Chapter 2: The Knight's judgment
The word of the hero's arrival and the defeat of one of the demon king's general spread like wild fire throughout the Kingdom of Asterinia and any neighboring cities and towns. The people waited in, speculating what the hero was like and if they would ever meet him.
"Is he handsome?"
"Was he brave?"
"Is he kind?"
"What does he look like?"
"How strong is he?"
"Is he a Knight in shining armor?"
Was only a few of the hundred questions among the citizens, nobles and commoners alike, but to a certain princess she knew the truth. Sitting on the throne, Princess Catherine let out a sigh standing before her was the Doomslayer, cleaned of most of the blood and beside her the head knight staring daggers at the Slayer, but he paid her no mind. Mages, knights, Maids and other servants stood by waiting for any of the princess's command
The Princess cleared her throat, gathering the attention of everyone in the throne room.
"Now then, I believe that the first order of business we should address is the hero's introduction to the people" Princess Catherine started, "People are eager to meet the hero that defended one of the five generals in the demon king's army since news of it broke out and I suppose-"
"Forgive me Princess" The Head knight interrupted, eyeing the Slayer up and down skeptical of his origins "But I do not believe that a lowly brute such as he could be the hero from the prophecy. It foretold a noble knight, righteous and just with a heart of gold, not a barbarian wielding a musket that could leave such an atrocious mess in his wake"
"As uncouth as he may be, he had saved me from a grim fate" The princess explained, defending the Slayer.
"Be that as it may, the methods he used are barbaric and the strange weapons that spew blue fire are not written in the prophecy, that aside I highly doubt that this lowly man is a knight to begin with" pride emanated from the female knight's smug face despite of the helmet covering it.
"That's where you are wrong miss" That was when Samuel Hayden decided to answer in the Doomslayer's place "My name is Dr. Samuel Hayden I am an intelligent life form that is currently residing in the Doomslayer's praetor suit. Think of me as his guide, a familiar if you will…"
Startled by the sudden voice that sounded came from seemingly nowhere, the knight fixed up her composure and stared at the Slayer wide eyed.
"The Doomslayer is part of the Night's Sentinel, a holy order of warriors that have fought demons and the forces of hell even before your kingdom was established. Besides that, he was blessed by a god like being before, he possesses strength and speed not that of mere mortals. This man has already fought in the bowls of hell for eons…" Samuel let out a small chuckle "This demon king you speak about I assured you is nothing more than a stepping stone for the Slayer to stomp on"
The small crowed present in the throne room erupted in whispers, determining whether the claims of the so call familiar were true or not.
The female knight stared silently at the Doomslayer, her hands angrily balled into a fist. A calm rage swirling in her soul as if the subject relating to the demon king or hero affected her deeply, taking a deep breath and letting out an unsteady sigh.
"Oh dear…." The Princess commented in a whisper, worried for the knight's well being
The Slayer noticed her reaction and immediately recognized the pain present in front of him, despite the helmet obstructing her face from the Slayer's view. Her reaction – he knew it all too well.
It was the loss of a loved one…...
"Very well then I shall test his strength to see if he be worthy of such outrageous claims!" The female knight boldly announced, removing her helmet revealing a beautiful young maiden of noble descent, her long flowing crimson hair tied to a ponytail gently falling to her back with some gracefully landing on her shoulders reminded the Slayer of the color of burnt red orange sunset over a beach, glistening fair skin like that of fine white porcelain…gentle and elegant, her green eyes shimmering like emerald jewels, her beauty rivaled that of the princess's. She held her head high with pride, her will unyielding yet as she looked upon this man she couldn't help but feel a chill down her spine, her instincts telling her body to flee but she pushed it aside.
"I am Dame Luna Ford Dustiness, the eldest daughter of the Dustiness noble household and I hereby challenge thee to a duel!"
