Sanity is forbidden Circulation: 190,724,349 Issue: 576 | 4th day of Sleeping, Y15
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The Prince


by itzigurl

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You were born to your power, given everything that you'd ever wanted; your father was the King of Altador, your mother the beautiful Queen. You were the Prince, the power, the one that Altador looked to, to rule when your time came. You sought pride, you sought glory, be it in the battledome (amongst the clashing of swords, the screams of the crowds, the mess of battle) or in court (where power comes from wit, from charm, and where you knew that there was much more going on than was said, that lies flowed as freely as truths); and you were given such, without restraint. It was freely given, and thus expected. You were a spoiled Prince.

      This is what you knew. This is all you knew.

      He was sharp, quiet, a blade amongst the skirts and laces that characterized your world. He cared not for your power, for your glory, for everything that everyone seems to consider important; he cared not even for your own life, if the poisoned dagger held to your throat was any clear indication. He took you, paws bound and blindfold over your eyes, and you let him.

      Granted, saying that you allowed him to take you might be stretching the truth.

      He held you for ransom, this kidnapper, kept you blindfolded and held captive in some ratty hole or another; you were sufficiently outraged at how he had treated you, below your station, below your birth, though you were, perhaps, admittedly flattered that he considered you worth holding for ransom. Of course, you are the Prince, but that someone else has taken notice... it fuels your passion for more, for more people to want to take you captive, because that means, somehow, that your value is greater than what it was before you were kidnapped.

      That your worth can be measured in neopoints does remove a bit of the distance that kept you from those of a lower station in a way, you suppose, testing the rope binding your paws together. It's a pity that he'd kept you blindfolded; you'd like to see what manner of hovel you'd been imprisoned in, though you knew that what he had done was wise; he hadn't even spoken to you above a whisper, voice too impossibly low to identify it at a later date. They would ask you questions, you knew, when you were returned home, and you would be unable to answer any of them.

      But the neopoints never came.

      The ransom left unpaid, apparently.

      Perhaps you were not as valuable as you once liked to think.

      Escape would be far too easy, a quick kick and a twist of your bound paws in the too-loose ropes, so you wait. Where would you go, when freed? You're clearly not wanted- not by your family, who had refused your ransom, and not by the people of Altador, who hadn't convinced them to pay it- and you had little knowledge of Neopia outside the walls of Altador. Common sense overrode your desire for freedom, and you bided your time.

      The kidnapper was not attentive; a poor excuse for a rogue, inactive and far too distant to keep a close eye on you; he gives a bad name to thieves and the like. Kelland would be displeased.

      But that was neither here nor there; you were still trapped, waiting for him to make a move- some sort of move, anything at all- tied up in some dusty room in the middle of nowhere. Your patience wore thin.

      You escaped.

      Granted, it wasn't as simple as that (nothing is ever as simple as that). You managed to saw through the rope with your claws, twisting your paws around and about to rub the rope against the sharp points; it had been uncomfortable, tiresome work, but when you'd managed that, you'd ripped the blindfold from your face. The dim light burned your eyes, incapacitating you; they'd been exposed to the dark for too long, and it took quite a while for them to adjust.

      You were amazed, during that time, that your kidnapper hadn't come to check on you. Not only was he a disgrace to Kelland, but even Hanso would be ashamed; rogues and thieves everywhere would wince at such incompetence.

      You escaped the hovel- some hole-in-the-ground hut in the forests between Altador and the mountains of Shenkuu- and made your way south, toward, you hoped, home. The road was long, treacherous, dirty and dusty. All manner of creatures stalked the night, and you were unequipped to challenge them. The cries of Ghost Petpets kept you awake at night; the fear of hungry Noils kept you moving during the day.

      You found your home, days later, fur grimy and dirty with the pains of travelling so far with no supplies. You stayed for a while in the small number of houses outside the palace walls near the sea, gauged how Altador was faring in your absence; what you heard shocked you to the core.

      Altador was frantic, searching far and wide for its lost Prince; the ransom neopoints had been received, but the kidnapper had vanished after that, leaving a mere trail of dust in his wake. That explained the inattentiveness, the absence, and you felt, somehow, ashamed. It was not that your parents did not care for you, that they did not feel like you were worthy of a ransom, it was that such a kidnapper had outsmarted, apparently, all of them. Perhaps Hanso and Kelland had little to be ashamed of, after all.

      Chastised, sorrowful, you approached the walls of your home, dirty and grimy, fur matted and dusty, a shadow of your former glory.

      You were welcomed back with open arms (despite your smell) and many, many tears, a few cheers. You would never forget the looks on your father's face, on your mother's face, and the devotion there that you had taken for granted all your life.

      The lesson you learned was a valuable one, though it took you many, many months (many years, in fact) to understand its full importance, its true necessity. Pride, glory, power... All were relative. All could be rendered meaningless in the face of a single event, a single Neopet, a single day. Nothing was ever as it seemed; full understanding could never be reached, yet one should still strive to understand nonetheless. Empathy was a necessary trait for those in power, kindness and responsibility similar necessities.

      You are born to your power, given everything that you've ever wanted; your father is the King of Altador, your mother a beautiful Queen. You are the Prince of Altador, the power, the one that the Kingdom looks to rule when your time comes. But you are a Prince that has learned the true value of power, of glory; for all is temporary, fleeting. You live a life of balance, of power earned through skill, of glory earned through true triumph.

      This is what you know now. There is so much more for you to learn.

      You have accepted that. You have accepted many things since your return; the necessity for humility, for understanding, for placing one's needs behind, below the needs of others.

      Your parents watch you grow and change with pride. You become the Prince that Altador deserves.

      You will be a good King.

The End

 
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