Sense Went Out to Lunch Chapter 6: Becoming Catina

By Agni

Holy shit I'm so sorry for being so damn late with this chapter. Long story short: A lot of shit has happened, and then my comp went BOOM and I just fixed it. I swear, chapter seven will not take this long.

Man, I'm terrible at schedules.

Oh well. LET THE SHOW BEGIN

Augh, Fictionpress fucked up the formatting horribly again. God dammit, WHY DO YOU DO THIS TO ME MANG

/

The Vecher River ran through Resch and then poured out into a river valley. At the very base of this valley, where the most water could pool up and collect at, a luscious jungle grew alongside its banks. Down in this valley, officially denoted the Vecher River Valley by Altacia's government, a Beastperson civilization, named "Nacji" lived. They lived right next to Resch, sending their own to the city every few years to represent their community in official matters.

They were not a mindless group of savages—much different, actually. They enjoyed the use of Altacian technology, and amenities, while keeping their own culture deeply intact. This was the last Beastperson civilization in Altacia, as the others had left a long time ago.

Catina was the name of the princess of this village. Well, she wasn't really a princess, but it was the closest word in the English language to describe her. She was the daughter of the chief, and was to succeed him when he died (if he did, as Beastpeople lived for quite a long time) but she never really felt as if she was a "princess" like the public imagined it.

She did not like to communicate with others. She spent her days relaxing in a small lake an a tributary of the Vecher had created. It was quite hot there, making it the perfect hot spring for relaxing. The others in the village didn't dare disturb her, as that meant severe punishment.

"I have spent so much time researching the machine I found, but I can't quite figure out its purpose…." She sighed, lounging in the lake as the warm water soothed her supple, mature (in more than one way) body. Many boys in Nacji were enamored with her, waxing poetical on everything from her eyelashes to her round and smooth face. She secretly wished that they'd stop focusing on her looks and start focusing on her personality and intelligence. In any case, she wasn't as well-developed as Fuchiri, but still rather tall with a tan complexion. "Well, I can't really figure out the purpose of most of the stuff I come across, anyway. This appears to be no different."

She heard a sound coming from inside the brush; one of the little cat ears on her head turned in its direction. A large portion of her research was on her race—the Beastpeople, and why they existed.

From the trees came an old man draped in robes made from leather and holding a large staff in his hand. He was Wari, a dog-person (as evinced from the very small ears on the side of his head—not that they could be seen since he was wearing a hood) who was considered to be a "shaman" by those from Resch. He despised the title, however, as he felt it didn't fit him exactly. He was not a foolish man looking for signs where there were none. He was merely a person who over-saw all the knowledge, especially magic-related knowledge in the village. He was actually quite young—the equivalent of around 30 years old.

"I see that you are continuing your research as usual, Catina." His voice was surprisingly "normal" for such an imposing figure.

"Yes. I;m trying to find out what us Beastmen were created for."

"Do you still believe that we were created instead of just existing?"

"Yes. All of my research points to it." She stood up in the water, being completely naked. She didn't mind—the beastperson civilization didn't really care about being naked when bathing, even when with another person.

In actuality, she enjoyed being naked in front others a little too much….though Wari couldn't see it, she was enjoying wearing no clothes in front of him far, far, too much.

"I can tell that you get off on this kind of thing, Catina." His voice was like a knife, cutting straight through her belief that he was clueless.

"AH!" She was so taken aback that she fell in the water with a splash. After getting up again, she was blushing heavily. "Well, I mean…uh…you see…"

"We aren't even going to pretend that this isn't for fanservice, are we?"

"Shut-shut up!" She shooed him off. "Go away! What do you even want?"

He sighed at her personality. Dealing with Catina was sometimes aggravating. "You'll make me have gray hairs 30 years before I should….I came to tell you that that boy you obsess over has come, finally."

Catina's eyes lit up at this news. "Alius! I've finally being waiting to see you, Alius!"

"I don't know why you obsess over him so much."

