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The kingdom through the.., p.23
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       The Kingdom through the Swamp: The Courts Divided - Book 1, p.23

           Kell Inkston
 
CHAPTER TWENTY ONE: TWO OF A KIND

  The three minions and two Knights are led into one of the tower’s upper floors, a dining room that would appear too big for the tower to contain if viewed from outside. Love expects that Chaos has cast all manners of dimensional-magic spells upon the floors and rooms, probably to keep the building compact and uniform from the outside while having three castle’s worth of space on the inside. The five are promptly shown to their own seats at an excruciatingly-long royal table, embossed with gold and precious gems along the entire length.

  Love spots that one of the end sides of the table is slightly browner than the others; she wouldn’t be surprised if he’s used this to kill someone.

  It’s rumored that one day Chaos was walking through a graveyard devoted to people he killed and as he walked through and read the graves, he realized that most of the people he destroyed were killed by either his sword or his fists. After that walk he decided to be more creative, to give more people the grace of an interesting death, as if that makes it any better.

  Chaos takes a seat at the other side of the table as his minions swarm around, setting down multiple plates and eating wares, everything required for a kingly feast. To Chaos’ hand is delivered a delicate glass filled to the brim with a golden tea of some unknown and rare variety, and he takes a sip, not spilling a single drop. Chaos waits for a few seconds more when the Instrumental Harmony and Ambiance Creation Minion squad begins playing out a charming piece of dining music. At that, he begins.

  “Very good, now then. I have the feeling you all have come to tell me more than the betrayal of Negative Space Exploration and Research Minion,” Chaos begins with a wide, grin, his jaws stretching and curling around his face in an unnatural, almost cartoon-like manner. Aoline looks over to Love; it’s time to make the case.

  “Well, my lord, I feel as though I’ve run across some knowledge that would be in your best interest,” Love says, choosing her words carefully. It seems as though Chaos is cycling through one of his more forgetful phases, and as such unaware of the rather-obvious fact that the two of them are Royal Knights. She’ll have to keep it this way if she can, or things could get very ugly very fast; as long as he doesn’t remember, everything will be fine.

  “Oh?”

  “My lord, are you aware of an event known as ‘The High Tea’?” questions Love, quickly subduing Chaos’ expression a bit as he combs his mind for the information.

  “Hmm, let me see ... I believe it is a sort of fairy thing in which one of the ... oh, you would know, yes?” Chaos says, looking to the side. Love’s learned from the few times she’s spoken to him that this is a subconscious tell that he’s aware he’s forgotten something.

  “It is when one of the legendary first realm creatures descends upon the mortal plane, my lord. They allow only one person to visit with them, in which they can gain knowledge beyond anything in our own reality, should they wish it.”

  “Well, that sounds interesting,” he says as he refocuses his glare upon the knights. “So are you, perhaps, saying anyone can go in as long as they are the first?”

  “Precisely, my lord.”

  “Ahh! So I could infiltrate their fairy land and steal into the first-realmer’s portal before those detestable fairies ... hmm, fairies, I really do dislike them. Those elves and their ridiculous manner of speech, the spooks with their laughable displays of gaudiness, the high fairies themselves with their antiquated speech and close friendship to ... to my greatest foes ... what were they called? ... something with a K ...”

  “Um, Kecromancers?” Love suggests.

  “Oh ...No, that doesn’t quite sound right. I know of necromancers, but not kecromancers; those sound like very silly creatures. Hmm ... they always run around with their armor ... Let’s see ... Lead by a ... a ‘Redemption’ character. My, it seems as though I’ve really forgotten.”

  “Well, sir, these mysterious things aside. You must know, the necromancers are plotting to take the seat at The High Tea before you!”

  “... Are they now?”

  “Mmm, yes, I hear they’re planning on asking the first realmer for a term of offence even greater than calling you a ... well, you know.”

  Chaos’ gaze sharpens like a poised blade. “Indeed.”

  “Should they succeed in gaining a new term to call you, you can expect they will spread this new term all throughout the Omniverse.”

  “Ahh, and we certainly cannot have that,” Chaos says as his smile gains wry edges at the ends.

  “No, my lord, and The High Tea happens tonight!” Love says with a nod and her best “serious” expression.

