Three Brothers in the Age of Monster Girls: Story Arc 1 Finale


(Instead of just spamming my older works, I’m just posting the whole finale right here. If I get enough feedback, I’ll start the 2nd story arc again)

Chapter 1

“So why couldn’t we just use the portal in the city?”, Enyo asked as she and Isaac stopped along the road for a moment. 

“Because they would have been looking for me there”, Isaac replied, shifting his eyes around out of paranoia. 

“Who would have been looking for you?”, Enyo asked, confused. 

“Nobody”, Isaac snapped. “Now you said you ran into him on the border?”, he asked in a much more calm manner.

“Yeah”, Enyo confirmed. 

“Okay then…. well we aren’t too far away then, but there will be Order soldiers around, and I really don’t want to fight them”, Isaac pondered.

“Because you’re weak?”, Enyo asked with a grin. 

“No! I just don’t like fighting”, Isaac snapped defensively. 

“Yeah, because you’re weak”, Enyo continued to tease. 

Isaac growled, pulling his black hood further over his head out of frustration. 

“How long did it take you to get back to Lescatie anyways?”, he asked, looking up at the Minotaurus. 

“I just ran”, Enyo replied nonchalantly. “It only took me about a day”

“And we’ve been traveling for two….”, Isaac grumbled. “Maybe we can ask one of the scout Harpies to look for him. There should be a post up ahead right?”

“Yeah, I passed one when I left”, Enyo answered. 

“Good, now if they don’t listen to you, I can be quite… persuasive”, Isaac said with a wry grin. 

_______________________________________________________________________________________

Isidore sang to himself quite merrily as he walked down the road, with no idea where he was going, and nor did he really care, as his song implied. 

♫In the merry month of June, from my home I started, Left the girls back home, nearly broken-hearted, Saluted father dear, kissed me darlin’ mother, Drank a pint of beer, me grief and tears to smother, Then off to reap the corn, leave where I was born, Sharpened all me blades, to fight off trolls and goblins, A brand new pair of boots, rattlin’ o’er the bogs, Frightenin’ all the dogs, on the lonely road I’m walkin’.

One, two, three, four five! Hunt the hare and turn her Down this lonely road. No idea where I’m goin’, Down this lonely road.

In Lescatie that night, I rested limbs so weary, Started by daylight, my spirits bright and airy, Took a drop of the pure, keep me heart from sinkin’, That’s the loner’s cure, whenever he’s on for drinking. To see the lassies smile, laughing all the while, At my curious style, ‘twould set your heart a-bubblin’. And asked if I was hired, wages I required, Till I was nearly tired, Of the lonely road I’m walkin’.

One, two, three, four five, Hunt the hare and turn her Down this rocky road No idea where I’m goin’, Down this lonely road.

In Palove next arrived, I thought it such a pity, To be so soon deprived, a view of that fine city. Well then I took a stroll, all among the quality, Bundle it was stole, all in the neat locality; Something crossed my mind – when I looked behind, No bundle could I find, upon me stick a wobblin’. Enquirin’ for the rogue, said me Human form, Wasn’t much in vogue, on this lonely road I’m travelin’.

One, two, three, four five, Hunt the hare and turn her Down this lonely road No idea where I’m goin’, Down this lonely road.

From there I got away, me spirits never failin’ Landed on the quay, just as the ship was sailin’; The captain at me roared, said that no room had he, When I jumped aboard, a cabin found for me. Down among the pigs, played some funny rigs, Danced some hearty jigs, the water round me bubblin’, When off to Goddess’ Land, wished that I was dead, Or better far instead, on this lonely road I’m travelin’.

One, two, three, four five, Hunt the hare and turn her Down this lonely road No idea where I’m goin’, Down this lonely road.

The boys of the Order, when we safely landed, Called myself a fool; I could no longer stand it; Blood began to boil, temper I was losin’, Poor old loner’s style, they began abusin’, “Hurrah my soul,” says I, my fury I let fly; Outcast boys were nigh,  and saw I was a hobblin, With a loud hurray, they joined in the affray. We quickly cleared the way, for this lonely road I’m walkin’.

