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Alex sighed and pulled out his blade. He held for a second looking at the edge. "When we marched of to your castle. I never planed on taking your life. I did hate you. I was disgusted by you. But my job was to get my men into the door." He looked int her eyes, now seeing a broken women. He got up still holding his blade and closed the door. "We can't have any witness." He looked back over to her and sat down. "We can't have anyone seeing you like this. You have an image to uphold. The demon empress." He grinned and and sheathed the katana. "No matter what you say I will never kill you. No matter what you do I will not."
"I never told you why I wouldn't truly kill you that day at the dinner table. When I held the knife to your throat. You and your I am in control attitude made you believe that I was worried about the families. Truth if you died they would have been okay." He grinned and and took of the cloth on her head and changed it for another. As he placed it he looked into her eyes. "The truth is I took a vow to never harm women or children."
Arthur placed a wet cloth on the pale empress' face. "Alex, you stay here. I'm going to guard for any other archers. Though I doubt he'd show up again." The man walked off. Sheera twirled the dagger in her hand angrily as following out. "And I'm gonna check the ground for any mouses around this place. God damn them, just when I was enjoying my drink!"
The soldiers stood behind the door, feeling humiliated that somebody managed to harm their lady in their presence.
Kanling yie started waking up from her nightmares as her eyes started opening. "I..." She whispered weakly, the poison still sucking away her energy. The empress looked over at Alex next to her, she looked pathetic and helpless this time. Instead of a demon, a girl was laying there in pain.
"I'm...pitiful." Kanling yie looked up at the ceiling, feeling tears burning her eyes. She no more felt the need to act strong and mighty for her bodyguard.
"An empress...running away in her own lands..." A bitter smirk played her lips. "And when the poison was spreading in me, I felt like crying and begging for life...I wonder why...why I like to cling to this pathetic life...You have the right to mock me. Without my men, I'm a worm...but you..." She turned her head at the young man beside her, tears of jealousy and sorrow falling down her hot face. "You're powerful on your own. You can take care of yourself...you don't fear anything..." shakily she tried to wipe off her tears but more of them fell down. "You know...it's pretty easy to end my life in this state...."
Kanling yiee stared at him. "I...killed your friends, your master,...I ruined your life so why don't you do this favor for your beloved ones? A worm like me can never stand against the enemy!So you've no reason to keep me alive!" Painfully she tried to sit up, staring quite crazily at the sword on his side. "Just a slash...and you'll be free instead of watching my struggles to live!"
Alex sighed to Arthur remark. "Yeah, I have few friends here and there" He spoke in a bit of a nonchalant tone.
"Alec don't be so modest. In the underground, he was very popular, him an his good looks..." Alex sighed again and scratched the back of his head. "Ahhh where are manners, I forgot to give you my name. I am Lilet." She said with a slight bow to the group. Lilet continued to smile and then nodded quickly to the idea of getting a drink. "I would love to join you."
After she spoke the went off to the bar. Lilet sat close to Alex with a big smile. Then turned to Arthur when she heard his request. "Ahh well I have always help my dear Alec and this is no exception. So anything I have to offer is yours. But, the man you mentioned is a difficult subject." She said with a sigh.
Alex peered off of the conversation, and looked out the window to see the smoke. He began to feel a slight shiver run down his spineand took off. "Alec?!" Lilet questioned. Then the warning was yelled out. The rest of the group darted off then Lilet followed. Alex made his way to the in preparing to jump int the disaster only to see Kaanling-yie being pulled out. "What Happened?", he yelled as he approached the soldiers.
They carried her off into another building secured by Arthur. "She was attacked, the assassin fled and set the place ablaze to cover his tracks." One of the soldiers responded as the laid her on the bed. Then followed Sheera and stood guard. Sheera kept looking in as Arthur began treating Kaanling-yie wound and removed the arrow. "Damn poison'. He said with a slight groan.
"Let me see the arrow." Alex spoke in a concerned tone. Arthur quickly gave him the arrow and continued to treat her. "This poison is pretty common but treatable. SHe will eb a bit of pain but she will fight through this." Arthr spoke as he bandaged her arm.
As Alex looked at the arrow, his eyes drifted to one of the soldiers yelling at Lilet. "Let her in she is not a threat." One of the soldiers nodded and she walked closer. Alex then looked back to the arrow. "What do you make of this?" Lilet looked to him then took the arrow.
