Paladin Queen of Water: The pursuers just won’t stop. I will take care of them.
Paladin Queen of Water: The army is safe now.
Paladin Queen of Water: I shall rejoin them once I have defeated all the enemies here.
The girl bumped against the wall of the carriage when it stopped, and she was awakened by the sting of her wounds. The brigade proceeded no more, instead they stopped in cries of sorrow. The girl alighted from the carriage despite the great pain she was bearing. With bandages and cotton tightly covering half of her face, she saw from her uninjured right eye that the brigade had returned to the capital, where everyone was busy dealing with the aftermath of the war.
The soldiers of the city were transporting those injured while the grooms fetched the horses back to the stable... Tiredness was not the only thing hindering people from moving forward, but also the cries around.
The old groom came to the girl and bowed to her, yet she was staring off into space.
“You should at least acknowledge me with a nod.” He told the girl as he untied the horse. “You will be succeeding the throne soon. You have no time to wallow in despair.”
When the girl went to herself, the groom had already left with the horse. His words reminded her that her mother died to save her. As the crowd dispersed, the cries gradually dimmed, and that of the girl’s little sister stood out.
Little sister: Didn’t you... promise me? How come... she’s not here -
Tears wet the bandages on her face, seeping into the wound on her cheeks. She restrained herself from crying out as she knew that what she felt was pale in comparison with what she had caused.
Little sister: Return me... my mother!
Dragged by the little girl, the soldier could do nothing but bowing. The girl was stung by her sister’s words and she blamed herself for everything that was happening - The moment her mother died to save her flashed back in her mind. She covered her mouth for that she could not stop coughing; it was as if her sins were stuck in her throat. The Paladin Queen of Water was the only one who had understood the girl. She was protected in the cost of her mother’s life and was detested by everyone. Though wanted to defend her home country, she had put forward nothing but misfortune...
“Don’t blame yourself,” The Paladin Queen of Water held the girl into her arms. “You don’t have to shoulder the blame like this.”
The girl cried her heart out.
She liked staying in the water, watching sunlight refracted by the waves. Between her and the sun was the water surface, where ripples of light scattered. The ripples were just like her mother’s hair, strands by strands, waving in the water. The gleaming hair of her mother was different from hers, a sickly yellowing.
From the large mirror of the dressing table, she could see her little sister sitting properly in her evening gown. Shaking her head, she was combing her sister’s hair with a silver comb. The blonde hair was shimmering under the sun.
Little sister: Do you hate me, sis?
Sister: You are as beautiful as mother right now.
In her armor, she helped her sister adorn herself, who would soon ascend the throne. However, her beautiful sister only fretted and turned to her.
Little sister: But... you are more reliable than I am, sis!
Staying silent, she picked up the crown and examined it, the golden crown’s gilded surface reflecting her scarred face. She then forced a smile.
Sister: Come on, be serious! We’ll protect our country together.
Little sister: We will stay beside each other as one, always!
Her little sister jumped off the chair to hug her. She patted her sister’s head, caressing her soft blonde hair. ‘But, we are different.’
Little sister: Let’s play chess, like the generals do!
Little sister: At least then, I can share your harship on the battlefield in my imagination.
Little Sister: How can I govern the country on my own, sis?
Sister: I will be your most loyal soldier, my Queen.
Sister: I will fend off all your enemies.
Little sister: All I want is to stay beside you and fight our enemies together.
Sister: Everyone is bound by their own fate, Your Majesty.
The first Aqua Swordslady was not a member of the royal family. Instead, she was a rebel against cruel authority.
Legends stated that there was a King who ruled his country with tyranny in time immemorial. Though he had an invincible army, the civilians were brutally tortured by the inhumane laws. The young dictator saw the land as his personal property and thus conquered all the other countries around. The Aqua Swordslady was born into an ordinary family, yet her parents were executed by the noblemen for their refusal to join the army.
The Swordslady had been sparing no efforts in rebelling against the royal family. With the help of the Goddess of Rain, the king’s army was hindered by rainfall. The Swordslady and her companions seized the chance to ambush the guards of the king. Though her companions had all fallen, they opened up the opportunity for the Swordslady and the Goddess to capture the king, whom was left behind . The young king rebuked the god on behalf of his clan, that the goddess had abused her power. The goddess could do nothing but to recede and witness the final fight between the two...
