Carpenter let out a scream of rage as the Princess slowly slumped to the floor with an arrow in her chest. A large patch of crimson was darkening the front of her silky nightgown. He fell to his knees and gathered her up in his arms and held her to tightly.
Tears filled her eyes as she found the strength to speak in a low whisper, "This is probably for the best, my beloved," she said as she reached up and stroked his face.
"Stand away from her, demon" the King ordered.
When the former Prince didn't move he instructed the guards to fire again and the arrows embedded themselves in his back, Carpenter did not feel their sting.
"Don't let them capture you," she begged.
"Its too late, I feel weak," he responded.
The Princess then turned her neck to him, "I know what you really are. Please take what you need to survive."
The Prince lowered his lips to her neck and bit down hard. She issued an ecstatic moan as he drank her blood and he immediately began to feel strength flowing back into his body. As soon as he released her she expired on the cold stone floor.
The Prince suddenly stood up and faced the group of men. His strength had returned ten fold after taking what his beloved Princess offered with her dying breath. Now they faced an angry supernatural creature that was full of rage that was slowly advancing on them.
"For what you have done I will punish all of you," he hissed. He then pointed his finger directly at the newly crowned King, " Your punishment will last as long as you sit on the throne."
The King produced a silver crucifix and thrust it into the Prince's face, but his arrogance tuned to fear when it was plucked from his hand with no effect on him.
"A thousand gold pieces to the man that brings me his head," the King announced.
One of the group did not advance and Carpenter recognized his boyhood mentor, the Captain of the guards. He refused to charge his former liege and the fact that there was no crossbow in his hand told him that he was not among those that had fired upon them.
The men charged and attempted to grab the him. They were flung aside as if the weighed nothing and those whose grip was stronger received broken arms for their effort. One guard drew his sword and thrust at the Prince who managed to evade the blade and flee from the room.
He knew where the entrance to the hidden chambers was and seconds later when the group of men rounded the corner the Prince was nowhere to be seen.
"What trickery is this? the King said allowed.
"Those creatures have magical powers," one guard responded.
The king then approached the Captain, "You refused to charge that monster when I ordered you."
"That monster is the rightful King and I knew him as a boy. Had you had not ordered the men to fire on him and he been allowed to escape the Princess would still be alive," the Captain responded.
"Arrest the Captain and throw him in the dungeon until I decide his fate, the King ordered.
Behind the wall Carpenter heard everything that was said. He then ran back to Felsar's chamber and shook him awake to tell him all that occurred.
Then Carpenter sat and wept long and hard at the death of his former bride-to-be. Felsar allowed him his privacy and went off to his work area. The Prince approached the wizard a little later and told him of his plan to free the Captain.
"I can bring him through here and to the exit to the outside," Carpenter explained.
"Not a good idea. If caught he would be tortured on how he escaped and in his pain he would reveal this secret place."
"I have solved that problem too,"Carpenter responded.
Later that evening the Captain heard his name being called and awoke to discover the Prince standing outside of his cell. He was about to speak but the Prince made a gesture to silence him and he nodded his understanding.
The Prince then placed one hand on the bars near the door and the other on the door frame and pulled. The was a slight creaking sound and the bolt snapped under his strength and the door opened.
The Captain was blindfolded and told not to utter a sound. He then felt himself being flung over the young Prince's shoulder and then he felt the Prince begin to run. When the blindfold was removed they were outside the castle walls.
The Captain hugged his Prince and thanked him.
"What has happened to you ,Sire?" he questioned.
"That is a story that would require more time than we have,"the Prince responded.
Hidden in the trees was food, water and a sword. Carpenter than handed his friend a small bag filled with gold coins and rare gemstones.
"To help you on your journey,"Carpenter said.
"Journey to where?"
"Where ever you like. Now go before they discover you missing."
The Captain gave the young man a final hug and then disappeared into the forest.