It was just a little past noon at Castle Vermillion, as four knights – with the black dragon insignia on their chest plates – stood guard before the front entrance. One of them yawned. He wasn't the only one who was tired. His fellow knights were too. Him and the others have been there all night.
"When are we getting relieved?" the knight, who yawned, asked.
"Soon, I hope." another knight replied.
The third knight was standing half asleep.
"Huh?" he said slowly. The third knight blinked and looked around him, still a bit groggy.
"What is it?" the fourth knight questioned.
"I hear something." he answered.
"You dreamed it." the fourth knight remarked.
"Did I?" he yawned.
The third knight was nodding off.
"No!" he said, waking up suddenly. "I definitely hear something. It almost sounds like… whistling?" He looked confused.
The fourth knight and the others thought he was still hearing things, but they soon heard it too. They looked just as confused as he did.
A man, with unruly brown hair and light blue eyes, was whistling as he walked toward the front entrance. He wore a black leather bomber jacket and a white shirt, black pants, and black boots and gloves. He had an ear cuff on his right ear. The man looked like a model. But he was no model.
He was Jonas, a former knight who massacred the entire population of the realm he had been sworn to protect. He didn't like the people. He didn't like their king and queen, either. So, he killed them. He killed them all. It was simple as that.
It had been said that Jonas stacked up the dead in the square. But the king and queen wasn't among them. He hung their bodies in their own throne room. He was truly a killer, a twisted killer.
"Identify yourself?!" a knight demanded. Apparently, neither him nor the others didn't know who he was.
"It's cool." Jonas said, putting his hands up. He approached them carefully, not wanting to provoke the knights into attacking him. "I am supposed to meet the other psychopaths inside."
They looked at him strangely then looked at one another.
"But between us fellas," Jonas said, leaning forward and cupping a hand at the side of his mouth. "...I am the true psychopath." He smiled.
The knights stepped back, startled. Jonas was standing right there with them. They didn't see him move. They didn't even sense him.
"Huh?" he said, confused. Jonas saw how they were looking at him. "Isn't this Castle Vermillion?"
"I-It is." another knight replied, still startled.
"Oh, good." he smiled, relieved. "I thought I had arrived at the wrong place for a moment there. Well, if you'll excuse me..." Jonas headed for the entrance, but he soon stopped.
The knights were standing in front of him, blocking his way. They didn't believe him. They thought him some weirdo. Some weirdo who had been clearly drinking. He smelled like a tavern, among other things.
"You fellas are not going to let me inside, are you?" Jonas asked. He saw they weren't budging. "Very well, then."
Jonas pointed his finger, like a gun, at the knights.
"That loaded?" one of them asked, mocking him. The others burst out laughing.
Jonas just smiled, unfazed by their laughter. He fired it. The same knight, who mocked him, was knocked back against the castle wall with a loud sounding explosion. The others stopped mid laugh. They slowly looked back…the knight sat hunched against the wall, completely shattered from impact, with his head bowed toward the ground. He had left a smear of blood down the wall where he slid. The knight wasn't moving.
"Huh?" Jonas blinked, closely examined his finger. He looked a bit disappointed. "Guess I am more drunk than I thought. Still, I thought he would at least go through the wall."
Actually, Jonas was trying to blow the knight's head off. He quickly noticed the others had surrounded him, their hands on their swords.
"Wait!" Jonas held out his hand suddenly.
The knights stopped, startled, keeping their hands on their swords.
"What's your rush now?" he asked, slowly clenching his hand.
They look at him strangely.
"Everyone will have his day to die." Jonas smiled, with a look of death in his eyes.
A cold chill ran down their spines, as they now sensed his aura presence. It was dark and evil, if not more, than His Majesty's. They didn't think it possible. Jonas summoned his sword–
"Enough!" Decker walked out of the dark forest, the morning sun gleaming off his glasses.
The knights were relieved to see him.
"Party pooper." Jonas frowned a bit, unclenching his hand.
Decker walked to the knight Jonas had sent flying. He leaned over and checked for a pulse, keeping his eyes on Jonas. Decker didn't trust him.
"He's still alive, unfortunately." Jonas sighed.
Decker glared. But it was as he said. The knight had a pulse and is still breathing.
"You three." Decker called as he stood straight.
They were startled to attention.
"Help him up and take him to the infirmary." Decker ordered. He noticed the knights were giving Jonas wary glances. "It's safe."
