• Published 7th Jan 2013
  • 1,105 Views, 47 Comments

Power's Price - Crimson Lionheart

When a Scholar messes around with ancient beings he must save a world much older then his own.

  • ...

[II] Monarch Banter

I awoke the next morning, the smell of vomit and raw rabbit staining my clothes from the night before's dinner. I look around at my fellow captors to see that their cages are empty. I begin to panic a bit, the only people I know in this part of the world and now they are no-where to be found. I hear some banging on the front of my cage and some shouting as the rest of my senses return to me.

"Arin, you coming out?" I heard A'ntaur call from outside the cage. I saw him pull out a pin in the front of the cage and he gestured me to get out. It took a moment to get used to standing again. I looked around and saw everyone in a suit of leather armour and wielding an old and almost useless looking armoury of weapons. Around the edges are some things that almost appear to be made of steel with , wielding a sort of halberd. On a second level balcony, there were about 10 more of these things bearing large crossbows. I now noticed how big these beings truly were, standing another 2 foot over me, making them 8'3 at the smallest. "Listen, okay? All you need to do is put the suit on, march with the rest of us, not make eye contact with the guards and bow if you see the king."

I begin to look over the armour they have on display. "None of this would fit me in a thousand years."

"Well you're fucked,"

"You," one of the guards with his helmet off pointed and shouted at me, "come here!" I almost ran over to him. "Just so you know, Princess Celestia is coming to the arena today. She thinks that you are here by choice, so if you want to reach the end of the day with all of your fingers and toes still attached, you should keep your mouth shut." I audibly gulped at this, like in plays. "...And you might need this." He tossed me my old backpack at me I saw my axes were still crossed on the front, with my sword behind them and my bullets were still in the front pocket. The back pocket was empty like always. "Any questions?"

"Yeah, a few"

"Shoot," I guessed that meant for me to ask him.

"Who is Princess Celestia?" He laughed in my face and told me to get lost. I then returned to A'ntaur and asked him about it. Turns out she was the leader of Equestria, and she visits the arena continuously to make sure that contestants volunteer and the warden makes sure that we don't do anything to give away that we aren't. I use my sword to cut some of the straps on the armour down to my size, The hardened leather parts are still ridiculously big for me and will restrict my movement, but it will protect me. When everything is set up, we just sit around and wait for the arena to start the fights.

1 hour later

We could hear hoofsteps above our heads as the spectators all get into their seats. A'ntaur and I had spent the last hour discussing our pasts. I went first and he thought I made it up to start with, but eventually he began to believe me. He started to tell me about him, about how he was an ex soldier and how the minotaurs force their kids into service. After the war, he became an adventurer and then met his fiance, a diamond dog (I have no idea what they are). They cut off his ring fingers when they found out that he was getting married to another species and imprisoned him when they found files having names of prisoners.

"So what is her name?" I ask, genuinely entranced by learning about such a fictional romance happening in real life. Just like so many romance novels I have read when I was alone...I mean, that I have heard about...but never read.

"Sheeva. She is a wild one, hard to hate, harder to like and damn near impossible to understand," he said with a laugh.

"Aren't all females?" I said with the most serious expression. We then both burst into laughter.

The large, wooden double doors to the room swung open with a bang as a 9 foot tall minotaur strutted in. He had horns twice the size of most minotaurs, standing easily another 2 feet above his head and was almost covered in gold. Actually, pretty much all of him was covered in gold, bracelets, rings, golden plates encrusted with rubies, sapphires, diamonds and all other kinds of precious metals. But of all this, the most noticeable thing about him is his crown. Reddened brass that entwines with his horns making it impossible to remove. It has small inscriptions and drawing all the way around the base of it except for the front left of the crown being bare, which seems to make it look a little out of place. With all of his jewellery coupled with the fact that everyone in the room was kneeling, that makes him Tar'kor, King of Minotaurs.

Following him is a bulky minotaur that puts all else in the room to shame, wearing some form of breastplate and having a large sabre strapped to his back. Also a thin little minotaur, only just larger than myself bearing soft, sweet smile and no horns. I peek a quick peek to my left and see Jarr blushing, even with his head facing the ground.

"Knien vor dem König!" The large minotaur shouts before kicking me behind the knee, forcing me to crumple from the impact. I had picked up some of the local dialect from talking with A'ntaur and understood exactly what he said.

"No" I said, returning to my feet and looking the king dead in the eye.

He stares me down and asked me "You would defy your king?"

"No" I repeated, my expression unfaltering. The king looked honestly confused by this, so I continued. "I do not defy my king, because you are not him."

"Really? And why is that?" He asked with an air of mockery around him.

"Can't you tell by looking at me? We aren't the same species, therefore, you are not my sovereign."

