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The kingdom through the.., p.21
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       The Kingdom through the Swamp: The Courts Divided - Book 1, p.21

           Kell Inkston
 
CHAPTER NINETEEN: COMING AND GOING

  From the prisoner’s belongings bin hops out the small sheath. It’s the one that holds Everlock, which unknown to the fairies has been long-enchanted to be semi-sentient. Love misplaces her dimensional sheath very often, so she set that enchantment on it so that she could simply call it to come bouncing its way over. Yeinwyll did not notice until it is too late, and the sheath is now in Love’s hands. He quickly stumbles to his feet, ready to subdue the prisoner.

  Sheath in grip, Meeo pulls out Everlock and sets it on the ground. The pretty door stands up by itself, calmly inviting visitors. As Yeinwyll rushes up to the cell, Love opens Everlock and waves goodbye.

  “I’ll be right back,” she says with a smile as she steps through the door and closes it from behind. The ent reaches the cell just as the door is shut. Yeinwyll waves the cell’s rune key over the tree-made bars, causing the vines to move aside. He rushes in, opens the door, and is quickly met with a large group of mathematical equations playing rugby. He is tackled to the ground in the midst of the playing field, allowing Love enough time to grasp Yeinwyll’s key to her magic cuffs. She works through them in only a second, and her spells are restored. Before the ent can get back up, Love enters Everlock again, and closes it behind her; she’s certain a tough tree like him will be alright. Back in the dungeon, Love stores Everlock back into her spare dimension and makes her way up into the common halls.

  She’ll have to be stealthy to get the minions, but she’s certain it’ll be worth it.

  Love reaches into one of her many pockets and pulls out a small slip of paper and a calligraphy brush, already wet and inked. She splashes out a rough depiction of an eye, and tears the middle part of one of the sides to make two little legs. Meeo whispers a few words to the slip of paper, brushes it with her hand and, after a moment, it suddenly stands to attention.

  The small paper golem bows astutely to its creator, hops out of her hand, and steps right out into the hallway. With the useful magical link she established with her little paper helper, she can see what it sees.

  The paper golem spots no guards in the hallway, so Love steps out from the opening to the dungeon and allows the legged slip of paper to check the next group of halls. The Golem and Love enter a rhythm of the golem checking a hall, and then its master moving into it, ensuring Love is safe from the risk of being spotted, were she to be peeking around corners. What she didn’t think about, however, was that those who know her would likely find a small slip of paper running around to be equally suspicious to her walking about free from her cell. She spots a few guards, uses one spell or another to get past, and finally reaches the hall to the entry foyer, where Law is still guarding the minions with a sharp eye. Sitting next to him is Aoline; it seems that the five of them have loosed up a bit and are chatting.

  “I can’t say I’m really a fan of that sort of music, but I do have a fair appreciation for more of his contemporary works,” Combat Minion grunts to Aoline.

  “Huh, I’m surprised you know so much about him. How would you even listen to music, being a minion and all? I wouldn’t think you could get into concerts easily.”

  “Ahh, amidst his travels, Chaos brings back little goodies, one of them called a ‘CD’ player.”

  “Oh, I’ve heard of those. That high-tech music recorder thing that the O.E.L. has?”

  “Right; the sound quality is almost as good as hearing the real thing, truly. He brings back all sorts of CDs and plays them for us from time to time. As most of us work little, the tower can get a little boring, you understand.”

  “Right, except Combat Minion has horrible taste in music,” Cooking Minion says with a wry grin.

  “Shut up, you trash. Your stupid folk music is barbaric and without real artistry,” Combat Minion returns with an angered gaze.

  “Cute opinion, Combrat Minion. I wouldn’t expect you to understand the depth and cultural intricacies of folk if you can’t even cook a fish right.”

  “I told you that was an accident! That was not my fau--”

  “Quiet,” Law commands with a single word, instantly silencing the banter between the minions. He hears the district sound of paper running in the hall; and only one person he knows of would be capable of that.

