wizard makes goblin human, keeps it as an assistant until it knows too much, then forfeits it to the military
the wizard Dedekind resisted the label “necromancer”, as he felt his work was more a celebration of the life force than anything to do with death; it was simply an accident of history that most of the research to date into the animation of flesh had been performed by would-be masters of zombie slaves.
accordingly, his own research focused on manipulation of live tissue, resulting in a menagerie of chimeric oddities such as winged snakes, 6-legged hamsters, and what he considered his greatest creation, the aquatic chicken.
unable to muster peer-approval for human experiments (the academy’s PR was shaky as it was), he advertised a no-questions-asked reward for an infant goblin, and got one. he began to infuse the goblin with his own blood, attempting to make it human enough to begin “human” experiments in earnest.
he met with some success, though the longer he raised the goblin child, and the more like himself that the goblin looked, the more uneasy he felt about keeping it caged. it acted less and less like a wild animal, eventually just sitting and idly scratching a circle with a fingernail in the floor of the cage, over and over, like a human might — a human resigned to life in a cage.
the reservations dedekind had about actually executing his intended experiments grew, and eventually he consented to his assistant joubert’s suggestion that the goblin instead be made use of as a homunculus-like assistant.
their “homunculus” was taught to read so that he could more accurately fetch items, and read he did; he slept little, and dedekind was an inattentive employer, leaving zero with time to kill.
though it never occurred to anybody, least of all zero, to teach him magic, he was surrounded by it. one day when he ran out of tinder to light his master’s pipe, in frustration he commanded the pipe to light anyway, and it did. fascinated, he commanded the pile of tobacco next to it to light, and it did. to his dismay, however, so did the curtain, table, and burlap bag of dried beans.
concerned by this new development, dedekind declared the experiment over. joubert reluctantly agreed, and they decided that the best place for him, given his natural strength and absence of otherwise-marketable skills, was the military, where he remains to this day.
things are slow though when not on active duty, so much of the time he just sits, staring at the ground, drawing a circle in the dirt over and over.
zero has gone out on a number of missions with the unit, and has been a model soldier. it has become apparent to his unit-mates that his extra motivation is because he has a crush on the princess, and subconsciously imagines that if he pleases her govt. enough, she will fall madly in love with him and marry him and… something. (as a homonculus he never got super-clear on how sexuality works).