January 30, 2023

The Princess and the Vagabond

A Ridiculous Love Story

Ruined By Monkeys, Black Magic, and Duodenums

by

Christopher ‘Vago’ Damitio

Copyright © 2005, 2013 , 2020

Published by Vagobond.com

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the author.

PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

Third Edition

Vagobond.com

Dedication:  To the Princess

Chapter 1: Once Upon a Time…

Once upon a time, on a beautiful island, farther from anywhere than anywhere, a beautiful princess met a reckless vagabond and they fell madly in love. It really happened and sometimes, life is like a fairy tale.

Of course, as usually happens in fairy tales, these star crossed lovers were separated when the princess was sent even further from anywhere than anywhere by her evil uncle. If this had been the normal, “I love ya Babe” fly by night sort of relationship both the princess and the vagabond would have thrown their hands in the air and moved on with their lives. Maybe that’s what they should have done, but since this is a fairy tale – that would pretty much suck. So they didn’t.

Because theirs was not that simple kind of love. They had secretly exchanged the most solemn kind of vows and in the process had combined the very essence of their hearts into one forever and ever. It was as if her heart beat in his chest and his in hers. They could even talk to each other over the vastnesses of time and space though both of them thought that they alone were being romantic and imagining that part of things.

No, my friends, theirs was what is whisperingly referred to as TRUE LOVE. That most sacred and holy mingling of two souls that are meant to be together. That holy grail all people seek that ends the state of perpetual aloneness. True Love. Some say it is a myth but the truth is, it’s as tough as a metal jar, but when it’s broken, it’s very hard, or maybe even impossible to fix.

The thing with True Love, dear readers, is that it tests those it is fickle enough to bestow its enormous gifts upon. True Love is never easy. It has to be tested. Some would argue that testing true love is unfair and wrong, but true love is like the finest steel. In order to obtain strength it must endure blistering heat and the trials of the forge. True love without these tests would be just the normal kind of common love. And common love is nothing to write fairy tales about.

But, back to our star crossed lovers. When the evil uncle whisked the beautiful Princess away to a land even further from anywhere than the island further than anywhere, she barely had time to express her love to the reckless vagabond. A few moments together but fate was already separating them and it was only because their love was true that the vagabond was able to burst into her private chambers and give her a kiss and a promise.

“I will be here waiting for you, ” he said, “And if you need me, I will come.” Perhaps it was that promise that led to everything else that was to happen. We can’t know, dear reader for when we second guess the past, we are only imagining a different fairy tale into existence.

As she stood, held in his arms, the guards of the evil uncle began pounding on the doors.

“Take this,” he said, giving her half a coin welded with a clasp. She saw that he already wore the other half around his neck. “This will keep thee near to me, even if we are far apart.”

The truth is, nothing can keep two hearts joined in true love from each other. The Princess knew this, but she took the talisman just to make her romantic lover happy. True love is like that too – we do things that are silly to us to make the other person feel loved, special, right, and content.

With a final electric but far too short kiss, the vagabond leapt from the window. The Princess shouted after him…” I love you!”

Chapter 2: The Land Further Away than the Island Further From Anywhere

When the Princess arrived in the Land Further than the Island Further than Anywhere she was told that only those who had never been there referred to it as the land further from anywhere than the island further than anywhere. The people that lived there called it Slone. They refereed to themselves as ‘Slonelies’ in the plural or ‘Sloners’ in the singular.

”I’ve never been a Sloner,” the Princess murmured to her handmaiden and helper.”But without my Vagabond Lover I feel slonely, I could die.”

Her handmaiden, being a practical sort of girl, quickly put this nonsense to rest. “My dear Princess, “ she said. “So long as you are here, you may as well make the best of it. Maybe there is some way you can assist the poor Slonlies. Perhaps you have some Princessly arts that you can use to win the love and admiration of each and every Sloner in Slone.”

The Princess recognized the value of her handmaiden’s suggestion and put her mind to the task. How to help the Slonlies of Slone? While she thought about that, she unpacked in her decidedly less than luxurious new rooms. One should point out that by Slone standards, the rooms were fabulously equipped, but such rooms on the Island Further from Anywhere than Anywhere would be quite common, but the Princess didn’t know this yet.