One, two, three, four five, Hunt the hare and turn her Down this lonely road No idea where I’m goin’, Down this lonely road.♫

Isidore tilted his head up in satisfaction, the glowing sun shining upon his face. However, the sight of a Harpy in the skies above stopped him dead in his tracks. In mere seconds, she started diving right towards him. 

“Damn!”, Isidore cursed, sprinting off of the road for cover. 

_______________________________________________________________________________________

Still sprinting, Solomon eyed the spectacle taking place not more than six hundred meters away. 

“I said back off you stupid pigeon!”

“Aw come on! I just wanna see what you look like under that mask!”

“I swear I’ll roast you over a fire pit like the oversized turkey you are!”

“Oh! Why do you have to be so mean about it?!”

“Go away!”

A man wearing a black mask and green cloak was trying to fend off a brown winged harpy. Every time the Harpy drew near, the man would slash with his sword, though failing to land a strike on the Monster. Solomon charged onwards, drawing his own sword. 

Lunging with a great battle cry, the Hero charged the fire in his hand, the flames wrapping themselves around the blade as he swung at the Harpy. 

“AH!! No way this is worth it outside of mating season!!”, the terrified bird-woman stammered, part of her clothes on fire as she ran  flew off. 

“Yes! Flee in terror at the wrath of the Chief God, foul creature”, Solomon taunted, shaking his fist in triumph.

“Gah!”, the green cloaked man shouted. Solomon turned to see the man partially set aflame and desperately trying to put out the embers on his shoulders and chest. 

“By the Gods! Forgive me, Sir”, Solomon said as the man finally stopped slapping himself. 

The man looked up from a hunched over position and glared at him. Solomon froze as he looked into his brown and green eyes. 

“Next time you go about saving someone, try not to set them on fire too, Hero”, he said spitefully, standing upright. 

Solomon couldn’t help but stare for a moment before regaining the ability of speech. 

“Well… I apologize, good Sir. But I have something to ask of you”, he said. 

“What?”, the man asked. 

“Could you, remove your mask?

The man took a couple of steps back and raised an eyebrow. “Why?”, he asked, obviously suspicious. 

“Because I want to see your face. It’s important”, Solomon answered. 

“Not going to happen”, the man said indignantly while turning to leave, flaring his cloak as he did so. 

Solomon frowned and stepped forward, still holding onto his sword. “I saved your life, good sir”, he said sternly. “The least you can do is grant me this small favor”

“I never asked for your help, plus you nearly set me on fire. I don’t owe you anything, Hero”, the man countered. 

“Enough of your insolence!”, Solomon shouted. “In the name of the Chief Goddess, remove your mask or I will remove it for you!”

“Just try it, Hero!”, The man shouted back, returning his challenge as he dropped into a fighting stance, unsheathing a dagger with his left hand.

Solomon charged forward, slashing overhead with his sword, but the masked man deflected the blow with his sword and stepped to the right, bringing his own sword up towards Solomon’s neck. Solomon dodged this and swung horizontally at the man’s middle, but his foe jumped back and avoided it. The man then charged forward slashing at the Hero’s right side with his sword and following it up with the dagger. Solomon blocked both with his sword but failed to react in time to dodge the back kick to the stomach the man had spun around with. 

Solomon grunted as he absorbed the blow, his hardened stomach muscles allowing him to keep his breath. He couldn’t have seen that coming because his opponent’s clock masked much of his footwork as he moved. Memories of training as a child came back to him as doubt vanished from his mind. Still, he had to see the man’s face to be sure. 

“I’m impressed”, he declared, reposting. “Few men can lay a hand on me like that. Your fighting style is also excellent as well, why I don’t think I could ever hope to master it”

“Flattery will get you nowhere”, the man said, keeping his guard up as well, knowing better than to rush someone with their guard up. 

“No?”, Solomon asked. “Well then perhaps my faith will!”

