Chapter Five: The Staff of Destruction
The next morning…
At the Tristain Academy of Magic, there was much commotion from the last night's events, just as though a wasp’s nest had been stirred.
Why? Because the Staff of Destruction had been stolen.
And it was brazenly stolen by using an Earth Golem to break through the wall of the vault.
The teachers of the Academy of Magic who gathered inside the vault were speechless when they saw the gaping hole in the wall.
The inscription on the wall etched by Fouquet the Crumbling Dirt said it all:
[I have the Staff of Destruction. – Fouquet the Crumbling Dirt.]
At this point in time, all the teachers at the academy could do was gripe and whine
“It’s that thief who had looted the nobles clean, Fouquet the Crumbling Dirt! How daring of him to target the academy!”
“What were the guards doing?”
“Even if the guards are around, they’re useless! They’re only commoners! Speaking of which, which noble was supposed to be on duty last night?”
Mrs. Chevreuse felt anxious. She was supposed to be on duty last night. “But who would steal from the academy?” she thought while sleeping soundly in her own room instead of being next to the vault door like all nobles on watch duty must do.
One of the teachers immediately pointed out and said, “Mrs. Chevreuse! You were supposed to be on duty last night! Am I right?”
Mrs. Chevreuse broke into tears, ”I’m very sorry… Very sorry…”
“Even if you cried your heart out, would it come back? Or are you going to pay for it?”
“But… but I just finished paying for my house.” Mrs. Chevreuse knelt down on the floor and wept.
Just then, Old Osman arrived. “Erm… This is not the best time to be hard on the ladies, right?”
The fellow teacher who reprimanded Mrs. Chevreuse retorted, “But Osman, Mrs. Chevreuse failed in her duty! She was sleeping soundly in her bed when she was supposed to be on watch!”
Old Osman gently stroke his long beard while looking at the very shaken and stirred teacher.
“Erm… What’s your name again?”
“It’s Gimli! Have you forgotten?”
“Oh, right! Gimli! Well, Mr. Gimli, don’t get angry. Honestly speaking, how many of you here can say that you’re always vigilant throughout your tour of duty?” Old Osman replied.
The teachers looked at each other and hung their heads in shame. There was silence.
“Well, that’s the situation that we’re in now. Talking about responsibility, I think all of us, including myself, have to be held accountable for this incident. Why did we think that a thief could never infiltrate the academy? Is it because of the number of mages we have in the academy here that gives us the assurance that we won’t be attacked? This type of thinking is wrong from the beginning.”
Old Osman gazed at the hole in the wall and continued, “It’s our complacency that has gave Fouquet the courage to trespass, and steal the Staff of Destruction. We’re all at fault.”
Mrs. Chevreuse looked upon Old Osman with gratitude and said, “Oh! Osman, Mr. Osman! Thank you for your benevolence. From now on I’ll look upon you as though you’re my father.”
“Well, that… Hehe… Miss…” Old Osman started to stroke Mrs. Chevreuse’s bottom.
“If that’s okay with you… It’s up to the headmaster then.”
Old Osman, not wanting to put the blame on anybody, decided that was the best way to loosen the uptight atmosphere. After that he proceeded to clear his throat, with everybody remaining solemn waiting for him to speak.
“Well then, who were the ones who witnessed the theft?” Osman asked.
“It was these three.” said Mr. Colbert while pointing to the three people behind him.
It was Louise, Kirche and Tabitha. Saito was also present but due to the fact that he was a familiar, he wasn't counted as a “person”.
“Oh… It’s you guys…” Osman said as he looked at Saito with great interest.
Saito did not know why he was being stared at, but remained courteous nonetheless.
“Please tell us about the event in depth.”
Louise stepped forward and described what she saw. “Mm… A great clay golem appeared and broke the wall. The hooded magician standing on its shoulder went in and took something… I think it most probably was the Staff of Destruction... After that the hooded mage rode on the golem and escaped beyond the school walls… The golem became a big mound of earth in the end.”
“After that, what happened?”
”Later, all we saw was a mound of earth, with no sign of the hooded mage.”
“So… that is what happened…” Osman said while stroking his beard.
“Even though we wanted to carry on the chase, without any leads we couldn't. So…”
At this point in time Old Osman suddenly remembered a question to ask Mr. Colbert, ”Ah, Where is Miss Longueville?”
“I’m not sure, I haven’t seen her since morning.”
“Where could she have gone to during these trying times?”
“That’s right, where could she be?"
In the midst of those mutterings, Miss Longueville finally appeared.
“Miss Longueville! Where have you been? Something terrible has happened!” said Mr. Colbert anxiously.
Miss Longueville spoke to Old Osman in a very cool and calm manner. “I’m extremely sorry to be late! I was doing some investigations. So…”
“Yes. When I woke up this morning there was already a lot of commotion happening, so then I went to the vault and saw the inscription on the wall made by Fouquet. I knew that the thief infamous throughout the land had struck again. Therefore, I immediately started investigations.”
