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.
Donald Duck entered the main room of the stone house within the hidden dwarven cave and removed his black cloak, draping it atop the back of a chair. He then pulled a small tattered book from his red and gold priest’s robes and sat it atop the granite table, taking a seat and opening its pages. The figure of the old suit of red armor stood against the wall, looking over him as he read.
“Did you find what you sought?” asked a raspy voice.
Donald looked up to see Merlin approaching, looking older and grayer than normal. His eyebrows were raised in curiosity. “With some work, yes,” replied Donald.
“Anything that can help us?” asked Merlin, taking a seat across from Donald.
“Plenty, but all of these relics are just that: relics.” Donald flipped through the pages. “It seems the Old Ones had no limit to how many all powerful orbs, trinkets and staffs they had. It’s no wonder they killed each other.” Donald landed on a page with a drawing of a large gauntlet, which was adorned with six gems. “Just look at this one.” He spun the book around to show Merlin, who observed the page with concern. “A glove. Just a glove, but were the wearer to snap their fingers, they could obliterate the universe.”
Merlin searched his memory as he stared at the sketch of the gauntlet. “Curious.”
“What is?” asked Donald.
“This image stirs up a memory of mine, but for the life of me I can’t think of what it might be.” Merlin smiled a warm grin. “Aw the toils of getting older.”
The door behind them creaked open and Donald quickly slammed the book close and hid it beneath his robes once more. He then turned to see Minnie entering with two new faces, foxes. Donald and Merlin immediately stood at the sight of newcomers.
“Merlin, Donald. I’d like you to meet Robin Hood and Maid Marian. They’ve come seeking their friend during this city’s darkest days.” Minnie ushered Robin and Marian into the room.
“Minnie!” cried Donald. “We can’t just bring anyone in here. This place is secret!”
“I’ve seen these two fight,” said Minnie. “They’re on our side.”
“Truth be told, your majesty,” corrected Robin. “We’re typically not on the side of royalty, but whoever that usurper to the throne is, he seems much more dangerous to this city than one corrupt Queen ever could be.”
“Corrupt?!” shouted Minnie, turning on Robin.
“Now now,” said Marian. “Let’s not get carried away. My dear Robin has trouble with authority, that’s all. We are most gracious for your hospitality. That said, every minute we waste is a minute that our friend is not found, and possibly in danger.”
“Who are you looking for?” asked Donald, his curiosity peaked.
“A girl,” said Robin. “Once a mermaid, now the leader of one of the province’s to the West. Ariel.”
Merlin’s mind flashed to the day of the attack, and a girl falling from a tower who, because of his spell, had grown a tail. He shook off the memory. Millions of people in the world. No way to tell if it was the same person, and no need to reveal this information to the newcomers just yet.
“There are lot’s of people in this city,” said Donald. “Finding one, especially in these times, could prove difficult.”
As they continued to speak, Marian couldn’t help but notice the large robotic suit of armor at the back of the room. She was drawn to it. It was unlike anything she had ever seen before.
“If I can reclaim the castle,” started Minnie, ” I can have my guards find this girl for you.” She looked around the room. “Speaking of which, where is Goofy?”
“Doing recon in the city,” said Donald. “He’s trying to recruit other guards who have gone into hiding to our cause.”
As they group continued to speak, Marian began to walk slowly towards the iron armor, her eyes transfixed to it, as if it were calling to her. Strange whispers filled her head, drowning out the sound of the conversation around her. She couldn’t help but notice that her necklace seemed to feel heavier than normal around her neck, weighing down her shoulders down. Her hands trembled as she reached out for the glinting red metal plate at the center of the armor. From within a cylindrical piece in the center of the breastplate, she could just make out the faintest blue glow.
“Don’t touch that!” cried Minnie, who leapt across the room and grabbed Marian’s arm, yanking her away from the iron armor and snapping her back to reality. Suddenly, Robin had his bow up and an arrow nocked on it, aimed at the Queen’s head. Everyone in the room froze.
“Unhand her,” said Robin, sternly.
Marian grabbed her head, feeling faint. “I-I’m sorry,” she muttered. “I don’t know what came over me.”
“You must never touch him,” said Minnie, refusing to look at Robin, who was ready to release an arrow.
A sharp pain ran up Marian’s arm, stinging with intensity from the spot where Minne held her wrist. “GAHHHH!” she screamed, pulling away and falling to the floor.
