52 Chapter 52: Archer and Celestine Part 2

Beta read by Shigiya and Fluffy Slayer





Dawn, the moment when the first glimmer of sunlight illuminates the sky above the Kingdom of Claudia. Many of its residents were stirring from their slumber, embarking on their customary tasks. The farmers commenced the labor of their fields, while bakeries flung open their doors, diffusing the mouth-watering aroma of freshly baked bread throughout the streets. Meanwhile, the commands of captains resonated as they directed soldiers in their morning training routine. 

On this day, a vast assembly of Knights gathered at the training grounds nestled within the castle's fortifications. Engaging in rigorous drills of swordsmanship and spearmanship, They donned their customary armor, sweating profusely as sweat trickled down their skin, followed by grunts as they slashed their blades at the many straw targets dispersed in the courtyard. 

Claudia's voice resonated from the sidelines, echoing throughout the vicinity. Compelled by her presence and driven by an urge to excel, the girls poured everything they could muster into each attack. Their fear of getting chewed out by their Princess Knight surpassed the pain and soreness ravaging their bodies. 

"That's better," She remarked, examining their moves with a discerning gaze. Yet today, she wasn't as active as before, choosing to delegate certain tasks to the captains and having them oversee the training of the troops on her behalf. Her head was plagued by thoughts that distracted the woman from giving her fullest today. "Hah, Sara, you'll take over. I'll be going back to my quarters. Make sure they don't slack off, understand!?" 

"Yes, Ma'am!" 

With that matter handled, the brunette retreated inside, much to the confusion of everyone. Claudia Levantine was undeniably the most strict and hardworking person they knew, never skipping a training session and consistently barking out commands until the sun rose completely. Witnessing her withdraw before they had even reached the midpoint of their exercises left many flabbergasted. 

Whispers began to circulate as people queried among themselves regarding the circumstances surrounding their leader. Amongst the newcomers, much gossip centered around Claudia's husband and his current predicament. Many gasped at the whole revelation, finding the story heartbreaking, and pitied their charismatic leader who still stayed strong after all that.

"Stop dilly-dallying around and return to your position. I have been tasked by Claudia-sama to resume our training, so don't make me look bad when she eventually returns!" silence swiftly enveloped the scene as everyone promptly redirected their attention to their respective exercises. 

Though they enjoyed gossiping, conducting it behind Claudia's back felt unfair and distasteful. Their respect for her was far too profound to engage in such behavior. Nonetheless, the rumors gradually spread around town, particularly many of those who had borne witness to The Princess Knight's rampage across the Kingdom in search of a specific individual.

Now with all the dots aligned, realization finally dawned on them. The son of the Levantine family's patriarch had been abducted and tortured, to the point of becoming a partial vegetable inflicted with paralysis. Some even claim he got neutered and raped, and the claims get worse with each passing moment.

As this happened, Claudia reentered the castle. A mild headache pulsed at her temples, a result of days, perhaps even a week, without sleep. Her role as a Princess Knight endowed her with a constitution that surpassed the endurance of an average human; she could stay awake longer than the average human effortlessly. However, even such resilience had its limits, and she was coming close to it.

"Hah, the headache is getting worse. I should get some rest in my office." Her husband's health had shown no improvement these last few days. The doctor assured her that everything would be all right, but it seemed like progress had stagnated. Each day his complexion grew increasingly pallid. It tore her heart apart to see him in such a state — powerless to do anything but watch. 

Sitting all by herself inside her study, Claudia decided to divert her thoughts towards other matters. Namely the death of the Kuroinu at the hands of the enigmatic individual known as Emiya. "He came out of nowhere," she stated, going over the information once more. "No history, no trace of his existence anywhere in Eostia, potentially wielding dark magic and claiming to be from outside the Seven Kingdoms." This comprehensive dossier had been compiled by her network of spies, who had extensively canvassed Ken, interrogating guards and citizens alike. Both Maia and Luu Luu agreed to provide her with more information. Especially Maia, a heavy blush crept over Claudia's face as she read the later part of the redhead's reports. 

'Why did she find it necessary to detail their intimate lovemaking!? And I can't believe that the man was able to outpace Maia in endurance!'

A part of her felt a bit of frustration and jealousy that Maia had an active sex life. It was almost as if the red-haired woman were flaunting her experiences right in front of Claudia, though she understood that the Mercenary Queen bore no such intention..

Hurgh, moving on to the halfling's report, she got a crucial piece of information.

"According to Lulu, he is a master blacksmith extremely proficient in the arts of forging weapons, metalworking, and armor creation. Having seen his skills up close, Lulu never stopped talking about it. Hmm, she even brings up the matter of his enhanced strength, which isn't in the realm of what a normal human man can accomplish."

Was he even human in the first place? There was no definitive answer, and with the way Celestine had been behaving, Claudia started to believe that there was a God hiding behind this man, aiding him and messing with her friend's divination magic. This would explain his monstrous strength as this could have easily been a blessing — just like hers. And if Maia's accounts were to be taken at face value, then the man possessed remarkable endurance that even surpasses Maia's, whose blessing granted her the ability to amplify her energy and sustain her movements for extended durations.

Cluadia felt her cheeks warm up once again, remembering the vivid description of Maia's outdoor sexscapade. 

She shook off that feeling, not wanting to delve too deep in such thoughts.

