In the land of Alister, there are two warring countries. When Princess Ashelia's brother dies, she takes his identity as to make his dream come true. But what happens when she get's caught into the enemy's army, and falls in love with Lucas, who is the general, and Prince, of the country she is supposed to hate?


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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Chapter Six

What have you done?!” demanded Stephen.
            “What I’ve done,” Aeson said bitterly. “Is save your life.”
            “While destroying yours! You can never go home anymore! Your family will disown you if they find out!”
            “I have no desire to go home,” Aeson said dully. “You know my goal, and you will not get in my way.”
            “Like hell I won’t!”
            “You won’t,” said Aeson, dark and ice cold. “The brands on your hands ensure you won’t. There is the mark of an Iris and an eagle. The iris was for my late sister, and the eagle is mine. You are my Royal Guard, therefore you cannot disobey me. As a Royal Guard, you’re allegiance is to me.”
            Stephen glowered at him, his face dark and hard. “I chose to become this because I am your best friend, Aeson. Honestly, I think this whole Royal Guard shit is, well, shit.”
            “Becoming Lucas’ Royal Guard doesn’t interfere with my goal. If anything, it helps me. If I get to save your life while I’m at it, then I’ll do it, Stephen.”
            Stephen groaned and lowered his head. “I am a complete failure as a Royal Guard.”
            “Trust me, Stephen, and you’ll be the best friend.”
            Stephen was silent, and then slowly he erupted in small, sad, laughter. “I trust you with my life, Aeson.”

            “You’ve done many stupid things in your life, Lucas; mistakes that I have been able to get you out of, but this?! I cannot do anything!”
            “You won’t have to get me out of anything,” Lucas said calmly, “because I haven’t gotten myself in to anything.” He sat down on the chair. They had decided to stay by the river and lake for the night, so they put up some temporary tents where everyone could stay.
            Dominick shook his head in resignation. “You’ve officially gone insane. I was just warning you about all this yesterday!”
            “Assigning someone as my Royal Guard is normal.”
            “You made a country boy that has no experience in fighting whatsoever your Royal Guard. That is not normal.”
            Lucas stared at him as he paced back and forth. He gestured for Dominick to sit down on the chair next to him. Dominick plopped himself down, frustration apparent.
            “You know you are my closest friend, Dominick,” said Lucas. “That will never change. That is why I gave you the title as the Prince’s Collaborator. You’ll always be there for me. I trust you.”
            Dominick sighed. “And I you, Lucas. But as the Prince’s Collaborator I must tell you that I do not support you on this…but since there is nothing to be done, I’ll let it go.”
            Lucas nodded. “Thank you.”
            Dominick sighed again, more deeply. “Let’s just hope we’ll be able to get out of this shit.”

