The Princess And Her Warmonger
Princess Isalene managed to "sneak" out of the palace again, her twenty royal guards following her. However, unlike yesterday, she didn't have Bianca with her. When Princess Isalene made it back to the palace, she managed to convince Bianca not to say anything about what had happened. Today Bianca was busy and couldn't make it to the palace. Isalene didn't know if that was a good thing as she was certain Bianca would try to convince her that going back to the arena is a horrible idea.
'The announcer said that Cruel Knight was a champion, right? Then that means he must be a daily contender.'
So Isalene and her disguise made her way to the arena with the royal guards following her. Like before, the guards guarding the arena allowed them to pass even if Bianca wasn't here. By now they figured out that the girl wearing the robe was someone very important. After all, this is the second time they came and were escorted by twenty royal guards on duty. Besides, today wasn't a day where people need to pay to get into the arena.
Isalene and her royal guards settled into the spot from yesterday. The smell of death caused Isalene's nose to twitch and the sight of the clean-up crew moving bodies into piles made her flinch but that was it. Her curiosity kept her mind focused. She didn't even turn away when the mage started burning the bodies, though she did close her eyes and pinch her nose.
When the announcer cleared his throat and started speaking, Isalene's eyes went wide with excitement. However, the excitement in her eyes faded when she realized that the people who were fighting wasn't Cruel Knight. This didn't go unnoticed by some of her royal guards who couldn't figure out exactly why Princess Isalene was here again after last time.
Even if Isalene was more determined, she still was disgusted by violence. Every time someone died or were horrible maimed Isalene couldn't help but close her eyes and look away. Isalene knew that, if this kept up she would probably puke again. Still, she knew that if she left now she would miss out on seeing Cruel Knight again and would have to wait until T-day until she could go to the arena again since she has a history lesson tomorrow. There is also the possibility that Isalene will get discovered. She knows she can't keep sneaking out as, one day, her parents will find out. Isalene hopes that if she is caught, then it wouldn't be at the arena. If her parents knew that Isalene was forcing herself to watch the bloody arena fights then she would never hear the end of it, especially from her mother.
'I can only imagine her face...' Isalene shuddered and decided that in the future she will take more precautions when sneaking out of the palace.
As the day went on, Isalene didn't even note when another knight that was on her list fought down below. Her entire focus was on Cruel Knight. Finally, just when Isalene had thought of giving up and going back, the gate from yesterday opened.
"Alright, ladies and gentlemen! It is now time for the main event! Put your hands together for the team brawl!"
Two groups of contenders ran out of the gate, one group having orange flags around their weapons or were wearing orange outfits while the other wore green flags and outfits. A couple of knights and gladiators came out of the gate. However, Isalene didn't see Cruel Knight.
Princess Isalene sighed and got ready to leave, feeling like she wouldn't survive seeing the brawl without throwing up when she heard a yell. Isalene looked back at the gate just in time to see the body of one of the arena guards get thrown out. His body rolled for a bit before stopping, a pool of blood forming under him. In his hand was a green flag.
Out from the darkness of the gate stepped Cruel Knight, his sword bloodied. It was clear that he killed the arena guard. Why Isalene didn't know. It made no sense to her whatsoever.
'Maybe the guard tried to kill him?' Isalene thought, trying to figure out why Cruel Knight would kill the guard. She didn't need to think of an answer, however, as the announcer let out a nervous laugh and said,
"Well, I warned them not to try and get Cruel Knight to change their outfit. They kill anyone who tries."
Princess Isalene gave Cruel Knight a horrified look.
'H-he killed someone just for that?'
Cruel Knight was completely ignorant to Isalene's horrified glare and walked calmly over to the green group who parted to give her space. The announcer watched him before clearing his throat.
"Alright! You know the rules. Last team standing wins! So, without further delay, begin!"
The orange team got together and charged the green team who were still disorganized. The green team started to panic. Cruel Knight watched them before putting their hand on their face and shaking his head, clearly disappointed in his team. He raised his hand to try and get his team's attention. While some turned to look at them, most paid attention to a female gladiator who cried out to charge.
Cruel Knight instantly reacted to what the female gladiator said by putting a hand on her shoulder. The two talked about something and it seemed they came to a disagreement. The female gladiator turned to tell the green team to charge again but, before she could, Cruel Knight stabbed her in the back and lifted her up in the air. The few green team members who were charging stopped and looked at Cruel Knight in disbelief and horror. Even the orange team faltered in their charge.
Cruel Knight punched the female gladiator off his sword and started ordering his team. Although Isalene still couldn't hear Cruel Knight's voice, his team did and they quickly formed a rather crude shield wall. Isalene saw Cruel Knight sigh and shake their head slightly before getting ready to face the fast approaching enemies.