Solomon raised his left hand, his palm facing his foe. “be purged by holy fire!”, he shouted. In an instant, flames erupted from his palm and shot towards his target, who dove out of the way. Again, Solomon shot the flames at the him, the mercenary barely missed  being set alight once more. The Hero then gripped his longsword in both hands and charged, thrusting towards the man’s middle, his foe only just recovering as he blocked the attack with both weapons. The man was unable to stop what would come next. 

Solomon stepped closer, putting more force behind his weapon as he did. Before the man had the chance to disengage, Solomon grabbed the man’s right wrist, the Hero’s magic activating and burning the foe’s outfit and flesh. 

The stranger dropped his weapons and screamed in pain, stepping back from the Hero as he looked down at the damage. The sleeve was burned away where Solomon had grabbed him, but the flesh was not horribly burned.

Seizing the opportunity, Solomon rushed forward with another piercing strike, hoping to make the man freeze rather than kill him. However, his opponent anticipated this, dashing to Solomon’s right as his blade moved past him, the masked man’s arm crashing onto Solomon’s wrist with bone-crushing force. 

Solomon groaned in agony, dropping his sword in the process. The man pressed the attack and delivered a swift kick to the back of the Hero’s leg, forcing him onto his knees. 

“Give up yet, Hero?”, the man taunted, his breathing becoming quite heavy. 

“Never!”, Solomon shouted, suddenly lunging at his opponent. 

_______________________________________________________________________________________

“Well I must say, you lovely ladies certainly don’t strike me as soldiers. No, you’re all too pretty for that”, Isaac declared, standing before a group of Monsters who seemed to hang on his every word. 

“You’re terrible!”, a werewolf flirted, clad in some sort of chain mail armor that didn’t do much to cover her hips or arms. 

Enyo rolled her eyes at the spectacle and returned to watching the skies expectantly. Put of the corner of her purple eyes, she finally saw the Harpy come into view. The slightly smoking bird-woman was panting by the time she landed, her comrades forsaking the flirtatious Isaac, much to his chagrin, in order to attend to her. 

“Oh my gosh! What happened?!”, a Lamia soldier asked urgently. 

“Well I found the guy on the road, but I couldn’t really see his face ’cause he wore a mask”, The Harpy replied. “I tried to get a better look but he wasn’t very friendly and he tried to cut me when I flew by”. 

“Ooooh! He sounds feisty!”, A Salamander chimed in. 

“Well he wasn’t so bad, but then a Hero came by and almost set me on fire. I got scared so I flew off. Sorry, Isaac”, she said, apologizing to the young man as he approached. 

Isaac smiled gently and knelt down to meet her face to face. “It’s quite alright”, he said softly, grabbing her by the chin and pulling her into a kiss. 

“Hey no fair!”, a Goblin soldier shouted, tackling the man and trying to force him into a kiss. 

“I want some too!”

“And me!”

Most of the Monsters at the outpost were now fighting for a piece of Isaac. Enyo snorted and stamped her mighty hoof onto the ground, the shockwave sending everyone in her immediate vicinity off-balance. She towered over the Harpy, her shadow encompassing the whole group as well. 

“Is the man still there?”, she asked, barely able to keep her temper in check. 

“Y-yes”, the Harpy stammered. “But…. but the man who nearly set me on fire looked like he was attacking the guy too”

Enyo’s eyes grew wide. She immediately started running off towards the border, but not before she grabbed Isaac by his hood, dragging him behind her. 

_______________________________________________________________________________________

“Just give up already”, Solomon growled. 

“How about you go back to your church and cry to the God’s”, the man countered. 

Both men were on their knees, throwing punches at each other, each one still having enough force to stagger the man they connected to. Bloodied and bruised, the both kept at it, determined to not let the other win. They were both drained of energy, but how they kept going was really anyone’s guess. 

_______________________________________________________________________________________

“I don’t think it’s a very good idea for you to go down there”, Isaac said, looking down on the scene from the hill he and Enyo were standing on. 

“Why?”, Enyo asked, taking a few steps forward. 

“Because that’s a Hero down there. If he saw you, he’d kill you and him… and me as well”, Isaac replied, walking after her. 

“Don’t care”, Enyo said, brandishing her axe. 

