This is a story. There are many like it, but this one is mine. And this is how it starts...
Once upon a time, there was a magical land made entirely of pillows, which was ruled by the Cupcake King. Like all fairy tales, the Cupcake King had an evil twin brother that ruled the badlands, and he was the Muffin Lord. The Muffin Lord was as renouned for his cruelty as the Cupcake King was for his benigness, and there was fear throughout the land. Chaos and darkness loomed over the Cupcake King's kingdom, and there were rumors of innocent citizens disappearing overnight, never to be seen again.. This troubled the Cupcake King, as it would all good leaders, and he pleaded with his brother to stop. But the Muffin Lord simply laughed
"You think I would just stop if you said please?" He chuckled.
"Please, brother.." the Cupcake King countered. "This will end poorly for the both of us.. I do not wish for such a drastic measure as war to be taken.."
"Oh, but I do" the Muffin Lord crooned. "I want the entire kingdom, every last acre! And I'll get it no matter what..." Saddened, the Cupcake King left and rallied his troops
Meanwhile, a young boy called Chip paced restlessly. "Chip, sit down before you wear a hole in the carpet," his mother looked up from her sewing.
"I can't, what if the Muffin Lord strikes here next?" he paused long enough to answer
"Oh, pish posh, none of the attacks have been so near the city.." she waved her hand, returning to her needle and thread
"But what if they DO? What if they carry Cherry off, and we never see her again?" he stopped pacing and stared into the fire, thinking of what would happen if that really did happen to his younger sister.
"And exactly what do you plan to do about it, Chip?" It took a moment for him to decide.
"The Cupcake King is rallying the army, I could join! Stop this menace once and for all!"
"That's ridiculous!" she set down her sewing with such force the table rattled. "I forbid you to do that! Think of what happened to your father! Think of your sister, she needs you here!"
"Chip..." a certain tone crept into her voice. "I forbid you..." Chip let out a harsh sound, stomping out the door and slamming it shut behind him. It wasn't fair! He had just as much a right as anyone to do his part to stop the Muffin Lord! And he had a choice; he could do what his mother said, or he could do what he thought was right. He pondered this, leaning on the fence in front of the house and watching the wind ripple through the fields of whatever that fluffy stuff is that goes in pillows.
"Whatcha doing?" Cherry skipped over.
"Thinking" was his terse reply.
"About what?" she looked at him inquisitively.
"What would you do if you had to choose between what was right and what was best?" he doubted she would have an answer, but sometimes she surprised him. She thought for a moment.
"The one that's good for everyone." Then she skipped off. Of course it was that one. He knew what he had to do. Sneaking around to the back of the house, he tried opening the back door. Locked. Well, one locked door wasn't enough to stop someone like Chip. As quietly as possible, he climbed through an open window, the one that was in the hall next to the closet. Opening the door, grabbing the old sword, and going back through the window, Chip ran as though the devil were on his heels past the gate and fields until his house was nothing but a memory. He walked for hours, regretting his hasty departure and not thinking of at least grabbing something to eat. But it was well worth it when he saw the towering spires of the castle. Purposefully, he strode up to the gate, watching the guards with the same look they gave him.
"Good afternoon," Chip began. "I'm looking fo-"
"Wot's yer purpose?" the one on the right sneered. Clearing his throat, Chip tried again.
"I'm looking for where one goes to enter the army..."
"Tha wat?" the one on the right squinted his eyes. "Thar's no Connie 'ere.."
"No, ARMY, it hasn't left, has it?"
"I don't like yer tone.." the right one wrinkled his nose.
"I'm sorry sir, I'm just looking for-"
"In my day, there were no loans!" the left one shouted. "Wat you wan' a loan fer, I have no idea.."
"Uhh... can you not hear me?"
"Too well, git outta here..." the right one jerked his finger in an obvious gesture to 'get lost'. But Chip wasn't about to give up.
"Oh my frosting, he's got Jefnax!" Chip backed away as if the left one were contagious.
"Got wot?" the right one actually looked concerned.
"Jefnax, haven't you heard of it?" Chip faked a look of fear. "It's spreading like mad, the poor soul who catches Jefnax has a hard time hearing and a permanent look of confusion on their face! He hasn't got it, has he?!" The left one, not being able to hear what they were saying, did, in fact, look VERY confused. However, the right one still looked at Chip suspiciously.
"How do I know tha's not jus'a load of ol' pillow fluff..."
"Well, if he HAS got Jefnax, the next thing that will happen is the victim will start jumping up and down for no reason, then finally fall over from exhaustion! There's no telling what happens after that..." While the guard was distracted, Chip quickly kicked the left guard's shin, rewarded with a yelp of pain from the poor man.
"OOHH!!!" He jumped up and down, crying for his poor leg.
"IT'S TRUE!" Chip yelled, backing away even further. "Dear frosting, stay away!" Now the right guard had a look of complete terror.
"Wo-wot do I do?!"
"Don't touch him, it's contagious!" The left guard, bewildered and in pain, turned to his companion.
"Wha's goin' on?!"
"STAY BACK!" the right guard started backing away, which turned into running as the left guard continued after him. Chuckling to himself, Chip let himself through the gates.Immediately, he found himself in a sea of bodies, pushing and pulling him every which way. Disoriented and dizzied, he grabbed onto the nearest inanimate thing and pulled himself out of the seemingly endless flow of people.
"Ya alright there, son?" he heard someone say, and turned to face the old man who was standing behind his cart full of sprinkles and watching Chip with a concerned look.
"Yessir, I've just never been somewhere like this before!" Chip looked back at the crowd breathlessly.
"It'll clear out in an 'our 'r so..."
"Thanks... I don't suppose you know where one would go to enter the army, would you?" Chip turned back to the man, who looked back at him strangely.
"Yer a bit young fer that sort of thing, aren'cha?"
"Well...I don't think so, sir..."
The man shrugged. "Alright, then... they're up there near the castle, there's a yard fer anyone's interested"
"Thank you-" Chip's stomach growled loudly in protest, startling him. The old man laughed.
"Hungry, yeh?" Chip, embarrassed, nodded, getting another laugh from the man. "Here, have have these, on the house." He handed Chip a handful of raisins and a slice of poundcake that he had gotten from behind the cart. Chip paused a moment.
"I couldn't take this, I have no way to repay you"
"Tha's alright, son.. my contribution to the Cupcake King's army.."
He proffered it again, Chip taking it hesitantly. "Thank you very much"
"Ahh, it's nothin'..." the man smiled, going about his business while Chip ate and waited for the crowd to lessen. Sure enough, no longer had an hour passed when the streets were nearly devoid of people. So Chip thanked the old man again and left for the castle grounds. As it happened, they were already crowded with hopeful young men, some as old as the old man Chip had met, others younger than him, and all were to waiting in line to see who appeared to be the head of the guard himself. From his vantage point, Chip could see some being sent away while others were directed to another area he couldn't see. By now, he was grateful for the generous act of that old salesman, as the line moved slowly. When he finally got to the table, the man barely glanced up at him from a thick roll of parchment.
"Name?" He sounded bored.
"Chip, sir. Chip Sayce." The guard looked up over the parchment at him.
"Yessir." Fear gripped his heart. Was something wrong?
The guard whispered something to a passing officer, then looked back at him. "Go on in." Nervous, Chip went where the guard pointed, his thoughts twisting over themselves to create fearsome fantasies. So nervous was he, that he barely noticed his surroundings or the fact that the guard had him go somewhere else from everyone else. That caught up with him quickly, though, when he suddenly found himself face to face with a harsh-faced man.