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Okay, so after looking at the polls and the comments you guys have left me, I've decided to compromise and put both chapter links and the entire story into 1 page. It'll take a bit of time before the rest of the books are condensed into 1 page, but I'll try to do them ASAP.

(15/6/2012)

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Book 4: To Slay a Dragon - Prologue

*Disclaimer note: This is merely a translation of the original Chinese version. I do not claim any part in the creation of the original story.


 

I am a knight. To be more precise, I am the Sun Knight of the Church of Light.

The Sun Knight; a head of shiny golden hair, deep blue eyes, a brilliant smile and a merciful and loving nature.

He who forever smiles kindly as he forgives you - 'the God of Light will forgive you of your sins'; that is the fate of the Sun Knight.

~O~O~O~O~

But what the hell has the above got to do with me?!

Sun Knight? Who's that?

And what the heck is the Church of Light?

More importantly…… who am I?

Huh? The benevolent God of Light will light the path of this lost sheep?

But… are you sure I'm a sheep?


 

Prologue: The holy sword and its missing owner

"Captain Judge Knight!"

Judge slowed down and looked back. The person was hard to miss with his signature black skin-tight outfit. In the whole of the Holy Temple, the Hell Knight Captain was the only one with such a unique sense of fashion. But at this moment, someone was missing from Roland Hell's side.

"Captain Hell Knight, should you not be staying by the Captain Sun Knight's side?" questioned Judge with a frown.

Roland got a guilty look at that inquiry.

"You lost him again?"

Leithe couldn't help but see the irony in the situation. It seems that ever since he had ordered the Hell Knight Captain to stay by Sun's side, Sun could never be found with Hell. But he couldn't blame Hell, for even he himself could not say for sure if he could have been able to stop a determined Sun from slipping away from him.

"Forget it, you won't have to follow him anymore." Judge shook his head in exasperation before sighing, "I should have known that sending someone to follow Sun around wouldn't work."

Instead of looking relieved, Roland looked even more worried. "But Sun's blind, what'll he do if he's in danger?"

"If he's able to throw you off his trail, I think he shouldn't have any problems handling himself."

"True," Roland conceded, but still he gave a sigh of frustration. "I just don't get it. How could Sun have managed to slip away from me when his skills are so poor…… "

Leithe smiled at that and said, "If that's what you really think of him, then you're severely underestimating our Sun Knight Captain."

"But aren't his sword skills pretty poor?" Roland asked in confusion.

"Sun's sword skills are unquestionably terrible," Leithe nodded in agreement.

Actually, saying so was a huge understatement. After having been trained by the 'history's strongest Sun Knight' for eight long years and still have his sword skills remain at such an appalling level, it was more than words could describe.

"It's true that the Sun Knight's skills are rather poor," said Leithe, "but if there's one single person in this world that I would rather not make an enemy of, it would be the Sun Knight Captain."

Roland looked even more lost. "But, Creus he……"

"Captain Hell Knight!"

Both Leithe and Roland blinked in surprise. While the latter remained indifferent to the interruption, the former had to quickly change his expression to a more appropriate one, pasting a dark scowl on his face and giving off a dangerous and unfriendly air.

But when he saw that it was one of his Judge Knight Division's knights, his frown became even sterner.

He knew his division's knights very well. They were quite similar to him in terms of behaviour – stern and composed. But to have one of his knights come running to him in such a flustered manner would mean that something serious had happen.

The holy knight took a moment to catch his breath before immediately straightening to salute them. "Captain Judge Knight, Captain Hell Knight."

"What is it?" Leihe asked with a dark frown.

"There was an explosion of unknown origin not too far from here, but luckily there were no casualties. However, the priests said that they could sense a very heavy dark aura still lingering in the area, and that it is very likely that someone had just performed necromancy magic there."

Leithe's face darkened at this news. What necromancer would have been so daring as to cause trouble in Sprouting Leaf City, the base of the Church of Light?

It doesn't matter who they are, if they dared to cause trouble here, he won't let them go!

Leithe gave his order in a dark voice, "Gather all the Judge Division knights, and Hell, you're coming with me."

"Yes, sir."

~O~O~O~O~

When he arrived at the scene, Leithe understood why exactly his knight had looked so flustered.

The explosion had left behind a huge crater ten meters wide.

The surrounding buildings had collapsed in the wake of the blast, and charred earth and shards of rock were strewn everywhere…… fortunately, this place used to be one of the older execution grounds, and was nearly deserted. If the explosion had taken place in the middle of the bustling city, the consequences would have been a hundred times more severe.

"Captain Judge Knight, Captain Hell Knight……"

The priests on site were about to salute them when Leithe raised a hand to stop them and gave the order, "Report."

"Yes, sir."

The priests started reporting what they had gathered so far. "Other than dark aura, we've also managed to sense large amounts of holy aura here. We believe that someone from the Church may have battled the necromancer, and we are now searching the surrounding area for-for their……"

Searching for their body.

Leithe knew without hearing the rest what they were trying to say. As he looked around and took in the sight once more, he could tell that it must have been an extremely fierce battle. If the person from the Light Church had won, they would have returned to the Church to report the incident. Even if they had been severely injured and had collapsed halfway back to the Holy Temple, they would have been spotted by the patrolling holy knights and royal knights.

But there had been nothing so far.

So the only possible explanation left was that they had been captured by the necromancer, or they were dead, possibly buried under one of the collapsed buildings.

Even though there were not as many buildings here compared to in the city, there were still more than ten buildings, and it was clear that it would take some time to clear everything. He hesitated between leading his men to search for the necromancer and staying put here to wait for more news, in the hopes that they would be able to find a survivor who could tell him what had happened.

Just then, Roland walked up to him and gestured at a collapsed building not too far away from them. "Captain Judge Knight, there is a very strong holy aura coming from below there."

Leithe frowned at that. Even if they were holy knights or priests, their bodies would still be taken over by dark elements after their deaths. But if Hell said that he could sense holy aura coming from there…… could it be a survivor?

At that thought, he immediately called to the search party, "Quickly, follow the Hell Knight Captain's directions and start digging there. Be careful, there might be someone still alive down there!"

"Yes, sir!"

The holy knights quickly began removing the rocks and fallen debris away. With their combined efforts they made short work of it, and soon enough had most of the building cleared away.

"Roland!"

Roland started in surprise, and when he turned around he saw a squad of knights in the red uniform of the royal knights of Forgotten Echo, and leading them was someone he was fairly familiar with – the royal knight Elliot who often came to spar with him.

Elliot walked up to him and looked on at the large crater in front of them. "What happened here?" he asked with a frown.

Roland shook his head and explained, "We do not know what happened either, only that there are large amounts of dark and light aura still gathered here."

Leithe, who had been standing beside them, turned to Elliot and asked, "Sir Elliot, can your men join in and help to clear away the debris? We believe that a priest or holy knight might have survived the explosion and is buried alive under the debris."

Elliot looked surprised to hear that, but he immediately nodded. "Of course."

He turned to his men and gave the order to help the holy knights.

As he watched the digging process with a heavy frown, Leithe understood that he was of no use here and decided to head back and see if he could find a trace of the necromancer's whereabouts…… he then suddenly remembered that necromancers were not in his area of expertise.

He turned to his vice-captain and asked, "Has anyone informed the Sun Knight Captain of this incident?"

"Captain, I was unable to locate the Sun Knight Captain, but the Sun Knight Division's vice-captain, Adair, has been informed. He said that he will send out the Sun Knight Division to search the city. He will report back if they find any hint of unusual dark activity."

Leithe nodded in approval. As long as Adair had been informed. But he wondered where Sun could have run off to this time.

"Oh that's right, the Sun Knight Captain is not here?" asked Elliot.

"Elliot, did you not see Sun on your way here?" asked Roland at the same time.

They looked at each other for a moment before smiling wryly and shaking their heads.

Judge's lips twitched at the amusing sight.

It had always been so; Sun might not be skilled at sword fighting, but somehow he's always managed to befriend skilled swordsmen…… no! Not just swordsmen, he's probably already friends with all the strong and powerful in the city.

The Church of Light's Twelve Holy Knights, a Death Lord and the Royal Princess's royal knight lover among them; the history's strongest Sun Knight and even a – unknown but guaranteed to be very powerful – necromancer.

And even without knowing all the strong and powerful, is Creus really as weak as the Hell Knight believes?

Leithe sighed at the thought. He was probably the only one other than the Pope and the previous Sun Knight who knows how strong Creus Sun really was…… no! Leithe felt that even he had not uncovered the full extent of Creus' capabilities.

"Creus," he muttered in an undertone, "You're always saying that you could never hide anything from me, yet I've never truly understood your true strength…… Or perhaps, you yourself do not understand your own true strength?"

Elliot and Roland thought they heard something and asked in curiosity, "What?"

"Found it!"

The three of them looked up at the cry and quickly approached the site. They saw the crowd standing gathered around the hole, watching, but no one was helping to pull out the survivor from the hole. The three of them frowned at that.

"What are the priests doing?" Leithe growled out in anger. "Why are you not helping to heal the survivor?"

The priests were shocked by the reprimand, and when they saw the Judge Knight's dark expression, they paled even further as they hurried to explain, "That-it's not a person!"

Leithe frowned at the strange reply and moved forward to investigate the matter himself. Inside the hole was no person, indeed, but a sword. It lied quietly in the hole and smudged with dirt, unbefitting of its dignity.

"The Holy Sun Blade?!"

Leithe had immediately recognised the Holy Sun Blade which lied at the bottom of the hole. The blade was Creus' most treasured belonging…… even though he rarely used it himself…

He rarely brings the sword out when he leaves the Holy Temple, but on the rare occasions that he did bring it out with him, he always kept it close to him on his person.

Yet now, the Holy Sun Blade is found here, but its owner was nowhere near…… Suddenly, Leithe saw something staining the sword…… He jumped into the hole and picked up the sword to get a closer look.

He was right, it was blood!

Leithe's face paled and he immediately turned to the surrounding knights and shouted, "Quick! Continue digging! But be careful, Sun-the person below might still be alive!"

Roland had jumped into the hole too, and he bent down to touch the earth, although his eyes never left the Holy Sun Blade in Leithe's hands.

