The Left Hand of the Death God

By Farmer Kyle

Summary: Gandalfr; The Left Hand of God; This was the familiar of the Founder Brimir that would protect him during Brimir's spell chants. A master of weapons that would take on armies to protect its master. Who better for such a role then someone who has fought both the living and armies of the dead to protect those closest to his heart. Someone whose very name means 'one who protects'?

Disclaimer: Other than the idea to cross Bleach and Familiar of Zero together, I OWN NOTHING!

A/N: Some reviewers have asked about Ichigo's broken speech and/or the 'secret code' that Siesta mentioned. I'll also answer how Sylphid understood Ichigo before the translation spell.

Ichigo's speech is broken because he hasn't physically talked for a loooong time. His mouth and tongue are trying to readjust to use after so long without. He for now is trying to get his point across the best he can. You'll notice that he has stuck to relatively simple words. All the translation spell has done is made it so he and everyone else can now have a better clue to what he is trying to say with a little less pantomiming.

Sylphid could understand Ichigo because rhyme dragons have the gift of languages. This is fact stated in the anime and novels. I don't find it too hard to believe that Sylphid could understand Ichigo's broken Japanese and she to speak Japanese.

And the secret code? Japanese. Simply Japanese that Siesta's grandfather taught her. I had thought it was obvious, but I guess not.

I'll also say I'm not too confident of how I ended this. Seemed I had to force it. Also, I MIGHT have exaggerated Kirche's reaction to Ichigo near the end... Not sure if I went too far or not. I'll rely on your opinions on it.

And sorry for the wait guys, a lot has been happening on my end of things. Just think of this as my New Year's Eve gift to you all!

Well that's all for now. See Ya!

Chapter 3: Broken Hearts and Trampled Pride

"First of all, I commend you for coming here instead of running away!" Guiche remarked in a sing-song voice, as he twirled his rose-wand.

At his side, Montmorency growled. "Let's just get this over with Guiche!"

Ichigo remained silent, his scowl deeper than usual as he stared at the blondes in bored disinterest.

Thrown off by the silent reply and the stare from the man in the ragged black coat, Guiche tried to laugh off his discomfort. "Hahahaha, I see now! You are so frightened by our brilliance that you are speechless! Do not fear commoner. As we are nobles, it would be rude to not give you at least a chance! Here." And with a wave of the rose-wand a petal flew to a spot of ground directly in front of Ichigo. It flashed white before a sword rose up from the ground, stopping just as the hilt came within reach of his hand.

'A fine sword if I do say so myself!' thought Guiche. The blade was tempered steel and double-edged that, if you could see past the ground, tapered into a fine point. The guard was made of a steel that had been altered so as to be forest green with a ruby set in the middle and more ruby that split and curved out towards the blade between the green steel and the blade itself. The grip was simply made of compacted dirt that looked like leather. Finally, the pommel capped the grip with a bit of the colored steel with a perfectly round ruby set on top.

Ichigo just looked at the sword for a moment before snorting. He then reached his hand into his coat, near to where his waist was.


The sound of a sword being drawn filled the air of the Vestri Court as all the students saw the commoner of Louise the Zero draw a thin, slightly curved, and single edged sword from within the ragged coat, a brown sheathe now visible on the left side of his hip. Once the odd sword was completely drawn the sheathe disappeared as the coat covered it. The orange-haired man positioned his right arm, his sword arm, across his body before bringing it down in a casual slash.

When he did nothing else, Guiche spoke up. "And what was that supposed to prove? That yo-" The rest of his budding insult died, for before his eyes the sword he crafted fell apart. Starting from about where Ichigo's first slash must have hit, the hilt and a bit of the blade slid diagonally off the the rest of itself. Just as it began to fall off both it and the blade in the ground fell apart into pieces no bigger than the petals of Guiche's rose-wand.

As all the student's gawked at the scene, all Ichigo could do was give out a mental sigh. 'Just how did I get involved in this?' he thought, annoyance and exasperation clearly showing.

"YYAAAAAAWWWWWWNN." Ichigo stretched out his body laying on the hay pile, from the ends of his fingers to the tips of his toes. With a bit more stretching and scratching here and there, Ichigo sat up. It was then he noticed that he wasn't chained up. Rubbing his wrists, Ichigo looked down at the runes on his hand. 'Huh. Guess all that wasn't a dream then. Wouldn't be the first time I dreamed of escape.' Looking out the window he saw the sun just past above the horizon. 'Guess now is as good a time as any to get up.' Following through with that thought, he then walked over to the only bed in the room and its lone occupant.

Looking down at her, Ichigo couldn't help but think 'She's kinda cute asleep.'

'You're right! She's like a kitten or puppy!' came a woman's voice, a familiar one.

'La Guerre?' asked Ichigo, surprised at hearing her.

'Yep! The old man showed me how to talk to you without dragging your butt down here.' came La Guerre's reply, the blonde spirit sounding chipper.

'It was no trouble.' said Zangetsu.

'How are things looking in there? I can tell that the reiatsu has harmonized.' Ichigo had felt the power of the runes and his own meshing as he returned to Louise's room last night and almost immediately noticed after waking up that both, while still separate, now felt similar to the other.

'You now have several new parks dotting your soul partner, not counting my castle!' came La Guerre again.

'Indeed, it is nice.' You could almost hear Zangetsu's happiness. Almost.

'Good.' But then Ichigo focused back on the small girl in the bed. 'So how should I do this?' he asked himself. Trying to think up ways to wake her, a memory appeared. Several actually. They all involved him and a man with up-swept black hair and a thin beard that would sneak attack him whenever possible, especially when Ichigo woke up. Goat-chin was the only name to come up, but there seemed like something was missing. 'Nicely or Guaranteed?' After a few moments he decided. 'Compromise.' And with that thought in mind he pulled off the blankets and gave a command. "Up."

For Louise, the sudden change that came from lack of blankets brought her from sleep. Hearing an unknown voice say something to her caused her to sit up and look for the intruder. "Huh...?" While rubbing the sleep from her eyes she looked where the voice came from. There she found an unknown man in black rags. As panic began to build, Louise asked "Wh-who are you?" She brought her hand down to look at him better

"Ichigo." Was the man's reply, his voice rough.

The name triggered Louise's memories of yesterday. "Right, my familiar spirit. I summoned it yesterday, didn't I?" She mumbled to herself. Though not quietly enough as Ichigo's brow ticked.

"Clothes." Louise ordered her familiar.

Ichigo looked at her oddly before before deciding to humor her. 'It's not that big a deal.' Dropping the blankets, he grabbed the clothes draped over one of the chairs by the table and handed them to her. Getting up with a yawn and putting the clothes on the bed, Louise began to undress.

Now it took a moment for Ichigo to remember that looking in the general direction of a undressing girl was rude. After he did, he calmly turned around. He could barely hear La Guerre's snickers.

"Underwear." She apparently hadn't noticed.

'Really?' "No." Was Ichigo's immediate answer.

'My familiar did not just refuse me.' Louise thought, 'He just doesn't know where they're kept.' "They're in the lowest drawer... Of that closet... Over there." The girl said as she took of her nightgown.

Debating it for a moment, and ignoring La Guerre's louder snickering, Ichigo decided to just get it over with. Opening the indicated drawer he grabbed a random pair and threw them over his shoulder.

Grumbling under her breath about 'stupid familiars', Louise took the panties off her head and put them on. "Clothes."

Turning around, Ichigo saw that the pinkette crossed her arms just under her chest and was giving him an expectant look. The clothes he had given her were on the bed within arms reach. All he did was stare back at her.

Seeing the stare, Louise pouted in displeasure.

"You must not know because you're a commoner, but nobles will not dress themselves if a servant is available." She puffed up her chest in pride of her status as she placed her hands on her hips.

The imaginary tick was back on his face. La Guerre was out right laughing now.

"No." He then promptly left the room.

Louise's form froze as her jaw dropped and eyes widened. She stayed like that but for a moment before the entire school heard her enraged yell.


"Right then. As punishment for being a disrespectful familiar: No breakfast," Louise declared, raising a finger triumphantly.

The small girl had caught up to Ichigo just as he had reached the ground floor of the tower. All said 'disrespectful familiar' did was shrug his shoulders at the announcement.

Of course, this just incensed Louise. 'He's undermining my authority!' But before she could further chastise the man in black, a dulcet voice interrupted her.

"Good morning, Louise!"

Both turned around to find a familiar tan red-head, her uniform shirt unbuttoned just enough to show off her bust without showing too much. She had a broad grin on her face. But what really drew the duo's attention was the the large, dark-red lizard following behind her. About the size of a tiger, the reptile had pink under-scales to go with its dark-red ones. Its head sported six protrusions along the back of its head: a pair on top, a pair behind its cheeks, and a pair jutting out of its jaw; the overall placement looking like an 'X' with a line through the side. The lizard's most noticeable feature was the flickering, live flame on the tip of its tail. The large reptile opened its mouth to let out a sound of greeting, sparks and embers on its lips. Then it saw Ichigo, shut its mouth with a snap, and gave off a growling whimper.

This reaction went unnoticed by both the girls, only Ichigo catching it.

"Good morning... Kirche." Louise greeted with a frown, her disdain for the other girl clear.

But Kirche was either oblivious to this fact or ignored it entirely.

"So, this... is your familiar?" asked the tanned girl, her voice tinged with interest as her eyes roved over him.

"That's right."

"Well, he certainly is... interesting." The purr in Kirche's voice when she said 'interesting' could have been from a lioness.

Ichigo raised his eyebrows at the tone, and La Guerre decided to give her opinion. 'Someone's in-ter-ested!' she said in a falsetto tone.

"And what do you mean by that, Kirche?" The pinkette narrowed her eyes at the taller girl.

