She knew it was a bad idea, she knew she should have gone with her gut. Yet still, she ignored all the red flags and now here she was about to lose everything she'd spent the last three years working toward. All because she got a bit lonely.
She'd be lying if she said she weren't scared, after all anyone would be scared at the prospect of losing their lives, but she thought that she'd long ago prepared for that. She was royalty not to mention a member of a race that tended to either die extremely young or extremely old, nothing in between, so one had to be prepared for either of those outcomes.
But still, dying in a run down, dark alley at the hands of several repulsive, lowlife, smelly bandits, whom she'd paid quite handsomely to act as her bodyguards, was not very high on her list of preferable deaths. In fact, she'd say that this was probably the worst way to go for someone of her status.
"You fucking animals," she growled, backing away from the grinning men. "I paid you good money for protection, and you dare turn on me?!"
"Whoa now, that's now way for a lady to talk," the leader of the bandits laughed. "Let's keep it professional, shall we? We were more than happy to grant your request, however, you violated the terms when you'd lied to us."
"I did not lie! I merely did not find it important for you to know my status."
"Oh, but that's where you're wrong," the bandit shook his head. "You see, when I take a job, I believe in trust and honesty with my clients, and you didn't give us either. So, this partnership has to come to an end." His eyes then scanned the girl in front of him, taking in young elf's slender form as he licked his lips. "Now that we are no longer partners, all you are is a nice bounty I'm willing to collect. I'm sure the Kingdom of Kaytram or even your former home of the elves will make us into heroes for capturing the traitorous Princess Kali!"
Damnit, so they really do know who I am, Kali thought to herself, eyes darting around to find an escape route. If it's come to this, then I have no choice but try and use some magic.
"If you think I'm going to let you do as you please with me, you're sadly mistaken!" And with that, the elf shot her hand forward summoning a powerful gust of wind that blew all three men backwards. Without a moment's hesitation, she ran as fast as she could out of the alley and down the empty streets.
"Damn it! Get that elf, I don't care if you have to cripple her, just don't let her escape!"
With the three men in hot pursuit, Kali knew she had to lose them or risk getting caught from behind. She quickly turned a corner before she her body suddenly slammed into what felt like a brick wall, which sent her tumbling backwards onto her rear.
"Ow! What the?" she looked up from her position to see that it was not a wall that she hit, but rather a boy who remained unmoved from where he stood. "Damn it, watch where you're going!"
The boy who stood above her did not respond nor did he move an inch, for a moment Kali thought she'd actually ran into a lifeless statue, until the boy's gaze suddenly fell down onto her. He looked quite young and had soft blue eyes peering from his shaggy, raven hair. He wore dirty looking rags as his clothing and no footwear, which led Kali to believe that he was likely of very low class. What astonished the drow elf, however, was the large broadsword attached to the boy's back, which was at least the same length as he was and as wide as her waist. Kali flinched suddenly when the boy knelt down to her level, his face mere inches away from her own.
"Excuse me," he spoke, rather mildly for someone with his uncouth appearance. "I think I'm lost, what city is this?"
Kali blinked a few times before furrowing her brow in confusion. "Um," she spoke slowly. "Y-You're currently in Danavar....or rather, just on the outskirts of Danavar."
The boy scrunched up his face before slapping his forehead. "Aw damn it! I went the wrong way!" he groaned, reaching into his parcel and pulling out a large sheet of paper. "How the world did I get all the way to Danavar?! I knew that old lady gave me a lousy map!"
Kali watched in silence as the boy scanned the map he held in his hands before suddenly balling it up and tossing it as far as he could. He then dramatically threw up his hands before plopping down underneath a tree, a somewhat cute pout crossing his face.
That was...odd, Kali thought to herself before the sound of multiple footsteps alerted her. Shit, I got sidetracked!
"Aha, finally found you, your majesty," the bandit from before, now riding atop of a horse, laughed. "You really thought you could escape us that easily?"
Kali quickly scrambled to her feet and got into a defensive position, however her heart sank when she saw that the criminal had brought even more people with him, their number totaling anywhere between ten to fifteen men. Realization began to hit the drow elf that she likely wasn't going to be able to escape this time.
"Tch, I almost got away," Kali grit her teeth and turned to look at the boy who'd halted his escape. "Hey! I'll have you know that whatever happens to me is your fault!"
The boy looked up at him in confusion. "Huh?"
"This is your fault!" Kali repeated. "If you hadn't gotten in my way I would have easily evaded these thugs! Now I'm going to die, probably after being mercilessly violated by multiple dirty old men! So I hope that weighs on your conscious!"
The boy's confused look turned into one of amusement, prompting Kali to snarl at him, before he turned to look at the men that stood in front of them. Suddenly, he stood up from his spot, dusted off his trousers, and walked up to the bandit sitting on the horse.
"Hey, sorry to bother you and your obvious kidnapping," the boy said nonchalantly to the bandit. "But would you happen to have a map on you? I'm lost and I'm trying to get back to-"
"Beat it, you little runt! Can't you see we're busy here?!"