"Yeah, it's safe." Jonas reassured casually, folding his arms behind his head. "I won't bite." He smirks.
"Go on." Decker urged, still watching him.
Cautiously, the knights did as they were ordered.
"Get well soon." Jonas smiled, waving.
They entered the castle without saying a word. But the knights still couldn't believe the gall of this bastard.
"If these knights are responsible for the Prince's safety," Jonas started, and stopped waving. "…his reign will end faster than it began." He looked over at him and smirked.
"You're late." Decker said, glaring.
"Sorry, Dad." Jonas remarked, sarcastically. "But I like to unwind at the local brothel after a long journey. Got to sample the goods of the Realms I visit." He laughed.
Decker, appalled, shook his head.
"So…" Jonas said, looking curious. "What were doing in the forest? Marking your territory?" He smirked again.
"Careful." Decker warned as his eyes glowed briefly. Again, his name was Decker – a lycan. "I'll debrief you inside."
He headed for the entrance.
"Yes, yes." Jonas followed, folding his arms behind his head again.
Decker was walking down one of the many halls of the castle, with Jonas close behind. Decker had debriefed him on everything that happened. Jonas already knew that Kojima lost. He followed the battle as he was unwinding. He can multitask. Still, Jonas was curious about this paladin. He sounded vaguely familiar.
"You were looking for the men you sent out and the Prince's magical sword?" Jonas clarified, still having his arms folded behind his head.
"They were dead, and there was no sign of Ryuujin." Decker replied. "And it's Emperor." He glanced over his shoulder at him.
"Oh?" Jonas feigned being impressed. He then looked bored. "Still, I am not surprised. Nothing's more dangerous than a cornered, wounded animal."
"He had help." Decker said.
"It appears everything isn't going as planned." Jonas smirked.
"The paladin and his accomplice will be found and dealt with." Decker assured as his glasses glared.
"You should really lighten up, you know." Jonas commented. "Being serious all the time isn't good for you. You should head down to the brothel and snag yourself a–" He stopped himself before finishing that sentence.
Decker didn't stop walking.
"How insensitive of me." Jonas lightly tapped his forehead, realizing his mistake. He shook his head, smirking. "Man, it's messed up that they did to you. I mean, they sliced–"
"It won't work." Decker cut him off.
"I have no idea what you're talking about." Jonas replied, still smirking.
"You're trying to goad me into a fight." Decker said as he stopped. He turned around and faced him. "It won't work. I won't humor you."
"It's a shame." Jonas remarked. "I have always wanted to fight a lycan. Even if he's half the lycan he used to be." He looked raring to go.
"And it's never going to happen." Decker said, cautiously turning his back on him. He sighed. "That eagerness of yours will get you killed one day."
Decker suddenly couldn't feel his aura presence anymore. He looked back, and Jonas was gone. Decker looked around, making sure he was truly gone, before proceeding down the hall again.
Meanwhile, the former General was sitting silently on a cot in the castle's infirmary, with the memory of the fight still fresh on his mind.
"K-Kojima, sir." a white mage called nervously.
He cut his eyes at her. She jumped! She wore all white. She looked more like a nun than a mage in those clothes. Kojima sighed, forgetting he was getting treated.
"Are you through?" he asked, looking away.
"Umm…" she replied.
"What?" Kojima seethed, cutting his eyes at the white mage, who was very close to tears, again.
"I-I cannot heal it." she said, trembling.
Kojima touched his face and looked shocked. The burn was still there. He gripped it and angrily glared at her.
"Why not?!" Kojima growled.
"I-It is cursed." the white mage whimpered.
"What?!" he said, shocked.
"You say another dragon did this?" she asked, closely looking at it.
"He's not a dragon!" Kojima roared as he shot up to his feet. "He's a filthy mixed blood!" He immediately punched the cot behind him hard…breaking it in half!
She gasped in shock. The other white mages in the infirmary were startled, too. She then put on a brave face, even though she feared for her life.
"Be it as it may," she started. "…he infected you with a curse. Didn't you say his fire breath did this?" She looked at it more closely.
Kojima glared at her in response.
"I-I believe his fire is cursed!" she said quickly, nervously. "If it is, then that would make him an accursed dragon." She looked shocked.
