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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.
Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 

Crown Prince Yoshi - 5. Chapter 5

5

“Your Majesty, matters of state can wait,” Hong Ma, Head of the Royal Investigative Bureau, said as he stood before Almira two days into her son's disappearance.

The sun had barely risen, she'd barely gotten any sleep but that was usual these days. She accepted the cup of hot green tea Sayuri handed her and took a healthy sip.

“You are busy planning The Prince Yoshi's funeral.” Hong Ma bowed low. “Please forgive my intrusion.”

“Continue with business, Lord Hong,” Almira ordered. “Why do you come to the palace at this hour?”

Hong raised his head and held out a scroll. “The Imperial Army did not reach The Princess Naria. She faces the rebels alone.”

Almira placed her cup on the stool on the side of her chair and took the scroll from Sayuri. She preferred meeting Hong in her chambers, mostly to keep prying eyes out of her private business. Opening the scroll, she read it with a frown.

“The Imperial Army is with Namik of Fier, as expected,” she murmured then placed the scroll on the stool beside her.

She couldn't make obvious moves, Tailen would notice immediately. The Royal Guard had ten thousand men, not enough to go to war, but enough to protect those who mattered. Her brother's determination would force a war, but he needed access to the Palace to control her. She needed to make that impossible for him.

“Lord Hong, the Royal Investigative Bureau now controls the Royal Guard. Root out the traitors within your office, and the Royal Guard Service. Trust no one affiliated with the House of Meng or the Fier Quad. Watch the Minister of Defense, and the Chief Chancellor discretely, I want to know every move they make.”

“What of the Princess Naria?” Hong asked. “She needs relief in the North.”

“We can't risk a message to her, trust in Tai Migi. His mission helps the Furian Princess.”

Hong bowed. “Your Majesty.”

“Lord Hong,” Almira said her tone grave. “Trust no one; treason can bend anyone's will, even yours. We are at War.”

“Yes, Your Majesty.”

She watched Hong leave her chambers with a thoughtful gaze.

“Do you trust him?” Sayuri asked moving to take the scroll Hong had given her.

Almira watched Sayuri carry the scroll to an open fireplace and burn it.

“I trust his anger. He won't join Prince Tailen. They have a sour past.”

Almira stood from her chair and adjusted the belt that cinched the white silk dress she wore at the waist. Her hair was thankfully free of a heavy headdress, and instead Sayuri had tied it back with gold pins. She was to play a grieving monarch. White robes and plain hair would make her look vulnerable. She'd wear white until she gained control of the palace.

First thing to do, she thought as she headed out of her chambers was order a formal investigation into her so-called son's murder. She'd act as though she didn't know that her cousin The Prince Tailen plotted treason, and hope that Yoshi was making progress.

“Sayuri, summon the Inspector General to the Court and make sure Chief Censor Zanna is there. We must give him reason to complain.”

***

Yoshi crouched deeper into the mud, his fingers clenching weeds to keep from sliding further down the valley. He was cold, wet, and covered in mud. His heartbeat thudded in his chest as he watched the Fier Army match a few feet away. One wrong move and he'd give himself away.

They'd spent the last two days and nights crossing the Furian forest. They were almost at the Earith border. Namik's army was thorough on its march into the Imperial Lands. Namik’s army scoured the forest for stragglers, destroying villages if the residents refused to join their cause. Last night, they’d come upon a village protected by the Furian sisters and found it burning. Yoshi had fought alongside Midori's men and the villagers through the night trying to put out the fires. He'd saved a small boy only to have him die in his arms from severe burns. It made him wonder what kind of empire his uncle wanted. Why bring pain to the people for power?

They had a few more hours to go before they reached Earith. Midori was sure the Earith army would help him return to Lexin City and the palace. He closed his eyes and prayed to the gods.

He stared at the riders passing in front of him, their numbers in the thousands. Not to forget the thousands of riders who'd already crossed the forest in the last two nights. They'd reach the capital tonight, which meant the possibility of getting to the palace first with the Earith Army was nil.

He jerked when a strong arm slid over his shoulders. Turning to his left, he scowled when he found Midori leaning too close.

“Found you,” Midori whispered into his ear, his lips skimming his ear.

His scowl deepened when his body reacted, every cell in his body rising to rejoice Midori's presence. This inane attraction to Midori, the son of a treasonous man, annoyed him. He had no time for it and still he couldn't stop…wanting.

“Let's go,” Midori said.

