Ever since Yanira returned to Shuyu’s side after her return with meeting the priestess of Azseldo Kingdom with Leveret, she had been confined to her room. At first she was unhappy with the arrangement, but then found that her time alone was the best time to read the books that she received from Lucina. Yanira would read her books in the comfort of her room.
There were times when Shuyu asked to enter her room, but Yanira denied him access with the excuse that the bride and groom should not meet until the wedding day. Shuyu accepted her answer, but that didn’t stop the impatience beating in his heart. Yanira on the other hand found comfort in her solitude.
Since her confinement, only a few days remained until her wedding day, but instead of worrying about the marriage, she was more worried about one thing: she had run out of books to read. Of course she was glad to be finished reading the priestess training books, but now she had nothing left to read and she couldn’t exactly put her new teachings into practice in the guest room she was assigned, especially since Shuyu made it clear that he was against her training as a priestess and she wanted to keep her teachings a secret.
Yanira had already reread the books to the point she could recite the words from heart, so she decided that just for that day she would venture out of the room. Of course not through the door of her room, since there were guards stationed there, but through her balcony window.
Yanira changed her clothes to her peasant attire and then draped her book bag over her shoulder. Removing rope from her bag, she began to head to her balcony. She tied one end of the rope on the railing of the balcony and tossed the other end over the edge. She took one more glance over her shoulder and then began to climb down the rope.
Yanira knew that the rope would not reach the ground, but she planned to use her wind spell in order to reach the ground, so she had no worries, until she heard a snap and the next thing she knew, she was racing downward. Yanira gave out a quick scream and immediately grabbed hold on an edge of a closed window. Yanira dangled on the side of the castle form this window with strain on her face.
Yanira was ready to cast a wind spell, but suddenly noticed some soldiers on the ground and seized her spell. Yanira puffed her cheeks in frustration and then glanced up at the closed window. She yanked herself up to the level of the window and tried to push it open to no avail. It didn’t take a genius to know that the window was locked from the inside. Yanira suddenly noticed movement in the room and sighed realizing that she would need to ask for help. She just hoped that it wasn’t Shuyu.
Yanira knocked on the window a couple of times. She saw movement in the room again, but no sign of anyone coming to the window.
Yanira knocked again saying, “Hello?”
A boy around his teens suddenly emerged from behind a bookshelf in the room. He had long blonde hair tied in a ponytail and emerald green eyes. If it weren’t for his boy attire, of a short sleeved brown shirt and white pants, Yanira would have mistaken his for a girl. He also wore a silver collar around his neck making it clear to Yanira that this boy was a prisoner.
In Azseldo Kingdom, they didn’t use slave seals like in Balwar Kingdom, but silver collars called Hades Necklace. This necklace prevented the wearer from leaving their master and if they attempted, they would burn from within and die a painful slow death. This was known as the cruelest punishment.
Yanira felt uneasy now about calling out to this prisoner, but she suddenly lost her footing and was forced to grab the edge of the closed window again dangling once again.
The window immediately opened revealing the teenage boy looking down at her.
“Do you need help?” he asked. Yanira glanced down at the passing soldiers and then looked back up at the boy nodding saying, “I would appreciate the help.”
The boy dragged Yanira into the room allowing Yanira to heave out a sigh of relief. Yanira smiled at the boy thanking him. The boy just nodded in reply before closing the window.
“So can you tell me who you are and why you were dangling from my window?”
“Of course, my name is Yanira Castleheart, second princess of Balwar Kingdom and I was hanging from your window because I had fallen from my balcony. Now may I…”
“Wait a second, you’re the princess from Balwar Kingdom?”
“That is correct. Now may I…”
“You’re the princess that the king is going to marry?”
“That is also correct, so now may I…”
“This is just ridiculous. I heard the king was marrying a princess from Balwar Kingdom as his reward for helping Balwar Kingdom win the war, but you’re so young.”
“I am young, now may I please have your name?” stated Yanira quickly, before she could be interrupted.
The teenage boy raised an eyebrow at her.
“You mean you don’t know? I thought the king would have told you since I am part of the wedding gift.”
“I’ve been confined to my room since coming here and I haven’t seen Shuyu either since that time, so I know nothing.”
The teenage boy sighed and pushed a strand of his hair behind his ear.
“My name is Nigam Obi. I believe you heard this name before during the war.”
Yanira’s eyes widened in shock. She had indeed heard this name before. This name belonged to the genius scholar of her kingdom’s enemy, Chuluan Kingdom. The genius scholar who had created the device that destroyed the walls that protected her kingdom.
Yanira frowned and asked, “Are you the scholar from Chuluan Kingdom?”
“That’s correct and now I am a slave to your future husband, abandoned by my fallen kingdom.”
