Book One: Knights' Festival

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The Wager

The crowds screamed and howled for more.

Lights burned into her pale flesh.

Sweat poured inside her armour as she watched her last enemy fall.

That was how it was like for her years ago.

Beatriz sat in her lonesome in her padded cell. Frustration boiled inside her as she saw the glistening rainbow coloured threads in her straight jacket. As long as the jacket remained strapped to her body, she couldn’t use magic. And since her hands were also in a bind, ripping the jacket off wasn’t an option. She let out a groan and fell over before dropping her head against the padded floor to stare at the padded ceiling. The white lights flickered above her head and the dead air filled her ears.

“Ugh,” Beatriz groaned and thumped her head against the padded floor. “I am bored.”

But she remembered Reuben’s proposal. If she agreed to his proposal then, not only would she gain her freedom but she would get close. Close enough to smack the daylights out of Reuben. A cruel smirk curved up her lips. She rolled around on the padded ground with the dust filling her nose, causing her to cough and sneeze. Ugh, she groaned. Anything was better than rolling on a dusty padded floor.

“I suppose I could accept,” she mused to herself aloud before kicking herself up to sit up. “Sheesh, I want my arms back. I can’t do squat without my arms!”

Her dark blonde hair fell all over her face as it touched the floor. When was the last time she had it cut? She could have sworn that her hair now reached her ankles. She let out a dejected sigh until the metal door creaked open. Her head jerked up when she saw one of the people in white jackets throw a tray of food at her.

“Here, eat,” the doctor threw the tray at her.

Beatriz rolled her eyes in sarcasm. “Gee, that’s nice. How the hell am I supposed to eat!? With my toes!?”

The doctor shrugged and stalked off, leaving Beatriz in the room.

The dark knight scowled as his retreating form before looking at the food before her. Beatriz puffed her cheeks in annoyance. Asshole, her mind snarled. She could feel her blood boiling at the way he treated her. She was the Dark Knight! The Dark Knight of the Odissea dynasty! The heir to Julia Odissea! What the hell was she doing taking all the flak and crap from some useless ward manager?

Beatriz wriggled and slithered towards her food with a grunt before trying to eat with her toes. Her tongue hung out as she struggled to get the fork into a good position. If these assholes gave me rice, she growled mentally. The moment she looked at her food, all she found was a piece of bread and a baby sardine in some vegetable oil. Her water was placed in a sytrofoam cup which had no straw.

“Fuck you,” Beatriz hissed under her breath.

Suddenly, the window in front of her flashed open to see Reuben with a smirk.

“I hope you’re enjoying your lunch.” Reuben folded his arms with a chuckle. “Sardines were always mother’s favourite.”

“Oh yes I am.” Beatriz rolled her eyes and gave him a dry laugh. “I used to only get bread crumbs from the dungeons that I sat in.”

“Oh, is it too much?”

“Nah, I’m surprised you’re extending your hospitality.”

Reuben smirked and sat on the chair, folding his legs. “So have you thought about my proposition?”

Beatriz remained silent for a moment. Accepting his proposition did at least get her to move every once in awhile. Plus I can charge my scythe, Beatriz added to herself. All she needed was enough blood. Her scythe had been craving for some blood ever since she controlled her desire for mass murder. A bitter chuckle bubbled from her throat. She used to be known for genocide. A killer without remorse; she slaughtered by the thousands to the point that even Death didn’t want her.

“Well,” she paused for a moment. “What happens if I do?”

“You get to kill as you please.”

“Mm, that does sound appealing.”

“You’ll also have more bathroom privileges.”

Beatriz chuckled. “Yeah, you ought to be glad I’m not bleeding in between my legs right now.”

“Yes.” Reuben waved his hand dismissively. “So what say you?”

The Dark Knight pondered for a moment. “Sure, why not? And as a form of gratitude, I’ll even serve as one of the Machinos Gears.”

