The kingdom is in panic.
Knights are exploring every corner for the Queen and the family held hostage.
Benjamin is pacing the halls of the castle, Princess Apple watching from an armchair. "What happened to Kunen?"
"He is in bed resting," Ben answers calmly.
"But he tryed to kill you. Is that not worth a night in the dungeon?" The Princess picks up a glass of juice from a side table.
"He's been my friend for too long." He smiles at her, "He's the victim here."
"You are a great king."
"I'm just a Biscuitboy."
"Lam Heeksphere, at your service my lord!" Lam is a small man with grubby clothes. His job, to detect. "I've never failed before sir."
Benjamin frowns, "There is a first time for everything."
Lam thinks for a moment, "Ah yes sir! This is true! But you pay up front."
Benjamin sees this small man as a light hearted fellow, "Three bags of gold... and don't call me .. 'my lord'.. or 'sir'. It is really annoying."
"Rightchu are my lord."
Sat comfortably in the dining room of the castle is the shaking man. The first to see the Queen alive and well, and buying knives from the market. He is enjoying a unidice bleech fruit, juice dribbling down chin. He was enjoying the life of a royal.
"Mornin!" Lam Heeksphere appears next to him.
"Hi." the man replies with a mouth full of food.
"Just want to know one thing."
"Ok.. what is i..."
"In which direction did the Queen leave in?" Lam asks.
"Uh.." the shaking man drops the bitten fruit onto his plate. "Right.. or left, it was right."
"What is your name?"
"Uh... uh.. ummmmm maybe uh.... Blanket."the shaking man shifts his arms along the table.
"That is my last name."
"OK, then you'll be able to guess what my next question is." Lam continues.
"My name is Warm Blanket."
"Really? Quite a suspect name if you do not mind me saying so."
"I'm used to it."
"Mind if i eat some of your food?"
"Um.." Warm seems quite surprised.
"Tell me, why did you hesitate to answer my questions?"
"I've a bad memory."
"So bad you forgot your own name?"
"Ok. My name is Lam by the way. I'm investigating this... issue. Have you seen the Queen since?"
"I.. uh.. no."
"You hesitated again."
"I'm a hesitant man. You cannot convict me for that."
"No.. you've been a great help bud! I'll be on my way now! Let me know if you see anything else." Lam turns for the door, skipping along the stone floor.
"Hold on Lam."
"Ask the king if he has any of those biscuits of his. They're delish."
"Only the royal family ever ate his biscuits. How do you know their taste?"
"He gave them to me.. secretly."
"He did not know you personally before today."
"Um... forget the biscuits. I.. no.. i have not tried them, i WANTED to try one. Because i'd heard so much."
"Yeah yeah. In the dungeon."
"So why is Warm Blanket in the dungeon?"
"He likes your biscuits."
Benjamin Biscuitboy and Lam Heeksphere chatter in the kitchen. Ben walks over to the window, a hand on the glass. "We're getting no where Lam. We've no idea where she is. We are no closer to finding Kunen's family."
"Where is your wife sire?" Lam butts in.
"The princess? She is.. well shes in bed. I regret to say she is very ill." Benjamin sighs and turns to lean on the wood kitchen table.
Lam conciders this, "I am also a trained doctor my lord. I may be able to work out what is wrong."
Benjamin brightens up, "Brilliant! What would it cost?"
"Nothing! I am now a friend to your kingdom my lord."
"Soooo, Warm Blanket. I hear you wanted some of my biscuits."
"Yes Ben.. i mean, my lord."
Benjamin stares through the thick dungeon bars at the prisoner. "How is it possible you've eaten one before? I only served the royal family, we had no time to bake for the rest of the kingdom."
Warm smiles, "I'm going to ask a question."
"Um.. fire away."
"You're weak for a king. You do not act like one. You are quite stupid."
"Excuse me Warm! I do not think that is necassary!" Benjamin growls through.
"See, i've insulted you and you are not even very angry. Where is the punishment? Where is the OFF WITH THEIR HEAD?"
"That lifestyle is a thing of the past. That was the way the Queen ran this kingdom. That way was wrong and heartless. She classed herself above the little people, who all worked much harder than her."
"She ran a better kingdom. Better constructed, as you say, classed, EVERYONE KNEW THEIR PLACE.
Do you know how i can tell you are stupid 'my lord'?" Warm blanket glares at Ben from the cell silently.
