Chapter 10: Brothers’ Bond

In Azseldo Kingdom the previous king had not only one son, but two. Shuyu was the first born and the second born was from a second marriage: Leveret Sou. Leveret, ever since he was young, excelled in his studies, but being the second born in Azseldo Kingdom, he was seen as a spare. When Shuyu took the throne, Leveret was ignored to the point that most of the kingdom forgot his existence. No one knows why Shuyu is so cold to his brother. It could be because Leveret is the son of the second queen, who Shuyu disliked, or it could be that Shuyu saw Leveret as weak compared to him. No one knows the reason, but it is fact that Shuyu despises this little brother and it is also a question why he allows the brother to remain in the castle.

Currently, this hateful brother was in front of Shuyu and Shuyu already felt the hate build up in his chest, but he was also in the presence of Yanira, who he loved unconditionally, so he swallowed his hate the best he could and forced a smile on his face.

“Long time no see, little brother.”

“Likewise,” stated Leveret as he stood up and dusted his pants off. Leveret took a glance at Yanira and then looked at Shuyu asking, “Who is she?”

Shuyu smiled looking at Yanira.

“Her name is Yanira Castleheart, second princess of Balwar Kingdom and my fiancé.”

“Yanira…”

Leveret took in a deep breath and bowed by the waist toward Yanira.

“My name is Leveret Sou, prince of Azseldo Kingdom. I hope you find your stay here comfortable.”

Yanira nodded and smiled with a giggle saying, “Nice to meet you too, Leveret.” Leveret smiled back at her and that alone nearly made Shuyu snap. He had to fight the urge to smack the smile from Leveret’s face. He won’t allow Leveret to smile at his princess…at HIS Yanira.

Shuyu cleared his throat and stated, “I’m sure Leveret has something to do in the throne room, so let us be off Yanira. There is much to see.” Yanira nodded and was carried off by Shuyu.

As Yanira was carried off, she glanced back at Leveret only to see him enter the throne room, but she also noticed the sadness in his eyes. Yanira was no fool and noticed that Shuyu had a dislike toward his brother, but she knew not of the reason and that made her curiosity grow.

On the other hand, Leveret roamed the throne room and glanced back to make sure that Shuyu and Yanira were nowhere in sight. Leveret heaved out a sigh and scratched the back of his head. In truth, he was curious to see Shuyu’s bride, but he never expected that she was so young. It almost made him wonder if he was seeing wrong or heard wrong, but Shuyu’s words were crystal clear and Yanira was Shuyu’s fiancé. He was shocked to say the lease, but it made him wonder…Why this girl? Why did Shuyu look at this girl with love in his eyes? Why does Shuyu look at him with disdain? Like others, he knew not why Shuyu hated him and that alone made his heart hurt.

Leveret shook his head and walked forward since he had another reason for going to the throne room. He entered the staircase behind the thrones and descended down the stairs until he entered the hall leading to the closed door of the garden. He jiggled the handle and frowned when he realized that door was locked.

The door was always locked, but there was one time that he saw the inside when Shuyu walked in. Shuyu of course did not see Leveret. Leveret remembered the lushes green he saw on the other side and it made him eager to see all of the inside beyond this closed door. He had hoped that Shuyu might leave it unlocked and he would see inside, but no luck had come so far and he had no idea where the key was hidden. With no other choice, Leveret began to leave the hall, but not before glancing back at the closed door with hopes of seeing inside someday.

Meanwhile, Yanira was given a tour of the castle by Shuyu, who enjoyed every minute of it, but when Yanira claimed to be fatigue, he brought her to her assigned room. He opened the door for her and Yanira was greeted by an extravagant room of splendor. The bed was greater than a king sized with sheets of royal purple and matching pillows. The dresser was of fine brown oak that was polished to perfection and the mirror was lined with gold and emerald jewels. The floor was made of pure white stone and the walls were covered with designs of nature. It made it almost seem that she was standing in the forest itself.

Yanira stepped in looking around and then smiled at Shuya saying, “This room is really great.”

“I thought you would like it,” stated Shuyu and then pointed toward her luggage at the corner of the room.

“You things are there, but please rest before organizing it.”

Yanira nodded taking a few steps toward her luggage, but stopped in her tracks when Shuyu added, “I had plans for you to stay in my room, but I realized I wouldn’t be able to control myself, so until you are of age this shall be your room.” Yanira nodded with nervous sweat going down the side of her forehead.

Shuyu approached Yanira and then gave her a peck on her forehead.

“Meet me tonight in the dining hall for your next present, my princess.”

With those words, Shuyu left Yanira’s room making sure to close the door behind him.

When he was gone, Yanira fell to her knees with a relieved sigh.

“He really is scary at times,” muttered Yanira. She then sat on her new bed admiring how soft it was, but then realized that it was the perfect time to explore with the limits set by Shuyu.

