A Letter to the Public, by Princess Lunara
To my faithful subjects,
As most of you are well aware, my disappearance wreaked havoc all over Shenkuu. And for many of you, my clandestine disappearance caused undue worry and terror that something horrible might have befallen me. However, I assure you my departure was of my own free will. While my life of alleged luxury may seem to you a immaculate fairy tale, I must ask you this question.
Who among you could possibly fathom the lonely life that was mine?
In spite of endless attention from servants, education from the wisest of intellectuals, and a wardrobe that would leave any sane Uni envious, this all became a burden to me. While I had my sisters, to whom I am truly grateful for the endless nights of Godori, I nevertheless could not find peace within these palace walls. Hinchiro once told me that the mark of a valiant king is his capacity to fully comprehend his subjects. And so I departed, fearing that my alienation combined with my lack of contact with you all would one day lead to my failure as a Queen. And so, in this letter I shall explain what happened, and what I now believe to be the future of Shenkuu.
I escaped the palace walls by convincing my poor sister Terrana that we were merely playing a game of hide and seek. I felt horrible for making her a victim of my escape, but I knew it would be my only chance. I escaped into a nearby grove of birch trees, and followed a path to a beautiful, yet humble home on the outskirts of Shenkuu. Only a fraction of the size of the palace, the home seemed dwarfed in comparison, but the taste of freedom was sweet, and I knew I had to take my chances and meet a commoner. I messied my hair and hid Kazu, my sweet Kazeriu, beneath my robes. Perhaps it was convincing enough, for the fellow I met within greeted me warmly. His name was Hoban, and he was perhaps the most jolly Aisha I had ever met in my life. I soon learned him to be the navigator of the infamous Cyodrake’s Gaze. And he told me of his adventures travelling the world, meeting fantastic Neopians, and jolly times with his crew.
I soon found myself telling him more than I had hoped to offer – of my escape, of my plans, and of my heritage. “You’re kidding,” he said to me, in obvious shock. While he wasn’t keen on the idea of harboring a Princess within his home, he reluctantly permitted it once I spoke of my noble motives. Once I told him of my hopes to understand the commoners better, he immediately jumped to his feet, and exclaimed, “Well, we'd best go meet some commoners, then, eh?” And we were off.
Hoban explained to me that, as the navigator of a trade ship, he wasn’t particularly an average commoner. In fact, he was rarely visited his home in Shenkuu, and more often than not, frequented the pub while he was here. Yet, as a supplier of precious goods to the merchants of Shenkuu, he knew almost everyone in the land. He explained to me that this was particularly the case in Shenkuu, where almost everyone was a merchant.
As we walked towards the village center, passing the cascading waterfalls I had always dreamed of seeing more closely, the ambient noise grew louder and louder. And suddenly, a bustling marketplace appeared! Father had sworn never to take me to such places, for they were supposedly filled with thieves, criminals, and merchants whose only desire was to scam innocent civilians. But Father was mistaken. The ambience was magical! Exotic spices were thrust before me, petpets from far and wide happily meandered past – Pandaphants, Ettaphants, Gallions! Even Kazu peeked for a better view, clearly in awe to see that other creatures like him existed. I scoured the market for interesting new garb.
Fashioned in my new clothing, and equipped with a host of new toys, I reluctantly agreed to continue along our way. We eventually stopped upon a small tea shop, owned by an Elephante dressed in pirate’s garb, and holding a small golden pocket-watch – clearly one of Hoban’s cohorts. He glanced up from his tea-making, and upon seeing Hoban, his initially kind eyes grew furious. “HOBAN,” he exclaimed. “Where is my MONEY, you little wretch.”
Hoban nervously replied, “Calm down, Rosiny, we have a guest.” The Elephante glanced over at me, patted his now ruffled garments, and with a big smile on his face, asked, “Ahoy! You a friend of Hoban’s? While I’m certainly not serving to that vagabond, you seem like you could use a warm cup of tea!” He shot a glance at Hoban, and proceeded to pour me a cup of what smelled like Dandelion Tea, my favourite. He beckoned me to sit, and so we did. He brought out what seemed to be some curried chicken tea sandwiches, and my mouth began to salivate heavily – even the food here was drastically different that what the servants would serve me at the castle. Always organic carrots, and only the ‘finest of meals,’ as Father would say.
As I talked to Rosiny, I discovered that, as a former pirate, he found his home in Shenkuu after the rowdiness of Krawk Island wore him down. There were just too many high and mighty pirates fighting for superiority. And at that moment, Hoban revealed to him my identity.
“She’s above them all! She’s a queen!” exclaimed Hoban.
“Great. So you’re just like one of them power hungry pirates. Fantastic.” And then Hoban explained.
“WHAT. She is THE PRINCESS? What is she doing in my shop?” Rosiny quickly gathered the tea cups and plates and began to set down a new set of silverware, but before he could I hastily stopped him.
“This is different to me,” I conceded, “but please leave it all – it’s giving me a taste of what the rest of the world is like.” Rosiny relaxed a bit, and reluctantly returned the dandelion tea and tea sandwiches to the table. And then Rosiny told me of his own adventure, a truly bizarre tale.
An Elephante born on Krawk Island was certainly rare – but being of such short stature, Rosiny was never noticed all that much. When he was a young lad, he enrolled in Cap’n Threelegs Academy, only to find that his natural skills brought him far beyond the scope of what Cap’n Threelegs provided there. And so he took to pirating, to broaden his knowledge of the world, and to grow stronger. And as he continued his tale, my eyes widened – I could not believe what kinds of people he had met, and what sorts of adventures he had been on. From his encounter with the Monoceraptor to battles with zombies, the tales seemed nearly ludicrous. And the impossible struggle of it all – it was a concept completely foreign to me, a Cybunny born into a life of ease. And I began to understand that this was truly life. Living in a sheltered palace, I had never known such struggles. My hands had never been hardened by physical labor, and my mind had stayed nearly untouched by the burdens of the common man, until now.
My father almost immediately found me, in spite of my best efforts. But I knew that this adventure was all that I needed. This one chance to meet Hoban and Rosiny gave me an understanding I had been longing for all along – an understanding truly lacking within the writings of Aristusul.
And so I must tell you all, I deeply apologize for my brief disappearance from the kingdom. I know I must have worried you all horribly. But this was crucial to my own understanding of how to serve my people sufficiently. While you all certainly know me as Princess Lunara, I scarcely know all of you. And so, I have convinced my Father of the need to truly understand what the populace desires, and he has decided to allow me to travel outside the palace walls. I aspire to finally know each and every one of you personally. And I sincerely hope that recent events will not remind you of fearful moments and uncertain times, but rather, as a turning point in the history of Shenkuu.