The Doomslayer and everyone present to the previous meeting was now moved to a nearby arena, it was almost nostalgic to the Slayer to be judged like a gladiator again. Looking up across the open arena and up to where the Princess's over hanging viewing balcony stood, a canopy wrapped in verdant and daisies in the morning glow of the bright sun above them, her glance hosting worry for the event at hand. The entire arena despite being large was hushed and still as the two combatants stood on opposite sides, the tension thick like fog for the results the two warriors.
The knight drew out her sword that seemed to magically glow in a blueish hue, whiles the Doomslayer stood in silence, his stance ready for any on coming attacks.
"Arm yourself it would only disgrace my honor to fight against someone unarmed" Luna warned with venom present in her voice
"It would be a one sided fight…for you at least" Samuel warned, his monotone voice creeping with dread that seemed to affect the female knight
"YOU WILL SEE THAT I AM MORE THAN A MATCH FOR THE LIKES OF YOU!" Luna Exclaimed, rushing in with an attack and swung her sword down on the Slayer's head only for it to miss. Alarmed by the sudden movements, the knight backed away a few meters, her sword still pointed at her opponent. A frightening feeling overtook her by surprise, a cold sweat formed on her forehead as she gazed up and locked eyes with the Slayer readying for a counter attack that never came. The Slayer only stood there unfazed by her attack.
"Is that all?" Samuel asked bluntly, uninterested by what was going on
"Not yet…." Luna silently snarled under her breath, the grip on her sword tighten. She launched another attack, swinging her sword at the Slayer only for him to dash back at great speed, she tried again only to be met with the same results. While she was attacking him, the Slayer was observing her closely taking in her styles of attack, the tactics she used as well as the forms and directions of her blade. Her style of fighting consisted of rushing tactics, using her speed to attack enemies before backing away and repeating.
'She's good with a sword and fast on her feet… but lacks discipline' was what the Doomslayer thought as he dodged another on coming attack from the female knight.
Breathing heavily as sweat poured down her face with a gleam, the knight looked almost in awe as not one of her attack landed let alone made contact with her opponent, standing her ground she took a deep breath exhaling as she lifted her sword close to her, readying a fighting stance.
"Perhaps I should fight you with my full strength" The knight said as the blue hue of her sword glowed brighter
"Perhaps you should" Samuel replied with boredom, still uninterested by the fight
"RED MOON: LUNAR STRIKE HUNDRED SLASHES!" Luna shouted as she rushed in with a barrage of attacks, her sword slashing furiously to the point at it looked like multiple swords was coming at the Slayer, the attack itself resembled a full moon with a blueish glow but as it progressed it slowly turned into a deep shade of crimson red twilight.
The Doomslayer was caught off guard at first but quickly held his forearms up for defense in a boxer like stance, his gauntlets taking the bulk of the attack. The knight's assault continued on hoping to tire her opponent but to her surprise the Slayer had not moved from where he was standing, not even an inch.
The armor on his forearms had not taken any damage not even a scuff, his exposed biceps only sustaining very minor scratches. As the knight continued on her fruitless endeavor the Slayer stared silently at the knight before him, acknowledging her passion, her will, but most importantly her strong resolve.
"she reminds you of yourself doesn't she..." Samuel commented at the knight's will to continue fighting
"AHHHHHH! -" Luna went on, still to no avail as the man she was fighting was too powerful, the worse part of it was, he was not even using a small portion of the strength
The spectators watched on with awe as the fight continued on, the strongest and most powerful knight their kingdom has ever had was going all out, just as expected she was a powerful knight to be dealt with, but what they all never expected was the Hero's extreme durability, not once had the hero lifted even a finger to fight back and one could only imagine how strong his offensive capabilities were.
"His defenses are unmatched"
"He has not even begun retaliating"
Princess Catherine watched the spectacle before her, hands clasped together on her chest and silently praying for the wellbeing of the two warriors.
Breathing heavily, exhausted and having almost reach her very up most limit, the knight dashed back a few feet away and fell on one knee, using her sword she tried prompting herself up. She looked at the combatant in front of her to see that none of her attacks worked. The Doomslayer relaxed his form, arms down yet still very diligent to anything the knight could pull.
