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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
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Crown Prince Yoshi - 13. Chapter 13

Zia Sayu stood on a sand dune, a hundred miles into Dwind staring at a cloud of dust rapidly moving toward the border. She gripped her left arm, hoping to ease the numbness on her upper arm. Her ordeal to reach Lady Tinya Hellis had left her with two wounds, one on her left arm, and a cut on her neck.

She turned around to the border, and the sea of blue armor soothed her anger toward Terra’s guard. A tall man in full armor hurried up the sand dude to stand beside her. She returned her gaze to the sand cloud hoping it was the Prince.

“Water.”

He held out a leather skin and she stared at the gold on the edges of his blue armor, the mark of a General. His hand was in a blue leather glove, and when she finally looked up, his eyes were filled with kindness.

“Wipe that look off your face,” she said.

Zia grabbed the leather skin from him, and brought the opening to her lips. She drank fast, water spilling down her cheek. She wiped it off with the back of her right hand.

“I want to apologize for mistreating you. You were her Majesty’s messenger. I, Binal of Terra, will make it up to you.”

Zia scoffed.

“Heal my arm, and make it easier for me to be in battle,” Zia said. “It’s going to take me a few more days to be in fighting form. Can you make up for that?”

“I will do what you planned to do as you heal,” Binal answered. “What is it, tell me?”

Zia shook her head in disbelief. It was unending with Binal. His apologies had started the moment she’d proved her identity before Lady Tinya. That was a week ago.

“Protect the Prince for me? Can you do that?” Zia asked, annoyed. “I wish to fight beside him as his left side, and protect him from all the blades that come his way. Is that possible, Binal?”

“If you want it, then I will make it possible,” Binal said with a smile.

Zia looked at him, stumped. He had an answer for everything.

“You’re annoying.”

Binal took the water skin from her with a mischievous grin.

“Well, you’ll get used to it, Zia Sayu.”

Zia frowned at him, then returned her gaze back to the approaching army.

“Do you think Lady Tinya has subdued the rebels heading into Terra?” Zia asked, sure that it was easier to focus on matters on hand.

“She is Terra’s Commandant,” Binal said, his words dripping with pride. “They will not breach Terra boundaries. And none will be left to take news to the rebels.”

“That’s a relief,” Zia said with a nod. “I wanted to have some good news when I met Prince Yoshi again.”

“The Crown Prince is a son of Terra,” Binal said, once again his damnable pride ringing loud.

The one thing Zia respected about the people of Terra. They loved their Empress, and her son, Yoshi. There were no doubts with Terra. The stench of rebellion non-existent here, and it was refreshing.

Taking a looking glass from her belt, Zia focused on the large army matching toward the border. The cloud of dust shifted, and Zia took in a short breath at the sight of Prince Yoshi on his handsome stallion, Senbon. Majestic in white, he rode at full speed accompanied by the black guard and an army from Dwind. Zia smiled with pride.

No other but the Prince would charm the Sand Queen.

Her excitement grew the closer the Prince came, but then she hissed when she recognized the dark rider with a red cloak beside her beloved Prince.

“Is that Lord Midori Sanori?” Benal asked, his tone harsh. Zia lowered her looking glass to find Benal focusing his on the approaching army.

“This is unexpected,” Zia said, unable to hide her frustration.

Having Midori in the ranks was political suicide. The son of a traitor, standing beside the Prince…Zia shook her head. She didn’t know the details, but it was clear what was needed here. The Empress would not have a man like Midori standing with her son. Neither would Lady Tinya. Zia hoped her twin brother had made the necessary arrangements.

“Is this a ploy?” Benal demanded. “How is it possible for the Prince to trust Midori of Fier?”

“Don’t jump into conclusions,” Zia ordered. “Keep Lady Tinya from killing Lord Midori on sight. The Prince has a temper. He protects those beside him and the murder of a chosen confidant might derail this campaign. No one is to act until we understand His Royal Highness’s reasons.”

