CHAPTER 1: THE BEGINNING

(Louise POV)

"I see," stated a male voice calmly, although his was staring at me as if trying to read me. "So you snuck your way to our kitchen, stole some food, then on your way out you ran into Siesta here, and in your panic, you accidentally knocked over a couple of dozen of plates. Is that what you are trying to say?"

At these words, I nodded silently in response.

It is now three o'clock in the morning. And presently, I find myself still standing in kitchens, in front of the man who is the head cook of Tristain Magic Academy, and whose name, if I remember correctly, is Marteau. And why am I here, you wonder? Well, I just told it to the man, although I added some slight modifications. In fact, all throughout my retelling, I actually had to step on the black-haired girl's foot twice, to stop her from interrupting my little speech.

Yes, due to my own carelessness and lapse in judgement, I once again found myself in a tight situation. Well, I probably could have avoided it even though I made some mistakes, but due to the unwritten and unofficial 'code of Fairies' which I somehow contracted from my guildmates, I found myself staying to take responsibility for my actions.

And then if that wasn't enough, aside from the 'take responsibility for my actions' mechanism, I unfortunately also happened to have acquired the 'take responsibility for others' actions' attitude, something which I believe I got from a certain fire-breathing dragon slayer. It was rather annoying, but as I was making a tale in my mind as I told it to the cook, I recalled the story I heard from Lucy, about how Natsu dressed himself up as a red-headed female idiot to try and take the blame for a 'destruction of property crime' which was pinned on Erza by the Magic Council (although as it turned out the whole thing was just a show, and thus his sacrifice was unnecessary.). And thus, I ended up once again making another foolish action, by fabricating a story which would not only put the entire blame on me, but would also put the girl in a more positive light.

"Then, what do you plan to do about it?" inquired the man, who was looking at me with calculating eyes. "You know, you could be arrested just for entering this place without permission? Perhaps it would be better if I just hand you over to the authorities?"

As I heard these words, I could not help but feel the sweat beginning to form on my forehead. Damn.

"NO!" screamed another voice suddenly, which made both me and the chef jump in surprise, making the both of us stare in her direction.

"I-it w-wasn't his fault," said the girl on my side, who was stuttering as she spoke. "I-it was mine."

Huh? I could not help but thought in surprise.

"Siesta, what do you mean it was your fault?"

"W-well," began the girl nervously. "I was actually the one who broke them. It was me. I was collecting the remaining plates at the dining hall and when I was on my way here I stepped on my foot and tripped. And then Mister here came and helped me clean it all up."

Wait... what?

"I see," nodded Martaeu at the girl. "So that's what really happened. Thank you Siesta, you may leave now. I need to talk to him alone."

"But..."

"Oh, and on your way, please wake up Janet," stated the chef, and although his voice was still kind and friend, there was a note of finality in it. "I need you two to buy some groceries for breakfast."

"Yes, sir," replied the girl, who, as I noticed, had gone into 'work mode,' and left, although not without taking one last look at me... and wait, was she blushing?

"So then... Ms?" inquired the chef.

"Meredy," I replied, using the first name of a friend that entered my mind, and at the same time, inwardly asking for forgiveness from said friend for borrowing her name...

"So then, Ms. Meredy?" began the man, as he stared at me with scrutiny in his eyes. "What do you have to say for yourself?"

Yes, it was annoying. After all my effort trying to get her out of trouble, the girl makes a statement that could make things work. True, I could tell that she meant well, and was actually trying to get me out of trouble, but by doing so, she could actually mess things up even worse than they already were. And as I saw the look on the chef's face, who was waiting for my response, I could tell that he believed her words more than mine.

"Well," I began, clearing my throat as I did so. "Whatever the case, it doesn't change the fact that I broke into your school, and in turn, into the kitchens, without permission. Therefore, it is only fair that I take full responsibility for it. I know that you have every right to have me punished for my actions, but please, I-I don't want to go to jail," bowing before the man as I ended my speech.

