Return to the Kingdom, Chapter Five

(Merry Christmas! If you’ve missed previous chapters, click for Chapter One, Two, Three, or Four.)

The next morning, all the exiles were gathered together at the village square. The knights stood guard around the square, positioned as if they were expecting an enemy attack. Many of the exiles looked around anxiously, holding their children close, wondering what was going to happen.

Lucius walked out, followed by two knights half-dragging a man with a sack over his head. The exiles could not tell who he was, but with one arm he gingerly held his side. His other hand held a familiar looking walking stick he used to support himself as he hobbled forward slowly.

Lucius spoke, “My people, today fortune has smiled on us. Twenty years ago, we rose up against the King but failed and were banished from the kingdom. The King’s mistake was letting us live. So we settled here and bided our time, waiting for the right time to rise up again. That time is now.

“We’ve discovered an enemy living among us. Many of you know him as the bumbling old man who constantly told stories of the kingdom. But he is not who he pretended to be. Behold, the Tyrant King!”

The knights pulled the sack off. The crowd gasped. It was the old man, but now the people clearly saw he was the King. He looked resolute, but strangely sad as if he was resigned to his fate.

No one in the crowd moved. They were unsure how to respond, not wanting to be the first to voice their feelings. Not even sure what their feelings were.

Suddenly from the back of the square a head of cabbage was thrown. Time stopped as all eyes watched the cabbage smash into the King’s chest. The King stumbled a half-step back.

Something snapped. It was as if that one act of condemnation opened the floodgates of pent-up hatred against the King. The exiles roared, screaming their animosity. Food, shoes, stones, whatever they could find was hurled at the King. Lucius and his knights backed away in order to avoid being hit.

Finally, Lucius raised his hands, and the crowd quieted down. “What shall we do with the Tyrant King? Shall we give him the same mercy he gave us years ago? Or shall we take full advantage of this opportunity?”

In unison, the crowd called for his death.

Only a few turned away, unable to watch what was about to happen. They covered their children’s eyes and wept quietly.

The rebel knights and the crowd cheered. The King was dead.

(Click here for Chapter Six.)