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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Saturday, July 16, 2011

Chapter Ten

Ashelia quickly put the picture back, making sure everything looked like it wasn’t even touched. Then she rushed out the building. She nearly ran into Dominick.
            “Slow down, there, soldier,” Dominick said. “I’ve been looking for you everywhere Ash.”
            “You were?” Ash asked, calming her breath down.
            “Lucas is looking for you,” he said.
            “Oh. Where is he?”
            Dominick started walking and Ash fell in step with him. “He’s over at the training fields talking to the new recruits.”
            “New recruits?” asked Ash. “To be honest, I’m pretty sure you guys have enough soldiers.”
            Dominick shook his head. “You can never have enough soldiers, since this war seems to be never-ending. But that’s not why Lucas always has boards where men can sign up if they want to.”
            “Yeah,” Dominick said. “This army is mostly, if not all, made of volunteer soldiers.”
            “…it’s not required you fight in the military here?” Ash asked, stunned.
            “No,” he said. “But you can always join. Most of these men join to make sure there is enough money sent home to their families.”
            Ash nearly stopped. The story came back into her head.
            “Is that so…”
            “Ash!” Lucas called as Dominick and her caught sight of him. Ashelia couldn’t get her eyes off the new recruits. Memories of when she was a new recruit came up. She was treated so special, since she was Aeson, yet the soldiers hated her.
            Except Philo.
            “I need to speak with you,” Lucas said.
            “Well, before that,” Dominick said. “I should probably tell you that no transportation is available for us to Mica until next week, so we’re stuck here again.”
            Lucas frowned. “You’re kidding me.”
            Dominick shrugged, also disappointed.
            Lucas sighed. “Well I guess we’ll travel on foot, then.”
            Dominick stared at him. “Now you’re kidding me.”
            “Nope, Lucas said before started to gently push Ashelia towards the track.
            They started walking, knowing no one’s on march at the time.
            “I spoke with General Demetrius,” Lucas finally said.
            Ashelia looked up at him. “General Demetrius? Oh the guy that was with the Swords.”
            He nodded. “He told me that Spiridon is building an army to try and find Aeson.”
            Ashelia froze in her tracks, staring wide eyed at him. “What?”
            “He’s searching for you,” Lucas said. “So Demetrius said to try and find Aeson before Spiridon does.”
            Ashelia watched him, carefully. “What did you say?”
            Lucas started walking again and Ashelia caught up. “I said that more than likely, Aeson is dead, and to give up on him.”
            Thoughts ran through Ashelia’s head. “Oh,” was all she could say.
            “So I just told him to be on defense.”
            Ashelia nodded, silence dawning on them. Ashelia looked up at him, his sharp, beautiful blue eyes, his curly black hair tied back. The memory of the picture of him and his brother popped up.
            What happened to him?
            “So what’s wrong?” Ashelia asked softly, seeing that for some reason, Lucas seemed to be thinking about something that immensely confused him.
            He stopped, and Ashelia stopped also. Lucas looked down at her, watching her.
            “I keep wondering why I let you live.”
            Ashelia stared, then nodded. “It’s understandable. Even I wonder that.”
            “This isn’t like me,” he said. “I’ve seen countless battles, winning most of them. I’ve never shown mercy towards Marcellus, let alone take them in and make them one of my Royal Guard.”
            Ashelia thought for awhile. “You pity me?”
Lucas laughed. “Not to seem heartless, but I don’t really pity.”
Ashelia frowned at him. “You’re the least heartless person I know.”
Lucas shook his head. “Even so…letting you live, and keeping you safe…I guess it’s because…in a way, I need you.”
“I am a valuable source for information, after all…” Ashelia murmured.
“No!” Lucas said. “It’s not because we’d be able to use you…but it’s more like…to me, personally, I need you.”
Ashelia’s face suddenly started to burn, and she knew her face was really red.
“What I mean is,” Lucas said, his face also started to turn red. “I’ve felt like I’ve been alone most of my life. Deprived of things I should have. There have only been two people who have understood me, one of which is Dominick…and now you.”
Ashelia opened her mouth to say something, but bit her lip.
