The Runaway Princess Uni
Though I live in the Lost Desert, and love it there, Brightvale has always held a place in my heart. Being a Speckled Uni means I have no trouble flying from one land to the other whenever I wish. One thing I noticed, though, is that there are a lot of other Unis in Brightvale, and the stallions are particularly annoying. Whenever they see me, they start to pester me, thinking I’m a lone mare up for grabs. Even after defeating several of them in fights, they didn’t get the hint. What I found most effective is to wear my enchanted silver armor when I’m alone in Brightvale. With the whole set on, only my wings, tail, eyes, and the very tip of my muzzle are visible. Most stallions seem to assume I’m a stallion as well, and leave me alone.
There’s another benefit too: my older brother Titance and I have done mercenary work in Brightvale for years. The kingdom owes us many favors, so when I have my armor on, everyone is nice and respectful. Sometimes, I even get asked to help some Neopets out.
So one day I was in Brightvale, wearing my armor of course, when someone called from behind me.
“You there! Uni!” came a voice.
I turned to look at the speaker: a male Draik. Beside him was a male Grundo. The partial armor they wore indicated that they were guards of some kind, but not Brightvale Castle guards. When I turned to face them, they bowed to me.
“Do you need something?” I asked, fully expecting them to have a problem they wanted me to solve.
“Yes, very much so,” said the Grundo. “Prince Talmin’s youngest daughter, Princess Castelia, vanished this morning,” he told me. “We don’t know if she ran away or was kidnapped or what, but her father is worried.”
“Princess Castelia is only a yearling,” the Draik chimed in. “She’s got no experience with the outside world. And Prince Talmin has lots of enemies who would do anything to get their hands on his daughter.”
I nodded. I knew of Prince Talmin. He was a white Uni stallion who ruled over one of the minor fiefs to the north of Brightvale proper. He wasn’t very well-liked, but he was a competent ruler.
“Do you want me to help you look for the princess?” I asked.
Both Draik and Grundo looked relieved.
“We’d appreciate that very much,” the Grundo said. “And Prince Talmin will reward you handsomely if you find her.”
Once the guards had left, I spread my wings and took to the sky. I knew approximately where Prince Talmin’s fief was, but that stretch of Brightvale was pretty large. Princess Castelia could be anywhere; even yearling Unis can run and fly fast.
As I flew north, I mentally called out to the mighty Light Faerie who guarded me, Kouren.
“/Kouren, I’m not going to ask you to help me find the princess,/” I mind-sent to her. “/But if you can point me in the right direction, I’d appreciate it./”
My guardian Faerie replied quickly.
“/Head northwest, towards the coast,/” she responded. “/The princess hasn’t gone very far./”
I turned that way and sped up, using my Light magic to enhance my flight. There were a lot of dangers in the wilder regions of Brightvale, and as the guards had said, a young princess would be an easy target.
After flying back and forth over the forests of northern Brightvale for about ten minutes, I saw a flash of pink fur in the woods below. I dove quickly, homing in on that patch of color, and soon enough I found Princess Castelia.
But I took one look at the young RG Uni and I paused. The first thing I noticed were her wings: they had been clipped, so she couldn’t fly. The next thing I noticed was her jewelry. She was wearing a heavy golden horn guard and a very heavy-looking jeweled collar. So heavy, in fact, that she couldn’t even raise her head all the way! A thick golden decorative chain was woven into her tail, and she had VERY heavy-looking gold and jewel-encrusted anklets on all four legs. She was standing in a small clearing, panting hard and looking quite exhausted and scared, as I landed and approached.
Princess Castelia took one look at me and looked absolutely terrified. But she was too tired to do anything other than try and glare at me.
“W-Who are you?” she whimpered. “D-Did my father send you to capture me and drag me back?”
I paused again, looking at the frightened filly in front of me.
“Your father is looking for you,” I replied. “Or rather, his guards are.”
She looked angry.
“My father only wants me back so I can be his little trophy!” she growled feebly. “I have to spend my days lying by his throne looking pretty! And he put this enchanted jewelry on me, which I can’t take off, so he can identify me whenever I try to run away! And he clipped my wings! I’m nothing but a slave and trophy to my family!”
I couldn’t believe it. But looking at the poor little princess Uni, I realized that she was telling the truth.
And now that she had told me about what Talmin was doing to her, both of us would be in danger if I didn’t take her back to her father. Yet, I couldn’t do it.
