This has a lot of blood, so if you aren't a teenager, you shouldn't be reading this.
Part One: The Capture
"Fall back!" Came the retreating call.
I put my foot to the chest of the Frelian my dagger was currently stuck in and pulled. My dagger sprung free of the flesh and boiled leather cuirass. The solider fell to the ground, blood spurting out of the giant hole in his chest. I grimaced, and raced over the hill to regroup with my battalion. As the commanding-general, I probably shouldn't have been on the battlefield because capturing a general could go a long way with the enemy's moral. The hill top was littered with bodies, some of them dead, the others wounded. When I had joined the Marsalisse army, I had thought there would be silence at the end of every battle. I was wrong. The air was rent with screams for help, mercy, and their mothers. My troops had made lines at the foot of the hill, pike men at the front. I picked up my pace, my booted feet almost slipping on the blood-slicked grass. Behind me, I could hear the cluttered sounds of Rapidash hooves. Drawing in deep breath, I poured on more speed. I practically flew over the ground. I was a few feet away from the frontline. I took a flying leap over the pike men, and was caught around the waist by a particularly large solider. I thanked him, doubled over at the waist, panting. I straightened and saw the Frelians coming. The Rapidash, cream colored Pokemon with flaming manes and tails, were being ridden hard. I could see weariness reflected in their eyes. I felt bad about killing the Pokemon, but this was war albeit the ugly side.
"Lower the pikes!" I called, my voice carrying across the field.
The pike men lowered the huge spear-like weapons. Within seconds, the Rapidash crashed into the pikes. The screams of the dying Pokemon were deafening. I flipped my daggers around my fingers and threw one, the point finding its mark in a Frelian's chest. I pulled it out, pivoted, and brought my daggers down in a slicing motion, the blades sliding through flesh and armor like they were butter. I kicked my leg up, sweeping it an arc. I hit someone in the head and they went down like a sack of potatoes. I turned barely in time to lock swords with a Frelian solider. I brought my knee up between his legs and slit his throat from ear to ear when he crumbled. Jets of crimson blood shot out of his throat as he died. I tackled a Frelian who was trying to kill one of my pike men. I rolled out of the way as the man stabbed the Frelian in the gut with his pike. He helped to my feet, but I was sent sprawling to the ground again. I smacked the hilt of a dagger into the Frelian soldier's head and pushed him off me. I stood, punching another solider in the gut. He fell to his knees and I drop-kicked him. I felt a sharp pain in my side and looked down to see red blossoming through the black of my coat. I cursed, and slammed an elbow into the face of the Frelian standing behind me. I turned and grabbed his head in my hands. With a quick twist, his neck snapped, and he was dead before his body hit the blood-soaked ground. Reversing my hold on my daggers, I jumped on the back of a huge Frelian. I sunk my blades into his shoulders, dropping all my weight on the blades. His scream was loud and filled with pain. I left a dagger in his shoulder and reached down to my belt to withdraw a small knife. I slid it across his throat, replaced the knife, pulled out my daggers, and hopped down. I yelped as I was taken down at the knees. A small man dressed in the white and blue of the Frelian army was holding onto my legs. I stabbed him between the shoulder blades and pushed him off. I was tackled again from behind. This was getting really freaking old, damn it.
My head smacked into the ground, disorienting me. Hands wrapped around my neck and squeezed, cutting off my air. I groped around for a dagger, my fingertips sliding over the cool, wet steel. I grabbed it and hacked at my attacker furiously. He cried out, but let me go. I scrambled away, planning my attack. The verdict was an all-out brawl. I tackled the Frelian and we rolled across the ground together. I landed on top and grabbed him by his collar. I banged his head into the ground, screaming obscenities. The Frelian wrapped his legs around my middle and flipped me so he was on top. I punched him in the jaw and he jabbed his knee into my kidney. I wedged my legs between us and kicked him off. He landed a few feet away and slid across the grass. Unfortunately, the Frelian got to his feet first. He bum-rushed me, catching me from the behind. We landed on the dirt in a tangle of limbs. I pulled one of his fingers back, snapping the bone in half. The Frelian yelped and let me go. I pivoted and punched him in the face. He caught my other fist and kneed me in the lower stomach. I lost my breath and doubled over. When he leaned over me, I surged up, the top of my head clipping him in his chin. I planted my boot in his solar plexus and sent him flying away from me. I tried a flying kick, but he grabbed my foot, pulling me out of the air. I shrieked as we collided. The Frelian slammed his forehead into mine, leaving me slightly dazed. I hooked my feet around his legs and kicked. His knees buckled and we fell. Like magnets on the wrong side, we sprang apart. The Frelian and I circled each other slowly, waiting for the other to make a move. Slowly, we inched closer. I kicked my leg up in a arc, sweeping my leg over the Frelian's head as ducked. I barely managed to hop out of the way when he swung one huge fist towards my face. I ran into his left hook, which was waiting for me when I hopped back from his right. The blow sent me reeling, but I recovered quickly. I threw a lopsided punch, connecting with the Frelian's temple. I jumped, my leg snapping up to hit his chin. He smashed his fist into my nose. I felt the bone crunch and blood pour out of my nose. I cursed and jumped back. I spun, kicking out. I heard the Frelian groan as my foot collided with his face. I grabbed my knife off my belt and stabbed him in the throat. I kicked the knife, shoving it deeper into his flesh. His hands flew up to the wound as he fell. I grabbed my daggers and slid them back into their sheathes. I stooped and picked up a spear, twirling it in my hands. I stabbed the spearhead into the ground and used the long handle to boost myself up. I swung my body around it, kicking a solider in the back. I pitched forward, and I jumped after him, yanking the spear out of the ground. I planted the head of it in his back. I spun, the handle of the spear hitting multiple enemy soldiers. I flipped the spear over my head, slamming it down into the head of a Frelian. He collapsed on the ground in heap of limbs. I stabbed another Frelian between his ribs. I left the spear and unsheathed my daggers again. By now, the Frelians were calling a full retreat. I raised my right hand in that air, still clutching my bloody dagger, and let out a fierce shout. My battalion followed suit, our war cry filling the air. The purpose of a war cry was to strike fear into the hearts of your enemy.
"Take a casualties and wounded poll, and report back to me." I ordered a captain.
"What about the Frelian survivors?"
"Patch them up and put them in a PoW camp until the war is over." A PoW was a prisoner of war, but more commonly called PoW. We had set up camped for the Frelian PoW's so they would have a place to live. They were our captives, but we still treated them nicely.
"You don't want them killed?" The captain asked, running a hand through his sandy blonde hair. Like the rest of us, he was splattered with blood.
"There has been enough bloodshed for now, I think. Besides, they survived with their lives if not their limbs. They live."
"Yes, ma'am." The captain bowed and walked away. I sighed, pushing my hair out of my eyes. What had once been a peaceful field with rolling hills was now a warzone. The green grass was stained red. The bodies and limbs of fallen soldiers littered the ground. War was a hideous thing.
I was submerged in a tub of warm water. Bubbles floated on the surface, shielding my body from sight. I was in my tent, relaxing after the battle. I could hear the soldiers outside whooping and hollering. They were no doubt partying after the win. The captain from earlier had finished relaying his report. I dismissed him with a wave of my hand. In my tent, there was a pallet of thick blankets, a full length mirror, the wooden tub, a weapons rack, and a small table that was laden with maps. The mirror was set in front of me. My white hair hung in tangled locks. I ran a brush through them, and squirted some conditioner into my palm. This was the time of war, but I liked to keep my hair long, clean, and shiny. I was a woman after all. I massaged the cream into my thick locks and combed my hair again. Studying my face in the mirror, I wondered what my men saw. I was not yet twenty-seven, but was a general in the Marsalisse army. My face was smooth and unlined, my eyes a very pale blue rimmed with dark blue. When I was standing far away, my eyes appeared to be white, and that could unnerve some people. My skin was pale and translucent. I traced a fingertip over the thin blue veins that were visible under my skin. If it wasn't clear before, I was an Albino. I hadn't just lost the pigment in my skin, but all the color in my hair and my eyes. Well, my eyes retained some of their color, but just a little bit. I dunked my head under the water, rinsing the conditioner out of my hair. When I finished washing, I stood, water running down my body in rivulets. I grabbed a thin towel and wrapped it around myself. Another went around my hair. I paused to touch the flesh colored band-aid that covered the bridge of my nose. I had broken the bone. There were two long cuts on my left side and belly, so they had to be stitched. I walked over to the pallet of blankets and collapsed. Sleep welcomed me into a deep, dreamless void.
"Who are we supposed to grab again?" A mercenary whispered to his companion as they stole through the Marsalisse camp. There were black tents everywhere. The mercenary, named Paul, knew that the Marsalisse colors were black and crimson, but in his mind they were carrying it a bit too far by making their tents black. He voice his thoughts to his companion, Marco.
"You idiot!" He whispered back furiously. "Their tents are black so they blend into the night better. And we're grabbing some lady general. Wendel and Rupert are getting the other general."
"Oh!" Paul nodded. Everything made sense now.
The grass under foot was wet with dew. It was about two a.m. in the morning, and it was quite cold. Paul shivered, even though he was wearing a thick jacket. Like Marco, he was dressed causally in jeans, a T-shirt, sneakers, and a leather jacket that had the mountain emblem of their mercenary company on their left sleeve. They saw the lady general's tent up ahead. It was easy to stop since it was slightly larger than the rest. Plus, there were two guards posted outside the entrance. Paul giggled and pulled a small reed pipe out of his jacket. He inserted a small dart into it and held it up to his mouth. A quick puff of breath blew the dart out of the pipe and sent it hurdling through the air to prick the first guard's skin. He slapped at his neck, then stood still. Paul reloaded the pipe and repeated the routine. Within a minute, both guards were slumped on the ground, unconscious. He giggled again, this time louder. Marco slapped a hand over his mouth to silence him.
"let's go before you wake up the whole camp." Marco roadie-ran the distance to the lady general's tent. Paul followed behind him, both hands clamped over his mouth to hold back the giggles. Paul hadn't progressed pass the age of ten mentally, but he was one of the Mountainside Mercenaries'' best assassins and black ops solider.
Marco held open the tent flap for Paul so he could duck inside. Once inside, they found it was pitch-black. They stood in the dark for a few minutes to let their eyes adjust. Paul spied the lady general laying in bed on her side. Her face was smashed into the pillow, her lips slightly parted. From the looks of it, her hair had been recently washed and had dried in loose curls that fell over her shoulders and into her eyes. Long white lashes rested on pale cheeks. She looked like a snow angel, Paul thought, reaching out to touch her. Marco slapped his hand away. Paul looked up at his companion, about to open his mouth to complain. Marco held his finger to his lips to silence any noise that Paul would have made. Marco pulled a small cloth out of his pocket and laid it over the lady general's mouth and nose. Within thirty seconds, her breathing had deepened. Paul pulled back the blankets and jumped back in surprise.
