Passage Chapter 1

The Great Murder Mystery

“That makes three towns now.”

“You must be kidding.”

It was in the early afternoon, two days later. As soon as news centering on the uncommon string of crimes reached Sol-Falena, Queen Lymsleia called an emergency meeting of the knights in hopes of an immediate solution to both current and potential future problems. In the audience chamber were three of the Queen’s Knights, which included Kyle, a dashing blond man, Galleon, a loyal soldier with many years, and Miakis, the only female in the force but whose power could easily match that of the two men. Also present in the room were several guards and the preteen queen herself.

“There are lots of things I kid about, Galleon, but this isn’t one of them,” Kyle replied solemnly. “It’s really getting dangerous.”

The much older man’s brow furrowed. “This...can’t be happening,” he said, sounding every bit as troubled as he looked. “Nobles being murdered left and history repeating itself? It hasn’t even been a month since Lord Godwin’s defeat, and Her Majesty was crowned a mere fortnight ago. Couldn’t we have experienced some peace...?”

Miakis’ eyes were fixed to the floor, her facial expression nearly identical to Galleon’s. “I’m a little worried about the pattern of these murders. Two in Estrise, three in Rainwall, and now, these two in Stormfist? Not to mention, the victims were the strongest supporters of the princess. What does this mean? Are the killers trying to send us a message? Such as, ‘Sol-Falena is next’? What if the princess...I-I mean, what if the queen is in danger, too?”

Galleon turned to the young woman. “That’s a scenario very much on our minds as well, Lady Miakis. With the deaths of Alenia and Zahhak, and the absence of Georg, Lyon, and Her Majesty’s brother...we three make up the total power of the Queen’s Knights. Granted, we’re receiving new trainees, but none of them are yet qualified to perform bodyguard duties, let alone more offensive tasks.”

Lymsleia, who had been fidgeting on the throne, let out an anxious sigh. “That makes me all the more nervous at the thought of you two retiring,” she said, looking at Galleon and Kyle. “It’s times like these I’m reminded of how lucky I am to have your strength. Oh, I wish you weren’t leaving so soon...!”

“Don’t worry, Your Majesty,” Kyle assured her. “With all the killings going on, we’re not going to abandon you.”

“Certainly not,” Galleon added in agreement. “But what if we call upon our old friends as well?”

“That would be good... Lymsleia started, but did not look so confident. ”...except...well, I know they were all fighting to defeat Godwin, but in the end, it was Brother who brought them all together. Do you think they would band together for the sake of protecting me? And what about all those nobles that have nothing to do with them?”

“They’d better band together!” Kyle exclaimed. “The prince was the one who saved Falena from Godwin’s rule! Is that how they’ll repay his courage and kindness? By refusing to help his sister and the ruler of their country in her time of need?”

“And if anything, it doesn’t hurt to ask,” Miakis added, and then grew lost in thought. “Hmm. I hear Roog is trying to form a Dragon Brigade right here in Sol-Falena, but I’m not sure how far along those plans are. In the meantime, maybe we can send messengers to the other towns, and call together the delegates of the new parliament.”

“I’m told Wilhelm and the Lindwurm Mercenaries are still in the area,” said Galleon. “Shall we see about hiring them as well?”

“They do have an excellent reputation,” Lymsleia replied, and then nodded. “All right.”

“Good idea, Galleon,” Kyle said, but suddenly looked depressed.

“Is there something wrong, Kyle?” Galleon asked in concern.

“Ah...” The younger man tried to crack a smile. “I-it’s nothing,” he said, bringing a hand to the back of his head uncomfortably. “It’s just...kind of hard without Ferid, you know? We could use a commander right about now.” Then, realizing the weight of his wish, he quickly turned to Lymsleia. “Er, not to put any pressure on you, Majesty!”

The queen shook her head. “It’s okay, Kyle. I made the decision to do away with the Sacred Games, and I don’t regret it. But in the meantime...we could have a temporary commander.”

“Sounds good to me! I nominate Galleon.”

The older knight let out a nervous laugh. “You flatter me, Kyle, but that honor is reserved for the future husband of Her Majesty.”

“I know that,” Kyle told him. “That’s why it’s temporary.”

“Still, I’m not comfortable filling Lord Ferid’s shoes, even for a short while. Perhaps...” His eyes drifted from Kyle to Miakis. “ of you two could do it, instead?”

“Don’t be silly, Galleon,” Miakis responded. “My duty is only to protect the princess!...At least until we get a commander. I’m no good at giving orders!”