"This as made by a familiar blacksmith in this part. But he is private, and works for the one of the lords. What is going on? Who is she?" Lilet looked over to Kaanling-yie and then back to Alex. "Alec? I need to know whats going on?"
Alex took her and brought her to the back. "That is the empress and I am her bodyguard. That's all I can tell you right now." He said with a brief sigh. Then he could hear the cries of Kaanling-yie. "Damn it." He walked back over to Kaanling-yie. "I should have been there."
Lilet walked over and placed her hand on his shoulder. "I am going to get more information. Okay?" Alex nodded and Lilet walked out and head off. Alex took a seat neck to Kaanling-yie and cared for her.
"Wait, you have a girlfriend?" Sheera straightly asked, making Arthur sigh and shake his head at her simple concluding. "To be honest, I never knew we had blacksmith ladies too." The archer commented, Sheera glaring. "Of course. Women can do anything!"
"Alex, you've got a good network of friends here, huh? I'm surprised.This must be useful." Arthur rubbed his chin then looked over at the new girl asking. "We would like to invite you for a drink. Mind enjoying us?" Sheera blinked at Arthur but Arthur just gave a carefree smile and patted Alex's arm, encouraging him to move to the nearby bar. "C'mon...you have to pay your friend something!"
Once they were at the bar, Sheera was chugging down her mug almost ignoring the rest at the table. Arthur tapped on his full mug before asking the merchant. "I'd be pleased if you help us for the sake of Alex...or Alec as you call him.We need the information known by the merchants. About..." He lowered his head and whispered, "Jisei..." He knew the enemy would inject rumors about himself to this country by using the merchants.
Sheera showed no interest in joining the chat, just raising up her mug and asking for more from the man in charge.
"THE INN IS ON FIRE! HURRY UP! BRING WATER! FIRE! FIRE!" People were running to the wooden building. The one which had Kanling-yie in it.
Smoke...smoke...the heat...confusion...Arms of the soldiers who were pulling her out. Kaanling-yie was half conscious, the arrow in her shoulder was small but poisonous. Was she dying? She inhaled the fresh air once she was out. People were gathering around her. The soldiers pulled out the small arrow. Kanling yie was covered with cold sweat. Her face was pale...Te pain in her grew...
This attack...meant she was spotted...
Nightmares after nightmares...She whined and thrashed around, mumbling random things...fighting against the poison...demons...she saw demons...those painted in the shrines...she saw the enemy army...crushing her people...she saw her mother, father...she even saw...that hateful look of her new bodyguard, Alex...
Alex sighed. "It should be the black market is aiding the rebels. The system they have established thrives on this chaos." He smirked. "If I was the empress I would utilize this. There network spans all over the country and most likely, the enemies." He sighed as he watched the Sheera move forward.
As they all approached one of the merchants, She looked up surprised and pushed through the crown. "Alec! My friend?" She began to approach them. Arthur immediatly stepped in front drawing a his bow. "Waa please he is, my friend" Alex put his hand on Arthur and stepped in front. The merchant immediately hugged Alex. "Oh my friend. I thought I lost you. I heard the story of your fight. What happen?"
Alex smiled. "I survived and I am still."
The merchant then looked back at Arthur and Sheera. "But they are..."
"I know I am surviving as I said." Alex then looked at Arther and Sheera who were both confused. "Ahh sorry, Arthur Sheera this the best blacksmith in the kingdoms."
"Aww Alec. Stop." She said as she hugged him. "Pleasure to meet you, a friend of Alec is a friend of mine."
Sheera glared. "Alec?" she questioned as she put back her dagger into place.
"Yeah, you see. There's no good or bad guy. It's just worse and worst." Shrugging, Sheera continued on chewing. Arthur glanced at Alex, realizing that he looked a bit down. Maybe because he thought the rebel was stupid? Putting a hand on the warrior's shoulder, Arthur smiled surprisingly friendly. "It is us who should recognize the good or bad. I never regret my actions. You do the same."
Sheera, who had finished her juicy fruit, was licking her sticky fingers in a bored fashion. "Oh, man. Don't tell me we should just walk around and buying stuff like old ladies!" Her eyes caught the sight of people circling around something. "Look! Black market!" Like an excited kid, Sheera ran to the gathering. The man in charge was selling various goods. He had a wooden carriage, in a dark corridor. The rare weapons, potions, animals and such were open to view but the carriage...held some 'goods' only the people who were into that business knew what it was...Slaves. The ones that military sold to these men to earn some money. Legal slaves were kept and used by military. Although slavery by merchants was forbidden but the government never did anything about that as long as they were paid.
