Once Upon A Time...
Author's note: Inspired by my beautiful imagination ;) and the brothers grimm collection or fairytales
Hope you people enjoy it!
Hope you people enjoy it!
Chapter 4Chapter 4
“I got it!” Finn cheered and pumped his fist in the air.
“Shh! You’ll scare the rest way!” I scowled him but I couldn’t hold back a smile.
Finn had finally killed his first deer. It was an impressive sized buck, the first we’d seen in the past few days. It’s been a week since Robin and I brought Finn out to his first hunt and he did well, shooting 3 birds while Robin and I shot 5 though 2 weren’t eatable. The whole time, we had had
We walked up to the dying buck, his breath labored and raspy.
“Ohh man! I did it! I shot it! Did you see that? That was some serious archery back there! I can probably out-shoot you now! Yes!”
“Easy now boy. We’re not done yet. And I doubt you can beat me when it comes to archery.”
I slipped my saxe knife out and ended the deers knife, killing it quickly and ending its pain. I guided Finn through the steps of gutting the deer, taking out the internals and tied ropes around his legs to drag the corpse back to camp. Robin will be happy to see this. He couldn’t join us today, saying something about a Council meeting.
Smiles spread all around when we entered camp with the deer dragged behind us. Some even began to cheer which I was sure inflated Finn’s ego to the size of a giant.
“Trolls!” Someone screamed and I instinctively jumped into action.
I grabbed Finn’s hand and dragged him to the house.
“Stay here and do not come out. No matter who you see. No matter what they say!”
“What? No! I’m coming with you!”
He strapped on his sword (we gave it back to him) but I instantly pushed him back down.
“No! You don’t know what you’re up against. Stay here and don’t get in the way.”
I closed the door before he could say anything and locked it, running out with my own sword and quickly found Robin amongst the chaos.
“There’s a troll that’s been spotted wandering the east side of the forest, heading this way. He’s pretty big. I think Gunther will be perfect for the job.”
“I’ll let him loose.”
I ran through the camp, dodging the people that were franticly trying to get inside. I stopped at the edge of the camp where it met the forest line. There, chained to a heavy, old oak stood a 10 feet tall ogre. Fairytales were surprisingly accurate when it can to describing an ogre. Green, ugly monsters with yellow teeth and a saggy cleft chin. His eyes were small and squinty with big nostrils to match his meaty hands a feet. He had a bald head with only a few whips of greasy hair and ears that were extended and flopped slightly downwards. He wore no shirt, revealing a rotund stomach, scars, and big arms. The only piece of clothing he wore was a scraggly piece of cloth that acted as some old worn pants.
“Gunther!” I shouted and he gave me a toothy grin.
He may be big and ugly but deep down, Gunther was a real softy. We developed a friendship when I was on animal duty and he and I have been friends ever since. Me along with the Snow Queen and Pig are the only ones who can calm him down when he’s on a rampage.
“Come on Gunth, we have a big bad troll that needs a whooping!”
“Troll?” his asked, cocking his head to the side until a look of comprehension crossed over his face. “Troll!”
He stepped over the fence that was created to keep him in (doesn’t work to well) and grabbed me with his meaty hands. When he first did that, I was afraid he would squash me but, surprisingly, he was really gentle. Gunther picked me up and placed me on his shoulder. We grinned at each other and I pulled out my bow, setting an arrow in the string in preparation.
Gunther roared and stumbled forward, heading towards the east forest. People stood and marveled at Gunther until, of course, they scrambled out of the way to avoid being smashed. Robin spotted us and we grinned at each other.
“Follow Robin, Gunther!” I shouted in his head.
He growled in comprehension and trudged on in the forest, knocking down a few trees along the way. The sound on a tree snapping brought my attention to my right. Since Gunther relies on hearing and smell, he heard it as well and sniffed the air.
He turned, completely forgetting about Robin and stomped into a clearing where a troll stood, scratching it head and staring at a screaming child with confusion. Trolls were known to be notoriously dumb and their senses are dulled, especially eye sight. Trolls and ogres are surprisingly similar, the only difference being trolls aren’t green, their feet are really small making them uncoordinated, an unlike ogres, who like to use their hands for bashing and smashing, trolls use things like giant branches or logs.
