Book One: Knights' Festival

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So much for that plan

Beatriz followed after Daniel and Brandon, watching for any Sentinels about to sneak behind them. She exhaled sharply and brought her thumb to her lips. She clamped her teeth onto it and drew blood, letting it drip all over her arm to form her gauntlet. The black gauntlet materialized on her arm and she clenched her hand into a fist. Reuben will pay, she snarled in her mind.

There hadn’t been a day when she didn’t plan Reuben’s untimely demise. He raped Samantha. There was no math, no moral, no crazy science behind it. He had to pay; as far as she knew, people would think it was Samantha’s fault. Who wouldn’t want to put his face in Samantha’s boobs?

“Especially since she acted like such an airhead,” Beatriz muttered to herself.

Fury boiled her blood as she and the two other knights crept along the perimeter of the citadel. According to Daniel, the plan was simple enough: sneak in, grab a car, and go find Samantha. With Brandon’s mana tracker, finding Samantha wouldn’t be a problem. She then spotted two more guards standing at the gate.

“Looks like we have two guards to get rid of,” she heard Daniel say.

“Sniper them out then,” Brandon suggested.

“Kinda hard when we’re already down here.”

“We can’t jump them with weapons swinging and guns blazing. That’ll make a mess.”

Beatriz rolled her eyes. How hard was it to sneak in!? She shoved past the two boys before looking at the two soldiers. She narrowed her eyes and put out her hand. Suddenly, dark green ancient characters appeared and swirled around her wrist. Beatriz began the incantation as a green smoke-like aura slithered over to the guards. Her icy blue eyes began to glow blue and when the soldiers inhaled it, they gasped and began to choke. No matter how they tried to brush the gas away, the aura seemed to wrap around their heads and began to suffocate them. A cruel smirk curved up their lips as their skin withered away and a green smoke floated back to her. She inhaled it all before letting the two soldiers drop to the ground.

“The hell was that,” Daniel scolded and gawked. “You could have blown our cover!”

“It’s called hurrying up, idiot,” Beatriz hissed. She continued creeping forward. “Come on!”

Ignoring a sputtering Daniel’s protests, she waltzed in with her gauntleted hand ready to conjure her scythe when necessary. Her icy blue eyes darted around and searched for more incoming soldiers. She leaned against the wall and looked at the different corners of the hall. She found little black devices staring down with a bit of light reflecting off the lens. Cameras, she thought. A scowl marred her features as she hid behind the walls.

“We can just waltz in,” Daniel said.

Beatriz grabbed Daniel by the arm. “Are you a fucking idiot!? Don’t just waltz in there,” she hissed.

“The cameras are dead.”

“You never know. Shoot it down.”

“No need. We have enough time.”

Brandon shook his head. “Bea’s right; the power can come back any minute.”

Daniel groaned and pulled out his pistol along with a small tube. Beatriz heard a small click as Daniel attached the tube to his pistol. He stepped out and took a few shots. She heard small cracks and fizzes before hearing a small crunch on the ground. The agent turned to her.

“Satisfied?” He scowled.

I’d be more satisfied if I could kick your stupid ass, Beatriz thought. She moved past Daniel and made her way through the hallway. She put more mana into her hand as the air around her fingers became chilly. Her blood bubbled and toiled; she didn’t care about grabbing transportation. All she wanted to do is lap up Reuben’s blood. Nobody gets away with touching Samantha, she hissed in her mind.

However, the dark knight quickly cancelled her thoughts. Samantha was the lady she served; the queen of Sofiene. Despite that knowledge, something inside her began to bubble. It was a weird feeling; a feeling that she never encountered despite walking the earth for the last four hundred years. This can’t bee love, she scoffed. She knew what love and loyalty were. It was in the form of Miguel Cruze years ago. Speaking of which, she thought. Beatriz realized that she still didn’t know how Miguel Cruze stood before her despite her seeing him mutilated before her eyes. It was an event she couldn’t forget. Whether or not it was planned, he had volunteered to be some man’s champion. It was to confront his sister’s killer. Unfortunately, it ended with his body being torn apart limb from limb. And the murderer? She didn’t just stand there. With all the rage given to her by the Odissea blood, she slaughtered the murderer. She didn’t just stop there. Beatriz carved him up before serving him as a pie to the woman who anointed him as her champion. A cruel smirk curved up her lips. She remembered the horror on the woman’s face when she found out that Beatriz had her champion served to her in the form of a pie.

“Stupid bitch,” she chuckled under her breath. “And Reuben thinks he’s the worst in town along with that Jeremiah guy.”

To her, Reuben and Jeremiah could never do the crimes she committed. She snickered; the first time she went to confession in Sofiene, the priest nearly died from fright. She remembered supposedly to be hung for her crimes. Like that would have killed me, she sneered. She had tried all sorts of things to confirm that she was immortal. Drinking an overdose of tranquilizer, drowning herself, freezing herself, setting herself on fire – no damage at all. After all that, it had become clear to her that her soul was so dark that even Angra Mainyu wanted nothing to do with her. A smirk curved up her lips as she walked into the next hallway with Daniel and Brandon following her.

“According to the map, the hangar should be on the left side,” Daniel said in a hushed tone.

“Isn’t this place all run on electronics?” Brandon asked.


“Now if there’s no power, how the heck do we get in?”

Beatriz scoffed with a roll of her eyes. Morons, she thought. If there’s no power and the doors are managed via electronics, nothing wrong with manual override. In Sofiene, all she had to do was a turn a doorknob or two. Nothing fancy.

“We’ll just have to wrench the doors open then,” Beatriz declared.

She continued making her way forward into the hallways. Her hand posed ready to summon her scythe. Beatriz kept her footsteps quiet and sauntered through the halls until her hairs stood on their ends. A cold wind blast by and she stopped in her tracks.

“You guys go find the car,” Beatriz said slowly with her eyes shifting to and fro. “I’ll catch up.”

“You sure?” Brandon raised an eyebrow. “Do you even know your way around here?”

Sensing the concern, Beatriz waved it off with a grin. “Relax, you’ll know where I am if you hear someone screaming in agony.”

A part of her knew that he didn’t believe her. But Brandon nodded slowly, seemingly buying her lie. “Alright, we’ll move on. Holler if anything goes wrong.”

“Sure. Besides, I can’t die.”

“Just because you can’t die doesn’t mean you can’t get hurt.”

“… Fair point.”

With that, Brandon and Daniel headed out the hallway while Beatriz stood alone in the reception room. She stood still and waited for their footsteps to fade. No need for them to hear this, she thought. She cracked her knuckles and could feel the air around her become cold. The silence tickled her nerves and tensed all her muscles. But she refused to budge. The Dark Knight could feel the tension swirling around the room as she let her mana call her scythe to her. Her weapon crystallized in her hand while she stood in the middle of the room. Her ears twitched and all her nerves were excited and on end.