Her wicked Uncle had abandoned her to the Slonlies who lived in the poorest sort of poverty. The Princess thought and thought of how she could help each and every Sloner, but it wasn’t until she saw the cooks helper covering a filthy cut with a dirty rag that she realized what knowledge she could share. She had studied the healing arts since she had been a child with the most gifted healers in her kingdom. It had always been her passion. She made up her mind to help the Slonlies learn how to properly clean and bandage wounds, at the very least.

Meanwhile, the Vagabond was suffering a pain like none he had ever felt. His was not the suffering of physical pain, but the suffering of loss. He was also, filled with self doubt and second guesses about whether she wanted him or not. After all, who was he to have earned the love of a Princess? In the presence of her he felt secure and capable but when she was taken away, his confidence eroded like hard clay washed away by a spring flood..

“She will meet some Prince and forget all about me…” he said to himself. Which was actually, a pretty stupid thing to say because he could remember her shining eyes looking at him and feel the memory of her lips. At the memory, his heart would swell with emotion and he would wonder how he was ever able to doubt the trueness of their love. Up and down like the tides on the Irish coast his emotions and doubt came and went. Each cycle increasing the pain of his loss.

At times though, he would be renewed by the blissful moments life can sometimes provide. The symphony of the birds in nearby trees would rise in volume and he would hear the voice of his beloved Princess “I am yours. I am completely in love with you. My freedom will one day come and with it the life of love we shall share together. Be sure of that.”

In those moments, he became the man his lady love had fallen in love with. “I shall be your lion among men. I will wait for you my love. And if perchance I must, I will find my way to the Land that is even Further from Anywhere than the Island that is Further than Anywhere,” (because, he didn’t know the name of the land was Slone.) And sometimes he would shout out “I love you Princess. Now and Forever.” He knew that somehow his messages would reach her when she needed them, just as her words of love had reached him. He didn’t know how, but we shall get to that in due time.

He wasn’t certain how a simple vagabond becomes worthy of a Princess, but he was determined to do so. The Princess would have said that he was already worthy of her and perhaps more, but such is true love the lovers inspire each other to ever greater deeds and being. And so it was the Vagabond began watching closely those who were considered suitable matches for a Princess. Not to mimic them or to pretend to be of them. No, he simply wanted to add the things of them he admired while ridding himself of the things he didn’t. The Princess already saw him as a superior sort of person who was worthy of her though, so he really didn’t need to be doing that sort of thing at all.

 

Chapter 3: Prince Regent Wrecks and the Magician Artime

As if the separation of our Princess and Vagabond weren’t enough, the evil uncle, who was called Prince Regent Wrecks (though he tried to tell everyone it was spelled REX) hired a powerful magician named Artime to physically destroy the love of the Princess and Vagabond.

His reason was simple, true love is like a magic mirror that makes the evil and wicked see themselves for the pathetic lonely creatures they are. Nothing is worse, for, say a big ugly troll, that has convinced himself that he is the most powerful and fearful being on the planet than to see true love. Because it is then, he sees the small and vile creature he really is. The true sad lonely loser is often hidden beneath a fearsome exterior. And so, throughout time, the wicked have sought to destroy true love wherever they find it. Through poisoned apples, sleeping spells, and even sending beautiful princesses to Slone and hiring magicians to cast anti-love spells.

And so it was in our story. Wrecks would ruin the life of the vagabond while tempting him with pleasures while Artime the magician would go to Slone and endeavor to make the Princess forget about her Vagabond love.

Using the darkest of the dark arts, Artime transported himself to Slone and disguised himself to look like a simple merchant from a far land who had been stranded in Slone and was making the best of things. A fellow exile, if you will.

He conjured a store from a ruined tin shack that was close to where the Princess’s less than elegant digs were. Wrecks told him that the Princess was fond of monkeys and so he conjured them from the jungle and filled them with the souls of jilted lovers who had taken their own lives in despair. Suicide jilted lover’s souls wander the earth for ever so there were plenty about. He knew that they would have no sympathy for one who possessed that they had lost. And therefore, he knew that he could count on their complete loyalty in the cause of destroying true love.

