The Quest for the Mirth Monster

Episode 2: As it Pleases the Court

"Well, you are the eager little neophyte." Archmage Jestinious looked
up with a raised eyebrow from the large book he had been reading and
began to take full notice the mage before him. His dark colored skin
and even darker hair were in perfect accord with The Crown's policies
for new wizards in service. His clothing was also impeccibly pressed
and presentable.

Jestinious was fully aware of who David was. Normally, Jestinious
never watched over final presentations at the Academy, but when the
Headmaster stated David's interesting physical characteristics, along
with his excellent researching abilities, Jestinious was intrigued.
He had taken the form of a small owl statuette, one of four that were
always present in the examination chamber, and watched as David
correctly answered question after question from the quizmasters.
Eventually, Jestinious decided to question David himself, and started
implanting suggestions of questions in the minds of the quizmasters.
These questions were far more difficult than the ones required to
graduate, and Jestinious found it quietly humorous to see the
uncomfortable reactions on the quizmasters' faces from speaking a
question they had not intended. Nevertheless, David correctly
answered all of these, without the slightest bit of outward
discomfort, even though Jestinious could read David's mind and see
that the questions were surprises to David. More of David's extra
research paying off.

Calm under pressure, thought Jestinious. Excellent.

When Jestinious received David's graduation assessment from the
Headmaster, Jestinious knew that it was probably understated. He
knew the Headmaster's love for conformity, and, frankly, David's skin
color would have been enough to throw the Headmaster for a loop.
Even now, three months later, Jestinious chuckled a little at the
thought of how the Headmaster must have tried to quash David's
aspirations. Jestinious vowed never to do that. He could see David
replacing himself as the Court's First Advisor when it was time for
Jestinious to retire.

"You've only been in His Majesty's service for three months, Mage
David," said Jestinious after his chuckle. David wondered what he
found amusing about his request, but decided that it was best not to
pry in the affairs of archmagi. "Shouldn't you be exposed to more of
the Court's workings before making this request?"

"Well, Master," David began. "I have spoken with a few of the
handmaidens to the lords and ladies, and..." Jestinious interrupted
with a frown that was solely designed to keep him from laughing out

"Handmaidens and butlers are hardly capable of speaking for the ones
they serve, Mage David." Jestinious took a hankerchief from his
pocket and started to wipe away his eyeglasses. "If such people were
considered to be advanced thinkers, as you and I, they would have
been accepted to The Academy themselves."

David contemplated his next statement. "I concur, Master," he said
shortly. "However, I have found that such people have intimate
knowledge of how their lord or lady may react to my questions.
Usually, these servants take on the attitude and demeanor of the
person they serve."

"An enlightened observation, Mage David," said Jestinious, obviously
impressed. "You'd be surprised how many of your colleagues have yet
to identify that tiny tidbit." David smiled at Jestinious' reaction.
"Nevertheless, you should continue in your current role for the time
being. You have much to learn regarding the politics of the Court,
and you will do well once you aquire that information." David's
smile shrank noticeably. Jestinious realized that he should probably
give David some encouragement. "Fear not, Mage David. You come
to us highly recommended from the Academy, and many in the Court,
including myself, hold you in much higher regard from your associates.
With your tenacity and dedication, you are sure to come upon what you
need to know quickly."

David rose from his chair, placed his palms together and bowed
slightly. "As it pleases the Court, Master." Jestinious smiled and
dismissed David. Once in the outer hall to the Archmage's chamber,
David shook his head and slowly ambled back to his new dorm room.

* * *

The point to Elizabeth's longsword was directly on the Adam's apple
of her prone opponent when a shouted "STOP!" had frozen her, eyes
glaring. If they'd been daggers, her fellow soldier would already be
dead. Her teeth were bared with the rage of all the frustration of
the last three months. She pulled her sword away from his throat,
after a feigned threat to drive it through even after the command to
stop. She put the blade back in it's scabbard and turned to the
sound of the voice.

