“Woah, bro, you totally, like, went all gone from me for a second there,” Gamzee said, placing a hand on my knee. I probably wouldn’t have noticed if he hadn’t also grabbed onto my right horn; I mean, I didn’t mind, ‘ cause he did that a lot and stuff, but I was actually enjoying myself in my daydream, “what’s up, brother?”
“Oh, uh, nothing really I guess,” I said, stumbling over my words; but this wasn’t anything new, “I was just, uh, looking out the window, or something.”
“No my brother you were thinking up a motherfucking budding idea weren’t you?” I looked into his heavy-lidded eyes, and his slopping half-smile. How could he be so distant but also so...observant? I smiled at him because he was staring and I wasn’t sure what else to do. Replaying my thoughts in my mind made my face turn brown; I could just feel my face getting really hot and I looked back out the window, hoping Gamzee wouldn’t notice. Of course he did, though. I guess matesprits are meant to notice stuff like that.
“I was just, uh, daydreaming,” I said, “thinking of a good story, uh, yeah, that’s all.”
“Oh yeah,” I giggled watching one of Gamzee’s eyebrows soar high above his eye, “well, tell me, motherfucker!”
“N-no. I, uh, refuse!”
“Why not, little buddy?”
“Oh,” Gamzee’s brows knit together, which was the most emotion I had seen out of him in a while...I mean, when he wasn’t being all clingy and stuff or hanging off me...not that I mind that! He smiled goofily, “so? Why you gotta be all motherfucking self-concious and shit? Fuck, bro, I thought we were past this.”
“I, uh, I guess,” I stuttered, my face flushing all over again when Gamzee took my hand in his with a manic smile on his face, “G-Gamzee!” Whatever it was, and I’m still not sure why, but I can never say no to him, especially when he does stuff like cupping my head in his hands and smiles like that, “okay, okay, I was, uh, daydreaming about a story I, uh, I read once when I was just a little wriggler.”
“Go on, little buddy.”
“Oh, uh,” I looked around the room frantically, hoping to find something that would maybe distract him; where was that pie when I needed it? Or a nice pile of, horns or, something? “well, I was, uh, switching out the real characters for, uhm, like you and me and Eridan and Karkat and stuff,” I felt a smile crack across my face, and I soon I couldn’t stop smiling, imagining Eridan in the wizard’s outfit, “uh, it was just silly.”
“Well, fuck, bro, who was I?” He cocked his head to the left. I stumbled around for words for a minute.
“Y-you were, uh, well it’s not really, uh, important or whatever, but you were, uh, the main love interest,” I felt as if I was about to melt into a puddle. This was probably really stupid, “uh, and I was the princess, but not really cause I’m a guy and stuff, but, uh,” I cleared my throat, even though there wasn’t anything in it, “uh, I guess I can tell you the story if you want.”
“Go ahead, my favourite little Taurus.” He said, ruffling my hair with his broad hand. I blushed and cleared my throat: this was going to be a long story....
Okay, well, it all takes place a long time ago in a land far, far away. Like, in this place called, uhm, Camternia. It was a really pretty place, with lots of hills, and castles made of that stone, that’s really cool, and lots and lots of animals.
The Princess always liked the animals; it was her favourite part of Camternia, because she had the magical ability to speak to animals and to get them to do stuff for her. The beautiful Princess’s name was Tavros Nitram—
(“Wait, woah, dude,” Gamzee interrupted, his eyes slightly more wide than usual, “but bro, you’re a bro, I thought. I mean I saw it last time we—”
“I know, but, uh, in this story I’m a girl ‘cause I get to be the Princess,” I said, “uh, just listen...”)
Anyways, uh, the princess was very beautiful, with the prettiest gray skin and the coolest mohawk in all the land because mohawks are cool and make her look confident, and, uh, cool and stuff. She always wore yellow because it’s a really pretty colour and she didn’t have to say what colour her blood was because she was the Princess. However, her blood was brown: it was a secret she and her father kept closely guarded, because if anyone of higher blood were to know a royal didn’t actually have royal blood, the Princess could have been beheaded or something. But she was well loved by her people, and her family loved her too.
Well everyone except the reigning Queen: Queen Vriska, who did not want the Princess to take over her job one day. In fact the only way Queen Vriska had gotten her title was by mindcontrolling cool and anything King Dave and making him exile his Queen, and enthroning Vriska instead. Of course, Tavros wasn’t very happy about her new step mother, but she couldn’t let the evil Queen find out her deadly secret; her blood colour. It seemed everyone in the kingdom was under the evil Queen’s spell, except Tavros, and she felt like a prisoner in her own castle. She always wished she could just leave and be with her people who apparently adored her so much (“which, uh, I don’t understand ‘cause she never met them”).
“Oh, uh, Dad,” The Princess said one day, her fairy tinkerbull sitting on her shoulder, “I was wondering if I could go into the market, today, or something, uh.”
“No no look kid,” King Dave, who was known across the whole land for being totally and ironically cool, and wore shades all the time and was an all-around Cool Guy, said, “why the fuck would you even want to go out there I spent this whole time making this palace for you and you want to leave. Nice job being appreciative, yeah, I really appreciate it.”
“Ooooooooh, darling,” a slinky figure entered the throne room, hidden by shadows, her voice making the princess shudder like the sight of a spider or something, “may8 we should let her go! You know, let her exp8rience the city, inc8se see might…die 8efore she gets the chance.” It was the Evil Queen Vriska, emerging from the shadows, her long, blue-and-black dress clinging to the darkness as if it were made of the dark itself. Tavros shuddered at the sight of her; with those lace gloves that looked like spider webs, and messy black hair thrown up into a bee-hive around the falsely acquired crown.
“No, man,” Dave started, but suddenly he went stiff as a board, which means his expression didn’t change at all, and said, in a strange monotone, “yes, yes, Tavros should go out into the city, this is a good idea.”
“Peeeeeeeerfect,” Vriska said, ebbing on a maniacle laugh, bringing her hands down from her temples, “you really are the most o8edient husband, Daveeeeeeee.”
“Huh?” Dave looked sorta out of it (“so like you, Gamzee.” “What, bro?” “Uh, nevermind”), but he merely shook his head and added, “whatever be careful or something cause theres fucking wizards out there. Like holy fuck wizards. But nah this is a totally awesome idea. Totally cool.”
“Uh, Dad, I think she’s mind controlling you,” Tavros started, but winced under Vriska’s glare, “I, uh, mean that’s probably okay, though, or something, uh....”
“Oh, look at the time,” Queen Vriska said, glancing down at a time-telling-device-less wrist, “I reeeeeeeeally should 8e going, I would h8 to miss my appointment,” she turned swiftly, disappearing back into the shadows she came from, “see you l8ter, guys!”
“Uh, Dad, does this mean I can, uh, go out into the town?” Tavros asked once he was mostly sure Vriska was probably gone. Dave gave him a brief nod, his face the utter reflection of painstaking irony.
“Whatever do what you want, kid us Striders gotta stride,” he adjusted the shades on his face, “see ya.” He turned on his heels and left the Princess alone in the throne room, off to do his hair or whatever it is that is so cool. This left Tavros kinda confused cause she was pretty sure her last name was Nitram.
Shrugging, and winking playfully to her fairy Tinkerbulll on her shoulder, she skipped out the door, ‘cause she had legs and was totally not, a cripple.
Meanwhile, somewhere on the other side of the glorious kingdom of Camternia, but not really actually all that far away, a lowly Poet was writing himself a poem.
“Roses are red, other flowers are blue, you’re made of miracles, man, and I love you,” The Poet said, writing with his ink-and-winged-beast-feather on a curling piece of parchment, “awh, no man, this ain’t right....” He shook his head, a goofy smile still on his face even as he scribbled out the words, “nah man, this is supposed to be special, the best motherfucking poem Aradia has ever seen....”
The Poet’s name was Gamzee Makara; he lived in the north side of Camternia, and spent most of his days writing crappy poetry and being with his matesprite-to-be, Aradia Megido. She was a lowly peasant; a orphan who’s family had died years ago from a terrible disease. Gamzee had felt really sorry for her, ‘cause he believed everyone needed a good bro, and let her live in his hive, and she would work for him as an assistant while he worked on his art. After a few sweeps, Gamzee found himself waxing red for the beautiful young troll, though he was almost completely certain she didn’t feel the same way. So now he slaved away at his work, trying to find something that will win over her blood bladder. In a totally not creepy way.
“Hi, Gamzee!” She bounded through the doorway, then, her long black hair shining in the bright Camternian sun, her red dress simple, but Gamzee couldn’t take his half-lidded eyes off her. She bounded across the small gatheringblock and gave Gamzee a big hug, because she was, uh, really happy to see him—
(“Wait, bro,” Gamzee interrupted the reverie again, looking up at Tavros with big eyes, “I mean Aradia’s a cool motherfucker and all but I thought we were all red for eachother.”
“Well we are in, uh, real life,” I said, curling closer into his arms, “but not yet in the story, the Princess hasn’t even, uh, left the, castle, yet.”
“When the fuck is that gonna happen?” He asked, “that’s the best part.”
“Yeah, just listen to the, uh, story ‘cause it’s gonna, happen, soon, probably.”)
Aradia looked down at The Poet’s scribbled poem and laughed.
“You’re awfully kind,” she said, pulling on her overcoat and walking out the door, “but be good for now because I’m going to the market to buy dinner. And I’m not making you anymore of those pies until you’ve finished your first play!”
Aradia knew that Gamzee was an aspiring playwright, and she knew that because of his love for slime pies, he was always too distracted to get anything done. She had a plan; a plan to nurse Gamzee off the pies, because hopefully then he would be able to do what he loved, and that would make her very happy. She just liked to please people.
“Oh, uh, best friend,” Gamzee got to his feet, ready to protest the sudden prohibition, “Aradia!” But she was already out the door and skipping down to the market.
The market, where the Camternians gathered almost daily to buy and sell everything from grubsauce to physic readings, was just beyond the Scary Wooded Area from The Poet’s house. It was a very scandalous place; it’s where the wandering vagabonds and thieves of light liked to hang out, waiting for prey or maybe just someone who could give them a hug. It was cold, and dark, and was also infested with monsters. Aradia was never too scared, walking through there, though, because she was sure that if she were nice to everyone she came across, they would be nice to her, as well.
Unfortunately this was not true. (“Awh, shit, no man!”)
This particular time, while traversing through the forest, she came upon a plotting duo.
“Yessssssss, just get rid of her,” a wickedly, obviously evil voice said, “I don’t care how you do 8t, just m8ke sure it’s done!”
Aradia gasped, hiding behind a nearby tree. The voice sounded awfully familiar, and one quick glance around the tree she was using as a shield confirmed it; the Evil Queen Vriska, standing with her back to Aradia, and...someone else.... Aradia squinted, trying to determine who the other figure was.
“Yeah, whatewer, consider her fish fried,” The slightly wavy voice said with a strange drawl,“and you know what, I’ll ewen drop the fee if you, maybe, swim down through the kelp leawes with me...?”