"Even though he's a commoner, he's a yummy one! Just where did you find him?" Kirche was now walking around Ichigo as if she were an appraiser, and in a way she was. For Kirche Augusta Frederica von Anhalt Zerbst was very popular with the boys of the Academy. In the company of a different boy every day and night, Kirche had made quite the name for herself and lived up to her runic name, The Ardent.

Louise ignored the comment on her familiar in favor of the second comment. "What do you mean, 'Where did I find him'? I summoned him!" She cried out petulantly.

Kirche stopped her inspection, now next to the pinkette, and just gave her a skeptical look. "I'm sure. But I suppose that's just like you to summon a commoner with 'Summon Servant.' What else should I expect from Louise the Zero?"

Louise's cheeks flared up in irritation as she glowered at the tan girl. "Shut up."

"I, on the other hand, summoned a proper familiar. A great one that matches me perfectly! Flame!" Kirche called her familiar. But after a moment of nothing happening, Kirche looked behind her at the red lizard.

Flame had decided if he was to be near Ichigo, he might as well do it proudly. And so Kirche and Louise saw that their familiars were in a staring contest.

Neither seemed close to losing.

"Familiar, just what are you doing!" Louise wouldn't stand for any sort of foolishness.

Ichigo ignored her. 'If the Pokemon-wannabe wants a staring contest, I'll give him one.'

Kirche rolled with the situation, "Ah, it seems you've already met my dear Flame!" she gushed.

"Is that a salamander?" Louise asked jealously.

"That's right! A fire lizard! See, look at the tail. A flame this vivid and large means it's without a doubt a salamander from the Fire Dragon Mountains! It's like a brand! Collectors can't even put a price on these!" Kirche was quite proud of her salamander.

"That's nice," Louise said, her voice bitter.

"Isn't it? It matches my affinity perfectly!"

"Your affinity is Fire, isn't it?"

"Of course. After all, I am Kirche the Ardent. The ardent of gently smoldering passion. Everywhere I go, I have boys falling for me. Unlike you, right?"

Kirche puffed her chest out proudly. Not wanting to lose, Louise did the same, but the difference was just too much.

Despite this, Louise glared at Kirche. She really hated losing.

"I don't have the time to go around flirting with everything I see, unlike you."

Kirche only smiled calmly. Then, she turned to Ichigo.

"And what's your name, cutie?" She also threw in a flirtatious smile and wink that had conquered many a male.

Ichigo ignored her and continued to stare at Flame, the salamander returning it.

'I will beat this lizard.' Ichigo promised himself.

'Go, Ichigo, GO!' It seemed La Guerre had chosen to cheer him on.

Seeing her familiar completely ignore her hated rival brought a smile to Louise's face.

"Ha! It would seem that my familiar is above such low, Germanian trash like you."

Spurned, Kirche opted for a tactical retreat. Walking away she said "Hmpf, come Flame. I have better things to do than talk to the Zero."

The salamander reluctantly obeyed his master's orders and followed her, giving one last look at Ichigo before hurrying to catch up with the tanned redhead.

Watching her leave, Louise giggled a little before turning to Ichigo.

"That was almost worth your behavior this morning familiar. Come, to the dining hall."

As they had walked to the dining hall, Louise had explained just what this place was to Ichigo.

'So this place is a school that teaches magic, huh? It also explains the feel of everyone's reiatsu, magic, or whatever. And how she explained what happened yesterday sounds like a right of passage. But if a familiar determines your element, what does that mean for her to summon me? She feels different from everyone else.' As he thought this, Louise and Ichigo reached their destination.

The Academy of Magic's dining hall was in the taller, center tower on the grounds and not too far from the library. The hall itself was quite large, able to hold the three extremely long tables that were arranged parallel to each other with plenty of room to spare. Each one looked like it could easily seat a hundred people.

At the entrance, Ichigo looked to the left and saw that the students sitting there on the left-hand table looked a little older than the others and wore purple cloaks. Turning to the right, the students at the right-hand table were younger and wore brown cloaks. The table in the middle was where students with Louise's uniform were sitting, Kirche and the blue haired girl among them and sitting next to each other.

The redhead seemed to be fuming over something and ignoring the three or so guys trying to talk to her, while the girl from last night was, as predicted, eating all the food in front of her at a fast but polite pace. Turning his spiritual senses to her, Ichigo checked his work. 'Good, everything has stabilized. The body just needs to make up the lost energy, and she's well on her way of doing that.' The girl suddenly looks straight at him, as if knowing he was looking at her. She holds the stare for a few moments, blue-gray eyes shielded by her glasses meeting his bare, deep brown ones, before she gives the tiniest of nods and resumes her feeding frenzy. But the message was clear.

Thank you.

'Your welcome.'

Still following Louise, Ichigo traveled down the aisle until he found an empty chair. As he moved to pull it out and sit down, a thought occurred to him. 'Aren't you supposed to hold the chair out for girls? It's... polite?' He asked himself and the residents of his soul.

Zangetsu's reply he should have expected. 'I would not know Ichigo.'

Thankfully, La Guerre's was more helpful. 'Sound's like it. It shows you're putting the girl's needs before your own in a simple way. Give it a shot, couldn't hurt.'

'Sure.' And so Ichigo held the chair out for Louise. She didn't even thank him as she sat down.

'Now that's just rude.' Came the blonde spirit clipped voice.

"Familiar," Louise's voice cuts in. "As I said earlier, you will not be getting breakfast. Wait outside."

'Master or not, she is seriously rude!' La Guerre cried in indignation. 'And why are you just going along with this anyway?'

'I didn't really want to be there either. Besides, I'm not hungry.' Ichigo thought back. 'Now, lets see if I can find that maid.' Thinking this he reached into his coat and took out the maid's cap.

'When did you grab that?' La Guerre asked.

'While Louise was still sleeping. She had it on the table.' Ichigo answered, putting the cap back in his coat.

Unfortunately, Ichigo did not find the maid he had met last night before Louise's calls for him made him give up the search.

'For now at least.' the reaper thought.

"There you are familiar! Why weren't you with the rest of the familiars?" Louise asked when she finally found Ichigo, an edge of exasperation in her tone. All familiars were supposed to wait for their masters just outside the dining hall during meals. Ichigo's search had taken him close to one of the towers that were part of the perimeter wall, the one with the brown roof. It was a detail Ichigo had missed last night, that all five of the perimeter towers had a differently colored roof. The tower that Louise's room was in had a blue roof, the tower left of it having a white one and, continuing going left, the remaining towers' roofs were brown, red, and a purplish gray.

Ichigo thought how best to answer Louise's question before settling for "Scouting."

The pinkette thought about it for a moment, her eyes closed, before nodding. "Very well familiar, that is acceptable. It wouldn't do for you to get lost." She nodded again before opening her eyes. "And it just so happens that my next class is in the Tower of Earth." She said this with a small grin. "Come familiar, you will be joining me." With that she went on ahead to towards the "Tower of Earth", not even making sure Ichigo was following.

Ichigo merely stood there a moment before shrugging. 'Why not? Should prove interesting.'

The classrooms in the Academy of Magic were similar to an old, university lecture hall. Where the teacher would stand was at the lowest level, a short, wooden platform and a simple, wooden podium. The seats and tables, also wooden, were arranged around the platform in a half-circle, the flat wall housing a blackboard and the two doors serving as the entrances and exits to the room.

Ichigo again spotted Kirche and the bluenette. 'I really need to ask her what her name is.' Ichigo thought. He also noticed that Kirche was surrounded by boys. 'Someone's popular.' The reaper also noticed the familiars in the room. Kirche's salamander was curled up asleep under her desk. There were students with owls or other birds resting on their shoulders. From a window, a gigantic snake peered into the class. One boy whistled, and the snake withdrew its head. Other than those, there were many other creatures mundane and extraordinary. Cats, a lizard with six legs, a floating eyeball, some sort of octopus, and more.

Then, everyone in the room other then the bluenette, who was reading, seemed to notice their presence and began to laugh. Louise ground her teeth but had no other noticeable reaction. Ichigo on the other hand scowled just a bit more and narrowed his eyes, before giving off a miniscule flare of reiatsu.

The laughter immediately stopped, the class now knowing what it felt like when 'someone walks over your grave'. The familiars all flinched at the flare, some even fleeing the room.

Louise, who hadn't felt anything, looked confused but relieved and moved to the back of the classroom, taking a seat on the far right. Ichigo followed suit and sat next to her. Louise glared at him. It would be a few minutes before Ichigo looked over in her direction, and when he did he quirked a single eyebrow.

Louise answered the silent question. "That is a noble's seat. Familiars aren't permitted to use it." One could almost feel the heat in her words.

All Ichigo did was shrug and look to the front of the class, but stayed in the seat. The rest of the students finally got over their shock and began chattering again, many of them commenting on Ichigo's behavior. This nearly sent Louise over the edge, but rather than lose any more face in front of her tormentors, she adapted.

"Very well then, but know that this has cost you lunch familiar." She finished the announcement with a wicked smile.

Ichigo ignored her.

It was then that a middle-aged, brunette woman entered the room wearing a voluminous purple robe and a matching pointed witch's hat. She had a plump, round face and a friendly smile. Her hair was in a kind of bob cut. As everyone quieted down and the woman moved onto the platform, it became apparent to Ichigo that she was the teacher.

When the teacher got behind the podium, she began to speak to the class. "Well, everyone, it seems that the Springtime Familiar Summoning was a great success. I, Mrs. Chevreuse, always enjoy seeing the new familiars that are summoned each spring." Her eyes roamed across the class until she saw Louise and Ichigo, giving a confused frown.

The small mage cast her eyes downward.

"My, my, you've summoned quite a... peculiar familiar, Miss Vallière," she remarked as she looked at man with orange hair and odd, black coat. The comment was fairly innocent, but the classroom, having forgotten what happened the last time they did so, exploded with laughter.