"I implore you to stand down knight, you are no matched for the Slayer" Samuel warned in an almost threatening manner
"I will not give in until I defeat you…." The knight slowly stood up and looked down on her sword, seeing the reflection of herself in it
"I was told by my Mother… that the hero was a noble man of pure heart, a righteous saint with a heart of gold that could save us from the Demon king's tyranny, not a barbarian wielding a musket…" she held her sword up, readying another attack "I refuse to believe that the legend that I faithfully trusted was reduced to the likes of you!"
"RED MOON: LUNAR STRIKE HUNDRED SLASHES!" Luna shouted as she rushed in again with a barrage of attacks
The Doomslayer having been fed up with her shenanigans, retracted his Doomblade and forcefully thrusted it into the center of her moon like attack. Blade and sword clashed like lightning as sparks flew in all directions, the sword acting like the unstoppable force just barely getting by and the blade - the immoveable object that showed no signs of breaking.
"AHHHH!" Luna let out a war cry that echoed throughout the arena as well as the sounds of steel hitting steel, pushing past her limitations but amidst her attack something was going to give. Her sword had reached its limit and a small crack formed around the edge, her eyes widened and as if time had slowed down, the knight tried to back away but it was too late… what she thought was impossible happened.
The sword broke in two…
The knight's sword struck her opponent's blade with such force that the sword was left with a clean cut, severed like paper, a small shockwave of energy erupted that blew a gust of wind throughout the arena.
The dust settled and the female knight laid on the ground tired and frustrated, no longer able to move, broken… just like the sword she was staring at. The crowd watching the whole ordeal unravel before them let out gasps and whispers of astonishment all the while the Princess silently held her breath
"…. Mother…." The knight called out in a whisper, her eyes slowly closing as the sound of heavy footsteps approached her, its shadow looming over her.
In the pitch black void…voices could be heard echoing, recalling the past.
"Mother! Mother! can you please tell me the tail of the Hero again?" a silhouette of a small girl with a book chimed in, running towards her Mother
"you are very fond of that old story aren't you my dear" a faceless beauty replied warmly
A child's laughter echoed, and a loving smile in the darkness…
"Very well then, listen well my child….
In the time before the dawn of man, Gods of Light and Darkness ruled the unformed land. Fighting the endless war, until the day that Darkness was no more.
Life began and Light reigned, a thousand years of peace ruled over this domain, but Darkness struck and Light fell, Dooming the people to where Darkness dwells…with no hope of being saved, the Demon King claimed this his domain
Until the day a hero came, from distant lands whose knowledge cannot be obtained. Born from Brimstone and vengeance he had claimed.
With sword of Light and Rage charging at the enemies' gates, demons fell and monsters ran Slayed by his own hands
Victorious by evil's defeat, Light came back and blessed the man of such great feat. The job was done but the Hero did not stay, without a word he left this domain
Looking for worlds that fell to Darkness as prey, he will save them, without the people's praise. With Sentinel Will he had fought, the damnation that Darkness brought.
His fight is Eternal, his dire steadfast, searching the plains for evil until it is brought to pass…"
The girl amazed by the story looked at her Mother with wide star gazed eyes
"Mother, do you think that I could assist the hero on his journey?" the child asked
The Mother pondered a bit before smiling, caressing the child's cheek "I suppose so if you tried hard enough"
The child's laughter echoed "Then I shall strive to be a knight and help the Hero!"
Time flies by and seasons change, life is like a lit candle always burning but never unending, fragile to the wind. Memories of the past are both a blessing and a curse.
"Faster Luna! We must flee" The Mother ran with the child in tow, trying to escape the monstrous figures closing in
"Mother… I'm scared" A child's cries echoed in the outline darkness of a forest, passing branches and shrubs, and away from the tall grassing, the light of a neighboring castle just a few feet away, hope within arm's length but fate can be a cruel mistress, the Mother fell to the ground her foot caught in an overlapping root, she tried to get up but felt a sharp pain in her leg, monstrous figures approaching closer and fast the stomping getting louder
"Luna you must run!" The Mother warned
"B-but Mother…" Tears of fear from the child's face
Heavy inhuman footsteps coming closer, the screams of monsters getting louder
"LUNA RUN!" The Mother shouted, her voice almost breaking as her eyes watering
The sobs of a child were heard but paled in comparison to the bloodcurdling shrieks of the Mother in the distance, the girl covered her ears, trying to not hear the sound of flesh tearing
The knight woke up in a cold sweat, breathing heavily from the recalling dream, she looked around and noticed that she was back home lying in bed, stripped of armor and only wear a nightgown.