He was switching his Vs for Ws, and Aradia spent most of the conversation trying to figure out why.
“Shut up, Eridan, you know I h8 swiming,” Vriska hissed, “you know how many spiders have died by death of the bathing respite block drain?”
Aradia gasped again; the other figure was none other than the Also Evil Magician Eridan. With his fish-spangled wizard’s hat, and white wand of sci—uh, magic, he was the most deadly magician in all of Camternia. He also always looked rather bored or upset and he cried a lot, but don’t tell him that.
“Please, Wriska, this loneliness...it’s krilling me!” Eridan was on his knees, begging. Aradia stifled a laugh, ‘cause he sure did look silly, and totally not evil or capable of killing anyone ever.
“Oh, get up,” Vriska yawned, and rolled her eyes. When Eridan didn’t move, she hissed, and pulled him by the cape to his feet, “you got the pl8n? Go out to the mark8t, find the Princess, and kill her!”
“Yes, yes, I got it, fuck,” Eridan scuttled to his feet, adjusting his wizard hat, “holy carp, Wriska. I’ll just swim on up to the castle now and—”
“No!” Vriska took him by the collar and rammed him up against a tree, setting his half-moon viewing apparatuses askew, “she must die in the market, so th8t her father doesn’t not8ce, or see her d8th!” She flashed her fang-like teeth, adding in a whisper, “with that little fairy princess gone, I’ll kill off D8ve and RULE FOR8VER!!!!!!!!” She burst into maniacal* laughter, letting go of the Also Evil Wizard Eridan, to claw at the sky her hands.
“Uhm, okay, whatewer,” Eridan fell to the ground. He stumbled to his feet and dusted off his cape, “yes, that princess is out of there.”
“No!” Aradia cried, giving away her cover. She wimpered as Eridan and Vriska laid their eyes on her.
“And who 8actly, are you?” Vriska asked, approaching the young girl like a spider approaching its prey. Aradian flinched and started to back away.
“Aradia Medigo,” she said bravely, putting her hands on her hips, but Vriska’s cackles deterred her from using her own telekinetic powers, “and I can’t let you go and murder our super nice, super cute, and cool, princess Tavros!”
(“Uh, that didn’t really sound like her, maybe, but, uh, whatever.”)
“It’s a fuckin’ peasant blood,” Eridan sneered, “I didn’t know they allowed such powerty in these parts. I thought you had a good estafishment goin’ on here.”
“You plan to kill her!” Aradia cried, but it was too late; Vriska had already gotten behind her, and had hit her on the head with her magic eight ball; the sickening thump was probably heard all through Camternia. Aradia’s eyes rolled back in to her head, and the young troll collapsed to the ground. Eridan laughed even though he really did nothing.
Vriska glared at him and he stopped laughing, fidgeting with his wand awkwardly, wondering if you could still be in a quadrant with someone even if they were unconscious most of the relationship.
“This peasant knows too much!” Vriska hollered, causing the Also Evil Wizard to jump, “Eridan! Finish her! Make her pay!”
“Gladly.” He said, raising his wand. It started to glow in his hands and cackle with energy. He pointed it at the innocent
girl lying on the Scary Wooded Area floor.
And that was the last time anyone had ever seen Aradia Medigo.
“Oh, Lady Jade, why is life so, uh, unfair?” Princess Tavros sighed, flopping down onto her bed.
“Unfair? I thought your dad let you leave the castle!” her Lady in Waiting, Lady Jade Harley, pouted, tilting her head to the side.
“Oh, uh, yeah, that’s probably true, I think,” Tavros said, “but the way he, uh, said it, is kinda, suspicious. Step-Mom sure is acting funny lately.”
“Oh, guess what!” suddenly, Princess Tavros’s little sister, and second in line for the throne, Princess Feferi, burst through the door with the most enthusiasm, “guess what I just heard the cook downstairs glub to that salty barnacle brain maid?”
Feferi was always trying to one-up her older sister; especially since she was doomed to a life as a princess, and never a queen. She always wore the most ridiculous dresses; a kaleidoscope of colours, so many that the local taylor, Miss Kanaya Maryam, had to special-order most of the frabric from a far-away kingdom. Feferi also had the habit of falling in love with the wrong people, such as commoners. Vriska hated her for this reason, but Dave didn’t seem to care; caring was uncool, after-all.
“What was it?” Jade asked, fixing her Ladylike headdress. Dressing all formal-like sure was fun!
“That fishy looking Also Evil Magician Eridan Ampora was spotted in the Scary Wooded Area!” Feferi cried, rushing over to Tavros’ side, “ugh, I can’t believe that glubbing eel would even think to sail these waters! Oh, he makes me so ANCHORY.”
“Anchory?” Jade started, “oh. You mean angry. I got it, heh.”
“He sounds, really, uh, pretty dangerous,” Tavros said, “but I still really want to, go out to, the market?”
“How is that even a question?” Lady Jade asked through squinting eyes. Tavros shrugged.
“No, I reely don’t think it’s a good idea.” Fef said again, stressing the reel just to get her point across, but this just made Tavros want to leave more.
“No, uh, no way!” She cried, jumping to her feet, “no, you can just, stay here, ‘cause Dad gave me permission to go to the market and, gosh, I am going!” She frowned at Jade, who was staring at her with an open mouth, “come on, Jade, let’s, uh, go!”
She marched out the door, Jade scurrying behind her. Her large bedroom doors slammed shut, leaving Feferi alone. The princess looked around suspiciously, checking under the bed, and the closet several times. You never could be safe, with Tavros being so desirable. Often princes, or famous heirs, came past the castle to court the queen-to-be, but Tavros always turned them down when Feferi would gladly take them. But no one wanted the SECOND in line for the throne.
When Feferi was sure she was all alone, she ran to the door, and locked it. Then, she burst out into the worst kind of laughter: evil.
“Finally!” She cried, “my plan is coming together! Assasin Grim Dark, you can enter now!”
The room shuddered, the air becoming heavy, groaning under its own weight. The wind picked up, tearing at the several posters of fairies and Pupa Pan the princess had hanging on the walls. Darkness accumulated and congregated in one spot, shifting and changing until it had morphed into the figure of a young girl with short blond hair, and a set of nasty looking...knitting needles?
(“Wait, woah! Fuck man those things are motherfucking dangerous.”
“Yeah, I, uh, know, but, I think she’s, okay, uh, with them.”
“Mothingfucking nearly poked my eye out once with one.”)
“You called?” The girl asked with more sarcasm than Feferi thought possible.
“Yes!” She jumped up and down and clapped her hands together, “oh, I am so glad you culled make it!”
“Well your large deposit was quite the incentive,” Assassin Grim Dark said, crossing her arms and looking at Feferi with as much enthusiasm as a rock, “so, tell me, what exactly do you have proposed? What is it that you want me and my extraordinary powers to do for you?”
“Okay, you sea, my sister Tavros is the next in line for the throne,” she rolled her eyes, her many bangles and necklaces clinking together as she flailed about as she spoke, “and, well, I don’t like that. I want to be top shark around here one day, not that little guppie, who thinks it’s a big deal that she’s going to the market! Like, reely! Oh my cod.”
“Okay...” The Assassin Grim Dark started, “so you want me to get rid of her, right?”
“Yes!” Feferi jumped so high, it caused the Assassin to flinch, “yes, but not right away, and I’ll tell you why! I don’t want step-mommy and Daddy to know about this. If you wait until she’s out at sea—I mean, at the market, then I can just blame it on that slimey, scaly wizard Eriderp.”
“Oh, excellent plan your highness,” the assassin said, “so, I’ll just go grab a coke and maybe shop around downtown for a bit ‘til you say go?”
“Yes! That seaounds about right!”
“Great. Just give me a call when you want this girl forever thrown into a pit of despair.” The Assassing Grim Dark unfurled her arms, and, with a wave of her magical knitting needles, was gone in a flash of black light.
“Oh. My. COD!” Fef cried, shuddering with excitement, “this means I can get a whole bunch of new mourning clothes! Fishtastic!”
“So, uh, what exactly is the market?” Tavros sheepishly asked Jade as they walked through the great big doors of the castle and right out the front gate. Tavros was pretty much bursting with excitement, though she thought that would probably look stupid, and forced herself just to walk idly beside Jade.
“Oh, I guess you would never have been,” Jade giggled, “I’m a noble person, too, but my granddad did take me once when I was little. I just remember it was really busy, with lots of people.”
“Like a ball?” Tavros asked. Back, before her real mother was exiled from the kingdom, the royal family would host grand balls once a month. Tavros had been just a little girl, but she still remembered getting dressed up, and dancing with her dad out on the ballroom floor, the other guests crowding around and cooing with ‘awhs’. That was back when her dad had been happy, and before Vriska got her fingers on him. Tavros could never hate anyone, but after seeing what Vriska did to the old queen, her mother...the princess didn’t want anything to do with that woman. She was surprised Vriska wanted her to go to the market, since Vriska was usually against any freedom of any kind for Tavros. She must have felt it was completely safe.
“No, not like a ball,” Jade said with a smile, shaking her head furiously, “no, because at the market, no one’s paying attention to you! And you have to be careful if you’re wearing nice clothes because they’ll be able to pick you out really easily from everyone else—” She snapped her head up suddenly, pushing Tavros into a bush at the side of the pathway, before jumping in after her.
“Ow! What, uh, wow, what are you doing, Jade?” the Princess cried. She rubbed her head at the spot it had met with the ground, wincing. Jade was shushing her.
“Shut up!” She hissed, “someone’s coming!”
“What, I don’t, see, uh, anyone!” Tavros started, but sure enough, the horns of a fanfare could be heard coming up the path towards the castle. With a gasp, Tavros peered through the bushes to eye the newcomer, “who is that?”
“Oh, guys, you really don’t have to have a whole fanfare and stuff!” A boy’s voice could be heard under the relentless blaring of the horns, “I thought the horse was pretty cool already, but the horns seem a little too much—oh, no, it’s not that you’re doing a bad job!”
The small parade made its way up to the castle, passing right in front of the hidden princess and lady-in-waiting. The fanfare was comprised of only four people; two trolls in front, wearing the insignia of Alternilot, the neighbouring kingdom, and blaring on two musical wind devices. There was another human, who was wearing an important looking uniform, and clutching onto the reigns of a white muscle-beast, who was neighing furiously, and bucking every once in a while. Then, sitting uneasily on the muscle-beast’s back was a boy, bumping around like a sac of tough-skinned land orbs. He clung desperately onto the crown on his head, and his royal blue outfit was growing more and more astray as the muscle-beast made its way up the incline to the castle.
“Prince John Egbert of Alternilot,” Jade whispered back to her friend, “I think he’s coming to...propose to you!”
“Oh, uh, yeah, I have received a few letters from him,” Tavros nodded, “he just sounded like, a derp, to me.”
“Maybe we should go back!” Jade cried, “I mean, he’s come all this way, after all!”
“No!” Tavros cried, or rather said a bit louder than usual, “I mean, uh, I just really want to go to the market. I bet he’ll probably, uh, be here when we get back, most likely.”
