The two scampered down the path, away from the castle, and towards the market. Tavros found herself looking back at the castle, and giggling to herself 'cause every step closer to the outside world was a step farther away from her past life within the walls of her parent's palace.
When they finally arrived, about half an hour and a pair of sore feet later they came to the bustling town center; trolls and humans alike leading muscle-beasts carting bails of hay, or haggling with shop owners in the muddy streets. There was mud everywhere, because apparently Queen Vriska had outlawed roads 'cause, uh, pavement hadn't been invented yet. Or something, probably. Tavros and Jade had to hike up their skirts as to not get mud splattered all over them, but a passing cart proved fatal to the clean fabric anyways.
There were shops lining the muddy streets, and people everywhere. So much stimulous Tavros didn't know what to focus on, and instead stood in one spot in front of a
dealer selling fish and squealed to herself for a bit.
"Hey, kid, what are you looking at?" The vendor asked, grumpily crossing his arms and tilting his ferociously horned head to the side. He looked sorta like a moose, actually, and Tavros melted into a puddle at the sight of him.
"I-I'm, uh, sorry, uh, sir," she started, but was quickly pulled away by Lady Jade,
"Be careful, Tav!" She cried, dragging Tavros through the narrow market streets,
"everyone here probably knows who you are 'cause, hey look, you're still wearing your tiara. I wanted to show you something, though. Come this way!"
"O-oops," Tavros said quietly, taking off her tiara and holding the sparkling silver in her hands, "what is it?" She followed Jade through the backstreets, before they came to a stop in front of a rickety old vendor's cart. It was small, and made of wood, and fastened to wheels so that it could be carted away at any moment. On its top was a display area, covered in precious jewels and beautiful jewellery that shimmered in the afternoon sun.
"Why hello ladies," suddenly a crotchety old woman with half-moon spectacles, wavy horns, and a manly face, popped up from behind the cart. Tavros eyed her curiously; the old woman sure looked familiar...and not like a woman at all. And there was something familiar about the way she spoke, all wavy-like, as if Tavros had heard news about a very dangerous magician with the same speech patterns. But this was clearly a fragile old woman, and not dangerous at all; assuming otherwise would be incredibly silly, "what can I hawe you purchase today?"
"Look at these, Tav!" Jade cried, gingerly picking up a striking silver chain with the symbol of Aquarius dangling from it.
"What? Why would I, ever, want, uh, that?"
"What, is there somethin' glubbin' wrong with the Aquarius symbol?" The old woman blurted out, before backpedalling and saying, "I mean, here, take it. Try it on...oh, it looks so darlin' on the little princess, right?" He tried to slip the necklace over Tavros's head in one smooth movement, but it got stuck on her horns, so instead he put it on her using the clasps, "don't you think, Lady Jade?"
"Yes I do, Master Eridan."
Tavros turned quickly to Jade, wondering what caused the poor girl to answer so strangely. She gasped at what she saw; Jade's eyes were blank, and her body stiff as a board. With arms like a ridiculously strong centaur-man, she grabbed Tavros by the arms, and covered her mouth as the old woman changed form in front of her eyes; going from an ugly old woman, to a slightly more attractive young troll; the Also Evil Magician Eridan Ampora! He laughed madly, a white wand appearing in his hand and a wizard's hat on the top of his head.
"Let this be a lesson to you, Tawros," Eridan clucked, waving his wand in the Princess' face, "newer trust anyone! Not ewen a harmless goldfish, 'cause they might turn out to be a shark! Muahaha!"
"Ok8y, that's enough, Eridan," Vriska appeared from the shadows, "I'm telling you, your fish puns are horrible. I h8 them!"
"I thought they were charmin'," Eridan said, frowning, "dashin' and shit."
"Just f8nish her!" Vriska cried. Eridan jumped, nearly dropping his wand.
"Okay, yeah, so I was thinkin'," he started, shrugging a bit, "that krillin' is so mainstream these days. So I made this cool little thing," he pointed at the necklace around Tavros's neck, which had started to glow a nasty purple, "it'll make anyone who ever knew her personally forget she ever exsisted! So it's like krillin' but totally its own thing and unique and beautiful." He smiled at Vriska, who was glaring her.
