Today’s blog continues my long-neglected satirical fantasy, In The Land of the Penny Gnomes
It took about two weeks to prepare the coronation ceremony. Road and rail were clogged with a combination of dignitaries, returning refugees, and tourists 1 — which compounded the organizational difficulties. The infrastructure of The Throne, already weakened by both war and evacuation, was strained to the breaking point. More than a few refugees had returned to their homes, only to discover people who had arrived for the coronation squatting on their property. General Isme had organized patrols to prevent such squatting from happening, but it barely made a dent in the issue. Isme himself was forced to arrest the Mayor of Great Roll, who’d commandeered seven bedroom mansion under the claim of diplomatic impunity.
Another wrench in the proceedings was Mr. Purple, who’d gathered enough of the remaining Governors to form a quorum for a Board Meeting. During their session he manipulated the governors into creating the new position of Prime Governor, “to handle the ‘day to day’ issues of government.” The first being to hold the position was, of course, Mr. Purple himself. Even thinking about the wizard’s political machinations left Sindy steaming. Bug’s sinuses had never been so clear.
“She’s going to have a difficult time negotiating if she can’t get that under control,” Bug had whispered to Will after a rather volatile meeting between Mr. Purple and the new Sovereign 2.
Will hadn’t seen Nobody since the day after the selection. He’d disappeared into a lab he’d used during the war, muttering something about, “Coronation chips.”
“He’s set on establishing his snack business, now that the War’s over,” Bug had explained.
Will also hadn’t seen much of Sills, who’d been assigned as the head of Sindy’s security detail. The few times he saw the IBI agent she’d stood at attention, sharing only a brief moment to make eye contact and nod in the teen’s direction.
“Will, would you cheer up,” Grimby had prodded two days before the coronation, after he’d issued a deep sigh. “We’re supposed to be planning a party and you’re killing the mood.”
“And, we’re shopping. You’re going to look amazing on the platform.” Fineflin had added, as if clothes shopping were a cure-all for loneliness.
The day of the coronation Will waited in a side-room for his name to be announced to the crowd of witnesses. Grimby and Fineflin flanked him with pride. He was grateful for their familiar presence, but he was also restless. The Realm was at peace, and things were getting better, but everything had changed. He’d spend the last few months in the constant company of his friends, but now their lives had become pointed to The Realm’s future. A future Will would never see. It was time to go home.
As the teen reflected on his story Stevens stepped up and offered his hand. Will stared at it for a moment before accepting, he still wasn’t certain he liked the Lawyer.
“Well, Will, you have certainly brought about a big change in this Realm.”
“It’s The Realm, that’s what they call it. You said this Realm.”
Stevens’ face brightened with surprise. “So I did! My apologies. I’m afraid this is all quite a paradigm shift and it will take some time for us all to catch on. Did you know I’m the first ambassador to a non-Accord region in The Bar’s history?”
“You won’t be the last,” Will blurted out before he even recognized what he was saying.
“Indeed I hope not! I very much like The Realm, but one day I’d like to return to my practice.”
Again, Will responded before his brain could capture the words. “That’s not what I mean. There are other places out there like The Realm which aren’t part of the Accords. Now that you’ve discovered this place, you’re bound to find others.”
Will nodded, “I know.”
Stevens smiled, “Well, that’s good to know. I hope our first contact with those Realms goes more smoothly than it did here.”
“So do I, Mr. Stevens.”
The lawyer released Will’s hand and stepped away. “Well, I must be getting to my seat. I just wanted to make sure I bid you a fond farewell before your departure. You are a remarkable young man, and The Realm was more lucky to have you than you may know.”
With that, the lawyer turned on his heel and departed the room. As Will watched him go he thought maybe Stevens wasn’t so bad, after all.
About time you figured that out.
“You shut up,” Will spat back.
“What was that, Will?” inquired Grimby.
“Nothing. Never mind.” Will took a breath and as he exhaled he heard his named being called.
All Will remembered of the ceremony was the roar of the crowd when he appeared, and the wide smile on Sindy’s face as her father placed the crown on her head. It was about as happy and ended as he could ever wish for, and he was content.
But Nobody’s coronation chips, maple calamari, were as awful as he feared. Will pocketed an extra bag as a keepsake.