Isaac was growing more and more nervous as he followed Enyo down the hill. He could see the two men going at it, the masked man undoubtedly Isidore, but the sight of the white-cloaked man sent chills down his spine.

“Solomon”, he breathed. “Enyo! Wait!”, he pleaded.

“What?”, Enyo asked, obviously annoyed. 

“Those are both of my brothers!”, he said. “You can’t just run off with Isidore and be done with it!”

“Why not?”, Enyo asked, still walking. 

“Because after all these years I finally get to see them again and you just want to take one of them away! That’s not fair at all!”

“I thought you were just trying to get away from that harem of yours”, Enyo countered. 

“Yeah well….. you wouldn’t have found him if it weren’t for me!”, Isaac declared. “I doubt those soldiers would even talk to you after you disgraced yourself like that!”

Isaac stopped dead in his tracks and covered his mouth, but it was too late, Enyo had already heard him say it. 

The Minotaurus immediately turned around, eyes narrowed with hate. She screamed in fury as she charged at him, axe raised above her head. Isaac dove out of the way, only for Enyo to turn back around and be on him again. Isaac was fast, but he lacked endurance, at least in that regard. Enyo, however, had infinite stamina, in both regards. It wouldn’t be long until she had him and he would be reduced to a bloody pulp. 

Though he was loath to partake in combat, Isaac did on occasion have to defend himself. Obviously, this was one of those occasions. 

Enyo brought her mighty axe down again, embedding it in the soil. Before she could pull it out, Isaac’s hands caressed her face. Enyo was too shocked to move as Isaac planted a kiss on her cheek, progressively moving his hands downwards. However, instead of a rush of spirit energy and pleasure, Enyo began to extremely fatigued and stiff. 

Isaac had been hitting her pressure points with his hands while he sapped away her demonic energy. Not the most pleasurable form of attacks, but most Mamono never saw it coming. 

Enyo was like a statue, frozen in place and unable to move, even her mouth. Her eyes followed Isaac angrily as he grinned at her and casually walked off towards his brothers. 

_______________________________________________________________________________________

Isidore collapsed to the ground along with his white-cloaked adversary. Absolutely exhausted, he stared up at the sky, too sore to move and breathing heavily. 

“You still conscious, Hero?”, he asked. he heard no reply and smiled, having won, at least in his mind. He removed his mask and sighed happily, enjoying his victory. His mood soon changed when a new shadow loomed over him. 

“Isidore?”, the shadow asked, its voice young and riddled with inexperience. 

“How… do you know my name?”, the mercenary asked, staining to look upon the shadow. 

“Brother!”, the shadow exclaimed, a pale hand grasping his and pulling him up. 

Isidore was pulled into an embrace by a black-cloaked man nearly half-a head shorter than him, though Isidore’s fatigue forced him to lean against the younger man who had called him brother.

“Who… are you?”, Isidore asked, the feeling of the man’s touch a tad familiar. The younger man looked up from within his black hood with vibrant green eyes, slightly moist with tears of what appeared to be joy. 

“Your little bother, Isaac!”, he exclaimed, embracing him tightly. 

Isidore stiffened in sock as he looked upon the face of his little brother. He opened his mouth to speak, but found himself speechless. Isaac grinned even wider in understanding. 

“I know… it’s been a long time. But at least we’re all back together again. You, me, and Solomon”, he said. 

Isidore’s strained his neck to look upon the unconscious white-cloaked Hero that laid unconscious before them. The shock and fatigue proved to be too much for Isidore, and he soon found himself passing out as well.

Chapter 2

Ten Years Ago…..

“Get back here you little brat!”, Solomon shouted as he chased after Isidore. The twelve-year-old boy simple responded by giving him a very loud raspberry as he ran over the hill. Isaac followed behind Solomon, his trying desperately to keep up with his eldest brother’s larger steps. 

Isidore snickered as he ran through the city streets, Solomon’s holy book in his clutches. It wasn’t too hard for his green-cloaked brothers to find him in the crowd, as he caused quite a stir as he pushed and shoved his way through. However, the rambunctious young man put his Solomon at quite the impasse. 

Isaac had finally caught up with Solomon, panting heavily as he did so. “Can’t you guys ever wait up for me?”, he whined. 

