The red ink

The war was near, and if I wanted to survive, I had to run away. I was in my little office packing all my stories, scientific documents and other important stuff, when I heard the sound of a canon exploiting. The army was closed to the castle and all the royal family was evacuated. A second canon explosion made the people of the kingdom scream. I, as a servant, had to be the last to leave the castle with my other partners. In fact, the king gave us important and indisputable instructions, we had to protect the castle. But my mind was far away the war, my only thoughts were about surviving today no matter at what cost.
I could talk about the war, but that is meaningless, what I am going to talk about is why I was chased by the army, how I manage to hide and how I escaped.

During one of my travels, I ran out of money, food, shelter and I lacked of clothes. One week eating what I found in the streets and in the forest, was making havoc inside my body. The rainy days were coming and without a shelter were to live, soon I would die. However, I arrived to a kingdom where the royal family was hiring people to be servants. They asked me what were my strengths and weaknesses. At the end, they did not listen to what I said, and they sent me to so many areas, from hard work to take care of the little kids of the royal family. I was from here to there for almost one year. I was never allowed to go outside the castle, but with the big gardens inside, it was enough for me; although I never had time for me, I had to woke up at six and finish my tasks before sunset, if I wanted to have a long sleep.
While the months passed, and I became one of the servants of confidence of the king, I began to have more and more free time. And within two years, I became the personal assistant of the king’s alchemist. We made a lot of work with stones and other minerals we had found, but what we really care about was the philosopher’s stone and the elixir of life.

After five or six months of searching, we manage to get less than one gram of gold for almost a kilogram of lead. It sounds like a waste of time, but it really was a great advance in science. Other studies involved looking for mythical creatures and how their parts may be useful for medicine. Unfortunately, we did not find any of these creatures. So, we continued with the commit asked by the king.
We stayed awake for uncountable nights in order to get the philosopher’s stone. One of those nights, we melted a portion of the stone we had and tried to apply the chemical methods to get more gold. However, some drops felt over a dead lizard and in one hour it started to move again. We recorded everything we saw, and continued the experiments with plants, mice and insects. The new “elixir” worked in plants and animals, but it was never tested on humans.

It was just before the queen’s birthday when her grandson became ill. Dozens of doctors tried to cure him, but every new method or antidote make him worst. He was pale and unable to speak. He was shriving, in short, he was living his last days or even hours. For the alchemist and me, it was an opportunity to test our “elixir”. We immediately ran to the room of the child, when the granddaughter came out of the room running with a horror face, also pale and weeping. Her brother had died. We did not expect her, and we collide, making throw the “elixir”. The “red ink” as we called it, was all shed over the marble floor. This ink produced a soft flame over the floor, which immediately burn out, showing a big black stain.
The alchemist, my new friend, and I, realized that it was impossible to survive to this. We ran to our office, package documents, clothes and some stuff, then said goodbye to each other and leave the castle, escaping to totally different places. In less than a day, we both were the most wanted on the kingdom. And again, from having shelter and food, I had nothing.

I ran-away to a distant kingdom, where I was also “wanted”, and so it happens to the next and the following village. My long walked took me to a place I did not know. I just remember I felt unconscious near a garden of such colourful flowers. For how long I was like that? I do not know. But there, I was waked up by a gorgeous girl. He asked me couple of things, but I could not speak as my mouth was dried. I had not strength to do anything, and my stomach started to it itself. The girl helped me to move to a place where the sun rays did not hit me, and after a while, she brought me some food and water. I tried to stand up, but my legs did not let me. So, the girl stayed with me until I could stand up. In the meantime, we talked about our lives. In that moment I realized she was a princess and I immediately jump, I could feel the adrenaline flowing through my veins. I asked with fear “Am I wanted here?” She replied with a no, then she asked “Why?” I did not answer.
Forgive me again, dear readers, but again I had to remark the beauty of this girls. I cannot say if were her eyes or her smile which made me fall in love. But it does not matter.

I was introduced to her parents, and that was my end. The king and the queen did not accept that her daughter dated a man of my class, of course, we never dated each other. The princess tried to convince her parents. I slept outside, hidden among the flowers and sharing the night with a lot of insects, and living with what the princess gave me to eat. After a fortnight, the king said “I accept your miserable friend, but he will be a slave inside the castle”
The princess told me about that, I had no other place to go, so I accepted the offer.
There, among the walls of rock, I did not do much had work, but I was constantly humiliated by the king and queen. The princess, with her lovely voice, tried to intercede.

I lived there for two or three years, the princess and I talked every Saturday night, and she always insisted me to tell here, why did I had no place to live. The other days, I continued my research in alchemy and occultism. By a chart and cards I made myself, based on previous oracles, I predicted the war that was approaching to the kingdom. The king refused to listen to me, but when the words about war were spread among the people, the king accepted to listen to my words. The first battalion of the enemy was defeated, but the next one, was better equipped and with reinforcements. The king ordered to leave the kingdom as soon as he knew half of his soldiers were killed. We, as servants or slaves, were ordered to protect the castle.
The night before, the princess show me her new white dress, which she was pretending to use in her 15th birthday. That was our last night together, our last goodnight, and our last “spakoini nochi”.
In the early morning of the next day, I spilled over a new version of the red ink over her white dress, and I left a letter over it.
After the royal family escaped, I fled to an opposite direction, there I found a couple of horses, perhaps it was my lucky day, until the king found me. He was wearing a new cloths and two new swords. The king stared at me, gave one of the swords and said “Don’t look at me like that, lets kick some asses”. Both went into the de war, where I fight for a very short time, before I managed to run away the war, escaping to the north.

For so many years, I thought I would never hear about the princess, until this evening, when I received a letter from her.

“My dear friend, my father was so ashamed for the way he treated you, but he wanted to thank you for your support in the war. He was happy to have a loyal servant like you. He still keeps the sword you used, he did not found your body, but he saw the your died horse. The reality was that it was unable to found your body among thousands of died men. However, I refused the idea, I denied the words of my father. And now I am here, writing you.
I saw what you made with my dress, and now it looks amazing. I want to say thank you, your red ink was very useful, as my father get hurt by an arrow near his heart. We moisten part of the dress, and let drop some drops of water over his wound. He recover in less than a week.

Ps. Thank you for telling me how did you get to our kingdom. And, it was a bit hard to find you, but now I know where you are, we will meet again.

Faithfully, Aliya”


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