"I once met him in Resch! I gave him something…and now he's back! I can finally see if he looked at it and what his opinions are on it! Get me the plant dye, quick!"

Wari obeyed her without fail and gave her a small bowl filled with a green paste. She dipped her hands in it and rubbed it on her hair, turning it a luscious bright green. It would stay in until she took another bath in the lake. The dye was made from a local plant and very well-regarded for its strength and color. Of course, given how Catina had invented it, that was to be expected. She was always trying to invent things. Even if she failed, she would persevere.

Her hair a beautiful green, she rushed off to meet Alius. While still wearing no clothes.

/

Sjorn and his group had finally left and had gotten to Nacji just as the map had said. Sjorn and Alius didn't say much over the travel, but Marina and Fuchiri were being extremely cautious of each other. Marina was getting paranoid of an attack, and Fuchiri was stressing out over possibly defecting from her employer. As much as she tried to hide it with laughter and the façade of an airhead she had put on before, it still came through in subtle ways—her sullen expression, stiff movements, and tendency to ignore others while deep in thought were as clear as day.

"What the hell is with you two?" Sjorn eventually asked them, having grown tired of their constant animosity. They simply gave each other dirty looks and proceeded to walk on ahead. Sjorn could only watch as they ignored his pleas for reconciliation.

Alius patted Sjorn's dejected self on the shoulder. "Eh, they'll just have to figure it out someway. You can't just yell at someone and expect that to help them fix their problems." He looked ahead at the two girls. "Maybe something happened between them that we didn't know about."

"Like maybe they both like Sjorn!" Aelrich quipped from the sidelines.

"You stay out of this! We don't need people from the peanut gallery making fun of these things. And I can't imagine either of those two liking Sjorn."

Sjorn gave Alius an appalled look for that final comment. "And just what do you mean by that?"

/

Fuchiri and Marina had been walking for 10 whole minutes before stopping. Marina didn't look at Fuchiri at all—Fuchiri herself was looking down at the ground, her face shadowed by her hair. Neither one of them spoke a word for several minutes.

"That….thing…what is it? Why?" Fuchiri enunciated every last word.

"I wanted knowledge." Marina's answer was short, yet explained her motives far better than any 5-hour lecture could have.

"That's not….that can't be the answer. Do you understand what you've down now? It said you forgot about it."

Marina chuckled. "I wish I could forget about it. But, anyway: I know, I know. But really, the thing's useless. It keeps thinking that it's a god but it's nowhere near that powerful."

"Still, there were so many better things to do with your talent. And you built that goddamn machine. Now it's trying to remake the world or something like that."

Marina sighed at Fuchiri's words. She felt a deep pang of regret for making that…thing."It wishes to return to the Old Age. It will try anything to reach that." Her voice was weak, and slow—one of a person making a confession.

"How can you destroy it?" Fuchiri finally looked over at Marina, who met her gaze. "There has to be a way."

"….There's a way. It's possible. But I don't know if we could possibly ever achieve it in a lifetime."

"I've given up on the damn thing. Maybe we should at least try."

"Well, then it's off to Adentus' lair then. We'll need his help to fight it."

"Let's go back. I still won't trust a word you say, even if we are working together."

Marina smirked.

"I won't trust a damn thing you say, either."

/

Sjorn and Alius were still bickering by the time Fuchiri and Marina had gotten back. When they saw the two girls, they quickly stopped, not wanting to appear bad in front of them.

Alius turned to face them. "Well, girls, I guess you guys have made up or something?"

Fuchiri walked past him and over to Sjorn. "Only a little bit. I wish I could tell you guys everything. But I'm not sure it's possible—"

"ALIIIIIIIUS!"

Alius was knocked over by something—someone—coming out of the nearby brush out of nowhere. Before he could even breathe again, he was being hugged by….a girl.

A cat-girl.

A cat-girl who was entirely nude for no real discernible reason.

"WHO IN GOD'S NAME ARE YOU!" He freaked out as she held onto him with a death grip.

