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Disclaimer: Xena and Gabrielle belong to the genius's at Universal. This is an uber-Xena story with more than a hint of subtext, nothing graphic. Enter at your discretion. Send comments and constructive criticism to: email@example.com
"I've spent most of my life alone, with painful memories burned into my head. Images I can barely remember have impacted my entire existence. These days of war and poverty are felt by all. Even the king has felt the impact of my anger and hatred for him. Most people walk in faith that he will protect his kingdom from the burdens of slavery and cruelty. Few know the truth. The truth that when his people suffered most, he sold them out. When the evil warlord Darus came to this kingdom, nearly twenty-four years ago he slaughtered half the kingdom, including the two most important people in my life.
My uncle once told me of the horrible sight that greeted him at my parents home that fateful day. My mother and father lying in pools of their own blood pouring from their sliced throats. His five year-old niece, me, curled up in the corner grief stricken by the horrors I had witnessed. I did not cry. The false security I felt in my own home was abolished forever. My memory of the events are faded and vague. I remember seeing people lying dead, people I had known. But I do not remember seeing my parents slaughtered. My uncle says I have blocked it out. Perhaps. Occasionally, I will dream of things I had seen. Nightmares have plagued me most of my life.
I have trained with the king's soldiers in the past. My cousin Belton is in the army. I have gotten good at defending myself. In fact, I've been told my skills with the sword surpass that of most of the soldier's. This is how I have moved my plan into action.
About two months ago, raiders entered our village from a neighboring kingdom. King Krassus had apparently stepped on a few toes over there. Right before my eyes the two armies battled over our home soil. In a frenzied pannic to protect the innocent, I took a sword out of a dead soldiers stiff hand and began to defend my home. I'm not sure how many enemy soldiers I killed that day. Looking at my hands as I'm writing this I swear I can still see blood on them.
After the battle I was asked to join the army. I am greatly unaccepted among the other soldiers. There are few of them I can trust. Yet the pride they show in battle blinds their prejudices against me. Outside of battle, I wouldn't trust most of them. But when we're fighting we stand united for a common cause. It almost makes me rethink what I must do. Almost.
I was so close to reaching my goal. I had earned the king's trust. I was moved up to security and I started working over night, walking the castle halls. Eventually I was assigned to the east wing, where the sleeping quarters are located. But then something happened. Princess Alyssa came out of her room one night. Never before had I seen such a beautiful woman. With endless green eyes and golden red hair, indeed she was a vision.
She was concerned about a noise she heard. I assured her there was nothing to be worried about. She gave me a memorable smile, almost seductive-like. She asked me my name and how long I would be working in that section of the castle. I told her Mia and I didn't know how long and she went back into her room. After she closed the door I couldn't help but think how easily it would be to fall in love with her. Though I had seen her few times, and talked to her only this once, there was something about her. I wonder if she's close to her father at all. I hope that she's not. It will only hurt her more to lose him."
Mia closed her journal and set it next to her in the grass. She looked out onto the calm waters before her. Since she was a child this spot was always special to her. She would often go down here to think or write in her journal. Today her thoughts were occupied with the beautiful princess Alyssa. Her encounter with the woman last night had been intriguing. She told herself, though, not to get too involved. But how can you stop from falling in love when it comes so suddenly?
A noise behind her woke Mia from her daydream and she grabbed her sword as she stood and spun to face the newcomer. She nearly dropped the sword from sheer surprise. Before her stood the very object of her desires. Mia threw her sword down and resumed her position on the grass facing the stream.
"What are you doing this far away from the castle walls?" She asked of the princess.
"I'm not a prisoner there." She said. "I come here a lot."
"Well I've never seen you here before." Mia responded.
"I know. But I've seen you here." Alyssa said. "I can see this glade from my window." She walked closer to Mia and kneeled in the grass, all the while never taking her eyes off the soldier. "I see you come here everyday. You stare at the water, you write in your book." She sat down and looked out onto the water. "I can see why you come here. It's so peaceful."
