- Previously in the story-
Don Quixote was a legendary knight who’d generated many a tale within his story!
But as all stories do, it came to an end and Don Quixote found himself in the Library World. This was a place where those who’d completed their stories could rest, relieve their fatigue, and gain the energy to begin their stories anew. This was where Don Quixote was finally able to escape his duty as a knight and return to the ordinary old villager, Alonso.
But fate did not wish him to be forgotten just yet!
The weak, injured, and young foal Rocinante, in the midst of being chased by wolves and the evil secret organization Umbra, had been rescued by Alonso. In order to once again protect the weak and establish justice over this land, he held his shield high and returned to being the renowned knight-errant Don Quixote. He left on an adventure to defeat evil and once again make the Library World peaceful through participation in the “Smash Legends!”
Episode 108. Of the Excellent Event of the Brave Struggle Don Quixote Had against the Frightening Windmills, with Other Events Worth Remembering.
“Look here, Rocinante! I finally see the village!”
When our Don Quixote arrived at the crest of a hill, he could see the view beyond at a single glance. The story island itself was not very large; there was a small village in the middle, and to one side was a plain, containing a field and an empty space with traces of something that had been there once. On the other side of the village was a small forest.
Not having seen the village for a few days, Don Quixote carried Rocinante on his shoulder and hurried towards the village gladly. He had been to many story islands over the past few days, and was close to running out of food and hungry.
To explain a little bit for the sake of the readers who may not be familiar with the Library World, for any story that has an ending, the characters within it in addition to part of the locations of the story will appear in the Library World’s skies in the form of an island.
These story islands were quite interesting; some of them were large, some of them small. Some had villages or even bigger castles populated by people, while others were empty and uninhabited. Because every story was set in a different time period, some islands featured high castles and kings while others had animals that built houses and lived in them or robots and gigantic factories.
The residents of the Library World employed flying ships or creatures that could fly to get from island to island and frequented the villages and cities. As we’ve shown in the previous story, however, our Don Quixote could not stand the sight of flying sailboats or airships with huge engines. Instead, he chose to wander on paths that people did not frequent, sometimes doing so for days, sometimes flying, sometimes jumping. Accordingly, he was very exhausted.
“Hmm? But alas, I must say, there is something strange about this village.”
Don Quixote had been looking forward to a nice meal and a good sleep, but he noticed the village’s strangeness the closer he approached.
It was composed of a few private homes, and the chimney on each house was spouting white smoke, imparting a sort of far-off look. But the path to the village hadn’t been maintained, the walls were crumbling, and the houses themselves had cracks running through the walls. The roof tiles were broken. Storytellers like myself or you readers would simply assume that the village must have seen better days, but the legendary knight Don Quixote had quite a sharp eye. Don Quixote realized that these were not indications of simple poverty or lack of maintenance; there had been a battle here recently.
“Yes, yes, I am aware, Rocinante. It does look as though mysterious things are afoot at this village. It is to be expected that you tremble with anxiety! But you may put yourself at ease, Rocinante, for I am with you. Let us first go to the villagers and hear what they have to say. Perhaps they require the services of a knight-errant such as I!” said Don Quixote softly, petting Rocinante as he trembled. He walked into the village. When Don Quixote entered the village, the few people that were out and about looked at him oddly. Would it not be odd indeed? Although this was the Library World, where all stories were bound to gather, how common a sight would it be for someone to walk about clad in knight’s panoply, and carry a foal on his shoulder at that?
“Uh... who are you, sir... knight?”
When Don Quixote, not caring about the curious glances, arrived at the center of the village, an old man had come out of the biggest house in the village. Don Quixote, who’d visited many villages in the course of his adventures in his own story and in the Library World, could recognize right away that this was the chief of the village.
“I am who I am, Don Quixote! The Knight of La Mancha!” I am a wandering knight-errant who wanders the world in search of those who need justice and chivalry. I have traveled long, and wish to relieve my fatigue in this village. Will you grant, perchance, that I stay here for a day?”
When Don Quixote stated his name, the chief and the crowd gathered around him all gave an exclamation of surprise. As you will know, my dear reader, the story of the knight-errant Don Quixote was quite famous even in the Library World, which was quite inundated with stories. Don Quixote was glad to see that the people of the village recognized him, as did Rocinante who had become Don Quixote’s new favorite horse. Rocinante snorted with satisfaction. The chief bowed deeply towards Don Quixote.
