The Rival Lovers
Far away, in a land called Sirine, there lived a princess named Jewel, with dark brown hair and grey-green eyes. Jewel lived with her parents and younger brother in the royal palace.
That night there was to be a ball. Jewel had just finished getting ready when there was a knock on the door.
“Who is it?” Jewel asked.
“Keven, I have come to escort you to the ball.” A boy’s voice said.
Jewel glanced in the mirror, and then opened the door. There, standing in the doorway, was her fifteen-year-old brother, Prince Keven.
“Jewel, you look lovely!” he exclaimed when his eye fell on her.
“Thank you.” Jewel said, with a soft smile.
Keven held out his arm, and Jewel took it. A moment later, they stepped into a room. Queen Kayleen and King Ronald, their parents, were standing there, waiting for them.
“We are going to go greet the guests.” Queen Kayleen told them.
“All right. We’ll be right there.”
Queen Kayleen and King Ronald left the room. Keven and Jewel were just about to follow them, when a page came in.
“Prince Leos is here.” He announced.
In came the prince, he was the younger brother of the King of Noto, a neighboring country of Sirine. Prince Leos was tall and quite handsome.
“Ah, Princess,” he said, “May I have the pleasure of escorting you to the ballroom?”
Jewel hesitated, and Prince Leos took this as affirmative. He removed her hand from Prince Keven’s hand, and off they went.
“Jewel, you are quite quiet.” Prince Leos said, “If something is bothering you, you can confide in me.”
“Oh, it is nothing.” Jewel said.
“Well, you still may tell me, we are going to be married in two months.”
By now they had reached the ballroom. “I said, nothing is bothering me,” Jewel replied coldly. She removed herself from the grasp of Prince Leos and walked away.
He stared after her, and then looked around, no one seemed to have noticed the Princess’s obvious disapproval as she departed from his presence.
The prince was wrong, a pair of sharp eyes had seen the entire scene. The person was in the far end of the ballroom. They belonged to a young knight, named Sir Riley. He smiled quietly, and then sauntered over to where the Princess was. Prince Leos had already arrived, and he stood near the Princess. He kept interrupting Jewel to ask questions. She was growing quite annoyed.
As Sir Riley stood there, a lady joined him. Her face was hidden behind her fan.
“Isn’t the Princess lovely?” she asked in a sweet voice.
“Indeed, she is.” Replied Sir Riley.
“Wouldn’t it be a pity if she died young like the princess of Azlio did?”
Sir Riley started, and then looked down at the lady.
“Let us hope not.” He said, in a slightly wary tone.
“Ah, but you should be prepared for anything.” The lady whispered.
“Who are you?” demanded Sir Riley.
The lady quickly turned and disappeared into the crowd. Sir Riley gazed after in puzzlement. Then he shuddered, the lady had been Lady Arthleena, the widow of a knight that had fallen off a cliff while riding along a mountain path. His widow had gone out of her mind, and spent her time telling people that they might die. She was considered dangerous and was going to be locked away. How she got into the ballroom Sir Riley did not know.
Sir Riley turned back to the others. After he listened to their conversation for a moment, he slipped away. Jewel glanced up and saw him leave. A moment later, she excused herself and followed him. Jewel stepped out into the dark garden. She went to the back corner. “Riley?” Jewel called softly.
His figure appeared. In a moment, she was clasped in his arms.
“Did you tell your father?” Sir Riley asked in a low voice.
Jewel was silent.
“Jewel, did you?”
“No,” Jewel whispered.
“Jewel!” Sir Riley said, “You must tell him.”
Jewel began to cry softly, “Oh, Riley! I can’t bring myself to! He’s set on my marriage to Prince Leos.”
“Jewel, everything will be all right,” Sir Riley said, holding her tightly. After a moment he spoke again, “The next chance you or I get, we must tell your father that we love each other.”
* * * * *
In the ballroom, Prince Leos saw the Princess leave. A couple minutes later, he followed. Creeping up in the bushes, he looked out. Jewel stood there in a man’s arms. Soon, the man turned, and in the moonlight, he saw it was Sir Riley. Prince Leos narrowed his eyes. Angrily he scowled. He would get Jewel to explain this, she was promised to him. Quietly he slipped away.
Jewel and Sir Riley parted, Jewel returning to the ballroom. Sir Riley stood in the garden, thinking. He loved Jewel very much. Prince Leos made him angry, always forcing himself on Jewel. But, Sir Riley had to admit, he was handsome. He also had perfect manners around the king. Sir Riley hoped that Jewel would tell the King when her next chance came.. Little did he know, there was not going to be another chance.
Sir Riley did not return to the ball, instead he went home. He had no wish to encounter Prince Leos again.
End of Chapter One
(Yay! It's the last story in the series! If you are not being tagged, and would like to be when new chapters come out, let me know!)
