Hi! Here I am, with a new chapter. I hope you like it and, of course, thank you for the reviews.
Chapter Two: They are perfect for each other
King Anton Peacecraft sat in a throne-like chair and rested his ice-blue eyes on his three most trusted men. The long white-blond hair and beard he had let him look like the calm ruler he was known for while his hands laid intertwined in his lap. "My lords, let's commence our conference." He said to the three men who all were seated around a big oak table and looked at their king. "What's on the agenda?"
The advisor Quinze, training captain Rashid and baron Raberba Winner, the treasurer of Sanc congregated once weekly with the king to discuss the issues of the kingdom. A tradition which had been established years ago by the former ruler to have survey of Sanc and proved itself as very helpful to reign over the kingdom.
"My king, the first issue which is needed to be discussed concerns your children, prince Milliardo and princess Relena." Quinze, the oldest of them decided to begin to speak.
The king raised his bushy brows. "In what way?" He asked.
"Well," the advisor took his pince-nez from his nose and looked at him, "your daughter is seventeen and your son already twenty-one, and neither of them is married." He stopped for a moment to see if Anton was going to say something, but when he only looked at him the grey-haired advisor spoke on. "Sire, I know, it's not incumbent upon me to decide when the prince and the princess shall marry, though as your highest advisor it is my duty to point out to you that prince Milliardo and princess Relena will only be able to become the successor to the throne if they are married."
The king nodded his head. "I know, Quinze. I know."
Quinze nodded, too, to support his statement. "Additional you must decide who the future ruler will be. Milliardo or Relena?"
"Relena." A female voice answered the question.
All eyes in the room turned to the red-haired woman who sat next to the king. "Relena is going to be the next ruler." The queen repeated herself.
"My queen? May I ask why?" Quinze questioned her.
"Of course you may." That Nancy Peacecraft was no member of the weekly conference didn't keep her from deciding some of the things her husband and his men discussed about, especially when their children were involved. "Lord Quinze, if I get you right, you are trying to achieve the organization of a suitor ball." She started to reason her decision.
"That was my intention, my lady, yes." He confirmed the queen's assumption.
"Well, for Milliardo, a suitor ball would be in vain because he has already found the woman he wants to marry." The queen said. Quinze wanted to say something but Nancy stopped him. "I know what you want to say. That it is great that he has a fiancée. Yes, it is great. The only problem is when Milliardo marries the woman he is in love with he won't be entitled to the throne."
The advisor frowned. "Are you trying to tell us that the prince is in love with a woman from a lower class?" Indignation resonated in his voice as he thought of the bare imagination of the prince in love with a daughter of a farmer or worse a maid. That was definitely a thing what shouldn't be.
Queen Nancy nodded. "Yes, so it is."
'An unacceptable relationship.' Quinze thought watching how nobody got upset. 'And no one seems to care about it.' For him it was clear, he would do everything in his power to cut off this relationship. "Do you know who the lady is who has captured prince Milliardo's heart?" He wanted to know.
The queen shook her head. "No, I'm afraid, I can't help you with this." She said. That this was a lie didn't matter to her. Of course she did know who the woman was, but she didn't trust Quinze enough to tell it to him. The love life of her son was none of his business.
Anton grasped his long beard as he watched the exchange of words between his wife and his advisor. 'Milliardo is in love with woman who is no noblewoman.' He thought. 'Well, why not.' The year the prince was born Nancy and himself decided that their children wouldn't be promised to somebody as it was common in other kingdoms. They should get the possibility of choosing their own mate, even from another class. "Yes, I think Relena would make a good queen." He said without looking at somebody. "So let's hold a suitor ball for her this weekend." He continued. His eyes wandered to every person at the table. "Is that alright with you?"
A unanimous nod was his answer.
"Good, now let's proceed to the next issue." He said.
Rashid who along with baron Winner had been silence till now cleared his throat. The issue he was going to address was a very personal subject to him. "My king, I think it's time we take the next step pertaining to the bandits." Ten years ago when he started working in the castle he learned the horrible thruth about those bandits. He remembered how he told the king with a smile how he had nearly caught the girl. He also remembered how the smile on his face froze as king Anton had explained to him who those bandits were. People, no beasts who had destroyed his life.
"Are the knights and soldiers ready for it?" Anton asked him.
The brown-haired man nodded. "Yes, sire, they are. All we have to do now is send out a troop to find their hideout and then we can strike."
King Peacecraft closed his eyes. "Alright, send out a troop and inform me if they find the hideout." He replied. "I know what we owe the people of Mibury."
The training field was crowded. Every soldier, and every knight of the kingdom had gathered on the green lawn for the daily training and waited for their captain.
Everyone. And everyone was staring at the blue-haired young man who had a confused look in his eyes.