“Shut up, Isaac”, Solomon cursed as he eyes the middle brother.

Isidore grinned like a demon as he held the holy book over a well, Solomon visibly shaking with anger. “This is what you get for taking the last cookie!”, he taunted. 

“Don’t you dare!”, Solomon shouted as he dashed forwards, but it was too late, Isidore had let go of the book. This of course, didn’t stop Solomon from grabbing his little brother by the neck and throttling him, and falling down the well with him. 

_______________________________________________________________________________________

“Ugh…”, Isidore groaned. “How much did I drink?”, he asked aloud as he removed his hood to rub his head in pain. Before he could make sense of his surroundings, strong arms wrapped themselves around him. 

“Brother!”, Solomon cheered, hugging the green-cloaked man tightly. 

“Gah! What!?”, Isidore gasped, struggling to free himself. 

“I have truly been blessed this day!”, the Hero prattled on, espousing litany after litany to the Chief Goddess. 

“You’re…. hurting… me”, Isidore stammered. 

“Solomon, let him go!”, a younger voice pleaded. A black-cloaked form placed its hands around Solomon’s and tried to pull him off, but to no avail. Faced with being crushed to death, Isidore summoned his strength, forcing his palms beneath Solomon’s ribs, forcing both of them off of him. 

Isidore stood aghast at the sight of the two men, hoods removed. Solomon rubbed his torso, quickly soothing away the pain before standing up, grinning ear to ear. Isaac was not far behind, though instead of jumping on his brother, he simply held his arms out beckoning him to come over. 

“I…… I can’t believe this”, Isidore said, his voice quiet with shock. 

“Believe it”, Isaac said cheerfully. “Our family is finally back together”

“Yes!”, Solomon cheered beside him. “I never lost hope that we would be reunited after this war had torn us apart! But by the grace of the Chief Goddess, we Courdefer brothers have found each other once again!”

“….Exactly”, Isaac said hesitantly. Solomon didn’t notice, but Isidore did. 

“To be honest….. I thought you both were dead”, Isidore said, averting his eyes a bit. 

“I thought the same thing, for a time anyways”, Isaac said, his expression darkening before immediately perking up again. “But you’re not and we’re back together!”

“So what now?”, Isidore asked. 

The three of them were quiet for a few moments, standing there in the field without saying a word. 

“It’s gonna be dark in a few hours, and we’re close to the border”, Isidore added, looking up at the twilight sky. 

“I know a place we can stay for the night”, Solomon said, putting his white hood back on.

“Oh?”, Isaac asked. “Will there be warm beds and pretty girls?”

“You haven’t changed a bit”, Isidore said dryly, rolling his eyes as he donned his own hood. He pulled Isaac’s hood over his head as well, ushering his younger sibling on with a push on the back. 

_______________________________________________________________________________________

The Order’s flag waved lazily in the breeze as the sun began to set over the horizon. Agatha sighed as she admired the vibrant colors, the deep oranges and purples looking very romantic. She twirled one of her beige locks as she leaned against her spear, her mind far away from her duties. 

“Idle minds are the realm of Demons”, the Hero Solomon said as he suddenly appeared in front of her. Agatha screamed as she fell on her rump, Solomon smiled at her, wishing her well as he walked past her. She reached for her spear, but Isidore’s leather boot stepped on it, his green and brown eyes boring into her. Her blood ran cold as he stared at her. He stepped off the weapon and bent down next her, placing the weapon in her hands, then standing up and followed Solomon without a word. 

Agatha sighed in relief as he too passed by her, returning to her feet in the process. She wiped the dust off of her butt, but again froze when she saw another man looking at her. 

“Don’t mind me”, he said in a friendly manner, eyes closed. Agatha’s cheeks grew warm when his green eyes opened, shining brightly compared to his dark cloak and hair. He winked and grinned at her before walking into the camp, Agatha’s face turning beet red as she watched him go.

