chapter 111: A daughter’s courage

After joining the queen’s court, Leowynn was offered a variety of jobs to choose from. No matter what her position was, the public couldn’t so easily accept her living in the queen’s castle unless she actually did something. But, that was just fine with her. Ever since she left Cau Buhnga, she knew exactly what she wanted to do.

Leowynn became the queen’s personal bodyguard. To test her qualifications, she was allowed to spar against the queen’s current knights and guards. No matter who she fought, however, her strength proved enough to overpower any mortal enemy. It was to such a degree that she was granted a new title. From then on, Leowynn was known as the ‘Goddess’s Knight’.

Unfortunately, that title was rather empty without being able to receive the knight class, but nobody seemed to mind that fact much. After all, she was already as strong as she could be. Nobody dared to question that fact.

As the queen’s strongest knight, Leowynn openly volunteered for even the most dangerous of missions. Whether it was protecting the queen herself on an outing, or going to defeat a powerful monster roaming the lands. She always gave off an air of invincibility to those that knew about her.

Granted, there were times when the church attempted to seize her for their own, now that her mother was no longer around. Those that did, however, learned that she was an even more monstrous existence than her mother. Without fail, the queen had them put to death after Leowynn dragged them before her.

Only Leowynn herself knew why she was doing this. It wasn’t for anything as special as proving herself to be the best of the best. No, part of her was looking forward to her failure. She was still living her life to the fullest, not wanting to leave any regrets behind, but she knew what she really wanted.

As for her social life… it’s not that she didn’t try to have one. Whenever the situation arose, she would try to make friends. At one point, she even tried to find a suitor. However, those people she attempted to befriend all saw her as ‘The Daughter of Ryone’, or the ‘Knight of the Goddess’, not as Leowynn.

Still, it was not as if she was unable to enjoy her life. With her role as the queen’s guard, she was able to travel and see places that she had never seen before. She was able to fight exciting battles, and feel the thrills that had always been denied her.

Naturally, her father had asked her to stop such a dangerous life. He wanted her to live a long, fulfilling life, where she could enjoy any pleasures she wanted. However, that is not the kind of life she wanted. She did not want to live a modest life. No, she was Ryone and Dale’s little star. She would burn bright, let her glory shine upon the elves for generations.

Only allowed on

With all of her achievements, there was one that truly set her apart from the rest. A monster that was destroying nearby cities. This was a winged lizard that spouted fire from its mouth. From her mother, Leowynn knew it was a lesser dragon, one of the strongest monsters in existence. In terms of level, it was two hundred and fifty, a full hundred higher than anyone else.

Along with many other knights, Leowynn had been chosen to bring the beast down. However, now she stood to face it alone. Her abilities had allowed her to last longer than her comrades under the breath of the dragon.

This is it. Leowynn thought to herself. This is where I will shine. Her bow had long since turned to ash, her sword a pile of molten slag. Her body was charred black with burns, the only thing keeping her moving being the protection of her ki.

In truth, it would not be hard for Leowynn to kill this dragon on her own. Though its scales were strong, they were not stronger than her fists enhanced by ki. The problem was that the dragon never stopped flying!

Rather than landing to confront her, it attacked in swooping motions, spraying down blue fire from its mouth. And as Leowynn watched, it was getting ready to do just that again. She saw it soaring high into the sky, before moving into a downward dive.

“I am Leowynn Mardin, daughter of two gods. My father gave birth to this world, and my mother filled it with her magic and her love.” She whispered to herself, urging her ki to spread through her body. Her silver hair had been scorched off her head, her mother’s dress ashes at her feet.

“Today, I will become a burning star for them.” Her body seemed to almost glow as she spoke, looking up at the dragon that had opened its mouth. Her mouth curved up into a smile, no longer able to feel the pain of her burns.

Leowynn crouched down briefly, before launching herself with her full strength into the air. The ground beneath her feet exploded, sending her flying upwards like an arrow shot from a bow. Her fists seemed to ignite as she clenched them. A dragon’s roar could be heard, not from the beast above, but from the girl flying into it from below.

She wasn’t even aware of what she was doing, but in that moment the image of a dragon superimposed itself over her fist. When she threw her fist forward to meet the  flames of the dragon’s breath, the golden image surrounding her fist opened its maw, swallowing whole the flames that sought to burn her.

The dragon’s flames seemed to hold no power over the ki dragon that she had formed. And with its diving momentum, the lesser dragon was unable to stop itself from colliding with the projection itself, followed soon after by Leowynn’s fist. A pained cry filled the sky as Leowynn’s arm shattered under the force of her own punch.