“If you say so,” Jade shrugged, “I wonder why I didn’t see this happening before! Oh well. Come on Princess, let’s go.”
The two scampered down the path, away from the castle, and towards the market. Tavros found herself looking back at the castle, and giggling to herself ‘cause every step closer to the outside world was a step farther away from her past life within the walls of her parent’s palace.
When they finally arrived, about half an hour and a pair of sore feet later they came to the bustling town center; trolls and humans alike leading muscle-beasts carting bails of hay, or haggling with shop owners in the muddy streets. There was mud everywhere, because apparently Queen Vriska had outlawed roads ‘cause, uh, pavement hadn’t been invented yet. Or something, probably. Tavros and Jade had to hike up their skirts as to not get mud splattered all over them, but a passing cart proved fatal to the clean fabric anyways.
There were shops lining the muddy streets, and people everywhere. So much stimulous Tavros didn’t know what to focus on, and instead stood in one spot in front of a dealer selling fish and squealed to herself for a bit.
“Hey, kid, what are you looking at?” The vendor asked, grumpily crossing his arms and tilting his ferociously horned head to the side. He looked sorta like a moose, actually, and Tavros melted into a puddle at the sight of him.
“I-I’m, uh, sorry, uh, sir,” she started, but was quickly pulled away by Lady Jade, “oh, Jade!”
“Be careful, Tav!” She cried, dragging Tavros through the narrow market streets, “everyone here probably knows who you are ‘cause, hey look, you’re still wearing your tiara. I wanted to show you something, though. Come this way!”
“O-oops,” Tavros said quietly, taking off her tiara and holding the sparkling silver in her hands, “what is it?” She followed Jade through the backstreets, before they came to a stop in front of a rickety old vendor’s cart. It was small, and made of wood, and fastened to wheels so that it could be carted away at any moment. On its top was a display area, covered in precious jewels and beautiful jewellery that shimmered in the afternoon sun.
“Why hello ladies,” suddenly a crotchety old woman with half-moon spectacles, wavy horns, and a manly face, popped up from behind the cart. Tavros eyed her curiously; the old woman sure looked familiar...and not like a woman at all. And there was something familiar about the way she spoke, all wavy-like, as if Tavros had heard news about a very dangerous magician with the same speech patterns. But this was clearly a fragile old woman, and not dangerous at all; assuming otherwise would be incredibly silly, “what can I hawe you purchase today?”
“Look at these, Tav!” Jade cried, gingerly picking up a striking silver chain with the symbol of Aquarius dangling from it.
“What? Why would I, ever, want, uh, that?”
“What, is there somethin’ glubbin’ wrong with the Aquarius symbol?” The old woman blurted out, before backpedalling and saying, “I mean, here, take it. Try it on...oh, it looks so darlin’ on the little princess, right?” He tried to slip the necklace over Tavros’s head in one smooth movement, but it got stuck on her horns, so instead he put it on her using the clasps, “don’t you think, Lady Jade?”
“Yes I do, Master Eridan.”
Tavros turned quickly to Jade, wondering what caused the poor girl to answer so strangely. She gasped at what she saw;
Jade’s eyes were blank, and her body stiff as a board. With arms like a ridiculously strong centaur-man, she grabbed Tavros by the arms, and covered her mouth as the old woman changed form in front of her eyes; going from an ugly old woman, to a slightly more attractive young troll; the Also Evil Magician Eridan Ampora! He laughed madly, a white wand appearing in his hand and a wizard’s hat on the top of his head.
“Let this be a lesson to you, Tawros,” Eridan clucked, waving his wand in the Princess’ face, “newer trust anyone! Not ewen a harmless goldfish, ‘cause they might turn out to be a shark! Muahaha!”
“Ok8y, that’s enough, Eridan,” Vriska appeared from the shadows, “I’m telling you, your fish puns are horrible. I h8 them!”
“I thought they were charmin’,” Eridan said, frowning, “dashin’ and shit.”
“Just f8nish her!” Vriska cried. Eridan jumped, nearly dropping his wand.
“Okay, yeah, so I was thinkin’,” he started, shrugging a bit, “that krillin’ is so mainstream these days. So I made this cool little thing,” he pointed at the necklace around Tavros’s neck, which had started to glow a nasty purple, “it’ll make anyone who ever knew her personally forget she ever exsisted! So it’s like krillin’ but totally its own thing and unique and beautiful.” He smiled at Vriska, who was glaring her.
“What the fuck? Why would you do that? Just kill the d8mn girl and—” Vriska was cut off by the blood-curdling scream coming from Tavros’s lips; in fact, it was so passionate, Tavros herself was surprised she had put that much effort into it. It was so unlike her, to raise he voice like that, but she was a little, uh, freaked out at the fact that she was turning purple.
“Oh, don’t think so low of me, Wriska,” Eridan pouted, “this is meant to punish AND humiliate her,” he smiled, showing off his shark-like teeth, “not only is she goin’ to be forgotten, but she is also goin’ to be turned into a fudgeblood! I mean, I’d go all the way to red, but that seems pretty cliché, don’t ya think?”
“That’s brill8nt!” Vriska cried, drumming her fingers together in the most evil way possible. Eridan took a bow, sweeping his cape out dramatically in the process.
“Yes, I am wery much aware of how fuckin’ awesome I am, but thank you I guess,” he said, “Wriska, darlin’, there’s one other thing. You and I will not be affected by this whirlpool of magic.”
“...Whirlpool of magic? You really try 8t this punny business, don’t you.”
“Anyways, it’s ‘cause we’ll both be in this whole ‘in-the-know’ relationship together...it’ll be great!” He smiled excitedly, but Vriska had reverted to glaring again, “...anyways, I was thinkin’ we’d go back to the castle and—”
“I wasn’t gonna say that! I meant, you’d go back to the castle and tell eweryone that the Princess is sleepin’ with the fishes.”
“Oh. Oh, yes!” Vriska tried out her maniacal laughter once more as she stared down at the ailing Princess. Tavros had collapsed to the ground, though the mind-controlled Jade was still holding her by the arms. She was completely glowing purple, now, and beginning to hyperventilate a bit, too. She grabbed at the necklace, but couldn’t tear it off for the life of her. Brown tears came to her eyes as the tiara she had dropped to the ground turned into a wreath of flowers, and her beautiful golden dress turned to brown, itchy wool. Everything about her suddenly looked duller, once the purple dissipated, turning to brown and sinking into her skin.
“Ha ha! Fucking peasant!” Eridan cried and pointed with his wand. Vriska rolled her eyes, kneeling down in front of the sobbing ex-princess. She took Tavros’s chin in her hand, violently jerking the girl’s head upwards.
“Look at me, you meddlesome little pauper,” she said, “don’t even think about coming back to the c8stle. No one there can help you! Inf8ct, no one anywhere can help you now! Maybe you can earn a living selling flowers and shit. But don’t come crying back to your father, b8cause he is next to be sl8ugtered!!” She laughed, her long black hair escaping it’s bee-hive prison as she did so. Then, she grabbed Eridan’s arm and screamed, “let’s get out of here!”
Once Eridan got over the initial shock of a female touching him, the duo disappeared in a cloud of smoke.
Jade shook her head, coming out of a thick haze. She looked around curiously, flinching back in disgust at the sight of Tavros.
“Ew! Who are you?” She cried, jumping back up to her feet, brushing off her skirt and fleeing the dark alley way, “god, I wonder what happened. Gotta get back to Princess Feferi!”
She disappeared from the alley-way, leaving Tavros all alone; cold, scared, and not wanting to touch anything because the market place was actually really dirty.
“Okay, wait bro, let me get my thoughts all assembled-like,” Gamzee was saying, holding his hand up to my face. I blinked a few times, the image of princesses and evil queens and magicians disappearing from my eyes.
“What, is it Gamzee?” I asked, wondering if I had done something wrong. That’s usually what happens, after all.
“Nothing, man, just surprised, bro. You didn’t tell your motherfucking bestfriend you were so good at telling stories.” He rolled around on the floor, where he had been sitting, listening to the story so far with the patience of a small grub. I felt my face go hot with the compliment, probably ‘cause I didn’t know any other way to react that wouldn’t be, possibly offensive.
“Thank you,” I mumbled, playing with my fingers in my lap, “uh, but it’s barely, uh, started yet.”
“When’s my bestfriend gonna show up?” Gamzee was now staring at the wall. I looked to see what he was looking at, but there was nothing there that seemed as exciting as Gamzee was making it out to be.
“Oh, uh, Karkat?”
“Yeah, bro, that angry little motherfucker. Did you get him in this little storyline you got going?”
“Oh, uh, yeah, I did, uh,” I twirled my fingers together and imagined myself dangling my legs playfully even though I couldn't do that really, “I was about to get to him, actually. He, uh, well I was thinking ‘cause he’s, you know, a knight and stuff, and, uh...” I was going to go on, but Gamzee was staring at me with the weirdest smile, and the blankest eyes, and I lost my train of thought, if I had one at all, “uh, why don’t I just tell the story?”
“Yeah, man, do it all up nice like that.”
“...uh, I’m just gonna start talking now.”
In Camternia, most things were based on blood colour; it was actually, kinda unfortunate Tavros had brown blood, but apparently red and teal make a kinda brownish, unwanted hue. Feferi got the nice blood colour, but it didn’t matter that much because Tavros was born first. Unless, of course, she was killed; but who would do that to such a loveable princess?
The only way to get anywhere if you had an unwanted blood colour was to hide it. This meant you could never cry in front of anyone you didn’t trust, or, of course, bleed in front of anyone.
So why Karkat Vantas chose Knighthood as a line of work was a mystery to almost everyone.
Of course, he wasn’t a Knight quite yet, and he was rather pissed about it.
“Having to go on a fucking quest for some fucking king of cool or whatever is, you know what? You know what it possibly be? Fucking bullshit! That’s what it is!”
“I think ith a good idea KK,” his Squire, Sollux Captor, who was really more his leader, but don’t tell Karkat that, “I mean, who knowths if you can effen save a printeth unleth you try?”
“Oh shut up, you’re spitting all over me!” Karkat scowled, adjusting his heavy bag of armour on his back. Really, they expected him to wear it all the time, but it was ‘fucking hot as the sun’ during the day, so he kept it tied together with some rope on his back; his assistant wouldn’t carry his armour for him, the ‘fuckass’.
“Thhh!” Sollux cried, jutting out his hand to stop his friend, who started a snarky response but was also shut up by intervening psionics, “I hear thomeone coming.” He jumped into one of the hedges lining the path, and beckoned Karkat to join him, but the knight-to-be gave him a glowering look and instead hid in the hedges on the opposite side of the path.
Soon enough, a group of trolls and humans passed; one in particular, Karkat noticed, was sitting on a white muscle-beast and looked so pathetic Karkat was unsure where to start with the trolling. Such an easy target, he could go in any direction; sure, a passive-aggressive ‘well look, they sure make anyone princes these days’, would do but he was leaning towards the outright rude ‘get off the horse you hornless, buck-toothed noob!’
