AOH – Chapter 37

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CHAPTER 37: THE BLUE HAIR GIRL

RENASIA

1013 AF LIGHTMONTH

The palace is in chaos. Attendants scurry around the place, shouting and screaming for a name. Isabelle the handmaiden of the Princess is also looking anxious.

The Knights were also mobilizing but only inside the castle. What happens in the Palace stays in the Palace…that has always been the rule.

Even the King and the Queen is rushing around the courtyard, looking,anxiously.

The Princess is missing.

I was in my office, accepting the report and deciding whether I should tell the truth.

The office has a cushioned chair, courtesy of Luis, a fabric so smooth that I almost send it back for fear of envy from the courtiers in his court, another is a bed chair inlaid with a fine green silk, leaves embroidered so delicately, which I imagine took hundreds to sew.

In the corner of the room is a rack full with books, a sword and a shield hang on the wall and the portrait of Luis and her wife beside it.

This office was gifted to him with all its honors for his loyal service to the royalty all these years.

I shake my head. Luis trusted me so much. I could not do this to him. I need to tell him the truth.

That actually the Princess has been missing for quite some time now.

That I lied for her and tell her handmaiden that the Princess just going out, playing, wandering like her usual self.

That truth. Then a knock. Surely another report. A knight enter. Quickly he reported

“Knight Lord Pedro, we searched every nook and cranny of the palace from the gardens to the basement, yet we could not find her….Maybe she did really…?”

‘Keep looking!’ he nodded and went back searching for her.

I stuck my hand inside my coat.

I know her to be rebellious, but I didn’t think her to be this rebellious. Who would have thought she really would run from the palace?

It all started about a month ago, after the army successfully repel the Mountain Tribe raid. She was sulking she didn’t get to join the expedition, even though I have told him how dangerous that is.

The King returns with his wife and he decided that Rhysa needs to get married to reign on her behavior. The freedom loving princess did not like that. She didn’t like it one bit.

So she makes a counter offer to her parents. If any of her potential candidates for her hand in marriage can defeat her in battle then she would acknowledge that man as her fiancé.

Not husband but fiancé. Even then she wanted to negotiate. In a way, there is Rhaessa in her yet.

The King believing that her daughter is not that proficient in martial arts accepts. And how wrong they are proven.

The noble lords sons who came for her hand were badly beaten, humiliated and some even have broken bones.

Thankfully there are no casualties. Her mother was furious with anger. Rhysa did not only injured the nobles but bring down the reputation of House Renasi.

In a way there is some fault in me considering I was the one who kindle her spirits to learn martial arts.

There is also her random encounter with an expert that lead to her proficiency in martial arts.

When she visited the Blossom Island with Arturo, she met the famed Eastern Devil.

I do not know the full story but it seems the Eastern Devil, one of the 4 Immortals have taken a liking to her and for 2 months he teach her martial arts, swords technique and then she return back.

Of course she did not finish the training, but even so I knew something changed the moment she came back.

She was more confident. And to learn under one of the 4 immortals?  What an honour! To learn under one of the unrivaled experts of martial arts in the Human Continent.

When she returned she did no show it to me, but her aura felt different, her eyes are fierce and she prove what she learn during the battle with the noble lords sons for her hand.

Her attacks were brutal, every single attack is aimed at vital organs, and her stance is ever changing, a fluid move that confuses her enemies.

Too brutal, too cruel. The technique of Eastern Devil is famous for their brutal execution and cunning tactic.

She, standing straight on top of her beaten enemies, looks like an Avenging Angel and prideful with the confidence that she could never be beaten.

She needs someone to teach her, that there is always someone stronger in this vast world.

I have always known her to be a prodigy in martial arts but to think that she can achieve this kind of mastery of technique in just two months only reinforces my opinion about her.

A genius. At least in the area of martial arts.

I rarely seen someone, man or woman, who shows that kind of prowess or have more domineering personality more than she showed at the Marriage Battle.

Charismatic and all conquering. Then suddenly I hear the footsteps. The King barge in, his step are rushed, his breathing are uneven.

Worrying about her daughter.

‘I heard…’he said panting

‘She left a letter didn’t she?’

‘Yes’ I reply

‘Why didn’t you tell me?’

