Prologue:

Once upon a time, the nations were in verge of world war. Warring clans were taking sides, trying to get opportunity to obliterate the opposing clans. Four clans, the House of Valentine, the Bushido Clan, the Marianne's Faith and the House of Esmeralda formed an alliance to create a new nation, in hope of preventing a massive war from happening. Then, when the world war became an evident threat, a young man, hailing from the great House of Valentine, emerged and led the way to end the war. The alliance emerged victorious and the war eventually stopped.

He was not alone in his crusade as the representatives of the other three clans stood by his side, shedding tears, blood and sweat in order to stop the conflicts once and for all. Together with him were Kagatsuchi no Tomoe, an honorable man, whose sword was guided with nothing but justice and light, a young leader of Bushido Clan; Alastor Esmeralda, a beautiful yet mysterious woman with many secrets, yet desired nothing more than peace and order for her people, the House of Esmeralda; and Lady Claire of Marianne, a fair, young and devout priestess who, more than everyone else, wished for the prosperity and peacefulness for her people of Marianne's Faith.

In favor of leading the alliance to stop the war, the three other clans gave the great House of Valentine an honor to lead their new nation, which consisted of their clans. The House of Valentine then became the ruling clan of the nation, which was eventually known as Avalon. Some minor nations and clans swore their allegiance to Avalon, and Avalon became the greatest nation of the world.

The great young man who led their way to save the world had been given something he deserved; the nation's leadership. He was given a throne and a title, becoming the first King of the Nation. The young man who was nicknamed 'the Green-Eyed Demon' and 'the Phantom of Valentine' became the first King of Avalon. His name was King Arthur Valentine. His name was immortalized, and he was said to be the greatest of kings, the ideal image of kingship, and a perfect king.

Several decades had passed and Avalon was still under benign rule of the House of Valentine, the title of 'King Arthur' had been passed down in his generation. And this is the story about 'her', the next King Arthur…


Songs of Valentine

Written by Louis-sama

Chapter 1: The Lightning with a Shade of Gray

Avalon, one of the biggest nations in the world, was known for its reputation as the 'House of the Saviors'. More than one hundred years ago, the world was in terror and discord, clans were fighting each other, wars became their primary solution. People lived in fear and distrust; they lost their hope due to continuous yet meaningless wars and battles which had taken their loved ones' lives. Those with wealth came to wage the wars for their self interests, leaving the weak ones behind. The world was a terrible place to live in at that time.

Tired with such endless struggle, four clans had come to a resolution to make a pact of allegiance, making an alliance in hope to end the chaos once and for all. Those clans consisted of the Royal Knights of the House of Valentine, the Warriors of the East of Bushido Clan, the Order of Priests of the Marianne's Faith and the Night Warriors of the House of Esmeralda. They had made an unbroken oath of brotherhood to bring peace and order upon the world. They fought their way to show the world about how bad the endless wars were by showing them the true meaning of virtue and chivalry, of friendship and camaraderie, of compassion and kindness.

After several years of struggle and hardship, they managed to bring order to the chaotic world and those who were fighting for such objective were revered as heroes of wars. Thus, a new nation had been established, Avalon. The new yet powerful nation was led by the leader of the alliance, the young man hailing from the House of Valentine, Arthur Valentine. Under his command, peace and order had been maintained. The people of the world finally achieved peace and freedom they sought. By that, a new calendar had been established and it was called 'Valentinean's Calendar'. And the young man soon became the first king of Avalon, aptly given title 'King Arthur the First'.

Several decades had passed and the world was still in perfect order. Avalon was still under the benign rule of the new King Arthur, a title which was passed throughout generations. People among the clans lived in perfect harmony. The House of Valentine established a knightly order to protect the nation from the outside force while Bushido Clan established law enforcement to protect the nation from within. The House of Esmeralda dedicated themselves for the betterment of the nation and the realm through researches and advisory means and Marianne's Faith became the spiritual healers, spreading their beliefs to the people of the nation.

And yet…

Their accomplishment was just a beginning…


12 February 156 (Valentinean's Calendar)

The Holy Knights, a group of elite soldiers that were trained physically and spiritually, were known as the most well-known warriors throughout Avalon. In the past, during the war, they were called 'the Silver Crusaders' due to their distinctive color of armory. Compared to ordinary footmen, the Holy Knights were known for their magical properties and superhuman strength. The first Order of Holy Knights was established by the great King Arthur Valentine himself during the alliance.

Today, some new recruits of the Holy Knights had graduated from the Academy and would be sent into the barracks throughout the country. Throughout Avalon, there were five barracks specially made for the Holy Knights. These barracks functioned as their training fields, headquarters and living places. Besides, the barracks also acted as religious centers for the knights.

