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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 22nd day of Eating, Yr 23
The Neopian Times Week 141 > Continuing Series > Merogan, Lupe Warrior: Part Three

Merogan, Lupe Warrior: Part Three

by shadyy15

Merogan Unveiled

When he woke up again it was because of the raging banging at his door. “Merogan? Are you ready yet? We shouldn’t wait too long to go!” said Merrhyna through the door. Merogan shouted a ‘be right there’ and started changing clothes. The shirt felt very soft and pleasant. He tied his belt and made sure his sword was firmly attached and stepped out in the hall. He majestically descended the stairs with a fake look, when he had reached the bottom stair he and Merrhyna were laughing so hard they were almost crying. When he could finally see again, he gasped at the sight of Merrhyna. She had, again, untied her long blue hair, which fell nicely onto her shoulders, but it was covered with a pinkish veil, held by a bronze tiara. Her dress was also bronze coloured and matched perfectly with the blue colour of her fur. She smiled awkward and started fidgeting. “Well, say something…” she said.

     He gave her his arm and said, “You look absolutely beautiful.” She blushed and they stepped out in the fading daylight. They walked towards the path that led to the castle and saw a large crowd, waiting to get in. “I hope we get in,” he said in an anxious voice. She patted his arm in a comforting way. And so they waited, it seemed age, the sun set and the guests stayed outside in the darkness. Soon servants came out with torches, that had pink and purple ribbons bound around them, and set themselves alongside the path to illuminate the guests. At long last the crowd started entering the castle.

     “Stop fidgeting!” said Merogan. “They won’t let us in if you look this anxious!” Merrhyna froze and muttered something under her breath. Then finally, they reached the grand gate.

     “Name please,” asked a Blumaroo servant in a stiff voice.

     “What?” asked Merogan anxiously.

     “I need your names sir, to announce you in the hall.” Merogan hesitated, he couldn’t give his name, the king would know then.

     “Go on then!” whispered Merrhyna.

     “Sir?” asked the servant just as coolly.

     “Ah yes, of course. Sir Merogan and Lady Merrhyna.

     The servant turned and shouted their names inside the hall, they both passed. Merogan was ready to run, fight or whatever he would have to do, but nobody paid attention to him. As he saw the servant screaming the next names he noticed, to his great relief, that you could barely hear the poor man. They walked on and admired the splendour of the grand hall. From the ceiling, they could barely saw, long banners hung down from the large beams, with the emblem of Meridell; back then it was a fully black Ixi head with a golden crown on it, with a gold-blue background. Backed against the wall there were numerous tables, and when people looked around they could see the tables were set in a perfect square. The tables were covered with white cloths and were decorated with silver candleholders and flower-pieces. The very middle of the grand hall was kept free for talking and later on dancing. Merogan and Merrhyna mingled amongst the crowd. Merogan eyeing the grand throne every 5 seconds, Merrhyna admiring all the beautiful dresses worn by the noble class of Meridell. Suddenly, all were startled as the large doors to the hall were being shut.

     “We’re lucky we got in!” said Merrhyna in a high-pitched, excited voice. “Oh look!” she said, tugging on Merogan’s arm. “There come Sir Bryhendin and Lady Misselya. They are very important people in Meridell -- oh look at that beautiful tiara that she’s wearing.” Merogan didn’t allow himself to be bothered with such futilities.

     Finally the moment that all expected, and especially Merogan, arrived. Out of nowhere trumpets were echoing in the grand hall and the crowd froze, all eyes turned towards the big throne and the curtain behind it. Slowly the Meridell curtain moved aside and a Kreneh came forward with one daughter at each arm. It struck the guests how much both girls were alike. They had both brown fur, were of the exact same height and had the exact same looks on their faces. There were but two differences: Illiana had devilishly red hair, and pale blue eyes while Illyne had black hair, and dark green eyes. But even the length of their hair was the same; it came to their waists. All were silent and admired the beautiful twin princesses. Illiana was wearing a pink and purple dress, with puffy sleeves and a puffy skirt. Illyne was wearing a dress similar to Merrhyna’s. It was of the same colour, although Illyne’s dress was of finer work. The king raised both his hands to get attention, which he already had.

     ”My friends, my loyal subject. Today is one of the most special days in the history of our beautiful city! For it is the birthday of my two daughters!” He paused, and some uneasy looks were exchanged among the common people. Not all had yet forgotten Ghisen, not all were so blind and hat forgotten that it were Ghisen’s daughters. “Tonight must be a grand feast, an 18th birthday cannot go unnoticed! I shall not bore you with archaic words and long speeches! I say: Let the feast begin!”

