Chapter 4:

Chapter 4: A Promotion

The Princess And Her Warmonger

Sharia The Warmonger woke to the sound of heavy footsteps. Normally, in the Clark, this wasn't an odd sound to hear. Many of the contenders and kasers often wear armor. Knights sometimes went into the Clark as well. However, Sharia recognized these footsteps. These were the sounds of infantry. Not heavy like knights yet too heavy to be the sound of most of the people in the Clark. And, going off the sound of them, there were a lot of soldiers coming.

Sharia stood up, her varasikara in her right hand, intrigued by the sound of the approaching soldiers. She hasn't seen soldiers for a long time. She only catches glimpses of them when the royal guards arrive at the ring to watch the fighting. She had so many new questions like how the new royal guards look and, more importantly, what were they doing in mass about to enter the Clark.

The reason why Sharia knew that the royal guards were coming and not the actual soldiers of the Kingdom is simple. The soldiers are stationed in two places around the palace, and the closest one is located around the backside of the palace. In other words, if there is some kind of emergency in the arena, by the time the soldiers were mobilized and arrived, they would have wasted too much valuable time. Since the royal guards were closer and more skilled, they were the most obvious answer to use as a emergency response force to anything near the palace.

The footsteps came closer until, with a bang, the door to the Clark swung open and the royal guards spilled out. Sharia looked over their weapons and armor and noted, with a hint of satisfaction, that the armor and weapons resembled those from the Aranon* and the Zhenshi Faction* like they did the last time Sharia saw them. Obviously the armor and weapons were slightly different as they were up to date.

Even though Sharia was busy observing the armor and weapons of the royal guards, she was also aware that they had all stopped in front of her...which meant they were here for her.

Sharia, after she did her observation, met the eyes of the royal guards without a trace of fear. Some of them shuddered under her gaze, feeling her appraising each and every one of them like they were nothing but objects. Soon, that gaze of hers turned into disappointment and disgust, like she just saw something nasty like trash.

Under normal circumstances, Sharia would be slightly afraid. Twelve soldiers in a closed area is not something that can be taken lightly. However, even if these soldiers were the royal guards, she had no doubt in her mind that she can take them. They are weak, much too weak to even hope of taking her down with that small amount of numbers. They didn't even have a mage with them.

Sharia's eased mind didn't last long when someone walked through the open door of the Clark to stand in front of the royal guards, towering over them. Upon recognizing him, Sharia swung her sword on her shoulder blades, her eyes narrowed. The man in front of her, wearing full body silver-colored armor and wielding a giant cutlass was none other than Grillant Thorndare, the Grand Advisor of the Kingdom.

The two stared at each other, no one saying a word. This kept on going for a while until Sharia started to pace around, her eyes never going off Grillant.

"Well, I must say that this is the last thing I expected to happen today."

The royal guards felt shivers run down their spine when Sharia spoke. Her voice wasn't angry or disgusted. It wasn't dead but it had no real emotion to it. That wasn't all there was to her voice, however. Her voice sounded rather youthful despite her being older than them, and twelve years younger than sixty year old Grillant. Her voice, however, sounded scratchy, like she had recently inhaled some smoke.

All of this plus her helmet made reading her impossible. The only one who came close here was Grillant. He may not be able to tell what emotion she is feeling, he does know that she is taking him as a serious threat. Her pacing may seem random but, considering the way Sharia fights Commanders, her pacing was her being in a stance that isn't an actual battle stance. Her weapon, her varasikara, is also on her shoulder blades, ready to be swung at any moment.

Luckily, or unluckily, Grillant can't decide which, they weren't here to fight Sharia at all. The Warmonger, even if she is facing Grillant as well as twelve royal guards, will come out on top. Grillant has seen her fight many times and is well aware that her skill hasn't dulled. One thing about Sharia is that she has a near perfect memory. No time out of combat will dull her senses or her battle tactics.