“You’re really very efficient, Miss Longueville.” Mr. Colbert then asked again in an urgent manner, “But in the end, did you find out anything?”
“Yes, I have gotten hold of the whereabouts of Fouquet.”
“What!?” Mr. Colbert spoke with amazement. “Where did you get this information from Miss Longueville?”
“According to the commoners around the area, they saw what seemed to be like a person wearing a black hooded cloak entering an abandoned house in the nearby forest. I think that the person is most probably Fouquet and that abandoned house is most probably his hideout.”
Louise upon hearing that exclaimed, “A black hooded cloak? Unmistakable, that must be Fouquet!”
Old Osman too got psyched up and asked Miss Longueville, “How far is it from here?”
“By foot it takes half a day, by horse it should only take four hours.”
“We must report this to the Imperial Court right away! We must seek reinforcements from the imperial army!” Mr. Colbert shouted yet again.
Old Osman shook his head and stared at Colbert and with a vigor unfitting for an old man shouted, “You fool! By the time we report this to the imperial court, Fouquet would have gotten away scot-free! Besides, if we can’t even handle such a small problem on our own, we’re not fit to be called nobles! Since the staff was stolen from the academy, then it’s the academy’s responsibility to get back the staff ourselves!”
Miss Longueville smiled, as though she was waiting for this answer all along.
Old Osman coughed for a while, and then started recruiting volunteers. “Now, we’re going to organize a search team to find Fouquet. Those willing to join, please raise up your wands.”
All of the nobles looked at each other awkwardly, not one raised a wand.
“No one? That’s peculiar. No one wants to be known as the hero who caught Fouquet the Crumbling Dirt?”
Louise was among those who lowered their heads but she decided to raise her wand.
“Miss Vallière!” Mrs. Chevreuse exclaimed in surprise. “You mustn’t do this! You’re still a student! Please leave this to the teachers!”
“But none of you are willing to help…” Louise muttered.
Saito looked at Louise with his mouth wide open. The rather serious look on Louise coupled with her gently biting her lips looked so stunning that it had captivated Saito.
Seeing that Louise had raised her wand, Kirche too raised her wand, with a little reluctance though.
Mr. Colbert even more surprised, exclaimed; “Miss Zerbst! Aren’t you a student too?”
Kirche replied nonchalantly, ”Well, I simply cannot lose to the Vallière family.”
Seeing Kirche raising her wand, Tabitha did the same.
“Tabitha! You need not do this! This does not concern you at all!” Kirche said.
Tabitha just answered, ”I’m worried.”
Feeling touched, Kirche looked at Tabitha with gratitude.
Louise at the same time also muttered, ”Thank you… Tabitha.”
Seeing the three of them, Old Osman laughed and said, “Well then, it’s all up to you three now.”
“Sir! Headmaster Osman! I strongly object! We must not put the life of a student in danger!”
“Well, would you then go in their stead, Mrs. Chevreuse?”
“Ah... Erm… Well… I’m not feeling very well recently, so…”
“They have seen Fouquet before plus, even though Miss Tabitha here is very young, I have heard that she has already been conferred the title of chevalier, am I right?”
Tabitha did not answer and just stood quietly.
All the teachers looked at Tabitha in astonishment.
“Is that true, Tabitha?” asked Kirche in similar astonishment.
Even though chevalier is the lowest title that the Imperial family can confer to a person, Kirche was still amazed that Tabitha could attain it at such a young age. If it’s a title of “Baron” or even “Marquis”, the titles could be obtained by purchasing large amounts of land. However for a person to be called a chevalier, the only way is to render great service for the country. It’s a title that can only be conferred by merit.
Once again, there was great commotion inside the vault.
Old Osman went on and looked at Kirche and said, ”Miss Zerbst from Germania comes from a family of distinguished war heroes, and she herself has a very strong background in fire magic."
Kirche flicked her hair with confidence.
Louise, thinking that it was time for her to be praised too, cutely stood to attention.
Old Osman was now in a pinch. There was almost nothing to praise about Louise…
“Ahem!” Clearing his throat, Osman veered his sight clear of Louise and said; ”That... Miss Vallière comes from the prestigious Vallière Family, a family renowned for their mages. And… She’ll be a promising one in the future… and as for her familiar…”
Placing his gaze on Saito, Osman continued saying; ”Even though he’s a commoner, he has defeated General Gramont’s son, Guiche de Gramont in battle." Old Osman thought to himself: and if he really is the legendary Gandálfr… "Fouquet the Crumbling Dirt should not be a match for him."
Mr. Colbert also enthusiastically added; “Yes! Yes! Because he is the legendary Gand…”
Old Osman hastily covered Mr. Colbert’s mouth before he could finish his sentence. “A.. Hahaha… He’s talking nonsense! Haha!...”
Then there was silence again.
Then Headmaster Osman in a solemn tone spoke, “If anyone thinks that they're more capable than the mentioned three, please step forward.”
No one stepped forward.
Therefore Old Osman turned to the group of four and said, ”The academy awaits the capture of Fouquet then!”