I sighed. A heavy sigh

‘Your majesty, I thought we could find her before you realize what happen’

‘PEDRO!’ he balled his fist

I held my hand up

‘I’m sorry, old friend. I thought I could handle it. I thought she is just playing, making a prank like always.’

‘What did the letters say?’

I give him the letter.

He looked at it read at it and his face was like mine. Amazement and disbelief. I know what he saw.

The wily princess only leaves 7 words on her letter.

‘I’m going to go outside and play.’

‘What does this means Pedro?’

‘Arturo is missing, so the only explanation that makes sense is that your daughter is out there exploring the world with him, finding someone who is qualified to become her husband.’ I guessed

‘You mean because of the battle?’ he said disbelief shows on his face.

‘Yes, but I don’t think she is really looking for husband’

‘What do you mean?’

‘I think she just use that as an excuse to attracts people to fight with her. she is a woman so most people don’t take her seriously. I think she realized during the battle if you dangle bait especially if the bait is her, people would respond more fiercely’

‘Why?’ he shake his head

‘Why would my daughter do that?’

‘Because…I don’t know how to say this to you, Luis but….your daughter is not like you. She relish in fighting and I believe she wanted to be the strongest in the whole continent.’

Dreams of every person that learn martial arts. To gain fame and glory instead of protecting the weak and defend good.

‘You didn’t know did you that your daughter learns from Eastern Devil did you?’

‘Wait, Eastern De…that Eastern Devil!’

His voice rings alarm

‘He’s dangerous’ he said

‘So is your daughter. Dangerous to herself and to others. She believes that no one could fight her, stop her, and beat her. And sooner or later she will be proven wrong. I only pray that the Water Princess will spare our little Princess from her tears’

‘So what do you suggest Pedro?’

‘I believe your daughter is right now on Cori probably. If I am right, she would go to each nation major city and offer her marriage as long as the spectator can defeat her. This makes it easier for us to search her.’

‘Are you sure?’ He asked

‘Yes, old friend’ he release a relieved sigh

‘Then find her and bring her home. She is the heir of this nation. Nothing must happen to her of course.’

He exited the room with the letter on his hand. I heard him mumbling.

Just wait until she gets home.

I go outside and quickly order my men to send letters to other nation to find the princess. Of course we didn’t say it was the princess.

That would make certain faction in other countries might plan to kill off the princess.

And I suspect that Rhyssa will use a fake name.

Other nation would relish the opportunity to kill our princess so I just sent letters asking for the cooperation to inform us of any girl that started a battle for marriage in big city.

Then after all day coordinating the search effort I retired to bed.

Rhyssa, Rhyssa where did you go?

***********************************************

ARIAL

KINGDOM OF ALAN, DUCHY OF ARRANDY, ACRO CITY, MARKETPLACE

1014 LIGHTMONTH

I was strolling around the city and smelling the city air.

The crowds and the conversation flowed in the marketplace.

The crowds were endless.  Many speeches can be heard, shouting their products, from textiles to food, to luxury items, each trying to sell their wares. More people, more money, I mused.

Voices overlapped each other.

Everywhere people are conversing, the entertainers open their stage and perform in the middle of the market and well received by the people, cacophony of applause fill around the center.

The performers perform Levitia Lament.

The stamping of feet of people all rushing making business, selling things, buying things, palpable excitement buzzed through the charged air.

I saw a bard and minstrel in the crowd singing songs for a penny.

I looked at the dancing common folk. They weren’t some polite crowd from the rich end of town.

They were hungry for excitement after a day of grind in the farm and their fields, a day of toil and sweat and all they wanted to do is forget about it.

They all jostled for the best position, cheering and singing a few of their favorite lines from Levitia March to Victory.

“In the yesteryears, In the Ancient years, In the Lost years

We obeyed the demon Lords, We bent our necks to their Emperors

But today and the day after that will be different,

For today we kneel only to truth, follow only beauty, and obey only love

And Levitia march continues”

They sing and dance. Some sang the Song of Battle, the others sang Alan Glory.

I walked and smile.

The city is prosperous. And happy. And how large has the city become. I ponder all this while walking

A large city. People trade here, migrates here, and seeks education here. Libraries are constructed, schools and university.