“The way you treat me, I mean. Everyone treats me like I’m something too good for them, when really I’m still just a person,” he continued. “But they think I’m too much for them, and so they never even attempt friendship. And those that do are the ones who want to use me.”
“Dominick?” Ashelia asked, curious.
“Dominick was someone my brother helped took care of,” Lucas said, and Ashelia’s heart nearly stopped at the mention of his brother. “But my brother…had to go, and so I took him in. Dominick was born in the country, so he didn’t care for politics or anything. He and I are best friends.”
Ashelia nodded. “And…me?”
Lucas looked at her, and a small smile appeared. “We never meant to, be we became friends.”
Ashelia smiled, and laughed a little. “I treated you horribly.”
Lucas shrugged. “As I said, you treated me like a real person.”
Ashelia laughed again. “Well, my brother and I raised ourselves to be kind of like that, and it annoyed our father, which was even better.”
Lucas laughed too, and he smiled at Ashelia.
“I wish I would have known Aeson,” Lucas said. “If there wasn’t this war, it seems like we could have been friends.”
Ashelia looked up at him, her eyes shining. “Close friends, I bet.”
            Ashelia walked back and forth, patrolling the new recruits, even though she had no idea what ‘patrolling’ even meant. When she was in the Admes army, there were officers patrolling, and sometimes they would go to someone and tell them something they need to fix, but she had no idea what she was even supposed to look for to even fix.
            “Excuse me,” said a soldier. He was also Ashelia’s age and had bright, blonde hair and tanned skin, showing he spent a lot of time out in the sun, most definitely from the country.
            “What is it soldier?” Ash asked, stepping up to him. They were doing drills, do sprints and runs across the training field, and his group was the one on break getting the water they needed.
            He smiled at her. “You’re Ash de Fieruilla, right?”
            “Yeah,” Ashelia responded, surprised a new recruit already knew who she was.
            “You’re that used-to-be enemy that is now Prince Lucas’ Royal Guard, right?” he asked excitedly.
            Ashelia’s face started to feel warm. “Y-yeah.”
            “I’m Rex Hauardus,” he grinned, and Ashelia found he had one of those cute, slightly crooked smiles. Rex slightly bowed his head, and then he whipped his head back up, his eyes wide and expectant. “That’s what I’m supposed to do right? Bow when I introduce myself?”
            Ashelia laughed this time. “Yes. So you are from the country!”
            Rex grinned again. “Is it that obvious?”
            Ashelia nodded.
            “Aren’t you from the country too?” Rex asked.
            Ashelia calmed herself. “Yes.”
            Rex tilted his head, like he was thinking about something, then he just shrugged again and smiled. “Cool.”
            Ashelia frowned at him, though she was still smiling. “So what did you need me for?”
            “I needed to ask you a question,” he said.
            “Okay, what was your question?”
            “If you were Ash,” he said, grinning again.
            Ashelia smiled. “Right…well keep working, then.”
            He nodded, and then bowed again. “Yes…sir!”
            Ashelia laughed again and started to continue her ‘patrolling’.
            His silliness reminds me of when I first met Philo, she thought.
            “He’s always so busy,” Ash muttered.
            Dominick scoffed. “What do you expect? He’s a General and a Prince.”
            Ash smiled at him. “It’s a good thing he has you, then, huh?”
            Dominick looked over at Ash, and he cleared his throat. “Well. Yeah.”
            “Yeah,” Ash said.
            “Hey,” Dominick said, “there he is.”
            Ash looked up to find Lucas running to them. He was topless and sweating, but he grinned at them both. Ash looked behind him to find the new recruits still struggling to reach the end of the track, and they all were panting and barely standing.
            “I remember that…” Ash said. “It was horrible.”
            “Yeah?” Lucas said, “Well I have to do it every time there’s new recruits.”
            “Well good for you,” Ash smiled.
            “Hey Ash!” Rex yelled, running towards them.
            “Hey Rex,” Ash said.
            “You two know each other?” Lucas asked, looking back and forth between them.
            “Kind of,” Ash said.