Louise, Kirche and Tabitha stood to attention and said, ”We swear upon our wands to capture Fouquet!”
After that they pulled the edges of their skirts and made a curtsy. Saito also hastily followed. As he wasn't wearing a skirt, he pulled the end of his jacket.
“Well then, ready the carriage and set off right away. You must conserve your energy before you reach your destination.”
“Miss Longueville, could you go with them, too?”
“Yes, Headmaster Old Osman. I had wanted to go with them as well,” said Miss Longueville.
So under the lead of Miss Longueville, the four quickly set off.
Even though it was considered a carriage, in actual fact it was just a cart with wooden planks attached as a seat. The good thing about it though was that if they were attacked, they could easily jump out of the carriage right way.
Miss Longueville was in charge of driving the carriage.
Kirche asked the silent Longueville who was concentrating on the reins, “Miss Longueville, this type of job could be done by a commoner. Why do you have to do it yourself?”
Miss Longueville smiled and answered; “It’s all right. I’m not a noble anyway.”
Kirche paused for a while, and asked again, “But aren’t you Headmaster Osman’s secretary?”
“Yes, I am. But Old Osman isn’t a person who is concerned by a person’s status when looking for help. Whether if he’s a noble or commoner.”
“If it’s possible, tell me in depth how you lost your status, please.”
But Miss Longueville just smiled at Kirche. It seemed like she did not want to speak anymore.
“Just tell me please, even if it’s just a little.” Kirche pestered as she began leaning closer to Miss Longueville. Just then she felt someone grabbing her shoulder. It was Louise. Kirche then turned around and said, “What is it that you want, Vallière?”
“Forget it. Stop raking up someone’s past.”
“Humph, I’m bored, that’s why I needed some one to talk to”. Kirche replied while placing her hands behind her head and laying against the side of the carriage.
“I do not know if this applies to your country, but in Tristain, it’s a shameful act to force someone to reveal something that he or she does not want to say.”
Kirche did not answer her. She got up and sat in a cross legged position and began saying, “It’s all because of your impetuousness that I got into this mess. Capturing Fouquet…”
Louise gave an angry stare at Kirche, “What do you mean by that? Didn’t you volunteer yourself in?”
“If you had come alone, wouldn’t Saito be in danger, too? Am I right, Louise the Zero?”
“Why do you say that?”
“Anyways, if that large golem appears again, you would surely run to the rear and let Saito do all the fighting, right?"
“Why would I run away? I would use my magic, you’ll see!”
“You, using magic? What a joke!”
The two started bickering again. Tabitha continued reading her book.
“That’s enough! Would you both please stop it?” Saito interrupted.
Kirche did a gesture and said, “Humph, I’ll stop. I’m not the one at fault anyway.”
Louise bit her lips.
“Well then darling, this is for you.” Kirche looked at Saito seductively, and then placed in his arms the sword that she had bought for him.
“Wow! Thanks!” Saito said while taking the sword.
“I won that time round, or do you have something to say, Louise the Zero?”
Louise stared at the both of them, but kept quiet.
Suddenly, it turned dark. The carriage had entered the forest. The darkness and the weird smell present in the forest sent shivers down their spines.
“We’ll have to walk from here onwards.” Miss Longueville said. The group then disembarked from the carriage, and proceeded to the small path into the forest.
“I’m afraid of the dark and don’t like the feeling around here…” Kirche said while wrapping her arms around Saito’s.
“Could you not keep so close to me?”
“But I’m afraid!” Kirche said with exaggerated reaction. Anyone could tell that she was lying…
Saito, worried about Louise, glanced at her.
Louise turned her head away. “Humph”
The group reached a clearing in the forest. It was roughly the size of the Vestri Court and in the middle was an abandoned house. The house was built from wood with a corroded stove. Next to it was a completely rundown warehouse.
The group hid behind the bushes and observed the house.
Miss Longueville pointed to the house and said, “From the information I’ve gathered, that should be the place.”
“Looks like no one is inside. Is Fouquet really hiding there?”
The group started discussing, using sticks to draw their battle plan on the ground. They all agreed that ambushing him was the best way. All the better if he was sleeping.
Firstly, they would need to scout around the house and find out what is going on inside. After that, if Fouquet is inside, the scout would draw him out, because there is not enough earth inside the house for him to create an earth golem. Once outside, the rest would all cast their magic against him, without letting him have a chance to summon his golem.
“So who is going to lure him out?” Saito asked.
Tabitha replied, “The one with the best reflexes.”
All stared at Saito.
“Me?” Saito sighed. He drew out the sword that Kirche gave to him.
The runes on his left hand started glowing. At the same time Saito felt his body becoming as light as a feather.
Saito moved closer to the house and peered through the window in the house. There was only one room in the whole house, with a table and a reclining chair that were both covered in dust. There was also a bottle of wine on the table and in one corner of the room there was firewood.
There was no one inside and there did not seem to be any place to hide inside the house either.
Had he already left this place?
