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A Tale of Two Princes A Short Story

Long ago, in a distant land, lived a King who ruled over the vast kingdom of Lighton. He was a good King, gracious and merciful, yet just in all his judgements. He was both loved and feared by most of his subjects. The King had two sons, the princes of Lighton. Their names were Kai and Nulion. Two years earlier they had been sent by the King to join the campaign against their long-standing enemy, the Darkonians. The King believed that experiences in war would prove to be invaluable part of their maturing into manhood. But, of late, the war between the two kingdoms had been one mostly of words, not action. Neither side seemed very interested in actually taking new ground. They were facing off against each other, if only for a show of brute strength. The two princes had yet to see real action in the war. They had yet to prove their princely status in this seemingly age-old battle.

That is, until an urgent letter arrived from their father, the King of Lighton.

The letter contained specific instructions for the two princes. They were to sneak into the enemy camp and capture one of the Darkonian soldiers, named Zuiya. It was imperative that Zuiya be taken captive and escorted unharmed to the kingdom of Lighton. According to the King, this mission was of utmost importance. Nothing should deter his sons from completing this task.

As they read the letter together, Nulion looked at Kai with great misgiving. “When Father first sent us into this war,” Nulion complained, “I thought he was punishing us for something we had done wrong. And now, with a mission like this, I know he’s punishing us for something!”

Kai did not seem phased. He responded to Nulion, “Oh, this is no punishment. We are finally getting a taste of some action. It’s going to be an adventure.”

That same night...

...the two princes devised their plan as to how they would overcome and capture the soldier, Zuiya, from the enemy camp. Their plan was simple, really. It involved disguises, ropes, and a lot of stealth. Actually, both princes were quite surprised when the next morning they arrived back in their camp with their captive, Zuiya, hands bound. It was fairly simple. Zuiya came without much resistance. To the princes, Zuiya seemed like a fresh recruit, a mere boy with no warfare experience. It was hard to understand the urgency of capturing such an insignificant enemy soldier and bringing him all the way back to the kingdom of Lighton. For it would most certainly be a journey of danger and peril.

Despite not understanding the reasons behind their Father’s orders, the two princes willingly set out on their journey back to Lighton with Zuiya in tow. Well, Prince Kai set out willingly, Prince Nulion with much apprehension.

After hiking for a full day through deep brush and soggy marshlands, the three craftily avoided any contact with the enemy. The decided to set up camp at the mouth of a small cave covered by dense foliage. As the fire was gently tended by Kai, the princes began to recall memories of their Father. It had been two years since they seen him. Zuiya gazed on the two brothers with seeming disinterest.

Kai exclaimed, “I just can’t wait until we see Father’s face. He will be so proud of us, obeying his orders in bringing Zuiya to him. What’s more, I’m sure he’ll be so glad that we are back from the war, alive and in one piece.”

“Sure,” said Nulion, “I bet he’s heard reports that we’ve been messing up on the front-lines. So, he’s sending us on a strange little mission to get us out of the battle and back home before we cause him more embarrassment. I just know there’s something he’s not pleased with. I can feel it.”

“Father wouldn’t do that, Nulion. He’s never acted that way before. I mean, really, you know Father. He loves us. He wouldn’t mess with us like that.”

“You mean, Father loves you.” Nulion retorted, “he’s got that special inheritance just waiting for you. The two of you are always talking about it.”

“Hello, Nulion….we both have an inheritance coming. You just don’t think you will actually receive it one day. Father loves you just as much….,” Kai’s voice trailed off. By now, Zuiya was fast asleep, beginning to snore. He apparently did not have an inheritance coming to him.

At the first light of dawn, there was an almost imperceptible sound in the undergrowth near the cave.

First, the cracking of a twig, then a soft footstep, and then the Darkonians were upon the unsuspecting three. There were only five enemy soldiers. But, it was great odds against the suddenly awakened princes. Zuiya quickly huddled into the back of the cave, hands still bound, having no sword on him at all. Nulion simply sat stunned with his hand on his sword, not knowing what to do.

Kai, on the other hand, jumped up and shouted, “In the name of the King of Lighton, stand back!” With one swift motion, Prince Kai drew his sword and knocked two Darkonian soldiers back on their heels. Kai swung, stabbed, and plunged his sword until all five of the enemies limped away in disgrace.