Reuben blinked in amusement. He didn’t expect Beatriz to offer her services like that. A murderer knows no loyalty, he mused to himself. The prince looked straight into Beatriz’s icy blue eyes and saw something he could relate with. It was pure Madness; the kind of insanity that knew no morals and would burn a city full of children to the ground. It was the kind of insanity that made his blood jumping and his blade hardening. What a fine woman she’d make, his hormones whispered to his mind.

“You’re offering? Haven’t you been knighted?” Reuben raised an eyebrow.

“Nope.” Beatriz smiled. “Samantha never knighted me.”

“Is that so? Is she that much of an airhead?”

“Yeap, she’s got enough air to fill up balloons for a birthday party.”

Reuben chuckled and clapped his hands. “I like you,” he guffawed. “I haven’t met a woman who could match my bloodlust in a long time!”

Beatriz snickered. “Well, we’re one of a kind.”

“That’s true. Not many people can understand our ferocity.”

“Ferocity’s such a mild word. You may as well call ourselves voracious.”

“Voracious indeed! I can’t wait to see you paint the stadium in those heathens’ blood!”

Beatriz shrugged and wriggled around. “Well, I can’t do it as long as I’m in this straight jacket.”

“True,” Reuben said as he turned to the wardens. “You two! Take off her straight jacket!”

The wardens exchanged glances with one another. However, one shook his head. “But sir, if we do –,” he protested.

“Is she sedated?”

“Sir, the whole wall is lined with Magic Retardant but –!”

“—Then do it!”

“Your Excellency –!”

“—Do it now!” Reuben slammed his fist on the armrest. “Or I’ll have you both thrown in with straight jackets.”

A cruel smirk curved up his lips as the two wardens trembled on their way in. They crept over while watching Beatriz sit quietly with her dark blonde hair all over her face. Her ice blue eyes peeked from behind her dark blonde tresses with a foreboding shadow covering half her face. Her pale white face shone like the moon in the middle of the night. Reuben rested his elbows against the armrest and watched on in anticipation when their hands trembled in removing the binds of her straight jacket. The belt buckles fell on the ground and Beatriz’s arms fell on her side. Suddenly, a cruel smirk curved up her blood red lips.

“Do you hear that?” He heard her say.

“What,” the warden asked.

“It’s the sound of Fear.”

“I’m not afraid!”

Beatriz let out a hollow chuckle. “Well too bad, you should be afraid of me.”

Suddenly, Beatriz whipped around and grabbed the heads of both the wardens. Despite the padding in the room, Reuben heard the loud slam of both their heads. A chuckle bubbled from his throat as he watched the petite girl strangle the wardens with her bare hands. He could hear the croaking screams despite the thick windows. Suddenly, a sickening crack echoed through the room. Reuben chuckled at the sight as she slammed the warden’s heads on the padded floors over and over again. Blood splattered on the ground with their brains dashed onto the leather padding. When the girl finished slaughtering the two wardens, she made her towards the door. Two feelings filled Reuben’s body: fear but also sheer ecstasy. As the small woman emerged from the room, he saw Beatriz strolled towards Reuben with a sultry smirk on her face. It was the look of a dominating woman. A woman refused to take orders from anybody.

She made her way towards Reuben and rested her petite body against his. Her blood soaked hand brushed against his crotch area which soon became a hardened member. He gasped and shuddered before Beatriz spread her legs and slammed her hips against his, wrapping her legs around his waist. Reuben threw his hands around her neck and tightened his grip. Her blood-soaked hair fell to his ankles as her dainty pale fingers gingerly traced his cheek. Her icy blue eyes, filled with lust, met his own. Reuben gasped as his hips grinded against hers. He could feel the blood rush into hardened member as the rhythm of his grinding increased. Beatriz met his ferocity with hers before he finally popped. A gasp popped from his throat as his skin brushed against the wet spot on his pants. A sultry laughter filled his ears after as a tongue licked his ear.

“Did that satisfy you, milord?” The young woman purred.

Reuben shook his head. “I’m seeing stars.”

“Good, because I’m not done with you yet.”