            “Well, Rex here,” said Lucas, patting Rex on the shoulder, “Can somehow managed to keep up with me.”
            “I’m from the country, remember?” said Rex. “I ran miles and miles every day.”
            “Good thing too,” Lucas smiled.
            Rex grinned, then looked over at Ashelia. “So Ash, I was wondering if we could have lunch together?”
            Lucas and Ash stared a him. Ashelia glanced over at Lucas and then back at Rex. “Well, I don’t know, I mean why—“
            “What for?” Lucas asked suddenly.
            Rex looked over at him. “I have more questions.”
            Ash sighed. “What kind of questions this time?”
            Rex shrugged. “You know. Questions.”
            “Who’s your captain, soldier?” Dominick asked.
            “Captain Kiril,” Rex answered.
            “I’m sure that Kiril will be more than happy to attend to you,” Lucas said.
            Rex’s smile faded away, and Ashelia felt the guilt start to crawl up to her. “No,” she said suddenly. “It’s okay. Right?” she asked, looking over at Lucas.
            Lucas stared at her, and then sighed. “If you really want to,” he said. “I guess.”
            Ash managed a smile at him. “It’s just one day, right?”
            Lucas nodded and Rex grinned, grabbing onto Ash’s arm and pulling her towards the food’s building.
            “You want to eat way out here?” Ash asked, looking around at the surroundings… or the lack there of. Rex took her out to the edge of the base, over far away from everyone else eating.
            “Why not?” he asked.
            Ashelia shrugged. “Valid point, I suppose.”
            Rex started biting into his sandwich, which was pretty much the best food here, other than the things the cooks had managed to put together and call it ‘Mystery meal’.
            “What did you want to ask me about?” Ashelia asked, picking at her food. She wasn’t really hungry at the moment.
            Rex looked over at her and grinned. “That was just an excuse.”
            Ashelia looked up at him and frowned. “You lied? Why?”
            “So I could spend more time with you, of course.”
            Ashelia opened her mouth to say something, then just frowned even deeper. “Why?”
            Rex laughed, putting his sandwich down. “Do I need a reason?”
            “Usually you do not do things for no reason at all.”
            Rex shrugged, setting his plate down beside him on the grass. “You want to know why?” he asked, standing up and heading towards the forest behind them. “Follow me.”
            Ashelia stood up. “You’re not supposed to leave the base!”
            Rex shrugged again. “So?”
            “Well,” Ashelia stuttered, trying to think of something. “I’m not either. It would be a bad example as Lucas’ Royal Guard and he’ll probably get mad at me…especially Dominick…” Ashelia thought, shivering at Dominick lecturing her again.
            Rex looked over at her from his position already in the woods. “Lucas. You don’t use honorifics? You two seem really close.”
            Ashelia’s face heated up. “Well. I guess, but that’s not the point. You have to get back here—”
            “I heard that you also stay in the same room with him…” Rex said, going deeper into the forest. Ashelia panicked and started following him.
            “Well, yes, I’m his Royal Guard isn’t it natural?” asked Ashelia, starting to pull on Rex’ tunic to get him back to the base.
            “Is that appropriate?” Rex asked, his sky blue eyes looking down at her.
            Ashelia’s face continued to warm up, though she was glad he finally he stopped walking. They were already pretty deep in the forest. “That’s what Royal Guards are supposed to do, right? Since the Royal is out of the capital, they are supposed to stay in the same room with them for safety. Technically I’m supposed to be with him now.”
            Rex’s eyes narrowed. “That’s true. But Royal Guards aren’t supposed to be female either.”
            Ashelia froze, her eyes widening and her hand dropping from his tunic.
            “Wh…what did you say?” Ashelia asked, only having her voice come out in a whisper.
            In a sudden movement, Rex reached up and pulled the wig off of her head, inflicting pain from her real hair that was tangled in with the wig. The wig came off, and the tie came lose, making her hair fall down to full length.
            “You’re female,” Rex said, like it was the most natural thing in the world.
            Ashelia quickly reached for the wig, but Rex held it up above her reach.
            “Give it back!” she screamed, not caring to lower her voice anymore.
            “Why are you posing as a male?” Rex asked. “Who are you?”
