Author’s note: I’ll never ever get tired of being in Japan. My otaku heart palpitates every time I see manga stalls and middle-schoolers in sailor uniforms. I feel like a jii-chan with an odd fetish lol~ An update is out today cause, why not? :p
Alenaire was surprised that her prayers worked. Perhaps the gods in heaven were actually afraid of her powerful kick! Whichever reason it actually was, she was thrilled.
She informed her parents and her siblings about her newfound power, but declared that she needn’t a priestess for a tutor. She wanted to explore the power herself, like Luce.
“But Awi, a tutor will help guide you as they have guided me,” Alasdair said.
The whole family were having lunch together after long months of separation. Alasdair and Alaric had just arrived from an expedition at the coast, where they began discussing naval operations with the admiral of the kingdom’s fleet.
“Yes, love. The high priestess Kendra is a very proficient teacher,” the Queen said as she gracefully cut her beef into little quarters.
“So you’re the same as Luce, little sister? You don’t need to chant to help draw out power?” Alaric asked after dabbing the side of his mouth with a napkin.
“I don’t need to chant,” Alenaire said proudly. “Do you want to see how it works?”
“Why not, dear?” The King smiled at her indulgently.
Alenaire turned to Alasdair who was beside her. She looked at the bright red dot that had been seeking attention on his cheek for the past few minutes. “I can heal your pimple!” She said quite bluntly.
“…” Alasdair touched the red pimple on his cheek and flushed a shade similar to that which he wanted to cover. “Awi! I’m in the throes of adolescence! I can’t stop these pimples from forming if I wanted to, okay? Are you deliberately trying to embarrass me by pointing them out?” He asked in despair.
“That’s why I said I’ll heal them!” Alenaire pouted.
Without warning, Alenaire closed her hand over Alasdair’s own hand on his cheek, and a golden light emerged.
Her family looked on in both amusement and fascination as Alenaire took her and her brother’s hand away, revealing a now smooth cheek which was still blotted by his blush.
“See? It works!” Alenaire said triumphantly, and she bowed gracefully in front of her family who clapped at her skillful act.
“Leave it to my sister to make me pretty,” Alasdair said helplessly as he patted her head. “As much as it embarrasses me, I have to say thank you, Awi.”
“Anytime!” Alenaire smiled at him happily.
“No…I think it would hurt my dignity to call on my little sister when I have pimple problems…” Alasdair said with affliction, and the whole family laughed. He looked so pitiful.
Alenaire found out from numerous experiments that her healing magic was a subclass of light magic. She could form a ball of light in her hand, and she used it to pave her way in the darkness. Her magic was actually harmless, as she did not want to hurt anyone, even if it was accidental.
She exercised her healing magic everyday, in order to increase her mana pool. Since no one she knew was actually hurt fatally, she practiced by expanding and condensing her healing spheres, making it so that it became easier to control. Healing wasn’t so simple as she initially thought. One had to know what ailment the person had, and bigger wounds entailed bigger sacrifices to her mana pool.
One day, while Alenaire was busy reading in her father’s study, one of the Knights fell off his horse after a mock duel with another. A big commotion happened in the courtyard, as this knight had suffered a broken arm, and one of the Knights immediately ran to the church in the capital to call for a High Priest.
Alenaire looked out the window, curious. She not only saw a person in pain, but she also saw a potential day for some exercise!
She immediately ran down the stairs to attend to the groaning man in the courtyard.
“Princess, what are you doing?” The Knights asked as they parted for her to enter their circle, and saw her kneel beside the man.
Luce gave everyone the eye as he said proudly, “Did you not know? The princess is a healer!”
And upon his words, a golden light glowed, leaving the Knights in admiration and stupefaction.
And so, since then, the princess unwittingly became the healer of the Royal castle.
A grand party was set up as soon as Alenaire and Luce turned thirteen. It was a coming-of-age party for Alenaire, as well as a ceremony for Luce’s knighting.
Now that they both stood at the foremost stages of puberty, people saw that they had started to mature in looks and in manners. However, what they did not know was how differently they conducted themselves when they were alone together, and how the pristine exterior hid their true selves.
Luce had grown his hair, keeping his curly hair tied behind the back of his head with a leather string like his father. His shoulders broadened, his voice deepened, and his face was more angular than before.
