Before the legend of the strongest party grew to what it was, it started from somewhere. It was also started by someone.
"Good day, my dear citizens!" A man with long, purple hair clothed in regal wardrobe was addressing the crowd gathered in front of the balcony of his room. The balcony was facing a large garden area accessible to the townspeople. "It pains me to inform you that I have received some very troubling and regrettable news from my Lord Knights. Monsters have been more aggressive and dangerous as of late. No… Ever since before I inherited the throne from my father, this has been a rising concern for our kingdom." He paused to lament the situation that seemed there was nothing he could do about. "But fear not, for I have yet to let this state of affairs worsen without proper recourse. I have ordered the knights of the kingdom, and all that are willing to help, to actively hunt and eradicate these monsters!" The people cheered for the king.
"Your Highness, Lord Knight Greyve has come." The king's attendant, standing behind him, whispered the message, and afterwards stepped back inside the room.
"Rest assured, we will be protecting the citizens and this kingdom with all our might!" The king raised his hand to the crowd's delight, and then returned inside his quarters. There, the lord knight was waiting for him, kneeling on the floor with his head bowed down.
"I apologize for coming so early in the morning, Lord Julianos."
"Do not be foolish, Greyve. It was I who called you at this hour." He walked towards the kneeling knight and ushered him to stand up. "So, about the matter I discussed with you. Is everything going smoothly?"
"Yes, my Lord. I have instructed the Knights' Order to dispatch all available knights that are not assigned in protecting the Capital."
"Very well, I see. Unowne does have the most capable knights protecting its gates. I'm also sure the citizens will feel much more secured if we take the initiative."
"I agree, my Lord. I have also asked for the assistance of the other Job Class Organizations. I have received positive response from some of them."
"Some, you say." The king had a faint smile on his face. "That is expected." He then walked in front of a family portrait that was hanging on the far side of the room. "My father did his best to protect this kingdom and all of the land with his power. I do not wish to let him down, nor the people who are depending on us." He turned around and faced the lord knight. "I expect great results." He was now smiling genuinely.
At the Garrison of the Knights' Order, several knights were gathered and lined up inside the hall. They were waiting for the return of Lord Knight Greyve. As a senior knight was inspecting the lined up knights to see whether they were complete or not, he spotted a vacant space in the line. There were about ten rows of knights with five in each line, standing closely to each other. The vacant spot was right in the middle of the formation. The senior knight had to pass through several other knights to reach the spot, pushing aside those knights to reach his destination. When he reached the spot he saw, there was someone standing there. Feeling confused and irritated, he went outside the formation hastily.
"Where were you, Jaegar?" A knight with blond hair asked the other knight who suddenly appeared inside the formation.
"Don't sweat the details, Stevan. You know I hate this armor. It took a long time to put on." The slender knight with brown hair and wearing a blue armor showed no remorse.
"Took a long time? We all know you're the fastest—"
"Attention, everyone!" Lord Knight Greyve entered the hall. "As I have discussed the other day, you all will be dispatched to other lands and towns of Chrona. Now, Lord Julianos has formally given your mission: to eliminate as many monsters as you possibly can. You may take on job requests at the towns or enter servitude under royalties and nobles. As long as they involve killing monsters, you are free to do so." Some knights started to chatter among themselves.
"Finally, a mission!" Jaegar clenched his fist and smiled.
"Are you serious? We are living the good life here in the capital. Now, we're being sent away on a mission that has no end." Stevan shook his head.
"I only feel alive when we do missions. You should know that."
"More likely we'll be dead before we finish this mission. Oh, I'll miss those lovely ladies in the tavern downtown." Longing filled Stevan's face instantly.
"Silence!" Lord Knight Greyve was stern, but not angry. "I understand your uneasiness in this mission. So, let me be honest with you. You all are the more inexperienced ones in our Order, which was why you were selected. This is a chance for you to broaden your horizons and apply everything you have learned on being a knight." There was no hesitation in his voice. "Be this kingdom's sword. That is all His Highness is asking of you. And I believe that you all will be successful!"
"Yes, sir!" Everyone replied with the conviction that was not present mere moments ago.
"I can't believe I get to spend the last moment of my life in paradise with you." Stevan was shaking his head, holding his face with his hand.
"What can we do? They told us to enjoy ourselves." Jaegar had his hands behind his head, looking at the sky.
"I want to enjoy by myself, if you don't mind."
"Where's the fun in that? If I'm around, you're sure to have a good time!"
"I highly doubt that."
"Help us!" A voice of an old lady shouted from behind an empty alley. Stevan and Jaegar instinctively ran towards the source of the plea. When they reached the empty alley, there was an old lady lying on the ground, covered in her own blood.
"Hey, are you alright, ma'am?" Stevan ran towards the old lady's side and grabbed her shoulders.