“How long are you going to play hide-and-go-seek,” Beatriz mocked. She snickered in amusement. “I could smell the scent of blood on you from miles away.”

Her mocking was met with silence until she heard a scoff.

“You sure that isn’t your own?”

Beatriz looked towards the stairs where she saw a dark, stocky young man with a mocking smirk. His hand rested on the banister of the stairs as he descended down the stairs. Beatriz could hear light rapping of his leather shoes against the marbled floors. A black trench coat billowed from his shoulders with a ratty lavender scarf hanging around his neck. He had short black hair and a pair of deep set green eyes with diamond-shaped hazel flecks. Two spiked gauntlets covered his hands as he reached the end of the stairs.

“So you must be Jeremiah.” Beatriz observed him from head to toe. “The one they call – the Knight Killer.”

Jeremiah chortled in amusement. “Well, I guess you must be Samantha’s loyal bitch.”

“Watch your tongue. I might force you to give me oral after I kick your filthy little ass.”

“Interesting. I expected far less from Samantha’s bitch.”

Beatriz glared at the Machinos Gear. “Don’t make me shove my scythe up your dick. You anticipated we’d come here.”

Jeremiah shrugged. “Guilty as charged.”

“Let me guess: you strangled it out of the little bird who hacked his way into the system.”

“Hardly. The man wanted revenge for his little weed that Hawthorne killed.”

“Of course, revenge is a powerful motivator,” Beatriz added. She folded her arms. “And the reward?”

“Hawthorne’s head and dick on a silver platter,” Jeremiah sneered. “You were a fool to send him off.”

And you’re an idiot to think that Brandon would hand his dick over that easy, Beatriz rolled her eyes. “Sorry to tell you but, the man’s straight. He wouldn’t like getting oral from another guy. Hell, I couldn’t even get him to fuck me.”

Jeremiah snickered. “You don’t mince your words much, do you?”

“Do I have to? Who are you? My mother – who by the way, had the consistency of the Northern Lights?”

“I’m just saying that your vulgarity sickens me.”

Beatriz lowered her stance into a battle stance. “Look, if you’re gonna go after Daniel and Brandon, you’re gonna have to deal with me. I hate self-righteous fuckers like you.”

“Good,” Jeremiah put up his fists. “I’m tired dealing with pussy mouth like you.”

With no hesitation, Beatriz lunged with her scythe roaring to life. She could hear the gears grind against each other before tearing through Jeremiah’s gauntlets. Sparks flew in their faces as Beatriz pushed her weight against Jeremiah’s scythe. A thrill fired her nerves to life. Her brain screamed and unleashed a burning desire like no other. Seeing that Jeremiah showed no signs of backing down, she gagged before spitting in his face. Jeremiah staggered back and gave Beatriz the opening she needed. With a quick spin, she cracked his jaw with a kick and sent him to the floor.

“Bitch,” Jeremiah seethed.

Beatriz smirked. “So you have called me many times.”

“I forgot; dogs have to slobber.”

The lady-in-waiting narrowed her icy blue eyed at Jeremiah before falling back and casting her spell. A dark blue glyph appeared beneath her. She sprinted forward with inhumane speed before clashing with Jeremiah once more. However, the Machinos Gear had other ideas. Jeremiah removed his trench coat before throwing it at Beatriz. The dark knight swung her scythe only for the jacket to catch her scythe and wrap itself around her body. She yelped and crashed on the ground, constricted by the jacket.

“Amazing isn’t it,” Jeremiah chuckled. “When you can’t use magic, find a tool that can use magic for you.”

Beatriz kicked and struggled with a furious snort. “What the hell is this?”

“If you must know, it’s called Erkalla’s Shroud. Do you know what that is?”

“Looks more like a coat than a shroud, dumbass.”

“It’s still a piece of cloth. A cloth meant to fight dark-magic users like you.”

Beatriz furiously kicked and struggled, trying to wriggle her way out only to have it constrict her body further. She seethed and clamped her teeth against her lower lip until it drew blood. The moment it drew blood, a smirk curved up her lips as it touched the floor. She stopped struggling and looked up at Jeremiah. She snarled at the sight of disinterest in his eyes before unleashing a wave of mana from her body. Much to her annoyance however, the coat refused to come off.

“Fuck,” she snarled and grimaced at the sight of the coat. “You really prepared for this, didn’t you?”

Jeremiah smirked. “Of course I did, you filthy peasant.”

Rage and frustration threatened to explode from her tiny body. However, Beatriz took a deep breath. Keep calm, she told herself. Then, she shook her head. Who was she kidding? She wanted to throttle the guy! Beatriz closed her eyes and focused on her mana, bubbling inside her. She could feel the threads in the coat caging her magic inside her. Every wriggle she made had the threads brush against her pale skin. It felt cold and dreary; a feeling that she recognized all too easily.

It couldn’t be, Beatriz thought to herself in disbelief. All her mana suddenly shrunk and remained completely constrained by the jacket. And no matter how hard she wriggled, the jacket constrained her tighter. Its threads stretched but also kept her bound no matter how much brute strength she used to rip it off. Beatriz growled and tried to kick herself free from the jacket. Her blood boiled at the sight of Jeremiah’s mocking smirk. How she wanted to dash his brains across the floor!

Alright, let’s break this thing, she told herself. She closed her eyes and began feeling the threads in the jacket. Frustration boiled inside her as her mana could barely get the threads to budge. She clucked her tongue in annoyance; there was only one metal in the world that could do that.

“This is made of Thanatium,” Beatriz said. “Isn’t it?”

“That took you long to figure out.”

“Oh fuck off, you goddamn idiot.”

Jeremiah chuckled and folded his arms. “I’m amused. You still have that feisty nature despite the hopelessness of the situation.”

“That’s because I’m not hopeless,” Beatriz snarled and clamped her mouth hard onto her lower lip, drawing blood. “You do know what happens when I bleed, right?”

Jeremiah deadpanned. “You’ll bleed to death.”


“Then what? You’ll get this super power-up?”

Beatriz chuckled darkly. “Close,” – her eyes glowed with an icy blue sheen. “But, you forgot something.”

Suddenly, a dark blue glyph appeared beneath them both. Jeremiah’s eyes widened in astonishment while Beatriz smirked at him. She could feel the jacket desperately trying to keep her mana within its threads. The mana in her body pulsed and caused veins to bulge at her temples. Fangs grew long from her neck as she let out a moan of pleasure. Bodily fluids poured from her body as she stood up with her hair soaking majority of the blood and sweat. Her body shivered from the sheer power and her skin being wet. She looked towards Jeremiah and dislocated her arm to pull it out from the binds. She popped it back with a satanic grin curving up her lips.