For the sake of the new recruits, the knights of Section 3 had prepared themselves to make a warm welcome for their new friends. The commander, Sir Gerard Mason, a High Lord of the Order of Holy Knights had prepared himself to welcome the fresh knights.

"Sir," a young Holy Knight came and gave a salute to Sir Gerard. "There's something I need to tell you," he looked at the note in his hands. "Well… I suppose it's not too late to say this."

"What is it, young lad?" Sir Gerard asked. The commander was a veteran of war who was sent for countless missions. He started his career as a soldier at a tender age of 15 before being recruited as a Holy Knight when he was 18 years old. Sir Gerard was quite a tall man with tanned skin. Several scars could be seen on his face, a proof that he had faced many battles in his young age.

"Well…" the young Holy Knight, who was a head shorter compared to the older Knight, hesitated for a moment before he continued. "We have received a call from the main barrack about the new recruits. This year, only a few of new recruits had graduated from the Academy, only five of them. So, we'll only receive one new Knight for this year, sir." the young Holy Knight reported.

"Hmm…" Sir Gerard put his hand under his chin before he mused. "I knew it." he closed his eyes. "A wise decision from the main branch I suppose. There's no need for the Holy Knights to receive many new recruits if we're only needed for important matters. We are not ordinary soldiers after all…"

"It seems to be the case, sir." the young Holy Knight nodded.

"Murphy…" then Sir Gerard spoke.

"Yes sir?" the young Holy Knight named Murphy looked at his senior and superior officer.

"I heard you were married last week." Sir Gerard smiled kindly. "Congratulation, young knight." he patted Murphy's shoulder.

"Well…" Murphy couldn't help but to blush as Sir Gerard congratulated him. "Sorry for that. I just can't help it after all. After all…" he gazed downwards. "She loves me. I can't ask more than that…"

"There's no need for you to be embarrassed, Murphy. A marriage is one of the greatest blessings a human being could get." Sir Gerard said. "Tonight, let's have a drink together…" he smirked. "And I wish to see your fair wife, young knight."

"That's…" Murphy scratched the back of his head, still hesitated and blushed before both of them heard the sound of bell, indicating that the new Knight had arrived.

"May the God bless us, young knight…" Sir Gerard said. "Our brother had arrived. It's our obligation to welcome him warmly."

"Yes sir!" Murphy said, giving a salute to Sir Gerard.

The knights gathered in front of the great door, the main entrance and exit of the barrack. Through that door, the new Knight would enter and see for himself his new colleague. Sir Gerard donned his commander's cape and Holy Knight's badge, indicating his position as the commander.

"They have arrived," one of the guards spoke to Sir Gerard. "Shall I open the door, sir?"

"Let me see our new brother, lads…" Sir Gerard spoke.

The guards nodded before their put their hands on the handles. With a pull, they opened the door, letting the sunlight enter the premise. They could see three people; two of them were the officials who were accompanying the new recruit. As the knights looked at the rookie knight in question, a collective gasps were heard.

They didn't expect to have a younger sister today.

The new knight was a rather short girl with chin-length blonde hair and a pair of green eyes, dressed in traditional knight attire for women with long skirt. Her breastplate had a symbol of dragon on it, indicating the symbol of Avalon. She stepped forward reluctantly, seemingly bewildered by her new surroundings. She put her left hand on her chest. From the expression she was currently having, it was clear that she was nervous. Even so, her appearance seemed regal and majestic, and she seemed absolutely breathtaking.

"I…" the girl began to spoke. "I am Arturia Valentine. P-Pleased to meet you," she said before she bowed politely. Some male knights were blushing as a few of the female knights huffed. Arturia stepped forward, not realizing she was stepping on the hem of her skirt.

"Eh?"

With a comical reaction, Arturia fell onto the floor with her face first as she tripped by her skirt. The other knights were flabbergasted by the situation.

"Umm… are you alright, Miss… Valentine?" Sir Gerard asked the fallen girl before he remembered something. "Wait, Arturia Valentine?" he was shocked. He turned to Murphy. "Murphy! Give me the note!"

"Y-Yes!" Murphy replied as he handed the note to Sir Gerard. The commander took a quick read before he stopped somewhere.

"This is…" eyes widened, it was apparent that the elderly knight couldn't hide his surprise. "So the rumor was true after all. This is utterly improper for us to make such a simple welcome for someone like her…" he gave the note back to Murphy. Then he turned to Arturia and helped her to stand up. "Your Highness, please stand up. Forgive our ignorance and my negligence. This is such a disgrace for me to do such thing for the Order of the Holy Knights."

