edited by: TheDarkLink, Dreen
krpg (kentusrpg): “Somehow this story got some attention. Thanks for reading and following us so far, we’re now at the end of Volume 2!”
MK (Momokawa Kyou): “*bow* Thanks for your support.”
KK (Katsuragi Kenta): “Yeah, yeah, thanks and so on.”
Katarine von Stolzherz: “Thank you very much!”
KK: “And now we got another one in this small corner.”
Katarine von Stolzherz: “I’m proud to be part of the team, but why is my full name written beside my speech?”
krpg: “Well, we’ll change it to initials.”
KS: “Is this better?”
MK: “Why are there so many ‘K’s here? Do you have a K-name-fetish, kentusrpg?”
krpg: “Not really, but somehow it turned out that way.”
KS: “Is my first name a problem to you? Can we stick with something else?”
krpg: “We’ll make you into RN, for Rine. Even I don’t use your full first name.”
RN: “*sparkling eyes* Woooooooh. I’m now Rine on a different level! *looking around* Where is Kenta?”
MK: “He was just here a moment ago. … Ken, even you can’t hide in the corner!”
KK: “It’s just too annoying! After doing the whole volume, I’m tired!”
MK: “Come on, it’s not like much bad happened to you!”
KK: “Let’s recount… first, I met up with my former classmates and each of them still sucks. Second, I was trapped on a mountain with you again. Third, I met a monster beyond all reason, who is attracted to me. Fourth, I was nearly killed by the fourbirds. Fifth, I was nearly crushed by the Etna. Sixth, I was about to feel the full curse again, because you can’t keep yourself safe. Seventh, I was almost killed by the fourbirds again. Eighth, I’m now tangled up with the monster I mentioned earlier for long term. Ninth, I was caught up in a deadly battle with the monkey-spider boss! And then… well, nothing.”
MK: “Wasn’t the monkey-spider episode your own fault? And didn’t you get almost my friends killed? *groan* How can I ever look them into the eye again! It’s your fault! You killed my friendship!”
KK: “Can we agree, that we hate Volume 2?”
RN: “I like this volume, since I got to meet you!”
krpg: “I like it as well, since publishing it gave me a lot of new comrades. And with Rine, both of you have noth- litt- not everything to fear!”
MK: “You corrected yourself several times… I have a headache.”
RN: “I may not be perfect, but I’ll try my best to meet your expectations!”
KK: “Stop linking your arm with mine!”
krpg: “Well, let’s take a look at what people think about all of you.”
KK: “You really don’t want to elaborate on Volume 3, right?”
KK: “Well, then I’ll sit just in a corner and-”
krpg: “For Kenta, I read comments like ‘weak-willed’, ‘without balls’ and ‘tamed’.”
KK: “For those who says stuff like that: I don’t care, what you think.”
krpg: “Maybe they think, that you’re a bit passive.”
KK: “Seriously, if people are that interested, I have another thing to say: F*ck you! *one-finger-greeting*”
MK: “Don’t show the readers the middle finger.”
krpg: “He made his point clear, so don’t mind it. Next to you, Kyou!”
MK: “Yes! I’m sure that-”
krpg: “The loudest voices of the readers don’t like you much.”
MK: “*petrified* What are you saying?”
krpg: “They don’t like you much. At least most comments I read. There are even some, who wants me to kill you.”
MK: “…*tears begin to build* Why?”
krpg: “Well, mostly because of your abusiveness and how you treat Kenta. Someone called you even a ‘judgmental bitch.”
MK: “… *sob* I may be harsh sometimes, but it’s Ken! *crying* Why do the readers hate me?”
KK: “Because you would fake tears to get their empathy!”
MK: “Shut up, tamed dog!”
KK: “Shut yourself up, bitch!”
MK: *crying* Waaaaaah!”
KK: “Stop your fake crying!”
RN: “Erm… what should I do?”
krpg: “Just let them be and listen.”
RN: “OK! What are the readers saying about me?”
krpg: “Most of those, who were giving comments at all, likes you and even early in the story some were always asking, if you and Kenta get ‘married’.”
RN: “This is bad!”
krpg: “No, it’s not?”
RN: “It is!”
RN: “I’m singled out! This way, I’m not the same as Kenta and Kyou!”
krpg: “That’s correct. What is bad about it?”
