A/N: Hey everyone. I've been going back over this and I'm horrified at the state my writing in the earlier chapters of this story and so I'm going back through it and making changes to hopefully make it better. Plotwise nothing has changed so nothing to worry about. I just want this to be the best story it can be.
Summary: When the princess runs away a war begins in which all sides want her dead or as a weapon. But Kari's heart is torn between her freedom and doing the right thing. With dangers at every turn the time to choose draws close and she's not ready.
Pairings: Takari, Mimato, Mimi and Joe (in the past) are the prominant ones.
Disclaimer: I do not own digimon, its characters an anything related.
Chapter 1 - To Run
The empty white marble corridors of the famed palace of the Amarian kingdom was thick with tension in the air and every few minutes small clusters of alert soldiers would pass through, checking every room on the way, while the chambermaids and servants were escorted away.
A figure emerged at the end of the marble passage, checking that it was clear before running like death itself was at her heels. Her face was that of a girl on the verge of becoming a woman but her ruby eyes spoke of hardships that others couldn't comprehend.
She ran through the empty corridors, feet passing silently over the white marble. A cat like creature, her digimon partner, ran just as soundlessly as she did. Every now and again the girl would turn her head over her shoulder at a distant sound, checking that they had not been found.
She ducked into the next passage and stopped suddenly, freezing on the spot as she heard footsteps down the next corridor and, grabbing her digimon, the girl tucked herself behind one of the large red wall hangings and held her breath so not to make a single sound, knowing her digimon would be doing the same.
The guards' footsteps got closer and stopped practically in front of her. The only thing separating them was a thin layer of material, hanging from the wall, and she was sure that it wasn't enough to stop the guards from hearing her heart beating.
"Any sign of her?" asked a deep, harsh voice. The girl's nails dug into the palm of her hand as she clenched her fists as she tried to restrain her panic. The captain of the king's guard was just five feet away from her.
"No sir. We lost sight of her down in the south wing."
"Take two teams and search the whole of that area thoroughly. If she's hiding then we will find her. I do not want her to get away."
"Yes sir." She heard the guard's clanking armour as he ran down the hall.
"We better find the brat soon," the captain said in a low growl.
"Sshe sshall be found," hissed his snakelike familiar.
The girl took a small step back into her hiding place, accidentally knocking the sheath of her sword against the wall.
There was silence. Her whole body tensed as slow footsteps made the way over to the tapestry and calloused fingers wrapped around the edge of the material. She moved her hand to the hilt of her sword, ready to fight, when the hand drew away as more men approached."
"What is it Kahn?" he asked shortly.
"The window in the north passage has been broken. We believe she's making her escape that way."
"Come with me. Gather whatever men you pass on the way. We will head her off."
After a few moments, she heard one last set of footsteps leaving and, as soon as they were gone, the girl and her digimon ran out from behind the wall hanging and ran along the corridors once again. "That was close," she whispered, peering around the next turn before setting off at a run again.
"They almost had us this time, Kari," her partner replied.
"This way," the girl – Kari – directed, making her way through the maze of twists and turns until she found what she was looking for, a window next to a large portrait of the king, his mottled complexion as clear as ever and his fierce expression, although only that of a painting, was still enough to send a shiver of fear down her back.
"Ready, Gatomon?" she asked.
The cat nodded determinedly as the running pair leapt through the glass window without a second glance, covering their faces with their arms.
Kari let out a gasp as the iciness of the water spread up her body and enveloped her. It was like she had felt the cold before she had even hit the river.
The nervous pair swam pulled themselves across to the other side of the river and dragged themselves out of the water, Kari's waterlogged clothes weighing her down. She constantly scanned the area with meticulous eyes to check that nobody had noticed them.
She shivered in the cold, as a gust of wind blew across her sodden face. Her clothes were heavy with water and she quickly hid behind some bushes out of sight of anyone passing and removed the outer layers of her clothes, as her digimon shook the water from her fur.