'was it all a dream?' she thought silently before, seeing the knob turn and the door to her room opened, the Princess accompanied by a few maids walked in, one maid carrying a tray of food.
"Thank goodness you are awake!" Princess Catherine rushed in and started doting on to her in a motherly like fashion despite being the younger one of the two
"I am doing just fine Princess" Luna said giving a half-hearted smile
"T'was an astounding match you both shown today, you gave it your all and with both you and the hero on our side there's no doubt in my mind that the kingdom will be saved!" The Princess cheerfully conveyed unaware to the knight's troubled frown
"That's where you are wrong Princess…" The knight stared down, her flowing crimson hair shadowing her emerald eyes as she let out a defeated sigh "I gave it all I could, I used my most powerful attacks…all the tactics I know, the sword I trusted my life with, broke… yet…" Her voice cranked, tears falling down her face a stream "…he wasn't even trying… it's not fair"
Whatever the knight was holding in she finally let out as she wailed like a child, the Princess saw this coming and politely motioned the maids to leave, Luna cried on but the Princess did not mind and continued to comfort her as a shoulder to lean on. A good few minutes past before the knight fixed up her composure and stared wholesomely at the Princess, her lip curved into a small smile.
"Thank you Princess, and forgive me for being unsightly" The knight gave a small bow and looked away slightly embarrassed
Princess Catherine let out a giggle at the knight's reaction "It was not a problem however I believe that you owe Sir Doomslayer an apology"
The door to the room opened and the Slayer stepped in, carefully watching his steps as not to break the expensive looking tiled floors… (again), when the knight saw the Slayer she blushed, her cheeks matching her scorching red hair, making her look as if her whole head was in flames.
"W-W-WHAT ARE YOU- HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN STANDING THERE!?" Luna shouted trying her best to cover herself with her blanket whiles pointing an accusing finger at the Slayer
"While you were still crying." Samuel answered bluntly
The knight buried her head beneath the covers as her flustering face began to let out steam, wishing to be somewhere else right as of now.
"Luna, please take this time to properly apologize to Sir Doomslayer" The Princess persuaded, gently tugged at her blanket
The knight lowered her blanket slightly and faced away from the Slayer with a small pout, her eyes darting back, occasionally stealing short glances at him
"I humbly apologize for acting uncooperatively, it was a foolish blunder on my part" Luna began somewhat rudely, still reluctant and looking away from the hellwalker
"Hmmm…well in that case, we would like to apologize for the excessive force the Slayer had used during that little bout." The voice of Samuel replied sarcastically blunt, even without a face one can clearly see the smugness radiating from the disembodied voice
"EXCESSIVE FORC-" The knight stopped herself midway as she felt the hand of the Princess halting her
"Luna, please do it properly…" the Princess said, her gentle voice settling the knight
The Knight let out a long defeated sigh before looking directly at the Slayer, determined to settle the issue at hand, her figure shooked yet she pressed on.
"Fine then, I'll apologize properly. I'm very sorry that I missed judged you, when I first heard that the hero was going to be summoned into our world I was so nervous, anxious but mostly excited, I would finally get to meet you… here, but I had my expectations…" The held her head low, hiding her face
The Doomslayer watched as the knight hit her lowest point, he was not one to stock on emotions but gave her an empathetic gaze, memories of her past and the worry of history repeating itself, something that he could understand, a moment it time where he could relate and sympathize with.