But, after everything, Karkat watched the prince go past without saying anything at all, and he wasn’t sure why. Maybe it was that derpy smile that made him just want to punch him in the face. No, punching would be too easy, he’d have to something more. More humiliating...more personal that your everyday punch in the face....
“Jeethus! KK, were you effen lithening to me?” Sollux’s angry voice was penetrating his hearing again, shaking the wannabe knight out of his daydream.
“What?” Karkat cried in his most sarcastic tone, “what do you want from me, god! All I do is give and give, and you guys always just want more!”
“Oh, pleathe, KK, I thaw the way you were looking at him,” Sollux crossed his arms, looking down through his dualtoned goggles at Karkat, “and I beth you weren’t effen litheing to what he wath thaying.”
“I was, for a matter of fact, listening. Why the fuck wouldn’t I listen when a prince and his fanfare walks past?” Karkat rolled his eyes. He hadn’t really been listening at all, but he wasn’t about to tell Sollux that and let him be right.
“Tho, then, you know that the printheth ith mithing?”
“What? The princess is missing?!”
“Yeth, that ith what I juth thaid!”
“Yeah, yeah, I know, I was just putting it into better terms, jegus,” Karkat brushed the dirt and leaves from his simple, cotton pants, “whatever. We’re here to get a quest from the king, not some silly princess.”
“No, idiot,” Sollux groaned, facepalming himself through thick leather gloves, “thith ith a good thing; if you find the printheth before the printh doeth, then you’ll become a knight! Ith like, the perfect queth!”
“That’s stupid!” Karkat crossed his arms and frowned; the best thing to do upon hearing a suggestion was obviously to deny it completely, “but, hey, I got a good idea. In fact it’s a fucking epic idea; an idea so good I’m not even sure I should share it with you in case you are blinded by the awesomeness.”
“...What ith it KK??”
“We should track down that Princess and bring her back to the dumb fuck who lost her! Something that fucking heroic would elevate me to Knighthood so fast those other numbskulls at the Knight Academy won’t know what the fuck happened or why they’re suddenly bowing at the feet of the great Karkat Vantas!”
this one kinda slipped out from being a lot like Tavros talking and more like me actually writing, because we're getting deeper into the story so...it's more intense...he still pops in there every once in a while.
ENJOY IT GUYS!!
“Miss Leijon pawses to look at the strange new troll on her land.”
“Oh! The troll speaks! Miss Leijon senses the purrfect moment, and pounces!”
Tavros had never been so rudely awakened, and she wasn’t sure if she enjoyed it that much. In fact, she hadn’t expected be woken at all, having crawled from the place in the back alleys where Jade had left her, and into a more residential area.
She shuffled into a barn, and fell asleep in a pile of hay just as the sun had set. Now the sun was barely even risen, and she was being awoken again by something squirming and rolling around on her.
“Nepeta greets the newcomer to her barn by giving her a nice rub with her cheek!” The girl who was suddenly ontop of her cried, before rubbing her face all over Tavros’s arm.
“BLUH!” Tavros found herself suddenly on her feet a few feet away, and the girl on the floor looking up at her with curious, giant eyes, “uh, I’m sorry, but, uh, who are you?”
“Hee hee,” the girl giggled, “my name is—uh, I mean, the young lady explains that her name is Nepeta Leijon, Village Stable Hand,” she thrust out a gloved hand, “but you can refurr to me as Nep if you want!”
“Oh, uh, hi,” Tavros smiled, takeing Nepeta’s hand, “I’m Pri—er, Tavros.”
“That’s such a purretty name!” Nepeta squealed, causing Tavros to flinch a little. The cat-girl giggled, wiggling with excitement, “sorry, Equius always tell me I get too furriendly with strangers, but I can’t help it. Hee hee!”
“I’m sorry for stealing your barn, uh, well I didn’t really steal, it, uh, I mean, sleeping in it,” Tavros looked around her surroundings for the first time; it was a muscle-beast stable, with stalls where the animals were milling around, eating hay and grain, and looking curiously at Tavros. She had never seen a beast close up before, since King Dave was allergic to any animal that had anything but feathers. She drifted over to the closest stall, gingerly petting a brown muscle-beast on its ferocious snout. It whinnied, but for some strange reason, Tavros knew the animal enjoyed it, “oh, uh, that’s cool.”
“Hmm?” Nepeta asked, making a sound like a purring cat. She had wandered over to the stable wall, and was trying to lift a giant muscle-beast riding device off a high hook, “oh, it is no purroblem if used our stable. Er, Miss Leijon doesn’t mind, and she hopes she can talk her silly-willy meowrail into letting the beautiful young lowblood to live in their house!” she giggled, “sometime he doesn’t like the lower bloods, but he once was waxing red for a red blood! He’s super silly.” She hefted the riding device off the wall, setting it down on a wooden bench. She pulled some wax out of her overalls pocket, and started waxing the device with the force of a thousand kitties. Tavros stayed next to the beast, petting it with one hand and playing with the necklace around her neck with the other. The chain had no clasp; it had disappeared once Eridan had gotten it around her neck, and she couldn’t get it over her horns without nearly strangling herself. She had tried breaking it the night before, but, that didn’t really work too well and just ended up with her smacking herself in the face by accident.
“Ooh, what’s that?” Nepeta leapt across the space between them, and was staring at the necklace like a cat-nip-laced plaything, “are you an aquarius?! Miss Leijon would like the tell you that this is the symbol of the Also Evil Wizard, Eridan Ampora!”
“Yeah, uh, I know, I was, uhm, cursed or something,” Tavros’s face was awash with chagrin (“Woah, bro, what’s that fancy shit mean?” “Uh, disappointment, I, uh think if I’m using it in the right context or something like that.”) as she looked up to the girl, “do you remember the Princess?”
Tavros’s heart sank. So Eridan had done well; no one who had known of her recalls her at all.
“She’s mean and nasty. But Miss Leijon likes her more than that pawsitively terrifying Queen Vriska!” Nepeta giggled, “is she the one who put a curse of you? ‘Cause Miss Leijon and her Meowrail Equius would be happy to assist you!”
“Wow, really? I, uh, I’m not sure,” Tavros’s face went brown from blushing. He never knew anyone would be so helpful to a lowblooded stranger, “are you, uh, really super certain you’d want to take in, uh, someone, like me?”
“Nepeta, I have finished that ridiculous commission for that Mr. Captor, therefore I am proposing I escort you—oh,” Suddenly a large shadow appeared in the doorway, his voice grinding to a sudden, smug halt when he saw who was in his presence aside from Nepeta. He glared at Tavros with clenched, seeing the brown stain across the Troll’s cheeks and sneered, “Nepeta, who, may I ask, have you been associating yourself with now? I cannot believe you have let this gutterblood into our barn!”
“Nepeta greets her meowrail with a friendly POUNCEGREET!” Nepeta cried, suddenly flying through the air and tackling the large troll to the floor, “ew! Equius, you’re all sweaty!”
“Nepeta! I will kindly ask you to get off of me. In fact, I order you to get off of my chest right at this instant!”
“Hee hee!” Nepeta picked herself up, “oh, pawlease, can we keep her? Miss Leijon earnestly tells her favouritist troll in all of Camternia how sorry she feels for the poor cursed girl in hopes he’ll let her stay!!” Her eyes got really big, and she smiled, making a strange purring-like noise that Tavros had never heard come from a troll before.
“Nepeta!” He frowned, putting a lot of effort into gently shirking her off him, “you know how I feel about—”
“LET’S GO INSIDE AND DRINK SOME TEA!” Nepeta cried, grabbing Tavros’s hand and pulling her across the barn and through a door, breezing past Equius who was still lying on the floor since no one had, uh, offered him a hand up. He’d probably end up ripping their arm off by accident anyways.
“W-who was that?” Tavros whispered as the pair entered a cozy little food preparation block. There was a fire-burning nutrient heating device, a steaming pink kettle sitting on top. Nepeta grabbed it, and started pouring it into a hastily-mended teacup and serving it to Tavros. There was a window letting in a cool breeze and warm, spring time air, and in the corner, a trash receptical pilled high with broken pieces of metal.
“That, Miss Leijon explains purrfectly, is Mr. Equius Zahhak, the most wonderful meowrail ever!! He’s a bit silly sometimes, though, and doesn’t like the lowerbloods, but I don’t mind being friends with them! He’s the blacksmith here in Camternia, and sometimes likes to make inventions! But a lot of the time just breaks them! Hee hee!” She poured herself a cup of tea aswell, before carefully setting down the teapot and taking off her thick leather gloves, “but sometimes villagers come around and ask for commissions, which is just a special word for requests, but Equius gets paid fur it! He lets me stay here with him, ‘cause I’m also the horse trainer, and ‘cause he makes enough money for both of us! So I’m sure you can stay here fur a little bit! Until we get your curse all straightened out!”
“That’s really, really, actually nice of you,” Tavros smiled, taking a sip of the cameowmile tea, “but I’m not sure how
I’ll get this curse, uh, cured, or whatever you, uh, do with a curse, I think.”
“Don’t let her drink out of my teacups!” Equius stormed in, hay stuck in his hair. Nepeta stuck her tongue out playfully.
“No! All you do is break ‘em!” She giggled. The larger troll scowled, fixing his blacked-out, cracked goggles lamely. He brushed the dust and hay off his apron, and sat down next to Nepeta, who was already pouring him a cup of tea, “now be careful!”
“I’m always careful,” Equius said, taking the fragile cup in his meaty hands. It shattered almost instantly,
“Awh, Equius~” there was a knock at the door in the other block. Nepeta smiled and jumped up, “oh! I’ll get it!”
She pranced out of the room, Equius frowning after her.
“Probably just Mr. Captor looking to pick up his knight’s new sword,” Equius grumbled, probably more to himself than to
Tavros, who he still failed to acknowledge. He got to his feet and started sweeping up the shards of broken teacup, when a piercing scream caused him to drop the ensemble all over again, “N-Nepeta?!”
“Equius! Come here!”Nepeta screeched. Equius was out of the block and by Nepeta’s side in an instant.
“Yeah, bro, I just f-found her in the woods, all beat up and shit like this...I wasn’t sure what the motherfuck to do so I just brought her here ‘cause I know you do miracles and shit....” Tavros could hear the most defeated voice imaginable drifting in from the other block. Curious, she got to her feet and slowly joined the others, keeping her distance, but watching the action from the doorway.
A handsomely dressed troll was standing in front of the door that opened to the outside, having just come in through it. He was wearing a large, royal purple hat, with one large, white plume fitted in one side, his horns sticking out from the top of it through lazily cut holes. He wore a purple satin coat, with white ruffles on the wrists and chest; dyed red with blood. In shaking arms he held a beautiful woman’s body; even Tavros, who had never seen a dead body before, knew this troll no longer breathes. Her beautiful face was smeared with blood, her expressioned pained, and her dull eyes still wide open although unseeing. A large gaping wound tore through her middle, making a mess of her peasant dress. Red blood was everywhere. She was a peasant, a nobody, and yet this man who wore nice, purple clothes held her with tearful, hooded eyes.
His hands were shaking, and he was pleading with Equius.
