Headmaster Osmond's pen scratched across the parchment, busy writing yet another letter to a concerned parent who had become worried for the safety of their child since the incident a few days ago. He would have liked to have been able to just issue a simple statement on the matter, but when the students who go to your school are from the ruling elite of the nation, a more personal touch was required. Unfortunately, the personal touch was starting to cause his hand to cramp up.
There was a brief reprieve from the harsh mistress that was paperwork when a knock came at his door. "Headmaster? It's Jean."
"Yes, yes, come in." The old man said, and the door to his office opened to allow Professor Colbert entry before he closed it behind him.
"Oh dear, are you still writing those?" Colbert asked.
"One little attempted theft and suddenly they all think that their kids will be dying left and right!" Osmond complained. "It's almost like they don't even remember that there were only a few broken bones! Why, back in my day we would have been lucky to get away with those kinds of minor injuries! We had to wrestle manticores for our breakfast and duel Rhyme dragons for our lunch, and dinner oh boy you do not want to know what we had to do for that!"
"Sir…" The professor said with some exasperation, not wanting to deal with the Headmaster's eccentricities today.
Fortunately, Osmond wasn't really in the mood to go any further than that, as he just waved his hand dismissively. "Oh you're no fun. In any case, the parents I can handle. It's the Crown that has me worried."
"What do you mean?"
The old man glanced up from his writing. "What's the current status of the vault?"
Colbert shifted uncomfortably. "We've had our finest Earth mages seal up the hole and magic barrier has reasserted itself… but it's not a strong as it once was. My guess is that the creation of the hole in addition to its already weakened state damaged it in some way, like a broken bone that was not set quite right."
Osmond grimaced. "Word of the attempted theft reached the capital quickly. To them, the fact that we managed to recover the Staff of Destruction before it left the Academy is a moot point, or the fact that the thief was identified as Fouquet, one of the most skilled thieves in all the land. Royal inspectors will arrive in another day or so to check on the vault's integrity, and if they do not find it satisfactory, they will be taking some of the more high profile items to be stored in the Royal Treasury."
This fact left a bad taste in Osmond's mouth for a number of reasons. The first was a simple matter of pride. He had insisted that any artifacts that were kept within the Academy were safe and protected, and to be proven wrong would not reflect well on his reputation. The second was a more personal matter, namely that the Staff of Destruction would be among the items moved. Not many knew it, but that staff had belonged to the man who had saved his life from a rampaging monster many years ago. The man had been suffering from wounds when they met, and died before Osmond could even ask his name. It felt wrong to have to give up the artifact of his savoir.
Professor Colbert was one of the few who knew this, and gave the old man a sympathetic nod. "I will see what I can do with the faculty to insure that does not happen. However, there is a reason I came to see you. It is the urgent matter I came to see you about the day of the incident, point of fact."
The Headmaster had to search his memory for a moment before he remembered. "Ah yes, about Miss Françoise and her familiar. I thought I told you to let the matter lie for now."
"How can we possibly do that?" Colbert asked insistently. "It all adds up. The girl's strange magic, the human summons, the speed and power displayed by Sir Georgius. Headmaster, Louise is a Void mage."
Osmond gave no overt reaction to this, instead just continuing to look at the other man evenly. "And that is quite a claim to be making. 6000 years since Brimir has walked the earth, and now his lineage is found in a girl who can't cast anything other than explosions? It would seem rather dubious to most."
"Who cares what other people think?! Miss Françoise has access to a form of magic that has been lost for millennia! Think of all we could learn if she was given the chance to use her abilities to their fullest!"
Osmond gave a sigh and shook his head as the teacher ranted. It looked like Colbert had been spending far too much time in academia if that was the only thing he took away from this possibility. "Jean," He said firmly, cutting off the other man mid-stream. "Let's say that your hypothesis is correct. The Royal family of Tristian rules under the claim that they have a direct line of decent from themselves to Brimir. And it also stands to reason that to have a particular element, someone in your family must have had it before in your ancestry, correct?"
Colbert blinked, not sure where the other man was going with this. "Well, yes. What is your point?"
"In that case, what do you think would happen if it was known that someone outside of the royal line suddenly appeared and was a Void mage?"
