The Noble Queen-A Shadow Slave Fanfic

Volume I is complete! Volume 2 is in progress. Queen Bee may have lost to Mongrel in the Dreamscape, but that is not where her story ends. Nor is it where her journey began. Get a deeper glimpse into the waking world of Shadow Slave through the eyes of one of the Dreamscape's top duelists. Special thanks to Guiltythree for all his help with the lore. I appreciate your time very much! Also thanks to Nonsensefree, the story's content editor. You made my life much easier. Thank you!

NobleQueenBee · Book&Literature
Not enough ratings
230 Chs

A Friendly Spar

"I'm so sorry!" Noble hurried through the door. 

"I know," Sarai waved her communicator in the air. "I got your message. Don't worry too much."

"But we've been looking forward to this day for weeks!" The professor could not just let the matter go so easily. Although around a decade separated the two ladies' ages, they were more like sisters than friends. 

Clicking her tongue, Sarai dismissed the objection easily. "I was a Sleeper once too. So many doubts and insecurities. It was nice of you not to leave them hanging. I am curious though. What exactly did they want?" 

Noble looked her friend dead in the eye and shrugged. "Pie."

Sarai wrinkled her nose. "Is that a euphemism for something?"

Seeing the confused look on the redhead's face, the professor shook her head. "No, actual pie. I am just as befuddled as you."

"Maybe he has a sweet tooth?" The baker suggested. 

Noble rolled her eyes. "An orange tooth more like it…"

"I didn't know teeth came in that color," Sarai laughed lightly. "Now I am in the mood to make pie myself. Maybe later I will… Are you ready to get started?" 

The fearsome warrior was already clad in her modest red tunic. Instead of heavy plated armor, the lovely baker wore a simple cuirass around her torso. The leather was deceptively strong and more durable than most any weapon that could land a hit. Not that many weapons got a chance. 

"Just a second. I didn't have time to get ready." Noble stowed her communicator on a table behind a protective half wall and took off her suit jacket. She rolled her shoulders experimentally.

"You sure you don't want to change into something more…flexible? You might rip your skirt!"

"I don't want to waste any more time," Noble argued. "I'll figure it out." 

The professor focused for a moment. Which armor should she use? Against her friend's aspect, there were a few solid options. 

Her husband really did spoil her when it came to acquiring Memories. She also had been known to trade in the contribution points for her own research to gain a few special items. 

'I know just what to choose.' Light surrounded Noble as her blouse disappeared behind a silver breastplate and a bronze plakart. The rest of the metallic suit wove into an intricate pattern down her body ending in two pointed sabatons on her feet. 

Noble had chosen it because it was incredibly resilient as well as moderately flexible. It was not as good as her Queen Bee armor, but it would hopefully suffice.

Instructor Rock actually had an entire building full of training areas which he oversaw. This was only one of the many arenas available for use. Noble had gotten word on the way over that the larger evaluation room was being used, so they had to switch to a smaller dojo to spar. 

Noble stepped into the circular area of the mat with a grin on her unhelmeted face. "Ready."

The [Ruby Tear], a thin longsword manifested in the professor's hand. It was not her favorite weapon, which was the more slender estoc, but Noble could use the skills she gained today and transfer them as needed.

"Show me what Fireshing can do!" The hovering woman challenged. 

Sarai smiled, one corner of her mouth tilting slightly higher than the other. The baker's clear blue eyes shone with intensity.

A light spear formed in her hand amid a rain of sparks. Noble recognized the [Aching Ember] immediately. It was the lithe warrior's signature weapon.

Stepping into the ring, Sarai wore a slightly quizzical expression. "Are you not worried about your hair? Or do you think I'll go easy on you if you leave it uncovered?"

"What? Oh!" Noble reached up and touched her tightly wound bun. With a nod of thanks, she summoned a small cap. This memory was not armor, but a Utility type that resembled the bell of a tentacled sea creature. 