"Well that's a bit rude, I was only asking if you could share your map with me," the boy crossed his arms, looking back at Kali. "What about you? Do you have a map I can use?"
"You idiot!" Kali yelled. "Look behind you!"
Despite Kali's warning, it was already too late as the bandit quickly moved toward the unsuspecting boy and swung his large ax down toward his head, a surefire instant kill shot. However, in a blink of an eye, the boy had managed to somehow get behind the bandit, as his ax smashed onto the hard ground instead.
"Wh-What?" The bandit quickly whirled around. "How did you get behind me?! Some kind of magic?!"
The boy snorted at the bandit. "Magic? All I did was move out of the way," he stated. "What you should be surprised about is how you're still managing to stand up."
"What are you...." before the bandit could finish his sentence, he suddenly felt his entire body toppling over onto the ground, landing with a hard thud. He frantically looked down at his legs, the color on his face draining when he noticed that he couldn't see anything past his thighs. "M....My legs! What did you do to my legs?!"
Everyone was stunned at the scene before them, the bandits began backing away in fear as Kali fell onto her butt, completely dumbfounded at what she had just witnessed.
"Such quick and precise movements," she muttered to herself. "Even with my gifted eyesight I could barely follow what happened. I don't believe I've ever seen a human move like that, much less someone so young."
"Alright, so I'm going to ask you guys again," the boy slowly drew the gigantic sword from his back, pointing it at the other bandits. "Do. You. Have. A. Map?"
The men found themselves unable to answer, merely looking at one another as if they were waiting for someone to speak up. Eventually, from the mouth of the current legless leader, came a loud "Don't just stand there you idiots! He's just a little kid, kill him! He can't take you all on!"
The once unsure men gave each other one last look before summoning what little courage they had left to rush toward the boy, who merely gave a confident smirk before gripping his blade with two hands.
"Lucky," he chuckled darkly. "I finally get the chance to use this move."
What Kali witnessed next was downright astonishing. The boy suddenly started to move strangely, as if he were being carried by the wind itself. With her eyesight, she was able to perceive things a lot faster than a normal human, but even so it looked as if the boy were moving too quickly for her to see. The only thing she did see was each time the boy swung his sword and sliced through each bandit, cutting them so fast their own bodies took several seconds to register the cuts. Finally, after making his way through each bandit, the boy merely offered up a gleeful smirk, as each of the men fell onto the ground, dead before they even touched the pavement.
Kali remained speechless, in over ninety years of life, which was quite short for an elf, she'd never seen such a display of power, speed and skill. It was as if she were witnessing to one of the stories about the legendary heroes of the past that her father used to tell her about. How had she nor anyone else not heard of this boy before? She was sure she knew of all the most powerful warriors in Godvia, but this face was not familiar to her. Could he be from some far away land?
"U-Um...." Kali tried to speak, but words would not form. The boy gave her a quick glance before stalking past her and toward the legless man who was still wailing in pain. He crouched down and grabbed him by the hair, pulling him up so that he was looking directly at him.
"Now, about that map...." he spoke normally, as if he didn't just slaughter a group of men not two minutes ago.
"Y-You're mad!" the bandit rasped. "You did all this over some stupid map?! The hell is wrong with you?!" He waited for a response, but the boy didn't seem very interested and instead slammed his face onto the dirt. "O-Okay! C-Check my bag, I should have one stored in there somewhere!"
"Outstanding," the boy released his grip on the bandit's hair and strode over to the horse, making sure to give it a few loving pets as he rummaged through the bag on its side. "Hmm, aha! This is perfect, it's much better than the one I had!" He then turned to face the bandit who was now starting to pass out due to blood loss, giving him a mock salute. "Thank you very much kind sir."
With a new map in hand, the boy stuffed it into his own bag, sheathed his sword and began heading in the opposite direction, away from Kalen and the bleeding bandit at his feet.
As Kali watched the boy's retreating form, she felt something tighten in her chest. This person was strong, stronger than anyone she'd seen in a long while. She wasn't sure why or even if it were a good idea given the brutality the boy had displayed, but before she knew it her legs were already moving on their own, carrying her toward the boy who had just saved her life. Her mind was already telling her not todo this, not to get her hopes up. She'd been disappointed so many times these past three years that it's almost broken her. Still, her legs wouldn't stop until she was finally able to reach the young warrior, placing a firm hand on her shoulder.
"Wait," Kali spoke, the boy stopping immediately. "Please just....who are you?"
Without even hesitating, the boy turned to look at the drow elf, a crooked smile crossing his youthful features as he struck a somewhat heroic pose.
"The names' Stanford," he told him simply. "And you are?"
Kali swallowed a lump in her throat, her green eyes locking on to Stanford's blue ones. "I am Princess Kalionna of the Drow Elves, heir to the Elven Kingdom's throne," she answered inching closing toward him. "And I want you to become mine."
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