Mia turned toward the woman. "Why are you here?" She asked.
"I wanted to see your attraction to this place." Alyssa responded. "I also wanted to ask you something."
Alyssa stared deep into the warriors eyes. "What do you know about the negotiations between my father and King Aldaus?" Mia stared into the green pools with sympathy, but knew she couldn't hide the truth. Quickly her eyes averted those of the princess and looked onto the water.
"Why don't you ask him?" Mia replied.
"Because he won't tell me the truth. He's trying to protect me." The princess pleaded.
"I don't know all the details, but my guess is it won't be too long before we go to war. Aldaus wants the land east of here that currently belongs to this kingdom. That area is prime hunting ground and a good area to train soldiers. Your father won't allow them to use the land, so they plan to take it." Mia glanced over at the princess to see her reaction, then continued. "Once they get it, I'm sure they won't stop there." My God, Mia thought, she is so beautiful, and so close. It would be too easy to just reach out........
Mia hadn't realized that she had been acting on her thoughts until the palm of her hand made contact with the soft skin of Alyssa's face. The princess was surprised by the show of affection, but didn't resist the touch. Mia began to take her hand away but the princess brought her hand up to hold it there.
"Will you walk me home?" Alyssa asked. Mia was sure she had never seen such beautiful eyes before and knew she would never be able to resist this woman. She took the woman's hand and together they stood. Mia reached for her sword and journal. The two then began their journey toward the castle.
Alyssa's mind was racing as she regarded the woman walking beside her. Mia's long black hair moved gently as the wind blew through it. She reached out to brush it away from her face and caught sight of the princess in the corner of her eye. The princess was staring at her, almost gazing. Mia pretended not to notice and kept staring straight ahead. They walked in silence. Both wrapped up in thoughts and feelings. It was as if they had known each other forever. Through some twist of fate they had found each other without even knowing they were searching.
Mia began her shift with high spirits. She had walked the princess home hours ago, but the woman's glorious impression had a lasting effect on the warrior. She found herself smiling. A strange sensation she had not felt in a long time.
Mia walked the long, endless hallways. Silence. Oh, the possibilities that awaited her. She could think of nothing but the vision that was opening her heart. The princess that was beautiful in every sense of the word. Mia made her way to the princesses room. She wasn't going to go in, but she wanted to be close to her. As she made her way around the corner, the closed door to Alyssa's room became visible. She slowed her pace and came to a stop in front of it. Lifting her arm she gently placed her open palm on the door, feeling its texture. There she lingered, wishing she were inside. Quietly retreating, Mia resumed her watch of the east wing.
On the other side of the door, Alyssa removed her hand from the door and returned to bed.
"War is imminent. Aldaus met with the king this afternoon. It did not go well. Krassus refuses to negotiate for the land and Aldaus made it clear that he would take it. The troops are preparing for war now and the citizens are getting scared. Some are prepared to flee. Krassus told the people not to worry and to stay in their houses, that he would take care of them. He's lying, and I will not let him cause another slaughter of his own people.
I was planning on telling him that in person, until he summoned me to see him. I'm not sure what he wants, but I'll find out soon.
I haven't seen the princess at all today. I stayed close to her room all night last night. I'm not sure why. I might have been hoping she would be awake. I wonder what would have happened if she was. I wonder if she's watching me now, from her window. I don't know what is happening to me. I'm trying to concentrate on the urgency of the impending battle but I can't get my mind off of that beautiful woman. I don't know how this could be possible since I've only known her a short while, but I think I love her. In fact, it feels like my soul has known her since the beginning of time."
"You wanted to see me?" Mia walked into the royal dining hall where King Krassus was having his lunch. He looked to his guards and asked them to leave the room.
"I have a new assignment for you." He said as he took another swallow of wine. Mia's mind began to race immediately. What is this all about? Is he going to send me some place? Away from here? Away from Alyssa?
