Maze Meeting

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          Atamar's mouth dropped open in disbelief, but she was too stunned to say anything for a moment.  Before she could recover, Nesaly spoke up in a worried voice.  "Please don't be upset with them.  We know you like Prince Relos, but we all felt like he isn't trustworthy and that we should warn you.  After all, we promised to tell you the truth." 

    Atamar tried to clear her thoughts.  When she could finally speak, she said, "Actually, I don't trust him either, but I thought I was the only one.  Thank you so much for telling me.  I feel better knowing that I'm not alone.  Now, if only we could prove it." 

She was about to say more when she heard Hamori saying, "Your highness we need to turn right at this junction in order to get to the middle of the maze.  Atamar and the others stared at each other in horror. 

Hamori had never come into the maze before.  It must be that one of the princes had insisted on entering and he had come along to give a warning.  What were they going to do? 

    It was Thalanein & Thananoj who saved the day.  Thananoj spoke up and said, "Princess Atamar while I was eating lunch with Thananoj he challenged me to a fencing match and promised that if I won, he would clean my dragon's stall for the next week and that if he won, I would have to do the same for him.  I agreed to the match, and I won, but now he refuses to honor his word." 

    Thalanein looked startled for a moment, but suddenly realizing what Thananoj was doing, he spoke just as Hamori came into view followed by Prince Relos.  "I did challenge him Princess, but it is not true that he won.  He did not follow the code of conduct during the fight, so he forfeited!  Therefore, I demand that he clean my dragon's stall as we agreed." 

Atamar was impressed.  Thalanein was acting his part perfectly.  If she hadn't known better, she would have believed him serious. 

    Princess Atamar looked around.  "Did anyone see the match?"  Several hands were raised.  "Mitym what did you see?" 

    "Thananoj did not break the code of conduct, and he did win the match, although by a slim margin."  Before she could even speak, Sesje spoke up and said, "I agree with Mitym, Princess.  It was a fair fight and Thananoj won." 

    Thalanein looked like he was about to speak, but Atamar cut him off.  "Thalanein I now have two witnesses who saw the match and they both claim that Thananoj won fairly.  I therefore issue this decision: you will clean the stall of Thananoj's dragon for one week as you agreed. 

You must also publicly apologize to Thalanein for attempting to ruin his reputation.  As punishment for lying and slander you will also clean his dragon's stall for an additional week. 

If it happens again, your parents will be informed and this issue will be taken to a higher level.  Do you understand."  

Thalanein looked truly abashed, and hung his head low as he said, "Thananoj I apologize for accusing you of cheating and for trying to get out of keeping my promise.  Will you forgive me?"

Princess Atamar then turned back to the group.   "Does anyone else have any issues to address?"  She looked around but everyone shook their heads.  "Then I declare this session adjourned." 

Turning to Prince Relos she asked, "What brings you into the maze this evening?" 
Prince Relos smiled smoothly, maybe too smoothly.  "I missed you Princess and I decided to see what it was that you do while hidden away in the maze every evening." 

She laughed merrily.  "Well, now you know.  Shall we go back to the reception room and rejoin the other princes?"  She turned and began walking out of the maze followed closely by Hamori. 

"Couldn't we go for a stroll by ourselves or go sit in the garden and talk?" 

Keeping her voice light, Atamar said, "Oh, but that wouldn't be fair to the other princes.  We did make an agreement, and since I just punished someone else for not keeping an agreement, I must not make the same mistake." 

Although she tried to keep her manner light and carefree, Atamar couldn't help but think that Prince Relos had been attempting to spy on her.  She resolved to thank Hamori for his loud warning once she was back in her rooms. 

She also realized she needed to thank Thananoj & Thalanein for their quick thinking and superb acting during her morning lessons the next day. 

But most importantly, she also decided she would figure out a gracious way to get rid of all her princes as quickly as possible for she knew that being single would be preferable to marriage to any one of them but especially preferable to being married to Relos. 

Proof or no proof, she would never trust him. 

The very next day, she got her proof...

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