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A Divine Artisan Descends Upon The New World[Overlord Fanfic]

Discussion in 'Creative Writing' started by Epic Cheeze, Aug 3, 2023.

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  1. Threadmarks: Chapter 1-Dawn In The Unfamiliar
    Epic Cheeze

    Epic Cheeze Your first time is always over so quickly, isn't it?

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    A sheep-girl lay in a deep slumber under the warm glow of the sun upon a field of grass blowing softly in a breeze, unmoving like a stone statue, with only her dress rustling in the calm wind. Her eyes opened, as if a switch had been flipped, revealing a new and unfamiliar world. What happened? She wondered, rising on her feet, her mind racing with questions about what had just occurred previously. Memories flashed through her mind like lightning, causing her plump round face to contort in pain from the raging headache. I recall now. I was celebrating my day of rebirth with my mother, father, and my sister Fey, and... and, what happened after that?

    Her headache soon subsided. She wondered how she ended up in the middle of a field of grass, and then a worry tugged at the back of her mind as she looked around briefly—she realized she was separated from her older sister Fey and the rest of her family, who were nowhere in sight. I need to find them to know they're safe.

    With this last thought, she began to take notice of her surroundings. Perhaps I'm still in Mythentol. I could have been teleported to some random field near the kingdom; all I need to do now is find some landmarks which will tell me where I am.

    Following this thought, her gold-dotted eyes moved side-to-side, but it was all for naught, as she soon found herself looking in every conceivable direction: left, right, front, back, even up, and still found nothing. This told the sheep-girl one thing: this wasn't Mythentol, and for all she knew, she might not be in the same world anymore.

    As she began to calm her hurried breaths, she felt a wave of mental clarity wash over her. Transported to another world; utter hogwash. I have to be in the same world I’ve always lived in. Maybe I’m just in a nearby kingdom, or on a different continent, but there is no way in hell I’m in a different world. There is just no way! She thought. Doubts soon took root in her mind, causing her black lips to furl and her eyelids to close.

    Perhaps she was in another world, but how was she transported to this new reality? What could have done it, and who? What if she was transported and had to survive in this new world alone, with no one to help her? These, and other thoughts, caused her legs to buckle as the weight they carried became too much for them to bear. As droplets of water spilled from her eyes, she could feel her vision becoming blurry. "Why did any of this happen!" She exclaimed in a soft, sweet voice through her tears. Why did any of this happen…? She pondered solemnly.

    Her tears soon evaporated, leaving a salty trail on her cheeks. She pushed herself back onto her feet, brushing away the remnants of her sorrow from her flushed eyes. With her head lowered and her breathing steady, she blinked, her long lashes still damp from the recent downpour of tears. She had to stay strong, she reminded herself. She needed to figure out her location, find her sister Fey, reunite with the rest of her family, and chart a course back home. She couldn't afford to let her emotions get the best of her now.

    The sheep-girl then raised her head, and made a vow to herself—one forged from her determination to find her family and her way back home—and she began walking with this newfound resolve. Moving through the tall grass, slowly making her way somewhere, because finding something, anything, was preferable to staying in one place. I have to look for signs of civilization, because civilization means people—people who can help me. And if I'm lucky, I might even find my sister, she thought as she continued her walk through the tall grass. She had no idea where she was or what dangers might be lurking in it; all she could do at this point was keep walking, keeping her senses sharpened and focused.

    She had grown accustomed to birds chirping as they flew by, while she walked and walked through what seemed like an endless sea of green, pushing away tall grass with each step, passing the time listening to the sounds they made.

    She strolled on, her heels pressing into the soft soil beneath her feet. Gradually, she observed a subtle transformation in the landscape around her. The verdant carpet of grass, once rising up to tickle her ankles, now clipped short, offering a crisp, firm footing.

    Beyond the shimmering heat of the horizon, the silhouette of towering trees beckoned her. Their leafy crowns stood majestic and proud against the cerulean sky, a mighty fortress of emerald greens stretching across miles and faded into a hazy blue at the edges. "A forest… At least that's something; better than boring old grass. And maybe once I get through it, I'll find a village on the other side; that would be my lucky day," she sighed. She then resumed her walk.

    The sheep-girl finally found herself on the threshold of the forest. The sea of brilliant, leafy green, which had been her constant companion, gradually thinned. Stalk by stalk, the tall grasses dwindled until they were no more, replaced by a carpet of earth and moss. Before her now, the forest unfurled, its entrance standing as a gateway to a different world.

    She closed her eyes, drawing in a deep breath before releasing it in a slow exhale. She was ready for this. With her elements at her disposal, she felt invincible against whatever the forest might hurl her way. Taking a few determined steps forward, she plunged into the heart of the forest, ready to confront any peril.

    The comforting crunch of leaves and twigs under her heels punctuated her journey, a rhythmic sound shattering the otherwise overwhelming silence of the forest. The vibrant greenery seemed to pulse with life around her as she ventured deeper, the sounds of her footsteps a constant reminder of her resolve.

    However, the further she walked, the more sounds of birds chirping and small animals scurrying across the forest floor perked up her leaf-shaped ears, indicating she now had to focus on sounds which mattered: footsteps, growls, sounds of a creature moving close to her, the sheep-girl couldn't afford to be caught off-guard. She continued walking at a steady pace deeper into the unknown forest, and as she did so, she had a thought, Are my elements still working? She wondered.

    The sheep girl then came to a halt, leaned forward, and grasped a leaf in her four-fingered hand, then she promptly said [Midas Touch], and watched as the leaf was instantly coated with a golden shine from which rays of sunlight could reflect off. She rose again, this time with a slight smile on her face, and another thought occurred to her: My gold element is still effective on plant matter, but I have yet to test my [Midas Touch] on something large.

    After this thought confirmed her little test was insufficient, the girl walked towards a towering oak nearby, its branches reaching for the heavens as if striving to touch the sky. With a deep breath standing in front of the tree, she placed her hand against the trunk and said [Midas Touch], letting the pulse of her magic seep into the heart of the tree from her gold encased hand.

    At her touch, a shimmer of gold began to bleed into the bark, spreading from the point of contact. It grew slowly, steadily increasing its rate of spread, the golden hue meandering its way up the trunk, tracing the intricate pattern of the bark as it climbed. Its brown exterior transformed into a rich, gleaming gold under her hand. Its leaves soon too were encased in a golden shine, and finally the tree had completely turned gold and a slight smile had formed on the girl’s face after removing her hand from the tree, the hand returning to its normal black shade. Maybe I'm still in the same world; I can still use my gold element in full. All I have to do now is get out of this forest and find help. So, after returning to where she was, she continued her long journey through the great forest.

    After what seemed like an eternity of walking through an endless sea of trees, she noticed a break in the forest tree line, the thickness of the trees had decreased, and more rays of sunlight were breaking through the treetops. This accelerated her pace as she raced to the end of the forest, hoping to find someone who could assist her. The scent of something burning scrunched up her round nose soon after her pace quickened. Fire! She thought. Her movements became faster, and the almost rhythmic sounds of twigs and leaves crunching beneath her feet faded away.

    During her frantic sprint, she surmised, Based on where the smoke is coming from, I know I'm not in danger of being burned, but someone else might be. Her heart began to beat faster and faster as a terrifying thought entered her mind. What if she was too late, and her only chance for assistance was gone? She pushed this thought aside because her focus was on getting out of this maze of trees and closer to the source of smoke, where someone needed help.

    Her mind buzzed with these thoughts, even as she launched herself into a sprint. Ahead, the sun pierced through the forest's cloak of darkness, a radiant herald signaling the forest's end. With a breathless gasp, she emerged from the leafy confines, a bead of sweat trickling down her face, her breathing uneven and slightly labored.

    She skidded to a halt, momentarily dazed, her eyes stung as they strained to adjust to the sun's glaring brightness. As her vision finally cleared, her eyes widened in surprise before narrowing in confusion, a puzzled frown etching itself on her face.

    Before her laid a scattered array of homes, their light gray stone and tiled roofs standing stalwart under the morning sun. These houses couldn’t burn, she reasoned, gazing at the sturdy structures. Yet, a plume of smoke, like a grim flag, marked a spot deeper within the village.

    Emerging from her daze, her expression hardened, lips set in a firm line and eyebrows knitting together. She took a step forward, then another, and another, each one gaining speed. Soon, she was sprinting down the grassy slope, a wave of determination carrying her toward the smoke. She was resolved to find the source of the flames and lend a hand if anyone was in danger.

    As the sheep-girl strode into the village, an unpleasant stench curled up her nose, like vile unwashed clothes after a heavy summer rain left out to dry in the hot sun. It made her gag before she quickly regained a form of composure, hoping the smell would not rub onto her. She twitched her ears, their shape reminiscent of fallen autumn leaves, trying to tune into the faintest echo of voices, or the desperate plea of a cry for help. Yet, an eerie silence was all which met her, as if the world had swallowed all noise but her own soft footfall, the rustling of her dress in the wind, and the angry crackling of fire.

    The sheep-girl felt a twist of unease, like a knot tightening in her stomach. When fire seized a small village, it was only natural for its residents to swarm together, battling the flames as a united front. But the streets were ghostly quiet, and not a soul was in sight.

    Her steps slowed, growing cautious as she approached the gray column of smoke towering above the rooftops. She passed rows of houses, their sameness striking her as oddly eerie. Each one was a mere arrangement of four stone walls, an unadorned door, and an occasional window punctuating the monotony.

    She couldn't shake off the feeling they were too plain, too simple. But then again, she was used to the sprawling grandeur of her estate, where each detail screamed of luxury. Perhaps, she mused, to those less fortunate, these modest homes held a charm she couldn't see.

    She weaved her way forward between two quiet homes, eyes flitting skyward. There, to her left, was the gray plume of smoke, dark and unyielding. Once she reached a crossroads nestled amongst the buildings, she took a left turn. And there, stretching out before her, was a sight so horrifying, she knew she'd spend a lifetime wishing she could unsee it. As she stepped out from the tangled alleyway and into an open space within the village, tears stung at her gold-dotted eyes, an involuntary response to the overpowering stink, and it felt like the world was tilting beneath her feet, her stomach roiling uneasily as a wave of nausea threatened to break free.

    A pile of bodies were burning, the flames greedily consuming their flesh. Men, women, even children were heaped together, their melted skin and charred bones a testament to the agony they must have endured. She fell to her knees, gagging at the sickly smell of roasting meat and bone. What the fuck?! she thought. Who could murder innocent people and discard them like trash?! Rage boiled up inside her as she imagined the terror these people must have felt before their lives were cruelly snatched away. The gruesome sight of the smoldering dead, their mouths open in silent screams, would forever haunt her.

    She took a moment, a brief respite to collect herself. A deep inhale, a slow exhale of the rancid air which stung at her nostrils and throat, steadying the frantic pace of her heart. Gradually, she rose, her legs sturdy beneath her, heels firmly planted in the ground. She cast a final glance at the appalling sight before swiveling away, her insides churning with a potent mix of revulsion and rage.

    I can't let this happen to anyone else, she thought. Her face hardened, the golden hues of her eyes ignited with a supernatural glow. She extended her hands in front of her, palms open to the world, and an almost tangible surge of power pulsed from her, radiating a promise of protection and retribution.

    [Elemental Forge-Scythe], she declared. A single speck of golden energy materialized just above her forehead. It drifted downward, halting in the space cradled by her outstretched arms. More lights followed, a procession of ethereal gold, joining together like a constellation in the making. The bundle coalesced into a cylinder, elongating into a golden shaft a little taller in length than she was. Her hands instinctively closed around the warm glow, now fashioned into the handle of her conjured weapon.

    The dance of the golden lights didn't stop there. They continued merging, shaping into a curved blade. And then the spectacle truly began; they started to scatter, as if unveiling a grand masterpiece. It commenced from the blade, tiny flecks of golden illumination chipping away to reveal a hint of green. As more and more lights flaked off, a blade of pure jade was exposed, shimmering like an emerald under the sun's touch.

    When this transformation of light reached the weapon's handle, a gleam of pristine white shone first, followed by a glint of gold. Soon, the last vestiges of the golden energy dissolved away, uncovering a handle crafted from white silver, beautifully inscribed with intricate golden patterns.

