|Little Witch Academia: Witches of Midgard Chapters|
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|Next:||Binding Staff Part 1|
After some considerations, Akko, Lotte, and Sucy decided to start their Valkyrie Training as preparation to face Naglfar threat. To their surprise, Diana and Ursula are revealed to be the latest successors of Eir the Ice Sword Valkyrie and Geirdriful the Sky Valkyrie respectively with the latter regarded as the strongest Valkyrie. Meanwhile, the plot thickens as an ancient artifact being uncovered at the construction site in Blytonbury...
Following Elder Erik's attack on Luna Nova, students were evacuated to the shelter beneath the main building as the staff securing the school grounds until they were sure everything was safe. Luna Nova have faced emergency situations before, but attack from Naglfar is the first. Another attack cannot be tolerated, so Headmistress Holbrooke decided to contact Thapoli both to aid doubling the school's security and to find someone who can assist Ursula training new Valkyries.
Few days after the attack, everything returned to normal as if nothing happened before. The fairies have undo damages Elder Erik has caused to the library. But Akko, Lotte, Sucy, Diana, Ursula, Holbrooke, and Asger know better. They may have saved the day, but the war has just begun.
After another boring afternoon class, Akko, Lotte, and Sucy are discussing whether they will take their newfound responsibility as Valkyries in spite of dangers they will constantly face. Deep inside, Akko actually not very thrilled with such idea, but decided to take her newfound mantle because she doesn't want German's sacrifice to be vain and Naglfar had hurt Asger and Diana. Lotte is a bit scared, but not wanted to let Akko fighting alone. Sucy on the other hand, decided to tag along as 'No world means no mushrooms'. With that, the red team make their way for Ursula's office.
"Professor Ursula?", Akko peered into the office to see that she and her roommates have been expected by the bespectacled professor and Asger.
"Akko?", Ursula replied. "Have you and your roomates thought about it?"
"Yes", Akko nodded. "We spent a lot of time discussing our decision, and we're sure about it. We wanted to start our Valkyrie Training."
"Do you bring your gauntlets?", Asger asked.
The three friends show their respective Valkyrie Gauntlets on their left arms. "Good", Ursula nodded. "However, before we can start, I would like you three to pause for a moment and think a bit more because there is no going back from this point. Are you sure you wanted to take this great responsibility?"
Akko turned on Lotte and Sucy, and they nod in agreement. With that, Akko said, "We have made up our minds, Professor. We're ready."
"Well then", Asger heads towards the door. "Follow me."
The squirrel-like Pomokai Holoholona leads the bespectacled professor and three Luna Nova students fly to the woods on the east side of the school. Because Ursula still affected by Wagandea pollen, she had to lend a ride with Akko. While Ursula more than happy to see her student and fan now able to fly with her own broom, she also noted that Akko still yet to be ready for participating in any broom race yet.
By the time they reached their destination, Akko and her companions are greeted by an unusual sight; a small encampment built on the wide clearing with what appeared to be an enormous vessel resembling a futuristic viking ship. Its layout is primarily brown, with its dragon head and tail being yellow with brown spikes and horns. It also has silverish stern that holds a pair of giant blue and black wing-like apparatus, silver hood-like superstructure, and a pair of giant spool-like apparatus on the deck. Not only its size which Akko estimated to be barely four times the height, five times the width, and ten times length of Constanze's stanship and its wing-like attachments, the other parts which unusual on the giant ship are 3 pairs of retractable legs with black spikes that anchor it to the ground and dark gray hatch on the left side which opened, revealing a retractable plank which allow access to the interior of the ship. The camp also full of a number of green animal-like creatures who busily buliding some tents. One of them even shown raising a dark green banner with ornate black symbol that resembles a sword attached on the ground which seemingly generate multiple roots from its blade when it spotted the witches on the sky and signaled the others.
"There's no need to worry", Asger reassured. "They are our allies."
