A Midsummer Day's Nightmare
453 last edited by
Entry for Sely's challenge
((A/n: This is an entry for Sely's Summer 2011 Chron Challenge.))
I was awoken early this morning by a soft knocking on my bedroom door. Looking longingly at my locked laboratory, I knew I wouldn't have time to sneak in there and secretly summon myself a meatpie for breakfast. I sprung out of bed as quickly and silently as possible. I racked my brain, considering my options. The soft knocking came again. How could I escape?
I could hear the worlds, "Master Alaric?" from beyond the door. It was her. I knew this, of course. It was her every morning, and I hadn't once figured out how to evade her doom.
"Rise and shine, Master Alaric, it is time!" she continued knocking as she called to me.
She was standing outside the southern door, of course, in the hallway. I would try the eastern door, to the Nexus room. Tiptoeing over to it, hoping she'd believe I was still sleeping, I gently turned the knob and began to pull the door open.
She'll've heard that. I made a mad bolt, jumping over the counter and scrambling across the glowing triangle, but she was at the opposite door before I reached it. Prusa. And her eyes were practically glowing red, she was so angry.
"How dare you!" she exclaimed. "You are doing yourself enormous disservice by trying to escape, and you make me wonder if I should find alternative employment!"
"Please, do!" I panted vehemently.
"What is going on?!" came another voice, and we saw Emesa approach from around the corner, "is someone mowing the lawn?"
"No, Prusa was only yelling at me," I explained.
"And LandKing Hall doesn't have a lawn," Prusa added.
"Ah, I see, all that noise made me wonder... I suppose I made a blunder," said Emesa, and turned around to get back to cooking breakfast in the kitchen.
Prusa turned back to me, as stern as ever. "Meet me in the Brazier Room in five minutes," she ordered. "And bring your mat."
The Brazier Room was kind of a private, secret room of mine, but Prusa had discovered it very soon after being hired on as my personal yoga instructor. She liked to have our sessions in there every morning, as she said the room was very spiritual.
"Please, please, please, don't make me do this today," I begged her.
"Master Alaric, you know perfectly well how important it is to spend the first hour of your day relaxing with Yoga."
"It is the most boring thing I have ever done in my life," I told her seriously, "and I once spent fifteen years staring into an abyss."
Prusa didn't seem to care. I resigned, and went back to my bedroom to get dressed.
The staff members of LandKing Hall (bless them, they mean well) have been very worried about me ever since a stressful time I went through a couple of years back. My bond with the land had been severely weakened, I lost my control over Cythera, and it was plunged into chaos and evil. I'm all better now though, so long as I keep my green crystal with me at all times. Still, my staff worries about the effect all that stress has had on me, and they've insisted I make several big lifestyle changes. One of which is to spend an hour every morning doing yoga, and they even hired on Prusa, who recently got her Master's in Yoga.
Once dressed, I gathered up my yoga mat and reached under my pillow to retrieve my green crystal.
But it wasn't there!
I tore apart my bed, searching everywhere for it. It couldn't be gone! I sleep with it under my pillow every night! Could evil forces have entered LKH right under my nose? Surely I'd have sensed something...
No, I remembered, this has happened before. Rather regularly, in fact. It always startled me to find my Crolna gone, and yet every time it has been found with my advisor, Magpie. I tore off to Magpie's quarters, to look for him.
Along the way, I saw one of my guards, Hector, "patrolling" the halls. On a skateboard. Skateboarding in LKH is definitely not encouraged, but Hector's rather unpredictable these days. Ever since he came back from his journey with Bellerophon, he hasn't been himself. His name and his behaviors change on a daily basis.
"Good morning, Hector," I said amicably.
"Duuuude!" he replied as he sailed past me on his skateboard. He quickly turned around to approach me again. "My name isn't Hector," he corrected me.
"No, of course not. It's.. um.."
"Right, Romeo Dude. I'm kind of in a hurry, so-"
"Wanna see my new trick? I call it the Doom Flip!"
I couldn't pass up seeing the Doom Flip, so I paused and watched as Hector sped down the hallway, then attempted to flip and landed flat on his back. As he was lying on the floor moaning, Hadrian came over from the eastern hallway. Hadrian is my head guard, he's also Hector's father.
Upon seeing Hector lying injured on the floor, Hadrian shook his head sadly. "O Romeo, Romeo! Wherefore art thou Romeo?" he lamented.
"How can you keep track of his names?" I asked Hadrian.
"It is a wise father that knows his own child," Hadrian explained.
Hector was now getting back up. "Lemme try that again," he grunted. "Yo Dad, check out my Doom Flip!"
Hector began skateboarding down the hallway again, and this time at the end, he managed a very feeble flip before landing in a heap on the floor.
"I know a trick worth two of that," Hadrian commented.
"I don't understand, what am I doing wrong?" Hector asked, a bit frustrated.
