Sorry it took so long to get this chapter out. I've been busy with other things and school doesn't help either.
Chapter 8: "Are you stalking me?"
It was well into midnight when Henrietta woke up on Louise's bed. The midget's worried face made her glad she has a friend to rely on in times of need. The familiar was missing, no doubt spending the night on the rooftop like he usually does.
"Princess? Are you okay?"
"I—I'm fine, Louise Francoise." Henrietta rubbed her head, feeling the spot where a bump was beginning to form. She vaguely remembered fainting after the rude familiar told her to take her clothes off.
"I'm sorry my familiar has been so rude to you, your majesty! I'll make sure to punish him for this later..."
Henrietta sat up, realizing that the royal palace must be in an uproar. They must have noticed her disappearance by now.
"Louise Francoise, I know this is sudden but, I have an urgent request to make of you and your familiar in secret."
"Ask of us anything your majesty."
"You see, I have decided to marry into a family in Germania—."
"What did you say?! Of all things, to the country of those savage nobles?"
"It can't be helped. To protect our small country of Tristain, we have to form a strong alliance with Germania." A sad smile graced her lips, a smile to bid goodbye to her happiness and freedom.
"Even for our country, to face such hardship is just wrong. A woman must never be deprived of her right to choose her love."
The princess only shook her head. "I am the Princess of Tristain before I am a woman. I don't mind sacrificing myself for my country."
"Please listen. There is one thing I would like to do before all that."
"If there is anything I can do to help, please tell me and I would gladly do it!"
"Thank you, Louise Francoise." She sighed in relief. "There is a certain item I would like you to retrieve."
"Yes. A letter that I sent to Prince Wales of Albion."
"If anyone were to find out about that letter, the marriage will be called off."
"Albion is very politically unstable at the moment and is in a dangerous situation right now. This is why I would like to borrow your and your familiar's strength for this mission. The nobles have started a coup d'etat. And the royal family is about to fall from power... I'm sorry for asking a close friend to do such a thing. But Louise, you're the only one I can ask for such a thing." Henrietta's voice broke, her throat parching up as her tears fell.
Louise gave the princess a hug, cradling her head into her flat chest. The princess broke down into tears, all her composure gone as her feelings burst open. The two girls held each other close, taking comfort in each other's presence.
After a good half hour of crying, the princess wiped her tears, hiccupping as she did so.
"I'm sorry you had to.. hic... witness such a display of weakness."
"Please think nothing of it, princess. I would be a terrible friend if I were to ignore you when you need me the most."
Henrietta looked as if she was about to break down into tears of joy, grateful she has a friend who can sympathize with her.
"Thank you, princess. For telling me your honest feelings and to request from me such an important mission. I could not be happier."
Henrietta beamed and gave Louise another hug.
"Louise... Then will you go for me?"
"Absolutely, your majesty. Anything for you." Louise felt more confident than usual. Although she knows her magic is unstable, she has a familiar that has proven himself to be reliable. Even though he has an abrasive attitude, she knew he was a good person deep inside.
The cool night air did nothing to relieve Accelerator's annoyance as he laid on his back, watching the two moons that lit up the night sky. He had been listening in on the midget and the princess's conversation as they bawled their eyes out.
Why are you avoiding the child, master? I noticed you distancing yourself from her, limiting your contact unless absolutely necessary... The water spirit's cool, whispery voice floated in his mind, further adding to his bad mood
What's it to you? He snarled at it angrily.
It is unsettling.
It has been three months since I came here and I noticed I've been changing. If there is one way to put it, I say I'm starting to get soft.
And is that such a bad thing?
I feel like I'm going insane. In the beginning, all I'm constantly thinking about was to get back to Academy City to kill Kihara and save Last Order but now I'm starting to feel like I should stay in this shitty excuse for a world. Goddamit! I'm even starting to get attached to that midget!