When he refused to let go of the weeds, Midori tightened his hold on Yoshi's shoulders and pulled him off his perch. They slid down the valley into long wet grass. Visions of snakes slithering into his boots kept Yoshi following Midori without hesitation.

Midori led him through the grass until they reached thick bamboo trees. Yoshi let a relieved sigh escape when they stepped on dry ground.

“Why do you insist on protecting your chamberlain instead of yourself?” Midori demanded in a harsh tone. “Those soldiers will kill you at first sight. They know your face; they have orders to murder you on sight. You have to know that.”

Yoshi ignored Midori's anger and kept walking. Namik's men had caught them unawares. He and Sando had been collecting wood when the soldiers emerged. They'd run, and when he'd seen two riders chasing after Sando, he'd acted as bait giving his chamberlain time to escape.

“I knew Sando would find you,” Yoshi said dismissively. “Stop worrying about me and start thinking of how we can get to Earith before this day ends. Your father's army arrives in Lexin City tonight. We have no time to lose.”

“Your High-” Midori stopped before he could complete the title. “I'm sorry, gods, you're exasperating.”

“We need to get to Earith.” Yoshi kept walking only to have Midori grab his arm and lead him in the opposite direction.

“This way,” Midori said in annoyance.

Yoshi bit his inner lip to keep from laughing when Midori held on to his left arm. His shoes squished from the water and the mud. He'd kill for a bath, but that was a luxury in their current state. His gaze dropped to Midori's boots, and his dark clothes. Midori looked tall and forbidding, untouched by the mud and wet clothes. Yoshi envied him his confidence.

Midori led him into a quiet camp five minutes later. Sando came running to meet him.

“Oh thank the gods,” Sando said with relief. “I wanted to come after you, but this one wouldn't let me.”

“He needs to change into dry clothes, and get him off the supplies roster.” Midori let go of Yoshi and started toward his tent.

“Thanks,” Yoshi called after him.

Midori gave him a short glance before he continued to walk away.

“You got in trouble again.” Sando teased leading him to a small tent in the middle of the temporary camp. “We need to stop pushing him. He might change his mind and join his father.”

Yoshi sighed as they entered their tent. “Has Telia come back?”

“No.” Sando helped him out of the green tunic. “They suspect she's waiting out Namik's army. I managed to get some warm water for you. These clothes are ruined. Let me see what I can find.”

Sando left the tent in a dash, leaving Yoshi to his cleanup. Tired, and defeated, Yoshi bent over the bowl of warm water grateful for Sando's ingenuity. In the state they were in, the man had managed to get him warm water for a bath. Midori had no idea just how valuable Sando was to him.

He stripped off his breeches, washing the mud off his chest and stomach. The tent flaps let in a breeze of cool air and he sighed.

“How long do you think it will take Namik's men to pass?' he asked. “I'm eager to get to Earith.”

“We count one more group of soldiers passing,” Midori replied making Yoshi straighten in surprise. “They'll be gone before the sun has fully risen. The Furian will find us soon after.”

“Her name is Telia,” Yoshi said continuing his short bath.

He froze when he felt Midori touch his naked back. He closed his eyes when his body filled out, need slamming through him, a raging inferno.

“The welts look healed,” Midori said, slowly tracing over the dark bruises on his back. “The discoloration takes longer to fade away.”

Yoshi shivered when Midori traced his back.

“Do they hurt?”

Yoshi shook his head. “No, though pain is welcome at this moment.”

“Why would you say that?” Midori asked his hand dropping away. “I brought you clothes. They're larger than you, it's difficult finding your fit, but they will keep you warm.”

Yoshi frowned when Midori placed a black tunic, black breeches and a long over coat on a small stool. He ignored Midori's warmth and instead finished his quick bath. Grabbing a cotton sheet Sando had placed beside the bowl of water, he wiped himself dry keenly aware of Midori behind him.

“I'm sorry for earlier,” Midori said into the silence.

Yoshi picked up the black trousers and pulled them on. He drew the string at his waist tight to hold them up. He reached for the black tunic only to stop when Midori placed a hand on his shoulder. Yoshi closed his eyes when Midori picked up the white cloth he'd used to wipe off water and used it on his back. His motions were slow, the cloth touching Yoshi’s back in gentle motions.

“I worried,” Midori said, letting the cloth drop to the grass. Midori tugged the hem off the tunic into place when Yoshi pulled it over his head. “We can't lose you.”