"Please, man, you gotta do this, you gotta do something for her, she’s gonna die and I don’t know what I’d do without her,” he said, his voice fluxuating from a panicked loud to a hushed quiet, “please, bro, bestfriend, I’m mothefucking begging you!”
“...You could order me to do it, highblood,” Equis said, his forehead beginning to glisten, “however, I do presume she is already dead...and by the looks of it, for a few hours, now.”
“Equius! Lady Leijon begs you to do something fur the poor Mr. Makara!” Nepeta cried, wringing her hands and playing with the whip attached to her waist, “maybe you could make something out of those metal parts you always have lying around!” She rubbed up next to Equius, staring at him with big yellow eyes. He frowned, though Tavros was almost sure this was his default face. He looked torn, before saying, with a sigh:
“Fine, Mr. Makara, I will certainly try my best to appease you. If my work is not satisfactory, however, feel free to punish me....”
“Just help her, man...please.” He handed the body over to Equius, who took it gently and disappeared with it into a different block. The newcomer was left now with Tavros and Nepeta, who twitched like a cat high on catnip. Tavros stared at the new troll, who had taken off his hat and was stroking the feather as if it were a pet. Then, he looked up at Tavros. She gasped; his face was so tragic; his eyes were rimmed with a nasty shade of indigo, and remanants of face paint had been washed away by tears. He wrung his hat in his hands and said, “I was thinking that she never took so long to go to the market before...so I went to find her there and she wasn’t anywhere...and then I looked all night and I found her this morning...I hope she’ll be alright cause she was a nice motherfucker and....”
“What’s your name?” Tavros asked, before looking down at the floor and saying, “oh, uh sorry, I mean I’m, uh, sorry for your lose, I’m sure Mr. Zahhak can do something for you, from what I’ve, heard.”
“My name is Gamzee Makara,” Gamzee said, giving a slight bow, “motherfucking poet extraordinare. What’s your name, my lady?”
“Oh, I’m uh, Tavros Nitram,” Tavros smiled. She wondered vaguely why Gamzee was being so nice to her, since he was a highblood, and she was...not, “nice to, uh, meet you.” Maybe he had lost him mind to grief.
“Tavros Nitram,” Gamzee’s brows furrowed, “yo, man, that name sounds familiar. Who’s your dad?”
“Oh, uh,” Suddenly all words dried up in her throat, and she wasn’t sure what to say, “K-King Dave...?”
“No, shit man?!” His eyes lit up and his eyebrows nearly rocketed off his face, “I thought your name sounded familiar. You’re Princess Tavros!”
“You remember me?!” Tavros gasped. Nepeta tilted her head to the side curiously.
“Princess Tavros? Who are you talking about? In Camternia there’s only one princess, and that’s Feferi—”
“Nah, man, Tavros was the nicest princess in all of Camternia,” Gamzee took a curious step closer, “you’re definitely her! What a motherfucking miracle, to see a Princess here!”
“Oh! Then, the lovely miss Leijon cried, is your curse! No one can remember a Princess Tavros!” Nepeta cried, curiously studying Tavros all over again, “There must be a way to reverse it!”
“You were cursed?” Gamzee asked. Tavros nodded meekly. Gamzee shook his head, “I know someone who can help you! Man, she used to deal me sopor slime, but now she does magic tricks and prophecies and motherfucking miracles like that, man!”
“Oh?! Who’s that?” Nepeta purred curiously. The faintest smile reached Gamzee’s lips.
“T-Terezi Pyrope?” Tavros stuttered, rubbing her bare arms as she followed her new friends out the door, “that’s, uh, odd....”
“What—er—the furrocious Miss Leijon scurries over to her accursed friend and smiles, asking what’s wrong,” Nepeta said aloud, doing exactly what she said she would, “what’s wrong?”
“That name, it, uh, sounds so familiar,” she glared into the distance, before embarrassingly noticing that she was staring right at the strange poet who walking in front of her, “uh, but different...it reminds me of someone....”
“Hmm,” Nepeta purred, looking ahead of them at the third Troll in the party. The trio had left the stables about an hour earlier, following Gamzee in hopes to find the mysterious Ms. Pyrope. Or perhaps she was a Miss. Tavros wasn’t really sure at the time, they both kinda sound the same when you say them aloud. Since leaving the barn, the poet hadn’t said two things, but rather drifted around in front of them, stopping every once in a while to study a flower at the side of the dirt path, but otherwise kept to himself and looked rather out of it, if you asked Tavros. She swore she once saw him pull out some green slime from his sylladex. The ex-princess vaguely wondered if he even knew where he was going. Nepeta piped up just then, as they were entering another of the many forests, “I wonder what this troll is all even like! He seems purretty suspicious, if you ask me. Maybe I should have listened to my meowrail after all!”
“No, uh, I’m sure it’s fine,” Tavros said quietly, before calling to Gamzee, “uh, Mister Poet, uh, sir? When exactly are we going to be arriving at Miss/Ms Pyrope’s house?” she squeaked when Gamzee turned at looked at her. His eyes were still rimmed, and most of his make-up was smeared onto his jacket sleeve from wiping his eyes. Tavros wondered why he wore the make-up, anyways, because he was much more handsome underneath. Then she blushed, and Gamzee raked his heavy-lidded eyes over her.
“No, man, I don’t know,” he said, his voice a measured calmness, as if he was holding something back, “I just wander ‘til I find her all up in a tree or something. She likes these trees here, bro, so I just walk around in circles picking motherfucking flowers and shit...” he trailed off, saying something along the lines of, “’cause she always loved the flowers I got her....”
“You mean we’ve been walking around in circles!?” Nepeta cried, a growl faintly tainting her cheerful demeanour, “Mr. Gamzee...!”
“Oh, I wouldn’t bother Mr. Purpleblood, he’s brought you right to me!” A cackling laugh cut through Nepeta’s whine like a cold knife, echoing up in the high trees like a bat’s screech. Gamzee smiled lazily, looking up to the sky. Nepeta gasped, looking about with giant, confused eyes as Tavros went stiff as a board next to her.
“That voice...that voice!” She cried as something fell from the trees above them, landing right in front of Tavros.
“Oh, wow,” the female voice said, “did you miss me, little one? You sure have grown!”
“I-I thought you were dead!” Tavros cried, “mom!”
“You really think I would let her get me?” Terezi cackled, revealing a mouth like a shark, “I was only banished, hehehe, but Vriska couldn’t get me to leave, and instead I came here to start a new life as a Prophetess.” She smiled devilishly, stepping back to take a good look at her long-lost daughter, “hm, that curse sure did a number on you, hehehe!”
“Y-yeah, how, uh, can you remember me?”Tavros asked looking nervously to Gamzee, “he can remember me too, uh, it’s weird.”
“I did forget you,” Terezi said, adjusting her red spectacles, turning like a gazelle, the beads on her many skirts twinkling as they crashed together with every step, “but then I remembered, again; the Prophets told me everything,” she slithered like a snake over to her tree, before jumping up into the branches like a tree-creature, “come on up here, guys~, I’ll tell you everything.”
The air was suddenly heavy with electricity, buzzing and zapping around Feferi’s ears. The princess dropped her make up brush, turning around from her vanity and scanning her chamberblock.
“W-who’s there?” she asked, her voice faltering greatly. Suddenly, her door closed with a bang, and her anti-light window coverings flew shut, dropping the young troll into complete darkness. She heard the door lock with a shuddering ‘click’. Darkness accumulated in a swirling mass before the trembling girl. It shifted and changed until it had gathered into a single form; a young human girl, with short blond hair, gray, death-like skin, and a purple ribbon with holes cut into it over her eyes, concealing her identity. In her hands she held two sparking knitting needles, like weapons of mass-destruction in her small, gray hand. She looked down at Feferi with an aggravated glare.
“I-I know who you are!” Feferi cried, the fish puns scared out of her, “you’re the Assassin Grim Dark!”
“Of course you know who I am,” the Assassin snapped, “you are the one who hired me, I am sure of it!”
“I-I have no idea what you’re talking about!” Feferi cried, clutching the seat of the bench on which she sat with a vice-like grip. The Assassin rolled her purple eyes.
“No one seems to remember...” she started, massaging her temples with her forefingers, “including myself. From what I can deduct, a curse or otherwise magical meddling of some sort has taken place here, and it has in turn affected this whole nation, including even myself. However, I have seen and gathered evidence from viewing my past actions in my magical orb, and you indeed asked me to kill or otherwise maim to the point of death a member of your family. You asked me to wait until this family member entered the marketplace, at which time I would come and do the foretold deed. And as I entered this establishment, I lost my memory of the cause, and do not know who it was you had stricken myself against.”
(“Dude, man, holy motherfuck I didn’t understand half that shit.”
“Yeah, uh, she uses big words sometimes.”)
“I-I have no idea! I don’t think I could bring myself to krill anyone, let alone cull someone of my own family! I love King Dave and Evil Queen/Step-mom Vriska.”
“No, no, it was definitely you,” the Assassing Grim Dark looked around the room, diligently, focusing in on a stray picture frame on the princess’s vanity, and, with a swish of her knitting needles, watched it fly into her hands with great satisfaction, “hm, this name,” she said, rubbing her fingers along the edge of the golden frame, where a name was scrawled out, both in Trollian and English, “Tavros Nitram. She looks...pretty, and quite familiar, actually. This, I am sure, is who you asked me to kill. Well, I am going to finish this job, and now I know who I am looking for.”
With a crash of lightening, she disappeared, leaving the room bright with sunshine once more as the door unlocked, and the windows flew open, basking the room in light as before.
Feferi blinked, looking around the room. Then, she shrugged, and went back to applying her concealer.
“Fuck! What the holy fuck is this hornless, pigmented douchebag doing now?!”
“Calm down, KK, you’ll blow a gathket thith way. Not that that won’t, like, teath you a lethon or anything.”
“You shut up!” Karkat hissed, the vein on his temple angrily protruding, just visible under his shiny metal helmet, “I am the leader! It’s me! So you can just shut your lispy little protein chute and let me do my knightly business!” He brought the telescope back up to his eyes, peering through the scope with profound concentration. Of course, through the leaves of the bush they were hiding in, he couldn’t see much of the Heir, but hell, he wasn’t going to let Sollux know that. The idiot already knew too much with his vision two-fold.
“What are we effen doing KK?”
“Following this retarded, pink-skinned Prince of Derp.”
“Okay, yeth, but WHY?” Sollux, the knights appointed squire, gave Karkat a thin-lipped glare, barely noticeable through his dual-toned goggles and bright red hooded cloak. There were many times where Karkat questioned the glasses’ origins; like, where the heck do you even buy glasses like that? He figured Sollux had his own shady sources.
“Why...?” Karkat echoed. To be honest, he wasn’t sure anymore. But he knew he was supposed to be following the black-haired, blue-eyed, and exceptionally-cute—wait, what? No, he meant exceptionally retarded...yeah—Prince John...for some reason. He wasn’t too sure, but he really had nothing better to do than hide in a bush, after running around after a Prince, who appeared to possibly be lost, in full knight armour, with a squire who doused him with spit every time he spoke.
