Count Iniquitous decided he didn’t very much like travelling.
He’d set out from his doom-ridden castle with veritable bucket-loads of good intentions- well, sort of- only to be thwarted by a sudden downpour of rain.
He was cold, wet, miserable, and about fifty miles from his destination. Horses, Count Iniquitous decided, had their uses after all. Suddenly, he was drawn out of his sad, cold thoughts by a shout.
“Say! You there! Bedraggled person!”
Count Iniquitous turned, incredulous. Galloping towards him, hooves thudding against the sodden ground- not a loud thudding mind you, but a sort of hello-may-I-help-you-aren’t-I-nice thudding- was a horse. This horse was white, impressive, and very much befitting the armour-clad prince sitting astride its back. (It is impossible for princes to sit on horses. They can only ever sit astride them.) The prince in question had been the one to call out, and it was him who spoke again now.
“You look a bit down, my friend. May I inquire as to your destination? You look as though you could benefit from a ride.”
Count Iniquitous, under normal circumstances, would have cursed this wretched prince off his horse, stolen it, and galloped away. Unfortunately, he didn’t know how to ride horses, and this one was particularly terrifying. Count Iniquitous did his best to look approachable.
“I most certainly could, young man. I’m headed for the princess’ castle.”
“Would this be the beautiful princess Valerie?”
“And what is your business with her?”
“Oh, I’m the villain. I’m just dressed like a prince for the purpose of disguise.”
“Ah, I see. So you’re going to try and kill her with some nefarious device such as poison or a curse, upon which occasion I shall burst through a conveniently placed door and stop you, having her swoon into my arms and fall madly in love with me?”
“That’s correct. Would you mind awfully if I just tagged along?”
“Not at all, good chap! Climb aboard!”
Count Iniquitous thought this very good news indeed. Evil, after all, is necessary, because where would all the heroes be without villains? On the dole, knowing heroes. So he swallowed his pride and climbed up onto the horse’s back. The horse- whose name was Gerald, but no one ever found this out because horses can’t talk- didn’t much like having Count Iniquitous on his back, but he couldn’t say this, because horses can’t talk. So he kept quiet, and at the nudge in his side, continued trotting towards the distant shadow of the princess’ castle.
Now feeling much more in the mood of death, Count Iniquitous decided it was time to commence small talk.
“Weather’s awful today, isn’t it?”
“It most certainly is. And how are you faring?”
“Very well, thank you. How is your mother?”
“She’s very well, thank you for asking.”
Gerald, who had nodded off when the weather was mentioned, gave a sudden whinny. Well, he actually said “Look up, you slimy, fly-ridden b**tards!” But as he was a horse, and horses can’t talk, it sounded like a whinny.
Prince Virtue patted his neck, glancing only briefly at the looming tower that loomed before them. “Good girl, Lady. Kneel.”
Gerald almost pointed out that his name wasn’t Lady, but decided it wasn’t worth the bother and knelt down instead.
Count Iniquitous slid off his back with a thump. “Right-O. I’ll just toddle off to the back of this tower, find a mysterious way in, and then I’ll linger around a convenient doorway to her room, ready to burst in and cause havoc. I’ll see you there, good chap.”
“Most certainly will, my friend! And I most certainly cannot wait to see you out of your disguise. I’m sure you’re simply fabulous.”
Then they parted their separate ways, both with a single objective in mind: the princess.