    The sheep-girl paused, her eyes returning to their normal hue, drinking in the ethereal beauty of her conjured weapon. Its elegance stood in stark contrast to the gruesome scene she had just witnessed. But this moment of admiration was fleeting. She swiftly re-centered her attention on the urgent matter ahead.

    Lifting her head to survey the scene, she caught sight of a path out of the corner of her eye. The path trailed deeper into the village, to her right. Without hesitation, she pivoted, her body aligning with this new direction, ready to continue moving forward.

    She made sure her eyes would not make contact with that horrid sight again. With purpose in her stride, she advanced, one foot after the other. The rhythm of her steps carried her towards the path, slow and unwavering. In her right hand, she cradled the weapon, its gleaming form resting lightly against her shoulder.

    As she tread upon the path, passing by numerous homes and delving deeper into the village, her leaf-shaped ears perked up. A faint sound reached her – a voice, a cry, resonating from somewhere up ahead. Instantly, she quickened her pace and her mind had focused. The sheep-girl was determined to reach the source of the cry, vowing to aid whoever was in distress before they too fell victim to a merciless end.

    I won’t allow it, she vowed to herself. She wouldn't stand by and watch the lives of innocents being snuffed out. Weaving in and out between the homes, the cries grew louder, signaling her proximity to the scene.

    Suddenly, she emerged from the winding path, and a chilling sight greeted her. Two young girls with pale skin huddled together in fear. The older one had hair as bright as golden straw, neatly woven into a single braid hanging down her back. Her younger counterpart, with a cascade of reddish-brown locks, wore her hair in two playful pigtails. Their small bodies huddled on the ground, were being menaced by two figures who resembled knights. One of them only had a sword which bore the grim evidence of his cruelty—a smear of blood from a wound he had inflicted on the older girl’s back as she shielded the younger girl, while the other stood behind him, equipped with a sword-and-shield bearing the golden crest of a winged lion roaring, with its forepaws raised high.

    As the so-called "knight" prepared his weapon for another blow, the sheep-girl steadied herself. She positioned her left leg behind her and her right leg forward, drawing lines in the dirt with her heels, aligning herself for what was to come. Her left hand held the bottom of the handle, while her right hand gripped the middle. The flat side of the jade blade facing forward, ready for action. She drew in a deep breath, steeling herself for the imminent attack.

    —~—~—​


    Enri's footsteps echoed loudly, heavy with desperation, while her younger sister, Nemu, matched her pace with lighter, smaller footfall. Enri gripped Nemu's right hand tightly with her left, a silent vow to keep her safe. As she ran, her mind was a whirlwind of questions, each one a stab of pain. Why did this happen? Why was our peaceful village attacked? Why did our parents have to die? The questions played like a broken record in her head, amplifying her despair with each repetition.

    As she dashed past the familiar homes of her village, a raw ache spread within her chest. It was an agony born from the loss of her parents, the sudden absence of friends, and the looming threat of losing the only home she had ever known.

    A flood of emotion welled up in her eyes, blurring her vision slightly. She wanted to let it all out, to cry, but she knew this was not the time for tears, so she wiped them away with right arm. Her main concern was Nemu. Safeguarding her little sister was the beacon guiding her through the chaos. With Nemu trailing close behind, Enri veered left at a corner, a strategic maneuver to shake off the pursuers she could tell were close on their heels, by the distant sound of clanking metal and shouts.

    Maintaining her desperate dash with Nemu in tow, Enri risked a backward glance. To her mounting horror, she saw two knights hot on their trail, their swords unsheathed and glinting ominously. They were encased in intimidating metal armor. Their helms completely obscured their faces, with only a pair of narrow, rectangular eyeholes revealing any trace of humanity.

    The armor was a daunting assembly of pauldrons, gauntlets, a chest plate, greaves, and boots—all molded from cold, unyielding metal. Beneath the intimidating layers of armor, they wore vests of navy blue, collared and with flaps at the bottom edged in stark white. The sight was chilling, and it spurred Enri to run faster.

    In an unthinkable turn of events, Nemu's foot caught on a stone, sending her sprawling onto the hard ground. She slipped from Enri's firm grip, and a sense of dread consumed Enri. Internally, she was paralyzed by fear, knowing the knights were too close for them to regain momentum. And her dreadful intuition proved correct.

    As she quickly scooped Nemu up, cradling her frightened form on the ground, Enri instinctively shielded her little sister with her own body. The clatter of armored footsteps grew louder, each clank a pulse of impending doom. Then, a sharp, searing pain erupted in her back. A sword had cut into her, making her face scrunch up as she winced in pain.

    I can't die here, she thought desperately, l just can't! Not when Nemu needs me. As she steeled herself against the pain, she caught sight of Nemu's face. Gone was the terror, replaced with wide-eyed worry for her sister. A bitter-sweet smile flickered in Enri's heart.

    The mocking laughter of the knight who had struck her echoed in her ears, reinforcing her belief this was the end. She braced herself for the finishing blow, each agonizing second stretching into an eternity.

    —~—~—​

    The knight held his arm aloft, sword gleaming and poised for a second assault. In his mind, he wasn't about to kill children. No, he was serving the Theocracy, propelling humanity one step closer to unity under one flag, purging the world of all 'lesser' races. His deeds today were, in his eyes, ‘justified’. He believed himself a harbinger of a bright, human-only future.

    As he started to deliver his lethal swing, a whooshing sound echoed in the stillness. In a surreal twist, he found himself staring up at the clear blue sky instead of down at his intended victims. His eyes widened in disbelief, his mouth dropping open as shock gripped him. A terrifying realization dawned upon him: he couldn't feel his lower body. His world started to darken, his eyelids heavy as they fluttered closed. He drew in a rattling breath, his last one, as the grim cloak of death enveloped him.

    —~—~—​

    Expecting another slash, Enri braced herself, but the anticipated pain never arrived as she felt a gust of wind blow past her. Perplexed, she dared to glance over her shoulder and gasped at the sight. The one standing behind her was not the knight who'd attacked, nor were they even human.

    What she saw was a creature like something out of a storybook: a sheep, standing on two legs. Its hair was a fluffy cloud of pure white cotton, contrasting starkly against the deep black skin. A similar puff of white served as a tail. The creature was dressed in a short, white flared skirt dress paired with golden heels, and she held an ethereal scythe, its crystal blade gleaming a soft green.

    Relief flooded Enri's face as she let out a calming breath. For the moment, it seemed she and Nemu were safe from the merciless knights. What happened to the one who had attacked them? She wondered, her question was soon answered. As her eyes darted around the scene, her gaze landed on a gruesome sight to the right. The top half of the knight's body lay sprawled in the dirt, blood seeping from it and soaking the earth beneath in a chilling red. The sight of the dismembered knight was both sickening and comforting.

    Enri knew he couldn't harm them anymore. Brushing that image aside, she turned her focus to Nemu. Slowly, she rose to her feet, helping her little sister up as well. She positioned herself on Nemu's right side, creating a human shield to keep the grisly sight of the fallen knight from her sister's view. Enri didn't want to traumatize her any further.

    Looking down at Nemu's worried face, Enri could see the concern for her in her sister's eyes. She decided then to offer some words of reassurance.

    Enri managed to form a small, comforting smile on her face, trying her best to hide any signs of pain. "Don't worry, Nemu," she said, her voice a soothing lullaby amid the chaos. "I'm fine."

    But Nemu's eyes, innocent yet so observant, studied Enri. She noticed the subtle wince crossing her sister's face, the slight hunch of her back. Her voice came out in a soft whisper, laced with worry. "Are you sure, big sis?" She questioned, her young mind struggling to reconcile the strong, unyielding sister she knew with the visible signs of injury. As Enri was about to reassure her younger sister again, a shriek broke through the silence of the calm moment.

    —~—~—​

    With the precision of a skilled warrior, the sheep-girl had cleaved the man cleanly in two. His demise was so sudden and swift blood scarcely welled up from the devastating midriff wound. However, as the man's legs collapsed, they began to pour forth a scarlet flood, saturating the earth beneath. The sheep-girl herself remained impassive, her body next to the fallen knight’s legs and her weapon held steady before her. She stood with her left foot forward, her right was behind, her back slightly hunched over.

    Then, as quick and fluid as water, she straightened up, pivoting to face the remaining knight. Her weapon, the beautiful jade-bladed scythe stood upright, its base resting on the ground, her right hand clutching it tightly. The power she radiated was palpable, a silent challenge to her next adversary.

    As she completed her turn, the trembling knight faced her, his sword unsteadily held in a feeble defensive posture. His voice wobbled with terror as he cried out, "Stay back, you demi-human freak!" Yet the sheep-girl merely stared back, her golden gaze holding a piercing intensity boring into his soul. The words held no power over her; they were as inconsequential as leaves in the wind.

    In fact, her stoic silence and the aura of undeniable strength radiating from her were enough to instill terror in the knight. He turned on his heels, attempting a frantic escape. But he was not destined to get far.

    [Weapon Return], the sheep-girl intoned. In response, her scythe was encased in a mesmerizing golden light. The light fractured into countless tiny particles, shimmering like stardust as they evaporated, leaving her empty-handed.

    But not for long. A firm command echoed from her lips, [Silver Chains].

    She opened her left palm, now gleaming with a metallic silver sheen, a solitary chain link poked out. Seizing it with her right hand, she gave it a strong tug. What followed seemed like a magic trick, as a twelve-meter long chain unfurled from her palm, glowing with a mesmerizing, ethereal light.

    The sheep-girl now lifted her right arm gripping her new tool, smoothly drawing the chain in a large circle around her. It swept through the air with a fierce whistle, mirroring a miniature whirlwind. Her piercing golden eyes fixed on the figure of the knight, now retreating into the distance. She gauged his position, the distance, and a sly smile bloomed on her face. He won’t escape, she assured herself.

    Her movements were precise, the rhythm almost hypnotic as the chain continued to build momentum with each twirl. And then, with the trained precision of a lioness closing in on its prey, she snapped her arm forward, sending the chain surging through the air like a lightning bolt.

    Its target? The knight, some ten meters away, still naively hopeful of an escape. With the accuracy of a skilled hunter, the chain ensnared his left leg, coiling around it like a metallic snake. The sudden pull unbalanced the knight, yanking him off his feet. He hit the ground face-first, his sword clattering away from his grasp, the dust rising around him in a mocking cloud.

    As the knight hit the ground, the chain crept up his leg, tightening with a cold, metallic grip reminiscent of a snake seizing its prey. The helpless knight was slowly pulled towards the sheep-girl leaving a slight dirt trail behind him, his panicked efforts to break free from the chain's relentless hold proving futile. He propped himself up, his gloved hand clawing at the unyielding chain wrapped around his left leg.

    Realizing the futility of his actions, the knight discarded his shield, freeing both hands to wrestle with the chain. He grappled with it, attempting to lift it off, but the chain snapped back in place like a magnet kissing steel. His desperate struggle continued, each futile attempt further cementing his inevitable death.

    Before long, the pulling stopped, and the knight watched as she walked towards him. The left palm of her hand was open, absorbing the chain into its metallic void as she closed the distance between them. It wasn’t long before the sheep-girl loomed over him, her golden eyes blazing like twin suns, her gaze piercing through his very soul. Overwhelmed, the knight got on to his knees, his bravado crumbling as he bowed his head in submission. His voice, once booming with confidence, now trembled with fear. "Please," he begged, his unseen eyes pleading, "Show me mercy."

    At the knight's plea, the sheep-girl's face mirrored an initial ripple of confusion, as though the concept of mercy was alien to her. Almost instantly, however, her expression morphed into one of seething rage, her golden eyes ablaze with a simmering hatred.

    "You deserve only as much mercy as you showed those children," she declared, her voice ringing out like the clang of a blacksmith's hammer against steel, resonating with a deep-seated anger which spoke volumes.

    She crouched down, her right hand ebony black reached out to rest on the knight's chained leg. Her voice, when she spoke, was as chilling as a death knell, firm and unyielding. [Midas Touch], she decreed, her words echoing ominously in the silence which followed. Her hand then became encased in a gleaming gold sheen.

    Paralyzed with horror, the knight could only watch as his legs began to shimmer with a golden radiance, as if bathed in the light of the sun. Every fiber of his being screamed at him to flee, to put up a fight, but his body was trapped in a vice-like grip of terror which left him helpless.

