Another King

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Paorou-sama, Jun 2, 2012.

  1. Source Material for another written project. I like making fairy tale-like stories.


    Once upon a time, in a faraway land, there was a small kingdom.

    In this kingdom, the nobles and the serfs lived in vastly different circumstances. The nobles lived in their castle; a sparkling white edifice that served as a testament to their glory.

    Meanwhile, the serfs lived outside the castle walls, dirty dregs who would tithe what little they had to the king and his associates.

    Among these dregs was a young boy who lived with his mother, in a small cottage that bordered the woods. The boy was clever, but he was very unhappy with his station in life. He would help his weak mother till the fields, since his father had recently died of sickness. He would hunt for game and pick firewood in the forests when he had the time.

    Every Fall, however, the King's soldiers would descend from the castle to take away their meager harvest. The serfs would then simply bow their heads and let the soldiers take what they demanded. The boy despised this, and on one such day, he asked his mother:

    "Mother, why do they take away the food we toiled for ourselves? Why do they live in a castle whose walls we built? Why do they have arms and fine clothing, all of which we have produced for them?"

    His mother replied, "Because son, they are better than us, and they are the kin of our king, who we serve."

    The boy thought for a while. "... Is there no other king to serve?"

    "There is always another king." The mother responded. "I know of one worse, one who would kill their subjects on a whim. We are lucky to not have such a king."

    "But that means there could be another king! One much better than this one!" The boy shouted.

    The serfs muttered among themselves and the mother was about to strike the boy, when they were stopped by the captain of the guard.

    "A better King, eh?" The captain said mockingly. "Tell you what, Boy. You are free to leave this kingdom in search of this better king."

    "If you can't find a king better than this one, then we will execute you and your mother for treachery. If you don't come back, then we will burn down this village for harboring someone like you." The captain continued.

    "... And if I succeed?" The boy asked.

    "Then I shall personally kneel and leave this kingdom to serve that king." The captain laughed. He had no intention of accepting the boy's terms and was looking forward to the execution of his prior threats.

    Then the guards all laughed loudly and returned to their castle.

    "What have you done, you stupid stupid boy!?" His mother exclaimed. "You have assured a certain death for all of us!"

    The other villagers shouted and yelled at him, as well.

    "Don't worry mother, I'll make the captain of the guard kneel."

    The boy just smiled, took some rope, a knife, an axe, an old cloak, some dyes and firewood, and he left for the woods.

    In a few days, the guard captain came back, carrying newly sharpened swords and weapons. His men carried torches, in case the boy was not present. He smiled, seeing the terrified faces of the townspeople. The boy was nowhere in sight.

    As he was about to give an order, he heard a shout.

    The boy appeared at the edge of the forest. He was now wearing a red cape. It was unnatural for serfs to have such colorful clothes, since only nobles could have such things. He was carrying dead hares on his left shoulder, and fat fish on his right. The boy was smiling.

    "Good day! I met the King of the Forest, and he gave me these gifts for being polite. He also says that he owns our lands and our home, and that we shouldn't give you anything anymore." The boy then smiled and tossed the fish and the hares at the guard captain's feet. "But here is a payment so that you won't feel too bad about it."

    The Guard Captain was outraged by the boy's audacious display, and he yelled. "Show me this Forest King!"

    So the boy led the guard captain and his retinue into the woods.

    The boy had set up a large fire deeper in the forest, and it made a billowing wall of smoke. This allowed him to separate the guard captain from the rest of his retinue. The boy led the guard captain to a pond, since the man was choking. The boy helped him dismount from his horse and let him drink from the pond.

    However, this was a trap. As the guard captain was led to kneel down on the soft mud and leaves, his hands and knees were skewered by sharp stakes hidden underneath. He screamed in pain. The boy took this chance to pull a rope nearby. A structure of rope, sticks and leaves was pulled to 'stand' up nearby.

    The boy pointed up at a huge shadowy figure standing on top of a large rock overlooking the pool.

    "It's the king of the forest!" He exclaimed, and the mutilated captain looked up to see a fearsome silhouette set against the sun.

    It was just then that the men arrived on the scene. Then they saw their captain kneeling and screaming before the large creature.

    One of the Soldiers fired an arrow at it, but it just flew right through the mesh of leaves, wood and rope. The boy secretly pulled on the rope, just making it taller and bigger. The Soldiers, overcome by fear from the captain's screams and the strangeness of the situation, ran as far as they could. Many discarded their drawn weapons.

