The royal pair, Princess Axtalia and Prince Axtallus of the Silent Lambs Empire, had curiously led a team of elite soldiers to check out who had the guts to raid their royal treasury, and try to stop them. When they saw a bunch of kids of similar age to themselves, they were astounded by how daring these intruders can be.
The princess was particularly impressed by how they had managed to survive the multiple runic traps hidden in the treasure room and remain unscathed, especially since many of them were placed by her personally.
With a glance, she recognised them, and had gone forward with a feeling of great admiration to talk to the famous young leader of the group. The person rumoured to be the creator of the powerful Starfire formation, which was recently adapted by the Saint Empire troops and the cause that their forces at the borders had repeatedly been beaten back.
This person, Kairos, had thereafter created a series of achievements that had simply gone beyond the princess’ understanding, especially when they are of similar age.
Not only is he the youngest conferred Viscount, born of a commoner’s background, he created a weapon that changed the way martial arts is used. Its effect is instantly felt on the battlefield. Many of the generals and the richer noblemen with his weapons, began using more powerful moves without sparing a thought, thanks to its ability to store Ki beforehand.
The change not only caused the Silent Lambs Empire’s generals to be in greater danger, but also raised the morale of the other side when the foot and rank saw the willingness of their heads to charge into battle.
A situation that has further dampened the Silent Lambs Empire’s ambition.
With such an illustrious person, Axtalia felt that she couldn’t be blamed for wanting to approach him. To speak to him and then detain him, forever. She will even allow him into her chambers, in shackles of course. A great honour she seldom allowed any. And there, she would study all about him, until he bore her like the rest.
But she had hope he would last longer.
She already has several such ‘beings’ of course. Dogs, she called them. Those that caught her eyes are often rewarded with her attention, and her attention she will freely gift. The brightest and most successful ones are her favourites, followed by the strongest ones that she could get her hands on. Her daddy did not allow her too many of those practitioner types and they resist too much for her to truly enjoy, but it is too satisfying when they finally grovel before her.
Kairos is both the types that she like. Brilliant and successful, plus strong considering his age. She had wanted to get her hands on him, to start breaking him, and to make him her newest addition to her collection.
She just hoped, fervently, that he would not be like his friend, Jones. She once had a day with him in the dungeon, but no matter what she did he wouldn’t even squirm, even tearing out his vocal cords. He bore her, and she wanted to kill him. But daddy said no.
Kairos on the other-hand is disposable, and the wilful princess went forward and spoke to him in her best voice. However, unlike all the others who would be instantly smitten with her, all that she received afterwards was a mouthful of dust.
The princess had never felt so insulted in their lives. It sparked a great indignation in her, but she felt secretly pleased when even more than her, it caused her lovely brother Axtallus to be filled with rage. She had enjoyed toying with her brother, wrapping him around her pinky, always the angel in his eyes.
And to her older brother, that always been her protector, he could not forgive anyone that would treat Axtalia with such outright hostility.
She cried in front of her brother, urging him to help her carry out this madden plan of theirs, to seek out and capture these fugitives.
When he finally agreed, she brought him and visited the palace’s guard captain. A famed warrior who is considered one of the top 3 practitioners in the empire. Among them, there is the Emperor, whom all agrees to be the most powerful, then Syriong, the Guardian of the realm, and him, Lord Borax, said to be of equal footing.
The Lord Borax is a commander of 10, 000 men, and their unit – called the imperial troops -- performs the dual role as an active army along as royal guards.
With the sweetest face she could muster, she burst into his office. With tears in her eyes, she woefully told him how she was mistreated between sobs, all the while pouting. The great commander who is able to smell an ambush a mile away were terrible when it comes to ladies. And he quickly cave in to her requests, and gave each of the royal highnesses a hundred of his most elite soldiers to set out for her ‘prize’.
Right now, the two royals are swiftly travelling south, directly towards Saint Empire’s borders, and also precisely towards Kairos’ group just a short distance behind.
At this time, the group are rushing at full speed towards the closest forest, on the land wyrm that had returned to their side. They had hoped that their distraction had worked, but Kairos had told them that he felt danger approaching.
Though the others did not have such a feeling, they did not doubt his instincts either. His uncanny ability to sense what should be impossible has already been proven time and time again, and they quickly approved of his plan.
The 6 boys had grew up familiar to the forests, and Vouno who is a ranger is only more experienced in this area than them. They agreed that in that type of topography, it would be easier for them to cover their tracks. Perhaps even throw their enemies off, or outdistance them.
Unfortunately, because the Silent Lambs Empire is closer to the great desert of the west, the Sahara Desert, the amount of forests is lesser compared to Saint Empire that is located to the east.
They had not known their distraction had in fact succeeded.
Even now, to no avail, the imperial troops are scouring the mountain ranges and searching through Vox Shalua for them. The empire frequently checked the areas surrounding every town in the empire with visual crystals, with the cost of surveillance being their only deterrence from expanding the effort.
By the map’s estimation, they should soon see the forest edge, and accurate to their calculations, that evening their destination came into sight. They quickly charged into the forest on foot, the trees too dense to continue on wyrm-back.
The group of 7 danced across the large exposed tree roots, as if they are merely running on even ground. Their movements so fluid that they barely disturbed a leaf in their rush.
The next day.
The Princess Axtalia halted her men as they eyed the forest before them. The woods is called the Ghost Maw due to the shape of the forest when seen from the skies. Of course, the Princess, not yet at S rank, couldn’t drift across the sky with her Ki and did not see with her own eyes if it is true.
They had rushed here directly from the palace nearly a week ago, under the behest of a strange soldier from her group. Though they did not recognise him, strangely, none of them doubted his words.
The Princess had asked her brother, Prince Axtallus, to lead his group of hundred around the forest and await at the other side, while she would personally lead the troops into the forest, right after her targets.
She secretly wished to meet her new… ‘toy’ … away from her gullible older brother, for she must always remain in his eyes as an angel.
After persuading him to leave, Princess Axtalia rode forward into the forest, with an undisguised look of longing on her face. When the others saw it, they noticed the unnatural thirst and felt chilled to their bones. But as soldiers, they obediently rode after her.
Their mounts, the swift golden lynxes, are more able to cross the forest than the bulky land wyrm, and they quickly gain ground on Kairos’ group.
These golden lynxes are what the normal silver lynx become when one reaches A rank, and they have an improved burst of speed, and stamina. She licked her lips in anticipation, believing that it will only be a matter of time for her to have her Kairos, in chains.