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A/N: Jesu Christo, this chapter was tough. I seriously need three days to make it, like what's wrong with me? I didn't really have a problem with the story itself, but I never realized that Valkyrie is such a difficult species to work with. Once they start getting corrupted, that's easy, but before that they swallow up one thing that should be as abundant as air: time. And boy did this particular Valkyrie need it. Anyways, because I don't want make you read a whole lot (and because I feel rather drained at the moment), I'll keep this author's note short. Find yourself some popcorn and a good house seat, here we go!

---PraiseBe---

My head rests against my knee as I stay lowered to await the God's word if it comes. I've waited 10 years for this chance to preserve the purity of the world. The priests in my town have told me stories of my father and his achievements as a Hero, but then he met a Valkyrie sent by the Chief God. My father and the Valkyrie were exiled after my mother died when I was a child, and now it's up to me to restore my family's lost honor. I slowly stand up and draw my sword, making the same oath that my father made before me.

A bright pillar of light comes down between me and the statue of the Chief God, knocking me back. I take a defensive stance as I cautiously approach the light. Suddenly a sword comes down at me, missing by a mere inch or two. I move to block the next blow as it comes again. Taking advantage of the slight pause, I step forward and kick back my attacker. As I regain my balance, the light fades away and reveals the identity of my opponent: a Valkyrie. She charges at me while I stand shocked, dealing a relentless flurry of slashes that I just barely block.

“Hold your sword. I don't want to continue this fight any longer.” I tell her in a calm, even voice.

“You dared to attack a soldier of Heaven; the penalty is death.” She also uses an even voice, but her sapphire eyes are cold.

“I only defended myself against your first blow. I do not intend to harm you.”

“Defense or not, your excuses hold no weight against your crimes. Swift judgment upon you!” She rears back and comes in with a nimble thrust.

“On the blood of my father...” I start to recite my father's oath.

The Valkyrie relaxes for a second, but then continues pressing her assault.

“On the blood of my sons...” The next lines leave my mouth as I push her back with the side of my blade and knock her down.

Now, the Valkyrie has a look of surprise as she stares back at my towering form.

“All evil shall know justice!!” I thrust downward at the Valkyrie, whose eyes are wide in amazement.

-Thunk-

My sword doesn't strike the Valkyrie, but the temple floor instead. Those sapphire eyes that initially looked at me with disgust are now watching me with deep regret and sadness. I put my sword away and extend a hand to the Valkyrie, but she waves me off.

“I apologize for my rude behavior towards you. I did not realize that you had summoned me, chosen Hero.” She speaks in a whisper, carefully trying to avoid angering me.

“It's okay. You were right to attack me when I approached first with a weapon drawn. I'm glad we didn't have to make it any worse than it was.”

“Why then, did you spare my life? It is as you spoke in your oath, 'All evil shall know justice'; Wouldn't it be right for you to kill me?”

“No, it wouldn't; I dislike killing.” I take a deep breath for focus but as I exhale, the Valkyrie grabs my legs and pushes onto my back.

“You dare to shame the title of 'Hero'!? The Chief God only selects those with the courage to act, and yet you would refuse her gift!?” The Valkyrie angrily shouts at me while holding her sword to my neck.

“...” I can only turn my head, waiting for the Chief God to instruct the Valkyrie's next action.

---HelpTheHeroPlease---

As I hoped for, the Valkyrie lets go of my neck and helps me to my feet, clearly reminded of her role. I hold a hand out to her and stare into her eyes to silently convey my message. Seeming to understand, she accepts the handshake. From there, we plan what our first destination should be. I decide for us to investigate the forest just outside of town, where it is infested with monsters that grab travelers from the roads.

“Is the Chief God telling you anything about this forest?” I ask the Valkyrie as we stand at the edge of the tree line.

“...There does not seem to be any excessively powerful monsters here, but you should be on guard all the same.” She holds up her sword and shield in preparation.

