With his lute brightly polished, and a couple of encouraging new songs learned on the journey, the Rambling Man arrived at the city. Within the bars and taverns where he sang and played, he learned the plight of the royal family, which anyone can tell you is the best place to learn the latest news.
The princess downcast, her and the queen missing within the great blue sea, and the king at the end of his wits, hiring queer old witches forecasting nonsense. What a dilemma this had become.
The Rambling Man, after having so recently visited home, understood the fault to be not his own, and no longer felt guilty for his role in these unfortunate events. But being a good man, the plight of the princess, and of the royal family, troubled his heart as much as it did any man, and he wished for their safe return.
Unlike those around him, however, he was quite able to do more than just sit about and fret.
During his third day within the city, still without word from the queen or young princess, the Rambling Man visited the home of the old woman who was claimed to be a witch. Once there, he heard what she had to say.
A great distress had befallen the princess, and the fiendish desires of one sinister man had darkened the country whole. She predicted dark times ahead, with much unrest and turmoil. Lest the Champion whom she spoke of stepped forward and claimed her hand, the storm clouds would never pass.
When pressed about this Champion, who he was or where he stayed, the old woman was silent, either not knowing or not telling.
And part of her predictions had already proved true, for when the Rambling Man went to play in the royal court, he saw many down-turned faces of woe and sorrow. Heavy-hearted, but never discouraged, the Rambling Man sought a solution.
He tried to address the king, but he would not see anyone that day, for a dark mood had fallen over him and would not allow visitors.
The Rambling Man saw nothing further to be done within this city. Thus, he soon took his leave of the city, having learned everything he could. He did now as only a Rambling Man could do: he rambled about the countryside, working his way east to the great sea, speaking and playing for the locals along the way. From them, he learned rumors of a city, far beyond the waters of the sea, where the houses were built from gold, diamonds lay like cobblestones across the street, and the entire palace was built from enormous gemstones, beautiful and immense.
Most believed it false; too fantastic to even imagine. But the Rambling Man, knowing that the queen had taken the princess to see great wonders to lighten her mood, journeyed onward with renewed hope, seeking this city of treasures.
The Rambling Man secured a ship and crew, as much to see this fantastic city as to help the royal family. And they journeyed eastward, to cross the great sea, despite the many warnings he had heard.
Before their departure, he had been warned of pirates and robbers patrolling the waters of the great sea. They appeared to be looking for something, but no one could say with certainty what it might be.
And so, knowing this, the Rambing Man, anxious for adventure and exploration, set forth across the great sea, not knowing what he might find but excited for it. And what he would eventualy discover would turn out to be nothing he ever could have imagined.