The Paladin Order Reformed Chapter 26: Betrayal
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I stood there mesmerized by the girl's beauty until two men were cut down by her when they advanced. That brought me out of my trance, I have to remember that this girl is still an enemy. I moved inside the circle, dispelling my cloak. The wolf-girl faced me with a menacing snarl, challenging me to try my luck.
I took a single step and she swiftly flung herself at me, claws raised ready to tear through me. I charged forward, ducking under her strikes, getting behind her in her blind spot. She tried to turn around, but I put my hand to the back of her head before she could. Casting [Shock Paralysis] giving a small, harmless shock making her body limp. It's a useful spell that can restrain someone without killing them, but you have to get close enough to touch their head.
The girl crumpled to the ground, the only sign she was still living was her blinking eyes and the rising and falling of her chest. The men cheered a cry of victory, all of them claiming it as though they were the ones responsible. I stood by the girl wondering what I should do. Before I could decide to leave, the hungry eyes that the men around me wore caught my attention.
Some got closer saying. "Excellent job Knight Christian, you can head back to camp now. We'll handle this for you, so you don't have to worry about it." But I could see past their fake eagerness easily and their eyes did little to hide their intentions. My mind flashed back to the barn, back to that sickening scene that's plagued me for so long, back to Rachel.
Setting my eyes on them, I glare with dangerous intent. "That's fine, I think I'll wait until Lt. May gets here." Call the devil and he shall come, Lt. May arrived mere moments after speaking his name.
The men separated slightly and he stood just outside the circle, then said while his wolfish eyes traced the unconscious girl's body.
"Good job Christian, I expected nothing less from you. You even rendered her unconscious, which makes things much easier, if just a little boring. Leave her to the men and follow me, they'll "take care" of her." He stood waiting expectantly, but I stood my ground.
"Not happening commander, I'm overseeing the safety of this prisoner. Whatever you have to say, you can say it right here."
His eyes glared at me, giving a dangerous warning, one that I had no intention of heeding. "This is your final chance Christain if you don't listen to me then I can't be responsible for what will happen."
I stood defiantly, not giving a single inch. He started laughing, chuckling at first, then falling into a fit of maniacal laughter before saying.
"Good, I've wanted to get rid of you anyway. Now that we have this town, we don't really need your expertise anymore. Well actually we'll need it down the road, but I don't want to deal with you anymore.
I've been waiting for you to slip up, to give me a reason to have you taken care of. But mind if I share a little secret? I've tried to get rid of you before, you know that town that your squad all died in? Yeah, we scouted it and knew there was a company of demons right outside it. Did you ever notice how no reinforcements ever came? That's because I never sent any, your men died in your stead." I was shocked, after several moments I blinked in surprise, then my anger overtook me.
He started laughing harder with a crazed expression. "You never suspected a thing all this time, you've been too busy blaming yourself." It took all my self-control to not charge him in a blind rage.
"This is the beginning of a new era, an era the old Paladin Order has place in. Even now the old members have either converted, or died. No longer shall we have to hide from the scrutiny of the Order, now there's no one to keep order. Let chaos be our song, let it be our banner, let the corpses in our wake be a testament to our power. The Capital has already fallen to us, and the Grand Stronghold is under our control, this is a day that been long-awaited. Anyone that stands in our way has already signed his death warrant, do you understand Christian? You're powerless now, the Paladin Order you fought for is no more, submit to us or die.
Here's your only chance, accept the new order and give that girl to us, or we'll kill you right here. Then you can finally see your old squadmates again, right?" He laughed at his own statement, finding it extremely humoring.
I grit my teeth, grinding them in anger. "You're telling me it was your fault? You're the reason they're dead? You're the reason I've killed so senselessly all this time?" I draw my dagger and sword and try to take a step forward to strike him down, but my foots stuck and refuses to move. I look down and see the wolf-girl holding tightly onto my ankle.
She can't speak, but her pleading eyes beg me to stay, to not make a foolish mistake in anger. I choke down my anger and sheath my weapons. I look to him neutrally and ask.
"So all this was someone's scheme, that's reassuring. Let me ask you something, why would you do this? What's the reasoning behind this?"
He looked at me confused. "What do you mean? Isn't it simple? Power, Money, you can obtain things that you could never obtain before. We have power over everyone now, no one is safe from our reach. All you have to do is join us, anyone that opposes you will die, you have complete power over the weak." He extended his hand offering a deal.
I laugh uncontrollably and say. "This new order sounds pretty good, power over the weak you say." I lift up my hand as to accept his offer, he moved closer to grasp my hand, but I said. "But I'm a Knight of the Paladin Order, I swore to protect the weak. That's something I'll never give up on, something I'll never abandon, that's why your order will always fail." I reached with my other hand and pulled the trigger of my wrist bow, releasing a bolt that raced towards Lt. May's head.
He turns and lifts his hands to protect his face, then the bolt penetrates through his hand, puncturing the eye behind it. He falls to the ground screaming in pain from the arrow in his left eye, yelling for help. The men around me acted accordingly, charging me. I cast [Gale Force] nocking all of them to their backs.
Before they could recover, I cast [Duststorm] and [Greater Shroud of Darkness] which enveloped the entire area in darkness with a screen of dust. The soldiers were confused, trying to coordinate with each other, but couldn't with hear over the blaring gale of wind kicking up dust. I went to pick up the unconscious girl, but a soldier charged from the dust before I could react.
He stabbed the tip of his short sword into my side several inches, before he could do more I threw a powerful jab that knocked him back into the darkness. I picked up the girl and cradled her close to my chest as I ran through the darkness. I used [Air Propulsion] to throw me high into the air above the soldiers and confusion, and landed softly with [Gale Dampen]. I cloaked both of us, then escaped silently into the woods to the east of the town.
This would be the beginning of my trials and the fight for not just my own survival, but for the survival of the true Paladin Order.
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