Omg...this is my first fanfiction EVER. woot! I hope I won't mess up. English is not my native language so there might be some horrible mistakes here and there...I tried to correct myself the best I could.
I hope you will like my story, especially if you're a fan of monks, because I just LOVE monks :B My story takes place in the world of RO, but you'll find that it is more "inspired by" than directly "taking place in". I added a lot of stuff and bent the universe to my liking. I hope you'll enjoy it nonetheless.
Warning: This story will eventually contain blood, death, non-explicit and explicit sexual content.
This story takes place in the future of the Ragnarok online we know. Rune Midgard and the region surrounding it were converted long ago to Christianity. The Sanctuary of Rachel no longer serves the goddess Freya, but the catholic God and so does the pope. Odin's shrine was sealed long ago and no one is allowed to enter it. People were forced to abandon their old gods, but some of them still worship Odin in the privacy of their home, away from the spying eyes of the clergy. Many young people don't even remember that there was once other gods. It's in this religious context that this story unfolds. Please keep this in mind and enjoy it.
The way of the fist
Chapter 1: A new Path
'23 birds on the rope over there' Verica thought to herself while looking by the window. 'This cloud looks like a banana and this one looks like a piece of bread. Hm, I must be really hungry to see food everywhere like this…'
"Verica! Are you listening to me?"
Verica snapped out of her reveries. "O-of course m'am!"
Kebbaku looked at her with disapproval. "No, you are not! You were looking at God knows what outside the window" then she closed the curtains and smacked Verica behind her head. "You do realize your priest exam is in 4 days young girl? Do you consider yourself ready for it?"
Verica sighed and looked at her teacher with bubbly eyes "I'm sorry m'am, but this is such a wonderful and sunny day. I can't help but feel that I'm missing something trapped in this gray church when I could be outside enjoying this beautiful day God is giving us."
"You're lying again. You don't care about the weather. You're just bored with my lesson, and you're trying to find something else to entertain yourself. And you're probably thinking about food since I can hear your belly grumbling."
Verica gave her an awkward smile "haha, you know me so well Kebbaku. I'm truly sorry. It's just that we've been through this lesson millions of time. I think I know pretty well how to heal. It's like a basic skill for acolytes!"
"You'll have to use it a lot during your test. I just want to make sure you're ready for it. You're only 16 but you know I have-"
"High hopes for me, yes, I know…" Verica said while looking at the curtains.
Kebbaku looked at Verica's dark eyes with compassion. "Alright miss. I guess I've filled your brain with enough information for today. And for God's sake, please find something to eat before the whole church hears the sounds of your stomach!"
Verica left the class and went outside the church to buy something to eat. 'Kebbaku really is a nice teacher. And she cares so much about me. Maybe too much' she though. She arrived at the market and bought some bread. She ate it while going back to the church. On her way, a young swordsman bumped into her and she fell on her rear.
"Hey, watch where you're going!" she said obviously angry while getting up.
"Oh, I'm sorry young lady. Here let me help you"
"It's okay, I can stand by myself!"
"Now now, don't make such a face, you'll get wrinkles. You don't want wrinkles now do you? Such a beautiful face, it would be a shame. "
"...Are you flirting with me"
"Maybe! Wanna come have a drink some place?"
Verica looked at him in disbelief. Was he blind? She's wearing an acolyte suit. Surely he knows acolytes are not allowed such relationship. Well, maybe he's just dumb.
"I'm an acolyte; I'm not allowed to have a boyfriend or…anything like that"
"Oh, that's fine by me! We can just skip that part and go to the interesting one!" he said with a grin.
"…WHAT!" she yelled, shocked. He moved toward her and she quickly punched him right in the face.
"Ooww! AAHH! THE FUCK!"
"You stay away from me you freak! Get the hell out of here before I punch your soul out of your body!"
The swordsman got up and left quickly holding his nose. Verica calmed herself and then heard a small laugh. She turned to see a man looking at her. He was strangely dressed. He had pale blue eyes and black hairs. He looked really handsome and Verica blushed a little. But…was he laughing at her?
"And what are you laughing at?"
"Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to insult you" he said "I just find the whole situation quite funny. A swordsman getting punched by an acolyte, I'm sorry, but I don't get to see this everyday. Have a nice day young girl" Then he walked away.
Verica looked at him for a moment. 'What was that supposed to mean. What a strange man…' she thought.
The young girl resumed her walk toward the church. When she arrived, there were many people gathered by the front door. She joined the crowd to see what the fuss was about. In the middle of the crowd, she saw Vorast Trifden, one of the most important Arch Bishop of the Catholic Church and the closest counsellor of the Pope himself. What a sight really! Arch Bishops almost never leave the pope's side to mix with people like this.
