Chapter one - Rescue
Lyla hid behind a tree, waiting for the asacandian soldiers to stop looking for her in this enormous wood.
They had been looking for her for three days and she had no idea so she scolded herself.
She heard a rustle behind her and turned around while pulling out her sword. In front of her stood a large Scandian guard with his sword drawn and ready to kill her.
She tried to hit him with the sword but he blocked it with his own and threw her sword to the back. Lyla kicked him in the stomach and he stumbled.
He raised his hand to hit her but she bent down in time and snatched the fallen sword. She wounded him in the leg, got to her feet and stuck the sword in his heart.
Too Easy, she thought. But when she turned around she realized she was wrong.
Tree Scandian guards stood in front of her, ready to attack. Their green uniforms implied their origin - soldiers of the Earth kingdom, Scandia.
She used her water Element to flip one of them back to a tree. She clenched her right fist and turned the water around him to ice which trapped him in. He was struggling to move but did not manage, her Element was too strong.
The other two guards glanced at him with wonder. A smile appeared on her face and she turned to fight them.
She took a small knife out of her pocket and threw it toward one of them. It swung in the air until it hit him under his chest, he stumbled backwards and she wrapped her water Element around his leg and threw him back. His head hit the heavy ground and he lost consciousness.
"I do not like to hit girls, but you start getting on my nerves," said the last standing soldier loudly.
He punched her in the face and she recoiled. Blood came out of her nose and she wiped it.
The soldier approached her, disarmed her and knocked her off to the ground. He lifted his sword to kill her but she dodged and fortunately for her, he only hurt her side.
The cut was pretty deep, but at least she was alive. Blood burst out of her wound, she pressed her hand against it and groaned in pain.
The guard leaned over and before he could lift his sword, Lyla took out another knife and stabbed him. He collapsed on the ground beside her, but unfortunately for her, it was not over yet.
Her injury caused her Element to weaken which allowed the guard trapped with ice to break free. He moved toward her and she got up on her feet but immediately felt dizzy. Her right hand was still pressed to her wound to stop the bleeding, and her left hand held one of her knives.
The guard was close enough and Lyla tried to stab him but he snatched her knife. She raised her fist but he grabbed her two hands tightly, took her down on her knees and pressed the knife to her throat.
"Lady Lyla, I did not know you knew how to punch," said a familiar voice. "I thought that in Astrada they only fight with swords".
She glanced up when she heard the voice of Ranus, the commander of Scandia's army. He approached her with a teasing smile.
"After all, Astradians really love their swords. Or in your case..."
He bent down, lifted her shirt slightly and revealed two small knives. "...knives".
He grabbed the knives and threw them to the ground.
"Rude," Lyla was upset.
One of her knives landed close to her, so close. She gazed at it.
Ranus straightened up and glanced at his soldiers who Lyla neutralized.
"You surprised me, Lyla," he gestured his hand towards his soldiers. "I mean I know that in Astrada they train the royal family to fight as well, but I did not know you were that good. These were some of my most skilled soldiers".
He pondered. "Actually, I am not so surprised. After all, I was your last master".
He reminded her of times when she thought he was an ordinary Astradian, Elementless, who knew how to fight.
He had trained her for months and definitely improved her fighting skills.
They say that a student can never defeat his master, but Ranus was not her only teacher, fortunately for her.
She had had many other masters before him, each of whom improved her in his own way, of each of them she had learned a life lesson, each of them had helped her to become the strong warrior she was now.
Ranus bent down again and raised her chin with his finger so she would meet his eyes. Her gaze shifted from the knife next to her and she glared at his emerald eyes.
"Do not give me that look," he straightened up. "I am the one who is going to convince the Scandian king to keep you alive".
He was walking from side to side as if he was trying to consider his next move. Finally, he stopped when Lyla started speaking.
"You know I am never going to let that happen, right? Astrada will never be yours. Not as long as I am breathing." She glanced directly into his eyes with a contemptuous look on her face.
"I can handle that too. It's a shame though, I would rather keeping you alive. You better just surrender, Lady Lyla, if you do not want to lose that pretty head of yours".
"I will never surrender!" She declared with determination and then sighed with pain.
"Ranus, I am bleeding." She looked down at her injury. "You need me alive, don't? So tell your bully to release one of my arms so I can stop the bleeding".
Ranus studied her for a moment and then nodded to his guard who released her right hand. She used her Element to stop the bleeding, for now.
"Ah, you men," a sly smile appeared on her lips. "You just see a damsel in distress and do whatever she asks".
Before they could react, Lyla lifted the knife from the ground, stabbed the guard and pushed him away. She stood between Ranus and the guard and slightly pulled the knife up to warn them not to come near her.
"Put the knife down, Lyla," Ranus said as he approached her carefully.
