The Duck King – Part II: Pardon the Moist, Princess

The Duck King is a short story in seven parts written in 2013. It takes place in the world of Dyne and follows the unlikely duck King Ackerack.

Pardon the Moist, Princess

“Over my dead body!” the princess announced, marching down the hallway with decisive steps.

“But, princess, it’s what they told me!” the chief of guard explained.

“If that’s what they said, then perhaps someone should assess their fitness for remaining by the royal court to begin with. Have you ever heard of an animal ruling a kingdom anywhere else in the world? Anywhere?”

“Well, I— no.”

“And a duck? Are they absolutely out of their minds? How are they even going to communicate with it? Ducks don’t speak Eunan — especially not that prancing feather-turd.”

“Calm down, princess, don’t you think this might just be a misunderstanding? Surely you’re the rightful heir of the throne. You’re not only the next kin in your lineage but also infinitely intelligent and beautiful.”

“Don’t suck up to me, Scott, I’m not in the mood.”

The map room’s doors flew open by the chief of guard’s and princess’ firm hands. Staring back at them were none other than Ramos the Wise, Cromhart the Firm and Eugelius the Bold.

“Good morning, princess.”

“I trust you’ve heard?”

“We can do the lore test later. Considering the circumstances.”

“Where is it?” the princess demanded.

“Where is what?

“You know what I mean! The damned bird!”

“Oh, the king is having his morning nap.”

“And ‘damned bird’ is not at all a suitable title. The king has made all suitable concessions to the church and unless something goes fantastically awry, he should be guaranteed entrance to heaven.”

“I believe we settled on His Majesty.”

His Duckly Majesty is also acceptable.”

“His Majesty!?” the princess yelled. “Mother’s body isn’t even cold yet and you’re already appointing new royalty!”

“Princess, don’t be alarmed,” Ramos said. “And please don’t go about waking the dog with all this ruckus, I don’t care much for his froth.”

“It was the queen’s will,” Cromhart said. “She asked specifically that Ackerack was made king on the same day she—well—passed away.”

“If you for even one second think I’ll let this pass so that you three can continue your megalomaniac charades, you’re wrong,” the princess said.

The Rule Ensignees looked at the princess without much of a reaction for a few seconds, but then huddled up over the table and started to whisper.

“If the princess removes Ackerack from the picture, we’ll lose all our power,” Eugelius whispered.

“She doesn’t like us.”

“Speak for yourself,” Cromhart said. “I feel we have a healthy relationship, the princess and I.”

“Oh, like the time she burnt your castle wing to the ground because you wouldn’t let her eat more birthday cake?”

“Or when she kept throwing sharp things at you—including knives—because she’d lost her teddy?”

“I didn’t say it was without emotion, I said it was healthy! Fiery and living!”

“Be that as it may, the princess has to be prevented from interfering. Only if Ackerack is crowned can we be certain of our own survival.”

“So it’s decided then,” Ramos declared and the other two nodded.

“What are you talking about?” the princess asked confusedly.

“Princess, dear,” Eugelius said aloud. “We have some bad news, I’m afraid.”

“The chief of guard,”—Cromhart nodded towards him—”will be forced to take you to the castle dungeons.”

“We’re sorry. But, you see, we cannot risk that you do something you’ll come to regret later.”

“But, sir,” the chief of guard protested. “She’s the princess!”

“She was the princess,” Ramos corrected. “According to the queen’s will, she’s no longer to be considered royalty.”

“What!?” the princess in due right also protested. “You can’t do this. You have no authority!”

“But you see, that’s the thing. For as long as King Ackerack employs us as his ruling hands, we do have the authority.”

The chief of guard was a loyal man and reluctantly acknowledged the stern order. He grabbed the princess by her wrist and led her to the deep dungeons with remorse and conflicting emotion. He was relieved to find that she didn’t resist in the slightest, following what was possibly an onset of apathy and utter disbelief.

“I’ll make sure you’re treated well,” he said and drowned in her deep blue eyes as he’d done a million times before. He spent a good twenty seconds swimming back to the surface and then placed her in a muddy cell at the very end of the prison row. “Pardon the moist, princess.”