The lady, or the Tiger: an Ending.

September 10, 2010
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...Her decision had been indicated in an instant, but it had been made after days and nights of anguished deliberation. She had known she would be asked, she had decided what she would answer, and, without the slightest hesitation, she had moved her hand to the right.

? ? ?

The young man ran as fast as he could through back alleyways and gardens. CRUNCH! Time was of the utmost importance; he could not afford to waste. CRUNCH! He knew he was being followed. He could hear the footsteps, but he had not known they were this close. CRUNCH! The man quickened his pace.

He looked forward, a twenty foot wall rapidly approached. CRUNCH! Glancing left and right, the man noticed several large hooks and a line of drying garments. CRUNCH! Now was not the time for a conscience. He swiftly tied the clothing into a rope and attached the hooks at the end. CRUNCH!

“Lord, give me strength and stupidity,” the man whispered and threw the makeshift grappling hook over the wall. Right as the man climbed over the side, his pursuers erupted out of the bushes.

“What the- where did he go? WHERE DID HE GO?,” the captain yelled. The soldiers searched frantically, but saw no trace of the man. Atop the wall, he gave a nervous chuckle; It had been too close a call.

“The king will be unhappy to hear of this,” a soldier whispered. As soon as he had said it, the soldier wished with all his might he could take it back. Nine faces turned toward him, drained of color with eyes full with fear. The king was a terrifying man.

The man on the wall had no time to feel sympathy for the soldiers. The kings wrath was frightening, but the death of the one closest to you was more so. He had to get to the arena to save his brother, he was the only family he had left.

He sprinted along the wall, maneuvering in ways seemingly impossible for a six inch wide space. The man sprang out, arms reaching towards a balcony. Mid-air Realization hit him. He had miscalculated, he was falling too fast!

A hand snatched his, saving him from a painful, bone shattering death. The Man looked up and sighed with relief. The princess's chambermaid was there. She tried to pull him up, and after great difficulty managed to get him onto the balcony.

“Were you followed?,” she asked.

“No,” he replied.

“Excellent, follow me.”

She took him to a room and gave him a red silk tunic, fine black leggings, and a ruby ring. Finally, the chambermaid gave him a purple cape. “Throw this cape down to your bother, you must let the truth be known. No one, least of all the king, knows the secret that you and your bother share.” A single tear ran down her cheek as she brushed her lips against his; then she was gone.

The young prince hit the wall and cursed. Life was cruel to those whose position kept them from love. He put the chambermaid out of his mind. There was no way left for them, all he could do was hope he was not too late for his brother. Maybe one love could be saved.

? ? ?

The courtier looked away from the princess, it was too much to bear. He knew she would pick the lady, that was the way the princess was. After everything he and his brother had been through to get here, this was how it was going to end. What an idiotic sense of irony to be seen and punished as a peasant. How curious it was to have to choose what kind of ending he would receive: physical or emotional. The courtier whispered, “could I live without the princess?” He shook his head and a dry smirk slid across his lips. “No. What man could, after seeing so much beauty and feeling such love?”

His decision was made. He strode to the door on the right and put his hand on it. He looked over his shoulder at the princess for the last time and gave her a small smile, his eyes saying the only thing that mattered. I love you. With that he took a step to the left, threw open the other door and ran in.

“NO!,” shouted the princess. Her head fell and tears descended from her lucid green eyes. Never again would she see her lover. The crowd gasped as a nobly dressed man came sprinting and jumped over the rails into the arena.

I am too late! He thought. He reached the door and threw it open.

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