Resisting the change will only cause you pain and misery. Wasn't it also one of your goals to become a better person when you first came to this world? It's perfectly fine to have fun.
Tch. That's disturbing.
What did you think of the princess and your master's conversation just now?
If it was me, I'd invade the other countries. That way, all threats will be eliminated.
Not everyone is strong like you are. Humans, being the weak creatures that they are, always form collective groups in order to boost up their safety. Political marriages are part of this system. It's not their fault they're weak.
Tch, not my problem.
Oh, but it is. If you were to lose Louise, you would have no right to exist in this world. Unlike in a normal summoning, a contract was formed between the three of you. Violating its terms would render the contract void and your only chance of redemption will disappear along with it.
The three of us?
The contract between you, Louise, and the Boss of Hell. By becoming the familiar of Louise, you have been granted temporary protection from your fate. Your destiny has been entwined with hers and only death shall separate you. The Boss of Hell recognized this and that's why it hasn't sent out its minions to try and recover your soul. However, if either one of you dies, the other's fate shall be sealed, mirroring the other's. In short, if you have not attained redemption by the time you or Louise dies, both your souls will go to hell.
Accelerator gritted his teeth. Is that why I'm changing?
That is partly due to the contract, yes. It's trying to help you out by molding your character into something more compatible with Louise.
Anger washed through Accelerator in smothering waves. He had been manipulated all his life and just when he thought he was finally free, this is what he gets? Another situation where all he could do was play along like some puppet to do the bidding of a flat chested midget?
You owe Louise. She's the reason you even get this chance to set things right in the first place. She holds great potential that if honed properly, could grow powerful enough to bridge two worlds.
Accelerator thought long and hard, weighing the advantages and disadvantages. If he were to allow himself to go through this, who was to say he wouldn't be the same person in the end? Would he change so much that he wouldn't even be able to lift a finger to harm others? Would he get so soft that he would actually give love a try? He snorted at that. He didn't believe such a thing existed, having never felt the emotion, himself. But with such things as magic involved, anything could happen. Allowing himself to get caught up in the machinations of fate might produce catastrophic results.
On the other hand, this is his last chance to live and die without regrets. If he wasted this opportunity, he knew he'd regret it bitterly in the chambers of eternal damnation.
I get it, I get it. I just have to protect the midget, right? But let me tell you now, if you think I'll just sit by and let myself turn into a wimp, then you got another thing coming.
"Oi, oi. Who the hell told you I'm going?" Accelerator demanded, giving the pink haired midget his most evil glare.
Louise flinched and backed off a step instinctively before regaining her composure and glaring back at her familiar. Red splotches dotted her cheeks as she blushed in anger.
"You're my familiar so it's only proper for you to accompany your master on her mission!" She huffed indignantly. "And besides, I already promised the princess I'd do it."
"That's your problem. Whether I choose to help you or not is up to me and if you think you can treat me like I'm your property, I'd make sure you learn your place… painfully."
Louise suppressed a shiver and stood her ground. Accelerator's killing intent hung heavy in the air, weighing down on Louise like a heavy, suffocating mantle. It was all she could do to stay on her feet but she still held her head up high in defiance, the pride of a Valliere gleaming in her eyes.
Well at least she's got some balls…
"You are my familiar and you shall do as I s—!"
Louise's eyes widened in fear as thin, pale fingers clamped her mouth shut, the nails digging painfully into her cheeks. Cold fury twisted her familiar's features, his mouth set in a vicious snarl.
"Get out of my sight." He hissed into her ear, sending shivers down her spine as she crumpled onto the floor, her doll-like figure shaking. She struggled to her feet and broke into a run, blinking back her tears.
"That was quite harsh of you, Mr. Familiar."
Accelerator forced himself not to jump at the sudden voice. How the hell does she do that?
"I heard there was a law that eavesdroppers lose their ears."
The maid giggled. "That was repealed a decade ago. Too many nobles lost their ears because of it."
He eyed her warily. "What do you want?"