"What the fuck? Why would you do that? Just kill the d8mn girl and" Vriska was cut off by the blood-curdling scream coming from Tavros's lips; in fact, it was so passionate, Tavros herself was surprised she had put that much effort into it. It was so unlike her, to raise he voice like that, but she was a little, uh, freaked out at the fact that she was turning purple.
"Oh, don't think so low of me, Wriska," Eridan pouted, "this is meant to punish AND humiliate her," he smiled, showing off his shark-like teeth, "not only is she goin' to be forgotten, but she is also goin' to be turned into a fudgeblood! I mean, I'd go all the way to red, but that seems pretty cliché, don't ya think?"
"That's brill8nt!" Vriska cried, drumming her fingers together in the most evil way possible. Eridan took a bow, sweeping his cape out dramatically in the process.
"Yes, I am wery much aware of how fuckin' awesome I am, but thank you I guess," he said, "Wriska, darlin', there's one other thing. You and I will not be affected by this whirlpool of magic."
"...Whirlpool of magic? You really try 8t this punny business, don't you."
"Anyways, it's 'cause we'll both be in this whole 'in-the-know' relationship together...it'll be great!" He smiled excitedly, but Vriska had reverted to glaring again, "...anyways, I was thinkin' we'd go back to the castle and"
"I wasn't gonna say that! I meant, you'd go back to the castle and tell eweryone that the Princess is sleepin' with the fishes."
"Oh. Oh, yes!" Vriska tried out her maniacal laughter once more as she stared down at the ailing Princess. Tavros had collapsed to the ground, though the mind-controlled Jade was still holding her by the arms. She was completely glowing purple, now, and beginning to hyperventilate a bit, too. She grabbed at the necklace, but couldn't tear it off for the life of her. Brown tears came to her eyes as the tiara she had dropped to the ground turned into a wreath of flowers, and her beautiful golden dress turned to brown, itchy wool. Everything about her suddenly looked duller, once the purple dissipated, turning to brown and sinking into her skin.
"Ha ha! Fucking peasant!" Eridan cried and pointed with his wand. Vriska rolled her eyes, kneeling down in front of the sobbing ex-princess. She took Tavros's chin in
her hand, violently jerking the girl's head upwards.
"Look at me, you meddlesome little pauper," she said, "don't even think about coming back to the c8stle. No one there can help you! Inf8ct, no one anywhere can help you now! Maybe you can earn a living selling flowers and shit. But don't come crying back to your father, b8cause he is next to be sl8ugtered!!" She laughed, her long black hair escaping it's bee-hive prison as she did so. Then, she grabbed Eridan's arm and screamed, "let's get out of here!"
Once Eridan got over the initial shock of a female touching him, the duo disappeared in a cloud of smoke.
Jade shook her head, coming out of a thick haze. She looked around curiously, flinching back in disgust at the sight of Tavros.
"Ew! Who are you?" She cried, jumping back up to her feet, brushing off her skirt and fleeing the dark alley way, "god, I wonder what happened. Gotta get back to Princess Feferi!"
She disappeared from the alley-way, leaving Tavros all alone; cold, scared, and not wanting to touch anything because the market place was actually really dirty.
"Okay, wait bro, let me get my thoughts all assembled-like," Gamzee was saying, holding his hand up to my face. I blinked a few times, the image of princesses and evil queens and magicians disappearing from my eyes.
"What, is it Gamzee?" I asked, wondering if I had done something wrong. That's usually what happens, after all.
"Nothing, man, just surprised, bro. You didn't tell your motherfucking bestfriend you were so good at telling stories." He rolled around on the floor, where he had been sitting, listening to the story so far with the patience of a small grub. I felt my face go hot with the compliment, probably 'cause I didn't know any other way to react that wouldn't be, possibly offensive.
"Thank you," I mumbled, playing with my fingers in my lap, "uh, but it's barely, uh, started yet."
"When's my bestfriend gonna show up?" Gamzee was now staring at the wall. I looked to see what he was looking at, but there was nothing there that seemed as exciting as Gamzee was making it out to be.
"Oh, uh, Karkat?"
"Yeah, bro, that angry little motherfucker. Did you get him in this little storyline you got going?"
"Oh, uh, yeah, I did, uh," I twirled my fingers together and imagined myself dangling my legs playfully even though I couldn't do that really, "I was about to get to him, actually. He, uh, well I was thinking 'cause he's, you know, a knight and stuff, and, uh..." I was going to go on, but Gamzee was staring at me with the weirdest smile, and the blankest eyes, and I lost my train of thought, if I had one at all, "uh, why don't I just tell the story?"