Soon the pair was running into the cherry orchard, Kari with only a light dress and her travelling cloak. Her only weapons were a bow and arrow slung over her shoulder and a sword on her hip, though the idea of using them sent dangerous thoughts of betrayal down her spine. She shook her head slightly. She wasn't the traitor.
They made their way through the blossoming trees, until a large oak stood above her; the great wall that circled the entire palace and its grounds and stood beside the ancient tree was shadowed by the tree itself, when it stood proud above all of its other surroundings. Her cat like digimon had already began to climb the tree, digging her claws into the bark as she worked her way up with ease.
As the girl had expected, the first few branches were too high to reach but she had planned for that. She effortlessly shot several arrows up the side of the tree to form a ladder and wasted no time in climbing up, knowing that the arrows would only just take her weight and so she mustn't waste time in moving to the next, just in case it couldn't support her forever.
She acted quickly, but not blindly, in scaling the tree and finding a path through the branches, smiling every time she caught up with her digimon partner. Despite the danger she couldn't shale the refreshing joy of being so free in her actions.
She was halfway up when she heard something that made her turn around. There was lots of shouting down below and she could see a lone guard pointing to her in the tree and many other guards running in formation towards her.
She quickly returned her attention back to climbing the tree, moving a lot quicker than before, realising they could still catch her. The adrenaline beginning to flood through her entire body as an odd sense of excitement came over her at the prospect of the chase.
She heard the leaves rustling below and the crack of a branch being torn from the tree. She knew it would be the guards trying to catch her but she also knew she was at an advantage. She was smaller, lighter and more agile than the guards, meaning she could climb faster and higher than them, if she tried hard enough. Then there was the fact that they could do her no lasting damage. They needed her alive.
When she had reached quite a decent height, carefully balancing her weight, Kari began to walk across the large branch that stretched out over the great wall, Gatomon gracefully hopping across ahead of her.
She looked forward and pretended it was just like the game she used to play when she was younger. She would draw a line on the floor with a piece of chalk and then walk along it, balancing with her arms outstretched so she didn't fall but as her eyes looked down that image was shattered. This was nothing like that child's game. If she fell or tripped then it would all be over, no second chances.
She managed to get halfway across, when a gust of wind roared through the trees and knocked her over. She only just managed to cling onto the branch, her weight pulling her down. She heard her digimon call out to her and several gasps from servants, whom had come to watch, but she ignored them and swung herself back up onto the branch, her digimon helping to pull her up. She continued along the branch, not yet over the shock of nearly falling but knowing she had to act quickly.
Her heart was racing furiously. If she went to fast then she would fall and if she was too slow then she would be caught and taken before the king. Either way her life would be over.
When she was above the great wall she jumped down ten feet, landing elegantly in her almost silent drop. Gatomon landed beside her, flipping over on the way down as she found her correct balance, then they quickly ran along the wall.
Already guards were emerging from the stairwells on top of the wall, most with Bearmon as their digimon partners. It was common for people of similar occupations to have similar partners. The pair of escapists dodged between the guards as they ran along the wall, hoping to find somewhere they could safely get down on the other side of the wall but every second they could not find a safe escape route brought more guards to stop them.
Kari ran along the left side of the wall, looking down but also aware of what was going on around her. She had to be. Looking forward she could see water. It was a river and it looked deep enough for them to safely land in but it also looked strong. It was possible it might just be strong enough to pull her along or drag her under. She would take her chances but as she readied herself to dive she noticed several Bearmon ambush her Gatomon.
Distracted, a man was able to grab her wrist and pull her away from the edge and pushed her down on the floor next to her digimon, so that she couldn't run away. She picked up Gatomon and held her close to her chest protectively. Her heart sank as she heard the clattering of armour surround her and she looked up at the man who had caught her.
His breath reeked of ale and his face was grey and blotchy. He had dismal, watery blue eyes that disgusted her and they were full of pride for being the one who had caught her. His digimon, a Numemon of all things, was at his side.
His voice was as bland as his eyes when he looked at her and said, "You're not getting away today, Princess Hikari."