Chapter I: Part II

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The girl clung tightly to Pelsan's cape as they rushed through the kingdom. When Antoine glimpsed back and no guards were in sight, he took the lead through a minute alley to their left. Pelsan followed and at the beginning of a staircase alongside a building, they came to a halt.

Pelsan sat the girl down on the first step and leaned forward. He took a deep breath trying to compose himself for another moment before leaning against the wall.

Along this part of the city was quite old and discrete. None of the younger generations dared flow into this area unless they had good reason. The walls were cracked and crumbling along the alley. The people were torn and lost. Even the buildings seemed degrading. The slums only grew on in these parts.

The stairs the girl sat on were missing large chunks of stone which had decayed with time. The streets were worn and puddles of water were strewn every other step from a morning shower.

Normally, this part of the city bore the homeless and the sick however the market ran just along the borders over the buildings across from them on the other side of the street. So the area was usually bustling with traders and travelers who slept in nearby inns.

Compared to the newer parts of the city this place was a dump-wreckage and might as well be invisible to the eye unless business needed attending to.

They had long misled the guards back at the Square and now the adrenaline rush energizing Pelsan's body dispersed.

Pelsan heard the girl murmur something unintelligible. He gazed up towards her filthy face.

Her sullen cheeks, wild hair and red eyes had Pelsan pity the girl. Of course he sympathized for her from the moment he heard the news early on that morn. But now, while he was upfront with the girl, she was truly deserving of a reward for her courage. He eased his frustration and resentment towards the guards to provide her a suitable friend for the time being.

"I am sorry, what did you say?"

She blushed and fiddled with her skirt tentatively.

"Thank you." she said gently after another instant. "You saved my life back there. Were it not for you I would be dead."

He smiled and bowed courteously.

"It is my pleasure, my lady. But if I may ask, how did you end up in such a terrible predicament?"

She began to rub furiously at her eyes with her palms.

"W-well, you see," she began, "The guards barged into our home, claiming I was a traitorous rebel leader of some sort. B-but I do not know what they are talking about...honestly, I do not know anything. My father is but a humble baker! We live in a modest home..." she blubbered, mumbling on.

'So,' Pelsan thought, 'they are even going so far as to claim anyone is the Princess. If this goes on too far even out of my reach, then more and more people shall be hurt, I fear, with much shoddier conditions than this girl has endured.' he looked to the sobbing girl. She had nearly lost her life on a single person's behalf.

On Liliana's behalf.

He placed a hand lightly on her head.

"There now, do not cry." He said. "Listen here, I have friends who live near here. Are you able to walk on your own?" He spent a few minutes watching her legs ease out of shock before she nodded confidently. She sat back down upon a broken step waiting for further instruction. "These people are very kind and will keep you in their home until it is no longer dangerous for you to return to your family"

"I cannot return now?"

"No," Antoine said from the alley entrance. He peeked out before looking back to them. "It is too dangerous to allow you to return now."

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