"Oh I was planning on going back to Tarbes to visit my family and was wondering if you would like to come along."
"Don't waste your breath." Accelerator said, walking away.
There was work to be done.
Louise jumped into her bed as soon as she slammed the door shut behind her. She immediately buried her face in her pillow, moaning pitifully as she soaked it in her tears.
He's scary…*sobs* how can he be so cold… and cruel…? What an ungrateful familiar! I was a fool for thinking he'd understand… Just you watch! I don't need you anyway! I'll complete this mission myself!
The dew still lingered on the leaves when Louise started out the next day. She was wearing a heavy cloak with a hood that hid her face and on her ring finger was the Ruby of Water, the item that would identify her to the Prince Wales of Albion.
"You look awful. Didn't get much sleep?" Agnes asked, pulling her own horse behind her.
Agnes gave her a suspicious look before mounting her horse and waited for Louise to do the same. Henrietta had told her to guide Louise on her journey to Albion. She didn't like the midget much but her familiar was worth her interest. She had seen many men in her life but his enigmatic figure excited her like no other. She couldn't wait to cross swords with him.
Louise idled for a few more minutes, hoping by some miracle that her familiar would come rushing down to go with her or at least see her off on her journey. When he didn't appear after ten minutes, she sighed in resignation and went off with a heavy heart.
Up on his perch in the school's spire, the lone, white haired figure took a vicious bite from the blood red apple in his hands, loudly crunching the fruit in between his teeth.
The hell is this pain? It's like my heart's being ripped out!
It's a compulsion effect. It will only intensify the longer you're not around her.
Accelerator clutched his chest and gasped for air. The pain was nothing he couldn't handle. He had experienced worse in his life but this one was particularly annoying. It dulled his senses, slowing his reaction time, and worse, decreasing his calculation ability. He sat still and took deep breaths, forcing his neural network to ignore any signals of pain coming from his chest. After he had subdued the pain, he pulled on a black cloak and jumped off the spire, shooting off into the forest, opposite of where Louise went to.
Guiche rubbed his eyes as he yawned himself into wakefulness. Nothing seemed to be going right recently but looking at the peaceful sleeping face of Montmorency every morning seemed to wash away his worries. He lightly kissed her on the cheek, lips barely brushing past his favorite freckle. She muttered in her sleep but didn't wake.
Smiling slightly, he shed his night clothes and dressed, admiring his features on the mirror. He had no doubt that it would be another boring but joyous day.
Knock. Knock. Knock.
"Mr. Gramont, may I please come in?"
Without waiting for a response, his door slammed open, revealing the dark haired maid. Her smile didn't reach her eyes as her gaze swept the room, settling on the sleeping blonde in his bed.
A faint sneer touched her lips. "I have a job for you."
"All buildings here in La Rochelle were made out of a single boulder by a bunch of square class earth mages." Agnes explained, pointing at the holes in the side of a mountain where people were coming in and out of. "Just about the only useful thing that the nobles actually did." She spat.
Louise nodded distractedly, a lost expression on her face. Agnes spun her to face her, giving her a stern look.
"Enough." She said in an icy tone. "I won't have you compromising the success of this mission. If there's something bothering you, spit it out. Where's your familiar anyway? You should have brought him along. You never know what could happen so it's better to have more strong allies on your side."
"Who cares about that dog?!" Louise screeched. "I can complete this mission myself!"
"Arrogance will lead you to your death." Agnes admonished. She stalked off cursing the stupidity of nobles.
Mixed emotions welled up within Louise. Underneath the strong façade, she was every bit worried and frightened. Unlike the other life threatening ordeals she faced so far, she was on her own. There was no familiar to crush down all threats with a brutal fist.
She angrily pushed off all these thoughts. There was nothing she could do about these worries at the moment. She had learned long ago that thinking about matters you can't do anything about is just a waste of time. You just had bear with it and trudge forward.