A rather pudgy, blonde boy with rosy cheeks decided to be bold. "Louise the Zero! Don't go around grabbing random commoners off the street just because you can't summon anything!"

Louise's long pink hair billowed as she stood up. She raised her voice in anger. "No! I did everything properly! He was all that appeared!"

Ichigo held back a chuckle as the thought from this morning came back. 'She's some kind of adorable when she gets mad.'

The blonde boy wouldn't give up. "Don't lie! I bet you couldn't even cast 'Summon Servant' properly, right?"

The other students chuckled.

'If that teacher doesn't rein him in, I will.' Ichigo thought with narrowed eyes.

Louise banged her fist against the tabletop in protest. "Mrs. Chevreuse! I've been insulted! Malicorne the 'Common Cold' just insulted me!"

The boy sputtered at the insult. "Common cold? I'm Malicorne the Windward! I haven't caught any cold!"

"Well, your hoarse voice sounds exactly like you've caught one!" Louise fired back.

The boy called Malicorne stood up and glared at Louise. Chevreuse pointed at them with the wand in her hand. The two suddenly jerked like puppets on a string and rigidly sat back down.

"Miss Vallière, Mister Malicorne." The teacher began reproachfully, "Please stop this pointless argument."

Louise looked visibly dejected. All the vivacity that she'd shown just earlier seemed to have evaporated.

The purple woman continued. "Calling friends 'Zero' or 'Common Cold' is not acceptable. Do you understand?"

But it seemed Malicorne hadn't learned his lesson. "Mrs. Chevreuse, I'm only called that as a joke, but for Louise, it's the truth."

A few giggles broke out from somewhere. Louise just seemed to fold in on herself. Ichigo's scowl deepened as he prepared to give them a reminder of earlier.

But before he could, Chevreuse looked around the classroom with a severe expression. She pointed her wand again, and, as if from nowhere, the mouths of the students who'd giggled were suddenly filled with lumps of red clay.

"You shall continue the lesson in that state." She told them.

This put a firm stopper on any further outbursts. Ichigo "disarmed" the reiatsu he would have used, while Louise looked heartened at the act for her defense.

"Now then, let's begin the lesson." Chevreuse coughed heavily and waved her wand. A few pebbles materialized on her desktop.

"My Runic name is 'Red Clay.' Chevreuse the Red Clay. This year, I will be teaching you all the magic of the Earth element." She began, before singling out the Malicorne with a stare. "Do you know the four great elements of magic, Mister Malicorne?"

Spooked, the boy stuttered. "Y-Yes, Mrs. Chevreuse. They are Fire, Water, Earth and Wind."

Chevreuse nodded. "And combined with the now-lost element of 'Void,' there are five elements in total - as everyone should already know. Of the five elements, I believe Earth holds an extremely important position. This is not just because my affinity is Earth, nor is it simply a personal preference."

Once again, Chevreuse coughed heavily.

"The magic of the Earth element is very important, for it is the magic that governs the creation of all matter. Were it not for Earth magic, we wouldn't be able to produce or process the necessary metals we need. The construction of buildings and the harvesting crops would also involve much more work. In this manner, the Earth magic is intimately related to everyone's life."

'Someone's showboating, regardless if it's true.' Ichigo thought, almost snorting at the blatant, yet subtle, bragging.

"Now, everyone, please recall that the most basic magic of the Earth element is 'transmutation'. While there will be people here who have already learned this in their first year, basics build foundations, so let's review it once more."

Chevreuse turned her attention to the pebbles. With a bit of wand waving and a whispered incantation, they began to glow brightly. When the light dimmed away, the pebbles had been changed into sparkling lumps of metal.

"Is that g-g-gold, Mrs. Chevreuse!" Kirche exclaimed in shock, leaning over her desk for a better luck at the former pebbles.

"No, it isn't. It's plain brass, only Square-class mages are able to transmute objects into gold. I'm just..." Chevreuse gave a self-important cough. "A Triangle-class mage..." The last was said with just a tiny sliver of insecurity.

'Squares and triangles? Is that how they rank themselves? How does that work?'

He glanced at Louise. 'Should I ask her? How should I?' After mouthing the sentence to see what worked, Ichigo turned to the pinkette.

"Louise?" Ichigo whispered.

She ignored him, paying attention to class. Not that that meant much at the moment, as the class was still getting over the results of the 'transmutation' spell.

"Louise?" the man in black added a poke to this attempt.

"What?" the girl whispered back in annoyance. "We're in the middle of a lesson!"

"What do shapes mean?"

"Shapes? What shapes, you stupid familiar?" The last was said a bit louder than intended, and the teacher noticed.

"Miss Valliere!" Louise nearly jumped out of her chair.


"Is there something you'd like to share with the class?" From Mrs. Chevreuse's tone, she didn't expect Louise did.

"U-um..." But before Louise could finish her reply, Ichigo raised his hand.

"Yes, um..."

"Ichigo Kurosaki."

"Thank you. Your question then, Mr. Kurosaki?"

"What do shapes mean?"

"Shapes?" The purple teacher asked. At Ichigo's nod, she pondered for a moment, a hand holding her chin while her other propped up her elbow. "Hmm." She then brought the hands together in a light smack. "Ah! You must mean the Classes of a mage, correct?" Ichigo's nod encouraged her to continue. "Very well! I suppose being a commoner, you did not need to know such things. A mage's Class is determined by the number of elements that they can use and add to a spell." Going to the blackboard, Mrs. Chevreuse took her wand and made a dot on the board. "A mage that can use only one element is known as a Dot mage." She then made two more dots and made them a line as she made her next point. "A mage able to use two elements is known as a Line mage." Making three more dots, she made a triangle. "As I can use three elements, I am a Triangle mage." Then she made four more dots that became a square. Turning around to face the class, she finished her answer. "Finally, those few who can use four elements are Square mages. As a mage learns to use more elements, spells of lower levels become easier to cast more often. There are also some mages who can combine their spells with another's, going beyond Square magic."

She looked back to Ichigo. "Does that answer your question?"

Ichigo nods. "Thank you."

The teacher smiles. "It's no trouble. It is my job to teach after all." Turning to regard the rest of the class, Mrs. Chevreuse speaks. "Well then, how about one of you try 'transmutation', hmm? Any volunteers?" When no one offered, she turned to Louise. "Would you like to try Miss Valliere?"

"Umm..." Louise didn't seem sure and seemed she wouldn't be moving.

Mrs. Chevreuse called for her again, but Kirche raised her voice in concern.


"Yes, Miss Zerbst?" The teacher asked.

Searching for the right words, Kirche began. "I think it would be better if you didn't let her..."

The Earth mage looked confused "And why is that?"

"It's dangerous," Kirche answered plainly, deciding blunt was for the best. The majority of the class nodded in agreement.

This had Ichigo quirk a brow and look at Louise from out of the corner of his eye. 'Now how is she dangerous? Her magic feels dark, yes, but Louise isn't that dangerous.'

Mrs. Chevreuse still looked confused, but curiosity and skepticism had joined it. "Dangerous? How so?"

"This is your first time teaching Louise, right?" Kirche asked.

"It is, but I hear she's a hard worker." Skepticism had won out. "Now, Miss Vallière. Don't you worry, just try it. You won't be able to do anything if you dread making mistakes."

"Don't, Louise!" Kirche cried, her face pale.

But Louise stood up. "I'll do it." Looking nervous but resolute, she walked briskly up to the front of the room.

Mrs. Chevreuse stood next to Louise and smiled.

"Now Miss Vallière, you have to visualize vividly the metal that you wish to transmute them into."

Giving a small nod, Louise began waving her wand. She pouted in concentration before beginning the incantation.

Ichigo decided to observe just how magic worked, so turned his spiritual senses to Louise. He felt as her reiatsu swirl and churn as the young mage spoke words he couldn't hope to understand. As focused as he was on Louise's reiatsu, Ichigo didn't miss the fact that all the other students had taken cover under their chairs and desks. Even the blue haired girl had moved, calmly gathering her things and leaving the classroom as she continued to read her book.

'This is going farther than simple hazing. Just what do they expect will happen, for the pebbles to explode?'

Louise closed her eyes, and uttered one last word and flourish of her wand. To Ichigo's senses, the reiatsu that had calmly and fluidly moving up her arm and to her wand suddenly seem to burst out of her control. Ichigo just had enough time for his eyes to widen before the explosion.

But that was still enough time to act.

For Louise, she had been praying that now that she had performed a spell at least somewhat correctly, that others would follow. Just as the last word of the incantation was spoken, she felt the all too familiar feeling of release that preceded all her explosions. Bracing herself, all she could ask was 'Why?'. Louise had just closed her eyes to protect them from the smoke when the blast happened. She could hear the cries of her classmates as they screamed; how the windows burst and a wall collapse; the frightened familiars as the scampered this way and that. But the most peculiar feeling was the lack of one. While her hair had been blown back, the rest of her felt as if nothing had occurred. Opening her eyes, she saw why.

For right there in front of her was a chest. Looking up, she saw the face of her familiar looking back at her. Looking into his deep, warm eyes, Louise was frozen.

'Did... Did he protect me?' Was her only thought.

Of course Kirche had to ruin the moment.

"*Cough* *cough* See! This is why..." But Kirche trailed off seeing Ichigo so close to Louise with his arms held out. Mrs. Chevreuse was likewise stunned, for the entire side of the room that she and Louise had been on was completely untouched by the explosion.

