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Justice by Valerie Duff is a brief story of one knight’s quest for a land completely free of malice...
by Valerie Duff
SIR IGNACIOUS BENEVERE, local knight, was perplexed. He unsheathed his sword and gazed at his reflection in the perfect metal surface. Hair shining like a raven’s wings, sharp teeth glistening like an angry lion’s, long, straight nose like a hawk’s, piercing amber eyes like a wolf’s, broad shoulders like an ox; he was a veritable menagerie, dozens of animals wrapped up in one heroic package.
At the moment, he looked as dumb as a cow and as lost as a zebra in Antarctica.
The reason for his confusion was clear: there was absolutely nothing for him to do. As a knight, he had made his solemn oath to right wrongs and triumph over evil. If there were no wrongs or evil in plain sight, it was his duty as a knight to search through his village, find said wrongs/evil, and then proceed to right/triumph-over them. He had done so for the past several years, and he had done his job very well. He had done his job too well, it seemed.
For the duration of the entire past two months, there had been no wrongs nor any evil. No trolls, demons, dragons, dark wizards, or any other such imaginary nasties had ever plagued his village, nor did it seem like they ever would. Beautiful damsels with long, shining hair like wheat, lips full and red like strawberries, and bodies like, well, other farm produce, were not in distress. There were no murderers, no assassins, no gangs, no thieves, no tricksters, no vandals, no fights, no robberies, no scams, no destruction of property, no law-breaking of any kind. Sir Ignacious Benevere would have been content to be able to deal with a jaywalker, if such a thing as traffic laws had existed in the Middle Ages.
The village was peaceful. He had checked, double checked, and triple checked this fact. He had gone down all the major and minor roads, questioned all the villagers, young, old, and in between, and inspected every hiding place he could think of. The villagers were all living happy, safe lives. There was simply nothing for him to do.
As he gazed at the reflection on his sword, a strange thought occurred to him. There was one person he had left off of his checklist. As he thought about it, up until recently this person had fought, destroyed property, and killed on a regular basis. All three were offences that deserved punishment, the third offence meriting death. The trouble was that the person who deserved that punishment was none other than Sir Ignacious Benevere himself.
He sighed and shrugged his shoulders in a nonchalant way. Justice had to be served, after all. His sword was already drawn; it took little effort to change the direction it was pointing in. The initial pain was intense, searing, blinding, but it faded away before his body had time to collapse to the floor with a hollow thud.
Sir Ignacious Benevere, local knight, was able to add one more animal to his menagerie, for now that his duty was served, his lips now held the quiet, self-content smile of a lazy cat basking in the sun.