Chapter 22- heart to heart

Dramix opened his eyes, feeling like a burden lifted from his chest, and loaded with another. He opened his eyes to find Naleeit at his side eating some bread. Beside him, there was some more. Dramix was about to open his mouth to speak, uncaring to the gesture, but he paused. He then grabbed the bread and bit into it. He wasn’t hungry, but sometimes you don’t know when your next meal is. They ate in silence, then Naleeit took out her sword. 

“You have changed since we first met Dramix.” (Naleeit)

Dramix started cleaning Zwilander as well. 

“You as well. We both matured some perhaps?” (Dramix)

Naleeit turned over her sword. 

“Perhaps.” (Naleeit)

Dramix then heard Peter speak.

“Be her pillar. Fulfill your oath.” (Peter’s Spirit Talking)

Dramix stopped eating. 

“Naleeit, what would you say about us remaining together after this journey?” (Dramix)

Naleeit stopped what she was doing as well. 

“And go back to a mountain of pigs living less than dirt?” (Naleeit)

Dramix smirked. 

“It will be fun seeing you kick everyone around. Without Zwilander, I know that I hold no chance against you in a fight. It’s a craft newer to me than you, but living poor is a craft newer to you than me.” (Dramix)

She looked up at him in surprise. 

“You’re being serious! I thought you were just prattle.” (Naleeit)

Only allowed on

Dramix nodded.

“If someone ones to get to you, they must go through me first. This is true either way since you’ve proven to be my better back when we first met.” (Dramix)

Naleeit paused while about it.

“You said that you let me tackle you.” (Naleeit)

Naleeit then noticed his serious look. 

“It’s the only time either of us were trying to kill each other. I was dead to rights. Until I pin you in similar fashion….” (Dramix)

Naleeit didn’t know how to react. Peter thought that she was actually blushing. 

“How much of that is your spirit talking?” (Naleeit)

Dramix shook his head. 

“Not a word.” (Dramix)

Naleeit became even more surprised when he said that. He said that on his own from the heart. 

“Can you consider it? I understand that it’s a big commitment, and we all may be dead after the next battle.” (Dramix)

She then went back to cleaning her sword, and Dramix to his spear. 

Peter sighed, which Dramix easily noticed. 

“What is it now, my spirit?” (Dramix’s Spirit Talking)

Peter sat in the eye of souls shaking his head. 

“I saw it in her eyes. If you didn’t say anything else after answering her question, then she would have laid with you.” (Peter’s Spirit Talking)

Dramix smirked at the thought. 

“That would be enjoyable, but that’s all.” (Dramix’s Spirit Talking)

Peter shook his head again. 

“The great thing about having ancestors is owning their legacy. The great thing about that though, is adding your own to it. You’ve given her hope now. She sees a future past this journey. When the time comes, she chose to die fighting before, but now, she has a reason to live. Besides, it’s no crime to enjoy things when you can.” (Peter’s Spirit Talking)

Dramix paused after hearing that. 

“Naleeit, tell me something. If you had to make a choice between me and your brother. One lives, and one dies. Who would you choose?” (Dramix)

Naleeit paused at the question, but she didn’t give an answer. 

Dramix then raised to his feet. 

“Your brother is meant for great things. I’m not alone as he is. If you ever enter such a situation where ends up being me or him, save him. This war is lost without him. The world may very well depend on it.” (Dramix)

Dramix started to move away after he said that.

Naleeit paused, thinking why he would say that. She thought that she would save her brother, but she couldn’t abandon him either. 

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Suddenly, a new voice was behind her. 

“He’s cute!” (Maple)

Naleeit didn’t even turn toward the voice of the little elf girl. 

“He’s very desirable. Even though he’s aggravating.” (Naleeit)

The elf laughed a little when she said that.

“May I ask you something?” (Maple)

Naleeit looked at her. 

“What is it little one?” (Naleeit)

The elf looked at her armor. 