Yanira smiled and ran to her bags and removed the male peasant clothes she usually wore when traveling out of the castle, but she also grabbed her bow and quiver of arrows. She changed her clothes and placing the quiver over her shoulder and clenching the bow in her right hand, she approached the door cautiously. She opened the door a crack and peeked into the hallway. To her relief there were no guards and opened the door wide.

Before leaving the room, she grabbed the silver key and hid it in her pocket. She then left the room making sure to shut the door behind her and rushed down the hall.

When Yanira was given the tour, she noticed a sparing field completely void of soldiers. She remembered that Shuyu ordered Kaysan to train the soldiers that day, but he must have chosen a different area to train since it was empty and that allowed Yanira to train there on her own.

Yanira entered the empty field after making sure the coast was clear and then prepared three targets made of hay to shoot at it. Yanira drew one arrow from her quiver and placed it on her bow. She pulled on the string going into shooting position and focused her gaze at the center target. Taking in a deep breath, Yanira released the arrow and the arrow whistled through the air before impaling the target. Yanira cheered before drawing another arrow and fired at the right target. She then prepared the last arrow and shot it at the third target.

“You’re a good shot.”

Yanira gasped and looked over her shoulder only to see Leveret looking at her with a bow and arrow in his right hand.

“Aren’t you Leveret?” asked Yanira. Leveret nodded and then tilted his head at her with a bewildered look.

“Aren’t you Big Brother’s fiancé?”

Yanira nodded saying, “My name is Yanira Castleheart.”

“That’s right. Why are you here?”

Yanira smiled and showed her bow saying, “I wanted to practice my shooting.”

“Don’t princesses like you hate holding a weapon?”

“Not true. I love the feel of holding a weapon. Of course I wouldn’t hurt anyone with it unless there is a reason to do so.”

“You’re strange.”

Yanira giggled and then asked, “Are you here to practice too, Leveret?” Leveret nodded and stated, “I heard Kaysan was going to train the soldiers in the woods, so I decided to practice here…I just didn’t expect someone to have the same idea as me, especially not my big brother’s fiancé.”

Yanira giggled and then immediately removed her arrows from the target.

“If you like, we can train together,” suggested Yanira as she placed her arrows back in her quiver.

“But…Big Brother wouldn’t like that,” stated Leveret. His voice was slightly as he spoke and Yanira could tell that he was hiding sadness when mentioning Shuyu. Yanira pondered to herself and then smiled at Leveret grabbing his hand.

“What he doesn’t know won’t hurt him, so please. We are going to be family starting next week,” stated Yanira. Leveret was silent as he gazed at Yanira and then smiled with a nod.

They both prepared targets and immediately began their practice. With each arrow shot, a target was impaled. If anyone saw them now, it would seem like two arrow prodigies were being born.

Leveret prepared another arrow, but his bow string suddenly snapped making him curse silently under his breath. Yanira glanced at Leveret taking immediate notice at his damaged bow. Yanira placed her bow down and removed her quiver from her back. She then removed a bow string from a side pocket of the quiver and took Leveret’s broken bow from his grasp.

“I’ll fix it, so don’t worry,” stated Yanira. Leveret nodded and watched as Yanira began to tie a new string to his bow with expert talent. Yanira hooked the string on one end of the bow and stated, “My old bow’s string broke a lot, so I taught myself how to string a bow in case it happens again.”

“So you did this a lot?”

Yanira nodded and gave the string a tug before handing the repaired bow back to Leveret.

“That should last a while,” stated Yanira. Leveret gave his thanks taking his bow. He pulled the string a bit and realized that compared to his old string, this new string was quite sturdy and easier to pull. It made him wonder where she got such a string.

They suddenly both heard someone approaching the field and immediately grabbed their arrows to exit the field, but Yanira realized that they would be spotted, so she grabbed Leveret making him gasp and look at her.

“We need to hide or Shuyu might know what we were doing together,” whispered Yanira. Leveret understood what Yanira was saying and began to look around the field. Leveret noticed a wooden box at the side and ran to it dragging Yanira with him. He opened the box and was relieved to see it empty. He climbed in and then pulled Yanira in closing the top of the box.

The moment the box was closed, the footsteps got louder in the field.

“Man, Captain Kaysan can be a demon.”

“I know and I bet he was in a bad mood again because of his majesty.”

“He shouldn’t take it out on us though.”

“Agreed.”

Yanira and Leveret realized that the voices and footsteps belonged to the soldiers who were being trained by Kaysan and that meant that they should remain hidden, since these soldiers would report to Kaysan and Kaysan would tell Shuyu. Yanira and Leveret didn’t or couldn’t take the chance, but what they didn’t expect was the sound of something heavy falling on the box.

They still remained silent as they heard the voices finally fade. Leveret attempted to push the lid of the box open, but there was no luck. The object on the box sealed the lid of the box shut. Now Yanira and Leveret faced a new problem: How were they going to get out of the box and without Shuyu finding out?

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