Prologue - Their Encounter
"Haa.. Haa.. Haa.."
She's running out of breath, her knees continued to tremble with every steps she took. Her feet hurt from the constant pressure of the hard solid ground.
But she can't give in to her exhaustion, Adam told her to run, so she needs to run.
Wooosh Woooshhh Woooshhh Swooosh
A series of arrow flew towards her, and Caieurthne immediately ducked to avoid it. Strangely, no arrows hit her..
Caieurthne blinked her eyes open at the unfamiliar voice, a tall boy with golden hair clutching his left arm came into view.
He was wielding a sword as he blocked upcoming arrows charging them. His sword cut aggressively yet precise as the broken arrows hit the ground.
"Stay." The boy said calmly as he spin the sword he was holding and launched forward.
The boy wield the sword sharply against the several assasin charging him from all side, the movements were as fast as lightning yet precise, in no time, the five assasin crumpled to the ground.
The boy turned around and approached her steadily, the blade shining with blood that slowly drips to the ground.
"You're hurt." He said curtly, and Caieurthne got a full view of his appearance.
He looked similar to her age, perhaps a bit older by his tall and slim frame. His blonde hair and fair skin stained with blood that contrasted sharply with his icy blue eyes that revealed no emotion.
"Your Highness?" The boy asked and waved his bloody hand in front of her.
Caieurthne didn't get hurt, except for scrapes over her knees when she fell down several times, but she's fine.
"... I'm not. Your left arm is bleeding." She stared at the blood slowly soaking the entire length of his sleeve.
She bend down and tore a piece of fabric from her dress.
"May I?" She asks hesitantly for the boy's eyes seem to pierce her suddenly.
The boy offered no answer and Caieurthne stepped forward cautiously, and press the fabric to stop the bleeding.
Immediately, the fabric soaked the blood, warming and staining her palms. She flinched instinctively but held onto the fabric.
"... I'm sorry, it must've hurt."
She won't ever know it but the boy's eyes flickered slightly, losing the coolness there for a moment, before it flared back to life and snatched his arm away.
"I'm fine, we need to run before they catch up, we don't know how many are there." The boy said calmly.
Caieurthne nodded and hesitated, "Did you see any of my bodyguards? A man with blonde hair and green eyes, he's very tall."
The boy stared at her pale face, her sapphire eyes gleamed with tears yet hope glimmered as her hands clenched the torn dress tightly, waiting anxiously for his answer.
"... I'm not sure, I passed multiple bodies while rushing here." He replied carefully.
"Is there a chance any of them might still be alive?" Caieurthne asked weakly.
"... The possibilities are slim." The boy watched her shoulders slumped in disappointment.
"Your Highness!" A loud voice boom in the serene forest, followed by rushes of horses thundering the ground.
Caieurthne whipped around, and relief floated heavily through her body.
The leader of the royal guards jumped down from his horse and rushed to the princess, noting her torn dress and scrapes. ... Then the boy holding a sword next to her.
"Sir George! No! Stop!"
Caieurthne step in front of the boy, hands wide apart as the sword stop just an inch apart from her face.
Blood drained from George's face as the sword trembled and fell to the ground. He immediately kneeled.
"Forgive me, Your Highness! I deserve to be punished!" He yelled in despair.
"He's not the assasin, he's my savior. Do I make myself clear?" Caieurthne's voice rang out loudly and steadily.
"Yes, Your Highness!" The guards echoed and bowed down.
For the second time, the boy's eyes widened and warmth flicked through the depth of his icy cold blue eyes.
A princess making that statement is a mark that she view him as an equal, something that he didn't see coming from the proud princess of Verbethyn.
Caieurthne turned to face the boy, "What's your name?"
"... Alyx." The boy answered.
"Heed my statement! Alyx is my savior, no one is allowed to harm him, unless I command you! Do you all understand?!" Her voice rang once more with full authority as her sapphire eyes blazed in determination.
"Yes, Your Highness!" The knights kneeled down in respect, no one dare to raise their head.
Caieurthne turned to face Alyx and smiled, "Thank you for saving my life."
Deg deg deg
Caieurthne whipped her head at her father's voice. The emperor stopped the horse and jumped down as he rushed towards his daughter, dignity forgotten.
The emperor kneeled down to match his daughter height and examined her anxiously, "I'm glad you're not terribly injured."
Caieurthne willed herself not to break down in her father's embrace and blink her eyes rapidly to push back the incoming tears.