    He did the only thing he could. A primal scream ripped from his throat as he looked down at his transforming body, echoing around them in a raw expression of his final, desperate plea. But it was a scream which soon stifled, muffled into an eerie silence as the creeping gold swallowed him whole, climbing upward until it finally claimed his head. And then, he was as still as a statue, his horrified expression preserved under his helmet for all eternity in his golden tomb.

    —~—~—​

    Both Enri and Nemu were jolted by an ear-splitting scream slicing through the calm moment beforehand. Startled, Enri whirled around, her eyes darting towards the source of the disturbing sound. What she saw caused her breath to hitch in her throat—the second knight, the one who had threatened their lives, was now on his knees, a chain ensnaring his left leg.

    Their unexpected rescuer was crouched in front of the knight. Enri and Nemu watched with a mixture of awe and apprehension as a brilliant golden sheen began to creep up the knight's legs, giving a horrifying explanation to his ear-shattering scream. It was a grim spectacle, the knight's armor slowly being swallowed up by the glinting gold, starting from his feet, slithering up his chest, and snaking along his arms.

    And then, in what felt like an agonizing eternity, the gold finally claimed the knight's head. His screams abruptly ceased, replaced by a chilling silence. The golden figure was eerily still, a haunting reminder of the knight's fate.

    "Do you think we'll be okay?" Nemu's voice was a mere whisper, and it held a tremor which tugged at Enri's heartstrings. No longer facing forward, Nemu had tilted her head upwards, her wide, anxious eyes seeking reassurance from her older sister. Her small hands fidgeted, her thumbs tracing uncertain patterns over each other.

    Snapped from her trance-like state, Enri cast a tender glance down at Nemu, her little sister's worried expression a stark reminder of their predicament. "I'm sure we'll be fine," Enri reassured, her voice steady, a soft smile warming her features. "Those knights… they were bad people."

    She paused, her gaze momentarily flicking back to the frozen golden statue which was once a menacing knight. Her attention returned swiftly to Nemu, and she continued, "But she..." She nodded, indicating their mysterious savior. "She saved us from them. If she meant to hurt us, she would've done so by now."

    As she spoke, her hands came to rest on Nemu's slender shoulders, their gentle weight a comforting presence against the uncertainty looming around them.

    Nemu's fretful countenance softened, morphing into a tentative smile tugging at the corners of her mouth. "I guess you're right," she echoed, her voice sounding noticeably lighter than before. Her restless thumbs came to a halt, and she let her arms fall limply to her sides, no longer wound up with tension.

    The gradual crunch of footsteps on the soft earth caught their attention, the sound growing progressively louder as it neared. In unison, they swiveled their heads towards the source of the sound, their eyes finding the unfamiliar figure of their savior slowly closing the distance between them. A prickle of apprehension swept through Enri, a slight frown creasing her forehead as she thought, I truly hope I’m right.

    —~—~—​

    With the threats dealt with, the sheep-girl's stance eased as she stood up, her left hand returned to its normal hue, and her golden heels stood firm on the ground. As if pulled by an unseen force, the chain began to dissolve into her right hand, detaching itself from the lifeless man's leg.

    She watched as the chain was completely absorbed, disappearing into her skin. Once the last link had vanished, her right hand reverted back to its usual ebony hue.

    Her expression softened, concern filtering through her once fiery eyes. The two children had been through enough horrors for one day; they needed her attention now. She thought about the older one, how bravely she'd shielded the younger child, and a frown creased her brow.

    Spinning on her heels, she turned to face them and saw the older child was consoling the younger one. She drank in the details of their rustic clothing as she slowly walked towards them. The older one wore a dress with a long, light orange skirt which faded into a richer, bronze-hued top. White cloth decorated her collar and chest area, a stark contrast to the splashes of color. Her feet were encased in simple black shoes, telling tales of her modest life.

    The younger girl was dressed in a navy blue one-piece dress, a charming little red bow tie adding a touch of brightness to her attire. Her feet were snug in brown shoes, as innocent as her age.

    As the sheep-girl walked she watched both children turn their heads to face her. As their gazes met her’s, she saw worry flickering in their wide eyes, their faces wearing the same expression of anxious anticipation. The sheep-girl softened her gaze, giving the two girls a comforting smile. As she approached them, her steps were slow and deliberate, her calm voice assuring them. "It's alright, I won't harm either of you."

    Relief washed over their faces, lessening the furrow of worry etched on their young features. As the sheep-girl drew closer, she turned her attention solely to the older girl who had been injured. She stopped in front of them, speaking gently to the elder child, "Let me take care of your wound. Please, turn your back to me."

    Still wary of this mysterious savior, the older girl hesitantly rotated, exposing her wounded back to the stranger. Raising her right arm, the sheep-girl moved her hand close to the gash and softly declared, [Jade Restoration].

    As the words escaped her lips, her hand was enveloped in a crystalline green hue. It emanated a warm, soothing glow spreading over the injured girl's back. The sheep-girl watched in satisfaction as the magic worked its wonders, the slash healing and the skin regenerating, leaving no traces of the gruesome wound.

    A triumphant smile bloomed on the sheep-girl's face. Once the healing process was complete, she lowered her hand. The ethereal green crystal glow receded, and her hand returned to its usual black shade. It was as though the girl had never been injured.

    As the enchanting glow of the [Jade Restoration] spell worked its magic on Enri's injury, she could feel the gash mending itself, the raw pain dissolving into nothingness. More than mere healing, the spell infused her with a vibrant energy, invigorating her body and spirit alike. A sense of awe washed over her as she pivoted to face the mysterious sheep-girl, her eyes brimming with gratitude. A warm smile danced on her lips as she studied the other girl's plump, round face.

    Bowing deeply, she murmured, "Thank you. Truly, thank you so much for saving both me and my little sister." Nemu mimicked her sister's actions, bobbing in a respectful bow before chirping, "Thank you, miss," her voice sweet and innocent.

    The sight tugged at sheep-girl’s heartstrings. A soft smile bloomed on her face, her golden eyes twinkling with gentle warmth as she observed the two girls rise. "I'm glad I could help," she responded, her voice humming with sincere relief. Her curiosity piqued, she asked, "What are your names?"

    "I'm Enri, and this is my little sister, Nemu," Enri introduced softly.

    Carmella nodded, a pleased look crossing her features. "I'm Carmella. It's a pleasure to meet you both," she replied. Her gaze traced over them both, a silent assessment of their state.

    "Likewise," Enri echoed, her tone carrying a subtle undertone of relief. Nemu piped up after a moment, adding, "It's nice to meet you too, miss."

    "Enri," Carmella began, her voice as soothing as the whispers of the wind, "I realize I may sound terribly lost, but could you kindly tell me where we are right now?"

    Enri blinked, taken aback with confusion for a moment. She tilted her head to one side as she mulled over the query, before she returned her gaze back to Carmella, her expression morphing into one of mild surprise.

    "Of course! You do seem like a stranger here, and I’ve never seen or heard of a sheep who can walk on two legs," Enri began, a smile forming upon her cheeks. "You see, this place is Carne Village. We're part of the Re-Estize Kingdom."

    The sheep-girl absorbed this information, her golden eyes widening a fraction as they drank in the surroundings anew, her gaze sweeping over the ramshackle houses, the verdant meadows, and the dense, looming forest in the distance.

    "Carne Village," she repeated slowly, her voice a low murmur lost to the wind. The words held a strange, foreign feeling as they rolled off her tongue. "And the Re-Estize Kingdom..." she murmured, a thoughtful expression crossing her face.

    Her eyes then returned to Enri, a warm smile spreading across her face. She offered a small nod, gratitude shining in her eyes. "Thank you, Enri," Carmella said. "It's nice to finally know where I am." Her brow soon furrowed in deep thought, Carne Village and the Re-Estize Kingdomtwo places I have never heard of. And she spoke as if animals walking on two legs was rare. Maybe I am on a different continent, never have explored much outside of Mythentol, only learned about the world outside the kingdom through books at the Library in the estate and my friends and family. After finishing this thought, Carmella's gaze locked back onto Enri, her golden eyes serious yet filled with a gentle warmth. "Enri," she began, her voice a soft undercurrent in the quiet of the dawn, "Can you tell me who those knights were? Are there any more survivors?"

    Enri's smile faded, replaced by a pensive frown which seemed to age her youthful face momentarily. "I wish I knew," she admitted, her voice barely more than a whisper, thick with the weight of her confusion. "They appeared out of nowhere, wreaking havoc without any discernible reason." She swallowed, her gaze dropping to her hands clasped tightly on her lap. "I overheard them, though. They were ordering their companions to gather any survivors at the village square." As she spoke, her hand lifted, a finger pointing in the direction of the village's front.

    Carmella's gaze followed the trajectory of Enri's outstretched hand, her eyes narrowing as she made out the faint path winding between the haphazardly placed homes. Her heart felt heavy in her chest, but she hid the pain behind a soft smile as she turned back to face Enri. "Thank you, Enri," she spoke, the gravity of her gratitude coloring her words. "I'll head there now, and do everything in my power to help your fellow villagers."

    Enri's brown eyes softened, the corners of her lips lifting in a sad smile. "I hope fortune favors you in battle," she murmured, her voice just loud enough for Carmella to catch her words.

    The corners of Carmella's lips tugged upward in a sincere smile. "Thanks," she responded, warmth lacing her words. Then, with a determined nod, she turned on her heels to face the path leading into the heart of the village. Her heart was steady in her chest, her eyes sharp and focused. She knew she had a mission, and she would see it through, no matter what. With this resolve, Carmella sprinted towards the path, her figure soon swallowed by the encroaching darkness of the village as she entered it.

    —~—~—​
    Author Notation: This is the first FanFic I have ever written so feedback would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for taking the time to read my narrative, and I really hope you enjoy what you read next.
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2023
  2. krahe

    krahe Versed in the lewd.

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    Man, an isekai that is not SI, from modern world or canon dystopian cyberpunk. That's illegal
     
  3. Xodarap

    Xodarap Versed in the lewd.

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    You have a strong writing ability to be able to both describe your surroundings and your characters thoughts as well as you have.
    While I think your MC's depiction is Mild in raw emotional depth she has a fantastic grounding to build further on.
    I will watch your career with great interest.
     
    Epic Cheeze likes this.
  4. Epic Cheeze

    Epic Cheeze Your first time is always over so quickly, isn't it?

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    Thank You
     
  5. Threadmarks: Chapter 2-Confusion, Retribution, And Disgust
    Epic Cheeze

    Epic Cheeze Your first time is always over so quickly, isn't it?

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    With each determined step, Carmella moved deeper into the heart of the village, passing homes that stood silently in the quiet dawn. Each stride she took was sure and swift, her footfalls echoing in the silence. Her gaze, glowing like the molten gold of the sun, took in the scene of devastation and loss left in the wake of the sudden attack.

    Doors hung askew on broken hinges; windows shattered, their shards scattered in a mournful glitter across the ground. Each new sight of destruction fueled the growing flame of anger in her chest, her mind echoing with the imagined screams of terrified villagers caught unawares by such senseless brutality.

    The village's labyrinthine paths twisted and turned, leading her past the silent homes, towards the heart of the chaos. As she ventured deeper, she came upon the victims of the violence—villagers who'd met their end in this senseless massacre. Their lifeless bodies were marred by harsh wounds—gashes, slashes, and punctures that spoke volumes of the savagery they'd faced.

    Each horrifying sight was like a blow to her heart aching with a poignant mix of empathy and anger. The ghastly scene solidified her resolve, turning it into a blazing determination. She would not let the surviving villagers suffer the same fate. And she would ensure the knights who'd caused this carnage faced her own brand of justice.

    As Carmella moved out of the village's heart and ventured towards its square the sight of corpses strewn across the area lessened greatly, the morning light washed over the scene, casting long, sorrowful shadows behind the remnants of once-thriving homes. With each step towards the village front, she honed her senses, straining to catch any telltale sounds that might guide her: the desperate wails of survivors, the intimidating shouts of enemies, the soft tread of hidden foes.

    Each noise, each murmur of life amidst the devastation, served as an auditory map. The distinctive rustle of her white and gold dress against her skin and her footsteps were the only sounds breaking the dreadful silence as she journeyed deeper into the affected area. Enri's guidance echoed in her mind, her finger pointing towards an unseen landmark, her words serving as a beacon leading her through the labyrinthine village.