"Oh, I thought that your parents dropped you on your head when you were a child" This got a laugh out of the guard, even some of the participants were laughing.

"I don't know why you said that to me because it would explain your flat face much better." The entire room was shocked and silent. No-one moved, the king's face was contorted into a face of pure rage. His face got redder and redder and my smile grew wider and wider.

"I will make an example of you! Cut off his head!" The large minotaur jumped into action, yet again kicking me behind the knee and bringing his godly blade closer to my throat. I closed my eyes and accepted that I was screwed, the worst part of it was, I couldn't stop smiling. Atleast I went down swinging...vulgar comebacks.

"Tar'kor, you know the rules," comes an angelic voice from further up the hallway that he came down, "if he truly isn't a minotaur then you have no jurisdiction." A white, four legged animal walks into the room. In the 17 years of my life on this planet I have never seen something so majestic. It's coat beamed like the cleanest silk, it's hair flowed in an other-worldly breeze, it's powerful looking wings tucking in close to her body and a long horn projecting from her head. All I could say was 'wow'.

"Wow!" I said, sounding like an Idiot.

"What do you mean, Celestia?" I remembered who Celestia was, the Equestrian Princess. Now where is she? "Of course he is a minotaur. Where else could he be from?

"Why don't we ask him?" Flowed that same beautiful voice from before. Wait..."Where are you from?"

"Did that thing just talk?" I ask, raising a finger towards the creature.

"Yes I did, and might I add that was quite rude of you."

"I'm sorry, uhm... I am from Arcadia, The Jewel of the Human Empire, leaders in science, machinery and culture." I said like it was a promotional slogo. It was actually, but we'll keep that to ourselves." I am Arin"

"Much better, I am Princess Celestia, ruler of the Kingdom of Equestria and maiden of the sun." She says as she lowered her head slightly. "I rule over my little ponies so that they can live a happy and fulfilling life filled with peace and harmony"

"Those are some qualities I can respect in a leader." After saying this, she gives me a smile....I think.

"Perhaps we should move to the royal box, the show is about to start," suggests Tar'kor.

"I would like to ask one more question, if that is all right."

"Of course your highness" I decide to show some respect to her, she seems like a good leader, unlike Tar'kor.

"If you aren't a minotaur, and you aren't from Taura, then why are you here in the arena?" To anyone normal, it would have sounded like just a regular question, but I could sense the implications on it, no matter how well hidden they were. I looked around the room, only moving my eyes and seeing all minotaurs preparing to raise their crossbows, threatening me into doing what they want.

"Oh, I came to Taura because I heard about the wonderful people and delicious food they have here," sarcasm is a good talent to have, even if it is one of the few that I have, "but then I ran into some of Tar'kor's guards just outside of town that bet me that I wouldn't last one round in the area. Not someone to back down from a challenge, here I am." Damn, I almost think I fooled myself.

"Is that the truth?" she said inquisitively.

"Why would I lie to you?" I answer, flicking my eyes towards Tar'kor. She gave a slight nod.

"How long do you plan to stay in Taura?" she asks.

"I think might stay for one or two fights, then I might go with my friend to meet his fiance," I said gesturing to An'tour. I now feel a little weird having a casual conversation with royalty while everyone else in the room is bowing.

"I might stay for your second fight, should you decide to take it,

"It would be an honour, your highness."

"Please call me Celestia"

"I would rather call you Princess, my lady, for in my culture, to call a monarch by their first name is a sign of disrespect."

"If you insist, Arin," she said with the same smile-like expression from before, I am sure it is a smile. "Come along Luna, Crimson." She shouts behind her. A few boring moments pass before a slightly smaller, midnight blue version of Celestia came along. She stood about my height. If Celestia was majesty, then this one was beauty. She had beautiful eyes that you could lose yourself for hours in, her hair looked just like a starry night that reminded me of my time star gazing with my father. She walked with her head down to the ground and rushed past me to get to Celestia's side. Following this beautiful creature came another, this one was a stark contrast. It was more muscled than Celestia or obviously Luna and was scarred like a veteran of war. He was a deep red with a royal blue man and ice blue streaks through it, he was also missing a horn, he was clearly Crimson. My eyes returned to Luna, watching her almost cling to Celestia as they left the room.

"Eyes to the ground, freak," Crimson ordered in a smooth, deep voice. I ignored him and continued to start at the beauty that just blessed my eyes with the mere sight of her. I then got a sick feeling in my stomach and the feeling of falling, then the feeling of vomiting, then intense pain in my family jewels.

"You are still fighting tonight, Arin," Tar'kor says with a grin as he holds the door open for Crimson, "and I am looking forward to it."

"Take out the lycanthrope, I want Arin to fight a berserker."

"Just shoot him now and save us the trouble of recapturing the thing."

"No, I want to watch him be smashed into oblivion."

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