Becoming King Skarl: Part Four
“Abby?” King Skarl quietly said. His eyes were big and wide with astonishment. “Is that you?”
Abby nodded, lowering her eyes to the ground. She couldn’t face King Skarl, and she definitely couldn’t face Jeran. Her cheeks were probably as red as a tomato.
There was silence for a moment, then, finally, King Skarl said, “Abby, I don’t understand. Why do you look exactly like me? And what are you doing in my clothes?”
Abby, still looking at the decorative tile that made up the floor, faintly whispered, “You always complain about being a king, and how it’s so hard. I wanted to see if it really was.” She waited for someone to make a rude comment, but it seemed that the people in the room (including some guards she hadn’t seen before) were waiting for her to say more. She continued. “Now I realize that it’s a lot harder than it looks, and that I shouldn’t have doubted you, King Skarl.”
Jeran turned to the king. “I am terribly sorry for calling you an imposter, sire. Please be forgiving.”
He then turned to Abby, opening his mouth, as if to say something, but then quickly closing it, shaking his head.
The king forgave him impatiently, then turned to Abby with a softened look on his face. “Abby, how did you even get to be a Skeith?” He suddenly thought of something. “It must have been the lab ray.”
“Yes,” Abby said to the floor. “It was.”
A guard that had recently arrived stepped forward. “King, I know this may sound harsh, but we are required to seize intruding imposters at once.”
“But I didn’t do anything!” Abby exclaimed, now jerking upright and glaring at the guards.
“She did do something.” Everyone turned to the person who had said this. It was King Hagan. “Sorry to interrupt your conversation, but I have something to say.” He came up to Abby and rested a paw on her shoulder. “It was Abby (in the form of King Skarl) that helped me come up with a plan to help Brightvale. She made some good decisions. She could only be better for the king now that she has felt what it was like to be in his shoes!”
The guards looked indecisive. They huddled up in a big group to talk, and were still nervously chattering away when King Skarl said, “Abby shall still be my royal personal assistant.”
Abby smiled and clapped. She ran up to hug the king, but he put a hand (err, paw) up. “On one condition....” he said, with a mischievous gleam in his eyes.
Abby stopped smiling. “What would that be?”
Skarl, still looking mischievous, said, “You can not be a Skeith. You have to be an Acara, and you have to be a certain color that I shall choose.”
Abby thought this over. It should be okay, as long as she wasn’t painted blue, or some other unpleasant color!
“Okay,” Abby said, accepting the offer. King Skarl held out his paw, and they shook on it.
“But, I have a condition, too,” Abby announced. “You must take me to the lab ray tonight. I would rather like it if I became a girl again. Abby isn’t a good name for a boy.”
They shook on that, too.
King Skarl and the guards walked away, leaving Abby and Jeran alone in the room. Abby stared at Jeran, getting only a blank stare back. Finally, Jeran spoke.
“Abby,” he said, addressing her. “I don’t want you to think I hate you because you did this to my king. I’m actually sort of impressed.” He smiled. “I had always wondered what it would be like to be the king, and you’ve tried it out for real. How did it feel?”
Abby was shocked by this. Jeran was asking her a question!! Jeran, of all people, wanted to know what she felt like. She just HAD to answer.
“It felt... important, and different. But it was also not really true. Like, you knew that you were one person, but you also knew that you were another person, too. I don’t know if you understand that, though.”
Jeran nodded slowly. “I get it. Well, I have to go. Some sort of weapons training that I have to teach to the Meridellian Army. See you later.”
Abby waved, then remembered something important. “Jeran! Wait! Don’t go yet. I have to ask you a question of my own.”
Jeran turned around and walked back towards Abby. “What?”
She dug around in her pockets a little, before finally producing a blank sheet of paper she had ripped out from her Cloud Notebook and a Faerie Kacheek Pen. Holding them out to Jeran, she asked her question.
“Can I have your autograph?”
Abby spent all of the next day thinking about what color she was going to be. The king had gone off to the Trading Post, Neopoints in tow, to pick out a Morphing Potion. Would she be Rainbow? No, seeing her like that every day might damage the king’s eyesight. Would she be Mutant? That would pretty much be impossible, because Skarl was buying a Morphing Potion, not a Transmogrification Potion. Perhaps she would become Royal? No, she had done enough of that royal stuff yesterday. Maybe she would be Darigan!
Abby burst out laughing at this one. Even though the war had been completed years ago, King Skarl making her Darigan would be like TNT saying that Jelly World was real! Which, of course, wasn’t true.
Abby quickly went through a list of all the colors she probably wouldn’t be. This included Maraquan (would need water all the time), Sponge (would soak up water all the time), Invisible (obvious reasons), Tyrannian (no one would understand her), Royal Boy (she wasn’t a guy anymore after using the lab ray last night), Fire (in a heavily wooded area like Meridell, that spelled trouble), Ghost (would possibly scare the Meridellians), Grey (too sad), Snow (that ran the risk of melting), and Electric (would never be able to take a bath EVER AGAIN, because water + electricity = one big, electrocuting mess). She knew that some of these colors didn’t even have Morphing Potions for them, but she was just bored and looking for something to do, so she wrote them down anyway.
Finally, King Skarl arrived at the castle. Abby was at the door waiting for him, for, inside the box he was going to bring was an Acara Morphing Potion of a random color. She had anticipated this moment all night, and now, it was coming true!
Skarl handed Abby the box, and Abby said practically a million thank-yous before finally taking it from his hands. She had been wondering about this box all day, and now, she would finally get to open it. She took the lid off and shook away some white tissue paper, revealing the Morphing Potion that King Skarl had bought for her.
That’s when Abby’s eyes got very wide.
Inside, lying on a perfect piece of white tissue paper, was the most incredible thing that Abby had ever received. It was one hundred times better than the lab map, and one hundred fifty times better than that Usuki she got for her birthday last year.
It was a Cloud Acara Morphing Potion.
She stared up at King Skarl. “Why... why would you do this for me, after all I did?”
Skarl smiled. “Even though you imitated me, you did help make some very important decisions, and you learned what I really do while you wait outside as an assistant. I know I could be harsh sometimes, but maybe now you’ll understand why. I’ve got random people running over here all the time!”
Abby grinned and gulped the Morphing Potion down. It tasted awful, but she didn’t think that was the reason her body felt so weird. It was changing its structure, turning from a Skeith to an Acara. She looked down at herself. There were her little Acara paws, held out. But, for some reason, she was still blue. She stared at her arm, and slowly saw its color swirl around and around, turning from a deep blue, to a sky blue, with puffs of clouds that acted like polka dots.
She shouted and cheered and hugged King Skarl. Finally, she was Cloud. She could stand against the sky and blend in. She already could think of hundreds of things she wanted to do, and hundreds of things she wanted to buy. She would change her whole room into a Cloud, she could customize herself with a Cloudy Sky Background, she could eat things like the Creamy Cloud Ice Cream, she could play with Cloud toys, like the Cloud Kite, she could read The Story of the Cloud Acara, a book about a Cloud Acara that looked just like her! The possibilities were completely endless and completely up to her now that she had been painted Cloud! She had now learned that happiness looked like a sky, a sky that was her color.
But, the most important thing she had learned was how it was to hate King Skarl, become King Skarl, and, finally, accept and like King Skarl.