"Yes sir?" Mia said, not really knowing if she wanted to hear what he had to say.
"I want you to take my daughter away from here, some place safe, until this whole war thing has blown over." Krassus instructed.
Mia's sudden relief was replaced by fear and anxiety. She needed to stay here, to keep an eye on Krassus. On the other hand, she wanted Alyssa to be safe. She could watch her here, but if she was preoccupied with the king she couldn't guarantee Alyssa's safety.
"Why me, your majesty?"
"Because my daughter trusts you, and I don't want her to be here if a war develops. Plus, you're not a .....man." He said the last carefully. "You won't take advantage of her."
"Never." Mia whispered.
"There's a hidden safe house near the mountains. Here's a map." He stood up and grabbed the parchment lying next to his plate, handing it to Mia. "I want you to leave this afternoon. You can find Alyssa in the royal bathing chambers. We've already said our good-byes."
Mia merely stared at him. Too shocked to say anything. She was going to be alone with the princess for who knows how many days, and her father trusts her. The king's booming voice broke her trance.....
"That is all, soldier." He said point blank. Mia turned to go and was almost out of the room when the king spoke again.
"And thank you."
Mia glanced back at him and simply nodded, then exited the room on her way to the royal baths to find the princess.
Mia entered the royal baths without knocking first. Big mistake. After the initial shock that left her speechless, she spun around to face the door, trying to forget the image she had just seen. Alyssa's nude form resting in cool water. She had been sitting on a step inside the bathing tub. Had she been completely in the tub, Mia would have only seen a shoulder-up view. Sitting the way she was, breasts exposed, her hands working the soap over her body, an utterly erotic look on her face....... Mia closed her eyes briefly and tried to wipe the vision from her mind. When she opened her eyes she realized that she had not yet said a word since entering the room. She wasn't sure how long she'd been standing there, completely silent.
"I'm sorry." She said. "I ...should have..uh..knocked first." She finished.
"It's alright." Alyssa said smoothly. "You can turn around now."
Turning around to once again face the beauty, who was now standing beside the tub in a white silk robe, Mia released a breath she didn't realize she was holding. She also didn't realize that the princess had gotten out of the tub. She never heard it. How long was she standing there...speechless?
"I just came from seeing your father. Was this your idea?" Mia asked.
"Well, regardless...." Mia said with a small grin, "We need to get moving so we can make it by sundown."
"My things are ready. Just let me change my clothes."
"On the king's orders, I have escorted the princess to safety. We're hiding out in a cave like structure. It's man-made, but well hidden. It looks like a real stone structure. In fact, all these years I thought it was. I'm afraid that for the time being I'm going to have to forget about my revenge on the king. At least until the nightmares come back.
I'm remembering what my uncle once told me about forgiveness. He said that "even the wisest of men hate and the noblest of them seek revenge, but only the ones who forgive can have the peace of mind to know what hate and revenge truely are." I've known hate all my life and I've always had a place to direct it. I never had a reason to let go of it. Perhaps Alyssa could be that reason.........."
Mia placed her journal in her saddle bag and returned to sit beside the fire. Alyssa was sitting across from her looking toward their kingdom. Their campsite was atop a hill that overlooked the valley. Mia stood and walked toward Alyssa until she was standing beside the sitting princess. She gazed onto the valley. The distant sounds of children playing could be heard from where she stood.
"So full of life." Mia whispered. She looked down at the princess whose eyes captured hers for an all too short eternity. Mia disconnected the gaze, grabbed her sword, and resumed her place on the other side of the fire. She methodically began to sharpen the sword.
"That's a lovely sword." The princess pointed out.
"Thanks. It's been in my family for generations." Scrape, scrape, scrape.
"There must be some story behind a sword like that." Alyssa inquired.
"Not too much in recent years. But the sword was first used by an ancestor of mine." She placed the sword down, made sure she had a captive audience, then stared into the flames as she told the story.