"Sir?" Murphy was confused by that. Arturia nodded and made a quick gesture which could be known as 'that's alright'.

"Brothers and sisters!" Sir Gerard announced. "It seems that we're not only receiving a new sister, but also a blessing from our King! May God bless him," he turned to Arturia. "Welcome to Section 3 of the Holy Knights, your highness Princess Arturia Valentine…" he knelt in front of the new knight.

And so, the other knights knelt as well, honoring the presence of the Royal Princess of the Holy Avalon, Her Highness Arturia Valentine, the Princess of King Arthur the Tenth.


"I wish you can hear me better, Sir Gerard Mason. My daughter is among the new recruits. I hope you may equally treat her like other knights."

"But my Lord!" Sir Gerard spoke to the hologram image of the King Arthur the Tenth, Uther Valentine in front of him. "She is the Princess! There's no way we can do that!"

The image of Uther smiled. "My old friend, she comes to Section 3 as a Knight, not as a Princess. She must be treated like her fellow knights, and you as well, shall treat her like what you usually do to the others."

"I see…" Sir Gerard mused. "But… is it alright? I won't forgive myself if I ever put any harm upon her." God forbid, if the harm was intentionally caused by him out of all people!

"If said harm is necessary, I do not even mind, Sir Gerard. She is a knight after all. She graduates from the Academy. Justice and chivalry are essentially drilled into her very skull. There is nothing to worry about…" Uther spoke.

"Very well, I will do just that, my Lord. I will not disappoint you." Sir Gerard said.

"That's why I decided to put her there. I believe in you, old friend." Uther said before the hologram image of the king faded. Sir Gerard sighed before he turned behind to address his knights.

"Allow her to enter, knights." Sir Gerard ordered. The knights nodded before they opened the door. Arturia entered the room, seemingly anxious.

"Sorry to make you waiting, your Highness…" Sir Gerard spoke apologetically. "We're having a call from… the King."

"There's no need to call me that, Sir Gerard." Arturia said. "Just call me Arturia, I'll be fine…" she smiled sweetly.

"Huh? Well, I guess I don't mind if you insist…" Sir Gerard nodded. "Please have a seat, Arturia…" he gestured to a chair. Arturia nodded before she sat on it. A knight trotted towards Sir Gerard, handing him a document before giving him a salute. The commander took a quick read on the contents of the document.

"Enrolled into the Academy at the age of 12, and graduated at the age of 15, you are really something." Sir Gerard spoke as he smiled. "Regularly, a Holy Knight needs to spend five years to complete the training, and you have done it in just three years. I am astonished for such thing, Arturia."

"I asked for my training at the Academy to be compressed, Sir Gerard." Arturia said. "By that, I can graduate early."

"I see…" Sir Gerard mused. "But that's not surprising after all. Your father, King Uther had graduated from the Academy after two years of his enrollment. He is a genius."

"I agree," Arturia nodded. "He is a great man, and my idol, a man worthy to be called by the name of our esteemed ancestor…" there was a hint of pride in her voice. Sir Gerard already expected it, considering how legendary the first king of Avalon, King Arthur the First was. She had every right to be proud of her lineage.

"That is a relief, Arturia." Sir Gerard spoke. Then he stood up. "Very well, I think that is all for today. You may take your leave and head to your room. We have prepared your room so don't worry too much. If you have any problems, just ask me. I'll try my best to help you."

'Thank you, sir," Arturia said thankfully, bowing politely.


"This is your room, your Highness…" a knight gestured to a room while holding Arturia's bag. "You can freely do your activity here after we are done with daily meeting."

Arturia stared at the knight innocently before she said with innocent tone. "Just call me Arturia, can you? I'll do just fine with that."

"Ah, I see…" the knight mused. "Pardon me, Miss Arturia," he bowed apologetically. "Well, let us continue. Our daily meeting will be held at the lounge, from 8 am to 9 am. At that hour, you are not allowed to stay in your room. After meeting, you are free to do anything like training, resting and so on. Do you have any questions?"

Arturia shook her head.

"Very well, you may take it for now…" the knight said as he handed Arturia the bag. "Have a nice rest," he smiled.

"Thank you, Joseph." Arturia said as she opened the door. "Thank you for everything," she entered her room before she closed the door, leaving the knight named Joseph outside.

"So that's so-called Princess Arturia Valentine, right?"