If this report wasn't enough proof, the scene of him destroying Olga's castle still remained fresh in her mind. That kind of destructive capability, was that even something Celestine could do? "No, of course, she can. She's a goddess of all things. How can I doubt her? I'm getting too caught up in these reports. Let me clear my mind and pay Klaus a visit."



"Come in," She called, giving permission to the person at the door. To her surprise, it was none other than her husband's father, Grave Levantine. "Ah, Father, I am sorry for my lack of manners. I just returned from training my troops. Please have a seat."

She quickly went over to bring two empty cups from her cupboard. Claudia always had some tea ready on the side for whenever she felt thirsty. The woman handed a cup to the old man, who smiled warmly at her gesture.

"Hehehe," he chuckled, a sight she had never dreamed of seeing in her life. The man before her seldom smiled, let alone laugh, even when she was announced to marry his son. Grave only gave her a nod and nothing else. Thus, her hands froze momentarily at the sound of his laughter. "I'm so lucky to have such a filial daughter-in-law, no, not just a daughter but a responsible and beautiful woman serving me tea."

"O-Oh, It's nothing to take notice of, Father. I'm simply relieved to see you in better spirits than last time. " Like herself, Claudia noticed how Grave had been suffering lately from his son's condition. She saw him frequently visit Klaus's room and sit by his side for hours while with her. "How can I help you?"

"Nothing much. I just had some free time and wanted to talk to you. I've gotten word that you've been pushing yourself quite a bit lately. I can see it in your eyes, the dark circles, the messy hair, and your general aura. You're a mess, Claudia, and it doesn't take an expert to notice that you need some rest." He said, making her sigh at those words.

"I can't do that, Father. Those who kidnapped and tortured my husband are still roaming freely beyond the borders of my kingdom, untouched by justice. Those fools I killed in the basement were not the masterminds. I refuse to believe they were solely responsible for not only abducting my husband despite the numerous layers of security within the castle but also concealing him in an area that turned out to be a blind spot for my stationed Knight." She brought the cup of tea to her lips, the fragrant drink offering a moment's solace to her thoughts, yet the ember of anger still glowed within her. "Moreover I want to stay by Klaus's side while he recovers. My apprehension persists that those individuals might resurface and attempt to seize him once more."

"I understand your concerns, Claudia. But such anxieties are unnecessary. I've made sure to assign everyone under my command towards safeguarding my son's life. I already failed once at keeping him safe, and that guilt gnaws at me day by day. I promise you that such a mistake won't happen again, so entrust his protection to me." He spoke with a heavy sigh, revealing an unseen vulnerable aspect of the once-powerful general who had ruled the lands with ruthless tactics and unparalleled strength for numerous decades, before relinquishing his position to let her lead the kingdom. "Do you not trust me, Claudia?" 

She hastily shook her head, "Of course, I do, father, it's just that…It's just that I want to keep him safe. I yearn to be by his side, especially after failing to be there when he needed me the most. I've plans to bring him to the Goddess Reborn after he recovers a bit more. I don't doubt the people you've assigned to aid him, but I feel like Celestine-sama's approach will be quicker."

Grave stared at her for a few seconds before speaking, "You are a stubborn woman, but then again, I've known that about you since I first brought you under my tutelage. How about we mark this occasion with a little indulgence? I've brought you a treat." After saying that, Grave retrieved a small box from his pocket and placed it on the table. Piqued by the mystery of its contents, Claudia was surprised when it was revealed to be nothing but a couple of sweets and biscuits.


"This is merely a small gift from me. Given how much you've been working these last few days, I wanted to soothe your worries by giving you these special snacks. They're baked locally in a small village named after me, Gravertin. - After I saved them from an Orc war band" He explained, nudging the box in front of her. His smile grew even broader as she reached for a piece of chocolate. "Go ahead, have a taste." 

Claudia was honestly flustered with all the affection and care she was getting from the old man. He was always strict and cold towards her and Klaus for years, and to experience this sudden change made her feel slightly uneasy. This wasn't the first time he acted this way. These last few days, Grave visited her on multiple occasions and even invited Claudia to his study. If only he had shown this much affection towards his only son from the beginning, then Klaus wouldn't have faced this many challenges from a young age.

As she brought the piece closer to her mouth, a shadow emerged from the background and snatched the treat away from her fingers. "What!?" Grave screamed with anger as he slammed the table forcefully, making the girl flinch.

"Calm down. It's just Cu." She uttered, a serene tone in her voice as she clasped a small dog between her palms, her smile unwavering. The dog clutched the treat within his mouth, steadfastly refusing to relinquish it, all the while emitting a low growl. "Come on, Cu, let it go. This isn't like you. Dogs like you shouldn't eat this kind of stuff. It'll upset your stomach."

Grave's eyes twitched as he glared at the damn mut, the latter meeting his gaze with an equally annoyed look. 

"Do something about this dog from now on, Claudia. This is the fourth time he has disturbed our conversation, and I must admit, his behavior is becoming an increasingly vexing annoyance." Much to his dismay, the dog managed to wiggle himself free from his owner's grasp, darting out the door and making its escape.

"Ah, why don't we go pay a visit to Klaus? I was actually heading there myself before your arrival. I'm sure he would be ecstatic to see his father coming to check up on him." She suggested, wanting to change the subject. 

"... Fine, let's go." he responded tersely, swiftly departing the room. It was evident he was in a sour mood, and he didn't spare her a second glance. Needless to say, Claudia couldn't do much about his reaction. Grave never was a fan of her dogs, and she hoped this small incident wouldn't push him to take drastic actions against them. 

