Carpathia III: Episode 48 - Conditions

Zhail City, Sra's Sundries

Upon hearing the door chime, Adell, Artemis, and Sra entered the main area of the shop. There, they did not find Prince Riven, but a tall, dark-haired nekohuman. He was dressed regally in red with gold trim, clearly denoting him of someone of importance.

Nekohuman: I am Shai Sevekchus, Prince Riven's personal commander. I'm looking for Adell Amaranth.

Adell: That's me. I have to admit, I didn't know the Prince had a personal commander.

Shai: I usually don't accompany his Highness on these sorts of... pick-ups. However, this is the first time anyone has replied with a conditional acceptance. I am here to provide a second opinion on the condition.

Shai looked around and then at Sra.

Shai: I require a table.

Sra hurried to an underused corner of the store and pulled out a small table which would barely be big enough for two people to have a meal on.

Sra: Will this do?

Shai examined the small, splintery table as Sra hurriedly wiped off the layer of dust.

Shai: It will have to do. Adell, sit. You two, stand back.

Adell grabbed an old, rickety chair from the same area where Sra got the table. He dragged it to the table and quickly sat down.

Adell: I'm sorry, I didn't mean for things to be so form...

Shai: I shall have things as they should be, thank you.

Shai turned and went to the front door of the shop. As he did so, Artemis leaned in towards Adell's ear and whispered.

Artemis: All you're going to do is ask if I can come with you. I don't see what all the fuss...

Shai turned suddenly, standing ramrod straight, and glared at them.

Shai: Perhaps I did not make myself clear.  I shall have things as they should be, no matter how insignificant you feel your request. Now stand back and stay as you were told!

A moment passed in stunned silence before cowed, Artemis slipped back and resumed standing behind Adell. Shai turned back to the door again and opened it. Right away, another person, seemingly a servant of some kind, marched in carrying a chair. It was very ornate, with plush red cushions and carvings in the wood which were painted in gold, making it contrast violently with the humble surroundings of the shop. The servant placed the chair before the table opposite of Adell. The servant quickly left. As soon as he was out of the door, Prince Riven walked in, looking very annoyed.

Prince Riven: Thank you, Shai. You've been very helpful, as always.

Shai turned and glared at Adell once again.

Shai: You will stand straight when Prince Riven enters...

Prince Riven: Shut up!

Adell was halfway out of his chair when Prince Riven shouted. He stayed in that awkward position, unsure of what to do.

Prince Riven: This is why I cannot bring you anywhere.

Shai folded his arms across his chest and said no more. Prince Riven took a seat in the ornate chair provided for him as Adell sat down again. Prince Riven took his time getting comfortable. He crossed his legs and leaned his elbow on the armrest.

Prince Riven: Sorry about him. He has been trained to serve me in both security and protocol, but I'm afraid he tends to go too far.

Shai turned his head, looking at nothing in particular, and scowled.

Prince Riven: Anyway, nobody has ever specified a condition in a reply to me. I must admit, I am intrigued.

Adell: Um... yes. I'm sorry, but I should have said what it was in the letter. I didn't mean to cause such a commotion.

Prince Riven: Ha! Do not fret about such matters. Shai needs something to do once in awhile. Anyway, the condition. Do not keep me in suspense!

Adell: Okay. I'll go with you, if Artemis can come too.

Several uncomfortable moments of silence passed as Prince Riven seemed to expect something more. When nothing else seemed forthcoming, he leaned to his side and scoped out a very nervous Artemis from top to bottom.

Prince Riven: Kinky. However, he is ever so scrawny. Where are we going to put that?

Artemis rolled his eyes and cradled his forehead in his hand.

Adell: Oh, he's not for sex. He's a scientist. I thought you could use one.

Prince Riven lowered his head and chewed lightly on his thumbnail.

Prince Riven: Hmmm... I suppose he could be useful to have around. Dad has been pestering me to put together a staff and I would rather not have any of Erosia's people on it.

