When Billy was reunited with his fellow slaves he excitedly shared with them the scroll. When they all saw the encouraging words that were written on it the joy in their hearts multiplied. They were truly going to be free! The only person who didn’t share their joy was old Benjamin. He was in a corner depressed and sulking, not being able to believe the words that were on the scroll.
He turned and looked at the excited crowd. “How do you know that what is written is true?” he asked them. “For all we know this could all be a lie.”
Billy’s eyes widened in shock. “Benjamin! How could you say such a thing? This scroll came from the Kingdom of Heaven. The Good King gave it to us. This is not a lie, this is the Truth!”
Benjamin wanted to believe that what the young man said was true, but his mind couldn’t grasp the Truth that was before him. He shook his head and turned away.
Billy then spoke to him gently, yet firmly. “Ben, if you keep on refusing to believe, you will be a slave to the Natives of Doubt forever. You won’t be able to go back with us and help us rebuild our home. You don’t want that, do you?”
Benjamin clenched his teeth and closed his eyes tight. He felt like he was going to cry and he was trying his hardest not to. “I don’t know if I will ever be able to believe again,” he whispered.
Billy decided that it was best to leave him alone now. “I’ll pray for you, Ben,” he said as he gently patted him on his shoulder. Benjamin looked down and said nothing.
Suddenly a guard came and Billy quickly hid the scroll in his shirt. “Come on, you worms! It’s time to work!” the guard barked at them. Everyone quickly left the room, including Benjamin who was dawdling behind them.
Billy then suddenly remembered Eddy. In his excitement he had forgotten about him. He gazed at the crowd of his fellow slaves but there was no sign of his friend. Where did he go? What happened to him? Billy feared that maybe he was caught when he left him with the scroll. He knew that if that was the case, Eddy was going to be in big trouble with Much Cruel. He silently lifted up a prayer for him, hoping that the Good King would preserve his life once again from their enemies.
Eddy was in big trouble. Just when he heard the guards coming for Billy he quickly left the cell and was caught by a guard who was patrolling the hallways. The guard roughly grabbed him and took him to Much Cruel. When the chief saw Eddy he got up from his throne and walked up to him. The guard told him that he found him wandering around in the hallway instead of staying in the slave quarters with the others.
Much Cruel grinned at the little man. “Well, Eddy, it looks like I’m going to have to punish you for your disobedience.”
Eddy looked up at the very tall chief. “What are you going to do?” he asked, feeling his old fear resurface.
“First, I’m going to take your vile Lantern!” said Much Cruel as he grabbed the shining Lantern out of Eddy’s hands.
“No! Please give that back!” Eddy cried. Without the Light of the Good King’s Truth he knew he didn’t stand a chance against the Forces of Evil.
“Then I’m going to throw it out the window,” said the wicked chief as he walked to a window and got ready to throw the shining Lantern out.
Eddy struggled in the guard’s grasp. He wanted to get his precious Lantern away from Much Cruel. “No! Please don’t! Don’t!” he pleaded.
Much Cruel laughed at Eddy’s despair. “How I love watching people suffer. It makes me feel so good inside.” He then started to swing the Lantern and counted:
Eddy was about to plead again when the Good King gently stopped him.
“It’s okay, My child. My words are in your heart. The Light of Truth is burning brightly in your soul. Don’t worry.”
Eddy believed these words from his loving Master.
“Three!” said Much Cruel as he flung the Lantern out the window.
The sound of breaking glass made Eddy sad, but he then smiled when he thought about what the Good King just said to Him.
Much Cruel was surprised to see Eddy happy. “How can you be smiling?! I just destroyed your Lantern! It’s laying in pieces out there! Don’t you care about it anymore?”
Eddy answered. “You can smash my Lantern, but the words of my Lord and King are in my heart. You can’t take them away.”
Much Cruel snorted. “We’ll see how strong you’ll be in your faith when you are thrown to the tigers tomorrow. Guard, throw him in prison!”
The guard then dragged Eddy away.
When he was locked in the dark prison poor Eddy trembled. The thought of meeting the tigers made him very afraid. When he pictured himself being eaten by them tears filled his eyes.
“I don’t want to die!” he sobbed.
To Be Continued.