Chapter 23:

The Aqueenian Princess, Fiona

The Nonpareil of Resh (Act 1)

Fiona appeared behind a column in a flash of blue light. She peered out from behind it and looked at some guards lazily making their rounds. They walked in the opposite direction of where she was looking out from and

I don't think this is a good idea... The voice of her Needaimus echoed in her head.

"Shut up, Sun; I need to concentrate," she said as she stared at a door at the far end of the hallway. The hallway split into two directions at the door in a 'T' shape, and the door was to the castle's kitchen, where meal preparations for the conference were already in full swing.

You already saw your father lose it at the coliseum. I don't think you need to push it anymore.

The Aqueenian princess ignored her partner and stared at the door.

After Gwyn had emerged from within the beast, her father had not kept any guise of calm. Though, he still tried to hide the fact due to the foreign representatives in the room. His brow had furrowed, and several veins bulged out of his forehead so much that it looked like they might explode.

Fiona couldn't help but chuckle at the sight. Fortunately for her, the Hobusian king Fio laughed much louder.

To make matters worse, for King Whitlock, Donn checked Gwyn's condition and spoke brief words with Mem. He called in a medical team and leaped up to the announcer's booth. The king didn't react before the crown prince declared Gwyn the victor and the new Nonpareil.

A familiar Aqueenian tale spoke of the Nonpareil. An Aqueenian warrior who fought off Hobusian invaders after a tragedy known only as the schism wrecked the land.

Giving Gwyn such a name was the last straw for the already angry king. He exploded, and a screeching sound overtook every other sound in the arena. Everyone was helplessly holding their hands to their ears, save for Donn, who only disapprovingly looked at the area where his father sat, and Queen Whitlock, who gave the angry king a gentle embrace.

Fiona only had recovered from the sound in time to see her father waltz out of the door.

She broke free from her recollection of the events just as the door finally swung open. At the exact moment, the guards were turning the corner to go down another hallway.

A chef came out from the kitchen door. He stopped and held the door open a moment longer than usual as he thanked the guards for their hard work. Then he let the door go and began walking in the opposite direction from the guards.

Fiona pulled out a spyglass from a pocket under her yellow jacket and extended it to look into the kitchen. She knew the kitchen layout and targeted what she was after—a shelf with space to hide behind.

She locked on the shelf and, in a blue flash, appeared behind it before the door had not even closed.

Fiona looked out from behind the frame; the chefs hurriedly prepared the meals that all the world's prominent leaders would expect for the coming event.

"So, what should we do?" Fiona asked, only soft enough for Sun to hear.

You need to plan better. Just... don't start an international incident.

"What do you take me for?" Fiona was genially surprised.

Need I remind you of the occurrence at last year's conference.

"Ha-ha, my father was so mad."

Fiona began to spy around the room for something which with she could interfere. The five main meals being prepared were out of the question; she could start a war if something got too messed up. The side dishes were also out of the question for the same reason. The chefs were working diligently, and she didn't want to disturb them too much.

She sighed and crossed her arms.

"This is hard. Why is it that I only cause trouble unintentionally?" she whispered to Sun.

Perhaps you should take it as a sign from Crenussal and try to change your ways.

"What if I joined the staff under the guise of helping... but since I'm such a bad cook, something will go wrong!" Fiona said in a not-so-hushed whisper.

You admit you're a terrible cook with such pride...

"Oh, Lady Fiona. What brings you here today?" One of the chefs had noticed her peering out from behind the shelf. Fiona jumped and made a disappointed face.

The chef that had spoken to the princess was new, and she was not aware of what the other chefs knew. Upon hearing Fiona's name, they turned her way, and the princess was bombarded with a feeling of intense malice.

"She's here, sound off the alarm!" One chef yelled. Loud ringing began to fill the air, and the two lazy guards came running in through the kitchen door. When they saw the princess, they sighed.

"What's going on!" the chef who had originally addressed, Fiona yelled out in shock. One of the senior chefs pulled her away.

"That girl is cursed; every meal she has tried to make in this kitchen has ended up in disaster!" he explained to the new chef.

The new chef was about to object that the princess couldn't be that bad, but a tear rolling down the senior chef's face as he reminisced convinced her otherwise.

Fiona broke into a sprint through the kitchen past the guards to exit.

"And don't come back!" some of the chefs yelled.

"Wait, Princess, we were ordered to escort you to your room if we saw you!" One of the guards yelled.

Well, you heard him, are we going to stop? Sun asked.

"You already know the answer." Fiona charged down the hallway while the two guards tried their best to keep up with her from behind.