truth, I wasn't all that happy with how that one turned out, and I thought it was fairly weak. At least my standards are a bit higher, I don't know if the quality has improved, to be honest. Because you are supposta be the judge of that. I can't believe it was easier to write 8600 words than it was to write 4300... Do tell if there are any glaring mistakes, though.
I will work on making my way up to chapter 29. With a bit of work, I'll get there within two months. I'll try to improve the quality of every chapter as I go, but again, it's up to you guys to actually judge them.
Also, in a bit of trivia hilarity, this chapter used to be by far the shortest. Now it's one of the longest!
Again, if anyone is willing to make fanart for me, I'd be in your debt. Anything but mah money!