It was early morning. The three boys and their tutor stood at the front gate waiting for the two princesses to arrive, along with their bodyguards.
Brutus left for the great hall once he saw the princesses and their bodyguards arrive.
“Well, now that everyone is here, I can explain today's lesson. We're going to the shops and the marketplace throughout the city. This way you can see the cost of items and learn the value of money and not waste it when you have some. Let's get going,” the tutor said while adjusting his glasses.
The first store they entered was a clothing store that was nearest to the castle.
“Welcome! Please feel free to look around!” They were warmly greeted by the male shop clerk standing behind the counter when they entered the store.
“Oh! Look at this hat, it looks so good,” shouted Ruth as she ran over to a shelf that had a different variety of frilly hats.
“Miss, you have a good eye for hats,” said the shop clerk.
“Look at the price. Each of you has one gold crown to spend,” said the tutor.
“Aww, but I really wanted it,” said Ruth. After checking the price, she put the hat with a four-gold crown price tag back onto the shelf.
They spent ten more minutes in the store looking at the prices before leaving. Everything in the store was over three gold crowns, the cheapest item being some wool socks.
They went from store to store and as they went farther away from the castle, the prices of items began to sharply fall.
They were currently sitting on a bench at the park, eating the ice cream and candy they had bought at the last store for a few copper crown coins.
“I think we have gone to enough of the regular stores. After you finish with your snacks we can go and check out the magic guild’s shop,” said the tutor.
They followed the tutor. A short while later, they stopped in front of a large three-story brick building before entering.
“You can look, but don't touch anything inside as everything is expensive, your parents wouldn't want you breaking things,” said the tutor before leading them inside.
A female clerk came over to greet them. “Hello, welcome to the magic guild’s shop. Is there anything you need?” she asked.
“Nothing for today. Truly sorry but I am teaching the princesses and my other students the value of money and the cost of certain items,” replied the tutor with a bow.
“Oh my, a class trip to our store. It's an honor to have the princesses come to our shop. The least I can do for you is show you around. Especially when you have such cuties with you,” she said with a weird smile on her face while she patted Akira on his head.
Smack! Her hand was hit away from his head by Jezebel who was standing next to him. This was a shock for those who knew the shy personality of the princess.
“Don't touch Akira,” said Jezebel as she pulled him away from the shop clerk.
“My, my, jealous are we?” teased the clerk.
“If you please, could you begin the tour?” asked the tutor.
“Yes, of course. Right this way,” said the clerk, leading them to multiple shelves full of potions.
The group was led to rows of massive sturdy wooden shelves which held many potions crammed on the shelf.
The shop clerk walked between the shelves, picking up three different potions and then walked back to the group to place them on a table nearby.
She picked up and showed them a small vial, the contents inside was a transparent light red liquid.
“This is a [Minor health potion] The cheapest we have at the cost of 50 silver crowns. It's one of the main potions we sell. It can only heal minor cuts, bruises, sprains, fevers, and other non-life-threatening illnesses,” the shop clerk explained.
She shoved it back onto a nearby shelf and then showed the group a small round glass container with a cork stopper. The small potion fit snugly in her palm, the inside was a murky opaque red liquid.
“Here is a [Medium health potion]. Its cost is 1 gold crown. It can heal larger and deeper cuts, while also being able to mend broken bones, and cure minor poisons.”
She switched the small potion in her hands with a larger and deep solid red potion.
“Last of the potions that we have at this store, is the [Large health potions]. With a minimum cost of 10 gold crowns. This can heal any non-fatal wounds, stop up to medium poison. The main reason it costs so much is because it can repair your internal organs if they are damaged, and can even regrow a hand or foot if it was cut off. Of course, to grow them back you have to use the potion before 24 hours pass.”
“Amazing,” both Akira and Rodger said in awe of the potions.
“The magic guild has many other potions, but they are all sold at the main store in the capital of Freeopia the country of merchants. Now if you would like, I can show you the main attraction of our shop, the [Magic Gems]. If you will wait at the counter, I will go to the back and bring some out to show you,” said the clerk.
She disappeared behind a door for a few minutes. When she came back, she was holding a wooden case with a glass lid. She placed it in front of them so they could all look inside.
