The day of the Under-union Festival’s opening ceremony had arrived! Arsha was bouncing up and down, eager to see the delights of the Under-union Festival. She always enjoys the dancing, the singing, and the broomstick sports! Her favorite sport was called Sanduay. She was excited at the idea of seeing a Sanduay game as she hadn’t seen one for a while since starting her tour of duty. Right now, she and her fiancés were with the Emboramiis, waiting for the rulers of the Under-realm to be announced. A Minotaur man stepped up to the podium and began. “Hosting the festival, and ruling the Galdredan Lava Kingdom, we have the Narvens, Queen Andwayla, Crown Princess Calandra, her fiancé, Elmar, Princess Ellemar, Princess Hanju, Princess Leenar, Prince Yantonu, Prince Ektan, and his husbands, Lord Tullak and Lord Forlater!” The Narvens and Elmar walked down the aisle, waving as they passed the rows of people before taking their seats. “From the Greltharg Merfolk Kingdom, we have the Yunumteys, King Exarla, King Teynar, Queen Eeraldii, Crown Prince Enturnam, and Prince Gulraten!” Three Cecaelia men, a Mermaid, and a Merman then came down the aisle, the merfolk in water chairs like Shalvey. They sat behind the Narvens, Queen Eeraldii wiggling between her Kings and giggling like a little girl. Their sons, twins from the waist up, just rolled their eyes at the “mushy” romance going on. “From the Morgonthor Trench, we have the Yerudiis, King Alnedar, his harem member, Ganthir, and Prince Lenshu.” Two Mermen and a Cecaelia woman came up and sat behind the Yunumteys. “From Crelima City, we have the Hanthuus, Queen Entralii, Queen Yurmar, and Queen Lartin.” A Succubus, a Naga, and a human all came down the aisle and sat left of the Yerudiis. “From Frigandor, we have the Glasnitas, King Esirat, Queen Ellndar, Prince Ferdath, and their royal guards, the Larkenthas, Lord Delga, Lady Larbuu, their son, Morla, and their harem heads, Enfanti Glarosa and Dorbu Toranthi.” The Frostik Royal family came forward with Delga and his family and harem members following behind. They sat to the left of the Hanthuus. “From the Actanila Mega-shark Grounds, we have the Wenshars…”
“Mega-shark?” Arsha hissed to herself.
“King Enrel and his son, Crown Prince Erutal,” finished the announcer. The two Mega-sharks had an apparatus over their gills to help them breathe. They walked down the aisle, looking very nervous, despite the applause. They sat behind the Glasnitas. “From the Calnthor Merfolk Kingdom, we have Queen Landuii Altror and her Royal Guard Captain, Sir Entrak Yortura.” A pair of Merfolk glided down the aisle and positioned themselves to the right of the Wenshars. “From the Greshkagh Mountains, we have the Gorkurahs, King Terothai, Queen Endomu, and Prince Korkomak.” A trio of Trolls walked down the aisle, then sat behind the Calnthor Queen and Royal Guard Captain.
“So Endomu DID remarry!” chuckled Malnar.
“And married one of the greatest Realmfleet Captains,” mused Arsha.
“From the Grilthan Forest,” continued the announcer, “we have the Tothens, King Endormak, Queen Rodoomee, Princess, Ensurna, their head dancer, Malee, and their Royal Guard Captain, Lord Elbar Tantho.” A band of Elves came down the aisle, waving as they walked, then sat to the Gorkurahs’ right. “From the Haldebor Drider Caves, we have the Lundaliis, High Priestess Torunath, High Priestess Landorel, Priestess Eramii, Priestess Falnimam, and Mother Superior Anturath.” A quintet of Drider women walked down the aisle, then positioned themselves to the Tothens’ right. Arsha arched an eyebrow.
“…Falnimam…Lundalii?!” she hissed to herself. “He’s dating one of the High Priestesses’ daughters?!”
