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Emperor's Heir - Chapter 5

by shieldmaiden

Chapter 5

When I got back, Grandma was stirring a pot of bubbling porridge over the fire, its scent filling the hut with a warm yet sticky scent. I wrapped my arms around her waist from behind and gave her a quick squeeze.

Oh!” She cried out, turning around with a squint, her towel armed and ready. She lowered her weapon with a sigh of relief when she caught sight of my happy grin. “Kkachi,” Grandma admonished, shaking her finger, “Child, you startled me.”

Sorry, Grandma,” I said, blinking innocently, “I didn’t realize.”

Well,” She said, turning back to the pot with a slight raise of her brow, “I am much to old for frights. Or to be tackled as if I was a bear for that matter.”

I grinned mischievously. “But Grandma – think of the bright side. At least it’s only me. What if I had been a young man?”

What of it?” Grandma asked slowly, glancing suspiciously at me over her shoulder.

I threw up my hands helplessly. “I would have been done for,” I proclaimed loudly, “I would have become so overawed by your beauty and filled with such strong emotions that I wouldn’t be able to control myself.” I took her hand and grasped it close to my heart. “One desire alone would have existed – to make you mine and whisk you away from here.”

Grandma snorted and smacked my hand with her ladle. “Such nonsense,” She huffed. But I glimpsed a hint of smile on her face as she turned back to the stew. Then, all of a sudden, she whipped right back and grabbed my face. “You’ve been fighting again child!” She exclaimed, turning my head from side to side.


How on earth did you get such a bruise?” Grandma cried, “It practically covers your entire right cheek!”

I put my hand up to my cheek self-consciously. It did feel swelled and a bit more puffy than usual. I couldn’t help wincing a little as Grandma put a cold compress over it.

Well?” She asked.

I honestly can’t remember, Grandma,” I said, frowning as I tried to think. “Perhaps I tripped and fell?”

Likely story,” Grandmother huffed irritably, “You’ve got a cut too under all this dirt. Honestly child! What am I to do with you?” She stepped away, making me hold the cloth as she went to her medicine cabinet and took down a green paste. She cleaned away all the crusty dirt and blood that had patched itself across my face, before spreading the herbal paste along the cut.

I hung my head remorsefully. “I’m sorry for causing you extra trouble, Grandma,” I murmured, keeping my gaze low as I picked at a loose string in my jacket sleeve.

Yes, well … you’re one of a kind Kkachi,” She replied, her voice softening, “You’ll give me a heart-attack one day. If only you’d give up such disgraceful behaviour and become a proper young lady. The kind who knows how to mind her own business.”

I nodded.

Tch,” The old woman clicked her tongue, “Doesn’t matter now. I just worry that one day I’ll find you lying on my doorstep and there won’t be a thing I can do to help ‘cept bury you!” She finished and lifted my chin. “How are you to get a nice young man with scrapes all over your face?” She asked.

I laughed. “That won’t happen with my scar.”

You’d be surprised.” Grandpa said, coming into the kitchen and dropping into our conversation, “Men see pretty girls all the time. But a girl with a scar – that catches their attention.” He winked.

That scar,” Grandma sighed with pity, lightly tracing the line of tissue that ran from my left temple and across the bridge of my nose with her fingers. “I’ve used every herb I can think of,” She muttered, “It’s not deep and all trace should have disappeared by the time you were six.”

But I like it Grandma,” I declared urgently.


Because it’s a part of me,” I said, pulling back my shoulders, “It’s who I am. And it makes me feel like an old veteran warrior.”

What ever made you come to that conclusion?”

All great warriors have scars and wounds from their battles,” I explained, eyeing Grandpa who rested against the wall, smoking his pipe with a smile. “They bear them as trophies to prove that they had lived to vanquish their enemies. I’ve been bearing my scar since I was four and I’d like to make-believe that I am the youngest warrior of them all,” I ended with a chuckle.

Well,” Grandma wiped her hands on her apron and started putting away the paste, “That is an optimistic, if rather a man’s way, of facing one’s troubles.”

Yes, Grandma,” I agreed, trying my best to look chastened.

Right … now, you must go and bathe child.”

I glanced down and gave myself a once over. “I’m not that dirty,” I protested, “I can still wait for my turn tomorrow.”

