Knight Apprentice’s Journal
Sun knight diary, day XX: If you lack in something, make up for it with something else.
My teacher had told me once, “Kid, it doesn’t matter if half of the continent doesn’t understand the way you speak, but no matter what, it is the duty of the sun knight to make his own platoon obey him properly.”
“If my platoon isn’t able to understand what I’m saying, how I’m supposed to make them follow my commands?” I asked seriously
As he kept on talking his face began to show worry, “Usually a platoon follows his captain, as they respects him for his strength and swordsmanship, however, your swordsmanship is rotten beyond salvation, you can’t use frenzy and you basically don’t have any redeeming points concerning the skills that a knight should possess”
The young me at the time couldn’t help but stare silently at him, I had barely ended his “falling with grace training” properly, so I didn’t dare to say anything that could upset my teacher. Besides I had no way to talk back, since not too long ago during one of my swords practices I was looking around dazedly, and seeing a mage’s practice I ended up learning the spell of paralysis, and the spell of smokescreen.
My teacher looked at me like I was a lost cause; I suspect that he still hated himself for not picking the other sun knight candidate. And seeing my face full of hope for answers for his advice, he coughed twice before saying “Oh well, it will be your responsibility as the Sun Knight to think of a way to make them respect you”
I waited outside of my teacher’s bedroom, and was about to knock when my teacher suddenly opened the door, then, after putting a finger over his mouth very gracefully, he signaled for me to follow him.
I followed, still doubtful, when I noticed that we were going out of the temple; then entering a very suspicious area as my teacher covered his face with a cloak.
“Where are we going?” I asked honestly.
“We are going to meet someone whom you must know before becoming a sun knight” replied my teacher softly.
“Is that person someone from the royalty?” I asked in a quieter voice
“No, that person doesn’t have any relation to the royal palace.”
“Then is that person a very important follower of the God of Light?” I asked, as I remember that, just like with the Judgment knight, there may be still some people in the Church of Light that the sun knight is supposed to befriend secretly.
‘You will see when you get there’ said his eyes, daring me speak again.
It was not too long afterwards that we entered a house that looked as no one had gone in for a few decades. The spider webs were so thick that they almost resembled a tattered white curtain. Then my teacher used his holy light and the whole place seemed to brighten, and as the evil dispersed, all the room was covered by a cloud of… pink?
I looked at my teacher, wondering what kind of person could have such a bad taste in decoration we were supposedly going to meet here.
“Teacher…”I began saying when a little girl came in sight, she was dressed as beautifully as a doll, her curly hair tied in a very cute way. Her dress was very girly and decorated, and in her hand she was holding what it seemed to be a strawberry lollipop. I was so shocked that it took me a while to realize that her skin also seemed to have a pink color.
“So this is your apprentice? He doesn’t seem to be impressive at all, you must have done a very lousy job.” said the girl in a patronizing tone that sounded somehow mature.
And it was with a slightly annoyed expression that my teacher replied “My apprentice may not be all that strong, but please look after him.”
I couldn’t believe my ears, after being insulted like that, how could my teacher let that slide? My teacher, who was even able to terrify a horse to not move with the strength of his voice, didn’t say anything back to her. I felt a chill go down my spine.
I looked around just to realize that my teacher was long gone, and I was left with this girl, who seemed scary enough for my teacher not to talk back… I was most likely done for.
A couple of minutes passed by and the girl just stood there, licking her lollipop as she looked at me doubtfully.
“Hey you” I asked, as my lack of patience became bigger than my fright, “What are you looking at?”
She sighed before saying “Your stance is very bad, and the way you carry your sword is all wrong! Are you really a Holy Knight apprentice? Your teacher sort of told me a couple of things about you, but I couldn’t quite believe that the man known as the strongest Sun Knight to date would run out of ideas as how to teach his apprentice some swordsmanship…”
“What can you do, then?” I challenged, a bit annoyed, “You’re just a girl, but my teacher just went along with everything you said…” and, feeling betrayed by my teacher, I asked “Who are you supposed to be, anyways?”