"Holy pigs! She's naked!" Marco nodded.
The general wasn't totally naked. her body was wrapped loosely in a towel. Not wanting to disturb Paul, Marco adjusted her towel until it covered her lady parts, not that any were showing in the first place. He used a small safety pin to keep the towel snug before lifting the lady out of her bed and laying her onto his shoulder. Paul gathered an armful of clothes for the general when she woke up. Absently, Marco wondered if Wendel and Rupert had the same easy luck they had. The general's hair brushed against Marco's butt as he walked. Paul held open the tent flap and together, they snuck out into the night.
"Sir!" A young man with blue eyes and brown hair ran over to the major, almost tripping over his feet in the process.
"What, son?" The major barked, making the kid jump.
"The two generals, Ice and Nightshade, are missing! They weren't in their tents and a couple dozen guards were found knocked out with a dart in their necks!"
"Assemble a search party and notify the King that his daughter is missing." The major ordered, rubbing his temples. This was a headache he didn't need. The two generals had probably knocked out their guards to cover their tracks. It was well known that the two had dated a few years back.
I woke up with a start. I was moving. Why was I moving? I didn't remember giving the order to march, nor getting into a wagon. I opened my eyes to see a giant man crouched in front of me. He had wide eyes, one gold, the other brown. He had a ruddy completion and was probably in his early thirties. He was dressed in blue jeans, a yellow T-shirt, black and white ratty sneakers, and a black leather jacket. I could make out a circle on his left sleeve. It was a mountain. Great. Kidnapped by mercs. Nice. If my roaring headache was anything to judge by, they had knocked me out. I looked down to see that I was only wearing a towel. I sighed.
"Are you mad?" The man asked me in a curious voice. I cocked my head. "My dad always does that when he's mad. Hi, I'm Paul."
"Hello. I'm General Ice."
"I know," he giggled. "My dad told me your name when he said to go get you. Lissia Ansley Ice." He rattled off my name. It appeared that this man's growth was mentally stunted.
"Yes, that's my name. Do you have friends with you, Paul?" I asked, trying to worm some information out of him.
"Yes. There's Marco, Wendel, and Rupert. But don't make Rupert mad. He is really mean when he's mad."
"Okay. What do your friends look like. You know, hair and eye color," I specified when Paul gave me a blank look.
"Oh. Marco has yellow hair and blue eyes, Rupert's hair is red and his eyes are brown, and Wendel has green eyes and black hair."
"I see. Do you have the key so I can get out of here?"
"No! You can't get out!" Paul gave me a fierce look. I had obviously triggered something that made him mad.
"That's okay. I just wanted to play hide and seek with you."
"Oh," Paul said, the anger draining from his body. "You have to have on clothes before we can play, though, silly." Paul giggled as he tossed me a bundle of clothes. He banged on the back of the wagon and it stopped. He hopped out.
"Will you make sure your friends don't come over here while I change?" I asked him. Paul nodded. The wagon had giant bands of wood that stretched from one side of the wagon to the other. A giant cloth was rolled up on the left side. I pulled on the clothes that Paul had given me, but it took a bit longer than normal since there was a chain wrapped around my waist. Smart. Hand cuffs and leg shackles were much too easy to get out of, but a chain around my waist would stop me from going anywhere. Luckily, Paul had included a brush and hair clip in the bundle of clothes. I yanked the brush through my tangled hair and clipped it back from my face. Paul hopped back into the wagon with me and happily began to hum. We were on a road with plenty of foliage. The trees overhead provided shade, but there were storm clouds moving in.
"You're dressed like a solider." Paul laughed. Indeed I was. Paul had given me my Marsalisse uniform to wear. It was a black coat that was tailored for my small frame. It stopped about mid thigh and had two rows of gold buttons marching up my chest. I wore tight black pants and black boots. I grabbed the crimson sash that went with it and wound it around my waist. It was pretty long, and about half way through wrapping it, I draped it over my right shoulder, than went back to winding it around my waist. The sash was made of a special material that stuck to itself, but not to skin. It was like velcro, but felt like silk. I pressed the last of the sash firmly into the rest of the material and leaned back.
"Hey, can you take off this chain that's around my waist and just attach it to some hand cuffs?" I asked. It was highly uncomfortable and was chaffing my skin.
"When we stop, I will."
Marco, Paul, Rupert, and Wendel led me up the steps to the Frelian castle, Casterwick. This was where the King and Queen of Frelia lived. It was heavily guarded. Six granite columns were lined up in front of the oak doors that lead inside. They held up the giant balcony on the third floor. Casterwick Castle was made of ancient gray stone and was a good five stories high. It had arching gothic windows and wild roses climbed up the castle walls. Turrets rose high into the sky with the white Frelian flag waving in the wind. The blue bow and arrow that was Frelia's emblem looked pretty cool, but not as cool as Marsalis's axe and shield banner. Then again, I was from Marsalis, so I was biased. The great hall was made of gold granite and had green walls. Overhead was a mural of demons fighting with angels. It was scary how much the Frelian castle looked like Marsalis's. I was escorted into the throne room. It had white marble floors and sky blue walls. There was a huge window behind the thrones that took up the whole wall. Heavy blue velvet curtains hung over the window. The thrones were made out of birch and polished until they shone silver. Snow white cushions rested the seat of the thrones. The King and Queen were dressed in white, like they were angels. The king had fiery red hair and brown eyes. The Queen's hair and eyes were the same shade of gold.
"Release the prisoner." The King commanded. I frowned, struggling to remember their names. Malcolm and Analee, that was it. The men stepped back from me, but left my hands cuffed. I hid a grin. Who needed hands to fight? "You are the commanding general of the Marsalisse base to the north, correct?" The King asked me. I remained silent.
"We have one of your generals," the Queen spoke, her light tone carrying over the room. I was glad that Paul had forgotten to grab my medals and such. Since I was wearing just a regular uniform, I looked like a normal foot solider.
"Do you deny that you are the commanding general?" King waited a few heartbeats for me to reply. "Well? What do you have to say for yourself?" He demanded.
"I am not a general in the Marsalisse army. I'm just a solider." I said quietly, feigning meekness.
"I don't believe that for a second. Get her out of my sight!" The King ordered. I bit back a grin.
I hadn't seen my uncle outside of pictures. My father had always said that ever since he was crowned King of Frelia, my uncle had become a douche. I knew to a certain extent that it was true, but now I believed it completely. My uncle, King of Frelia, was a douche. The guards all bent over me to help me to my feet. I resisted the urge to fight and clamped my lips shut. They dragged me through a door on the left. We went down a gray staircase to the dudgeon. It was a bevy of hallways, all lined with small cells. The walls and floors were cool gray concrete. The bars that made up the front wall of the cells were shiny steel and had very little space between them. Escaping would be very hard. The guards threw me into a room that had only a tub of water. Instead of bars, though, it actually had a door.
"We've been instructed to get information out of you, but not in a way that it'll show," one of the guards smiled at me. Was it just me, or did he have more teeth than normal humans?"
"And so you're going to water-board me?" I smiled back. "I've been water-boarded before. Do your worse."
"Oh, we will." It was too bad they didn't realize I could hold my breath for more than five minutes at a time. He grabbed my hair and forced my head underwater, but not before I got a good gulp of air. I closed my eyes and slowly counted to one hundred. Before I reached ninety, he yanked my head out. Water streamed down my face, and I took a calming breath.
"Are you a general in the Marsalisse army?" He demanded, his black eyes narrowed.
"No, I am a meat popsicle." I grinned at him, sucking a breath as my face was plunged back into the freezing water. This time he held me down for more than one hundred seconds.
"Where in the north is the Marsalisse camp?" He demanded. By now, his white and blue suit was drenched in water.
"Marsalis." I answered. We did have a camp in our own territory incase the Frelians tried to storm us. The man shook his head and dunked me again. When he started to pull me out, I opened my mouth, allowing water to flow in. He jerked me around so that I was facing him, his fist knotted in my hair.
"What are your war plans?" Instead of answering, I just spat a stream of water into his face. Angrily, he wiped it away, twisting his fist in my hair. I winced as he tugged on my scalp.
"You really have anger issues, don't you?" I shook my head as best as able. I was grinning when I was shoved back under water. And that's how my water-boarding session went; him asking question, me making sarcastic remarks and spitting water into his face. Finally, the man picked me up and threw me into a different cell, one that was occupied.
"Hey, there, newcomer!" The guy on the top bunk said. He jumped off to greet me. He wore black from head to toe; black jacket, black pants, black boots. A crimson sash was wrapped around his waist and looped over his right shoulder, like mine. Six gold chains were attached to his right shoulder. The first three connected to his left shoulder, the last hooked to his left side. There was gold embroidery on his cuffs and stiff collar. His dark red hair was slicked back from his face, his pale green eyes locked on my face.
"Virgil? What are you doing here?" I asked, incredibly confused and slightly mad to see him.
"I was captured by mercs and shoved in here. What about you, Lissy?" He grinned lazily at me, leaning against the metal frame of the bunk bed. Besides the bed, there was a small sink and toilet in the cell.
"Don't call me Lissy, and don't use my title here. I was also captured by mercs."
"Look, I know that we ended things on a bad note, but you can't seriously still be mad at me." Virgil said, his tone changing from light and teasing, to dark and serious. I flicked my thumb nail. I was still mad. My vision still pulsed red every time I saw Virgil, and for good reason, too.
"I'm not mad," I lied.
"I call top," Virgil joked, trying to lighten the otherwise grim mood.
"You can have it," I said, unwrapping my sash from around my waist and sitting on the bottom bunk. "I don't plan on being here all that long anyway."
"You're planning to break us out?" Virgil planted his palms on the frame of the top bunk and easily pulled himself up onto the thin cot. He stretched out, his feet hanging over the mattress. I bit back a smile. He looked ridiculous.
"No, I'm planning to break myself out. Two people are harder to break out than just one."
"So, you're just going to leave me behind?" Virgil scoffed. "I know you hate me, but don't you think that leaving me to rot in a Frelian prison is a bit rude, even if we are exes?"
"Calm down. I still hate you, but you are a general in the army, so I do have an obligation to get you out."
"Oh, so you're going to break out, rally the forces, then come back for me. I guess I'm the damsel in distress?"
"You know, you are remarkably calm for being a captive. They could execute us at any minute, you do realize that, right?"
"Yes, but they won't."
"And why is that?"
"Because you are the Marsalisse princess." Virgil replied back, tucking his arms behind his head. "By the way, why didn't you mention that on the two years that we dated?"