No, you will not child,” Grandma said firmly, “You must be presentable for when the Emperor comes.”


Oh, did I not tell you?”

I shook my head vigorously.

Oh dear.” Grandma rubbed her forehead and closed her eyes as if she felt a headache coming on. She then looked me straight in the eyes, a pained look stretched across her face. “The Emperor requests that all women of the ages sixteen to twenty be present at the market square tomorrow.”

Why,” I asked breathlessly.

Grandma looked at Grandpa. To my surprise, her eyes had started to well up with tears. “I suspect that His Imperial Majesty is looking for something. Or someone,” She said softly.

Who?” I asked.

Grandpa coughed. “Probably the Lost Princess,” He muttered, banging his empty pipe against the frame of the door.

Now I understood why Grandma would cry. It was heartbreaking to see the Emperor trying for so many years to find his daughter – all the while never losing hope. So many years had passed since his wife died and the princess went missing. His Majesty searched everywhere, looking all over the entire Empire, from the highest, snowy peak of the Blue mountains in Yosae to the darkest, bubbling swamp of the Noxious Forest in Baesinja.

But he never found her. Everyone believed the girl to be dead and called her the ‘Lost Princess’. Nevertheless, the Emperor kept looking for his daughter, certain that one day she would appear.

The poor man,” Grandma sniffed, “Just last year His Majesty traveled all over the Kingdom of Yosae. He stopped in every village, town and city. Had every girl close to the Princess’ age inspected.”

I nodded my head in sympathy. “What time must I be ready,” I asked.

You have to join the other girls in the marketplace by the afternoon,” Grandpa said.

Great, I’ll have time to . . .” I trailed off as Grandma eyed me.

To – what?” She prodded.

Time to make myself presentable,” I finished lamely.

Grandma nodded, satisfied. Grandpa squinted at me, not fooled by my excuse. After breakfast, I pulled him aside.

I have to meet with the boys tomorrow,” I whispered, “Can you cover for me ‘til I get back?”

Are you sure you’ll be able to make it back in time,” Grandpa asked.

Yes,” I assured him, “The boys and I just have some planning to do for our next mission. Nothing’s set in stone yet – so it will only be preliminary.”

Grandpa nodded. “Just hurry. I can’t bear the brunt of that woman’s fury as long as I used to. I’m an old man.”

You’re as strong as an ox,” I exclaimed, slapping his arm, “You just pretend your bones ache so that Grandma won’t have you do more chores.”

True, true,” Grandpa replied with a wink.

The day passed by calmly. No calls came demanding Grandma’s attention for a sick patient, so she was able to take some much-deserved rest. I helped her finish the mending and fix some herb adhesives for various coughs or colds.

After the supper dishes were done, we all stepped outside since it was such a fair night. We sat comfortably on the porch in silence, listening to the breeze rustling through the grass, making them bend and ripple like the waves of an ocean.

After a time, Grandpa took the pipe out of his mouth. “Wear your best clothes tomorrow,” He grunted.

Aren’t you coming?” I asked.

No,” Grandpa answered quietly, looking up at the dark sky, “I think it best not.”

I thought that a little strange, and looked over to Grandma hoping that she’d noticed. However, she had her mouth pressed hard in a firm line and kept her head bowed over the sock she was stitching.

Grandpa continued to behave strangely, not saying a word until it was time for me to go to bed.

Night Grandpa,” I said about to step inside.

He grabbed my hand, pulling me back down beside him. “No matter what happens tomorrow,” Grandpa whispered seriously, “Never forget that we care for you, your Grandma and I.”

I know,” I said, patting his wrinkly hand with a smile.

Good.” He chucked my chin. “Remember that – and all I taught you about what makes a true warrior.”

Honor, virtue, and loyalty,” I recited.

That’s right.” Grandpa smiled softly and kissed my forehead. “Goodnight, my child.”

With that, I went to bed. I fell asleep dreaming about tomorrow, with Grandpa’s words echoing in my brain – ringing as sounds of farewell.

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279 Reviews

Points: 2762
Reviews: 279

Sun Apr 28, 2019 2:06 pm
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Horisun wrote a review...

Great chapter! I really liked this. Oh, and I have a gut feeling that she is the lost princess, btw. I really like how you are setting up the story so far! There are a few things I'd like to point out, however.