Benal cursed, his words colorful.

“A man is only as good as his family, Zia Sayu. Namik Sanori dares oppose the greatest house in this Empire. How can we bare to watch his son beside the Empire’s heir?”

“Close your eyes then,” Zia snapped and moved to grab the reins of her horse. She would be the one to meet Prince Yoshi first. Swinging on to the saddle in one practiced move, Zia gave Benal her most censoring glance. “Be cautious, Benal of Terra.”

She didn’t give him a chance to answer, instead, sending her horse down the sand dunes to meet the Prince.

***

Midori noticed the rider on a grey horse coming toward them first. He matched Yoshi’s speed, his sword at the ready. They were close to the border. His father’s men would be stationed at the border ready to stop an attempted attack from Dwind or Terra. Yoshi gave him a short glance, his gaze enough to let Midori know he’d also noticed their oncoming visitor.

The rider moved fast, in an almost reckless speed. A small figure clinging to the back of the horse with no saddle, dressed in blue robes, and moved in fluid motion with her stead. Midori frowned when the figure waved a red flag with her left hand and Yoshi chuckled.

“Be at ease,” Yoshi called, his tone lighthearted. Suddenly, the grey horse moved to join their direction, quickly moving to ride beside Yoshi. Midori wasn’t aware of having moved, but he found the new rider now rode beside Yoshi, taking his place.

Midori slowed his pace when Tai shifted to take Yoshi’s left side, and the three riders flowed into one unit. Yoshi let out a happy laugh and urged Senbon even faster. The two beside him kept up, so that when the grey horse changed direction in a sharp turn toward the closest sand dunes, Yoshi and Tai followed suit.

“Who is that?” Telia demanded coming up to his side. “So flashy, and dramatic? Does she think this is a horse show?”

Midori chuckled. “It could be a man.”

“Too light to be a man,” Telia said. “She might be covered from head to toe, but it is hard to ignore the elegant curve of hips.”

Midori smiled, trusting the Furian to know when she’s facing a woman.

Yoshi and his new friend came to a stop at the top of the sand dune, and Yoshi jumped off, rushing to the figure on the grey horse. To Midori’s eternal surprise, the figure in blue jumped into his arms, and Yoshi held her tight.

“Your rivals increase by the minute,” Telia mused.

Midori scowled and reached Yoshi just as the blue-clad figure stepped back. Midori got off his horse and moved to stand on Yoshi’s right side. He watched as the woman bent her knee before Yoshi and lowered her head.

“Your Royal Highness,” her voice was low but full of excitement. “The Terran Army is yours to command. Lady Tinya Hellis, Commandant of Terra, has accepted your call to arms.”

“I had no doubts,” Yoshi said, touching the young woman’s shoulder. “Rise, Zia. What a wonderful gift you bring me.”

Zia rose to her feet, and her gaze slid to Midori. “We’re to face the rebel army soon. Your Royal Highness, why does the rebel’s son—?”

“These are my allies,” Yoshi cut her off, indicating Midori, then Telia and Pipa. “I would not have made it this far without them. Lord General Midori commands the Dwind forces offered to us by Lady Pipa and his own. Telia of the Furian Forest fights with the Black Guard, Tai Migi and you, Zia Sayu. I will hear no talk of rebels in my first council.”

“My mistake, Your Royal Highness,” Zia said, bowing her head.

Zia Sayu’s accusation was not surprising. Midori knew the next few days were going to be a constant fight to prove his loyalty. With the soldiers in his new army, and the allied forces. He didn’t blame Zia for asking, she wouldn’t be the last, but it surprised him when she met his gaze.

“I apologize, Lord General,” Zia said. “It is my job to be suspicious.”

“No harm done,” Midori said, dismissing her comment with a single nod, his gaze going to Yoshi. Yoshi held Senbon’s reigns and stood staring at the lush green flat lands that led into Terra’s borders.