Looking closely on the wandering creatures at the camp, Akko realized that they are not ordinary animals. They are in fact, Pomokai Holoholonas from different species. Some of them looked like a goat whereas the others resemble either boar, eagle, or wolf. But what they share in common however, is brown and yellow choker similar to Asger's that they wore around their necks as well as wearing same device with a spool of grey ribbons.
"Lotte, are they—", Akko asked before awestruck Lotte interrupted, "Pomokai Holoholonas. But why they all here?"
"They and I are called Sword of Laeradr, an order of fighters comprised of Pomokai Holoholonas like me and long time allies of Thapoli. Our insignia is inscribed on those banners ", Asger explained. "The ship before you is called Alioth, one of Thapoli's best Karve-class flying longships. I and Chariot will introduce you to your instructor. She is also the captain of that ship."
Landing on the side of the ship under watchful eyes of members of Sword of Laeradr, Akko, Lotte, Sucy, Ursula, and Asger enter the giant ship and look for captain's chamber. Entering the chamber, they see Diana, Headmistress Holbrooke, and a middle-aged witch with tattered tricorn hat and brown overcoat having an important conversation.
"We will start by having Oski, Thekk, and Thirr scouting the academy's perimeter both to determine how he managed to enter the circle without alarming anyone and the best course of actions to improve Luna Nova's security", the witch reassured. "Deploying more would arouse suspicion."
"Will that be enough?", Diana wondered.
"They are the best, like the rest of my crew. You can count on their skills and experience", the witch said. "Now about those new Valkyries, I'd like to meet-Oh! Professor du Nord!"
"Instructor Newt!", Ursula greets. "It's been a long time."
"D-Diana!?", Akko's eyes widen upon the sight of the school prodigy in the room. "...Why is SHE here? Wait, don't tell me—"
"Miss Cavendish is here to supervise your training", Holbrooke explained. "She's also a Valkyrie, but just have completed her training recently."
"You're a Valkyrie too?", Akko wondered before a sudden realization hits her. "Wait a minute ...Is that why the crook from the other day called you Eir the Ice Sword Valkyrie? Was it a title or something?"
"Correct. It is my title as a Valkyrie", Diana nodded, confirming it by pulling her left sleeve to reveal a gauntlet that looked identical with Akko, Lotte, and Sucy's albeit blue in color. "I have begun my training when I was 14 so I can inherit both the title and the armor from my late mother."
Headmistress Holbrooke then introduces the red team their Drill Instructor. "Miss Kagari, Miss Yanson, Miss Manbavaran, I'd like to introduce you your Instructor. Her name is Newt Astriddotir, Master Valkyrie and captain of this ship."
"My name is Atsuko Kagari. Just call me Akko", Akko said.
"I'm Lotte Yanson", Lotte said.
"Sucy Manbavaran", Sucy said also.
Newt examines the three students meticulously. "Miss Holbrooke told me about you, including your deeds in restoring Yggdrasil and saving a foreign country from a mutated missile at the same time. I must say I'm honored to both meet you in person and train you, especially you, Miss Kagari. But still, you need more than being chosen by those Gauntlets to become new Valkyries. Besides, unlike Miss Cavendish, you three lacked necessary skills to become one, and we going to change that fact. We shall start the training today."
"Already?", Akko gulped.
"The sooner the better", Headmistress Holbrooke nodded before prepares to make her leave. "Now if you excuse me."
The elderly Headmistress of Luna Nova is about to open the door when she hesitates for a moment before nodded on Newt and Ursula, "Instructor Newt, Professor Chariot, I trust you can handle this. Aside Miss Cavendish, they may not best and brightest my school can offer, but they all we got as of now."
Ursula and Newt nodded to the Headmistress with agreement. With that, Holbrooke returned to Luna Nova while Newt and Ursula begin training the students.
Bringing four students to the meeting room, Newt, Ursula, and Asger wasted no time getting down the business with Newt begins the lecture.