"A long time ago, there was an evil woman. She murdered, she destroyed, she laid waste. She was ruthless. Everyone lived in fear of her, and when she rode in at the head of an army only destruction could result.
But one day, she realized she had chosen the wrong path. She began to fight for good and the rights of the innocent. Her journey had barely begun when she met a young bard that would become her soul-mate in life and death. Together they travelled the earth. Never stopping long enough to call a place home, but never needing one as long as they had eachother. Helping people in a way only true heroes could. It is in this way that they lived, and much the same that they died."
"That's beautiful." Alyssa remarked. "What was her name?"
Mia looked up at her for the first time since she began the tale. The orange glow of the fire played at the princesses delicate features. "Xena." She replied.
"For some reason that name sounds awfully familiar."
"Well, she was legendary."
"And you're related to her?"
"Yes." Alyssa responded.
"And that's the sword she used?" Alyssa said excitedly.
"Yep." Mia picked it up again and resumed the sharpening. "There was another weapon that she used called a chakrum, but we don't have it."
"Where is it?"
"She was buried with it." Scrape, scrape, scrape.
Alyssa spent the next few moments in silent thought before she spoke. "We have a lot of family artifacts at the castle, but there's one that's really special. It's a staff that belonged to an Amazon Queen that's in the family line. But, the stories say that she didn't spend much time ruling the Amazon nation. She mostly travelled." She furrowed her brow momentarily in thought. "I thought she travelled with someone, but I'm not sure."
"Well, I think it's safe to sleep out here tonight. If Aldaus attacks, he'll do it from the east." Mia put her sword down and spread her bedroll on the ground. Alyssa picked up her bedroll and walked to the other side of the fire.
"Do you mind if I sleep on this side?" She asked. Mia was momentarily shocked. "It's just that I'm not all convinced that it's real safe out here and....."
"Sure. Lay down." Mia said in mock annoyance.
Mia woke up with a strange feeling. Before opening her eyes, she tried to get a handle on her surroundings. There wasn't much heat being generated, so she guessed that the fire had died down. She could hear nothing except a strange beating sound. She felt a strange sensation around her, like someone was holding her. She slowly opened her eyes and realized that she was wrapped in the princesses arms, her head cradled on her chest. The beating she was hearing was a heart beat. She slowly extricated herself from Alyssa's arms, confusion written on her face.
"You had a bad dream."
"I did?" Mia replied, confusion evident in her voice. "I don't remember."
"You don't remember crying out, thrashing around?"
Alyssa reached over and brushed a strand of dark hair away from the warriors face. "I didn't know what to do. I tried to wake you, but you just got louder. Then you just seemed to land in my arms. It calmed you down....so I just held you."
Mia fell into the woman's eyes, yet again. "Thank you. You didn't have to do what you did. I......thank you."
"Anytime." Alyssa reached down and squeezed the warrior's hand. "You were calling out for your mother."
"Yeah," she released her hand. "What happened to your mother?"
Mia began to move her eyes around nervously. "It's not important."
"Yes it is, Mia. Maybe if you talked about it you wouldn't have nightmares about it."
Mia stood and began to pace. Alyssa remained calm. She wrapped a blanket around herself and waited for Mia to speak.
"I don't know if you're old enough to remember when Darus attacked the kingdom, but that's when it happened." She walked to where she could look out and see the entire kingdom under the starry sky. "A soldier came into our home and killed my parents. I was hiding under the bed.""That's awful." Alyssa said. "Apparantly I witnessed it all, but....I don't remember anything about
it." Mia shivered slightly. Noticing this, Alyssa rose and wrapped a blanket around the warrior's shoulders. Her arms lingered on broad soldiers before she returned one arm to her side and wrapped the other one around Mia's waist, getting her own view of the valley below. The two women stood, deep in thought, and taking in the view of their kingdom. Alyssa let go of Mia's waist and reached down to her hand, linking their fingers together, and bringing it to her lips. She closed her eyes as she pressed a delicate and gentle kiss to the top of Mia's hand.
