princess sovereign

Episode Review: ‘Orb’ (S08E15)
  • Airdate: April 21, 2017
  • Story by: Ashly Burch, Adam Muto, Kent Osborne, Jack Pendarvis
  • Storyboarded by: Adam Muto & Aleks Sennwald
  • Directed by: Elizabeth Ito (supervising), Sandra Lee (art)

Adventure Time has always embraced a psychoanalytic understanding of dreams that straddles the Freud-Jung divide: these reveries reveal hidden or repressed wishes/beliefs (as Freud postulated), but at the same time they are not necessarily psycho-sexual, nor are they restricted simply to the individual unconsciousness (as per Jung). Dreams in the Adventure Time world tell us much about the characters who are having them, as well as the world they live in.

This approach to dream representation was perhaps first illustrated in the season four episode “King Worm”, wherein Finn is trapped in a dream-world thanks to the antics of the titular character. The imagery in that episode, while surreal and truly weird made sense given what we knew about Finn, and was thus able to be analyzed (e.g. PB making Finn her king, and FP spoon-feeding him soup can be analyzed in terms of Finn’s complicated love life at the time). “King Worm” ultimately taught us a lot about who Finn was and what he was going through at the time. Since then, the show has dabbled in dream-imagery, but “Orb” is by far the most extreme instance, focusing not on one but rather three characters: Finn, Jake, and BMO.

In this episode, Finn, Jake, and BMO each fall asleep on the deck of the boat that is heading towards Ooo. The three then slip into their own nightmares, which are bizarre and horrifying in their own ways:

  • Jake dreams that he is at his old house, with his parents (Joshua and Jermaine) and his brother Jermaine. The two begin digging a hole in the middle of the floor, but the hole ‘resets’, burying Joshua within. This dream takes on the structure of an awkward talk show, with a laugh track responding to ‘jokes’ that do not make much sense.
  • Finn dreams that he can fly. He passes through clouds that look like things in his life before running into Princess Bubblegum on a hillside. After he lands, he is unable to fly, and the grass beneath his feet starts to wrap around his legs. Suddenly, PB’s teeth are falling out, and he tries to put them back in her face, but her head grows to grotesque proportions.
  • BMO dreams that they are a theater director. When the show goes downhill, BMO demands to meet with the director (forgetting that they are in fact the one helming the show). A small MO assistant leads BMO to the director’s room, where BMO finds AMO sitting behind the director’s chair.

Through the power of dream magic, Finn, Jake, and BMO’s nightmares intersect, and they begin to share a group dream. It is at this point that Finn realizes that strange ‘elements’ have been flickering through each of their dreams (Jake’s dream featured a bat, BMO’s dream featured a dress, and Finn’s dream featured a cloud with an eye). Finn combines these three elements into one: Nightmare Princess. Turns out, the sovereign of frights just wants some of the trio’s bananas; in exchange, she’ll end the nightmares. Finn, Jake, and BMO oblige, fork over a few bananas, and the dreams stop. When the three wake up, they can see Ooo on the horizon.

Each of the characters’ dreams reveals something about them in symbolic and often convoluted ways. There’s a lot of to dissect here, but some of the major themes that crop up include:

  • Jake and his family. Perhaps most obviously, he and Jermaine share a dream-connection that engenders a dreamscape populated with their family members. At one point, the brothers take to digging a hole, but find that it has veritably sealed itself, with Joshua in it. I take this to mean that the two are still, deep down, mourning the loss of their father… as well as possibly  in a bit of denial that he is in fact actually dead. While much of the action is happening in this dream, outside of the house, the Peeper from “Joshua and Margaret Investigations” can be seen looking in. This suggests that subconsciously, Jake knows that he is an ‘other’ (the appearance of the Peeper also suggests that the show will return to that storyline soon).
  • Finn and the grass curse. In Finn’s dream, he starts off with the power to fly, but eventually finds himself grounded. As he bemoans his inability to soar once again, the grass beneath him starts to envelope his body. This scene is made all the more ominous by the lugubrious storm clouds that are quickly approaching. While most of this dream focuses on PB (more on that later), the shifting grass and the ‘coming storm’ suggests that the grass-curse storyline is far from over, and that Finn will soon be forced to reckon with it (there’s also the peculiar fact that Finn has both arms in his dream). Is Fern going to turn? Are Fern and Finn going to have to team up and fight the little Eldritch-spider curse? We’ll see…
  • BMO and AMO. BMO begins their dream as the director of the play, but when it goes south, they suddenly demand to see the director, which they soon learn is AMO. While BMO is a robot, I’m going to assume that they too have a subconscious. As such, this about-face about who is directing the show suggests that BMO worries that, while they are carefree and fun loving, that they too could turn into a domineering and conniving trickster like AMO. It’s clear that BMO is also still haunted by the ‘death’ of AMO in the previous season. Finally, there’s also the romantic possibility that the AMO that appears in BMO’s dream is not a subconscious manifestation, but rather the literal ‘ghost’ of AMO returning to haunt BMO—after all, the two are robots, so who knows how the robot afterlife (if it exists) functions. This could be a novel and interesting path to take for the show.

