Warnings: Bad language and M/M sexual situations.
Disclaimer: The Bee owns none of the characters used
in this story.
Summary: A new take on the old fable of Rumpelstiltskin.
Xander is held in the tower prison of the evil King Liam and has
been ordered to spin a roomful of straw to gold. Can he do
it? Is there someone who can help?
Author's note: This story is not betaed or spell checked by anyone but me.
If there are errors that you simply have to point out, feel free but don't be upset
if I don't care.
Thanks to Naughty Fae for the pre-read and encouragement
Link to previous chapters HERE
Before Xander could figure out what was happening, he felt a sharp rap against the backs of
his knees which caused an immediate buckling before he dropped to the floor. Near his left
ear, someone hissed harshly, "Kneel you shit! He is the KING!"
Xander was so stunned that he completely forgot his previous instruction to avoid all eye
contact and his head snapped up. He couldn't help himself. He just had to get a look at
the most powerful man in the world. His Highness. The famous. The infamous.
King Liam O'Connor.
Xander's chest heaved and his mouth went dry at the impressive sight. His Royal Majesty
stood in the front of the room and, at first estimation appeared to be almost ten feet tall
but quickly, Xander realized that the additional height was due to an elevation of the floor.
Three steps up from the main area, the king stood on an dais resembling a stage.
At the left of him were four elegant, haughty women dressed and bejeweled insinuating that
they too were royalty. To the right, an equal number of men hovered near his
Highness protectively. Their clothing was more simple but the swords and knives that
they donned were just as telling and impressive.
At the King's elbow stood a tall, thin elderly man with bright, piercing eyes. His robe was
a vibrant purple with a hood that draped over his head and spilled heavily onto his
shoulders. Ominously, he glared at Xander as he whispered in the King's ear.
Serving as backdrop to his Royal Highness, was a broad, sturdy, purposeful chair. It had a
blood red padded seat and a high back that was carved with intricate lattice work and came
to a point in the center. Both the chair's arms and legs were cut in the image of a lion. The
arm rests were shaped as elongated bodies of the lion while the place for the King to place
his hands were detailed feline heads with the mouths gaping open and the fangs
prominently displayed. The feet of the throne were clawed paws.
And yet, as stunning as all of the theatrics on the stage were, it was all overshadowed by the
mere presence of the King himself.
By Xander's estimation, the monarch easily measured well over six foot. His face was
strongly-featured with a square jaw and dark deep-set eyes that stared directly into Xander's.
It was unnerving and frightening and yet, Xander found himself mesmerized and could not
The king was dressed in layer after layer of colorful silken robes that draped his broad
shoulders and flowed over his confident, straight body. It accentuated his regal persona
and magnified his opulence. Each finger of both his hands were adorned with rings made
of gold and precious stones and around his neck, he wore a large gleaming chain that
held a round amulet bearing the crest of the O'Connor's.
As expected, on the King's head rested a gold crown. Within the crown, King Liam had a
full head of dark hair that seemed to have been intentionally spiked and styled to fit within
a headpiece that seemed unnecessarily gaudy and ornate. It was perched atop as though it
were a halo and yet the look in the man's eyes told Xander that this King was no saint.
To Xander, the crown appeared almost feminine and he fought the nervous urge to giggle.
All of this was seen and absorbed in the time span of a snap of the fingers. It was an hour's
worth of observation that took place in the instant between the time he had been ordered to
his knees and when he was sharply smacked on the back of the head for the offense of
looking the King in the eye.
"Ow." When Xander realized his crime, he quickly diverted his gaze and dropped his forehead
to the floor. He sealed his lips against his instinct to apologize for his sin knowing
instinctively that that would only make things worse.
"FINN! GUNN! Bring the boy to me."
Immediately, Xander felt himself roughly scooped under both his arms. He was jerked up to
his feet and unceremoniously hustled forward while he shuffled and tripped in an effort to gain
a balanced step. Before that was possible and while he still appeared to be dancing, the grip
on him suddenly disappeared and he was dumped into an undignified heap at the foot of the
steps to the King's dais.
This time, with a better understanding of protocol and self-preservation, Xander didn't wait to
be told before he scooted around, back on to his knees and with his head fully lowered. His
body trembled in fear and he could feel the perspiration prickling his scalp and plastering
his long dark hair to his face and neck.
His knees and nose were pressed painfully on the hard, stone floor as he maintained his
position of supplication. His toes were bent backwards. His butt was up in the air and his
hot palms were splayed on the cold floor at the sides of his face.
