Disclaimer: I own neither Familiar of Zero nor Dynasty Warriors.


What had just happened? There was smoke, no, dust, everywhere. She couldn't see anything.

Where was Zhang Liao? She'd heard him cry out briefly, but now she couldn't hear him at all.

It felt like she had been pulled into something and unceremoniously thrown to the ground…

Ground covered in grass…

When had she been brought outside?

Just a few moments ago she'd been inside, receiving…

Her hand desperately groped along the ground until it found what she'd been grasping for, fingers wrapping around the thick hilt.

She sighed in relief.

It was still with her. She'd been holding it when she was pulled, but must have let go at some point.

Her spirits immediately soared. If there were enemies beyond this cloud of dust, she could fight them.

Along with her father's great halberd…

She listened carefully for any sounds from beyond the cloud.

She half expected careful shuffling and hushed whispers from would be assailants, but instead heard what seemed to be chatter and even laughter.

She couldn't understand the words, but she certainly felt that they were condescending.

A sudden angered retort from much closer startled her. The words were much clearer, but that only made it all the more clear that the language was foreign to her.

The voice belonged to a young girl, yet to truly start growing by her estimate. She was angry, possibly humiliated, and prideful.

It reminded her of her late father…

Another sudden voice, slightly further away and to the side startled her again. Two people quite close to her that she hadn't even begun to notice…

She chided herself.

A strange sensation passed by her, and a gust of wind suddenly came up, dispersing the cloud.

Her grip on Sky Piercer tightened. Fighting with it would be difficult, but she had vowed to survive…

If it came to blows, she would not go down easily.

-Break—

Louise was upset.

Her summoning had ended up resulting in another explosion.

Perhaps even… her most spectacular one yet.

Her classmates were jeering at her, as usual, and she'd angrily barked back at them that they didn't know it had failed just yet…

Colbert had taken her side, which had helped settle her temper a bit, but it only really left her with anxiety.

The cloud of dust dispersed.

At first it looked like there was nothing there, but a plume of feathers was the first notice that such wasn't the case.

The plume quickly gave way to silvery hair, followed by a fair face, although the expression on it was wary, confused.

A person?

What?

The reason it had taken some time for this person to be revealed quickly became apparent.

The young woman had been crouching, ready to spring into action at any moment.

She was clad in strange… armour? Predominantly white and black, with golden detailing and red highlights. She had pauldrons, a fur trim by her neck, and the aforementioned plume was attached to a crown-like piece.

Tightly gripped in her hand but still resting on the ground was a massive ornate halberd that didn't quite seem to fit with the woman holding it.

Two things gave Louise pause right now.

First, that woman was a warrior, that much was plain to see, and Louise was firmly within the reach of that halberd.

Secondly, as odd as her gear might have been, all of it screamed status, from the ornate halberd to the decorated armour. Whoever she was, and she looked like she was extremely foreign, she was either nobility or perhaps a highly valued warrior…

Certainly no peasant or ordinary soldier.

Louise could faintly hear the menagerie of her classmates talk amongst each other, but she couldn't make out what they said with her focus captivated on the person before her.

The woman spoke, but Louise couldn't understand a word of what she said, although the tone carried that hint of a demand that spoke volumes of the meaning.

A fair assumption would be that she was demanding to know where she was, who they were, or at the very least what was going on.

Colbert didn't seem to understand her either, but he also seemed to pick up on her tone.

"My lady, we mean you no harm… Do you understand me?" He said, doing his best to convey being absolutely harmless.

Louise also did her absolute best not to seem threatening.

The woman was confused, clearly not understanding them, but at least went from tensed up and ready to pounce to merely wary, standing up, and with a bit of effort Louise noted, rested the halberd upright.

It made a heavy metallic sound when the butt hit the ground.

How heavy was it?

Colbert carefully made his way over to where Louise was, careful not to get any closer to the woman than Louise already was.

"Lady Vallière… since it seems she was the one you summoned, you'll have to perform the familiar contracting ritual with her." He said.

"Are you… sure?" Louise responded.

