Chapter 11:

Part Two: The Duty Of A Soldier — Prologue

Beyond the Borders Volume 1

Captain Lylianna Veltress — age twelve — knew that if the princess was
taken across the border it would be near impossible to get her home. She
stood there her in her room, dressed in nothing more then a simple black
tank‑top and panties. Many thoughts ran through her mind. If she was
going to do something, she would need to do it now.Bookmark here

Second Lieutenant Melissa — age twelve — watched as Lylianna paced back
and forth.Bookmark here

“There was word that they captured one member involved in the kidnapping
but…”Bookmark here

“…by the time they get anything from them it will be to late.”Bookmark here

“Correct Captain.”Bookmark here

Lylianna headed to her closet and proceed to get dressed into her Army
<abbr>BDU</abbr>.Bookmark here

“Captain, what are you doing?”Bookmark here

She didn’t answer. Once she was dressed she made her way out of her room
as Melissa tagged along. *If no one else will do anything I will take
matters into my own hands*, Lylianna thought. As the two of them headed
up to the front entrance of the castle two guards stopped them.Bookmark here

“Halt, you are not—”Bookmark here

Before the guard could finish his sentence Lylianna had managed to
incapacitate both within a blink of an eye. Lylianna and Melissa
continued along, reaching the inside of the Emperor’s throne room.Bookmark here

“Yare yare, you’re so cute when you are serious Captain,” Melissa said
giggling.Bookmark here

Without speaking Lylianna forced open the throne room doors and made
their way down the red carpet. The Emperor’s face showed signs of anger,
however, Lylianna showed no fear as she and Melissa stopped inside the
circle, kneeling and bowing their heads. Within seconds no more then a
dozen guards surrounded the two of them.Bookmark here

“What is the meaning of this?!” the Emperor yelled.Bookmark here

“I apologize, your grace. I simply wanted to ask you for a chance to do
something that no one else can do.”Bookmark here

“You burst into my castle unannounced and expect me to just give into a
request I have yet to hear. What do you take me for?”Bookmark here

“I merely wish to save your daughter, your grace.”Bookmark here

The room remained silent for what seemed to be a long minute, however,
it was soon filled with the laughter of the Emperor.Bookmark here

“I must say you are a funny one…”Bookmark here

“Captain Veltress, your grace.”Bookmark here

“You think I would just put my faith in a little girl when I have all
the military at my command?”Bookmark here

“While it is true you have the military at your command, they are bound
by the military laws and code. What if you had an elite unit that only
followed your orders and was not bound by laws or code? A unit born to
serve only the Emperor and protect anyone of the royal blood line.”Bookmark here

The emperor dismissed his guards and appeared to be thinking about the
idea.Bookmark here

“Do you mean like those in the days of old? Knights, I believe they were
called.”Bookmark here

“Yes your grace, exactly like knights.”Bookmark here

“Hm…”Bookmark here

The Emperor thought for a few minutes about what Lylianna had proposed.
Part of him was interested in the idea.Bookmark here

“I have a proposal for you. If you can get my daughter back I will
consider this elite military unit of yours.”Bookmark here

“May I ask for a small favor, your grace.”Bookmark here

“Speak it.”Bookmark here

“All I want is one day to extract information from the prisoner that was
caught.”Bookmark here

“Very well, granted. If that is all…”Bookmark here

“Yes, that is everything. Thank you, your grace.”Bookmark here

Lylianna and Melissa stood up as they made their way to the exit. As the
two of them made their way to the holding cell where the prisoner was
being held Melissa spoke.Bookmark here

“So, how do you plan to get information out of a prisoner in just one
day?”Bookmark here

The two of them stood in front of a large building plastered with red
bricks and mortar. There were a few windows seen near the front of the
building. Lylianna turned to Melissa, staring without any expression on
her face.Bookmark here

“Simple Mel, that is what I have you for.”Bookmark here

Melissa simply giggled as they made their way up the stairs and into the
building.Bookmark here

“You must love me a lot Captain.”Bookmark here

“I love your torture methods. They are quite useful. It also helps that
you are a trained doctor.”Bookmark here