The Headmaster's office was located on the topmost floor of the tower. The office was fairly large, with plush purple carpet and walls lined with wooden cabinets, the glass panels of which showed the books they held. Mounted on the right wall of the room was a large standing mirror, opposite of which was a woman writing a report at her desk. In front of a large window at the end of the office was Sir Osmond, the current Headmaster of Tristain Magic Academy, sitting with his head in his hands, elbows propped on his elegantly built desk. He was a rather old man, at least past seventy, with a long goatee beard and longer hair and wore a voluminous black robe, clipped close along the left side of the front, and a lowered hood. Looking unbearably bored, he shook his white beard and hair.

Idly plucking out nose hairs, he slowly murmured "hrm" and pulled open a desk drawer. From inside he procured a rather unique smoking pipe. It looked much like a white and brass urn with a pipe attached to the bottom, the pipe decorated with a red tassel. The secretary who had been writing something at the other desk placed to the side of the room took out a silver wand and waved it, all the while writing with her feather quill. The pipe floated into the air before flying to Miss Longueville's now empty palm.

Osmond muttered dejectedly, "Is it fun taking away an old man's little pleasures? Miss, um..."

She was Miss Longueville, a woman who looked to be in her early twenties. She wore the same robe and undershirt that Jean Colbert did, a dark blue robe with white trim that can open in the front and a black shirt whose sleeves partially covered the hands, but her robe differed from Mr. Colbert's in that the lower half of it only came down to mid-thigh, showing off her legs and her brown boots. Finally, wrapped around her shoulders was a purple traveling cloak that came down to her ankles. The secretary had her long, forest green hair at shoulder length, a yellow ribbon used to make the bun that kept the hair short. Combined with her pale complexion and green-hazel eyes, which were covered by glasses, she was quite the looker.

"Managing your health is also part of my job, Old Osmond." She said with a level tone, not bothering to look up from her work. She was used to his antics by now.

Osmond stood up from his chair and walked up to the cool and collected Miss Longueville. Stopping behind the seated woman, he closed his eyes, his expression grave. "If the days keep passing by so peacefully, figuring out how to spend time is going to become a rather big problem." he said, his tone ominous.

The wrinkles etched deeply on Osmond's face were only hints to the history of his life. People guessed him to be a hundred years old, even three hundred, but his true age was a mystery. Even to himself, some speculate.

"Old Osmond." Miss Longueville spoke up, still paying attention to what she was writing.

"What is it? Miss..."

"Please stop saying you have nothing to do as an excuse to touch my ass."

Osmond opened his mouth slightly and began walking around in tottering steps, a vacant look suddenly clouding his eyes.

"Please also refrain from pretending to be senile whenever I catch you." Longueville added calmly. The old man immediately stopped the act and sighed deeply. It was the sigh of a man bearing the weight of the world's troubles.

In a sage-like tone, Osmond questioned the secretary. "Where do you suppose the ultimate truth may be? Haven't you ever wondered that? Miss..."

As if this was routine, which sadly it was, Miss Longueville answered as calmly as she had been. "Wherever it is, I assure you, it's not underneath my skirt, so please stop sneaking your mouse under the desk."

Osmond's face fell, and he murmured sadly, "Motsognir."

From under Miss Longueville's desk scurried out a little, white mouse. It dashed up Osmond's leg and perched on his shoulder, twitching its tiny head. Osmond fished out a nut from a pocket and held one out for his familiar.

"Chuchu," the mouse chittered, pleased as it took the offered the nut.

"You're my only, truly, trustworthy friend, Motsognir."

The mouse began nibbling on the nut. It disappeared quickly, and the mouse chittered "chuchu" once more.

Osmond nodded. "Ah, yes, yes. You want more? Very well, I shall give you more. But first, I would ask that you give your report, Motsognir."


"I see. White cotton, and plain white too, hrm. But Miss Longueville should really stick to black silk. Wouldn't you agree, my cute Motsognir?"

Miss Longueville's eyebrows twitched. "Old Osmond." she said, annoyance creeping into her voice.

"What is it?"

"The next time you do that, I'm reporting it to the palace."

Osmond flashed his eyes wide and yelled angrily. "Kah! Do you think I could be Headmaster of this Academy if I was scared of the palace all the time? Don't get all prissy just because I peeked at your underwear! At this rate, you'll never get married! Haa~~ To be young again~~ Miss..."

It was an impressive display, completely unexpected of a frail-looking old man. But then the image was ruined when Osmond began stroking Miss Longueville's bottom without hesitation.

Miss Longueville wordlessly stood up, calmly but quickly setting down her quill pen. Osmond hadn't moved from his bent over "butt grope" position as he watched his secretary. The woman gave him one look before kicking him, right on the shin, and bring him tumbling down. She then proceeded to give a literal example of a "curb-stomp battle".

"Sorry. Stop. Ow. I won't do it anymore. Really."

Osmond covered his head and cowered. Miss Longueville breathed heavily as she continued kicking Osmond.

"Ack! How can you! Ow! Treat a senior! Aah! In this way! Hey! Ouch!"

A loud knocking came from the door. "Old Osmond, I have something important to discuss regarding the familiar summoning." The door then opened to reveal Mr. Colbert, who quickly walked inside.

"Old Osmond?" asked Colbert.

"Yes, yes, what is it?" Osmond replied.

Miss Longueville was back at her desk, writing out her report in that calm and poised manner of hers. Sir Osmond had his arms behind him, and turned to face the visitor with a serious expression. There was no evidence of any kind of scuffle.

After he admired Miss Longueville for a moment, Colbert turned back to Osmond with a serious demeanor. "I've discovered something regarding Miss Valliere's familiar. Take a look at this."

Colbert handed Osmond the book he had been reading the night before.

The principal looked thoughtful for a moment. "Hmm? Miss Valliere's...? Ah! Yes, yes, the human she summoned. Quite extraordinary given her aptitude for spells. Tell me, do we have another Stormageddon on our hands?" The last was said with a bit of humor.

Looking at the book, Osmond cocked his head at the tome. He turned and began walking to his desk, speaking as he walked. "This is "Les Familiers d'abord", is it not? You're still scrounging up old literature from the library?" The older man was now behind his desk. Pulling out the seat, he sat down with a "hrumpf" and sat the book in front of him before continuing. "If you have time to do that, why can't you do something more productive? Like thinking up better ways of collecting school fees from the nobles. Mister, err... What was it again?"

The fire mage resisted the urge to facepalm. "It's Colbert. Jean Colbert! I've been working here for years! How could you forget?"

"Right, right. Now I remember. It's just that you've always talked so fast I could never really catch it. So, Colby, what is it about this book?"

Ignoring Osmond's mangling of his name, Colbert walked up to the desk and told him. "Open it to page sixty-three." After flipping through the pages, Osmond found the page. Colbert saw the old mage's eyes widen, but spoke before the other man could. "Now take a look at this." Colbert said this as he took out the sketch of the runes on Ichigo's left hand and placed it on top of the book.

Osmond scrutinized the sketch and the picture in the book, and it was only a moment later that he figured out the differences and their possible meaning. Osmond's expression changed. He suddenly looked the three-hundred years some thought he was.

The green haired secretary had stopped working the moment "Miss Valliere's familiar" had been mentioned. The human had quickly become the most talked about thing in the Academy. Osmond glanced at her before speaking. "Miss Longueville, would you please excuse us?"

Wordlessly, Miss Longueville stood up and left the room. Osmond spoke again only after he was sure the woman wouldn't hear the coming conversation.

Looking Colbert straight in the eye, he spoke. "Tell me everything, Mister Colbert. From the beginning..."

By the time lunch came, rumors of Ichigo's actions and origins had swept the entire school. Most claimed that he either was a creature with shape-shifting powers or a very skilled commoner. A less popular rumor was that he was an elf. One even less popular, and only brought up as a joke, was that he was a mage.

Mrs. Chevreuse had used her magic to clean up the classroom, stating that it was her own fault for letting Louise try and as thanks for her familiar's quick thinking.

Louise couldn't stop thinking about her familiar. For the most part, the man had been constantly been disregarding her authority or ignored her orders. But then he suddenly jumps in the ways of danger to protect her? How was she supposed to respond to that? 'Maybe I've been too hard on him...'

As they neared the entrance to the dining hall, Louise stopped and turned to her familiar. "Famil-, um, Ichigo?" She asked nervously.

Ichigo, ignoring La Guerre's cries of "Dere-Master!", simply regarded her with a quirked eyebrow and a "Hmm?".

"Well, um..." Now Louise was really nervous. 'Why am I nervous? I am a Valliere for Founder's sake! Act like one!' "Ichigo, why did you get in front of me?"

The man looked thoughtful for a moment before answering. "Duty."

The answer wasn't what Lousie expected. "O-Oh. So you only did it because you are my familiar?" 'That makes since I suppose. But, why do I feel disappointed?'

Ichigo shook his head, and confused Louise a little more with it. 'No?' "Then why did you do it if not for that?

Her familar looked thoughtful again before pointing at her. "Special." Ichigo said, before pointing at himself. "Wanted to. Needed to."

Louise's face warmed as a ligh blush colored her cheeks. "O-oh." She stuttered before looking away. 'Stop it! Stop blushing!'

After a few moments of doing just that, Louise gathered herself up and looked back at Ichigo. "Well, as a reward for your actions, I will revoke my punishment of "no lunch" and allow you to eat with me in the dining hall." She said like a queen, deigning to pardon a prisoner for some minor misdemeanor.

Ichigo looked surprised at first; The scowl had even become a tiny, miniscule smile, but then adopted the thoughtful expression that was quickly becoming his default in conversation. "Thanks." He finally said. "But eat outside. Nice." This was accompanied by pointing at the sky, then the courtyard.

Louise looked incensed. 'How dare he refuse an invitation to the dining hall!' But then she looked around, and noticed that it was a nice day today. The sun was out; the sky was clear and nicely cloudy; and a pleasant breeze was passing intermittently, keeping it from being too hot for those who were enjoying the day out. Taking this all in, Louise calmed down.

