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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2. The frog

                 Normally Ronki like working in his field. Feel the grain in the wood of the tool he was wielding, feel the sweat drip down his brow and feel the exhaustion of a hard day’s work. Today, however, was not normal. Hard work usually brought clarity to Ronki’s mind, but today it just gave him time to think of Her and when he was able to force his mind elsewhere it would float to Kalps proposal and that made him shudder. His mind would then meander its way back to Her. He knew that he had to do something to distract his mind or he would eventually have a mental breakdown and never recover. He dropped his tools and limped back home.

                When he arrived he took a bath and put on a clean set of clothes. He wandered through his home, looking for something to do until his precious little Idra came home from school. He was grateful that even though he had no money left, his daughter could still receive an education. It was one of the things he asked the king for, along with a farm, in payment for his role in pushing back the forces of the ruthless tyrant Throngog. He had suggested the strategy that had finally defeated Throngog’s armies. No, defeat is not the right word because nobody truly could defeat his armies; just repel them for a time. It had bought his homeland another six years of peace, so far. In those six years Throngog had conquered several more kingdoms, expanded his army and had probably found whatever great hidden power he was rumored to be searching for all these many gruesome years. It would not be long before he decided to turn his destructive eye back to the one kingdom that was still a thorn in his side. When he came, he would tear the thorn out and burn it, leaving nothing in his wake. He would kill most of the men and send the rest to work in his mines. The women and children would become slaves and have all hope and light beat from them by their taskmasters.

                He felt like a thousand fire ants were burrowing through his skin and into his heart when he pictured his little girl being whipped and beaten into absolute and complete submission. Having that bright light in her eyes fade to the dull blackness of death and never be rekindled. She would not submit easily, she simply loved to smile and be happy. That would only make it worse for her though; he had heard that the taskmaster whipped anyone they saw smiling. Idra's smile could be seen from a mile away. As much as it killed him to think of what Throngog’s men would do to her if they got a hold of her, it paled to what would happen if he could not repay his debt to Kalps. That worthless rat of something subhuman had said that if Ronki could not pay, in full, his debt then he would throw him in jail and sell everything that he had, including his daughter. The way out was just to give him Idra. Kalps was only too happy to explain that he would sell Idra to a brothel where there were no age restrictions...

                Kalps almost died as soon as the words left his lips. Ronki was initially stunned that the fiend would even consider such a thing, and then anger, a deep, red anger raged through his body causing his blood to boil. He gripped his crutch with two hands and was prepared to thrust his makeshift spear straight threw the exposed throat of the devil himself when Idra reappeared. She was skipping and whistling a tune that her mother had taught her. Water from the pail was splashing all over her and Ronki wondered if there would be any left for the flowers, but she did not mind the water, it only amplified her joy.

                That brief distraction was all that Kalps needed to realize that he was in mortal peril. He was bubbling over with joy that he had finally found a way to wriggle under Ronki’s skin and that was a very dangerous place to be if you wanted to keep your head. So when the daughter returned and drew the trained killer’s attention, Kalps darted away before the staff of death erased him from existence. Ronki almost threw his crutch into the back of the fleeing coward, but Idra’s voice reached his ears before he could launch his javelin.

                “Daddy, look what I found in the well!”

                He would deal with the imp later. Now he would let his blood cool and anger dissipate and let Idra suck him into her happiness. He glanced into the bucket and found a small frog trying desperately to escape the waterquakeing pail.

                “Do you think that if I give him a kiss he will turn into a prince?” she asked.

                “For you darling, he just might.”

                She reached for the panicked frog and held him in her hand. The frog, now free from its prison, leapt to freedom before the magical kiss and transformation could take place.

                Ronki gave a hearty laugh and said, “I guess he realized that he was not good enough for you, my princess. Now go get changed, school will start soon.”

                He smiled at the recollection from that morning and decided that he would do anything he needed to in order to protect his little angel, and that meant Kalps would have to die. 

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