But their opponent was Fouquet, a triangle mage. So he could still be hiding inside even though there did not seem to be a hiding place.
So Saito decided to call everyone over.
Saito used his hand to make an “X” sign on top of his head, a sign that means the house is empty.
The rest of the group who were hiding carefully approached the house.
“There’s no one inside,” Saito said while pointing at the window.
Tabitha waved her staff at near the door and muttered, “There’s no trap.” She then opened the door and went inside the house.
Kirche and Saito followed suit and entered the house.
Louise told the rest she would stand guard and stayed behind.
Miss Longueville said that she would investigate the area around the forest and disappeared.
Saito’s group went into the house and started to look for any clues to Fouquet's whereabouts.
Then, Tabitha found inside a box... The Staff of Destruction.
“The Staff of Destruction.” Tabitha said while waving it around.
“Isn’t this too easy?” Kirche exclaimed.
Saito looked at the Staff of Destruction and said with astonishment, “Kirche, is this really the Staff of Destruction?”
Kirche nodded and said, “Unmistakably, I saw it once during my tour of the treasure vault.
Saito brought the staff closer and examined it closely. “If I’m not wrong this is a …”
Just then, Louise who was standing guard outside gave a chilling shriek. “Ahhhh!!!”’
“What happened, Louise?!”
Just as everyone looked outside the house, a loud sound could be heard. Crack!Suddenly the house was without a roof and everyone looked up.
In place of the roof was a giant earth golem.
“It’s an earth golem!” Kirche screamed.
Tabitha was the first to react. Waving her staff, she started chanting her magical inscriptions. A whirlwind appeared out of her staff and struck the golem.
After the whirlwind dissipated, the golem remained unscathed.
Following Tabitha, Kirche took out her wand hidden in her cleavage and started chanting.
A fireball shot out of her wand and engulfed the golem. Even though the whole golem was on fire, it did not seem to be affected by the fire at all.
“It’s too tough for the few of us!” Kirche shouted.
“Retreat” Tabitha said softly.
Kirche and Tabitha went different ways and ran out of the house.
Meanwhile, Saito was looking for Louise.
Louise stood behind the golem, chanted something and pointed her wand towards the golem.
Something exploded on the surface of the golem. It was Louise’s magic! The golem realized this, turned around and faced Louise.
Saito, standing near the door of the house 20 mails away from Louise shouted, “Run! Louise!”
Louise refused, “No! If I subdue this, no one will ever call me Louise the Zero ever again.” Louise appeared to be very serious. The golem tilted its head, pondering whether to deal with Louise or Kirche and Tabitha who were escaping.
“Look at the size difference between you and the golem! You can’t possibly win!”
“You’ll never know if you don’t try.”
“It’s too hard! It’s impossible!”
Louise stared at Saito and said, “Haven’t you said this before?”
“When you were badly beaten by Guiche’s Valkyries, when you kept standing up and said, you did not want to lower your head, and you never will.”
“Yes... I did say that… but…”
“I feel the same way. Even though I cannot accomplish anything, this is a matter of pride. If I run away now, people will say, ‘because she’s Louise the Zero, that’s why she ran away’."
“Does it matter? Let people say whatever they want!”
“But I’m a noble. Nobles are people that can use magic.” Louise tightened her grip on her wand. “And nobles never turn their backs on their enemies.”
The golem decided that it would deal with Louise first, it raised its leg, preparing to crush her.
Louise raised her wand towards the golem and started chanting again…
But it failed, even though Louise used ‘fireball’.
Then a small explosion occurred on the golem’s chest and small fragments of earth fell out from its chest. The golem was not affected by the attack at all.
Saito grabbed his sword and dashed towards Louise.
Louise saw the golem’s foot getting nearer and nearer. She closed her eyes and prepared for the worst.
At this instant, Saito approached her at the speed of a whirlwind, grabbed her and rolled away from the golem’s stomp.
Saito gave a slap on Louise’s face. Pak!
“Do you really wish to die?”
Louise looked at Saito, stunned.
“To hell with your noble’s pride! Once you die, nothing really matters anymore! Idiot!”
Tears began to flow out of Louise’s eyes like a waterfall.
“Please don’t cry!”
“But… but I cannot take this lying down… I’m always being treated like a fool by others…”
Looking at the crying Louise, Saito felt hapless.
Being constantly called “Zero”, being treated like an idiot, no one could take that lying down. He recalled his fight with Guiche. Louise cried that time, too. Even though Louise is stubborn and haughty, in reality she actually hates fighting and she’s not good at it either.
She’s only a girl… Louise’s beautiful face was now covered in tears, just like a crying child.
But this was not the time to console her. Saito turned his head over and saw the golem raising its fists, ready to pound them.
“Can’t you even console me a little?” Louise protested as Saito carried her and escaped.
The golem chased after them, even though the golem was nowhere near agile, its speed was still on par with Saito.
Tabitha's Wind Dragon landed in front of Saito to help in their escape.
“Get on.” Tabitha said.
