Looking at his master from across the table, Georgius found her posture and the air around her very tense. He supposed that it was understandable given how things ended between them last night, but he had been hoping that she has cooled down somewhat after sleeping. He had spent the night in a spare bed the servant quarters, and returned to his master's door at dawn and waited with her laundry. When Louise exited the room and found him standing there, she looked like there was a good deal she wanted to say to him (most likely at a volume that indicated displeasure), but she had strangely held her tongue. She then gave him a few curt instructions to put away her cloths and to meet her in one of the courts after breakfast. Apparently the day was supposed to be spent by her class getting to know the familiars they summoned.
Which now led to his current situation, sitting at a table in a courtyard with his master and a very uncomfortable silence between them. It seemed that he would have to be the first to reach out. "It there something you would like me to do, master?" He offered.
"I'd like for you to be a real familiar, Founder damn it!" She yelled, the floodgates now open. "I'd like for you do what I tell you to do, not to say 'no' and then treat your due punishment like, like it was nothing! I'd like for you to be my first actual success!"
Georgius titled his head to the side slightly. "I'm afraid I don't understand what you mean by that."
"I mean that you're just a common soldier! That's hardly something to be proud of! A familiar represents a mage's power as well as there alignment, and you're just more proof that I have neither!"
The man leaned back at this, surprised and somewhat stunned by this. This was why she was so upset? She had made mention of it back in the infirmary, but he had not given it too much thought then. Granted, he could understand that he was not as ostensibly impressive as some of the other magical creatures that were summoned (the dragon had come to mind), but still. "I think that you are selling yourself short, my master."
"Don't patronize me!" she snapped.
Georgius was about to respond when a new voice interrupted. "Miss Françoise, you are supposed to be using this time to get closer to your familiar, not to yell at him." The two turned their heads to see Professor Colbert approaching their table, his staff in one hand and some books and paper rolled up under his other arm.
Louise gave a small start and looked off the side, mildly embarrassed for being seen so unbecoming in front of a professor. "I-It was his fault…" she muttered. "He was being disobedient. Familiars are supposed to do whatever their master says!"
"While that may be true of normal familiars, I am afraid that I must remain an exception for reasons that I have already mentioned." The soldier replied. "Your geas is insufficient to make me do otherwise."
"Geas?" the professor asked with some confusion. "What do you mean?" Louise seemed to be equally confused by his statement.
"…The one that was put on me when she marked me yesterday." He said, now becoming as confused as the other two. "You know, the mental compulsion to obey the one who had given the mark." In truth, Georgius had not given his branding as much thought as he likely should have, though to be fair being brought back from the dead gave him a lot to think about. While he had noticed the compulsion immediately, he had set the matter to the side until he had time to learn more about the situation he had found himself in, and once he realize that the mark was never meant to be used on humans, had decided to let the matter go for the time being. After all, the geas would not sway him; his faith was too strong. "Of course, I would prefer it if you removed it as soon as possible."
Colbert looked at him in thought for a moment before his eyes widened in realization. "Of course! The Familiar Contract Obligation theory! Mages have been wondering for years just why normally wild and violent animals have become docile upon the contract, but no one has been able to prove anything! But since you're a human, this can lead to a breakthrough because that means you can help us analyze the… compulsion on a… fully sentient… oh dear…" the man trailed of, his academic excitement failing upon realizing just how morally dubious the situation actually was. He pulled himself up with an apologetic expression "Sir Georgius, I must apologies profusely for the situation you are now in. I would not have allowed the contract had I know that this was the case. Magic that affects the mind in such a manner is very illegal in Halkeginia."
As these words, Lousie turned white as she realized that she was one who cast this very illegal magic in the first place. "Oh Founder mother is going to kill me…" she muttered over and over again, rocking back and forth slightly.
Georgius spared at glance at the girl. He was starting to get the impression that Louise's mother was a rather stern woman. "I would not worry about it. No one knew before hand and I am suffering no ill effect from it."
"Indeed Louise," the professor agreed. "It is a sacred ceremony that has been preformed for thousands of years. You are not going to be blamed for something you could not have possibly predicted." The pink haired woman breathed out a sigh of relief at this, and Colbert continued. "In any case Georgius, I am afraid that it cannot be removed. Any such magic will be bound within the runes themselves. Normally I would not even consider trying to remove them, as since they were created by the Founder Brimir, such an act would be tantamount to blasphemy. Still even in this case, I am afraid that no one has the knowledge of how to accomplish such a thing." He paused for a moment before a thought occurred to him. "Ah, before I forget, may I see your familiar runes?"