            Ashelia looked up at him. “You don’t know who I am?”
            “Should I?”
            Ashelia just started to glare at him and jump for the wig, but he just pulled it up even higher each time.
            “Give it back, Rex! I am serious! I can have you punished!” Ashelia threatened.
            “And I can tell everyone that you’re really a female.”
            Ashelia stopped, looking at him in disbelief. “Why are you doing this?”
            Rex smiled at her. “I won’t, don’t worry. But I just wanted to see what you really looked like. You’re pretty.”
            Ashelia shook her head, annoyed. “Why are doing this?” she repeated, her voice more stern.
            Rex shrugged. “I like you, Ash.”
            “You don’t know me.”
            “But I want to.”
            Ash and Rex stared each other down, Ash’s glare matching Rex’ grin. She reached for the wig again, but to no avail.
            “How’d you know?” Ash asked. Nicia could tell, but that was because she grew up with her and Aeson, and was even Aeson’s lover. There was Philo…but that was because she had spent every waking moment with him, since he was the only one who was willing to become her friend. There’s no way they could have been fooled. But Rex…he didn’t even know her.
            “I’m from the country,” Rex said. “I grew up with seven other orphan boys, working day and night. Very rarely would I see a girl. And when I do, trust me, I can tell.”
            Ashelia shook her head, frustrated. She hoping with all her heart there weren’t any other people that grew up in the country like Rex, or anyone that could have a chance to tell that she’s a female. If that was so, everything she has planned for could fall apart.
            In a sudden flash there was a crashing sound, and when Ashelia blinked, Rex was on the ground, pinned down by Lucas. His sword was on Rex’s neck, and in his other hand was the wig.
            “I am not afraid to kill you, I promise you that,” Lucas growled.
            “Lucas!” Ashelia screamed, “What are you doing?! Get off of him!”
            Lucas glanced over at Ashelia, frowning, but he stood up nonetheless, though he kept his sword to Rex’s throat.
            “The question is what are you doing, Ash?!” Lucas retorted.
            Ashelia groaned and pushed Lucas’ blade away, helping Rex up. His blonde hair was a mess from being tackled.
            “So you did already know she was a girl,” Rex mused.
            Lucas glowered at him but put his sword back in its sheathe.
            Ashelia caught Lucas’ eyes. “Rex knew all along,” she murmured.
            “Well, shit,” Lucas growled.
            “No disrespect, Your Highness. But the tackle wasn’t necessary,” Rex said, rubbing at his arm. Ashelia went over to Lucas’ side, getting the wig from him.
            “Well,” Lucas said, “I come out here to get Ash, and someone tells me you two are out here, and so I come here and Ashelia without her wig and you holding it up, not giving it back, I would assume there was some sort of problem.”
            Rex nodded. “But still, that was—” Rex suddenly froze, looking at Lucas and Ashelia, back and forth. “Oh…” he said, then he nodded. “Oh! Wow! Sorry I didn’t know that you two were already together.”
            Lucas’ and Ash’s face turned instantly red.
            “You’ve got it wrong!” Ashelia said instantly, her face feeling unbearably warm.
            “You’re misunderstanding!” Lucas said, nerves pulling at him from every inch of his body.
            Rex stared at the both of them. “So…you’re not attached, Ashelia?” he asked.
            “No!” Ashelia answered.
            “Don’t lead him on,” Lucas said to her.
            “I’m not!” Ashelia said.
            Rex frowned. “So…do I have a chance or not?” he asked.
            Ashelia sighed, frustration overwhelming her. Lucas held back a laugh, starting to think this whole thing was somewhat hilarious. Ashelia’s expression was also a big reason.
            “Rex. You’re sweet, and funny. But…I can’t be like that with you. We can’t be.”
            Rex frowned. “I don’t see why not. We’re in the same army, we’ll see each other.”
            Ashelia managed a small smile. “I won’t always be with the army. I have to be with Lucas and follow him as a Prince also, and that’s over at the capital.”
