Louise woke up suddenly.
She looked to the left, and to the right, and then to the window. It was the dark before dawn. Her gaze was then drawn to the empty heap of straw at the corner of her room.
Louise shot out of bed and hurriedly dressed herself. She scrambled down the stairwells at an unsafe rate and ran down deserted hallways. She ran all the way across the castle to one of its unused storerooms.
Empty, except for crates, bales of cloth, and straw on the floor.
Louise felt her nerves suddenly go aflame, then numb into nothing. After a while, her lips twisted up. A choked sob escaped lips in a rictus grin. "Of course..." she whispered. "Things like that don't just happen. How unrealistic."
A dream, that's all. 'The summoning is supposed to happen... today?' Louise numbly walked away, towards the open courtyard. "It seemed so real..." she whispered to the cold morning air. "How stupid." How childish. "Mistaking a dream for the real thing... ahah... damn it."
Something like that could never happen to her. Good things just don't happen for no reason, not to someone like her. "Haven't I worked hard, tried to live a virtuous life?!" Louise asked the sky. "Don't taunt me like this!"
Louise collapsed against a wall, and felt the cold stone soak its chill to her bones.
And then what she had thought was a shadowy clump of trees moved.
And stood up.
Louise looked up and as the sun broke over the walls, her expression slowly brightened. Silhouetted over there was a form that was larger than life and more than human.
Her smile outshone the sun.
"You... you're here. You're real." Louise beamed. "It wasn't a dream. You're really here! I did it! I did it!"
The only person other than Cattleya to ever believe that she had her own power. The only other person who didn't first ask for her to prove herself, then only to look at her with such pity or disregard afterwards.
Angron! His words so outlandish, - powerful, Louise the Zero? What power? - they have to be lies.
They were not bound as master and familiar. There was no magic connecting them.
Yet already Louise was certain she could trust this mysterious giant.
Angron bent down and opened his arms. "HUGS?"
Louise raised her arms and ran, a happy little squeal escaping her lips as she was scooped up.
Angron was willing, even eager, to pretend to be a familiar just to get away from political and theological wrangling his presence implied. In fact, Angron made it a point to flee from any sort of paperwork. For him, a Primarch, as an exemplar of humanity, first needed to be strong enough to shrug off insults to his pride.
For the moment, this also meant that his upkeep would be the Academy's problem. House Valliere would discreetly add to the Tristain Academy's funding, but everything else was more paperwork for Old Osmond. Angron looked far too smug about that.
As much as supreme irritation shone behind the Headmaster's eyes, in his own way he was still a patriot. He served Tristaina in less obvious ways. A pity that so many of his students end up turning into reflections of their parents, no matter how much ethics he tried to drum into their brains while in school.
Louise, for her part, was anxious about lying.
It was time to get on with her school day. Lying was... bad, but at the same time she recognized chaos would not benefit Tristania. Her mother would perhaps forgive her for this necessary evil.
But... as if the royal-blooded giant was really her familiar, what would she be doing? Show him off and taunt everyone that every called her a Zero about how tiny and pathetic their own summons were? Wahahahaha.
Louise paused and put a finger to her lips. "Oh. Sometimes I'm kind of petty, aren't I?"
She spent a few minutes on this self-reflection, and decided to do it anyway. Not only because it was expected of her... but that it would still be deeply satisfying anyway.
There were certain logistical problems to having a giant around. That the Academy castle was built to impressive scales was the only reason he could just about squeeze through hallways and some doors.
"And this is the Alviss Hall!" Louise loudly proclaimed. "This is where all students daily dine on the finest of cuisine from the Academy's world-class chefs!"
"IS CUTE." said Angron. "ANGRON HOPES FOOD IS BETTER."
Normally, Louise would have bristled at such an insult to the dignity of the nobility. But before entering, Angron had given her a very obvious wink and grin, and Louise couldn't help but to grin back in return.
Inside were the fools who ridiculed her to feel better about themselves, who soaked in the glories that they have neither worked for or deserved. They took nobility for granted, giving no care to its obligations.
"Ugh. Isn't it bad enough that you mess up in class, now you have to ruin our appetites too, Zero?" one of the third-years snorted as Louise and Angron passed him on the way to the second-years' table.
"You watch your tone!" Louise spat back. "Lord Angron may be a... foreigner... but he is still a Prince among Giants!"
"PRIMARCH." Angron gently corrected. "FATHER IS EMPEROR. TECHNICALLY ANGRON IS KING OVER HIS OWN LANDS."
"Like we're supposed to care what some barbarian beasts call themse..."
Angron turned his head slightly. The young nobleman felt his breath freeze in his throat. The gaze of an angry god passed over him, his life only preserved by being too insignificant to be ended by even a portion of that mighty wrath.
