When the crew heard they were going to the Over-union festival, they were elated! The day finally came and the Endeavor was approaching the area where the festival would be held, the Zephyrs’ home of Wysper City. Shalvey made the announcement as they got closer. “Wysper Command Outpost 2, this is the Endeavor, registry CRS-2784. We are currently approaching Wysper City. Requesting permission to land.”
“Standby and transmit your clearance code,” replied the operator over the line. Shalvey keyed in a command and transmitted the clearance code. “Ah, updated to new Realmfleet Standard, huh?” mused the operator. “Your code checks out. Assigning flight path 3 on account of some cloud build-up, nothing that will indicate rain, just want you to be safe.”
“We appreciate it,” assured Shalvey. “Thank you.”
“Enjoy Wysper City!” bid the operator. The call ended and Nazay maneuvered the Endeavor to the flight path. They soon landed and departed to see one of Lardeth’s moms come up to them.
“There she is! One of my future daughter in laws!” she cheered. She wrapped Arsha into a huge, tight hug.
“G…good to…see you too…Queen Feymay,” strained Arsha. “Can’t…breathe!”
“Oh, no, no, no! None of that formal stuff!” declared the Queen, Feymay. “If we’re going to be family, we need to drop titles around each other! Now, come on! Let me show you all around!” She then noticed something. “Now, where did my son go?”
“I was about to say,” muttered Arsha, “I would have thought Lardeth would be here earlier than me.”
“He was here a minute ago,” remarked Feymay. “Him and Malnar and Falnii.”
“Coming!” called Lardeth’s voice. He, Falnii, and Malnar rushed up to Arsha and enveloped her into a group hug.
“It’s been WAY too long!” giggled Malnar.
“We’re missing a couple of people,” observed Falnii once the embrace broke off.
“Foresna and Gorfanth are coming,” assured Arsha. “They’re just making sure they’re absolutely ready.”
“Well, looky here!” called Foresna’s voice. He and Gorfanth then approached the group. “All six of us, together again!” cheered Foresna.
“It’s been almost a year since we were all in one place,” mused Gorfanth.
“I think we can all do with some time together,” remarked Arsha.
“Still reeling from your fight with Oyed?” asked Lardeth.
“Yeah, the whole crew is,” replied Arsha. “Some of them have family in the Over-realm, they need to reconnect with them.”
“How’s Samuje doing?” asked Falnii.
“Not well,” sighed Arsha. “She’s now scared of going onto a skyship.”
“That traumatizing, I see,” sympathized Malnar.
“I can only hope she does well for herself now,” sighed Falnii.
“So do I,” replied Arsha. “In any event, I heard you completed your tour, Lardeth.”
“Sure did!” confirmed Lardeth. “After the Tour’s End Ceremony, I’m gonna submit the paperwork needed for me, Falnii, and Malnar to live with you guys!”
“Oh, I hope Realmfleet approves it!” wished Gorfanth. “We need to stay together!”
“Agreed,” remarked Malnar, “especially with Oyed rising.”
“Well, I’ll make sure he falls permanently!” vowed Arsha.
“I’m afraid you must get in line,” called a voice. “My cousin was one of the surviving Ensigns.” Rellmeer, Felfar, and the Fae Emperor, Rellmeer’s husband, Embrek approached them.
“…Your cousin, Your Majesty?” Arsha asked Rellmeer.
“Like Samuje,” replied Rellmeer, “he is traumatized. We don’t know how badly, but the fact he suffered like that is more than enough.”
“My Lady…” began Arsha.
“Arsha, we do NOT blame you or Realmfleet in the slightest,” interrupted Embrek. “No one in the Fae Republic does and no one will.”
“The Circle of Vengeance,” continued Felfar, “is reserved for Oyed and his followers. We won’t rest until he pays for his crimes.”
“I am available if you wish for my help,” promised Arsha.
“For that, I am grateful,” bid Rellmeer. “Oyed sought to drive us apart. Well, his crimes have united us all in seeking vengeance on his head!”
“Not exactly something any Realm-union festival encourages,” remarked Embrek, “but Oyed must pay!”
“Agreed,” answered Malnar. “But we can’t exactly make a Blood Contract right now, can we?”
“No, Your Highness, we can’t,” replied Rellmeer. “We have duties to perform. Speaking of which, I believe everyone’s taking their place for the Opening Ceremony.”
“We’ll see you there!” called Arsha as Rellmeer and her family headed off.
