A Knight was walking through the western forests that cold autumn night. He was just returning from an earlier mission. He didn't feel tired in the slightest, in fact the mission was nothing compared to the last one. He himself wondered why he was the one assigned for such a petty task.
He was dragging by the feet, two unconscious men. Other than the usual clanking noise his armor made, the sounds of their limp bodies being brushed across the earthy ground were the most prevalent through the silent night. The lone knight trudged along a familiar forest path he knew too well. Arrows were intentionally placed on the trees and carelessly strewn across the ground he walked past to serve as a guide for people like him, and as an early warning for trespassers. He would reach home soon.
After five minutes of continuous walking, he heard a slight rustling noise amongst the trees. Alerted to the sound he let go of the two men. He gave a low growl as he quickly drew out his Claymore and positioned himself into a battle stance. Ready for
The sound was getting louder and louder. It was moving towards him at a fast pace. He listened closely to the sound and kept his eyes focused at the tree tops. The sound began to travel in circles around him, jumping from tree to tree with utmost haste. He took this opportunity to sniff, trying to pick up the scent of whomever or whatever is making the sound but to no avail for as long as it remained in the thick foliage of trees his sense of smell remained useless, making him all the more frustrated. The knight's temper was short and this was clearly not helping. Already exhausted from the day mission, he lost his patience and snapped.
"ENOUGH WITH THIS!!!" he yelled loudly. Paying attention to where the sound was traveling, he made a quick anticipation and struck a nearby tree with a powerful swing of the gargantuan blade. The tree madly shook as if it was hit by a torrential wave and the Knight saw someone fall from the tree tops and landed gently on the forest floor. He recognized the silhouette and immediately, his anger subsided.
"I was wondering why you did not make it back in time, Sir Matthew." the person stood up and walked towards the knight with the grace of a Moonflower flowing in the night breeze.
"Lady Elena. Of all the people I expected, I did not anticipate you to come looking for me." Sir Matthew said as he pulled his claymore out of the tree, leaving a huge gash extending to the center of the trunk.
"So, what happened? Usually you would come back early from missions like these." Lady Elena brushed the dirt of her dress before facing Sir Matthew, who was shaking his head with an evil grin spread across his face. "Although I would assume you got attacked again seeing as your armor looks a bit, different" She said after noticing a slight change in his armor design.
"It isn't a long story really" Sir Matthew returned his claymore back into its scabbard. "I had planned on saving it till Peter is with us, but I suppose I could tell you now since you took the trouble to come all this way. Here is how it went; I finished the mission ahead of time and since I would often arrive back at the castle early I decided to bring home a treat, something to enjoy when the full moon arises in the next few nights. Now while I was looking for something to bring back. These Cyborgs from the other forest caught me off guard and attacked me without warning." referring to the two unconscious men lying peacefully on the ground.
Lady Elena walked towards the sleeping pair and saw that huge chunks of what was once their iron arms missing. "I see
Sir Matthew went beside her and picked up the sleeping Cyborgs by their legs "Although they put up quite a challenging fight, the kind of battle I like, their hidden machines were only able to break apart parts of my armor. These two were just so pathetic that I did not even need to shift just to knock the moonlight out of them. Hmph! After that, I had to repair my armor on the spot in case anymore of them would show up" He took a short glance at his new greaves.
Sir Matthew was a unique knight amongst the king's ranks. Before he became a knight, he was a Berserker; A man with an undying will to fight and an insatiable lust for blood. He fought with a heavy Claymore with the blade alone having a length of 6 feet. His armor was also different compared the other knights. After a long battle, instead of having his armor repaired by the blacksmiths, he took the armor and weapons of dead warriors and grafted them himself on parts of the armor he lost whilst in battle as a mark of his power, or collected them and set them aside for future use. Because of this, his armor was never proportionate; it looked different from one side to the other for no two parts of the armor usually come from the same opponent.
"I decided to bring the two men to our kingdom to be slaughtered and preserved till the next full moon. Now maybe you should tell me your story, why did you left the kingdom walls just to look for me, fully knowing I would be fine?" he asked her.
"It's getting very late now, we must walk back to the castle now; I can tell you the details on the way" she walked ahead and gestured for Sir Matthew to follow her.
Lady Elena is one of the five princesses of the Kingdom. Unlike her sisters, who usually stayed within the castle, she preferred to be outside; running free, watching over the village, and sparring with her two closest friends, Sir Matthew and Peter, and even hunting alongside them. Within the castle walls, her royal duties would often involve the preparations for the sacred Full Moon Ritual. In combat, she prefers to stay in the back lines, shooting from a distance with her customized bow and arrows made especially for her by the Blacksmith Knight Sir Bartholomew.
