And then I looked at in disbelief. I did not know if any person before me had managed to get the scroll out of the chest before, but upon inspection, it seemed untouched until now.
I now opened it with trembling fingers, Stuq right beside and for the first time since the entering the arena I felt happiness as I unrolled the scroll holding both of ends far apart with each of my hands and near one of the torches so that I could read its contents and this was what it read:
To, The Queen Niyabra Of Vouldran
From, His Truly Beloved King Nefatrus of Aelbourne
I don’t know what’s happening right now. Streets are being torn apart, our settlements are dismay and, I am must truly admit I am fearing for my life.
I sincerely don’t the true origins of how this Schim started, but now it is becoming so out of hand I honestly think your citizens are planning on murdering me. I don’t know how the rumors of me poisoning you reached to such a level that it tore apart decades of friendship between our kingdoms.
This unrest between our kingdoms has not only tore our kingdom physically apart by the mystics forces that created the river Inimical preventing us from crossing the river, but it has also torn apart my heart.
And this my queen, oh queen Niyabra, I say this from the depths of my heart, I love you, I deeply say this. We both have kept it under wraps for too long…too long that it has torn apart rather than stitch together our settlements.
All of sudden I was thrown out of my concentration of reading the scroll by the all familiar screech from above. It seemed like the Minokova was right above me and by its screech, I knew it was agitated by something and that only something could have been Zeq.
Stuq now said something to me that I would later regret not acting upon. “Keep reading the scroll, there must be something in it to stop our settlements rivalry.” and I agreed and he then picked up his weapon from the mud and looked at me.
“Aiden…” he said and I looked up to him thinking he was going to say something important. But he paused like as if rethinking what to say before leaving. “You are still a voule!!” he took another brief pause. “And I really, I mean really HATE you!!”
He was back to his original anger and I again was taken so off-guard by his comment that I did not know how to react. At just with that before I could even react he was out of the corridor into the electrifying water.
I just stood there thinking what the hell just happened. I thought at first it was a joke but the bitterness and the hatred in his voice…No he really meant.
My heart felt just as torn as Nefatrus and the pain it emanated was beyond any pain I had felt in this arena. After doing so much, I was still hated. Not knowing what I did, I was hated. Hell, even by my enemy, from the opposing settlement hated me at first glance.
‘What did it mean? Why?’ I returned to the same loop of endless questioning I had when for the first time this word was thrown against me.
I knew it was helpless to keep thinking about the meaning of the word, there was no way I was going to know it without any external input and now I felt anger and hatred fill up me as looked at the direction Stuq had just left.
He was not there and was out of the pit. I wondered how. But then I did not care. I felt the anger build up in me and then I shouted. “NO! You are one!! YOU ARE A VOULE!!” this one statement brought me to tears and suddenly the strength left me as I collapsed my back rubbing against the sand wall as I got to the ground my hands on my upraised knees, scroll still my right hand.
Few minutes passed and I wept thinking all negative thoughts but it was only when the ground started shaking like an earthquake was just about to happen, that I quickly gathered my spilled beans and focused on the task at hand.
I now opened the scroll resuming my reading, reading desperately to finish the text to find the solution to the decades-long rivalry between our two settlements.
We both knew it. We both loved each other, only we knew it and we wanted to make it public, but the mysterious illness you had, it rendered you speechless and bedridden, with so minimum movement that before I could declare my love for you in public, it was too late.
Your people called me a liar, a blatant liar who was trying to cover his tracks of murdering you, by saying that I loved you and that I wouldn’t do anything to harm you.
And they told all I was doing was executing my master plan of taking over your village! Could you imagine that? Take over your village? What I wanted was a united kingdom, one where we both would rule, side by side as King and Queen.
I am in distress now. I don’t know what to do now, how long this Schism is going to last, and whether our settlements would ever get back together and have the same peace it had before.
I wish I could be there at your side now, to show how much I love you and help you recover, but to be really honest I’m scared to even leave the palace, even with my guards, as I have seen the violence at play right now.
I don’t even know if this letter would reach you safely, rumor has it that all my other letters were intercepted before it could reach you, but this time it isn’t going to be that way. I am handing this letter to my highest of command and most trustworthily and I have given him special instructions, only known to his ears, if at all this letter to cannot reach you.
At least that way, if this letter doesn’t reach you, it will at least reach a person’s hand who could reunite the settlements again.
I love you Niyabra and you know it, hopes to the god above you survive this horrible ordeal and make a statement that would end this uneasy times.
Somehow things had even more complex after reading the letter than I had thought, Was I the one to bring peace within the two settlements? How was that even possible? Does this mean I did not win the battle?
My train of thoughts were harshly disrupted by a violent shake of the ground like before. I knew instantly I had to get out of the place, or else the cave might cave in. Also, what was happening above me was burning my curiosity. What in the world was making the ground shake so violently? It certainly couldn’t only be Zeq.
I now ran out of the narrow corridor and into the electric water and instantly knew why I hated it so much.
I knew I did not have enough time to wear my armor that lay in the water and literally shuddered at that thought of being shocked again in the armor and now tried to find crevices and creaks in the pit to pull myself out.
The burning sensation began to grow as my already burnt skin burnt even more and my right arm felt very heavy with the venomous wound and due to this, I thought climbing this pit was impossible.
Thankfully there were plenty of creaks for me to place my feet and hands and slowly but surely I was heading up, my whip safely secured in my holster and scroll safely tucked into my long pockets.
It was just like climbing a tree but since now I had a pulsing wound, it hindered my progress by a lot.
So much so that almost at the lip of the pit, I could not climb anymore. The pain was immense and I was losing grip of my right hand.
My fingers to pained my hoisting myself for such a long time and I now felt the familiar sensation of losing my gripping.
I knew I could not give up now, so close to victory, but the pain physically stopped me from moving an inch. I now knew I had to think of something fast before I lost my gripping and plummeted yet again into the stupid electric water.
And so I shouted way more loudly than I anticipated, because of the pain, calling to the only friend I had in this arena.
“ZEQ!! HELP ME PLEASE!!” I did not know what to expect. I did not know if Zeq was killed or badly injured by the MInokova or if he could here me at all but I wished he could still save me somehow.