He then stood up before saying to him in a soft voice, "There is no holy aura beneath us. The holy aura I was sensing previously was coming from the Holy Sun Blade. C-could it be that Creus-he……"

"No!" Leithe cut him off forcefully before jumping out of the hole. He then instructed the holy knights to continue digging below. Roland, too, jumped out.

Leithe looked around at the area that used to be the old execution grounds and said firmly, "It's not possible! This place…… this place could never be Sun's final resting place!"

So……

Creus, where are you?


 

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Thursday, 17 November 2011

LSK – Side Stories: My dear straw doll.

*Disclaimer note: This is merely a translation of the original Chinese version. I do not claim any part in the creation of the original story.


 

Elmairy looked at the person beside him nervously. The person was dressed in all black; even though he wasn't wearing his usual black uniform but a casual black outfit, he still cut a rather imposing figure.

Leithe was indeed as stern as the rumours claimed him to be. They were both about the same age, about sixteen to seventeen years old, yet how come he looked so intimidating?

Elmairy just couldn't understand. And at the same time, he was a little afraid of him.

He and Leithe weren't from the same faction, so typically they wouldn't have been sent out on a mission together. In fact, this was his first time carrying out a mission with Leithe, so he was quite nervous.

This mission required someone with strong holy aura, but as those on his faction were either busy or just plain unwilling to come out themselves, he was the only one left.

Leithe's uniquely deep voice spoke up from beside him. "Elmairy, can you sense any dark aura ahead of us?"

Elmairy carefully stretched his senses out before shaking his head and replying, "No, but as it's quite some distance away, I wouldn't be able to tell if the amount of dark aura is very small. Creus is much better in this than I am."

As he looked on at the dark gloomy house ahead of them, Leithe nodded his head and said, "Creus is stronger at this, but it's a pity he had to go to the Royal Palace with the Sun Knight."

When he noticed that Elmairy was still staring at him, a jolt of alarm shot through Leithe, and he hurriedly added in a low voice, "But even if he hadn't left the Holy Temple, I wouldn't have agreed to carry out a mission with the little Sun Knight!"

Elmairy shrunk a little at that and protested in a small voice, "Creus is really nice and easy to get along with."

"It is not a matter of him being easy to get along with or not," Leithe replied coldly. "His sword skills are terrible, and he often pushes his work off onto others. If I were to be sent out with him I might as well carry out the mission on my own."

"……"

Even though he would have liked to defend his future superior, Elmairy was hard-pressed to come up with anything to refute Leithe's statement, for his words had really hit the nail on the head!

Leaf couldn't resist speaking his question, "You seem to understand Creus very well. Do you know him?"

Another jolt shot through Leithe, but he managed to maintain his calm demeanour, and even managed a displeased frown as he snorted, "How could I know the little Sun Knight well? The little Sun Knight is the representative of the Holy Temple; his every word and action is watched by everyone. It is not hard to learn about his conduct."

Elmairy realised then. Oh dear, this is bad! So word about Creus' poor sword skills and even poorer work ethics has spread to even the judgement areas?

Leithe turned back to survey the house before him. He then turned his attention to the five holy knights accompanying them and gave out his orders. "The two of you, go around to the back and stand guard at the back exit. You, go on ahead and call for the occupant. If you do not receive any response, you have permission to break down the door. Start searching the house once you've gained entrance."

"Yes, sir."

Elmairy felt rather impressed as he watched Leithe calmly giving out orders. Even though everyone knew that they were the future Twelve Holy Knights, the key word was 'future'. And in addition, they were all still quite young, so the Twelve Little Holy Knights didn't really have much real authority. They would still feel a little awkward when giving out orders, especially when the holy knights receiving orders from them were much older, and yet, Leithe did not seem to be similarly afflicted.

The holy knights did not show any dissatisfaction with being ordered about by a child, showing only their respect for Leithe. Elmairy could tell it all from their expressions.

Leithe really was an impressive person. However, Elmairy still wouldn't have chosen to be partnered with Leithe if he could help it, for he felt quite pressured in his presence. Standing with Creus would have been so much easier.

Leithe then gave his last order. "Elmairy, you will stay behind and cover everyone else."

'But perhaps that was a misperception?' It was only after Elmairy heard Leithe's words that he realised something. It was true that Creus always pushed his work onto others. In this situation for example, Creus would definitely have ordered someone else to go ahead whilst he himself would provide cover. But Leithe's sense of responsibility was well-known – he would never push his share of work onto others.

Standing with Creus would have been no easier, he was beginning to realise!

"Elmairy!" After walking ahead a few steps, Leithe noticed that he wasn't followed and growled, "What are you dazing around for? Follow us! And get your weapons out and ready!"

"Ye-yes!" Elmairy had jumped at that and hurriedly notched his bow with an arrow at the ready.

The holy knight ahead of them had called out thrice so loudly that even the neighbours had heard and came out to investigate the noise, but there was no response from the house.

Elmairy felt rather nervous. From the reports he had read, the occupant of the house was armed with dark magic and had been reported using the magic to harm others.

Bang!

The door was kicked down and they filed into the house, searching each room thoroughly as they went. One of the holy knights reported back to Leithe: "There's no one in the house."

Leithe frowned at that before asking, "Elmairy, do you sense any dark aura?"

Elmairy shook his head no.

Leithe's brows knotted in even deeper frowns at this answer.

"Perhaps the report was mistaken," Elmairy suggested. "The public don't know much about dark magic. They sometimes mistake some unusual activities as people using dark magic."

Leithe, too, felt that this very likely, but he'd rather be overly-cautious than to dismiss anything as of yet. "Search the whole house one more time, and if there still isn't anything unusual to be found we'll leave--"

"Kill you! I'll kill you, you unfaithful bastard!"

A gasp escaped Elmairy. "Leithe, that sound……"

Leithe called out, "Let's move," and hurriedly ran in the direction of the sound, Elmairy and the rest of the holy knights running after him.

They found themselves in a garden behind the house. The garden was not very big, and it was easy to spot the person standing amongst a few trees, a thick tree trunk hiding most of the person from view. However, they could hear the cries from the dishevelled person as they continued screaming and raging, a strange knocking sound accompanying every screamed curse of theirs.

As he listened on to the vile curses spilling from the person's lips, Elmairy felt a shiver run up his spine. Leithe, however, did not hesitate to step forward and call out, "Put down your weapons!"

The moment he had called out the order however, Leithe stopped short, stunned.

"Leithe?" Knowing that something was up, Elmairy hurriedly stepped forward, but he too stopped in surprise.

A…… woman?

And a very shocked woman at that. Even though she looked rather dishevelled with her hair in disarray and her clothes all messed up, when she saw Leithe and the rest of them she was so shocked that she stumbled back in surprise, dropping the item she held in her hands…… a hammer.

The woman retreated a few steps, leaning against the tree weakly. Nailed to the tree trunk beside her was a little straw doll, a dozen nails sticking out of it haphazardly with no order.

"You-who are you? What are you doing here?" she screamed in fear.

Leithe replied her in a deep low voice, "We are holy knights from the Church of Light. We received a report saying that someone was using black magic to harm others."

"Black-black magic?" So shocked was the woman that she was stumbling over her words. "But-but I'm just……"

"Pull her aside, and remember not to let your guard down." Leithe ordered one of the holy knights.

"Yes, sir!"

Elmairy didn't really think that the woman knew black magic. Dark element wasn't an easy element to manipulate, and if she really knew how to use dark magic, she should have at the very least the abilities of a capable mage, and not look so flustered and vulnerable as she did right now.

"Take a look at this and see if it has any black magic on it," said Leithe as he bent to pick up the hammer and place it in Elmairy's hands. "Even though I have my doubts that it has anything to do with black magic, my holy aura isn't very strong. Look it over for me."

Elmairy took the hammer and looked it over carefully, before looking up and shaking his head. "This is just an ordinary hammer, nothing else. Its dark aura is not very high."

"Not very high? Then that means it there are traces of black magic?" asked Leithe.

Upon hearing that, Elmairy hurriedly explained. "You misunderstand me. Everything has a complicated combination of different elements, including dark elements, but they are not necessarily dark. Even though I've learnt how to detect dark elements, I cannot say for certain that this hammer has a dark aura. I can only say that the amount of dark elements in it is within normal levels."

"I see," nodded Leithe. After a moment, he then instructed, "Try doing what that woman was doing and hammer at the straw doll. See if you can sense any dark aura."

"Err…… alright."

Even though he felt a little weird and was rather reluctant to follow Leithe's request, Elmairy just couldn't say no, especially when it was Leithe that he was rejecting! And it wasn't just him; there wasn't a single holy knight that would dare to refuse him!

Well, that's not right. At least, Creus would dare to do so.

Elmairy stepped up to the tree and stared at the straw doll, feeling all kinds of reluctance. He raised the hammer before pausing to look at Leithe. The latter merely gave a frown and said, "Proceed."

And so he raised the hammer and swung it onto one of the nails, again and again, harder and harder. As he continued hammering, he got quite engrossed in it till he nearly forgot what he was supposed to be doing……

"…… Elmairy!"

Elmairy jerked awake and asked, "What's wrong?"

"That's enough." Leithe looked at Elmairy carefully and asked a little suspiciously, "Are you alright?"

Elmairy stared at him a little blankly, answering "Yeah, I'm fine."

After looking at him carefully and asserting to himself, Leithe inquired, "Was there any dark aura?"

"Not at all."

"Is that so?" Leithe hesitated, the image of Elmairy's absorbed expression flickering past in his mind. He then made his decision. "Just to be certain, I think it's best that we bring the hammer and the straw doll to the little Sun Knight for his opinion."

"Alright."

~O~O~O~O~

Elmairy knocked on Creus' door and waited patiently. Eight out of ten times when he knocked on Creus' door, Creus wouldn't immediately answer the door.

From behind the door came all sorts of sounds. The clinking of bottles falling, splashes of water…… and even something that sounded like 'shit, this must be a curse!' could be heard, but Elmairy ignored all of them and pushed them out of his head.

The last time he had enquired as to what Creus had been doing, Creus had stuffed an office document half a foot thick into his arms. He wondered idly how long those documents had been sitting in Sun's room……

The door finally opened and a young golden-haired boy walked out, his smile as brilliant as always, although his hair and clothes looked a little damp.