The soldier was a little surprised at this request, but nodded and removed his gauntlet, offering his left hand to the professor to look it over. While Colbert put his books and such down on the table and began to excitedly look over the markings, Georgius turned back to Louise. "You see? You managed to cast a permanent geas on me. No small feat if I do say so myself."
Louise shifted uncomfortably at the praise. "Yeah, well, you said it's not even really affecting you, so how is that a success?"
Georgius gave a sigh. "If that does not satisfy you, then how about how you summoned me in the first place?"
Her frown deepened. "Familiar, if you go spouting that nonsense about-"
"Ah, no, not that." The man said quickly. "What I meant was that you summoned me from farther away than I believe any of you're classmates accomplished."
"Really. And just how far away is that?" she asked flatly.
"Enough that there is only on moon in the sky rather than two."
"Really?!" Colbert exclaimed, looking up from Georgius's hand. "I've never heard of a place where only one moon is visible!"
Louise on the other hand was more skeptical. "One moon? That is absurd. How would the tides work?"
Georgius blinked, not quite sure how to respond to that. "Differently, I would imagine. In any case, considering the differences between my home and this place, I have come to the conclusion that I have been summoned from beyond the Fey Lands."
The soldier frowned. He wasn't that surprised that the maid did not know what he was taking about, but he would have thought that mages here would have known of the land where fairies dwelled. "It is a land separate from our own where spirits and fairies dwell. My knowledge of it is limited, but I do know that that it boarders the normal world. In light of current events, it may be possible that it boarders several."
"That is an… interesting theory." The professor said, rubbing his chin in thought.
Again, Louise was not convinced. She gave a sigh. "That is very fanciful, but it is still absurd. I refuse to believe such nonsense without proof."
Georgius gave another sigh. "You are a rather difficult master to please. I assure you that everything I say is the truth. I would like to have a talk with you about faith later, but for the moment there is still one thing which I can use as proof of your skill." He looked between the two mages present. "You have both been speaking Tristainian since this conversation has started."
The two looked at each other before looking back at him. "Yes… what's your point?" Louise asked.
"I do not speak that language."
Louise opened her mouth to say something before she paused and blinked. "Wait, you're right. How have you been following the conversation?"
"It would seem that there has been an enchantment placed on me which allows me to understand it. This is most likely a delayed effect from the summoning, or perhaps a result of whatever spell you tried to cast on me last night." Georgius had give some thought to this newfound ability of his last night, and realized that it had taken effect after the incident he had with his master. "After I left your room, I was perfectly able to converse with one of the maids I had found."
His master shifted awkwardly. "It was supposed to be a silence spell…" she said with some embarrassment.
The soldier raised an eyebrow at this before saying slowly "So, in your attempt to still my tongue, you instead gave me the ability to comprehend unknown languages? That… is the most spectacular failure I have every seen."
Louise's face flushed more, but whatever she might have had to say on the subject was swept to the side by Professor Colbert's sudden enthusiasm. "Really?! You can cast such magic, Miss Françoise?" He leaned in very close to the pink haired woman, causing her to lean back in surprise as the man continued. "I have never even heard of such magic before! Why, such a spell could completely change the field of historical research, not to mention diplomatic relations! Do you think you could do it again?"
Louise was surprised by this, and the blush remained on her face, though Georgius suspected it was for a different reason now. "I, uh, I think. But I'm not sure-"
She was cut off by more rambling on the part of professor, mostly speculation interspersed with praise for the young mage and her accomplishment. The soldier did not fail to notice the small smile beginning to work its way onto Louise's face. Georgius felt a small amount of pleasure for his part in assuring his master's self-worth.
Eventually Colbert's rant came to a head when he said "And of course this explains so much for early civilization. Birmir would have had a massive advantage in uniting the scattered tribes of humanity if he could-" he suddenly cut himself off, his face paling as if he had said something that he shouldn't have. "I, uh, I mean… I have to go now! Thank you for your time!" and with that he grabbed his things and quickly ran off.