'Why are they staring at me?' Hilde thought. The 100 feet long and 100 feet wide, treeless area she stood on offered enough space for the training and was the complete opposite to the other woody places of the court. Still it didn't explain why she got these stares.
Was a new face in Sanc that rare that the other men couldn't help but stare? Hilde shook her head. Certainly not. What was it then? Did they find out she was a woman?
Moved by fear she looked down on her. She hadn't changed anything on her clothes yet. She wore the same trousers and tunic as she wore when she had arrived earlier this day and her chest was bound to hide her breasts. She didn't look like a woman at all.
Maybe Wufei had told them. Her eyes darted to her black-haired friend who stood with folded arms next to the prince and the remaining four elite knights They were the only persons not staring at her. 'Impossible. Wufei didn't tell them something.' She told herself. The onyx eyed man wouldn't advise her to always use the voice of a man and then disclose her secret. It was illogical. And Wufei Chang wasn't illogical.
She was about to turn her head away from them as her eyes met with the ones of Duo Maxwell. He hold her gaze for a moment and then started to grin. An evil grin.
Now, Hilde was sure. Something was going on. The question was what?
The two guards from the gate approached her. "I admire you. I couldn't be as calm as you if I was in your position." One of them said. He had short dark brown hair and brown eyes. The other one looked almost the same. "We haven't introduced ourselves yet. I'm Abdul and that's Auda." He spoke again and pointed to himself and his friend.
Perplexity showed itself in Hilde's face. "What do mean, couldn't be as calm as me?" She questioned the two.
Auda and Abdul looked at each other. "Don't tell us, you came to Sanc without ever hearing of Rashid Kurama? We thought, you knew him because you had been so nervous at the gate." Auda replied, turning to her.
Hilde hesitated. What should she say. She didn't know who this Rashid was. None-the-less she needed an explanation for her nervousness at the gate. Whenever you have to lie stick as near to the truth as possible. The sentence Treize had said to her as she left the hideout to ride to the castle, recurred in her mind. "I don't know much about him." She started telling them. "I've heard he is very demanding and that his training is very hard." She invented.
The guards´ jaws dropped. "Oh my! He really doesn't know it!" Abdul put his hands to his head. "He has blue hair and he doesn't know it. I can't believe it." He muttered a few times before he turned to look at her again. "Okay, listen, alright? I guess you're asking yourself why everybody is staring at you, right?" He didn't wait for Hilde to answer his question. "You see, years ago Rashid worked as a fruit seller in the near village and was robbed-"
"Several times robbed." Auda cut in on him.
"by always the same girl. This girl who he wasn't able to catch was a bandit of this forest-"
"and had blue hair." Auda added ignoring the glare he got from Abdul for interrupting him. "And this peculiar brat, as he prefers to call her, is in his bad books. She has always escaped him and therefore is his prime example for our weakness."
"You shouldn't dare to tease him about her, at least not when he is around. As to the stares, since you are blue-haired and everybody is aware that a furious Rashid is no good Rashid, no one on this field wants to be in your shoes. Because whenever Rashid sees blue he sees red." They both snickered at the last sentence.
Hilde needed a few seconds to register their words. Fruit seller in the village? Robbed? Blue-haired girl? It couldn't be him, could it? It couldn't be her fruit seller. The one she had robbed over months. The one who had nearly caught her. The one who threatened her with a good thrashing, if he ever got her. She hoped not.
"There he comes." She heard Auda say and looked into the direction he nodded towards. Her eyes fell on a familiar tall man, familiar brown eyes and a familiar brown beard. Familiar as in I've-robbed-you-ten-years-ago-familiar.
Only one word was spinning in Hilde's mind.
Rashid walked to the training field. His face lifted to the sky he smirked as he saw the cloudless blue above him. The perfect weather for the training. Not that raininess wouldn't be a perfect weather, too. Rashid was a man who loved to train his trainees in the worst weather, though today he was glad that Petrus had let the sun shine. When a new trainee arrived sunshine was still the best. Rashid wanted to get an idea of the new person and a high visibility was very helpful to implement that.
The new man was a Krushenada. A name scarcely anybody forgot, particularly Rashid. He knew this name like the back of his hand. Krushenadas were known for their strength. Treize Krushenada, the to be sure most known member of this family had been the best example. He had been one of his closest friends, until IT happened.
Rashid stopped walking. Now was not the time to think about IT. The training took priority.
His eyes viewed the field searching for a new face and eventually landed on short blue hair and cornflower blue eyes.
He froze with shock.
"The brat..." He aspirated barely audible, but seemingly loud enough, because some of the trainees stepped back and a short "Uh oh." was heard as it escaped Abdul's lips.
Rashid didn't pay attention to that. Hundreds of questions were spinning in his mind. She was here, the brat. One of those thieves. Were they trying to prepare an invasion? For a second he saw his past repeating itself just by her presence.
