Acrid black clouds swimming rapidly. The sun struggles to make its appearance through them, but cannot; only thin wires of gold thread the cracks. The clouds do not want the sun to witness what had happened below. No light should be beholden to tragedy.

An army of men lying dead. Swords and spears are held fast in their grip, a testament to their undying courage. One man, who has but seconds to live, preaches the words of some God.

“…and shall we, who bear…thy…image–” he catches his breath, he knows he is dead, “–be forever…in…in…”

Someone screams as if imploring him to hold his tongue. He obeys.

A great armored knight lording over this field of dead souls. He heels the corpse of a once-king beneath him. His blade is covered in royal blood, his shield stained with serf flesh. His helmet is well-fastened. His grieves are secure. Victory.

He looks over the battlefield and is proud of his work. All of his scheming and conspiring has paid off at last. A new page in history has been writ, and by him. He witnesses the cowards fleeing across the horizon and cannot help smirking beneath his steel. They will all come running back, even the fools, for as men of war they are weak in the ways of the world. The smirk disappears a moment later. A foe has been spotted. A warrior, surely not a man, running swiftly through the battlefield. He is conscious the dead bodies and moves nimbly between them. As he draws nearer to the marvelous knight, he looks up beneath a shining helmet.

The knight looks to his left and sees Neptune, his massive two-handed sword, buried deep in the ground. He sticks the king’s blade into the ground and draws Neptune, raises it up to the golden rays and concludes that it is well. Then he swings it down. The boy, now immediately before him, dodges it gracefully and thrusts upwards at the knight, who raises his shield and guards the attack. Lightning leaps off the shield and showers them.

“You are swift, young one,” he says unto the boy. “Who has taught you such speed?”

“My father, the king,” the boy replies with a bold voice.

The knight pushes him back and he is thrown off balance. The knight spares him with a look of indifference, allowing him to recover his form. The boy goes into a stance that his father had also taught him.

“Come with me. Come with me, and I shall spare you,” lies the knight.

“Not even in your dreams,” the boy declares, before he lunges again.

The knight raises his guard, but it is a trick; the boy moves behind the knight and aims true to his heart. The knight senses this and moves his shield to his rear, deflecting his adversary again. In the brief clang of steels, the knight swings his blade around him. It rests on the boy’s neck before he can even comprehend what has happened.

“Come with me,” repeats the knight, “and I shall spare you and make place for you in my castle, and perhaps we shall dine together.”

The boy points his blade at the knight’s chest and takes off his helmet. A handsome prince indeed, black hair flowing down to his shoulders and gray eyes staring into the demon’s soul. The sun appears at last, yearning to see its children. The rays shimmer like hope as the boy announces: “We shall never dine until you offer your heart. If only my blade may dine with your soul!”

The boy’s sword now aglow with undying spirit, the knight comes to behold the entirety of the kingdom. He knows that his death is nigh.

The moment shatters as the boy strikes again. The knight leaps backwards into the sky and the boy pursues with his incredulous speed. After sheathing his sword, he collects spoils from the ground: a bloodied bow from atop a farmer’s corpse, a quiver from the hands of a felled mason. Still loping across the field and skirting dead bodies, he fires arrow after arrow at their fleeting target. The knight twirls; the arrows miss by fingers and toes and return to the earth, waiting to be reused just seconds later as the boy runs past and draws them from the ground. The sun watches fearfully with wide eyes.

The knight lands atop a steed’s corpse and finds several arrows flying toward him. He ducks, avoiding the first arrow, leaps over the second arrow, and shields against the third and fourth. When he emerges from behind his shield, a blade soars toward his head and he dodges it just so. He catches the prince by his leg, but the boy requiems and lunges at the knight’s neck. The knight spins around to successfully guard with his shield and the boy sneaks onto his shoulder. Confused, the knight turns this way and that, until boy leaps off and throws his blade upside-down at the knight. It pierces through flesh; the behemoth staggers back.

The prince rolls to his feet and faces his giant adversary, who struggles with the blade in his neck. The knight pulls his helmet off and the face of dementia is revealed to the world. It is covered in scars, eyes popping out of their sockets as tears of blood trickle down. The boy wastes no time lifting his bow and arrow to take aim at those tears.

“On behalf of the ones you slayed,” he says, “here a farewell.” And his arrow pierces the knight’s head and renders him dead.

The sun disappears, full of woe, and the clouds begin to weep uncontrollably.

The End


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