Hadrian scratched his chin and said, "this above all: to thine own self be true."
"We don't have time for this," I interrupted. "Hadrian, I can't find my Crolna. I suspect Magpie has stolen it again."
Hadrian was outraged. "Off with his head!"
This alarmed me a bit. "Now Hadrian, you know he's just lonely. He's still a good advisor."
Hadrian sighed. "Fair is foul, and foul is fair."
Still Hadrian followed me to Magpie's quarters. It was empty. I didn't really expect it to be that easy. We started searching the entire palace, with the aid of more guards. We searched and searched, and before I knew it, Emesa was calling us for breakfast.
So of course we decided to take a small break for breakfast. As Emesa served me, she said, "I have bad news, LandKing: I'm afraid we don't have anyone to sing."
"Huh?" I asked, looking around. "Where's Demodocus?" Demodocus is a really cool bard who hangs out here a lot and entertains me.
"It isn't his choice," Emesa explained, "he's completely lost his voice."
"Dude, that's rough," commented Hector, who had also come for breakfast.
The table was filling up now, with various guards and construction workers. Back when my bond with the land was unstable, an earthquake half-demolished the LKH training room and storage room. We hired a construction crew to reconstruct it. The crew warned us that it would probably take three months, but it's been nearly two years now and I can't say they've made much progress.
As I looked around the table, I noticed someone who was neither guard nor construction worker. It was Magpie!
"Where have you been?!" I roared at Magpie, jumping to my feet. "Sneaking off and sneaking back, you old villain!"
Magpie jumped back slightly, and his eyes seemed to flicker with a green glint. "Sneaking, sneaking!" he hissed after a pause. "LandKing is always so polite, oh yes, nice King! Magpie advises him with wisdom no one else has. Tired he is, bored he is, yes bored! But still he advises the king. And he says 'sneak, sneak.' Very nice friend, oh yes my precious, very nice."
I wasn't expecting such a rant, and I did feel a bit guilty. After all, Magpie's the best advisor in Cythera, and I had no evidence that he'd taken my Crolna. I mean, he takes it regularly, but perhaps this time he was innocent. "I'm sorry," I told him. "I'm feeling aggravated because I've lost my Crolna. I shouldn't have taken it out on you. Sorry. But where have you been?"
"Sneaking," said Magpie, and his eyes still had that green glint. Then I noticed where the green glint was coming from - the Crolna! He was trying to hide it under his robes!
"My Crolna!" I exclaimed. I dashed around the table and tackled Magpie. "Give it back!"
"My precious!" wailed Magpie, hugging the Crolna to his chest.
We rolled across the floor, not noticing Emesa had come in with a tall stack of flatbreads. "Hey, no fighting at the table!" she said sternly. "If that's the way you behave, you can eat in the stable!"
Much as I hated to, I broke apart from Magpie. "Sorry Emesa," I muttered as I returned to my seat. But I didn't take my eyes off of Magpie, who was now cradling the Crolna shamelessly.
Next to me, Hector was tucking into the flatbread. He was on his fifth piece already. Hadrian watched him, shaking his head. "He hath eaten me out of house and home," he muttered.
"Hey Hadrian," I whispered, "what's a stable?" I was wondering what Emesa had meant by eating in the stable.
"What's in a name?" Hadrian replied. "That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet."
That really didn't answer my question, but I gave up on getting a straight answer from Hadrian. I turned to my other side, where another guard was sitting. "What's a stable?" I asked him.
"I am just a guard, and not permitted to talk of such."
I sighed. But my thoughts were interrupted by a commotion on the other side of the table. Magpie had bitten into a piece of flatbread and now spat it out, looked repulsed. "Give me fish NOW and keep the nasty chips!" he ordered Emesa.
Emesa looked livid. "We are vegetarians! Get out of the dining room!" she fumed. "People like you bring only doom!"
Magpie threw down his flatbread and got up. I got up too, ready to follow him and force him to give me back the Crolna. But then I noticed my plate - still half full. Emesa would probably clear it away before I could get back. Magpie was walking out of the room and down the hallway. Frantically I looked back and forth between him and my plate. Crolna or breakfast? Crolna or breakfast?
Finally I sighed and sat back down to finish my breakfast. I'd find Magpie again later.
As I finished my bland vegetarian meal, Prusa entered the dining room. Snap, I'd forgotten about her. "Master Alaric!" she said, "I've been looking everywhere for you! You did not meet me in the Brazier room for your Yoga!" I began to think, perhaps if it got me out of my yoga session, losing my Crolna was all worth it. "You'll have to postpone your work and come have your lesson posthaste." I guess not.
"I've just had breakfast," I protested.
"I know, and you'll regret that once we get started," Prusa said coldly.
"I really need to find my Crolna first-" I tried again.