There was a moment's pause as the professor considered the question before a look of alarm crossed his face. "You- you can't possibly suggest that Louise would make a claim for the throne if she knew?"
Osmond chuckled. "Oh, I doubt that particular scenario. All accounts say that the girl is quite loyal to the Crown, and is very fond of the princess." Although I wouldn't necessarily put it past her mother to try if she found it advantageous enough, the man thought silently. "In any case, even if both the Crown and the Vallière family handle it sensibly, the rest of Tristain would be thrown into chaos at this knowledge. The peasantry would question if the Royal family should be the one ruling if there was clear evidence of Brimir's lineage in another, and the nobility would undoubtedly all try to use Miss Françoise for their own ends." He shook his head. "No, it is best to keep such speculations to ourselves for the time being. The poor girl has enough to deal with at the moment."
The professor looked frustrated by this, but he eventually nodded his head in agreement. "May I at least continue to observe and make notes of Miss Françoise's progress? I also have an interest in Sir Georgius as well."
"Hmm? Of yes, of course. Can't reach a conclusion without breaking a few eggs, or however that saying goes." Osmond replied, shifting comfortably back into his more relaxed state before he paused, his brow knitting together. "I must ask, with the knowledge of what Louise might be, why are you so interested in her familiar? And for that matter, since when is he a 'Sir'?"
"Oh, the man is a knight. Or at least he was." The professor shifted a little. "If I understood him correctly, he was part of the personal guard to the emperor of his nation, though he admits this is not the case anymore."
"If such in the case, then technically he no longer has the honorific."
"True, but after all he has done in defense of the Academy, well, it just seems right."
Osmond leaned back in his chair. "Well enough, I suppose." He said, thinking about when he had met the man after the incident with Fouquet. He remembered that the man had been very humble in his part in capturing the thief, up until when headmaster had asked him to explain just how he stopped Fouquet. Even with the man's simple and un-glorified telling, Osmond would have found the report of what the knight had accomplished exaggerated, except… "What did you say you thought this man was again? A Shield of God?"
"A Gandalfr." Colbert said. "One of the familiars of Brimir. Said to have been able to defeat armies and wield any weapon."
"Indeed? Well, I supposed that would explain things." It wouldn't do for a bodyguard to the most powerful mage in existence to just be another cut-rate mercenary, would it? "Still, you neglected to mention that they could also negate magic to some extent. Georgius even seemed surprised that we had never even heard of such a thing."
The professor shifted uncomfortably. "That's just it sir. None of the records I found say anything about the Gandalfr being able to do that. There was one that mentioned that the Void could be used to such an effect, but never in reference to the familiar."
Osmond arched an eyebrow at this. "It could be that it was just not mentioned in the sources you have. You said it yourself that you barely have anything to work with here in the Academy libraries."
However, the other man shook his head. "It's not just that. I have spoken with the man and he claims that he has had such an ability long before he was summoned here! All he can say about it is that it is a product of his faith in God."
The old man couldn't help but tilt his head at this. "That… is odd to say the least. However I don't think we should take it a face value considering none of our citizenry have gained such a power if the pray often enough. Perhaps looking into the matter of this man is more important than I once thought."
"Exactly why I am doing so, sir." Colbert replied before looking down at the ground and stroking his chin. "Truly Georgius's homeland must have been a fascinating place if such was considered true though. Perhaps his people came in contact with some kind of spirit or elemental that imparted the ability on them long ago. Oh, if only I hadn't been so busy this past few days. Maybe I should…" The man continued to ramble to himself, lost in his own thoughts. It was such that he even forgot to excuse himself and simply walked towards the door, no doubt intent on resuming his studies on the matter.
However, whatever his plan was came to a halt as when he opened the door and the figure of Miss Longueville stood in the doorway, her hand poised as if to knock. "O-oh! Uh, hello."
Professor Colbert was just as surprised by this as she was. "M-Miss Longueville! What are you doing here? I thought you were taking a leave of absence."
"Indeed." Osmond said, his brow furrowing. "You left in such a hurry that you only bothered to tell the nurse in the infirmary and wrote me a simple letter. Of course given what you went through, this is perfectly understandable, but I would have thought that you would have needed more time than a few days."