"As Valkyries, you need to follow three strict codes", Newt lectured. "One, you must not use your powers for personal gain. Two, never escalate a fight unless your enemy forces you to. Three, you must never reveal your identity. Valkyries are not ordinary witches. They are protectors who dedicated their lives to the protection of humanity and witchkind. Chariot?"
Ursula nods, before continuing the lecture, "As you know it, witches are taught to use their powers for the benefit of all mankind, which includes facing magical threats. In ages past, the witches stood alone battling against such threats. However, there existed powerful and cunning adversaries that proved too much for witches to handle even with their vast arcane knowledge and skills such as dragons that feed on magic power. It was until Thapoli, kingdom founded by descendants and closest followers of Nine Olde Witches, developed an elite force for combating such dangerous threats. The end result was Valkyrie Corps., witch-warriors both named and themed after a host of female figures of the same name from Norse mythology. A testament of their effectiveness was shown during Thapoli-Naglfar War where Valkyries successfully aided the kingdom and Pomokai Holoholonas defeating Naglfar forces, which inspired wizards to form their own elite forces that later known as Drekherjar. And about Valkyrie Armors, magical suits of armors utilized by Valkyries, I will leave it to Asger. Asger?"
Conjuring a magic screen on the air, Asger shows the students moving images of a group of witches using both magic and crafting tools to forge what appeared to be suit of armors as he lectures, "Valkyrie Armor is magical suit of armor designed to enhance strength, defense, mobility, and magic of any witch who wear it. As you are found, the armor chose its wielder. The armor designed and enchanted that way so it won't easily fell into wrong hands. They were forged by witch-blacksmiths of Thapoli as you can see in this image."
"But not all of these armors are created equal: Generations ago, Beatrix Cavendish, one of Nine Olde Witches, commissioned the creation of Fire Valkyrie, Ice Valkyrie, Wind Valkyrie, and Earth Valkyrie, four armors which collectively known as Elemental Valkyries. These armors stated to be stronger than others, each possessing affinity to elements. So far, the only Valkyrie Armor which powers greater than Elemental Valkyries is Sky Valkyrie, Valkyrie Armor with affinity to sky and cosmos."
Asger continues by shifting the image on the magic screen to one depicting a familiar red and white Valkyrie Armor. "Kara, known as Fire Valkyrie, is Valkyrie with Passion of Fire. She has strong determination, but also temperamental and impulsive like flames. Fast and agile, she never afraid to push her limits in order to defend her fellow Valkyries and will never back down from a fight. Miss Kagari, you are Kara the Blazing Flame Valkyrie."
Akko stares in awe at her Valkyrie Gauntlet. "So I am Kara the Blazing Flame Valkyrie?"
"Yes, that's your title as a Valkyrie", Asger nods, before shifts the image to a yellow and white Valkyrie Armor which design simpler than Fire Valkyrie and has a pair small broom-like device attached on the hip as well as a pair of matching ribbons on the back which lacked of barbed rings. "Geirskogul, known as Wind Valkyrie, is Valkyrie who love freedom and adventure. She may be the weakest out of four, but she is the fastest. Miss Yanson, your title is Geirskogul the Courageous Gale Valkyrie."
"Okay", Lotte nodded.
"The next one is Earth Valkyrie", Asger continues as he shifts the image to a green and white Valkyrie Armor. Unlike previous ones, the armor has bulky shoulder plates with crack-like textures that make them look as if they made of rocks. Not only that, it has crudely formed tassets on the sides of hip area with similar textures and the bottom of the armor's robe reaches the ground like Sucy's. This one also has similar pair of matching ribbons on the back like Wind Valkyrie except they are green in color. "Skogul, Earth Valkyrie, is loyal, practical, and dependable. She may be apathetic and indifferent to those around her, but once she made strong bonds with others, those bonds won't be easily broken. She may also the slowest out of four, but she is the most resilient and strongest like Earth itself. Sucy, you are Skogul the Quake Valkyrie."