Yoshi sighed and moved away from Midori. “Your concern is useless if we can't get to Earith on time.”

“We won't reach on time,” Midori confirmed. “It will take time to amass Earith's army; The Empress will face Namik's Army first. We need to rethink this—

“I can’t think about anything else, General. I don’t care what you do after I have an army to head back to the palace. I don’t want to think of anything else.”

“Is that your choice?” Midori asked, his dark eyes narrowed, “After what you saw last night, do you still want to concentrate on saving the Empress alone?”

Yoshi held Midori’s dark gaze hating the judgment he read there. What could he do? Without the Imperial Army, he didn’t have any power. He couldn’t see how he could stop the impeding war. The best he could do was ensuring the Empress survived this. Without her, the Empire would crumble. He would crumble.

“The Empress is all I have,” Yoshi looked away, “my only blood. I can’t abandon her now. As long as she’s safe, the Empire lives.”

Midori sighed then walked out of the tent as fast as he’d walked in.

Sando came in soon after carrying a fresh batch of clothes and boots. He stopped at the tent entrance with a scowl.

“Well if he was going to bring you clothes he could have let me know.”

Yoshi sat on the stool beside the bowl and held out his right hand for the boots.

“Did you two have a fight again?” Sando gave him the boots and moved to stow away the white tunic and the matching trousers in to their baggage. “I’m getting whiplash from that man’s attitude. Does he like you or hate you? Why does he scowl every time he walks away from you?”

The tent flap opened before Yoshi could answer. Telia walked in followed by Hinna.

“About time,” Yoshi said getting up. “What did you find?”

“We head into Earith now,” Telia said firmly moving to sink her fingers in the water he’d used. She washed her face with a sigh. “Namik’s Army is unrelenting. I suspect they’re about to deploy to various locations. We need to cross into Earith before they head that way.”

“Great,” Sando mumbled in the corner.

Yoshi ignored him and grabbed up the black overcoat Midori had brought him. “Just as well, we’re running out of time.”

****

Hours later, Yoshi cursed the fates blocking his mission. His muscles burned as he gripped the handle of his sword tighter, and braced against the force pressing him into the mud. Three days and nights of little to no sleep made him sluggish, enough to almost miss the dagger coming at him from below. He used his feet to kick his assailant’s knees, throwing the Fier solider off-balance. He rolled away and scrambled to his feet.

Rain poured hard, turning the green field into a mud pit. He stood in the middle of a raging battle, swords clashed, painful grunts and screams filled his ears. Smoke lingered above them as some men fought with fire. He let out a shaky breath, recognizing the sight of the Empire sliding into civil war.

“Watch out!” a rough tone roared and he ducked in time to miss the swinging sword going for his neck. In a blur of motion, Midori slay the soldier attacking him. Midori grabbed his left elbow tight. “We must get you to safety.”

“No.” Yoshi shook his head, looking around him.

Blood covered patches of grass. In the morning light, he could see Telia’s red skirts as she fought the rebel soldiers. Her sister, Hinna, watched her back. Together they fought in an unstoppable team. Lenoth, Midori’s right officer, killed the leader of the rebel army and a call for retreat rang from the rebels.

Yoshi watched them run toward the forest and he let out a ragged sigh.

“My lord,” Midori said, his voice heavy with concern.

“Go, General,” Yoshi dug his sword into the mud and used it to steady his weary body. “Go see to your men, don’t mind me.”

Midori gave him another worried glance before he rushed off to Lenoth.

“Are you hurt?” Sando appeared at his side.

“A few scrapes,” Yoshi said, allowing his weariness to color his voice.

“I was afraid we’d die,’ Sando said placing a steadying hand around Yoshi’s waist. “They came out of nowhere. One minute we were riding peacefully, the next—

Sando shuddered.

“The General’s men are very skilled.” Sando observed. “We were lucky. This would have turned into a massacre.”

Yoshi’s gaze lingered on Telia who wiped her blades on her skirt. Hinna stood tying a wound on Telia’s left arm.

“We’re in trouble, Sando.”

“My Lord?” Sando asked.

“I’ve been a fool,” Yoshi continued, his gaze sliding to the dead and injured men littering the green field, their blood soaking into the ground. “Foolish me, worrying about my mother in the palace like a spoiled child. I should have understood this is a fight for the Empire.”

“Yoshi,” Sando said softly.

“These people want a new leader. They’re willing to die for it.”