'Was he showering?' Elmairy felt a little apologetic for interrupting his shower.

Creus then began his usual long style of greeting, "My dear brother Leaf, could it be that the God of Light had whispered in your ears reminding you that one should share with one's brothers frequently, leading you to knock upon this Sun's door……"

To stop him from delving any further, Elmairy hurriedly took out the hammer and straw doll and showed them to him. "Leithe wanted me to bring these to you to look over."

Creus looked down at the hammer and doll, his smile freezing for just a moment as he asked in befuddlement, "What is it that Brother Leithe wishes me to look for?"

"See if there's any black magic on it," Elmairy told him. He then proceeded to tell him about the incident.

After hearing the full story from him, Creus looked back down at the items before waving Elmairy into his room.

Elmairy was a little surprised, but he took it in stride and followed him in.

"The heck there is any black magic on them!"

Who would have thought that the moment Creus shut the door closed his speech would become 'not very elegant'? However, Elmairy wasn't very surprised. The Twelve Holy Knights all knew by now that Creus' elegance was directly proportional to the number of people around him.

"Are you certain?" Elmairy asked for confirmation. He hurriedly described the situation in which they had found the woman. "But that woman who was nailing the straw doll was very terrifying-looking! She looked half-crazed!"

"She was only letting out her frustrations," said Creus with a shake of his head. "If nailing straw dolls is black magic, then black magic wouldn't have been so difficult to learn."

Elmairy thought so too, but he didn't understand Creus' first comment. "Why would nailing straw dolls let out her frustrations?"

Creus smiled and explained, "It's not the straw doll you're nailing, but the person who angered you so. Imagine the straw doll as that person, then hammer the nails into the doll with all your strength! And you can even add some of your enemy's hair or nails."

Elmairy reared back in shock and cried out, "That can't be good?"

"What's wrong with it?" Creus shrugged and said, "At least nailing straw dolls is better than her going after her enemy with a knife, right?"

'Hmmm? That actually makes sense!' Elmairy looked down at the doll in his hands, recalling the feeling as he nailed the straw doll as per Leithe's instructions…… No! That's not right, he should never let himself do such bizarre activities!

"Oh, that's right, elderberry," Creus suddenly spoke up.

"My name is Elmairy…… sigh, forget it. What is it?"

"Give me both your hands."

When Elmairy did as instructed, he found himself with an armful of office documents.

~O~O~O~O~

Creus was on his way to Elmairy's. Those documents had been way past the deadline, and his teacher had been on his back about them, so he had to go and check up on Elmairy to see if he was done with them…… Although the probability of him being done with them was very low. There were quite a number of documents in that stack.

And if worst comes to worst, he would have to step forward and help out himself. Creus felt a little depressed. He hated paperwork! For every document he had to go through, he would have to write the words 'God of Light' at least twenty times. It was like detention!

'I hope Elderberry's done with them,' prayed Creus as he pushed open Elmairy's door. He then stood there frozen as he looked in on an unbelievable scene.

Elmairy was hammering into a straw doll nailed to the wall with all his might, again and again, the words spilling from his mouth giving his unsuspecting audience goose bumps. "Damn you! Always throwing all your work to me! Making me unable to finish them and having to work overnight! Unable to refuse a single thing no matter what one asks! What kind of stupid condition is this…… err, Creus?!"

After some time, he finally noticed Creus standing at the door, and he immediately lost his wits.

"Y-You, what are you doing here?" Elmairy stammered, his face unbelievably pale. He, a holy knight, had actually cursed and shouted whilst hammering away at a straw doll. And what was worse, he had been caught in the act!

Would he be mistaken as someone casting black magic just like that woman? He would probably get kicked out of the Holy Temple…… and maybe not just so. He might even be tied to a stake and burned alive!


 

If he were to say something like 'I saw you hammering nails into a straw doll', would he find himself nailed just like the doll? Creus had a bad feeling about this. Even though Elmairy was usually very easy to bully, right at that moment, a very strong gut feeling told him that he should never speak of what he had seen today to anyone else, lest he find himself never seeing the day he takes on the mantle of the thirty-eighth Sun Knight.

"I-I saw…… I saw how neat and tidy Brother Elmairy's room is!"

Elmairy was surprised at that. Was Creus not going to expose him……? And what was that he just called him? How long has it been since he last heard his proper name from him?

Creus continued on hastily, "I'm just here to get the documents. I didn't see anything! And I swear that I won't remember a single thing after leaving this room!"

Seeing as Creus didn't seem to be going to expose him, Elmairy timidly explained, "I-I just wanted to test and see if it would really release my frustrations, and-and I found that it really works, so-so I……"

"Cough!" Creus gave a loud cough before saying, "I'm only here to get the documents and didn't see a single thing, so you don't have to explain anything, just please tell me if the documents are done."

Elmairy nodded and walked to his table to retrieve the thick stack of documents before walking back to Creus. Just as he was about to hand over the paperwork to him, he suddenly stopped.

Creus was debating the merits of snatching the documents and running away when Elmairy spoke up. "Creus, can I have a strand of your hair?"

"…… okay."

He plucked a strand of hair and exchanged it for the stack of documents. As he closed the door behind him as he left, Creus could be heard mumbling to himself, "Oh man, I'm totally reaping the seeds I sow! Why the hell did I go and teach Elderberry how to use it? And I even told him to add a hair or nail…… No no no! I don't remember anything about Elderberry hammering straw dolls. I don't remember I don't remember I definitely don't remember…… I'll go and get drunk with teacher and pretend it's all just a dream! Yes, that's right! I'll go do that right now!"

When he heard Creus' mumblings, Elmairy let out a quiet chuckle. Even though he still held the hammer in his right hand, he didn't feel like hammering the straw doll in the least.

He took out the doll nailed to the wall and added the golden hair into it, saying with a smile, "I'll be using you from now onwards, my dear straw doll!...... and Creus too."


 

~The End~


 

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Thursday, 3 November 2011

LSK – Side Stories: You owe me a favour!

*Disclaimer note: This is merely a translation of the original Chinese version. I do not claim any part in the creation of the original story.


 

Ceo Storm could never figure it out:

I owe you a favour, and you owe me another;

In the end, who the heck owes who?

Oh, who cares!!


 

There will always be fights between brothers. In the end, you will owe me and I will owe you, so what's one more favour?


 

"Ceo, seeing as today is such a warm and sunny day, could you help this Sun with a little problem?" asked Creus with a brilliant smile on his face and his hands clasped together in front of him, his posture one of that asking for a favour.

He had no problems with helping out. That is, was it any other time…… "But my teacher had instructed me to practice with my homework, and I'm not allowed to do anything else before I complete it," Ceo told him helplessly.

Creus turned to look to his left; Ceo followed him and looked to the left. Isn't it just the usual hallway? Creus then turned to look to his right, and again Ceo followed him and looked to the right. Still an ordinary hallway……? They were currently standing in the middle of a hallway, so no matter which direction they were to look in, they would only see a hallway.

'What is Creus looking at?' Ceo stared at him uncomprehendingly.

When Creus turned back to look at him, he said exasperatedly, "What kind of homework could you be practising here? If you were studying, even though you could study whilst standing, you don't have a single book with you right now. And if you're going to say sword practise, well, even if you weren't afraid of accidentally hurting someone with your sword, you don't have a sword on you either. Look, if you're just trying to find an excuse not to help me, shouldn't you at least try to come up with a better one?"

Ceo stared at him in surprise and was about to explain that he wasn't trying to find excuses, when the opportunity to practise appeared!

He hurriedly pushed Creus aside and stepped forward, when his eyes suddenly widened in shock and horror……

"It's the little Sun Knight and little Storm Knight! Oh, they look so cute!!"

So… so many women! Why are there so many of them?!

At the sight of a dozen female priests walking down the hallway in their direction, all giggles and whispers, Ceo couldn't stand it anymore and turned to hide behind Creus.

"Ah?" Creus twisted his head to look at him in puzzlement, wondering what the guy was trying to do, but one of the female priests at the head of the group had called out to him.

"Little Sun Knight, what are you using for your hair? It's so soft and smooth and shiny!"

Creus wasn't about to tell them about the secret hair serum he had invented, so he beamed up at them and said, "With the God of Light as this Sun's witness, my ladies' hair shines even more brilliantly than this Sun's!"

The female priests tittered at that, and only when the head priest hurried them on did they turn to leave, all still smiling a pleased little smile.

When the sounds of their laughter grew distant, Ceo quickly came out from behind Creus. He stood there facing the leaving priests, his eyes blinking nonstop.

"Do you have a cramp in your eyes?" asked Creus, unable to understand what the heck the blue-haired boy was trying to do.

"Of course not!" Ceo immediately refuted. "I'm practising winking at women!"

"…… does anyone even need to practise to wink?"

"Of course! It's so hard to wink! And the girls keep giggling, or else they'll keep staring at me with twinkles in their eyes, and they always smell so flowery, I hardly even dare to look at them……" as he said this, Ceo looked rather discouraged. "I'd thought there would only be one or two of them in the Holy Temple. That's why I chose to stand here and wait for them to pass by, but I never thought they would appear in such a big group……"

Creus scratched his face absent-mindedly. "I think only the Light Priest would come here on her own. The only other reason for priests to come over here would be when the holy knights are injured, and just one or two wouldn't have been enough, so it's natural that they would come in big groups!"

When he heard that, Ceo's face looked crestfallen, and he said dispiritedly, "I can't complete the homework teacher set for me. Winking at a hundred women is just too hard, it's impossible!"

As he said that, tears started welling in his eyes.

"H-hey, don't-don't cry! I'll help you, alright?" When he saw the other boy's eyes redden, Creus hastily comforted him. "You help me out first, then I'll help you with your problem, okay?"

"Can you really help me?" asked Ceo as he tried to blink away the moisture in his eyes. "Even my teacher hasn't been able to help me!"

"Don't worry! I'm the Sun Knight, remember?"

"You're not yet the Sun Knight……"

"Hmph, I'll be one soon! Anyway, let's go, let's go! Help me out with my problem first; it's more urgent!"