    Her distinctive, leaf-shaped ears twitched, acting as delicate sensors tuning into the soundscape around her. Suddenly, a faint shout resonated in the distance, tugging at her attention. Her heart quickened, matching her pace as she hastened towards the source of the disturbance. The sound, growing in intensity with her approach, transformed into discernible words spat out by a gruff, commanding voice, "Stay down if you want to live."

    An involuntary frown tugged at her lips. The voice belonged to one of the knights, she surmised, likely barking orders at the survivors he held hostage. A spark of defiance ignited within her. She was close now, close enough to intervene, and the thought galvanized her into action. Each footfall was now a drumbeat, matching the rhythm of her resolute heart as she prepared to face the enemy.

    Carmella treaded carefully alongside the devastated remnants of a once-thriving village home. The fearful cries and panicked shouts of the villagers echoed in her ears, sending a chill coursing through her veins. Taking a cautious glance around the corner of the ravaged home, she was met with a sight that made her heart sink.

    There, in the middle of the village square, were the huddled figures of the survivors. Sixty scared, weary villagers, each bearing their own unique stamp of suffering. They were grouped together, seated in a circle, some comforting each other while others just stared blankly, their eyes reflecting the terror of their current predicament. She also noticed some children hiding behind a watch tower terrified.

    A pang of sympathy clawed at her heart, urging her to rush in and offer aid. But her training had drilled into her the importance of restraint and strategy. Brash actions without a plan were a recipe for disaster.

    Her eyes scanned the perimeter of the group, her heart skipping a beat as she counted fifteen armored knights looming threateningly over the villagers. Their gleaming armor was reminiscent of the ones worn by the knights she had killed not so long ago.

    Two knights stood out from the rest. They wore helmets that revealed their hardened faces. Their booming voices cut through the murmurs, issuing commands to the rest of the faceless, helmeted knights. Those two must be captains, she surmised.

    Completing her swift assessment, she retreated back to the shadows standing firm upon the ground, her face contorted in thought. She shut her eyes, letting her mind sift through the variables at hand. First, I’m up against 15 knights, each armed with swords. The best form of attack in this situation would be one where the opponents cannot counter… A plan started to form, a smile of confidence slowly replacing her previously furrowed expression. [Silver Mist], she thought, her mind already picturing the outcome. It was a skill that could create an opening for her to strike.

    But before she could execute this plan, she needed to lure the knights away from the villagers, to ensure their safety. A frown etched its way back onto her face as she started working on the next part of her strategy: the diversion.

    An idea soon sparked in her mind like a flint against steel. [Silver Phantasm], she mused, would allow her to craft compelling illusions. But, she couldn't just conjure any random illusion. It had to be something so commanding, so undeniably captivating, that it would seize the knights' attention entirely.

    A single word flashed through her mind, resonating with the power of her idea— Ogre. The thought alone brought a triumphant smile to her face. Ogres were massive, formidable creatures, capable of shaking the very earth with their steps and causing even the bravest of knights to tremble in fear. A spectacle like that would undoubtedly draw the knights' attention away from the villagers.

    With her plan in mind, Carmella opened her eyes. The gold specks flickered within her gaze, a reflection of unwavering resolve. She was ready to enact her plan, ready to tip the balance of this dire situation in her favor.

    —~—~—​

    Captain Londes Di Clamp, stood with his knights surrounding the hostages in the village square, his stern face surveying the frightened villagers who were soon to be slaughtered. His fellow knights flanked him, silent sentinels under his command.

    A sudden rustling from between two structures on the outskirts of the square snatched his attention. His heart pounded in his chest as he squinted, trying to decipher the source of the disturbance. Then, as if materializing from thin air, an ogre stepped out from the shadows, its form enormous and daunting.

    Its light gray skin, crisscrossed with scars of past battles, shone eerily in the dim light. It gripped a club as tall as two men, its surface jagged and menacing. The ogre swayed on its feet, a grotesque dance that belied the strength within its hulking form. Its eyes, like two flickering coals, locked onto the knights, sending shivers down their spines.

    A gasp ran through the ranks of the knights, their discipline momentarily broken by the sheer shock of the beast's appearance. It was as if the creature had come from nowhere, an aberration that had turned their mission on its head.

    Captain Londes, however, was tougher than most of his knights. Although taken aback, he quickly recovered, his military training kicking in. He watched as the ogre lumbered closer, its footfalls shaking the earth.

    "Knights, form up!" he barked, his voice resonating with authority. He gestured to his men, commanding them to abandon their posts around the villagers and rally against this new, unforeseen threat. His knights, still reeling from the shock, jolted into action at his words.

    In moments, the knights had formed a defensive line, their swords raised and shields at the ready. Their armor glinted in the dim light as they faced the oncoming monstrosity, their breaths coming in ragged gasps.

    As Captain Londes stood at the head of his formation, his eyes locked onto the ogre. A knot of dread and anticipation coiled in his stomach as moved with his men to face the beast that was but a setback to the completion of their mission.

    —~—~—​

    From her concealed spot behind the village home, Carmella watched with concealed delight. Squatting low, she observed as the knights surged forward, drawn like moths to the flame of the imposing ogre illusion she had crafted using her [Silver Phantasm] skill.

    A smirk tugged at the corners of her mouth as she saw them march toward the nonexistent threat, oblivious to the real danger lurking in their midst. They fell for it, she thought with a hint of satisfaction. Now, all she had to do was bide her time, waiting for the knights to distance themselves sufficiently from the villagers.

    Gradually rising on her legs, she kept her gaze fixed on the unfolding scene. Confidence glimmered in her eyes, a stark contrast to the chaos unraveling before her. With the knights preoccupied with her illusion, her moment of action was fast approaching.

    She drew in a deep breath, savoring the calm before the storm. She held the air in her lungs, her senses acutely aware of the knights advancing, their footfalls growing louder as they neared her position.

    When they were just close enough, she let her eyelids flutter close, her mind reaching for the command of her next trick, [Silver Mist]. With the command invoked silently, she opened her eyes and exhaled, releasing a rush of tiny, silver particles from her lips.

    The particles coalesced in the air, forming a thick, opaque mist that quickly spread to blanket everything in its vicinity. The knights halted in their tracks, their expressions changing from focus to shock as the fearsome ogre they had been inching towards disintegrated into a shower of silver dust, matching the mist that was quickly enveloping them.

    For a moment, confusion reigned among the ranks, their eyes widening as they tried to comprehend the sudden disappearance of their enemy. But before they could fully process what had happened, the silver mist swallowed them, plunging them into an eerie, silvery silence. The stage was now set for her next move.

    —~—~—

    Captain Londes kept his gaze trained on the approaching ogre. As it lumbered closer, something felt... wrong. Unlike the typical brutes of its kind, it neither bellowed in rage nor rushed at them in a blind fury. Its unsettling silence and the measured pace of its advance were wholly abnormal, setting off alarms in his seasoned mind.

    His suspicions were soon validated in a spectacle that stunned him into silence. Just as the ogre came within their strike range, it began to dissolve. Its body disintegrated into countless metallic fragments until it collapsed into a heap of silver dust.

    Confusion morphed into shock on Londes's face, the perplexing sight reflecting in his widened eyes. The other knights were similarly frozen, taken aback by the abrupt dissolution of their enemy.

    But before Londes could gather his thoughts, a fine mist, the color of metal, engulfed him, obscuring his vision and shrouding his surroundings. It was as though the world had shifted in a blink, leaving them in an eerie silvery fog.

    Collecting himself with a grit that came from years on the battlefield, Londes rallied his voice. He cried out, his shout piercing the dense fog. "Stay together! Do not stray too far from one another!" His voice echoed into the mist, the command hanging heavily in the silence.

    He waited for the confirmatory shouts from his knights, the familiar chorus of 'yes, captain' that would soothe his nerves. But his orders were met with an unsettling silence. The dense mist around him remained eerily quiet, save for the sound of his own beating heart. The sudden change of events left him in unfamiliar territory, the silence only deepening the mystery of what lay ahead.

    The bone-chilling silence that hung in the air made Captain Londes's nerves thrum with heightened alertness. A single thought beat against his mind like a war drum. I must find the others. We need to form a counterattack, he thought urgently. This foe had cunningly used illusion and disorientation, signs of a formidable magic user.

    Cautiously, he began to maneuver through the mist, each step as careful as if he were treading on thin ice. His gaze darted left and right, straining to penetrate the murky fog, knowing that lowering his guard was not an option.

    Just as he steadied his racing heart, the muffled sound of footsteps crunching on dirt echoed from a distance. His eyes widened in alert, the unfamiliar noise raising alarms within him. He started backing away, every inch of him on high alert, careful not to stumble blindly into the hidden adversary.

    A sudden contact against his back made him jolt. He whirled around instantly, sword ready, to confront whatever was behind him. But as his eyes took in the sight before him, a horrified expression clawed its way onto his face, contorting his usually stoic features.

    The foggy curtain had lifted just enough for him to see, and the sight that met his eyes was something he hadn't expected. Before him stood one of his knights, frozen in an eternal stance of combat. Sword and shield clenched tightly, the man seemed cast from gold, a metallic sheen covering him from helmet to boots. The spectacle was disorienting, and Captain Londes strained to comprehend the sight that met his eyes.

    His mind raced, scrambling to make sense of the unthinkable. He scrutinized the gold-encrusted figure before him, hoping for a logical explanation. Yet the more he observed, the more it became apparent - the man was no longer of the living.

    A shudder ran through him as he contemplated, what manner of magic could render such a fate? His face mirrored his shock, eyes wide and mouth slightly agape. Yet his soldierly resolve, honed through years of service, soon reasserted itself.

    The captain’s hardened gaze bore into the golden effigy of his fallen comrade, his training kicking in and pulling him out of the stupor. There’s no time to grieve now, he thought, his jaw set. This man has achieved the highest honor, laying down his life for the Theocracy. I must press forward, and locate the rest of my men.

    With this sobering thought, Captain Londes steeled his resolve. The knight behind him now stood as a stark reminder of the dangers they faced, and the sacrifices they may yet have to make.

    —~—~—​

    Carmella's eyes, ablaze with golden intensity, focused keenly as she moved gracefully into the encroaching fog. Her movements were swift, agile, every step echoing years of discipline and training. She could see the disoriented knights before her as clearly as if they were in broad daylight, even though they were blinded by the silvery haze.

    She navigated through the fog with an urgency that mirrored her racing thoughts. Time is of the essence. This mist won’t hold forever. Her mind clung to this fact, reinforcing the need for haste.

    A knight, just steps away, was groping blindly in the mist, desperate in his aimless movements as he sought his comrades. Turning suddenly, he found himself face to face with the unexpected – her. Before he could react, she sprung, pouncing upon him with the grace of a hunting cat. The surprised knight was thrown to the ground, the wind knocked out of him. He didn't have the chance to mount a counterattack, for she was too quick, too precise.

    Her right hand landed firmly on his faceplate, a move so sudden, so decisive, it left no room for resistance. Holding his gaze captive, she declared the magic command with a cold finality, [Midas Touch].

    She watched, a sense of grim satisfaction settling within her as the golden hue began to spread from the point of contact on his helmet, consuming the fallen knight. It flowed like a river of molten gold, cascading over his armor and encasing him in a golden tomb. Each inch of his form that turned gold further reaffirmed her conviction, her face reflecting a harsh satisfaction as the man before her became a gilded monument.

    Once the transformation was complete, she removed her hand, the once golden glow now returning to its usual color. She rose from her crouched position, shifting her weight onto her heels, eyes quickly scanning her surroundings for the next threat.

    Her gaze fell upon a group of knights huddled together, their defensive formation stark against the hazy backdrop of the mist. Her golden eyes narrowed, the next targets in her sightline. There was no hint of hesitation, only the unwavering resolve of a girl on a mission.

    Their backs were pressed together, swords drawn, their every muscle taut with tension. Perfect, she thought, a sly grin tugging at the corners of her mouth. She pivoted, directing her full attention towards the trio, her mind whirring with a strategic plan to bring down all three in one swift, decisive move.

    Opening her left palm, she declared, [Silver Chain]. Her eyes, twin pools of molten gold, watched as her hand began to take on a silvery sheen. From it, a single link of a chain began to emerge, its metallic gleam echoing the radiance of her hand.

