Aizza is a city perched on the tropical coast of Yiondelienne, right where the ocean and jungle meet. Towering trees hover over the city, which blends into a small spec when viewed from above.
No skyscrapers, towering castles, or monuments in sight – Aizza blends perfectly with the environment surrounding it, a common trait throughout most of Yiondelienne.
Listen, I am not a person to be interested in architecture, and I may be biased here, but I do believe Aizza to be one of the most beautiful cities ever. I’m not sure there even is a comparison, no other country on the continent has this blend of nature and infrastructure in it.
I’m sure one of the reasons most of our cities blend in is our history with the jungle. Survival has always been a struggle for those who did not know the ways of the jungle. Yomi and Boulnae alike used to hide within the tall trees, build houses amongst the branches, blend in with the green, either that be to protect them against the elements or other, more invasive reasons.
This is why Yiondelienne exists today as an independent country. Conquering the jungle is no easy feat especially when the locals are born into its secrets.
As soon as the plane lands and I get a whiff of fresh air, my senses kick into overdrive. The humidity, the smell of salt in the air – Lords, I missed it so much! Spending months breathing mountain air certainly does something to you, but breathing in the air you were born into is a whole other experience.
Tori is the first one to step outside, where a chauffeur waits for us. “Good day, your highness” the man perks up when noticing us. “To the palace, I assume?” he asks.
“Yes... to the palace” I respond, slightly unsure of myself. I send Tori a wary look, he simply nods and ushers me inside the car.
My nerves still haven’t settled yet, on the contrary, when spotting the palace, even from far away, my heart starts doing the squeeze!
I’m not really sure if it’s because I am happy or really stressed to see it. It must be the ladder for not even minutes later I feel like hyperventilating. “Calm down Yuidan” Tori places a hand on my chest. “Breathe, in and out”
He exaggerates a breath – Shit, it feels as if I have forgotten how to breathe! “I-I’m fine... just a bit nervous, that’s all”
“Nervous about seeing your family?” The chauffeur suddenly buts into the conversation. “Worry not your highness; I heard your parents are very eager to see you again”
A very worried look settles over my features as I look over to Tori, who seems just as confused as I am. How many people know about my... escapade? As far as I know, only my family and close guards knew about my true whereabouts.
Thankfully, my nerves seem to calm a little when he adds – “How was your trip?”
A trip is not really how I would describe it. But fair enough.
“It was... semi-enjoyable”
I’ll never forget those retched combat classes... never! I still have bruises from last week.
“That’s good,” he continues. “Because... people have been talking, you know?” His eyes keep shifting between the road and me. When he speaks, there is a certain edge to his voice. “Some say you actually ran away from the country” My breath catches. “Some conspiracies, right?”
I dumbly stare at the chauffeur, gaping at his words. Some conspiracies... right. When his mouth opens to speak again, Jade is quick to shut him down.
“-Please keep your eyes on the road; our business trip was very tiresome and we do not enjoy the gossip”
“O-of course, sir”
The man nervously smiles under his mustache, his eyes never drifting from the road again. What was that about? Nothing he said felt wrong or with malice, but the way he said it - It makes me feel like something is not right.
Rumors like these tend to spread like wildfire, especially in a climate like Yiondelienne’s. I just hope it won’t spread enough to catch us on fire too.
The car stops at the palace gates. The chauffeur bids us goodbye and swiftly leaves us alone. Noticing no one is around, I try to take my baggage into the palace when I spot a blur of red running towards me.
I don’t have time to react before a weight pushes me back. “Annalys!” I cry out, on the verge of tipping over.
When finally releasing her hold on my chest, Annalys starts jumping around me, never missing the chance to yell – “I missed you so much, Yuidan!”
“I missed you too, ladybug!” I pick the redhead up again and spin her around.
Annalys, who barely stands to my waist, gives me a toothy smile.
When speaking, her voice comes in pants - “We missed you so much”
A toothy grin settles on my lips. Annalys takes after our mother, with signature red hair and freckled face.
Her green eyes beam up to mine when pulling at my shirt. “Come on, mommy and daddy want to see you!”
Before she can take another step towards the entrance, though, a woman steps in front of our path. Built like a mountain, she towers over both of us, so much so that Annalys is having a hard time peering up at her.
Her face remains stoic when staring at us both. That stoicism breaks in an instant though when pulling us both in a crushing hug. “Your highness! Long time no see!”
“Ah! Get off me woman!” Annalys screams before freeing herself from captivity.
“It’s good to see you too Captain!” I barely manage.
Captain Myriad, a great woman and a hell of a captain. She has taken care of the palace for as long as I can remember. Every palace guard responds to her commands.
“I am here to escort you back, your highness,” She states after having released me. She is wearing the traditional Halyigan armor; bulky around the torso and the shoulders with the rest of her body covered in a thick mesh.
The Halyigan family sigil adorns her chest with colors of blue and purple.
