Not Your Typical Rapunzel
Once upon a time, there was a small, but lively kingdom. The kingdom was known for it's peaceful air and cheerful townspeople. The town itself was crowded and busy, but the people worked well together in all of the commotion. Seems they were preparing for a type of festival or celebration.
But there was a hint of sadness in the air.
The princess' 18th birthday was the following day.
Let me clear this up for you. Princess Elizabeth was kidnapped when she was eight years old. Search parties were sent everywhere, but nothing was found. No one has given up and still claim that she's alive. So they still celebrate her birthday every year with hope in their hearts that she'll return safely one day.
At the moment we can find one of the princess' maids running about with frantic movements. Her name was Tyler. The enthusiastic girl had curly brown hair that came down a little past her shoulders and matching round brown eyes. At the moment she was wearing her usual maid's uniform, which was a simple dark tan in color, the ends were lined in a dark brown and though the sleeves were long, she was glad it wasn't an itchy martial. Tyler was one of the princess' friends from childhood. Now usually, maids cleaned. But Tyler was bad at that, so she became sort of like a messenger and delivered letters and news instead.
"Where is she? Where is she?!" Tyler cried as she barged in various doors looking for someone.
"Are you looking for Mai?" Asked another maid carrying a vase full of flowers. Her name was Macy, also an old friend of Elizabeth's. Macy was one of the best maids in the castle, keeping everything in check. She had wavy red hair that brushed her shoulders, golden eyes, somewhat of a British accent, and wore the same uniform as the loud messenger.
"YES!" She yelled , putting her arms in the air.
"Did you try the garden? It's that time of year you know..." Said another maid who was sweeping. That would be Riley. And lets just say all of the maids mentioned in this story are friends of the princess, okay? Now Riley had long, straight, black hair with bright brown eyes and a warm smile. She also wore the same uniform as the other maid/messenger.
Tyler stopped her outburst and stared at Riley silently for a few solid seconds before taking off towards the garden yelling something along the lines of "Why didn't I think of that?!" The two other maids sighed in amusement before going back to work.
Macy chuckled as she set the vase down, turning and grabbing her basket. "I'm going into town to run errands! Be back late!" Riley waved goodbye to her friend and continued to clean the hallway.
~ Then... ~
Mai was Captain of the royal guard. Strong and fearless, she leads the guard with an iron fist. Most are afraid of her despite her small stature. She is the best friend of the lost princess and has been looking for her for almost two years.
At the moment, she is sitting in the middle of the castle's grand flower garden. It was filled with so many flowers and colors that it almost put the rainbow to shame. This was the place the princess had been taken from. This very spot. Mai happened to be with her when it happened. But to this day hasn't been able to figure out who took her.
She sat peacefully as the breeze softly blew her long dark brown hair side to side. Her dark green eyes glanced up at the sky as if it would give her answers. Her gaze fell down to her Captain's hat, which was being held in her hands. Just taking the time to go through her thoughts helped her relax. This nice quiet place had such a nice feeling to it.
Suddenly, the quiet and peaceful scenery was rudely interrupted by a very loud individual.
"MAI! MAI! MAI!" The maid called as she skied to a halt behind her. Mai only turned around with a bored expression, use to the rather loud girl. "What is it Tyler?" She asked while putting her hat back on her head.
She was about to speak when two lower guards came into view. "Captain Mai!" They called in unison before also coming to a halt. It was no other than Matt and Kevin, Mai's most trusted guards of her squadron.
Though Matt was a bit shorter than Kevin, the two looked similar. Matt had light brown hair and dark blue eyes, which were covered with glasses. And Kevin had dark chestnut hair and bright blue eyes. Both wore the same steel armor of the kingdom's lower royal guard.
Mai raised a brow at the active trio. "And what makes me so popular today?" She asked with a bit of amusement in her voice.
"It's HIM! He's went and stole the princess' crown!" Said a distraught Kevin.
"And he's not alone. Two other thugs are with him this time." Added Matt.
"Not to mention they're on their way into town as we speak!" Finished Tyler.
Suddenly Mai's aura seemed to change into something evil. This made the guards and messenger fear for their lives. You would think them, of all people, would be used to her mood swings when he was mentioned. But no, they're always caught off guard. Ha. Pun. Bad pun...
She turned away from them and growled. "I'll get him this time..." With that, she vanished from sight.
"She just growled..." Tyler trailed. "...Like a demon." Finished Kevin with a terrified expression.
Kevin glanced to the messenger with a raised brow. "How did you know about it anyway Tyler?" She looked to him and grinned, dusting off her dress. "Well, I am a maid, technically."
He gave a confused expression. "What's being a maid got to do with it?" She rolled her eyes. "You're so slow sometimes. The maids know everything."
Matt ignored the two and looked towards the town in thought. "I'd hate to be Zed right about now..."
~ Scene Switch! ~
Yes Matt, you would hate to be Zed right about now. But not because of Mai's wrath, (not yet anyway) but because of the fact that him and his two friends were surrounded by many lower guards.
"So leader, what exactly are you wanting us to do at this point?" Said the British 'thug'.
"Give me a minute Allen.."
"We don't have a minute, Zed." Said Lucas, the other 'thug'.
"Stand back!" Wait, that was a female voice... "Oh great..." Zed sighed as the guards parted enough for Mai to enter the circle.
Captain Mai was a sight to see. She was glaring daggers at the three boys, though most of it was towards the leader of the group. Anger was coming off of her very being. Everyone that was around her knew that she was about to explode any moment.
Zed, the greatest of thieves, smiled kindly at the short Captain. The thief had strange shaggy hair, it was white with black ends. He was rather tall, and compared to the short Captain, a giant of sorts. He looked down at her with light green eyes, bowing slightly, making his black cape trail the ground slightly. "Captain Mai, to what do we owe the pleasure?"
Her eye twitched, and the two thugs hid behind their tall leader, wondering what they've gotten themselves into.
"Gee, I don't know, maybe it was the fact that you stole the princess' royal crown?" Her voice was low, almost like a growl. Maybe she was a demon...
"Oh that?" He recalled innocently. Mai walked up to him, more like 'stomped' really. "Yes! That! Now give it back and I might think about sparing your lives!" She held out her hand, expecting him to give it to her.
He pretended to think about it, his hand on his chin and his eyes closed. Mai waited, tapping her foot impatiently. Lucas and Allen glanced to Zed, then back to Mai. Zed had told them about the short girl, both in height and in temper. At first, they didn't believe him, that such a girl excised in the world. But now...
Not only did the girl exist, but she was nothing like they imagined at all. The two boys thought she would be an ugly brute. But the small woman standing before them was rather...pretty.
Allen, as said before, was British. He also had red hair, though his is spiky and all over the place. His matching red eyes watched the thief and Captain argue like an old married couple as he dusted off his matching black cloak.
Lucas was a bit taller than Allen, but not as tall as Zed. His hazel eyes lingered on the two before him as he moved his dirty-blonde hair out of his eyes. After growing bored, he re-tied the bow of his cloak, which was also black.
Allen and Lucas glanced back up at Zed, he looked like he was enjoying himself. They, however, were very bored. "Zed...Stop flirting and get a move on. We would like to escape, remember?"
"F-Flirting!?" Yelled Mai in embarrassment as Zed turned around to glare at his teammates. They flinched slightly and started whistling, avoiding eye contact.
Zed turned back to the red girl and smiled. "Well, I'm sorry Cap, but," He leaned down and quickly pecked her on the cheek. "I gotta go."
Before she could even react, Zed turned around, grabbed the other two by the arms, and used the water fountain to leap over the guards by jumping from head to head. Or..helmet to helmet.
Mai's face exploded scarlet as she yelled. "ZED CARTER! WHEN I GET MY HANDS ON YOU, YOU'RE DEAD!"
Once on the ground, the three ran towards the outskirts of the town to the forest, taking three horses on their way out.
Allen laughed. "Wow, you sure know how to pick women Zed, she's crazy about you!"
Lucas chuckled. "Oh yeah, you know how it goes at weddings. 'Till death do you part'!"
Zed rolled his eyes as the two laughed at him.
Mai had stolen a horse from one of the guards, running after them. Once she had caught up with them, the chase was on.
This was normal by now. Zed would steal, Mai would chase and end up losing him in the woods somehow. Though this was the first time he brought company with him. She only thought of the thugs as two more pains in her side. Just great.
They zoomed through the town. The people swiftly moved aside as the horses went by and once they were out of sight, went back to whatever they were doing before. As again, this happened often.
Then they reached the woods. Trees went by them in a blur and the only noise heard was the rough sounds of hooves against the fresh grassy ground. Oh, and Mai's occasional scream of frustration. Nothing new.
She promised herself that this time she would catch him. This time for sure.
She took a sharp turn, going into the trees and disappearing.
Zed glanced back, noticed she was gone and stopped his horse, followed by Allen and Lucas. Allen looked around. "Hey, ah, I have a feeling she's not gone...and that sort of scares me a little."
Lucas nodded and turned to Zed, who was getting off his horse. "Zed, is this normal?" He also got off his horse the same time as Allen.
The thief sighed, smacking his horse on the rump so it would flee. "Yeah well, normally, I lose her. But she gave up rather quickly today..." He looked around and the two boys shooed their own horses away.
Lucas looked to him. "So what you're saying is that no, this isn't normal." Allen made a sour face. "Brilliant! We're gonna die!"
Allen started pacing as the other two rolled their eyes and walked away, almost leaving him behind.
"Wait for me!" The British man cried as he ran up to their side.
They walked towards their hideout, which was underground, inside of the old mining shafts.
"So what do you think she has in store for us?" Asked Allen a bit nervously.
"Death, remember?" Said Lucas with a shrug., then looked to Zed. "Oh wait, that special condition was saved for you, Zed. We, on the other hand, might actually survive." Allen sighed in relief and Zed rolled his eyes again.
"So why exactly do you like to torment the poor girl anyway?" Asked Lucas with a curious gaze as they walked in front of entrance to the mines. The entrance seemed to be a giant hole in the middle of a large hollow tree, that happened to be on the edge of a long cliff.
Zed opened his mouth to reply but the voice that was heard was definitely not his.
"To annoy me, perhaps?"
They all turned to find the topic of conversation leaning against the large tree, glancing at them from underneath her Captain's hat.
The boys blinked at her. "How did you know we would be here?" Lucas asked with a surprised tone.
"This is the closest entrance to the mine in this area. I knew a shortcut, so I got here first." She stood up straight and turned to look at them. "I've never been able to track your exact location in the mines, but I have found most of the entrances."
Allen whistled. "Persistent, aren't we?" She glared at him and he hid behind Lucas. "So what happens now?" Lucas asked, but his voice was slightly hitched from Allen squeezing the life out of him.
She sighed. "Well. Since you three don't know how to have a normal negotiation without running away. I thought that I would just meet your demands."
"That's right, you're gonna take us away and put us in a cell-" Allen stopped and all of them blinked.
"Wait, what?" They all asked in unison.
She only stared at them blankly. "What are your demands for returning the crown?"
"Ah..." They looked to each other. Zed sighed, reaching into his satchel and pulling out the beautiful unworn crown. She eyed him carefully as he walked towards her and stretched it out for her to take. "There's no need for that."
She looked up at him, seeing that kind smile on his face made her think for a moment that he wasn't as bad as she made him out to be. "But this is all just a game to me."
And...the moment is broken. He's just a joking thief after all.
She swiped the crown away from him, a bit irritated, and quickly put it in her own shoulder bag. Where it would be safe, in her mind. "Now that that's settled. I'll just be on my way."
She started to walked around Zed but stopped when she reached beside him, glancing up at him dangerously. "But I warn you, the next time I find you taking something like this, I will not show mercy."
The other two boys watched as an amused smile grew on Zed's face. She took another step but stopped dead in her tracks when she felt the top of her head lose heat. Her hat was gone.
She turned on her heel to find Zed leaning against the tree, twirling her hat on his index finger.
"You better give that back this instant!" She demanded with an angry voice. Though somehow, there was a hidden hint of amusement.
Zed continued to twirl it, that amused smile on his face never faltering. The boys would have even said that he looked...Happy. "You don't need it. In fact," He flicked his wrist and the hat landed on his head. "I think I'll keep it."
That's when the chase began again, only this time on foot. Allen and Lucas watched the two as Mai tried desperately to get her hat back from the thief, but he was much to tall, and she just couldn't reach it.
The thugs watched in amusement for a while before it happened.
In the chase that the two were enjoying, they seemed to have forgotten the fact that there was a cliff only a little ways away from them. That's when Mai tripped on a root, and fell backwards.
Time started to slow down as Mai fell towards the seemingly endless void off the side of the cliff.
She couldn't even have time to think before her instincts kicked in. She reached forward, toward anything that she could grab a hold of. She called his name at the top of her lungs as fear took over for the first time in many years.
When she fell, he had reached for her, but was too late. She started to fall and out of pure instinct, went in after her.
