Linda picked up the speed behind Peter. Tim barked furiously and ran with them. Linda’s long skirt caused obstacles while she ran. Her heart pounding rapidly on her rib cage. The hungry hounds still at a pace chased them with growls. With a good dash to ground Peter landed. Linda still gasping for air didn’t know the meaning of the horror struck face of Peter until she felt cold stainless steel material directly pointing on her spine.
The peasants were not allowed to keep an inch foot in the Castle boundary and they really meant it. Linda had just kept her left foot accidentally and the Castle guard’s imprisoned her. Tim barked loud but the guards tossed the knife at both Peter and Tim. They fled to get help. The King of the Castle Rudy was much of human in nature. He let go, if any peasant entered but the guard’s were not his so he had to act. Moreover, the King’s mood was not in its pink. He was frustrated when he heard about the news. He ordered the girl to be brought in the open fighting ground. Linda sleek and street smart, pretty faced a girl of twelve was presented before the King. She was all sweaty and exhausted.
As she arrived, the King departed. It was soon learned by Linda no one was around her except for the black bulls. The wild bulls charged at her but as she was good in running she dogged with narrow escape each time the bulls scraped past her. She was tiring soon. The poverty at home had struck them badly for last 7 months and the early chase by hounds drank all her spirit. Yet she ran hither-thither for her dear life.
Prince Roger, an overprotected only child of King Rudbersh and Chian. The Prince was not allowed to do anything of his own. The early twenties Prince more than wanting to rule wanted to free himself from the four walls of the Castle. “Father, do not torture her using bulls” Prince said. With an awfully loud laugh the King said, “Let the bulls have feast.” “You weren’t like this, your Majesty” Prince said. “My Prince, I have no happiness by leaving the bulls on her, I am frustrated. Give me some ideas to win back what we lost.” “Stop the bulls” Screamed Prince and King nodded. The prince went down and asked the in-charge to stabilize the bulls.
Linda lay on the dried muddy ground. Exhausted, hungry and thirsty. The prince knelt to her side and sprayed cold water on her face. She felt good but wondered who might be giving her a helpful hand. Shocked to see Prince, for the people in Rudy Island saw prince hardly any time. “Are you feeling better?” the prince asked. By ritual, citizens aren’t supposed to have eye contact; she continued to look down and gave a small ‘yes’ which was more like a whisper. Unexpectedly, the Prince flashed the whole jug of cold water on her face. “Wipe you face” Prince said. “Hmm… you look clean now” Smiling the prince gave her two apples and led her out. Peter meanwhile came with their father for the aid but the guards didn’t allow them in. “Father!” battered look gave sympathy to Linda but apples in hand gave a trail of questions look. She smiled at her father and said about the Prince and his willingness to help her.
The King had been watching what his son had done but said nothing, smiled and moved inside. The Island Rudy was loosing all the fights. They had owned the adjoining Threstle Island which was taken aback by Bristlewill King. So much so the Bristlewill King had overpowered King Rudbersh that he owned Island for the namesake. It would be soon publicly taken after the war. Prince said, “Father, can’t we sign a treaty?” “No, my son, it is a revenge” the King said. “How?” “I had conquered their kingdom before you were born and started loosing the battle from last year. Now he wants this kingdom too” the King sipped his vine and continued, “What shall we do? Poor peasants are being harassed and drowned into this.” “We need to sharpen our army and soldiers. Plan new tricks and place spies. We have no other way.” Prince said.
After lots of convincing the next day, the king allowed his son to go out of his own for the very first time. Prince Roger had worn old pair of ordinary cloths so no laymen could recognize him. He kept his sword hidden with him. A few robbers gave a very good start of his lonely journey. They encircled him and ragged. The Prince tried to defeat them using sword but he was no good at it. It was more like a child play. It was something a mass like dropped in between the robbers and Prince. The skunk had spread it’s smell around and the prince could hardly see a figure defeating the robbers.
“It was lucky enough, you pulled me to the other side else I would be stinking like hell” the prince said. “Peter lets go” Linda said. “Wait. Thanks for the help girl. Can you…can” hesitated the prince. “I thought you are Prince, they are supposed to be brave and strong” replied Linda. “I know, but you should know I been brought up in the Castle no one taught me any fight nor— ““Yes, we know the king.” Linda said. “Can you teach me?” Prince asked. Peter’s eyes glittered for now he got a chance to boost about it to his friends. Peter looked anxiously at his sister. “Yes” Linda approved.
Prince sent a word to the Kingdom and without waiting for the reply he went with Linda to her hut. A week of complete fun, work and art the Prince felt a new person in himself. “I know it is hard for all but my father is helpless” the prince said. “My prince, I have heard your father is in search of you. I am sorry to say but you should go, we can not have any more wraths.” Linda’s father said. A sharp tap on the door and without waiting the door flew open and closed hurriedly. “Good gracious, father?” prince said.