Midori moved to stand beside him and for the first time hope filled his heart since they’d met weeks ago. The loyalty between the House of Taimeng and Terra was astounding. Solid enough to gain the Prince what looked like three hundred and fifty thousand men to fight against Namik.

“Lady Tinya is at the Imperial Land border with the first patrol,” Zia explained. “Namik’s armies have one mission, to kill Prince Yoshi on sight. With you dead, a war would be for naught, as Prince Saki would naturally inherit the throne. Your Royal Highness’s life is our number one priority.”

Midori did not miss Zia’s suspicious glance when she mentioned his father’s name.

This was it, Midori thought, his gaze returning to Yoshi, who ignored Zia’s uneasiness. Thinking about Yoshi leaving him in Earith with a crippled army, Midori knew just how stubborn Yoshi could get. He wondered if Yoshi’s stubborn nature was going to be enough to gloss over the fact that a general in the allied forces was the son of Namik-the-traitor.

Midori clutched his riding gloves, a frown creasing his brow.

“Why worry when the Black Guard surrounds me,” Yoshi said to Zia with a slight smile. “You’re here, Zia, so is Tai. I pity any who dare try to assassinate me. Now, there is no time to waste. I have a rebellion to purge.”

Yoshi gave Senbon’s reigns to Sando and started down the sand dunes to meet his new forces.

Tai, Zia and Sando followed their master.

Pipa remained beside Midori, while Telia came to stand on Midori’s right.

“I thought I was being generous offering our one hundred thousand forces,” Pipa said, her tone caught in a mix of awe and intimidation. “Compared to this—, we’re a drop in the ocean.”

“Be proud of yours,” Telia said, before Midori could comment. “None can compare to the Commandant, Lady Tinya. Not even our Princess Naria. This is the least you can expect of a woman who dares call the Empress her beloved family.”

Midori nodded at Telia’s explanation.

If his father weren’t so power hungry, Fier would have also offered such a force to the Prince as well. Instead, his people were now drenched with the stench of treason. It was up to him to restore Fier’s pride, Fier’s honor.

“Will you be okay?” Telia asked, her tone low, only for his ears.

“He’s not the only one with a mission,” Midori answered.

“Yes, yours might be harder than his.” Telia nodded to the soldiers who were now scrambling to get a glimpse of their Prince as he walked amongst them. “They might want to cut you down on sight.”

Midori chuckled. “I thought you curbed those urges.”

“Working on it daily,” Telia answered, though her tone was mild.

“Don’t worry. I remember your threats clearly, Telia. I will never give you a reason to act on them.”

Telia studied him for a moment, and then with a shrug, she turned and got on her horse.

“Let’s settle Dwind’s forces. The Prince is right. There is much to plan, and little time.”

***

“We are cut off from the Earith and Furian forces. Namik’s forces have circled the Capital, and cut off access to Earith from Dwind. We are left with the Terra border and Dwind,” Tai Migi said, tracing the map on the large table in the Prince’s tent. “Namik is still unsure about Prince Yoshi’s being alive. His goal is to put pressure on the Empress to name Prince Saki the successor.”

Midori stood beside Yoshi, studying the map curated by Tai Migi’s black guard. So much had changed in the space of days. Even with the Princess Naria meeting Namik on the North side of the Capital, they remained at a disadvantage.

Their current goal would be to let the people know the Crown Prince lived and stop the politics in the palace designed to secure the throne. Yet, with Namik standing in the way, the officials in court would continue to do what they wanted. The people would be too frightened to stand against Namik’s forces.

“Our weaknesses can also be our strengths,” Midori said, studying the map. “While they have covered all borders, making it impossible for us to reach The Princess or enter the Capital head on, we still have Fier borders.”

“The enemy Quad?” A tall man dressed in full armor asked, his voice full of disapproval. “Who knows what trap lies there? We cannot guarantee the Prince’s wellbeing within those borders.”

Midori started to explain, but Yoshi cut in.

“Your name, Terran General,” Yoshi said, his tone mild.

“Benal of Terra, Your Royal Highness.”

