Cyrek stood at a podium in front of the capitol building steps, and he proudly declared to the scribes who stood before him, “And that’s the plan! Any questions?” All of the scribes raised their hands, and Cyrek tried to hide his grimace as he called on one of them.
The first scribe wanted to know, “You didn’t actually give any details on how you aim to curtail the violence in the streets, you just rambled on about how important it is to protect our polis. So, am I correct to assume that you have no plan?”
“You guys always assume the worst!” Cyrek shot back to that scribe. “Listen, the royal family has been working with the senate, and we have a plan set in motion, but we can’t release classified details to the public. Otherwise, what would the point of classifying anything be? You next!”
“So, you are doing something to mitigate the riots, right?” the second scribe probed. “They’re growing more and more each day!”
Cyrek differed, “I don’t think there’s that many happening!”
A third scribe pointed out, “There’s one going on right now!” He indicated to the crowd behind him, who roared with anger and would have stormed into the building if the royal guards hadn’t been holding them back.
“That’s really more of a protest than a riot, and, as you can see, we have it under control,” Cyrek debated with him. The other scribes all avidly raised their hands so they could follow up with that, but instead of choosing someone else, Cyrek looked up the stairs and brought up, “Oh look! There’s Prince Dason heading towards the Senate now! Hello, your majesty!”
“Hi! I’m Prince Dason off to do prince things! Yeah!” Dason swung his arms and stared awkwardly at the mass gathered below him.
The third scribe questioned, “Why is he acting so strange?”
Cyrek hesitated for a second and then came up with, “Is that strange to you? I don’t think it’s so unusual, but I’ll go ask him about it anyways!” As he hurried up the steps, the scribes shouted more inquiries, which he ignored. When he reached Dason, he queried, “You’re good, right, your majesty?”
“I’m hungry! Where do you get food around here?” Dason wondered.
“Oh, you’re such a kidder! Just like your dad!” Cyrek let out a nervous laugh. “Well, we have a lot of work to do, so we better go inside! Toodle-oo!” The scribes all tried to get more information from him in vain as Cyrek took Dason’s arm and rushed him inside.
Once they were in the building, Cyrek scolded him, “What was that? I thought I told you to do nothing!”
Dason morphed back into Impusa, and Impusa refuted, “You told me to do nothing, but you didn’t tell me what to say!”
Cyrek made a noise of annoyance, and then he glanced around the large, mostly empty hallway that they were standing in. “Where’s Krimeno?”
“King Peripetio almost walked out there naked and crying for joy, so Krimeno brought him into the palace.” Impusa gestured to the large doorway on the left.
“Well, thank Zeus one thing went right today!” Cyrek reacted in relief. “Alright, go in the palace and get some food. Just remember next time you act like Dason, try harder to act like Dason!”
Impusa grumpily responded, “Next time feed me! I can’t think on an empty stomach!”
Cyrek watched Impusa hobble away, and then he sighed. “Oh well! Maybe the rest of my day will go by more smoothly!” When he opened the door on the right, he immediately heard a senator loudly crying, and he sighed again before going into that room.
Thanamenti hollered out in frustration and nearly flipped over her cauldron. Mercinon threw a rock onto a crudely drawn hopscotch turf, and he very casually asked her, “What’s the matter?”
“What’s the matter?” Thanamenti repeated in disbelief. “Those superpowered scoundrels are out riding around free while our valiant monster is lying dead in-!”
“Aw, man! I lost again!” Mercinon, who had been hopping while she talked, gazed at the square with the pebble on it disappointedly.
Thanamenti snapped her fingers to get his attention. “Hey! This is important! We should discuss it!”
Marcin placed some seeds into Dason’s birdcage and piped up, “You better get used to it! This happens to him a lot!”
Mercinon glared at Marcin mid jump and stumbled a bit. “Look what you did! I almost won that one!” Thanamenti still seemed incredibly agitated, so he assured her, “Look, take it from my experience, taking over a kingdom isn’t easy! But we can’t let losing one battle stop us from winning our war! We gotta keep trying ’til…. Dammit! This game is impossible to win!”
“My little sister beat it when she was a little girl!” Dason taunted him.
“Liar!” Mercinon spouted as he made another attempt. “Oh, oh, oh! I think I got it this time!” All of a sudden, a violent tremor shook the entire cave, and since Mercinon was on one foot, he ended up toppling down! “Oh my gods! Seriously?”
Thanamenti pondered, “Did Echinda just give birth again?”
Marcin set his bird seeds down and dryly regarded her query, “We better hope so or else something that’s about to totally screw us just invaded this space!” Thanamenti gave him a dirty look, so he unenthusiastically volunteered, “I’ll go check.” The cave shook again, but this time, one of the walls broke open and something green and scaly poked out of the cavern room. “Yup, it’s a monster!”
“Thanks! I couldn’t figure that out on my own, eagle eye!” Thanamenti expressed to him sarcastically.
“I resent that!” Dason let her know.
Thanamenti snapped, “You’re a hawk!” The cave went through another tremendous quake, and the creature grew even larger! As its breadth nearly touched the crackling fire beneath her bubbling pot, Thanamenti stated, “We need to move this thing right away! Are those vile oafs close to somewhere where we can put a hippocamp?” She peered into her potion and got delighted with what she viewed. “Oh, this is too perfect, isn’t it? Mercinon?”
Mercinon had resumed his hopscotch and cried out in delight, “Yes! Just one more square!” Thanamenti used her staff to magically erase his game, and he gaped in shock and disappointment for a minute. “How could you just-?” He espied Thanamenti thumping her fingers impatiently, so he attempted to smooth things over, “Alright, now that my head is clear, let’s get to work!”