Yet, the cry did not come from her, as blood gushed out of the dragon’s head. Leowynn turned her body in midair by borrowing the force of the collision, bringing her leg high above her. That same golden light shined bright on her leg as she brought it down like an axe, severing scale, flesh, and bone. Using the power she did not understand, she had managed to split the dragon’s head in two.

However, there was a cost for such power, as her body had become incomparably weak. All of her ki had been used in the jump, as well as that first punch. As she fell towards the ground, even she did not know where she had drawn the energy for that last attack, or even what it was. All she knew was that she had done it. She had become a burning star in elven history. The woman who slayed the dragon.

She watched the bar of her life slowly trickling down to nothing, emptying before she had even hit the ground. Will you be waiting for me, father? She asked herself as she closed her eyes, a gentle smile on her face. Will you be proud of me?

I was… dumbfounded, to say the least, as I watched Leowynn battling the dragon. The knights with her were all fairly normal, only in the lower hundreds for levels. After the first few rounds of dragon’s breath, they had all died, with only Leowynn remaining. I had already prepared the screen to descend again to meet her, when suddenly another notification appeared.

Leowynn Mardin has requested access to divine power. Do you wish to embody her with the powers of a templar?

You can do it, Leowynn. I thought to myself with a smile as I accepted. Seeing her body begin to glow, I could feel the divine power coursing through her. I’m not sure how she had created the dragon ki fist that she struck out with, but the kick she used afterwards had been filled with divine energy. At that moment, she had truly become an agent of the gods.

With the battle over, and both parties falling to the ground, I hit the button to descend.

Leowynn opened her eyes, feeling the world around her changing. Looking down to herself, she saw her body returned to its normal condition. Her silver hair had returned, and even the dress that she had always worn was once again on her. If there was anything different… it was that she was slightly transparent, and floating above the ground.

“So this is what it’s like to be dead.” She said to herself as she glanced at the charred husk that laid a few feet away from her, as well as the much larger body of the dragon that had fallen nearby. A satisfied grin floated on her face until she saw a ghostly form arising from it as well. “Oh… I didn’t think about this part.”

She braced herself for another battle, ready to fight again, until a sharp shout caused the dragon’s body to shake. “Get out of here!” The voice commanded, and even Leowynn could feel her spirit shaking. As for the dragon, it glanced at the source of the noise in terror, before turning and flying away as fast as it could.

When Leowynn saw the figure that had chased away the dragon, she let out a gentle sigh. “I knew you’d be here.” She said as she looked at her father.

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“I am. And I am proud of you.” She could feel her ears redden as he said that. “Yes, I heard you. Now, I think you’ve been waiting for this… Leowynn, do-”

“Yes!” She didn’t even let him finish as she ran up to her father, wrapping her arms around his slender frame and pulling him into the first hug she had ever been able to share with him. Or at least, she tried to, before falling through him. Realizing that he was not in the form of a spirit, her ears reddened again.

Still, she gave her answer with all the determination she had been saving up for over a century. “Yes, please let me stay with you and mother. I want to meet all of the gods and goddesses, and watch the world grow with you. I want to see how you live, and see all those other races mother told me about.”

He seemed dazed by the sudden interruption and admission, but soon a small smile formed on his face. “Alright, then I need you to not resist this.” He told her as he reached a hand out to her, gently stroking her cheek. Strangely, she could actually feel this. She could feel his power seeping into her, and hers being drawn into him. “Leowynn Mardin, my daughter. Do you wish to join me? This will only work properly if you give your consent now, and this is the last chance to turn back.”

“I do.” She nodded her head immediately. When the words left her lips, she found herself being drawn into him. Her spirit merged with his, and she found herself living in a land of gray fog. At first, she thought that he had sent her to the afterlife instead of taking her with him like he had said. But then, she felt the bond with him, that which had always been there, but stronger than ever before.

When she closed her eyes, she could see out into the burning landscape that she had just been standing in. It did not take her long to figure out that she was looking through his eyes. “Father, can you hear me?”

“I can.” She heard the voice from all around her. “Do you want to go ahead and meet Ryone first?”

No sooner had the question asked than she nodded her head emphatically. “Please… let me see her again.”

She could see a blue light shining in front of her father before the scenery changed. Soon, she saw a wooden room, a wide bed decorated in a manner she had never seen with wide red silks. But more importantly, she saw her mother, Ryone, sitting on the bed.

She didn’t even get the chance to ask before she felt a strange force pulling her from the gray world. Leowynn found herself standing between her father and mother. Her body was no longer transparent, but looked as if she was full of life. Without waiting for an explanation, she jumped forward, tackling her mother to the bed and wrapping her arms around her. “I’m home…” She said with a happy voice.

“Welcome home, Leowynn.” She heard her mother say, her arms wrapping around Leowynn as well. “I’m so glad you chose to come back with him.”

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