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 Guarded Treasure

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Phantom53
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Join date : 2013-07-15
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PostSubject: Guarded Treasure   5th June 2014, 4:55 pm

Hello everyone. So besides working on my Luna and Artemis story, I also started to write out this little short story just this morning. And this one has a proper title. Also, unlike my other story, this one is complete, as complete as I think it can be. Though to be fair, it's a shorter, simpler plot.

Anyway, here it is, and enjoy. It's just a funny little idea that came to my mind a long time ago when I was writing up my headcanon about the Venusian Kingdom. I hope everyone is IC. If they aren't, please tell me, or if anything else is wrong. But really, I hope you like it, and if you do, please comment.

Story

Jason Ionos was in luck.

He was, of course, the only son of the Ionos family of Jupiter, who’d been given royal permission long ago to harvest, sell, and craft the wood of the Jovian Oaks, a state symbol. It was one of the major exports of Jupiter, along with tin. The incredibly strong properties of the material made it valuable all over the system. The kingdom of Jupiter was full of riches, though it definitely helped that Jupiter controlled trade and travel between the Asteroid Belt.

Right now, Jason and his family, along with some Jovian government officials, were on Venus, attending a party hosted by none other than Queen Aphrodite. It was all part of renegotiating trade deals. But that didn’t really interest Jason. Oh yeah, the money it would no doubt bring interested him. But the deals and details he could do without.

No, what interested him right now was not a something, but someone, a very gorgeous someone. He stood out among the pastures and flowers that filled the palace grounds. The Sun had sunk below the eastern horizon, the great heat of the day had left, and the moon of Neith was now climbing high in the Venusian sky.

And there, standing there in the light of Venus’s moon not far from him was Princess Mina, heir of the royal house of Librae. He traced his eyes over her form, taking in the image. The soft gold dress, the curve of her body, those big dark blue eyes, the way her hair was bound up and topped with a tropical flower behind her left ear. She was perfect. And she’d be his.

He checked his clothes, making sure his silk suit was still perfect, before walking up to her. “Excuse me Miss, but I couldn’t help but notice you’re all alone. Is something the matter?” He had to pour on all his charm.

The princess turned to look at him sharply. He must have startled her. “Oh I’m sorry. I was admiring the scenery. Isn’t the night beautiful?”

“You certainly are Princess.”

Mina gasped to stare back at him with those big blue eyes. “Are you flirting with me?”

He gave her his best smile. “Just stating a fact Your Highness.”

She giggled at him. “It certainly seemed like flirting. You may know who I am, but I don’t know who you are.”

He bowed to her. Keep it up. “My apologies then. I am Jason Ionos. It is a pleasure to meet you.”

“Ionos…” Mina stretched the name out, emphasizing every syllable. “I think I’ve heard that name before.”

“My family is from Jupiter Your Highness. We supply your planet with wood from the Jovian Oaks.”

“Ooh, really!?” Mina was practically bouncing on her sandaled feet. “A lot of my furniture is made from that. And your family gave us that? Oh thank you!”

“You’re very welcome. Actually the reason I’m here is because my parents are part of the re-negotiations for the trade agreements with your mother.” Mina stared back at him like he’d spoken gibberish. “Uh, the contract we have to sell you the material expired, so they’re writing up a new one.”

“Oh, why didn’t you just say that to begin with?”

Clearly not the brightest star in the sky. He had to resist smirking. But then again, that doesn’t really matter, does it?

“So,” he continued on, “Why are you all the way out here anyway instead of with the rest of the party?”

Mina took a seat on a nearby stone bench, and he sat down beside her. “Well I’m not really a good dancer. All those steps to remember, it just seems so very hard. And then the conversation started turning to boring things.”

Here was an opportunity. “You know Your Highness; I could teach you to dance, if you would allow me of course.”

Mina’s eyes lit up. “Really? I’d like that.”

“Then let’s get started.” He got up and held out his hand, which Mina took quickly. He pulled her closer, moving her back and forth. “Follow my lead, that’s it. Move your feet back and forth like…ouch.”

For such a dainty princess, she wasn’t very good on her feet. She hadn’t taken more than a few steps before she’d stepped right on his foot.

“I’m sorry, did that hurt?”

He smiled in spite of the pain. At least she wasn’t wearing proper heels. “I’m fine Princess. Now, keep moving…” He soon had her moving properly, though Mina stepped on his feet five more times in the process.

