AT the Bastards’ Dungeon of Fears, Arstol was eventually blindfolded and locked in an iron cage – the cage itself sitting hideously inside a giant cave.
Prince Arstol’s army had left the dungeon, leaving the captured prince with no hope left. No one could possibly come to his rescue anymore, he thought.
Arstol remembered how Ereon his princess and solemate had come for him when he was captured at West Stongate the last time.
But this wasn’t another Heirsen city like West Stongate, thought the young noble. It was rather the cursed dungeon of darkness – deep down in the Black Pit.
And so, Arstol lost all hope of a possible rescue.
At that time, the caged prince traced his fingers through the nape of his neck down the hips… as a crushing pain ran down his spin and spread over to his groins.
Yes, another fissure had just wrecked Arstol’s crystal armour in the back spine.
It was aside the patched cracks that ran across his skirt of glass, which had lain forgotten like an old scar.
Yet now that Arstol’s glass body cracked up anew – and from neck to bottom this time round – the heirsen’s old wound came up fresher with the new.
So then, Arstol was faced with his buried flaw now. And along with the fresh.
Yes, indeed, there wasn’t any mystic paint to use to hide Arstol’s flawed spots today. The North prince did face everything him.
And from the extensive flaws to the pains of everything, Arstol was left to face himself.
But soon enough, the young prince began wishing that there was someone who could possibly come to his aid.
He desired to find someone who could take him out of that dreadful place, even when he knew how impracticable his hopes were.
Arstol hoped and longed for so long. But still, no one showed up.
The prince wept bitterly in that moment of hopelessness. And just as he was falling asleep for loss of strength, he was jolted back by a sound of footsteps approaching.
Then Arstol’s cage was bolted opened and his blindfold thrust away.
And when the prince parted his hurting eyes open in the dim light around, he marked that his rescuers were two sturdy bastards.
However, on a closer study, Arstol observed that it didn’t seem like the bastards were going to rescue him.
Particularly with the manner in which they hauled him along.
The bastards held Arstol in both arms and walked him out of the cave, hauling the noble off to a standing two in the far distance.
Arstol asked those cold fellows about what they were going to do with him. But the bastards didn’t answer him a word. They only kept dragging him ahead.
In a short while, the North prince observed that the persons standing in the far distance were heirsen princes. So Prince Arstol was filled with lots of hope again.
However, those heirsen princes were backing the approaching party as they talked about a thing or two. And so, Arstol couldn’t figure who they were and why they came for him.
The bastards eventually brought the North prince to meet the heirsen nobles. And both bastards bowed for the two.
Arstol was surprised at what was happening. He shot a question at the two nobles who were still whispering something to each other.
The North prince spoke with some burning impatience.
‘Who are you two? Did you come to save me? Please let me see your face. Are you really here for me?!’
The two heirsens turned about… and it was the princes who masterminded everything that befell Arstol.
It was Xandur and Celson.
But Arstol never knew they orchestrated his predicament. He just wondered how they ever knew he was captured down there.
OUT 1ST OF NOVEMBER!
Yes, Prince Arstol hadn’t known the two princes to be his sworn enemies; as the North prince didn’t see their faces when he was first captured by them in West Stongate.
Now, on seeing his great hero’s face, Arstol gasped with utter delight.
‘Ah, it’s Prince Xandur of Olde Glassfield!’
Xandur smiled and then squinted an eye at Celson to signal to that Arstol didn’t know his enemy still.
And Celson nodded quietly, flashing a quick smile at Xandur.
Xandur turned back his eyes to Prince Arstol. ‘What are you doing here, Highland North?’ he queried.
He added just as soon: ‘I got a raven-borne letter from the bastards, informing me you are in their hold.
‘And that is why I couldn’t help but come seek you down here, Arstol! What exactly are you doing here, Protector of Highland North?!’
Arstol was utterly ashamed and embarrassed, as Xandur’s last question spelled out the inappropriateness of his venture.
Yet Prince Xandur did purposely wield that stick so.
Especially so that the North prince wouldn’t linger long, wondering why an heirsen prince had a cordial relation with the world of darkness beneath them.
It was so the North prince wouldn’t suspect that the great conqueror of yesterday was now an ally of the Black Pit.
Thus, Arstol didn’t consider the thought for long, before Xandur’s question made him snap out of the suspicion.
Now Prince Arstol felt sorry not for the fact that he broke the Father’s giant heart. But he was sad and ashamed for just one thing.
That he was standing before his hero as a failed warrior.
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© July 2021 Kayode & Tola Olla