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The Prince in the Castle

The Officer with the Monocle groaned from underneath the large wooden throne. He had never been so humiliated in all his life. He an officer of the Admiralty beaten to a pulp by a French peasant? What was the world coming to? He perked up when he heard another peasant come in. The old man was shouting about a castle where his daughter was being held prisoner. A castle? That meant royalty and the respect for peerage. While Gastone and the others were throwing the old man out in the rain, the officer snuck out from under the chair and made a successful unseen break for the back door.

The old man was still out front wringing his hands and sobbing. “Won’t someone help me?”

“I’ll help you, old man.” The Officer said.

“Oh, thank you, thank you.” The old man knelt and kissed his hand which the Officer withdrew and wiped unseen on the back of his pants as soon as he could.

“Let’s get going, old man.” He commanded. “We have your daughter to save.”

“Oh thank you, thank you, kind sir. This way. We must be quick. He has her locked in a dungeon.” He hurried off into the rain.

The officer jogged off after him. Once he was in good with the royalty, the old man and his daughter could go hang for all he cared.

He didn’t mind the five mile run up and down the hills. But he didn’t like the looks of the wolves that were following them. However, they seemed content to just growl ominously and shadow them. Well, once he got a pistol from the local Prince, he’d send them squalling with their tails between their legs.

The castle was quite impressive with all its towers and balconies. He could already taste the warm food and feel the good bed linen they would insist that he have as his right as a peer of the realm. “You wait here.” He told the old man. “I’ll send your daughter right out to you.”

“Oh thank you, sir. Thank you.” The old man babbled.

“Peasant.” The officer muttered as he strode towards the gates.

He sniffed as he looked at the dark architecture with its gargoyles and goblins. Obviously, a Bavarian Prince. They had the poorest tastes. He rapped sternly on the door. There was a pause and then he heard excited voices behind the door. It swung open to reveal a small alien built like a clock. “Can I help you?” He inquired.

“I’m here to see the Prince.” He stated.

“I don’t think this is a good time. You see the master is quite upset with his present guest. She refused to come down to dinner even when he said please.”

“He’ll see me immediately!” He shoved the door open pushing the little man backwards and strode into the room. He stopped and gaped at all the little beings scurrying around. There were candlesticks, dust mops, pots, and pans. A strange pack of aliens but he had seen stranger. The odor of cooked foot was too much. “I’m sure your Master will want you to refresh his guest while he prepares himself.”

This set off all the little beings and they hustled him into a dining room where they laid out dinner singing something about ‘Be our guest.’ It was appropriate. He was a guest and royalty too. The little clock man had disappeared and a strange dancing candle man was singing in tortured French which he ignored as he was starving and ate as fast as he could politely.

“WHAT???!!!” The shout from outside the doors from the stair landings was so loud that it rang through the banquet hall and caused the Officer to pause with a spoon full of soup halfway to his lips. “THREE IN ONE NIGHT!!” There was the sound of something large bounding down the stairs, the screeching of claws as they scored the hardwood floors, and a crash as something huge hit the doors. They were flung aside to reveal a panting beast in a long red cloak.

The officer wiped his lips with a napkin not noticing that it made a disgusted face as he put it down. “I think one of the kennel dogs has been up to some mischief in the laundry.” He said and made shooing motions. “Go back to your kennel, beast, and leave your betters to their dinner.”

“So, you’ve come to stare at the beast have you?” The creature growled.

“Hardly.” He replied. “You’re nothing to look at. Now stop the ventriloquist act and let the Prince know I’m here.”

“Oh he knows.” The beast replied. He pounded one fist into his open paw. “And you’re just about to meet him personally.” With a roar he sprang across the table and carried the Officer in a flail of limbs and screaming dishes into a corner.

The little clock man watched from the door way as shadows of a man being pummeled like a rag doll in the jaws of a very angry beast bounced off the wall. “I knew the Master would be upset.”

The little candlestick man patted him on the back. “Don’t fret, mon ami. It’s better this way. Maybe he’ll feel kinder towards the girl after he calms down.”

The little clockwork man sighed. “We can always hope.” He winced at a particularly loud crash, followed by a squall from the Officer. “We can always hope.”

The Officer was never sure what had happened because in the next minute the beast had him by the collar and the seat of his pants and bum rushed him to the open outside door being held back by a hat rack. The beast drew him back and then flung him out into the newly falling snow. “And stay out!” He roared. The door slammed shut.

The Officer scrambled to his feet and went screeching off into the woods with the wolves in hot pursuit.


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