"What should I do with these?" She looked at the box, not wanting for these to go to waste but also lacking the inclination to eat one herself. "I'll save them for another time."

Perhaps she could offer them to her fellow Princess Knights. They were probably feeling quite stressed lately as well.


"I hate her! I hate her! She made fun of me! She made fun of me!!! "

Within a large luxurious mansion, rows of maids trembled in fear and horror as the young heir of the Pantiel family screeched loudly with hatred. Many of them suffered bruises across their faces, coupled with cut marks tracing their necks and other exposed regions of their bodies. 


Before them stood a large and obese figure, a man child wreaking havoc by flinging objects across the room, akin to a tantrum-throwing young brat. Yet, this was no child. In the eyes of the maids and every servant inside the castle — Michelle was a monster. A cruel and sadistic fat man-child who possessed the power to snuff out their lives over the slightest inconvenience. They've seen many of the more attractive young maids get dragged inside his room to sate his disgusting desires… never to be seen again. 

"She called me fat and other things! I brought her flowers, and she left! Meanie! Meanie! Meanie!"

By his side, Michelle's father was panicking, trying his best to keep his son calm. All of this fiasco started a few days ago when the boy tried to approach Maia — having received a tip that she would be available at the garden. 

"You don't have to get so angry about it, my son. She is merely a random peasant woman who stumbled into the role of a Princess Knight through sheer luck. There are hundreds of other noble women who will gladly throw themselves at your feet, my son. Why be so focused on her?" Joshua voiced, his hand pressed against his head as blood dripped down his face. A wound was inflicted on him by a vase Michelle threw beforehand. 

"I don't want them, they are not as beautiful as Maia, and they are not the same!" He insisted, much to the dismay of his father. "You promised she would be mine, remember!? You promised! You promised! You PROMISED!" 

Caught in a precarious predicament, Joshua grappled with an overwhelming sense of despair, longing to cry but couldn't, for the promise he made to his son prevented him from doing so. If only he had not gone down that route and promised something impossible. In hindsight, his former self had held the misguided belief that Maia would be nothing more than a person willing to serve his son in exchange for riches beyond her imagination.

Regrettably, it turned out she was not interested in the least. Many attempts to entice her with an engagement in exchange for a noble title were turned down in an instant. Not to mention, she even had the audacity to humiliate his son in front of the guests. 

'Yes, that only fueled Michelle's desire for her.' Joshua understood his son the best. Maia represented a toy he couldn't get in a life where everything was handed to him on a silver platter. 'That peasant doesn't know what's good for her!'

It didn't help that the option to ask Vault for help shattered into millions of pieces with the news he received from the information brokers.

"If she won't accept my presents, then I'll just take her by force!" Michelle exclaimed, revealing a large mad grin on his face as he took out a small purple vial. "Look, look! If I make her drink this, then she'll definitely fall in love with me!" 

"What?" At first, he wanted to dismiss those ridiculous claims. But as soon as he saw the logo on the vial, Joshua's eyes widened. "C-Can you show your father that bottle, my s-sweet child?"

"No, no, no, you'll just take it and use it for yourself, and I won't have Maia!" the man-child said obstinately, clutching the bottle close to his chest with the devotion one would show a child, his gaze filled with stubborn determination. Joshua sighed, making a final attempt to negotiate and eventually promising to take his son outside so he could choose a girl to bring back home as a gift.

"Really!? Will you let me have anyone? Even those Dark Elves you promised?" He said excitedly, jumping around like a child with his greasy fat jiggling all over the place. 

"S-Sure, anything for my son!" 

What Dark Elf? The number of Dark Elves slaves plummeted these last few weeks, with various merchants trying to pick up what Blueborn left behind with little success. The Mortadella brothers' slave market certainly had a few of them saved up just for the richest customers, but they won't be there for long. 

'I don't want him to buy Dark Elf here, of all places. If word got out, then even Beardsley won't be able to save me from this.' Alicia and Celestine were close, especially the latter, given her spontaneous and capricious divination abilities. If they even caught a whiff that their family owned a Dark Elf or any kind of slave, then Alicia would descend upon them with the fury of a raging war goddess, ensuring their swift execution by the end of the day. 'Damnit, I have to make sure that Michelle becomes enamored with one of the street wenches and pray to Vault that it would be enough to distract him for a while.'

"Yay! You're the best!" Finally, Michelle's anger quelled. With him no longer destroying the objects around him, he dropped everything and excitedly passed the vial to his father. "Be careful, though. If you break it, then I'm going to break your legs." 


The old man gulped, acutely aware that the words spoken with such innocence weren't a threat but a promise. Joshua swallowed down the fear for the sake of his child, and examined the purple vial.

"It can't be, can it?" The man carefully held the bottle, his gaze fixated on the purple liquid within and the enticing scent wafting towards his nose. "Where have I seen this? Wait a minute! Isn't this… the infamous aphrodisiac that ravaged the underground slave market not that long ago? H-How did you get your hands on it?" Such a commodity could easily cost a fortune! 

"Hehehe, I bought it from Beardsley."

"That pompus idiot? For how much?" That man already had plenty of riches, with the Kingdom's coffers being at his disposal and having full control of Alicia's assets. The number of coins that the guy pocketed at his leisure surpassed even the likes of the pig brothers and the late Vault himself.

Michelle shook his head, "I didn't pay anything for it. He only asked me for a favor. If Maia drinks this, then he wants to be invited as well." 