“Technically, I am not a doctor yet.”Bookmark here

“You will be Mel. I believe in you.”Bookmark here

Inside, the building looked rather normal. Pine wood floors and white
walls gave the building a sense of purpose, however, the two of them
headed for a black door near the back of the room that looked a bit out
of place. Beyond the door was an a stairwell leading down into what was
a dungeon for holding prisoners. The lighting was atrocious as the two
of them continued down the hallway. Once they passed three of the cells
— that were empty — they stopped at the cell near the end of the
corridor. Inside was a young girl with long green hair and dressed in
rags stained with dried blood of the prisoners past.Bookmark here

“You are the one that took part in the kidnapping of Princess Amalthea,
are you not?”Bookmark here

The girl looked up to Lylianna, her piercing green eyes glared at her
through the dim light. She remained silent as Lylianna continued with
her questions.Bookmark here

“Who orchestrated the kidnapping?”Bookmark here

Silence.Bookmark here

“Fine, if you won’t speak then my friend here will get the answers from
you.”Bookmark here

The girl continued to remain silent.Bookmark here

“Mel, do whatever you need to do.”Bookmark here

“Hehe, sure Captain.”Bookmark here

\* \* \*Bookmark here

Lylianna leaned against the wall with a cup in her hand. Sipping slowly
on the warm liquid she had waited for a few hours in the silence of the
hallway. Before long Melissa appeared before Lylianna, her hands and
clothes soaked in blood. A smile appeared on Melissa’s face.Bookmark here

“She was quite a hard nut to crack, but she became more talkative after
an hour or so, hehe.”Bookmark here

“So, what did you find out.”Bookmark here

Melissa pulled out a map of the kingdom and showed her the route that
the kidnappers would be taking.Bookmark here

“She said the others should cross the Ruins of the Rhyine within a few
hours possibly. I tried to get the name of the leader but the only name
she spoke was Layla.”Bookmark here

Lylianna dropped her cup onto the floor at the mention of that name.
Without another word Lylianna headed for the building where her room was
located as Melissa followed, slightly confused by what Lylianna was
doing. As Lylianna packed a bag with rations and other supplies. She
turned to Melissa.Bookmark here

“What medical supplies do you think I will need?”Bookmark here

Melissa helped her pack some medical supplies that would be appropriate
for general medical treatment.Bookmark here

“Captain I still don’t get what you are doing.”Bookmark here

“Getting the princess back.”Bookmark here

\* \* \*Bookmark here

Lylianna stood at the edge of the cargo plane as it flew about
nine‑thousand meters — thirty‑thousand feet — towards the Ruins of
Rhyine. The cargo plane was meant to only take supplies over to the
front lines but Lylianna managed to hitch a ride and had a parachute
ready to jump from the plane once they flew over Rhyine.Bookmark here

As she stared out into the endless sky one question was on her mind.
*Will I make it to her in time*? One of the crew members that helped
Lylianna put on her parachute looked to the map in his hands.Bookmark here

“In about five minutes we should be over Rhyine.”Bookmark here

“Good.”Bookmark here

“Have you ever jumped from a plane before Captain?” the man asked.Bookmark here

“There is a first time for everything.”Bookmark here

After five minutes had passed Lylianna jumped from the plane. Free
falling from nine‑thousand meters with a backpack full of gear. The wind
rushing against her made her feel slightly anxious, even if she didn’t
want to believe it. As she continued to fall, the ground below was
starting to come into view.Bookmark here

As she pulled her chute fear started to sink in. *Damn it, come on*. She
pulled once again at the rip cord only for nothing to happen. Without a
second thought she pulled the emergency rip cord. The shift in momentum
jerked her back as she started to descend slowly. As she continued her
descent, three soldiers came into view.Bookmark here

One soldier was dragging what appeared to be a little girl. Lylianna
pulled out her pistol and steadied her aim. In her mind she knew she
needed to take out the two soldiers on the sides first. Firing out two
shots in quick succession both of the soldiers dropped dead to the
ground as Lylianna unbuckled her parachute, falling a few meters she hit
the hit rolling to lessen the impact.Bookmark here