If it were the me before, I would have never, not even once, due to stupid noble pride, even think about bowing down to a commoner. But now, after all I've been through, it's not really that bad of a deal. For when it comes right down to it, we are all just human beings, and whatever our standing is in life, we are all equals. Thinking that you are above someone just because you are a noble while the person in front of you is a commoner, as I realized, is one damned twisted way of thinking.

An eerie silence had passed, as I waited for the man's response.

Yes, every single word I said was true. For as of right now, I was at the man's mercy. Well, technically I could escape, and there was nothing he could have done about it. However, I also know that it was wrong for me to run away from this situation, although if worse comes to worse, it was probably what I would do. If ever he decided to turn me in to the authorities, then I'll have no other choice, although even if that happens, I'll find a way to make it up to them somehow.

"Very well," said the man finally. "I will not report this matter to the Principal."

As I heard those, I could not help but feel a wave of relief.

"However..."

Upon hearing these words, though, I could not help but feel my stomach drop.

There's a catch, there's always a catch, I thought bitterly, and now, whatever it was, I simply hoped it was something I could handle.

"... you will still need to pay for the plates which you broke, but since Siesta was also taking the blame for what happened, you would only need to pay half for it, while I deduct the other half from her salary..."

And as I heard what the chef was trying to propose, I could hardly stop myself from sighing. For sadly, the money I have was just enough to pay for the food which I ate. True, I did make a bit of savings from my missions, but Jewels were not the currency in this world, and were thus useless, unless someone was willing to convert them, which would take a lot time. Quickly weighing my options, I knew that there was only one way out of this... one which I would probably regret...

Oh well, I thought inwardly, as I opened my mouth to tell the head cook my alternative proposition, hoping he would agree. If this works, at least I won't have to look for lodgings for a while...

-BREAK-

(Louise POV)

It was now six o'clock in the morning. And currently, I am still in the kitchens, helping out with the chores. And as of present, my task was to peel and slice the carrots and potatoes.

Yes, this was the deal I made with the chef. Since I do not have any money to pay for the dishes I broke, I told him that I would work for it instead, as well once again doing something stupid... telling him that I would work for Siesta's share of payment as well, since I did say that I would take full responsibility after all.

Well, it's not like I am complaining about such tasks. Heck, after having had to live by myself, or else travelling through forests and having to camp out in the wilderness with my companions, doing all sorts of missions, my current job was actually quite easier compared to those.

Doing the laundry, washing the dishes, cleaning up the house, cooking, even manly labor like chopping wood or carrying things, I have done them all, and thus it wasn't really that big of a deal. And as I thought about it, I could not help but laugh inwardly at how much things had changed. For if it were the me from before, I would have probably screamed in complaint at being made to do such things, even the easiest of them, since nobles always had servants to do it for them, and thus, believed that such mundane tasks are beneath them, a thought which once again made me snort in disgust.

For the nobles in my world, unlike the most of the ones I met in Fiore, were mostly like this, doing nothing but lazing around. And since they are too busy learning the 'etiquette of nobility,' they take for granted doing the very basic tasks that are needed for their daily lives. Heck, if a noble was abandoned by his servants, I seriously doubt if they would survive even a week without them.

Still, it was nice feeling, as I saw Marteau inspect my work with a nod of approval. While I wasn't really that good at making meals, as well as in making flavour combinations, I had become quite handy in using kitchen tools like the knife. Also, the other members of the cooking staff, just like the head chef, were quite friendly and easy to get along with. Yes, perhaps staying here for a while may not be so bad after. And besides, I was not really in a hurry...

However, despite this fact, there was still one thing was worrying me, nagging at me from the back of my mind, though for some reason, I just couldn't put my finger on it, like I've forgotten something really important...

"...but sir, where is he?" I heard a nervous inquiring female voice, belonging to a black-haired female. "I don't see him anywhere."

"What do you mean 'him'?" replied the chef as he raised his eyebrows.

Oh...

"Mr. Marteau?" I asked in a sheepish voice, as I held a large bowl in my hand. "I have finished peeling the potatoes. Is there anything else I can do to help? Perhaps I could chop from firewood?"