“Aww, I hope you give me a good bang tonight.” She licked her lips with a gleeful chuckle. “I hope you can please me the same way the sight of a dead corpse does.”

Jeremiah, remaining unfazed, sniggered at her. “I know I’m going to derive pleasure from simply chopping you to pieces then.”

Upon feeling the surge of power, Daniel looked back. Did Bea just encounter one of the Machinos Gears, he wondered. The agent scouted the area before pulling out an armband with a computer on it. He flipped open the lid to reveal the QWERTY keyboard below and began typing a few things. He tapped into the cameras through a local connection. A smirk curved up his lips; he now had eyes everywhere around the citadel. He swiped the screen to reveal other parts of citadel to spot any guards.

“Good,” Daniel murmured. “No guard in sight.”

“Which is kind of funny.” Brandon shook his head with his hands moving towards his sheathed gunblades. “It was as if they were expecting us.”

“Or relying on the tech to kill us.”

“I wouldn’t go that far. The place is too quiet for a citadel.”

Suddenly, the lights flashed open. Daniel quickly pulled out his pistol and pressed his back against Brandon’s. The pirate pulled out both his gunblades and watched for any incoming attacks.

“Well, I see it worked out perfectly.” A callous and cold voice chuckled in amusement. “I didn’t know you were that gullible.

Daniel narrowed his eyes. “Lenard...”

“Yes, your story had a few inconsistencies...”

Brandon turned to Daniel with widened eyes. “You fabricated a story!?”

“It was the only way to get his help,” Daniel protested defensively. “He wanted you dead!”

“Of course he did! His stupid immature brain can’t comprehend the concept of sacrifice!”

“You knew!?”

“Of course I knew! Lenard always had a few screws loose in the cognitive department!”

Suddenly, another speaker crackled to life. “I see the knights returned to the scene of the crime,” a haughty sneer echoed throughout the hallway.

Shit this is bad, Daniel thought and looked around. All the cameras were focused on them and his armband began to fizz out. The screen fizzled and turned into a blue screen with an algorithm of codes. Fuck, Daniel began pressing the buttons to input a code. The armband refused to respond and it began to short-circuit. In frustration, Daniel ripped it off and threw it on the ground with a loud crunch.

“Let me guess,” Brandon said with a raised eyebrow. “He tracked us the moment you activated that.”

Daniel scowled. “Shut up.”

“You got played by an idiot with the emotional maturity that of a toddler.”

“Really? Do you have to bring that up now?”

The haughty voice sneered, “I suppose you’re not wondering what I could possibly do with you?”

Brandon glared at the speaker box. “Can your blowhole, scallywag. I can chop down anything you throw at me.”

“Ah, is that so?”

Suddenly, the hallways poured out hordes of Sentinel robots with their laser sights focusing on both their heads. Daniel kept his hand on his pistol, watching for any sudden movement. His finger wrapped around the trigger, waiting for one of the Sentinels to move. He inhaled deeply and warily kept his eyes on the laser sights that marked his body. He looked at Brandon who didn’t show any signs of shivering. Instead, he heard the pirate captain chuckle under his breath.

“You know Lenard, there’s something your oh-so-magnificent computer brain forgot to take note of,” Brandon said with a sly grin.

Lenard paused for a moment. “...What do you mean? What are you talking about?”

Brandon brandished both of his gunblades, with them glowing a bright liquid blue sheen. “I’m not the same guy you left 2 years ago.”

Daniel’s eyes widened when the pirate suddenly launched himself forward. His blades sung and at every swing, the agent heard the sound of the oceans and the sound of the Sentinels’ armour crushing at very strike. Brandon vanished from his line of sight before suddenly appearing behind one of the Sentinels and cleaving off its heads. The others tried to go after him with a hail of bullets as he tumbled away. He then slid on his knees, bending his back right beneath the flying bullets before deflecting one laser with his sword.

“Damn,” Daniel muttered.

He hadn’t expected Brandon to be that good. He had only seen Brandon’s skills once and it was against Dreadnought. Even then, the pirate held his end well. Then again, his mind thought. If Samantha selected Brandon to be one of her knights then, there had to be a reason. As the Sentinels began focusing their fire on Brandon, the agent pulled out his revolver and fanned it as fast he could. The bullets pierced and ripped off the head of the Sentinels before turning on him.

“Eep,” Daniel yelped.

A barrage of bullets flew towards him as he jumped out of the way. A part of him thanked his training for going through laser security system. He ducked and slid before bending his back over, falling on the ground. He kicked himself back and slid right in between the Sentinel’s legs and jammed his revolver up and fired a round. The shot exploded as sparks flew in his face and machine oil splattered on his clothes.

Ugh, that’s not gonna wash out, Daniel groaned in his mind. He rolled onto his belly before firing a few rounds into another Sentinel’s knees. As the Sentinel went down, Brandon decapitated it and kicked it over before firing a round towards the Sentinel behind him. Daniel ducked and saw the Sentinel with a bullet hole in its neck before it toppled over. He gawked and looked up at the pirate. He... helped him?

“The lass will kick my ass if I don’t keep you in one piece,” Brandon rebuked him before ducking from a chainsaw blade before he cut off the Sentinel’s arm.

Lenard couldn’t believe what he was seeing. Brandon and Daniel handled the Mark 10 Sentinels! Those were state-of-the-art technology. Each of their algorithms was perfectly crafted for them to adapt and strategize against any attacker. Yet, Brandon and Daniel stood their ground. He checked the screen to watch the progress of the Sentinels only to see that they weren’t picking up the data as fast as he thought they would. Their cameras could barely catch Brandon’s movements and before they could analyse Daniel, he had already shot them.

“That’s… impossible,” Lenard screamed. He began slamming his fists against the keyboard. “That’s impossible! It’s no fair!”

How could that be?

He created every algorithm perfectly!

Yet, he found himself cornered by both Brandon and Daniel. The best known hacker in Machinos found himself at wits’ end. He didn’t expect that kind of brutality from both of them!

“Quit your whining, you idiot,” the prince of Machinos snapped. “Send out the Destroyers!”

“My algorithms were perfect! It’s not fair!” Lenard wailed and slammed his fists against the keyboard, screaming in fury. “It’s not fair! IT’S NOT FAIR!”

“Quit shrieking!” Reuben grabbed Lenard by his curly hair and slammed his face into the keyboard repeatedly. “SHUT THE FUCK UP!”

How could it be!? His creations were perfect! All of them! The blunt force slammed into his forehead again and again. The keys on his keyboard cracked off and littered the ground, coated in blood. He shrieked again and again while slamming his knuckles until they were bruised. Each Sentinel was programmed perfectly yet some idiots managed to outdo him! Him, the best Hacker of Machinos – outsmarted by a bunch of knuckleheads! But why? Why did they outsmart him? He was the good guy! He wasn’t supposed to lose!