Artime was a patient man and he watched the Princess to see how he could best manipulate her into betraying her love. It might take time to find the right angle, but he would find it.

Prince Wrecks had no patience whatsoever and hired a street beggar to infect the Vagabond with a deadly disease called bruniacoli which had completely destroyed a neighboring kingdom. Bruniacoli caused severe chills and fever followed by the most severe kind of body ache. The infected person would usually wish they could die to get it over with. Sometimes they killed themselves, but if they didn’t the disease became worse by far. The person would begin to feel better and then the final stage would begin. The victim would cough and cough and cough until they actually coughed up their internal organs and usually choked on their duodenum. It was a truly awful way to die.

Only two people knew how to recognize and cure bruniacoli, Prince Wrecks and the Princess. They had managed to keep the news of the disease a secret. The Princess had done it to keep her people from worrying or mourning for the nearby kingdom. Wrecks had done it so that he would have a secret weapon. He had managed to create a non-contagious version of the disease in his laboratory-dungeon and had been waiting for a victim to try it on.

The Vagabond was as good as dead. Prince Wrecks laughed to himself as he dropped a bag of kittens weighted with stones off a cliff and into the sea to celebrate.

Prince Wrecks loved nothing and no one but himself. He would spend countless hours gazing at portraits he had commissioned of himself doing heroic things that he had never done. Him riding a horse into battle. Him walking on the moon. Him singing on a stage in a tight white jumpsuit while girls fainted at his beauty. He had velvet paintings made of him playing cards with dogs, getting into sword fights, and laughing with friends. It was all fiction of course, he had no friends.

Artime the magician, on the other hand, did have one small part of his heart that wasn’t completely evil. It was a very tiny part. Most of his heart was filled with bitterness and greed because life had been cruel to him. Time had turned Artime from a hopeful young man studying magic, into a cold and bitter magician who would work for such a wretch as Prince Wrecks.

Artime had once loved a young woman called Futime. The two planned to travel the world and grow old together. They were bound by their love. Artime’s father, who had always been firmly in control of him didn’t like the idea of losing his son though. He was angered at the power Futime had seized from him.

He told Artime to put an end to the relationship and the plans. He demanded that Artime never see her again. Artime refused and ran away to hide in the mountains, leaving his father with only a note which said “You have no more power over me. I never want to see you again. Leave me alone.”

Artime knew that if he hid in the mountains over night he could meet Futime at the community well and they could run away together. His father, however, was a crafty man and had one last trick up his sleeve. He had a messenger take the note Artime had left for him to Futime.

The messenger told Futime “He has left and won’t be back. He hates you.” All of Futime’s joy left her and the once beautiful girl aged 80 years in an instant. Her despair was such that she repeatedly jammed a dagger into as many parts of her body as she could reach and died looking like a pin-cushion leaking ketchup.

The next day, when she didn’t come to the well, Artime went to her house and found her clutching his note.

In that moment, the hopeful young man disappeared. His father sold him to a black magician and the tiny spark of love hidden in his heart belonged only to the love of his life. She was now dead of course, Futime.

And so, when he was naming the monkeys who would help him destroy the Princess, it was no surprise that he should name the smallest one with the saddest eyes, Futime. It was this monkey he would use to spy on the Princess.

 

Chapter 4: Bond. Randy Bond

For the Vagabond, life sucked. Usually when a Vagabond’s life sucks – that’s the time when he gets up and goes. The problem was, he was in love so he didn’t want to go anywhere except where the Princess was and he couldn’t figure out exactly how to get to the land further away than the island further than anywhere – because it was a long ways away.

The truth is, it’s not easy to get to Slone. Imagine going from the island further from anywhere to the land that is further from anywhere than anywhere and you may start to see the difficulties. They’re far from everywhere and even further from each other.

Not only is there great cost involved but it also takes a long time unless you are incredibly rich or magical. To get to Slone, a normal (non-magical non-super-rich) person must have proper paperwork and this always takes time. Vagabonds aren’t known for being great at paperwork. The way a vagabond does it is to go from one place to another by foot or maybe by boat. But that’s pretty hard without a boat – when you live on the island further from anywhere than anywhere.

