Galestorm swordsaint Marolyt. It was only after Lisana rose to a higher standing in society that she came to understand the might the name embodied. She had only thought he was a rather crazy old man.
Even so, he was the one who gave her some ability.
She stood up gloomily. Her father saw how odd she acted. Though she felt immeasurable grief, he knew the most rational thing to do was run. So, he reached out to grab Lisana, but the girl surprisingly struck her father swiftly at the back of the head and knocked him out.
She had to get her mother’s body back, at least, and her ring… She would have them pay the debt in blood!
For some reason, her body calmed. She felt no fear nor did she shiver. She stepped forward calmly, walking to the people who’d ruined her life.
The men saw her approach and asked her to leave, saying the place belonged to Stok. She didn’t listen. She marched on as the moves Marolyt taught her swam in her mind.
One of the soldiers approached. The regulations stipulated they should already have killed her, but her pretty face made them desire… other punishments. Only his comrades were around, so why not taste such a rare beauty? Surely it didn’t matter whether she died intact or not, she would die in the end either way.
He thusly became the first to die by Lisana’s hand.
“Hey! Don’t move!” the soldier shouted as he raised his sword to her throat.
Lisana stood, firmly. She moved the moment the longsword touched her throat. Her body swerved left, her vitals only centimeters from the blade. She gripped the soldier’s wrist with and clamped down. The greenhorn cried and let go of his sword. Lisana clasped the falling hilt, flipping the sword around, and shoved it through his throat.
The blood fountained all over her face, but the 15-year-old girl felt nothing. She let out a clear, bell-like howl before dashing for the corpse’s compatriots.
“Kill her!” the rest cried as they drew their swords and rushed her.
“Haaagh!” Lisana shrieked.
“A mid-order warrior?!” Everyone stared incredulously.
None expected the little doll to be a mid-order warrior.
It was her first time using impetus, but she released eight strata immediately. Her startling talent unlocked boundless potential driven by her grief. More importantly, she had had Marolyt’s help. The old man had infused his wind’s essence into her every time he infused his impetus into her. It was not much different from Annelotte’s glacial essence and it had a mysterious power to change the makeup of a body.
Though it usually didn’t do much for her in her daily life, the wind essence had been gathering strength for two years. Now, it burst forth like water from a damn. Such was her potential Marolyt was had mentioned, and that was his gift.
She swung her sword accurately as if she was doing a demonstration. She dodged and blocked. Though there were five enemies, they were only targets with her unmatched skills.
The exchange only lasted a few seconds. The Stok soldiers sent out to clear up the corpses all died by her blade.
She carefully picked up her mother’s ring and carried her corpse away before the rest noticed.
A few days later, a small incident occurred in a town in Locksin, a province in Hocke. A young girl was beaten by a baker for stealing his bread. She was stopped from leaving by a crowd of people in the street.
Punches rained down on her body, but she wouldn’t let the bread go no matter how hard they beat her.
“Please stop this. Let me pay for her bread,” a young prince had said, eventually.
He had come to the frontlines two days earlier and had wanted a quick rest behind the lines.
“Hmph, you lucked out this time! Leave our shops alone, you thief!” the baker cursed.
“You could easily beat them with your impetus. Why didn’t you?” the prince asked.
“Because I stole it.”
“I stole the bread. It’s a bad thing to do to the baker, so I can’t hurt them. I’d be doing more wrong things,” the girl answered with a lowered head, “Thank you.”
She left quietly as the onlookers pointed, whispering.
“Hey!” the prince cried to stop her.
“What? I have no money,” the girl whispered.
Alissanda pointed at the bread.
“Aren’t you going to eat it? You must be really hungry to steal it, right?”
“It’s for my father,” the girl answered plainly.
The prince had been waiting for those words. His body shuddered in excitement.
“Want a better life for you and your father?”
“Of course!” the girl almost yelled, apparently offended that it was even a question.
In her minor fury, she lifted her head for the first time and saw the man — boy, rather.
“How about joining the army?” the prince asked, “You shouldn’t have to starve if you have that kind of strength. You’ll earn a good income in the army with which to feed your father. You’ll naturally be put in danger occasionally and have to kill people. It might be hard–”
“–I willing to do it! If it’s killing Stokians, I can definitely do it! Somebody once said I have potential! I can still grow stronger!” the girl half-yelped as she lunged forward, eyes glowing desperately at the prince.
Her eagerness surprised the prince. He couldn’t bear to see such a girl resort to stealing to make a living, so he had merely probed her a little. He didn’t think she would practically beg him to let her join the army.
He nodded a moment later.
“Alright, come with me.”
“Can-” the girl paused a moment, “–Can I take this to my father first??”
Such was Alissanda and Lisana’s first meeting. Much time had passed since then and Lisana knew he had most likely forgotten all about it, but it still sat in the middle of her little heart.
Her mother was dead and her father never recovered from her loss. The world, previously so warm and joyful, like an early summer’s day, was suddenly foreign and cold, like a winter’s night. In that moment, the prince became her shining light, guiding the way in the darkness.
Such was life. Even in the darkest times, one ought to continue striving. It could take just a second more for someone to come and light the way forward.
For Leguna, that light had been Eirinn, for Lisana it was her prince, Alissanda. For her there was no other place for her in the entire world other than by his side.
Gold-eagle didn’t have any female knights when she decided to join. Her determination to follow the prince gave her the strength to force open the order’s doors and shut up any criticism. Her drive gave her more strength than even a man of her level should have, which let her defeat every challenger the brigade sent her way.
She was allowed to join, and earned her place in the brigade and the hearts of her comrades over the many, many battles that followed. Her experience and contributions qualified her for her own command, but she never asked for promotion. She only ever made a single request: to be allowed to stand in the captain’s personal guard.
No one expected such a request from her, not even Alissanda. Luckily, they were not inclined to overthinking such things. The girl and her prince didn’t interact regularly, neither had she ever shown any indications of romantic interest. She did, however, have a remarkable penchant for showing up in the moments the prince was in danger.
Over the years that had passed since, she’d become known as the king’s greatest shield. Nothing ever happened to the prince when she was around. That was why Jast let her go when she slipped away with some supplies and horse surreptitiously. It was far from the first time she’d done it, after all, it happened so often it had almost become routine.
This time, like all the others, she did not fail to disappoint him. This was the first time she’d returned in such a bad way, however, and everyone worried for her dearly.
With Eirinn’s ministrations, however, she clung on to live and eventually began recovering, though she had yet to open her eyes. At least two men of the brigade visited her every day. Lisana was as deadpan as one could find the faces of the greatest politicians, but the trust she had from her comrades was unquestionable.
Lisana dreamt for a long time. She wandered through her past, pain wracking her body. Her dream ran through her childhood and eventually turned to her most important person. She couldn’t see or remember how they looked, but she felt her heart lose its rhythm when she thought of that person.
Her muddled thoughts told her one of the two, either she of that person, had died for the other, though she knew not which. She spun her mind, desperate to figure it out, driven mad by an instinct she could not neither describe nor suppress. She felt her mind clear slowly, then a piercing pan shot through her chest, up her spine to her head, and down her spine to her feet, and she opened her eyes, wincing.
“Awake?” an ugly, silver-haired girl asked gently.