The Prince by Alexia
It has been three suns since I last saw my parents. I have been slinking around the palace avoiding all council members. I really don’t have the patience to deal with their misgivings. The monstrosity, Zli, has spoken. He officially declared war on the city and challenged the ‘prince’ to come out of hiding and face him. We are doomed. The council would never let me risk my life when my parents are in such a state, but the numbers have risen to a terrifying 7% away from what would be required to upset the balance. I tried to warn them, but what did they say? Oh right, ‘let the adults handle this, don’t worry Prince Elejan’. I am sick of this, my parents will perish with the rest of the city if I don’t do something. Stretching my wings away from my back I move out of the attic corner I’ve been in for some time now and walk down to the clinic to see my parents, maybe for the last time. I open their door and first walk over to my mother.
” I’m sorry mother. I know this will upset you.” I take her chilled, bony hand as I continue talking, “I need to save the city. I am the only one who can now. ”
A tear forms in her unconscious eye and I let her hand slide onto the crisp mattress. With a beat of my wings I travel to the other side of the room to talk to my father. I bend down to whisper in his ear.
“Father, I will make you proud. I won’t let you down, or the city. I’ll do what needs to be done. I will use my gift. Thank you my Father, my King.”
I bow to both of them and take off out of the window. My pale feathered wings beat at the air as I fly. The palace seems so alive from the heights. I soar over the crystal and watch as water pulses through it keeping it alive. I look out over the horizon and see the red rings around our planet. It seems so glorious, majestic, peaceful even. My feet hit the crystal ground and I take one step after another closer to the room my father made only for me. The room contains armor made of the most impenetrable metals our planet creates. It was custom made for me because wings are not common in my race. Only the royal family bloodline has specialties. My father can defy our gravity and my mother can shift her transparency. I got a little bit of both. I am very good at going unnoticed and I got wings. Both made for an interesting childhood.
The armor clicks into place around my body perfectly. Once I have on the chest piece, and leg guards, there are only two things left. I reach towards the shiny helmet that rests upon the crystal pedestal. That helmet was my father’s when he was a warrior for our people. It is legendary. The helmet is called ‘qui non occaecati’ which means ‘he who will not be blinded’. The blue-green feather still protrudes from the top in a perfect aero-dynamic arch. I slide it over my shaggy white hair and the world changes. The view from inside the helmet is enhanced. It allowed my father to see even when his sight was blocked. All of the colors are vibrant and alive, each detail comes into perfect focus. It fits.
I fly towards the west part of the city where Zli and his dark forces were already battling our royal fleet. From what I heard from the advisors, we had already lost 4 major battles and those 4 parts of the city had been overcome. They were getting closer and closer to the palace at the heart of the city. It didn’t take long for the fight to come into view. Our forces were struggling. The sound of my wings fighting the air attracted the attention of their leader, Zli.
He was in the air! He was royalty! How could this be? I get a bit closer and the helmet brings his face into focus. My father? No. Not possible. But it looks just like him. Could my father have a twin that I didn’t know about? He has the same powers as the King. All of these thoughts run through my head and the battle below is brought to a stop. Everyone froze to look up at the two of us. Boldly he glides through the air in my direction. My wings steadily beat in place to keep me level with him.
My father’s voice booms from his despicable mouth, “So the boy has come to face me? Ha! He looks so confident! My sick brother would be proud.”
He studies what he can see of my face through the helmet, waiting for a reaction. It comes. A look of surprise crosses my face. He is my father’s twin! He is almost close enough. I move slightly forward. I curl back then spit in his miserable face. The look of both surprise and disgust on his face are priceless.
“Betrayer! You are hurting them! You betrayed your kingdom!” I am now shaking with rage, but I remember my father telling me that rage is as good as a left toe. I look away from Zli and take a few deep breaths to calm myself. He is still there, more composed than before and he has wiped my spit off of his cheek. He is waiting for me to speak again and I do.
“I challenge you to a duel.” I say loud enough for both troops to hear me. An audible gasp emits from below. “If I win, you are banished to the outer rings of this planet and you may not return. If I lose, well, you know what happens. ” I ponder my chances of winning against someone who is twice the size of me, and has the powers of the King. Not so good.
“The young Prince is brave. What is your name boy?”
“Prince Elejan, Son of King Hrabri and Queen Amora.”
“Well Prince,” he says mockingly, “I accept your challenge.”
A sly smile emerges from his face and he makes his first move. He draws a three foot long sword and it slices a gash into my left arm, which is cheating. You are supposed to start the duel with both swords against each other, but I can’t expect this scum to follow the rules of a respectable duel. Painfully I flex my left arm to test it. Then, I draw my father’s sword from my left hip. It is long and light, but strong. My hand grips the leather handle and I hold it out against his to start.
It has started. I immediately draw back and scan his armor for any sign of weakness. Here the helmet come in handy. His armor is made of many small pieces woven together. It gives him flexibility, but it also leaves holes for a sword tip to go through. I bring my wings in tight around my body. My body streamlines downward a few feet before I spread my wings and the air catches them. Before he has time to react, I am behind him and I have my sword digging into his armor. He spins around and I bat my wings once so I am out of the reach of his sword. He slashes it at my face and it misses by inches. I bring my sword up to meet his. They clash with a thunderous force and the sound echoes inside my helmet. We exchange blows. I twist my sword. It loosens his grip. Using that moment of distraction I turn. My right wing slams the side of his body and he is knocked off balance. Zli is quicker than I expected. My pale white feathers are dyed red and I start to fall. I curl my wings in as I plummet and look up too see he is gliding after me. Of course he won’t respect the most important rule of dueling. The rule is that once your enemy hits the ground the duel is over and no one is supposed to die. He is coming for the death blow. I can’t let my people down. Against all of my inner will I spread my wings. The cold air rushes through the wound and the sharp pain is blinding. Zli keeps zipping downward, but the air catching in my wings gave me just enough lift to stop falling for one second. One second was all I needed to pull out my sword and point. He screamed as my father’s sword pierced his abdomen. I yanked out the sword and he fell. His dead weight fell to the ground. When he hit the ground the crystal absorbed his broken body and the balance was restored. All of his troops shuddered and were freed from a trance that he, without a doubt, put them in. I glide to the ground and my feet land softly on the crystal. We won. The fatigue hits me and I crumble to the ground in a ball with my bleeding wing draped over my body. There I laid until my parents came to bring me home.