“An oath is only as strong as the will to keep it." - Eulai, the Hero of the World
“Lady Lucile, please wait!” shouted Ryk.
“GET BACK HERE YOU THIEF! BY MY AUTHORITY, I DEMAND YOU STOP!” screamed Lucile.
In the 558th year of the Era of Dawn, a blue haired girl clad in light armor was being blitzing through the marketplace, chasing after a thief while creating quite a ruckus. Following a small distance behind her was the knight Ryk, doing his best to keep up with the energetic girl.
The bystanders parted themselves to make a pathway for the chase, and so that their damage would be kept to a minimum. Of course, that didn’t help them too much as the thief and Lucile barreled down the street.
“Ha! And why should I listen to a little lordling? Go run back to yer home where yer Ma can coddle ye or some shite,” the thief yelled back. He was swift and violent, knocking down any poor citizen who happened to be in his way. But Lucile was catching up to him bit by bit in her justice driven frenzy.
Ryk knew that the thief was fairly notorious, a rascal named Falmich. The locals have been getting annoyed at the thief ambushing merchant carts and raiding homes when their owners were away. And as the Baroness of Saint-Lusan, it was Lucile’s job to resolve the issues of her people.
Including dealing out justice to criminals.
“You can’t beat me in a fight, fair or not! Turn around and face me!” Lucile shouted at Falmich.
The thief only laughed in response, and picked up his pace.
“Damn you!” Lucile shouted. She turned her head to face Ryk and ordered “Ryk! Cast a spell or something!”
Lucile and Falmich were getting farther and farther away from Ryk, who didn’t have the agility of either, so he stopped running and drew his longsword, pointing it ahead of the thief. He knew he wouldn’t be able to catch up, so he obeyed his lord’s request.
Stones of the earth, Arise! He mentally focused on a spell’s chant, and the arcane symbols of his channeled mana formed around his blade. “「STONE WALL」!” he exclaimed.
As he shouted the spell, a wall of stone arose from the ground in front of Falmich, trapping him between the earth and Lucile.
With no way to escape, the thief stopped running and turned to face Lucile, who in turn came to a halt. Ryk, finished casting the spell, ran up and finally caught up to his charge.
Falmich glared at Lucile. “Oi, so ye think ye can best me in a fight? Ye don’t look like ye’ve ever actually been in a duel before little lordling,” he scowled. The thief was trapped, and was getting ready for a fight.
But he was right… somewhat. It’s true Lucile did not look like she’s ever fought before. She appeared thin, her features beautiful, and her skin pale. She looked as a porcelain doll. Any passerby would assume she’s a sheltered noble who has never held a sword in her hands before… if it wasn’t for the fact that she carried one on her back and she was clad in armor.
“Well, then I shouldn’t be much of a challenge for you then, Falmich,” she taunted. “In the name of House Allard, I , Lucile, hereby challenge you to a duel.”
Ryk sighed as he shook his head in resignation. Another day, another fight for Lucile. Just last week, she ended up in a duel against some uppity noble’s retainer or some other. The memory was kind of hazy for Ryk. One too many drinks at the after party.
“Lady Lucile, is this really necessary?” he whispered. “It would be best if I took him down in your stead.”
“Shush now, Ryk. This is part of the job for a hero of justice.”
The bystanders who had stood to the sides were now gathering in a ring around Lucile and Falmich. They were whispering among themselves, eagerly awaiting for the fight to begin.
Ryk stepped back to the edge of the crowd and put away his sword. Lucile wished to fight alone, and Ryk wouldn’t stop her.
With all eyes on him and his exits blocked, Falmich had no way to run from the challenge, or claim it never happened. He could choose to surrender, or he could attempt to fight without accepting the challenge. But that would leave him open to attack from anyone. Additionally, fighting against both Ryk and Lucile in two versus one combat would be wildly against his favor. He had only one choice.
“Challenge accepted, little lordling. I’ll show ye why ye shouldn’t be messin’ with the great Falmich. Ha!” he exclaimed as he drew out two simple daggers from beneath his cloak. He moved himself into a low combat stance.