"You are right familiar. It would be in bad taste to waste such a lovely day indoors. Let us find a table." With that she began walking, heading towards the tables setup in the courtyards. She of course missed Ichigo's scowl return.

'Well, so much for that plan. How am I going to get out of this?' Ichigo thought. He had been planning to use the lunch period to search for that maid again.

'Don't worry about it partner! I'm sure you'll bump into her sooner or later.' said La Guerre.

Then Ichigo felt someone walk into his back. "Kyaaa!" thud "Owie." Turing around and seeing who it was, La Guerre couldn't help but chuckle as she said 'Sooner rather than later it seems.'

"O-oh I-I'm terribly s-sorry! I wasn't paying attention where I was going a-and..." Siesta really hadn't, her mind once again on the man she had encountered last night. And what a man he was! His strong arms! His broad chest! Those warm, brown eyes! That noble face! All the maids had wanted to hear about him, and many, herself included, had a new Prince Charming in their dreams.

Siesta quickly gathered up the platter and plate that she dropped, still apologizing, and frantically searching on her hands and knees. "P-please forgive my carelessness!" 'Where is that cake? Oh, I shouldn't have been daydreaming like that! Ooooh, I'll be punished for sure!'

"Here." The word broke through Siesta's jumbled thoughts. Looking up to the source, she found the source of her earlier daydreams holding the small cake slice that she had been carrying. She blushed when she realized she was staring.

"O-Oh! Th-thank you... u-um..." Siesta faltered and blushed a bit more when she discovered she didn't know the man's name.

"Ichigo Kurosaki." Ichigo answered.

"Th-thank you, Mr. Kurosaki." Seiesta thanked him, holding out the platter and plate. Ichigo placed the cake on the plate. "Thank you again." But as she turned to leave, Ichigo stopped her.


"Y-yes?" Siesta asked, a light blush still on her face.

Ichigo reached into his coat before pulling out and offering her her missing maid cap. "Here."

"Oh, my other cap! I was wondering what had happened to it. Where did you find it?" the maid asked as she took the cap placed it in the front pocket of her apron.

"Last night, in hall." said the orangette.

"O-oh." Siesta muttered, her blush gaining a smidgen of color. "Well, I need to deliver this Mr. Kur-"

"Ichigo." The man interrupted.

Siesta nodded, understanding. "Alright Ichigo, then please call me Siesta. I need to go. Thank you again." And with that she began walking.

Ichigo watched her leave. 'Guess this means I have to catch up with Louise now, huh?'

'Yep.' La Guerre replied.

'Indeed.' was Zangetsu's response.

Ichigo almost sighed in resignation, before he remembered where Louise went. A moment later and he was walking right next of Siesta. The brunette hadn't even noticed him until she turned to look in that direction. She jumped in surprise, but managed not to drop anything.

"Oh! You surprised me Ichigo!" she said, the surprise clear in her voice.

"Sorry." Ichigo apologized. He hadn't meant to spook her.

"It's alright. But why are you following me?" 'Not that I mind!' Siesta thought with a blush.

"Going same way." Ichigo replied simply.


After a few moments of silence, but not awkward silence, Siesta decided to find out something about the rumors she had heard.

"Ichigo? Is it true you are the familiar of Miss Valliere?"

"Yes." The man answered, nodding his head.

"And did you really protect her, a teacher, and half a classroom from one of Miss Valliere's explosions? Even though you were on the other side of the room?" That, Siesta had a hard time believing. Maybe if he were noble. But surely a noble wouldn't dress in rags, right?

"Yes." Ichigo repeated. It hadn't been too hard either. He had simply used his Authority.

After he had become transcendent, he had learned that he could manipulate reality. Because he was of a "higher level" than reality, he could make changes to it. For Ichigo, he pictured it as someone drawing on a piece of paper, adding things that weren't there before and erasing those changes or what may have been there before. What he had done was simply make a wall that the explosion couldn't pass or break. Of course that was a very simple explanation for what was actually really complicated, but Ichigo liked it. There were also rules to follow and things that simply couldn't be done, not to mention that such constructs or erasures were temporary things at best. Unless you had enough Authority, reality would undo any changes that were made.

"Really?" Siesta asked, more than a little shocked. She couldn't see any reason why Ichigo would lie, so for him to admit that must mean... "Are you a noble?"she asked, her tone half hopeful and half sad.

Ichigo snorted, chuckling as he shook his head 'No'.

Now that confused Siesta. But before she could ask him another question, a male voice interrupted her.


Siesta stopped and turned to see who had yelled. Ichigo had stopped to stay next to Siesta, but hadn't turned to look at whoever was yelling, deciding that it wasn't his business.

"Don't ignore me you uncouth barbarian!"

'Wonder who they're yelling at.' Ichigo thought. "Siesta?" he asked, hoping they could be on their way.

But again she was interrupted before she could respond. "You, in the black rags! The familiar of the Zero! I would have words for you!"

Ichigo sighed. 'Great.' he thought, before turning to face whoever had been yelling at him.

It was the frilly blonde from the other night.

"You are quite the barbarian, aren't you?" the boy asked. Ichigo answered with a glare. The blonde was only mildly affected, a small shiver, before recovering. Ichigo hadn't tried that hard anyway. "I suppose that proves my point. Regardless, I feel that it is my duty to reprimand you for your slight against me and who I was accompanying last night." said the boy with all the regality he could muster.

"And just who were you accompanying Guiche?" asked a female voice, the tone cold and deadly like steel. Both the blonde and Ichigo turned to see another blonde. She was a tad shorter than the boy, Guiche, and wore her uniform without any alterations; a white, button-up blouse, black skirt, socks and shoes, and the black cloak the second-years wore held by the golden ornament with a pentagram on it. The only decoration she wore was the red ribbon in her hair, which was pulled back, exposing her forehead, and styled into long ringlets that could be mistaken for dreadlocks.

'Possible girlfriend. So he's a playboy and a dumb one at that.' thought Ichigo. Guiche looked terrified.

"J-j-just a friend of mine, my sweet Montmorency! We were discussing some of our notes when this man here interrupted us. I tried to chastise him, but he quickly left before I could."

Montmorency didn't look convinced. "I've been hearing rumors... About you and a first-year."

Guiche managed not to stutter this time, and hotly denied the accusation. "They are baseless lies, my sweet! I cannot tell lies in front of your eyes! Our love is boundless and forever, the songs they will sing!" He declared with a flourish of raised arms.

"Oh Guiche..." The blonde girl was blushing and wide-eyed.

'Oh brother...' Thought Ichigo, mentally gagging with La Guerre.

"Oh my!" came out quietly from Siesta.

"Sir Guiche!" Called out another voice. From behind Ichigo came a young girl, perhaps a year younger than Guiche and Montmorency. Her long brown hair went just past her shoulders and was worn straight. The girl's uniform was identical to Monmorency's, save for the brown cloak she wore, signifying that the brunette was a first-year student. Held in front of her was a basket, from which the pleasant fragrance of baked goods wafted out. She walked up to the blonde boy.

"Oh Guiche! I'm so happy I found you!" The girl said with joyful exuberance, not noticing that Guiche stood wide-eyed, frozen and pale, terrified, while Montmorency was red and twitching, growling and clenching her fists, her eyes narrowed in the perfect picture of barely restrained rage. The young brunette brought up the basket. "I remembered that you said you'd love to try my souffle last night and brought some! I just finished it!" It was only then that she noticed the states of both blondes. "Is there something wrong Sir Guiche?"

Ichigo smirked 'This should be good.'

'Yep!' La Guerre agreed, also smirking.

"N-nn-n-not a-at all K-K-Kat-tie." Guiche stuttered, terrified.

"Oh, I'll tell you WHAT'S WRONG!" She had started off quiet, but once an outlet had been made Monmorency's rage exploded in a shout!

"Eeep!" came out from Katie as she jumped back, straight into Siesta. A "Kyaaa!" flew from the pair as they fell to the ground. The cake and basket of souffle followed as well, along with the platter and plate.

Monmorency hardly noticed, seeing as she was attempting to annihilate Guiche with words alone in a cacophony of tirades and insults ranging from his ancestry to his capacity to be a man. When she went to catch her breath, she saw Katie and Siesta trying to get up from their tumble. "And YOU!" She yelled pointing at Katie. "You little minx, you trash-born little slut! Trying to seduce my man!"

And Guiche latched on to that like a lifeline.

"It's true! I would never cheat on you willingly! She had me under love potions!"

Gasps came from everywhere around them. They had drawn quite the crowd. Murmurs spread amongst them at the accusation. Love potions were a prohibited substance at best, illegal at worst depending where you were. Purchase of love potions were regulated by the local authority, as well as the ingredients used to make them. While its antidote was easy to make, only accomplished Water magi are capable of making the potions. To accuse a first year student of such would normally be absurd, as such students have not even determined their element, but Katie's family, while of lesser nobility than most, had a long history of Water magi.

Poor Katie burst into tears, quietly muttering "No, Guiche... please... no..." Siesta quickly gathered up the distraught girl, allowing her to cry into her shoulder.

Montmorency would have none of that. "You! Maid! Step away from that harlot so that I may exact justice!" she ordered.

Siesta did no such thing, instead glaring at the blonde girl.

"How dare you!" She walked up to the grounded pair, her left hand reared for a slap. "Know your place!"

The hand came down.

Another grabbed it.

"Enough."Ichigo growled, his eyes so cold they burned. He was now mostly in front of Siesta and Katie, blocking Montmorency from them as he used his left hand to hold her raised wrist.

The moment Katie had started crying, Ichigo had been assaulted by memories. Of the two girls he saw the other night, 'My sisters!' He realized; Of the Healer, 'I-Ino-!'; Of the Dancer, 'R-Ru-'; Of the Adult Child, 'Itsygo!' The memory cries. All of them were crying. He would stop it. And so he grabbed the girl's wrist.