Sucy remained silent, but Asger can tell that she understands what kind of role she has now. He then shifts the image to a white and blue Valkyrie Armor that resembles Fire Valkyrie but with ornate armor plating and boots that have some sort of retractable ice skates and as with Yellow and Green Valkyrie armor, it has a pair of matching ribbons on the back that lacked any accessory nor weapons. "Eir, Ice Valkyrie, is fluid, calm, and analytical Valkyrie. A balanced fighter, she may be as cold as ice at times, but she still the one who puts the needs of others above her own. This armor has been in possession of House of Cavendish for generations, with your friend, Miss Cavendish, being the latest heir of the armor as you know it. Bernadette Cavendish, Diana's mother, was the previous generation's Ice Valkyrie until her sickness worsening and she had to pass both Ice Valkyrie title and armor to her daughter. And the last, but not least... Geirdriful the Sky Valkyrie, also known as the Guardian of Luna Nova."
Asger shifts the image on the magic screen one more time, this time displaying a red, white, and blue Valkyrie Armor which, to Akko's shock, shares some visual resemblance to Shiny Chariot's iconic stage costume. The most apparent similarities are the armor's big witch hat and red cape which all identical to Chariot's, except that the hat has additional feature in form of a pair of white ornate wing-like ornaments attached on the sides. The armor also consists of an ornate helmet, breastplate and pauldrons worn over blue tunic that has armor plates attached on the sides and sleeves, coattails-like tassets on the sides of the hips, brown body-belt with a golden ring-shaped buckle, and greaves attached on blue boots with a pair of small metal wings attached on the sides of the ankles. The helmet, breastplate, pauldrons, tassets, greaves, and armor plating are white in color, though the tip of armor plating on the feet has diamond-like shape, which also highlights the armor's similarities with Shiny Chariot's stage costume. Like other Valkyrie Armors, it also has what appeared to be black body suit beneath the armored tunic. Lastly, it has a pair of trailing tassels on the back that ends with red blades that has bright green edge.
"T-that armor... why it looked like Shiny Chariot's stage costume?!", Akko asked in confusion.
"You know this armor?", Newt asked.
"No, it's just... that hat, and that cape, they looked exactly like hers", Akko said, pointing out the armor's similarities with her idol's iconic costume.
"Why there's a Valkyrie Armor that resemble Chariot's outfit?", Lotte wondered.
Akko turned on Ursula and asked, "Professor Ursula, why that armor looked like your stage costume?"
"It's because Sky Valkyrie was inspiration for my Shiny Chariot costume", Ursula explained, before revealing a white, blue, and red ornate Valkyrie Gauntlet underneath her left sleeve. "And I am the latest heir of that armor as well."
"You're a Valkyrie too, Professor?!", Akko exclaimed incredulously. "Why didn't you tell us earlier?"
"It's not that easy for her to tell you her Valkyrie identity, Akko", Diana explained. "We Valkyries have powers that cannot be toyed with. It will be catastrophic if secrets of our armors fell into wrong hands, for them can be weapons of mass destruction if used irresponsibly. For your information, I found it rather ironic that while everyone in magical community disapproved everything that Professor Ursula did as Shiny Chariot, they are more respectful to her as Sky Valkyrie."
"That's right. The witch who takes the title of Geirdriful the Sky Valkyrie is regarded as the strongest Valkyrie", Newt nodded. "As the matter of fact, the title commands respect from anyone in magical community that her symbol is instantly recognizable by her fellow Valkyries. For a record I helped Chariot designing her Shiny Chariot costume so its resemblance to her armor less obvious, as I have foreseen that Chariot's reputation as Valkyrie and stage performer would contrasting to each other."