"BAH. ANGRONS HEARS NOTHING. POOR LITTLE MEWLING IRRELEVANT TO ANGRON. HE ONLY SPEAKS LANGUAGE OF BLING."
Angron's armor, on closer observation, was not actually polished brass. It was infused gold, dulled into coppery red by bloodstains. No one could contest his implied wealth or ferocity. Even in the elegant finery of the Alviss Hall, he was the most pimped-out thing in that room.
Once Louise had seated at her proper place, Angron picked up a cake and looked mournful. "IS LITTLE MORE THAN AIR AND SUGAR. NO, THIS NOT REAL FOOD. ANGRON WONDERS HOW YOU LITTLE PEOPLE KEEP YOUR FEET ON GROUND IF THERE IS STRONG BREEZE."
All the other students bristled, as Angron's casually insulting words rebounded off the white walls. No one dared to speak against it however, as if some ingrained primal instinct told them that trying to debate Angron could only end in tears.
Louise looked over all her classmates, now pointedly attempting to ignore her instead. She chuckled at Angron's taunting, but somehow it was making her feel all the more unfulfilled. Louise licked her lips. It wasn't enough. That they were being intimidated by Angron's presence was gratifying, but it did not make up for all the taunting she'd endured.
The little pranks that she couldn't defend against.
Being told she was just putting on airs, a commoner pretending to be a noble.
That 'the Zero' was wasting good time, money and effort, taking them away from her betters, even as they frittered away their days and scorned their studies.
Louise grit her teeth. They did not deserve the holy power given by God.
The fear and loathing in their eyes, it was not enough just to silence them.
It was as if a cold blank void consumed her very being, and her eyes blanked out.
Voidcycles: 60 MegaBrimirz
640 kilowraths used/384 kilowraths free
2046 kilowraths free
Drive Zer0:\ flip. exe /this:shit
Louise gripped the edge of the impressively long dining table and with such effortless ease upended it, sending plates and cutlery crashing onto the gleaming marble floor. The thunderous bang jerked everyone to attention. Jolted out of their complacency
Louise could all but feel all their shocked gazes on her skin. The rational part of her mind was screaming 'Oh dear Brimir what have I done?!', but was muted by the soothing relief flooding her mind.
She was hearing drums.
Boom. Boom. Boom. Boom.
You _s. You _s. You _s. You _s. You _s. Skulls-
"CALM." said Angron, lightly patting Louise's head. "IS NOT TIME, LITTLE ONE. CONTAIN YOUR ANGER. NO ENEMIES HERE."
Louise opened her eyes, and gasped for breath. "What... what happened? Did I do this?" She grimaced at the wreckage of a communal breakfast. "Why did I...?"
"What was that for, you crazy bitch?!" someone shouted at her.
"Didn't you see I was eating here?!" a girl screeched.
"You've bitten off more than you can chew this time, Zero!"
Wands were being drawn. Louise looked at all her hostile classmates, and felt nothing. Her only concern was that the table was supposed to be big and heavy. She shouldn't have been able to do that. Such a strength is...
A giant's strength.
'What's happening to me...?!'
Louise took a deep breath, and said with all charming composure, "I apologize for this table's inadequacy, Lord Angron. Let's go dine elsewhere."
"... IS PROBABLY GOOD IDEA." Angron agreed. The girl did not yet understand that emotional distance was essential to good trolling. "YOINK." The Primarch grabbed Louise and hastily evacuated the hall before the teachers could react.
There was no cliched Guiche fight.
Not even he was that much of a moron to pick a fight with the giant strutting through the grounds.
That demonic armor... Guiche was simultaneously intrigued and repulsed. While Louise and the giant chatted out in the courtyard, Guiche discreetly stared at the brass faces on Angron's poleyns. The giant's thick knee armor cap was a full shield for a grown man. The decorative metal looked delicately detailed, but as Guiche could see some chips and burn marks, it was clear it was proven battle-armor. It piqued his curiosity as an Earth Mage with an aptitude for metals.
The open-mouthed, blank-eyed face winked.
Guiche's teacup froze at his bottom lip, with the tea dribbling down his chin.
"Oh!" Katie, the first-year student that Guiche had recently been charming, began to daub at the stain with her handkerchief. "Sir Guiche? Is something the matter?"
"Katie, look there. Are you seeing what I'm seeing?"
The brass face clearly, but soundlessly enunciated -
OHH - FOR - TOONA
The girl's eye's widened, then narrowed. "No. A giant is unusual, but not... too strange."
"... you... you're absolutely right." He nodded, and his regard for the first-year girl rose slightly. "It's a perfectly... uninteresting... interesting sight."
The two students let out a sigh. Their cheeks twitched. They remained sitting there, staring out at lawn and Louise having an animated discussion with her giant familiar. Their tea grew cold.
"Guiche, what is the meaning of this?!" Montmorency abruptly cut in, entering the veranda from the east entrance. "You promised to take tea with me at the parlour indoors."
