White sunlight broke through the clouds in the light blue sky, setting its warmth upon the humble palace on top of the hill, the rows of cottage houses built around it, and the terraced vineyards that stood beneath.
Kaneev was indeed a small kingdom, surrounded by mountains, devoid of precious minerals and metals, but having the soldiers of Avanti to guard it. That, for reasons everyone knew, was beyond a symbol of goodwill and diplomacy; it was simply because there was no match to the wines made in Kaneev, and Avanti was more than happy to lend the services of a few soldiers to protect its source. It was common saying that no celebration would be ever complete without the wines of this land.
It made a pleasant sight: thousands of people laboring across the hillside plantation, carefully tending to the ripe grapes that were meant to be harvested in the coming days. The task was back breaking, yet the workers went about their jobs quietly and with a sensitive approach.
One of the supervisors had just announced it was time for a short break, and a gentle breeze followed. Two of the lady workers, wearing full sleeved clothes, rose in discomfort with a hand to their aching backs. They were walking towards the shade of the nearest tree when they stumbled upon a little boy curdled up beneath a luscious grape bearing vine.
A closer look and one of the ladies froze while the other screamed for help. A crowd gathered within no time.
The little boy was none other than Prince Haresh Dhijil, but sans his royal attire. He lay still, covered in soil, and his eyes gouged out of its sockets.