The First to Achieve

I was the third prince of a new kingdom. The kingdom’s name was Urack. Excuse me, let me introduce myself. My name is Harrison Aaron Silverbread III. Anyways, back to the story. My country was in a civil war. Not only that, my fief was the one who started the civil war. The problem was, I was supported them to an extent. It all started like this.
I was sitting on my throne, when at the door to the throne room started shaking. I stood up very quickly and a group of royalist stormed into the room holding up axes, pitchforks, and torches. I was stunned.
“What are you doing in here?” I asked, angered.
“We have seen your support of the general and decided that even though you are royalty, you are our enemy.” The one who appeared to be the leader said.
I grabbed for my sword, stunned that my own allies were threatening to kill me. Suddenly the floor started to shake and a group of our neighboring country’s cavalry. They each pulled out a bow and shot at the royalists. I stood in awe. The biggest enemy of all of Urack in all of it’s short history. This was a bad sign. My allies suddenly became my enemies and my enemies my allies. Then the general of my country, the one trying to over throw my father, the rightful king, walked in.
“Your highness.” General Greyhorn said, bowing.
“What do you want?” I asked quickly.
“Straight to the point, I have always liked that about you.” Greyhorn began. “I will tell you what I want, I want you to aid me in my endeavors.
“I want you to surrender this fief to me, and if you do, I will make you king.”
I stood stunned. “ I thought you would want to be king.”
“You miss understand. I only wish to remove the king from power. I have no wishes to be king myself.”
“And if I deny?” I asked cautiously.
“You see the allies I have made. In an instant I can have them shoot you with their bows and watch you die. You choose.”
I knew the consequences of all three options. Should I join them and win, I would become king and make dangerous enemies from out neighboring countries. Should I join them and lose, my father Archbishop Harrison Aaron Silverbread II would charge me with treason and see it ‘off with my head.’ The last option was this, not to join them, and be killed right now. I knew that all three ways I would die, so I decided to die with the most honor. “No.”
The general’s villainous smile was wiped off his face. “Men, fi…” He stopped in the middle of the word. “Change that. We’ll use him as ransom. His little daddy will not be able to give us the kingdom fast enough if its little life is on the line.” He took out his sword and whacked me upside the head with it. I went out cold with it.



***

I woke up in a dark prison cell in nothing more than a pair of underpants. I heard a small chattering and when I listened closely I heard these words, “Is it him?” and “Could it really be him?”
“Hello?” I said carefully.
“Harrison?” The very feminine voice said.
“Yeah, that’s me, who are you?” I asked kindly.
“It’s me, Laurel, your old friend.” She said.
“Really?” I was stunned.
We talked for several hours, catching up. The door then flew open and standing their was the most gruesome guard I had ever seen he looked at me, then at Laurel and said, “It is almost your turn my pretties.”
“What does he mean? Our turn?” I asked.
“I’m not really sure either. Very few people have survived and most refuse to talk about it. The two people who do talk say that we are put in an arena and are told to fight to the death. One of us kills the other and then they release all sorts for animals into the arena. Generally people don’t survive and if you do then you slowly move up the ladder. If you make it to the top, which has never happened then you enter some kind of international gladiator competition.”
“Cheery, are there any other alternatives?” I asked hopefully.
“One other story, though less common. They put two people of opposite gender in the same room, take them out and then, you know…” She just trailed off; she knew I was getting the message.
The door opened again and General Greyhorn walked bearing my sword and a bow. He handed me the sword and Laurel the bow and shooed us out of the room.
We got outfitted into more suitable clothing, but still not quite armor, and entered a large and spacious room. Grateful that it wasn’t the other option I ran to Laurel. Laurel looked at me, picked up her bow and shot herself. I stood stunned. She killed herself just to let me live.
I looked at the booth where Greyhorn sat. He smiled and pulled a lever and a few gates at different ends of the arena opened.
I gawked at all the animals that poured into the arena. It was a wonder that anybody ever survived these endless waves of beasts. The tigers were terrifying, the lions, lingering in my thoughts. I reached for my sword and quickly was using all the training I had ever learned. Soon I realized that there were no animals. I had won. I was moving up. Moving up to the stage where nobody had ever survived. I looked at Laurel’s corpse angry. If she had just actually fought. If she had fought then I would have been injured and not survived.
The arena competitions continued. I won each one, one after the other. I was the first one ever to achieve the glory I did. I walked into the arena, wondering what size of animal would I be fighting. I was stunned when the gate opened and out walked General Greyhorn. I reached for my sword, he reached for his. He lunged at me and I parried his thrust perfectly. That was the battle. Then I hit his arm and he dropped his sword. I picked it up and said, “I refuse to kill you, even through all you have done to me.”
I walked towards the gate and then left the arena.

***

I bought a horse a quickly rode to the main castle, knowing that now that I escaped, they were bound to attack the castle. I rode through the hall straight to the throne room. My father was sitting on his throne, looking much different then he had just six months ago when I saw him last. That was when the screams started. Several moments later General Greyhorn entered the room. He looked at me and said, “My offer still stands. Kill your father and you can be king.”
Killing those animals was easy for me. I looked at my father, then at General Griffyn Greyhorn, both equal distance from me, and raised my sword.





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