All songs used in this fanfiction are copyrighted material by the artists. I do not own Familiar of Zero (RIP Yamaguchi Noboru).
(10/8/18) Finally gotten around to updating this! A note on the edits: It's not completely reworked, that would be impossible with the time constraint I've given myself, but I will be handling the most obvious problems, though a couple errors will be kept because they were referenced later on. Hope you understand, not that new readers after everything is fixed will have any idea what I'm talking about. Enjoy!
(12/12/18) Only one more update left, finishing off the revisions of the remainder of the Fouquet Arc! We're almost there! As a side note, anyone know what I should do for the second anniversary of the story coming this 16th?
David cursed under his breath as the pick squeaked over one of the strings of his guitar, producing an incorrect note despite the string being taut.
The guitar, a Martin HD-28, was old, owned by at least two generations in his family, and had been passed down to him. He wasn't bad with it, in fact, he considered himself to have quite a bit of talent with the instrument...when it was tuned properly. Its age certainly showed sometimes when a strong didn't work as it was supposed to, but even as old as it was, this wasn't as common as he had expected when he first received it.
His skill with the guitar hadn't come naturally. He'd been practicing for years to perfect it, and he deemed it completely worth the effort. Now, he was so proficient at recognizing the notes that he could follow along with his favorite songs, playing by ear the tunes in the background.
He was hopeless with drums, and put him with a piano and you will somehow hear a dying cat coming from the ivories. He couldn't even play his favorite wordless tune, the song Oracion from the Pokemon movie Rise of Darkrai, on its original instrument.
So he remade the song, playing it on the guitar instead. It sounded a little strange, classical music coming from a somewhat modern guitar, but to anyone who hadn't heard the original song, it was quite good, for an amateur guitarist with too much free time.
After pulling on the knobs on the headstock to adjust the tautness of the string he'd had problems with before, he ran the pick along the strings again, testing the sound, nodding in satisfaction as the problem string worked correctly, and he adjusted his hand so it would be on the fretboard in the position he needed to be in in order to play the song he had been practicing.
He smiled as he played, the notes echoing around the campus. No one would be here at this time of day, hours after school had ended, though it wouldn't have mattered anyway since he sat on a bench outside the building the school's band room was in. Some student practicing with their instrument was common here.
But none of that mattered to him anyway. Once the notes started flowing, his mind shut itself off from everything else, focusing only on the movement of his hands and the words he sang if he so chose. This particular song was wordless, a tune he had created himself, heavily utilizing the two thinnest strings in the melody...a trademark of his original pieces, which was why he got so irritated when that stupid string was out of line.
But the guitar was old. He expected problems and knew that it would be worn from generations of use, and he wanted to keep the guitar. He knew he could simply buy a newer and better one, but there was something about holding and using something played by his grandfather, that had survived since before World War II, that he enjoyed knowing while he played. It was comforting, knowing the instrument in his hands had been played so many times before he had even been born, and knowing that it would continue to be dependable. Even without being a history nut, he could appreciate its background.
When he played his guitar, he was able to ignore the problems in the world. He could forget the stress of February and all the annoying people getting excited for Valentine's Day among other special events, forget how he still had a long way to go in learning how to skateboard, forget how angry he was that they killed Rem again in the anime he was currently watching.
But, all good things come to an end, and as his playing slowed to a finish, he grew aware of reality again. He stopped, sighing as he simply held the instrument silently, poised to continue playing, as he dearly wished he could...But he had to be picked up by his mother now. She was probably waiting for him in the typical spot, and he couldn't make her wait for long.
He returned the guitar to the case sitting next to him, clasping it closed and ensuring that it was secured, before he stood up, taking the case by the strap and slinging it over his neck, wrapping it underneath one of his armpits to hold it diagonally across his back, resting over the small backpack he also carried - which was void of actual school supplies, since he had only had band class that day, and simply contained the survival materials he always brought. Sure, it may have been unnecessary to take a First-Aid kit, 200 feet of rope, two pocket knives, and various other things to school every day, but it didn't hurt to have them. You never know when someone needs help on split-second notice...though the rope may have been a bit much.
As he walked, he hummed a tune to himself. The instrumental to the opening theme of To LOVE-ru season 1, "Forever We Can Make It", a song he enjoyed listening to even if he didn't watch the series all that often.
He liked anime, it was a common pastime of his when he wasn't playing guitar, and a few of the songs he knew how to play -and sing- were openings or endings to various series, including this one.
Anime and guitar. An odd combination of hobbies, but it worked for him, and he had no reason to change his ways, so he simply balanced the two.
Hmm. he thought to himself. I should really finish Re:Zero, I've only got a couple episodes left...but today's Tuesday, I should really be prepping for the test tomorrow…
He thought it over, before shrugging. "Eh, I'm prepared enough." he said out loud. "I'll just skip the studying today." Not the best decision, but he had the grades to back it up, so it should be fine.
As he walked, he looked around the path he took every day, smiling at the breeze. It was a hot day despite it being so early in the year, so the wind was welcome, and he was happy despite the annoying string popping again. He enjoyed this short walk, from the band building to the pick-up location, and he enjoyed this wind and the feeling of the guitar case bouncing on his back...even if it left his spine sore after walking for a while.
He blinked, looking down at his feet as he felt a tug on one of his shoes. He sighed, lifting his other foot from the shoelace that had come loose and found itself in the path of his pace.
He bent over to retie the shoe, and as he did so, he was unaware of the man-sized greenish oval that had appeared in front of him, right where he would have ended up had he continued walking. He wasn't even aware of it until he heard what sounded like a young girl, speaking in some other language...He wasn't very good with language but it sounded to him like Dutch.
"My servant that exists somewhere in this vast universe, my divine, beautiful, wise, powerful servant, heed my call. I wish from very bottom of my heart that you heed my summon and appear!"
He blinked, looking up from his crouched position for the source of the voice, and his eyes widened in shock as he finally noticed the portal.
"What the-" he shouted, falling backwards in surprise, his guitar case making a thudding sound as it stopped his fall to the concrete of the sidewalk, knocking his breath away briefly before he regained his senses, staring wide-eyed at the portal, which despite being so bright seemed not to cast any light around it.
He knew what this was, and even though he didn't understand it, he had a strong feeling he knew exactly what the contents of the chant were.
"That's impossible…" he said, looking around. "Does...does nobody else notice this?!"
He didn't want to touch the portal. He knew what would happen if he did. He didn't want to be trapped in the world on the other side. Heck no, leave that for Saito.
It was a good thing he'd rewatched the series recently, otherwise he'd have been totally lost in how to handle this. As it was, he was not going to be an idiot about this. In the series, Saito had poked at the substance. He was obviously not going to do that, and so simply stood up, choosing to walk around it and pretend it was never even there.
Evidently, the portal had other ideas, extending a tendril of the green energy and wrapping itself around his arm, tugging at him and forcing him to stop as he turned around, staring at the energy as it forced his hand back.
He fought back, calling for help as it slowly began overpowering him, dragging him closer to it, but nobody seemed to even notice. While normally it was nice to be alone here, right now it only went against him. What is this?! I didn't touch it, why is it taking me anyway?! he thought as the overwhelming suction of the portal forced him in completely, causing him to trip and fall headfirst into it as the world swirled away from him.