    With a determined tug from her right hand, dark as a moonless night, she pulled on the solitary link. Unlike before, where she had summoned a twelve-meter chain, she now drew forth a formidable twenty-meter-long length of chain.

    Lifting her arm, she locked her blazing gaze on the three knights. They stood, unknowing, in the foggy haze, soon to be the next targets of her decisive blow.

    With a slow, deliberate motion, Carmella began to twirl the chain above her head, her puffy white cloud of hair whipping around in the gusts stirred by the whirling metal. Like a silver cyclone, the chain began to pick up speed, creating an almost hypnotic whirlwind that belied the danger it posed.

    With a swift, precise flick of her wrist, she sent the chain hurtling towards the unsuspecting knights. They stood in their defensive formation, completely oblivious to the imminent attack, their vision obscured by the lingering mist.

    As the chain reached its targets, it looped around the three knights, coiling around them like a snake ensnaring its prey. Then, seemingly of its own accord, the chain constricted. The iron grasp of the silver chain locked them in place, their bodies frozen in a tableau of surprise and fear, the expressions of horror hidden behind the cold metal of their helmets from which their screams and shouts could still be heard.

    With an air of grim determination, she stepped out from the silver veil of the fog, revealing herself to the ensnared knights. The haunting echo of her footsteps against the dirt ground was the only sound that broke the eerie silence. Her eyes, a vibrant gold that rivaled the richness of the sunset, fixed on the trio with a cold, calculating gaze.

    Their pleas for mercy began to fill the air, words of desperation tumbling out in a frantic chorus. Their voices, laden with terror, rose in a desperate crescendo, their cries echoing in the quiet square. Yet, their pleas fell on her leaf-shaped ears like whispers in a storm, her expression unwavering, her heart hardened against their cries.

    Slowly, deliberately, she came to a stop in front of them, the distance between them just a mere whisper. Kneeling down, she gently placed her right hand on the ground, the dark ebony of her skin a stark contrast against the light brown dirt. With a voice as cold as a moonlight night, she uttered two words, [Midas Touch].

    Immediately, a trail of gold began to spread from her golden fingertips, spreading like a river of liquid sunlight along the ground. It raced towards the knights, its golden path a stark contrast to the dirt ground.

    As it reached the knights, the golden wave surged over their boots, quickly engulfing their bodies. A sense of dread, tangible as the mist itself, filled the air as their bodies began to transform. The silver sheen of their armor turned to gold, their flesh hardening, their screams silenced mid-cry as their lips turned into golden statues.

    Their horrified eyes were the last to transform, their final moments of terror forever immortalized in gold behind their helmets. What remained were three statues, knights encased in gold, their desperate pleas forever frozen on their gilded lips.

    Rising from her crouched position, Carmella straightened up, her form casting an eerie shadow against the golden statues. She looked around the square, her keen gaze scanning the misty surroundings. Her eyes, glowing with a golden hue, sought out the remaining knights in the mist, calculating their numbers.

    As she took in the nine opponents still left to confront, a frown began to etch itself on her face. The weight of time bore down on her, the invisible grains in an hourglass running out. I don't have much time, she thought to herself, the urgency of her task adding an edge to her thoughts. I have to move faster.

    In response to the mounting tension, she drew in a deep breath, filling her lungs with the damp, cool air. Then, slowly, she exhaled, allowing the stress of the moment to flow out of her. As her breath dissipated into the mist, her golden eyes sharpened, the frown smoothing out into a firm, resolute line. Her resolve, once again, hardened like the gold she wielded. She then retracted the chain back into her silver left hand, and afterwards her hand returned to normal.

    With a renewed sense of purpose, she moved away from the petrified knights, her form shifting and weaving through the mist like a ghost. Her pace quickened as she darted towards her next targets, her figure seeming to blur into the misty air. The mist masked her approach, her form a specter moving through the silver-gray mist.

    —~—~—​

    Navigating through the dense fog, Captain Londes's progress was punctuated by the rhythmic clinking of his armor with each step he took upon the soft, yielding earth. The muted sound echoed eerily through the fog, serving as an unwelcome reminder of his solitary journey through the mist.

    The further he delved, the less frequent were his encounters with the golden statues of his former comrades. An unnerving sight, yes, but a sight that gave him some semblance of understanding. It painted a picture of a formidable foe - a powerful magic caster - but a foe nonetheless. The golden statues were horrifying, but they made sense in a twisted way.

    However, the scene that unfolded before him now was one of inexplicable terror. Gone were the gold-encased knights. In their place lay the corpses of his comrades, strewn haphazardly across the dirt ground. No noble golden burial, only cold, merciless death. The soft earth beneath their still bodies had darkened into a sickly crimson, greedily absorbing the lifeblood seeping out from their wounds.

    Captain Londes's heart pounded in his chest as he took in the grim scene. Each man down was a comrade lost, a life snuffed out far too soon. The sight of the crimson-soaked earth served as a chilling testament to the merciless nature of their hidden enemy. The silent moment was interrupted only by the occasional gust of wind and Captain Londes's own labored breaths, the grim tableau painting a stark picture of the brutal reality of their situation.

    Kneeling on the blood-soaked earth, Captain Londes peered closely at one of the fallen, seeking any clues that could shed light on the adversary he was about to face. As he studied the gruesome wound that had claimed his comrade's life, a sense of dread crept into his heart. His eyes widened in stark shock, his mouth falling open at the macabre sight.

    The wound on the dead soldier was a brutal testament to the precision of the attacker. The blade had cut through the armor and chest as if it were butter, likely penetrating the heart and ensuring an instant death. The cut was frighteningly clean, almost surgical, and it chilled Londes to his core. The precision and ease of the cut pointed to a skilled opponent, one who not only excelled in melee combat but also wielded a magic weapon.

    Rising slowly to his feet, Londes surveyed the bloodbath that surrounded him. His face twisted into a grimace as he mentally counted the lifeless bodies. "Nine here, four before... that makes thirteen," he muttered, his voice barely more than a whisper in the thick, cloying mist. His heart lightened as he realized that among the fallen, the pale face of his comrade Belius was absent. "I would never miss his deathly pallor... where could he be?" he wondered aloud.

    A heavy sigh escaped his lips as he felt the weight of their dire situation. The odds were against him, significantly so. Yet, he forced himself to harden his resolve, to keep moving forward. He navigated around his fallen comrades, each step careful, deliberate. He ventured deeper into the mist, clinging onto the frayed threads of hope, ready to face whatever horrors awaited him in the gloom.

    —~—~—​

    As Carmella completed her task of restraining the knight captain who was lying on the ground using two 5-meter long [Silver Chains], wrapping them tightly around his arms and legs. Despite being armored just like the rest of his men, he bore himself differently, possessing a demeanor that even further defied the nobility traditionally associated with a knight than what she had already seen. His words were as harsh as a winter's gale, hurling insults such as "wretched demi-human filth", "trash", and "realm's garbage" towards her. Each one was a verbal slap, stinging her with their disdain and bigotry.

    She released a sigh of exasperation as his contemptuous rant continued. Listening to his demeaning tirade was taxing, like enduring a torrent of acid rain, yet it was information she needed. So, she steeled herself, her face remaining stoic, yet the flicker of disdain was undeniable in her eyes. Each insult reminded her of the obstacles she faced, but they also fueled her resolve to persevere.

    Rising to her feet, she stared down at the captive knight captain, her golden pupils hardened. Despite the malice in his words, she managed to keep a level head, focusing on the information she could extract rather than his unwarranted scorn.

    The incessant flow of insults from the knight captain eventually ebbed away as he perceived the resolute disregard radiating from her. Her plump, round face remained impervious, the piercing gaze of her golden eyes reflecting nothing but disdain.

    His pale face soon warped with interest as he began to take notice of her physical attributes—the curvature of her inky black body, the proportions of her bust. A salacious flicker ignited in his eyes as he unconsciously licked his lips, a perverse expression of lust adorning his features.

    This uninvited attention caught Carmella off guard. Her lips twisted in revulsion and she fought back the urge to gag. I have to make him spill his secrets quickly. I can't tolerate this repugnant behavior any longer, she mused, visibly disturbed by his lecherous stare.

    The captain finally broke the silence, his voice slithering through the air, "Demi-humans like you make perfect slaves. Your exotic allure would have every noble in the Theocracy emptying their coffers just for the privilege of owning you." He licked his lips again, his gaze drilling into her eyes with a reprehensible intent. With a vile grin, he added, "I'm sure a delightful creature like you would relish the idea of keeping the company of a distinguished noble such as myself."

    The indignation smoldering within her was on the brink of exploding. Her golden eyes morphed into fiery suns, ablaze with fury, while her round countenance twisted into an inferno of wrath. She understood the disgusting implications lacing his final words at the end of his horrid tangent, inciting a murderous intent that screamed for his demise—a tormenting end filled with agony and regret.

    Yet, Carmella was acutely aware that her personal desire for retribution paled in comparison to the necessity of unearthing the truth behind the attack on Carne Village. She quelled her surging anger, closing her eyes and drawing a deep, calming breath to regain control over her volatile emotions.

    As she inhaled, an idea sprouted in the recesses of her mind. It was a few words, a means to her end—a way to simultaneously silence the abhorrent being before her and glean the information she sought. An idea potent enough to impose a psychological torment befitting the knight captain, and extract the truth lurking in his rotten core.

    As her eyes flickered open, a slow exhale left her lips, melding with the hushed whispers of the enveloping mist. A hint of a smirk danced onto her features as she locked her fiery gaze with Belius's eyes. Her soft voice, steely and resolute, sliced through the heavy silence, "One would need legs, and if you want to keep yours, you'd do well to hold your tongue."

    Her words, laced with an undeniable threat, were not a bluff. This much was evident to Belius, his already pallid face blanched further in stark terror, lips sealing shut in a desperate bid to salvage his own well-being. His bravado, which held no substance to begin with, had evaporated into a chilling silence, his voice effectively muted for the foreseeable future.

    With a satisfied smile gracing her features, she elegantly pivoted on her heel, turning her back on the now silent knight. A triumphant sense of victory washed over her as she relished the blissful silence that followed her command. Now, she could afford to divert her attention towards locating the other captain, fervently hoping he would prove to be less detestable than the one she had already captured. Despite her hopeful wishes, however, a seed of doubt sprouted in the back of her mind, tempering her optimism with a streak of realism, as she sighed.

    A distant clattering of footsteps and the telltale chime of metal sent her ears twitching in response. Her gaze swiveled towards the source of the noise, revealing the final captain she needed to ensnare. His tan complexion set him apart from his comrades, his intense, black eyes boring into her with a murderous intent. His sword was unsheathed, poised for attack, while a robust shield stood at the ready.

    Reacting to the imminent threat, she dropped into a slight crouch, her powerful legs propelling her backwards. Upon landing, her heels gouged into the earth, the sudden deceleration raising a plume of dirt and creating a trailing scar across the terrain. Her evasive maneuver rendered Captain Londes momentarily stunned, his surprise mirroring on his face as he absorbed the spectacle before him.

    Regaining her footing, she straightened up, her hands stretching out in front of her. A mischievous smirk graced her lips as she uttered two ominous words, [Silver Chains]. As if heeding her command, her hands shimmered into a brilliant silver, a single chain link sprouting from the center of each palm. Seizing each chain link, she tugged sharply, unraveling twin five-meter chains from her metallic hands. With a deft twirl, she began to vertically spin the ends of the chains at her sides, their silvery lengths blurring into a mesmerizing dance of metal.

    All the while, her golden eyes never wavered from Captain Londes. A subtle shift in his expression was all she needed to confirm her advantage, the flicker of apprehension in his eyes silently broadcasting his concern.

    —~—~—​

    The fog, which had so thoroughly masked the dramatic conflict playing out within its depths, was gradually losing its grip on the portion of the village square it had overtaken. As the swirling tendrils began to dissipate, the captive villagers found themselves unable to maintain their previous composure. Their tense bodies rose from the ground, eyes wide with anticipation and fear, their focus fixated on the lingering mystery shrouded within the mist.

    Gradually, as the fog continued its retreat, the hazy outlines of human forms became discernible. The once intimidating figures of the knights now lay motionless, strewn haphazardly across the landscape. The once pristine armor now bore the undeniable evidence of battle and defeat, their bodies reduced to lifeless husks scattered across the battlefield and shockingly some of their bodies appeared encased in gold.

