When Mr. Barmek heard from Bashoon about the rumor going around, he noticed that a few royals were swallowing the rumor. As Queen Dimorea, King Fordro, King Fornam and Queen Twundrii, and Queen Lurmir took a table in the restaurant, he overheard their conversation and approached them. “Excuse me, my Lords and Ladies,” he called, “but what’s this I hear about everyone not betting on Drenii despite her impressive win record? You DO realize her feelings are a bit hurt?”
“Mr. Barmek, we understand that you wish to encourage diversity across ages,” rumbled Dimorea, “but you must understand that she is not getting any younger.”
“Besides,” supplied Fornam, “you, of all people, should see that betting on something or someone with the odds 100 to 1 against them would lead to ruin.”
“100 to 1?!” yelped Mr. Barmek. “Says who?!”
“Says Tormo,” explained Twundrii.
“…Tormo,” sighed Mr. Barmek.
“Do you know him?” asked Twundrii.
“My wife’s brother,” replied Mr. Barmek. “A ne’er-do-well. My friends, DON’T, I repeat, DON’T take his bets! You’re being swindled!”
“The facts are not in Drenii’s favor,” grunted Dimorea.
“Oh?” quizzed Mr. Barmek. “Tell me, what’s the supposed safe bet?”
“The odds are in favor of his mystery camel,” explained Lurmir. “4 to 1. Supposed to be the fastest camel around! You should get in on that!”
“So, what’s the camel look like?” asked Mr. Barmek.
“Pardon?” quizzed Fordro.
“I mean,” elaborated Mr. Barmek, “did you see this camel with your own eyes before making a sizable bet?”
“Of course,” replied Fordro. “Actually, no, wait, I didn’t.” He got a funny look after admitting that. “Come on, someone must have.”
“I didn’t,” revealed Twundrii.
“Nor me,” answered Fornam.
“Did you see it?” asked Lurmir to Dimorea.
“You are the one who told me about it!” reminded Dimorea.
“I thought so,” remarked Mr. Barmek. “Sounds like you’re being played for saps.”
“Well SOMEONE must have seen that camel!” thundered Dimorea as she slammed her fists onto the table. Just then, the door chimed, announcing a customer. It was Tormo.
“Korsak!” he called to Mr. Barmek. “My dearest brother-in-law! I heard you were in the neighborhood and thought I’d stop by!”
“Tormo, old friend, good to see you!” replied Mr. Barmek. Tormo was still grinning, but his eyes only showed confusion.
“This is new,” he mused. “Usually, you would hurl something at me and tell me to bugger off.”
“Me?” quizzed Mr. Barmek. “My own brother-in-law? You’re mistaken. I was just talking about you to these fine rulers and they want to see you.” Tormo’s grin vanished as he saw the aforementioned royals approach him with murderous intent.
“We want to see the mystery camel!” boomed Dimorea as she cracked her knuckles.
“My Lords and Ladies,” begged Tormo, “I can’t do that! It’ll spoil the mystery!”
“We’re gonna spoil your head in a minute!” roared Fornam as his teeth took a greenish tint, putting his venom glands into overdrive.
“Show us the camel,” threatened Lurmir, “or we take back our bets and turn your booth into a pile of splinters!”
“Okay! Okay!” agreed Tormo. “But I must warn you, the mystery camel is a dangerous beast! I have to make sure it’s all safe! Give me until midday, then meet me by the abandoned barn near the Great Lake!”
“You have until midday,” warned Dimorea. “This had better be one scary camel!” Tormo gulped. He could feel his position deeply.
Irmalii was in a large tub that her wives filled with their own bodies. Relaxing in slime is said to be very therapeutic, especially if said slime has a core. Swamfur leaned her head on Irmalii’s shoulder as Qwendo played with Irmalii’s hair. Twelmak noticed Irmalii to be deep in thought. “A Tin for your thoughts?” she quizzed.
“I’ve been thinking about the cases that were supposed to be for local law enforcement,” replied Irmalii. “I just don’t know how this all started. It’s like Realmfleet’s either taking those cases from us or we’re too lazy. I don’t know.” Just then, someone knocked on the door. “Yes?” called Irmalii.
“It’s Hanako,” answered the person. “May I come in?”
“One minute, Your Majesty!” yelped Irmalii as everyone got out of the tub. Irmalii snapped her fingers, making her dress appear on her body quickly. “Come in!” she then called. Hanako then came in.
“I understand you’ve been having some feelings towards Realmfleet?” she quizzed.
“…Arsha told you,” guessed Irmalii.
