Drawful the Awful Part XVIII: Diplomacy

Drawful the Awful is the ongoing series/novel in progress following the pursuits of the dragon, Drawful, who is awful at being a dragon, and his “kidnapee” the Princess Brooke. The full series can be found here.

King Nick had, with the aid of his cabinet and guard, done his best to keep King Lando at a distance for most of the morning. Some of his efforts had been more successful than others. He worried most at whether or not these efforts were blatant to the King. By around midday he was surprised that Lando seemed completely oblivious to his efforts at dodging his royal guest. By the early afternoon, King Nick considered making his efforts somewhat more blatant in the hopes that Lando might take the hint and announce plans to return home by dinnertime.

That morning while they had paraded through the town, Lando had made a great show of flattering King Nick on the energy and vivacity of his kingdom. Despite it being the crack of dawn, the streets bustled with citizenry at work, they were clean, the stalls of the market already filled with wares, sundries, and other goods that shone and demonstrated skill of the merchants, artisans and farmers of the Alabaster Kingdom. The results of this pride in and diligence of this work was on evident display for Lando, and he praised King Nick effusively for fostering such a culture in his Kingdom.

Nick might have been disparaging, even internally of Lando’s implicit insult to his own Kingdom and people for their lack of similar moxie, but the foreign royal was so flattering Nick was more prone to admonishing himself for his impatience with Lando. It did not stop Nick from being chafed by the recurring thought that the culture of a people came from the spirit of the King, so Lando should hold himself somewhat responsible.

“Look at this!” Lando remarked as they made their way along the boulevard that served as the main market strip of the Alabaster Kingdom. “So well organized, wares here, produce and other foods there, artisan work further along?”

Nick led his horse by the reins and was shaking hands with subjects who he passed and thanked them for their patience with the crowd of their horses and the retinue following them. He broke from a greeting to address Lando. “Yes, the office of civic planning handles the applications, organization, and assignments of the stalls.”

“Civic planning? Applications?” Lando looked away from a stall with ornate porcelain plates and silverware.

Nick admired a porcelain tea pot beside Lando, and was confused at Lando’s inquiry. “Well, yes, merchants must apply for a place in the main market.”

“Apply?” Lando repeated. “In Anathema we simply allow them to claim space. First come, first serve.”

“Doesn’t that leave some merchants without stalls?” Nick checked after offering the merchant coin for both the pot he had been admiring and a set of plates designed with the Alabaster Kingdom’s palace for Lando as a souvenir and gift.

Lando thanked the King and shook his head. “There’s plenty more space than merchants that show up typically, unless there’s a holiday of some sort. Then there might be a scuffle or rush. If merchants don’t find a stall in the market, then they just post up wherever they might intercept good foot traffic,” Lando explained.

Nick began walking toward the palace, hoping that once he reached the palace he might get a break from his visitor. “Might be helpful to offer some structure to the whole affair. Whoever is in charge of your markets and city planning would likely be a good person to charge with organizing this.”

Nick walked on, and Lando paused and looked over his shoulder with urgency and hissed at Plebo, who was still draped over his horse like a wet towel. “Peas, you’re in charge of this now!”

Peas looked indignant, but did not sit up. “Me? I heard what he said, it’s the person in charge of city planning or whatever.”

Lando huffed and flushed red. “Well, I hereby appoint you chief of city planning for Anathema.”

Lando waddled to catch up to Nick, and Plebo rubbed his face into his horse’s mane with a groan of ire at how this whole affair was going already. He sincerely hoped that Nick did not reference any of the other twenty odd cabinet members Plebo knew the Alabaster Kingdom had appointed for its various interests and affairs. By the end of the day, Plebo could be appointed as an erstwhile cabinet in a single chair which sounded far more exhausting that what he’d originally intended his nobility to entail.

Plebo remained draped over his horse’s neck as it obediently followed Lando and the King for him. “Nobility just ain’t what it used to be.”

Author: Y. Balloo

Amateur novelist / Work in progress.

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