    At the sight of their fallen oppressors, the villagers' expressions shifted from shock to disbelief, their eyes reflecting the grim tableau unfolding before them. The once-fearsome knights, who had strutted about with such arrogant confidence, were now nothing more than corpses littering the battlefield, an eerie testament to the deadly struggle that had transpired within the fog.

    As the last vestiges of mist evaporated, the villagers' gaze landed on a solitary figure emerging from the fading fog. It looked to be a female demi-human sheep, her stance emanating victorious determination. In stark contrast to the knights strewn about the ground, she appeared untouched by the conflict, her white dress unsullied by the battle.

    To the villagers' further shock, the knight captains, once proud and commanding, now lay immobilized at her feet. Their limbs were bound by glistening silver chains, their bodies sprawled helplessly on the ground. The sight was a powerful declaration of their savior’s prowess and the villagers, having witnessed this dramatic turnaround, were left awestruck.

    The villagers could barely contain their reactions, a torrent of mixed emotions surging within them. They could scarcely believe the sight before them, their oppressors defeated, and their unlikely savior standing triumphant amid the chaos. A few gasps echoed among them, their eyes darting from the fallen knights to Carmella, struggling to comprehend the swift and decisive reversal of fortunes.

    —~—~—​
    Author Notation: If you've made it this far, I hope your interest in the narrative has grown and you're eager to know how it continues; in any case, have a wonderful day.
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2023
  6. Threadmarks: Chapter 3-The Calm Before The Storm
    Epic Cheeze

    Epic Cheeze Your first time is always over so quickly, isn't it?

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    Enri and Nemu huddled together in the dim corner of a rustic village home, their bottoms pressed against the coarse wooden floorboards. A table, hastily flipped on its side, served as their makeshift barricade, a thin line of defense against an uncertain world outside. The room was steeped in a heavy silence, punctuated only by the soft whisper of a breeze that meandered through the cracks in the walls, as if nature itself were holding its breath.

    Enri's face was a portrait of tension, her brows knitted together in a delicate dance of worry and fear. A frown, subtle yet unmistakably present, carved its way onto her features. Her thoughts raced, each one a fleeting shadow that darkened her mind, I pray they don't find us. If they do, there ain't no place left to hide. We'll be trapped like rats with no way out. This grim realization deepened her frown, pulling her further into a vortex of anxiety.

    Her gaze shifted downward, landing on her younger sister, Nemu, who was nestled securely in the crook of her right arm. Nemu was quiet, a child clinging to the illusion of safety provided by her sister's embrace. Her eyes were downcast, their focus anchored to the floor as if seeking answers from the wooden grains. A slight frown mirrored her sister's, etched onto her young face. Her thumbs twiddled aimlessly, a small act of rebellion against the oppressive weight of time that seemed to stretch infinitely before them.

    In that corner, behind their makeshift barricade, the two sisters existed in a bubble of suspended time, each lost in her own labyrinth of thoughts, anxiously awaiting what the future might hold.

    "Oi! Anybody still 'ere?!" The voice, tinged with a gruff urgency, shattered the silence like a stone through glass. The sudden shout jolted both sisters, causing Enri to snap her head up, her muscles tensing like a coiled spring. Instinctively, she pulled Nemu closer to her, as if her arms could serve as a fortress against the encroaching danger.

    The sound of footsteps intruded upon their sanctuary, each crunch of shoe against dirt reverberating like a drumbeat in their ears. The noise grew steadily louder, each step a haunting echo that seemed to close the distance between them and the unknown presence outside. The tension was palpable, a thick fog that filled the room and settled into their bones.

    Just then, Enri felt a tightening sensation around her midsection. Glancing down, she saw Nemu's arms wrapped tightly around her, her small hands clutching the fabric of Enri's simple, rural gown as if it were a lifeline. Nemu's head was buried in the crook of Enri's side, her posture a silent plea for safety and comfort.

    The sight was a bittersweet tableau that warmed Enri's heart even as it steeled her resolve. In that moment, her will crystallized into a singular, unyielding focus: to protect her little sister at all costs, no matter what dangers lurked beyond their makeshift hideaway. Just as this newfound determination solidified within her, another shout pierced the air.

    "All's clear now! Come on out! The fightin’s done!" The voice resonated through the air, loud and insistent, its proximity making the words reverberate as if they were in the very chamber. At the second call, a glimmer of hope ignited in both girls' eyes, casting away the darkness of fear if only for a moment.

    Almost instantaneously, Nemu unclasped her arms from around her older sister Enri, her heart swelling with an ineffable joy. A radiant smile spread across her face as she sprang to her feet, her words tumbling out in a rush. "Enri! We can go now! Miss Carmella beat them knights; we're safe!"

    As Nemu exuded exuberance, almost like a balloon on the verge of bursting with jubilant air, Enri remained anchored to the ground—both physically and emotionally. She stayed seated, her eyes veiled with skepticism and worry.
    Torvald's voice? If he's sayin' it's safe, maybe it's time to come out. But what if it's some trick? Seems too good, too easy. But then, Torvald's one of us, ain't he? He'd rather meet his end than turn on his own folk.

    These conflicting thoughts raced through Enri's mind like a tumultuous storm, the contradictory winds sculpting a pronounced frown onto her features. Her caution was a stark contrast to Nemu's buoyant optimism, yet it served as a necessary counterweight, a manifestation of the complex emotions swirling within her in that moment of supposed reprieve.

    Nemu's voice, tinged with a hint of worry, pierced the heavy silence. "You alright?" she asked, her words simple yet laden with genuine concern. The question acted like a gentle nudge, pulling Enri out of the depths of her introspection.

    For a moment, Enri had been lost, her thoughts spiraling in a maze of contemplation, her head bowed as if weighed down by the gravity of her musings. But Nemu's voice, clear and unwavering, acted as an anchor, drawing her back to the present.

    Lifting her head, Enri's gaze met Nemu's, which resembled deep pools of worry, reflecting the unease that had settled in the room. The grin that Nemu wore previously had faded, replaced by a delicate frown. It was clear that Nemu had picked up on Enri's hesitation to rise and the lingering cloud of concern that seemed to hover around her.

    With a swiftness that belied the weight of her thoughts, Enri replied, "I'm fine." Her words, though simple, were carefully chosen, an attempt to soothe the ripples of concern evident in her younger sister's eyes. Pushing herself up, she stood tall, trying to embody the strength she hoped to convey.

    Nemu's eyes, still shadowed with worry, searched Enri's face for any hint of deceit. "Ya sure?" she probed, her voice carrying the unmistakable tremor of concern that only a loved one could discern.

    Meeting her gaze, Enri responded, her voice soft yet firm, "I'm good, Nemu. No need for that worried look on yer face." As she spoke, the corners of her mouth turned upwards, crafting a gentle smile. Creating a beacon of reassurance in the dim room.

    The transformation in Nemu was almost instantaneous. The cloud of worry that had cast a shadow over her youthful face began to dissipate. In its place, a tentative smile emerged, growing in confidence with each passing second. Her voice, when she finally spoke, was infused with the bubbly enthusiasm characteristic of her age. "Ok," she chirped, the word ringing with a newfound lightness.

    With a newfound determination, Enri shifted her stance, turning her attention to the table that lay askew, its four legs reaching out like the limbs of a fallen giant. She approached it, her footsteps echoing softly in the room, each step a testament to her resolve. With a gentle yet firm push, she moved the table, its wooden side scraping against the floor in a grating symphony of wood against wood. The sound was jarring, a stark reminder of the chaos that had unfolded in this once-peaceful abode littered with debris.

    Lowering her gaze, Enri's eyes met Nemu's. The younger girl's face still bore the remnants of her recent smile, a beacon of innocence amidst the surrounding gloom.
    Their hands found each other, fingers intertwining in a silent pact of solidarity. The warmth of Nemu's hand served as a comforting anchor for Enri, a tangible reminder of the bond they shared.

    As they began their journey towards the exit, their feet tread softly on the floor, now marred by dark, ominous pools. The crimson stains bore silent witness to the tragedy that had befallen the household. Each step they took was a poignant reminder of the vibrant life that once pulsed within these walls, now replaced by the chilling aftermath of violence. The once lively village home, with its laughter and love, was now overshadowed by the haunting echoes of a tragedy that had left its indelible mark.

    With each step they took, the weight of uncertainty pressed heavily upon Enri's shoulders. Their hands, intertwined, became a lifeline of shared hope and trepidation. As they moved forward, Enri's mind was a whirlwind of thoughts, each one punctuated by the rhythmic cadence of their footsteps. She clung to the hope that the worst was behind them, that the storm of battle had passed and left in its wake a semblance of peace. Carmella's promise echoed in her mind, a beacon of assurance in these trying times. Had she truly done all in her power to shield their village from further harm?

    A quiet sigh, almost imperceptible, escaped Enri's lips, a testament to the weight of her thoughts. The sight of the front door loomed ahead, a gateway between the safety of their hiding place and the uncertainties of the world outside. Positioning herself protectively in front of Nemu, Enri reached out with her left hand, her fingers wrapping around the cool metal handle of the door. She took a deep, steadying breath, the air filling her lungs before she exhaled slowly, trying to quell the rising tide of anxiety within her.

    With a gentle yet firm tug, she pulled the door towards her. The age-old hinges groaned in protest, their creaking a haunting melody that seemed to resonate with the uncertainty of the moment. The door swung open, revealing the world beyond. Taking one last glance at her sister, whose eyes mirrored her own mix of hope and apprehension, Enri stepped over the threshold, ready to confront whatever awaited them in the vast expanse of the unknown.

    Emerging from the confines of the building, the vast expanse of the village stretched out before them. The once-bustling homes now stood eerily silent, their empty windows like hollow eyes bearing witness to the desolation. The atmosphere was thick with a palpable stillness, as if the very air held its breath, mourning the vibrant life that once thrived in these streets.

    Suddenly, the quiet was shattered by the rhythmic pounding of footsteps, growing louder and more insistent with each passing second. Enri and Nemu, their senses heightened by recent events, instinctively turned towards the source of the sound, their bodies tensing in anticipation.

    But before they could fully process the situation, they found themselves enveloped in a warm, tight embrace. The familiar scent of the young man, a mix of earth and sweat, was immediately comforting. Pulling back slightly, they were met with a face that was a tapestry of relief and concern. His skin, kissed by the sun, framed a pair of pale green eyes that shimmered with unshed tears. A hint of stubble graced his chin, giving him a rugged charm.

    "I'm glad y'all are both okay," he choked out, his voice thick with emotion. As he spoke, tears carved their way down his cheeks, each droplet a testament to the depth of his relief and the bond they shared.

    Enri gently extricated herself from the embrace, her posture a mix of exasperation and relief. "Ya could've been a tad gentler with that bear hug, you know," she remarked, her voice carrying a playful hint of annoyance. Yet, the soft smile that played on her lips betrayed her true feelings. It was a smile that spoke of gratitude, of the comfort found in familiar arms, and the realization that some of her fears had been unfounded.

    Torval, his face a canvas of raw emotion, chuckled sheepishly. "I couldn't help it," he admitted, his voice tinged with a mix of guilt and relief. "When I couldn't see the pair of ya after them brutes herded us up like we was just sheep for the butcher, I got right proper worried." He paused, taking a moment to collect himself, his fingers brushing away the tears that had carved a path down his sun-kissed cheeks.

    Drawing a deep breath, he looked at them both, his gaze intense and unwavering. "I'm just... mighty glad you both are in one piece," Torval confessed, his words heavy with the weight of unspoken fears and the joy of reunion. Nemu's voice, bright and filled with youthful exuberance, broke through the heavy atmosphere. "We're right chuffed to see ya in one piece, Uncle Torvald," she chirped, her words carrying the innocent warmth of a child's affection.

    The title 'Uncle Torvald' seemed to hang in the air for a moment, like a note played slightly off-key. Torvald's reaction was almost immediate. He let out a deep, resigned sigh, his eyelids briefly fluttering shut as if to shield himself from the weight of the title. When they opened again, they were fixed on Nemu, a hint of annoyance dancing in their depths.

    "Nemu," he began, his voice carrying a mock sternness,"How many times I gotta tell ya? I ain't yer uncle. Just a good mate of yer Pa, that's all." He hoped his statement would finally make the distinction stick in the young girl's mind.