“Arsha told me,” confirmed Hanako. “Captain Ralmamp, I understand that you feel as if Realmfleet is muscling in on local law enforcement, an understandable concern, I assure you. Let me also assure you that there ARE some cases a bit much for normal law enforcement. Although, I must question you signing off a robbery as a Realmfleet case.”
“…What?” quizzed Irmalii.
“The robbery at Twenzek’s,” elaborated Hanako. “The watch-maker?”
“…You mean the robbery 20 years ago?” inquired Irmalii.
“No, the one that happened last night,” replied Hanako, getting confused.
“…Your Majesty, with respect, what in the Depths are you talking about?” asked Irmalii.
“Irmalii, don’t you remember?” answered Hanako. “You signed the transferal form for Realmfleet to take care of a robbery at Twenzek’s last night.”
“I never…WHAT?!” yelped Irmalii.
“Are you doing a bit here?!” quizzed Hanako. “Irmalii, you transferred that case to Realmfleet!”
“No, I didn’t!” insisted Irmalii.
“I can prove it!” declared Hanako. “Let’s go to me and Elgrad’s cottage!”
While that was going on, Malnar and Gorfanth were helping a Naga man out. He was engaged to a female Troll who wanted to be married in traditional Under-realm fashion. The whole thing is performed, yes, performed in a play that depicted how the first King and Queen of the Under-realm came to consummate their love. That was done after a massive fight where their enemies swarmed the castle and tried to kill everyone but failed once the King and Queen entered the fray. Malnar and the Naga, Kurdu, were practicing with magical constructs of the enemies that swarmed the castle and stormed the throne room. The two were using large swords to end their enemies’ lives. Once the last soldier had fallen, Malnar turned and spoke in the Under-realm language. “Jeter toket ganki koldi damku galti rekek ganki bamte damku geotu danme gafta genla rekek ganki genla koldi kentakenta makormakor” (What speaks your heart?!) she shouted to Kurdu.
“Kirpa geotu toket rekek ganki genla koldi damku galti rekek ganki…ganki…bamte damku kirpa g…geotu g…g…galti genla lakun makor rekek makormakor” (My heart speaks my pride!) stumbled Kurdu.
“Makor danme rekek damku geotu danme gafta genla galti genla lakun makor rekek damku galti rekek ganki bamte toket danme aenzi danme genla kentakenta makormakor” (Does your pride speak honor?!) roared Malnar.
“Z…z…zempu rekek koldi kirpa rekek damku…damku toket d…d…danme jeter…” (Let me show…) fumbled Kurdu.
“Stop!” called Gorfanth. Kurdu sighed in relief as Malnar rolled her eyes. “Kurdu, you say the King’s words, but don’t give them feeling! You don’t give them any PASSION!” admonished Gorfanth.
“Having to learn the Under-realm’s language isn’t helping my performance!” argued Kurdu.
“Don’t think of this as a performance!” urged Gorfanth. “Put yourself into the King’s head! Imagine yourself in the castle, long before the Realms even thought about the Realmgates! There you are, at the dawn of the Under-realm’s dominion! Countless soldiers stormed the castle with intent to kill the King and Queen! The Royal Guard fled, leaving the King and Queen to defend themselves with whatever could pass for a sword! It was in the castle that they committed themselves to the greatest romance in Under-realm history!”
“Zeme remi lepu retu lepu retu nopo lepu foro lepu feni lesi saka zapi lesi retu endeende ” (This is ridiculous!) hissed Kurdu in the Mid-realm language. “My tail is soaked in blood, the floor is littered with corpses, death’s stench is permeating throughout this place, and you want me to feel ROMANTIC?! Why am I putting myself through this?!”
“Because, later that night,” answered Malnar, “like a pair of cats in heat, the King and Queen leapt on each other and stripped one another, making love right there in the throne room! Nowadays, that part is left for the honeymoon, but battle STILL gets that drive going.”
“It does, huh?” mused Kurdu. “…Once more.” Just then, Arsha came in. Malnar stifled a giggle as she found Arsha’s current hairstyle funny.
“Malnar,” called Arsha, “did you talk to your dad lately about Captain Jensho?”
“The Under-realm’s Royal Guard Captain?” quizzed Malnar. “No, why?”
“Because Rokalla’s informed me that normal law enforcement has a rash of laziness, passing on their cases to Realmfleet, even the small time ones!” replied Arsha. “I think Orbak would rest easier if he knew his Royal Guard isn’t lazy.”
“Yes, he DOES tend to prefer to use Realmfleet as a last resort, like the Falgreth Affair,” mused Malnar. “Excuse me.” She departed from the group to contact her father.
