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Wool of the Prince-- Chapter 50

by fortis

~1,200 words

Within two days, Marc had been able to secure Shep—now disguised as a member of the aristocracy fallen on hard times—and Jay—a strapping young boy suited for mercenary involvement—jobs in the city guard. Through pulling some strings, Marc was able to insure that their first assignment was at the potentate’s estate. This was how Shep and Jay came to be standing outside an unmarked door, inconspicuous aside from the faint blue light creeping under the crack.

“This must be it,” Shep whispered, his eyebrows raised in mild surprise.

“I can’t believe Marc actually found it!” Jay whispered back. After having walked so far to find the sheep in the Scattered Isles, it almost felt like cheating to find a sheep so soon after finding another sheep by pure chance.

Shep put his hand to the smooth, darkly-wooded door, running his hand along the grain. He turned to Jay, a little crazy ringing his eyes. “Should we try it?” Without waiting for a response, he reached toward the round golden knob, tried to turn it, and gave a carefree shrug when it wouldn’t budge. “Locked,” he said simply.

“Who has the key?” Jay asked, peeking at the key hole.

“Probably that man we met out front who told us where to stand. You know… the one we completely ignored?” Shep answered a mischievous smile tugging at his lips. His long, unruly beard had been neatly trimmed as part of his disguise.

“Why do you think he would have the keys?” Jay asked, confused.

“Well, he probably doesn’t, not after I stole them from him!” A bit of childish glee snuck into Shep’s voice as he dangled a think key ring, heavy with keys in front of Jay’s face.

It was Jay’s turn to raise his eyebrows in surprise. “Our old Shep? A thief?” He covered his mouth and giggled as quietly as he could. “Quick, let’s open it!”

Shep grimaced. “That might be easier said than done. There’s a lot of keys on this ring.”

So, one by one, the pair tested every key, skipping the heavy iron keys or tiny silver keys that were obviously incorrect. Jay jumped at every sound, peering over his shoulder in case a guard—or worse, the potentate himself—passed by. No one came by, however, and at last, one of the keys opened the door. Jay sighed with relief, wiping a thin sheen of sweat off of his brow.

Shep peered around, and then pushed through the door into a small antechamber beyond. The room was lit by the strange bluish light that had illuminated the cave.

Despite the rich appearance of the wallpaper and carpet, the room was sparsely furnished. There was a short wooden couch of a rich, dark mahogany. On a matching table rested an unlit ceramic lamp; a rough maple hairbrush, with a few dark hairs still twined around the teeth; and hand-mirror with a few sapphires set into its mother-of-pearl handle. Also on the table was a dagger that looked just like the one Cabot had been searching for. A fine layer of dust covered the table. Written in this dust was a single word: choose.

Seeing no other option—other than leaving the same way they had entered—Shep and Jay considered the items on the table.

“What do you think we’re choosing for?” asked Jay.

“It’s hard to tell,” Shep said, pursing his lips. “Most likely another puzzle. The Enchantress mentioned that this sheep would be the hardest to find.”

“You don’t suppose we could take all four items, do you?” Jay asked, rubbing his neck. He stared at the items as if he was trying to read their thoughts.

"I think that would be a very bad idea," Shep said, a bit a laughter in his eyes as if he was envisioning all the terrible things that would happen if they cheated the system.

"Then which should we choose?" Jay's eyes were drawn to the dagger, knowing that the Enchantress had tasked Cabot with finding that very dagger. It must be important. Right?

"I'm not sure, but I'm almost positive that the dagger is the wrong choice." Shep's voice had an edge of disapproval to it. He must have noticed Jay looking at the dagger.


"The Enchantress has never truly wanted to send me into a situation where I was bound to get hurt. If I happen to get hurt, that's no big deal to her, but as far as I know, she doesn't intend for it to happen. And being the first to bring a knife to a fistfight is always a bad idea." He gave Jay a significant look.

"Which one do you think we should take then?" Jay asked hotly, crossing his arms.

"They are all quite intriguing. Someone with less knowledge of this task might take the the lamp, thinking that the path ahead might be dark and windowless. However, we both know that the blue light which surrounds the hiding places of the sheep are light full-through with the magic light we can see faintly here."

Jay nodded. "That leaves us with the mirror and the hairbrush."

"We've ruled out the most likely things for someone to choose," mused Shep, pulling at his newly-trimmed beard. "Perhaps the correct item is the most unlikely choice."

