Valencia had a problem. A problem so huge, that it threatened to make her scream. Just thinking about it gave her anxiety. Her maid, Ainsley, looked at her nervously.
"Valencia?" Ainsley stood up. "Valencia. You have to decide. This is a choice you will have to live with for half a year. What are you going to choose?"
"Ainsley, I have no idea! This one is beautiful, but this one is more practical." Valencia looked back at Ainsley. "What do you think? Which one?"
Ainsley looked at the two small daggers in Valencia's hand. One was from Beosk, and was perfect in every way. It had perfect balance, weight and was sharp enough to do some damage, even in distance combat. Not only this, but the blade was made from diamond, and had taken years to shape. It's handle was wood, melded with leather to create a thick handle.
But the other dagger, was basically useless. It was adorned with jewels on the handle, and they often cut the user's palm. The blade was not sharp, and would crack under excessive force. The dagger was too large for close combat, to heavy for long distances. So yeah, not a good dagger in a life or death situation.
Ainsley knew that Ustrah was known for their beautiful daggers, so Valencia would probably be able to buy another dagger there.
"Choose the Beosk dagger, your Highness." Ainsley replied, and giggled when Valencia shot her a glare.
"Ainsley, I swear to Mother's Cauldron, you call me Highness once more and I will have you sleep with the horses." Valencia huffed, knowing fully that she wouldn't ever do that to Ainsley, and Ainsley knew that, too. Ainsley only giggled
With that, Valencia finished packing. All six of her bags were filled to the brim, since they were staying in Ustrah for around half a year. She also had three packs full of the universal currency, aceians. So, yeah, she was pretty ready for the trip.
Ustrah is a huge island west of Beosk and Altacia. They are known for being carefree, good trades people, and extremely secretive. Not only that, but they have the biggest jewel mines on the mortal side of the world. Their king is known to be soft and sweet, and his wife, too. But, that is only if you are on their good side. Quick and calculating, a few hits from them could devastate a whole country. They have two sons, Elian, who is twenty four, and Callum, who was barely twenty three. Their youngest child is Raelynn, and she is nineteen.
Raelynn is known for being beautiful and a brat, even though no one even knew she was alive until she was fourteen. It may sound unusual, but for Ustrah, it was quite normal. The other two boys, however, are complete opposites.
Elian is the angel; Callum, the demon.
So, overall, Valencia knew absolutely nothing about their people and what they wanted, and knew exactly what the royals were like. Which, if everything went wrong, would make it hard to turn the people against their rulers.
But, luckily, Altacia and Beosk had good enough relationships with Ustrah that the two princesses could make the month and a half trip and could stay for three months just to make a few political decisions. Thank Mother's Cauldron for smart ancestors.
Standing up, Valencia nodded for Ainsley to follow her. Sashaying down the halls, some servants stopped and bowed, some stopped and stared. When she finally made it to Opal's room, she knocked, knowing her sister would probably be inside, procrastinating. Not waiting for an answer, she strode inside, to find Opal laying on the bed, face down.
"Opal, really. You are nineteen, and yet you still act like a child. Now, get up and let's pack for the trip." Opal groaned, but obeyed her older sister.
"I don't want to go to a deserted island like Ustrah. No one will know who we are and we will have to sail on a boat for a month." complained Opal.
"You know for a fact that everyone is going to know who we are, Opal. Ainsley and Jolene will be there, too, right girls?" The chatting maids paused and nodded in agreement.
"See? They will be with us, and will have to suffer, too, so don't think that you are going to be the only one doing this, Opal." With that, they fell silent and began packing for the island.
. . .
Two nights later, the group was ready to leave. Coming along with the girls, would be Travel General, Oliver, his ten year old daughter, Abby, thirty soldiers, five maids, Ainsley and Jolene (who are personal maids), and three scouts. Everyone besides the maids and Abby rode on a horse, while they rode in carriages.
Everyone riding along was prepared for a long, month and a half journey. Well, maybe not fully prepared.
"I can't do this! I haven't left the capital in years!" Opal sat on a stone bench, hyperventilating.
"Opal, stop. You are overreacting. It won't be that bad. I'm sure that you will be fine. Though I've never been, I've heard that Ustrah is beautiful and that everyone is really nice!" Valencia looked behind her.
"Valencia! His Majesty and Her Majesty is coming to see you off!" Ainsley grabbed Valencia and rushed her to where the king and queen were entering.
"Valencia! Opal! Come say goodbye to your mother!" Queen Katarah sauntered towards Valencia and enveloped her in a bear hug.
"My babies! I am going to miss -sob- you! You need to write to -sob- us every day, ok?" King Geo half spoke, half weeped. "I can't believe my only -sob- daughters are going to leave us for half a -sob- year!"
"Daddy, it is not the end of the world. Plus, if you really wanted us to stay, you would tell your wife not to make us go to Ustrah!" Valencia escaped her mother's hug and dove under her father's arm and stood off to the side with her arms crossed, driving her point deeper into her father's heart.
"Valencia, you know that we simply need them as an allie, and this is the only way to make sure they will be there for us." Queen Katarah was stern and unforgiving. "Do this for the kingdom. Maybe, along the way, you will find your own allies, and not just political ones..."
"By the way, this is Sir Axel, and he will be riding along with your party and keeping you safe." A boyish-looking man came forward and bowed, smiling the entire time.
Oh. He was just Valencia's type, tall and fit with dirty blond hair and green eyes. She looked him over once, nodded in approval and turned back to her mother.
"Mother, Opal is freaking out. She hasn't been anywhere besides the capital in years, please calm her down!" And with that, Valencia kissed her mother's cheek and hugged her father, then walked away to Ainsley.
"Ainsley, are you worried about the trip?" Valencia watched her mother embrace Opal, with tears streaming down Opal's face.
"Valencia, I would never be able to make this trip if you weren't with me." Valencia turned towards Ainsley questionably.
"Of course you would be able to!" Valencia snorted. "You are probably one of the most flexible people in the castle!" Ainsley made eye contact with Valencia, and an unknown expression flitted across her face for a moment, before disappearing.
"Yeah, yeah, keep praising me like that, and I'll get an even bigger head than you!" Ainsley joked, turning away from Valencia. "I better get on my horse, I haven't rode in forever!" She walked away.
Valencia looked towards Opal and her parents.
What was that about? She thought. Ainsley's mood had shifted considerably, I wonder if she is doing alright. Nevermind, we need to get going.
Opal started toward Valencia after saying her goodbyes.
"Shall we get going then?" Opal asked looking less nervous.
"Thought you'd never ask."