DIVA: Royals #5
deucexm at gmail.com
Sun Mar 10 10:35:49 PDT 2019
I've been sitting on this one for a while, I think because the series deserves
careful consideration so its particular... atmosphere isn't unduly disrupted.
But then again it also needs to be /written/, so it can be read. So here it is!
Royals: A DiVerse Alpha Chronicle
Down, down, into depths where he could neither see nor sense in any other way,
the little Prince sank.
At last he landed on something soft and springy, and bent down to feel at it -
and found it... furry. Taken aback, he felt around to see if he could move off
to somewhere that felt less, well, /alive/ - but the fur extended beneath his
sandals no matter which direction he tested.
Then a great heave swept Jack off his feet, and he landed on his rear - though
not with enough force to hurt anything beyond his sense of decorum and
"Ahhhh," came a thunderous grumbling, "I /thought/ I felt something squirming
upon my back..."
A brilliant flash illuminated the darkness, coming from behind Jack's left
shoulder; though it faded a little as he turned, the better part of the light
remained, gleaming from a trio of cross-pupiled golden eyes somewhere in the
distance. With their radiance spotlighting him, the Prince could tell he was
indeed on the back of some massive furred creature.
"I do beg your pardon for the intrusion," the Prince began, coming to his feet
once more. "My name is Prince Jack, heir to the Stardust Throne-"
"Ah, Jack," rumbled the voice again, the light dimming momentarily as those eyes
half-lidded, then reopened fully. "Well do I know you and your purpose here, as
I know all of the royal line. Yet you know naught of me; neither do the
Deities. All this is as it should be, as the Founder willed so long ago. But-"
There was a heavy pause. "Here you are, at the very heart of things."
Jack trembled, just a little. "Should I not be here after all?"
"What do /you/ think?"
The Prince took a deep breath, and let it out, composing himself and his mind,
letting the words come to him naturally. "I think... I came here because it was
the best decision at the time. For me, and for my sister. Knowing what we did,
and- er- not knowing what we did not." He lifted his head to gaze at those calm
eyes in the darkness. "I may be wrong, but here I am."
"Here you are, indeed." The voice held a deep weariness, but Jack could detect
the faintest note of amusement as well. "A Prince who would be a Princess, and
a Princess who would be a Prince; well, at least the trade is an equivalent one
The light cut off briefly as the eyes blinked. "Come now, young Prince, surely
you didn't think you were the first to be unsatisfied with your title. The
royal line has had quite a number of those who found their ordained roles
insufferable, though not all of them have needed my assistance. And you and
your sister will surely not be the last."
The Prince rubbed his cheek thoughtfully. "It never even crossed my mind; I was
just following Vanessa... but I've never even heard of anyone changing titles
before. I wasn't sure it was even possible, to be honest, though I was hoping
"You wouldn't be told, of course," the voice returned matter-of-factly. "It
profits not the kingdom to alter a title; in fact it causes great stress upon
the Throne, and I must then make the appropriate adjustments to maintain the
balance, to ensure its continued existence. What you desire is no small thing -
but as there is an equivalent exchange, I will allow it. I have done far
Jack tilted his head curiously.
The eyes closed, and in the darkness there was a heavy, world-weary sigh. Then
the light crept back in from half-lidded eyes. "That story is not for
recollection, not now. Rather than the past, young Prince, let us examine what
your future may hold."
The creature's eyes closed. There was darkness, again - and then...
... and then the darkness glimmered faintly, weak pinpricks of light appearing
one by one; brightening, some faster than others, growing larger - until Jack
was surrounded by a vast field of stars in almost every direction. Under his
feet, and ahead of him, a massive serpentine shape curved and coiled, blocking
out the starlight...
... and then those three eyes opened wide, golden light pouring out of them -
and lines of gold streaming from their corners, leaking onto the creature and
tracing out its curves and angles, starting to define its shape for the Prince
to behold at last. The cross-pupiled gaze fixed on him serenely as the outline
of a giant, fang-filled grin took shape, then around it a draconic snout; the
liquid gold continued tracing, painting a crested forehead, two branching
staglike horns, two fan-shaped ears (or so they seemed to Jack) - and then the
shining trails began to thin, stretching toward the young Prince.
He stood still, watching breathlessly as the golden lines in the distance
approached, accelerating rapidly - and then raced past him on either side,
lighting the fur with their brilliant shine. It was - it /had/ to be - the
liquid starlight he'd always known; but no, it was different, even if it felt
the same. Richer, purer... stronger? More concentrated? Jack pondered, and
reached out a hand toward the closest line.
Immediately the gold twisted up into the air like a living thing, a tendril that
reached out and curled around the Prince's arm, flooding his body with an almost
painful rush of energy. Yes, definitely stronger than the starlight he knew by
a wide margin - but still he could control it, wincing a little with the effort
but convincing the spiral around his arm to loosen and expand, until he could
slip his arm away. The tendril slowly fell back into the flow of gold, and Jack
looked up in amazement. "Who /are/ you?"
The colossal grin widened ever so slightly. "The first and last Guardian, Heart
of the Stardust Throne. Call me Euclid, little Prince, but do not invoke me
lightly - and not at all, until you can handle more than a handful of the golden
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