Author's note: If you'd actually read my profile, you'll know that I'm not just ready to start going on a constant update yet. This is the second version of a previous story I tore down for heavy editing but some main ideas still remain. I've changed the title but still can't quite think of a good one but I'll guess this would just have to do for now. I'm not that good at writing and would gladly accept reviews, be it critics or not. Constructive criticism helps people to improve so please help me.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~* ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Prologue:

3 years ago.

She stood in the centre of the training hall. The darkness of the night had already fully descended upon the world. All that was visible was the blade she carried - jagged at the cutting edge and illuminating a ghostly blue. The light emitted by the blade shone on her face, showing one full of perspiration and her dark-brownish hair swept across her face with each movement she made.

It was her first day at the Academy of Mystic Knights. She shifted her grip on the blade again. The blades in the palace were all much heavier than the one that she had been given and was currently using. It was so light that it put her off balance with every stroke made. She frowned, "But at least I'm here," she tried to console herself, "Mum and Dad would never let me touch a weapon back at the palace."

She was the princess of the royal family of Theria and the only child too. She had always felt that she had been born into the wrong family. Her parents had adamantly refused to let her study and train at the academy though her teachers and their advisors had strongly suggested so. However, in the end, they still gave in to their boyish daughter.

"Try not to use too much force," she reminded herself countless times until it became a continuous chant in her mind. She took another slash at the still air around her. Unfortunately, she was nearly thrown off balance. The blade seemed to become lighter with each stroke she took. Cursing aloud, she grimaced, picked up her blade, ready to take another go at what seemed impossible.

"Need help?" an alien voice came from behind her. It was a he. His voice sounded full of mirth but at the same time, had a soothing effect to it.

Instinctively, she spun around, the tip of her blade pointing dangerously near his throat and her legs involuntarily taking a few steps forward to maintain balance. She made a face again. What was the use of a threat when it couldn't even be executed perfectly and at the same time with style?

She briefly studied this stranger from head to toe. He had a crop of raven black hair pushed away from his face to reveal a pair of steely grey eyes that showed a lack of emotion. He had a pair of sturdy legs and a pair of muscular hands, which lay crossed over his chest. His body leaned to one side in a casual manner with one eyebrow raised questioningly at her attempt to threaten him.

"I can handle this by myself thank you," she replied, voice sounding more than a trifle irritated. Her blade swayed from left to right. Noticing the swaying motions of her own hands, she shifted their positioning on the weapon and gripped it firmly. The swaying stopped.

"I can't say that you are," he said amused, his eyes fixed on the sword that which was still close enough to take out his life even for an amateur. She glared at him. He laughed and walked nonchalantly behind her, ignoring the close proximity of her blade.

She was just about to spin around to face him when she felt another pair of hands holding hers and adjusting her grip on the blade. She flinched uneasily at the distance between him and her and her body tensed. Without warning, a foot hooked around her back leg and pushed it nearer to her front leg. She took a few small steps forward to adjust her balance and to her surprise, the blade felt more in control now.

"You don't need such a big stance for such a light weapon," his voice came from a few feet behind her. She heaved a sigh of relief, her body relaxed. "Have a go at it," it was clear he still assumed the role of the teacher, "try to maintain your stance throughout."

After taking in a deep breath, she raised her blade to a guarding position and took her first swing. Her feet stuck firmly to the ground without the need to move to correct her balance. A grin broke across her face and she fell into her routine of sword moves she would practice when she crept into the palace arsenal after she had doped the guard's drink.

The guy whistled in admiration, watching intently as her legs moved like a dance but still keeping the same stance she was taught. The movement of her blade created bluish arcs in the air, which lingered on for a while before completely disappearing.

She stopped after a few minutes and walked over grinning. "Not bad, taking into consideration that it's only your first day here," he congratulated her.

"Thanks," she replied, feeling that uneasiness slowly creeping away, "the blades at home were a few times heavier than this," she lifted the hand that still held onto the blade, "just couldn't get the stance right I guess."

There was a temporary silence between. Her heart was racing, she did not know what to say to this stranger who had just helped her. After a while, the stranger broke the silence.

"Anpher," he held out his hand, "Anpher Riophilias from the senior levels." He paused and winked at her, "currently your senior in this academy unless I leave or am put out of action for some other reason."

There was something about his name, which rang an imaginary bell in the vaults of her mind yet she couldn't quite put a finger on it. She reached out and shook his hand.

"Lesern," she sighed, "Lesern Theria who had just entered the academy a few hours ago much to the protests of her overprotective parents," she said it almost in disgust.

"Ah," he said, nodding his head. There was no sign of shock or incomprehension on his face. Had he not heard of the kingdom of Theria or just felt that he was her senior and that was that? After all, almost the whole world knew about the tomboyish princess of Theria. "If everything goes according to schedule, the seniors would be the ones teaching you for your first year. The heads and trainers would most likely pair junior with senior tomorrow. You'd better head back before anyone finds out that you're out of the dorms past the curfew time. It wouldn't be nice to get booked on your first day here." With that, he just walked away, his figure slowly fading into the darkness.

She realised that she had been holding her breath as he talked to her. Although it wasn't as tense as before, he still made her fell uncomfortable, she just did not know why. "Just a few more minutes," she thought as she picked up her blade and immersed herself into practice again.