Hiiii~ Another chapter is here!
So some of you may have gotten the update notification yesterday, that was just me updating some old chapters with parts i forgot to correct. (Chapter 2 and a few others) but the major one was chapter 2 with the whole sword breaking down part which i forgot to change as it's fanon.
Aside from that, thank you to my newest patrons: Kyeen Matthews, Devil The Boner Snake Dante, Zaiaku, Jsckson and Nharyon. Y'all rock!!!
Next update is Broly.
Author NimtheWriter out!
Beta read by Shigiya, and Fluffy Slayer.
Orange light of the rising sun spread across the sky like a deep tapestry, with white clouds layered on top. Dusk came, and the rooster's call woke the villagers to start their day.
Amongst them, a young woman with fiery red hair styled in long curly locks groggily awakened from her peaceful slumber. As winter slowly approached to the lands of Eostia, she had buried herself under several layers of blankets, struggling to summon the motivation to leave her warm cozy cocoon. She glared at the sunlight permeating through her window, cursing herself for leaving the darn thing open the entire night — yet unable to gather the strength needed to shut it.
"Hmm, Bianca and Jint can handle the Inn without me today." whined cutely at the red head, burying her face in her pillow. The girl who was none other than Alice still felt sore and tired from yesterday's hectic service. The village had celebrated a holy day commemorating the establishment of the seven-kingdom alliance by the Goddess Reborn. Naturally, people pooled their saved-up coins and flocked to her Inn to revel in the festivities, feasting and drinking and eating to their heart's content. However this was coupled with the fact that neighboring villages had also grown fond of her cooking, making yesterday a true nightmare for Alice to face.
Her fully stocked food storage, which should have lasted a week, was emptied in a single day. Thank the goddess that Bianca, Jint and the recently hired staff made the ordeal bearable for her to get through.
Her hands touched the spot next to her and found it empty.
"Oh no! Where is he!?"
Panic swept through her as she searched frantically, jumping out of her bed and revealing that she had slept naked and showing off her voluptuous form. Her frantic movements caused her massive mammaries to jiggle and shake erratically, while she continued to search the room for a particular item. But soon she breathed a sigh of relief after looking under the bed, showing off her bare, round ass to anyone that would be lucky to see it. "There you are!" She reached out and picked up the object in question that she had made herself.
It was a doll. Complete with tanned skin, white hair, and a rather deadpan expression that resembled a certain bow wielder. Alice giggled before hugging it close to her bare, heavy chest. Out of habit, she began nibbling on the tiny black dao sword she once saw him use to behead an imp, finding a bit of comfort from the action.
She made it after Bianca taught her how to use a needle and a thread for other things aside from mending clothes. That girl was truly talented in everything she did, possessing a variety of skills under her belt whilst being the center of attention with the customers, thanks to her beauty and cheerful personality. Alice, on the other hand, still struggled at times to speak with strangers who pop up every now and then — not to mention she was an introvert by nature as well.
Pushing the doll deeper within her bosoms, burying the poor object in her deep pale, freckle valleys, Alice sighed at these deprecating thoughts. Did Archer like those kinds of girls? Would he prefer Bianca in the end? She could see it happening, not like she had any particular unique trait about her…
"Mmmnn," Alice bit the small fabric shaped like a sword frantically, chewing it more robustly as she dwelled on her thoughts on the 'what if's'. Perhaps she could ask Bianca for some advice on being more confident. After all, she was far more experienced dealing with the opposite gender, having wrapped Jint and the other customers around her finger from day one.
Stopping her nibbling on her doll's small Kanshou sword, she gazed at the puppet — at its deadpan face more specifically — before a certain intrusive thought appeared in her mind. A prominent rosy hue spread across her cheeks as a result from her suggestive thought, "Maybe I can… practice?" Yeah, it was just a simple gesture that people had used for centuries. Alice slowly brought the puppet closer, her puckered lips gently touching the surface where she had sewn the mouth.
"I wasn't doing anything!" Taken by surprise, she quickly hid the Archer doll behind her pillow where she also kept a certain dagger, as her face had turned cherry red from the thought of someone catching her in such an act.
"Alice?" Bianca's voice came from behind the door. "Are you feeling alright? You don't usually stay in your room for so long."
"O-Oh, I-I-It's nothing, I was just feeling tired from yesterday and wanted to rest for a bit more." Her heart pounded in her chest. If she hadn't locked her door, the black-haired beauty would have barged inside like she had done many times before and caught her red-handed making out with a doll!