While they were dancing, he took in the curve of her neck, and spotted the ornament hanging around it. It was a silver upward turned crescent, with a sapphire in the center. “That’s a very beautiful necklace you have Your Highness.”

“Thank you,” replied the princess as she moved back and forth. “It was a gift from Auntie Serenity.”

“Who?” As far as he knew, Aphrodite had no sisters or brothers.

“Auntie Serenity the Twelfth. She’s mother’s cousin.”

It took a great deal of effort for Jason not to freeze in place. Aphrodite was cousin to Queen Serenity, the ruler of the Moon Kingdom and leader of the Alliance of the Silver Millennium?! He could practically see the money. This girl…romancing her would mean being the king of Venus, having the fortune of the second richest planet in the Solar System, and being tied into the Moon’s royal family! He’d found the mother lode!

Mina interrupted him from his daydreams. “You know, you’re a very good teacher.”

He spun her around and held her close again. Now was a good time to move in. “I could be more than that to you, if you would allow me Princess.”

She stared back at him, her blue eyes wide with innocent curiosity. “Are you saying that you wish to court me?”

“Quite so Princess.” Oh yeah, use the smooth voice, the one that made other women melt. “Would there be something wrong with me being your suitor?”

“No, I suppose not. I’ve never really had one before. But women usually begin courtship here.”

Oh, yes, the whole matriarchy thing. “In that case, would Your Highness grant me the honor of being a suitor for you?” So close, he was so close. This girl was an innocent little pushover.

His charm seemed to be working, because Mina smiled at him. “Yes, I will. So, what does one usually do once one has a suitor?”

“A kiss is a good way to start.”

“I’ve never kissed a boy before. Could you show me?”

“Of course Your Highness. Your wish is my command.” Yes! He had her! Royalty here I come.

He moved in closer, ready to kiss her, but as he was within a hair’s breadth of contact, Mina gasped and pulled back.

“Oh silly me, I almost forgot! I am so sorry. But before we do anything, I want you to meet someone.” The girl slipped out from his embrace and walked along the grass.

Blast, so close. But no matter. She was still smitten with him. And he could keep up the charm for as long as it took to secure himself in position. “If you mean your mother, I’d be happy to meet her in person. But I believe the party is this way.”

Mina giggled. “No, not my mother silly, Ferdinand.”

Jason’s brow furrowed. The princess had no brothers, no step father, or any male relatives from what he’d heard. “And who, pray tell, is that?”

“Ferdinand is my little pet. He’s usually out here. Ferdinand! Come here boy!”

“You want me to meet your pet?” Odd, but she didn’t seem all that sharp, so he supposed it wasn’t that unusual.

Mina turned back to face him, nodding vigorously, threatening to shake the flower from her blonde mane. “Oh yes. Ferdinand is very special to me, and I’d really love for you to meet him. Better to meet him here and now then try and find him later. He should be here soon, so let’s just wait and enjoy the night.”

Well, whatever got him closer to marrying her, and her money. He took the princess’s hand, staring out at the fields. If this worked, all of it would be his. All his. Jason was so wrapped up in his fantasies that he didn’t even notice the sound of something coming up behind them.

Mina turned her head and pulled free of his hand. “There you are Ferdinand. Jason, turn around and say hello to Ferdinand.”

Jason turned, aiming his head low. Seeing what he had of Mina, he expected Ferdinand to be some fluffy, heavily groomed show dog, or maybe a dainty little song bird. What he saw was a large pair of hooves. Craning his head upwards, he realized the hooves were connected to a pair of thick legs. He craned his head up, and up, and up, until he found himself staring right into the face of a bull.

And not just any sort of bull, this was a gigantic bull. The legs were as thick as canon barrels. The chest was even wider. From the bulk of it, the thing has to be at least a thousand pounds, probably more, and as tall as his owner. Its horns were long and curved, and its fur snow white. It wore a saddle on its back attached to a chest harness emblazoned with the royal symbol of Venus. It swung its tail lazily as it stood beside Mina.

“Th-That’s your pet?!”

“Yeah. Isn’t he cute?” Mina nuzzled her cheek against the thing’s face, and it nuzzled her right back. The bull looked at him with a dull, disinterested expression.

“He’s…he’s a, um…” What in the name of Sagittarius IS that thing?

“He’s a Venusian Taurus,” stated Mina plainly. “I’ve known him since I was a little girl. He was such a cute little calf, and he’s still cute now. Aren’t you my little sweetheart?” Mina petted the monster on the head, which made it give out noises of pleasure before returning its attention to Jason. “I love him so very much and if I have a suitor I want to make sure you two get along.”