"How do you know an unlikely choice? What if the fact that it is unlikely makes it all the more likely?" Jay sat down on the mahogany couch, glaring at the items as if they had just said something uncouth about his mother.

Shep joined him, lowering himself slowly onto the couch. "I can see why they added this couch," he said conversationally. "This is going to take quite a bit of thought."

They sat in silence, pondering each choice they could make.

Jay groaned, pounding his head in frustration. "What if they're all the right choice? Or what if none of them are correct? What if we're just walking straight into a trap? We have no idea what's coming!"

But suddenly they heard footsteps in the hallway. Shep grabbed the mirror and used it to peer around the wall into the hallway. His face grew pale.

"A guard is what's coming. And he looks livid. We had better choose now." Shep set the mirror back on the table and shut the door quietly.

Jay instinctively reached for the hairbrush. "This is the only one of them that seems imperfect. It doesn't fit. It doesn't look costly or expensive. It sticks out like a sore thumb." He grabbed the hairbrush and waited for something to happen, but nothing did.

Cursing under his breath, Shep took the brush from Jay and announced in a strong baritone that resonated around the walls, “We have made our choice!”

With an almost imperceptible ripping sound, a section of the wallpaper peeled off the wall, revealing a doorway leading into a dark passage way. Jay glanced at Shep who nodded, gesturing to the doorway. They plunged into the unknown, their way still lit by the unwavering blue light.

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1416 Reviews

Points: 3633
Reviews: 1416

Thu May 28, 2015 11:42 pm
Noelle wrote a review...

Hi there!

“Our old Shep? A thief?” He covered his mouth and giggled as quietly as he could

I can't really see Jay giggling. Maybe find another way to describe his laugh? To me, giggling is something girls do when their crush is around or something. That's what I always imagine at least >.>

To be honest, I was kind of disappointed that we didn't get to see this estate. I've been imagining Trevon as this rustic world, not really built up at all. So to hear of an estate made me wonder. Is it something like an estate that has a large house and many fields? Or is it an estate entirely occupied by this house? This would've been a good place to add in some description.

"Which one do you think we should take then?" Jay asked hotly, crossing his arms.

'Hotly' doesn't seem like the right description here for his dialogue. I don't see a reason for Jay to get upset at Shep for explaining why he wouldn't choose the dagger. If they had been arguing already, it would've made sense to me. However, they're just talking about which one they think they should choose. Would Jay really get upset that Shep disagrees? They have a pretty good relationship and I've never seen Jay turn on a dime and get mad at Shep like that -- at least not that I remember :3

Well, the Enchantress is most definitely making them work for this sheep. One thing that has me thinking though, is how she could've known that this was the last sheep they'd find. It could be possible that she followed them around secretly and set all of this up when she knew without a doubt that this was the last one they'd find. It just seems a bit too convenient that the sheep that's hardest to find is the one they haven't found yet. Although, convenient, whether in a good way or a bad way, events are what makes an adventure story really work, so it's a great thing to implement now, really. It just made me wonder.

I think I'm starting to enjoy the way you have so much dialogue in your chapters. If I was reading this in its entirety without having to worry about reviewing it, I'd totally enjoy it. There's more action, more story, and less parts that I would end up skipping (it happens all the time... I'm a terrible reader). Some writers advance their plot through descriptions and events. You've been able to do that as well as use your dialogue. So much is said through the characters that most writers might choose to say through other means. But I really enjoy reading all of this through your characters's conversations.

Oh goodness, we're getting toward the end, aren't we? I feel like this is it; this is the big obstacle that the characters have to fight their way through. There's going to be danger and adventure and everything that has been happening in this novel so far all stuffed into a handful of chapters. I can't wait! I really hope they get to this sheep...

I'll get to the next chapters soon!

Keep writing!

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1007 Reviews

Points: 13831
Reviews: 1007

Wed Apr 08, 2015 2:33 am
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TimmyJake wrote a review...

Timmy hereee!

I'm starting this today in the hopes I finish it before the week is out. There's no way I'm going to stop reviewing this, and since stopping has now not become an option, I have to catch up! So slowly, but surely, I'll get there. c: Oh, and congrats on the 1200 words. D: If that isn't your biggest word count, it sure is close. :p

If only there was a way for me to take a serum and inject it in me so I could have the same ability you have for covering spans of time in one paragraph so perfectly. >< That first paragraph? It flowed, it skimmed over the story - and yet, there was enough detail inside it for me to grasp what was going on. One paragraph, and you went over so so much. And I was able to take it all in, too. o.0 Teach meee, please.

