’Isn’t that Aunt Mary? I wonder what she’s doing here.’ Tristan came down from the ladder as soon as he saw Aunt Mary enter his shop. He helped her sit down. ‘My granddaughter is marrying a man in the neighbouring town...I want to gift her a map that will show her the path to my home,’ She said, looking lonely. Tristan grabbed her hands and said with a smile, ‘Worry not. I’ll always be here, Come and chat with me whenever you want.’ She smiled brightly upon hearing his promise.
As Aunt Mary left with her map, Tristan continued looking after his shop. He stared at the map on the wall and recalled how his parents had gone missing exploring unknown areas. His voice trembled, ‘Father, Mother, where are you…?’ Tristan and his parents ran this map business together in the past. He had shouldered the whole shop since they had gone missing, hoping they’d come back one day.
The sun was setting. As Tristan was packing up to close the shop, he heard the doorbell ring. Much to his surprise, it was Mordred, the new king. Tristan bowed quickly. ‘So this is the famous map shop?’ Mordred grabbed a few maps and read them. ‘Yes, it is. How may I help you, Master Mordred?’ Tristan’s voice quivered for he had heard a lot about Mordred’s way of doing things. He dared not imagine what would happen if he stepped on Mordred’s toes. Hearing Tristan’s question, Mordred stopped and stared at him, ‘You have every map for every area, right?’ ‘Basically, yes.’ ‘Great. Get me the maps that mark the locations of Star Stones.’ “‘Star Stones?’ I’ve never heard of them,’” said Tristan genuinely. He had never heard of anything about “Star Stones”.
Mordred stepped up to Tristan and crouched down, staring at him. ‘Legend says whoever succeeds in drawing the sword named Excalibur out of its sheath will ascend the throne. To do this, I must gather Star Stones hidden in places all over the world. It’s not an easy task, but…’ ‘But?’ Mordred stroked Tristan’s head and continued, ‘If you happen to have maps that tell me where the Stones are, things will be much easier.’
Tristan racked his brains trying to come up with something about Star Stones to no avail. He said bitterly, ‘Master Mordred, I’m afraid my shop doesn’t have the maps you want.’ ‘Really?’ Mordred sneered and raised his hand to signal his guards, who then flipped over everything in Tristan's shop. As Tristan stepped forward, a guard kicked his stomach, throwing him into a wooden cabinet. Pain seized Tristan’s body as Mordred pulled his hair and said impatiently, ‘Give me the maps, and we’ll stop.’ ‘I really...don’t have any…’ ‘I expect such important maps would be best sellers in a so-called map shop. How disappointing.’ Mordred threw Tristan away and grabbed a torch. He gave it to a guard and ordered him to set the cabinet on fire!
’No!’ Tristan tried to put off the fire, only to be seized by Mordred’s guards. ‘Please! My parents had spent their whole lives drawing the maps in this shop!’ He cried and begged Mordred, who continued to burn everything in the shop while laughing.
In a blink of the eye, the whole shop was burning. All Tristan could do was watch his parents’ masterpieces vanish in flames. He sat on the ground as a crowd gathered around the fire. No one dared to help Tristan seeing Mordred standing there. ‘If anyone ever challenges me, you’ll end up like him!’ Mordred pointed at Tristan as he spoke to the crowd. Afterwards, he walked away with his guards. ‘Now there’s no way Arthur will be able to find maps of Star Stones,’ thought Mordred with a grin.
After Mordred left, the civilians helped Tristan put out the fire, but everything in the shop had already turned to dust. His eyes buldged in overwhelming sadness. People tried to talk to him, but he remained silent. Moments later, someone found a piece of the map that used to hang on his wall. Tears gushed from his eyes.