Especially one that looked like Archer!
"Ah, I see. Thankfully most of the customers are either passed out drunk or sleeping the day away in their house, so we're pretty slow today. But that's not the only reason I came looking for you. Something unbelievable just happened recently! Jint was so ecstatic he started singing and doing a weird little jig in the middle of the village!"
Eh? Did something happen while she was sleeping? Alice wondered curiously before quickly getting dressed. "Hm, they're getting bigger…" the robe she had bought with the first profits she made from the Inn was already starting to feel tight around her chest, getting a good feel of her girls, feeling for their growth. She wanted to cry… why couldn't she just grow taller instead?
Letting those thoughts waft away, the redhead left her room and was met with the sound of people cheering below the stairs and outside as well, while some were groaning at the loud noises.
The old blacksmith was dancing happily, his face flushed from the lingering effects of last night's binge drinking.
"Ah, little boss! You won't believe what I just learned from my son!"
"P-Please, just call me Alice… boss feels weird, especially from you."
"Hahahahaha! Right, little boss, listen to this. Do you remember when I told you about my son leaving the Kuroinu mercenary group to settle in Geofu?"
Yes, they had received a letter from him in which he stated his intentions to pursue the life of a blacksmith in Geofu. He planned to study under the tutelage of a master smith dwarf. He apparently came to this decision after suffering a rather nasty wound from some battle in a valley. The day they received the letter, Jint cried tears of joy all night on hearing that his son left that wretched group.
"Get this, apparently his mentor is in touch with some dark elf merchant who supplies him with rare ores from the Dark Lands. This same merchant got wind of some incredibly shocking news that even you will have trouble believing!" He showed her the letter and pointed at the bottom. "Those fucking Kuroinu pieces of shits went to attack the Queen in her castle. But in the midst of the battle, both sides ended up perishing from some hellfire explosion that levied the entire area, taking even the castle with them. Good riddance I say! Those worthless dogs deserve everything they got! But do keep it a secret for now, until the capital issues an official statement about the whole ordeal."
In a sprawling, opulent manor, one of many belonging to the Church of Celestine, glasses and expensive vases shattered against the wall. Instead of maids, the house was filled with nuns in light clothing bowing their heads in fear at the sight before them. This was the first time they had ever witnessed the Cardinal exploding in anger. Louis Blackridge had never shown anything but a gentle smile whenever he was in their company, as well as during mass for the Goddess Reborn.
But today, his attitude took a sharp turn when a courier pigeon arrived bearing some bad news.
"Everyone, leave." His tone was that of a frigid calm, but the nuns could sense the underlying rage seeping from his voice. Not wanting to accidentally offend him, they quickly departed one after the other, leaving behind the seething cardinal. Soon after, the older man mitigated his fury and settled on his gold-adorned sofa with imported leather that most nobles could barely afford.
"Vault you stupid bastard, your death provoked more issues than I needed." Yes, he received reports from several of his spies regarding the raid that resulted in the destruction of both the castle and the Kuroinu. According to their account, things initially proceeded as intended with Vault leading the troops inside. However, the situation quickly deteriorated when the sky turned red from explosions engulfing the castle. In a matter of minutes, the castle of the Dark Queen, once a symbol of strength and power, lay in ruins. His spies didn't dare stay there for long and ran away soon after. However another explosion occurred shortly thereafter, which was much bigger than the last one.
"I can't stop here, not when I'm so close. The assassination will resume as planned… I just need to find someone else to take on the blame." Olga Discordia would have been the perfect candidate for the tragic death of the Pope. Her inherent arrogance and disdain for humans would have compelled the Dark Queen to accept the blame as a badge of honor, further antagonizing the Goddess Celestine. She would've been the perfect candidate, but now she was likely dead, her body burned to ashes along with Vault's. A fitting end for a pathetic Queen like her.
'To bad that the stupid bitch could have waited a little longer before killing herself, and the arrogant meat head!'
"There is still time to get it right, I mustn't rush in blindly and tarnish my image with careless mistakes. The Pope has already fallen into my trap and a single command will swiftly end his life before he even knows what hit him. In the meantime, I can strengthen my position with the remaining nobles… Hmm, I believe the Levantine and Pantielle Houses are among the few who remain undecided." He mused, his mind already working out strategies to solidify his power base. Unlike Vault, he preferred to hide in the shadows until the time was ripe to spread his wings and soar.