Gunther growled, his sights never leaving the troll as he plucked me off his shoulder and set me down the ground, nudging me away from him. The troll turned and caught sight of the ogre and instantly recognized him as an enemy. The troll left the child to scurry into the woods and grabbed a log, slamming it hard on the ground as a warning to stay away. He even added a deafening roar for emphasis. Gunther didn’t even pay attention to that and went straight into the bashing. He lunged forward and put all his weight into knocking the troll into the ground. The troll quickly tried to pick himself up but Gunther had him in a headlock as soon as he was steady. He grappled at the winning ogre and growled in frustration until he grabbed Gunther’s hands and jerked his whole body forward, flipping Gunther over his back and hard on the ground. The troll bellowed, stretching the neck muscles and I saw some veins pop in anger. The troll clenched his fists and slammed them hard on the ground, sending the whole forest into a tremble.
“Robin!” I shrieked.
Roots and plants sprouted from the ground and entangled Gunther, strapping him to the ground. I watched in horror as the scene unfolded. I have heard of trolls using magic but I have never witnessed it myself. I know ogres are completely incapable of using magic and right now, he was caught in a death trap.
I acted quickly (and without thinking it through) and fired an arrow with blinding speed. I hit the target, right in the ugly trolls eye. Poor guy would probably be blind forever now in that eye. He howled, and clutched his eyes and I watched as the blood spurred everywhere as he ripped the arrow out.
He spotted me cowering behind a tree with another arrow ready to pierce his other eye when a vine suddenly, grabbed my hand knocking the bow string back. I shouted in surprise and quickly cut it away until another knocked my saxe knife away, grabbing my wrist and pinning me to the ground. More roots and plants snaked over me, strapping me down the same way Gunther was, who was currently, shouting in anger. He let loose a slew of words I didn’t even know he knew.
The troll stomped up to me with a wicked grin, half his face covered in blood and his eye now gone. I heard a shout from the corner of the woods and out came a darting figure, plunging a sword deep into the trolls leg and knocking him hard to the ground. Finn hurried to me and cut away the plants, giving me a hand up with a satisfied grin.
“What are you doing here!” I scowled him and his smirk shifted into a growl.
“I just saved your life! Is it so hard to be appreciated?”
I rolled my eyes and watched as Robin came running into the clearing in a frantic, taking stock of the scene. The troll tried to get up but I sent an arrow into his other foot, keeping him down. It may seem cruel but those wounds will heal in days although his eye might be another case.
“Where were you!” I shouted at him. “Here I was about to be eaten alive by some angry troll while Gunther was helpless and you-” I gasped in realization. “Gunther!”
I turned quickly and picked up my saxe knife, running over to Gunther who was still struggling against the roots. When he spotted me, he instantly relaxed and let me cut him loose without any difficulty. I instantly, gave him a tight hug.
“Are you ok Gunther? Did he hurt you?”
“Gunther fine,” he responded with an unattractive smile.
“I think Gwen is hormonal today,” I heard one of the guys whisper and I turned on them.
“Shut up! It’s your fault for not paying attention,” I pointed at Robin, “and it’s your fault for not listening to me! Gunther is the only one who does any good!”
“I saved you life, Gwen! Show some appreciation!”
Finn turned away before I could say anything else and stomped away into the forest, leaving behind an air filled with tension and anger. I was about to follow him and give him a piece of my mind until Robin placed a hand on my shoulder, holding me back.
“Gwen.” I already knew a lecture was coming on. “He’s right. He saved your life and all you’re doing is yelling at him. You’re just tense from the fight, that’s all. Troll magic can wear anyone out. What you need to do is go home and rest, let Finn simmer down. I’ll see you in the morning when you thinking straight.”
I wanted to argue but Robin wouldn’t let me, turning to Gunther and instructing him to take me home. Gunther scooped me up and in only minutes, he was dropping me through the hole in the roof of our house, surprising the dwarves.
“It’s alright guys. Robin took care of the troll and I’m going to sleep. Night.”
I closed the door to my room before they could question and dropped down in my bed, kicking off only my boots. I guess Robin was right. I was just worn out from the fight and let my anger get the best of me. Finn was only helping. I sighed and knew I was going to have to apologize at some point. Not now though. I was already drifting off into a deep sleep.