A small smile touched her lips. Now how should I punish the ungrateful dog when I get back?
The prisoner stared at the glum, gray walls of her cell in boredom. While it was true that prison was the safest place for her to be at the moment, it did little to reassure her that her former employer wouldn't seek her out in this place. The man doesn't tolerate failure and she was lucky enough to have escaped with her life. If she had resisted the arrest and crawled back to him with nothing, she would no doubt be ripped to pieces by now. She suppressed a shudder. Those walking pieces of blasphemy were scarily vicious. While most retain sanity after the reanimation of the corpse, there were some that were overwhelmed by their animalistic instincts. Cromwell enjoyed setting these ones loose on those who defied him, often making a showy display to others. Letting the opposition see their family members being eaten alive in front of them had quite a powerful effect.
Fouquet knew the man had his sights on the orphanage that her friend managed back in Westwood Village. His beasts preferred young, tender meat. Where else would be a better place to obtain such things than an orphanage?
A fire lit up within her. She had to get out of this place. Now that she's failed, Cromwell would no doubt be preparing to attack her home. There was no time to be wasting away in prison. No matter how scared she was of Cromwell, she had a duty to her friend. She had to protect her, or at least hide her from the evil, evil bastard.
Her thoughts were interrupted by the clicks of a key opening her cell. She squinted against the bright light of the lamp that the figure was holding. As her eyes adjusted to the light, she saw that it was a boy, one of Tristain Academy's many students. What's someone like him doing here?
The boy flicked his blonde hair and gave her a charming smile.
"The maid has a job for you."
Accelerator felt the midget's anxiety through the link. It looked like she's safe for now. Since she's with the captain of the Musketeer Corps, he felt she would be safer there than with him. After all, she was only going into a foreign country in civil war. It was nothing big. On the other hand, he was about to raid the lair of the undead.
"Hey partner. Do you mind if I ask why you were so cold to the flat chest this morning? The way she ran off crying almost makes me feel bad for her, you know."
Accelerator kept his stoic expression and said nothing.
He had trudged on for nearly an hour, following the water spirit's directions. She had pointed to the northeast, following the dirty trail of dark magic left behind by the spirit that escaped from Wardes. If his hunch was right, the trail would lead to the base where the same sorts of creatures were kept.
He trekked for another hour before finding a cave to rest in. The sun was already setting by then and exploring the village would have to wait until the next day. No matter how strong he was, he wouldn't make the same mistake of underestimating his opponent twice. He had learned the hard way the even the weakest looking spiky haired idiot can be full of surprises. As such, he didn't want to go against undying monstrosities without the light of day. Superstitions about how dark creatures gain power at night were pretty famous among the gossipers in Academy City. He thought they were just a bunch of bullshit back then but now that the impossible had happened to him, he just didn't want to take that risk.
The cave stretched on for many meters, its dark depths as inviting as a giant's maw. Accelerator headed in, curious as to how far the cave stretched. He lit up a dead branch to use as a torch, passing its flames over the walls. Random doodles and scribbles he didn't understand littered the damp surface. People must have used this place as a hiding place before, meaning he wasn't the only one to know about the place. He would have to finish his job quick before anyone was to find him.
A metal door stood at the end of the cave. Rust covered its hinges, making it grate against itself as Accelerator forced it open. In the large cavernous room beyond it was the literally the biggest surprise he's ever had since arriving in Halkeginia. He walked up to it, running hid hand along its gray metal side. He had seen this particular model before but only in pictures. They became obsolete very fast as the rest of the world was caught up in the technology race and tried to improve their flying machines. Academy City had set a standard for the ultimate fighter plane to ever rip against the skies and the rest of the world powers tried to create a match for it, only to fail horribly.
