Chapter 1 – The Wind From Another World
In retrospect, I consider this as some divine power's way of saying, "Don't return to Japan," because there is no way any magic or technology on Earth should have been able to do this. I had been on a one-way flight from Europe to my homeland of Japan, when some kind of portal suddenly appeared in front of me and swallowed me whole before I could react.
And now here I was, wherever I was. In front of me was a very young and petite girl with bright pink hair. Strangely, the pink hair looked to be completely natural. Judging by her facial features and skin color, I assumed she was of Caucasian descent.
In one hand she held a polished wooden stick. A wand, from the looks of it. She also wore an outfit not dissimilar to that of school uniforms in Japan. The only difference was that she also wore a cloak around her. She strangely reminded me of the "magical girl" genre of anime that was popular in Japan.
Despite the fact that I was much taller than her, she only barely coming up to my chest, she was looking down on me. Whatever had brought me here, hadn't done so gently. My body felt as if it had been electrocuted, leaving me to lie on the grassy ground almost completely paralyzed.
"Who are you?" the pink-haired girl said.
"Kazuma Yagami," I grunted as I forced myself to sit up with no small amount of effort. "Where am I?"
The girl ignored me. Instead, she turned around to face a balding, middle-aged man dressed in humble brown robes and wearing glasses.
"Professor Colbert! Please let me redo the summoning!" the girl pleaded.
"I'm afraid not, Miss Valliere," Colbert shook his head. "The summoning ritual is a sacred rite. One cannot simply 'redo' it because they're dissatisfied with their familiar, even if that familiar is... unusual."
"But Professor Colbert!" the pink-haired girl whined.
"Enough," Colbert said with a note of finality. "I have already allowed you to try this again once class was over, something that has never been done before. Now please finish the contract."
The girl sighed with a tone of defeat and turned to face me. "Be grateful that I'm doing this with you, commoner." She pointed her wand at me and said, "My name is Louise Francoise LeBlanc de La Valliere."
Shit. I had no idea what she was planning to do, but I had a bad feeling about it. Magical tools like wands being pointed at you was usually not a good sign. I needed to move. Come on my body! Move!
"In the name of the Five Pentagonal Powers, bless this humble being and make him my familiar."
Dammit. I'm going to have to create a wind barrier to protect me. The girl then leaned in and kissed me on the lips.
Okay. Not quite what I was expecting.
And almost immediately thereafter, it felt as if my insides had been lit on fire.
"Urgh," I grunted as I clutched my chest and clenched my teeth. I forced myself to endure the pain that was flaring inside me. Had it not been for my prior experience being burned regularly by the Kannagi family as a child, I would surely have been screaming loudly at the moment. Despite the burning pain, or perhaps because of it, I couldn't help but wonder if the girl had somehow forced me to ingest a deadly poison.
The burning sensation began to move like a living thing, spreading everywhere inside my body at first, before rapidly concentrating into my left hand, where it felt as if someone was taking a searing hot knife and carving it directly into my flesh. This time I did let out groans of pain. Thankfully, however, it lasted for only half a minute before the pain suddenly vanished entirely. In its place was a set of runes engraved into the back of my left hand.
"What the hell is this?" I demanded from the girl, Louise.
"That's just the Familiar's Runes," Louise replied dismissively.
Colbert knelt down beside me and stared carefully at my left hand. "What strange runes. I don't think I've ever seen their like before, yet they seem vaguely familiar. Hmm..." Colbert shook his head and stood back up to full height and looked towards Louise. "In any case, you have successfully managed to summon your familiar. Congratulations, Miss Valliere."
"Thank you," Louise said glumly.
With one last reassuring smile at the girl, Colbert walked away towards a large, medieval style castle not too far away, leaving only me and the girl in the grassy courtyard.
"Who are you!?" Louise whirled towards me and demanded.
"Ah? I already told you," I said, annoyed. "Are you deaf?"