Besides, the Prince seemed to know what he was doing.
In fact, said Prince had no idea what he was doing. At that moment, he was standing in one of the many forests surrounding Camternia, letting his horse and Princely Entourage take a well deserved break. He liked giving them breaks, since they were doing so much for him, and he liked to look at the foreign scenery every once in a while. He was also leaning against a rock in the shade, studying something he scribbled on the back of his hand with his quill the day before while leaving the castle. He always wrote messages to himself on the back of his hand if it was SUPER IMPORTANT not to forget. Right now he had “save princess tavros <3” scrawled there and he wasn’t sure why. The strange part was that he remembered writing the words, but he couldn’t remember who this mysterious Princess Tavros was, or why she was in trouble in the first place. He dipped his hand into his pocket, feeling the ring box which still made its home there brush against his fingertips. Surely this ring was intended for Princess Feferi? No, that didn’t feel right...no, he would search all the land for this Tavros, since he knew in his heart that was who it was for...whoever she was. He would search all of Camternia for her, and make her his bride, bringing Alternilot and Camternia together forever! He smiled; this was a good idea, something that would make his Dad really super proud!
“Okay, guys, we should probably start to get going if you’re, well, up for it!” he said, jumping up off the rock and marching with a new energy to his horse; the Trolls in his entourage called them muscle-beasts, those silly aliens. Except, uh, they’re not aliens in Camternia, ‘cause they’ve been there for a long time I think...probably, “we’re going to start searching for this Lady, Princess Tavros, right here in these woods! I want you to question every commoner you find, because maybe she’s hiding or something, like a true prankster. Oh! Imagine if she was a trickster like me! We could have our wedding on April fools! I mean, if they have it here in Camternia.”
“What ith wrong with thith guy?!”
“Shush, these are precious moments that you’re ruining!” Karkat cried, ignoring the warmth rushing to his cheeks, “I mean, fuck, you know, talking like that’s gonna give our position away!”
“Give me that!” Sollux cried, trying to grab the telescope from Karkat’s hands. The knight-to-be tried to hide the golden telescope behind his back, but couldn’t quite manoeuvre around in his clunky armour, and ended up just sticking his tongue out at Sollux and holding the telescope over his head. Sollux growled, his eyes glowing blue and red, about to say something rather passive-agressive and moody until:
“Oh, hi there! Why are you in a bush? Is that something you Camternians do often?”
“AH SHIT WHAT THE FUCK HEY DON’T TOUCH ME YOU FUCKASS!” Karkat screamed as a wet and clammy hand slipped into his own. Suddenly the hand was gripping his arm and pulling him upwards, until he was on his feet and face-to-face with the Prince, who stared at him curiously through round spectacles; his golden crown was places on his messy black hair at a rather jaunty angle, and he was decked out in his complete Princely attire; a blue jacket made of satin trimmed with orange ribbon, and bright orange stockings that were covered in white muscle-beast hair. On his back hung a bright yellow quiver, and he slung a blue bow over his shoulder. His face was plastered with the most derpy, beautiful, and rage-inducing smile Karkat had ever seen, and he had black ink smeared across the back of his left hand; the one not holding on to Karkat’s.
“Oh?” He asked, blinking, his big blue eyes making him resemble an owl or some sort of cute forest-creature, “oops, sorry!”
He let go of Karkat, who fell back into the bush with a crash of metal-hitting-metal. Sollux, who had stood up, his lanky form towering over the other two, chuckled and brushed off his pants.
“Hey, whatth up?” he asked, jutting out his hand for John to take it. The Prince produced the most unmanly giggle Karkat had ever heard, and shook Sollux’s gloved hand with his own. Then he bowed nicely, too, because that’s how they greet each other in Alternilot.
“Nice to meet you! I’m Prince John Egbert, from Alternilot. I’m in search of someone named...er...” he checked the back of his hand, “Tavros. Have you mysterious bush-dwellers know of anyone by that name?”
“Nope, no clue, can’t help you kid,” Karkat said, struggling to his feet. He regretted putting on his armour that day, but when he woke up that morning, he thought it would make him feel more badass while on a dangerous, heroic quest he wasn’t quite sure the point to, “sorry we’ll just be on our way because I sure as fuck don’t want to talk to you.”
“Alright, then,” John said, bowing again, “I didn’t mean to bother you! You two can go back to whatever it was you were doing to make that bush shake like that—”
“Now you listen here you little—” Karkat started to scream, his face turning bright red, when he was suddenly being lifted into the air by a red and blue glow around his waist, “SOLLUX YOU TRAITOR PUT ME DOWN!”
“I’m thorry to haff bothered you, thir,” he gave a curt headnod, “my partner ith a little headthrong.”
“Oh, I see,” John looked up at Karkat, who was fighting against the bonding psionics, twirling around in the air like a synchronized swimmer in rapids, “well, I’m looking for someone named Tavros. She has to be a princess, too, I...uh, think?
And I don’t think you two are really the traditional princess types so I won’t really bother you asking if you’re her!”
“Yeth, then, we’ll juth be on our way, then,” Sollux frowned, turning on his heels and marching off to nowhere-in-particular, finally letting Karkat down a little ways away, out of John’s earshot, “fuck, why do I abtholutely thuck at talking to people?!”
“Nah, it wasn’t so bad, I mean, he was still at least fifty percent dry,” Karkat glared, rubbing his head where he’d been dropped on, “fuck! That douchebag is going to get to the prize before us! Now we know what we’re looking for; a princess named Tavros, so as long as we stay ahead of that little prick, we should get there first!”
“Yeth, that ith an abtholutely perfect plan, KK,” Sollux looked up to the sky, “well, why don’t we thart down in town? Near the market? While he’ll be up here thearthing the foretht.”
“That’s a horrible idea,” Karkat grumbled, before sighing and adding, “but at least it’s a plan.”
Sollux helped him to his feet, and the two started to make their way down into the little village, a smile even escaping Karkat’s lips on the way.
“Dear diary,” Eridan sighed, sitting at his desk in the Evil Lair Hive, writing in his super serious journal with his favourite, foot-long purple quill, “today, or rather, last night somethin’ amazing happened,” he smiled broadly, feeling the butterflies in his digesting chamber flutter as he looked out his window at the Camternian Sea, “I think I hawe found myself red for a certain little angel fish. Diary...erp,” he scratched out the word diary, “JOURNAL, I hawen’t felt this way about anyone, let alone a blasted landdweller, since Princess Fef declined my proposal last sweep. This is how I got hooked by Wriska in the first place; I was swept up in this act of rewenge on the royals and wowed to kill at least one of them, maybe two ‘cause that King Dave is an insufferable prick. Anyone except Fef...I don’t think I could ewer kill her, not ewen in a fit of rage, hate, and jealousy! That would newer happen...” he looked over his shoulder quickly; his assistant, a seahorse lusus, tended to barge into his respiteblock when he was writing heart-felt diary, uh, journal entries...or his angst-ridden poetry about the suppression of highbloods. He would never show anyone that, though, “anyways, diary, I will admit here, I am bright burnin’ red for Ewil Qween Wriska, and I think that maybe this time it’s finally requited...’cause she grabbed my hand last night...! I would do anythin’ for her...so now I am caught in her net, and I can’t get out of it. I can’t about this mission ewen if I wanted to...not that I want to,” He giggled to himself, “watching Tarwos run around like a lowly little peasant blood is the most entertaining. Ah, fuck—”upon hearing someone enter the room, he slammed his diary shut and threw it under his desk, spilling purple ink all over his stripped pants, “ah! What a beach! Dad!”
The sight of this new Terezi was something to behold. Tavros hadn't seen her mother in years, but she would always remember her flamboyant dressed and crazy tiaras she used to wear around the palace; however, this new getup was something else entirely.
Her horns were adorned with countless gold rings, each encrusted with a different colour of jewel. Her necklaces weren't any better, and they looked almost a little rusty from being sucked on. She wore what looked like several layers of swishy skirts, each a different shade of red or teal, and her top was a small piece of teal fabric garlanded with dangling gold pieces; they clinked together with her every step, like her personal fanfare. She wore no shoes, which came in handy when she, much like a nut-eating woodland creature, jumped and climbed half-way up the tree she had just come from.
Gamzee made a small laughing nose in the back of his throat, before following her lead, and making his way up the tree with about as much grace as a muscle-beast would have. Tavros gulped, looking to Nepeta, who was clapping excited.
"This is so much fur-un!" she squealed, "oooh, Equius is gonna be sad he didn't come! The valiant hero Nepeta jumped furward and climbed the tree effortlessly, like the good little kitty she is!" She ran towards the tree, doing exactly as she said she would, leaving Tavros and Gamzee in a trail of dust.
"Oh, come on, Tav," Terezi called down, "don't you want to hear this most delicious news?"
"I, uh, one sec, I'm coming, I think." She stumbled forward, hugging the tree like a long-lost relative, and trying to jump but making it look only like she and the tree were having a very intimate moment together. Terezi cackled.
"That's no way to climb a tree!" She cried, her laughter raining down on the ex-princess like little daggars. Tavros frowned, pressing her face into the tree; she had known her mother again for all of ten minutes and already the woman was ashamed of her. This was fantastic! Tavros sighed, gearing up to jump again, when she felt a hand on her shoulder. Opening her eyes, she saw the poet smiling down at her, his hand open for her to take.
"I'm sorry, bro, but you suck at climbing trees, brother, and we all want to get all up in this bitch today," he said. Tavros smiled and took his hand. The Poet was surprisingly strong, and a small whimper escaped Tavros's lips as he was hoisted up onto a rainbow-painted platform, "see, that wasn't so bad, huh?"
"Thank you," Tavros murmured. Nepeta purred.
"Oh, you two are purrfect together!" She cried, her hands flailing in the air a bit, before adding quietly, "I'll have to update my shipping wall...."
"Oh, don't be absurd," Terezi flew in from above, startling Tavros and Gamzee, "they don't fall in love 'til later! Hehehehehe!"
"That's adorable!" Nepeta make a startling, high pitched noise probably only cats could hear. Or purrhaps dogs, but you wouldn't tell Nepeta that.
"This isn't, uh, the family reunion I was thinking of," Tavros said, her face turning bright brown again, "uh, Mom, maybe you should, uhm, tell us exactly what happened all those years ago."
"Oh, hehehe, yes," Terezi said. She ushered them into the treehouse, settling them down in some strange looking, multicoloured fluffy chairs, and giving them some cherry flavoured cookies. Then, she sat in front of them, her gypsy clothes chiming and shimmering in the fading sun, her smile like a bloodthirsty shark's, "as you know, your father chose me as his bride all those years ago, back when he was but an ikle little rosy-blooded prince! It was the best time of my life, living with him and you and your sister! But then the Spiderbitch came from nowhere—"
"Spiderbitch?" Nepeta asked, her head titled to the side like a curious kitten.
"Queen Vriska," Gamzee said, leaning so far back in his pellet-filled sack seating apparatus it looked as if his butt were being eaten, "right, man?"