As can be seen, the dreams in this episode allow us to x-ray the characters and see into their psyches, much like psychoanalysis suggests. But unlike the psychoanalytic understanding of dreams, those reveries in Adventure Time are also often premonitory and a bit mystical. Throughout this episode, we are treated to imagery that suggests something is coming.

For one thing, while Finn talks to PB, the surrounding hills look to be infected with candy. PB’s head also grows to a grotesque size. Both of these clues taken together seem to indicate that PB and/or her elemental powers are going to go awry, and that she is going to either grow uncontrollably, or lose control of her essence.

Second, when Finn and Jake end up in BMO’s play, Finn tries to take his cues from a MO in the orchestra pit. However, this MO is stylized to look like the Lich. Given the importance of the Lich to the Adventure Time mythology, this element of the nightmare cannot be overlooked. It suggests that the Big Bad will indeed be back. But as to why Finn is taking his cues from the MO-Lich is beyond me.

Finally, as Finn, Jake, and BMO are sharing a nightmare, they begin to fall into an abyss. If one looks at the background, one will notice that is is made up of the four elements: the trio pass from fire to ice to slime to candy rapidly. It is perhaps no coincident that the next few episodes make up the Elements miniseries…

The big downside to this episode is that, aside from the character revelations and fantastic (and often frightening) imagery, the plot is, to put it mildly, rather weak. It basically boils down to: Nightmare Princess wants bananas, so she gives Finn, Jake, and BMO nightmares so that they will hand over some of their fruit. That’s it. The nightmares themselves, while extremely elucidating and dare I say prophetic, are not essential if we’re talking strictly in terms of plot. With that said, “Orb” is undeniably both a ‘character examination’ and a ‘set-up episode’. In regards to the former, the episode tells us a great deal about the characters’ psyches, which is always a welcome treat. In regards to the latter, “Orb” is less about telling a one-off story and more about setting the stage (no pun intended) for the Elements miniseries. Given these more important facets, I can be more forgiving of the thin storyline.

Mushroom War Evidence: Nothing.

Final Grade:

☾ * ✧..✧ LABELS MASTERLIST !!

under the cut, you will find #20 different character labels to be used in roleplays ! i tried to include as many underused and unique ones as possible which have a lil’ description attached to them, and a few have some ideas of how they could be used in rps.  i thought of all of these myself, those that seem familiar may be due to me releasing a similar masterlist a few years ago on my old rph, so a few could already be floating around the rpc. enjoy ! please like and reblog if you found this useful.

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Princess Twilight Sparkle


The illustrious Princess of Magic, Sovereign ruler of Equestria, Keeper of Harmony, Queen Consort of Discord…these are the many titles Twilight has under her belt. But her preferred one is simply Dean Sparkle, Head of the Academy of Magic at Canterlot University. The Academy is her personal brainchild, as she personally transformed the ancient facility into Equestria’s greatest school for magic and mage-craft. Furthermore, Twilight shocked the world when she opened the Academy to ALL students wishing to learn magic, not just unicorns.
When she isn’t busy saving Equestria, attending to royal duties, overseeing her academy, and reigning in two mischievous draconequii and a teenage dragon, Twilight enjoys a good fantasy novel with a bit of red wine.

More than Dreams

More than Dreams

Blood. That’s all that Link could smell and taste as he looked over the once glorious fields of Hyrule.

