“Why do I have to be the sacrificial lamb? That Crown Prince from

Kingdom of Tissuria just wants some doll for a wife who can blindly follow him.

Our dumb princess can fill the part perfectly,” Zenia protested.

Military Advisor Ovid Anisen, Zenia’s father, massaged his

forehead as he scrunched his brows. He knew that his daughter would not agree,

but he could not say no to King Jarod.

“You know how much Prince Vaughn hates Princess Jemilla because

of her naivety, do you think that a peace treaty could last that long if he is

to marry that stu--naive girl?” Military Advisor Anisen asked his daughter in a

very serious tone.

“What made you think that I won’t touch that lunatic prince’s

bottom line?” Zenia finished her conversation with her father, turned her back

to him and walked away.

“Zenia, come back here! We are not yet through!” Ovid called

after his daughter.

Zenia just kept walking in the same direction without turning

her head. She opened the door to see herself out as her father kept calling

her.

The Continent of Maecaea had a total of ten kingdoms and

empires. Everything should have been peaceful and calm within the Kingdom of

Ishelon, but the Kingdom of Tissuria just couldn’t let the Kingdom of Ishelon

lead a peaceful life.

The silent and not-so-silent war between the two kingdoms had

been going on for nearly 100 years. No one was really sure what started it and

no one would like to know anymore or they simply did not care. For the people

of both kingdoms, the war had been a part of their lives. Still, most of them

wanted to experience a peaceful existence with their neighboring kingdom.

Zenia had yet to personally meet Prince Vaughn. The things that

she came to know about him were based on the assessment of the officials in the

palace and other people that already met him. All of it did not leave any good

impression on Zenia.

The second child of the Anisen household’s three children, Zenia

Anisen, was a military tactician in the Armed Forces of Ishelon. She even gave

the name ‘Armed Forces’ because she thought it sounded more fearsome and

dignified. The majority of military men of Ishelon believed that Zenia had

already surpassed her mother in tactical planning. She knew the effective combat

strategies that must be employed on a certain situation. Her means could only

be described as ruthless and precise – no room for errors.

During Renaria’s time, she suffered much injustice just because

she often stayed among the company of men. The women who set their mind into

marrying Ovid Anisen got jealous and nurtured a wicked heart. Someone spread

the rumor that Renaria was actually a military whore. Ovid knew very well how

much suffering his wife had to endure back then. He also knew that Princess

Elenia could be the culprit of such malicious accusations.

When Zenia was growing up, she showed the same interests as her mother’s.

Ovid knew that his daughter would walk the same path that his wife had chosen

for herself. When that day finally arrived, Ovid asked King Jarod to let Zenia

assume the identity of a medical staff in the military unit. This would also

protect Zenia against the enemy. Only the military men and the Royal Family of

Ishelon knew the true identity of Zenia in the military.

To avoid suspicions, Zenia learned the things that a medical

staff should do. She was a fast learner and a great help each time there were

casualties that needed immediate treatment. She even learned how to do minor

operations. She could easily pass as a doctor’s apprentice. The common folks of

Ishelon believed that Zenia was an amazing apprentice.

During the Great War of Maecaea, the time where the eight

kingdoms were still trying to expand their territories, no other kingdom was

able to conquer Ishelon and Tissuria. The whole Kingdom of Ishelon and Tissuria

were not interested in conquering other kingdoms and remained neutral all

throughout.

As Zenia put it, the barbaric ways of expanding territories should

only be carried out by the barbarians. The citizens of Ishelon were civilized

people who had no interest in engaging with such brutal activity, but they

wouldn’t let other kingdoms conquer them. They would certainly defend their

kingdom against those barbarians. Zenia believed that the Kingdom of Tissuria

shared the same sentiments.

After the Great War of Maecaea, no one dared to attack the

Kingdom of Ishelon again, except Kingdom of Tissuria. Although Tissuria and

Ishelon were having their own ‘little war’, they never bothered the other

kingdoms. They were just interested in fighting with each other. The little war

would always leave many casualties.

Zenia was ashamed to claim that the Kingdom of Tissuria was

their enemy simply because she knew that the dispute between the kingdoms only

started due to petty quarrels of their rulers from hundred years ago. Her

favorite line was, “I am not a sacrificial lamb!”

She was against political marriage from the very start,

especially if it was her own. Although she and her father seemed to disagree on

many things, she admired him very much for loving her mother deeply and being

faithful to no end. She was certain that no prince or royalty would be able to

take only one woman in his entire life.

She was not someone who would be willing to share her husband

with someone else. She wanted to live the life of her mother. She wanted a

devoted husband that would only have her in his heart and his eyes. She was

certain that Prince Vaughn, a crown prince, would have a number of beauties in

his palace.

The men in the Continent of Maecaea were allowed to take three

wives and five concubines in their lifetime. But, they must be able to provide

for all of them. Ovid Anisen met the requirements to have as many women as he

could, but chose to have his wife as the only woman to warm his bed. He and his

wife had a total of three children in their decades of blissful marriage.

Zenia admired her father’s loyalty to her mother and just wanted

to meet a man that would take her as the only woman in his life. Ovid Anisen was

a highly accomplished man and many families wanted to associate with him

through marriage.

He already created a name for himself at the age of 20. He had a

pair of sharp eyes, which could mesmerize anyone. He had a well-built body that

he maintained really well even in old age. Many thought that he would marry

Princess Elenia, King Jarod’s biological sister, at the time. Imagine everyone’s

surprise when he asked the king to bestow a marriage between him and Renaria

Lutheria.