Everyone took their place around midday. Lardeth’s cousin, Feemnaf, took her place at the podium, ready to announce the kingdoms of the Over-realm. “From the Blasarda Desert,” she began, “we have the Ignarsens, King Galtra, Queen Larana, Lola, and Ortren!” A pair of Nagas and a pair of humans made their way down the aisle as everyone cheered. They soon sat in their places. “From the Rooka Forest, we have the Stonewoods, King Elm, King Ash, King Maple, Queen Lily, their daughter, Princess Daisy, and her spouse, Mr. Hickory!” Dryads and Alarunes moved down the aisle, waving to the crowd, then sat behind the Ignarsens. “From the Drelda Forest, we have the Almaydias, Emperor Embrek, Empress Rellmeer, and their harem members, Felfar, Moralma, Alma, Korla, and Granthin!” The two Fairies and Felfar were accompanied by a human, a Sprite, another Fairy, and a Pixie, all female. They sat next to the Stonewoods after they walked down the aisle. “From the Chromanian Sea Merfolk Kingdom, we have the Janfos, Queen Shenfam, Queen Glanmaj, Queen Kalmarit, and their daughter, Princess Keyumta!” A middle-aged Mermaid, a pair of middle-aged Cecaelia women, and a young Mermaid glided down the aisle in water chairs like Shalvey, taking their seats on the other side of the Stonewoods. “From the Coliamdii Kingdom, we have the Yantorus, King Tegnar, King Lektem, their daughter, Princess Tanshwee, and her spouse, Lord Yentak!” Lardeth arched an eyebrow as the Yantorus walked down the aisle and sat near the Almaydias.
“Where’s Mariah and Namdaresh?” he muttered.
“We’ll need to ask Tanshwee,” mused Arsha.
“From the Lunarimba Sea Merfolk Kingdom,” continued Feemnaf, “we have the Yantefas, King Hindegar, Queen Ulumeye, their son, Price Ventiko, and his spouse, Mr. Genjokuu!” The Yantefas had water-chairs as well and glided down the aisle to their spot near the Yantorus. “From the Falchineve Drider Colony, we have the Tolandahs, King Hekcho, Queen Yumbii, their harem member, Yulumei, and their children, Prince Vetam and Princess Yetam!” The Tolandahs walked down the aisle, their legs moving in their usual, purposeful manner, and set themselves in front of the Ignarsens. “From the Altiam Mountains, we have the Stonefoots, King Gekshar, his daughter, Yelem, and her spouse, Lord Yenter!” A trio of Dwarves stomped down the aisle and raised their hammers, earning cheers as they sat next to the Tolandahs. “From the Ralandren Plains, we have the Untarfus, King Heenda, his harem member, Laumney, and their son, Kunfar!” A Centaur trio trotted down the aisle, the woman hanging on the arm of the King, and sat themselves next to the Stonefoots. “From the Regalin Sea Merfolk Kingdom, we have the Yalunais, King Jeemar, King Jeltam, their harem member, Leefal, and their children, Prince Kajna and Princess Loomo!” Three Cecaelias, with the two men each holding a child, came down the aisle and sat next to the Untarfus. “From the Calando Merfolk Kingdom, we have the Ilmators with their psychiatrist, King Keymat, Queen Yalmu, Princess Malmee, and Dr. Anya Pastella!” More water-chairs took the Merfolk down the aisle and set them on the other side of the Ignarsens. “From Dwalna City, we have the Yerumals, King Henjar, his daughter, Princess Ferga, the High-Witch of Dwalna City, Lady Empria Dewlna, and the city’s wish-granter, Loolee Albrina!”
“Loolee?” asked Malnar as three humans and a genie woman came down the aisle. “Last time I met her was on my tour. I thought she couldn’t leave the city, being bound to it.”
“Maybe one of them wished for her to see the festival,” mused Gorfanth as the Yerumal party sat by the Ilmator party.
“From the Sacchrinda Kingdom,” Feemnaf went on, “we have the Maropwems, King Jonthar, Queen Keelma, and their daughters, Princess Rosalmia, Princess Orsanmii, Princess Yasinma, Princess Grenmaf, Princess Blamfem, Princess Pinalk, and Princess Purhalmaf!” A Fairy man and a human woman led their seven identical daughters down the aisle. The daughters looked and dressed alike, only being told apart by the colors of their dresses, hair, and eyes. While they were Blenders, they didn’t have the wings or antennae of their father, just his biological immortality. They sat behind the Yerumal party and turned their attention down the aisle. “From Vorkath, we have the Lorpeths, King Belnki and Queen Balma!” Belnki and Balma came down the aisle and sat by the Maropwems. Arsha noticed that Balma had her hand on her belly.
“Could she be…?” she muttered to herself.