    In response, Nemu's face transformed into the epitome of childish indignation. Her fist balled and her cheeks ballooned out in an exaggerated pout, making her look like a disgruntled chipmunk. The sight was so endearing that Enri couldn't help but release a soft, melodic chuckle. The moment was punctuated by Torvald's voice, tinged with genuine curiosity, "Where's yer folks? Didn't see em’ when they rounded us up." His words, though casual, carried an undercurrent of concern, a subtle acknowledgment of the gravity of their situation.

    Nemu, her cheeks now deflated and her face illuminated by an innocent grin, responded with a carefree lilt, "Dunno, but Enri might. She was with 'em last." Her words, spoken with the unburdened optimism of youth, seemed to hang in the air, waiting for confirmation.

    Both Torvald and Nemu instinctively turned their gazes to Enri, seeking answers. But the weight of the question, and the memories it dredged up, hit Enri like a tidal wave. The realization crashed over her: Nemu was blissfully unaware of the grim fate that had befallen their parents, taken from them in a brutal act by those merciless knights.

    Enri's face, which moments ago had been animated with warmth and laughter, now drained of all color. It was as if she had been plunged into a chilling void, every ounce of warmth and joy sucked out of her. Her eyes now mirrored the haunting images that played in her mind, a reel of the unspeakable horrors she had witnessed. The weight of the truth, and the burden of bearing it, threatened to crush her, leaving her trapped in a moment of paralyzing realization. The transformation in Enri was impossible to miss.

    Both Torvald and Nemu saw the profound shift in her demeanor. Torvald's eyes, which were so steady and unflappable, now bore the unmistakable glint of concern. They narrowed slightly, as if trying to pierce through the veil of Enri's emotions and understand the depth of her pain. A subtle frown creased his brow, adding years to his face, as he ventured cautiously, "Yer folks... they get hurt in that ruckus?"

    Enri's response was a struggle, a battle between the devastating truth and the protective instinct of an older sibling. "They're... they're..." The words, heavy and suffocating, lodged in her throat, refusing to emerge. She couldn't bring herself to voice the harrowing reality, knowing that uttering it would shatter Nemu's fragile bubble of hope.

    As the weight of the unspoken truth bore down on her, Enri's defenses crumbled. Her eyes, windows to her tormented soul, welled up with tears. In mere moments, they overflowed, cascading down her cheeks in a torrent of grief. The ground beneath her seemed to shift, and she found herself sinking to her knees, the cool earth offering little solace. Her heartbreak was twofold: the agonizing loss of her parents and the impending devastation of Nemu's youthful innocence. The world around her blurred, consumed by the storm of her emotions, as she mourned not just for the past, but for the innocence that would soon be lost.

    In the midst of Enri's heart-wrenching sorrow, Nemu, with the innate innocence and compassion of a child, wrapped her small arms around her sister's trembling form. It was a gesture as pure as it was instinctual, an attempt to shield her beloved sister from the storm of emotions that raged within her. Yet, despite Nemu's embrace, Enri's sobs continued, each one echoing the depth of her pain.

    Nemu's voice, soft and tinged with worry, broke through the veil of Enri's grief. "What's the matter, big sis? C'mon, tell me. How can I help make it right?" Her words, though simple, were a poignant plea.

    But Enri's anguish seemed impenetrable, her sobs drowning out Nemu's earnest entreaties. As the tears streamed down her face, a battle raged within her. Should she shield Nemu from the brutal truth, wrapping her in a comforting lie? Or should she unveil the harsh reality, shattering her sister's innocence?

    As the moments ticked by, a clarity began to emerge from the fog of Enri's emotions. She realized that, while the truth was a bitter pill to swallow, Nemu deserved to know. The inevitability of the truth's revelation weighed heavily on Enri's heart. She knew that delaying it would only prolong the inevitable pain.

    Gradually, the torrent of Enri's tears began to ebb. Her sobs subsided, replaced by ragged breaths. Her eyes, now reddened and swollen from the outpouring of grief, glistened with the remnants of her tears. With a shaky hand, she wiped away the last traces of her sorrow, steeling herself for the task ahead. A resolute thought took root in her mind, I gotta tell 'er. It's only right. No matter how hard it is, she's owed the truth.

    The weight of the moment that followed hung heavily in the air, a palpable tension that seemed to mute the world around them.

    Enri took a deep breath, her chest rising and falling with the effort. The words she needed to utter weighed heavily on her tongue, a burden she wished she didn't have to bear. She looked into Nemu's eyes, those pools of innocence that still held a glimmer of hope, and felt a pang of sorrow. "Nemu," she began, her voice trembling, "Them knights... they... they took ma and pa... they ain't comin' back, ever."

    The world seemed to stand still. The revelation hung in the air, a dark cloud casting a shadow over Nemu's heart. The young girl's face, which moments ago held the soft glow of innocence and concern, crumpled. Her eyes, wide with disbelief, began to glisten with the onset of tears. A choked sob escaped her lips, the sound echoing the shattering of her young heart.

    Enri, despite the tempest of her own grief, instinctively wrapped her arms around Nemu. She pulled her close, their bodies melding together in a cocoon of shared sorrow. "I'm sorry, Nemu," Enri whispered, her voice thick with tears. "I wish I could've kept this hurt from ya."

    Nemu buried her face in Enri's chest, her sobs muffled by the fabric of her sister's dress. The weight of the truth bore down on them, but in that moment, their bond was unbreakable. Enri, even in the throes of her own grief, became a pillar of strength for her younger sister. She stroked Nemu's hair, murmuring words of comfort, trying to soothe the raw edges of her sister's pain.

    The world around them continued its march, but for the two sisters, time seemed to stand still. In the face of unspeakable tragedy, they found solace in each other, a testament to the unyielding bond of sisterhood.

    —~—~—

    Carmella had moved both of her captives to a secluded spot between some village homes, away from prying eyes and curious ears. Their bodies were still chained, lying upon the dirt, defeated but not yet broken. She took a moment to assess them, her eyes sharp and calculating.

    The perverted prick's face was frozen in a ghastly expression, his eyes staring blankly into nothingness. Carmella couldn't help but smirk at the sight of him. From their earlier interactions, she knew he was weak-willed and would easily break under pressure. His fear was palpable, and she felt a surge of confidence knowing that she could use it to her advantage.

    But then her attention shifted to the other captive, and her smirk faded into a frown. His eyes were black, his face slightly tanned, but it was his expression that caught her attention. There was a determined defiance in his gaze, almost piercing in its intensity. His face was set in a resolute mask, his eyes unflinching and unyielding.

    He'll definitely be a problem based on his demeanor, she thought, her mind already working through potential strategies. At least I now know who to interrogate first.

    Her emotions were a complex mix of anticipation, determination, and a hint of frustration. She knew that the information she needed was within reach, but extracting it would be a challenge. The first captive would likely crumble easily, but the second would require more effort, more skill.

    With a final, lingering look at her captives, she steeled herself for the task ahead. Carmella's attention returned to the first captive. She kneeled down in front of him, her eyes narrowing into slits of golden determination. Her voice, firm and commanding, cut through the silence like a blade. "Hey, listen up!" she shouted, her tone leaving no room for argument. "You're going to tell me everything you know about the attack. Don't even think about lying to me. I'll know if you do."

    Her words were more than a threat; they were a promise, delivered with a confidence that sent a shiver down the captive's spine. Belius looked up at her, his eyes wide and filled with terror. Her face was stern, unyielding, her golden eyes piercing into his very soul.

    His response was almost a whimper, a broken acknowledgment of her power over him. "Okay," he stammered, his voice barely above a whisper.

    Her expression didn't soften, but something in her eyes shifted, a flicker of satisfaction at his submission. She knew that she had him, that he would tell her what she needed to know. she prepared to delve into his mind, ready to uncover the secrets that lay hidden there. Her heart was steady, her resolve unbreakable. She was on a path to the truth, and nothing would stand in her way.

    Belius's voice was low, trembling with fear, yet the words he spoke were clear and filled with significance. "I'm Belius, a knight of the Slane Theocracy," he began, his eyes darting to Carmella's, seeking some sign of mercy. "We were given orders to attack this village and others indiscriminately to lure out Gazef Stronoff, the Warrior Captain of the Re-Estize Kingdom, into a trap."

    Her mind raced as she absorbed his confession, her thoughts a whirlwind of realization and concern. Based on how many lines its government and people are willing to cross, Slane Theocracy is a place I should avoid at all costs. I have a hunch this 'Warrior Captain' he's talking about is a high-level military figure in Re-Estize, one the theocracy wants out of the way.

    Her eyes never left Belius's face, her expression unyielding as she prompted him to continue. He seemed to understand that there was no escape, no reprieve from the truth.

    "We also donned the garb of Baharuth knights," he added, his voice breaking slightly, "to further inflame the tensions between the two kingdoms."

    The weight of his words hung in the air, a stark testament to the depths of deception and manipulation at play. Carmella felt a chill run down her spine, a cold realization of the complexity of the situation she had stumbled into.

    Belius's voice trailed off, his confession complete, leaving a heavy silence in its wake. Carmella's eyes remained fixed on him, searching for any hint of deception. "Is that all?" she asked, her voice sharp and demanding.

    He met her gaze, his eyes hollow and defeated. "Yes," he whispered, the word barely more than a breath.

    Still kneeling, her heels firmly planted in the ground, Carmella turned her head to face the other knight she had captured. Her tone was serious, her words deliberate as she asked, "Do you have anything else to add?"

    She studied his face, noting the subtle shift in his expression. The defiance was gone, replaced by a look of disappointment. His lips were slightly downturned, almost as if he were about to sigh, resigned to an outcome he had known was inevitable. "No," he replied in a flat tone, his eyes looking down, avoiding Carmella's penetrating gaze.

    As she turned back to face Belius, a smirk formed on her face, a triumphant acknowledgment of a job well done. This interrogation went rather well, she thought, a spark of satisfaction igniting within her. But the spark quickly dimmed as the gravity of what she had learned settled in. This continent I'm on is a much more dangerous place than I realized. A slight frown creased her brow, her mind already racing ahead to the challenges that lay before her.

    Still, these villagers need help now. I'll worry about what I've learned later. Her thoughts crystallized into resolve, and a determined expression replaced the frown on her face. She knew what needed to be done next, both to help the villagers and to ensure that the knights were held accountable for their actions.

    Carmella's eyes were cold and unyielding as she placed her right hand upon Belius's head. Her voice was a whisper, but it carried the weight of judgment as she intoned, [Midas Touch].

    She watched, her expression impassive, as a golden trail spread from his head, down his torso, coating his legs, until finally, he was completely encased in gold. The transformation was both beautiful and terrible, a fitting end for a man who had betrayed his humanity.

    Rising to her feet, she turned her body to face the last knight, her movements deliberate and controlled. She walked towards him, her footsteps echoing in the silence, before stopping in front of him and kneeling down to render the same fate upon him.

    But as she did so, the knight's voice broke through the stillness, defiant and filled with rage. "The theocracy will render judgment upon one such as you who stands against the will of the six great gods," he spat, his words a venomous curse. "Mark my words, yo—"

    He never got to finish. In that moment, Carmella's hand found his head, her touch as inexorable as fate itself. His last cry of defiance was cut short, silenced forever by the golden embrace that claimed him.

    Carmella's face remained composed, and with a final, lingering look at the golden statues that had once been her enemies, she rose on her feet as she turned away, her mind already focused on the task ahead. But the echoes of the knights' defiance lingered in her mind, a haunting reminder of the complex and dangerous land she had found herself in.
    —~—~—

    Later in the morning, the vast expanse of the grassy plains echoed with the rhythmic cadence of hundreds of hooves pounding the earth. Each clop was a testament to the urgency that propelled the soldiers onward, a symphony of determination that resonated across the landscape. The horizon was painted with the silhouettes of horseback riders, their forms casting long shadows that danced with the undulating grass beneath.

    This was no mere band of travelers; it was a formidable army, albeit a small one. Fifty men strong, they moved with a singular purpose, a shared goal that bound them together. Their armor, a blend of supple leather and gleaming metal, caught the sun's rays, making them shimmer like a river of steel. Each soldier's head was protected by a leather helm, its design simple yet functional, crowned with a dark brown band that circled its top like a halo of authority.

