The Lost Prince (part 18)

I guess I got knocked out pretty early in the proceedings, and he decided slitting my throat like that was beneath his dignity. I don’t imagine my side were lining up to rescue me. Maybe I should feel insulted that I’m still alive. But try as I might, I just can’t.

However I got out of it, I don’t intend to put myself in that sort of danger again. I’ll stick to what I know. When it comes to manipulation, I’m strictly supply-side. And I may not have had a sword on the mountain, but I wasn’t too shabby at hunting with a bow. I can make my contribution that way.

Hector wouldn’t approve of course, but that’s the kind of attitude that got him killed about a week later. Better him than me. After what he talked me into, I may have been the only one in the city who never shed a tear for him. But the gods must be fans of irony, or perhaps it was my dry eyes that let me see clearly enough to avenge him. It wasn’t my best shot of all time, but with enough poison on the arrow, a hit in the foot is as deadly as anywhere else. That one lucky shot turned the tide, and in an instant I went from coward to bona fide war hero. However much they sneered at my methods, there’s no arguing with the results.

It’s possible that I may have won this war for our side. And with Crown Prince Hector mouldering in his grave, there’s a job opening for an heir apparent.

I just may end up with all the marbles after all.


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The Lost Prince (part 17)

It’s not like I had the chance to introduce myself before his wife ran off with me. He wouldn’t have known me either, except right at that moment I happened to be bragging about that very thing. Quite loudly.

And then he wants to fight me man-to-man. Sure, that’s a great deal for the armies in general. Win or lose, they get to stop fighting. Also a pretty good deal for him. Given the gap in size and skill levels, he’s not risking much. But you know who it’s not a good deal for? Me. I get to be a sacrifice so that everyone else can go home. No thank you. I’ve been there before, did not enjoy the experience. Zero stars.

But then Hector gets in my ear. I can’t even remember what he said, but it seemed to make sense at the time. Some mix of shame and flattery, to get me thinking I had a chance. I wonder if that’s what people feel like after I talk them into doing something stupid. I’ve got to say, manipulation is a lot less fun when you’re on the other side of it. Never again.

Somehow I got talked into giving the single combat a shot. Only once I was face to face with the king of Sparta, he seemed to lose his enthusiasm for the fight. I’d like to flatter myself that he was intimidated, but I don’t think anyone would believe that. It wasn’t fear on his face, but contempt. Like he’d just been tricked into duelling a dog turd.

It went slightly better than you’d expect, in that I’m somehow not dead.


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