|Author: TypeAxiom||Original Source: ScribbleHub|
Compared to Kagriss’s missed opportunity to evolve into a lord-class, everything else seemed to pale in importance. However, no matter what she and Kagriss did, they couldn’t figure out why Kagriss began to evolve. After what seemed like hours of brainstorming, they were forced to give up.
“Mistress, I want to take all of these with me,” Kagriss said, pointing at the bookshelf and the books it held. Half of them were gone, the missing ones laying open on the table. Kagriss had been so excited about them that she couldn’t decide which ones to read.
That they were all reports, journals, or academy papers by various scholars and clergy and not fiction didn’t deter her in the slightest.
However, although there weren’t that many books compared to a typical library shelf, there were still around a dozen books of varying sizes. “You can, but how will you carry them?” Carmen asked.
“Magic?” Kagriss said. “Although, I don’t know a spell. Do you, Mistress?”
It seemed that Kagriss had turned back to her airhead self. Carmen supposed it was unreasonable for her to stay mature forever, especially since Kagriss had always liked books since she was in the fortress.
While she thought about Kagriss’s past, Carmen realized that she still didn’t know why Kagriss decided to follow her. As Kagriss stacked up the books, determined to carry them all by hand if necessary, Carmen took the chance to ask her.
“Kagriss, why did you choose me to follow? Like I said, it couldn’t have been strength.”
Kagriss looked surprised at the question. Her eyes widened too, though they quickly narrowed as they looked away. “Do I have to answer, Mistress?”
She didn’t want to lie to Carmen anymore, so not answering was pretty much the only option she had left to keep her secret.
While Carmen really wanted to know, she just shook her head. In the end, how it happened mattered less than what had happened. She should just be grateful that she met Kagriss.
But at the shake of Carmen’s head, Kagriss licked her lips.
Kagriss seemed to have decided on something then as she looked up to Carmen. “No, I’ll tell you. I don’t want to keep any more secrets from you.” She stared at the cover of one of her new books, remembering how back then, she had been reading a book bound much like that one. She’d read that book countless times already, yet she never tired of it.
It was then that a certain skeleton ran into the building where a dozen knight-class undeads sat or laid around, barely moving. Most of them hadn’t moved for weeks, months, or even years already, having reached the peak of their current limit of power, being able to go no further.
Although they could easily get out of the fortress, they instead idled the time away, content with their strength and lot in unlife.
It was in this kind of atmosphere that the skeleton barged in. Naturally, that undead was Saevar, the one that started everything and gave her the chance to meet her mistress.
Kagriss closed her book. It was one of only two books that she owned, and she had already lost track of the number of times she’d read them both. However, no matter how many times it has been, she couldn’t help but open them again only days later, reading the words that she had already long memorized.
The first book was a tale that chronicled the events of a pair of lovers who were separated by unbridgeable chasms. One was a knight who led soldiers to war, playing dice with the reaper every day. The other was a princess who was coddled all day yet was never able to do what she wanted, destined to be a pawn of her family.
They met during a celebration when the knight accompanied her lord to a feast. When they met, the knight…pitied the princess, while the princess was…envious of the knight’s freedom. They parted, each having left a deep impression on the other.
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And one day, civil war broke out as the lord revolted against the crown and the knight and princess stood on two separate sides. The day the palace was to fall, the knight escaped with the princess and fled far away from war to live a peaceful life away from schemes and backstabbing.
Kagriss learned many things from this book, and she longed to experience the emotions she had learned about for herself. Only, she couldn’t.
The second book was also about a knight. However, it wasn’t a romantic tale like the first book at all. This one told a story of a knight retainer who had pledged his loyalty to a lord. The knight was of humble birth, growing up alongside the lord, and when the noble came of age and succeeded his father, the knight became his most loyal vassal.
However, the noble’s father had a right hand man that desired power and so he plotted to take that power. Over the course of the book, the schemer turned the various vassals of the noble against him and eventually spurred a revolt against the lord. At the end, the knight defended his childhood friend and the person he swore his loyalty to to the end, even when tempted with offers.
From the second book, Kagriss learned about the ideals of loyalty and felt that she resonated with them.
Despite having read these books so many times, however, Kagriss never had the chance to truly experience the things that she learned from its contents. As she once again lamented that fact, the door of the building swung open and a skeleton staggered in.
Apart from Kagriss and a few others, almost no one looked at him.