Kojima could only laugh. Not only was he bested by a failure of a dragon, but the bastard was also an accursed one. He couldn't believe it, he just couldn't goddamn believe it. She stepped back, afraid he was going to take his anger out on her next. Kojima suddenly stopped laughing.
"Cut it out." he said.
"What?" she replied, not sure if she had heard him right.
"He branded me." Kojima said, angrily gripping it again. "I won't bare his mark. You're going to cut it out." He glared.
"I mustn't!" she objected strongly.
"Why not?" he seethed.
"Because there's a chance it could have spread into the bone." a voice replied, answering him before she could.
Kojima and the white mage look over to the direction of the voice...Jonas stood leaning against the wall, with both arms folded behind his head.
"We're done here." Kojima said, keeping his eyes on him.
She wisely took that as her cue to leave.
"Come, come now, that is no way to treat a girl." Jonas said. "Especially the one who was only trying to help." He approached him, smirking.
"What do you want, Jonas?" Kojima asked, obviously not in the mood to take his crap.
"Just wanted to see how you're holding up." Jonas replied. He looked at it closely. "Your burn, or cursed mark, should serve as a reminder that not even you are invincible. Besides, it doesn't look that bad."
"You…!" Kojima immediately threw a punch…Jonas disappeared! He slowly glanced over his shoulder–
"Don't feel too bad." Jonas said, resting a hand on his shoulder.
Kojima was surprised but frustrated. He had easily slipped behind him, avoiding his punch. Kojima did not like that.
"You were up against no ordinary knight." Jonas continued.
"What?" Kojima said, confused.
"Knights are categorized into four classes." Jonas explained. "C-Class being the lowest, while S-Class being the highest." He removed his hand from Kojima's shoulder and walked around in front of him.
"What's your point?" Kojima glared.
"Those who are S-Class, or Legends, are considered the strongest of all the Realms." Jonas continued. "But there's another class." He smirked.
"That class was wiped out." Kojima said.
"Was it now?" Jonas replied. He pulled down his shirt collar, revealing a tattoo on his upper chest. "As you can see, we were not all killed."
Kojima looked shocked.
"Yeah," Jonas nodded, still smirking. "…you just survived your first encounter with an X-Class knight. You would've had a chance, a very slim chance, of winning if you had transformed, though." He gave him a curious look.
"How did you–" Kojima stopped himself, looking surprised. He then gave him a serious look. "I don't know what you're talking about."
"Is that so?" Jonas replied. He stared at him for a moment before folding his arms behind his head. "Guess I was mistaking, then."
"How does he know?" Kojima thought. "No one knows, not even the Emperor." He was surprised but kept his composure.
"Oh, I was wondering if you could describe this paladin?" Jonas asked. "I'll understand if it's too painful for you." He smirked.
"Why you want to know?" Kojima glared.
"I am just curious." Jonas replied.
Kojima didn't buy it but still gave him his description.
"Just to be clear," he warned, emanating an intense aura of malice. His eyes shined crimson as he still glared at him. "…the bastard's mine."
"Yeah, good luck with that." Jonas said sarcastically. "Actually, I am amazed you want to face him again. Surviving your first encounter with an X-Class knight would usually leave you scarred, no pun intended." He smirked.
Kojima growled as his aura slowly dissipated.
"Well, if you excuse me," Jonas said, starting to walk away. "…I have been granted an audience with your Emperor." He snickered.
Jonas stopped suddenly. He saw a couple of familiar faces. One of them was being tended to.
"What happened to him?" Kojima asked, seeing them, too.
"I wonder…" Jonas replied. He proceeded to leave, with arms still folded behind his head and a dark smirk on his face.
The Emperor was sparring with four golems in the castle's Training Chamber. Morgana watched him dreamily, holding a towel in her hands. She planned on handing it to him, which she hoped would lead to something more. She giggled and drooled lightly over her fantasy.
"You know, you are acting more like a groupie than a wife." Jonas said, standing beside her.
"Jonas." Morgana frowned, instantly regaining her decorum. His sudden appearance did not stop her from watching her man. "I thought I smelled booze and cheap women."
He simply laughed in response.
"I guess congratulations are in order." Jonas said. "Should I call you Queen or Empress?" He watched him spar, too.
"We are not friends." Morgana remarked. "I neither trust nor like you. You're nothing but scum." She glanced over at Jonas.
"Harsh." Jonas laughed again. "It's because I murdered an entire royal family, isn't it?" He glanced back at her.
