It was a long and perilous journey to the Cluster of Doom. Even worse,
the homicidal deathbots of the planet Demise didn't even seem to want the
unstable explosive material that they hadn't ordered anyway.
|Artwork © Ulysses Ai|
You risked your life to cart the stuff halfway across the galaxy, alone in
a dilapidated, malfunctioning ship. And so after what must have been the
most stressful week in your life, you finally return to Amorphonon 12,
looking forward to spending some time with your girlfriend.
Reflecting on what has happened, you have a sneaking suspicion that
Lord Gablentite is trying to kill you. But why? You are a hero! True, no
one else seems to have noticed your great exploits, but they are impressive
nonetheless. Your girlfriend Pomplompotom enjoys your stories at least.
Soon after your arrival, you are suddenly summoned to see the
Carefully, you make your way to his audience chamber and slip in
through the back way.
"Ah, welcome back!" he greets you as you climb in though the window.
"Please have a seat."
You eye the seat he refers to. "Er, I prefer to stand."
"Suit yourself," Lord Gablentite says easily. He currently wears the
form of an aristocratic human in blue and golden robes, seated at a large
desk where he pushes papers around in an important manner. "I regret to
inform you that I can no longer allow you to court my daughter."
"Wa?" you respond. "Why?"
"It has been reported to me that you are currently under contract to
someone else. Is this true?"
"No, of course not! Who said that?"
The Merchant Prince picks up a piece of paper and peers closely at it.
"Apparently you made a contract with the treemaids of Teeheehee."
"Them? No! I was only there for a week. I mean, I did some work for
them, but there was no contract, and I didn't even get paid."
"Hmm. It says here that during your initial contact with the treemaids,
you promised to do anything, if they would just take you to their planet."
The Merchant Prince looks at you and arches an eyebrow.
"Well, I may have said that," you admit sheepishly. "But that's not a
"A legal court would differ. You made a verbal contract, and the
treemaids have fulfilled their obligation by taking you to their planet as
you stipulated. All that remains now is for you to do whatever they
"I saved them from being turned into tissues!"
"Ah, yes. But not under the terms of the contract. So whatever you
did on Earth was, unfortunately, just recreation."
"Recreation?! I could have been killed!"
Lord Gablentite shrugs. "Many people seem to enjoy extreme sports.
Anyway, the task the treemaids did give you under the contract, to catch
the spiders that had escaped from their research facility, you left
You shake your head in confusion. "What has any of this got to do
with me and Pomplompotom?"
Lord Gablentite explains. "To be allowed to court my daughter, you
must sign a suitor's contract, which you have done. However, in light of
your prior commitments, that contract is now void." He picks up a piece
of official-looking paper and places it inside a clear glass box. He shuts
the door and the paper starts to blacken and curl, smoking into
nothingness within seconds.
"Why do I need a contract to have a girlfriend? I just want to hang out
and... er, talk to her. It's not like I'm going to marry her!"
"We do not do things so... casually here," the shapeshifter says. "No
doubt you share the common delusion of all humans of permanence. You
think your reality is solid, thus you seek transience. My people know
better. The universe is ever-changing and transient. The only permanence
is that we create ourselves, through our word, and through our law!"
"Huh?" you say.
The merchant prince waves away your confusion. "Now, you are free
to continue working for me, since our agreement has no conflict with
whatever demands the treemaids may make; since I will grant you Leave
whenever they demand your services."
You tap your chin with your finger. "What if I go to Teeheehee and
resolve this, then can I come back and sign another suitor's contract?"
"Well, I suppose I would have to consider it," Lord Gablentite
"And if I have a contract, with you, I can stipulate that I must be
allowed to spend time with your daughter!"
"The contracts are traditionally negotiable," the Merchant Prince says,
"In that case, I want to apply for Leave now, to go to Teeheehee," you
"Very well," the Merchant Prince agrees, looking shrewd. "Good
You nod carefully and back from the room. Once outside, you turn
and run off to organise your passage back to Teeheehee.