Book One: Knights' Festival

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Desperation

Reuben was furious.

Actually, furious was an understatement.

He was exasperated and raging.

At the sound of the bell and the sight of Samantha’s knights presenting the relics, he couldn’t believe it. A part of him thought that their loyalty to Machinos would deter the knights. But he was wrong. His former knights remained steadfast; they were loyal to Samantha. Kaelyn, Cathy, Abigayle, Patrisha, and Kevyn bowed down to her and presented to her the treasure.

His fists clenched tight until his knuckles paled. Reuben narrowed his charcoal grey eyes at the princess. But much to his surprise, Samantha had a stony but almost triumphant look on her face. The way she interacted with her knights showed the regal bearing of a queen. She stood up and curtsied to them, taking the relic and raising it over her head.

“My knights have won the challenge,” Samantha declared. “They have brought back the relic!”

Many of the members of the audience had mixed responses. Some cried out injustice. Others applauded Samantha’s efforts. However, Reuben couldn’t help but settle himself uncomfortably in his throne. As the knights left the labyrinth, the large structure dissipated. In the middle of the field, the ten knights stood off against one another. The tension however was clear. Jeremiah glared holes into Kaelyn. Beatriz hissed and bared her fangs at a smirking Kevyn. Abigayle twitched at the sight of the hooded figure. Cathy exhaled sharply and looked straight into Nellie’s amused smile. Antoine smirked while Patrisha snorted at him in annoyance.

“For the next match,” the announcer cried out. “There will be duels between each of the knights!”

People screamed in delight. Reuben on the other hand smirked; Jeremiah had the upper hand that way. If anything, the Knightkiller worked better alone. And he knew that. It was why he had him sent on special missions. Only Jeremiah would be sent and no one could trace the attack back to the Machinos Gears. After all, it was how he managed to secure the throne for himself.

Suddenly, he heard the match up. “For the first match, Kaelyn Azul versus Nellie Preud!”


Kaelyn nodded and turned to the others. “Looks like that’s my cue.”

Abigayle grinned. “Good luck,” she said.”You’re gonna need it.

The general shook her head. “I’ll be fine. She’s quite rusty in combat.”

“True, she did a lot of desk work for awhile. Better pray she’s still rusty.”

As Kaelyn took a step forward to face Nellie, she exhaled sharply. She remembered the time Nellie still trained with them. As one of the prides of Machinos, Nellie had been given the best training. Not only physical training but they performed dangerous experiments which gave her the magic she had. Illusions, the general recalled. The magic of hypnosis was a powerful one especially if the mind had been completely susceptible. As long as the mind wasn’t that strong, hypnosis would have an easier time. She remembered the kind of missions that she and Nellie were sent on. While she would take down her opponents with a more straight-forward method, Nellie would calmly walk in, use her pendulum, and have the insurgents slaughter each other.

Kaelyn drew her swords and heard her fellow knights’ footsteps fade back. Nellie strode forward as well with the other Machinos Gears stepping back. The knights faced off against one another on a stage with their weapons drawn. Sweat poured down Kaelyn’s face as her palms became clammy. She exhaled sharply and looked straight into Nellie’s eyes. Her eyes rolled towards the pendulum which lay secured in the Hypnotist’s shooter. Flexing her wrists, Kaelyn steadied her stance against Nellie.

“Well, I see you’re more than ready to fight.” Nellie nodded in amusement. She brandished her launcher. “Unfortunately, I cannot let you win.”

Kaelyn shook her head. “Sorry, neither can I.”

“I see there’s a bit of conflict here.”

“Obviously.”

“But, you are supposed to be loyal to Machinos. Your siding against the prince is tantamount to treason, General. You should know that.”

“I do,” Kaelyn said but exhaled sharply and steadied up for a battle stance. “However, I am still siding with the prince. And so is the princess.”

“She’s clearly not siding with Reuben.”

“True but that’s not the prince we’re talking about.”

Nellie’s eyes widened. “You mean –”

“—He’s known for a long time on how his mother died,” the general pointed out. When the bell rang, Kaelyn launched herself at Nellie. “That’s why we intend not to win just for the princess but for Hayden as well!”

She could never forget the day Hayden confided in her what he knew. The prince knew that his mother did not die due to natural reasons. She remembered him asking for her help in identifying his mother’s medicines. One of them happened to leave a trace. If overdosed, the tongue would become swollen and stained black. And the moment they investigated the body, what Hayden said was true: his mother had been murdered. The next question however was who. Not many people knew about the mother’s condition.

Unless, someone told someone else.

After Hayden gave her his suspicions, she carried out the investigation in secret. With a little help, she found the killer and his informant. And the moment she found out, Kaelyn had more than every reason to defect from the Machinos Gear. However, she knew she had to keep up the façade of being loyal to the prince. After all, her treason would shame her father. Even if her father was not a Machinos Gear but a general in the army, she kept her mask. She kept the persona of the loyal general – no matter who sat on the throne. As long as she was the sworn in General of Machinos and a Machinos Gear, treason was not an option.

Kaelyn swung her sword as Nellie dropped down to duck. She watched the lanky girl’s leg swing out from below her before jumping up to dodge. The general rolled away as the pendulum shot out. Yelping, she dodged and stuck out her sword to wrap the string of the pendulum around it. Soon, both knights were caught in a deadlock. Kaelyn winced as the Hypnotist tried to pull the sword away from her. However, the general twisted her sword back in hopes of snapping the string.

“Forget it,” Nellie declared. “The string is made from poly-resin mesh. There’s no way human strength can snap the strings!”

Kaelyn smirked. “Sure I can’t. But I know my sword can still saw through it!”

Nellie, hissing in annoyance, pulled her pendulum back. She whirled her pendulum as it darted back at Kaelyn, forcing the general to roll away. The general found herself keeping her distance and forcing herself to deflect the attacks. She clucked her tongue and whirled around to throw her blade straight at Nellie. The Hypnotist’s eyes widened as she jumped in the air while the blade jammed itself into the ground.

“Damn,” Kaelyn cursed under her breath.

She darted after her sword as the pendulum chased after her. The reflection of the pendulum shined off her blade as she leapt forward and grabbed the blade. As the pendulum crashed on the ground, Kaelyn tumbled away with both swords in hand. Exhaling sharply, she quickly drew her swords back and began dragging the blade in the ground. The steel of her blade tore through the sandy ground as she swung up the dust and pebbles into Nellie’s eyes.

“Ah!” Nellie staggered back. She waved her hand to brush the dust away, glaring at Kaelyn. “You…!”