University of Acro, the largest university here and probably in the whole continent. The University job is to produce people that will be useful for the duchy improvement.

I will make it a center for learning here in Arrandy and this city is the first step.

Vern and Vangua have long since not contribute anything on the continent in the matter of knowledge, instead they rely on ancient wisdom to guide them.

That will not be enough for the coming years. I realize this during my years alone in the library how important knowledge really is.

Knowledge can change the world, broaden your horizon, teaches you things to guide you to a better future.

The future might not be so messed up if people were a bit more learned. Peasant should be peasant. Nobles should be nobles. How can we grow?

I look at the people in the market again.

Infectious grin and smiles, strangers shaking hands, patting one another on the back, all this spontaneous outpouring of emotions in this crowd.

People who were once slave, peasants who have to work hard every day, the common folk, now free men, each moving to a better future.

This is the world I want to protect. A world of smiles and a world where everyone tries their hardest and is rewarded for it.

Raggedy shamble of peasants with dirty smudged faces, unholy stench of body odors and pig manure, son of pig famer once filled this city.

No longer.

Sons of a pig farmer in Acro might be more educated than some of the sons of nobles in the North.

The North might have the Academy, training the nobles sons and daughter, in the use of arms and leading men, but here in Arrandy we teach the people to sharpened their minds, a Knight of an order of rational argument and logical conclusion

A Knight of the minds. Their weapons are books and words.

My vassal once asked me why I never request an Articon from the Church. I said to them, we do not need Articon.

Their reasoning is faulty; their logics are so far from the truths, relying on myths and half-truths.

Their knowledge are superficial, their opinion is shallow. They believe in superstition. I need no superstition in my family. I need cold hard facts.

Those who like one emperor in Vern in ancient past who believe in omens and superstition nearly kill his own family.

Charles the Mad they call him

I did not bring my guards. The merchants that recognized me bow slightly and then resume their business.

Many of the guild masters also greet me, those who have known me since I was little. I enjoyed this kind of days too.

Just strolling the city. Not to have to worry about anything. I need this kind of days. In the castle I have to remain cold and calculating and hard.

Why?

Because my people respect strength. I’m young so I need to convince them I can lead them. Show one weakness and they will attack.

I need to be forceful. Here, I can ease my guard, greet and enjoy the simple pleasure.

Suddenly I heard continuous cheering, and saw a large crowd in the distance massed around something

A flag? I saw a flag. I thought it is another stage of entertainers but somehow the feeling is different.

I was curious

 I approached the mass of people and slipped among the onlookers. Finally I saw a huge banner at the center of the stage.

‘FIGHTING TO FIND A MARRIAGE PARTNER’

It was an ornamental standard embroidered with words. The crowds looks to be muscled, many young men, some old man.

People of the martial art world? Why are they here? Then I saw the girl. She stands on the platform looking charismatic.

The girl is lithe and graceful, a nobility surely, from the way she carried herself, she has blue eyes and her blue hair waved blow by the wind.

She hails from Renasia no doubt.

Maybe even a part of the royalty, cousins or distant relative of the House of Renasi. After all only the royalty and their relatives have the trademark blue hair.

She looks a little tan which only further prove she is from Renasia. Why did a Renasian woman traveled so far away from home to find a marriage partner?

She looks beautiful and her tan only makes her more beautiful and mysterious. She was dressed in blue cloth

I refuse to believe anyone would reject her offer for marriage if she just asks. Her eyes are fierce and her olive skin just adds to her exotic feature.

It’s true what they say about Renasia, the woman’s are goddesses. On her hand is a white spear, with weird inscription and looks very sharp.

‘Anyone else!’ she yelled she smirked. Confidence ooze from her posture.

 While the crowd looked at her, some with admiration, some with amazement, some looked fearful while some of them smirk and smiles.

The World of the martial arts. Then a fat man, in his probably ten and thirty hold up his hand.

He smile a greasy smile

‘How about me?’ the fat man said. The girl laughed an infectious laugh

‘So old and yet desire such a young wife?’ She asked playfully

‘Come then. I always liked a challenge’ the girl said confident

The fat man jump into the stage. I heard of this. This must be the battle for marriage. It has long not been practiced.