Jewel, in the ballroom, was the center of attention. She was unusually quiet that evening, her friends noticed. Jewel was well known for her laugh; it was happy and carefree sounding, but this evening she didn’t laugh. She was absorbed in her thoughts; she knew that she must tell her father that she loved Sir Riley, but she was afraid to. Also, Prince Leos would be angry, he already didn’t like her to speak of any man besides himself. Finally, Jewel decided to tell her father in the morning.
The young Countess Meralynn stood near the Princess. She listened to the others talking, but her eyes kept straying towards the beautiful Slavinder gemstone necklace that Jewel was wearing. Why doesn’t my father get me one of those. She thought crossly. He has enough money. It wasn’t fair, just because Jewel is a princess means that she gets everything beautiful.Countess Meralynn grew more and more jealous. She wanted that necklace, and she was going to get it, no matter what.
In the corner of the ballroom, there was a person. He had sharp beady eyes, and they watched the princess. He saw her dismiss herself, saying she did not feel well. He smiled maliciously. Then he left also. Getting into a carriage, he drove away.
Jewel went to her room. She lay in bed, for a while, and then fell asleep, a smile on her lips.
The moonlight streamed through the window.
Suddenly a shadow fell across the room. The window slid open, a figure appeared and slipped into the room. It crept over to the bed. The figure was wearing a black cape and was masked. It stood looking down at the Princess. The figure leaned over, and then its black gloved hand drew something from its belt. Lifting it, the figure plunged it downwards.
Then, turning, the figure stepped over to the desk. It quickly wrote something on a paper. Stepping back to the window, the figure slipped through. The black cape caught on something, and the figure pulled it free. The window closed, and the figure climbed down the trellis, and into the garden. It disappeared down the path, the black cape fluttering behind.
* * * * *
The maid hurried down the corridor to the Princess’s room. She knocked, there was no answer. Quietly she opened the door, and stepped in, the Princess lay asleep on the bed. Suddenly the maid froze in horror, and then screamed! For the Princess had a dagger in her heart!
The maid turned and ran screaming towards the door. Prince Keven met her. “What is it, Elise?” he asked.
The maid pointed towards the bed. Prince Keven looked, and then stood staring. He turned and ran down the corridor. He burst into a room. King Ronald and his trusted councilor Lewin were in it.
“What is it, Keven?” asked the king, upon seeing Keven’s pale, horrified face.
“It is Jewel!” Cried Keven hoarsely, “She has a dagger in her heart!”
The King and Lewin stared at each other. They followed Keven back to Jewel’s room. King Ronald went over to the bed.
“Get Doctor Harrison!” he ordered.
Elise, who was still standing there, obeyed quickly.
King Ronald stood gazing down at his beautiful daughter. Keven dropped down beside the bed and touched her hand; it was ice cold.
“Jewel,” he muttered brokenly.
His head sank, and soon his sobs were heard. King Ronald laid his hand on Keven shoulder. Lewin stood watching the father and son who had lost one of the most precious things in the world.
He was turning to go, when he noticed the note on the desk. Stepping over, he picked it up. He drew in his breath sharply. The paper said, in bold clear print: ‘Revenge! – The Caped Avenger.’
“It ought to say, ’The Caped Villain!” Muttered Lewin, “Imagine, killing a beautiful young girl for revenge.”
Hearing a noise, he turned. It was Doctor Harrison.
“What is it?” the doctor asked.
Lewin motioned silently towards the bed. The doctor stepped over. He looked down. “The Princess!” he exclaimed, unbelievingly, “What happened?”
“We don’t know.” Lewin said quietly, “But whoever did it, left this note.” Lewin pointed towards the desk.
Doctor Harrison studied it. “Hmmm.” Was all he said.
Then he turned to the king. “I’m sorry, your majesty, but you will have to leave.”
The King nodded, as if in a daze. He touched Keven’s shoulder. The boy looked up. “We have to go break the news to your mother.” King Ronald said, quietly
Keven obeyed silently. Lewin watched them go, and then he turned to the doctor. “What a dreadful thing to happen.” He said.
The doctor nodded. Lewin left the room. Doctor Harrison went over to the bed. He stood looking down at the lovely girl. Never again would he hear her happy laugh. He bent over and picked up a pale, cold hand. Automatically he checked for a pulse. He dropped the hand, and then stopped. Quickly he picked it back up again. Yes, there was a heartbeat!
“I must be going crazy!” he muttered. There was a dagger in her heart, how could she be alive? Checking closer, he saw that, the dagger had missed her heart. The dagger had logged the wound. He pulled out the dagger. Blood began to seep through. Quickly the doctor plugged it. Then he leaned over and placed his ear over her heart. Sure enough, it was beating. It wasn’t strong, but it was there.
The doctor stepped into the hall, seeing a maid he called out, “Get Doctor Brownly, and hurry!”