The general continued her movement. She dragged her foot on the ground along with the blade. As the dust and sand flew, Kaelyn continued her defence against Nellie. Despite feeling the burning sensation in her lungs, the general refused to cave in. Sweat poured down her face. Her throat tightened. I have to win, the general reminded herself.


“Damn, she’s actually keeping up with Nellie!” Abigayle shook her head and watched the fight unfold. “I haven’t seen Kaelyn sweat like that in ages!”

Cathy nodded. “Kaelyn always made things look so easy. But actually being put up against a veteran, it’s amazing to watch.”

However, Kevyn didn’t have the same thoughts. While she had faith in Kaelyn’s abilities, it was Nellie she was worried about. Despite the clear struggle written all over Kaelyn’s face, Nellie showed no signs of strain. Her face remained calm even with hints of aggravation coming out of her attacks. Her movements were calm and controlled, even with Kaelyn pushing forward with the attack. The dragon-tamer bit her thumbnail. What could Nellie possibly be planning?

The dragon-tamer looked at the sandy ground, noticing Kaelyn already creating a rune circle. She could tell from the drawings and markings on the ground. However, did Nellie have any counter attack? An experienced warrior – let alone a war veteran like Nellie – would have known that Kaelyn had begun crafting a trap for her. And that’s what miffed her. Not knowing what Nellie was planning gave an air of uncertainty. It was a kind of air that ate through her especially since she didn’t know.

“Fuck,” she hissed under her breath. “What could she be planning?”

The dragon-tamer folded her arms and sat next to Patrisha.

“She’s probably setting up and hypnotizing Kaelyn as we speak,” Patrisha suddenly said.

Kevyn’s head snapped towards the nun with her eyes widening. “What are you saying?”

“I remember being on a mission with her once,” Patrisha explained. “She didn’t do anything other than dance around her enemies. Her pendulum would swing and dart around but, she didn’t look like she was taking them seriously.”

“And then what happened?”

“And then, everything suddenly changed. Her fighting style suddenly became so warped that we then realized why Nellie Preud’s nickname became The Hypnotist.”

Suddenly, something in Kevyn clicked. Her ears twitched and picked up Kaelyn’s pounding and rapid heart rate. She could hear her heavy breathing and picked up even the sounds of her slowly dragging movements. Kevyn quickly jumped from her chair and rushed over to the edge of the stadium.

“Kaelyn, stop moving,” Kevyn hollered. “The dance and physical contact is the hypnosis!”

Suddenly, the general stopped. Fear sank into the dragon-tamer’s stomach when she suddenly saw the consciousness in Kaelyn’s eyes fade. Her arms suddenly hung limp and her swords dropped on the ground. The sound of the clattering of metal echoed throughout the arena as Nellie stood in front of the exhausted Kaelyn. A triumphant smirk curved up Nellie’s face as she brandished her pendulum.

“Sorry, I can’t lose. It’d be disappointing,” Nellie sighed and revealed her pendulum. “Besides, Reuben would be very angry if I lost.”

She suddenly stood on the tips of her toes, performing a pirouette. Kevyn’s eyes widened as her spins slowly became faster and faster. The length of her pendulum suddenly started to increase along with her speed. Soon, the speed whistled with the wind along with the string. The speed increased until it appeared that Nellie had enshrined herself in a dome made from metal strings.

Shit, Kevyn’s eyes widened. Her hairs stood on their ends as a terrifying realization settled in her stomach: Nellie wasn’t going to stop. Without any warning, the dragon-tamer leapt into the fray and grabbed Kaelyn. She heard the general choke but didn’t care. Despite her clumsy attempt, Kevyn managed to crash land on her back and pulled Kaelyn out of the way. She heard the howls and boos from the crowd as Kaelyn snapped out of the hypnosis.

“Ugh, what happened?” Kaelyn shook her head.

“Nellie caught you in her web,” Kevyn explained as she looked up at the nonchalant Hypnotist.

The Hypnotist’s spinning stopped as she curtsied in front of them. “I see you were fast enough.”

“I see you’re heartless enough,” Kevyn snarled back.

“Oh no need for that. You should know that people die everyday.”

Of course I do, I hate them. Kevyn resisted the urge to throttle the Hypnotist right there and then. However, she knew that her interference would merit Kaelyn’s forced forfeit. But nonetheless, she didn’t care. The girl survived and that was all that mattered. As one of Samantha’s temporary knights – a knight nonetheless – demanded only one thing: for them to return back alive.

“You didn’t have to save me,” Kaelyn protested.

“You’re welcome, dumbass,” Kevyn scoffed and shoved the girl off her. “Next time, I should leave you to turn into Machinos sushi anyway!”

As the crowds howled and cheered, Kevyn ignored their demands for Kaelyn’s death. She deeply inhaled and exhaled. They weren’t her concern. All she had to do was mow the Machinos Gears down and then return back to the Yartengar Mountains. She just wanted to go home and stay home. Her home was with the dragons! Kevyn could feel the fire and electricity burning up inside her. Any longer among this many humans, the dragon-tamer forced the urge inside her to incinerate them all.

Fucking noise makers, she growled. Kevyn clenched her fists tight as small vibrations from beneath the ground brushed against the soles of her feet. The dragon-tamer stepped back as the ground opened before them. The Machinos Gears stepped back with the Sofiene Knights as a large tower slowly began to rise into the air. Kevyn’s eyes widened at the sight of the large metal tower. The air around suddenly turned cold as lightning began to strike. Great. She rolled her eyes. Typical horror movie much?

“For this event, we have the game – Tartaros,” the announcer declared. “The rules are simple, you give a number from 1-100 and you’ll summon creatures. However, the higher the number – the higher the chances of a stronger creature appearing.”

Kevyn smirked. A hunting event, she mused to herself. When she looked over the structure, she spotted the other knights. The dragon-tamer began her assessment, wondering who could take on the event. Considering they won, she thought. That would give them the chance to start first.

“There are a hundred creatures.” Kevyn heard someone say.

She turned around to see Cathy walking over to her. “The hundred creatures there, I could only imagine what their old forms were before Reuben allowed human and animal experimentation.”

Kevyn shuddered. “So the sick bastard took it that far?”

“Yeah, he was trying to make the Ultimate Weapon.”

“I see he failed.”

“It’s still in progress. But when I saw her, I knew she could destroy an empire in a day.”

The dragon-tamer shuddered. For someone to have the ability to destroy the empire, it only meant one thing. She either had that much mana or her power was specifically tailored for that purpose. Her nose wrinkled up as she snorted in annoyance as the announcer stepped down.