Despite his kicking and struggling, nothing stopped Reuben from flinging him into the ground and stomping on his head. The irate prince had stomped on his head enough times to cause a concussion and to dash the young man’s brains on the ground.

Daniel grunted and pistol-whipped the Sentinel in the face. He kicked another one down before leaping over a fallen body to bury another set of bullets into another. He scowled and ditched the empty magazine from his pistol before loading up another one. I’m gonna run out of these soon, Daniel thought to himself before rolling out two grenades to cripple another group.

“So much for trusting Lenard,” Brandon said. He bisected another Sentinel in half. “I half-expected his morality compass to be a bit more developed.”

“Didn’t you say that he had the emotional maturity that of a toddler?”

“… Point.”

Daniel ducked and kicked down a Sentinel before pointing his revolver at it and blow its brains. Suddenly, he heard a loud explosion and saw a man blasting through a wall. He crashed onto the ground and tumbled on the marble with a loud thud. Daniel blinked in surprise until he saw black fog hissing the air before condensing back into Beatriz’s small form. She stood there, gasping and panting before shaking her head.

“I hate using that form,” she grumbled. “It’s hard grabbing all my shit together.”

Brandon chuckled. “Aye, quite literally, I must add.”

“Hey, it’s the most basic attack form for any Dark Knight.”

“I’m impressed though. Doesn’t it have a side-effect?”

Beatriz shrugged. “Don’t know; I never did take note.”

Daniel nodded. He remembered reading up on that form. The Oscuros form, Daniel recalled. All those who served the Odissea needed to know how to use that form. It was a form not only meant for transportation but also sheer destruction. He looked upon the face of what he believed was the one people referred to as Jeremiah to see multiple scratches and disfigurations from Beatriz’s brutal attacks. The Oscuros form required a great deal of discipline and practice and despite its power, there was an extreme cost.

“The more of your own blood you spill, the stronger it gets.” Daniel shook his head. “Perfect for someone like Beatriz.”

He heard a sociopathic laughter from the ground. The young man that crashed through the wall got up and licked the blood off his lips before spitting it out. It was clear that Beatriz had the upper hand; her body barely had wounds and Jeremiah sustained most of it. However, there was something inside Daniel that told him that the Machinos Gear wasn’t done.

“Impressive. But,” Jeremiah chuckled and revealed a glowing dial on his gauntlet with strings attached to it. “You’re going to have to do something for me now.”

Beatriz raised an eyebrow at him until she saw her arms moving by itself. “What the –”

“—Impressive isn’t it?” Jeremiah smirked with a mocking jeer, “You’d think you’re so powerful until you lose control over your own body?”

Daniel’s eyes widened. What device was that!? He had never seen a device with strings strong enough to hold a person. He could see the clear sadistic smirk on Jeremiah’s face. Tch, he pulled out his pistol to point it at Jeremiah until Beatriz’s hands raised and clamped her fingers around her neck. Daniel gawked as her fingers wrapped themselves around her neck, slowly squeezing it.

“Pull that trigger and she snaps her neck.” Jeremiah chuckled. “Then again,” he sneered at Daniel with a slow grin. “You don’t really care, do you?”

Daniel winced at his accusation. A part of him wanted to care but the rest of him refused. For the first time in a long time, his hands began trembling. He could feel his head becoming hot and heavy while his throat began to swell up and strangle him. Sweat poured down his face and Jeremiah’s dark grin unnerved him.

“I don’t care much either if I snap this bitch’s neck.” Jeremiah shrugged. “This isn’t the first time I’ve killed a little girl.”

Beatriz hissed, “I’m not a little girl!”

“That’s what all little boys and girls say before they’re mutilated.”

“Heh, didn’t know people like you still existed. You would have fit well among the Odissea.”

“The Odissea are nothing compared to me.”

Beatriz rolled her eyes with a smirk. “Overconfident little punk, I ought to show you the real power of the Odissea!”

Suddenly, a burst of mana exploded from her body. Jeremiah’s eyes widened as the sheer force froze the strings and caused it to snap. They whipped and carved through the flesh on her arms. Beatriz let out a moan of pleasure that sent shivers down Daniel’s spine. The more wounds inflicted on her body, the more she began to shiver with delight. She salivated and shuddered with sheer pleasure as she embraced her body. A gleeful cackle bubbled from her throat as her icy blue eyes looked down on Jeremiah.

“Poor little boy, thinking he’s good enough,” she mewled. The Dark Knight turned to Brandon. “Brandon, stab me.”

Brandon gawked. “Say what!?”

“You heard me. Spill my blood.”

“You crazy!?”

Beatriz glared at him. “Just do it,” she snapped.

Brandon, visibly swallowing hard, positioned his gunblade. “You sure?”

“Yeah, stab my neck.” Beatriz grinned.

“I’m not beheading you!”

“You won’t be, you idiot! I can’t die!”

“Oh.” Brandon paused for a moment. “Right.”

With that, Brandon rammed his gunblade into Beatriz’s neck. Daniel gawked; what the hell is he doing!? The pirate pulled out his gunblade coated with her blood and only then did he see the effects. Blood spurted out of her wound as she let out a cough and gasp. Crimson liquid splattered against the floor with it forming glyph on the ground. Brandon’s formerly azure coloured blade began to glow and it turned pitch black instead.

“Great,” Beatriz giggled. “Now we can activate that thing I’ve been setting up for.”

Daniel raised an eyebrow. What was she talking about?

“I can’t use this in front of Samantha because it’s gonna scare her,” Beatriz admitted. “Plus, it’ll suck out all her life force if I’m not careful.”

Daniel gawked. “Won’t it kill us then!?”

“It might.”


“But I have full faith that Brandon won’t die. If you die, that’s your problem.”

Brandon blinked and Beatriz grinned at him. “Why do you think I asked you to stab me?”

The pirate shook his head. “So you have enough blood to cast the spell?”

“Yes and, don’t you think it’s stupid for someone to attack oneself?”

Daniel’s eyes widened. Of course, Dark Magic had one weakness and it was that it didn’t attack anything that was similar to it or its complete opposite! However, the thought of Beatriz preferring to keep Brandon alive stung a little. Then again, his mind rebuked him. She didn’t trust him at all. As far as he was concerned, Beatriz, Brandon, and Samantha went through a whole lot more together than he ever did with them. While he was the first to meet Beatriz and Samantha, something happened before he met them again. And this time, Brandon and the one they called Luke were the ones with them.

“If you want to save that idiot then, by all means grab him and run.” Beatriz scowled in annoyance. “This is going to get messy and I have no intention of leaving this,” – referring to Jeremiah, “asshole alive.”