RN: “We’re friends, so they should hate all of us the same way! What should I do!?”
krpg: “You know what? I’ll just go on with the Extras. Don’t involve me in this.”
Opinions of the characters about the readers may not reflect the author’s opinion.
Extra 1 – Love is Gold Episode 2
A (Announcer): “Welcome to ‘Love is Gold’, the show which shows the true colors of each relationship. Today we’re welcoming a young couple, Katarine von Stolzherz and… Katsuragi Kenta?”
RN: “Hello everyone! I’m glad to be here!”
A: “This has to be a mistake!”
KK: “…hello again.”
A: “How did you even got past the gate?”
A: “And what about Momokawa Kyou?”
RN: “Kyou is still at camp. I’d like to have her here, as well, but she declined.”
KK: “Why didn’t anyone asked me if I wanted to show up?”
A: “Let me check my cards… Terrific! You’re married to two women at the same time!? Bigamy!?”
KK: “…isn’t the show not about legality, but about love?”
A: “And what has this to do with you?”
KK: “Fair enough.”
A: “Well, let’s try to remain professional. Since Katsuragi Kenta was already in this show once, we can skip him. Katarine von Stolzherz, tell me about you.”
RN: “Katarine von Stolzherz, 15 years old. I’m the crown-princess of the Feuerberg-kingdom and a run-away now.”
A: “So after meeting Katsuragi Kenta, you decided to elope?”
RN: “Elo- *blush* No, I met him after I left.”
A: “I see, I see. To be sure, he didn’t take advantage of your situation and kidnap you to demand ransom money, right?”
KK: “Why should I do that!?”
A: “She’s a princess, after all.”
KK: “As if someone could kidnap her!”
RN: “Actually, some people tried it once.”
KK: “I can see where this is going.”
RN: “Yes, when I was twelve. I never met them again, but father ensured me, that they are still alive. I was a bit rash.”
A: “What is that suppose to mean?”
KK: “Would you like to find out? Just try to hit her and at least I can see some worth coming here.”
A: “I think I’ll refrain. I really don’t like that smirk on your face.”
KK: “Don’t mind it.”
RN: “What are you talking about?”
A: “We were wondering, if you could tell us, how you first met.”
RN: “When I was fighting goblins, he and Kyou came to my rescue.”
A: “It sure seems like a heart-throbbing story, but somehow I can’t imagine both of them doing something like that.”
RN: “They did! They really saved me.”
KK: “She’s exaggerating. … seriously.”
A: “I’ll just roll with it. Both of you: What do you like about each other?”
RN: “Kenta is smart and always looking out for me.”
A: “How precious! And Katsuragi Kenta?”
KK: “… … sometimes she makes me feel better about myself.”
KK: “Stop hugging me, it’s sickening!”
A: “What passion! She really likes you!”
KK: “Yes, and she won’t stop!”
A: “You’re proud of it, aren’t you!”
KK: “More like desperate.”
A: “Next question: What is your favorite activity as a couple?”
RN: “I… *blush* When he’s explaining things to me. Kenta is so smart and cool!”
KK: “When she listens. Since that makes her not do other things!”
A: “You’re quite a good match.”
RN: “Kenta, he calls us a good match!”
KK: “We’re not at all. Like, polar opposites.”
A: “But it’s the differences which makes a lot of relationships bloom.”
KK: “Just shut up!”
A: “No, I won’t! This time, we’ll get the ball rolling! What are you doing, if you’re apart?”
RN: “I daydream about Kenta.”
A: “How sweet.”
KK: “… I think I’m about to hurl!”
A: “And you, Katsuragi Kenta?”
KK: “If I’m away from her, I try my best to lengthen the time as much as possible.”
A: “So that she can miss you that much more. What a schemer!”
KK: “There is so much wrong with that sentence, that I don’t know where to start.”
A: “Then let’s go on instead.”
KK: “Please don’t.”
A: “What makes your relationship work?”
*massive cheering in the audience*
KK: “*facepalming* Please, don’t.”
A: “Katarine von Stolzherz, you’re wasted on Katsuragi Kenta.”
RN: “Kenta is great!”
A: “He has another wife besides you!”
RN: “I like Kyou!”
KK: “You’re the cheapest audience ever.”
A: “We’re just that kind of show. Let’s resume: How was your first date?”
RN: “What’s a date?”
