This is the final chapter of Cinderella, and it comes with a few announcements.
First of all, I want to thank everyone who followed me over to the blog. It means a lot to me that my stories are more than a quick jack off session to some people (Though you jackers are still welcome)
Second, I would like to welcome my new readers. You guys are what keep this thing running, without new members of the family, family reunions would suck. (Just pretend these witty puns make sense okay?)
Third, I apologize if this chapter is super unedited or sloppy. Ozzy discovered the magic of a keyboard and my cell phone when I write or text. It's impossible to send out a ledgible text message now. He gets his tiny feet all over it. (If you don't know who Ozzy is, get out. Or better yet go to the Kittehz tab at the top of the page and read about my children. DO IT NOW!)
Fourth, As a reward to the people addressed in announcement one and two (mainly announcement one) My next story is going to be on my dark side once more. You all seemed to love it when I go all evil on you. As long as I don't kill off some poor boy with wings (Man I did get a beating for that one. Again, if you don't know what I'm talking about. Go to my Stories tab and read everything from top to bottom.) But as usual, I have to warn you that my dark side IS very dark (Free at last wasn't even close to how bad I can get people. Don't make me pull out the big guns and make you cry to death, Cuz I'll do it.) My next story can breach some sensitive subjects and I just feel I should have a warning to ya'll about it. But come on, that's what makes it exciting right?
Okay, okay. Sorry for the long announcements. It's late and I'm tired from feeding kitties and I'm all hopped up on Dr pepper and those little bugs that land in it when they miss the light of my computer screen ._. (Seriously I've eaten like four and it's kind of grossing me out.)
The prince opened his eyes and was met with another pair of eyes. Titus smiled at little and the prince rolled his eyes and smiled back.
“What the hell does this mean?” The prince asked.
“I haven’t a clue.” Titus said.
“It means, that everything is okay.” Areli smiled, and got down on his knees on the bed. They hadn’t been sleeping long, and the sun was still an hour or so away from setting.
“Is it then?” The prince laughed as Areli curled up between the two.
“Yes.” Areli nodded, positive.
“Not exactly.” Titus mumbled.
“What do you mean?” Areli frowned.
“There’s still the matter of who you stay with.” Titus said, brushing Areli’s white hair out of his eyes.
“I’ll stay with both of you. here.” Areli pouted.
“I still have to go home, and the prince still has to stay here.” Titus shook his head sadly. Areli sighed and buried his head in the bed.
“My prince, the king summons you and the stablemaster.” A guard poked his head in. The prince frowned.
“For what?” he questioned.
“He didn’t say my lord, only that he requested both of you.” The guard said. The prince sighed and stood. The guard averted his eyes at the prince’s bare body. Titus did the same, and they both dressed.
“We’ll be back within the hour, love.” The prince bent and kissed Areli, and Titus did the same.
“If we’re not, you know what to do.” Titus smiled and they left. Areli watched them leave, but it was only a second later he realized the guard still stood in the room.
“Uh, is that all?” Areli asked.
“No, No it isn’t.”
The prince and Titus walked down the hall quickly, knowing the king didn’t like to be kept waiting. Before they were at the door, Titus stopped the prince and turned him to face him, leaning down and stealing a kiss. The prince smiled.
“We were enemies not two hours ago.” The prince said.
“We’re not anymore.” Titus said, and accepted another kiss from the prince. The prince wrapped a hand around Titus’ back and squeezed his ass with a wicked smile. He turned, left Titus, and opened the door.
“My son, to what do I owe this visit?” The king smiled warmly.
“What do you mean, father? You didn’t summon us?” The prince looked at Titus who looked just as confused.
“Summon you? No...I’ve been in a meeting with the generals up until a few moments ago.” The king said, equally as confused.
“What?” The prince whispered. “Why did that guard bring us down here?” He asked.
“I don’t know...Now that I think about it...He did look familiar.” Titus frowned.
“Familiar?” The prince asked.
“Yes...The other day I saw Areli talking to him.” Titus said.
“When?” The prince asked.
“Right before we went riding. He looked pretty mad.” Titus said, becoming worried.
“What does he want with Areli?” The prince asked, becoming angry.
“I don’t know but whatever it is, he’s not going to get it.” Titus said, just as angry. The two ran towards the room again. Leaving the king lost and confused.
