A rewrite of something I wrote before. Enjoy!
Year 644 of the Equalian Calendar…
Rays of sunlight seeped through the large trees surrounding the magic academy, and the wind coursing through added to the illusion of dancing sunshine. The birds humming, paired with the leaves fluttering coordinated a vibrant forest orchestra.
The approaching sound of thundering hooves came, interrupting the performance. Four knights bearing the Arcadian kingdom’s coat of arms emerged into the glade. Each knight reined in their steeds, stopping only a few feet away from the gates of the magic academy of Sol.
Two academy servants rushed to open the gates from the other side. A few instructors stood by the courtyard as they watched and waited for their guest’s arrival. Among their ranks was a man of stature, donning a black robe tailored with a satiny sheen and embellished with intricate markings and the academy’s insignia.
“Headmaster Triskelle,” called one of the proctors, leaning towards the man in front of him. “They have arrived.”
The headmaster nodded before proceeding to walk down the steps.
The knights, each astride a brown horse, trotted through the opened gates and each moved to the side as if to give way. A shade of midnight blue and gold decorated the carriage that soon pulled up behind the knights, coming to a full halt as it reached the courtyard.
The coachman dismounted and with hurried steps reached out to open the carriage door. Stepping down on the carriage was another man though with a royal air surrounding him. His ashen brown hair that was lightly veined with grey fell to his shoulders with each step he made down the carriage and towards the academy steps.
“Your Majesty,” greeted the Headmaster, head bowed for the Arcadian king. Everyone except for the king’s knights followed suit. Lifting his eyes back at the king, he continued. “Sol Academy is honored to be graced by your presence.”
“It has been a while, old friend.” The Arcadian king, Lucian Xanguis Von Bielfelt, smiled as he reached out a hand to him.
The headmaster shook the king’s hand. “It sure is.” The side of his mouth quirked upward. “I see you have decided to grow a beard.”
“So as you with your hair.”
“Oh, this?” He bobbed the neatly tied ponytail on his back. “It does make me look the part of a mysterious savant, huh?”
Some professors tried to suppress a laugh. But the few traditionalists were aghast by the headmaster’s remarks.
The king laughed. A long time may have passed and though he may be king, some things never seem to change between them. Rean Triskelle may be Sol’s headmaster now but he was still as carefree as he was when they were still kids.
Ah, those were the good times.
“How is she?” he asked, steering the conversation to the reason for his coming.
Headmaster Triskelle fell silent and his gaze drifted away from the Arcadian King. A brush of wind swept past, the sea of leaves rippling. Rean’s silence was never a good sign. The king’s brows furrowed, his face and body stiffened.
Has something happened?
Piercing through the lingering silence was the sound of academy doors opening. The old king looked up and a young boy stepped out, now looking down at them from the academy steps. The boy was no stranger to everyone within the academy and certainly not to the Arcadian king. He was the child that Rean found on his doorsteps five years ago, abandoned and left to die. Or at least, so he was told.
“Yuhan,” called the Headmaster, before a smile spread on his lips. Though unrelated by blood, the young boy was turning out to be his greatest pride and joy.
Yuhan acknowledged the older Triskelle with a courteous bow. Turning his attention at the Arcadian king, he paid his respect with a bow before locking his gaze with his. Their eyes seem to converse without the need for words.
The king’s shoulder dropped when the young boy flashed a smile before moving to his side as if to make way. Looking past the boy, he soon caught a glimpse of a certain person.
Trailing behind Yuhan was a young girl with long azure hair, head drooped down as if to avoid eye contact. Even as Yuhan moved aside, she kept a firm hand on the hem of his back, never letting go as if her life depended on it.
“Princess Resha,” Yuhan called as he looked behind him.
The young girl glanced up to him, a hand still holding into his shirt.
“His majesty has come to see you.” He motioned his head towards the king’s direction.
Seeing the reassuring look on his face, Resha, slowly turned her gaze to the Arcadian king.
The moment he met her azure gaze, his lips quivered as he tried to hold back a tear. And before he knew it, he was racing up the academy steps, walking past the headmaster and the other professors, his feet quickly leading him to the young girl. As soon as the distance between them was gone, he scooped her up in his arms in a longing embrace.
Ah, how long I have waited to embrace you again like this.
Tilting his head to the side over her shoulder, he basked in the warmth of his only daughter’s embrace. How long has it been since he was forced to separate from her? Weeks? Months? Years? No matter. For Lucian, not having his daughter around felt like forever.
He could still remember that tragic day as if it was just yesterday. It was a time he considered as one of the darkest days of his life — a time he would rather forget if it was even possible at all. But the pain he felt that day was so unbearable that he was forced to live through with it every waking day.
That day when he lost his queen, Lenneth.
The Arcadian Queen, Lenneth, along with Princess Resha were on their way back from the imperial capital of Hououkami when their entourage was attacked by mountain bandits. A fiery sight greeted them by the time the king and his knights arrived. Corpses of the queen’s knights soiled the ground, and the metallic scent of blood lingered in the air although subtly subdued by the fiery embers. No survivors and not even the queen herself when they found her lifeless body by the foot of a great tree. The loss of the queen dealt a major blow to the king. He would have fallen into a state of total despair had they not found the princess tucked under the queen’s, covered with fresh blood and a few cuts.
Queen Lenneth has protected her daughter until the very end. And if King Lucian and his knights had arrived at a later time, then they would not have just lost their queen, but the heir to the Arcadian throne as well.
