To The Red Line (Chapter 17:

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Life Is Not Measured By the Number of Breaths We Take, But By the Moments That Take Our Breath Away. -Anonymous- MIKA remembered someone had once said to her, how one could easily predict the weather forecast by simply looking at the skies and t...

Life Is Not Measured By the Number of Breaths We Take, But By the Moments That Take Our Breath Away.

-Anonymous-


MIKA remembered someone had once said to her, how one could easily predict the weather forecast by simply looking at the skies and the feel of the wind.

If the skies were baby blue, it means it would be sunny the whole day and good thing would happen on that day itself.

Mika had her knees buried on the ground, both hands stretched out to heal the severely wounded familiar young woman lying on the ground in front of her.

The once sunny day had turned to dark gloomy clouds. Before long, heavy shower started to pour down on the two figures surrounded an unconscious young woman.

They relied only on the protection of a barrier set around them from the rain and lightning while they were busily performed the ‘Healing Procedure’.

The Healing Procedure, in general, was a surgery procedure that usually performed at the time of emergencies.

Instead of using surgical tools however, the Healing Procedure used a large amount of one’s Chi to heal the wounds.

Despite his vast knowledge on medical terms and regular usages of Chi to heal and creating barriers, Shinji had never done anything as dramatic such as like this.

He had once tried it out before, by saving his young Apprentice’s life when they were younger. However, that had been a great disaster.

In his panicked and distress state, Shinji had nearly lose his own life in the process.

He had been lucky his Guardian had came just in time to stop his Chi from leaking from his own body.

Hence, the main reason why he was feeling nervous about performing the Healing Procedure at the moment.

Regardless, Shinji argued, there were no rooms left for doubts now that he had started the procedure.

It was now or never.

Together with the cooperation and assistance from his Chosen Apprentice, the two of them whatever it takes and do whatever they could to save this young girl’s life.


Green glowing light emitted from Shinji’s fingertips to the rest of his hands. he placed his hands to heal the long, hideously deep cut on the young girl’s abdomen.

It was a brutal, the way she received the wound. Besides the one he’s healing, the young woman had suffered a few more deep cuts on her shoulder blades, arms, and even on her tights.

It was as if she had being assaulted by flying blades while running for her dear life.

She’s lucky to still be alive as none of these wounds are vital. Shinji thought silently. He glanced to his left, where his Apprentice was busily healing the other wounds.

All the while, keeping her own emotions in check.

Not a while ago, Mika had gone from shell-shocked to nearly hysterical when she discovered her best friend’s body. she had pleaded with Kazuo to save Luna’s life with waterfall tears rolling on her cheeks.

Shinji himself had been deeply in shocked when flashbacks of his past came haunting him the moment he laid his eyes on the young unconscious girl in a pool of her own blood.

It had taken him a while to calm his nerves but he'd forced himself to breathe in deeply, before approaching his young Apprentice, and have words with her.

He had told her in a calm yet firm tone that at this given moment, she need to try and pulled herself together. He needed her assistance if they were going to save her friend.

Shinji had also enforced her to be strong emotionally and mentally, not only for her own sake, but also for Guy’s as the man seemed to be at the edge of losing his own mind, if not already, at witnessing his sister’s physical state.

While Shinji and Mika were busily healing their friend, Kazuo had done his absolute best on handling his grieve-striking friend, who had a moment ago, screamed in agony when he saw his sister laying on the stream, cold and barely alive at all.

The ginger-blonde fighter could only helplessly watched as the man broke down in tears.

Now that Guy had reduced his agony to mere sobbing, his face had kept hidden with his hands, while he muttered words of blame for letting this happened to his beloved sister.

The traumatic shock had eventually, caused the latter to collapse out of exhaustion, just in time for Kazuo to support him before his head hit the ground.

Kazuo had later, carried the unconscious younger man and seek a shelter under the thick trees from the rain.

Together, they waited patiently in silence for his other comrades to complete their work in this heart-breaking situation.


Shinji stole a glance at his Apprentice, once again to see how she was doing with the Healing Process.

From the corner of his eyes, he could see how clearly shaken her fingers were but she remained still and focused on the task.

Though the Chi that emitted from her fingertips might be smaller in size compared to his own, the healing effect however, was greater than his own, due to to the Spirit’s Royal bloodline in her veins.

The wounds that Mika had healed were quickly closed, leaving no ugly scars whatsoever behind.

Those who had practised to use their Chi regularly, knew they could manipulate and use it as deadly weapons. Though, most of the time, it was the Spirits who often use their Chi as a secret weapon.

For Shinji, the only reason why he was able to use and manipulated his Chi was all due to his hard works, intensive training and studies.

Not forgotten the fact that he came from White Wolf Clan whose long bloodline was kept a secret from the others that had allowed him to use the Chi, as well as Purifying the Spirits.

“Leave that one to heal and do her other wounds.” Shinji ordered.

Mika mutely nodded and got up to do the other wounds.