“And last, but not least,” called Feemnaf as she got out dozens of water bottles, “hosting the Festival, from right here in Wysper City, we have my aunts’ family, the Felomphas, Queen Feymay, Queen Emfam, Queen Roomef, Queen Jeefef, Queen Olmarfa, Queen Ufnamfa, Queen Teefmanam, Queen Pofomofo, King Endram, and their children…” she took a swig of water before rattling off the royal heirs, “Princess Welmaf, Princess Wamfar, Princess Eemaf, Princess Yelmef, Princess Memfee, Princess Domamfem, Princess Pemfem, Princess Prefamal, Princess Yomfu, Princess Twayfar…” another swig before going on, “Princess Teefem, Princess Tomnuf, Princess Fanfum, Princess Regaph, Princess Phormof, Princess Pefmaph, Princess Mophoj, Princess Yenpheer…” yet another swig, “Princess Flamfer, Princess Yulnef, Princess Fehgar, Princess Doful, Princess Demphar, Princess Sumamf, Princess Yumeef, Princess Emfal…” another swig, “Princess Yemfet, Princess Rupafur, Princess Tumfem, Princess Quafaph, Princess Toofan, Princess Teyfarmaf, Princess Erpaph, Princess Wenthoph…” this time, she guzzled her water, “Princess Remfamto, Princess Iftaph, Princess Vumfaf, Princess Leemoth, Princess Wurmamph…” another guzzle of water, “and Crown Prince of the Over-realm, Lardeth of the Over-realm’s capital, Wysper City with his fiancés, Ambassador Falnii Loftanaf of Wysper City, Crown Princess of the Mid-Realm, Arsha Royana of the Mid-realm’s capital of Largandra, Mr. Foresna Falshenda of the Mid-realm village of Rokanth, Crown Princess of the Under-realm, Malnar Emboramii of the Under-realm’s capital citadel of Belsnath, and Mr. Gorfanth Steelhorn of the Under-realm’s Galdredan Lava Kingdom! PHEW!” She had one last guzzling of water before she continued. “By the Ones, I thought my immediate family was big!” This earned a chuckle from the audience. “Now, all in attendance must launch a fireball into the torch to begin the Festival!” The golden bowl that surrounded the giant wick was really large, so there was no chance of missing the actual torch. After everyone launched their fireballs, fireworks were launched as the torch’s flame leapt into the air! “I hereby pronounce the Over-union Festival…OPEN!” Everyone cheered at that proclamation. Soon, the booths opened and displayed the technological prowess of the Over-realm! Arsha and her spouses wandered around for a bit, marveling at the technological advancements on display.
“Wow!” breathed Arsha as she goggled at a new type of train. Her childhood was coming to the forefront. “Look at the design of the boiler! So streamlined! What’s that thing’s max speed?! I gotta know!”
“I heard you liked trains,” remarked Lardeth, “but I never realized how much.”
“Are you kidding me?!” asked Arsha. “Can you imagine how the original designer thought of making his first engine?! He must have looked at a kettle on the stove and wondered ‘How can I make this thing move?’! It’s so amazing!”
“I wonder if they’re going to make this thing a Mechanica,” mused Foresna.
“If it’s even allowed to become one,” muttered Lardeth.
“What do you mean?” quizzed Arsha.
“There have rumors going around the Realmfleet High Council,” explained Lardeth, “that Uluntan’s decision is going to be revoked and Mechanicas will be stripped of their rights, something the Conservatives are very keen to do.”
“What in the Realms for?!” demanded Arsha as she transferred her hairpiece to her waist.
“The same old arguments that Uluntan heard during the trial,” replied Lardeth, “that they’re just machines that shouldn’t have come to life in the first place.”
“What a load!” snapped Foresna. “Who are these people and why do you royals need to pay them any attention?!”
“Um, I don’t think we need to worry,” Falnii interjected softly.
“Why’s that, Fluffy?” asked Malnar.
“Well,” replied Falnii, “Councilor Genthar’s stepped down as the leader of the Conservative Party.”
“Has he now?!” cheered Malnar as everyone’s mood brightened. “Well, they’re gonna be too busy with that to worry about Mechanicas.”
“Darn straight!” agreed Arsha as she put her hairpiece back onto her bun. “The Conservatives will be scrounging to find a replacement and the Futurists will exploit this leadership clash to no end!”
“There’s still the Populists to consider,” reminded Lardeth. “They’re not exactly as friendly with Chimeras, who knows what their views on Mechanicas are. I wonder how many of them will try to pass Conservative policies.”
“Mom had a saying about politicians with no term limits,” mused Arsha, “they only have two priorities: staying in office and bad-mouthing the opposition.”
“Isn’t she one?” asked Falnii.
“Yeah, our parents certainly are,” agreed Malnar as she pointed to herself, Lardeth, and Arsha.
“Mom’s called royal families figureheads; thus we’re exempt from that definition,” replied Arsha.
“I can’t say as I agree with her,” remarked Lardeth. “As it stands now, we currently have the most political power and the most amounts of resources to enact…it…” He trailed off as he saw something drifting down from the sky. “…I must be seeing things!”
“Me too!” yelped Falnii. “Snow?! I can’t remember the last time it snowed this early!”
“I don’t think it has!” replied Lardeth.
“I can’t remember seeing snow at this point in an Over-realm winter!” supplied Malnar.
“I can already hear the rail-people grumbling,” muttered Lardeth.
“Come on, Princess, be fair,” chided Arsha. “They’re right to grumble. The snow DOES bring a whole host of problems, a few cancelled trains, icy rails, curtailed speed, various businesses rushing to complete their orders before closing for the season, and poor visibility, if there’s really bad fog.” That’s when fog started creeping in. “…Case in point,” muttered Arsha.
“Well, looks like a few activities during the week will be cancelled,” sighed Lardeth.
“You know, I think Rosalmia will have a harder time finding another lover,” mused Malnar. “Princess, you’re her best friend, how many lovers does she have now?”
“I have a hard time keeping up with all my sisters,” replied Lardeth. “I never really learned all of her lovers’ names.”