short story, story promptPaulixia never dreamed that she would be kidnapped and about to be sold as a slave. After all, being a princess affords some protection from the unsavoury parts of life. But that is exactly the situation she finds herself in and there seems to be no rescue in sight…


Paulixia rattled the cage door forcefully, but it didn’t budge. In fact, it seemed even more firmly closed than before. She knew that was impossible, but the hopelessness was getting to her. How was she going to get out of here?

She stared through the metal bars as loud guffaws of laughter floated on the night air to her ears. A campfire burned in the centre of a ring of five tents. Four burly bandits crowded close to the heat of the fire, drinking what must have been some kind of alcohol from the way they were becoming increasingly louder and more boisterous.

“Maybe you should consider getting some rest.” The deep voice came out of the darkness to her right. She couldn’t make out his face after the brightness of the fire, but she thought she recognised the tones as those of the leader of the bandit gang.

She refused to answer him.

“You’re going to have a big day tomorrow.”

Despite her resolutions not to engage in conversation with her kidnapper, she couldn’t help asking the question. “What happens tomorrow?”

“We’ll be reaching the port town of Delarius. They’re partial to pretty slave-girls.”

Paulixia couldn’t stop the shocked gasp from escaping. She had suspected something unsavoury was going to happen to her, but to hear it confirmed made her fears real. Panic clawed at her. She glanced around at the other cages, most housing two or more other young people. Luckily, she’d been afforded the small luxury of having a cage to herself. They must all be bound for slavery in Delarius.

“Don’t you know who I am? People will be searching for me!”

He snorted. “Nice try. You slaves are all the same. No one cares about a missing peasant!”

She clutched the bars closest to his voice. Her eyes had adjusted to the darkness now and she could vaguely see the outline and prominent features of his face. “I’m not a peasant!” Perhaps if she could make him understand, he’d let her go. “My name is Paulixia and I am second in line for the Therian Throne. They will notice if I am missing.”

He laughed in her face, his breath tinged with the smell of alcohol. “An heir to the throne doesn’t wear peasants rags. They most certainly do not get their hands dirty by helping the poor and the sick as you were doing when we picked you up.”

“I’m in disguise! You are correct, of course. Nobles never go near an infection. That’s why I must hide my identity when I want to do some good for the people of the kingdom!”

There was a long pause. Hope rose in her chest. Had she succeeded in getting through to him? “I’m sure I don’t have to tell you what will happen to a traitor who kidnapped a princess.”

“Do you have any proof that you are who you say?” His voice was subdued.

“Yes!” She pulled out the chain hidden around her neck and held out the circular pendant on it. It was hard to tell in the dark, but the royal crest was emblazoned on the silver.

“Let me take it to the firelight,” he ordered. “I can’t see it here.”

Reluctantly, she unclasped it and held it through the bars.

“Is this all the proof you have?” he asked, tilting it towards the orange light of the campfire.

“Yes. I don’t carry anything else with me when I visit the people.”

His teeth glinted in the firelight as he smiled. “Good. I’ll hang on to this. Now, you’re a nobody.” He kicked dust into her cage. “Get used to it, servant girl!”

“No!” She reached through the bars, making a desperate grab for the pendant, but he was way out of her reach.

He walked away from her, twirling the chain. “Get some sleep, slave!”

Paulixia collapsed to the cold floor of her prison. For the time being, she truly was a nobody. The best she could hope for was a chance to escape…

What lies in store for Paulixia??

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