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Chapter R: Rivalry

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As they reached the Great Hall, they saw that the Kings were arguing. They had decided that there would be a tournament between the two kingdoms. Advaita was not able to understand what was happening. He asked Shadow about this. “You do not have a clue about the rivalry among us and Benin do you?” She said.

Cully came to them. “King of Benin just wanted us to get humiliated. Now they want a tournament before the marriage. We are going to the Arena “he said. Cully didn’t explain much why this was happening. Shadow and Advaita left the emptying Great Hall. They saw that The General was asking Cully to get the swords from their house. As they went Advaita asked Shadow about the rivalry. “A rivalry should be within ourselves and not with someone else” his father had told him once.

Shadow said “Before we were born. Benin always tried to humiliate our Kingdom during various tournaments organised by the kingdoms. In one such tournament the ego was so high that Benin declared that there would be war a between the kingdoms. The war went on for days. Our defence was so strong that they could not win over us. We could defend but we couldn’t make the Benin army move back. Many of our men died in the war. Finally Zulu and other Kingdoms intervened and stopped the war. Our Grandfather also died in that war. King William was heavily injured. In the treaty it was decided that a Prince of one kingdom would marry the Princess of another to uphold the peace. Since Princess Agnes was not there and there were no Princess in the Benin kingdom who weren’t married they decided that it would be for next Generation. King William crowned Prince Aiden the king and passed away soon due to injuries.”

”So that is the reason this marriage? Advaita asked. Shadow replied “No. After Prince Brian was born here. A princess was born in Benin kingdom. They had said the baby died during birth. But in reality they had killed the baby as they never wanted a Princess to be married to Heaven.” Advaita was shocked to hear that.

They were in the Arena now. Advaita had seen it from outside when he entered the city for the first time. He could see commoners and lords had different places to sit. Royals and close ones sat in a different place. King Edward gave the first choice of fight to King Aiden. Kingdom of Heaven was famous for their wrestling prowess. So King Aiden chose that. He chose Royston from Heaven’s side. King Edward chose one of his general’s. He had a smile on his face when King Aiden chose Wrestling, he had expected that.   

A Three round wrestling match was decided. The two would battle within a circle and winner would be decided by a throw out of the circle or by submission. Round one started and they wrestled very well. The joint locks were getting countered and so were punches and kicks by both men. People were thoroughly enjoying this contest. First round finally went to Heaven as the Benin soldier was thrown out of the circle. There was a huge roar around the arena.

As the round two was going on Shadow continued with her story, “Heaven got the news that King Edward had killed the second baby as it was a girl too. Benin only had one son and no more after that. Heaven called all the kingdoms and broke the treaty due to this. But couple of years back there was a tournament in Benin kingdom. Princess Margaret had visited and love developed between her and Rufus. King Edward was not very happy about this but he agreed for the marriage” she said.

Second round was won by Benin and third round was going on. Due to a rivalry and war, bodies and two innocent children had died. Advaita felt sad about it. He wished he could change something. The life of poor, cleanliness around the kingdom and unnecessary wars. All needed a change he thought.

When his thoughts came back Benin had won the third round using a submission move. There was silence around the Arena. King Edward had a laugh. First game was won by Benin. He asked “Why don’t we have a competition in archery next?” to King Aiden. Aiden nodded. King Edward chose Commander Alex of Benin. Commander Alex used to lead the archery team for Benin and was considered the best archer among kingdoms. Cully came to Advaita and said “I told father that you are contesting, get ready”. Advaita was surprised. General Thomas went to King Aiden, they had a long discussion. Advaita’s name was announced from Heaven’s side.

Advaita was in one of the seats so far. Now he was in the arena with a Kingdom’s reputation at stake. Shadow wished him luck as he came down. Alex announced that that they would be aiming on ten targets across various places in Arena. 7 targets were set within the arena and 3 were set in the different seating sections. It was decided that they will be provided with longbows and arrows. The arrows should be launched successively without delay. With a New bow in hand and 10 arrows Alex started the game of Archery. Alex did manage to hit all 10 bullseye with no delay in shooting.

Advaita saw that King Aiden looked tensed. He wondered how a rivalry between these two Kingdoms got him in this position.