The Battle for the Castle
It's all a matter of perspective
"Ready the troops for battle!"
Goldman sighed and, if possible, would have rolled his eyes. The sigh could be construed as weariness. The eye-rolling, though... That could set The Major off, turning his unending wrath from the enemy to him. So eye-rolling was stifled and the sigh had to do. "Sir," he began, "there are very few troops left. Not even enough to call them a troop."
"As long as one man stands, we fight!" The Major seemed to consider and asked, 'There are men left, aren't there?"
Goldman hesitated, counting in his mind. "Two... No, three. Two men and a woman. A girl, really, hardly old enough to -"
"Three can be a troop. Must be a troop! We must defend the castle at all costs. It's all we have left!"
Goldman glanced at the bodies, those who'd already given their all to defend the castle, and then at the structure causing all this mayhem. it wasn't worth defending, he thought. It wasn't large enough to accommodate even the smallest of their kind, didn't provide shelter and --
"Have you gone deaf, man? Of daft? Prepare the troops!"
Goldman had never liked The Major. He was a bully. Worse than that, he was a narcissist at heart who didn't care a flip about anyone or anything. Except the castle, evidently. But it was his ancestorial home and not ours, Goldman thought. Let him defend it. He drew in the largest breath he could, blew it out slowly, and gathered every tiny, demolished shred of his courage. "I don't think so, sir."
The Major whirled on him. "You what?"
His roar was deafening so, Goldman thought, if he hadn't been deaf before, the bellow of the blowfish in front of him took care of that.
That left 'daft'. Was he? Was he crazy enought o stand against this giant? For a second, Goldman wondered what was worse - The Manor or the Eveel.
As if on cue, Mollie cried out, "Eveel!", her voice so high and shrill that Goldman knew it had to shake the very foundation of the water.
He scanned the space around him. Eveel was coming in low this time, scattering rocks and plants as he made his approach. Danios and Tetra made a dash to get between him and the castle but the giant monster smashed first one and then the other with his dread, strong tail. Danios flew into a sharp rock and went limp. Tetra went face first into Mollie. Both went down.
"Attack!" The Major screamed.
Goldman had no intention of attacking but realized quickly that the commander was shoving him forward, directly into the path of the attacking monster. "Stop!" he yelped.
"Sacrifices must be made, my boy," The Major hissed as he shoved the hapless little soldier forward.
At the last possible second, Goldman swerved, so close to the Eveel that he felt its scales brush against his side. The Major, off balance by the sudden, unexpected movement, fell directly into the path of the oncoming assault. Eveel and the Major's heads clanked together and The Major shot skyward, then out of sight.
Eveel continued his rampage against the castle, but this time, Goldman his and watched. Rocks were ripped from beneath the foundation, plants were unearthed and soon the mightly castle, The Major's pride, toppled to one side. Eveel slowed his madness and looked around, breathless. Seeing no one to challenge him, he settled into a slow swim.
Beside him, Mollie began to stir and Goldman hushed her. Too late, he realized as Eveel turned to face them and moved in their direction.
Goldman frowned. He'd been unwilling to fight for the castle, a stupid piece of plastic that did nothing but take up space. But for Mollie...
He swam from behind the coral he'd used for cover and approached the long eel.
'Are you okay??" Eveel asked.
The question was so startling that Goldman stopped. All thought processes were at a halt. "Am I... okay?"
Eveel spoke with a strange accent, as if Fish wasn't his first language. Goldman hesitated. "Y-y-yes. Are you okay?"
Eveel nodded. "I'm sorry to be so intrusive," he said, his voice gentle. "But that castle. And The Major... We have a long history, you see. I hated that castle for so ling. It fell on my beloved. She was trapped and did not survive. The Major insisted that she was in the wrong. No justice was ever given to my poor Eelesia." A sob broke from the throat of the eel. "But now," he looked at the toppled castle, "she has justice."
Mollie swam from her hiding spot.
"Oh, little one!" the snake-fish said, swimming toward her slowly, "I hurt you unintentionally. My anger was so... consuming. Please give me undeserved forgiveness..."
Mollie nodded. "I do. I forgive you. It was The Major. He made us fight you..."
Tetra groaned and the trheesome swam to him. "I'm okay," he murmurred. "The Major?"
They all looked up to the heavens.
"Gone, I'm afraid," Goldman said. "To receive his just reward." He knew he should feel sad. The moment required it. The moment called for tears and sorrow but Goldman felt neither. "Gone for good."
Mollie looked sad. It was fabricated but at least she tried. "The poor, old -"
"Dictator!" Tetra supplied.
Eveel cleared his long throat. "I propose a new agreement," he said. "Let us all live in peace."
Goldman nodded. "With no castle!" he added.
"Mom! Something's wrong in the fish tank!"
Angela rounded the corner from the entryway, pulling her coat off as she walked. "What is it, Scott?" she asked and then added, "Oh..." as she saw the devastation.
Laila followed close behind her. "Is my mollie still in there? Is she okay? And what about Goldman?"
"They're fine, honey. Both of them are. But some of the others..." Mom bent and scooped the angelfish off the floor. "I'm afraid The Major is a goner. Some of the others, too."
"Eww!" Laila squealed. "What's in the water? Is that fish guts?"
"What in the world happened in there?" Scott asked, taking a closer look into the aquarium. "Most of the fish are dead and he castle's trashed. Look at how messed up the plants and stuff are! It looks like there was a war in there!"
Mom stood. "Don't be silly, Scott. Fish don't go to war. What would they fight about?"
"Can we get rid of the castle now?" Laila asked. "It's so creepy!"
Mom shrugged. "Sure. It came with The Major when we got the take from Mrs. Peterson. I never much liked it, either, but she said it had been in the aquarium for a long time, since her father set it up before he went to the VA retirement community." She tweaked Laila's nose. "For as long as you've been alive, honey."
"Wow," the little girl said. "That's along time for a fish castle."'
"Can I flush The Major?" Scott asked, suddenly excited by the idea.
"Gross!" Laila said.
"I suppose." Mom handed the lifeless fish to her son.
"Goodbye, Angelfish," Laila said.
"He wasn't much of a angel, anyway," Mom said. "Give him a proper flushing and then get to your homework. And don't forget to feed the fish."
About the Creator
Start writing...I'm a kid's author and illustrator (50+ publications, including ghostwriting) but LOVE to write in a variety of genres. I hope you enjoy them all!
Blessings to you and yours,
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