Chapter One: Sephora
"A House Divided Against itself...cannot stand." ~ President Abraham Lincoln
Jasmine Pillard sat at the desk she was provided with for the past decade. Malcolm Rose, her mentor and also her leader and greatest friend sat a crossed from her. Crossed legged on a chair he was the youngest leader Sephora's dystopia had ever seen. He was handsome even in the age he was. She believed he was in his late fifties, almost time for him to be put to rest. She would be taking over the dictatorship after he was gone, yet she loved him and didn't want him to leave her alone. She was seventeen at the moment and by the time she was to take over the leadership of this half of Sephora she'd only be in her early twenties, the youngest by far. At the thought of taking over one day soon was well soon, Jasmine felt an emotion that was so foreign to her, she felt anxiety, and she felt sadness, she didn't want to lose her mentor, not at such a young age as 65, she knew that in the sister of her Sephora the elderly lived as long as they were able. She knew that her mentor, her friend wanted to die as everyone else did, Jasmine couldn't find it in her heart to say goodbye. There has to be something more.
"Jasmine; do you know why we meet here every day?"
"No sir, I didn't realize there was a reason."
"People need routine. If I were to change where I taught you each day, you'd grow accustom to change. Here we do not allow change, you have a routine do you not?"
"Yes sir, I do."
"When you choose whom you mentor; be sure to drill a routine into their lives. Be sure to let them know that even though they live with the most powerful person in this half of Sephora, their life will not be easy. They will work for everything they have, just as you have."
"Yes sir. Sir, how old are you, if I may ask."
"I'll be sixty five in two weeks."
"So soon? You do not look sixty five."
"Nor do I feel it. But it is our law and I will follow our laws."
"Jasmine you have known this day would come all your life. You were told not to get attached."
"Sir, I'm not ready to take over."
"Yes you are...and you will." Malcolm looked at her and she understood she couldn't save him, especially when he didn't want to be saved. She'd just have to buck up and deal with it like she did with everything. When her parents died, she didn't shed a tear, instead she enrolled in the Academy. She became the favorite of all the teachers, she then was hand picked by Malcolm Rose himself to be mentored by him personally. "Jasmine, is there something wrong?"
"No. Just memories."
"There is a time and place to be sentimental, now is not the time nor the place."
"Yes, sir. What is it that you wished to tell me? Besides what you've already mentioned."
"Nothing; just the fact that you'll be meeting the future leader of the other half of Sephora."
"Because I want you to see life on the other side. To show you that here is better than over there. Every young leader must go through this torture. Don't worry, you'll be back in a few days."
"You mean I'll be leaving today?"
"Is there a problem?"
"No sir. I'll go back my bags. Is there anything else?"
"Be prepared to meet the future leader."
"He's different from the men here, but he's still dangerous."
"Okay sir." Jasmine left the room, to go to her own. She fought back the tears, tears were a sign of weakness. She packed enough uniforms for five days, and packed anything else she deemed necessary. Satisfied she sat and sharpened her favorite knife. She looked up and saw the poster littered with knife holes, it was a poster of the future leader of 'Butterfly Land', it wasn't the true name of the land a crossed the Divide, it was just something to demean them; the true name was Light Sephora but she didn't care. She laughed for a moment before throwing her knife dead center in the face of 'Pretty Boy'. Laughing again she got up to retrieve the knife. She heard a knock on her door and she went to answer it. It was Number 5, servants did not have names, if they could not pass the Placement Tests they were automatically sent to be a servant and stripped of their names and identities.
"Yes Number Five?"
"The Hovercraft is ready for your transportation Princess Jasmine."
"Thank you Number Five." Jasmine turned and retrieved her luggage. She went down to the loading docks, with the feeling that Malcolm was lying to her about when he turned 65. She boarded the Hovercraft without complaint and waited until liftoff to start her interrogation.