"Fascinating isn't it?" The familiar voice came out of nowhere, making him jump. He narrowed his eyes, making out the silhouette of the maid (now wearing casual farm clothes) emerging from the darkness. Her smiling face looked very out of place in the dimly lit cavern. "My great grandfather called it the dragon's raiment. My grandfather used to tell us stories of how one could use it to fly. The other villagers treated him as a senile old fool of course. Though sometimes I wonder if he really was as crazy as they say. What do you think, Mr. Familiar?"
"Are you stalking me?" He growled.
Siesta chuckled. "While I do find you to be good looking, I do not have the time to be pursuing such interests. Now let me ask you, are you stalking me?"
Accelerator snorted. "Like hell."
"But I told you I was going home to Tarbes and here you are. If you wanted to come along, you didn't have to be so shy about it, you know."
Accelerator mentally face palmed.
Where are we?
We are in the outskirts of the village of Tarbes.
Why didn't you tell me our location? Dammit! How're we going to move around with this one stuck on our ass? If her village is the lair of those monsters I'm sure she won't just let us burn it to the ground.
You never asked.
Accelerator bit back a retort and eyed the plane with a more critical eye. It was outdated and obsolete, yes, but back when it was the most dominant air superiority fighter of its time. In a world where houses don't even have a plumbing system, the plane was probably the most advanced thing in existence.
"How did this get here?"
Siesta thought for a moment, trying to decide the best way to explain. "I don't know the details but my grandpa told me his father was on a mission in a foreign country when he had an accident. He said his dad was a…piton? Or was it pildon?" She cupped her chin in thought.
"It's pilot." Accelerator sighed. He's not making any progress here. The plane was an enigma but was not a pressing matter at the moment. Still, the fighter plane held untold potential. Having access to such an old, yet overkill weapon might prove advantageous in the future. He followed Siesta out of the cavern through another set of gigantic metal doors large enough for the plane to go through.
"An F-22 Raptor huh. Tch. I guess it's better than nothing."
"Everyone went off on an adventure and I didn't get invited! How mean!" The red head whined, her chest bouncing slightly as crossed her arms and pouted.
Mr. Colbert sighed and paused from waxing his bald pate. Its signature shine was almost dazzling even in the candle lit room.
"Ms. Zerbst, while I did say I was always available to talk to anytime a student has a problem, would you please refrain from coming to my office for every little thing?"
"Shiny." The blue haired midget looked up briefly from her book to comment before resuming.
"Thank you for the compliment, Ms. Tabitha." Colbert said dryly, patting his head in front of the mirror.
"Come on Tabitha, we shouldn't be the only ones left out! We should go on an adventure too!" Kirche pleaded, wrapping her arms around the midget's shoulders from behind. Tabitha kept reading, seemingly oblivious to the red head's attempts at crushing her melons against her back.
"Ah right, you won't move unless I give a logical explanation right? Hmmm… I know! We should go follow Louise. It is worrying that she went off somewhere without her familiar and you know how she always have a knack for getting in trouble, right? We should be there in case something happens!"
Tabitha nodded once and closed her book. She opened the window and whistled. A moment later, the majestic form of her dragon appeared, warbling out a tune as it approached.
"Bye, my beloved!" Kirche waved to the bald man as she got on the dragon, just behind Tabitha.
"Ms. Zerbst, can't this wait until the morning? It's dangerous to fly around at night, not to mention you didn't prepare anything at all for your journey."
Kirche rolled her eyes. "We'll be fine. If my hunch is right, Zero is getting herself caught up in something dangerous again. We can't afford to waste any time."
Colbert snorted. "That's just an excuse."
Kirche smiled. "Ah you know me too well, my beloved." She laughed and with a wave, the dragon was off, heading towards the distant horizon.
Colbert rubbed his head. So many complications were popping up and compromising the success of the plan. He just hoped Siesta accomplished her mission properly. While it left a bitter taste in his mouth to keep relying on the maid, he knew she was the only one capable enough to employ. Still, with the world's fate at stake, a man's go to do what a man's got to do.