            Rex gazed at her, thinking, and then he sighed. He rolled his shoulders back and grinned again. “Well, you don’t know that for sure. I’m not giving up,” he turned and started heading back towards the base. “I’ll see you later, Ashelia! You too, Your Highness!”
            And with that, he was out of sight.
            “That is probably the most optimistic guy I have ever met in my life,” Lucas said.
            Ashelia rolled her eyes at him and then held the wig up, staring at it with disgust.
            “Wigs really suck, huh?” Lucas said.
            “Yes, but it’s not just that,” Ashelia said, looking up at him. “Rex knew the first moment he looked at me. What if there are others out there too? What if, I’ll be found out soon?”
            “There’s not really much other like Rex,” said Lucas.
            “But there still are,” Ashelia said. She looked down at the blonde, wig in her hands. The hair already slightly matted and tangled. She murmured, softly, “Sooner or later, this secret I’m hiding will come out…”
            “Don’t say that,” Lucas said, resting his hand on Ashelia’s shoulder. He couldn’t believe how delicate and fragile she felt. “I promise I won’t let that happen.”
            Ashelia shook her head. “You know you shouldn’t make promises that are so hard to keep,” she murmured. “I’m just worried that I won’t be able to finish my…Aeson’s goal.”
            “You know you shouldn’t take other peoples goals for yourself, you’re only making a burden for yourself,” Lucas murmured, his grip tightening slightly on her should. Ashelia rested one hand on Lucas’. “It’s not a burden to me,” Ashelia said. “My dream has always been Aeson’s.”
            “It seems that his goal is near impossibility. Look where that goal has gotten you,” Lucas said.
            “It’s gotten me to you,” Ashelia said, catching Lucas’ blue eyes with her own, watching him carefully. “I promise you Lucas. This goal…it’d be better if you kill me now.”
            Lucas frowned. “I can’t kill you.”
            “But you must.”
            “I will not.”
            “It is necessary that I die for you.”
            “No,” Lucas said. “It is necessary that you live for me.”
            Ashelia sighed deeply, looking away.
            I’m going to kill your father, which in turn will hurt all your family, and hurt your kingdom, and most of all…it’ll hurt you.
            “You’re too good to me,” Ashelia murmured, starting to turn away. “You’ve already saved me enough.”
            He has saved my life, and even Stephen’s. He let me live here, and showed me places and things I have never before. And in turn, I would ruin his whole world.
            Without thinking, Lucas pulled her towards him, burning his gaze into her eyes, which were widened with surprise. Lucas looked at her, his hand reaching up and running his fingers through her silver hair. The silver hair that his family despised. He stared deep into her hazel eyes. The hazel eyes in which had seen his families swords before they were killed with them.
            “You’ve saved me too much too, you know,” he said softly, his deep voice seeming to echo through the whole woods. Lucas’ thumb stoked her cheek, and he leaned down, softly, gently, and carefully pressing his lips to hers.
            Ashelia couldn’t think, but she felt a warm, feeling run through her. She closed her eyes and the emotions overcame her. Her hand reached up to his neck, slowly feeling the skin of the person under her fingertips. Their lips moved together, soft and gentle. Ashelia’s fingers tightened together into fists. The feeling going through her was surprised, happy, and other wonderful things. But in the back of it all, she felt that small portion of sorrow, knowing she was not supposed to doing this.
            Knowing that they could never be.
            Lucas suddenly pulled away from Ashelia, quickly putting the wig on her head. He stepped away, looking towards the trees, standing up straight.
            Ashelia looked over and saw a flash of red and silver, the colors of Amicah, and knew someone was coming. She quickly fixed the wig on before Dominick showed up, frowning at Lucas.
            “Geez, Lucas! You head off and say you’re just getting another glass of water, and be gone for about ten minutes, and then I find you here!” Dominick said. “I’m serious, one day you’re going to give me a heart attack!”
            Lucas burst out into laughter. “Sorry, sorry.”
            Dominick went over to him and started speaking to Lucas about other things that he has done and things he still needed to do. Ashelia stared off in thought, her hand reaching towards her lips, and then she abruptly started walking back towards the base, all the while, Lucas’ gaze to her.
            Both their thoughts were the same.
            What the hell had I done?

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