Philip Kingston was enjoying his day off, the clouds floated overhead, and the sky was bluer than his eyes. His gun was locked away in his room, and he was enjoying the feel of his holster without it. The rolling green hills of his home reminded him of why he permitted himself to carry the demon in the first place. They had destroyed his family and he was sent off to live with his distant relative, the king of this side of Sephora. His uncle would step down in five days, and told him the future Queen of Sephora, would be here in a few hours. Philip didn't wish to meet the future leader of the civilization that killed his family, and was the oldest enemy of his people. It was said that the war that was the cause of the Divide almost made the human race extinct. He was happy there was still a race to lead, even though there were people out there like Malcolm Rose. Philip turned to return to the house he grew up in.
Philip was not expecting to be met by the Hovercraft with the logo of the Dark Sephora Army. Nor was he expecting to see the beautiful woman that exited the black steel doors. She was beautiful, her beauty was off putting, if he had met her on the battlefield he knew he would have hesitated and he'd be dead. He saw his uncle approach the beauty with the grace of a leader and welcomed her,
"Hello Princess Jasmine Pillard to our humble home."
"Its a pleasure to finally meet you King Viktor. Where is the future king? Am I not supposed to interact with him?"
"Philip is here somewhere, I am sure he is most eager to meet you." Philip chose that moment to come out of hiding,
"Hello, I'm Prince Philip, and you must be the beautiful and talented Princess Jasmine?"
"Yes, its a pleasure to meet you as well. Your flattery however will get you nowhere. Now, who is to show me to my quarters? It is a long, and tedious journey through the Divide and I wish to rest." Her beauty, he thought did not reach her soul, she was calloused and emotionally detached.
"If you would follow me." A servant by the name of Selvatore came into view,
"Thank you; number?"
"My name is Selvatore madame, we do not have numbers as your servants do. Now please follow me." Philip watched with amusement as the Princess gathered herself and followed Selvatore to the doors. She turned back once, and looked into the window of the Hovercraft. Philip looked up to see the face of the leader of Dark Sephora, Malcolm Rose, he rose a withered hand and waved a slow and quick goodbye to his star pupil. He looked back at Jasmine, and saw for the first time genuine emotion, he saw sadness in her eyes. He returned his gaze to the Hovercraft and Malcolm Rose had disappeared, in his place was the captain of the vessel, he saluted Philip before taking flight once more.
"Uncle, when does Malcolm Rose turn sixty five?"
"In five days. He knows how much Jasmine cares for him, and she'd do anything to stop the process from taking place. So he called in a few favors that I agreed to. She's to stay here until his death is fulfilled."
"What's their story anyway?"
"Malcolm and I don't speak on a regular basis, but from what I gathered he adopted her at the age of seven and became her mentor. Her parents were killed in a raid that I didn't order. General White did, and the general did not make it now did he? Jasmine is different from the others in Dark Sephora. She has access to her emotions; and that is dangerous for the future leader of Dark Sephora to have. Your job my nephew is to get her to fall in love with you. Lets join together the two Sephora's and make one. Let's create a whole Sephora, where no one is Divided, and where brother's don't have to rally troops against one another."
"Anything for you uncle."
"Go now my nephew." Philip went off towards his own chambers and thought about the information he had learned. Malcolm Rose had a conscious after all, his student had one as well, and his uncle wanted him to use Jasmine to bring together the two Sephora's? Philip sat and thought about what had to be done. He couldn't bring himself to see what he could do to get a woman such as Jasmine to fall for a guy like him. He represented everything good in the world, he killed if he had to not if he wanted to, he saw the good in those around him, he wished to preserve life, while she grew up believing that death comes to all, so why hesitate, she killed if she wanted to, she was trained at a young age to be a ruthless leader and warrior, and she only saw the bad in people. Although she must've seen the good in Malcolm Rose, because she grew to love him. Could she see the bad in him, and grow to love him?
Philip sat and pondered the many courses he could take in wooing the princess. Although he still didn't see how the two could be compatible. He heard a knock on the door and went to answer it, glad for the distraction and interruption. He opened his doors and found the princess there, poised to knock again.
"Hello Princess, how may I be of assistance to you?"