Another hour and a half later, the job was finally done. By now, the heavily rain had stopped pouring.

Only the cold and windy drizzling greeted them and washed the blood away from their hands.

“How is she?” Kazuo asked, running toward them from the shelter.

“Safe, for now.” Shinji replied tiredly. The Healing Procedure had left him worn out.

“We’ve managed to heal most of her major wounds. however, she is still in needs of a doctor. How’s Guy doing?”

“He’d woken up a while ago.” Kazuo sighed. “He remembered what happened and nearly lose it all over again. I have no choice but to give him one of Suzumi’s heavily doze sleeping pill to keep him down. A small dose should knocked him out for a while. It was either that or I’d knock him out unconscious myself. Poor guy.”

Kazuo shook his head. He then pointed a finger at the unconscious girl on Mika’s back.

“You’d mentioned something about a doctor?”

Shinji brushed the soaked bangs on his forehead, and pushed them all the way to the back.

“If we head to the to the North-East from here, we might be able to find help. Obviously we can’t go anywhere in this condition.So let’s just head over there.”

“What can we expect there?” Kazuo asked wearily.

It would be a great pain in their arses if they were to encounter with any of the Luyas’ Knights or wild beasts given their current state.

They were literally outnumbered. Not to mention, Shinji and Mika, were both worn out and greatly exhausted from using too much of their Chi.

Kazuo deeply sighed. He needed to be strong for all of them.

“One of the Clan’s Family Branch lives there. So it’s a safe ground for all of us.” Shinji said, assuredly. “You remember Milla?”

Kazuo nodded. “I’ll go and get Guy then.”


Unknown to them all, someone had been spying on them using a binocular from one of the tree tops, not far away from where they were.

Tall and leaned muscular body covered with sporty an Eastern-Style black and yellow robe with a sleeveless top was all that was visible to see.

“Well, well... What do I have here?” A huskily voice spoke, hidden behind a yellow fox mask.

On his right hand, he held a cross-bow. Lifting the bow to the front, the man prepared to take an aim.

“Why hit one target when you can have both?” The man  grinned widely.

Expertly, the fox-mask man set his aim at the Spirit Princess and the young woman he had the pleasure of becoming his shooting target earlier, carried on her back.

He took an aim.

Inhaled a deep breath, and then exhaled.

And released the ironed arrow.

Swoosh — the sharp arrow flew at a rapid speed and would not stopped at nothing until it reached it’s target.

The Fox-masked man waited patiently for his arrow to hit the target. he waited for the shout and chaos to begin when out of nowhere, something incredibly fast countered his arrow and shot it down like a dead fly on the ground!

“What!? I-Impossible!"

His arrow was unlike any other arrows! It had been enchanted to do what the Archer told it to.


Shinji lifted his head when he heard the sound of an iron being smacked, followed by something fell down from the high trees. He took out with his gun, eyes looked sharply at those tall trees.

“Shinji.”

“Go. We’re almost there. Once we’ve stepped into the Clan’s territorial they can’t touch us.”

The trio made a dash for it.


Back to the man on the treetop, he let out a frustrated growl.

“Whoever did this, I won’t forgive or go easy on you!”

With his last hiss, the man disappeared in a huffed of smoke.

In less than a minute later after the man had gone, two figures emerged from the shadows.

“Well, Captain. What did I told you? Even Sage is involved with this.”

The young Captain nodded gravely at the comment of his Partner.

“We must not let anything happens to the Spirit Princess at any cost. If the usually laid-back Sage is also involved, then I need to have a word with Tal. He is getting out of hands these days. Perhaps he has forgotten our real purpose on helping the Spirit Queen.”

“Roger that.”


BLIND empty darkness surrounding her no matter how fast she tried to run.

Despite the worthless efforts, Luna Heartlets ran as fast as she could anyway.

The loud thumping sound of her own heartbeats and the screeching sound made by the Spirits were all that rang through her eardrums. It made her ran even harder and faster.

Again, Luna turned her head around and her surrounding changed from pitch darkness, to the burning town named Andania.

The Spirits, heartless horrible heartless monsters they were! They’d ruined everything and killed everyone who defied the Spirit Queen.

Luna did not know how far-fetched she had run, but she kept on running nonetheless with tears running down her cheeks. The surrounding view around her kept changing drastically but Luna didn’t care.

She had been running for days and didn’t stopped running for days until her feet reached the front gates of the City of Eden, where she had been stopped by the guards.

By then, her feet had given up on her and Luna fell face down on the grounds, much to the guards’ shocked.

"Bluebird!" Her voice was hoarse, from the lack of water when the guards had asked who she was.

Shortly after stating the secret code name, the guards had rushed to inform the others about her arrival.

More importantly, to inform the Lord himself the girl he had been waiting for had safely arrived.

Luna had then been taken into the depth of the city to meet with the Lord of Eden himself at his mansion.

Halfway there though, Luna had decided to run away, fearing if she stayed any longer, they would come after her and caused chaos to the city.