“Lord Benal,” Yoshi started.

“Please call me Benal, Your Grace,” the man said. “I’m a humble soldier and not a Lord.”

“We are short on communication with our allied forces. We are unable to relay information into the Palace, effectively, and Namik is controlling the climate with the people. If we fought him head on, the number of casualties will be too high. Our goal is not to destroy the Empire’s Capital. Fighting our way into the Capital should be the last resort,” Yoshi said.

“To make an impact with Namik,” Yoshi continued, his gaze speculative. “We need as much information as we can get. If any attacks, they must be swift, coordinated, and designed to damage the enemy.”

Midori traced the Fier – Terra border. The terrain there was a mix of deep valleys forged by long cold molten lava rivers, centuries before. He knew it well, had spent time in his youth training with some of Fier’s forces there. He hoped some of those men had found refuge there. If he found any, he hoped to convince them to help him infiltrate his father’s ranks.

It would mean leaving Yoshi alone for a while, something he was loathe to do. Yet, if they were to succeed, Midori needed to sacrifice this part of them.

Truth was, the future he wanted, loving Yoshi, staying by an Emperor’s side, Midori needed to gain the trust of an Empire.

With that thought in mind, Midori made a suggestion Yoshi would have no choice but to accept in such a council.

“A detachment sent into Fier can cut into the Imperial Lands and gain useful information on the enemy, fast.”

“The same for detachments into Earith, through the Dwind border,” Telia said, shifting to touch the map to trace the Dwind – Earith border. “We have allies in Earith. Establishing a connection with The Princess Naria is important.”

“Fier remains a great risk,” Benal said, moving closer to Zia who remained silent through the meeting. “If rebel forces capture our assets, our plan to keep the Prince’s whereabouts secret go up in smoke. There is still so much we cannot trust about Fier.”

“Are you suggesting our men would be weak enough to tell secrets?” Pipa asked her frown deep.

“Anyone who sees Terra forces on the move will know the Prince lives,” Benal answered, his tone matter of fact. Voicing the dilemma Midori had hoped he would.

“Benal is right,” Yoshi agreed. “Namik knows Terra and the Palace are one.”

“Terran forces will not go into Fier,” Midori said, not missing Yoshi’s quick intake of breath. They stood side by side, Yoshi tensed when Midori continued. “I’ll take the detachment into Fier. My men are experienced.”

“You have two Fier men with you,” Yoshi countered, his tone severe. “The rest you left with The Princess Naria. We cannot allow such a risk.”

“I don’t need a large force,” Midori said, ignoring Yoshi’s clear protest. “Your Royal Highness needs information, and my men and I can get it fast.”

“I’ll do it,” Tai Migi suggested, clearly reading Yoshi’s need to keep Midori with him.

“You’re needed here,” Midori shook his head. “The Prince’s safety is paramount.”

Yoshi started to protest, but then Telia chimed in.

“This is a good plan,” Telia said, her support unexpected but welcome. “General Midori is familiar with the Fier territory. His men are natives. They will move faster than an outsider.”

“As will I through Dwind, heading to Earith,” Pipa said, her gaze on the map. “As isolated as Dwind is, we have established trade routes with Earith. Using them now is not a hardship.”

Yoshi met Pipa’s gaze.

“This is not a simple assignment, Lady Pipa,” Yoshi said, his tone unreadable. “It’s dangerous.”

Midori heard the clear message. Don’t do this. We will find a better way. Make a better suggestion.

“We came out here to take back the Empire,” Pipa said, then smiled at Midori. “We have to start somewhere, and I don’t mind taking bold steps.”

Silence filled the tent. Yoshi studied the map, his gaze speculative. For a full minute, no one dared talk. Midori knew Yoshi was looking for a way not to send Midori. A way to avoid their separation. A way to keep them together, and still gain ground on what was going to be an uphill political battle for Midori. There was none, Midori knew it, yet it still hurt when Yoshi came to the same decision. It was Yoshi’s subtle shift away from him, Midori’s heart seized at the small withdrawal by Yoshi.

