Disclaimer: Not mine!
A/N: Hey everyone! Okay here's the deal: the original Destiny wasn't going as well as I had originally planned. I still like the idea but I'm going to come at you with something different. Luli will still be the main character but this will be from a different light. I hope you guys like this!
"Luli pay attention!"
I snapped my eyes back to Long Feng, who was glaring at me. He didn't like me, not even when mother was still alive. I looked to my cousin, Kuei, who was rapt with attention to the every word of his Grand Secretariat. Sighing I sat up straight in my smaller throne, trying to "pay attention".
Long Feng's glare stayed on me a moment longer before he finally looked back to Kuei. "As I was saying, your majesties –" and he was off again, talking about some suggestions that would turn into sudden "Proclamations from the King".
I didn't like Long Feng. He was all charm and politeness to my mother, the former Earth King's sister, but when she had also passed away, leaving me in Kuei's care, he looked on me with disdain. I had never asked to be a Princess, couldn't help that this was my birthright. I'd much rather be out with the regular people, doing regular things. Instead I sat here listening and not being able to do anything as Long Feng twisted my cousin around his fingers.
Kuei never listened though. Long Feng had been like a father figure to Kuei, since his father died. Now, twenty-five years old, Kuei still did everything Long Feng suggested. It was a travesty really but what was I to do? I was only fifteen. No one listened to me.
"May I be excused?" I asked.
The two men looked at me. Besides Kuei, Bosco the Bear gave a soft sort of sound in the back of his voice, also surprised by my obvious interruption. I hadn't even known they were still talking as tuned out as I was. Kuei was watching me with concern. "Is everything alright, Luli?"
I smiled softly at my cousin. As naïve as he unfortunately was I couldn't help but love him. He always treated me so kindly. "Nothing at all. I'm no use in these – royal proceedings. Would it be alright if I go and continue my studies?"
Kuei smiled back, missing the suspicious look Long Feng was giving me over his shoulder. "Of course you can."
I stood, back straight, head held high as my mother had shown me and I curtsied slightly to my cousin, nodding to Long Feng. Hands tucked into the sleeves of the royal green and gold gown I wore, I walked calmly out of the throne room.
In the hallways of the palace, servants bustled by, cleaning rooms and preparing for the day. They bowed to me and I nodded back, a small smile on my face. Passing a window I saw the sun signing brightly, signaling a beautiful day in Ba Sing Se and I was sure people in the Middle and Lower Rings would agree as well. Mother and I used to walk the Upper Ring on days like this.
I continued to my room, moving inside and latching the door behind me. Walking over to the doors that led to my terrace, I closed the curtains. I dropped my knees, reaching under my bed to pull out the box I kept hidden under there. I pulled out the clothes and the sheath, placing them on my bed before I pushed the box back under the bed.
Quickly I changed, managing to undo all the horrifying ribbons on this gown and pulling the Panda Lily clip from my hair, letting it spill out onto my back before I scooped it up into a gold band. The green trousers were so much comfier, cinching around my ankles. With a sigh I tightened the belt of the long-sleeved tunic around my waist and slipped on the shoes. Looking in the mirror I thought I still looked Royal, without a dress, especially with the tunic hanging down to my knees. If only I could walk around the palace like this. I always felt as if I couldn't breathe in that gown, as if I would trip over the long hem. Moving to the water bowl by my bed I scrubbed the make-up and powder off my face, feeling refreshed.
Now . . . time to "study".
Of course, sometimes I actually did read, something I found pleasure in, learning my wonderful City's history. Other times, however, I had more important things to tend to.
This was my solace, tension leaving my body as I slid the butterfly swords from their sheath. They belonged to my father and now they were mine though I'm pretty sure he thought they would be passed down to the next male in our line.
I held the swords up in front of my face, the sharp edge making me feel wonderfully calm. I moved away from the bed so that I would have space.
Leaning I sliced the swords through the air, still holding them as one. The sound was swift and sharp and beautiful. This was not something young Princesses were supposed to be involved in but that didn't stop me as I brought the swords back up, breaking them apart.
The swords twirled over my hands as I practiced, performing a few blocking maneuvers before I started the real fight.
Two steps forward, one arm rising over my head, twirling the sword while I slashed in front of me with the other. My left foot slid back, raising one sword over my head, twirling it as I slashed in front of me with the other. I spun, slashing to the side, following through with a kick that lifted me into the air. I broke my swords in two again as I struck out in the air. Landing I slashed the swords in front of me, twirling them as I slashed through the air, my arms moving in a windmill style, fast and furious.
I stopped, arms out again, one sword pointed dangerously in front of me. Had I actually been sparring with someone, the point would have been at their throat. The other sword was behind me, pointed at my second invisible opponent's stomach.
Taking deep calming breaths, I raised the swords above my head, connecting them and bringing them down in front of me again, a smile on my face. I never felt so free than when I could just practice. I hoped to one day find someone to actually teach me to be a better fighter, a better swordsman.
I put the swords back in the sheath, back in the box and back under my bed but I didn't change clothes. Instead I walked to the terrace, pulling open the curtains and the doors and walking outside. If I peered hard enough, I could just make out the crowded lower ring. It seemed like there were more and more people in the city every day but I didn't know where they were coming from. Either way those people down there were free, free to do whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted . . . it must be wonderful. I would give up my title to be one of them for a day. . . .
For a day. . . .
I bit my lip, glancing over my shoulder at my locked door. Would anyone really notice if I was gone? If anyone asked, couldn't I just tell them I was walking the Upper Ring all day? Who would suspect that I had ventured further than our protective wall?
Leaning further out the window, I realized my room wasn't too far off the ground and there were foot holes I could probably grip on to.
My heart pounded in my chest. I had never been outside of the Upper Ring. What if I got lost?
No, I wouldn't. You could probably see the Palace from the Lower Ring. I would find my way back or just ask someone to show me.
I was going to do this.
I looked below. All the servants who were out doors were not on my side of the Palace yet and there were no guards in sight. Running, I unlocked my door so no one could question that and then I moved back to the terrace. I swung one leg over the terrace, slipping my foot between the railings before pulling my other leg over. Climbing along the railing to the wall I tried not to look down.
As best as I could I caught hold of the wall, my knuckles turning white as I lowered myself and my feet stumbling for foot holes. I heard someone coming and I panicked, my foot slipping. I caught my scream in my throat, crashing into the bushes below.
I lay there, in pain and still as the footsteps walked past.
When I was sure they were gone I sat up. My back hurt and I had flowers in my hair but otherwise I didn't seem to be injured. I gingerly got to my feet, checking around before I dashed forward, around the palace, stopping for a moment at the stone railing around the stairs that led up to the front of the palace.
A guard stood, his back to me. Silently, I snuck past him tiptoeing down the steps and when I was far enough away I ran. My feet slapped against the concrete and dirt below me but I could have been flying! The air blew my ponytail behind me and I ignored the confused looks people gave me as I flew past.
I was free.
A/N: So what do you think? I hope you guys like it :D Thanks for reading!