I could feel it… every step. Every blow. It felt as if a raging inferno would tear me asunder… but there was more… He fought tooth and Nail. He fought against his fate. He fought against history. He fought against the tomorrow that threatened to never come…

He fought against a god within its own realm… and he did so alone.

There was very little I was able to do… very little I was allowed to do… Father, wherever you may be… Are you watching us? The child whom you condemned. The halfling spider whom binds me… The child who has become Void…

Little by little, strike for strike… agony and despair rocked my very core until after what had felt an eternity, it stopped. The chains that had bound me hung limp. The vines that choked my home withered so.

He did it then? My brother, the fallen Knight has done it. The Radiance was no more, my imprisonment was no more… The Infection had been stopped. Was I happy? Could I be happy? Father… what would you say to this failed Hollow Vessel… What could you say?

As my half sister released her hold of me, I found the strength to rise once more as my hand found its way to my nigh broken Nail. Did I need such a weapon anymore? Did I want it? Unfortunately for myself… my sister had decided this for me as she once more drew her Needle against me.

Why, sister mine? Why? Was it not over? Could I not re- Rest. Yes… rest. That is what she desired for me, was it not? She moved like a gentle wind. Precise, collected… Seamless. Yet her blade struck as if lightning. Each thrust… each parried swing chipped and cracked my aged Nail further.

I could feel it, and somehow, I knew she could as well. Each blow rendered more and more of my void to shudder and groan. To gasp and claw for a life it no longer deserved… This failed, Hollow, and ramshackle body deserved but one thing now… Rest eternal.

With one final yell, her Needle had pierced my mask as I felt what was left of my body rupture and collapse into nothing. As I fell apart, my thoughts fell upon my Mother. She would never see another of her children again. My thoughts fell upon my Father, the pain in his eyes as he condemned me to my prison… To my brother, the child and King of the Void… may his victory lead our ruined kingdom to salvation.

As my vision splintered and fell upon the blackened stone, I heard a voice call out in harrowed plea:

"O great heroes! Please save our world!"

Great heroes. Whom? The half spider? The Void King? Could they mean…

Raising a head I had not known I still owned, I peered across a room of darkened stone. I took note of several robed creatures as well as three strangely dressed but similarly shaped creatures. They were not like the bugs of the Nest, they were not like anything I had ever seen. They had no fur, no carapace to speak of… were it not for their garments, I would say they were… fleshy. Like a Fluke… peach toned and parasitic.

"The Waves of Calamity are once more upon us and without the aid of your divine weapons, our kingdom shall surely perish!" The lead robed creature exclaimed.

The robed creature thusly began to explain of its world's plight. He spoke of monsters, of demons, of destruction so vast and large… This world had somehow been worse off than my own it seemed.

...What irony if it came to be that a spiteful god ruled this realm as well.

Before long, the others began to speak. One of golden locks seemed brash and selfish, a child of equally golden curled strands had been hesitant and defensive, and the third of blackened spikes had shown and voiced obvious worry. One thing struck me however… much as I have never seen any likened to these creatures before, so to it seemed that they had never seen one such as I.

"Is this really one of our Cardinal Heroes?" A smaller and more youthful robed creature muttered, only to be silenced by a stern glare from their superior. What did it matter then? If this shattered vessel was to be their Hero, then so be it.

I rose to full attention, the "Heroes" next to me had all flinched, he who held a long Needle had fallen upon his back in surprise. He was soon aided to his feet by a Shell Bearer and he of golden curls whom held a strange strung and curved blade.

Not long after, the robed creatures began to lead us away, their king expecting us. A king… My own father was a king, was he not? My brother now as well… Was this king as they were? Was he a Higher Being as we are? No… as they are. I am but a useless vessel after all.

"Um-" The smallest of the three with me, the child of golden curls had looked to me only for his unspoken words to be caught within him, "N-nevermind…" Query… Most knights and soldiers spoke their minds. Timidity would soon be these creatures downfall.