“This isn't something important, but...what is your name?” I draw my sword as we take our first steps into the forest.

“Lumina.” She answers me just we hear some rustling.

“Watch my-oof!” I cough as I'm pounced by a Werecat.

“Nyan, what a nice catch today~!”, she mews cheerfully.

“G-Get off me, monster!” I push the Werecat off and rush to my feet, drawing my sword.

“Foul beast, you have made a fatal mistake today!” Lumina slashes at the Werecat.

“Nyan.” The Werecat nimbly dodges and jumps over each attack as if she was playing.

“Grr, stand still!” Lumina continues to chase the Werecat around the forest, occasionally getting her sword stuck in a tree.

“Why so serious? I'm only looking for nice husband! Nyan~!” The Werecat stops in front of me and licks my cheek before leaping away again.

“...!” My eyes widen and my jaw drops at the sight of Lumina's sword coming in for a horizontal slash.

-Slice-

Pain overtakes all feeling in my right side and my hand instantly clutches at her sword. My vision starts to blur and I can feel the blood rushing out of my wound. As I desperately try to steady myself, all I can see is Lumina's sorrowful expression, her hands covering her mouth in remorse as I finally allow myself to sip into darkness.

---HeroesCannotDie---

With a gasp, I wake up from near-death and sit up slowly. My head is disoriented and my vision is out of focus, but with careful breathing, I can regain my senses. I'm still in the forest, but it looks like I'm in a clearing now. Hovering over me are two monster girls who are looking at me with concerned faces. I recognize them as an Arachne and an Elf, but also as my saviors. However, just as I start to lie down, I realize that Lumina is not present. With considerable effort, I push myself off the ground and start walking.

“Wait! You mustn't move yet!” The Elf blocks my path, pleading me to rest.

“I have to...find...Lumina.” I strain my voice.

“She's left you, it's pointless to look.” The Arachne tries to reason with me.

“No...she wouldn't do that.” I won't accept that Lumina would just leave me.

“Please, just get some rest.” The Elf gently pushes me backwards.

“Your wounds haven't closed yet. Don't do anything stupid.” The Arachne lowers me to the ground until I'm on my back again.

“Lumina!!!”

A bright flash of light envelops the clearing and for a moment, my body feels as light as a feather. I hear the clinking of metal as brilliant white wings appear next to me. The light fades away and there standing over me is Lumina, her sword pointed at the pair of monsters.

“Flee now, creatures, or face the wrath of Heaven itself.” She orders in a low voice.

The Elf and Arachne both sprint away, leaving Lumina alone with me.

“You know, you didn't have to-”

“Shut up.” She snaps at me.

“They saved me. I wasn't-”

“I said shut up!” Lumina shouts, dropping to her knees as she lets go of her weapons.

She then throws her arms around me and starts to cry.

“Lumina...” Unsure of what to do, I put my arms around her waist as well.

“I thought I killed you! I was so worried about you! It's all my fault...” She sobs into my chest, clutching me tightly.

“What's done is done. I'm not in danger anymore and I have you to thank for it.”

“My Hero, I'm prepared to leave your sight forever for this-”

“No, I don't want you to go. Please stay by my side.” I plead with her.

“W-Why? There's obviously others more suited to serve-”

“Because I trust you. You are the one Heaven sent for me, and you should know just how special you are to me.”

I gently guide Lumina to look up at me and lean my head towards her. Knowing my intent, Lumina closes her eyes and comes to meet me in a slow passionate kiss.

---LetCorruptionGrow---

A/N: My god, that was a long read. Unfortunately, now that I've read it, I can't help but think that it wasn't as good as my other stuff. Sure, it passed the rigorous standards, but I feel like it could've had way more potential. Oh well, this chapter is finally over and I'm not complaining. Next up on the list is the undead sorceress, Lich, and if you recall from the first one-shot collection, there was a Lich that I mentioned during the Zombie/Wight one-shot. Yes, I'm making a story about that one; so this should be a lot of fun for me. See you all next time!