            Ashelia was finally glad she had gotten to bathe. She was also very thankful to Lucas that he let Stephen also. Though, for her, sneaking out in the middle of the night to go and bathe, at the very, very far side of the river, was harder than she thought it’d be. Even though they were in the Amicah territory now, there were still night guards patrolling the perimeter.
            “You look exhausted,” commented Lucas. “Couldn’t sleep last night?”
            Ash shrugged. “Well you know, being woken up early to go and train is pretty exhausting.”
            “It’ll be good for you,” said Lucas. “Now, let’s start with running.”
            Ash groaned as Lucas sped off and he had to catch up to him.
            They went pretty far out away from the temporary campsite, and it seemed like they went out maybe eight miles. By the time they finished, Ash literally collapsed, having his legs give out from under him.
            “Please, let’s stop now, I beg you!” gasped Ash, his breathing panting. It felt like there was no air!
            “Tired already?” asked Lucas. He was jogging in place, and it seemed like he wasn’t tired at all.
            “Tired already?! I’ve been tired since we sprinted that first mile!” Ash unhooked his sword holster from his side, making it drop away from him, and he lay on his back, staring up at the tree tops. The sky was blue, yet the leaves made it seem like it wasn’t even the sky anymore. The sun shining through came in ribbons of light, only hitting certain spots on the ground.
            Lucas sat down beside Ash, looking up to see what he was staring at so much.
            “Beautiful, huh?” murmured Ash. “When you look at scenes like this it seems like there aren’t any problems going on in the world. Like there are no fighting, no hunger, no wars…”
            Lucas stared up, suddenly getting entranced by the sight. He chuckled. “For a minute there you’re sounding like a woman.”
            Ash peeked over to look at him. “Would you want it to be like that, Lucas? Don’t you wish that there was no fighting? Or is this your life already?”
            Lucas looked down at him, thoughts rushing through his mind, and then he looked back up at the leaf-covered sky above them. “…yes, and yes. It would be nice if all this useless fighting didn’t exist. It would be good if all the animosity between my family and the Serennio was non-existent. But at the same time, this is me…without it I wouldn’t have become a General and a Prince worthy to be king someday. Becoming, this—” he said, gesturing to himself, “had made my people trust me. And it gave me self-worth and a reason for everything I do.”
            Ashelia continued to stare at him. She got this light, pure feeling whenever she was around him sometimes, and in this light, looking up at him, it seemed like he was glowing. “And what is your reason?”
            Lucas looked down at Ash, smiling as though the answer was obvious. “It’s for my people. The people like you for which I fight.”
            Ash sat up, turning towards him. “So you plan to be king someday.”
            Lucas threw his head back in a laugh. “Technically, it’s not me who plans it. I’m already officially to be king after my coronation.”
            “What do you plan to do, after you are king? Will you continue being a General?”
            Lucas’ face softened, and this time his gaze fell to the ground in front of him. “I am not sure. Being king means I have duties. I could not afford running around Alister with sword in hand…but what I do know is that I want to be the best king for my people.”
            Ash nodded, and he laughed softly. Lucas looked over at him, curious as to what is so funny. “The feeling is there again; the pure light radiates around you like the sun itself.”
            Lucas was a little stunned, and his face started turning red. “W-what?”
            “You’re going to be a great king, Lucas,” said Ash.
            His face continued to turn even more red. Lucas didn’t understand why for some reason he felt nervous all of a sudden.
            It’s from all the running, Lucas thought to himself. “T-thank you—”
            In a sudden moment, Ash abruptly stood up, looking around. Lucas forgot all the nervousness and stood up, his hand already on the hilt of his sword, his eyes alert and searching.
            “What’s wrong, Ash?”
            Ash quickly put back on the sword holster and put it on, swiftly but quietly. “Do you hear that?”
            Lucas listened, but he couldn’t hear anything. Absolutely nothing. It was completely, and utterly silent. “I don’t hear anything at all.”
            “Exactly.” When Aeson and she had been sent to the castle away in the country to help with Aeson’s sickness, Ashelia had gone outside into the country numerous times. All those times, it was never completely silent. There were always crickets, or birds, or silent animals moving around. “It’s too quiet. Something scared everything away.”
            “Maybe it was us?”
            “We wouldn’t be enough to scare this many animals away to silence, and the campsite is miles away, so it’s not them—”
            Faster than Ash could have thought he could, he sensed the movement a few yards away, hidden in the trees. Maybe it was because of all the running a few moments ago that his adrenaline was on high, but he could see that he had sensed it before Lucas.
            The sword flashed quickly in the corner of Ash’s eyes. He could see the soldier, dressed in blue and gold, the color of Marcellus, heading straight towards Lucas, sword raised, gaze full of bloodlust.
            Before the thought of the other four soldiers starting to rise from behind the shadows also, Ash ran, right in between the Marcellus and Prince Lucas.
            Ash had raised his own sword in guard, directing the soldier’s sword away, but as it was brought down, it cut through Ash’s side, deep and cold. Without fully thinking, Ash brought his sword forward, and pierced the solder right through him.
            At that time, Lucas recovered from his utter surprise and shock, and leapt forward, sword with battle cry and all. The other four had gotten closer, but Lucas was ready this time. As the four came, Lucas’ sword flashed in every direction, looking like a blinding silver white light across the scene.