"Yes, father, I'm fine. Alyx saved my life at the perfect timing." She gestured toward Alyx who bowed down in respect.
"Greetings, Your Majesty." He said politely.
"... Your name is Alyx?" The emperor released his daughter as he faced the young boy, his face now devoid of any emotion.
"Yes, Your Majesty."
"Father! No!" Caieurthne yelled histerically as her father whipped out his sword towards Alyx.
"Your Highness! Don't go!" George restrained her as she struggles in his firm grip.
Alyx wasn't fighting back, he remained still as the emperor tilted the blade to lift his chin, the tip terrifyingly close enough to pierce his neck.
"No! Father! No! He saved my life!" Caieurthne struggled frantically in George's grip, tears pricked her eyes as her vision blurred.
The emperor ignored his daughter and asked the boy coldly, "How is it that you came across the forest?"
Alyx wasn't in the very least terrified, his icy blue eyes mirrored the coldness of the emperor as he replied, "I am a stable boy, Your Majesty. I was resting when I happened to stumble upon the chaos."
The emperor slide the blade towards the boy's right shoulder, with just one swipe the blade could've wipe him out and yet the boy remained calm and even met the emperor's gaze head on, as if challenging him to do so.
"How is it that a stable boy was able to save the princess from danger?"
"I was simply doing my duty as a citizen of Verbethyn Kingdom, Your Majesty."
Silence seems to go on for eternity, or at least that's how Caieurthne felt as she stared at her father and Alyx.
Without a word, the emperor lowered down his sword as he continue to stare at the boy, "You're a brave one. Tell me, how should I reward you? I'll grant you anything within reason."
Caieurthne beamed and shook off from George's grip that loosened as tension passed. She run towards her father and said, "We should send him to an academy where his talents will surely be appreciated!"
The emperor smoothed out his daughter's hair and said softly, "Its a good idea, but its up to his decision."
"... Forgive me for suggesting this, Your Majesty. While I helped the princess, she also helped me and I must repay her back. If you allow me, please let me stay by the princess's side until I can repay this debt of mine."
It was a bold suggestion coming out of a commoner's mouth. He's basically implying to be the princess's playmate, a position that even a noble struggled to achieve.
Caieurthne step forward towards Alyx as her sapphire eyes blazed, "You saved my life, I won't have you pay me back with your life at stake. If you really wish to pay your debt, let the empire sponsor you for your studies."
"... Caira." The emperor said after a moment of silence.
Dread filled her as she faced her father, it wasn't her decision to make, and if her father addressed her it means he's taking Alyx's side.
"You do need a reliable friend and I couldn't see why Alyx isn't suitable. Is it because he's a commoner?" The emperor asked gently.
Caieurthne clenched her fist as her voice faltered, "It happened when I was reading with Adam accompanying me. The assasins came and he blocked them off so I can run. He sacrificed himself for me! I won't let anyone else do that, ever again!"
The emperor was strucked speechless as he pondered over how to response over her compassionate answer.
"... Your Majesty, forgive me for asking this, but may I speak with Her Highness alone?" Alyx asked as he send a silent glance towards the emperor.
"... Five minutes, we'll stay here." The emperor condeded and with a gesture of his hand, they all back off a few metres.
"... Your Highness." Alyx said softly so they won't be heard.
Caieurthne didn't respond, she was shaking with anger and dread as she glared at the grounds.
"... The best chance for a commoner is to offer his abilities for the sake of the empire. Please give me the chance." Alyx tried to persuade her and Caieurthne lifted her head.
Her sapphire eyes glistened as tears shed slowly even as anger blasted clearly, "When I asked Adam to run with me, do you know what he did?"
Alyx didn't answer, he wasn't meant to answer anyway.
"He told me, 'I'll be right behind you' and drop me over his horse as it run away. I try to direct the horse back towards him, but I wasn't skillful enough."
"The horse dropped me half way and I couldn't recognize the road so I kept running blindly."
Her tears shed even more as she struggled to continue, "don't you understand now?! By suggesting that position, you're also throwing your life away!"
Caieurthne hiccuped and took several deep ragged breath to calm herself down, she didn't mean to break down but it just happened.
"... You told me I am your savior, and I will be. I'll teach you self defense, until you're ready then I will resigned from my post." Alyx said after she had managed to calm herself.
Blinking her eyes in surprise, Caieurthne stared at him, "do you really mean it?"
"Yes, it might be different but I will help you gain the skills needed."
As the princess stay quiet, the boy ripped a piece of fabric from his sleeve.
