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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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Chapter Fourteen

            “How long are you going to pretend to be a medic and hide out in my tent?” Tyrus asked.
            “As long as I need to,” she said. “When is the attack going to start?”
            “A couple more days, maybe a week,” Tyrus said. “The other army still needs to travel quite a distance up north, and there’s still the building that needs to be finished.”
            Nicia groaned, standing up from the chair she had been sitting on.
            “If you can’t take it,” Tyrus said, “Then leave and go back to the castle. They already know you’re missing. If you don’t go back now, the next time you go back there they will kill instantly at first sight.”
            “I’m not going back,” Nicia, pouting.
            Tyrus groaned this time. “Think, Nicia. You’re a grown woman now, at the age of twenty three, you should realize all the idiotic things you’re doing!”
            Nicia shook her head, not listening. Tyrus had known her since she was a little girl also, and growing up he was the one to give her lectures.
            “I’m the one doing idiotic things?” Nicia asked. “Where were you when Aeson was sent to the Admes army?”
            They stared each other down, and Tyrus knew she had a point. “I was ordered by Queen Jade to stay at Marcel.”
            Nicia scowled. “I hate her. I swear, she’ll be the death of us all.”
            Tyrus took a deep breath, already too frustrated with her. “You cannot talk like that, Nicia.”
            “It’s just my opinion,” she mumbled. “How many times had Aeson said that it’s completely fair to share your opinions? To voice out our thoughts? How it should be a given right to us as humans.”
            Tyrus looked at her, and his frustration dissipated. “Aeson is missing as of right now,” he said. “The whole purpose of this is to get him back, and voicing out complaints is not going to change anything.”
            Nicia looked at him, her expression desperate and frustrated. She sighed and sat back down. “…Do you expect me to just sit here and do nothing?”

            When the guards saw Lucas and recognized him, they took all of them away for them to wash up. Ashelia had washed her hair, the black dye draining down and away from her, the silver shining again. She had put her blonde wig back on, a little disappointed, but figured it was for the best. The wig was a better disguise, to be a guy, and it even slightly covered her hazel eyes.
            After everyone else finished, other guards had come and escorted them to the entrance of Mica, which was surrounded by a massive wall that could have been one hundred feet tall, consisting of one entrance that spanned as tall and half as wide.
            Even as they stood before the gates, she could hear celebration and music on the other side, the cheering seeming to be so loud it passed through the thick wall between them.
            Lucas took front, and Ashelia went to stand by him, maybe a foot or two behind to his left, being his Royal Guard. Dominick took the same position except to Lucas’ right, being his Royal Collaborator.
            The walls started to open, the cheering starting to become louder, even deafening to the ears. Ashelia glanced behind her to see Stephen, who was guarded with three guards beside him, armed and alert. He gave her a slight smile, and Ashelia’s heart ached. She looked at Lucas, who nodded at her, reassuring her everything would be okay. She nodded, trusting him.
            The gates opened up to a place and a sight Ashelia had never seen before. It opened up to what might have been the whole city welcoming Lucas. There were men, woman, children, and even household pets that came together at the space before the city gates, which had a gigantic display of fountains in the shape of different men that lined along a circle, with a giant spout shooting out in the middle.
            As they all stepped forward, followed by guards and patrols holding Marcel flags beside them, Ashelia stared in wonder at the city. Marcel was magnificent, yes, but so was Mica. They were both breathtakingly beautiful, but they were both so different from each other. Ashelia could see different trees lining everywhere, leaves spanning from different shades of green, and she even saw pink and red leaves coming from white bark.
            Unlike the other towns and cities of Amicah, though, the buildings here weren’t surrounded with their own wall. They were the same structure, with most also having sweeping gable roofs, but they were stories high, rising up into the sky. Different lights shone through windows and rooms, making the sunset that was already turning the sky different shades absolutely amazing.
            Though if you looked up and saw only the buildings, you thought it would be the average busy city, but when you really looked around, everywhere were different ponds and lakes and gardens. Every where she looked, Ashelia saw beauty.
            The guards led them forward, to the gigantic building on the very top of a huge hill on the other side of Mica. Even from there, she could see it, and it was obvious that it was Mica castle.
            Where King Evander is.
            They past the people, all of them completely joyous and ecstatic that their Prince has come back; celebrating as if it was the best thing that ever happened.
            Ashelia realized just how much Lucas was loved by his people.
            King Lucas, right?
            Ashelia smiled to herself, a random thought running through her head.
            Queen Ashelia Camuilla—
            She suddenly stopped herself, ceasing the train of thought at once.
            What has gotten into me?