"Please... Save my... granddau..." She fell silent.
Jaegar was surveying the area. He saw there were some footprints made of blood that headed further down the alley. "It seems they headed that way." He looked back at Stevan, who now was standing up.
"What do you want to do? These footprints don't seem from humans to me."
"What else do you think?" He smiled back at Stevan.
"So this is a good time in your vocabulary, huh? I should have known." Stevan was covering his nose and mouth from the foul smell coming from the sewers.
"We're here to save someone. Who knew those prints will lead us to the underground sewers."
"Don't you think she's... dead by now?"
"Who knows? Though I think this is part of our mission as knights. So we must do it anyway."
"So, any ideas about those prints?" Stevan and Jaegar kept on walking through the sewers. There were, fortunately, oil lamps lighted on the path they were taking.
"Definitely monsters." Jaegar was walking in front of Stevan with only a few steps distance.
"I knew it." Then, Stevan heard water splashes from a distance. "Hey, did you hear that?"
"Don't worry about anything. Those monsters can't do a thing to us. You hear that! So just show up already!"
"Stop that!" Then, Stevan saw something from in front of them coming to their direction. It was very fast. Without thinking, he ran and overtook Jaegar to protect him from the thing that was coming their way.
Jaegar saw in the corner of his eye that Stevan was running past him. He also noticed the creature running towards them. He thought that Stevan was not prepared for whatever that was coming at him, and that he might die. Jaegar's body froze, his mind remembering a similar scenario though very vague. His senses felt a very familiar feeling of... regret. All of that happened for a split second.
Before the creature's pincers could reach the head of Stevan, Jaegar punched its body towards the wall. The cockroach-like monster's body was crushed by the force of Jaegar's punch and the wall it collided with. The creature's innards and blood splattered all over Jaegar and Stevan.
"What just happened?" Stevan's confusion was understandable. He was running to save Jaegar, and in the next moment he was covered in monster remains.
"I just saved you. You're welcome, by the way." Jaegar was wiping his armor.
"The heck? If you weren't too loud, maybe we could have dealt with that monster with cleaner armors afterwards!"
"Stop complaining." As he was continuing on wiping his armor, Jaegar saw a piece of tattered clothing stuck on his chest armor. It seemed like the clothing of a child. "I guess we were too late." He showed the piece of cloth to Stevan.
"Oh..." Stevan stood quietly.
They reported the incident back at the Garrison and were congratulated for their efforts. Afterwards, they went back to their quarters inside the Garrison. Later that night, Jaegar was walking around the hallways and stopped in front of a door.
"I know you're outside there, Jaegar. Come in." A deep voice spoke from inside the room. Jaegar entered the room. There, the large and burly man was sitting in his chair reading a book.
"Lord Knight Greyve."
"Jaegar. What is it? Don't tell me you don't want to leave tomorrow?"
"No, it's not that." Jaegar's face was serious.
"Are you going to miss me? Is that where this is going?" Greyve closed his book. He also had a serious look on his face.
"Never. That's my true feelings." Greyve couldn't keep up his serious look and then laughed loudly.
"That's good, then. Ever since I picked you up when you were a kid, you really weren't the emotional type."
"Still, I am grateful. I may not have found a purpose in life if it weren't for you and the Knight's Order."
"What's with this sappy talk? And why are you talking like you're already a full-fledged knight? I still always wonder how you made it this far in your training."
"I will be, once I complete this mission." Greyve's face went back to being serious.
"As your superior and one who raised you, I..." Before saying what he wanted to say, he stopped himself. "...wish you the best. This will be a long endeavour for each and every one of you."
"Thank you. That was all I wanted to say. I'll take my leave, then." Before Jaegar could exit the room, he turned back once again. "Oh, and about what happened earlier. What the heck are the knights guarding the city doing? Letting monsters inside the city? Maybe I should just stick around here, you know?" He then finally closed the door and left.
"That guy, when he wants to, he can speak properly like a real knight." Greyve had a faint smile on his face, feeling proud of the person that stood before him. He then stood up from his chair and looked outside the window, staring at the moon. "Still, it is troubling that monsters can enter the city. As the king said, we have the finest knights guarding the Capital of Unowne. Yet, this incident happened..."
"Well, see you around, Stevan." Jaeger was offering his hand to Stevan. They were standing in front of the city gates.
"To be honest, you're nothing but trouble." Stevan was just looking at the hand Jaegar was offering. "But, you are like my brother so I guess I'll have to save your behind once in a while." He finally shook Jaegar's hand. Both of them went their separate ways once outside the city.
"Now, where should I go? I've never had this much freedom to do anything I want." While walking with a small bag on his back, a pack of wolves ambushed him.
"Should I get a sword? I never really had any use for one. It'll just slow me down, I guess." All the wolves were lying down and dead as he walked passed them.
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