The swish of a bright red dress around scampering legs, quiet giggles, the cheeky grin on a little face: down an arcade of gothic arches runs a young princess Hornet, dressed in her best royal finery, her hair all done up under a double-horned hennin. She passes by statues of knights between each arch, with flowered branches growing up from their long, jamb-like carved forms. She smiles wider, elated to have gotten away with mischief, as she passes by a knight statue not between two arches but in one. She runs, then--

YANK! She's pulled up by the back of her cloak like a kitten by the scruff of her neck. "HEY!" She shouts. "Who--"

She pauses, eyes wide. Her voice dies down. Plucking her up from the ground, leaning over out of the arch with a stony look on their face, is the knight under the arch. Loose chunks of their hair flow over their chestplate. They are not, in fact, a statue.

Hornet flails and scrabbles in the air. "LET GO! I'LL BITE!" She shrieks.

The knight looks at her. Without a change in expression, they began turning and walking.

Hornet startles badly at that, falling practically limp. "Wait no--" she pleads, hands on her cheeks. "Don't take me back to the retainers, please, please, please!" She looks up at them pleadingly. "They'll be so mad, then mother will be so mad, and-- wait a second--"

She properly looks at them as they hold her in the air. She recognizes that long face, too pale to be properly human, or half-spider like her. She recognizes that horned helmet with the three spikes on each horn.

"I... I know you," she says slowly.

The epiphany comes to her and she leaps out of the knight's hand and leaps onto their shoulder, supporting herself with one pair of hands and clasping at the knight's cheeks with the other. "YEAH! I DO!" She cries, elated. "YOU'RE THE HOLLOW KNIGHT!"

She beams at them. "And that means we're siblings!"

The Hollow Knight returns her look with that same blank stony visage.

She gestures flippantly, her smile chilling out. "And--" she declares-- "that means you can't tell on me. Sibling honor, y'know."

The Hollow Knight looks at her for a long moment. Lifts her by the underside of her arms off of their shoulder.

"Well?" She asks. They keep looking. Perhaps they would have been deliberating, if they were not a hollow vessel.

Far down at the end of the arcade, voices can clearly be heard coming from outside, the double doors wide open.

Everything rushes to the Hollow Knight at once. With a quick and lashing whip of their cloak, they drop Hornet and conceal her. "HEY!" She cries indignantly as they do so. "WHAT?!"

Two retainers, donned in find garb, walk down the hallway, talking about this and that.

As they approach the Hollow Knight, standing still and straight and silent by the wall, they both slow.

"Ah, knight," says one retainer, looking up at them with a haughty expression. "Have you... by any chance... seen Hornet, daughter of Herrah, pass down this hall?" They ask with a pleasantly average smile, as if they are glad the Hollow Knight cannot ask why they do not know where she is.

It takes the Hollow Knight a moment to move. Slowly one hand leaves the hilt of their sword, making their cloak furl and swish, revealing a gloved forearm and a segmented elbow. They point further down the hall.

The retainer smiles, while the second one behind them has been sending the Hollow Knight a sour look. "Ah, I see," the retainer says. "Thank you."

The two depart quickly further down the arcade of flowers and statues until their statures are small, continuing to chatter all the while. The Hollow Knight watches them as they go.

They slip a hand down to give a thumbs up to Hornet, who is hiding most sneakily at the back of the Hollow Knight's cloak. She holds onto their cloak and gives a delighted and mischievous smile.

Sibling Honor

fanart for Hollow Knight, Thermidor CCXXX, digital.

One of those sudden ideas in the middle of the night that you lose sleep doing in a frenzy kind of situations.

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