This story takes place after the Shadow in the Kingdom. Which you can find below.
Benjamin and the Poachers
Do not read before Shadow in the Kingdom
Written by guest writer Lana Cohen
King Benjamin sat by the side of his lover for many seasons to come, he did not wish to be parted from the one he loved, and though Princess Apple Tree was now an actual Apple Tree, she still loved him in return. She provided him with shelter and shade with her branches and sparingly gave him her twigs when he was in need of fire wood and her leaves when he required a warm blanket in the harsh cold winter nights. Though they were happy, the Kingdom however was not. Without a King and proper guidance, riots began to spread and the city was plagued by the bad and the wicked.
Because the apple tree was kept in the Kingdom’s garden, great care was taken unto her, so she would not wilt away like the rest of her kind. One spring morning King Benjamin awoke from his sleep as the sun began to glare down on him, as he looked upwards to greet the tree a good morning he was surprised to see a single apple bud resting on one of the branches. Usually the apples grow in bunches yet there was to be only one. King Benjamin knew that this one was special.
He began taking care of the apple as it grew. He used his handkerchief to wrap up the apple at nights and read the apple stories by day. He knew the apple was listening and loved the stories as the apple would become the most radiant of green.
Though the Kingdom’s garden was high in security and was hidden away from the villagers. Word still got out of the new tree spirit. A huge debate caused riots across the Kingdom, some villagers wanted the apple to be planted in the open gardens, so everyone can see it and watch it bloom, and some even tried to steal the apple for themselves.
But their efforts failed as King Benjamin would not part from the apple tree nor the apple and he did not sleep, for he knew that if he closed his eyes for even second, poachers would come and steal the apple away. As it got dark, the apple tree closed herself up for the night. However King Benjamin could not keep it up as he felt his eyelids getting heavier and his vision getting fainter, until before he knew it he was fast asleep. Just as he thought, poachers began to creep in. They silently began to sneak up on the apple tree, not wanting to wake the King.
There were 3 of them, all as greedy and as ugly as each other. But their body shapes ranged in different sizes, one was short and fat, the other was tall and thin, the other was neither tall nor short, neither fat nor thin, but he was old . The old man and the tall, thin man positioned themselves around the tree, trying to find where the apple was hidden amongst the branches, the short, fat man tip toed up to the sleeping King and the short, fat man began to pull out his knife. The tall, thin man spotted the apple and stabbed the trunk of the apple tree with his knife hoping it would wobble the tree, instead the tree woke from her slumber and in panic and pain she swung her branches round, knocking the tall, thin man to the ground. At that moment the apple fell from the tree, looking plump, rich, juicy and full of flavour. Only the old man saw it fell, the other two were too concerned about being attacked by the tree’s branches. The old man stood over the apple, his glaring eyes caught in the apple’s reflection, he began to lick his lips and bent over to pick it up.
Suddenly the apple started to shake frantically and a crack began to emerge from the centre of the apple. A light materialized from the crack, a bright, fluorescent light. The apple split in two halves, revealing a spirit lying where the pips should be. The spirit began to grow and transform into a young, beautiful girl, just like her mother. The poachers gazed in amazement. The old man saw the all the fame and wealth he would get from this rare tree spirit. Without a thought the old man shouted to the short, fat man ‘Off with his head!’
The short, fat man rose up his knife to the King’s throat, and squeezed his eyes shut as he slit his knife across the flesh. He opened his eyes to reveal thin air. He glanced around to see the young girl still glowing with a fluorescent light with the King in her arms. The King slowly awoke, seeing a vision of his wife with her arms wrapped round him. It took a few seconds for his eyes to focus, he looked round to see the apple tree still standing, but in pain, he then saw the three poachers, and stood up in confidence. The King had fury in his eyes and the three poachers huddled together.
‘My lord, it’s not what you think.’ Said the old man
‘I ... er ... you see ... sire ...’ Stuttered the short, fat man
‘We didn’t mean any harm.’ Stated the tall, thin man
The King drew his sword and with anger in his voice he said,
‘You three are banished from my Kingdom, you must never return here again!’
With that, the King’s guards came to escort the three poachers from the Castle.
King Benjamin threw his sword to the ground and gently stroked the apple tree to sooth her pain. ‘I’m sorry my darling, I shouldn’t have fallen asleep, I was mean to protect you, you and that apple ...’
He turned around to see the young girl, not glowing anymore, but instead lying unconscious on the grass. He ran up to her.
‘It’s my fault little apple, I’m so sorry. You chose to become human just so you could save me from those poachers. But I promise I’ll make it up to you. I’ll never leave your side, my castle is your home, I’ll teach you how to make the best biscuits in the Kingdom, and I’ll read you a story every night’.
A smile formed on her face and the apple tree bloomed like she’s never bloomed before.
With help from King Benjamin’s new daughter, Pip, they were able to restore the Kingdom, back to the magnificent Kingdom it once was, and still had time to visit the apple tree every day, watching her apples grow in bunches.
By Lana Cohen
By Lana Cohen