"What, you agreed!?" That sounded illogical. His son was infamous for his avarice, a person who kept his toys away from the hands of others. Maia represented his most prized, sought-after possession. The mere idea that Michelle would share her with anyone was incomprehensible to Joshua. No, it was impossible for him to have accepted such a condition — there had to be another reason, and he needed to make sure his son wouldn't give away their families' wealth or their land by accident. "You'll actually share her?" 

"—!" His eyes widened as a cup of tea was thrown at him, causing him to drop to the floor to evade it. 


The cup hit the wall behind him and broke into pieces. Had it struck his head, then Joshua could have suffered a serious injury. He shifted his gaze to the side, his face turning pale as he witnessed the reddened eyes of the monster before him. Father or not, he actually feared for his life at this very moment. 

"Maia is mine… MINE! NO ONE CAN HAVE HER!" Michelle shouted, his pudgy face turning a bright red, as his shout became a high-pitched squeal. "He only asked to be invited, but he won't touch her… only watch! Only I can touch her! I'll feed her every day, bathe her body and take good care of her — so she belongs only to me!"

"Y-Yes, y-you're right. I was wrong, son! Now calm down. You wanted to find a new toy, right? Let's not waste time, I'll bring in the carriage, and we can embark on a tour through the streets. I'm sure you'll find someone you like."

"But I want a Dark Elf!" He insisted, the tone resembling that of a sulking grown man.

"Y-Yes, of course, we'll also stop by the slave market in case you don't find someone to your liking." 

"All right, I'm coming, but if I find no one, then I'll get a Dark Elf." Despite being in a slightly bad mood before, Michelle felt much better from his father's promise. Going outside, they walked to a golden carriage, with their family's insignia decorated on the sides. The vehicle tilted to the side as the large man got in, making the servants worry that it might just flip to the side if he took any longer. Fortunately, he got inside with little issue, followed by Joshua. 

The coach pulled up and the horses were readied before it set off — leaving the house for the maids to clean it up in peace. 


It didn't take long before they reached the lower area, a sector of Feoh that could be aptly described in one word — poverty. Many watched the carriage with envy, greed, and soon enough fear, as they recognized the sigil on the carriage. Not a soul dared to approach for alms, and several men and women hastily hid the kids, as if a terrible monster was approaching. 

"The same as always," the coachman sighed at the reaction, understanding where this reaction came from and silently offering gratitude to the Goddess that his family no longer lived here. He whispered, "Let's hope that no unfortunate soul catches the young 'master's' interest." 

The head of the family hated the dirty area, the stench reminded him of Michelle's room, and the skeletal appearances of the famished irked him. In several of the older sections, the absence of a sewage system compelled people to dispose of their bodily waste in the streets,which featured small gutters that brought it outside near the river. "Peasants or commoners. They are all as pitiful as wild animals. But it's not like I have much of a choice." 

The upper area was mostly frequented by rich merchants and nobles of similar status to his own. Having his son take a girl from there could potentially be far more troublesome and even dangerous, depending on who they grab. So Joshua didn't want to take any risks.

Now, he needed to find someone with a pretty face to catch Michelle's interest and return home as soon as possible. "Even if their faces are covered in dirt and grime, some of the women still possess beautiful faces. Like that one over there, don't you find her pretty? She's got red hair as well." He pointed at one of the prostitutes, trying to entice his son's taste by locating a woman who shared traits with Maia.

But Michelle barely paid them any attention, seemingly bored. 

"That girl over there? No, leave it. She's not that good." His father showed him another, to which he replied, "She's too fat." 

"And how about that one?"

"Oh no, she won't even last an hour. She'll break like the rest of them and die before even finishing playing with me." 

And so, minutes stretched into an hour. They scoured countless streets, even going near some of the better areas in search of a suitable girl but came out empty-handed — drawing ever so closer to the slave market. 

Joshua really began to lose hope. In the end, he would be forced to go to the Mortadella brother's establishment, where his son would pick the most expensive slave for sure. And if he didn't agree, then he might suffer from a few broken bones back at home, as well as the fact that his son might kill all of the maids in the mansion… again. 

"Wait!" Exclaimed Michelle loudly, stopping both the carriage and his father's heart for a second. His body bounced, making the whole vehicle creek as if it would split at any moment. "I want her! I want her!" He gestured at a small stand in the distance where a small girl nonchalantly walked around and inspected the food curiously. 

Joshua gazed at her with pure shock on his face. "But my dear son, that is…."




"A girl?" Whispered the old man working at the stand with curiosity. For the last ten minutes, this young gal came by and stayed there to inspect the fruits and vegetables. 

The attention of many was on her, from passing beggars to the street thugs leering at her ominously. Why? Well, it was mostly for the lack of clothing on her body and her appearance in general. She was likely around ten to twelve years old at most, wearing a tattered red cloth that barely covered her privates whilst having some weird crown on her head that was most likely another fake piece of garment. Her crimson eyes resembled the most exquisite gemstones, so mesmerizing that the old man started to feel weird staring at them for too long. Long flowing blond hair that partially obscured her right eye, with not even a speck of dust on them. It was immaculately clean, almost gleaming under the rays of the sun, and so silky that even the faintest breeze stirred its movement. 

To him and everyone else, she seemed extremely out of place. So much so that he was beginning to wonder if she turned out to be a runaway noble who escaped her home to explore the outside. 