Cruel Knight felt like killing the announcer who suggested using new criminals who had done nothing but rob or murder someone. Cruel Knight agreed that while that is a good idea as it would be amusing to watch. What she didn't agree on was being a part of the fight. She was literally was dealing with a bunch of incompetent idiots. Kasers.
Cruel Knight watched the enemy team rapidly approaching with a bored look and ran a finger down the blade of her weapon. Apparently, most of her team thought she was an actual knight. Females aren't allowed to be knights in the Kingdom. Soldiers, yes. Captains and Commanders, yes. Just not knights for some reason. So, she was just like the gladiators. She is a criminal. The name Cruel Knight is unfitting for her.
'Cruel Knight. What a joke.' Cruel Knight thought bitterly. Her name before this announcer took over was much better. Much more fitting and was her actual title.
Still, she doesn't care enough to threaten him to change it. Though it is an annoyance. And, on the concept of annoyances, Cruel Knight noted another annoyance.
The girl from yesterday who is clearly someone important has come back. Cruel Knight doesn't know who that girl is fooling with the twenty royal guards surrounding her but, whatever she is doing here, it is none of Cruel Knight's concern. Still, it was amusing to see how the girl clearly hated violence to the point where she threw up yesterday yet was still here.
Now, why is the strange girl an annoyance? Cruel Knight had a feeling that she'll become an annoyance in the future, and her feelings are never wrong.
'Now, if I save these bunch of kasers, then they just might be able to become better allies in the future...if they last long enough for another team event that is.'
After thinking it over, Cruel Knight came to a decision and nodded before crouching down. She waited until the enemy team was just about to clash into the crude shield wall her team had made before jumping. She jumped up high into the air and over the front line of her team's formation. Before she hit the ground, Cruel Knight flicked a tiny switch on her weapon and heard the mechanical sound of the hilt opening up and the weapon expanding.
Cruel Knight landed on an enemy soldier, impaling him before ripping the sword end of her weapon free and spinning around, the newly-added part of her weapon cutting through a whole load of enemies. The newly extended part of her weapon is a mix between a halberd and a scythe and made of Orbsan Ore. Cruel Knight didn't like having to use the second form of her weapon but, in this situation, the second form was perfect.
The morale of the enemy team dropped instantly and they stopped their charge. Cruel Knight let out a cold laugh, taking pleasure from the looks on their face and the big mistake they just made. She quickly raised her hand in the air and said one simple word,
Princess Isalene knows she isn't a weapons expert, but she knows that she has never seen a weapon like that before. The hilt of the sword had opened up and a large black staff popped through. At the end of the staff was a halberd except, instead of a spike on the other side, the spike was replaced by a black scythe. The entire second part of the weapon was made from Orbsan Ore, something many would kill for. A metal that, when made into a weapon, is so sharp that even running your hand on the flat side of a blade will result in a cut. Isalene wasn't surprised when the orange team stopped their charge in surprise. Anyone who was caught in the massive swing Cruel Knight just did was instantly either cut in half or had limbs missing, some even missing heads.
Cruel Knight lifted his hand up in the air and the green team charged. Because the orange team was still in shock from what had just happened, they were totally caught unprepared by the green team. The brawl quickly ended with the orange team's defeat. Once the last orange team member was slain, the gate opened again. Cruel Knight wasted no time walking towards the gate to leave. Before he did, however, he turned and looked up at Isalene. Their eyes met once again and once again, Isalene shuddered even if there was only simple curiosity in Cruel Knight's gaze.
Cruel Knight broke off first and walked into the gate. The green team soon followed after him. Princess Isalene felt her eye twitch. She had come here to hopefully quell her curiosity about Cruel Knight. Instead, it just grew worse.
Isalene felt her heart start to stir up in excitement. She actually found herself wanting to see Cruel Knight. To know everything about him. She hasn't felt this excited since her sixteenth birthday. Because of that, a smile formed on Isalene's face.
"Let's go," Isalene said in a cheerful mood, turning around and walking away from the ledge.
The royal guards blinked in surprise. The arena still had four more fights planned.
"Are you sure, Princess?" One asked.
"Yeah, I saw what I wanted to see," Isalene responded without stopping. The royal guards exchanged worried looks, all of them thinking the same thing.
'She didn't come just to see Cruel Knight, did she?'