“Let me go! I’ll have you executed for this!” Areli shouted, kicking and wiggling under the guards arm. The large man carried him like he was a pillow. He had tied Areli’s arms to his sides, and picked him up around the waist, under his arms.
“Shut up!” The man snapped.
“Let me go!” Areli shouted again, ignoring the command. The sun was beginning to set and he was starting to get worried as the guard carried him farther and farther from the palace. “It’s getting dark, you know what happens at night! I have to get back!” Areli said.
“I know what happens.” The guard said simply. Areli kicked and spat some more, fighting his rough grip.
“Now, stay here.” The guard said as he sat him down on the ground. He grabbed a chain and attached it to the collar Areli wore. He wrapped the chain tight around a pole in the ground and locked it.
“What are you doing!?” Areli shouted, and pulled at his locked collar.
“I’m showing the world what you are.” The guard got in his face, before turning and walking away. Areli looked around, and saw he wasn’t far from the town. Just far enough that they couldn’t hear his screams.
“Where are you going?!” Areli shouted at him.
“To get your friend.” The guard smiled as he walked away.
The prince and Titus looked around the room desperately, unable to find Areli. There were signs of a struggle and both of them worried.
“Where could he have gone?” The prince yelled.
“Wherever he went, I don’t think it was willingly.” Titus said, worried.
“We need to find him, now.” The prince said. He grabbed his whip off of the hook on the wall, and Titus grabbed his riding gloves, before they headed towards the stables. They mounted the horses quickly and kicked them into a gallop. Their hooves ate away at the ground beneath them in a race. But this time, they weren’t racing each other.
They circled the grounds silently, searching for any sign of Areli. Coming up with none, they stopped.
“This isn’t working. It’s almost sunset and we need to find him.” Titus said, becoming frustrated.
“You keep looking, I’m going to go assemble the guard to search for him.” The prince said. Titus nodded and the two galloped off in their separate directions.
The prince jumped off his horse, and without tying it to a post or anything, ran inside the front of the castle. He frowned when he saw the guards weren’t at their usual place. Before he could question it, he felt a thick piece of cloth being forced around his mouth. He grunted and pulled at the cloth. The assailant wrapped a thick arm around the princes’ thin waist and pulled him back. The prince kicked at the air and struggled against the attacker, but to no avail. Before he could even bat an eye, his hands and feet were tied, and he was thrown onto the back of a horse like a piece of baggage.
He kicked and grunted as the horse began to trot to their destination. The rider reached a hand back and placed it on the prince’s back, keeping him in place while they rode. The prince felt sick at the man's touch, but tried not to show it. However, he didn’t hide his fury. He cursed and kicked for the entire ride. As they reached their destination, he was finally worn out by his own struggles. He looked up briefly to see where they were, and saw young Areli tied to a post. The town was nearby, and Areli only stared at the low hanging sun anxiously. The man picked the prince up off the horse by his tied hands, and moved him over to the pole. He slapped a large metal collar around the prince’s neck and attached a chain to that with a lock. He untied the prince, removing the ropes and gag.
“You will be executed for this! How dare you!” The prince shouted at the man. The prince yanked at the chain around his neck, feeling like a caged animal. He briefly wondered if this was what Areli always felt like. At the thought of Areli, his eyes landed on the small boy. The muscles under his skin quivered and he shook, as the sun disappeared behind the mountains. All that was left now was the soft pink skyline, and the bright moon rising. He quickly took stock of their situation.
The first thing he noticed, was that his chain was a whole hell of a lot shorter than Areli’s. It was clear to both of them that if, or when, Areli changed...He would be well within reach of the prince. In the dirt surrounding the pole, there was a deep line drawn. The man who had taken the prince, and a few other guards stood behind the line. Areli sat, his toes touching the line. The prince tugged his chain again, and swallowed. It was clear Areli was using every last bit of his strength to keep from turning, and it wasn’t working well.
He shook and whimpered quietly as his hair began growing into the long thick strands of Wendigo hair. His nails began sharpening and the prince could hear his bones shifting from where he sat. He heard a loud snap as a bone shifted or grew, and Areli screamed. The prince swallowed at the large teeth that were forcing their way out of Areli’s once small and sexy mouth. Areli covered his ears, as if trying to block out the sound of his scream turning into the blood thirsty howl of the Wendigo.
