Taking this story back to where in the timeline it was before, the last two Hysteria posts were out of order and later in the story. For the posts in proper timeline order, please refer to the order in the menu. This occurs after Memoirs of Hysteria, Wherein a Cat Speaks Very Fast. Thanks for reading! Please feel free to share if you enjoy.
Out of breath, red faced, dripping sweat, smelling like a man desperately in need of a bathing, Lord Antoine Lua, Lordling of Hysteria, prideful protectorate of the Lily Dynasty, collapsed and sunk into the multi cushioned seat beside the giant-sized gilded throne. Why beside it? Less anyone forgets that none are above the greatness of the Flower Emperor. Except if one were a god or goddess.
A tall, lanky court herald enters through the extravagantly carved throne room doors. Pi has a perpetual smirk on his face, sharing a private joke with himself, though he’s unaware of this.
“Lord Antoine, I announce the arrival of Lady Kaliana, who comes in response to your request for an advisor.” Pi bows, and scurries to a corner of the room to be forgotten for the next eight or so hours.
Cue the arrival of such a being to challenge the rule of the Flower Emperor, though all present knew not. Trailed closely by her foul-tempered compatriot and stoic manservant, Lady Kaliana appears to hover a mere inch above the tiled floors. This alarmed the two knights that flanked the empty throne, Knight Captain Roas and Knight Mentor Kanti, though they showed no sign of their inner turmoil. Having risen through the ranks during Gilgamesh’s reign, the two had seen enough oddities that compartmentalizing the unreal had become second nature.
Ji, upon its perpetual black cloud, suddenly speeds ahead of Kali and Tin Fiddle, stopping directly in front of Antoine. It leans its head forward, black-skinned snout sniffling loudly as it deeply inhales Antoine’s salty fumes. Before the pair of knights can respond to any perceived threat, Ji has spun around on the spot, nods towards Lady Kaliana, and zooms out of the room, slamming the doors behind its exit.
Tin Fiddle, his perpetual scowl upon his face, his storm-cloud eyes focused on nothing, yet taking in everything, sees no threat to his mistress (although he notices an oddly patterned feline chewing on paper among the ceiling beams). He bows deeply to Lady Kaliana, completely ignoring the lordling and his knights, then takes his place to her right, arms crossed, hands hovering over hidden pommels.
Lady Kaliana flashes a ridiculously white smile towards the sitting nobleman and bobs a slight curtsy. She then offers a perfectly manicured hand, palm down, to Antoine, who stares down at the proffered hand, confused.
Tin Fiddle’s head is now on swivel, regarding everything, and speaks from the side of his mouth, as he stares up at the cat sitting in the rafters. “A nobleman kisses a lady’s hand, given the opportunity.”
Antoine gulps nervously and manages to blabber out, “But I’ve never even heard of her! And who are you to even make demands of one of my stature?”
The manservant goes still, then growls. “Her Lady Kalinia, Blessed of the Maker, graced with His Wisdom, of the Autumn’s Embrace, has traveled a distance greater than you can fathom, to answer your call for advice worthy of your ’empire’.” Tin Fiddle’s suddenly flat and almost lifeless eyes now bore into the Lordling’s. “Show some respect.”
The lordling, sweating even more profusely than before he sat down, stands and approaches the lady. As he reaches an arms length away, Lady Kaliana pulls back, and sniffs in disdain.
“Sir, you wreak something terrible. I would suggest next time you run your ten laps that you bathe before entertaining a guest.”
Antoine mutters something indistinguishable.
Lady Kaliana arches a thin eyebrow. “Twenty what?”
“I sprinted twenty laps around this bloody city, I’ll have you know!” Antoine exclaims, then points an accusing finger at his Knight Captain. “This vile soldier ordered me to, and then demanded I greet you right away!”
Slowly shaking her head, Knight Captain Roas frowns. “No, sir, I told you to bathe afterwards. You said that you were ready to meet your guests.”
Antoine stamps his foot down in frustration. “Damnit, Captain, I will do as I please! I rule this protectorate!”
Lady Kaliana smiles endearingly. “As we can all see, your Lordling, you rule with such grace. Like my dear manservant has said, I am here only to offer my services in guiding your protectorate to its fullest potential.”
Antoine returns to his seat, rests his chin in his hand, and stares suspiciously at the beautiful woman before him. “I see. And what do you require in return, dear Lady?”
The would-be advisor reaches into the purse tied to her belt, and pulls out a piece of parchment. (At the sound of crinkling paper, Annie the cat’s ears perk up.) “Please, sir, approve this document for me, and with your signature, I will be at your beck and call.” She winks, an obscenely flirtatious gesture.
Antoine blushes deeply. “A-a-and your pet monkey and manservant as well?”
Lady Kaliana’s mouth turns down in distaste. “Ji is not a monkey. Ji is a…diplomat of its’ people. Please refrain from referring to my associate as such.”
“My deepest apologies.”
“As for them being available to you, unfortunately that is not negotiable. But please, be assured that everything that they do is in my best interest.” She hands the parchment over to the lordling, who begins perusing over it. (Soft purring can be heard from above.)
Lordling Antoine produces a pen from the inner breast pocket of his robe, then hurriedly signs it. He returns the pen to its home, hands the document to Knight Mentor Kanti, then grins idiotically and claps his hands together. “I now pronounce you my advisor!”
Lady Kaliana’s tone turns cold. “Excellent, then I will begin with tasking your workers in building a residence for me across from the city cemetery. I will let you know when I am ready to begin the tasks of my post.” Neglecting to curtsey, she turns on her heel, and glides silently to exit the room. She stops at the doors, impatient, and yells at the herald, Pi. “Open the doors, cretin!”
Pi shakes himself from his daydreams, and scrambles to open the doors. Lady Kaliana then exits. Tin Fiddle, nearly glaring, shakes his head at the man in the chair, glances up at the cat, then follows suit.
Knight Mentor Kanti is staring in disbelief at the document in her hands, then shows it to Knight Captain Roas beside her, who chokes.
“You signed this?”
Antoine nods. “I did! My signature is right there at the bottom!”
“Do you even understand what she asks for?”
Knight Captain Roas’ face reddens in anger. “Then are you insane?”
“The royal therapist may have mentioned something along those lines…but no, I am sound of mind. I appreciate your concern though!”
Antoine taps a finger to his temple. “Although some of the wording was a little difficult to comprehend at points…”
Knight Captain Roas shoves the paper back into Knight Mentor Kanti’s hands, and rushes from the room, murderous thoughts in her mind. Knight Mentor Kanti looks down, unbelieving at the accursed thing.
“You know what this means, right, sir?”
“Not a clue.”
“She seemed trustworthy.”
“You just met her!”
“So? I consider myself an exemplary judge of character.”
Knight Mentor Kanti represses a scream. “You didn’t even ask her qualifications.”
“Not necessary!” Lordling Antoine raises a finger in a victorious gesture. “She has an exquisite simian associate who rides upon a cloud and a terrifying manservant! Only important people have these!”
The soldier mutters under her breath. “I can’t see why this empire is sprinting towards dis-”
“Pardon? Speak up!”