“General Midori,” Yoshi said, his voice ringing with authority. “Infiltrate the enemy forces, discover all that you can and report back to the Phoenix army. You are to leave at once. Lady Pipa of the Klud, you are tasked with creating a secure route to the Princess Naria. Be swift and concise, the fate of the Empire is on your shoulders.”

“At your command, Your Royal Highness,” both Midori and Pipa said.

Yoshi barely paused, continuing the business of running a militant camp. He jumped straight into management of ordinances, leaving Midori and Pipa to exit the tent without further acknowledgement.

Outside, Midori stopped Pipa.

“Why are you doing this?” Midori asked. “You don’t have to be the one to go. Tai or Zia can manage a route to the Furian Princess.”

“You’re not the only one with something to prove,” Pipa said, giving him a small smile. “Lord General, your struggle might be harder than mine, but I can still support you too.”

She gave him a short nod and hurried to the Dwind tents to ready a small team.

Midori headed to his tent to gather his traveling bags. He entered the tent already planning on the fastest routes into Fier from the Terra border. What they would need to move fast and with stealth. He gripped the handle of his sword when the tent flap opened behind him.

“Lord General,” Lenoth said.

Midori’s hand fell away from his sword as he turned to face Lenoth.

“The blue cloaks are hard to get along with,” Lenoth said, giving a full sigh. “They can’t look past the color of a man’s clothes. Your father has placed Fier on a very low rung.”

“We’re heading to Fier,” Midori said. “The Prince needs information.”

Lenoth held his gaze, his expression changing from irritation to somber.

“You realize what happens if we meet your father’s men?”

Midori shrugged and turned to remove the luxurious red cloak he’d worn at Yoshi’s insistence on their journey back from Dwind. He folded it and took it to a trunk in the corner. He would wear it when he returned to Yoshi’s side.

“Our people are frightened and without homes, misplaced by rebels,” Midori said, changing out of his neat tunic and trousers into his dark leathers.

When he had met Yoshi those many days ago, he’d been a dark rider, one who worked solely to protect his people. Now, he needed to be that man again, the dark rider with the mission to protect his people. Yoshi’s people. Their people.

“We don’t have the luxury to stay here and wait while everyone works to save them. Lenoth, we will make sure we don’t run into my father’s men,” Midori said, when Lenoth continued to stare at him. “Make ready. We leave as soon as possible. The Royal Prince’s orders.”

“I thought you wanted to stay with him,” Lenoth mumbled, shaking his head as he left the tent.

“I do,” Midori murmured, pulling on a black cloak with a heavy sigh.

He had barely fastened it when footsteps rushed into his tent. He turned to find Yoshi standing at the entrance, two black guards behind him. They followed Yoshi with unrelenting dedication now.

“Step back,” Yoshi ordered, his tone curt.

“Your Royal Highness,” the protest came.

“Now!”

“I’m sorry, Your Royal Highness.”

Yoshi closed his eyes in exasperation.

“Fifteen paces, I’m not asking you to leave me alone.”

“Six paces are the most we can do, your Royal Highness.”

“We need to be alone,” Yoshi said, “Don’t make us ask again.”

A soft sigh, then a whisper as the two men left Midori’s tent.

“You,” Yoshi said, pointing a finger at Midori the moment they were alone. “Why are you doing this? We just got here.”

“Yoshi—

“You dared to leave me without a way out in front of a council? Why would you do this?”

“What did I do?” Midori demanded. “Do you want to tell me you haven’t noticed how the Blue Army is treating my men? How General Benal sees me? Your own Zia Sayu?”

“It’s because they don’t know you. Give them time, and they’ll see you’re not your father. We’ll work through it.”

“That’s if they don’t try to assassinate me in my sleep,” Midori said, shaking his head. “No, it’s better for me to be away.”

“Away,” Yoshi scoffed, disappointment tensing his shoulders. “It must be so easy for you to say that word.”