A: “It’s when you go out together to romantic places, spend time together and have lovers’ activities, like linking arms, feeding each other, conversations and flirting, kissing-”
RN: “Kenta! We’ll go out on a date!”
RN: “We Will!”
KK: “Stop dragging me!”
RN: “Kenta, it’s important that we go out on a date.”
KK: “Ouch, ouch, stop twisting my arm, you’re going to break it!”
RN: “We’ll go on a date. Right now!”
KK: “I’d rather have my arm broken then-AAAAAAAAARGHHHHHH!”
A: “…we need a medic!”
Extra 2 – The Wish, the Reality, and the Decision
What does it mean to be a princess? That’s the one question I’ve never asked myself. Because I was born as one. It’s a part of me, like my two feet or my blonde hair.
My teachers always lectured me on the means of being a proper princess. They taught me all the responsibilities and how to act as such. But on the other hand, they always made me feel that I’m a princess, just because I was born as that and that alone makes me important. I’ve never got it.
Day in and day out, I’d spend my days in closed rooms, reading, writing and calculating, then spending my evenings at parties or important dinner meetings.
Only when I was outside training swordsmanship with Gottfried, did I really feel alive. And when I was reading books at night. About adventures, about love, about things outside my grasp, would I again get that alive feeling.
For some reason, the royal sword Friedensbote chose me as the wielder, which changed things a lot, as more time was given to me to learn fighting, but it was still not enough. My life still felt dull.
But this was all I knew.
Then one day, father told me, that the priest got a revelation, that they could try to summon heroes. Heroes, beings from another world, some of them are destined to be great. There are several people in this world who are very powerful, but every hero has the potential to outgrow even them. Only few of these heroes will become legends, but each hero can be a great addition to the battle prowess of any realm they’re supporting.
Feuerberg is at war. I don’t know the details, but our southern neighbors, the demon realm, is constantly either at war or in preparation of war with us. We’re hereditary enemies, because the demon realm is full of strange, twisted creatures, which are striving conquering all lands, and bringing nothing but destruction to all. Well, as far as I know. So it’s only natural, that we put a stop to it.
Until now, all the different tribes of the demon realm were scattered. Only one tribe at a time was able to go to war, but a demon lord arose, someone who was able to unite the tribes under his rule. Before he was able to completely organize his vast army, Feuerberg declared war and attacked. A preemptive strike.
The war isn’t going so well. At first it wasn’t too bad, but the longer it takes, the more the demon realm is able to put up resistance. Feuerberg has been pushed back to our former borders. So it’ll be a great help to the people of the kingdom, if the heroes arrive and get strong enough to change the tide of war.
At least that’s what uncle Ralf said. For me, heroes are beings, who get all the best parts of life: Adventures, love, everything! It’s something a princess doesn’t seem to get.
Or that’s what people are trying to teach me. I couldn’t accept that.
“Father! I want to take a more active part in the war!” War is bad, I’ve learned that. But it’s necessary sometimes, and if poorly managed, it can bring ruin to a nation. If I can’t be a hero, I want to be as useful as one, using all my unique talents! I can fight a bit and will be useful at the front-lines! Or I can at least be helpful to the heroes I admire!
And this is how I was transferred to the border. But not the way I wanted to be.
“No, I’m sick of it!” Throwing a stack of paper through the room, I’m flailing with my arms around. All these inventory lists, accounts, budget allocations and reports are boring and tiring! And I don’t even need to do anything, except reading and signing these.
I’m currently at the Wächter-fort, which is near, but not at the border. The real action is dangling right in front of me like a carrot on a stick. Instead of fighting, I’m sentenced to do all the paperwork that makes big-scale fighting possible.
Father would call it work which befits a princess, but I don’t want to do that! I will not only miss the hero summoning, but can’t provide anything I want to Feuerberg! Where is the adventure? Where is the excitement? Where is the… the… love!
Slowly I stand up and pick up the papers I threw before. That’s what I am supposed to do. “Thorsten?” The servant was sitting in the corner of the room the whole time, ready at my beck and call.
“Could you please call Captain Ulf?” Ulf is the commander of the Wächter-fort, who is more or less in charge of my schedule.
“At your service.” Thorsten went through the door and after a few minutes, I can see the middle-aged Ulf.
He’s not wearing armor, but every step he takes shows me, that he’s ready to battle any time. Something only truly experienced warriors can do. “Princess Katarine? How can I be of service?” Despise his appearance, he’s still a low-ranking knight, so he knows his manners.