Grillant looked at his soldiers, who were still in their battle stances, ready at any moment. This included the Captain of this batch of royal guards much to Grillant's disappointment. He then glanced at Sharia, who was still ready for action.

Grillant let out a sigh, realizing this is getting nowhere.

'Guess I have to be the one fixing things here.' Grillant thought with a shake of his head.

Grillant put the tip of his weapon's blade on the ground in front of his feet and put both hands on the hilt of his cutlass, doing a Jagabadī Pose*. Upon seeing this, Sharia paused, though her weapon was still ready of use.

"S-Sir!?" The Captain of the Second Legion of the Royal Guards said, looking at Grillant in shock.

"Stand down, Aden. That's an order," Grillant responded, meeting his eyes. His voice was soft yet firm, leaving no room for disagreement.

The royal guards put their weapons down after a second of hesitation. They know they were only babies when Sharia was on the battlefield but, judging how scared Grillant became after having a discussion with the King, they knew that Sharia was someone to be feared. Besides, more than a few of them had seen Sharia, under the name of Cruel Knight, in action. They knew just how deadly she is. After all, she has never once lost a battle in the arena...

....and hasn't spared a single enemy unless they prove themselves to her.

Sharia stood still for a couple of seconds before she stood up straight and grabbed near the tip of her blade with her free hand and leaned back against the dusty stone wall.

"Greetings, Grillant. What brings you down here?" Sharia asked, letting go the her blade and doing what one would do in a bow, though Sharia obviously didn't bow.

The gesture came out as mocking and, seeing as Sharia wasn't doing a Jagabadī Pose back. Grillant didn't mind. He knows that Grillant barely shows respect to anyone. She also is never one to stick to the traditions of bowing and holding up nobility. In that way, she is like Princess Isalene. Though, that must be the only similarity they share. Sharia and Princess Isalene are polar opposites and are a terrible match for each other.

"I doubt it is time for war so...did the King send you here to kill me?" Sharia asked, putting one of her clawed fingers on her chin, mockingly pretending to think.

"If you were to be killed, there would be a whole lot more than just me and twelve royal guards," Grillant said, his voice sounding friendly much to the royal guards surprise.

Sharia closed her eyes and let out a tiny chuckle.

"True...but then what are you here for? I can't think of a reason," Sharia asked, leaning forward a little.

"Well, Sharia. You've been promoted," Grillant said with a sigh, "Congrats."

Sharia froze and didn't say anything for a long time. When she did, she pointed at Grillant with her free left hand.

"Wh-what?" Sharia asked, her voice sounding much less scratchy and more childish.

Prehapes hearing her own voice, Sharia cleared her throat before continuing.

"Are you joking?"

Grillant shook his head.

Sharia thought about it and ended up shaking her head. She didn't think the King would be stupid enough to send knights to fight to their deaths in the arena if he even thought there was a good chance the Kingdom would be attacked. Sharia had known King Robert for a long time and Sharia knew that he was no fool...despite being one. In better words, he is a fool but not stupid. Plus, Sharia found it hard to believe that she would suddenly be promoted to a Captain or Officer out of the blue.

"...Care to explain?" Sharia asked, having it hard to ask how to question she wants answered.

"Just follow me and you'll get there explanation," Grillant responded, not knowing how to describe the situation either.

Sharia let out a sigh but got off the wall regardless.

"Alright then. Let's see what's up," Sharia said. She couldn't help but have a feeling that maybe today was the day where her feelings would come into fruition, and hopefully not the feeling of annoyance she had as well.


Sharia followed Grillant into the throne room where King Robert, his wife, and surprisingly enough, his daughter, was waiting. Sharia recognized the young girl right away as the one who she saw at the arena for the past two weeks. The one someone told her was her secret admirer. Sharia honestly doubts that true, especially considering that she threw up the first time she saw her kill someone. After that, she got sick every time she saw Sharia kill someone.

