Wednesday, August 1, 2012
The Alliance - Part V
Cedric groaned, his buttocks tightening to push his hips forward just a bit further. Phillip sucked on him so strongly that Cedric half wanted to push him away, but it felt so good! Cedric reminded himself to pay more attention to pleasuring Phillip in return.
The two of them lay on their bed on their sides. Phillip was laying in the opposite direction of Cedric, so they each had perfect access to suck on and please each other. It was their way of flipping a coin to make a decision; the first one to fill the other's mouth lost.
Cedric gasped, throwing his head back as he flooded his husband. Phillip chuckled, continuing to suck until Cedric was done.
“I win!” Phillip announced as he shifted to lay face to face with Cedric. He kissed him softly, and then grinned. “Lie face down.”
Cedric stole another quick kiss, and then rolled onto his stomach. Phillip climbed on top of Cedric, and simply lay there for a moment. He bit Cedric's neck enough to leave teeth marks, but not enough to draw blood.
Without warning, Phillip plunged into Cedric, who responded by moaning into the bed.
Both were trying to ignore the fact that they were being sent away tomorrow. After just three short months in the Demon Palace, their fathers had decided that it was time to send them to the front. Cedric would honestly rather stand before a firing squad than lead a battle, so his father had decided to send him as a figurehead. It would be Phillip who was actually in command of the Army.
The good news was that the other Kingdom was all but conquered, and all they were really doing was marching on the Capitol to capture the royal family and bring them back to the Demon King. If all went well, Cedric would arrive just as the army was finished, and wouldn't even have to see the battle.
Phillip realized that Cedric's mind had wandered, so he finished as quickly as possible, and then lay on top of his husband. “Don't think about it. After this is over, your father has promised to take a break from all warring until he can rebuild the treasury a bit.”
“I know,” Cedric murmured.
In the morning, Alanna and Sarenna let Lita into her dads' room. Lita was always insistent in the morning, and it was now her habit – since she no longer shared a room with them – to wake them up by jumping on them. She didn't care in the slightest that they were naked and Phillip was laying on Cedric, she simply jumped on Phillip's back and squealed.
No matter how many times the two Princesses saw their men like this – or in a similar position – they could still not figure out what exactly had happened. Neither had enough experience yet to picture how two men could make love. Just thinking about it made them blush!
Both men grunted as Lita tackled them. They were used to this, but it was still a shock each morning to have such a little girl manage to practically bruise them in her enthusiasm to wake them up. Phillip grabbed Lita and rolled her so that he could blow on her tummy.
She shrieked, and immediately fought to be free. Of course, this meant that she inadvertently landed in Cedric's waiting arms. He tickled her until she managed to break free from him, and then she jumped off the bed.
“Lita pss!” She announced, hopping up and down comically until she got to the privy closet.
Cedric laughed. “Apparently she forgot to go before coming in here!”
Both Sarenna and Alanna looked ready to cry. They were depressed that their husbands were leaving today. The only good thing was that enough time had passed that there was no doubt that both were with child.
“Has breakfast arrived?” Phillip wondered as his stomach growled.
Sarenna nodded. “Just a moment ago.”
Alanna obtained their robes, and handed one to Sarenna before holding out Cedric's. He stood up and slipped his arms into the sleeves..
“I wish you didn't have to leave,” Alanna murmured sadly.
Sarenna held out the robe for her husband to slip into. This had become something of a ritual in the morning. A couple of minutes later – after mundane morning needs were taken care of and the two Princes had gotten dressed – they all sat around the table to eat. Even Lita was unusually quiet.
A knock on the door eventually interrupted their somber brooding. A guard opened the door and announced. “It's time.”
Phillip stood and belted his sword around his waist. Sarenna burst out crying, and threw her arms around him. She pressed a kiss to his lips, hoping to bestow luck.
Meanwhile, Cedric handed a good-sized saddlebag to the guard. They had agreed to travel fairly light, just as they had when on their honeymoon. Alanna also demanded a goodbye kiss from her husband, but did a tiny bit better at holding back her tears.