Midori closed the distance between them, placing his hands Yoshi’s shoulders.

“Don’t you know why I need to go?” Midori asked, meeting brown eyes, filled with an astonishing mix of fear and anger.

Yoshi stepped away from him.

“I can’t rescind an order when we’re at war, not without cause. I’ll find one, and then you’ll stay.”

“I don’t want you to find one.”

“You won’t have a choice,” Yoshi said, “the black guard will stay with you until I find a reason.”

“I’ll escape.”

“They’ll have orders to stop you by any means necessary. Don’t make me hurt you, Midori.”

“Yoshi!”

“How dare you push me to take on this fight, constantly yelling and screaming for me to stand for the people? Then here you are running off right as I need you by my side,” Yoshi turned away from him, his shoulders trembling. “What am I to do without you?”

Midori moved closer to Yoshi, wrapping his arms around him from behind. Yoshi held tense for a moment, then he gave in and melted into Midori’s warmth.

Midori pressed a kiss on Yoshi’s temple, holding him tight.

“Do you remember who you asked me to be to you?”

Yoshi took in a deep breath, but didn’t speak.

“I need to be someone who will not bring a stain to you.”

Yoshi started to step away from him in protest, but Midori held on tight.

“Don’t be angry with me,” Midori whispered. “I can’t stand it when you’re upset, Yoshi. Please—

Yoshi turned in his arms and buried his face into Midori’s shoulder. Midori pressed a kiss on top of Yoshi’s head. He wanted to hold Yoshi tight, take him in, and keep him close for eternity. He worried for his state of mind, feeling so frantic, so anxious it felt like madness was growing inside him. He almost started to protest when Yoshi stepped back from him.

“I—,” Yoshi started, then stopped, meeting his gaze.

Midori frowned when where he could read anger and fear before, now turned into a blank slate. Suddenly, the cold hard mask Yoshi wore as the Prince returned in full force, and it was more hurtful than any words Yoshi could say.

“Do what you want,” Yoshi said, his tone soft.

“I’ll hurry back,” Midori said, hoping to get a smile in return.

Yoshi studied him for a moment, then nodded and left the tent as fast as he’d come.

Midori closed his eyes. Loving an Emperor to-be was harder than he imagined.

Lenoth appeared minutes later, to tell him their horses were ready.

Midori gave his tent one last glance, and then followed Lenoth.

“My Lord,” Lenoth said when they were making ready to leave the Terra encampment.

Midori looked up from adjusting Midnight’s reigns to find Lenoth nodding to three additional men coming to join them. Midori stood still, the grip on his reigns tight. Lenoth and Naro shifted to offer him protection in case it was needed.

“Yes?” Lenoth asked the three men in the darkest of cloaks.

“We’re to join you,” the tallest of them said. He lifted his left sleeve to show Midori a gold band around his arm with a phoenix emblem. “You should know who sent us. We are to guard your life as we would guard His Royal Highness.”

Yoshi!

Midori gave Lenoth and Naro a nod, allowing the three men to join them. He mounted Midnight, his gaze straying to the Terra Army tents. He stilled when he saw the lone figure standing outside the largest tent. Handsome in white, so dear, Midori stared at him for a minute, and then jerked his horse into motion, heading toward the Fier border.

***

“Why didn’t you say goodbye?” Sando asked Yoshi. “Sending him Lilind's children of the sand—

“Is the best protection I can give him,” Yoshi murmured. “Midori has set an impossible wheel in motion. One we can’t stop or escape, the only option is to reach the other end. Midori’s reputation must change if he is to stay in the palace. We’re going to help him, Sando.”

Sando sighed, as they watched Midori turn away and head out into the afternoon.

“Well, you never do anything easy,” Sando said, when Midori’s party disappeared in the trees. “It would make sense for you to fall in love with the Fier Heir. Almira the Great must be breathing fire at the thought."