Jason felt the bottom go out of his stomach. A Ven-Venusian Taurus?” He’d heard of the things of course, the sacred breed of cow that served as a royal symbol, the famous “Iron Bull”. There were supposed to be pastures for them around the palace. But Jason had never bothered to see one. He thought the whole deal with them was an overblown fascination or something.

“Don’t you think he’s cute Jason?”

“…of course Your Highness.” He’s not cute, he’s a behemoth.

Mina smiled and continued to stroke her pet’s fur. “I know he looks big but my sweet little baby Ferdinand wouldn’t hurt a fly. He just likes to smell the pretty flowers. Don’t you?” Mina scratched behind the creature’s ear, which he really seemed to like. Mina really seemed to like showering the thing with baby talk. And bull just seemed to eat it up.

Mina suddenly began to frown. “Of course there were those terrible accidents.”

He didn’t like the sound of that. “Accidents, Your Highness?”

“Oh yes. Ferdinand has had quite a few. Why very recently there was this man visiting from Mars. He seemed like a nice man. Anyway, he wanted to try and ride Ferdinand, and I allowed him. It didn’t seem too big a deal after all. But then this little mouse came by and my poor baby got so spooked he bolted right toward the palace wall.”

So the thing was a coward. That was a relief. “And what happened then? I presume he stopped before he hit it?”

“Oh no,” replied Mina matter-of-factly, “he hit it dead on. Rammed right through it in fact. Of course that nice Martian man fell off when Ferdinand hit the wall. I tried to catch Ferdinand, but all that dust got in the way. And poor Ferdinand kept going and going. He didn’t even slow down when he hit the wall. We found him at the edge of the palace grounds.”

Wait a minute… “Did this happen on the south side of the palace by any chance?”

“Oh yes. You saw the hole didn’t you? Mother has talked with the architects about repairing it, but they still haven’t gotten any real work done on it.”

Of course he saw it. You’d have to be blind to notice the vast empty space between the pieces of the wall. He’d thought some bit of pyrotechnics had misfired or something. That or they’d been planning to fit in another set of gates, what with the size of the gap.

“You can’t imagine how thankful we were to find him, and completely unhurt. He didn’t even have a bruise or anything. Wasn’t that lucky boy?” Another nuzzle, followed by another blank, languid stare. “And thank goodness that nice old Martian man survived too. He was a soldier and he was wearing some Martian armor. Mother says the Martians make very good armor. Anyway, he ended up in…um.” The princess struggled for a word.

“The hospital?” Jason offered.

Mina waved her hand, “No, that’s not it. I mean he was taken to the hospital but he was in… ooh, traction! That’s it, traction! It sounds like such a silly word. So many broken bones, the poor thing. And my poor Ferdinand was so very upset by it all. He wouldn’t leave my side for a week he was so upset.”

The palace wall has to be almost of foot thick… This thing had plowed through nearly a foot of solid concrete without slowing down and kept going, without even a scratch? Jason suddenly felt quite nauseous, and it wasn’t from the food at the party.

“And then there were the other accidents.”

More? “What happened?”

“Well, one time there was this very nice Neptunian boy who used this ladder to get up to my balcony, the kind that’s made of steel and folds together. He even started to sing on the way up. Very charming. Anyway, Ferdinand had been napping down below and his leg must have fallen asleep. So he stretched it and accidentally kicked the ladder. Totally crumpled it too. Poor Ferdinand didn’t even know he’d done it he was still so very sleepy. So anyway, the boy fell straight into the pond down below.”

Mina scratched Ferdinand’s ear again, which made it pull closer to her. “Of course the boy had come with the other Neptunian delegates. They were taking all these fish over to Mercury. Mother had let them put some of them, the Mosquito Fish, in the pond, to give them time out of those little old tanks you know? Of course the things had the cutest little teeth and they like to nip. So the minute he hit the water, they started to bite. I’m sure they just wanted to say hello to him. He flailed around a bit, and he didn’t lose anything but he was absolutely covered in teeny little bite marks. I heard his skin itched something dreadful. Apparently itching is a common problem when those fish bite you.”

Finally Mina took a breath, before breaking into another story. “And then there was the time this very handsome Uranian came by. He said he was on his way to a race on Mercury and stopped to pay respects to mother. He invited me for a ride in his electric car. Have you seen them? They’re so shiny and they float in the air. Anyway, it was getting late and I was getting hungry, and I saw this old Heart Berry tree. I told him I wanted some, and he offered to climb up and get it.”