“Captain Ulf, pardon me, but currently, I feel like I do nothing but sitting, reading and signing. I’d like to ask you for two favors.”
Ulf was already cautious. “What kind of favors, princess?”
“I’d like to do some work outside this room, as well, there has to be refugees among the civilians and injured soldiers. Helping them would be most delightful, since they’re my people.”
“…your father gave me some leeway, so it may be possible, but I have to think about it. If something happens to you, it would be quite troublesome, so before I can agree to it, I need to be sure that your escort is adequate. … What about the second favor?”
“I’d like to do some exercises after a day of paperwork and want to ask you, if I could spar with the soldiers of this fort.”
Ulf is frowning: “That’s… Well, I heard that the princess is something else when fighting, but asking my men to serve you as training partners is… inappropriate.”
“Then would you like to spar with me? I think it’ll be a good lesson for me.”
This is how I truly feel. I don’t want to get rusty and I lack experience. So I want to fight as many different opponents as possible. The more fighting styles I encounter, the more experienced I’ll become. And someone like Ulf would be the ideal training partner.
“…” For some reason, Ulf is glaring at me. What did I do? “Fine. When?”
“As long as your tasks allows it, I’d like to hold the sparring this evening.” Then I have some time to do some warm-ups.
“Then right before dinner.”
So a training lesson was set.
Swinging my training sword as the sun sinks, I practice sidesteps and spins. Even more important than your arms are your legs, when you fight. If the legwork doesn’t set the pace, your arms won’t follow.
Gottfried trained me in all the skills of swordfighting. Swordfight is not just about fighting with a sword, but making the sword part of yourself, transforming the whole body, sword included, into a deadly weapon. A sword is only a tool, so it shouldn’t be the center of your fighting style.
“*giggle*” Finally a bit of a work-out.
I step out into the courtyard of the fort and see how some soldiers are in the audience, while Ulf is naked above the waist. There is a bit of sweat glittering on his muscles, so he also warmed up.
I’m just wearing trousers and a blouse without sleeves. Why isn’t it proper for a woman to spar with her upper body exposed, while men can do that? Ah, because we have breasts. Even though I’m sure that there are men out there with very charming and distracting chests. Not that Ulf’s would be one of those.
“Princess Katarine, are you ready? Or do you need more time?” Ulf was tense, maybe because he’s about to face me, the princess.
“In this fight, there are no titles, Ulf.” This should calm his mind. “I will hold nothing back, I’d like to ask you the same.”
For some reason, Ulf tenses up even more. What did I say? “Fine.” He looks at a soldier: “Give the signal.”
“Erm… ready… go!”
*clash* It takes less than a breath before the sound of wooden sword strikes ring throughout the courtyard.
Ulf is using a two handed sword-style, his blows are bound to be heavier than mine. But it makes his actions stiffer, so I use my wrist to wind my weapon around his wooden blade, trying to hit his hands.
But Ulf is experienced, he let go with one hand and tries to disarm me, using my own momentum.
Too bad. *Wam!*
Instead of caring about what could happen with my sword, I punched him right on the nose. This stopped his maneuver, but Gottfried would be disappointed, if I ended it like this. So I kicked Ulf in the side of his knee, and struck his arm with my blade, and then spin out of the range of his sword.
“Another round?” I ask him. He was just careless, and that made him lose. If we were using real swords, I’d have chopped off his main-hand just now.
“…gladly.” Ulf rubs his smacked nose with the back of his hand and looks at it. A punch like that shouldn’t cause nosebleed.
Ulf is attacking me constantly, but I can see how his shoulders move before each strike, so it’s easy to dodge by sidestepping. Sometimes I engage my wooden sword with his, to get a feel how much force there is behind each strike.
It’s not very strong. So he’s still testing me.
I time my step forward right after one of his attacks, making it all but impossible for him to use his sword to shield himself At the same time, I thrust my fist into his solar plexus and use my wooden edge to tap his throat. From this distance, it wouldn’t be enough to decapitate him with a real blade, but there is a chance to slit his throat.
“Another round?” Why is he holding back? I told him, that there are no titles here. He should use his all. Otherwise, I will hardly learn anything.
“…yes!” After the hit in the solar plexus, he had lost his breath, I know, how much that hurts. But he’s clenching his teeth, which is great! Endurance and toughness is important.
