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Princess of Erodaire III: Part Nine


by christinetran

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Hetal smiled after I finished reading the entry. "Oh, how exciting! I've always loved tales that resemble these. Full of adventure, suspense, pain, tears...oh, how wonderful it is!"

      I grinned at Hetal as I flipped to the other page. "How odd..." I said. "This entry takes place during the Month of Awakening...nearly 4 months after the last entry..."

      "Yes, that is odd indeed, but you can't expect dear Rune to continue writing every other day, do you, Andra? He must have rest between each entry. Now, read, please, for I am eager to find out what shall happen," Hetal said urgingly. I nodded in response and cleared my throat once more...

      Awakening Month.

      Sorry for the lack of updates, dear Journal, but disaster struck in the least likely place. It took place a day and a half after I brought the King in...I do not have much time to write, so excuse me for my horrid handwriting. To go on, after I brought the King back...oh dear, it was during the most awful time. You see, I was adorned in plain black clothing in order to conceal myself in the night, but, unfortunately for me, the Deathbringers also adorn themselves in black...

      I entered the gates of the castle...it was under attack by the Deathbringers. The Queen and the Princess Alane were standing in the courtyard, surrounded. Of course, I had to protect the Royal Family, so I withdrew my sword and began to defend them...King Alastare was right at my heels, ready to defend.

      Minutes passed, and it seemed as if we were going to fail. The Queen and Princess Alane's eyes were covered, for they seemed to be terrified. Cowards! They could've at least ran while the King and I defended them. The Royal Family continues to disappoint me. Finally, King Alastare was knocked down to the ground...5 Deathbringers approached him, their daggers drawn to his neck. I couldn't let him fall like this...not the King...not Erodaire's future. In desperation, I threw myself before him...

      Such a fool I was...I should've known that the Deathbringers were smarter than this. The moment I lunged forward, the Deathbringers stepped aside and my sword slash the King's arm...I heard him yell in pain, and I saw his eyes fade slowly...he had fainted. The last thing he saw was me, his caretaker, his friend, his acquaintance standing above him...carrying a sword that contained his blood. Before he fainted into a deep sleep, I saw pain in his eyes, a questioning look...he thought that he had been betrayed.

      Unfortunately during this time, the Queen and Princess had finally decided to look up, and they saw me standing there above their King, a sword held over his fainted body. They quickly came to a conclusion and instantly branded me as a traitor (the fact that I adorned the black clothing of the Deathbringers didn't help as well). I approached them beseechingly, hoping to clear myself of what they thought, but at that time, the Meridell soldiers came (talk about my luck)...

      I shall allow you to predict what happened next...

      I am currently in hiding. A wanted man...me...after all I did for the Royal Family, they put Neopoints on my head! My faith in Neopians seem to diminish each day...

      Erodaire had defeated Lorezai one month ago, and most of the Deathbringers have been brought to justice. The King Alastare...the dear boy...he is currently stuck in the Neohospital because of the wound I have given him...I hope he does all right, and that all the nurses attend to him carefully.

      If my face appears, I will have hundreds of Draiks, Shoyrus, Kacheeks on my tail as I run...900,000 neopoints on my capture...some thing Neopets do out of greed. I need a new name...a new identity...anything that will conceal my true self. I have read stories of brave knights, Lupes adorned in armor who protect their country out of love for their land. I still have neopoints left from my job as a caretaker...I shall travel out of Erodaire and enter the Lady Kauvara's shop. What morphing potion should I buy? A blue one...most likely...a Blue Lupe Morphing Potion. I shall turn into a Blue Lupe...now I just need a name. A name suitable for my new identity...

      I shall go by the name of Sir Barick...

      I felt my chest tighten as I read those words, and involuntary tears appeared in my eyes. The entire room seemed to dim despite the early hour. I heard Hetal call at me, but it seemed as if it came from a distance. This became one of the many times in my life that I wished I wasn't so incredibly overdramatic over every little thing I discover...