"Ah, yes, well," She said, fixing her glasses as she regained her composure. "I had planned on doing so as well, but I found that hiding away from the world was not doing me any good. I decided that the best way to overcome my experience was to take control and resume my normal life."
"Are you sure?" the Headmaster asked with elderly concern. "I do not want you to stress yourself if you're not ready for it."
"Headmaster, I assure you that this is where I have to be." She said firmly. "Now, I simply came here to inform you of my return. I need to set a few things in order before I get back to work."
"Yes, of course. By all means." The old man said with a wave of his hand.
With that the young woman curtly turned and walked back down the hall. Colbert looked unsure of himself before he turned back to the headmaster. "I, uh, will be looking into those matters we discussed right away!" and with that he swiftly took off.
Not right away I should think, Osmond thought ruefully to himself. It was rather amusing that while Colbert had resisted Osmond's choice of secretary at first (well, more the reason for the choice), the man had obviously become enamored with the woman. Ah, to be half a century younger. Oh well, there were other ways he could enjoy the company of young women.
With a mental command, the mouse that was his familiar climbed up onto his desk, ready to receive orders. "Chuchu, it seems that my secretary has returned. Now quickly, find out where she puts her underwear before she finishes unpacking!"
As soon as she was out of sight, Longueville stomped down the halls, letting her frustration and anger through the innocent façade that she had held before. Her timing in when she went to tell the old man or her return had been most fortunate, as she had been able to listen to the conversation through the door. A Void mage. A bloody Void mage! Well, at least that explained why her golem was defeated so quickly. And that man, Georgius, had actually been her familiar, who apparently gained certain powers from the contract. Though she didn't know what to make of the fact that this… Gandalfr wasn't supposed to be able to void magic, it at least explained how she was defeated.
However, this wasn't what was making her angry. If anything, the knowledge let her feel vindicated that she went into a job with a critical lack of information which she had no way of knowing. The whole plan was flawed for the very beginning. No, what actually was making her angry was the fact that she was still here!
"So you failed." The voice from the shadows said flatly. The dank basement they were in, while not any place she wanted to spend any time in, was the closest point that she could safely meet her employer, a few towns over from the Academy. Even now she had no idea what he looked like, but she could tell from his tone of voice that he was less than happy. "I thought that you were the best."
"I am the best." She growled back at the shadow. "Anyone else who had gone into that job would have been captured, and you can bet that they'd be singing all they knew about you, what little there is."
The figure grunted. "Your claims are on somewhat shaky ground given that you were defeated by a simple student, who my reports say can't cast a single spell successfully."
"Firstly, if you happened to be on the receiving end of the spell she threw at me, you'd very quickly learn the difference between a successful spell and an effective one." Fouquet spat. "Secondly, it doesn't matter what anyone else said, the reason I lost the damn staff was that Void damn solider."
There was a long pause before the man said. "Are you telling me… that you failed in your mission because of simple commoner?"
Fouquet snorted at this. "A simple commoner isn't capable of moving as fast as a triangle wind mage. A simple commoner can't turn aside the fist of my mountain golem with a sword he pulled from nothing. A simple commoner isn't able to god-damn negate magic!"
There was a shift in the man's posture, as if the statement had taken him aback some. "What? You can't possibly be serious. The idea that a commoner could do any of those things, let alone negate magic, is utterly absurd."
"I'm not going to argue that last part, but it happened." She said with a scowl. "The man managed to wear me down before I got clever and slipped away and that was after he hunted down the small army of golems I let loose and saved the rest of those snotty brats." She said with a hint of bitterness. She then said half to herself "The real kicker is that he didn't seem to like the nobility too much either, just sticking with them because of an oath or some idiotic nonsense like that."
There was another pause from the shadow before he spoke again, this time with some interest. "Really? Well, while your claims are… extreme to say the least, I suppose they are worth bearing investigation, especially if this soldier might be pliable to our cause. What was his name?"
"I don't know. I was too busy trying to get the hell out of dodge when I woke up to ask." She paused and shifted uncomfortably. "Besides, I already tried to get him to join me before I left, but he turned it down. Seemed like one of the stupidly honorable types."
The man was unmoved. "Hmm. Well, there are many different means of persuasion. Every man has his levers, so you'll just have to find the right lever for this man."
