Chapter 1: In the middle of wherever (1)

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The monk looked incredulously at the lady lying prostrate before them.

It wasn't every day that your religious ceremonies were cut short by a woman plummeting through a glass ceiling. Accompanied by crystalline shards and the monks' cries of shock, not to mention a brightly flickering sword and armour, she had hit the ground so hard that her arrival must've left a literal impression. The monk, Allen, suspected her unconscious.

The Abbot was the first one to approach the maiden. He knelt beside the female knight and turned her on her back. He raised her gently by the back of her head, and for a short and extremely inappropriate moment, gazed at her face. "Concussion," the Abbot said. "Brother Allen, you will have to vacate your room on a short notice."

"Yes, Abbot." The monk nodded from among the lines of his brethren.

"Brother Conrad," the Abbot continued, turning to look at a white-garbed monk standing in the first row. "Please help brother Allen to carry this woman. You know where his room is."

"Unfortunately," the monk in white robes answered.

As Brother Conrad made his way to the front, Allen approached from behind, whispering apologies as he squeezed past his well-toned brethren. A humble approach was highly preferred, seeing as he was a brother-in-brown - a novice, in other words.

At the front, he looked down at the woman in a dimly flickering armour. She wasn't exactly a beauty, with chin like a nail and eyes - even though closed - suggesting a stern demeanor. Her face was also ruddier than the monks' and noticeably less beardy - that said, Allen's beard was only in coming. The woman's barely luminous armour covered everything below her neck, and she wore a heavy-looking helmet - one without a visor, Allen noted.

As Allen watched her, she stirred. She opened her eyes, jerking.

Before Allen could react, she had already grabbed the Abbot's wrist. The Ceremonial Master's face twisted into a look of pain, and the brethren immediately stirred up in the hall.

The Abbot raised his hand, making them stop. Allen took a step back, and brother Conrad soon followed, the woman's glare on him. Her flickering sword was in her hand, awfully close to the Abbot's persona.

A silence followed. "Where is this place?" the woman said.

Allen thought he'd never heard such a language as hers.

"Where am I?" the woman continued. A moment of silence ensued, and then the Abbot groaned as the woman yanked his hand. "Answer me!"

"Milady, you're not in danger," the Abbot said with a soothing tone. He carefully opened his palms to the woman, probably to show that he wasn't armed. "Please, let us help you."

For a short while, the woman kept the Abbot in her icy gaze. Then she let go, glancing at the brethren. Her gaze lingered on their angry countenances for a threateningly long time, even as the Abbot rubbed his reddened wrist.

"Who are you?" she eventually said, turning back to the Abbot. "What is your allegiance? Do you speak my tongue?"

I've never heard so grating a language, Allen thought. The woman's tongue made her words sound like a threat. Or maybe it's the content of her words? Anodyne, I don't know!

Brother Conrad approached the Abbot while eyeing the woman. "Abbot... I say we bid the lunatic goodbye."

The bald Abbot offered Brother Conrad a soft smile. "Conrad..."

"Look what she did to your arm!" Brother Conrad said, gesturing at the Abbot's assaulted wrist.

The woman noticed it, glancing at the monk. Then she said, "Answer me."

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