“The silvery moonlight spilled from the hands of the night sky into the shimmering waters near the Herinx forest. A dark castle with a face of a dragon stood amidst armored trunks that appeared like great armies defending their citadel. A beautiful lady being chained with ropes, shrieking for help.”
A suffocating feeling arose in his chest. Hagen opened his eyes and looked around. He was in his chamber. The golden veined marble walls glittered in the moonlight. The chamber was filled with incense and perfume oils that spread sultry fragrance around.
He rose from his bed and walked towards the mirror. The face reflected back to him seemed familiar and unfamiliar at the same time. He touched the mirror and said,” Who are you? Was I summoned to save you?” He could see tears in her eyes.
“You are an awful and ungrateful son of a bitch “, shouted Annabeth, holding her hatred and resentment.
“I am never satisfied with my life as your father’s servant. I wanted to be the king myself but that is not possible until I marry you. But you have already pledged your heart to someone else. You have no other option”, the man in the silver armor laughed shocking the guards. He leaned over ruffling Annabeth’s hair as she looked at him in disgust.
“Good to see you my boy”, exclaimed King Zedo of Buranda who established his empire in the western isles.
It was a rich kingdom of gilded swords and glittering cloaks. People praised him for his kindness and generosity.
His son Hagen was beloved for many unparalleled qualities and was known for his bravery. He always understood the struggle of the common people and he had also developed business with his neighboring kingdoms. Besides impressing with his martial skills, he was the commander of the armies and was entitled as ‘Brave Prince of Buranda’.
Hagen kneeled and bowed to his father and said, “It was late by the time I arrived the palace and I didn’t want to disturb you father”.
“Now that you have come, I can rest”, said King Zedo, looking proudly at his son.
“Rise my son. Go and have some rest”, he said hugging Hagen.
Gesturing with a wave of his hand towards the crowd, Hagen walked out of the court hall.
Its been a month. Annabeth’s unexpected absence filled King Hade’s heart with anguish and sorrow. His daughter suddenly disappeared on her eighteenth birthday and the kingdom awaited the return of their legal heiress.
“Thadius, I now insist you to stop looking for her. I believed in your courage all these years but you have proven yourself unworthy.
I now make a declaration to all those brave men out there that, whosoever brings back the princess of Xambodia would become her husband and he would become the king of Xambodia”, he roared.
The entire chamber burst in conversation hearing King Hade’s words.
“And what if we don’t find her?”, asked Thadius. “We have no evidence that she has been kidnapped your majesty”.
“Don’t be ridiculous “, said Zander, King Hades nephew who had always loved Annabeth. “She is alive somewhere desperate for freedom. We have to increase our efforts”, he shouted, his voice echoing from all the corners of the room.
“Send our representatives to every kingdom and I want a report of every single girl who resembles Annabeth”. Having said this the King rose up and walked out of the court hall.
Thadius and Zander followed him exchanging their looks.
“Hagen, I heard something strange today. There was a representative Daniel from the kingdom of Xambodia. He has come here to take the permission of your father. They are in search of princess Annabeth who had not been seen since a month”, said Xavier, Hagen’s close assistant.
Hagen became curious about the news and so he called for Daniel.
“Hello your highness. I am pleased to meet you, the Prince of Buranda”, said Daniel as he bowed to Hagen.
“Pleased to meet you too Daniel. I want to know about Xambodia and your princess Annabeth” spoke Hagen with a curious look on his face.
Hundreds of years ago near Germania there were two kingdoms, the Kingdoms of Belmonto and Xambodia. Each kingdom has a ruling monarchy, in which there must be a male heir to inherit the treasure given to them by the Gods.
After Many years the ruler of Xambodia, King Hades begot a girl child and had no sons. So, both the kingdoms fought for the inheritance and in due course of time it led to a battle between them.
Xambodia declared victory over Belmonto and so they inherited the treasure of the gods and it was announced that princess Annabeth would become the legal heiress of the treasure.
There were celebrations all around the kingdom. The entire palace was decorated with Jade ornaments and golden handicrafts. There were beautiful peonies placed in every corner of the chambers and walls appeared exquisite with paintings and sculptures.
The entire court hall including the king and the queen waited for princess Annabeth.
“There she is “, whispered the crowd as Annabeth entered in her royal cape. Her creamy white dress was decorated with gems and precious stones. She was the most beautiful lady in the kingdom with deepest green eyes with a touch of hazel and waves of golden hair falling around her shoulders. Her beauty endeared her to every mortal in the kingdom.
“Annabeth, you must accomplish to prove yourself to me and the kingdom and show that you are worthy to be the future queen”, said King Hades asking her to join the other elders.
The chamber was spacious letting free flow of air. Annabeth sat down across the oak table. Lezena a renowned foreteller, who also calls herself as god’s apprentice sat in front of her looking at the runes.
