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Preamble : There is a war between Southworld and Northworld. It is going to annihilate both the kingdoms and perhaps the use of powerful weapons will make the planet implode causing large scale repercussions to the entire solar system in which their planet Ahra existed.. So Princess Soli, daughter of the King of Southworld and Hewo, the crown prince of Northworld, along with a few trusted aides broker a peace plan. They announce that they are in love and they are getting married……
Actually they hate each other!
Two spacepods were parked under powerful signal jammers and two heavily armed figures were on guard. The female was standing still as a statue, but her eyes were flitting anxiously towards the two figures talking under the cover of some crystal rocks. The male stretched out and wondered how long this would take. He had tried striking conversation with the female but had been icily snubbed. Damn Southworlders, they could freeze the planet up if left to them. Thank the holy crystal that Northworlders were there to balance things out!
The silence was broken by a shout of laughter. Prince Hewo was amused. The princess Soli came marching angrily to her spacepod, her anger creating waves of icy winds around her. Her aide Meru shot an angry look at the Prince and his aide and followed her Princess.
Hewo : Princess?
Soli : Yes?
Hewo : My answer is Yes!
She nodded icily and climbed into the pod. He ran after her, took off his precious firestone necklace and said with a flourish and a charming smile …… Here lady, my betrothal token for my fiance.
She hesitated, but unbent enough to say : Thank you.
He placed it around her neck pushing her blue white hair out of the way. The aides heaved a sigh of relief … it was done!! Now all that they had to do was to wait till daybreak. When the redsun rose, Hewo would be King and his writ law. As his betrothed, Princess Soli and her people would be safe. It was the perfect peace pact.
Hewo smiled a sardonic smile, he had survived too many court coups to rest easy. It would be too easy for his cousins to trace him out and kill him. Royalty was dangerous for health! Moreover, this development came at an inconvenient time. It was his birthday eve. He attained seniority tomorrow and became King. As was the Northworld custom, for the past 15 moons, he had been on the run, with his two surviving cousins hunting him with the intention of killing him. It was tradition. And now, he had this Ice Princess to look after. She amused him. He had been very intrigued by her cryptic invitation to the Crystal Mount, the traditional treaty venue. Sufficiently curious, he had broken cover to come to meet her, his enemy’s daughter ….. and she had proposed to him.
When he had asked if she ever cared enough for a male to marry, she had replied solemnly “No Prince Hewo, I do not think emotions have anything to do with marriage. Marriage is a treaty, a partnership agreement”. He had laughed so hard, it still made him smile. War had destroyed their planet, and he wanted peace. So he had accepted. But she was cold, very very cold.
He could hear spacepods, criss-crossing the sky … perhaps they were looking for him, or even for her. He was on guard….
His aide Teht shouted a warning “Soldiers on foot!”
Hewo ran to Soli’s spacepod and said : Madame, we need to move away from here, to my hideout, but we need to do it on foot … it is too dangerous to fly. We are being pursued!
Soli : You go ahead Prince Hewo. We can look after ourselves. We shall fly
Hewo :Growling : I dont have time for this!
He nodded to his aide, who quickly shot tranquilizers into the two females. Then both Northworlders turned on their smoke screens and physically picked up Soli and Meru and left the place, on foot.
Hewo paced around restlessly in the other room, wisps of smoke coming out of his body, while his best friend and aide Teht watched him quietly. The Princess had been very angry when she had regained consciousness and had spoken her mind. Not only that, she had evicted them from her room. Unable to take it any longer, he blurted out : Hewo, in the name of the holy Crystal, stop!
Hewo : Do you know what the average lifespan of a Northworlder is? 8000 redsun cycles or so! This means I have roughly 6000 redsun cycles to spend with the charming princess!
Teht sighed and tried to offer some soothing platitudes. Hewo glared. It was not that the Princess was not beautiful, she was! But she was haughty and pushy. Legend had it that the Southworlders were born of the mating of Snow God and a Biped. Haughty and frosty, fair with ice blue eyes and hair, she was picture perfect, and solemn. Hewo on the other hand was a people’s prince, utterly charming and ready to live it up! He was found often with late night revelers at taverns in remote planets. Soli was dainty, frosty fair, ice-blue haired and had liquid blue eyes. Well turned out, polite and formal, she was unlike Hewo, who was burly, with curly orange hair, broad and muscular. Northworlders were an eclectic mix racially. Familiar with space travel much before the Southworlders learnt to jump the chasm, they had intermingled with many outworlders, but legend had it, they actually originated from Biped demons. Hewo, the typical Northworlder, had all the traits, too much firewater to drink made this eyes glint red, anger made his body smoke. Perhaps the legends originated from some forgotten truth.
Meru : Prince Hewo, may I request an audience?
Hewo : Shoot!
Meru : Grimacing at the lack of formality : Prince Hewo, the Princess has conveyed the desire to leave the planet. I am directed to inform you.
Hewo : Teht, translate please
Teht : The Princess is going away for a bit.
Hewo : So says this lady! Where is she going?
Meru : She would like to be in a remote place at the time of your coronation, so as to mitigate the negativity. The Princess desires to sojourn in safer climes.
Hewo : Lady you make no sense! Teht what did she say?
Teht : With a wicked smile : Some one may be gunning for your fiancé when you announce the engagement, so she is leaving the planet! Of course its your fault.
