The Nonpareil of Resh (Act 1)
A great distance away from the glistening city of Nun, a bus-sized transport arrived in the Aqueenian capitol. Inside sat the four bandits from the small mining village with their hands and legs tied together, and keeping a close watch on the bandits was the trio of the Princess Fiona Fan Club. Each of the trio held one of the captured Needaimus close, but little worry was needed as the mechanical creatures showed no interest in bonding back to their former partners.
After the village contacted the capital, a force of troops was sent in the large transport. The soldiers had thought the situation was of the utmost urgency and arrived only a day after the group had departed. Since the bus-sized vehakul was too large to go up the mountain, the soldiers spent a whole day marching up with the anxiety of future battle hanging over their heads. They were surprised to find the town liberated and the people celebrating.
Lieutenant, an Aqueenian soldier who sought to redeem himself after Dia’s regicide, had taken charge of the troops and came prepared for a severe battle. Once it became clear that a fight was not required, he sat down with Mamie, Old Gus, and Adan to get the whole story.
In the end, a head count was taken of all the captured bandits. Including Vidkun, who had betrayed the town, and the four generals, the bandits, should have numbered 45 in total. Grimes himself admitted to the count when interrogated. However, no matter how many times they counted, only 35 were captured.
The soldiers fanned out across the city and through the mines. The villagers helped, and no stone was left unturned, but none of the missing bandits showed up. The only clue Lieutenant’s troops got was Grimes cursing “the dirty spies” as he was interrogated about the head count.
In the end, Lieutenant decided to leave two of his commanders, the twins Maxon and Jaxon, and 10 of the soldiers that accompanied him to the village in case the missing bandits returned. He marched the captured bandits and his troops back down. Lieutenant had stayed in Horizon village for four days and hardly slept the whole time; he was ready to leave.
As his troops had marched out of the town, a trio that called themselves the Princess Fiona Fan Club stopped him and pleaded to join him. He didn’t have the energy to refuse and let them come. The bandits were marched down in one group and a second guided some of the mine vehakuls, which were loaded with Savvy’s captured inventions.
Upon contacting Quenth, Lieutenant stopped in Qu to drop off the majority of bandits in the manufacturing towns prison. He decided to leave the rest of his soldiers behind in case the sudden influx of prisoners caused unexpected issues. The instructions had been only for the leaders to be brought to the capital.
Grimes twisted the tied wrist that used to have his crimson Needaimus bonded to it. He frowned as the rope ached his mangled skin.
“Grimes dear, if you do that, you’ll make it worse,” Flora offered gently. The leader ignored her and looked away. The ears on the calico Bentulousian drooped.
“We’re going to get out of this, right Grimes?” Icarus asked as they entered the shining capitol. He had asked the question multiple times after their defeat but was answered only with silence. The golden Zenotote still held out hope that their leader had a plan.
Savvy made a hollow laugh.
“It seems like we are getting treated like serious prisoners; I wouldn’t expect to get thrown in a prison with lax security.”
Of all the bandits, she had been paying the most attention to the actions of Lieutenant, who had decided to drive the large vehakul with his Needaimus attached and in plain sight. From what Savvy could tell, he followed orders, and she worried about what the orders would lead to.
The large transport vehakul turned and began to descend into a tunnel under the city.
“We’re going to get out of this, right Grimes?” Icarus asked.
“Shut up!” Grimes replied in a gruff voice as he answered the golden Zenotote for the first time since their capture.
Icarus let his head hang.
As the bandits talked, the trio of the Fiona Fan Club watched closely.
“Should we say anything to them?” Simeon asked.
“Just leave them be,” Sinatra replied, “They will get their punishment; we just need to watch that they don’t do anything funny.”
The transport finally stopped, and Lieutenant stretched his arms to the ceiling.
“That was too long a drive,” he muttered as he got out of the driver’s seat and opened the door. Prince Donn waited outside with his two blue, muscular arms crossed. Behind him stood a small force of his elite guard.
“Thank you for bringing these bandits here,” he said to Lieutenant and the fan club as they exited the bus. Prince Donn’s guards swapped the bandit's ropes for energy handcuffs and began to guide them off the vehakul.
“Who’s this?” Simeon asked as he looked at the wide Aqueenian. Sinatra and Siegfried elbowed their green companion in the side.
“That’s Lady Fiona’s older brother! Didn’t you pay attention at all during our pre-capitol trip meetings!” Sinatra hissed. Knowing full well that the trio would look like a bunch of country bumpkins, Sinatra had held several days of study sessions for their trip to the big city.
“Ow, careful with the arm!” Simeon protested. The trio’s broken bones were recovering well, but they still had them bandaged. Donn laughed.
“Lieutenant had you three in his report!” he spoke in a booming voice. “Your fans of my sister, I hear?” he added.
Siegfried and Sinatra bowed; Simeon remained standing until the other two reached up and pulled him down.
“Yes, my liege. We have vowed to become knights that are worthy to serve Lady Fiona,” Sinatra said in a respectful tone.
Donn didn’t reply for a moment, but he made a happy smile. Since her birth, Fiona had been scorned by all. He was the only child who clearly remembered the reason, but he never saw any fault with his baby sister. It made the older brother glad to see his younger sister had found some support, even if it was the strange trio.
“Please stand; you’re all injured from a tough battle. Why don’t you all go and get some rest? I’ll see to it you get the best knight training available! If you wish, I’ll even personally train you.”
“Yessir!” the trio shouted in unison.
The Fan club smiled and happily were escorted to comforting accommodations.
Donn’s smile quickly faded as he turned to the bandits who were standing just outside of the bus. Each had their arms restrained behind them by a member of the elite guard.
“Now, you four…” the Prince said with no hint of friendliness in his tone.