            “Are you sure he’ll be okay?” Ashelia asked, a worried expression on her face. They were sent to Lucas’ room, which was gigantic, the ceiling towering up above them at about forty feet high. They were to get dressed, but all the while Stephen had been sent away for caution.
            “The dungeons here aren’t that bad,” Lucas said, smiling in amusement. He held out the jacket for her, and she shrugged into it, looking at herself in the mirror.
            “Royal red and silver tunic and cape really suit you, Ashelia,” Lucas smiled. “Though I wish I could see you in a dress.”
            Ashelia laughed, slightly hitting him in the arm. “Well thank you. I would like to see you in a dress too.”
            They both laughed, and Lucas reached out and quickly snatched Ashelia’s wig off, causing her silver hair to fall around her face.
            “Hey!” she called, still smiling. Lucas laughed and started raising it above him so she couldn’t reach. “Give it back!”
            “Are you not my Royal Guard? You’re not supposed to be giving me orders, right?” Lucas grinned.
            “Give it back, already, Lucas!” Ashelia said, still desperately trying to reach for it, he just held it up even higher.
            “If you give me a kiss, I’ll give it back,” Lucas joked.
            Without thinking, Ashelia reached a hand up, tangling her fingers in his hair and pulling him down so she could press her lips to his. That same feeling when they had kissed that first time came back, overflowing with the strange, unknown, blissful feeling. And there it was again, the sorrow hiding in the back, yet is known was there, nonetheless.
            Ashelia quickly pulled away, realizing what she had done, Lucas stared at her, his blue eyes wide with shock, but she could see the joy that was sparkling in his eye. Ashelia quickly looked away, her face turning red. “Give it back now,” she murmured, though she wasn’t sure he could even hear her clearly.
            Without any warning, Lucas suddenly pulled her towards him, wrapping an arm around her waist, his other hand gently running its fingers through her silver hair. He kissed her again, more intensely, as if he’s been holding back this whole time.
            Which he probably has, Ashelia realized.
            And so has she.
            Ashelia wrapped her arms around his neck, kissing him back, feeling how right everything felt. She could feel his feelings through the kiss. He felt exactly the same thing as she did, even the sadness that was lingering in the background.
            But right now, that didn’t matter.
            Ashelia ran her hand down to his chest, pressing her palm against the spot above his heart. As they pulled away for a breath, she looked him the eye and whispered his name, and she immediately felt the racing of his heart as his face turned a little red along with a grin that spread across his face.
            They closed their eyes as they pulled in for another kiss, but a sudden crashing sound had them jumping about ten feet from the ground. Ashelia barely managed to remember to put the wig back that had fallen to the ground.
            A moment later, Dominick came in, already dressed in the same formal clothing they had to wear, but of course, Lucas had the most extravagant suit, with the thread being pure silver, along most of his fingers lined with different sorts of rings.
            Dominick paused to stare at them, and then frowned at Ashelia. “I sure hope you’re not going like that. I see your hair is falling out.”
            Ashelia turned to the mirror to see strands of her silver hair popping out and falling from the wig…which was backwards also. She quickly started to fix it as Dominick started to speak again.
            “Okay, so, I guess the good thing of you being a princess is that you already know table manners in a dining setting. But just remember, you’re just a royal guard, not a princess anymore. No speaking unless asked,” Dominick said, pacing back and forth. It was apparent he was more nervous than she was.
            “Yes, sir,” Ashelia said just as she finished fixing her wig.
            Dominick stopped, and forced a smile at both of them. “Okay, it’ll be okay,” he said, reassuring them, though it was more to himself. He started heading out, still mumbling to himself, “It’ll be okay, it’ll okay.”
            Ashelia and Lucas looked at each other as they followed, both their eyes shining with mischief, as if they had just got away with the most horrible crime in history, and burst out into laughter.
            For all they knew, it really could have been the worst crime, but they might as well enjoy the moment while they still could.