"There is nothing to be upset about." Guiche said calmly.
"There is absolutely nothing strange going on here." Katie added in a monotone, her gaze still directed out towards the lawn.
VEE - LUT - LUUUNA
Montmorency followed their intent gazes towards the giant. Their excuse was suspiciously specific, but also quite true. There was nothing strange with two students just happening to sit next to each other. Her face reddened. Their deadpan tones were chiding her for leaping to conclusions so quickly.
Montmorency frowned. Wait, to build over each other's sentences like that - has Guiche been complaining about her to another girl?
"Sometimes it is good to enjoy the perfectly normal day."
"Everything is fine. We're all fine. How about you?"
STA - TUU - VARYA - BI - LISS
"Um... quite well, thank you?" They said it with such clear conviction that Montmorency could only relent. "Oh, all right then. I guess I'll... see you later, Guiche?"
BREAK - IT - DOWN
"Indeed." he replied. "In a perfectly sensible way."
Montmorency left, never noticing the glazed look in their eyes.
AH - AH - SEM - PER - CRE - SIS
HO - YAH - OHT - DES - KRE - SIS
Louise had this in the bag. Up on the stage, it was hard to misss her smugness as her red giant towered above her. A dragon? A salamander? So what? She had summoned a Prince of Giants! His strength and resilience was incomparable!
Angron loomed over them all, the magically-reinforced wooden planks of the stage already near buckling from his weight. This was a being unmistakably made for war. This was a creature who could slaughter as easily as breathing. Someone who did not need to prove himself to such a petty gathering.
"ANGRON WAS WONDERING HOW TO DEMONSTRATE HIS POWER WITHOUT DESTROYING TOO MUCH OF COUNTRY." the red giant spoke.
He flicked his right palm open, and long black rod slid out from the wrist hollow in his bracers. He grasped the rod and held it up to his lips. His ornate pauldrons moved apart, some of its sections rising to expose grilled vents, and steam hissed out from the gaps.
Primarchs were big. Stronger than what physics allowed. Thus they could wear implausibly large and complicated pieces of armor. The Adeptus Mechanicus put every possible feature into the personal suits of the Omnissiah's own sons and greatest creations.
Angron's pauldrons began to vibrate. "SO INSTEAD, ANGRON WILL SING YOU SONG OF HIS PEOPLE[*]!"
Terrified realization spread across Louise's face. "Oh Brimir no-! "
NOMA NOMA~ YAY~!
AH NOMA NOMA NOMA YAY~!
[*] technically, Malcador's people.
Louise cast aside fear, discarded propriety, threw away her wand, and embraced the RAGE. Unfortunately her fingers were nowhere even near long enough to strangle Angron.
"You big oaaaf!" she screamed at his face as clung at his gorget with her feet resting over the great brass eagle that served as his belt buckle. "Have you no shaaame?! What did you do that for? I was totally humiliated! Humiliated! In front of the Princess!"
"WHY BE ASHAMED, LITTLE ONE? ANGRON FEELS HE SANG QUITE WELL."
Louise gave out a strangled little laugh. "... you seriously believe that, don't you?"
"LITTLE GIRL, LISTEN TO ANGRON. BE BRAVE ENOUGH TO BE RIDICULOUS, BECAUSE DIGNITY IS NOT ARMOR. STRONG COMES FROM INSIDE. IF YOU TOO AFRAID OF LOOKING RIDICULOUS, HOW WILL YOU DEFEAT REAL FEAR? IN BATTLE, WINNING IS ONLY. LOOKING GOOD IS FOR CHUMPS."
Louise sighed. "Idiot. You're still not getting it. Nobody dared laugh at you. You're too damn big."
"YOU SO TINY, YES. ANGRON DOES NOT INTEND FOR YOU TO BE BATTLE-SISTER. BUT HEAVY FEELING INSIDE ONLY SLOW YOU DOWN. IS LESSON MY BIG SISTER TAUGHT ME. PRIMARCHS SHOULD NOT BE TOO PROUD, OR WE WILL BE MADE SLAVES BY OUR OWN HUBRIS." Angron gently poked at Louise. "PINK ONE DOESN'T REALIZE YET SHE CAN GET AWAY WITH ANYTHING. ANYTHING. BECAUSE OF CUTENESS."
Louise made a sound similar to Rarghyou! and headbutted him. There was a deep ringing sound, like a brass bell being rung.
No, wait, that wasn't her. Louise pointedly ignored how her forehead wasn't a shattered wreck from how much rage-fueled force she put into it.
They both looked up to see a giant golem punching away at the sides of the Academy's central tower.
Suddenly the failed mage and the Primarch held identical eager grins.
Sorry for the incoherent text dumping, but I'm not really up for continuing Louise and Angron's Bizarre Adventures anymore.