Robin dropped his bow and ran to her, catching her mid-fall and holding her. “What’s happened? What’s wrong?”
Marian held up her arm. Her fur where Minnie grabbed her was slightly darker than the rest. “I’m okay,” she said. “It only hurt for a moment.” Yet as she said it, her eyes darkened and her breath became labored, as if she were developing an illness out of nowhere.
Robin glared up at Minnie. “What have you done?”
“N-nothing!” she exclaimed. “I merely stopped her from touching what she shouldn’t.”
“I’m fine, really Robin,” said Marian, catching her breath. He could feel her body growing colder in his arms.
“Let me have a look,” said Donald.
“No!” yelled Robin, pulling Marian up in his arms and glaring at everyone in the room. He pulled marian towards the door, picking up his and securing it over his shoulder. They reached the exit to the stone building and Robin gave one more angry glare to the group. “Whatever resistance this is, I will have no part. We are going to find our friend and get out of this cursed city. You would all do well not to follow us.”
Robin left, carrying Marian, leaving the others in shock.
“Well that could have gone better,” said Donald.
Back through the tunnels and out onto the street, Robin carried Marian. As he journeyed the now darkened streets, he made inquires until someone pointed him to the home of a doctor. They backtracked a bit until they came to a quaint little cottage in one of the more middle class neighborhoods of the city. It wasn’t lavish by any means but it was absent of the constant smell of sewage which bombarded the senses in some areas.
Robin moved to the door, giving a nervous glance to the sign on the door which read “Plez Cnoke if an Rnsr is Not Reqid.” It seemed this doctor was either terrible at language or had an odd sense of humor. Robin knocked.
Within moments, the door cracked open and the feathery face of an owl with large black eyes peaked through. “Yes? Can I help you? It’s quite late and past my normal hours of business.”
“Are you a doctor?” asked Robin.
“Why yes, of course. Since my Father and his Father before him and his…”
“It’s my wife,” interrupted Robin, showing the owl Marian, who looked very tired and pale. “She needs help.”
“Oh my,” said Owl, unlocking the latch on the door and flinging it open. “Come in. Come in.” The doctor, as it turned out, was a large tawny owl. His abdomen was covered in tan feathers and beneath his chin was a tuft of white feather which showed his old age. He led them to a long bed covered in white linens and instructed Robin to lay her down. He quickly went to work, inspecting her, taking measurements of her heartbeat and looking into her pupils.
“Hmm, odd,” he noted.
“What’s odd?” asked Robin, hoping that odd meant good, although in his experience it rarely did.
“I’ve only seen something like this once before,” said Owl. Some time ago, the Queen summoned several doctors of the Kingdom to check on her. Apparently she’d come down with something dreadful. I saw the same symptoms as I see here. Her breathing seems labored, her eyes look darkened. If I were a psychologist, which I am not, but if I were, I’d say she was suffering, but not physically. It’s as if her symptoms are brought on by her emotions.”
“She’s depressed?” asked Robin, bewildered. “But this only just happened.”
“These are dark times,” said Owl. “Sometimes the unexplained finds ways to be explained when it’s beyond our grasp.”
Robin looked at Marian and then stood, pacing angrily. “We should have never come here,” he growled. “This city breeds pain and suffering. It always has. We just need to find Ariel and leave. We’ll put this horrid city as far behind us as possible.”
“If it makes you feel better, the Queen recovered,” chirped Owl. “Why, to hear her guards, before long, her strength was ten fold. I suppose they found some sort of curative for her.”
Robin looked back at Owl, a curious expression on his face. “An antidote?”
“I would imagine,” said Owl. “After all, the life of a Queen is filled with only the best. That includes medication. Surely some alchemist brewed her a concoction potent enough to rid someone of even the gravest of woes.”
“Then there’s a chance it’s still in the castle?” asked Robin.
“Well I’m sure there’s always a chance of–”
“Thank you my friend,” said Robin, shaking the owl’s wing. “Please look after her until my return. I won’t be long.” Robin turned and ran out the door, leaving Owl looking flustered and the sudden departure.
Outside, Robin turned his gaze to the castle at the center of town, its spires towering over everything else. He wanted to find Ariel, and he hoped that wherever she was, she’d be safe, but Marian came first. The mermaid would have to wait. He only hoped he would have time to save them both.