She looks ready to go into battle. Why in the name of the Lords is she wearing the armor right now, it’s not like we’re celebrating a momentous occasion.
“Wait – where are my parents?” I ask, twisting my neck in all directions, hoping to catch a glimpse of my family.
“Unfortunately they couldn’t make it; they have been summoned for a meeting”
“What about my brothers?”
“Prince Lael has followed your parents for the meeting and Prince Ellis...” she scratches behind her head. “I’m not really sure, haven’t seen him for a while”
“That’s okay... Please help me with my baggage” I feel a nod forming in my throat, pressing against my already immeasurable disappointment. Here I was thinking I would get a welcoming party, or at least a welcome back hug! (I did get one from Annalys, though) but no, that’s too much to ask!
Opening the door to the palace, my foul mood falters for a moment as I take in the sheer beauty in front of me. It seems I’ve been gone away for quite some time for they have redecorated.
Instead of the old, red carped draping along the main corridor a new, fresh carpet, adorned with intricate details lies in front. And it’s blue! How can it be blue? It looks so good!
The old chandelier hanging above the stair, which needed serious repairs, has been completely replaced. In its place stands a crystal blue chandelier, with glass spiraling up, resembling shards of cold ice. The very tip is adorned with lilac gems and stones, which hang above our heads.
The staircase spirals with the same kind of gems, only smaller and slightly more sophisticated. They really went big on the decorations this year.
Walking up the stairs, hand in hand with Annalys, who can barely contain her enthusiasm, I suddenly remember falling down these stairs when I was just four years old and cracking my forehead open.
Or when Ellis and Lael used to race downstairs, sliding down their pillows and potentially breaking their necks. Good times. When finally arriving at my room, I hesitate to step inside, my hand trembling above the doorknob.
“Come on, your highness. Open the door” Captain Myriad encourages.
I expect my room to be exactly as I left it. The lamp I used to defend myself against horrid nightmares on the left side table with a book about ‘amazing baking!’ next to it. What I do not expect is for everything to be different. Much different... “Surprise!”
“Ahh!” I jump in my skin as a bunch of people leap in front of the door, blaring trumpets and wearing ridiculous hats. Confetti flies everywhere – It’s making a mess! A bubble machine is perched on the left side of the room, continuously producing soap bubbles.
Most important, mom and dad stand in front of me, wearing those ridiculous hats and party trumpets in their mouths. “Welcome back honey!” They yell before swallowing me in a group hug.
“W-what?” Is all I am able to say because nothing has processed yet! One moment I’m in my parent’s grasp and the next, I’m spun around by Ellis on the dance floor, which is in the middle of my room.
I cannot help but laugh at how ridiculous this is! Instead of wearing his signature crown, dad is now wearing a mockery, paper crown with glitter plastered all over. And it has cute bunnies all over it!
Lael is the last to interact with me, as he has been playing with Annalys all along. He drapes an arm over my shoulder – “Welcome home Yuidan”
“It’s good to be back” I choke out.
Unfortunately, the party does not last long. No more than thirty minutes later, we start cleaning up the mess.
Oh my Lords, they absolutely ruined my room! The floor is drenched in soap and confetti, making it excessively hard to mop.
Before even starting with the cleanup, mom squeezes my shoulder. “Honey, we need to go”
“We have a very important meeting in, uh” she checks the time on her Link, “In about fifteen minutes. Love you and – see you at dinner!” they leave with haste, dragging Ellis alongside them so only Lael, Annalys and I remain.
Silence falls over us, as each does their part in cleaning up. Lael is tasked with picking up any confetti that might have fallen on my furniture, while Annalys and I mop the floor. Well, Annalys watches me mop the floor, but anyways.
“Tell me” Lael begins with a chuckle. “How horrible was Coldruin?”
Running a hand through my curls, I respond – “It really wasn’t that bad... It was actually fun – for the most part”
Lael leans against the wall. He crosses his arms when responding, “Fun? Yeah, no. I don’t think so”
I stop mopping. “It’s really not as bad as people make it seem... It’s just like any other school but with P.E classes on steroids”
Lael chuckles. “You were never the type to enjoy P.E”
That’s very true. Before arriving at the academy, sports were the bane of my existence. I would rather read a book or practice kinesis than running around like a headless chicken pretending to do sports.
Now though, I feel my body aching from the lack of exercise – “I think I like it, it makes me feel stronger”
Lael frowns. “That is... strange, coming from you”
I shrug, “I guess it is”
“Well, you are here now, and never leaving to that retched place ever again. Thank the Lords”
Yeah, Thank the Lords...
Aizza is literally my dream city, lmao! The blend of artificial and nature is so interesting to me, only if it’s done right ofc. What are your thoughts on Yuidan’s family?
Do you think Yuidan will fir right back with them? Does he have a plan to go back to Coldruin? Does he even want to go back? We shall see...
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