"…I was expecting a noble knight in shining armor, maybe even a prince…when I was told that the hero was you, I was somewhat upset. I began to think you were an imposter posing as the hero, you were so far off from the stories my mother used to tell when I was a child, yet you proved your worth… and defeated me, and showed just how much inexperienced I truly am. I'm very, very sorry" she said as a small teardrop fell from her face "The stories I loved reading with my mother…I just don't want it turning out to be some sort of sham…"
Samuel Hayden stayed silent and the Doomslayer stared at her like a teacher would when a young student admits to their mistakes, a deep silence descended upon the room until a knock came to the door taking the attention of the three as one of the maids called out
"Excuse me your highness but I have brought in what you have asked for"
"You may enter" Princess Catherine said letting the maid enter the room
The maid came in carrying a long package wrapped in cloth and slowly set in on the knight's bed, resting it gently on her lap
"I am sad to report that none of the royal blacksmiths are able to fix the damage" The Maid said sincerely
"Oh no, I was hoping that someone would able to" the Princess' eyes lowed, hoping she could to more to the situation
"Is this…" Luna murmured, hastily unwrapping the package and knowing what was inside, hoping to see it still in one piece, but that hope disappeared the moment she opened the box, inside was the broken sword that she used to fight the Slayer. "I guess this is the result of my own blunder…" she quietly spoke, her voice faltering, seeing the sword as a testament to her faults as the tears once again started falling from her face.
The Doomslayer walked closer to the knight's bed side, his heavy footsteps startling the others in the room as he stared at the box closely, receiving awkward looks from the three.
"I'm sensing very miniscule amounts of Argent energy coming from this sword, if you're going to do what I think you're going to do then I'll start the preparations needed" Samuel said into the Slayer's coms
The Slayer suddenly grabbed the two broken pieces of the sword and walked away from the others, Luna stood up and held the Slayer by the arm, a look of concern was written on her face. Worried for what he was planning to do, like a child looking at a favored toy being taken away.
"I understand your concern miss, but rest assured the Slayer is only doing is necessary to resolve this situation" Samuel said putting the Knight at ease
Luna was hesitant at first but in the end decided to put her trust in him
"Opening the Hub" Samuel announced as a blue swirling portal opened in front of the Slayer, catching the others off guard.
"A summoning vortex?! But how?" Princess Catherine questioned out loud, both amazed and mesmerized by the wormhole, not just her but the knight and maid as well.
The portal closed behind him leaving the girls with slack jawed expressions
"He…truly is filled with surprises…" the Princess commented earning a nod from the two.
Upon returning to his base of operations the Doomslayer wasted no time and headed to the chamber that gave birth to one of his most powerful weapons, the large vault doors opened automatically, inside the vast space was a cat walk leading to a short flight of stairs, on top was a swirling vat of pure raw Argent energy. The very same vat where the Slayer's own sword was reborn – The Crucible.
"Infusing the sword with more argent energy will be not only fix the damages but also increase its power" Samuel informed as the Slayer took out the two parts of the broken sword "This will be an easy fix, do as I say and this will be over quickly, first you nee-" Samuel was cut short as the Doomslayer casually threw the upper blade part of the sword in the vat as it fell with an audible comedic plop.
"Or do that…" Samuel finished, with a deadpan expression despite lacking facial features.
With the hilt still in hand, the Slayer walked up to the vat of raw energy and slowly dipped the remaining blade left on the handle. The sword shook as sparks of energy scatted like lightning, very slowly he pulled out the sword and inspected it carefully for any relative warps in the blade but found none, it was in perfect condition and ready for battle. Done with his job the Doomslayer was about to leave but remembered his own sword, pulling out the Crucible the Slayer began the same process but reignited and held it high above him
The blue portal opened again and out came the Slayer holding the knight's now fixed sword. Luna stood up and almost ran to him, stopping a few meters away. The Doomslayer held out the sword and the knight slowly touched it, picking it up and inspected it, conforming it was hers'
"But how?" she asked with a growing smile, questioning whether if this was a dream or not.
The Doomslayer grinned under his helmet, the Knight's reaction was that of pure joy and almost childlike.
