Chapter 8:

Welcome to Resh 3

The Nonpareil of Resh (Act 1)

The trio weaved through an underground passage. Gwyn had not even realized they had reached the castle until he arrived in front of the two large ornate doors that marked the throne room entrance. They slowly opened automatically as Fiona and Donn walked forward. Gwyn slowly followed behind while looking at all the details.

Across the room, the king sat on his raised throne. He drummed on the arm of his throne while the queen next to him was slowly lowering her head. She suddenly shot back upright but only started to slowly droop again in a repetition of the pattern.

A mechanical bird suddenly flew around Gwyn's head and screeched at him. He jumped back as it got close to his face, and he instinctively tried to swat it away. The bird retreated and flew across the room to its resting place on the king's shoulder.

"You're late," The king boomed across the room as the large doors began to shut behind them. Gwyn looked back as the doors sealed shut.

"Forgive me, father; we took an unexpected detour," Fiona said as she kneeled in front of the throne. Donn followed suit.

Gwyn looked at the two and then at the king. He shrugged and kneeled in the same manner as the other two.

The king let out a heavy sigh.

"No matter, I summoned you here to tell you what I have decided to do with our unexpected Netzian visitor."

Fiona and Donn both quickly stood to their feet.

"Father, I haven't even given you a report yet," Fiona protested.

"Father, I humbly ask you don't do anything rash."

Gwyn also stood to his feet and looked to the king. He took a step back and looked around the room for a place to run should the need arise. The doors were the only manner to run, and he wasn't sure how to open them.

I guess I'll just see how this plays out, he thought to himself.

"I have decided the intruder shall be executed," the king continued as if no one in front of him had said anything.

Fiona and Donn were silent. They knew once he set his mind to something, the Aqueenian king was unlikely to change it.

"Wait, dear," the queen suddenly seemed to break from her cycle of almost falling asleep and waking up as she spoke to him. The king turned to her to listen. "From another world or not, it might look bad simply executing him before the conference."

"You make a good point; what do you recommend, my dear," the king said as he rubbed a small white goatee on his chin.

"Are they going to talk like we aren't here?" Gwyn whispered to the other two.

The bird cried out and flew from the king's shoulder. It quickly dove onto Gwyn's head and repeatedly pecked him. He struggled to shake it off.

"Instead of execution, why not a spectacle!" the queen suggested while excitedly smacking her hands together in a single clap. She had a smile painted on her blue face.

Gwyn managed to push the bird off of him. It hovered in the air and made an unexpected hissing sound before flying back to the shoulder of the king. The king turned back to his audience of three.

"I have changed my mind," he said with a wicked grin, "I will respect your wishes, my children; our visitor will be slated into a match at the coliseum tomorrow. Should he win, I will grant him citizenship."

The siblings didn't bother protesting; they knew there was no way to convince him otherwise at this point. Fiona simply sighed as she gave up, and Donn's eyes darted around the room as he tried to think of some retort.

The doors behind them began to open slowly. Gwyn thought he might be able to take the opportunity to run, but when he turned around, he quickly realized it wouldn't be that easy.

An Aqueenian, who was a knight, walked into the throne room. He wore a suit of armor, though it appeared to be made out of plastic than metal. The suit was different from one's Gwyn would be familiar with, having odd details molded into the armor's surface, but it was still clearly a suit of armor. The figure had a large sword strapped to his back. He lifted the cover on his helmet to reveal a primarily perfect emerald green face, save for a scar on the right side and clear blue eyes.

"You called, your majesty?"

"Ah, Colton, please escort this Netzian to the arena."

Colton looked at Gwyn with a puzzled expression but simply replied with a:

"Yes, my lord."

"Father, I must protest," Donn spoke up. He began to say something else. Though his lips moved, no sound came out of them. Donn's face made a frustrated glare at his father, but the king ignored it with a wave of a metal-covered hand. Gwyn couldn't help but notice that the bird had disappeared in the blink of an eye.

Colton waved for Gwyn to follow. Gwyn looked around the room at the other faces. Fiona and Donn had sorrowful expressions; the king seemed excited, the queen seemed bored, and Colton seemed confused.

Gwyn gave in and followed Colton out of the room. It wasn't until the massive throne room doors closed that the soldier spoke up.

"Sorry about all this; I can't go against the king's orders, though."

"Honestly, I'm not a hundred percent I know what's going on. I get the feeling it's not good?" Gwyn asked as he kept pace with the soldier.

"Hmm, well, we have a coliseum here in Quenth. We usually schedule lots of fights; I expect the king will have you fight against a criminal with both your freedom on the line."

Gwyn didn't bother saying anything in reply as they kept walking. He just sighed and gave in; his adventure was about to end rather abruptly.