If it had been some lowly commoner Louise wouldn't have hesitated here, maybe even demanded a retry, but…

"Such are the rules. You only get one summon, and whatever comes will be your familiar."

Louise swallowed.

It was fine.

This was probably no more dangerous than a dragon or salamander anyways…

And she'd be damned if she'd lose to Tabitha or Kirche…

She carefully approached the strange woman, who eyed her with bewilderment in return.

When she got close enough, she started to incant.

The woman was clearly bewildered, but apparently didn't think the incantation was a cause for concern, nor seemed to consider Louise's wand a threat.

Louise would have been puzzled by this if she had the attention to spare, but she very much didn't. She was simply thankful the woman didn't turn hostile again.

Louise hastened to complete the ceremony, incanting the words as quickly as she could without flubbing any, and then hastily pressed her lips against the woman's to complete it.

The woman withdrew in confusion, but the ceremony was complete.

With a loud, pained gasp the woman dropped the halberd, which thankfully fell away from Louise, and crashed into the ground hard enough to sink slightly into it.

Of course, the clear pain that the woman was supressing drew Louise's attention far more.

The woman ripped her glove off, staring at the runes etching themselves into her hand.

They were… unusual… to say the least.

Seeing the successful completion of the ceremony, Colbert gave a few words of congratulation to Louise that barely registered, before calling for the dispersal of everyone.

A few parting remarks came from the menagerie, a mixed bag, really.

Out of all the things Louise could summon, she summoned a person?

What did that mean?

Familiars were supposed to be reflections of the mage, right?

Her familiar made a shocked sound, then after a few moments started muttering something.

Louise, lost in her own mind, confused and after a long time of less than optimal conditions for her mental health, snapped slightly.

She tried to cast a spell to silence her familiar.

A silly thing really, she probably wouldn't have even considered it in a more normal state of mind, considering her track record with successful usage of magic.

The results were… simultaneously both predictable, and highly unexpected.

On the one hand, it didn't work… as intended.

On the other…

"What just…!?"

-Break—

Lu Lingqi was supremely confused.

First the dust cloud had parted to reveal… a bunch of strange foreign youths, probably no older than herself, with an elderly man as the only full adult.

As well as a bunch of fantastical creatures, that boggled the mind, but that seemed to act as pets, all things considered.

It had quickly become apparent to her that neither side could understand the other, although the elder, as well as the nearest girl, had done their best to signal harmlessness.

Having no wish to fight these people, none of them seemed like a decent challenge and she wasn't interested in starting a fight for the hell of it, Lingqi shifted from full readiness to spring into simply being at attention.

From the gazes of these people, she could only assume that she was as foreign to them as they were to her.

The next series of events though…

The girl approaches, starts… it almost sounded like incanting, some kind of ritual?

Then she, suddenly and without warning pressed her lips against hers.

Lingqi, confused, had withdrawn from this strange interaction, but before she could start contemplating, pain had exploded from within, particularly with her hand.

She'd ripped off her glove to look at it.

A number of possibilities had come to mind, but none had prepared her to see glowing symbols appear.

Finally, the pain subsided, with a strange feeling left in its wake.

By the time she returned her attention to the world around her, she saw something else that was truly mindboggling.

The youths were… floating.

It seemed like they considered it perfectly normal as well…

She shook her head, just another oddity to add to the pile. That was all she could do now.

Once she regained some semblance of composure, she studied the girl before her, now that things had calmed down.

Not the tallest girl, yet to grow in certain areas, a strange pink hair colour and pink eyes. Clad in a cloak…

Lingqi suspects she had said something to herself out loud, although she wasn't certain what, one of her thoughts presumably.

But it seems the girl before her had something of an… episode.

She without warning became enraged, pointed her short wand at Lingqi and exclaimed some strange words.

And then there was an explosion right in Lingqi's face.

"What just…!?" She had uttered, surely a futile gesture.

Except suddenly… it wasn't.

The girl stared at her dumbfounded, then opened her mouth.

"Wait, you can speak Tristanian?" She said, in perfect Chinese.

What was going on?

"I… doubt it?" Lingqi responded.

Had some miracle allowed them to understand one another?

Was it the girl's actions?