“I’m the necromancer hired by the church. I’m quite sure that your teacher has mentioned me before.”
What the hell could that teacher of mine possibly be thinking? How is a sun knight supposed to learn sword fighting from a necromancer?
The small, girl-like corpse, ‘Pink’, took me out of Leaf Bud City to a place that seemed to have a small pile of half-rotten corpses. Then she let go of my hand and started changing these corpses into undead. One by one they started standing up and, noticing my strange looks, she finally spoke.
“You are to fight all of them and you cannot use holy magic!” she told me as she called the first one to come close, “I know your sword skills suck, but I need to see to what extent.”
I was starting to get pissed off, yet as my teacher had told me before it was with the undead that the sun knight was supposed to let out his frustration. I held my sword high as the corpse came towards me and I attacked wildly, one slash after another, after another… ‘How many slashes will it take to stop moving around?’ thought the young me, getting slightly annoyed as I gave my all for almost an hour. And then, taking a step back, I tripped over the sheath of my sword, and as, seeing that I may be going to see the god of light from my mistake, I accidentally let out a paralysis spell. As soon as I saw that it stopped moving I charged ahead and with a swift movement I took off its head.
The young girl stared expressionlessly at me as she realized what just happened. “Did you just use magic to defeat that undead?” and before I had the chance to reply, she kept going, “You are supposed to be a knight, yet after making a fool out of yourself fighting with a half-rotten corpse that was not only unarmed but also missing a limb, for over an hour, and you even almost got slaughtered by it, you ended up using magic to win the fight!” she started looking hopeless at this point as she continued, “Has your teacher been giving you proper training? I heard that by now Judgment Knight’s apprentice has already become someone that can’t be matched by anyone, and all the others holy knights, even the Leaf Knight’s apprentice (who also has the duty of becoming a unmatched archer) has improved normally in these past three years.” I started feeling discouraged as she continued, “Yet you, who has being trained by such a skilled teacher, haven’t shown even the slightest improvement in this area! No wonder he asked me to help him with it. To think that he was raising a genius magician…”
I felt anger well up inside me, yet it was my duty to be the elegant Sun Knight, so I took a deep breath (I didn’t want to have another outburst for it could damage the Sun Knight’s reputation) “It is by the benevolence of the God of Light that bathes us, his children, that we can hear the whisperers of his wisdom and improve our ways,” I said with a super bright smile in a soft, dignified fashion.
“Well it looks that you are at least able to talk properly as the Sun Knight” I was feeling proud of myself until she added “I didn’t understand one word that you said. Please talk normally from now on,” she said disdainfully, and, giving a lick of her pink strawberry lollipop, she continued, “I have being contracted by the church for more than a hundred years. And let me tell you that as a Sun Knight you have no obligation to speak like that to me,”
‘More than a hundred years? How old is this person anyway?’ I thought, disbelieving. My teacher already told me that this necromancer was a corpse, but then even if the holy knights are not supposed to be friendly with the undead, this one seemed to be an exception. I started talking normally with her, though.”I’m willing to hear any advice that you can give me about my swordsmanship, but… Have you ever fought with a sword?”
“Fighting with a sword?” said the little corpse, almost disdainfully, while tilting her head before replying matter-of-factly: “I’m a necromancer, why would I use something as dull as a sword?”
I started to doubt my teacher’s judgment at this point. “Then how are you supposed to help me improve?”
“I’ll kindly help you out by building up your strength… by any means necessary.” I couldn’t help but feel touched at that, completely oblivious to the suggestive undertone in her voice.
Before I knew what I was getting into I was wearing a pink, heart-shaped apron, a pink mop in my hands, (I had no idea that a mop could ever be pink colored). I then found myself cleaning the floor. Completely shocked at the unusual request, I had already cleaned half of the house before coming back to my senses. “Why am I mopping the floor?”
“Because it was dirty,” she replied simply.
“What about the training?” I practically shouted as she happily kept licking that stupid lollipop like there was no tomorrow.
“What about it?”