The Seargant of Covert Arms glared back at Elizabeth with the same
stare she had given to her opponent. Elizabeth thought that she
might be in trouble for a moment, but decided to leave her angry
expression on her face, and her fists clenched.

"In my office, NOW!" Elizabeth thought about standing her ground,
but then moved off in the direction the Seargant pointed to. He
started to follow Elizabeth. "You all continue with the training on
the dummies!" he shouted. "And NO MORE fisticuffs, or you will deal
with me!" The remaining soldiers scurried back to their training
dummies, including the young man that had been knocked to the ground.

Once inside the office, the Seargant slammed the door closed and
locked it behind him. Once Elizabeth heard the click of the lock,
she swerved around to face the Seargant, her short blond hair whipping
as much as it could from the sudden move. Elizabeth emphasized her
points by putting her finger into the Seargant's chest.

"If I hear one more comment about the size of my bustline," she
snapped. "A shout of 'stop' isn't going to save his life!" The
Seargant stared at Elizabeth's finger for a moment, then squarely at
Elizabeth. Elizabeth decided now might be a good time to back off a
bit, and removed her finger.

"Look, recruit," the Seargant said. "I warned you what you would go
through if you chose to continue." Elizabeth's gritted-tooth frown
returned, as the Seargant continued. "I told you that you'd be better
off staying serving as a handmaiden to one of the Princes, or even
staying in the main military barracks. YOU insisted on covert
training and you got it. Don't cry now because you think the other
children aren't playing right."

Elizabeth turned a bit and slammed one of her hands on the desk,
causing a loud bang and the empty tankard on the desktop to jump a
bit. She then faced the Seargant again. "You think it's okay to be
ogled as a whore because I'm gorgeous?! No one out there is as
skilled as I am, and if it means I need to spill some pig blood to
prove it..."

"NONSENSE!" shouted the Seargant. There was an awkward pause for a
moment as the two vocal combatants sized each other up. The Seargant
sighed, and relaxed his face. "Look," he continued. "If you think
you're being treated like a whore now, wait until you see how women
in covert ops are expected to act. How do you think a woman in covert
ops survives? She charms her victims, get what she needs, then flees
or eliminates the target!" Elizabeth's faced relaxed as she was
brought to the realization of what her future might hold.

The Seargant's expression almost became pleading. "I nearly begged
you not to go down this road. I suggested many things a woman with
your attributes could do to please the Court. You took me for saying
that you couldn't hack it, and pressed forward." Elizabeth sat down
and slumped back in one of the nearby chairs. The Seargant moved
behind the desk and sat down in his. He opened a drawer and pulled
out a wineskin.

"My secret stash," he said calmly, offering the skin to Elizabeth.

"Wine makes me giggly," she replied. "Now isn't the time for that."
The Seargant put it away. After a pause, she looked up at the
Seargant. "You do know that I wouldn't have killed anyone in the
Court's service, don't you?" The Seargant nodded.

"You've only been here three months," he commented. "I have already
had numerous encounters with you and your fellow colleagues. If this
continues, you will be dismissed from service."

"What about the boys out there?!" Elizabeth was almost shouting
again. "What happens to them? I'm not making comments about my own

"They aren't the ones putting longswords to your throat," the
Seargant replied. "I'm going to have to write this up, and when the
Captain reads about another incident, he may very well order me to
dismiss you. Again, I will try to cover for you, but you had better
seriously consider your future in covert ops. Sexual interactions and
inuendos are your future, Elizabeth. Get used to it, or get out now."

Elizabeth rose to leave the room. The Seargant noted that she was
about to say something, but she seemed to change her mind after a
short pause.

"I'm going to the chapel," she said. "Is there any problem with

"None," said the Seargant. "As long as you do some heavy thinking."

"As it pleases the Court," she responded. The Seargant dismissed her.