Prince Riven stopped chewing on his thumbnail and looked up at Adell.

Prince Riven: However, you are not offering me a scientist because you believe I need one, are you? I know what deign to accomplish. You want to get your boyfriend a nice, cushy job, don't you?

Adell hesitated, unsure whether or not Prince Riven's question was rhetorical. He knew the science angle was flimsy, but none of them were able to think of any better ideas.

Adell: Erm...

Prince Riven smiled and Adell wasn't sure whether or not to take it as a good sign.

Prince Riven: I cannot blame you for trying. However, it is a good idea. Erosia has been pressuring me to hire one of her scientists. Now I can have one and tell her to go stick it up her cranky, spider-infested craw. Okay, we can bring him along. You can have him when you're not with me.

Adell and Artemis looked at each other. They'd only met the Prince briefly before, but they expected someone who might speak more princely. It was easier to imagine Prince Riven's and Shai's roles reversed.

Prince Riven rose from his chair.

Prince Riven: If there is nothing else, Shai will tend to your things. You two can come with me.

Adell hastily stood as Prince Riven was already walking away.

Adell: Can we have a few minutes?

Prince Riven: I shall wait by the car. Do not tarry too long.

Adell turned to Sra and shook his hand.

Adell: Thanks again for everything.

Sra: Thank you. You were true to your word. You said we could help each other and we did. Now get going!

Adell paused for a moment to appreciate the absurdity of the situation. Sra was sending them off like a proud father sending his kids to college, only he wasn't going to college. He was off to become a concubine. Before he came to Yseri, he would often look up at the sky and wish that his life was more interesting, cursing the boring humdrum of school and homework. Now, he'd give anything to have that back.

Adell: Just a minute. I'm waiting for somebod...

Artemis suddenly called to Adell from the door.

Artemis: Adell, did you invite a little guy with a red hat here? The guards said someone like that is looking for you.

Adell: Argh, dammit! Of course he wouldn't be able to get past the guards. Now I feel like an idiot. He's okay! Let him in!

The guards at the door parted and Tirad tentatively stepped inside.

Tirad: Adell? What's going on here? I showed up when you said, but they wouldn't let me in.

Adell: Sorry about that, Tirad. I forgot the guards probably wouldn't let you in. Anyway, I wanted to introduce you to Sra. I think he'll be in need of a delivery boy.

Tirad's ears perked up on his head as Sra approached him with his hand outstretched.

Sra: I guess that's true. It's nice to meet you.

Tirad took Sra's hand and shook vigorously.

Tirad: It's nice to meet you too.

Adell I give him my full recommendation.

Sra: Well, that certainly counts for something. Since I already have a table ready, we might as well do an interview.

Tirad: Really?

Sra: Sure. Have a seat.

Tirad excitedly sat down in the rickety chair by the table. As he did so, Artemis glanced out the door at Prince Riven.

Artemis: Adell, the prince is starting to look annoyed. We should go.

Adell took his backpack and headed for the door.

Adell: Thanks again!

Sra waved as Adell hustled out the door with Artemis. Shai and the guards followed with the rest of their bags.

Outside, there was a large car waiting. It was like some sort of comically oversized Edwardian jalopy waiting to take them to the palace.  Prince Riven was already inside and Artemis was climbing in. Adell climbed inside as well and took a seat in the space next to Prince Riven.

Prince Riven: Have you ever ridden in a car before?

Adell: Oh, once or twice.

Soon after, the car jerked into motion. It was not a long drive to the palace, but the lumpy roads and archaic vehicle they were riding in made it seem longer. It was more like an amusement park ride than a car.

At the palace gates, they were quickly waved through by the guards.

And the palace itself loomed into view long before that.

Adell and Artemis disembarked from the car to begin the newest chapter in their lives.

*Bonus Image!*

Commissioned from Zelbunnii

Commissioned art in this episode from:
Atomic Clover

All city pictures from SimCity 4

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