Mina giggled. “He couldn't climb up unfortunately. So I called Ferdinand over and asked him if he could shake the tree and knock some berries loose for me to catch. I think the trees roots must have rotted or something because Ferdinand knocked it right out of the ground, totally uprooted it on the first try. It fell right onto that lovely car. Andro! That was his name, Andro dove out of the car before it got hit, and he went rolling. He broke his ankle and got this really big lump on his head. A complete shame about the car though. I believe it was unsalvageable. I think he had to drop out of the race.”

Mina frowned. “I suppose my sweet little Ferdinand is just accident prone. But I love him all the same. Don’t I boy?”

Mina kept gushing over the animal, and Jason saw its face go through a strange transformation. Instead of that languid, empty expression, it began to glare at him, and glare hard. Mina never noticed the change, never noticed how those brown eyes were filled with anger, intelligence, and distrust. They screamed threat, and the bull’s mouth twisted in such a way that it looked like it was grinning at him.

Jason suddenly had a sneaking suspicion that those “accidents” weren’t accidents at all, and that perhaps this thing wasn’t as cowardly or sweet or lucky as Mina seemed to think.

It smashed through a wall without stopping, without slowing down or even getting hurt, and kept on going. It crumpled steel with one kick. It uprooted a Heart Berry tree in one go. His parents had gone on and on about the plant life here and Jason remembered them saying the tropics-loving Heart Berry trees were thirty feet high, on average, and resisted storm winds.  Jason got the feeling that if he stayed near Mina, he too might find himself on the receiving end of a very nasty “accident”.

“But that’s enough about the past. We’re here to have fun. And if we’re going to court each other, I really want you and Ferdinand to get along and get to know each other. Which means you’ll be spending as much time with him as you will with me. Isn’t that lovely?”

A bead of sweat trailed down onto Jason’s face. He pulled at his collar. Why did his suit suddenly feel so hot and restricting? “Actually, um, Princess, perhaps it would be best to return to the party now. I’m sure everyone is wondering where you wandered off to. Best not worry them.”

“Oh but we just couldn’t!” declared the blonde. “I really want to be with Ferdinand. I’ve been so busy preparing for the party that I haven’t seen my little baby all day. So why don’t we just enjoy our time out here?” Mina stepped closer, and Ferdinand followed her. Jason could almost feel the little tremor in the ground. The glare intensified, and the bull gave a snort, letting the warm air hit Jason’s face.

He took a step back, his heart starting to race. “Actually Your Highness, I do believe I should be returning to my parents. They said they wanted me to be present for the negotiations. Why don’t you stay here and enjoy your time with Ferdinand? I’ll inform your mother where you are. We can talk, um, later, I am sure.” He glanced at his watch, hand shaking. “Oh yes, I do believe I am late. I must hurry back. Goodbye Princess!”

Without even waiting for an answer, Jason turned and sprinted back to the party, back to safety and away from the pastures. Part of him screamed that he was letting go of a great deal of wealth and power, as fantastic a treasure as he’d ever find. Who cares? That treasure’s guarded, and I’m no monster slayer. Let some other idiot try and get past that thing.

Mina watched the young man run off into the distance. “He didn’t even wait for a goodbye.” After he was out of sight, her pout turned into a smile. “Well, another gold digger bites the dust. Thanks Ferdinand.” She scratched him under his chin.

Mina stretched her arms and back and breathed in the night air. “That was sort of fun, and it didn’t require medical attention this time. I think we’re getting better. Not that the creep didn’t deserve it.”

Mina hoisted herself onto the saddle, and prompted Ferdinand forward, back to the stables. She’d have a page tell her mother she’d chosen to retire early. No need to tell her she’d gotten a suitor of course. Well, not quite, we never really made it official.

Mina smiled. If she wasn’t in line for the throne, she could have a future as an actress with how her skills were improving. He still probably thought she was all innocent and naïve and clumsy. Not that it mattered what he thought. All that mattered was that he knew to stay away from her.

Mina reached up to fix the flower back into position in her hair. It was an inevitable problem for someone like her, to attract people like this. They weren’t interested in her. They were just interested in the size of her allowance, her inheritance, and her relation to Queen Serenity.