  Should my dear Reader be wondering, the sound of animate paper moving on its own accord sounds fairly different to paper that is acted upon by exterior forces; less of a papery sound and more of a “pwik pwik” sort of noise- really a cute sound when one thinks about it. Should the Reader encounter any sort of animate paper golems that do not make a “pwik pwik” noise or some other equally-cute sound when traversing surfaces with their wittle wegs, the author would like to express warning. There is the possibility that your less-cute acquaintance could be, in fact, made of some non-existent material that would give them a really-nasty golem personality. So please, Reader, watch out for non-existent material cuts; I would hate for you to get hurt. Remember to sanitize any injuries you might sustain; your life is more precious than you know; you have a destiny to fulfill!

  As Law turns his gaze, Love quickly commands the piece of paper to stand sideways to his face- appearing invisible. Aoline and the minions however, at a different angle, can clearly see the little paper slip. The minions share a few sly gazes and nudge Aoline to act as if there’s nothing there. Hos’Rayull stares with an unwavering focus, right at the paper, for just a moment, and he turns to the others.

  “Weird,” Law says with a suspicious tone.

  “Yeah, wonder what that sound was?” Magic Minion says, doing her best to look as though she’s not finding this hilarious. Aoline stays quiet, and watches. There is a moment of silence, and then Cooking Minion speaks up.

  “Right, well as I was saying. Combat Minion has pretty much no taste in music, Aoline. I get it that you both like the same bands and all, but that doesn’t make up for how shi--”

  “pwik”

  Hearing the paper golem step up a bit closer, Law is now completely sure of what he heard, and who would have put such a thing in motion. Law leaves a miserable sigh.

  “Really great, Love. You know if the fairies realized you had a golem spying around the castle they’d probably blame us,” Law speaks out to the hallway. Love hums in the realization that she’s been found out and decides to just reveal herself. Meeo steps out into the hallway, and produces a cute, disarming wave of the hand.

  “Why, hello,” Love says with a bow of the head. Law stares blankly for a moment, and then throws the palm of his hand into his face.

  “Knight Love, what are you doing out of your cell?”

  “I’ve come for the minions. I have an idea.”

  “S’that?”

  “I’m going to use them for leverage to persuade Chaos to help with the necroma--” Love’s soft voice is instantly overpowered as Law and Cooking Minion both let loose ear-splitting laughs.

  “Funny, Knight Love. I suppose over all the years it’s been since you’ve raised me, you’ve never lost your- ... You’re serious, aren’t you?” Law says, noting the focused, serious gaze of Love.

  “I am, Rayull. I’m going to take them to Chaos.”

  “Wait. But you don’t even know how to get to him!”

  “I’ve found a way.”

  “Wh- ... but… do you even hear yourself? You’ll be murdered in a second! The moment he lays eyes on you!”

  “I think I’ll do alright, Hosey. Things like this, it’s our job, after all,” Love says solemnly and with her seemingly-everlasting smile. There is a short pause, and then Law refocuses his gaze.

  “No, this is wrong. Knights are supposed to adhere to the code of respect to the ways of the government. You need to go back into your cell.”

  “Hosey, I’m going to tell you this in confidence, Oa’s going to enter Liefland tonight. It’s going to try and take the seat at the high tea, but not before murdering the royal family.” Law pushes his hand to his chest as he looks aside, suddenly strapped for breath.

&
nbsp; “... That ... That’s not our problem, Meeo. Rules are our life, it’s what sets us apart from these shitty fairies, most of the Western Kingdoms, actually.”

  “Oh my, I don’t really have time for this, Hosey. It is our job. The rules that were laid out can have exceptions made. So please,” Love says, nodding her head gently. Law shakes his head in denial.

  “That’s not true, King would not give us rules that he would not expect us to follow.”

  “Do you really think King would stand idly by, following the ‘rules’ as innocents are endangered?”

  “You ... That’s not a fair question; he would be above the law.”