“What the fuck are you doing? Get me the fuck out of here!” The prince cursed, tugging at his chain again.
“You’ve kept this beast in your kingdom, and we’re supposed to trust you as king one day? I don’t think so, your highness.” The lead guard sneered.
“I’ll have to sentenced to death for treason you idiot pig!” The prince swore. Areli whimpered loudly, sounding more animal than human now.
“Your little pet is turning.” The guard ignored the prince. “In minutes he’ll turn on you.” He tried to keep the laughter out of his voice. “Then we’ll release him on to YOUR town. The survivors will discover what you’ve done. Keeping this beast here. Putting us all in danger.” The guards once smiling face turned into a dark scowl.
“You don’t understand! It’s only during the night, I have control over him. He hasn’t hurt anyone!” The prince begged.
“Hasn’t hurt anyone? What about the guards he ATE?” The guard snapped, drawing his sword and pointing it in the prince’s face.
“What the fuck are you talking about?” The prince asked.
“You lost control of him. For one night! It took one night and he ate two of my men.” The guard snapped.
“He didn’t mean to. He felt awful about it. You don’t know how upset he was!” The prince said, his fight dying down as he let his hands dangle from his collar weakly.
“It matters not what he meant, only what he did. You’ll pay for your crimes soon enough.” The guard sheathed his sword and stepped back, sitting on the ground with the keys to the chains in his hands. The prince clenched his jaw and shut his eyes in anger, before looking up at Areli and then back at the guard.
“I don’t understand, you guards were hired, knowing what you were guarding. Why are you attacking us now?” The prince asked.
“Because, for years we barely believed you could handle it. When you slipped up, that was the proof that you had put us all in danger.” The guard glared. The prince scowled, and turned back to Areli.
“Just hold on, Areli.” The prince whispered to him. He took a step closer, but stopped when Areli howled and tugged at his chain.
“No!” He screamed, still more animal than man. The prince stared at him, and backed up. Knowing that Areli was doing his best to keep from hurting his prince, but failing quickly.
Titus stopped the horse from his gallop and sighed. He hadn’t found Areli, or seen the prince, or any of the guards he was supposed to have brought. He thought about going back, but figured it would only waste time. The sun had set, and instead of looking for Areli, he was now looking for a walking disaster with four arms. Or at least the screams of his victims.
But the night was still quiet. The crickets chirped softly, and a few fires could be seen lighting the nearby town. A few fires could be seen inside the large stone castle, but the prince’s fire was out, leaving his room dark. Titus sighed and wiped his forehead. He was about to kick the horse back into a gallop, when he heard the all too familiar mix of growl and scream.
“No!” The cry echoed through the valley the castle sat in. He turned his head to the source of the noise, and kicked the horse into a gallop once again.
Areli screamed and shook in agony as he transformed. Tears streamed down his face and he pulled at his chain until blood began running from his neck. His mouth was now open in an endless screech and his claws began pawing at the dirt. His second arms began ripping through his thin tunic. The smaller arms began clawing at his first set, tearing the pale skin on his upper arms. Areli fought the change as hard as he ever had before. The chain creaked with the force of Areli’s rage. Even the wood of the large sturdy pole began to whine and groan. The prince watched as the pole that tied them together slowly began to bend.
Areli threw himself back, his long legs making him stretch far above seven feet tall. His first set of hands clutched his head with agony as he finished his transformation. He howled and cried, a sick mixture of furious animal, and pained human. He opened his eyes for the first time since his transformation, and the prince found himself terrified by the glowing red eyes. He had seen those eyes for the past twelve years, every night, and had never been scared. But this time he was.
“Merek!” Titus galloped up, stopping the horse just before the howling Areli. It took the prince only a moment to realize the stable master hadn’t stopped the horse, the animal had panicked at the sight of the creature. It reared back and cried out in a loud whinny. Titus was thrown off the animal as it took off into the distance, far away from Areli.
