Chapter 2: Lost Riches

My attempts to feign death were quickly proven unsuccessful as I was bludgeoned across the face from what felt like a hand with a hefty set of claws. With a grunt I opened my eyes and stared at the attacker, only to be completely shocked to see none other than King Zoroark in the cell with me and also in the cell were two Bisharp.

"You have got quite the record, here kid. It made my jaw drop, seeing the number but wow. 32 charges of grand theft, over 300 counts of petty theft, and even a murder accusation… Apparently proven false."

My eyes widened at his bold statement, "You don't have proof of anything…"

"Contraire, young Rolo… I mean Juke, or was it Tom? It looks to me like you really like to play as other people."

I leered into the kings eyes, hating every fiber of his body already. He was referring to my false aliases after multiple failed stealing attempts. I always had a different name for myself in case word got out about me. I'll admit, for someone my age I was a better thief than most expert criminals.

"You destroyed a family heirloom that has been passed down for generations. My son and the guards were retrieving it from its resting place… Which probably took them about 4 hours. That's a long way to go for something so simple but so precious. So not only did you destroy my family's heirloom, you assaulted my guards, and hurt my son. So tell me, whatever your new name is now…" he leaned in really close to my ear with a claw to my throat, "Give me one reason I shouldn't have executed."

I felt my whole body tense up, and my legs began to tremble at the thought of my own death. Prison I could understand, but… Execution? Wasn't that a bit unnecessary?

My state of mind went from angry to almost pathetically sorry.

Sincerely near tears, I replied, "King Zoroark… I'm sorry."

"You'll have to do a lot better than an apology. Tell me, kid. What is your life worth to you? Because as far as I'm concerned it's worth nothing. I'd be repaying every Pokemon you stole from by ending it now…"

"No… I can change. Just give me a chance. I'll… change… I promise…" I sobbed uncontrollably hoping it would alter my inevitable fate.

"You had a chance to change… What's so different now?"

I couldn't reply, I just simply remained there with heaving breaths and pathetic sobs.

"I don't have time for this… Do it now."

I felt an instant panic take over as I was held down and could feel a Seviper approaching closer. Ready t bite me and finish everything.

"NO! NO!" I would scream as I attempted wriggle away, "PLEASE!"

I closed my eyes almost accepting my fate, until I opened them again as I noticed the grip from the guards was no more. Was I… Dead?

I looked over who appeared to be my savior, a Combusken and a Zorua stood above a fallen Seviper and one of the Bisharp. I could feel my heart pounding within my chest.

"Combusken!? Zorua!? What the hell are you doing?"

"I apologize, your majesty. But Master Zorua's wish is my command as you have stated."

The prince approached his father directly, and I just watched the whole scene thankfully.

"Dad, all you do is execute Pokemon for doing something wrong. When are you going to learn that people change no matter who they are?"

The king protested, "If he wanted to change he would have done it by now."

"That's because he has had no one to show him how. I read those papers on him. He doesn't have a family to help him, the only family he had was 3 years ago when his brother died. He hasn't had anyone to tell him right from wrong-"

"He's had multiple people tell him it's wrong on multiple occasions. If he really was going to change-"

"Don't bring that up again, father. When mom died, I was on a behavior crisis like he was. You didn't execute me, in fact you didn't even put me in a dungeon. You sent me to my room. I'm not asking that you free him from here, I just want you to realize his life might be worth more than what you think it is."

I looked over at the king, who now had a fire in his eyes as he stared back at me.

"My son… He destroyed our family heirloom, does that not mean anything?" the king stated.

"I don't care about some stupid ball, father. His life isn't worth that. All you do is kill and kill and I'm sick of it. So I tell you what, if you're going to kill him then I will resign my heir to someone of my choosing. And you know who it will be."

A bit confused by the topic, I just shrugged it off and kept listening.

The king huffed, stared down his son and then me.

"Fine. Damian, you will remain in this dungeon until further notice. Consider this a blessing, child. Because it's not too often my son tries to save the day. You owe him your life."

I nodded and wiped my eyes of any tears.

The king stood, as did everyone else in the room, "Well… I'll have someone prepare your meal then. Seeing as how you're the only prisoner we have here it shouldn't be too hard. But don't expect a gourmet treatment. You're still trash to me and if I find out you try to escape, I will not hesitate to have you killed."

I gulped and nodded in fearful understanding.

"Glad we understand each other. Come on Zorua, let us depart. Combusken, you remain here and brief Damian here on the rules of my dungeon."

Combusken bowed himself and replied, "As you wish, your majesty."

Before everyone left the cell, Zorua looked me dead in the eye and grinned lightly. As though trying to build an early friendship between us. The door closed behind them and it was just the Combusken and me.

"Don't worry about the king… I won't let him hurt you," the Combusken stated bluntly.

I raised an eyebrow, "Umm…. What?"

Combusken sat on the prison bed and gestured me to sit beside him, in which I gladly obliged.

"You don't know me personally, and certainly not Prince Zorua. But… these were the prince's orders, not my own doing. He wanted me to tell you that everything will be fine as long as you follow this procedure I've written out for you."

I just sat there with probably the dumbest expression, ever. Wondering what the heck this guy was going on about.

"Look, if you want to get out of here as soon as possible you'll need to follow my orders precisely. Got it?"

"Y-You're gonna help me bust out?" I asked cautiously.

"Of course not! That would be the worst possible choice right now with guards on high alert. Now when I tell this are you going to do as I say?"

I nodded.

"Good," he sighed, "Now here's the plan. I'm going to bring it to the king's attention about your fighting ability, which I'll admit is outstanding. King Zoroark will become curious about this power and want to look into it more."

"So what are you saying exactly?" I pondered.

"Think about it for a minute… Right now you're worthless to the king. But having his son protest against an execution has almost never happened before. The prince really wants you alive and I do too. We really need a new person to travel with when going on dangerous quests."

"New person? Sorry, I am so lost right now. What the hell are you talking about?"

"Basically, the king needs a new bodyguard and I'm going to convince him to get you to fill that role. The king will probably put you through some tests, which eventually will lead to a possible freedom. Understand now?"

I shook my head, totally lost.

"Sorry, this is all just way too confusing for me. So, why me again?"

"Because the prince sees something more in you than just a thief."

My eyes widened at the statement, "He… does?"

"More than you think. I see it too, Damian. Zorua doesn't make a lot of friends outside the castle and I think if you two made a friendship he'd be quite happier. Truth is, the prince is quite depressed with life right now. He feels that it's too monotonous, and he needs someone or something to change that. Which brings me to another question. And you have to swear to me… If all goes well, do you promise to be Prince Zorua's friend? After all you do owe him your life."

I nodded my head, "I mean sure, yeah. Anything to get me out of this place."

Combusken grinned, "I'm glad you saw it our way. Now… I must get leaving as there is too much to do already."

Before he could leave I stopped him, "Wait!"

He whirled around to face me, "Thank you… For everything. I really do appreciate it."

He smiled again and replied, "Don't mention it. I can see what Prince Zorua sees in you, now. Maybe there's some hope for you after all. Anyways, have a good night. Prince Zorua is preparing "Thank you… For everything. I really do appreciate it."

I decided to shrug off the thought of being alone and converted to the thought of, "Holy crap... What just happened?"