“Oh, sir knight! Your fame precedes you. This is just a small village for those with simple roles, and may not be that suitable for a person like you; in any case, we are honored by your visit. If you’ll follow the path a little farther, you’ll find a small inn. Please rest there.”
Don Quixote followed the man's instructions and walked towards the inn. Even as he did so, Don Quixote did not fail to notice the eyes that trailed him. He knew that there was a secret the villagers were hiding, but as a renowned knight-errant, he couldn't demand to know their situation simply because his instincts told him something was wrong. But in order to show himself as a chivalrous knight-errant, he walked to the inn, holding himself proudly.
There was only a single person at the inn. It was clear from a glance that this man was different in dress and atmosphere from the other villagers. The guest, who apparently hadn't noticed the hubbub outside, seemed shocked to see an armored knight enter through the door.
“Calm yourself, young man! I am naught but a knight-errant, Don Quixote, who wanders in search of justice and chivalry! You have nothing to fear from me.”
Don Quixote smiled as if he was in a good mood and sat beside the surprised young man. The youth looked shocked at the knight's appearance and was taken aback that the same knight chose to sit next to him, but he didn’t dare to run away.
“But from the way you are dressed, fellow man, and the fact that you are staying at this inn, tells me that you do not live in this village! Are you perchance a wanderer such as I?”
The young man nodded and began his story.
“Actually, I woke up to find myself in this place... I get that this is some world inside a story or something, but I know nobody here, and I don’t know where I am or where I’ve come from.”
“Ye gods!” shouted Don Quixote. “Yet another victim of the terrible and unfortunate disturbances that have plagued the Library World of late!”
As I’m sure you know, the Library World was originally a peaceful place; various problems had begun to occur, forcing our knight Don Quixote to take up his shield again, because of these disturbances. Don Quixote could not contain his frustration.
When a story comes to an end, the characters within as well as its story island are summoned to the Library World. That was how the Library World was supposed to operate. But, perhaps due to the actions of some evil entity, that cycle had been disrupted. Characters sometimes found themselves pulled into this world even before their stories reached their endings. Sometimes the story island appeared on its own for no good reason, and there even had been cases reported of where only a few of the characters of a story appeared here.
The biggest issue was that those pulled into this world due to these disturbances were unlike those who'd previously come to the Library World the proper way. They didn't know that they were characters from a story, that they were in a place where all stories gathered. Neither could they return to their original story so that they could begin it anew.
The young man was also a victim of these disturbances. He didn't know what his story even was, or that he was a character pulled from a story. He'd simply been pulled into this rural village on this story island, clueless and confused. When the villagers had found him, they’d explained to him and persuaded him of the situation, but even so, he'd found it hard to decide what to do next. He was staying in this inn, spending every single day steeped in worry.
“But you need have no fear, young man! This Don Quixote hath set out on the road again to elevate the values of justice and chivalry. The evil ones who have caused this disturbance will beg for forgiveness and kneel before me!”
Don Quixote shouted these words while beating at his chest, but the young man was the only person in the inn, and too tired to feel very moved by Don Quixote’s energetic announcement. It was only Rocinante, sitting on Don Quixote’s shoulder, who showed any reaction.
Don Quixote had expected the young man to marvel and extol him. When the young man simply sighed and showed no other response, he grew a little disgruntled.
“Woe is me, I know that a few words cannot make all of one’s worries evaporate at once. But do you doubt the veracity of my words?”
“I'm sorry, sir. I'm from an age where knights are definitely out of vogue. Frankly, I can't say you inspire much trust in me. From what I hear, a powerful mage has caused these disturbances and is supported by countless villains.”
“No evil mage can defeat a knight, no matter how powerful! Everyone trembles in fear because in this day and age, true knights-errant who follow the path of chivalry, protect the weak, yearn for their lady, and wander in search of their liege do not exist! That is why I am the only person capable of dealing with the problem!” Don Quixote shouted, doing his best to hide his annoyance. The young man looked doubtful.
“As I said, I'm sorry, sir. If I've heard you correctly, you said your name was Don Quixote. Where I'm from, you’re quite famous. You’ll have to understand me for not being able to trust you easily.”
“What? What do you mean by that?”