“So when you said you are wedding gift, you mean that your kingdom surrendered you to Azseldo Kingdom after the war?”
Nigam nodded with crossed arms.
“We lost the war, so I am not surprised that they would abandon me to save their own skin,” stated Nigam with a smirk. Even though there was a smirk on his face, Yanira noticed that there were traces of sadness in his eyes. Yanira knew that she should hate him for bringing misfortune to her kingdom during the war, but she felt just pity for him.
Yanira smiled and held his hand making him look at her with a bewildered look.
“I know you have lost your freedom, but if you like, can we be friends?”
“I know it sounds strange since we only just met, but I feel that we can be friends,” stated Yanira with a smile. Nigam frowned and whipped his hand away from her.
“The war maybe over, but we are still enemies. We can never be friends,” stated Nigam with a glare. Yanira puffed her cheeks in dissatisfaction and suddenly noticed an opened book on the ground. She picked up the book making Nigam gasp and snatch the book away from her hands.
“Don’t touch that!” yelled Nigam.
“What is that book?” asked Yanira.
“You wouldn’t understand.”
Nigam sighed and opened the middle of the book.
“This book explains the mechanisms of other technologies not found in any nearby kingdoms. It shows the structures, how to make it, and even explains what chemical stones can be used to power up the machines.”
Nigam expected Yanira to not be listening at this point, but he was surprised to see her listening intently with fascination sparkling in her eyes.
“Does the book explain things like where the chemical stones can be found or if the mechanisms can be altered to other functions?”
Nigam nodded with confusion in his faces.
“Can I read it?”
“Uh…yeah, but this book can be difficult for you to understand.”
“If I can read priestess training books I can definitely read that one.”
“Are you sure?”
Yanira nodded and before Nigam could even object, Yanira had snatched the book and was sitting in the corner of the room reading the book under a shade of light.
Nigam stared at Yanira and noticed that her face had no trace of confusion on it as she read, but fascination and understanding. In truth, all the books that surrounded him in that room were the books that he gathered that no one understood or refused to understand. He used the knowledge of these books to make the device that destroyed the walls of Balwar Kingdom during the war and he was happy during that time to be recognized for his knowledge, but after his Kingdom lost the war, his people blamed him and were more than glad to give him to the enemy. He resented Azseldo Kingdom and Balwar Kingdom for the loss of his freedom, but he was still allowed to study his books and he knew it was just to keep him useful to Azseldo Kingdom.
Nigam focused on Yanira and noticed that she was holding the book to him with a smile.
Nigam clicked his tongue asking, “Did you give up?”
Yanira shook her head and stated, “I already finished.”
“I’m a fast reader, so can I read another book?” asked Yanira with puppy like eyes. Nigam stared at Yanira and then sighed pulling another book from one of the bookshelves.
Nigam held the book to Yanira saying, “This book explains other uses of lightning and how to contain it.” Yanira eyes glittered with excitement and took the book thanking Nigam in the process. Yanira once again returned to the corned and began to read the new book.
Nigam stared at Yanira and then placed a hand against his forehead. He knew Yanira was the enemy and yet she found a way to bring him into her pace. When she asked for a book he couldn’t refuse her. It was like she had placed a spell on him.
Before any of them knew it, Yanira had read a total of twenty books and discussed the contents of the books with Nigam with enthusiasm for hours. Even Nigam found it easy to talk with Yanira.
Yanira suddenly noticed the sun going down and gasped. She stood up saying, “I forgot to head to the market for more books.” Yanira puffed her cheeks in dissatisfaction. Nigam rolled his eyes.
“So you left your room to get books from town?”
Yanira nodded with a pout.
Nigam sighed and grabbed a handful of books. He placed them in Yanira’s arms and stated, “I’m lending you those books so return them after you are done.” Yanira stared at the stack of books and then burst into a bright smile thanking Nigam.
Nigam felt his cheeks heat up and his heart race making him puzzled. What exactly was he feeling for a kid?
Yanira placed the books in her book bag and headed for the window saying, “I’ll see you soon, Nigam.” Nigam grabbed her shoulder making her look at him.
“Aren’t you going to the door?”
“If I go through the door then I will be caught.”
“Then why are you heading for the window?”
“The guards should not be out there by now, so I can return to my room in secret.”
Nigam was puzzled, but Yanira suddenly ran to the window, pushed the window open and leaped out making Nigam gasp and run to the window. When he peeked out the window, he saw no sign of Yanira, but then he heard her giggle and looked up only to see her rising to a balcony using the wind as a guide.
Yanira looked down at Nigam and waved to him before landing on her balcony and disappearing into her room.
Nigam stared at the balcony and then chuckled. He returned to his room, closing the window, and then began to search through the books wondering which books to lend to Yanira next. It seemed that Yanira’s proposal to friends with him was put into consideration.