"I'm…I'm Catina! Don't you remember me, Alius!" She looked up into his eyes. He couldn't really do anything but stare in shock at her.

Then he remembered. "You! What in god's name are you doing here!" He started to remember everything: meeting her in Resch, getting an important object from her, and then leaving. She had been not much different than everyone else he had met, but he still remembered her anyway.

"Why, I'm the princess of this village here! And now you're finally back!"

Fuchiri, incredibly weirded out by Catina's…dearth of clothing, separated the two and held Catina in a clothesline, damn near choking her with her arm. "SCREW THAT!" She tightened the grip as Catina struggled to get free. "Why in god's name are you naked? Put some damn clothes on, woman!"

Catina finally broke free of Fuchiri and then slapped her. "Wh-why should I have to wear clothes around the man I love!"

"WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT!"

Alius was about to faint from the sheer turn of events. "H-Hold your horses there, Catina! I've barely known you at all, even when we met, and now you love me! I think that's enough inappropriate things for one day!" He was blushing as he held his hands up in the air. "Hey, I don't know what she's smoking, so don't look at me like I'm the weirdo!"

"WHY IN GOD'S NAME IS SHE NAKED?"

Catina was completely unfazed (though very aroused) from all the attention she was getting. "I have been using my technology to spy on you, Alius! I have watched every aspect of your life !"

"OH DAMN THAT'S CREEPY!"

Marina could only stare in incredulity at the events unfolding in front of her. "This….this is kinda starting to freak me out, guys."

Fuchiri was starting to resort to drastic measures at this point. "Damn, you crazy-ass woman…get your pervert hands off Alius!" She whipped out a small kunai with a whoosh and placed it between her fingers. "Or I'll cut you to pieces!"

"You…you devil woman!" Catina pulled out her own knife out of nowhere (Sjorn's "WHERE IN GOD'S NAME WHERE YOU HIDING THAT?" fell on deaf ears), one much larger; it was practically a butcher's knife. "Keep your skank hands off of my Alius!"

"Skank? Woman, I don't even like him, I just don't want creepy fucks touching my friends!"

"Fine!" Catina grabbed Alius by the neck and held him in a chokehold, keeping the knife incredibly close to his throat. "If I can't have Alius, nobody will!"

"Woah, there, Catina!" Alius was freaking out—not because a hot woman was holding hostage, but because said hot woman was a psychotic naked catgirl. "I'm not going to let you kill me, you crazy bitch!"

"Don't worry, Alius!" Catina's voice was simultaneously creepy and cute. "I'll die of despair the moment you're dead, and then we'll live lovingly in the afterlife, doing *INFERNO DIVIDER!* and some *CARNAGE SCISSORS!* and maybe we can even try some *DEAD SPIKE*!"

Everyone was aghast at the horrid things she had said. Even Marina was disgusted. "Damn, woman, this story's only rated T on Fictionpress! Keep that shit out of here!"

Sjorn was able to get a few words in too. "Ye gods, woman, you're not only an exhibitionist but a highly disturbed sex fiend too! How low will this story go for comedy?"

Aelrich was more surprised about the references than the content. "Woah, nice BlazBlue shout-out."

Alius, as one would expect, was not very privy to Catina's suggestions. "NO! There's no way in hell I'm going to let myself get killed by a psycho catgirl who's naked and about to kill me due to being in love with me for no discernible reason, nor am I ever going do those with you!"

"You….you don't love me, Alius!"

In a way that almost seemed to be perfectly comically timed, Wari came out of the bushes at this time, and became witness to his charge violently assaulting a guy draped in silver armor and several others simply watching in confusion/horror/disbelief/(insert adjective here). "Catina I trust you have met—what the hell are you doing?"

Sjorn wasn't enjoying the extra character. "Oh come on!" He yelled, holding his head in an imaginary migraine. "We've already got six characters in this scene, we don't need a seventh! The author's having enough trouble trying to give everyone lines! I've only gotten one line!"