The maid disappeared. Doctor Harrison stepped back into the room and began to get his supplies ready. A few moments later, Doctor Brownly arrived. Doctor Harrison hurried over. “You heard what happened?” he asked.
Doctor Harrison motioned towards the bed. Doctor Brownly muttered an exclamation of horror.
“Thomas, I think I’m going crazy.”
Doctor Brownly looked at him, “Nonsense Frank.”
“John, I think that I heard a… a heartbeat!”
“Impossible!” exclaimed Doctor Brownly, “You can’t be stabbed in the heart, yet live!”
“Check for yourself.”
Brownly looked at him, and then stepped over to the bed. He felt for a pulse, and his eyebrows went up. He leaned over and placed his ear over her heart. Slowly he straightened. Turning to Doctor Harrison, he said, “I don’t believe it! She’s alive!”
He looked at Doctor Harrison, “Is it possible that we’re both imagining things?”
Doctor Harrison shook his head.
“Well, maybe we want her alive so much that we are?”
Doctor Harrison shook his head again. The two colleagues looked at each other. “But, how is she alive?” asked Doctor Brownly.
“I believe that the dagger missed her heart, and it also clogged the wound.”
“We must do all we can to save her.” Doctor Brownly said quietly.
They sent for Doctor Viroldo and for all the supplies they would need.
End of Chapter Two
(Hmmmmm…sometimes I wonder if this part of the story is medically accurate. My 14-year-old self didn't care, and I don't know if my present self cares either! :) You live and learn...and you'll never know everything.
If you are not being tagged and would like to be when new chapters come out, let me know!)
The Prince Learns the News
King Ronald and Keven slowly went towards Queen Kayleen’s rooms. “This is going to be hard to tell your mother.” King Ronald said, in a low voice.
Keven didn’t speak. A maid met them at the door. “She is asleep.”
The King nodded. “Perhaps itis best to wait a bit before telling her.”
A page came up, “Sire?”
“The people have gathered in the courtyard. They wish to know if it is true that the Princess is dead.”
“I shall go and tell them myself.”
King Ronald advanced to the balcony. Below him, people were huddled in little groups all over the courtyard. When the King stepped out, they gathered to hear what he had to say. The King looked out at them. Then he spoke, “My people, you wish to know if it is true that the Princess is no longer alive?”
A murmur ran through the crowd.
“Well, it is. The Princess has been murdered!”
The people gasped.
“I trust that you will help hunt down the murderer of your beloved Princess.”
“Yes! Yes!” someone in the crowd shouted. The others echoed his cry.
Just then a page tapped the King on the shoulder.
The page spoke in low tones to the king.
“Impossible!” the King exclaimed.
The page continued to speak. When the King remounted the balcony, he had tears in his eyes. “Thank God! The Princess still lives, it may yet be possible to save her.”
The people cheered.
“I trust that you will still hunt down the person who attempted to do this dreadful deed?”
“Yes!” cried the people.
The King turned and went back into the palace.
The Countess Meralynn stepped out of her carriage. She arrived just in time to see the King step out on the balcony. Her lips tightened when she heard the news. When it was announced that the Princess was not dead, she fainted. Her companion, Sir Eswold, caught her. Laying her on the carriage seat, he fanned her. When she regained consciousness, she lifted her head. Her mind span, the very girl she had envied had almost been murdered. Some of the others might have noticed her behavior and had put it rightfully down to jealousy. Then while they thought about it, it would grow on them. And then they would report her as having threatened the princess. Oh, why wasn’t I nicer that evening? Father will never forgive me if I ruin our family name. Meralynn thought remorsefully.
* * * * *
Into the courtyard rode Prince Leos. Dismounting, he gave his horse to a stable hand. Entering the palace, he met a page.
“Ah, prince!” exclaimed the page, “tis a tragedy!”
“What has happened?” asked Prince Leos.
“Someone has attempted to murder the Princess.” Replied the page, “But in their haste, the murderer missed her heart, and she still lives! At the present moment, they are doing their best to save her.”
The prince went pale, “How could this be!” he muttered.
Looking up he saw some knights mounting their horses.
“Where are they going?” he asked.
“They are going out to search for a clue as to who the murderer is.”
“I see,” murmured the prince, “Where is the Princess?”
“In her chamber.”
Prince Leos hurried through the palace until he arrived at the door to Jewel’s room. Doctor Harrison was just leaving. Stepping out, he saw the prince.
“May I see the Princess?” asked the prince.
“She is unconscious.” Doctor Harrison told him.
“May I see her anyway?”
“Very well.” Doctor Harrison said, after a pause.
The doctor opened the door. The prince stepped over to the bed.
“Are you sure that she is alive?”
“Yes, her heartbeat is quite distinct.”
The prince stood there for a moment, a look of pain on his face. Then he turned and hurriedly left the room.
* * * * *
The King and Keven broke the news as gently as possible to Queen Kayleen. At least now they had some hope that she would live.