Bodies were everywhere, many of them in pieces. Some were not even dead yet, and were hopelessly clawing the ground in a fruitless attempt to flee to battleground. His company had been ambushed, and Link was at fault for the losses.

He had been so foolish…

Ganonndorf’s mighty form towered above the battered soldiers in a mocking stance, laughing. Laughing. Laughing.

He had finally conquered the land.

And then, there was Cia.

Cia held her by the throat, laughing almost as darkly as her master.

“You foolish brat! I will show you what happens to those who deny me!”

She struggled to escape Cia’s grasp, but the witch held on tight to her captive. Link tried to run, run to her aid, run to attack, just run at all. But he could barely move. Suddenly, he was falling down, down, down…

The last thing he saw was Cia slicing her neck open with a black dagger.

“THUNK!”

That was the last thing he saw before his head hit the wood floor of his room.

Cursing, Link shook his covers off and righted himself, looking about his surroundings. There was no battlefield, there were no bodies, there was no Cia or Ganondorf or monsters…

But there was the taste of blood, and Link put a hand to his mouth to touch where he had bitten into his lip.

“Dammit…” he muttered.

There was a sudden pounding at the door, followed by a voice.

“Sir? Master Link? Are you all right?”

Link pulled himself up onto his feet and crossed over to the double doors, which marked the entrance to his rather large living quarters Zelda had bestowed upon him after they had fought back Ganondorf’s forces, and opened them to be greeted by one of the guards patrolling his wing of the castle.

“Ung… What is it…?”

The guard stood at attention, but Link could see him eyeing his general, even underneath the man’s helmet.

“I heard a racket and came to investigate. Is everything all right?”

Link rubbed the spot on his head where it met the polished hardwood and yawned. “Yes… I just slipped getting out of bed to… to grab a goblet of water.”

The guard saluted, accepting the report without the need to question his commanding officer.

“Shall I continue my patrol, then, General?”

General… That’s right, Link thought. He had received quite the promotion from just being a simple trainee guard, and he wasn’t used to giving orders quite yet.

“Yes, yes… Carry on. I'm… I’m going to get some air.”

The guard nodded before resuming his march down the hall, and Link retreated back into his chamber.

He had nightmares similar to the one that disturbed his sleep before, but they were worsening as of late. Most of his dreams dealt with the thoughts of his failure to serve as a proper general, considering his hastiness had been the cause of problems for him before.

He made his way through the dark of his rooms until he reached his wardrobe and pulled a dark blue robe out of it. He needed fresh air and a walk, or else he thought he would surely suffocate. Once he was properly covered, he left his room and began to wander the halls towards the expansive grounds.

A lot had changed for him in the year following the Great Battle. Zelda had all but insisted that he not only move from the soldier’s barracks into the castle proper, but had promoted him to the high rank of general. The honor placed him in total command of the army he had once been a mere part of, second only to Zelda herself. Impa, who was general before him, had been promoted to the High Counsel, leaving the position available for him to step in. It was an odd feeling, and he wished nothing more than to make her proud of her choice of general. But the pressure of the position often weighed heavy on his mind.

Especially at night.

He often placed himself on the nightly patrol around the castle to distract himself from sleep, but the lack of it had made day-time functions rather difficult. He had been forced to allow others to take the night-watch when one of his captains had commented that he looked like he needed sleep.

Easier said than done, he thought bitterly.

After a few minutes of traveling down dark hallways, past dusting maids and servants, past more soldiers who saluted and greeted him, and past countless works of art depicting Hyrule Castle’s illustrious past, Link took in a deep breath of cold, sharp night air.

The gardens were always his favorite part of the castle, anyway.

Link made his way towards a hedge maze that would provide plenty of solitude for him to clear his head, past statues and potted plants and fountains of crystal water. Just being out under the stars seemed to lighten his thoughts. He let his mind wander to calm thoughts about nothing important. He needed to relax.

Once he made it to perhaps his most favored place on the grounds, he took a seat on the rim of a fountain and looked up into the night sky. The water flowed from carved images of the Goddesses and into the pool surrounding them, creating a soft murmur that eased the troubled soldier’s mind. The music of the nearby harp also seemed to bring him the much needed peace he—

Harp?

Link’s eyes snapped open, and once again he was alert. Someone else was in the garden with him.

