The Rescue of Her
By Nicole Marcina
Date: July 29, 2022
Ch. 1Prologue

"Where is he?!" James screamed from the top of his lungs. The guards kept their heads low as they witnessed the king's outbursts.
The day wasn't supposed to start this way… if Robert was still in his quarters.
James woke up from his nap to have a quick discussion with Robert. He was finally going to begin the rescue mission for Laura. He took the whole night to think everything through. He was very enthusiastic to tell his son the good news. However, when he got to Robert's room, he was nowhere to be found.
"It is your responsibility, your duty to make sure that nothing happens to my son. Now, a night passes over us and he's suddenly missing?!" his voice continued to echo throughout all four corners of the throne room. "And nobody knows if he left or if he was abducted?! What kind of incompetence is this?!"
Robert's guards fell to their knees and kept their foreheads onto the floor. At the same time, they begged for the king's mercy.
"Forgive us! Forgive us, Your Majesty!"
"We didn't know that this would happen when he left his room. We didn't know!"
"We deserve punishment, Your Majesty! We accept any punishment for our carelessness!"
"We beg for your mercy, Your Majesty! Please, punish us! But I beg of you, please do not kill us!"
"If anything happens to the prince, do you think that by punishing you - or even chopping off your heads - will atone for anything?!" James bellowed. He continued, "I specifically instructed that no matter what happens, no matter how hard he bargains with you, no matter how hard he protests with you, you must never leave him on his own!"
The captain, who remained behind this man, ran to the front and knelt before the king. He kept his head and replied, "Please, Your Majesty, forgive my men. It was I who was at fault. I didn't train them well for this sort of situation. If you will punish anyone, please, put it on my shoulders."
The captain continued, "As their leader, I have failed to train them properly. Especially, in regards to the Prince's safety." He raised his head and looked directly at James, "I beg of you, Your Majesty. Save my men from punishment and cast down your wrath onto me." Immediately, he fell to the ground, the same as his own soldiers.
James turned around and closed his eyes, lifting his face up to the ceiling. He refused to see the brightest captain, begging on his knees in the hopes that it would spare his men. He also didn't want to show his frustration and disappointment for what happened.
The captain was the best pupil that he had in terms of being entrusted with the royal family's safety. Which was why he couldn't accept the fact that the captain miscalculated what Robert was capable of doing.
James took a moment for himself and walked further onto the platform. He didn't want to be near anybody, seeing that his sword was only one swing away. Taking a deep breath in, he lowered his voice as he controlled his rage, "Where is Gonzalo?"
The whole room went silent for a moment. Each guard looked at one another, panicking with what James could possibly say or do.
"I will ask this again, and I pray that I won't have to repeat it the third time. Where is Gonzalo?" James growled, his hands balled into fists by his sides.
The guards glared at each other, forcing one another to give the king some kind of answer. However, no one dared to anger the king even more.
James was about to explode when the doors swung open. He turned around and watched as Gonzalo entered the room with Grandpa Ben.
Both Gonzalo and Grandpa Ben kept their eyes directly at James, emotionless as they approached the throne. They then stood behind the pleading guards and bowed in an instant.
"Your Majesty," they greeted together.
James breathed deeply, staring down at the newly-arrived men. "Leave us."
Without a moment to lose, all the guards bowed and took their leave. Even the captain didn't hesitate. He took this as the opportunity to rally up his men and quickly led them out of the room.
As soon as the doors closed shut, Gonzalo and Grandpa Ben discreetly stole glances at one another. Unbeknownst to each other, both held their breaths as they anticipated the wrath of James.
And for quite some time, James remained standing before them. But when they heard slow footsteps approaching, their hearts pounded louder. Beads of sweat slowly formed on their foreheads and their hands slowly shook as well.
A pair of boots stopped right in front of them. James asked, "Where is Robert?"
A moment of silence came down upon them before Gonzalo answered, "Your Majesty, forgive me for my incompetence. I was unable to stop–"
"I don't need your petty apologies, Gonzalo. You already failed me and my instructions. There's no use of that now and my patience cannot handle any more excuses," James snarled. He continued, "I repeat, where is Robert?"
Fearlessly, Grandpa Ben stood up and looked James straight in the eyes. He replied, "I know where he is. And I have a lot to discuss with you as well."

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