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       The Kingdom through the Swamp: The Courts Divided - Book 1, p.22

           Kell Inkston
 
CHAPTER TWENTY: THE OVERLORD AND HIS CHILDREN

  “Safe” behind Everlock, Love, Aoline, and the minions promptly hear Order rapping on the door at the other side.

  “Meeo! What are you doing?” Order asks from the other side of the door. Thing about most transplanar doors is that you can’t force them open if locked, only another realmancer would have a chance to force it open.

  “Worry not, Ranalie. I have a plan,”

  “What!? What about us? They’ll say we helped your escape! You’re ... listen, I know I don’t want you to die, but if you escape they’ll declare war!”

  “Perhaps, but it’s the only way I can see to save everyone.”

  “Meeo, hundreds of thousands could die in your place. Open the door.”

  “... No I’m good.”

  “Meeo Letlind, open the damn door!”

  “Nuh uh.”

  “Meeo! Omniverse forgive!”

  “Relax, just keep the fairies calm and I’ll be back before you know it. The thing I wanted to tell you, by the way, is that Aoline and Lain are rigged with magic explosive spells.”

  “Wait, the fairies thought that was a lie when the two of them admitted to it. So, it’s real? What kind of spell is on them?”

  “The kind that would detonate if tampered with. Oa will activate it if it sees any knights at the tea. It’s going to try and kill the fairies.”

  “... So that’s why ... I see. Alright. Meeo?”

  “Yes?”

  “I’m not sure what you plan to do, but I ... I trust you. Do your best, and please fix this. You’re the only one in a position to do anything.”

  “Thank you, Ranalie. I’ll probably see you in a few hours.”

  “... Yeah, alright. Come back soon.”

  “Bye.”

  “Good bye,” Order says, ending their conversation.

  Love turns to the others, and smiles before she snaps her fingers to release the minion’s magic bindings.

  “Hmm, alright then. Let’s be on our way,” Love says as she leads the way down the hill holding Everlock and across the equation fields to where she saw the cloud with Chaos’ door. The trip, surprisingly enough, is quick and without danger for the group. They make it to the cloud in due time, especially after Love told everyone to start walking in the opposite direction. Love then instructs everyone to hold their breaths, and they float up to the cloud with ease.

  The door is a frightening blacker-than-pitch color, with an almost heavenly-white knob; a bit reminiscent of the owner, Love thinks. Across the door is an uncanny depiction of a pure white crane, dipping its foot into an ink-black lake. She steps up to the door and knocks.

  There is a short wait and then the door opens slowly; the one at the other side is a wide-eyed Minion with the curliest antennae Love has ever seen.

  “Um, hello?” the minion greets with a nervous tone, peeking from the side of the door.

  “Why hello ther--”

  “It’s us, open up,” Combat Minion says over Love with a no-nonsense expression about him. The Minion at the other side looks over the three minions, and then the two knights.

  “Uh, sorry, but aren’t you with Royal Knights?” she asks with a whimper, afraid of Combat Minion blowing up at her.

  “Yeah, so?”

  “Well, aren’t we supposed to ... you know ... fight them?”

  “That’s his decision, not yours,” Combat Minion says as he crosses his arms. The Doorway Minion hums nervously, and whimpers again before responding.

  “Oh um ... can you wait here a moment please?”

  “... What?”

  “I need to go ask him.”

  “He’ll say yes.”

  “I gotta anyway. Be right back, okay? Don’t go anywhere.”

  “We won’t,” Combat Minion says blandly as the other Minion closes the door and goes elsewhere.

  Love, Aoline, and the minions stand patiently on the cloud for a few moments, and then they can hear a voice from behind.

  “Hell’re you?” says the unknown something. Love and company turn to see a tall, professional-looking Minion, missing only a few inches in height from the great High Overlord. A sharp, dominating chill runs down Aoline’s spine; she wonders for a moment if this is Chaos.

  “Mmm, hello there, I’m among Chaos’ newest possessions, apparently. I’m simply returning to bring back some minions and a friend that’s bee--”

  “Bullshit. Get inside,” the tall Minion commands as he waves his hand, quickly sending the black door flying open right in front of the previous Minion.

  “O- oh! You’re back,” the lady Minion greets with a smile.