'Can't admire someone you fear.' Sharia thought, studying the girl.

'I do wonder why she is here. Maybe her father coerced her...or maybe she just wants to see what is up? Either way, I'm sure she'll find this bor-'

The Warmonger stopped her thoughts when she noticed the Princess's eyes. She was staring at her and was full of determination and...curiosity. Sharia wondered briefly if she was here to get scolded by Robert for being too cruel or something. Maybe she'll even get scolded by the princess herself. Of course, Sharia didn't actually think that would happen. The King wouldn't call her over to the palace just for that. If he did, then she would have some serious reconsidering about him to do.

Sharia met the King's gaze and was surprised to see that he looked worried. The thought of getting scolded by the Princess came back stronger now. Surely she isn't here for that. Actually, what is she here for? She can't think of anything on the top of her head and still couldn't think of a reason during the walk to get here. If she isn't here for war, then what could the King possibly want her for?

Meanwhile, Princess Isalene's heart is thumping out of her chest. She can't believe her plan worked! Though it wasn't much of a plan, it still worked! She was going to have Cruel Knight as her personal guard!

Seeing Sharia up close, Isalene could see that she was shorter than Sharia by what looks to be a foot...and Sharia was surprisingly short. Maybe it was because Isalene was looking at her from above but she could see that Sharia is about five to six inches to even a head shorter than the soldiers in the room. Now that Isalene could see her up close, it was easy to see that what made her look taller than she actually is was her helmet.

King Robert stood up and made his way down the steps to Sharia, who stood standing for a moment before slowly taking a knee. She was still loyal to the Kingdom and she did have some respect towards the King. Normally, if it was anyone else, even the Queen, Sharia would not bow. Of course, her opinion of Robert still hasn't changed. She still saw him as a fool.

Despite her respect for her King, Sharia's hand was still on her weapon's hilt. She was used to carrying it all the time and the weapon itself was heavy enough to crack the ground if she dropped it. That and she isn't so sure her life isn't in danger. After all, she still can't figure out what the King wants her for.

"Sharia, The Warmonger. Today I have called you here to give you a promotion," The King stated. Off to the side, Princess Isalene tried her best not to tremble in excitement.

'So her name is Sharia...though I was told that yesterday...actually, why did I even think that?'

The King let out a sigh that was heard by Sharia, who gave him a quizzical look in return. Sharia, after looking at his expression, came to the conclusion that her promotion wasn't his idea. In fact, he looked unsure of himself. What promotion was she getting that would worry Robert? If she was getting promoted to an Officer or Captain, then that shouldn't worry him since she wouldn't have much power, especially if he puts her on the outskirts of the Kingdom.

"...From here on out, you will serve as Princess Isalene's personal guard."

Sharia was silent for a full minute before she slowly turned to look at the princess she now knows as Isalene. She studied her for a couple of seconds before turning to look at the King.

"You want me to guard that?" Sharia asked with her voice full of disgust and disbelief, pointing one of her clawed fingers at Princess Isalene. Isalene flinching didn't go unnoticed by Sharia, though Sharia didn't care enough to think much about it. She was still recovering from her total disbelief that King Robert just promoted her to some disgusting peace-loing princess, even if that princess is his one and only daughter.

King Robert didn't blame her, nor did Grillant, for Sharia's response.. The soldiers there were outraged at the disrespectful attitude Sharia had. Meanwhile, the real reason Isalene flinched was because of two things. One was because of Sharia's voice. She sounded definitely feminine but young, which was against Isalene's expectations, but her voice was mostly scratchy, like she hasn't cleared her throat in a long time or her helmet was heavily muffling her voice in a strange way.

The second reason was she realized just how selfish her request is. Sharia loves fighting and there won't be much of it if she becomes Isalene's personal guard. Isalene thought that maybe she could convince her father to allow Sharia to still fight in the arena but even she knows how ridiculous the idea sounds. She knew that Sharia could handle a few fights but, what happens if she gets gravely injured or dies in the arena?