“They’re ordered.” Sando countered. “Namik is a cruel leader.”

“Regardless,” Yoshi pointed to Midori. “He has made his choice. His men follow him, defying their Quad leader.”

He pointed to the dead men on the ground. “These men, their sacrifice is clear. They don’t want me as their future Emperor.”

Sando squeezed his waist. “You’re tired. You need rest and a hot meal. Come on, this place is not too far from a river. We should be safe for now.”

“Sando—

“You are Crown Prince of this Empire,” Sando said quietly. “It’s my duty to take care of you. The General will work easier if you’re not in this field. Come on, I can’t believe how muddy you are. To think you changed hours ago. She’d kill me if she saw you.”

Yoshi allowed Sando to lead him away only because Midori kept looking back at him.

An hour later, he sat on a mat in a simple tent. His feet crossed as he stared at the map Midori carried with him. Dressed in a simple cotton tunic and matching trousers, his feet bare, he stared at the increasing number of red dots on the map.

Namik’s main army of fifty thousand men had crossed the Furian Forest in to the Imperial Lands headed to Lexin city. Twenty thousand men matched north to meet the Furian Princess. They’d probably reached her by now.

Twenty thousand more headed south to Terra.

The five thousand men who’d attacked them this morning wanted Earith.

Yoshi sighed, impressed by Midori’s ability to gain so much information with little resources. Touching the red dots on the map, he frowned. They’d won the short battle this morning, but that meant Namik would send reinforcements by the end of the day. Earith was going to face an Imperial Army very soon.

His hopes for an army to save his mother dwindled with each second. The tent flap shifted and he lifted his head fast to find Midori standing at the entrance into the tent.

“I-I wanted to make sure you’re okay,” Midori said into the silence that followed.

Yoshi stared into dark eyes. His breath coming faster than it should. He marveled at the idea of attraction considering their current circumstances.

Though no one could blame him, he mused.

Midori Sanori was a man made for sin. From his rippling muscles, harsh dark features, and those eyes that saw deep inside him, he was helpless. They were right when they called him the dark rider. Midori tempted innocence into dark passions.

Breaking their gaze, Yoshi reached for the warm tea at his elbow.

“I’ve asked you not to worry for me, General,” Yoshi said taking a small sip. “We should head into Earith. Word of a battle at their borders will have reached the Janir Rotunda. They’ll want more information.”

Midori grabbed a rolled mat from the luggage Sando had in a corner and brought it to sit across Yoshi. Yoshi watched him sit gracefully, careful to keep his attraction hidden.

A tough endeavor considering the dark tunic Midori wore framed his shoulders and torso to perfection. His slacks trousers were made of soft leather. They hugged powerful thighs before disappearing into black boots. Midori wore his shoulder long dark hair back in a haphazard knot that left tendrils falling around Midori’s face.

Yoshi clenched his fingers afraid of the powerful urge to reach out and push those strands away from Midori’s eyes. He dropped his gaze to the map between them.

“I’ve sent Lenoth ahead,” Midori said. “He’ll let Janir know what’s happening.”

Yoshi nodded.

“There is something else we need to discuss,” Midori said. “Your mission…”

Yoshi glanced up as thoughts of Almira filled his head. He couldn’t imagine what she was going through at the palace. She had the weight of an impeding war on her slender shoulders and the truth that her own family plotted treason. Not to mention an imposter’s funeral, he winced and shook his head.

“I need an army, that hasn’t changed,” Yoshi said.

“The Empire is imploding.” Midori countered. “The people need a symbol of hope.”

Yoshi closed his eyes not ready to give up on his decision to return to Lexin City. He’d thought about it this past hour. Thought about fighting the rebels out here, but—

“I can’t leave my mother alone.”

“She’s the Empress,” Midori said, his tone cajoling. “They don’t call her Almira the Great for nothing. She understands what’s at stake. If you take part of Earith’s Army and run to the palace, you’ll leave Earith open to Namik’s Army. What then?”

“The longer Namik believes I’m dead, the less trouble the people will face. The moment he realizes I’m alive, he’ll direct his forces to me. No one will be safe,” Yoshi said.

“Your death allows them to fracture the Empire,” Midori said. “Without hope, the people will choose to join Namik to stay safe. The Empire needs you. Show the people there is another way.”