The young man’s tone was sarcastic.
“From what I’ve heard of your story, you charged into windmills because you thought they were giants, and served some village woman as your “lady” and caused a host of problems. You may think of yourself of some hero who's never tasted defeat, but in your story you’re just an ordinary old man. Once again, I’m sorry, but I don't think a person like you is capable of defeating a pack of wolves or anything like that.”
“Why, you disgusting little...”
Angered by the young man's mockery, Don Quixote gave a shout. Rocinante seemed surprised by Don Quixote’s anger and snorted. At this rate, the young man’s life could be placed in danger. The innkeeper appeared, summoned by the noise.
The innkeeper had supposed another guest had arrived, since he heard another voice; not having expected that it would be an armored knight with a horse, the innkeeper looked quite surprised to see Don Quixote. The innkeeper had heard what the young man had said. He made a gesture of relief.
“Oh, the heavens are with us!" he said. “We were looking for someone to rescue us. I'm so glad you have come, sir knight!”
Don Quixote forgot his anger completely when the innkeeper appeared, apparently happy to see him.
“As expected! So tell me, what is it that this knight-errant must accomplish in this place?”
Don Quixote shouted, smiling brightly. He was happy to have someone finally tell him. Knights were not meant to ask after the misfortunes of others; they could only lend a helping hand to those who asked for it first.
At Don Quixote’s question, the innkeeper trembled as if in fear and began telling his story.
“Not too long ago, wolves began appearing in the village. They are wolves that walk on two feet, no less! They required money and food from us and caused a ruckus when we didn't comply! The windmill outside the village has vanished as well, perhaps destroyed to set an example. Poor villagers like us can't hope to take them on, and we couldn’t expect HUNNT to come all the way here, either. That's why we were anxiously waiting for someone like you to arrive!”
As the Library World was the gathering place of all stories, of course the villains came to this place as well. Among those villains, some lived ordinary lives in the Library World, unlike their roles in their stories. Others, however, unable to part with their old habits, continued to commit felony after felony. There were those who fought against such villains. They were part of a group called HUNNT, a gathering of unnamed characters who appeared in stories as “hunters passing by” and so on.
But as the Library World grew in size and more people populated it, it became difficult for HUNNT to be everywhere at once. The villagers could only wait for help to arrive. At Don Quixote’s timely appearance, the chief and all the other villagers had been filled with expectation and treated him with respect.
Perhaps due to this expectation, villagers who'd followed Don Quixote secretly, waiting for an opportunity to ask for help, rushed into the inn as soon as the innkeeper broached the topic.
“They took our recent harvest! All of it!”
“With the windmill gone, we can’t even make flour!”
“Please chase the wolves away, sir!”
The villagers began pouring out their difficulties, and the inn was suddenly filled with noise and confusion. All of the villagers had suffered from the wolves in one thing or another, and their complaints grew as they spoke. Five, six villagers were speaking at any given time, and some spoke among themselves. The inn was suddenly noisier than a market street. Don Quixote did his best at first to listen to the entreaties of those in pain, but in time he felt as though his head would split at any given moment.
“Enough! I understand, so do quiet down!”
The villagers were surprised by Don Quixote’s sudden burst of anger and ceased to speak. They were worried that if they made him angry, he might not help them. And that would be a disaster. The chief quickly broke the silence.
“Oh sir, my apologies. Did it upset you that we were making so much noise...”
“I am not upset! But I would like you all to calm yourselves!”
Don Quixote cleared his throat, as if trying to change up the mood.
“In any case, none of you need to worry any longer! It is by fate that I, a knight-errant who set out on the path of justice, arrived at this village in an impeccably timely manner! The battle shall be glorious, for these ruffianly wolves shall fall before my shield!”
Don Quixote delivered his words in an exaggerated manner as if he were acting some part in a play. The villagers and Rocinante gave exclamations of joy and applauded, but the young man let out a sigh, closer to a snort, as if this whole show was pathetic. The young man, hailing from a story where knights were no more, as were adventure and magic, found all this to be like an immature joke.
“What? You people holding a festival or something?”
The door of the inn had opened, and a rough voice spoke. The villagers began screaming. When Don Quixote turned to look, a few wolves dressed in black were grinning maliciously at them.
“You should all be hard at work to pay us. You shouldn't be wasting time like this,” said a wolf wearing black shades.
