No one was around. She blinked wildly as she tried to find who had touched her, but there wasn’t a single living being in sight. The sun had finally reached her shady nook and it was beginning to heat up. Wondering what had woken her so quickly, she gazed at the blue sky. Zephyr was right, the sky was a beautiful thing. It was so vast and infinite, and at an altitude this high, there were no clouds to disrupt the view. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw something move. She didn’t pay it much attention, only wanting to enjoy the beauty of the glorious blue ceiling, and she didn’t realize her mistake until it was too late.
In a flash, a giant, scruffy man materialized out of the thick, humid air and stared down at her. He bent down, squinting his eyes, trying to look at her face through his grey face mask. Hataru tried to retreat, but she was up against the mountain wall in no time, trapped. Stomping his feet with every step, the gargantuan made his way toward her with frightening speed, and, for the millionth time, she feared for her life. No one will save you this time, a voice of despair spoke in her mind. Then I must protect myself, she thought back. She looked around, hoping to find a branch, a rock, anything that she might use as a weapon to save herself from this man.
But the man, now only a breath away, used one greasy, beefy hand to hold her throat in a death grip and the other to latch onto her mask. Her pupils shrank to the size of grape seeds, her heart stopped beating, and her body became as cold and immoveable as stone. With a hard tug, the man ripped the mask off, and Hataru was without breathable air once again. Pitilessly, he let her crumple to the ground at his feet, and drew his sword, positioning himself to strike her dead in a matter of seconds. The blade fell with amazing power, inching its way towards Hataru’s beautiful face. A heart-stopping whimper escaped her rosy lips as she shut her eyes and braced herself for death.
The princess waited for the blade to make contact, but the cold, sharp object never came. Her eyes as narrowed, she looked up from her crouched position, gasped, and then coughed on the water she had just swallowed. Now there were two men before her, one was her attacker, the other a savior. She gazed at the new man. He wore a blue, royal navy-style jacket that reached his knees, white trousers, and a pair of black leather boots. His long brown hair was tied back in a neat pony tail with a strip of fabric the same color as her oxygen-deprived lips, and she saw that his eyes were the color of melted chocolate as he looked back at her through his own air mask. He and the other dark fellow stood, swords locked in combat, matched in strength. Neither had an advantage over the other, or so it seemed.