Yoshi shook his head. “What you’re talking of brings more trouble. No, I must keep to my mission. The Empress’s life is more important—

“You frustrate me!” Midori snapped, his dark eyes flashing with anger. “What type of Crown Prince are you? Your first goal is to save the people, yet you’re more concerned with the Empress. I don’t understand you. Perhaps you’re as spoilt as they said you were.”

“Does that mean you’re as evil as your father?” Yoshi countered. “That’s what people say about you too, you know. You’re as black hearted as Namik. Is that true?”

“My truth is not in question here,” Midori scowled. “You represent the future of the Empire. Take responsibility.”

“Why?”

“What?”

“Why should I take responsibility?” Yoshi asked again. “The people your father leads, they want a new leader. They’ve killed, plundered and fought for it. Why shouldn’t I give it to them?”

“You’re joking with me,” Midori said, his eyes wide with shock. “You can’t ask such questions; you’re a prince of the Empire, the future Emperor.”

Yoshi sighed.

Of course, Midori would react this way. Duty was important to the man. The Empire was important.

To him, Yoshi frowned. Duty was a burden. One fate shoved at him the moment he took his first breath. There were weeks he’d wished to escape from the palace, to escape from the Empire. Gods, truthfully a small part of him wished Namik succeeded.

How could he tell Midori this and not sound selfish?

The only thing that mattered to him was keeping his mother alive. Yet she too lived as Midori did. She held on to duty with her every breath. She lived for it. She’d berated him for even imagining an idea of giving up power.

‘The Empire depends on you Yoshi. You’re a symbol to the people. You can’t take that lightly.’

The people first, personal issues last, he sighed.

“My lord,” Midori said interrupting his self-pity party.

“Stop,” Yoshi said, shaking his head. “The only thing I want to do is protect my mother. That’s the only decision that is clear right now.”

Midori shook his head in disappointment.

“Fine, do what you want. Take your time, why don’t you? Such a sage Prince,” Midori scoffed as he got up. “Can’t you think beyond your concerns? Think about the children who’re losing their parents in this war. Who’ll save their mothers if you take the army off to Lexin City? Think about that, Your Highness.”

Midori left the tent as he had all other times, with a huff, his boots stomping on the grass. Yoshi stared at the map on the grass. He hadn’t liked it the way Midori had called him ‘Your Highness’. It had sounded too much like an insult.

Sando came running in to the tent.

“We’re to head to Earith at once.” Sando grabbed the mat Midori had left and rolled it. “The General’s temper is getting short. I’ll be glad to part ways with him.”

Yoshi reached for his boots loath to tell Sando he was the reason for Midori’s short temper. He sighed and pulled on his shoes. Maybe he was being selfish, but what could he do? Who in their right mind abandoned their mother?

****

Midori rode ahead. He allowed Midnight’s wide stride creating distance between him and his small army fast. The wind was good against his face. The feel of it shortly wiped off his stress and worry. He’d thought the war impeding, but he should have realized the war had started.

He couldn’t wipe the memory of a rebel soldier moving to chop the Prince’s head. One second too late, and their future would have ended in that moment.

He couldn’t stop thinking about Prince Yoshi. The young handsome prince set him ablaze with one look. His fingers ached to touch Prince Yoshi’s back, skate over the phoenix with his fingers. The motion quickly followed with his lips, pressing kisses along that strong back.

When he slept, he dreamt of Yoshi under him, his eyes half-closed, his color high, and his body trembling with arousal. He wondered what it would be like to be deep inside Yoshi. He dreamt of it, thought of it in the most unexpected places.

Midnight slowed and he let him. Holding on to the reins, he looked back to find he’d left the army. Earith was ahead, two great moss covered pillars stood in the distance. The pillars marked the entrance into the fertile land.

He was sure sentries would have spotted them by now. No doubt, the quad’s army would be waiting to find out what a Fier Army wanted in the peaceful Earith lands.

Fier, his frown deepened at the thought of his home. His father had turned his people into villains. It was no wonder the prince refused to discuss the future with him, the son of a traitor. It couldn’t be easy to trust a man like him.

Nevertheless, Prince Yoshi surprised him.

Midori smiled thinking about the handsome man. Prince Yoshi was stubborn. He hadn’t heard a word of complaint through their grueling ride through the Furian forest, not even when Lenoth placed him on the roster to get firewood. Prince Yoshi had gone ahead and done it without a single word. It had taken everything in him not to berate Lenoth for placing the prince on the roster.

His father had called the prince a spoiled brat once. Namik had called Almira’s obvious affection for her son coddling. Perhaps it was, Midori thought now.