"I haven't even gotten any lines!" Aelrich retorted from the background, but no one paid attention to it.

Wari, trying to defuse the situation, attempted calming Catina down. "Catina, you really shouldn't be trying this kind of thing…." He already knew his words were hopeless, though. Catina didn't pay attention to anyone but herself.

"Wari?" Catina suddenly felt very embarrassed that Wari had seen her. "Y-You're not supposed to be here!" She blushed heavily and let go of Alius. "Don't follow me around everywhere." She really thought she had made a fool of herself by freaking out in front of Alius.

Wari sighed. "With things like this happening, I have to follow you around everywhere." He turned to face Alius. "I must apologize for the princess' abhorrent actions. She is…very arcane in her ways."

Alius tilted his head in confusion. "Princess? Catina's the last kind of person I expected to be a princess."

"Well, she's technically not one." He motioned for them to come inside. "I think an explanation is in order. Follow me to my quarters. And princess….put some damn clothes on."

/

Beastpeople used to use wood and mud to build houses, but Nacji was much more fond of using reinforced steel from Resch. Of course, being that this world was roughly on a 1400s-1500s tech level, true steel was extremely expensive to get. This, only the frames tended to be made of metal, with wooden supports on the outside. The houses were mostly large concave domes, though some, most of them owned by richer members of the village, used a Resch-style "box" design much like modern houses.

The various members of the village—it numbered roughly 400—were doing their daily work outside when Sjorn and his group entered (Catina and Wari were lagging behind due to arguing). At the gate, they were barred by the posted guards.

"Halt!" One , with a spear on his back (his tribe was indiscernible due to wearing a helmet), had yelled at them. "You humans aren't allowed in here unless its official Resch business!"

Fuchiri walked up to him and tried to get access. "I'm a Beastwoman. These humans are friendly and don't mean any harm. Please, let us pass."

The guard took one long at her. "Like I'd trust a Yamato bitch. You aren't going." His voice was filled with nothing but contempt.

"Uwah!" Fuchiri was devastated by his sheer rudeness. How could he possibly deny a fellow beastperson such as herself? With a more forceful tone, she demanded to be let in. "W-what about me is so wrong? Do you not see the ears on my head and the tail on my back? Are we not kin?"

"Look at you." He sneered in return. "Pale skin and silky black hair, just like all the Yamato traitors. Like hell I'll let you in, when your kind left us to be killed by them." He pointed towards the humans in the group.

Fuchiri could do nothing but be appalled that her own kin had cruelly rejected her. She took a few shocked steps back, simply muttering in disbelief.

Alius took out his Knight's Academy badge and showed it to the guard. "Look, this is a Knight's Academy badge. It gives me free reign to go anywhere I please. Now let me and my friends in."

The guard ripped the badge out of his hand and threw it on the ground. Alius was so aghast at his action that he couldn't even respond except with stuttering gasps or disbelief. Marina was already gearing for a fight. "You think that damn badge can allow you to go everywhere you want. You think you can just step all over everyone else just because you're a fucking knight, eh? Kinda like how you bastards damn near exterminated us just because we have animal ears and tails. Well, here's what I think of your damn badge" He stomped on it with enough force to shatter it entirely.

Alius was no longer aghast. He was enraged at this revolting insubordination. "You…sacrilegious bastard!" He lunged towards the guard with his spear held straight out. His speed was like lightning—no, faster than lightning. This was the attack of someone who had been learning lancing since he could barely walk. Nothing about his pose was flawed, and his spear was held so straight it could go through Yamato steel. The guard was barely able to dodge out of the way before Alius speared straight through the tree behind him. His weapon went straight through the tree and out its behind.

Sjorn had never see such rage or skill from Alius before. Why did he have such a devotion to the Knight's Academy? He always talked about it, showed off his badge from it everywhere, and despised anyone who dared to say that it was not anything less than perfect. But Alius had crossed the line this time. "Alius, listen to me dammit!" He had never been this serious in his whole life. "Stop this at once! Stop attacking everyone who doesn't kiss the ass of the Knight's Academy!"