He grabbed his brother, whose hand was still frozen to the sword, and yelled, “Come on, use it next time.” In great haste, the three hurried off before more numbers of the enemy swarmed down on top of them.

After two hours of nearly sprinting through thick forest, they came upon a muddy swamp. To go around the swamp would mean open exposure for the enemy to easily sight them. So, through the swamp they went. Coming out on the other side, they were each covered from head to foot with gooey, black sludge. “At least we’re safe,” Kai thought.

“Now look at us,” Nulion whined. “We don’t look like princes. Father will not be happy with this. He always tells us that we should look and act like princes. I know he’s going to be mad about this.”

“Will you stop with your nonsense,” Zuiya groaned, offering his first words of their journey. “If your Father is good enough not to have me killed on the spot by the two of you; if your Father is as good as your brother, Kai, constantly reminds us, then what are you worrying about a little mud on your clothes for? I mean, really, start living in reality!”

Nulion decided not to argue with his prisoner, but kept moving forward sulking. After several hours of hiking over marsh-like ground, the weary princes with their captive stopped for a rest. Suddenly, Kai exclaimed, “Look! You can just make out our kingdom of Lighton in the mist. I can’t believe I didn’t recognize that we were this close. I bet Father has been coming to the gate every day to wait for us."

The three men jumped up, ready for the final push. At last they could make out the gate of the kingdom, and sure enough, there was a lone, shadowy figure standing there. Kai’s heart raced. Nulion was still looking down at his muddy appearance, practically dragging his feet toward the kingdom.

Zuiya took advantage of this situation. For he was being lazily guarded by the apprehensive Nulion. Zuiya broke free from Nulion’s unconvincing grip and started a flat out sprint as soon as he saw the shadow of the King inside the gate. But, instead of running away from the King and the kingdom, he was running straight toward the King. The two princes, caught off guard, could not keep up. Though Kai stayed close behind their captive, Nulion slumped to the ground, ready to give up hope. He couldn’t even keep track of one prisoner. How could he face his Father.

Upon reaching reaching the King of Lighton inside the gate, Zuiya threw himself down upon the ground, begging for mercy, “Oh, great King, I have heard that you are merciful and just. Please spare my life. Have mercy, great King. I will be in your service forever.”

The King reached down and touched the humbled captive, Zuiya. He gently said, “Do not be afraid, my son, this is why I have rescued you from the kingdom of Darkonia and brought you here to the kingdom of Lighton. You are not our enemy, but you are one of us now.”

Just then, Kai ran up with delight. He threw himself into his Father’s waiting arms. “Father, it’s been so long……how good it is to see you…..how have you been…..what is to become of our prisoner?” his words tumbled out one after the other.

“Oh my son, Kai, what a joy to see you! Your captive, Zuiya, is now your brother. You have helped me rescue him from Darkonia by bringing him here to the kingdom of Lighton. Well done, my son. Instead of defeating the King of Darkonia by destroying his troops, we shall capture them one at a time and bring them into our kingdom. When they hear of my greatness and my goodness, they will certainly desire to become one with us. So, well done, my son. Now then, where is your brother, Nulion?”

Kai could only motion behind, still out of breath from his recent run.

The great King of Lighton ran out of the gate toward his son slumped on the ground in the distance. When the King approached Nulion, he called out, “On your feet, my son, you’ve come home. All is well now.”

Nulion, however, remained with his face cast down. His clothes smelly and muddy from the swamp, his prisoner escaped from his grip. He was a faint picture of a royal prince. After much coaxing and encouraging, Nulion still remained on the ground, unable to trust that all was well.

The King turned slowly back toward the gate of the kingdom, saddened by his unbelieving son.

But, there was a party to attend to….the first of the Darkonian captives had been brought into the kingdom of Lighton. There was so much joy to share with his sons – well, with one of his sons – it would certainly be an evening to remember.

Back at the gate, the King grabbed both Zuiya and Kai by the arm, bringing them triumphantly into the kingdom. A wave of cheers rolled through the kingdom, as the King and his men walked victoriously through.

But, Nulion remained just outside the gate, slumped over in the fast approaching darkness.

For Application

Questions for Reflection

  1. Describe the differences between the two princes.
  2. Is it possible for you to live like a slave even when you are a son?
  3. Read Galatians 4:6-7 - How does God see you?
  4. What could you do to confirm your identity as a child of the Father today?
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