"Because we weren't serious, and you didn't need to know." And he hadn't. Me being a princess wasn't all that big a deal. The country wouldn't have even acknowledged me as one if the Queen of Marsalis hadn't been barren. That's right, people. I was the love child of the King of Marsalis. And because the Queen had been barren, there were no other heirs to the kingdom. So my birth had been announced, and I had been declared a princess at the tender age of ten.
"I'm sorry I dumped you like I did. You didn't deserve that. You were a good girlfriend for what it's worth." Virgil told me quietly.
"Yeah, well, it's in the past." I sat on the bottom bunk, fiddling with my sash.
Virgil and I had dated for two years. We were going steady, and I guessed that had scared Virgil. He had been wild four years ago, but had managed not to cheat on me during our relationship. It was on my twenty-second birthday that Virgil had taken me to a museum filled with pictures of us dating from our births to the current year. When we had reached the end, he had dumped me. According to him, I would be expecting a ring because we had been dating for so long, and he wasn't ready to settle down. I balled up my sash and squeezed it. Who had said I wanted to get married? Virgil had been a commoner, and my father had wanted to me to get married to someone with status, so Virgil and I couldn't have had a prayer in that department. I sighed softly and laid down on the cot. I could feel the metal bars through the thin mattress and blew out a breath. Once my heartbeat was steady, I started to plan my escape.
"Do you remember your part?" I asked Virgil a handful of hours later.
"Duh," he rolled his eyes. "I would have to have extreme brain damage not to remember."
"Good. Let's begin." Virgil laid on the floor and I climbed on top of him, straddling his hips with some discomfort. At once, Virgil began hollering. I grabbed him by his collar and punched him once in the face. He cut off his shout to look at me accusingly.
"Ouch. That really hurt, Liss."
"Be a man," I said drily, hitting him again for good measure. This little plan did wonders for my anger toward Virgil. Every time I had looked at him, the edges of my vision had pulsed red. I was considerably tolerant toward him now. I heard the thundering footfall of the guards and grinned.
"You look insane," Virgil informed me. I pretended to smash his head into the concrete. The guards entered the cell, shutting the door behind them. The guards pulled me up, cuffing my hands on the process. The helped Virgil to his feet. Pasting on my best glare, I fixed it on Virgil.
"Traitor!" I shouted, pushing against the guards. The forced me to my knees.
"She's freakin' crazy! She tried to kill me, and I'm on her side!" Virgil said, hysteria rising in his voice. I had to give it to him, the man was a great actor. But I was a better actress.
"Traitor! You will pay for what you have done!"
"Calm down, lady! You'd think you'd be trying to escape rather than kill your own general." One of the guards, an old man with a graying beard, said. He shook his head in dismay.
"Oh, but I am." I jumped to my feet, my head bashing into the guards chins. They all stumbled back, their hands flying up to their chins. I used a spinning kick to knock one of the five to the ground. I jumped on another, slamming my weight into him. I kicked him in the face, his head banging on the concrete hard enough to draw blood. I rolled off the unconscious guard and swept my leg along the floor, swiping the legs out from under the guards. Virgil grabbed one as he fell and punched him, the sound of flesh hitting flesh echoing in the room. I rose, and kicked up, my foot hitting one of the guards in the chin. I saw Virgil grab the last guard in a headlock, slowly choking him.
"Just out him to sleep," I told him. He let the guard fall to the ground with a thud. I searched the guards for the keys, and smiled when I found them. The old man had them. Virgil unlocked my hand cuffs and then the door.
"I can't stay here, it'll look suspicious. Let me provide a distraction."
I nodded once and took off down the hall, Virgil hot on my heels. We dashed down the gray hallways and almost ran into the door. I opened the door and we peeked into the throne room. It was empty, save the two guards posted at the doors. How weird, it had been packed with guards when we had arrived. Virgil grabbed me by the front of my jacket and pulled to him. He planted his lips on mine. I was so shocked, all I could do was stand there.
"If I die in here, I just wanted to make sure I got one last taste of the opposing gender." He let me go, smoothed my jacket, then ran out into the throne room, whooping and hollering. I blinked.
"What the hell just happened?" I said to no one on particular. I made sure the throne room was completely empty before venturing out. I slipped through the doors into the great hall. The two guards at the main entrance were shuffling from foot to foot, their gazes on the floor. Clearly, they wanted to be chasing Virgil instead of being stuck at their posts. I pressed my back against the wall and walked like that, taking extra care with my steps as not to make any noise. Once I was next to the first guard, I crashed into him with a flying kick. Like before, I landed crouched on his chest. I jumped on the second guard before he could call for help and punched him in the temple, hard. He went down like a sack of potatoes. I straightened, a bit sad. Frelians were wimps who couldn't take a punch. They were nothing like us Marsalisse, who were proud, fierce warriors. I puffed my chest out with pride for my country. I opened the heavy doors and crept out into the courtyard, but not before I snatched a sword from one of the unconscious guards. I slid it into a fold in my sash and strolled into the courtyard like I owned it. A young guard with brown eyes and blonde hair stopped me. His white and blue uniform looked like mine, but in different colors. He held a spear in one hand.
"Uh, ma'am, where you do think you are going?"
"Excuse me?" I raised an eyebrow and looked down at the young man as if he was a peasant not worth my time. "Do you realize who are talking to? I am the Marsalisse ambassador. I have just come from speaking with the King and Queen of Frelia, and I'm sure that they won't appreciate a green guard like you harassing me."
"Oh, uh," the young man stuttered, his tongue tripping over the words he was trying to form. "I'm sorry, ma'am. Please, don't tell on me. I need this job!" He pleaded with me. I felt compassion for the young man, but didn't let it show on my face.
"Very well, I suppose I can forget a small matter. Good day to you, sir." I bowed deeply and mockingly to the young man before being let through the portcullis.
I stepped across the drawbridge, feeling happy with myself. I walked along the King's road until Casterwick was out of sight. I switched to the grasslands and jogged until I reached the forest, which was at least ten miles. I was gasping for breath by time I had reached the coverage of the forest. Even rigorous stamina training couldn't stop you from losing your breath after jogging for ten miles. I sat down, my butt cushioned by the thick layer of leaves on the ground. Giant trees stretched overhead. Plenty of shrubs and flowers provided homes for the Pokemon that lived in the Astelian forest. The last dying rays of sunlight streamed through the canopy of leaves, making the ground look dappled. I grinned, running my fingers through the thick blades of grass that managed to poke through the layer of leaves. There was a small trickling stream, and I followed it to a larger stream. I cupped my hands and drank from the stream, the cool water washing over my tongue. I drank until my thirst was slaked and peeled my crimson sash off my waist. I discarded my boots and rolled up my pants so I could wade in the water. Giggling, I pushed my toes into the mud that was at the bottom of the stream. It wasn't a very big stream, only a few feet wide, and a couple inches deep. I took a step deeper into the water. I jerked my foot back when something zapped me. It zapped me again, and I hissed. I plunged my hands into the cool water and began to scrounge around for what had zapped me. My fingertips ran over something that was flat and smooth. A small jolt of electricity was sent through my fingers up into my wrist. I gritted my teeth and picked the damn thing up. It looked like a fish, but was tan and brown. It had bulbous eyes and a pouty mouth. A small yellow stripe with a dot ran up its back, ending at its tailfin, which was also a vibrant shade of yellow. Electricity crackled around the Pokemon, sending blades onto my arms. I thumped the Pokemon on its head and frowned.
"You stupid little fish," I shook my head. "Now, you're stuck with me. I was going to let you go after finding you, but now you can forget it and live the rest of your miserable life out in captivity." The little Pokemon obviously knew what I was saying because it immediately began to squirm, trying to get free. I wrapped it up on my sash and tied the vivid piece of cloth to my shoulders, like a backpack. The Pokemon let out a pitiful wail, making me grimace. My word, the thing was noisy.
I rolled my pants back down and pulled on my boots so I could search for some Oran berries. The Astelian forest was vast, and sat directly on the border between Marsalis and Frelia. If I could must make it to the Marsalisse border, I would be safe. Then, I could save Virgil. In a few minutes, I spotted an Oran tree. It was shorter than the other trees, and had light orange leaves. I could make out blue berries hanging from the branches. Humming in delight, I quickly scaled the tree until I was at the top, where the biggest berries grew. I saw a giant Oran berry, the size of my head, and reached to pluck it from the branch. Right before my fingertips brushed the fruit, it was snatched away. I let out a scoff as a Mankey leered at me. The mysterious Pokemon on my back let out a mirthless laugh. I set my foot on a higher branch to boost myself up and grabbed the Oran berry from the Mankey. It was a creamy white with brown hands and feet. Its face was also brown, and screwed up in anger. It let out an indignant screech and tried to get the fruit back.
"I saw it first," I said to the Mankey.
It chattered something in the Pokemon language before trying to take a swipe at me. I let go of the Oran tree entirely and dropped to the ground. I straightened and took off with my prize. I could hear the Mankey screeching behind me. I found a spot under a small tree and sat cross-legged. I broke a piece off of the fruit and fed it to the Pokemon on my back. Once it had eaten a quarter, I snacked on the rest of the Oran berry, then rinsed off my hands in a stream. I let out a sigh. It was starting to cool off, and a lovely breeze blew through the forest. I could feel the heavy hands of sleep pulling on my eyelids. I stretched out on a bed of leaves and slipped in sleep. When I opened my eyes, it was pitch black outside. I breathed slowly through my nostrils. I had fallen asleep on my belly so I would disturb the Pokemon. I could hear the calls of the Pokemon, the rustling of the leaves, and something else. A twig snapped and I got to my hands and knees. A quick check told me that the brown and tan Pokemon was still sleeping. I crawled under a bush and waited. It must have been ten minutes or so before I saw a pair of boots walk pass the bush I was currently huddled under. I reached out and grabbed a boot pulling until the guy let out a shriek and fell. I stifled a laugh at the girly sound and pulled out my sword. I was about to dispatch him when I noticed something odd; he wasn't wearing blue and white. No, he was wearing black and red. I slid the sword back into my sash and stood, holding a hand out for the man.
"Stand up, solider. You're wearing the Marsalisse uniform, so I take it you are part of a search party."
"Yes, ma'am. Who are you?" he said, noting the lack of medals.
"I am General Ice and, until recently, I was a captive in the Frelian castle, Casterwick."
"Oh, General Ice." I man snapped a salute. By now, my eyes had adjusted to the dark, and I could tell he had dark skin, dark eyes, and was bald. Huh. "We've been looking for you and the other general, General Nightshade. Is he with you, ma'am?" This guy hadn't even asked for proof that I was who I said I was. That would have to be taken care of, or it could escalade into a big problem that could bite us in the butt farther down the road.
"No, General Nightshade is not with me. He was also taken captive by the Frelians. We attempted to escape, but he sacrificed his freedom so I could escape and come back to break him out."