Walking the crowded streets of Asterinia's market was a lot more different than the Doomslayer remembered as the people who saw him immediately steered away from him, his hulking mass and armored aesthetic was more than enough to drive way any grown strongmen, calling him intimidating was an understatement but he was used to the reaction.
"It that a golem?"
"he looks like a brute"
"Should we call the knights?"
Stares and whispers came his way but ignored it all as he continued his walk. Any Knights who saw him was well aware and did not even dare try to interrupt him after watching the fight. Seeing himself slowly making a scene the Slayer ducked behind an alley to avoid the stares
"P-Please sir I don't have anything of value!" a pleading voice of a little girl was what the Doomslayer heard despite the bustling streets of the town. He turned a corner and slightly sped up his walking deeper into an alley to find a small girl wearing dirty ragged clothes and wrapped in a beaten old cloak, pinned to the wall against her will by three thugs.
"We aren't looking to rob you…. we were hoping to you sell to the slave markets" one of the thugs said whiles pointing a rusty knife at the girl
The girl let out a small whimper as the knife tickled her cheek and slowly traveled down her neck, the knife was suddenly grabbed by an armored hand and was crushed like cardboard, the first thug looked up and saw a man clad in green attire as he stared down at him with fury in his eyes, The Slayer picked up the first thug and harshly threw him into a stack of wooden boxes, the second Thug 'tried' to throw a punch at the Slayer only to eat one himself (And a few teeth along).
"YOU ASSHOLE" the last thug and the biggest one in the gang pulled out a knife and 'tried' to stab the Slayer only to have his arm bend in an unnatural manner. The thug dropped to the ground and screamed in agony before being mercifully knocked out by the Slayer's iron foot
Falling to her rear, now there she sat the little girl trembling in fear after witnessing a single man take on three thugs with ease. The Doomslayer looked her way and slowly approached her his heavy boots echoing in the alley, the little girl could only close her eyes and brace herself for inevitability of death. To her surprise it never came but instead what was in front of her was the Doomslayer's hand reaching out to her. The girl was hesitant and afraid, only being able to look at the Slayer's hand uncertain to touch it or not.
"It is alright young one we do not mean any harm to you" Samuel spoke his robotic voice oddly soothing her.
Slowly she reached out for his hand, it was metallic, cold and had seen battles not even she could imagine, yet there was an unexpected calming warmth to it, slowly the Slayer helped her up to her feet.
"Are you alright?" Samuel asked, voicing in for the Slayer
The little girl looked away fidgeting, her reaction that of unease. The Slayer was about to leave but felt a small tug at his pinky finger. Looking down the Doomslayer saw the girl looked up at him with eyes filled worry.
"Thank you for saving me…" The girl uttered, her voice timid and shy, she stared at him for a few seconds before a loud grumbling sound was heard - her stomach. Her face turned into a crimson red, something in her hood twitched which caught the Slayer attention but left it aside as nothing important
"Are you perhaps hungry?" Samuel figured easily
The girl nodded, her face still a reddish hue as the loud grumbling sound grew louder. The Doomslayer pulled out a small bag of gold coins given to him earlier and decided to treat the girl for something to eat. He motioned the girl to follow him, which she complied with and started to trail behind him unknowns to her that the cloak was caught on a nail.
"What is your name child?" Samuel asked
"Daisy…" The girl answered in a hush like tone, unknowns to her the cloak snagged on a small nail protruding off the wall, ripping away the fabric when she trailed behind him revealing a very young maiden.
Her long beautiful chestnut brown hair that flown down to her shoulders with a bounce, her fair skin tone like that of milk, beautiful caramel brown eyes the hosted nothing but pure innocents, yet despite all that, what really got the Slayer's undivided attention the most was the pair of bunny ears a top her head…
Well…. that took longer than I anticipated but I hope you enjoyed the fic I was planning on character development and decided to flush out the knight first, turn her into a somewhat of a Tsundere
I also added one Konosuba reference (Luna's last name) and multiple biblical reference here and there
Well see you all next time.
Update: Fixed this one too, PM me if you find any mistakes I made.