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King Steel

发布者:  时间:2021-11-09 17:31:39  浏览:

King Steel

Heather 迟雅涵 190110112

King Steel of Kingdom Honor and Princess Crystal of Kingdom Glory were standing alongside the river that separated the two kingdoms, her body against his warm chest and his hand stroking her silky hairs. Their profiles at sunset made up the most spectacular scene on earth, desired by all lovers in search of an ideal match.

"How wonderful it would be," said Steel meaningfully, "if we got married and war forever ceased between our kingdoms!"

Crystal looked up and affectionately gazed into Steel's eyes, a huge smile spreading across her flushed cheeks, "You are the best king in the world! You hate the war as I do! I have previously regarded all men to be aggressive beasts."

"The honor of a kingdom is not about the number of battles it has won, the quantity of foes it has killed, or the expanse of territory it has conquered, but about the happy life its subjects are leading." With those words, Steel became deeply lost in his thoughts.

It took what seemed a century for him to return to himself. "It's getting late! We have to part. But believe me: one day you will cross the river and become my queen!" Then, mounting his horse, he disappeared into the distance, leaving her eyesight firmly fixed on his figure and her mind forever haunted by his charismatic personality.

In fact, the budding of their love hadn’t taken place until three days before when Steel had paid his visit to King Glory, but the relationship of the two kingdoms had a much longer story, tracing all the way to four or five generations earlier. At that time, there were many kingdoms coexisting in the mainland, among which King Honor and Kingdom Glory were the strongest in armed forces. And so, both wanting to vanquish the others, the two cooperated in the achievement of their communal ambition and flattened the other kingdoms in just a few years. However, no sooner had the mainland been restored from the damage of bombs and shells than a much fiercer warfare was provoked between Kingdom Honor and Kingdom Glory. This, in fact, was not totally out of expectation, for it seemed that one's aggression could never be fulfilled—it would be hard for either of them to accept it when its glory and power were split with the other.

If the confrontation before was only enough to crush a kingdom and leave an army of disabled soldiers, then the one between the two was such that it literally had the potential to shatter the whole mainland and leave no one the chance to survive. And it was just when the hostility reached zenith that Steel, together with his twin brother Iron, was born. As far as Steel could remember, his father, the old king, hadn’t spent a single day without being disquieted by news from the battlefield, and his mother, the queen, went not a single day without worrying about the safety of her husband, of the whole family, as well as that of the kingdom. “Sword, injury, death…” These seemed to be all that accompanied Steel’s childhood. Later, overloaded with stress and anxiety, the queen was tortured by serious diseases and soon passed away when the two princes were only six years old, which definitely added to the gloom of their nightmare. But they both were very strong, as was indicated by their names, as strong as steel and iron. They worked hard and cultivated themselves into men: Steel’s inborn shrewdness and forcefulness combined with his perseverant study into the multiple areas of learning like politics, military statics, and geography made him a qualified leader, and Iron, with incomparable gallantry among his peers, established himself as a dauntless vanguard after many years of training in archery and horse-riding techniques. As a result, as soon as they turned twelve, they were taken by their father to the battlefield and both succeeded in serving as excellent assistants to him.

Then, what happened two months ago was to cause presumably the acutest pain to the princes as well as to the whole kingdom. That was probably the heaviest loss Kingdom Honor had ever suffered in its warring history—the entire scene was that of a bloody land blanketed with dead soldiers. With the enemy still chasing relentlessly behind, the old king, along with the two princes, accompanied by their only remaining rank of soldiers, were making their final escape. Suddenly, an arrow flashed from nowhere and pierced directly into the king’s vitals. Then, dragging the ailing king, the troop accelerated to its fullest speed and headed for the nearest barracks. Unfortunately, hardly had a few steps been made when the king gave out his last breath. “Keep the honor of our kingdom!” That was his last wish entrusted to everyone present, with feeble voice, but irresistible determination.

As the elder of the twin brothers, Steel succeeded to the throne beyond dispute. And it was also without any doubt that the enthronement didn’t bring him a single ray of delight as it usually did to other princes. The first day he ascended the throne, he not only arranged the stately funeral for his father but also ordered the construction of cemeteries for all the soldiers whose lives have been given to the “Honor” of the kingdom. For the next few days, the cemeteries became his daily haunt. He was frequently seen roving there all alone, listening to the howling of the wind, or sometimes sitting on the ground, gathering some soil absent-mindedly and letting it filter slowly through his fingers, and eating once in twenty-four hours seemed sufficient sustenance for him.