Even if he could have traveled from one country to the next, slowly working his way towards his lady love, he knew as soon as he got close, she would be whisked away by Prince Wrecks. That was just the kind of thing Wrecks would do.

So perhaps, dear reader, you can see the Vagabond’s dilemma. His instinct was to go, but he could not go where he wanted to go. It was enough to create confusion in the least confused of men and panic in those who were already confused. Imagine a knight without a horse or a carpenter without a hammer. Such is a Vagabond without the ability to go. It becomes a serious crisis of self-identity.

This was the dilemma our Vagabond felt.

To combat it, he had to do something, so he hired himself out to show the royalty who visited the kingdom the most beautiful spots on the island further from anywhere than anywhere. No one knows a place better than a vagabond because they spend their days taking long walks and exploring all the nooks and crannies of a land.

The Vagabond hoped to learn what it took to be a wealthy royal from these people. At the least, he could earn money to buy beautiful things for the Princess. Maybe he would even be able to save enough to pay a magician to transport him instantly to Slone.

It quickly became obvious he couldn’t introduce himself to everyone as Vagabond and the truth was since he had stopped going, he wasn’t really a vagabond any longer anyway. He began to tell people his name was Randy. At first he was Randy the Vagabond, but soon, he started to become just plain Randy. When people asked his last name he would say. Bond. It made him sound more like all of them and was a better last name than Thevaga.

During his work, Randy realized the great secret of the nobility. This was the secret they hid from everyone even including themselves. The royals weren’t better than others at all, they just acted like they were and because they did it so convincingly, everyone treated them as if it were true. They were only regular people putting on airs (although sometimes expensive ones.)

Those with the weakest character (like Prince Wrecks) relied on the money they controlled to demand respect. The True Nobility had only advantages of character and whether they were a Princess, Vagabond, or Beggar, it was their trueness to themselves that shined through. Ironically, just as he made this realization, he was bumped into by a very dirty beggar. Unfortunately for Randy, it was the bum who Prince Wrecks had hired to infect him with the deadly disease bruniacoli. And that was when his real problems began. Randy (formerly known as the Vagabond) was about to become very sick.

Chapter 5: Meanwhile Back in Slone

The Slonelies had begun to question why so many monkeys and chimps were coming and going from Artime’s store. He hadn’t really thought about what people might think. Usually they just thought he was a creepy old black magician, but this time, he needed to be undercover.

“I’m a holy man from the jungle,” he said, while scratching himself and picking his nose as he thought all good holy men from the jungle must do. “The Monkey God has commanded me to come to this Sloner Village and create a safe refuge for all monkeys because they are in danger from the dragons where they come from.”

“We don’t want all those monkeys here,” they grumbled.

“It will bring great luck to all of the village. People will come from afar and leave offerings here so they can see the lucky monkeys. Did I mention they are lucky monkeys? If you give them nuts, they will protect your dreams.” Artime was scratching and picking in a very convincing manner while he said all of this and soon the Slonlies were convinced.

“In this town,” they told each other “All monkeys will be free. No one will kill or eat monkeys here. We will see no evil, hear no evil, and speak no evil.”

In fact, all of this was actually a tricky spell to get the Slonelies to not see the evil he represented and was. For you see, the good that existed in Artime was so small as to be almost non-existent. But as they say, you can fool some of the people all of the time, all of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time. It’s a universal law.

So, for a short time, Artime fooled everyone. Even the Princess.

He invited her to dinner and as they ate he would stop scratching and picking and become positively charming. Naturally, it was to him that she turned for advice about her situation.

“Forget about love,” he laughed and speared a pea with his fork. “Just take this monkey Futime with you everywhere and you will never have to worry about love again. She loves you already.”

The Princess thought this was a fine idea as there was something about Futime she loved instantly too. And besides she had always had a huge affection for monkeys, hadn’t she? Now that she thought about it the Vagabond was really just a hairy monkey himself. How had she missed that before?