_______________________________________________________________________________________

“An Order camp…”, Isaac thought to himself as he looked around at all the tents and soldiers. “Never thought I’d set foot in a place like this…”. The young Incubus pulled his hood further over his head so as to hide his worried expression. He had heard stories of what they’d do to Monsters if they captured them, he could only imagine what they’d do to a man who had become one.

“They better have good food here”, Isidore thought as he followed Solomon. 

“Ah!, My Lord Solomon!”, the Knight Commander greeted. “I trust that you return bearing conquests”

“Of sorts, Sir Knight”, Solomon replied. 

“Oh?”, the Knight asked. His friendly expression vanished as he saw the two men accompanying the Hero. “Who are they?”.

“My brothers, Isidore and Isaac”, Solomon answered. “The Knight’s expression once again perked up.

“Ah! Greetings Isidore and Isaac Courdefer”, he said, trying to make a good impression. 

“Hello!”, Isaac replied cheerfully, waving his hand enthusiastically. Isidore merely looked at the Knight for a moment, unimpressed with his show of grace. The Knight grimaced at the green-cloaked man, his silence and stare filed with contempt. 

“It has been many years since we have seen each other”, Solomon said, diverting the Knight’s attention from the disrespectful Mercenary. “If you would be so kind as to provide us with a tent so that we may have privacy, I would most appreciate it”. 

“But of course, my Hero”, the Knight said. “I’m sure one of my soldier’s won’t mind you staying in their tent while they’re on duty. 

“How generous of you”, Isidore said sarcastically. 

_______________________________________________________________________________________

“Oooh!”, Isaac said in awe. “A girl sleeps here”

“How can you tell?”, Isidore asked. 

“I just can”, Isaac replied. “Plus the pair of panties of the floor make it pretty obvious”. Sure enough there was a pair of simple white panties of the ground, which Solomon quickly hid under a bedroll with his foot.

“Well then….”, Solomon said sitting down. “Ten years ago we were torn apart because of this damned war”

“I still can’t believe that we found each other again”, Isaac said, sitting across from his eldest brother. 

“After everything that happened, we still recognize each other”, said Isidore. “I guess there’s something to be said about family bonds”

“Indeed, Isidore”, Solomon agreed. 

“If only mother and father could see us now”, Isaac said with some melancholy. 

Isidore tightened his fists when his brother said that. He did not wish to think about what had happened. He did not wish to be in that tent either. 

“I’m going to go get some food”, he said, stepping out of the tent. His brothers watched him go, but did not pursue. 

“He never was one for touching moments, was he?”, Isaac asked Solomon, a nostalgic grin on his face. 

“Heh. You could get more fuzzy feelings out of a rock”, Solomon joked, the both of them breaking into laughter. 

_______________________________________________________________________________________

Ten Years Ago….

Soaking wet, Isidore and Solomon stood before their mother, an angry scowl on her face. 

“A destroyed holy tome and two sons down the well!?”, she screamed.

“Isidore was the one who-“, Solomon protested, but a quick swat to the head promptly shut him up. 

“I don’t want to hear it!”, she snapped. Isidore snickered at his older brother’s discipline, but he too received a swat on the head from his mother. 

“If you two weren’t my sons I’d have you locked in the king’s dungeon for all the trouble you cause me!”, she scolded. She wiped a tuff of blonde hair away from her brown eyes and let her expression soften with a deep breath and long sigh, though there was still a slight twitch in her left eye.

“Izzy, help me make dinner”, she said. 

“Don’t call me that!”, Isidore protested impudently, only to receive another swat on the head. 

“Solomon, get everything cleaned, please”

“Yes, mother”, Solomon replied obediently. 

“Do I have to do anything?”, Isaac asked, looking up at his mother with puppy-dog eyes.

“You can help me set the table”, she replied sweetly.

“Okay!”, Isaac cheered. 

Isidore and Solomon shot Isaac a death glare as they attended to their tasks.

Chapter 3

“A sprig of rosemary, a little sour cream, some paprika”, Isidore mumbled to himself as he worked over the simmering pot of stew before him. He had made his way to the camp’s kitchen tent and started helping himself to the ingredients, not caring if anyone tried to stop him. He had hoped to take his mind off of all the memories that had come flooding into his mind since the reunion, but the kitchen actually had the opposite effect. 