      "Sir Barick..." I whispered to myself as pieces of his puzzle started to fit together...yet there were still some pieces missing. "I wonder if he's still down there."

      "You know him, Andra?" Hetal asked in a bewildered tone, and her bright eyes grew twice as large as she gazed at me steadily. "You know that owner of this journal?"

      "Well, not know, but I have met him some time ago; I guess that this journal really isn't that old," I muttered mostly to myself. "Oh, I wish Rune was here...he would probably know a tale or two about this book..."

      "...Pardon, but did you just say Rune?" Hetal asked slowly and stared at me with inquisitive eyes. I nodded in response. "Oh, I know where Rune is! Would you like me to take you to him?"

      "Oh, I would love that! But is it far from here?"

      "No, it isn't that far, Andra. Just down on the grounds, near the Gardens of Winter. Come along and follow me, then...oh, and don't worry about the dishes," she said and motioned to the plates and cups of now cold borovan on the table,"I'll take care of them later."

      Hetal stood up and started walking out of the room and towards the door leading to the hallway I was in just yesterday. I started following her out of the room, carefully avoiding the packs of satchel which still lay scattered about on the floor. I entered the hallway filled with tapestries of the brave and royal knights of Erodaire. I barely glanced at them as I walked towards the door at the end, following the now fading footsteps of Hetal's quick walk.

      As I exited the doorway, I came onto a wooden balcony that gleamed. I glanced upwards and noticed that the ceiling was built of glass in a semi-circle shape. The rug underneath my feet was white, but it looked cleaner than the rug in the hallway outside my room.

      "Andra, come along now," Hetal shouted at me from my left side. She was standing in a doorway, her hand holding the door open and revealing the warm, sunny outside. I started walking towards her, but carefully took my time as I stared down into the lower room. It was empty of all furniture except for a golden statue at the bottom. It resembled a Nimmo wearing a flowing, long cape. The hood obscured the face from my eyes, but I spotted a tall, crooked cane in the statue's left hand. Although the statue was made of gold, it did not shine at all. Instead, it was layered with dust...almost as if it hasn't been touched in many years. It looked lonely...friendless. I felt pity for the statue...but I quickly ignored it and walked over to Hetal's side.

      "Do not look it in the eye, Andra," Hetal said suddenly as she eyed me with her steady eyes. "He is both the guardian and enemy of this castle...he shall pull you under his trance and lies." With those words, Hetal walked through the door and entered a terrace hanging upon the castle's walls.

      The entire terrace was grim, morose, lifeless. It was made of plain, gray stone, and it's floor was layered with dark soil. The terrace was bordered by tall, gray stones that reached waist, so I was able to gaze over it and into the endless plains. Yet, I did not stare at the scenery; instead, my eyes were fixated upon a single, square block located in the terrace's center. It was a gravestone...

      I looked over at Hetal with questioning eyes, wondering whether she had accidentally brought me to the wrong place, but the serious look upon her face told me that a mistake did not occur. I walked over to the gravestone and fell on my knees before it. Tracing the imprinted words upon it's hard surface, I slowly read:

     

      Rune
Loving Friend, Companion, Talesmith
May his legacy live on in the tales that he told...
and the Neopians whom he had affected

      "This is impossible..." I whispered to myself. "He cannot be gone...I just saw him yesterday...am I going mad?"

      "Some say that his ghost still haunts the halls of the Summer Castle...something still binds him here...or rather...someone..." Hetal said as she walked towards my side. "I knew him. He had always entranced me with his tales of brave knights, courageous peasants...darkened princesses." Hetal glanced at me with her serious expression, but her eyes still danced like stars.

      "What binds him here?" I asked and lifted myself off the ground.

      "Undone business, I suppose. He never told me...he had always muttered, though. Muttered baffling phrases that I was never able to understand or decipher. He always spoke of a princess, though. A princess torn between two different lives, and she does not know which one to choose, so she continually betrays each side over and over until she finally falls apart." Hetal placed an assuring paw upon my shoulder. "I used to always be confused," she whispered at me, and with a small chuckle said, "and I always thought that I was the princess...but now I know that I'm not. I'm still not sure why he told me these tales..."