"I see, General. The King is here, and would like to speak with you." The man inclined his head to the left. "That camp is that way. Would you like me to take you there?"
"Yes, since I don't know where it is." I smiled. He blushed lightly and started walking. It all seemed too easy to me. Where was the difficultly? This was war, the security couldn't be that lax. Hell, even the commanding-general of the Marsalisse army would have been under heavy guard. "What's your name, solider?"
"Uh, Bates, ma'am. Private Bates."
"Private Bates, I want you to spread through the camp, once we get there, that we are going to be moving out immediately.
"Uh, yes, ma'am."
The escape had been way too easy, almost as if they were counting on it so they could follow me back to the hidden camp. But if they only needed one person to lead them to the secret camp, why did why kidnap Virgil? I realized that having two of the enemy's generals could be valuable, considering that Marsalis had conquered more than three quarters of Frelian during these last two years of war. But something about it bothered me. It was just so weird.
"Lissy," my father said, rushing to gather me in his arms. I grinned, burying my face in his neck to breathe in his aftershave. "I was so worried about you, I came as soon as I heard the news."
"Oh, dad, you didn't need to. It's not safe."
"What do you mean, it's not safe? You're my only heir, and you're putting yourself in harm's way by fighting on the front lines." My father frowned. He was a good eight inches taller than me, with tawny-gold skin and dark brown eyes. He wore his dark hair in a buzz cut that was very close to his skull. He had a long nose and a scar on his left cheek. It was hardly visible now, but I could always tell it was there. He was dressed in black pants, a white dress shirt, and boots. I grinned foolishly at him.
"I'm really happy you're here, dad. But seriously, you need to hot foot it to the castle. Right now, in fact."
"Lissy..." My father frowned at me. I planted my hands on my hips and returned his firm glare.
"Dad, I'm acting commander-general. And I order you to leave right now." I punctuated my words with a stamp of my foot.
"I'm King, that trumps commander-general." My father stuck his tongue out at me.
"You may be King, but I am your only daughter. What's more important to you, your title or heir?" I raised an eyebrow.
"What does you being my daughter have to do with anything?"
"I have reason to believe that after I escaped from Frelia, their army has followed me."
"And why do you believe that?"
"My escape was too easy. Way too easy. So, if you're here and I'm fighting, I'll be worrying about you instead of keeping my mind on the battle, and I could be wounded."
"Very well," my father sighed. "You win. But I will be back."
"Dad?" I called after him. I pulled the brown Pokemon off my back and held it out to him. "What is this? I can't find my PokeDex to check it out."
"Uh," my father scratched his beard as he thought. "That is a Stunfisk. It's a Ground and Electric Type Pokemon."
"Oh," I looked at the ugly fish Pokemon. "That's cool. I think I'll keep him, then. Bye, dad." I tucked the Stunfisk under my arm and waved to my father. We walked out of the tent and I watched him mount his Rapidash, a cream color Pokemon that closely resembled a horse. It had a mane and tail that were aflame. It tossed its mane and whinnied.
"Be safe, Lissia." My father waved farewell. He and his escort of one hundred calvary thundered out of the camp.
"Let's pack everything up and move out. We will not be camping in tents from now on. We will take cover in the trees and forests. Am I understood?" I asked the captain who stood next to me. He nodded his head vigorously. "Good. Spread the word. I want us on the move in two hours. No more, no less."
"Yes, ma'am." He nodded and took his leave to spread the word.
Part Two: The March
We had just made it to the edge of the Astelian forest. I was at the head of the company and I raised my fist, signaling to halt. I frowned and listened.
"Do you hear that?" I asked my second-in-command, Major Banes. He was a short man with a long mustache and beard. Pure green eyes peeked out from under bushy red eyebrows. He reminded me of a dwarf.
"No, General Ice. I can't hear a thing."
"That's it. I can't hear anything either." I lowered my voice to a whisper.
"So why are you worried?" He raised a bushy eyebrow, which, judging my how much hair it was made up of, was no easy feat. Ugh, it looked like he had glued some hair to a couple Caterpie and stuck them to his forehead.
"This is a forest," I began, my voice still hushed.
"There are Pokemon here. So why do we not hear them?" I finished my sentence, casting a glance over my shoulder at Major Banes. He shut his mouth, frowning as he tried to come up with a reason.
"Pull out." I said, my sixth sense going into overdrive. A little voice in my head was screaming, 'danger near!'
"What was that, General?"
"Pull out. Call in a full retreat." When Major Banes didn't move, I raised my voice. "Now!"
"Retreat!" He called out, his words booming through the forest. The sound of a war horn overtook the major's voice. I pulled out my daggers and tipped my head back, my war call joining in with the enemy's war horn. The forest was filled with trees, and it was going to be devastating for one side if they got closed in.
Frelians broke through the foliage, swords at the ready. I reversed my hold on my daggers and sunk them into a soldier's chest, ripping them out half a second later. I pivoted, throwing my arm out. My dagger embedded itself into a forehead. I kicked a Frelian who was trying to rush me. He lost hold of his claymore and fell on his butt, his claymore flying through the air. It went up and came back down, landing in the man's chest. Poor guy. I stepped over his dead body stabbed someone in the eye. I turned, throwing a dagger into a Frelian's gut. I ducked under his sword as he swung it and stabbed him again, pulling my daggers out of his body. I screamed as I felt white hot pain spear through my hand. I looked down to see a arrow sticking out of my left hand. Biting my lip, I pulled it out, and stabbed a Frelian in the thigh with it. I slashed his face, laying open his cheek. He fell to the ground, his fellow solider moving to take his place. I couldn't grip my left dagger, so I stuck it in its sheath. Holding my one blade, I let out a loud cry, which was echoed by my men. I jumped back, almost evading the edge of a sword. Its tip caught my stomach, cutting through my black jacket, crimson sash, and opening a thin layer of skin. I swiped away the blood to see how deep it was. Just a shallow cut, I breathed in relief.
I buried my dagger in his skull and kicked out, my foot connecting with a Frelian's jaw. I heard squealing and remembered that I had the Stunfisk on my back. I pulled it out of my sash and set it on the ground. Its tailfin was stepped on, and I kicked the offending solider away. Electricity crackled around the flat Pokemon before discharging in bolts around the forest. The bolts of thunder struck some Frelian soldiers, killing them. Their bodies smoked, and the area where the thunder had hit them was charred. I kicked a enemy solider in the gut, doubling him over. I rolled over his back, kicking into the guy behind him. I slashed my dagger down his chest, blood gushing from the deep wound. The dying screams of men was all around me, making my head throb. The air was heavy with the metallic stench of blood. I stumbled, suddenly dizzy. I was grabbed by the front of my shirt and hauled up, my feet dangling a good foot above the ground. I grunted as a giant fist slammed into my cheekbone. I shook my head to trying and regain my senses. My sight returned to me and I planted my feet to the belly of the giant who had a hold on me. I grabbed his wrists and pried my jacket out his grip. I reached down to my belt and pulled out a small knife, sinking it into the giant's ear. He barely even batted an eyelash. He was dark skinned, with black eyes and hair. His white and blue uniform was speckled with blood and dirt. I pulled out the knife and stabbed him again, the blade disappearing into his ear until the hilt was pressing into his skull. I let go of him and dropped to the ground, the man crashing down beside me. I spun, still crouched, sweeping my leg in an arc. A few Frelians fell and I kicked the first in the liver. One of my men held a hammer over his head and brought it down, crushing a Frelian's middle. Guts oozed out of the dead man's sides. I looked around for my dagger, but declared it a lost cause. Just to my left, a Frelian caught fire. My eyes widened in surprise, and I turned around to see my Stunfisk. It had its fins to the ground, its eyes shut. I yelped as I felt the ground shake and a rip form.
"All Marsalisse soldiers fall back!" I screamed at the top of my lungs, ducking and dodging bodies. I stumbled, my foot sinking into a hole. I was hauled up by someone and continued to run. I dove into cover as the rip in the ground grew larger, faster. The Frelians started to cheer, but it wasn't long before the cheers turned to screams.
The ground beneath the Frelians crumbled and fell, taking the white and blue clad warriors with them. Stunfisk flopped over to me, gurgling happily. I looked down at the Pokemon in horror.
"What did you do?" I asked the brown Pokemon, picking him up to stare him in the eye.
"Smart Stunfisk. He's pretty good, too. Fissure is a hard move to stick." Someone behind me commented. Huh, so that was what the little monster had used. Fissure. I searched my mental file cabinets for the move. Unfortunately, I couldn't remember.
"Okay, count the wounded and dead. We sleep here tonight. Bury all the bodies, Marsalisse and Frelian alike. We can't afford to burn them." I called out. Sighing, I tucked my little Stunfisk under my arm and climbed the nearest tree one-handed.
I settled myself in a fork made by a branch, and relaxed. When we had started out, the Marsalisse army was two hundred thousand strong. We had been split up into four companies, or battalions, each with fifty thousand men. There were eight generals that my father had appointed, me and Virgil being two of them. There was also the generals Morris Boriarty, Maximillius Hart, Piper Green, Arin Nike, Martin Gain, and Darius Axe. Two generals were placed in command of one company. I hadn't met any of the other generals, but I heard they were fierce in battle, with skills that came near to mine. I set Stunfisk in my lap so he could sleep.
"General Ice!" Major Banes called to me. I looked down to see him standing under my branch.
"What is it, Banes?" I asked, my voice betraying how tired I was. The adrenaline rush from earlier was long gone, leaving me drained and weary.
"We have the death toll."
"Report." That had been fast. Maybe we hadn't lost as many men as I had thought.
"Because we had been able to split up the Frelians and kill them off, we have had very low death counts. There are six thousand, eight hundred, ninety-nine dead, and only three hundred sixty-nine wounded."
"Thank you, Banes. Carry on." I dismissed him. Almost seven thousand dead. I shook my head. That was quite sad. I had hoped we wouldn't have lost that many. Now we were down to a little under forty thousand men. "Wait, Banes!" I called. He came trotting back.
"What do you need, General?"
"Write letters to the other battalions and tell them to rendezvous at the edge of the Astelian forest."
"If I may ask, why?" Banes frowned, tucking his hands into his beard, something he did when he was thinking.
"We are going to lay siege to the Frelian castle, Casterwick. They have one of my generals, and I want to set him free." I replied coolly.
"Lay siege to Casterwick?!" He nearly shouted, jumping a bit. "How are we supposed to do that?"
"I have been inside Casterwick. It's a twin to our castle, Spellblind, and I'm counting on them having the same secret passages."
"General Ice, you realize that it a one in a million chance, right?" Banes frowned at me. I stroked a hand over Stunfisk's skin, marveling at how smooth it was.
"Yes, I realize that. Which is why when we are waiting for the second, third, and fourth battalion, I will do a bit of recon to see if my hunch is true."