Captain Devone, who had been the one in charge of taking her to see the Lord, was speechless when she decided to flee.

While escaping from being chased by Eden's guards, running in the thick forest, Luna had heard something was coming swiftly and heading toward her.

Before she could turned her head around to see what it was, Luna felt something sharp and very painful went through her flesh.

Luna had shrieked painfully with tears in her eyes. She looked down at what had attacked her and found it had been ironed arrows, making holes on her skin.

More and more arrows kept on assaulting her and brought Luna down to her knees, before eventually she blacked out from severely blood loss.


“NO!”

Bright brown eyes opened widely as she gasped loudly after being awakened from that horrible nightmare.

Sweats were already formed on her forehead and soaked her body. Instantly, the young woman sat up and tried to catch her breaths.

Relax. It was just a dream. Luna told herself. A horrible dream!

Taking a long deep breath, the young woman closed her eyes and slow laid back on the soft mattress-

Wait. A mattress?

Luna reopened her eyes again.

There were two things that she noticed instantly at her new found surroundings:

One, there was on a soft mattress made from wool and cotton instead of the hard muddy ground which she’s currently sat on. Two, she had a clean white cotton dress on instead of the tore armour that she wore with a proud Luyas symbolic at the front. And finally, her body, head, and some parts of her arms and legs were all covered with bandages.

Who could possible...?

“I’m glad to see you’ve finally awake, Lady Luna.”

Luna was interrupted from her deep thoughts when a soft-spoken female voice suddenly spoke in the room. Instantly, Luna was amazed by the grace and beauty belonged to the older woman who was standing who stood near the door possessed and who had been the one who greeted her with a polite smile.

The woman had her long black hair tied up in a high ponytail, with small flowering decorations on her hair. She dressed in an Eastern-traditional clothes; a long sleeveless blouse with a wrapped around skirt.

The blouse was tucked into the skirt. On the top of the blouse, she wore three-quarter cotton made short jacket.

“Is something the matter, Lady Luna?” The woman asked quietly.

Luna blinked her eyes at the question addressed to her. She had been admiring the woman’s beauty the whole time that she did not realised she had been gawking at her!

Flushed, Luna scratched the back of her head and smiled awkwardly.

“Ah, forgive me! T-that was rude of me for staring. I couldn’t help but to admire the beauty and grace that you possessed, Miss.”

The older woman chuckled softly.

“Thank you for your compliment, Lady Luna. However, I do not think I should be the one whom you should admired. My beauty is no match with the likes of Lady Suzumi and Lady Hiira, after all. I am just a servant of this mansion.”

That statement brought Luna back to her main questions. Unfortunately, before she could address them the woman started to speak again.

“Rest assured, Milady. You are under the protection and currently residence in the mansion of the White Wolf Clan. Our Prince and his loyal entourages had found you badly wounded and unconscious in the forest not far away from here. It was His Royal Highness the Prince himself who had brought you here.”

“White Wolf Clan...” Luna blinked. “You mean THE White Wolf Clan?”

“That is correct.”

Luna’s jaws dropped. She had heard nasty words from the Noblemen and Senators. Even her father and brother have talked ills about them. yet here she was, in the jaws of the Clan itself.

Luna knew very little about the Clan with an exception that her family had a deep grudge against them. loathed and held a deep grudge against them.

Once, she had asked her brother why he he loathed the Clan so much and they had done to cause him such hatred. Luna soon regretted asking the question because as soon as she did, her usually gentle and kind brother bore a cold and hateful expression.

Since then, she tried to avoid talking about the matter.

The older woman still keeping a polite smile on her face at her guest’s reaction.

After all, His Royal Highness had given her a strict order to make sure the young girl was well enough to join them for lunch.

“If you are feeling all right, Milady, may I suggest for you take a nice long bath to refresh yourself and afterwards, have a good meal to eat?”

“That’s a good idea! Ah, but...”

“Yes?” Luna stumbled over her words. she raised her left arm difficultly. “Um, if it’s not too much of a trouble...”

Once again the older woman chuckled softly. She approached Luna to help removing the bandages.

“Your wounds should healed by now.” The woman said again, removing the bandages.

True to her words, not a single scratch was visible on Luna’s skin!

Luna was deeply amazed. Even the most expert doctors or healers in Luyas have left a very fine scratch marks after every surgery. But this, it was as if she had never been hurt at all!

“Unbelievable!” Luna exclaimed excitedly.

“Pardon, Milady?”

“Your doctor. He must be very skilled healer to be able to create such very fine invisible marks. Who is he? Oh, do please tell me!”

The beautiful servant silently smiled back at the young girl. She walked toward the wooden cupboard and pulled a new clean towel sheet for her guest to change.

“Perhaps once you have freshened up, Milady we could arrange a meeting with the doctor over a meal?”

Luna rapidly and happily nodded her head. “Sure!”

In all of her excitement, the young Lady had forgotten all about the bad dream.


