Siphter awoke the next morning, unable to get the image of the cat out of his mind. He couldn’t trust the creature, but it had planted a seed of doubt within him that he could feel taking root. Just before Siphter could doubt himself any longer he found himself on the ground yet again. He picked his head up and saw a blurry figure sprinting past him. Siphter focused his eyes and saw a pink gemstone the size of a tangerine in it's right hand and a double-sided scimitar in the other. Trailing closely behind the blurry spector, a beautiful women. Her hair long and chestnut brown. She was wearing a flowing black gown that reached her ankles and a crown made of branches and white water lilies. She was obviously of royalty. Siphter stood up and began chasing after them. “That man must’ve stolen the gem from that princess,” he thought. Siphter passed her, shouting, “Don’t worry, I can get it back!” The princess yelled something from the distance, but Siphter couldn’t hear her and decided to keep sprinting on. He reached a clearing, and found the thief waiting for him, scimitar in hand, ready for battle.
Siphter reached in his pocket for his knife and squared up with his foe. The thief had a devious smile and looked at Siphter as if he were a piece of mutton about to be devoured. He cackled, licked his thin snakelike lips and lunged for our hero. Siphter closed his eyes and somehow parried the attack, a total fluke. He blindly swiped for the thief with his knife, but couldn’t get close enough to do any damage. The thief threw a punch with his left hand, knocking him against a tree. It was the end; Siphter was pinned with nowhere to hide. He closed his eyes as the double-sided scimitar came for his neck. Instead of Siphter’s life flashing before his eyes, only two images came into his mind: the temple and the great blue cat he'd met the previous night. The creature was right; he was going to die, until a deafening metallic clang bounced around Siphter’s head. He opened his eyes to find that the princess had blocked the deathblow with her sword. She smiled at him and began to tussle with the gemstone plunderer. The woman moved like a spirit, dodging all of his blows. For every ounce of beauty she had she surpassed it with her fierceness and cunning. She enjoyed taunting her foe turned prey. Until finally she gripped her long sword and split into four seemingly identical copies right before Siphter’s eyes. When he examined them closely he could see each one had something slightly different about them. One princess, a scar on her cheek. Another with green eyes. The now formed army of four surrounded the thief and each sliced through him, cutting the thief into four equal pieces. The slices of the criminal exploded into a burst of purple smoke. Leaving nothing behind but the princess’s pink gem now wobbling back and forth in the center of the clearing. The army of clones glided back together forming one. The last and true remaining princess sheathed her sword, placed the gemstone in her satchel and began to glide to Siphter elegantly as if she were dancing at a ball. “I told you I was fine but you just ran on.” she said. Siphter stared at his feet. The princess shrugged, turned and began on her way but just before she entered the forest she looked back at him and smiled, he felt his chest sink. Siphter put his apple knife away and looked into the forest. The dark forest ahead of him seemed hopeful this time around.