And with that, Creus grabbed Ceo's hand and dragged him off, not giving the latter the opportunity to refuse him.

~O~O~O~O~

Bam!

"What's all this?" asked Ceo as he watched Sun drop a mountain of papers onto the table, his eyes wide with incomprehension.

"Office documents," the other replied simply. At the same time, he placed two inkpots and several pens onto the table beside them.

"Office… documents?" Ceo tilted his head and asked, "Why do you have to go through office documents? We're still in training right now; we don't have to deal with the paperwork yet."

"Try telling that to my teacher," Creus snorted. "But let me tell you right now that no one in the whole of the Holy Temple would dare to say that to him."

"What about the Judge Knight?" Even though history's strongest Sun Knight is indeed an intimidating title, Ceo believed that the Judge Knight wasn't that bad either.

"My teacher told me elegantly that if I dared tell-tale on him to the Judge Knight, he will replace all the paperwork time with lessons on elegance."

"Elegance lessons?" Ceo couldn't understand his point. "What's wrong with them?"

"It's about as bad as your winking lessons……"

"Oh! I'd rather choose paperwork!"

"Exactly. So hurry up with it!" said Creus as he sat down whilst pushing a pen into Ceo's hand. "These documents have to be handed in by tomorrow!"

Ceo merely sat there with the pen in hand, staring at Creus and feeling a bit lost. However, as he watched the latter going through the paperwork in earnest, he felt a little bad sitting around doing nothing and so began going through his first (but certainly not his last) paperwork……

Bang!

The door banged open, and a loud voice could be heard booming, "Creus, where's your teacher?"

Ceo had jumped at the door banging open and had very nearly knocked over the tall stack of documents. The stack of documents that they weren't supposed to be touching in the first place! And now they've been discovered! What should they do?!

Creus, sitting calmly opposite the panicking Ceo merely looked up at his name and said, "Probably in the wine cellar…… cough! I mean, may I ask what the Captain Blaze Knight is looking for him for?"

'Oh dear, have we been discovered? This ominous silence……'

The Blaze Knight then sighed and said gruffly, "Still in the wine cellars at this late hour…… honestly! Find Neo and tell him to get to the main hall right away!"

"Yes, sir," said Creus, standing up. "Ceo, I'll be back soon. Remember to continue doing the paperwork!" The last part was directed to the blue-haired boy.

Ceo's mind had gone blank at the exchange between Creus and the Blaze Knight, and he merely responded with an "okay". By the time Creus and the Blaze Knight were long gone, he suddenly woke up from his daze and realised……

There was a mountain of paperwork awaiting his attention on the table!

~O~O~O~O~

"You actually finished the whole stack! You're amazing!" Creus was most impressed.

Ceo's only reaction to such praise was his deaden eyes becoming even less lively as he said faintly, "Didn't you say they had to be handed in today? I spent the whole night going through them all and didn't get a wink of sleep……"

"That's right! Today's the deadline!" agreed Creus. He then added in a quiet mutter, "But I'm always late, and besides, everyone knows that my teacher Neo always procrastinates with his paperwork."

"What was that?" asked Ceo, not hearing the last part.

"Nothing!" With the stack of documents in one hand, he grabbed Ceo with the other and said, "Let's go! You helped me with the paperwork, so now it's my turn to help you with your winking practise!"

"You still remember?" Ceo asked in faint disbelief. It had occurred to him more than once that Creus was merely using him to help with the paperwork and had no intentions of helping him with his winking practise, but it seems he was wrong.

"Of course!"

After dropping off the paperwork, Creus then dragged Ceo off to some place. When he finally stopped, he turned to Ceo and asked, "How do you feel right now?"

Ceo replied weakly, "Very tired. I haven't slept the whole of last night and even had to look continuously at all those documents. Even now I keep seeing all those words…… 'instructions', 'proposals', 'applications for budget allowance'……"

"Wink at that corner."

"Why?"

"Just do it!"

Ceo didn't understand, but he did as he was told and winked.

"Ooh, how adorable!"

"What a handsome little knight!"

Ceo blinked blankly as he heard girly screaming from the direction in which he had just winked at. Were there…… girls there?

His eyes widened at that thought and he tried to peer closely at his surroundings, but his efforts were thwarted when Creus covered his eyes with his hands and dragged him off. He then took away his hand and instructed, "Wink to your right."

Ceo winked, and as soon as he was done his eyes were covered once more.

When he was released, he received another instruction, "Wink to your left."

"Wink to your right……"

And so they went around going through those motions repeatedly. When Creus finally released him for the last time, he clapped his hands and announced, "Winking at a hundred girls, done!"

'Huh?' Ceo blinked blankly at Creus's statement as he looked around. This is—the Hall of Light! The women-filled Hall of Light!! He immediately scurried to hide behind Creus.

Creus ignored his actions and dragged him away. Once they were back in the Holy Temple, he crossed his arms and said pompously, "I told you I'd help you! Remember, you owe me a favour now!"

…… huh?

~O~O~O~O~

In class.

"You've finally learned to wink at women without blushing!" The Storm Knight was extremely proud when he heard the report from his student. He clapped his student's shoulder and said approvingly, "I knew you could do it! I'm very, very proud (and thankful)!"

'Only because I had to go through office documents the whole night and couldn't see anything but words before me. I couldn't see at all if the person in front of me was male or female……

'It seems that, I really do owe Creus a favour?'

Ceo wasn't very sure about the matter. Why is it that he still owed Creus a favour after helping him with the office documents? But anyhow, it was thanks to Creus that he had finally learnt how to wink at women, so that means he really does owe him……. right?

~O~O~O~O~

"Here! This is today's paperwork!" said Creus as he dumped the enormous stack of paperwork onto him. "After these are done, you'll be able to see words only and won't have to worry about winking, so you'll owe me another favour!"

Why would he owe Creus another favour? He was already helping him with his paperwork! Is there any logic in owing someone for getting more work?

"I've already helped you with the paperwork before!" Ceo was getting a little angry.

Creus tilted his head at him in puzzlement, before he sighed and said, "What am I to do with you? Very well, even if you don't owe me for this time, you still owe me one for last time's help!"

……why did he not feel like he was getting the better end of the deal? At all?

However, it seems that in order to stop blushing when winking, he had no other choice but to do paperwork?

How did things end up like this??

In his room, Ceo was still turning those thoughts over in his head as he went through the documents, but whilst he was contemplating his situation, he had already finished ten more documents.

"Ceo, what are you doing? We hardly see you around recently. You seem to be very busy these days?"

"Teacher," he greeted. A little dazed from all the paperwork he had been going through, Ceo's reaction was a little slow. He had merely looked up from the latest document to stare blankly at his guest, and when he saw that it was no other than his teacher, he merely stared at him, giving no further response.

"…… What were you looking at?"

The Storm Knight approached his desk and picked up one of the papers.

'Oh no! I'm not supposed to be doing those paperwork!' Ceo's belated reaction finally kicked in too late.

"You--" The Storm Knight's face turned ugly as he stared down at Ceo. "You've been helping Neo with his paperwork?!"

'Oh no! I'm doomed! What should I do? Creus—'

"You don't even help me with my paperwork, yet you are helping with Neo's?! Just who do you think your teacher is? Me or him?!"

'……huh?'

Ceo said timidly, "Creus gave me those. I'm helping Creus, not the Captain Sun Knight."

"I don't care!" The handsome and dashing Storm Knight pouted, throwing a tantrum. "If you're going to help Neo with his paperwork then you're doing mine too!"

It suddenly struck Ceo that since his interaction with Creus, he was discovering many of the Holy Temple's hidden true personalities. But he just nodded his head and said, "Alright, I'll help you with your paperwork, but I don't want any more winking lessons!"

"…… you've been corrupted by Creus, but it's a deal! Besides, seeing as you've already mastered winking, it'll be fine if we drop them from now onwards."

Huh. It seems like he now owed Creus another big favour. But hadn't he already helped Creus with so much paperwork? So who the heck owed who now?

And so Ceo's bewilderment continued.

~O~O~O~O~

"Silly-o! You owed me a favour, so help me with this!"

"Silly-o! Seeing as you owe me one, come and help me with this!"

'Call me Silly-o one more time and I'll knock you silly!'

"…… Storm! Help me! You still owe me, remember?"

Right up until they had officially became the Twelve Holy Knights, Ceo Storm still couldn't figure out why exactly he owed Creus a favour. And why, for god's sake, did this 'favour' seem to stretch on forever……?

After having gone three days without sleep, and finding another stack of paperwork thrown his way courtesy of one Creus Sun, Ceo Storm finally exploded. "Creus Sun!!"

He lashed out with a kick and sent the source of never-ending paperwork flying. He then went after him and continued kicking at him.

"Ah, ah ah!!" screamed Sun as he attempted to dodge Ceo's vicious kicks, but he was no match for his swift and powerful kicks. As he scrambled away from him, Creus cried out, "Why are you so angry all of a sudden? I don't understand! I haven't done anything recently…… I mean, I haven't done anything excessive to you, right? Aah! Don't kick my face!"

'That's right, you haven't done anything recently; you've only just been doing it continuously for the past eight years or so!'

Ceo swung his right foot at Creus' head, only stopping inches away from his face, the wind from his motion even stirring the locks of the latter's golden hair. He then asked unhurriedly, "Now, you have the choice of getting the beating of your life or doing your own paperwork from now onwards. Which do you choose? Hmm?"

"…… please, do kick me! Kick me with all your might! You need not show me any mercy. My holy aura is very strong, and I am the self-healing Sun Knight, so it's no problem! Come on!"

Just then, the door was pushed open and Leaf's head popped in. He asked worriedly, "What's happened? I heard shouting…… you shouldn't be fighting with each other!"

With a shoe mark still on his face, Sun let out a beaming smile and reassured, "Brother Leaf, I'm afraid you've misunderstood. As the saying goes, 'the hand that disciplines is from the loving heart'. Brother Storm and I were merely communicating our love and not a fight at all, so my brother may lay his concerns at rest."

"…… Sorry for interrupting your exchanges of love."

Leaf quickly drew back and closed the door.