“Both teams, please gather!”

As both parties closed in, the announcer began his explanation.

“Since Nellie Preud won the match, she earned the right for the Machinos Gears to choose first.” The announcer gestured to the knights of Reuben. “Now, choose a representative and a number.”

Beatriz stepped up. “I volunteer and I say 100!”

Kevyn gawked. Was she serious!? She planned to take down the entire thing by herself!? However, she remembered what Samantha said. No matter what happened, Beatriz could not die. Doesn’t mean she can’t feel fatigue and pain though, her mind reasoned with her. Her fists clenched as the announcer paled at the sound of Beatriz’s demand.

“O-One Hundred!? Are you sure!? All the strongest creatures will come out!” The announcer panicked at ridiculousness of the thought. “You’ll die!”

Beatriz chuffed at the announcer and shoved him aside. “Please, I’m already dead.”

The petite girl summoned her armour with her abyss black scythe. The golden gears grinded against each other, igniting sparks. Blood red thorns sprouted along the crescent blade with a bloodstained skull marking the beginning of the blade and tip of the black and gold enamelled shaft. Her black gauntlets had gold engravings of roses on it with her gauntlets having golden tipped spikes. A cold air rushed around them as she made her way into the large tower.


Upon entering, Beatriz smirked. This kind of thing was a piece of cake for her! She looked up at the balcony where she saw Samantha and Reuben watching. But her icy blue eyes focused more on Reuben. Her blood boiled at the sight of him. She could imagine the sneer across his lips. But she remembered more how he forcefully grabbed her hair and licked her neck. Her body shivered in excitement but also, resentment boiled inside her.

But the thing was: it wasn’t towards him.

She clenched her fists tight and brandished her scythe. “I’m ready.”

Soon, the doors began to open and the guttural growls of creatures resounded around the room. The dark knight could see the glimmering, bloodthirsty red eyes shining. The smell of rotting flesh filled her nose and the sound of bodily fluids dripping onto the floor tickled her ears. A sinister smirk curved up her lips as she saw the creatures emerge from the darkness.

“Ohhh, a Sturmheuler,” Beatriz snickered to herself at the sight of the large bird with four pairs of wings. She looked straight into its hostile red eyes with its silver feathers stained with blood. “I haven’t seen you in a long time.”

She heard bubbling sound as a large ooze crawled out of the hole. It let out a large roar as its misshapen form revealed itself from the darkness. Its jaundiced eyes bulged out of its body with its large mouth gaping open. The body seemed to be covered with mould and their greyish-green teeth flashing themselves at her.

“Oh great, a Mold.” Beatriz rolled her eyes and turned to the other creatures coming out. “Well then,” she readied her scythe. “Let’s begin, assholes!”

With that, she lunged forward.

The creatures, aggravated by her attack, lunged themselves at her. Beatriz roared with the same ferocity and swung her scythe. Several imps fell to her blade as some Magoblins threw their bombs at her. She ducked and rolled away before fuelling her scythe with mana, throwing a large compressed wave of compressed energy. The crescent-shaped wave cleaved the Magoblins in half as blood splattered on the ground. Shrizards rushed towards her with their talons brandished and their spearhead-shaped tails shot up and tried to stab her. One of them managed to scratch her arm as blood began to fall. Pain shot threw Beatriz as she staggered back from the sudden blow when a large stone golem bludgeoned her in the back of her head.

“Gah!” She staggered and fell to the floor.

Her vision went blur as she looked at the creatures crowding around her. Beatriz refused to let go of her scythe and narrowed her icy blue eyes at each of them. However, instead of anger, ecstasy filled her. Their claws and barbs came raining down on her, tearing through her armour. She watched her blood spray against the rusted metal floors as the sound of her flesh being torn filled her ears. Her heartbeat thrummed against her ears as she could feel all the blood leaving from her body.

“Damn,” she chuckled lightly to herself. “This feels nice.”

You can’t die yet, a voice chided her.

“Fuck you, I can die as I please,” Beatriz scoffed at the voice in her mind. “Then again,” she chuckled bitterly. “You’re right. I can’t die.”

And that’s okay, you swore to her. You swore to her for as long as you lived, you would serve as her sword.

“Who the fuck are you? And why do you know this?”

Funny, you’re taking advice from a bean sprout.

Beatriz froze as she found a familiar dryad standing in front of her. He had a cheeky grin across his face. She remembered the clothes he wore before he died. He wore a plain white loose shirt with a pair of khaki pants rolled up to his knees. His hands were covered with brown leather gloves and despite his death, he seemed at ease. At the sight of his face however, the dark knight scoffed.

“What? Here to laugh at my misery?”

“I could.” The dryad shrugged. “Or, you could pick up your little butt and move.”

“You cheeky weed, didn’t anyone ever teach you how to be respectful to your elders?”

“Yeah, Cap did.”

“Well, he didn’t punch it into your head enough.”

“He did. I just choose to be mean when I have to be.”

The dark knight rolled her eyes. “So what do you want?”

“I’m here to tell you to get up. You’re not gonna die as Reuben’s bitch are you?”

At his words, Beatriz fell silent. She clenched her fingers into a fist. There was no way in hell that she would allow herself to die as Reuben’s bitch. Reuben’s bitch, the idea left a terrible taste in her mouth. She slammed her fist against the ground and saw all the creatures surrounding her.

“You better get up unless you want to be hole-y,” he chuckled at her.

Fury and determination boiled inside her at the same time. He was right; she didn’t want to die as Reuben’s bitch. Mana built up inside her as the metallic taste of blood dripped to her lips. She turned her head towards the creatures as she slammed both her palms to the ground, growling.

“FUCK OFF!”

A blast of mana exploded from her body, prompting the creatures to stop. They backed away as Beatriz slowly got up with her arm holding her scythe limply. A sinister and cruel laughter bubbled from her throat. From a low and slow laughter, it soon evolved into a maniacal laughter. Her icy blue eyes shined with madness. Ecstasy filled her as she brought her torn up, bloodied arm up to her lips and licked her wounds.

“Oh this is perfect,” she crooned.

The creatures exchanged terrified gazes with one another as a sudden surge of mana ripped around them. Beatriz sneered as she stretched out her arms and let all her mana burst from her body. The blood slowly began to form ancient markings all over her body and her armour repaired itself.

My pain! My wounds! They are your loss,” she roared.

