"Don't worry, I'm sure you're in excellent hands." ... "...The best, your highness." @Raesha Across the ornate hallways of the Imperial Palace, a young man draped in fine silk garments pushed through the tall archways that led into the heart of the establishment. With flowing blue silks, the young man looked wildly out of place among the Imperial aristocracy, his clothes clearly and proudly displaying his foreign identity to those around him. As the young man pushed his way into the throne room, his eyes immediately caught the image of two figures standing in the distance. "Sir Oliver, my Lord." The young man introduced himself, bowing gracefully for the two figures beyond. Bowing was something that all men of his stature were required to practice... thousands of times over. Sometimes, Oliver wondered if he had become better at bowing that wielding a blade. Without waiting for the King to address him, the talented knight stepped closer, closing the gap between the figures. As he passed the giant, marble columns that thrust into the ceiling, Oliver couldn't help but feel a sense of emptiness from the throne room. He had never been inside the room while it was so empty. As Oliver stepped closer, he realized that the other figure standing beside the King was none other than Castella, the Crown Princess and future Queen of the throne. While Oliver had once been very close friends with Castella in his youth, he had found that the two of them had drifted quite apart over the years, their political obligations tearing their friendship apart. "It's good to see you, Princess Castella." Oliver remarked, saving another bow for the woman he had secretly enamored his entire life. The knight then turned to the King, wondering why he had been summoned. Before he could speak, however, the King jumped straight into the middle of things. "Sir Oliver. You will be accompanying my daughter as her bodyguard." Oliver raised a brow, turning towards the young woman, then back to the King, "I would be most honored to protect the Princess, but I hear the Princess is quite formidable with the blade, are you sure she wouldn't be the one protecting me on a journey?" The young smart ass smiled. "You are the best swordsman in the Kingdom, even if you weren't born here, you were raised by our people. While I still do not trust your kind, I cannot settle for anything less than the best. You will accompany the Princess into the Cursed Lands, where you will help her find the ancient relic every Kingdom has sought after for two hundred years." Oliver's smile quickly faded into a disturbed frown. "My lord, you would send your Crown Princess to the Cursed Lands? Nobody has ever returned from such a place." Everyone, including Oliver knew that the Cursed Lands were essentially suicide. "Yes. It is time that the Princess earns her place." The King grinned, turning towards the Princess, "Don't worry, I'm sure that you're in excellent hands." While Oliver did not agree with such a suicidal quest, it was his duty to protect Princess Castella from whatever dangers she would experience on such a journey. Plus, it would surely give him a chance to reconnect with his childhood friend. "The best, your highness." Oliver assured her, "Why, after you, of course." He added with a humble smile.