* * *

Anne Marie sat before the three statues of her dieties, reading and
mumbling the words off a scroll to herself. She soon completed her
readings and looked to the numerous candles that formed a circle
around the three statuettes. She smiled to herself as they grew

"I am blessed today," said Anne Marie. Anne Marie rose from her
kneeling posture, and ran her hand down her white robes to smooth
them back to form. She picked up her nearby sword as well as the
necklace with the triangular charm for her symbol. She turned to sit
in a nearby pew, pausing only as she heard the door at the far end of
the chapel close loudly. Anne Marie focused on the person coming
towards her, and shortly realized it was Elizabeth. Anne Marie stood
in the central aisle an waited for her friend to join her. She
noticed Elizabeth's frown, and, as she got closer, she saw a few
streaks from Elizabeth's eyes where she'd obviously been crying.

Silently, no doubt, thought Anne Marie to herself.

She embraced Elizabeth when she was in arms length, but the embrace
was broken quickly and Elizabeth's frustration was even more apparent
by the floppish way she sat in the pew. Anne Marie sat beside of her.

"Not a good day?" asked Anne Marie.

"Well," snapped Elizabeth. "Aren't you observant?!" Anne Marie
closed her lips tightly, to avoid commenting. Elizabeth apologized
in a calmer voice, then answered that she was indeed having a poor

"I'm sorry about that," said Anne Marie. "Sometimes we're tested to
see if we are truly following what is intended..."

"Save it, Amie," said Elizabeth. "I know you're trying to help, but
all I need is a friend or two at the moment." Anne Marie nodded,
then sat quietly with Elizabeth. "Maybe David can cast that spell
on us...that might help," Elizabeth said after a slight pause.

"Perhaps," said Anne Marie, not knowing exactly what to say, but
thinking that a tickling spell probably would only push back the
issue, and not solve it.

"Have you told the Seargant about what you told me?" Anne Marie asked.

"No," Elizabeth said. "After today, I probably never will."

"Look," said Anne Marie. "I know you don't want to hear this, but..."

"You think I don't know it was wrong?!" snapped Elizabeth. "A boy
sees a nice pair and decides they should be his, regardless! You
think I don't know?"

"Well," said Anne Marie. "Maybe if you tell David, he can help. He
seems to have a LOT of influence for the short time we've been

"My luck, David will go to his book, find something new, and cast a
spell to turn his insides out," commented Elizabeth. "Then again,
maybe that isn't a bad idea after all." Anne Marie placed her hand
on Elizabeth's shoulder, trying to figure out what might comfort her
friend at the moment. "Until now, David was the only man I've ever
been with," Elizabeth continued. "It was always so much pleasure."

"I know how you feel in that regard," Said Anne Marie. "I've only
been with David as well."

"It's different now," said Elizabeth. "Especially after what the
Seargant said today. I just want it to go back to being all laughter
and fun."

Anne Marie was about to ask Elizabeth what the Seargant had said, but
the chapel door was heard opening and footsteps echoed towards them
from the entrance. Both women looked over their shoulders and saw
David walking down the aisle towards them. They both smiled with
different forms of relief as David walked to the pew they were seated
at. David bowed to them, as he was instructed to do to all women.
The girls seperated and gave David the seat between them. He kissed
first Anne Marie then Elizabeth on the cheek. He was surprised after
he had finished.

"What's the matter, Elizabeth?" he asked.

"Oh, nothing, sweety," was her reply.

"Your cheeks are salty," said David. "And they taste of frustration.
Please tell me how I can help?"

"Why do you two have to be so damn..." Elizabeth fumbled for a better
word, then settled. "Smart!"

"It's what I do," said David, calmly. "Please, tell me. A harm to
one of us, is a harm to us all."

"That's what I'm afraid of," said Elizabeth. David was about to
press further, but Elizabeth continued. "Let's just forget it for
now. How did your request for the expedition go?" David looked at
Anne Marie out of the corner of his eye. The paladin saw the glance,
and nodded once. David took the hint.

"It was denied," said David.

"I'm so sorry, sweety," said Elizabeth. She was sorry in more ways
than one.

"Don't be," said David, with confidence. "I am certain I will be
allowed to go on it soon."

