Helios looked around, his senses still sluggish but improving.
His muscles were slowly waking up. It would take longer to get his strength back. There was no time crunch anyway. Rafael was a fool to have kept him alive and with the beast gone, he was lost about what to do. The mediocre thug always caused inconvenience.
In contrast to what his plight commanded, he was still basking in the glory of his victory over the beast of the Crumbling Castle. The beast had lived in peace for years just outside the borders of Pacemenia – Helios’ kingdom. Then he had attacked a few wandering kids playing near his castle. Helios was aggravated, but he had still offered amnesty. The beast was too drunk in his arrogance. He had challenged Helios and announced proudly he will tear him into two halves. But the coward wanted no audience and demanded that the duel happen in closed premises of his castle, with only one person waiting at the main door for the outcome. Whoever won had to sound the gong in the arena. If it was the beast, the person waiting outside was sure to become his supper. Helios was still trying to piece it together when Rafael offered to be the onlooker. Helios had smiled and hugged Rafael benevolently, thanking him for this selfless act. It was that simple, Helios had thought to himself.
The fact that Rafael was a traitor was not hidden from him since his growing years. But the beast was a dangerous alliance. Not only was he strong, but he was also gullible. Rafael had a lot of enemies who were not in Helios’ best books either – a lot smarter enemies than the fool could afford. They could have used the beast as a pawn to destroy the kingdom and Rafael. The beast had to die.
Rafael had come dressed in white that morning. ”Mourning my loss already?”, Helios had joked. Rafael had smiled slyly, embracing his half brother without offering any explanation.
The subjects of Pacemenia had greeted Helios on his way, not one of them thinking he would not return. Pacemenia had been ruled by Helios’ ancestors for centuries and each one of them had ensured Pacemenia’s safekeeping like family. Helios had been on the throne for twenty seven years now and had put his life on the line for Pacemenia on many occasions. The most venerated of all stories was when Helios had dug the soil by the Kamento Mountains, when the oracles had predicted there was a spring that could end the year long drought. Helios had dug with his bare hands when all the other men had tired and given up. And when the water had finally bowed down to his defiance, he had fed all the men who had helped him before tasting its sweetness himself.
When after two days of Helios leaving Pacemenia to fight the Beast, the sound of the Gong broke the stillness of the atmosphere, the dwellers of Pacemenia had erupted in joy, lighting the bonfires and preparing for the feast – such was their conviction that Helios was invincible.
Back at the Crumbling Castle, when Helios had walked out of the Gates, he was met by a shocked and confused Rafael. Helios was tired but his humor had not left him. He had patted the back of Rafael, speaking between heavy breaths – “Next time Brother, when I’m having a bad day”.
Rafael had pushed Helios away with burning hatred and thrust a needle with the poison of the deadly Cicutia plant into one of his wounds. The poison was for the beast once he had killed Helios, but things had not worked in his favor. He had fed the beast with a specially prepared concoction from Anamamia plant that had quadrupled his strength. The beast was beside himself with joy and had smashed some pillars of his castle as Rafael had watched with satisfaction. To see Helios return victorious was like being hit by a bolt of lightning. It was impossible. Rafael had shuddered. Was it true, he had wondered, that Helios was indeed a manifestation of the God of Sun? That he had blessings of the keepers of Justitia?
Rafael had chained the drugged Helios and dragged him to the dungeons. Many a times he had considered slaying Helios with his sword, but every time he dismissed the thought, fearing what wrath of what powers that looked upon Helios would be unleashed on him.
This is Part 2 of my story.
I have planned to write a story using all the “Inpirational Monday” Prompts for the week. I have used the prompt – “Time Crunch” in this one.
Part 1 of the story can be found here.
I think I have goofed up the tenses in this write up.. I tried to maintain a uniformity and have proof read the whole thing too… but I still think there are issues… Concrit is welcome and I look forward to feedback from anyone who manages to read the whole thing (I know it’s a tad long 🙂 )