Third person’s point of view:
A few hours earlier in the Kingdom of Nightshades
‘ fail to understand what’s got into King Bellamy,’ Sigmund said to himself as he paced up and down the room provided for him in the kingdom of Nightshades, ‘How could he allow himself to be provoked by King Joaquin into challenging Donovan to a duel to the death? Yes, I know he’s one of the most powerful kings in the whole supernatural realm. But it’s not impossible for him to lose the duel, right? And if King Bellamy were defeated by Donovan, the Kingdom of Clanbella would be plunged into chaos. A lot of other kingdoms will certainly compete against each other to take over Clanbella since King Bellamy hasn’t formally announced the heir to the throne yet.’
‘But when I thought about it,’ Sigmund went on, ‘there would be worse to come if King Bellamy won that duel. Princess Mirabelle would certainly never forgive her grandfather if her father was killed in that single combat. And Goodness knows what she might do to avenge her father’s death. She will most likely mount a challenge to her grandfather. Knowing King Bellamy, I am sure he’ll rise to the challenge. And lastly, I have to see a bloodshed again.’
Sigmund ran his fingers through his hair in frustration and screamed internally, ‘Argh! It’s Donovan’s fault that we all got into this mess. How could he have been so stupid as to accept King Bellamy’s challenge? Didn’t he know what he’s getting into? It will be suicidal for him to fight a duel against King Bellamy. I don’t know what I’ll do if anything happens to him. How can I face Claribelle in the afterlife? She will be so disappointed with me for I fail to protect her husband as I had promised her.’
‘No, no, no!’ He shook his head vigorously. ‘I can’t let King Bellamy and Donovan fight in the duel. Something has to be done to stop their single combat. But what am I supposed to do now?’
Sigmund racked his brains, trying to find a solution to this problem, but he came up with nothing.
He sighed in despair. ‘It seems that I have no choice but to talk to King Bellamy. I doubt I’ll be able to convince him to cancel the duel but it’s worth a try.’
Without wasting time, Sigmund hurried to King Bellamy’s room. He knocked three times and waited.
A little while later King Bellamy answered from the other side of the door, “Come in!”
Drawing a deep breath, Sigmund pushed the door open and stepped in, shutting the door behind him.
“Ah Sigmund! What brings you here?” King Bellamy queried.
Sigmund went over to his king who was standing by the window and asked carefully, “Your Majesty, could I talk to you for a moment?”
“Sure, go ahead,” King Bellamy responded.
“Your Majesty, I’d advise you against fighting the duel with Donovan,” Sigmund said, got to the point.
King Bellamy’s lips curled into a smirk. “You know me perfectly well, Sigmund. If I once decide to do something, no one will be be able to change my mind, and this time is no exception.”
“But the duel won’t solve anything, Your Majesty; it will do more harm than good,” Sigmund tried to reason with him.
“You may be right,” King Bellamy admitted, “But I have no choice but to fight a duel with Donovan.”
“No, you still have a choice, Your Majesty,” Sigmund refuted, “All you need to do is have a sit-down with Donovan and talk out this matter calmly.”
“Do you think if I try to talk over this matter with Donovan, I can make him see reason? You’ve got to be kidding,” King Bellamy sneered.
“Then why don’t you relent and let Princess Mirabelle live with her father, Your Majesty? That way we all can prevent bloodshed,” Sigmund suggested.
“No way am I going to yield to that werewolf!” King Bellamy growled. “Mirabelle must live with me, no matter what.”
“What difference will it make if Princess Mirabelle lives with you or not? I mean, wherever she chooses to live, you can always go there to see her anytime, right?” Sigmund argued.
“You don’t understand, Sigmund. If Mirabelle lives under the same roof as me, she will be out of harm’s way. Meanwhile, I cannot guarantee her safety if she lives with her father, especially if that werewolf decides to take her to his pack,” explained King Bellamy.
“I take your point, Your Majesty,” said Sigmund, “But you and Donovan don’t need to fight a duel over Princess Mirabelle. Why don’t you have a try at convincing Princess Mirabelle once again? I’m sure she’ll agree to live with you with a bit of persuading.”
“I know my granddaughter perfectly well. She’s as stubborn as a mule, so she won’t be easily swayed. That’s why I and Donovan must fight it out between ourselves,” King Bellamy said persistently.
“Please cancel the duel, Your Majesty!” Sigmund pleaded, “If you don’t want to do it for me, do it for Claribelle. Please Your Majesty!”
“Everything I do is for Claribelle. I just want the best for her child,” King Bellamy claimed.
“If you think it’s the best for Princess Mirabelle, you’re sadly mistaken, Your Majesty,” Sigmund countered, “What you’re going to do will only make things worse for her. Whoever wins the duel, Princess Mirabelle that will suffer the loss. Please your majesty, don’t sacrifice your granddaughter for your own selfishness!”
“We have to make sacrifices if we want to achieve our goal,” King Bellamy said coldly.
