I was making my way to the town square for the Johahimms circus show when i was physically assaulted by a swarm of people. ”What is…. ” I tried to struggle to find my footing and ended up being separated from Rava and Guerin. Licht forced his way into the crowd and grabbed my hand. He pulled me towards him and shields me with his sturdy body. After a few seconds later, we were finally able to move however we pleased.

”What in the world just happened?! ”-I asked.

”I do not know, but it is a festival princess. Surely you must know how buzzing the city would be when there is one ”-His sarcastic tone left me irked.

”….Are you calling me stupid? ”-I furrowed my brows.

”No of course not Princess. But you are free to interpret my words however you like ”. Our conversation was promptly interrupted with sudden shrieking of the crowd. ”Make way!, Its the Ana star candidates!! ”.

Inside a dozen outdoor carriages, seated one beautiful lady, all waving elegantly at the crowd. ”They are still doing this sort of thing every year ”-I uttered, uninterested.

The Ana star show was one of the main attractions of the Moon festival. The Female candidate who is selected as the most beautiful contestant by the peoples anonymous votes, wins an ample sum of 500 gold coins.

I was about to leave and look for Rava and Guerin when i caught a glimpse of Licht face, A gaze of curiosity and interest, Like a child staring at candy for the first time. I couldn leave now….. ”Any lady you fancy? ”.

”How could i when the most beautiful woman is right next to me? ”-Licht smiles slyly.

”Why thank you, I always thought this face of mine average at best ”.

Licht laughs at my humor. ”If that is so, I am quite sure that every lady on his continent would be considered ugly at best ”.

”I know of a lady or two who could match my beauty ”.

”Amazing of you to admit such a thing Princess, May i ask who they are? ”.

”Well my mother is one of them ”.

”Oh really?. I am looking forward in meeting her then ”.

”Better don , I hope you haven forgotten my father, The Emperor ”.

”…. ”-The sudden realization of how we met hit me.

How insensitive of me. My father was the person who destroyed his homeland and subjected him to a lifetime of servitude and here I was, chatting and joking with him, without my guard in sight. ”We should go, Rava and Guerin must be worried ”. I decided to walk away to properly create a distance between us when he grabbed my hand out of the blue. ”What do you think you are doing? ”-I questioned him, rather angry than perplexed.

”Where are you running off to princess? ”.

”Running?! ”-I exclaimed.

”Were you feeling guilty about my position, about what your father did to me? ”.

”….. ”-I could not dispute that. ”This is why i called you cute Princess. You can be unnecessary kind even though you do not show it ”.

”Kind?, In what way exactly? ”-I scoffed.

”….. ”.

”Do not forget your place ” I warned, whisking my hand away from his grip.

”You sound so cold yet your expression exposes you ”.

”Enough of_ ”…Licht abruptly interjects ”Princess, are you hungry? ”

”Eh? ” I gaped at him in a moronic way.

”We should find something to eat first before the show begins ”-Licht changes the topic of the conversation and drags me with him towards a snack stall.

”What are you doing? ”.

”Someone once told me that if one is angry, the person is also hungry. So that is why i proposed this little diversion ”.

”Proposed is definitely not the word i would use ”.

”Chocolate or Vanilla?, Which would you prefer? ”.

”Neither, I am not hungry nor am i in the mood for any treats ” I rejected his offer yet he completely ignores me and buys a snack without my approval… ”Excuse me, One vanilla ice cream for this lady please!! ”.

”What do you think you are doing?! ”.

”You seem to asking me that quite frequently princess, Am i that unpredictable? ”.

”Yes, very much so ”.

”Oh Come now princess, Just a taste. I would love to hear your opinion ”-Licht tries to persuade me as he flashes a carefree smile while handing me the cup of ice cream. ”. ”That smile is truly the simile of unfairness ” I murmured.

”Hm?, Princess What is it? ”.

”Nothing! ” I forcefully took the ice cream cup from him and ingested a spoonful of it. ”Ugh!, so cold!! ”-I grunted in pain.

”Hence the word Ice in it ”-Licht laughs at my carelessness.

”Stop laughing at me! ”-Shy, I raised my voice and pushed him.

”Can you honestly blame me?, Anyone would find that hilarious and adorable ”-He teases.

”I am not adorable ”.

”Yes you are Princess even if you try to deny it ” He insisted.

”Will you stop it already?, We should find Rava and Guerin ”.

”Lets not reunite with them just yet ”.

Though the show was about to begin and Guerin and Rava were probably searching for us, All i could think about was listening to his voice more. He sounded confident and candid. At first i speculated his attitude towards me a facade, but now i know that was not the case. He was genuine and I liked that part of people.

We sat by a water fountain as we conversed. He never crossed the boundary and was polite yet a little blunt the entire time. Like me, he kept up an invisible barrier, we acted close yet distant.

Licht stares closely at me as I relished in sweet taste of the ice cream. ”So how is the ice cream Princess ” He asked curiously.

”I would confess, it is not bad ”.

”Not bad?, Who was the one who insisted on 3 more cups?! ”.

**Laughs**

”I am not going to get another if you keep up lying so blatantly Princess ”-He said, laughing softly.

”Oh threatening the princess with this incredible delicacy is playing mean Sir Licht ”.

”So you do admit it is good ”.

**We join in laughter**

”How come i have all the money in the world and this was a mystery to me all this time? ” I licked my lower lips with delight.

”That is because it is not popular, I reckon the creator has yet to secure any investors ”.

”Why?, I have developed quite the discerning palate over the years and i myself find this irresistible ”.

”Thats because princess, the creator is a She ”-Licht explicitly points out. I stayed silent, wanting to hear what he had to say.