"Totally right, my brother!" Terezi cried, "she ambushed me one day, totally jealous of what I had. I could smell the jealousy rays coming off her; they smelt like hatred and stinky eggs but she always smells like that. She mind-controlled me with her vision eightfold, and blinded me! Then she mind-controlled Dave, and make him declare my banishment! I had to leave, it was the law!"
"Oh yeah, and you, uh, totally love the law, right?"
"I totally super mega love the law! The law is right! The law is just! So I left the Kingdom for a while," she pouted, seemingly looking out the window, though Tavros wondered how this was possible when she was now blind. He wondered how a lot of things were possible if she were blind, but she was too polite to ask. Terezi sighed, "until I met Pyralspite!"
"My pet dragon!" Terezi smiled like a shark again, "she taught me how to smell the colours of the wind!"
"Oh, uh, yeah, that's totally normal."
"Nah, I got it, bro," Gamzee spoke up, "now you can see all the motherfucking colours and shit with your burnt up redglare eyes even though there's no sight up in your mind?"
"Yes, exactly," Terezi said, though she still pouted, "I think. Sometimes I can't understand what you're saying."
"Hahaa, that's funny." Gamzee said. He took off his feather hat, lying back, placing it on his face, "I'm gonna go all up in dreamland now."
"Hm, I don't know if he's right for you, honey," Terezi said to Tavros, "he doesn't seem all there."
"Awh! He, uh, just lost his matesprit!"
"Doesn't mean he can't be nice to a Lady!"
"Mmm, Miss Leijon wants to hear more about your impawsible trials!" Nepeta was on the edge of her seat, looking positively, or, uh, I mean pawsitively fascinated.
"Oh, yes," Terezi nodded, twirling her thumb and index finger through her thick black hair, "well, being a blind troll, who are ridiculously oppressed in this area, by the way, I didn't have many options. So, even though through the great teachings of the mighty, ferocious Pyralspite, I could see better than before, I was still seen as disabled. So I went into the fortune-telling business," she waved an arm down towards her colourful get-up, "people really like being told things by a blind troll! I got so much money I snuck back into the Camternia boarders and built this house! I've been watching you and Feferi grow up with my magic crystal ball," she threw her thumb over her shoulder, gesturing towards a dusty white orb, "but that thing barely even works. I just talk to the prophets when I want to check up on you! Hehehehe!" she laughed like a crackling fire, shifting in her seating apparatus, "until not too long ago, when I woke up with the prophets telling me something horrible had happened to you! And I didn't even know who you were! So they told me everything again, and helped me think of a plan to help you!"
"And that plan is...?"
"Well it includes him," she said, waving an arm towards Gamzee, "believe it or not. And the help of a Knight, or, uh, Knight-to-be...and a Prince!"
"Okay," Tavros's eyebrows were furrowed so closely they ran the risk of becoming a unibrow, "h-how exactly?"
"Hm, I'm not too sure," Terezi said, her mouth twisting into her shark-like smile once more, "but I do know who you need to contact to turn yourself back!"
"Ohhh, exciting!" Nepeta purred.
"The Evil Wizard, Eridan Ampora!"
"Oh no," Tavros cried, "he's the one who, uh, got me into this mess!" She could still recall his face as it melted under Vriska's touch. What a loser! She didn't want to see him ever again!
"But as you probably know, he's under the spell of the spiderbitch," Terezi said, "you'll need the help of the Knight and the Prince to defeat him. Only when he's gone will your curse be lifted...oh, and you still have to get rid of the nasty Arachnid Queen, afterwards!" She crackled, looking them over, "are you ready?"
"Yes! Yes!" Nepeta cried.
"Yeah, bro-man," Gamzee slurred, "motherfucking ready for this my whole life."
"Uh...no?" Tavros stuttered, but it was too late, Terezi was already pushing them out the door. Nepeta eagerly jumped from the great height, landing safely on her feet. Gamzee once again proved himself to be a tree-creature, swinging down gently. Tavros just fell. She was good at falling off tall things, but at least she didn't break anything...like her back or something.
("Awh, bro, stop trying to self-insert your motherfucking self into this thing, it's not cool."
"Gamzee, this story is about us?"
"Oh! Oh! Beware of the robots! They'll get in your way!" she cried down after them, "and maybe you should go find the Prince first? I don't know where he is, but I have a feeling the Knight won't be far behind!"
She cackled once more and slammed the door to her treehouse closed. Tavros found herself staring up at where the opening had been, slightly more confused than she had been before.
"This is exciting!" Nepeta cried, bounding from tree to tree, "Miss Leijon jumps in excitement, hurriedly telling her friends that they should head back into town. There are purrobably some knights and stuff there! Hee hee!"
"Yeah, that's the best bet, I guess," Tavros nodded, following after the cat-troll. She looked back at Gamzee, watching the Poet readjust his hat, "uh, let's go, then!"
Man I'm so confused, somehow the chapters got goofed up here...I'm not sure how, but I think I've fixed it? heh. Oh well, I'm sorry!!
"Do you want some Faygo, bro?" Gamzee asked, tilting the bottle of brightly coloured liquid towards me, shaking me from my dream, again. Sometimes I wondered if he was paying attention at all.
"Huh? Oh, uh," I blinked my eyes a few times, staring at the offending bottle as if it were a rod that had been with all the others in a fire, all of them, "no thank you, Gamzee, I, uh, think that the story might take a strange turn if I, uh, do, because sometimes, you talk, uh, funny and stuff, I think."
"No, man, you don't want to slam some of this wicked elixir?" he took the bottle back, but he didn't seem offended. Though sometimes I was wrong, "no worries, Tavbro. Maybe you just need some company, then, you're looking all worried and shit, you know?"
"Uh, not really, but, oh—" I jumped when Gamzee took my hand in his, scooting a little closer. I felt my cheeks heat up. They were probably really, really brown. Or orange. Sometimes they were more orange than brown, I guess it depended on who was looking, "Gamzee!"
"I'm just keeping you company on this fine day," he said leaning in close to me. Oh dear, this was a problem, I thought, I didn't think he was flushed for me at all! He probably wasn't, and had just had too many pies again or something. No one was ever flushed for me,
"tell me more about the horsebroman," he was saying, "and my dead matesprite."
"O-Oh you mean Aradia," I stuttered, "yeah, oh, uh so you were, listening."
"Of course, man," he smiled lazily, "you're my Tavbro, your words are like little miracles coming up and into the world. You speak like, rainbows and shit bro."
"Uhh, cool," I said, because I wasn't really sure what speaking rainbows meant, "uh, you wanted to hear about Equius? Uh, okay...."
Equius stood over his latest assignment. Perhaps he should call it a QUEST. Quest sounds STRONGER, and he liked things that were STRONG.
What wasn't STRONG was this poor troll girl. He laid her body down on the cold metal table in his workshop, staring down at her red lips and pale skin. A loss, she was so beautiful.
But he had hope; he could bring her back; this was within his capabilities, he was 100% certain of this fact. He could build her better, as well. Create for her a new vessel... a better vessel. He touched his hands to the deep red wound in her chest. It was a shame she was born into such a low caste. She really was gorgeous. Before he could stop himself, he had bent down and pressed her cold, hard lips against his own. Instantly he broke the kiss, stumbling back, wiping his lips on his sleeve. She was dead!
Though, if she were dead, she could not say no. She could not throw the pairing into moirailship, like Nepeta did.
Perhaps she was the ideal...no! She was someone else's matesprit.
No, He though as he came to her side once more. He swept the hair out of her beautiful face, looking down disdainfully at her wound. It was a pity his fated matesprit was born of a hideous caste.
He could fix it. He could create her from his own blood, his own noble caste. He could bring her back.
"It is only a matter of time," he said softly, leaning in and kissing her dead lips once more, "wait, it is only a matter of time."
The Poet would not be happy with this. He would certainly loose the commission. Though, when he thought of it, he did not care what the Poet though. He did not care what anyone thought. Stealing one's matesprit was definitely frowned upon; not that it happened very often. Normally two matesprits would not ever thing of cheating on the other. This situation was unique in that she did not have a choice.
He got to work with his plans. She would be better, greater than ever before. And she would be his.
"No, no, no," Karkat hissed through his teeth, "no I am not fucking asking that dimwitted shit stain of the universe for help. You can go fuck yourself with that stupid ass sword you carry around but never use! You can cram that up your nook and twist it around, finding sick, burning pleasure from it a sicko like yourself can only hope for, before I'll fucking ask that nookwhiff for help!"
"A little touchy, heh," Sollux chuckled, "it themes like the beth option, don't you think?"
"No, I do not think, Sollux, that asking him for help with my quest is the best option!" Karkat cried, "not after he spotted us a while ago! He'd know we were following him if he saw us again!"
"But...we are following him."
"But the fuckass doesn't need to know!" Karkat hissed again.
"No, you know what I wath thinking, one of the many momenth during whith we thpent watching the thuppothed 'fuckath'? That we join fortheth with him."
"Join...join forces with him? Are you fucking insane, Captor? Have the voices of the prophets finally eaten away at your thinkpan, driving you batshit insane? Are you going to eat me alive in a fit of rage and madness? Should I be running, Captor?"
"Thut up," Sollux growled, "no, I was just thinking that you're both looking for the thame thing. Wouldn't it be earthier if you just teamed up and thplit the differenceth at the end?"
"Haha, I was thinking the same thing for the past three hours!" Karkat froze and looked up, seeing exactly what he feared; The Prince was standing before them, beaming down on them with the most ridiculous smile. Karkat was amazed his face hadn't cracked from overuse like that, "I've been listening to you bicker for the past half a day!" the prince went on, having the audacity to giggle, "you act like humans don't have ears or something! I could hear you! You are really the worst at hiding. Like, anti-ninjas or something—I mean, if you guys have ninjas. I don't really know." He trailed off into giggles, probably due to the way Karkat was glowering at him.
"Then you know our intentions are clear to you, human," Karkat growled under his breath,
"we need the, uhm....well I'm not too sure what exactly we need...."
"The Princess," John nodded, "I only remember cause I have it written on my hand," he showed them his hand, where the messily scribbled 'save the princess Tavros', along with something else that was too smudged to be legible underneath. Something that looked suspiciously like a heart, "I think I almost remember. I was supposed to come and propose marriage to a princess, but I know it wasn't Princess Feferi. It was someone else, a girl named Tavros, but I can't remember her, almost as if my memory was wiped or something!"
"I think I almotht remember thomthing like thith too," Sollux said, pulling down his hood to scratch his head, "don't you, KK? We were heading up to the cathtel to thee if there were any queth...."
"Oh, fuck, I remember now!" Karkat cried, "no, yeah, we were going to ask that insufferable prick, King Dave, if he had any noble quests I could complete to earn my knighthood! Then we saw you, and figured we'd follow you and steal whatever stupid quest you were set off on!"
"Hm, it seemed to me like you were mostly spying on me."
"We were stealing you bulge fondling idiot. But I guess we can create a pact of sorts! You take this Princess to be your wife, but Sollux and I will take her in to King Dave so I can become a Knight! And you can be...uhm...whatever it is you're trying to be." He looked to Sollux, who glowered.