Neither Thanamenti nor Marcin appeared amused, and Dason opined, “I like our odds on this one!”
Mercinon retorted, “You’re delusional! We’re the ones in control of this situation!” The creature grew wide enough that it hit Mercinon and knocked him down, which made Dason snicker.
“Let’s all sit at this table,” Exelda suggested while she as well as Stocastin, Akintos, Narcius, and Kefalia trudged through a vast space full of handwritten books, scrolls, and scholars.
“Oh, thank gods!” Akintos slumped into a chair gratefully.
Exelda grabbed a stack of reading material that she had stashed at that spot, and Narcius, Kefalia, and Akintos groaned. Stocastin revealed his own set of text that he had set aside, and he merrily regarded the others, “I can’t fathom the motivation of your tedium towards this medium! Personally, I’m excited for a chance to peruse through all of the mysteries that this library holds!”
Before he got started on his pile, Exelda warned him, “Those better not be chemistry books!”
“I… They are… Well… This one is technically more biology.” Stocastin held one of his picks in the air.
“We’re not fighting science, we’re fighting monsters! If it’s not monster related, you can’t read it right now!” Exelda decreed.
Stocastin reluctantly relented, “Fine! But if I come across anything that can get defeated by chemical reaction, I’m going back to my choices!”
Kefalia whined, “Why do we have to do this? We read all these books the last time we were in Akadimaikos!”
“Yes, we did a lot of research a few months ago, and it helped us, didn’t it? If Mercinon is gonna send more monsters our way, we need to be prepared! We need to know all of the weird ways to defeat them and have all of the tools we’ll need to equip ourselves with before we set out! We’re not gonna take any chances! We’re doing everything we can to ready ourselves for what we’re about to face so we can rescue our beloved prince and save the world!” She paused after her speech and added, “I gotta go!”
“What? You cannot leave us here to do all of the work on our own!” Narcius objected.
Exelda bolted up and clarified, “No, I mean I gotta go!”
As Exelda scurried off, Kefalia noted, “Again? You just went not so long ago!”
“I’d love to stay and argue, but I’m not peeing through my toga!” As she gained some distance, she yelled ,”You better be working when I get back!”
“Why did my parents teach me to read?” Akintos grumped as he picked up a book.
They read in silence for a minute, and then Stocastin commented, “This feels peculiar! It elucidates the same sensations that I went through the previous times we visited this establishment!”
Narcius concurred, “I know what you mean! I remember reading this exact book right before we had to fight a monster in the ocean! I have to keep reminding myself that it’s a different scenario!”
Suddenly, the entire building shook, and people outside started screaming. Kefalia remarked, “That sounds an awful lot like our research is about to get interrupted by a monster again!”
“Perhaps their fear stems from something entirely different and we’re victims of a mere coincidence,” Stocastin theorized.
“Aaahhh! There’s a horrible monster in the ocean!” a scholar screamed as he ran for cover.
Akintos pronounced, “Nope! It’s exactly the same as last time!”
Kefalia fretted, “What do we do? Exelda isn’t done relieving herself yet! And we haven’t finished our research either!”
“I think she would disapprove of us letting innocent villagers succumb to the wrath of this monster more than she would of us not reading anymore! I say we go and battle this beast!” Narcius proposed.
“Don’t worry, she’ll catch up with us soon!” Akintos reassured Kefalia, and with the belief that they made the right call, they ran out to face this monster.
They rode their royally decorated horses towards the waterside, and it startled them to see a massive creature whose top half resembled a green horse and whose bottom half resembled a scaly fish! When they got within walking distance of the shore, they halted their horses, and as they dismounted, they watched the monster easily crush a nearby ship and snap at frightened fishermen. “How do we defeat this thing? Man, I wish we did more research!” Akintos lamented.
Narcius suggested to him, “You could try using your powers against it. I mean, it’s in water, you shoot fire…”
Akintos agreed and aimed his palms at the monster, but to their dismay, it had very little effect on it! It raised one of its fins and slammed it onto the water forcefully, creating a tidal wave that engulfed the four of them, slamming them against the cliff behind them! While upside down, Kefalia posed to them, “Now what?”
“Aim for the eyes!” Stocastin advised as he picked up a stone and hurled it towards the monster. Kefalia and Narcius imitated his move, and Akintos shot more fireballs, but the monster appeared unbothered by their actions and advanced closer and closer to them…
“Stop it!” Exelda hollered at them when the monster grew close enough to snap at them. She intended to have them cease their fruitless efforts, which nearly led to their demise, but to her astonishment, the monster actually obeyed her command! This surprised Exelda, but she didn’t have time to question it, so she just rolled with it. “That’s right! Bad monster! Bad, bad monster!” The monster hung its head in shame, and it looked so depressed from disappointing her that Exelda seriously started to feel sorry for it! “Tell you what- We won’t fight you anymore if you leave the villagers alone! Deal?” The creature whinnied happily and then nuzzled her. “Okay, apology accepted! Now, go on and play! But if we hear that you’re causing more trouble, we’ll be right back here, okay?” The creature gratefully neighed and then whimsically swam off.
Akintos inquired, “What in the name of Poseidon just happened?”
Exelda replied, “I don’t know, but…” She lowered her voice so only they could hear her and recommended, “But let’s go read on how we can kill this thing just in case!” They vigorously nodded and hurried back towards the library.