Cedric picked up Lita, and then led them to where he knew his father was waiting to lecture them before they left. Sure enough, both Kings were standing just inside the main entrance to the Palace.
“Cedric,” his father addressed him sternly. “I expect you to conduct yourself with pride on the battlefield and bring honor to the Great Demon Kingdom! We've already won this war, and they know it! Just go get the royal family and bring them back here. That's all I need from you.”
“Yes father,” Cedric replied obediently.
“Phillip.” It was his father's turn to add his two cents. “I know I don't have to tell you this, but the enemy is desperate. They'll be doing whatever it takes to defend themselves, so you'll have to be twice as clever.”
Once more, the two Princesses burst out crying. “Please be safe!”
Cedric smiled at his wife reassuringly. “Don't worry, with Phillip at my side, there's nothing on the planet that could harm me.”
Phillip nodded his head in a way that also bobbed side to side in amusement. “True. Also, don't forget that Cedric has enough firepower to blow the enemy palace to bits if he had to! We'll be fine.”
Their mothers took a moment to both disobey their husbands and hug their sons goodbye – just in case things went badly. They had been ordered to stay in their respective chambers simply because neither King could fully understand why they would want to be there to say goodbye.
With nothing else to keep them here, the two exchanged a glance that asked if they were ready. They walked out the door.
“Wait!” Alanna protested. “You're still holding Lita!”
Cedric squeezed his daughter tight for a moment, and then faced his wife. “I know... There's nothing on this planet that would ever make me leave her behind.”
Phillip smiled. “Think of it this way, we are so confident that we are going to win this war quickly that we have no hesitation bringing our little girl with us. She'll be safe with us.”
Surprisingly, it was Cedric's father that roared in protest. “Even so, the battlefield is no place for a child!”
Cedric simply shrugged. “The battlefield is no place for a peace-loving Demon Prince, but I still have to go.”
They left before anyone else could argue with them.
Phillip's father stroked his chin in thought. “Think they'll actually do what they're told?”
The Demon King sighed in aggravation. “If not, it won't matter. This war is still won. I simply hoped that my son would take an interest in his future rather than run from it like a coward.”
“Still... they can't just be allowed to do whatever they want. We need to come up with a plan...”
The Demon King nodded. “Believe me, if they don't do as ordered, they will not like the consequences! I plan to have them each thrown in a separate dungeon, and I may never let them see that girl again!”
“It's only fitting...” Phillip's father agreed.
Cedric paced the command tent angrily. “I wish I had the courage to simply run away!”
Phillip pulled Cedric into his arms. “You know as well as I do that our fathers would only hunt us down and...” he shrugged, not entirely certain what would happen then. If Phillip's warrior training was any indication, the consequences could be both painful and soul-shattering.
“Just stick with the plan and this time tomorrow, it'll all be over,” Phillip reminded his husband.
“I know,” Cedric sighed in depression. He kissed Lita on her cheek. “I love you Lita.”
“Love you Da!” Lita responded happily.
“Drink this,” Cedric offered, and Lita complied.
It was her favorite juice laced with a potent drug that would make her sleep until about this time tomorrow. They couldn't risk leaving her in the relative safety of their field camp – even with a pair of strong and capable guards. So, to make sure that she'd be absolutely safe, Cedric planned to carry her in a sturdy sack-like carrier on his back.
That's why he was drugging her. They absolutely did not want her awake if things got nasty and bloody! This way, she'd be safely asleep until it was over.
There was no question that Cedric could protect her from the enemy...
Meanwhile, Phillip had an aide help him into his armor. Then he stashed a couple of weapons before buckling on his sword. Phillip was meant to be Cedric's personal bodyguard. If anyone attacked the Demon Prince, they'd have to get past Phillip before they could so much as spit in Cedric's direction!
When Phillip was ready, he turned to face Cedric. Cedric was also ready with Lita asleep on his back. He didn't have any weapons because he didn't need them.