Nevertheless, then something rang a bell in him and told him that this was a man. No brat and no in the forest living robber. He only was a brat-like looking Krushenada.
Rashid shook his head. Perhaps he saw the girl in the knight, because they had talked about the bandits in the conference.
However, the young man looked slightly scared. "Are you Eric Krushenada?" He asked him.
The small man nodded. "Yes."
"Come forward." He commanded in a harsh voice and stepped up to him. When he was in front of him he circled around him eyeing the blue-haired man. "You are very small for a man. I'm going to let you fight against one the other men to see what you are capable of. But first of all you will learn a few rules."
Rashid spread his thumb from a fist. "One: While training everybody on this field is equal. No matter how highborn you are you will be treated as everyone else. You will address me as captain and do what I tell you."
His forefinger joined his thumb. "Two: Training is everyday except Sundays. I await you to be always present. This week you may stay away from it. Though from next week on, you're going to be here, understood?"
"Yes, captain." Eric answered him, the tremulous look was still in his eyes.
'He is for sure no bandit, scared like that.' Rashid thought and gazed at the other trainees. "Now, let's see. Who are you going to fight against." He murmured looking for a training partner. To tell the truth, he was pretending looking for a training partner. He had already chosen who it would be. A few hours ago Wufei had told him that he knew Eric Krushenada and said him who should become his training partner. Usually he didn't listen to proposals of who should train with who. The noteworthiness was that the proposal came from Wufei and he esteemed his discernment.
"Duo Maxwell, you are going to fight against Eric."
Duo nodded. He was more than happy to get the possibility to fight against him. He would show him what's what. Nobody called Duo Maxwell a womanizer and came out of it without a fight.
The knight with the braid went to the two men and placed himself across from Eric. He smirked and his eyes were narrowed, promising that he wouldn't go easy on him.
They both unsheathed their swords. The uneasily look left Eric's blue eyes and determination began to show in them. He was aware that this swordplay wasn't just to show his abilities, but a duel between him and Duo, too.
They crossed their swords. "Ready?" Rashid lifted his arm and stepped away. "Go!" His arm moved down.
The two knights started circling around each other, watching their opponent. Duo heaved his sword and attacked. As fast as possible Eric blocked the attack by lifting his sword horizontal above his face. With an immense strength he pushed the chestnut brown-haired man away from him and charged him in an instant. Duo didn't have time to move out of the way and stroke against the attack. The swords collided and enlaced with each other upright in the air. "Not bad." The knight with the cobalt blue eyes said as he stood face to face with Eric. He pulled himself to him, lifting his sword a bit to be able to move it again. "For a dwarf." He snarled and freed his sword from the entanglement.
Eric raised a brow. "You are not bad either." He stated and took his sword back to his side. "For a womanizer." He added, hoisting his weapon and rushing forward.
"Did you know what you were doing when you decided to let Eric fight against Duo?" Rashid asked Wufei who was next to him and watched them fighting. "They don't look as if they would get along."
Wufei glanced at Rashid for a second. "They are perfect for each other." He assured him. He had more than one reason to make Rashid pair them up. "You will see."
The training captain shrugged. "If you think so." He concentrated again on the swordplay. Eric and Duo didn't treat each other with care. Both men were breathing hard.
Eric heaved his sword for new blow. Duo followed him ready to block him with a strike. "You should look for another work, than being knight. Your smallness will kill you if we attack the bandits." He told him.
"WHAT?!" Abruptly Eric took his sword down and gave automatically Duo's sword a free way to his head.
"What the hell are you doing?" He shouted as he tried to stop his weapon from splitting the blue-haired knight's head in half. Unable to avert it, he shot out his foot behind Eric's feet, tripped him up and caused him to fall on his back and lose hold of his sword. With an amazing speed, Duo gripped the sword with his free hand and put it with the cutting edge on the grass next to the other man just before his own sword hit against it and halted not even an inch above Eric's throat.
For a minute, no one on the field spoke nor moved. Everyone was only staring at the two panting swordsmen. One with two swords in his hands and a wide-eyed one with the blade near his throat.
Duo opened his mouth and took a deep breath. "ARE YOU CRAZY?" He shouted at him. "WHAT KIND OF JOKE WAS THAT? GOD FORGIVE ME, BUT DAMN IT! I COULD HAVE KILLED YOU!" He was trembling with rage. "WHAT WERE YOU THINKING TO LET YOUR GUARD DOWN IN THAT MOMENT!"
"Duo." Rashid interrupted him as he was about to yell something more at Eric. "Remove the swords." He motioned to the weapons which still hold Eric to the ground. The braided man did what he had been told, sheathed his and laid the other one next to the blue-haired man. Eric sat up and sighed. "And help him up." The captain demanded. Wordlessly Duo put his hand forth. The knight with the cornflower blue eyes didn't respond to that. Apparently he didn't want help from him. "Eric, let him help you up." The former fruit seller required.