Joseph turned his head to the voice and scowled as he saw a female knight dressed in customized knight's attire; form-fitting body armor, a short skirt, customized greaves and a pair of thigh-high stockings suspended by garters. The female knight, Rose de Vrias was smiling smugly as she walked towards Joseph. A talented Holy Knight and swordswoman, she was known for her beauty and strength among the knights of Section 3. Her hair was black and long, covering most of her back.

"What do you want, Rose?" Joseph said, slightly growling. The woman's presence seemed to infuriate him. He couldn't stand the woman's insufferable attitude.

"Ah, it's nothing," Rose said. "I'm just wondering about what kind of person Arturia is…" she said, smirking naughtily. "Well, my initial thought is that she's just a spoiled rich brat, I suppose…"

"Stop spouting nonsense, Rose!" Joseph said. "She's one of the most important people in our country, remember?"

"Ahaha, why? Are you saying that being a princess can guarantee her to fit here? Pah! She's too young to be a knight! I bet she can't even stay for more than two months!" she said arrogantly.

"She's one of the best candidates of the knights! She graduated from the Academy earlier than most knights!" Joseph said, trying to defend Arturia.

"Huh! I bet she seduced the trainers so she can graduate early," Rose turned. "Next time, I'll test her by myself. You'll see if she's worthy to stay here or not."

"Don't be a fool, Rose," Joseph growled. His right hand released a bright blue glow before a silver sword with a shade of blue appeared in his hand. "I won't forgive you if you do anything to her."

"So, what will you do?"

Suddenly, the tip of a yellow sword touched Joseph's throat. The sword was Rose's. She summoned the sword so fast that Joseph couldn't see how fast she made it happen. With the sword still put on Joseph's neck, Rose leaned in and whispered. "There's no place for weaklings here, fool. Remember, I'm superior compared to you in many things, one of them is swordsmanship. Don't let me demonstrate it on you, out of all people."

Rose lifted the sword before it vanished, disintegrating into golden particles. Then she turned. "If you understand it well, then there will be no problem at all. After all, I can tolerate with a smart weakling than a dumb one…" she smirked before she walked away, leaving Joseph alone. "Though both are still rather insufferable, a smart weakling is more likely to give me least headache than a stupid one."

Joseph clenched his fists before he growled. "Damn, that bitch…"


The next day, 13rd February 156 (Valentinean's Calendar)…

After the daily meeting, the knights were doing their free activities. Some of them were training at the training field as some others were chatting with each other. There was a young male knight trying to seduce a young female knight, only failing epically with a slap on his face.

"Oh, that's a harsh one…" Murphy commented while sipping his Wild Oak juice. He had just finished doing push-ups. He dressed in brown training shirt and pants. Arturia was sitting beside him, munching Goldfish Crackers. She dressed in sleeveless blue shirt and knee-leveled skirt. As a normal, quite hormonal albeit a married man, Murphy was likely to be lying if he said that Arturia wasn't that attractive. "I'm relieved my wife isn't doing that often…"

"You have a wife, Mister Murphy?" Arturia asked before she popped another piece of Goldfish Cracker into her mouth.

"Well, yeah…" Murphy replied sheepishly, scratching his head. "She's a priestess at White Church. I can meet her three times a week, and once in every four months I can ask for a break to stay with her for three weeks," he grinned.

"Oh, I have a cousin still studying at the White Church. She still has one and a half year before her graduation," Arturia said, munching her Goldfish Crackers. "She's been there since she was ten, so I guess it's kind of hard for her…"

"Say, Arturia…" Murphy spoke. "Why do you prefer to be a Holy Knight?"

"Hmm?" Arturia tilted her head as a Goldfish Cracker was between her lips.

"Well… I know it sounds stupid, but you're a freshman here, so it's my duty to know about you," Murphy explained despite being awkward. "Don't get the wrong idea though."

Arturia crunched her last Goldfish Cracker before she started talking. "I want to be just like my father. Like me, he's also a Holy Knight. Furthermore, I'm not really fit to be a priestess," she said, smiling.

"Why?" Murphy asked.

"Because I don't know how to dance," the blonde girl said before she laughed. Murphy laughed as well. He knew it well that the priestesses were not only the mediums for spiritual and religious matters, but also acted as the servers of entertainment for Avaloneans. It was said that during the turbulent times, the priestess of the church acted as some sort of entertainers and stress relief for the soldiers of wars, and more than often, they provided many sorts of services, including the ones that involved intimacy.

"You have a point there," Murphy said, still smiling. "My wife practiced it all the time. I love the way of their dancing. It reminds me of my childhood," the senior knight gazed upwards while sounded nostalgic.

"Hey, you are Arturia Valentine, right?"

