“You know, this is kind of fun!” Marcin remarked as he painted a wooden throne gold. “If I hadn’t devoted my life to serving your depraved whims, I would have totally become a painter!”
“I know what you mean!” Mercinon concurred as he painted the walls of the cave a sunny hue. “I may not hire servants to color the inside of the palace when I take it over because this is so relaxing!” He got a spot on his toga, and his stance on this activity shifted. “Oh gross! I didn’t realize this was so messy! No wonder they hire peasants to do it! Oh, Thanamenti! I-!”
Mercinon cut himself off when he beheld Thanamenti lying exasperatedly on her cauldron. She pulled up her heavy head and groaned, “What?” Her eyes grew wide when she saw Mercinon’s partially finished project, and she queried, “What did you do to my home?”
Not catching on to Thanamenti’s growing ire at his decision, Mercinon proudly showcased his work, “Isn’t it great? I’m a natural! I think I’ll tell my subjects that I have a background doing this kind of labor, give myself a humble beginning…”
“Why in the Netherworld would you think that this was alright to do?” Thanamenti barked.
“You said it was okay!” Mercinon refuted. “Don’t you remember? I went up to you while you were watching your potion and told you I need paint to brighten things up a bit. You said ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah!’ and conjured it for me.”
Thanamenti clicked her tongue in annoyance. “I thought you were changing the color of your chair!”
Mercinon corrected her, “Throne! There’s an important difference! You see, a mere chair-.”
“You wanna talk about important things? Don’t you wanna know what’s happening with our enemies?” Thanamenti posed to him.
“Which ones?” Merinon inquired.
From inside his birdcage, Dason replied before Thanamenti could, “She’s talking about how my girlfriend and her powerful friends did at their quote en quote execution.”
Mercinon remembered, “Oh yeah! I meant to follow up on that. So, what do you got for me? Good news?” Thanamenti neared her boiling point after hearing that, so Mercinon surmised, “Oh, I guess not.”
“They beat them all?” Marcin reacted in surprise. “That’s impressive!” Thanamenti glared at him, so he revised his sentence, “Did I say impressive? I meant repulsive!”
“I couldn’t believe it! We did everything right this time! They were outnumbered! They had powerful adversaries! They had a crowd rooting against them! And yet, somehow, they were able to walk away!” Thanamenti ranted. “They’re not even that good, but somehow they’re always able to prevail! They used a lousy cage as a weapon! That should have been game over! But they killed two monsters with it! Who does that?”
Marcin wondered, “Why did you send the cage to the arena?”
Thanamenti roared, “I wanted it out of here! I had to keep the monsters separated so they didn’t kill each other, but I had no use for it after they were gone! Besides, I had no way of knowing that the stupid thing would actually be useful to them! Ugh! I hate continually trying so hard only to end up making no progress! This is so depressing!”
“So, this cheery wall color isn’t helping at all?” Mercinon wanted to know. Thanamenti growled, aimed her staff at the painted section of the cave, and made it disappear. At first, Mercinon looked disappointed to see all of his effort vanish like that, but instead of complaining, he requested, “Could you get this stain off my toga?” Thanamenti angrily sent a spell in his direction, and a force came out that exerted so much power that it knocked Mercinon off of his feet! Dason chortled heartily at that sight, and Marcin hid a wry grin from Thanamenti’s view as he continued adorning Mercinon’s throne. Mercinon glanced down at his clothes, and when he noticed that the blotch was no longer there, he gratefully regarded Thanamenti, “Thank you!”
“I guess all we can do is go back to throwing monsters at those superpowered jerks ‘til one of them finally does them in!” Thanamenti sighed. “Did Echinda give birth to anything new?”
Mercinon, who could see into Echinda’s cavern chambers from the floor, reported to her, “I think she’s asleep again.”
Thanamenti sunk down in a deflated manner and slunk herself against her enormous pot with the bubbling concoction. “Oh great! Now what do we do?”
‘You could admit you had a terrible plan and give up on such a far-fetched scheme!” Dason needled her.
“Did you actually think that would work?” Marcin asked Dason.
Dason answered, “Not really, I mostly just enjoy pissing her off.”
Marcin nodded in comprehension. “Ah!”
Thanamenti almost lost her temper again, but then something in her brew caught her attention. “Are they heading to the capitol? I didn’t think they would do that ‘til they accomplished their mission! Not that I truly believed they stood a chance of winning, but still! Why would they go there? Every important building in that area except for the palace has been destroyed, so why would they…?” Suddenly, an idea struck Thanamenti that caused her lips to curl up in a malicious smile. “Oh, I know how we can dispose of those loathsome pests without any monsters!”
She maniacally laughed and expected Mercinon to join in, but when she looked over at him, he was studying his fingertips. “I got paint on my nails too! Huh! It kinda looks nice! What do you guys think of painted nails?” Marcin and Dason didn’t respond, and Thanamenti exhaled in annoyance.
“I didn’t know you guys had a cat!” Krimeno exclaimed as a blonde kitty nestled on his lap while he sat on the floor of an empty hallway with Aleta, her husband, Impusa, several palace workers, and all of the senators.
“Oh, yeah, he’s the palace mouser.” Aleta’s tense muscles clearly indicated she had far more pressing matters on her mind.
Cyrek pondered, “Ho did this all start?”
Krimeno gabbed, “Oh, cats have been loyal companions to humans ever since-.”
“For the love of Eleos, I’m talking about the rioters invading the Senate!” Cyrek shouted.
“There’s rioters outside?” Akintos puzzled as he arrived with Exelda, Stocastin, Narcius, and Kefalia. “Man, these walls are really soundproof!”
Cyrek gazed at their arrival in astonishment. “How did you guys know that we were in here?”