Concerned that the persisting depression would at last defeat his brother’s body, Iron one day finally made up his decision to intrude upon Steel’s isolation on the graveyard. He took his seat beside him, patted him on the shoulder, and said, “Let the past be the past! It won’t be long before we lead our army across the river and avenge our father’s death.”

Roused from his deep thoughts, Steel lifted his eyes with astonishment and then struggled to his feet. Deficient sleep and poor appetite for several consecutive days could weaken any mortal on earth, be it tough as tempered steel. “Surely we can avenge our father! But who is to avenge their fathers?” Steel pointed to the mounds before them where the soldiers were to lie peacefully forever.

“These days I’ve been hearkening to the gale groaning, like the souls of the deceased crying their resentment all together. They’ve devoted all that they could to every piece of land we are now treading on but are buried by it before witnessing the ultimate achievement of “Honor” when Kingdom Glory is defeated, even without their names known to all.”

“But where there is a war, there is death.”

“I am trying to find a solution. And…” Steel’s words could have proceeded, but a sudden fit of dizziness failed him. He stumbled to the nearest tree and leaned against it. Iron followed immediately and supported him with his hands.

“But do take care of yourself!”

“I will be all right.” A faint smile lit up Steel’s pale countenance. “I won’t yield to dismay, which is something of least value unless you try to make amends for it. It’s my perplexed mind and the ceaseless thinking process that is gnawing at my body but still hasn’t satisfied itself. Don’t worry! I will recover as soon as I’ve fathomed it out.”

So, he did! One day, he was wandering in the graveyard as usual, when an idea flashed across his mind. Then without hesitation, he galloped back towards his dwelling palace. And the moment he got back; he summoned the officials for a meeting.

In the majestic meeting hall, on the forbidding high and glittering platform stood Steel uprightly, his eyes shining with enthusiasm, and the flush on his face illuminated his whole being, forming a sheer contrast to that of last night when he was so pallid as if suffering from a severe disease. Everyone was puzzled, wondering what it was that had injected into their king an overnight vitality.

“OK everybody! You get yourselves prepared! A negotiation is due in a few days!”

It was Autumn at that time. The scene of falling leaves and withered plants added to the death of the old king had put the officials in a gloomy shadow that would have taken them a long time to walk out of. However, the spirit-lifting voice of the king buoyed them up in an instant and dispersed all the clouds of melancholy.

“Yeah, your Majesty!”

“And it will be negotiation with Kingdom Glory!”

They were all shocked. With their mouth wide open, they stared with inquiringly into Steel.

“I’ve expected such reaction.” Steel smiled and continued, “After all, it was the former king’s last will to ‘keep the honor of our kingdom’. But what does ‘Honor’ mean? To put all the others kingdoms under our sovereignty?”

Still silence.

“I think that’s ‘the Honor’ restricted to our royal family, not ‘the Honor’ for all. And I know you detest war, don’t you?”

The courtiers were put into even further astonishment. They had never dreamt of their deeply hidden ideas being voiced by someone bold enough, but now, they were, and most importantly, by a king!

Steel smiled again. “Just say whatever you want! I hate the war too; no less than you do. Is there a single one here whose nerves haven’t been strained by the war and whose blood hasn’t shed for the war? And—and only in the last battle, five of your colleagues were taken from us forever…”

He couldn’t keep to the subject, for he already felt his eyes brimming and his voice choking. Unlike his will, his heart was by no means made of steel, which could be prickled by the death of a single soldier and enter into a fit of unbearable pain.

But he had to stifle his tears. Collecting himself, he went on, “With Kingdom Glory, certainly we can’t leave our conflict unsettled. But instead of force, why don’t we turn to peaceful negotiation?”

So exhilarating a decision! Everyone present just couldn’t help but shouted, “Long live our king!”

Their trip to Kingdom Glory was relatively smooth and the negotiation was fairly agreeable as well. The only thing that upset Steel was King Stone’s attitude. For the first two days, he hesitated and took strong aversion to peace, but on the morning when Steel was about to take his departure, he suddenly changed his attitude and had the treaty signed, which delighted many officials from Kingdom Honor, but Steel, quick in his judgement, couldn’t help but cast doubt, wondering whether Stone was really in the mood for peace or was just tired of wasting time with them anymore.