"Hi there Verica!"
"Oh hi Ami. What is an Arch Bishop doing here?"
"Well, I can't say for sure, but he's probably here to attend High Priest Mazrim's Funeral" Ami said.
"Aah, right. It's really sad that he left us. I liked him a lot. But for the Pope's right-hand man to come here like this. I never realized high priest Mazrim was such an important person."
"I heard someone say that he invented Pneuma. Don't know if it's true though."
"Pffff, that's nonsense!"
"Hey! I'm just telling you what I heard! Oh and priest Paico told me that you should cut your hair, they are getting long you know"
Verica looked at her shoulder-length hair. They were not that long of course, but it was a standard for young acolyte to keep their hair short. The priests used to say that only street girls had long hair, whatever that means. Verica never really understood...
"Whatever, I'll just cut them when they force me to. I like my hair like that!"
"Eh, as you wish. I have to go now, see ya."
Verica went into the church and walked toward the front hotel. She saw a kneeled man by the front seats, praying. She passed by him, but she quickly turned back when she realized it was the man who had laughed at her earlier. The moment she looked at him, he opened his eyes and returned her gaze. He smiled at her and sat on the bench "We meet again. Must mean something, don't you think"
She sat beside him and took a closer look at him. He seemed to be in his late twenties. He was very muscular and had many scars on his body (she could see because the front of his shirt was open) 'Don't stare like this stupid…he will notice…there, the way he's smiling, he TOTALLY noticed! Now think…say something intelligent.'
"I've never seen anyone dressed like you beforeé What are you exactly?" She asked.
"Hm, maybe I just have very peculiar tastes in fashion ."
"…Maybe…" Verica replied as she narrowed her eyes on the man.
"…You don't look convinced" The man said with a half smile.
"Because I'm not. You look suspicious."
"Is that so? And what makes you think I'm not just a random citizen?"
"Well, for a normal citizen, you're quite beefy." He laughed at that. "And to be muscular like that, you ought to be a blacksmith or a swordsman, but you're not dressed like one."
"Not necessarily. Maybe I'm just a beefy citizen. With bad fashion style."
"You wear an old holy cross given to young acolyte when they pass their test, which means you're related to this church somehow, but you certainly don't look like an acolyte or a priest."
"Hm, you noticed the cross?" He said with a raised brow.
"I was not sure. Mine is grey, like all the others, but yours is black like it's been burned and it is quite damaged. However, I'm sure it's the same because of the ruby and the carving".
The man stayed silent and waited for her to continue her analysis.
"And there are stains on your gloves. To me, it looks like badly washed blood, which is, in my opinion, very suspicious."
"And your conclusion?" He asked, looking at her with a very serious expression, as if she was about to reveal to him the secret of life.
"Maybe you're some kind of ex-priest who betrayed the order and made a pact with a demon to gain power and get revenge on the Catholic Church?"
The man looked at her intensely. She felt that he was looking at her soul, like her body was not even there. She had said it as a joke, but for a moment, she feared that she was right…
But then he laughed "You have a lot of imagination. I hope you're as clever as you are creative." He said, smiling widely. What a warm smile he had. "You want to know what I am, I'll tell you. However, you might want to keep this for yourself, as people like me are not usually welcome here."
This piqued Verica's curiosity even more. "Why is that?" she asked.
"Now now, one question at a time please" he said while laughing. "Actually, I'm a monk. A champion of faith."
"Verica!" Kebbaku yelled behind her. "Come here, now!"
Verica looked at her teacher and then looked back at the man who was standing up. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to cause you any trouble" He said with a sad smile before leaving.
Verica got up and walked toward Kebbaku.
"Don't talk to this man Verica. He's not supposed to be here, stay away from him."
"He seemed nice. He was praying and-"
"Just stay away from him. He's dangerous, don't question me young girl!"
Verica looked at her with surprise written all over her face, but nodded. Kebbaku left and Verica spent the rest of the day thinking about this strange man. When she went to bed, she didn't sleep, too wrapped in her thoughts.
Verica got up next morning, still thinking about this so called monk. There was only one thing to do. When she didn't know about something, the best way to rectify that was to look in the library. Surely they had books on monks, whatever that is.
She arrived at the library and greeted the girl at the entrance. She asked her if they had books about monks, but the girl said that she didn't know. "If we have one" she said "it's probably in the religious section". So Verica went to the religious section and started searching. It was getting late and she found nothing yet. She was about to give up when a familiar voice spoke to her.
"You look upset"
She turned around to see the so called "monk" she just met yesterday. "I'm trying to find a book on something…but they don't seem to have one" she said.
"Hm, that's too bad. Are you sure you looked everywhere?"