Lylianna aimed her pistol at the final soldier who was holding the
princess at gunpoint.Bookmark here

“Drop the gun Layla.”Bookmark here

“And what if I was to say no?” she replied with a smile.Bookmark here

Lylianna continued to hold her gun steady, finger on the trigger. Over a
hundred thoughts ran through Lylianna’s mind as she tried to figure out
what her best option was.Bookmark here

“Here is what you are going to do little sister. Remove the magazine
from your weapon, and toss it here.”Bookmark here

Removing the magazine from her weapon Lylianna tossed her magazine in
the direction of Layla and the trembling princess. She removed the
magazine from her main weapon as well.Bookmark here

“Now, toss your guns.”Bookmark here

Lylianna threw her gun to the side along with her main weapon as Layla
removed the gun from the princess’s head.Bookmark here

“Don’t worry Princess, I won’t allow any harm to come to you,” Lylianna
said.Bookmark here

Layla pushed the princess forward.Bookmark here

“Start walking princess,” she commanded.Bookmark here

Princess Amalthea walked over to Lylianna, fear growing with each step.
She continued walking until she finally made it over to Lylianna. With
one final step she fell forward into Lylianna’s arms.Bookmark here

“Are you all right Princess?”Bookmark here

“Y‑Yes. Thank you.”Bookmark here

“Stand over there then, please.”Bookmark here

Princess Amalthea slowly made her way over to the side out of harms way.
Layla holstered her pistol as she walked forward. Lylianna quickly
pulled out her dagger and readied herself as Layla unsheathed hers.Bookmark here

“You know I always won those training exercises.”Bookmark here

Lylianna remained silent as she held her ground. The two of them stood
there, facing off like an *affaire d’honneur*. As the wind howled
Lylianna rushed forward with her dagger set to pierce her sister’s
heart. Stepping outside of the killing zone Layla quickly grabbed
Lylianna’s wrist with her free hand and twisted her wrist, following up
with a hard throw to the ground. Lylianna could not help but drop her
dagger as her arm was twisted one‑hundred eighty degrees.Bookmark here

“See, I could have already killed you if I wanted to,” Layla said as she
stepped back a few paces.Bookmark here

Lylianna laid there on her back with the stinging pain in her wrist. She
quickly stood to her feet, fighting the pain as she grabbed her dagger.
*Beating her will be tough with her magic powers able to negate my
magic*, Lylianna thought as she readied herself. *I can do this*.Bookmark here

Rushing forward like a flash of lightning Lylianna attacked, however,
Layla could read her sister’s movements as she blocked each strike with
ease. Lylianna continued until she felt Layla’s hand grab her wrist. As
Layla flipped her sister over her shoulder Lylianna hit the ground
harder then before, her face planting into the dirt.Bookmark here

“Why do you continue to fight little sister?”Bookmark here

Lylianna could feel her arm was dislocated. Damn it, she thought as she
tried to stand up.Bookmark here

“Unlike you… I care about my duty as a soldier.”Bookmark here

As she held her left shoulder Lylianna tried to figure out what she
could do to defeat her sister in combat. Layla was always better then
her when it came to weapon combat mainly due to the fact that Lylianna
could not rely on her magic. In a test of skill Layla had the advantage,
but even still she knew she could not give up.Bookmark here

Holding her dagger in her right hand Lylianna readied herself. Layla
smiled as she circled around Lylianna.Bookmark here

“Honor, dignity, pride? What good will that do?”Bookmark here

Layla continued to circle around Lylianna like a vulture. *She may be
better then me but I can’t let her win… for Princess Amalthea’s sake*,
Lylianna thought as her eyes followed Layla’s movements closely. As
Layla turned her back Lylianna rushed forward, seeing this as her chance
to attack.Bookmark here

Like a coiled viper Layla grabbed her sister’s wrist and twisted it
behind Lylianna’s back.Bookmark here

“The answer is nothing,” Layla whispered into her sister’s ear.Bookmark here

Layla quickly snapped Lylianna’s wrist and threw her to the ground. As
Lylianna’s dagger fell from her hand, Layla grabbed it. Lylianna laid on
the ground as Layla stared down at her. In her eyes were the eyes of
disappointment; the eyes of contempt. Stomping on her kneecap forced
Lylianna to grit her teeth as Lylianna’s dagger found its way into her
right knee.Bookmark here