With features like that, there is no way for her to be one of the children of the streets. Or, there might be a possibility that she came from outside the Kingdom. "Hey, brat, you should leave before you get into trouble. Leave as soon as possible while you still have the chance. The streets are a dangerous place, especially in this kingdom. You have already attracted a lot of attention from unsavory people." The old man intervened, knowing how things worked in these streets, how young girls her age were regularly kidnapped and sold into slavery or forced to become personal sex toys of the bandits who roamed these areas — even the guards were in on it. 

'Damn it,' the vendor felt ashamed to admit that even he had to acknowledge her appearance was quite beautiful and captivating. It made the fire within his body burn with the intensity of a brazier. One that refused to settle down any time soon. 'If she makes me feel like this at her age… I can't imagine the beauty she'll become in a few years. Wait, no! What am I thinking about!?' He shook his head, not wanting to delve into these weird emotions for much longer. 

"This king has graced your small stand with its presence. The least you can do is to show me some appreciation. Be grateful for not only will you prosper with the help of my blessings but you will become rich beyond your wildest dreams! Also, what is this?" She said while picking up a deep green star-shaped fruit from the cart. 

The old man snorted at her initial response but decided to entertain her nonetheless. If you wanted to die or be captured, then raped — that was none of his business. He already gave a stern warning. On the streets, it was everyone for themselves. "That is a star pineapple, young girl. If you want, I can give it to you in exchange for one silver coin." 

Yes, the price was exorbitant, not something anyone could pay for a fruit, let alone a full day inside the brothel. With little to no doubts, this little gal was a runaway noble. She likely didn't have any concept of money. So he was taking this chance to swindle some extra coins off of her before they got stolen by the local bandits along with her body. 

To his surprise, she sighed while shaking her head. "Hah, you actually have the audacity to demand a king to pay for your goods? Honestly, I'm quite impressed by your courage. You will do your best to serve me in the future." 

A vein throbbed on his forehead with how arrogantly this little brat talked. "The humans here are quite strange. Also, who made this? Is it locally grown? As I have never seen anything like this." 

"I'm not surprised for a noble like you that doesn't know about a star pineapple. Mostly a fruit grown by us peasants, if I remember correctly, created over a hundred years ago by a mage who wanted to develop a new food that would grow quickly and in abundance. It helped a ton for the front-line soldiers who needed an ungodly amount of food per day. Tastes like a wet sponge, but it's filling." He patted himself on the back for his knowledge of all of his products. As a former farmer, he learned a lot with both time and experience. 

"Ehhh, that's impressive. Humans are indeed quite different in this world than I expected. They never cease to impress me. This king approves! Let me have a taste." The girl took the fruit and inspected it closely. The man raised his eyebrow in amusement as she was going for a bite. 

"Ha! Brat, you'll break your tee—what!?" He stopped mid-sentence, utterly taken aback by the sight before him. She took a large bite, followed by a loud crunch. "W-Wha…" He nearly stumbled to the ground, all while the outer shell of the star pineapple…

While the inside of the star pineapple was quite soft and juicy, the outside consisted of a hard coconut-like shell. Just to open it required a hammer or a large rock! 

Too much effort for little reward. Yet before his eyes, this girl took a bite of all things and actually chewed the outer shell as if it was nothing. Was he dreaming!? 

"Humu, tastes alright, I guess. I approve once again. You would do well to serve your king with better treats from this world in the future."

"Holy hell, little girl, are you actually a demi-human in disguise? It would explain everything so far. I have honestly never seen anything like that." 

"You dare call an existence like myself a demi-human? Don't make me laugh! I wouldn't expect anything less from your kind — impressive, albeit not overly astute in instances like these.." 

"...just where did you come from?" He said. The blonde just pointed at the street corner near his stall. "What? You came from there?" He was very confused at the moment. 

"I crash-landed there, it took me a while to recover, and even then, this was all I could bring out." She said while showcasing her body. "Hurgh, without my royal garb, I look more like a peasant than anything else. I don't even want to think about how long it'll take before I reach even a hundredth of my full power."

Nope, even with what little she had, the old man had to admit that the aura around her certainly felt different. Making it impossible for anyone to mistake her for a peasant, regardless of her attire. 

"You're a very strange little girl." 

"A true ruler's personality cannot be grasped by the likes of a commoner. Also, putting that aside. What's with this Kingdom? It barely looks like it's functioning in the first place." She said, casually looking at the dirty streets around her filled with beggars and people sleeping on the ground. "It's disgusting." 

For the first time, the man's back hunched over, displaying his advanced age. The tired look on his face grew with each passing second. "That's what happens when the Princess Knight can no longer fulfill her role as a ruler, permitting corruption to flourish unchecked." 

"Is that so…" her crimson eyes darkened with a vicious light flashing by. "The Guardian might even clean up this place very soon."

"Pft, as if those Knights would ever lift a finger to help us, even the Goddess is useless. Anyway, you still need to pay for that fruit, brat."

Honestly, he was beginning to enjoy the small talk they were having…, well this girl was indeed very arrogant just from her tone and mannerism, but not like the other nobles he had the displeasure of meeting. She mentioned many weird and odd things that didn't make sense to him but sounded so strange yet intriguing. But in the end, he had a business to run and earned a few coins to live for another day.

This girl was disturbing his business with just her presence — trouble was bound to come. And much to his shock, it came quicker than expected. 

"Oh no…"

On the other side of the road, a golden carriage approached, surrounded by personal guards wearing the same uniform with a familiar family insignia embroidered on them. The old man knew trouble was approaching, "Goddess save us. It's the Pantielle monster." 