"Yes, I know pretty well how to search in a library, thanks".
"Did you look under the floor"
He didn't repeat. Instead, he just crouched under a table and lifted one of the wooden planks. He put his hand in the hole and took a book out of it. He put the plank back in place and gave her the book called The way of the fist.
"There, this should satisfy your curiosity. But be sure to put it back in place when you're done with it".
Verica looked at him in disbelief. "Hm…thanks…"
"You're welcome" he said with his ever present smile, then left the room.
'Wait a minute…' "hey, but how did you know I was here looking for this!" She yelled
There was no answer.
Verica left the library with the book and got back to the church. She went to her room where she began reading it. She stayed up all night, wrapped in this new information she was getting. She had never heard of monks, but from what this book was saying, only acolyte could become monks. How come nobody ever told her she could follow this path instead of becoming a priestess? This way of life seemed so much more exciting. She recognized herself in their ways, fighting God's enemy with their bare hands and training their body and soul so that they can be in perfect harmony. She fell asleep on the book, and she dreamt of it.
The next day, after her ever lasting lesson with Kebbaku, she went to the library and put the book back where it belonged. She came back to the church and looked everywhere to see if she could talk to the monk again, despite her teacher's warning. If this man was really a monk, then he was in no way dangerous for her. They were both servants of God. What's dangerous about it?
She looked everywhere in the church but didn't see him, so she tried looking outside. She arrived in the garden and she saw him hidden behind a tree. He was sitting and his eyes were closed. He was probably meditating or something like that…she remembered reading about it in the book last night. She didn't want to disturb him so she turned away to leave, but apparently he already knew she was there. "Hello again young girl. Was the book interesting?"
Verica sat in front of him and he opened his eyes. "Yes, I learned a lot. Thank you."
"You're welcome" he said. He was still smiling. It seemed to Verica that this man was just unable not to smile.
"Can I ask you a few questions, if you don't mind of course".
"Hm…I don't mind, but I believe your teacher won't be pleased to see you with me."
"What she doesn't know can't hurt her"
His smile widened. "hey, fine by me. What do you want to know?"
"well…for a start, could you tell me your name?"
"Sure, my name's Kenneth. And you are?"
"Nice to meet you Verica"
That smile of him was hypnotizing…what did she wanted to ask him again?
"Was that all you wanted to know?"
"o-of course not! You said you were not welcome here; why is that?"
"Hm…" he looked at the sky for a moment, as if he really needed to think this question through before answering. "You see, monks and priests don't really like each others. Monks regard priests as weaklings who hide behind other people's strength and priests see monks as brute who are more dedicated to their personal growth and strength than to God. We are very few because information about us are kept secret. They don't want their young acolytes to follow our path. That's why they don't like seeing me here."
"That's totally stupid. We serve the same God…"
"I agree with you, but things are what they are."
"If you're not welcome here, then why are you here?"
"High priest Mazrim was my teacher when I was a young acolyte. I have a lot of respect for him, that's why I decided to come and that's why they tolerate my presence here. It would be very impolite not to let me pay my respects one last time. Now I suggest you leave, before you get in trouble" he said with a smile again.
"If you didn't want me around, why did you give me that book?" She asked, clearly suspicious.
"I'm just warning you, that's all. As I said, I don't want to cause you any trouble."
"Trouble's my middle name!" she said and he laughed quietly.
"Is that so?" then he closed his eyes again "Good, because I believe it's too late to avoid it now"
"what are you-" as she asked, she saw Kebbaku in the garden. Indeed, it was too late because she'd already spotted her. She looked angry…
"Verica, may I have a word with you?"
Verica looked at Kenneth. He just smiled and didn't say anything while keeping his eyes closed. She got up and joined Kebbaku who led her into the church.
"Will you ever listen to me?"
"I'm sorry m'am"
"I told you not to talk to him, but you never listen! You always think you know better than your elders and you pick fight with other people! Your impudent personality and lack of respect for rules will cause your downfall! Don't waste your talent like that! Now go to your room young girl. Stay there and pray. Pray and think of your insolent behaviour!"
Verica didn't say a thing, for if she talked, her voice would have betrayed her anger. She started to walk away.
"And cut your hair while you're at it! There are getting long, I don't want you to look like a whore on your test!" Kebbaku yelled behind her. Verica didn't answer and started to run toward her room.
She cried in her bed until it was dark outside. She didn't understand why. It was so childish, but she couldn't stop herself. Kebbaku had never been so mean to her, but she was probably right. This was not the behaviour of a priestess.
When she calmed herself, she left her room and went to the garden, regardless of her teacher's order. Once there, she crouched by the pond with a knife and looked at her reflection in the water. She was about to cut her hair when someone startled her.
