Published at 29th of December 2018 09:39:57 AM
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Chapter 21

"Wh-What is going on? What are you doing?!"

She said in shock as the middle-aged man dropped to one knee before her . This was a man that even the vizier and invigilator were supercilious to! She was doubly shocked and almost lashed out in response when he took her hand in his big, strong palm and kissed it! She nearly swooned in trepidation anticipating a blow or to be molested, only for it to turn into a scene only heard of in fairytales!

A dashing, gallant knight in shining armour greeting the princess?

'No, Moira! Get your head out of the clouds! Remember Lars! Don't be deceived! You're no long-lost princess, don't get carried away!'

"Princess Moira Fenelle Vishnu, congratulations! You are the long-lost princess, the true descendant of His glorious Majesty King Vishnu! I am truly blessed to meet you in person, seeing you is like seeing the rays of the sun rising gloriously over the rolling sand dunes and irrigated plains, the promise of a great harvest and bounteous, prosperous years to come!"

The smooth-faced Duke Silvan had already sent the invigilator and vizier out of the room; stunning the girl that he could kick the old man out from his own private place!

Confused, the teenaged girl who had never been treated well or spoken to so sweetly blushed and nodded, then shook her head, then nodded again in confusion .

'What did he just say . . . '

'Maybe I was just imagining too loud . . . ? Princess . . . '


"P-p, Princess??!" She blurted out despite being trained as a battle-hardened assassin, so perturbed was she by the sudden change in the situation . Nevertheless, she was still a child before the experienced man .

Here she was expecting the worst, dreading the torture and punishment she had been contemplated with horror . And then she was being seated like a queen on the vizier's favourite chair in an opulent, palatial room and being served hot chocolate and Turkish delights[1]!

"Princess Moira, you were carried away as a babe and secreted away, then covertly enrolled in the Arena of Valour for training! As the only surviving member of King Vishnu's line, you are now the heir to the Kingdom of the Sands, and from now you will be the one and only priestess-in-training of the land of the Sun! Long live Princess Moira!" He bowed deeply, not letting go of her hand, which caused her to squirm half in discomfort and half in pleasure at the warm, gentle but firm grasp .

Shaken but not losing herself, her brain worked overtime, spinning faster than it ever had before as she struggled to come to grasps with the situation before her . Then gritting her teeth, the savvy girl who was always smarter than any other trainees decided that she would just go with the flow . After all, she had nothing to lose even if this was a trap or cruel joke, right . . . ?

She pulled her hand away, putting on an air of regalia and nobility and looking away . She stood up and held herself up high then delivered her best impression of a princess . "I, Princess Moira, am most pleased at you, Sir, Knight, Mr . . . Erm . . . ?" She stumbled over her words as soon as she started, turning a furious red and embarrassing herself greatly but hiding it as well as she could . Or at she thought she did .

The middle-aged man chuckled as if he found her cute, making her pulse quicken . Then he looked up at her and showed her a suave smile, making her heart skip a beat despite herself!

'Dammit girl, don't get distracted just by a handsome face and some sweet words! Even if he is much manlier and tall and, and valiant and . . . Dammit! Lars Lars Lars Lars Lars . . . Concentrate!' She repeated her mind-focusing mantra inside her head and tried to flash a confident smile at the overly attractive and masculine gentleman in front of her .

"It is Duke Silvan, pleased to be at your service . "

"D-duke . . . ?" She panicked at her behaviour towards him, torn between getting down on her knees and grovelling and keeping her high-and-mighty act . Seeing her consternation and panic, Silvan laughed in genuine, hearty delight!

"Princess, your highness!" He chuckled, face lighting up as he showed a jolly smile .

"You're . . . Too cute . . . Hahahaha!" He laughed out loud, unable to hold it in! His niece was just too cute!

Soon he had tears in his eyes which he wiped away, while the young assassin girl knew not whether to laugh or to cry . What should she do when the second most powerful man in the kingdom was laughing happily in front of her? Should she laugh with him? What if he decided that she was contemptuous and sentenced her to death?

She knew from her compulsory lessons on history, politics and the Kingdom of the Sands that she was standing before a Grand Aristocrat of the nation! He was a great powerhouse in the Legendary realm, renowned throughout the kingdom! A being that could crush her with just his little finger! Or casually command for her to be quartered by five Sar'peh[2] at the fall of a hat!

Trembling, she realised that she had begun riding the tiger; there was no getting off anymore!