Alius ripped the spear out of the tree and kept his back to Sjorn. Finally, he turned to face him. But it wasn't the face of the Alius who was his friend. It was the face of an enemy. "Sjorn, the Knight's Academy is the only bastion of truth and honor in this perverted and corrupted world. They are the angels who watch over us flawed humans. I am one of them. I cannot allow such a grievous insult against them pass." His voice was dripping with contempt and rage.

Sjorn was stunned at his sudden change in character. "Alius…what happened? What happened to the guy who constantly broke the fourth wall and always was really cool and amazing?" His own voice was weak and shocked.

Alius took two steps towards him. "I'm sorry, Sjorn. But if you won't accept the truth, then I'll have to beat it into you with force."

There was no reasoning with him at this point. Sjorn steadied himself and drew his sword, which he had crafted with his own hands. "I don't want to fight you….but life's not always about what you want!"

Marina motioned for everyone to stay back. "This is their fight…we shouldn't be interfering."

"Are you insane?" Aelrich spat at her while brandishing his bow. "They could really hurt each other!"

"They won't, I know it."

Aelrich looked as if he wanted to retort, but restrained himself into merely nocking an arrow. "Alright, but if things get too bad…I can hit even a drop of rain on a leaf six hundred meters away. They're no match for me."

Alius took one more step towards Sjorn, and then thrusted. It was utterly unbelievable. There was no way any normal human could have thrusted that straight and fast—the sheer force would entirely dislocate their shoulder from their arm.

But Alius was not a "normal" human. He was a man trained to do this one thing. And only it. And as such, he was perfect in his skill. Sjorn raised his sword to block it; the spear collided with it at such a massive force that the impact along shook the ground like an earthquake had happened. Sparks flew from both weapons in a dazzling display.

Sjorn was in a terrible position. Not only was his sword not the best at blocking attacks, but the awe-inspiring ferocity of Alius' thrust had completely thrown him off balance. Even considering that, if he wanted to attack, he'd have to close the distance. Alius could simply run him through. No matter what, Sjorn was in an extremely disadvantageous situation. The only thing he could do would be to "turtle" and look for an opening to rushdown.

Alius took another thrust, this one so fast that it broke the sound barrier for a slight second. Sjorn, reacting quicker than his brain, blocked it again, trying to get the perfect "sweet spot" so he wouldn't be thrown off-balance so much. He barely managed to, but it didn't place him in any better of a position as before. He looked for an opening…

…And didn't find one, as Alius thrusted again and slammed him off-balance. Sjorn was too stunned to say anything as he regained his stance. There was no way for a normal human to thrust that quickly. Alius had thrust, retracted, and then thrust again with the same accuracy in the space of less than half a second. No human could do that.

"Alius…when did you get so good?"

"I actually went to school, unlike you. Now you see why you cannot rely on merely being the son of a famous swordsman replacing true skill and practice. Now, witness what I'm really capable of!"

Alius went into an all-out barrage of hits. He hit hundreds of times with his lance, at such speed they all blurred together and almost seemed like one massive attack. His own arm became a blur as he thrusted fast enough to break the sound barrier repeatedly. He was attacking at least 20 times a second, in a flurry of attacks that was grand.

And yet, Sjorn managed to deflect most of them. He found himself in the "zone"—not thinking, but merely doing. He deflected each attack even as they made him lose his balance, showing off his lineage. The colliding of his sword and Alius' spear created a cascade of sparks, their metallic edges scraping against in each other in a symphony of battle.

Everyone else could only watch. Marina observed the battle with a mix of amazement and surprise. "This is…this is how they truly are when they aren't joking?"

The two warring boys paid no heed to everyone else's awe. Indeed, many from Nacji had come out and were watching the battle in admiration. Sjorn and Alius' battle continued, as Alius thrust at speeds unimaginable and Sjorn managed to deflect them all despite the sheer onslaught.

