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The Solune Prince
Novella 2

Chapter 42b: Regimen I (2/2)

Chapter 42a: Regimen I (1/2) here
New? Click here to go to chapter one!
The cover image is of Anselm Siren.

Siren was Annissette’s next target to waken, though he was less emotional and troublesome than Chloe or Alexandre.

Siren remembered Alexandre. She was the first thing on his mind when he awoke; her image flashed to the forefront. She was pushed up against me for a while after she fell on me. …woah there, that’s not right. Only after the second call did his mind turn to the morning, and to Annissette’s voice. He sat up and waved her off.

“I’m awake.”

“Good. Much easier than Chloe…only took two for you. Anyway, dining room in half an hour. Lilllich does not like people being late.”

“Alright. Is everyone in the lounge?”

“No, they’re in the field in out back.”

That’s how Anselm remembered the discussion. Right now though, he was outside leaning on the back of the bench Kent was now sitting on, He stared at the new girl who was wrestling with Senica, then he looked back at Alexandre who had come up next to him to stand. She was close; unusually close. Their hands were almost touching.

“You’re very bright today.”

“I…” Alexandre slowly raised her eyes to meet his. “I’m what?”

“Hmm?”

“Hmm?”

“I said you look beautiful this morning.” He looked back at the two young women fighting. Kent was actively engaged for once, but it seemed he was watching his wife intensely…almost too intensely. Siren just stared amused.

“I what?” Alexandre, who had almost never been complimented in her life, had no idea what was happening or how to respond.

“I think you look very good in light coloured sun dresses. It contrasts your raven hair.”

“Raven…” Alexandre blushed and pulled her head into her neck.

“I’ll take it. I was going to start getting more ridiculous until you said something intelligible.”

“I…what?” Alexandre felt a rush through her psyche. “Anselm don’t say such things.”

“Fine, I’ll say something mean.”

Alexandre waited.

“Usually, you look ragged. Half dead with sleep deprivation and stress. I think it makes your already pale skin turn even lighter. But today, you look radiant, and you have this cute dress on instead of…well to be honest, I don’t mind the clothes that show off your figure either.”

Alexandre waited more.

“I know we’ve already met, but I was impressed with how you’ve handled the journey so far. It seems like you’ve done more than all of us apart from Chloe—combined. Apparently you did some fighting on your own and even found Chloe after while you were injured. You’re impressive. I like you. Is this morning somehow different for you?”

“I slept in a bed.” Alexandre placed her fingers on her forehead, covering her eyes. “With Ammelia.”

“Oh, yeah…wait…Ammelia?”

“I feel…close to her for some reason. It was like this with Finch too, I think. He’s my cousin. I helped him with Alice; I helped him a lot. We weren’t very close as kids, but when he got older there was a sudden bond, from nowhere it seemed. I feel like that with Ammelia. Like she’s my little cousin, and I have to help her. Though, she has no young man for me to pair her with…that I know of.”

“Interesting. You’re something of a matchmaker, huh? I would never have guessed.”

“Hey hey!” A sweet, commanding female voice cut through the meadow. “Give her a break!”

Senica dismounted Ammelia, who was losing by a large margin. The Lussa stood and exited the sparring ground, apparently in pleasant spirits. Chloe approached the her and took hold of one of her horns in her fingertips.

“What is this?” Chloe said.

Ammelia sighed resentfully. “You’re the second person to do that exact thing, and ask that exact question.”

Chloe tilted her head and half smiled. “What did you tell the first person? And who is this individual anachronistically imitating me?”

“Horns. They’re the beginnings of horns. I usually cut them off.”

“Cut them off…?” Chloe’s thoughts fell back into the libraries within her mind. “…but horns do not grow back…unless…”

Ammelia saw that the woman’s eyes had glazed over a little, although they twitched around occasionally. She said, “Mine grow back. They always grow back.

“That must mean one of your parents is…” Something clicked, Chloe found the page. She said, “From the far south?”

Ammelia’s world froze.

Chloe Rhye, Fifth Prince of the Solune, stood in front of her, taking in the sun and smiling. Her skin was lightly tanned; not pale. Her eyes were a deep brown. A brown, Ammelia felt, somehow deeper than the sky. She looked like a kindhearted aunt, the sort who would babysit you when your parents wanted to have a romantic evening away, and so at home, you bake cookies and play games. Where did she come from? —Where did I come from?

“Where did you say?”

“If you…cross the sea from the Djeb and head south many days. There are ancient records of a race of horned people with wide eyes just like a herd animal. The bits I have specifically note this unique trait, that the horns can grow back. They’re not proper horns. That is right, is not it? But your eyes are normal.”

“My father was half Lussa so I…”

“I see. I have long wondered what it is like to look through eyes with such wide pupils but…I cannot speak to sheep.” Chloe’s mind was apparently elsewhere.

“N-neither can I.”

Chloe laughed. “Of course not.”

“But I have to know what else was written about those people? What are they called?”

Chloe considered. “I am not sure, I apologize…I remembered my thoughts at the time rather than the actual information. The mind is strange like this. Perhaps once we establish a way to send messages back home, I can request a copy of the fragments be scribed.

Ammelia nodded. “Later I guess. Maybe.”