"Fine by me" Sir Matthew replied.
"We waited for you to come back from your mission" Lady Elena started when Sir Matthew caught up to her. "Percy and I spent most of afternoon practicing our battle skills in a friendly fight"
"You never really waited, did you?" Matthew said in a dull tone, faking a disappointed expression on his face.
Lady Elena ignored what he said and continued narrating her story. "You did not arrive by the time the clock struck four, five, and even seven. Peter began to worry, I must admit, I was a feeling bit uneasy myself." She said in a sad tone as her smile faded away
"I thought I told you guys not to worry about me before I left, It's just a simple scouting mission to check for open entrances at the Human and Vampire kingdom" Sir Matthew gave her a little push with his shoulder.
Lady Elena was caught by surprise and lost her footing for a bit before regaining balance. She then reciprocated the earlier act and gave Sir Matthew a similar push, only managing to slightly tilt him a little. "I knew that, you didn't have to remind me" She said with a smile. Both of them laughed for a couple of seconds.
"What happened after that?" Sir Matthew said to break the laughter.
"I assured Peter you would be back, but his faith remained shaken since you never usually arrive back from a mission any later than on-time" Lady Elena continued. "Eventually, he volunteered to look for you. I knew he would not find you easily so I told him that I would look for you instead, I proceeded to leave immediately and began traveling through the trees to look for you. My father does not even know I'm outside the kingdom at the moment."
Sir Matthew gave her a sideways glare. "Tell me why didn't you drop down at once when you found me, you know I could not pick up your scent as long as you're up there, and
I could have killed you accidentally!" He said, yelling at Lady Elena remembering the earlier incident.
"I planned on dropping down myself to greet you properly, but then the next thing I knew, the next tree I landed on threw me down." Lady Elena explained. "There is a proper way of descent you know. If I just jump down like what you do, I'll probably break my own legs. Don't think for a second that I'm not hurt from what you just did to me!"
They continued to walk past through the forest. They traversed through the dense and low lying branches and past the coursing rivers. Afterwards they walked through a long and damp cave hiding behind a huge rock shaped like a Moondial. As soon they got out, they approached a wall with a huge stone gate glowing in the light of the moon. The gate was flanked by two giant statues shaped like wolves. The glare of the statues alone was enough to sow fear into the hearts of many.
"At last, the outer kingdom walls" Lady Elena said in relief since his feet were starting to ache after all the walking he has done. "I could use a nice venison right about now"
"Open the Gates!" Sir Matthew bellowed loud. "The Knight has returned!"
Hearing the voice from below, the gatekeeper looked down from his post and saw Sir Matthew and Lady Elena standing at the bottom. "At once Sir!" he gave the usual command to open it. The huge gates made a heavy creaking noise as it slowly opened. The moment the gates were halfway opened, someone instantly sped out through the opening to greet them. It did not surprise the two in the slightest, as there is only one person in the kingdom who has the courage to just run towards them like and speak at free will.
"Matthew! Boy am I glad to see you back here" he shouted as he stopped right in front of him, overjoyed to see the Sir Matthew again. Both Sir Matthew and Lady Elena could not see his face due to the hood he wears all the time but they could tell by his voice alone he was overjoyed.
"See, Peter? I told you he would come back" Lady Elena let out a short giggle. This made Peter turn to face her and lower his head in despair.
"Sorry Elena, I should have not worried so much" Peter said in a sad tone.
"For an assassin, you sure do worry too much." Sir Matthew said to Peter before giving him a quick, light punch at his arm "You gotta have a little more trust in me, after all I've never been defeated in a real battle before."
Peter, nicknamed The Unknown, is one of the deadliest assassins working for the King. He earned his nickname because of his hooded robe that constantly hides his face from everyone with the exception of Sir Matthew and Lady Elena, who have been given the privilege to see it. He would most often be sent to the "Human and Vampire City" to keep a close watch on it, making sure it is free of any Cyborg spies at all times. He addresses everyone sans the King by their first names and often without their associated title but this is tolerated. He fights in battle with a dagger and a flail.
"So what did happen, and why did you bring Cyborgs all the way here?" Peter asked, a bit confused from Sir Matthew's rather odd course of action. "You know it's forbidden to have them around here, unless they have to be killed"
"Oh they will be killed all right" replied Sir Matthew in a malicious tone. "They will be the very first Cyborgs to be turned into full moon treats". Sir Matthew licked his lips and smiled at the thought of him voraciously tearing and eating the flesh of a Cyborg with his claws under the light of a gleaming full moon. The mere thought made his stomach growl.
