Negotiation – The Broken Tournament – Chapter 28

The story so far: The group has been prevented from continuing in the tournament from a group of criminals who attacked them. They now go to the tournament organisers to attempt to place them back in the tournament, as missing their matches weren’t their fault.

This would be the first time we encountered the corrupt organisers who we were trying to bring down. We were all nervous, but on the surface, appeared calm. Sure, I wanted to be the next queen of Sevren but maybe Rick would be able to do it? We were basically throwing ourselves into the enemy territory, it was far from safe. These were the people who wanted us killed. Rob was the one leading us, so I was content to just sit and listen while letting him take charge. Rob always seemed to know what he was doing.

Rick whispered in Rob’s ear and I couldn’t make out what he said, whatever it was I’m sure that it was probably to do with the very thing I was thinking. When I asked Rob he simply told me not to worry about it.

Then words flashed back in my head to what Rob had said earlier, he suspected that not every committee member was using bribes. If the ones from Clennor or Greba weren’t there then we had a good chance of survival, no a perfect chance of survival! We had to hope that there were at least a couple of members who weren’t rigging it.

We were taken through a gateway in the side of the city gates and through a large tunnel. This brought us through to the second inner part of the city. It was a part of Taltree I never had visited before, so it was exciting to see what the richer part of it looked like.

We were eventually led into a large room with many doors along it. The guard knocked on one of the doors.

“Yes!” A man shouted from within.

“Lord bostley, some people have a complaint.” He said.

“Send them in.” He said.

Before any of us could move in Rob said to Rick “Stay out here, you’re not needed.” He looked hurt and I didn’t really understand why. This was a complaint from me and Kil that would be brought forth by Rob, Rick’s appearance wouldn’t help our situation. Perhaps he should have stayed behind before even coming.

“Good morning my lord.” Rob said bowing respectively and prompting the two of us to do the same.

“I understand you have a complaint?” Lord Bostley said.

“Yes indeed we do. May I begin?”

“Go ahead.”

“These two people here Maron and Kil were both ambushed and attacked at the same point of the city making them both late for the tournament. They were supposed to fight each other. It was not their fault for being late because they were both attacked; therefore, I request that they are allowed to fight in a rematch to put the numbers back up to the correct amount.”

“I understand that but I’m afraid that I can do no such thing.”

“I was going to surrender anyway!” Kil said, “Can’t you put Maron through?”

“Ahhh, that’s difficult” he said, “It would take a lot of work, but it would be possible with 25 gold pieces.” We did not have that kind of money at all.

“Done, I’ll have you the money in a couple of days.” Rob said

“Oh no no no no” Began Lord Bostely “The last possible chance to change it is today. I’m not doing this without the money up front for me today.”

“Would it be possible to retrieve it today?” Rob said.

“I won’t do it without the money.” Lord Bostley responded stubbornly.

“How about we make a deposit, we give you half the money now and half later?” What I realised was that Rob wasn’t the best at negotiating. He could have maybe got the price down to a price we had but didn’t get the idea that he was just making up numbers.

“You can make a deposit if you want but I want the full price of everything before I’m willing to do anything.” He said.

“Alright, we will be with you in a few hours with the money, how may we find you again?” Rob asked

“I’m here always.” Lord Bostley said calmly “I suppose you want a better way in than the bribe you used on my guard is that it?” He was quite perceptive. “The password today is 7539, say it and the guard will let you in.”

“Thank you” Rob said. “We’ll take our leave.”

When we walked back through, we realised to our horror that Rick had vanished.

“What happened to Rick?” I asked the guard.

“Well here’s exactly what happened.” He began as he gestured for us to walk back, forcing us to walk “While you lot wer talking to Lord Bostley another Lord just happened to come back through, it was lord Evley. He took a great interest in Rick because apparently, he matched a certain description provided by Lord Drenvil. You see Lord Drenvil was running a bit late for the tournament and was made even later still when a group of people blocked his carriage and then attacked him and his driver stealing his horse, cart and money while also brutally beating him. He had to walk a long way to get to the tournament and was only just on time because another cart had picked him up. Still he was annoyed that he had been attacked, rightly so in my opinion, and made out a search for the people, yet the only thing he could remember was a guy with just one eye, Rick as you called him.”

“No what’s he done to Rick!” I said worried in a trembling voice.

“Before I carry on.” The guard responded, “You have to give me your confidence that you didn’t know Rick when he did this.”

“We weren’t with him.” Rob said quickly.

“Very good “the guard said continuing “So basically he’s been taken to prison for questioning.”

“That’s terrible.” I said

“He will likely be proved innocent. After all it’s only a vague matchup and is likely due to him fighting in the tournament. I’m sure he’ll be set free” Kil put his arm around me and it only helped slightly to reassure me. This was one of the worst things that could have happened. Nearly as bad as him dying because being taken prisoner by a lord in person never looks good for anyone who wants to prove that they’re innocent. I was sure they would find him guilty. Then what would they do?

Thinking about it we probably had around 25 gold pieces at the start but we slowly dwindled them by spending it on ridiculous things that didn’t matter.

Once we had left the tunnel which the guard had taken us through, I spoke to Rob “How are we going to get Rick back?” I asked him with tears in my eyes.

“Forget about Rick.” Rob said, “He’s as good as dead.” This brought me to tears. Not winning the tournament felt trival compared to this, because it was trivial. The person who had cared and loved me for so long was instantly gone before I could do anything, the thought was so sad that I didn’t want to think about it. The only thing that I could hope for was that he would be able to escape.

I desperately wanted to head back in there, to find the jail that he was in and help him escape but I knew I wouldn’t be able to do it. They would announce the new competitors tomorrow and there was only so much we could do. The first thing was that I vowed was to get the next tournament book for Rick, because he would hopefully be released in time to fight, then we needed to formulate a plan for him to win. He had to win, whatever we did, we needed to get him back.

“So do you have any way of getting enough money?” Kil asked Rob.

“We’re not going to give over the money. I have a different idea” He responded confidently.

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