“Titus, get out of here. They’re going to let Areli free!” The prince tugged at his chains, desperate to escape. “Behind you!” Merek cried, as the guard swung his sword. Titus rolled out of the way just in time. The sword cut into the dirt. Titus pushed himself up onto his feet and punched another guard who raised his sword. The guard dropped the sword as he held his nose, which gushed blood. Titus stumbled from the momentum of his punch and fell, picking up the sword in the process. He drew it back, and swung. The sword stuck in the second guards shoulder, forcing a scream from his mouth. Titus yanked his sword out of the man's shoulder and took a large swing and the first, and lead, guard who had attacked him. The guard was far more experienced than the second, and me Titus with his own sword.
“Left!” The prince shouted, as Titus dodge another guard. Merek continued to call out the swings aimed at Titus.
“Shut up!” The head guard shouted.
“Give me a sword and we can settle this personally!” The prince growled. Areli had been distracted by all the commotion going on outside of the circle. He reached pathetically with his unusually long arms at the fighting men. Titus made sure to steer clear of Areli’s outreached hands as the Wendigo tugged and roared at the chain holding him.
After a short fight, it was down to only Titus and the lead guard who had kidnapped both the prince and Areli. Titus was far less experienced with a sword, and knew his chances weren’t the best. But he wasn’t above playing dirty. The prince tried to keep quiet and hoped Areli’s attention would stay on the two men out of his reach, and not on him.
“You die now, farmhand!” The guard shouted. He began hacking at Titus with large, well practiced, swings. Titus struggled to block the blows, not even able to get his own swing in. Areli roared and cried as the two men danced just inches out of his reached. The wood creaked and groaned, and the collar cut into his neck. Titus gasped for air as he lost the upper hand in the fight. He fell to the ground, frantically blocking the head guards’ expert swings. Areli went berserk as Titus failed to block one of the blows, the sword scraping his arm and drawing blood.
The claws of his back legs scratched large trenches in the soft ground. The chains holding him began to creak louder. The weight of the Wendigo taking their toll on the much too small chains.
“Titus!” The prince said, in a warning shout.
“Occupied!” Titus said, through gritted teeth. The guard pulled his arm back for a final swing. Titus looked around for any hope of escape, and took the only chance he saw. He pulled back his leg and kicked hard. He winced at the sound of the guards shin cracking, and his screams of pain.
He stumbled back, landing on his ass as he screamed in agony. In the haze of pain, he failed to recognize how close he had come to Areli. He was well outside the circle, but they hadn’t taken into account that Areli’s arms grew when he transformed, so much so that even if he was to stand upright (which he rarely did as the Wendigo) his fingers would still rest on the ground if he didn’t bend his arms. With the long arms he was gifted with, he was able to reach the guard. His incredibly large hand wrapped around the guards head easily, his fingers hooking under the poor mans chin.
Titus stared disgustingly at the screams of the man, as his jaw was pierced with Areli’s large fingers. The Wendigo lifted the flailing man with ease, and opened his monstrous jaws. He bit down on the screaming man, and within seconds all that remained were the scraps of severed limbs. The Wendigo growled, as it grew several more feet, and at least a hundred more pounds. It looked up, and Titus could have sworn it smiled a wicked smile. It screeched loudly, and jumped at Titus. The chain snapped as if it had been a piece of yarn holding a bull. Titus turned and ran, stopping only when the Wendigo landed a few feet behind him. The force of the beast hitting the ground sent him flying onto his stomach. He grabbed the sword that had fallen a few feet away from him and turned.
He winced at the sickening squish as the sword sliced through the Wendigos pale flesh. The beast's eyes went wide as it registered the sword sticking through its torso. In pain and frustration, it reared back and roared. It stumbled around on its back legs, trying to pull out the large hunk of metal with its smaller set of arms. Eventually, it tried its main arms. When that didn’t work, he tugged at it with both. With the sword embedded so close to its body, it was unable to remove the hunk of metal. Areli roared again, practically shaking the trees of the nearby forest.
“Titus, run!” The prince shouted. Areli turned and faced him, roaring again. He used his powerful back legs to launch himself off the ground, landing just outside the circle drawn around the pole. The prince backed up in the dirt, as Areli ran closer. He shut his eyes as he prepared for his death. From the moment he had found out what Areli was, he knew the beast would be his downfall. He heard the deep breath of the Wendigo, a few feet away, but there was no more pounding of running feet, or growls of anger. Just the heavy breathing.