"What?" Fouquet said in surprise. "No no no, I am not going back there again. I barely managed to get out the last time. I plan to be on the opposite side of Halkeginia by the time you send the next poor bastard in."
"Ah, but it is such a bad practice to leave a job unfinished," The man said, and she could almost feel his slimy smile beneath the shadows. "We still require the Staff of Destruction after all. I know that you might be reluctant, but as I said… everyone has their levers."
Fouquet simply sneered back at him. "I don't give one Brimir's ball what you think. There is no amount of money you could-"
Fouquet stopped, her body becoming completely still and her eyes going wide. Then her body began to tremble in rage. "You…" she seethed. "You. Mother. FU-!"
"No need for that." He cut her off. "There is absolutely nothing you have to worry about… so long as you finish your job." Fouquet wanted to tear him limb from limb as his tone turned smug. "So, is that a sufficient lever?"
She had to take a few deep breaths to calm herself down, the memory of that meeting still fresh in her mind. Longueville didn't know how the hell her employer had found out about the orphanage, but that left her options limited. For now, she didn't see any other option than to go along and try to steal the Staff again, along with learning as much as she could about Georgius. She wouldn't let anything happen to Tiffania or the children, no matter what.
"Miss Longueville!" The voice caused her to turn, and she found Professor Colbert running after her.
Oh him, she thought dryly to herself. She hadn't seen the man since she had gotten the information about the vault from him, and she really did not feel like dealing with him at the moment. It had been clear that the man had some kind of attraction to her and she didn't need him make ill-fated attempts to woo her right now. "I'm sorry, but I have a lot of work to catch up on, so-"
She cut herself off when he stopped in front of her, and the man suddenly bowed. "I am sorry."
Longueville found herself at a loss at the man's behavior. "What? What are you taking about?"
"I promised you that you would not come to harm if the Academy was attacked, and yet that… villain captured you and hurt you greatly." He replied still bowed. "I have no excuse. I can only… I am sorry."
Longueville did not consider herself a heartbreaker (unlike some other women who worked in her field), but she had used her feminine wiles on nobility once or twice in the past. The men she had flirted with were by and large so full of themselves they never saw her as more than a pair of legs, and the few that actually played attention her were simply smarter at trying to get access to said legs. However, she had become fairly good at reading people over the years (a skill you needed when the person you're making a deal with would stab you in the back if he could), and Colbert wasn't apologizing to save his own face, or even to try to get into her good graces. It seemed that he honestly felt ashamed that he couldn't protect her.
This… was not something she had expected from a mage. "I, uh, well…" she stammered for a moment as she tried to figure out how to respond. Was she actually feeling a little bad that she made him think that she got hurt by the 'thief'? That must have been it. Otherwise that would force her to think why a bit of red was creeping into her cheek as she responded. "Ah, it's fine. You couldn't have possibly known that my assailant was on the Academy grounds, let alone would kidnap me for leverage. I am sure if you were there, you would have stopped him."
The man straightened, a small smile coming to his lips. "Thank you. It is good to know that you are alright." There was a paused and he seemed to remember himself before shifting awkwardly. "Well, I hope you have a good day." He said before turning and walking away.
Longueville looked after the man, feeling somewhat nonplussed about what had just transpired before an idea came to her. If the man actually was looking into the matter of the Gandalfr, then perhaps she could use him to inquire for her without arousing suspicion herself. She couldn't make it seem she was just using him though, so she'd likely have to actually spend some time with the professor. It might be a little annoying, but he didn't seem too bad to be around, for a noble any way.
She felt a small niggling thought well up in the back of her head, but she crushed it instantly. She was not in the mood for introspection either.
"What interesting architecture." Geougius commented as he and Louise walked down one of the main merchant streets of Bruxelles. "It reminds me somewhat of the villages in the northern part of the Empire, but much larger and with better construction. There also seems to be more luxury items available, though that may be simply due to the district we are in." Given that the man was in his usual armor and he was accompanying a noble, most of the people on the street gave him a wide berth, but he still greeted anyone who looked at him with a smile and a nod.