And he only knew one person who knew how to play a harp.

However, Link was not observant enough to realize that the area of the gardens he was in had recently been washed, and the stone path was still wet. With a gasp, Link flipped arse-over-head into the fountain. He flailed for a few seconds until he brought his head back above the surface of the water and shook his hair.

“Link! Oh my Goddess, are you all right?”

Cursing himself mentally, Link’s eyes met the lovely violet ones of his sovereign, Princess Zelda. She stood at the rim of the fountain, harp carried under one arm while the other was still touching her lips, most likely from covering her own surprised gasp.

Great… Now he looked like a fool.

Link stood up, dripping wet, and stepped out of the fountain’s basin as gracefully as a man in a night robe could, taking care not to step on the rupees that had been tossed in for wish-making.

“I’m fine… Just thought I’d go for a midnight swim is all,” Link replied, trying as best he could to hide his embarrassment. He prayed to the Sister’s above that Zelda could not see how red his face must have been. But when he saw that Zelda was in her nightgown of all things and he remembered that all he was wearing were his sleeping trousers and robe, which were completely soaked through now.

He felt the tips of his ears begin to burn hot.

Zelda did not seem entirely convinced by Link’s excuse, but did not call him out on it. Instead, she stepped closer and seemed to inspect the young general for damage.

Link’s brain struggled for words, but eventually he managed to stammer out, “W-What are you doing up at this late hour, your Majesty?”

“I should be asking you that, Link,” Zelda said, frowning at Link’s disheveled form. She was more concerned than displeased, however, and Link could sense her worry. “You’ve got quite the bruise on your forehead, you know.”

Link winced; he forgot to check if his collision with the floor had left a mark.

“I… slipped on the rug in my chambers. That’s all.”

Zelda did not look convinced.

“And you slipped again on the stone…?”

Link nodded, feeling his face beginning to turn warm.

Zelda pulled her harp around and held it in front of her, still looking at the weary soldier with gentle concern.

“Well, I was simply out here for a stroll myself when I found you. Care to join me? And maybe you can tell me what’s really bothering you?”

She knew. Of course she did. Link sighed as an admission of defeat and followed the princess to another, less slippery, part of the maze. It was an alcove of hedges and rose bushes close by the castle’s chapel that seemed to enclose a portion of the garden off from the rest of the castle. It was… oddly serene, and even more oddly familiar. Zelda sat down on a stone bench, smoothing out her nightdress, and gestured for Link to sit beside her.

Link, reluctantly, joined the princess on the cool stone, his wet clothes making a sad “squish” noise as he did so.

Zelda turned to him, still worried about any possible injuries Link may have suffered. “You didn’t hit your head when you fell into the fountain, did you?”

“No,” he replied, “I’m okay, just… Had some trouble sleeping is all.”

Zelda’s fingers began to run absently over the strings of her harp, creating soft music that did not seem to venture past the little alcove of bushes. “Trouble? You mean… Like a nightmare?”

Am I really that readable to her? Link thought. His only reply to her was a small nod. He felt childish for admitting that a bad dream had disturbed him so badly.

But most bad dreams don’t end with your loved ones getting their throats ripped out.

“You know,” Zelda said softly, still strumming a soft melody, “it’s been said that dream interpretation and premonitions are skills that have been passed through the Royal Family for generations. Perhaps you can tell me a little about it?”

Perhaps it was something in the princess’s tone, or maybe the soft music she was playing, but Link felt his guard begin to lower. He felt… oddly safe.

“… I was dreaming about the siege.”

Zelda’s playing stopped a moment, her attention fully on her troubled general.

Link continued. “I… I saw nothing but our defeated soldiers. Bodies everywhere. Ganondorf was standing above us all, just… laughing. His minions were laying waste to Castletown and everything was on fire and—“ he stopped before he could mention how his dream ended.

“And…?”

He drew in a deep breath and looked away. “… Cia killed you. And she took your place…”

Link felt Zelda’s soft hand reach around his, grasping his fingers, giving a comforting squeeze.

“That’s all in the past now, Link… Peace has returned, no small thanks to you,” she insisted gently. “There’s no reason to let the past haunt you.”

