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The Arcadians made their way into the throne room. The King greeted them and motioned for them to sit down. They exchanged a few pleasantries but got down to business very quickly.

“How soon can you start training my men?” King Sebastian asked. The threat of the Dark Tiberians attacking was rising every passing day.

Brett and Marc-Andre looked at each other and discussed their answer and course of action. After a few minutes, the king was getting impatient.

“I await your answer.” He said annoyed. The Queen tried to calm him down.

“We can start training immediately.” Marc-Andre said. “To make things go faster. Brett and I will both have an initial group of 16 people and train them intensely. Brett will have Sword fighting while I handle strategy. When we have taught them, they will each have their own groups of 16 people or more to train. This way it will be easier to give everyone the best chance of learning everything well. After we....” Marc-Andre began to lose his train of thought when a beautiful girl walked in. “After we finish training our groups Brett and I will....” he lost his train of thought again.

Brett hit Marc-Andre in the arm to snap him out of his daze. “Come on Romeo. Business before pleasure remember.”

But, Marc-Andre wasn’t listening. He was completely captivated by the young woman that just walked in. She was 16 or 17 with long blond hair. The king raised his eye brow at Marc-Andre. He noticed him looking at his daughter. He looked over to his wife who was smiling at the expression on Marc-Andre’s face. He noticed even his daughter was smiling at Marc-Andre.

The king looked at Brett. He only gave the king a look saying “get a clue pops”.

King Sebastian broke the silence. “This is my daughter Annick.”

“Annick.” Marc-Andre whispered to himself.

“Oh boy.” Mary-Kate and Ashley said in unison.
“Your Majesty,” Brett said. “What my friend was trying to say was that after we finish training our groups, Marc-Andre and I are going to try and establish defensive plans incase our attack fails. These plans may include such measures as re-enforcing the walls, doors and an escape plan.”

“I don’t plan to retreat if we are attacked.” King Sebatian said with determination.

“That’s what my father said when we last saw him.” Ashley said.

Brett held Mary-Kate’s hand. Brett knew the pains of the loss of parents. Brett had been abandoned as a child and was adopted by a good friend of the Queen’s. That’s how Brett had met Marc-Andre, and later Mary-Kate and Ashley.

Queen Michelle, whom had stayed silent for so long, spoke up. “I don’t want to lose you. We should listen to their ideas. Run today, fight tomorrow.”

King Sebastian thought for a second and agreed. “Very well. We will follow your plans.”

The prince, the princesses and the knight all got up, bowed to the King and Queen and left. They had a lot of work ahead of them and they needed to start as soon as possible.

When they were out of the castle, everyone turned to Marc-Andre.

“What?” he asked, puzzled.

“We were wondering...” Ashley started.

“Since you almost turned into a zombie when you saw Annick...” Mary-Kate continued.

“What the hell are you still doing here?!” Brett finished.

“What do you mean?” Marc-Andre wanted to know.

“Ok, here’s what you do.” Ashley said. “Turn around...”

“Go and see her.” Added Ashley.

“And as her out!” Brett finished again.

“You guys are really starting to scare me.” Marc-Andre said. He knew they were right. What was he doing? He had to go back and see her and ask her out. He marched back into the castle and went to see Annick. The king agreed to let her spend time with Marc-Andre and they both went to the market.

“You know, my father usually doesn’t trust strangers like this.” Annick said. “He must see something special in you and your group.”

“What do you see?” Marc-Andre asked.

“I don’t know about your group. But, I do see something special in you.” She said as she took his hand. Marc-Andre smiled.

“I never met anyone like you before. You’re so open and soft.” He said.

They continued talking until it was time to turn in. Marc-Andre felt like he’s known her all his life, rather than just a day.

When he got back to the Inn, Ashley was reading a book in her room while Mary-Kate and Brett sat together watching a fire. They had both spent the night kissing and enjoying the moment.

“How’d it go?” Mary-Kate asked him.

The look in his eyes spoke the words his mouth couldn’t. Mary-Kate and Brett imagined it was the same way they both felt after enjoying their first kiss. Nothing felt quite like that moment.

A few days went by. Marc-Andre and Annick were spending a lot of time together and started to go out on the fourth day. The training was going well and everyone who was of age was now training in the kingdom’s gardens, parks and military camps.

Annick had even got close to Mary-Kate, Ashley and Brett. Although, for the last day or two, Brett had been acting differently. Mary-Kate couldn’t quite put her finger on it, but something was there.

Chapter 18
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