"Yeah, man, do it all up nice like that."
"...uh, I'm just gonna start talking now."
In Camternia, most things were based on blood colour; it was actually, kinda unfortunate Tavros had brown blood, but apparently red and teal make a kinda brownish, unwanted hue. Feferi got the nice blood colour, but it didn't matter that much because Tavros was born first. Unless, of course, she was killed; but who would do that to such a loveable princess?
The only way to get anywhere if you had an unwanted blood colour was to hide it. This meant you could never cry in front of anyone you didn't trust, or, of course, bleed in front of anyone.
So why Karkat Vantas chose Knighthood as a line of work was a mystery to almost everyone.
Of course, he wasn't a Knight quite yet, and he was rather pissed about it.
"Having to go on a fucking quest for some fucking king of cool or whatever is, you know what? You know what it possibly be? Fucking bullshit! That's what it is!"
"I think ith a good idea KK," his Squire, Sollux Captor, who was really more his leader, but don't tell Karkat that, "I mean, who knowths if you can effen save a printeth unleth you try?"
"Oh shut up, you're spitting all over me!" Karkat scowled, adjusting his heavy bag of armour on his back. Really, they expected him to wear it all the time, but it was 'fucking hot as the sun' during the day, so he kept it tied together with some rope on his back; his assistant wouldn't carry his armour for him, the 'fuckass'.
"Thhh!" Sollux cried, jutting out his hand to stop his friend, who started a snarky response but was also shut up by intervening psionics, "I hear thomeone coming." He jumped into one of the hedges lining the path, and beckoned Karkat to join him, but the knight-to-be gave him a glowering look and instead hid in the hedges on the opposite side of the path.
Soon enough, a group of trolls and humans passed; one in particular, Karkat noticed, was sitting on a white muscle-beast and looked so pathetic Karkat was unsure where to start with the trolling. Such an easy target, he could go in any direction; sure, a passive-aggressive 'well look, they sure make anyone princes these days', would do but he was leaning towards the outright rude 'get off the horse you hornless, buck-toothed noob!'
But, after everything, Karkat watched the prince go past without saying anything at all, and he wasn't sure why. Maybe it was that derpy smile that made him just want to punch him in the face. No, punching would be too easy, he'd have to something more. More humiliating...more personal that your everyday punch in the face....
"Jeethus! KK, were you effen lithening to me?" Sollux's angry voice was penetrating his hearing again, shaking the wannabe knight out of his daydream.
"What?" Karkat cried in his most sarcastic tone, "what do you want from me, god! All I do is give and give, and you guys always just want more!"
"Oh, pleathe, KK, I thaw the way you were looking at him," Sollux crossed his arms, looking down through his dualtoned goggles at Karkat, "and I beth you weren't effen litheing to what he wath thaying."
"I was, for a matter of fact, listening. Why the fuck wouldn't I listen when a prince and his fanfare walks past?" Karkat rolled his eyes. He hadn't really been listening at all, but he wasn't about to tell Sollux that and let him be right.
"Tho, then, you know that the printheth ith mithing?"
"What? The princess is missing?!"
"Yeth, that ith what I juth thaid!"
"Yeah, yeah, I know, I was just putting it into better terms, jegus," Karkat brushed the dirt and leaves from his simple, cotton pants, "whatever. We're here to get a quest from the king, not some silly princess."
"No, idiot," Sollux groaned, facepalming himself through thick leather gloves, "thith ith a good thing; if you find the printheth before the printh doeth, then you'll become a knight! Ith like, the perfect queth!"
"That's stupid!" Karkat crossed his arms and frowned; the best thing to do upon hearing a suggestion was obviously to deny it completely, "but, hey, I got a good idea. In fact it's a fucking epic idea; an idea so good I'm not even sure I should share it with you in case you are blinded by the awesomeness."
"...What ith it KK??"
"We should track down that Princess and bring her back to the dumb fuck who lost her! Something that fucking heroic would elevate me to Knighthood so fast those other numbskulls at the Knight Academy won't know what the fuck happened or why they're suddenly bowing at the feet of the great Karkat Vantas!"