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The kingdom through the.., p.24
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       The Kingdom through the Swamp: The Courts Divided - Book 1, p.24

           Kell Inkston
 
CHAPTER TWENTY TWO: OKAY WAYS OF HANDLING NOT OKAY THINGS

  Love steps out from Everlock with an unconscious Aoline, on the other side is a large group of guards, who quickly shove their spears up to her face. Love’s mind churns gears yet again, as she considers how to keep herself from incriminating the other Knights, as well as escape.

  “Hold your flesh, sewerly criminal! Move not or know your maker!” the front-most guard commands to Love.

  Love meets the guard’s eyes, and makes the most evil, Chaos-like grin she can come up with.

  “Out of my way, I’m here for my door,” she says. The fairy draws back in refined shock, as if he were expecting her to resist.

  “So be it! Men, cha--” the fairy is silenced upon Love quickly crossing her foot to his crotch, shooting the poor fairy up a few feet into the air from the impact. The fairy falls to the side with a look of ... infertility on his face, and the others take her action to mean they can actually use their weapons to “defend themselves”.

  A dwarf leaps forward with his hammer poised high and angry, but like the fairy, is countered in the second by Love rotating and smashing him in the face. The group is upon her now, and she makes the interesting decision of putting down Aoline and using Everlock as a weapon. Amidst the dodging, leaping, and side-stepping, Love throws down the frame of the door as if it were Monument, just very blunt, and more splintery. It only takes a few seconds for Love to smash down the entire group of guards into a giant mess of unconsciousness and wood slivers. She delivers an evil scoff and turns from her defeated foes.

  Now that Love’s door has a fair bit more red on it, she hastily pushes it into her pocket dimension and takes out the large roll of paper strapped to her waist. She pulls out several lengths of paper, tears them into three point five meter segments with legs and arms, and again pulls out her brush and ink to paint. On each of the three lengths she paints a very large, angry eye, and punches each one in their center while uttering a very nasty magical word, animating her servants to life.

  The three paper defenders stand up, bow, and turn towards the sound of oncoming guards in the hallway. Love takes this moment to retrieve Aoline, make her escape to a corner, and cast a drawn-out cloaking spell as the three paper golems smash and crash through the guards with magic force; she doesn’t expect the towering paper beings to hold them off long, for fire magic is rarely far away in any kingdom with any legitimate understanding of the arcane. She flies down the halls to her escape the same time the first fire-ball is thrown by one of the assault mages now in the attacking force; the Reader can imagine that paper golems, with the myriad of their uses, are considered fairly allergic to fire.

  Love is able to sneak her way up to the Knight’s quarters. Law is there with the two lower Knights, Dresmond sitting with Law, and Lain sort of curled up to the side. Law spots Love, smirks in an embarrassed sort of way, and motions to a chair.

  “How is Aoline?” Law asks with a relieved look about him.

  “Fine, just a bit exhausted,” Love says as she lays down Aoline on one of the room’s beds and takes a seat.

  “So she did come along,” Law notes with a smirk, certain now that Order’s account was correct.

  “Mhmm. I suppose you heard from Order?” Love says. There are a few glances exchanged between the other Knights.

  “Yeah. The fairies went absolutely nuts when you escaped ... Lord Knight General Order’s the new one on the chopping block,” Law says, his smile dying to less-joyful matters.

  Love flinches.

  “Oh my ... Well that’s not good at all. No sir.”

  “Actually, they were planning to kill all of us, but she cast a few spells to slow the guards and bought us three enough time to escape. We fled here, knocked out the guard for the place, and were just discussing what we would do to get her out.”

  “Rayull,” Dresmond says. Law looks over.

  “Yes, Dresmond?”

  “I feel it would also be worthwhile to note our new little time contingency,” Dresmond says with an air of complete composure.

  “Of course. I was just getting to that actually. Meeo-”

  “Yes?”

  “They moved up the execution to tonight, during the high tea.”

  “Well, this just gets better.”

  “We overheard some of the fairies around. Pitch couldn’t bear to oversee the execution himself, so Gallin recommended they just move it up for the sake of giving the fairies a peace of mind before it happens,” Law says, leaning back a moment to check the windows again. Love stares blankly a moment, and nods.

  “I see ... I suppose Pitch does care about his people ... and what they think of him ...”

  “It seems that the officials have muted the whole thing too. The people back home won’t hear she’s dead until days later. The fairies didn’t want any more ‘necromancer sympathizers’ running to stop them,” Law says, his gaze becoming increasingly empty with each word. Lain sighs, his face in his hands.

