Chapter 11

The Witch and The Knight

He ran through a narrow stairway that spiraled upwards. His sword, the Azure Tempestas, a jagged blade with golden hilt and the crest of the Arc family at its pommel felt heavy in his right arm. In contrast to that, his left felt nothing as it dangled lazily to his side. Pair of arrowheads could be seen as it pierced his armor. Crimson flowed from the said wounds as well as an ugly gash on his forehead. His messy blonde hair clung stubbornly to his features as sweat coated his face. He grunted as he reached the final flight.

'Finally.' He thought as he bashed the wooden door open.

He was greeted by an enormous, fully furnished study. He noted the expensive looking pieces of art that hang on the stoned walls as well as the extensive book collection. He marveled at the leather-bound covers of the works of Augustus Ceasar, Dante Aurelius, William Ackreman and many more, all organized in wooden shelves with artfully crafted carvings. All of which, he assumed to be stolen from many of her raids.

"Well, this is most certainly a surprise." He twirled but not fast enough as he was launched onto the nearby cobblestoned wall.

"Aghk!" He screamed as his grime filled armor clanged upon contact.

He fell onto the wooden floor on all fours. He grunted in pain as he was kicked by the shoulder and sent him leaning on the wall behind him. He winced in pain upon contact, his blue eyes contorted as he clenched his fists. He noticed the lack of his sword and looked at it. His fears were testified by the empty gloved hand.

"Why?"

The simple question brought out by a voice he once knew so well made his head snap towards her. What was once a maiden of pure kindness now stood before him in rage. Her once green eyes now exchanged by red with black. Her fair complexion was reduced to that of the dead as red and violet veins ran through the edges of her face and on her exposed arms. The once brown hair that he had loved became a soulless white arranged in intricate ornamentation.

"Why damn it!?" She shouted at him, the tower they were on shook with the sheer power of her voice.

The Arc knight did not answer as he begrudgingly stood to meet her. The sounds of battle, of men and Grimm alike battling outside were muffled by the thick walls. He tasted rust as he spat out blood to clear his throat.

"I never wanted to end it like this, Ce-"

"Don't you dare call me by that name!" The knight's hardened gazed loosened as he stared back at her former lover's angered eyes.

They glowed red as she took several strides towards him.

"I trusted you! You told me that she would be saved and yet you let her die!"

He did not speak as he foolishly allowed his mind to wander on that fateful day. He looked at her once more as she purposefully walked towards him. Her hands balled into a wicked fist and hatred visibly poured out from her in the form of black mist. Her darkened robes swayed along with his movements. And yet, he did not see the monster that his peopled claimed her to be, he did not see the queen of darkness, the very woman who controlled the creatures of Grimm to invade and attack both humans and Faunus. Who coerced many mortals to her own insane cause.

No, what he saw was his wife, twisted and corrupted by the grief and anger of the loss of their only child. He walked forward to meet her head on, only to be met by her hardened fists. He grunted in pain and doubled over. He felt pieces of his armor fall onto the floor as a fracture appeared on its white. She held him by the back of his neck and threw him back onto the wall.

"I tried!" He spat back as the anger of being constantly blamed for the death of their child reached its limit.

A limit that he had tried to avoid at all cost.

"I tried all that I can! But even the most skilled of our healers said th-"

"Then you should've tried harder!" Again, she stormed towards him as she produced a curved dagger from the depths of her robe.

Knowing that any possibility of negotiations have long broken down, with a frustrated scream, the knight ran towards her as he attempted to grapple her. She gracefully twirled to the side and dodged the brutish attack. The blonde stumbled as his foot lodged itself onto a small opening on the wooden floor but was able to regain composure. He saw the glint of his sword's blue steel not far from where he was. But before he could even make a run towards it, he was gripped by some unseen force.

He looked questioningly at her as he felt the grip slowly tighten. The rivets on his armor were slowly giving way. She approached him, dagger in hand as the knight squirmed.

"If only you would've come with me, we could've been a whole family again." As if on cue, a hidden door behind one of her shelves opened.

His blue eyes widened at what he saw. First was utter surprise, followed by disbelief, then anger. He glowered at his former wife as he screamed at the top of his lungs.

"What in Remnant's name did you do to her Cera!?"

A girl not older than eight stood before them. Her hair was that of her mother's, a fiery red while her eyes were that of his father, a calming blue. She wore a flowing green dress, one that was most obviously fetched a high price in the market. But he knew that it was impossible, he knew as he had watched her slip away from the living world. He felt his eyes water as he slowly but surely broke through the grip that held him.

"You…you…dare to desecrate our daughter!" He bellowed as whatever was holding him shatters in a glass like manner.

He charged towards the witch, no longer caring for his own safety or his lack of blade. If he was about to die, then so be it but he was determined to bring her with him and to release his daughter from his wife's foolish action. The very least that he, they could do for their daughter was to be damned to eternal torment. He felt the dagger pierce through his jugular as his sharpened gauntlets ripped through her fleshy abdomen.

Both gasped in pain as blood flowed profusely from them. He looked into his wife's eyes, stars were evident in her red and he knew that so was his. He silently asked the gods why such cruel fate was handed upon them. As he gazed onto his much beloved wife, a pair of small arms wrapped around them surprising both patriarch and matriarch.

"Mama…Papa…please don't fight."

The knight blankly stared at the face of his wife in disbelief. For reasons that a knife protruded from his neck, he could not see the very face that he had thought to have been lost. He listened as the voice of his daughter filtered through him. He could hear her faint sobs that reminded him of painful memories. He refocused his dying sight on that of his wife who was now crying openly, a sad smile on her pale face. She cupped his face as she said her final words and the last words that he would hear.

"If only…you listned." He smiled sadly knowing that he had failed as a husband and as a father.

With the little strength that he had, he pulled their daughter towards them in one last family embrace.