Lylianna was in an ampule amount of pain as blood poured from her knee.
Layla grabbed Lylianna by the collar of the shirt.Bookmark here

“I thought you would have been smarter about whose side you would be on
little sister.”Bookmark here

With a mere sigh Layla threw her sister to the ground as she holstered
her dagger. Lylianna found it near impossible to move as she laid there
in agony.Bookmark here

“It is almost painful for me to even finish you off due to your
misguided sense of duty. Then again, every story needs a hero.”Bookmark here

Without another word Layla walked away. She headed East in the direction
of the imaginary Versyian border as Princess Amalthea had a look of fear
on her face. Once Layla was out of sight Princess Amalthea made her way
over to Lylianna who continued to lay there, unable to move.Bookmark here

“Lydia!”Bookmark here

“I am fine Princess, I just… I need you to help me.”Bookmark here

“But what can I do? I don’t know anything about medical stuff,” the
princess said in a timid voice.Bookmark here

“All I need you to do is relocate my arm back into place.”Bookmark here

“But won’t it be painful for you?”Bookmark here

“It will be, yes.”Bookmark here

Tears began to fall from the princess’ eyes.Bookmark here

“I don’t want put you through anymore pain.”Bookmark here

Lylianna sighed.Bookmark here

“Princess, if you don’t do this then I will die here. So, please, just
help me out?”Bookmark here

“O‑Okay…”Bookmark here

The tears continued to fall from her eyes as Lylianna explained how to
relocate an arm. As Lylianna grit her teeth the princess tried her best
to pop Lylianna’s arm back into place.Bookmark here

“Now, would you mind getting my backpack? It landed a few meters over
there,” Lylianna said pointing to the direction of where her gear had
landed.Bookmark here

Once Princess Amalthea found it she made her way back to Lylianna.
Opening up the medical bag Lylianna pulled out a few medical supplies
and began to patch herself up. Princess Amalthea turned away as Lylianna
went through the pain of removing the dagger from her knee and stitching
up the large wound.Bookmark here

Lylianna carefully got up from the ground and stood to her feet as the
princess tried to hold her steady. The two of them made there way over
to the ruins of what used to be a house for a family. Leaning against
part of the destroyed wall Lylianna sat down as the princess sat down
beside her.Bookmark here

“We need to get back to the capital,” Lylianna said as she pulled out
the map from her backpack.Bookmark here

“I don’t know which way my home is,” Princess Amalthea said looking up
to Lylianna.Bookmark here

Lylianna opened up her map and pointed to the Capital of Priserra.Bookmark here

“See this area right here?”Bookmark here

The princess nodded.Bookmark here

“That is where you and your father live. So, from this map the direction
of your house would be…”Bookmark here

Lylianna took a second to get her bearings and pointed West.Bookmark here

“That way.”Bookmark here

Princess Amalthea seemed quite impressed with Lylianna and how she could
figure out the direction of the capital.Bookmark here

“Wow. You’re so smart.”Bookmark here

“It is just simple navigation Princess.”Bookmark here

Lylianna looked over the map taking note of the towns and villages near
Rhyine. After working out the distance she realized that the only nearby
village was five‑hundred kilometers away. Normally, getting there would
be a piece of cake for her, but with her injuries it would take even
longer then usual. *I guess it would be best to wait a day and conserve
our strength*, Lylianna thought as she rummaged through her backpack.Bookmark here

“Have you eaten anything Princess?” she asked finally pulling out a
ration.Bookmark here

Princess Amalthea shook her head. Lylianna opened up a tightly sealed
ration labeled *Beef Stew*. After pulling out the spoon Lylianna handed
the ration over to the princess. She had a face of disgust as she looked
at the unpleasant food before her. Unlike Lylianna, the princess was not
a connoisseur of cold rations. Taking one bite of the beef stew made the
princess quickly spit it up on the ground.Bookmark here