"Ah, we still have enough to last the week, so there's no need," stated the chef nonchalantly, as he took the bowl from hands and placed it beside the other ingredients. "We still need some water for cooking though. Why don't you go and fetch some from the well?"

"Yes, sir," I replied, and I was about to make my way for the door when...

"Ummm... excuse me," inquired a female voice, as a hand latched on tightly to my shoulder.

"Hmmm?" I replied in a friendly tone, as I turned around, and found myself face to face at the black-haired female.

"You're new here right?" as the girl stared at me with scrutiny in her eyes.

"Yes I am," I replied calmly. "I only started this morning."

"Strange," the girl muttered as she let go of my shoulder. "I could have sworn I've seen you somewhere before..."

Yep, this was the particular something which had been nagging at me from the back of my head, the girl named Siesta.

Considering what happened a few hours earlier, I was actually surprised that the girl did not recognize me. But then again, with what I'm currently wearing, I guess that could be rather understandable.

I have to admit that despite my misfortunes, luck has not completely left my side, as I recalled what happened a few hours prior. It took a while at the time, but I had managed to calm down the girl down enough for me to let her go. And as good fortune would have it (At the time I thought it was bad luck that someone else found out about my presence, although it was no longer the case.), Marteau entered the kitchens just in time, which saved me the trouble from having to make excuses to the girl for my... um... seemingly improper actions... as well as alleviated the mood. For the chef, as I now realized, was a cheerful and understanding person...

Now, however, it seems that I am once again faced with another problem.

Thinking for a moment, I realized that were two courses of action which I could choose from.

The first option, is that I should tell the girl who I am, that I was the person she met. But then, she might freak out and might start blabbing left and right uncontrollably, which would not be good for me...

The second option, is shutting my mouth and keeping the secret to myself. But if I did that, then Siesta would continue with her personal beliefs about the 'immoral actions' of the 'unknown person' she met the night before, and she might end up blabbing things about 'him' which would be even worse for my reputation, especially with Marteau, who was presently the only other person who knew about it.

In order words, I am trapped between a rock and a hard place.

Damn.

Having realized that there was no other way for me to go about it, I decided to go for the one which was the lesser evil for me. Besides, she might still recognize me later after all, and it was best to stop her from talking unpleasant things about me as early as possible. And thus...

I went for option number one.

Taking a piece of clothe from the table, I wrapped it around my head, in the same fashion when I wore a hood over my face...

For a moment the girl looked at me, her eyes widening in surprise...

"It's you," she whispered in recognition.

And as I watched her reaction I could not help but feel relieved. True, she was undoubtedly surprised by what she found out, but a least she did not freak out. Somehow, despite the revelation, she managed to stay calm and co...

"Y-y-y-y-y..."

Whoops. It seems like I thought too soon.

For a moment I contemplated on trying to stop her, just like I did before. However, that wasn't really an option, owing to the fact that there other people around me who would be there to witness it, and I'd rather not be in more trouble than what I'm already in...

So instead of tackling her, I instead covered my ears, which I believed was the best of course of action, and in a span of less than a second, my assumption was once again proven right, due to the fact that...

"YOU'RE A GIRL?!" screamed the black-haired female, who was pointing an accusing finger at me...

It was really fortunate that my co-workers seemed to be used to all kinds of interruptions to their work. Otherwise, a disaster could have taken place due the sudden outburst.

As for me though, I was torn between feeling amused and feeling quite irritated at my current predicament, as I heard the head chef laughing heartily, clutching his stomach as he did so.

Yes, on one hand, I am amused, at the current distraught appearance of the black-haired female, whose face was riddled with confusion, which was somehow kind of cute.

On the other hand, however, I could not help but feel irritated at my confirmed suspicion: she actually thought that I was boy! Well true, the way I now normally dress, as well as my mannerisms are somehow boyish, but that's not the point. For the point is...

I'M A GIRL!

And it had to take for me to wear a maid outfit for her to realize that?!

Yes, there had been plenty of people in Magnolia, who, due to the way I dressed, as well as my short hair, thought that I was male, and in fact, it had been quite useful in some of my missions. However, that did not mean that I was happy about it, a point which I believed I made with my friends in Fairy Tail when I blew up the first floor of the building because they had been teasing me nonstop about it.