The Princess had a secret. When she was a child, the entire Royal Family had been having a picnic. They were at the beach and everyone ate tuna sandwiches with tons of mayo. These were royal tuna sandwiches though with no crust on the bread, golden plates and caviar mixed in the tuna with all that fancy homemade mayo. They all were having a wonderful time eating those sandwiches except for the Princess, who wasn’t sure it was dolphin safe tuna. Prince Wrecks who at that time was nearly twenty-years-old wasn’t eating either because he was too busy burning ants with a magnifying glass to be bothered with eating.

To make a long story short, they all died from food poisoning. The mayonnaise in the sun turned to poison and first they had all gotten horrible stomach cramps and then within a few hours they were all dead and bloated up like awful corpse balloons which the rising tide floated out to sea where they were, ironically, eaten by tuna.

Only the Princess and her uncle Wrecks survived the tuna massacre. Since she was only five years old, her Uncle Wrecks insisted on becoming acting Regent until the Princess married. You see, in those days, they actually thought men did a better job at running things than women. But that wasn’t her secret. That was just how her and Prince Wrecks came to be the only two heirs left for the throne. Her secret was far more interesting than that grisly tale – besides, everyone knew about that which made it not a secret at all.

Chapter 6: The Princess’s Secret

After the entire royal family died, Wrecks wanted to torture the Court Physician. It wasn’t because he was upset, it was simply because he was always looking for an excuse to torture someone.

The Princess however, was fond of old Doc Vard and convinced Wrecks that before killing him they should force the Doc to teach them everything he knew. This was a risky ploy on her part but she knew that the doctor had enough knowledge to teach for a lifetime. When she had been a child, Doc Vard had told her the story of 1001 Nights where Scheherazade saves herself by never finishing the story, so she hoped that the Doctor would understand what it was she was doing.

That was the reason both the Princess and Wrecks were schooled in the healing arts. Wrecks only showed up to class to hear about poisons and disease but the Princess learned everything the Doc could teach her. In fact, he taught her the secret you are about to become privy to dear reader. Are you ready?

Doc Vard had learned to heal from a Doctor named Doolittle. Doolittle had learned that if you had a true heart that beat with compassion, you could talk with the animals. He’d been a funny man, Dr. Doolittle, but his ability to talk with animals had led to more knowledge of plants and natural cures than any other human had ever managed to discover.

Doctor Doolittle taught Doc Vard and Doc Vard taught the Princess how to talk to the animals. It was the ability which allowed the Princess to communicate with the Vagabond over such huge distances. She would pass her messages to the birds and the birds would pass the messages of the Vagabond to her. Even though the Vagabond was unaware of the secret of talking to the animals, his heart beat with true compassion and so he understood the messages but was blind to the means of their delivery. The Princess had a prized falcon who watched over him and sent reports to the Princess. So she knew he was suffering and she knew that he loved her with all of his heart.

Despite his continued instruction, Wrecks finally seized Doc Vard and took him away. The Princess did not know where and despite asking the animals, she was unable to learn. However, because of the skills he had given her, she knew far more of what Wrecks was doing than he could have guessed.

The falcon, so fiercely loyal and proud quickly reported to her that the Vagabond had missed a day of work because of fever and chills followed by a body ache but that now he felt better and had returned to work. Now he was coughing…she immediately recognized the symptoms bruniacoli. She knew beyond doubt it was the work of Wrecks. She knew she had to save him but from so far away, there was nothing she could do.

Another benefit of being able to talk with the animals was that the Princess knew all of the secrets of Artime. Futime, the monkey, was inhabited by the soul of Futime, the girl who thought he had jilted her. She was still angry about it because there was no way she could know the truth. She was incredibly disgusted she could have ever loved such an evil being. Futime watched in horror as Artime tried to destroy the true love of the Princess and the Vagabond. When she discovered that the Princess could talk to her, she told the Princess everything.

Unfortunately, it didn’t really help.

Chapter 7: The Limits of True Love

Sadly, my friends, even true love is unable to exist in a complete vacuum. The evil plots of Wrecks and Artime were working despite the advantages the Princess held in being able to talk to animals. Their plans worked but not because of their brilliance, it was because true love needs the look in a lover’s eyes, the caress of a lover’s hand, and the feel of a lover’s breath to exist. Time is the true destroyer of the oneness that lovers are sometimes so fortunate to find.

