"Are you sure this is the right way Prince?" Wilhelm asked, calling up to Prince Ludwig. They were travelling by horseback, one after the other, three horses in total; one carrying the prince, one carrying Wilhelm and the last carrying all of Prince Lui's luggage, the last poor horse almost collapsed a few times under all the weight.
Things had been suspiciously well for most of the day, the path they had been on was well marked and the forest had many open spaces so that the sun was able to easily stream in through the foliage. But for the last while things had been noticeably getting worst; the wide dirt path had become small and uneven; the forest meanwhile had become dense and dark and Wilhelm suspected that it had been a long time since any light had found its way to the ground.
"Are you doubting me?" Lui asked in disbelief as he turned around to look at Wilhelm. "You know I'm an expert at directions."
"Only directions that lead us towards beautiful women," Wilhelm muttered under his breath. He would never say it so that Prince Lui could hear though; he didn't have a death wish, even if it was true.
"Did you say something?" Prince Lui asked and Wilhelm winced with a guilty look on his face.
"I was wondering what type of princess would live way out here," he quickly lied. When in doubt, turn things back to their quest of finding the prince a bride. Nothing distracted Prince Lui faster than thinking about a beautiful women. "This really doesn't look like the type of place a princess would hang out in."
"Have our journeys taught you nothing Wilhelm? There are always captured beauties to save. The most beautiful ones of all are the ones who are prisoners. No one wants to kidnap the ugly princesses."
"How silly of me," Wilhelm gloomily replied. He really wasn't liking where their trip was taking them. Looking for danger was accomplished just as easy by staying home for it seemed to follow Prince Lui everywhere.
The day carried on and the forest didn't seem to be improving. It was a creepy and scary place but Prince Lui insisted that they continued forward.
Just when Wilhelm was almost ready to give up hope, they heard a rustling in the bushes. Halting the horses they listened to the noise and a moment later a young woman tumbled out onto the path in front of them.
"See, I told you this way the way to go," Prince Lui smugly said to Wilhelm before easily dropping to the ground and strolling over to the lady. Wilhelm however could not believe the prince's luck.
The girl was indeed quite beautiful with an impressive bust size and long flowing hair. She was wearing an elegant dress, even though it was tattered in places from where it got snagged in the bush. There was also a scared look on her face and there was no doubt that she was in some kind of trouble.
"Please don't harm me," she begged, tears swelling in her eyes. "I need help!"
"Help?" Lui said as he extended a hand to her to help her to her feet. "Fear not, for I am Prince Ludwig and it is my duty as a prince to aid any young woman in need."
"A prince!" the girl excitedly cried, her tears instantly drying up. "You must be the one, I've been waiting for! I saw a prince in my dreams rescuing me and it must be you!"
"Of course," Prince Lui smoothly replied, even though he had no idea what she was talking about. "And as luck would have it, I'm currently in search of a bride. If you'll me, we'll head back to my kingdom so we can wed."
"No!" yelled the girl, fearful once again. "We can't leave yet! He'll find us and take me back!"
"Ah, perhaps you better tell us what happened," Wilhelm said to her. "We just entered this country earlier today."
"It's the Beast," she woefully replied and continued on when she realized they really had no clue what she was talking about. "My name is Bea, and I am his prisoner. He was going kill my father if I did not allow myself to be captured. But I've grown tired of my imprisonment and long to be free once again. That's why I ran away, but the truth is, I will never be fully free while the Beast still lives."
"Don't worry, my dear," Prince Lui replied as he half-turned and waved an arm towards Wilhelm. "My companion is an expert in killing monsters! Beastmaster Wilhelm is what they call him back home and is a living legend. We will travel to where this Beast lives to slay him and then we can marry in peace."
"Thank you, your highness!" Bea gushed and she blushed as Prince Lui kissed the back of her hand. Wilhelm sighed at the sight of them, wondering what the prince had now gotten him into but knew not to complain. Complaining led to yelling and scolding.
Riding in front of Prince Lui on his horse, Bea led them deep into the forest to the point where Wilhelm swore they were lost. The prince on the other hand was acting as calm as ever and Wilhelm felt like strangling him; Wilhelm was a servant, not someone who could kill monsters; he wasn't like Lisette or Queen Almaberga who would blow apart the monster within two seconds before moving on.
Finally though, they reached the decaying castle which the Beast called home. As the large doors swung open, Wilhelm was surprised to find the place empty. All that they could see was ruin furniture and layers upon layers of dust. For Bea to have been forced to live there it must have been pretty lonely.
"Where's the Beast?" he asked, wishing that the creature had left but knowing that they weren't that lucky.
"Probably in the garden," Bea replied. "It was those roses that started the entire mess."
She led them through the maze of rooms to the rear doors that would take them out to the garden behind the castle. They almost missed him at first but then they spotted the large, furry body that was collapsed by a massive rose bush.
"Well, the deed is done, let's go!" Wilhelm declared as he began to turn away but was stopped by Prince Lui.
"Wait! He's still breathing," Prince Lui said as he shoved Wilhelm towards the Beast. "Do your job, Beastmaster!"
"I don't want to kill someone who is already half-dead!"
"He's going to die anyway, this just makes it quicker. Think of it as doing him a service."
"Strange; I wonder how this happened," Bea mused, ignoring them. "He was so strong and powerful only a short time ago. I wasn't gone that long!"
"Bea?" came a weak voice from the Beast. Slowly he raised a little to look at her with hazy eyes. "Is that you Bea? Did you return to me?"
"Yes," she replied, her voice iced with coldness. "I have found my prince that will save me from this awful place."
"No," whispered the Beast before collapsing again.
"What's wrong with him?" Wilhelm asked. "This isn't the fearsome Beast we were told about!"
"Dying of a broken heart," Prince Lui replied. "How lame; only losers die from a broken heart."
"Broken heart?" Bea asked. Her sweet and innocent façade from before was now entirely gone. "That's not fair! No man will love me if he knows I killed someone by breaking up with him!"
"Your value does go down a little," Prince Lui said, agreeing with her. "I mean, no one beats me in looks or personality so I don't have to worry about you running away with someone, not that I would kill myself anyway. But I'm not sure I want to be with a girl who's murdered someone. I'm such a gentle soul, I don't know if I could live with myself."
"But it's his own fault!" Bea protested. "Sure he gave me nice clothes and gifts but you saw the castle! How can I ever live in a place like that for the rest of my life! I deserve a nice, fancy castle full of servants who cater to my every whim!"
"Not my problem anymore," Prince Lui replied as he turned around, ready to leave with Wilhelm. "Beast, you can have her."
"Prince Ludwig come back here!" Bea yelled after him. "Get up Beast! Go defend my honour! I'll stay and love you forever if you do that!"
Prince Lui and Wilhelm continued to ignore her as they headed back through the castle, until they reached their horses. There was little to be concerned about. The Beast was far too weak to do anything at the moment and even if he was able he was probably too overjoyed over the fact that Bea promised to stay with him.
"I hope those two kids work everything out," Wilhelm said as he swung himself up into the saddle.
"Forget about them Wilhelm, we still have an important quest ahead of us."
"Yes, I know," Wilhelm replied with a small sigh as they set out once more. At least they would soon be out of the creepy forest.