Brimir be damned.

Whatever my preferences are, it does not change the fact that I am girl.

-BREAK-

(Louise POV)

It had been almost a week since I first joined the kitchen staff of Tristain Magical Academy, and so far, things had been going smoothly.

True to his word, my boss, Marteau, had not spoken a word about my 'actions' to the authorities, and whenever people asked about me, he would simply say that I was new employee. It was rather fortunate that the head chef was an old friend of the school's Principal, Osmond, and was in fact, given the freedom to hire new recruits without needing to have him approve it. In fact, while Marteau made it clear that he disliked the nobles, he also said Osmond was among the few nobles he actually truly respected, due to the fact that while he appeared traditionalist on the surface, he was actually friendly with and treated non-nobles fairly, defending them in every discreet way possible (which, due to fellow-noble's possible oppressive judgement, was something which earned my grudging respect, since he was still a coward) and in fact, he was the reason why the chef was working in the school in the first place.

Not only that, but Osmond was also the reason why none of the students, despite being of noble blood, could harm any of the non-noble workers in Tristain Magical Academy, due to the policies which the old man implemented. In fact, as Marteau recalled, there was one student who found himself expelled for trying to sexually assault one of the maids, and after that, none of the students ever dared do anything to the members of the work force.

And thus, I could not help but watch in amusement, as the stuck-up noble brats were forced to be polite whenever they wanted to ask for something from one of the members of the staff. They had no choice in the matter of course, since the honor of their family was at stake.

For even if Osmond was reluctant in openly showing support for the common folk, with his years of experience, and manipulative way of speech, by making it seem like his actions were for the betterment of the new generation of nobility and nothing else, no one was able to question his judgement when it comes to the punishments dished out for the noble students' wrongful actions, especially since their parents had literally signed an agreement where all said necessary elements to give him such authority were in place... the clever old man...

Still, the chef did warn that the old man was also a lecher and a pervert, which was probably the reason why he hired his current secretary, who, as I noticed, did indeed have the right curves. Still, despite my fury at this aspect, I decided not to let it get to me. After all, it was none of my business.

Besides, as my boss continued his 'gossiping' about his 'old friend', I realized that the man actually had to be pitied, since no matter what he did, as Marteau stated it bluntly, 'he could no longer get it up.'

Then, there were the members of the staff, all of whom were both kind and friendly. Well, at first, they had been a bit distant, especially the old lady, Porsha, who was a rather strict and scrutinous individual. However, due to my hardworking nature, I had managed to earn even her respect. Not that I'm bragging or anything, but when it comes to work, I am not the complainer type (although formerly I was.).

Yes, life had been rather peaceful. I knew I could not stay here for long, since there was something which I had to do, but there was nothing wrong with enjoying it while it lasted...

Tap. Tap. Tap.

"Hmmm? So you're back again, huh?" I mused, as I saw the head of a large creature that was poking at the window, and the moment I opened it...

The large head of said creature immediately took a dive for the roast chicken that I was holding in my hand, swallowing it in one gulp...

Before assaulting the person who gave it its meal... namely, me.

"Kyuuuu!" cried the Rhyme Dragon, whose name was Sylphid, happily, as it playfully tossed me up and down in the air.

Yes, a Rhyme Dragon, and it had taken a liking to me, which somehow surprised me. Was it because it could sense the scent, or perhaps aura, of a dragon on me? After all, I did spend a number of missions with the dragon slayers in my guild, I do not know. However, one thing I'm sure of is that Rhyme Dragons were supposed to be extinct in Halkagenia, and thus, if some were indeed still alive, it would be a rare sight.

So how did I end up running across one so easily?

Well, it's due to the fact that just a few days prior, the students of the all-so-great Tristainian Academy of Magic had their annual Springtime Familiar Summoning Ritual.

For as the students tried, various creatures, some of which I have never been seen before, had been summoned by the young stuck-up-nobles to add to their collection of servants. Well, it's not as if they need any more, but since summoning one was a requirement for passing to the next year, they had no other choice. For if they failed, they would have to pack their bags and leave the school... which of course would shame their families. And as I watched, I could not help but a bit disappointed, at the fact that none of them failed in summoning a familiar.