King Randal was furious by now, his face red with concentration as he tried his best to not scream and shout at Queen Clara, who was composed and calm as she knew she had won.
“2 more months, Clara! That’s all you get!”
His tacky cape billowed as he turned and left the throne room in a huff, escorted by two of the palace guards. As soon as he left, banging the door shut with a loud boom, Queen Clara dropped the act and dropped her head in her hands, massaging her temples.
2 months, she thought. 2 months to find that little brat and bring him home.
It’s been a week since he disappeared and now, Clara was knocked out of her comfort zone as she began to worry.
What if he really is gone? What if someone killed him and he will never come home like I suspected he would?
Of course, the Queen was not worried for Finn’s sake, but for her own. She had made a deal with King Randal of Avvidina, a deal that could cost her her throne, her country, her fortune. She had promised that Finn would take Randal’s daughter, the disfigured Princess Susandra, as his wife. Not only would she have the satisfaction that her step-son would be married to an ugly, marred princess of such low standers, but she would have also doubled the size of her kingdom. Given, she would have to kill Finn and Susandra before the coronation but there was nothing complicated about that.
And now, Finn is gone and her plans are in jeopardy. She must find Finn quick or it could all crumble to pieces before her every eyes. Unless...
Clara eyed her son, Anastasius, who was teasing a squire in the corner of the room. Perhaps if Finn is not found before the 6th month, he would do well as a substitute. She was sure the King would not mind, as long as his daughter has a suitor in the end. Even he knows that, with her looks, she will never find any other chance at a husband.
The doors blew open and an awkward, stumbling soldier tumbled in, tripping over his own feet. Already, Queen Clara doubted that this was worth her time.
“Finn has just been spotted!” he gushed out and leaned over, panting as he rested on his knees.
Clara’s eyes slightly widened and she felt a grin coming on and the strange need to cackle. But that would be improper for a Queen so instead, she forced a smile and nodded for the soldier to go on. Being a kind and sweet Queen is tiring.
“Around the edges of the Demented Forest! He was seen wandering around, looking angry and upset. The soldier tried chasing after him but Finn had already slipped back into the woods and we all know not to venture in there. It would be suicide!”
Demented Forest? Where have I heard that?
She shook herself out of her thoughts and dismissed the soldier, asking him if he could send in Garret. After a few minutes, Garret walked in and Clara gave him a smile.
“Garret. I have a job for you.”
“Stupid Gwen. Stupid troll. Stupid Gunther.”
I aimlessly stumbled around the forest, muttering angry words to myself. I suspected that the forest finally accepted me since whenever it shows me trails, it brought me where I want to go and not to some dragon cave. But now, I was following a random one, not really caring where I was going at the moment.
I found Gwen to be extremely annoying lately. She gets upset over the smallest things and I don’t know what to do.
I came to halt the same moment I noticed the trees did and looked up in surprise. The forest came to sudden halt and I saw myself staring at the palace. I didn’t even know I was so close to home.
I checked behind me to see if anyone was looking and when I found and heard no one, I knew I was alone.
I looked back at the grand castle I grew up in, reminiscing about the times I spent with my father. Those seemed like the only good ones since, after he died, the rest were boring and dull. When the King died, Queen Clara lost her soft and gentle touch. She became cold and malicious, not at all like the step-mother that actually cared for others before herself.
Home. It was right there. Only a few miles away. I smiled a little and took a step forward, one step closer to home and one away from Gwen and Robin and Gunther and the dwarves and-
I stopped walking.
Do I want to leave them all? Is home really worth it? Does it even deserve to be called home now?
I looked at the place, standing tall in all it’s glory as the roofs glistened in the shining sun. I grew up here. I knew it’s secrets and hidden passageways. I was taught to fight here, how to cook, clean, everything by either Clara, my dad, or the staff. That was 12 years ago, before dad died. Now, it’s just a place where I am forced into political meeting when Clara doesn’t want to. Now, it’s just a place where my step-brothers taunt me into doing things I shouldn’t and blame things they did on me. Now, it’s where I will have to choose a wife when, dang it, I don’t want to!
Then, the camp. Or more importantly, the people living there. They only want me for the reward that comes with me. They only keep me so they can live. But why is it that I have befriended my kidnappers?
