The raindrops crashed into the Carrot Castle's mosaic-tiled windows, the evening storm showing no relenting in its downpour. The castle's bear guard at the gate post, shivering in the evening's cold air, attempted to keep himself warm and dry by wrapping his torn and weathered blanket around himself tighter. He had seldom seen rain during his long life at Fruit Kingdom, and he could not recall such an intense storm. The guard wrapped his blanket tighter. Everything on him was wet: his helmet, his tunic, his halberdier, his feet, and – much to his dismay – the cheese and ham sandwich in his pocket.
It was nearing eleven when he began looking towards at the castle grounds for a relieving change of the guard. The bear waited. Minutes passed. He began to suspect that the guard meant to relieve him was trying to belay as much as he could to leave the comforting interior of the guard house, most likely to sleep a few more minutes in his dry environment. The guard at the gate pouted. I'll make my substitute suffer, he thought irritably to himself, if it's Harold again, I swear I will tell the sergeant of his secret stash of food under his bed.
It was at around this time that a shadow did appear in the castle grounds and made its way to the gate. The guard stood to attention, raising his halberdier, as he spoke out in a loud voice made slightly audible over the torrent of rain.
"Who goes there?"
The guard had expected the individual approaching him as the relieving substitute, yet as the person approached he could tell it wasn't a guard. The detail that gave way to the person's identity was the prominent ears akin to that of a dog or fox. The guard could not recall any dog or fox in his guard house, so he was momentarily at loss when it came to recognizing this figure.
"It's me, Sir Sigmund, former true knight of Castle Carrot."
The bear momentarily dropped his jaw at this response; Sigmund was the best known knight of the Fruit Kingdom for his abilities as a warrior. His tall and lean physique (second only to that of Sir Waldo) was instantly recognizable. The guard recalled that however, for some reason or other, the king had called for the banishment of Sigmund from the kingdom earlier that day, and Sigmund had to leave the kingdom by dawn.
Despite the banishment, the guard had a keen respect for the knight. He saluted and shouted, "Sigmund, sah!"
The knight returned the salute, and finally made for the gate. The guard could see that Sigmund was carrying a bundle of clothing and that he was hunched over it to protect it from the rain. As he faced the gate, Sigmund paused. He seemed to be hesitating on leaving. After a few moments, he turned to the guard.
"Please," Sigmund said, offering the bundle to the guard, "make sure that you give him to Lady Adeline in the morning. I couldn't bear to give him to her myself, especially at this time of night, so I beg of you: make sure that the lady gets him. Tell her that she is to take care of him, but not tell him of my whereabouts."
The guard was at first confused of what the fox was telling him. He immediately understood however, when a small cry from the bundle was heard.
"Sigmund sah," the guard started, "I cannae do this. Why not give tha lad tah one of tha maids sah?"
"They wouldn't understand," Sigmund replied. "They wouldn't be able to bear a cub if their lives depended on it. You're an excelled soldier. I know you can do it."
Sigmund pushed the bundle into the bear's arms. "Please, I beseech you."
The guard chewed on his lip, considering his choices. As a soldier, the guard had never been told that he would have to do such tasks, but considering the knight's request, he promptly looked at the knight and nodded.
"A'right sah, I'll do it."
"Thank you," Sigmund said, as he turned to the gate and walked out of it.
"Wait sah!" the guard called to the knight, "what's tha wee lad's name?"
The fox stopped and didn't turn to look at the bear. He stood there, drenched by the rain, staring out to the horizon.
"Kingsley," he finally replied, he then took off, soon disappearing in the thick rain.
The guard for a moment, looking onto the departed knight, stood at the gate, cub in hand. Realizing what had just happened he went back to his post and closed the gate. The bear unwrapped his blanket and laid it on the fox cub's bundle in an effort to keep the cub dry. The guard looked unto the cub: he had a large head, dominated by large fox ears – his right ear slightly clipped. He was sleeping quite soundly, although he was shivering a bit from the cold and the rain.
"Dun worry Kingsley lad," the guard assured the cub, "I'll make sure that ye get to Lady Adeline. That I will."
He wasn't quite sure what it was, yet the guard could tell that this cub was special. Despite being an orphaned cub, the guard could guess that this Kingsley was unique. He would become much like his father. The guard had a knack for knowing things like these. Yet, he was a bit afraid of the upcoming morning when he would have to show the cub to the lady. The guard captain would not like this at all.