"What are you doing with a knife?"
It was Kenneth. He looked worried. Understandable. Seeing a girl with a knife near her face probably looks suspicious.
"I'm cutting my hair" she answered.
"Oh…I see" he said as he took a good look at her. He looked directly into her eyes, but his gaze was too intense and she looked away. "Hum, are you sure about this? I mean, it's a pity really. I think long hair would suit you. But what do I know? I'm just a man…with bad fashion tastes, probably better not to listen to me eh?"
She laughed at that, and he smiled even more. He walked away without adding anything. Verica stayed by the pond for a moment, looking at herself. Then she returned to her room, without cutting her hair.
That night, she slept well for the first time since her encounter with Kenneth, but didn't wake up feeling rested at all. 'It's probably the stress of tomorrow's test' she thought.
She got up and prepared for the funeral of High Priest Mazrim. Once there she took her place and waited. She looked for Kenneth and eventually she spotted him at the back of the church. She caught herself looking at him more than she should have during the ceremony, but she didn't want lo lose sight of him. Once it was over, she quickly made her way toward him before he left.
"Hello there, young one. What can an old man like me do for you today?"
"I just wanted to thank you…for last night. You really cheered me up and I'm thankful for that."
"It was nothing, you're welcome" he said. "I wish you good luck in you apprenticeship Verica. It was a pleasure to meet you."
"You sound like I'll never see you again…"
"Well, I'm going back to St-Capitolina Abbey in a few hours so…maybe we'll meet again, who knows?"
"oh…right" She said reluctantly.
They stayed in front of each other for a moment. Verica was looking at the ground, like she was expecting him to say something. But he simply stayed there with his smile on his face and looked down at her, like the situation wasn't awkward at all.
"Hm…well, have a safe trip then!" Verica finally said.
"Thank you Verica. Take care of yourself" He said with a caring smile and then left.
Verica stayed where she was for a moment. She didn't know why, but she felt sad. She considered her feelings. Deep inside she didn't want him to leave. She wanted to know more about monks. She went up to her room and thought thoroughly about the situation. Tomorrow was her passing exam to become priestess. But to be a monk…somehow she felt that it was the latest she really wanted. She looked at her hands and made up her mind. She wrote a farewell note to Kebbaku, took some of her belongings and left the church. She went toward the north gate, because St-Capitolina was north east from here, so Kenneth was most likely to go through there.
She arrived at the gate and she saw Kenneth waiting beside it. When he saw her, he didn't look surprised.
"Hm? What are you doing here? Going somewhere?"
"Is that so?"
Verica bowed her head "Please take me as an apprentice" she said.
Kenneth looked at her, impassive. She could have said "Just passing by" and he would have had the same reaction probably.
She didn't move. She stayed bowed. She would not move until he answered her.
"Hm…interesting. You studied all your life to become a priest. You want to throw this all away now, when your passing exam is tomorrow? Why is that?"
Verica straightened up and looked at him directly in the eyes for the first time. Only one thing could be seen in her eyes; determination.
"I was never given a choice to become a priest or not"
The monk stared down at her, obviously expecting more explanation than that.
She looked at her hands and continued
"Those hands were meant to serve God, I'm sure of that. But they were not meant to heal people." She looked back at him "They were meant to slay God's enemies and protect the weak from evil! This is not my place. I belong somewhere else. I want to serve God in another way!"
Kenneth looked at her, unmoved. He wasn't sad or angry, but he wasn't smiling either. He looked so serious, and a bit scary. "Being a monk is not easy. It is neither a game nor a way to look cool. Only a few succeed, some die trying, some grow mad. It's not for everyone."
"I'll never know if it's for me if I don't try. I have faith in myself and I have faith in God. I know he will not let me down, because I fight for him."
Kenneth considered her for a moment, and then the warm and comforting smile was back on his face, along with an eye crease. "Good enough for me! Fine, follow me then!"
"But…wait! You're ready to leave? What were you waiting for before I arrived?"
"Well, I was waiting to see if you would come."
"…What?" she said with surprise.
"From the first time I saw you, I knew you had it in you." Kenneth simply said, putting his hands in his pocket.
"Had what?" Verica asked with a raised brow.
"The potential to become a monk. But I didn't know if you would have the courage to give up your life as a priest. I'm glad I waited. Now stop looking at me like that, it makes me feel awkward. Let's get going". He said as he turned to leave Prontera.
Verica looked at his back. She was excited. So excited, but scared at the same time. Was she doing the right choice? Kenneth turned back toward her and smile. Another one of those warm smiles that made her feel like nothing can happen to her. That was all she needed to brush her doubt aside and step forward into her new life.
This is my first chapter. Thank you for reading, I hope you like my characters :)