But Steel’s unrest was relieved to a certain degree by his budding love with Princess Crystal. Maybe they were perfectly made for each other—the first time they met, the spark of affection between them was ignited!

In the beginning, it wasn’t Steel that first took up the relationship and tried to engage the attention of his sweetheart. After all, it was hard for one to notice somebody peeping at him from behind a corner. But for Crystal, things were quite different. The moment Steel entered the hall, she was hooked by this handsome and dignified young man and couldn’t shift her gaze anymore—he was just what a man should be: his sharp eyes were radiating a perpetual light wisdom and astuteness, his gracious smile was manifesting a disposition of gentility, and from his every single movement gushed his appealing charisma. “Even if he weren’t dressed in a king’s manner, as he is now,” thought Crystal to herself, “and were placed among a crowd of others, his identity could be recognized all the same, for he’s so distinguished by his temperament.”

That night, after the king and the queen had reposed in their bedchamber, Crystal crept out of her room and tiptoed all the way to the hotel where Steel had been put up. There, by the dim light, Steel was buried in a pile of documents when there was a knock on the door. Supposing it was one of his subordinates, he just looked up and answered it with “come in”. But then, he was totally taken by shock at the entrance of the unexpected guest: she was elegantly dressed in a pure white gown reaching all the way to the ground, the outer layer of which was fluttering mildly to the breeze, creating the impression of a fairy in a wonderland. Steel stood up, but petrified by such a spectacle next to supernatural, he failed to make a few steps. So was Crystal, who, in the face of her beloved, had her heart become limp and lose all the power to beat.

“Your Majesty, this is the princess of Kingdom Glory—Princess Crystal,” introduced by Crystal’s maid-in-waiting.

“Your Royal Highness!” Steel made himself towards the doorway quickly and respectfully invited Crystal in with a gesture. Then he dragged out a chair for her to sit on before he seated himself on another one.

“Your Royal Highness!” he said, “I cannot be flattered enough by your night visit.” Only then was he able to take a close look at her countenance—the red fire light glowed on her bonny head, revealing a fair face animated with excitement, passion, and innocence amounting to that of a child. And her eyes, which were focusing on those of her companion, resembled strikingly the source of a crystal-clear mountain spring, from which water of mystic power was continuously spouting, streaming directly into Steel’s heart. “There should exist such an angelic girl in the world,” thought Steel, “who after so many years of devastating war remains her innocence and unperturbed zeal for life.”

“Your Majesty!” Crystal slightly lowered her eyes in coyness. A spot of red appeared on her cheeks beneath her lightly applied rouge, which then spread out like oil stains on a piece of paper and covered her face in an instant. An ocean of words carrying affection was floating in her mind, but somehow, she couldn’t capture only a few of them and form a sentence. Defeated by words, she had to resort to the piece of canvas wrapped exquisitely in a box protected by her for the whole day.

“Your Majesty,” she opened the box with trembling hands, “I hope I haven’t degraded you too much through this portrait.”

At the sight of the canvas, Steel put on an unprecedentedly big smile; so big of a smile hadn’t appeared on his face ever since the death of his father, or rather since he was old enough to feel the brutality of the war. And now, the portrait not only melted the glacier that had long been shrouding Steel’s heart but also broke the ice in the situation where they both were nourishing adoration but had no idea how to express it.

The following night, it went without saying that Crystal spent her hours before bedtime with Steel again. And the time passed on rosy wings.

But the darkest time for them arrived soon on the next morning, when Steel had to take his departure. Crystal felt as if her life was doomed and her whole existence was emptied—even the atrocious war hadn’t made her so dejected and desperate. She just sealed herself in her room, secure from the gunpowder outside, building her girlish castles in the air, and an occasional walk in the garden was enough for her refreshment. In fact, she could do nothing but pass the time like this, for what service could a woman be put to in the warring time—even if she was a princess? And maybe that is exactly one of the most obvious advantages that war can bring about: the production of a number of women with an extraordinary ability to entertain themselves out of nothing but imagination, of which Crystal was an expert. But now, faced with separation from her beloved, even such an expert failed to shed her despair. She absented herself from the breakfast that was designed for the whole royal family with the excuse that she was feeling awful, at which Stone smiled rather sneeringly, “I guess it’s a disease more spiritual than physical.” Then, calling Crystal’s maid, he said, “Go and tell her! She’s allowed to accompany the wretched king to the river!”