That smelly carriage was covered by a rag, though somebody with good eyes could catch a glimpse of a frightened eye which was staring out.
Arthur shook his head, "I believe the empress doesn't know about the EXTRA money military gets from these merchants."
Sheera was watching some wild dogs with amused eyes. "Pfft. That's not our business!"
Alex listened closely to the rumors. He didn't like the idea of Kanling-yie being tortured. Even though a this moment she wouldn't feel the same if it was him. He sighed and walked further into the market. "It doesn't matter right we protect Kanling-yie and keep the empire stable. Everything should subside." As he walked the followed close. "This Dilma ruler, do you know anything, Arthur?"
"His name is Jisei." Aruthur said as he started to purchase some fruits. As he did Sheera took one form his. She cleaned it on her shirt and took a bite smirking at Arthur.
"He supposed to be ten times worse as Kanling-yie. Hmm rebels you thought you where finding the great evil but you didn't re...."
"Sheera." Aurthor said as he glared at her.
"Its okay Arthur. She is right. We were naive." Alex said as he walked off again deep in thought.
Kanling-yie's face was emotionless one more time.She stared at Alex's back, slowing down her horse to make a pace. The empress no more trusted her new bodyguard.
Sheera tried to calm down the tensed atmosphere by humming a song. She had forgot most of the song so soon gave it up.
A village started appearing in front of them. The RedRiver village was one of the important villages of the country. It was famous for its fruits. A green village with beautiful gardens; People watched the new comers with amaze, only knowing that Kanling-yie might be a lady. Kids followed the horse happily, stroking the beasts and giving then sugar cubes. Kanling-yie ordered them to get away from them. The kids obeyed without hesitation, frightened of a wealthy one's rage.
They stopped at the best inn of the village to buy some fruits for their Journey. Kanling-yie chose to stay at the inn's room and have some tea.
The soldiers were guarding behind the door and Sheera, Arthur wandered in the village to see if there were any rumors and get some fruits. "Alex will accompany you."The empress had ordered with a glare and Arthur just dragged Alex along.
"Geez...People are just too happy.Don't they know what kind of monster is attacking us?!" Sheera nagged loudly and Arthur sighed,"Close your mouth.We will defeat the enemy at the borders..."
They approached some merchants chatting.
"I'm going to buy more potatoes, because you know..."
"Yeah...it's a treasure in wars...."
"Don't you know?!The kingdom from unknown lands of Dilma is threatening our country..."
"I'm sure our kingdom is strong enough..."
"Heh...Their empire, Keja...has never seen defeat. I've heard he's sworn to tie our empress to his horse and drag her all over our country..."
Sheera smirked at Alex."Well, he seems like a confident empire."
"I'm afraid that he's not bluffing..."Arthur whispered.
Alex said nothing as Kanling-yie had her fit. While everyone prepared for the road. Alex turned the body over and placed the the dagger on the boys chest and closed his eyes. The boy reminded him of himself and choices he made. He bowed his head then got up not looking back. When he got on is horse he glared at the empress. Her words echoed and the feeling of the blade still was felt on his neck.
When Sheera made her demon statement he smirked. "A demon doesn't fear death, he welcomes it." He said as he rode closer to the group. "Look out for more attackers." He said as he rode next to Arthur. "Its better not to show your emotions." Arthur said with a whisper.
"It was a boy." Alex said with a harsh tone.
"He was our enemy, regardless." Arthur said with a sigh as Sheera rode up.
"So am I." Alex began to ride off. "I am taking point." He rode his horse in front of the group, passing Kanling-yie. He felt it would be a better idea then glaring at her back.
Kanling-yie looked back to see the bleeding boy dropped on the ground."You disappointed me." Coldly she told Alex."He's a criminal. We don't talk to criminals.What if he killed me after the little chat you had?!" A glare and suddenly she slapped the warrior right across the cheek, making Sheera whistle quietly.
Arthur came in the scene and knelt beside Yen."Sorry if you don't like killing kids but it was his fault for choosing this path and his bad luck choosing us as his target."Shrugging, Arthur turned the dead body on his stomach and pulled out the arrows."I don't have to waste them anymore."