Both Seth and Arturia were startled by the voice before they saw a long-haired woman dressed in tight sport attire which exposed her midriff and tight shorts. She was holding a wooden practice sword in each of her hands.

"Rose…" Murphy sighed. "I told you not to do that again," he said sternly before he stood up. "You know, it happened every year when we received new recruits, and this year, I don't want the same thing happens."

"Just keep your mouth shut for a moment, Seth. This is not your problem," Rose glowered at Murphy (whom Rose addressed as Seth) before she looked at Arturia with a smug expression. "So, am I right? You are the freshman for this year. I'm Rose de Vrias, 5th Officer of the Order of Holy Knights."

Arturia stood up and gave Rose a polite nod. "Pleased to meet you, Miss de Vrias. I hope we can work together perfectly from now on," Arturia beamed a bright smile and Rose let out a soft growl.

"Look, I'm here not to play nice to you, okay? I'm just want to warn you that being a princess doesn't mean you're special here," Rose said vehemently. "This is not a cozy place where you usually lived at, your Highness…" Rose said while smiling mockingly. Joseph who was watching the event wanted to step forward but was stopped by Sir Gerard.

"I am totally aware of that, Miss de Vrias. I have been trained to be a Holy Knight just like you. I wish we can work together after this," Arturia replied, seemingly unfazed by Rose's mockery. "Furthermore, my place isn't so cozy after all. It's rather filled with butlers and maids, and some guards. Not an ideal place for living. If you're saying about my place is cozy, maybe you can say that for the stable. Some horses love cuddling on the straw mats…"

Rose was completely baffled by Arturia's innocent yet straightforward reply. Joseph tried to suppress his laughter by seeing a dumbfolded-looking Rose while Seth chuckled softly. Even Sir Gerard couldn't help but to smile by seeing the situation.

"Grr…" Rose grunted before she pointed one of her training swords to Arturia's face. "Listen, you rich brat! A weakling doesn't deserve to stay here! I challenge you for a duel!"

"Duel? Do you mean 'fight'?" Arturia asked.

Without answering her question, Rose tossed one of her swords to Arturia, which the princess took without problem, before she walked to the court specially made for swords-fighting. Rose took her place. "Come and show me what you got, Arturia Valentine!" she said loudly and confidently.

"I suppose…" Arturia looked at Sir Gerard. The commander gave her an encouraging smile. "Very well… I accept your challenge, Miss de Vrias," she walked towards the court and took her place in front of Rose.

Both knights were facing each other. Rose tried to intimidate the young girl by glaring her, but the green-eyed girl seemed unfazed by the glare. After several seconds of staring each other, they charged.

In the first time their training swords connected, the other knights were silenced. The battle between two female knights intensified as more slashes and parries were exchanged. Rose was more into attacking while Arturia seemed too fond with defending herself from Rose's violent assaults. Rose was really fast while attacking Arturia but the younger knight had no trouble blocking them all. All knights were watching the battle with anticipation because a duel like this seemed to be rarely happened.

"Are you having trouble, your Highness? You're just blocking my attacks! Come on, at least put some blows on me!" Rose yelled while swinging her sword, trying to taunt Arturia. The younger knight however seemed unfazed by Rose's mockery as she continuously parried her attacks.

Joseph was watching the battle before he commented. "She's being so defensive. Why doesn't she just attack her?"

"Young knight, attacking de Vrias directly sure is a foolish thing to be done in the duel. Arturia just…" Sir Gerard said before he looked at Arturia who was dodging a swing. "She's just trying to find a gap, and a right time."

While Rose violently attacked Arturia with her training sword, she didn't realize that Arturia had taken several steps aback, distancing herself from her. As Rose tried to get closer to her, Arturia took another step behind.

"Does she just slow down already?" Rose thought before she brought her sword down to Arturia. The blonde girl blocked the attack before she pushed the sword forward. Rose nearly lost her grip on her sword before she tightened her grip. Then she realized something.

"Oh my God!"

With a powerful strike, Arturia swung her sword upwards, hitting Rose's sword. She lost her grip and her sword flew upwards before it landed behind her. Before Rose could do anything, Arturia had already put her sword on her neck.

"I win," Arturia said before she smiled.

"What the hell?" Rose was agitated as she felt the wooden sword touched her neck. The other knights cheered, seeing the new knight emerged victorious.

"I-Is that-…" Joseph looked at Sir Gerard.

"Indeed. Arturia took several steps behind to distance herself from de Vrias. By that, de Vrias will try to reach Arturia from a longer distance, loosening her grip on her sword. A pretty clever technique, I admit. When de Vrias had loosened her grip on her sword, Arturia took her opportunity to knock her sword away. A simple technique, but a pretty clever one," Sir Gerard said.