“Do not worry, I will remember.” Chloe smiled. “You were sparring, are you doing well? You seem to be well liked among my companions.”

“Umm, I think.” Ammelia moved away to sit on the bench and consider this new information.

Chloe looked back at Alexandre, but didn’t say anything. The other woman seemed to be smitten. How unexpected.

Senica, still sparring, was now squared off against her husband, and hand already traded a few unarmed blows. Traded was perhaps the wrong word, since nothing seemed to hit Senica. She appeared to have some serious skill in the art of unarmed combat, while Kent was primarily overpowering her with the strength and leverage he was naturally bequeathed as a man. Kent claimed victory and went back to his bench, a little surprised to see Ammelia contemplating there.

To Chloe’s surprise, Alexandre stepped in to go next. It took a few tries for Alexandre to pick up on the defensive techniques Senica used, but once she did, she bypassed them with some effort and managed to grapple the other woman by the waist and between the legs, lifting her off the ground and dropping her on her back. But they did not stop there; Senica recovered, standing, and the match continued.

“Be careful with her, my porcelain doll is precious!” Kent shouted.

It was an ironic pet name, since her skin was very clear, but it was far too tanned from labour in the sun, and from the general pigment of her people to be porcelain.

Senica stuck out her tongue at this jest. “Don’t tell her that!”

They continued on like this, and eventually tried to get Astore in against Alexandre. When he refused, Annissette was the next target. She had joined Ammelia on the bench. She protested that she had neither experience nor a strong body, and was also very small (which was all true). To all this, she added that it was base for a woman to fight for fun at all, making a great point of how refined she considered herself.

“Base? Refined?” Chloe asked. “Ammelia, are you sure she isn’t some AnLussa relation of yours? She has some noble mannerisms, yes? Tell me again, are we base?” She, smiling, addressed this last question to the young Annissette, who was still sitting erect on the bench, statuesque.

“Hmph!” Was all they got from her.

Alexandre grabbed the girl under the arms, and got a panicked yell for her trouble. “Oh? Are you ticklish. Annissette? Ahaha!” This teasing continued for a while until Annissette ran out of breath.

While this was going on, Astore had actually entered the informal arena and bested Senica, though no one had seen how except Siren. And then Siren, feeling somehow out of place, wandered back inside to wait however early in the dining room.

Alexandre pulled Senica off the ground and helped her catch her breath. She could feel the woman’s strength, and had seen her technique. With all this, what is she missing that she loses every match? Experience? Experience, which is the only think I have, is that what she lacks? Senica ambled to the bench, tired, and sat next to Kent.

“You’re next then?” Astore said, addressing Alexandre.

“I suppose.”

They both took stances. Astore put his arms forward, and leaned his torso and head back; a boxer’s pose. Alexandre stood as if she was holding a sword; the pose of someone who was clueless about unarmed fighting.

“Go!” Senica yelled jovially.

And then both Riley disappeared for a moment, and were suddenly in the centre, locked arm in arm. This was a mistake on Astore’s part. Alexandre, being so tall and Astore so short, also had greater reach, which meant greater leverage. If they wrestled, she would win based on physics and weight alone. He did his best to rend free, but Alexandre had some sort of superhuman grip on his forearm. She stared into his eyes with madness, contorting him slowly as she pleased. He finally kicked her in the stomach. It was hard, like kicking a wooden door, but it was enough to set him free, although apparently it didn’t much wind her.

“What sort of strange beast are you?” He said, his voice smiling, but his face tense. He wasn’t sure if he would be able to fight her in a proper battle. If he had orders to capture her on a job, would he be able to do it? Perhaps not on his own, he thought, ashamed of such weakness. But he was not weak. He was a mid-ranking Agent of the King. Alexandre was just…powerful.

She gazed at him quietly with a wild look. “Beast? A chimera. I am a Solune-Riley mix.”

Astore understood what this meant. Riley genes tended to be dominant, which was why she had dark hair and pale skin. But why was she so tall? The Riley in her should have taken over the Solune trait. Hence, chimera. A mix of distinct parts rather than a proper blend. Astore leapt forward, kicking past her with a single aggressive step, and then striking at her back.

Alexandre twisted around, as she had when fighting the group who had captured Chloe, but instead of unsheathing her weapon, she tried to grab his fist. He moved, but she moved faster, twisting around completely now and grabbing at his neck. He pushed his hands in the way and she kneed him in the stomach. Astore, unlike Alexandre, was winded. But he had trained for this, and it was not enough to down him. He kicked back and took another pose. How long could he last? That was the question. But his intuition told him that there was no winning here, only…how long? Alexandre stepped forward.

“Food!” A falsely deep voice boomed across the field and echoed back off the trees. This was the voice of someone whose speaking voice is usually high pitched, childlike, but is now trying to sound low and important. It was the voice of a boy, the voice of Col.

The spar concluded, a draw, though Astore knew in reality it was not. Alexandre took time to catch her breath. She looked around, but didn’t see Anselm.

“Well,” Chloe said, “let us go Ammelia.”

More Chapters
Something Else


Daniel Triumph.

I’m splitting this chapter in two for the blog version, since the original is over 4000 words!

The cover image is of Anselm Siren.

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