After she had taken a long nice bath after days not taken any since she had left Luyas, Luna changed from the cotton robe into something more Noble-like; an expensive traditional Eastern-style outfit.

Oddly enough, her outfit was quite similar to the one that the servant, Milla, was wearing.

Luna quickly got herself dressed and ready when another servant knocked on her door and then escort her to the dining room where she would be joining a lunch meal with the Prince of the White Wolf Clan who had saved her life.

If Luna was to be truly honest with herself, she felt quite excited upon meeting with the said Prince. She had heard of the rumours regarding the White Wolf Prince from the women in Luyas, who said he was a good-looking, mysterious, strong lad and admired by both the local and Noblewomen, despite the Clan’s infamous reputation.

The fact that he was rarely seen in public or anywhere else had made his growing reputation increased and caught the many curious eyes of young women, herself included.

The fact that she was on her way to meet with the mysteriously famous man was making Luna’s heart flipped more than she willing it to.

Knowing that it had been him who saved her life nearly made her squealed in delight.

While Luna was aware that now was not the time to think about men of all things, she also couldn’t help to feel a bit self-conscious when they reached the dining room.

Using her fingers, she quickly brushed the strings of her hair to the back of her ears, while she waited for the servant to knock on the door.

Bowing her head lowly to everyone seated at the dining table, the servant announced Luna’s arrival.

“Come in.” A male voice came from the inside of the room. it made Luna’s heart raced.

Luna gracefully entered the room once she was given permission to do so. instantly, she was star-struck by the appearance of the handsomely good-looking Prince.

The man seated at the table, was wearing a tight black sleeveless mock turtle-neck. His deep purple eyes were staring intensively at her that it made Luna harder to breath.


SHINJI Karou rubbed his red and itchy nose for the tenth times while he waited for the Guest to arrive. To his left side was the Mistress of the house whom Shinji was well acquaintance with and whom he currently stayed over for short while, Milla Karou.

Milla was one of his many loyal subordinates and also, his first cousin on his maternal side. She was also one of the very few people whom Shinji closed with. Coincidentally enough, Milla also shared the same birthday date and year with his own sister, Suzumi.

Currently, they were waiting in the dining room for the young woman from Luyas to come and have a lunch with them.

Shinji, by all means, had not wanted to participate any of this little social event, not when he’d caught a damn cold. His head was spinning like a hurricane, and if Shinji was to be honest, he was still exhausted after using nearly all of his strength and energy to save the young woman’s life.

His thoughtful older cousin however, had kindly reminded him of his his Princely duty — that as the Prince, Shinji should greeted and welcomed his guest to his humble home, no matter what condition he was in.

Milla had also tempted him further by telling he could find out more about the situation in Luyas if h come and dined with them.

In the end, Shinji couldn’t resist the offer and before he knew it, he was already at the dining room with his cousin looking all too smugly about it.

“Oh my. Looks like you caught a bad cold after all, Your Highness.”

“Leave me alone.” Shinji choked on his cough.

“Stubborn as bull as ever, I see.” Milla smug. “You should listen to your elders, you know.”

Bright red lips smirked playfully across the dining table. A pair of Hazel eyes watched the Prince sipped on his hot cup of lemon tea.

When Shinji and his entourages had suddenly appeared unannounced in front of her doorsteps a day ago — drenched in soaked clothes, with pure and and clearly exhausted looks on their faces, Milla had remained speechless and did not know what to do.

Her first assumption had been the Main House had been under attack by the Spirits and the Prince had been forced to flee here for shelter and protection.

When Shinji had explained to her that was not the case and had quickly asked her to take a look at the unconscious young woman on his Chosen Apprentice’s back, and also looked at a young man being supported by another man, whom, Milla recognized immediately and actually cringed when she remember the incident that happened the Clan’s dinner party sometime around last year.

Nevertheless, Milla had shoved all unnecessarily at the back of her mind and quickly began to treat the young woman as prior ordered by Shinji.

“I see you’d finally managed to see her again. How do you feel, Your Highness?” Milla asked playfully in a singing tone.

Shinji had told her everything that had happened until now including his reunion with Mika after she had done treating everyone.

“What are you talking about?”

“Oh, you do know what I’m talking about. Or do I need to spell it out for you?”

“Save your breath, woman. I don’t give a f-”

Knock, knock. A gentle knocking on the door had interrupted their small chats.

A servant entered the room to inform them their guest’s arrival.

Both Shinji and Milla adjusted their seats before nodding their heads. Shinji had then called out for Luna to come in.


Four pairs of eyes landed on the flushed girl the moment she entered the dining room. Luna’s eyes was entirely fixed on the White Wolf Prince. She didn’t even took noticed the woman who was sitting beside him was the same ‘servant’ whom she had met earlier.

Meanwhile, Milla had a hard time trying to hide the amused looking grin that threatened to spread on her face. She had to cover her face with a fan.