Multiple gems of multiple sizes and colors were all resting on a cushion inside the locked box.
Pointing at each gem, the clerk started to explain, “These are [Magic Gems] the magic guild was able to start creating two years ago after many years of failure. The main purpose for creating them is they are able to give you many different types of buffs, some make you able to take more damage, hit harder, or faster, just to name a few. The size of the buff depends on the size of the [Magic Stone] they use when creating the magic gem. The larger it is, the higher the boost is. This also goes for the price. The cheapest we sell starts at 10 silver crowns. We also sell the sockets for weapons and armor which allow the gem to be combined with said items. They require a skilled blacksmith to install. Any questions?”
“What is the difference between the different colors?” asked Marc.
“As far as I know, there is no difference in what color they are, as in the end, it's just the color of the [Magic Stone] they used when creating the gem,” replied the clerk.
“Why don't you guys sell any magic stuff here?” asked Akira.
“Well, humans can't use spells like some of the Demon race and monsters can. From the magic guild’s studies, it seems we lack what they call mana. Although there are uncommon cases of humans being born with special skills that they can use during battle, but that's a minority. I can tell you a semi-secret that the magic guild headquarters has been studying many of these special skills. They are now working on gems that can replicate those skills, which would allow normal people to use them,” said the clerk.
“Thank you for the tour. We should be heading back to the castle before the king gets worried,” said the tutor with a bow to the shop clerk.
“It was my pleasure. Please do think about buying from us if you ever need potions or magic gems,” said the shop clerk as they exited the door.
They began the tiring walk back to the castle quietly. When they were passing the warehouse district, in a surprise attack one of the guards escorting them hit the tutor on the head the, knocking him out.
Everyone's attention was on the attacker and unconscious tutor.
“What are you waiting for? Hurry up and capture the kids,” shouted the guard who had attacked the tutor.
The other guards began to move. They were able to subdue and knock out the children, all but Marc who had evaded the surprise attacks.
The guards who were not tying up the unconscious children ran after Marc, shouting curses after him.
Akira woke up, his arms were numb. Looking at them he saw that they were chained to a ring on a large pillar. His head hurt from a headache caused by the surprise attack, from the escort that was supposed to have been protecting them.
Looking around, he could only see shadows as there were no windows to let light in. The only light came from a closed door in front of them.
No sound came from the other side of the door.
“Hey, anyone else awake?” asked Akira, his voice echoing in what was probably a large room.
“Shh...,” hissed a voice beside him on his left.
“Lower your voice. If they hear you, they'll come in and hit you,” whispered Rodger on his right.
“How did we end up like this?” asked Akira in a quiet voice.
“It's absurd that the capital’s guards would turn on us but indeed they did, and thus we have been kidnapped,” came the tutor’s voice behind Akira.
It seemed everyone had been chained to the same pillar.
The door was kicked wide open and a bright light was shone on them, blinding their vision.
“You better not be talking in here, or I'll close your mouths for you,” threatened a voice behind the bright light. A few seconds later, the light and person holding it left through the door, closing it but not all the way.
Akira could hear a conversation happening in the other room and thanks to the door not being fully closed, he was able to hear the words being exchanged between two people.
“How much are we going to get in ransom?” asked one male voice.
“You idiot. Do you have a brain in your head? Do you really think we can kidnap the king's daughters and then ask him for money? That would just let him know who did it. We're going to sell them to the slavers that are coming over tonight,” a haughty voice replied.
The conversation turned to gossip, the voices growing quieter as they walked away.
“This is bad. Hopefully, Marc was able to escape and warn someone for us,” Akira muttered to himself.
Marc had indeed escaped his pursuers and had reached the castle. Not knowing if the other guards were in on the kidnaping scheme. He decided to not mention anything to them as he entered the castle and went in search of someone he could trust.
He found who he was looking for lounging in his rocking chair at the training field. It was Silias, the commander of the elite guard.
Seeing the flustered, Marc he stood up and walked to him.
“What's the matter?” Silias asked, worried.
“Everyone was attacked and knocked out by the guards that were supposed to be escorting us. I was the only one able to escape them,” replied the winded Marc.