“From Realmgate City, we have the Worodais,” the announcer went on, “King Erodeth, Queen Marutam, Queen Rutalmer, and Queen Toyaktii.” A male Fire Dragon, two female Sea Dragons, and a female Stone Dragon in their humanoid forms walked down the aisle. Malnar shook her head as the Dragon Royals sat in front of the Lundaliis.
“They’re all roughly 5,000 and they STILL haven’t made an heir,” she muttered.
“What’s the big deal?” asked Arsha. “Mom was in her 7,500’s when she gave birth to me.”
“You think that’s late?” chuckled Lardeth. “Mama Teefmanam had me when she was in her 10,000’s.”
“You mean you two were late-bloomers?” asked Malnar. “I never knew that. Daddy and Mother had me when they were in their late 2,600’s.”
“Yikes, that’s young,” winced Falnii.
“From Falgreth, we have the Varseks,” continued the announcer, “Lord Tomugath, Lady Endowilla, and their son, Young Lord Tenokath.” A duo of Troll adults, with Lord Tomugath holding the infant Tenokath, walked down the aisle, then sat beside the Worodais.
“And you said my parents were young when they had me?” Malnar asked Falnii. “Lord Tomugath’s only 2,300 and his wife can’t be much older than that.”
“From Dwelga, we have the Tolshoons,” the announcer went on, “Chancellor Penshek, First Lady Durshar, their children, Lord Torthan, Lady Entrilim, Lady Urmaltikar, Lady Werfern, Lord Dulerko, Young Lord Intorkar, Young Lord Feedokel, Young Lady Yintakal, Young Lord Huntokal, and Young Lady Jentothor.” Penshek and his family walked down the aisle and sat on the other side of the Worodais.
“Good gracious,” muttered Foresna, “that’s quite a family to provide for.”
“No kidding, that’s big by Goblin standards,” rumbled Gorfanth.
“And last, but certainly not least,” the announcer was wrapping up, “from the Under-realm’s capital of the Belsnath Citadel, we have the Emboramiis, King Orbak, Queen Elmpam, Crown Princess Malnar with her fiancés, Mid-realm Crown Princess Captain Arsha Royana, Over-realm Crown Prince Lardeth Felompha, Mr. Foresna Falshenda, Ms. Falnii Loftanaf, Mr. Gorfanth Steelhorn, Princess Yunfeen, Princess Lanthil, Princess Mirtantha, Princess Yantukath, their dancer, Pyrina Embrania, and their maid, Ralta Frilliom!” The Emboramiis and the people important to them walked down the aisle to the sound of a standing ovation, then they sat down at the bottom-most seats. “Now, all in attendance must release a light spell to pierce the dark cloud overhead!” The dark cloud overhead choked out the sun, but this was all prepared as part of the opening ceremony. The Royal Families then thrust their arms into the air, releasing pillars of light into the cloud, making it dissipate! “I hereby declare the Under-union festival…OPEN!” The crowd cheered and they all went off to see the various venues and booths. Arsha pulled Malnar to the side.
“I thought the Mega-sharks won’t go anywhere near land,” she muttered.
“…You haven’t heard?” asked Malnar.
“About the Mega-shark civil war.” Arsha’s eyebrows raised in alarm.
“Civil war? Over what?”
“Well, it turns out that there were Mega-sharks who insisted that slavery was backwards and used the incident at the Trelfan Trench as proof of their views. They would make every attempt to sneak slaves out of Mega-shark territory. They were always caught though, so a general originally from the Trelfan Trench, Enrel Wenshar, led a revolt against Queen Veloom. Daddy declared the civil war an internal matter and ordered everyone to not interfere unless a winner was declared. While Enrel lost more than a few battles, he certainly knew how to make victory costly for Veloom’s forces. Eventually, with her remaining soldiers sent to their borders, Enrel and his army struck the palace and killed Veloom. He’s doing what he can to rebuild the Mega-sharks into an honorable race, with Daddy’s help.”
“Here he comes.” Enrel approached Arsha.
