The prince opened his eyes to find a white sky hovering above him. On the periphery of his eye-line he could see some trees sitting motionless in the stale air. The prince raised himself on his elbows & looked around. He was lying in a forest devoid of color, all the foliage was just endless shades of gray. A small camp with some supplies had been erected behind him. He quickly examined it & began exploring the surrounding area.
Inside the tree line, the forest felt strange, almost manufactured. There didnt seem to be a breeze blowing either, the trees stood completely motionless in the stale air. Even the forest floor felt unlike any earth he had ever treaded on before, it felt almost synthetic, like walking on grass made of fabric. The prince picked up a fallen leaf & examined it. All of its features were sharp & angular, it didnt appear to have a soft or rounded edge on any part of it. The prince continued to analyze the strange foliage until a faint rustling sound coming from behind him seized his attention.
The prince whirled around to spy a figure stealthily dashing through the brush; he only had eyes on him for a moment before he disappeared. He stood perfectly still to see if he could detect the new location of the figure, but as soon he became inert something jumped on his back & wrapped its limbs around him. The prince struggled to get free. The hands of the figure were deathly pale and quickly trying to remove his belt. Perplexed at first, it took the prince a moment to realize the figure was going for his sword hilt, but just before his assailant could extricate it from his utility belt, the prince grabbed the hilt, deploying the blade & just like that his attacker was gone. The mere presence of the fully formed sword seemed to have scared him off. Shaken, the prince decided to ( carefully ) explore the forest further.
The forest stretched for miles in every direction, constantly the prince felt as though he was lost & walking in circles, everything appeared so similar and symmetrical. The eerie calm permeated every aspect of the woods, even the sounds of the forest seemed like a loop being played over & over. The only exception was a faint crack off in the distance at one point. There was no evidence that time even seemed to pass in this strange world. The forest existed in a perpetual state of twilight.
After what was probably hours, the prince broke the tree line & found himself gazing out onto an endless field of gray grass, but before he could process this new wrinkle, his thoughts were abruptly interrupted by a blunt force to the back of his head. The prince crumpled forward. Struggling to keep his eyes open ( due to the blistering pain erupting behind them ) he turned to see his former assailant again, finally seeing his face the prince was shocked to discover it was a familiar one. Staring back at him ( minus a left eye ) was the dark rider! He looked even worse than the prince felt, in addition to his missing eye, one of his hands had been severely mangled, and he stood caddywumpus due to his blown out kneecap. He looked enraged & was carrying a large ( now bloody ) broken branch.
They were still for a moment, just staring at each other… the dark mans nostrils flared & his good eye bulged, then he burst toward the fallen prince. Using every ounce of his remaining energy he grabbed his hilt unleashing the blade & deftly parried his advance. Spinning around the prince kicked out his adversarys good leg. The dark man fell to the ground & the prince was on top of him in an instant, giving his foe only enough time to stifle the princes descending blade with the branch. Surprisingly the branch held the pressing sword blade in place. The two stared into to each others eye(s) with intense disdain, both shaking with rage & exertion. A sudden jolt & the blade bisected the branch and fell like a guillotine severing the dark stalker from his cyclopean head.
Exhausted, the prince picked himself up & began walking through the grass.
The prince was so tired that he was walking with his head down for several minutes when something made contact with his head again & he fell onto his backside. He looked up & saw nothing. Slowly he reached his hand out and felt resistance. It was like there was an invisible sheet of glass preventing him from moving further. He felt around to see if there was an end, but it seemed to go on forever. Thats when it struck him, this wasnt a forrest, it was an elaborate cage. All hope seemed lost until the prince noticed the transparent barrier ripple for an instant. He craned his head closer to it, just when he got right up to it something shot out & he fell back on his backside. He looked up & saw the head of a masked girl looking down at him.
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