A Well-Executed PlanThe slave trader had the slaves all lined up, ready for Prince Lucius's arrival. It was a special bunch this time, as the slave trader had managed to get ahold of a queen, a prince, a knight, and a soldier. The Prince had the first choice, of course, and the slaves he didn't pick were to be put onto auction.
Prince Lucius walked in, flanked by two of his royal guards. He walked up and down the aisle, studying each slave carefully. As he looked, the slave trader announced where the slaves were from. “I do not know where the queen and prince are from, but this young able-bodied knight is from the distant shores of Greece. I believe this soldier is also from the shores of Greece, but I am not sure.
It was some time before Lucius had made his decision. “I will take the queen, the knight and the prince,” he announced.
The slave trader was surprised, but pleased. “That will be 1,000 drachmas for the queen, 500 drachmas for the knight, and 1,000 drachmas for the prince. In total, that will be 2,500 drachmas. Do you agree to those terms?”
“I do.” Came the reply. “I will get the money to you by midday tomorrow.”
“Very well then, the slaves will be delivered to you within the hour. Thank you for your purchase.”
Nodding, Prince Lucius left. The slave trader turned to his men, and told them to bring the slaves to Prince Lucius.
Half an hour later, the slaves arrived in Prince Lucius's chambers. They were thrown on the floor, and then the slave trader's men left. When they did, Prince Lucius turned to the slaves. “I hope they didn't mistreat you too badly. Two of you are royalty after all.”
The queen lifted her head defiantly. “And what would you care if we were mistreated? You are a Roman Prince, for Zeus's sake. Your kind never cares for the likes of us.”
“And what is my kind exactly?” Asked Lucius.
“Roman royals. You are all the same. Your father killed one of my closest friends, you know.” The queen spat at Prince Lucius's feet.
“Who was this friend of yours? Do I know him or her? Please, if the emperor has harmed you in any way, I should know about it.” The prince seemed genuinely concerned.
“It was not the emperor that killed my friend. Your real father killed her.” There was ice in her glare.
“I am truly sorry for your loss. If I knew who she was...” The Prince trailed off, emphasizing his point.
“I will not tell you who she was, as you would think me the enemy if you knew. To another point, what will become of us?” The queen asked, curious.
“I would not think you the enemy,” replied Lucius kindly. “You will be safe, and that is all I can promise.”
“You are the Roman Prince Lucius, right?” asked the queen. Lucius nodded, and the queen continued. “You must be wondering by now who I am. My name is Linet, and this is Gareth,” she said, pointing to the slave prince. “I do not know who this other young fellow is, but I hear he is a knight of great stature.”
“It is a pleasure to meet you, officially, Linet. Where are you from? Your name doesn't sound like it was from any country I can think of,” asked Lucius, bewildered.
“I will tell you everything in the morning, but for now, I think it best if I get acquainted with my fellow slaves.” Linet looked at Lucius, but then added, “With your permission of course.”
“Of course. I too think it best that we wait until tomorrow to get to know each other better.” Lucius promptly left the room.
As soon as he did, Linet turned to Gareth and winked. “That wasn't so hard, now was it Gareth? And you thought this plan would never work.”
Smirking, Linet held up the handcuffs that had been attached to her wrists. “Hey! How did you get out of those?!” exclaimed Gareth, who was still struggling to get out of his. Linet held up the keys that she had gotten off of Lucius. Gareth tried desperately to grab them, but Linet kept them just out of reach. Finally, she gave in to his pestering and gave him the keys.
After both Gareth and Linet were out of their shackles, the two of them helped the young knight get out of his. He was very thankful, and thanked them several times. Once everyone was ready, Linet yelled frantically, “Prince Lucius! Please, help me! My friend is injured, and I can't help him!” Of course, Lucius rushed into the room, being the honorable man that he was. He looked around, but no matter how hard he tried, he couldn't find Linet, and he couldn't see anyone hurt. He was just about to turn around to leave when he heard the door slam shut behind him. Lucius tried to grab his keys from his hip, but was surprised to find nothing but air.
As she was speaking, Gareth moved stealthily behind Lucius, took Lucius's sword out of its scabbard and pressed the cold metal to his throat. Lucius slowly turned around, and raised his hands above his head. “Linet, you are making a huge mistake. The imperial army will kill you for this.”
“Make any attempt to cry for help and you will be dead before the sound leaves your lips, prince or not,” Linet stated, walking up to him and slapping shackles onto his wrists.”
“Please, Linet. There is no way you can escape this castle with your life. My guards will—”
“Do something horrible to me unless I listen to every little thing you say? Yeah right. Now, shut up, and follow me.” Lucius didn't talk again, but simply followed Linet and Gareth as they slipped into dark passage hidden beneath a trapdoor. Seeing that everyone was leaving, the young knight hastily followed them as well.
When they arrived at a fork in the passageway, Lucius decided to make a run for it. He turned around, and he only had gotten a few feet before the back of his left calf felt like it was on fire. Crying out in pain, Lucius looked around, trying to see who had delivered the blow. Then Linet turned around, smirking,“Well, I guess you won't be getting away anytime soon.” The threesome crept through the dark and somewhat creepy tunnel, through a labyrinth of passageways that seemed as if they hadn't been used in centuries. After what seemed like forever, they stepped out into the sunlight at last.
Linet and Gareth sashayed out into the light, whereas Lucius was still trying to walk on his injured calf. Breathing hard, Lucius cried, “W-wait! W-wait! I-I can't k-keep up. P-please. Slow down.” His captors turned around briefly, whispered to one another, turned back around, and started walking at an even faster pace than before. Lucius limped as fast as he could, struggling to keep up with them.
This continued for quite some time, until the young knight had had enough. “Stop! I understand that you must get away from the Roman palace, but this is too much. Yes, the Prince is your enemy, and mine as well, but that is not any reason for you to treat him in this fashion. He’s in pain, so slow down a little, will you?”
Linet turned around at this, a little surprised at the young knight’s outburst. Then looking at Lucius, noticed that his face was contorted from the pain in his calf. She walked over to him, and inspected the calf. “It appears I did more damage than I realized, your ligament might have been torn. Here, sit down, and I will help you.” Seeing the look in his eye, she added, “Don’t worry, I am a trained healer. Just sit down here, and I will have you better in no time.” Lucius did as she asked.
A short while later, his calf was almost back to normal. The pain had vastly reduced, and he didn’t even walk with a limp anymore. Linet nodded when her work was finished, and sat down beside Lucius. The others were sitting near them as well, within hearing distance. “So, young knight, I have not had the pleasure of officially meeting you. I am Linet, and this is Gareth,” she said, pointing to Gareth. “What is your name?”
“My name is Damian. It is an honor to meet you,” Damian answered.
“The honor is mine, young knight,” Linet replied diplomatically. “Now, I understand that you think I should treat Lucius a little better, and I am willing to oblige.” Turning to Lucius, she added, “I believe that we can work something out that has a fair chance for both of us to come out on top: a duel. Not to the death, for there would not be any point to that, but a mere joust. You against me, Lucius, one-on-one. If I win, you will stay my prisoner, and you will not try to escape. If you win, I will free you, and you may decide what to do from there. Do you agree to those terms?”
A fierce gleam of confidence and fierceness that Linet hadn’t seen in Lucius’s eyes appeared, and he nodded sharply. “When do we begin?”