The royal guards got their answer when Princess Isalene continued to sneak out of the palace and head to the arena, leaving every time Cruel Knight finished their fight. Despite her constant visits, Isalene's curiosity has only gotten worse. She figured out a few things about Cruel Knight from her days watching them. One is that Cruel Knight hates the cowardly and, while a little cold to the weak, seems to respect them, especially if they try hard. Cruel Knight also loves fighting so much that sometimes, when someone is giving them a good fight, they'll purposely drag out the fight. One example of this was when he impaled someone against the wall with their weapon but, instead of finishing them off, they pushed them off their blade and took a couple of steps back, giving them a hand gesture that meant to come at them.
Cruel Knight hates other people who disagree with him. More than once had he threatened to or killed someone on his own side for giving him or his team an order that Cruel Knight disagrees on. Despite even killing members of his own team, it seems that the side Cruel Knight is on still looks up to him. He not only never loses but he seems to know what he is doing.
The last two things that Isalene had noticed is that Cruel Knight's status as a champion isn't what grants him protection from killing guards or members of his own team. Cruel Knight must be someone of importance for the arena to put up with them. The last thing is that Cruel Knight has some tricky morals which, must to Isalene's annoyance, perked her curiosity even more.
'You have a story, Mister Black, and I will find it out.' Isalene silently thought while looking down at Cruel Knight below. The current event today was a more large-scaled one. The two teams had to hold down certain points in order to gain Arvu. Currently, the orange team is winning which is the team Cruel Knight is on. He is leaning in the shade against the wall away from where the last of the blue team is standing, holding down their last point. Despite killing what Isalene had to guess was almost seventy blue team members, Cruel Knight didn't look tired in the slightest, so why Cruel Knight was hanging back was a mystery to Isalene...though if she had to guess it would be because they wanted his own team to capture the point without his help, something Cruel Knight has done on multiple occasions before.
There is just so much about Cruel Knight that Isalene wants to know that Princess Isalene briefly considered talking to them in person before quickly getting the idea out of her head.
"No, he's way too scary to consider that-"
Isalene broke off, feeling that something was wrong. She looked to her left as discreetly as she could and noticed that there seemed to be more royal guards than she had originally brought, and they seem to be carrying banners as well.
Princess Isalene just pulled out her knife which she carries when a large hand grabbed her right shoulder, causing her to freeze.
"So, what are you doing here, Princess?" A somewhat old and gruff but familiar voice asked.
Princess Isalene let out a tiny yelp before she caught herself and turned around. When she did so, the man took the knife gently out of her hands and held it up in the air, inspecting it with a nod.
"You've been taking good care of it like I suggested. Good job," The man praised Isalene though the friendly expression he had on his face had a teasing look to it.
"H-hi, Uncle G-Grillant," Princess Isalene weakly got out.
The man towering in front of her wearing heavy full-body silver armor was Grillant, the Grand Advisor of the Kingdom. He had little and very faded white hair on his head, making him almost perfectly bald, and blue eyes. Despite being seventy-three, Grillant is one of the best fighters the Kingdom has, his weapon of choice being a large cutlass with a golden hilt. Another fact is that, despite what Princess Isalene called him, Grillant is not her uncle. He is in no way related to King Robert or any royals and he isn't even of noble blood. His position had angered many nobles at first but the King quickly shut them up.
"I-I was j-just looking into how th-the knights act when outside of royal eyes, y-you know."
Grillant nodded, seeing the reason behind her visit, only he could tell that she was definitely hiding something. Princess Isalene is not a good liar.
"And what else?" Grillant pressed, leaning forward a bit, his voice still containing that friendly and teasing tone. He wasn't angry at Isalene. he just honestly wanted to know what the peace-loving princess of the Kingdom was doing at the arena who was doing their regular deadly events. It didn't take much to see that Isalene was out of it back in the palace and looking a tad bit ill.
"Well, when I came here two or so cycles ago, I saw a knight who wasn't on the list and they caught my eye," Princess Isalene explained.
Grillant stood up straight and rubbed his chin like some people do if they had a beard, a look of interest in his eyes.
"Oh really? Please tell me more about them," Grillant asked. He thought it would take another year for Isalene to make a decision. The trial did start when Isalene was eighteen after all.
"Well, they wear black and gold armor and wear a cape. They also fight extremely well! They haven't lost a single match. His weapon is like a greatsword but it can transform and-"
As Isalene went on, Grillant's expression dropped more and more until it was a concerned frown, fear visible in his eyes. He quickly walked over to the ledge and looked down into the arena below, his eyes instantly locking on to the person he wanted least around Isalene. Sensing someone's gaze, Cruel Knight looked up at met Grillant. They stared at each other for a while before Cruel Knight raised her right arm and waved lazily at Grillant.