Cedric was staring at nothing, his eyes vague and faraway.
“You ready?” Phillip asked.
Cedric nodded, and they both slowly walked to their waiting horses. Their entire army was patiently waiting for them to lead them into battle. Cedric took the time to look all of the Generals in the eyes. They weren't happy, but they didn't dare disobey their Prince!
The enemy's royal palace was located in the center of this Kingdom's capital city. The entire city – which was actually little bigger than a town – was encircled by a tall wall. The wall itself had been majorly fortified in preparation for a lengthy siege right about the time this war had started.
Cedric stopped just out of firing range of the city wall, and waited for his army to circle the town. There would be no escape! Once his army was in place, Cedric summoned a particular soldier.
This soldier had an unusual magical talent... When he formed a ring with his hands, and then spoke through it, his voice was amplified a hundredfold! It came in handy when he needed to drive back a large amount of enemies!
The soldier formed his hands into a circle in front of Cedric's mouth.
“Attention! I am Prince Cedric of the Great Demon Kingdom! I am here to conquer your Kingdom once and for all, and there's nothing you can do to stop us! ...” He paused to let his soldiers roar in agreement. He could also tell by the way the soldiers on the wall covered their ears that his message was definitely being heard loud and clear.
“This can be a horribly bloody massacre, or this can be a casualty-free surrender of the entire royal family! I'll give you 10 minutes to decide!”
The soldier dropped his hands, bowed respectfully to Cedric, and then returned to his place.
“Please choose surrender!” Cedric begged under his breath. Only Phillip standing at his side heard him.
The 10 minutes passed slowly, but then a messenger bird flew to them with a message.
Phillip read it aloud. “Dear Prince Cedric, we need more time to make such an important decision. Please grant us 10 more minutes...”
Cedric looked hopeful. “They're considering it.”
Phillip shook his head. “No, they're stalling so that they can do something big... something that will probably destroy as many of our soldiers as they can...”
Cedric sighed unhappily. “I guess I just have to help them make the right decision.”
Phillip nodded, and gestured for two other soldiers to come closer.
“Ready, my Prince!” They both stated.
“Now!” Cedric commanded.
The first soldier used his magic to create an impenetrable sphere around them, and the second used his magic to launch them all the way to the top of the wall. They landed with a heavy thud, but the shield protected them from the massive amount of arrows shot at them.
Careful to start at the very outer edge of the wall, Cedric called forth and expanded all the fire in the city until it was a circle of flame standing up from the top of the wall at least another 15 feet into the air.
As Cedric had promised his Generals, there would be no escape from this city! Slowly, Cedric shifted the circle of flame forward, pushing the soldiers on the wall until they leapt down into the many piles of hay set up for just this purpose – a quick escape into the city from the wall.
Now standing alone on the wall – just the 4 of them – Cedric addressed the soldiers gaping up at him in terror.
“I will shrink this circular wall of fire until it burns up everything in this city! The only way to stop me is for the royal family to surrender to me, right now!”
Cedric and his party stepped off the wall, the sphere floating ominously. As he did so, he moved the fire forward at a pace that people could easily run away from, but was still fast enough to impress upon them the severity of what was about to happen.
The piles of hay started bursting into flames as the solid wall of fire touched them. All but the stoutest of soldiers fled to the center of the city. Citizens started screaming at the hopelessness of the situation.
Everyone ran towards the center of town, not daring to think about what would happen when the fire reached them there. Cedric followed them, the circle of fire shrinking as he went.
“Stop this! You sadistic bastard!” The enemy King bellowed angrily as he managed to emerge from the crowd. “I surrender!”
Cedric closed his eyes, and prayed for the strength to sound convincing. “Not good enough!”
The King actually let out a sob of anguish, but pointed to a small group of people slowly coming forward to join him. “We surrender!”
Cedric scrutinized the woman and two small children bravely standing in the now deserted street. They matched the description of the royal family according to the reports, but they needed be certain.
