The Kingdom

The Kingdom – Chapter Twelve

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.)

If you have not read the previous chapters, HEAD HERE!

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Chapter Twelve

Minnie

After hours of making no movements and only the occasional breath, Merlin awoke with a deep breath in, his eyes flickering open. As he did, Minnie, who sat at the side of the bed in a large cushioned chair, allowed the tension to release from her shoulders.

“Thank the stars,” she said under her breath. She leaned over and put a hand on his shoulder. “Welcome back.”

“W-where am I?” asked the old wizard, his eyes darting about the room as he attempted to get his bearings.

“You’re in the palace,” said Minnie calmly. “And more importantly, you’re safe.”

“A-and…Donald?” asked Merlin, who was starting to place where he’d been before it had all gone dark. He tried to sit up but felt a sharp pain shoot through his shoulder where the sword had hit. “Gah!”

Minnie gently pushed him back down. “Donald is fine. Luckily I had one of my guards following you. He realized you were being attacked a bit too late I’m afraid but at least he was able to carry you here. If not for that, I’m afraid you would be dead.”

“Perhaps m’lady,” said Merlin firmly. “If you had believed us from the start, l wouldn’t have been in danger to begin with. What about Jiminy? Have you found him? Or has he been left for dead while I lay here helpless?”

“We are…still looking for Jiminy,” said Minnie.

“Well look faster,” said Merlin. “After what we saw, I can assure you that this Kingdom will very soon be under attack. Darkness is coming. You can either prepare for it or fall to it. The choice, your majesty, is entirely in your hands.” Merlin laid back on his pillow and sighed. “I’m feeling very tired.”

“I’ll leave you to rest,” said Minnie. She rose from the chair and left the room, closing the door softly behind him. In the wide hall outside, Donald stood in his red robes next to a fully armored Goofy, who had removed his helmet, holding it at his side.

“How is he?” asked Donald, a look of fear in his eyes.

“He’ll live,” said Minnie. “Thank you both for bringing him here. I fear this is all my fault. I sent him and the cricket on this fool’s errand. They think that the King is alive and apparently they’re prepared to die to prove it.”

“You’re majesty,” started Donald. “We saw Horace. He was…possessed. There was a darkness around him. I think…I think you have to warn the people.”

“Warn them of what exactly?” asked Minnie. “The very fact that Horace is alive places a great danger on this castle.”

“We need their help,” insisted Donald. “Between us, we have so many eyes. But if you tell the citizens, then the whole city will be on the lookout for these dark beings. The palace is already under threat. You should be united with your people in this time of fear, not against them.”

“The people do not even know their King is dead,” snapped Minnie with tears in her eyes. “Don’t you think they’ll wonder why their Queen is telling them all this? Doubt leads to fear and distrust. And if they fear and distrust us, we have no power.”

“Then maybe,” said Goofy, speaking for the first time. “It’s time to come clean.”

The three of them stood staring at each other in silence until Minnie broke it, her voice shaking. “You want me to tell the people that their King is dead and has been dead for over a year, and then tell them that an evil threat we know nothing about is coming to the Kingdom and they should help us fight it?” Minnie shook her head. “They’ll overrun the castle and kill us all.”

“You are the Queen,” said Donald. “And you are a great Queen. Comfort them. Say something to make them understand that we are all in this. We can overcome this darkness as long as we are truthful and work together. After all, that’s why the Kingdom was formed. United under one common goal, we can defeat any darkness the world may throw at us.”

Minnie’s mind raced as a plan began to form. Donald was right. She needed the citizens to be with her. But he was wrong in assuming that she could tell the the full truth and have them follow. Diplomacy, she realized, would require a less direct route.

“Very well,” she said. “Goofy, have the guards put out an announcement. At dusk, the citizens should gather at the steps of the castle. I will address them and set things right. We will unite them all under a common goal and together, we will fight back the darkness.”

“Yes your majesty,” said Goofy. He put his helmet back on and turned, marching quickly down the hall.

Donald bowed to the Queen. “Thank you your majesty. In time, you will see that this is the right path.”