Ceo stared at Creus, his right eye twitching, but the latter, on the other hand, beamed up at him and said, "Silly-o, as my subordinate, it is a serious offence for you to attack your direct supervisor! And Leaf can bear witness to it! But see how nicely I explained it away? You now owe me another big favour!"

"……"


 

'And I'll pay you back for it right now! By kicking you--!'


 

~ The End ~


 

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Tuesday, 1 November 2011

LSK – Side Stories: Facing darkness.

*Disclaimer note: This is merely a translation of the original Chinese version. I do not claim any part in the creation of the original story.


 

Leithe Judge kneeled on the ground, his head bowed and his hands clasped together as he prayed to the God of Light, the symbol of the god – His cross – in front of him.

The prayer room had been thoughtfully designed to give the greatest impact on the devotee. The room was rather dark, with only a window above the God of Light's cross to let in light, bathing the cross in sunlight.

But due to this design, the all-black Judge Knight kneeled before the cross was also shrouded entirely in darkness, making it almost impossible to distinguish his figure from the shadows of the room.


 

'The Judge Knight is coming. Hurry, run……'

'You only know how to torture the chained sinners! Do you really think you are a holy knight?'

'The Judge Knight is a cold and ruthless bastard…… take care never to provoke him!'

'Please- please forgive me…… Should not the gods forgive the sinners? Why won't you forgive me?!'

'Look at you, all dressed in black like a demon from hell, and you call yourself a holy knight?'


 

"Even during such busy times the Judge Knight does not neglect to pray to the God of Light. This Sun is most impressed."

Leithe blinked at the sudden glare of light, and turning around, he saw that the door to the prayer room had been opened. The man leaning in the doorway had a head of golden hair that shined beautifully in the light bathing his figure.

Such brightness.

Leithe looked away and back down. "Praying to the God of Light is the only way I can ascertain to myself that I am still a holy knight."

Creus blinked at that in surprise and hurriedly moved forward into the dark room. "Has something happened?" he asked in concern.

Leithe merely shook his head and said, "I am just confused. Am I really a holy knight?...... Or just a ……weapon." By the end of his mutterings, his voice was so soft that he could hardly be heard.

"Of course you're a holy knight!" exclaimed Creus. "You're the Judge Knight, even! Leithe, if you don't believe yourself to be a holy knight, then no one would be qualified to be one!"

Leithe gave him a faint smile, but instead brought up something completely unrelated. "Creus, do you know where the cross of the God of Light is placed in the Judgement area?"

Creus blinked at that and replied frankly, "I've never really noticed."

"To enable the sinners to look upon the cross and repent their sins, the cross is hanged directly opposite the sinners where they can see it. When questioning them, the cross would always be behind me…… My back is always turned to the God of Light's cross, whilst I face the worst of sins and use even crueller methods to torture answers out of them."

All kinds of evil sins – torture racks, whippings, and even death…… Leithe thought back to the things he had to do almost daily, and realised dully that not a single one of them could prove himself to be a holy knight. Instead, they only made him feel dirty and filled with darkness. With just a slip, he would stumble and fall into the dark abyss of hell, never to make his way out again……

"You are the Judge Knight, and punishing the sinners has always been the duty of the Judge Knight, therefore, you are a holy knight!" Creus comforted clumsily.

"Really? But I can never tell when I might slip and follow them into that pitch-black darkness."

Leithe then stood up and said swiftly, changing the topic. "I have to get back to the Judgement Area, there's still a lot of work waiting for me…… and a lot of sinners to be punished."

And with that, he made to leave the room, but just as he was about to leave, Creus' voice spoke up from behind.

"Leithe. No matter that a holy knight may have their backs turned from the light and face into the darkness, they still walk under the light and not within the dark!"

Leithe paused at that.

"If not for your sacrifice of your chance to face the light, would Sprouting Leaf City have been so safe and full of light today? And yet, you regret this now? Leithe, are you telling me you regret sacrificing your own light in exchange for the people's bright lives?"

Leithe turned around and gazed at the Sun Knight standing in the dark, an expression of deep sadness on the latter's face. "Leithe, do you really regret losing your chance to stand in the light?"


 

'No matter that a holy knight may have their backs turned from the light and face into the darkness, they still walk under the light and not within the dark!'


 

Even though the cross of the God of Light was bathed in the light from the fading sun, it was the holy knight standing in the shadows of the room that had saved him.

If the person standing in the dark was the one who had saved him, then surely he could continue facing the darkness?

"Leithe?"

Leithe chuckled and said. "Creus, even if I were to fall into the dark, you'd just pull me back up, right?"

"Duh, we're best friends! So Leithe, help me teach that Earth a lesson! Beat up that bastard till he can't even stand!" Sun nodded definitely. "That'll teach him to go around flashing his new woman around me again!!!"

… … Who's saving who from the darkness again?


 

~The End~


 

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Sunday, 30 October 2011

LSK – Side Stories: Faking reality. (Part 4)

*Disclaimer note: This is merely a translation of the original Chinese version. I do not claim any part in the creation of the original story.


 

Damn it! Damn it all! Fucking necromancer! Fucking Creus!

He was trapped in darkness, locked up who-knows-where and about to become a necromancer's undead servant, but he had no way out. He had no idea how long he'd been struggling, how many times he'd cursed out loud at the necromancer and Creus, and just when he had given up all hope and was beginning to believe he would really die here in the darkness…… that light-filled person appeared and stretched out his arm towards him.

"Found ya!"

Jacques squinted in surprise, recognising the person. "Creus?"

Even though he wasn't really happy to see this guy, it was better than remaining in the darkness with no one to see and talk to…… anyone would do!

Creus' arm was stretched out towards him from above, but, there was something dripping down from his fingertips. When Jacques reached out to grab his hand, he realised with a start that it was blood. "Blood?"

"Oh, I had a little fight with the undead guarding the door," Creus replied offhandedly.

Jacques looked up and scrutinised the boy above him. There were cuts and bruises all over his face, he realised. He didn't think that it had been as simple as Creus had tried to pass it off. Jacques couldn't help asking, "Why did you come and save me?"

"What are you talking about?" Creus asked in surprise. "You're the little Blaze Knight and one of the future Twelve Holy Knights! Who else would I save if not you?"

Is that how it is? Jacques grabbed the hand and pulled himself out of the hole.

"Creus? What have you done to my cleaner?"

Both the boys gave a start at that. Jacques quickly looked around and his eyes widened in shock. The-the walls were-were pink! The floor was pink, the wooden table was covered with a pink cloth, and even the pink bed had a pink strawberry cake-shaped pillow on it! This looked totally like a little girl's room!

And sitting on a pink chair not too far from them was a little girl with an adorable face. But, her skin was pink too, and definitely not a skin colour seen on humans. He got goose bumps just from looking at that strange pink-skinned girl.

Jacques' jaw dropped open as he took in all this. A necromancer's house and the necromancer herself…… is this how they really look like?

"Oh, Pink, your cleaner was bullying me, so I had to defend myself!" said Creus with an innocent look on his face.

"He bullied you?" Pink snorted in disbelief. "I'd say it was the reverse! Didn't you attack him with holy light without giving any warning, and he attacked you in defence? Stop trying to hoodwink me, Creus. I saw everything."

"If you saw what happened then why didn't you come and help me? I was nearly killed, you know?" pouted Creus.

"Are you complaining to me? That was the most handsome cleaner corpse I had, and you've turned him into ashes with your holy light! How are you going to make it up to me…… Ah! It's alright. There's a fresher and more handsome one here!"

As she said that, Pink's eyes turned to look at Jacques, a mischievous little smile on her face. But when one took into account her words, her cheeky little smile suddenly seemed to take on a more sinister look.

Creus was immediately all smiles as he said to the 'not-human' on the chair, "Pink, the little Blaze Knight didn't really mean it! He would never have tried to expose you. And even if he had, it would have been pointless! You're the Church's specially-contracted necromancer, after all! So what do you say? Let bygones be bygones? You don't really want to go against the Church of Light, do you?"

'Threatening and entreating, all in one; this next Sun Knight is pretty interesting. It shouldn't be boring with him around, that's for sure,' thought Pink with an inner chuckle. But on the outside, she maintained her displeased expression and said, "Don't bother trying to threaten me with the Church of Light. I'm not afraid of them. If I were, would I have dared to stay here? Why do you think the Church suffers my presence here in their city?"

"Because they do not wish to go up against you……" Creus admitted honestly.

Jacques' face darkened when he heard his reply. Could it be that the Church of Light that he had pledged himself to and was going to stay with for thirty years, was actually afraid of a mere necromancer?! A furious inferno of flames lit up inside of him; if this is how the Church truly was, weak and cowardly, why should he pledge himself to them and stay with them?!

"But that does not mean that the Church of Light is afraid of you!"

Creus' loud cry cut through Jacques' fury, and he turned to look at him.

"This is the capital city with millions of people living here. If we were to really go up against you, it would result in a great number of casualties. You may not care about them, but the Church does! So as long as you are not harming the people, the Church will allow you to remain here. But do not even think for a second that you may do as you please here! Should you dare to do anything that would harm anyone, the Church of Light will never, ever let you go unpunished! This is the promise that I, Creus, the next Sun Knight, make!"

Jacques stared at Creus in a daze. The latter's words had stunned him. He had never thought about it that way…… that the Church had the people's safety in mind. The Church allowed the necromancer's presence…… for the sake of the innocents?

Pink merely chuckled at Creus' declarations and said indifferently, "It's only a little Blaze Knight; he's not even one of the Twelve Holy Knights yet. The Church won't bother to get up in arms against me about this. After all, they already have back-up knights just in case. Creus, this one doesn't seem to be very obedient, why not replace him with a better one? I'm actually helping you!"

"Replace him?! Brothers can't be replaced!" yelled Creus passionately. He then continued on in a soft but determined voice, "If you dare to kill my Blaze Knight, you better be prepared to kill me as well, for I swear that I will kill you to avenge his death!"

A fifteen year old boy without the slightest capability of harming her dared to stand there threatening to kill her; this would have been very funny, but for some reason, a thought flashed through her mind……

Even if she were to kill him as well, he would probably come back as a Death Knight to avenge his little Blaze Knight's death, huh?

How interesting!

Pink looked up at Creus, the current little Sun Knight. She was really looking forward to seeing how he would turn out in the future as the real Sun Knight.