Eric nodded. He gave Duo his hand and was pulled up by him.
Rashid walked to them. "Okay." He said. "I have to admit, I'm impressed. Eric, you're better than I had thought. You only have one weak point. You let yourself get too much distracted." He turned to Duo. "From now on I want you to always fight together. Even if you have almost killed him, Duo. Your fast reaction has showed that you two are indeed perfect for each other." From the corner of his eye he could see how Wufei nodded. "Ah yes, another thing, too," he told them as he watched how they glared at each other. "That you will fight together means that I want to see you both become friends."
With that he turned away from them and spoke to the other trainees. "And now I want everybody on this field see running until even the last person is sweating." A collective groan was his response and not few were cursing the fact that Heero Yuy was also a trainee, because he seldom started sweating.
"Hear ye! Hear ye! His majesty, king Anton Peacecraft, ruler of Sanc invites herewith everybody to the suitor ball of his daughter princess Relena Peacecraft. The ball will take place in two days and begin after sundown. Especially invited are all single noblemen of Sanc." The announcer finished his speech and stepped from the platform in the middle of the market of the court.
"Now they all know it." A young woman sighed.
Another woman smiled. "That's the intention of an announcement, my princess." Dorothy Catalonia replied, eyeing the fine fabrics at a stand for drapery.
"I know." The princess said with a velvet pink cloth in hand. "But I don't want to choose a husband, yet." Her long fingers ran over the soft material.
Dorothy touched a lucent mauve colored scarf. "Isn't there at least anybody at this court you are interested in?" She asked her. "What is with the new knight, sir Eric. He seemed to be very interested in you." She wrapped the scarf around her neck.
Relena put the cloth back on the stand. A smile played across her lips. "I have met sir Eric before. A few days before you had arrived here he had been standing suddenly in my bed-chamber."
The duchess who stood in front of a mirror to look at the scarf turned to her. "In your bed-chamber?"
The blond-haired princess nodded. "Yes. I felt very lonely at that time and I asked him to be my friend. Though then he had to go away. Nevertheless he promised me to come back. And as you can see he kept his word."
Dorothy watched her. "That's very romantic, don't you think? Like a fairytale." She unwrapped the scarf. "And I can see that you like him."
Relena shook her head, a cape with feathers at the edge caught her eye. "But I don't love him." She answered. 'And he is a woman.'
"Good. Who then? Sir Heero maybe?" Lady Catalonia took the cape and draped it around her princess´ shoulders. "Perfect, Relena. It suits you like a princess." She exclaimed happily and pushed her gently to the mirror.
She viewed her reflection. "Heero?"
"Yes. I'm sure he will like it." She said and smiled.
A blush spread her face. "I don't know what you are talking about." She avoided her companion's gaze in the mirror.
"Don't try to hide it. You love him, that's obvious." She placed her hands on Relena's arm. "And he loves you, too."
The princess glanced at her. How she wished that this would be true. "Heero sees in me nothing more than the princess he has to protect." Her aquamarine eyes looked hurt.
"Relena." Lady Dorothy took her hands in hers. "Trust me. Sir Heero loves you." Everyone who would look at the way the princess and the elite knight acted with each other could see that they were in love. Only the two didn't recognize this. Maybe she could help with this.
Speechless, sir Duo Maxwell stood in front of sir Heero Yuy and stared at him. "You've got to be kidding." He commented disbelieving on what his best friend had just told him.
Heero shook his head. "No, I'm deadly serious and the suitor ball is the perfect option to do that." He answered, looking straight at Duo.
"Heero, that is ridiculous." He replied and started pacing over the now empty training field. When the short-haired knight had said to him that he had a mission for him, he didn't thought he would tell him that.
"It's not." Heero said calmly. "You said it yourself, what if he is the womanizer."
The pacing man groaned. "Yes, I have said that, but... this is stupid. I mean, why should I do that?" He questioned him. "Just to find out if he really likes the princess, or if he only wants to play with her?"
Duo stopped pacing and put his hands into the air. "Okay." He moaned. "But why me?"
Heero stepped behind him and gripped his braid. "That's why." He responded.
The braided man rolled his eyes. "Tell me one good reason which convinces me to do that." He demanded from him.
"You owe me." He told Duo outright.
A dry laugh came out his throat. "If that's what you understand under a dept, I don't want to know what you understand under blackmail."
Heero glared at him. "You gave me your word and I take you by it."
The braided man ground his teeth. "Alright. I give in. I'm true to my word. I'll do it." He surrendered finally. 'I must have lost my mind to do this.'
What is Heero planning? Next chapter you will find out. Duo won't definitely take to it, but you will, I'm sure.