While I go back to my position, I hear some of the soldiers talk: “I don’t know, if I’m about to fall in love or if I should be afraid.”
“I know what you mean. She’s gorgeous.”
“That’s our princess!”
They’re only exaggerating. I’m not that good. But it feels good to be praised.
The start signal. This time I’m the one who takes the initiative, but something is off. I better jump. Using the power of my momentum, I jump in a vertical spin, using my blade to strike from above.
At the same time, Ulf was swinging at the ground, causing dirt to fly in my direction, but since we both performed our maneuvers at the same time, it had taken too long. Good thing, that I had jumped, from now on, there is no need to see where I’m slashing at.
My wooden blade struck Ulf’s shoulder hard, as I land on my feet: “Sorry! Sorry!” Ah, I was stupid again. Even using a wooden blade, I can still break bones. “[Heal]!” I use my magic to lessen the pain. Please don’t let there be broken bones, I can’t heal them!
Ulf is only grunting and let himself fall on his behind. “I’m done. I stand no chance against you, Princess Katarine.”
The soldiers are cheering me, but for me, it’s a hollow feeling. Ulf let me win. I’m sure of it. Because I’m still learning the way of the sword.
But maybe he didn’t want me to look bad to his soldiers. It’s not what I wanted! I turn to the soldiers. “Excuse me… is there anyone else who wants to spar with me?”
The reactions of the soldiers are strange. Nobody said, that they want to try. Instead, they’re avoiding my eyes, looking at their feet or each other. “No chance.” “We can’t.” “That would hurt like hell!”
“Please. If you want some sort of handicap, I can handle it!” Like no kicks or something like that.
But there is no volunteer. Not even a single one.
Time flows by. I heard the heroes had been summoned, but even now I couldn’t see them. Some of them had gone to the border, not even passing by this fort. All the while, I did my best to fulfill my duty, but there is little I can do.
There are people smarter than me, who could read then sign these papers much faster than I. And when I want to spar, I have to order one of the soldiers to do so, but I don’t want to force them to. They surely have their own unique circumstances. And sparring with the crown-princess could be troublesome for them.
At least I was able to do some jobs outside the fort. Like that one…
“Thank you, your highness.” An old lady is taking my hand.
“Please, don’t be. I’m sorry, that we can only pay so little in these hard times.”
“No, your concern is what I’m thankful for. And your presence.” The old lady is bowing to me. People always do, so I don’t mind, but her back seems to be aching.
“There is one more thing. [Heal]!” It won’t last long, but it might dull the pain a bit.
I’m not very talented in [Divine Magic], but it’s something I had to learn, just like my brothers and sisters. Eberhardt is much better than me. But I’m glad, that I’m able to ease some of the suffering of my people.
I’m in a village, together with several soldiers of the fort. And we have to do a bad thing: Requisitioning food for the army at the border.
If we don’t do that, then the soldiers at the border will go hungry, and then they’ll die either by weakness limiting their combat prowess or starvation. But what about the people in this village? We might pay them as much as we can afford, but they need their food as well.
But every time I speak with the people, they thank me. I feel bad about it.
It’s not right.
“Princess, we have gathered the provisions, so-”
“Your highness!” A scout returns to the village. “There are people coming this way. I think, they might be farmers, at least they look like ones.”
“We’ll wait for them here.” Everyone nods. It’s my order, after all. I’m a princess. “But to be sure, we should be ready for an attack. Don’t draw weapons, but stay alert.” I just imitate what my teachers told me. Leading an army and standard tactics are two of the things, a princess must learn.
I’m still at a basic level, but I can still at least do, what my teachers would recommend.
The farmers are coming into the village, they’re almost twenty people. Men, women, children and senior citizens. Every single one of them looks tired and worn out. “Welcome. My name is Katarine von Stolzherz, crown princess of Feuerberg. Please tell me what happened.”
“The princ- Your highness!” One above middle-aged man steps forward. “It’s an honor to meet you.”
“And it’s an honor to meet you, too. What is your name?”
“Jürgen Oberdeich, your highness. I’m the patriarch of our farming community.”
“Tell me, Patriarch Oberdeich, what happened?”
“Bandits? How many?”
“I don’t know, but I think more than two dozen. They came at night, surprising all of us. After slaying…” I can see the pain in his face and the tears he wants to shed. “…after slaying some of us, they claimed the farm and we had to flee.”
