Sanity is forbidden Circulation: 99,276,740 Issue: 197 | 1st day of Swimming, Y7
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Cruor Stilla: Part Four


by eikomei

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They had been at the museum for about a half hour after that, then moved on to get some snacks. They ended up trying out Tchea berries and Ptolymelon, then drank Cheops juice to get the taste out of their mouth, though that didn't help. After that they met some kids and played tug-o-war with them, going against each other a couple of times (they each won against each other once) and losing to the surprisingly strong younger Neopets. Practice makes perfect, I guess.

      They said good-bye to the kids and continued walking. "Where to next?" said Ruby cheerfully. She was actually having fun with this git, she realized. He's really not that bad, she though, surprised she was having such a good time all thanks to him

      "I don't know. How about we rest over by that pond?" he said, inclining his head toward said pond.

      "Sounds good to me," she replied. They went over and sat under a palm tree by the small but deep pond, where an Ettaphant was splashing confusedly, moving to the right and left as if unable to decide where to go. "This was fun," she told him.

      "Yeah..." he said, sounding distant. He had been so into acting like a friend that he forgot that's all it was--acting. He noticed this suddenly when she suggested that it had been fun, and he tried to remind himself that he was mad at her. Why do I feel so strange...? he thought as he was struggling with himself to not like the yellow Aisha. That reminds me...

      "What's your name?" he asked her.

      Ruby was surprised. She had been so used to referring to him as Zackwel in her mind that she realized they hadn't properly introduced themselves yet. "I'm Ruby," she said, smiling lightly. "What's yours?"

      "Zackwel," he answered. He actually liked Ruby, he noticed. He wouldn't forgive her for insulting him, even though he knew she was just defending herself, but other than that he really had liked spending time with her. My plan had a flaw in it, he admitted to himself. I didn't know having a friend would be like this...

      "We should head back soon," he stated. "It's starting to get late, and we still need time to get back and everything..."

      "Okay," was her reply. They stood up, Ruby hopped on Caelum for the third time, and they flew away at warp speed. It was beginning to get dark when they did get back, and they landed at her house. Delia's house, she corrected herself. "Thanks for today. I would have been bored out of my mind if it weren't for you," she told him honestly.

      "Yeah, me too. Do you want to do anything tomorrow?" But then something dawned on him--he hadn't spent any time with the Royals today. He didn't know what they would be doing at this time, but he might still be able to catch them. "I just remembered something I have to do," he said quickly. "I'll come by tomorrow if I have time, alright?"

      Before Ruby had a chance to say anything, Zackwel was off, flying in the direction of the castle. Ruby guessed what it was he forgot, and smiled to herself. Looks like I'm doing my job pretty well, she thought happily. This definitely isn't as bad as I thought it would be.

      She went inside and up to her room, laying down in bed and falling asleep contentedly.

     

      Zackwel sped towards the white castle, hoping he wasn't too late. When he was near enough to it, he landed and trotted up to the entrance, where two Draik soldiers were.

      "What is your business at the palace?" one inquired.

      "I have come to see the King and Queen. I told them yesterday I would come back if I had time."

      "They were expecting you much sooner than this," said the other.

      ":Like I said, I came when I had the time to."

      "Very well. Open the door!" they yelled to an Eyrie up above them. The Eyrie flew out of sight for a moment, and from behind the door there was the sound of a bolt being removed. The guards opened the door for him and he walked in. The Eyrie shut the door and bolted it again behind him, then returned to its post.

      Zackwel walked through the little entrance garden and across the bridge over a small stream running in a circle around the castle. He knocked on the next door and it was opened by a green Draik. "Welcome to the home of King Damian and Queen Amelia. Is your name Zackwel, sir?"

      "Uh, yes..." he said, not expecting such a greeting.

      "The Royal family has been awaiting you. Please go up the staircase in front of you and to the right hallway. Then go up the stairs you will see there, and enter the door to the left. After that go through the door to the right, and in the next room knock on the right door and they should await you there."

      Zackwel was confused. "Could you say that again?" he asked. The green Draik did so, as if he knew it by heart, and Zackwel paid more attention this time, then thanked the Draik and followed his directions. Once he got to the last door, he knocked as he was told to do so, and a male voice that unmistakably belonged to the King said, "Come in." He did so.

      The King, Queen and his son were all in the room, sitting around a round, white table in the center of the room drinking tea together. The Prince looked bored and irritated, but was seemingly suppressing both emotions. It may have fooled his parents, but Zackwel could see right through the weak attempt.

      "Ah, Zackwel," said the King. "I must say, I was expecting you much earlier. What kept you?"

      "I had to see an old friend," he explained falsely. "She just showed up and was passing through this area, so I spent as much time with her as I could catching up with her. You see, I won't see her again for a very long time, possibly even never, so I wanted to take advantage of the opportunity."

      "Oh, I understand now. I'm glad you chose to do that, I would've hated for me to be the cause of you not spending time with a good friend you hardly get to see." The Prince mildly rolled his eyes at this, but the King and Queen didn't notice. "Anyway, the time of your arrival worked out well enough. Come, sit and have some tea."

      Zackwel went over to them, and the Queen poured him a cup. "It's getting a bit cold, so you might want to drink it quickly."

      "Thanks," he said, for the tea, not the advice. "So, how has your first day off the job been?" he asked the two elders.

      "Splendid," answered the King. "I haven't been able to do all I've wanted all day since I was Prince."

      "That's good to hear," responded Zackwel, trying to make conversation. "How about you, Dane? What's different about being King?" He felt he was being a little too informal, but ignored it. He didn't know how else to act.

      "It's the exact same thing," answered the Prince, glaring at his father. It was only Zackwel's guess, but he thought the Prince didn't like his parents because they were such lazy rulers who did nothing for the country. But again, that was just a guess.

      The hour went on in the same pattern; Zackwel making conversation, them answering oblivious to why he was really there, and the Prince scowling at what his parents said with them failing to take notice. By the end of his time with the family that day, he really did not like them. But he had to come back and do the same tomorrow, only this time turn their favor towards him somehow. He just couldn't believe it was so easy to get them to agree to his coming back. Maybe I'm already doing a good job, he thought as he left. Today really wasn't a bad day. I did have to endure talking to those insufferable prats, true, but things are a lot easier than I imagined them to be. I can definitely do this again tomorrow.

      With that thought, he flew off back to his room in the tower of Jhudora's castle, content and ready for a good night's sleep. Before he could reach his room however, Jhudora herself approached him and asked how things went. "I talked with them for about an hour," he told her, "and things went fine. I'm going to get them to like me even more tomorrow, and maybe in a day or two I'll suggest to them that faeries exist and are evil and such. Okay?" Then he went up to his bed and slept, leaving behind an indignant dark faerie. "You could at least wait for me to answer!" she yelled after him.

To be continued...

 
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Other Episodes


» Cruor Stilla: Part One
» Cruor Stilla: Part Two
» Cruor Stilla: Part Three
» Cruor Stilla



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