"If you should even look at him funny," Morgana said, clenching the towel tightly. "…I'll kill you." She glared.
"Well, aren't you the loyal wife?" Jonas remarked, smirking.
They were suddenly startled at the sound of an explosion! Morgana and Jonas then felt a spike in his aura presence. They look back around…the Emperor, emanating a ferocious aura, slowly rose up from a kneeling position. Cullen had destroyed the four golems all at once.
"Jonas." the Emperor said with his back to him. "How was your night?" His aura dissipated as he turned and faced him.
"I had a very good time." Jonas smirked. "Now, what's this about a proposition?" He looked curious.
"How would you like being one of my Warlords?" Cullen offered.
Morgana just stood there and listened as her man told him his plan. But she was also pouting. She missed her chance.
"Let me get this straight." Jonas said, scratching his head. "You killed your Father, which I am still sore about. I wanted to kill him." He glared his disapproval.
"My reason for killing him was more important than your revenge." Cullen said simply.
"Since I am such a reasonable kind of guy, I am going to let that slide." Jonas remarked. "But asking me to help you, as one of your Warlords, with something so trivial as conquering all the Seven Realms. Now I take offense to that." He glared again.
"How dare you!" Morgana chimed in. She looked at Jonas angrily. "The Emperor graciously offers you dominion over the realm you conquer, and you take offense. The others found this acceptable."
"You truly are the loyal wife." Jonas laughed, still glaring at Cullen. "I would think you would know I am not as simple as they are." He smirked.
Morgana gritted her teeth. She could no longer stand it. She wasn't going to just stand there and allow this scum to further disrespect her man. She stepped up to him–
"Morgana." Cullen called, stopping her.
"Apologies." she bowed. She clenched the towel tighter, as she still didn't like how her man was being treated.
"I thought you had vision," Jonas sighed. "…but you are just another cliché. I hate clichés." He gave him his infamous death glare.
"Is that so?" Cullen grinned. But his grin soon slid off his face and he glared back.
"It is." Jonas remarked.
A silent tension filled the air. Morgana looked at them, each in turn, before standing back. She smirked to herself, knowing her man was going to put him in his place.
Cullen and Jonas's eyes narrowed…they vanished and appeared just as fast. They stood at opposite sides, with their backs facing each other.
"I didn't know you carry a backup sword." Cullen said. Some strands of his black hair, sliced by a sword, drifted to the floor.
"I like to give my opponents a handicap," Jonas winced as a cut suddenly marked his neck. "…which you didn't need." He smirked.
They turned around and faced each other. Jonas wielded an ordinary looking sword, while the Emperor wielded a certain mercenary's assault knife.
"I only summon Dragonslayer for those who prove worthy." Jonas said, dispelling the sword from his hand.
"You came close to losing your head." Cullen remarked, tucking the knife behind him in his pants.
"Well, not everyone is freakishly powerful as you are, so I have nothing to worry about." Jonas laughed, wiping the blood on his neck. "Okay, it's about time you fess up." He looked serious.
"What are you talking about?" Cullen questioned, wiping the sweat from his face with the towel his wife finally gave him.
"What are you talking about?" Jonas mimicked. "Come on, I know you're planning on doing more than just conquering the Seven Realms. What's the real plan here?" He now looked more intrigued than serious.
Cullen just grinned.
"Oh, I can see I'll never get bored with you." Jonas smirked. "I am still not being one of your Warlords." He folded his arms behind his head, looking at him firmly.
Morgana glared at him.
"Fine." Cullen said.
She looked over at her man surprised, not believing how lenient he was being with this ungrateful piece of–
"Morgana." Cullen called.
"Yes?" she responded quickly.
"Was the human feeling cooperative now?" Cullen asked, grinning.
"I am afraid not." Morgana replied, feeling ashamed for failing him. She decided not to tell him about the reawakening of the Queen's priestess powers, since they were soon going to be gone again.
"I see." the Emperor remarked.
He had already been informed on the deaths of the men. He felt as though some unknown force was conspiring against him. If that were true, he would crush it with all his might.
"You really want to know who this paladin is?" Jonas chimed in. He took his silent glare as a yes. "Well, I happen to know who that pain in your ass is."
Cullen looked at him shocked. Morgana, on the other hand, was suspicious, as she still neither trust nor like him. Jonas simply smirked.
