THE EMPEROR BY THE SEA (II-III)

II

The palace courtyard on Ploosnar is like no other. It is a tiered garden space, from the bottom step it looks like a vast mountain of marble stairs with a large landing every twenty steps or so. The main stairs are lined with trees that look sort of like palms, except they are blue, as are all plants on Ploosnar. The roinad on Ploosnar continuously regenerates which, given its value, is lucky for the Ploosnarians. They trade the valuable element throughout the Universe, distributing the profit amongst the citizens. Agent Brzko and the Muse of Mischief aren’t sure what all of its uses are but it seems to be the key ingredient in everything from atmospheric filters to fabrics. The mining process is considered to be sustainable, done in a way that doesn’t damage the planet or atmosphere. Something about the chemical composition of roinad and the attributes of the Ploosnar sun, cause the flora to be blue.

Brzko and M looked around, trying to take it all in. They never tired of Ploosnar. “I’m far too old to climb all these stairs.” The Emperor said, sounding winded.

“Ha! We’re the same age Bartala; perhaps it’s the nekmid

that interferes with your ability to ascend the stairs?” M fired back.

“It’s   so   beautiful   I   don’t   even   notice   the   climb.” Commented Brzko as he drank in the beauty of the landscape.

“Uh-oh, here comes Empress Nalau, I’m going to be scolded.” Bartala turned to face his wife as she walked toward him, holding out his arms to embrace her. “Hello my love, I have returned, will you forgive me?”

“My dear Bartala, why must you worry me this way?” Always demonstrating the class of an Empress, Nalau embraced her husband with grace, even though she was no doubt frustrated with him. They had officially joined many years ago, when Bartala ascended to the throne. But sometimes he still acted as though he were young and free.

Ploosnarians are one of the many species that look very much like humans. They all have disturbingly bright blue eyes. If you look closely you can tell that their necks are a little longer, as are their fingers and toes. They eat the same types of foods – with the exception of those derived from animals, Ploosnarians do not consume them – and breath the same type of atmosphere but they live more than twice as long. Maybe it had to do with them having three small hearts evenly distributed along their torsos.

“Friends, welcome to Ploosnar. Please stay, I would like a chance to properly thank you for bringing my husband home.” Nalau left Bartala’s embrace and now stood near Brzko and the Muse of Mischief. Brzko reached for her hand, removed his hat, and  bent  as  he  kissed  her  hand  in  the  fashion  of  a  proper Victorian greeting.

“It would be our pleasure Empress.” Nalau giggled like a schoolgirl at Brzko’s irresistible charm.

III

“I always forget how comfortable these rooms are, the purple is fantastic!” Brzko exclaimed.

The Muse of Mischief and Emperor Bartala had known each other since they were both adolescents. When he took the throne he made an official declaration that the purple guest rooms were reserved for the Muse of Mischief and Agent Brzko. This ensured that regardless of his location, as long as he was the Emperor, the pleasurable accommodations of the Ploosnar Palace were available to them. The entire palace looks like it has been carved from a giant slab of marble. The purple room is a large circular room with very high ceilings. The top of the room is domed, with windows on the sides of the dome let in wonderful natural light. Large flowing tapestries of purple, trimmed in gold, hang from the peak of the dome. They slowly billow, creating a dreamy effect. There is a large bed in the center of the room, round of course, with a luxurious looking purple quilt. Gold and purple pillows placed in the center of the circular bed. There is a side table along the wall opposite the door, curved to exactly match the curve of the wall. It looks like it has been made of the same type of stone or marble that the palace is made of. There is always a decanter with nekmid and two glasses on a crystal tray. Today there is also another platter with lusimis and what look like blue carrots. They even taste similar to carrots.

“Maybe we should retire here, I’m sure Bartala would be fine with us living here on Ploosnar.”

“Retire, ha ha! I just don’t see that happening. Resting maybe…. Besides, some day Bartala will surrender the palace to the next Emperor, hopefully his heir.”

“To good rest.” Brzko and M toasted and tossed back their nekmid. There was a knock at the door.

“Come on in.” Brzko called.

“I’m sorry to intrude but I want to thank you, to thank you for bringing Bartala home again.”

M   stepped   forward,   making   a   small   curtsey,   and addressed the Empress “It’s our pleasure Empress Nalau.”

“You and Agent Brzko have been a great help to us on several occasions, and we need your help again. Our mining team discovered something odd out in the barren land and we’d like you to see it while you’re here. After you’ve rested we’d like to take you there.”

“I always enjoy a tour on Ploosnar; we’ll be ready in a

few minutes.” Brzko said with enthusiasm.

“Wonderful, we shall meet you on the palace steps in a few minutes.” Nalau turned toward the door to leave. “Wait, one more thing… who is Londo and why does my husband want his

hair?”

Brzko and M both cracked up. “Show her the image Brzko.” He was already ahead of her, taking his tablet from his pocket and unfolding it.

Empress Nalau showed almost the same excitement as

Emperor Bartala when she saw the image of Londo from the Earth sci-fi series Babylon 5, bouncing up and down and waving her hands. The reaction was very unlike her.

“It looks so much like my husband! Now I see why he wants that hair, it’s like nothing I’ve ever seen. But I like it. This is from some kind of Earth entertainment?”

“Yes, it’s a science fiction show about a space station called Babylon 5.”

“Well that’s ironic, an infantile planet that does not yet know of the Universe creating a show with a character that looks like my husband! I will never understand why advanced beings like the two of  you were hidden on such an archaic planet.” Nalau said.

With  that,  Empress Nalau  turned and  left,  leaving the Muse of Mischief and Agent Brzko to wonder is she knew anything else about their origins.

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