Pink smiled faintly as she made her decision.

~O~O~O~O~

Two boys in their awkward teens were walking along side by side under the rays of the setting sun. One had hair as red as fire, the other a head of hair as golden as the sun.

"Creus." Jacques suddenly stopped and turned to the boy beside him. "Thank you for coming and saving me."

The boy, Creus, was licking his blueberry-flavoured lollipop when he saw the red-haired boy's serious expression. He hurriedly put down his lollipop a little embarrassedly and replied equally as serious. "Don't mention it! While you've been missing these past three days, everyone's been looking all over the city for you. Everyone was really worried! And especially your teacher; he hasn't slept in three days! I just happened to come across you. And Pink only asked me to get her ten strawberry lollipops and a beautiful corpse as an apology, and she let you go, so you see, I hadn't really done anything!"

Jacques merely looked at the other boy quietly. The latter had cuts and bruises all over his face. It was obvious that he had had an intermediate level healing spell cast on himself, but the wounds had yet to completely heal. He knew that that showed how serious the wounds had been.

How had this guy – infamous for his lousy sword skills – managed to defeat that undead?

Jacques had kept quiet for quite some time, and just when Creus was getting a little confused and was about to question him, he finally spoke.

"Creus," he said carefully and solemnly. "You are also my Sun Knight and my brother. The irreplaceable kind."

Creus stared at him in puzzlement and said matter-of-factly, "Duh! What else?"

When he heard his reply, Jacques smiled.

"Let's hurry back! Your teacher was really worried!" Creus reminded.

"Okay."

As the two walked further and further, their conversation could be heard faintly……

"Do you want a lollipop? I have blueberry, strawberry and chocolate flavours! Which one do you want?"

"I don't want that kind of stuff! I'm the little Blaze Knight! I eat meat and drink booze; who would want to eat lollipops!"

"So you don't want them? Ecilan's going to be pretty sad though. He made them all himself! He loves making sweets and desserts. He told me that his father is a very famous baker!"

"…… Shouldn't you be sworn rivals with the Judge Knight and the rest on his side?"

"Er, well, that's true, but Leithe's a really great guy! He always helps me beat up those who bully me, and runs out to the store to get my blueberry pies, and he even helps me chase off those fierce dogs!"

"…… I'll take the chocolate-flavoured one."


 

~The End~


 

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Friday, 28 October 2011

LSK – Side Stories: Faking reality. (Part 3)

*Disclaimer note: This is merely a translation of the original Chinese version. I do not claim any part in the creation of the original story.


 

When he saw that no one was going to answer him, Creus sighed resignedly and took out the card. Even though it sounded more like his teacher was giving him a task just for the sake of explaining away his absence, he dared not treat it as a joke and ignore it. If his teacher found out that he had ignored his orders, he'd probably experience firsthand why exactly his teacher was acknowledged as the strongest Sun Knight in history.

"Are you really going to see that necromancer?"

Creus blinked and looked up in surprise. Right away, he recognised the boy in front of him. "Little Blaze Knight? Why aren't you in class……? Never mind, forget I asked."

In the middle of his question, he suddenly remembered that he himself was not in class either. And the reason for it – 'My teacher has a date with the Princess' – was better left unspoken. So, thinking of his own situation, he realised that the other might have a similarly unspeakable reason.

"Well?? Are you really going to meet with that necromancer?!" Jacques asked impatiently.

"Of course," replied Creus with a shrug. "My teacher told me to, so I have to."

Jacques stared at him blankly. He couldn't understand why the Sun Knight would have given such a task, but he quickly gave up on figuring it out and just settled for warning Creus, "We, the Church of Light's greatest enemy is the undead, and necromancers are always dealing with the undead. You do know that, right?"

Of course he knew that. Creus scratched at his face and mumbled, "But, it's an order from my teacher……"

"This…… He must be testing you!" Jacques finally came up with a reasonable explanation. "Perhaps he's testing you to see if you would really betray the Church of Light and consort with necromancers!"

Creus didn't think that was the case at all. He knew his teacher far better than Jacques did. Disobeying his orders was among the top three on Neo's list of most hated things. Even if he had to betray the Church of Light, Creus was pretty sure that the consequences of that would be far better than the punishment he would suffer at his teacher's hands should he not do so.

"Well, no matter what it is, I still have to go. It's getting late, so I need to leave now. Bye!" Creus hurriedly bid goodbye to Jacques as he rushed off. It was already nearing evening and he had yet to carry out his task and meet the necromancer. If he had to meet with a necromancer, he'd rather have the meeting take place whilst the sun was still up.

"You--!" Jacques stared at him with bulging eyes before pulling out his sword. "Stand where you are! I absolutely forbid you from consorting with necromancers!"

When he saw that he had drawn his sword, Creus was stunned and felt at a loss…… He then thought, if Jacques already knew that he was going to meet a necromancer, knowing that he knew magic shouldn't make much more of a difference, right?

Oh well, if he blabbed about it, he'll just deny it when they ask.

"Ice Wall."

Jacques stared in surprise at the four ice walls surrounding him. The walls extended all the way up to the ceiling and effectively caging him in.

From outside the frozen walls came Creus' voice. "The Ice Walls will disappear after I've left, so you can come out then."

Jacques felt furious at that and he hacked at the walls with his sword wildly, but the walls held firm against his onslaught. "You bastard!" he yelled. "Let me out! I forbid you from consorting with necromancers! I'm warning you, I'm going to tell my teacher about this!"

"Go ahead and tell him. Just remember to tell him that this was the Sun Knight's orders," came Creus' unconcerned voice.

"Creus!!" Jacques roared from within his icy prison. "I will never acknowledge you as the Sun Knight, you hear me?! You traitor!!"

The faint sound of Creus' footsteps slowed at that before picking up again.

~O~O~O~O~

Jacques was so mad that he immediately stormed up to his teacher and told him about everything. But to his surprise, he didn't get the reaction he expected.

"If that's Neo's orders, then it can't be helped," said the Blaze Knight resignedly. When he saw his student's stunned expression, he sighed and warned him. "You should never mess with Neo. He's not exactly mild tempered. He's not at all afraid of me, and with the exception of Judge and the Pope working together, no one else can stop him."

"But, Creus is going to meet a necromancer!" Jacques cried out. "I'm not acknowledging that guy as the Sun Knight! I'm going to expose his true colours!!"

And with that, he stormed away again.

"Expose his true colours, huh? You've got your work cut out for you then, with so many of them……"

As Blaze looked on as his student ran off, he muttered, "Forget Neo, how many of the other Twelve Holy Knights actually match the descriptions of the legends?"

But then he remembered that his own student seemed to be a perfect match with the Blaze Knight of the legends.

"At least amongst the next generation, you won't have to put up a false front."

Now that he thought about it, he felt rather fortunate that he didn't have to brainwash his student into becoming another person. He suddenly felt rather cheered up.

~O~O~O~O~

Jacques stormed through the streets for a while, stirring up a lot attention from by passers before suddenly realising that he hadn't a destination and had no idea where to go. But as he was still feeling angry with his teacher, he refused to return to the Holy Temple and continued wandering aimlessly around the city.

He was walking down a street when he suddenly spotted a familiar figure…… Creus?

'Hadn't he gone looking for the necromancer? Why would he be wandering around on the streets?' thought Jacques in puzzlement.

But just as the questions were being raised in his mind, he suddenly spotted the lollipops in his hand. Speechless…… so he went to the candy store first? What is he, a kid? A fifteen year old guy still eating sweets?

As he watched Creus get further and further away, he followed behind without a second thought.

He followed Creus all the way into one of the poorer sections of the city. Jacques had never been to this part of the city before, so he looked around him curiously, taking in the dirty streets and old beaten down buildings. As he crinkled his nose against the disgusting stench, he could hardly believe that this was still part of the Sprouting Leaf City.

Not too long after, Creus turned in into one of the old wooden houses.

'Is that the where the necromancer lives?'

Jacques was still pondering on whether he should barge in or not when he saw Creus coming out. The guy was even waving at the house as he called out, "I'll be leaving now then. I'll come and visit you some other time…… Oh alright! I'll bring strawberry lollipops with me next time I visit. I don't want to have to make another trip out to the candy store again every time I come here. Good bye!"

'Next time?!' Jacques glared at him. 'This bastard actually intends to come again?!'

Jacques hesitated as he watched Creus walk back, before deciding against following him back. He drew his sword before stepping towards the broken down wooden house.

When he had walked up to the door without incident, he shot out a leg and gave the wooden door a good kick, kicking it open. He then shouted "Come out! Show yourself, necromancer!"

The inside of the house was covered with cobwebs and dust. If he hadn't just seen Creus walk in and out of this house, he would never have believed that anyone was living here.

He stomped into the house angrily, swinging his blade and cutting a dust-covered table into two. "Stop pretending! Come out! I know you're in here, necromancer! I just saw Creus talking with you just now!"

"I don't think I remember inviting you in, little boy."

Jacques' heart thudded at the voice. He spun around but couldn't tell where the voice was coming from; he didn't see anyone who could have spoken.

"Did Creus tell you to come?"

"I have nothing to do with that bastard!" Jacques cried out angrily. "I'm here to get rid of you!"

"That bastard……? Is that how you address the future Sun Knight? Is that really proper, little Blaze Knight?"

The owner of the voice seemed to have recognised him.

"I refuse to acknowledge that bastard as the Sun Knight!" he roared. "That evil bastard, he has no right to be the Sun Knight, consorting with evil necromancers like you!"

"Evil bastard? You're calling Creus…… evil? Hahahahaha!"

"What're you laughing about?" shouted Jacques. "He's consorting with you, a necromancer! If that's not evil, then what is?"

"Oh? Your views on good and evil are too na├»ve! But……" the previously light voice suddenly turned dark and foreboding. "You know what? People hate this kind of blind self-righteousness of yours the most, little Blaze Knight."

The floorboards suddenly shook, and Jacques hurriedly muttered an incantation, casting out holy light. However, the holy light only managed to chase away a small part of the house's illusion. He wasn't able to see through the illusion to the rest of the house.

