The Winner's Crown

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Chapter 10

“Get your hand’s off of me!” I yell as the guards push me into a dungeon cell. It is cramped and smells like mold down here. The guards do not say a word, leaving me alone as they retreat back up the stairs. I grab the bars that jail me inside the cell and look around me. I am alone. It seems as if days pass by with my only entertainment as the occasional gust of wind that flows through my single window, but finally I hear a noise. Something, or someone coming near my prison.

“She’s right through there.” Someone says, and the doors fly open the second after. I press myself against the far wall of my cell. I will not let anyone have the fun of seeing me in here so vulnerably.

“Who are you? What in the world do you ask of me?” I shout this, looking around the space past the bars all around me. No one responds. Instead, there is laughter. I narrow my eyes, not amused in the slightest.

“I asked you a question. Who are you?” I repeat my question, this time with more force behind it. And finally the figure steps out of the shadows.

“Richard? What are you doing here?” I look up at him, confused. He stares back down at me, a smirk clear on his face. He looks pure evil, but I don’t quite understand why.

“I need to get something off my chest. And it’s not like your going anywhere anytime soon.” He chuckles at this and I glare at him.

“I don’t want to hear whatever it is that you want to tell me Richard. Leave, now.” I know that I shouldn’t talk to him like this. He is a blue, and could have me killed in an instant. But I don’t care, and at this moment, I will just let my smart mouth run wild.

“Oh, I think you do.” I look back at him, curious now.

“Yes? And why is that?” I cross my arms over my chest. I still have on the dress that Venus gave me a couple day’s ago. It is tearing slightly at the ends, and the color seems to have faded a little as well. I’m used to eating less food than proportianate to my body, but I haven’t eaten a thing in two days, and my stomach grumbles as I think about this. The prince wrinkles his nose as he notices this, reaching inside his pocket and tossing a thin piece of bread onto the ground in front of me.

I don’t take it immediately, but as he starts talking I take my chance and grab it.

“It’s about Desmond.” My eyes widen and bread crumbs fall down my lips.

“I’m listening.” I nod for Richard to continue, my curiosity getting the better of me. Besides, I want to know what the king meant when he said that Desmond is the key to all of this. Me being taken from my family, and the others enduring the exact same thing. If it was just me, that would have been one thing, but other’s in the same situation. That makes no sense.

“I hate how he always get’s the credit for everything. My dad raised me, not Desmond. And yet, it always seems like Desmond gets the gold.” Richard snarls as he speaks, spit dropping to the ground. I bite back all the questions that brim to the top with his statement, and instead let him keep talking to me like everything is normal.

“It was never Desmond’s fault. I just...” He trails off as the door creaks open again. I can see the shapes of three figures now, and there is the irritating sound of a struggle. I squint my eyes and see that the guards have returned, and this time they have brought another prisoner to the dungeons down below.

“What is the meaning of this?” Richard squeals at the guards like a little kid, and I have to turn away so no one see’s my smile.

“We’re following order’s sir.” One guard speaks steadily, and the Prince walks to the captor. It is a girl, I know that much. But her head is down, so I can’t really see her features all too much. The prince mistakenly raises the girl’s face to look at him, because the next second she spits out right in his eye. He pushes her backwards, and she falls into the guards arms again, lowering her face again. But it is impossible not to have recognized her immediately. The girl who has been taken as a new prisoner, is none other than the unmannered Carolyn.

I am aware of everything. My pounding heart, the clatter of feet on cobblestone, everything. My thoughts are a jumble in my brain, and I cannot make sense of anything anymore. Carolyn being here, it just keeps getting harder and harder to understand. I have come up with plenty of different scenarios to why we are here. But none of them, they just don’t seem to fit.

“Can you stop pacing? It’s driving me crazy over here.” I lift my head up from my knees, staring at Carolyn as I say this. She has been walking back and forth our shared prison cell for an estimated ten minutes now.

“You’d like that wouldn’t you?” Carolyn sneers back, and I rest my head against the wall to try to get some peace. She continues pacing, and I close my eyes, scrunching up my forehead in concentration to my thoughts.

“For once in your pampered life, could you please just respect me!” I shout suddenly. I have had enough of this nonsense, and I want her to be aware of it.

“Pampered? What makes you think I am ever pampered?” Carolyn narrows her eyes at me, and I roll my eyes back at her.

“You’re a purple. I mean, that right there, ” I point at the purple triangle on her temple. “That shows how privileged you are.” She laughs, sitting down by the bars.

“And you? Because your a yellow, you automatically have to live a poverty stricken life?”

“Yes. That is how it works if you didn’t notice.” She gets silent at this, thinking now.