"When I was around your age, Instructor Newt recognized my skills and under headmistress' recommendation, she chose me as the new heir of Geirdriful armor", Ursula explained to Akko. "I became one of exemplary Valkyries Thapoli ever trained, and assigned to safeguard Luna Nova upon become Master Valkyrie. However, after I accidently stole your magic and failed in my quest for Grand Triskellion, I began to question my worth, so I stopped donning it until I set right what was wrong. Even though I finally did, I'm not sure I still deserved to be a Valkyrie after what I had done..."
"Are you always believing that Sky Valkyrie never make mistakes all this time, Chariot?", Newt asked sarcastically. "Geirdriful would always be role model for her fellow Valkyries to look up to regardless of her flaws, as she is decisive and pure-hearted. You ARE that Valkyrie, Chariot. You did an awful thing, but it doesn't make you an awful person. And right now, these new Valkyries need us."
"But I'm not as good as you", Ursula argued.
"No. You're better", Newt reassured while patting Ursula on the shoulder.
Ursula looked on her fellow Master Valkyrie, then on the young witches. She realized that the new Valkyries need her, especially Akko. She walked towards her precious pupil and about to say something only for Akko interrupted, "You don't have to say anything. I'm more than happy to know you also a Valkyrie, Professor Ursula."
The French witch relieved that Akko more than delighted to learn that her role model also one of greatest Valkyries. With that, Asger disperses the magic screen he conjured as Newt concludes, "With this we can conclude our meeting before we can start your training. It might seem like a big rush, but I trust that you can do it. Elemental Valkyries and Sky Valkyrie before you are greatest champions magic community ever have. You shall become those champions."
"I and Chariot have managed your training schedules so you girls don't have to worry about your classes at Luna Nova", Asger added. "Training is important, but so does your study. You may be Valkyrie trainees from this day on, but it doesn't change the fact you still students who have normal lives and dreams to achieve."
From that day on, Akko, Lotte, and Sucy officially started their Valkyrie training.
"The Valkyrie Blade is traditional weapon of members of Valkyrie Corps., invented through the study on the power of Claiomh Solais, or best known as Shiny Rod, conducted by Thapoli in ages past. Like Shiny Rod, the blade can channel magical energy to casts spells and transform into different weapons. When you use it, its magic reacts. Sometimes its powers weak on your hands, other times it much stronger that you can do anything with it. In other words, it all depends on strong feelings of your heart", Newt lectured as she gives the blades to Akko, Lotte, and Sucy. "However, before you can use it, you need to combine the blade with your wands in order to activate its powers. Also, all you need to do to change its form is focus. Visualize, see the form you wanted the blade to transform into in your mind. Imagine every detail. The clearer the picture, the quicker and easier the blade assume the desired form."
Valkyrie Blades' dormant form takes on appearance of ornate yellow and white spearhead-like throwing knife with a green orb embedded on it. Once the three students magically combine their wands with their respective blades however, they assume their active form which resembles ornate, double-edged daggers which orb embedded on its pentagon-shaped guard. The dormant and activated form of the Blade can be combined at the pommel. Newt then continues the lesson by nodding to Ursula, prompting the bespectacled professor to give the students a demonstration. After magically combine her Valkyrie Blade with her wand, Ursula focused her will on the activated blade where the blade transforms into a double-edged, black and white longsword adorned with glowing emerald lines in a flash of green light. She then proceeds to slash the weapon against a nearby training dummy, perfectly cleaving it into half.
Lotte and Akko are amazed by the demonstration. Looking at her Valkyrie Blade, the Japanese young witch can't help but thrilled by the fact that the weapon possesses similar abilities to those of Shiny Rod, a staff that once in both her and Ursula's possession. The staff had changed her life ever since it came to her at Arcturus Forest where its powers helped her, Lotte, and Sucy to both escape the cockatrice attack and arrived in time at Luna Nova in spite of interrupting the school's opening ceremony in process. Not only that, Shiny Rod also aid her in freeing Vajarois' spirit, saving Lotte's hometown from Greenman Disease outbreak, having important role in improving her friendship with Diana when they dealing latter's household crisis, and finally, saving the world from Noir Rod's rampage and restoring magic forces back to Midgard with combined power of the staff, Fuel Spirit from entire Great Britain, and Grand Triskellion. She was dismayed that the staff eventually disappeared back to the stars, having fulfilled its purpose on Midgard, but grateful with its role in guiding her to become the better witch nevertheless.