    Left alone with the guard captain, the boy said, "There, I have made you kneel before another king."

    He then thrust his knife into the back of the captain's neck.

    Then the boy stripped the guard captain and wore his armor and his clothes. Then, he dragged the guard captain's body into a nearby river. Next, he let it float until it fell off a nearby waterfall. Finally, he came back and took the weapons dropped by the other soldiers, and left the forest.

    He went towards the castle in his new disguise. A helmet obscured his face. As he approached the gates, he saw a clamor of guards and the fearful soldiers who had fled from the forest. Since they were disorganized and unruly, arguing amongst themselves about what had happened at the forest. Thus, he was able to get through without much problem. He walked towards the throne room unimpeded, for many recognized his armor as that of the guard captain's. He was stopped by the throne room's sentries, however.

    The boy, simply announced, "I speak for the forest king, whom your guard captain has now sworn allegiance to. Here are the weapons of your soldiers, since the forest king finds war abhorrent, and such things unneeded." He then pointed to the armor. "The guard captain now lives happily and in peace. He gave me this armor so I could return it to your king."

    The sentries looked at each other and could find no wrong with the statement. The King hardly had guests anyway, so he was let in.

    There, the boy saw the king for the first time. He was fat, smug and lazy, simply lounging on his throne and being fed by his servants. The boy grew angry just watching this display of decadence, and without thinking, he threw the weapons on the floor carpet.

    The King was caught off guard and was visibly shaken by this show of force. He tried hard to hide this, however, and he demanded to know what kind of barbarian would dare show him disrespect. This weakness gave the boy an idea.

    "I serve the great and powerful Forest King!" He said loudly, emphasizing the sentence with large gestures. "These are the weapons of your men, whom he has routed in battle. However, such is his magnanimity that he allowed your guard captain to work and live with him in his beautiful paradise! He even returns the weapons of your men, all of whom he has spared, as well as the armor of your reformed Captain, to show that he values life and peace above all else!"

    The King was visibly amazed by this. The boy could see it on his face.

    "But! If you continue to anger him, it may not be the same! Force his hand and his anger can be quite terrible indeed! You have seen how he has won a battle without as much as a drop of blood!" He said ominously.

    "What must I do?" The dumbfounded king asked.

    "The Forest King is inviting you and your family to his home in the woods, a secret paradise that can only be traversed through the river of souls, where it is said only the dead can enter. I am one of the few lucky souls who can guide you there and reunite you with your Captain. My master wishes to reconcile with you, and perhaps become your friend." The boy blatantly lied.

    The King and his family were excited and assented to the boy's idea.

    The boy thought a bit about his next steps, and said. "I will need a few days to prepare for your trip. Give me your finest coat as a payment for my services, a torch, and a Wagon with no windows. It is said that to stare in the river of souls is to lose one's soul, so we must protect you for the trip. Also, make for yourself a letter that proves its bearer is the king of this kingdom, and mark it with the seal of the royal family. My Master just wants to make sure he is talking with the right person."

    The King and his family made these preparations, and gave the boy his coat. The boy told them that they were free to decorate and adorn the wagon in any way they wished, only requiring that he be the driver.

    Thus, the boy went back to the woods, and with some serfs, spent their days clearing a trail for the wagon to travel through. After a few days, a grand parade was held, and the royal family rode in a beautiful wagon adorned with gold and beautiful sculptures of horses. Driving it was the boy, still wearing the armor and the helmet of the slain guard captain. He left the coat at the home of his mother.

    As they reached halfway through the woods, the boy stopped the wagon. He then apologized and asked the king to give him the letter, since he just remembered that the guards at the river of souls were quite stringent. The King gave him the letter, and upon its receipt, the boy informed him that they were just about to enter the said waterway, and this was a timely pause. In truth, the boy was about to drive the wagon into the same river he had used to dispose of the captain's corpse.

    The boy shouted and told them that they must stay inside the wagon at all costs, only leaving when he opens the door from outside. He then took off the captain's armor and helmet, then motioned for the horses to increase their speed. He took the torch off its rack, and left it to burn at his seat. The boy then jumped off the wagon, hanging off a tree branch. The wagon continued on into the water, and the horses drowned. Eventually, the wagon burned and fell off the edge of the waterfall, and the royal family's screams echoed throughout the forest.

    The boy returned home, and told his mother what had happened. His mother was shocked and asked.

    "Then, we have no king?"

    The boy smiled, showing her the letter and donning the king's finest coat.

    "There's always another king."