"No, there are more upscale districts than this one." Louise said offhand. "To be honest, this is more bourgeoisies." Things had been… interesting for the past few days to say the least. Since classes had been canceled due to the damage caused by Fouquet, she had spent most of her time trying to find something to do with herself. She had eventually struck upon the idea of going to Bruxelles to do some shopping, and Georgius had approved of the idea. It seemed that he was eager to see more of this land he had found himself in.
Louise gave a small frown at the man's back as they continued down the cobbled street. It had been a few days, but the girl found that she still really didn't know much about the man. She had questioned him at length (When she regained consciousness) about how he had blocked the golem's last attack, but he was at just as much a loss as she was. Beyond that, he was not much for speaking about himself unless asked, and what he did say was usually understated.
On a whim, Louise decided to fill the time with learning more about the man she had summoned. Normally she wouldn't have cared one bit what the man was like so long as he followed her orders like a familiar should, but recent events had shown her that perhaps some investigation was worthwhile. At the very least it would take her mind off of those weird fragmented dreams she had been having lately. "What was your homeland like?"
"What was that?" The man turned his head back to ask, snapping out of his admiration for the city.
"I asked what your homeland was like. I happen to remember you making some rather interesting comments that I would like for you to elaborate on, particularly just how you determine nobility."
The man was silent for a moment before he said "Well, in the Roman Empire anyone who holds a sufficiently high office in government is considered nobility, though if you are speaking in a strictly aristocratic sense, there are two classes. The first and higher are the members of the Senate, while the other belongs to knights such as myself."
That wasn't exactly the answer Louise was looking for, but it still piqued her curiosity. "How are people selected for these offices? And for that matter, what it a Senate?"
Georgius blinked at this question, not sure how to respond to that. After a moment's contemplation he answered "A Senate… is supposed to be a council of men who handle the highest legislative and judicial duties for the whole of the Roman Empire, making its laws and insuring they are upheld. It's worth mentioning though that when I left they had become little more than an extension of the Emperor's will." He looked to the side before continuing. "As for your first question, the simplest answer is that government officials are elected by the citizenry. It is a little more complicated than that, and some positions were appointed, but that is the simple of it."
Elected by citizens? The girl thought in bafflement. What the man had described was somewhat close to how things worked in the Germanian Empire (the heathens allowed commoners to just buy their way into nobility after all), but just having commoners choose who governed them? "That doesn't make any sense. How are you supposed to keep a hereditary line under such a system?"
"You don't. Most of the hereditary lines had lost influence and power as the Empire grew. When a man achieves a sufficient office, he and his whole family are considered nobility. However, this is a double edge sword as it only last so long as at least one of the family holds such a position. Should they lose their office or fail in their duties, their title and privileges would be stripped. The Empire had become largely meritocratic by the time I left." He gave a small sigh before he continued walking, looking at various trinkets and jewelry that were on display by a street vender. "Or at least it ostensibly was. I am not so naive to think that corruption did not play a part in that society."
Louise mulled over just how strange such a nation must have been. She had to admit though, the idea of her status as a noble relating to her skill at governing did have some appeal. She knew that she would be better at it than most of the other fops at the Academy who mocked her for her failure at magic. Before long she shook her head and returned to the subject she actually wanted to talk about. "That is certainly interesting, but I was wondering more what position mages had in you society. If they were not automatically nobility, what were they?"
Georgius once again paused, as if not sure how to address the question. He looked off to the side where a street performer was applying his craft to make small objects disappear in front of his audience. "Mages… were not really part of the social fabric at all. The study of magic was something that took all of one's focus back in my homeland. Mages did not have time or will to deal with things like politics, and as such mostly keep to themselves when they were not trying to abuse their power for gain."
"What?! Are you saying that magic counted for nothing where you were from?!"
"I wouldn't quite say that, but it was rare that a practitioner would apply their craft in a way that was useful to his fellow man." He turned back to Louise. "Master, if I may be so bold in saying so, I have made some observations of the magic which is used in this land and I have found that not much seems to be expected of mages here. Granted I have only truly observed students and the amount of power they can focus is impressive for their age, but all I have seen done is simple shaping of elements. Not only that, it seems to be relatively easy for those at the academy to learn such things. In my homeland magic took far more effort."
