Long Live the King
A ballad of swords and souls, sung throughout time. A woman whose courage transcends even Fate itself. History repeats and, in doing so, is distorted. Let those who seek a hero rejoice. Long Live the King.
Having been returned to her past by unknown means, Arturia finds her wish has been granted after all. Will the woman whose honor surpasses time allow the reins of rule to be in another's hand? Or will she force Fate to follow her own designs and become the King she felt Britain deserves?
BORN! Our King of Knights!
"ARTHUR! OI, ARTHUR!"
Arturia awoke in a straw bed dressed in a thin shirt and breeches to a familiar voice calling her.
The door to her room slammed open, and her boisterous older brother stood in it. His grin nearly as big as he himself was, he said, "Get up, you lazy blackguard! Today begins the tournament!"
Still feeling mostly asleep, the crossdressed young lady groggily asked, "Tourna...ment?"
"What are you, still dreamin'? The tourney to choose the King of Britannia!"
Adorably wiping the sleep out of her eyes, Arturia blankly mumbled, "There was a tourney today, wasn't there...?"
Despite clearly remembering the act of drawing the sword from the stone, Arturia had otherwise mostly forgotten the events of the day.
Lightly smacking her head and elicting a small ow - albeit more of surprise than of pain - Kay gruffly muttered, "You still half-asleep? We'll see about that now, won't we?"
With that, he grabbed Arturia by the leg and roughly yanked her out of bed, and let her fall to the cold stone floor with an undignified yelp.
Rubbing the sore spot where head hit floor, Arturia glared up at her snickering foster brother.
I had long forgotten, big brother, your capacity for teasing me.
"That was mean, Kay."
Dramatically rolling his eyes, Kay remarked, "A proper man would've awakened fully when he recalled the tournament."
Failing to prevent her eye from twitching at her beloved (and yet aggravating as hell) testosterone-fueled brother, Arturia grumbled incoherently as she rose to her feet.
First, breakfast. And then she'd have to help Kay get into his armor, and then properly decide what she was going to do if Caliburn appeared.
On the one hand, she still wasn't entirely confident that - even with her new knowledge, experience, and outlook - she'd be the king she thought Britain deserved.
And yet on the other hand, she mused, I could hardly do worse now than I did before.
Oblivious to the thoughts whirling through his young sister's mind, Kay muttered, "Now to find my mace for the melee..."
Arturia froze in her tracks. A melee? I don't remember any melee, merely a jousting tournament.
"A melee, big brother?"
Kay turned to give her a level stare. "Yeah, a melee. Y'know, a bunch of guys decked out in armor try to beat each other senseless and the last man standing wins? 'Course, it's not a war, so anyone who kills gets disqualified, hence the use of impact weapons rather than blades."
Seeing that she was still confused, Kay examined Arturia closely.
"You weren't supposed to have hit your head that hard, kiddo."
I had also forgotten how perceptive you can be at times.
Blushing severely, she said, "I-I-I just dreamed that it was a jousting tourney and was expecting that, is all!"
Kay continued staring at her for a few seconds before he shrugged and mumbled under his breath, "Girls..."
Wait, he knows I'm a woman? ... Obviously, more than just the form of the tourney has changed from what I recall...
Arturia shrugged it off. She wouldn't be allowed to participate in the melee on account of her age, but if Caliburn appeared in the stone again, that part wouldn't matter. Someone would jokingly propose that the scrawny Arthur give the sword a tug...
A few hours later, the pair had arrived at a massive field. On the one side, was fifty armored knights wielding various sorts of bludgeons. Arturia noted that Kay in particular held a rather impressive-sized hammer nearly as big as he was. Apparently, he'd chosen not to go with the mace after all.
On the other side was fifty more knights.
The assembled knights represented either themselves or the nobleman of the city or kingdom they came from.