Her scythe growled to life with the gears grinding louder than ever. With a renewed vigour and gusto, she lunged at the creatures and ripped through their flesh. A maniacal laughter covered the terrified screams of the creatures she slaughtered. One by one, they began to fall. Orcs, Magoblins, Hobgoblins, Serpents, Nagas, Lamias – any creature that pit itself against her found itself dead. The Sturmheulens dived towards her in a squadron but Beatriz swung her scythe with a wave of mana shooting out. Sharpened similarly to a blade, the wave of mana beheaded the creatures as the blood splattered on her scythe.

“A bloody rain,” she sang in delight. “Bloody rain!”

More and more creatures fell. She then swung her scythe into the blob as her blade got stuck. Her eyebrows knitted themselves together as she looked up at the sneering blob. Fury filled her as she charged her scythe with all her mana. At the sight of her angry eyes, the blob shuddered as the gears grinded its innards. Slime splattered on the ground as she cleaved it in half.

“I am nobody’s servant! I AM NOBODY’S BITCH!” Beatriz swung her scythe, roaring in rage. “I serve nobody but myself!”

More creatures fell to her blade as she drew marks on the floor. The moment the creatures stepped on it, the mark exploded with poisonous gas, demonic hands, and many other things. The demonic hands tore through the flesh of the monsters. Chilling winds froze the monsters and poisonous gases suffocated them. She sneered in delight as her wounds vanished and instead, her veins began pulse and bulge from beneath her skin. A newfound strength fuelled her limbs as she launched herself up into the air and tumbled repeatedly with her scythe swinging. When she gained enough momentum, she dropped towards them and shredded through the enemies. Their limbs flew and splattered against the wall. Entrails tangled themselves on her scythe. Heads flew all over the place, rolling on the floor as she stomped on them. She grabbed the head of one of the creatures before dashing their brains against the wall.

“Die!” She plunged her gauntlet’s nails into the creature’s fleshy throat, ripping out their jugular vein.

Blood splattered against her pale face. The gurgled and strangled cries of the creatures fell into silence as she stomped on their throats. She dragged her scythe through a Magoblin’s abdomen, cleaving it half. In a fit of rage, she stabbed the scythe through the entrails of the Magoblin before flinging it into the face of the Orthros. The creature whimpered and whined as the blood temporarily blinded it. But that moment was fatal for it. Beatriz punched her spiked gauntlet into its mouth and ripped out its tongue. It shrank and cried, begging for mercy. But the Dark Knight showed no mercy. She then grabbed it by its main before ripping its head and spine out of its body.

“Die!” She lunged forward towards the other creatures.


Reuben couldn’t believe what he was seeing. He knew that the Dark Knight was bloodthirsty. But he didn’t expect her to have the ruthlessness to rip the head and spine out of an Orthros’ body. Instead of being terrified however, Reuben found himself filled with ecstasy. He shuddered as something below him hardened. His hand clutched his groin area hard, trying to contain himself.

“Ah,” he gasped and panted.

Seeing her blood-coated body filled his mind with so much satisfaction. His body threatened to explode and let all the pleasure absorb him. He sank into his chair as his hand desperately tried to hide the hardened member in his pants.

“Deus, let me fuck the woman senseless,” Reuben let out an airy beg. “I want her to scream and moan my name! I want her to acknowledge me as her master!”

Seeing that people could watch him, he immediately stood up and rushed away. Reuben staggered into the room and closed the curtains behind him. Both his hands covered his groin area as he rushed towards the bathroom. He yanked the door open and slammed the door behind him. The prince dropped his pants and spat saliva onto his hand. He ran his hand against the hardened shaft. Reuben stroked it up and down, recalling the sight of Beatriz’s blood-soaked appearance.

Her dark blonde hair dripping with the blood of her enemies.

Her sultry red lips licking the blood around her face.

Beatriz slowly bringing up her arm to lick the blood off her wounds.

“Ah, ah,” he panted as he stroked himself faster.

After five minutes, Reuben let go. All his desires, pleasures, and lust exploded onto his hand. He gasped and panted, looking at his semen-covered hand. A sigh escaped his throat with pleasure and ecstasy filling him. His vision swirled and his head became lighter. But he shook it off, slowly standing up. He hobbled his way to the sink and washed his hands. Reuben looked up into the mirror, noticing the sweat pouring down his face. His dark brown curly hair was drenched with sweat and his charcoal grey eyes shined with fulfilment. Although not complete, he knew he had to settle with that. For now.

Quickly pulling up his pants, Reuben cleaned up and headed out the door. He walked out the bathroom and made his way to the balcony. A part of him hated that he had to relieve himself. But he didn’t want to explode there. It would have been a terrible mess to clean. Besides, he wanted to save himself for later.

As he emerged from the curtains and onto the balcony, he watched the battle unfold. Beatriz stood against the final creature. The ultimate mechanical weapon created by Machinos many years ago. It was a machine known as the Darwinion. The Darwinion sought only one thing: the elimination of the weak. Reuben remembered programming the machine itself. Initially, the machine could not differentiate friend from foe. But with his programming, the Darwinion knew how to target. Most particularly, it knew how to target magic users.

When Reuben glanced at Samantha, he could see that her expression had made a slight change. No longer having a stony expression, she had a slightly more concerned look on her face. The princess gripped the hem of her tunic and kept her hand on her pendant. However, he had expected her to be more squeamish from the sight of Beatriz’s genocide.

“I’m surprised,” Reuben chuckled. “You’re eerily calm about this.”

Samantha shook her head. “I’ve seen worse.”

“Is that so?”

“Beatriz is fighting to protect herself.”

“That’s a naïve way to look at it.”

“She’s also fighting to win. She hates losing.”

“Ah, so she has informed me.”

Samantha shrugged. “Beatriz will kill as she pleases. I never did restrict her ways of fighting her enemies.”

“I’m amused you haven’t complained about her fighting style,” Reuben pressed on. “Wouldn’t you find it too… unlady-like?”

“She claims that she’s no lady. I have no reason to impose that on her.”

Reuben snorted in annoyance. How could Samantha remain unmoved despite the slaughter before her? In fact, she remained completely calm. Her hands had not moved from her lap. Her legs continued to stay folded in a sort of Duchess Slant. Her shoulders square, her back straight. She retained a calm and regal disposition despite the blood-fest before her.

He asked, “You’re not the least bit disturbed?”

Samantha raised an eyebrow. “Should I be?”

“You’re a princess.”

“I’ve seen worse.”

“Is that so?”

Samantha nodded. “I’ve seen people who are monsters. I know people who are monsters.”