"And if it isn't?" Banes asked.
"Then we siege for as long as it takes. Include in the letters that we require scorpions, catapults, and siege towers. Oh, and battering rams."
"Very well, General. I shall dispatch the Pidgeys."
"Thank you!" I called after him. I looked down at the Pokemon resting in my lap.
"You need a nickname." I brushed a hand over his face. "You kind of look like a catfish, do you know that? But you're missing the whiskers. Hey, I'll call you Mr. Whiskers. How do you like that name?" The Stunfisk didn't move, so I took that as a yes. Mr. Whiskers was really cute, in a weird sort of way.
It had been a full week before we had heard noise that wasn't made by Pokemon or trees. I heard the sounds of boots on leaves and let out a bird call. Immediately, everyone in the small camp scrambled to hide where ever they could. I was in a tree, so I could see the spearheads of an army. Whether it was Frelian or Marsalisse, I didn't know. There was a old man at the head of the company. He was riding a Rapidash. Only generals were allowed to ride Rapidash.
"Halt!" I called, my voice carrying over the tree tops. "Who goes there?"
"Show yourself and then we can talk!" The old man called back. I smiled a bit and jumped down from my perch on a branch. The Rapidash whinnied and stood up on its hind legs, but the old man brought it back under control expertly.
"Who are you and why did you have to scare old Firebreath like that?" The old man demanded. I grinned and stood.
"Are you Marsalisse, or Frelian?" I asked, taking note that he was wearing a Marsalisse uniform. But he could have easily taken the uniform off a dead body.
"Marsalisse. And you?"
"The same. What are you called?"
"General Boriarty." So he was Marsalisse.
"I see. I'm Commanding-General Ice. I sent for you."
"Yes, I know that," The old man looked around with shrewd eyes. "Where is the rest of your battalion? Have they been lost?" He asked.
"No." I let out an ear-piercing whistle. My men emerged from the coverage of the trees and shrubs to stand behind me.
"That is good. We are going to need every man we can get if we are going to siege properly."
"Yes, we are. Have you brought what I asked for?" I raised an eyebrow.
"Yes, but it was quite difficult getting them through the Astalian forest, so we had to dismantle them."
"Where are the other Generals? Have you seen them?"
"Yes, they are riding behind me."
"The camp is just ahead. There is a small but sheltered clearing where we can set up. Generals, I would like to have a word with you in my tent.
I was seated with the other generals, minus Virgil, and we were discussing courses of action.
"I think we should sneak in covertly, using the secret passage ways General Ice has discovered." Boriarty said, stroking his mustache. He was a large man, with a huge belly. His face was mostly obscured by the white hair that seemed to grow from every pore. Serious gray regarded me with the wisdom of a sixty year man. Even though her last name was different, Piper Green looked like her father, Boriarty. Her hair was chin length and a slick brown. Her eyes were the same unnerving gray as her father's.
"I haven't seen if they are really there or not, so that it out until I go scout it out this afternoon."
"General Ice, I would like to accompany you." Maximillius smiled at me. He was an attractive man, but almost ten years my senior, so that wasn't happening anytime soon. His hair was short and black, the sides a very dark gray. His eyes were a light shade of blue, his skin deeply tanned. Arin shot Maximillius a dirty look. I hid a smile. Arin was golden haired, with smoldering obsidian eyes. His skin was a very pale white.
"I'm sorry, but if I get captured, it will be easier to escape if it's just me. Besides, that will give the Frelians two of our top generals, and I'm not willing to let that happen."
"Martin and I will get the men ready for an attack while you are gone." Darius said gruffly. He and Martin were cousins, so they shared the same black hair, blue eyes, and dark skin. Like me, all the other generals were dressed in the black and crimson uniform of the Marsalisse army. We jingled whenever me moved because each of us were weighted down with medals and such.
"That is good, thank you, General Axe. You are all dismissed." I stood and shook hands with everyone. Boriarty gave me a grim look.
"I sure hope you can lead a big army like this one, little girl. This siege is a risky plan."
"I know, sir," I returned his look. "We will lose many soldiers, but I do believe we can end the war off this."
"Take that Stunfisk with you on the battlefield. His Thundershock move my be able to help out our men." Boriarty shook my hand firmly. I looked back at Mr. Whiskers, who was seated on the table.
"Huh. That went well, I think." Mr. Whiskers blew a bubble at me. I had learned that was his way of saying I don't care. I picked him up and nuzzled the spot where his nose should have been. "Mr. Whiskers, I hope you've gotten a ton of sleep because the soon-to-be famous siege of Casterwick will take place soon."
True to his word, Darius and Martin began assembling the siege engines. I picked out four of my best men and we set off to infiltrate Casterwick Castle. We reached the wall unharmed. It was tall, a good eighty feet and patrolled by Frelian guards, so we couldn't go over it. Around the backside of the castle should be a small opening that leads into the underground crypts. I found the small engraving the stone wall and started to feel around for the secret latch. My men shuffled their feet, wondering what I was doing. On my back, Mr. Whiskers blew bubbles and cooed at nothing in particular. Finally, my fingers ran across something cool and smooth. I wrapped my hands around the bar and pulled up, dirt and small pieces of grass falling into the hole. Private Harun handed me a torch. I dropped it into the hole to see how far down it was. Not that far, judging by how bright the light was. It was at least seven feet. I moved out of the way and Private Harun jumped inside, followed by the sergeants Makker and Bratel. Lieutenant Carpenter jumped down and held his arms out for me. I dangled my feet over the edge and pushed off, falling for a few brief seconds. Carpenter's hands closed around my waist and he gently lowered me to the ground. Private Harun held a torch up to give up light while Carpenter picked up the torch that I had dropped into the hole. They were all tall, strapping young men with black hair and different colored eyes, ranging from blue to brown and every color in between. I brushed off my jacket and walked forward, taking the torch from Harun. Mr. Whiskers was whispering his name to himself, excited to be in the cold, dank tunnel. The tunnel was made of packed dirt and was very narrow. We came to a turn and continued. I almost ran into a wall because I was trying to get Mr. Whiskers to shut up so we wouldn't get caught. There was a trapdoor over my head and Sergeant Makker gave me a leg up. I put my hands to the trapdoor and pushed. Small rocks and earth rained down on top of me and I grimaced, swiping a hand through my hair to try and dislodged the stuff. I peeked up to see if anyone was around. We were in the courtyard.
"We are all going to split up. I will go out first, and each of you will follow exactly three minutes after each other, do you understand?" I instructed the men, who nodded vigorously. "Casterwick has the same layout as Spellblind, so you shouldn't get lost. Once you go out, you have twenty minutes of free roam provided you are not spotted. After twenty minutes is up, you must return to this passage way, no matter what you are doing." I climbed out of the hole and replaced the latch.
We had donned the Frelian uniform. Of course, it had been covered with blood, so we had to wash them before putting them on. I wanted to scout the castle without having to hide in shadows, so the uniform was necessary. It was starchy, and very stiff. I pulled on my collar uncomfortably. The jacket, pants, and boots were all white, where as the sash that was wrapped around my waist and right shoulder was a very nice shade of Cerulean. My white hair was pulled back into a braid so it wouldn't get in the way. The courtyard was nice. The grass was lush and green with gray flat stones marking a path through it. There were guards training with swords on the left side of the castle, and plenty more posted at the front entrance. As if I belonged there, I strode over to the guards who were stationed at the entrance. They were laughing about something stupid, no doubt.
"Have the patrols already been sent out?" I asked. I had taken classes that allowed me to adapt a different accent so I wouldn't be found out as a Marsalisse.
"Yeah, where have you been? They were just sent out to scout the Astelian forest. There were reports of siege engine sightings, so they were sent to go look."
"Ah, I remember now!" I pretended to thunk myself on the forehead. "Thanks for jogging my memory." I saw Sergeant Bratel start to climb out of the hole and dashed over to him. I looked around to make sure that no one was looking before dropping back inside. Mr. Whiskers gave a cry of joy once we were back inside the dark.
"What is the matter, General Ice?" Bratel asked me, frowning.
"You need to get back to the camp, fast. Exit the tunnel and warn the other generals to hide the camp because there is a large Frelian patrol headed their way."
"Why not just kill them?" Private Harun asked.
"Because, they sent out the patrol to see if we were hiding in the Astelian forest. To kill them would be signing our own death warrants."
"Okay, we will go. Be careful, General Ice." The four men saluted me and jogged into the darkness.
Once again, I crawled out of the hole and onto the courtyard. I hadn't noticed before, but the secret hole was placed behind a very large rose bush. I dusted off my white jacket and walked over to the portcullis and drawbridge. The portcullis was closed, the drawbridge up. The Frelians did suspect something. I pulled out Mr. Whiskers and set him on the pulley that lowered the drawbridge. I was inspecting it when someone tapped me on the shoulder. I was so startled, I banged my head on the wooden slab that held it in place.
"Ow!" I straightened, rubbing my head. I looked up indignantly at the man who had made me bonk my head.
"I know who you are," he informed me cheerfully. I frowned. Who was this guy and how did he know me? He had dark brown hair and hazel eyes. His skin was gold, and seemed to glow thanks to the bright white jacket he wore.
"Yeah, I'm Theodora Kenneth."
"No, you're not. You're Commanding-General Lissia Ice of the Marsalisse army and crown princess of Marsalis."
"You really are delusional. Did you have to take the psychological test before getting into the Frelian Royal Guard?"
"Oh, yes, and I passed with flying colors. But you see, I know you are Lissia Ice because of your hair and eyes. You should have taken better care of your disguise."
"I'm not Lissia Ice!" I told the man. I wasn't scared. I always had a way out. It wasn't like I hadn't escaped from this castle before. I knew I could again.
"Very well, you say you are not, so we should just ask the King. Shall we?" He grabbed my arm.
"Wait!" I protested.
"See? That proves it. If you were a real Frelian, you wouldn't have objected. I'm right, you're a liar."
"Fine," I admitted it. If he insisted on going to the King about this, I would be forced to kill him. "Are you going to tell on me?"
"No. I just to battle you."
"With swords?" I asked, a bit confused.
"No, with Pokemon. You can use your Stunfisk."
"Fine. Will that buy your silence?"
"Yes. I have a friend who will ref for us." The man walked off to talk to a nearby guard. This was hands down the weirdest thing that had happened to me. The man stopped a good thirty feet away from me while his friend stood off to the side.
"Rules are one versus one. The first Pokemon to faint loses." The other man called out. "Do you accept these rules?" We both nodded.
"Mr. Whiskers, try not to get KO'ed," I told the flat brown Pokemon as I set him on the ground. It was a good thing that I had spent a few hours going over Mr. Whiskers' moves earlier.