Almira’s motherly love was strong enough to make a Prince ignore his claim to power, and only think of rescuing her. Prince Yoshi was no fool. He understood what Namik was doing here. He understood the battle they were facing was for the empire. Therefore, choosing to save his mother meant the Prince was making a conscious choice to let his power go.

Midori stopped his horse. If Yoshi gave up—

He stared at the lush green lands of Earith and imagined them under his father’s rule. A dark ugly cloud settled in the pit of his stomach.

One second he was staring at the lush green of the plains beyond the large pillars. The next, a tight rope went around his torso, tightening and jerking him off his horse.

****

“Why is an army from Fier riding into our lands?” Heloth Janir demanded of Midori. “Do you think to hand us over to your father?”

Midori knelt on cobbled stone, his mouth bound with a tight strip of leather. His arms tied back. Beside him, two burly Earith soldiers guarded him. Their swords rested on his shoulders. Lowering his gaze, he hoped Heloth hadn’t changed since they’d last met. The man was just; Heloth never treated his people with cruelty.

“Untie his mouth,” Heloth said with irritation. “How is he to speak if he’s bound?”

“But father,” one of the men standing beside him protested.

“We’re not barbarians,” Heloth said. “I want to hear his explanations. The man sent earlier spoke of a battle at our border. He seemed sincere, but we can’t be sure. Nothing is as it seems now; even the Imperial Army is rogue.”

One of the soldiers guarding him undid the leather strip from his mouth.

“Thank you,” Midori said moving his jaw to ease the slight ache from the tight strip.

“Don’t thank me,” Heloth said his tone hard. It boomed in the afternoon sun. The people of Earith had come to see the spectacle in the Janir courtyard. There were farmers, mixed among the nobles of the quad. Midori knew each one was curious to know why the heir to the Fier quad knelt before their leader.

“Sir,” he started.

“Your house plots treason against the Empress,” Heloth said not giving him a chance to speak. “It’s my right to send you to the gallows. We don’t take kindly to treason in this quad.”

“My father plots treason,” Midori said. “Those men your people see riding into your lands are my men. I’m here to form an alliance with you.”

Heloth chuckled, sending the crowd into fits of laughter.

Midori held Heloth’s gaze, conscious of the sword tips on his neck. Their owners were twitchy. One wrong move, and they’d cut his neck.

Heloth raised his hand to stop the laughter and shook his head. “I’m sure you understand our skepticism. No one trusts a man from Fier, son. You’re the heir to Fier. Your alliances must lie with your father. He has killed the Prince Yoshi. How do we know you’re not plotting to make an alliance with us, and then hand us over to him?”

“I—

He stopped because protesting would mean admitting the prince wasn’t dead. He stared at Heloth in a quandary. On one hand, he’d sworn his allegiance to the prince. If he spoke up now, that would mean betraying a prince who wished to continue anonymously. There was no way of knowing who stood in the crowd. One mention of the prince could mean a horde of assassins descending on Earith.

He sighed.

This was as good as a trial. If he didn’t prove his good intentions, Earith’s army would kill his men, and send his head to his father. He knew it. Treason was a heavy accusation. His life was forfeit if they deemed him guilty. Heloth would kill him to protect the Empress. The only person to save him now would be the prince. He glanced in the crowd behind Heloth and froze when he met brown eyes.

****

Yoshi stood behind a group of farmers watching Midori kneel before Heloth Janir. The Earith Leader was fiercely tall, his soldiers brawny. They meant to kill Midori. He knew it.

“What do I do?” Yoshi asked Sando beside him.

They’d ridden ahead as well hoping to catch up to Midori. He’d wanted to talk to Midori about meeting with Heloth in secret. He didn’t want too many people knowing about his being alive.

“You have to make a choice,” Telia said on his right. “Hesitate longer, and Heloth will arrest him. If he does so, Midori won’t live long. We don’t take kindly to treason up here.”

Sando touched his shoulder. “Listen to Telia.”

Yoshi glanced at Midori and froze when he met dark eyes. The challenge in those eyes, he scowled. Midori knew if he decided to step forward, he’d have to take on a role he didn’t want.

“My lord,” Sando said his tone urgent when Heloth’s men moved closer to Midori intent on arresting him. “What are we going to do?”

****

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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Oh no! Choices have to be made. Which one will he choose....This story is going very well. I'm enjoying it a lot. Can't wait for the next chapter! :)

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