The not so thug-like thugs ran to the edge, only seeing a glimpse of the two before they were swallowed by fog.
Lucas searched the edge as Allen started freaking out, ranting about like a chicken with it's head cut off.
"Allen." No response, just rambling as he started to pace..
"Hey, Allen." Again, more rambling and pacing. "Allen!"
"What!?" He cried at last, stopping in place.
"Go to the palace and tell somebody close to the Captain that she needs help!" Lucas explained as he started climbing down the cliff.
"Don't tell me that you're going down there!?"
"That's exactly what I'm doing."
"Oh....! You, my good Sir, are mad! Bloody mad!"
Allen started running towards the small kingdom. Lucas looked down and sighed. It was going to be a long climb...
~ Meanwhile ~
Zed and Mai were still falling, but the fog was thick and that made it hard to see, the wind also made it hard to hear.
"Mai! Can you hear me!?" Called the thief.
Mai was startled by his sudden voice, he was close. "Yes! I'm right here!"
Zed turned his head down in her direction. The mist was clearing up and he saw her, she was just a little ways away under him. He fought the wind by reaching out his hand. "Mai!"
She squinted as she looked up at him, also reaching out her hand. She felt deep down that they would make it somehow, she didn't know how, but it would happen. They'd make it.
Their fingers were only inches apart. After a moment of struggling with the wind, he was able to grab her hand and pull her close.
Then there was that dramatic splash.
~ Elsewhere ~
Allen had just reached the edge of the woods, panting as he stopped. "I...As a man of action..!" He sat down with a 'thud'. "Need to rest a moment..."
He looked up at the sky. About an hour had passed and it was dusk already. The redhead sighed. "I hope they're alright..." With that thought in mind, he stood back up and headed for the town.
~ Checking On Lucas ~
The dirty-blonde thug was still climbing down the cliff. By now the fog was gone and he could see the bottom, which was good considering the fact that it was getting dark.
Rock Climbing + Darkness = SPLAT. Oh, did I mention that SPLAT = DEATH
Though a simple equation, do not try to solve it at home kids. Fortunately for us readers, Lucas has done this before and safely made it to the bottom as the sun began to sink behind the cliff out of sight.
Lucas sat down and took a deep breathe. "Man...Zed...If you're alive, you owe me one...And if you're dead...I'll kill you."
Looking around the area more closely, he found that there was a deep, wide river flowing along the bottom of the cliff. He wondered if they had landed in the river. It was possible considering the river's bank was only about ten feet away from the cliff's wall. He needed to find them, make sure they didn't drown.
That's when he stood up and looked around for something to torch. When a large stick was found, he carefully used another, smaller stick, to start a fire. By this time, it had gotten pretty dark.
He decided which way the current was going and started walking down the bank in that direction, hoping he would find them only wet and awkward in each others company, anything more would probably be catastrophic to the whole kingdom.
~ Let's Back Track ~
After the nasty fall into the water, Zed surfaced, helping Mai get her head up as well. After some coughing she opened her eyes to look up at him.
Zed sighed in relief and noticed how fast they were moving down stream. That's not good...
He tightened his grip on her slightly as he looked around for anything to grab a hold of.
"Zed, a branch!" Called Mai as she pointed in front of them, seeming to understand what he was looking for.
Zed looked and reached for the branch with his free hand as they zoomed by, a grunt escaped him as they halted, water rushing off them in waves. The branch was thankfully strong enough to hold and not break.
Or so they thought.
It started to crack. "Ah Carp." Muttered Mai as she grabbed onto it. Luckily, the branch got them close enough to the bank that they could quickly get on shore right before the branch broke in half.
Both panting, they fell to the ground. "Cursed branch...Breaking at just the right moment." Mai huffed.
She heard Zed chuckle. "Yeah well, nature must be against you."
"Why only me?" She turned her head to look at him.
"Well I wasn't the one that got tripped by a tree, was I?"
She smirked. "Maybe not, but you were dumb enough to jump off the cliff after me."
He narrowed his eyes playfully at her. "I didn't go after you," She raised a brow. "Oh? What then?"
He smiled, sitting up and holding her shoulder bag in his hand. "Why this of course."
She glared, frowning at him as she too sat up. She tried to snatch it away, but to no avail. He laughed at her attempts. By the time she had finally gotten a hold of the bag, they both noticed how close they were to one another. Time stopped, and made them wonder how to react.
After a few long, long seconds, Mai swiped the bag from his hand and turned her back to him, hiding her embarrassed expression. "I-I-I'll keep this with me, thank you." She turned around, but only to glare at him. "So hands off, hot shot."
He put his hands up in defense. "Fine, if that's what the lady wants." She sighed and looked around. It would be dark soon. It looks like there was a cave behind them that ran deep into the cliff.
She stood up. "I don't know about you, but I'm not waiting around for the big bad wolf." She mocked and Zed stood up too, following behind her as she started walking into the cave. He raised his brow in amusement.
"Well, you are wearing red, and you look innocent." She ignored him as he walked behind her.
"And why would you be following me?" She asked, her voice had an annoyed tone.
"As protection from the big bad wolf of course." He smirked.
"Oh. Protection, huh? Remind me to not pay for your services..." She rolled her eyes.
Many minutes passed as they walked further and further into the large cave. An awkward silence filled the air as they walked, only stopping to make a torch, and then continued down the cave. By now it was probably dark outside.
"Hey Cap." Mai turned to look at Zed, inwardly glad that he had said something. "What is it?"
"Don't pay me after this. Just reminding you." He smirked at the scoff she had on her face.
"I really hate you....You know that?" He laughed. "Wouldn't have it any other way." She was going to replay, but noticed he had looked away from her when he spoke, making her stop to wonder why.
After a few moments of standing there, Mai decided to sit down. "I think we should just rest for the night. It's probably dark outside by now." He merely nodded and sat next to her, leaning against the cave wall. Mai set the torch in front of them, hoping it would somehow dry their clothes.
That awkward silence filled the atmosphere again. Little did Lucas know how right he was. Mai was exhausted, and slowly found herself falling asleep, but not without some sort of comment. "You....owe me a hat..." Then she was out, ending up leaning onto his upper arm, not quite reaching his shoulder.
Zed's face softened as he moved some hair out of her face. "As you wish..." He put an arm around her shoulders carefully, so she wouldn't get cold, and shut his own eyes, letting sleep take over as well.
~ So Then ~
"Ello?!" Called a distraught Allen, standing in front of the castle's gate, that had been closed for the night. A few hours have passed since the cliff incident. Thankfully, there were no guards stationed on the outside of the gate, which was good, you know, considering he was a fugitive.
"Look, I know it's late, but come on! What's a guy gotta do to get a little attention around here?!"
"Yell and scream I presume."
Allen turned around with a startled expression. In front of him was one of the castle's maids. She was holding a basket, most likely just now coming back from running errands in town. Allen stared at her, unable to think at the mere sight of this lovely girl, who also had a British accent.
She raised a brow at him. "Sir? What did you need? Maybe I could help." She didn't seem to know who he was, good. He straightened up and cleared his throat. "Actually, it's about Captain Mai..."
Her eyes filled with worry. "Mai? Is she alright?" He scratched the back of his head, avoiding eye contact. "Well, she needs help. I'll tell you but take me somewhere that has people she trusts."
She nodded and grabbed his wrist, dragging him to the nearest entrance. "Come with me! I know who can help!" He followed without question, finding no reason not to trust her. Then she looked back to him with a smile. "Oh! I'm Macy by the way." He smiled in return. "I'm Allen."
Once inside of the castle, Macy took Allen into one of the many rooms down the great hall. Though it was a few hours past sundown, the castle was still quite lively. Other maids ran down the hall about their own business. One of them came to a halt at the sight of them. "Macy? Who's this?"
Macy stopped. "Oh Riley!" She dragged Allen over to the girl. "This is Allen, he said Mai needs help. I'm going to take him to Matt and Kevin, do you know where they are?" She gasped at the news but nodded. "I know Matt is in the library. I'll go get Kevin and meet you there!" With that the girl was off.
Allen was again dragged by the maid with a basket, this time towards the library where this 'Matt' fellow was located. It didn't take very long to reach the library doors. Macy pushed one open and let him in first before going in herself.
The room was of course, covered with books from the floor to the ceiling, separating them by shelves and stairways. Allen was so in awe of the place that Macy's sudden loud voice startled him a wee bit.
"MARCO!" She called, her voice echoing throughout the large room.
"POLO!" Came the reply from behind many bookshelves.
She led Allen to the back of the library where a smart looking young man was introduced. Matt quickly finished his book to look up at them. "What's up Macy?" He then raised a brow towards Allen. "Why do you have one of the thugs with you?"
Allen gasped. "I am not a thug!" Macy ignored him as she spoke. "He said that Mai needs some help."
Matt narrowed his eyes in disbelief. "Mai? As in our Mai? Needs help? From us?"
Macy nodded and a familiar shaggy haired goof came running into the library, poor Riley chasing after him. "Mai needs our help?!" He halted in front of the small group.
Riley huffed as she came to a stop next to them. "I've brought...Kevin..."
Macy turned to her as Kevin started freaking out, saying something along the lines of 'Mai must be in a battle with a dragon if she needs our help'. But he was easily ignored. "Thanks, now we can get to the point..." She switched to Allen. "Now could you tell us what you mean by 'help'?"
Allen had explained the incident but was surprised to hear the responses.
"Only a cliff? I'm sure she's fine." Said Matt, reopening his book to read.
"Phew, I thought something was seriously wrong." Macy wiped her forehead as Riley sighed in relief.
Kevin started laughing so hard that he was literally rolling on the floor with his hands on his stomach.
Allen blinked, confused by their reactions to such news. "You did hear me correctly, didn't you?"
Macy turned to him. "Of course we did. If it was just a cliff, I'm sure she's fine. She has been through much worse than that." Allen only stared. "Why is everyone around me crazy?"
They all just laughed, assuring him that they'll be back before the lantern ceremony tomorrow night.
So Allen was invited to stay at the castle with these strange people, but only under the condition that he was watched by Matt and Kevin. The two boys didn't seem to mind though, Allen had come to warn them about Mai after all. He wasn't such a bad guy in their eyes.
Macy looked over to Riley. "Should we had told Tyler? Think she'll be mad?"
Riley placed her hand on her chin in thought. "Hmm, I'm sure that she's nothing to worry about."
~ On The Other End Of The Castle ~
Tyler sneezed in the middle of running a midnight delivery. "Huh? Why do I suddenly feel so left out?"
~ Then This Happened ~
Mai woke up early the next morning. Not that she could tell that from within the dark cave. The first thing she noticed as she slowly opened her eyes was that the torch had died out. The second thing she noticed was that she was snuggled up against someone warm.
"Oh," she thought, "This is nice..." That's about the time reality had hit her.
Her eyes shot open as she sat up straight. This, luckily, didn't wake the thief. She looked toward him, slightly terrified of the fact that they were so close. And even more terrified that she had...liked it.
Mentally screaming at herself, she resisted the urge to turn around and slam her head into the wall.
After calming herself down, she noticed that her clothes were pretty dry, so it was probably early morning by now. That's about the time Zed decided he was cold and grabbed his lost source of warmth, which happened to be Mai. She blinked as she was being hugged like a pillow by the sleeping thief.
Red, the poor girl tried to wiggle her way out of his grip, but that only made it tighter. After a few minutes, she gave up. Then she started to hear footsteps.
Feeling a sweat coming on, she shook, trying to wake the pillow huger. "Psst! Hey...! Wake up..!" She whispered nervously. "Zed, I swear, if you don't wake up, I'm going to kill you." Her harsh words were only met with muffled whines though. He's impossible!
The footsteps came closer and that's when Mai noticed that they had a torch in hand. That wasn't creepy at all.
Now a bit motivated, she tried to wake him again. Then the stranger spoke. "Zed? Mai?"
Great! They know our names! She thought, becoming more nervous, but it all washed away when the stranger came into view. She blinked.
"Lucas?!" The thief's sidekick also blinked, but not for the same reasons...It took all of his willpower not to burst out laughing at the scene before him, for he knew that if he did, he would die one of two ways. By Mai, or by Zed. So in order to survive, Lucas decided that it would be best to keep his mouth shut.
Despite her embarrassment, she had had enough. "Zed..." Her low voice made Lucas step back.
"I AM NOT A FREAKING PILLOW YOU MORON!!!!!" Though she had yelled into his ear, he slowly opened his eyes, as if he had had a peaceful awakening. He leaned back to look at her face for a few minutes before going back to his original position to sleep, still holding Mai as if she were a pillow.
Mai had managed to hit him as hard as she could in the head. Lucas couldn't help but laugh as hard as he could and almost dropped the torch in the process.
~ A Few Minutes Later ~
A yawn was heard from one of the men behind the captain, who had stolen the torch and stomped off in front of them to hide her embarrassment. Lucas waited until Mai was seemingly out of earshot to look at Zed. "You might be fooling yourself, but you're not fooling me. Just go for it man."