      "Maybe because he knew that you would someday meet that certain princess..." I said and turned away from Hetal and stared walking towards the door briskly.

      "Andra, where are you going?" Hetal asked and started following me.

      "Back to my home...back to the Erodairian castle..."

      "What do you mean?" Hetal asked perplexedly as she followed me off the terrace. I simply ignored her questioning pleas and briskly walked towards the door that led to my room. My mind was already clouded with thoughts of how I would reach my home, and I knew that I had to leave in secret and under a veil of darkness. If Vevina were to receive word of my escape to my home castle, she would instantly try to subdue my efforts.

      "Andra!" Hetal said once more and grabbed my hand with force. I simply continued walking, dragging Hetal along behind me. "Andra!" she shouted once more before she stepped before me and coolly slapped my cheek.

      I gasped at this sudden movement and stopped in my tracks. "Why did you do that?"

      "Because you would not answer me! Now tell me, what do you mean you are going home?" Hetal asked, her eyes now flashing with fire. I gazed at her determined face, and I knew that she was serious this time.

      "I need to go back to my father's castle," I replied.

      "For what?" Hetal questioned, her stance as firm as ever.

      "To ask him...Rune...Sir Barick. I need to ask him about the journal, and what happened, and everything."

      "Now?" Hetal stared at me with large eyes. "You want to go now?"

      I nodded.

      "Well, you can't! The King sent orders to keep you in this castle until he sends for you!"

      "It doesn't matter, okay! I need to go back now...I have so many questions to present to Sir Ba..Rune," I said and grabbed Hetal's hand angrily, my eyes flashing at her. "I miss my father...who knows what Lady Vevina had said to him during my absence. She is poison; a poison upon all minds she touches."

      Hetal stared at me for a few seconds before she tore her hand away from my grip angrily. She glared at me, her once innocent face now torn in confusion. "Fine then!" she whispered angrily at me. "Leave for all I care. Go off and take away the only companion I've ever had!" Her voice faltered after her last words before she indignantly stamped her foot upon the dusty rug and walked out of the hallway.

      I, although left in shock, quickly wrung the image of her hateful face from my mind. Hetal did not mean anything to me. She was just another Neopian that I've met in my life, and another being that I shall ignore. I continued to walk down the hallway towards my room, but as I walked...I couldn't help but turn around and stare at the doorway Hetal had exited from.

      "Good-bye," I whispered to the air before I walked down the hallway, through the door, and into my room. My eyes landed upon all the packs of satchel that still laid unpacked upon the floor, and I instantly began rummaging through them in search of the items I needed for my trip home. While searching, I started to think about the journey ahead of me. My mind thought about the miles and miles of grass that I had to cross in order to reach the forest that borders the village. Once I reach the forest, I would have to travel in secret for that is the forest where most of my father's knights and advisors hunt in. It wouldn't be too hard trying to hide in there with the thick underbrush and the tall, dark trees. Once I exited the forest, I would have to maneuver myself through the maze of houses and shops that lie near the wall of the Erodaire Castle. Then, I'd have to somehow find a way to get over the smooth, flawless castle wall and reach the heavily guarded towers where the prisoners...and Rune...are kept.

      I sighed as I thought about what I had to go through, but I continued on searching. Eventually, my hand fell upon the dark velvet cloak. It was as black as night, and filled with memories. It was the cloak I wore when I helped Oldraik escape from the castle dungeons.

      "Why did I ever keep you!" I hissed angrily at the cloak as my fingers caught on to the cloth. Oldraik...my first true friend...my father's assassin. I've put myself into such a deep mess...and now I am banished from my father's side because I helped his enemy. I looked down at the cloak once more. Even if it did hold memories, it would still be incredibly useful to me when I'm traveling in the forest. Reluctantly, I threw the cloak about my shoulders and fastened it's brooch.