"Oh, hello Prince Philip,"
"Just call me Philip,"
"Then you call me just Jasmine."
"Alright, Jasmine how may I help you?" Philip asked again with a smile.
"Um, your uncle said you could show me around."
"Uh sure. What would you like to see?"
"Everything if that's alright? Its rare that I get to go on a holiday."
"Alright, follow me then." Philip smiled and offered his arm to her. She was hesitant, like she never had the company of a young man before. "I won't bite, I promise." Jasmine smiled and took his arm.
"Lead the way." Philip couldn't help but stare at her. She was beautiful, her auburn locks, curled to perfection, and her bright blue eyes contradicted the coloring of her hair to make her all the more radiant. Her skin was pale, but not sickly and she was medium height, coming up to his shoulders. Her body was curvy, but not too curvy, and she knew. She walked with confidence but it could've been because of the ten inch dagger on her belt. She wore leather pants, that hugged her legs and knee high boots, they were flat, perfect for combat, and she wore a military issued jacket, with straps running around it to carry weapons, the straps were bare at the moment and he was thankful for that. The only sign she was of royalty was the insignia on her breast pocket, it was a tiara with a dagger through the center. A warrior princess she was and she was...well she was Jasmine Pillard.
Jasmine walked comfortably at the side of the Prince of Light Sephora, never would she think that she'd have anything in common with a goody two shoes like him, but there she was laughing at everything he said or did. He showed her the many rooms, the bedrooms, the lands, and the stables. The only thing he didn't show her was where they kept their weapons. She was happy here...something she'd never think was possible.
"Philip, do you know why I'm here?"
"To distract me from my responsibilities?"
"No, in all seriousness. I was told I was to come here so I could compare the lives of people in each Divide. I have to admit I like life here. Everything is so laid back and free. I don't think I want to return."
"What if you didn't have to?" Philip asked. Jasmine looked at him as if he was joking, but the look on his face led her to believe he was in fact serious.
"Marry me. We can unite the Divide and make Sephora whole."
"Sephora has not been whole since it had a different name. How do you know it would work?"
"I don't, but life is about chance. You have to take a chance to live, change is good don't you think?"
"In Dark Sephora, change is evil. Horrible and shouldn't be tolerated. Let's see what change can do to two Divides, divided for a reason mind you. We'll be facing civil war if we do this Philip."
"Chance and Change. That will be the new motto."
"Chance and Change will Lead us To Light."
"I like it, so will you do it?"
"Marry you and combine our kingdoms?"
"Yea sure change goes against everything that was instilled in me since a young age but what the heck. My mentor is dying, and your's is stepping down. Let's make Sephora our's for real. Let's combine this land. There has to be something more than war and bloodshed and dying at sixty five." Philip turned her so she faced him and cupped her face in his hand. Jasmine inhaled sharply, she'd never been kissed before today. What did it feel like? To have another human's lips on her's? Philip leaned in, and his lips brushed her's. Fireworks like none she had seen or heard erupted in her mind. She leaned into the kiss as it deepened and all too soon it ended. Not by their choice but they had been interrupted.
"Yes Natasha?" Philip addressed the servant before them.
"Your uncle the King would like to inform you that dinner will be served in a half hour."
"Thank you Natasha." Philip said, and the servant left. "Its about a half hour from here to get to the dining room." Philip offered his arm once more and Jasmine didn't hesitate in taking it. "Perhaps you would be more comfortable in a dress or something?"
"I like my uniform...it reminds of all the good Malcolm has done for me."
"I'm sorry he lied to you about the reasons you had to come here."
"No, its fine honest."
"You love him. Love isn't a bad thing. Love should be cherished."
"No, emotions; emotions allow your weaknesses to be seen by all."
"Emotions are nice to show at the right time and place." Philip said quietly.
"You are much too wise for your age Philip Kingston."
"I've been told as much."
"Uniting the kingdoms was not your idea was it?"
"Now, I cannot give away secrets."
"So Light Sephorians can lie,"
"Good. I thought you were an angel."
"I am far from being an angel princess."