Princess Simiel Buduar, scion of the Royal House of Buduar and future ruler of Hypnosia, was practically bouncing around with excitement.
The twelve year old aristocrat gazed at herself in the mirror which dominated the back wall of her dressing room. Blond curls, her hairstyle of the week, shone like a halo around her face, complementing the pink dress she had chosen to wear that day. Simiel's appearance would give any outsider the illusion that she was a perfect little angel; just what she wanted.
To her parents, King Valitris and Queen Uatrin, Simiel was a perfect little angel. How could she not be? She was a princess after all. It was simply unheard of that a princess would be anything less than perfect.
Simiel gave her reflection one more smile before she headed for the hallway. Today was a special day regarding her future, for today she would be meeting a new addition to her royal party.
As she entered the hallway, Simiel was met with the only member that had been chosen to be a part of her royal party so far; Serafyr Halfdrake. The young semi-reptilian was the descendant of the legendary Halfdrake-family, though Simiel suspected that Serafyr would not amount to the standards of his famed and heroic ancestors.
Serafyr glared at Simiel. "Not you again! Man, I was having a great day and now you show up."
"Newsflash, Sera, I live here. So I can show up wherever I please."
"Don't call me Sera. My sister calls me that, and I hate her even more than I hate you. You girls are all stupid."
"Well, boys are made in a stupid factory." Simiel crossed her hands over the chest she wished would grow faster.
"I came out of an egg, you dumb girl."
"Yeah, a stupid egg."
"That does it! You're so gonna get it now." Serafyr reached for the sword that was strapped onto his back.
Simiel watched the pathetic effort in amusement. The Sword of Might, a Halfdrake family heirloom, was almost as tall as Serafyr himself. There was no way he could unsheathe it, let alone use it. Often the tip of the sheath would scrape the floor as the young warrior stomped his way down the numerous corridors of the Castle of Anonymous, usually late for some tutorial.
After plenty of reaching and grunting, Serafyr gave up and settled to shaking his fist at Simiel. "You're getting off easy this time. But when I get taller, you're gonna be in trouble."
"By that time I'll have found a real warrior. Not some dork with a freaky tail."
"Dork? I'm so telling you're father!"
Simiel smirked. "Go ahead, see if he believes you."
In addition to her carefully styled hairdo, Simiel also possessed a cunning mind. She was not beyond making snide comments and engaging in random acts of mischief causing trouble to the unsuspecting royal staff.
Simiel's mind had been moulded through years at Saint Hubris, a private school where privileged pupils spent more time stabbing each other in the back than actually studying. As the Heir Apparent to the Hypnosian throne, Simiel was always ahead of everyone else in scheming and backstabbing. In the end she had been discharged from the school on account of her being “far too smart”.
And since she no longer had to actively defend her position as the undisputed Master of Mischief, Simiel could concentrate on building a public image befitting of a modern and media sexy would-be ruler. If only she did not have to deal with the masculine inanity that was Serafyr.
"He'll believe me!" Serafyr declared.
"Why?" Simiel laughed. "Cause you're a hero?"
"I will be one day."
"You'll see, I'll be the best hero this country's ever seen. I'll be tall and handsome and all the bad guys'll be afraid of me and all the girls will think I'm cool."
"I thought you didn't like girls." Simiel cocked an eyebrow.
Simiel frequently enjoyed the manner in which boys tended to contradict themselves. One of the few joys of having Serafyr around was getting him to talk himself into a corner and watch him squirm.
"I don't. But I have to start liking them eventually."
"You don't have to."
"I can't start liking boys! Gays can't be big brave heroes."
Simiel rolled her eyes. "Freaking homophobe."
"Yeah you are! What you said is totally homophobic."