"Miss de Vrias, I win. I have to admit this is a great fight. It's been a while since I battle a good swordsman from the Academy," Arturia reached out her hand, offering a handshake to Rose. "I hope we can help each other in the future."

Rose couldn't believe she was defeated by a young girl, a girl nine years younger than her. She felt like being hit on her head and she could see some knights were whispering to each other as they stared at her with mockery. Outraged, she slapped Arturia's hand before she shouted. "Don't be full to yourself, you stupid girl! Next time, I'll show you my true strength!" by that, she left, still spouting out curses along the way.

"Oww…" Arturia winced, rubbing her hand, "That hurts…" she moaned.

"Arturia, are you alright?" Murphy asked, seemingly concerned. "Did she hurt you?"

"It's okay," Arturia replied, still rubbing her hand. Then she lowered her gaze before she spoke sadly. "I just want to be friend with her, that's all…"

"Arturia…" Murphy looked at the young girl before he patted her head in fatherly manner. "Don't worry. I'll speak to her next time."

Suddenly, they heard an announcement from the main building. The announcement came from the control room of the barrack, and if the announcement was made, something serious had happened.

Attention to all knights! Attention to all knights! Please be prepared for battles! Unknown presence has been spotted within the facility! Unknown presence has been spotted within the facility! Attention, this is not a drill! This is not a drill! Please be prepared, thank you!

"Unknown presence?" Sir Gerard frowned before his earring made some noise. He put his thumb on his earring before he spoke. "Gerard Mason speaking! Report the situation!"

"This is Team Delta speaking! We are under attack!" Sir Gerard's earring made out a voice.

"Report your position, Team Delta! We need to know your position!" Sir Gerard said with high voice. The other knights tensed by Sir Gerard's sudden change.

"We're trapped! We can't pinpoint our position right now! Many were injured! We are attacked by bandits!" the voice of the knight of the Team Delta spoke. He sounded quite terrified.

"Tell us their number!" Sir Gerard demanded.

"T-Their numbers are overwhelming! And they're using-… argh!" the connection was cut before Team Delta could finish. Sir Gerard clenched his fists.

"Damn it!" he growled. "No one can mess with my people!" he said. "Knights! Prepare yourself for a battle! We will save our brothers and sisters! We will crush those who want to mess with the Holy Knights!" Sir Gerard shouted, raising his hand. The other knights shouted as well before they went into the barrack to put on their armors.


Searching for the bandits around the area was tougher than they thought. Aside from the main path into the entrance, the barrack was surrounded with swamp and wild bushes. The knights seemed to have trouble searching for the bandits.

The knights had been split into several teams. Team Alpha had been assigned to search the ambushed unit of Team Delta and Team Beta had to guard the barrack. Team Omega had been put into the main entrance to assist Team Beta if the bandits were into attacking the barrack directly.

Team Alpha was then split into several small units. Sir Gerard led one of the units which consisted of Arturia, Murphy, Rose and some other knights. They cautiously walked towards the swamp so they could prepare with any surprise assault.

"We need to find Team Delta," Sir Gerard reminded. The knights nodded.

Arturia looked at Rose who was holding her sword in her right hand. Rose realized that Arturia was looking at her before she turned to other direction. Arturia let out a heavy sigh.

"Where are we?" Sir Gerard asked one of the knights. The knight took out a device with several indicators.

"According to the meters, we're already three miles away from the barrack," the knight replied. "If we're lucky, we might find our men…"

Suddenly they heard a moaning voice. They turned around and saw several people lying on the ground. They looked terribly injured. They were bleeding. Some arrows were stuck on the chinks of their armors.

"Guys!" Murphy exclaimed. "Thank goodness! Hang on, we'll save you!" he rushed towards the knights of Team Delta. The others followed him.

"S-St… stop…" one of the injured knights, a woman with platinum hair spoke weakly. "D-Don't come… it's a trap…"

"Huh?"

Before they could do anything, several arrows flew towards them. They were startled by the sudden ambush but Sir Gerard activated a magical shield, protecting them all. He summoned his double swords, Bloodyblade and Ripclaw. The old warrior was renowned by those double swords that he used during battle, and he was given a nickname 'Twin Blade Gerard' as a result.

"Shit!" Sir Gerard cursed. A magical helmet appeared to protect his head before he shouted loudly. "Knights, battle commences!"