Brandon nodded. “You better not make a big mess. Sam isn’t here to clean it up.”

“Don’t tell me what to do. You’re not the princess or my mother.”

“I’m not ordering you. I’m telling you.”

“Fine, go be a stuck-up prick. Find the goddamn car so we can find Sam.”

Brandon nodded and turned to Daniel. “Pick up your toys, Dan. We’re gonna go find that car. You’re the only one who probably knows where to go in this damn place. Plus, you’re the only one who knows how to drive.”

Daniel, snapping out of his daze, nodded. “Ah, yeah.”

With that, the two knights bolted off to leave Beatriz against Jeremiah.

Jeremiah smirked. “I like you already. You don’t give a shit about anybody.”

“Honey badger don’t care; honey badger don’t give a shit,” Beatriz chuckled. “The only reason why I gave a fuck about the pirate is because he’s actually useful.”

“And the agent?”

“He wasn’t going to die.”

“How do you know that?”

Beatriz shrugged. “I don’t know; intuition?”

But in reality, she did have some sort of an idea as to why he could survive. There was something about him she couldn’t place a finger on. His eyes had a haunting gaze behind them and every time he looked at her, there was a fury like no other. It was a vindictive fury that threatened to swallow her tiny body whole. Despite that fury, she couldn’t help but feel that she saw those eyes somewhere. While she had slaughtered many people, there was one that made a mark in her mind. A boy of eight years old – he stood there with fear freezing him in place as his mother was raped, slaughtered, and transmuted into a Daemon. She laughed and clapped as the mother devoured two of her children, the wife of the eldest brother, and the father. The last she kept alive was her middle child who didn’t seem to reflect in her eyes.

He can’t be, Beatriz shook her head. He couldn’t have survived. She remembered that the little boy grabbed the knife and stabbed his way out. In a fit of fury, he jammed the knife into what was once his mother’s nape. But much to her surprise, there was something lacking in his eyes. It was a lack of emotion; it was complete apathy.

“Do you Odissea do this often? Space out like weirdos,” Jeremiah sniggered. “It must run through your blood, don’t it?”

“Wow,” Beatriz scoffed. “You can’t let go off your ego for one second?”

“Neither can you.”

“I call it a healthy dose of self-confidence.”

Jeremiah pulled out a pair of brass knuckles with poles emitting large charges of electricity. “Well, I’d like to knock that down a peg or two.”

“By all means.” Beatriz bowed with a sneer, “try.”

“Shit!” Kevyn ducked and narrowly avoided the light beam. “Who the fuck brought that here!?”

Samantha staggered back as Azaleth unleashed her wrath against the dragon-tamer. She glanced back to see that Blitzkrieg desperately tried to aid its master only to get flung back by the sheer force of mana. Samantha struggled against the beaming light and pulled up a wall of Earth from the ground. The light formed into whips and smashed against her wall while she tried to keep it steady.

“Azaleth!” Samantha hollered.

However, the screeching rays of light drowned out her voice. She grunted and pulled up another wall, pressing her hands against it. With that, the wall began to move while she braved against the light. If I don’t calm Azaleth down, she’ll kill Kevyn, she thought. The princess pushed forward as the other dragons yelped and fled.

“AZALETH,” Samantha screamed louder. “STOP!”

Ugh, this is getting me nowhere!

Samantha threatened to tear her hair out of frustration before finding a blind spot where the light hadn’t touched. Her eyes widened when she remembered the lessons Lady Joy taught her about magic.

When there is light, there is darkness. And in darkness, light.

“No matter what happens darkness will always exist when there is light,” Samantha murmured, recalling the lesson on Magic Duality. “And if there’s one way to beat Light, it’s Darkness!”

Without hesitation, Samantha leapt towards the dark patch while taking a shot at Azaleth. She didn’t want to do it; but, Kevyn couldn’t keep dodging her attempts forever. I’m actually going to hit one of the Primordials, the princess realized. She shook her head and bit her lip.

“Okay, step one: how to use Dark Magic,” Samantha pondered to herself. She recalled how Beatriz always allowed herself to get hurt first. “Right, it needs blood. It needs money to work with.”

She looked at her hand and groaned. She didn’t have a knife! Her staff would most likely just make a bruise. It still wouldn’t be enough! She wiped her right hand across her forehead and spotted that the back of her hand was full of sweat. Her eyes widened when she realized – she could make a blade out of water!

She closed her eyes and focused on the water that was on the back of her hand, blocking out the noise. Samantha could hear Blitzkrieg’s distressed cries and Kevyn’s grunts and yelps. I have to focus, the princess reminded herself. She focused on the water before turning it into a blade and cutting her hand. She winced at the sharp pain before letting the blood drip. At every drop, she began focusing her mana onto the darkness and on her blood. The moment she did, a thick black fog began to strangle her. She coughed and choked as her blood suddenly chilled to the bone. She shivered and her knees began to buckle underneath as the dark powers began to gnaw at every fibre of her being.

“Ow,” Samantha whimpered and shook her head. “Is this what Bea goes through every time she uses her magic?”

That was one thing she could never understand about Beatriz. How come Beatriz relished in pain so much? It was a queer thing for her and rather, disturbing. However, Samantha knew that every powerful magic came with a price. If the Primordial Magic could only be used with those who had the blood, the Dark Magic demanded the user’s life in return. Her eyes widened in horror when she saw her skin starting to wrinkle.

“Ah,” Samantha yelped in fear but saw Kevyn struggling against Azaleth. “No! I have to! I have to!”

She forced her mana to manipulate the darkness despite her blood reeling in disgust. Samantha gasped and winced in agony as the dark magic caused her veins to bulge. Sweat poured down her face and blood dripped out of her nose. Her head began to ache as she turned her hand towards Azaleth.

“Well of Darkness,” Samantha cried out.

A large space of darkness swirled right in between Azaleth and Kevyn. Samantha’s eyes widened in surprise as shadow hands shot out of the darkness and grabbed Azaleth, holding her in place. The ethereal woman shrieked and began to scream, throwing beams of light in all sorts of places. Samantha yelped and ducked before noticing that Kevyn had leapt right next to her.

“What the hell did you do,” Kevyn roared over the howling darkness. “You fucking idiot! You just used dark magic!”

Samantha shook her head. “I had no choice! She was going to kill you!”

“Now you’re gonna blow a fucking Primordial to pieces! And you’re chopping off your own life force!”

“She was trying to kill you!”

“For the record, I ain’t dead yet!”

Samantha threw her hands up in frustration. “So what do you suggest I do then!?”

“How about stopping the spell so you don’t turn into a wrinkled old lady!?” Kevyn pointed to her hand.