Saito placed Louise on the dragon’s back.
“You too, quickly!” Tabitha said to Saito with urgency unlike her normal self.
But Saito did not get on, instead he ran towards the golem.
“Saito!” Louise shouted.
“Fly away now!” Saito shouted.
Tabitha stared at Saito emotionlessly for a while, and was forced to make Sylphid fly up as the golem was approaching them.
The golem’s fist smashed onto the place Saito stood on. Just in the nick of time, Saito jumped and evaded the blow. The golem removed its fist from the ground and a crater a meter wide was formed.
Saito mumbled to himself, ”Don’t cry if you can’t take it lying down. Stupid! This really makes me feel like doing something for you!” Saito faced the golem and said, “You better not look down on me! You’re just a pile of dirt!”
He grabbed hold on his sword and said, “I’m Louise’s familiar!”
“Saito!” Louise attempted to jump down from Sylphid which was in mid air, but was grabbed by Tabitha.
“Please save Saito!” Louise pleaded.
Tabitha shook her head.
“Impossible to get near.”
Whenever Sylphid tried to get near, the golem would try to attack it. So Tabitha was not able to approach Saito at all.
“Saito!” Louise shouted again.
Louise saw Saito wielding his sword in a stand off against the golem.
The golem moved and threw a punch. In mid-flight the fist morphed into steel.
Saito saw this, and parried the attack with his sword.
Pang! The sword broke from the hilt upon impact.
Saito was stunned. Was this sword really made by the famous Germanian Alchemist Lord Shupei? It’s totally useless!
Without a weapon, all Saito could do was evade the golem’s attack.
Seeing Saito in a pinch, Louise was desperate. Wasn’t there anyway to help him? Just then, Louise noticed the “Staff of Destruction” held by Tabitha.
“Tabitha! Pass that to me!”
She nodded and passed the Staff of Destruction to Louise.
The Staff of Destruction had an unusual shape that Louise had never seen before.
But since Louise’s magic did not work, all she could depend on now was the Staff of Destruction.
Louise closed her eyes and took a deep breath. Opening her eyes again she said, “Tabitha! Use levitation on me.” And jumped off the Sylphid’s back. Tabitha hastily cast “Levitation” on Louise.
Under the effect of the spell, Louise slowly descended and, facing Saito and the golem, waved the Staff of Destruction.
Nothing happened at all. There was no response from the Staff of Destruction.
“Is this really a magical staff?” Louise shouted urgently.
Were there any special requirements in order to activate it?
Saito looked at the descending Louise and was shocked. Why did she come back? It would have been better for her to stay on the dragon!
At the same time, Saito saw the Staff of Destruction that Louise was holding.
Looks like Louise did not know how to use the staff and she was just waving it around…
Saito rushed towards Louise.
If we could use this, maybe we could defeat the golem!
“Saito!” Louise shouted to Saito who was running towards her.
Saito grabbed the Staff of Destruction away from Louise.
“I don’t know how to use this!”
“It’s to be used like this!”
Saito grabbed hold of the Staff of Destruction, took out the arming handle, opened the rear cover and pulled out and extended the inner tube.
… Why do I know how to do this?
But that was not the time to think.
He flipped up the telescope sight on the tube and aimed.
Seeing his proficiency in handling the Staff of Destruction, Louise was too shocked to say anything.Saito placed the Staff of Destruction on his shoulder and pointed the front of the staff towards the golem.
Due to the short distance between him and the golem, Saito decided to aim directly at the golem.
As the distance was very close, the arming range might not be attained and therefore even if hit directly, it might not explode.
Forget about that, just try it! Saito thought while shouting at Louise, “Don’t stand behind the staff, there will be a back blast!”
Louise hurriedly moved out of the way.
The golem approached closer and closer to Saito.
Saito released the safety latch and fired the weapon.
Immediately, a loud thunder came from the staff and a projectile with wings flew towards the golem.
The projectile met with the golem with a terrific explosion.
Saito instinctively closed his eyes.
A deafening roar occurred and the upper body of the golem pulverized and flew out in all directions, causing a rain of earth.
Saito slowly opened his eyes.
As the smoke from the explosion cleared, only the lower body of the golem was left standing.
What was left, took one last step forward before it finally stopped moving, and knelt down.
Then slowly from the waist, it crumbled… and returned into what it originally was – dirt.
Just like last time, the golem was reduced into a mound of earth.
Louise, who had witnessed everything, felt her legs weaken and sat on the floor.
Kirche, who was hiding near the bushes, came running out.
Saito finally gave a sigh of relief.
Kirche hugged Saito and said, “Saito, My darling! You did it!”
Sylphid, who was carrying Tabitha, descended. Tabitha looked at the mound of earth and asked, “Where is Miss Longueville?”
Everyone realized that Miss Longueville was missing.
Just then she came out from the forest.
“Miss Longueville! Did you find out where Fouquet was controlling the golem from?” Kirche asked.
She shook her head.