The three students focused their will on their respective activated Valkyrie Blades into weapon they desired with Ursula showing them various pictures that depicting weapons as the hint. Unfortunately, the former stage magician had made it look a lot easier than it was, as they ended up change their blades into random weapons instead of weapon they wanted.
Ursula, Newt, and Diana watched from time to time. Neither of them surprised that the three students hadn't successfully managed it yet. Mastery of Valkyrie Blade is very tricky as early attempts usually resulted the blade either taking random forms or not transformed at all. Though Diana able to perform it on the first try, it took at least hours for her to fully master it. They were greatly impressed that they were doing as well as they were.
Finally, the red team felt that they had it figured out. Their mastery over Valkyrie Blade still need a bit of work, but they impressed with their progress so far. Sucy chose the crudely formed greatsword adorned with a number of glowing toadstools as her Valkyrie Blade's signature form whereas Lotte's a round shield with detachable baton that can transform into a long spear, and Akko's great axe form and long bow form similar to that of Shiny Rod's Shiny Axe form and Shiny Bow form respectively. However, she eventually improved her Valkyrie Blade's long bow form by giving it retractable scythe-like blades that can vibrate in high frequency so the bow can doubles as melee weapon since she realized that its great axe form might not practical against fast-moving opponents. The improved bow form also gains seven emerald orbs similar to one in Shiny Bow, though each orbs are connected by glowing lines.
"So, how long have you known Asger, Professor?", Akko asked.
"I met him on the same day headmistress introduced me to Master Newt, which was around 12 years ago. He's an anti-social lone wolf who always keep his feelings to himself. But he is a kind person inside", Ursula replied, before she and Akko assume a fighting stance. "Okay, Akko, try to punch me."
"Excuse me?", Akko asked.
"I would like to see how strong your punches are", Ursula explained. "You don't have to worry about me getting hurt since it took more than a punch to take me down. Now, punch me with everything you have!"
"Okay", Akko said before hesitantly charges towards her mentor and swing her fist against her face. To her surprise, the French witch swiftly evade her fist as if it was nothing. Akko attempts to hit her again and again to no avail until her fist comes to a cold stop against Ursula's hand. In the next instant, Akko found herself pinned by the bespectacled professor to the ground with a loud bump.
"As of now, you're not ready to take down Naglfar without your armor, Akko", Ursula said before helping the young witch return to her feet and somberly explained. "Naglfar won't hesitate to dispose anyone who stands in their way. Because of it, they take no restrains in killing you just because you still young."
Akko freeze. "Kill...?!"
"Yes. They are very persistent and will kill you when they have the chance. Do not... Give them. That chance", Ursula emphasized last few words. "As Valkyrie, you must fight like your life depend on it. Because one day, it may. Now, enough chitchat. Let's get to work."
Over the next few days, Akko, Lotte, and Sucy are improving their skills in Thapolian Martial arts which includes punches, kicks, grabs, throws, and evading attacks and projectiles. It is a form of combat practice developed by Thapoli to give wizards and witches leverage in combat without have to rely on their magic. It is also the basic combat technique Valkyries and Drekherjar must master. Whereas Akko's fighting style described to be aggressive, Lotte's noted to be evasive and Sucy being patient and defensive. Diana, who had already ahead of them, described as balanced fighter. Out of four, however, Sucy's movements are quite difficult to read, perhaps because her strange ability to move without looking like she moving any of her limbs at all.
