Theo smiled back. His amazement with his challenger's resilience grew by the minute. The king and the headmaster were utterly impressed. Prince Lowis' desire to have Freidrech in his circle heightened.
"Your turn," said Theo with high spirits. The excitement rushed through him and the crowd caught up. Cheers began to rumble but they were now chanting names.
"Prince Theodrech, Prince Theodrech." "Freidrech, Freidrech, Freidrech, Freidrech."
It was Freidrech's turn to be amazed. He never expected half of the crowd, of which a good number of them were students, would side with him. To hear his name shouted inspired him. His confidence to win doubled.
"First, you take hold of me and kiss me on the lips. You say you'll always bring me with you, in your merry days. You make me drink your wine, with passion you stirred me. As long as you're in the mood, your strong fingers will keep me steady," said Freidrech.
Theodrech and the crowd cracked up. In their ears, the riddle was so poetic and romantic. It could be considered as a love confession.
Prince Theo teased Freidrech. "Sorry, I prefer ladies, not a boy."
Another peal of laughter from the crowd.
"I'm into girls too, but if you won't answer this, you'll lose," said Freidrech.
The more the listeners convulsed into laughter.
"Man, you're surely in the mood for hard riddles. I pass. Now, hear my next riddle."
Theo's statement increased the chants at the bleachers.
The scorer opened his mouth to announce but the chants interrupted him.
"Theodrech, Theodrech." "Freidrech, Freidrech."
"You measure my life in hours and I serve you by expiring. I'm quick when I'm thin and slow when I'm fat. The wind is my enemy," said Theo.
"What is a candle?" answered Freidrech.
"Guest, seven points." The scorer was sad for the prince and didn't mention his score.
Those who sided on Freidrech cheered very loud. While those for the prince turned mummed.
One of them couldn't help it but shouted to cheer the prince. "Prince, you can do it. Come on, people. Cheer for our Prince Theodrech, Prince Theodrech."
Thus, the pro-Theo was enlivened and chanted once again to cheer the prince.
"If you have me, you want to share me. If you share me, you haven't got me. What am I?" said Freidrech.
"A secret," said Theodrech.
"Yes, another point for the prince. Guest eight, Prince four," shouted the scorer, chiming with the crowd.
Somehow, it didn't bother Freidrech. His mind was focused on winning. 'Just two more and I'll win.'
"I woke you early yesterday, so you get annoyed and decided to eat me today. Who am I?" said Theo.
Freidrech was silent. He lowered his head to think. Then looked back at the prince. "I pass."
"Ah." The commoners sounded a deflated sigh.
"Yes, five points for the prince, eight points for the guest. You can do it, Prince," shouted the scorer.
The pro-Theo's cheers intensified. Somehow, one of the pro-Freidrech got pissed with the scorer. "Hey! You're a scorer. Don't take sides or even think of manipulating the score," the man shouted from the bleachers.
The scorer stood and lifted a fist to the source of the shout. "Don't you dare accuse me. I'm supporting the prince but still honest with the scoring," said the scorer with a high-pitched voice.
Everyone laughed as they watched the poor scorer's reaction.
"Okay, continue," said the headmaster, stopping the jest. He was sorry for the scorer, who was none other than his own secretary.
The scorer sat in righteous indignation with his chin pointing upward.
The battle continued between the two.
"What building has the most stories?" said Freidrech.
"The library," answered Theo.
"I'm silent if wished, I'm noisy when I'm at ease, I'll run if desired, I'm still at night. What am I?" Theodrech spoke right ahead, trying to gain momentum as he disrupted the audience's cheers.
Freidrech became silent. Another hard question. He considered the details: silent-wished, noisy-at ease, run-desired, still at night.
What's still at night? What's noisy when at ease? He asked all the questions and answered it in his mind but still, he was not sure with the answer he came up with.
Well, there's nothing wrong of guessing. Besides, he still had one more riddle left and the score was in his favor. "A man's feet," said Freidrech.
The whole audience waited for Theodrech's response.
Theodrech finally answered after much consideration. "Wrong. The answer is lacking."
"Oh," gasped Freidrech, regretting not including the word 'moving' to his answer. He turned his gaze at the headmaster. "Am I allowed to add to the answer?"
"No, our rule says, every answer is final," said the headmaster. Theo clenched his fist in victory.
The pro-Freidrech sounded their disappointment but shrugged it off. Anyway, one last difficult riddle and their boy would win.
While the pro-Theodrech had huge smiles on their faces and gave the prince a big round of applause, believing their Prince Theodrech had another chance to turn the tables in his favor.
Freidrech only smiled and looked deep into the eyes of Theodrech. "Okay, your highness. My tenth riddle. This one is quite long. So, listen well. I'll repeat it for you but only once." He paused and proceeded after he saw Theo's nod.
Freidrech had saved this for last, the most difficult riddle he personally made.
"In the kingdom called Justice, a king named Just ruled the land. Then came the king's birthday and decided to give three prisoners a chance to be freed. These three were imprisoned for falsely accusing the crown prince.
"The king told the prisoners to join a game. This game would determine if they will remain in prison or be freed. The game required them to tell the truth and nothing but the truth. The king would ask a question and each one would write their answer on a piece of paper given to each of them.
"The King asked, "Who is the person you want to be freed today?" Then each one wrote their answers. The king then told his helpers to stick the paper on every writer's back and send them into three separate rooms.
"The king told his men to bring two of the prisoners back to his presence. Then told his trustworthy attendant to whisper a question to the two and both would whisper their answers back to the guard. The question was, "What is the name written on the other person's back?" Both told their answers in a hushed tone. Then the last one was brought in and was asked the same way. He gave his answer in the same manner. However, the result, no one was freed that day. Why?"
Freidrech repeated the riddle but slower this time. After speaking, he sat back to his chair. His feet got tired of standing the whole duration. At the same time, he needed to rest his rigid nerves.
He hoped he would win and asked a favor to the king, but he also had no regrets if he loses. When he said he was willing to bow and be a slave, he was ready to do it.
Either way, he would start his life and try to adapt to his situation. And also, find a way to know the truth of how the Naymagi entered his village. There might be a conspiracy in play.
On the other hand, Theodrech was having a hard time. If he couldn't answer this one then it could be over for him. He didn't know the answer, but he still wished to try. Anyway, the expected answer would require a long explanation.
"Here is my answer. No one was freed that day because the prisoners didn't tell the truth that they can't read or write. When they were asked to write, they only scribbled anything on the paper. When they were asked to read, they mentioned their own names. And the king saw their pride, their unwillingness to admit. So they were sent back to their prison cells."
The audience agreed with Theo's answer. It was pretty logical.
At this moment, Theo looked at the king hoping to see a sign of agreement with his answer, but the old man's face remained stoic.
Every person's attention was on Freidrech, waiting for him to speak.
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