“Let Phillip out,” Cedric ordered softly.
A moment later, Phillip fell to the ground, landing in a crouch before the woman. He withdrew two short swords from a sheath on his back, and pointed one at each of the children. The girl was about 12, and the boy was about 8. They both whimpered, and their mother wailed.
“Don't hurt them! They just children, for Gods' sake!”
The girl screeched indignantly. “I am a Princess, you misbegotten heathen! How dare you pull a weapon on the Royal Family!”
Her brother stammered, but stepped in front of his mother protectively. “A Prince would never allow any harm to come to a woman! I vow to protect my mother and sister to my dying breath!”
Phillip laughed, and then sheathed his swords. “You're right. A Prince would never harm a woman or a child.”
Cedric was satisfied that no commoner or even noble born child could truly imitate the attitude taught to all royal children. Therefore, these two must be the genuine article. He gestured for the sphere to land, and then the soldier quickly shifted the shield to contain the enemy King and his family.
Cedric clapped his hands together once, and then held his hands out to his sides and made a gesture as if ordering everyone to sit down. The fire immediately vanished with a sound almost like a roaring waterfall.
The soldier that had made them fly used his power to break open the gate to the city. Two of Cedric's top Generals and a small group of elite soldiers were waiting to take control of the city.
“You can walk by my side with dignity,” Cedric told the surrendered King. “Or you can be carried in that shield like a true prisoner.”
“We'll walk,” the King stated, amazed to find that their “cage” rolled with them as they walked.
Cedric led the way and Phillip walked behind the captives in case the soldier ran out of magic and the shield disappeared. They weren't leaving anything to chance!
The King did his best to sound calm, but his voice wavered. “Why must you take my wife and children?”
Cedric realized that this was probably the best time to answer the King's questions and hopefully put his mind at ease – with just the two soldiers within ear shot. He stopped and gave the King a sympathetic look.
“Because... your children are not old enough for me to marry, and won't be for several years. That's why you couldn't simply offer either of them up to prevent my father from destroying your Kingdom. Well... that and you stubbornly refused to surrender without putting up a damn good fight!
“In any case, as a conquered King, you may or may not be put to death. No matter what happens to you, your children will be hostages and prisoners until they are old enough for my father to do something with them... probably marry them to someone important in our Kingdom.
“They simply will not be allowed to come back here ever again. The people could easily attempt a rebellion in their names if they did,” Cedric finished explaining. His soldier's were surprised at his total candor.
“The same goes for your wife,” Phillip added. “We cannot leave her here to cry and scheme. The people would grieve for her and vow to get revenge... Sorry, you're all property of the Demon King now!”
“I see,” the King murmured, grateful for their honesty.
It took them some time, but finally, they were back at the field camp. Cedric nodded to a guard as the guard held open the flap to his large command tent. The captive King looked around it in awe... It looked almost as big as a small mansion!
Cedric gestured for the soldier controlling the shield to let the prisoners go, and then leave the tent.
Phillip pointed to the door. “Go ahead, just try to leave.”
The King cast him a look of startled disbelief. Hesitantly, he walked to the flap and tried to open it. It wouldn't budge!
“This tent is sealed to prevent anyone from entering without permission!” Cedric explained. “It also happens to be the securest place to house you. No matter how hard or what you try, you will not be able to escape this tent!”
Phillip pointed to an open area off to one side of the large tent. “At night, you and your family will sleep in that room, which will be sealed off from the rest of the tent, so don't even think about trying to sneak up on us during our sleep.”
“I understand,” the King murmured in confusion. This was far better treatment than he expected!
Cedric sighed in relief that his prisoners were cooperating, and pulled the carrier off his back. Phillip quickly helped him, checking on Lita.
“She's still asleep,” he commented needlessly. The captive King and Queen gasped in astonishment as they pulled the child from the bag.
Cedric chuckled. “It's only been long enough to be considered a really long nap. I think I'll give her the antidote.” By this, he referred to the fact that Lita should still be able to sleep normally tonight if she woke up now.