The man strode to the window and gazed out, taking in the sight of hundreds of peasants flooding the streets, heads bowed in reverence to the statue for Celestine before moving on with their day. It was a sight he had grown accustomed to witnessing every day, yet it filled him with nothing but revulsion to see these idiotic sheeps follow that woman.
"A false deity who managed to deceive all seven kingdoms with a handful of cheap tricks." He sneered as he grabbed a jewel encrusted goblet of wine from the table, sipping it slowly as he reminisced about his past. Once, he had been like them, praying with immense veneration and a belief so strong that he honestly thought that there was nothing the Goddess couldn't do.
"Oh, how I've grown from that blind fool."
As he felt his nerves slowly settling, Louis decided it was time to start writing a letter.
"Let's hope Grave sees the wisdom in complying with my requests this time, instead of burning them as he had done in the past."
"Come in," he said, knowing who it was. He couldn't stop the predatory grin growing on his face or the rising desires in his loins.
"G-Good morning, your Eminence." A young nun came inside the room, unlike the others before her, her face had traces of makeup that accentuated her beauty with tight fitting clothes which hugged her curvaceous form. "I-I-I'm here for the trial."
Louis didn't bother answering and immediately took off his clothes, startling the nun who backpedaled at the sudden actions.
"W-What is going on!?" The abbess told her that each nun who wanted to serve Celestine herself would need to undergo a special trial supervised by the Cardinal Louis himself.
But this wasn't what she had in mind.
"You can't serve the Goddess Reborn if you don't have skills, now come quick, I'm in a bad mood so you better show me some talent with that mouth of yours."
Horror surfaced on her face, she tried to run back but couldn't go far as the door behind her was closed and locked from the other side.
"W-Wait! Please, open the door! There has been a mistake! Open the door!" No matter how hard she pushed or pulled, it remained shut.
"Fiesta one aren't you? Normally the others would silently cry at first before accepting their fate. Oh well, I'll at least have some fun breaking you in."
He grabbed her clothes before pulling, ripping the flimsy fabric and exposing the girl's body to his lustful eyes.
"Noooooo!!! S-stay away!!!!"
In the end, no one came to save her, and soon after, a group of nuns came inside led by the abbess to carry the sticky and bruised body of the nun outside while Louis relaxed on his chair with a satisfied face while in the buff.
"Make sure to bring someone more submissive next time, a blonde as well."
The Abbess responded with a bow before leaving the room, her face showing little to no emotion.
Claudia felt disoriented and helpless as she stood in the grand chamber, surrounded by the seven Princess Knights who had convened to discuss a matter of extreme urgency. Yet the meeting took an unexpected turn, descending into utter chaos when they witnessed the Kuroinu's downfall as well as the perpetrator behind it.
Alicia slammed her fist against the table, causing the wooden surface to splinter further. Yet, no one seemed to notice as they were all consumed by their own thoughts.
"I knew that man was a criminal the moment I saw him! He's an agent of the Dark Queen!" The blonde gritted her teeth and spoke aloud, recalling with bitterness how that man had callously thrown Prim without a care for her safety. Knowing that Celestine had confirmed Olga Discordia's survival, she knew the motive behind his actions. "Damnit, I shouldn't have let him go… We must act swiftly to apprehend them before it's too late. He and the Queen are probably hiding somewhere in Eostia, rebuilding and amassing their army of demons in order to lay siege on us. Send me out for this mission, I'll hunt him down!"
"Oi, from my understanding this couldn't have been Olga's doing. That woman would rather kiss a dwarf than have her castle blown into smithereens." Luu-Luu was the least affected by the revelation, casually sitting on her chair, but to a few it was clear as day that she was hiding some worries as well.
"Where's your proof!? This is all just a plot to catch us off guard and strike when we least expect it. We've already lost a valuable amount of our forces. The Kuroinu have been instrumental in our cause and even Vault sacrificed his life for us. We need to capture those two and have them publicly executed."
Everyone was blindsided by Celestine's outburst. They quivered at the sharpness of her tone, as if a giant hand had silenced them all, crushing all traces of anger. Such a sensation made their skin crawl, as if they had been momentarily paralyzed, the very blessing they sought now feeling like a shackle as it bound their limbs with an invisible force. Yet, it only lasted for a few seconds before everything returned to normal, but their hearts continued to beat loudly with trepidation.