  “Well well well then, it would certainly be a shame were some pathetic sacks of meat and gears to hop into a realm beyond comprehension simply to get a word they will not even use because I would kill them before they can open their mouths. Yes, brilliant. I have made my decision! I will be the one to take the seat at The High Tea! What is more, I will also have an admirable shot at that ... hmm, its name ... yes, that Oa character! That coward! Always hiding in its holes as it grows fat on humans and trees and machines! Yes! And what is more even then, once I go to the tea, I can ask for the knowledge to destroy my greatest enemies, the ... the ...” Chaos is silent a moment, and again looks to the side.

  The minions share a few sly, knowing gazes, well-used to this, and Love stays motionless with the utmost of politeness. Aoline just stares, entirely confused in this seemingly dreamlike event to her.

  “Just what are they ... Cooking Minion,” Chaos addresses.

  “Eh, yes sir?” Cooking Minion answers.

  “What is the name of the minion that I ask when I want to remember something?”

  “Oh, Notes and Information Restatement Minion, sir.”

  “Ahh, very good. Note and Information Restatement Minion, you can come out from behind over there,” Chaos says with a suave beckoning of the finger, recalling that one Minion of his that is always just out of the common eye’s reach. From the side of the room steps up Chaos’ tallest and most important Minion. Before she was infested with Chaos’ essence and made a minion, she was called To’u.

  “As you wish, sir,” she says, her own lunar smile subdued and intelligent-looking in comparison to Chaos’ enormous, horrific maw.

  “Now, tell me just who are my greatest enemies? They’re just at the back of my mind, I’ve dreamed of them for ages, I know ... I just cannot recall,” Chaos says, tapping his forehead in thought. Notes and Information Restatement Minion nods with a smile, and opens her mouth.

  “Hrm, my lord, is it really that important?” Love asks, doing her best to look calm amidst what could be her final moments.

  “Why yes, I would say it is. Notes and Information Restatement Minion, their name, please,” Chaos says, pushing things along. Notes and Information Restatement Minion nods.

  “The Royal Knights of the Old Kingdom of Reinen, sir.”

  “Ahh yes! The Royal Knights! Those despicable meat… cabbage… things! Yes, those walking contradictions, vying for political power while ‘not accepting payment of any kind’; trusting the goodness of human-like beings, rather than controlling them like they truly desire in their inner-most souls. They simply do not understand; humanity calls out for dominance, they need it, the same way they need air to breathe!” Chaos exclaims with fiery poise, standing up from his seat as quickly as he had sat down. He begins pacing, eying Love and Aoline with sword-like sharpness as he begins his calm step around to their side of the table. With tea in hand, he continues:

  “Those Knights, those foolish Knights, with their armor and their order and their Order and their symbols and their ... seals… yes,” he says after stealing a quick glance over at Aoline. “Those adorable little badges, as if it would command any respect outside of the Western Kingdoms. These, these foolish bags of meat and emotion cannot even reach out of their own dimension. It strikes me as ironic, that the only time I find them outside of their realm, is when they’re running away from
their responsibilities, their ‘holy days’, their ‘vacations’. Yes, they are enormous cowards, and they point their fingers at me?! HA!” Chaos continues, now directly behind Aoline, who is clenching to her chair for dear life.

  “What these poor Knights do not understand is how miserable they are, wasting all of their time and resources fighting me, when they could simply ... let me take them. There will be a new age in the Western Kingdoms once I enter The High Tea. I’ll have all the knowledge I’ll need. Once I strike down Redemption, that pathetic, bureaucratic, garbage pile of ideologies, and Order, that detestable, contemptuous, hero who is too busy redesigning her home to save any of the thousands of lives lost every day to things preventable,” Chaos says with a strong disposition before he turns to his minions.

  “Minions, you may be excused,” Chaos says with a wide grin. The swarm of minions promptly obey their master and leave the two Knights alone with the Overlord, who is about ready for a meal.

  Chaos pauses a moment, eying over both of the ladies, laughs with an abyssal deepness that shakes Aoline to her foundation, and then continues.