The prince of Machinos’ eyes widened when suddenly a force shoved him to the ground with the bloodied dark blonde woman sitting on top of him. Despite being in a set of torn rags forming into a makeshift black dress, he could feel himself getting hard at the sight of her. Beatriz slammed both his arms to the ground with a loud thud as she dipped her head down to dig her teeth into his flesh. Reuben gasped as he felt a sharp prick near his collarbone. Her wet tongue licked the blood off his collarbone as he shuddered with sheer ecstasy.

“Your princess… condones…ah,” Reuben barely could make a statement.

After lapping up some blood, Beatriz sat up and licked her lips. “What she doesn’t know won’t hurt her.”

Humiliation was an understatement.

Pain in his backside explained everything.

Brandon tried to lift his head only to have it slammed down on the metal panels. Two heavy, burly men held down his arms while something sharp tore right through him. He hissed in pain and tried to shake them off but ended up being forced to submit. A terrifying feeling filled him. The feeling of helplessness – it told him that there was nothing he could do. The feeling of terror, bubbling inside him, chilled his blood as the pain and the burn continued again and again.

“Let’s try something else. He isn’t screaming,” he heard Dietrich say.

With his body sore and limp, Brandon found himself dragged by a fistful of his hair. The soldier flung him aside as he crashed into the sink, nearly shattering the ceramic structure on the wall. Brandon winced at the blows as the three prison guards had their fun with him. He hissed in pain and glared at the two prison guards. His drenched black hair clung to the sides of his face with sweat dripping from the tips of his hair. He glared at Diedrich who smirked.

“That defiant look in your eyes is still there,” Diedrich snorted with a scowl. “How about I make you suck it!?”

Brandon snarled, “No wonder Lady Kara kicked your ass out. You’re a fucking scum that puts all the homosexuals to shame.”

“I have my needs and you have yours.” Diedrich shrugged and pulled up his pants. “I sure enjoyed it,” he chuckled and turned to the prison guards. “How about you?”

Hearing the prison guards chuckle and snicker shredded Brandon’s ego. He gasped and coughed, spitting out white fluids onto the floor. Ugh, he glared and winced at the sharp pain that carved into his back. Covering his back were not only bruises but slashes and blood vessels that had been ripped open from whipping and lashing. Blood dripped down his back with his clothes in tatters.

“I wonder what happened to the bitch you brought with you,” Diedrich sneered. “I bet you Reuben had fun with her.”

Brandon smirked. “You know, there’s something twisted about that girl.”


“Trust me, you don’t want to be there when it happens.”

Diedrich scoffed. “She didn’t seem that scary.”

“Anyone would pass out with a bullet lodged in between their eyes.” Brandon rolled his eyes. “You’re also considering the impact that slammed into her head.”

“True and it was Jeremiah who shot her.”

Brandon gritted his teeth. “The Knight Killer…”

“Exactly why she went down the way she did,” Diedrich huffed with a sneer. “You honestly thought that your little Blood Knight would survive against Diedrich?”

“I had my hopes.”

“He can kill any knight. He’s slaughtered more than the fingers I shoved up your ass.”

The pirate glowered while trying to reassess the situation. If he remembered right, Beatriz couldn’t die. No matter what kind of bullet Jeremiah would have put through her head, Beatriz would have survived it. The Blood Knight, in fact, would have gained more power because of the blood spewing from the wound. But the moment he saw Beatriz just drop down onto the ground, disbelief rushed through him. Well, immortality doesn’t mean impervious, the pirate thought and shook his head.

“Anyway, we’ll have a little more fun tomorrow.” Diedrich dismissed Brandon with a wave of his hand. “And you are about to have more fun tomorrow.”

Brandon scoffed with a roll of his eyes. “Gee, I can’t wait.”

As Diedrich and the rest of the guards stormed off, Brandon hissed in pain and grabbed whatever was left of the ceramic sink. He pushed himself off the ground and pulled up his pants with the other. His lavender eyes narrowed into deadly slits. What are those idiots planning now? The pirate captain wondered. He managed to shuffle his way back to his bed before hauling his sore body over onto the mattress. Despite the spring punching through the mattress, the cotton managed to cushion and soothe his aching body. Brandon groaned in agony as he tried to turn over, only for a sharp pain to burn through his back side.