She hardly ever let her mother know of such people. If there was one thing that made her mother’s blood pressure spike, it was gold diggers. Her mother’s hatred of such behavior was as intense as her grandmother’s fabled hatred of corrupt judges.

Mina smiled as she remembered when her mother told her about how once upon a time there had been a judge in the High Court of Venus who had taken bribes in exchange for favored rulings in dozens of civil cases, as well as for near fifty false convictions and acquittals in criminal cases. When the normally passive Queen Hathor the Fourth found out, she stormed into the court room, grabbed the woman, hauled her out of her seat, tore the judicial robes off her, and then had her summarily tossed out of the building on her backside, right into waiting guards. It was an event nobody ever forgot. Mina heard someone even made some paintings of it. One of these days she really needed to check into that.  

And of course, when it came to Mina’s problem, the most troublesome ones were those from influential families, ones that usually came to Venus for diplomatic reasons. She really didn’t want to trouble her mother, who had enough to handle already without being infuriated and depressed by the people after her daughter’s hand. But when it came to that lot of vultures, Mina couldn’t just tell them to go away. As influential as they were, a command of “go jump off a cliff” would’ve made them complain, and made her mother’s job harder.

So instead, Mina used Ferdinand to give the lot a sometimes not-so-subtle indication to go away. She’d play all innocent and just let her loving pet speak for himself, with a little direction of course. Like how she’d told him to charge once that awful Martian had gotten on him.

That memory made her frown. The guy was around forty years old, double her age, not to mention smelly and uncouth, and he had wanted to marry her! Mina had picked up on the conversation he’d had with his aids when he’d arrived, before he’d met her mother. The crusty old general had actually come with the intention of essentially buying her hand in marriage, like she was a piece of livestock! Thank Harmonia there were people like Rei’s mother to put idiots like that in their place.

Just the thought of letting him even touch her made her shudder. So to save her mother the headache, and the hours of undoubted screaming, Mina had cut the Martian off before he got to Aphrodite, and had quickly gotten him to try and ride “sweet little Ferdinand”, pleading with him to “please be gentle with her baby.” She knew his armor would keep him alive when she’d told her faithful friend to ram the wall. And then she could just claim Ferdinand had been spooked.

And she may have had something to do with where the Mosquito Fish had been placed, or may have encouraged that young Neptunian to try and climb her balcony and serenade her as a sure fire way to impress her. Or she might not have really had a craving for Heart Berries the afternoon that Andro had insisted on taking her for a ride.

Now they were four for four. And this time she’d gotten rid of one without even getting scolded or having to pay for damages. All in all, a great night.

It wasn’t long before they reached the stables, and Mina got off. She removed his saddle and set it aside, petting him one more time. “Thanks again Ferdinand. I’ll make sure you get an extra treat tonight.”

The bull made a sound of approval, and Mina slipped off to her room, but not before telling the attendants to leave lots of yummy extras for him.

He deserved it. After all, he’d spent another day guarding his treasure.

The End

EDIT: So I fixed some mild typos I found later. And I hope people enjoyed this. And let me say again, if you enjoyed it, or even if you didn't, please leave a reply and tell me so. Even if you thought it was average, I'd like to know. I'd like to know if it was funny, or maybe what you liked best, or worst, or any typos that I missed. Just because the view count on a story thread is high or that some people have clicked on the thread doesn't tell me if it is any good. Someone could have equally thought it was boring and moved on for all I know. People may click on a thread to read it because it's new or up front, but that is not an indication of whether they like it or not.

I prefer to hear feedback in written form, as I am sure, many others do. And without feedback, good or bad, little or big, people don't improve or know if what we did is any good. So if you read this, please leave feedback of some kind, or if you are busy, make a note to yourself to leave it later.

Thank you. End of edit.


Last edited by Phantom53 on 9th June 2014, 10:21 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Fixing some mild typos)
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Sailor Leto
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PostSubject: Re: Guarded Treasure   29th June 2014, 8:34 pm

This was really cute!!

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Phantom53
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PostSubject: Re: Guarded Treasure   30th June 2014, 7:44 am

@Sailor Leto wrote:
This was really cute!!

Thank you. This sort of scene came to mind when I was trying to reconstruct was Venus was like, and I then one day I had the urge to write a whole story on it.

One things for sure, Mina doesn't need any of the guards to follow her, doesn't she? XD
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Sailor Leto
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PostSubject: Re: Guarded Treasure   30th June 2014, 8:05 am

She's got Ferdinand! <3 That was so cute. You captured her personality really well, I think

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