Zed glanced over at him and then forward to the back of Mai's head before glancing to the ground, nodding.
"Oh, the exit." The boys looked forward to see a light at the end of the tunnel. Following it, they finally made it out of the cave, but what they saw, had surprised them all.
They had walked into a huge clearing, surrounded by the same cliff they had fell/climbed off of. In the middle of the large clearing, a very tall, and old, stone tower stood. Vines and flowers climbed up it in many colors. A stream ran around the tower as a moat. Outside of the moat were fields of wildflowers until they reached the cliff walls. The cave behind them seemed to be the only way in or out of the place.
Mai squinted, the sun's sudden light forcing her eyes to refocus. Zed and Lucas whistled at the same time at the sight.
"What....What is this place..?" Mai asked, putting out the torch, as there was no need for it now.
"Dunno, but it's only a bit intimidating." Zed commented.
"Yeah...That moat is a bit weird too. Are they trying to protect something?" Lucas thought out loud.
The two boys glanced at each other with that glint in their eyes. Before Mai could even protest, they were off towards the tower. She only sighed while readjusting her satchel for comfort before following after them. Somebody has to keep the two out of trouble...Or so she told herself.
Mai noticed that the two had stopped in front of the moat. With a raised brow, she walked up next to them, looking down at the water she found it to be a strange color. "Anybody want to tell me why the water is...Pink?"
"No idea." Replied Lucas. "Maybe it's poison of some sort?"
"I never liked Pink..." Mai pondered on it. "I'd say that swimming is out of the question."
"No kidding. Maybe there's a bridge." Zed suggested as he started walking around the moat.
The two followed. "Like there's going to be a-" She had caught herself off as they came around the corner where, in fact, was a wooden bridge. "No way!" Cried Mai and Lucas, who seemed to have his own doubts.
Zed only rolled his eyes as he stepped across the bridge. The other two waited until he reached the other side safely before daring to copy. Once on the small island, the three started looking for a way in.
Mai caught herself trying to trip again on roots. "Ugh..I hate plants..."
Zed chuckled. "I think plants hate you back."
She only laughed. "It's a love hate relationship, really."
Lucas, who was amazed that the two could hold a casual conversation, watched them in amusement. Well, he was until he stepped onto a stone, that sank into the ground and caused a doorway to appear. He blinked, barely able to see the stairway through the net of vines.
The rumble of the stones caught the others attention quickly as they looked at it blankly. "Okay, so this is getting weirder." Said Lucas as he started pulling down the vines. The other two followed suit, and soon the doorway was cleared.
The three were surprised to find that the inside was nicely kept. It wasn't dusty, and there were no cobwebs. In fact, the walls seemed to be...shining. As they walked up the stairs, they noticed that there were candles lit.
Mai glanced around. "Do you think somebody lives here?"
Lucas put on a thoughtful expression. "But wouldn't they leave the tower? The entrance was covered in vines, hadn't been touched in years."
Zed was about to comment when a soft hum filled his ears. He stopped and Mai almost ran into him. "What-"
"Shh!" He cut her off so she would be quiet. She did, hoping for an explanation. "Listen." Is all he told them.
After a few moments of silence, the hum had become louder. A hum of a girl's voice.
Mai's eyes widened as she listened. "It can't be..."
Zed looked down at her, witnessing for the first time that she had a shocked look on her face. Before he could ask about it, she started running up the steps. After a quick glance to one another, the boys followed her quickly.
Mai came to a halt in front of a pair of tall doors. They were carved and painted in beautiful designs. The hum had turned into a soft song. So familiar to Mai's ears that it almost made her cry. The boys caught up to her as she placed her shaking hand onto the door's handle.
She held her breath as she turned the handle. Being unlocked, the door was easily opened.
The room itself was large, being the top of the tower. Everything in it was painted, including the walls and ceiling. There was little furniture, but many different items lined the walls. Things ranged from household items and cleaning tools to random things such as antiques and supplies.
But Mai couldn't see any of those things, for her sight was locked onto the teenage girl standing in the middle of the room, with a broom in her hand.
The no longer singing girl had on a light blue handmade dress, and long blonde hair that was a few inches longer than it as it barely brushed the ground behind her. Mai stared into her bright blue eyes, finding them the same as she remembered.
The girl stared right back into Mai's. Shock seemed to take over as her grip was lost on the broom, that fell to it's doom and was sadly forgotten for the rest of the story.
The staring contest began, and the boys only looked from one girl to the other.
"...Elizabeth..?" Was all Mai could say as the shock started to settle.
The girl inhaled sharply as her eyes widened with tears. "M-Mai..?"
Mai ran, tackling the poor girl onto the floor, tears of joy running down her face as she did so. "I've finally found you!"
Zed and Lucas couldn't help but smile at the two. The whole scene was touching really, especially the fact that this will most likely be the only time in their lives they would see Mai cry.
"So what just happened?" Asked Lucas.
"I have no idea." Answered Zed with a wave of his hand.
Elizabeth sat up, patting Mai on the back to try and calm her down, even though she was crying herself.
They stayed that way for a while until the two finally calmed down. After they stood, Elizabeth noticed the two boys who were waiting patiently against the wall.
She glanced to Mai. "Friends of yours?"
Mai shrugged. "Something like that..."
Elizabeth smiled to them. "Well Hello, I'm Elizabeth."
Zed nodded. "Yo."
Lucas smiled. "What's up?"
Mai sighed. "Seems I'll have to introduce them. That's Lucas and the other one is Zed." She gave the boys a slight disappointed look. "Give some respect will you? I bet you don't even know who you're talking to, do you?"
They raised a brow and looked over the girl. "Nope." Mai could only face palm.
The Captain gestured to the girl with her hand. "Morons, the girl who stands before you is Princess Elizabeth. The owner of the crown you tried to steal yesterday, and next in line to rule our country."
The princess giggled at their shocked faces. After a few long blinks they yelled. "She's THAT Elizabeth!?"
Elizabeth turned to Mai with an angry pout on her face. "Mai! I told you a long time ago to call me 'Lizzy'! L-I-Z-Z-Y!"
Mai sank slightly. "I-I'm sorry Lizzy..."
The two boys turned their head to her again with shock. "S-She apologized!?"
Mai yelled in embarrassment. "S-Shut up!"
~ After That ~
Elizabeth explained everything that had happened to her after she was kidnapped in the garden.
Mai thought it over. "Okay, so you were captured by a crazy old woman who swore you were her lost daughter?"
"Then to keep you from getting lost again, she trapped you in this tower?" Added Zed.
"And when you got older she realized you weren't her daughter, claimed that you had tricked her into thinking so, thus leaving you up here to die alone?" Lucas finished.
Elizabeth nodded sadly. "The only way out was the way you came in, but it can only be opened from the outside. It's been about a year since she left me up here. Thankfully I had enough food to last me until now. That's why I'm very grateful to you all." She gave a smile and they returned it..
Zed looked around the room again. "So...What's with all the stuff?"
She giggled again. "Well, I've made quite a few friends among the birds, I spare them some food and they bring me things from around the kingdom. Though they still haven't managed to bring me a rope."
There was a sudden tapping noise on the window. Lizzy stood and walked over to it. "Speaking of which, there they are now." She opened the window to find two blue birds carrying a very long, and seemingly heavy...
She reached and grabbed it, blinking at it as she held it up for her company to see. "...Rope."
Silence filled the air as the birds took their food and fled. That's about the time the boys started laughing, finding the situation hilarious. It wasn't long before the girls joined in though.
She came back over and set the now useless rope next to her. Mai looked to her. "Maybe they were waiting until your birthday?"
Elizabeth blinked. "Oh yeah, that is today, isn't it?" She seemed to be asking herself more than those around her.
Mai laughed, nodding. "That's right." That's when a thought came to her. "I have something for you too." Elizabeth looked to her curiously. Why would she have something for her when she didn't know she would even see her today?
Mai took her satchel off and handed Elizabeth the bag. "I believe this should fit you now. Happy birthday, Lizzy."
Elizabeth took the bag, opening it with curiosity. She gasped when she held her very own crown in her hand. She gave Mai a warm smile. "Thank you, Mai." She looked down at it again. "Why do you have it with you?"
Mai glanced to the two thieves, who started glancing around the room innocently. She looked down with an amused smile. "I was keeping it safe from some idiots."
The boys seemed to be okay with that answer and let it go for now.
Mai stood up then. "Anyway, we should probably get going, from this high up we can see the castle, so we should have a good idea on which way to go from here."
They nodded and made their way down the steps.
~ The Funny Thing Is...~
"Where did the door go!?" They shouted as they found themselves trapped in the tower together.
"The door must be automatic or something..." Said Lucas.
Zed looked to the princess. "Shall we use the rope then?"
She nodded. "Alright!"
After going back up the stares, Zed took the rope and tied it to where it would hold. When done he tossed the rest out the window where they could climb down.
He turned and started going down the rope. "I'll go first and test it."
After Zed reached the ground, he waited for the others to come down. One after the other they reached the ground. Lucas helped Elizabeth off of the rope, stepping outside of the tower for the first time in ten years.
She started twirling and humming. The other three watched, letting her have her moment before they started towards the castle. It turned out that there was an opening in the cliff other than the cave they came in at. It was hidden behind long hanging bright green vines. Once on the other side of the vines, they ended up in the middle of the Enchanted Forest, an area they're all familiar with.
Mai's jaw dropped. "Really!? You were right here the entire time? Do you know how many times I've passed this very spot!?"
Elizabeth looked around. "So this is where the opening led. I had no idea."
Zed and Lucas glanced to each other. They've also passed this opening many times without knowing it.
Mai grit her teeth, angry with herself. Elizabeth noticed and thought to cheer her up, but temptation was too great. "Hey, Mai?" The upset girl looked to her best friend. "Yeah..?"
She leaned over to where they were the only ones who could hear. Mai followed along, interested in what was so important. "So....Which one is your betrothed?"
A few seconds passed as Mai's face turned red. Why? Well, not because the question was asked. Oh no, it was because a certain black and white haired thief came to mind when it was asked.
Thus, after slamming her head into the cliff wall a couple times, Mai started to chase Lizzy towards the castle, yelling her name.
The thief and thug slowly followed. Lucas raised a brow. "What do you think that was about?"
He shrugged. "No clue. I stopped trying to understand women a long time ago."
Lucas smirked. "Oh? Is Mai that special?"
Zed glanced to him dangerously. "What's that mean?"
Lucas gave him the 'really?' look. "I may just be an outsider, but dude, you study her like a book."
"I-I do not!" Carp, he stuttered.
The sidekick shook his head. "Right, and Allen dances ballet with a pink tutu on the weekends."
A silence filled the air between the two before they both busted out laughing at the image.
~ Randomly In The Castle Somewhere ~
Allen was helping Macy with decorations when he suddenly sneezed. "Great, someone must be spreading lies about me again....Bloody townspeople...I ain't no thug..."
~ Back To The Lead Love Birds- I Mean Characters ~
At the moment, the four of them were about halfway through the Enchanted Forest. Nobody knows why it has such a name. The forest itself is like any other really, tall trees, green grass, the occasional stump and/or stone, oh, and of course the song birds and foxes.
As they walked, Elizabeth had turned to Mai and asked her how everyone has been doing. She smiled, thinking over it before answering. "Well, Macy and Riley have become some of the castle's finest maids. Dust wouldn't dare float in their presence. Tyler was a maid, but...She decided she wasn't good at it, so now she's the kingdom's messenger." Elizabeth laughed, remembering how destructive Tyler was as a child.
"What about you, Mai? Please tell me that you've been doing something more important than searching for me all this time." Mai rolled her eyes, knowing that Elizabeth only saw the search for her as unnecessary. She most likely blames herself for what happened, even though she was only a child at the time.
"I've...actually become Captain of the guard. Mostly to have the resources to find you, but also...because I want to be able to protect this kingdom." Elizabeth caught her gaze. "Mai..."
Mai laughed. "Believe it or not, Kevin and Matt have become my most trustworthy guards, but you know those two. They're still unpredictable." Elizabeth laughed, recalling the two who use to pretend they were Sherlock and Watson.
Lucas and Zed had been walking behind them, silently listening in on the conversation. Zed's gaze had unknowingly fixed itself on the Captain. Lucas glanced over at him and chuckled. The great thief snapped out of his daze when he heard the laugh. He looked to the thug with narrowed eyes. "What..?"
Lucas only laughed. "Nothing, nothing at all." Zed turned his head with a "Tch..." Clearly annoyed by his friend.
Elizabeth glanced back at the two boys, then followed Zed's gaze to her best friend. A smile grew on her face as a plan started to form...but she needed help.
To get her plan going, Elizabeth asked if they could take a rest. So everyone found a nice tree to sit under in the shade. Even though she could walk more, a few hours had passed since they've left the tower. Resting was the perfect excuse to get everyone to stop for a moment.
