Monday, January 6, 2014

The Hunter Prince: A Chest Full Of Grabby-Monster (Version 2)

Caijar returned to his room before dinner. It was quiet, and Caijar wondered if the grabby-monster was still alive. The chest where he'd trapped it had only a single keyhole for air, after all. He carefully unlocked the chest, and slowly lifted the lid...

It jumped at him.

Caijar had been half-expecting it to attack, so instead of wrapping itself around his torso, it ran head-first into his fist. A moment later it dropped back into the chest, thrashing angrily. "Stop that," Caijar snapped.

The beast went still.

"That's better," he said. He wasn't sure if he was talking to the grabby-monster, or to himself. "Well... You lasted this long. You can stay in there until I puzzle out something better."

He tucked a couple of stray tentacles into the chest and closed it again. Then he sighed, and stood. It was going to be a busy evening, and he was already tired, bruised, and sore from laughing.

He was halfway to the door when someone knocked on it.

Caijar opened the door to find Saisha standing outside. "Janiva and I were going to take our dinner out to the western wall. Are you coming? I think Morius was planning to join us."

Caijar hesitated, but only for a moment. The hallway was empty, and Saisha was a good person to ask. He motioned for her to step inside.

She followed him in and closed the door behind her. She looked around the room, then settled her attention on him.

Caijar drew himself up, in deliberate imitation of Lord Jasrad. "As your prince," he intoned solemnly, "I must require you to speak of this to no one. What you are about to hear is a matter of utmost secrecy."

Saisha giggled, and Caijar grinned. Lord Jasrad might consider himself the very incarnation of dignity and decorum, but everyone else considered the man a pompous windbag. Then Caijar nodded at the chest. "Someone left a grabby-monster in my room."

"Oh," said Saisha, and then fell silent.

Caijar waited. He knew she would do her thinking first, and her speaking afterward.

"...So that's why you were late," she said.

Caijar nodded. "I went to talk to the wizard. He told me it couldn't have been conjured here, and that it wouldn't have come here on its own."

Saisha blinked. "Does he know it's here?"

Caijar shook his head. "No. He seemed to think that someone had been scaring me with stories."

Saisha nodded silently; he could almost see her fitting that piece of information into the rest of the puzzle. "So how...?" She stopped, blinked again, and nodded sharply. "You should check the King's Menagerie."

It took Caijar a moment to get the measure of that idea, though he knew from the way Saisha said it that she was probably right. Then he nodded. "I will." Then he started for the door. "Dinner first, though?"

Saisha raised an eyebrow. "Eating is more important than finding out who put the grabby-monster in your room?"

"Not exactly," he said, as they stepped into the hall. "I was hoping that if pretended like nothing had happened, whoever did it would get curious, or maybe worried. After all, if the grabby-monster somehow got out of my room before I got there..."

There was a brief pause: Saisha was thinking, again. "I like that," she said at last. "It's simple, and it might actually work."

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