Despite the large number of people present, the great room of the castle was now cloaked
in silence and anticipation as Xander felt all eyes lock on him. He knew he was the center
of attention and yet, he still had no clue as to why. An overwhelming sensation of
expectation crackled in the air like the lightning of a coming summer storm.
It felt as if all the oxygen had been sucked from the room as the moment continue to drag on
and on. After what seemed like an eternity, Xander's confusion began to be replaced with
a serious cramping in his back, arms and legs from maintaining the uncomfortable pose.
Just as he was beginning to wonder if he had been forgotten about, Xander heard the soft
rustle of fabric. It was a heavy swish, swish, swish that came closer and closer to his right
side and every nerve ending in his body quivered on high alert. Suddenly, the sound stopped
and Xander dared to lift his nose a scant inch from the stone floor. When he did, he saw a
pair of red, satin slippers with curled, pointy toes aimed directly at his face.
Xander's breath caught in his throat as his eyes cautiously crept upward where they
recognized the hem of the King's robes. With a whimper, his face again dropped for
fear that looking directly into the silks and fine satins would cause his eyes to burst
from his skull.
"So this is him? We are not impressed"
Xander frowned at the King's strange comment as the soft shuffle of the slippers moved in
a circle around his prone form before poking Xander lightly in the ribs..
"He doesn't look like anything special to me. In fact, I can still smell the stink of a farmer's
pig shit on the soles of his boots."
The guests and servants responded to the King's humor with an edgy murmur of uneasy
laughter that washed over Xander in a new wave of nausea.
"GET HIM TO HIS FEET!"
The sudden booming order broke the spell and sent the room scrambling. In a flash, Xander
felt himself roughly grabbed by four sets of hands that all tried to pull him in different
directions in an effort to comply. The moment his feet found purchase, he was released
and the air around him whooshed as it was vacated and he found himself standing alone.
Except for the presence of the King.
Xander lowered his eyes and he held his tongue. King Liam whose ring-clad hands were
clasped his hands behind his back, strolled casually in a circumference around the terrified
boy. "Do you know why you are here, boy?"
Xander frowned and pondered the advisability of his answer. He wanted to look into the
King's face in the hope of reading the right answer, but instead, Xander kept his line of
sight prudently well below the man's royal collar. "No, sir."
He heard King Liam sigh dramatically with disgust. "Foolish boy. We had hoped we could
do this as simply and painlessly as possibly but I see that you have chosen a different path.
A liar reaps what a liar sows."
Xander's brow knitted as he struggled to understand. He wanted to ask what that meant.
He wanted to explain that he was not lying. He wanted someone to tell him what it was
that everyone but him appeared to know. "Please, sir. I....."
"SHUT UP YOU WRETCHED CHILD!"
The King's hot, foul breath blasted Xander in the face causing him to physically recoil. His
heart slammed in his chest and his fists balled up at his sides as he braced himself for
an anticipated attack from the King's bodyguards.
But the attack never came. Instead, much to Xander's surprise he heard the King snort softly
and chuckle. "Fine. We can play this your way. We will pretend you have no knowledge
of why we have sent for you. Please, allow me to explain. Very simply, you were brought
here because I understand you have a special talent that will serve my kingdom well."
Xander blinked. His brain spun and studied itself for something... Anything... "Talent, sir?"
Although trying to maintain a calm demeanor, King Liam was barely able to control his
seething temper. He gritted his teeth and bit his tongue to prevent himself from
impulsively giving the order that this insolent, lying boy should be gutted or beheaded.
But that would be counterproductive. That would not get him what he wanted and
what King Liam wanted King Liam got.
When he responded, his voice was low but the tone left no doubt that this was not a man
to be toyed with. "Talent. Gift. Ability. Whatever the fuck you want to call it, it is why
you are here. Did you think you could hide? Did you think I would not know? I am the King!"
Liam pounded his chest violently before waving his fist high in the air. "I know everything.
I have ears in all corners of my kingdom and beyond."
Xander remained totally flummoxed but knew what ever the point of this dilemma was,
the answer was on the cusp.
Again, Liam began slowly pacing back and forth in front of Xander as the King's eyes
shot daggers. "Word has come to me of a magical boy. A boy who can spin common straw
into strands of pure gold. Of course, at first I thought this must be a falsehood, a deceit. A
tale of bizarre concoction. But when I conferred with the palace magician, Sir Rupert of
Giles, he told me that he has heard of such spells. Spells that could be managed by evil,
demon sorcerers who disguise themselves in the form of innocent young woodcutters."