Jay whispered back.

If a character whispers to another, and then the other replies, don't use whispered as the tagline the second time. It becomes redundancy, which has been officially banned from the realm of writing. Synonyms are your best friend. c:

darkly-wooded door

Ouch. This read awkward. Try this again, but this time making it sound not like the door has been made to look dark, but that the wood is dark to begin with. I think that was what you meant to say, but it came out odd.

Shep answered a mischievous smile tugging at his lips.

Comma after answered. I just realized how long it's been since I've done a comma check. D: You're getting so much better at them. <3

as he dangled a think key ring

I have a think key ring, too. :p

and hand-mirror with a few

Hm. Did you mean a hand-mirror?

mirror back on the table and shut the door quietly

Okay, so this may or may not be my "thing" - what I beat writers over the head with in what seems like every review I write. >> Adverbs. Yup. You've probably heard me talk about them before, and why you shouldn't use them as often as you do, but I'm gonna blab again. You can skip this section if you don't agree, or think I'm being a weirdo. :p

So look at the section above - what I pulled out. See the shut the door quietly? That's an excellent example of what I'm saying here. From a distant outlook on it, that seems fine. I mean, it puts the point across, right? But there is a better way. Always always try to find a strong verb rather than an okayish adverb+verb pair. Concise and precise is always best, right? In this case, you could've used eased the door shut. And check synonyms. Even Microsoft Word has a few usable synonyms every once in a while. Look over this chapter. You have about three or four in each paragraph, and quite a few after dialogue tags (which should be extinct, since your dialogue says everything for you). I dunno. You may agree with me, but you may disagree. c:

Something I noticed. You never described the hairbrush. D: How could you?!?!?!?!?! Ahem.

This chapter was so good! And I love how they have to choose an item in order to move on. It sounded a bit like the test in Divergent, although this was brilliant while that test was dumb and unrealistic. And how the hairbrush was the right choice? Peeeerfect. I think it taught Jay something, too - never take things for face value.

Also, I'm left wondering what happened to that guard who was coming. o.0 He must have seen/heard the door shut, and he was livid, as Shep said. So he was coming for them with a purpose and intent to knock them around, no doubt. Sooo where is he? I stink he's gonna be in the following chapters, following them or something. The next chapters are going to be exciting! c:

Sorry for the shabby review. Basically the only thing to nitpick in this chapter were minor technicalities. Besides those, this chapter, in my humblest of humble opinions, was flawless. Keep writing chapters like this. <3
~Darth Timmyjake

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1634 Reviews

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Mon Mar 30, 2015 2:24 am
Deanie wrote a review...

Hi Widdershins!

You are making it very hard for me to have much to say when it comes to writing your reviews. Your chapters are often almost perfect, with next to no things to pull out and nitpick at all! What is a poor reviewer like me meant to do? As usual, this was a good chapter and a good introduction to whatever mission they might have to embark on to find this final sheep. I like the sound of this being more of a challenge, and the idea of choosing an object of choice is pretty cool as well. When Shep picked up the mirror to check behind them I almost thought that had forced his hand at choosing an object. But alas, that trickery hadn't been the case (which I admit, did leave me a little disappointed, because I would've loved if they had been forced into taking one they might not have wanted to choose) but oh well xD

After having walked so far to find the sheep in the Scattered Isles, it almost felt like cheating to find a sheep so soon after finding another sheep by pure chance.

Sheep this and sheep that makes for a confusing sentence! It might be easier to split this into two or make it less hard on the eyes. My suggestion would be to cut some words and say: After having walked so far in the Scattered Isles, it almost felt like cheating to find another sheep so soon after another. That way we only have the word sheep in there once but we still have the same meaning there.

I have to admit I was a bit disappointed when I realized there would be none of the trolls of Fleta on this trip here with them. We haven't heard much from their characters in a while, and I feel like they are being pushed to the fringes of this adventure. I would be feeling left out if I were them as well! Sure, someone does have to look after the sheep. Maybe have the trolls do it, because they are not so much the main characters of the story at all. But I think that at least Fleta could come? I am sure they accept female members into the guard, and she has proven her worth in previous adventures as well. I just feel like we would need someone else to come and mix things up a bit so we don't have the same two people doing everything.

That's all I have to say, really! I better keep reading and find out where this mystery is going...

Deanie x

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299 Reviews

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Sun Mar 29, 2015 3:55 pm
TheSilverFox wrote a review...