“Greetings, Your Highness,” he began. “I am Enrel, the Mega-shark King.”
“Hello, King Enrel,” returned Arsha. Enrel could tell, by her tone, that she was skeptic.
“I understand your doubts. Last time you encountered us; we were lustful savages.”
“You don’t deny that?”
“I can’t, it won’t help us to learn from our mistakes if we don’t confront our arrogance. The work is slow, but King Orbak is helping us. We WILL be different, I promise.”
“You’ll be held to that.”
“I understand.” Enrel then left to speak with the other rulers.
“Arsha, his work IS long,” reminded Malnar, “but I have a feeling he’ll make good on his word and so will his descendants.”
“I hope so,” sighed Arsha. “I’m still a little suspicious of Mega-sharks.” She then switched to more pleasant channels. “But this is the Under-union Festival, a place of fun! I understand your sister’s family is performing?”
“The rest of the 4 F’s are gonna be arriving tomorrow. Yunfeen just needed to get here early so she could join us.”
“Probably for the best, it spared the announcer’s throat.”
“No kidding. I have to pity the announcers and the Over and Mid-union Festivals. That was a lot of names. Ours would pass out if he named everyone in the 4 F’s.”
“Someone talking about my family?” asked a voice. Yunfeen then approached the two girls in her Flamenco-style outfit.
“Yunny!” called Malnar as she hugged her young sister.
“Good to see you again, Mally!” giggled Yunfeen. She then looked over Malnar’s shoulder. “Great to see one of my future siblings-in-law!”
“It’s been a long time, Yunfeen,” returned Arsha.
“You look great!” Malnar broke off the embrace to get a good look at her. “In fact, there’s something different now.” Malnar then gasped. “Did you…?”
“I’m an official part of the Ravishing Reds within the Feisty Felansi Forsorna Family!” Yunfeen then performed a few dance moves that were very similar to Flamenco moves.
“Congratulations!” praised Arsha.
“How long have you been a Red?” asked Malnar.
“About two months now,” answered Yunfeen. “I’ve never been so happy!”
“You always liked the stage,” chuckled Elmpam’s voice.
“Mama!” cheered Yunfeen. She then hugged her mother. “It’s been WAY too long!”
“Well, that IS the curse of the Forsorna Family,” replied Elmpam. “You lot DO wander the Realms.”
“Yeah, it is. Go with the winds, we say.” Yunfeen then made a small gasp as she remembered something. “Malnar,” she began as she broke the embrace, “I’ve heard some bad news.”
“Oh?” asked Malnar.
“What happened?” quizzed Elmpam. “Did Dr. Borg make an attempt on someone’s life in Oyed’s name?!”
“Nothing THAT bad! Good grief, Mama!” protested Yunfeen. “Malnar, our team just lost their 3rd match against the Furies. The Bears aren’t playing against the Gorgons this week. It’s Furies vs. Gorgons.”
“NNNOOOOO!” wailed Malnar as she dropped to her knees and cried to the heavens.
“HA!” laughed Arsha. “You owe me 30 golds!”
“…Beg pardon?” asked Elmpam as she cocked her head in confusion.
“Sanduay, Mama,” explained Yunfeen as she and Arsha helped Malnar up. “We’re talking Sanduay.”
“Mama, you sound thoroughly disinterested,” observed Malnar.
“That’s…because I am,” answered Elmpam. “Sorry, girls, but this dog doesn’t care much for the sport.” Malnar, Yunfeen, and Arsha’s jaws dropped at that revelation.
“…My entire life and I never knew!” gasped Yunfeen.
“Mama, what sort of Belsnath woman are you?!” protested Malnar.
“Considering I was born and bred in the Coliamdii Kingdom, that’s an interesting question, Malnar,” chuckled Elmpam.
“But you DO take pride in your current home, don’t you?!”
“Then how can you not be outraged that we lost to Falgreth?!”
“Because I’m comfortable in the knowledge that we’ll get them next time.”
“…Huh. You know, I feel better already.”