You know how storytellers usually start a fairytale? They begin with an introduction of the chosen land with a funny name. Then the ruler of that land, most likely a king, would celebrate because of his power and a newborn heir to the throne. Definitely a princess since she's going to be captured and taken hostage by some evil sorcerer. That's when the main character, the hero, a handsome knight or prince who is assisted by the family magician, comes to the rescue and saves her, kills the enemy, marries the woman and have the two countries rejoice in their reunion. Well, here in this kingdom, everything's not like the fairytales. In fact, it's quite the opposite.

"Hey! That's my dagger! Give it back Arin!" Aya glared at her brother's best friend. Laughing, Arin snatched her dagger and ran back into the palace. "You better hurry up or you'll never find your beloved dagger!" he called back. Growling, Aya tied her gloves and sped after him. He is so dead when I get my dagger back, she angrily thought while chasing after him.

Nobody really paid much attention to them. Everyone in the palace was in a state of confusion and excitement, running around doing what they were ordered to do. The arrival of the king of Earth Kingdom and his family was due tonight and a banquet was being organized. Emperor Korin, ruler of Fire Kingdom and Aya's father, was busy discussing diplomatic plans and conversations to be prepared for the neighboring king while his wife, Lady Mayuki, was busy ordering every servant and lady-in-waiting in the dinner preparations, decorations, invitation confirmations, and other –tions you can think of.

The royal family was what everyone expected. An emperor and fatherly figure, a queen who wore the pants in the family, and a son and daughter whom everyone expected to bring great honor to the kingdom. Yuki, the only son and heir to the throne, was kept busy with his studies in politics, arithmetic, logic, literature and art in the great Library while Aya, who hated being addressed as "princess" or "lady queen", was forced to learn the roles of a growing empress. Though she'd rather watch tournaments and learn martial arts, she had to perform her duties and stay by her stewardess, Kaori.

Inside the palace walls, 17-year old Aya in the courtyard stood, looking left and right for the mischievous Arin. Arin was a young prince who was adopted by the royal family. Nobody knew where he came from or who his parents were, but he was raised as a prince as well and grew up with Yuki under the same strong arm of the emperor.

"Arin!" she called out. "You better give me back my…uh…Mother's important staff or you'll be punished!" She sighed. She knew if anyone heard her possessing something as dangerous as a dagger, she would be punished severely for being un-lady like. Only her brother and Arin knew about her being given a dagger by the captain of the military and her swordsmanship lessons with him during nighttime.

Suddenly, she felt something poking at her back.

"I'll give it back to you if you defeat me in a duel."

"Fighting with a dagger against a sword is unfair Arin and you know it."

"I have an extra sword with me. Here, take it."

She glanced down and saw the end of the woven sheath. She placed her hand on it, pulled it with sudden force and faced him. Arin smiled, already at his fighting stance. He held the Silver Light, the sword handed down to him by Empress Mayuki. Aya pulled out the sword and placed herself in her own fighting stance. She gasped when she realized that what she held was a wooden sword.

"Arin! It's made out of wood! This isn't fair!" Aya exclaimed angrily. "No time for words princess!" he replied, making his first move. He jumped and forced his sword down at her but missed when she dodged his attack. They kept at it for more than five minutes, blocking and attacking each other, until someone called for them to stop. It was Kaori, Aya's stewardess.

"Princess Aya! Prince Arin! If your father ever saw you having this duel I swear you'd never see daylight again!" she squealed, walking as fast as she could towards them. "Oh don't worry Kaori," Arin replied, hurriedly sheathing his sword. "I wasn't going to hurt her or anything." "There will be no more from you young prince," the stewardess retorted. She glared at Aya and pulled her by the arm. "Come now lady queen, you must change into your robes before anyone sees you in this ninja attire. Seriously I do not know how you managed to get such a ridiculous costume!"

Shrugging, Aya allowed her to drag her like a rag doll. She looked back at Arin and quietly walked away, wishing she could finish the duel by hitting him with his own wooden sword.

Arin watched her being taken away when suddenly a shadow fell over him.

"Amazing skills young prince," a deep voice said.

He turned around and gasped when Emperor Korin stood in front of him. He knelt down and gave his respects towards his father. As the emperor, it is customary for him to always be wearing elegant and splendid robes. Multicolored embroidery crowned with the palace jewels, the emperor was a person who deserved utmost respect.

Nodding, the emperor said, "I assume that you've been attending the same lessons young Aya has been partaking these past few months?" "You know about that Father?" he asked nervously. "Well, I ask reports from the captain from time to time and he wouldn't keep something like this from me," he replied. "As a matter of fact, I asked him to continue training her until she's ready to join next year's tournament." Arin chuckled at the idea. "But Mother would find it absurd. I don't think she could bear looking at her only daughter in a uniform." Korin sighed. "Well, your mother always believed in standing with your assigned orientation while in the eyes of the people before shame befalls your person," he said. "Um, I don't quite get what you mean sir," Arin softly said. The emperor smiled at him. "Well, it's not important and worth an explanation. Come now, Yuki has been looking for you." And father and son walked together towards the palace.