Samantha, blinking in confusion, looked at her hand only to see her skin had dried up and began to sag. “Ah! Make it stop!”

“I don’t know!” Kevyn shook her head vehemently. “I’ve never used Dark Magic before!”

“How do you usually stop spells!?”

“By killing the caster!”

“I don’t want to die!”

“I know you don’t, you blithering idiot! But you have to cancel the spell somehow!”

Samantha racked her brains. How in the world was she going to stop a spell that she barely knew? As far as she was concerned, Beatriz let the spell run its course before completely deactivating it. Suddenly, a sharp pain blasted her in the stomach as she keeled over in shock. The princess dropped down to her knees and gasped in pain, shuddering and coughing up blood.

“Shit!” Kevyn caught Samantha and saw a pool of blood on the floor. “This is bad…!”

Samantha struggled to keep her eyes open as she looked up at the dark hole restraining Azaleth. Her body shuddered and her heart began to cough and wheeze. She could have sworn that she skipped a beat. Her hand clutched her chest as a chilling pain tore through her heart. Blood dripped from her lips as she stretched out her hand to the dark hole, mustering whatever strength she had left.

“C-Cancel,” Samantha whispered hoarsely. “C-Cancel…!”

On Samantha’s word, the spell suddenly vanished with her completely passing out. All she remembered is fading out in Kevyn’s arms.

Kevyn shook her head in surprise as the Primordial drew back in shock. She couldn’t believe it; only a select few people could use Dark Magic without it destroying them. The dragon-tamer examined the damage on Samantha’s arms. Her skin had dried and wrinkled to the point of her veins bulging from beneath her thin skin. She shuddered at the sight in disgust before placing her down on the ground, leaning her against the wall.

“Brilliant sorceress, isn’t she?” The dragon-tamer heard someone say.

She snapped her head towards the sound of the voice to see Azaleth and Khanara looming over her shoulder.

“For her to use an element completely against her blood’s affinity and not die is quite a feat.” Azaleth nodded in acknowledgement. “And to think the first time I saw her, I did not understand why my descendant chose such a weak-willed human being.”

Kevyn bared her fangs. “What would a high-and-mighty deity know about humans? As far as I’m concerned, you’re supposed to be just a construct of humanity,” she snarled.

“Kevyn,” Khanara gasped, appalled. “There’s no need for you to be so rude!”

Azaleth raised her hand to stop Khanara. “It’s alright. I understand your apprentice’s anger. I can feel her indifference and enmity towards humanity. But I do not blame her; humans are capable of being stupid.”

“Humans are stupid. Forget that they’re capable; they are stupid.”

“Don’t you think you’re generalizing them a bit too much?”

“When you realize that humans choose to do certain atrocities even though they know it’s bad, you realize that the real monsters are not the creatures that devour humans for food. It’s the ones who are capable of making the choice to kill beings that do not have a voice of their own.”

Azaleth chuckled and turned to Khanara. “Your apprentice is rather wise in her own way,” the Primordial quipped before giving her a disgruntled snort. “Even if she is rather brusque and obnoxious.”

“Obnoxious?” Kevyn scowled. “So sayeth the one who threatened to blow up the Yartengar Mountain Range using a goddamn disco ball.”

Khanara chuckled and shook her head. “Well Azaleth, what can I say? Kevyn’s quite a character isn’t she?”

“I think she would be a good influence over Samantha,” the ethereal woman agreed. “After all, I don’t believe that Odissea girl would be a good influence.”

“Wait, hold your pansies.” Kevyn twitched and shook her head. “Did you say Odissea? Hate to burst your bubble but, they’re all dead.”

“Or so we thought,” Azaleth added. “But apparently, one still lives.”

“Great, so she’s got a mass murderer for a friend? Says a lot for the princess here.”

“This one’s been reformed… a bit.”

Kevyn gave them a dry chuckle. “Well, I suppose.” She turned to Samantha who leaned against the cavern walls. “If she’s still in one piece then, I suppose that girl can’t be all bad.”

Khanara nodded. “Although, I am quite amazed at Samantha’s progress. I’ve never seen a sorceress progress this fast.”

“I think when I did the mind link I opened something,” Kevyn admitted. “It was quite weird. I’ve never seen it before.”

Azaleth frowned. “Yes and I didn’t appreciate you looking into her mind like that.”

“She gave me consent, Madam Flashy.” Kevyn scowled and turned to Khanara. “What I saw in there was like the cosmos and she was linked to every single silhouette. It was as if she’s connected into a higher plane of magic than she believes she is.”

Khanara shook her head. “What do you mean?”

“When I looked into her head, I saw silhouettes. But I’ve only seen the silhouettes in books.”

“The silhouettes of what?”

The dragon-tamer swallowed hard. “The silhouettes of the Primordials along with the Grand Primordial himself.”

Khanara froze. “W-wait, but that’s impossible!”

“What do you mean? Anyone can learn magic!”

“Yes but particularly not that one!”

“What are you saying?”

Azaleth exhaled sharply and explained. “The Primordials are the physical manifestations of the ones who lived before. They are the physical manifestations of the emotions and spirits of all the Primordials that chose to preserve their spirits over their bodies.”

Kevyn nodded slowly. “Yeah, so?”

“But because their magic was too powerful, anyone who dared to use their magic paid a heavy price: their life.”

“So, it’s like Dark Magic.”

“No, Dark Magic thrives on the life force of its caster. But this magic is simply so intense that those without the blood cannot handle it. Plus, the Primordials such as I, we have our own thoughts but not many of us are gracious to humans. Many of us are rather fickle.”

Shaking her head, the dragon-tamer gawked. “Wait, are you saying that the ability to use the magic lies in their genetic make-up?”

Azaleth, puzzled, turned to Khanara. “Genetic what?”

“It’s the very threads within our bodies that create our distinguishing traits,” Khanara quickly explained.

“Ah, I see.” The Primordial nodded slowly, somehow comprehending it. “Then yes, only those who have descended from a particular line can summon the Primordials.”

Kevyn nodded. “Any loophole to that rule?”

Azaleth raised an eyebrow. “Loophole…?”

“Any way to ignore the rule?”

“Well, as far as I know, no. There is no way.”

The dragon-tamer thought for a moment and turned to Khanara. “Something you said also makes sense. You said that those from the Sofiene line have the highest affinity to Earth almost to the point of exclusivity.”

Khanara nodded.

“It might possible that one of her parents were a descendant of that particular line that could call on the Primordials,” Kevyn added.

“I doubt it. The race went extinct or, so we were lead to believe.”

“The problem is that Samantha may not who she believes she is.”

Kevyn’s eyes widened as she looked at the princess. “Wait? What?”

Where am I?