Louise was in a city of lights. The bright luminance of the streets was completely alien to her and the feel of the city itself was disconcerting. A voice in the sky announced the weather, making her jump. She looked around and found her familiar sitting on top of a particularly tall building, gazing at the people below she reached out to him and found herself floating in his direction, reaching him slowly. He had a scary look on his face. She knew that look, having seen it many times herself.
It was of a predator stalking a prey.
She followed his gaze and landed her sights on a girl with short, brown hair walking alongside a young man with spiky, black hair. The two seemed to be conversing but she couldn't make out the words. The young man was carrying a black kitten in his arms. He tossed the kitten to the girl before he went into a… store?
Suddenly, her familiar jumped down, rushing through the fall at an inhuman speed before landing lightly on his feet. He approached the girl from behind with a sadistic smile on his face. The girl noticed his presence and set the cat down gently onto the ground before looking back at him with a stoic expression. Her eyes expressed no emotion, bearing a resemblance to those of a dead fish's. She dashed off into a deserted alley, putting on her goggles at the same time she pulled out a rifle hidden inside a trash bin. Without hesitation, she aimed at the pursuing white haired monster and pulled the trigger.
Loud explosions rang through the air but the bullets completely missed their target. Accelerator appeared directly in front of the girl, laughing manically before delivering a bone crushing kick to her stomach, sending her flying. She hit the opposite wall before sliding down into a crumpled heap on the ground.
Louise shook with fear for the girl. The brutality of her familiar was known to her but this was on a whole different level. It was unrestrained violence. The girl struggled to get up, only to find herself once again flying from a heavy blow to the ribs. Accelerator looked down on her with a sadistic grin, white teeth flashing dangerously in the last rays of the sun.
"Now, question. Who comes to mind when they ask who the strongest level 5 in Academy City is?"
The girl struggled to get up and broke into a run, clutching her sides while keeping her weapon close to her chest. She took of her shoes without breaking her stride, huffing for air.
"Why're you running?" Accelerator drawled. "Flashing your ass so joyfully at me like that… you tryin' to lead me on or something?"
The girl turned around and opened fire, the bullets hitting Accelerator all over his body. To Louise's horror, the bullets bounced back, peppering the brown haired girl. Blood gushed down her body as she fell to the ground. Accelerator approached her calmly, his ever sadistic grin never leaving his face.
"Now question, what am I, the Accelerator, doing exactly?"
The girl turned on her back, firing off another shot at his head. The girl barely had time to use the butt of her rifle to block the bullet after it bounced back, turning to her side as she did so. She threw her weapon in desperation, only to have it shatter before hitting Accelerator. She broke off into mad dash for survival, trying to stem the bleeding of her bullet wounds as she did so.
Louise followed the girl as she turned a corner. Much to her shock, blue lightning seemed to gather at the girl's hand, crackling in the air as it soared to Accelerator. Confused as Louise was, she knew this type of attack wouldn't even faze her familiar. True enough, he just sent it back to the girl. Her screams of pain echoed in the tight walls of the alley but no one seemed to hear. Louise wanted to help the girl. If this went on, she knew the girl will surely lose her life. She looked around desperately, trying to find a way to intervene. To her dismay, her hands went through her familiar, unable to grasp at anything in this world.
"Reflecting." The girl answered.
"Sorry, that's not quite the true nature of my skill. The answer is vector change. Momentum, heat, electric charge… all types of vectors can be changed by mere contact with my skin. I do have it set on reflect as default though." He kneeled down on the girl. "Now, time for the consolation prize question." He stabbed his finger on a bullet hole, causing the girl's face to twist in pain. "I am now touching the flow of blood. If I reversed the direction of the flow, what would happen to the human body?"
The girl looked back at him wide eyed terror. "A correct answer will grant you a peaceful slumber." The grin spread wider, sealing the girl's fate.
"No! Don't do it!" Louise screamed. But it was hopeless. Blood splattered all over the walls and concrete, splashing through Louise as she looked on in terror as realization hit her of what her familiar is.