"Rattata, make meat of that dirty fish!" The man called, throwing a red and white ball. It cracked open, red light spilling out of the Poke Ball. The little ball fell to the ground, discarded. The ref walked over and picked it up to return it to the other man.
"Uh, Mr. Whiskers, use Mud Slap!" The little Pokemon swiped his fins over his body, raking mud off. He chucked it, the brown goo landing in the Rattata's face.
"Rattata, use Quick Attack!" The man shouted, clearly pumped. Ratatta was small and purple, with huge front teeth. It had a long, thin tail that had a cream colored tip. It dashed toward Mr. Whiskers with lightning fast speed. What was surprising was Mr. Whiskers hopped out of the way. Well, he sort of just flopped over onto his back, but the Rattata missed him by a good three inches.
"Okay, Mr. Whiskers! Use Thunderbolt!" I ordered my Pokemon. Little threads of electricity began to build around Mr. Whiskers' flat body, growing larger with every second. The threads pulled together and flew from Mr. Whiskers' to the Rattata, striking the purple rat with extreme force. The Pokemon cried out, its body seizing as the electricity ran through it.
"Rattata, are you all right?!" The man called out to his Pokemon. The Rattata got to its feet and glared at Mr. Whiskers, who nonchalantly blew a bubble. "Good, Use Crunch!" The Rattata darted toward Mr. Whiskers, sinking its fangs into my Pokemon. Mr. Whiskers let out a screech.
"Use Discharge, Mr. Whiskers." Once again, electricity formed around Mr. Whisker's body. The electricity made a bubble and exploded, leaving a small circle of charred grass.
"Use Crunch again, Rattata!"
"Uh, Bounce?" I said, but it came out more like a question. My Stunfisk obeyed nevertheless, though. He pressed himself into the ground and used his fins to propel himself upwards. The Rattata looked around, confused. There was a whistling sound as Mr. Whiskers came back down, the air rushing up against his pale belly. He landed on the Rattata, squishing it flat.
"Rattata, no!" Screamed the man, who ran out to pull his Pokemon out from under Mr. Whiskers, who looked as calm as could be. I picked up Mr. Whiskers and held him to my chest. He gurgled with delight. The man scooped up his Rattata, cradling it in his arms.
"Rattata is unable to battle! Stunfisk fins!" I grinned as we were announced the winners. I tossed Mr. Whiskers up in the air, catching him when he came back down. I tucked him under my arm as I walked over to the man.
"Good game," I said, holding out my hand.
"Yes, it was." He returned his Rattata to its Poke Ball before grasping my hand. "I'm leon Parn. Nice to have battled you, Theodora." He winked at me. I inclined my head to him before walking back to the pulley system.
I stopped a few feet away from it, suddenly struck by a thought. Leon was a Frelian, he knew I was a Marsalisse, and he still let me go without bothering to at least kick me out of the castle after the battle. I cocked my head to the side, something I did when I was thinking. I shook my head and crossed over to one of the two pulleys, where I set Mr. Whiskers down. I relayed my thoughts to him as he ran his fins over the thick rope that ran from the pulley to the end of the drawbridge.
"Don't you at least think that's a little bit odd? I mean, he's a Frelian, sworn enemy of the Marsalisse. Why didn't he at least tell me to get out?" I frowned as I examined the portcullis for any weak points. I tested the metal frames and my frown deepened. It was very sturdy. We would have a hard time trying to bust through this. I sighed, picked up Mr. Whiskers and was about to leave the castle when the portcullis opened and the drawbridge was lowered. The patrols were back, it seemed. It was a group of fifteen men, an average sized one.
"Hey," I called to them. Only one stopped to talk to me. "Did you see any sign of those Marsalisse soldiers that were supposed to be in the Astelian forest?"
"No, we just saw some over grown plants. It was a false alarm." He said, walking back to his group. I tried to hide my relief behind a blank mask. I made my way over to the shrub where the secret tunnel was and was reaching down to open it when I heard a commotion. Naturally, I should have taken that time to escape, but I stayed to see what was happening. Virgil was being led out of the castle in cuffs. His face was a bloody, swollen mess, and I wouldn't have recognized him if it hadn't been for the black and crimson uniform he wore. His hair was matted with clumps of dried blood. I looked on with a grim look on my face.
"This is a Marsalisse general." One of the guards announced as Virgil was forced to his knees. "This is what happens to the enemy's generals when they get caught." The man waved his hand and a stump was brought over. They forced Virgil's head down on to it. A man cloaked in head to toe black wearing a hood walked out of the castle, a giant axe gripped in his hands. They meant to execute Virgil in front of the soldiers as a lesson. How cruel. A sudden boom made peel my eyes away from Virgil. The wall was hit, and little rocks rained down into the courtyard. It held. I could hear the snap of catapults and trebuchets as they launched boulders at Casterwick's wall. Virgil was bustled back inside. I opened the secret door and dropped, but not before I saw the whole Frelian army freak out.
Part Three: The Siege
"Who the hell gave the order to siege?!" I shouted as I ran.
The battalions were assembled in front of the castle and were slowly pushing forward. In the backline, just a few feet away from the Astelian tree line, were the trebuchets and catapults. Men were pushing the scorpions up so they could fire them up and over the wall. I ducked under the battering ram, which was being carried into the middle of the field so when we broke down the drawbridge, we could ram the portcullis. I wrapped Mr. Whiskers up in my sash and screamed for someone to bring my armor. I dashed to the forest and shed my clothes, pulling on my black shirt and pants. I snapped on my shoulder plates and my cuirass, which was two pieces of steel hammered together to protect my back and chest. On went my leg plates. I snapped on greaves over my boots. Grunting, I pulled on the tight leather gauntlets that had steel plates fastened onto them. I looped my sash around my hips a few times, and tied it. I slung my belt around my hips as well, fingering my daggers, which were in their sheathes. I used a few of my spikes to hold my braid to my head. Furious, I marched back onto the battlefield to ream the other generals. They were standing with another man who was wearing a gilt cape. I groaned, recognizing him as my father. I hadn't taken him seriously when he said he was coming back.
"Father, was it you who ordered the siege?" I demanded, staring him down.
"Oh no, she's mad. She just called me 'father' instead of 'dad'." My father whispered to the other generals as if I couldn't hear him. I ran my tongue over my teeth. "How are you doing, honey?"
"Father, did you give the order to siege?"
"Yes, I did. I'm the King and I have the right to do so."
"Father, I have good news and bad news. First, you saved Virgil's life by calling in a siege. Second, we could have funneled in men through the secret passage ways I found leading into Casterwick Castle and taken the Frelian King by storm."
"Why didn't you tell me earlier?" My father demanded, hands on hips.
"Because I was in Casterwick, waiting to see if the Frelians would chop off Virgil's head."
"It's not too late to call off the siege, right?" My father asked hopefully.
"Father, we had the element of surprise. By calling for the siege, you just ruined it."
"So that's a no?"
"Duh!" I threw my hands up in the air, exasperated. "They know we're here!"
"I know, kiddo. I was just playing with you." My father gripped my nose between two knuckles and pretended to pull it off. He dropped his hand quickly after I gave him a gimlet stare.
"Prepare to siege!" I shouted at the top of my lungs. "Find all the boulders and heavy stuff you can! We're going to tear down that wall brick by brick! Hoorah!" Everyone on the field stopped what they were doing to shout 'hoorah' with me. I grinned. This siege was going to be long and fun. Really fun. I dropped Mr. Whiskers off at the trebuchets so he would be safe.
"What do we want with a Stunfisk? We can't launch him over the wall so you'll just have to take him back, General Ice." Mr. Whiskers zapped the branch of a tree that was resting in the cup of the catapult. It immediately caught fire.
"See? He can help. Just let him set trees on fire and you can launch them." I reasoned with the small man. He wasn't wearing a shirt, only knee length breeches and boots, and he was dark skinned. Plus he was covered with sweat and grease from working on the siege engines. He rubbed his small beard, thinking.
"Okay, your Pokemon can stay. But as soon as he starts gettin' in my way, I'm tossing him to the Frelians." I grinned at his comment, remembering Mr. Whiskers using Fissure on the Frelians in the forest. Oh, yes, my Pokemon could handle himself. I pressed a kiss to his smooth face and whispered goodbye. I strode away, shaking my head as I heard the cord snap, and a flaming tree was sent sailing over my head.
The drawbridge was lowered and the portcullis open. The Frelians came pouring out like a disease, spreading out in front of the castle. I could hear the mechanics for the siege engines shout coordinates. Another tree was sent flying over my head, but instead of crashing into the wall, it slammed right into the Frelians. I grabbed my daggers and shouted, dashing to the front lines. The air was filled with screams as the other Marsalisse took up my battle cry. I jumped, bringing my daggers down into a Frelian's chest. I pushed the body away and kicked another solider in the stomach, stabbing him in the back as he doubled over. I turned to right and walked right into a punch. Lights exploded behind my right eye, spreading down into my cheek bone. Blood flowed over my tongue and I spat it out. I brushed a hand over my cheek and ducked under the sword swing that came next. The Frelian pulled out a dirk and slashed at me with it. I felt the blade bite into my eyebrow. It seemed this guy liked to maim people. He wrapped one giant hand around my neck and I sank my teeth into his hand. He cried out, letting go of my neck. I brought my knee up between his legs. He fell to the ground and I stabbed him in the knee and shoulder, pulling down on my daggers, laying open his flesh. I kicked him to the ground and stepped over his body. I gritted my teeth as I felt the edge of a blade bite into my back. I spun, bringing my leg up. My foot collided with the guy's head and I sank my dagger into his chest. I barely had time to turn around before I was dodging another blade. I sidestepped the wild swing and threw a punch, the hilt of my dagger splitting the skin on the guy's cheekbone. I plunged my blade into his temple and was about to take a step forward when I was yanked back. A flaming tree crashed into the ground where I was about to step. I called a thank you over my shoulder. I dropped under an axe and swept the Frelian's legs out from under him. As he fell, I stabbed him in the chest. I stood and was immediately knocked back down. A snarling Houndoom was sitting on my chest, trying to rip my throat out. I saw the gleam of white teeth and my hands flew up. I grabbed the Pokemon around its neck and pulled it off me, standing up in the process. I held the Pokemon out in front of me. It was jet black with a couple white bands across its back. It had white rings that were wrapped just above each paw. I dropped the Houndoom, booting it away. It let out a whine, and I felt a bit mean. But my feeling of guilt was not long lasting. The freaking Pokemon came back and knocked me down again. It went for my throat and I reach up, wrapped my hands around its jaw, and snapped its neck. I pushed the dead Pokemon off me, shaking my head. Why couldn't it just leave with its life?