“Yes son” the king replied. The king raised his brows at the exceptionally neat room in the congested hut. “We will be landing in this form soon. The war which was set on 10th of this month is not going to be held instead they learned about some disappeared court room and which they say if they would find it, the whole of this island will be theirs and if we do then we get back our place, fortune and command.
“Court room?” prince repeated. “Yes, your majesty. I have heard about it” Linda’s father said. It was the first time the king looked at the middle aged body. “Martin?” gasped the king. “Yes you Majesty. My father was your old servant. He used to tell me every detail of the kingdom.” “I remember him and you. You would be always near kitchen chasing my cat” the king said and a grin passed his velvety cheeks. “Fill me with the details of Court room, Martin” the prince asked.
“It was long time before your Majesty Rudbersh’s father rule this Island. There was a court room where most of all meetings and hunted species and treasures were kept but due to wraths made up by sea it was almost destroyed and the room was seeped down under the sea and portion of land was swallowed by the sea Goddess so they say. I have never seen or experience any of it. My father told me so. The only way to get the court room is to catch the perfect mermaid and answer her question. This was found out by the ancestors and the answer was passed down the generation” Martin looked at the King inquiringly.
“No, Martin. I do remember my father mumbled something about the room when he was in his deathbed but I never took initiative to find out what he tried to say. I feel guilty” the king said. “Why dint my grand father found out the room if he knew the answer?” prince asked. “He could not find the perfect mermaid” Martin replied. Peter served their only remaining vine for the guest to the king and prince. Linda’s face lit up when she heard about adventure and mermaid thoughts made her restless. The king and the prince returned to their kingdom and left a bunch of gold coins to Martin.
The morning was bright and breezy. The small waves made by the sea looked like a whale. Martin was knitting the net. “Father, you said about mermaid, is it true?” Linda asked. He knew what a kid might be thinking. “Yes, I have seen her but heard from my father. They look very lovely but are deadly and they gain whatever they want through cheating” from far distance they could see a big ship heading their way followed by small boats. It was soon heard those were the assassins to conquer this Island. At once, the head of the troop set up the orders to search for the submerged portion of the Castle. Linda saw the prince watching the troops work and he was taking to the king animatedly. Martin was busy doing his work and let Linda wander about. The night was still and the atmosphere was filled with music by Bristlwill Island people. They were expecting to find the lost court room and Rudy Island citizen remained like a spectator. It was midnight and Linda was quite awake. She saw a faint figure moving to the sea. The moon light glittered something which the figure was holding. She understood what it is and who. Linda went out.
“Nice sword Prince” “eh, yeah. My grand father gave me but I think it is of no use. Soon I won’t be called as Prince” said the dejected prince. “No, you will rule” “How? I don’t know anything of mermaid nor about how to find out the lost court room.” They both did not talk for a while. It was then they hound a figure under twilight and heard a sweet mourn. The girl and the prince exchanged glances and without any warning they were drowned. They both were dragged into the water. Deep and deeper, the water turned dark around them. Desperately they tried to come to the surface they were pulled down even more. Suffocation caused them badly, unconscious. The prince and the girl could now feel a hard surface on their wet skin.
Linda opened her eyes and found she was breathing underwater. She saw prince still asleep. Few mermaids with long slim and slimy tails came near her and were playing with her hair. The mermaids spoke something but the voice was unclear. “Eh? Where are we?” the prince asked. “Under water” a mermaid replied. She looked different as compared to others. Her fins white and her tail deep ocean blue. Her eyes doe shaped and ears pointed and pierced. She moved gracefully and her each turn churned the water around the two humans. Prince felt for his sword. It still hung under his belt. It was glowing like a glow worm so bright and sparkling. Prince saw the mermaid eyes glittered at his Amethyst sword. The mermaid said, “The word belongs to us. It had been taken away from us” “I have seen few mermaids move in this sword whenever I took it in my hand. I thought it would be the answer” the prince said. “You see them?” both Linda and the mermaid said. “Yes” said the prince and handed the sword to the mermaid. The moment she took it, the ground on which the humans stood shook badly. It raised itself to a height just below the surface. Mermaid smiled at the prince and said, “You are the one to own this Amethyst sword. Our world is under your guidance.” She handed back the sword to Prince Roger.
It was morning, Martin and the king and his troops were searching the prince and Linda. The sea parted revealed the lost court room. It began to merge itself with the Castle’s main structure and there came the Prince and the young girl from the entrance of the Lost Court Room.