  “Yes, the thousands sacrificed daily at the hands of Whihelmish’s unending avarice and lack of compassion for their common man, Ragnivan’s chasmlike indignity and desire for blood to fix their problems, Kanvane’s disgusting orgy of ideas and curiosity, running deadly scientific and magic tests on their very own people for the sake of true science and magic, and Spirakander’s laughable negligence in planning and farming, feeding the other three kingdoms for the right price, but allowing their own children to starve! Are they so blind? Can they not see that this is the problems of humans, the most despicable creatures in the Omniverse? Once I have The Tea, the endless death and destruction will be spared, as all will bow down to me! No, not to Whihelmish’s lavish, careless dictators, not to the blind kings and queens in the Ragnivanian line, not to Kanvane’s elitist oligarchy of fattened magician tricksters, not to the well-to-do “freely elected men of the people” of Spirakander, and not to some useless corporation of Knights who profess love to their lands, but turn their eye the moment I reach out and ask for their obedience.” He reaches down, and grasps Aoline’s shoulder with his wintery hand.

  “Once they surrender to me, they will not ask for food, for it will be in their hands. They will not want shelter, for they will have no need. They will not want life, for their years will be limitless. They will be made truly free, just as my minions are; I respect them all, because they understand that one can only be made free if one is owned! Creatures like humans need boundaries, and I’m willing to shower myself in the waterfalls of knightly blood to come, all in order to put those boundaries down over them,” by this point in his monologue, he is caressing Aoline’s neck with his razor-sharp, blade-like fingers; gently stroking her jugular as he looms over her from behind. Love looks over to Aoline, and gently places her hand upon her lap. Aoline does not respond, simply looking straight ahead with complete focus. Chaos laughs lightly, at the sight of one knight attempting to comfort the other, and then he continues.

  “I certainly hope some of these knights decided to step right into one of my countless towers; that would be lovely, as I could repaint this table using the bodies of two contemptuous knights as the instruments of brushing. It has been in the need for a fresh coat of paint, after all. Really, I am certain the two knights would hate it when I tore off their limbs and used them as paint brushes before I divided them from their torso and strewed their entireties all across to make certain I get an even spread!” He pauses a moment. “... But I digress ... we three have more pressing matters, don’t we?” Chaos says as he presses his touch just a bit more.

  Aoline only now realizes that the table looks as though it’s been splattered with dried blood.

  The Overlord nears his mouth behind Aoline’s ear, close enough so that she can feel an icy breath come from him, and then he continues:

  “I spotted you, young lady, placing something into your pocket. Even though it is hidden to common, weakling eyes, I know what it is and I know who you are. I must admit, it has been a long time since I have tasted the blood of a youngling human against my jaws, and I would love to revisit the feeling, but truly, I am curious more than I am hungry. I suppose I would like to ask you first ... to show me what is in that pocket, there,” Chaos commands, pointing out the pocket in Aoline’s armor-padding that is holding her seal as he gradually eases himself over her, his presence extending and grasping her like a hundred tendrils hungry for food.

  Aoline, her expression cold and emotionless while Chaos’ black and white essence entangles her, looks over to Love, who nods with the calmest expression she can deliver. Aoline reaches into her pocket, grasps the seal, and holds it to her side, hearing the Overlord laugh in victory as he sees her knightly seal revealed for everyone in the room to see.

  “Well well well ... it seems you are, as I thought, a knight. Hmm ... Tell me, what is your name?”

  “Aoline ... Demerian ... Rayworth,” Aoline says the moment Chaos’ essence begins taking hold of her nervous system; she suddenly feels incredibly warm, but not uncomfortable, like being embraced.

  “Ahh, well Aoline Demerian Rayworth, would you like to tell me why you’ve come here?” Chaos asks with an amused look in his eyes. Aoline attempts to speak, but the overwhelming warmth, the sensation of being overtaken, is too much for her to compose words. Love speaks up.

  “My lord, we’ve only come to tell you about the tea. I, as your Minion Treasure, can assure you of this,” Love says with a smile. Chaos looks surprised a moment, having forgotten that Love is his Minion. He looks about a bit, and then slowly retracts himself from Aoline, who promptly falls to the side once released. Chaos is quiet a moment as he looks over Love.

  “You ... Yes, that is right. You are no knight. I met you just ... just a few hours ago, didn’t I?”

  “That’s correct, my lord. You saved me in negative space.”

  “Ahh, and this one here?”

  “... Well, while I am your Minion I am also, like her, a knight.”

  “... Yes I suppose I would have guessed as much. I apologize, I am ... I am lacking at times when it comes to remembering things. So, all you’ve come here for was to tell me of The High Tea?”