He gazed worriedly at the girl beside him, still munching the fruit without any care in the world, and he knew she was in trouble. "Hey, brat, quickly get out of here, now! If he sees you, then you're dead!" 

She snorted, "Humph, what's a human going to do against me? Leave them be. They are not worth my attention. Also, do not address me as a brat, I have been lenient on you so far out of pity and my never-ending generosity — but everything has a limit." 

His face turned red, "You little-!!!! I'm literally trying to save your life, kid!" 

Unfortunately, he was already too late.

The fat pig had already set his eyes upon her and watched at the girl's barely hidden figure, lovingly full of lust. It happened. In an instant, a group of guards came rushing toward his stand and circled the blonde. They didn't say anything and didn't even try to talk to her. Instead, one of them picked her up with one hand and walked back to his horse while tying her up in the back. 

"E-Eh? You can't be serious… the sheer arrogance—" Was all she could say with a blank face before the group rushed back from the path they came from. The old man trembled with fear. 

He couldn't have intervened in any way, as those people would have killed him and destroyed everything. People like him were at the mercy of the nobles. No amount of achievements or wealth could ever close that gap between them. So, he was forced to stay silent on the side and watch the young girl get kidnapped, just like many others. 

"It's over for her. That Michelle Pantielle took an interest in her of all people and a child of all people won't last that long, and given how young she is… she's bound to die in a day or two." 

He rubbed his face, tired at the reality of this Kingdom, wondering if he could just leave or else even having a family would no longer be an option for anyone with these monsters roaming the streets.


-Feoh's Castle, Celestine's study-

It wasn't every day she got time to actually toil on paperwork, given how these tasks were primarily handled by Claudia and the volunteers from the Church. These individuals had effectively liberated her later years, enabling her to concentrate her undivided attention on the orphaned children in Thorne. However, on this occasion, Celestine specifically requested them not to interfere, insisting on managing every aspect on her own, without any assistance.

The reason behind her sudden decision stemmed mostly from the Goddess Reborn's desire to keep her mind and body occupied. By focusing on the task at hand, she could lock away certain thoughts that proved too stressful to handle. The succession of events that had transpired lately have proved to be too difficult to process in time. 

Fearful of becoming inundated and inadvertently committing an irreversible error — she was resolute to prevent such an outcome at all costs. "Now that I think about it, this is actually very enjoyable. I should do this more often. It's soothing and not as tiresome as I remember." 

Though she did cringe a bit while looking at her handwriting, which deteriorated far more than she expected — even Luu Luu's was better! If Claudia were to see this, she would grab her by the ears and force the Goddess to take writing lessons just like in the past. "A goddess who can't write well. I wonder how the population would react if they knew that."

Hard to imagine that she used to write books and magical tomes in the past. Thousands upon thousands of books on magic and the exploration of lands beyon Eostia, but that was such a long time ago… a few centuries if she remembered correctly. "Huuuu, I can't believe I'm getting jealous of my past self. At least Serafina will be worse than me, fufufu." She said smugly, excited to show her sister what she learned so far. 

'I missed her. I'm glad that she'll be by my side again.' 



Someone came to her door, and instantly Celestine's smile dimmed considerably. "Come in, " She beckoned, inviting them inside. Pushing aside the paperwork, she took a deep breath. 

The doors opened, and in walked none other than Prim Fiorire. Wearing a breathtaking pink dress that surpassed anything the other Princess Knights wore in the past, she walked inside with the aura of an adorable, shy child. 

Celestine always had the urge to hug the cute girl. No matter how old she got, her adorableness never faded, but unfortunately, this was not the time for such emotions, for another matter plagued her mind. "Good afternoon Celestine-sama. How can I help you?"

She said after giving her a bow. " It's nice to have you here, Prim. I wanted to talk to you for a while but never got the chance. Did you perhaps find Maia? I couldn't get in touch and wanted to have a talk with her as well."

"Unfortunately, I couldn't find her. She's been frequenting taverns and spending ample time outdoors. The maids reported instances of her returning drunk or engaging in rigorous training all day with her personal Knight until she was exhausted." 

Celestine sighed. Maia, out of every person, was the one she wanted to have this conversation the most. But given Prim also was involved to some extent, she would do just fine. 

"Have a seat. No need to be so worried." The elf offered, pouring a cup of tea for the young girl. "You see, I wanted to talk to you about a certain individual you're familiar with. His name is Shir— I mean Archer, given your reaction at the meeting last time, I take it you two know each other, right?" 

Prim's size widened as her body tensed up. The god watched the girl clenching her hand and avoiding any eye contact. 

She felt pain inside her heart. 

Not out of anger, for she couldn't hate her friends and allies, but rather of the inherent injustice of the situation, coupled with a twinge of jealousy. Celestine desired to know more about Shirou… the need to meet him, touch his face for the first time, and to envelop the boy in her comforting presence with every fiber of her being. 

To venture past the dreams where interaction was denied to her. To transform her desire into a reality by standing before him,murmuring soothing reassurances with utmost tenderness. Yet unbeknownst to her, this entire time, not only did her Princess Knights cross paths with him, but a few even engaged in intimate relationships with him! 

'Maia loved Vault from the beginning… Yet what changed in such a short amount of time? According to her, all of this happened before Shirou even reached Olga's castle.'