As the argument over sexual orientations and prejudices went on, the pair walked towards a drawing room that functioned as the princess' official greeting room. The room, like many others in the Castle, was designed with extravagant details. Intricate tapestries, the size of a single wall, were framed with gold. A painting, depicting a very lewd divine drinking party, decorated the ceiling. A mirror, with huge candelabras on each side, hung above a marble fireplace. The furniture was made of the most exclusive materials and looked so expensive that most people did not dare use them.
Simiel, accustomed to ultimate luxury, sat down on a chaise longue and turned to look at the doors on the other side of the room expectantly.
Meanwhile Serafyr leaned against the wall and kicked the carpet with the tip of his boot.
Simiel listened as the boot struck the carpet again and again, finally she directed a cold look at the teenage semi-reptile. “Will you quit that?”
“Why should I?”
“Cause isn’t a real reason, my mom said so.” Serafyr pouted his lips.
“Fine.” Simiel sighed. “Cause I’m the princess, and if you don’t quit it, I’m gonna have your head cut off!”
“You can’t do that. Your dad abolished capital punishment.” Serafyr stuck out his tongue.
Before Simiel had a chance to respond, the doors in front of her opened. The Royal Chamberlain, Pantworthington-Smith, walked in, clicked his heels together, and bowed at Simiel.
“Your Royal Highness, your future Royal Court Wizard has arrived.”
Simiel smiled, this was it, she would have her very own wizard at last. “Send him in.”
“Very well, Your Highness.” Pantworthington-Smith moved left of the doors. “Presenting the Honourable Azaril Lamentamagicka of Nowhere.”
Simiel craned her neck. She had never seen a Nowherian up close before. The last Royal Court Wizard, Ezramil Lamentamagicka, had left his post long ago after he discovered that he could make far more money on the private sector. His resignation had taken place just before Simiel’s birth and since the painfully mysterious Nowherians usually stayed in the region of Nowhere, there had not been much opportunity to meet one.
A brief fanfare was played outside the room and soon a diminutive heap of fabric came in. The top of the heap moved from side to side, then the bundle walked left and came in contact with Pantworthington-Smith’s legs.
The chamberlain looked exasperated and he bent down to talk to the top of the three feet tall heap. “Young sir, perhaps you should lift your hood.”
The heap's top shook. “No way.”
Pantworthington-Smith rubbed the bridge of his nose. “Really, young sir, there is no need to be shy.”
The heap did nothing.
“I shall retrieve some candy from the kitchen,” Pantworthington-Smith said, with a hopeful ascend in his tone.
“You promise?” the heap asked in a small voice.
A pair of tiny, green skinned, hands came out from either side of the heap and moved up and took hold of a particular fold. The hands pulled the fold back, revealing a thick darkness. From what Simiel had heard, the first royal wizard of the Lamentamagicka line, Ortasil the Magical, had begun the habit of hiding one's face centuries ago, after an unfortunate acne-curse. Out of sympathy the whole of Nowhere had taken up the practice and it was now considered an important tradition.
Simiel squinted to see, if there was anything within the darkness. Soon enough two huge eyes opened inside the hood and a tuff of green hair fell down between them. As the hands went down, a pair of large ears, the same shade of green as the hands, popped up from the hood.
When met with this odd sight, Simiel let out a shriek of pure ecstasy. “Oh my gods! It’s so cute!”
Simiel sprang up from the chaise longue and latched onto the Nowherian.
“I’m gonna love him and hug him and call him Gapthor!” Simiel buried her face into the soft fabric of the Nowherian's robe, spewing out a string of high-pitched nonsense.
“Um... My name’s Azaril, not Gapthor.”
Simiel looked down. “Oh. You sure you wouldn’t change it?”
The Nowherian fidgeted in Simiel’s grasp. “I like Azaril.”
“Oh well.” Simiel shrugged. “I can still love you and hug you, can’t I?”
“I suppose so...”
“I see you’re getting along well,” Pantworthington-Smith said. “If you will excuse me, I have some candies to pick up.”
“Yeah, yeah, whatever,” Simiel said.