"How?" Benjamin asks.
Warm giggled suddenly, "Because you've left your wife, Princess Apple with someone you know nothing about. Lam Heeksphere."
Benjamin runs up the gloomy stone steps to the centre of the castle.
"Morning sire," says Kunen wondering miserably through the halls. "Any luck on finding my family?"
Benjamin runs past him shouting, "No, i'm sorry!"
"Didn't think so," Kunen slumps down on an arm chair.
Ben pushes open the heavy door to his and the Princess' suite. Lam is standing over Princess Apple, sitting comfortable in bed.
"Princess! Are you ok?" Benjamin screams.
"Absolutely! Your doctor gave me some medicine, my headache has gone completely!"
Benjamin makes a sigh of relief. "Oh gosh.. I cannot.. believe.." He runs to give her a big hug.
Lam shifts backwards smiling, "All in a days work my lord. Now! Off to find that Queen!"
Kunen picks up the post from the castle front hall. "Got your mail.. *cough* sir... sire.. my lord.. *cough*" He walks over to Benjamin and passes him an envelope.
Benjamin rips open the envelope and picks out the letter inside.
"Dear Benjamin Biscuitboy. As you may guess while reading, this letter is a distraction. My loyal servant, 'Warm Blanket' has broken out of your dungeon and is going to take your Princess. As you read the last line of this letter Warm Blanket will have left the castle from the back entrance and disappeared from view. Go and check. then come back for further instructions."
Benjamin stands up suddenly. Kunen moans at him, "I swear i just saw a man running past with the Princess Apple over his shoulder."
Benjamin shrieks and sits to read the rest.
"That was quick. So now we have something you want. You have something I want. The biscuits. Meet me in the kingdom centre right now. No guards. We'll talk.
- Queen 'Get your head out of the clouds'"
Benjamin runs, leaving the castle behind him.
The centre of the kingdom is wide and beautiful. A fountain in the middle. Surrounded by colourful tiles and beautiful market stores.
"Alright King?" Lam Heeksphere smiles up at Benjamin.
"Why are you here?"
Lam spots the letter in Benjamin's hand. "I got a letter as well. It said i'd find a clue here as to the Queen's where abouts."
"Well apparently she is going to be right here." Benjamin is breathing fast, worried for the Princess' life.
"The letter said the Queen has the Princess Apple my lord. Is this true?" Lam is now very worried.
"Yes, i am afraid so."
"You know... she is very special. The last of her kind. The last spiritual apple tree ever."
"Yes i know, i know."
"Why did you take her away from her field?"
"She wanted to be part of our kingdom. It was her choice, not mine."
Lam smiles, "Of course, i'm sorry my lord."
"Don't call me..."
Suddenly blood explodes from Lam's chest. Droplets soaring through the air as the weight of his body brings it to the ground. The echo of a gunshot.
He collapses abruptly onto the colourful tiles.
"LAM!" Benjamin screams shocked. He leans down, a hand on the bloody wound. A tear forms in Ben's eye.
A big fat hooded character appears in front of them holding out a rusty wood crafted pistol.
"Queen.." Benjamin begins.
"Hello Benjamin. I've suddenly come to terms with something. I am mean."
Benjamin stands silent.
The Queen continues, "When i was the ruler i ordered people to kill for me. I never concidered myself mean because i was not the one with the blood on my hands. But now, i am. And i love it. I LOVE IT!"
"WHERE IS THE PRINCESS?"
"I knew that Kunen could not kill you. He is a weakling. His dinners were always pretty revolting."
"Where is she??" Benjamin is breathing faster now, tears dropping from his eyes.
"Should i shoot you? My, what a prize that would be."
"If you shoot me, you will not know where the biscuits are kept."
"True. That is why the best option is to shoot Princess Apple."
Benjamin falls silent once again. Warm Blanket appears from a market store with a knife to the Princess' throat. He pushes her onto the tiles below the Queen's feet.
"Warm Blanket has always been the better slave. He has been loyal ever since the beginning. Even after my ruling finished."
Warm kicks Princess Apple in the back as she lay on the floor.
Benjamin runs forward then stops as the Queen points her pistol towards Princess Apple's forehead. Princess Apple stares at Ben with lost, teary eyes.
Benjamin shouts,"I will tell you where the biscuits are if you just give her to me safely. Then, you go, leave and never return."
