Carpathia III: Episode 43 - The Prince

Zhail City, Sra's Sundries

Something was wrong. Since Sra got the letter from the Prince, things weren't the same.

Both Adell and Artemis were working harder than ever and they now had enough luxury watches and mechanical pencils stockpiled to fill orders for months to come. Sra was being coy about the contents of the letter and nobody seemed to know where he hid it, if he even kept it. Artemis sent Phobos and Deimos looking for it on numerous occasions, but they came up empty.

All signs were pointing to Sra not expecting Adell and Artemis to be around for much longer. Adell asked Sra several times if there was any reason to worry, and each time, Sra responded in absolute terms that no, they had no reason to worry. Though Sra had a trustworthy air to him, Adell wasn't altogether reassured. Not knowing what was going on was causing his mind to come up with an impressive series of theories, each more outlandish than the next. His wildest thought was that they were to be taken to some sort of torture chamber, never to be heard from again and he had to remind himself each time that, aside from the overly aggressive police force, there were no rumors, not even a whisper, of anything that insidious going on.

Everything was leading up to this day, the day Prince Riven proclaimed he would arrive. The store, though still shabby in a rustic kind of way, was now spotless and everyone was dressed in their best. Sra even went so far as to purchase some decent clothes for both Adell and Artemis for the occasion.

Sra: Adell, I just want you to know, whatever decision you make, I'll understand.

Adell: Decision? Am I going to be making a decision soon?

Sra: Maybe. Probably. Eh, I don't know. Just... if you do, I'll understand.

Adell: Right... I'll just go see what Artemis is up to then.

Adell was still confused, although he now knew, at least, that he might have some sort of decision to make. This also ruled out his torture theory, which was a relief. He still carried a sense of trepidation as he walked to his room where Artemis was doing something with his computer. Something he, likely, didn't understand.

Adell: Found anything new yet?

Artemis sighed heavily.

Artemis: No, I have not found anything new yet. I don't know what you're expecting me to find. And finally, no, asking me that question HALF A MILLION TIMES is not going to increase the odds that I will find something new!

Adell: Okay, okay. Sorry, I'm just nervous.

Artemis: Well, get un-nervous, because you're making me nuts.

At that moment, Sra poked his head in the door.

Sra: He's here.

Just as quickly, he left. Adell and Artemis both followed him out into the main area of the shop. Once there, they saw several robed figures looking into every corner and behind every knickknack, presumably for security reasons. They did their work and left without a word.

Almost immediately after, the front door opened again. Another robed figure stood there and held the door open as a very well-dressed young man entered. He had a sultry look about him with his narrow eyes and mischievous smile. His ears were like Sra's, long and elf-like, with glittery earrings. However, this man had no wings, suggesting that he might be more elf than anything else. He was dressed in a white, frilly shirt and a pressed and well-tailored vest. Neither Adell nor Artemis really knew how to tell what a pure elf looked like, but they guessed that, perhaps, this was it.

The elf looked around for a few moments, seemingly disinterested in almost everything going on around him. It was as though he was simply going through a set of standard motions. Finally, as though it was what he was planning all along, he turned his full attention to Adell.

Prince Riven: So, I hear that you are new in town.

Prince Riven licked his lips seductively as he eyeballed Adell from top to bottom.

Adell: Yes, that's right.

Prince Riven: And rumor has it that you came through the portal recently.

Adell looked over at Artemis, momentarily unsure whether or not he should tell the truth or try to obfuscate. He quickly decided the truth was the best, as he did not know how much the Prince knew for sure about them.

Adell: Yes, that's also right.

Prince Riven stepped closer. He and Adell were about the same height and their eyes were coming alarmingly close to each other.

Prince Riven: I don't think anyone's ever known someone as old as you and so... handsome to come through the portal.

Prince Riven stopped, as though he were waiting for some sort of answer to a non-existent question.

Adell: Um... I don't know much about that, but thanks.

Suddenly, Prince Riven backed away. Adell was worried that he did something offensive. Prince Riven held his hand out to his side.

Prince Riven: Scroll.

Without a moment's hesitation, one of the robed figures behind Prince Riven produced a scroll and placed it in his hand.

Prince Riven: Take this. Read the contents carefully. If you have any questions, please deliver a missive to one of my attendants. One will remain nearby until I have your answer.

Prince Riven gently took Adell's wrist and held his hand up as he placed the scroll inside it. Once the scroll was securely in Adell's hands, Prince Riven reached up and stroked his cheek.

Prince Riven: Think quickly. I have a tendency to get impatient.

Without another word from either of them, Prince Riven turned and strode out of the store, without acknowledging anyone else who was there. For a moment, the store was quiet, everyone wondering what just happened.

Artemis: Well, are you going to open it or what?

Adell was so confused that he forgot about the scroll.

Adell: Oh, right.

Adell gently lifted at the wax seal that held the end of the scroll in place. Slowly he peeled it away and unfurled it. Artemis eyed him with anticipation as he read it.

Artemis: What does it say?

Adell scanned the scroll quickly. Much of it was written in elegant, flowery language and it took him some time to get the gist of it.

Adell: In a nutshell, he thinks I'm the sexiest thing alive and he wants me to come and live with him.

Adell turned to Artemis. He was about to ask what he thought when he noticed that Artemis was very quickly turning purple.


And Artemis stomped off into their room and slammed the door.

Adell: Sra, you knew something like this would happen, didn't you?

Sra: I was hoping my feelings were incorrect. Still, I meant what I said. You are free to choose whatever you like. I didn't want to say anything before in case I was wrong about his intentions.

Adell: Yeah, well right now, I'm more worried about Artemis than the Prince.

Commissioned art in this episode from:
Atomic Clover

All city pictures from SimCity 4

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