He looked to be the leader of the pack. When the leader bared his teeth and looked around, the villagers shook with fear and avoided his gaze. The wolf leader then discovered our Don Quixote standing in the middle of the room.
“Huh?” said the wolf. “I’ve never seen you before. You’re wearing armor, too. Are you planning to put up a fight?”
The wolves laughed disdainfully at Don Quixote’s appearance. Their laughter didn’t last very long, though. Don Quixote suddenly charged towards them without warning!
“What the? Look here, old man! Aaarrgh!”
The wolves were taken aback when the armored Don Quixote suddenly rushed towards them with his shield. They were pushed back out of the inn and sent sprawling on the ground. Don Quixote, with the villagers and the young man watching him from behind, lifted his shield.
“You evil wolves! Your time ravaging this village has come to an end. For I, Don Quixote, have arrived! I hereby request a duel with you in the name of my lady. Justice shall prevail!”
“Heh. What a joke! You want to fight us? That’s not going to go well for you!”
And so a magnificent fight was about to commence between the wolves and our knight Don Quixote. Sadly for you, my dear reader, such a thing did not come to pass. One of the wolves had a sharper eye than the others. He'd been studying Don Quixote closely and discovered Rocinante on his shoulder.
“Wait! Look at that thing on his shoulder!”
The wolves had bared their teeth and fangs, preparing to fight. They noticed Rocinante, and by then they’d already been informed from the other wolves about preceding events.
“That’s perfect!” laughed the wolf leader. “If I take that foal with me, the Witch Queen will be happy! She might even appoint me the leader of the Wolves of the Full Moon!”
“No, Boss!” whispered one of the subordinate wolves. “Other wolf packs have tried to fight that old man and his foal before, thinking the same thing. It didn't go well for them. You might never get a chance if you try to fight them here.”
“Then what do you expect me to do? I can’t just ignore him.”
“I think it would be much better to call for help than to fight on our own,” replied the wolf to his boss.
“Let’s back out for now and get help from them. I don’t like the idea much myself, but I think that would be wiser.”
With the wolves whispering among themselves like this, Don Quixote grew annoyed that his duel was interrupted. A knight's combat involved fighting fair and square with their honor on the line; if it was a battle between a knight and villains like this one, he had to defeat them in the name of justice with the blessing of his lady, even if he had to fight alone. But at this moment when the grim fight had to begin, the wolves were chattering among themselves. Don Quixote, a man with great respect for chivalry, was of course, greatly offended.
“You wicked creatures! I have just requested a duel with you. What do you think you are doing! Make haste and fight!”
“I’m sorry, my man! We’ll have to fight another time.”
While Don Quixote raged, the wolf pack seemed to have made up its mind.
“What? Fight later? What rubbish is this? Do you fear to kneel before my shield and justice that badly, you mongrels!”
“Don’t you worry, old man. We’ll be back! We’ll return tonight, so say your prayers! And you, the other old man!”
The wolf leader pointed behind Don Quixote. The chief jumped at the sight of the sharp claw pointed at him.
“You dare bring someone like this into the village! We Umbra will be taking over the village now, so you better get the hell out of here, all of you, by tonight! I can't guarantee you your lives otherwise!”
“N-no, we didn’t invite this knight...”
The chief did his best to come up with some excuse, but the wolves were not listening. They ran off without looking back. The villagers sighed with relief to see that the wolves had gone for now, but soon paled with fear at the news that they would be back tonight and take the whole village away from them this time.
Don Quixote stood proudly as the villagers looked to him with the hope of rescue and blamed him for bringing this plight upon them.
“Fear not, good villagers! Whoever those evil wolves bring with them, I, Don Quixote, will stop them! No matter how rampant injustice may seem, it is ever justice and righteousness that emerge victorious. As their agent and emissary, I guarantee that I will be victorious!"
The frightened villagers, however, could not help but doubt this announcement. Perhaps the wolves could be stopped somehow, but there was no telling what frightening villains would arrive tonight with them. And the wolves had mentioned the terrifying names of “Umbra” and “Witch Queen,” had they not?
The villagers left the inn where Don Quixote stayed and gathered at the chief's house to discuss.
“Wouldn't it be better to kick the knight out of the village?” asked a villager. “From what the wolves said, it seems they want the knight and his foal. If we ask him to leave within the day, maybe the wolves will let us be.”