Link’s hand instinctively began to curl around Zelda’s, despite the back of his mind yelling at him for being so familiar with the Princess of Hyrule, and he turned to meet Zelda’s gaze.

“I know, but… But I can’t help but wonder if another threat will arise. Whether it’s Ganondorf or Cia or something else… I can’t tell. And we’re responsible for the safety of the people. I don’t want to disappoint them…”

Or you…

Zelda pursed her lips, and for a moment Link wondered if she knew what he was thinking. If she did, she didn’t give any indication. All she did was run her thumb over the back of his hand.

“You won’t disappoint them, Link; I know you won’t. Your courage and drive to keep our kingdom safe is why I asked you to become general in the first place.”

Link started to protest, but Zelda continued.

“You’ve proven yourself, Link, a noble warrior and a true hero. Now? Now is when we take the peace given to us by the Gods and make the most good we can of it. I know that the future is… a little frightening. My dreams often give me premonitions of things to come, and they’re not always pleasant things. But I know we’ll be able to make it through any hardship that comes our way…”

Link, despite his restlessness and his weariness, could not force back the small smile that Zelda managed to bring forth. She was so full of hope, so full of light and kindness…

No wonder he felt so drawn to her.

“… Maybe you’re right,” he said after a moment of quiet, “But that still doesn’t explain why you were up wandering the gardens this late at night, your Grace.”

It was Zelda’s turn for her face to redden. She looked away but for a moment, but looked back at the general with a rather sheepish look.

“… I get nightmares too, sometimes.”

Link did not require more of an explanation. He would have draped an arm over the princess’s shoulder as a show of comfort if not for his soggy robe that had yet to dry out, so he settled for simply returning the gesture of rubbing her hand with his own.

“We’ll just have to get through those together then, won’t we?”

This time, Zelda allowed herself to smile.

“It looks like that’s the case, Sir Link…”


“Zelda!”

Impa had been searching the entire castle for the princess without any sign of getting closer to her whereabouts for the whole of the morning. When the Sheikah woman discovered Zelda’s bed chambers were empty and no guard could account for her location, Impa had assumed the worst.

But then when she couldn’t locate the general to form a proper search party, that’s when she became suspicious.

She had combed over the interior of the castle top to bottom with no luck, and had made her way outside to continue the search there.

When I find those two, I’m going to give them a piece of my—

Her furious thoughts ceased when she heard something fall against some of the stones on a nearby path, close to the chapel’s grotto. It was Zelda’s favorite hideaway as a child…

Impa crept into the secluded garden and saw, with more amusement than her prior rage, Zelda, safe and sound, leaning against the general’s shoulder. Both of them were sound asleep, except Link appeared as though he had gone for a swim in the castle’s moat. Zelda must have been holding her harp, since her hands were drooping and the instrument was at her feet instead.

The woman just crossed her arms and shook her head.

Looks like some things never change, even across lifetimes…
————————–

Whoop. This one was fun to write. Okay, @veriea, I hope you like it!!

Monarchy Stuff: A Guide

King: A male monarch. Can be king regnant, consort, regent, or dowager.

Queen: A female monarch. Can be queen regnant, consort, regent, or dowager.

Regnant: A King or Queen Regnant is the sovereign of a kingdom. They are in charge of political stuff and are the official ruler. In some kingdoms, they were considered lower in rank than the Pope, but usually they’re the highest authority in the kingdom.

Consort: A King or Queen Consort, also called Prince or Princess Consort, is the non-sovereign spouse of the regnant monarch. They are royalty only in title, and don’t really do much.

Regent: A King or Queen Regent is a temporary placeholder sovereign that does the duties of a regnant monarch until the heir apparent is able to take the throne. Like say the king dies but the crown princess is like 4 years old, then the person who takes their place is King or Queen Regent.

Dowager: A Dowager King or Queen is the widowed consort who does not then become regnant. They are still adressed with the title King or Queen, but do not rule.

Heir Apparent: The immediate heir to the throne. Usually the oldest child of the regnant monarch, or oldest closest relative, like a niece/nephew or sometimes spouse. 

Heir Presumptive: The not-immediate heir to the throne. If the monarch’s first-born is heir apparent, then their second-born is heir presumptive. The heir presumptive can also be a sibling of the monarch  They will probably never be the monarch, unless the heir apparent dies or abdicates.