"A warm yet sticky scent" There should be comas before yet and after sticky.

These are matters of opinion, but so far, I feel like the story is moving a little slow. Not super slow, but kinda. I feel like not much has happened, and you're still setting us up. I'm an action kind of reader!
Another opinion, when the Grandma says "'cept bury you!" I feel like 'cept isn't something she would say. I don't know, but I have the feeling of her being very proper, and such.

Overall, great chapter! Happy Review day!

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107 Reviews

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Reviews: 107

Sun Mar 31, 2019 10:41 pm
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Gnomish says...

Ooh ooh ooh!

Let me guess, she is the Lost princess!

And her grandparents know, which is why her Grandpa said goodbye! This is going to be very interesting! Although I may need to look back at the royals again.

Anyways, another great chapter!

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562 Reviews

Points: 14535
Reviews: 562

Sat Mar 16, 2019 10:29 am
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FlamingPhoenix wrote a review...

Hello. It is I FlamingPhoenix here with a review for you once again great chapter in this lovely day.

Okay let's get right into the review.

I am happy to say that I only saw one little mistake and it wasn't that big, I just thought I should point it out. Okay so it was in this sentence.

But I glimpsed a hint of smile on her face as she turned back to the stew.

Okay so it is the word in bold like normal. So when i began this chapter it said that her Grandma was making porridge, and now she is making stew. I just thought it was a little strange, but it didn't ruin the chapter or anything.

Okay so that was all I saw, so now onto the fun part of the review.

So I thought this was one of your best chapters in many ways.

The first thing is that you have begin to tell us a little bit more about the scar on Kkachi's face. And I have to be honest, that has been bugging me for a wile, and what is bugging me even more is that you haven't told us how she got it. I can't wait to find out more.

The next thing is that I feel that your going deeper into your characters. Like this part of the chapter I thought was very good.
I threw up my hands helplessly. “I would have been done for,” I proclaimed loudly, “I would have become so overawed by your beauty and filled with such strong emotions that I wouldn’t be able to control myself.” I took her hand and grasped it close to my heart. “One desire alone would have existed – to make you mine and whisk you away from here.”

I thought this was a great way to show us another side of Kkachi. It just showed she can be quit dramatic, and it gave me quit a laugh. So I do hope you will do more things like this in the future chapters.

The next thing i like is that your bringing the Emperor into the story, I know you kind of did in one of your earlier chapters. But I can see that he has a very big roll, and I think I know what the next chapter is going to be about, but I'm not going to chump to conclusions, because I think I might know who the missing princess might be, but I am going to have to find out.

Well in this chapter your description is really good, not with just your surroundings your characters to. So that was really cool.

I look forward to the next chapter. I have to say it gets even more exciting with eat chapter, so I can't wait to see what will happen next. I hope you will never stop writing and have a great day/night.

Your friend
FlamingPhoenix. :D
Reviewing with a fiery passion.

shieldmaiden says...

Thanks so much for your review. Thanks for catching that 'stew'. I had changed it from porridge to stew and completely missed that one. I hope that the scar doesn't bother you too much because it remains a mystery for most of the story. It does have a big part to play. No one knows how she got it - well almost no one. Thanks so much for your reviews. I really look forward to them and especially appreciate the support your constantly giving. Thanks my friend.

I'm glad I could help you out a little, your chapters is getting better, and it's getting harder of me to see things, so I think that's really good.
The scar isn't bothering me to much, I can't say I don't wonder how she got it, but I don't need to know all the details. It's one of those things that keep me reading.
I'm glad my reviews help you out, and that you look forward to them. I will be giving you a review when the next chapter is posted. :)

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562 Reviews

Points: 14535
Reviews: 562

Sat Mar 16, 2019 5:19 am
FlamingPhoenix says...

I will review this soon. :D

It had a perfectly round door like a porthole, painted green, with a shiny yellow brass knob in the exact middle. The door opened on to a tube-shaped hall like a tunnel: a very comfortable tunnel without smoke, with panelled walls, and floors tiled and carpeted, provided with polished chairs, and lots and lots of pegs for hats and coats—the hobbit was fond of visitors. The tunnel wound on and on, going fairly but not quite straight into the side of the hill —The Hill, as all the people for many miles round called it—and many little round doors opened out of it, first on one side and then on another.
— JRR Tolkien