King Lucian brought the young princess back to the Arcadian capital, Regalia to get her treated and to hold a funeral for the Arcadian queen. But even summoning the best doctors or magic practitioners in the land, none could treat the young princess.
Traumatized by the attack and by her mother’s death, Princess Resha could barely perform basic essential functions such as eating, and would even wake up in the middle of the night, screaming and crying, as the memories of that night haunted her sleep. Soon, she fell into a catatonic state, her voice absent and the once glimmer of joy in her eyes gone. Like a lifeless doll, she completely shut herself off and her health deteriorated.
What else could the king have done? He already lost his wife. But he swore that he would not lose their beloved daughter.
It was not that long his old friend, Headmaster Triskelle, came to offer a hand. Suggesting that the king bring the princess to Sol Academy to recover, he corroborated that the academy’s knowledge and capabilities with runes might be able to help the young princess.
Although the king would rather have his daughter near him for fear of losing her, he would have to trust Rean. And though it broke his heart to part from her, Princess Resha was brought to Sol Academy.
And now, ever since they parted, they were once again reunited.
“Resha,” he whispered, his voice shaking as he tried to hold back his tears. He was uncertain if he would get to hear her voice again. Rean was kind enough to fill him in about the princess’ state from time to time, though her speechlessness remained. “I have been looking forward to this day so much, my beloved…”
The king’s eyes widened slowly as soon as he heard that sweet voice. He turned to look at her and saw the smile on her face.
“I… missed you too… father.”
Unable to contain the blissful feeling that was welling up inside him, the king broke down into tears as he hugged her. Even as his vulnerability was on display, it was the least of his concerns. Finally, he was able to hear her gentle voice again! The dreary days that she was apart from him were long gone. The uncertainty of whether he could hear her voice again or even see her smile was over.
Today, Arcadia will be welcoming their princess back.
“Your majesties,” Headmaster Triskelle called as he walked over towards them and stood next to Yuhan. The king wiped the tear off his eyes and settled the young princess down before turning to face them. “As promised, we have taken care of her highness.”
Turning to the headmaster, King Lucian kowtowed, much to everyone’s surprise. “You have my sincerest gratitude, my dear friend.”
“Your Majesty, please. You do not have to bow your heads like that before us,” said Headmaster Triskelle as he urged the king back up. “Princess Resha’s well-being is important to us as well and we are honored to have been able to assist both of you.” The Headmaster then motioned at the young boy. “I know Yuhan feels the same as well.”
“But… how?” The king asked. “How were you able to get her to talk again?”
The headmaster let out a chuckle. “I’ve wondered about that myself,” he said, placing a hand over the boy’s shoulder before turning to him. “I’m sure Yuhan has the answer to our question since the two were inseparable.”
The boy glanced up to the older Triskelle, a slight hue of red on his cheeks. “D – Dad,” he stuttered, as he eyed the king from the corner of his eye. “I… I was just keeping the princess company and one day, she just…,” he stuttered. When his eyes met with the king’s, he immediately averted his gaze away and glanced to his side. After all, being the first in the academy to hear her voice after the tragedy she lived through, he was the first person the princess has opened up to during her stay in the academy. With an unfaltering attitude, he stood by her side and even read her books hoping that she would recover despite her speechlessness.
But there was no way he could just tell that to the king, right?
The Arcadian King let out a smile at the young boy.
“Yuhan,” Resha called, drawing out his attention.
The young boy glanced at her.
“Will I… be able to see you and Azzy again?” she asked, a small frown on her face. Her stay in the academy may have been just for her to recover. However, in that short moment, she was able to form bonds of friendship with Yuhan and his other friend.
“Of course,” he answered with a smile. “You can always come and visit us. Or we can come and visit you at the Arcadian capital.”
“Of course, your highness.”
Resha pouted her lips and her brows puckered. “Ah, there you go again. How many times do I have to tell you not to call me that? We are friends, yes?” This elicited chuckles from everyone around them.
“Yes. Yes, we are.” Yuhan reassured her with a nod. Then he took one step towards the young Arcadian princess. “You, me, and Azrael.”
Yet her expression remained.
Yuhan let out a playful scoff. If there was one thing they have in common, it was that they are both stubborn. The princess particularly disliked being addressed as royalty by him, insisting that he treats her as equal. He never really grasped her reasoning behind that but dropped the matter entirely. No matter the circumstances, he would always find himself caving into the princess.
And dropping the formalities was the first thing she asked when she regained her voice back.
Yuhan leaned forward, leveling his eyes with hers and startling the young princess. “I will come whenever you need me to.”
“Is that… a promise?” she asked in a low voice.
Resha’s eyes lit up and she held out her little finger to him. “Nanami taught me this. She said this is how you make a promise with someone.”
Yuhan chuckled. “Pinky swear?”
Resha glared at him as she extended her little finger at him. “Yes. She said that doing this will ensure that you will keep your promise, lest you be eaten alive by monsters.”
Yuhan choked back a gulp but kept his gaze on her.
“If you do this pinky swear, I’ll uphold you to your promise…”
The young boy let out another playful scoff. And just like any other time, he caved into her words. Holding his finger up, he interlaced it with hers, thus sealing a promise. Seeing the smile on her face, he reiterated his words, thus sealing a promise with everyone around them as a witness.
“No matter what happens, I will always come for you, Resha.”
· Into a world of Illusion: End –