End of Chapter Three
(What do you think folks? Is this story any good! PLEASE comment and like this! If you are not being tagged and would like to be when new chapters come out, let me know!)
In the courtyard, another rider appeared, it was Sir Riley. He listened in a daze to the page who told him the news. After the page finished, he stumbled up to the Princess’s room. Doctor Harrison knew him quite well. Sir Riley often visited him in the evening. He knew that Sir Riley loved Jewel with all his heart.
Sir Riley stepped in and saw Jewel and dropped on his knees beside the bed. He reached his hand out and stroked her hair.
“Jewel,” he muttered, lovingly.
He knelt there some time, oblivious to the doctors. Finally, Doctor Harrison reached out and tapped Sir Riley’s shoulder. “Riley, you had best go.” The doctor said quietly.
“Is there anything that I can do to help?”
The doctor shook his head. Sir Riley turned to the door. As he did so, he saw the note. Picking it up, he slipped it into his pocket. The doctors went back to work.
In a little while, there was a knock.
“Humph, is everybody in the entire kingdom going to come and visit?” Doctor Brownly muttered.
He opened the door. A lieutenant stood there. “Sorry to intrude, but we wish to investigate the premises.” The soldier told him, “Perhaps we will find a clue as to who the murderer is.”
“Just a moment.” Said Doctor Brownly.
He turned and spoke to the other doctors. Then Doctor Harrison turned to the lieutenant.
“Very well, we will move the Princess to another room.”
Carefully Jewel was transported to the room across the corridor. The soldiers began to search the room.
“Lieutenant!” called a soldier, standing near the window.
The soldier held up a piece of black cloth. “It was caught on the trellis, sir.”
“Ah, the trellis!” exclaimed the lieutenant.
He leaned out the window and studied the ivy. It was broken and wilted in places. Then the lieutenant turned to a solider.
“Find the Princess’s maid and bring her to me. I wish to question her.” The lieutenant ordered.
The soldier disappeared. Just a moment later, Doctor Harrison stood in the doorway. “Lieutenant?”
“There is a note on the desk.”
Doctor Harrison turned towards the desk, and then stopped in surprise. “Why, it’s not there!”
“Not there? What did it say?” asked the lieutenant.
“Well, I think it went like this, ‘Revenge! – The Caped Avenger.’”
The lieutenant nodded. “If I interpret correctly, it’s ‘The Black Caped Avenger’”
“Why do you think that?” Inquired the doctor.
The lieutenant held up the piece of black cloth.
“You think that’s part of his cape?”
“Yes. It was caught on the trellis outside the window.”
The soldier stepped in with the maid, Elise.
“Ma’am, was this window unlocked last night?”
“Why, yes, it was. The Princess likes to sleep with it open. But, I believe she did not do so last night. But the window was unlocked.
The maid left the room.
“So, that’s how he got in.” muttered the lieutenant, “In the window, and out again. His cape must have caught on the trellis as he climbed down.”
“I suppose that’s what happened.” Said the doctor.
“Doctor, could I have the dagger?” asked the lieutenant, “I know it probably won’t have any fingerprints, but perhaps we can trace the owner. Though, we probably won’t be able to.”
The doctor left and in a moment returned with the dagger.
The lieutenant continued his search of the room.
“If only I had that note.” The lieutenant murmured, “We just might be able to trace the handwriting.”
They completed their search and left.
End of Chapter Four
Sir Riley stood in the garden. He held in his hand the note that had been on the desk. Holding it up to the light, he studied it. A stick cracked behind him. Stuffing the paper in his pocket, he turned. Prince Leos was standing in the bushes.
“Ah, the poor knight is distressed over the accident to his lady.” Prince Leos said, mockingly.
Sir Riley face grew pale. Prince Leos laughed. His eyes strayed towards Sir Riley’s pocket. Sir Riley stepped forward.
“What do you want, prince?”
“Oh, just thought I’d say hello.” The Prince replied.
He turned and disappeared in the foliage. Sir Riley gazed after him, seething with rage.
“The monster!” Sir Riley muttered, “Perhaps it is best if Jewel dies! I would rather she did so, then have her marry him!”
* * * * *
Doctor Harrison worked steadily, moving about the room. His mind also was active. He knew that Sir Riley loved the Princess, though he did not comprehend just how passionately.
The good doctor hoped that Sir Riley would not be rash. For the doctor loved Sir Riley as if he was his own son. He hoped the princess would live, for Sir Riley’s sake, as well as her’s.
* * * * *
The Royal Guard combed the castle, searching for clues. They worked their way towards the butler’s quarters. He met them at the door.
“Purvis, we must search your rooms.” The lieutenant told him.
“W-why?” stuttered the butler, nervously.
“We are searching for clues of the murderer.”
Purvis let them in. the soldiers began to search the rooms. One of them spotted a black cloak hanging behind the door.