“How do they look?”
“Well…” Oberdeich-san looked at the soldiers by my side.
“Milady.” The sergeant of my escort whispers to me. “Most likely they’re deserters.”
“Deserters?” I’m not that good at whispering. “Why would someone desert?”
“Not… everyone is of your noble heart, milady.”
“I’m not especially noble at heart. I just try my best to do what is right. That’s what everyone does.”
“Milady!” The sergeant is hitting his chest with his fist. “War does strange things with people. We should remain cautious and return to Wächter.”
“While the bandits are still here? We can’t!”
“Milady, we don’t have the numbers to protect you.”
“Then don’t. It’s about the safety of my people!”
“Milady… What about the provisions? They need to get to Wächter, so we can resupply the front-line.”
“Then I’ll take half of the escort with me and capture the bandits!”
“Oberdeich-san, where is your farm?”
Oberdeich-san seems to be unwell, but after taking a deep breath, he explains it. “Just follow the road until you’re at the erratic boulder. Then you can see it.”
“Alright!” Without any hesitation, I mount my horse and take off. “Half of you, follow me!”
For some reason, everyone of the escort does. I think they’re as furious as me about these bandits. “Princess Katarine!” They’re always calling my name from far behind, it’s almost like a cheer, but for some reason I don’t get the feeling it is.
“Faster!” I’m going to leave them behind. Why are their horses not catching up with me? Should I wait? No, I have to hurry. I have to get those bandits, before they can leave the farm!
After an hour of riding, I’m finally at the farm. My horse is tired, I dismount it. “Thank you for bringing me here. Please stay behind in safety.” I’m not that good in mounted combat anyway.
I walk up the farm and see several wagons loaded with crops and barrels. Living cattle tied in tandem, while a single horse is serving as a draft animal.
And there are humans here, they have the armor of the Feuerberg army. So they really are deserters. Traitors and bandits! I can see only eleven of them, there must still be some in hiding.
“A girl?” One of the bandits is wondering. “A warrior maid?” Since we went outside the fort, I was in battle gear, so they don’t recognize me as a princess right away.
“My name is Katarine von Stolzherz, crown princess of Feuerberg. I demand to speak with your leader!” I just need to do, what I’m here for.
“…” The bandits are looking at me with blank eyes. “Well, it’s a girl, after all. Rape?”
“But what if it is really the princess?”
“If this was really Princess Katarine, she would be surrounded by so many guards, that we would need to surrender. I don’t know what’s wrong with this girl, but I don’t care. She’s very pretty.”
“But look, she has ember-eyes! I heard it’s a trait of the royal family.”
“If she is, then I want to be first. Taking the virginity of a princess would be royal! And then we can demand ransom.”
“Actually, I think she is the princess. I saw her a few years ago, she might have ripened to such a beauty.”
“Wouldn’t it be better to keep her as a virgin and threaten the king to take it, if he doesn’t comply?”
“Seriously guys, if that’s the princess, then we shouldn’t harm her! I’d hate to get any retaliation from the guys at the top. There are monsters among them!”
“But guys! Princess Katarine is famous for being pure of heart! I want her!”
“Excuse me.” I interrupt. “You people seems to have fun talking about it, but if you won’t let me see the leader, I have to appeal to you instead. If you drop your weapons and surrender, then nothing will-” Danger from left.
My hand is already at Friedensbote, my trusty sword. It slides from the sheath without hesitation and my eyes are wandering to the danger, it’s the bolt of a crossbow. Sidestep, deflecting.
“AH!” … Oops. I instinctively deflected it into one of the bandits before me, who got hit at the shoulder. He’s now laying on the ground, crying out in pain.
“I’m sorry. It wasn’t my intention.” This is embarrassing. After talking all high and mighty, I wasn’t able to deflect the bolt in a safe direction.
“““““““…””””””” The eyes of the other bandits before me are darting at every direction, but in the end, all of them are pointing at me.
The crossbow-archer at the right dropped his weapon and points at me as well. “Wa… wa-wa-wa!” He was in a blind spot before he shot, right behind the barn.
Why are they acting like that?
“So, now that no one is shooting at me, I would like to conti-”
“WHO ARE YOU!” A big man comes from the house. Maybe he heard the screams of pain of the wounded. He wears a insignia of a lieutenant on his armor. When he looks at me, his eyes widens. “Princess Katarine!?”