Mia was shocked by the small gesture and found herself unable to move. By sheer will she was able to turn her head and look into those eyes just as soft lips were releasing her hand. Alyssa met her gaze and held it. She slowly moved her head closer to the warrior's lips, fast enough not to misinterpret the action, but slow enough to give the warrior time to back out. She did not.
Their lips met. Slowly, exploringly, gently. It was the sweetest of kisses. Arms drew bodies closer. Hearts beat in record time. Lips moved against lips. Time stood still. And then.....
Both women withdrew from the kiss, but not from eachother, in order to take in a much needed breath. Blue eyes met green for an instant, a communication met with complete silence. No words needed to be said, yet so much was left unspoken. Silence was suddenly broken by the distant cries of men. An army.
"Oh, no." Alyssa cried.
Off in the east a line of torches could be seen invading the village. Aldaus was attacking.
"Dammit." Mia cursed. "Not in the middle of the night, not like this!" She looked to the princess. "Alyssa, we need to get you in that hide-out, now!" Mia led the princess to the "cave" and released the secret latch. She waited for Alyssa to enter, then gathered their things and placed them inside. She took out a lock and key and handed them over to Alyssa.
"Here. Once I'm outside you can lock the door with this. No one will be able to get in."
"Wait," the princess pleaded, "you're not staying with me?"
"I can't. I need to fight. I won't let your father get away with it twice." Mia said in a rush.
"What are you talking about? You're not making sense." Alyssa grabbed Mia's arm.
"Look," Mia reached up and stroked Alyssa's face. "I can't make you understand, there's no time. Just stay in here until I come back for you."
"But how will I know it's you?" Alyssa asked.
"This place isn't sound proof, you'll know." Mia turned around and began to leave the cave.
"Mia!" Alyssa cried. Mia turned around and saw the princesses tears.
"I love you." Alyssa choked out. Mia bolted back inside and pulled the princess to her, kissing her with love and passion. Then held her face gently between her two hands.
"I love you, too." Mia whispered. "Lock the door behind me." And with that she was gone. Alyssa did what she said.
Alyssa found it difficult to calm down. She was all alone in the cave and Mia was out there fighting. Mia. The woman she loved. Suddenly her mind was made up. She reached down for the key so she could let herself out when something caught her eye. Mia's journal. Alyssa picked it up and stared at the cover. She wanted to read it. She didn't want to intrude on Mia's personal life. But what if Mia dies out there? What if she dies before I ever truly knew her? Alyssa opened the book and began to read.
"I saw the princess this evening. She was conversing with some other girls in the castle halls. I was reminded of the first time I got my heart broken, the only time. Kelsey was my first love. We were best friends. We did everything together. I was 19. I remember her well. Her smile. She was so funny. I'm not sure when I fell in love with her, just that I had. I knew she didn't feel the same about me, so I tried to hide it. One night, I realized that I had to tell her. I couldn't keep it inside anymore. Even if she didn't feel the same, I had to get it off of my chest. I ran to her home and pulled her out into the night. She was concerned. I told her. I told her that I loved her. She didn't feel the same. She spent many hours with me talking it through, making sure I was okay. It seemed that we had gotten closer. I was wrong. We started to grow more distant. Before I knew what happened, we weren't even talking anymore. She left the village a year later. I haven't seen her since."
Alyssa put the journal down, fearing that she had gone too far. These were Mia's personal thoughts that she had no right to read. But the glimpse of them gave the princess an understanding into the soldier's being, an all too small glimpse. She would be damned if she would lose this woman now, when she's just getting to know her. Alyssa reached for the key to the lock."I have to do what my heart's telling me." She whispered to herself as she studied the copper key in her palm.