Georgius and Louise looked after him confused for a moment before the younger of the two jumped to her feet with a start and ran after him. "Wait! Tell me more about how I cast impressive and useful magic!"
Georgius looked after the two with a small amount amusement before settling back in his chair and sipping some tea. It was quite good, so he decided to take the brief moment of respite to enjoy himself.
The moment was not to last though, as only a few minutes later he noticed a commotion occurring on the other side of the courtyard. He briefly contemplated whether or not to investigate, but the voices he heard sounded heated and angry. Given that this was a school filled with adolescents capable of wielding magic, there was a good chance that someone would get hurt if shouting turned to violence, likely someone not even involved. He got up from the table and walked over to the source of the noise, around which a small crowd was forming. He gently pushed his way to the front, but as he was taller than most of the teens there, he could see a pair of female students yelling angrily at a male student, who was trying in vain to placate them.
It was pretty clear what it looked like, but Georgius decided to ask before he jumped to conclusions. "Excuse me," he asked a student he was standing next to. "but what is going on here?"
"Hm? Oh, it looks like Guiche here got caught two timing with Montmorency and Katie. Honestly, I'm surprised it's taken this long before the man got caught doing something like this."
Georgius gave a disappointed sigh at the predictable outcome. Oh to be young and male. It was hardly surprising all things considered. Despite his disapproval of the practice, many of the nobility back in the Roman Empire had… arrangements outside the bonds of marriage. However it seemed that was not the case in this land, or if it was, the blonde haired boy in the ruffled shirt had handled the situation very poorly.
"How could you cheat on me! Again!" The blonde haired girl with hair ringlets shrieked at him.
"I-I thought you cared for me!" The brown haired girl said in a half sob.
"BASTARD!" Both yelled out as they simultaneously slapped him across the face and stormed off.
Guiche was knocked on his rear end by the force of the two strikes and sat there dumbly for a moment. Georgius guessed by the look on his face that this was the first time his actions had ever caught up to him like this. In that case, while the event was a little painful, there would be a good chance that he would realize how he could hurt other people by acting selfishly, and help him grow as a person.
Unfortunately, Georgius's wishful thinking turned out to be only just that when the boy pulled himself to his feet, and turned to a member of the crowd, anger clear on his face and in his voice. "You! This is your fault!"
The soldier turned his head to see who he was talking to, and became alarmed when he saw that it was Siesta, clutching a sliver tray to her chest like a shield and tears threatening to leave her eyes. "I-I'm sorry, I was just t-trying to return the vial you dropped-"
"I told you it wasn't mine!" He yelled. "If you have simply listened to you better and walked away, two beautiful maidens would not be in tears! I will have your job for this!"
That would simply not do.
"Now, I am sure that will not be necessary." Georgius said as he stepped into the circle, pulling the boys gaze from the maid to himself. Siesta's eyes widened as she saw him.
Giuche's eyes narrowed slightly. "I remember you. You're that… soldier that the Zero summoned yesterday." He said this evenly, but with a hint of uncertainty, as if not quite sure what to make of him.
"Zero? If you mean Louise Françoise, then yes that is the case." He wasn't certain, but that name sounded derogatory. He would have to learn more at some point.
Guiche continued to give him a measuring look before saying "Well, as the son of the great general Gramont, it would be remiss if I did not introduce myself." He pulled out a rose of all things and gave it a flourish. "I am Guiche de Gramont, heir to a line of soldiers in service to this nation for hundreds of years! Tell me, what is your name and rank?"
Georgius paused for a moment before he said "I am Tribune Georgius de Lydda, but I am no long a part of the military of my nation. In any case, I do not see what that has to do with the topic at hand."
"Tribune? That it not a rank I have heard of… but you say that you are a soldier no longer? Well, that makes things simpler I suppose." He gave a dismissive wave of his hand. "This does not concern you. Leave now and I shall forget your impudence for interrupting me."
Ah, he was trying to establish his position in relation to me, Georgius thought. The boy clearly had some respect for those in the profession of war (most likely due to his father if what he said was true), and had wanted to see how important Georgius was before taking a stance. It seemed that the fact he had left the military had diminished him in boy's eyes. Though it wasn't often that Georgius took overly much pride in his work for the Roman Empire, Giuche's automatic dismissal still grated him. The boy seemed to think that he had left early in his career or was dishonored. Granted, the later case was true for him, but the blonde fop should not be so dismissive before knowing more.