The Tyrant: I must conquer the realm! This cannot be the end of my journey!
Paladin Queen of Water: Your hegemony will soon become history!
The Tyrant: Sacrifice is inevitable during wars!
The Swordslady and the king duelled in the rain. The two had their swords shattered already. The Swordslady's shield could no longer withstand the slashes of the king. Her feet sunk into the mud and her hair was straggled by the shock. The strands of blonde hair glistened with raindrops. Seeing her beautiful face in the helmet, the king was suddenly confused for that he could not understand why the Swordslady was here to confront him. He could not deliver a deadly blow to her..
The Tyrant: Why do you oppose me?
Paladin Queen of Water: Because I must bring you and your tyranny down!
They could hear the sound of hooves nearing; yet, neither of them could figure out whether the coming people were their friend or foe. The young king suggested that if the Swordslady surrendered, he would make her the Queen Regent, giving her the authority to fulfill her wish of a reform.
The Swordslady could not help seeing this suggestion as an insult, yet resigning to death after so many sacrifices was not what she wanted either. Therefore she came up with a condition, that the king must pledge his ruthlessness to the Goddess of Rain. The king agreed loftily, “No one can ever take anything away from me!” He believed sternly that everything belonged to him would return eventually.
Under the witness of the Goddess of Rain, the king laughed as the Swordslady swore to marry him and would never harm him as his wife. The king knew that she had a scheme, yet he was confident that he could win her heart. In the name of the ancient royal family, he solemnly swore that he would marry her and redeem his promises. The Goddess of Rain then took his ruthlessness as they agreed. When the king’s men arrived to find the king blacked out in the arms of the Swordslady, they mistook her as a mercenary who saved the king. She then made use of the situation and returned to the palace under the army’s escort...
Since then, the king became a good emperor. Though remained forthright and outspoken, he was no longer cruel. As the Queen Regent, the Swordslady amended the constitution together with the king. It was when they guided the country to achieve memorable fame, and the Queen eventually fell in love with the King.
However, the privilege of the patricians receded as a result of reform. Instead, the low-born came to power. The nobles then employed mercenaries to investigate the reason behind the radical changes of the king. They even claimed that if anyone could find the way to restore the king’s ruthlessness, they would renounce their titles, endowing it upon those who were successful. Driven by the considerable rewards, some mercenaries managed to steal the ruthlessness of the king from the temple of the Goddess of Rain.
In a feast which all the nobles were invited to the palace, the Queen was discussing affairs with the officials in the garden. In the night were the strong gales, in which the Queen talked to the officials one by one. More and more guardians went from the garden to the palace as the wind was getting stronger. When the Queen finished her conversation with the last official, she found herself cold and alone, yet the foot guardians stopped her from entering the palace. She looked inside only to find the King being surrounded by the nobles, so she unsheathed her sword -
Foot Guard: Please refrain, Your Majesty.
Paladin Queen of Water: Get lost!
Foot Guard: We are just following orders. Please don’t make things difficult.
Paladin Queen of Water: I follow nobody’s orders but the King’s!
While the queen was hindered by the guards, the nobles presented the King with his ruthlessness. The King reclaimed his ruthlessness; his arrogant laughter echoed in the palace. He roared out his gratitude to the nobles and ordered them to bow and once again vow loyalty to him as well as his brave descendants in the names of their clans.
The nobles nodded delightfully, but they were surprised to hear the very first order of the King after he had regained his cruelty - They should never harm their Queen. They raised their heads only to find the King thrusting himself with his sword. Spitting up blood, the King babbled frantically, that the Queen could never hate him. As he had prophesied, everything belonged to him had returned to him, including the Queen, who would love and remember him always.
The Queen gave birth to her child in less than a year. No one knew whether it was for the vow they had sworn, or the shock of the King’s death, the nobles devoted themselves to the country and did not revolt. Though the glory of the country dimmed as time flew, the bloodline of the royal family was never interrupted. The Azure Armor was inherited by the kind royal members of every generation. The power of water elements had always been arousing their ardour and determination to protect their loved ones.