"Uurgh..., I have not eaten the entire day, I'd best be going now to the castle and have the servants there set me up a quick meal." He said as he started to walk inside.
"Umm... Sir Matthew, the Cyborgs?" Lady Elena had to remind him that he was still holding them. Sir Matthew stopped in his tracks for a moment, remembering the Cyborgs he still held with his hands. He knew he had to eat something soon, and he'd never usually let duty interfere with his personal tasks, but he had to let it slide for now as Cyborgs possess a very high threat to the kingdom.
"Right..." Replied Sir Matthew darkly. "Guess I should take these two to the slaughterhouse first."
"Can we help?" asked Peter quickly.
"I'll take care of it myself..." began Sir Matthew.
"Typical Sir Matthew, always doing everything by himself." Lady Elena interrupted him.
"I told you, I don't need help at the moment" Sir Matthew said back, he did not want them to waste their time helping him carry the Cyborgs and following him all the way just to bring them to the slaughterhouse. "You two should make your way back to the castle"
"Well..." Peter said "Well you don't really have much of choice here. We will help you anyway with this whether you like it or not, you look pretty tired anyway."
"Hmph, since I can't really talk you out of this, here." Sir Matthew said while reluctantly handing over one of the Cyborgs over to both Peter and Lady Elena. Both of them carried the Cyborg in tandem, since it was too heavy for either of them to carry alone.
Flinging the Cyborg he had left over his shoulder, Sir Matthew turned around and walked into the gate followed by Lady Elena and Peter, as soon as they stepped through the gate. The gatekeeper ordered the door to be shut at once. The three heard the same creaky noise was heard as the two huge doors began to close.
In order to get to the slaughterhouse, they had to pass through the village. While they walked across the main path, the older villagers would stop what they were doing and bowed in the presence of Lady Elena. The children were gathering around the three, curious about the Cyborg that they carried.
A captain of the guard ran over to the three and stood at attention. "Princess Elena, Sir Matthew, do you require some assistance with that."
"I thank you for the offer but it won't be necessary Captain, we'll take these to the butcher ourselves." Lady Elena let go her end of the Cyborg, prompting Peter to do the same. "Did your men find him yet?"
"No your ladyship, our search party has returned empty-handed and I apologize on behalf of our troops" The Captain did his best maintained his professional tone, even as Sir Matthew started glaring him down at the news of his failure
"Try again at the break of dawn." Lady Elena told the Captain. "Vampires move a lot slower in the morning. For now, you and your men must get some rest. You'll need your energy for tomorrow."
"Yes, your ladyship. Thank you, your ladyship." The captain respectfully bowed before heading towards the castle.
"Now then, shall we?" Lady Elena said before she and Percy picked up their Cyborg. Sir Matthew made no reply as they continued walking to their destination.
They arrived at a stone building at the end of the path. A wooden sign with the words 'Slaughterhouse' was placed above the door for easy reference. They walked inside where they saw the local butcher, cutting up the remains of human while humming a cheerful tune.
"Hey!" Sir Matthew called for the butcher's attention.
"Ah it's you three again" The butcher let out a haughty laugh "what can I give you for tonight?"
"Deer's Flank, Raw" Sir Matthew replied. "Also, we've brought in some fresh meat."
Percy and Lady Elena placed their Cyborg on an empty chopping table before leaving the building. Sir Matthew did the same except he stayed inside, still waiting for the butcher to give him his food. The butcher's eyes widened in surprise, he walked towards the tables and checked for signs of life. He placed his head on their chest area and felt it rise up and down.
"They're still breathing, I'm gonna have to fix that!" The Butcher picked up two knives and stabbed both Cyborgs at their hearts, splattering blood all over the Butcher and Sir Matthew, who did not mind at all. "There, now that they're dead I can cut them up later. You can come back anytime tomorrow to pick them up. Now wait right there, I'll get you those Deer's Legs you asked for." He walked into the storeroom and came out with two whole flanks.
Sir Matthew dropped a few silver coins on the counter before taking the meat from the butcher. Upon leaving the building, he saw Lady Elena and Peter standing outside, waiting for him.
"Took you long enough" Peter said. "Now let's go, the others are waiting to hear your story."
Sir Matthew shook his head and gave a quiet laugh "You could have just waited for me at the castle"
"You know we can't just do that, you're our friend." Peter said to the Knight.
"Remember, all of us werewolves have to stick together, this is the law of our kingdom" Lady Elena added before they began their walk back to the castle.