"I must insist," Georgius replied "for it seems that you believe that the servant here is at fault for your previous altercation. I find this rather unlikely."
Giuche frowned at him. "I said it was of no concern of yours, but if you simply must know, that maid tried to force a bottle of perfume on me and insist that it was mine. This resulted in a… misunderstanding that impugned on both of those young ladies honors."
"But… that was totally the vial of perfume that Montmorency gave you." A boy behind him pointed out.
"And you were just bragging to us how you were seeing two different girls." A second boy remarked.
"I think the two ladies understood this pretty well." Said a third.
"Shut up! Traitors!" The blonde yelled as he whirled in place to glare at the boys behind him.
Georgius had to keep himself from letting out a small chuckle. "Well, there you have it then. Clearly she is not to blame. I would think that your time would be better spent seeking forgiveness from the two that you wronged than taking your frustration out on the staff."
Giuche whirled back to look at Georgius, his face flushed with embarrassment and anger. "How dare a lowly foot soldier like you look down on one of noble blood?!"
"Point of fact, I am actually a knight, but whichever might be the case, it does not change the fact that the only one to blame is yourself."
The boy scoffed at this, clearly not believing him. "So you're a knight now? Fine. Prove it to me then." He gave a flourish with his rose. "I challenge you to a duel!"
Georgius blinked and looked at the boy dumbly. "What?"
"I shall met you in the Vestai Court in ten minutes. If you truly are knight, your honor will keep you from running like a coward." He gave the older man a smug smirk before he sauntered off, much of the crowd following after him.
Needless to say, the man was stunned. Mostly by the fact that a boy had challenged him to a duel, and no one there had laughed at the clearly ridiculous idea. It was so inappropriate that Georgius did not even know where to start. For the moment he put that to the side and turned to face Siesta, who was still staring at him with wide eyes. "Are you alright?" He asked.
She gave a start as he addressed her. "Yes! I'm fine!" She said a little too loudly. "Are- are you really going to fight Lord Gramont?"
Georgius frowned. "I would think not. Honestly, challenging me to a duel under these circumstances would almost make me think that he's trying to do it to save face, if the idea didn't completely fly in the face of how honor worked. Not to mention all of the other reasons why it would be improper." Seriously, he would have thought that the boy would know at least that much if his father truly was a general.
Siesta gave him a confused look at that statement, as if she did not understand what he was saying. He was about to explain himself when a voice shouted from behind him "Familiar!" He turned around to find his master striding towards him with an angry look on her face. And she had been in such a good mood too. "What is this I heard about you fighting Giuche?" She demanded as she got close to him.
Georgius sighed. "It seemed that his temper got the better of him and he walked off before I could respond." He paused for a moment in thought. The boy did seem young and inexperienced, but it seemed prudent to be sure. "Tell me master, is this Lord Gramont an accomplisher of great deeds? Has he been honored in anyway?"
"What?" Louise asked, confused by the question. "No, of course not, he's just a useless skirt chaser. Now come on." She said as she grabbed his hand and tried to pull him in the direction the others had gone.
Of course, now that his suspicions were confirmed, he had no intention of any such thing, and Louise didn't exactly have the leverage necessary to move the larger man. "Then I have no intention of fighting him."
"Really?" Siesta asked, somehow sounding both relived and disappointed at the same time. "Why not?"
It was now Georgius's turn to look confused. "Because he is a boy."
Louise looked at him like he was an idiot for a second before she slowly said "…he's a mage. I think that more than makes up for him being younger than you."
"No, his age doesn't have anything to do with this- well, I suppose his inexperience does play a part, but it's more than that." He said, feeling strange that he had to explain this. "Lord Gramont is a boy. He has yet to go through the trials and tribulations that will give him the right to call himself a man. He does not even have the right to challenge me. Such a thing is earned, not given. I would gain no honor by fighting him, and he has already made it clear that he does not believe me to have any honor either, however wrong he might be. As far as I can tell, neither of us have anything to gain by dueling each other besides someone's death on our hands, and everyone else here should know better than to take his challenge seriously."
