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PostPosted: Fri Aug 26, '11, 7:05 am
Chapter Six: Princess

"So I told her, 'Look, Rose, honey, this is just a one-night thing.' I mean, really, how proper is it for Royal Guardsmen to date tavern girls?"

One of the soldiers guarding Divisia Castle's rear entrance laughed at his companion's joke. "I know, really. So what happened?"

"She grabbed a knife- God knows where she was hiding it in those rags of hers- and said we were going to be spending time that night. She was right- magistrate gave her a month in the tombs for simple assault. Funny, huh?"

"You said it, man. So, how long do you think it's gonna be before King Reginald decides to... you know. Spend some quality time with his special guest?"

"I give her a couple more days. She won't be escaping, ever since we took that weird Layan throwing sword of hers away." The first guard chuckled. "And she didn't use that Layan sorcery of hers to escape yet."

"Because the robots would drag her back into the cell. In fact, with all the-"

The sound of a twig snapping suddenly drew the two guards' attention, and they snapped to combat readiness, their partisans pointed at the path approaching the castle. "Hold!" the second guard shouted. "Who goes there?"

"It... it is I." The voice was sweet, feminine, a seductive half whisper directed towards the two guards. They watched as a red-haired woman calmly approached them, slowly taking one step after another, her legs crossing in front of each other as she walked. "Can you two help me get home?"

"Well, well. What have we got here?"

"Looks like a lost young lady, hoping to bag a soldier." The second soldier rubbed his hands together, eying the woman up and down. "So... who might you be, cutie pie?"

"Oh, me? I'm your old friend- amnesia! ^_^"

Before the two guards could ask just what she meant, the redhead grabbed them by the backs of their heads, slamming them together with just enough force to render them unconscious. Once both bodies sank to the ground, the bushes rustled again, and the woman's companions dashed out from the forest surrounding Divisia Castle.

"Good job, Mieu," Ayn told her. "But, uh, 'amnesia?'"

"Oh, they won't remember me when they wake up, My Prince. They're kinda drunk."

"This is really the creme de la creme of Divisia's forces?" Sari asked, stepping over one of the unconscious soldiers. "Sounds like they missed the memo about helmets being a good thing."

"I am sure Mieu knew exactly how hard she had to hit the guards in order to render them unconscious," Wren told them. "Prince Ayn, I can sense Layan bioengineered creatures within the area."

"Layan?" Sari's lips pursed as she continued, "This city's Orakian. You don't think Lune's sending more monsters already, do you?"

"They might be some of the stragglers from Lune's first attack," Ayn thought. "I can see a couple monsters getting stuck in the dungeons."

"Or they could be trying to get to Alair, too," Sari added.

"Naah. They're not smart enough." Mieu tapped her chin in thought for a moment, then added, "You don't think they're native to the area, do you, guys? Like those weird star-shaped things that kept trying to kill us?"

"I don't believe so. The readings I detect are improvements to the Rappy, Eindon, and Grinder species." Turning to Mieu, Wren then continued, "Most decidedly not Asterias nova, Mieu."

"So, you know about these monsters?" Ayn asked.

"In verity, Prince Ayn. Yourself, Princess Sari, Mieu, or any designated by King Rhys or Queen Maia may query me for information."

Sari reached for her daggers as she spoke to Wren. "All right. You said there's Rappies down there, Wren?"

"Not necessarily, Princess. Rappies are designated Serinus megacanaria. The species I detect is Serinus sonacanaria, otherwise known as Chirpies. They can emulate the Gra Technique similarly to a Rappy, so we should be careful should we fight one."

Ayn nodded. "And that's why we should just get in there, find Alair, and get out as fast as we can. But just in case we do need to fight, we're gonna prepare." His right hand began glowing with green light as he motioned Sari closer. She recognized the energy instantly.

"One of those time Techniques you like?" she asked, amused. "Ayn, did you ever think about learning other ones?"

"Mieu tried teaching me some she knew a few times," Ayn replied. "It was weird. I just couldn't do it. Mother said something about how they seem to be passed along bloodlines."

"So, you know what she knew."

"Right. And if she married someone different, they'd pass those Techniques down. Here, Sari... Ner."

Around Sari, the world seemed to slow down as the green energy coursed through her. "Wait, I've seen this before," she said. "This is a pretty useful one."

Ayn repeated the Technique on himself, then Mieu and Wren. Once they had been properly accelerated, Mieu then said, "And I've got some awesome ones, too! Fanbi's gonna help us hit like Aerotanks... well, except Wren because he shoots things, and Shu's gonna make sure nothing bad happens to us, like our heads getting crushed, or getting torn in half like tissues! And I've got enough for all of us! Here we go! ^_^"

Ayn, Mieu, and Sari each winced as Fanbi's blood-red energy pulsed through them, contracting their muscles with new-found strength. Then the blue energy indicative of a Shu manifestation washed around them, and the group of four could feel a protective aura forming around them as the Technique reached completion.