But even his luck ran out eventually. Alius' onslaught of thrusts caught up to Sjorn eventually. Sjorn was slammed straight in the stomach, his armor taking the attack but distributing the force around his whole body, sending him into the ground, gripping his arm in pain.

Alius took a few steps towards him. "I see your luck has run out. Sjorn, I'm sorry…but those who go against the Knight's Academy must be eliminated."

Sjorn bit his lip in anger. "No…this can't be the way this story goes…it's just too serious…"

"This is not the end of this story particular story, boy."

A black blur shot through the bushes and slashed at Alius, who barely deflected it in time. The Somewhat-Black Knight stood in front of him.

"You! Get out of my way!" Alius thrusted towards him, but the Black Knight deflected it with merely his hand. With the spear acting as a lever, Alius was thrown so far off-balance that even he couldn't regain his footing.

The Black Knight turned to face Sjorn. "You. Get up. And take this." He threw a sword at Sjorn, who managed to catch it. It was as cold as ice, yet paradoxically didn't freeze his hands. It looked as if it was carved straight from ice—but not merely any ice, as this was as bright as diamond and outshone the sun with its brilliance. It resembled a wolf, strangely enough. And when he held it, he felt as though it was meant for him. "What…what is this?"

"Fenrir, the legendary wolf. Take good care of this sword."

"Why…why are you giving it to me?"

"I have many like it. I saw you getting your ass kicked, and decided to give you a hand. That sword you crafted , it's lowering your ability. You're better than that."

Alius stood up and stared at Fenrir in shock. "Damn…you have the legendary wolf, Fenrir. The only thing that can match up to Gungnir…"

The Black Knight motioned for Alius to stay quiet. "I'm explaining some things, so stay put and don't attack until I'm done." He turned back to Sjorn. "That sword is not complete. You'll have to smith the rest yourself."

Sjorn could barely react to his words. "What…what do you mean, I have to smith it?"

"You'll learn soon enough."

Alius was breathing intensely and about ready to snap entirely on Sjorn. "Get up…do it. You have to, Sjorn. After all, our weapons live to kill each other."

Sjorn got up to his feet quickly and got himself into a fighting stance. Fenrir felt perfectly balanced in his hand…as if he had made it explicitly for himself. "Let's go."

Alius made the first move and began his unstoppable barrage of thrusts once again. But this time, Sjorn was able to deflect them. Fenrir melded perfectly into his hands, allowing him to focus all of his strength in blocking the thrusts. Each impact—several of them happening every second—let off a surge of sparks. And, eventually, Sjorn managed to gain ground.

Alius was so stunned he didn't attack for a split second, allowing Sjorn a tiny opening to rush in. Alius continued the barrage, but Sjorn was able to deflect them and keep advancing—like a mighty glacier, charging forward ever so slowly.

Marina was not watching the battle to learn, not merely to be entertained. "What is that man….who are they so powerful?"

"They possess weapons that most wouldn't dream of." Fuchiri answered, also watching the battle in amazement.

"I'd like to know how they got those weapons in the first place…"

Alius kept up the onslaught, but Sjorn finally got up to him and with an incredibly quick slash, slammed his spear out of his hand. It was sent flying and slammed into the ground, pointy side up.

Alius could barely speak through his heavy breathing. "Damn...how are you so good?"

Sjorn dropped his sword; it hit the ground with a metallic clang, even though the ground was supposedly dirt. "I want to know what the hell got into you. Why did you attack me?"

"Dammit...answer my question!" Alius pulled himself up through sheer willpower and faced Sjorn. He was still so sore from fighting that he had bend over and brace himself with his arm. "Where did you get those skills?"

Sjorn walked over to him and held him up. "I've had some training here and there. You're far better than me, though."