“My dear Annabeth, your destiny is already decided. The love of your heart, the Prince of Buranda will come for you one day. He is the one who rescues you from the clutches of the wicked and marries you and loves you for eternity. Hard days are about to come but they would wither away soon”, saying this she showed Hagen in her magical crystal ball.
Annabeth blushed and thanked the foreteller and left the room. After taking a few steps past her living room she slipped and fell. Zander her cousin came for her help and lifted her up. Zander had been Annabeth’s friend since childhood and he loved her secretly but never expressed. He always waited for an opportunity to express his dreams to Annabeth.
“Zander, I have got the most beautiful gift of my life today. I have seen my prince finally”, said Annabeth blooming in joy.
“Who is the lucky one Anna”, asked Zander curiously.
“Lezena the apprentice of the gods has shown him in her crystal ball. He is the Prince of Buranda, Hagen”, she said, caressing the flowers in the balcony.
Zander stood quiet and helpless for a moment. He plastered a fake smile on his face and with a dreary monotone of crushed hope, he said,” he is lucky to have you Anna. You are the best woman I have seen in all my life”.
Annabeth smiled and walked away.
Thadius the Kings minister watched all this.
“Hello Zander, don’t you think things are moving out of your way?”, he questioned with a long suffering look on his face.
Zander gestured towards the window where he could feel the cool breeze and said,” Yes I love Anna, but I don’t want to come in her way and cause her trouble. I want to see her happy always and forever even at the cost of my life”.
The knock on the door interrupted Annabeth’s thoughts as she turned back.
“Hello my dear Anna”, said the King as he entered slowly.
“Good evening father, you said you wanted to speak with me? she said flashing a smile.
“Yes, I did”, said the King looking for a comfortable place across the beautifully carved table.
“Anna, we have been the inheritors of the treasure given by the gods. The treasure is not only a symbol of prosperity but also a sign of our power and my forefathers have been guarding it over decades. Despite not having a son I fought against the Belmonto’s and got it back and you are the only legal heiress after me to protect it. It’s your responsibility to choose a man who is equally worthy enough to become the king of Xambodia and protect this treasure from going into the hands of anyone.”
“I promise you father, that I would put all efforts to ascertain myself capable enough and marry a man who can take care of our kingdom and the treasure”, said Anna resting her hand on her father’s shoulder.
It was a cold night and the icy winds crept into the princess chamber.
“Come quick, we don’t have the whole night”, whispered a man in the dark. His silver armor shone in the moonlight.
The guards wrapped Annabeth in a cloak and carried her out of her chamber. She was boarded into a carriage. Annabeth tried to scream but the guards gagged her.
The carriage moved into the dark. She could hear the howls of the wolves and the footsteps of the horses. All of a sudden there was deadly silence.
The skies over casted and dark clouds suppressed the peace in the palace. The princess was missing.
The place was dark and smelling filthy. The guards in masks and removed the gag from her mouth. Her hands were chained. She screamed in fear. With a wild laugh a tall and a sturdy man in a silver armor approached her.
“Who are you,” she shouted. He held her hands. As she tried to move away from him, he repositioned his fingers on her lips as he unmasked himself.
“Thadius?”, She muttered in shock. Thadius the most benevolent minister of her father.
“Welcome to my castle Annabeth. All these years I have gained your father’s respect and I am worthy to be your husband and the king of Xambodia. The throne was all that I always dreamt of. My reputation has grown across the land. I should be breaming with satisfaction when I look over my life. But your prince charming has been subject to my jealousy. The prince who embodies the concept of an average in my view has been chosen by you. You will die here if you don’t marry me”, said Thadius, King Hade’s minister wickedly.
“My father trusted you but you have deceived him”, Annabeth sobbed hysterically.
Looking at Annabeth’s portrait that was shown by Daniel, Hagen stood still for a moment. The lady whom he had been seeing in his dreams all these days. “Is she the princess of Xambodia? What do I do now? I have to save her, save my love under any circumstances “, he said to himself.
He immediately recounted his dream to Daniel. Daniel though appeared not to have believed, he was surprised to hear all this.
“But how can you save her Hagen. We don’t have any clue.” He said in a worrisome tone.
“Wherever on earth she is I will bring her to your palace”, said Hagen as he rose from his seat. Daniel took leave from him and Hagen started making arrangements for his travel.
He decided to start his search across the forest region of Herinx that connects Buranda and Xambodia where these two kingdoms are separated by the river Wester.
The colors of the sky began to change. It’s been a fortnight that Hagen went in search of Annabeth. Finally, he reached the other side of Herinx. Hagen darted along a narrow alley. His shoulders brushed against the rocky walls and his boots slapped through the greasy water. There he rested under a tree. His face pressed upon the cool grass as he stared longingly at the trees.