I stood, grabbing my daggers as I rose. I kicked a Frelian in the head and stabbed him twice, once in the foot, the other time in the gut, ripping through his skin. I actually screamed as a blade sunk deep into my side. I clamped a hand over my wound and twisted to the side to dodge the next strike, then pivoted and slammed my dagger into the Frelian's eye. I quickly sheathed my daggers and sank to the ground, crawling to the edge of the battlefield. I unwrapped my sash, which had darkened with my blood, and pulled up my jacket. It was a clean cut, and was as wide as the side of my waist. I probed a finger into the cut, biting down on my lip to keep from crying out. I cursed as my foot was tread upon and pulled my finger out. I let my jacket fall back into place and wrapped my sash around my waist tightly. I cursed again as the fabric bit into the cut, but I stood, trying to walk off the pain. There was a large boom from over my head and I covered my eyes as rocks showered me from above. I gripped the hilts of my daggers and plunged back into the fighting crowd. I stepped on something flat and yelped as it shocked me. I looked down to see Mr. Whiskers. He stared up at me with unabashed joy. His look of happiness turned to anger as he was stepped on again. He immediately zapped the person, the electricity transferring from his flat body to whoever had stepped on him. Mr. Whiskers scraped some mud off of his body and rolled it into a ball, which he threw into a group of white-clad Frelians. It exploded, throwing them to the ground. I picked up my Stunfisk and nuzzled him quickly.
"Use Discharge," I ordered and tossed him into the battle, his electricity crackling all around him.
The move went off, shocking everyone within a five feet radius. "Mr. Whiskers, kill only the guys in the white, not black!" I called to my Pokemon, who shouted back happily. At least he was having fun. Wait, what kind of sick, deranged Pokemon had fun killing people? I shook my head to dislodge the thoughts. I plunged my dagger into the stomach of a nearby Frelian and drop kicked him. I used a spinning kick to peel another solider off me and stabbed him in the back. I was knocked down from behind. I grabbed the ankles of a Frelian and pulled, yanking him down. I crawled up his legs and stabbed him in the skull. I stood and spun, narrowly dodging a sword. A sharp thread of pain laced through my wounded side, making me wince. I was about to stab him when a flaming tree landed on him. My eyes widened in shock. Laughter began to bubble in my stomach, but I choked it down. I held up my forearm to block the incoming dagger and used my other arm to sink my dagger into the man's chest. I planted my boot to another Frelian's chest and kicked him into a spear. I jumped, spun in mid-air, and brought my daggers down in a slicing motion, flaying the chest of the Frelian standing in front of me. I landed gracefully in a crouch and rose, heading straight for a Frelian with his back to me. I grabbed him in a headlock and slid my dagger along the soft skin of his throat. Blood flowed over my hands, trying its best to soak into my leather gauntlets. I let the body drop to the ground. I was knocked on my butt when a mud bomb, thrown by Mr. Whiskers, went off. I struggled to get back on my feet, but I was coated with a thick layer of mud.
"Mr. Whiskers, you get over here and get this mud off me right now!" I shouted, outraged. My little Stunfisk came flopping over to me.
He looked happy, but was not unharmed. His tailfin had overlapping boot prints in it, and he had various cuts and bruises all over his brown body. One eye was swelling shut. I pulled a Pokemon potion out of my pocket jacket with some difficultly. Mr. Whiskers began to scoop mud off me and pack it onto his body. In a minute, I was clear and could stand. I sprayed his wounds gently with the potion and threw the empty bottle at a Frelian who had just stabbed a Marsalisse. It hit him in the head and he looked around. I picked up Mr. Whiskers and chucked the flat Pokemon at him. Mr. Whiskers readied his Discharge attack and crashed into the Frelian, sending large shock waves into the poor solider. He flopped off the dead man and his tailfin was immediately stepped on. A look of pure fury crossed over his face, and he screamed, electricity growing in a bubble over his body. It bursted, sending thunderbolts into the nearest bodies. I had no time to check on my Pokemon because I was hauled to the ground. I punched my attacker in the jaw and he returned the blow, his landing in my back side. I saw spots and nearly blacked out. He had a knife to my throat. I grabbed his hand and put all my weight into holding it back. We stayed locked like that forever, it seemed, our legs tangled from trying to kick each other. I grunted and used the last bit of my strength to push the blade back and bury it in his neck. Blood gushed over my chest and throat and I pushed the dying man off. I rolled to my feet, grabbing my daggers. The sound of war horns rent the air. It was a deafening noise, especially since I was so close to the wall, where the horn blowers were. The Frelians were calling a full retreat.
"Mr. Whiskers!" I called, searching for my little Pokemon. The sounds of the war horns were replaced with that of the dying men of both sides. I looked around for my bouncing Pokemon when something hit me from above, knocking me to the ground. "Ow." I said. I rolled over, dislodging whatever it was on my back. My Stunfisk gurgled angrily at me. I scooped him up and hugged him to my chest. I stood and carried my Pokemon back to the siege line. The Frelians were returning fire, and I could hear the sound of cords snapping back as the catapults were let go. I met my father in front of a trebuchet. I winced as my side protested my walking.
"Are you hurt, Lissy?" My father asked, reaching out to take Mr. Whiskers from me.
"Yes, I was stabbed a few times." I said, grimacing. My father lent me his arm and helped me limp to the medical tent. It was huge and in the cover of the Astelian forest. I ducked inside the white tent and my senses were assaulted with the scent of antiseptic. It was a startling change from death, but not unpleasant. There were dozens of small cots set up around the surprisingly huge tent, and each one was filled. The less serious injured sat on the floor, and the ones who were already patched up were helping tend to wounds. This was an army I could be proud to lead. A small woman in a giant lab coat walked up to me.
"Are you wounded as well, General Ice?" She asked, pushing her dark bangs out of her face. She had chin length black hair, slanted brown eyes, and a light gold skin tone. She was dressed in bloody scrubs, booties, and that pristine lab coat.
"Yes, she is. She was hit in the side, at her waist." My father ratted me out. I glared him. The woman nodded and led me to a secluded corner where she pulled a curtain around us. She carefully unwrapped my sash and pulled off my jacket, leaving me shivering because I only had on a bra. The doctor, her name tag said 'Wang', shook her head when she saw the cut. The blood was already starting to crust at the edges. Gently, she cleaned the wound and sewed it shut, taking her time to get every stitch perfect.
"Look, I know you want to get out on the battlefield, but you've got to stop fidgeting." Doctor Wang said, frowning at me.
"I know, but could you try to hurry?" I huffed. Doctor Wang tied off the last knot and pulled out a needle. A very large needle. My eyes widened in fright. "You aren't going to stab me with that, are you?" I asked.
"Oh, come on. You just got stabbed and didn't even blink an eye, but you're crying over a tiny needle like this? Man up." Wow, what a cold doctor. She jammed the damn thing into my side, just above the wound and injected me.
"What did you just poison me with?" I asked, clutching my side, which had gone numb.
"Nothing. I gave you a nerve blocker, so you won't feel pain from that wound for at least twelve hours."
"Hey. that's cool, Doc. Thanks." I perked up at that. Doctor Wang slapped a bandage over the stitches and patched up the rest of my injuries. I thanked the kind doctor and quickly headed out of the tent. The trebuchets and catapults had been moved up so they were closer to Casterwick's wall. They were heaving giant boulders at the wall, generated by the Geodudes that were companions to the mechanics.
"What's the status on the drawbridge?" I asked one of the mechs.
"Uh, they are firing in scorpions at it now. We are planning on tugging it down, then ramming the portcullis. We're still trying to break down the wall, but since we've been firing, there hasn't been all that much archer fire."
"That's good. Set up a line of archers behind the scorpions. I want them to fire over the wall and into the courtyard. Begin the major siege." I passed the orders down to a sergeant. He nodded and scrambled to go spread the word.
I snagged a bow from one of the barrels full and looped a sling of arrows over my shoulder. The other archers and I marched to the scorpions, which were giant crossbows. A huge bolt was secured into the sling and the latch was pulled back. The order of 'fire' was called, and the bolts were let go. The bolts had rope attached to the ends. The barbed heads pierced the wood of the drawbridge, holding onto it. All the infantry rushed to pick up the lines and pull the drawbridge down. I grabbed an arrow and set my sights high. I let the arrow fly, sending two more after it. The Frelian archers had finally mounted the wall and were beginning to fire. I dipped my arrow in a barrel of tar and held to out to an Infernape. The brown and white monkey Pokemon blew some embers onto the arrow head, the arrow catching fire. The Infernape had a fiery head and tail, with blue accents. I settled the arrow's feathered end into the taunt string and pulled back, waiting for the boulder to come sailing over my head before firing. Screams pierced the air.
"The sky will darken with our arrows!" I shouted. "Fire!" The midnight blue sky turned black as all the flaming arrows flew through the night, blocking out the full moon. "Where are the siege towers?" As soon as I spoke, the giant towers began to roll up. They were only slightly taller than the Frelian wall, and had thirty different levels of entry. They were rolled up to the wall, the boards lowered, and the soldiers began crossing over onto the wall with the Frelian archers. I let loose another arrow.
Frelian archers fell off the wall. I crouched, pulling a discarded shield that was laying on the ground over my head. Arrows pelted the thick metal like rain. I heard gasps and cries of pain as my archers were shot. Some had been smart enough to bring shields with them, where as I had been lucky to find one. I waited for the arrows to stop and we launched a volley of our own. I set down my bow and sling of arrows, grabbed Mr. Whiskers, and ran to the siege towers. The men were trying to cross a board that led from the siege tower to the Frelian wall. It was a tower with at least thirty levels of entries, and was only slightly taller than the Frelian wall. I climbed up the long, rickety ladder, slowly ascending the rungs. I reached the top and pulled my shield of my back. The Frelian archers were firing arrows at the Marsalisse soldiers who were trying to push pass so they could get onto the wall.
"Block the arrows with your shields and push, damn it!" I yelled at the soldiers. I lowered my own shield and walked across the plank.
I jumped down onto the small walkway that lead between the small turrets that were at the north, west, east, and south parts of the wall. I pulled out my daggers and slid them across the back of a Frelian. I kicked another Frelian in the stomach, stabbed him in the shoulder, and pushed him over the side. I turned as the archers fired their arrows, the heads hitting my shield. I spun, sweeping my leg up in an arc. The Frelian's head it the back of my knee and I locked my leg around his head. I jumped and twisted, bringing the man to the ground. I stabbed him in the temple and grabbed the ankles of the Frelian standing in front of me. He fell to the ground. I crawled up his legs and sank my dagger into his chest and tore him opened from chest to groin. I stood, flipping my daggers around my fingers. I threw one, spinning to dodge an arrow, then threw my second blade. They landed in the chest of a Frelian archer. I grabbed my blades and twisted to the side. I stabbed the solider in front of me in the eye and ducked under a wild swing. I rolled and kicked a Frelian in the stomach. I rose, my daggers in hand. I grabbed an archer and tossed him over the ledge. I grunted as a man slammed into me and my back hit the ledge and I almost pitched over. I wrapped my legs around the Frelian's waist and used my leg strength to throw us both over. I flipped, my palms hitting the top of the ledge. I let the Frelian fall to his death by releasing my hold on him. I hung there for a few minutes, trying to gather my strength. An archer ran pass me, bow and arrow in hand. I reached up and grabbed his jacket, pulling over the ledge. With some effort, I managed to pulled myself up. I collapsed on the ground, panting. I laid like that for a few seconds before getting up. A flash of yellow caught my eye, and I jumped out of the way. A thunderbolt smacked into a Frelian solider, shocking him. His body seized as the electrical current ran through him. I looked back at Mr. Whiskers, who was happily bouncing around.