Even Claudia felt beads of sweat trickle down her forehead. She, who had been serving as an ally to Celestine for years, had never seen the blonde exude so much anger. The same sentiment was shared by Kaguya.
'Careful with your words, the goddess has been feeling distress for the last few days.'
The priestess's ears were filled with the ancient tones of her deity, a special connection she shared with the entity given her position as head priestess and her body's special trait.
'Yes, I had no idea Kuroinu's downfall would affect her so deeply.' She replied respectfully.
'Naive child. The Kuroinu are not the ones who plague her mind.'
It wasn't that? This revelation did throw her off, then… was it Olga's situation? When she recalled the scene they had witnessed with the mysterious stranger, the answer became more obvious. It was likely the man who had caused it all. She had noticed the goddess's eyes flash with familiarity upon seeing him, and that intrigued her even more.
As everyone calmed down, Celestine continued to speak.
"There shall be no public execution whatsoever, this is final." The same image of Shirou's smile before his death kept replaying in her mind. Celestine felt sick to her stomach as she realized that in her vision, Shirou's death was technically her fault. She had failed to recognise his good deeds, blinded by hatred like the thousands who threw stones at his head, while allowing Alicia and the people to execute him.
When the blonde Shield mentioned those words, she nearly lashed out and caused the power granted inside each Princess Knights to become unstable.
'I need to find him, bring him here and protect the boy from all dangers that wish to harm him.'
Once, she would have trusted her people to make a fair judgment of Shirou's deeds, to collectively discern that there must have been a reason behind his actions. But Celestine never spoke her doubts out loud, for she didn't completely trust the Kuroinu either.
Despite granting Vault further authority and resources, Celestine's vision of the future remained bleak and bloody. — darkness continued to loom over the horizon, And she couldn't shake the worry that perhaps she was following a predetermined path set in place by fate. Now, having witnessed Vault's death before her eyes, she didn't feel remorseful or saddened; instead, an unknown sense of relief would be an apt answer.
"B-But Celestine-sama, h-he killed Vault and the Kuroinu whilst keeping Olga alive as you've said. We can't just let him escape without facing justice! If need be, we can imprison him perpetually in a dungeon with the Dark Queen to atone for their sins, or even execute them there." Alicia remained stubborn, her forehead furrowing as she refused to let this man continue to roam free. As for the previous reaction, the girl thought the Goddess Reborn must have disapproved of the idea of a public execution.
"Onee-sama, I think we are missing some crucial information here." Much to the blonde's dismay, the second one who disagreed with her was her own cousin.
Had Prim forgotten how that man treated her? How he had nearly killed her with that throw? Alicia even began to suspect that he was the one at fault for having Prim fall into the river. If he was aligned with the Dark Queen then his objective should have been taking down each Princess Knight one by one.
"Archer is not a bad person! There must be a reason behind his attack, it could even be a plot by the Dark Queen to create a wedge between us."
Maia, lost in thought and barely paying attention, looked up sharply when Prim mentioned his name. Even Celestine, who recognised the name from her dreams, didn't expect such a strong reaction.
"What? He's not even our ally!" Alicia argued, not believing the words leaving her dear cousin's lips. "He most likely saved you as a means to gain your trust!"
Prim's expression turned into a frown, "So, Onee-sama, are you not happy that I was saved? Would you have preferred for my body to keep sinking until I perished?"
Prim's words shook Alicia, leaving her unable to retaliate. The pink-haired girl felt a pang of guilt for talking back to her cousin, but she couldn't let her blame Archer for everything. As for Vault's death, she barely felt any sadness at all. It wasn't like they were complete strangers, she on many occasions had spoken to the leader of the Kuroinu, as well as his head mage and Hicks regarding affairs concerning the kingdom. She even invited them to banquets as guests numerous times, so one could assume they were well acquainted. But her admiration for him paled in comparison to her devotion to Alicia. And now, after experiencing the tenderness and love of the mysterious man who saved her from death—her admiration for the Kuroinu had faded into insignificance.
"Prim, I'm just saying that this is a possible motive for his true plans. He's a murderer who will slaughter us a—"
"Archer isn't like that!" Maia exclaimed, unable to stand Alicia's accusation. "I don't know how Prim met Archer, but nevertheless, she's right! He may be a jackass who likes to intentionally rile people up just for his own amusement but he's not evil… he can't be." Yet he still killed Vault and brought down the Kuroinu, which just didn't make sense to her. "This is Olga's fault, she must have brainwashed him to do such things!"