Kagriss recognized that nameless skeleton. He was someone who was close to joining their ranks, given a few more days or weeks. However, this place wasn’t suitable for someone of his current rank. Even if she didn’t kick him out, someone else would.
Sure enough, a huge skeleton rose to his feet. Maelplos.
Kagriss averted her gaze as the knight-class skeleton strode toward the nameless one. Whatever happened was not her business.
Instead, she tried to imagine what loyalty and love felt like. However, she couldn’t imagine them at all. Meanwhile, Maelplos loomed over the nameless skeleton.
“You do not belong here, weak one!” Maelplos rumbled. “Leave!”
As he was about to literally kick the skeleton out the door, the skeleton dodged aside, waving his hands. “Wait! I need to see the Greatest!”
The second blow that Maelplos aimed toward the nameless skeleton stopped midair. “Oh? The Greatest does not see the weak.”
“The Greatest will want to hear about this! I just met an Impure, in this city,” the skeleton explained. “I tried to defeat it, but it was too strong.”
Kagriss’s ears perked up at the mention of the word “Impure.” Of course she knew what the Impure were. They were undead that were different from one like her, who didn’t know what true emotion felt. The Impure naturally felt emotions.
If she could meet an Impure, then perhaps she’ll know emotions as well. Perhaps she could go and meet this one. But then she shook her head. That Impure probably won’t live for long.
The Greatest hated the Impure and will surely help the nameless skeleton.
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Even if the power that the Greatest bestowed upon the skeleton wasn’t enough for the skeleton to win, she could see several eager faces around her.
Asfelos. Maelplos. Gulthra. The last one, a skull lich, was an especially big menace.
Even so, Kagriss wanted to see for herself what the Impure looked like.
After Maelplos forced out some directions from the nameless skeleton’s mouth using threats of dismemberment, the trio of knight-class skeletons took off toward the place that the lesser skeleton had pointed out. Kagriss followed them from a distance, until finally, she saw it.
A lone undead sitting on a rooftop with golden hair that reflected the moonlight, glowing brilliantly as it did so.
An Impure. A beautiful girl.
However, no matter how much Kagriss wanted to go talk to her, she couldn’t. Not with those three skeletons around.
Although she wished she could help that girl in her battles, Kagriss always managed to talk herself out of it, pointing out that the risks of betrayal far outweighed the benefits of understanding emotions. So she stayed where she was.
But from her vantage point far away, she saw everything. She saw how the Impure used a combination of luck and skill to defeat both Maelplos and that formerly nameless skeleton Saevar. Then, she defeated Asfelos. And finally, she forced Gulthra to retreat.
But most amazingly of all, the Impure seemed to be on good terms with living humans…
Kagriss didn’t know when it had happened, but as the battle ended, Kagriss realized that she could no longer think of anything except that girl. Her precious books had become secondary, and there was only that Impure girl in her heart.
As she ran toward that girl, she remembered how close that person had been to death, all because Kagriss hadn’t helped her. To make up for her mistakes, Kagriss swore in her heart that she’ll be as faithful to that girl as that vassal had been to his lord.
She even used the codes that the vassal had used in order to transmit a clandestine message to his lord the evening of the betrayal, and miraculously, the Impure girl seemed to realize her intentions.
Her timeless existence before now, her books and the things she learned from them, Saevar’s discovery of that Impure girl…all of it culminated into her current relationship with her mistress, as fate willed it.
The reason that Kagriss didn’t want to tell her mistress was really because she still felt guilty that she hadn’t stepped in to help her mistress during her perilous battle against Maelplos. One wrong move and her mistress might have died, and Kagriss would never forgive herself for that.
As Kagriss finished recounting her story, she fell silent and looked straight ahead, waiting for whatever her mistress was going to say. But her mistress said nothing. Instead, she felt arms circle around her from behind.
A head bumped into her back, between her shoulder blades.
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“Thank you,” came the reply, muffled by Kagriss’s back and dress.
Although Kagriss didn’t really get it, she sighed. She still had much to learn about emotions, but right now, what she felt now was definitely relief. Relief that her mistress forgave her.
Together, she accompanied her master to explore the other tunnels in the camp. Most were empty, formerly occupied by monsters, and of the ones that weren’t, Kagriss made sure to take the books. By the time they returned to the marked tunnel, Kagriss had so many books that she couldn’t even see past the stack.
“Why don’t you just tie one end of one of the dresses and use it as a sack?”
“But they’re your dress…”
“It’s fine,” her mistress said. “They’re just clothes after all. Nothing compared to your new books.”
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