Could there be any more a relaxing day in the world? The sun smiled down from a crystal blue sky with only a single cumulus island threatening the hailing rays. Each photonic burst painted the wide hills of green and the fields of flowers, all seeming to dance in the laughing delight of day.
It was a paradise that Hammer, eldest of the Hammer Brothers, intended to nap straight through.
His red hat was gently sloped over his closed eyes while his brown, styled mustache felt its top and side layers wobble against the heavy breathing of its sleeping master. His blue overalls were unbuttoned while his hands rested behind his head, a colorful lawn chair holding his entire weight beneath the shade of a plumed tree.
Around his slumbering perch was the safest point in the realm, Stalk Castle. He’d protected it for years from foes both of their realm and others, outsmarting each with his slicing wit and endless cleverness. At least, that’s what the official decrees would always say. He and his love, the radiant Princess Petunia, knew with full humorous truth that his heroics mostly involved a pair of fine, sturdy shoes and some other-worldly friendships.
Petunia was inside the raised white walls devising a new confectionery to offer sweet Hammer for his latest heroics, perfectly content with his grumbling sleep that could be heard over the song of the hills. Those sublime aural delights animals and winds played sent her head gently bobbing from side to side and her pink lips into an attuned humming.
From behind, she could hear the approach of one of her faithful, if not shy, servants, who asked, “Shall I wake Hammer, your highness?”
“For what, Stalk,” she asked in an impossibly sweet tone that revealed her innocent nature.
“There is a letter for him, your majesty. It is sealed by a wax emblem,” he said in the wavering voice of a forest creature. Her father had awoken the creatures to his service in a dire time of war that had since, thankfully, ended, due in no small measure to Hammer’s intervention. “Shall I?”
“Bring it here.” She set her quill to rest and turned with one elegant, gloved hand extended. Stalk wobbled over on rounded feet and lowered his spotted cap, his own hand moving the letter to hers perfectly. Her fingers softly flung open the wax emblem along the back, stamped “FG” in fine red wax, and began to read allowed, “Roses are red, violets are blue, I’ve got a plan, to get rid of youuu – oooooohhhhh!”
As she finished, a small spinning vortex appeared from the note and lifted her off her feet. Her arms and hands stretched and whole body was spun in the air above the hovering letter, a high-pitched wail moving to Hammer’s ears and waking him in an instant.
Stalk wasn’t handling the disappearance of the Princess well as Hammer dashed to the scene, running and screaming in a small circle with tears bouncing from his eyes. Hammer grabbed his shoulders on one of the laps and gave him a stern look. Stalk responded, “I know, I have to be brave. But…but it was him! It had to be the Fine Gentlemen that took our Princess again!”
Hammer walked to the letter and immediately saw the seal of his most constant rival in any of the realms. He’d fought the Fine Gentleman in the great Airboat Wars and won, again during the Galactic Conflicts, and again and again. The war, for them, was never over; as long as there was an opportunity to court the Princess, the Fine Gentleman would never stop.
He snatched the letter in hand and moved his determined eyes to Stalk, who responded with, “Be careful, Hammer. Please get Princess Petunia back safe and sound!”
With a mumble of the lines on the page, he too summoned a vortex that took him into a swirling, dizzying calamity that stretched and deformed him. When his senses back completely, he was somewhere dark and unknown. Even still, he tugged on the bill of his hat, huffed defiantly, and strode on to find his lost princess.
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