The gelatinous blob that now surrounded the top of her head was temperature-resistant and strangely soothing. It was Noble's turn to smile menacingly. 

"Bring your worst." 

Sarai needed no further encouragement. The tip of her spear glowed red hot and ignited in barely an instant. Lunging to one side, Noble felt the heat of the fireball on her skin as it passed less than a centimeter from her face. 

The professor was very glad the training arena was made to withstand all types of attacks. Otherwise, she would have needed to have a very awkward conversation with Instructor Rock on why his dojo was suddenly on fire.

Instead, the flames dissipated as quickly as they appeared, leaving behind a faint charred stench. Noble did not have time to think about what part of her clothing must have gotten singed. Already she was planning her attack.

Sarai's sorcery aspect allowed her to produce fire from her body, but the special qualities of her spear allowed her to channel that inferno and send it speeding toward her opponent. 

The ranged attack had been particularly effective in the dream realm. Between the deadly reach of her spear and the conflagrations she created, all but two she encountered fell at her feet in the Dreamscape. 

The same person who had beaten Fireshing had bested Queen Bee, so Noble really could not fault her for not getting further in the tournament. Mongrel had been unstoppable. 

But Noble was quickly realizing just how difficult his journey to the top had been. Sarai's movements were quick and fluid; her freckled face was tense with unwavering concentration. Noble could not help but marvel at how the tunic flowed and spun but never got in the way of the beautiful warrior or her potent flames. 

That was not to say Noble was watching idly. Far from it. The skilled Awakened was dodging Sarai's attacks and biding her time. Noble had many more years of experience, but she was always keen to learn something new.

In fact, one of the key moves she had used to evade Mongrel had been a variation on something which she had gleaned from sparring with the woman before her. Noble took bits of every fighting style she encountered and studied it. The more knowledge Noble acquired, the more she wanted. 

This was the reason why Queen Bee had been able to match and counter Mongrel's style for so long. Both by studying and practicing. 

Though, in theory, the professor would be better able to study if she weren't trying to keep her body from being burned to a crisp. 'Whoa!' 

The tip of the [Aching Ember], white-hot with flame, nearly impaled Noble's torso. She glided backward with two pretend steps. "You know this is a sparring match not an actual duel to the death, right?" The professor's eyes flickered slightly with both fear and amusement. 

"You said to do your worst," Sarai shrugged, unconcerned. The baker knew her friend could take the heat. 

"I must admit you've gotten much better since our last bout of sparring." Noble made a downward stroke at the spear, the ruby blade running down the length of the shaft until Sarai disengaged. 

"I can see that. You are giving me more than half your effort this time!" The lady with the auburn hair leapt back as a deadly slice threatened to cleave her in two. 

The women began a more deadly dance, each attack more calculated and elegant than the last. Finally, Noble saw an opening too wide to ignore. Sarai had let her guard down and left her neck wide open for a killing stroke. 

Of course, Noble had no intention of murdering her friend, but she could not let the mistake go unanswered. The professor leaned away as if to retreat. But it was a feint. Mid-movement, she shifted her energy and surged forward. 

Closing the gap between them suddenly, Noble took [Ruby Tear] in both hands. She struck with the broad side of the blade hard enough to send a tremor down through the length of the unbreakable Ember. 

The sudden jolt surprised Sarai. Her hand instinctively released the shaft in order to keep her arm from breaking. With a sweeping kick, Noble brought the other warrior to the ground.

The professor held the crimson longsword against Sarai's flawless neck. 

"Your weapon needs to be both offensive and defensive at all times," the professor cautioned her. Even when she was not in class, she could not help but teach those around her. "Never let your guard down!"

"Noted, thank you," Sarai answered without any animosity. In fact, she seemed rather pleased with herself. "By the way, have you seen the news?"

Noble faltered, confused by the sudden change of topic. "Not since this morning," she answered carefully.

The baker's auburn ponytail shifted as she laughed lightly. "You'll never guess who is going to join the group competition in the next Dreamscape Tournament. Queen Bee!"