Lucas sat next to the princess, Zed took his seat next to him, and Mai sat on the other side of Elizabeth. Lucas and Lizzy watched Mai and Zed take glances at each other. That's when both the princess and the thug looked to one another, knowing what the other was thinking, and nodded with a spark in their eyes.
~ Act 1 ~
"I'm kind of hungry...Wish I would have brought some food from the tower." Said Elizabeth, glancing over to Lucas. "Yeah, I kind of am too...I didn't even think about bring any."
Mai stood up. "Why don't the boys go and search for something? I could stay with Elizabeth." Mai looked to her only to flinch at her angry pout. "W-W-What?"
The princess stood. "I told you to call me Lizzy! As punishment-" She took a hold of poor Zed, who had just stood up, and dragged him next to Mai by the arm. "You two must go to find food together! Lucas will stay with me as company."
Before Mai could protest, Zed had grabbed her wrist. She looked up at him, a bit surprised. He merely smiled. "She doesn't look like the type of person who would give in to argument."
Mai looked back to Elizabeth's stern look. She remembered how stubborn she could be as a child. With a sigh of defeat, Mai nodded. "Fine, but Lucas..." The boy looked up at her and was slightly terrified to meet her very calm gaze. "I expect you to be a perfect gentlemen. Anything less, and I will hunt you down and skin you like a fox. Am I understood?" The thug could only nod as he felt a sweat coming on. The calm Mai was somehow more terrifying than the angry one.
So the two were off to find food, leaving the thug and the princess alone...Mai glanced back once before sighing.
~ Act 2 ~
Mai looked back for the tenth time, even though they were far from the campsite by now. Zed had noticed and couldn't help but smile. He had never seen her so...worried before. It was cute.
He blinked at his own thoughts, running his hand through his hair. Glancing down at his companion again, he sighed, for she had looked behind her again.
"You can trust Lucas, he's not the kind of guy to go back on his word." She whipped her head up to him, forgetting that he was next to her. "O-oh, well taking the word of a thief wouldn't normally be something I'd do."
He raised a brow. "What about now?" She glanced up at him, then away, a bit embarrassed. "Now...I feel I can trust you."
He stopped walking, giving her a look of pleasant surprise. She kept walking, hoping her face wasn't as red as it felt. She felt that she did trust him, though she's not sure why. He was selfish, cocky, sneaky, and all around misleading. But he was also sweet and caring at times... With a shake of her head, she told herself that it wasn't the time to think about her...feelings.
It took a minute, but after being able to process the Captain's words, Zed started walking after her. Feeling a little bit more than happy, he couldn't keep that pesky smirk off of his face.
~ Act 3 ~
Elizabeth sat back down next to Lucas, watching Mai and Zed walk off, Mai looking back a couple of times. She only smiled to her overprotective Captain.
Lucas glanced over to the girl beside him. She was the lost princess. He had heard the stories, but he found that she was much different than what he expected. "So... You saw it too? The obvious connection between those two?"
She looked to him and laughed. "Oh yes. I may not have seen my best friend in a long time. But she is still the easiest book to read when it comes to her true feelings."
Lucas laughed. "Zed is the same way. They both share in that respect."
She chuckled sadly. "But when she wants her feelings hidden, she buries them. That worries me."
Lucas gave a smile. "Well, Zed's a thief. When he wants something, he searches for it until he finds it. Right now he seems to have great interest in a certain woman you may know. But what you may not know is that when he does get his hands on something, he takes precious care of it."
She smiled. "Well that's good to know. He seems rather talented in what he does. If he mistreated my friend in any way, well, lets just say I can be rather scary." Lucas gulped, there was some kind of force behind that carefree smile. "I can believe that, you seem to be the only one to keep Mai from becoming too dangerous."
She laughed again, and he found himself growing quite fond of it. "Yes, she can be a bit tomboyish, but she's a girl at heart. Easily embarrassed too." She pouted a little. "I'm a bit worried that if Zed steals her away from me, that my time with her will be limited."
He chuckled. "I needn't worry about that. He understands that this kingdom means a lot to Mai. He would never be able to keep her away from you and the kingdom for very long. He...just wants her to be happy, but doesn't really know how to show it. Would you like to know a secret?"
She nodded, leaning in as if he were going to whisper it. "The truth is...I've only been with him for a few months, but during that time, we've only stolen small things, that normally wouldn't matter, but does to your Captain. I've never even seen the girl until yesterday, but she wasn't what I was expecting...Anyway, after we took the item, we would return it secretly." She blinked. "But why?"
He smiled. "At first, I didn't know myself, but now I think I understand." There was that dramatic pause... "He just wanted an excuse to see her, and maybe try and get to know her. I think it was the only thing he could come up with to try and get close to her."
She nodded slowly and then smiled. "I think that's really sweet. In it's own way. But I have to ask, was my crown also stolen and then returned?" He laughed. "But of course, after a...brief negotiation, Zed handed it to her. Then he took her hat. That was amusing, but...it also led us to you." He found it best that she not know of the cliff incident...
She glanced to him, finding a warm smile coming to her face to match his. "Well, at least I don't have to worry about you wanting to take it back." He laughed. "That's very true."
She gave a curious look. "So why do you help him 'steal'? Knowing that he just want's to impress my poor best friend who is in denial?" He chuckled at the description. "Well if you must know, He told us that it would be fun. So we joined him. And it has been very fun. We've become friends of sorts to say the least. I find that important."
She smiled, looking back into the forest. "They should be back soon. I hope they're little field trip helped move things along." He nodded. "He did need a little push."
~ Act 4 ~
A silence fell between Mai and Zed after Mai's small confession. Zed still had that smirk on his face, just couldn't seem to get rid of it. He was walking a little ways behind her, glancing at her every now and then as they looked for something to eat.
In their search so far, they saw a few common animals. Such as foxes, squirrels, and there was a lost swan that had wandered far from it's lake.., but still no edible food.
Mai stopped suddenly, pointing to a large tree. Zed looked up towards it's long dangling branches. Seems she had found the most common of fruit. They were red and round. He raised a brow. "Apples?" He hadn't noticed them in this area of the forest before.
She nodded before trying to reach for one, finding that her short stacker was again against her. "Well, they don't look poisoned at least." She sighed, putting her hand on her hip, glaring up at the fruit. It was it's fault after all. Zed withheld a chuckle before walking over and picking the apple with ease and handing it out for her to take.
She glanced up at him warily before accepting it. He smiled down at her, making her a bit flustered as she quickly avoided his gaze. "L-Let's get enough for all of us..." He nodded, picking more and handing them to her as he did so.
Not much of a conversation was held between the two as they gathered enough apples. They seemed comfortable with the silence. Soon, enough apples were gathered and both seemed to have their hands full. So they started to walk back.
Their comfortable silence however, was becoming a bit more suffocating with every step. They started glancing to each other when the other wasn't looking, wondering how to bring up a conversation without it seeming obvious that they wanted to talk.
"So..." They stopped and looked at each other, blinking in surprise. After a few awkward seconds of eye contact, they started to laugh, understanding that they felt the same.
Mai was the first to stop laughing. "Well aren't we awkward..." He shrugged his shoulders, a slight smirk twitching the corner of his mouth. "It's a gift."
She raised a brow, curiosity lacing her tone. "Like theft?" He looked down at her with an unreadable expression. She waited for him to answer, as he seemed to be thinking about what to say. "In a way, I guess." She raised her brow again, not really knowing what he meant.
A bit of silence came after that as the two started walking again. Mai thought about what he had said, looking up at him. Not really knowing why, she wanted to know more about him. He was clouded in mystery, and in a way, that scared her. Truthfully, after some investigating, she knew that when he stole something, he would return it if she didn't catch him. She wanted to know why.
"Hey..." After hearing her voice, he looked down at her. She was looking forward with an expression of mixed feelings. He couldn't tell which ones though. She stopped then, turning to look up at him fully. "Why do you steal? I know you said it was a game, but I don't get it, there has to be a different reason. What is it?" He had stopped when she did, turning to look down at her. He blinked at the question, not really expecting it. Then his eyes softened.
A few seconds passed before he finally answered, causing Mai to become a bit anxious. "There is...something I want." She blinked. "So you steal as if it were practice to get what you really want?"
He chuckled. "In a way." He looked at her confused expression, glad that she didn't understand what he was after. "I still don't get it, isn't there an easier way to get what you want? Why do you use so much force?"
He smiled and started walking again, slowly so she could easily catch up. "What I want is dense."
She raised a bow as she followed behind him. "Really? Like a really thick jar or something?" She was obviously thinking that what he was after was an object. He laughed, though she only became more confused.
Soon the two ended up back at their resting place. As they approached, Lucas was laughing at something Elizabeth had said. The air around them was very light and almost sweet. Mai and Zed glanced to one another with amused faces.
Mai set her apples down and cleared her throat, as to get the others attention. They both looked to her and blinked. Elizabeth smiled. "Welcome back! Did you find something?" That's when she noticed the fruit in front of them. She looked up to Mai. "Apples?" Mai nodded before sitting. "This should hold us until we get into town."
Zed set the apples he had next to the ones Mai put on the ground before sitting down next to her. As they ate, Elizabeth examined her best friend and crown thief, sensing a slight difference than before between the two. A...lighter difference. She gazed to Lucas, who caught it and nodded, silently agreeing with her. They both chuckled at their clueless friends, who only raised a brow at them as they ate their apples.
When finished, they all stood and were on their way again. Mai looked forward, thinking about how far the kingdom's main town would be. "Okay, from here, we should get into town by mid afternoon."
Elizabeth smiled, thinking about the town she use to run around in as a child. She hoped that it was as lively as it was when she was little. Thinking it over, she subconsciously tucked her hair back behind her ear. Mai noticed from the corner of her eye and didn't really think about it, but it did lead to a different thought. "Say Lizzy, why is your hair so long?"
Elizabeth blinked, looking down at the end of her hair, that only missed the ground by a few centimeters, maybe an inch. The boys also noted this, somehow not even thinking about it before now. She giggled. "It's a silly reason really, but I thought that I'd try the whole Rapunzel thing. But this is how long it got after a year of growing it out. Guess it wouldn't have worked anyway."
Mai smiled, not finding that information so hard to believe. Rapunzel was her favorite story to read when they were little. That smile faulted slightly when she thought about how similar their situation was. Elizabeth always said she wanted to be Rapunzel and get saved by a prince in shining armor. The thought made her chuckle a bit.
After a ways of walking, Elizabeth glanced over her shoulder to find the boys a little ways behind them. She smiled and turned to Mai. "So how did it go?" Mai raised a brow. "How did what go?"
The princess rolled her eyes. "What did you find out about your not-so-little crush?" Mai almost tripped in her embarrassment. "L-Lizzy!" She hissed, but it wasn't very threatening. Elizabeth only waited for a real answer. Mai glanced back, making sure the boys were out of earshot. They seemed to be in their own conversation, and Mai couldn't hear them, so it must be the same the other way around.
Mai sighed in defeat. "Well...He told me that there's something he wants. And that it was the reason he steals." Elizabeth smiled in excitement, inwardly knowing what- or rather, who it was. "And~?"
Mai raised a brow at her friend. "That's it." Elizabeth's smile faltered into an expression of disbelief. "That's it..?" Mai thought a moment. "Oh!" Elizabeth looked up at her with new found hope.
Mai turned her head to her. "He said that what he was looking for was dense." The princess sent a not-so-little glare in Zed's direction. One: Because he didn't tell her his true intentions. And Two: Because he had insulted her friend. Even though it was true, he didn't have to go that far.
Elizabeth looked back to her friend, thinking it over. She was going to need another plan...
~ So The Boys Conversation Was...~
Lucas glanced over at his leader, following his gaze to the two women in front of them. Seems they had started a conversation. Though he couldn't hear them, he had a pretty good idea on what it was about.
The chestnut haired young man didn't even look at his companion as he spoke. "You didn't tell her, did you?"
Zed glanced in the other direction. "I...told her what she wanted to know."
Lucas rolled his eyes. "I'll take that as a no..." He sighed. "And after all that work the princess went to in order to get you two alone." Zed narrowed his eyes at him. "She knows about this?"
Lucas gave him the you-really-are-stupid face. "She found out on her own. You guys aren't very hard books to read." The thief avoided his gaze again with slight annoyance.
That's about the time the two noticed Elizabeth's glare in Zed's direction. Lucas held back a laugh as Zed blinked back at her. "Seems she heard the story already, and she's quite angry about it. Good luck with that. Women can be scary."
Zed could only gulp as the princess returned her attention to her Captain. Lucas was right, women were pretty scary, especially when they were the princess of the country you live in and could behead you for your past crimes...
Soon enough, the great thief's gaze unknowingly landed back onto the shorter woman. Lucas sighed again, this time with a hint of amusement. Seems that something was stolen from right under the Great Thief's nose. "Well, the heart can be an easy thing to lose if you don't watch it carefully." Lucas thought as his own gaze fell onto the lost-but-found princess.
