Is There Hope?

In a time of kings and swords, Ronki finds that the simple life of a farmer is not what he dreamed it to be. The nightmare of life just continues to get worse and threatens to rip everything away from him. He can’t let it take his magical little princess from him, but really is there any hope?
This is for A Hidden Power competition.

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5. Golden Chips

              Days and weeks flew by as Ronki meet with the generals and commanders of the king’s army. The city’s thick walls and gates had been repaired and reinforced since the last siege six years ago. They should hold for a day or two under constant bombardment of rock and stone. A deep trench full of wooden pikes was currently under construction, but it would not be finished before the siege began. The back of the city would be exposed to attack if they could not sneak out and finish the preparations during the siege.

                 Smoke could already be seen in the distance, signifying Throngog’s massive throng. They would arrive in the morning. There was one last night of freedom. The King had decided that there was little more that his generals and commanders could do before the siege set in, so he sent them home for one last night of freedom with their families.

                On his way home Ronki decided to make it a tradition to take his little princess out for pie the evening before he thought that the book of his life would finally come to an end. When he arrived at his brother’s house to take Idra out for pie, he was surprised to find her staring into a pail on the floor. He walked over to it and asked, “Idra, darling what do you have in there?”

                “Prince charming is back!” she squealed.

                “I don’t see ... Oh there he is.” That was weird thought Ronki, at first he did not see anything in the bucket and then it seemed that a frog just appeared. He had been looking at maps to long, he decided, and his eyes were just playing tricks on him.

                “How would my little princess like to have a royal feast?” he asked with as much gusto that he could manage.

                “Can Prince Charming come with us? I promise he will behave himself.”

                “Ok, but he will have to stay in his pail, so that all the other girls don’t try to steal him from you.”

                They found a nice little restaurant that had a sign posted outside “Best pies made here” and they decided to see if it lived up to its reputation. They ordered a banana pie with blackberry’s spread on top. Ronki decided that if that was to be his last meal, he had chosen well. Not only was the pie exceptional, but so was the entertainment that accompanied dinner.  Many of the other people, who decided to enjoy a nice meal before the world burned to empty blackness, were overcome with curiosity as to why they were dining with a pail. The first brave soul to ask what everyone was wondering was a little boy accompanied by his mother.

“Why do you eat with bucket?” asked the boy.

              Ronki replied as if he was announcing a couple at the royal ball, first pointing to Idra and then to the bucket, “May I present Princess Idra and Prince Charming.”

              The boy looked up to his mom with a confused expression and found that same expression reflecting back at him.

              Ronki finally asked, “Would you like to see what is in the bucket?” to which the boy nodded his head and looked in the bucket. His eyes went wide and his mom screamed. Soon everyone in the little dinner was up on their feet, shoving and pushing, trying to get a look at what was in the bucket. When people finally got a glance of Prince Charming, some screamed, others laughed and some just returned to their seats, obviously expecting a lion, crocodile or, at the very least, some poisonous viper. The owner quickly came over to see what all the commotion was; fully expecting that Throngog himself had entered his little dinner.

              When he arrived, he gave a heart full chuckle and asked, “How much for the frog? I know a wealthy man who would pay one pretty chip for some frog legs.”

              Idra looked up at the chief and asked in bewilderment, “What would he do with frog legs?”

              “Eat them of course” came the reply.

              Idra’s face went white as she gasped and protectively put herself between the frog cooking menace and her dearly beloved prince.

              Ronki with a laughed and a wink to the chief, “I am sorry, but I don’t think that your client would care for these legs. One day when the frog has decided that there is more to life than hopping around and eating flies he will let my princess give him a kiss that will magically transform him into a charming prince.”

              “Oh well, I guess we should not be eating a prince” said the chief with a sigh and returned to his kitchen.

After they finished their pie and paid the bill, they took a stroll out in the town. He enjoyed the time to look how much the capital had changed since the last time he was here.

                As they were wandering through a street near the richer part of the capital a man approached them, with a sly smile. Ronki recognized the weasel immediately as Kalps.

                “Look who it is, my favorite little slaves. You do realize Ronki that your contract is due. Now let’s see how much you owe me?” he asked as he pulled out the contract that Ronki had made with the devil a year earlier. He would have strangled the pig right there, but Kalps waved over two soldiers, asking them to witness a business transaction.

                “Ahhh, yes, you owe me five gold chips or you forfeit your land and all of your possessions ... including your daughter.”

                “You can't expect ... But ... There is an army right outside the gate that could attack at any time and you come to collect dues now?”

                “Yes, you see the law is the law, which is what we are fighting for, right? To keep our sovereignty and the laws that makes us free.”

                The soldiers gave Ronki a look of “He does have a point.”

                “Well do you have five gold chips?” the question left his greedy, maniacal lips.

                “What, no, but... but...”

                “Soldiers arrest this man and bring the girl here.”

                “No, daddy! I have five gold chips. Leave him alone!”

                The soldiers stopped their advance on Ronki and all eyes went to the little girl. Ronki stared at his angel as she counted on one hand up to five. Then she closed her hand like she had done so many times on the road to the capital, practicing making the tin chip appear and disappear.  When the little hand opened, there were five gold chips! Where did she find those? Who cares, finally I can be rid of this crazed man. He reached down and took them from Idra and gave them to the stunned Kalps.

                “Soldiers, I would like you to witness that I have repaid my debt in full.” He then ripped the document from the hand of the still astonished Kalps and signed it, thus regaining his soul. He and Idra left the dumbfounded Kalps where he stood, mouth still dropped to the floor and wondering, “How did my favorite pet escape?”

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