Lily narrowly avoided the tip of the spear. She quickly raised her long sword to defend against the blunt end of the spear coming straight for her face. Her arms were aching from the pain,

she gritted her teeth and tried to use the momentum to throw her opponent off balance.

Pushing the spear aside, she closed in to the much bigger opponent, who kept a stoic face

and sidestepped her tackle. He prepared for a wide sweep with the spear, but his vision was impaired by the dust Lily had just picked up and thrown straight at his face, following up with a short stab.

The man had no choice but to change the trajectory of his strike. Nevertheless, his strike still managed to cut at her arm, creating a deep gash from which blood gushed out.

As she lost grip on her sword, the man came around to punch her in the gut, sending her flying away. Covered in her own blood, dirt and sand, a smile appeared on her face as she tried to focus her hazy eyes on the opponent.

Seeing the expression on the girls face, the man got back into a combat stance.

A golden light started to coat his spear, expanding the tip by a few inches.

Seeing her dazzling smile, any mans heart would flutter if not for all the blood and grime on her face. Her smile turned into a full blown grin and the bystanders could not help but shiver at her visage.

They quickly exchanged blow after blow, too fast for most bystanders to even follow.

Each defending blow felt like crashing into a solid boulder. She had to imagine it could as well be a troll hitting her. More cuts and bruises started to appear on her body.

Yet, seeing that her opponent still hesitated to go all out, her face turned red.

She roared and made a big strike that contained all her power,

her opponent deflected the strike, using a complex parry to use her own strength to disarm her.

Finally, he gave her a hard kick so that she fell limp on the ground.

”Young Miss, I believe this is enough for today, ” the golden glow on the mans weapon slowly faded, while he checked on the girls condition. Immediately many servants came rushing over and started tending to the wound of the young lady.

Lillia Valette woke up to the sound of her father nagging her while standing next to her bed.

”I cannot believe you still behave this way at your age, still fooling around with swords like a damn tomboy! You are the daughter of a red star! Act like one!

You knew exactly that you were going to depart tomorrow. If this is your way of trying to tell me that you do not want to go, then you can forget it.

No matter if you are injured or not, you will leave for the capital tomorrow morning.

As you show no interest in the family trade, at least make yourself useful and make some connections. ”

King Edmund Valette shook his head and then started to proceed in a softer tone.

”Lily, you will become an adult in just two years. You need to grow up.

Remember this well, child.

There are only two kinds of people in this world: chess pieces and the one who moves them.

Decide for yourself what you want to be. ” he hurriedly left the room, not turning back.

Inside a luxurious big room, warm sunlight streamed into the room, which was decorated with various art pieces and fresh flowers. Tapestry with golden embroidery coverd the walls.

In stark contrast to the rest of the decor, on the shelves lay many weapons, well-used pieces of equipment and multiple racks for armor were erected next to them.

”I can believe that bastard is still so strong ” while pacing around the room she grabbed a Vase and threw it against the tapestry.

Covered in many bandages, she kept pacing around the room, occasionally hitting the side of her bed with her fist until she finally stopped before a desk.

She leaned with both hands on it and looked at a piece of paper that was sprawled above it.

cruel and almost unreadable handwriting adorned the page. Lily kept staring at the page.

Her hazy eyes slowly lost focus, until drops of tears started to flow down towards the paper.

She fell to her knees clutching a piece of paper as if it was her Lifeline. After a while, she got back up, wiped the tears and snot from her face. She walked over towards a light candle and started to burn the letter.

”The time is not right yet, I need to be better prepared. Father is right, I should take things into my own hands. I can even win against Sebastian, I would only die a miserable death at Bellum. ”

She took a bag from under her bed, opened it up and pulled out a purse full of coins, food, clothes, a dagger and other supplies. After storing away all the evidence, she took a few deep breaths yet she could not calm down.