From the corner of her eyes, she looked at her younger cousin who remained calm and polite as he formally introduced himself to the young lady.

He didn’t ever realized how red the poor girl’s face was.

Milla’s grin widened.

He was clearly uncomfortable with the situation.

Despite growing up in mostly female domination, Milla knew Shinji was never good when it comes to women who showed signs of interest in him.

He would either coldly turned them down and ignored their wits and pleads until they got bored of him and went away, or he would act oblivious to the affections.

Shinji knew sooner or later they would given up on him.

After the formal introduction, Shinji offered the young woman to choose whichever seats that she liked. For which Luna had complied and taken the one opposite him.

Once she seated the servants bought over the meals.

Awkward wordless silence filled in between them as they ate their meals.

Luna fidgeted her fingers, trying her best to reduce the increasingly blush on her face. Finally decided someone should break the silence, she took a deep breath and gathered her courage to make the first move.

Luna spoke with a gentle voice, the one she often used whenever she needed to mingle with the young Noblemen during functions and balls.

“It’s a great honour to finally meeting with you, Your Royal Highness. I-I’ve heard plenty stories about you. Mostly good and interesting ones, that is.”

Shinji nodded. “Thank you, Milady. And the pleasures are all mine.” Shinji briefly nodded. He then with one hand, to his left side.

“You’ve met Milla before, yes? She’s the Mistress of this household and also, the doctor whom had saved your life.”

Luna’s eyes were big as the saucers and she gasped loudly.

“She’s the doctor? But how? I-I mean, with all due respect Milady, I didn’t expect you to be a doctor at all! I-I mean.. What I mean is, you don’t look anything what a doctor should look like at all!”

“Oh?” Milla raised one eyebrow. “Prey tell me then, Milady. How does a doctor as y status looks like? With blood stained hands, maybe?”

Luna looked down in embarrassed. Internally, she cursed herself for her big mouth.

“I’m sorry... I didn’t mean to sound offensive. Honest! I merely did not expect someone like you would have the title doctor. That’s all. Um, thank you so much for saving my life!”

“Not a problem at all.” Milla smiled back, taking no hard feelings at all. “How are you feeling?”

“I feel good. Refresh even, thanks to you!” Luna said cheerfully.

Shinji who kept his mouth shut and had been observing the conversion and situation the whole time, noticed something was definitely amiss about the said young woman.

His gaze went from Milla to Luna who were animatedly deep in conversation and stopped there.

“You.” Shinji put down his fork.

“Y-yes?” Luna blinked, surprised at the sudden interruption by the Prince.

“Do you know exactly where you are?”

Luna was taken back at his question.

“Well, this is the White Wolf Clan’s mansion is it not?” Luna turned her head round to Milla. “You were the one who’d told me this is the White Wolf Clan’s mansion.”

“Correct. This mansion and the lands surrounding this area are all belong to the White Wolf Clan. Nobody could trespass this lands so easily without being checked by my men first.” Shinji spoke in a manner too calmly that even Milla found it a little bit intimidating.

“My question is, after all that you had been through, how on Earth do you possibly be this cheerful and filled with bright sunshine? You almost died!"

Luna’s face looked troubled. Her eyes gazed down on the spotless Oak floors.

“Your Highness,” Milla tugged the man hard by his sleeves under the table. “Perhaps you are being a bit too mean and harsh on her? Considering how the poor girl had only just woken up this afternoon?” she whispered lowly.

Shinji exhaled deeply. His eyes moved from Milla on his left to the troubled looking young woman before him.

Clearing his throat, Shinji said, “Listen, I don’t like to waste time any more than you do, I’m sure. So let’s just cut the chase — I wanna know what happened to Luyas and how did you managed to escape from there?”

A minute passed in deep silence after Shinji had asked the questions. Luna, for better or worse, kept her head lowered and fingers playing the edge of the ribbons of her long outfit.

All cheerfulness that she had displayed a while ago,literally vanished.

“...There was,” Luna softly whispered a moment later. “An attack in Luyas by the Spirits.”

One tear fell down on her right cheek.

“Almost every Knights that we have were either dead or being forced to pledge their loyalty to the Spirit Queen. If they don’t, they’ll get executed. Immediately. All these things happened because of my father. He’d betrayed everyone. His family, his people and his kingdom. He’d even betrayed his own race!”

Shinji and Milla listened to the story with empathy and sympathetic looks on their faces.

Milla stood up and walked over to the other side of the table.She then sat down beside the sobbing girl and patted her back.

Luna clenched her fists on the napkin that was on her laps. Angry tears kept rolling down on her cheeks.

“Even the Commandant,” She sobbed. “C-commandant Grants and the Vice-Commandant were captured, tortured and had been locked away in a dungeon!”

“How did you manage to get out of there?” Milla asked again softly. She handed the tissue to Luna.