"L-let go of me you plebeian!" And Ichigo did. Montmorency stumbled some as backed away from the man, rubbing her wrist and glaring at him as she did.

"How dare you treat a noble lady in such a way!" Guiche cried. "It would seem I must punish you for the grievous crimes you have committed! I challenge you to a duel, commoner!"

"I challenge him as well!" Monmorency added hotly.

The murmurs were nearly shouts at this point. While it was against the rules of the Academy for nobles to engage in formal duels that were not for practice or demonstration, no such rule was in place if a noble was to duel a commoner. But two nobles dueling the same commoner at the same time? What added another wrinkle was that Ichigo was recognized as the familiar of Louise, regardless of what others might say, and any action he took would reflect on her. It could be argued in this situation that since he is human, he would be her second and take her place in the duel. Another could go with that since Ichigo is her familiar, he was simply acting on orders Louise may have given him. This situation was a powder keg just waiting for a stray spark to light it.

"Fine." Ichigo says as he nods.

"Very well! Meet us at the Vestri Court." And with that Guiche and Montmorency left with most of the crowd following, all of them heading for the Court.

Ichigo turned to Siesta and Katie, kneeling down next to them, "Alright?" he asked.

Katie finally moved her head from the crook of Siesta's neck and looked at him with red puffy eyes, tears and their tracks running down her cheeks and some mucus spilling from her nose. Her eyes widened slightly, maybe in recognition of last night, before launching herself at him and latching on to him. A new rush of tears left as she cried, thanking him. Ichigo merely wrapped his arms around her and let her cry, "shhhhh-ing" occasionally. He looked back up to Siesta, who looked unsure of something.

"Where?" Ichigo asked her. Siesta was jolted from her thoughts.

"Th-the next courtyard over." she answered.

Ichigo nodded before speaking again. "Take Katie." he said, taking his arms away from the girl, who had quickly run out of tears.

"No." the brunette muttered, tightening her grip on Ichigo.

"Have to. Be ok. Be back soon." He told her.

Katie was silent for a bit before sighing. "Ok." She let go and got up, Ichigo following.

Ichigo gave them a both a small smile before heading for the Vestri Court.

But before he could take a single step, a shrill and demonic voice pierced through the courtyard.

"FAAAMILLIAARRRRR!" screeched Louise.

The tiny pinkette stomped over to where the three were. "WHAT DID YOU DO?"

Siesta and Katie had jumped at the first screech, and now Katie was shaking in Siesta's arms.

"Why is it that you are dueling TWO NOBLES?"

"Quiet!" Ichigo snarled with a tiny flare of reiatsu, not needing Louise's ego right now. It got the point across, as Louise nearly folded in on herself at the sudden pressure.

Ichigo jabbed a finger towards Katie. "They hurt her! Is wrong!" He snarled, glaring at Louise. This of course terrified Louise more, as it reminded her of the only time she had seen her mother angry. Elenore, Louise's eldest sister, had broken an urn that had been in the family for 10 generations. Her mother had destroyed enough of the forest to give them timber for a year.

Ichigo's angry reply had also scared Katie and Siesta. Seeing their reactions, Ichigo calmed himself down before speaking. His gaze looked merely annoyed now and the snarl was now only his typical scowl, if only deeper by a margin. "Stop them."

It was surprisingly Katie that broke the silence at that statement. "B-but you'll be killed." she muttered, timidity and fear preventing her from speaking louder. This man, commoner or not, had just defended her honor. She didn't want to see him die. For what chance did a commoner have against a noble, let alone two?

Ichigo snorted, flexing his right hand. "Stronger tried."

"First of all, I commend you for coming here instead of running away!" Guiche remarked in a sing-song voice, as he twirled his rose-wand.

At his side, Montmorency growled. "Let's just get this over with Guiche!"

Ichigo remained silent, his scowl deeper than usual as he stared at the blondes in bored disinterest.

Thrown off by the silent reply and the stare from the man in the ragged black coat, Guiche tried to laugh off his discomfort. "Hahahaha, I see now! You are so frightened by our brilliance that you are speechless! Do not fear commoner. As we are nobles, it would be rude to not give you at least a chance! Here." And with a wave of the rose-wand a petal flew to a spot of ground directly in front of Ichigo. It flashed white before a sword rose up from the ground, stopping just as the hilt came within reach of his hand.

'A fine sword if I do say so myself!' thought Guiche. The blade was tempered steel and double-edged that, if you could see past the ground, tapered into a fine point. The guard was made of a steel that had been altered so as to be forest green with a ruby set in the middle and more ruby that split and curved out towards the blade between the green steel and the blade itself. The grip was simply made of compacted dirt that looked like leather. Finally, the pommel capped the grip with a bit of the colored steel with a perfectly round ruby set on top.

Ichigo just looked at the sword for a moment before snorting. He then reached his right, uncovered hand into his coat, near to where his waist was.


The sound of a sword being drawn filled the air of the Vestri Court as all the students saw the commoner of Louise the Zero draw a thin, slightly curved, and single edged sword with blue tassels from within the ragged coat, a brown sheathe now visible on the left side of his hip. Once the odd sword was completely drawn the sheathe disappeared as the coat covered it. The orange-haired man positioned his right arm, his sword arm, across his body before bringing it down in a casual slash.

When he did nothing else, Guiche spoke up. "And what was that supposed to prove? That yo-" The rest of his budding insult died, for before his eyes the sword he crafted fell apart. Starting from about where Ichigo's first slash must have hit, the hilt and a bit of the blade slid diagonally off the rest of itself. Just as it began to fall off both it and the blade in the ground fell apart into pieces no bigger than the petals of Guiche's rose-wand.

All the student's gawked at the scene, shifting their gaze from the remains of Guiche's sword, Ichigo himself, and then the sword that he had pulled out of his coat. And like earlier, mutters left the crowd as they tried to explain something that by all rights, to them at least, should be impossible.

"D-Did you see that!"

"No! Too fast..."

"Impossible! There's no way a commoner could do that!"

"Maybe it's that sword! It could be enchanted."

But Ichigo ignored the students in favor of observing Guiche and Montmorency. Both were shocked into silence as they gaped at him. Ichigo knew he could finish this right now, but he had a number of reasons not to. The first was curiosity. Just how do nobles, mages, fight? Were their abilities unique to themselves or was everyone capable of learning the same things? Were there specializations? Ichigo would find his answers.

The second reason was not as self-serving. He would teach them a lesson. A lesson, it would seem, that most everyone here needed to learn.

A lesson of humility.

The charms at the ends of the tassels on Zangetsu knocked together, producing a chime that reach throughout the Vestri Court despite how quiet the sound was.

The sound startled Guiche out of his catatonia. "H-How is that possible? You are just a commoner!" He declared hotly, shock dominating his tone. Montmorency also regained herself and glared at Ichigo, though now there was a touch of caution and hesitance in her eyes.

"No talk." Ichigo replied, a passing breeze russling his orange hair and causing the charms to chime again. He raised Zangetsu in his right hand as the runes on his left flared to life. "Fight."

The blonde boy collected himself quickly and gave a contempt "Hmpf" as he ran his free hand through his hair, flicking the fringe as he took it out. "Fine then. No amount of tricks will save you commoner! I am Guiche de Gramont, son of General Siegfried le Gramont. My Runic name is "The Bronze", and as such..." After giving his formal declaration, Guiche gave a swipe of his rose-wand, causing a petal to fall away from it.

Ichigo tensed in preparation, his senses focusing on Guiche. Doing more than a casual reading, the swordsman discovered an extra detail. 'His reiatsu has an undercurrent that feels like metal to go along with the earth feeling. Makes sense given that sword he made. Will he make another sword to fight? Not likely, his build suggests little exercise or training. He'll probably make something that'll fight for him. The question then becomes "How many can he make?".' Ichigo then shifted his focus to the girl. 'Mont-something. She has a larger pool of reiatsu to pull from, about double of Playboy's. But under the feel of water her reiatsu's undercurrent suggests healing. Will she support Playboy or back out entirely?' Montmorency noticed Ichigo looking at her and flinched. 'She's backing out.'

The petal finally reached the ground, a solid circle of white light surrounding it. And as Ichigo guessed it was not a sword, but a female figure made of dark turquoise metal. It wore little armor, seeing as it was made of metal itself. 'Bronze, if Playboy's title means anything.' Ichigo thought. The figure itself was a life-sized doll with only generic features. The effigy's helmet similar to the ancient Greeks' by design, covering the whole of the head and neck but leaving the "face" exposed with two large, white feathered decorations. Two extensions came down to where the cheeks would be, giving the whole helmet the look of hair. The pauldrons it wore were inordinately large, enough so that they could wrap around and cover most of the torso. The gauntlets were ordinary things, their only odd feature being that they extended to the elbow joints. The armor skirt it wore only protected the hips and a white, cloth dress covered the legs. Just barely seen under the brown hem were armored boots. Finally, in its right hand was a simple spear, sharp and functional.

"My bronze golem, my Valkyrie, shall be your real opponent." Guiche finished, sounding as if he had already won the battle. The boy looked over to his girlfriend. "Are you sure you wish to sully your hands with this my sweet Montmorency? I would be all too glad to do so in your place."

Montmorency, who had been trying to think of a way to get out of this without losing face, took the offer. "No. I must confess that I have focused on the healing magics and Alchemy. I appoint you, Guiche de Gramont, as my second to fight in my stead." She said the last in a formal tone, before quickly getting out of the dueling circle that the crowd had formed around them.

"Very well, let us commence with the duel!" Guiche declared pointing his rose-wand at Ichigo. The bronze Valkyrie rushed at the swordsman, its spear leading the charge.