Upon a certain signal, the two sides would charge at each other, and every knight would try to pummel every other knight into unconsciousness, with the winner being proclaimed High King - or the noble they represented being proclaimed High King, depending on the knight in question.
Since the late King Uther didn't have an heir - that the public knew about - this was the current system used to select the next ruling family.
Off to the side, a fire was lit. As pitch black smoke billowed into the air, the mock armies charged, soldiers on either side roaring their battle cries.
No sooner than half the distance had been covered, however, than the sky instantly went dark and a bolt of lightning struck the center of the field.
And then, a second later, another bolt, and another, striking in exactly the same place, until it was practically a solid column of electricity.
Naturally, the supernatural spectacle stopped each legion short, and several seconds after, the cacophanous sound of the sky being split open finally ceased.
Where the lightning had struck, there was now a stone pedastal, and a sword plunged into it.
Arturia thought to herself, Something is definitely wrong here; nothing was ever so... pointlessly dramatic in my original lifetime.
The assembled Knights and nobles were called together into one group, and someone would be chosen to read the plaque upon the stone. Of course, anyone could read it for themselves, but it was the principle of the thing to have a specific person dedicated for it.
Kay got the honor, since he was renowned for his ability to make himself heard over a considerable distance.
Raising his voice even louder than usual, Sir Kay boomed, "Let the one who can draw this golden sword of assured victory named Caliburn from the stone be renowned across the land as High King of all British Isles, cast in the name of God. May all those guilty of rebellion be cut down where they stand."
Eyes widening, Arturia muttered, "That is definitely not what I recall it saying. What's going on here?"
Over the next few hours, everyone present made an attempt at drawing Caliburn, but none could do it.
Eventually, Kay was the only Knight remaining who hadn't. Laughing like a fool, he made a show of arrogantly boasting. "Weaklings, one and all of you! So weak you can't even lift a blade from a rock? I! SIR KAY! WILL DRAW! THIS! BLADE!"
With this declaration, he wrapped his powerful hands around Caliburn's handle, making sure to get a good grip on it, and heaved.
The sword did not budge in the slightest, and neither did Kay's resolve.
The stone did not relinquish its grip on Caliburn, nor did Kay himself.
Eventually, everyone began to see a result. Namely, that the stone itself had moved; Kay managed to bring the massive slab of rock nearly to his knees before his strength gave out and the thing dropped with a meaty whomp.
Panting from the effort, Kay paused for several seconds. "... I still did better than any of you louts."
Then, looking directly at Arturia, he challenged, "Why not let yon squire have a go at it, while we're here?"
Several of the other assembled knights rolled their eyes and chuckled. "Yeah, sure, why not?" one of them said.
This was it.
One moment in time, where Arturia had the chance to either accept or reject her destiny. A lifetime ago, she had taken up that sword without a second thought.
Figuring that Kay or someone else would simply egg her on to try anyway - call her a coward, question her masculinity, that sort of thing - Arturia smiled and shook her head. "No thank you, sir."
At that moment, time completely froze except for Arturia. The wind stopped - it didn't die, it stopped - the trees and the grass were still bent.
The people did not react.
It was if the universe were a video and God had hit the 'pause' button on His remote control.
Arturia alone was not frozen in spacetime.
And then, right before her eyes, reality came to an end. The sky spiderwebbed like a broken window, before exploding into countless pieces, allowing Arturia to see the black of space in all directions, yet the light on Earth still indicated that it was day and not night.
Various points that Arturia could see suddenly became distorted, overlapping or overwriting nearby areas, the moon in the sky collapsed into a single point too small for observations, and Earth itself rocketed into the sun as it went nova...
Next time on Long Live the King!
"You broke all of time and space. I have every right to be cross with you."
"Gods, you're more stubborn and stupid than I ever was!"
"The world is a very tsundere place."
Episode 3: Destroy Everything! Connect Everything!
Now then, a few explanations might be in order.
If you want them, however, you'll just have to ask for them in a review.
LONG LIVE THE KING!