If that was the case, it seemed the girl herself didn't realise.

"Then why are you speaking Tristanian?"

"I doubt I am… As a matter of fact, I doubt you are speaking my language, but that is what I am hearing."

The girl seemed confused.

"Did I… cast a translation spell…? That wasn't… Well… Actually… This might be… good?"

It was the girl's actions? But not what she had intended?

"What were you trying to do?"

"I… never mind that. If we now understand one another… I should introduce myself. I am Louise Françoise le Blanc de la Vallière, and from this day forward, your master." The girl deflected, then introduced herself with a proudly puffed up chest.

Lingqi raised an eyebrow.

This girl's… Louise's, name, was extremely odd to her. Not to mention her calling herself Lingqi's new master.

"I am known as Lingqi, of the Lu." She first said, introducing herself with a bow. "Forgive me for being rude, but why would you be my new master?"

"That was what the ritual was all about. Those runes mark you as my familiar, a bond that can only be broken by death."

Familiar? A bond that can only be broken by death?

Lingqi lashed out with a fist, causing Louise too to cry out in slight terror.

But while Lingqi hadn't intended to even hit the girl in the first place, she found her fist stopped slightly earlier than she had wanted.

Something else was preventing her from striking her 'master'.

Something from… within?

"What do you think you are doing?!" The girl exclaimed, although she was clearly trembling.

"I see. So, this is what you mean." Lingqi stated.

At first Louise seemed somewhat confused, but slowly realisation crept into her face.

She shook her head and cleared her throat. "Yes. That is part of the familiar bond, you can't attack me."

"But can it compel me to save you against my will?" Lingqi mused, intentionally making sure Louise heard it loud and clear.

Not that Lingqi in any way harboured any intention to get this girl killed. At this point anyway.

She paled slightly, although she seemed to quickly take action to hide it.

That reaction implied that either it couldn't, or the girl wasn't certain it could.

Actually…

"Those beasts the others had beside them… were they also familiars?" Lingqi asked.

It was really just a hunch but…

"That's correct, yes. Before I summoned you, I didn't even know humans could become familiars."

"Summoned?"

"Yes… we perform a ceremony that summons a familiar that suits our affinity."

Affinity?

A question for later, honestly.

Summon. Was that how?

Some mystical miracle had brought her from Xuchang to… wherever this was.

Still, it seemed like time was dragging on, and Louise seemed a bit tired.

"I see… How about we retire? You seem a little bit tired, lady Vallière."

She'd save further question for another time.

"That sounds good… I didn't sleep well…"

Lingqi put her glove back on, and retrieved Sky Piercer, noting how an odd feeling spread throughout her body as her fingers wrapped around the hilt.

She was quite surprised to suddenly find it easy to lift her father's weapon…

Odd…

Was it these… so called 'runes' on her hand.

She removed the glove once again, and found that the runes were gloving.

Louise didn't notice anything having headed away, towards a large structure, mostly in stone. Lingqi had noticed it earlier, but had at that point been more focused on more pressing matters.

Lingqi put the glove back on without a word, and turned her attention to the structure before them.

Now that she had plenty of time, she'd study it.

A pentagon of walls with large circular towers in each corner surrounded a central building, a large circular base with a massive tower of stone rising from it. She could also see walls, possibly serving as walkways, connecting the central structure to the outer towers, although from here she could see this wasn't the case for one of the towers, with a black roof.

A fortress?

No…

That wasn't quite the feel Lingqi got from it.

No soldiers patrolled the walls, no watchful eyes peered out of the openings in the towers, which featured no obvious position from which sentries could watch the surroundings.

It might have been fortified, but it was no fortress.

One last question then, while they walked.

"What is that structure before us?" She asked Louise.

"That? That would be the Tristain Academy of Magic."

An academy then? Considering Louise's obvious nobility (her pride at her own name was a dead giveaway), the fortification was then probably to provide some veneer of safety for noble children attending.

Or these people were in desperate need of some fortification experts.

"Magic?"

Louise stopped in her tracks.

"You… don't know?"

"I am afraid not."

Louise seemed doubtful.