Mia spent twenty minutes quietly sneaking into her village. She had come up behind the castle and decided to cut through it in order to get to where the fight was. She approached the entrance to the servants quarters and reached for the door handle. Silently she wondered why this door wasn't being guarded. The other soldiers were probably too busy with the fighting, she thought. Muffled screams in the distance could be heard and her heart clenched as a memory long forgotten came flooding into her mind. She stumbled and grabbed onto the wall next to her.
The screams she presently heard were mixed with those she heard a life time ago. She closed her eyes at the memory. Visions of people frantically trying to escape slaughter, mothers trying to protect children, and swords plunging into victims, shot through Mia's memory. Suddenly she found herself five years old again, and standing in the middle of it.
Someone was grabbing her arm and trying to pull her away from the bloodshed. It was her father. He pulled her into their home, her frantic mother following suit. Her parents kneeled down to her and kissed her cheeks with tears in their eyes. Then they made her crawl under the bed, telling her to be quiet, no matter what happens.
The door to their small home came crashing down and a soldier entered. His helmet had a face guard that covered his eyes. Mia's father stepped in front of his wife, uselessly trying to protect her. The soldier raised his sword and...........Mia covered her eyes and opened her mouth to scream but stopped when she heard her mother's scream instead. She opened her eyes and saw her parents lying on the floor. Movement from beside them forced her eyes up to look at the man who killed them. He reached up and removed his helmet. The little girl stared at his face, imprinting it to memory.
Mia clutched the wall as her memory faded. Once again stuck in the present, Mia entered the castle with revenge on her mind.
The castle was dark, but voices could be heard. Mia followed the sound to the royal dining hall. Peeking through the key hole, she saw Krassus standing next to the dining table with a goblet of wine in his hand. Next to him was King Aldaus. They were drinking together, toasting something. Mia tried to shut out everything around her and in her mind in order to hear what they were saying.
"To another successful maneuver." Krassus said raising his wine glass. Aldaus met the wine glass with his and then they both took a sip.
"Yes, I have to admit we did a good job." Aldaus said after swallowing. "We'll let the people duke it out for a little while, then tell them we reached an agreement."
"And their fear of future wars will keep us on our thrones for a long time to come." Krassus said as he put his wine glass down and extended his hand for a deal finishing handshake.
Mia's anger erupted and she reached for her sword. Grasping the family heirloom in her right hand, she collided with the door, forcing it open. Krassus and Aldaus were alone in the room and quite stunned by Mia's entrance.
"What is the meaning of this?" Krassus shouted. Mia pointed her sword at him and glared.
"I'm not the one who has explaining to do." She said. "I should kill you for what you've done. And you....." She switched her glare to Aldaus. "I recently had a revelation about an incident that occurred when Darus invaded this kingdom. Can you guess what I discovered?"
"I haven't the faintest idea." Aldaus faked ignorance.
"You murdered my parents, you bastard, and who knows how many other people."
"I can name a few." The voice came from behind Mia and she recognized it immediately.
"Belton, what are you doing here." Mia asked of her cousin without turning around.
"I'm here because I want to help you, and I know you're right about our king here." He said as he stepped forward to stand beside Mia, sword in his hand. "I overheard a conversation that Krassus had with Aldaus here during one of their supposed treaty talks. They were talking about their plan to stay on the throne and they were also discussing old times." Belton took a deep breath, ran a hand through his dark hair, and continued. "Aldaus rode with Darus years ago when Darus was still alive. Apparently Darus had the same kind of arrangement with Krassus, faking a war to instill fear in the people."
"You don't know what you're talking about." Aldaus said.
"Shut-up!" Mia yelled, pointing her sword in his direction. "I will tell you when you can speak." She looked back over to her cousin, indicating that he should continue.
"Darus must have had a change of heart because Krassus paid Aldaus to kill him. Then Aldaus bought the throne and Krassus took up some old hobbies."
"When did you find all this out?" Mia asked.
"A few months ago." Belton replied.
"Did you know that he killed my parents?"
"I've had about enough of this!" Krassus said as he slammed his fist down on the table. "I have an entire army under my command, I could have you both killed."