"How so?" asked Anne Marie.

"Well," David explained. "Archmage Jestinious has what is called a
'tell'. Whenever he is forced to answer using someone else's words,
he always wipes his spectacles."

"What does that mean for you?" asked Anne Marie.

"It means that tonight, at the court, I must win the competition
among the new wizards," answered David. "Then, whoever is telling
Jestinious that I can't go might change their mind."

"How are you going to win?" asked Anne Marie.

"You want me to go sabotage the others' projects?" asked Elizabeth,
almost gleefully.

"No," answered David. "I am sure I can win on my own."

"How so?" asked Anne Marie.

"Well, I was doing some research..." The two girls giggled.

"Isn't that where it always starts?" asked Elizabeth playfully. David
chuckled in agreement.

"What exactly is this competition, anyway?" asked Anne Marie.

"Well," said David. "It's supposed to be a skill competition. How
can one mage or another impress the court? I have learned through
sources that, in recent years, it has turned into a type of comedy
night for the court."

"What exactly does that mean for you?" said Elizabeth. "How exactly
are you going to win?"

"Let's just say I want the two of you to attend tonight," said David.
"If possible. And sit near an exit, just don't leave until I come
get you." David paused and thought to himself that the two girls
wouldn't have a choice anyway.

* * *

The gallery buzzed with the entrance of lower Court members, and a few
invited commoners. The main hall was a series of three long tables
forming the sides of a square, and a mostly open floor. These tables
were lined with food and drink, as were the tables in the galleries
that were elevated from the floor a bit. All around the galleries,
the attendees buzzed with idle chat, pointing out one person's
fashions, or who that person came in with. The same was true of
Captain Landrox as he sat with the Seargant of Covert Arms. The two
watched as Elizabeth and Anne Marie took a seat near one of the doors.

"You are right, Seargant," said Landrox thoughtfully. "Now that I
have seen this girl you speak of, I have decided against dismissing

"I thank you, my lord," said the Seargant.

"She is very beautiful indeed," said Landrox.

"Yes," said the Seargant. "As I said she would be. She will do well
in our employ."

"Perhaps you are missing what I am thinking," said Landrox. "She is
a VERY beautiful woman." The Seargant stared blankly at his superior.
"She is a VERY beautiful and attractive woman in a barracks with men
who have a destiny of living the remainder of their days alone."
The Seargant looked at the two girls, then back to Landrox. The
Seargant's expression grew grim as he realized the hint.

"I will open an investigation immediately," said the Seargant.

"You are quite wise, Seargant," said the Captain. The two of them
looked down to the main hall as trumpets sounded. One by one, the
Princes and Princesses, the Lords and Ladies of the High court,
entered the dining hall. As expected, they were all dressed
impeccably. This day was as much about being entertained by the new
wizards as it was about find out the fashions for the upcoming season.

"Summer will see quite a bit of cleavage," commented one tailor. His
seamstress wife agreed. Shortly after the High Court was seated, the
trumpets blared again and His and Her Royal Majesties entered the
dining hall. For Elizabeth and Anne Marie, it was their first time
seeing the faces of King Rensolar and Queen Rebecca.

"Her hair is as red as yours!" said Elizabeth to her friend. Anne
Marie nodded, staring in awe. She noted that His majesty also
resembled David very closely in build and demeanor. Only the silvery
streaks of age made a visual difference to her eyes. For a fraction
of a moment, Anne Marie imagined it was David and her begin assisted
into the thrones by bowing handmaids and butlers. Anne Marie shook
off the thought.

The court caller announced each mage as they entered the halls. They
performed in reverse order of their graduation rank. As such, the
performances improved as the night went on. Naturally, the
assistance of wine and ale played a part with some of the court, but,
for the most part, the performances were indeed more hilarious than
the last.