”In the world that we live in, Commoners are not presented much options nor choices much less a woman ” His eyes were slightly downcast as he continues to talk ”Though the creator of this profound desert as you mentioned is the daughter of a noble, she is merely a woman. Forever bound to the foolishness of mens ideals and expectation of one ”. I sensed melancholy in his voice. He was speaking from experience. Who was it that he was thinking about that made him look so sad?.

”I understand ”.

”How Princess? ”-His asked in disbelief.

”You mock me Sir Licht ”-I said in a calm manner.

”!!!…Im very sorry i offended you ”-Licht realizes himself and apologizes.

”It is quite alright. In your perspective and others, you thought i would not understand since i have not experienced it for myself ”-I reassured him, placing my ice cream cup beside me. ”Sir Licht, Do you know why we have the Ana festival every year? ”.

Licht shakes his head and listens attentively.

”The Ana festival was created by me in the honor of someone I used to hold dear. Her name was Anastasia ”.

A deep silence and a sudden gush of wind followed the suspense.

”Though she was my friend, I could not provide the means for her to be happy. It was due to my powerlessness and the crippling expectations her parents had for her because of her gender that brought about her barbarous demise ”.

”Can I ask how she met her end? ”.

”She was sexually violated, raped by a dozen men. And I was forced to watch her last monents despite my status as royalty ” My response accompanied by my lifeless eyes caused him to flinch. I suppose he was not expecting such a response. I smiled to lighten the mood and looked up at the clear blue sky.

”She was the other person i mentioned earlier, the second and last woman who could match my grace and beauty….Heh, she most certainly looked the opposite that night ” My crooked smile failed to mask the guilt I was feeling.

”Stop ”-Licht drops honorifics. ”Stop trying to hide the pain, because i see how it torments you ”.

”How sweet. Trust me Sir Licht, What i feel right this moment is anything but pain ”. I proceeded in elaborating the story. I told him of how many men coveted her beauty and in the end she was forced to marry someone she did not love by her parents who wished to be elevated from their status.

Anastasias husband was the prince of a neighboring kingdom. He appeared so kind and caring like a gentleman, Nonetheless, She still rejected his advances. However, much to her dismay, Her parents gave her hand to him and they were wed. She cried to me for help but my hands were tied. It was not my place to interfere in her family related matters despite my status. After the wedding, we did not see each other for over a year. When we finally crossed paths, she told me about how The prince ignores her existence and spends time with other women in brothels. I was shocked and infuriated by the prince inappropriate and vulgar behavior. She told me not to worry, that she did not care about the whores he sleeps with. She disclosed the name of the man she developed feelings for, it was none other than her husbands younger brother. He was all she could talk about during the time we spent together. Truthfully i was happy for her and agreed to encourage her and help in pairing them up.

Until that unforeseen and dreadful day. Anastasia took the opportunity when her husband was not around and officially invited him for tea without my knowledge. At that time, My visit collided with his. Her lady in waiting informed me about her preparations in her bedchamber and advised me to wait. So I ventured off into the garden where i met him. We were already acquainted with one another since i was mostly attached to Anastasias side every time we met. We enjoyed our small talk around the garden. I observed his red complexion and asked if he were sick whilst my hand on his cheek. He assured me of his good health subsequently throwing in his confession of love. My flustered expression and my hand which remained on his red cheeks created an incriminating scene in Anastasias eyes. She approached me later about it and i denied her absurd claims. Of course, she refused to believe me. She began to avoid me and refused to reply any of my letters.

Aggravating the issue, the man she loved rejected her feelings due to the fact that he was in love with me and she was his brothers wife. Overcome with jealousy, She entered into a cliché rite of passage called Revenge. I saw her revenge ploys as merely immaturity at best. Her actions grew more diabolical and outrageous each time. My eyes were forced wide open when she intoxicated and drugged her husband and guided him to my bedroom at night. Seeing a stunning face and voluptuous body such as mine, Obviously a man with no self-restraint and morals would attempt the unspeakable. I was more than capable in defending myself, even from a mere drunkard. But she knew that. Her main intentions was to create a scandal.

Fortunately, Orin barged in and beat him to nearly an inch of his life. Word reached my mothers ears and she was furious. She wanted to have her executed on the spot but i appealed for her release. However, Mother refused so I took it up to Father. Since this was a diplomatic issue, Kairos nobles were involved. They refused because Anastasias release would make them look weak and vulnerable and my opinion did not matter since I was too involved with the culprit. My heart shrunk when I received the verdict bestowed on Anastasia. Brother Lazef decided to help by pleading with the nobles in my stead and she was released. Anastasia and her husbands reputation dropped, causing their exile from the royal family of that kingdom. They had a life worse than slaves. To earn money for booze and to clear his gambling debt, Anastasias husband sold her and Mother made me watch her getting raped by dozen men till dawn. The exhaustion and the intensity of the abuse killed her. The next day, i tied the her husband, to a wooden chair in his house and burnt the house down and him along with it with fire magic.

I created the Ana festival to remind myself of her and how she was like before her life was flipped upside down.

”If i were a man, i wonder if i wouldve convinced her parents, or possibly, save her ”.

Licht sighs, lamenting on how quickly he judged me. ”Princess I am sorry for your loss and the heartbreak you were forced to face, and i apologize for my insolent assumption ”.

”He feels somewhat familiar, is that why I feel relaxed around him? ”-I asked myself in my head. But I let go of the thought immediately. It wouldn have made a difference in our relationship.

”We all suffer in life and learn from it. It is all in the past and i suggest you do not let it consume you, Sir Licht ”-I directed my words at Licht.

Licht glances at me with smiling eyes. Vaguely, he seemed relieved. ”Such wise words, I shall heed them and lock them in my heart forever ”.

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