After they mastered all basic forms of Thapolian Martial Arts, Ursula decided to bring the girls to the next step where she sparred them against each other. The spar between Lotte and Sucy resulted in stalemate while Akko against Lotte ends with Akko being victorious, though Lotte's evasive fighting style enable her to wear Akko out a bit, but less so once Lotte faced Diana. When it's Akko and Sucy's turn to spar against each other, Sucy easily blocked each of Akko's assaults in perfect succession before delivering a counterattack in form of backflip kick that Akko blocked at very last moments. Recovering from unexpected counterattack, Akko failed to realize that Sucy already behind her ready to attack. Before Akko could backhand her, Sucy grabs her hand and delivers double kicks onto her face, defeating the Japanese witch. The spar between Diana and Sucy ends with similar result, though Diana is better when it comes to dealing Sucy's counterattacks.
At the library of Alioth ship, Akko is browsing some chronicles about history between Thapoli and Naglfar when someone greets her, "Doing some reading, eh?"
Akko turns around, and sees a large, eagle-like Pomokai Holoholona with seven whip-like tails amd a scar on the left wing standing beside her. The Japanese young witch recognized him as a Vedrvolnir based on information in the book about Pomokai Holoholonas Lotte showed to her on the other day. Even though their appearance already powerful and majestic like regular eagles, the one before her stands out of the rest, possibly due to him wearing what appeared to be a suit of armor complete with an ornate winged helmet. In addition of helmet, the Vedrvolnir's armor comprised of black and brown leather, a rectanglular chestplate with bearing Sword of Laeradr's insignia, white furcoat, and a pair of gray metallic greaves with what appeared to be a rectangular blade on the side. Underneath his clothes is bandage that covering his body up until the neck. His overall appearance may giving out impression of being an anthropomorphic character from children storybooks brought to life, but still imposing and dignified.
"Y-yeah", Akko nodded awkwardly. "It’s uh... about Thapoli-Naglfar War. I remember history teacher at Luna Nova lectured us about it."
"Every schools for wizards and witches in Europe taught them about it, which is not surprising", the Vedrvolnir said casually. "You enjoying it?"
"Well, it's not at all like she lectured it", Akko argued. "I barely paid attention about it, but she made it seem so heroic. Well, in these chronicles, the battle just sounds like..."
"Like hell?", the Vedrvolnir guessed. "Trust me, kid. No matter how heroic it seemed to be, war is always horrible. So many soldiers died and those who survived have to suffer. Oh, I forgot my manners. My name is Harr. Just Harr. Sounds like arrgh! My parents named me that way because of my raspy whistle back when I still a hatchling."
"My name is Atsuko Kagari. It's pleasure to meet you, Mister Harr", Akko introduces herself while giving the Vedrvolnir a handshake. "You can call me Akko."
"It's a great honor to meet you, Akko", Harr replied before finally noticing Kara gauntlet on the brunette's left arm. "So it's true. One of two witches they talked about is the new Fire Valkyrie. You're a little bit shorter than I expected. Say, Akko, I heard you already met my pal Asger right there. Did he ever irritate you?"
The Vedrvolnir is pointing out Asger who busily writing what appeared to be a report on the desk at the corner of the room alone. He seemed not wanted anyone to bother him, let alone allowing anyone sitting near him.
"Well, not really", Akko argued. "It's just... Professor Ursula told me he always kept his feelings to himself. He was displeased when I and my friends became new Valkyries."
"It's not like he didn't wanted that to happen. None of us stay quiet upon hearing those gauntlets chose you because you still minors", Harr said. "You see, we had seen how cruel Naglfars can be and worry if this fight proved too much for you. Valkyries' life is a high-risk occupation, and there are times when they had to face danger, anguish, and suffering over the course of their career. But it all nothing compared with what Asger had gone through."
Just then, Asger finished his report and quietly walked out of the library as Akko and Harr watched him leave. After a brief pause, Harr finally said, "Well, don't think about everything I just said too much. Life as Valkyries may be harsh, but it doesn't mean you had to fight alone. Anyway, I'd better get going. I have to make sure Fjolnir not overslept in the control room."