Meanwhile, Mallory opened his eyes and found himself staring up at a dreary sky. He was lying in a field. He slowly sat up and looked around. Everything was dark grey, including himself. Mallory noticed he was in uniform. His wounds were gone, too.
"Okay, think." he said, standing up. "The last thing I remembered was sitting under a tree with the Prince in my arms. After that, everything went… black." He then realized he either lost consciousness or–
"You're not dead." a voice said.
Mallory turned around and saw the man, who wore his uniform sloppily, sitting on top of a large rock. He was playing a soothing song on a guitar, with his head down.
"I didn't know you played." Mallory said, approaching him.
"You can too." the man replied. "We share an eternal bond, remember?" He lifted his head, revealing his face.
He happened to be a good-looking man, with his coal black hair and black eyes. He stared at him. Mallory stared back.
"It's good to see you again, Casey." Mallory said, smiling.
"Likewise." the man, Casey, smiled back.
"I thought I had succumbed to the injuries I sustained from my battle against General Kojima." Mallory said. "So, if I am not dead, then where am I?" He looked confused.
"A S-Class knight is no match for an X-Class knight." Casey replied.
Mallory placed a hand over his heart, or rather a certain tattoo.
"As for where you are," Casey continued. "…you are in limbo between life and death. You were sent here, because you have been placed in a magical induced coma." He continued to slowly strum the strings of the guitar gently.
"A magical induced coma?" Mallory uttered, confused. He then suddenly remembered something. "Did it spread any further?"
"It did." Casey replied, saddened, after pausing for a moment.
Mallory just laughed sadly, already knowing that it had. Still, it didn't hurt to hope.
"Do you recognize this song?" Casey asked, trying to lighten the mood.
"Rally's Song." Mallory answered, depressed.
"Correct." Casey smiled. "I love this song. It tells the tale of a great warrior." He looked at the guitar with close attention.
Mallory stood there silently and listened.
"The warrior greatly reminds me of you." Casey complimented.
Mallory was still silent. Casey closed his eyes and stopped playing. He laid the guitar on his lap.
"You mustn't lose hope now." Casey said, sensing his doubt. He opened his eyes and stared down at the guitar. "You're still needed."
"What?" Mallory said, confused, immediately snapping out of his depression. "What are you talking about? Who needs me?" He looked even more confused.
Casey just looked at him and smiled. He then pointed at something behind him. Mallory turned around and found himself staring into the large, scaly face of a dragon. But it was neither a golden nor black dragon. It was a white dragon. Mallory immediately froze.
"He's another reason for your survival." Casey said, still smiling. His smile soon disappeared, and his face took on a serious look. "Again, you are still needed."
Mallory's eyes were twitching in startled shock. He felt his aura presence. He had never felt anything like it before. It was so massive. It felt as though he was all around him.
"Mallory." Casey called.
He, still shocked, gave him a backward glance over his shoulder.
"I am sorry, but your secret's out." Casey smiled.
"What?!" Mallory gasped.
Suddenly, the white dragon roared loudly. Mallory looked back and now found himself staring deep into his large, open mouth. The dragon instantly closed it shut…!
Mallory's eyes snapped open and he abruptly sat up in a bed. He was sweating, panting. He winced and favored his shoulder. Mallory then realized it had been bandaged, and so were his other wounds. He carefully looked around and noticed the plain furniture. He suspected he was in a room at some inn.
"How did I get here?" Mallory thought, confused. He lightly clenched his shoulder. "And who treated my injuries?"
A door opened, and steam came out. As did a certain dark elf wrapped in a towel. She was holding the Prince, who was fast asleep, in a towel close to her chest. They had just got finished taking a bath together.
"Oh, good, you're awake." she smiled, relieved.
Mallory blinked, looking confused.
"How are you feeling, Sir Mallory?" the dark elf asked, walking over to the patient. "Or should I say Lady Mallory?" Her smiled turned into a smirk.
Mallory looked down at himself. He immediately gasped with widening eyes. His, or rather her, breasts were partially exposed above the bloody bandage on her chest. She blushed and quickly covered herself with the sheet. The dark elf giggled.
Continued in Episode 9
It has been a while, hasn't it? I didn't think I was ever going to finish this one. A lot has happened during the long hiatus. A lot of personal stuff. But I managed to work through it and continue writing. I hope this makes up for the long wait. One more thing - I went back to the previous episodes and edit them. Again, I hope you enjoy this one. And thanks for reading!