  “Yes.”

  “Nothing else?”

  “No.”

  “... You are surprisingly kind for a knight ... could you, strange, her name dances in my head. What is your knightly title?”

  “Love,” she says, taking a stand to meet Chaos as a friend. The Lord of the Tower draws back in shock, a rare action for him, for he is widely-regarded to be fearless.

  “I ... yes, Love, you are ... we are friends, are we not? My only friend among those thousands of knights?”

  “Why yes, we are friends, though you forget often, and then try to kill me.”

  “Oh, oh my, I am ... I am sorry about that. I never thought ... right, well, forgive me, please.”

  “Well, as long as you don’t infest my little friend here, I don’t see why not.”

  “Oh, are you quite certain? It looked rather obvious that she wanted to be a minion. Behold, she’s unconscious from the excitement!”

  “Mmm no, I think that was fear, though she does seem to have a ... interesting admiration towards you, and I’m pretty sure taking control of her body isn’t going to help her obsession.”

  “Well, I suppose not. Very well, she shall be spared ... How interesting.”

  “What’s interesting?”

  “That you would come all the way here ... I suppose you took the minions for negotiation leverage.”

  “Mhmm.”

  “So why bring this dear Aoline along?”

  “She wanted to impress me, and I suppose the other knights by association.”

  “Ahh, a brave, perhaps foolish aspiration ... Thank you for telling me, Love. Can I get you another cup of tea?”

  “Oh, no, this is lovely.”

  “Ver
y good very good. So, what’s ne- ... No, wait, we still have more to speak on.”

  “Oh?”

  “Yes. Love, should I simply let you go, there is no matter, for I trust you well, but her, our little Aoline ... is she honest?”

  “Only about as honest as I am.”

  “Ah, so not particularly ... perhaps were I to ... yes,” Chaos says, placing his hands together pensively.

  “What is it, Chaos?”

  “Love, to prevent me receiving a bad name, I ask you to relinquish your vow to The royal Knights, and become my minion.”

  Love hums to herself, and nips at her thumb in thought.

  “That’s not a good idea, Chaos. I’m sorry,” Love says. Chaos scoffs, and looms over her as he takes her hand.

  “Is that so?” he asks, staring intently into her cloudy eyes. Love searches his face, and begins thinking on it seriously.

  “I ... I’m not sure, Chaos.”

  “Imagine Meeo, you and I can drink tea together, every day. We will go on adventures, and your weak, human flesh will no longer test you! You can be free!”

  “The Knights will hate me, Chaos.”

  “They may, but you will have earned a friend worth a million times their pathetic, temporary feelings combined!”

  “Well, I ...” she hums, defeated for words.

  “You must understand, should you decide to continue your ... laughable human activity, I will be forced to take Aoline instead. You know well that tragedy must follow a visit to me, Meeo; or else the Knights might see me as negotiable to their stupid, archaic terms.”

  “And what’s so bad with that?”

  “Order and Redemption wouldn’t give me a chance. You remember the Kingdoms and Powers International Peace Conference.”

  “... I’m surprised, Chaos, you’re more lucid than usual. Forgetting me just hours ago but recalling that years off.”

  “I have my moments, I suppose. Regardless, you must make your decision. Will you waste my generosity on your friend here, or will you rightfully own what is meant for you?” Chaos asks, sharpening his gaze. Love is again silent as she thinks of the implications.

  “I’ve always wondered, to be honest.”

  “Yes, yes! Your life will be like a dream! Have you not wondered what it is like to not need sleep for months, or for every food to taste like your favorites? Have you not wondered what it would be like to run in the fields, without worry or care, just like you did when you were a child, but better? Be mine¸ Meeo, and you will have all of this and so much more! I will place the world in your hands so long as you serve me. Truly, I could use someone like you ... a friend, even friendlier among all of my minions. It is sometimes lonely, you see. Once I get to The High Tea, there will be no place for you there anyway, of the droves and legions of Knights I will drive out, only to you will I stay my hand. They are temporary, but you and I, we can be eternal. Accept the reality that you were meant to be my vassal, and serve me!” Chaos says like a king to a noble, rallying support for his cause.

  Love is still a moment, and just looks over the Overlord for a bit. She smiles and, ever so lightly, she blushes.