Hewo : Drawling in a soft voice : Oh really!!! Where is she going, and how?
Meru : I am not privy to the Princess’s travel plans.
Hewo : (Eyes glinting with red sparks, smoke spewing out of his nostrils) Really Madame Frost?
He spun out of the room angrily, with Teht rushing after him calling “Hewo, Hewo, my Prince!!”
Meru : Muttering to herself angrily : Demon spawn!! Prehistoric impolite oafs!
Teht : Popping into the room to pick up the screen : Lady that made complete sense!
He then switched off the screen, picked it off the wall, and ran after the Prince.
Meanwhile Soli made her way to the garage of the hideout and started checking the old space pods parked in the garage. They were ancient and really rickety. Meru came up to her and she asked “What took so long?”
Meru : Informing your fiance, princess!
Soli sighed and flipped the power switch of the pod! Meru asked “Princess, where are we going?”
Soli : No spacepod works! I think we can not leave right now!
Hewo walked towards them angrily, smoke surrounding his head : You think right lady.
He was still smouldering, as he said : Look into my screen Princess
The screen showed the foothill of the crystal mount where they had met a few redsun hours ago. Their space pods were destroyed and a wall of the crystal mount had been blasted, crystal pieces strewn on the ground.
Soli was horrified : Sacrilege!! That place is a sanctuary, one can not use arms over there.
Hewo : Lady, who knows that you are here?
Meru : Just the navigator at the space tower!
Hewo : Which means the whole planet! If you need to keep a secret, don’t tell anyone of your plans in future.
Proposing to the Crown Prince of Northworld terrified Soli, but she had mustered her courage. Her race looked down upon display of emotion, it was so like the Northworlders. Now she was marrying their crown prince. It was the right thing to do, admittedly, but she was apprehensive. They drank too much, smoked funny stuff, ate over rich food. Even their loud speech and laughter grated on her nerves. As a princess, she was familiar with duty, but proposing to Hewo was the hardest thing she had done!!! However, she suppressed the urge to vent and kept quiet. Hewo was watching her struggle with her emotions. He laughed sardonically.
Hewo : Yes, smart move lady.
A huge warship appeared on the horizon. It had his cousin’s emblem on it. His brain working on overtime, Hewo picked up the screen and called his Uncle at the court
Hewo : My respects Uncle!
Uncle : Hewo, my beloved Prince, where are you?
Hewo : Chuckling : You think I would inform you Uncle? I have a request, I am betrothed and I request sanctuary for my lady for the night
Uncle : Hewo you know this is the last day of the hunt! If you make it, you are King from tomorrow. I can’t call off the hunt!
Hewo : Uncle I do not want a safe house for me, it is for my lady. If something happens to me, give me the court’s word of honor that my betrothed and her people will be protected.
Uncle : On the honor of the court Hewo, I give you our word. Who is she?
Hewo smiled dangerously, flames coming out from his hair “She wears my firestone necklace, Uncle” and snapped the connection.
He bowed charmingly to the ladies and said “Now you can leave if you wish, my ladies. My cousins will be here in a flash, they can track my call”.
Soli : You are being hunted?!
Hewo : Yes, it is our custom. Survival of the fittest.
Soli :And you still came to meet me and accepted my proposal?
Hewo : Yes
Soli : Stamping a delicate foot in anger : You are rash and behave like a young cub!
Hewo : Softly but dangerously : Are you ready to go?!
Soli : Exasperatedly : Of course not!! We will stay and fight with you!
They were attacked within moments. Wasting no time, they took cover and started to defend themselves. Soli was a sharpshooter and damaged to spaceship’s weak underbelly within moments. Hewo quickly fired lasers into the torn underbelly, burning the ship and its occupants to cinders. Working in tandem, they neutralized the threat, both of them enjoying the excitement. Hewo was so excited that he set his jacket on fire, Soli quickly blew an icy breath on it, snuffing out the flames.
He raised one eyebrow and said softly “Fire and Ice, my lady …. Fire and Ice.”
She gave him a shaky smile. He made her melt in a very nice way. He bent down to kiss her and she let down her guard. Right at that moment a laser shot pierced his arm. Soli lost her icy self control completely for the first time in her life. She grabbed a steel spear and breathed angrily at it. It hardened into ice, she twirled it and threw it at the direction the laser shot came from. A scream informed her that she had not missed her target. But her liquid blue eyes were fixed on Hewo …. who was watching her stunned, ignoring his bleeding wound.
Hewo : You are not a Ice Princess … you are a dangerous snow feline, my love!
Soli : With a soft and melting smile : And you, my Prince, are just the fire I need. Be with me always my Prince. Remember when you asked me if I ever cared for a male? How could I? No male ever made me feel like you do!
Teht who had run after the person who had attacked the Prince came back to report : Prince Hewo, both your cousins are dead now. The hunt is over!
He was rendered speechless by the sight his Prince being cradled by the Princess who was breathing icy cold air into the laser burn to stop the bleeding as she scolded Hewo and tended to his wound, her icy reserve forgotten. Meru scolded Teht icily, ‘Stop staring and get me some medicines for the Prince”
He quickly regained composure in a typical Northworld fashion and retorted “Lady you assist the Princess. I am on the Prince’s work. I have to accept the surrender of an army and I have an announcement to make! The hunt is over and the Prince … sorry, King is bringing his Lady home”.
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