The redhead refused to accept the notion that Archer was an enemy. "It must have happened recently, he could've been an ally to Vault but got caught by Olga who messed with his mind or something. If he was one of her minions from the beginning then I wouldn't even be here!" She slept with him for fucks sake! They shared a moment when he could have done anything to her but didn't. She knew… NO! She genuinely believed that he felt something for her!
"Are you crying?" Luu-Luu said, seeing tears trickle down Maia's face.
"Maia-sama," Brynn rested a hand on her shoulders in comfort and reassurance for her lady. "I believe you, there should be a reason behind master's actions. He could've been forced by the Dark Queen or maybe he had his loved ones taken as hostage."
The red-haired Shield managed to bring out a small smile. "Yeah, we've known Archer for months, we know what kind of person that jerk really is."
"Yeah, he doesn't strike me as a malevolent person, just a jackass. However, were he to offer me a couple of his swords then I'll deem him innocent!"
"You can't be serious! He's a murderer and a threat to our alliance!" Alicia was fuming with rage at these incompetent fools. "That's the problem with you commoners! Without knowing anything, you let your personal feelings endanger our livelihood!"
"Alicia," Claudia stopped the girl before she could worsen the situation anymore. "I prefer you don't insult your fellow Shield members. Maia deserves as much respect you give me or Celestine. Don't let your status as a noble blind your judgment, I expected better from you."
After receiving a harsh scolding, Alicia was compelled to take a breather and take her seat. Her headache intensified with every moment, leaving her feeling like she was caught up in a complete catastrophe.
"I… I'm sorry, I went over the line." She whispered harshly through her teeths, devoid of sincerity in those words, but Maia didn't mind or really care. They despised each other from day one just because of her background and a mere scolding from Claudia wouldn't change that.
Feeling overwhelmed by the revelation of what had occurred, Maia decided not to linger there. Normally, such news would send her into a frenzy of rage, fueling her desire for revenge. But now, having learned the identity of the attacker and everything that had transpired thus far … she found herself at a loss. Her heart and mind were in complete disarray, and the mere thought of remaining in this room made her feel like she was on the verge of collapsing at any moment. Needing some fresh air to clear her mind, Maia proceeded to walk out of the room.
Unfortunately, her actions once again offended Alicia as she saw it as a clear sign of disrespect.
"Maia, we are still not done with this matter! Return right this instan—"
"Oh for the love of Celestine, GO SUCK A DICK, YOU ARROGANT BLONDE BITCH!!!" With a fierce and sudden burst of energy, Maia flung open the doors, nearly ripping them off their hinges as she stormed out. "I'm going to get some fresh air, and let me be perfectly clear, I'm not your damn servant. So don't you dare talk to me like that! Let's go Brynn!"
Alicia's face contorted into a sneer, watching the nervous knight and the fuming red head exit the room "H-How vulgar… It's no surprise coming from a commoner. They never learn."
Meanwhile, Celestine gazed in disbelief at the remaining shields. Her voice quivered as she muttered, "She was with Shirou… for months?" A small fiery sensation burned inside her chest, a feeling she rarely experienced in her long life, not since her time with Olga before their falling out. It was something she despised but couldn't help watching Maia's retreating figure with slightly red eyes.
Was this jealousy?
Kaguya seized the moment to propose their next course of action. "I suggest that we gather our forces and scour all of Eostia for this Archer. He could be attempting to flee to the outer kingdoms and if he succeeds — then we'll be powerless to act."
Claudia nodded decisively. "I agree. I'll return to Ansur to prepare my forces and secure a small portion of the Dark Lands now that Olga is no longer in control." Plus, this would give her the chance to find out how the talk between her husband and father-in-law had gone.
Given Klaus was Grave's son, she knew their familial bond would take precedence over concepts such as pride.
"I'll start the search." Alicia said, her mood still soured.
"I'll help," Prim proposed, her eyes fixed on the door where Maia had stormed out. Her gaze was hollow and bleak; she didn't like what she had just heard one bit. Only one thought reigned in her mind, 'He's mine.'
"Then it's decided, we'll scout for Archer and any trace of Olga."