Reuben remained silent.

“But Beatriz’s no monster. She was a little girl who taught to do only one thing: to kill. That’s no monster. She’s a victim of her time.”

At the notion of Samantha’s statement, Reuben scoffed. How idealistic, he growled to himself. He didn’t expect that kind of notion from the princess. The naiveté still remained. But somehow, it wasn’t the same naiveté that she had before. It had more understanding; the capacity to empathize rather than sympathize. If he could spit on the ground for her ideology, he would have by now.

Soon, he heard a loud bell ring. He looked up and saw the Dark Knight coated in blood. Her dark blonde hair was soaked with blood and sweat dripping down onto the ground. Her scythe gleamed with blood shining against the Thanatium metal as her gauntlets glimmered jet black despite the bloodstains. In the Dark Knight’s hand, Beatriz held a monster’s bleeding head that appeared to be crudely ripped off its shoulders. She dragged the backbone with a bit of its spinal cord peeking out from the bones behind her. When she made her way to the open field, she raised the head up to Reuben.

“All hail Prince Reuben of Machinos,” she cried out.

The audience howled in amazement as Beatriz dropped the head on the floor and stomped it under her foot. Its blood and guts splattered all across the floor as the sickening sound of the bones cracking echoed throughout the arena. Reuben stood up from his chair, applauding loudly.

“Brava! Brava!” He clapped enthusiastically.

While he clapped loudly, his eyes slowly moved towards Samantha. However, disappointment filled him. Despite the bloody sight, Samantha remained perfectly still with her face being stony in expression. The only thing he noticed visibly change was the tightening of her grip on the hem of her skirt. However, she still remained stoic. She didn’t even bat an eyelash!

Annoyed, Reuben dropped back onto his chair with his arms folded. He snorted and glared at Samantha before rolling his eyes. Frustration built up inside him. How could she remain so calm!? His fingers clenched tightly into fists. He gnashed his teeth in annoyance; Beatriz’s victory meant nothing if Samantha didn’t react!


“Ah well…The Machinos Gears win!” The announcer gawked as Beatriz walked back to her companions, quickly gathered his composure. “And now, onto the next challenge!”

Kevyn scowled. She knew that Dark Knights were nuts but, she didn’t expect a Blood Knight to be among them. Her eyes narrowed at the bloodied Dark Knight. She wrinkled her nose at the scent of blood that covered her body. Suddenly, she heard a low hum as something began to shine above her head. Her eyes glanced up at the field above. She saw that it was similar to the streets of Machinos.

“I volunteer as tribute!” Kevyn raised her hand.

Jeremiah shoved the hooded figure forward. “You go for it.”

The hooded figure nodded and stepped forward.

Soon, the two knights crossed each other as the announcer beckoned them to come closer.

“The rules of the game are simple! Your job is to track down certain rogue machines running lose in the city,” he explained.

Kevyn nodded. It shouldn’t be that hard, she thought.

“However, every time a citizen dies – you lose a point,” he added. “So, you have to make sure that nobody dies.”

The dragon-tamer scowled. She couldn’t care less. They were humans! The world would be a better place with less humans, she snorted in annoyance. However, she shook her head. For the sake of winning, she had no choice but keep them alive. She looked over towards the hooded figure as a familiar scent filled her nose. It smelled like gunpowder and metal as her eyes widened. Why is he here, she gasped in surprise.

“Alright, you ready?” The announcer looked to both players.

Kevyn and the hooded figure nodded.

“Alright! The challenge begins now!”

Suddenly, a platform shone beneath her and brought her below. Kevyn followed the tube-like pathway until she found herself at the outside the stadium. The dragon-tamer walked through the streets of Machinos with her senses ready. The first thing she did however was stomp the ground. Vibrations rang out through her ears as they twitched. She could hear the echoes of the metal footsteps.

“There!”Kevyn lunged forward.

Charging her entire body with electricity, she bolstered her speed. She zoomed through the alleyway and found two robots. Electricity crackled and shattered the two robots. A smirk curved up her lips as she found another one. As she tried to zoom towards it, the robot suddenly exploded. She fell back only to find the hooded figure standing at the top of a building with an assault-sniper rifle.

“Tch, two can play at that game,” Kevyn hissed under her breath.

She charged her feet with electricity and jumped to the top of the building. She stomped the ground again as more vibrations hit her skin. The hairs on her skin stood on their ends as she found the location of six more robots. A smirk curved up her lips as Kevyn performed a circle motion with her arms with blue lightning began to crackle. Suddenly, she performed a quick dance before forming a long bow with six crackling blue lightning arrows.

“Alright, you stupid fuckers,” Kevyn sneered. She pulled back the string of her bow. “Shock time!”

When she let go, the arrows flew and screamed through the air as the arrows homed in on their targets. Her ears twitched as the sound of the crashing arrows echoed in the air. She counted the black smoke plumes that rose in the air. Before she could count everything, a sharp pain tore through her left knee. Kevyn yelped as she crashed on the ground, noticing a bullet imbedded in her knee.

“Fuck,” she hissed and turned around.

When she turned around, the hooded figure stood there with his pistol. The white curl of smoke flew into the air as the figure placed it back in the holster. Kevyn however quickly charged up her palm and pulled out the bullet. The hooded figure froze for a good few seconds as Kevyn shot a lightning bolt at him.

“You stupid fucker.” Kevyn quickly gathered herself and charged more lighting. “I’m gonna screw you over!”

She lunged with blue lightning covering her body. The hooded figure staggered back as she nearly kicked him with an electrically-charged kick. Kevyn drew her weapon and extended her weapon’s blades and charged it with more electricity. The blades hummed and shredded through the air as it shot out to attack. Ducking, the hooded figure rolled away with his gun drawn.

“Tch!” Kevyn quickly swung her blade as the other blade shot out to catch the bullet amongst the blades.

As the bullet and the blade created sparks, Kevyn swung her blade again and threw the bullet away. She spun around and waltzed towards him with her blades swinging, darting back and forth. Electricity crackled and sparked in the air as it tore through the cloak. The hooded figure quickly leapt away and suddenly turned away to escape.

“Coward,” she roared.

As the hooded figure vanished, she snapped her attention back to hunting the robots. Suddenly, she heard a loud scream. Her eyes widened as she leapt towards the source of the screams.

Upon arriving there however, she saw that the robots have already gone wild. Some of them began shooting lasers into the buildings. Kevyn clucked her tongue and dove down with her weapon swinging. As the chain blades shot out, they tore through the robot until she spotted a grenade flying towards her. The dragon-tamer’s eyes widened and she immediately crossed her arms over her face with an electric field covering her body. The moment the bomb came in contact, it exploded and sent her flying. The sheer force knocked her into a window, shattering the glass as she fell on the ground.

