• A female figure, limp and rattled from the war, sauntered onto the battlefield toward the horizon. The sunset silhouetted her tall, slender figure. It was only her and her squire who stirred on that battlefield. The soldiers who had managed to survive had already returned to the barracks. Those who hadn’t survived were scattered about the area, dipped in pools of their own blood. A fine layer of gunpowder covered the field now, making the scene all the more dismal. Not that this daunted the lady soldier. She was used to war and what it brought; death, devastation and famine. But to her people, it brought freedom. So, for her, it was all worth it in the end. Even so, no one seemed to view her as the strong, warrior type. Even those who had witnessed her in battle could never accept that someone with her looks could be a killing machine. She truly was a pretty little thing, not suited for the rage of war. Even after intense battles, her skin managed to stay as pale and clear as a full moon. Her hair, even though it was short and choppy, maintained its luster. Her eyes still sparkled with a sort of innocence, even in these dreary times. Her body, equally as beautiful, was hidden by her rough attire. Regulation armor padded her delicate frame. She did not look as if she were made for war; rather, she was made to be a princess. Alas, that was not her fate.

    Her squire, a clumsy but charismatic youth, eagerly followed her. She stopped in the middle of the battlefield. She looked up at the mountain peak where the enemy kingdom was perched. There was nothing between her troops and that kingdom now. This notion both pleased and overwhelmed her.

    “Cerise, what’s wrong? Has all this fighting finally gotten to you?” he said casually.

    She chuckled in response, “You know me better than that, Josef.”

    Josef, the squire, blushed. He knew all too well what was on her mind.

    “Prince Rémy de Vieux… We know him all too well, don’t we? Hm?” she whispered.

    “Not for much longer. His head will be under the blade of the guillotine by noon tomorrow. I promise.” The squire said with zeal.

    “… Maybe not…” Cerise said through heavy tears. “How can one possibly kill the one they love?”

    Josef groaned. He had long known the truth. Cerise had fallen in love with the enemy prince. She had masked her feelings for him and dutifully fought for her country. But, at the climax of the war, when the king was in check, she started to doubt herself.

    “Even though I fight like a man, I’m still a woman on the inside. This armor and this sword can’t hide that… Now, because I’ve kept all of these urges pent up inside me, it has come to this…” Cerise said calmly.

    “You don’t mean-“ Josef gasped.

    “Do I confess my love and die with the prince, or do I give it all up for my country?” she said as tears continued to roll down her crimson cheeks.

    Josef pleaded that she would stay alive, if not for herself than for him. He offered himself to her, promising her anything and everything. But she rejected him. He just wasn’t her prince.

    “I can’t decide,” she said as she handed her squire her sword. He fumbled with it as she spoke. “Since I can’t deny my country or my heart, just…”

    The squire’s chest tightened as she breathlessly uttered her next words:

    “Kill me now.”