With that, Harr walked out of the library, leaving the Japanese young witch alone.
Meanwhile, at the construction site in Blytonbury, a number of workers can be seen operating heavy machinery such as cranes, bulldozer, etc. One of them jackhammers solid rocks on the ground until his drill makes a clanging sound as it hits a metal. A baffled look comes over him as he stops the jackhammer, brushes away debris and uncovers an ancient iron plate full of runes.
"G-guys! Get over here! I found something", the worker yelled, stunned by what he just found.
Other workers surround the plate to get a better look. "Whadda ya think it is?", the worker's friend wondered.
"Who knows?", the worker said. "I think this thing has been buried here for a long time."
"Who cares about that thing? Move it so we won't behind the schedule!", the workers' boss yelled.
The construction workers then hooked the plate with chains connected to a crane. Once they finished fastening those chains, the crane operator hoists the plate up where to his and others' surprise, revealing a cavernous opening beneath. The workers' boss rushes towards the opening followed by his men, all of them look on in amazement.
"Okay, this started to freak me out", a worker said.
"Interesting...", the worker's boss commented. "I wonder whether rumor about witches who buried some kind of magic staff in this town was true."
Suddenly, the ground around the opening shakes as if an earthquake occurred in the area. As this happens, an ominous-looking stone altar rises up from the hole, carrying what appeared to be a runic staff. The earthquake abruptly ends once the altar came to a stop.
"... I'll be damned", the worker stammered.
As though drawn by its power, the worker's boss moves to touch it. As soon as his fingers reach the runic staff, it suddenly releases a pulse of magic...
Designing our heroines' Valkyrie Armors was quite a challenge. For Akko, Lotte, Sucy, and Diana, rather than designing from nothing, I used the design of enchanted robes they wear in episode 25 of the anime as the template (which explained their resemblance) before adding the armor plates and bird/angelic motifs found in popular depiction of mythological Valkyries around them, creating a beautiful and gallant design. For Ursula's armor on the other hand, the template was her Shiny Chariot costume to emphasize the armor's association with her past role as Shiny Chariot, the one who inspired Akko to become a witch just as Geirdriful being the role model of her fellow Valkyries. The real challenge was designing armor platings (which includes tassets, breastplate, and pauldrons) over those designs in order to change them into actual suits of armors as well as determining each armors' quirks and other gimmicks. Luckily, my favorite series GARO and Netflix's Voltron: Legendary Defender, as well as random armor designs in the Internet provide some cool inspirations. To made the armors looked cooler, I added glowing circuits (or specifically Tron Lines) around them, which also doubles as reference to TRON series and in lesser extent, GARO: Vanishing Line as Makai Armor in that series has cool Tron lines as well.
Man, you're so damn lucky your mentor and idol also the strongest Valkyrie, Akko. Not to mention she now shows you some ropes about how to become a protector. But don't get too excited, as you and your friends will face bad guys that are more troublesome than Croix soon.
It's also an explanation on how Ursula can fight so well. In canon, it's simply because she is a TRIGGER heroine and a walking Gunbuster reference voiced by Noriko Hidaka. But here, she's the strongest Valkyrie which technically made her one of greatest warriors of Midgard. Either way, she kickass by default.
The thing about Diana being the latest heir of Eir the Ice Sword Valkyrie, coupled with the fact she started her Valkyrie Training as preparation of that role when she was 14, is another reason why she's one of the best of Luna Nova. Being the true heir of altruistic Cavendish legacy is already cool, and moreso becoming their champion and guardian.
Fun Fact: The scene of an ancient altar accidently unearthed in this chapter is based on the similar scene in the underrated 1995 film Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie. In that film, the construction workers stumbled upon a strange, egg-like prison which contain the gooey bad guy Ivan Ooze. However, in this story, the unearthed altar actually containing a piece of magical artifact.
Anyway, all comments and feedbacks are greatly appreciated!