He opened his eyes, and swallowed, as he saw the Wendigo jaws locked onto Titus’ arm. The man screamed in agony and the prince blinked hard, when he saw Areli released his grip on Titus. He shook his head, and his nose wrinkled. His long tongue flicked out, covered with blood. He spat and coughed on the ground, hissing at the blood. Titus fell down beside the prince, wincing and holding his arm in pain. The prince was concerned, but was far more interested in Areli.
The great beast stood a few feet away, shaking his head with his tongue hanging out. Blood and Wendigo spit flew from the beast's mouth. It roared and began wiping its open mouth on the ground and scratching at its own face with its claw. Titus groaned in pain, but was now also taking notice of the beast.
“What’s he doing?” The prince asked. Titus frowned.
“I...I don’t know.” Titus frowned through the pain. After a few more minutes of hissing and spitting, the Wendigo stopped. It met its red eyes with Titus’ and took a few steps closer, walking on its main arms and back legs. Its second pair of arms were folded up tight against its body. Titus winced as the Wendigo’s large mouth was brought within inches of his face. Areli bared his large teeth, and sniffed.
Titus opened his eyes as his hair was tossed with the breath of the Wendigo. It circled its long neck around, and sniffed Titus where his neck met his shoulder. He pulled back and stared at Titus with curious eyes. It lowered its head, and growled.
“Merek...?” Titus asked.
“I don’t know! He’s never done anything like this.” The prince said, just as lost as Titus. Titus looked down at the sword protruding from Areli’s chest and bit his lip.
“Is that going to hurt him?” He asked.
“I don’t know. They’re kind of hard to kill.” The prince said, not all that worried about Areli. He was more concerned for the people Areli got his hands on. Through the bright glowing red eyes, he thought he saw a flicker of Areli’s real self.
“I think....I think Areli is fighting for control.” Titus whispered.
“Can he? He’s never had control in this form before...” Merek whispered too, as if Areli would snap at any minute, which he surely could.
“Areli? Can you hear me, love?” Titus asked, a little louder and directed at the behemoth before him. The Wendigo took a deep breath, before roaring loudly in Titus’ face. But once the roar subsided, he did nothing else.
“Does that mean yes?” Merek whispered. Titus swallowed.
“We have to get you out of here.” Titus whispered, not losing eye contact with the Wendigo.
“I don’t know if you noticed, but Areli ate the keys.” Merek hissed.
“Fuck.” Titus cursed. “We’ll have to break it.” Titus stood, the Wendigo watching him as he moved. He grabbed a fallen sword, and began trying to break the chain. He sighed when there was barely even a dent. Titus stopped, sighing and wiping sweat from his forehead. He looked around for another option and his eyes landed on the Wendigo that still followed his every move.
“Want to give me a hand here?” Titus nodded at the chain. The Wendigo growled when Titus spoke to it, but did nothing else. “Okay, so maybe control is a loose term.” Titus sighed.
“From the looks of it, he’s barely holding on. You need to go. Get him somewhere safe.” The prince said, but as he spoke Titus could see fire in the distance.
“Merek...” Titus whispered. Merek turned his head, to see a large mob of townspeople heading their way fast. The Wendigo turned as well, and howled loudly.
“Shut up, Shut up!” Titus, without thinking, moved to silenced the Wendigo. His hands wrapped around his large jaws, but the beast only growled and tried to pull its head out of Titus’ hands.
“They’ll kill him, Titus. Get him out of here!” The prince shouted.
“And what will become of you, if I leave you?” Titus began trying to break the chains again.
“That doesn’t matter, you have to take care of Areli!” The prince put a hand on Titus’ shoulder, before taking a kiss from one of his two loves. Titus returned the kiss and held onto the prince for a few moments longer.
“As soon as he’s safe, I’m coming back for you.” Titus whispered.
“I know.” The prince said, but wasn’t sure if he would be around to be rescued.
Titus grabbed the chain dangling from Areli’s neck and pulled, hard.
“Come on.” He tugged. The three of them knew that four men probably couldn’t pull the Wendigo somewhere it didn’t want to go. But whatever small amount of control Areli had over the beast, he used then. The Wendigo lumbered behind Titus as he pulled him towards the forest. Suddenly, he caught sight of an animal, and took off into the forest, dragging Titus behind him on his stomach. The prince watched them leave, and swallowed as he turned back to the angry mob that awaited him.