  “So this is it, then. The Chaos-Foe is going to die and it’ll be all my fault?” he says without moving from his little ball. Law rolls his eyes as Love hums.

  “Now Lain, don’t you worry. There must be some way we can solve all of this. Let’s all relax, take a deep breath, and-”

  “Meeo," Law interjects, "we should be honest with these boys. Either we rescue Order and then all get captured by Liefland’s elite corps, I herd them downstairs and then die at the high tea either by the necromancers or the fairies, or else you, Dresmond and I leave behind Lain and Aoline--”

  “W-what?!” Lain interrupts.

  “Don’t be a coward, if we brought you two along, Oa would activate the spell and you’d just waste more lives,” Law snaps, quickly silencing Lain back to his woe. Meeo sighs.

  “Oh, Hosy, I’m afraid you were never one for words ... but there’s a part of me that knows, even if it means we’ll die, it would mean more to fight and die than to live even a million more years.”

  “That’s not fair, Meeo. I’m not three-thousand-whatever like you are. I haven’t found a mate yet. I’ve never had the honor of shaking Redemption’s hand. I’ve never had the honor of choking Chaos. There’s so much I haven’t done yet, and I know it sounds selfish, but it’s what’s natural, it’s what’s reasonable. Not just for me, but for Dresmond here. I’ve never seen any first-year Knight as exemplary as him. I want to see him do great things in the future, I know he--”

  “Sir,” Dresmond speaks up. Law cringes.

  “What?”

  “Might I recite to you the fourth foundation in the Royal Knight’s High Code?” Dresmond says, referring to a certain one among a rather poignant set of rules written by “The King” himself: the ancient ruler of Reinen.

  “No nee-”

  “Well, I think it would be a lovely idea,” Love says with a hopeful smile. Law is silent for a moment with the exception of his breathing, heavier than any natural human could draw.

  “Alright. Do it,” he says. Dresmond clears his throat, and begins.

  “The High Code of the Knights of Royalty of The Kingdom and Ideology of Reinen:

  Foundation Four:

  A Knight of Reinen shall spend his every living breath for others.

  As the Knight is divided from wealth, he shall not lose love for his fellow for power.

  As the Knight is divided from fame, he shall not lose love for his fellow for love of glory.

  As the Knight is divided from the ways of flesh, he shall not lose love for his fellow for pleasure.

  As the Knight is eternal, in spirit, he shall not lose love for his fellow for the fear of life and death.”

  Dresmond stops a moment as Lain begins weeping. He then continues the recital.

  “He will be remembered in the hearts of all who know of The Knights, and in the hearts of his brethren. All Knights of all kinds, be they young, old, male, female, Spiralkandrin or of the Cold Plains; even should they draw the breath of the dragons in their lungs, they will hold
his love, for he held theirs.

  This is what departs you from all others; for you have taken the time to be wise and know the value of all that is around you, be it the rapture of nature, be it your greatest enemy, be it your own demise.

  This is an unbreakable bond between us. It is our final and greatest defense against those that would have, order, law, and love destroyed. Hold this in your heart, knight, and spend every living breath you have to aid others; love is the key, love is the cure to the disease of all fears.

  Glory, to the Crown in our Hearts!”

  “... Glory to the Crown in our Hearts,” Law says, humbled the moment Dresmond quoted the first word.

  “Glory to the Crown in our Hearts,” Love joins in, using the millennia-old cry of The Knights, now simply replaced with “Glory” in most settings. Lain takes a stressed breath.

  “Glory, to the Crown in our Hearts,” he adds with a dismal tone.

  A silence overtakes them, and then Law speaks up.

  “You’re right. Damn, you’re completely right.... I’m sorry. It’s so easy to forget that ... that what we do decides the value of our life to the crown, not how long we live,” he says as he presses his draconic nails into his forehead in shame. Love nods with a smile.

  “Now now, we all forget at times--”

  “You don’t.”

  “Well then you’d be surprised. Now, feelings time is over everyone. We need to find a way to save my best friend!” Love says in a manner that reminds Lain a good deal of his whelpling-grade magic teacher when he was but eight years old. Law scoffs in agreement, Dresmond salutes, and Lain grievously looks up from his hands, wet with misery.

  “Mam,” Dresmond states. Love looks over.

  “Why yes, Dresmond?”

  “I believe I have a strategy that may prove effective.”

  “Oh, that so?”

  “Yes, mam.”

  “Well, let’s hear it then,” Love says, the corners of her mouth turning up sharply.

  “Thank you, mam,” Dresmond says the moment before he begins with another lengthy speech.

 
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