Alius tried to push him off in defiance of his help, but he found himself unable to stand without at least a minor brace. "Dammit...I pushed myself to my limit there...I can't stand for much longer." His vision was starting to blur and get faded, and his head was wracked in pain. "I...can feel my consciousness...fading." Those last few words were distant, and he finally slumped over, unconscious.

Sjorn shook him repeatedly in panic. "Alius! Alius! Shit, are you okay?"

Fuchiri dashed over to them and checked Alius"I have medical experience...well, not much, but enough to do a basic diagnosis...he's merely suffering extreme over-exertion." She added after checking his vitals. "But we should probably get him some treatment fast, I guess."

"That was some battle you two had back there." Aelrich clapped in a sorta-mocking way. "I didn't know you two had it in you." He glanced over at Marina. "You're awfully quiet today."

She didn't respond for a few seconds. "...It seems I underestimated those two."

"No shit. They're wild ones, that's for sure. I best keep my eye on Alius over there. If he defects us and starts to become our enemy, he'll be a real damn pain in the ass. At that speed he could probably bat my arrows out of the air with that fucking spear."

"He's nothing to me. I could take him out in two seconds flat."

"You're cocky."

Sjorn gave Fuchiri Alius while he went over to pick up Gungnir. It was still stuck in the ground from their fight, pointed straight up. Sjorn had remembered that it was supposedly a legendary spear that never missed and always existed to fight Fenrir, the legendary sword of ice...but there's no way their two weapons could be Gungnir and Fenrir...could they?

Gungnir was fairly unimposing, being a mainly red spear with a serrated point made of pure steel. The other end was weighted with a pure gold ball as to make the spear better for thrusting and throwing. The idea was that without it, the whole spear would swing around the center of gravity (the spearhead) and therefore would be highly ineffective for actual use. With the weight on the end, the center of gravity would remain in the middle, therefore allowing the spear to stay straight. At least, that's what he remember reading in a book a long time ago.

He grabbed the spear and pulled it out of the ground. It slid out effortlessly, a testament to its sharpness. The whole spear was expertly smithed. Whoever made it had spent an almost unimaginable amount of time perfecting every bit of it. Sjorn was humbled by its expertise, thinking of how even his best work currently was nothing compared to it. Every facet, from the perfect straightness and weight distribution of the shaft to how well-carved the spearhead was, showed off expertly-crafted it was. It was plain, sure, but it clearly did its job.

"That's a powerful weapon. I'm amazed you could stand against it." The Black Knight was behind him, watching Sjorn with interest.

Sjorn looked at him and then back to the sword. "...Are our two weapons the true Gungnir and Fenrir?"

"Sort of. I mean, I'm not exactly sure myself. It's complicated stuff. As for now, the best I can say is that your weapons ARE the legendary ones...but 'impure'. They're not complete. As of now, they rank with the best, but they're not the awe-inspiring legendary ones yet."

"But that's impossible!" Sjorn protested. "There's no way we could have ended up with these legendary weapons—most people don't even believe they exist!"

"As I said, it's complicated. You should ask that girl Marina, about them. I bet she'd know more."

"...I guess I'll do that." Sjorn glanced over at Fuchiri, holding Alius. "What about him...why did he attack me?"

The Black Knight looked solemn...if that was possible underneath his massive helm. "The Knight's Academy has extremely high standards, which means that its students are extremely talented when they leave. But...they instill absolute loyalty inside of you—the the point of psychotic zealotry."

"...How twisted."

"Indeed. What Alius used back there was the Academy's special ability—Overlimit. It pushes you to your maximum and then even farther, but it stresses out the body heavily. The fact that he didn't immediately collapse in exhaustion when you two stopped fighting and was able to speak for a few more seconds was incredible. "

"I barely managed to win against it...the fact that I'm still standing is incredible...How did you know to come to my aid?"

"The explanation for that must wait. You wouldn't believe me if I said it right now. You must gain more experiences before I can tell you."

Sjorn sighed in exasperation. "Why are you always like that?"

