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As he walked down the hallway, he went over some of the information that his predecessor contained. He was very intelligent man, and had countless pieces of information on his head. Regarding this war, he had studied just about every monster that existed, gathering all the knowledge about his enemies that he could conjure.

Bloodbane felt it was too much information. If he saw a monster, he’d kill a monster. It was that simple. He didn’t have to walk very far either before a group of six creatures charged at him. He could tell from the memories that these were goblins. They were the same size as humans, but green, with no hair, a mishappen scalp, buggy eyes, and long pointed ears.

As soon as the creatures saw him, their eyes glowed excitedly and they charged forward. Bloodbane bellowed in return, swiping his club and destroying half of them in a single strike. The other three grew hesitant when they saw their companions instantly destroyed, but Bloodbane didn’t allow them to recover. With another swipe, he took out the rest of them.

“Too weak!” He growled.

Compared to the troll from earlier, these things were pathetically underwhelming. They were only blood smears in the hallway now. Bloodbane could only guess that they sent a slightly stronger enemy after him. Perhaps they didn’t know about the reputation of the king, or maybe they thought that he’d be guarded. He should have been guarded, but there were no bodies outside the library. The troll wasn’t so thorough that he wouldn’t have left at least splashes of blood. That meant that the men set to protect his door must have taken off. The current Bloodbane didn’t care much about this. In such a hopeless situation, loyalty was hard to find, and the former king had earned none.

However, the current Bloodbane wouldn’t accept anything less than absolute loyalty. He wouldn’t accept any traitors in the future. If anyone did betray him, he’d kill them. It was something he had decided on, a part of his code. After taking out the goblins, he was about to continue when he heard a whimpering cry. He paused and quickly identified that the sound had come from one of the bedrooms off of the hallway.

Lifting the club back onto his shoulder, he didn’t bother with the small daggers and blades the goblins used. None of them suited him at all.

Pushing his way into one of the rooms, he saw a grisly scene. A group of monsters was in here, along with three maids. They had been excited into a frenzy, and each of the maids had their clothing ripped open and were forced down on one of three beds. Bloodbane identified the monsters in the room as a pack of goblins and one troll.

There were six goblins in all. Only two of them were on the beds right now, savagely having two maids. The maids were barely struggling anymore. Bloodbane noticed that they were covered in bruises and cuts. They had put up a fight, but they had run out of strength and could now only take what the goblins dished out. The other four goblins were merely waiting for their turns, barking out in a strange language that seemed to be an encouragement.

The third woman, however, had experienced the worst fate. It was the troll on her bed. Her eyes held no light in them, and the bed was covered in blood. All Bloodbane could see was the bare ass of the troll thrusting, and he was glad for that since the scene had to be horrific. As a gladiator, he had seen many gruesome deaths. He had even witnessed women being raped to death. He’d even been given women to satisfy himself on. Even with that experience, this scene left him nauseous and angry.

Finally, one of the goblins had noticed his entry to the room. It let out a scream, causing everyone to be alerted. Soon, six goblins and a troll had turned to look at him. The two women on either side had looked on with hopeful looks, but when they saw who it was, those looks quickly turned to anguish. It was only the foolish king who had no ability. He wasn’t a man who could save them or prevent them from suffering an even worse fate.

They had been lucky. They hadn’t gotten the troll. There was still a chance, but after the troll finished with its victim, it’d like to start on one of them. Once again, they could only hope it wasn’t them. They could only hold on to the hope that in the end, someone came and saved them before they died. As for their minds, those were already frayed. Being raped by a goblin was already a horrible thing for a maiden to endure, but make it a huge violent troll, and the horror was multiplied by many times.

Feeling their last glimmer of hope instantly shattered, the two women broke into despair, all of their fears confirmed. At this point, they were only awaiting the sweet release of death. The one who reacted the strongest, however, was the maid who had already lost all light in her eyes. When they fell on the king, she could only lightly mutter a few words.

“Run, your highness…”

“Kill him.” The troll ordered.

It seemed like, in the hierarchy of these armies, the trolls could order the goblins and they obeyed. Perhaps it would work this way in an army of trolls and goblins, but when they were all undead, maybe they all played by the rules of whoever resurrected them.

The goblins that weren’t on the beds lunged toward Bloodbane. He didn’t even have eyes for them. His interest was more in the troll. The last one had survived a single move. He wanted to see about this troll. With a swipe of the club, all four goblins were turned to a bloody mist. It happened so quickly that no one was able to process what happened. Bloodbane already had the club back on his shoulder, so it looked like the goblins had run into him, and then simultaneously exploded into pieces.

The troll shot a look at the two goblins still on the bed, and then turned and got off itself. This time, it was the troll and goblins facing Bloodbane. He grinned at them, his expression filled with confidence. The maids could only stare in shock. This was the useless no-good king? Although he always appeared muscular and fit, he had the battle sense of a mouse and the demeanor of a kitten. How could this confident man be the king they remembered?