"It is what brought you here, what bound us together and what allows us to understand one another… amongst other things."

So, it was their name for the miraculous things that were happening. They were studying this? Interesting.

Many strange things had been revealed to Lingqi, and she remained in thought as they resumed their path towards the academy.

Tristain, Tristanian…

It must refer to the country they were in…

What was this place, so different from China?

Lingqi idly noted the lack of guards at the entryway. These walls really were just for show.

The courtyard on the other hand had activity, be it the students, presumably servants and presumably teachers moving about.

Lingqi halted, causing Louise to stop and turn towards her.

"What now?" The girl sounded quite tired.

"I cannot be carrying this around all day, if only since it would probably unsettle others." Lingqi stated, presenting Sky Piercer.

Even the most hardened and bloodthirsty warriors didn't carry their weapons around all day. It was tiring, the weapon got in the way, especially a polearm like Sky Piercer, and it tended to unsettle people to see naked steel without good reason.

"Ugh." Louise groaned, then called out to the nearest servant that didn't seem overly busy. "You there!"

The person in question approached, showing no signs of being troubled. "Yes Lady Vallière, what do you require?"

"We require a means to store that halberd." Louise declared.

"Temporarily? Long-term? Does it need to be available and accessible?" The servant queried, all the while clearly considering options.

Louise looked at Lingqi. "I want to have it available and accessible. I would also appreciate some supplies for maintenance." Lingqi responded.

"We may be able to accommodate… You are…?" The servant questioned.

"My familiar, believe it or not." Louise answered.

The servant raised an eyebrow, but didn't say anything.

"There might be a stand that could hold a halberd… One normally used for staves?"

"It will need to be sturdy." Lingqi added.

"Of course it will." The servant deadpanned. "I will check for something suitable. Do you wish to wait or-?"

"Deliver it to my room." Louise said.

"Very well." The servant bowed and left.

"Do you think they can manage? Also, brought to your room?" Lingqi asked as they started moving again.

"They should be able to. There are countless strange things left by the staff or former students." Louise said dismissively. "And yes, to my room. I'm too tired to deal with anything else, and I figure it could as well be kept in my room as anywhere else. We don't really have an armoury here."

Of course not. This place was not meant to be defended.

At least not by soldiers. Perhaps this magic of theirs would let them defend themselves from an attack.

They entered into a hall full of strange things. These people did everything quite differently it seemed.

Lingqi tried to remember the layout as they trekked through hallways and up stairways.

Finally, Louise opened a solid wooden door, revealing a lavishly decorated room, full of furniture, with a rather large bed seeing as the room seemed to be for a single person.

Definitely nobility.

Lingqi's gaze was drawn towards a conspicuous pile of hay.

Louise herself had said that she didn't know a human could be summoned…

Lingqi sighed softly.

Louise herself stared at the pile, probably only now remembering it.

Well, it was fine, at least for now.

Lingqi had spent far too many days in an army with no land to call home, nowhere proper to rest.

Just having solid walls and a roof was quite heavenly in comparison to some of the places she'd needed to sleep.

Louise directed her eyes towards Lingqi, a clear concern in her eyes.

She gave the girl a wry smile. "I'll make do with a pile of hay. I've had worse beds in my days."

Louise hesitated, eyes darting around. "We-we could… share… my bed…?" She finally got out, with reddened cheeks.

Share the bed?

"It might be a bit of a tight fit…" Lingqi mused.

It was certainly a large bed, but still dimensioned for a single person.

"It'll be fine… probably…"

"I'll say it again, I'll be fine with the pile of hay."

"I… insist."

"If you say so." Lingqi conceded with a bow, and so their sleeping arrangements for the night were complete.

"I'll have to see about getting another bed in here…" Louise muttered to herself.

A knock interrupted them.

"Lady Vallière. We found what you requested." The voice of the servant from earlier came from the other side.

"Excellent." Louise said and opened the door.

The servant stood at the door, with three additional servants accompanying him.

Between them stood a wooden frame, a weapon stand perhaps, or at least capable of serving as one.

Lingqi moved to inspect it.