Crystal nearly jumped at the news—I am blessed with such a considerate father—he saw through my heart when my behavior was totally beyond his sight, though she wondered what it was that led to her father’s downright change, for there hadn’t seemed to be a single time before when her intention was understood, let alone permitted by him. But she was in no mood to figure it out just now. Throwing on her riding garment and jumping on the stallion, she darted to where Steel belonged.

“I will become your queen!” Now, lingering where they kissed farewell, Crystal repeated his words and re-experienced his caress, feeling as if she were the happiest princess in the world. A row of swallows were passing by. How she wished she could follow them to the sky! The clouds turned red under the sunset. “Are you gayer that I am?” But soon she realized that she hadn’t applied rouge at all for she had left in such a hurry. She smiled in mockery of herself and hit the way back home.

She opened the gate of the palace. Stone had just retreated from a meeting and was reclining on a chair in the sitting room, smoking a meditative pipe. Crystal got another chair and seated herself beside him. It was the first time in her life that she had got so close to her father.  

“Daddy, how do you like my dating Steel?”

“You can do whatever you want.” Stone put down his pipe on the table and smiled. It was also the first time that he had answered her daughter’s question with such patience. “But you have to make a promise.”

“Even ten!”

“You will persuade Steel into surrendering.”

Crystal raised her eyes, her mouth wide open, as if stricken by a bolt in a blue sky.

“Or I will rally my army and flatten his whole kingdom.” Then he took up his pipe and entered again into his own meditation.

Crystal rose up and quit the sitting room. She knew no argument was allowed, for that would only land her into more trouble. She locked herself in her room again, brooded for the whole night, and was never seen elsewhere in the following days.

As for Steel, he didn’t stay idle either. Though he tried to look on the bright side and comfort himself with the diminishing possibility of a war, he didn’t succeed in getting himself spiritually prepared for it, and his work was surely not easy. But he wouldn’t reveal any of his anxiety or fatigue to the courtiers unless necessary. In their eyes, he was always the noble king with endless vigor, heart-warming kindness, and a sense of refreshing humor. Under his influence, the daily meetings were no longer a headache but something enjoyable where they freely voiced their opinions on kingdom affairs in a pleasant atmosphere; unlike in previous times, when it was nothing but a tedious sermon or criticism from the king. And the ever-coming documents were no longer an object of grumbling among them, even if it meant staying up late sometimes, for Steel had set them an example of working until midnight every day. Blessed with such a leader, everyone felt honored to be called his subordinate and was more than willing to pull together for the kingdom.

But Stone didn’t seem to allow the continuation of any peacefulness. One evening, when Steel had just finished his dinner and was sitting in the garden for a short break, he suddenly sensed an ambience different from that before: unlike the usual liveliness at this time, everything plunged into a state of dreary silence, except for occasional sounds of turmoil that entered faintly to his ears. And soon arrived a letter from Kingdom Pride to him:

“Cowardly Steel! You are so fearful of fighting as to seek peace. I can satisfy your wish, but only if you surrender. And in that case, you shall get my daughter in return. Or, my army of one hundred thousand will be awaiting you in two months.”

He refolded the letter into the envelope, but rather than panic, he was a little amused by Stone’s being ridiculous—so he was! If there was one thing in the world that could never pose intimidation to Steel, that was a threat; and if there was one thing to which Steel would never give in to, that was hardship—it was true that the worst had happened—so what? Now there was no use worrying any more, but to get fully prepared for the war.

He perfectly composed himself at the first letter, but the next one was really a challenge to his endurance:

“Steel, where are you? I need you! My life hadn’t begun until I saw your face, and now I can’t live without you. Let us escape—to the moor, to an island, to our paradise and get clear of war forever…”

“How can I…” Steel slapped the letter down on the table, “I am a king with my responsibility!” He was on the brink of losing his temper when he suddenly contained himself and let his anger gradually dissipate, for he could imagine how Stone had threatened his daughter and how much Crystal must be suffering from her father’s ruthlessness. “Poor Crystal!” He picked the letter up, uncrumpled its surface, and pressed it to his chest. But it was not the right time to be indulged in romantic matters. He stuck the letter into his pocket and quitt the garden in a hurry—he felt an urgent need to soothe everyone immersed in the depression of a failed negotiation and quench down their panic over the looming war.