The dwarves. All of them are so different but so alike at the same time. Sure they’re a bit rough on me but they all care, even Dour who, honestly, doesn’t seem to care about anyone.
Robin. He still hates me, that I am sure of. Especially when I talk to Gwen, he gets this evil protective look in his eye. And yet, he and I have shared laughs like the time we shot the apple Gwen was eating right out of her hand. And that other time when I accidentally snared Grog in a trap and Robin and I only watched him out of humor as he swung upside-down in a tree.
Gwen. She is...something. I don’t know what to think of her. She goes off like a short fuse and drives me insane. But (there’s always a but) at the same time, even though it’s only been a few days, I already feel like she’s my best friend. She is sweet, smart, and tough, nothing like the girls at the castle. She’s different. And I like that.
I laughed to myself and shook my head. How could I choose the palace over what I have here? I turned around and walked back to the forest when I thought I heard someone call my name. I turned and when I saw no one, shrugged and headed back to the camp. I think I owe an apology to Gwen.
“She’s asleep, Finn,” Bash whispered to me. “She seemed a little upset when she came home.”
I pulled my hand away from the door knob into Gwen’s room and nodded to Bash. I’ll see her in the morning. I made my way to my room without a word and closed the door with a click. My bed looked so welcoming, like a shield from the cold weather and I was tempted to hid under the warm furs but I knew that, with everything on my mind, I wouldn’t be able to fall asleep.
So instead, I climbed out the window, wanting to avoid Bash or anyone else’s questions about where I was going. I used a few stacked logs to climb up onto the roof, gripping the bark as to not slid off. I laid down on my back, looking up through the tangle of trees at the stars that began to appear. The sun was setting and everyone didn’t pay me any heed as they all retreated to their homes.
I heard a snap and looked up to see Robin scowling at a broke branch at his feet.
“I’m only 22 and I already forgot how to sneak around. I think I’m sick or something. Yeah, that’s it.”
He spoke more to himself as if he was trying to convince himself more then me. He glanced up from the stick and met my gaze as I questioned him with a silent raise of the eyebrow.
“Did you talk to Gwen yet?”
“Ah. Good thing to. She was worn out. Troll fighting only ages you.” I nodded, letting a pregnant silent form in the air..
“Why do you hate me? I mean, is it really because you think I’m some player of a prince who does nothing but use girls or is it something else?”
Robin eyed me for a second before frowning and turning away from me.
“You really don’t do those things, huh?”
“Duh.” He turned to me.
“Then what do you want with Gwen?”
“What are you talking about? I don’t want to do anything to Gwen.”
“Doubt it. I see the way you look at her. Lucky, she’s too blind to realize it.”
“That you like her! What else?”
I looked at him in surprise. Where did he get this from?
“Gwen? No, no, no. I don’t like her that way, more as a friend then anything else.”
“You’re only fooling yourself, Finn. One day, you’re gonna realize I was right and I’ll still be there to kick your butt back to the castle so you can stay away from Gwen.”
He stood up and walked away, jumping off the roof and strolling past the houses until he turned a corner and disappeared from sight, leaving me alone with my thoughts.
He thought I liked Gwen? Did I?
I shook the thought away as soon as it occurred. She kidnapped me for goodness sakes. Falling in love is a big no no. Wouldn’t matter anyway since I’ll be out of here in a few months only, I’m beginning to wonder: Do I really want to go?
17 hours. It took 17 hours for Garret to complete the job and even the Queen was impressed. With the rouges reputation, she was sure it would have taken much longer to catch them. But Garret proved her wrong and she wasn’t sure if she liked that.
There before her with their heads bowed and their hands chained behind their backs, linked together, kneeled the two most notorious thieves in all of Lynivar. They were known for succeeding in stealing priceless artifacts when all others failed and had the ability to escape and disappear from civilization like a ghost that was never there. No one could ever catch them and if they did, they would always escape within the next 24 hours. And now that they are in Clara’s grasp she knew she must get the information out of them fast before they evaporate once again.
One of the thieves was quiet beautiful, with a mane of curly black, untamable hair that reached to her waist. It was restrained by three separate bands, wrapped tightly around the areas where he hair tried to break free. A glittering headband wrapped around the top of her head, adorn with gold and other shimmering jewels. Her face was hidden from me as she looked down at the floor but the Queen could tell she must be beautiful, not nearly as beautiful as she but beautiful none the less.