            It was worse than Ashelia thought, as she sat down, she couldn’t even look at King Evander in the eye. She only had one glance at him and she could already see that Lucas was the spitting image of him, with the same exact eyes and smile and hair.
            “You must be Ash De Fieruilla,” said Queen Katrina. Ashelia looked up and had to silently scream at herself to stop staring.
            Queen Katrina was beautiful. The resemblance to Lucas was faint, but it was there. Her hair fell down in long blonde waves that suddenly had Ashelia missing Nicia. Her eyes were bright, and she could see the slight childish sparkle in them that was in Lucas, and Ashelia realized that though Lucas had gotten King Evander’s physical traits, he had gotten a lot of his personality from his mother.
            Her big brown eyes smiled at her and Ashelia remembered to answer.
            “Yes, your Highness,” Ashelia bowed.
            “Please, sit,” she smiled, gesturing to the chair to the left of Lucas. All three sat down at the same time, and even from the distance she could see Dominick’s aura of nervousness radiating. Ashelia figured hers was pretty visible now too.
            “You’re so young, Ash,” Queen Katrina continued. “I heard you were originally a Marcellus soldier?”
            “That’s right mother,” Lucas said, answering for her. “But I assure you, Ash would never betray me.”
            Ashelia suddenly tensed, and she was very aware of the familiar blue eyes staring straight at her, and she wasn’t speaking of Lucas.
            “I trust you, Lucas,” Queen Katrina said casually. “So I trust her too. But Ash, Lucas must really like you to have made you his Royal Guard. He’s always said he didn’t want such a thing; some mutterings of them unnecessary, or so.”
            Lucas shrugged. “Change of heart, I suppose.”
            Ashelia was suddenly relieved when the different cooks and chefs came in, flourishing with plates and plates of different types of food, delicious aromas and smokes of food rising into Ashelia’s smell, along with her appetite.
            She wanted so much to dig in, but she remembered this was an actual dinner, with Royals, so she waited until the King and Queen started first.
            As they did, Ashelia finally looked up King Evander, and feelings started flooding in; shock and pure outraged hate. He was the one who killed her and Aeson’s mother. If he had never killed her, their whole live would be completely different. Their father would be different, Aeson and Ashelia would have grown up knowing the love of a parent…and Aeson might not be dead.
            The last one was a long shot, but it was still true. There would have been the possibility.
            Ashelia suddenly felt something big and warm wrap around her hand and she looked up at Lucas as she realized it was his hand. His expression was confused and worried, and sudden guilt of knowing what she was going to do suddenly start to kill her. Ashelia pulled her hand away gently, feigning a smile and nodded in reassurance.
            For now, Ashelia thought, for now, just get through this dinner. Enjoy this moment while you can, for now.
            It was the first time Ashelia had heard him speak, and she almost jumped. There was that power in his voice that so many times she had heard her father, Aeson, and especially Lucas have in their voice.
            It was the voice of a King.
            The three of them looked at him, and Ashelia froze with all the things she could see when she looked into his eyes. The knowledge, the wisdom, the things he had seen, the experience he had gone through.
            It sent chills through her.
            “What is it, father?” Lucas asked.
            “As you well know,” said King Evander, setting his fork down and looking straight into Lucas’ eyes. “You have a choice of having your coronation soon. Normally you have to wait until the age of twenty five, but with your skills, and being already a General, you are very much qualified already. Things are changing.”
            “Changing?” Lucas asked.
            King Evander cleared his throat and Queen Katrina stood upright, her demeanor strengthening.
            The queen cleared her throat, “Noble Amalia De Leica and her family are coming. We want to speak with them about an arranged marriage.”
            Ashelia froze with shock, Lucas dropped his fork, and Dominick’s jaw dropped to the table.
            “Excuse me, your Highness,” Dominick said, standing up, all the nervousness seeming to have left him. “I don’t think that’s a good idea.”
            “On the contrary,” King Evander said, and Queen Katrina gently gestured for him to sit back down, which Dominick hesitantly did. “It’s the best idea at this time.”
            “I don’t understand,” Lucas said. “Why now?”
            “For various reasons,” said the King. “About a year ago, a fisherman was sent to me, bearing grave news. He had gone out into the ocean, and had gotten close to the borderline between our countries. He saw their harbor, though far away, it was apparent what they were doing. They were building military ships.”
            Lucas’ face turned pale. “Warships? But what would be the point? Amicah doesn’t have any, and the cities are too far away from the edge of the land for them to attack with. It’s been this way for generations, we don’t fight on water.”
            “Time is changing,” King Evander said gravely. “And it was not only warships, there were cargo holds that could carry hundreds of soldiers at a time.”
            Lucas started to tense. “That ship would be massive, there would be no way they could travel that far and feed all of them to survive.”
            King Evander shook his head. “We’re not sure; we don’t know the ways of King Ezio, but we do know he is a skilled and cunning man. A man of military strategy, and so we had been taking precautions.”
            Ashelia’s head was spinning. She had been gone with Aeson for years, and so she had no idea what they were talking about. She had no idea her father had been building military ships. Those were rarely used, and most of the time they were failed.
            “Precautions,” Lucas repeated flatly, “What precautions?”
            “This past year, we’ve been making our own navy vessels,” King Evander explained. “But we’ve been running low on iron and steel. As you well know, Amalia’s family owns the biggest Iron and Steel Company in Amicah.”
            Lucas’ eyes narrowed. “You want me to marry her for supplies to make the ships.”
            Ashelia’s heart started to ache.
            “No,” said King Ezio. “We need you to marry her for the safety of Amicah.”

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