No Time — Truespace
“We do not get many princes here,” the voice said from the immense glowing rectangle on the wall.
The room was so vast that he could not tell with certainty whether it was a room at all. To left and right there was only darkness, and before him nothing but the faintly glowing screen. He could not even be sure of its size, because he could not be sure of its distance. The space was too great for any hint of an echo to return from his own voice. The wall that held the glowing screen—assuming that there was one—was as black and featureless as the view to either side.
“I am no longer a prince,” he replied. “I have given away my lands, and my castle is destroyed.”
“We suffered a dragon attack,” he said. “The first in eons throughout all our sector or any other that we have heard news of.”
“I see the news now. You have traveled far. Were there fatalities?”
“One,” the former prince tightened his lips.
“I see.” The great voice paused for long seconds. “And now you have come here. What is your purpose? Curiosity? But then, you have spent long years traveling. Perhaps you wish to spend your days in travel?”
“This is my destination,” the former prince said. “I wish to join the Great Project that we have heard of even in the sector that was my home. I have training and interests that can be of use to you.”
The voice was silent for a long minute, and then another.
“Very well,” it spoke again at last. “I will educate you.”
“It is work that I desire,” said the former prince.
“Work is the reward.” He could hear amusement in the voice. “Education is the price.”
The former prince nodded.