Phillip held Lita steady as Cedric used an eyedropper to squirt some liquid into her mouth. She suddenly groaned and spit!
“Yuck!” She protested, squirming to get away.
“Sorry,” Cedric apologized.
Lita hugged Phillip impulsively. He grinned at Cedric as if saying “Ha ha!”
“Lita hungry Da!” Lita announced.
“Me too!” Phillip agreed, and then went to the entrance flap, opened it, and ordered a small feast to be brought to them.
Cedric groaned, and swayed a little. “I think I may have overdone it a bit...”
Lita jumped out of Phillips arms and ran to Cedric.
“I'm fine Lita, I'm just tired,” he assured her.
Phillip pressed a hand to Cedric's forehead. “You feel fine. Maybe a little clammy. You should lie down and rest.”
Cedric nodded, and then wobbled as Phillip helped him into bed. Lita climbed into bed too, and put a hand on his heart.
Cedric laughed. “Not now, thanks anyway.” Lita promptly started babbling one to him anyway.
The guard held open the tent flap to admit a servant with two large platters full of food. Phillip waited for the food to be set on the table, and then dismissed the servant.
“That'll be all, thank you.”
“Yes my Prince,” the servant murmured, and then hastily exited the tent. The guard resealed the flap.
“I don't know if you managed to eat,” Phillip addressed the King and his family. “But I imagine that you were probably unable to. Feel free to join us.”
Lita happily abandoned her story, jumped off the bed, and leapt into one of the chairs surrounding the table. Phillip had the grace to wait until the women were seated, and then took a seat next to his daughter.
“Save some for the rest of us!” He laughed as he noticed that Lita was busy taking a little bit of everything.
Lita held out a small bun. “Love you Da!”
Phillip took it as if it was the fanciest cake ever baked. “Why thank you Lita!”
Once the prisoners were certain that these two had literally taken a little bit of everything, and therefore it probably wasn't poisoned or drugged, they took their fill of the food too. It was simple food – meat and vegetables – but it was filling.
About halfway through their meal, Lita suddenly remembered that there were strangers in the room. She pointed her finger at the captive Princess with a frown. “Who you?”
“I am Princess Amalia, and this is my brother Prince Davin.” She completely ignored her parents since one did not normally introduce children to the King and Queen. “Who are you?” She ask haughtily.
“Me Lita!” Lita informed her with a grin. Then she pointed at Phillip. “Da!” Lastly, she pointed at Cedric – who was softly snoring as he slept. “Da!”
Princess Amalia frowned in confusion. “You're both named Da?”
Phillip laughed. “No! I'm Prince Phillip, husband to Prince Cedric. This is our daughter Lita.”
“Oh...” Princess Amalia murmured, suddenly ashamed that she had talked to a Prince the way she had earlier. She had thought him a simple soldier guarding the Demon Prince.
The Queen finally thought of something to say to her captor – strangely comforted by the good manners Prince Phillip displayed. “I've heard – of course – that the Demon Prince had married a man, but... um... how do you have a daughter?”
Phillip smiled mysteriously. “I think I'll just let you wonder about that for a while.”
The next morning, the guard opened the flap to admit a soldier carrying a large platter of food and two other guards. Phillip was awake enough to know they were there, but not enough to get out of bed.
“Let the prisoners out so they can eat,” Phillip commanded.
“Yes my Prince.”
The large curtain that separated the prisoners – reinforced with a magical seal – was pulled to the side. The captive family was patiently waiting to be served breakfast. As they sat at the table – taking a good look at the guards that refused to leave and the trio sleeping on the large bed – they wordlessly focused on their plates.
Cedric and Phillip both lay on their sides facing each other. Lita was in between them and they each held one of her hands. The smell of food woke Lita, causing her to sit up abruptly.
“Da!” She exclaimed excitedly, pushing on Phillip insistently. “Wake up Da!”
Phillip groaned. “No, sleep some more Lita.”
