A chilly wind made Nicholas shiver as he walked on a deserted road surrounded by green hills. The landscape was erratic with the narrow roads twisting in random directions and the slope waving up and down. The sky was darkening and Nicholas became paranoid on not seeing a single soul around. There were small huts situated on the hills but the lack of light coming from them was indicative of either emptiness or danger. He stopped and held his knees, catching his breath and looking back his path. An eerie feeling of being followed ascended over him but he shrugged it away, knowing his paranoia was taking over his judgment. He spotted a large boulder on the roadside and sat on it, stretching his back. He looked up at the sky as stars started appearing and a rueful smile curled up his lips. With exhaustion taken over and carrying irrevocable chagrin in his heart, the Prince found solace in the arms of a lonely, strange place, detached from the brutal reality that had snatched away everything precious from him.
The wind whistled and he jumped at the sound filling the silence. He looked around again and withdrew his compass, sighing in relief at the correct direction. Swallowing his dry throat, he pulled out a small container and frowned on shaking it. His eyes lit up on finding a small pond, few steps away from him.
As soon as he stood up, in lightning speed, a belt shot from behind, struck him on his arm and coiled around his elbow in a lock.
“AH!” He groaned and then in similar fashion another hit and locked his other arm. He pulled on the restraints in vain and two more belts struck his legs and locked around his knees, pulling him backwards.
He lost his balance and fell back on the ground. His eyes widened as an ugly, bulky and infuriated face appeared upside-down replacing the view of the stars.
“Hello, Prince.” A Hoilèq flashed a toothless smile.