“Before Lord Andania and his whole family’s execution, Lord Andania had been secretly writing a letter to Lord Eden and The Master Oracle, requesting for helps. After they had been executed, I’d managed to sneak out of the Castle and went to his place, hoping to find something II might be able to give to Lord Eden. That was when I saw the letter the late Lord Andania had craftily written down for Lord Eden. Wasting no time, I found my way out of Luyas, with the letter in hand. Of course, I should have known that I was being followed by the Queen’s minions, sent by her Right-Hand man who was also the Commandant-In-Charge of the invasion; a dangerous man named Tal. I dared not to stay in Eden no matter how much they persuaded me it would be safe for me to stay. So I ran. I ran until I was further from from the city, into the forest when I heard a clang sound. Before I knew it, I was already on the ground, in deep pain, bleeding and my world had darkened.”


A moment passed by after Luna had finished telling them her story.

After Luna dried up her tears and finished her meals, Milla called out a stand-by servant to take her to meet with someone special; someone whom she had not seen for a long while.

“No need to fret, my dear. I assure you that you’ll will be very happy to see him. Now go on! I’m sure you lots have a lot of catching up on.” Milla waved with a sincere smile as the servant too took Luna away.

Once the young woman had left the room, the tensed atmosphere quickly filled in the air.

“So, what do you think?”

“Obviously, we don’t have any more time to waste. If they are heading toward Eden, then the situation in Luyas is much worse than we all had previously thought.”

“I’d contacted the Main House earlier today and I have spoken with Lady Hiira. She said that they’re managing well at the moment and will lend out any required assistance to Lord Eden’s Retrieval Team once they arrive. Lady Hiira would also like me to inform you that the the Black Raven Clan is helping out as well.”

“Hn,” Shinji scoffed. “That bastard Toya always a show off, doesn’t he?”

“Hmm, I sense jealousy.” Milla whispered playfully. “He’s a married man now, that Toya. And a father.”

Shinji choked on his tea. “Father? That man actually fathered a child? I found it so very hard to believe.”

Milla rolled her eyes. “Anyhow, I managed to ask Lady Hiira to send out your congratulation

regards to Prince Toya and his wife for their newborn. Have you heard? It’s a daughter.”

“Whatever.” Shinji snorted. “It doesn’t concerns me.”

Shinji looked at the clock hanging on the wall above them: three-forty five.

“We will leave first thing tomorrow morning.” He announced. “Thanks for everything, Milla. I owe you one.”

“Oh, hush you! After all, what’s a family for?” Milla smiled warmly at him. “But...” She ran her fingers on his arm.

“If you would like want to repay me, you could get me that new pair of earrings they have on sale in Eden at a very ridiculously expensive price. When everything is safe and sound again, of course. No rush, Your Highness.”

Shinji made a loud snort, and laughed as he got up to his feet.


AT an opened and spacious greenery field, two figures stood in fighting stances. One was holding onto a silver chained sickle while his opponent was armed with a pair of twin blades.

“Here it comes!” Kazuo cried out, bringing forth the chained sickle.

A flash of silver stroke toward him as Mika bought her own twins blades toward him, which Kazuo easily deflected using the pole of the sickle.

Mika jumped a few steps back, keeping her distance.

Kazuo threw another chain toward her, when she suddenly disappeared in the thick air — and reappeared behind him!

“Shit!” Kazuo quickly rolled over the side. he nearly got skewered when Mika lurched the blades toward him while in the mid-air.

Kazuo managed to roll on the side, and was just about to counter an attack when — he ducked with his head buried the ground and his hands covered his head, just in time as a flying blade that was aiming for his head flew at him in rapid speed — and shot on the tree.

Kazuo cracked one eye opened.Vermilion eyes searched widely for any attack coming from his opponent. When he saw none, only then did he slowly got up.

“Mika?” Kazuo asked very slowly.

The Spirit Princess was gasping and wiping the sweats on her forehead using her sleeves.

Her eyes, were narrowed and glowed in unusually dark Emerald colour. Her face was darkened when she looked down on the grass, was unlike the usual — she bore the look of a hunter, a predator.

“Mika...?” A sweat was running down his cheek and spine.

Mika stopped wiping her forehead.

When she turned her head around, Kazuo was already preparing himself to run. He was expecting to face with a psychotic Spirit back in Andania.

From what Shinji had told him, a wild, uncontrollable, and psychotic Mika was a deadly dangerous Mika.

Kazuo should immediately run for his life, if ever something bad happened to the jade bracelet wrapped around on her right wrist.

Instead, a familiar friendly face greeted him.

“Are you hurt, Kazuo? Sorry, I got carried away just now.” Mika said, with an apologetic smile.

The smile quickly faded when she noticed the look on the older man’s face.

“Kazuo? You look pale. Are you okay?”

Kazuo shook his head. He let out a goofy smile.

“Jeez, Princess. When ye had said ye wanna to spar to let out some steams, I didn’t know ye were actually planning to kill me!”

“I’m sorry!” Mika quickly got beside him and checked for any injuries she might have cost him. “I don’t know what got over me all the sudden! You’re not seriously hurt, are you?”