The Vagabond knew he needed to get to the Princess. He arranged to borrow all he needed to get there. That was when the cold logical voice of reason (aka Randy) entered his head

“You will get there and be a pauper with absolutely nothing. She will have friends there that look at you and tell her you are a pathetic and needy person for not being able to wait. Even if you get there and manage to bring her back, you will have nothing. You will be homeless, jobless, and a laughingstock. No woman wants that. You need to work, work, work.”

“Don’t worry,” Randy lied to himself. “Love will survive. Find another way.”

And that was when Randy won. While he worked he heard the stories his clients told of the relationships that come and go, of weddings that were suddenly canceled, and of the lovers that came to replace those who thought they were loved. And then, he got sick.

Those who are experts in such things know that an external sickness can create the space an internal sickness needs to grow. Such was the case with the Vagabond/Randy.

He began to blame the Princess for going. He began to suspect she had wanted to get away from him all along, that she had in fact left to escape him and go to another lover. In time, he stopped hearing the symphony of birds expressing her love. He began to believe that it had all been a dream or a cruel trick on a poor and stupid person.

Prince Wrecks circulated more and more stories of foolish lovers being jilted. All of them were meant for the Vagabond. Wrecks knew his business well, and he began to send smiling maidens with simpler needs than a Princess to offer their devotion to Randy Bond. Finally, just when the Vagabond began to cough, Wrecks raised the rent on his simple cottage

Sitting in his laboratory/torture room, Wrecks laughed. He looked admiringly at his collection of duodenums from those he had already killed with bruniacoli. He had a special gold-lidded jar for the one he expected to collect soon. It was labeled “Vagidenum” and would be the pride of his collection.

The Princess knew some of this, but of course, she was also very busy teaching each and every Sloner in Slone how to clean and dress their wounds. She was listening to the sordid tale of Artime’s plan to make her fall out of love with her Vagabond and fall into Artime’s hideous embrace. And, she was trying to figure out how she could leave Slone and save the Vagabond’s life, but there was no easy solution.

She saw how Artime was exploiting the kind people of Slone with his stories of the Monkey God and she saw that he was doing it with the tortured souls of jilted lovers. Those souls were aging the poor monkeys and chimps at a frightening pace. Things in Slone became so dismal that everyone stopped cleaning the mold that grew everywhere and soon there was a dense carpet of mold that covered everything.

Even the necklace the Princess wanted to wear became so moldy that she removed it. It was enough to make a Princess want to cry, but she knew that she had to be strong. “Worry not, my Vagabond Love, I will find a way to save you. I love you. Please, look in your heart and see the truth again.”

She sent many such messages but while the Vagabond felt them deep in his last remaining bit of true heart, he could no longer hear them as Wrecks plan had clouded his mind and filled most of his heart with envy and desire for more of anything and everything.. For that reason, the Princess was unable to tell him of the danger of bruniacoli or how to cure it.

It soon came to pass, that in all of Slone, the only place where there was no mold, was the residence of the Princess. She and her handmaiden worked diligently to keep it so but it required working night and day to clean the ceilings, the things in closets, floors, and walls. She didn’t yet know how to stop Artime, and so she kept up the pretense of being his friend. Each time he came to visit her, his rage grew but he dared not show it to the Princess.

Artime wanted to possess the Princess. He wanted to take her light and turn it into a moldy old rug. He wanted to make her age. He wanted to turn her into an undesirable thing and then discard her. His weapon to do so was the mold. The mold was like the substance of his own heart which had grown darker and damper as each day of his life unfolded.

It was Futime who had told the Princess how to keep the mold at bay, but Artime had never revealed the secret of killing it completely. The Princess soon became desperate at the situation of the Vagabond because she knew that the last 6 days of bruniacoli were the most difficult for the infected person. Delusions and doubts usually beset the diseased sometimes to the point where they would throw themselves under teams of horses and be torn apart by the sharp hooves. She wondered if the Vagabond would survive until the bitter end….

Chapter 8: Randy Loses His Mind

Luckily for everyone, the Princess was a very capable sort of Princess and wasn’t particularly overwhelmed at the thought of saving all the Slonlies, making her escape, freeing the tortured souls and monkeys by defeating Artime, and getting back to the Island further from Anywhere than Anywhere so that she could cure the now completely insane Vagabond. She was concerned, but not overly so, for she had a great understanding of the universal nature of conflict, cause, and effect. She was an extraordinary woman.

