“Protect the King!” Alvaro commanded with a powerful authority before he quickly drew his sword.
I ran as fast as I could towards the King and stayed opposite him to block him. He was also surrounded by other soldiers holding their shields to use as a protection in case the enemy rained arrows in the air. My heart pounded with nervousness and I didn’t know what to do. This is my first time to be in this dangerous kind of situation. I swallowed hard as I stared at the almost innumerable men in black in front of us today. As far as I remember, they are who attacked Alfaro and I in the past.
Everyone went silent when those men in black stepped aside to give way to a man who was old and looked horrible because of how sharp he stared.
“I didn’t expect them to attack so early,” the King said softly behind me.
I was stunned to realize that the frightening man was King Philip, the King of the Kingdom of Corax.
“I’m glad to see you again, Alfredo.” he said sarcastically and then he looked around.
I feel like I turned pale when his eyes gazed at me. I immediately averted my eyes and gently wiped the cold sweat that was about to drip from my forehead.
“Looks like you have a guest…” he added with a smile, “If that is so, then I came just right on time. Can I know your name---”
“You all can leave now.” Alvaro said suddenly, everyone turned to him.
As usual he was serious again. I couldn’t trace or feel even a little nervous about him. King Philip’s grin widened.
“I just arrived, Alvaro. Why are you in such a hurry to make me leave?”
“If I were you, don’t go ahead with what you are planning because you won’t succeed either.” Alvaro said bluntly, the King’s jaw tightened in annoyance. “I’m giving you a chance to get out of our territory safely so you can leave. Now.”
“I don’t like the shape of your tongue, Prince. Have you forgotten that I’m older than you and you’re talking rudely to a King?---”
Alvaro laughed out loud and looked down for a moment. When he faced King Philip again, there was a wide smirk engraved on his lips.
“King,” he said firmly, King Felipe frowned. “I... am the new King of the Kingdom of Araya…”
It was slightly surprising to hear. The King of Corax was speechless and seemed to be groping for something to say.
“Accept your defeat, Philip.” The King said calmly, “Be content with what you have and don’t feel sorry for other people.”
There is nothing as sharp as it looks at the King. “You know I never lose, Alfredo. Soldiers, attack!”
When he shouted then, his warriors no doubt rushed. The soldiers with Alvaro prepared their swords and arrows to signal the start of the battle. I sounded out of breath. I feel like I’m about to faint.
Is this it? Is this the upcoming battle I have seen? Is this the beginning and the end of that bloody encounter?
I looked around when something suddenly came to my mind. Alfaro isn’t here. I breathed a sigh of relief. I just turned my gaze to Alvaro who is now facing King Felipe. I was amazed at the speed with which he acted to avoid the King’s sharp sword. I bowed slightly as I flew arrows into our seats. Fortunately, King Alfredo and I had large shields that protected us, so we weren’t hit. Anxiety arose within me as I remembered Alvaro fighting there. I glanced at them a little and I was almost stunned to see that the arrows thrown by the opponent were only coming back because of his alertness and prompt response.
I couldn’t believe what my eyes just saw. I thought Alfaro was the bravest of them all but I didn’t expect Alvaro to be so strong and great. The King didn’t make a mistake in choosing him because people like him really needed by the people here.
I almost froze in fear when I noticed the arrow hitting behind him. He probably heard it right away because he easily turned around and just shot an arrow into the ground. King Philip wielded his sword and pushed Alvaro back. He used that opportunity to attack him. Each time the King approached, he withdrew. The King was shocked when Alvaro cut his sword and threw it out far from them. In an instant, he couldn’t move because of Alvaro’s sharp sword that was now focused on his neck. I just lost sight of them when I turned my attention to the one who came. My eyes widened when I recognized Alfaro on horseback.
He should not have come here!
He came down there fresh. No one else noticed him because he was quite far away from them. He raised his bow and didn’t hesitate to point it at King Philip’s back. He was about to release it when I immediately pushed those soldiers guarding us sideways and stopped him.
“D-Don’t!” I have a hard time shouting.
Everyone was stunned and now I have their attention. The King frowned when he realized that Alfaro was planning to shoot him. I was even more nervous. As much as possible I don’t want to have a massacre but it seems vague that it will happen.
“How are you, Prince Alfaro?”
Even though King Philip was tired, he was still able to annoy Alfaro. He insisted on mentioning the word ‘Prince’ to annoy him but he failed. Alfaro didn’t respond. Instead, the edge of his lip just rose and without saying a word he suddenly threw the weapon at Alvaro which he immediately caught with one hand. It was like wind at the speed that Alvaro hit the enemy with an arrow. One by one, they fell to the ground and their mouths swelled. I think there is poison in it. The King of Corax was stunned even by me when we witnessed how passionate Alvaro was in shooting.