"What where you throw those things." I warned my Stunfisk. "You could have killed me." Mr. Whiskers blew a bubble at me. He scraped mud off his flat body and packed it into a hard ball. He chucked it over my head. Curious to see where it was going, I watched it sail through the sky and land in a group of Frelians. The mud bomb exploded on contact, throwing the Frelians back. "Mr. Whiskers, throw those bombs down onto the pulleys." I pointed them out to him.
My Pokemon nodded and electricity began to build around his small body. A giant thunderbolt struck down in the courtyard, setting the grass on fire. I turned back to the wall full of Frelian archers. I jumped, feet first, into one of them, knocking him into the man next to him. I snapped his neck, and threw my dagger into the other Frelian. I used an uppercut to take out another Frelian. Grabbing an archer in a headlock, I slid my dagger through the soft skin of the soldier's neck, his blood flowing over my leather gauntlets. I tried to kick the solider in front of me, but he caught my leg and tried to toss me over. I took a deep breath and jumped, twisting to kick him in the head with my other leg. Let released me and I kicked him in the kidney. Standing up, I spun and kicked the last one on the bridge. He fell over the side. I was thrown to my hands and knees as the whole wall shook. I looked behind me to see a part of it start to crumble and fall apart. There was a loud snapping, and the drawbridge fell with a loud boom. A cheer went up from the Marsalisse soldiers below. I grinned. The smoke from the fire had reached the top of the wall, choking me. My eyes watered and I tried to see through it. I shouted for my Stunfisk, but couldn't see anything. A squeal sounded in front of me and I looked down to see Mr. Whiskers. I found a rope on the ground and tied it around a couple dead bodies. Mr. Whiskers hopped into my arms and I tied him to my sash. Gasping for air, I wrapped my hands around the rope and jumped off the ledge. I swung down and my booted feet touched the wall. Mr. Whiskers let out a gurgling laugh as I repeated the motion. As I repelled down, the air got slightly more clear and I could breathe again. I set my feet on the ground and ran over to the battering ram, which was being pushed up to the portcullis. It was a giant log with dozens of handles on each side. A large steel canopy had been constructed over the top so the men on the battering ram wouldn't get hit by arrows and falling rocks. I ducked under the canopy and grabbed a handle at the top of the battering ram. It smelled like death and sweat under there. I pushed, my heels sinking into the dirt that was wet with blood.
"Push!" I shouted. The battering ram smacked into the metal portcullis. We pulled back and pushed again, the head knocking into the sturdy gate. The metal began to buckle under the continuous pressure before coming off the slides all together. The portcullis crashed to the ground and another cheer went up. Now that most of the main army was gone, breaching Casterwick's defenses was easy.
"Calvary! At the ready!" I shouted. The clopping sound of Rapidash hooves filled the air. The Rapidash were outfitted in overlapping plates of armor that covered the Pokemon's head, chest, and flanks. The horsemen were dressed in heavy armor that covered them from head to toe. Mr. Whiskers squealed, trying to break free of my sash. I untied him and set him on the ground.
"Only attack the people in white, please." I begged my Pokemon, who just nodded and flopped toward the courtyard. "Charge!" I gave the order for the Calvary and infantry to move into the courtyard. "Bring those catapults, scorpions, and trebuchets up as well!"
Turning around, I dashed after all the other soldiers. Our battle cries filled the air, over taking the sounds of the siege engines moving, dying screams, and the clutter of Rapidash hooves. I pulled out my daggers and slammed into a Frelian, lifting him up off his feet. I plunged my blades into his stomach and chest before letting him slide to the ground. I dropped to my knees to avoid a swinging axe and stabbed the Frelian in the knees. His legs buckled and I sank my dagger into his eye. I rolled backward, knocking into another Frelian. I wrapped my arms around his legs and took him to the ground, snapping his neck when he fell. I stood, using a spinning kick to take out a solider who was attacking one of my men. Rocks crashed in the courtyard all around us, smashing whoever they landed on.
"Tell the mechs to adjust the length they are throwing the freaking rocks!" I screamed a captain. "Better yet, tell them to cease fire!" I stabbed a Frelian in the stomach and twisted the blade. I planted my boot to the chest of the solider behind him and kicked him to the ground. A boulder landed on top of him, a few inches shy of hitting me. A small brown ball sailed over my head and landed on a Frelian's head, exploding. I grimaced as my boots were showered with brain and blood. I felt hands at my back and whirled around, slashing the Frelian in the chest and stomach. The other Frelians began to throw down their weapons and surrender.
"General Ice, the Frelians are surrendering!" The captain I had ordered to tell the mechs to cease fire cried out. I rubbed my ear.
"Yes, I can see that. Put them in PoW camps for now. And bring me a small battering ram!" I marched up to the front door of the castle and gave it a solid thump with my fist. Just as I had thought; it was barred from the inside. The battering ram was carried into the courtyard and it only took two slams to get the door open. I stepped over the cracked wood and into the great hall. From there, I went into the throne room. It was untouched by all the horror that had been raging outside.
"Where are the Frelian King and Queen?" I asked Major Banes, who came to stand beside me.
"When you told your father that the secret tunnels did exist, he had me place men at the exits. The King and Queen tried to escape just after the drawbridge and wall fell. We have them in custody and they should be here in a minute."
"Great. Where is my father, have you found General Virgil Nightshade, and do you have the death and casualties toll?"
"Your father is stand behind you, General Nightshade was taken to a medical tent, and we are still waiting on the death toll. The casualties are somewhere in the sixty thousands."
"Okay, you are dismissed, Major Banes. Go supervise the burning of the bodies, please. Stack the dead Frelian soldiers in a pile so they can be returned to their families."
"Very well, General Ice." Banes bowed and slipped out the door. The door had barely closed behind him when the King and Queen of Frelian were escorted into the throne room. My father settled himself in my uncle's throne. I held back a laugh. He was holding Mr. Whiskers.
"Hello, Uncle Malcolm, Aunt Analee. Long time no see, wouldn't you say?" I raised an eyebrow at them. My uncle blanched at the sight of me, most likely because I was covered in blood. "You'll have to excuse my appearance; I just came in front taking your castle." I grinned sadistically.
"Lissia, there is no need to be crude," my father scolded gently, his eyes glued to my uncle.
"You would dare shame your family like this?" My uncle demanded, red in the face.
"But just a week ago you were insisting that we weren't even related. Or do you not remember, uncle?" My words triggered a fierce reaction in my uncle. A muscle in his jaw worked as he tried to swallow down some insult that would have made me laugh, no doubt.
"Enough with this nonsense. I want to offer you a deal, Malcolm. A peace treaty between Frelia and Marsalis."
"And how long will said treaty last?"
"Until someone breaks it."
"Why so long?"
"Because I am aging and Lissia is going to take over a ruler of Marsalis. I want to make sure she doesn't have to deal with your treachery. My single condition is this; if you break the treaty, you will die."
"What kind of treaty is that!" My uncle protested.
"It's insurance. You have a habit of betraying people, brother."
"I betrayed no one!"
"What about Anmarilys?" My father asked quietly. His voice was low and filled with sadness. Anmarilys had been my mother, the woman who my father had slept with before his marriage to the witch that sat on the Marsalisse throne now.
"She was mine! We loved each other! But you just had to steal her away from me, didn't you? If you had just married Caitlyn quietly, I could have married Anmarilys instead of this stupid cow!" My uncle pointed to Analee, who glared at him.
"Anmarilys never loved you and you know it. You were just jealous that we were in love, so you killed her." My heart dropped at that. I had always known that my uncle had killed my mother, but hearing the words out loud after so long was still a shock.
"Uncle, if you accept out terms, we will allow you to rule over Frelia as you did before, but you cannot set foot in Marsalis without having written permission from my father or I. Oh, and our condition extends to anyone in your family."
"What if I don't accept?" My uncle gritted out, his hands balling into fists.
"Well, we can exile you from Frelia and Marsalis and claim Casterwick and all of Frelia as ours. After all, we did just conquer it." I grinned lazily. Since we were all standing a few feet away from each other in front of the thrones, I could see my uncle start to breath heavily. He took a step toward me, hand raised. A bolt of electricity hit him before he could reach me. He fell flat on his face, butt in the air, drooling on the floor.
"We accept," Analee said calmly, stepping over my uncle's prone body to shake my father's hand. Analee spared a disgusted look at my uncle.
"He is such a pathetic man. Couldn't even win a simple war," she sighed as if the world was on her shoulders. I inclined my head to my aunt and left the throne room to search for Virgil.
Part Four: The End
I found Virgil laying on a cot in the medical tent. Mr. Whiskers squealed at him, wriggling in my arms, trying to get out of my grasp.
"Hi there," I greeted him, easing a hip onto the bed. Mr. Whiskers was still trying to get free, but I clamped a hold on him.
"Hey, Lissy. You came back for me." Virgil's words were slightly slurred, and his eyes were glazed.
"Yeah, I did. How do you feel?" I asked him softly, brushing a hand over his hair.
"I'm doing great! The doctor here, Wang, has me on so many drugs, I can't feel a thing," he smiled dreamily at me. I laughed, all the anger I had previous felt toward him draining out of my body.
"That's good. Did you find out why they captured you as well as me?"
"Yeah, they were going to try and weasel information out of us. They hired mercs to take us."
"Do you know why the security was so lax at Casterwick?" I asked, hoping that he could give a bit of information. Curiosity was eating me alive.
"Apparently, we had a secret agent on the inside of Casterwick. He told all the guards that were supposed to be on prison detail that they were summoned to the barracks. Four stayed, which were the four that we fought. He also managed to get all the guards out of the courtyard, great hall, and throne room and led them away from your trail. He called in a tip to the Marsalisse army to have you picked up. Plus, he sabotaged the defense catapults so the Frelians couldn't fight back once we sieged."
"Damn," I said, impressed. "What's this guy's name? I'd like to shake his hand." I set Mr. Whiskers on Virgil's chest so the Pokemon could get a better look at him.
"Leon Parn." You got to be freaking kidding me.