The chamberlain bowed and closed the doors behind him. After a while Simiel, still cradling Azaril, thought she could hear something. She turned around and saw Serafyr holding his sides, his face red and strained.
“Are you okay?”
Serafyr opened his mouth. His head flipped backwards, as a series of riotous howls rang across the drawing room.
“That!” Serafyr pointed at Azaril. “That’s supposed to be a wizard?”
“Who’s that?” Azaril asked, while Serafyr fell over in convulsions of hilarity.
“Serafyr, he’s an idiot.” Simiel released the wizard and went over to Serafyr, giving him a firm kick to the side. “Once in your life, try not being a total moron.”
Serafyr was tearing up. “I... That... Oh my gods... I can’t believe it!”
“Is he alright?” Azaril made his way next to Simiel. “Should his face be that colour?”
“Don’t worry.” Simiel waved her hand. “He always looks like that when he’s overcome with idiocy.”
“Hey!” Serafyr stopped laughing and got up to his knees. “Don’t call me an idiot. I’m not the one with a green shrimp for a royal wizard.”
Azaril tilted his head. “I’m not a shrimp.”
“Yeah, you are.” Serafyr flashed an evil smirk.
Azaril’s eyes turned into slits as he stared at the young warrior. “You’re mean, and I don’t like you.”
Simiel looked down at the wizard, she was liking him more by the minute. Not only was he cute beyond belief, he had good taste too.
“Are you trying to pick a fight?”
“So, you’re not just a shrimp, you’re a wimp. Poor little wizzy can’t stand up for himself! Boo hoo!” Serafyr straightened himself up, proud of his achievement.
Silently, Simiel prayed to the gods that one day Serafyr would mature, even a little. However, she knew better than to get her hopes up. What were the chances of someone like Serafyr ever becoming an actual warrior, let alone a hero that would cause fear among Hypnosia’s most villainous residents?
“Bullies only do what they do to mask their own insecurities.” Azaril smiled from within the depths of his hood.
Simiel suppressed a chuckle and sat down. She wanted to see where this exchange was headed to.
“I don’t have any insecurities,” Serafyr said.
“Then what’s that sword for? Are you trying to compensate for something?”
Serafyr squealed in indignity. “I don’t need to compensate for anything! That’s my Sword of Might with which I’m going to defeat evil one day.”
“Good for you. But I’d suggest that you concentrate on that, rather than teasing someone like me. I might be a super powerful wizard, but I’m hardly worth your time.”
“Super powerful, you? You don't even have a beard.”
"I have a beard, but it's in my luggage and it's all itchy. Anyway, you don't need one to be super powerful."
Serafyr snorted. “Yeah right.”
Azaril’s right hand disappeared inside the sleeve of his oversized robe. As the hand reappeared, Simiel saw a long staff coming out of the sleeve. The staff was a gnarly length of wood and its head looked suspiciously like a screaming face.
“I’ll prove it.” Azaril held the staff above his head. “Rosaliea eruptus!”
As Azaril spoke the magical words, a cloud of pink smoke surrounded Serafyr. Simiel gasped in surprise when the smoke vanished and Serafyr stood there, his usual red outfit was now an outrageous shade of pink.
“Oh.” Azaril looked at his staff, perplexed. “I was supposed to make some flowers appear.”
Simiel got up and wrapped her arms around Azaril. “I love you.”
“Thank you.” Azaril was still looking at his staff. “Wonder what I did wrong... Guess I’ll learn that one eventually.”
“What am I wearing?” Serafyr screamed. “What in the Pits happened to my clothes? Not again...”
Simiel smiled down at Azaril. “I’m sure you’ll learn it. Though I like the way it turned out, it‘s more interesting this way.”
Indeed, Simiel thought, there would be plenty of interesting times ahead.
Stories and artwork Copyright 2009-2010 by Mette Pesonen. Copying in whole or in part is prohibited. However, you may link to this page.
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