Prince: A male direct relative of the regnant monarch; a son, brother, or nephew. Prince can also be the title of the royal consort. A prince can be the sovereign ruler of a principality, a small area within a kingdom, but the ruling prince of a principality has to marry onto the throne as a royal consort to become a king.

Princess: A female direct relative of the regnant monarch; a daughter, sister, or niece. Princess can also be the title of the royal consort. A princess can be the sovereign ruler of a principality, a small area within a kingdom, but the ruling princess of a principality has to marry onto the throne as a royal consort to become a queen.

Twilight: The fact is, I’m a princess now. I’m sovereign to local region and to an idea–the ideal of friendship. I have royal responsibilities to my subjects–they are, perhaps, my children. Can I afford to have a biological child? Would that not take my attention away from my people? Can I can risk that responsibility for a selfish desire?

Long ago, early in their reign, Celestia and Luna took mates and produced children… it was a difficult time for them, and they do not recommend it me.

But even if I decided to try it anyway–I know that right now is definitely a bad time.

Rainbow: I can keep telling her I can handle it! Sure, I know I’m still trying to get into the Wonderbolts, and running my own Junior League Flyers team–but I still can make time for a kid. I gotta have someone to take on my legacy and teach all my best tricks to, you know?

Twilight: What about Scootaloo? Did you still want to consider adopting her?

Rainbow: Maybe yeah–Scoots is awesome and all. But it would just be a paperwork thing. She’s already almost an adult herself. I missed a good chunk of her childhood. She really is more like a kid-sister to me than anything else…

Fic: We Own Tonight (4/?) (M)

Author’s note: So some very dedicated fans asked that I post this now. I’ll add the link to FF.net as soon as that site chooses to cooperate. Until then…enjoy! (And remember, I’ll be in Atlanta until Labor Day, so no updates until I get back!)

Also posted: FF.net / AO3

Chapter Four

Killian wasn’t sure what he expected. Their first few days in the palace weren’t all that different from their days on board the Jewel. After an often restless night’s sleep (sleeping knowing his siren of a princess was in the very next room was precisely the challenge he expected), he escorted Emma to breakfast with the royal sisters. He was invited to join them but he typically asked to be excused to give them time to get reacquainted. He joined Liam for breakfast instead, needing the extra time to prepare for a day in Emma’s presence.

Emma and the Queen usually spent the morning closeted together in the Queen’s chambers; Killian knew better than to ask what they got up to. If it was his business, Emma would tell him. He trusted her that much. He didn’t really know what princesses talked about or did in their spare time; he suspected Emma wasn’t typical in that department, with her sword skills and magic. He’d never had reason to contemplate it until now.

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The Land of the Dark

Summary: Warrior prince Gajeel consults his favorite scholar before leading his army into battle. 

Note: This is a part of my Medieval AU-verse. I’ve included a link to my  kingdom guide explaining who people are and where they live. 

“Family. The time for conquest has come!” King Erebus slammed his fist emphatically onto the map on the war room table. “Lucien and his witch queen are dead. A child sits upon the white throne." 

Nyx, the queen, smirked behind her chalice of wine spiked with dragon’s blood. "Princess Sorano is hardly a child. She is in age with Gajeel, nearly twenty-two summers." 

"Then it is he who shall put her head on a spike,” he declared. 

“Geehee.” The long haired prince liked the direction in which this conversation was headed. 

“Ryos will do the same to the next eldest sister, and the younger two shall be blood offerings to the gods.” After generations of battling, the Kingdom of Celestial Lights would finally be eclipsed by the darkness. 

“What are the battle plans, pops?” Gajeel questioned. 

The king pointed to a spot on the map of the continent of Ishgar. “In three day’s time you will take the eastern pass and ride against House Dreyar in Magnolia. They are the child queen’s strongest vassals.”

“Understood." 

The king then turned his focus to his younger son. "Ryos, at the same time, you will take the southern route and capture House Lore in Crocus. You are to act without mercy. Do I make myself clear?" 

"Yes, father." 

"My husband,” the queen entreated, “Are such plans not a bit premature? What if we are mistaken and this new ruler is indeed formidable? Already she has brought her kingdom under the protection of holy dragon Weisslogia.”

