The Trials Of The King Chapter 4


By Nanaki

Late June 6, Early June 7

"Hey, you don't need to look so depressed." Zeik told Sira as they rode past the outskirts of Porre. The fog was thick, and what few lights remained on in the town were barely visible. "It's not like we're going to kill you or anything. A dead hostage is no good, after all. Right Kaneta?" Kaneta only snorted in response from his position slightly behind Zeik.

Sira remained silent for a moment, but she felt the need to speak. "It's not that. I just can't believe how stupid I was. I mean, not only announcing that I was from Guardia, but that I was the Princess. Now that was stupid."

"Yeah." Zeik smiled a little. "It really was. But I am thankful for your help. It was looking pretty ugly there for a second."

"Thankful enough to let me go?"

"Not a chance." His grin broadened. "I may need your help, actually. I saw that you can use magic. What types?"

"Lightning, Ice, some Shadow, a little Jade..." She suddenly clamped her jaw shut. Why was she telling him everything, and offering no resistance? For some reason, Zeik just seemed really easy to talk to.

"Quite impressive. Have you ever heard of something called summoning?"

'Keep your mouth closed, self! Don't tell him any more!' "A little, but I don't know the details."

"Basically, it allows the caster to summon really huge creatures into the heart of a battle, then teleport them away before they can come to any harm."

"And you want me to help you summon something to send against the people in Porre? Yeah, right!"

"No, no!" Zeik shook his head. "I take it you are unaware of our situation."

"What situation?"

"My people were forced into the Truce against their will back when it was formed. Until recently, the special agents assigned by the king kept us from showing any resistance."

"So why did that change recently?"

"They pissed me off royally. I'd prefer not to discuss that, if it's all the same to you."

"Okay. Well, whatever you've been doing worked. My dad recalled every last special agent from the Porre area."

"You're kidding!" He gave her a funny look, but she looked serious. "I wondered what they were doing in Fiona's Woods... Anyway, we went up to Guardia a few days back, and I asked your father to let us out of the Truce. He agreed, but your mother had a different opinion about it. Then Kaneta pissed him off, they ended up fighting, and we left."

"Yes... I've always been told that I must never let anyone out of the Truce. But I never agreed with that policy. So, are you at war or what?"

"It looks that way." Zeik sighed. "And I figure our only chance is if we take the offensive. That's why I want to learn about summoning."

Sira looked at the ground. "Sounds like a worthy cause, actually. But I wouldn't help you do something that would kill anyone from the kingdom."

"They're going to be killing us!" Kaneta shouted.

"Shhhut up!" Omi rode up beside him and elbowed him in the ribs. "He might be able to make her help us." Kaneta just grumbled in response as they headed deep into what had once been known as the Cursed Woods.

"There are going to be a few casualties, yes." Zeik admitted. "But I figure our best bet is to overwhelm and conquer them as fast as possible. A summoned monster would help us do that, and a quick battle should reduce casualties."

"Maybe..." Sira paused. "Hold on a minute."

"What?" Zeik looked around.

"There's something weird up ahead..."

"Hey, nobody's ever managed to track us this far before."

"There's a first time for everything." She dismounted, picked up a rock, and threw it down the trail. Suddenly, lightning bolts erupted from the ground, and coursed through the trees, barely missing them even from this distance.

"What the...? How did you know?"

"I thought I felt some weird magic waves around here. I figured that you guys know nothing about magic, so..." Zeik looked at the ground, as if concentrating hard.

"Okay... That does it! If you want to go, you can!"

"What the hell?!" Kaneta burst out.

"That's twice she's saved my ass! I say she can go!"

"You're crazy man! Now if we lose, we'll all be captured, with no way out!"

"What would happen if you lost the normal way?" Sira couldn't help asking.

"Then we'd just all kill ourselves." Kaneta said simply. She gasped. "What?"

"Just because you lost, you'd stop living?"

"The dishonor would be too great. Some might stick around if Zeik survives, but for most of us, this is it."

Sira looked at the ground, then she appeared to be concentrating too. "Um... If you all don't mind, I think I'll stick around here for a while." Zeik's jaw dropped.

"What the hell?!" Kaneta instantly drew his sword. "Zeik, I think we got a spy on our hands."

"She is the princess." Zeik told him. "I studied up on Guardia enough to recognize her. But I have to ask, Sira - It is all right if I call you Sira, right? - why the hell would you want to hang around with us, when you have the option to go?"

"I can't let my parents be the cause of so many deaths. I'll stop them, if it's possible to do so."

"Hey, don't worry about us." Kaneta grinned. "We're going to kick much butt when the battle comes."

"Actually Kaneta, I am pretty worried about it. This isn't the old days. We don't have other daimyos to call on for support. It's just me, the Murasama, and the bravery of all you people." Zeik sighed, then looked up at Sira. "If you stay, does that mean you'll help us with the summoning?"

"I suppose, as long as you try to keep the casualties down."

"I always do, except where the special agents are concerned."

"The agents I met seemed like jerks. I might have to agree with you there."

"So, let me get this straight. You're basically joining up with us, and promising to help us fight against Guardia?" It did sound pretty weird when he put it like that.

"I suppose. It's a just cause, and there's something about this situation..." 'Actually, there's something about you too, Zeik...'


"Treachery!!" - Glenn


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