If he pressed an inch further, the thin silver sword was sure to prick her smooth rosy cheek. His eyes bore deeply into the Princess’. A wicked smile lit his face as he saw fear flash in the hazel eyes that stared back at him; yet, behind the fear was determination, one he had not seen in a long time.
Princess Perla groaned. Her knees threatened to buckle under the weight of the man in black. His eyes, as black as his outfit, sent shivers down her spine, urging her subtly to submit to his will. The more she peered, the greater her will to fight, to get the answers she needed.
“Not so fast, Princess,” he’d anticipated her move. He hooked her legs firmly with his. He cocked his head to a side; a silent warning not to fight him. “You should let it go while I am still in a good mood.” His voice deepened.
“Give me what I want,” Princess Perla snarled, “then I might decide to let you go.”
He chuckled. “You are strong, I must say but you can never measure up to my strength. You girls never will. So, I suggest you run back to your room and play with your maid.” He leaned closer. His musky breath invaded her nostrils. She tried not to squirm. “You should tend to your face else it is scarred permanently.”
Perla frowned for a second then it dawned on her. A spot on her cheek stung faintly. The bastard pricked me! she yelled in her mind.
With a loud cry, she threw her weight on him. Her sudden outburst caught him by surprise, and he staggered. He barely found his footing before he parried Perla’s quick jab. Right… left… right… he dodged her ivory-gold fighting knives. He marvelled at her footwork and speed. He continued to parry her attacks until his back hit the wall. He marvelled at her footwork and speed. The Princess turned out better than he’d imagined. His eyes narrowed as she advanced, he anticipated her next move then planned his. In a heartbeat, with his right index finger curled in a knot, he thrust his arm aiming at her underarm.
Time slowed for her, Perla saw his move as she leaned forward, one of her fighting knives aimed at his shoulder. She quickly manoeuvred the knife downward. The man’s painful groan filled the hollow labyrinth. She didn’t wait. In a blur, she buried the second knife deep in his shoulder. The wall behind him cracked at the impact. She watched with satisfaction at the blood that trickled down his shoulder and forearm. His black eyes were filled with pain and shock.
“I am Princess Perla of the Blessed Isle.” She stood with poise. “I won’t be compared with typical princesses that lounge around with handmaidens and do nothing but party.” She moved closer. “I am my father’s daughter.” Her voice shook with authority.
The man stared for a while. His nose flared in anger as his broad chest heaved. He shifted his gaze between her and the knife buried in his forearm then began to laugh. It started short and raspy but it soon echoed throughout the dimly lit hallway. Perla tensed. Her left hand crawled slowly to the back of her tunic. She shuddered as her fingers grabbed the small daggers she’d put there. She wasn’t ready to take a risk. One cannot easily defeat an assassin of his kind.
“I underestimated you, Princess.” He smirked. “My mistake. I won’t do again.”
“You could have just given me what I inquired,” she spat. “The King’s orders,” she emphasised.
“His order?” he scoffed. She nodded. “And what makes you think I’d tell you?”
“I need to know what my father asked off you.” She was already on the edge of losing it.
A chill ran down her spine when her favourite maid had informed her of Alvin’s presence in the Palace. Alvin, the most skilled assassin in the whole kingdom. It meant one thing. It meant death. She needed no one to tell her where he might be heading to. Father has great indignation towards only one person. Harry’s father, King Ortis.
“Why do you seek such information?” Alvin asked. He read her. “I can conclude you have an inkling already.”
Perla took an uneasy step back as she watched him remove the knives effortlessly; they clanged loudly against the paved floor. Perla held her breath when she met his eyes. Long gone was the friendly gaze. Alvin stood with an unreadable look on his face. He’d somehow stopped the blood, he seemed fine and nowhere like anyone who just suffered a painful stab to the shoulder and forearm. His muscles bulged underneath his clothing. His crooked nose moved as he sniffed the air.
Alvin cracked his knuckles loudly. “You need not interfere in things of the Crown, Princess Perla.” He gritted his teeth. He saw her flinch at his tone. He took pleasure in seeing her quake before him. “Run along or I won’t be responsible for whatever happens.”
“Don’t test me!” he cut in with a deep growl. Alvin couldn’t bear her defiance any longer. His inner demons were already yelling for blood. “Your corpse would have turned cold if you weren’t an important person,” He took a step. Perla took three. “Patience is the least of my virtues, girl.”
His last word struck a chord in Perla. Anger washed over her in waves. If she hated one thing, it was to be seen as a weakling. She’d hated the fact that people considered her weak, they considered the female gender weak; everyone, especially her father and older brothers.