“I wonder Beatriz is,” he murmured.

After all, Beatriz took a lot of blows before falling down onto the ground with a thud. The pirate twiddled with his fingers while lying on the bed, looking up at the ceiling. All he remembered was waking up in the jail cell with his wrists and ankles in shackles. A sigh bubbled from his throat as he closed his eyes, waiting for the next day.

Reuben walked off and headed back to the throne room. In his hand, he held a palm-sized gadget that would inform him of anything that would happen. Anything that happened in Machinos, he would know instantly. All it took was a few buttons before making a proper message. His eyebrows furrowed and his fists clenched when he looked at the glowing screen before storming off.

Lady Machinos has returned.

That was all it said. Yet this message riled him. He didn’t expect Samantha to survive let alone have the balls to return to the scene of the crime. According to the source, she was with someone else. Another knight perhaps, Reuben growled. But instead of feeling furious, amusement washed over him with a chuckle bubbling from his throat. Why would she return? What kind of idiot would return to face her assaulter?

“Well, I should give her a warm welcome then,” Reuben murmured.

Suddenly, he heard steps behind him when he saw Jeremiah. “Jeremiah, did you find anything?”

Jeremiah shook his head.”Found nothing on the streets but I could tell she was around.”

“Lady Machinos, you mean?”

“Yeah, she showed up somewhere. I lost her trail after awhile.”

Reuben nodded and looked out the window where he saw the dark city of Machinos before him. Despite the death of his mother, nobody seemed uproar about it. They probably think it’s Hayden calling the shots or they’re just too damn occupied with their technology, Reuben smirked. After all, as long as he gave them a distraction, people would easily turn a blind eye to atrocities. It was how he made himself so popular in the first place.

“How are the preparations,” Reuben asked. “All traitors rounded and accounted for?”

Jeremiah smirked. “All of them are there.”

“Good, I have a new knight I wished to test.”

“Let me guess – it’s that Dark Knight?”

Reuben snickered and folded his arms, looking out the window. “I’ve never had another woman match my lust and bloodlust. It’s a rare sight.”

“But what about Lady Machinos?”

“A passing, fleeting thing. I expected her adventures to have hardened her.”

“Guess it didn’t. She is just a princess.”

“A means to gaining political ground in Sofiene.”

Jeremiah pulled out a knife and flipped it around. “Well, it’s quite rare to find someone who can match well. Love is a hard thing to find nowadays. Heck, it may as well not exist.”

Reuben nodded and turned away from the window. “Jeremiah, see to it that you locate Lady Machinos. I want her to be present in tomorrow’s event.”

“Ah, shall I bring out the hunting dogs?”

“No, she shall be a spectator. I want her to watch and enjoy the blood festival.”

Jeremiah bowed with a small chuckle. “Yes, milord.”

As the Knight Killer left, Reuben continued walking down the hallway. He made a sharp left to another hallway and checked if anyone was following him. The prince scanned the area for a moment before turning to the vase on one of the tables. He plucked out a pink flower and heard a small hiss as one of the doors slid aside. Reuben then strolled through the doorway and went up the stairs.

The metal stairwell spiralled upwards as his shoes clicked against the metal steps. When his fingers brushed against the cold railings, Reuben couldn’t help but reminisce. He remembered the days he had to climb the stairs. But he remembered how the queen would demand he would go up to his room after doing something. Was it his fault that the Daffodils were not pretty look at? Was it his fault that the sight of the cat hurt his eyes? He just made some minor adjustments.

When he reached the top of the stairwell, Reuben pushed the door open at a disheartening sight.

On the bed, the body of the queen lay covered with a translucent black cloth. Her hands were placed across her abdomen in a prayer position. She wore a long black gown and gunmetal silver slippers. Her bronzed face remained unmarred by any blemishes with her long black hair smoothed out neatly beneath her head. Her lips were rosy red and her cheeks had blush on them. Her expression was so peaceful; it was as if she were only asleep.