I weighed my options. I certainly didn’t want to send Castelia back to her father, but where would she be safe? Then it hit me: Asgand, a grey Uni stallion who ruled a larger fief not too far from Talmin’s. The two of them were rivals, mainly because Asgand was popular and well-liked by his subjects. Taking Princess Castelia to Asgand, and having her join his court, would keep her safe from her father AND be a blow against the white Uni. Plus, Castelia would be treated well there.
“Easy now, princess,” I said in a comforting tone. “I’m not going to take you back to your father. I’m here to help.”
Castelia looked surprised, then mistrustful. Clearly she didn’t believe me, and a demonstration was in order.
With a simple pulse of my Light magic, all her enchanted jewelry fell from her body. I was so much stronger than the enchantments in those decorations. Now Castelia looked really surprised. She carefully lifted each of her legs, then raised her head, trying to see if the jewelry was really gone.
“Y-You… W-Who are you?” she asked quietly. “I haven’t been able to stand up straight in… months, I think. Are you really here to help me?”
“Maybe you’ve heard of me,” I went on. “I’m Urasina, a mercenary from the Lost Desert.”
The princess stared in awe.
“Y-Yes, I know of you!” she managed to say, fear being replaced by joy. “A-Are you going to take me away with you, to a place safe from my father?”
“No, you’re not coming with me,” I told her. “I’ll take you to your father’s chief rival, Asgand. Don’t rely on what Talmin told you about him; Asgand is a great stallion, and he’ll treat you well.”
Princess Castelia squealed and ran over to me, rubbing against me despite my armor.
“Thank you! Thank you!” she squealed in joy. “You’re my new hero, Urasina!”
I giggled and nudged her away from me.
“I can’t just take you to Asgand, though,” I said. “Simply leaving your jewelry here will make your father suspicious. I have a plan, though. But you’re exhausted from running, so just lie down and take a rest while I get this done.”
I scraped and ripped up a patch of ground and pushed the enchanted jewelry into it. That made it look like a fight had taken place that ended with the princess’ ornaments being ripped from her body. Then I beat down some nearby bushes, to make it seem like bandits had waited in ambush for Castelia there. Finally, I used my magic to summon a Doppelganger of myself, which braces its hooves as I pushed it to the bank of a nearby creek.
“OK, so now this looks like you were ambushed by bandits, and were captured. Then they dragged you into the stream and walked through the shallow water to hide their trail,” I told the princess as the Doppelganger vanished.
“You’re really smart, Urasina!” she said excitedly, getting up again.
“I’m not THAT smart, but I know a few tricks,” I replied. “Now, follow me.”
We waded into the stream ourselves and headed a different direction, finally finding a place with a lot of bushes where we could climb out. And just beyond the bushes was the main road leading to Asgand’s fief.
The princess and I moved quickly down the road, despite me having to watch for any of Talmin’s guards. But we didn’t encounter any of them, and after maybe thirty minutes we reached the grey Uni’s fortress. I approached the guards at the front gate.
“Tell Asgand that Urasina wants to see him on a matter of utmost importance,” I said firmly.
The guards knew me as well, so they ushered us inside. Then one of them hurried to find the Uni.
“Why does everyone here know you, Urasina?” Castelia asked.
“I saved Asgand’s life during the Battle of Brightvale,” I answered her. “Twice, actually. While Talmin cowered in his castle as the Wraiths ripped his fief to shreds.”
Asgand himself came hurrying over to us a few minutes later. When he saw the Princess, he was surprised.
“Word got to me that Princess Castelia was missing,” he remarked. “But why did you bring her here, Urasina?”
I explained what the princess had told me. The grey stallion looked angry.
“That is just cruel of Talmin!” he growled. “I won’t stand for this!”
He stepped over to Castelia and nuzzled her gently.
“You are welcome to join my court, Princess,” he murmured reassuringly. “I won’t treat you like your father did.”
“Of course I’ll join!” the yearling filly replied excitedly.
Both Unis then turned to me.
“Thank you for bringing her here safely, Urasina,” Asgand said. “Rest assured she will be safe with me.”
“Thank you for saving me, Urasina,” Castelia added, bowing low. “Please come back and visit, OK?”
I bowed to both of them before leaving the fortress and taking flight, heading back to Brightvale proper.
“That wasn’t what I expected, but hey, I helped a fellow Uni out of a troubling situation, so I’ll call that a good day’s work,” I said to myself. “Now I’d better get back to my ORIGINAL task.”
Author’s Note: Castelia, Talmin, and Asgand are made up by me. Any resemblance to other User’s Neopets is strictly coincidental.