Needless to say, Isalene was now having second thoughts on whether she should try and convince her father to allow Sharia to fight in the arena.

"Yes. Your duty starts officially tomorrow," King Robert told Sharia without a single sign of hesitation in his voice, knowing that the longer he waits the more chance that Sharia or himself will convince him out of his decision. If he changes his mind, he will have to deal with his very unhappy daughter. The best course of action is to allow Isalene to fire Sharia herself. To let Isalene learn the hard way that she and Sharia could not get along.

Sharia let out a sigh. Her feelings were right again, as usual. At least she now knows what the "annoyance" is going to be.

King Robert walked out of the throne room, his wife following right behind him. Princess Isalene turned to follow him before stopping. She turned around and ran over to Sharia. Once in front of her, Isalene did a slight bow, making the Warmonger cock her head slightly in confusion.

"Thank you and please take good care of me," Isalene quickly said before turning and running out of the room, following her parents.

Sharia was left with her mouth hanging slightly open, still reeling from what just happened. When she finally recovered, she shook her head and got up. Before she could decide on what to do next, Grillant walked over to her and put a hand on her shoulder.

"You didn't disagree. I thought for sure you would," Grillant told Sharia, his eyebrow raised.

Sharia let out a chuckle before turning to face Grillant, who took his hand off of her.

"What can I say? It was an order from the King...or "promotion" as he and you called it," Sharia said, her voice back to being near emotionless, though Grillant could detect that Sharia was definitely annoyed.

Grillant shook his head and took a couple of steps back before facing Sharia again.

"If you try to corrupt or harm the princess in any way..." Grillant warned, glaring at Sharia who only swung her sword lazily in return.

"Don't you worry, old man. She's an incorruptible princess. She'll never see things the right way or even close to how you see things. I can't possibly corrupt her. She has her eyes closed even more than a baby does."

Sharia chuckled at her own cruel joke before she let out a long sigh.

"Besides, I have a strong feeling she will become an annoyance real quick, more so than she already is to me."

Grillant and Sharia stayed still, looking at each other before they both let out a hearty laugh. Grillant knows Sharia, and he knows that once given a task, she will do it. Besides, she was right about Princess Isalene. It is impossible to corrupt that princess. She was also right about Isalene being more of an annoyance to Sharia than Sharia could be a problem to her.

"But I'm still confused why you took the job so easily?" Grillant asked. Even he would hesitate about accepting the job more than Sharia had. In response, Sharia shook her head.

"Let's just say, I was bored and this job seemed like a breath of fresh air. I know it's going to be an annoyance but, in life, you sometimes take what you get."

Sharia The Warmonger looked outside the throne room windows at the sprawling city below before putting her weapon on her shoulders. Grillant looked at Sharia, watching over the Kingdom like she used to, and couldn't help but remember the last time he saw her like this. It was...a strange memory where to this day he didn't know how to feel about it. Angry or sad, happy or remorseful. Grillant couldn't decide. He could only hope that, whatever the future brings, Sharia would one day change for the better.

Grillant was silent for a moment before he let out a chuckle.

'Hah. Sharia change her views?' Grillant thought, chiding himself, 'Yeah, that would be the day the Union comes to strike us again.'

Jagabadī Pose: This pose was created to signify a truce or a ceasefire between warriors. Warriors in statues and art are often in this pose.

Aranon Faction: A once powerful but now deceased Faction known for their weapons, armor, tactics, and their God, Tazzy Yudha, one of the four first great Warmongers. Many Factions copy their techniques.

Zhenshi Faction: The second largest Faction located behind the Senshi Faction. This Faction rarely sees war but, once they do, they often dominate. Unlike the Senshi, they do not shy away or criticize their neighbors for their war-like behavior. They did, however, create the monks. This Faction often searches for balance within themselves.