He remembered working alongside his mother in their home, putting all their effort into a meal that would leave the family stuffed and happy. It wasn’t a fight, but the heat of the fire, the feeling of a knife in his hands as he chopped vegetables and the smell of the kitchen put him at ease and made him happy, if only for a little while. 

His stew was a lovely light brown color now, bits of mushroom and chicken gently floating on the surface. He dipped a spoon into the broth and tasted it. Warm, slightly sweet and creamy. It was perfect. He smiled to himself, pleased with his work, but soon remembered what he was doing. 

He gave a long, sad sigh, clenching his fist as he tried to forget. He picked up the pot and started walking back to the tent his brothers were on, not wanting to let the food go to waste. 

A few soldiers caught a whiff of the stew, their bellies rumbling audibly. ______________________________________________________________________________________

“Oh! And remember the time he picked a fight with the priest’s son?”, Isaac asked, hugging a pillow as he sat on the bedroll with Solomon. 

“Yes, he ended up giving him a bloody nose and a black eye! The priest was ready to call down the wrath of Heaven on Izzy!”, Solomon replied, chuckling. 

“He had it coming, his hubris was getting to me”, Isidore said, stepping into the tent. 

Solomon and Isaac froze for a moment, not expecting their brother to run into them reminiscing about his bad behavior as a boy, but a familiar smell soon flooded their nostrils, their mouths watering instantly. 

“Is…. is that?”, Solomon stammered, staring at the pot intently. 

“Yep”, Isidore replied nonchalantly. “Have some if you want”

The smell of Isidore’s cooking was nearly identical to that of their mothers. Bellies rumbling, they couldn’t help but tuck in. 

_______________________________________________________________________________________

Isidore belched loudly as he laid down on the bedroll, Solomon and Isaac both propped sitting cross-legged on both sides of the mercenary. 

“That… was amazing”, Isaac sighed, scraping his bowel with his finger. 

“Indeed brother. You seem to have kept up with your skills in the kitchen”, Solomon said. 

“Yeah well, I don’t have the luxury of having people give me free stuff because I bear the title of Hero”, Isidore replied a little dejectedly.

“It’s simply the will of the Chief Goddess”, Solomon replied with a shrug. 

“What have you been doing with you life, Izzy?”, Isaac asked, tossing his empty bowl aside. 

“Same as I’ve always done?”, Isidore replied. 

“Cause trouble?”, Isaac asked with a grin. Isidore chuckled a bit. 

“Yeah, but now I get paid to do it”, he answered. 

“Couldn’t you find something more honorable to use your talents on?”, Solomon asked. “You certainly gave me a hard time when you didn’t recognize me”. 

“You mean I beat you because you nearly set me on fire?”, Isidore asked. 

“That’s not what I meant”, the Hero replied through slightly gritted teeth. 

“Oh so that’s why you two were lying in the dirt when Enyo and I found you”, Isaac said.

Isidore’s heart stopped for a moment when he heard Isaac say that. Isaac saw the shock in Isidore’s eyes and realized the gravity of what he had just said. 

“Who’s Enyo?”, Solomon asked. 

“Well….”, Isaac said hesitantly. “A lot has happened since we were separated”

“WE’RE UNDER ATTACK!!!”, one of the soldiers shouted from outside. 

“And more continues to”, Isidore said grimly, standing up from the bed, hands on his sword.

Solomon drew his blade and dashed outside. Isaac moved to follow, but Isidore placed a hand on his chest and stopped him. 

“I don’t think this is a place for anyone with no weapon”, he said, drawing his own sword. 

“I’m your brother!”, Isaac shouted. “You should know I can handle myself, especially now that we’ve just been reunited”. Isaac flinched at the sound of a nearby crash, something slamming into wood crates, a slight groaning could be heard over the approaching roar of battle. 

“If it’s who I think it is attacking the camp, I’m pretty sure I can stop it before things get out of hand”, he said nervously, but without taking his green eyes away from Isidore’s. 

Isidore cocked an eyebrow, skeptical at his brother’s words. “How?”, he asked. 