The four of them started searching the mound of earth for clues. Saito looked at them, and then looked at the Staff of Destruction, thinking to himself: Why did this thing appear in this world?
Just as he was thinking, Miss Longueville took the Staff of Destruction away from Saito.
“Miss Longueville?” said the puzzled Saito.
Miss Longueville widened the distance between the group and then said, “Great job, people!”
“Miss Longueville!” Kirche shouted. “What’s the meaning of this?”
Louise stared at Miss Longueville, too shocked to say anything.
“The one controlling the golem was me all along.”
“What? That means… You’re…”
Miss Longueville removed her glasses, her once gentle expression had changed into one full of killing intent.
“Yes, I am Fouquet the Crumbling Dirt. The Staff of Destruction is really powerful; it actually can defeat my golem in just one hit!”
Fouquet held the Staff of Destruction on her shoulders like Saito did just now.
Tabitha waved her staff and began chanting.
“All of you don’t move! I have the Staff of Destruction pointed towards you. Drop your wands now.”
They had no choice but to obey. Without their wands, they could not cast any magic.
“Mr. Agile Familiar, please drop your broken sword too. You’re a threat to me if you’re holding a weapon.”
Saito obeyed her orders and dropped the sword.
“Why?” Louise asked angrily.
“Hmm… I’d better explain to you all so you can rest in peace.” Fouquet said with a coquettish smile on her face.
“I had gotten hold of the Staff of Destruction, but I did not know how to use it.”
“The way to use it?”
“Yes. No matter how I waved the staff or applied my magic on it, there was no response at all. That frustrated me. After all, if I do not know how to use it, it would be just as useful as a decorative item. Wouldn’t it?”
Louise wanted to dash out towards Fouquet, but was stopped by Saito.
“Let her finish.”
“How considerate of you, Mr. Familiar. Then I will continue. Since I did not know how to use it, the only way was to let other people show me how to use it.”
“So therefore you brought us here.”
“If it’s the students from the academy, there may be a chance that someone knows how to use the staff.”
“If none of us knew how to use the Staff of Destruction, what would you have done?”
“If that was the case, you all would be crushed by my golem. After that I would bring the next group of students here. But thanks to you, I finally know how to use the Staff of Destruction.”
Fouquet smiled and said, “Even though the time spent with you all was short, I’m really happy. Goodbye.”
Kirche feeling hopeless, closed her eyes.
Tabitha and Louise closed their eyes, too.
But Saito did not.
“You’re really brave.”
“Well, actually it’s not bravery.” Saito replied.
Fouquet pressed the trigger as Saito had done before.
But the magic that happened before did not happen again.
“Huh? Why?” Fouquet pressed the trigger again.
“It has only one shot; it won’t be able to fire again.”
“What do you mean one shot?” Fouquet shouted deliriously.
“Even if I explained, you would not be able to understand. That is not a magical staff from your world.”
“What did you say?” Fouquet dropped the Staff of Destruction and took out her own wand.
Saito moved as fast as lightning, delivering a blow to Fouquet’s stomach with the hilt of his sword.
“This is a weapon from my world. Hmm… To be precise, it’s called an M72 rocket launcher.”
Fouquet fell onto the ground.
Saito then picked up the Staff of Destruction.
“Saito?” Louise and the other two all stared at Saito.
Saito answered, “We’ve caught Fouquet and retrieved the Staff of Destruction.”
Louise, Kirche and Tabitha looked at each other, and then ran towards Saito.
Saito, with mixed feelings, hugged the three of them together.
Inside the headmaster’s office, Headmaster Osman listened to the group’s account of what happened.
“Hmm… So Miss Longueville is Fouquet the Crumbling Dirt… Because she’s such a beauty I did not think twice about hiring her as my secretary.”
“How did you go about hiring her?” Mr. Colbert who was also present asked.
“In a tavern. I was a customer while she was a waitress there. Where I slowly caressed her from her hands down to her buttocks…”
“Then what happened?” Mr. Colbert asked again.
Headmaster Osman embarrassingly confessed, “Because she wasn’t angry at all after what I did, I asked her whether she wanted to become my secretary or not.”
“Why?” The bewildered Mr. Colbert continued asking.
“Anyways!” Headmaster Osman cried out using vigor unfitting for an old man.
Osman started coughing. And said sedately, “And she could use magic, too.”
“Yeah, magic that could kill.” Mr. Colbert mumbled to himself.
Headmaster Osman coughed again then told Mr. Colbert in a prudent manner, “Come to think of it, the reason that Fouquet allowed me to touch her all over the place, served me wine happily, and praised that I was handsome man, while I was in the tavern, was just to infiltrate the academy. All those praises were most probably just lies…”
Mr. Colbert upon hearing that immediately remembered that he was also bewitched by Fouquet once, and had revealed the weakness of the vault walls to her.
Mr. Colbert decided that he would take that secret with him to his grave.
“Yes. Beautiful women are deadly mages.”
“I couldn’t agree more with you, Colbert.”
Saito, Louise, Kirche and Tabitha stared blankly at the two.
