July 25, 2024

Rafael Silkskin: First job gone wrong, Part II

This archived article was written by: Kiara Horowitz

Darting through the trees, I could make out the glow from our camp fire. I leaped into the clearing and slid to a halt in front of Randolf.
Randolf was sitting right where I left him on a log staring thoughtfully into flames like a scarred wretch, the orange light flickering on his face and gray beard.
“You were right, as usual,” I said. “The kid is a Blue Blood.”
“You took your time, Rafael,” Randolf said, not looking at me.
“Did you hear me?” I demanded. “Bradmir’s a Blue Blood!”
“It makes sense,” Randolf muttered.
“What?” I rolled my eyes. “No, Randolf, it doesn’t make sense. The queen is a commoner and a Red Blood. Therefore the kid should be a Gold Blood . . . right?”
“I told you about the Thirst for Blue Blood War,” Randolf looked up at me.
I closed my eyes thinking hard, trying to remember. “Wasn’t that the war when the Gold Bloods and the Silver Bloods joined to destroy the Blue Bloods?” My eyes snapped open as I understood. I sat next to him on the log. “Lost royalty! During the war the Blue Bloods hid their children with the common folk, or Red Bloods.” I shook my head. “So the queen is a Blue Blood.”
“The prince’s blood proves it,” Randolf said.
I ran my hand through my hair, “But wasn’t the war a hundred years ago?”
“A 100 years isn’t as long as it sounds,” he said. “Unfortunately it left many Blue and Gold Bloods unaccounted for.”
“Well this is great,” I snapped. “Tomorrow is the queen’s last chance to guess my name. If she gets it wrong again, we’re stuck with a kid we can’t even sell. And we need money.” I shook my head. “Next time we do a job, we’re doing a blood test on the dame.”
“I think that might be wise.”
“Why doesn’t the king do blood tests on the girls?” I looked at him. “And how is it so easy to hide Blue Bloods with Red Bloods. It takes one scratch.” I snapped my fingers. “And suddenly everyone knows you’re royalty.”
“People can be pretty dense.” Randolf said, stroking the fire. “However, it’s up to us to return the Blue Bloods to the castles, and take the Gold Bloods as far away from politics as we can.”
I nodded. “Yeah, the last thing we need is another King Midis Migraine.” I whistled at the memory. “That was the fastest economy collapse I’ve ever seen. Gold everywhere: tables, chairs, clothes, food, and weapons. Even people all turned to solid gold. I knew we were in trouble when he turned the entire castle into gold.”
“As I recall, you thought it was the most amazing thing you’d ever seen at first,” Randolf pointed out.
“I figured out why it was a bad thing,” I said in my defense. “The fact the castle was sinking was a dead give away.”
“You didn’t realize until after the dragon showed up.”
“And melted everything,” I shook my head. “Biggest lake of gold I ever saw.”
“That is why we must restore order,” Randolf said.
I stretched, popping my back. “But the kid is a Blue Blood. So how do we make sure they keep him?” Randolf raised an eyebrow. My arms fell back to my sides and I pointed a finger at him. “No, not happening.”
“You don’t have a choice,” Randolf said.
I moaned, being the next Rumpelstiltskin in training, is one of the best apprenticeships ever. Sadly it also means that if you couldn’t take the kid, you have to appear as if you’re careless in order to tell the queen your name. Dancing around a bonfire, singing at the top of my lungs about being Rumpelstiltskin, then dealing with queen rubbing it in your face that you’re a twit doesn’t appeal to me.
“Can’t you do it,” I begged.
“Rafael,” Randolf snapped. He sighed and patted my back. “You’ll live. Now get ready, I’ll fined some spectators.” He stood up. “It shouldn’t take me long, so you better hurry.”