            It was then that Lucas seemed somewhat unreal to Ash. He seemed too unbelievable to be true.
            Before the denial inside Ash’s head could process, the four other soldiers were on the ground, lifeless and dead. And that’s when the pain came.
            Though the confusion and shock in Ash’s head conquered the physical, and he could do nothing but stare at the soldier that he had just killed.
            He was a Marcellus soldier, a cold voice hissed. You killed your own people. You betrayed them.
            “Ash!” Lucas called. He ran over to him, expression worried.
            Ash continued to stare, but he managed to get his voice working, though it was shaking, along with his whole body. “I-I’m fine.”
            Lucas shook his head. “You saved my life!”
            Ash looked up at him, and forced a smile that he could somehow, barely manage. “Isn’t that my job?” He raised his hand to show the seal of the wolf on it.
            Lucas shook his head, and his eyes settled on Ash’s side, the blood quickly falling onto the clothing he wore. “You’re bleeding!”
            “No,” said Ash, quickly stepping away from him, clutching the wound that ran from his side to down his leg. “It’s not deep or anything, I’ll be fine.”
            “Are you sure?” asked Lucas, skeptical.
            “Yes. I’ll treat them myself when we get back to camp.”
            Lucas looked worriedly at Ash, but nodded. “Should we get going, then?”
            Ash nodded, but when they turned to go, he couldn’t get his feet to move. His eyes kept falling onto the soldier he had just killed. The lifeless corpse was blinding. He was barely older than Ash himself!
            “Do you think we can burn them first? Have their deaths honored?” Ash asked.
            “Honored?” Lucas repeated, confused. “They are the enemy. Even to you now, Ash. You may have been one of them before, but not anymore. They would have killed you.”
            “It does not change the fact that they were fighting for what they thought was right. They were fighting to protect their homes and the ones they loved.”
            Ash was still staring that body, but he felt Lucas gaze on him. The silence was terrifying.
            “Very well,” Lucas murmured, and Ash could hear a faint sadness and sympathy in them also.
            “Thank you.”
            Ash and Lucas closed the eyes of the dead, and piled them in a clearing in the forest. Then they burned them, sending their bodies into the sky as smoke and sending their spirits to the afterlife.
            “This was your first kill, correct?” Lucas asked.
            Ash’s eyes stared at the flames, turning his own red. “Yes. The first of many.”
            Ash had to do a lot of convincing to Lucas that he was alright, and that the wound wasn’t even that deep.
            “Suit yourself,” Ash heard Lucas say. He then heard the cot creak and Lucas plop himself into it. “You better clean yourself up, though.”
            Ash stood up, heading towards the entrance of the tent. “Are you going to sleep now?”
            “Yes. Don’t wake me up,” said Lucas. Ash stared at Lucas, who was already on his cot, facing away. Ash had already skipped bathing with everyone else, knowing it was not a good idea. Even right now, it was not safe. Normally he’d just wait until it was near three a.m. But the wound was burning and stinging. Soon there would be an infection if he didn’t clean it as soon as possible.
            Ashelia walked away, her hand clutched tight to her side. Even right now, as she looked, blood stained her hands as she raised them to look. Ashelia sucked it up and continued walking, away from the campsite. Other soldiers looked at her and noticed the blood. They offered to help but she politely refused. Ashelia was suddenly grateful for the new title as the Royal Guard, knowing the guards at their posts won’t deny her approval to leave the campsite.
            You killed him.
            Ashelia shook her head, clearing away the scene of the bloodied man and his sightless cold eyes. Instead she focused on the wound, which was getting her somewhat light-headed. She was losing blood, fast.
            Ashelia sadly laughed to herself.
            Who thought you would be so thankful to a physical wound, Ashelia? I guess it’s better than thinking of the man you just killed.
            After Ashelia was well half a mile away from the campsite, the light being only a dim glow, she headed towards the river.
            Ashelia slightly fell to one side, but caught herself with her left arm, her right still grasping at the wound. She pushed herself up, and realized there were dark spots across her vision.
            Oh no, not now
            She dropped her sword holster to the side as she still struggled to walk towards the water. She started pulling her armor, and then her clothes off, the cold night wind rushing all across her bare body.
            She stepped into the water, and groaned as she realized the bandage she wrapped her chest around was bloody, and was easily falling apart. She pulled off her blonde wig, setting it on the ground. There were many tall grasses there, so she had to search to find her shirt. She found it a few seconds later, and then bent down.
            And that’s when the hard impact of her head came down. It felt like someone had knocked her hard on the head. She clutched at her head, screaming. She had lost too much blood, even right now; the water she was in was turning a crimson red.
            Without thinking, Ashelia looked up. She saw Lucas, and how his blue eyes went wide with shock. Though the tall grasses were covering her body right now, he could still see her face. She knew what he saw. He saw her silver hair, matching her hazel eyes. Since her hair was tied back, it was obvious who he was seeing.
            And that’s why when her vision turned black and she started to collapse, she wasn’t surprised when the last thing she hears was a sword being drawn, echoing into the night.

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