“What do you think I’ve been here all week for? And yet the only thing that you do is order me around to do stupid things, I haven’t had the sightless improvement since we started!” I snapped grudgingly, “We have done pretty much nothing for days!”
“What are you implying? After you destroyed those corpses on the first day, it turns out that your teacher, who has no talent handling money, had no way to repay me for my troubles. You being only a trainee, he couldn’t ask the church to pay for the corpses as a work fee. Even worse are the ones you accidentally destroyed with that insanely strong holy magic of yours… You should just be thankful that I didn’t make you pay for the extra trouble you gave me.” She complained like this for a few more moments, before finally finishing off with one last, absent-minded comment. “I can’t help but be worried for the day Neo retires… He’ll probably be dirt poor and will have to spend the rest of his days working just to get enough money for food…”
I nodded at that, I also have yet to figure how a person who can be so strong and scary could also be so careless with his money. So much so that even his adoptive mother, the queen, couldn’t teach him how to handle his money a little better.
It was getting late and I motioned to go back to the holy temple; however as I was about to leave I was stopped in my tracks. “I need to go out for a moment, take care of the house while I’m out.” And that seemed to be an order. I sighed and looked at the cleaning corpse, which was just sitting there, doing nothing as Pink ordered him to so I could pay my debt by cleaning. I started to remember the magic she had casted when she commanded those undead that attacked me before, and being that the spell she used didn’t seem to be necromancy, I wondered for a moment wether I would be able to do it before brushing that thought aside. I looked around at the house that I have yet to finish cleaning up. It’s not that my skills at cleaning are actually bad, as I usually clean the house properly until there is nothing to complain about, but Pink out of her “kindness” makes a mess of the house while I’m gone so I have something to clean when I come back, her way of “helping” me is really troublesome. If she claims to be kind enough to help me find a way to pay for my “debt”, why not just drop the act and forgive my debt already? She doesn’t even need my help, she has her cleaning corpses! She was definitely making a fool out of me.
She came back very late that night. I don’t really know what she was doing out so late but I wanted to leave before she changed her mind and asked me to clean something else (not that there was anything left to clean…)
The next day I came back thinking that even she wouldn’t be able to make that much of mess after coming so late, after all it had been less than 8 hours since she arrived at her house, and as she has a pink bed in that house of hers, she should have slept for at least a couple of hours…
I couldn’t have been more wrong; I used my holy light for the 8th time to dispel the ‘abandoned house illusion’ after entering that house, just to witness one of the worst messes I had ever seen in my life. I felt the anger bottling up inside me when a small hand patted my shoulder. “Well, I’ll be leaving it all to you! I have somewhere that I have to be now, but I’ll be back at in a while,” she said sweetly, and left the pink-colored house shamelessly, not even bothering to look back.
I looked around the damaged place; there were oil stains here and there, there were also broken candles, pink frilly dresses, very old books, a huge mountain of pink laced panties, and things so weird that I couldn’t even identify them. To top it all half of the house was giving of a burnt smell, and the floor and the walls of the kitchen were covered by a very thick layer of solidified burnt strawberry caramel. It was as if hell broke loose in that tiny pink house… and even if it was hard to believe, it seemed to be ever pinker than before.
I felt like throwing up as I looked all around the house that was giving off a very dangerous smell. Then I noticed a couple of undead that had survived the “helpful mess”-making lying in the corner. Not even stopping to think about it, I started chanting a spell, furious.
As I made my way back from my trip to the execution ground, I began to skip. The amount of corpses pilling there lately has been remarkable and they were even top quality, which did a lot to improve my mood. I grinned to myself as I glanced over at the cleaning corpse that was pushing them in the cart next to me. It had been a long day, after a sleepless night of searching all over my house for the old magic book that explained how to make heart-shaped crystal vessels that could be filled with magic, I tripped over a cooking book that happened to fall open to a page that had a super duper easy recipe to make pineapple lollypops. Since it looked to be fun, I decided that I could try to do them strawberry flavor instead, changing a bit of the recipe. Being the hard working person that I am, I decided to make ten times the amount that was in the book. Things went a little bit wrong and I failed, but for being my first time I didn’t think it was too bad.