"There we go," Sari said. "Time to go storm Divisia Castle."


Morning had fallen upon Dahlia, and Lune had risen with the sun, preparing once again for war with the Orakians. He left Thea to sleep peacefully in their bed, giving her a gentle kiss on the lips before departing to his war room. Such a beautiful woman, he thought. She deserves to rule Alisa III alongside me.

An hour passed before Thea awakened, and she sat up in bed, stretching her arms over her head. My first morning as a queen... definitely much better than being a princess, she decided as she left the bed. It is better to actually have power over a kingdom than to just wait for Daddy to cede it over to his heirs, after all.

She laughed to herself as she approached the bedroom's tall mirror. And soon we'll show you damned Orakians our power. Thea snapped her fingers, watching her reflection as a green halter topped-dress formed around her, the thin silk clinging to Thea's body like as second skin as the dress's navel-low cut and lace-covered cutout panels accentuated her pleasing figure. The green-haired queen smirked as she gave the two slim straps that covered her ample chest a tug, not particularly minding that the dress looked as if one sharp breath would cause the straps to fail. She took a few more minutes to put on her jewelry and makeup before she left the bedroom.

Thea had barely set foot through the door before she walked into a young maid entering the bedchamber, knocking her to the floor. "Oh, my queen!" the young woman apologized as she scrambled to her feet. "I hadn't seen you coming in- I thought you were with Lord Lune-"

"Watch where you're blundering, you incompetent wretch!" Thea ordered. "Now, maid, these bedchambers are filthy. Clean them at once."

"Yes, my queen."

"And be sure to move the bed back into its proper place. My husband and I will be... enjoying it tonight, and I'd hate for him to be disappointed because our furniture's been moved."

The maid nodded. "Of course, Queen Thea. Have you any more chores for me?"

Thea thought for a second, then nodded. "Yes. One more, maid."

Barely half a second had passed; the maid suddenly found the razor-sharp blade of a slicer at her neck. As the blade pressed into the maid's skin, Thea continued, "Lune la Dahlia is your king, maid. Further, he is my husband."

"M... my queen, I-"

"In the future, you shall show him the proper respect you show me, and address him as 'my king.' Should you forget your place..." Thea's grip tightened on the slicer, and Technical Energy started to run up and down the blade. "You can feel that, can't you, maid? That's the most basic Technique- Foi. Something every Layan should learn."

The maid's green eyes wandered from Thea, then to the slicer, which was now starting to glow an uncomfortably hot red, then back to Thea. "I understand," she stammered, trying not to wince at the growing heat coming from the weapon.

"Then understand that my slicers also serve as a convenient medium for channeling Techniques. And understand this:" Thea lowered her gaze to meet the maid's, her voice suddenly taking on a hostile rasp as she continued. "If you look upon Lune the same way I look upon him, I'll have you fed to the biomonsters. Do you understand me?"

"My queen, I... I would-"

"Yes or no." She forced the blade into the maid's neck, and the first sizzle of burning flesh started becoming audible. "Remember thine place."

".....Yes, my queen."

Relief washed over the maid as Thea withdrew the slicer, snapping it closed before dismissing it with a snap of her fingers. The relief only lasted a second before Thea lashed at the maid, grabbing a fistful of dark hair. The queen threw the young woman to the floor with a grunt, then set her foot upon her face. "And also remember this: If you think you can seduce Lune, you are sadly mistaken. I am of noble birth, and truly deserving of the honor of producing Lune's heir. You are nothing but street trash, barely better than an Orakian. All you are capable of is servitude."

Thea set more of her weight upon the maid, smirking as her stiletto heel started to press into the maid's cheek. "Now apologize for your disrespect to your liege. Lick my shoe."

"Lick?" The maid's voice was muffled, fear starting to make its way forward.

"Yes, lick. Do you have brothers? It'd be a shame to see them sent into combat, watching them die for worthless Orakian lands. And do you have sisters?" Again, Thea pushed her foot into the maid's face as she spoke. "If word got out that their blood traitor sister didn't show her loyalty to Laya's own general, why, they'd have to make amends. I'm sure the soldiers would be willing to spend five Meseta a night for some... company."

A horrified look spread across the maid's face, a disarming contrast to the tranquil fury that Thea expressed. "And your parents? They'd be executed in Dahlia's square, their bodies hung from the castle's gates as a warning to all dissenters. Do you truly want that, maid? No? Lick my shoe."

"My queen, I am... loyal..."

