Royal Challenges

Sarah’s thought raged as she fought with the Prince on the slippery slope. The first annoyance was his smirk that told her that he really did think he would win. The second, and bigger, annoyance was the fact that he was insisting on fighting her when she was trying to protect him.

“We don’t have time for this, You Highness,” she parried his thrust.

“How can you protect me if you can’t beat me?” he sneered back at her.

“Oh for Christ’s sake!” Sarah exclaimed, “You’re as much a stuck up prick as Marcus and I beat him.”

“Lordling Marcus is a loyal subject and I AM better than him,” the Prince boasted.  

“We,” Sarah renewed her efforts against him.

“Really,” she began pushing him down hill.

“Don’t,” the Prince made a valiant effort to repel her, but failed.

“Have,” Sarah advanced until the Prince found himself teetering on the edge of a stone.

“Time for this!” With one graceful movement Sarah sheathed her dagger, grappled him and pinned him down on the rock, their swords clattering to the ground. “General Wholowski is up to something. In these woods.” Leaning forward she continued in a whisper, “What if I had been General Wholowski, do you think you’d have fared better?”

“I was going easy on you,” the Prince muttered.

“B*ll S**t.” Sarah stated. She’d seen the look of panic in his eyes towards the end. “You’re lucky you’re on a rock and not in the mud.” Sarah hauled the Prince up keeping his hands behind his back. “He’s coming with us,” she stated to Adam. Adam looked at her wide eyed.

“What!” the Prince exclaimed as he struggled to face her. “No, absolutely not!”

“It would be wise, Your Highness,” Scout Brian stated. The Prince stopped struggling to stare at the man. “If what Scout Adam has told me is true, then the enemy is near. Both you and your father are in grave danger. Go with them and get back to the barracks post haste.”

“What?” The Prince struggled again. This time Sarah let him go. He glared at her as he rubbed his wrists.

“Look,” Sarah held his shoulder gently. He eyed it warily. “Adam and I found the remains of a large encampment. It was General Wholawski.”

“How can you be so sure?” the Prince’s eyes narrowed on her.

“Who else would burn a Willow Tree, Your Highness,” Adam’s voice waivered slightly.

The color drained from the Prince’s face. “A Willow? Are you sure?” He watched Adam wide eyed as the Scout nodded.

“It was a Willow, Your Highness,” Sarah confirmed as the Prince turned back to her.

He took his sword from her and absently sheathed it. Glancing from Sarah to Adam to Brian, disbelief showed in the Prince's eyes.

“I told you, Your Highness, we ought to have investigated that smell,” Brian stated.

“Fine,” the Prince heaved a sigh, taking on an air of, I don’t care, “I’ll go with them.”

“May the Gods keep you safe.” Brian bowed and quickly disappeared over the ridge.

“Splinter?” Sarah asked, sheathing her own sword as Adam joined them.

“Day and a half to base camp if we walk fast,” Adam noted as the needles swung into position.

Sarah jotted down the direction in her memory and nodded. Turning her gaze to the Prince she smiled a challenge, “think you can keep up, Your Highness?”

The look he shot back was pure murder. It reminded Sarah of when she’d beat half the boys on the cross country track team. With a slight smirk she led them off, the Prince following her and Adam behind him.

The End

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