By Douglas E. Gogerty
Prince William rode into the Capitol without knowing where they were holding his father. In fact, he did not even know where to begin looking. Who was holding him would have also been helpful. It was one of those things, which he should have discovered before he left. He should have gotten that information from the individual he spoke to on the communication device. It was a little late for that. Now he needed to begin looking. Where to start?
The Prince spent some time in the taverns and boarding houses. These locations were usually good places to find information about strangers. Particularly in a main governmental city there should be lots of people coming and going. However, the patrons were very wary of speaking to him. He could not get anything from people who were usually quite talkative. At least, they were from where he hailed.
The servers and patrons were very quiet. They were friendly, but they only went so far. They did not talk about anything more than the weather and the like. It seemed like something had changed in their world that made them frightened. It was as if they would be in trouble for discussing things with foreigners. Was this what it was like living in mob-rule? Was some sort of increase in trouble occurring?
The Prince became very frustrated with his lack of progress. He did something that he never thought he would ever do. He went to the local law enforcement office. Perhaps a missing person report would be the solution to his trouble. After all, this is the type of thing, which they would handle regularly. At least, the Prince thought they would. In any event, he had no where else to turn.
"I would like to report a missing person," stated the Prince to the man at the desk.
"You must be Prince William Thorbjornson of Lakeland," replied the sergeant.
"Why -- yes. Yes, I am. How would you know that?"
"We have been expecting you."
"Your father stated that you would be coming."
"You have seen my father?"
"Naturally. Where did you think he was?"
"I did not know."
"You did not know what he was planning?"
"No. I did not even know he was here until I made a phone call."
"So, you have no knowledge of his attempting to procure raiders for an illegal operation?"
"Yes, he was arrested. He was caught in one of our major sting operations."
"He -- is -- under arrest?"
"That is correct."
"I was not expecting that."
"What? Did you expect him to be kidnapped by Pirates?"
"That is a myth. We are taking great strides in this area. Hence, your father was a victim of our increased enforcement."
"That explains the tensions in the taverns..."
"Nothing. May I see my father?"
"Certainly. Officer McHever here will show you the way. "
A buzzer sounded and the police officer opened a door. She pointed down a long corridor. Warily, the Prince walked down the hall. She indicated a door, which she unlocked and opened.
The room was stark. It had a reinforced glass window running down the center. Up against the window were a set of tables and chairs. At each chair, there was a communication device. Prince William got his choice of chairs. He sat down and waited. After a long while, a door on the other side of the glass wall opened. In walked his father, King Thorbjorn.
The king's hands were cuffed, and his legs were shackled together. He was not dressed in his usual clothing, but he wore orange coveralls. He shuffled up to the table across from his son. He took a chair and picked up the device on his side.
"Hello son," the King said humbly.
"What have you done?" asked the Prince sternly.
"It is just a big misunderstanding."
"You tried to hire raiders to attack Princess Angelina's new kingdom!"
"I just wished to test her defenses."
"You are incredible!"
"This can all be straightened out. I just need you to bail me out."
"I do not know if I want to."
"Do not give me that! I have known the Princess a long time. In fact, I know her better than I know you. If you get out, you are just going to find some way to get at her."
"That's not fair!" replied the King.
"Oh it is not eh! She said you would be here."
"We had a wager. I said you would be home making arrangements for the transfer of power. She said you would be here."
"She is incredibly wise for fourteen. She knows you better than I do."
"This is all just a big mix-up. I promise I will behave."
"I wish I could believe you."
"If you will not do it for me, do it for the others."
"You got your entire entourage arrested?"
"They came to my defense like they should have."
"Assault, conspiracy, and who knows what else... Anyway, they told me that you have some money stashed locally -- where is it?"
"It is in a hotel safe -- well several hotels..."
"All of them."
"You have money in each safe in each hotel?"
"You cannot be too careful."
"They certainly are not going to trust me. How do I get them to open the safes?"
"That McHever woman will give you my access information."
"You mean Police Officer McHever?"
"I still do not know if I should do this."
"Please... We have been here for several days. We are not used to this kind of treatment."
"You are not. That is for certain!"
"I do not know how much longer we can hold out."
"Do not give me that!"
"It is just a misunderstanding. I will make it right."
"If you get out of here..."
"Right -- son. Please."
"I will see what I can do."
Prince William waved, and Officer McHever opened the door to let him out. Another guard escorted the King back to his cell. The Prince had found his father, but now what was he going to do?