Still, my disappointment was nothing compared to the excitement that I felt, as I watched each of them summon their unique creatures, which, as I noticed, seemed to match the wielder's element, if not their nature. Personally, I don't really like the idea of summoning creatures, since it is tantamount to enslaving them, but still, it is the custom of this school, and the chance to see rare creatures is kind of fun.

One of them summoned a hawk, another summoned a snake, and yet another summoned a creature which I could not recognize. Guiche de Gramont, who I remembered by face due to the fact that he was one of my constant bullies, summoned a large mole... which did indeed fit him perfectly, the little rat. In fact, the day before, when he entered the dining hall, his face was black and blue, having just been beaten to a pulp by three girls, all of whom he had attempted to date at the same time in secret, and indeed I could not believe his stupidity. I mean, morals aside, how are you supposed to keep such a thing a secret when you are all literally living under the same roof, in the same school.

Still, at least he was morally straight enough to know that was he was doing was wrong and was thus ashamed of it. Unfortunately, the same could not be said about another person, who was proud about having multiple affairs with the most handsome boys in school, and in fact, despite this fact, all her lovers did not seem to mind sharing her.

I am talking of course, about that Brimir-be-damned Zerbst wench whose name was Kirche. Up to now, I still cannot understand why the girl was selling herself cheap when she was wealthy, and thus had no need to. Perhaps this was her so-called flame of passion which she was always bragging about? Either way, the familiar she summoned, which she called Flame, was indeed compatible with her.

And then there was her best friend (?) Tabitha. Well, naturally, it was easy to assume it as such. After all, she was the one who was constantly seen with the Zerbst, even more so than her so-called lovers. And she is also the one who...

"Kyuuuu!"

Thud

"Ow, that hurt," I groaned in pain, as I rubbed my back side. For the Rhyme Dragon, which had been tossing me up and down playfully like a ball, had suddenly stopped, and thus I ended up crashing to the ground, though thankfully, nothing seemed to be broken...

Cursing inwardly, I got up and walked towards the dragon, to see what it was that got its attention.

"Sylphid," I heard a familiar voice say.

Oh.

"Well then, Sylph, it seems like your master is here," I stated cheerfully, as I saw a blue-haired female gently stroking the Rhyme Dragon on its head. And indeed there was no reason for me to hold a grudge. After all, Tabitha, was its master, and therefore it was only natural for the Dragon to run off if called, although I was not exactly happy with what happened.

And also, I still have a lot of errands to run, and thus I could not afford to linger much longer, and thus I was about to head off for the well to fetch water when...

"Wait."

"Hmmm?" I mused inquiringly, and as I turned around I saw the best friend of one of the people I dislike staring at me emotionlessly.

"Thank you," said the girl.

I let a moment of silence pass. Did I just hear what I just heard?

"What did you say?"

"Thank you," the blue-haired female repeated.

Huh?

"For what?" I asked, as I stared the girl straight in the eyes.

"Giving Sylphid food," she stated, and despite her almost monotonous, I could not help but catch the note of sincerity in it.

And thus I could not help but feel surprised. Tabitha, a noble, sincerely thanking a commoner? Well, yes, due to Osmond's policy, the students in Tristain Magic Academy had to be polite the staff, but whenever they thank us, it was always grudgingly, or at best, half-hearted.

And loathe though I am to admit it, but I could not help but feel my respect rise for the quiet bookworm, even if she was Kirche's friend.

"Kyuuuu!"

"?!"

However, I did not have time to dwell on things, as I found myself getting tackled by the Rhyme Dragon, whose eyes were rather glossier than normal, as if it were about to cry.

"Don't worry, Sylph," I whispered soothingly, as I patted the dragon on the nose (the only place I could reach with my arms, seeing as I was pinned to the ground), knowing that it was trying to apologize for earlier. "I forgive you."