Kazuo’s calloused fingers grabbed on her wrist and suddenly he pulled her closer. One hand was caressing her damped cheek, much to Mika’s shock.

“Is this because I often flirt with other girls and you don’t like it? You wanna keep me to aaaaaallll for yourself, don’cha sweetheart? Admit it! You have fallen your head over heels with me!”

Mika smiled ever so politely at him. So much that the man had to wonder she won’t split her mouth. Kazuo could swear on everything that’s Holy, she she learned to Master that ‘icy polite smile’ technique from Guy.

“Sorry I’d almost killed you back then.”

Kazuo made a dramatic gesture at his heart, now broken at her lack of empathy.

“I’m hurt ye don’t feel the same way as I do, hun!” Mika laughed at his dramatic acting.

Kazuo smiled. He liked it a lot when she laughed like that.


Laying on his back, with two of his arms spread widely on the green gassy field, all the while letting the cool wind blew at them, Kazuo decided this was absolutely perfect to ask the question that been bothering him.

“Ye know Mika, I gotta admit, ye have grown stronger since the last time we’d sparred. Looks like Shinji’s hard drilled training finally paid off, huh?”

Mika lowered her head with a small smile.While it was true that she had gotten stronger all thanks to Shinji’s harsh intensive training, the Princess still felt vary when it comes of killing the enemies.

Humans and Spirits.

Oh, Mika had no problem handling with wild beasts. Regardless, when it comes to those two, the feeling of uncertainty came in a rush and she ended up freezing on spot.

Mika knew she must try to overcome her fear in order for her to complete the mission so that she would not be a burden to her companions.

Silence filled in the air, as she allowed the soft cool winds whispered and kissed her face. Beside her, Kazuo had closed his eyes and enjoying the wind as well.

“I’ve been wanting to ask ye. Why did ye refused when Shinji’s offer to eat lunch with them and — whatshernameagain — Luna?”

A nod from the Princess.

“Right, Luna. A friend of yours, isn’t she?”

Mika stayed quiet.

At her deep silence, Kazuo decided he could wait until the Princess was ready to speak.

Mika pulled up both knees closer to her chest and hugged them.

“I’m scared.” It was a soft tiny whispered, but he heard it very clearly.

“Honestly, I’m terrified that if I meet up with Luna again, she would tells me to go away again. I could handle rejection from other people. I’m already used of their mistreatment toward me. But if...”

Her mouth started to tremble.

“If anyone of you people were to reject me now, I would definitely...”Mika buried her face into her knees. Her body was shaking at this point. Soft sniffles could be heard coming from the Princess.

Kazuo watched in sorrowful silence. In his usual state, he would have scooped her in his arms in seconds and told her that “they would never ever reject her no matter what. She means too much for them.”

Kazuo but decided against it. The Princess needed this moment of privacy to let out everything that she had been bottled up.He did however, put a large hand gently on her back and patted it softly, hoping he could at least soothed the sobbing just a little bit.

“You know, Mika,” Kazuo said after a moment. “I don’t think she hates you as much as you’d thought. Or even hates you at all.”

Mika lifted her head at him, rubbing her red and puffy eyes.

“I don’t know what had happened between the two of ye, but judging from what Guy had told me, I think that your friend Luna,was just envious of ye. Because you have what she longed to have — a strong-will to overcome anything.”

Mika looked up to him, waiting for him to continue.

“Until up till this point, everybody expected you to be dead or fell down in misery. After all, who could possible live in a world surrounded by enemies? But the fact is, that you’ve strive you way up to the top regardless of what, and even became the favourite Knight of the ‘Demon’ Commandant of your Brigade. That’s some achievement and accomplishment, I tell ye!”

Kazuo smirked.

“Now, I may not be from a Nobel or High- Class family, but I’ve seen a lot from on Shinji’s Clan and his affiliates. For Luna, who had been living her whole life to live out the high expectations of other people around her, and then found out that someone who from the lower-class suddenly raised from the bottom to the top and beat her up to it, you can only imagined the pressure that she must have felt from her bastard of a Father, right?”

Mika nodded her head slowly. “I suppose I could understand that part.”

“The point is, both you and Luna are still young. It’s common for you two feel that kind of enviousness towards other people’s success. It’s how you dealt with the problem and afterwards that really counts. And knowing you, Princess,”

Kazuo affectionately patted her head. “You’ll make a right choice when the time comes. Because you are Mika.”

Mika’s face turned slightly red at the smile the man was given her. It wasn’t his usual cocky smile or trademark grin at all. Instead, it was a gentle sincere smile.

A sound of footsteps approaching caused them to turn their heads to the direction. The footsteps then stopped a few distance away from where the two of them were sitting.

Mika softly gasped.

“Luna.”


WITH hands clenched tightly together in front and her beautiful brown eyes looked anywhere else but her, was none other than Luna Heartlets, flanked by three White Wolf guards.