“Ok, sure. I might be more privileged than you. But that doesn’t mean that I have a better life than you.” She tilts her head to the side, looking at me with startling green eyes. I’ve never once been so close to her before. We know each other from her trips to our town, although why she ever comes to our town is a mystery to me. I’ve always thought of her as an unladylike bully of a person. But sitting close to her in this prison cell, I can see that I was wrong. It’s not that she looks nice, but I can tell that she isn’t evil. And that sure is something.

“How so?” I ask, genuinely wanting to know her response. She takes a minute though before answering, and I can tell that she wants to find the right words in order to make the correct statement.

“Because, you could be poor but live life happily with friends and family. Yes, I am guaranteed a house and food, but I am not guaranteed love.” Carolyn finishes her explanation, breathing softly. Her soft blonde curls fall in waves down to her elbows and I can’t stop looking at the freckles lined perfectly right below her eyes. I’ve honestly never taken the time to really observe Carolyn, to really know her. And now, I kind of wish I had taken that time. Maybe we could have been friends. Right after I think that, I almost laugh out loud. A yellow and a purple being friends? I think not.

“How long do you think we’ll be in here?” Carolyn asks, her eyes watching me gently as I trace a finger over the stones in the floor. I shrug.

“Don’t you worry, you won’t be gone forever.” The words the King had said as I was pulled out of the throne room violently pop into my head, but I don't think to much of it. He must have been trying to get in my head. So with that, I ignore it.

“A long time? Maybe forever?” Her eyes go wide as I say this, and I breathe a sigh as I rethink my choice of words.

“Do you really think so? Like, we might die here?” Her hands go to her hair, dragging out long curls to calm herself down.

“No, I mean maybe. But probably not. Don’t worry, it’ll be fine.” I try to reassure her.

“And how long have you been in here now?” She doesn’t ask me this lightly, anxiously staring at me trying to piece together something that cannot possibly be solved.

“I don’t know. Something like two, three days now?” I tell her, grabbing a rock off the ground and dropping it from one hand into the other. Looking back up at Carolyn, I try to keep myself amused by studying the long clean-cut dress that she wears delicately across her dainty body. It is a beautiful Sacramento green color with big sleeves and a tight bodice which compliments her body and pale skin tremendously. I am almost too lost in thought as I look at her. I feel like I am blank, and its nice for once. Then, my memory floods back all at once.

“The competition! I forgot! What has happened so far?” I blurt out, looking up at Carolyn full of burning questions. She must know things that I do not. I have been trapped in here too long, but she has not.

“I...the first two rounds have already finished.” She speaks slowly, remembering everything that must have happened while I was in here.

“You mean, the arena and the wilderness?” I ask, and she nods.

“I can’t believe you still remember those names.” She looks slightly impressed, and I blush before remembering more questions that I absolutely need answered for.

“Kenneth. Is Kenneth alright?” Carolyn looks back up at me, surprised.

“Yes. He’s made it so far.” Tears fall out of her eyes, and I feel the urge to put my arms around her. I don’t though, it would be too awkward. We still aren’t friends, even if we are now decent to each other. She rubs her eyes to clear the liquid and I am again reminded that I barely know this girl.

“I’m so sorry. I just, I’m scared. All of this, it’s suddenly just too much. All I want to know is why I am here.” I nod my head in agreement.

“It will be alright.”

“Yeah? And how do you know that Lydia?” She shoots back, and I open my mouth as her unladylike side shines through yet again.

“I...I’m sorry. I don’t know why I did that.” More tears escape her eyes, and I breathe a heavy sigh as I realize I need to forgive her. This has been a tough time for me as well. And I can only imagine how she must be feeling. She has been fortune all her life, so this must seem like hell to her.

“It’s fine.” Carolyn looks at me as I say this, and she smiles weakly. I open my mouth to say something else, and she looks ready to listen to me, but suddenly the dungeon doors fly open with a bam! The King himself stands at the door, his flowing cape trailing in folds down behind him as he walks quickly towards us.

“I hear you spit at my son.” All his attention is directed towards Carolyn, and it looks as if Carolyn will hiss at him. Instead, she keeps her head high, not losing her dignity.

“Well you practically kidnapped me, your highness. What the hell was I supposed to do?” She says back quickly, and the King nods his head fairly.

“Yes, I suppose I understand the temptation.” He looks at me, his eyes seeming to pierce into my soul. “I am so sorry to interrupt your little conversation with the real prisoner Carolyn, but I have to ask you to follow me.” He unlocks the prison door, taking Carolyn’s hand and leading her outside before shutting the door, leaving me alone again.

“What? What about Lydia?” Carolyn looks back at me, clearly afraid.

“Oh, don’t worry. I have plans for your friend.” The King smirks eerily at me, and I push back the temptation to spit in his eye, just like Carolyn did Richard.

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