Her injury was still aching, she had lost a lot of blood and she felt dizzy again. It caused her to lose her steady posture and allowed Ranus to come close and push her back. He pinned her to the tree behind her.
"You got a lot of courage, I like it. I have always loved belligerent women, it makes it more ... interesting," he said, running his hand over her face.
"If you know what I mean." He smiled.
"You are disgusting," she said and tried to push him off her but he was too strong.
Her body was tense and she was uncomfortable because of his closeness to her.
"Really? Because the Scandian girls find me charming".
Ranus was truly handsome, his dark hair was black as a raven and his emerald eyes were beautiful. He was sturdy, big and firm. His penetrating, deep gaze would hypnotize every girl looking at him. Lyla used to stare at those eyes and get lost in them.
But things had changed, she found out he was evil and a liar and she hated him as much as she hated the rest of his people. She wished to kill him and his king for invading her kingdom and killing many of her people.
"A few months ago you did not think I was disgusting. In fact, you quarreled with your mother so she would allow you to marry me".
"Leave me alone!"
She ignored his words, which brought up memories she would rather forget.
"I do not think so," he shook his head.
Lyla closed her eyes and concentrated. She tried to use her water element, but before she could do anything, Ranus pressed three of his fingers to her heart and closed his eyes. When he did that, she felt part of her power vanishing.
She closed her eyes again and tried to use her Element to get out of this horrible situation.
"You try to use your element, how adorable," he smiled wickedly. "The problem is, Lyla, that it is gone".
"What?" She opened her eyes. "What did you do?". Her voice shook.
"Let's just say that you can say goodbye to your Element for the next few days".
"No." she shook her head when she understood the meaning of this. She had no element, the injury weakened her off and she could not release herself.
"Let me go!" She begged him.
"What is that?" He studied her eyes. "Have I finally managed to break the belligerent spirit of yours?".
She tried to push him but failed again.
"Sorry, my Lady, but you are not going anywhere but with me."
He pulled her from the tree, gripped her wrist and dragged her behind him.
Suddenly, a Fire Element came from nowhere, appearing between Lyla and Ranus and they both recoiled. At the moment that Ranus' grip freed her, she collapsed to the ground.
Ranus turned back to see who did this.
"She goes nowhere with you!" called an unfamiliar voice.
Lyla looked up to the manly voice and saw a man with fancy crimson uniforms.
"You missed!" Ranus said teasingly.
The stranger lit a flame in his hand and gazed at it.
"I do not miss," he smiled and turned to look at Ranus.
"It was a warning shot. Let the girl go now or next time I will not be careful that much".
Ranus only shook his head.
The man started approaching them, toying with the flame on his hand.
"Don't you know it is not a way to treat a Lady?".
Lyla had no idea who that man was or where he came from, but she was grateful he was around to help her.
The Scandian guard got back to his feet to protect his commander, but the man did not seem bothered, even though that guard was twice as big and probably stronger than him.
"I suggest you leave," Ranus said to the man.
"I honestly do not think I will take your suggestion".
Ranus sighed and rolled his eyes.
"Let me guess, overconfidence, fancy Arkadian uniforms, minding other people's business, you must be a Reigns".
Lyla raised her eyebrows. "Reigns? Are you the Fire prince?".
He looked at her with surprise as if he forgot she was even there, then he nodded to her.
She had heard many stories about Arkadia and their great powerful Fire elementers but she had never met one in person.
At least not one that she remembered.
She was so young when her people fought the Arkadians and the war was mostly in Arkadia.
Although her kingdom was no longer at war with the Fire Kingdom, there had been a conflict between the two kingdoms for a long time, even after the war.
Ranus lifted a rock with his Earth Element and split it into a few sharp pieces which he threw at the prince.
The prince bent and dodged them all. He used his Element and threw Ranus back to a big tree.
Ranus lost his consciousness and Lyla noticed that his hand was burned from the Fire Element of the prince.
The guard snuck around the prince and lifted his sword but the prince took his sword out of his sheath and killed the guard.
He put the sword back to its place and then he finally glanced at Lyla who was still on the ground.
She tried to stand and run away from the place but she was too weak, she stumbled and fell.
She knew it was pointless for her to fight because she was injured and her Element was gone at the moment.
"I just hit two people who were trying to harm you and you think I would hurt you?" He asked when he saw her recoiling.
"I do not know you, which means I do not trust you," she said.
"haven't I proved myself enough?" He gestured to the unconscious Ranus and the dead guard.
"You are the Arkadian prince. Which means you are cruel just like all of the evil Fire elementers in your kingdom".
"It is just a rumor. I believe you have not been to the Fire kingdom until now?"
"Until now?" She frowned. "Are we... in Arkadia?".
How the hell did I get here? She pondered worryingly.
"At least let me help you?"
He approached her slowly and glanced at her wound.
She tried arguing but her head ached so bad and her vision started blurring until she lost consciousness.