Twice Upon A Sword

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Chapter 6- Missing Prisoners

***

“How odd. I thought you were frightened of me?” King Vincenzo spoke to the dove that stood on his finger as it pecked on the food that he had given it.

“You’re a weird little thing, aren’t you?” He mumbled out, lips tilting down into a slight frown and eyes narrowing into a scrutinising glare that went unnoticed by the bird.

“I guess when it comes to food, you just can’t resist,” He hummed just as the doors to the room slammed open with a loud boom and the dove which hand been pecking away at the food on his hand flew away with a frightened flatter.

“Look what you did, Don. You scared the poor thing away,” Vincenzo sighed as he watched the bird fly away from the balcony which he was stood on.

“Apologies, my King but there is something urgent that I must report,” Don said as he bowed his head down before standing up with his hands by his sides.

“I’m having a break, Don. Can’t it wait?” Vincenzo frowned, walking back into his office.

“With all due respect my King, you’ve been having a break for the past 2 hours and still haven’t completed any of your paperwork,” Don bravely said and Vincenzo glared at the knight.

“I didn’t sense any respect in that sentence,” Vince said but Don didn’t reply.

“What is it?” He groaned, going to sit on his chair behind his desk. He leaned forward, resting his chin on his interlocked hands and smirked at his friend.

“Please don’t smirk at me, it scares me,” Don looked away and Vincenzo chuckled.

“How so? I’ve been able to do wonders with a single smirk,” He questioned.

“It’s a fake smirk which says the opposite of what you’re feeling,” Don coughed awkwardly.

“I don’t understand,”

“Don’t act innocent, your majesty. You very well know what I’m talking about,” Vince laughed, waving the conversation away and gestured with his head for Don to get to the main point.

“Ah yes. A bomb went off in the palace dungeons,” Vincenzo rested back on his chair with furrowed brows as he waited for Don to further explain.

“How many prisoners got away?” He asked.

“5 altogether but we were able to capture 4 of them before they got away,”

“Which one got away?”

“Your grandfather, Alpheus St Andres-” Don was cut off as a loud thud rang through the room and he took a moment to close his eyes, counted to three before opening them again to be met with an angry King who stood seething in front of him.

“What!?... Did you just say?...” Vincenzo breathed out through flared nostrils, his grey eyes shining with the rage of the blood in his veins.

“Unfortunately, Alpheus got away. I’ve sent men after him but there’s been no word sent back yet. It seems he’s had the help of a group of bandits who triggered the bomb but we’re still unsure of how he kept contact with them-”

Don was once again cut off but this time it was with Vincenzo’s laugh.

“Ready my stallion... I’ll go drag that man back to this palace by the scruff of his neck, be it dead or alive, I will make him regret the very thought of running away,”

Vincenzo pulled a gun out of his drawer and secured it on his belt before pulling his black and gold military coat on and attached his sword to his waist.

“No. My King, it is far too dangerous. You should leave this to the knights-” Don argued but one look from Vincenzo was enough to shut him up and make his blood run cold. Placing his military hat on his head, Vincenzo stormed out of the room and Don was quick to follow.

“How did he communicate with anyone?” Vincenzo spat.

“We don’t know yet bu-” Don stopped talking when Vincenzo froze on the spot and gave the man a weird look when he chuckled to himself. Pulling his white gloves on, Vincezo raised his fist and punched the wall beside him, shaking the paintings that hung along the wall.

“There’s a rat amongst us,” Vincenzo glowered and Don paused before nodding in agreement.

“Find everyone who communicated with that old man in the last few years, interrogate them all, find out who it was... then bring the bastard to me on their knees,”

“Understood,” Don nodded and they both began walking down the golden hallways of the palace once more, ignoring the servants who stopped to bow to him.

“Ready the King’s horse!” Don shouted to one of the servants who hurriedly scurried away as soon as the words left Don’s mouth.

“How long has it been since the bastard got away?” Vince breathed out through heavy breaths as he waited for the stableman to ready his black stallion.

“10 minutes,” Don answered immediately.

“Which way was he headed?”

“North-east,”

“North-east? That’s the desert. Does he plan on burning himself alive in that wasteland?”

“I would think not my King,”

Vincenzo ran an annoyed hand down his face just as the stableman announced that both Don and Vincenzo’s horses were ready for departure.

“Enzo? Where are you going?” Vincenzo paused, already sat atop his stallion and turned his head to see his twin sister standing by the entrance of the palace.

“Nowhere for you to worry, dear sister. Get back in the palace and don’t let anyone in or out until I’ve returned,” He said before pulling the reigns and galloping away and Charlotte shouted something behind him but he didn’t hear.

Vincenzo and Don met up with 5 other men on the way and they headed north-east, not stopping for a break as they rode all day before finally stopping on the border of the desert.

As he let his stallion and the other horses regain their energy, Vincenzo took the chance to write his older brother a letter of what had happened and what to do while he was away before sending a carrier pigeon to deliver the message.

When night fell and the desert had cooled down some, they got on their horses and continued to travel deeper into the desert.

They travelled through the desert for most of the night and when the sun’s morning rays began to appear, they slowed down and got ready to rest for an hour.

“Wait... Something’s wrong,” Vincenzo raised a fist and everyone paused.

“What’s wrong?” Don asked his King cautiously.

“Someone’s watching,” Was all Vincenzo had to say for everyone to be on high alert.

“Are you sure you’re not mistaken? We’re in the middle of a desert?” Don asked and Vince turned his head to glare at him, offended.

“Have my instincts ever been wrong?”

“No, I apologise,” Don went back to looking around the area. A few minutes went by but nothing and no one was revealed and even Vince began questioning himself for a moment.

“I think you may just be tired. How would it be possible for anyone to spy on us in the middle of a desert? It may just be a scorpion or-”

“I get it, Don... Alright, we’ll set up camp here for an hour... Anything on Alpheus yet?” Don shook his head and Vince grumbled, running his fingers through his hair as he took a deep lungful of hot desert air.

“This is truly so very annoying-” Vince was cut off as he saw something moving towards his group from the distance. He gestured for Don to come and stand beside him and the man did as told immediately.

“Do you see that?” Vince pointed in a certain direction.

“See what?” Don rubbed his eyes then narrowed his gaze in the direction Vince was pointing at.

“That thing over there. It’s moving towards us...” He explained and Don shook his head but paused before gasping at the sight.

“Yes, I guess your instincts were right after all. They’ve camouflaged themselves, how smart,”

“Don’t compliment them in my presence,”

“I apologise, your majesty,” Don bowed. “What should we do?” He asked hesitantly as he watched the large group of camouflaged bandits still running towards them and getting closer by the second.

“Kill them of course... but leave one alive so I can question him. They’re quite dumb to come after me and my men,” Vince mumbled the last part to himself but Don heard and rolled his eyes as they all got ready to fight.

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