Just at the entrance of Feoh, a small caravan rode through the dilapidated streets of the kingdom. The road was filled with malnourished children and the elderly, their bodies reduced to skin and bones. Many of the younger kids begged passing merchants for food, their hoarse voices and sunken eyes devoid of any glimmer of light within them.
A small copper coin was thrown by the side, rolling across the pavement until it came to a stop near another group of impoverished peasants.
"N-No! I need that!"
"My child is sick! He hadn't eaten for days! Please!"
Those sitting atop the caravan clicked their tongues in disapproval at the scene before them.
"Every time I return to this place, things just keep getting worse. I doubt these people will survive the next week, they'll either die of starvation or resort to cannibalism, if the others and diseases don't get them first." A middle-aged bald merchant said, rummaging through his pocket and finding another copper coin to throw at the poor beggars.
"What do you expect when the one in charge of the kingdom is Princess Alicia Arcturus and her group of soul sucking nobles? That woman doesn't care for anything aside from status and nobility. Like, have you seen the price of bread a few blocks down? Nine copper coins… fucking nine! What's up with that!? The full meal we ate for two at the Emerald Inn only costed eight copper coins and we waited by a beauty for free." A scar-faced mercenary sitting next to the merchant remarked, his hand on his scimitar. Despite the scars, many would focus on the necklace he wore around his neck that featured a black dog — a symbol of the Kuroinu mercenary group.
The merchant agreed with a heavy sigh. "The previous ruler was far better. It's a shame he died before preparing his successor. Times were rough back then, but at least the streets weren't filled with starving people and the stench of urine and feces wouldn't have made you feel like killing your appetite. Too bad Blueborn's slave ring got destroyed, at least that place was cleaner than this one." He gave a strange look to the mercenary he had hired for protection. "By the way, why are you still here? I heard Vault called every member of the Kuroinu to launch a raid on the Dark Queen's castle or something."
"Mah, I'm too low-ranked and weak to go there to be decimated by an Orc. The boss only wanted the best fighters and magicians to join him on the raid. Besides, I wouldn't have been able to fuck any whores while traveling through the poisonous lands in the north. It's just not worth it… not to mention I promised to help ya capture the girl."
"And I thank you for that, you'll get half of the profit after selling her, just like we've discussed."
"No problem, I was excited to finally have a taste of her kind, but unfortunately I'm not interested in little girls…"
The merchant sternly glared at him. "Good thing you didn't, these creatures suck out your life force just by touching you. You would've been dead in a few seconds if you were inside of her without proper protection from magic."
"You're being too paranoid, she's a kid, I doubt the girl knows such spells or even knows how to use magic. Remember how easy it was to capture her?"
Both men looked behind them, their main merchandise being a single giant cage covered with a thick cloth to hide its contents. The mercenary peeked through, "Hey girly, wake the fuck up, we can't have you sleeping the entire time! No one is going to buy a lazy whore like you if you don't get up!"
"Mmnn…" The sound came from inside the cage, where a small girl who appeared to be the same age as the children on the streets had just woken up. Despite the dim light, her extremely pale skin glimmered, adding a shine to her youthful beauty. Her neck-length hair was a mix of purple and magenta, reaching all the way to the ground. Dark blue, crow-like wings sprouted from her back — one of the first indications of her inhuman nature. The second one was her gray curved horns, pointed ears and her yellow slitted irises.
(You can check out the image in Wattpad or Webnovel both of my accounts name is NimtheWriter)
She wore no clothing, leaving the man to see her completely naked body without reservation.
Fear emerged in her eyes as she saw the lecherous and cruel stare of the man. She backed up but couldn't escape the small confines of her cage, her terrified face hidden behind both arms.
"Tut tut tut, and here I thought succubuses were supposed to be an arrogant race who didn't fear humans. Where's your pride, you little whore? What's her name again?"
"Humph, Rado-something, I can't recall. It doesn't matter, a slave doesn't need a name." the merchant snorted. "Also, she's a Tiefling NOT a Succubus!"
"No they aren't!"
While both men continued to argue, the girl trembled like a leaf, yearning for nothing more than to escape from her captors.
"My… Queen… be careful…"
The sun would rise in an hour and Archer was staring at the sleeping duo in front of him. Chloe and Olga had huddled together for warmth and ended up falling asleep.
The fire was about to die out, with nothing but red embers floating in the air from time to time.
