Dark Princess pt. 2

Oops, I don’t think the Prince saw that one coming. Did you??

Prince Hayden came to a sudden halt, the knights behind him stumbling to not run into him.

“Your Highness?”

Prince Hayden shushed him.

Just then, they all heard unmistakable footsteps from above their heads.

“How is that possible?”

“Simple. Someone is clearly still living in this castle. Hurry, men!”

In his rush, the prince never considered just what could be living in a old seemingly abandoned castle.

They made it to the top of the stairs before slowing to determine where the steps were now.

They sounded once more from down the long hall to the left.

“Come, men.”

The long dark hall ended in large double oak doors, taller than any of the mend but not as large as the entrance doors.

This time, when they pushed, the doors did not budge.

“Is anyone in there? Can you hear me.”

It was completely silent for what seemed to be ages.

Suddenly, the one door on the right creaked open. Sir David halted His Lord, insisting he’d go in first. After all, a knight’s duty is to ensure the protection of not only the people of the land but that of the royal family as well.

He crept in to the dim room beyond the door, Prince Hayden, the page and other knights waiting with baited breath for his report back.

An unearthly scream rang through hall around them, near destroying their ears while their noses were assaulted with the acrid smoke.

“Sir David!”

Prince Hayden shoved past Sir Alexander and his page, entering the dim room.

What remained of Sir David laid discarded in a charcoal lump just inside the room.

Prince Hayden drew his sword, “Who dared to do this! Show yourself!!”

Torches around the room suddenly lit themselves, revealing a sight like none of them had ever seen.

Page Tucker breathed out, “God above…”

No one had seen a dragon in their realm, the last having departed for other lands during their great-great-great ancestor’s days.

Yet, standing in front of them, rage in its smoldering gold eyes, firelight gleaming off of its red scales, was a breathing-albeit angry-dragon.

“Swords aloft, men. Clearly this dragon has something to do with the royal family’s disappearance. We must avenge Sir David!”

Page Tucker moved behind the knights while they moved to Prince Hayden’s side.

He watched, wide eyed, as they rushed the dragon who seemed to toy with who to torch next, as if he was a giant cat and they were simply annoying mice.

He retched as the acrid scent of burnt skin grew prominent once more as Sir Eric was the next victim.

Sir Oliver managed to get a strike in its front leg, causing some amount of pain before the dragon snapped his head off.

But the two knights’ fall provided Prince Hayden with the distraction he needed as he recalled something from an old book he’d read as a child.

As Sir Alexander parried with the dragon, keeping its attention, hoping he wasn’t about to be roasted, Prince Hayden slid under the large dragon. He jabbed his sword as deep as he could reach up into the soft underbelly of the dragon and kept running. He dashed out once it appeared the dragon was falling, legs growing weak from blood loss, just preventing himself from being squashed.

The dragon hit the ground with a large thump that echoed through the halls, shaking the floors as if another earthquake had hit. Sir Alexander moved in front of His Lord. But it didn’t move, even with Sir Alexander tapped its snout.

“I believe it’s dead, Your Highness.”

“Let us move forward then. If the fables of old are true, it was guarding something.”

They turned and left the large room, not seeing any other doors in the room.

They missed the small door leading to antechambers to the side of the large audience room opening.

They further missed the small heeled footsteps entering the room and rage alighting in the violet eyes at the still form of the dragon.

As Prince Hayden, Sir Alexander, Page Tucker reached the bottom of another set of stairs, they heard light footsteps just behind them.

They turned, all three jolting in surprise upon the closeness of the young blonde maiden.

Prince Hayden spotted the tiara in her loose waves and realized, by her age, this must be the lost Princess of Ankanda.

He bowed lightly, “Your Royal Highness…”

Their names had been lost to time.

She curtsied lightly, recognizing his crown marking him as a Prince, though of what country, she did not know.

Her violet eyes rested on each man before returning to the Prince who had straightened.

She spoke, her voice the light melody of a spring robin, “Though I wonder why you have wandered into my castle, awakening me from my mid-day slumber,” her voice turned cold as mid-winter’s frost, “my more pressing question is who killed my dragon?”

©Paula Crofoot

Oops, looks like our Prince just stepped into a hornets nest with this faux pas. Who saw that one coming? How will he explain this…

See you next time!

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