Do I know him? I don’t think so. “May I know your name?”
“…what a coincidence. Who would’ve known that you come here. Alone?”
“My escort is still on their way, they’ll be here any minute.”
“So we need to be fast. MEN! CAPTURE HER!”
At least I tried. The lieutenant is already swinging at me with his mace, but I just need to cut half of his hand off, then he won’t be able to wield it anymore. Sidestep, forward, and done.
Another bandit comes at almost the same time. I don’t want to kill him, so I just need to knock him out with the flat of my blade, right in his face.
The next comes. They’re really moving slowly. And why don’t they all attack at once? Oh, another crossbow bolt. I’ll just deflect it at the one, who will come for me afterwards. So first, I punch the one who is coming at me right now, then I deflect the crossbow bolt at the one right next to him, then I thrust my elbow into the face of the one I punched before. With my feet, I’m kicking the shortsword he dropped in the direction of the crossbow archer. It hit him with the handle.
“What just happened?” A bandit, who missed his chance to attack immediately is wondering. “Did she just take out the boss and four other guys in three seconds!?” The lieutenant is still able to fight, even though he seems busy holding the rest of his hand.
Enemy reinforcement comes from inside the barn, all of them have their crossbows ready. One of the bandits, who was already here shouts: “DON’T USE-”
The reinforcement shoots a salvo. This isn’t good. I need to be quick. I jump to the side, deflecting three bolts in the process, which all hit bandit shoulders.
“I’m outta here!” One tries to run away. It’ll be better if the bandits would remain here, so they won’t cause trouble to the people. So I pick up a small stone with my blade and fling it at the fleeing bandit, who got hit on the back of his head and lost consciousness.
If I counted correctly, I’ve taken out eight of the bandits. The lieutenant could still rejoin the fight. It’s most likely less than a third.
One bandit steps forward: “Since the boss is busy cringing in pain, I’ll do this!” He drops his weapons: “I surrender!”
Another one complained: “You can’t do this, it’s only one girl!”
“Are you serious!? Look at her victims! I don’t want to end up like this!”
One after another they drop their weapons. The first one adds: “There are some guys out scouting the path, so I would recommend to wait here to capture them as well, your highness.” He just sold his comrades. That’s dishonorable!
Oh right, they’re bandits after all.
“Seems like I got everything under control here. Could the uninjured please help the wounded? This was so intense, that I might have been a bit too rough. And we need to find something to stop the bleeding of the lieutenant. And the ones who got hit by bolts.”
“Of course, your highness!”
They are very servile now. But that will help a lot. “Thank you!”
My escort arrives after a few minutes and they are glad, that I was alright. Isn’t it more important, that the bandits are captured?
After capturing the scouts as well, we all go back the village to collect the provisions.
On the way home, I can feel the gratitude of the farmers, who now can return safely to their farms. It’s a good thing, that we got all the bandits. The area will be much safer now.
And it’s something that I can do. I’m a bit good at fighting, so using it to make my people safe is worthwhile.
Ah, helping people feels so good! It was a bit of an adventure, with swords flashing, villains be punished and in the end, everyone is happy! I want to do it again.
Several weeks later.
“Captain, we gotten reports of invading demon-soldiers. And bandits are attacking our supply routes. Some of them have their hideouts in the mountains. We can’t keep up with their mobility.”
I’m currently sitting on the ledge above Ulf’s room. It’s a bit hard to get here, but I can hear what is going on through the arrow-slits.
“As if we don’t have enough to do. … we don’t have enough men. But we need to get things in order here, unless we want the front lines to collapse. … I’ll write a request to the front, asking if they can send me some of the heroes or at least another troop of soldiers.”
The heroes? Then I could finally meet one!
But is this what I want? To ask the heroes to solve our problems?
No! It’s not their responsibility. It’s ours.
If the Wächter-fort is lacking the manpower to look for the bandits, then I will. There are many people, who could do my job here way better than I can.
But I can fight! I can defeat those bandits, until I find another way to be really helpful.
Ah, I’m about to do something stupid again. I know it, but I can’t help it! I might even have to turn my back to Feuerberg, when I do that.
Even though, I already decided it. I will take care of the bandits. I know now, that I can do it on my own.
This way I can not only do something I want, but it’ll help people in the process. And I will get at least a bit of the life, that I always wanted to have.
And maybe, one day, I will stand at the side of the heroes.