  “Yeah, found these ones outside. Looks like knights,” the tall one responds as he forces the five into the door. The inside is a room constructed by bricks from a rare plane of existence, lit by all sorts of arcane devices. They are now inside one of Chaos’ many mageriums, inside only one of his many dark towers that span across the Omniverse.

  “Right, I talked to them. He gave his permission to bring them in,” the curly-antennaed Minion says as she shuts the door behind the group.

  “Great, I’ll take them from here. Keep watch. There might be more coming,” the tall Minion says as he ushers the five into the stairwell and downwards. The lady Minion fires off a quick, casual salute as she returns to her couch, placed there for her comfort specifically by Chaos.

  The group descends several steps, passing Minion after Minion, each duteously rushing about the castle carrying one thing or another- all ranging from plates of food to multi-colored wombats.

  “You three are in big trouble,” the tall Minion says as they reach the tower’s ground floor.

  “But we didn’t do anythi-”

  “Shut up, cookling. He decides that,” the tall one says, quickly running off Cooking Minion’s attempt at justification. The group is led outside the dark-bricked tower, and out onto one of the last atmospheres the knights would have expected.

  Now outside, they hear the roar of a crystal-blue ocean, they smell the aromas of salt and sea all about them, and can feel the embrace off warm, fine sand wrapping around their feet. They’re on an idyllic beach island, with Chaos’ Overlord tower shoved right into the white sand.

  “Well, this is a nice place for a tower,” Love says with a smile, unvexed by the tall Minion’s attitude. The group is lead up to a beach lounge chair, with a cute little white table next to it covered with teas of different sorts. Aoline’s chills only get worse as she spots the blacker than pitch outline of some creature laxing about on the chair. To her, the figure’s presence is palpable, as though she could feel its nearness.

  The tall Minion steps up to the side of the chair, and kneels.

  “My lord, I’ve found these ones at your negative space door. Two of them look to be knights and the other three minions, no doubt traitors who lead them right here,” the tall one says as he shoves the three minions forward. The figure lying about is silent for a moment, and then reaches a perfectly-dark hand up to its face to remove a pair of sun glasses.

  “Oh? Is that so?” a calm, refined voice erupts next to the tall Minion, shaking Aoline to her very core.

  If Winter had a voice, it would sound as this.

  “Yes, my lord. I don’t know how they got into negative space, probably some Kanvanian magical trickery.”

  “Well, I suppose I should take a look at these intruders then,” the figure says before getting out of his chair.

  It’s Chaos, and he looks happy as usual. The High Overlord of Dimension #13, Love and Aoline’s own plane of existence, steps up to the five and looks them over.

  “So, Negative Space Exploration and Research Minion,” Chaos begins after he finishes looking at and through each of the five.

  “Yes, sir?” the tall minion says.

  “Did they say anything before you apprehended them?” Negative Space Exploration and Research Minion scowls.

  “They said they were planning on killing yo-”

 
“No we didn’t!” Cooking Minion quickly butts in.

  “Oh, my, is that so?” Chaos asks the same time as Cooking Minion receives a swift, commanding kick to the face from Negative Space Exploration and Research Minion.

  “Argh! You ass!” Cooking Minion exclaims, holding his face as he rolls about in the dirt.

  Negative Space Exploration and Research Minion looks back to Chaos. “They lie, my lord. Just look at them and their evil, putrid, knight-loving faces.”

  “Oh, really?” He says outwardly with a look of curiosity- Chaos cannot say he’s every affirmed what a “knight-loving face” looks like.

  “Yes, my lord! Why, they were even talking about how much they disliked following commands from higher pow-”

  “Mmm, sorry to interrupt, but I have something to say,” Love butts in. Negative Space Exploration and Research Minion promptly slaps Love across the face the moment he gets near.

  “Quiet you stupid human meatba-”

  “Negative Space Exploration and Research Minion,” Chaos says, instantly stopping his Minion’s chastising.

  “Yes, sir?”

  “I would be interested in what they have to say.”

  Negative Space Exploration and Research Minion looks as though his favorite present was just stolen in a game of “Dirty Santa”. “Wh-why, sir?”

  “Because you obviously do not want them to talk, which is rather suspicious.”