    Yet, amidst this sea of uniformity, one figure stood out. Positioned at the vanguard of the platoon, he was a beacon of leadership. His commanding posture set him apart from the rest. While the others rode with the weight of duty, he rode with the weight of responsibility, the mantle of leadership evident in every gesture, every glance. His presence at the forefront wasn't just a matter of rank; it was a symbol of his role as the guiding force, the compass that directed the army's march forward. In a world of warriors, he was the chosen leader, steering his men toward a destiny only he could envision.

    Locks of meticulously groomed black hair cascaded blowing softly in the wind, each strand bearing testament to a man who took pride in his appearance even amidst the chaos of war. The sun, in its relentless brilliance, kissed his skin, deepening its hue to a rich tan that spoke of countless hours spent under open skies. His face, though chiseled by the rigors of numerous battles, was remarkably unmarred. No jagged scars criss crossed his skin, no tales of close encounters etched into his flesh. Instead, subtle wrinkles, like delicate etchings on a canvas, hinted at the passage of time and the weight of experience.

    His eyes, however, were the most telling feature. Dark as the night, they were deep wells of emotion and memory. Within those inky depths lay the haunting reflections of countless skirmishes, of blood spilled not for personal glory, but for the love of his homeland. They had witnessed the sacrifices of commoners, the pettiness of nobles, and the burdens shouldered by royalty. Every battle, every loss, every victory was imprinted in those eyes, making them windows to a soul that had seen the very best and worst of humanity in the name of duty and honor.

    Adorning his robust frame was an intricately crafted metal chest plate, its gleaming surface reflecting the sun's rays with an almost ethereal glow. Diagonally across this armor, two vibrant red bands trimmed with shimmering gold intersected, creating a striking X-like pattern. These were anchored with an additional metal piece.

    His shoulders were shielded by pauldrons, their formidable appearance softened slightly by the bands of rich crimson that adorned their lower edges. Extending down his arms, metal bracers encased his forearms, their cool, hard surface contrasting with the supple leather gloves that protected his hands.

    Around his waist, a black belt with a sturdy metal buckle held his light brown leather pants securely in place. This primary belt was accompanied by two others, both of a deep, passionate red. These secondary belts served a dual purpose: not only did they add a touch of color to his ensemble, but they also held together the metal tassets that shielded his thighs, ensuring they moved seamlessly with him in the heat of battle.

    Completing his battle attire, metal knee pads protected the vulnerable joints, their design both functional and aesthetically pleasing. Below, his feet were encased in rugged dark brown boots, their worn appearance hinting at the many miles they had traversed and the many battles they had weathered alongside their owner.

    As he galloped alongside his loyal men, the horizon began to reveal its secrets. From afar, the faint silhouettes of village homes emerged, their outlines painted against the vast backdrop of the sky. The smoke from burning village homes was absent, this brought a hint of a smile to his lips as it hopefully meant the village was safe from attack.

    However, as the distance between him and the village dwindled, details that were once obscured by distance began to sharpen. The entrance of the village, usually a simple gateway into the community, now held two figures. Both stood with a purpose, but one of them, even from this distance, piqued his interest immensely.
    But he wasn’t the only one, a soldier, his voice deep and rough like gravel underfoot, broke the rhythmic cadence of their march with a question that dripped with incredulity. "Am I the only one seein’, what I think I’m seein’?" he began his tone filled with genuine curiosity. "Does that not appear to be a sheep, of all creatures, donning what seems to be... a dress?" The very idea seemed so outlandish, so utterly unexpected, that even in the midst of their mission, it demanded a moment of shared wonder.

    From the ranks, another soldier's voice emerged, contrasting starkly with the gruffness of the first. This voice was mellow, like the gentle strumming of a lute on a quiet evening. "Indeed," he began, his tone laced with a hint of wonder, "I too am seeing the same sight." He paused, narrowing his eyes, trying to discern the details of the peculiar vision before them. The world around seemed to blur momentarily as he focused intently on the distant figure. "And if my eyes aren't playing tricks on me," he continued, a note of astonishment creeping into his voice, "it appears that our wooly friend isn't just content with a dress. Those, my comrades, look strikingly like heels she's sporting. And not just any heels," he added, drawing out the suspense, "they shimmer and gleam as if forged from pure gold." The very notion seemed to hang in the air, a delightful absurdity amidst the routine of their march.

    In the midst of this collective astonishment, a figure distinguished himself from the ranks, though his armor bore the same design as the rest. Strands of rich brown hair, unrestrained by the confines of a helmet, danced freely in the wind, catching the sun's rays and shimmering with every gust. With purpose in his stride, he maneuvered his steed skillfully, positioning himself alongside the squadron's leader.

    "Captain," he began, his voice carrying an undertone of urgency that demanded attention. "Regarding that Demi-human... though I have read a little about their kinds, yet never have I come across mention of one resembling a sheep. Do you reckon she might be connected to the recent disturbances in the village?" His eyes, sharp and probing, sought answers, reflecting the weight of his concern.

    The captain, upon hearing his vice's query, turned his gaze in the direction of his vice captain. His face, usually a mask of stoic determination, now bore a contemplative expression. Lines of thought etched his forehead as he pondered the implications of this unexpected encounter.

    The captain, after a moment of deep contemplation, finally broke the silence. His voice, a harmonious blend of authority and uncertainty, carried both the weight of leadership and the humility of not having all the answers. "Truth be told," he began, his tone slightly roughened by countless battles and commands, "I'm as much in the dark as you are. But we must remain vigilant. With time, the mysteries before us will hopefully unravel once we arrive."

    The vice-captain, absorbing the wisdom in the captain's words, gave a solemn nod of understanding. His gesture was one of both respect and acknowledgment of the shared responsibility they bore. With that silent exchange, he turned his gaze forward, the vast expanse of the journey ahead filling his vision.

    The captain, watching the shift in his vice-captain's focus, did the same. The immediate mystery of the Demi-human might have been intriguing, but their primary mission loomed large: reaching the village and making sure its people were safe.
    —~—~—

    Amidst the backdrop of the village's entrance, she stood with an imposing presence, the heels of her shoes embedding themselves into the earth as if drawing strength from it. Beside her, the village chief stood, both of them forming a united front.

    Their eyes, filled with a mix of anticipation and concern, were fixed on the horizon where the outlines of the approaching army grew clearer with each passing second. Twin frowns, etched deep with worry, adorned their faces, revealing the weight of the moment.

    Carmella's mind raced, a whirlwind of thoughts and concerns. Could these be reinforcements? If they are, defending the village might be beyond even my capabilities. And their leader... Her gaze zeroed in on the figure at the forefront of the army, a man who exuded an aura of strength and authority. He seems formidable. I hope they aren’t hostile, she silently implored.

    As these thoughts swirled in her mind, her frown deepened, casting a shadow over her striking golden eyes. Those eyes, now narrowed with intensity, remained unwaveringly fixed on the approaching party, especially the leader who seemed to command the very air around him.

    The ambient noise of the plains was soon overtaken by the cacophony of hooves beating against the ground, reins snapping, and the occasional restless neigh of a horse. The majority of the soldiers reined in their mounts, forming a perimeter just outside the village. Yet, a select group, no more than five men, continued their advance. Their faces, a mosaic of stoicism, betrayed just a hint of apprehension. At the helm was the captain, his every move radiating confidence.

    In what felt like an eternity but was merely moments, the small contingent came to a halt right before Carmella and the village chief, the tension in the air palpable. With a posture that exuded authority and a voice that commanded attention, the captain began, "I am Gazef Stronoff, the Chief Royal Warrior of the Re-Estize Kingdom. By the decree of our sovereign king, I am here to extend aid to this village."

    As the weighty proclamation settled in the air, Gazef keenly observed the two figures before him. The transformation was almost palpable. The sheep Demi-human, who had previously been a picture of wary anticipation, seemed to relax, her once taut shoulders dropping slightly her gaze had become softer as well.

    Beside her, the village chief's face, which had been etched with lines of worry, now softened. The furrows on his brow smoothed out, and the corners of his mouth turned up ever so slightly, hinting at a smile of relief. It was as if an oppressive cloud of anxiety had been lifted, replaced by the first rays of hope.

    This visible shift in demeanor spoke volumes to Gazef. It hinted that the mysterious Demi-human, though an enigma, was not an adversary. Whether she would prove to be an ally was a question that lingered in the air, waiting to be answered.

    Allowing his gaze to sweep over the village briefly, Gazef then turned his attention back to the man beside the Demi-human. "You lead this village, I presume?" he inquired.

    With a nod, the chief affirmed, "I do."

    Intrigued, Gazef's eyes darted to the Demi-human, his curiosity evident. "And who might this individual be?"

    The chief's voice swelled with gratitude as he replied, "This is Carmella. To her, both I and every surviving soul in this village owe a profound debt. She stood as our defender, our shield against the malevolent knights who sought to bring us harm."

    With a fluid grace that belied his armored form, Gazef swung his leg over the saddle and descended from his horse. The sound of his boots meeting the earth was a solid, reassuring thud, echoing the weight of the moment. Each step he took towards Carmella was deliberate, the ground beneath him seeming to acknowledge the importance of this meeting.

    Stopping just a breath away from her, Gazef extended his arm, his hand open and inviting. It was a gesture of camaraderie, a universal sign of gratitude and respect. For a split second, a flicker of surprise danced in Carmella's eyes, as if she hadn't expected such a gesture from the Chief Royal Warrior himself. But it was fleeting, replaced by understanding.

    As their hands met in a firm shake, Gazef's voice, deep and sincere, broke the silence. "Your actions have been a beacon of hope for this village. I extend my heartfelt gratitude."

    Carmella's reply was soft, her tone gentle yet filled with conviction. "I'm glad I could be of service." The words, simple as they were, carried the weight of her commitment and the depth of her compassion. A surge of elation bubbled within Carmella, her heart fluttering like the wings of a butterfly caught in the first rays of dawn. This is great! she mused internally. *To have forged an alliance with someone as influential as Gazef Stronoff, the Chief Royal Warrior of the Re-Estize Kingdom, is beyond my wildest expectations.

    She pondered the potential implications of this newfound alliance. Gazef, with his esteemed position, would undoubtedly have access to a vast network of resources, intelligence, and contacts throughout the kingdom. Could he be the key to finding my dear sister, Fey? she wondered. With his aid, perhaps I can finally trace her whereabouts and, in time, find our way back home.

    These hopeful thoughts, swirling and intertwining in her mind, felt like a warm embrace, dispelling the cold shadows of uncertainty that had lingered for so long. As these feelings swelled within her, she gently withdrew her hand from Gazef's firm grip, her eyes shining with a renewed sense of purpose and optimism.

    The sun hung high in the sky, casting a golden hue over the village. Gazef and Carmella, having just solidified their newfound alliance, stood in the village square, the weight of their handshake still lingering in the air.
    Suddenly, a frantic rustling echoed through the village entrance. A scout, clad in the same armor as Gazef's men, burst forth, his chest heaving and sweat dripping from his brow. His eyes darted around the square until they locked onto Gazef.

    "Captain Stronoff!" he called out, urgency evident in his voice. "We have a situation. An unknown army has encircled the village. Their numbers are vast, and their intentions unclear."

    Gazef remained a pillar of calm amidst the rising tide of anxiety. His eyes, sharp and assessing, met the scout's. "How much time do we have?"

    The scout swallowed hard, "Not much, Captain. They're closing in."

    Gazef took a deep breath, steadying himself. He turned to Carmella, his gaze unwavering. "Carmella," he began, his voice firm yet respectful, "I understand that you've already done so much for this village. But I must ask, in this dire hour, can we count on your aid once more?"

    Carmella, standing tall and resolute, met Gazef's gaze head-on. The weight of the situation was not lost on her, but neither was her determination. With a confident nod and a voice that rang clear and strong, she replied, "You have my word, Captain Stronoff. I will stand by this village and its people."

    Gazef's lips curled into a grateful smile, the bond between them strengthening with each passing moment. Together, they would face the looming threat, united in purpose and determination.
    —~—~—​
    Author Notation:I apologize for the late update as I have become very busy with college, though hopefully, I'll be able to release a new chapter on a bi-weekly basis. I hope you enjoyed the chapter and are ready for the next one, and as always have a great day.​
     
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