“Ugh,” she groaned in pain before trying to pick up her sore body. “That hurt like a truck!”

She rolled over, ignoring the cracking glass debris underneath her. Struggling to get up, Kevyn pressed her palms against the wooden floors and got herself up. Soon, she heard more gun shots echoing in the air. Slamming her fists in annoyance, Kevyn quickly gathered herself and leapt out the window.

When she landed outside, her eyes widened at the sight of fallen robots. However, there weren’t only robots lying on the floor. Among them, there were also dead bodies. Kevyn scowled in annoyance when she saw the hooded figure’s silhouette in the distance. She clenched her fists tight and powered up with more electricity rushing through her body.

“Fuck, he’s getting ahead!” Kevyn rushed through the alleyways.

As she saw more robots, she quickly took them out. The electricity and mana pouring out of her body fried any incoming robots. Projectiles flew with lightning zapping them down. Bullets flew away as Kevyn’s static aura deflected the bullets away. Kevyn knew she had to keep going. Otherwise, things would go bad. Electricity coursed into her fists as she rushed forward to slam another few to the ground. She jumped high into the air and landed on the roof before calling a bolt of blue lightning to shock the other robots. Her eyes narrowed and her ears twitched. However, she couldn’t believe the scent she picked up. It can’t be him, Kevyn growled in her mind.

Suddenly, she caught his scent once more. Her head snapped towards the direction of the scent before chasing it down. She heard his cloak billowing despite the distance. Fuelling her legs with mana, Kevyn lunged forward with blue lightning covering her body. She could feel the strain in her legs from her injury. Tch, she hissed. She hadn’t expected her opponent to cripple her at the first shot!

However, she suddenly heard an explosion. Kevyn’s eyes widened as she twisted her body in mid-air. As the bullet narrowly missed her head, she quickly turned around to throw two streams of lightning bolts. Her opponent however wasn’t as agile and took both shots. Kevyn heard a loud grunt as he fell to the ground.

Now’s my chance, Kevyn realized. Pushing with all the adrenaline she had, Kevyn lunged forward and pinned him under her. She swiped his guns away and pinned him by his wrists. Her opponent struggled but Kevyn had the upperhand. She slammed her knee into her opponent’s gut. The dragon-tamer heard her opponent cough as she tangled her legs with his. She reached out for her opponent’s hood and ripped off her opponent’s hood. There, she saw a familiar black haired, bespectacled male.

“Daniel!?” She gawked in astonishment.

Without any hesitation, Daniel quickly turned her over. Kevyn yelped as her cheek slammed into the concrete. She hissed before kicking him in the shin. He gasped and fell before Kevyn managed to gather herself. Seeing another robot, she shot another one while engaging the agent again.

Doesn’t this damn idiot know what he’s doing, Kevyn growled in her mind. She ducked as Daniel swung his arm for a right hook. She weaved past his punches before grabbing his arm and pulling him forward. In one smooth motion, he fell forward whille she stepped in. She punched his elbow in and heard a loud crack. Daniel didn’t cry out but she could see the pain and agony flash before his eyes.

“Sorry, I don’t show any mercy!” Kevyn spun around for a roundhouse kick, sending him to the ground.

The soldier fell to the ground as Kevyn grabbed him by the collar of his shirt.

“What the damn fuck is wrong with you,” she snapped. “You’re supposed to be the princess’ knight, you motherfucker!”

Daniel said nothing and tried to get up. However, his disabled arm gave out under him as Kevyn kicked his chin, sending upward. Daniel fell back with his head hanging back. Kevyn narrowed her eyes at him before turning away. A twinge of pain bit her. She sighed deeply and looked at his crumpled form.

“Welp, that’s it,” Kevyn sighed and shook her head, pointing her finger at Daniel. “Stay down will you?”

The male didn’t move and gave her a blank stare. She rolled her eyes before coating her body with electricity, bolting off. She jumped towards the different roofs and surveyed the area. Kevyn leapt down into another alley as the water splashed against her pants. Ugh, she shuddered as the murky water soaked her dark blue jeans. She shook her legs and threw away the muck that stuck to her black boots.

“Okay so, what do we have left?” Kevyn surveyed the area.

Suddenly, a loud screech echoed in the air. She looked up only to see a large, draconic shadow loom over her. Kevyn quickly jumped out of the way before looking at her opponent. Her eyes widened as it revealed large golden wings with pulsing blue eyes. It had a long snout but its head had a crown in the shape of an open fan. The sun glinted off its bronze armour and she could hear the gears grinding within as its eyes pulsed blue and its two tails whipped with long steel cords.

“Damn!” Kevyn gawked. “Which shithole did you crawl out of!?”

The mechanical dragon roared before unleashing a blue flame. Kevyn’s eyes narrowed as she split the torus of blue fire into two. The flames roared in her face as her light brown eyes glimmered with anticipation. She rushed forward and cut through the flames as the dragon lashed out with its metal tail. The tail slammed against her abdomen as she crashed straight into a building. She coughed and gasped before slamming her fist against the concrete wall.

“Fuck,” she hissed and seethed in pain.

She quickly gathered herself until her ears picked up a loud whistle. She looked to one side only to see a flare rush towards the creature’s eye. When it reached its destination, the bullet lodged itself in its eye before bursting into flames. The mechanical dragon screamed in agony as the blue smoke rose into the air. Kevyn’s eyes widened at the sight of the energy. They managed to refine it that far!? Kevyn gawked before shaking her head. She had to focus! She lunged forward again with electricity coating her body.

“Damn it!” Kevyn lunged forward and spotted Daniel shooting from another roof. “So, he’s really gonna push it…”

As she got close to the mechanical dragon, Kevyn rolled beneath it and in between its legs. She crouched below and put both her pointer fingers and her middle fingers together. Electricity gathered between her fingers. The dragon-tamer concentrated all the electric energy in between her fingers before firing it at its belly. She delayed it for a bit before rolling out of the way and detonating it after she did so. The electric bomb exploded and tore a hole through its armor. The mechanical dragon screamed before unleashing a blue flame with no target in particular.

“Ah! HOT!” Kevyn ducked before turning around to split the fire in half.