Ichigo did nothing but stare at the construct, and the crowd waited with baited breath as it drew closer to the man. But none more than Louise, Siesta, and Katie as they watched from the edge of the circle. It was when the spear was inches from Ichigo's face, and screams and shouts were coming up from the students' mouths, that the man in ragged clothes moved.

One moment he was in front of the golem, the next he was behind it. The Valkyrie had stopped moving in that moment. And right in front of their eyes, the spear broke into pieces. Then they watched in stunned silence as the bronze warrior fell apart.

Back in the Headmaster's Office, Mr. Colbert was fervently explaining everything to Osmond about the commoner that had been summoned by Louise Valliere at the Springtime Familiar Summoning; how he was concerned about the runes that had appeared on the man's hand as proof of the contract between him and Louise; And that when he had gone to find out more...

"You reached the Founder Brimir's familiar Gandalfr?" asked Osmond as he intently examined Colbert's sketch of the runes on Ichigo's left hand.

The fire mage nodded. "Yes. The runes that appeared on that man's left hand are almost exactly the same as the runes that were recorded to have been inscribed on Brimir's familiar Gandalfr."

Osmond steepled his hands. "And your conclusion?"

Colbert's response was immediate and emotional. "That the man is Gandalfr! Don't you realize the implications of this, Old Osmond?"

The Headmaster of Tristain Academy nodded his head. "Hrm... I certainly do. But it is far to early to jump to conclusions. We must proceed carefully."

"True. What shall we do?" asked Colbert.

Osmond drummed his fingers on the desk, considering their options.

There was a knock on the door and Osmond stopped his drumming.

"Who is it?"

From behind the door came Miss Longueville's voice. "It's me, Old Osmond."

"What is it?" Osmond asked, mildly annoyed at the interruption.

Miss Longueville replied calmly. "It seems there are some students dueling at the Vestri Court. It's causing quite a commotion. A few teachers have gone there to try and stop it, but their attempts are being impeded by the sheer number of students."

An exaspirated and tired sigh blew out the old man's mouth. "For heaven's sake, there's nothing worse than nobles with too much free time in their hands. So, who's involved?"

"One of them is Guiche de Gramont."

"Ah, that idiot son of Gramont." Osmond shook his head. "Skirt-chasing must run in the family, considering his father's even more of a womanizer. I wouldn't be surprised if the boy knows every girl in school." He stilled his head and sighed again. "And just who is his opponent?"

The secretary's answer wasn't immediate, given she had trouble believeing it herself. "...Well, it's not a mage. I've been told it's Miss Vallière's familiar."

Osmond and Colbert exchanged a look.

Miss Logueville continued, "The teachers are requesting to use the "Bell of Sleep" to stop the duel."

Osmond's eyes glinted like a hawk's. "Ridiculous. There's no need to use such an important artifact just to stop a fight between children. Leave them be."

"Understood." Miss Longueville's footsteps disappeared down the hallway.

Colbert swallowed audibly and pressed Osmond.

"Old Osmond?"


Osmond got up from his desk and walked over to the large mirror mounted to the wall opposite of his secretary's desk, Colbert right behind him. Waving his staff at the large mirror, Osmond and Colbert saw what was happening at the Vestri Court on the mirror's surface.

Guiche was the first to break the silence. "I-I-Impossible!" He yelled in shock. "I will not lose to you!" He swung his wand four more times. Four more Valkyries rose, two bearing sword and shield, one carrying a two-handed battleaxe, and the last wielded two longswords. The sword and shield Valkyries led the group's attack with their shields raised, the one wielding the axe following behind them and the last circling around to the left.

Ichigo ran to the shielded Valkyrie on the right and swung Zangetsu at it, cutting the Valkyrie shield and all in half. The remaining shield bearer thrust its sword at the swordsman as the Valkyrie with the battleaxe reared back for an executioner's swing. Ichigo spun around the thrust, using the spin for his swing at the Valkyrie's head and decapitating it. He then weaved to the left as the axe wielding golem brought its weapon down. But Ichigo quickly turned around to block a strike from the last Valkyrie, the construct's blade being cut with the block. He then angled and brought Zangetu down so that the blade on him slid down and blocked the Valkyrie's other sword, using his free hand to reinforce the block. Then with a jump and a front-flip Ichigo was behind the golem, and with a spinning slash the golem fell. He then turned to face the last Valkyrie, the construct holding its axe in a ready position. Ichigo merely flicked with his foot one of the bronze longswords from the fallen Valkyrie at his feet and grabbed it with his free hand, before throwing the blade like a javelin. The blade tore through the air for a second before impaling itself in the last remaining Valkyrie's head. The magic animating it died with the control cluster destroyed, and the golem fell.

The silence was deafening as all the students, and even the teachers from afar, watched this impossible thing. No one could believe what they were seeing. How could this commoner be doing this? How could the familiar of "the Zero" do this?

Ichigo turned and faced Guiche, before completely disappearing. It took a second and Guiche's restrained yell for everyone to find the swordsman, practically on top of Guiche with his unique sword at the mage's throat.

"I-I, I yield!" Guiche pitifully yelled.

"Confess. Apologize." Ichigo demanded of the boy, speaking for the first time since the start of the duel.

"Alright! Alright! Just move your sword!" After Ichigo did so, Guiche spoke loud enough for the whole crowd to hear. "I lied about the love potion! Katie never gave me anything. I'm sorry. I'm sorry Katie for lying. I'm sorry Monmorency for what I've done."

"Good." Ichigo said simply. He turned and walked out of the circle, the silent crowd parting to let him pass. As he walked away, he heard twice the sound of a hand striking flesh.

'Justice is served.' announced La Guerre triumphantly.

Osmond and Colbert contemplated what they had just seen through the Mirror of Far-Seeing, before exchanging another look.

Colbert broke the silence. "Old Osmond."


"That commoner actually ended up winning..."

Osmond nodded his head. "Em-Hrm."

"While Mr. Gramont is only a first level Dot mage, even he should have been able to defeat an average commoner. Granted, he has the look of a soldier about him, but still. What amazing speed! I've never seen a commoner like him before! He's faster than most Wind magi using the Swift Winds spell! There's no doubt that he's Gandalfr!" The old soldier and researcher in Colbert were fighting for dominance, but given the enormity of such a discovery the researcher was winning.

"Hrmm..." Osmond still looked thoughtful and started walking back to his desk.

Colbert followed, continuing. "Old Osmond, we should report this to the palace immediately and ask for instructions-" Osmond finally spoke, interrupting the balding man.

"There will be no need for that." Osmond said, nodding sternly as he stroked his white beard.

Colbert looked shocked. He tried to reason with the older man. "But sir! This is the biggest discovery of the century! A Gandalfr reborn in the modern world!"

Osmond sighed. "Mr. Colbert. The Gandalfr was no ordinary familiar, correct?" he asked, determined to make the enthusiastic teacher see the point he was trying to make.

"Exactly! It was the first familiar summoned by the Founder Brimir! There was never any description of Gamdalfr's appearance, but it's said to have been created specifically for the purpose of protecting the Founder Brimir during his spell incantations." explained Colbert.

Osmond nodded at the answer. "Correct. The Founder Brimir's incantations were especially long. However, that made his spells very powerful. Mages are at their most vulnerable during spell casting. Gandalfr was the familiar that Brimir used to protect himself in those times of vulnerability. Its strength-"

Colbert eagerly cut in at this point, looking extremely excited. "It could annihilate an army of one thousand all by itself! Ordinary mages were said to be no match for it!"

"So, Mister Colbert." Osmond said, stopping to stand behind his desk.

Colbert stood across from the headmaster in front of the desk. "Yes?"

"That boy, he really is just an average commoner, right?"

Colbert suddenly lost much of his energy, the soldier in him coming to the surface. "No, I don't believe so. Even though my Detect Magic spell stated he had no magic when Miss Valliere initially summoned him, but that... pressure... And the odd black flames that came along with him, which weren't even flames at all..." Thanks to Colbert's prowess with fire magic, he had developed a keen sense to real and magical fires. He hadn't been able to sense anything from the black/red flames that had come with Miss Valliere's familiar. Even illusions would have given off some sort of magical signature. "I would have to say that he is anything but an ordinary commoner."


Colbert continued, "And Miss Valliere. Regardless of one might say about her, for Miss Valliere to summon this man..."

"She must be a very talented mage, I take it?" Osmond asked, cutting the other mage off. Colbert sighed and shook his head.

"Not at all. Rather, one might say she's un-talented. And that is part of what makes this so perplexing."

"Indeed? A puzzling duo to be sure."


"So we have an exceptional swordsman contracted by an untalented mage, and between these two opposites, the Gandalfr. What an utter paradox. I just can't see where the ends meet."

"Nor I..."

"In any case, there is no need for us to hand over Gandalfr and its master to those fools at the palace." Osmond shook his head and sighed. "Give them a toy like this and they'll just cause another unnecessary war. Court advisers have too much free time on their hands and like fighting far too much."

The fire mage grimly nodded. "I see. I apologize for overlooking something that important. It seems my time here has been too relaxing, for me to forget such things."

The old mage looked at the younger man sympathetically. "Do not worry Jean, Tristain Academy has only been blessed by your teaching here." Osmond then spoke more seriously, "I will take responsibility of this case myself. You will, of course, speak of this to no one else, Mr. Colbert."

Colbert nodded. "Of course, I understand."

Osmond adjusted his grip on his staff as he turned to look out the window. He thought back, dredging up all that he knew of history.

"The legendary familiar Gandálfr... Just what kind of form it had taken before, I cannot help but wonder."

"Gandalfr was said to be able to use any weapon to take down its enemies..." Colbert murmured in thought.

"Hrm." came Osmond's affirmative.