However, Hayden looked far worse than her.

His ginger hair fell over his face with his eyes puffy from crying. Snot covered the entirety of his face and his ocean blue eyes were glassy with tears. Despite the clear signs he had been crying, his face remained devoid of any expression. Hayden sat beside his mother with his arms hugging his knees together. He wore black as well. Instead of his sprightly look, his face was covered with unshaven stubbles and his ginger hair looked more like a mop hardened from his snot and tears.

“Brother,” Reuben, shuddering, cooed for his younger brother. “You shouldn’t be staying in a room like this. Won’t the dreary appearance make you feel worse?”

Hayden remained silent.

“Now, now, brother – if you need a willing ear, I’m right here.”

“… Are you?”

Reuben blinked in surprise as Hayden turned to him with his tired eyes.

“Enough of the charades,” Hayden snapped. “What do you want?”

Reuben, a bit taken aback, looked at his brother’s pitiful state. He remembered how Hayden was once so shy and withdrawn. Having to talk to him before had become such a chore since he used to mumble a lot. But seeing the dead and unfeeling look in his brother’s eyes amused Reuben. His half-brother never showed his fangs but only because the queen constantly fawned over him. Now with her gone, the older prince snickered to himself. Hayden was ripe for the picking!

“Fine, you caught me,” Reuben sighed, feigning defeat. “But I was hoping to invite you to the stadium.”

Hayden raised an eyebrow. “The stadium?”

“Yes, I was hoping to bring back that fire with a little gladiator fighting.”

A chuckle bubbled from the younger brother’s throat. “How barbaric…”

“Well, better than you moping around all day.”

“I heard a commotion downstairs, brother. What happened?”

“Nothing you should worry about.” Reuben waved his hand dismissively. “It’s just a little misunderstanding.”

Hayden didn’t bother probing and hung his head. “I see…”

The two brothers remained silent and stood in front of the queen’s carcass. Reuben kept a cold and stern feature, shaking his head. He never did have good memories of his mother. After all, majority of the times she scolded him were due to misunderstandings. She never did bother try to understand him. After all, he wasn’t her son. Even with him as the eldest son, he had no claim. He was just a bastard child.

“Anyway, if you need me,” Reuben stood up and patted his brother’s shoulder. “You know where to find me.”

Reuben walked out the door and left Hayden behind in the mourning room. As the door shut behind him, the older prince fought the urge to throw up in his mouth. Ugh, he shuddered with a shake of his head. He didn’t expect himself to get so chummy with his younger brother. Especially since his younger brother was the reason why he would never have the throne.

“Weird,” Reuben let out a hollow chuckle. “I never expected myself to actually give a damn for my younger brother.”

The elder prince recalled the days he and his brother would play in the halls. Hayden didn’t seem to care that he, Reuben, had been born out of an affair with a scullery maid. He treated him like any other child. ‘Hey, Reuben, want to play?’ or ’Hey, the chef’s making crème bruleé again!’ would usually be his brother’s words to him. A bitter chuckle bubbled out of his throat. The innocence in his younger brother amused him and somehow, this knowledge also staked him the heart. Reuben’s hand went up to his chest to grip his shirt. He hated his younger brother but, it was for the throne. After all, he was his father’s son just like anyone else.

Reuben made a sharp right down the hallway and faced the large doors leading to the throne room. Years ago, he feared the door. His father’s thundering voice and the queen’s disapproving gaze burned themselves into his memories. But it was also in this room where he decided to end it all. All it took was an overdose of this and an ambush with a knife. A sinister smirk curved up the prince’s lips as he pressed his hand on the scanner on the wall.

Prince Reuben, welcome back.

The doors soon opened and when Reuben took a step inside, his eyes widened in surprise.