Yes, this was good. A good size. The frame was thick, built out of sturdy wood. The condition was good as well, and the craftsmanship was, as far as Lingqi could tell, good.

She placed Sky Piercer in it as a test, and it seemed like it would hold the halberd perfectly fine.

"This will serve well. And the supplies?" Lingqi said.

"Right here." The servant said, handing over a bag.

Lingqi confirmed the contents. They seemed fine.

"Thank you."

The servants almost seemed a bit surprised to be thanked. Probably used to serving young nobles with no concern for thanking servants.

"Shall we carry it in?" One of the other servants asked.

"No need to worry, I'll handle this myself." Lingqi responded, and lifted it with one hand.

The servants' eyes boggled as they watched a young woman with an almost delicate frame lift something, which they had cooperated in bringing there, with ease.

Louise also seemed a bit surprised, although it was quite a subdued reaction.

Finally, the servant they had made the request to snapped out of his stupor. "Is there anything else the Lady Vallière requires?"

"No, not at the moment." Louise responded.

The servants bowed and left, off to either rest or resume their duties.

After that, they placed the stand at a suitable location, and Lingqi placed Sky Piercer in it.

As the weapon left her hand, she felt the feeling leave her.

She removed her glove, and indeed, the 'runes' had stopped glowing.

Louise had tiredly sunk into a chair, and seemed to be fighting a losing battle with exhaustion, so Lingqi decided to refrain from asking any more questions for now.

She instead studied the room closer.

While the style of everything inside threw Lingqi off, it certainly seemed rather lavish. It was also littered with various items both strange and familiar, with what appeared to be texts lying open with writing utensils and other such things featuring prominently.

Was Louise perhaps of a scholarly disposition then? Although from what imagery Lingqi could discern, it would seem to be of the more mystical than material.

Although… if this was a place where this… 'magic', was studied and taught… Perhaps there was quite a bit of practical use to it all.

Lingqi wasn't particularly scholarly herself. The battlefield was what she had devoted herself to, something her father hadn't been particularly approving off.

Which was, of course, a tad bit ironic when it was Lingqi's adoration of her father that had spurred such pursuits in the first place.

She was really just emulating him, one of the mightiest warriors she had ever known.

She gingerly touched Sky Piercer.

Her father's weapon… the one that had struck down the tyrant, Dong Zhuo, and clashed with some of the finest warriors of the land…

Her only link to him in this strange land…

She retrieved it from where she had left it to stand, and started to maintain it.

She had treated it poorly today; with all the times she had let it fall to the ground…

-Break—

Louise pulled herself together a bit when the smells and sounds associated with weapon maintenance reached her, lifting her head to watch her familiar performing maintenance on the great halberd.

She might have complained at the sound and smell, but one look at her familiar silenced any complaints.

Lingqi had a complicated expression on her face, parts reverence, parts remembrance, and parts sorrow.

As Louise had suspected, it was no mere weapon… it was probably an heirloom or keepsake from someone important.

That meshed well with the simple observation that it was no ordinary halberd. It was too ornate to have been anything other than custom made…

And it didn't seem to have been made for Lingqi…

If so…

Who had it originally belonged to?

A friend, a comrade… family… perhaps even a lover or husband…

So many possibilities…

What had Louise dragged her from?

It was a terrifying thought.

But…

There was a loneliness to Lingqi, one that Louise could see now that they had settled down.

Louise wanted to ask, but…

She was terrified of the answer…


Author's notes: Sometimes you just get an idea stuck in your head, and you end up writing a story you probably shouldn't have. This is one of those. I don't have the greatest familiarity with Familiar of Zero (no pun intended), and I really shouldn't start any more stories. Really, really, shouldn't. But I wrote it. And I want to hear people's thoughts and critiques. Because those things can help me improve. And I want to show people an idea for a story that apparently doesn't exist on this site yet... Why is that anyway?

This is based on Lingqi's ending in Dynasty Warriors 9, which is also why I went with her design from that game, even if I don't particularly prefer it over her design from 8.

Regardless, I present to you all this humble offering, which I probably shouldn't work on too much, but will probably end up updating regularly(ish) anyway.

And, I hope you enjoyed, and that you have a nice day.