"I don't know how things were where you were from, but don't speak as if magic is useless here!" Louise yelled at him. "I mean, yes there are those that waste their Founder given talent, but mages are crucial to society! Earth mages help with agriculture and build infrastructure! Water mages can heal wounds better than any apothecary can! Wind mages create transposition and send messages, and I would think that the use of fire mages in combat would be obvious! And that's nothing to say of magics involving enchantment or artifice!"
Georgius blinked at this and put on a thoughtful expression. "I see. Perhaps I was quick in my assessment. But for mages to be responsible for so much… Master, do you know how many mages there are in this land?"
"About 10 percent of the population of Halkeginia are nobility. Why?" She asked.
This caused the soldier to straighten in surprise. "Really? That many? Well, that does explain a good deal. In the Roman Empire I would have been surprised if a tenth of a percent of the population was capable of any appreciable magic."
"What?" Louise said in shock. With that few it was barely like there were any mages at all! No wonder everything the man said about his homeland seemed so backwards! "How did you people live without mages?"
"We managed." He said simply as he gestured to the throngs of people moving through the street. "Even if the wielders of magic number greater in this land, I should think that most of the people here still do not have much interaction with them. Man is more resilient than you think. With our own bodies, our will and our faith we may overcome any trial that is laid before us."
Louise once again frowned at the man, but she didn't have any particular argument to refute that. For that matter, what he said (and the way he said it) was rather similar to what priests of the Church would tell commoners, that while they did not have magic they should still endure as their efforts would be rewarded. She had to suppress a small shiver though when this thought made her think of the other thing she really needed to speak with her familiar about. However, that was a conversation she was not looking forward to having. He had been so angry when they had last spoke of Founderism, and while she knew that she shouldn't be worried about her familiar ever harming her, the memory of the brief moment gave her pause.
She eventually sighed and decided to put off that subject for another time. Georgius may have been a Heretic, but he was close enough to normal that it would be fine for the time being if no one looked too closely. "Well, faith and will is all good, but I think tools play an important part as well. And as such, I can't have my knight of a familiar be without his."
The man titled his head to the side. "What do you mean?"
Louise turned and began walking down a side street, trusting the man to follow her. "This day of shopping is not just for me. You did quite well in defending your Master from harm during the theft, and as such you should be rewarded. And seeing as you are unable to summon that… blade again for whatever reason, you will need to have a proper sword to protect me in the future."
The pair traveled through some more winding alleys before they arrived in a somewhat quieter section of the city, and found themselves standing in front of a shop with a sword on the overhanging sign. Deeming this to be satisfactory, Louise walked inside and announced her presence. "Shopkeeper, I am in need of your wares."
The room she had walked into was relatively large, and there was a wide variety of weapons lining the walls and put in racks, ranging from swords, axes, spears, maces, and even a few exotic weapons she could not immediately identify. On the opposite wall there was a counter, behind which a curtain leading to the back of the shop was being pushed aside to reveal the owner coming to greet them. He was a mousy looking man with beady eyes who greeted them with a smile. "Welcome, welcome to my humble shop. I must say I do not get many nobility gracing me with their presence while I work."
For her part, the pink hair girl just gave a small hum and said as she gestured to Georgius. "I am looking to purchase a suitable sword for my servant. I trust that you have something in stock that is to his liking."
The soldier then spoke up. "I am also proficient in the use of spears as well."
However, Louise waved her hand dismissively. "No, a spear is a plebian weapon. You shall use a sword."
"Very well." The man said before turning his attention back to the store keeper. "If you have it, I would like a double edged sword with a cross-shape hilt, approximately one meter in length."
"Hmm… I believe I have just the thing that you're looking for." The other man said before he slinked into the back of the shop. A few moments later he was back with the most beautiful sword Louise had ever seen. The double edged blade shone with a golden radiance and the hilt looked lined with silver. "It's so beautiful…"she said as the shopkeeper handed it to Georgius.
The soldier however had a frown on his face as he turned it over in his hands. "It's so… shiny." He said, not liking this observation for some reason.
"That's the sign of quality my friend." The shopkeeper said with a grin. "It was treated by Germanian alchemists! It could cut through steel like it was air!"
After a pause, Georgius said "Do you have anything less… ostentatious?"
