I did a second thing!
A Familiar of Zero x The Witcher Fusion
Professor Cattleya paced back and forth under the shadow of the western walls.
She was nervous. She was nervous about the Academy, she was nervous about her students, and she was nervous about…
"Are you fine, Lady Valliére?" One of the guards that accompanied her asked.
"Ye-yes, I'm fine. Thank you, Oswald." She lied. "I'm just worried. I fear for…"
"Please, my lady," Interrupted another man, one named Avaro. "Don't tell me you are worried for that mutant!"
"My good sir!" She yelled at him. "How you dared to talk like that?"
The man just shrugged his shoulders. "I call things as I see them. Tell me I'm lying." Cattleya shifted the weight of her feet but was incapable of finding an argument against that. "Besides, the mutant is the expert here, isn't she? She will be fine."
"You think?" Came the voice of Diego, the oldest of the guards, and, by virtue of that, the most scarred. "Have any of you seen a cockatrice before?" The other, younger soldiers, just shook their heads. "That beast… are the stuff of nightmares!" He lowered his voice in recollection of the past. "I fought one back in the Gramont dutchy. Twenty of us went in, I was the only one to return. Those things… those bastards, their scales are immune to magic, their eyes can turn you to stone, a drop of their spit can kill a thousand men, and their claws can split open a suit of armor as if it was…"
"Movement!" Screamed one of the crossbowmen, immediately aiming his weapon at the edge of the forest where they could already see a shape coming closer.
"Stand back, my lady!" Diego told Cattleya, pushing her behind him and raising his shield. "If it's the cockatrice…"
But it wasn't.
The figure that came through the trees was one that Cattleya would have been incapable of describing as anything but frightening.
Her white hair was frightening. It simply clashed with her otherways juvenile look.
The two swords at her back were frightening. One of steel for men, the other of silver for monsters, both showed the signs of extensive use.
And her eyes! Those inhuman feline eyes! Devoid of any emotion, those were the eyes of a predator stalking its prey, just waiting for the right moment, the right opening, to strike it down.
"The job is done." She said, throwing a severed head in front of the soldier's formation. It looked like a rooster's head, but no rooster was the size of a horse, nor it had razor-sharp teeth in its beak.
The guards stared at the remains of the monster that had been plaguing the forest, and then at the woman who had killed it, unsure of whom they had to be more scared of.
"Now," She continued. "Where is my money?" If Cattleya hadn't known better, she would have thought that she wasn't more that fourteen. But it couldn't be. If she was already on the path, that meant she had already seen more than sixteen winters. She would be just the right age...
"Oh, yes, of course." Cattleya announced as she shook her head to vanish poisonous thoughts. "I have it right here, miss Siesta." She gave her a purse full of gold coins. The girl inspected it before nodding in approval.
"That will be all, then."
"Ah, yes. But, before you go… eh… where did you leave the… rest?"
The girl, who had presented herself as Siesta, gave her a deadpanned look. "It's back there. It was too big for me to haul it." She explained. "I understand that the body has some very powerful reagents?"
"Ah, yes, you're right!" Cattleya nodded and turned to Diego. "My good sir, I'd need you to take your men and collect the body."
While the two woman had been talking, Diego and his men had formed a circle around the head. Most of them had never seen such a creature before and were noticeably curious about it. That's why the captain wasn't paying attention when the professor made her request. "I'm sorry my lady, what did you say?"
"I asked you to bring me the body." Cattleya repeated herself. "If that's not much of a problem?"
"Oh, no, of course not!" Diego said and turned to address the other guards. "Men, you heard the lady! I want the clearing clean and safe! On the double, move, move!"
In no time the soldiers had parted, leaving the woman alone.
"It was such a fortune to find a Witcher in so little time." Cattleya said turning to Siesta, who was already some steps ahead of her and walking to her horse. "We were worried that we would have to cancel the summoning ritual tomorrow." She continued, jogging to catch up with the Witcher. "It was so unfortunate that such a dangerous creature had appeared here. Most of the time the keep to themselves, but…"
Siesta stopped and turned to address the professor. "Is there something you wish to ask me, Lady Valliére?" Cattleya stared back at her, mouth agape. "If not, I'll ask you to let me be. The path awaits me."
The professor tried to keep her eyes leveled, but couldn't keep her stare, and lowered in guilt. "I… yes." She admitted. "I was unsure… but you look around the age and…"
"Just… speak." Siesta interrupted her, the Witcher's voice adopting an uncharacteristically warm tone.
"I wanted to ask you about my sister."
"You knew her?"
Siesta flinches at that and turns around to not see Cattleya in the eyes. "I… yes." She tells her. "Most of our recruits are orphans or bastards that have nowhere else to go. Or children that are given to us as form of payment." She made a pause before continuing. "A noble girl is indeed a rare sight among us."
"So, is she…?"
"She's dead." The words cut deep into Cattleya. "She died in training."
"I… I understand. That's what they told us, but…" She tried to continue, but it was hard with the tears running down her cheeks. "Could… Could I, at least, know how it happened?"
Siesta just stares back at her and, for a moment, Cattleya feared that she wasn't going to answer her. "The trial of grasses is a dangerous affair, milady. Including your sister, ten of us went through it that day. I was the only one who woke up the next."
It was painful. That was what they had told her, what they told her family. That her younger sister was dead and buried. Knowing the causes of her death didn't give Cattleya reassurance, but at least gave her closure.
"Thank you. Thank you for being honest with me." She saw a shiver running down the other woman's back, but it was soon gone. "I wish you good luck in your path."
"And good luck to you too, lady Valliére. And my regards to your mother." Siesta bid her farewell and made her leave.
Walking to her horse, Siesta of Tarbes -as she had chosen to name herself- put her recently acquired money inside the safety of the saddles before climbing up to her mount. With a snap of the reins, she rode away into the distance.
Some of her fellow witchers believed in faith, convinced that every action was guided by an invisible hand.
She didn't believe in that. Her mother had taught her that faith was nothing more than pure nonsenses, the sorry excuse of weaker men too scared to take their own decisions.
But it couldn't have been a coincidence that her very first job after exiting the School of the Wolf had been with Cattleya de la Valliere. That had been just… cruel.
For a moment she allowed herself to wonder, what would have happened if her mother hadn't given her to the Wolves? Would she be there now? Studying magic with her sister as teacher?
As soon as those treacherous thoughts materialized in her head, she crushed them. The rule of steel had demanded her sacrifice, it was as simple as that. Both she and her mother had understood and accepted that, and she would do it again if given the chance. Not doing so would have meant Henrietta been the one taken away, forced to endure that training, forced to endure that hell.
It was said that Witchers had no emotions.
The tears running down Siesta of Tarbes' face were proof that was false.
A/N: Another snipped down the line. In this universe, the schools of witchery exist in Halkeginia, and are still very active. The premise here is that the King of Tristain has a deal with the School of the Wolf where he is always accompanied by two Witcher bodyguards but, if one of them dies in service, the King has to replace him.