Some of the villagers nodded at this. There were some opposing opinions as well, however.
“The wolves were threatening our village even before he arrived. They came today to demand more money from us without the knowledge of the knight’s arrival. Even if we told him to leave, the wolves will not let us be.”
Some villagers nodded again at this. The villagers were of divided opinions, some wanting to send him away and others wanting him to fight the wolves for them.
As they were talking about the imminent threat, only our hero, Don Quixote, and the young man remained at the inn. The young man was recalling the spat between him and the knight before the villagers had shown up and was a little afraid that he'd be angry again. But Don Quixote seemed to be paying no attention to him at all, talking to Rocinante the whole time.
“Yes, yes. Do not you worry, Rocinante. My shield and I are by your side. Those wolves will not be able to lay a finger on you, so rest easy. But this is indeed not good at all. The evil Witch Queen and wicked Umbra are everywhere. They must be defeated so that justice and chivalry may be established once more...”
To the young man, who knew nothing of the situation, Don Quixote was simply a man who was muttering inane things to a foal he carried on his shoulder. The young man felt his opinion of Don Quixote drop even further. More than anything else, he was currently fully occupied with thoughts of how he would survive from now on.
Don Quixote seemed to notice that the young man was tormented by something, and approached him. He’d already forgotten completely about how the young man had insulted him not too long ago.
“My my, young man! Don’t you worry yourself, either! No villain the wolves can bring will be able to put up a fight with such as I! But it seems you are thinking about something else as well. Do speak your mind to Don Quixote! I’m a lot wiser and more experienced than you may think!”
The young man didn't set much store by Don Quixote’s supposed wisdom and experience, but at the very least speaking of his difficulty would make him feel a little better. With a deep sigh, he began explaining what worried him.
“As I told you, I’m not like these villagers. The story I'm from had no wolves that walked on two legs, and no people like you. Frankly, I wonder if I’m still dreaming or something. I suddenly woke to find myself in this place, and to realize that I was a character from some story... I’m now lost, unsure of what to do next. I’m not even sure if I can continue to stay here at this village...”
“Hmm, so there’s a reason for your worry,” said Don Quixote, nodding.
“From what I hear, characters from countless stories gather at the central city of this world, Synop City. Why don’t you try going there, young man? Perchance you will find those who have come from the same story as you.”
“I’ve thought of that as well,” the young man replied with a sigh. “But this is a remote part of the world, and there are no ships to Synop City. Ships bound for other regions take a long time to arrive as well, I'm told. And I don’t think I can aimlessly wander through story islands, like you.”
“Yes, it’s not an easy thing to do. Unless you have the courage to rush at a windmill even if you think it’s actually a giant,” said Don Quixote, nodding. The young man was absorbed in his own thoughts and failed to understand Don Quixote’s meaning.
“Aren't you afraid at all, sir? About battling the wolves? And they said they’d bring even more powerful enemies tonight. As I said earlier, thinking of the story you’re from makes me doubt you are capable of fighting them at all.”
The young man said this half expecting Don Quixote to get angry again. But Don Quixote didn’t get angry this time around. Instead, he guffawed.
“Ha ha ha! If you’re familiar with my story, then surely you must know, young man. Dreaming of achieving the impossible, defeating the undefeatable, withstanding unbearable pain, and dying for a noble cause, those are what a true knight must do. It is a knight’s duty—no, a knight’s privilege—to do so.”
Don Quixote petted Rocinante’s head as he spoke.
“And of course I also am afraid. I may wear armor and wield a large shield, but as everyone so aptly observes, I am an old man. Of course I am afraid to fight. But the thing is, young man,” continued Don Quixote with a benign smile. His eyes gleamed, almost as if he was angry again, as he looked at the young man.
“True courage does not mean not being afraid. It’s about enduring the fear and letting it be known. What will I gain from running away? The villagers will leave their beloved homes and wander about, and the villains will only grow more fearless as they savor the taste of victory. More people will be subjected to their whims. True courage is about looking to a better tomorrow, and attempting to change something about today.”
“You have a point, sir. But I don’t possess that kind of courage.”
The young man sighed. Don Quixote guffawed at the reply. Thinking that the knight was making fun of him, the young man glared.
“Do you find my words entertaining? Because they are the words of a coward?”
