This is a work of fiction and is not to be sold in any way shape or form. It is simply for my amusement and the challenge of writing these characters in a strange and dangerous world. All the characters are owned by Disney and I do not claim ownership of any of them. Please let me know what you think in the comments below! Without further ado, welcome to The Kingdom.)
The Queen sat in her elegant bedroom staring blankly at herself in the mirror. The face that stared back at her was one she barely recognized. She still had the same large eyes and the tan face, surrounded by black fur with the same large black ears. She had the same nose and if she curled her lips just right, she could still make the same gleeful smile she had once made at all hours of the day. Yet, the years had taken much from her, least of all that smile. They had taken the magic from her kingdom, the friends and trusted companions from her court and her husband, the King. The world was not the magical, beautiful thing she had once thought it to be.
Within moments, several duck maids would enter her room and help her into her big flowing red dress. They would help her into her white silk gloves and finally put the golden crown with the red jewel atop her head that announced her Queenliness. Yet now, in the mirror, she was laid bare and she hated the mouse she saw.
The door opened, and like clockwork, she was dressed and sent down for breakfast where she heard the royal advisories of the day. Everything from the stock of the Kingdom to the goings on in the royal court and any happenings in the surrounding city. This was always the same old thing. Until today. Apparently, Prince Eric’s province had not sent any food this week, and word had arrived that a messenger was on their way to discuss terms.
“You’ll handle it won’t you, Cogsworth?” she asked the portly man who stood next to the table reading off a list to her. He’d become an invaluable source of help in these trying times. She was happy to have had him there despite him coming to the Kingdom under such dire circumstances. Her heart went out to Belle and the Beast who had once thought that a simple curse could be the worst thing to befall them.
“It might be better if they spoke to you, your majesty?” the man smiled at her, uneasily.
She had become more and more of a recluse, opting to never be seen by the peasants and giving most of her meetings to Cogsworth or one of her other advisors. She simply couldn’t bare the pressure of it all.
“And while we’re on the subject of meetings,” started Cogsworth. “The great wizard, Merlin, has come to speak with you. I’ve already tried to dissuade him, but he is quite insistent. You know how wizards can be.”
“Merlin?” She let the name roll off her tongue. It was not one that she had spoken or heard in some time. “When does he wish to speak with me?” Minnie asked, intrigued if not mortified at the thought of actually meeting with someone outside her court. It had been a long time since she had allowed that to happen. The castle doors were closed to the public and she preferred to keep it that way.
Cogsworth cleared his throat. “He’s here…now.”
“Now?!” Minnie was suddenly flustered. She wasn’t prepared for this. She hadn’t planned on meeting with anyone today. Couldn’t she just live her day in peace and quiet? “Tell him it will have to be another time,” she snapped. “I don’t care what sort of wizard he is, he can’t just show up out of the blue and expect me to invite him in with open arms. That’s not how we do things in the Kingdom.”
“Your majesty,” pleaded Cogsworth. “He says it’s quite urgent.” He cleared his throat. “He says it’s in regards to…the King.”
Minnie looked up, a glint of anger in her eyes. She made a decision in that moment. She would meet with this wizard and she would tell him off for his impudence. She would make an example of him so that no one would dare to come to her court without request ever again.
She glared at Cogsworth. “Show him to the throne room.”
Moments later, she herself had moved to the throne room and was seated atop the red upholstered chair with the high back where her husband had sat when he’d been alive. The entire room commanded respect. It was an elongated room with high ceiling and walls painted bright ivory. It was filled with flags which hung from the walls and ceiling with the house crest embroidered upon then – three circles to show the head of a mouse. Next to the walls stood empty suits of armor, fitted to be worn by dogs which walked on two feet. Near the steps leading up to her throne, eight dog soldiers in full plated armor stood as still as if their armor were empty, their swords held snuggly in sheaths on their backs. Next to her, on her right, was her most trusted guard. He’d been with her since the beginning and he stood now tall and at attention, with one hand held to the sheathed sword at his side. A large steel shield sat on his back.
The wide doors at the far end of the hall opened as light filled the room from the outside. A little old man in blue robes entered, followed closely by a ragged looking brown owl, who flapped its wings and glided in, staring skeptically at the suits of armor. The old man approached and then stopped a few feet from the base of the stairs which led up to her. He bowed low and then smiled as he stood.
“Your Majesty,” he started. “It is a great honor to meet with you.”
“Sadly,” said Minnie, coldly. “I can not say the same of you.” She frowned. “You come to my home and demand to be let into my city and then to see me. You are a fool to think that you will get anything more from me. If you are here to request anything at all, the answer will be No, unless it is your request to be publicly ridiculed in front of the entire city.” Minnie smiled curtly. “That is the one request I can grant.”
“I am not here to request at all,” said Merlin. “I am here to tell you a story.”
Minnie’s eyebrows raised apprehensively, but she did not object. Not yet, at least.
“Many moons ago, I had a dream. In the dream, I saw the world of the past. Merlin waved a hand in the air and suddenly smoke of all different colors began to spew from his fingers, flying into the air above him and forming shapes. Minnie watched as the shapes became men made of armor and soldiers who could destroy worlds with a single thought. She watched as wars were fought, giants were destroyed and the world ended. From the ashes, one of the heroes of the battle was reborn from death and lived to fight another war, this one more bloody and vicious than the first.