The black and white haired man looked next to him, following Lucas's gaze, and smirking slightly. "Guess I'm not the only one, am I?" Lucas calmly narrowed his eyes to his friend, though his cheeks were a bit pink. "I won't deny it, and I plan to tell her... Unlike some individuals." The last part he muttered, knowing that it was still high enough that Zed would be able to hear it.
When met with silence, Lucas decided to go further, a smirk on his face. "You could just skip to the point and ask her to marry you."
In response, Zed whacked the back of his comrade's head, his eye twitching and his face flushed. Lucas rubbed the slightly aching spot, but still laughed at his leader's reaction. So worth it.
~ After All That Walking And Talking ~
"Wow!~" Exclaimed Elizabeth as they walked into the entrance of town. Everything was covered in flowers. All different shapes, sizes, and colors. Like garland, they wrapped around the bridge and pillars. The market and buildings looked like an extended garden.
Mai smiled at her princess' excitement. "Seems that the preparation for the Lantern Festival is pretty much complete." Elizabeth turned to her with large sparkly blue eyes. "Like- Like the one we had when I was small!?"
Mai nodded, her eyes softening. "That's right. Your parents thought it best to change the date to your birthday after...the incident."
The mention of the event didn't seem to change the attitude of her friend, as she went on and on about how great the town looked. But the memories still had a bad influence on Mai as her face saddened. She shook it off after realizing she was spacing out.
Zed watched Elizabeth for a moment, a small smile finding it's way to his face. She was quite the character. But that smile soon fell as he noticed the saddened look on Mai's face. Wasn't she happy? No that wasn't it. Something else was on her mind, but she shook it off, going over to the princess and talking to her like she wasn't upset a minute ago.
The Captain walked next to her friend as they walked through town. Free samples were being given away, people were playing music and dancing. But there was still that silent sadness in the air. Barely noticeable among the happy townspeople.
Elizabeth glanced around, finding that she was getting way to distracted. She had something so much more important to tend to! She can't get distracted now! There was little time to act.
She glanced behind her to find Lucas looking at some expertly made glass slippers. She casually walked up to him and stand next to him. Glancing back, she saw Mai inspecting some jewelry. This was good. Surprising, but good.
Lucas noticed the girl and turned to her with a raised brow. Somehow, he knew that she had a plan in motion. She looked up at him and smiled. "Want to go look around?" He returned the smile, knowing full well what was going through her head. "Aren't you worried about those two? And won't Mai be worried about you?"
Her eyes softened, but her smile became warm as she glanced back at her friend, who was now in a conversation with her thief. "Yes, but she needs to relax every once in a while. Forget about painful things and enjoy what's in front of her. Right now, she can't do that with me around." He blinked, but soon understood and nodded.
With the plan moving forward, she grabbed onto Lucas's arm and ran off into the crowd, calling over her shoulder. "Mai! I want to hang out with Lucas, go have fun with your betrothed and meet us by the docks at sundown!" With that, the two were gone, quickly being covered by the crowd.
Mai looked over to where Elizabeth's voice was coming from, calling her name, but it was to late, the two were gone. She sighed, knowing that searching for her now would be a waste of time. If she doesn't want to be found, she won't be.
Though she was looking down at the jewelry, her head was filled of unwanted thoughts. It took ten years to find the person she wanted to see again so badly. Because she couldn't fight the person that took her best friend away from her when she was a child, she worked herself to the bone trying to find her with her own two hands in order to make up for being so weak in the past. But it wasn't even by her own hands that she was found, it was...
Zed watched as the two ran into the crowd and only rolled his eyes at the princess' comments. He was surprised that Mai only sighed, not even protesting in any way, shape, or form. He raised a brow, bending over to see what she was so focused on, but was met with an expression he had never seen her wear. She wasn't looking at anything, just spacing out, thinking of something that was obviously unpleasant.
"Hey..." He tried, but was only met with silence. So he tried again, this time a bit louder.
"Hello..?" She blinked, finally noticing the hand that was being waved in front of her face. Mai looked over to see that Zed had bent down to look at her face. Now their noses were only an inch away from each other.
This caused both sides to blink, surprised. Mai's dark green eyes boring into Zed's lime ones. After a minute or so, both looked away from one another, faces red from embarrassment.
He decided it would be best to change the subject by pointing out the obvious. "I never knew you were a jewelry person..." Smooth dude, smooth...
She blinked, looking down at the merchandise. "Oh, I-I'm not really..but I do think they're pretty..." She looked down to see a few that stood out. Such as a green hair pen with a white flower. She wasn't sure, but it looked Chinese. Then next to it was a simple necklace. The cord was black and had a single tan round seashell. She smiled down at them, wondering what their stories were.
Zed watched her, a bit relieved that she was wearing a smile instead of her previous expression. He found that he wanted to know as much about her as possible, but wasn't quite sure how to receive such information...For now though, he would just be with her and see where that will take him.
"Since we're obviously going to be here awhile, is there anything you want to do?" She looked up at him, giving a thoughtful gaze. "Not...really. This is the first time I've attended the Festival since I was a little girl."
He blinked at that. Maybe getting information wouldn't be as hard as he first thought. "What did you do when you were a kid?" She looked around, trying to remember. "Well, we would look around all day, then we would go to the docks to watch the main event."
He noticed that she said 'we', most likely meaning her and Elizabeth. She looked up at him. "Have you ever been to the Festival before?" He blinked, not expecting her to ask him questions. "Um, nope."
She looked surprised. "Oh, well then, there are a few things you need to see." She smiled and he raised a brow with amusement. "Yeah? Like what?"
The brunette turned back to him. "First, we look around the shops. They save their best items to sell only for today." So, the two started walking along the market. Mai was right, there were many fine items out for sale. From jewels, to clothes and knickknacks. At one point, Mai pointed out a dress that changed from red to blue, though the shop owner couldn't tell them why.
As they walked, Zed glanced around at all of the flowers. "I thought this was a Lantern Festival. So where are the lanterns?" She looked around. "Well, the lanterns won't be put up and lit until nightfall. So until then, the townspeople decorate with flowers." He nodded, finding that to make good sense.
After looking through most of the shops, both found that they were getting hungry. Zed blinked as his stomach growled. "Guess those apples wouldn't hold us for long." Mai chuckled. "I know where we could get something to eat." She led him to one of the bread shops.
The stand was small but plentiful with delicious breads, rolls, and pastries lined up for the taking. The owner was humming to himself as he was taking out another loaf from the oven. He turned to look at his new costumers and was met with a pleasant surprise. His chocolate eyes widened slightly, a smile spreading on his face. "Mai!" The man looked to be in his mid 40s, and had long brown hair in a side ponytail, reaching a little past his shoulder.
Mai gave a warm smile. "Hey dad."
Zed blinked, looking from the baker back to his daughter and repeating this process a couple of times. They did look a bit similar, but he wouldn't have noticed that they were closely related if she hadn't said anything.
Her father clapped his hands together. "Take anything you want! Don't be shy, I'm sure you're hungry after all of the work you've been doing." She nodded. "Thanks."
He went back to his work, a bit more chipper than before. Mai turned to her companion. "You can take whatever you want, my treat." He nodded, and took some normal bread. Mai grabbed a sweet roll before turning back towards her father. "I'm going back out dad, I'll see you later." He threw a cheerful "Okay!~" her way before going back to work.
The two were back on their way, walking and chatting. A women noticed them walk off as she came up to the bread shop. A loving smile appearing on her face. "Oh my Mr. John, your daughter is getting more beautiful each day." He didn't have to turn toward her to answer. "I know, she looks just like her mother."
The woman nodded as she got her bread ready to buy. "And her boy friend is quite the sight as well. They look wonderful together! Ah, young love~"
The baker stopped his work, almost dropping a loaf onto the ground. His eye started to twitch as he slowly turned to the woman. Knowing what was coming, she left him the money for the bread and started to walk away.
For a few moments, he gazed into the direction of where his daughter had walked off in. Then there was an angry fire in the man's eyes as he started to run in that direction. "WHO DARES CALL HIMSELF A LOVER FOR MY PRECIOUS DAUGHTER!?"
~ Let's Backtrack To The Other Two ~
Lucas glanced down at the girl who had dragged him across town. She looked pretty happy that Mai didn't try and go after them. He raised a brow. "You sure you want to leave them alone?" She glanced up at him and then downward. "I'm putting my trust in your friend. Because Mai is comfortable around him."
Lucas smiled. She was right after all. "I wouldn't worry about them then." She nodded.
The two walked around the shops, avoiding their friends when they spotted them once or twice. The princess looked up to Lucas, making eye contact with him and sharing a smile. When was the last time she had smiled before today? When was the last time she truly had someone by her side to stay? Elizabeth was so happy that she was able to finally escape the tower and come back to where she belonged. "Though..." She thought, glancing at Lucas from the corner of her eyes. "There is something different than what I expected."
Lucas looked around, then back to her. "So...what do you want to do now?" She thought a moment. "Well, there are lots of things I've missed over the years...What do you want to do?" He blinked. "You want me to pick?" She nodded again.
Lucas rubbed the back of his head, finding himself a bit embarrassed. "I've, ah...Never been to the festival before...So I'm not sure what to do." She thought another moment, then her stomach started to growl. Lucas covered his mouth to keep himself from laughing. The princess's face started to turn a bright red.
"I guess we have something to do now. What do you want? I'll treat you." Lucas told her as they started walking again. After swallowing her embarrassment, she turned to him. "U-um, I want..." She trailed off. He waited as she fiddled with her dress. "I want some ice cream..."
"Ice cream?" She nodded and Lucas couldn't keep his amusement from his eyes. She was just so...cute. He pushed that thought aside quickly, his own face turning pink. "Well then, where can we find some ice cream? It's your birthday after all, maybe we can find some cake too."
She gave an excited expression, grabbing his hand and pulling him towards the food shops. "I think I saw it in this direction!" He glanced down at their intertwined fingers, then back to her face. At that moment, he promised himself that he would tell her. He just didn't know when or how. Good plan Lucas, good plan...
~ It's Allen Time ~
Oh? Did you think I forgot about him? Ha! Silly readers, Allen has been helping Macy and the rest of Mai's friends with decorating the palace. It was a very manly job. Really. Even at this very moment, Allen was arranging the last flower arrangement in the main hall.
He took a step back to inspect his work. When satisfied, he turned around to report his success, but only found the two lower guards giving him a look. Allen narrowed his eyes. "What?"
They glanced to one another before looking back at him. "You're really enjoying yourself, aren't you?" Allen glared. What gave them the right to gang up on him? Talking in unison and such. "And what if I am? What are you two going to do about it?"
Matt pushed up his glasses. "Nothing, I suppose." Kevin, on the other hand, started laughing. "Dude! Y-You're killing me!"
The thug's fingers started to twitch. "Well, then..." He started chasing the laughing guard around the hall. "I can make it a quick death for you! Come here you bloody joke of a man!"
As the two went on with their chase, Matt only watched in amusement until his favorite messenger came up to him laughing. "What are those two doing now?"
He glanced down at her, giving a small smile, then looked back at the two. "Cops and robbers, maybe?" Tyler laughed again. That's about the time Macy and Riley came into the hall. Once they saw that trouble was running amok, they gave each other a look and sighed.
So Matt and Tyler watched as the two women stood in front of the running men. Kevin had somehow come to a halt in front of them and Allen had almost ran into him, but was thankfully able to avoid collision.
The boys blinked at the women, who had their arms crossed and disapproving looks on their faces. Both started to laugh nervously. "W-We were just playing around...Ha ha." Stammered Kevin, and Allen hurriedly nodded. "T-That's right, no need for punishment...Ha ha ha!" He had accidentally broken a jar last night and was forced to wash the evening dishes. The chefs laughed at him for an hour!
The women only shook their heads. There was only one thing they could say at this point. "You two are hopeless..." Allen sighed. This was just great, now the women were ganging up on him too. He really was hopeless...
Macy decided to clear her throat in order to gain everyone's attention, and so, everyone looked to her. "I have gathered you all to conclude the completion of the preparation for the festival. We can now do as we please until after the festival!" The rest of the crew cheered. Having the rest of the day off was an uncommon accomplishment.
Allen pointed to himself. "Um, Macy? What am I to do now?" She thought a moment. "Considering that Mai hasn't returned yet...I'm going to have to put our freedom aside for now. Listen up!" Everyone gave her their attention again, but this time they lined up as if she were a drill Sergeant. Allen followed the stand, being on the end, but raised a brow. They were really a bunch of weirdos...
Macy pointed towards the first pair. "Matt, Tyler, you stay here and wait to see if Mai comes back to the castle!" They nodded, shouting a "Yes Ma'am!"
Then she pointed to the next pair. "Riley and Kevin, you search the Garden Labyrinth. Just in case Mai came in the back way or something! She can be quite unpredictable." They also nodded. "Aye Sir!"