“That peace loving relic?” the king snorted. “The magic in his blood’s not even fit for fermentation. Sons, you will ride in a week’s time. I can promise you each two hundred men. That will be all." 

The princes took this as their cue to leave. 

"Rogue,” Frosch began, the minute her human companion was out the door. “Is Weisslogia an enemy?" 

"Frosch,” he lifted the small exceed. “You shouldn’t be listening in on war meeting." 

"Fro knows,” she looked down ashamedly. “But she got bored waiting. Fro wishes she had someone to play with.”

“You can play with Pantherlily." 

The jumpsuit clad exceed shook her head. "Lily’s always busy. He doesn’t have time for Fro." 

The shadow dragon slayer watched as his elder brother strode purposefully down one of their palace’s many corridors. Gajeel, unlike Rogue himself, never seemed to grow tired of their family’s endless warmongering. "I know the feeling, Frosch." 

"Fro wants to see Lector…and Sting,” she tacked on as an after thought. 

The prince sighed. “We will, soon enough.” Only this time, he feared it would be on a battlefield. 

“Oi, shrimp,” Prince Gajeel called upon crossing the threshold of the castle’s grand library. 

The blue haired young woman looked up briefly from the new collection of atlases she’d been organizing. 

“Need something, Gajeel?” When they were alone, the two never bothered with the pretentious courtly speech. The prince and the royal tutor’s daughter had grown comfortable with one another over the years. 

“What have you got on Magnolia?” He strode over to her reading desk. “It’s a province in the pansy kingdom.”

“I believe my father extensively covered the Kingdom of Celestial Lights in his geography lessons,” she teased while pulling a large book out of one of her drawers. “But, luckily for you, my crash course might be just as good." 

She donned her wind reading glasses and breezed through the thick volume in a little over a minute. "Sorry I took so long, I wanted to study it carefully." 

Gajeel was silent. Even aided by magic technology, most world renowned scholars couldn’t process information as fast as she did. "Take your time shrimp.”

“Geographically speaking, Magnolia province is easiest to penetrate by water. Its man-made canals would allow you to to sail directly into the castle close of House Dreyar, which I’m assuming is your target.”

It was a good idea, but…“I don’t do boats, you know that.”

“I anticipated that,” she admitted. “But the only other way is a direct route. You’ll have to fight your way through from the beginning.”

“Geehee.” He smirked. “Sounds like my type of fight." 

Levy grinned, shaking her head at him. "There are some things to be cautious about, though. Sir Laxus, Lord Makarov’s grandson, has very powerful lightning based magic. If you face him directly, you will be at a huge disadvantage.”

“How?" 

"Your magic basically makes you a human lightning rod, so it would be best to stick with sword fighting and breath attacks if you can help it.” She pushed her hair back thoughtfully. “And, of course, there will be a backlash from the kingdom, if you succeed.”

“If, shrimp?” he raised an incredulous bolted eyebrow at her. 

When,” she amended, rolling her eyes. “When you have conquered Magnolia province and brought House Dreyar to its knees, where it belongs, there will be consequences.”

Gajeel scoffed at this. He leaned on Levy casually, using the lady’s head as an arm rest in a manner meant to irritate her. 

“What can they do? Throw their keys at us?”

Levy sighed. “While the Aguria queens have been known for possessing the zodiac, King Lucian was from House Strauss in what’s now known as the Northern Empire.”

“And?” Gajeel was beginning to regret not paying attention to the old man’s lectures about magic and bloodlines., 

“House Strauss chiefly produces take-over mages, and princess Mirajane–who’s sovereign of Magnolia–is the strongest of their line. It’s said that she can turn into a demon,” she emphasized. 

Gajeel merely shrugged off her warning. “Those pansies don’t fight. They just hide behind their armies”. 

Levy tired her best to hold back a laugh. There was a measure of truth to his words. “Historically, yes, but there is a new queen on the throne.” No one knew yet what Sorano and her sisters were capable of. “Be cautious." The young scholar stood, rising to her tiptoes to kiss the prince on the cheek. "May you have a thousand victories, my lord of night." 

He smirked at her. "And you a thousand books, shrimp." 

"And would you stop calling me that!” she finally complained. 

“Not really.” He patted her on the head. “But, thank you, Levy.” Her advice about Laxus might end up saving his life.