As the fires zoomed past her, she saw the embers rushing to the houses. Her eyes widened as she dodged the flames instead. Suddenly, a sharp pain shot through her left knee. Kevyn hissed in pain before pushing herself forward. She gasped in pain before throwing a flame barrier. Her fatigue sent her crashing on the ground as the flaming wall caught some of the flames. However, some of the houses still caught fire. Her eyes widened as people screamed in terror.

“Shit!” Kevyn pushed herself off the ground.

However, as she lunged to save the people until she heard roofs crack. Kids screamed in terror and froze as the flaming debris came down on them. Her eyes widened as perilous situation hit her. Burning the debris would light it more on fire. Zapping it with lightning will cause a rain of splinters to explode and possibly blind children. You’re suddenly caring, her mind cruelly mocked. Kevyn growled before blue wisp like energy covered her hand.

“Stop,” Kevyn roared.

Suddenly, the blast exploded from her hand and the burning debris halted in mid-air. The children stared in amazement as Kevyn flung the burning debris aside.


“No way,” the announcer gasped. “That’s impossible!”

“She’s… she’s one of those,” another member of the audience cried out.

“Monster!”

“Cheater!”

“Kill her!”

Samantha couldn’t believe what she was hearing. The slightest appearance of something they’ve never seen before and everyone called for her death. That is a rare gift though, she admitted to herself. Psychic abilities died out years ago due to the many schools of thought and of magic killing them all. Their magic was seen to be impossible. It had no plausible weaknesses nor strengths. However if wielded properly, the magic could be deadly. She had only seen its powers in manuscripts and tomes. Those who used it were condemned to be forever in conflict within themselves. The magic required absolute control of their emotions unless they wanted to kill people with it.

“How amusing,” she heard Reuben snicker. “Where did you get this little bitch?”

Samantha said nothing. She however focused on the screen where everything within a 10 metre-radius of Kevyn visibly slowed down. The ability to manipulate time and space is a terrifying power, she remembered her teachers back in Xychosia explaining to her. According to them, there was only one clan in the world that perfected that power. They even said if their family existed during the time of Julia Odissea – it would have been a stalemate.

“Telekinesis, Dimension manipulation, Omnivision, now I remember where I heard those terms before. These are what people called the Imaginary Magics,” Samantha murmured to herself.

The fact that Kevyn translated all that into electricity amazed her as well. However, she noticed that Kevyn did not seem as emotionless as her powers demanded she’d be. She was cocky; the dragon-tamer took no orders from anybody. She solved things with her fists and she had a firm and strict manner that reminded her much of General Melissa back in Xychosia.

“So you got lucky with one knight,” Reuben scoffed. “I still have Beatriz!”

Not for as long as you think, Samantha wanted to say. But she herself wasn’t sure if Beatriz had swapped loyalties. All she understood was that Beatriz would not have served Reuben. After all, she hated taking orders let alone from him!

Soon, she saw Kevyn wield that power even further. The dragon-tamer turned on the mechanical dragon as it stomped towards her. The young woman created a ball of energy in her hand before stretching her arms out. Suddenly, the dragon’s body began to crunch as the metal forcibly compressed into a ball. The dragon screamed in pain but the dragon-tamer paid no heed.

“You are no dragon,” Kevyn growled with contempt. “I’m fucking done with this!”

Suddenly, a large blast of energy dropped onto the dragon with the blue electricity from its body rushing to Kevyn. Samantha’s eyes widened; the dragon-tamer took in its energy! She was sucking up like a thirsty sponge and the lights in the mechanical dragon’s eyes slowly began to fade. Its movements became sluggish as the ground beneath it began to crack. Samantha’s eyes widened as Kevyn sent the machine into the ground. However, she heard another crack. But her heart sank when she saw Daniel standing in Machinos Gear’s uniform. Reuben got him too, Samantha shook her head.

“Oh? Is he your lover?” She heard Reuben mock her.

Samantha shook her, regaining her composure. “No. I never had a lover.”

“Oh? Not even Hawthorne?” Reuben raised an eyebrow, amused. “He does make amusing sounds during sex.”

“… What?”

“Diedrich had his way. I got to watch.”

Samantha shuddered. No wonder he looked so broken! I… I didn’t know they would do that to men! She shook her head vehemently. It would explain majority of Brandon’s broken bones however. It would explain how he managed to limp his way back to the inn. She clenched her hands into fists. All her knights – violated! Samantha gnashed her teeth and gave Reuben a withering sideward glance. Suddenly, she heard another gunshot. Samantha nearly jumped out of her seat when she saw Kevyn clutching her bleeding right shoulder while having her two fingers pointed at Dan. A white wisp of smoke hissed into the air while Kevyn winced as she pulled a bullet out of her shoulder.

On the other hand, Daniel lay flat on the ground on his back completely not moving.

“Unbelievable! What a turn around!” The announcer jumped out of his chair. “The knights of Sofiene win again!”

The crowd gasped in surprise while some cheered. Samantha could hear Sofiene’s name being chanted by the audience. The howls of the people watching, the cheers bolstered her spirits. She glanced down to check on Beatriz who remained unmoving. Suddenly, the screen showed Kevyn walking to Dan’s fallen body. After a few seconds, Kevyn slung Dan’s left arm onto her shoulder while staggering.


“Fuck you,” Kevyn muttered. “I have to save your goddamn ass. Otherwise, the little princess’ gonna blow her shits if I don’t.”

The dragon-tamer could feel her body caving under her but her willpower kept her awake. She struggled and dragged her opponent along even if her left knee wanted to give. She hissed in pain. But she was surprised; the bullet shot faraway from the bone. It was one of two things: he changed his trajectory last minute or he really sucked at shooting. Kevyn shrugged. Probably the latter, she smirked.

As she dragged Daniel along, she saw the buildings that the dragon destroyed. Roofs sank in and the debris crushed the plants with flames burning the leaves. Ashes fell to the ground as she dragged his unconscious body across the field. Her throat burned from exhaustion before she made her way to the stadium. She could feel her limbs wanting to fall off from the stress of combat. However, she knew she had to keep going.

“Princess is gonna go bananas if I don’t get this idiot back,” she muttered in annoyance. The dragon-tamer glanced down at Daniel’s limp body. “Fucking hell, I should wake this bastard up…”

She searched around only to see a fountain. A smirk curved up her lips before dragging the body across. Without much hesitation, she hurled her opponent’s unconscious body into the water. He fell in with a loud splash while Kevyn brushed her hands clean of the dust and dirt.

“Sheesh, you have legs. Use them,” Kevyn scoffed with a roll of her eyes.