"Kyuuuu!" cried the Rhyme Dragon happily, and to my relief, said dragon finally let me go. Since basically, I was finding it difficult to breathe.

"Come," I heard Tabitha state quietly, before walking off, Sylphid, following its master's pace, walking beside her, both of them giving me one last look, before they disappeared around the corner.

"That was unexpected," I muttered, sighing, as I brushed the dust off my clothes, my thoughts on the blue-haired girl with glasses.

And indeed it was a bit of surprise for me. There was more to Tabitha than I had originally thought. But if that were the case...

Then what about the Zerbst?

Yes, I had learned, from my nakama, to never be so quick at judging at people. And indeed, I have met them... people, who were once evil, but had changed for the better. People, who seemed evil, but were actually good at heart...

And as I made my way back up to the castle, I could not help but ponder on these thoughts... if someone like Tabitha was her friend... at the possibility, that there was more to Kirche the Ardent than being just a nymphomaniac, that there was more to her than meets the eye...

-BREAK-

(Louise POV)

"Well done," stated a middle-aged woman, as she inspected the kitchens, which was now sparkling clean, giving me a warm smile. "I must admit I had misjudged. Despite your aloof appearance, you are actually a hardworking individual."

"Thank you," I replied, as I placed the last of the dishes back in their place.

It was now ten o'clock in the evening. At long last, the work of the day was done, and thus we can finally retire to our beds.

Well, technically, the time most of the maids were allowed to stop working at eight. However, as I saw how the old woman, as well as the head chef, had to stay and clean up every night, I just could not help but join and help them, something which the two greatly appreciated.

Still, as we were about to lock the doors of the kitchens, I could not help but feel that something was off...

"Mr. Marteau?" I asked.

"Yes?"

"Have you seen Siesta? I haven't seen her all day."

Yes, this was what has been bothering me since this afternoon.

Siesta, was a good-natured girl with a rather cheerful demeanor. She was kind, helpful, although she can be quite hyperactive at times, but most importantly, she is one of my friends, as well as the one who had kept me company the entire week. Even though it was just a short time, the two of us had become rather close, and in fact, we actually ended up doing our duties together, something which our boss, seeing our blooming friendship, seemed to have done on purpose.

However, since two days ago, I could not help but sense that something was bothering her. I tried to ask her if there was something wrong, but when I did so, when I caught the worried look on her face, she simply smiled and waved it off.

And now, as I saw the grim looks on Marteau's and Porcha's faces, I could not help but sense a feeling of dread. Something was wrong. Something was very wrong.

"I'm sorry, Meredy," began Porsha, in a surprisingly gentle voice, as if she was almost about to cry. "But we won't be seeing her again."

"Why, what happened?" I asked, my voice filled with worry.

"She was taken to the Mott Manor," spat Marteau, as if the name left a bitter taste in his mouth. "Count Mott has taken an interest in Siesta and has thus decided to hire her as a maid. She left earlier this evening."

"WHAT?!"

Immediately I found myself running to the door, but found myself stopped by a strong hand which grabbed me on the shoulder, belonging to my boss.

"Meredy, please calm..."

SLAM

However, I did not, for I could not, linger and talk. For the situation was grave, and I could not afford to waste a single second.

Yes, it was not pleasant. Count Mott, according to what I've heard from many people, including my own family, as well as the people in the Academy, was a man who could be summed up in one word: corrupt, a man who, like most nobles, used his influence and power to get whatever he wants. And unfortunately, he seems to have taken an interest in Siesta. Taking her in as maid was nothing but a farce. No, he took her because he wanted her, he desired her. And once he was done with her, like the rest of his lovers, he would set them aside, defiled, devoid of their chastity, forever cursed, forever tainted...

And due to his high noble standing, being close to the Royal Family, even old Osmond could do nothing to stop him...

Why hadn't I noticed it? Just this evening, before dinner, there was a carriage with the Mott Manor symbol engraved on it!

I felt hurt, and perhaps a little betrayed, at the fact that no one had bothered telling me about it, especially Siesta, as she was the one who has been accompanying me all this time. However, I also know that the reason why they kept it from me, and I knew for a fact that they meant well. For Siesta, as far as I know her, was someone who did not want to cause trouble for people around her, and thus probably kept it to herself.