“No, that’s not it. A man cannot see his own face without a mirror. In much the same way, it seems you have never taken a look at your own courage. Consider for a moment. You spoke bravely to me earlier even though I was angry, you’re confronting me even now. Is that not also courage?”
The young man was taken aback by these words. He considered Don Quixote’s words one more time. He suddenly remembered hearing once that Don Quixote had regained his sanity in the end. Perhaps this Don Quixote was also sane?
“And don’t you worry, young man! Even if you were to fail to work up the courage, I am here to deal with the disturbances and the wicked Umbra! Upon hearing that a knight-errant such as I has appeared, even that wicked Witch Queen will tremble with fear and beg for clemency!”
At the burst of confidence that followed, the young man began to think that maybe Don Quixote wasn't sane after all. Even if he was, how would he—an old man, as he’d said himself—defeat the leader of these terrifying villains?
“Come to think of it, where is your lance? Why do you only carry a shield?” the young man suddenly asked. Don Quixote smiled.
“Oh, Rocinante does not like it when I use a lance. Using one makes it more difficult for me to protect him. For a man such as I, a chivalrous and mighty knight-errant, a shield is more than enough!”
Don Quixote laughed loudly. The young man’s suspicions grew to near certainty.
A murmuring could be heard outside the inn again. The young man looked out the window and saw that the sun had started to set. But it was far from nighttime yet. The door to the inn opened, and the villagers appeared with the village chief.
“Hmm, what brings you to this knight-errant once more?” asked Don Quixote in a dignified tone. “If it is stories of my adventures you wish to hear, you are welcome at any time! Ahem, where shall I begin?”
“N-no, that’s not it, sir. What we need is...”
“Actually, we’ve decided to leave the village today, and have come to tell you of the fact.”
“What! You are abandoning the village because of their threats? Is it because you do not believe I am capable of driving them out?”
At the reply of a villager, Don Quixote shouted in frustration. His ringing voice nearly shook the inn building. The chief had blocked his ears. He spoke carefully to Don Quixote, who was seething with rage.
“Th-that’s not true, sir. We’ve no doubt you will defeat the wolves, of course. But villagers like us can't fight against the wolves, and we’re frankly afraid of what frightening villains they’ll bring with them.”
The villagers, who’d been discussing among themselves at the chief’s house, had decided they couldn’t kick Don Quixote out, not when he was trying to help them. But it was scary to fight against the wolves alongside Don Quixote, and staying around to watch the fight might get them in trouble. That was why they’d decided to first leave the village and return if Don Quixote succeeded in defending the village, or leave for another story island otherwise.
The chief and the villagers explained the situation to Don Quixote, but our Don Quixote didn't seem to understand their reasoning and continued to speak passionately. He stated that for a great knight-errant as himself, justice was always with him; wolves, which he had fought before, were no match for him; that no matter how powerful an enemy came with the wolves, were it even the Witch Queen, Don Quixote would be more than capable of fighting back. But his speech didn’t inspire trust in the villagers. The youth, in particular, was convinced that he could now be certain what little sanity that was left in Don Quixote was all but gone.
No matter how persuasive our Don Quixote tried to be, the villagers’ minds were already made up. They began to leave the village one by one, heading towards the very hill that Don Quixote had looked down upon the village from. The villagers also wanted to see the battle that would be held to protect the village. The young man had been unable to decide what to do, and looked towards Don Quixote. Don Quixote ignored the young man and the villagers, discussing with Rocinante.
“That’s right, Rocinante. That’s precisely the point. The battle of a knight isn’t some pastime; it’s closer to a solemn ceremony. If it’s done in the view of the villagers, it would degrade it to some thug’s brawl. Of course!”
Having forgotten his rage at the leaving villagers, he was nodding to himself with satisfaction as if it was what he'd been planning all along. The young man shook his head at this and followed the other villagers. The respect he had reserved for Don Quixote had turned into disappointment at the thought that he indeed was an old man who’d lost his wits.
And so with the villagers watching from the hilltop, Don Quixote began to wait by himself in the empty village for the enemies to arrive. The sun set and the moon rose, plunging the world into darkness, but Don Quixote looked neither afraid nor lonely; he simply grew sentimental as he stared at the moon and stars.
