The Bleeding Heart

Chapter 1

~5 years later~

Sweat rolled down Elysia Scott's face as she gripped the sword in her hands tightly. Now she's regretting not majoring in swordsmanship. But then, majoring in archery had its benefits too. To be able to kill a mile away? Not that she enjoyed killing…not that she ever killed before.

Elysia gave a sharp sigh. She was slightly in a disadvantage, which was an understatement. She still had her special comeback though, which Princess Erielle had taught her.

Yes, the princess, of all people.

Come to think about it, the princess did know how to confound men in the most…'creative' way.

But no, Elysia wanted a fair game. She won't do that to her opponent, at least not in that situation. If they were given another time, another place, she'd be more than willing to do what the princess had suggested.

She may not be a very good swordsman but she still knew a thing or two. She was a knight, after all. A girl, yes, but nevertheless a knight who carries honor, pride and dignity.

She took on defense.

Their swords clashed.

And the fight resumes.

The enemy was too skilled, though and Elysia begrudgingly admitted that he was a better swordsman. He should be. After all, he had a high rank amongst the knights. And to lose to a girl, that might cause his downfall…though the thought was quite appealing to Elysia.

He found an opening but Elysia took a step back in time, escaping the blade by an inch. Swords clashed again and Elysia tried to make a blow to the head but to no avail. He bent backwards.

Damn flexibility.

Elysia twisted the sword in her hands and twirled a bit to evade the man's attacks. Her opponent's sword went for her neck but Elysia was able to intercept it with her own at the last moment. She staggered backwards from the impact and that determined the result of the fight.

In a split second, the man was able to incapacitate Elysia.

The sword fell to the ground as the man's arm closed itself around Elysia's neck. The blade felt cold on her throat and she reluctantly accepted defeat.

A clap was heard as the man released his grip. Elysia turned to the direction of the sound – Franchesca Bradley.

"That was quite an improvement," Franchesca commented, nodding towards Elysia. "Though your footing needs working."

"I know," Elysia picked up the fallen sword. "How long have you been watching?"

"Long enough," Franchesca shrugged. "Great work, Keith."

Keith Raleigh smiled. "Thanks, Chesca and not bad, Lis."

Elysia rolled her eyes, "I would've won if it weren't for my footing, you know."

"Proud as always," Keith muttered and then took on a louder voice. "I didn't mean that as an insult. It was supposed to be a compliment."

Franchesca snorted while Elysia rolled her eyes again.

"Don't worry, Lis," Franchesca told her. "Keep practicing and you'll be able to kick his ass in two moves like I did."

"Hey!" Keith protested. "I wasn't ready that time!"

"Sure you weren't," Franchesca grinned mockingly.

Franchesca Bradley was the best swordsman among the knights even though she was a girl. Even though Keith Raleigh was a high ranking officer, like Franchesca had said, she was able to defeat him in two moves. Yes, she was that good that even the general, Lance Bale accepted defeat in her hands, which went quite publicly. Since then, no man tried to challenge Franchesca Bradley.

"So what brings you here to the practice arena?" Elysia asked Franchesca as she returned her sword.

"I was taking Coriolis out on a run when I heard you guys fighting…though I thought something else will happen other than swords clashing," Franchesca had a glint in her eye as Elysia and Keith exchanged looks.

They went out of the dome-shaped arena and into the warm air of the day. Elysia fixed her hair in a high ponytail and climbed on her horse, a dark blond stallion named Legion who had been with Elysia ever since she became a knight two years ago.

Majoring in archery, Elysia Scott became one of the best archers. Even though archery also needed physical strength, it didn't need as much as swordplay did. Sure, you need strong hands but that was it.

Elysia had strong hands but she could never learn to balance herself properly on her two feet and that's why it's harder for her to master handling a sword unlike Franchesca and even Keith, both of whom treat their swords as if they were an extension of their bodies.

And she knew the consequences – that that imperfection of herself will come later to bite her in the ass during battles.

Elysia climbed on Legion and with a slight pull of his reins, Legion started to walk slowly, going faster and faster until he's running fullspeed.

Lexus and Coriolis, Keith's and Franchesca's horses respectively, took a run for it too, galloping through the fields.

"To the main castle?" Elysia asked.

"Of course," Keith answered. "Where else would we go?"

It was already late in the morning; the sun was at its peak, the rays blinding.

Though the arena was technically a part of the castle, the chambers, both for the royal family and their staff and or knights were a different section and that's where they're going.

The grand castle loomed above them and as they reached the front gates, the guards immediately let them in once recognizing who they were. They directed their horses to the west side of the castle where the knights' quarters were situated. As they drew nearer, they saw knights in practice clothes and training outfits, holding spears and swords. A line of archers stood a mile from their targets. And in time with each other, they pulled the arrows and with force, let them go. The arrows whizzed through the air, landing on their targets as planned though some were a bit off.

Elysia grinned to herself.

"You think you can do better?" Keith raised an amused eyebrow.

"I know I can do better," Elysia retorted.

"I agree," Franchesca chimed in. "Lis may not be as good in swordplay as we are but when it comes to archery…well, let's just say she'll knock us off our feet."

Keith rolled his eyes but nevertheless, he smiled.

They turned around the corner and made it to the royal stable.

They climbed down from the horses and as they stepped into the scorching sunlight, they heard galloping.

A large stallion was running towards the knights' quarters, a female in armor atop of it. The woman was a knight and as it seemed, became a messenger of some sort for the king. She wore the classic armor but without the helmet. What should have been pants became a long skirt that was removable but since this wasn't a mission or battle, she was required to wear such for reasons the top brass still hadn't divulged with the other knights.

Her long blond hair was tied into a low ponytail by a red ribbon, the wind blowing her hair. She had brown eyes that took on a serious expression.

Blond hair, brown eyes and a girl riding that large a horse? Elysia, Keith and Franchesca knew of only one person with those descriptions.

Veronica de Roquefort.

It seemed she had just come from the throne room, as what the three had inferred. Her serious expression wasn't good news. Being a funny person, whatever information she brought back must not have been pleasant.

She had left the kingdom to be part of the peace envoys sent to the kingdom of Aria a week ago. And seeing she was alone wasn't a good sign.

Her horse, one of the largest stallions in the knights' possession, Gaia, stopped in front of the three. She climbed down in one swift movement with ease as if it was only natural of her to do such thing.

And then the castle bells rang.

Once, twice, thrice.

A council meeting.

"Veronica," Elysia approached her friend.

"What happened?" Keith asked. "Where are the others?"

Veronica gave a sharp sigh, unable to look at the three directly.

"Veronica," Franchesca urged. "What is the matter? What's wrong?"

"The queen," Veronica uttered just above a whisper.

"Did something happen to Queen Riza?" Elysia asked in alarm.

"No, not Queen Riza," Veronica shook her head. "It's the queen of Aria, Queen Rosaria. She's been killed."

Hey, y'all! Please tell me what you think of this chapter and hoped you all enjoyed it!