"-he has so many tricky morals too! I can tell that he has an interesting story that I am just dying to know about-"
"Warmonger," Grillant said in a dark and grim tone, bringing Isalene back to reality. She turned around upon realizing that Grillant was no longer in front of her.
"Warmonger?" Isalene echoed, tilting her head in confusion.
"Cruel Knight's name is originally Warmonger, as is her official title, and she is no knight," Grillant explained, slowly turning around.
Isalene met his eyes and realized with a jolt that Grillant was afraid. She has never seen him this afraid before. That is why it took her a minute to fully realize what Grillant had said.
"W-wait! She!?" Isalene said in disbelief, "Then that would mean-"
"Yes," Grillant confirmed with a sigh, "Warmonger is a criminal, and not just any criminal either."
Isalene walked over to the ledge to see if she can spot Cruel Knight. However, the event was already over and, as usual, she was the first one to leave through the gate.
"Warmonger. Do you know what it means?" Grillant asked Isalene.
"Isn't it an insult?" Isalene asked, recalling how in a story she read, being called a warmonger was an insult.
"Yes and no. In more peaceful terms, yes. However, in the general terms, especially outside the Kingdom, it is used to describe people who push for war."
"Isn't that what the insult means?" Isalene asked, confused.
"Not quite. Being a warmonger means you generally work for one in the Great Wars. Trust me, I would know," Grillant said with a tone of sadness in his voice, "But Warmonger with an upper-case W means that it is a title. Her name is her title as well,"
"Warmongers are extremely powerful people who push their Faction to endless war. They believe fully that the only way to obtain peace is through endless war. They don't have to be a fighter to be a Warmonger but, if one gets the title of Warmonger, that means they are feared throughout the whole of Nostalisk and are vicious and cruel. Cruel Knight is...was the Kingdom's Warmonger, and a very powerful one at that. However, she was caught prolonging a war and was captured. But, because she is too valuable to even consider executing, she resides here as an "Honorable Guest"."
Isalene and Grillant were silent after that for a while until Isalene broke the silence.
"But why is she the way she is?" Isalene asked.
Grillant didn't answer right away and, instead, turned his back on Isalene with a sigh.
"That is a question you aren't ready to hear the answer for. Take it from me, Princess. You should never get involved with her. She hates people like you and her past is a very complicated story. It's best for you to get whatever thoughts you have about her out of your head."
With that, Grillant started walking away, his royal guards going with him. Isalene blinked in surprise before shaking her head and looking down at the arena below, lost in thought.
Princess Isalene hadn't visited the arena in the past two days. Her face has slightly recovered from feeling sick all the time but her mental health has only gotten worse. She could barely sleep without thinking off Cruel Knight or Warmonger or whatever her name is. Isalene had too many questions to just ignore her.
'Another restless night.' Isalene thought to herself as she tossed and turned in her bed trying to get comfortable. Finally, she gave up trying to get comfortable with a sigh.
'What can I do to get my curiosity settled?'
Isalene thought about a solution over and over until, finally, she sat up in bed.
'I got it!'
Princess Isalene is many things. Kind, sympathetic, cute, and can be very smart. However, she has one very fatal flaw. She has a curiosity too big for her own good. There is a saying in Nostalisk. "The curious mouse never lives long".
"I'll make her my personal guard!" Isalene said out loud to herself, giggling as she finally thought of a way to solve her curiosity problem. Her plan is flawless!
...Yes, Isalene may very well be that mouse.
T-days: A day of the cycle, it is named after an Apostle.
Kasers: Criminals who have committed petty crimes.
Captains: A agreed upon rank in battle. They are more skilled than normal soldiers and often lead a number of soldiers and Officers in battle.
Commanders: The skilled warriors that make up the Commanders. They are what legends are about. They can lead armies but are often used in fighting and not strategy. A agreed upon rank in battle, they are below Generals.
Grand Advisor: A title and rank given to those who give advice to leaders. It is often used in the Kingdom Faction, the Senshi Faction, and the Orcani Faction.
Warmonger: A insult used to someone out of wartime or having nothing to do with war. The insult means the person pushes for unnecessary war and discrimination.
Warmongers: A title given to those who push their Faction to war. Highly skilled legendary warriors who see a simple truth within their vicious world. Warmongers recognize other Warmongers and hate the concept of any kind of peace while not in constant war. One does not have to fight on the battlefield to be a Warmonger, but most do.
Faction: A Faction is a Faction. Simple as that. They are smaller than a Family Faction such as the Empire and Alliance Factions and even the Orcani and Eleven Faction. Individual Faction in other words that can wage war with any other Faction by themselves just fine.
Honorable Guest: A prisoner who is too valuable to execute or put in a normal prison. They get special treatment.
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