"Lick it, like it were an ice cream cone!"

Tears finally came to the maid, as she ran her tongue across the bottom of Thea's shoe. Satisfied, Thea lifted her leg from the woman's face. "Good girl," she spat. "Now remember your place."



Maia's voice was tinged with barely-concealed worry as she spoke. "It's been two weeks since they left... do you think-"

"Maia, Ayn's fine." Rhys smiled, setting a hand on his wife's shoulder from behind. "I know it. Sari, too. They're with Mieu and Wren. And even if they weren't, Ayn's more than skilled with a sword."

"Not to mention his Techniques, too. He's shaping up to be one of Landen's finest swordsmen." Sighing, content for the moment that her son wasn't lying dead somewhere around Satera, Maia turned to face her husband. "Rhys, Sari was rather keen to go with Ayn. You don't think she went with him for revenge, do you?"

Rhys shook his head. "No. Lena and Odin raised her better than that. I think it's because she wants to help watch Ayn's back."

"Or maybe even..." Maia smiled. "Do you remember when Ayn was eight, and he got into that fight with one of his friends over Sari?"

"How could I forget? I can't remember who had the bloodier nose."

"He's always looked out for Sari, Rhys," Maia continued. "Lena even noticed it the last time she visited."

Rhys nodded wordlessly, sorrow starting to spread across his face at the mention of Lena's name. I know it's been two weeks, but this still stings, Lena, he thought. Satera was fortunate to have you on her throne. God only knows how Sari's handling your death...

"Rhys?" Maia set her hand on Rhys's shoulder, as if she could sense her husband's discomfort. "You still miss her, don't you," she realized.

"Mm. It always sucks losing a friend, but to lose your best friend... that's the worst."

"I thought I was supposed to be your best friend," Maia teased.

"You are, Maia. Believe me. But growing up, Lena and I would go on crazy adventures. We'd look out for each other," Rhys explained. He chuckled at the memory. "You know, just like Ayn does for Sari."

"Like father, like son."

"Well, except for the childhood engagement thing," Rhys added. "We never did try that with Ayn."

"And for good reason- he should marry whomever he wants. After all..." Maia smiled at Rhys as she concluded, "His parents did."

"That we did, and I think our son's turned out just-"

The sound of footsteps approaching interrupted the king and queen of Landen, their attentions now focused on the young soldier that had broken the mood. "King Rhys! Queen Maia! More monsters spotted in the west!" he exclaimed. "There's... there's thousands of them!"

"Thousands?!" Rhys repeated. "They dare attack again?"

"Evidently so, m'lord. What are your orders?"

Rhys paused for a moment to think, then said, "Have the Knights of the Mountain take defensive positions within the castle and upon the walls. The Knights of the Forests will mobilize throughout the kingdom. As for the Knights of the Lakes, have them deploy in Yaata and Ilan."

"Immediately, m'lord. Are you and Queen Maia planning on moving to the secure room?"

"No," Maia said. "Just like the last time, I'll have my slicers and a small contingent of guards."

"And I'll fight alongside the Knights of the Forests," Rhys added. "Prepare the castle for a siege, just in case the monsters are accompanied by soldiers."

The young soldier nodded. "I'll have your orders issued immediately. What of our machine soldiers?"

"Have them deployed as Landen's first line of protection," Rhys ordered. "Let us make haste."

Rhys then left with the soldier. As he reached the door leading out of the throne room, he heard Maia's voice calling to him. "Rhys!" she called. "Stay safe!"

"You too, Maia! I'll come back to you- I swear it!"

Maia watched as Rhys left her sight with the soldier. Feelings of panic started to swell up within her- What if Rhys dies in combat? Did Ayn already meet these monsters? If he did... did they kill him, too?

No. Don't be a fool, Maia. They're all right. Rhys and Ayn will be perfectly safe.

I hope.



Ayn grunted with exertion as he swung at a purple-feathered Rappy, what Wren had called a Chirpy. Just like their yellow-feathered weaker cousins, Ayn was finding out that they could use Gra just as well as a Palman could. As the bird dove out of the way of Ayn's sword, Mieu dashed up behind another Chirpy, ripping it open with two swipes of her claws.

"Good job, Mieu!" Sari shouted, nicking away at a massive stone-like head. "Now if this damn Smasher would die so quickly!"

"ME THINKS NOT, LITTLE WOMAN," the Smasher retorted, its voice deep from within whatever passed for its throat. "ME THINKS WOMAN NEED TO BE FLAT." Purple energy started crackling forth from the Smasher's eyes and mouth, forming into an ever-increasing wave of gravity that threatened to crush Sari flat.