"Okay! I'm up for that!" John cried. He gestured behind him, "I got extra horses, uhm, muscle beasts if you want! We can ride together, looking for clues for the Princess! I have a feeling she might be a little closer to the castle, because I've looked everywhere else!"
"Okay, okay, fine." Karkat pretended to be resistant to the idea, "but if I find the Princess first you're getting shit, you know that right?"
"Haha, I shouldn't expect anything less!" John laughed, mounting his steed, "oh, hey! You never told me your name!"
"Why should I tell it to you? Your pink squishy inferior brain will no doubt forget it instantly," Karkat growled. He crossed his arms, looking to the ground, before adding,
"it's Karkat, though. Karkat Vantas."
"Nice to meet you, Karkat!" John said, a smile cracking across his face, "I'm sure we'll be great friends!"
"My name ith Tholluth...." Sollux mumbled from behind him, but the two didn't hear him. Or they weren't listening. Typical.
“Y-yes, my lady,” Eridan bowed before his Queen’s feet, having to hold onto his hat so it didn’t fall off, “why is it that you’we called me here today?”
“I want a status report,” Vriska said, her chin held high as if she were sniffing the ceiling. She was looking down at Eridan as if he were a bug she would like to squish but was too lazy to get up off her throne for. It didn’t matter to Eridan; at least she was looking at him, “I want to know everything that is happening regarding our little brown...mess.”
“Same as last time, my Lady,” Eridan said, still staring down at the blue tiled floor of the throne room; they had replaced the red-and-teal motif long ago, “nothin’ has reely changed since ten minutes ago—”
“I know that!” Vriska sneered, gripping the arms of her throne tightly, “I was just making sure, okay? I just have a bad feeling about leaving her alive...we should have killed her, I think. Or at least paralyzed her or something.”
“You don’t think makin’ her a low-blood isn’t horrid enough?” Eridan asked. Vriska sneered, and he added, “no, no, of course it wasn’t enough, I corally agree with you!”
“Sure, whatever,” Vriska growled, “no, the other reason I’m nervous about this is that that idiotic Prince John from Alternilot was supposed to marry Tavros; he came by yesterday just before she was wiped from his memory and I told him she was missing. He vowed to go and find her, and though she apparently is gone from everyone’s memory except you and I...I’m still pretty damn concerned he remembers something. I want you to go and eliminate him.”
“We can’t assassinate the Prince of Alternilot! That would throw us into a war with the Alternians!”
“You dare defy me?” Vriska asked, so quiet the weight of the silence seemed to bare down on the Also Evil Wizard’s shoulders. He bowed his head once more, shaking it slightly.
“Wasn’t he supposed to wed Fef?” he said, then, “wasn’t that why she declined my proposal?”
“Fef? Hah,” Vriska laughed, her snicker echoing in the empty chamber, “no way, I think she declined simply because
she doesn’t like you. I mean, no one likes you.”
“Y-you don’t like me?” Eridan looked up, his eyes wide and shimmering with purplish moisture. Vriska cackled again.
“What?! You’re crazy, I don’t like anyone! Hell, I’m going to off Dave as soon as I’ve got this Tavros thing all sorted out. Bluh! How could I pity a king? How could I pity you?! You have a higher blood caste than me!” She was laughing so hard she was slouched back in her throne, her crown being crushed against the back of the large gold chair, skewing it to the side at a jaunty angle. Eridan growled.
“You do?” He slowly rose to his feet, “I thought you were a purple-blood!”
“No way! None of the Royals actually have royal blood! That’s totally cliché!!” She was laughing harder now, “oh god, your face is soooooooo funny! Really, you should have married Feferi, back when you proposed, if you had married her, and we had gotten rid of Tavros, you would have restored the royal blood caste to what it once was before we started showing mating fondness for humans! Everyone assumes we all have royal blood when only one of us does,” she waved her arm around the room, “why do you think there’s so much blue around here these days?”
“I-I thought you liked blue,” Eridan said, “I like blue. Blue is a great colour.”
“Bluh! Whatever,” she shook her head, “blue is the beeeeeeeest colour because it’s my blood colour! Don’t tell anyone, though, or I’ll have you killed.”
“You can’t do that to someone who is of a higher blood caste!!”
“Oh yes I can, ‘cause I’m fucking royalty!” she laughed, and Eridan scowled, bright purple spilling across his face,
“oh, you look soooooooo pitiful right now!”
“You think so?!” He cried, eyes brightening. She rolled her eyes.
“Whatever!”She sat up again, crossing her arms, “just go and find that stupid-ass prince, and then we’ll see how pitiful you are. Who knows, after I kill off Dave and become the only ruler of this land, maybe I’ll let you marry my step-daughter and one day succeed me with the evil in your heart affirmed. You guys live a hell of a lot longer than your everyday blue-blood, right?” she looked down at him darkly. He sputtered, not sure if he was supposed to answer that or not, before she sneered down and said, “fuck, get out of my sight!”
Eridan scrambled out of the throne room, head reeling, his quadrants all in a fluster. He wasn’t sure if he wanted to storm back into the great hall and throttle that huge bitch, or kiss her...or possibly both at the same time.
He needed to go and find Prince John, anyways. Maybe he could get his feelings, whether they be red or black, sorted out before he saw the Evil Queen again.
“So you’re an, uhm, poet?”
“Yeah, bro, I make some cash pushing out some sick rhymes and droppin’ them hot beats like no one else.”
Tavros rubbed her arms, feeling a little chilly despite the Blind Prophet Terezi Pyrope—her long lost mother—giving her a thick shawl before they departed. Their group had been walking for a while; a few hours as the day passed by and it slowly became night in the tick Camternia forest.
“Once my old lusus dad told me an old tale, about our ancestors,” the Poet, Gamzee, was saying, smiling down on Tavros, “he said a long, long time ago Trolls were allergic to the sun, and instead rose with the moons at night.”
“Is that true? Woah!” Nepeta, who walked beside them, purred excitedly, “purrhaps they could see in the dark! Wouldn’t that be so cool?! I bet they were furrocious!”
“You tell me, sister, they be so motherfuckin’ furrocious they scare even eachother!” Gamzee cackled, before adding,
“my old lusus broman told me that when the aliens came, the humans, the Trolls started to come out during the day more often, until we got totally used to it motherfucking eons in the future,” he whistled as if he were impressed,
“my lusus was a wise old bitch, girlies, I miss him a ton.”
“I never had a lusus,” Tavros said, “I had parents. Uh...I think it’s a human thing. And my dad is human...uh—”
(“I, uhh, never really thought this part of the, uhh, story out, Gamzee...it doesn’t really make sense, uhh, half Troll, half human babies would probably look like squishy gray, blobs, or, uhh, something I think.”
“Motherfucking miracles, Tavbro, you and Sister Jade should try it sometime.”
“Oh, sorry man, I didn’t mean to make your face get all up and brown like that.”)
“Show us some of your supurr cool rhymes, Mr.Gamzee!” Nepeta asked excitedly, “uh, I mean, Miss Leijion asked the supurr cool poet furr some supurr cool rhymes!”
“Yeah, sure think Miss KittyKat!” Gamzee said.
“I, uhh, can drop some pretty wicked rhymes of my own, uh.” Tavros said, “maybe we can have, an epic rap-battle...!”
They proceeded to have the second-worst rap-off battle in history.
“Do you hear that?” John asked, shushing Karkat with a pap to the face. The Knight growled, crossing his arms. How dare a human use the shoosh-pap method?! Especially since he was a trained almost-knight; trained in the art of calming.
I mean, he was totally ferocious, too, totally proficient in using his weapons. Of course.
“I didn’t hear anything, bucketlicker,” Karkat grumbled, “I don’t know how you hear anything with those shitty-ass excuse for ears you somehow have evolved into having. Maybe your thinkpan has started creating noises for you, just to keep it occupied before it totally jumps ship and leaves such a desolate landscape of minimal thought and—”
“Nah I totally head thomething too,” Sollux said, doofing Karkat in the head to shut him up, “we all know KK totally thuckth at hearing, though.”
“Someone’s coming!” John cried, pulling out a retractable telescope from his side pouch; not that it would do much help in these thick woods, “I hear some...well...actually it sounds like someone....rapping?”
“No, never mind, I think your thinkpan must have already died years ago!” Karkat threw his hands into the air, “maybe in Alternilot they have rapping, but not here, in Camternia—oh my god.”
From the trees popped three wayward travellers; three trolls, two female and one male, all coversing in a peppy rhyme that made little sense and really barely rhymed at all. In fact the words were so atrocious they made Karkat want to run in circles until he brained himself off a tree or perhaps Sollux’s horns. It was that bad.
The wayward travellers seemed about as surprised as they were to see another group of travellers in these parts of the woods. Prince John had pulled his sword, fumbling a bit on the way, his arms as shaky as his legs, which were pretty damn shaky. Sollux also branished his weapon, or rather weapons; he pulled off his goggles, revealing his eyes which cackled with red and blue light; his psionics. Karkat tried to pull his sword out of its hilt, but the thing jammed; he cursed his luck. He hated the damn sword, he was much better at his sickles, but Sollux told him a sword was much more Knight-like.
The three wayward travellers gasped, the man grabbing his broad-brimmed hat, and pushing the two others behind him as a sort of protective move.
“Who are you?” Prince John asked, since Karkat was busy creatively cursing at his sword, and Sollux was snickering at him instead of helping.
“I could as you the same question, man,” the troll said, “why you gotta go all violent and introduce me to your mr.sword? I got nothing, bro, just these two bitchin’ ladies and my motherfucking hands.”
“I-I asked who are you!?” It was obvious the Prince was trying to be menacing, but he sorta looked like a rather put out puppy.
“Gamzee motherfucking Makara, no one else but that bro,” he bowed, tipping his hat graciously, “County Poet at your service.”
“A poet?! Out of all things you’re a poet?! Oh god, I weep for the nation!” Karkat cried. Gamzee looked at him, a little confused.
“And thoth two behind you,” Sollux stepped forward, gesturing with his chin towards the two girls cowering behind Gamzee, “who are they?”
“The Lady Leijon does not appreciate being held by knife point!” The one wearing the green coat cried. She hissed at Sollux, who frowned at her and instead shifted his attention to the other.
“And you are?”
“I’m, uhh, Pr—uhm, Tavros. Tavros.” She said quietly. John gasped and dropped his sword. Karkat looked up from his hilt with wide eyes. Even the cackle of Sollux’s psionics died away as the forest was plunged into a thick silence.
“Tavros?” John asked, “like...Princess Tavros?”
“You remember me?!” Tavros gasped, her own eyes turning large like saucers, “oh, uh, oh gosh, I didn’t think anyone except Mr. Gamzee would remember me—”
“Well, really I don’t, but, heheh,” John said, sheepishly rubbing the back of his head, “but it was written on the back of my hand that I was supposed to save you, and, uh,” he got down on one knee in front of the lady, pulling something out of his pocket; a ring box, inside a sparkling diamond ring, “but, uh, w-will you marry me, Princess Tavros?”