Lylianna grabbed the spoon and got a spoon full of the beef stew. With a
single bite Lylianna ate and swallowed it. The princess seemed surprised
that Lylianna could even eat something like this.Bookmark here

“Doesn’t that taste bad?”Bookmark here

“I am used to it Princess.”Bookmark here

Lylianna continued to eat as Princess Amalthea tried to eat what little
she could of the beef stew. Once the two of them had finished the ration
Lylianna laid her head against the cold plastered ruins and closed her
eyes.Bookmark here

“Lydia, I see people over that way.”Bookmark here

After opening her eyes Lylianna could make out eight troops coming from
the West. *They must be friendly troops if they are coming from the
West*, Lylianna thought. She looked to the princess who seemed a bit
scared as to what was going to happen.Bookmark here

“It is okay. Those soldiers are on our side. Can you go get their
attention Princess?”Bookmark here

The princess nodded and headed over to the soldiers. Within a few
minutes they came over to Lylianna and tried to patch her up the best
they could.Bookmark here

“Any reason why you soldiers are patrolling out here?” Lylianna asked
the sergeant of the squad.Bookmark here

“First Lieutenant Rial said we should patrol somewhere near the Rhyine
ruins.”Bookmark here

“I see.”Bookmark here

After calling for an extraction helicopter and getting the princess and
Lylianna on board the two of them flew back to the Capital of Sylveria.
Melissa stood there waiting as the helicopter landed at the military
base. Once it landed Melissa carefully helped Lylianna off the
helicopter and onto a medical jeep.Bookmark here

\* \* \*Bookmark here

The medical room’s white walls and tiled white floors made the room feel
bland to most soldiers. As the princess sat in a chair against the wall,
Lylianna laid on the medical bed. Melissa looked over Lylianna’s half
naked body. Dried blood could be seen around knee cap along with the
long streak of it that had run down to her ankle.Bookmark here

“I take it you relocated her arm bone for her?” Melissa asked looking at
the princess with a smile.Bookmark here

“Y‑Yes. I didn’t want to but she told me that if I didn’t she would
die,” Princess Amalthea managed to stutter out.Bookmark here

Melissa gently placed her hand on Amalthea’s head.Bookmark here

“You did a good job, don’t worry.”Bookmark here

In truth, the bones needed to be reset so they could heal properly.
Melissa turned to Lylianna, it was clear they both knew this. As Melissa
reset Lylianna’s bones and patched up the rest of her wounds she looked
to her.Bookmark here

“Care to explain what happened Captain? I have never seen you lose a
fight to anyone before.”Bookmark here

“It was my older sister…”Bookmark here

“I am sorry I asked.”Bookmark here

“It is fine.”Bookmark here

After Melissa finished up patching up Lylianna she proceeded to sit up
from the table.Bookmark here

“At least your injuries were not to severe.”Bookmark here

Lylianna merely laughed as she got up from the table. Her body had been
cleaned of the blood but deep scars remained to forever remind her of
her battle with her sister. *If only I had been stronger*, she thought.Bookmark here

A few days had passed before the Emperor called for Lylianna to see him.
She was doing better as far as her wounds were concerned, however, her
pride was beyond wounded. As she entered the throne room she dropped
down to one knee and bowed her head before the Emperor.Bookmark here

“I have to say I am quite impressed with your work Captain, or perhaps I
should say Major.”Bookmark here

“Thank you, your grace.”Bookmark here

The Emperor stood up from his throne and called for his ceremonial
sword. As he stepped forward with his sword Lylianna bowed her head
lower. He placed the sword on Lylianna’s shoulder.Bookmark here

“In the name of the four goddesses and in the presence of Princess
Amalthea Faethdella Serpth, I — Emperor Umbael Serpth — grant you the
honorable title of Black Knight.”Bookmark here

Once the Emperor was finished he headed back to his throne.Bookmark here

“You are free to form the Black Knights as you see fit Major. You are
only bound by orders of the royal family and no one else. You are given
complete authority to conscript anyone into the Knights no matter who
they are with the Black Knight Invocation.”Bookmark here

“Thank you, your grace.”Bookmark here

Without another word Lylianna headed out of the castle. She knew she
would need a team that was the best of the best.Bookmark here

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