Randy (for we can’t call him the Vagabond any longer) had lost his mind. By the nature of his work, his contact with other people was generally fleeting and insubstantial. His source of refuge and happiness was the communication with the Princess and when that seemed to stop, all the stories Wrecks had sent his way seemed to have been confirmed. He coughed constantly and bits of his liver came up in the phlegm. He began to think about kidnapping the important people he guided. His moods went from low to an even lower end. Everywhere he looked he saw the pain caused by love. He hated love, like all crazy people do.

“I enjoy pain,” he thought as he pulled out his chest hairs one by one. He began to long for pain. Pain felt real. When he cut his hand he spent days pressing on the cut, prodding at it, and trying to get past the general numbness he felt in his soul. Each night he ran a knife along his skin and would gradually put enough pressure on it to draw blood and leave a new wound. Randy now stopped dreaming of the Princess and instead, dreamed of the ecstasy of being tortured. It seemed a more worthy goal than waiting for the stupid slutty Princess he had begun to see when he thought of her.

The people of the Kingdom, on the other hand, loved the Princess and wanted to know what she was doing. She was constantly talked about, mentioned in the papers, and reminisced about. So he read the accounts in the paper of her life and work in Slone. The accounts were written for all of the people that loved her. She certainly didn’t seem to mind being there in the accounts. He read of her work teaching the Slonelies to clean wounds. He should have felt proud of her. He, after all, loved her. Or he had, back when he had been stupid enough to believe she loved him. He thought that perhaps, even if she could return, she would rather not.

“Stupid braggy brat,” he spit as he looked at her picture. “I wish I were being tortured,” he said as he read a proclamation from Prince Wrecks that all rumors of torture were lies and not to be believed.

And so, it was by this thought process, that the Vagabond became obsessed with being tortured. And it was that obsession that led him to commit the one crime in all of the Kingdom that assured a session of brutal torture. He planned it to the minutest detail, as all madmen plan their crimes. We dare not give those details here lest another should decide to do the same. Needless to say, the crime was brilliant in it’s execution and delivery and brought him exactly what he had desired.

Chapter 9: The Princess Betrayer

“Princess, the Vagabond has lost his mind.” Falcon whispered from the windowsill….”Whilst Prince Wrecks wast attending Mass, the naked Vagabond defecated on the alter and threw his feces on the entire congregation. He hast shat on thy Uncle’s face and no longer uses human words. His inner beast has risen.”

The Princess stopped cleaning mold from the tiles around her bed and looked up with tears forming in her eyes. She knew that the Vagabond had signed a horrible death warrant for himself. The Prince would certainly torture him until he died. The punishment for desecrating the alter would be death, but for flinging shit at her wicked uncle, she knew it would be a painful and ugly death. Even worse than coughing up his duodenum.

“What happened then, oh Dear and Loyal Falcon?” she stammered, holding back tears while still cleaning mold from tile grout lines.

“He wast flayed by the priest and thenst taken to the dungeon that lies below Wrecks castle. Even I, canst not tell you what horrors exist beneath that keep. No man nor beast save for Prince Wrecks himself hast ever entered and re-emerged. He ist lost to you My Princess. The Vagabond ist gone.” Falcons always spoke in funny old fashioned English – she had no idea why, but that was about the last thing she was thinking of at that moment.

“Go Falcon. I cannot bear more.” She burst into tears and threw herself upon her bed. Never had she felt so alone and hopeless. If only she had made more of an effort to leave Slone. If only she had ignored the plight of the Slonelies. If only…

But she was far too practical to destroy herself in such a self indulgent manner. Instead, she rose from the bed while the tiny monkey Futime sat on her shoulder and stroked her hair. She picked up her toothbrush, and began scrubbing the mold from the grout lines on her tile floor again. She considered canceling her dinner appointment with Artime, but decided that his company might be better than continuing to cry. After all, he was always nice to her.

