Raynord set down Fiore on her feet as he glanced around to see where he had gone. He remembered something dark coming in front of him before being swallowed by it. Now he and Fiore and in a completely different place, though at least safer than where they were. The Onion Knight noticed the surrounding area was the town square but had no luck finding his two friends. He knelt in front of Fiore and inspected her to see any signs of damage.
“You seem to be well: I expected an explosion like that would do at least a scratch on you,” said Raynord.
“Y-You need not to worry, master.” She lowered her eyes. “I’ll just be in your way if I did get hurt.”
Raynord put a hand on her shoulder. “Don’t say that. And don’t call me master, since I am not. You are free to do whatever you want, whenever you want. You can even leave me if you please but make the promise of safety first, yes?”
Fiore’s eyes lit up. “T-Then I’ll stay with you! My family died when the bad people came and… you’re the first person that didn’t hit me. You’re nice mister!”
“Is that so? In any case, you must run or hide somewhere. That woman is nearing us for sure and I don’t want the cultists to grab hold of you.” Raynord smiled. “You will have to leave me behind for now, little one.”
“B-But I want to help! Big Sis is going to beat you up and I’m going to stop her!”
“No this is between me and her. If you want to aid me, then find the militia and bring them here.” Raynord handed her a small golden coin, engraved with his family’s crest. “If I don’t come back to you, then show this to them and they will bring you to my brother. Don’t trust him, and remember the names Dickus and Stallion. Go.”
Raynord gave her a little push, urging her to hurry. Fiore expressed a look of determination after gazing upon the small coin, running off into the distance and disappearing into the darkness. The sounds of whistles and screaming men were heard across the town, and for some reason, the town square was not bothered by the explosion. It was too quiet, in fact, which gave him a bad sign of an upcoming battle. After hearing boots landing upon the cobblestone behind him, the Onion Knight turned around and readied himself. Aifa stood in front of him and she took off her robe, showing of her black crop top with red short shorts. She wrapped a white bandana over her forehead and pulled the ends of her black leather gloves after adjusting her armored gauntlets. Aifa stepped side to side and stretched, then she slammed her fist to the palm of her hand and came to Raynord.
“I’ve heard stories of Eastern people fighting with their fists and hands. Admirable, but how can it fare against a sword, let alone armor?” Raynord put out.
Aifa giggled. “Yeah I get that a lot. Damn, looks like you westerners need a butt kicking from a professional more often. Maybe then you guys would host more martial art tournaments!”
She looked around, raising a brow. “Where’s little Fiore? Don’t tell me you—”
“She’s somewhere safe, I assure you.” Raynord nodded. “She is free to do whatever she wants and she decided to stay with me.”
“Hoho, so that ‘Master’ thing was a fluff, huh? Good, good, so my worries are now gone!”
Raynord frowned. “Strange for a Phantom to worry about the livelihood of others. You don’t seem to be all that evil compare to the rest of your comrades. Why did you join them?”
“I wasn’t forced to join. Like, they saved from the clutches of a minor lord. My village got raided by that guy’s soldiers before the truce and…” She stopped walking and put her hands on her sides. “Plus, Fiore kinda reminds me of my younger self. Maybe she’ll have that chance to live and grow like a normal bunny girl she is unlike us. Lucky for her right? She’s still a growing lady, you know? Fighting made me look more like a brute than anything: I think she’ll turn out better than me…”
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Raynord shook his head. “An interesting backstory, but to the matter at hand. What do you mean ‘unlike us’?”
“Straight to the point, huh? I’ve been told you’re the infamous Onion Knight of Damore. If I remember it right, you’re Sir Rayborne of House Eatburt, right?”
“It’s Sir Raynord of House Eadburt to you, young miss.” He sighed. “So, you know who I am. Who gave you that information?”
“Madam knows a lot of things. But bah, we’re not here to talk, we’re here to fight! Come on, Mister Knight of Onions, I heard you are pretty strong yourself. Teach a learning pupil like me what you can do!”
Aifa took a couple steps before taking a massive leap. The stone beneath her feet crumbled as she propelled herself up in the air. Her shadow covered the full moon above and she let out a war cry, soaring down with a axe kick. Instead of dodging her incoming blow he decided to test her strength head on, so he raised his sheathed weapon. Her kick broke the sheathe and sword in half, and her heel struck Raynord on the back of his head. The Onion Knight’s face went to the cobblestone floor and the ground cracked upon collision. Aifa raised her brow as she dug her black boots on his head.
“Aw come on, you can’t die from that? Come on, I’ll give you a chance!” Aifa pouted.