"What?! Are you saying you don't want it?!" Louise said incredulously.
"Well, it just too gaudy for my tastes for one thing. And on a more practical note the balance on this is terrible." He tapped the blade a few times, resulting in a dull metallic sound. "And the metal does not seem terribly strong either." He turned his attention to the storekeeper. "I cannot speak for those Germanian alchemists, but I would not wish to wield this blade even if it could cut steel as you said."
"Of that is just ridiculous." Louise said. "If it was as bad as you say it wouldn't be worth nearly as much." There was a small pause before she turned to the shopkeeper. "Um, home much is it?"
"3000 new gold." The man said flatly, keeping an eye on the solider.
"What?! That's as much as a mansion and a small estate!" She shook her head. "Well, never mind that then. What can I get for 100 new gold?"
The shopkeeper arched an eyebrow at her before he took the blade back from Georgius. "Well, let me see." He walked over to a barrel marked 'discount swords' and rummaged around for a moment before he took out a rusty piece of junk. "I am afraid that this is all I have for such a small amount."
"That's barely a sword at all! And it's not even close to what he asked for!" This blade was single edged, with a quillion and a rounded hilt.
"Nevertheless, a quality sword costs money. If you're willing to pay more, then I could offer you better stock."
Louise cringed a little. 100 new gold was all she had on her after what she had spent for herself, but she couldn't give her familiar such a rusted weapon, could she? She shot Georgius a somewhat embarrassed look, though he was already moving forward to take the blade. Once again he wore a frown as he hefted the weapon, but this time the traces of displeasure were gone. He swung the blade through the air a few times before he brought it close for inspection, and he gave it a single sharp tap with his gauntleted hand. This time a distinct metallic ring echoed through the shop for a moment before dying down. "Good steel." He muttered with some surprise before saying more clearly. "I can work with this."
Louise blinked. "Are you sure?"
He eye the sword some more, and the girl wondered what he was thinking when he said "Call it… a matter of faith."
"Ah, so she did buy him a sword…" Kirche said, spying on Louise and her familiar from around a corner as they exited the weapons shop. "But it's hardly a weapon worthy of a man like himself! Oh you are hopeless Louise."
Tabitha, as usual, said nothing. She did not care what Louise did or did not do. In fact, normally she would have been using her time off from classes to get some reading done, but Kirche had burst into her room and demanded that they follow Louise and her familiar into town. The red head had babbled something about being in love with the man, but the blue haired girl didn't give that too much thought; Kirche fell in love with a boy once a month or so. Still, Kirche was her friend, perhaps her only one, so Tabatha had indulged her friend's latest interest.
However, that wasn't the only reason she had allowed the use of her dragon to fly after them. Tabatha had an interest in the man named Georgius herself, though in a far different manner than Kirche. She had observed him a few times since his summoning, and she found that he was… similar, yet different to herself. Both were very simple and subdued at most times, but both were much more than they appeared to be (and far more dangerous). However, her neutral state was a mask she had carefully constructed over the years, her training allowing her to remain detached from most things. Georgius's calm was more natural, as if he had nothing to hide from the world but felt no need to present it either.
"Oh, what's this?" Tabatha turned her attention away from the man to find Kirche looking at her with a smirk. "I say, you do seem to spend a great deal of time looking at him. Am I going to have some competition in this game of love?"
Tabatha looked at her friend flatly for a moment before saying "For Sylphid."
Kirche blinked. "Oh yes, you want to know why your dragon is scared of him. Well, given what we've seen him do, I don't think it would be unreasonable that he could fight one."
While she agreed with her, the blue haired girl shook her head. "Scared when first saw him. Hadn't seen him fight yet." Sylphid was a rather… unique dragon in that she could speak (something which Tabatha had ordered her to keep a secret), but all the creature had said on the matter was that the man smelled like blood. This had confused Tabatha as dragons typically liked their meals bloody.
To which Sylphid had replied "Not human blood".
A/N: I felt that it was time for another chapter of this for those of you who like this fic the best out of my works. For the moment, things are still playing out to the standard Stations of Canon for the most part, but I've already put a few kinks in the narrative and I'm hoping to diverge the story more distinctly soon.
Till next time.