What else could he not do?
“Leave if you still want to prolong your life.” King Alfredo said that I didn’t notice that he was already next to me.
King Philip was silent. “Our reckoning is still not over, Alfredo. If you think that I’ll stop after this, then you are mistaken. Expect and wait patiently for my return. At that time, I’ll make sure that all of you will be done!”
“That’s enough. Stop it already, Philip. I’m the one begging---”
“You are just brave because your children are there, Alfredo. Thank them for their skill. Without them I would have been able to take over the whole Kingdom.”
Before he passed us, he glanced at Alvaro and then signaled to the rest of his companion. He burst in anger at them for being stupid. He didn’t expect Alvaro to knock down all of his talented warriors.
When they finally left, the siblings approached their father while I stayed on where I’m standing and observed Alfaro closely.
I don’t understand. Why is that? Why does he not even seem to be injured? Not that I want him to be hurt but why is it different now than what I saw? Have I prevented this from happening? Or is this just the beginning?
“What’s the matter?!” the Queen exclaimed as she entered the King’s room.
We were all there besides the servants and soldiers in the palace. Maybe what happened earlier is now widespread throughout the Kingdom. It is only fitting that the King first ordered that no one come out of their houses before the arrival of King Philip because otherwise they might have been affected by the trouble.
“Philip attacked with his soldiers.” the King replied.
The Queen sighed and approached Alfaro to examine him.
“Aren’t you hurt? Didn’t you get a wound?” she asked her son.
Alfaro shook his head as he took a deep breath. I maintained my eyes down.
“Where did you come from and we just saw you, Adelana?” asked by the King that made the Queen stop.
She couldn’t answer. She just glared at Alvaro and me and then faced her husband again.
“I-I just visited the whole palace.”
“Go, get some rest. Especially you, Princess Emerald. I don’t think you have slept yet.” the King commanded us, ignoring the Queen’s reply.
I bowed slightly before turning my back on them. I didn’t realize that Alvaro followed me. We walked silently towards our room which I paused for a moment. I thought of taking a walk for tomorrow. For somehow I can breathe fresh air and breathe. Even just for a day I want to have some peace of mind and forget what stressing things happened lately.
“Alvaro” I called to him, he turned to me. “Can you come with me to the market tomorrow morning?”
He thought for a moment before he nodded slowly. I smiled and waved at him before I finally entered the room.
I was tired of lying in bed and immediately fell asleep. When I woke up the next day, I made up my bed and my clothes were already on the couch. I quickly took a shower and got dressed. I didn’t fix it much because Alvaro might have been waiting for me earlier.
When I left the palace, I ain’t wrong. Alvaro is leaning on his pet horse with his arms crossed. I ran towards him and smiled.
“Good morning!” I greeted.
Even just for today I will make myself happy again. As before. When I had no problem and frustrating thoughts.
“Good morning.” he greeted back.
I winced at his no energy greeting. Seems like just forced, psh. He helped me ride the horse before he followed.
We toured the Kingdom of Araya. We’re having fun as if nothing happened yesterday. This is exactly what I need right now.
I almost fainted from nervousness again because of his speed. We just stopped when we reached the market. I thought about shopping for food and my belongings. I smiled when I saw a red hair clip. I took two and put on one. I turned to Alvaro and motioned for him to bow. His forehead furrowed in confusion.
“Bow down,” I ordered. “I’ll put this one into you.”
He looked at the clip I’m holding and immediately shook his head.
“No thanks, that would suit you better.”
“Please, just this one, Alvaro---”
He was stunned. I immediately closed my mouth in shame when I realized what I had called him.
“No, it’s alright.” he cutted what I had to say. “Just call me by my name.”
A smile flashed on my lips again. I lifted the hairclip and he couldn’t do anything but bow down so I could reach his head. He looked away when I put it on him. I laughed.
He’s so cute.
I turned to the saleswoman and took money out of my pocket as my payment for the clip. Alvaro kept on insisting that he would pay but I told him that today is my treat. He can’t win over me so he just agreed.
“I’ll buy these two.” I said and looked at the saleswoman.
I stopped when she looked up at me. Her face was so familiar. It was as if I had seen her before but I couldn’t remember.
“Excuse me? By any chance… Have we met... before?” I asked incase.
She shook her head. “I don’t think we’ve met before, ma'am.”
I frowned, I’m confused. “May I know your name?”