Perla took a step towards Alvin but in a flash, he held her by the throat. His large rough palm squeezed her windpipe earning a wheeze from the Princess. Her eyes bulged. She thrashed in his tight grip, clawing futilely at his hand. Alvin could smell her pain. It did nothing but urged him to tighten his grip.
“You are just as annoying as your father described,” he growled. “I already volunteered to help dispose of you but he wouldn’t agree. He wants you alive since you look so much like your mother, the one you killed.”
Princess Perla slowed in her effort to escape his grip. She refused to believe what she heard. She knew her father and older siblings hated her but not to the point of killing her. Despite the black spot that danced across her vision, she could see the truth in Alvin’s black eyes. He wouldn’t lie. She thought.
“N-No…” she forced out. “You…” She choked on her next word as her back slam hard on the wall. Her chest exploded with pain. Her feet dangled above the ground.
“I haven’t been embarrassed in a long time,” he looked her down. “I underestimated you. Now, I am with a bruised ego, thanks to you.” He spat. “I will return to pay you back, Princess.” He dropped her like a rag doll.
Perla coughed, drawing much-needed air into her lungs. Her chest burned. Her eyes stung painfully with tears. She palmed the sore spot around her neck yet she got no relief from the searing pain from the area. She turned her blurry gaze in the direction of Alvin’s footstep.
“You won’t succeed.” Something broke within her. She felt the tingles spread from her chest, warming its way as it moved in all direction throughout her body. She crawled to her feet.
Alvin turned to her. He frowned, wondering how she was able to stand. He was sure to apply enough pressure to cause her to blackout still she’d somehow survived. He snarled. His thin lips curled in anger. His hands clenched into a fist.
“I will take what I want, Alvin,” Princess Perla said confidently. “I will, forcefully.” Her chest rose and fell in quick succession.
Alvin grinned. He cocked his head to a side. “You aren’t strong enough, girl. You are as weak as they come. Run al—” His words died in his throat at what he saw.
Princess Perla tore off the large turban on her head, releasing her hair. It cascaded down her shoulders in a stream of white. It glowed in the dim space. She welcomed the feeling that had been building in her chest. She felt the hallway buzz with power.
“Impossible…” Alvin muttered. His eyes were as wide as a saucer. He blinked, rooted in the spot he stood. He couldn’t tear his eyes off her. The anger and confidence he’d displayed evaporated. “It shouldn’t be,” he croaked.
A noiseless ripple surged out of Princess Perla. It travelled in a radius outward of her hitting every object with a force. The walls cracked noisily, the blood-stained knives shrivelled as it passed them. She watched as it caught up with a frozen Alvin.
Alvin sucked in a breathe as it hit him. He felt hot inside. Every hair on his body rose in fear before pain exploded from inside of his. It tore a heart-wrenching scream out of him. Alvin struggled to keep his eyes open, he wanted to savour the sight of life. He knew in his dying heart that it was his last. He wished he could warn King Bjorn of the power his daughter possessed; one he believed had skipped her.
Princess Perla watched as Alvin shrivelled before her eyes. The once heavily built man with a rare manly beauty soon shrank to a sickly bag of bone. Just before he turned to dust, a white smoke drifted out of him and flowed towards Perla. She inhaled it in one breathe with her eyes closed. She stood frozen.
Seconds ticked into minutes before Perla opened her eyes. A tear dropped. She’d finished watching Alvin’s life play in her mind. His essence had mingled with hers, allowing her to see through his entire life at a go. Her heart sank deep in her chest as she realised what her father had planned. The knowledge of his bloodthirsty plans was nothing compared to the pain she felt when she found out what he’d planned for her; her older brothers had supported him as well.
Princess Perla knees buckled. She gripped her tunics as she wept bitterly. She loved them nonetheless hoping one day they’d love her back. Her father’s brutality, as well as his sons, knew no bound. She’d heard them but through Alvin she experienced them.
Now, their eyes were set for IronLand; the home of her love, Harry.
“Do you think things will ever get better?” Her question to Harry the other night echoed in her head.
“We will make it better,” he’d answered. “I promise.”
“So do I,” she had murmured in response.
“I can make things better.” She wiped the tears off her face. “Who said a girl is weak?” she soliloquised. “It is high time someone stood up to those tyrants I call blood.” She stumped her foot hard on the ground, her fighting knives flew in her hands on cue. She brought them to her line of sight. The ivory-good steel straightened, glistering in the dimly lit space.
“It is a new beginning, Perla Von Martel,” she muttered.