Lita tackled him, causing him to wrestle her for a few seconds. Cedric laughed.
“Is that food I smell?”
Lita squealed happily and then tackled her other dad.
“I bet you're starving,” Phillip remarked with a chuckle.
“Now that you mention it, I feel like I could eat an entire sheep!”
“Sorry my Prince,” the soldier attending them apologized. “No mutton today, but we do have some excellent blood sausage.”
Cedric realized that he was still fully dressed from when he passed out yesterday, and simply got out of bed. Lita was wearing a nightgown and a pair of bloomers, and she had no qualms about leaping out of bed and running to the table. Phillip was only wearing a pair of long underwear, and slipped into the robe the attendant held out for him.
Cedric filled a plate from the platter, looked around at everyone, and then focused on the attendant. “I'm going to need more food!” He proceeded to order up a huge feast.
Phillip laughed. “I don't think you'll be able to eat all that!”
“You wouldn't say that if you could feel how empty my stomach is!” Cedric insisted.
“Uh... right away my Prince,” the attendant agreed reluctantly. As he left, Cedric dismissed the guards.
“Lita swim Da?” Lita asked after climbing into Cedric's lap.
There was a Lake nearby that was perfect for swimming in. It was also perfect for bathing in, and the soldiers had all taken turns in it. Cedric thought about this a moment, and then looked at his captives. They all looked like they could use a bath too.
“Why not? But wait until I'm finished eating,” Cedric replied.
The prisoners looked at each other and sighed. They hadn't exactly had time to pack, and were still wearing what they wore yesterday. They were sweaty and a little bit smelly. Thankfully, soldiers had allowed a couple of servants to pack a small bag full of clothes for each of them.
The extra food arrived, and Phillip decided to entertain Lita with stories until Cedric was finished eating. Finally, the Demon Prince pushed his plate away with a satisfied sigh... and then a groan.
“I think I may have overdone it.”
Phillip laughed. “I'll say!”
Cedric asked the attendant to send in a half dozen guards.
“Listen, you may have figured this out by now,” he addressed the family of prisoners. “But we plan to treat you like the royalty you are. That doesn't mean that we will be stupid enough to give you a chance to escape, but so long as you behave, we won't have any reason to get rough with you. Now, we're going to go bathe in the lake. You are all free to join us.”
The Queen blushed. “In our Kingdom, the genders do not bathe together...”
Cedric shrugged. “Your Kingdom now belongs to my father, as do you. You can either get used to the customs of my people, or you can stay here while we go clean up.”
Phillip smirked, but didn't say anything. He knew full well that while there were several mixed baths in the Demon Palace, there were also several gender separate baths there too. He correctly figured that Cedric was simply trying to get this family to relax a bit and maybe even come to accept their situation.
The guards arrived.
“These guards will be on hand to both prevent any escape and protect you should anything dangerous suddenly occur,” Cedric explained.
The Queen's desire to wash up overcame her desire to maintain her modesty. She sighed, and looked at her husband.
“I think I'd like to take a bath Harold... even if it means being a heathen in a lake.”
He nodded in agreement. “Of course, Regina.”
The group walked to the lake, which was just barely big enough to be called a lake. It wasn't more than 6 feet deep at its deepest, and was clear enough to see the fish swimming around at the bottom. Because it was so small, neither Prince felt that Lita would need to be tied to them for safety reasons.
Which was a good thing because Lita started stripping the moment the lake was within sight, and raced to be the first one in the water. Having learned to swim in the ocean, she was more than at home here in this lake.
Cedric and Phillip waited until they were actually on the sandy shore before stripping. Phillip was naked first because he wasn't wearing anything but a robe and some long underwear. Cedric rolled his eyes in response to Phillip's smug expression.
Not used to undressing themselves, the royal family took much longer to get naked. The Queen firmly insisted that her daughter keep her eyes on the ground at all times until all the males were in the water, and then the two of them stepped into the lake. She knew that the guards had seen them naked, but chose not to make a fuss about it.