Only the people in the martial art world practice it. So, maybe she is not a royalty? Or maybe a royalty that wanders in the martial art world.

Certainly that is the only logical explanation.

I looked at their battle.

They begin an unrelenting combat, each one attacking each other. For an old man, his grabbing and holding technique is not bad, but the girl is graceful in her movement.

Her movement is ever changing, fluid like water. I was shocked.

I learned every book in the library…alright, not every book, but books that matter, but I never see this kind of movement before.

It was ever-changing, fast and unpredictable, her movement are meant to confuse and uncontrolled like madness.

The fat fellow certainly holds no candle to her technique.

The fat fellow tries and press his attack, using Wolf Chasing His Prey projecting his internal energy to deal injury to the girl, but the girl she moves quickly, change her direction in the middle of the attack and instead of attacking suddenly she stepped back fluidly, her left arm pivoted and struck the back of the fat fellow who fly outside the stage, vomiting blood.

‘HAHAHA’ the girl cried with laughter

The crowd also laughed and jibes the old man.

‘Know your place, fat man’ he got up covering his mouth, blood on his cloth and quickly with an embarrassed look he disappeared from the crowd

The crowd cheered and applause. I look at the girl. What move did she execute? I felt something.

Excitement.

During the war and battles I did use my martial arts, but I know most of the martial arts experts usually roam the martial art world and they rarely interfere with the normal people daily life.

And it was kind of boring fighting with the noble’s troops.

They are mostly noble’s lord son that led people who came from peasant child who knows nothing about martial arts and easily defeated.

My victory is not because of my strength, it is mostly because of their weakness.

In my troops I left to them manual of martial art technique appropriate to their level and some sword technique which I teach the captains and Knight Lords.

Why did I not teach everyone? Because in martial arts there is no martial arts that is used to fight in a group.

This is why an accomplished martial art expert can be defeated with an army

 Why?

Because martial arts used in the military is for attacking, not defending. You can unleash an expert into the battlefields and order him to kill as many as you can but in the end an army needs to finish the job.

There is the sieging, the battle and the formation. Martial art is selfish. The cheer brought me back. I looked at the girl more attentively.

A man is beside her. A knight? He looked handsome

The women’s are like goddesses, the men are like Gods.

The wind blows and the standard flutter. She planted her spear on the stage and challenges the crowd again.

‘Is there no else?’

I approached the stage. I would like to test this girl and my martial arts.

But I also sense she is dangerous. Why else would a Renasian far away from home come here in Alan?

‘What is your intention coming here to Acro!’ I shouted and the crowd makes way for me

The young man stepped forward. He then saluted at me and with a loud voice. He then addressed the onlookers.

‘My named is Arthur. I hail from the distant lands of Renasia. Visiting this big city, my young mistress seeks neither fame nor fortune. She desires a husband, and she did not care whether he is rich or a noble one, only that she wished her husband  is someone whose strength exceed her, his martial arts are peerless. My mistress herself is a very powerful expert in martial arts. She has defeated Cora men, Seren men and now we come here to Alan. We’ve traversed from the South to come here, but yet we still could not find anyone who can defeat my mistress’

I smile

‘You’re bragging.’

‘Maybe I am’ he said smirking

‘Dukedom of Alan’ he continued

‘Kingdom of Alan’ I corrected

‘Kingdom of Alan’ he corrected himself ‘is the place where the Great Hero companion is born and where Levitia himself was born. There are certainly great man and heroes here to take up upon the offer. If me and my mistress action seems presumptuous I beg your kind pardon’

‘Enough talking, Arthur’ The girl said.

‘Let me fight this man’

I hold out my palm

‘I will fight you, but I do not wish your hand. All wish is if you lose you will return back to wherever you came from’

I don’t know who she is but she clearly did not know a war is happening in Alan right now. I wish no harm to a lady like this.

Men turn to beast during time of war.

‘You spoke like you will win’

I smirked

‘Of course I will’

‘What is your name?’ she asked

‘What’s yours?’

‘I will only tell you if you won’

I smirked

‘Well, me too.’ The girl frowned, smirked and then laughed

‘Fine, I will take pleasure beating you into submission.’ I remove my jacket.

Then she charge.

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