Yoshi’s gaze remained on the cluster of trees where Midori had disappeared. The emptiness inside his chest a wide chasm, the thought of Midori in danger, in his father’s hands sent a hollow feeling through his stomach.

Only one clear truth remained in his head. He needed to end Namik of Fier.

“Sando, you are to oversee ordinance,” Yoshi said, turning away from the trees and the direction Midori had gone.

“My Prince,” Sando started to protest.

“This is an order,” Yoshi said, his grip on his gold sword tightened. “The army’s morale is determined by the availability of supplies. We might be with allies, but each one has a prejudice. You’re the only I can rely on to keep everything in control. Do I need to beg you?”

Sando bowed his head low. “Your Royal Highness, I will do as you order.”

“There are poisoning plots in the palace,” Yoshi warned. “Expect nothing less here at the front.”

“You will have nothing to worry about,” Sando said, lifting his head.

“Now that we’re on the brink,” Yoshi continued, his gaze returning to the cluster of trees that hid Midori from him. “I need you to do one more thing for me, Sando.”

“Yes?”

Yoshi held out his right hand to Sando. Sando hesitated for a second, but then he took Yoshi’s hand. Yoshi pulled him even closer, leaving no space between them.

Sando’s breath hitched and his ears turned red. Yoshi smiled and leaned to whisper into Sando’s ear.

“You know me too well,” Yoshi mused. “This is the reason why you must manage this second task. Now, the Phoenix my mother nurtured is set to spread its wings, and turn into a raging dragon. That man, who dares offer the phoenix his heart, will you help me protect him?”

Sando nodded, without hesitation.

“I will.”

“When a time comes that he needs to be protected from the Phoenix—”

Yoshi stopped. He bit his lip, and closed his eyes, his heart aching at this order. Still, he needed to give it, because Midori would fight to stay by him no matter the danger. And it would hurt to see Midori in pain or worse caused by political intrigues that were sure to start soon.

“When such a time comes,” Yoshi continued. “You must help him, without question. Do you understand?”

Sando exhaled, moving back to meet Yoshi’s gaze. Yoshi kept looking at him until Sando nodded his consent.

“Do not turn to Tai Migi or Zia Sayu, but seek the Furian Telia's help,” Yoshi continued. “Hide it from me if you need to. If my knowing his status hurts him, keep it from me. Do not tell me even when you think I need to know. Do not break if it keeps him safe, even when I beg you. Do you understand?”

“Your Royal Highness,” Sando gasped ready to protest this order.

“This is my will,” Yoshi said in a harsh tone, refusing Sando’s protest.

He knew what this order would do, especially now that Midori was off to Fier. Many would work to sow discord between him and Midori. He would see through some plots, others would be too clever…Yoshi sighed, knowing that he would believe them. This order would protect Midori and keep him alive.

“You love him,” Sando said in shock. “Really love him.”

“Because you know,” Yoshi’s gaze softened. “You understand what you must do.”

Sando closed his eyes in defeat and nodded his consent.

Yoshi let go of Sando’s hand and stepped away his cloak whispering with the movement. The weight of it all would drag a lesser man to the ground, yet Yoshi took comfort in the pressure. It made him conscious of his limits and his strengths. He trained all his life for this role, now that the time was here…

The fear had dissipated, replaced with anticipation and a frightening need to conquer.

After all, he was Crown Prince, and by the heavens, he would rule and protect his people.

****

2012 lilansui
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
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Awesome!! This is a story that we bite our nails waiting for...the intrigue, the romance, the excitement...it's all done so well!! Happy that Yoshi is trying to protect Midori, knowing the plots that will ensue, after the coming battle...VERY nice chapter!!! :2thumbs::heart:

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I hope everything works out for our sweethearts. The story is getting so intense, it would be interesting to see their relationship dynamics after the war and just how Midori gains everyone's approval to date the prince. 

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what a generous present you have given your readers! the time and effort you put into this series is greatly appreciated! i hope that there are future chapters struggling to get out of your fingers and onto your keyboard!

 

thank you!

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