“Ah I see that you don’t care very much about your own granddaughter. But what about your daughter, Claribelle? Do you think it’s what Claribelle wanted? Would she be happy to see her father and husband try to kill each other?” Sigmund questioned fiercely.
Sigmund’s remarks infuriated the vampire king. “Enough of this!” he hissed, “I don’t want to talk about it any more. Let’s drop the subject now!”
Sigmund tried to argue, “But Your Majesty—”
“Enough is enough, Sigmund!” King Bellamy snapped at him. “You’d better leave now!”
“No! I am not going anywhere before you want to call the duel off!” Sigmund said insistently.
“Fine. If you don’t want to go, then I will,” King Bellamy decided.
Before Sigmund could react, the vampire king spun on his heel and started for the door.
“Your Majesty, wait!” Sigmund caught up with King Bellamy and grabbed his arm, holding him back.
“Please reconsider your decision, Your Majesty, I entreat you,” he implored.
King Bellamy didn’t respond. He just shook Sigmund off without even looking at him and continued walking towards the door.
“Your Majesty, please listen to me just this once!” Sigmund called as he went after King Bellamy. “Don’t fight the duel, I beg of you!”
Since King Bellamy still didn’t want to listen to him, Sigmund added despairingly, “Please Dad!”
Sigmund’s desperate voice made King Bellamy stop dead in his tracks. He turned around to face Sigmund. Amusement glimmered in his eyes.
“I’m so happy, Son. After all this time, you’re finally willing to call me dad again,” the vampire king stated.
“Even though I hate it,” Sigmund began, “I can not ignore the fact that you’re still my father, the one who brought me up after my parents were killed.”
Sigmund breathed deeply before speaking again, “I had promised my sister, Claribelle, that I’d always stay by your side, no matter what, and I have been sticking to my word until this very moment, right? I have never left you alone even if I wanted to. And all this time, whatever decision you made, I would always support it.”
“But now,” he went on, “I can’t agree with you on this, Dad. I strongly oppose you fighting a duel to the death with Donovan. The duel doesn’t do anyone any good. So please call it off at once! Please, Dad! I beseech you!”
“Sorry, son, I’ve made up my mind, and nothing you can say will make me change my decision,” King Bellamy emphasized and with that he stormed out of his room.
Sigmund rushed out of the room after King Bellamy, but the vampire king was already nowhere to be seen. Instead he saw Prince Maximilian and his bodyguard walking over to him.
“What are you doing here, Maximilian?” Sigmund asked, sounding slightly truculent.
“I want to see King Bellamy,” answered Prince Maximilian.
“His Majesty isn’t here at the moment. You’ve just missed him,” Sigmund told him.
“Oh just my luck!” Prince Maximilian muttered to himself.
“By the way, where is His Majesty going?” he asked Sigmund again.
“Search me!” Sigmund replied, shrugging his shoulders.
“Well, I’d better be looking for King Bellamy now,” Prince Maximilian decided. “Come on, Jasper!” He began to walk away, gesturing for his bodyguard to follow.
Jasper nodded his head and started after his prince.
“Wait, Maximilian!” Sigmund shouted after him.
Prince Maximilian came to a halt and swung back to face Sigmund. “What else?” he asked in annoyed tones.
“If you’re thinking of trying to persuade King Bellamy to call off the duel, you can forget it! His mind’s made up. Nothing will make him change his decision,” Sigmund told him in all seriousness.
“Ah you’re right,” Prince Maximilian sighed. “I forgot that King Bellamy is very stubborn.”
“Tell me about it,” Sigmund agreed with him, “His stubborn streak drives me mad sometimes.”
“Then what shall we do to stop the fighting now?” Prince Maximilian asked for Sigmund’s opinion.
“Don’t ask me,” Sigmund retorted, “I am at a loss for what to do too.”
“Could I make a suggestion, Your Highness?” Jasper asked hesitantly.
“Of course you could, Jasper,” responded Prince Maximilian.
“Your Highness, I think if we can’t convince King Bellamy to change his mind, why don’t we try to persuade Donovan to back out of the duel?” Jasper suggested, “I mean, this duel will not take place if one party refuses to fight, right?”
Sigmund slapped Jasper on the back. “Wow Jasper, you’re a wonder! I would never have thought of doing that.”
“Yeah, it’s a wonderful idea!” Prince Maximilian enthused before he turned to Sigmund and barked out an order, “OK Sigmund, go and talk to Donovan now!”
“Why don’t you do that yourself?” Sigmund said irritably.
“Are you kidding? How do you expect me to talk to the man who had stolen my mate?” Prince Maximilian scoffed.
Sigmund rolled his eyes upwards. “Fine. I’ll go and see Donovan now. Happy?”
“Good luck!” Prince Maximilian’s face twists into a simper.
Sigmund snorted with annoyance before walking away from the vampire prince and his bodyguard.