'It's not fair, it's not fair, it's not fair, it's not fair. Why couldn't it have been me?' Was it because she was always locked up inside her castle? Why, why, why… No, she couldn't let this continue any longer. She needed to be more active and find Shirou before it was too late.

"Celestine-sama, I assure you that Archer is not a villain here. He saved my life and cared for me when I was at my most vulnerable. If he really was an enemy of our kingdoms and allied with the likes of Olga Discordia, then he could have easily killed me then and there. There had to be a reason behind his actions. Maybe he was brainwashed by the Dark Queen and needs our help!" Celestine resisted the urge to giggle out loud. Of course, she knew Shirou wasn't that kind of person.

Having literally seen the boy grow into a fine young gentleman, whose fire to become a hero burned ever so brightly. In her perspective, he had attained his ambitions at an early stage of his life. No matter what others called him in her vision, he was a hero.

Going to the depths of hell and beyond just to save a single person or daring to defy insurmountable odds, he displayed an unwavering determination and saved as many as he could, always with a smile gracing his countenance. Given his nature, there was no way someone of his caliber would kill so many people without cause. Prim believed she knew him, though honestly, she knew nothing. But Celestine couldn't say that out loud. The Goddess Reborn had to keep such thoughts hidden.

"Of course, I believe you. Besides, have I ever mentioned anything about imprisoning him in the dungeon? I understand that your sister is disconcerted by his existence and is seeking justice for the fallen Kuroinu. However, my intent behind seeking him out is completely different. Rather, I want to protect him at all costs, just like you, and make sure he's safe and sound." 

They sent an updated poster of his face to various guilds and associations throughout Eostia, promising a handsome reward for anyone who could find him. She even put in a reward for those who could provide intelligence leading to the whereabouts of Shirou, granting them the opportunity to access her library. 

The mage association, in particular, would be very interested in her library. Especially Kin, who had previously made several attempts to secure access to that area. The library held arcane wisdom of a forbidden nature, encompassing ancient magic from eras long past and those pertaining to her own lineage. 

"Again, that's not why I summoned you here, Prim. Rather, I wondered if you could tell me more about Archer and what kind of person he is. Like how you met him, as well as any interesting details. Rest assured, I won't tell Alicia." She said with a smile, "I know how to keep secrets." 

"If you say so," Prim was at first hesitant to share with the Goddess Reborn any details of the time she spent with Archer. Though it barely lasted an entire day, the memories of their moment together would last for a lifetime. Celestine was one of the few people Prim trusted with her life, akin to a mother figure, much like Claudia, who only desired for her to be happy and healthy. 

So, Prim put aside her discomfort and slowly started to recount the details of that day — not even Alicia knew what happened aside from the basics. Starting with the small accident with their supplies and the carriage experiencing some issues to her going into the woods all alone. Having disobeyed her beloved cousin's warning, The Princess Knight wanted to showcase her capabilities. Treading deeper, taking the same route as when she and Alicia used to play often as children. 

There, she stumbled upon the river and wanted to wet her feet a bit while playing around for a few minutes, but ended up getting swept by the current before falling headfirst down the waterfall. 

Celestine gasped, holding Prim's hand with clear worry in her eyes, "Are you okay!? Oh, you sweet poor child, forgive me for not being there to save you. I can't imagine the hellish experience you must have gone through and the pain from such an ordeal. If only I was there…"

Prim's face turned crimson from the Goddess's hug. She did it with so much force that it was slightly suffocating. 

But… It felt good.

"Do not worry. I don't blame you because Celestine-sama did nothing wrong. You weren't even there. This was all my fault. I should have listened to Alicia onee-sama and stayed by her side." In reality, Prim did not feel as remorseful as she showed on the outside. Quite the opposite. In fact, the girl felt pleased that she fell and nearly died in this process. Recognizing that had this mishap not occurred, her encounter with Archer would have also never come to pass. 

A small sacrifice for a bountiful reward. 

"He treated me with care and gave me food, which tasted beyond delicious. Mending my wounds with what little he could find, he brought me to an empty cave where we stayed the night by a campfire and enjoyed each other's presence until the rain stopped. He was very calming and understanding, listening to all of my worries without any complaints, and he was very… warm."

She started getting lost in her fantasies of that night, not seeing how Celestine's eyes darkened as her nails dug deep into her palm. The Goddess was torn on this matter. She was both extremely glad that Shirou was there to save Prim. The little flower bud represented more than a Princess Knight. She symbolized a delicate, soothing presence who brought a great sense of peace to everyone around her — including Celestine herself. 

Yet at the same time, she also felt jealousy, so much so that she grew envious of the fact that Prim got to meet him by pure luck. And to even spend the night together near a firewood stargazing, it was an activity she had dreamed of doing for so long. 

Prim continued to talk, "And then the next morning, he carried me back to Alicia Onee-sama's camp. Where both she and Claudia had been forming a search party for me. But unfortunately, she reacted aggressively toward him and tried to attack Archer-san. As a result he threw me at her and disappeared." Honestly, everything ended far too soon for her liking. Prim had plans to present Archer to the Princess Knights and even offer him a position within the inner court. 

Or make him become her personal Knight in her name.

On the other side, Celestine was happy to know the full backstory now, finally understanding why Prim got so defensive of Archer during the meeting. Now, she wanted to know Maia's full story — other than what she wrote in the documents. There had to be more that happened between them, same going for Luu Luu. In the end, she was the only one who hadn't even met Archer in the first place. 