I opened the door of the house just to see all the undead in my house carrying mopes and brooms, cleaning the house as they were being ordered around by Neo’s apprentice.
The door opened while I was commanding the undead, (I had to change a little bit the spell so I could command the undead using ordinary magic, after all the Sun Knight wouldn’t possibly use such a black magic.) A small corpse being followed by a big corpse that was pulling a cart full of even more corpses was standing at the front door, I looked at the small one as she looked at me, and I recognized her instantly. Damn it, I was sure I could finish commanding these corpses to clean before she came back.
“What the…” she muttered disbelievingly, her pink mouth opening and closing, making no sound for a second, “STOOOOOOP!” shouted the necromancer angrily, pouting about the fact that they were obeying someone else’s orders. However, they just ignored her furious orders, so she started chanting various spells to cancel any order that was given to them previously, only to realize that it was useless. She could not make them obey her again.
The little pink corpse leered at me. Feeling a bit fearful for my life, I meekly ordered them to stop moving. However, her glare was still trained on me, and, getting the feeling that nothing I could do could save me from her wrath, I ordered her corpses: “Protect me!”
What I witnessed after that was quite the picture; the small necromancer gave an evil grin before trashing with brute force all of the corpses under my control. Having made a big mess out of the house again, and having spent a lot of energy, she seemed to calm down a little. I looked at her warily, finally understanding the behavior of my teacher around her. However the words that were heard after that were very surprising, “You know, you really have no future as a knight, you should give that up. But don’t worry, no matter when you do give it up I will always accept you as my disciple!”
“Huh?” I exclaimed, trying to process what she had just said. In the end I seemed to have caught her attention…
It has been almost two weeks since my teacher abandoned me here; I spent all this time coming and going from the Church of Light, to eat and sleep. What? Are you worried that the knights in the Church of Light may chase me to discover what I have been doing? There’s nothing to be afraid of! Just one word from my teacher is enough for the rest of the church not to care about my whereabouts. Not even the pope would dig into his affairs.
Right now the Sun Knight is pretty busy being the church’s walking billboard, and has to attend some urgent business, making him unable gather the money at the moment; he will probably come here after the payday to bail me out… I hope.
“Have you already decided to become my apprentice?” asked Pink as she approached me with a new, shining strawberry lollipop (She doesn’t seem to eat anything else.)
“I’m the future Sun Knight, I can’t be a necromancer’s apprentice.” it’s not like she could have forgotten that, training to become a better knight was the reason for me being there in the first place.
“Nonsense! I’m hand-choosing you to become my apprentice, what is there to be opposed to?” There is just no way to convince this corpse to change her mind about becoming my necromancy teacher…
As the days went by I started developing a bizarre yet good relationship with her, Pink kept talking a lot about corpses excitedly as she tried to convince me to stop being the future Sun Knight; other than that, I was often running errands for her, and buying her sweets and strawberry lollipops. Praise be to the God of Light that at least she had stopped making unnecessary trouble for me in the cleaning department, though she still ordered me to clean stuff up from time to time, but generally she left that work for the cleaning corpse to do.
The days passed and we became to know each other rather well, I even discovered some of the many places where she hid her strawberry lollipops. Why would she hide them, anyways? It’s not like the other undead would try to snatch them. And me? Well, after I almost had an early reunion with the God of Light for one taking lollipop, I will never dare to try that again.
After I realized that I had no money to pay for my student’s classes with the necromancer, I went back to her house, but I couldn’t find them there. By the time I found the place where they had being practicing, the damage was already done. I somehow came to an agreement with Pink to let my student handle the issue for the time being. Right after that I was sent on an urgent mission that lasted much longer than expected.
When I got back from the neighboring country, I immediately noticed something was wrong, ‘What is going on?’ I started going around the holy temple that seemed to see full of whisperers at my arrival. I thought that maybe I was imagining things as I was too tired, but that was quickly proved wrong when I saw the twelve Holy Knight captains in front of my bedroom.