The attendant had followed them, carrying a pile of towels, robes, and expensive fragrant soap.
Lita jumped out of the water in a way that splashed the young Prince before she automatically dove back in the water. She popped her head up again to grin at him.
Prince Davin frowned. “Dolphin?”
Phillip swam by to tickle attack Lita, then paused to answer the question. “Your Kingdom doesn't have access to the ocean, so you probably have never seen or heard about any of the many animals living in it, but Lita grew up swimming in the ocean, and she loves dolphins.”
He used his hands to describe how big a dolphin was. “They're about this long and yea wide. They have fins on their backs and at their sides...”
“They're usually gray,” Cedric added. “But do come in other colors, some with patterns.”
Lita used her hand to make a long pinching motion in front of her nose.
“And they have long pointy noses,” Cedric interpreted for her.
Lita splashed her fathers playfully, and then took off swimming away from them. They took a few moments to wash up, but then chased her around and around the lake.
“Highness!” An officer called out as he ran towards them. “There's a group of enemy soldiers headed this way!”
Several other soldiers followed him so that they could protect their Prince no matter what. The six original guards took robes from the attendant and held them out for the group of bathers to slip into. They were soft and fluffy, but otherwise nondescript.
“Lita!” Phillip barked sharply.
She gave a long-suffering sigh, and then muttered, “Yes Da,” as she emerged from the Lake.
Cedric wrapped her in a towel and set her on one hip as Phillip accepted his sword from a soldier. The officer took the opportunity to confer with Cedric.
“We'll surround you as you make your way back to the command tent, my Prince.”
Cedric nodded. “Activate the perimeter barrier the moment we're back in camp. Let the enemy realize that they can't get to us while I figure out how to deal with the situation.”
The officer nodded in understanding.
It took them a few minutes, but finally they were in the safety of the field camp. The barrier was activated, and no matter how much the enemy shot arrows or hurled rocks, nothing penetrated it. This was the reason that the Great Demon Kingdom always won their battles, and why they were called Demons... They had powerful magic at their disposal that most of the rest of the world lacked. Of the few handfuls of people they had met with magic in other Kingdoms, none were even half as powerful as Cedric.
Alone in the command tent, Cedric paced as the captive royal family watched him. The King was afraid that the Demon Prince would order the rescue party obliterated. He and his Queen tried hard not to twitch nervously and betray their anxiety.
“How can I get them to concede defeat without hurting anyone?” Cedric asked.
Phillip placed a hand on each of his shoulders. “They are here to rescue their King and Queen. They came knowing that they had little to no chance of success, and are therefore prepared to die. I don't think there is anything you can do to get them to give up.”
Cedric bit his lip and slumped morosely. “Well... what do you suggest we do?”
“You know as well as I do that both our fathers would tell us to order our men out there to crush the enemy until there's no one left to fight,” Phillip stated.
“That's just stupid all around!” Cedric roared in frustration, pulling on his hair. An idea occurred to him. “What if we simply put up a barrier around them, and then left before the seal broke and let them out?”
Phillip sighed impatiently. “And then what?! They'd only come after us!”
Cedric growled and resumed his pacing.
“Besides, it would take at least a dozen sorcerers...” Phillip shrugged. “I don't know, 10 minutes(?) to set up the barrier. I doubt that the enemy would just give our sorcerers unrestricted access to their perimeter.”
“Would it work if we gave the barrier enough power to last... 3 or 4 days, and then scared them into believing that we'll serve all their children to the Demon King for breakfast if they follow us?” Cedric wondered.
Phillip laughed. “I don't know, but I say we try it. Worse comes to worst, we can always obliterate them later.”
Cedric took a deep breath and exhaled in relief. “Summon the Generals!”
Phillip went to the entrance to do exactly that, and found that the Generals were already patiently waiting for their Prince to call for them. They entered the tent, jostling and rudely pushing the prisoners to their side area, but then left the curtain open since they couldn't escape the tent anyway and their Prince hadn't ordered them to do so.