Siesta put on a thoughtful expression at this, while his master looked completely flabbergasted by his response. "What… that's not… honor doesn't…" she shook her head. "How can something sound right yet be so wrong at the same time?" She asked herself.
Georgius wasn't certain why he was getting this response but he decided to switch the conversation to more pressing matters. "Though I think I've taken his mind off of it for now, he was intending to get Miss Siesta in trouble for her part in exposing his deceit involved two female students. Can he actually have her fired for such a trite reason?"
"Huh?" Louise said snapping out of her own mutterings. "Well, not exactly. He would need an actual reason to take to the Headmaster, but a simple came of insubordination would be enough."
"Which would be a lie." Georgius said firmly. "And plenty of people can confirm this."
"I don't know…" Louise said slowly. "I'm not sure that enough of the students will care enough to come forward if Guiche does make a claim."
"People are better than you give them credit for. I'm sure that a little convincing is all that is needed to keep them from falling victim to their own weaknesses. Besides which, even if no one else would come forward, I would not allow such a thing to happen to Siesta."
If he was looking in the other direction, he might have noticed the other woman blushing at this comment.
Louise continued to frown for a moment longer before she shook her head again and took his hand, once again trying to lead him to the court. "Well, we can deal with that later. While it's smart of you not fight Giuche (though you came to that conclusion in a stupid way), you still need to apologize to him."
"For what? I merely pointed out that he was at fault for his own actions."
"That was the insult! The fact that it is true doesn't matter!"
Georgius's expression became stern. "I will not coddle the boy. If he does not learn that his actions are wrong and how to deal with it, he will never become a better person."
Louise clenched her fists in frustration. "You're just a commoner and he's a noble! You can't just speak to them however you please!"
While he had spent most of his time either on the edge or beyond the Roman Empire, he was aware that there were those among the privileged that considered themselves… well, better than those of lower status. Many of his fellow knights had either had to play politics with such people or more unfortunately became one themselves. One on the perks of traveling so much was that he generally didn't have to deal with such things.
And considering his current situation, he saw no reason to start now. "No."
"Gah! Stupid insolent Familiar! If you don't he'll probably try to kill you!"
"I like to think that I am not prone to arrogance, but I think that I can handle an adolescent which you yourself described as a 'useless skirt chaser'."
"It doesn't matter he's an idiot, he's a mage!"
"Again, you people keep bringing up things which I fail to see the relevance to current conversation. My faith will protect me against whatever he might bring to bear."
"A commoner can't fight a mage." She ground out through her teeth. "It's suicide! Mages are favored by God!"
There were a number of things wrong with that statement, but Georgius focused on one thing in particular. "Now you're exaggerating to the point of blasphemy. To say that God favors those with magic over those without is absurd. God loves all of his children, not just those with magic."
For whatever reason, this completely floored the pink haired girl, and her mouth dropped open. If she was trying to respond to this, the only noise that came from her throat for a few moments was a choking sound. Eventually she seemed to get her wits about her again and said "H-how dare you say something like that?! Its not- the idea that- it's the way the world works, Founder damn it!"
The man's confusion lasted for a moment before he remembered something she had said the other day in the infirmary, that nobles having magic was one of the 'core tenets put forth by Brimir'. What if… no, that couldn't be what she meant. That would be… "Master…" he said slowly. "When you said that all nobles have magic, you didn't mean that simply having magic was enough to grant a person nobility, did you?"
"Of course that's what I meant!" She yelled back. "How else is it supposed to be? Magic is what gives us the right to rule!"
Georgius went stiff upon hearing this. This… this land was a mageocracy? And more than that, it was one that claimed the support of God in its supposed superiority?! There had been very few times when Georgius considered himself truly angry.
This was one of those times.
His emotions must have been apparent to the other two women, as they began to back away from him slightly. He wanted to tell Louise just how wrong she was, how much of a sin it was to attach God's name to something so unfair. However, he refrained from doing so upon looking at her fearful face. It was not her fault, surely not, and he did not trust himself at the moment to not go overboard if he started to rant.
Instead, he merely said in a strained voice "Any God who would support such a thing is no God of mine." Before he turned around and walked off, wanting some time to calm down think to himself.