"Allen!" She pointed to him and he flinched slightly. "Y-Yes?" She stared him down a moment, making him sweat, before speaking. "You will come with me to look in town!" He nodded slowly, still wondering what he had gotten himself into.
Macy put her hands on her hips, a new determination in her bright golden eyes. "Alright! If you find anything out, report to Tyler, who will report to everyone else. Understood?" They all nodded. "Okay, lets go!" With that, the older teens were off in search of clues.
~ Team A ~
Team A. Also known as Matt and Tyler, watched as the other two teams went to their stations. Tyler raised a brow. "We just sit here and do nothing? On our day off? Rude..."
Matt glanced to her. "It's more like waiting." She waved him off. "Same difference. We still aren't doing anything." She huffed slightly, crossing her arms as she sat down ungracefully, moving her dress as she did so. The messenger glared down at it for a moment. She hated how long her dress was. It was summer! If she were outside, surely she would sweat to death.
"I hate this outfit. I was hoping once I became a messenger, they would give me something other than a dress to wear..." The guard sat next to her, leaning back on the wall. "I for one think you look nice in a dress."
She glared at him and his charming smile, feeling the blood rush to her cheeks. "Know it all..." He only chuckled at her remark, knowing that she didn't mean anything by it. She had a tendency to insult his knowledge when he made her embarrassed. A side of her that only he knew.
After a comfortable few minutes of silence and staring at the wall, Matt gazed down at her. She was fidgeting with her dress again. He knew she was going to break at some point... "I...am so totally and ultimately bored. Can your brain think of anything to do while we wait?" That was her limit. Three minutes and forty-two seconds. A new record, he noted.
He thought a moment. "I could go get a game?" She narrowed her eyes. "Knock knock, it's the Déjà Vu Memory Service, they came to remind us that the last time I played games with you, I got so competitive that we stayed up for hours until you let me beat you."
He laughed at the memory. "That was only last week!" She gave an enthusiastic nod. "Exactly! If I was that bad last week, think about how bad I'll get this time! Instead of hours, it could take days!"
Matt rolled his eyes. "I would most likely give in much quicker than that. I let the last game last so long because it was fun playing with you." He gave her that smile again. "And I would love to do it again."
She sighed. There he goes, giving her that smile again, making her feel like she would melt. She swore he would be the end of her. When she ends up on the floor like a melted Popsicle, she is going to blame him. "Fine, I'll play with you again. B-but I am going to beat you!" Shoot! She stuttered...a sign of weakness!
He nodded while getting up. "Alright then, I'll go fetch Chess since you're so determined." He threw a slight cocky expression over his shoulder, getting the pleasure of seeing her face diminish into one of fear. Chess was the 'worst-game-in-the-kingdom' in her words. She could never really understand the concept of how the game worked. He left the girl by herself with fearful thoughts of her past attempts of beating him. Little did she know that he was just getting a deck of cards to play Go-fish.
~ Team B ~
The next team would be the garden hunters. Well, they're in a garden...hunting, not hunting gardens- Ahem! Sigh, Let's start over...Stupid script...
We now go into the palace's Garden Labyrinth. There, we will read that Riley and Kevin are looking around in the large, very much oversized, flower maze. Some of it's flowers were sold to be put out into the town as decorations. So the garden isn't as thick as it normally is. The black haired maid sighed, sitting down next to her guard in not-so-shining armor. "This is a pretty big maze..."
He waved a hand, obviously not worried about it. "Ah, She's most likely not even here. Mai was here yesterday morning. Why would she come back here again?"
Riley sighed. "I'm just worried...I know that she's most likely fine but...she gets distracted easily this time of year." He thought back. "Yeah...Last year she was really clumsy. Didn't she run into a wall like fifteen times?" She giggled at the thought. "Yes, she can be quite clumsy despite her violent way of dealing with things."
Kevin frowned slightly. "Violent is right. You should see what she does to us in training! I am never facing her in a one-on-one sword fight again! That woman doesn't have the word 'mercy' in her dictionary!" The very thought made the young man shiver. She didn't reach the rank of Captain at the age of eighteen for nothing...Kevin knew the truth though...She is a demon! She must be.
She chuckled at him. "I think you mean 'vocabulary'." He blushed at his slight mistake. "W-whatever! It's pretty much the same thing!" She laughed some more at his attempt of defending himself. He didn't mind her correcting him though. Kevin was just glad he could make her laugh. When she was worried about something, she always had a saddened look on her face. He hated that expression, and tried to cheer her up as much as he can.
"A-Anyway, Mai could even be in town right now having the time of her life! Just watch, she's most likely having fun right now! She needs it too." Riley seemed to be comforted by the comment, giving a warm smile. "You're right," She started, leaning on his shoulder. "I'm sure she's fine."
~ One Moment ~
Before going to check on the progress of Team C, let's backtrack to the main couple...
"Achoo!" Mai rubbed her nose as Zed contemplated if he had heard right. Her sneeze was very high-pitched. He decided to cover his amusement with a smile. "Seems you're the topic of somebody's conversation."
She only shrugged her shoulders calmly. "Most likely the cellmates complaining to the guards about me behind my back again." He gazed down at her. How can someone say that like it's normal? Let's rephrase that- How can a young woman say that so calmly?
He only shook his head. "You're something else..." She raised a brow at him, taking a bite of her still steaming sweet roll. He also started eating his bread, a bit surprised. "Your dad's a pretty nice cook."
She smiled, gazing into her roll. "Yeah, he started baking after my mom died and took over her shop. Though his bread is very good, he's still doesn't have anything on mom's Secret Braided Loaf." He looked down at her, surprised that she was sharing such information. She wouldn't meet his gaze, but he was okay with that, she was giving him what he wanted for now. Information.
He took the chance, even if it might be a bit pushy, his curiosity got the better of him. Cats have nine lives anyways. "What...happened?" She seemed to have seen this coming as she sat down on a bench, leaving him enough room to sit next to her. He took it, giving her his full attention as she spoke.
"My mom was always a bit sickly, or that's what my dad told me. After I was born, she got sick more often and passed away when I was about seven. At the time, dad worked for the king as one of his generals and became a close friend. That's how me and Elizabeth got to know each other so well. After my mom died, dad retired and said he would raise me by himself, taking over the shop and me having to teach him how to bake. It took a while, but he got the hang of it." She laughed at the memories.
Zed took in this information slowly, analyzing each piece carefully. That's when a thought came to mind. Glancing down at her, he debated briefly if he should ask. Shoot. He had eight lives left.
"What about...Elizabeth? You were there, weren't you?" He had his suspicions from her sad expression earlier, but kept it to himself until now. Now seemed to be a good time to ask questions. He was proven right when her expression changed into the same one he remembered. "That's right..."
With a deep breath, she started to explain. "I was eight when it happened. Me and Elizabeth were playing in the Garden Labyrinth behind the castle. That's when a strange figure in black clothes came out of nowhere and forced Elizabeth away from me. I tried to get her back, but ended up hitting my head on the ground and knocking myself out. I woke up much later that night, being told that they couldn't find her anywhere. After that, I made it my goal to become stronger."
He listened carefully. "That's why you become Captain of the guard, right?" He remembered her mentioning that before when talking to Elizabeth. She nodded. "Right, mostly so I could become stronger, yes. I just...didn't want to lose anyone else."
His eyes softened. "It wasn't your fault you know." She gave another sigh. "Yes I know." As silence settled between the two, Mai took it as a sign to finish her sweet roll. Zed followed suit, putting the last bit of his own bread into his mouth.
When finished, the two decided it would be best to head towards the docks. Mai was glad that Zed had listened to her. Getting that off of her chest proved to be very refreshing. Though he wouldn't talk much about himself, he listened carefully to what she had to say.
She smiled to herself. "Today, is a very good day."
~ Wait For It... ~
Now we randomly check in on Team B. What? You weren't expecting it? Well, I can be unpredictable. At any rate, Team B just entered the palace to meet back up with Team A. The two had gotten lost- I mean searched the back garden mazes for two hours and couldn't find anything out of the ordinary.
So they returned to find Tyler and Matt sitting on the floor playing a seemingly intense game of Go-fish. Kevin raised a brow at their serious expressions. "So who's winning?"
Riley whacked him in the shoulder. After yelping in pain, he gave her a 'What?!' face, which she only glared at. Riley expected Tyler to cry at such a comment, but to her surprise, she gave a proud look while holding up a score sheet.
The other maid and knight took hold of the sheet, blinking down at it before looking up at their friends. Tyler started laughing like she won the lottery, and Matt only sighed, hanging his head.
As Tyler laughed and Matt sulked, Kevin and Riley could only think of one thing as they stared at the two. So, Matt sucks at Go-fish...
After a few more minutes of staring, they turned their gazes back done to the paper in their hands.
Tyler: 42 Matt: 0
~ Ha! Now We Go To Team C ~
As you have most likely figured out, Team C is made up of Macy and Allen. Both at this moment, have been looking around town in search of any sign of the Captain.
Macy sighed, leaning against a pole with a thick flower garland wrapped around it. Allen stood next to her, looking around in the crowd. Suddenly, a familiar chestnut headed young man flashed through the many faces. Allen blinked as the man turned his head, revealing his face. "Ah!"
Macy lifted her head in his direction, a brow raised. "Ah..?"
Allen pointed. "It's Lucas! He climbed down the cliff after Mai and Zed fell!" He quickly grabbed the confused maid's hand and headed in Lucas' direction. "Lucas!!!" Allen noticed that he had stopped, and quickly caught up to him, that's when he noticed the strange girl by his side, slightly hiding behind him. Allen raised a brow at him, Lucas reflecting his expression as he gazed towards Macy.
"Who's the girl?" Said the two boys. The woman next to them, however, stared towards the other as if they were each being haunted by their ghosts. Macy took a step forward as Elizabeth's eyes widened. "I-Is that you...? Elizabeth..?" She whispered her name, trying to keep herself from breaking down completely.
The princess stared for another moment, covering her face with her hands before Macy tackled the poor girl to the ground, much like Mai had. Macy started crying and Elizabeth laughed softly, comforting her in the same way she had Mai when she sobbed. Thankfully, this didn't cause very much attention as people briefly looked their way before returning to their own business.
As the girls were catching up, Allen looked over to his companion. "So who is this?"
He shrugged in reply. "Long story..." He glanced over to the other girl. "And who is that?"
Allen sighed. "Friend of the Captain. You know, the one you made me go find before you went down the cliff?" Lucas glared at him as Elizabeth turned to him, a brow raised. "What cliff?"
Lucas gave a pointed look to Allen, who the princess turned her gaze to, wanting an answer. Allen didn't seem to understand why not to tell her and did so anyway. "The one that Mai and Zed fell off of."
Elizabeth blinked, whipping her head to Lucas. "They what?!" Lucas glared at Allen, secretly platting revenge. The princess had way too many other things to worry about, she didn't need this on her plate...Though after a few minutes of her staring him down, he relented. "Okay, okay. So they may or may not have fallen off a cliff, landed in a river, and camped out in a cave. That's actually how we were able to find you in the first place..." She stared him down for another moment before smiling. "I'm glad you told me the truth. They're fine now, so I suppose there's no need to worry."
Macy, after she had calmed herself down, turned to her newly found friend. "Liz, do you know where they are? I want to see that Mai is alright with my own eyes..." The lost princess smiled. "Yeah, and it's about time we go meet up with them too."
So Elizabeth grabbed onto her maid's arm before dragging her off with her. The boys in tow. Lucas glanced to Allen with annoyance. The British had such great timing... First he came at just the right moment, not giving Lucas the chance to tell the princess how he felt...Then he goes and tells her now-useless information. With a sigh of frustration, he looked to his comrade. "Allen? Do you realize what an annoyance you are?"
Allen turned to him, mouth agape slightly. "How could you say that to a main character?!"
Lucas put a hand on his chin in contemplation. "No, I'm pretty sure you're supporting cast."
The redhead gasped. "I am not! Take it back!" Lucas only looked forward, ignoring his friend with great pleasure. Revenge complete.
As the four came closer to the docks, they noticed their two friends sitting on one of the docks, their legs dangling off as they sat in silence. Elizabeth quickly took hold of the others and dragged them behind a bush with her. She gave them a sign to be quiet and noticed that one person was missing. She turned only to find him walking towards the couple. Before she could react, Lucas ran past her, grabbing Allen and cutting off his sentence. "Zed! I'm glad you're sa-Ah!"
By the time the suspecting couple turned, Allen had already been shoved back into hiding, making it seem like no one had been there at all. As the two turned back around, Lucas had Allen's mouth covered, which muffled his cries of panic. He had to shut Allen up somehow...A slick smirk slowly appeared on the thug's face. "Say, Allen, you know that pineapples are for sale this time of year..?" When Allen stopped struggling and turned pale, Lucas continued. "I hope you know what would happen if I get a hold of one. So if you don't want that to happen, be quiet please."