  “He made the law to show us the path, but I met King, and I know he expected us to use our love for others first, before we follow the law. The Knightly code was set down for knights who don’t know that yet, Hosey.”

  “B-no! You’re wrong! The Knightly code is the expression of love! We show our love and respect to others by our strict adherence to the code; it’s everything! Please, go back into your cell and let the necromancers come. It won’t be our fault ... you won’t get executed, and we will have done our best.”

  “But the matter with that is we won’t have done our best at all, Hosey. I care about you, the other knights, and the fairies, and if that means I’ll have to break out of my cell and look like a criminal to help, so be it. Now move aside, Hosey, I don’t want to have to spank you like I did when you were a hatchling,” she says with a smarmish, motherly hum.

  “You ... I ... I can’t believe ... . Okay, Meeo, do what you want,” Law says with a blank stare. He moves aside, each heavy step sounding like a lesser knight falling on the floor. He’s visibly shaking. Love nods, smiles, and steps forward. Only halfway to the minions, Law re-imposes himself in front of her. Love meets the dragon-kin’s eyes again.

  “Is something the matter?” she asks.

  “P-please, I can’t; not even for you. I don’t want your death on my conscience,” Law says as he reaches around his shoulder to grasp at his mace. The weapon weighing multiple Loves comes out into his grip, and Law promptly enters a combative stance. Love pauses a moment and then nods.

  “Alright, Hosey. I know you’re a bit set in your ways like this. If you want to stop me, you’re free to try,” Love says as she raises her fists and activates the alteration pathways along her muscles, giving her super-human strength at the cost of huge amounts of mana.

  “I’m ... damn ... please, at least make it look like I tried,” Rayull says. While his natural physical strength alone would win against her own, her magical knowledge places her pedestals above him. There is a slight pause, as Love looks down Law, both only doing what they feel best.

  “As you wish, Knight Law,” she says with a hint of crassness before they go for one-another.

  The “fight” is very short, because neither truly wants to hurt the other. Love casts a high-class electric spell, tazes the unmoving Law, and he falls over incapacitated. Love feels this is for the best, as it will hopefully appear to the fairies that it is only herself that has gone awry.

  “Awesome,” Aoline says bluntly, staring in awe having seen one of her superior knights shock the other with magic.

  “If anyone asks, Aoline, it was a long, drawn out fight, and I was cackling evilly the entire time while pulling a puppy around by its tail. Okay, minnies, follow me,” Love says as she motions the chained minions to come along with her. Cooking Minion laughs, overjoyed that he will soon be free and also delighted that Love had just electrocuted that annoying dragon-kin.

  “Right, let’s get on it!” Cooking Minion says with enthusiasm, the quickest of the three to get up and join Love. Magic Minion and Combat Minion do not speak, but are obviously pleased to leave.

  Love pulls out Everlock, and then Aoline speaks up.

  “Um, Knight Love, ma’am?” she begins. Love looks over.

  “Yes, Aoline?”

  “Let me show you that my training’s paid off. Please, let me come with you!” Aoline says, attempting to redeem her previous non-mistake. Love raises a brow and gives her a humoring, kind smile.

  “Oh, are you really certain? Law was not wrong when he said it would be very dangerous. Most everything you’ve heard about Chaos is true; he’s killed armies with his bare hands, and very instable in his head.”

  “I know ... but like you said, this sort of stuff is our job! It’s what Order would do if she were in this spot, right?”

  “Hmm ... I wonder just what she would do were she in my shoes. Anyhoo, we don’t have time for this. We need to--”

  “Meeo?” Order says, having just turned from the side of the hall to check on Law.

  Meeo opens the door, dodges the frantic, humiliated Yeinwyll dashing out to escape, pushes Aoline inside and lets the minions rush in.

  “Sorry,” she says before she shuts the door behind her and locks it. Yeinwyll takes just a moment to make sure he’s back at Liefland, faints, and only awakens from a coma weeks later; his sense of reality severely deluded by the traumatic encounter with the undefeated rugby-math-equation-champions.

 
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