In particular, the maid in the middle, the one who had been with the troll, looked on with a complicated expression. She had been a direct maid to the King. She wasn’t the head maid to the entire palace, but she took care of everything related to King Bloodbane. He had always been extremely modest and polite. There was once a time she defended these qualities, but now that qualities had brought her to such an end, she could no longer say a kind word about him. All she felt was bitterness and anger. Below the waist, she could no longer fill anything, and she had a feeling she would soon leave this world.

“Come on, you craven, come at me!” Bloodbane roared.

The troll and the remaining two goblins obliged, attacking the single man three on one. However, the troll didn’t have a weapon and chose to fight with his bare fists. Bloodbane avoided him and destroyed one of the goblins next to him. He continued to dance around the troll as it grabbed for him two more times, and then he took out the second goblin.

“Watch out!” the maid who could not walk cried out.

Bloodbane instinctively felt something was off, and the cry only confirmed his suspicions. He leaped back just in time to see the troll’s fist turn into a blade and slice where he was standing. The wall split open, revealing the empty room next to this one. It should be noted that this wall was made of stone, like everything else in the capital.

“Body… transformation?” Bloodbane inquired, his mind seemingly looking up the information for him.

“Foolish human, I’m a body mage. Trolls are already strong, but my defense and offense have been amplified many times beyond that. If you think you can kill me with that measly club, think again!”

It leaped at Bloodbane, holding nothing back as he gave a flurry of strikes. It truly was faster and stronger than the undead troll that had come after Bloodbane. Maybe they had looked down on him in the beginning. However, if the monster only could do this much, then Bloodbane wasn’t impressed.

The blade struck Bloodbane’s club, causing a piece of it to crack off. This delighted the troll, who attacked even more aggressively. Bloodbane dodged when he could, but the room was small and he was avoiding going near the beds and threatening the women. When he couldn’t dodge, he inevitably had to block, and the club was chipped away again and again until it was almost nothing. It finally shattered with one final strike.

“I’ve got you now!” the troll roared.

Bloodbane did a diving roll, but the troll continued after him without missing a beat. It slashed down for a killing blow and then screamed when his eye was suddenly pierced with something. The attack it was delivering weakened, and then it felt a weight on its bladed arm. The human had grabbed its arm blade, and throwing all of his weight, the troll found itself being thrown over the man’s head. Trolls were nine-feet tall and nearly five-hundred pounds. They were not used to being thrown.

However, Bloodbane had thrown a splinter from the club into his eye and then used all of his weight, the strength of the troll’s unbalanced strike, and his momentum to flip him over. Its back landed on ten different wooden spears. These had all been created when the troll chopped apart the club. While it was busy laughing in delight, Bloodbane had slowly turned his club into a trap. Half of the wood spikes broke under its weight, but the other half managed to catch, pierce, and then plunge through its body. In an instant, the confused troll had been turned into a pincushion! As it lay dying, it could feel a strange tugging on its arm, and then tearing. As pain exploded in its mind, it looked in disbelief as the human tore off its arm, which had been turned into a blade.

Bloodbane looked at the blade for a bit, nodded appreciatively, and then propped it up on his shoulder as his new weapon. It was a bit lighter but much sharper. It was the molded flesh of a troll with body transformation abilities. The troll died watching its body being turned into a weapon by its enemy. It was safe to say it died with many regrets as it bled out on the floor, unable to even move or speak since a lung had been pierced.

However, Bloodbane then cut off the troll’s head with its own arm to test its sharpness and make sure the troll was dead. He left nothing to chance. Thankfully for the troll, it was dead by this point. If the troll knew it had been dismembered by its own arm blade, it would have died a second time from shame. Seeing the effectiveness of the blade, Bloodbane nodded one more time and then took a step to the door.

“W-wait…” Thump…

There was the sound of someone dropping to the floor. Bloodbane turned to see the maid who had suffered the most crawling toward him. Her lower body was useless, and her maid outfit was in ruins. Any beauty she once had was gone, and she barely looked human. However, she crawled toward Bloodbane with all the strength she possessed. As for the other two girls, they hid on one of the beds together, still shaking and unable to get over what had just happened.

“What do you want?” Bloodbane asked.

“P-please… save them…” She said in a labored breath, looking up at him with broken, unhinged eyes.

“I only save those who save themselves,” Bloodbane responded cruelly.

The maid’s expression didn’t change. “Please… I’ll do anything.”

“Anything?” Bloodbane sneered.

He walked over to the troll, and then grabbed a chalice that had been knocked off of one of the tables, he collected a cup of blood. It was rather easy, as the troll had plenty to spare. He then put the cup in front of her.

“Drink it.”

Her eyes flashed, and she looked up at him. “Wh-what?’

“If you want me to protect them, drink it. This is the blood of the enemy who killed you. Relish it.”

