Here we are back in the city by the seacliffs! :)

Two sisters made their decisions... Two lovers declared their feelings... The court was set to speak of marriage on the morrow... so let's see what happens now...!

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Scene 2: Mercy

2020 B.C.

“What is that supposed to mean?”

“It means,” the champion replied, his steady voice resounding all throughout the royal hall, “exactly what I said. That I am set to leave.”

King Cepheus creased his bristly brows, taking visible umbrage at the words. “But you—you had been set to choose your bride today…”

“We were to speak of marriage on this day. I did not pledge to leave this land a married man,” Rider corrected him. “And I have since decided against it. I thank you kindly for your hospitality, and wish good fortune on your family and your kingdom, as I take my leave.”

With the slightest bow of his head, more a mere token of goodwill than a gesture of deference, and to the consternation of the court, Rider then turned and started toward the heavily guarded exit of the throne room. His companions followed closely at his heels.

Chrysaor whispered in his ear as they traversed the lengthy hall. “So much for diplomacy. Guess you never were one to mince words.”

“There are no words. Not today.”

“I hope the king won’t take offense…”

“What can he do, worse than what I’ve already suffered through?”

“You mean the words of a woman, last night?”

“I mean facing the day when she has disappeared. As if she were never here. Do you know what that makes me fear? Of what’s become of her? Of what she might’ve done, to slip past so many sentries, where she might’ve gone? Having no way of finding her ever again?”

“It sounded like she didn’t want to be found,” Chrysaor mumbled.

“O mighty Perseus,” a courtier put in, taking cautious steps to intercept the champion’s path. “I would urge you to reconsider…”

Rider forged ahead. “And I would urge you to get out of my way.”

But another sound from somewhere behind him, then, suddenly gave him pause. It was a woman’s anguished cry: a sound to which his soul was more attuned, ever since he had assumed the disposition of a hero.

He came to a halt and slowly turned, to see Queen Cassiopeia and her daughter Andromeda assaulting the substitute princess, with words and actions both.

“Serves you right, you shameless hussy,” the queen hissed, ripping away the regal sash that had been draped across the maiden’s frame, the crown of flowers set upon her flaxen hair. “For having dared to think that you were worth my daughter’s dowry. Now you’ll be cast out to the streets where you belong. A common whore.”

Rider flinched as she dealt a sharp blow to the girl’s fearful face.

“Please…” the maiden beseeched, breaking into tears and falling on her knees before the king’s throne, “…please, Your Majesty, I beg of you—have mercy… please don’t let them cast me out to be abused…”

“Your groveling falls on deaf ears, wench. You are worth nothing, now that the champion has spurned your hand,” Cepheus scoffed, signaling his servants to usher her out of his sight. “Take her away.”

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