Exelda responded to him, “We didn’t know you were in here. Dason told me that they almost always use the back entrance to avoid getting questioned by scribes and stuff.”
“There’s a back entrance to the capitol building?” Cyrek stared at Aleta in an offended manner.
“It’s only supposed to serve the royal family as a safety measure. If we let everyone use it, then it wouldn’t be a secret and we’d lose the security of it,” Aleta justified. “Besides, someone has to talk to the scribes and you’re so good at it!”
“So, what are you all doing here?” Impusa conversed. “Did you get all the feathers? No, that’s a stupid question. Something’s wrong, isn’t it?”
Akintos riposted, “Aside from the riots you mean?”
Stocastin explained, “We theorized that the feather representing the air element may have presented itself in a place that houses a large amount of people who speak at high volumes because people release carbon dioxide, a substance quite important to air. We didn’t find it in the Nothiathlima stadium, so we believe it could have lodged itself in the Senate.”
A teenage boy that greatly resembled Dason walked in from the backdoor and glanced at everyone gathered there in confusion. “Don’t you guys usually have your meetings in a place with more seating?”
“We’re here hiding from the rioters!” Cyrek uttered in vexation. “How is it no one can detect the sounds of a violent mob tearing up the senate building?”
“I just got used to hearing the noise of mayhem and turmoil happening in the kingdom.” The boy shrugged. “Why are they attacking the Senate? I thought they hated my family, not you all!”
One of the senators brought up, “Actually, a lot of people hated us politicians before Konna came along! I guess that’s why she never bothered to make up rumors about us!”
Kefalia commented, “I never hated you guys! In fact, I think my father voted for you!” She pointed to one of the senators sitting on the floor, and the senator seemed rather pleased with himself.
“All we know is they all got here when we were about to vote on raising the taxes on barley, so we had to pause our session and run in here to hide,” another senator filled them in. “I vote no, by the way.”
Some of the senators grew incensed by his opinion while others whole heartedly supported it, which prompted them to engage in a fierce debate on the subject. Cyrek pounded the wall and bellowed, “Order! Order! Everybody, this is not the time nor the place!”
Impusa observed, “They all came at the same time? Obviously, someone coordinated this attack!”
Narcius, who found a mirror hanging on the wall and couldn’t stop himself from admiring his reflection, stated, “It was probably one of those Konna bulletins that appear out of nowhere and everyone trusts for some stupid reason!”
“Konna bulletin?” Aleta echoed back in intrigue.
“Konna supporters are under the delusion that an insider from the palace spills the dirt on the royal family’s most guarded secrets,” Exelda expounded. “Lately though, ‘Konna’ has been telling them to do things in the name of Mercinon. But we can go more into that later! Right now, we need to save the Senate building so we can see if there’s a golden feather in there! Plus, it’s the right thing to do and all…”
Krimeno chimed in, “Did you say golden feather? Dason left one of his feathers behind on the Senate floor, so I started using it as a quill. It’s my new favorite!”
Exelda cried out, “Oh my gods! I was there that day! I could have grabbed it then! If I only I knew it was significant before I took off!” She took a deep breath, and then she moved on. “Oh well! Anyways, here’s the plan: Impusa, Kefalia, Akintos, and Stocastin, you four will come with me and fight off the invaders while Narcius goes into the Senate building and rescues that feather!”
“I gotta go in there alone?” Narcius shivered from fright.
“Use your super speed, grab it, and then come back out and fight with us,” Exelda commanded. Narcius still seemed frightened, but he nodded in obedience.
On the palace steps, the royal guards struggled to contain all of the furious combatants. One of them bragged to the guards, “We outnumber you by far! Why don’t you give up?”
One of the royal guards devoutly asserted, “We will never surrender!”
“You guys should get out of the way,” Impusa advised the guard.
“Okay, we surrender!” the royal guard heeded her word.
For a brief instance, the agitators thought that they won. They ran towards the palace in a frenzied excitement until Impusa transformed into a giant hedgehog with massive wings! She exhaled and blew a bunch of them away. Exelda, Stocastin, Kefalia, and Akintos ran across the hallway and fought off the miscreants who had already made it to the capitol building. As Narcius zipped inside of the Senate floor, Akintos cheerily mentioned, “Man, fighting these idiots is a lot easier than our usual monsters!”
A minute later, Narcius came out of the Senate building, and Exelda praised him, “Well done, Narcius!”
“I couldn’t find it,” Narcius confessed. “Which one is Krimeno’s desk?”
“The small one in the front. It’s not there?” Exelda fretted.
Narcius gasped, “Oh, why didn’t I think to search there? I’ll be right back!” Exelda gritted her teeth but continued to battle. Narcius came back and declared, “I got it!”
Exelda kicked the person in front of her, sending him barreling down the tall staircase at a rapid speed. “Good! Now, help us fight!”
“Fight who?” Narcius shot back.
“Fight who?” Exelda hollered. “You don’t see all these-.” When she viewed what was in front of her, she abandoned her previous notion. Everyone who hadn’t gotten captured by a guard had just retreated! “Oh, I see! Wow, Akintos was right, that was easy!”
One of the royal guards retorted, “Easy for you, maybe! The rest of us didn’t get blessed with superpowers from the gods!”
Another royal guard escorted the senators and royal employees out of the palace. When Cyrek emerged, he spotted a group of scribes that had turned up at the foot of the stairs, so he spoke to them, “I know what you’re thinking, but trust me, that was nothing! Everything is fine!” One of the statues in the hallway toppled over, which made the entire structure tremble. As the dust settled, the heroes went inside of the palace and Cyrek went on with scribes, “The real story here is that the price of barley may be going up soon…!”