"I don't think so." Belton said.
"Why?" Krassus asked. "What have you done?"
"I've done nothing. You did it to yourself. Right now your entire army is out there calling a truce with Aldaus's troops." Belton said with a satisfactory smile.
"My troops will never agree to it." Aldaus blurted out, anger showing in his narrow eyes.
"They already have." Belton informed them. Mia stepped up to the two kings. She grabbed Aldaus by the shoulder and shoved him out of the way. Krassus began to turn in the other direction in an attempt to escape.
"Oh, no you don't!" Mia said grabbing him by the shirt collar. She pulled him back towards her and placed the blade of her sword upon his throat. "I said I should kill you for what you've done, and I might just do that. Aldaus may have killed my parents, but I hold you personally responsible."
"Mia, no." Mia turned toward the direction of the voice and saw Alyssa standing in the doorway. "Don't do this, Mia."
"Alyssa, you don't understand." Mia said through clenched teeth. She looked beside her and saw that Aldaus had not gotten up.
"Yes, I do. I heard everything." Alyssa explained.
"Alyssa, don't believe a thing these people say. They're crazy." Krassus pleaded with her daughter.
"Don't even try denying it, father. I know the truth." Alyssa walked into the room, past Belton, and approached her father and Mia. Then she knelt down next to Aldaus and felt for a pulse. "He's still alive. It looks like he hit his head." She stood and made eye contact with Mia. She tried to communicate all of her feelings in that one look, how much she loved Mia, how much she felt for her, and how killing her father now would be a mistake.
"Mia, you can't do this. Killing my father won't make you feel any better."
"How would you know?" Mia questioned.
"Because I love you. I love you more than anyone or anything on this earth. And I know that you need to heal and that my love can help." A tear made its way down Alyssa's cheek. She reached out and pressed her palm against Mia's cheek. Then with her other hand she grasped Mia's fist that held tightly to the sword. "Please." The princess whispered.
With that silent plea, Mia surrendered. She dropped the sword and released her hold on Krassus. Krassus stumbled and was quickly grabbed by Belton to prevent his escape.
"I'm sorry." Mia said with sincere sadness.
"Shh." The princess said as she wrapped her arms around the soldier that had captured her heart. "It'll be okay." She released her hold on Mia and turned to face her father.
"Please let me explain." Krassus pleaded.
"I don't want an explanation because I'm sure you don't have a good one. But there is one thing you can do for me." Alyssa glared at him to make sure he was listening. "You are going to tell the people exactly what you've done, and then you're going to resign from the throne."
"But if I resign, then the throne goes to..."
"Me. I know that." Alyssa said. "And once I'm on the throne I want you to leave this kingdom and never return. As for Aldaus, I'm sure his people will take care of him." She spit out the last sentence bitterly. "I suggest you take me up on it father. If not, then I might as well let the people kill you. I'm sure there will be more than a few of them who will want to."
"Fine, I'll do it." Krassus said in defeat.
"Alright, let's go." Belton said grabbing the king by the arm. "You've got a speech to make."
Mia watched her cousin lead Krassus out of the room and then turned to Alyssa. "Are you sure you can handle running a kingdom."
"Maybe." The princess said as she reached for Mia's hand and linked their fingers together. "I could use a queen to share my throne with." She looked lovingly at Mia and brushed away a lock of hair that had fallen in the soldiers face. "Of course, if you decide to take me up on it, we'd have to be married."
"Are you sure that's what you want?" Mia asked, studying their linked fingers. Alyssa placed her fingers under Mia's chin and raised her face up so that their eyes met.
"Absolutely." Alyssa whispered as she closed the distance between them and pressed her lips gently against Mia's. Soon their arms were around each other, holding them close together in an attempt to become one. After a few minutes of delicious exploration the kiss ended and two foreheads rested together.
"Yes, I'll marry you." Mia said. She grasped Alyssa's hand again and led her out of the room. "Then let's go.....to the rest of our lives."