The secretary Longueville took a few careful glances left and right before she stepped out of the central tower. She did so because at the moment she was not dressed in her usual robes of her day job, but rather the magically enchanted robes of her true profession. She has taken on the job of secretary at the Academy a she need time to, as they would colloquially say, 'case the joint'. From this turn of phrase, it would be reasonable to assume that she was a thief.
Not just any thief, though. She was Fouquet, the legendary Mage-Thief who has stolen from the wealthiest and most guarded treasures all across Halkeginia.
And Fouquet knew that when an opportunity presented itself, it was prudent to take it. Her little conversation with Professor Colbert had been most enlightening as to the current status to the vaults defense. The man was so easily taken in by her 'distressed damsel' routine that she almost felt bad for him.
Almost. He was a mage after all, and experience had taught her that they were hardly worth any respect or mercy.
In any case, he had said that the vault was weak now, but would recover within a few days. She had originally planed to wait a little longer and perform the heist during the Princess's visit in a few weeks (for added humiliation), but now seemed like a better time anyway. She had started to believe that fate was on her side as well when she heard that two students would be fighting on the opposite side of the tower (she had in fact heard that it was a student and another's familiar, but that was just silly). This provided her with a distraction as well. She had originally considered hiring some bandits to attack the Academy before, but she didn't like the idea that one of the servants might get killed because of it. She saw no reason to make the common folk suffer anymore than the nobility were already making them.
When she had walked far enough away from the tower, Fouquet gave a sweep of her wand and a generous application of her willpower, and the ground beneath her shook. Slowly at first but with increasing speed, the ground she stood on rose. As it rose higher and higher, it shaped itself into a crude facsimile of a head, arms, legs and torso. Seconds after she had cast the spell, she was standing on the shoulder of a 100 foot tall golem made of stone and dirt.
Not nearly as subtle as she usually liked, but that naive man had told her that brute force was the best option, so she would use every last bit she had.
As well, the golem's height now put it on equal level of the vault in the center of the tower. No one had noticed her just yet, so it was with a small smile that she ordered her golem to reel its fist back to cave in the vault wall.
It was also with some surprise that she ordered it to stop when she heard someone call out "Excuse me!" She blinked in confusion before looking down at the courtyard she was standing in, and found there to be a soldier in brass armor looking up at her sternly. She was even more confused when he shouted again, somehow very politely.
"I'm going to have to ask you to stop."
A/N: So, I know that a lot of you were hoping for violence to be had, and for it to happen on Giuche in this chapter and for that I apologize. It ran kinda long, and I wanted to give it the length it deserved. So, next time, violence! I promise. As for Giuche, well, I really couldn't see Georgius actually accepting the duel without contriving something. He has no reason to fight him, and nothing is really at stake as there are enough reasonable authority figures at the Academy that Siesta wouldn't lose her job because he was being a twit. Besides, I can guarantee you that it wouldn't have been a particularly interesting fight anyway.
Now, as to why Georgius responded the way he did to the challenge, well, that has to do with his character and history, which is slightly more complex than you might think. Here's the breakdown.
First and foremost, he is a Christian. Enough said, moving on.
Secondly, he has the personality of a 12th century European knight. This is not his code, or his morals, or even his honor: it's just who he is. The thing is, King Arthur's behavior in Le Morte d'Aurthur was modeled after the real Saint George, and much of the medieval Honor Code in the 12th century was modeled after that poem. In short, Georgius was a knight before it was cool.
Thirdly, he was an actual knight of the Roman Empire, and that is what came through the most here. More specifically, he was an eques of the ordo equester, which the translation spell is interpreting as 'knight'. He would say that he wasn't a particularly good Roman (the whole going against the emperor kinda proves that), but it's still a part of him, and that's where he gets his definition of 'honor' from. To a Roman Knight, honor is keeping your word, Heroism, and personal glory. Saving face is not. Furthermore, duels between knights were to gain honor for defeating someone of skill and taking their decoration, as well as being to the death. Georgius also shows the Roman idea of manhood when he is talking to Louise. All of this put together (along with objections from the other two parts of his character) are why he thinks Guiche challenging him to a duel is so utterly stupid.
I will note that when it comes up, he'll prefer this world's version of knights to his own.
On a slightly unrelated note, I wanted to get Louise some attention to having a universal translator spell. That is so mind bogglingly useful and amazing, yet no one seems to think about it in the actual series.