She who knew him the best, who cherished him the most… 'But I never got to meet him. Is this some sort of cruel, twisted punishment from the gods?' She couldn't tell. "Ah, Kaguya has also never met him. No, I don't think she has a good opinion of him, but I know she'll change her mind after meeting him once." 

The Goddess Reborn was certain that Shirou and Kaguya would get along nicely. They shared a similar ideology of helping people, though Kaguya had her own ways of doing so. 

"Alright, I must go back to my quarters, Celestine-sama. I had fun. I hope we can have such moments again in the future." 

"Of course, dear, I'm always here when you need me." 

Offering another bow, Prim exited the office, their conversation now concluded. As Celestine was about to return to attend to her duties, a sudden throbbing sensation jolted through her head. "Ah!" A familiar sensation rippled throughout her body, signaling the approach of something from a distance. 

"It… it can't be!"

Almost imperceptibly minuscule and obscure that she came perilously close to missing it. Yet, with heightened vigilance — she realized that it was a remnant of her mana getting closer to the Kingdom. It was a sensation she only solely experienced in the presence of other Princess Knights, albeit markedly weaker… as though it teetered on the brink of dissolution. Dying embers resonated with her very soul and body.

It couldn't be Claudia, and the other Princess Knights were still inside Feoh.

"Wait, the only person I could have ever shared my magic with would be…" she couldn't finish her sentence before rushing outside to the balcony.


She nearly broke the doors off their handles as an ungodly amount of mana started to pour inside her eyes, making them glow gold. 

Her perception of the scene before her sharpened with newfound clarity. The city became clearer in every single detail, to the extent that even the tiniest ant crossing a road several kilometers away was visible to her. But that was not what she focused on; rather, her attention was drawn to the expanse outside the Kingdom, adjacent to the gates, where three individuals were making their gradual approach toward the entrance. 

A familiar woman with tan skin and midnight-black hair, a friend and enemy with whom she shared a long history, followed by a blonde Dark Elf keeping the former safe while glaring at the one in front of her with a blush on her face. 

At the back, it was the man accompanying them that captured her intention instantly. Tall, white hair and tan skin, along with those oh-so-unique steel eyes she could never forget — though there seemed to be a young girl napping on his back. In that last moment, her emotions started to bubble up inside her heart, rampaging violently and causing her magic to fluctuate intensely. 

"It's him!" she exclaimed out loud, unable to believe it. She nearly started to cry but held herself back from such a display.

Their eyes met, and for that moment, Celestine never felt so happy in her life. 

He was this close. 

She could finally see him. 

But instantly, horror settled in as a large group of Knights ran outside the gates with their weapons out unsheathed.

"What are they doing!?" She screamed, only to see Alicia standing in the center, casting a disdainful gaze upon Archer, her blade positioned menacingly at his throat. A sardonic grin adorned the man's visage as he met the Princess Knight's glare. The Goddess Reborn could easily sense the palpable killing intent exuding from the blonde, and instantly, the memories of Shirou's last moments replayed in her mind.

The people spitting his name in accusation.

The smile that lacked hate or resentment.

A lever being pulled.

The rope going taut.

…And the sound of a neck snapping.



Archer was, truth be told, experiencing a profound sense of deja vu at the scene before him. Whether it pertained to this world or his antecedent existence as a Counter Guardian, he couldn't remember. Nevertheless, it sure made him amused as a rapier pressed against his neck with the blonde Princess Knight growling at him like a maddened beast ready to shred his body limb from limb with extreme hatred.

"Criminal, heathen, and traitor to humanity," Alicia's voice rang out,her stance reflective of an executioner's resolve. "For not only killing our closest ally, the Kuroinu. I condemn you to death for collaborating with the Dark Queen herself and attempting to corrupt one of the Princess Knights! All of your escape routes have been sealed off. No amount of pleading will save you from this. Have you any last words you cur!?" 

Olga watched the whole scene with clear amusement, "Oh my, even I failed to earn the ire of the Arcturus heir to such an extent. I must admit, you surpass me in that regard." 

"Shut it. You mind lending me a hand? My hands are a bit full at the moment." 

Chloe had her weapon out, making sure no one would attack her Queen by surprise. The latter rolled her eyes at Archer's words, crossing her arms and disregarding the humans before her. "As if you need my help here, deal with this nuisance and bring me to Celestine herself, not one of her Princess Knights — That was the promise that you made to me." 

Their composed exchange incensed Alicia to the point of nearly popping a vessel. She brandished her weapon, fully intent on striking down the man before her. "Perish for your crimes, you bastard!" 


Only for her blade to be blocked by a scimitar-like weapon, though not by Archer as he stood there equally shocked at the newest arrival. 

Alicia trembled, unable to hold in the rage burning within her. "What do you think you're doing…" she glared hatefully at the redheaded individual before her. "...Maia!?"

"Tch, this jerk still owes me a hell of an explanation." She retorted, pushing back Alicia's blade, proving to be superior in strength as she effortlessly held back Alicia's attack. 

"So don't you dare end his life until I get my pound of flesh from his hide!" 

Oh wonderful, as if things couldn't get any possibly worse…Who was he kidding? Even in this world, Murphy's law has a habit of making things turn for the worse.


The next 5 chapters of Snafu, and my other Fate fics (Fate Coiling Sword with 3 chapters, A Fake Familiar Reborn with 3 chapters, Steel Eyed Faker soon to be 3 chapters, Hound having 1 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 commissioned arts on each story, already posted a few on an Archer's Promise, Broly and Snafu.

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