"Watch your tongue, commoner!" Louise said angrily. "You are my familiar! That means I am your master from now on!"
My body was starting to return to normal, more quickly than I had anticipated. A few more minutes and I would be completely recovered.
"Fine. I'm Kazuma Yagami," I reintroduced myself.
"What a weird name," Louise frowned.
"I'm sure it is around here," I said acerbically. "Now, what's this about me being your familiar?"
"It means what I said," Louise replied in a matter-of-fact tone. "I performed the summoning ritual, summoned you, and finished it with the contract. Those runes on your hand are proof of that." Louise looked at me and sighed and shook her head. "But why did I have to get stuck with you! I wanted something cool like a dragon or a griffin or a manticore! At the very least an eagle or an owl!"
I rolled my eyes. This girl basically kidnaps someone with magic and she's worried about her own disappointments instead of the possibility she just ripped a person away from his friends and family? I mean, it wasn't as if I had either, but it was the principle of the thing.
"Then can you send me back?" I asked. "Or at the very least cancel this 'familiar' thing so you can try again?"
"No," Louise said promptly. "Summon Servant is a one-way spell. And the contract between a familiar and summoner only ends when the familiar dies."
I carefully stood up, my body finally having returned back to normal. "Oh? And what exactly does a familiar do anyway?"
"They're servants and guardians," Louise said. "They carry out whatever orders their master gives them unconditionally and protects their master from any and all threats."
"I see, I see," I nodded understandingly. "And what happens if they refuse to obey?"
"You know," Louise looked at me with an annoyed expression, "you are speaking to your master much too familiarly. You must show me proper respect when you speak. To start with, you will henceforth address me as 'Master.'"
"Hmm. Yeah, I don't think so," I said. "Unfortunately for you, I stopped bowing to others four years ago. And even if I didn't stop, I wouldn't bow to some random person who magically kidnapped me and declared herself my master out of nowhere."
"What?" Louise said in ludicrous anger. "You must! You are my familiar!"
I shrugged. "What happens if I don't?"
"You'll be punished," Louise said in a matter-of-fact tone.
"Me," Louise glared at me.
I blinked at Louise for a moment. Then I started laughing. "You can try it if you want," I chuckled. "But you're probably not strong enough to punish me. Besides that, it seems that whatever your 'contract' was supposed to do, it isn't working on me. You have no way of making me be your slave."
"Hmph. We'll see about that," Louise said. "Come with me, familiar."
"Alright," Louise said as she pulled out a long, leather whip from her drawer. Why the hell did a thirteen year old girl have a whip of all things just lying around in her room? "Stay right there and we can get this over with only a light punishment."
I smiled and shrugged nonchalantly. "Punish away."
Louise narrowed her eyes, but slung the whip at me. However, I called upon the wind spirits to protect me like a skintight armor. When the whip came down on me, it was blocked and the kinetic energy absorbed by the wind spirits, leaving me entirely unharmed. To Louise, it seemed as if the whip had suddenly and inexplicably lost all its power and speed and simply fell from me like a wet noodle.
"That's weird," Louise muttered as she brought the whip back and lashed with it again.
Once more, the wind spirits protected me and caused the whip to simply fall away from me without harm. Three more times Louise tried this, and three more times she failed.
"Alright, how in Brimir's name are you doing that?" Louise finally said in frustration.
"Doing what?" I asked genially.
"You're making my whip not hurt you," Louise said. "I don't know how, but you are."
"Me?" I said in mock surprise. "Why, I'm not doing anything." And that was the truth. I myself was not doing a single thing. It was the efforts of the spirits of the wind that was protecting me. But she didn't need to know that. "Perhaps you should try harder?"
With an angry growl, Louise lashed the whip at me with all the strength her tiny body could muster. The result did not change.
"Is this what you meant when you said I'm not strong enough to punish you?" Louise demanded.
"It could be," I allowed.
"Familiar, when your master asks you a question, it is your duty to answer completely and honestly," Louise said.
