Some twenty moves and six captured pieces on either side later, Jared was beginning to wonder if there existed a point of playing this game in the first place. It was his favorite board game, though left wondering what real motive Zakrul possessed for making him play it. Why play the game in the middle of a cold and chilly underground dungeon?
Jared made a swift move with his last knight and pushed away his opponent's only remaining bishop. A bit of a risky move. Jared didn't really care. He just wanted to get the damn game finished so he could find Pearl.
"So, let me guess, this is your plan of vengeance?" Jared asked curiously, a drop of sarcasm evident in his voice. Zakrul wasn't amused and narrowed his blood eyes. Jared didn't notice and continued. "You plan to beat me in a chess game to avenge your brother Nagrig?"
In a flash, Zakrul had drawn his blade from its sheath and against Jared's throat. The squirrel was smirking, but the pitch-black rat was heaving in his futile attempt to suppress anger and hatred.
"You… ," Zakrul growled menacingly. "You would dare think that my plan to destroy you and your kingdom, to avenge my younger brother is a board game? No, Jared. You know nothing of what is to come. This is only the beginning."
Zakrul leaned further across the table, nearly messing up the chessboard, and dug his blade deeper into his enemy's neck, nearly to the point of shedding blood. But Jared didn't budge; his smirk remained, perhaps out of contempt for his enemy, and vague loathing for the relative of the vermin who had turned his life into hell.
Zakrul snarled in Jared's face; the squirrel could clearly smell his terrible tobacco-laced breath. The chess game went unnoticed and discontinued.
"Just you wait, Jared. I will hunt you to the ends of the earth if I have to. I will make you feel pain and torment beyond what you can imagine or comprehend. Your complacency and inborn arrogance as a so-called king will be the downfall of you and the Sandeye bloodline. Even if you are a king, as you claim, I will risk everything to deny you!"
At this, he withdrew his sword, sat down again on his tree stump. His eyes were calmer now, but his fists were clenched under the table.
"Forget this stupid game. I was really only stalling for time. Neither one of us have won; neither one of us has lost. Take your daughter if you may, but know this, I will follow you like your shadow, like your worst nightmares. Go on, your daughter is down the hall to my right. But do not forget what has transpired here!"
Without a word, Jared grabbed the chessboard and flipped it over, causing the chess pieces to fly everywhere. Zakrul remained unaffected and unflinching in his seat. Jared grabbed his sword and sprinted down the stony hall, tuning enhanced ears for his daughter's voice. Zakrul watched after him with a somewhat sinister grin pulling at his lips.
The last pieces of either color to fall were the Kings.
Jared stopped at the thick metal bars that made up Pearl's makeshift holding cell. At the sight of the King's steel sword shining as a white beacon in the black darkness, Dunkel and Traich dropped their weapons in terror; and with their paws tight behind their heads, knelt down frightfully on both knees, and spoke not a daring word.
"Daddy!" the young squirrelmaid cried out with joy. She ecstatically spoke to her doll. "See, Cosette? I told you Daddy was coming to get us!"