She folded her arms and waited for a few minutes only to see the body not moving. Kevyn groaned and stormed towards the body before grabbing a fistful of his hair and yanking him out of the water.

“Fuck’s sake, I didn’t shoot you that hard.” Kevyn rolled her eyes and dropped him onto the ground. “Hey.” She nudged him. “Get up.”

Daniel’s body remained unmoving.

Kevyn scratched her head and looked at his body. She could have sworn that she didn’t put that much power. In fact, the bullet hurt more! She could feel the damage the bullet did to the bone. Thankfully, my carrying arm is my left arm, Kevyn sighed in relief. She grabbed him by his shirt collar before hobbling her way towards the stadium.


“Damn, she’s one angry bitch,” Jeremiah whistled. “I haven’t seen a girl that berserk!”

“That’s what you have Bea for,” Nellie scoffed.

“She’s not a girl. She’s a fucking freak!”

A fucking freak.

The last three words echoed in Beatriz’s mind. She chuckled in amusement. That’s what she’s always been. The pale girl didn’t need to be told twice. After all, she inherited her mother’s powers. Along with it, she inherited her madness. The madness that levelled cities and terrorized even the biggest and most developed civilizations, this same madness terrified even the Primordials from above. Beatriz folded her legs and watched Kevyn drag Daniel back. An amused smirk curved up her lips. She had to commend the dragon-tamer. She didn’t expect her to take on a three-way battle.

Battling her might be fun, her mind noted. Beatriz nodded; that kind of power and ferocity would be fun to fight. In fact, she hoped Samantha would her as a permanent knight. Brandon’s a fun playmate but he’s missing something, she thought. Her lips pursed into a pout; if Samantha couldn’t see that Kevyn had potential then, she’d probably scream at her.

“Hey,” she heard someone call her.

She turned around to see Antoine sit next to her. “What?”

“How does it feel?”

“What?”

“How does it feel fighting against your former lady?”

Beatriz remained silent for a moment. She cast a look towards Samantha who sat on the throne above the arena. Suddenly, a sharp pain hit her. Beatriz nearly keeled over before gathering herself immediately. Tch, she scowled. She caught herself and kept her composure.

“Nothing really.” Beatriz shrugged. “I don’t feel much.”

Antoine raised an eyebrow. “That’s odd; you weren’t knighted?”

“I was?”

“Oh, you weren’t?”

“The hell with that, I don’t think so.”

Antoine shrugged. “That probably explains why you’re not feeling anything. I know that once you get knighted – a lot of your stuff gets tied to your lady/lord.”

Beatriz raised an eyebrow. “Really?”

“Yeah, that includes pretty much mana supply, your own strength, and a lot of stuff.”

“You mean – it gets sapped away?”

“Yeap, the more you disobey, the worse your abilities get.”

Beatriz paled. That explains a lot, the dark knight realized. She looked at her body as some of her wounds were still there. Damn, the dark knight shook her head. Beatriz didn’t expect that Samantha’s knighting her would cause problems. She remembered fighting in the large dungeon full of machines and creatures. She was huffing and puffing. What was more noticeable was that her wounds took longer to heal. She looked at her wounds before noticing some of the fibres knit themselves up, albeit slowly than usual. A sigh bubbled from her throat and she shook her head.

“Damn,” she muttered. “I didn’t know this would happen…”

Soon, she heard the crowd howl. Beatriz looked up when she saw Kevyn dragging back Daniel’s body through the sand. After that, she flung him onto the side before pointing her finger at her.

“Alright, you fuckers. I don’t normally care when humans get kicked around,” Kevyn hissed and pointed at his body. “But if you think that turning him into a fucked up cabbage is gonna help, you’ve got a lot coming.”

Beatriz smirked. Her eyes examined the dragon-tamer’s body. Well-built, lean structure and she couldn’t peel her eyes off from those broad shoulders. Most people would have thought broad shoulders on a woman would make her look bulky. Damn, those curves and shoulders, Beatriz shook her head. She knew how to carry it! However, Beatriz snapped herself out of the daze as the announcer revealed the next match.

“As for the next challenge, this won’t just be for the knights. Reuben has made a special request: Lady Samantha versus Prince Reuben in a battle to the death!”

Beatriz’s eyes widened. Samantha asking for a death match!? The dark knight gawked at the incredulousness of the thought. However, when the view panned on Samantha, she saw nothing but pure determination on the princess’ face. Was she expecting this, Beatriz wondered to herself. She couldn’t have asked for it, her mind reasoned with her. However, that all changed when she saw Samantha stand up from the throne.

“You’re kidding,” Beatriz murmured. “You have to be kidding me!”

Jeremiah raised an eyebrow. “What? Shocked that your former lady is fighting Reuben?”

“She can’t fight for shit!”

“I don’t know; that’s not what Reuben told me.”

Beatriz’s jaw hung ajar. When could Samantha fight? She got spooked at the sight of battle! “That has to be some imposter! Samantha can’t fight for shit!”

Jeremiah shook his head. “Well, we’re about to find out now. From what I heard, she and the dragon-tamer tore through the security without any problems. Hell, she took on a couple of sentinels on her way in.”

Beatriz wasn’t sure what to believe. She knew Samantha had the mana to back up her spells. But having the balls and nerve to use her magic let alone for offensive means? That was utterly something else! She frowned for a moment before taking one last glance at the exiled queen of Sofiene, watching her step down from the balcony.


“Well, someone’s getting desperate,” Kevyn snorted in amusement, smirking. “I didn’t know Reuben wanted to settle it that badly.”

Samantha nodded. “So did I but I think he’s seeing that it’s neck to neck. At this point, he’ll think it’s pointless.”

“I’ll have to agree,” Abigayle added. “He never was a patient person.”

Samantha looked at the five knights who have chosen to serve her. A small smile crept up her lips. All their efforts led to this very moment. The moment that Reuben had been getting all antsy for, the moment she wanted to happen would decide whether or not she truly was ready and if all of her training had paid off. After all, she had put so much effort in to learning how to fight.

“You sure you wanna do this though?” Cathy shook her head. “He’s not above using dirty tricks to win.”

Samantha nodded. “It’s okay.” She turned around to face the entrance, ready to walk into the arena. “I have a few cheap tricks of my own.”

Kevyn chuckled and folded her arms. “Good luck.”

Seeing the look of approval in her knights’ eyes, she began making her way to the arena. Her fists clenched. Her nerves roiled with mana. Samantha exhaled and took her first step forward. It’s now or never, she thought to herself.

And with that, her steps soon progressed into walking as she entered the battlefield.

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