There was light in this world. Radiant beams shined through glass and bounced along the interior of the castle we walked through. It did not bother me as none who basked in the light had been neither mindless nor hostile.

Before long, we had come upon the supposed king of this land. He was aged… garbed in heavy robes of purple and gold. His eyes however had retained the vigor lost to his form, their sharp gaze wishing to bore into me. He thought me a stain upon his kingdom no doubt.

"Y-your highness! We bring you the four Cardinal Heroes!" The robed creature proclaimed, waving his arm as he presented us. I had decided to bow, the gesture drawing sharp intakes of air. Soldiers and knights would often bow to Father and I. He was their king after all, so what was so strange that the child of a king should show respect to another who held the title?

"Are you certain?" The King asked pointedly, "Are these truly the Four Cardinal Heroes?"

"They each bear the four Weapons of Legend, your highness!"

With a sigh, the king's voice echoed forth, "Raise your heads, O noble heroes! Allow me to introduce myself, I am King Melromarc the Thirty Second. I both welcome you all to my kingdom and apologize for the manner in which I have brought you here."

The King had explained to us in further detail as to the nature of these Waves. Long ago, when the kingdom had known peace for ages long last, a great war had erupted. Untold horrors fell from the heavens leaving nought but destruction and death upon their wake…

And yet, when the lands needed them the most, four legendary heroes had come from worlds beyond the veil to quell the slaughter and end the Calamity. Now, so to must we four summoned heroes rise to defend the land as our precursors had done once before. It was not long of course before the Needle Bearer and he of golden curls began to make demands of this king. Many knights were given proper compensation to defend the kingdom, so this much was a given.

As the Needle Bearer crossed his arms and smirked in victory, I did the only thing I thought of to do at the time… I took his ear, pinched it, and pulled just enough to elicit a shout.

"Hey! Ow! Lemme go you oversized bug!" He shouted as he pulled at my arm. Gasps resounded in the chamber as I released him slowly.

"We do not speak to royalty in such a manner," My 'voice' echoed, "Apologies to his royal highness."

"Wh- huh?" The Needle Bearer seemed to ask as he attempted to rub the pain away.

"You are not the first, nor will you be the last knight I have seen to make a fool of himself before a king," I replied.

"Well said, sir Hero…" King Melromarc stated calmly, "Though I now must ask as to whom you may be, as well as all of you for that matter."

I bowed my head lowly and brought my right hand to lightly touch upon my breast, "Hollow Knight at his king's bidding…"

Hushed whispers echoed through the hall, no doubt rumors forming of me. T'was natural I suppose. I am not of this world. I am not of their shape.

"What the hell kind of name is Hollow Knight!?" The brash Needle Bearer yelled as he scoffed, "Kitamura Motoyasu!" He declared as he jabbed himself with his thumb, "Twenty-one this year, a university student."

"It's my turn next," He of golden curls spoke as he stepped forward, "My name is Kawasumi Itsuki. Seventeen right now, a high school student."

Lastly, it was the Shell Bearers time to introduce himself, however…

"Right, I'm Naof-"

"Hollow, Motoyasu, and Itsuki…" The king repeated softly. It was strange however… Even my own father patiently allowed for all to speak within his court. Yes, even those as rude and unruly as the Needle Bearer.

And so, I decided to speak, "My king, I wish to learn the Shell Bearers name."

There was a growing tension in the room as the king's eyes darkened, "Share with us your name, Shell Bearer."

All eyes thusly fell upon our comrade as he began to hesitate, "Huh? Oh! Right! Naofumi Iwatani, I'm nineteen years old and another college student."

Clearing his throat, the king once more began to speak, "Now that introductions are taken care of, I'd like for all of you to check your Status."

Status. I believe my Father's technicians spoke this word. Was there a mechanical function to us?

"Um, how do I go about seeing this?" He of golden curls asked worriedly. He was not the only one with worries as the Needle and Shell Bearers also looked towards the king.

"Of course," He sighed before straightening out, "Upon the lower left-most corner within your vision will be an icon. I would like each of you to focus upon it."