The man shared the same dark tan as the woman, showing how much time they spent outside. His hair was black to match the girls but it was tousled and stuck out in all directions. Both of them were caked with dirk and mud to match Garret. They must have been though some fight.
Queen Clara dismissed Garret and everyone else in the room. There must be no witnesses to what she has to say.
“Aladdin,” she purred and the boy lifted his head and smirked.
“That’s my name. Don’t wear it out.”
Aladdin stood up, bringing Jasmine up with him and they both looked at the Queen with disinterest. But the Queen was smart. She knew that they were calculating how to escape and were probably picking the locks of the chains this second.
“You two are the best at stealing.”
“Yeah, tell me something I don’t know,” Jasmine said with a look of distaste.
“I need you help.”
“Of course you do! Everyone needs our help!” Aladdin exclaimed with a proud smile and spread his hands out to the sides, puffing out his chest.
The Queen narrowed her eyes and Aladdin looked at his freed hands while Jasmine just rolled her eyes, muttering something under her breath that sounded painfully similar to ‘idiot.’
“Oops,” Aladdin said, not meaning it one bit.
He wandered around the throne room in fascination, not attempting to run and the Queen groaned at the thought of how much money was already in his pocket. Jasmine was freed too and gasped as she looked at her reflection in the Queen’s crown, set gently on a purple pillow. The Queen quickly grabbed that, knowing better then allowing her to touch it.
“I’ve heard of your story. A genie in a lamp. That is the price for you release.”
Aladdin and Jasmine looked at each other before bursting out laughing, hugging their sides and leaning on each other with only infuriated the Queen even more.
“You-You think we’d give that to you? Are you crazy?” Aladdin chuckled again. “We can get out of here any time we want, you know. The lamp is useless to us now but to others, it is very valuable. You’ll have to cough up more then,” he laughed again, “our freedom, if you want it so badly.”
The Queen thought for a moment, angry that the peasant was right. And she really needed that lamp.
“Fine. If you give me the lamp and I succeed in what I will set out to accomplish, the you can keep all the things you have already stolen from this room, a 5 year pass that will keep you out of prison as long as it is valid, and the reward for Finn’s finding, 10,000 gold coins. Deal?”
Aladdin’s eyes sparked with interest and he and Jasmine, huddled together, talking in hushed whispers. After a while, they broke apart and looked at the Queen with serious eyes. They weren’t joking anymore.
“We agree to your terms but know this: once you have the lamp, there is no refunds, going back on your word, and no loop hole to get out of it. You cannot and will not arrest us until our 5 years are up and you will have to deal with the lamp on your own which means no giving to to anyone else but us when the 5 years are up. We warn you that the genie inside is very crafty, even for our case. She’s the reason we’re living this way as thieves. We had it all! And she took it away by bending our wishes. Do you understand what you’re up against?”
“Then you wouldn’t mind have a blood bond?”
The Queen frowned at the proposal but agreed anyways. Aladdin took a golden knife that hung on the wall and cut the side of his wrist, just missing the important veins. Judging by the other scars the Queen saw of his hands, he made plenty of these agreements. Clara took the knife and cut her own wrist as well, watching as the blood began to flow. They grasped each others forearms and their blood mixed as they looked at each other in the eye. Aladdin nodded before releasing her arm and protruding a dusty, beat up lamp. He gave it to Clara and she breathed a relieved sigh, turning to grab a towel of some sort and wrapped up her bleeding arm.
She turned back to dismiss them only to found then gone, the door hanging wide open. And she wasn’t surprised one bit. She put together a quick excuse about why she was bleeding and settled on them attacking her and hightailing it out of here. It would explain most of it.
The Queen stuff the lamp under the cushion of her throne before screaming and calling out to anyone. People rushed in, appalled by the sight of their ruler bleeding and crying. The called the doctors and someone ordered a search for the two thieves until the Queen demanded to leave them alone. She may be diabolical but she always keeps up her side of the deal.
A few hours past and the chaos settled down. Clara stopped bleeding with only a bandage wrapped around her wrist. For a while, she searched for where she placed her crown, remembering that she had put in on the armrest of the throne only now, it was gone.
After a quick search, she gave up and knew Jasmine took it. And that didn’t surprise her either.