Again, the courtiers were summoned. They sat silently in the meeting room, their heads lowered to the ground, when Steel came in.

“What’s wrong?” Steel was wearing his usual smile, as if nothing had happened at all. “You know, I am a coward, as has been designated by Stone. But why are you more cowardly than I am?”

The courtiers barely suppressed a smile. Then, feeling much more released, they slightly nodded their heads.

“So keep your heads up! We Honorers never give in!” Steel raised his voice, his smile disappearing, his eyesight sharpening, and his determination radiating.

“You think you failed? No! Never label yourselves with “failure” when in fact you did not, and success from within is always more significant than from outside! You all did a good job in the negotiation. The thing is, Stone is just not the sort of person that can be reached by reason but only can be defeated by force; I made a wrong assessment before we started and thus led to our wasted journey. So, it’s indeed my fault, if the blame must be put on someone. But since neither way can prevent the war from being started, what’s the use of grieving or regretting? Face up to it! And after the winter of war will come the spring of peace forever!”

In the following two months, besides his office and daily meeting room, the military base where soldiers were trained became another place that Steel frequented. Laughing over the laughs and crying over the cries of the soldiers, Steel’s life was relatively agreeable, as the striving process for “Honor” always gave him a sense of fulfilment, though it was tough and tiring for sure, and the letter still lying the same in his pocket, on the right side of his breast on his gown, was constantly prickling his heart and causing him pain; especially at night, when both the sound of weapons clashing and that of officials discussing had died down and the whole palace was the scene of absolute silence. Therefore, in order to distract himself from the pain, he just became more devoted to his work. But the soldiers all seemed to be in a good state. On their faces confidence and resolution were frequently seen, as if they could defeat whatever legion of Satan’s.

But on Crystal’s side, things didn’t seem to be so good. In fact, the minute she had the letter sent away by the messenger, she realized that she was being kind of unreasonable for she had written it so impulsively. So, she wasn’t too dismayed after having waited for several days without a response. She just went back to her normal state of life where she took delight in her own imagination, though the content of it changed from her being in a paradise free from war to that of her swooning on Steel’s breast on a romantic dusk in the garden of Kingdom Honor. But a few days later, when Steel’s countenance became blurred and his words had run out of their freshness and could no longer evoke strong emotions after being re-tasted for so many times, Crystal felt her life doomed again and the terrible sense of vacancy in her mind was beginning to kill her. And so, to pick up an interest for life, she took up the pen again and wrote another letter—but still no response!

“Is he so busy as to spare a look at them?” Crystal thought. But she didn’t give up. A few days later, a third letter flew from her to Steel:

“My beloved Steel,

How’s everything going? I can imagine the torturing life you are leading before a war, and I am crossing my fingers day and night for your well-being. But without you, I feel myself dying! Would you save my life through your words? Only a single one will help!

Kiss from,

Crystal”

But she was disappointed again. And this time, her fury went completely out of control, “Steel! Your heart is really made of Steel!” In a fit of hysteria, she swept everything from her table to the ground until the outburst of rage consumed all her remaining energy. She collapsed into the bed, reluctant to get out any more.

The months just passed like this, full of tension, tough military training ,and bitterness caused by unrequited love.

The day before the war, Steel visited the soldiers’ cemeteries again. After several hours of wandering, he bent down and started to gather the soil, but this time, instead of letting it filtering through his fingers, he loaded it into the pocket on the left side of his breast. And that night, upon returning, he went to Iron and told him, “Try as much as you can to capture rather than to kill—I can’t bear to see a single one dead anymore!”

So the war started.

The sky was darkening, the thunder was rolling, and the wind was roaring.

Soldiers of both sides were confronting, their weapons waving, and their anger blazing.

Suddenly, from the distance, sounds of a horse galloping were nearing, and with it a girlish voice shouting “wait” was approaching.

Astonished, everyone woke up from the state of fierce confrontation and looked into where the sound was coming from.

“Crystal!” Steel felt tricked by his eyes when he made out a profile on the horseback resembling that of Crystal so much. He fixed his eyes on the girl as she drew near, eager to ascertain the truth through a prolonged gaping.