“Oh, my beloved lady! This night, in view of the moon and stars, yet another battle commences in the fight against injustice. I know that you, my lady, will also pray for my victory as you gaze at the same moon and stars, and therefore my shield will shine and pass judgment this night! The evil ones will regret their actions and their foolishness in challenging this knight, Don Quixote...”
Rocinante was the only audience to his soliloquy. Meanwhile, the villagers spotted something strange. They began to hear far-off thumping, like that of huge footsteps. Then they saw the trees on the other side of the village shake. The villagers themselves began to shake as well, thinking the scary villain the wolves had mentioned must be finally here.
“To think the ground shakes at this distance! It has to be a dragon!”
“No, it's the pack of wolves, having brought all the monsters from every fairy tale!”
“This is the end for our village!”
While the villagers despaired, the forest ceased to shake and the monster that drove fear into their hearts came into view.
It was taller than the trees and had arms and legs made of rock. It had a hat of wood and roof tiles, and there were four wings on its back. It looked strange but familiar at the same time, and the villagers could recognize its original shape right away. Someone pointed at the monster.
“It’s a windmill giant! Umbra has turned the windmill into a giant!”
Ah! Surprisingly enough, the monster was the missing windmill! The monster had been created by the Dark Moon Witches in their research. These witches had been testing their wicked magic in this village, unrelated to the wolves.
The evil witches, as seen in many fairy tales, had chosen not to cooperate with the Witch Queen; instead, they created an organization of their own to study the dark arts and share the knowledge: the Dark Moon Witches. They were part of Umbra, like the Full Moon Pack, and despite their less-than-optimal relationship they’d decided to work together this time because of Don Quixote and Rocinante.
“Hmph! Idiot wolves! To think they called us in because they couldn’t defeat an old man and his foal! It doesn’t matter. We’ll show them our might!”
The witches snickered to themselves as they watched the giant shake the earth as it approached the village.
“Those annoying witches! Well, it doesn’t matter. We’re the ones who found the foal, and if we take it to the Witch Queen I’m sure she will be happy!”
The wolves, who were watching the giant from a different location, also snickered with expectation.
While these two groups of villains and the villagers watched on, Don Quixote was not cowed at all after seeing the giant in the distance. Instead, he was quite glad.
“Look, Rocinante! I was wondering who they’d bring. They’ve brought a windmill giant, an enemy I’ve already defeated in the past! Back then a wizard turned the giant into a windmill and I couldn't conclude the fight. But this time I will defeat the giant for certain so the village may be safe! Ye giant, take my shield!” cried Don Quixote.
He began charging towards the giant. The villagers were shocked to see that Don Quixote had begun running towards the giant without any fear.
“Isn’t the knight scared at all?”
“Well... he's charged at windmill giants before...”
While the villagers stood in shock, the young man was muttering to himself. But the villagers misunderstood him and turned to look at him.
“Come to think of it, you said you knew his story well, right?”
“Is he truly as great as he says he is?”
“So did he defeat the windmill giant?”
The villagers had heard of Don Quixote before, but all they knew was he was a great knight solely based on hearsay. When the villagers rushed towards him to ply him with questions, the young man was taken aback. While that was happening, our brave Don Quixote had arrived at the feet of the giant with Rocinante on his shoulder. Don Quixote held his shield high and charged onward without fear. The giant tried to bring down its fists on Don Quixote, but something flashed from Don Quixote’s body and a quick shadow wrapped itself around the giant. The giant lost its balance and tottered.
“Ye giant! Get back!” shouted Don Quixote, banging against the giant as hard as he could. The giant fell over. Thud! Dust clouds wafted upward, and the villagers cheered. The wolves and the witches, on the other hand, groaned.
“Did you see that, you evildoers! No matter what magic you employ, justice, chivalry, and my lady’s protection are working in my favor! You can never defeat me!”
While Don Quixote shouted these words proudly, the windmill giant began to slowly get up. Don Quixote adjusted his grip on his shield.
“You have not given up yet! For a being made of wicked magic, you have some fortitude! The outcome of this battle has already been decided! It’s time you gave up, acknowledged your defeat, and admit that my lady is the most beautiful and dignified of them all!”
The giant ignored him and lifted its arm high again. It was clear what would happen if that huge rock fist fell onto Don Quixote, no matter how strong his armor was. The villagers were excited for what was about to happen after what they’d just seen of his bravery, but also nervous about how he would overcome the threat this time.
