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There arrived one Prince Sherman, from the northernmost coast of the northernmost island of that archipelago, where place names are so unpronounceable that we aren't even going to try. "I will not waste your time, King Everyway. I've heard of your dissembling, and your daughter's parlour tricks." said Prince Sherman, striding haughtily back and forth across the throne room. He was covered in all manner of weapons and armor, all of which clinked or clanged with each movement.
"I have only this to say to you, and to her." He continued, playing with his silver amulet inset with what might have been human teeth. "In this fjord is assembled the greatest fleet in the history of this land. Not even the Senseless Wars saw such an armada all in one place. There is not only my navy, which is substantial in its own right, but the ships of every prince who has ever been rebuffed by Princess Ute." The king glanced at the southern window, and sure enough, there were so many ships in the fjord, he couldn't see the water.
The room darkened as Prince Sherman's silhouette blocked the light from the southern window. "Furthermore, all my men, and the other princes' men are assembled in a vast host along all of your borders." continued Prince Sherman.
Sure enough, through the northern window, the king could see the plumes of campfires dotting the landscape in the distance.
Prince Sherman paused and stared at the king, for so long that the king shifted uncomfortably from one foot to the other. The prince's amulet seemed to be moving in the dim light, like it was some kind of crab or giant bug. Just as the king was about to break the uneasy silence, Prince Sherman spoke again. "Ah, that's not all, Everyway. One of the princes you have dishonored is Tribbledick, of the Cloud People. Notice those storm clouds gathering over the land?"
The king nodded, starting to feel ill.
"Those clouds conceal countless flights of dragon riders and airships bristling with steam cannons."
The king sat down in his throne, massaging his temples.
"Do you, in all honesty, Your... Majesty... believe that even your Everyland Elite Royal Marine Corps can stand up to this combined allied might?"
"We've done you no harm, Prince Sherman. What is it you want from us?"
"I want but one simple and reasonable thing. I want your daughter to marry one of us. It does not matter which one. But she has to choose, and choose soon."
"But what good will this do you? You know she does not love any of you."
Prince Sherman smirked. "Love. My sword does not love me, but it cleaves the skulls of my enemies. My horse does not love me, but he carries me to victory. I couldn't care less whom Ute does and does not love. All she needs to do is obey, and that is something women learn quickly, if trained by the right man." He glanced at a portrait of Queen Everyway hanging to the side of the throne, then back at the King and smirked again. "If Ute is as clever as they say she is, why, she will learn in no time at all." next->


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