I agree with JKHatt, I need to go back to the start and read all of these chapters, because your story is amazing. O_O

Excellent job, Widdershins! It is I, again, here to review another one of your wonderful parts! (Which just happens to be the predecessor to the first one I reviewed, but....yeah, I'm kind of stupid. :P). I have to say that I am impressed by what you have created - your character and plot development is absolutely wonderful, and I can't find a single thing to nitpick. Both of them are absolutely amazing, and your skill as a writer is excellently communicated in your writing. :D Your characters are some of the best and most fascinating I've ever seen. I didn't know that Shep had such a witty, almost crazy side to him. He managed to steal the keys from the guard, and they were able to break in the house. I'm surprised by what happened next. That has to be one of the most humorous conversations I've read in a long time, and their laughter is hilarious. XD Shep's nature is interesting, considering how he thinks about all the possibilities of so many scenarios, and is intelligent in his thieving and the acquiring of the hairbrush. I also like his crazy gleam - it makes the story a little more vibrant, and adds to his unique personality. I'm also fascinated by this Marc guy, who was able to give them positions as guards and give them access to this area where a sheep is held. He sounds like a good person indeed, and his contributions to the plot of the story are epic. The opening to your story is excellent, and the ending is equally amazing - great job! :D

The mystery of the four objects is also interesting, though it provides for quite the perplexing question - which one to choose? The words written in the dust are surprising, and the way that you move along the plot of the story is excellent. The descriptions for why Shep thinks of all of them save the hairbrush are unlikely options make sense. The Enchantress wouldn't just send Shep into situation where he could get hurt, so the dagger is unlikely as an option. The other ones are also too obvious, and the choice of the hairbrush makes sense. I like how the wallpaper peels off the wall, and they jump in, because it adds quite a twist to the events of the story, and leaves the reader wondering what is going to happen next as this chapter closes.

There's nothing in particular to nitpick in this story - it is just that amazing. Your characters and plot are amazing, Widdershins, and I'm eager to see more of what you create, and I look forward to seeing more high-quality work like this. Great job! :D

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Sat Mar 14, 2015 11:21 am
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Kale wrote a review...

And here I am, back again for yet another chapter! Whoo!

I really need to read this story from the start. I'm really enjoying it, coming into it as late as I have, and that's saying a lot. I don't normally get so invested in a story I wander into the middle of. Then again, most stories I wander into the middle of don't involve magical sheep shenanigans, and magical sheep shenanigans amuse me a lot more than I realized before I came across this story of yours.

But I'm rambling. >.>

Going back to my review of the previous chapter, I definitely think stopping the scene right as the planning begins is the way to go. It makes for a smoother transition between the chapters and sets up the start of this one a bit better than Marc being all "I know something you don't know" about the plan.

“You don’t suppose we could take all five items, do you?”

I only counted four items (lamp, hair brush, mirror, dagger)? Is there another one which wasn't mentioned? If there is, it needs mentioning (obviously).

They plunged into the unknown, their way still lit by the unwavering blue light of unknown magics.

There's a lot of unknown in this single sentence. I'd recommend nixing the first "unknown" for something more descriptive of the doorway, like "entrance" or "portal".

Anyways, there doesn't seem to be a fifth item (unless the couch or dust count), so that's a detail you'll definitely want to fix.

I'm also wondering if this final sheep is a black one, on account of the dark hairs mentioned as being entwined in it.

Anyways, I think the lamp could use a bit more description as to how lavish it is because right now, the only item that is described in terms that make it seem expensive is the mirror. Ceramic lamps aren't all that uncommon (since ceramic is basically just clay), so what is it that makes the lamp stand out as being expensive compared to another ceramic lamp? Considering how not-lavish the hairbrush is is the major deciding factor, I think spending a bit more time describing the items on the table would be a good idea.

Widdershins says...

whoops, originally there were five, but then I cut one.
I agree with the unknown thing.
I'm glad you like the magical sheep shenanigans :P They make it hard for me to provide a serious summary of the book though... "yeah, they're running around, looking for magical sheep."

If you do go back to read the rest, don't feel like you have to review it all. I had some pretty great reviewers who just seemed to disappear into life's clutches. Thanks for reviewing these. ^_^

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141 Reviews

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Reviews: 141

Thu Mar 12, 2015 6:56 pm
Hattable says...

Good God, I should start reading from the beginning and try to catch up... Be right back :P

Widdershins says...

Is that a good reaction? o.o

JKHatt says...

Yes, yes it is.

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