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Of Napkins Untorn

One day, the Kingdom of Cardboard and Paper needed to send an important message to the Kingdom of Scissors and Paperclips. But King Scissors, also known as the Monster King, would cut in half any messengers who sent him bad news. King Cardboard knew he would have to give the brave volunteer special protection if he wanted them to come back in one piece.

Sir Napkin volunteered to be the one who would risk his life to give the bad news to King Scissors. His body was much more flexible than one made of paper. The mad king of Scissors and Paperclips would have a hard time trying to cut his body.

Still, King Cardboard gave Sir Napkin a pad of Post-It Note Familiars to defend him from King Scissor’s violent wrath. He loathed having to constantly bury his loyal knights, who were killed for doing the right thing.

Sir Napkin waved goodbye to the king and his court, doing his best to reassure them he would be back. He leaped up on his origami horse, a magnificent steed made from crimson Japanese floral print paper of pure golden peonies. The horse gave a neigh sounding of ruffling books before it galloped towards the Kingdom of Scissors and Paperclips.

The origami steed’s pointy hooves galloped softly on the green yarn grass of the Continent of Household Items. The cardboard trees in the background adorned with red pushpin fruit. Sir Napkin stopped near one of those to pick some of them from the branches, pulling the needles out from the skin before taking a bite. He gave one to his horse, who ate it with gusto, plastic flakes falling to the ground.

They continued on their journey after their impromptu meal, moving at full speed until they saw the light brown guard posts of the Kingdom of Scissors and Paperclips. Two large, silver paperclips stood in front of the dark grey metal gate. Brown wooden helmets adorned the top of their bodies, leather straps knotted at their sides, a silver scissor insignia emblazoned on the front.

“Are you the messenger from the Kingdom of Cardboard and Paper?” One of the guards asked.

“Yes,” Sir Napkin said, “I’m here to deliver a message to King Scissors about the possibility of an alliance between our kingdoms.”

“You may enter,” the guard replied, “And may the Great Ore have mercy on your soul.”

“Thank you,” Sir Napkin said, watching the guards open the gate with all the solemnity of a funeral. A heavy sense of foreboding gloom fell on the knight as he entered the city.

The Kingdom of Scissors and Paperclips’ buildings shined brightly in the afternoon sun, the edges sleek and elegant despite being made out of non-living paperclips. It all seemed peaceful and idyllic, the citizens going on about their daily routine.

Yet the moment Sir Napkin accidently locked glances with a female Scissors with her children, she turned away, her frame heavy with guilt and sorrow. Her kids, sensing their mother was feeling sad, huddled close to her to give her comfort.

It was the same with the other civilians who occasionally looked at the knight. They avoided him out of shame, tormented by their helplessness in preventing his oncoming demise. Sir Napkin felt terrible for them, wanting to bring comfort yet knowing he must focus on his duty, no matter the cost.

The castle of King Scissors’ was a dark, foreboding place; all blackened steel and spires ending in impossibly sharp points. The bodies of the previous messengers pierced through pointed knitting needles, surrounding the moat like grisly trophies, daring anybody to bring King Scissors more bad news.

Sir Napkin suppressed a shudder of fear as he watched the guards open the door. He got off of his horse, a hole puncher servant quickly coming to take it to the stables. He mustered up his courage as he entered the den of the Monster King.

The inside of the castle was surprisingly restrained compared to the grotesque ring of dead bodies outside. The torches lighting the rooms gave the environment a thoughtful, relaxed ambience. Rich, colorful tapestries depicting the glories of the Kingdom of Scissors and Paperclips hung from the walls; their triangular ends trailing on the floor. If one didn’t know better, it seemed like a warm, inviting place.

The knights stood rigidly in place as Sir Napkin walk solemnly up to the throne of King Scissors, keeping his eyes on the arrogant ruler. The latter wore a large, purple cloak with white trim and a golden crown dangling on one of his handles. He slouched on his gaudy throne, made of cheap gold foil and hastily glued on rhinestones, a few of the jewels littering the floor thanks to the shoddy construction, glaring at Sir Napkin like he was an insignificant worm.

Sir Napkin gathered his courage before he spoke, staring at the ruler. “King Scissors, I have come from the Kingdom of Cardboard and Paper to tell you my king’s reply to the discussion of a possible alliance.”

