Prompt #2

From this prompt here

This story is dedicated with thanks and respect to William Goldman (1931–2018). Have fun storming the castle!

It’s too early in the day for killing princes.

But when you’re a troll that really has nothing to do and you’ve eaten your last bit of horse (honestly horse is disgusting–too tough and chewy even with the best roasting technique), a prince is a little better than nothing at all. You find that you like how they taste sometimes, even though some of them have a bit of a funny aftertaste.

You wait silently for the sound of his horse’s hoof beats coming close to the cave entrance. You count to three and then leap out, giving him your best roar (though it’s a little hoarse-sounding, you’re recovering from a cold). “Rargh! Pr’pare tae be eaten, princelin”!”

His mount rears back, but the prince manages to stay on; he draws his crossbow and aims it at you. “I’ve not come all this way to be eaten by a troll1!” he shouts bravely, leveling the weapon at your chest.

Hmm. Now you weren’t expecting that; usually, the princes jump down from their saddle and beg for their lives, offering you gold and jewels and whatever else your heart desires. After that spiel, you usually bash their skulls in and then grab the horse.

You lower your outstretched claws. “There naow, princelin’. Ya dunnae need tae be doin’ that. I’m just scarin’ ya so’s you kin be beggin’ fer yer life an’ whatnot.”

The prince, still leveling the crossbow at your chest. “Well, what do you want?”

“What ‘ave ya got on ya?” Meh, you’re not really that hungry. You’ll go scavenge for a squirrel or something later. 

“I have gold.”

“Got no use fer it; just piles up in me cave. Same goes fer silver.”

“What about jewels?”

“I use ’em for paperweights an’ doorstops, so no thanks.”

“I have mutton.”

Did he say mutton? “Did ye say mutton?”

He nods. “Yes, I’ve got a whole haunch of it.”

Oh, how long has it been since you’ve had mutton? So long ago you can’t even remember. “All right, I’ll take that–if ya tell me where’re yer goin’.”

The prince finally puts away the crossbow, climbs down from his horse and carries a saddlebag with him. “Why?” he asks, still expecting a trick.

“Well, mutton’s a weakness o’ mine; not only that, yer the only feller who’s not weepin’ an’ cryin’ like a wee babby by now.” You sit down on the nearby log and pat the space next to you. “Now cummon and sit yer self down.”

He does, and soon you’re tearing into a delicious piece of mutton while he tells you his story, his horse grazing nearby.

“My name is Prince Thomas. My father is the king of the North, and for a long time, he’s wanted me to settle down and get married. So I decided to try and find a wife for myself. And I think I’ve found one.” He then pulls a wineskin out of his saddlebag, opens it and takes a swig, and offers it to you.

You take it and wash down a mouthful of mutton with a gulp. Ooh, a Bordeaux; you haven’t had that since you ate that wine merchant a year ago. “Did ya find one?”

“Yes, I did. Her name is Princess Buttercup, but she’s under the enchantment of her uncle, a very powerful warlock. And those who’ve gone to win her hand usually end up with their head on a pole on the castle’s battlements.”

“Oof. Tha’ sounds unpleasant.”

To be continued (?)


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