The oldest soldier put a hand on Alex's shoulder, shaking his head as a friendly advice to not lose his control and say anything which would rage the empress more. Kanling-yie was already pissed."You had to be more careful. His knife was on my throat."Pressing her lips together, she stared at her group."Unless you want me die..."
"My lady..."One of the soldiers pleaded and knelt down."Please forgive us..." The other soldiers and Arthur knelt down too, Arthur pulling Sheera down with himself. Sheera growled but didn't say anything just looked down in annoyance.
Kanling-yie looked over at Alex."You don't need to ask for forgiveness..." She whispered angrily."You want me dead on this journey, don't you?DON'T YOU?!" The empress' eyes were frightened. She was inches away from death by a simple boy's hands. Kanling-yie picked up a dagger from the ground and held it against his throat. The rest of the group even held their breaths.Kanling-yie pressed it a bit, taking out a drop of blood before gritting her teeth and dropping the knife."We're going."
The empress went on her horse and again, they were riding.
Now Alex was not allowed near her. Sheera approached him and whispered,"Are you crazy or something?! Don't mess with her. She's a demon..."
Alex's sword made contact wth one of the enemies. He was held off for that moment as arthor through smoke bombs. Alex saw them as a nuisance. As the dense smoke filled the space around him the enemy hesitated. Alex could tell by the way man pulled way from his katana. Alex quickly pulled back and struck the man with a swift blow. Destroying the man's weapon and wounding him severely across his chest.
Once the wind from the mountain air came down, the smoke began to swirl. Alex could see flutters of his men, arthur and SHeera through the breaks in the smoke. He became worried as he could not see Kanling-yie. "Damn it." He said as he turned around. He could hear a man yelling in a horrible tone.
Alex stammered as he rushed out the smoke. The enemy spotted him and quickly pulled up Kanling-yie. He placed a dagger across her throat. He became more and more fearful seeing his comrades being killed by Arthur and Sheera. The man was not a man at all just a young boy turned to rob and steal. "Step back. All of you." He began to shake. Alex stepped forward a little to analyze the situation. He knew the boy was scared. "I said step back. Ill kill her. I swear."
"Alright calm down. " Alex spoke as he watched the archer go around to a vantage point.
"See you need her, I knew if I held her hostage you would be helpless." The man spoke with a ruff tone. He was scared and his eyes would stagger looking at all his friends.
"Listen to me. Whats your name?" Alex said trying to gain his focus. Sheera groaned and Arthur quickly told her to shush.
"Y-Yen..." He responded
"Listen, Yen, no one else needs to die. Just let her go." Alex spoke hoping he could resolve this situation, before the archer took his shot.
"Listen, Ill let her go we will call it even, no one else has to die. So put down your weapons." Alex nodded and began to put down the weapon. "Everyone do as he said." Alex ordered.
"You better know what your doing." Sheera said as she put down her blades. After they all put there weapons down, the Yen loosened up and began to let Kanling-yie go.
"Thank you. I don't want to-" A thud and another was heard as the man dropped to the ground. Two arrows laid in his back killing him. Alex became in raged.
"Damn it you didn't need to kill him. He was just boy!" Alex ran towards the boy forgetting what he was there to do
The group gasped at how rude and demanding this Alex was. Sheera sneered, waiting for some blood being splattered on the ground. Arthur was whispering some prayers. The empress was a monster to them. But surprise surprise. The empress felt the warmness of the food on her lap then gave a glare to Alex. "Fine.Next time, you won't be ordering me around." Calmly, she tore a piece of the meat and put in her mouth. Chewing on it slowly, her eyes closed in joy. Uhhh...this taste of wildness, this feeling...freedom...She seemed quite hungry. Arthur gave a smile at Alex, nodding as a praise. Sheera just puffed her cheeks before looking away...
Some daggers flew toward them." Sheera reflected them back with her sword."What the..." The soldiers formed a circle, looking around. Kanling-yie dropped her plate and stiffened, alarmed. Her gaze dropped on Alex. Already attacked? Had the enemy...
Some men jumped down the trees in front of them. No, they weren't foreigners but bandits who thought that Kanling-yie was a rich woman or something so wanted to 'borrow' some money."Give us all you have!"
"The only thing we have is our weapons, bastards!" Sheera screamed out, throwing a dagger toward them. The man dodged and the four other charged at the rest. One of them attacked Alex with double sword. The one fighting Arthur threw smoke bombs.