Scattered on the floor were the dismembered bodies of the Sentinels. Unconscious infantrymen lay on the floor with the flags of Machinos torn in half. Fizzles and sparks from the broken guard robots echoed throughout the empty hall with the black curtains drawn aside to let in some of the moonlight. The blue moon shone on the white marble floors as the lights flashed opened. When the warm white lights flashed bright, Reuben found a young woman with flowing black hair and a hardened dark brown gaze staring back at him.

“Lady Samantha,” Reuben sneered, quickly regaining his composure. “I did not expect you to have such gall to step in here.”

Samantha kept a calm composure. “It’s funny. Neither did I. But I had to.”

“Oh? Pray do tell, princess.”

“We have something to settle. And my knights as far as I know are in your dungeons.”

“Yes, they did attempt to steal from me. I only did what the law said.”

Samantha shook her head. “You give such a grave punishment to thieves yet someone who rapes and kills for his sick jokes deserves more than just a grave punishment.”

“Such tough words from someone so refined.” Reuben waved his hand to dismiss it. “Nonetheless, what are you doing here? You certainly didn’t just come here to gloat.”

“Of course not.” Samantha smiled. “I came here to wager.”

“Oh? Did you forget that you lost a wager against me already?”

“No but that is the same reason why I came here today to do so.”

“Ah, so it’s vengeance!”

“Quite the contrary, it’s what a friend of mine would like to call justice.”

Reuben folded his arms, looking at the black haired princess before him. He remembered the first time she entered the throne room. She still had a hint of naïveté in her eyes, trying to play a grown-up’s game. Now, she looked different. Her dark brown eyes had hardened. Her lips pursed at the sight of him and her fingers calmly drummed against the armrest of his throne. She had become a learned individual.

“Since you seem to understand nothing but violence like the brute you are,” Samantha began. “I propose a gladiator match.”

Reuben nearly choked on his saliva, guffawing in laughter. “You!? Fight!? You cannot be serious!”

“Do I look like I’m joking?”

“You and what army? You cannot possibly beat the Machinos Gears!”

Samantha’s pink lips curved up into a smirk. “Who said I’m fighting alone?”

Reuben, puzzled, raised an eyebrow at her until he saw a shadow emerge from behind the throne. His blood ran cold and his skin paled when he found four people behind her. Three of those who were formerly the Machinos Gears. General Kaelyn, Captain Cathy, and Admiral Abigayle stood no longer wearing their Machinos Gears uniforms but instead, their own armours. But it wasn’t just them that terrified him. The one who appeared to be leading them was the Dragon Lady who had terrorized his men with a battalion of dragons.

“You!” He sputtered, ignoring that his smug composure faded. “I ought to have you three thrown into a pit of my soldiers where they can gang rape you!”

Kaelyn rolled her eyes. “By all means, try. I trained those soldiers.”

Abigayle shrugged. “I don’t think that’s going to end up too nicely for them.”

“Well,” Cathy began and then shrugged. “That depends if you win.”

Reuben growled to himself. He couldn’t believe it! To replace her missing knights, Samantha enlisted members from his army. And they weren’t just any members, they were the elite of his army! His hands clenched tightly into a fist until his knuckles paled. Blood boiled inside him at the sight of the princess who came back from the dead.

“You! You will pay for this,” He seethed in rage. “I accept your wager!”

“Good.” Samantha nodded. “Since you like betting on human lives, I thought the event would be in your interest. After all, I happened to spot a stadium glowing with lights when I entered the city.”

Reuben couldn’t believe it! How did Samantha just waltz in here without anyone alarming him? In fact, one of the Sentinels should have said something! He would have gotten a notification on his phone! His grey eyes narrowed into deadly slits as the idea of defeat swelled up inside his mind. No, he growled. However, he realized he still had one ace card. A smirk curved up his lips as he straightened himself up, dusting his button-up shirt.

“Very well, take my soldiers. But I have one who has slaughtered more than thousands,” Reuben mocked.

Samantha’s eyes widened. “What?”

Seeing that she was shaken, Reuben chuckled. “You can have all the knights you want but I have one worth a thousand veterans who would spill blood in my name. She enjoys it after all.”

