Chapter 2

The Princess and the Fighter

A boy about eighteen walked into a bar. He sat down at a table. He was somewhat tall, had medium length blonde hair that was pushed to the side. The boy wore half armor covering his right arm and shoulder, on his right hand he wore a glove made of steel with spikes protruding from his knuckles. He wore a cape to cover up the right side of his body. Under his half armor he wore simple chainmail. On his left hand he wore the remains of a leather glove; again this one had small spikes protruding from the knuckles. This glove was made for more maneuverability unlike the right hand one. He wore armored pants and battle boots. Many people knew this boy he was a fighter a protector of the weak, and a man of honor, they nicknamed him spike for the gloves he always wore, but his real name was Alexander, which in the lands to the east past the dragon back ridges, meant "defending men." It was rumored he was in love with the princess of the citadel that overlooked the town he lived in. No one knew for sure except maybe his love.

"Waiter," Alex shouted, the closest took attention, "is Jerome here today." The waitress nodded. She walked away, Alex waited there staring at his empty glass. Then he noticed a monstrous shadow loom over him. Alex looked up, a huge man was grinning from ear to ear.

"Jerome!" Alex stood up and hugged the giant figure. He gestured for the big man to sit down.

"So what brings you to my humble bar," Jerome said."I hope not the usual." Alex chuckled to himself.

"Sorry to say, but ya, it is about the usual." Alex waved a waitress over. "I'm broke; right now I need some money. If the moon's right it will be me and Mia's second year of being with each other, I wanna get her a gift," the waitress came, Michael ordered a glass of water, the two continued.

"Well I did, hear something from one of my contacts," now Alex was all ears. "he told me this captain of a pirate ship found a stow away turned out the stow was a famous thief," Jerome's face crumbled, "dangit forgot the name, well this captain is very pissed, so he's giving a pretty nice bounty for the man, alive of course he wants to kill him, himself."

"Did the guy give any leads or description," Alex asked.

"Well he said the guy had a X scar on his head, that's all really. I didn't wanna tell you because it was such a bad description but…" Alex stood up.

"Thanks," he dropped a few coins on the table. Jerome picked up the money and shrugged.

Alex walked out of the bar and walked to his horse. The horse was a beauty it had black coat and coarse hair, she road faster than the wind and jumped as high as a mountain, as the locals said. Alex named her Maria after the girl he loved. He rode to his home on the outskirts of town. It was a little cabin made for one but Alex was going to change that soon. He walked inside and to the fireplace. He picked up a sword lying on top. This was a special sword, not like the ones in this area of the land, the makers called it a Katana, it was a blade sharpened only on one side and the steel was folded 300 times before touching a warriors' hand. The blade was twice as sharp and light as an average broadsword. He unsheathed it and looked at it, the sword seemed to glow a magnificent blue. He walked outside after he grabbed the proper journey equipment; after all he was going after a master thief and a wanderer.

Alex rode for three days before catching the right trail. Only one thing was on his mind, the face of the person he was after. Alex stopped at a small village the trail seemed to end here, Alex knew the person too well to try to find him here. Alex swore to himself as he walked into a pub and took a seat at the bar. He sat next to a hooded figure and a drunken barbarian that was shouting at the top of his lungs.

"What will it be today?" the bartender asked. Alex thought as he looked at the wall of different liquors and exotic drinks.

"I'll just have water," Alex said. The drunken guy sitting to his right stopped yelling

"Just water?" he yelled in Alex's ear. "Where the *hic* excitement in that.

"Please I don't want trouble, sir," Alex tried to calm down the drunken man. But the man only got rowdier.

"You saying I'm t-t-t-trouble," the drunken guy stood up. "No one insults McRoy without insulting his whole gang," Alex didn't notice but a scrawny guy with a knife in his hand started sneaking behind him.

"Duck," the hooded figure whispered in Alex's ear. Alex looked towards the figure's hands and saw a staff. Alex ducked the figure swung his staff over his head and knocked the scrawny guy halfway across the room. Alex leapt out of his chair, and unsheathed his sword. He was standing back to back with the hooded figure. Surrounding them a circle were a bunch of angry barbarians. Then McRoy stepped out in front of them. He pointed to them and grinned.

"Get *hic* 'em," And with that about thirty drunk and smelly barbarians with various weapons lunged at the two warriors. Alex and hooded figure stood their ground and intercepted the horde. Alex slashing with his blade and the hooded figure twirling and smashing with his staff. The fight was over in a matter of minutes, the two stood facing each other, Alex wiped the blade off his sword and the figure wiped to blood off the butts of his staff.

"Who are you?" Alex asked sticking his sword back into the sheath. The figure didn't reply he just stood there. Alex noticed the beautiful staff the figure held, it reminded him of something, but Alex couldn't remember.

He asked again," Who are you?" the hooded man didn't reply but turned around and walked away.

"Hey stop!" the figure complied and turned around again facing Alex.

The figure spoke,"I walk away not because I'm a coward, but because I don't want anything to happen. You didn't come in here to fight a brawl, you were looking for something or someone," the figure put down his hood. "I thought this wouldn't have to happen… Alex." Alex just smiled, "I knew it was you the bounty was after, you always seem to get someone pissed off at you. Huh, Michael?" Michael just nodded in Agreement. "Well," Alex Started, "I still have to respect the bounty code," Alex Got into a fighting stance, Michael just threw of his cloak.

"Bring it," Michael muttered.

The birds outside sang the village of Araman was in full movement. Araman was a port village and a major rest stop if one was going to go through the Dragon Tooth Mountains. It was a prosperous village with a beautiful castle over looking it. A girl stood in the window many knew her as Princess Maria. She had brown straight going down to her waist, with deep green eyes and red soft lips. Every man fell for here, but her heart went to only one, Alex, the protector. She stood out the window looking over her subjects, a little kid waved at her, she smiled and waved back. She moved to the window sill and got changed into her regular clothes; she liked being a princess but hated dressing like one. She went back to the window sill and started to comb her hair. She looked out her window and saw a cloud of dirt raging towards the village. Maria squinted to see what it was. She gasped and ran down the stairs.

"Father, Father," she saw her father staring out the window.