Xander's mouth opened and closed like a fish out of water as he tried to process what the
King was saying. They thought he had magical powers? They thought he could turn straw
to gold? Xander was dumbfounded and wondered who would have told such a far
fetched.... 'Father.' Xander's body slumped in defeat as that one word thought sunk into
his gut like a lump of coal.
That was absolutely the type of silly story his father would trade for a pint of bitters and
the resulting consequence was that Tony got drunk and Xander got fucked.
Risking a severe punishment, Xander's eyes darted briefly up to the King's face and back down
to see if, in that flash of a glance he could determine the validity of this bizarre situation.
When he did, he was dismayed to realize that there was no humor in the dark glare of his
Royal Highness. Only a deadly conviction.
Believing he could in no way worsen his predicament, Xander licked his lips and tried to
reason with the monarch. "Sir. Your Majesty, someone has mislead you. I am but a
simple woodcutter. I have supplied great cart's full of wood for collection by your guards
to prove my family's loyalty and devotion to....."
Xander took a small step backward and he sealed his lips. What else could he say? To
whom could he plead his case when the charge was so outlandish? Even knowing that it
was pointless, Xander believed his predicament could be no less fatal so he did the
unthinkable. He lifted his head and he spoke directly to his King. "Sir. Someone is in
error. I cannot do what you ask."
The brazen act of disrespectful contradiction caused a collective gasp to roar throughout
the room as the ladies and gentlemen of the court started in horror at the young man who
had committed such a grievous error in judgement.
In a flash, the King clamped his fingers on Xander's chin and he held the boy's face in a
painful iron grip. Liam leaned down so that they were very nearly nose to nose. "Know me
boy. I would just as soon order your still beating heart to be ripped from your chest and
fed to the courtyard ravens."
Xander's body quaked in terror of the wild fierce glint in King Liam's eyes. They bugged
like black jewels as drops of spittle formed at the corners of his mouth. Over the
King's shoulder, Xander caught a glimpse of a figure gliding towards them and he feared it
was a soldier bearing a blade for the completion of the threat. Instinctively, Xander's hands
flew up to cover his chest protectively.
"Your Highnessssss." Sir Giles hissed softly in King Liam's ear. "You can always kill him
later. Everything is already prepared. What harm can be done by postponing his death for
a few short hours? We should give the boy a chance."
Xander could see the burning fury of the King slowly melt into an annoyed ire as he
considered the sorcerer's advice. The tension eased from his shoulders and he eased his
hold on the face of the horrified lad.
Gently, Liam tilted his head slightly toward the hooded figure beside him. "Yes. I see
your point. As always, Sir Giles, your counsel is prudent, but beware. Some day I may
tire of your interference no matter how correct you may be."
Sir Giles bowed deeply, sweeping his arm in a wide arc and wrapping it around his middle as
he humbly dipped his head. "Of course, your Highness."
Liam then returned his full attention to the boy whose face remained in his grip. As he sneered
at his lowly subject, Liam shouted, "Guards! Finn! Gunn! Remove this piece of shit from
my sight!" Accentuated with a strong shove, Liam pushed Xander backwards leaving
five fingertip shaped bruises on the boy's cheek.
Immediately, the four guards appeared and grabbed at Xander as he tumbled while the
King smugly spun on his heels to return to his throne. At the last minute, he stopped and
turned back, pointing his ringed finger at the scuffle that was taking place as the foot
soldiers attempted to get the prisoner under control. "Hear me, boy. I am not to be played
with. If you fail in your task, I shall send my swordsmen to your village to slaughter your
family. Their lives are in your hands."
By now, Xander's terror had morphed into a resignation of not IF he would be killed but
only when. With tears stinging his eyes he yelled back. "You are too late. Your guards
have done the treacherous deed. My poor blameless family has already met the point of
Surprisingly, King Liam took the breech of etiquette much more calmly than expected and
he simply flipped his hand dismissively. "No they didn't. Guard Finn was instructed to tell
you that to make your apprehension more efficient."
Xander went rigid and he stopped fighting. His head snapped in all directions as he
sought verification in the faces of the guards. "What? What? Is that true. Do my parents
Riley Finn laughed as his face screwed up in a cruel smile. "They live. For now. But if you
fail, you will be kept alive only long enough to receive the news that your mother and father
died knowing that you personally signed their death warrant."
Xander slumped. He was emotionally spent. All the fight was gone from him and he
limply allowed himself to be dragged away.