Alenaire stopped acting like a spoiled child, and because her etiquette teacher was quite strict, Alenaire made it a habit of straightening her spine and walking in a straight line whenever possible. She exuded an elegance now which she did not have before.
After Luce’s dreadful near death experience in the forest, Alenaire couldn’t bear to set foot in it anymore, and instead opted to stay in the garden where Luce would often show her his elemental tricks, making her giggle with excitement. Alenaire in turn, would show him her spheres of light, winding them around his elements, almost as if merging them into one.
Luce would also often make sculptures out of Earth or Ice, and would leave them at her balcony without informing her. Every time Alenaire pulled away the drapes first thing in the morning, she would see the little sculptures standing firmly on the floor, as if informing her that it was another beautiful day.
A few hours before the grand party began, Alenaire was prepped by her maids in her chambers. There were approximately five maids in her room, and they all accounted for the overseeing of the: corset, chemise, petticoat, train, outer garments and tiara.
The worst part of it all was the corset.
“Suck in your breath, Princess!” Leica said as she began pulling on the strings of the corset.
“Inhale!” Ticia added.
“You can do it, Princess!” Rema cheered.
Alenaire grumbled. “Why do I have to wear these deathly things?!”
“For aesthetic purposes, of course, Princess. Your waist will look slim and trim!” Mina said gaily.
“How am I supposed to eat if I can hardly even breathe?!” Alenaire demanded.
“Well, if you do faint, you will always have a knight to carry you in your arms,” Neri giggled.
It was now the trend for ladies of the capital and even of the villages, to look up to the Knights who upheld their code of chivalry. Due to the excess of maidens who saw them through rose colored glasses, every time knights would pass by for a general inspection of the streets, they would be run over by a teem of young ladies waving their white handkerchiefs in the air. It was a spectacle no one wanted to miss.
“I suppose so,” Alenaire said with a bit of blush on her cheeks as she thought of her very own knight.
“Princess, you look much lovelier when in love!” Leica fluttered as she added powder to Alenaire’s face.
“Love?” Alenaire still could not grasp the notion of love. She had heard of the word many times, but the meaning still eluded her, as if taunting her to figure it out for herself. “How does one describe such emotion?”
The maids giggled. “Oh Princess! You truly have been locked up in this castle for far too long!”
“Love is when you blush like what you’re doing now!”
“Love is when your heart dances when he looks at you!”
“Love is when you can’t go a day without him!”
“When you want to be held in his arms!”
“When you want him to kiss you!” Rema said as she clasped her hands and kissed the air.
“Okay, that’s enough ladies,” Leica said when she saw the princess look uncomfortable from their frenzied movements. After the merriment toned down, she filled in Alenaire’s lips with rouge, and defined her eyes with kohl. “I think our princess is all set. What do you think?” She presented the princess to the rest of the maids with a flourish.
“We have such a beautiful princess!” Neri sighed with happiness.
Suddenly, someone knocked on the door.
“Is the princess ready?” A deep baritone voice filtered through.
The five maids squealed, their high pitched voices overlapping each other’s.
“The Princess’ knight is here!”
“Oh how lovely!”
Leica looked at the soft expression in Alenaire’s eyes.
“Princess, love is when you look at him that way,” Leica could not help but point out with a smile.
Alenaire coughed and looked away from the door, hiding her blushing face from the squealing maids. “I thank you all for your duties. I shall be on my way.”
As Alenaire stood up and made her way to the door, her maids cheered her on.
“We support you, Princess!” The maids cheered.
Ticia opened the door for her, and Alenaire blushed harder when she immediately saw Luce’s face.
He was wearing his knight armor without the helm. The candle lights flickered off of his metal cuirass as he delivered an elegant bow, his gauntlets making a chinking noise with the movement, with his red cape falling over one shoulder. “My princess, shall I escort you to the party?” He raised his head, a lock of dark curly hair crossing over his brow. His green eyes sparkled like the early dew in the morning sun.
“Sure,” Alenaire squeaked out. She cleared her throat hastily. “I mean, you shall.”
Alenaire placed her gloved hand on the crook of Luce’s outstretched elbow, and they elegantly glided down the long, red carpeted staircase which directly led to the ball room.