Realizing that the students had given them the cold stare, the embarrassed Osman cleared his throat and regained his solemn composure.
“A job well done for all of you, you have returned the Staff of Destruction and captured Fouquet.”
The three besides Saito acknowledged proudly.
“Fouquet will be handed over to the town guards, and the Staff of Destruction will be returned back to the treasure vault. Finally the case is closed.”
Gently caressing each of the trio's heads, Osman said, “I have requested the imperial court to confer upon you the title of Chevalier, I believe that we should have news of it soon. And since Tabitha already has the title of chevalier, I have requested that she be given the Elven Medallion.”
The trio’s faces brightened up upon hearing the news.
“Really?” Kirche said astoundingly.
“Yes. You have done more than enough to deserve this title. Haven’t you?”
Louise gazed at Saito who was listless since they entered the office.
“Headmaster Osman, Saito… won't get anything?”
“Yes, I’m afraid so. Because he’s not a noble…”
Saito replied, “I don’t need anything.”
Headmaster Osman gently clapped his hands and said, ”I almost forgot, Tonight’s Ball of Frigg will resume as planned since we have gotten back the Staff of Destruction.
Kirche’s face brightened up. “That’s right. Let’s forget about Fouquet and dance all night long!”
“The main attraction of the ball will be you three. So go get ready and dress up!”
The three bowed, and left through the door.
Louise stopped and looked at Saito.
“You go first.” Saito told Louise.
Even though Louise was still worried, she nodded and left the room.
Osman turned to Saito and said, “You have something to ask me?”
“Please ask. I’ll try to answer your question to the best of my abilities. Even though I couldn’t confer you a title, this is the least I can do to show my appreciation.”
Immediately after, he asked Mr. Colbert to leave the room. Mr. Colbert, who had been waiting for Saito to speak, was expressing displeasure as he exited the room.
After Mr. Colbert left, Saito said, “That, the Staff of Destruction was originally from my world.”
Osman’s eyes gleamed. “Originally from your world?”
“I’m not from this world.”
“Is this true?”
“It’s true. I was transported to this world due to Louise’s summoning.”
“I see. If that’s the case…” Osman squinted his eyes.
“The Staff of Destruction was a weapon from my world. Who was the person who brought it to this world?”
Osman sighed and said, ”The one who gave the Staff of Destruction was my savior.”
“Where is the person now? That person is definitely from the same world as me.”
“He died. That was over thirty years ago…”
“What did you say?”
“Thirty years ago, while I was strolling inside the forest, I was attacked by a two headed dragon. The one who saved me was the owner of the Staff of Destruction. He used another Staff of Destruction to kill the two headed dragon and then collapsed. He was already injured at that time. I transported him to the academy and treated his wounds. But to no avail…”
“And he died?”
Headmaster Osman nodded.
“I buried the Staff of Destruction that he had used to save me along with him in his grave, the other one I named the Staff of Destruction and kept it inside the vault in order to commemorate my savior…”
Osman gazed far away and said, ”While he was resting on the bed till the day he died, he kept saying repeatedly ‘Where is this place? I want to go back to my world.’ I guess that he must have been from the same world as yours.”
“Who was the one who brought him to this world then?”
“I don’t know. Right till the end, I still had no idea how he ended up here.”
“Damn it! Just when I thought that I had a clue.” Saito lamented. The clue had led him into a dead end. Osman’s savior was most probably a soldier of that country. But how did he end up in this world? Even though Saito wanted to know badly, there was no way to know anymore.
Osman held Saito’s left hand, ”The runes on your hand…”
“Oh yes. I wanted to ask about that, too. Once the runes glow, I can use any weapon proficiently. Not just swords, even the weapons from my world too…”
Osman pondered for a moment and said, “…That I know. That is the runes of “Gandálfr”, the legendary familiar.”
“The runes of the legendary familiar?”
“Yes. Gandálfr was a legendary familiar who could use any weapon at will. That is most likely the reason that you could use the Staff of Destruction.”
Saito was confused. “…Then, why am I the legendary familiar?”
“I don’t know.” Osman quickly replied.
“I’m sorry. But there is a possibility that the runes of Gandálfr are related to you being transported to this world.”
“Haa…” Saito sighed.
Saito thought that he could get the answers that he wanted from the headmaster, but apparently he did not know much either…
“I’m sorry that I could not be of much help. I’ll always be on your side, Gandálfr!” Osman hugged Saito. “I must thank you once again for bringing back the possession of my benefactor.”
“It’s all right…” Saito said tiredly.
“I tried to find out for you how you arrived in this world but…”
“But I could not find anything, please do not be dismayed. You’ll get used to this world as time goes by. Maybe by then you could find a wife here too…”
Saito sighed again. The clue to return to his original world slipped through his fingers just like that.
On top of Alvíss Dining Hall, there was a great hall. That was where the ball was being held. Saito leaned on the railings of the balcony and looked at the grand reception.