Raynord grasped onto one of the two pieces of his sword and swung it at her legs. She cartwheeled backwards, allowing the Onion Knight to get on his feet and pursue her. He barraged her with his fastest strikes, giving Aifa barely any time to react to them. She ducked one his swipes and slammed her hands to the ground. The paved cobblestone beneath Raynord turned gray sand. Aifa tossed some of the gray dust into his eyes, temporarily blinding him. Without anything to see, he can only rely on his senses to do the work for him. The fist-fighting girl was able to land a couple of hits but Raynord predicted her pattern of attacks, eventually blocking all her strikes. Her fist struck the broken rusty blade and he thought her hand would be broken from such impact. Her hand came through like butter and smashed into his cheeks. Raynord rolled across the floor and immediately stood when he got the chance. He inspected his broken weapon after clearing his sight, only to see the blade degrading into metal-like dust. Raynord grunted and tossed the useless tool at Aifa in attempt to catch her off guard. She caught the weapon with her two hands and the Knight saw this chance to land a punch to her stomach. The fighter flew back and regained her composure.
“Oof that hurt! You hit harder than I expected,” she remarked. “That’s gonna give me a stomach ache later…”
“Turning the ground to sand and you even made my weapon into a pile of some sort of gravel. This is your unique power isn’t it?” Raynord addressed. “Turning materials into some sort of sand?”
Aifa smirked and waved his weapon. “Well that’s part of it alright. Here, I can do this too!”
The girl gripped the sword tighter and the blade of the weapon grew in side. After she was done extending the metal, she tossed his longsword back to him. Raynord noticed though the blade wasn’t even sharp to begin with, it was lighter and by the looks of it, possibly indestructible.
“Sorry about that. You’re gonna need get an actual guy to make a sword for you. Hope that’ll do!” Aifa beamed.
Raynord furrowed his brows. “You realize that you gave me the upper hand? Are you even taking this seriously?!”
Aifa frowned. “Of course, I am! It’s no fun to beat down a handsome defenseless man like you! Oh, and sorry about your face, by the way. I thought you were going to—”
Raynord appeared in front of Aifa and she raised her arms to blow his incoming strike. She drifted to the side and tumbled across the ground, standing up as soon as possible. “Hey, I was still talking!” she exclaimed. “That’s so rude of you!”
“Enough, this chit chat is over! Here I come, Aifa!”
The Onion Knight was swinging and thrusting faster than before, thanks to the lighter weight the weapon now has. Aifa could not keep up with his assault, so she took blunt blows to the side of her body and arms. She raised her arms, trying to defend her face so Raynord slammed the sword at her side. The fighter yelped in pain and her left arm scraped across the floor. It was hard for her to keep tanking the lethal blunt attacks head on and it was clear she could not fight anymore longer. Seeing this as an opportunity to end the fight Raynord forced her to guard for a facial strike, only for him he jam his knee into her stomach, making her clench forward. He raised his blunt sword, swinging it down to her back with all his force. Aifa caught the blade with her hand and the metal turned into soft ash. She gritted her teeth and sent an uppercut to his abdomen. The martial artist assumed a stance, her right leg became infused in a strange yellow light. She spun around a couple of times and a dragon-like spirit manipulated itself around her body.
“I’m gonna go all out, Spiral Dragon Kick of Destruction!” she cried out.
A vapor cloud formed around Raynord as felt the full force of the attack, making him cough out enormous amounts of blood. Aifa crouched and took a massive leap once again, appearing behind the Onion Knight before he was able to impact any infrastructure in the area.
“Time to end this, Shining Moon Flurry!” Aifa shouted.
Her fist and legs grew bright blue and she released a vicious combo when Raynord came within her range. She twirled around, landing several roundhouse kicks while rising to the air. Aifa’s leg shined in a blinding moon light on her final spin, then kicked the Onion Knight back to the ground. The shock made the town tremble again and an enormous mushroom cloud of dust raised many meters above the ground. The town square was in ruined with some houses destroyed by the wake of destruction. The young woman went on her knees breathing heavily, the rush of adrenaline faded away and the pain came rushing in.
She chuckled, blood dripping from her lips. “Gah… If I’d made that weapon sharp, he would’ve killed me ten times over. I need… more… training.”
Aifa became unconscious, falling into the crater and tumbled across the ground. Someone caught her, afore her head came crashing upon sharp rock. It was Raynord, who managed to recover from the bombardment of attacks, though barely was able to stand.
“Agh… Martial arts, huh?” He coughed and felt the warmth of his body receding. “I guess I’ll… give it a go someday…”
People shouting echoed over the distance: it seemed Fiore had brought the militia to them. He came upon his knees, still holding Aifa under his arms. His eyes closed, and he slumped over, not moving a muscle.
Dust and ash descended around them. The town square became silent.