Samantha couldn’t believe what she was hearing. It can’t be, she thought. If she understood Reuben’s words right, that would mean…

“What did you do,” she demanded. “She would never –!”

“—Yet it was easy for her to swear allegiance to me,” Reuben sneered. “We think the same after all.”

The princess of Sofiene, taking a deep breath, stared back at the prince of Machinos. Keep your composure, Samantha took a deep breath again. She remembered what the girls told her before they stormed the throne room. The moment she lost her composure, it was all over. Besides, she would never do that to her. It didn’t seem right. As is, she hated taking orders from anybody!

“I see but I highly doubt she’ll do much.” Samantha looked at her nails, removing the dirt and dust. “After all, everyone has a weakness. Immortal or not.”

“This one doesn’t have any,” Reuben scoffed. “You can’t kill her!”

“She may not die but it doesn’t mean she cannot feel pain.”

“She thrives on pain!”

“Physical pain is different from emotional pain,” Samantha calmly rebuked him and began twirling her black hair around her finger, seeing how infuriated he was. “Well then, shall we add another detail to the wager?”

Reuben folded his arms. “And what would that be?”

“You and I must meet on the battlefield.”

“You will fight me? You’re a woman!”

Samantha shrugged. “I see no problem with a woman being able to fight. I’ve seen them,” – referring to the female knights behind her, “lay waste to many robots. Correct me if I’m wrong but,” she said and turned to Cathy. “These are the latest models equipped with evolving – ah, what do you call those?”

“Algorithms,” Cathy filled in for her.

“Yes, those things. Those useless chunks of metal were the latest models equipped with evolving algorithms to protect the royalty, yes?”

Cathy nodded. “Only the latest model of the Royal Sentinels.”

“There were sixty of them in this room, give or take a few.”


“Yet, we lay waste to them all.”

Kaelyn shook her head, chuckling. “I believe Her Grace crushed them faster than we could even run up to them and shoot them down.”

Reuben burned bright red with fury. “How dare you acknowledge her as your liege!” He pointed at the three girls behind Samantha. “You serve me!”

“Last time we checked, we no longer did the moment you threw us into the dog kennels to be slaughtered,” Abigayle pointed out with a frown. “Her Grace happened to be kind to us to haul us out before the dogs turned us into dog food.”

Seeing that Reuben was cornered, Samantha put the cherry on top. “Therefore, the next wager is this. Should I win, I will not only have my knights back but I will also leave slots open for Kaelyn, Abigayle, and Cathy to become my knights should they desire. Also, you are to submit to the law of Machinos should it be death penalty or life imprisonment.”

Reuben’s grey eyes glowered. “And if I win?”

“Our lives will be forfeit and we will be executed as enemies of the state. You can also choose what knights to keep as your own. They will not have any choice in the matter but to serve you.”

The prince pondered for a moment. “Interesting conditions,” he chuckled and looked up at her. “You seem confident.”

“That’s because I am.” Samantha remained stoic. She then stood up and bowed. “Sleep well, Lord Gears. I have no intention of losing tomorrow.”

With that, Samantha and her band of female knights disappeared.

An illusion?

The prince couldn’t help but wonder, where did she get the power to do such a thing? As far as I’m concerned, she never had that kind of magic, Reuben thought. He strolled forward to inspect the throne. His hand brushed against the cushion and felt a warm feeling against the cloth. She was here, Reuben thought. A frown marred his features as he plopped himself onto the throne. A wave of uneasiness filled him as he glared at the metal mess before him. All the Sentinels lay in pieces, defeated by four women and a princess. But there was something off about the princess. While initially he thought of it as some trick of the light, her eyes were not only hardened but there was something burning behind her eyes. A weird light – a light that did not initially exist.

“She couldn’t have obtained that kind of power within 2 weeks.” Reuben frowned and stood up, pacing around. “That kind of power was extinguished years ago by Militaris!”

However, a part of him couldn’t help but acknowledge it existed. Whether he liked it or not, magic still existed. Even if he banned magic, it still existed. Hayden was the living proof of that. The magic of Machinos flowed through Hayden and allowed him to do things that he could not. His hands clenched tightly into fists; why didn’t he inherit the magic? He was much Machinos as Hayden was!

