Liberation
Minmei  

It was like some nightmare I couldnít wake up from.

And it happened all so fast. Even if we had previous suspicions, none of us could have predicted the events to unfold the way they did.

Ah... beautiful Sol-Falena and its royal family. To serve you all and to be the princessí personal bodyguard...there was no greater honor. When things were good, so was my experience. When things turned bad...yes, so was my experience, but it was still an honor worth defending.

Speaking in a tone so somber, I must be frightening you, Prince. Youíre probably so used to the cheery, mischievous Miakis, the one who is always making jokes and teasing your sister. Iíd be lying if I said I didnít miss all of that. But it wouldíve taken far more than humor or mischief to save Queen Arshtat and Commander Ferid that day.

I was one of the knights who was, for lack of a better term, ďleft behindĒ at the palace, to be subjected to Godwinís rule. I was scared, and I hated both what was happening and not knowing what would happen...but I still swore to protect Princess Lymsleia.

Looking back, however...Iím not so sure I accomplished that during the ordeal. Yes, she remained physically unharmed, but I often worried for her psychological state. It killed me seeing Her Majesty hold all of her pain inside, believing that to shed tears over the horrible events meant handing the enemy their victory. Iíve accompanied the princess to various places and unconditionally acted as her shield, but in the end, I couldnít protect her from her own feelings. I could only watch as the princess grew colder over the course of these last few months.

The princess...she lost so many important things that day. Her mother, her father...and even her brother and aunt were forced to flee the palace. She lost her sense of home, while her future as well as the future of her country only hung in the balance. It was wrong. Someone so young should not have had to go through that. Still, for someone her age, she truly kept it together. She thought only of her people and knights, and she was willing to be a puppet of Gizel Godwinís in order to protect the ones she cared for.

She lost it all. And when she ascended to the throne, I could only stand by as I, too, lost my sense of everything. Granted, it would be arrogant to say that it was on the level of what you or your sister lost...but...yes...I know what it feels like to have everything taken from you. But I was just a knight--the Queendom never really belonged to me, so I could never quite call it mine. Still, it felt like home to me...and the Godwins took that away, little by little.

It began that night Queen Arshtat and Lord Ferid were killed. But even though the Queendom had been seized, I still had my duty to the Princess. And that, eventually, was taken away when she became the Queen. I didnít realize this until I tried to assert myself, but by then, it was too late. That scoundrel Gizel stole what was once rightfully mine. Donít get me wrong. Itís true that the honor would eventually be given to the husband of the queen, and that is something I was prepared for at a certain time. This...was not that time, and to say that I was unprepared would be an understatement.

Do you know what itís like to feel you have nothing left in this world? Stunned and devastated, you cling to the last thing you have, believing nothing better has come along and probably never will. You want to go back to those better days, so you cling to that one little hope that, if you do hold on, it will somehow make all of your misery worthwhile. That is how I felt.

You, on the other hand...

You had all your friends and fortunate circumstances to help you through all your losses. Not to say Iím bitter about that. On the contrary, Prince! Iím proud of you, and Iím happy you fared better. Every time we heard news of you, I inwardly cheered, grateful that the enemy had not gotten the best of you. Free from the grip of the Godwins, you worked hard to assemble a force...a force that I know will one day defeat them. You had an opportunity, and you exercised it in the best possible way. If good fortune has reached you, it is because you have truly earned it. It was your perseverance that brought you this far, your bravery that rescued and protected those in need, and your outstanding leadership that brought hope to the people.

There is much to be said for your boundless kindness as well. In fact, it is because of that kindness that I am here now. Godwin plot or not, you could have chosen to refuse me. Instead, you looked upon me with eyes that understood my desperate plight, and you forgave me my inability to stand against Godwin and protect the Princess.

Your kindness has done much for me, Prince- it has opened my eyes to the bigger picture. Though I often wish I could have done more for Her Highness, I can rest assured knowing that I did the best I could. And that, even though weíre far away from her, there is still something we can do. You have given me hope, Prince. I realize that I am not useless, and I am not just a Queenís Knight.

In clinging to things that were long gone, Iíd forgotten my own potential. You...reminded me of this, and you took it upon yourself to show me the way. And at this moment...I can be a part of this liberation of Falena, knowing that only good will come of it. It is...truly an honor...an honor just as great as my duty as the princessí bodyguard. Your kindness helped me to see this, and the shackles that once bound me to the past now lay broken at my feet.

You set me free. Thank you, Prince.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you!