The lieutenant stepped over and picked up the cloak. Out of his pocket he took the piece of cloth that they had found. The material was the same. The lieutenant fingered the cloak, and his finger caught. Looking closer, the lieutenant saw that there was a tear. He held the scrap up against it. It matched exactly. Purvis stood watching. The lieutenant turned.
“This is your cloak?”
Purvis looked at it and swallowed nervously.
“I’ve never seen it before.” He stuttered.
“Seize him!” Commanded the lieutenant.
The soldiers grasped the butler’s arms firmly, and he was dragged off. The lieutenant watched them go. Then he turned to the remaining soldiers.
“Search the premises carefully.” He ordered.
Then he turned and left.
King Ronald frowned. “Purvis? You are sure, Lieutenant Garrin? He has always done a very good job. And he’s been with us ten years.”
“Well, the cloak was in his possession. And he acted suspiciously.”
“I suppose that does incriminate him.”
“What shall I do with him, Sire?”
“Put him prison. But treat him kindly, if it turns out not to be him, I do not wish to feel guilty for my treatment of him.”
Purvis was put in prison and kept under close guard.
* * * * *
Sir Riley sat in his chair, buried in thought. A servant brought in a cup of coffee, but he waved it away. When the servant left, Sir Riley pulled out the note once more. Carefully he studied it. He reached his hand towards his head and ran his fingers through his hair. As he brought his hand down, his fingers brushed the white ravelotte in his buttonhole. It had wilted in the heat. Seizing it, he was about to throw it away, but a thought suddenly he had a thought. He gazed at the flower for a moment. Then he hurried into his bedroom. About ten minutes later, he returned, looking puzzled. Going out, he mounted his horse and rode off to the palace.
When he arrived, he handed his horse to a stable hand. The he went out to the garden. Carefully, he searched the area where he and Jewel had stood. When he had finished, he stopped. The puzzled look had been replaced by one of befuddlement.
Sir Riley returned to the courtyard. There a page greeted him.
“Ah, Sir Riley!” the page exclaimed, “Have you heard the news? They have arrested the butler.”
“The butler!” repeated Sir Riley, in amazement, “You mean Purvis?”
The page nodded.
“But Purvis was…” Sir Riley started to say, and then he paused. A pleased look appeared on the young knight’s face.
Sir Riley returned home, to think. Repeatedly, Sir Riley went over the events of the night before. A servant stepped in.
“Have you cleaned the suit that I wore last night?”
“No, sir. I was just going to do so.”
Sir Riley looked thoughtful, and then he spoke, “John, would you get me a new ravelotte flower? This one has wilted in the heat.”
John handed Sir Riley a fresh flower. Sir Riley placed it in his buttonhole.
Sir Riley settled down and dozed off. Suddenly he was interrupted, by a knock.
“Come in.” he muttered drowsily.
The door opened. In stepped the Captain of the Royal Guard. Sir Riley sprang to his feet.
“What is it, Harvell?” asked Sir Riley, he knew the captain quite well.
“I’m very sorry Sir Riley, but you are under arrest.”
“What!” cried Sir Riley.
“I am forbidden to speak to you.” Captain Harvell said.
Soon Sir Riley arrived at the palace. He stood before Lewin.
“May I ask with what I am charged?” asked Sir Riley indignantly.
“Attempted murder.” replied Lewin.
Sir Riley went white, and then asked, in a quiet voice, “Of whom?”
“The Princess Jewel.”
“The Princess!” exclaimed Sir Riley, “But just a few hours ago I heard that you had arrested the butler.”
“We did.” replied Lewin, “But for all we know, he is your accomplice.”
Sir Riley stood on silence, then he spoke, “Do you have any evidence?”
Lewin reached down and picked up something. He held it out towards Sir Riley. The young knight stared. Then he picked it up. It was a white ravelotte flower. Sir Riley was well known for having bred his own flower. He always wore one, no one else did so; for there was no way to get one.
“Where did you find it?” asked Sir Riley.
“The maid, Elise, found it in her mistress’s room. She put it in her pocket and did not think of it until just a moment ago.” Lewin said quietly, “Everyone knows you alone wear this flower. You must have dropped it when you attempted to murder the Princess.”
Sir Riley stood holding the innocent looking flower.
“So, that’s where it went.” he muttered, for the flower had been what he was looking for. He could not find the one that he had worn the night before. It had bothered him. Now it turned up, making trouble. He must have dropped it in the garden, and the murderer found and used it to throw suspicion on Sir Riley.
“Put him in a cell.”
Sir Riley was brought in to the prison and thrust in a cell. The door clanged shut.
End of Chapter Five
(I remember spending so much time on this part of the story! It still is one of my favorite parts, though. Maybe because The Captain of The Royal Guard shows up, and he's always been one of my favorite characters. Perhaps I should write a story about him, since he really doesn't get any real story line in any of my books. He does have an interesting backstory in my head... :) If you are not being tagged when new chapters come out and would like to be, let me know!)