“You’ll just have to trust me!”, Isaac replied. 

“We’ve been separated for a decade, and you’re telling me to trust you when we’re surrounded by Order soldiers and Mamono?”, Isidore asked, slightly dumbfounded by his little brother’s words.

“Isn’t that what brothers do?”, Isaac asked. Isidore thought for a moment, then let go of his younger brother. 

“Just don’t get yourself killed”, he said. Isaac nodded and ran outside with Isidore. 

_______________________________________________________________________________________

“Stay together!”, Solomon shouted in an attempt to rally the camp’s forces. 

One soldier screamed in panic as a Lamia dragged him away into the darkness, another merely whimpered as a slime overtook him. 

Howling with lust, a Werewolf pounced at him. Solomon shouted back at her, thrusting his sword up into her abdomen, ripping out his blade and tearing her belly as blood poured out of her now limp form. Solomon rushed forward into the fray, grabbing another Werewolf on top of a soldier by the hair and slitting her throat. 

The Hero pulled the solider up to his feet and shoved his weapon back into the young man’s hands. 

“Fight!”, he roared. “Fight until the last of them are slain!”

“Y-yes, my lord!”, the young soldier obeyed, following the Hero into the melee. 

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Isaac trembled with terror as Isidore lead him through the battle. He had heard stories from girls who had gone on raids, but this was a far cry from the carnal tales he had been told. 

The men and women of the Order fought back, and many of the Monsters died in the fighting. Isaac had not seen a dead body since he and his brothers were separated, and he had long forgotten the horror in the embrace of the Demon Realm. 

“Hey if you’re gonna do something, you best do it soon!”, Isidore shouted to his younger brother as a Salamander engaged him, locking their swords together for a moment before separating. Isaac recognized the Salamander from the outpost, and the look in her eyes indicated she recognized him too. 

“Oh! So this is the brother you were talking about?”, she asked, eyes narrowing as she looked Isidore over, . Isidore had neglected to put his mask back on, his grimace in plain sight. The Salamander  grinned and paced around the two of them, twirling her massive blade a few times and flciking her fiery tail. “I certainly hope you prove to more of a challenge than all these sickly, soft children. You’re certainly much more handsome than they are too”, she added, licking her lips with her forked tongue. 

“I’m not sure whether I should be complimented or insulted”, Isidore quipped. 

“There’s some fire!”, the Salamander said, the flames on her tail flaring up slightly. 

“Isidore, don’t’ provoke her!”, Isaac pleaded. “There’s nothing Salamander’s love more than a fight”

“What? And let her walk all over me?”, Isidore asked, slightly amused. “What a waste of a good fight”

“My thoughts exactly!”, the Salamander declared, her flames flaring up again as she charged.

_______________________________________________________________________________________

Isidore’s Chicken and Mushroom Stew

Cooking oil(preferably olive oil) 1 large onion – diced

2 tsp(or about 10 grams) fresh chopped rosemary

8 ounces(or 56 grams) portabella mushrooms

8 ounces(or 56 grams) white mushrooms (a pound/453g of mushrooms of any kind works just as well) 

8 ounce(56 grams) can of peeled tomatoes or about 4 fresh tomatoes, peeled.

2 garlic cloves, minced

White wine vinegar

1 and 1/2 cups of water or chicken broth

2 tsp(about 10 grams) paprika

1 cup of sour cream

2 tbsp(about 30 grams) flour

Chopped parsley

Some chicken pan-fired in butter or oil. Preferably two breasts worth or about 2 pounds/907 grams.

IN A POT: Heat oil and add onions, garlic and rosemary. Cook until lightly browned – about 12 minutes.

Add white wine vinegar to deglaze the pot. Add more oil and cook mushrooms. Sauté until browned – about 5 minutes.

Salt and pepper, then cover with 1.5 cups water or broth. Add cooked chicken meat and tomatoes. Cover and cook with low heat at a simmer for 30 minutes.

In a small bowl mix flour with water until smooth, add sour cream and mix well.

Pour mixture into the stew and the paprika. Cook for a few more minutes and add parsley.

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