The war of Balwar Kingdom had been won, but there was no joy in the royal family for the youngest princess, Yanira Castleheart, was to leave Balwar Kingdom with her new fiancé, Shuyu Sou. That night was the time of Yanira’s departure.
Yanira had packed her bag with her essentials, but she also tied her bow and quiver filled with arrows to her bag. Yanira stared at her bag with a saddened look and then turned away leaving her bag on her bed. She exited her room and ran down the hall in the direction of her sister’s room.
Meanwhile, Shuyu was in the stables of the castle getting the carriage ready for the long travel. Shuyu heard footsteps behind him and glanced over his shoulder only to see Raul standing at the gate of the stables.
“Shouldn’t you be getting ready for the long journey home?” asked Shuyu. Raul frowned and crossed his arms approaching Shuyu.
“I needed to speak with you.”
Raul glared at Shuyu and stated, “Why didn’t you tell us that the daughter you wanted to marry was the youngest? Kaysan and I thought you were going to marry Princess Xema, since she was of age.”
Shuyu smirked, fastening a harness to one of the black horses, and stated, “I knew you two would be against it, so I kept silent until it was time.”
“Of course we would be against it! You are planning to marry a girl who is only ten. Do you know how the other kingdoms will see you now?”
Shuyu sighed and glared at Raul making Raul fall silent.
“I don’t care what the other kingdoms think. I have always wanted Yanira and now she is mine and no one will take her away from me,” stated Shuyu gripping the harness of the horse. Raul gulped feeling the murderous aura from Shuyu. Raul bowed and said, “I apologize.” With that Raul ran out of the stables.
Shuyu smirked when Raul was gone and caressed the horse’s mane. He thought of Yanira’s laugh and smiled warmly with a blush on his cheek.
“Yanira is mine.”
On the other hand, Yanira had finally reached Xema’s room. Yanira could hear Xema crying from within and clenched her small hand. Yanira knocked on the door lightly saying, “Big Sister?” Yanira heard Xema’s sobs stop and footsteps approach the door.
“What do you want Yanira?” asked Xema without opening the door.
“I just wanted to say goodbye and sorry. I really thought Shuyu and you were going to get married. I had no idea that the proposal was for me.”
“Oh really? You have everything that I always wanted. You were chosen to be a priestess and taught things that I always wanted to learn. You are father and mother’s favorite child, even Zuriel favors you over me; and now you are engaged to the only man I ever loved. Why is it always you?”
Yanira could hear Xema’s voice rise filled with both rage and sorrow.
“DON’T CALL ME THAT!”
Yanira flinched backing away from the door.
“I wish you never existed.”
Tears fell from Yanira’s eyes as she ran from Xema’s door. Yanira kept running wiping the tears from her eyes, until she collided into a familiar red robe. Yanira glanced up and met eyes with Lucina.
“Lucina,” muttered Yanira. Lucina immediately hugged Yanira making Yanira burst into tears in her embrace. Lucina caressed Yanira’s red hair and whispered, “I’m sorry this happened, but there is nothing I can do to prevent this marriage.” Lucina positioned Yanira to look in her eyes and added, “Even though you will be queen, I want you to continue your training.” Yanira rubbed her eyes asking, “But how?”
Lucina presented Yanira with a patterned bag filled with books and scrolls and stated, “You learned most of your techniques on your own. Continue to do that in Azseldo Kingdom.” Yanira nodded and hugged Lucina again.
Lucina nodded with a small tear escaping her eye.
“I am going to miss you child and I still hope that you will find your soul mate as a priestess,” whispered Lucina. Lucina separated from Yanira and stated, “Your father, mother, and brother are in the meeting hall, so make sure to say goodbye to them as well.” Yanira nodded and hugged Lucina one last time wishing her a farewell.
Lucina and Yanira separated going their separate ways.
Yanira approached the meeting hall doors and pushed them open slightly only to hear her mother’s sobs. Yanira peeked in and saw her mother sitting in a chair crying, while Zuriel was glaring at her father.
Zuriel was clenching his fist as he spoke, “I can’t believe you didn’t read the agreement before signing it.”
“I was desperate at the time and we all thought he wanted to marry Xema,” claimed Alistair.
“Well that wasn’t the case and now Yanira is going to be taken away to be queen and she isn’t even old enough to marry yet. She’s too young to go through this,” stated Zuriel.
“I know that, but we are still recovering from the war and we can’t afford to lose this alliance, especially when Shuyu threatened to destroy the kingdom.”
Yanira, suddenly, entered the room saying, “I am fine with going with Shuyu.” Zuriel, Irina, and Alistair stared at Yanira with wide eyes.
Yanira clenched her small hands as she spoke.
“I am scared to go, but if it means that our kingdom will be safe then I will go,” stated Yanira and then smiled with tears in her eyes adding, “I’ll do it to keep my family safe.” Irina was the first to react by running to Yanira and pulling her into a big hug, while Zuriel and Alistair began to cry. Yanira hugged Irina back saying, “I’ll miss you all.”
Night had completely covered the kingdom as Yanira, with her bags, entered the stables of the castle ground. In front of the stables, waiting was Shuyu standing outside of the carriage with Raul and Kaysan on their respective horses and a coachman ready to drive. Shuyu held his right hand to Yanira with a smile.
“Let’s get going, my princess.”
Yanira nodded and took Shuyu’s extended hand.
Shuyu opened the carriage door and escorted Yanira into one of the seats and ordered Kaysan to place her bags in the back trunk of the carriage. The moment Kaysan laid his hands on Yanira’s patterned bag, Yanira stepped out of the carriage saying, “Please wait.” Kaysan stopped in his actions as Yanira bent down and pulled a brown leather book with the language of Balwar Kingdom on the cover from the patterned bag. Holding it to her chest she entered the carriage once more and took her seat.
The moment Yanira was seated, Kaysan loaded her bags into the trunk of the carriage and then mounted his horse once again.
Shuyu nodded in approval and then entered the carriage sitting beside Yanira, who scooted a little away from him as he shut the carriage door and ordered the driver to go forward. In a matter of moments, the carriage was pulled from the stables and onto the path leading out of the castle.
As the carriage rolled down the path, Yanira peeked out the window and then toward the castle that was slowly disappearing into the distance. She felt like something was clenching her heart as the place she once called him disappeared from her sight. Questions ran through her head like a speeding train.
Will she ever see her family again?
Will Xema ever forgive her?
Will she still complete her priestess training without the aid of Lucina?
Many more questions filled her mind, but she then clenched the book in her hand and remembered the smiles of the people most important to her. Those smiles from the past made her come up with the same answer for all those questions in her heart: “As long as I believe.”