  “S-sir! I’d never-”

  “Silence. I remember how angry you became at Cooking Minion for stealing back that taco that was rightfully his,” Chaos says with an almost parental tone of collectiveness. Negative Space Exploration and Research Minion begins shaking as he steps aside. “Very good, now then, Cooking Minion, please tell me anything that’s important,” Chaos says, giving the rare honor of his undivided attention to Cooking Minion.

  Cooking Minion gives Negative Space Exploration and Research Minion a single glance, ensuring him that he’s going to pay a million fold for kicking him in the face.

  “Well, gladly, my highest lord of limitless brilliance and domination. You see, we were captured by the Royal Knights, and these two here saved us. We’re very grateful to them, but that aside, my dear Overlord, we have intensely important news for you,” Cooking Minion says with the flames of vengeance blazing in his large, bright eyes.

  Chaos strokes his sleek, void-black chin. “Oh?”

  “Yes. You see, Negative Space Exploration and Research Minion betrayed our presence to The Knights and has been working with them in secret!” Cooking Minion explains, being a skilled-enough speaker to use the magic words “betrayed” and “Knights”. By this point, Negative Space Exploration and Research Minion is trembling in horror; he knows what’s coming next.

  “P-please, my sire! Don’t listen to anything he--”

  “Silence, Negative Space Exploration and Research Minion! Go on, my good Cooking Minion. Tell me, do you know why he is working against me?” Chaos asks.

  “Yes, I do!” Cooking Minion says before delivering one last glare at Negative Space Exploration and Research Minion. “He silenced the three of us by leading The Knights to our capture. He didn’t want you to find out that, behind your back, he called you ... a black bunny!” Cooking Minion says with a wide, destructively-happy grin.

  Chaos is silent a moment as Negative Space Exploration and Research Minion, just a minute ago confident and composed, devolves now into a trembling mess of fear.

  “Is this true?” Chaos asks, looking at the other four.

  “It is, sir,” Combat Minion says bluntly.

  “Yes, it is!” Magic Minion says with a cross of humor and fake sorrow.

  “Mmm, quite true, my lord,” Love says, joining in.

  “... Y-yes, my… my lord,” Aoline says, face slowly working into a blush calling the nemesis of The Knights her “lord”.

  “And that’s not all,” Cooking Minion says, getting Chaos’ attention once more.

  “... Really?” Chaos asks, seeming completely calm.

  “Yes, sir. He said it while sitting with Royal Knight Order ... as they were both drinking ... coffee,” Cooking Minion says, stating the one beverage Chaos cannot stand.

  Pardon me. In case the Reader is wondering, The Author has no problem with coffee, though he can certainly agree with Chaos that tea is the preferable drink of the intellectually-discerning life form. That said, there is a time for coffee as these is beer, and water, and wine, though I feel we can all agree that most of the time, it is time for tea. Now then:

  There is a long silence on the beach, as the Beach-Party-Facilitation Minions, Swimsuit Contest Minions, Seafood-Chef Minions, Aquatic Ops Minions, and at least thirty other different Minion varieties stop whatever their doing to witness the utter downfall of one of the well-disliked Operator-Class Minions. Chaos slowly turns his head to look at Negative Space Exploration and Research Minion, who is paralyzed in ultimate terror.

  “Well well well. So you really thought you could call me a black bunny and get away with it?”

  “N-no! Your antennae are really super cool! Sir, ple--”

  “Do you think my antennae are ears, is that what you think?”

  “Sir! I beg of yo--”

  “And all while drinking coffee!?”

  “No! It’s all a lie pleas--”

  “With the meatbag of meatbags, my nemesis, Order?!”

  “PleasesirdontkillmeIdontwannadi-”

  “Hmm, I suppose we will have to do something about this. Such disrespect calls for a punishment to ensure my respect is reinstated properly.”

  “PLEASEPLEASEOHPLEASEMYLORDPLEA--”

  “I think this would be a good time for-” Chaos stops his sentence for dramatic effect as Negative Space Exploration and Research Minion whimpers in terror. “-time for,” the Overlord says again, obviously enjoying this.

  “-time, for the Minion Wagon!”

  “NOOOOOOOOOO!” Negative Space Exploration and Research Minion cries as he falls to his knees amidst the frantic cheering and gasps of the minions surrounding. Love and Aoline share confused glances.