Sir Riley stood there, looking out between the bars.
“Well! Sir Riley!” exclaimed a voice behind him.
Sir Riley turned, there stood Purvis.
The butler smiled, “May I ask what you are doing here?”
“Same reason you are.”
“Murder?” Asked Purvis, with a wry smile.
“Purvis, I’m sorry for not telling them that you had been at my house last night. I had hoped to use you for a blind, while I carried out my plan to capture the true murderer.”
“That is all right.” then Purvis smiled, “Though how you are going to capture him while you are in here, is beyond me.”
Sir Riley scowled, “This was not part of my plan.”
Purvis turned to hide his smile. Then he heard a sound. It was low and rumbling. He turned to find Sir Riley laughing.
“This is hilarious!” he gasped, “Here we both are, in jail, and neither one of us is the criminal, yet we are in here, and he’s out there!”
Sir Riley laughed harder, “So much for my plan!”
The guard came over to see what all the noise was about. He found both prisoners gasping for breath between spasms of laughter.
“Say, what is going on?” he demanded, gruffly.
“Nothing!” gasped Sir Riley.
They both began laughing harder, if that was even possible.
The guard walked away muttering. He met a fellow guard.
“Those prisoners! They’re in there laughing hysterically over nothing!”
“Let me see.” asked the other.
He looked through the bars. The two were still laughing.
“Hmm. Maybe they’re out of their minds.” he suggested, “If so, I’ve never seen it happen so abruptly. But then, I’ve never seen it happen at all.” And the he was laughing too.
The other guard scowled at him. “Why don’t you go were you belong; in the garbage pit.”
The other guard returned to his post, still laughing.
When Sir Riley and Purvis gained control of themselves once more, they sat down.
“Whew, you know, I think we almost lost our minds there.” gasped Sir Riley.
“Impossible! You never had a mind to lose!” snickered Purvis.
Sir Riley glared at him. “I thought butlers were supposed to be dignified.”
“You’re forgetting, I’m not a butler anymore, I’m a prisoner.”
“All right, time to get serious.” said Sir Riley, “How are we going to get out of here?”
Both men sat down to think.
Purvis had been moved to a separate cell. Sir Riley sat staring at the stone wall across from him. The sun shone through the barred window. Suddenly the sun was blocked. Sir Riley looked up, and then leapt to his feet, and went over to the window. He spoke in a low voice. A hand passed through between the bars. Sir Riley grasped it fervently. Then the shadow disappeared. Sir Riley turned away from the window. He did not sit back down, but paced the cell, with quick nervous steps.
The next afternoon, the same thing happened again. This time, however, the hand passed through a small bottle and a long thin object wrapped in a cloak. Sir Riley slipped them under his cot.
That evening, Sir Riley listened to the steady trap of the guard’s feet, marching up and down the corridor. A boy brought down a cup.
’Ah, finally!” exclaimed the guard, “Put it down there.”
The boy set it down on a bench, about two feet away from Sir Riley’s cell door. The guard and the boy stood talking for a moment, their backs to Sir Riley. Carefully he slipped out the bottle and cloak. Opening the bottle, he looked inside. Then he unwound the cloak, inside was a sword. He sprinkled some of the contents of the bottle on the tip of his sword. Sticking it between the bars, he dipped it in the cup. After swishing it around, he drew it back. Quickly Sir Riley pushed the bottle and sword under the cot again, just before the guard returned.
After checking on his prisoner, who seemed to be asleep, the man sat down on the bench. He picked the cup up and drank its contents and sighed happily. Then he set the cup down on the bench again. Slowly his head began to bob. Presently Sir Riley could hear him snoring.
Carefully Sir Riley took the bottle and set it on the ground. He crushed it with his heel. Then picking up the pieces, he threw them out the window. Sir Riley then wrapped himself in the cloak. Taking the sword, he used it to take the keys from the guard. Unlocking his cell, he stepped into the corridor. He crept along the passage. Meeting no one, he stepped into the prison courtyard. The guards were talking in a corner. Sir Riley slipped through the gate without them noticing. In the outer courtyard, he went towards the stables. There a figure met him. It passed him the reins to his horse.
In a whisper Sir Riley asked, “How is the Princess?”
Sir Riley mounted and left. He rode back to his own castle. The door was opened by John.
“Who is it?”
“It is I, John!”
“Oh, tis you, Sir Riley.”
There was not a trace of surprise in John’s voice. Sir Riley smiled, he had never seen John excited about anything.
“I need a change of clothing, a fresh horse and food.”
“Yes, sir, right away.”
In less than half an hour, Sir Riley was off. He rode quickly north. He was in the hill country by the time the morning sun rose over the horizon.