Samantha floated in the darkness. She couldn’t see, hear, smell, or feel anything around her. The princess tried to lift her arm only to see nothing. It was as if she was sinking through a void. But despite the thought, the princess remained unfazed. She remembered how she once floated in the darkness when Kevyn healed her trauma. She did notice however that when Kevyn did heal her trauma, more mana flowed through into her. While most sorceresses needed to say incantations, Samantha controlled Water and Earth with a wave of her hand.

Suddenly, a white magical window of light appeared before her. Samantha looked closely as the sight of three children filled her view. Loud laughters and giggles echoed throughout the void as the children ran across the lawn. Samantha gasped at the sight of the three children. It was her and her brothers! She recognized the pink Hibiscus plants that bloomed into a bush in the garden, adorned with a double row of petals. The princess spotted also the purple Monkshoods that bloomed in the grass, forming a grassy wall between the garden and the stone pathway.

“That was the past,” she murmured. “What happened to us back then? We were so happy…”

The images suddenly changed to reveal the purple coloured throne room of Sofiene. Her father stood from his throne while her mother sat on her own throne. Each of them, she and her brothers had their own thrones as they addressed an entire crowd. She could see the uneasiness in their eyes and she knew the intimidating silence that kept people at the edge of their seats. She watched the memory play out before her.

“Today, I have decided that the Knights’ Festival is a barbaric tradition that only causes the deaths of many people.” Her father stood at the edge of the podium. “That’s why; I have decided to launch a proposition for the abolishment of the Knights’ Festival.”

At the sound of this, the whole crowd was at an uproar. People howled and roared in opposition while some others have begun to applaud his choice. She remembered that time. It was the time she saw both her brothers look so despondent. At first, she didn’t understand why. But it was the next line that got everybody admonished and amazed.

“Therefore, I also push for the proposition of the citizens being able to choose who their rulers are. And as the last monarch, I declare that the last monarch of Sofiene will be my beloved daughter – Samantha da Sofiene before our new system of government takes place!”

When he had said that, she remembered how everything soured. Her mother became increasingly cold and controlling to the point of verbal abuse. Her brothers teased her and bullied her mercilessly. She remembered how Santino had violent tantrums when he was younger. It got into such a physical fight that involved him pulling her hair and demanding she abdicate. The fight only broke off when their father entered and tore them apart. He told her to go back to her room while he dealt with Santino. The moment she closed the door behind her, she heard loud roaring and scolding accompanied with Santino screaming for mercy. When she passed by her parents’ room, the roaring threatened to blow open the doors while she stood by it.

Another memory flashed. This time, it was Sofiene being devoured by an inferno. Samantha frowned; it was a scene she knew all to well. It was the siege of Sofiene; the day her brothers started an uprising that killed their father. Her mother had been separated from her during the siege while Beatriz had been entrusted to protect her. Without a doubt, Beatriz had done her job well. She saw herself and Beatriz fleeing until an all consuming white light consumed the whole image. A frown marred her features; she thought she got over that by now!

“Why am I seeing that thing again? I thought I was over this!” Samantha resisted the urge to tear her hair out in frustration. “How come the memory won’t complete itself?”

“If you don’t remember it, maybe it’s best that you don’t,” a familiar voice said.

Samantha froze and turned around to see Beatriz. “Bea!? What are you doing in my head!?”

“I’m not really in your head. I’m just some fantasy image you conjured up,” Beatriz shrugged before folding her arms. “What the hell were you thinking!? Dark magic’s my expertise! You could have aged yourself into the next Genesis with the way you’re going!”

Samantha scratched her nape sheepishly. “Uh… I was kinda getting desperate?”

“Clearly! Everyone knows that you don’t just blast a Primordial to pieces! That’s my job!”

“It’s funny. If you’re something I conjured up, you sound so much like Beatriz.”

The petite girl rolled her eyes. “Well duh, I am the one you spent most of your childhood with.”

Laughing softly, the princess began to look around. “Speaking of which, where exactly are we?”

“We’re in the deepest recesses of your consciousness. You burned your mana up so fast that you knocked yourself out.” This time, it was a male voice that explained to her.

She gasped and turned around only to see the familiar lavender-eyed pirate. “Brandon!”

“Apparently, you used a kind of magic that didn’t agree with you too much,” Brandon chuckled in amusement and folded his arms, shaking his head in distaste. “I knew you were reckless, lass. But I didn’t know that you were reckless bordering suicidal.”

Samantha pouted. “I’m not reckless! I was just… desperate!”

“Desperate to get yourself killed?”

“No! Desperate to keep Kevyn alive!”

A snort of annoyance echoed from behind her. “For fuck’s sake, I was fine! I wasn’t dying for the record!”

Samantha saw Kevyn standing behind her with a scowl on her face. “A ‘thank you’ would be nice.”

“Okay, thanks for being an idiot,” Kevyn deadpanned.

“Really? That’s how you thank people?”

“You’re the one who took a risky move to burn your fibres into cinders and dry up your skin into the next Heat Wave.”

“Ugh, you’re incorrigible!”

“Well, someone has to be the one to tell you that you’re a goddamned idiot.”

Samantha shook her head. “Anyway, like I was asking – how come I keep seeing that same memory even if I already cleared up the trauma? That doesn’t make sense!”

“I don’t know,” she heard another person say. “Maybe it’s because you know what happened but since you didn’t want to accept it, you altered the memory itself.”

Samantha gasped and looked back to see Luke standing before her. “Luke… you’re…”

“I’m alive only in your mind because you chose to remember me,” he smiled. “Your consciousness is what’s creating all of us at the moment.”

The princess smiled until she realized what Luke said. “Wait, I can do that? Alter my memories, I mean.”

“We all can. It means it’s so traumatic that you decided to deny its existence by altering it.”

She turned to Kevyn. “I thought you fixed that!”

“How can I fix something that your mind and memory bank deemed fixed, you halfwit,” Kevyn snapped moodily. “It’s like the old sayin’: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”

“Wait, you’re saying that I fixed the memory?”

“The word ‘fixed’ can mean a lot of things.”

Samantha sighed and looked at her hands, shaking her head. If she fixed it then, it meant only one thing: she was the only one who could break it. The princess pondered for a moment, drumming her fingers against her chin. How could she break a memory? If it were something physical, someone would just have advised her to hit it with a hammer. But a memory was a kind of thought; it was abstract and in her head. How could she break something that her mind already deemed fixed?

“Wish we could answer that but, I got nuttin’.” Kevyn shrugged and folded her arms. “Why don’t you ask someone who’s been there during the event?”

Samantha nodded. “It’s possible. But most of the people I knew who were there are dead,” she stopped for a moment and then turned to Beatriz. “You know what happened that day!”

Beatriz frowned. “So what if I do!?”

“Why won’t you tell me what happened!?”

