Part 1 Part 2 Part 3
In the end Ricky was overruled and Liandra went in for her second gig. The plan was she was going to open a small gate conveniently left in the back wall. Ricky wondered what the hell the castle designers were thinking. When he penned pigs he sure as hell didn’t leave extra gates around to be left open. It was just common sense, any farmer could see that.
Of course Liandra didn’t show up as expected, leaving them with a locked gate instead of a conveniently open one. Ricky came up with an alternate plan on the spot. He walked back to the Inn and used a bunch of Galifaxis’ coins to buy up most of the meat in the kitchen. He then returned to the palace with a pile of meat in a cart. He knocked on the delivery gate and said, “Pork order for the palace.”
A guard came to the door, looked at him for a moment without a hint of suspicion and said, “Alright, kitchen is down that way.”
Galifaxis and Talen followed behind, carrying heavy sacks. Ricky kept going until he reached the kitchen. Talend said, “What are you doing? We aren’t really meat merchants.”
“I know mate, but look, if they find a great bloody heap o’ meat in the halls they might notice aught ain’t alright. If I take the meat to where it belongs, well, nobody is going to notice a damned thing. How in the nine hells did you folks manage adventuring without me?”
They dropped off the meat, and then headed towards the throne room. There were two guards at the door. Talen mutterd something and gestured and both guards fell asleep. The trio entered the throne room, only to be confronted by Kent, an older man with wispy thinning hair and a nervous palour, holding a knife to Liandra’s throat. “Okay, who the fuck are you three and why are you trying to kill me?”
“This is Richard Coursmiere,” Talen proclaimed with a flourish.
“Fuck. Alright, well in a way it’s a relief. I mean, here I’ve been scouring the kingdom for him for a decade and a half. So, you’re him,” Kent said, staring at Galifaxis.
“No, sorry, not him, the other one.”
“The fat one?”
“Yeah, believe it or not.”
“Well no wonder we missed him. You don’t look much like a warrior mage boy.”
“I’m not. I’m not Richard either. I mean yeah, it’s my name, but just Ricky will do fine. I’m no great hero, and I don’t want to rule. I have a question though, how much money were you spending on the search for me?”
“I don’t know exactly, it’s been ramping up lately. Something close to a third of tax revenues.”
“So, huh… and killing all those people?”
“Mostly searching for you.”
“What if we don’t fight?”
“What if I go back to my farm, raise my pigs, and you do your best to be a decent ruler and dedicate all that tax money to the running of the kingdom? I mean, I’m sixteen. I don’t know shit about running a kingdom. Hell, I raise pigs and I don’t even know shit about pork markets.”
“Well, you know, if I wasn’t worried about the chosen one all the time I feel like I might be able to do a better job managing the kingdom. I only took over because your father was, well, unsuited to the task.”
“I’ve heard, and look, I’m not happy you killed him. Not happy at all, but I grew up with a dad who loved me. I see no reason we should fight, provided you do a decent job running things and stop killing so many people.”
“Yeah, I think that’s a decent idea. Sorry love, I think I nicked your throat,” Kent said this last to Liandra.
“Ricky, you need to slay this man and take your rightful place as king. We can rule side by side, protecting our people.”
“Liandra, you are really saying you think I’d be a good king?”
“Well, of course, I mean you are the chosen one.”
“I didn’t pick up fighting or wizardry at all. I’m a good pig farmer, but that’s it.”
Liandra stormed out, muttering under her breath. At the door, she turned and looked at Kent and said, “Hey, maybe you and I can talk later,” then she kept walking.
Talen looked on in incredulity. “What the hell Ricky? This man killed your father, slaughtered innocents, you mean to tell me you aren’t going to fight him?”
“From where I stand I’m not a better fit for ruling, and it seems like a lot of the bad he did was because of the prophecy. Man was scared for his life. I can’t blame the man for that. If there was a prophecy I was going to get murdered I might be a bit anxious in general as well. This way he can focus on his strengths, and I can get back to me pigs. They miss me, at least until I turn them into bacon.”
Galifaxis said, “I support this. Talen, you know your magic stuff, but you don’t really know crap about killing. Killing is ugly, no matter what. Better to reach an agreement now than to keep going on like this.”
The group of them sat down and hashed out some details for Ricky’s exile from the capital over tea and Ricky went back to the farm. Galifaxis joined him some time later, hanging up his sword and learning the ways of the field. Talen vanished that night and was never seen in the kingdom again.
Many years passed and Ricky married a farm girl named Sarah. She was plain, plump, and was as dedicated to the farm as Ricky was. After John died Ricky inherited the farm. They paid their taxes on time, and the tax burden was reasonable. The change in the kingdom since the usurper stopped worry about the chosen was marked. Armed patrols had almost vanished, taxes were fair, and overall the populace thrived.
Liandra married Kent and they lived, if not happily ever after, at least happily enough and for quite some time, and after all, that’s all you can really ask for.