Her body shook as she stared down at the cup. A moment passed, and then Bloodbane snorted.

“He said you were a tough people, but it only goes this far.”

The woman’s eyes widened, and then she grabbed the chalice of blood and downed it. With several painful gulps, she drunk the entirety of the glass of blood. Bloodbane stopped from turning away, although his face revealed nothing toward his thoughts.

“Ahhh… Ahhhhhh!” She let out a scream, grabbing her abdomen.

A pain surged inside her like nothing before. It was many times worse than even the troll. The pain of the troll would have been a blessing.

“What’s going on?” One of the maids cried out.

“I heard troll blood was poisonous.” Bloodbane shrugged. “I just wanted to confirm it.”

The two maids looked on in horror at the monstrous king, who had poisoned a dying maid just to check on the poison. Meanwhile, the maid still screamed and thrashed. Her entire body burned. Even her lower half, which had gone numb, now burned with unbearable pain. It was far too much, beyond what her body and her sanity could withstand.

“Wh-why?” one of the maids cried. “Why would you do this to her?”

“She will be dead soon. She asked me to inconvenience myself by protecting the pair of you. At least, she could do something with her life before she dies.” Bloodbane explained, carefully collecting some more troll blood.

He smeared some on his blade as well. He was pretty sure the undead would be immune to poison, but it was still something he decided to try.

“Please…” A voice rose from the screams.

Bloodbane looked back at the dying woman. “Please, what?”

“I don’t want to die,” she said through gritted teeth.

“Then, don’t.”

“Y-you…”

“If you live through this, then you will come out more powerful. On the other hand, if you die, then you die.”

“Please…” She looked up at Bloodbane with teary eyes, but that seemed to be all she could say.

“I do not have the time to wait.” Bloodbane started, but when he saw a ferocity in her eyes, a strange feeling came over him and he stopped.

“Please.”

Something about those eyes, they reminded him of himself when he first started in the gladiator rink. With a sigh, he grabbed a chair and sat down.

“According to the books he read, the poison will have run its course in only five minutes. At that point, you will either be dead or alive. As your king, I will wait these minutes by your side.”

The maid no longer screamed. Her voice had grown too hoarse. Instead, she looked at Bloodbane as her body was racked with unbearable pain. The other two women only wept, not wanting to look at her or the monster Bloodbane.

The pain she experienced only lasted five minutes, but it felt like an eternity. It was an eternity of pain and suffering, and the only thing in her eyes was that man, who waited and watched her. Meanwhile, his words echoed in her head. ‘I only save those who save themselves.’ When the five minutes were up, Bloodbane stood up. The maid’s eyes followed him. She was still in pain, but it felt somehow bearable now. It was like she had made the pain a part of herself.

“You have impressed me,” Bloodbane said, causing a strange surge of pride to build in her mind.

She had never cared about impressing the king before, but his words seemed to have a gravitas to them now that directly touched her soul.

“Take my hand,” Bloodbane said. “I will give you my power as a warrior.”

He had meant it simply. Bloodbane wasn’t a complicated man. If she gave him her hand, then he would do his best to protect her and the other two maids. She had shown she was deserving of life. She reached up with a shaky hand and grabbed his. As soon as their hands touched, there was an explosion of light.

Path of King activated, Warrior Assigned.

The light between them was so intense that the other two girls had to hide their eyes. Bloodbane, on the other hand, could see everything. The maid’s body rose, the clothing around her ripping off her body in a torrent of power. The bruises and cuts on her all healed. Her entire body shimmered and glowed, and the intense flow of air caused her hair to flutter up. As it did so, it changed from the typical brown color into a rich blonde color. Her brown eyes began to glow purple, and her body began to creak and snap as if it was fundamentally changing.

Her outfit began to reassemble itself. It was still a maid outfit, but it was fundamentally changed. It had various aspects of armor embedded into it. The long skirt included long flexible blades. There was a leather breastplate and metal gauntlets. When the light finally dissipated and her hair fell and she finally appeared in entirety, the two maids’ mouths fell open at the sight of her.

Bloodbane quickly went through the predecessor’s memories to find out about this, but the only information he could find was something called a magical girl transformation. The Japanese man knew some weird things, that was for sure. He looked down at the woman. She was taller now, but still only about six feet. She had long, smooth legs, a pert chest, and beautiful, silky smooth hair. Her beauty was ethereal, and completely unlike the woman she had just been. No one would be able to guess that she had previously been torn apart and near death. She had been reborn a warrior in the outfit of a maid.

“Master…” She said, her eyes looking up at Bloodbane with an extreme intensity that bordered on the edge of insanity. “Please, order me.”

“Can you fight?” Bloodbane asked, not particularly phased by the recent change of events.

Her eyes flashed excitedly. “I will slaughter the world for master.”

“Good. Then let’s begin.”

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