"AND NOW!" shouted the caller. "The moment we've all been waiting
for! Born of parents from distant shores, and our highest ranking
Academy Graduate, not solely among wizards, but over all...David du

David's long, black and red robes flowed confidently behind him. He
dropped the hood from his black cloak which was held around his neck
by a red brooch. From under his cloak, David produced a large scroll.
He bowed to Rensolar and Rebecca, then began to read from the scroll.
He was reading a story regarding how his parents met, and what his
parents' lives were like. In and of itself, nothing more than a mere
report on the shores of Destron, which were actually of interest to
the court. David, however, was about to unleash a hidden surprise.

During David's reading, the wind in the halls began to increase,
causing the handmaids to relight the candles around the halls. They
couldn't keep up with the increasing winds, unfortunately, and soon
the entire hall was lit only by the moonlight that streamed in
through windows and the open doors. Anne Marie noticed that the
wisps of smoke from each candle hand begun to expand. She tapped
Elizabeth on the shoulder and started pointing to the candleabras
around the hall.

"Looks like you may have the wish from earlier," said Anne Marie.
Elizabeth's eyes grew wide with anticipation, while Anne Marie
smiled. They watched the numerous wispy hands embracing the faces of
the High court, then of the lower court. One by one, the hall
relaxed. Anne Marie and Elizabeth inhaled deeply when the Ticklers
finally found them, and they greeted the pleasant scent of an old
lover eagerly.

Soon members of the High Court, including Rensolar and Rebecca, were
giggling steadily, along with a few of the members in the surrounding
balconies. Anne Marie and Elizabeth were among those laughing
through David's reading. They could feel their nipples press against
their clothing, causing more arousal for their situation. The two
girls were about to walk out the door, but they found they couldn't
leave their chairs...their legs wouldn't respond to anything more
than crossing and uncrossing.

David thought to himself, praying that he never become spoiled over
his success with research. While his reading was about his parents
homeland, he had found a way to embed magic spells inside of any
reading. Spells like the gust of wind that blew out all the candles,
and the many copies of Tasha's Ticklers that he also embedded. As he
looked around the court, he could see many of the High Court was
laughing hysterically. The women were visibly aroused, as David noted
based on the design of their outfits.

And now, for the final touch, thought David. His reading continued
right past the final spell he embedded into the story. Immediately,
members of the court were tickling each other. Rensolar was tickling
his helplessly laughing wife, while men throughout the chamber were
eagerly digging their fingers into the closest lady. The only
exception that David made in the hyponotic suggestion was that Anne
Marie and Elizabeth remain untouched. David finished his reading as
he watched the girls. They laughed loudly and jealously watched the
other girls in the court getting tickled silly. A few of the high
court ladies had been tickled into the ground by one or two of the
nearby men. Several handmaidens were pinned against the wall, being
tickled and fondled by a butler or even a Prince.

* * *

Anne Marie and Elizabeth were still giggling slightly as they laid
back on either side of David. David had long since brought them back
to his dormitory and had his way with the willing women. The three
relaxed and were about to head off to sleep.

"How do you think that went over with the court?" asked Elizabeth

"Well," said David. "I do believe I am the first to get every single
member of the entire court to laugh. They wanted laughter, and they
got it." David smiled to himself regarding what he felt to be an
absolutely ingenious decision regarding the comedy show.

"I mean, if I were a funny person, I wouldn't need to tickle you two
to get you to laugh," commented David. He reached under each girl
and tickled their ribs on opposite sides, eliciting two squeals of
pleasure. He kissed each girl on the lips, and pulled them in close.

The three were about to go to sleep when there was a knock on the
door. They all jumped in surprise, but didn't move. A piece of
parchment was soon slipped under the door. Nervously, David left the
bed, picked up the parchment, and brought it over to a nearby candle.

"You have been declared the victor of the competition," it read.
"You are to report before the full Court in the morning to answer
questions regarding your performance."

David didn't know what to make of the parchment as he related the
contents to his girlfriends.

"Perhaps," said Anne Marie. "This is the attention you said you

"Or perhaps," commented Elizabeth. "It's attention you don't need at

Both were David's thoughts exactly.