The rock fist, held high, seemed to obscure the moon itself. Don Quixote did not run away as he watched the fist. Don Quixote held tightly onto his shield and bellowed.
“O’, my lady! Protect me!”
With that shout, something flashed above his shoulder. His shield began to shine and transform. The giant’s fist began falling towards Don Quixote!
The villagers screamed with shock.
Something unbelievable happened then; the giant’s fist bounced off Don Quixote’s shield! The rebound was too strong for the giant to handle, and the giant fell onto its back. The shock seemed to have been powerful. The giant fell apart into a pile of rocks and debris as soon as it hit the ground.
“Hey, what is going on here!”
The wolves ran over to the witches, angry that the giant had fallen to a single old man. The witches hadn't foreseen this either, and instead they got angry at the wolves.
“That's what we should be saying! You said it would be one old man! How can the giant we’ve created after so much effort fall so easily!”
“What? All you did was create a strange toy! We were idiots to trust you!”
“What did you just say? Do you want us to turn you all into frogs? If you’ve so much to say, why don’t you go there yourselves and fight that old man?”
As they blamed each other, their reached even Don Quixote’s ears. Don Quixote raised his voice.
“So that’s where you were hiding, you wicked creatures! Your strange contraption has fallen before Don Quixote! It is now your turn. You wait right there. Come, Rocinante! Let us charge at those enemies!”
When Don Quixote began running towards them, the wolves and witches who'd been bickering were startled. To them, Don Quixote was not simply a crazy old man; he was a powerful knight actually capable of defeating a windmill giant. The wolves and witches didn’t even think about fighting back; they scattered in all directions.
“You cowards! Your steps grow swift only in flight!” shouted Don Quixote to the scattering villains. “Yes, Rocinante! We are victorious once again!”
Neigh! Rocinante neighed gladly as if agreeing with him. The villagers cheered from atop the hill and ran towards Don Quixote, who’d defeated the giant and protected their village.
When the sun began to rise in the east, Don Quixote stood at the entrance to the village, welcomed by everyone.
“Will you truly leave like this, sir knight? Stay with us a bit longer and rest. We haven't even paid you back properly for protecting our village.”
“No,” Don Quixote replied to the chief. “A knight does not carry out justice with any recompense in mind; as a knight-errant, I must be on my way to find those who seek justice and chivalry.”
“Even so, stay a while longer. We don't have much, but now that the wolves are gone we have little to worry about, and we can give you a proper welcome...”
“No, it's alright! A true knight is not tempted by good treatment!”
“Al-alright. Please don't be angry at us.”
“I am not angry!”
It was now the young man’s turn to speak.
“Right. So what do you plan to do next, young man?”
“I have a question, actually,” he replied. “How did you charge at the giant like that without any fear? Regardless of whether it was really a windmill or not, you charged head on anyway both in your story and just now.”
“Ha ha ha! The answer lies in what you just said, young man,” replied Don Quixote. “Does it matter if it is a real giant or a windmill as long as I’ve worked up the courage to fight it? The important thing is to overcome fear and decide to fight. I know that I will be victorious as long as I believe in justice and chivalry, and whether it is a giant or a windmill is not important.”
The young man appeared as to have found his answer. He nodded.
“I will stay at this village a while, adapting to the Library World, before leaving for Synop City. There may be others like me who appear into this world without knowing why. If there are no such people, at least there are many stories there. I’ll search for my own story and characters from it.”
“Hmm, that is a great idea! You are not a knight, but you’re chivalrous as well, helping those in need!”
Don Quixote said, laughing with satisfaction at the young man's reply.
When Don Quixote turned to leave, the young man spoke again.
“And uh, sir, may I ask one more question?” Don Quixote stopped and turned.
“I'm just asking out of curiosity. Are you trying to get out of the village so fast because you fear that the wolves or witches will try to bring an even stronger foe to face you and your foal?”
The villagers blinked and looked at Don Quixote. Don Quixote, instead of giving a reply, turned away and continued walking.
And so Don Quixote began walking with the praise of the villagers he'd protected at his back towards the rising sun, Rocinante on his shoulder. For now, we’ll leave Don Quixote to his adventures, since doing so will allow us time to continue to write of the other events as well, up till his participation in the famous Smash Legends.