"Without inner peace, what good is the Crolna!" interrupted Prusa. "Yoga! Now!"
I groaned. Under my breath, I whispered to Hadrian, "help me. Please. You have to get me out of this Yoga session. You have no idea how boring it is."
Hadrian nodded and whispered back, "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers."
"Good idea," I whispered. Prusa had probably signed a contract to instruct me every day.
"Master Alaric." Said Prusa impatiently. I had no choice but to get up and follow her.
For the next excruciatingly dull hour, I hoped and hoped that Hadrian would rescue me. But he never did. I won't bore you with any more details about that hour.
When Prusa finally released me, I tried to ignore the fact that it was already 10am & I hadn't even begun the day's work yet; & I set out to find Magpie again. I didn't have far to look though, I noticed a green glow in the northeast corner of the Brazier room, and sure enough, Magpie was there with his feet in the pool.
I crept up behind him, and heard him singing (without much of a tune),
"The cold hard lands,
they bites our hands,
they gnaws our feet.
The rocks and stones
are like old bones
all bare of meat.
But stream and pool
is wet and cool
so nice for feet...."
But I didn't really expect him to make sense, so I wasn't surprised. I continued creeping up behind him, and began to pounce-
He must have sensed me! He dodged at the last second, leaving me to land in the pool. I roared in frustration. I was extremely wet. I saw Magpie running away through the fake wall, through the secret passage that led to his room. I got up as fast as I could and ran after him, dripping huge puddles of water from my layers of clothing. I could no longer see Magpie, but I ran down the passage through the secret door into his room. He wasn't there, but I saw a flicker of movement to the left and darted after it. I saw Magpie round the corner into the guest rooms suite.
I stopped and panted as I got to the guest rooms area, wondering which room Magpie was hiding in. All the doors were closed. So I tried the first one...
This room was a sauna, full of steam that was originating from a vaporizer in the middle. Through the steam, I could make out a figure lying in the bed. "Magpie?!" I asked.
The only response I got was a hoarse whisper, it was painful to hear. Curious (and not altogether convinced it wasn't Magpie), I approached the bed. It wasn't Magpie, it was the bard, Demodocus. He looked pale and honestly terrible. He seemed to be trying to tell me something, but all he could do was cough violently. I decided to get out of there quickly, before I caught this doom-illness too, and departed.
I checked two more guest rooms before I found Magpie, hiding under one of the beds. "Magpie!" I said, "give me back my Crolna, it isn't yours, it's mine, and I need it to protect Cythera!"
Magpie only wailed in response, so I dragged in out from under the bed and wrestled the crystal from him. Magpie rolled around the floor wailing. It was a pretty sorry sight, & I pitied him. So I summoned him some fish to eat. "Don't let Emesa find out," I told him, and left him to eat his fish.
Now that I finally had my Crolna back, I realized I had to start my day's work. Sigh. First I changed into some dry clothes, then I headed to the throne room. On the way, I came across Hadrian. Anger flooded me as I remembered how he had abandoned me in the Yoga session.
"HEY!" I yelled at Hadrian. "I've got a bone to pick with you!"
Hadrian gave me a puzzled look. "Mislike me not for my complexion-"
"This has nothing to do with your complexion!" I interrupted, very annoyed. "You were supposed to rescue me!"
"But, for my own part, it was Greek to me," he said.
I admit, I was so annoyed by then that I roared something like "ARRGH!"
The noise once again attracted Emesa. "King Alaric, are you okay? Is something bothering you today?"
"Just regular stuff," I admitted, rubbing my temples.
Emesa looked worried though. "You should go to your throne and relax. Or maybe you need to raise the tax?"
I decided to take her first suggestion and wandered toward the throne room. Once I approached the eastern side of LKH (the two rooms under construction are the easternmost rooms), I heard the construction worker's music. All day long, they blare loud, indecent music. I can hear it from the throne room. It is very discouraging. Still, sitting on the throne 9 hours a day is part of my job description, and I was already behind for the day.
The throne room guards seemed to have taken advantage of my absence to have a dance party. I never knew they were so groovy, usually they're so stiff and still. As soon as they noticed me, they froze and pretended as though they hadn't been doing anything. I decided to let it slide.
I'm now sitting on my throne, writing all this down to help distract myself from the terrible music. I do not write all this because it is unusual; indeed no, this has been a very typical morning, rather I write this in the hopes that after the men in white coats come to take me away, someone will read this and realize it's not my fault that I went insane. It isn't me, really, it's my staff members! Honest!
This post has been edited by BreadWorldMercy453 : 31 July 2011 - 03:22 PM
Jehezekel_bot last edited by
Selax last edited by
Again, I'm surprised that someone actually replied to this challenge. That aside, very nice work :) . I particularly enjoyed Hadrian and his reactions to the situation.
Two Jacks last edited by
Good job 453, amusing as always!