  “Okay, Chaos. I’ll be yours,” she says with a slow nod, far less casual, and far more subservient than her usual. The Gentlemen Terror grins widely, and grasps her gently to overtake her with his essence.

  “Very good! Now relax, breathe, let me in,” he says as dark tendrils of consciousness begins to pull out of his body and reach for Love like a dreamless, raven smoke.

  “Actually, have you ever had a minion not possessed by your essence?” Love asks. Chaos squints just a tad, showing his pleasure in something.

  “Oh, no I do not suppose I have. Would I need one?”

  “Mmm, well I suppose it’s worth a try. Multiple unique minds are better than one, yes?” Love says with a friendly smile. Chaos pauses a moment, scoffs with a grin, and nods.

  “I suppose it is worth a try. So, for now, you shall be referred to as ... Friend Minion ... No, how about just Frienion?”

  “I love it.”

  “Very good! Now, my Frienion, when should we invade?”

  “Hmm, do you have an extra-dimensional clock?” Love asks, referring to a clock that runs by Omniverse’s singular, straight movement of time, rather than a planet’s day-night cycle or a subspace’s realm’s specialized time-dilation rules.

  “Perhaps. Minion Acquisition Minion,” Chaos says to a door way. From the halls well-lit by the sun outside rushes Minion Acquisition Minion.

  “Sir!”

  “Get me Temporal Recollection and Vigilance Minion ... Oh, also bring me Petting Minion,” Chaos commands with his usual, calculated grin. Minion Acquisition Minion salutes, rushes off, and brings forth a minion with thick glasses and antennae that split two ways like clock hands, and a small, very cute Minion that really just looks like a blob with a big ol’ happy face.

  “At your service, sire,” Temporal Recollection and Vigilance Minion says with a bow while Minion Acquisition Minion passes the excited blob over to Chaos, who in turn picks it up with an arm and begins gently petting the top of its head.

  “Excellent. What is the current Omniverse time?”

  “Looks like ... hmm, 131420591.273, sire,” the minion reads, giving the Omniverse Expeditionary Librarium’s number of how long they have been recording the time of the Omniverse.

  Should the Reader be wondering, the O.E.L. has long charged themselves on not only measuring the Omniverse and its laws but to catalogue every single dimension that exists, learning of their technology, magic, animals, minerals, vegetables and otherwise. Should one want to visit the O.E.L. headquarters, one would be recommended to find the nearest space gate and travel to Dimension #1, the dimension holding the O.E.L. and the first dimension they have set foot on. Their leader, an ancient enigma called Ywn, is said to be as old as the Omniverse clock concept itself, and has led the O.E.L. into a seemingly-unending era of prosperity. By this point, they are considered the scientific capital of the entire Omniverse, which is fairly impressive considering all the trillions of dimensions out there. Now you know where we get Omniverse time from! Won’t that be an interesting tidbit of information to share at the dinner table?

  Hearing Temporal Recollection and Vigilance Minion tell the time, Love thinks just a moment to come to the right answer.

  “Alright, The High Tea shouldn’t happen until the twilight period in Liefland, which would be ... hrm ... yes, be about two more hours. That would be the time you would get there and start watching, okay? Please don’t forget,” Love says. Chaos nods as he twirls Petting Minion’s antennae around playfully.

  “Yes, that shall do brilliantly. Now, let us celebrate your presence as my newest Minion. Minion Acquisition Minion, fetch me Ultimate Party Facilita-!”

  “Sorry, my lord, but I’m going to have to go for a bit,” Love says as she picks up the unconscious Aoline. A look of concern crosses Chaos’ face.

  “Oh, you need to ... go?”

  “Yes, I need to keep Aoline and another Knight from getting killed needlessly.”

  “They are only Knights.”

  “Yes, but so was I, and we’re friends, right?”

  “... I suppose you are right. Very well! I will rush in at the time I see best, be prepared to fight at my side!”

  “I will- goodbye, my lord,” she says with a final bow before she makes her way back to the magerium.

  “Safe travels, then. Be careful not to get wounded! Remember that your flesh is inferior and prone to fatal damage!” Chaos calls in a worried, parental sort of way. Love glances back just a moment to nod, and then leaves.

  On the way up to the Magerium, she passes Combat Minion, who gives her a friendly nudge, and Magic Minion, who bows her head in thanks.

 
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