“You’re better off not knowing!”

Suddenly, a loud voice echoed through the darkness. “What the fuck – she’s talking in her sleep?”

Samantha froze; it was Kevyn’s voice! She was still alive! If she could hear people speaking then, the idea was good enough confirmation for her to know that she was still alive. She looked towards the people she conjured in her mind as a bright light slowly began to engulf them. One by one, they began to vanish. A sigh bubbled from her throat before she fell back into the world of the living.

“Hey! She’s gettin’ up,” Kevyn hollered.

Samantha woke up and saw Kevyn leaning against the wall with Khanara making a pad for herself at the foot of the princess’ bed. Azaleth took a seat on one of the guest chairs in the room with her hands placed against her lap with her legs crossed and folded it.

“Oww,” Samantha moaned before looking at her hand. “I’m… back to normal.”

“You’re lucky that you didn’t complete the Dark Magic,” Azaleth chided. “You could have been killed!”

Samantha hung her head. “I… I got scared. I thought you were –”

“—There is a reason why Dark Magic has been banned, princess.”


“Therefore, it would not be wise to ever use it again!”

Kevyn rolled her eyes at Azaleth. “And yelling at her’s gonna make everything so much better now is it?”

The Primordial surged with power, glaring at the dragon-tamer. “You dare question me, human?”

“Just because you’re a divine being don’t give you a right to scream at her like an idiot when she was clearly spooked. For the record, you were trying to kill me.”

“You took control of my mana!”

“I did not. I took control of Samantha’s which you flew off the handle for.”

Khanara immediately stepped in between the two women. “Alright, that’s enough,” she coaxed the two of them before turning to Samantha. “How are you feeling?”

Samantha shook her head. “I’m okay. I’m glad there’s no lasting damage.”

“That’s because you did not complete the spell. However, Azaleth is right.” Khanara cast a withering glance to Kevyn, causing the dragon-tamer to sit down. “Dark Magic is not something to be trifled with.”

The princess exhaled sharply. “I’ve seen Bea use it and she doesn’t seem to have a problem.”

“It’s either she has no care for her own humanity whatsoever or she has a medium. Dark powers can be harnessed if you have a special medium.”

“An extremely special medium made out of Thanatium that is,” Kevyn added.

Samantha blinked. “Thanatium?”

“It’s the only known metal at the moment that can either contain or conduct dark powers. It’s so flexible that this metal can be made into threads that can be sewn into clothes.”

When Kevyn mentioned that, Samantha suddenly recalled Beatriz whose armour appeared to be made of the same material. It was only an assumption but, like what Kevyn said, it was the only known metal to conduct or contain dark magic. She froze. If she was here, where were her knights!?

“Wait! Bea! Brandon! Daniel!” She panicked. “They’re still in Machinos!”

Kevyn scoffed with a roll of her eyes. “Took you long enough to notice.”

“We have to go there!”

“You want to storm Machinos!? Are you out of your mind!?”

“You do that all the time!”

“That’s because I have no sense of self-preservation whatsoever!”

“Then, why are you hesitating now!?”

Kevyn clenched her fingers tight until her knuckles paled. “It’s because all the Machinos Gears have gathered. Reuben’s on high alert. Majority of them are there.”

Samantha shook her head. “But not all of them are bad. General Kaelyn and Captain Cathy can help us!”

“Don’t be naïve, you fucking moron. They’ll serve their prince even if he deserves to get fucked in the eyeball.”

“I’m not saying they’ll fight alongside with us. They’ll just have to let us in.”

Kevyn folded her arms, raising an eyebrow. “Wait, you’re going to confront Reuben head on?”

With the idea coming from Kevyn, Samantha swore it sounded much better in her head. However, she knew that it was a risky move. She looked at her hands and remembered how much she progressed. And now that she thought about it, confronting Reuben would be a terrible idea.

“It’s not that we’re confronting Reuben. Our main goal is to unite with my knights,” Samantha explained.

Kevyn raised an eyebrow. “And what makes you think they’re there?”

The princess bit her lower lip and shook her head. “If there’s anything Beatriz likes, it’s one thing: a good kill.

“Fuck,” Beatriz hissed and staggered back. She winced at the pain in her shoulder where she pulled out a large shotgun shell. “Where the fuck did that come from?”

Jeremiah smirked before blowing away the white curl of smoke from his gun. “I may not be a magic user but I am pretty good with a gun.”

Hissing in pain, Beatriz slapped her hand over the throbbing wound. Her body trembled from the sheer impact of the blast. Her knees nearly buckled beneath her; she didn’t expect Jeremiah to last long. She heard more gunshots and crunches, noticing that both Daniel and Brandon fought back to back. As long as they didn’t lose sight of one another, they would be fine. But she didn’t expect Jeremiah to be such an obstacle at all!

“Damn it!” She slammed her bloodied fist on the ground and glared at him. “Who the fuck are you?”

Jeremiah shrugged. “I’m just Jeremiah. A Machinos Gear serving under the Reuben faction.”

“No shit you’re serving Reuben. Only an idiot would hire you.”

“Oh? Jealous that you’re stuck with a princess that does nothing?”

Beatriz bit her lip. To some extent, she was. But could she blame Samantha? The entire girl’s life, the princess had been raised to be the typical fairy tale princess. The princess waits for the knight to save her and that’s basically the story of Samantha’s life. But she learned, a long time ago, that fairy tales were just there to give people some false hope that things would become better.

“I have to admit, maybe I am,” Beatriz admitted mildly.

Jeremiah chortled in amusement. “Oh? Is that so?”

“Yeah but for some strange reason, I don’t mind too much either.”

“Why is that?”

Beatriz chuckled and stood up, revealing that the bullet hole already closed up. “If she learned how to kill, she’d have the eyes of a killer. That doesn’t look nice on a princess.”

With that, Beatriz roared and lunged forward with her scythe humming to life. Jeremiah leaped out of the way before dodging the dark knight’s attempt to cleave him in half. She narrowed her eyes and pursued him. Like a predator hunting its prey, she relentlessly chased him down with her scythe cleaving through anything – the furniture, the ornaments – that stood in her way. Vases shattered on the ground. Tables tipped over as Jeremiah kicked one towards her. She growled and swung her scythe before cleaving the table in half.

“Is that all you got!?” She zoomed towards him again with a burst of mana throwing her forward.

Before she could reach Jeremiah, a sharp pain filled her head as she stopped midway. Beatriz gasped and staggered back before falling to the ground. Her hand slowly went up to her head where she felt a small, metal knob sticking out. She brushed her fingers against the metal knob before taking a look at it. Her fingertips were dipped in blood. A drilling headache burrowed through her head while she lay on the floor.

“BEA!” Was the last thing she heard before completely blacking out.

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