There was a loud blast as the energy discharged harmlessly through the Smasher, then Sari watched as the giant head sank lifelessly to the floor of Divisia Castle's dungeon, two bleeding holes oozing from the back of the head. Flanking it, Wren stood resolutely, his rifle leveled as if looking for his next foe.

"Thanks for the save, Wren!" Sari called to him.

"It was the most tactical decision, Princess," the android calmly stated. "I am here to assist, as necessary."

"Hey, Wren! Less explanation, more exsanguination!"

Mieu had shredded another Chirpy, then focused her attention on a yellow armadillo-like creature similar to the Eindons that ran through Landen's fields. "Like this Dreidon here! Wanna shoot this one, too?!" she asked, dodging one sharp bite from the creature.

"Mieu, I'm engaged with a Smasher at present..."

"I've got this one!"

Ayn raced over to Mieu's side, bodyslamming the Dreidon into a nearby wall. He grunted in pain as its sharp claws and teeth pierced his side, causing him to back off in reflex. The Dreidon slid to the floor, disoriented, and Ayn cursed as he drove his sword through its exposed belly.

Seconds later, the combat was over. Checking herself for wounds, Mieu asked, "So, everyone okay?"

"Yeah," Sari replied, giving the red-haired woman a nod. "A few cuts, but those'll heal. Ayn?"

No answer from the blue-haired prince. "Ayn?" Sari repeated. "Are you okay? Ay... oh, God."

Ayn was starting to convulse, the wounds the Dreidon inflicted starting to fester with sickly-looking pus. Immediately, his companions rushed to his side. "Poison," Mieu simply said.

Sari searched through her small backpack, trying to find something. "Damn it! I know I've got an antidote in here!" she shouted.

"Don't worry... I can take care of this!" Mieu replied. She set her hands on Ayn's neck and hip, then closed her eyes. "Anti!"

The Anti Technique had no effect. "Hold his shoulders down, Wren! I can't maintain Anti while he's shaking like this!"

"Yes, Mieu."

"Where's that (&#@ing antivenin!?" Sari had started scattering the contents of her pack on the floor, desperately searching for the injector she needed.

Again, Mieu's eyes closed as she began focusing on Technical Energy, trying to course some of it into Ayn's wounds. "Stay with us, My Prince," she urged. "Anti!"

The only effect from the Technique was that Ayn twitched beneath Wren's hands. Mieu gave a sad sigh as she held Ayn's hand. "I... Forgive me, My Prince," she said. "This poison's too powerful."

"Mieu, perhaps you should try your Technique again," Wren told her.

"I... I don't know if I can save him-"

There was the sound of something scattering across the floor, followed by footsteps quickly approaching Ayn's slowly dying form. With a scream, Sari plunged towards Ayn, her thumb on the trigger of an antidote injector as the needle sank into Ayn's neck. Please, she prayed. Please. PLEASE.

Her knuckles turned white as she gripped the injector, her thumb forcing the trigger down. All was silent, save for Ayn's labored breathing.

Landen's prince lay dying, hundreds of miles from his homeland, due to a monster's poison, and his protectors and friends could only watch him die.

It's not fair, Sari thought, tears threatening to breach past her eyelids. IT'S NOT FAIR! You don't deserve a death like thi-

(ka-beep) *hissss*

Ayn's eyes widened in surprise as the medicine took effect, and he sucked in a deep breath. "Wh... what the hell just happened?" he asked. "...And who stabbed me in the neck?"

Barely able to contain their joy, Mieu and Sari both embraced Ayn, knocking him back to the floor. "I guess I nearly bit it, huh?" he asked.

"Yeah. You almost kinda did," Sari replied, smiling at her friend. "Now don't do that again, or I'll kick your butt!"

"I... thanks, Sari. You too, Mieu. Thank you."

"No problem, My Prince!" Mieu exclaimed, holding her hand in a V for victory. "I'll get us all fixed up in a hurry- Gi Res!"

Healing energy radiated from Mieu, and the group found their wounds closing and healing over instantly. Once he got up from the floor, Ayn asked, "Do you think we're any closer to finding Alair?"


The voice was new- a woman's, laced with the air of nobility. The source of the voice was a woman sitting in a large cell, her lime green hair tied back with a blue bandanna. She rose from the small bench in the cell, approaching the group as close as she could. "You're looking for me?" she asked.

"Yes. Yes we are- are you Alair la Dahlia?" Ayn asked.

"I am, yes. Did my brother send you?"


(With Alair la Dahlia's rescue comes great joy, but at the same time comes great trepidation in Landen. With an army of monsters marching upon Landen, will Rhys be able to protect his people and his kingdom? How will Lune and Thea react to Alair's rescue? And what of Lyle and Ryan, the two Dragon Knights?)
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