To make use of her newfound freedom, she snuck out to the knights' quarters of the castle. Shcocklette had always had a dream to become a knight.
She knew that it paid well, as well as was an exciting job, to serve the king. When she got a job as a servant her dreams of serving the king had been long forgotten.
The new excitement of being free had reawoken her dream of being a knight. The bright fire inside her kept her wits restrained and her mind clear.
Shocklette knew the route to the knight's home by heart because she had gone there so many times in her dreams.
The knight's home wasn't as magnificent as the castle, but it was no doubt better kept than the servant shacks.
Shocklette soon spotted a knight about as tall as her. She quickly formed a plan in her head. She ran to hide in a bush.
When he was passing by her she screamed, "AHHHH! Help me! Someone help me!" The man stopped.
"What do you need a little girl?"
"There was a really big rat!" she said, even though she had never been afraid of rats in her life. Her plan was going perfectly.
"Calm down child" he added calmly. "It is only a rat. If it would make you feel better I can bring you a suit of armor, I guess."
"Yes!" Shocklette thought. "This is exactly what I need." "Yes," she simpered, smiling. I would like that."
About 15 minutes later, he came back with a metallic, perfect suit of armor. When Shocklette put it on, it felt like it was made for her. With is on, she was powerful, protected, unstoppable.
With a smile on her face, she now thought 'this is it'. Without a word, she snuck into the knight's home and felt at home at last.
Inside the knight's home was a giant statue with long hair, an earring, and a sick smile: the king. Shocklette averted her eyes from the stone statue ones.
One setback of being a knight: you serve the king. Beyond the statue was a room full of spears, swords, and jousts. Shocklette took a moment but decided to choose the sword.
The swords struck out to her because of an old legend that told of a sword that could never be broken. And if you had it in your possession you would win any battle you fought.
This appealed to the king for it was told of a way to finally defeat the horror of the shadow above the town. It was about time too....
"MEN! LINE UP!" the captain of the knight's royal guard roared. Shocklette rushed to get there. This was it, this was the moment...
"ROOKIE! STATE YOUR NAME AND BUSINESS WITH THE ROYAL GUARD!"
"Um..."Shocklette murmured, barely containing her excitement.
"YES SIR!" she howled back. "MY NAME IS...um...SHOCK...no, SHOCKLO. SHOCKLO...um...Largenteen."
Shocklette was glad her lie did the trick, for the time being. But when the time came to protect the king things fell apart. Quickly. Very quickly.
The next morning, it was time to protect the king on his journey to the next kingdom, Cecilete. He was to meet the king there and discuss the borderline.
Shocklette helplessly tried to avoid the trip, but as a knight, as she found, "no" was not an answer. So, against her will, Shocklette joined the rest of the royal guard at the crack of dawn.
The king was as decked out as ever. He wore a crown made of only the rarest gems that glittered and gleamed. Before they set off, the king ordered the knights to state their names and rank.
Uh, oh, Shocklette thought, for the general had not given her a rank. She decided she would pretend to be a swordsman. She had not, however, noticed that every other knight held a spear.
The king, during his inspection, noticed.
"Young man", he sneered. "Why have you a sword instead of a spear? Any real knight would know," he laughed, "that when protecting the king, they use a spear." He paused and glanced at her.
"Now", he stated dangerously. "Remove your helmet so you royal king can see your face."
Shocklette froze. No, no this cannot be happening! She thought desperately hoping that she might be able to escape somehow.
"I said" the king scowled, "Take it off!"
Shocklette had no choice but to take off her helmet. For a moment the king looked smug then shocked. His face finally decided on a sick smirk.
"So you escaped, witch? Well, since the dungeons don't work we'll have to put you somewhere else."
Shocklette didn't know were 'somewhere else' was, but because of the look on the king's face, it probably wasn't good. She still had one more chance, one more ace up her sleeve.
"I have an offer for you, king,'' she said, trying to play calm. "If you let me go, I'll find and slay that monster that has been tearing up Dalecus.
" It was a heavy offer, but the king's nemesis is the king's worst fear. He considered this and with a nod of his head, he agreed to Shocklette's offer.