The students and teachers who were dressed grandly gathered around tables filled with exquisite food and chatted amongst themselves. Saito arrived there through a flight of stairs leading up to the balcony. Seeing them, Saito felt that he would not fit in at all and therefore, decided not to enter.
Next to Saito were some food and a bottle of wine that Siesta had brought for him earlier. Saito poured for himself a glass of wine and drank it.
“Eh, haven’t you got a drop too much?” said Derflinger which was leaning on the balcony worryingly. As the sword that Kirche gave to Saito broke during the ordeal, Saito brought Derflinger for protection. As usual it had a rotten tongue but it still had a happy go lucky personality so having him for company still had its merits.
“You’re noisy. To think that I had found the way to go back home, in the end it’s just a dream… can’t I drink to drown away my sorrow?”
Just before the ball started Kirche, who was beautifully dressed in an evening gown, was accompanying Saito. But as soon as the ball started she was nowhere to be seen.
Saito had no choice but to use Derflinger as a companion to drive away boredom.
In the middle of the dance floor, Kirche was surrounded by a group of young males, talking and laughing. Even though Kirche promised to dance with him, it would be quite some time before Saito had his chance.
Tabitha dressed in a black gown feasted away on the sumptuous food on the table.
Looked like everyone was enjoying the dance to the fullest…
The doors to the great hall opened and Louise appeared.
The guards at the door notified everyone on Louise’s arrival. "The daughter of Duke of La Vallière, Louise Françoise Le Blanc de La Vallière arrives!”
Saito held his breath. Louise was dressed in a white evening gown with her long, strawberry blonde hair tied up into a pony tail. Her hands were covered by pure white gloves which adorned her grandeur. Her petite face along with her low cut evening gown made her sparkle like a gem.
After confirming that the guest had arrived, the musicians started playing music that was extremely soothing to the ears. All around Louise were males that were captivated by Louise’s beauty asking for a dance with her. Before this, no one ever realized Louise’s beauty and only thought of her as “Louise the Zero.” Now, that same group of males were trying to win her heart.
The nobles started dancing gracefully on the dance floor. Louise turned down everyone’s invitation for a dance, saw Saito on the balcony and headed over. Louise stood in front of the slightly drunk Saito and placed her arms on her waist, “Looks like you’re enjoying yourself” She said.
“Not really…” Saito moved his gaze away from the dazzling Louise, thinking to himself that it was lucky he had drank some wine, so Louise would not realize that he was blushing.
Derflinger looked at Louise and said, ”Haha. Clothes really do make the man!”
“None of your business.” Louise stared at the sword and crossed her arms.
“Aren’t you going to dance?” Saito asked while avoiding Louise’s gaze.
“I have no dance partner.” Louise replied.
“Didn’t a lot of people ask you for a dance just now?” Saito asked.
Louise did not answer and extended her hand.
“Even though you’re just a familiar, I could make an exception.” The blushing Louise said while avoiding Saito’s gaze.
“Don’t you mean ‘Could I have this dance?’?” Saito said while trying to avoid Louise’s gaze too.
After a moment of silence, Louise sighed.
“Only for today!” she said.
Louise then held the ends of her dress and made a curtsy.
“May I have a dance, sir?”
These actions made the bashful Louise look even more cute and alluring than ever before.
Saito, trembling held Louise’s hands and together, they walked towards the dance floor.
“I have never danced before.” Saito said.
“Just follow my rhythm,” Louise said, and then gently held onto Saito’s hand. Saito imitated Louise’s actions and followed her rhythm. Louise did not seem to mind Saito’s stiff actions at all and concentrated on dancing.“Saito, I believe you now,” She said.
“…You said that you were from another world,” Louise replied while dancing gracefully.
“Huh? Didn’t you believe me already before that?”
“I originally only took what you said with a pinch of salt… but the Staff of Destruction… It’s a weapon from your world isn’t it? When I saw that, all I could do was to believe,” Louise lowered her head and asked, “Do you wish to go back?”
“Yes. I want to go back, but since there’s no way to go back yet, I’ll have to get used to life here for a while.”
“You’re right…” Louise muttered to herself then continued dancing.
After that, Louise was still blushing and did not dare look at Saito. “Thank you.” She abruptly uttered.
Hearing that, Saito was puzzled. Why is she acting so funny today?
“Well… Didn’t you save me when I was almost crushed by Fouquet’s golem?” Louise replied.
The musicians played an even more encouraging tune. Slowly bit by bit, Saito was cheering up. Someday… I will be able to finally return back home… but being here isn’t really that bad either.
Louise is really very dainty today, I should be satisfied.
“You’re welcome. That’s what I’m supposed to do.”
“Because I’m your familiar.”
Derflinger which was still leaning on the balcony looked at the both of them, ”Unbelievable!” it said to itself.
The twin moons in the sky shone onto the dance floor, and along with the candle lights, created a romantic atmosphere on the dance floor.
“Partner! You amaze me!”
Looking at his partner dancing with his master, “A familiar dancing with his Master? That’s the first time I’ve seen this happening!”