And so Launcelot and Yuffie rode together, heading towards Launcelot didn’t know what. He waited until he was well away from Castle Turquine before he asked Yuffie exactly what the deal was.
“Up this road there’s a knight who’s been hovering around,” Yuffie explained. “When a lady passes by, BOOM! He does terrible things to her. We’re talking ravishment and theft.”
“This guy is a knight?”
“He says he’s a knight.”
Launcelot scowled. “Knights shouldn’t run around stealing and mugging, and they definitely shouldn’t ravish the ladies. I feel ashamed to call myself a knight, this guy running around free.”
“Well, that’s why I called you in on this. So c’mon!” Yuffie snapped her fingers. “Chop chop!”
“All right, so, here’s what we do. You go on ahead, and if this knight appears and tries to steal from you or ravish you, I’ll jump out of hiding and give him some what-for.”
Yuffie was fine with this plan. I don’t know that I would be willing to act as bait, under the circumstances. On the other hand, she’d witnessed Sir Launcelot du Lake going about his knightly business with Turquine, so I guess she believed in him. Regardless, she rode on ahead. Sure enough, as soon as she passed around a corner a knight emerged from of the woods with a squire. Quick-like-a-bunny he dehorsed her and dismounted himself and some ravishment was maybe going to happen but before Malory has any reason to get remotely graphic, Yuffie shouted for Launcelot!
Sir Launcelot came in hard and fast, shouting invective about what a terrible knight this guy was, to be doing what he was doing to Yuffie. “Where did you even learn to be a knight? Nowhere reputable, I’m sure!”
The knight, Sir Peris of the Thuggish Woods, didn’t even try to defend himself from this verbal barrage. He just drew his sword and advanced upon Launcelot. Launcelot threw a spear at Peris, lodging it deep in his neck. Launcelot then drew his sword, but before he closed to melee, boom, Peris keeled over and bled out and died.
“Now hast thou they payment that thou long hast deserved!” cried Launcelot. “Jerk!” He might have kicked the corpse.
“I know, right?” said Yuffie. “This guy here, Peris, he’s basically like as Sir Turquine, only instead of ruining knights he ruined ladies. And instead of taking them prisoner or maiming them, he raped them. And Turquine was motivated by vengeance, whereas Peris was motivated by, I guess, pure malice. But other than that, they were just alike. Yeah. I mean, hey, you killed them both, right?”
“Sure. What’s next on the agenda?” Launcelot was all business.
“This was it, actually,” answered Yuffie. “You’re free to go. Your duty to me is completed. Yay for you. Listen, you take care of yourself, all right? And if you ever need, like, a reference for a job application, I’m totally willing to vouch for you. Sir Launcelot du Lake, awesome guy all around. Or if you’re ever accused of some vile crime, I dunno, treason against Arthur’s court and violating the most sacred oaths of knighthood? I’d be a character witness. I can’t imagine that ever happening, though.”
“Well, that’s mighty knightly of you…”
“But one thing, sir knight, methinketh ye lack.”
“I’ve heard all the rumors, and I know you’re single.”
Launcelot looked uncomfortable. “If you’re planning on propositioning me…”
“No, no, no. Well, it crossed my mind.” Yuffie wasn’t made of stone, after all. “But I heard all the rumors, I said. I know about you and Guenever –“
“We’re just very good friends!” shouted Launcelot, way louder and more forcefully than necessary.
“They say she put a magic spell on you and now you can never enjoy the love of any other woman…”
“Listen, Yuffie.” Launcelot was in deadly earnest, here. “First off, don’t defame Guenever like that. Second, yes, it’s true, I’m single. You know why I’m single? It’s because I am all about the strange adventures! You know why I left Camelot at the start of Book VI and why I was so eager to get moving last chapter before Kay and the others could drag me back to Camelot? Because it’s all ladies this and pageants that and eating grapes under arbors and reciting poetry and… rubbing her feet after Arthur has gone off to bed. You know what that life does to you? It makes you soft.
“Camelot. Every day I’m there, I wake up and I think, I can’t believe it. I’m still in Camelot; there are so many villains — your Turquines, your Perises, your Bruces Without Pity — they’re out there, in the wilderland. Every day they’re getting stronger and every day I’m in Camelot I’m getting weaker.
“I meet a nice lady, I fall in love, I get married, then there has to be a big wedding, and I’ve got to spend all this time sleeping with my wife and honeymooning and consoling Guenever. I get soft and then I start to lose at jousts and tournaments and duels. Who that useth paramours shall be unhappy, and all thing is unhappy that is about them. Knights who do all that mushy stuff lose out to knights who focus with monomaniacal determination on training and jousting. And I don’t lose.”
Monologue over, Launcelot departed in a huff. Thus ends the Tale of Launcelot and Yuffie!