     

********************

      Outside it was dark; the only light that shone were the dull stars and a sliver of Kreludor's orange landscape. I was sitting in the hallway outside my room, staring absentmindedly at the endless plains. Like my pain, I could not see it's end. It just goes on into the deep horizon and beyond, without a start and without an end. My hand tightened and I pulled the velvet cloak tighter against my body as a strange chill washed over me. It was so dark; I couldn't even see the tapestries which I lied upon.

      I was supposed to go out into the terrace where Rune's gravestone was located, but I felt weak inside. Funny...before I was so determined to get home, and now...my knees are shaking and I can barely breathe.

      "Pah..how long have you been sitting here, eh?"

      My head snapped up in surprise and I gasped. Standing before me was Rune...the same Rune whom the statue outside was derived from.

      "You're...you're supposed to be gone...you're not alive..." I whispered slowly to him as the shock of seeing him started to subside. "You're a ghost..."

      "Pah, so you're saying that the Ghost Lupe is the only ghost that is allowed to live?" Rune said with a chuckle and shook his head. He looked down at the floor and stared to wobble towards me, the cane in his hand shaking with each step. I bit my lip as I stared at him struggle towards me slowly, taking deep breaths with each step. I stood up instinctively to help him.

      "Here," I said quickly and held out my hand. "Let me help you."

      "Pah! No! Stay away from me you fool!" Rune shouted angrily. He stamped his cane angrily against the floor in protest and glared up at my face. I withdrew my hand quickly and took a step back.

      "S...sorry," I muttered. "I wanted to just help yo-"

      "Pah! You say that, but you don't it. Nobody ever means it. Ha! They say 'can I help you?' or 'do you need assisstance, sir' but the moment I look in their eyes, I see their pity. I see their pitiful, pitiful selves...how they pity me. How they pity that I stumble when I walk, how a Turdle can even beat me in a race!" Rune laughed at that statement and shook his head. "But...no...I am not weak. I'm not old...I do not deserve to be pitied...I don't deserve nothing...nothing at all."

      "I did not pity you, Rune," I said back. "I...I just thought that you need my help."

      "And you supposed that you do not need my help? Pah! No young Draiks are as smart as they were before," Rune glanced at me once more with his inquisitive eyes. "Nope, not as smart as they were before. Always betraying, leaving true friends behind...lack of courage to go through with anything at all. Always confused..."

      "Are...are you going to help me, then?" I questioned cautiously, but my heart dearly hoped for his help. I knew that he would be able to assist me, even if he is a ghost.

      "No...but I did try to help you. I sent someone to you..someone who could help you, and like a fool you refused their help and left them," he growled angrily at me and stubbornly tapped his cane upon the wooden floor once more. "I'm starting to believe that you shall never be able to help rescue Erodaire..."

      "Excuse me?" I said perplexedly. "What do you mean?"

      "Oldraik, my dear, and Hetal. I sent them both to you in order that they shall be able to assist you," Rune whispered. "But like a fool, like all fools, you ditched them because you were afraid! You think you love your fool of a King? Pah! No! You do not! You are like all others, always holding onto something because they believe that they have to hold onto it, and that they can never let it go. Like your mother, you held onto King Alastare even when you weren't supposed to...and like a fool, you both disappeared because of that faked feeling. LIke the others...you're going to fail, and because of that, Erodaire will fall into ruins..."

      I listened in silence to Rune's words. I understood them, but, I couldn't accept them. I didn't want to. I glanced sideways and stared at the door as my eyes started to well up in tears.

      "So are you going to go?" Rune asked me casually, his weakened voice breaking the thunderous silence.

      I nodded.

The End

Authors Note: I hope you like the next part of PoE, and I'm sorry that it took me so long to finally get it done and finished. A big thank you goes to Spuddie_Hang, my favorite (and only) sister for editting and criticizing all three parts of PoE.

 
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Other Episodes


» Princess of Erodaire III: Part Three
» Princess of Erodaire III: Part Four
» Princess of Erodaire III: Part Five
» Princess of Erodaire III: Part Six
» Princess of Erodaire III: Part Seven
» Princess of Erodaire III: Part Eight



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