Listross pulled back on the reins. His horse whinnied and pulled to a stop. “I just needed a drink, please, Prince Listross, I was just about to get back out onto the field.” The ferronian’s blond hair was caked to his forehead with water he had dumped on it. He pressed himself against the well, slowly making his way to the opposite side. Listross hopped off his horse and undid the clasp that held his whip in place on the saddle. “Slaves can get water when they break for lunch. It looks like I’ll have to teach you how to work better and harder.” “No, please.” The man turned to run, but froze and screamed as the whip fell on his back. “One.” He tried to take another step away. “Two.” The man fell to his knees. Listross stepped closer for a better angle. As he slammed the whip down for a third strike, he felt small arms wrap around his leg. “Daddy, stop! You’re hurting him.”
Ossillion shook his head, snapping his eyes to meet Listross’s. “After I fled the potato plantation, I stumbled upon an abandoned temple where I found this sword and a note. We need to stop this pointless squabbling if we want the world to survive.” “An abandoned temple?” Listross stood and looked out the window at the pink sky. “Yes, when I drew the weapon, my wounds were instantly healed and I could see the note and sword.” When had there been a sword in the abandoned temple? Memories flooded Listross’s mind. Ten years prior to receiving the crown, he and Flouth had longed for freedom. They tried to escape, figuring if they could make it to a more wooded area, they could fend for themselves. But somehow the Roughlins had discovered they’re plot. Listross and Flouth could hear the horse hooves plodding through the woods when they reached the abandoned building.
Listross’s dark, rage-filled eyes turned to Eppra. He tightened his grip on his sword. “You little-!” The door to the manor house flew open and Grink ran to Listross, his right hand man at his side. “Prince. From what my men and I can tell, battle between us and the Ferronians started at the Rigor farm. News started coming this way. We subdued the blacksmith and his family before he awoke, but, as you can hear, they’re almost here.” “To arms!” Listross pointed his weapon towards the door as seven men from the city pushed into the room, engaging all the Tavalaskian men. Listross took a step back as he parried a blow to his torso. He nearly tripped over Magistrate Ossillion in the process.
Listross’s stern eyes flashed between Emmya and Eppra. “Fine.” He drew his weapon. “Come men, let’s go take this city. We’ll enslave the Ferronians as they’ve enslaved us.” Eppra let out the breath she was holding and gave Listross a small smile. “Thank you.” “Bolfreed, take Emmya to Tales, and make sure she stays there. The rest of you, grab a weapon. When we go in, we will make a point to not kill. If the Ferronians resist, bind them. Flouth, grab the rope.” “Got it, Prince.” “But Daddy!” Bolfreed hoisted Emmya as she reached towards Listross. Listross turned his back as Bolfreed started jogging off. “I love you, Emmya. Just stay with Tales. You’ll be fine” Grink strode over and pointed at Eppra. “Your family lords over this town, correct?” Eppra gave a single nod. “Then, Prince Listross, I suggest you select three others to march with you to take that house. It’ll be a sign of power. Have the rest of the men position themselves in the city.” “If you’re breaking into teams, I’d send one to the blacksmith, one to the innkeeper, and one to the Rigor Farm. They have the most renown in town, that is, besides my father.” “Grink, take the blacksmith. Flouth, the innkeeper. Rawruin, the farm.” “Yes, Prince,” the three men saluted in unison. Listross thrust his blade into the air before marching. Eppra led her horse by his side through the forest to the city.
Listross turned back to her, brow furrowed deep. “You really want to help?” Eppra nodded, meeting Listross’s eyes with boldness. “Then this is what I want from you.” Listross sheathed his weapon. “Go. Take your horse and ride back to those men. Tell them there’s nothing this way and convince them to ride back into the city. After the moon has risen and candles are blown out, take the weapons your village has and bring them here. Bolfreed will be trailing you, and if you stray, his arrow won’t.” Eppra slowly nodded. “It will be done.” “Let her go, Thyrin.” Thyrin gave Listross a concerned look, but let her go. Immediately, Eppra took her horse’s reins and skillfully mounted. Thyrin watched her and whispered to Listross. “Are you actually going to trust her?” Listross glanced at Thyrin, and held up his finger. Eppra looked back at the group. “Everything will be done as you asked, but I ask that you look favorably on me and my town.”