As for Marteau, he may seem like a simple and jolly person, but in truth, he was actually really shrewd and observant, and he probably predicted the kind of reaction I would have if I found out...

Oh, how right he is.

However, now was not the time to dwell on trivial matters. The current problem is that Siesta has been kidnapped, a problem which had to be resolved.

Requip.

In an instant, I had changed my clothes, to the one which I had on when I first arrived in Halkagenia. It was nothing special really, just my regular clothes, but these particular clothes were designed to allow me maximum mobility, and gives me much more flexibility than the maid outfit I was previously wearing.

Then, I began focusing my magical energy, concentrating on the chariot which I had seen a couple of hours prior.

Yes. Count Mott may be a noble. He may be powerful and influential. However, he was going to take Siesta and keep her his prisoner. He was going to harm my friend.

Money, power, status, nobility? Like hell I care. After all, I am a mage of Fairy Tail.

And a Fairy Tail mage will always protect her nakama, no matter who she has to face, no matter what odds are against her...

I would die before I let any harm come to my friends.

Don't worry Siesta. I'm coming to save you...

-BREAK-

(Siesta POV)

It was nighttime. And as she looked out of the carriage, and saw the fireflies that were flying freely among the trees, she could not help but feel a tinge of regret and sorrow, cursing the unfair world that they lived in.

Yes, she knew. She knew what kind of man Count Mott was, that he was a womanizer, who collected woman that suited his taste like dolls, playing and abusing each one, until it was broken, or until he had grown tired of it, after which he would discard them like rags.

Still, despite knowing this fact, she also knew that there was nothing she could do. For the man was a noble, while she in turn, was just a mere commoner. She was nothing but a toy, a plaything, which the nobles can use, and throw away whenever they want.

It was hopeless... fate was just too cruel...

And as she felt the carriage stop, she knew that they had arrived at their destination.

Knock. Knock. Knock.

It was the end for her...

"Siesta?" whispered a voice.

"Huh?"

The female could not help but think in mild surprise. For for a moment there, she thought she had heard a familiar voice.

I must be imagining things, thought the girl to herself.

"Siesta?"

But then, if it was just her imagination, then why was it being so persistent?

"Siesta, it's me..." whispered the voice gently.

No it can't be, thought the black-haired female to herself. Slowly, she made her way to the door of the carriage, and when she opened it, she could not help but feel her eyes widen in surprise.

For in front of her, was a pink-haired girl, who was wearing a gentle smile on her face.

"Meredy?"

"Yes, it's me," replied the boyish female, as she let go of a man in armor, who she had been gripping by the neck, letting him fall to the ground with a soft thud. "I have come to rescue you."

For a moment, the girl just continued to stare, at the person who was standing in front of her... and then...

"MEREDY!" yelled the girl, as she flung her arms around her friend...

Siesta did not know how her friend managed to pull it off, but she did not really care. All the black-haired female knew for sure was that the girl she was currently embracing, despite all odds, despite the repercussions, had gone out of her way to save her.

"Thank you, my prince," whispered Siesta, tears of joy falling down her closed eyes, as she continued hugging the pinkette, barely noticing that they were no longer standing on the ground, floating in the air, nor the flash of white light which followed soon after, as the exhaustion overwhelmed her, welcoming the gentle darkness that came with some well-deserved rest...

-BREAK-

(Soldiers POV)

In a certain large manor, belonging to a nobleman whose name was Count Mott, a group of armed swordsman, who were serving under said count could not help but tremble in fear.

Yes, Mott was a vocal type of person. He was loud, although his voice always held authority.

And aside from that, he was a triangle class water mage, one who can control powerful water spells. Yes, Count Mott, despite the way he looked, despite his strange and immoral eccentricities, was a formidable...

However, the moment his voice turns from loud to quiet, is one of the worst times for anyone to be near him. For the moment the volume of his voice lowers, is also the moment when he is most displeased, and in this case, the nobleman would turn from formidable to mortally dangerous...