“So I see you met her,” a voice chuckled from behind him.

Reuben frowned. “You let them in, didn’t you?” He turned around to glare at the Knight Killer. “Jeremiah…”

Jeremiah shook his head and raised his hands up in surrender. “I did no such thing. I didn’t notice until Cathy decided to knock me out.”

“You let that bitch sneak up on you?”

“I was helping in the preparations of your little blood-fest tomorrow.”

“That’s not an excuse, Jeremiah!”

Jeremiah rolled his eyes with a scoff. “Relax, as long as she is your knight, Samantha can’t win. Why so antsy?”

Yeah, why so antsy?

His mind cruelly mocked him on that note. He had Samantha’s strongest knight! Why was he panicking!? Reuben clamped his teeth onto his lower lip until he drew blood with his nails carving into his palm. As long as he had the Dark Knight as his winning ace card, Samantha could not win. But despite that, she seemed confident. In fact, she showed no signs of being shaken at all. Other than her slight concern (which he expected), he didn’t expect her to brush it off so quickly. He wanted her to cry. He wanted her to beg! And most of all, he wanted her to submit and shut up to let him do what he wanted. Yet here she was, despite being his victim, standing in front of him as if she had an ace card in hand.

“Fuck!” He roared and slammed his fist onto the throne’s armrest. “What does she know that I don’t!?”

Samantha stood outside, listening to Reuben throw a tantrum. She and the other knights had to suppress their giggles at the sound of his angry roars and tantrums. However, the sounds of his raging tantrums made her realize something. She had the upper hand. But she couldn’t let up now.

“Wait, I do have one question,” Kaelyn asked. “Do we actually have a way of beating her?”

Samantha winced and bobbed her head a bit. “Well…”

“You’re fucking kidding,” Kevyn groaned. “You don’t have a plan!?”

“Well, either or. We can still beat her. But, we need one more person.”

“One more!?”

The princess nodded and ushered the other knights to follow her. “Yes, we’ll need at least two people to handle Beatriz. If she truly is one of our opponents, we won’t be enough. We need someone who can counter her magic.”

“You’re asking for someone who knows magic and can counter hers?” Kaelyn raised an eyebrow.

“Precisely that.”

“Well,” Abigayle pondered for a moment. “There is one person…”

Samantha raised an eyebrow. “You know somebody?”

“Yeah, she’s not really combative though.” Abigayle shrugged. “She joined a religious group to help control her angry tendencies.”

“Oh,” Samantha whispered before she fell silent. “Um… will she be okay?”

“Yeah, she used to be a Machinos Gear before until she started suffering from high blood pressure and high cholesterol.”

“What!? How did that happen?”

Kaelyn shrugged. “Oh, the usual causes. She ate too much deep fried food and being part of the Machinos Gear was too stressful.”

“And it didn’t help that she fought with one of the former Machinos Gears,” Abigayle added. “That wasn’t a pretty fight.”

Cathy shook her head. “No it wasn’t.”

Samantha sighed and turned to Kevyn. “Do you have anybody in mind?”

Kevyn paused for a moment, drumming her fingers against her chin. “Well, I suggest we just bring my dragon and have Blitzkrieg eat ’em.”

“But you said Blitzkrieg doesn’t eat people!”

“Well, he doesn’t eat unless I let him eat the fuckers I don’t like.”

“So, he’s selective!?”

The dragon-tamer shrugged. “Hey, at least he’s packing a lot of fire power compared to most.”

Seeing that she was left with two options, Samantha pondered for a moment. While Kevyn did have a valid point of bringing Blitzkrieg to fight, that would mean there was someone bound to die. And as much as war included killing people, she wanted to avoid that. After all, if they were alive, she could probably recruit them as her own.

It’d be a blow straight into Reuben’s face.

With this, Samantha exhaled sharply and turned to Kaelyn. “So, who’s this person you’re talking about?”

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