Princess Elenia could not believe that Ovid had already someone

in his heart. The princess chose to live in isolation and became a nun. Ever

since Princess Elenia entered the temple, no one heard from her again. They

said that the princess was content and happy with her tranquil life.

There were rumors that Princess Elenia resented her brother,

King Jarod, very much for failing to arrange her marriage to Ovid Anisen. The

rumors also stated that she chose to reside in the temple to avoid seeing her

brother. Whether the rumors were true or not, no one heard anything from

Princess Elenia ever again.

“Stupid

father, doesn’t he know that I want a husband that will be loyal only to me? I

wish I can have a life that mother enjoys.”

These thoughts were on Zenia’s mind as she continued to walk

away from his father’s quarters.

* * * * *

Renaria Lutheria, Ovid’s wife and Zenia’s mother, came from a

well-respected military family. She was a well-decorated female battle

tactician, which her daughter inherited from her. The only difference between

them was that Zenia could also fight well and she knew how to use various

weapons. Renaria was able to maintain her femininity, Zenia acted more like a

man.

Renaria already expected this outcome. Zenia was pampered from

young by her father and brothers. She had no female companions. She often

tagged along Zander and Ovid whenever they went out. Zenia was not interested

in wearing dresses or learning the crafts that women should learn. She chose

sword over embroidery needle.

Renaria was a beautiful, intelligent woman who was also adept in

wielding needles. Aside from designing an attack plan, she had no knowledge in handling

any weapon. She was patient enough to teach Zenia about embroidery and other

things that young ladies of their kingdom should learn. Zenia had zero ability in

doing embroidery, but she could whip up a delicious meal.

“Zenzen, where are you going?” Zander Anisen called after his

most beloved sister.

Zenia turned around and was greeted with a smile that could

outshine the radiance of the sun.

The first born son, Zander Anisen, was already a well-decorated

general in his young age. He doted on Zenia so much that no man dared to get

close to his beautiful and clever sister.

Zander got his built and looks from his father, and the

gentleness of his mother’s eyes. Apart from his very manly physique and fierce

aura, his eyes seemed to always give off a kind of gentleness that was hard to

ignore.

He was a bit taller than his father, but looked gentler than the

military advisor. However, he was regarded as the dark Asura in the

battlefield. His favorite line would be, “You need to defeat me first if you

want to get your hands on my sister.”

Everyone knew that no one would be able to defeat him. There

were many young men who wanted to ask Zenia’s hand in marriage, but they were

too afraid that the doting brothers and father of the Anisen family might chop

off their hands instead.

“Big Brother, why are you here?” Zenia asked in a rather cold

tone. His brother even felt the chill seeped through his spine.

“I sensed that my little sister is here. Did you talk to

father?” He asked warmly as he reached for her hand and motioned that she

should continue walking.

This pair of brother and sister seemed to come out of a painting

as they held hands. Eyes followed them everywhere they went. They were already

used to the adoring gazes of the people and paid them no mind.

“Yeah, but I don’t think I will be able to escape this time,”

Zenia explained while feeling sorry for herself.

Both siblings knew how stubborn their father could get. No one

could change his mind once it was set.

“I was there when King Jarod and King Tarendino signed the peace

treaty and agreed that a political marriage must take place.”

“It should be Princess Jemilla, right?”

“I don’t want to agree with father and King Jarod’s choice, but

I think we can only gain an advantage if you are the one to be married off.”

Zenia’s eyes almost popped out from their sockets when she heard

Zander’s reply. She couldn’t believe that her own brother who doted on her so

much would say such words.

“B-big brother, you’re joking right?”

Zenia looked at her brother with pleading eyes. Zander could no

longer help it and hugged his baby sister so tight that she almost gasped.

“Oh little sister, your big brother is so useless that I can’t

do anything to counter their plan.” Zander replied between sobs, and he

slightly pushed Zenia away.

“But, big brother will always look after you even if you are

already in Tissuria. I will send you my most reliable spies.” He declared

proudly as he wiped the tears from his eyes.

“…”

Zenia learned from his brother that she was to monitor the

military movement within the Kingdom of Tissuria. Nobody was smarter than Zenia

when it comes to military tactics. King Jarod and King Tarendino believed that

a faction within the Tissuria military was planning to sabotage the alliance

between the two kingdoms. King Tarendino believed that the ‘little war’ between

the people of both kingdoms had always been instigated by that group.

No one knew that Zenia was the great military tactician of

Ishelon, except her family and the higher ups. Only King Jarod and the high

ranking military personnel knew her identity. King Tarendino had never met

Zenia before, but her great contributions in Ishelon’s warfare had been well

known in all of Tissuria. However, no one in Tissuria knew that the talented military

tactician was a woman.

The people of Tissuria always thought that Zenia was a fine

military man. The daughters of the high ranking officials in Tissuria even

pleaded with their fathers to convince King Tarendino to grant them an edict to

marry Zen Anisen, the Great Military Tactician of Ishelon.

King Jarod did not say anything to King Tarendino. Ovid and

Zander told King Jarod that it would be best if the whole of Tissuria knew

nothing about Zenia’s identity apart from being Ovid’s daughter.

However, they were surprised when the Crown Prince suggested to

change the bride from Princess Jemilla to Zenia Anisen. King Tarendino

explained that Prince Vaughn thought that it would be more convenient for Ovid

and Zander to visit Tissuria without arousing suspicions if Zenia was married

to the Crown Prince of Tissuria. Ovid and Zander thought that it was indeed a

better idea.

“Brother!” A soft, warm male voice called from a nearby garden.

The siblings looked at the same time in the

direction of the garden, and saw something beyond their belief.

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