“What does it mean to be a knight?” (Maple)

Naleeit sighed and leaned back on the stump. 

“That’s a hard question these days. There was once a code of honor that I was raised to abide by.  Even I couldn’t meet this standard because I slept with that man once and failed my king and country in the process. I still fight and try to live by the code anyways.” (Naleeit)

The elf became excited when she said that.

“Can you teach me this code? I have seen what is coming and we need strength. It has been many centuries since we have seen conflict.” (Maple)

Naleeit considered it for a moment. 

“I can’t teach all of it to you since I don’t know all of it myself. You already know part of it, so let’s start from there.The sword, shield, and the plate. These are the three tools and symbols of the knight. The sword is the tool that strikes down one’s enemies, and must only be used to harm the evils of the world. The shield is a tool to hide the innocent and weak behind it. Even without one, a knight is always a shield. The plate is the tool that keeps the knight standing. Without it, the other two tools fail.” (Naleeit)

Naleeit then looked at her sword in her hands. 

“It’s said that the true knights of old could battle for days on end without any rest. They were ever vigilant and ever vigil. At times, I think these stories are myths to tell hopeful knights about a standard that can never be met.” (Naleeit)

The elf leaned on her shoulder. 

“You’re a true knight though. You came here to defend us. You also ask nothing in return.” (Maple)

Naleeit shook her head. 

“In truth, I ran away when my king died. Sure, it’s to safeguard the prince, but that is an excuse.” (Naleeit)

The elf got off her shoulder. 

“You doubt yourself?” (Maple)

Naleeit nodded.

“It’s another way that I fail as a knight. A knight must never doubt themselves, or what they have done.” (Naleeit)

Naleeit then closed her eyes. 

“A knight should be a symbol. Even when one isn’t needed.” (Maple)

Naleeit then opened her eyes to look for the elf, but she was gone. 

Naleeit sighed in disappointment that she scared her off. 

After a few minutes thinking about what she should do from now on, she heard the clanking of iron. It something that didn’t seem to exist where they were. She went over to the noise to find the elf girl with a stew pot on her head and some dinner plates tied together on her front and back. 

Naleeit smiled in amusement. 

“No, young elf. A knight doesn’t wear armor before knowing the code. In order to know the code, you must know yourself. Play to your strengths as I do. My armor covers my body from my talons to my neck. It’s leaves only my back and wings vulnerable so I may fly. It’s heavy, but I’m strong and can bare the weight with no notice.” (Naleeit)

The elf looked at her in amazement and took off the plates and the stew pot. 

Naleeit took out her sword again and took a pose. 

“A knight never attacks another person in surprise. They come at danger head on. They never wavering and never falter.” (Naleeit)

She remained unmoving while looking into the distance. 

“They let emotions fuel their actions, but never let it decide them.” (Naleeit)

She then sighed and put her sword away. 

“I was told that there used to be an order of knights. The proud examples of men.” (Naleeit)

The elf looked up at Naleeit in confusion. 

“What happened to them?” (Maple)

Naleeit shook her head before speaking.

“Times changed. People wanted an easier life. The order splintered and fractured. Many became shell knights, selling their sword for food. Others wandered looking for a home lost to them. A few remained to pass on their teachings. Gulliver’s ancestor was one of these knights, and the old mage of the kingdom was one of the keepers of the order.” (Naleeit)

The elf moved back to the stump and put a hand on it and closed her eyes.

She then paused as if listening. Naleeit waited for her while intrigued. 

“This forest is old. It was as you say, but there is a truth that you don’t know, and that you shouldn’t know. You’re a knight with a clear enemy before you. You have the world behind you to protect, and your heart is stronger than any armor. Thank you for teaching me how to be a knight.” (Maple)

Naleeit nodded happily. 

“If you ever need my guidance, I’m here to give it to you.” (Naleeit)

The elf smiled back at her kindly in response.

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