The Black Knight chuckled and patted Sjorn on the head. "I guess it's just my role in this over-arching plotline. Before I go, I have to give you something." He pulled a small rolled up slip of paper out of his scabbard and gave it to Sjorn. "Read this." He then walked off into the distance.

Sjorn watched him leave, and then turned his attention to the paper in his hand. It was old and wrinkled, as if it had been written some time ago. He carefully opened it and read the inscription inside.

That girl Catina is gonna be out for your blood now that you've taken Alius out. Go to Resch and hide out in the festival that should be happening there soon. You may want to seek out a woman in the upper levels called Wersa. You don't have to, but it'd prove useful.

Sjorn read the letter in a mixture of confusion and disbelief. There was no way the Black Knight could have known about the recent events back when he wrote this letter. Indeed, it seemed as if the letter had been wrote years ago, yet it perfectly predicted everything from the date to the exact people in it!

He was so confused by this that he didn't even notice that the handwriting looked eerily like his own. After reading it, he stuffed it in his pocket and went over to discuss things with the others.

The Beastman guard who had angered Alius walked over to him. "Sorry about what happened with your friend. I didn't expect that to happen." He seemed embarrassed.

"It's fine." Sjorn patted him on the shoulder. "He had no right to attack you. Especially if the Knight's Academy is not the shining beacon of peace and order they say they are..."

"SJOOOOOOOOOORRRRRRN!"

Catina stood off in the distance from Sjorn. She was clearly enraged (though still completely nude), and nothing like her previous happy-go-lucky-nudist self. Her hand was clamped into a fist held together with such rage her veins showed. "You...hurt...my...Alius!"

Sjorn could already tell that there was no reasoning with her to be seen. He unsheathed his sword. "Dammit, another fight? I just recovered from the last one!"

Marina ran over to him and grabbed his leg. "Should we fight her or not?"

"I wouldn't want to, but I don't think she's giving us a choice!"

Aelrich sighed, watching the commotion. Fuchiri held Alius close to her. "Aelrich, hold him and take him over to Sjorn!" He nodded and then did as such, silently. Fuchiri dusted herself off and stoop up to face Catina. "Catina...it's me who you want to fight, isn't it?"

Catina smiled. "What luck. I get to beat on you, and him."

"Not if I can help it. You'll have to get through me first."

"You...you know nothing, do you?" Wari appeared out of the bushes behind Catina. He held a long piece of cloth in his hands. "Wari, my battle robe."

"As you wish, princess." He bowed and held out his hands to her. She took the robe, and with an extravagant flourish, donned it one swipe. It was ornately decorated with traditional motifs and perfectly conformed to her body. She held out her right hand at arm's length, and summoned a long Quarterstaff with a *shwing*.

"I'll enjoy taking you out, Yamato bitch."

Fuchiri said nothing and merely got herself into a battle stance. "Sjorn, Marina, Aelrich! Go and run through the village and take the secret path! I'll hold her off!"

"I got faith in you, Fuchiri. We'll wait for you once you're finished!" Sjorn gave her a thumbs-up and motioned to the rest. "Come on, we gotta go!"

"How the hell can we get through the village?" Aelrich asked, still carrying Alius. "They don't exactly take to outsiders!"

"Let's just rush through! We can't always have things handed to us on a silver platter!" He and the others started to run and smashed straight through the gate.

Fuchiri watched them leave off in the distance before turning her attentions back to Catina.

"Catina...I guess I'll have to be the one to deal with you myself!"

/

Next Episode Preview:

Sjorn: Damn, that went speedily! Talk about an action-packed chapter!

Marina: Don't worry, though. Things'll get less serious in the next chapter, where it's partying, partying, and more partying in the annual Resch Harvest Festival!

Alius: …... (having to play dead sucks!)

/

Woah, talk about fighting. Anyway, next chapter's gonna be another huge one, with mostly comedy—except for the Fuchiri/Catina fight that will happen in the beginning.

I swear I'll try to get the next chapter up faster.