Shocklette never really thought about the whole 'defeating the monster' thing, but it gave her her freedom.
"I will give you 2 months to complete this," he declared. Shocklette gulped. "Or...you will be banished from Dalecus. Forever."
Even though Shocklette despised Dalecus it was home to her. Even though the king was there, it wasn't as bad as it seemed.
Shocklette's brain said it didn't matter, but her heart thought differently. There was little time to lose, so she planned out a route.
First Shocklette would cross the Darkwood forest then venture across the desert. And if she was still alive after that, she would make it to the monster's lair, deep in the Dead Forest.
She doubted she would make it that far, but it was good to have a plan she knew. Later that evening, Shocklette had a fully formed plan. She was ready.
At the crack of dawn, Shocklette woke up. Soon she was dressed and ready to go. The first thing to do was to gather supplies.
From the kitchens of the castle she 'took' (never 'stole') some rolls and apples. With her planning, Shocklette assumed she would be gone about two months so she packed generously.
Next, she took some shawls and warm clothes, just in case.
She knew there was also a desert to cross, so she brought plants of wood so she could stay on top of the sand Once Shocklette had all of this, she started off to a long day's journey.
The first week of her journey went smoothly, except for that little incident with the tree. It was a mistake but she accidentally slept near the mill, in the miller's bed.
Well, he chased her out and Shocklette climbed up a tree. Unluckily for her, he had an ax and he began chopping the tree that Shocklette was in down.
In a moment of panic, she thrust her sword into the ground and jumped. Shocklette's foot landed on the hilt.
Even though she might have broken her ankle, she saved herself from a more horrid fate.
Not long after the miller 'incident', she came upon a forest. Darkwood forest was its name, she knew.
Shocklette had heard tales of monsters and dangerous legends that made Darkwood Forest their home. Not that Shocklette was nervous, but it may put a dent in her head start.
As she took her first steps toward the forest, Shocklette heard (or was it just the wind?) voices warning her to go back. Yet, she pressed on.
The forest was dark and spooky even during the day. Darkwood Forest wasn't loud; it was dead silent. For Shocklette, that made things worse.
In fact, the forest would be more comforting if it was loud. The forest seemed dead with no activity. Suddenly, a sharp cry pierced the night (or was it a day?).
Shocklette tensed and grasped the hilt of her sword. The thing howled again, this time louder and more shrill. Shocklette put on her helmet and took her sword out of its sheath. Then it came.
There was a flash of fur and dark eyes and claws. This was Shocklette's last glimpse before she blacked out.
When she finally woke up Shocklette felt warm and hot. Was she still in the forest? Slowly she opened her eyes and saw she was lying in a cave.
Then she remembered being attacked by that ...thing. Shocklette got up quickly and brushed herself off. She had to get out of there...
quickly! Shocklette figured she had broken a hip because her insides screamed in pain when she walked. She couldn't stop now for the thing that might come back.
There wasn't much more of the forest to see, but it felt like she was walking for days.
Once the forest cleared, all Shocklette saw was the sun. Then a desert. The never-ending desert. Shocklette groaned knowing how long and drawn out the walk would be.
Shocklette walked for hours until a sight caught her eye. It was a metallic gleam in the middle of a rock. A sword. Shocklette immediately felt content.
Something inside her told her that she must get that sword; that is was her destiny. Shocklette moved as quickly as she could towards the sound, while the sun was setting on the desert.
The first day of her journey in the desert had started so slowly and ended so quickly.
As Shocklette lay down on the cooling sand, the last sight of that day was her sword, still gleaming brightly.
The next day, Shocklette persisted in her quest for that sound far away. It seemed to get brighter the closer she got to it.
When she finally, finally got there, when the sun got the hottest, it was high in the sky. The sword was glowing brighter now in the hot sun.
When her hands closed in on the hilt, a warmth filled her fingers. Slowly, she pulled and tugged. Without much doing, the sword pulled free.
Something in Shocklette told her that this was no ordinary sword; it was legendary. With a golden hilt and a silver and bronze point, it was perfect.
Shocklette stuck the sword in her sheath and began to walk with a better bounce in her step towards the monster's lair.