All the knights were standing around the wounded ones, protecting them from incoming attacks. Murphy pressed his bracelet before a silver shield appeared. He blocked a good amount of arrows with it. Rose deflected the arrows with her sword before she activated a barrier, protecting herself and the wounded knights behind her.

"Arturia, do you know any healing spell?" Sir Gerard asked loudly to Arturia who deflected an arrow.

"I know how to cure wounds, but it's just for emergency state!" Arturia replied before she managed to deflect another arrow.

"Then use them! Ease their pain! We'll protect you!" Sir Gerard said. "Murphy! Contact the other units! We need reinforcements!"

"Understood!" Murphy nodded. Suddenly, some black-suited bandits charged out from the bushes and trees, armed with knives and daggers to attack them.

"Okay, stay in your positions, knights! It will be either death or glory for us!" Sir Gerard announced before he let out a loud battle cry. While still standing on his position, he swung his double-swords wildly towards an approaching bandit. Murphy nodded before he snapped his fingers. Three magical arrows appeared above him.

"O holy spirits of light, show these sinners the path of redemption," Murphy muttered before he shouted. "Arrows of Light!" the arrows soared towards the bandits, shooting at them.

As the other knights were fighting the bandits, Arturia was nursing the wounded knights. She put her hands on their wounds as she spoke reassuringly. "Don't worry. We will bring you out from here. We will save you all."

"Sir, the reinforcements are on their way!" Murphy reported as he listened to the transmitter on his ring.

"I got it! Stay in your positions, knights! Don't even move from there, even if we have to die!" Sir Gerard growled before he kicked one of the bandits away and killed the other one with his swords.

"They're too tough!" one of the bandits shouted. "Now, release the beasts!"

Roaaar!

"No way…" Rose muttered in disbelief. "They're actually using them…"

"Shit!" Sir Gerard cursed. "Get ready!" he yelled to his team.

Boom!

A terrible explosion occurred and the knights were sent flying everywhere like rag dolls. Sir Gerard and Murphy managed to hold their positions, but Rose was thrown away behind. The other knights were sent flying by the explosion. The injured knights and Arturia were blown away as well.

"What the hell is that?" Murphy couldn't believe what he had seen.

"Chimera…" Sir Gerard said. "It's a twisted beast with the tail of a snake, two heads of a ram and lion, and a body of tiger. This wretched beast is created from the root of black magic. This is terrible…" he looked at Murphy. "We need to find our way out! We need to rescue the injured!"

"But sir, the bandits…" Murphy said before he groaned. An arrow pierced through a chink of his armor. "Damn it!"

The Chimera was in front of them, staring at them with its red eyes. Its two heads of ram and lion had saliva flowed out from their mouth. Then the beast roared again, making the earth shook.

"Arturia! Where are you?! Are you alright?!" Sir Gerard yelled to call Arturia but she didn't reply to it.

"Damn!" Murphy cursed. "I guess this is it," he assumed a battle stance after pulling out the arrow out from his flesh. "I think I'd left a message to my wife under my pillow…" he grinned despite how dangerous the situation. "It was nice knowing you, sir. Let's do this!"

"I guess we have no choice," Sir Gerard sighed before he shouted. "Bring it on, beast!" thus, both of them simultaneously charged towards the beast, swords prepared in hands.


"Ow, ow, ow… it hurts…" Arturia lifted herself and rubbed her forehead. She could feel her forehead was bleeding, but it's nothing compared to those who were injured earlier. She stood up and picked her sword. She saw an injured Rose.

"Miss de Vrias…" Arturia went towards the swordswoman. Then she saw chunks of wood had pierced though her arms. "Your arms…"

"Arturia," Rose spoke. "Please… save our friends…" she said weakly.

"No! Please don't die, Miss de Vrias!" Arturia exclaimed "I just want to be friends with you. Don't die yet, Miss de Vrias…"

Rose chuckled weakly before she raised her hand slowly, caressing Arturia's face. "I'm sorry, Arturia. I was so jealous of you after all. I tried to hate you, but…" the female knight looked at Arturia with teary eyes "I can see kindness radiated from your own being. I'm sorry for being so mean to you, Arturia…" she closed her eyes.

"Don't die yet, Miss de Vrias!" Arturia pleaded tearfully.

"Haha, I'm just feeling sleepy, silly girl. It's not very easy for me to die," Rose managed to smile despite the pain she got. "Well, kick those asses for me, will you?"

Arturia stared at Rose before she nodded. "Understood!" she looked around and saw several bandits, armed with knives and daggers.

"So here's the one," one of the bandits said. "Well, she's pretty…" he licked his lips, sizing the young Holy Knight before them.