The Queen laughs, "I don't like that deal. What if you give me the biscuits and the kingdom, then i give you the Princess and you become my slaves once again."
Lam mumbles something as he shivers in pain. Benjamin leans down to listen, "She is not.. not safe as a human.. ehk.. it.. it.. last of her.. kind..." His body stops moving suddenly and he is gone.
Another tear drops from Ben's eye.
"Why did you kill him? He was nothing to do with this."
The Queen replies, "Wanted to show you i mean business."
Benjamin sighs after a moment of thought, "Your deal goes then."
A loud sigh from the people surrounding them, that they will all return to be slaves once again. The Queen laughs. "Good! That is what i like to hear."
"Sounds terrible to me."
Kunen appears behind the Queen, a sword to the back of her neck. "Where is my family?" His eyes conquered by anger and gloom.
"I would not do that, you forget i have a right hand man."
Warm Blanket cackles in an evil manner and begins to walk towards Kunen.
Benjamin takes his chance and leaps at Warm's back pushing him onto the ground. His face grinding against the tiles.
Princess Apple notices this and goes in to trip up the Queen. Her feet fly upwards and she lands on her giant back rolling onto her side in pain.
The Princess stands over the Queen glaring at her intensely. "Go on, where is his family?"
The Queen squeeks in fear as Kunen's cold blade touches her skin.
"They're in the market stall over there! OVER THERE! She points in fear. As Benjamin holds down Warm, Princess Apple runs over to the stall.
She unties the hands of Kunen's family.
Queen 'get your head out of the clouds' and Warm Blanket are in the dungeon. This time it has extra security.
Kunen is on a paid holiday break with his family to get over the stress.
Princess Apple and Benjamin Biscuitboy are running the kingdom their way. Delivering free biscuits to every one of the townfolk.
The Kingdom of Fiction is a much brighter place.
An envelope appears at the front door of the castle. Benjamin kisses Princess Apple lightly on the cheek and goes to the mail.
"Dear Benjamin Biscuitboy and Princess Apple.
This is Lam Heeksphere. By now i will have left the kingdom to explore new areas of work.
Unless i'm dead haha Which i sure hope i'm not! I am writing this to be sent on this very date at this very time. To arrive 2 days after i leave.
I am a historian, a proud historian. One of my main interests is the history of the tree spirits. For years i've studied them and for years i have watched them die.
It is known that when a tree spirit grows up it may want to leave and transform into a human.
This change is, as you know permanent. Princess Apple is the very last of her kind, and i will not let her die in this dangerous human world.
There is never peace here. I've investigated enough murders to know this. So on the day i was called upon as a Doctor in your Kingdom.. i gave the princess a potion.
Disguised as headache medicine. The potion is a formula i developed just for her. To turn her back to her original form.
I made this letter arrive at this date and time because this is how long it takes for the potion to change her back to an apple tree.
All i suggest is as she is changing, make sure you lay her body back in the field where she can grow her roots in peace.
Your friend Lam Heeksphere"
"He did WHAT?" Benjamin screams turning to his weak wife.
Princess Apple has collapsed onto the floor with tired eyes.
Kunen helps Ben carry the Princess out onto the open fields. They place her down by a dead tree.
"I can't believe this is happening.." Benjamin crys, "We only just settled down. Everyone was happy. We were free."
Kunen puts a hand on his friends back. "I'm so sorry."
"Benjamin.." The weak Princess whispers. She lay in the cool swaying grass. Just faint, losing a sense of reality.
Benjamin leans down for a hug. "I'm so sorry i left him with you. Crazy.. nutter of a man. I'm so sorry i let you take his potion while i was away."
Princess Apple is too tired to speak.
Benjamin crys over her, "I'm sorry."
"We should stand back," Kunen remarks patting Ben on his shoulder.
Ben mopes and stands away from his wife.
She looks up at him, teary eyed, "I love you."
"I love you too," Benjamin replies. Their eyes flooded.
Kunen waves kindly at the Princess, she smiles in return.
In seconds she is no longer the same. Her body split and molded into the shape of a tall apple tree.
Stood lonely in the fields.
"I'm going to stay here forever." Benjamin says, lowering to sit down on the grass.
"Sire?" Kunen spoke.
There is only the sound of wind through the apple trees leaves as they sit in the field quietly.