"And if I don't?" I said, all jest and amusement gone from my face, replaced with a cold, hard expression. "What will you do? Punish me? Can you?"
Louise clenched her teeth together, but said nothing.
"Here's the deal," I said. "You answer my questions, and I'll answer yours. First of all, where am I?"
Louise glared at me before responding. "You're at the Academy of Magic, in Tristain."
"Tristain?" I frowned. "Where the hell is that?"
"What do you mean where is it?" Louise said ludicrously. "It's north of Gallia and west of Germania."
Tristain? Gallia? Germania? What the hell was she talking about? I'm fairly confident that there are no countries by that name, though the last one's name was similar to Germany. But maybe I'm wrong. The world is big and has a lot of countries. It's possible that even I don't know about all of them.
"Okay, let's broaden the scope a little," I said. "In what continent am I on?"
I had still been over Europe when I was suddenly summoned here, but magic involving teleportion had a nasty tendency to disregard silly notions such as the concept of distance. It was entirely possible I was in a completely different continent.
"You're in Halkeginia."
I blinked at Louise. Halkegini-what?
"Is that some kind of local term for Europe or North America or something?" I said quizzically.
"Europe? North America?" Louise mirrored my quizzical expression. "What are you talking about?"
"What am I talking about? What are..." I paused as a horrible, sinking sensation suddenly filled me from the depths of my stomach.
Impossible. That was impossible. The only reason why I even thought of it was because of the movies I've watched before. It was definitely impossible. Right? I walked over to the window and looked upward towards the sun. Judging by its position, it was probably six in the afternoon at least.
"Hey, why'd you stop talking?" Louise said.
"There's something I need to make sure of," I said grimly. "And it has to wait until night."
No. Way. No fucking way.
I gawked as I stared at the night sky from the window in Louise's room. At first, I had only intended to use the position of the stars to ascertain my position and to either verify or disprove my theory. But it was the other, more salient celestial body that confirmed my fears. Or, in this case, the other, more salient celestial bodies.
On Earth, there was only one moon. What I was seeing now were two silvery orbs hanging in the night sky. This meant only one thing.
I was no longer on Earth.
"Wow," was the only thing I could say. I was not prone to being shocked speechless, but this was beyond even my imagination.
"What?" Louise said impatiently. She had been attempting to ask me questions for a few hours now as I waited patiently for the sun to set. I had steadfastly refused to answer until I had finished my questions. All of my questions.
"Congratulations, Louise," I said. "You are the ultimate kidnapper."
"I am not a kidnapper!" Louise protested angrily.
"Hm... You summon a person against his will, forcibly place some kind of magical contract on him while he can't move, which fortunately failed to elicit his magically compelled obedience, and then expect him to call you master?" I said sarcastically, regaining some of my previous vigor. "You're right. Kidnapper is much too light a term. Slaver would be much more appropriate."
"The summoning ritual is a highly sacred rite!" Louise said angrily. "It has been handed down to us from Brimir himself from 6,000 years ago!"
"Wow. A history of slavery that spans 6,000 years. That's almost impressive in its own way. Tell me, did Brimir ever manage to kidnap a person from another world?" I asked. "Because that's what you did. I'm not from this world."
"I'm telling you! It's not kidnap-... Wait, what did you say?"
"I said I'm from another world," I repeated.
Louise blinked at me, then sighed and shook her head. "Not only did I summon a commoner, I summoned a crazy, disobedient commoner."
I snorted. Guess I can't blame her for not believing me. I wasn't entirely sure if I believed myself.
"Well, whatever," I said as I walked over to the door and opened it.
"Where are you going?" Louise asked.
"Don't worry. I have no intention of running away. I'm just going to find some place to sleep," I said. "You'll understand if I don't much feel like sleeping in the same room or answering the questions of the one who kidnapped me and attempted to whip me. "
Before she could answer, I shut the door behind me and walked down the halls as I let my thoughts run through my mind.
Another world. Wow.