But even though he couldn't see the rest, he could still see clearly the figure of a little girl stepping slowly towards him, a lollipop in her hand. Even though he had an inkling that this little girl was the necromancer herself, he still couldn't force himself to attack a girl.

The girl walked up to him and said, "Since you hate Creus so much, I don't think I need to let you go. In fact," she giggled. "If I killed you, he'd probably thank me instead!"

"What're you talking about--"

Before he could finish, he was suddenly attacked by a dark figure. Even though he had caught the sound of someone coming at him, he hadn't had enough time to do more than raise his sword and block the blow aimed at his chest.

He staggered back from the hard blow, and when he had steadied himself again, he saw that his attacker was a pale faced man with blank eyes and stitched up skin. He didn't look at all alive…… an undead!

An undead wearing a pink apron and wielding a broom.

When Jacques realised that the weapon the undead had attacked him with was actually a broom, he felt like laughing. A little girl necromancer and an apron-wearing undead…… Why was this so different from the descriptions he had been told?

But even if it was just a broom, Jacques dared not let his guard down when he saw the undead coming at him again. He hadn't forgotten that this very same broom-wielding undead had managed to force him back a few steps with just one blow.

"You're not bad! This undead was a pretty skilled swordsman when he was still alive, you know!" praised the little girl. "But, I can't allow you to destroy him. If you destroy him, who's going to help me sweep the floor?"

Just then, the floorboards suddenly shook, causing Jacques to wobble unsteadily. Fortunately, the undead had not taken the opportunity to attack him. But then, the floor beneath him suddenly gave way, and he fell down into pitch black darkness. He could only hear the sweet but cruel voice of a little girl calling out, "Little Blaze Knight, I wonder what your expression will look like when you realise that you've died and become an undead? Hehehe!"


 

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LSK – Side Stories: Faking reality. (Part 2)

*Disclaimer note: This is merely a translation of the original Chinese version. I do not claim any part in the creation of the original story.


 

Jacques walked aimlessly around the Holy Temple, greeting the passing holy knights and pondering on what he was going to do next……

"Stammer!"

The sudden shout startled him from his thoughts. Jacques looked around him for the source before pinpointing it to a room further along the hallway. He peeped into the room and saw the Earth Knight and his student – Georgo – inside. But the strange thing was – there was also a priest in the room, and the priest was a pretty girl somewhere around his age.

"Georgo! Stammer when you speak! And you should be blushing when you see any girl…… You brat! Look at me when I'm scolding you! Stop flirting with her! And stay away from her!"

Georgo sighed as he looked at the blushing girl wistfully. Just a little more and he would have had her in the palm of his hand, but unfortunately, he dared not push his teacher any further. So he stepped back, but he couldn't resist pointing out, "Teacher, you're not stammering either……"

The Earth Knight realised his too-fluent speech too late and coughed lightly. "I-I was just too-too upset. Y-you were too dis-disobedient…… Argh! I told you to stammer, not for me to stammer! If you don't start stammering right now I swear I'll punch your face in till your teeth drop out. We'll see then if you can speak so smoothly with a few missing teeth!"

When he heard the threat, Georgo immediately adopted a shy and quiet demeanour and nodded his head sincerely. "Ah! I got it, already!"

But the Earth Knight was still not satisfied. "'Ah!' is not stammering! You should say: 'Oh, I-I got it!' Don't add the 'already'! And your expression! You call this sincere and down-to-earth? You're just being rebellious and trying to anger me!"

Hahaha… Jacques quickly covered his mouth with his hands, trying to muffle the laughter escaping him as he withdrew his head from the room.

'Georgo? Sincere and down-to-earth? Hahaha!'

"Look at her!!"

This time when the second roar sounded, Jacques wasn't startled. He noticed that this wasn't coming from the Earth Knight's room however, but from the room next door.

'What is it this time?' he wondered as he peeped into the other room.

To his surprise, the scene inside the second room looked rather similar to the previous one. Similarly, there was a student and his teacher, but this time it was the Storm Knight and his student. And again, there was a female priest in the room, but this time, the priest was older, her curvaceous figure and matured beauty declaring her to be in her twenties.

"Ceo, look at her in the eye," the Storm Knight ordered icily.

Ceo forced his head up to look at the female priest, but he looked rather constipated as he did so.

The Storm Knight then turned to the priest and said, "Madame, please."

"No problem," the female priest said coyly, winking at the handsome little boy as she began posing seductively and throwing him come-hither looks.

This time, Ceo tried his hardest not to look back down, having heard the unspoken threat in his teacher's cold voice earlier, but his face was as red as a tomato, and his blush was even spreading to his ears and down his neck.

"Kiss her."

When he saw that his student could finally stare at a woman without looking away, the Storm Knight decided to bring it to the next level. However, he hadn't expected his student to look at him in a betrayed manner, as if he had just pushed him into the fiery depths of hell himself. A little stab of guilt hit him, so he relented. "Just on the cheek."

"Teacher, can't we just hold hands? Please?" Ceo pleaded, but his teacher's face remained as icy as ever, and there was even a storm brewing in his eyes at this plea. So Ceo turned back to the female priest. The latter no longer had her seductive expression on and was now looking at him as if she didn't know whether to laugh or cry.

When he saw this, Ceo felt less nervous. He turned back to look at his teacher once more, but the latter remained steadfast in his cold gaze. Left with no other choice, Ceo gathered all his courage and puckered his lips, lightly pecking the female priest on her cheek before immediately rushing away to hide in the corner of the room, his face red.

When he saw his student's antics, the Storm Knight roared thunderously, "You brat! I've been training you for three years now, and yet you can't even kiss a woman properly, acting as if I'm forcing you to kiss an old hag?!"

"Excuse me?!" The female priest protested in an offended voice.

The Storm Knight blinked at that, but before he could recover, the female priest had already stomped up to him and given him a loud slap.

"No-no! I was saying that you are as beautiful as a hag…… Ah! Stop kicking me! It was a slip of the tounge, I misspoke! I'm sorry!"

At this, Jacques could no longer stand to watch this anymore. He barged into the room – and before anyone could react to his entrance – he grabbed the female priest and landed a loud smooch on her cheek. He then turned to the boy huddled in the corner and said, "See, Ceo? What's so hard about kissing her?"

"That's right! This little brother is way cuter than you!" Pleased with Jacques' actions, the female priest gave him several more kisses in reward before turning on both the Storm Knights in disdain. "Useless men!"

"Let's go little brother. Big sis will treat you to some sweets. What would you like? I'll buy them for you."

"Really?" Jacques' eyes lit up in delight as he shouted, "Then let's go, pretty sister!"

The female priest was even further pleased to be called 'pretty sister', and she nodded quickly. "Of course, we'll go right away."

The priest tucked her hand into Jacques' arm and left the room. But not before she threw the two Storm Knights a dirty look.

The two Storm Knights stared blankly after them as they left the room. After some time, Ceo shuffled up to his teacher and tugged at his sleeve shyly. "Teacher, there's no women now, so can we learn something else instead?"

"You idiot!"

The Storm Knight grabbed his student by the ear and roared furiously, "I was called useless! You brat! Don't you know that being called useless by a woman is a great humiliation for a man? You incompetent brat, if you don't learn how to stare at a woman without going red within a year and how to wink at women within two, I'll-I'll spend the rest of my savings on a whole group of hookers and tell them to gang rape you!"

Ceo pleaded with his teacher, tears in his eyes from the pain from his ears and fear from his teacher's threat. "Please, no! Teacher…… I'll-I'll work harder! I swear I will! I swear!"

~O~O~O~O~

After bidding goodbye to the friendly female priest, Jacques abandoned his previous idea of playing around and instead decided that peeking on the others' lessons was much more fun. And so he proceeded to do just that, eating the bag of sweets he just received from the priest as he did so.

Elmairy was taking care of little animals whilst his teacher read out fairy tales to him. Jacques declared it boring after just one glance.

Next, he peeped into the Cloud Knight's lessons room, but there wasn't a single person in the room. Jacques looked around curiously, wondering where they were.

"That's strange! Could it be that he, too, doesn't need the lessons?" mumbled Jacques as he scratched his head in puzzlement. He then turned to leave……

"Are you looking for me?"

"Ah!!"

Jacques jumped and quickly spun around. A person had appeared right behind him without his noticing anything! And added to the fact that the person was as white as a sheet and looked rather frail and wispy with half his face covered by his hair……

"I-I-I wasn't looking for y-you, re-really!"stammered Jacques. Even the Earth Knight would have nodded in approval if he were to hear his stammer.

The little Cloud Knight tilted his head to the side slowly and said, "You were looking in from outside for quite some time."

"……You were inside the whole time?"

The little Cloud Knight slowly nodded his head.

'That's impossible! There was no one inside……' Jacques felt a chill creep up his spine and so he hurriedly changed the topic. "I-I was looking for the little Sun Knight."

Again, the little Cloud Knight nodded slowly. He then lifted his arm slowly and pointed at the wall. "Creus is in the room next door."

"Er, oh, thanks!"

Jacques hurriedly turned to escape…… but he then stopped when a thought occurred to him. His curiosity overpowering his terror, he turned back and asked, "Is-is your teacher in the room too?"

The little Cloud Knight shook his head. "Teacher is napping under a tree right now."

Phew! Thank goodness the Cloud Knight wasn't in the room, or else he really would have believed that it was a ghost he had seen, and not the Cloud Knight.

Jacques patted his pounding heart in relief before asking curiously, "Then why are you not with him?"

"My teacher told me not to disturb him and find somewhere else to drift in."

'Drift…… Are you sure he said drift?'

Jacques waved his hand at him dismissively and said, "Well, if that's so then you can go back to your drifting!"

When he blinked next, he realised that there was no longer anyone standing in front of him.

"… …"

After a moment of speechlessness, Jacques pulled himself together and walked over to the next room. "I hope it's something more normal this time. After all, Creus is my future boss. If he's too weird, I'm not going to take orders from him," he mumbled to himself as he tentatively poked his head in.

"Child, you must often go looking for undead creatures."

Jacques blinked when he heard that. Why would they be talking about the undead? He looked in and saw Creus questioning the Holy Temple's scariest person – history's strongest Sun Knight.

"To carry out the Sun Knight's vow to eradicate all undead creatures, you mean?"

