Caution: Quills may be sharp Circulation: 81,645,694 Issue: 153 | 16th day of Hiding, Y6
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Five Neopian Crazies in King Skarl's Court


by fantasy_scifi

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"Halt! Who goes there?" a strong voice demanded.

"We go here," Eagle responded irritably. She was a regal green Eyrie, her emerald plumage puffed out in indignation at the tone of the speaker. She was surrounded by her family- the energtic blue poogle Bounce and her angelpuss Skies, the lab rat Fire, who was currently a spotted Koi (talk about your irony!), the vain golden uni Cornis, and of course, her money-grubbing owner Fantasy.

"Identify thyself, for no rogues shall be permitted in the castle of my lord, the great King Skarl!" The Royal Uni took a step forward, challenging the group to go further. His cream-colored fur shined in the light of the midday sun, matching the polish of his golden wing protectors.

Eagle rolled her eyes and introduced us. "My name is Eagle, and these are my siblings Bou--"

"We can introduce ourselves, thank you very much!" Cornis, a Golden Uni, took a dainty step forward and let her full glory spill out under the light of the sun. The beautiful Golden coat she worked so hard on each and every morning shone and glimmered, so positively radiant that the Royal Uni couldn't help but be dazzled. As a result of his dazzlation, he launched himself into a full-blown, flowery speech.

"Gentle lady! I had no idea that one so fine as thyself could be found among such rubbish as this! Prithee, come hither to the court of mine king, so that thy beauty may be shared amongst thy peers, rather than squandered here amongst the peasantry, who take no value in the radience that is your shining self, for neither the moon nor the sun can match the beauty contained in thine eyes…" His speech entranced Cornis, and she was trailing along behind him by the time her family even noticed she was walking away.

Fantasy wrinkled her nose and stuck out her tongue at the backs of the Unis. "That'll teach you," she muttered.

"Oh yeah, I'm sure they're soooo insulted. Oh wait a minute, they can't see you!" Fire snapped, irritated at the terms "rubbish" and "peasantry."

"Hey Fantasy, what does 'squandered' mean?" the ever-curious Bounce inquired. "I know some words like that, like 'squish' and… um…. Does it mean squish? 'Cuz I know what squish means! Squish squish squish squish squish… whee that's a fun word! Squish squish squish… SQUASH! Does it mean squash? You know, you can squish squash. Hee hee! Say that five times fast, Fire! Squish squash squish squash--" At this point, her chattering was muffled by the paw of her Angelpuss, who had obviously had had enough.

The rest of the family was staring at her incredulously. Was it possible for a pet to have that much energy?

"Oooookay then… what should we do now?" Fire asked.

"Um… go tell the king a joke, I guess," Fantasy answered, and beckoned. "Let's go."

* * *

"Are we going to the throne room?" Cornis asked the Royal Uni, "And what's your name?"

"Fair lady, you may know me as Rosov. And we are, in truth, going to the throne room. Wouldst thou like to make a jest to the king, to perhaps gain his favor? For all noble ladies have not only beauty, which thou hast in plenty, but also wit!"

"Ooh, sounds like fun!" she squealed. "What kind of jo-- jest?"

"Any that comes to thy mind. My king is not easy to please, but I am sure that thou shalt turn his head. Ah, we have arrived."

Trumpets blared, and the gigantic doors in front of the pair opened, as Cornis stared in awe at the throne room. An enormous plush red carpet covered the entire floor, and gold winked from every corner of the room.

"The Lord Rosov and Lady Cornis!" the announcer shouted. Cornis blushed at being called "Lady."

"Well, Rosov? Who have you brought to my court today?" the king yelled across the room.

"This flower's name is Cornis, and she possessith both loveliness and a sharp mind," Rosov declared as he approached the throne.

"Does she? Well then, lady, tell me a joke!" he commanded.

Cornis's knees shook at being addressed by such a royal personage. "Uhm…"

"Speak up, I can't hear!"

She took a few tentantive steps forward and asked, "Who isn't a pack of… umm… blue Babaa… wanting to start their own… D'Achoo?" That was terrible, she told herself, and now you have to think of an answer!

The courtiers stared at her and murmured amongst themselves. "I don't know, who?" the king asked.

"An offering by a… er… map of Tyrannian… luxury… sandwich?"

The king stared at her in silence. The courtiers stared at the king, wondering what his response would be to such a strange joke.

Skarl burst into violent laughter. "Tyrannian luxury sandwich!" he cried, tears running down his cheeks. "That's the best I've heard in weeks!" he announced as his stomach convulsed.

The courtiers also laughed, moments after the king.

"WHAT?" a voice yelled in astonishment from the back of the hall. "That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard!"

Cornis whirled. Standing at the back of the hall was the rest of her family, Fantasy's hand over an indignant Fire's mouth. She glared at them. Why did this always happen to her?!

King Skarl looked at the newcomers with contempt. "How dare you insult a lady of my court? Do you think you can do any better? Come on then, tell me a joke." He settled back into his throne, waiting.

Bounce, Eagle and Fantasy simultanously looked at Fire. "What, me?" she asked, surprised.

"You got us into this mess!" Eagle hissed back at her.

"Fine then. Be that way." She turned to face the king. "Why did the Lupe cross the road?"

"I don't know, why?"

"To eat the Chia on the other side!" Fire rolled around on the floor, laughing at her own joke, while the king yawned.

"Boooring. Guards, remove these commoners from my court!" Five muscle-bound Skeiths lumbered menacingly across the hall. The four of them watched the guards' advance, wide-eyed.

"But-- but we haven't done anything wrong! All I did was tell a joke, and it was a good one too! Just because you don't have the brai--"

"Don't make it any worse, you idiot!" Eagle snapped, covering Fire's mouth with her hand, stifling her insult. Over Fire's head she could see a small, blue form hopping up the red carpet over to the king. Startled, she dropped her sister, who fell to the floor with a thump, and asked, "Uhh… do you have any idea what Bounce is doing?"

Dazedly, Fire turned her head. "Looks to me like she's… err… bouncing."

Eagle rolled her eyes. "Wow. Thanks a lot, because, you know, I was really having trouble figuring that out."

Bounce was indeed bouncing, bouncing up the hall over to the king, who peered down at the tiny Poogle as she approached. "Hey, Mr. King Guy?" she queried, "Do you have any squash? Squash is fun, and it sounds like squish! And do you know what squandered means? Can you squander squished squash?" She spied a familiar human behind the throne holding a shiny gold vase, who caught her gaze and wildly gesticulated, waving her hands and arms in a message that, to anyone else, would have meant "Shh! I'm not here!" but which Bounce translated as "Why don't you shout my name loudly, revealing my presence to the entire court!"

"Hi, Fantasy! What are you doing back there?" As one, the entire court turned their heads to Fantasy, who looked as guilty as a Lupe caught at a Chia convention.

"Uhh, just… polishing this pretty vase. See, it had a smudge on it, and--" She cut herself off, seeing the deep crimson hue the king's face was becoming. "So, I guess we'll be leaving now. So long; it was nice to see you!" She positively galloped down the hall, grabbing Bounce as she whisked past and telling Cornis, "You're coming too!", who stomped her foot and flicked her tail, but followed sullenly.

* * *

When they got home, Cornis, as usual, berated her family for ruining her life, as all melodramatic Unis do. The rest of the family made nothing of it, noting that she'd get over it in a couple hours, and unanimously deciding never to visit Meridell again.

Author's Note: Yes, Cornis's joke was an actual joke that I actually used, and I actually made him laugh with it. If you want, I can show you my Sludge Pie and 68 NP I got as a prize.

 
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