I had no idea how long they had been there waiting for me, but it was clear that they were not there by coincidence, since its really unusual to see all the Holy Knights from the warm-hearted faction and the cold-hearted faction in the same place times other than during official ceremonies. “It must be a miracle of the God of Light to have brought all of his children together to bath under his light…”
Surprisingly I was interrupted by the Leaf Knight midway “You better do something about that student of yours before he does any more damage, and gets himself ‘accidentally’ killed!” said the Leaf Knight as nicely as he could, although it was still a little rushed and angry. To piss off even the Leaf Knight! He must have done something really serious. “What happened?” I asked, using a very simple way of talking, as the shock was too great to search for the words to talk in my usual elegant style.
The Fire Knight was the one who spoke this time, “Our students have been acting pretty weird lately, and all is because or your student, I don’t know what he has done to them but they all refuse to speak! It wasn’t hard to find the culprit after following that smell…”
He must have been very frustrated to mess around with all the other apprentices. “I’ll see that my student hears the whispers of the God of Light and reflects on his teachings”
All the knights nodded tiredly before leaving; it’s not that all of them understood my words, but after knowing me for so long they knew for certain the course of actions that I’m about to take.
I was more than a little annoyed at this, I was going to bathe and white my skin before dutifully visiting the chambers of my dear princess, now I have to figure out this. Anyway what do they mean with smell, do they mean that the way he was acting smelled suspicious? I couldn’t help but wonder. After searching for my student everywhere in the Holy Temple and not being able to find him I went to look for him in Pink’s house.
When I arrived I found a very surprising scene. The usual pink decoration was there before I had even chanted the spell, the house felt particularly cold and clean, and the fearful necromancer seemed to behave as if she was wrapped around my student’s little finger.
Earlier that day (Grisia’s POV):
I went back to the church to look for Judgment. After six days of research (In which he helped me try out various methods), he handed me a weird magic potion to drink. After gulping it down it seemed that I was finally smell free, I thanked my extremely tired good friend before looking for Ecilan.
It didn’t take me too long to find him, as he was in the kitchen as usual. I have always been secretly grateful to his teacher for choosing such a nice person that loved to make breads and sweets as much as I loved eating them to be the Ice Knight. I walked close to him and asked him to help me to make some strawberry cones for a “little girl” I wanted to make up with. If Pink loves strawberry sweets as much as she I think she does, she will probably forgive me for stealing away one of her lollipops yesterday, when she returned late night, after going out for hell knows where.
“No touching” Ecilan didn’t change his expression one bit at my request, as he left the kitchen. Most people would misunderstand that freezing stare he gave me for an indifferent, cold or even slightly annoyed reaction, however I was sure he must be looking for ingredients around the market. I sat elegantly on a nearby chair, tapping the table silently with my fingers. Then my eyes met a broom and a mop that were standing at some corner of the kitchen. I felt a pain in my soul, strong enough to make me want to set the inanimate objects on fire, that were just the same as those instrument of torture in Pink’s house (the church’s ones weren’t pink, but that’s beside the point.)
With a swift movement I took out a magic wand, moving my right hand to the side as far and as quickly as I could. However, I couldn’t cast the spell, and I returned to my right mind when, by shoving my hand around with all my strength, I knocked over a bowl full of eggs. The bowl didn’t suffer any damage, but the eggs broke making a really nasty-looking mess. I glared at the eggs that I just spilled, as if daring them to try to make me clean them.
It was at that moment that Ecilan came back with a basket full of juicy red strawberries. I turned to look at his face, and… something didn’t feel right. His face grew even colder, if that was even possible, and this time I’m sure it was cold for real. Afraid that he would choose not to help me, I started dutifully mopping the floor once again. This cleaning issue was growing into a trauma, I realized as I hatefully cleaned, and then I swore to myself, having the God of Light as the witness that ‘I will never clean anything again in my life’. I lifted my head as I looked to the sky, when I smelled something sweet and tasty, then I added ‘unless it’s for the sake of my sweets… I mean for the sake of my good friend Ecilan,’ then as a bad feeling came to me, I added ‘and maybe my teacher…’
After getting no less than 6 strawberry cones, I looked a little surprised at my friend, “Make. Up.” was all he said before getting out of my sight.
