Make Belief Studios ~

February 23, 2008

chapter 04

Filed under: 02, WIP — Tags: , , , , — Saturday @ 12:17 pm

What kind of bet could I make with a brat like this?
“If you lose you have to give me a kiss!” the brat said with premature triumph in his voice. I jerked back a step from his chair.
Not even going to try to hide your intentions, eh?
“But I’ll be fair,” Prince continued. “If you win, I’ll let you be king for an hour!”
“Oh, lordy. Don’t.” Maraulen exclaimed in a suffering tone as she cupped her hands over her eyes and shook her head from side to side disapprovingly.
“You mean, queen.” I corrected Prince’s offer.
“Queen is second rate,” Prince scoffed. “Why would anybody want to be that?”
No respect for the feelings of women, I see.
“You can take my place, is what I mean!” Prince wiggled in his chair, getting excited.
“Oh no you don’t!” Maraulen intervened. “You’ve got a full schedule of kingly duties and I won’t have you dumping them on some peasant!” Maraulen paused her flailing to look at me, “no offense dear.” I was a little offended.
“On the contrary,” Dragged interrupted, raising his voice but not looking away from his book. “Accepting a gamble is a fine trait for a leader and king. I for one approve. With no risk there is no gain.”
“Maybe rising to a challenge is a good trait,” Maraulen said. “But certainly not creating unnecessary risks!”

As the two argued on, I pondered the benefits of being royalty. It was exactly what I was hoping for right? And I didn’t even have to do any manipulating! What’s the worse that could have happened? I’d have had to give that brat a peck on the cheek? If I won, it would only be for an hour, but who wouldn’t accept this kind of oppertunity?
“You’re on!” I raised a competitive fist to the king and we both exchanged evil grins. Maraulen just turned her back to us and sighed, defeated.
“Right!” Prince stated enthusiastically. “To prove that I know my people better than anyone, I bet the next person seeking an audience with me is a baker. A baker wondering what to do with the gross overabundance of sugar he has. He’ll make the suggestion of trading it for gold.” I blinked, surprised.

His bet was horribly detailed compared to what I was expecting! I couldn’t help but feel set up, that kind of person must come in here a lot! Still, I needed to give my answer! Who did I think was going to walk through those doors next?
“Answer before the door opens, or you forfeit.” Prince grinned slyly, with his eyes on the tall doors on the other end of the room. A pain of impatience shot behind my eyes and I winced in thought.
Who could it be? Another farmer? That’s very likely. Maybe it’ll be someone more exotic and rare, like a traveling magician or something? Arh! I should bet on something with higher odds! Could I also bet on a baker if I picked different details? What about a jeweler?
The hollow sound of a latch echoed across the room from the big doors. One of the soldiers from along the wall walked over to it and helped pull the doors open. Prince’s smile grew even fiercer across his wide head.
“A lumberjack.” I stated solemnly, unable to distract attention from the slowly opening doors. The doors were wide open and bright outside light streamed into the room, spilling long sharp shadows along the floor. I leaned far over Prince’s shoulder, straining to see the figure which stood dead center in the white light. The doors were closed and as the flowing light was cut off, the figure emerged as a short, hairy, old man.
“Tremarch!” I squealed, clasping my hands next to my cheek. I had won! I won the bet! I could be queen for an hour!
“Oh, Sally, dear!” Tremarch blinked then stated with a tone of suppressed surprise.
“Yee-ESS!!” A shout burst from the small king loud enough to suffocate the surprise from the rest of us. “It is the lumberjack!” He cheered as he pulled his crown off his head, stood up on his chair and plopped it onto mine. My victorious joy from a second ago was fast seeping away.
“This is what you wanted? You were never after a kiss?” I threw my fists down to my sides and exclaimed.
“Of course not. Kissing is icky!” the boy stated, climbing down from his throne. “I just wanted to get out of listening to the whiny peasants. Now I have a whole hour to play!”

Goodness. I should have known not to trust a child who used big words like ” abundance” and “forfeit”. It’s not natural. This meant that that kid had been planing this trick since he first laid eyes on me! He wasn’t interested in me, he was just looking for an excuse to use on one of his caretakers to allow him to abandon the throne!
I’ll have to remember that a child this conniving is not to be taken lightly!

“Oh no you don’t!” Maraulen clasped her heavy hands onto the boy’s shoulders before he had a chance to escape the room. “Maybe it is not within the concerns of this fellow here who runs this kingdom. Especially since he can’t even take his nose out of a book long enough to see who is wearing the crown, but as your personal caretaker I think it builds excellent character for you to at least witness the addressing of the people! And now that you’ve thrown away your authority to execute and threaten people, I’m sure the Royal Guards wouldn’t mind back up my decision!” The boy gulped.
I see Maraulen is also not to be taken lightly.

Tremarch fumbled with his hands while standing in the middle of the room, confused. I don’t think he could tell what was going on, since both Maraulen and Prince were wrestling behind the two large thrones. Though he probably had an idea since he saw me standing there with the crown on my head and the young king occasionally attempt to make a break for it.
“Umm. Your Majesty?” Tremarch called when he saw Prince’s head pop out from behind the main throne.
“Yes?” Prince called back, slightly muffled as Maraulen was attempting to restrain him so he wouldn’t try and run away.
“I brought the order of double the Royal Oak. Per yer request, M’majesty.” Tremarch tilted his head slightly to try and get a better view of his king.
“Ah! That’s good!” Prince called between snapping sounds. Apparently Maraulen was holding him too tight and he was trying to let her know by biting her arms. “Just store them as usual and you can be on your way!” Tremarch paused for a second then looked towards me and gave a nod.
“Wait!” I called out, extending a hand towards Tremarch before he turned to go. Tremarch stopped and looked at me. “Err,” I hesitated, trying to think of why I had actually stopped him. “Would you like to hang out here for a bit?” The rustling behind the thrones suddenly died down. That was a stupid thing to ask. Tremarch and I had already gave our good byes, there was no need to go through this again!
Tremarch smiled at me for a moment. “That’s a’right, dear. You just remember my offer and I’m sure we’ll see each other again, some day.” The door was heaved open and Tremarch disappeared back into the outside light.
That’s right. I reflected. Tremarch offered for me to live with him, since I didn’t know where I was ultimately going in this world. He’ll be leaving at noon tomorrow, if I decide to go down that route.
But I had already gotten myself to the castle! I doubt I would have needed to go back to Tremarch’s house!

“Send in the next in line!” Maraulen called out from behind the chairs. She stood behind prince and firmly gripped his arms in place. I jumped and quickly sat down on velvety cushion of the large throne. Apparently I really had to continue the king’s work!
“Is this really okay?” I hissed over my shoulder, quickly growing aware of my newly acquired position.
“Don’t turn yellow now, dear. You’ve earned the crown, like you obviously wanted, now accept the responsibility!” I inhaled quickly and gripped the arms of the chair with my finger nails. “Don’t you worry, dear,” Maraulen continued. “Just use common sense! If you need help, Dragged and I are still here.”

The tall wooden doors once again were dragged closed and there stood the next person, seeking the king’s attention.


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