14 XIV. The Parchment

Yer Highness,

If ye want yer lassie back, we, the Bandits, would love to make another demand for her release. But of course, it would be a very high stake demand indeed. Let us know when you're ready to do so.

Yers truly,

The Bandits

Magnus was gripping the parchment before he was moving toward the huge doors. Even if he did not meet yet this princess, his betrothed, he cannot let anyone just hurt her. He cannot let that happen for she belonged to him and he will protect her at all cost.

Until someone grabbed his arm.

"Where do you think you're going?" Vincent asked him before Magnus was shaking him off. The Quinnston bastard did not let him go.

"Let me go," he growled as he was trying to keep his head sane for now. He knows that Vincent Quinnston was not the enemy but if he stopped Magnus from saving the princess, then he will be in trouble.

Very big trouble indeed.

"The king has ordered the constables to search the Fik Forest. Surely you don't want to—"

"I will be turning every stone left unturned and I can do it quicker than a thousand men," Magnus replied as Vincent was narrowing his eyes at him.

"You and what army?"

"My brothers. Whatever that you heard about us Flemington, do not trust everything you hear from the scandalmongers or The Times. They don't tell the whole truth," Magnus said as he was moving toward the door again. Vincent held him in place.

"Vincent, I know that we're getting off on the wrong foot but if you think I would hurt a hair on the princess, then you're wrong. It goes against everything in my honor," he said before Vincent laughed. Magnus turned to look at him.

"Your honor?" he said before his face was coming closer to him. "Your words mean nothing,"

Not seeing anything quite as they were was getting to Magnus. He needed to prepare for his extraction mission in the Fik Forest. So many things to be done and so little time.

He needed to send a 'gram to his brothers to meet him there and he needed to prepare for his ride there. And this bastard was holding him back. Well, honor to be damned then. So, Magnus did what a gentleman could ever do in his situation.

He punched the bloody Quinnston bastard.

A crack was sounded in the grand dining hall before Vincent was sprawling on the floor. He was holding his nose before the blood was dripping from it.

"You bastard! You punched me!" he growled before Magnus was straightening his lapel and coat as he was turning to look at the king and the queen.

"I'm sorry you have to see that, Your Highnesses. But let me assure you, I can get your daughter far quicker than the constables. You have my word that I will bring her safe and sound to the castle again," Magnus said as the king nodded. The queen was looking at him.

"We are not wrong to choose you as our future son in law and a good husband for Christy," she mumbled before Magnus bowed and went out of the dining hall. It is time for action, he thought as he was making his way to the bedchambers to prepare for his ride to Fik Forest and send his brothers a 'gram for backup.

*****

Vincent laughed as the bloody bastard was punching him and he was laying on the floor. Well, so much for fun. I cannot wait to be at their wedding, Vincent thought as he was carried to the infirmary.

He was looking at the painting that was hanging above in the long hallway. It was the monarchs that have been ruling Caga forever and he knew he will be one of them there. Even as a relative to the monarch was worth fortune these days.

"There, all done," the healer said before Vincent was trying to smile but winced when he tried to. Then, he was focusing on the healer. It was a female and with charming eyes, that kind lighted up the whole world whose looking at them.

And he knew that it would be his world.

*****

"So, let me get this straight," James said as he was putting the saddle on his mare as William did the same, "our brother, Magnus, asked us to meet at the Fik Forest after our journey back to the academy with our grandmother in an awful carriage ride that would send anyone to boredom from Fiktown to Hamptor. And now, we have to go back?" James said before William was looking at him, arching his eyebrow.

"Yes, that's the 'gram indicated he wanted us to do," William said nonchalantly before James laughed.

"Well, that was a very good thing that I intended to skip my education this week," James said as he was mounting the horse. He was wearing the black riding habits, the same one as William. Their mares were black stallions and they would blend in together when they were escaping the academy at night.

Such a life of a scholar.

William was guiding James around the academy so that no one will notice if James and William Flemington was riding out tonight just to fulfill a stupid request from their older brother. James sighed before William was putting his hand to his mouth and he was looking out to the gates that will lead them out of there.

"Ready?" William asked before James nodded. Then, he released an arrow to take the gates down and they were off riding into the night to their final destination, Fik Forest on an urgent business to save his brother's betrothed.

*****

Magnus has ridden half the night as he was in the outskirts of Fiktown. He was looking at the moon that was shining like a white cheese before he heard a rustle in the woods. He turned to aim his arrow there before James and William came out of there.

James was smirking at him as Will was brooding as always.

"Well, I see that you have arrived just on time," Magnus said before Will shrugged. James laughed.

"And I see that you want to feel the wrath of grandma, asking us to skip the academy today," James said as Magnus was looking at the sky. The dawn light was coming and he knew that he only had a few hours to retrieve the princess from the clutches of the bandits in the forest.

"Got everything that you needed?" Magnus asked his brothers before both of them nodded. Then, he turned his stallion, the one that he borrowed from the castle since his mare was not there, and headed out to the Fik forest with his brothers on his tails.

They have been playing in the forest since they were little, or as much as Magnus' body knows for he was new to all of this. The muscle memories in his body were impressive and right now, they were walking along the creek before Will tapped Magnus and pointed at something in the sky.

Smokes that could mean the bandits were camping somewhere.

When travelers were coming into the Fik Forest, they did not light up any fire for the fear of the bandits that might attack them. But being the bandits themselves, they would not have anything to be scared of.

Probably an assassin but they don't have any bounty on their heads. If anything, it would be a good solution for this idiotic madness that they were in.

"Come on, we have to leave our stallions behind and we will have to go on foot from there. We have the element of surprise against them," Magnus said as he dismounted from his horse. He was wearing the black riding habits as well before the others followed him.

They tied their horses to the tree trunks before they were sheathing their weapons on their bodies. Then, they were on the move to save the princess that was being captured by the bandits.

How they got her? Well, Magnus will find out soon enough.

*****

Casey was half-asleep like she always did when she was being captured by the bandits. She finally told them that she could get them ransom as much as they dreamed and the king will oblige. The bandits bought them and now, she was closer-guarded than ever.

Sometimes, Casey wanted to slap herself for being too smart.

She heard something in the forest as she was staring at the burning of the fire from last night. She knew it would be a bad omen for them to fire up in the Fik Forest. Nobody wanted to disturb the beast of the forest.

But what can she say? She was a captive after all.

Then, that's when everything was happening as she was looking at the three looming figures in the shadows and attacking the bandits' camp.

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