Lucas released the poor lad and he quickly scooted away from him with a terrified expression. "Y-You are one bloody madman Lucas....Mad I say..."
Macy took this chance to ask the question that's been on her mind since she was stuffed into the bush. "So who is that guy..?" Lucas and Elizabeth shared a gaze before looking back to her, explaining everything from the beginning. She might as well know.
~ Let's Switch Point Of View! ~
Mai and Zed had glanced over to who they thought had said his name. Zed raised a brow in that direction. "Weird, that sounded like Allen..." Mai nodded. "Yeah it did. What ever happened to him anyway?"
Zed thought back. "Not sure, last time I saw him was when you fell off the cliff." The brunette thought back. "You're right. Ah man, I should of made you buy me a new hat..."
He laughed. "I like it when you don't wear one. I can see your eyes better." She blinked, looking up at him only to find him not so far away. His eyes again locked with hers in close proximity for the second time that day. Except this time there was no one around, with no distractions, or excuse. She was stuck, and sadly, she didn't mind it all that much. Great. He was making her go crazy!
Zed was contemplating on what to do at this point. Truthfully, he didn't think he would make it this far. He was so close in getting what he wanted that he thought that if he tried reaching for it, it would become unattainable...So he waited, enjoying the emotion that displayed in her eyes. She seemed to have come to the same concussion, as she stared right back into his own.
This staring contest went on for quite some time before Zed decided to inch forward, cupping her cheek with his hand. As their lips were almost touching...That magical moment so close...
"WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU'RE DOING WITH MY PERFECT LITTLE GIRL!?!?"
Yet so very, far away.
The Captain and thief quickly turned around to find none other than Mai's very own father towering before them, fire surrounding his very being. Mai stuttered as she stood quickly, embarrassed beyond belief as her whole body turned into something similar to a lobster. "D-D-D-Dad! W-W-What are you d-doing h-here!?"
The baker smiled down at her, as if she were an angel from heaven. "Why, to come and kill the fellow next to you of course~" Zed flinched. So this was the force of a single military father with an only daughter...Scary stuff. That calm yet terrifying gaze, there was a resemblance between the two after all.
"kill!?" The two repeated, a bit frightened. What on earth were they going to do now..?
~ Ha Ha! Scene Switch! ~
"Matt, do you have a seven?" Asked Tyler as the boy sighed. "Here..." She squealed and took the card before turning to the next sucker- I mean player.
"Kevin, do you have a nine?" He pouted as he handed her his card. She took it gratefully before realizing she was out of cards. She picked up five more and continued to rob them- I mean play.
Before long, she was singing in victory as the other three sighed. She had even taken from Riley, who happened to be the only one left in the game once the cards were gone. The three looked to her as her ego grew and sighed.
Tyler: 65 Matt, Kevin, and Riley: 0
~ So What Had Happened Was...~
The four behind the bush looked in horror as Mr. John, Mai's father, came and ruined the moment. They looked to one another, what could they do to help without being noticed? Suddenly, they all turn to Allen, who blinked as smirks resounded from them. Before he could even open his mouth to protest, the other three pushed him out of the bushes. He stumbled to his feet and tripped, running into the baker and knocking them both off the dock and into the water.
Mai and Zed blinked down at them, about to comment before they were taken away. Elizabeth and Macy holding Mai on both arms whereas Lucas dragged Zed by the back of his black cloak.
Once out of sight, they released the couple. Mai turned to Macy with surprise. "W-What are you doing here!?" Macy giggled at her expression. "Don't worry, I know everything."
Mai's eye twitched. "E-Everything..? About Elizabeth, right?" The maid averted her gaze to Zed whacking Lucas on the head, most likely for dragging him by his own cloak. "Well...Yes, I was told that, but I also know about your thief." She and Elizabeth laughed as Mai's face turned red.
The Captain stuttered. "M-M-Mine!? N-No, he's not, I mean, I-I'm not-" The two boys walked up in the middle of her rant with a brow raised. "What are you guys talking about?" Asked an innocent Lucas, who was truly curious on why she was so embarrassed all of a sudden, though he could come up with a few reasons.
"Nothing!" The three said, laughing nervously. After sharing a look, the two thought it best not to pry, so they changed the subject. "Hey, what happened to Allen?"
~ Ah.... ~
"I-I'm so sorry Sir!" Called Allen as he stood in the water, which was up to his knees.
The baker stood up also, looking around for any sign of his daughter. To bad for him that she was out of sight. "Can't talk lad, I have to go find my daughter's boyfriend and kill him!" With that, the man was off, running into town at full speed.
The poor thug could only stare off after him, having no idea on what to do now. With nothing else in mind, he decided to head back towards the castle. There he can at least regroup with the rest of the gang and tell them that Mai was alright.
Allen sighed as he walked through town. He had to buy himself a new outfit to replace the one that got soaked. They owed him big time...
"And he called me supporting cast..! Ha!"
~ Tyler vs. Everyone Else ~
You're probably asking, has anyone beaten Tyler at this yet? Let's find out.
"Yes! I win again!" Guess who that was. Yup, our loving messenger. The other three glanced to one another. "Why are we still playing this?" Asked Kevin.
Riley lifted her shoulders slightly. "Aren't we aiming for second place?" He laughed. "Oh yeah, that is what we decided isn't it."
Matt glanced over to Tyler and gave a small sigh. No matter what he tried, he could never beat her at luck based games.
That's about the time Allen walked in. He blinked at them. They were all sitting in a circle, playing cards as if it were Friday Night Game Night. It was quite the sight. "Um..."
"Oh, welcome back." Said Riley with a wave. The other three joined her by waving briefly before going back to the game. Kevin glanced to him. "What's with the new look?" Instead of his black cloak and rough clothing, the redhead was wearing a nice green long sleeved shirt and dark jeans.
Allen sighed. "Long story short...I got soaked." He raised a brow at the answer but didn't push further. The thug sat down in between Kevin and Matt. "What are you guys doing anyway?"
Tyler looked at him, a brow raised. "What? Have you ever played Go-fish?" He gave a strange look before shaking his head 'no'. They blinked at him before dealing him into the game.
And that, my dear readers, is what become the end of Tyler's reign...
"NO! Not again!!! Called Tyler after another defeat as Allen, the new king, laughed and took her card.
The other three found it more entertaining to watch rather than to play and gave up so the two could restart. They watched the truth unfold. The truth that Allen, who had never played before now, was a Go-fish master...There was also another absolute truth...
They had created a monster...
Tyler: 0 Allen: 23
~ So Then... ~
When the question arose on the behalf of the red headed thug, Macy suggested that she go and check with the rest of the search team, now that the search was over. They nodded, watching her run off with a quick goodbye, saying that she would explain everything to them. "Oh! You guys go have some fun before meeting back up with us at the castle!" She giggled before running off. Her friends were so easy to read.
The remaining four looked to one another. Mai looked to Elizabeth. "What do you want to do Lizzy?"
The princess thought a moment. "I...need some more time to get use to things before heading back to the palace. As much as I want to inform my parents that I'm alright, I still need more time before I can see them. How about we go watch the Lantern Ceremony before heading to the palace? It's my favorite part of the Festival." Mai smiled in understanding. "Alright. It's your birthday after all."
So the group headed back towards the docks, watching out in case the overprotective father comes back. When there, Mai rented two boats, seeming that each boat would only hold two people and Mai was the only one with money.
The princess claimed that she wanted to bored with Lucas, again leaving the Captain and thief by themselves. Mai knew by now that she was being set up, but at this point, she didn't really mind. Zed didn't protest either, in fact, there was a small smirk on his features. Thus, they went out onto the water, the men being forced to row of course.
~ Side A ~
Lucas was asked by Mai to go on ahead and get a good seat. So he rowed towards the side of the palace, which was still very far away, and stopped. The lake surrounded the town and castle like a large, flat, non moving moat, giving plenty of room for the two boats for front row seats. Looking over his shoulder, Lucas could see that the other two were quite a ways behind them.
He turned back towards Elizabeth, who was admiring the view and a small smile appeared on his face. She captivated him in many ways. She was mysterious and cunning, much like himself, but at the same time very open about her feelings, making sure everyone understood her clearly.
She turned to him, reminding him on why he wanted to be alone with her in the first place. He needed to tell her how he felt, but how did he feel? He had only been with her what? Maybe twenty-four hours? How could he have such a strong bond with her only after so little time?
Elizabeth smiled back at him, noticing that he was thinking deeply about something. So, she let her mind wander as well...So many things have changed over the ten years she had been gone. It was pretty overwhelming. Not only did her best friends change, but the town too. It was much more lively than when she was a child. She had a slight fear that her parents had changed. Or even that her home had changed. She wished that she could go back, but at the same time, she wanted to stay here, in this distant yet familiar land. What was she to do about her nerves? She knew that if she thought about it any longer, her hands would start to shake. So she took a deep breath and looked down at the water. The waves distracted her from her thoughts. But then, something else came to mind. She glanced over to the young man sitting next to her. She had only met him this morning, but she felt as if she had known him a lifetime. And she wondered if he had also noticed the bond she felt between them...
Before the two realized it, the sun had set and the stars started poking out from behind the decreasing light. It wouldn't be long before the lanterns were lit, but that thought escaped their minds long ago.
Lucas looked towards her with a soft gaze, putting his hand over hers, causing her to look back up at him. Having the same staring contest that their two companions shared just an hour ago. This continued as both searched the others gaze for answers.
Lucas, slowly understanding the answer he found in her eyes, expressed his own emotions by embracing her with his free hand around the shoulders. He wasn't really aware of his own actions until he heard her breathe in sharply, most likely from surprise. But he didn't release her, and she didn't pull away. In fact, she relaxed in his hold and hugged him back. Though the action was small, it filled him with unbelievable joy. At least he didn't have to worry about rejection...
Unbeknownst to them, the lanterns had started to be lit, rising from the castle first before hundreds followed slowly behind, all rising into the sky, glowing brightly as more rose from the town. And from the sky, they slowly fell towards the surface of the lake, which was reflecting each one, making it seem like their boat was being surrounded not only from above, but also from underneath.
The princess, however, was too happy to notice. She was so very happy that he could understand without needing words. He must feel the same way she does. She could see it in his eyes. That alone was all she needed to know that they didn't have to know each other long to feel this way. Now she knew that no matter what's changed, he would be there, by her side to help her through it.
So she whispered those unbelievably small but large words into his ear, noticing that he had said them at the same time...Just in a mere whisper as the lights floated around them in a sweet symphony.
Just those three little words... "I love you..."
~ Shall We Repeat With Side B? ~
Zed stopped rowing and let the boat settle before looking over to Mai. She was looking down at the water, which reflected the reds of the sunset. He just watched her, until she spoke. "So, do you think the lake is a friend? Or enemy, like it's natural brethren. The Stupid Tree, and the Stupid River?"
He chuckled with her choice of wording. "Don't you think calling it's 'brethren' stupid is a bit rude?"
She gave a half thoughtful/half none caring expression. "No, because it's the truth." He only shook his head in amusement.
The Captain looked forward and noticed that Elizabeth and Lucas were quite a ways in front of them, she could barely see them. Though this would have worried her just this afternoon, she knew now that she was safe with Lucas. If she knew anything about the man, she knew that he would never hurt Elizabeth. That was enough for Mai to leave her in his care. She just hoped that he knew what she would do to him if he did hurt Lizzy in any way, shape, or form.
But putting those thoughts aside, she turned to the thief across from her. She had almost forgotten how tall he was. Even though he was sitting down, she still had to look up to see his face clearly. Now she couldn't keep her thoughts of him from forming. There was a strong urge in her heart. She wanted to know what he wanted. Maybe she could even help him obtain it without stealing. "What is it that you're trying to get? What do you want?"
Zed looked down at her, surprised by the sudden question, but understanding her meaning. His gaze softened though when he noticed the sincere longing in her eyes. She...really wanted to know.
When he didn't answer her, she asked a different question. "Is there anything...That I could do to help you get it? What about what it's like?" What was so important that he couldn't even tell her what it was? Was it so unattainable?
He ran a hand through his bangs. She really wanted to help him...Little did the poor girl know that what he wanted was sitting right in front of him. The thief sighed. Time to spill his guts...
"What I want is...really dense, stubborn, short tempered, oblivious and way too reliant on it's own strength..." Mai blinked as he spoke, wasn't he talking about an object?
He took a short breath, looking down at her with a soft and honest gaze. His body started moving on it's own, again cupping her cheek for the second time that day, the gentle gesture startling her. "But she's also loyal, honorable, innocent, smart, honest, funny, sweet, unbelievably cute when flustered, and is the only one that can see right through me."
Mai's brain stopped working as blood rose into her cheeks, knowing that he could feel it in his hand. The only response she could give was in a very weak voice. "I-I-I don't know weather to be happy or offended...Can I be both?" He chuckled, placing his forehead against hers, closing his eyes in relief. "As you wish..."