     A loud cheer rose up from the crowd. The king sat down on his throne and so did his daughters. With a discreet little nod the guest knew they could also sit down. Soon, servants came in with millions of silver dishes filled with the most exquisite foods of Meridell. Many people admired the silver cutlery and the fine craftswork of the plates. Cups were held full, tummies were eaten round and laughter was all around. Almost, all around that is. Merogan could not tear his eyes away from the big black shadow sitting on the royal throne. When he could tear them away from him it would be to let them fall on one of his sisters. So naïve, he thought, they do not know that they’re sitting next to the monster that killed our father! His hand slid onto the handle of his sword and a firm grasp was formed around it. His breathing got heavier, he was calculating the jump. He was sitting rather close; he could definitely kill Kreneh before anyone could kill him!

     But the gentle touch of a hand on his shoulder tore him away from these morbid thoughts. ”What’s wrong?" asked Merrhyna. “You’ve been distant during the whole banquet and you have barely touched your food! This is a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

     “I’m sorry, Merrhyna, this is just all so overwhelming. But the banquet is not over yet, I’m sure more dishes will come and later we will get a chance to mix and mingle among the finer crowd of Meridell.” He hid his despise as much as he could, pronouncing these words.

     “Yes, you are right. Isn’t it wonderful how we are all treated as equals?”

     “We ARE equals, Merrhyna!” he said in an angry voice. Yes they were all equals, but then why is it that the more common people were sitting further away from the King’s table, how come that they had more common cutlery and wooden cups painted with a thin layer of gold-coloured paint. How was it that these nice gents were so easily fooled by that evil shadow? Merogan didn’t understand how they couldn’t see. All around him there was laughter and joy, but all he could see was betrayal and death.

     Then Kreneh rose, gave a short nod to the corner and sat back down, immediately a soft but entrancing music filled the air like a warm cloud. One by one the guests were wrapped in the rhythmic tones and felt like dancing, it was the beginning of the prom. Couples headed for the middle of the hall, which was to be the dance floor. Ladies in beautiful dresses gently twirled in respectable knight’s arms. Paws were pressed together and feet moved in regular patterns while the lute told her song. Illyne and Illiana were both immediately invited by two Gelert Knights, obviously also brothers. They gently bowed and reached out their paws, waiting for the princesses to accept them. Soon Merogan’s sisters were moving on the dance floor.

     “Come, let us dance too!” said Merrhyna grasping Merogan’s paw, as she already pulled him towards the centre of the hall. They both bowed with a hautain smuck on their face and started dancing, their heads in the air. After a while they started laughing so hard that some of the couples surrounding them shot dark looks. “Now we won’t get admitted in the high-class social parties!” Puffed Merrhyna.

     “Stop it! I can barely breathe,” said Merogan. “Let us just dance!” He liked dancing; even when he was little he jumped around whenever he heard something that sounded like music. As he grew up near the forest it was mostly birdsongs he heard, but it didn’t matter, it had always relieved him of his troubles. Now, he was dancing with a good friend in nice clothes in the gigantic hall of a castle. Yet he couldn’t be genuinely happy

     But then the corner of his eye caught a glimpse of Kreneh. He seemed to be in some major discussion with a very important Zafara. “Who is that guy talking to the king?” he asked Merrhyna.

     “That’s counsellor Mrydè, he is the most important man next to the king. Some say he rules the city for Kreneh, but those are just rumours. What is sure is that the king never makes a decision without the counsellor. It’s a man hat one has to beware of, there are many less flattering rumours about it, but let’s not spoil the evening” She said, adding a cheerful note to her last remark. Merogan showed her an absent smile and started to make her twirl, all the while looking at Kreneh with a hateful eye. As they moved across the dancefloor they were getting closer to Kreneh, so close Merogan could even hear him speak!

     “Ah, don’t worry about the NP’s Mrydè! Let those fools have fun now. We needed something to make them trust us again! Soon the taxes will be raised again, and if you think hard you will see we will make more money, even with the costs of this party. There are to many of those dumb peasants in the city! They bring the productivity down. When we raise the taxes they will have a choice: Or they will have to leave the city and make room for others, or they will work for me as slaves without getting paid! The privilege of staying in the city is enough payment. They are nothing but mere bugs in my hands” He took a red berry and squashed it between his hooves. Mrydè laughed loudly.

     Suddenly Merogan froze, let go of Merrhyna turned towards the king and slowly started drawing his sword.

To be continued...

Previous Episodes

Merogan, Lupe Warrior: Part One

Merogan, Lupe Warrior: Part Two

Merogan, Lupe Warrior: Part Four

Merogan, Lupe Warrior: Part Five

Merogan, Lupe Warrior: Part Seven

Merogan, Lupe Warrior: Part Six

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