Geometric Archipelago:The Pyramid of Triangle Island/Chapter 01
Prologue #1: Majestic Falterings
Doctor Lawrence hurried up the stone steps, pausing only to take a quick breath before continuing to ascend the 10-story staircase to the top floor, where the Queen herself lay in wait… very silently. He knew this might happen, ever since he’d seen the beginnings of the creeping infection on her ankle. Nonetheless, it was still quite a shock when it actually happened – the creep had spread to her back and completely immobilized her. When this occurred, a patient had less than 7 days before death at the most. Most times, it was merely 3 or 4. He knew all this, and knew that there was little he could do, but he would try anyway.
Caroline let out another low groan. Seripith frowned and tried shifting the blankets again. Not that the limited care he could provide was much use. He hoped the Doctor would be able to do something. Seripith had sent for the Doctor a while ago; he should be arriving any moment…
Caroline sighed. “So, that’s it? I’m paralyzed, and I’ll be dead soon?”
“Unfortunately… yes, Your Majesty, that’s about all there is too it. I’ve tried everything. I’m afraid that all I’ve actually managed to accomplish is putting a hole in your back, which I deeply regret,” Doctor Lawrence replied, shaking his head.
“I suppose that’s it, then?”
“Well… there is one highly remote possibility…”
“I’m not in a position to argue with any suggestions. I’m too young to die.”
“The Ancients supposedly had a magical artifact that could cure diseases. If you were to permit another Quest, and find it successful…” Lawrence pauses, hesitant to continue.
“Yes, I see what you mean. In order to have a chance at life, I have to initiate another Quest for the Pyramid. And it would need to work this time. I’d hate to risk another Zorc incursion for my own sake, though.”
“Your Majesty, your reign has been a scant eight years – far too short.” Seripith cut in quickly. “I would hate to see you go so fast. We can handle anything any demons may try with regard to the pyramid. We are the fastest-growing island in the Archipelago, and have been for the past eight years. I find that no coincidence.”
“You have always been a loyal friend to me and to us all, but that is simple flattery of both me and yourself and not helpful right now,” Caroline rebuked. “This decision cannot be made lightly… Fetch Cryloth, and quickly. I will, determine if my eldest is indeed ready… if there is even the slightest hesitation, we will attempt a Quest. If not… I see no reason to tempt fate. Ashley will be a young Queen, but a Queen she will be.”
“At once, Majesty… Caroline,” Seripith replied, stroking her face before turning to leave. "Doctor, I recommend heat. Lots of it.”
“Of course you would,” Lawrence scowled. “Just go get Cryloth before she starts flying around.”
“Ever if she were, I am faster,” Seripith informed him. “But the point is well-made. I will return shortly.”
“Most likely, Her Majesty will be asking you about your human’s readiness to take the leadership. Ordinarily, you would be inclined to take the affirmative here, however consider this – if you hesitate, Caroline will most likely initiate another Quest – and being immobile, she will have your human be the one to hand it out personally. There is much more opportunity in the chance for a successful Quest then to just be another Queen in a long line of Queens – if you want Ashley to be remembered, you’ll give her this chance.”
“And this benefits you – how?”
“That should be obvious, Cryloth. I love Caroline. I’m not ready to let her go yet – if there’s any chance we can save her, I’ll take it.”
“Very well. I shall consider this.”
“You do that.”
“The answers you have given me have not been… inspiring, Cryloth.”
“I apologize, Majesty. I am simply saying what I see.”
“Yes, of course. Then I must do whatever I can to stay alive. Which means announcing a new Quest for the Pyramid. Find a worthy candidate, and perhaps a few others, and have them meet both of my daughters. They will hand out the Quest, for I… cannot.”
“Have you been compiling candidates, Ashley?” Cryloth asked, fingers twitching slightly.
“Well… not really. There just aren’t many heroes around these days. Everyone is tied up in the ever-expanding industry on this island. I’m tempted to accept the Quest myself,” the Princess replied coolly.
“I’ve found three potential candidates already,” Cryloth rebuked. “I had to fly around the entire island to do it, but I did it.”
“Yes, no doubt I’ve found the same three. One’s almost certainly a liar, one has distinctively rebellious tendencies, and one is psychic.”
“Well, that last wouldn’t be too bad. You’ve had some mental training, and it’s not like you’d have to be with him all the time. Once you hand the Quest, you’re done until the report of failure… or success, as unlikely as that is.”
“Right. Given the lack of options, I guess we’ll do that. Have this… Brellius… meet me and my sister tomorrow at noon.”