“Where did this happen?” asked Silias, whose face had changed from worry to rage.
“The warehouse district.”
“Good, you have done well in escaping and informing me, Marc.”
Silias picked up a whistle on a necklace he was wearing and blew it. Moments later, a large dog came running to him, its tail wagging furiously.
“Barksalot go get the other members that are here right now. We have to save the princesses.”
“Bark!” said Barksalot. He ran off to gather the other members of the elite guards in the castle at the moment.
Within five minutes, a group of ten people led by Barksalot had returned and gathered around Silias.
“Marc, lead the way to where you were attacked, then we’ll have Barksalot find the trail,” said Silias.
“Bark,” agreed Barksalot.
The sun had started to set as Marc led them back to the spot where the attack happened, He had taken a few wrong turns causing them to lose time.
“Alright Barksalot now it's your turn to shine,” said Silias.
Barksalot walked forward slowly and began sniffing the whole area for any familiar trace of the princesses.
With a snort and a bark, he started running after finding what he was looking for.
“Ahhhh!!! spare m...”
Akira and the others could hear the screams, shouts and the sound of a large battle taking place somewhere else in the building. That noise was getting louder as the fight drew closer to the door.
There was a loud bark on the other side of the door, followed by a growl.
“Get it off me! Someone get it o... gurgle,” the sound of a body slumping onto the floor next to the door could be heard.
On the other side of the door, something started to claw at the door and bark.
“Alright, move aside Barksalot, I'll open the door,” said the familiar voice of Silias.
The door was opened and a large dog with blood on his face charged in and ran past Akira.
Akira heard the dog licking something.
“Eww, stop licking me Barksalot you’re gross, and you have blood all over you,” shouted Ruth.
“Don't switch to me,” complained Jezebel.
“Bark!” said Barksalot offended that they didn't want his kisses.
Silias bent over, picking a ring of keys off the ground next to a body with his neck and face chewed off.
“These should be the keys to free you,” said Silias to no one in particular.
While unlocking everyone's hands from the shackles, a soldier entered the room and saluted Silias.
“The culprits have all been killed, sir. The group was a bunch of low-rank nobles that were dissatisfied with things the king has done recently. The ringleaders are the two nobles that were demoted yesterday. They have been captured. We have them alive and tied up for the king to pass judgment,” shouted the soldier.
“Good work. You can take them to the king immediately. The princesses will be safe with me and Barksalot escorting them back to the castle,” ordered Silias as he finished freeing everyone.
Akira, along with Marc, Rodger and the two princesses, looked down at the crowd in the park below them.
The park was jammed with thousands of people who had all come to the park on the announcement from the king that an event was going to happen.
Akira and the others were on a balcony of a high-class restaurant near the park where they could see the stage better than if they had been on the ground.
The king and elite guards were not taking any chances and had cleared the restaurant of people.
On the stage, two ropes were tied to the thick beams of the stage’s roof. Each had a noose at the end.
Two stools were brought onto the stage and placed under the ropes.
The crowd that had been loud with questions on what the event would be had all grown quiet.
Four people walked onto the stage. The king, a man with a black leather hood covering his face except for his eyes, and the two nobles who were the fathers of the troublemakers Akira had fought the other day.
Their arms tied behind their back, they were led to the stools. Although they struggled, the muscular executioner overpowered them and forced them into the noose, which was immediately tightened.
The king stepped forward. He raised his arm and began to speak, “For acts of treason, and attempted kidnapping of royalty. I Titus the first, sentence the nobles Nubbe, and Reid to death by hanging. May your souls rot forevermore.”
With that he jerked his arm down, signaling for the hanging to proceed.
“Do not look away, those who pass judgment on others should see it carried out. It is even better if you use your own two hands,” said Brutus’s voice from behind them.
The stools were kicked out from underneath the two criminals. The rope went taunt and the two struggled for a short time before they grew still.
Jezebel was crying loudly beside Akira. Obviously, it wasn't a pleasant sight.
“Remember, this is what will happen to you if you ever betray the king or country,” said Brutus coldly.
Thanks for reading!