  “YEEEEEEEES!” Chaos returns with a grim, excited grin.

  “PLEASE, OH GOD OF ANY, SAVE ME--”

  “OH NEGATIVE SPACE EXPLORATION AND RESEARCH MINION!” Chaos says as he holds up his hand to his antennae as if to cup it to an ear.

  “Wh- ... what?”

  “I CERTAINLY HOPE YOU ARE READY FOR THE MINION WAGON!”

  “NO SIR PLEASE PLEASE NOT THE MINION WAGON! ANYTHING BUT THE MINION WAGON!” Negative Space Exploration and Research Minion cries as the minions on the beach begin chanting “Minion Wagon!” over and over.

  “I THINK THAT IS THE ONLY WAY TO SOLVE THE PROBLEM. OFF TO THE MINION WAGON!” Chaos says as he grasps Negative Space Exploration and Research Minion by the wrist and begins dragging him into the tower. Negative Space Exploration and Research Minion flails wildly to escape his Overlord’s grasp, but to no avail against the rock-crushing force constraining him. Every Minion on the beach skips, sings, dances, and moves toward the tower along with Love and Aoline, who are both terrified and fascinated by the concept of a Minion Wagon.

  Chaos drags Negative Space Exploration and Research Minion all the way down five floors, all while the poor minion grasps at anything to save him from his dire fate. They finally arrive at a large, crimson door in one of the basement floors, securely locked with multiple magic devices. At the other side, everyone can hear the demonic wailing and moaning of what sounds like souls being tormented in the deepest depths of the most dark and fiery hells. Chaos waves his free hand over the devices, and they come loose in obedience to their master, allowing the door to slowly, menacingly swing open in anticipation.

  Inside the room is nothing but darkness, with the exception of a wooden horse-drawn wagon, flooded in a mysterious sanguine light. At this moment Negative Space Exploration and Research Minion lets out the loudest screech in his life as all of the other minions cheer with
limitless glee. The Ambient Atmosphere Creation Minions quickly get to work in jeering, playing spindly violins and screaming along with the Minion Wagon’s next victim.

  Chaos drags him in, spares one grinning glance to the audience outside and then closes the door.

  Negative Space Exploration and Research Minion screams with limitless, fathomless terror for only a few seconds more… and then silence. Chaos steps out from the door with an unconscious Negative Space Exploration and Research Minion in his arms, locks the door back, and turns to the crowd. On Negative Space Exploration and Research Minion’s features is the incarnation of terror; eyes and mouth wide with fathomless, eldritch, soul-destroying horror.

  “He has paid for his pathetic, laughable crimes. Let this be an example to any dweebish minion who would ever dare trespass on my unquestionable law. I feed you, give you a home, and show you the wonders of the world; I expect you to respect my simple requests. Should you not, you too can expect the Minion Wagon, just like Negative Space Exploration and Research Minion here. Now, back to your posts, I’ll handle our “intruders” myself,” Chaos says as he promptly plops Negative Space Exploration and Research Minion on the floor. The surrounding minions flood their Overlord with compliments and re-declarations of loyalty before they all set off back to their assigned jobs, some taking just a second more to step on Negative Space Exploration and Research Minion’s unconscious body as they ascend the stairs- every minion present is thrilled that this dickass little bitch got what was coming to him- pardon my minionese.

  Chaos turns to the remaining five, Love, Aoline, and the three captured minions. He smiles.

  “Now then, I suppose I should take care of you all, then,” the Overlord says, sending another debilitating chill down Aoline’s spine. She remembers to take this moment to hide her Knightly seal, unpinning it from her waist and quickly shoving it into her pocket; it is only now that Aoline notices Love hasn’t had hers on for as far back as she can recall.

  “Hmm, I suppose you should,” Love says with a courteous nod.

  “Minion Acquisition Minion!” Chaos calls out as he gestures the five to come along with him. Quickly a short, skinny minion steps down from the stairs and addresses the Overlord.

  “Yes sir!” he says the second he delivers a jaunty salute, folding an arm against his chest in pride.

  “Get me the Reception-Minion Squad. We have guests,” Chaos says, giving the two Knights a kindly look.

  “Right away!” Minion Acquisition Minion says before rushing off.

 
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