"What are you-"
The boy stepped forward and wrap the fabric over her right arm as the princess flinched.
"You're hurt." The boy repeated his earlier statement but he focused on tying the fabric neatly.
Only then did Caieurthne registered the pain and blood soaking the fabric slowly, how did he notice it when she didn't?
The boy stepped back once its done and Caieurthne thought he did it very neatly while hers was quite messy.
Caieurthne sniffled, as she stared at his icy blue eyes, "promise me you won't leave me."
The princess held out her pinky finger and the boy stared at it for a moment. He linked his pinky finger with her, something he has never done before.
"I promise I will stay with you until you no longer need me." His icy blue eyes flashed with determination.
"You can't break it." Caieurthne tightened her grip over his pinky.
"I won't, I have no intention to." Alyx stated firmly, and tightened his grip as well, sealing their fate with each other from that moment on.
Later that night, an anxious man was pacing back and forth. He kept touching the door handle and retreated again, unable to make a decision that could possibly reward or punish him greatly.
"Everything went smoothly... what could possibly... could it be... no no no... I'm being paranoid.. but what if-"
The door opened with such a force that the man immediately whipped out his sword only to be blocked swiftly with the incomer as the door closed.
"Is this how you greet someone, Ben?" The incomer asked coldly.
The incomer's icy blue eyes flashed in warning and Ben immediately gulped down nervously.
"Forgive me, its difficult for a commoner like me to address his master as an equal." Ben smoothly apologized, his voice held no tremor even as his heart beats faster.
"You have a great heart Ben, but don't repeat this, or else.." His icy blue eyes flashed dangerously again.
Ben kneeled down as his knees trembled, "Of course. Forgive me, I won't repeat it again."
It was a ridiculous sight of a man cowering in fear over a boy, but he wasn't just a boy.
"Give me the letter." The boy said as he sat down on the couch.
Ben handed him a wooden tube wordlessly and waited patiently as he read the letter.
"... The emperor is pissed at me." The boy said casually as if he's talking about the weather.
"... The plan did ended up differently from what we had agreed on initially." Ben said in agreement.
"Do you think its a bad idea?"
Truthfully, Ben didn't think its a good idea to be the princess's playmate, but the crown prince always thought differently and his choices proved right most of the time.
"I'm sure you have your own reasons but I can't figure out why kidnapping the princess isn't as good as being her playmate." Ben said truthfully.
"Verbethyn's force isn't to be ignored, while I'm by her side, I'll be able to learn more of the empire rather than kidnapping her and alert the enemy."
Ben mulled over his answer and found that to be logical, but..
"If that's the case, why didn't you say so from the beginning?"
The crown prince didn't answer immediately, he folded the letter and held it over a burning candle as ashes fell down bit by bit.
He wonder why..
The princess's compassion over his small injury, surprised him. He would be lying if he said he wasn't flattered. The princess didn't even realize she was hurt because she was focused on him.
When the captain of the royal army attacked him, he was very taken aback that the princess put herself in front of him, so fiercely that his heart beat faster.
When the emperor threatened him, she was holding back her tears, and that the reason was because she valued his life more so than hers, this was the sign of her compassion.
But why was he flattered? Why did his heart beat faster? Why did he feel anguish when she cried? Why did he feel unsettled when she asked another boy?
He knew his decision becoming the princess's playmate was correct and beneficial for Urvekysth in many ways but he also did it because his heart wanted to.
He even gave her his real name, a decision pure from his heart even as his brain scream in warning, something the emperor will surely be scathing in fury when he found out someday.
All the more to stay and figured everything out, not only for his kingdom's benefit but also his. Still.. Why is he feeling unsettled?
Alyx glanced down at the source of the noise, the wooden tube to protect the letter was broken into pieces under his grip. The sharp bits of it pierce his skin.
"Here is a salve for the wound, I'll clean it up." Ben handed him the salve as he picked up the broken pieces carefully.
"I can ask for a doctor-" Ben broke off as he noticed the crown prince hasn't actually open the salve but just holding it.
"Alyx? Is something wrong?" Ben asked worriedly. He had been quiet for a very long time without answering his question.
"... I don't need it. Her reaction will be interesting." The crown prince's icy blue eyes gleamed slightly with life as his lips spread a smile, enchanting his young handsome face.
He can hardly wait for tomorrow to come.
Did you enjoy my ongoing story so far? Please let me know what you think by leaving a review! Thanks, Elisa FaithWrite a Review