Moulder: Vanessa, how are you holding up?
Vanessa: Father Moulder. We are struggling, but I’ll pull through somehow. Say, Father Moulder…
Moulder: You want to know about Prince Innes, don’t you? He’s doing well. I was worried for a moment, but he’ll be fine.
Vanessa: Oh! I, uh… Thank you. … How did you know?
Moulder: Well… You see, as a priest, I’ve met people from all walks of life. Some of them–like you–well, I can read them like an open book.
Vanessa: You…can read my mind? That’s so…embarrassing.
Moulder: No, no. It’s not like that. I just mean you are a pure, straightforward girl. That’s a compliment worthy of a knight.
Vanessa: Do you think so? Thank you, Father.
Moulder: Hm. Say, would you like to hear a story from the prince’s youth?
Vanessa: I’d like that, Father. Very much!
Moulder: Hm… Oh my! You know, I think we’d better take care of our enemies, first.
Vanessa: Look out! Over there! Stay here, Father. I’ll take care of this.
Moulder: Yes, I think that would be best.
Vanessa: Tell me your story another time, though. I’d like to hear it.
Moulder: I’d be delighted. Another time, then.
Vanessa: Yes, Father!
Moulder: Well, do you have time for that story I promised?
Vanessa: Certainly, Father.
Moulder: It was over ten years ago, when the prince was just a child. There was a ceremony at the castle, with a trick archer of sorts.
Vanessa: A trick archer?
Moulder: Yes. He was a very famous and undeniably skilled archer from abroad. He was to shoot a tiny target that had been placed in the distance. However, in the middle of the show, someone stopped him from shooting.
Vanessa: Oh, no… It wasn’t–
Moulder: Yes, it was young Prince Innes. He said, “That’s not far enough! Move the target back farther!” Then, he insisted on trying himself.
Vanessa: That’s so like him!
Moulder: Isn’t it? King Hayden tried to stop him, but… Well, you know how he is. He doesn’t listen to anyone. And so, it became a contest between our prince and this foreign archer.
Vanessa: So, what happened?
Moulder: First, they established the ground rules. Each person was to shoot at the target. If both arrows hit, they increased the range. They simply continued to move the target back until one person missed the mark.
Vanessa: Sounds simple enough.
Moulder: Ah, but the two were evenly matched. Every shot was a perfect bull’s-eye. The crowd cheered, and the target moved ever farther back… But then it came to the turning point. The foreign archer said, “This is no test. Let’s move the target back more.” It seemed like bravado, but the archer actually had a clever tactic in mind.
Vanessa: Clever? How so?
Moulder: They had been shooting for some time, and the archer’s arms had grown weary. Precision archery is far more taxing than the battlefield, you see. So even though he was a skilled archer, he was at the limits of his endurance. He was still hitting the mark accurately, but his arm was quivering more and more. Everyone knew that the prince was on the verge of victory.
Vanessa: I don’t understand. They were shooting at the same target, shot for shot, right? Why would moving the target make any difference?
Moulder: Yes, they were still shooting at the same target. However, the archer suggested that they move the target much farther away… Much farther than any child Innes’s age could hope to loose an arrow to.
Vanessa: Oh, that IS clever!
Moulder: Even the archer, with his trained arms, was firing at his maximum range. In fact, he almost missed the target! Then, it was the prince’s turn.
Moulder: It was clearly too far away for the young prince to hit the target. But His Highness was undeterred. He drew his string and fired up into the sky. The arrow did not merely hit the target. No, it was a perfect bull’s-eye! You see, the prince arced his shot to extend his range beyond its limits. To hit a target this way requires incredible skill, but the prince did it. And then he turned to the archer and said, “Shall we move the target back farther?” The archer looked so crestfallen. He admitted defeat, and it was settled.
Vanessa: That’s amazing…
Moulder: That it is.
Vanessa: Thank you very much, Father Moulder! That’s incredible! I’m even more–
Vanessa: Oh… No, nothing.
Moulder: I’m glad you liked the story. Keep up the good work, Vanessa.
Vanessa: Yes, sir!
Moulder: I’m glad to see you well, Vanessa. You do your fellow pegasus knights proud. We are blessed to have you fighting at our side.
Vanessa: You credit us warriors too much, Father. Without healers, we would all be lost. Nothing I say can tell you how much I value your presence here.
Moulder: We are all doing our part in this war. No need to thank me.
Vanessa: I’m serious! Without your help, we would never survive these skirmishes!
Moulder: I’m gratified by that. Thank you.
Vanessa: Father… Thank you again for the other day.
Moulder: Hmm? Oh, you mean that story?
Moulder: Ah… You know, you remind me of myself, twenty years back.
Moulder: Oh, never mind… … Good luck to you, Vanessa. I don’t know where this will lead, but I’m sure the prince knows your feelings.
Vanessa: Father Moulder, I only aspire to be worthy of his greatness. I expect nothing in return.
Moulder: Are you sure?
Moulder: Well, do what you think is best for you. We all carry many burdens… To country, family, duty, honor… However, we are all ultimately free to embrace or reject those burdens. If you find yourself in need of spiritual guidance, speak to me.
Vanessa: Father Moulder, you’re so kind. Thank you. I’m so grateful to have you on the field with me.
Moulder: Vanessa, we fight for the greater good. We fight for our country, for our friends, and…for ourselves.
Vanessa: You’re right, Father. In so many things.