"Ahem! Duke Silvan . . . Then, erm, as a Princess of the Kingdom, I have but one request . Is that . . . Alright . . . Erm, ahem! I mean, a command . . . ?" She blushed furiously while saying this, embarrassing herself as she tripped and stuttered over her words before the piercing gaze of the aristocratic man .

'C'mon girl! That wasn't supposed to be a question! Just do it! Or you'll regret it forever, like, probably . . . ?' She braved onwards, filling herself with boldness to just spit it out .

"Release Miller Knight Larsson permanently from the Arena, and harm him not! Give him plenty of money, the best steed and everything he needs to survive well! And, and . . . And I promise I'll never see him again!"

'Moira! Why . . . What did you just say??! Why did you add that last part . . . !!!' She chided herself firmly but realised that she had been afraid that he, they, whoever was in charge would oppose her seeming to care about an Arena rat, her being a supposed princess, right . . . ?

If . . . If it were her in their place . . . Wouldn't she command for the weakness in their princess' heart to be eliminated? Just to be safe? Or was it just her that was this cruel and cunning . . . ?

She fought back the tears . No, she had to do this . If Lars were to face Linges in the finals . . . No! It was better for Lars . . .

Her eyelids drooped . 'Better for him to be safe and alive without me . . . Than to die just because . . . '

She closed her eyes . Sighing, forgetting that she was still supposed to be putting on a play as the Princess of the Land!

'Than to die just because I don't ever want to let him go . . . . '

He closed his eyes and stood up abruptly, making her jump in fright and lose her footing, her legs long turned to jelly from her fright and overstimulation in this outrageous circumstance she was in .

Tumbling down, she fell - straight into his strong and sturdy arms and chest .

'OH MY GOSH!!! OMIGOSH OMIGOSH OMIGOSH I'M SO DEAD!' She almost went hysterical, frantic in humiliation and fear . She was leaning on the chest of a Duke!! A duke!! One of the six foundations on which the nation was built! The highest Duke in the country, Duke Silvan!

'And he's so handsome, his chest so big and warm, and his smile . . . Oh, his smile . . . No! Snap out of it girl!!! Not now! Lars Larsssss! Nooooo! Lars isn't mine anymore . . . . Boo hoo . . . ' She was stuck between exhilaration, heartbreak, sorrow, excitement . . . Confused!

"Are you alright . . . ?" He asked earnestly with his deep voice .

She looked up at him, then instantly regretted her decision . His face - it was too close! So close she could feel his breath on her face, smell his manly fragrance! It was too much, too much for her feeble heart to take!

"You look out of breath, is your heart alright . . . ? Can you breathe . . . ? He held her face tenderly, checking to see if she had a temperature - an unfair move that almost knocked her off her feet .

Then he delivered the killing blow .

He sincerely placed the back of his hand on her chest without any guile or perverted motives . His warm, big hand, just above her heart . On her [omitted] .

Moira fainted in his arms .

He was puzzled at the unconscious girl who was leaning against him . Then grinned mischievously and spoke out loud to himself .

"I thought they were all cold-blooded killers able to slay ten thousand men . . . ?"

He shrugged as he laid her down on the vizier's priceless, expensive bed and sat down on his personal favourite chair - and waited, smiling .

"My niece is just too cute . . . " The younger brother of the king hummed cheerfully to himself, conveniently forgetting that the vizier and invigilator were still standing at attention outside, waiting raptly at his any command or request, at his beck and call . What did it matter . . . ? They were just servants of the nation anyway .

A wickedly impish and childlike look flashed past his eyes - he looked forward to "playing" with the adorable and pretty little girl some more once she woke up, after he brought her home to her rightful place - at His Majesty's side, reigning .

The powerful man hmmph'd in disgust at the thought of the filth and rats she had been living with . She definitely did not belong to anything or anyone from this wretched place . . . Though he guessed that he *could* send the boy away since he did risk his life to protect her .

He chuckled . Though she had not been in danger in the first place . . . The beastman boy was well-aware of her identity, and in the first place, one of the reasons he had been placed there was to keep her safe . . .

He decided . He would not allow any Arena trainees to be assigned to her . He smiled in self-satisfaction .

Surely his big bro would be delighted to know that he, Duke Silvan, would protect her himself, right . . . ?

He didn't know how big of a misunderstanding he had just caused and would continue causing with his whimsical actions . One that would spark a great conflict with her little lover boy just several months later, shaking the very building blocks of the nation .

But that's a story for another time .




[1] Ahem, interplanetary trade *IS* a lucrative line of business, and so are other-worldly confectionery arts!

[2] A type of 6-legged desert steed with the body of a horse but the head of a camel .