When Jacques heard this, he nodded in comprehension. 'Ahh… Yeah, that makes sense! That's probably what he meant!'

The Sun Knight wagged his finger and said with a mysterious smile, "No, no, not at all. It's because you have to use them as an outlet for your frustrations."

"Huh?" Both Creus and the eavesdropper outside had identical expressions of surprise and confusion.

The Sun Knight then explained in a serious tone, "Think about it. Every day, you have to constantly smile and forgive every single person, and sing praises of the God of Light with each sentence you speak. If you never vent out your emotions, you'll get depressed, and won't be able to carry out your duties as the Sun Knight capably; if you can't do your job well, you might get fired; and with you losing your job, you'll get even more depressed, till at last, you will depart from this world and join the God of Light. Surely you don't want this scenario happening, do you? "

"…… no, sir."

"Well, that is why you will have to vent your pent up emotions on the undead at least once every month, understand?"

"But what if I can't find any?"

"Not to worry, my child. Here, take this business card. It's for a necromancer specially contracted by the Church. Not only can you request for any type of undead creature, you can even put the expenses on the Church's tab."

"……"

Creus wordlessly took the card, a dazed look on his face. But perhaps he had gotten used to such shocks, for he quickly recovered within a few seconds and calmly put the card into his pocket as if there was nothing strange about the whole thing. He then looked back at his teacher, awaiting further teaching.

However, the Sun Knight merely clapped his hands and said, "Alright, that's it for today. I'll be leaving now."

Creus blinked at that and asked in surprise, "Teacher, where are you going?"

"I have a date with the princess…… Er, no! I mean, I have an appointment with the Crown Prince. We have many official matters to discuss, and also to improve relations between the royal family and the Church of Light…… So, I have to leave now or I'll be late. It is not proper to leave a lady waiting."

'I see, so the Crown Prince is a lady too, huh?' thought Creus in exasperation before reminding his teacher, "but teacher, it is still lesson hours right now!"

The Sun Knight was already at the door when he heard this and paused. Jacques, who was still hiding outside let out a sigh of relief. He hadn't had time to hide yet! So taking advantage of this window of an opportunity, he hurriedly hid himself behind one of the curtains along the hallway.

"Is that right?" asked the Sun Knight a little awkwardly. "It's still lesson hours…… hmmm… that is difficult to explain away. Judge just reprimanded me to take things more seriously not too long ago. Alright then! I'll just give you an exercise to carry out now! You will go and pay a visit to that necromancer I mentioned earlier and introduce yourselves to each other."

And with that, he continued on his way.

Creus immediately cried out worriedly, "Wait! Teacher, are you not going to come with me? That's a necromancer, a necromancer! You're going to go with me for at least the first time, right?"

"You're already eighteen! Stop acting like such a child!"

The Sun Knight was already halfway out the room when a shred of responsibility finally hit him. "Just remember not to attack the necromancer! As long as you don't attack them, you won't come to any harm. Alright, now get to it!"

And so after leaving a meagre piece of advice, the Sun Knight left. Creus stared after his disappearing teacher's back whilst saying with a pout, "But teacher, I'm only fifteen……"


 

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Thursday, 20 October 2011

LSK – Side Stories: Faking reality. (Part 1)

*Disclaimer note: This is merely a translation of the original Chinese version. I do not claim any part in the creation of the original story.


 

Underground cellar:

Jacques pounded desperately on the walls holding him in, but as the walls were made of solid rock, his fists were helpless against them.

He knew how pointless it was, but how could he not do anything? The darkness swallowing him was suffocating, slowly eroding away at his mind. It felt as if, were he to stop trying, to stop making even the slightest effort, he would be swallowed whole, never to emerge from it again……

Suddenly, the only door to this dark prison – the trapdoor above – opened.

The sudden influx of light from outside blinded him, but he squinted against the light, trying to see what was happening. A head of gleaming golden hair appeared in the opening above. Despite the person peering into the dark cellar, the surrounding light from the outside threw the person's face into shadows whilst casting a soft glow around the person, as if the person was glowing with light himself.

The person reached in with a hand, smiling as he said, "Found ya."

~O~O~O~O~

During sword practice, the fencing instructor, Neo, walked amongst the twelve little holy knights, watching each of them carefully for mistakes and correcting them. He felt rather satisfied as he watched their progress. The little holy knights' sword skills had exceeded his expectations, and there were certainly quite a few who have even achieved a professional swordsman's level.

Take the little Judge Knight for example. He had already heard the praises for the boy's sword skills even during the selections, so he already knew what to expect, but he never expected the little Frost Knight's skills to be this good either. And look at the little Leaf Knight. Even though he looked all shy and innocent, his sword skills were surprisingly good too.

"Eh? Where'd the sword go this time?"

Neo blinked at that. This voice…… he turned around, and just as he thought, it was his student – Creus. The latter was standing there looking at his empty hands with a befuddled look.

"Careful!"

Jacques, who was standing near him, suddenly cried out whilst quickly stepping forward to knock the incoming sword away from its oblivious victim with his own sword.

Ceo had looked up at the warning to see the fallen sword lying on the ground not too far from him…… and its pointy blade pointed at him!!

'Thank goodness it was knocked away,' he sighed with relief before hurrying to thank Jacques.

But Jacques had turned to glare at the culprit and was shouting at him. "What the hell do you think you're doing?!"

"I'm really sorr--" Before Creus could finish his apology, he was suddenly lifted into the air by the back of his shirt. He turned around to see his own teacher smiling at him.

But even though Neo's face was graced with a gentle smile, the chilling look in his eyes did not escape Creus' notice. "Apologise," Neo said coldly.

Creus immediately smiled back a sunny smile before turning back around to bow apologetically at Ceo……Despite being lifted in the air by the back of his shirt, his bearing was still flawlessly elegant and graceful. How impressive!

However before Creus could open his mouth to speak, Ceo immediately paled as he said hurriedly, "No, no, there's no need to apologise at all……"

Unfortunately, Creus had already started. "My dearly beloved Brother Ceo, whilst the sun shines as bright as ever, it's light can sometimes become too much and pierce through to the deepest and darkest corners of a person's heart. This Creus was unable to withstand such glorious light, and for a moment, lost his hold of the blade. I pray that, as one of the God of Light's children yourself, you will be able to forgive this Creus' error. This Creus dares swear to the God of Light presiding over us in the sky above us that he would not repeat such an inexcusable mistake again! "

He endured the long spiel with a long face, and at the end, Ceo sighed lightly and said wryly, "I forgive you, and I won't mind if it happens again. Just don't apologise to me again. Ever. I feel tired just listening to you speak……"

Neo didn't know whether to laugh or cry when he heard this. He had to admit– other than his horrible sword skills – there wasn't a thing he could complain about Creus…… His skill in affecting elegance and his bullshitting ability were extremely good. Looks like they can skip the personality-moulding lessons from now on.

Neo clapped his hands and addressed the rest, "Alright, swords practice ends here. Take a short break before reporting to you own teachers for your next lesson."

At that announcement, the little holy knights dispersed. More than a few of them had let out a sigh of relief. The Sun Knight might always have a smile on his face, but no one was stupid enough to think that that smile was real.

'How boring!' thought Jacques as he jogged to catch up with the rest ahead of him. "Hey, hold on, Aivis! Spar with me tonight?"

Aivis paused to look around, making sure that the Sun Knight had left, before rolling his eyes and answering Jacques in an impatient tone. "Why don't you ask those from your own faction? I am the little Stone Knight, one of the Judge Knight's. We're rivals with those on the Sun Knight's side!"

"So?" snorted Jacques. He then stretched out his hand, palms up, and said, "If we're not friends, then pay me back the money you owe me! You haven't forgotten how much you still owe me, have you?"

"Er……" Aivis tried to change the topic. "Didn't you say you wanted to spar tonight? Why don't you bring someone along from your side, and I'll bring Ecilan. We can fight against one another, or even two against two."

Jacques disapproved of this idea. "Who would want to bring them! They're all a bunch of sissies!"

'You're too loud, Creus is still here!' thought Aivis as he snuck a look at Creus. The latter happened to be walking past them at that moment, and he even smiled at him friendlily.

After Creus had passed them, Aivis smiled helplessly at Jacques as he replied, "Really? Then, at least, what about that… erm……"

Aivis slowed at that. Ceo? Hmm, he's pretty shy and probably included in Jacques' definition of 'sissy'; and Elmairy is definitely out of the question; Creus…… er, forget about him being sissy, no one would go to him for sparring, full stop.

In the end, he sighed and said, "I think I'll just get Ecilan, and the three of us can fight against each other……"

Jacques snorted imperiously, his point made.

~O~O~O~O~

"You don't have to bother with the personality-moulding lessons anymore," said the Blaze Knight to his student. He looked at his student: the boy was always doing something and could never sit still for even a moment; his knight uniform was always messy and the stains on his clothes seem to be ever increasing; and when he spoke, the entire Holy Temple could hear him.

He was even more like the original Blaze Knight of the legends than he himself despite having held the title for over ten years. What else is left that needs moulding?

Jacques snorted rudely at his teacher's announcement. He'd always held these so-called personality-moulding lessons in scorn. Personality moulding? What bullshit!

"Is that all? Then I'm going out to play now!"

'Playing during lesson hours?' The Blaze Knight hurriedly called him back. "Hold on!"

"What now?" Jacques turned back, his arms crossed and his voice impatient as he asked crossly, "If you've got something to say then spit it out!"

'Just look at him! Is this the attitude a student should be showing to his teacher?!' thought the Blaze Knight, incensed.

But just as quickly, the Blaze Knight remembered that this rude attitude was precisely the Blaze Knight's well-known characteristic, and the boy did it even better than he did! The Blaze Knight didn't know whether to be proud or depressed at this realisation.

Even if anyone were to reprimand him on letting out his student during lessons hours, he need only show them Jacques' attitude, and they'd probably agree with him that the boy didn't need any more lessons on personality-moulding!

He sighed and said exasperatedly, "Oh, forget it. Go ahead and play, just don't make too much of a ruckus."

"Calling me back for nothing, weirdo… got nothing to do……" complain Jacques as he stomped out the room.

The Blaze Knight could only smile wryly at the empty room.


 

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