Louise sat up in her bed, gasping for air. Agnes was lightly snoring on the other bunk, her hand resting on her sword's hilt. Louise thought back to her dream. While she didn't understand most of it, she did realize one thing. Her familiar is a murderer.
Agnes tossed the bag of gold into the air, deftly bouncing it on her palm. It was a three hour ride from the mainland to the floating island of Albion. The night before was peaceful enough, though the midget kept talking in her sleep, keeping Agnes awake for most of the night.
The ship ride the next day went by smoothly as well. She had stashed her armor and uniform in a trunk and was wearing casual clothing to blend in to the crowd. Her weapons, however, stay hidden underneath her cloak, ready for battle. Louise spent the time in the ship thinking quietly in her room with her face in her pillow, not that Agnes cared much. She made such a killing, gambling with the other passengers. Since she wasn't getting paid for this side mission, she thought she might as well take advantage of the situation.
She sighed and put the money away, striding over to the window. Albion could be seen in the distance, its tall mountains shrouded in thin, white clouds. The island itself was covered in the early morning mist, giving it an almost mystical feel.
The ship landed and the two of them disembarked, heading to the place that the princess said the prince of Albion would be.
"A church?" Agnes looked at the small, white building skeptically.
Louise led the way, opening the double oak doors with a bit of difficulty. They walked inside, their footsteps echoing loudly in the cold, marble floor.
"There's nobody here." Louise said worriedly. Agnes looked around, taking in all the little details of the church. She felt a bit of foreboding as she realized there was only one exit. If this was a trap, there would only be one way out.
Suddenly, armored guards stepped out from behind the pillars, surrounding the two. Agnes had her rapier in her hand in an instant, shielding Louise behind her. More people in armor filled the room, sealing off all possible ways of escape.
"State your business." Came the curt order from the leader of the group. Louise grabbed the back of Agnes' cloak, hiding herself from the imposing figure.
"I have with me an Ambassador from Tristain, here one special order from her majesty, Princess Henrietta herself. This is Ambassador de la Valliere. We request an audience with the Prince Wales." Louise poked her head out for a brief moment before deciding it was safe and bowing to the man in front of her.
"Messenger from Tristain? You should have come up with a better lie. The princess wouldn't give this location to just anybody." He pointed his sword at Agnes. The captain of the musketeer corps eyes the sword wand with distaste but kept her ground. Louise stepped up in desperation before the situation could turn for the worse.
"It's true! Princess Henrietta sent me on this very important mission to retrieve an item. I have no business with you. Where is the prince?" She flashed the ring on her finger in front of his face.
"That ring is…" The man stepped back and sheathed his sword. He took off his glove and revealed a similar ring. "Come." Louise stepped forward and brought forth her own ring. As soon as the two reached within close proximity, a dazzling rainbow glow burst from the link between them.
"This ring has been passed down the Albion royalty, the Wind Ruby. And that, is the Water Ruby. Water and wind create rainbows; rainbows placed over royalty." He took off his helmet revealing blonde hair and blue eyes. Louise gasped. "Y—you're…"
He smiled down at her flabbergasted expression. "Excuse me, Ms. Ambassador. I am the crown prince of Albion, Wales Tudor."
Agnes stood guard outside the room while the midget and the prince conversed about their business. Wales had cast a spell of air, preventing any sound from leaving the room. Curious as Agnes was, she knew it was not her place to intrude upon such private matters. The princess and the prince were cousins and had played together when they were young. Their relationship was more than friends, Agnes could tell. The princess wouldn't have sent Louise on this mission otherwise.
Her thoughts were interrupted by the sound of metal greaves tapping on the stone floor. Two guards were approaching in the distance, their helmeted faces showing no emotion. Agnes had a bad feeling about this whole thing. The guards were giving off a bad vibe and she knew from experience that this meant these men were dangerous. She fingered the hilt of her blade, her body coiled to spring into motion at the slightest bit of a threat.