They stayed that way for a few minutes before a light glow caught Mai's eye. She turned her head to look at it, casing Zed's forehead to fall. He groaned quietly to himself, for the moment had been lost. He didn't look back up until he felt his sleeve being tugged on, when he did, he noticed that Mai wasn't looking at him, but upwards. When he looked up, he saw that the lights started to rise up from the shore all around them. "Zed, it's starting." Zed would be lying if he wasn't a little surprised. That was the first time she had said his name without 'dead' or 'kill' being in the same sentence.
She moved to where she was sitting next to him on the same bench. Because the seat was small, their sides were touching, but they both refused to make the moment more awkward by commenting and instead focused their attention on the lights, which now started to fall slowly towards the lake.
Mai hesitated a moment before taking his hand shyly, he looked down to her in surprise again. She looked back up at him with a smile. "So what are you going to do now that you finally got what you wanted?"
He blinked down at her, thinking it over briefly. "I...didn't think I would get this far." She raised a brow at him as he continued. "But, for now, I'll just hold onto it."
She chuckled. "So you haven't thought up to this point?"
"Nope, not really." Was his simple reply.
Mai leaned onto his arm, too short to reach his shoulder. "Well, for one you have to stop with your habit of taking and giving back." She smiled in amusement when he flinched slightly. He looked down at her. "Y-You knew about that..?" She nodded. "Of course I did. I just...didn't know why at the time, but now I understand it."
Zed waited a moment to think it through. "So...you're not angry about it?" Her calm reaction threw him for a loop. "I am, but for different reasons."
The thief glanced back up at the lights that surrounded them before turning back to her. "Reasons?" She nodded. "You involved innocent bystanders, endangering their possessions so that you could obtain something you wanted. That's pretty selfish." He glanced away, feeling a bit offended until she finished. "But.. It was pretty sweet of you to go through so much trouble. I know that getting my attention can be a pretty hard thing to gain." She laughed slightly as he looked back at her, a smile growing on his face. "Well, you are pretty dense."
She stopped laughing, glaring up at him. "W-What!? I-I am not! Wait a minute, you said something like that this afternoon...You meant me, didn't you?!" He laughed. "What? Who? Me? No..."
Thus another fun and small argument started between the two until they both started laughing. Soon enough, the lanterns had all diminished, leaving only the sky and stars. Mai looked over and noticed that Lucas had started rowing again. "Oh, guess its time to go." He took the hint and took a hold of the oars, rowing back towards the dock.
~ So When They Got To The Castle... ~
Yes, I skipped the awkward and embarrassing walk back towards the castle. Ha! I will not come to your demands readers! Well, that, and it wasn't in the script...So...Yeah and stuff.
Now they're in front of the castle gates. Elizabeth, standing in between Lucas and Mai, gulped at the sight. After taking a deep breath, she opened the doors, only to find the inside seemingly deserted. Not a soul was in sight. No guards. No maids. No servants. Nobody.
Mai walked in first, turning her head to look at the princess. "Everyone is in town right now, so there shouldn't be very many people here." Elizabeth nodded before following with the boys close behind.
Mai took them through the castle's courtyard and into the actual building. After walking down the main hall, they could hear light laughter. Continuing down, they were about to turn the corner, the laughter getting louder. Mai sighed, recognizing the voices. What were they up to now?
The four walked around the corner and the sight before them was something they didn't expect...
Before them, sitting on the floor, where their six friends. Three of them were sitting against the wall, and the other three were sitting in a small circle, playing cards. All stopped at the presence of the four newcomers, who in turn, stared at them in silence.
A few minutes passed until loud laughter erupted from them all.
Mai looked around. Matt, Kevin, and Riley had been the three leaning up against the wall, whereas Tyler, Allen and Macy were the three playing the simple game of Go-fish. Glancing down, she noticed a piece of paper. Picking it up it read... "Go-fish scores. Tyler: 5, Allen: 30, Macy: 35." Zed looked over her shoulder after being finished with his chuckling. "So, someone can beat Allen at a luck based game. Impressive."
The Captain raised a brow, looking back to them as the laughter settled. "How long have you guys been playing?"
Tyler thought a moment. "Since about noon, I think." Hearing her say that so nonchalantly made Mai shake her head in amusement. She glanced around the hall and noticed that Elizabeth had been tackled by the other girls already, Matt and Kevin gave her a quick hug as well. Seems Macy had told them everything.
When the reunion was done and everyone focused back on the game, Mai silently took Lucas to the side and whispered in his ear. At first, the boy was confused, but after hearing what she had to say, he nodded. After that, the young man took a hold of Elizabeth''s hand and gently pulled her away from the others. Mai watched as they talked a moment before the princess smiled and the two soon disappeared down the hall.
Zed walked over to Mai, raising a brow in the same direction she was looking, which was where the princess and false thug traveled. "Where are those two going?"
Mai smiled, closing her eyes so as to imagine the scene. "To talk to Elizabeth's parents."
He blinked. "So, the King and Queen?" She gazed up at him. "Well, yes, but tonight I think they'll just be her parents."
The thief smiled down at her as a thought struck him. "So what ever happened to your dad anyway?" She blinked, then sighed as if she didn't want to deal with the topic. "Not sure, but I'll have to talk to him later..." He only laughed, until she looked up at him blankly. "With you right next to me of course."
The two totally ignored what was happening around them as they spoke. For at the moment, Kevin randomly started ranting about curses and midnight. Tyler gave up on Go-fish, yelling and demanding it to be burned. While Matt was trying to console her. Riley was trying to calm Kevin down somehow, someway. And sitting in the middle of it all, Allen and Macy were having some kind of Go-fish Showdown, practicing their poker faces.
So in order to change the subject of the very person he had brought up, Zed looked back to the chaos. "Is this much commotion...normal?" Mai nodded with a slight laugh. "If you think it's bad now, you should see them on the weekends."
Zed blinked. "They get worse?" She nodded again, as if their abnormal behavior were an everyday event. Which, he was beginning to realize, was normal.
He watched them for a few more moments before commenting. "So this is what the old lady living in the shoe felt like..." The girl next to him laughed. "Something like that."
In the end the two joined Allen and Macy in the war of Go-fish. They decided to restart the game, only realizing after a few games that the true master had been hidden this whole time...Turns out that the one with the most luck had been the one to normally refuse to play in the first place.
Zed, Allen, Macy: 0 Mai: 5
After the three thought about it...She really was one of the luckiest in the room, considering what she had been through in just the last forty-two hours...
~ To The Princess And Her Knight In Not So Shining Armor ~
Lucas and Elizabeth stood in front of a set of tall doors. These doors would lead them into the Crown Room. Elizabeth knew that her parents would be behind those doors, and that was the very reason why she hadn't entered them just yet. After taking in a deep breathe, as if it would give her more confidence, she squeezed Lucas' hand, telling him she was ready. He took the hint by slowly opening the door.
The room was large, but plain. Only having blue swirled wallpaper, darker shade of blue rugs, and little furniture, which consisted of three pedestals, the middle one being slightly taller than the other two. These pedestals stood on top of a raised platform, a few stairs leading up to them. The middle raised pedestal, however, was empty. Whereas the other two bestowed two crowns, one larger than the other, obviously the King and Queen's, all three covered by protective glass cases.
Speaking of the King and Queen, they were standing before the crowns, looking directly toward the empty case. Seems the parents didn't even notice the couple come in and close the doors behind them.
Elizabeth let go of Lucas' hand, giving him a reassuring smile before walking forward towards her parents. From behind, she noticed that they didn't look much different, other than the slowly graying hair, and even then it was barely noticeable. When only a few feet away from the stairs, she took in a deep breathe. "Mom...Dad..?"
The sudden call startled the two as they turned around in shock. They stared down at the girl, no, young women at the bottom of the steps. Her mother gasped as realization hit her first, putting her hands to her face as tears of joy clouded her vision. There was no mistake. That was their one and only child standing before them as a bright and beautiful young women.
The Queen ran down the stairs, arms open wide, forgetting about grace and stature as she tackled the princess to the ground. By now, the King had started crying, giving his wife and child a huge bear hug. Elizabeth laughed, tears in her eyes, while trying to calm them down, but failing miserably.
Lucas, who had been watching while leaning on the door, decided that they should have time alone and quickly, but quietly, left the room. He thought it best to head back towards the others.
So Elizabeth told her parents all that had happened from when she was kidnapped to when she was found by Mai and the others. She told them of how they got back to the town and her thoughts on it all. She went to introduce them to Lucas, only to realize too late that he had disappeared from sight. Her hand that was stretched out from the failed introduction landed back at her side, where she felt Mai's satchel still around her form. She smiled as she turned back to them, opening the bag and pulling out the object.
"I believe this goes on that empty pedestal?" Her parents blinked, but then laughed, shaking their heads. Her mother patted her head, like she did when she was small. "No dear, that is yours to keep."
~ What Happened To Lucas? ~
When he had turned the corner, the sight before him was nothing short of disaster...
Tyler was being held back by Matt. She was yelling at Kevin, threatening him with cards. Kevin was laughing at her while Riley tried to calm him down before he died at the hands of the angry messenger. Mai and Zed were quietly playing the game, going when needed and commenting on the scene before them once or twice. On the other end of the circle, Macy and Allen were ignoring everything around them, playing the game seriously as if it were war.
Lucas raised a brow. "Is this normal?" Zed looked up at him, chuckling at his question. "I asked the same thing." Mai nodded up to him, answering. "Yes, yes it is. And if it's not this bad, it's worse."
The thug blinked, sitting down next to them, leaning on the closest wall. "Worse? It gets worse?" Mai nodded again as she placed some cards down. "Yup, sometimes Tyler gets her hands on a frying pan." She thought a moment, her thoughts wandering. "And there was that one time with the knife..."
Lucas couldn't even respond to that comment as he glanced over at the messenger. Matt had somehow calmed her down enough that she wasn't trying to kill Kevin anymore, only glare daggers at him. The dirty-blonde could only wonder what the guard had said to make her so angry.
So this is how the night went on until the trumpets were sounded, causing them all to stop what they were doing to listen. Mai smiled as she stood, and they all looked up at her. "That, my friends, is the sound of the princess' return."
They started to cheer, making their way towards the castle's courtyard. There they found the kingdom gathering into the yard from the main gates. They quickly rejoined the princess and her parents. Elizabeth quickly took a hold of Lucas' arm, dragging him over to her parents and introducing him. They treated him well, even telling him 'thank you' for the help in finding their daughter. Though bashful, he accepted their thanks. He was sort of happy he found her too, ya know?
When everyone had gathered into the courtyard, they wondered what they needed to be gathered for. The festival wasn't quite over yet, but if the trumpets sounded, it must be important. So when everyone had calmed down to listen, the King started to speak.
"Everyone! Thank you for coming to the festival and I'm sorry to have cut it short, but there is something of much greater importance I must announce!" They all started murmuring with curiosity, for what could be more important than the festival?
He signaled Elizabeth to move forward and stand next to him. She did so and the crowd looked confused for a moment until he spoke again. "Elizabeth, your princess, has come back to us unharmed after almost ten years of waiting!"
The crowd started cheering, for a new celebration was to begin. The celebration for the return of princess Elizabeth. She waved to them, and some of them even recognized her from earlier that day.
So the celebration began anew. This time with the princess by their side, the King and Queen gave their daughter a hug before letting her go back to her friends to join in with the kingdom-wide party.
The celebration lasted almost a week, and many things happened during that time.
For one, Lucas became a knight, being set as Elizabeth's bodyguard, though she said she didn't need one. At the end of the week the two started courting officially with the permission of the King and Queen.
Allen found a new talent in cooking, becoming head chief of the palace's kitchen, though it was under the condition that all pineapples be cast out of the castle forever.
Macy became head maid, dirt dare come in her presence. If she couldn't be found easily, the servants would end up finding her in the kitchen for...pretty obvious reasons.
Riley and Kevin had announced their engagement. They were planning on getting married, but Kevin had needed to save up a bit more money before making such a move. Seems he finally got enough.
Tyler became the best messenger in the whole kingdom. Now known as the 'Quick Deliver', she mostly delivers military plans for the King's troops. She was courting Matt after all, who was promoted by Mai and sent to help the military as a strategist. One of the best out there.
Now you're probably wondering what happened to the Captain and the thief...Well, Zed, who had gained what he had wanted, joined the guard in order to stay by it's side. Don't worry, he was relieved of all his crimes as thanks for partaking in the return for the princess.
Mai had actually turned down a promotion in order to stay where she was. She loved where she was and didn't want to go anywhere. Her and Zed had told everything to her father, though he threatened Zed's life if he didn't treat her with respect, another trait the two shared. Now the two were also courting, but taking it slow, wanting to hold onto what they've found.
So as every good fairy tale says, they did, in fact, live Happily Ever After. I know what you're thinking.
Not Your Typical Rapunzel.
~ FIN ~