He hadn't slept at all. No matter how much his body pleaded with him to shut off his brain and close his eyes — Archer didn't listen. His eyelids felt like they weighed a ton and his headaches had reached a point where he could feel each pulse in sync with his heartbeat. His vision wasn't seeing double yet, but it would only be a matter of time until he started to hallucinate. Normally, this wouldn't have been a problem. Archer could easily stay awake for three to five days without much effort.
But with how much he had pushed his body previously, coupled with the damage he took, he was definitely approaching his limits.
Why hadn't he slept the entire night?
Because he didn't trust these Dark Elves or even himself in his current state. If he fell asleep, he would be unable to detect any approaching threat, leaving him vulnerable to an easy death. Chloe wouldn't hesitate to plunge a dagger into his chest if given the opportunity, while Olga had the ability to cast a spell that could enslave him. It wasn't that Rule Breaker couldn't handle such an issue, but Archer didn't want to take any chances.
"Better I go for a walk."
In order to pass the time, Archer surveyed the surroundings for any signs of wandering demons or elves and found nothing. This desolate landscape was devoid of any signs of life. As for the possibility of them attempting to escape… 'That's unlikely to work.'
A single black sword pierced the ground near the women, where their overlapping shadows fell. In about an hour, the sun would rise and their shadows would shift, freeing them from their temporary prison — by the time that happened, he would have returned. But until then, he needed time to clear his head.
"Haa…" With a grunt, he pushed himself off the ground, his entire body throbbing with numbness. Even the slightest movement sent waves of agony coursing through him. If he was a Servant, then with his Master's support would have healed these injuries in a matter of hours.
Archer wandered around for nearly ten minutes, exploring a path he had yet to venture down. But then, his ears pricked up at the sound of trickling water echoing in the distance. "Could there be an oasis nearby? Plausible, otherwise these dark elves wouldn't have been able to survive in this place."
A source of clean water would be a godsend, to clean his wounds and clear his mind. Archer continued his trek for a few more minutes until he stumbled upon a breathtaking sight — a small waterfall tucked away behind a massive cluster of boulders and rocks. The area was lush with grass, various flowers and an abundance of plants. The water was crystal clear, with fragrant herbs floating on the surface, their perfume-like aroma lingering in the air. He cupped his hands and took a sip. "It's perfect, it doesn't taste poisonous, quite the opposite in fact. How strange."
Archer filled a few canteens of water he projected, having lost his last ones during the previous encounter.
"I can take a quick bath here… at least it'll clean my wounds and ease my headaches."
There was still about half an hour before the sun rose completely.
Not wanting to waste any more time, he decided to take the plunge. He shed his clothes, then stepped into the cool, shallow water. He lowered himself in until he was able to lie down comfortably. As soon as he fully submerged his hand, nearly half of the pain dissipated, replaced by a soothing, cooling sensation.
Did it have healing properties? Or maybe it just blocked off the pain.
As Archer lay in the water, he felt his stress and anxiety ebb away, replaced by a blissful, calm state of mind. He closed his eyes, leaning his head against a nearby boulder and allowing himself to revel in this small slice of paradise.
"Wow, that underwater cave was so beautiful, Anna!"
"Yes, I'm amazed you managed to hold your breath for so… long…" a familiar, monotonous voice spoke before slowing down at the end.
At the sound of splashing water, Archer's eyes snapped open, and he tensed, ready to defend himself. However he was left momentarily frozen. Why? Because in front of him were two familiar wet and very naked elves he met once in a village not long ago.
Was he hallucinating? Could the herbs he consumed have psychedelic properties that conjured up these two figures in this unlikely place just mess with him?
"Archer-sama!!" joyfully cried the dark elf, Grace, as she swam towards him and wrapped her hands around his neck when she got near, pressing her curvaceous body against his own. Her wet jet-black hair cascaded over his face as she rested her chest against him, her former shyness from the village was nowhere to be seen.
Nope, they were real and he wasn't hallucinating.
"This is quite the pleasant surprise." Anna said, slowly approaching him. A familiar glint in her eyes that reminded him of a hungry predator
Even in the midst of desolate isolation, he found no respite for himself.
The next 5 chapters of Snafu, Harry Potter and my 3 other Fate fics (Fate Coiling Sword with 3 chapters, A Fake Familiar Reborn with 3 chapters and To love a sword having 4 chapters) are already available on my P@treon. With 4 more Broly chapters at /NimtheWriter. Also, I post monthly commissioned arts on each story, already posted a few on an Archer's Promise, Broly and Snafu.