He proved to be right. Crystal quit the horse and planted herself on the piece of land between armies of the two kingdoms.

“Wait!” she repeated, “Let the hooves tread on me! Let me be pierced by swords and shattered by bombs! My life is not worth living! My father neglects me, and Steel ignores me…”

Somehow, at his daughter’s words, Stone burst into a gale of laughter. And after a while, Steel shouted, “Go back, Crystal! There’s no laughing matter in battle!”

“I am serious!” Crystal continued, “I could have ended my life on my own, but it’s so meaningless a way! So, kill me and let me also die as a heroine—like the martyrs—to contribute to you ‘Glory’ or ‘Honor’!”

Heaving long sighs, Steel felt as if blood was trickling in his heart pierced all the way through by what Crystal had done. He supported himself with both hands on the railings before him, pleading in his mind, “Stone! Put down your weapons! Is this even not enough to touch your heart of stone?”

But Stone was still laughing sneeringly, “Steel, you see! Surrender now! Or you will witness your beloved’s death right now!”

Everyone cast their eyes on Steel.

“Crystal! Do get out from here! Please!” Steel nearly shouted the broken heart out of his throat. But Crystal had already lain to the ground, stock still.

“Steel! Cowardly Steel! You are defeated by a mere woman!”

“Charge! Tread on whatever enemy that is in our way!” Suddenly, Steel got straightened up, regained his strength and from him erupted a deafening voice of command. And so, the soldiers of Kingdom Honor, like beasts suddenly let go from their cages, charged forward at light’s speed, and successfully besieged Glory’s fortress completely in almost a second. And poor Stone—still immersed in his daydream of Steel’s surrender—was captured by Iron who was serving as the vanguard before he could really realize it!

For Kingdom Honor, victory was already in its hand. But Steel, having all his energy spent, felt everything blur before his eyes and couldn’t help collapsing to the ground.

“Steel!” Suddenly, from the ruins of the battle emerged a familiar call, so gentle, and so heart-breaking—such a wonder! From many a fighting and many a clashing, Crystal had survived!

“Steel!” She got to him and made sure that he was still alive. “Let me die in your arms.” Thinking, she pulled out the sword from the scabbard still carried by Steel in his hands. But the sound of the sword suddenly roused Steel back to his consciousness. He jumped to his feet in an instant and seized it from Crystal at one attempt.

“What a nonsense you are performing!” He flung the sword to the ground.

“What’s the sense of my living anymore if you don’t love me? You ignored all letters from me, you ordered your soldiers to kill me, and…”

“Hold on! I don’t love you?” Steel reached into the pocket on the right side of his breast and took out a pile of something like paper. “Have a look at these before you jump to your conclusion.”

Somewhat confused, Crystal took them and looked through with curiosity: the first one was the canvas with Steel’s portrait on it. It was from her! And the second one—also from her! That was her first letter to him! And the third one…

“You…you’ve been carrying these all day long, when the canvas is so heavy?” asked Crystal surprisingly.

“You think it’s heavy? But there is something heavier than the canvas is!” Steel pointed to the pocket on the left side of his pocket.

“Soil?” Crystal was surprised more.

“It symbolizes all the soldiers buried under it, all the subjects living on it, and all the honors that happened because of it. I love you for sure! But how can I keep it when it could make all the subjects beggars and outcasts, and all the honors gone with the wind?”

Staring at the soil, Crystal went speechless. After a while, she raised her eyes, looked anew into Steel’s eyes, and then lowered her again. “I see. There’s no romance in battlefield,” She murmured in a low voice

“Of course! And a king should always bear in mind his duty. But now is the right time for romance, for which I’ve waited so long. But it was worth it!”

Words failed Crystal again to express her happiness and admiration. Throwing herself into Steel’s arms, she felt her heart nearly jumping out of her chest, “Steel! My Steel! My best king on earth!”

It was still deep in winter, but for an obscure reason, it started to rain, and after the rain appeared a rainbow shining so brightly across the sky!

Hand in hand, they walked towards the brightest of the rainbow.

“Down with your weapons! Down with your weapons!” They waved, shouting to soldiers on both sides.

Soldiers in Kingdom Honor put down their weapons.

Soldiers in Kingdom Glory put down their weapons.

And, Stone, alone in the shadow where the rainbow’s light couldn’t reach, had the sword slipping from his hand…
















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