“Annabeth where on earth are you. I am coming to save you”, he said to himself and fell asleep.
“In the world everybody has a soulmate. We both are meant to be together. Finding me is not as hard as you think. Look deep within your soul and you will find a way to me. I am waiting for you my love to release me from this prison and take me into your world of love. I always believe in that bond. The bond which my soul speaks and it says you are my soulmate and that’s what the runes foretold”.
Hagen opened his eyes. His whole body became cold with sweat. His breath was heavy. His eyes adjusted to the brightness of the sun and his ears to the buzzing sound of the bees. He stood up and looked around. there at a distance he found a ruined temple and walked towards it. It was a temple of wōdanaz. He knelt before him and prayed to him and moved on.
“Your kingdom plunged into deep grief after you left Anna. Where are you? Why would somebody do this”, regretted Zander as he walked through the forests of Herinx.
Hagen came across the river wester. The sun was almost set but he decided to reach the bank on the other side before nightfall. The freezing waters reached his chest. The sound of hoofbeats were heard in the woods. A breath caught him as he watched the scary dragon faced castle in the dark. The moonlight shone on the moss that clung in the shade of the ancient walls like a straggly beard. He slowly walked through the waters and reached the entrance.
As Hagen was about to get onto to the surface of the river, something held him by his ankle. He struggled to release himself and finally took out his sword and went beneath the chilled waters. It was a weed. He cut it off and rose from the waters and reached the surface. His mind spun wildly for a moment due to the unexpected incident.
The smell of the castle washed over him streams of smokes pouring from the candles. He silently walked the walls keeping his two eyes watched.
As he walked through the dark place, he heard a faint clinking sound and went closer. There she was, Princess Annabeth, the lady whom he saw in his dreams. He went close to her and pulled down the cloak from her head and surveyed her fear stained face. “Annabeth”, he whispered. She opened her mouth but no words came out. Tears of entwined emotions rolled down her cheeks.
“Yes, I am Annabeth, Prince Hagen”, she spoke as her dry lips shivered.
He immediately pulled out his sword and unchained her. She collapsed on the floor and started weeping. What took you so much time? I thought I would die without seeing you Hagen”, she wept continuously.
“Princess, we don’t have enough time. Let’s move out of this place”, said Hagen lifting her on his shoulders.
“Oh, so you are the one, Prince Charming”, a harsh voice from behind. Hagen looked back. It was Thadius, the man in the silver armor. He was tall and sturdy with his dark blond hair and dark blue eyes paired with strong shoulders and muscled arms like that of a warrior.
Hagen held his hand onto his sword in a defensive stance. Thadius bellowed at Hagen. With a menacing shout he lunged straight for Hagen. He grabbed his legs and lifted his whole body and threw him onto the ground hard. The rage within Hagen grew to pure fury and he readied himself into an offensive stance and hit Thadius at a neck break speed.
Thadius played dead and back kicked Hagen. He leaped forward and wrapped around Hagen’s throat. Hagen couldn’t even breath. When Hagen was about to regain his consciousness, Thadius drew his sword and plunged into Hagen’s. Annabeth screamed and closed her eyes. When she slowly opened them, it was Zander in place of Hagen with his throat cut.
Hagen stood over Thadius and pierced the sword into his heart and the blood welled up from his chest and he died.
Annabeth came running and placed Zander’s head on her lap.
“How did you come here Zander? Look what did he do to you”, she cried. “Hagen looked at Zander puzzled. He is Zander my cousin”, said Annabeth with tears in her eyes.
“I have seen Thadius intruding into your chamber when your father was speaking to you. I doubted him the day you have gone missing. Yesterday, I followed one of his confidential guards and reached this place. I am happy to see you Hagen. You are a perfect match for Anna. Anna have a happy life ahead. Your father is worried. Return home soon”, saying this Zander died.
Annabeth sighed dropping down on Hagen’s chest. Tears flew uncontrollably. Hagen wrapped his hands around Annabeth a little more securely. He wiped her tears and managed a grateful smile and pressed his face against her cheeks. They both remained quiet for some time in each other’s embrace and set off to Xambodia.
“Thank you, Prince Hagen, for saving my daughter”, said King Hades in gratitude. The king and Queen were elated and their joy knew no bounds seeing their daughter.
“My son you have not only saved my daughter, you have saved our dynasty and the treasure. We would honor your achievement. It would be my pleasure if you marry Annabeth and become the King of Xambodia”, said the king.
The entire crowd cheered for him. Annabeth blushed and tears of joy ran down her cheeks for she has seen her soulmate finally.
Upon the arrival of King Zedo and other noble men from Buranda, the wedding and the coronation ceremony took place. The newly wed witnessed everyone cheering joyfully.
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