The two guards reached her and nodded to her in greeting before knocking on the door. When no answer came from within, they nodded to each other and in one swift motion, drew their blades. Before Agnes could draw her own blade, a blindingly fast slash ripped across her front, drawing a thin line of blood from her left shoulder to her right hip. Only her reflexes saved her from instant death.
Agnes didn't waste her breath in asking foolish questions and immediately returned the attack. Her rapier flashed in a mad rush of death. The two guards were big but less skilled than her. However, they made up what they lacked in skill with raw power, pushing her back with vicious strikes. There was no room to maneuver in the narrow hallway and the repeatedly deadly blows wore down on Agnes' stamina. She had to find an opening…and fast.
She ducked under the next two wide swings meant to cut her in half and rolled in between their legs, deftly slashing at the small area in between the armored legs and chopping off the leg. The guard howled in pain and fell to one knee while its partner attacked more furiously than before. Agnes ran as fast as she could, drawing her musket from her back and loading it with a small explosive as she went. The guard was steadily gaining on her despite its heavy armor. When the distance between them closed to only a meter, Agnes jumped, soaring above the guard's head and aiming the musket point blank at the back of his neck.
The loud explosion echoed in the dark corridor, reverberating through the walls. The guard fell forward, missing its head. Spurts of blood gushed out like a waterfall from the gaping neck. Agnes quickly went over to the other guard and decapitated it also as it swung its large sword at her.
She flicked the blood off her blade and went back to the door. Despite the noise of battle, there was still no response from within. She cursed the stupidity of the prince. Making sure no one can eavesdrop is fine and all but it's downright foolish to lock yourself in a room without any idea of what's going on outside. She knocked on the door with more urgency but to no avail. More guards would be coming soon and if her hunch was right, they would be tougher than these.
There was a sudden rush of air and Agnes quickly ducked, barely saving herself from losing her head. Black mist was oozing out of the decapitated guards, covering their armored bodies in a veil of darkness. They popped their head back on and with a roar, charged at her with the fury of a storm.
"What the hell are you?!" Agnes couldn't help but screech at undead bodies determined to dismember her with renewed vigor. Their attacks were faster than before, the large blades hummed in the air as they cut through the air at incredible speeds. It was all Agnes could do to defend herself, much less return the attack. She twisted her body to avoid simultaneous strikes to her neck and waist, thrusting with her rapier as she did so. The strong, thin blade pierced through the armor and stabbed the heart, stunning the guard for one second before it grabbed her arm and effortlessly tossed her against the wall. Without breaking its grip, Agnes was swung back and forth from one wall to the other like a doll. The loud cracking of bones echoed in the hallway. Blood spilled from a cut in her head, dyeing her blonde hair in crimson and making their way to her eyes. Her vision dimmed as the blood washed her eyes in red, obscuring everything. The guard threw her into a far wall in a large burst of strength. Agnes coughed up blood as her ribs dug into her lungs and stomach, piercing them.
The two guards were instantly on her, their swords raised to end her life.
Is this how I die? Unable to even be of the slightest service to my country?
She blinked back the blood in her eyes, focusing her defiant gaze upon her enemies. The large blades glinted in the torch lit hallway and swung down in a merciless arc.
Agnes struggled to sit up but only fell back down in pain. The sound of approaching footsteps filled the air.
"I'll need this one alive." The voice said. "Capture the prince and the descendant of the void at once!"
The guards quickly went to the door as more and more guards filled the hallway, each one mortally injured in one way or another but was somehow still alive. In front were soldiers covered in darkness while in the back were the Prince's guards. A tall man with long blonde hair led the group, the ring on his finger glowing a sickly shade of purple. He approached Agnes and crouched down in front of her. The ring glowed brighter as it neared her face.
The last thing she saw before she lost consciousness was the soldiers breaking down the doors to the prince and the midget's room. Screams filled the air, followed by a deathly silence.