"Shit!" Sheera coughed.
"Lady!" One of the soldiers warned. Kanling-yie felt a hand grabbing for her hair. She threw the plate at his face. The man cursed and tried to kick her head.
Alex sighed as things seemed to tense. He didn't really like how he was put in charge. He glared at Sheera after she kept looking at him. Each time he would look away she stare back at him so he decided to just glare at her. After a moment, Arthor handed him the bread and water. "No thank you. I think we are actually going to need food. Author, would you do what you intend and catch us some food." Arthor nodded and head off with out a second thought. "Sheera and one of you go search for some would. The rest of us will guard the camp." Alex to command quickly and spoke with a good sense of authority.
Sheera ground as she looked to the empress then walked off with the other. Alex began to gather some rocks and make a fire circle to hold the ask. He looked to Kanling-yie ever once and awhile and began to be concerned. But he shrugged it off and knew she was dealing with a lot.
After a few minutes Sheera and the others returned. Arther began to start a fire with wood and began to cook three rabbits on the fire. When every thing was done he began to give out plates. Alex started to approached and grabbed two plates. Arthor nodded and knew of his intentions. After he was given the food, Alex walked over to Kanling-yie. He stood in front of her for a moment then put the foo in front of her.
"Eat. I know you don't want to but I am your body guard and if you become weak because you don't eat then I have failed." Alex sat next to Kanling-yie and put the food in her lap. "Now eat."
"Good because I've heard those who've learned 'Chivalry' are so sensitive about respect and such!" Sheera whispered to Alex with a mocking tone, her eyes daring him for a fight. She was trained to be a ninja. Ninjas had no respect or honor, most of them were orphans. They did the dirty stuff for important people and nothing stopped them. They assassinated people in any way possible. So, it was obvious why she didn't have manners or a lock on her mouth.
Arthur sighed, "If you're in love with him just confess it Sheera." He teased and gained a snap from Sheera. "Oh, shut up!Will ya?! Like I'll bed with a stupid ex-rebel like himself!"
"Oh, shush! Don't talk so straightly in the empress' presence!" Arthur rose up an eyebrow.
Sheera stuck out her tongue at Alex and looked away. Kanling-yie stopped her horse as she felt that it is slowing down. "Check the surrounding's safety. We'll be resting here." She ordered the soldiers and they obeyed her asap.
Arthur got off the horse and walked to Alex. "I've seen how talented you are. Don't mind Sheera. She's stuck in her childhood, sadly."
"DON'T TALK LIKE YOU'VE SEEN MY CHILDHOOD, DAMMIT!" Sheera screamed out. Kanling-yie was rubbing her temples. She was just inches away from ordering their execution.
"Alex." Kanling-yie gestured her new bodyguard. "From now on, you'll be in charge of this group."
Sheera pouted and Arthur smirked in amusement.
"If anyone...anyone dared to disobey you a bit, get rid of it." This made Sheera shiver a bit, walking off to the nearby river.
Kanling-yie calmly sat down on the soft grasses and stared at the wild river.
Arthur setting their food. Nothing much, only bread and water. "Empress, shall I hunt something for you?"
"No, this is okay. I'm not hungry." Kanling-yie turned away.
"But my lady..."
"I Said I'm Not Hungry." The empress tone rose up and Arthur just backed off and started eating along with the returned soldiers.Sheera joined them, looking over at Alex curiously.She was dying to tease him again but what Kanling-yie told him made her shut her mouth for her own sake.
"Go eat."Kanling-yie ordered Alex, her face was still different from what he saw in the palace. Worried and nervous.
Alex nodded at her comment then listened to Arthors. "Sheera, got it." He said as he kept his attention on Kanling-yie. He watched as she was focus on the road ahead. It was different then how she acted in the palace. He wondered if she was truly concerned about the country or fearful of her death.
As he began seep more into his thoughts, he to notice Sheera riding a bit closer. She seemed a bit interested in his katana or him. Alex couldn't tell and even though he was Kanling-yie's bodyguard he was still there enemy. "Sheera leave him alone", Arthur said as if he was talking to a child. "I am not bothering. I am just to understand the ex-rebel." She said with an all most belittling tone.
Alex looked back at her glaring into her eyes, but he said nothing. He then turned and road closer to Kanling-yie. "Did I offend you?" She said as she followed his pace. "No." Alex said with a stern voice."
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