* * * * *
The relief guard turned the corner. He spotted the guard, sound asleep. Walking over, he shook him, “Wake up!”
The guard continued sleeping. The other guard turned and peered in Sir Riley’s cell. It was empty! The guard turned and ran up the steps and sounded the alarm. Sir Riley’s guard had been drugged.
The man that had guarded the prison courtyard was questioned. He told them that only two people had passed by the cell window.
“Who were they?”
“Prince Keven on his way to the stable, and John, you know, the servant of Sir Riley.”
“Ah, he must have snuck something to Sir Riley. Place him under arrest.”
* * * * *
Meanwhile, Sir Riley arrived at a small log cabin deep in the dark forest. A man stepped out. It was Sir Anthony, an Azlion knight who helped in the search for the villain.
“Sir Riley!” he exclaimed.
Sir Riley leapt off his horse. “I need to speak to you.”
They spoke for a long while. Sir Anthony paced up and down the room.
“I don’t know.”
“Please, I have stated the circumstances and told why I believe this the only way.”
“Yes, I know, and I believe you right, but I don’t know.”
Sir Anthony pulled his hand out of his pocket, and a paper drifted down. Sir Riley picked it up. His eyes grew wide.
“Sir Anthony, who wrote this note?”
Sir Anthony looked puzzled, leaning over he flipped the note over and pointed to the signature.
“Look.” Sir Riley pulled out of his pocket the note written by the villain. He held the notes next to each other. Sir Anthony looked at them.
“Why, the handwriting matches!” he exclaimed in surprise.
“The person who wrote these notes is the villain!”
“What! But he is…I know him myself and…”
“Yes, but I have showed you the evidence and stated the facts. He is the murderer.”
Sir Anthony looked at Sir Riley. “This means that disaster has struck and the reputation of many is at stake.”
“Yes, and there is little that we can do.” Replied Sir Riley.
“But, who is going to tell the king?” asked Sir Anthony.
“All right, but what are you going to be doing?” Sir Anthony asked.
“The dirty work.” Sir Riley said meaningfully.
“You mean…” Sir Anthony asked.
“Well, I wish you luck and hope you succeed.”
“Thank you, I wish you luck also.” answered Sir Riley.
“Thanks, I’ll probably need it. This is not going to be easy.”
The two knights parted, each going their own ways. Before they parted, Sir Riley handed Sir Anthony a note.
“Deliver this to you know who.” Sir Riley said.
“Of course,” replied Sir Anthony.
End of Chapter Six
(I hope you enjoyed this chapter! If you are not being tagged when new chapters come out, and would like to be, let me know!)
A Regretted Promise
King Ronald sat in his study. He had imprisoned Sir Riley, only to have him escape. To tell the truth, Ronald did not feel that Sir Riley was the murderer. But there still was the flower, and Sir Riley would not tell him where he supposedly lost the flower. He had said that he would sometime, but not then. Ronald had warned Sir Riley that not telling everything would only make things worse, but Sir Riley stubbornly refused to tell him.
Not only this matter had made his life chaos, but the fact that they discovered an enemy spy from Siddel. He had managed to get into the ball. When he was discovered, they barely missed capturing him. This probably meant a war with Siddel, and probably with its ally Ronté.
Doctor Harrison stepped in.
“Sire,” he said, quietly, “The princess would like to speak to you.”
Ronald hurried to Jewel’s room. He stood by her bed.
’What is it, my dear?”
“Papa, I must tell you something, but first let me ask this, is it true that Sir Riley is imprisoned?” Jewel asked softly.
Ronald started in surprise. Then he asked sharply, “Jewel, what does this knight mean to you?”
Jewel lay still for a moment, then said quietly, “Papa, I know you have promised me to Prince Leos, but, papa, I don’t love him. I love Sir Riley.”
Ronald’s head span. Could this be true? That his daughter loved a simple knight? And that he himself promised his own beloved daughter to someone that she did not love? When he gained control of himself, he gazed at his daughter.
“Jewel are you sure that you love Sir Riley?”
“With all my heart, papa. Please, don’t make me marry the prince, I despise him.”
“My daughter, I have promised you to Prince Leos. Now that I know that you love Sir Riley, I know not what to do. I do not want you to be unhappy. I wish that somehow, I could give you to Sir Riley. If I could, that would be wonderful, but I don’t see how I could do it without breaking my word.”
“Well, I shall do my best. I love you dearly, and don’t wish to see you unhappy. If only I knew before now, I wouldn’t have this mess.”
King Ronald, left. His mind was whirling. How was he to get out of this? He wanted Jewel to be happy, but he could not break his word.
End of Chapter Seven
(If you are not being tagged when new chapters come out, and would like to be, let me know!)
Sir Riley headed towards a deserted castle deep in the forest. There he waited, for he had sent a note to the villain and they were to meet there.
At noon, he heard a noise. Into the clearing stepped the man that had attempted to murder the princess.