“Yes,” nodded Minnie. “I think I will.”

Hours later, she had been dressed in her best gown and her golden crown had been placed atop her head. It had been a long time since she had been seen by the public. Appearances were everything. She made her way to the third floor terrace and nodded to the guards who then opened a large set of double doors, leading to a large balcony which overlooked the courtyard below.

As she approached, she could hear the cheers of the crowd below. She peered down at them, the peasants of the Kingdom, her Kingdom. She felt pity for them. Many could not even afford to eat while others were struggling to care for children or businesses. Yet here they were, ready to hear the words of their Queen. Soon, the problems they faced in their day to day life would be the last thing on their minds. Behind her, Donald and Goofy nodded, giving her support from beyond the sight of the crowd.

She raised a white-gloved hand and the crowd became instantly silent. She took a deep breath in and then began.

“My dear citizens. Today I come to you with a terrible truth. Last night, your ruler and the King of this land was murdered.”

A gasp went up through the crowd but the gasp she heard the loudest was that of Donald who stood behind her. He began to march onto the balcony, anger stirring in his eyes, but Goofy grabbed hold of his shoulder, holding the duck back.

“Hey!” cried Donald. “What’s the big idea?” Suddenly two more guards were grabbing onto him and pulling him backwards. “No! Wait! You can’t just-” but Minnie didn’t hear the end as the guards marched Donald out of the room and closed the doors behind them. She didn’t imagine Goofy would be much more pleased, but the one thing she had always liked about him was his loyalty.

“As such, my heart is filled with great sadness,” continued Minnie. “But not only by his passing. I am saddened because his murderer was one of you. Someone we trusted. Horace Horsecaller.” Another loud gasp went up as the crowd talked amongst themselves, unable to believe what they were hearing. After all, Horace had been a stable member of society until his untimely death during an accident at the stables.

Minnie raised a hand to silence them once more. “For years we have guarded ourselves against the oncoming darkness, but we were not vigilant enough. The darkness is here. It is among us. It could very well be residing in your neighbor’s house.” The crowd shifted uneasily. “An hour ago, I received word that one of these dark beings has kidnapped the gentle friend to many of us, Jiminy Cricket.”

Murmurs and whispers arose. It was a name that no one in the Kingdom had spoken in months. Jiminy’s fall from grace had also meant that he had been all but forgotten by most.

“Now I have tasked my finest guards with finding him, and I promise you that we will bring this darkness to justice. But in the meantime, I need the help of each and every one of you. Be vigilant. Stay strong. If you see something that seems even the slightest bit out of the ordinary or an unsavory type up to no good, it is not only my wish that you report it, is your sacred duty to the memory of my husband and your King.” She took one last deep breath and sighed, remorse in her eyes. “Do not let him have died in vain. Together, we can and we will defeat the coming storm.”

She gave the crowd a regal wave, which was met with fanfare and cheering. Then she turned to head back inside. She had united them under a common goal: Fear. If all of them were expecting the worst, they would not allow any more Horace Horsecallers to stay under the radar. And when Jiminy was brought back safely, it would ensure faith in the crown and her leadership, despite the King’s absence. If a war really was coming, then there was no time for questioning the Queen or her decisions. Better they stay busy questioning each other.

She rounded the corner to see Donald still being held down by several guards. “What have you done?” he spat. “You lied to all of them! You’ve made them afraid to face their neighbors, their friends!”

“It’s like you said Donald,” said Minnie. “In time, you will see that this is the right path.” She continued past the duck, his face full of disappointment, motioning for Goofy to follow her.

“You’re majesty,” he started. “I don’t ever want to be one to question you, but-“

“Then don’t,” she cut him off. “Don’t ask questions. Simply do your job.” Goofy looked up at her, slightly confused by the command. Her eyes narrowed, as if annoyed. “Find Jiminy Cricket.”

Goofy nodded solemnly and then put on his helmet, checked that his shield was attached to his back, and then turned and left. Minnie remained in the hallway, her face stern. Her husband wouldn’t have wanted any of this. He would have found a better way. But the simple fact of the matter was this: Mickey Mouse was gone.

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