"So it must have at least an arm and a hand, I think."

It was night now. Where many would be sleeping, there were a handful that were resisting the call to sleep.

In the room of Louise Valliere, an interrogation was taking place.

"What in the Founder's name was that out there!" demanded Louise.

After the fight, Ichigo had been impossible to find. Louise had looked everywhere she could think to look, and after an hour of searching determined that her familiar was actively avoiding her. So she waited for him in her room. The entire time, form the searching to the waiting, her thoughts on what Ichigo did and how he could have done it ran rampant in her mind. An hour after curfew, Ichigo had tried to sneak in, not expecting Louise to still be up. It wasn't pretty. She had worked herself up quite a bit.

"Just how did you do that? Was it magic? How else could you have done all that! How long were planning on keeping up this act?" Louise asked all this hotly, hurt and confused. 'Were these past two days all an act? Was he secretly laughing at me like everyone else?' Tears began to gather in her eyes as Louise marched towards the man. "Well ha, ha! You fooled 'the Zero'! Are you happy now?" The small pinkette began pounding on his chest when she was close enough, her blows not really hurting, but having enough force behind them to make Ichigo take a step back or risk toppling over. Louise let her turmoil run wild as she pressed her attack on his chest. "Are you happy now? That you made me worried sick and afraid, and then throw that in my face?" 'I thought you were going to protect me from this!' Sobs began to dominate her and the girl's strikes stopped entirely as she gripped the swordsman outer black coat. "Why? I was so worried!" she whispered, voice thick with emotion. She gave a small hiccup before continuing. "I thought you were going to die!" Then she buried her face in his stomach as she lost control of herself and sobs wracked her frame.

Louise's sobs began to quiet when she felt arms wrap around her. She was then felt her position shifted as her familiar lowered himself, until her head came to rest on his shoulder. When she heard him saying "Shhhhhhhhh", she realized that he was trying to comfort her. 'Why is he doing this? Isn't he just like everyone else?'

'Maybe you were just too quick to judge, Little Louise.' came a voice that sounded a lot like her sister Cattelya.

It was some time before Louise stopped crying. When she did, she slowly removed herself from the man's embrace. Looking up at her familiar's face, she saw that his eyes were warm and that the smallest of smiles was on his lips. She looked away, blushing, when she realized that she was looking at him longer than was appropriate.

Still not facing him, Louise gave her thanks. "U-um, thank you... um..." She blushed that much more when she realized she had forgotten his name.

"Ichigo." he answered gently.

"Yes, um... Thank you Ichigo."

Louise then immediately jumped back to what had started all this, though this time she did it with less negativity.

"Ichigo, what was it you did out there?" she asked.

Ichigo's answer was simple and quick. "Fight."

This just annoyed Louise. With a growl, she said, "I know that. But how did you do that? Are you a noble? You have to be. What you did out there had to have been magic!"

But despite her reasoning, Ichigo shook his head. "No. Not noble. No magic."

"But how!" Louise exploded. She then began to pace back and forth in front of her bed. "If not magic, what?" She then turned to face Ichigo and pointed at him. "Just what are you?"

Ichigo thought about that. He was and had been many things to many different people. After a minute of thought, he answered, "Me."

The pinkete stared at him for a moment, frozen in her pose, before suddenly deflating in on herself and letting out a sigh of exasperation. "You know what? It's too late for this. I'm going to bed." She then began to strip herself of clothing, tossing the items at Ichigo. She had aimed for his head, as payback for this morning.

As Ichigo removed her clothing from his head, Louise began to put on her night gown. "I want those... washed... and ready... by tomorrow morning." she ordered.

Ichigo removed the last item from his head and gave the now-clothed Louise a look that said "Really?"

Louise in return gave him a flat stare. "You are still my familiar, and a familiar will obey its master."

Ichigo's look continued, and so did Louise's.

After a minute of this, the pinkette conceded. "Fine. Leave it out for a maid to clean later." That said Lousie snapped her fingers, turning off the oil lamp on the table, and headed to bed. "Goodnight Ichigo."

The man dropped the clothes in the basket by the door and headed for his hay pile. "Goodnight."

Across the hall from Louise's room, in her own room, Kirche thought about the mysterious familiar of Louise.

"Oh that heat."

She had taken quite the shine to the man.

"Oh, dear Founder, I don't believe I have ever felt a flame like his before."

QUITE the shine. She had watched him from the time they had first met, and had seen everything.

"He was burning. Burning sooo HOT! And then he was so cold it burned..." Any one boy, and perhaps an open-minded girl or two, would have blushed, shivered, and so many other things if they had heard the fiery redhead say "burned".

So in the pitch dark of her room, she thought of him as she used a treasure of her family's. She moaned before continuing.

"The passion in him... The confidence! Oooh, I can't wait to see what else that man can do when he's like that!"

It was known as the "Summoned Wand". It was cherished by the women of the family.

More moans left her mouth before she spoke again. "Oooh, I must have him!"

And she would, just like all the other boys she graced with her presence.

So while she stoked her fires with the "Wand", she imagined how that man, Ichigo Kurosaki, might do in its place.


"Big Sister, Big Sister! Will we be seeing Death again?" Iruwkuwu, otherwise known as Sylphid, asked her master.

"No." was Tabitha's short and quiet reply.

The rhyme dragon wilted. "Awwww. But Death was so nice! Death helped Big Sister to get better! Kyuui!"

Tabitha couldn't help but appreciate the irony of that.

She had long worked out that "Death" was the familiar of Louise, a Ichigo Kurosaki. The blunette mage was grateful for the help he gave her; regardless that it was his fault in the first place.

But Tabitha had to ponder the title Sylphid had given him. It was said that rhyme dragons were more in-touch with magic than any other magic-capable being excluding the elves. So what could it mean that this familiar of the Void be known as "Death" by such a magic sensitive being? Nothing good, she was sure.

Though it was rather noble of him to do what he had today, defending that first-year.

He couldn't be that bad.

For now she would hold off on her report to King Joseph, to make sure of some things if nothing else. This Ichigo would beg more observation.

"Oh... Sir Ichigo..."

Katie and Siesta, while in different parts of the Academy, were having very similar dreams.

Of brave Sir Ichigo.

For Katie, brave Sir Ichigo was saving her, the captured princess, from the evil trolls Guindy and Mont. Her dark and noble knight took her off into the sunset upon his great steed, to live happily ever after.

For Siesta, Sir Ichigo had just rescued her, the maiden sacrifice, from the great dragon Smaug. The maiden was now repaying his service and showing her gratitude by "laying it bare", if you catch my drift. They too, lived happily ever after, and with many children.

Louise opened her eyes and saw clouds and twilight.

"Huh...?" Of course that didn't make too much sense, seeing as just a moment before she had been in her room, her bed specifically, and it had been the dead of night. Getting up, she took stock of herself and noticed she was in her school uniform. Which was odd seeing as she was sure she had been wearing a night gown before going to bed.

It was only while looking down at her shoes that she noticed something odder than the fact she was outside, the sky lit as twilight, and that she had somehow been dressed. Keeping her eyes on the ground, Louise turned her head up and saw something she couldn't believe.

She was standing on some sort of platform made of, oddly enough, what appeared to be glass framed by steel. Looking around she saw that that there were many more platforms around the one she was on. But before she could look around more, a voice interrupted her.

"It is curious young one, that I find you here." It was a man's voice, deep and echoing, a baritone that implied wisdom. It seemed to come from everywhere at once. But then another voice announced its presence.

It was a woman's. "Hey! I'm here too you know! I know I'm new and all, but you don't to talk like I'm not even here! *Sniff* It's like you don't even want me here..." Though the voice was a woman's, she certainly didn't sound like one.

The man gave a heavy sigh before speaking again and Louise thought he sounded tired. "That is not true. But unless you know why the girl is here, I do not see what mentioning you can accomplish."

Louise, tired of listening to bodiless voices, looked this way and that to try to find them. But her eyes contradicted what her ears were telling her, there was no one around. And yet the voices suggested otherwise...

"But that's why I'm here!" The woman exclaimed. Her voice suddenly turned serious. "The magic that binds a familiar to its master allows for the master learn about their familiar through dreams. It finally kicked in. I guess her mind was shunted here."

Her mind? Wait, they said something about master and familiars! What did these voices have to do with her and Ichigo? Didn't the woman just say this was a dream?

"Hmm..." The man sounded as if he were thinking. "Very well. You are still confused regarding my partner's action, yes? Then I will show you the depths of his determination, and the lengths he will go to protect..."

'Partner?' the small mage wondered.

As this was said, Louise noticed the world around her fading, darkening.

"But that will have to wait it seems. Your time here is ending." The man said, his voice sounding as if he were some great distance away.

"See ya little master!" Said the woman enthusiastically, her voice also fading away.

'Master?' Louise asked herself. "Wait! What did you mean?" She asked of the voices. But then strange world was gone, and Louise suddenly found herself falling in a dark void. But as she fell, something at her left and right sides caught her eye.

Turning left she found the silhouette of a woman made of emerald light. The figure waved at her before winking out of existence.

Turning right Louise saw a black shadow of indistinct shape, the bottom of which flicked like fire. The shadow nodded what might have been its head before fading out into the darkness.

The pinkette then faced forward looking deep at the darkness. 'What now?'

Louise had to close her eyes as light suddenly blinded her, bringing up her arms to further block the infernal light.

"Up." ordered a familiar voice.

Opening her eyes and moving her arms, Louise saw the slightly scowling face of her familiar, Ichigo.

"Whaaaa?" Louise asked blearily.

"Up." Ichigo told her again. He then pointed to the foot of the bed, where Louise saw her clothes folded in a neat stack. "Clothes. Get dressed."

"O-oh..." Louise muttered, thinking 'I guess all of that was a dream...'