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An Ambitious Archer Turned Top-Tier General

By: Ray Zhao

It had been a while since Bryce tested his archery skills, but he still remembered every detail of his bows. His shot was still accurate, his aim still steady. Bryce pulled the string back. He aimed.

Just then, he heard the thundering of hooves. He turned. The arrow dropped to the ground with a clatter as he saw who it was. That messenger wasn’t any messenger. It was the king’s special messenger. Hurriedly, Bryce took the envelope. Inside, a snow-white paper contained five words: Castle Gates, tomorrow at 12.

Bryce knew what was going to happen. The kingdom was already in turmoil because the neighboring kingdom, The Harlites, had attacked and was destroying everything in its path. Bryce, meanwhile, knew what he needed to do. He was the king’s most trusted archer. Of course he would be the one to do that.

Bryce showed up on time to find nothing but a piece of paper. He was disappointed that the king did not talk to him. Well, he still had a job to do. His steps echoed in the grand hall as he turned to leave. Just then, he heard movement. Men in black uniforms surrounded him. Bryce was thrown onto the ground. He hit the cold floor hard and blacked out before he could cry for help.

Bryce had no idea why he was here. Wasn’t he supposed to be in the enemy’s camp? What? Suddenly, Bryce had a flashback. He remembered seeing a figure. A face. The same face. A sudden realization dawned upon him. He knew as certain as the cold iron bars in front of him what had happened.

Nobody was going to listen to him. If the King’s top general had wrongfully accused him of treason, nobody could save him. Nobody. Nobody was more important to the king than his top general.

Just as Bryce was giving up hope, he heard the door to his cell creak open. Bryce thought that was probably was just to deliver food. What came next shocked him. The same general, who once commanded hundreds of thousands of soldiers, now lay like a coward in front of him.

“I’m sorry! Set me free now! I do not deserve such miserable treatment!” The general, rather round at the waist, squeaked. Bryce laughed a comfortable, short laugh. He finally saw justice. The guard told Bryce to step outside. He was personally greeted by the king, who apologized for the incorrect sentence.

“It turns out that my general over yonder was the criminal – talking with the enemy and embezzling funds! How dare he!” The king was clearly very unhappy. Bryce stayed quiet. “You over there! You are my new head general now!”

This rather surprised Bryce. He expected to be given another command to snipe an enemy, or scout a certain army. But head general? Well, he wasn’t complaining, as long as he got his archery practice in every day.

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