“What is the answer?” King Scissors replied, his aura radiating blatant avarice as he moved closer in Sir Napkin’s direction. He leaned forward, hoping to intimidate Sir Napkin with the illusion of being bigger than him.

“King Cardboard is not comfortable with conducting negotiations within your castle, due to your unfortunate manner of slaughtering the other party when they don’t give you what you want,” Sir Napkin said, without a hint of emotion, “If you wish to cement an alliance with us, you must come to the Kingdom of Cardboard and Paper and negotiate under my king’s terms.”

King Scissors’ body went rigid with barely contained fury. When the knight stood his ground and refused to crumple, the tyrannical king let out a bellow of rage.

“How dare King Cardboard demand that I should come to him!” King Scissors said, his angry voice booming across the room, his scissor blades clanging furiously together, “He will pay for the audacity. Guards, seize him!”

Before anybody could react, a sudden whirlwind of bright, yellow Post-It notes emerged from the folds of Sir Napkin’s body. They dashed towards King Scissors, transforming into airplanes and rammed into him. He was assaulted by a thousand pokes as he vainly tried to swat the swarm away.

Sir Napkin took the opportunity to escape, knowing the guards would focus on protecting their king. He snuck away from the castle and hastily undid the rope tying his mount to the post. The few people around him were so shocked at the weird event; the thought about stopping him never even crossed their minds.

The horse galloped through the city in a mad rush, the Knight yelling at the townsfolk to get out of the way. His horse’s hooves pounding heavily like the beating of a fear possessed heart. Sir Napkin constantly looked over his shoulder for King Scissors’ soldiers, doubts seeded in his mind telling him his magical defense wouldn’t distract the mad tyrant for long.

The forest was a blur of green and brown; Sir Napkin’s fears only abating when he saw the familiar dusky buildings of his beloved kingdom. He slowed down when his horse reached the town. Taking deep, relaxing breaths as he walked through the familiar environs, Sir Napkin greeted the townsfolk. They walked quickly up to his steed, exclaiming their joy at the knight arriving back in one piece.

Sir Napkin looked sadly at them, knowing King Scissors would very likely plunge both kingdoms into a brutal war. The mad tyrant’s fiery rage was truly a terrible thing to behold. Still, the knight continued on, despite the sorrow threatening to consume him.

As the castle gate lowered, the denizens erupted with joy, happy to see their Knight escape from the Kingdom of Scissors and Paperclips with his life intact. He didn’t have the heart to tell them it was only the lull before the storm ahead.

When he entered the castle, everybody stared at him in absolute surprise. He had managed to survive his encounter with King Scissors. Yet their happiness was tinged with dread, for they knew he would seek revenge against the Kingdom of Cardboard and Paper for the perceived insult.

King Cardboard’s entire retinue stood in silence as Sir Napkin approached his ruler. The tension so thick, it felt like the whole world slowed down. He looked directly at his leader, controlling his immense dread about the future, waiting for King Cardboard to speak.

“How did King Scissors react to my terms?” King Cardboard said, giving a sympathetic look to his knight.

“I’m afraid it’s bad news, my lord,” Sir Napkin replied, “Predictability, the king flew into a rage when I told him about your conditions. He commanded the guards to capture me, but the familiars came to my defense, enabling me to escape with my life.”

“I see,” King Cardboard replied, “We have no choice but to prepare for war. Gather the rest of the Knights. We will have to go to the war room and plan for what will happen next.”

“Yes, my Lord,” Sir Napkin said, bowing. He then left the throne room, heading to the barracks to tell the other Knights the bad news.

The knight couldn’t suppress a shudder at the thought of going to war with the Kingdom of Scissors and Paperclips. He heard tales of King Scissors’ cruelty on the battlefield and ruthless treatment of his own soldiers. It would be all too easy to be able to escape from the mad king today only to die underneath his sword in the future.

Still, I am glad King Cardboard gave me those familiars to protect me while I did my duty. Sir Napkin thought, a moment of silence for those doomed creatures, it was high time for a messenger to survive King Scissors’ wrath. No one wants to be killed for doing the requisite job.

And thus began The Fall of the Monster King Scissors, who would meet his demise in battle on the Lands of the Couch Mountains.

The End

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