The prince stared down at the ground sadly, his hands tied in front of his body. The noose dangled around his neck lazily as the priest prayed for him. The executioner wasn’t far away, waiting to pull the lever that would drop the platform, ending Merek’s life.
The prince had no regrets. He had died protecting Areli, and that’s how he wanted it. As long as Areli was safe, he was happy. For a long time he believed he was the only one who could keep Areli safe, but now he realized that he didn’t have a choice. Titus would be the one protecting Areli now.
Guards drummed a steady beat, the sound of an execution. The king stood by sadly, looking down at his son from the balcony. There was nothing but disgrace in his eyes. The prince shut his eyes as the executioner placed his hand on the lever. The crowd cheered as their prince was prepared to be executed for putting his kingdom in danger. The prince sighed, believing he was taking his last breath. He felt more than saw the executioner put his other hand on the lever and prepare to pull. Suddenly, the heavy sounds of hoof beats flooded his ears. The crowd gasped as the galloping hooves grew closer, and the squeaking of the handle being pulled filled the air. The prince took a deep breath, more out of fear than trying to preserve his own life. He felt a strange vibration on the wooden floor of the gallows, and then he felt the empty space beneath his feet as the trap door was dropped. He fell, but only a few inches before a strong arm was wrapped around his waist. The rope tugged at his neck, and he couldn’t breath, but his neck hadn’t been broken.
He opened his eyes, and couldn’t help but smile through the tears as he sat Titus’ face. He sat astride the large black stallion, holding Merek up above the noose as best he could. Merek tossed and turned his neck, finally slipping out of the noose, and Titus through him onto the back of the horse.
He kicked at the horse, who jumped off the gallows, and they were gone in seconds. The mob behind them stood there for a stunned moment, before they began crying out in rage. A few chased them, guards fired arrows from the towers of the castle, but they were long gone.
“It took you bloody long enough.” Merek swore, tugging at the ropes around his wrists.
“I’m sorry, I was worried about leaving Areli. He felt so bad about biting me.” TItus said. Merek looked down at his arm, and saw that Areli had done a lot of damage. Titus held it to his side carefully, and couldn’t move that hand on that arm much anymore. Merek wondered if it would ever be able to work the same. Titus pulled a knife from his belt, and cut the ties on the princes’ wrists.
“Speak of the devil...” Merek murmured. Areli poked his head out from behind a nearby tree. He smiled when Merek opened his arms and buried his face in Merek’s chest.
“My prince! I was worried...” He whispered, blushing.
“No need to worry, pet. Everything’s alright now....Isn’t it?” He looked between them.
“I have a friend in another kingdom. A kingdom with a harbor. We’ll make our way there and catch a ship, we can't stay here.” Titus said.
“A ship? How are we going to keep Areli safe on a ship?” Merek asked.
“After that night, he’s learned to control himself better. He’s not in complete control when he changes, but I’m sure he can manage to keep the Wendigo quiet for a few days while we sail.” Titus said. Areli smiled and nodded.
“And what then? We have no money, no home. We won't even be able to keep the horse.” Merek sighed, sitting down on a rock. Titus was silent, knowing the prince was right.
“We have each other, and that’s all I want.” Areli said, face serious. Titus and Merek looked up at him skeptically.
“I’m afraid everything doesn’t work that way, Love.” Titus brushed Areli’s cheek with his good hand.
“We’ll make it work. The three of us are unstoppable as far as I’m concerned.” Areli raised his chin.
“A stable master, an exiled prince, and a Wendigo...” Titus began.
“Walked into a bar?” The prince raised an eyebrow.
“Oh, I’ve heard this one.” Areli smiled. The three laughed and Titus and Areli sat down next to their prince.
“We’ll make it.” The prince said.
“I know.” Areli nodded.
“Both of you are insane. Get on the horse.” Titus climbed onto the stallion. The prince hopped on back, and Areli walked beside them. After awhile, they switched.
All of them were silent, trying to keep their minds off of what lie ahead of them. Only focusing on what they had been through, who they had met, and what their future life could be like.