“I saw the great heroes of this world rise and fall, and then rise again. Death was not what they once thought it was. It was not simply an end. It was a beginning. A renewal. They found that to die was simply to travel to another world, and then it was only a matter of finding their way home.” Merlin waved another hand through the air and the smokey visions disappeared as quickly as they came.
“I sent word of my dream to my brother in the North, Yensid, a powerful sorcerer,” said Merlin, taking a step forward. “He, too, had experienced the same dream. I pondered and pondered what it meant. Why this vision? Why now? Then I began to understand. With our world in the peril it is now, it only made sense. I was seeing the past to understand the present. And it all led me here, to you.” Merlin grinned. “Do you understand yet, your Majesty?”
Minnie understood that this man seemed to be completely insane. Other than that, she didn’t quite follow his point. What did any of this have to do with her? “I don’t think I do,” she said politely.
“It means,” started Merlin. “The King is alive.”
It was as if Merlin had just declared war. All of the guards had their swords out in seconds and were pointing them directly at the old wizard. Minnie stood from her seat, anger filling her eyes.
“How DARE you!” she called to him. “You come here only to pick at the scab of a wound that this Kingdom hasn’t even begun to heal? You are no wizard. You are a demon, here to break my heart all over again. You should never have come here and I will have my guards see to it that you never return!”
“But it’s true!” came a small voice. Merlin, Minnie and the guards all looked around, confused as to the source. From Merlin’s pocket, a small creature wearing a tattered coat leaped and hit the ground. Jiminy looked up at the Queen, pleading for her to listen with his eyes. “What the wizard says is true. I’ve seen the King with my own eyes. He’s in the city, disguised as a vigilante.”
“You were forbidden to ever enter this palace,” said Minnie, not amused by the sight of the cricket.
“I know that, your majesty,” said Jiminy. “But after I saw him, I had to come here. You know that I feel the weight of responsibility for what happened to the King. It was my fault. But if he’s alive. If he’s out there, wouldn’t you want to know?”
Minnie stayed quiet for a long moment as she thought all of this through. The smokey visions, the proclamation of her husband’s life. She knew it wasn’t possible, but still, if she was going to get rid of this group of fools, then it was either kill them, or find a better tactic. She was the Queen, and killing her people did not seem like a great way to win favor, especially given the knife’s edge that the Kingdom had been dwelling on. She knew that the best way to deal with them was to keep them busy. Get them out of her castle and give them a reason to stay gone.
“If he’s out there,” she started. “Then I give you this simple task.” She smiled at the wizard and the cricket. “Find him. Bring him to me. Only then will I believe your ramblings and lies.”
Merlin and Jiminy looked to one another, uneasily. Was it really that simple? “You are a bright wizard,” said Minnie. “And you, a scholarly cricket. For the two of you, this should be a simple task, especially if what you say is true.”
Jiminy let resolution fill his eyes. She was toying with them simply because she didn’t believe them, but he knew the truth, and he was willing to die for the it. “We’ll find him your Majesty. You’ll see.”
“Very well, Queen Minnie,” said Merlin. “If this is what it takes to earn your trust, then earn it we shall.” Merlin bowed once more and then turned to leave. Jiminy gave the Queen one last look and then bounded away, chasing after the wizard.
As the doors at the end of the hall closed, she turned to her guard. “Come with me. Quickly.”
They descended a large set of stairs, leaving the other guards behind. They moved down a long hallway lit only be torches and finally entered a large room that looked more like a dungeon than anything. Yet it held all manner of weapons and shields. From axes to maces, swords and daggers, it was all here.
“I want you to follow them,” said Minnie. “Report back to me any leads they have. We have to know what they’re up to. I fear dark times are coming. Perhaps they are already upon us. I won’t lose you the way I lost Mickey. You will go on this errand for me, but I will bestow on you a blessing of this castle to keep you safe.” She pressed a little stone in the wall, which moved inwards at her touch. Suddenly, the whole back wall began to move aside, revealing a hidden chamber beyond.
Several jewels and enormous crystals lay about the small secret chamber. But nothing was quite as eye catching as the shield which hung from the wall, illuminated by two golden torches. It was a perfect circle. The outmost edge was painted red, followed by a circle of white, followed by another of red. at the center was a white star atop a dark blue backing. It’s perfectly smooth surface glimmered in the light. The guard stared at it, unable to avert his eyes.
“Fishers found it in the South and brought it here as a tribute. The metal is unlike anything we’ve ever seen.” Minnie sighed. “Merlin was right about one thing. We do believe there was a great war fought over this world in ancient times. It birthed the world we live in today. We’ve found relics of it. Slowly, we are beginning to piece together all that happened before our time. This shield, will protect you from anything. It is impenetrable.” Minnie turned to the guard and smiled. “Take this shield and follow these men. Find out what they know so that we can prepare for whatever lies ahead. Will you do this for me?”
The guard paused for a moment and then reached up and removed his helmet, revealing the dog face beneath. He had black ears and a large nose. Two buck teeth hung out of the front of his upper lip. He smiled at her and Minnie was reminded that he looked much more threatening with his helmet on. Without it, he was the lovable, wonderful friend she had known since she was a little girl.
“Anything for you, my Queen.” The guard reached up and took the shield in his hands, feeling its weight for the first time.
Minnie smiled back at him. “Thank you, Goofy.”