 

One of the guard stepped forward and bowed his head formally to both Mika and Kazuo.

“Milady and Sir Kazuo, we are under direct orders from His Highness the Prince to watch over the young Lady Luna who wishes to see you, Milady Mika. Sir Kazuo, His Highness the Prince has also requested your presence as soon as possible.”

Kazuo raised an eyebrow with his arms crossed at his chest at the formal words said to him buy the guard.

Interesting.

Kazuo smiled — almost a smirk.

For Shinji to have the guard to address him this way could only mean one thing; he knew the Princess was with him and sent out a very subtly message that he not too pleased with it.

After all, why else would he’d asked the guard to address him formally? Everyone had known him and had had been addressing him informally for years. Why bothered to start now?

Kazuo snorted. As if he would listen to him.

Kazuo picked up his chained sickle on the grassy ground. He turned to the two silence and awkward girls. His eyes fell on the other woman.

Usually Kazuo would instantly hitting on any woman his eyes fell on in a heart beat, regardless who she was. This time though, he’d thought he let it passed.

A warm hand patted on her left shoulder shook Mika from her stunned state. Looking to her her left, her eyes instantly met with Kazuo with his trademark smirk.

“Boys!” His suddenly announced. “IT’S PARTY TIME!”

With one full swing, he slung and wrapped an arm around one of the guard’s neck and dragged him back to the mansion.

The other two guards looked at each other before they hurriedly to catch up to their friend.

“Sir Kazuo! Sir Kazuo, please wait! We are under absolute order from His Highness Prince Shinji not to leave the young Lady alone-”

“They’ll be fine! I swear yer damn Prince acts more than a mother hen! Worrying about little things like this. Jeez!” Kazuo snorted again, loudly this time.

“I-If you say so, Sir Kazuo.”

“Look,if anything does happens to them, I’ll take full responsibility. Until then, let’s go and knock ourselves out with drinks, men! My treats!”

The guards who were initially worried about leaving their duties, were all too happy, cheerful and forgotten about their duties when the man announced his drink treats.

Little did they knew how regretful they would be when hours later, when Milla found out them sprawling on the ground, drunk beyond anything else, she had ultimately unleashed her famous rage to all men involved.


Time seemed to have moved slowly as the two childhood friends stood on their guards, without any words spoken between them and merely just stared at each other.

Not able to bear any more of the silence the silence, Mika took the first step forward. One trembled hand reached out for the other girl — only for the latter to resist.

Mika hesitatingly pulled her hand back. She watched sadly as Luna’s clenched her fists tightly, head lowered and eyes on the ground.

“I,” Luna spoke in shaking voice. “Have always... Always been the second best next to you.” She gulped before continued.

“The Commandant has always favours you over me. He looked up to you more than he had ever done to me. Ever since we were at the Knight’s Academy — even though I had been the first between the two of us to enter the Academy as a trainee.” Luna spoke bitterly, with a slightly disgusted expression.

Mika listened quietly.

“But when you were exiled from Luyas, I felt guilty for what had happened. Back at the Enchanted Forest, the guilt was already eating me up. It had gotten worsen when my own brother had decided to leave the Kingdom in order to search for you. That was when I understood what true loneliness means.”

Puffy eyes with tears threatened to fall down on her cheeks again, Luna lifted her head and finally looked at Mika.

“I’m sorry, Mika.” As soon as those words left her mouth,

the Spirit Princess pulled her into a hug.

All those years of growing up together.Precious and priceless memories they had shared together. How could she ever think of throwing them away? Luna was her best friend.

More importantly, she was her sister — her family.

Mika had decided months ago, that if she would ever meet her again, she would forgive her.

“I forgive you. No matter what happens, you are still a family to me, Luna. Even if you hate me, loathe me, I will still accept you as my sister.”

Luna instantly broke down to tears as she returned the hug.

“I... I want to go back to Luyas. But I don’t want to go back alone!”

Mika waited. Tears were rolling down on her cheeks as well.

“H-His Royal Highness Prince Shinji had given me permission to return to Luyas when I said I would like to help fighting the invaders. I want to do something to save my Kingdom. Our Kingdom. Although, I don’t know if I can actually have the courage to fight them, but still, I would like to do something rather than just waiting for the news. Even helping them medically would be enough for me. He said I can go there with the reinforcement force. And that I would be under their protection at all times. How kind of him to do that.” Luna laughed dryly.

Her face now red at the mentioned of the White Wolf Prince.

“You would like to go back?” Mika pulled her friend a bit away to have a good look at her.

Luna mutely nodded.

“I see. I understand.” Mika smiled.

“I’ve met with brother earlier before I came here. He said he needed some time to let everything sinks in and to think through. I’d asked him if he would like to come with me just now but he looked tired, so I’d told him to give me his answer by tomorrow morning.”

“That would be wise.”

Both girls shared another hug and laughed before they walked back to the mansion with happy smile plastered on their happy faces.

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