Cedric explained the plan. The High General started cursing under his breath.
“I can't believe this! The right thing to do in this situation is to squash the enemy once and for all!”
Cedric glared at him. “I know that my father would agree with you if he were here, but he's not. You're stuck with me, and I say that we try to avoid all unnecessary bloodshed if possible!”
“My Prince, please see reason!” The Highest General begged. “If you simply let us do our job, this whole entire war will be over once and for all in a matter of minutes! If we do as you command, they will only chase after us and probably grow in numbers and strength until they harass us into slaughtering them anyway!”
His Generals rumbled in agreement. “This way, we minimize the amount of lives lost!”
Cedric had his arms crossed over his chest, staring them all down stubbornly. Phillip stood next to him, and placed one hand on his shoulder.
“The Demon King knows that his son cannot stand battle, so he placed you all under my command, right? I am a well trained warrior that has no qualms about doing whatever it takes to secure victory!”
The Generals quietly cheered in agreement.
“Well I stand by my husband. If he wants to try this, I say we try this. If it fails, we've lost nothing, and if it succeeds, we've spared many a life this day,” Phillip stated firmly.
The Highest General took a deep breath and silently counted to 10 in an attempt to control his emotions. When he felt that he could speak without shouting, he sighed in defeat.
“Fine...” he ground out and then left the tent to gather up the sorcerers needed to complete the mission. The rest of the Generals followed him.
Phillip chuckled somewhat nervously. “Now, all we have to do is figure out how to distract the enemy long enough for the trap to be set up.”
Cedric laughed. “I could always don a grass skirt, light it on fire, and perform a native Islander dance!”
Phillip bust up laughing at the mental image. “I would dearly love to see that!”
Lita was bored by the serious talk in the tent, but grinned at the turn in the conversation. She started humming to herself and swaying her body as if she was the one wearing a grass skirt and dancing with Islanders.
Cedric sighed. “We'll go together, just the two of us. I'll growl and make pretentious statements assuring them all that we will do terrible and scary things to them if they don't retreat, and you'll run around pretending to slay soldiers left and right.”
Phillip nodded. “They'll think that our army doesn't take them seriously. That we won't even send in more than two soldiers to deal with the likes of them, and they'll do their best to capture us while they are slowly surrounded and caged.”
Cedric bit his lip in thought. “I'll need a bonfire here in camp...”
Phillip nodded, and went to the tent flap to order a huge bonfire to be started near the edge of camp closest to the enemy soldiers.
The King could no longer contain his confusion. “I don't understand! Why would you risk your lives trying to avoid killing enemy soldiers?!”
“Because I'm nothing like my father,” Cedric stated gravely.
The King looked at his wife – who shrugged, just as baffled as he was – and then sighed. “I have a better idea... I'll stand just inside the barrier so that they can see me, and I will tell them to go home. I surrendered fairly. The war is over now. Rescuing us at this point would just mean more lives lost and the same result.”
Cedric gaped slightly. He hadn't even considered this solution!
Phillip also looked impressed, and they exchanged shrugs. “Worth a try...”
They left Lita with the Queen, her children, and a handful of guards, then escorted King Harold to the edge of the protective barrier. He gathered all the Royal commanding presence he could muster, and addressed his soldiers.
“This attempt is pointless! I have surrendered and the war is over! There is no need to waste any more lives... go home!”
If his soldiers thought that there was any way they could get into the barrier, they would have disobeyed him, but there was simply nothing they could do. Their leader got to his knees as close to his King as he could get.
“As you wish, Sire.”
King Harold smiled in relief. “And do not attempt to follow us and try again later.”
“Yes Sire... Are they treating you well?”
“They are,” Harold confirmed, trying not to feel embarrassed over the fact that he was standing there in nothing but a robe. “In fact, you interrupted us during a much needed bath...” he added to explain his lack of clothing.
His loyal soldier seemed relieved. “My apologies!” He nodded respectfully and then got to his feet and turned to order his men to retreat.