The duel was accepted, and he was bound by honor to see it through. Even a thief was compelled to honor a challenge once accepted under the eyes of others, for it was the way of land. For if he ran, or chose to be underhanded, even other outlaws would be wary of associating with someone so dishonorable.
Ryk took to the side and watched Falmich and his movements. It was, as his old master would put it, “a complete and utter travesty and if you lose to him you don’t deserve to wield a sword.” It wasn’t all that terrible, however. His stance was aggressive, ready to pounce on his target like a wolf stalking its prey.
“Very well,” said Lucile on the other side of the ring, as she drew the sword on her back. A greatsword that was almost as tall as herself. She took a fighting stance. Legs bent, feet solidly to the ground, and sword pointed down and behind her.
It was a queer sight to the spectators. Here was a young girl wielding a sword nearly as tall as her and heavier than what most people would call reasonable for fighting. And yet she wielded it as only someone who has trained with it for years could.
The air was silent, and the only thing one could hear was the steady breaths of the two fighters.
Falmich made the first move, dashing towards Lucile to get the first strike in. He was fast, closing the ten meter gap in less than a second. “Yer dead!” he shouted. His daggers held in reverse, aimed straight at her, baring them like fangs.
Lucile, calm and collected, took a deep breath. She quickly yet subtlety changed her grip. One hand on the grip, another on her sword’s blade.
“Hya!” she shouted as she thrust her weapon forward.
In one blow, Falmich was on the ground, recoiling in pain. In a single strike, Lucile had won the battle.
“Gah! Ye damn lordling! Urgh, the hell’d ye do?” Falmich growled as he held his stomach.
Lucile smiled and pointed to the pommel of her blade. “I jabbed you in the belly with this. I can’t have you dying on me before you’ve faced justice.”
It dawned on Falmich to look down and examine his wound. No blood, not even a mild cut.
He grunted in pain. “Curse ye blasted lordling! Where’d ye even learn to use that thing!” He pointed to Lucile’s weapon.
“Ahaha!” she laughed. “That’s a secret not for meant for you.”
Except it wasn’t really much of a secret to anyone who understood Lucile’s lineage and the history of House Allard. Something that only the family would know, and their retainers, and a few select others. So perhaps in that sense it is kind of a secret, Ryk mused to himself.
Ryk broke from the crowd and took his place next to Lucile. “Can we arrest him now?” he asked as he pulled out a pair of shackles.
“Ah! Right, we need to do that!” she said, as if she forgot what they were doing in the first place. “Ahem! Falmich, by my authority as Lord of Saint-Lusan, I, Lucile Allard le Chevalier de Saint-Lusan, hereby place you under arrest for the crimes of banditry and burglary.”
Ryk shackled the hands and legs of Falmich as Lucile gave her small speech, leaving just enough slack so the thief could be led to the nearest guard station. A pair of guards quickly arrived at the scene and grabbed Falmich, still in pain.
“Ensure no harm comes to him. Lady Lucile would like to speak to him sometime this evening,” he whispered to one of the guards as they took the thief away.
The bystanders cheered as the thief that had been causing them so much headache for the past few days had finally been apprehended.
“We did it, Ryk! Another victory for the Heroes of Justice!” she exclaimed.
“I didn’t even do that much…” Ryk sighed.
The Heroes of Justice. A name that Lucile had given them, though it mostly applied to her, as she was always looking to save one person or another from a myriad of troubles. If anything, they’re just the Hero of Justice and the loyal knight that tags along with.
“With this, we’re another step closer towards our goal!” She didn’t even hear what Ryk had said.
“Lady Lucile, please don’t forget we will need to speak with him regarding your mother-” Ryk began to respond but was interrupted.
Her demeanor quickly shifted. It was serious. “I’m well aware, Sir Ryk. I’m going to do whatever it takes to find out the truth about her,” she said. “He was there. I’m sure he already knows who I am.”
“…” Ryk could only nod.
But as quickly as her mood darkened, it returned to her usual cheery self. “Now let’s go to the tavern! I’m hungry after that chase.” She began marching off in some random direction, completely oblivious to a destination.
Ryk ran to catch up with her before she got lost. Again.