“And I’m just not the leader type,” Kyle added, showing a genuinely apologetic face to Lymsleia. “It’s nothing against you, Your Majesty. We’re all perfectly willing to lay down our lives for you, but none of us really knows how to lead.”

“I understand,” Lymsleia said resignedly. “Maybe one of our old friends can fill the role temporarily. And if not...well...with all of us working together, I’m sure we can come up with something.”

* * * * *

“Ow!” exclaimed Richard, rubbing his freshly bruised noggin. “Mueller! Not so hard!”

“Then stop slacking off,” scolded the sinister-looking older man, who was waving the steel rod at the blond teenager threateningly. Though not the commander of their unit, he was the first officer, not to mention one who truly earned his unofficial title of ‘Tyrant.’ “The war may be over, but that’s no reason to take it easy. We’re mercenaries. We train so that we’re ready at anyone’s call.”

“I know that, Mueller,” Richard insisted. “And I wasn’t slacking off. How many years have you know me?”

“Enough to know when you’re slacking off, fool!” Mueller barked thunderously. “I don’t know why anyone in the Lindwurm Mercenary Brigade calls you the Blademaster when you slack off like that! Now back to your training!”

“Uh...y-yes! Of course, Mueller!” Richard returned to his rigorous exercises, but, as usual, besting his opponent was hardly a challenge at all. Eventually, the other soldier, a man also from their unit, collapsed to the ground in defeat, weapon dropping from his hand.

“Ugh...” The soldier set his gaze on Richard as he clutched his own chest. “Damn, kid...” he said, panting loudly. “If this is you slacking off, I’d hate to spar with you when you’re giving it your all. That guy’ full of may be young, but damn if you ain’t strong enough to lead your own unit!”

A grin formed on the teenage boy’s face. “Ha ha. It’s tempting to be honest, but for me, it’s more rewarding to fight by Mueller’s side.”

The man looked puzzled. “But why...?” he asked as he arose. “The guy just hits you on the head all day. Wouldn’t you rather be in a position where you’re respected more?”

“It’s okay,” Richard said, the smile unfading. “Besides, Mueller hits everyone with that rod of his. I’m sure he’d do it even if I had my own unit.”

“Whatever you say, kid. Whatever you say...”

“Richard!” Mueller called suddenly. “Get over here!”

“Yes, sir!” Richard quickly approached the man, who was standing with another man named Wilhelm. “What is it?”

“Looks like we’ve been given a job, kid,” Wilhelm--who was also known as the laid-back commander of their unit--told him.

“Really?” asked Richard with interest. “What is it?”

“We’re going to Sol-Falena to fortify its defenses,” Mueller explained.

“Oh...has war broken out again?”

Mueller shook his head. “Not that we know of. There have been a string of murders among the nobles lately, specifically those who are strong supporters of Queen Lymsleia. It is believed that the queen’s life may be threatened next, so they’re calling as many of their old allies as they can to protect well as any other nobles who are possible targets. There’s more, but we can get into it later.”

“Oh, all right,” the teen said, nodding. “When do we leave?”

“Immediately. The Revolving Bridge isn’t far away, and the Queen’s Knights have already given the guards notification of our arrival. If we leave now, we’ll reach the East Palace by sunset.”

“That’s right,” Wilhelm said, a sly smile forming on his face. “The sooner we get to Sol-Falena, the sooner I can get a glimpse of that bangin’ bodyguard. Maybe she and the former prince are back now, so I can-- ow!”

Mueller lowered the rod, clearly annoyed. “You fool! This isn’t the time to think about such things.”

The scruffy man grumbled, ruffling the wild pink hair just above the sore spot on his head. “Well, if not now, then when?” he whined. “None of the beautiful babes in the prince’s army would even go out with me, and it’s been a good month since we l-- ow!

Having run out of patience, Mueller resumed the punishment, striking repeatedly. “We haven’t--”


“--the time--”


“--for such--”

“Damn it--”

“--idiocy! Now pay--”



“Stop it--”

“--to the task--”


“--at hand!”

“Ow! Okay! Guh!” Wilhelm withdrew both physically and mentally, panting, relieved that it was over. “All right, already! Geez. I’m sorry. It was just a joke. I’m with ya, okay? Ugh.” He shook his head, shooting the man a look of disgust. “I really shouldn’t have to take this crap from you, you know. I’m in charge, after all.”

Mueller’s eyes narrowed. “Perhaps,” he said, putting away the metal weapon. “But without me to keep you on your toes, we’d never get anything done. Now prepare to depart!”

“Yes, sir,” Wilhelm said sarcastically, offering a weary salute.

Chapter 2

All That Glitters Is Cold 3 Fanfic Competition

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