It was as he said, a pinprick within my sight had enlarged the moment I laid vision upon it.

[Hollow Knight]

[Occupation: Hero of the Sword LEVEL: 1

Equipment: Long Sword (Legendary Armament), Pale Mask (Unknown Rarity), Tattered Cloak( Unknown Rarity), Cracked Long Nail (Unknown Rarity)

HP: 1000

MP: 200

Soul: 0/100

Defense: 20

Attack: 30

Strength: 20

Dexterity: 20

Intellect: 10

Endurance: 15

How very strange… What are all of these numbers? What is a sword? HP? MP? Before I knew it, an oddly shaped nail at my waist began to glow. I held it aloft and began to examine it. Was this a sword? I much rather prefer my Nail…

"Hey, doesn't that guy have two swords?" The Shell Bearer asked.

"Hah, think he might let you use it?" The Needle Bearer asked with a condescending smile.

Hm, why not allow him use of this 'Sword'. I certainly did not require such a tool. I presented the blade to the now surprised Shell Bearer only for the king to speak.

"Unfortunately, my Heroes, it is impossible for another to hold a Legendary Weapon that does not correspond to them. So to is it that you will be unable to hold any other weapon that does not already resemble your own," The king explained.

"The Hero of the Shield cannot swing a blade, the Hero of the Spear must not hold a Shield, The Hero of the Bow may not wield a spear, and the hero of the Sword shall be deterred from nocking a bow."

His words gave me pause. Would I not be allowed to wield my Nail, or are the two similar enough that the laws that now bind me would turn a blind eye? I suppose I would have time to experiment and review my findings. Query, t'would seem that there are technical aspects to us now.

"Alright!" The Needle Bearer… or would that be 'Spear' Hero… shouted in exclamation as he raised a fist skyward, "This is so cool! So, your highness, how do we get stronger!?"

"Mm, the faster we begin, the faster we can go back to our own worlds," The 'Bow' Hero stated. The 'Shield' Hero only looked down upon his shell, no doubt disheartened by the limitations set upon him.

"From now on, you Brave Heroes will need to venture forth so that you may hone and strengthen both yourselves as well as your legendary armaments," The King declared.

"Does this mean our weapons are too weak?" The Shield Hero questioned.

"Yes," The King readily replied, "The legendary weapon of each summoned Hero has their own special method of enchantment. By doing so they can become very powerful."

"Legend this, legend that!" The Spear Hero proclaimed as he began to test the weight of his new weapon, "It's fine not to change weapons as long as it can function properly, right?"

"A blade is only as effective as it's wielder," I pointed out, "Should either wish it, I may be able to impart my knowledge."

Despite their off put faces, the one known as Naofumi did seem to consider my proposition at the very least.

"Brave Heroes, please hold for a moment," The king held out his hand as the Four stood at confused attention, "Each of you Heroes will need to recruit your own companions and begin your adventures separately."

The others all seemed bothered by this. Why? Did they not wish for companionship along their travels?

"According to legend," The king continued, "It's said that the legendary armaments will reject one another should you Brave Heroes band together, interfering with the growth of both the owners and the weapons," The King explained calmly.

"I don't really get it, but if we act together, we can't increase our power?" The child, Itsuki, had questioned. The others looked to the King for guidance as a strange message appeared.

[Attention. If those who possess the Legendary Weapons worked together on a united front, a repulsing reaction will occur. Therefore, let us move individually as much as possible.]

"That really does seem to be the case…" The one known as Motoyasu muttered.

What strange laws it was that bound this world. Mayhaps a Radiance exists within this realm as well?

"In any case, please allow me the honor of preparing your comrades," The King offered kindly, "Now then, the sun is already beginning to set. Brave Ones, please take your time and rest for the day. You may depart for your journey tomorrow. During that time I shall make arrangements and scout for talented individuals who can accompany you on your destiny."

Rest… I did so very much need rest. I would have allowed my consciousness slip had it not been for a handmaiden to bid us all follow her. It would be quite nice to lay this tired body down once more.