“Excuse me as well,” bid Arsha as she left Gorfanth and Kurdu.
Meanwhile, around midday, at the old barn near the Great Lake, the source of life for the Oasis, Tormo had gathered the doubting royals. “Okay, we are here,” grunted Dimorea. “Let us see the camel.”
“Now!” barked Lurmir.
“SSHHH!” hissed Tormo. “Keep it down! I don’t want to keep reminding you that the camel is dangerous! The slightest noise will set it off and I can’t be responsible for what happens! Now, we’re just gonna tip-toe, peek through the cracks, and…”
“QUIT STALLING!” roared Twundrii.
“We’ll make all the noise we want!” shouted Fornam.
“I’m warning you,” hissed Tormo, “keep it down or you’ll…!” He didn’t get very far as angry camel noises erupted from the barn! Other noises, like abandoned tools crashing on the walls, shook the barn as if it were alive!
“BY THE HEIGHTS!” yelped Lurmir. “IT’S GONNA KICK DOWN THE BARN!”
“Hey, Tormo,” gulped Dimorea, “do you have that crazy camel secure in there?!”
“She must have broken loose,” remarked Tormo. “Well, my Lords and Ladies, want to sneak a peek?”
“Maybe we shouldn’t upset the camel any further before this weekend’s race,” gulped Fordo.
“Do you want to see it?” asked Lurmir.
“No,” replied Dimorea. “I have seen enough!”
“Me too,” muttered Twundrii.
“We believe you,” Fornam declared to Tormo. “Come on, you guys, we better go.” The royals departed, leaving Tormo alone. The noise in the barn had died down, so he approached it and knocked. A male Camel Anthro poked his head out.
“How did it go?” he asked.
“Smooth as Drider silk,” reported Tormo with a grin. “Nice job on the noise, Tensur.”
“Well, I DO have a temper,” replied the Anthro, Tensur. “Might as well put it to good use.”
“All right, let’s review the plan,” declared Tormo. “Start off strong at the beginning.”
“Right, she needs a run for her money,” agreed Tensur.
“But, once you’re in the high dunes, let her pass you,” continued Tormo. “Remember, our organization needs Drenii to win.”
“Then our organization gets all the goodies that were bet on me, the mystery camel!” declared Tensur. “Man, Dr. Borg will be pleased!”
After the law enforcement laziness scandal was revealed to have permeated throughout the Realms, the royals were NOT happy. All law enforcement agencies were guilty in some measure, so a new stipulation was made. From now on, all cases would go to the Royal Guard Captains of the Over, Mid, and Under-realm royal families to be triple-checked for any forgeries and their decision would be final on whether or not a case would be escalated to Realmfleet. Rokalla announced Realmfleet’s unanimous support of that decision, since the minor cases they had received in the past had distracted them from more important duties, such as ending the scourge all Splitter Branches represent. After the meeting had adjourned, Irmalii sat in a shady spot to think. Arsha approached her. “Are you okay?” she asked.
“To be frank, I’m still disgusted that law enforcement was that lazy,” replied Irmalii. “I’m also angry at myself for thinking Realmfleet was muscling in on our territory when it wasn’t Realmfleet’s fault.”
“We were all duped,” muttered Arsha.
“…Yeah, we were,” sighed Irmalii.
“…Wanna go shop around the booths?” suggested Arsha.
“…Yeah,” replied Irmalii. “Zwelmam has a few dress ideas and could use some fabric and dye.” They got up and headed to the booths. As they browsed, Bashoon came up.
“Captain, permission to make a crazy bet concerning the mystery camel?” she requested.
“For what reason, Ensign?” asked Arsha.
“I saw the outline of my uncle in the old barn by the Great Lake,” explained Bashoon, “and he was talking to a Camel Anthro. I believe he’s got some scheme involving swindling people and I would like to make my bet the last possible bet to disrupt his scheme.”
“How crazy are we talking?” inquired Arsha.
“…The ship,” mumbled Bashoon.
“Speak up, Ensign Barmek,” ordered Arsha.
“The ship,” repeated Bashoon in a clearer voice.
“…Are you talking about the Endeavor?!” yelped Arsha.
“Captain, I understand this is unorthodox,” interjected Bashoon, confirming Arsha’s suspicions, “but I know my uncle. If one makes a crazy bet at the last possible minute against who or what he says is a safe bet, he’ll panic and do something to ruin himself.” Arsha considered her next actions. “The crew IS willing to go along with it,” continued Bashoon.