I rushed to Pink’s who was still fairly mad at me, it was such a small matter, she should let it go, however, after being asked endlessly to be her student for so many days I realized that it was something to be expected of such an stubborn person.
As I came in she looked at me resolute, “You are making up for it?” she glanced sharply at me, “You don’t seem to be that scared, have you already decided to become my apprentice as a way to sincerely show that you are sorry?”
I put the bag of strawberry cones that were beginning to melt on the table and casted a little ice magic on them. Pink was carefully watching my actions. After refreezing them, I handed her the strawberry cone that I had in my hand. “Compensation!” I announced hastily. The little necromancer finally gave the cone a taste, and suddenly she seemed to be overly happy. She calmly ate one after another (Since I could freeze them again), but when she was about to grab the last cone I snatched it away and held it out of her grasp. “This one is mine.” I declared as she jumped, trying to get it back and failing several times.
“Do you want the strawberry cone?”
“Yes!” she nodded, her whole expression shining brightly as she looked like a pleading puppy.
“The other five cones were for you as to compensate for the lollipop, this one is for me to eat, but if you call us even and cancel my debt I’ll give it to you.” I spelled out what I wanted clearly. She had already played around a lot with me already, this should be enough to make us even.
“Deal.” She affirmed, not even giving it a second of thought. I handed the cone to her (I had never intended to eat it in the first place, but this act worked perfectly fine to get my freedom back.)
A door opened in the middle of the happy moment, and my teacher came back with a foul expression. His face didn’t contain any happy feeling, it was devoid of all elegance and his eyes were filled with anger. “We are going back.” He intoned coldly.
I looked pleadingly to the pink corpse that started eating a strawberry lollipop as if she hadn’t eaten 6 strawberry cones just a moment ago. She happily bid me farewell as my teacher dragged me out of her place.
Back to the church, at his room “Do you know the troubles I had to endure for your fault? After I return for a very tiring and troublesome mission, I got reprimanded by all the 12 Holy Knight captains, then after looking for you in the temple for a long time (when I could be consorting my lover), I find you to be happily chatting away with that necromancer who seemed as happy to have you there as if you were a pile of fresh, young corpses!”
At that I felt something snapping inside of me, and not giving a damn about him being my teacher “What are you talking about, after you left me behind to take care of the mess you created when you choose to get someone to train me in your place, and then disappearing I worked myself like crazy and solved the debt problem” I roared in one breath, and in a lower voice, full of anger “The nerve” slipped out of my mouth.
My teacher seemed to be furious at that, and dragging me out once more he said with his brightest smile, “It has being a while since we had a little training, let’s see how much you have improved!” The rest of the night my teacher forced me over and over to try to attain frenzy, over and over, and over again! Letting me experience it so many times, that my body ached from its core so much that I could barely keep myself standing. In the end, feeling even more pissed at my continuous fails, he gave me a ‘little hand’ literally as he pushed me down a cliff so I could get my frenzy or die trying. I was closer to dying in the end. Afraid that I may die on him when he realized he had forgotten to choose a spare knight candidate, he went down the cliff to look for me and healed me just in time.
As I was perfectly fine after sleeping all day and night; we continued normally with our training routine as if nothing had ever happened, I wondered if he plainly forgot or was playing dumb about the whole thing. Soon I was so depressed that I started seriously considering Pink’s offer to become an apprentice.
After the training was over, my teacher called me over to his room once again so we could have a drink practice together, “Child, until not too long ago I was afraid of what would happen the day you got in charge of a knight patrol and had to command them properly in battle. You will most likely never become a great knight, a good swordsman, or even a decent leader.” Then his lips curled up into a sincere smile as he chuckled, “Well… You being you, I’m sure everything will be alright, since no matter what you lack, you always make up for it in something else.”
I also smiled from my heart at that statement; it looks like becoming a sun knight was not such a bad decision after all.