And the report they had just given him had had that exact affect.

"So you say that someone ambushed your group on the way here and took out all of you?" inquired the Count in a calm voice.

"Y-yes sir," replied one of the soldiers in a trembling.

"If that is the case," began the man, the volume of his voice going lower and lower as he spoke. "Then why are all of you uninjured?"

As he said these words, the soldiers immediately braced themselves for what would happen next, as they felt the air suddenly tense up around them, and saw their master raise his staff. After all, it had been a habit of the Count to punish them severely whenever he displeased them.

"MY LORD!" shouted a voice, coming from one the head chambermaid, as well as one of the nobleman's, as far as the soldiers knew, favourite plaything.

"Hmmm? What is it Clarissa?" mused the man, and to the soldiers relief, he had lowered his staff. The maid after all, was one of the Count's top three favourites, and had a calming effect on said person.

"This, sir," stated the female, as she handed an envelope to the Count, although for some reason, the woman's hand, unlike always, was trembling as she did so.

"Thank you very much," replied the Count, as he happily groped his wench on the backside as he did so. "You may leave now."

"Thank you, my lord," stated the woman cordially with a bow, before walking away from the chamber at a much faster speed than usual, the kind of speed which she, as well as the others in the mansion, only had...

...when they brought ill news...

"Well, what are you still doing here?" inquired the Count authoritatively, as he looked coldly at his men. "GO OUT AND FIND HER!"

"YES, MY LORD," replied the soldiers in unison, before they left the hall as quickly as they could...

And it was a good thing that they did...

For just a little over a minute later...

"AAAARGH!"

A loud scream, belonging to the Count, echoed throughout the manor, followed by a large torrent of water which burst out of the front door.

And as their lord continued shouting out profanities at the top of his voice, one of the soldiers noticed a piece of crumpled paper floating in the water... the one which Clarissa had given to the Count...

Picking it up, the man, along with his colleagues, carefully opened said piece of paper, while making sure that they were not in the Count's line of vision... And the moment they managed to do so...

The soldiers were forced to choke out a snort. For on the piece of paper...

Was a badly drawn doodle of a fat man in noble clothes, along with a written challenge to a duel...

Despite the fact that he was their lord, despite the fact that they had been serving him for years, the guard of Mott the Wave could hardly control their mirth, barely managing to control their laughter, as they read the letter that was addressed to their Master, and could not help but admire the courage of whoever it was who had the nerve to mock their lord in such a way...

-BREAK-

(? POV)

Inside a carriage, that was driven by flying horses, two young women, one with pink hair, and the other with blonde hair, were currently hurrying as fast as they could, with one destination in mind. And the reason behind their haste, was due to fact that a certain bottle had begun glowing brightly, even if it was just for moment.

Yes, they knew it was unlikely. After seeing the dried blood on the floor of her room at her school, as well as hearing what had happened, they knew it was near impossible. They had tested it after all, and there was no doubt that it belonged to her, and in fact, despite their efforts, had already lost hope...

...which has now been rekindled...

True, the flask in itself was not really important. However, what was truly of value, was what was contained. For inside the small transparent bottle...

Were strands of hair. Hair, belonging to a certain person. Hair, which had been carefully charmed, to react to, and only to, the magical aura of a certain someone, who was precious to them...

And as they continued flying through the clear night sky, the two people were hoping, praying to Brimir, that whatever sign it was they were seeing was not leading to just a dream, an illusion... that it was real... that it truly meant that she was alive and well...

AUTHOR'S NOTES

Alright, another chapter out. Well I must admit it's not really writing stuff like this, what with balancing out with my work and other things which I have to do. Still, I did manage to give it some time, so there you have it.

Anyway, it's been fun, writing fanfics is indeed fun, not only for writers, but also for readers, and I am one of those people who enjoy both worlds. Sadly though, no matter how much I want to, I know I don't have enough time to write down everything that comes to my head, so after a while I will be posting challenge fics in my profile for people who want to try then.

And yeah, as for Louise's magic, it would be revealed in the next chapter...

But enough about that...

And like always, I hope you enjoy this chapter...

Later then, people...