“Hello.” Said Sir Riley.
“Hello, so you found me out.” Said the man.
The man was…Prince Leos!
“I did not expect you to figure it out so quickly. Though, I knew you would some time.”
“I’m flattered. Tell me prince, why did you try to kill her? You were to have married her.”
The prince laughed bitterly. “Yes, I was going to marry her. But I saw that she loved you, and I could never win her heart.
“The reason I attempted to kill her, I wished to hurt her father, the king.”
“but why did you wish to hurt him?”
“So, you didn’t figure that out? Why don’t you guess?”
“Very well, prince. Is it because he killed your father in battle?”
Prince Leos’ eyes blazed, “So, you know that too! Yes, he murdered my father. I know it was in fair fight, but he should not have done so!”
“He did not know it was your father at the time.”
“So? He killed him anyway. When my father was alive, I had a chance to get the throne. I was my father’s favorite son. But he died and left no will. So, my elder brother has the throne. I hate King Ronald!” Prince Leos exclaimed angrily, “And I hate you, too! You ruined my plans!”
“But it is not because of me that you failed in murdering the princess.”
“I don’t care! I’m going to kill you!”
With that, Prince Leos whipped out his sword, and leapt at Sir Riley.
But Sir Riley had already gotten out his sword and blocked the blow.
Then, began the most stunning and skillful duel ever. Prince Leos sought to destroy the man whom, he considered, to have ruined his plans for revenge. Again, and again he stabbed his sword at Sir Riley, but the young knight’s sword always met each onslaught. Finally, seeing his chance, Sir Riley ran his antagonist through the shoulder. The prince dropped his sword and gripped his shoulder. His face was white with fury.
“Now, prince, you can do something for me. Sign this confession.” Said Sir Riley, panting.
“Never!” screamed Prince Leos, in rage.
Sir Riley placed the point of his sword against the prince’s throat.
“Sign it and I shall not kill you as you so richly deserve.”
Sir Riley put more pressure on his sword. Prince Leos went pale. Then he said, ’Very well, if you will let me go free.”
’All right, but I warn you, if I ever see your face again, I shall kill you.”
The prince grasped the pen and paper and quickly signed it.
“Like all murderers you are a coward.” Said Sir Riley, as he took the paper.
Prince Leos glared furiously and would have leapt at Sir Riley, but Sir Riley pressed on his sword.
’Now, get up and ride. Before I kill you.”
The prince mounted his horse and disappeared. Sir Riley gazed after him thoughtfully. Then he carefully folded the paper and placed it in is pocket. He wiped the blood of his sword and then, mounting his horse, he rode away.
* * * * *
“I cannot and will not believe it!” exclaimed King Ronald, “Prince Leos is a perfectly good man, why would he want to murder my daughter?”
“Sir Riley explained it all to me after he had seen the note written by him. He hates you because you killed his father. He might have gotten the throne, but since there was no will, his elder brother has it.”
“Yes, yes. That is all true. But how are you going to prove it?”
“Sir Riley was going to meet the prince and have him sign a confession.”
“Why,” exclaimed the king, “Sir Riley will be killed!”
“I hope not.”
Just then a page stepped in. “Sir Riley.” He announced.
In came the young knight.
“Sir Riley, you made it!” exclaimed Sir Anthony in relief.
Sir Riley handed the confession to the king.
“Prince Leos signed this.” He told the king.
The King quickly read it. He looked up.
’Sir Riley, would you please tell me how this came about?”
“Yes, your majesty, as soon as you release Purvis and John.”
King Ronald gave orders to release the prisoners immediately.
Then he turned back to Sir Riley.
“Now, tell me your story.”
Sir Riley did so. When he finished, King Ronald sighed.
“I am afraid that I have made a mistake. I am very sorry. But, who gave you the cloak, sleeping powder and sword?”
Sir Riley smiled. He reached out and put his hand on Keven’s shoulder.
“Yes. He came to my cell and asked what he could do to help. I told him what I needed. He did a good job.”
“Sir Riley, with what do you want me to award you with? I will grant you anything.”
“I want one thing, the hand of your daughter.”
“You want Jewel?”
“Yes, I love her.”
“Very well, if she loves you also, which she has told me she does, you may have her. This matter, dreadful as it has been, has done one good thing. It has freed me of my promise.”
Just then Doctor Harrison stepped in.
“The Princess is asking for you, Sir Riley.”
Sir Riley looked at the king. He nodded. Sir Riley hurried to Jewel’s room. Keven and King Ronald followed.
Sir Riley dropped on his knees by Jewel’s side.
“Riley.” She whispered.
Sir Riley smiled, then he leaned over and softly kissed her.
King Ronald smiled, then putting his arm around Keven, he whispered, “It seems we have gained our Jewel, only to have lost her once more. But, I have gained another son, and you a brother.
(That's it! I hope you enjoyed this story!)