Arturia glared at those bandits before she assumed a battle stance. Some of the bandits laughed by seeing Arturia prepared to fight them alone.

"Hahaha! Now that's a joke!" one of the bandits commented. "Is she trying to fight us all?"

Before the other bandits could reply it, the bandit who was asking them had a blade pierced through his chest. Arturia was already standing behind him. The bandit's eyes widened in horror as blood spurted out of his wound. Arturia pulled out her sword before she swung it horizontally, separating the bandit's head and body.

The other stunned bandits finally recovered before one of them shouted. "Get her!" they charged towards Arturia with their weapons in their hands. Arturia took several steps behind, parrying their attacks at once. As she stabbed the ground and put her hands on the handle of her sword before she muttered.

"O holy spirit of light, grant me strength to vanquish the darkness," her voice let out an echo as her green eyes glowed. "Lightning Armor!" she shouted before her body engulfed by white light. Her blonde hair turned white as well.

"What the hell?" one of the bandits exclaimed.

"Now…" Arturia spoke monotonously. "Prepare to taste my wrath…"

In a flash, Arturia moved in lightning speed, swinging her sword around, cutting every bandit in her way. The bandits were either killed or severely injured by her attacks. Then she turned to the direction where Sir Gerard and Murphy were fighting the Chimera. Some bandits had emerged from their hiding.

Thinking that the bandits might bother both Sir Gerard and Murphy fighting the Chimera, she decided to take them all upon herself. So she recharged herself with lightning before she charged towards the bandits, hacking and slashing at every bandit in her way. They screamed in terror as they saw Arturia who released the blinding white glow, plowing through their ranks.

"Arturia?" Murphy took a quick glance at Arturia while fighting the Chimera. "That technique…"

As one of the bandits tried to escape, Arturia grabbed his head with her left hand before she pushed his head onto the ground, shoving his face on the dirt. Then she raised her sword before she stabbed on his head. The bandit shuddered as the cold blade pierced through his skull before he died. At the same time, she reverted back into normal.

"Urgh…" she let out a grunt as like the technique had given her side effects. She tried to stand but to no avail. She felt like she no longer had strength to stand up anymore.

Boom!

Both Sir Gerard and Murphy were thrown behind and landed near Arturia. They groaned in pain. Their swords were nowhere to be seen anymore.

"Damn it. I think I broke one leg, sir." Murphy said, trying to sound casual to Sir Gerard.

"I think I broke my ribs, two or three, maybe?" Sir Gerard said in a same fashion. "Anyway, we're screwed," the Chimera went nearer to them. It roared like it was laughing at them for its victory. "Well, I expected myself to die in a battle, but at least I want a dignified end instead of being mauled by the beast over there," he pointed at the approaching Chimera.

"I hate to admit it, but we are completely hopeless right now…" Murphy sighed. "I guess that's it. I hope my wife will find a good husband in the future…" he looked at Arturia. "Arturia, are you alright?"

"N-No… it hurts…" Arturia replied weakly.

"Damn…" Sir Gerard growled before he glowered at the Chimera. In his eyes could be seen a denial to admit defeat. "Damn…"

The Chimera raised its paw, intending to crush three of them under heavy force. Three of them closed their eyes, expecting their ultimate demise.

And nothing happened.

Arturia slowly opened her eyes and she gasped.

She saw a lightning.

She saw a lightning with a shade of gray.

In front of her, a tall gray-haired man dressed in civilian's attire was standing under the Chimera's paw, holding it with his one hand. The gray-haired man took a quick glance and Arturia found out he was wearing a mask, or rather a fox mask.

"Don't worry, it's going to end soon," the masked man spoke. "Take a rest, Arturia Valentine. I'm going to handle this thing for now on…" his yellow eyes were glowing under the mask, as Arturia could see through the eye-sockets of the mask.

Arturia could feel her eyelids becoming heavier. Before she fell asleep, she managed to ask. "Who are you?"

"A passing merchant, I guess."

Then, slowly, her vision darkened. The last things she remembered were a terrible sound of shrieking voice of a beast and the sound of thunder.

TO BE CONTINUED


Author's Note: Hello, this is me, Louis-sama. Actually, this is one of my old stories, which is completely rewritten. As you can see, this story is completely different compared to my other stories, Blade/Arc or Legend of Nura: The Tale of Akira Kuzuryu. I hope you will like it. And for your information, this story will be updated once a week (twice if I'm feeling motivated). Expect the update to be around Wednesday or Thursday. So, will you be generous and leave a review about this story. I will appreciate it. After all, reviews boost my energy to keep writing.

Louis-sama (2014)