The servants outside thought the worst was over, as the sounds of the vase breaking and the young mistress hitting things stopped. Yet at that instance, loud smashing sounds could be heard again from the inside. They did not cease for almost half an hour.

After the young mistress left, the servants gasped in shock. If they had not seen the princess leave earlier, they would have believed some wild animal had been trapped inside for weeks.

The next morning, Lillia Valett, still covered in bandages, strode confidently towards the carriage; the luxurious vehicle was being pulled by four white horses; three dozen knights were on standby ready to escort her.

The head knight quickly went over, kneeled before her and said hurriedly:

”Princess, everything is ready for your departure. ”

”Sebastian, now you
e playing all nice but just yesterday you had no problems beating me to a pulp. ” she puffed out her cheeks and turned her head away.

Droplets of sweat appeared on the Knights forehead.

”My lady, please forgive me. Punish me as you see fit. ”

”By that old **er Morning Star, you guys are always way too serious! Putting duty above everything.You can even get a simple joke. ”

She flicked the Knights helmet only to cringe at the pain.

The snickering knights were soon silenced by Sebastians piercing gaze.

”My lady please do not use the emperors name like any sailor. ”

Lily waved her hand dismissively and entered the beautiful carriage.

Soon after, the convoy departed from a manor on the outskirts of Lazuli,

the capital city of Lasurstein.

Several days later…

”Sebastian, tell me whats going on or do you think Im stupid? ”

Lily crossed her two arms and stared down at Sebastian, who had just opened the carriage door for her.

”My lady, I guarantee you everything is in order. We will arrive in about a weeks time in the Empires capital. ” he turned his head away, not looking into her eyes, and started to unload the camping gear.

Lily got out of the carriage and grabbed a giant two-headed axe from a nearby knight and headed towards a big oak tree.

Carefully positioned herself, drew the axe back in a wide arc.

Then she swung with full force.

”First. Do you seriously want me to believe that our royal carriage broke down and we had to use this second grade one? ” A loud and crisp sound rang out as the battle axe sank deep into the side of the tree.

”Second. The number of knights that are escorting us has been getting fewer with each city we have passed. ” As she swung a second time and pulled the axe straight out of the tree, wood chips flew in every direction as a triangle-shaped hole remained in the tree.

She slowly walked towards the other side, carefully placed just above the Triangle, steady to feed and pulled her arms back.

”Third. Why the ** is everyone wearing a disguise like they are fugitives? ” The oak creaked as it fell towards the knights, who were until now avoiding looking at their Liege.

They immediately started to scramble in all directions. The princess cleared a few branches away, sat on the tree trunk, crossing her arms and looked up with one raised eyebrow at Sebastian.

He trembled slightly while falling on one knee before her.

”Please don hold it against the others. Everything you mentioned is true. I thought of it as a safety measure. ”

Lily nodded at him with her chin signaling him to continue.

”We have reason to believe that there is a traitor in your fathers faction. I do not know the details but I was informed by a trusted source that our departure had long been known to the wrong kind of people. ”

The princess had a grim expression on her face, still not saying a word.

”If there is an attack, it will likely not be on you but for an item that we have been asked to transport, though only I, your father and the person who asked him for this favor know about it. ”

Sebastian got back up and signaled her to follow him, as he entered back into the carriage.

Soon after, Lily had a small wooden box in her hands.

”What exactly is so valuable that they would dare to rob a red star? ” she said while shaking the item. She kept trying to open the box, yet the only thing she could find was a slight glow emanating from the box.

”Whats up with that? ”

”Just a simple seal, I will be alerted if its taken out of the hiding spot. Sadly, it only works for a short distance. ”

Sebastian just shook his head.

”This has nothing to do with us. I want you to remember just one thing.

You have no obligation to defend this item. Please always consider your safety first. ”

This time her head knight looked at her with a firm gaze.

Lily nodded absentmindedly, still staring at a little chest and wondering what could be inside.

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