…………

In fact, each time Artime ate with the Princess, he cast subtle spells to make himself seem less repugnant to her. Over time, she had actually come to think of him as a handsome, interesting, and articulate companion. So subtle and arcane were his spells that the monkeys were unaware of them and unable to warn the Princess. So subtle were his charms that the Princess didn’t wonder at the attraction she suddenly felt for him, even as Futime warned her of his evil intent.

Dear readers, I hate to be the one to inform you, but even a remarkable woman with great insight and advantage can be fooled into ignoring the obvious. Such was the case with the Princess. Even as she dealt with the loss of the Vagabond, she actually looked forward to conversation with the treacherous and evil magician Artime. She felt a tingling flush as she thought of his hand touching hers. She….longed….for him.

But, dear readers, we can’t blame the Princess for being taken with the foul deceiver. After all, his were the tricks learned by centuries of charlatans and seducers in lands far from the Princess’ home and for the first time since arriving in Slone, she suddenly felt alone. Completely alone. Her Vagabond was gone. Completely and totally gone in the same way that her family, Doc Vard, and everyone else she had ever loved had disappeared from her life.

As they dined that evening, Artime knew the Princess would soon be his. He spoke of the horrible mold, asked the Princess about her progress in teaching the Slonelies about first aid, and reminisced about the lands he had traveled and the wonders he had seen. He asked her many questions about her life, carefully avoiding any mention of the Vagabond.

Several times, she began to bring him up on her own but Artime artfully changed the subject “My Dear, let us focus on the things that bring us joy. Tomorrow can be a day to dwell on the things that make us unhappy, but for tonight, let us forget about all but the two of us.”

Such was the Princess’ pain at losing the Vagabond, that she readily complied. When Artime suggested that they step to the veranda to look at the stars and moonlight, she could think of nothing but the beauty of the night, the silk of Artime’s voice, and the beating of her heart. When he laid his hand upon hers, she offered no protest. And when his face came near to kiss her, her eyes closed in expectation. But nothing happened…

She opened her eyes…

Artime was staring between her breasts at the half coin. It was the charm the Vagabond had given her. Each day she had cleaned it but the mold seemed to attack it more so that soon it needed to be cleaned hourly.

“My beloved, sometimes one must physically sever their links with the past in order to fully enjoy the moment. Remove this moldy charm and cast it into the sea with all of the sorrows it has brought you.”

Her hand moved up to the charm, her breathing was quickened, she was in a state of excitement. She reached up to the mold covered charm and clasped it, ready to do as Artime asked.

Artime smiled, because he knew that his moment had finally come.

Chapter 10: Futime’s Revenge

Dear reader, certainly you know our Princess well enough by now to know she would do no such thing as you just imagined. In fact, when she touched the moldy pendant, she could feel the Vagabond. It was as if he were still living and loving her. And suddenly, the spells of Artime were lost. She saw him for the pathetic and lonely man he had become. All illusions were cast aside. For true love may fade in intensity with time and distance, but it never disappears. In fact, it raises itself to the surface at the moments it is needed most, and reminds us what is truly important.

“Get away from me vile thing!” She shouted as she stepped back from him. “I shall never betray my one true love. Even if he is lost to me forever, I shall cherish his memory.”

Artime was revealed. His grisly face contorted with hatred. “There is no true love Princess. Not for a spoiled brat like you nor for a simple maiden who fetches water from a well. True love is a lie. I shall rip your stupid symbol of true love off of you myself.”

As he advanced, the Princess was pushed against the railing. She reached for her charm. It was then, that the monkeys revealed themselves. They had watched the entire drama unfold from the tin rooftops of the shanties surrounding the Princess’ quarters.

Artime had made a huge mistake. For you see, the souls of the jilted lovers, were the souls of those who believed in true love. They were the souls of those who had been betrayed by shallow liars, selfish cheats, and manipulative outsiders. The monkeys BELIEVED in true love but had been betrayed. They were tormented for believing in what they now thought was a lie…

It was having true love disproved that tormented them. So, when they saw the Princess about to fall into the arms of Artime, they were not surprised. They expected it. She would betray her love just as all of them had been betrayed.

It was the re-awakening of true love in the Princess that surprised them. They had all condemned themselves to a loveless eternity and when they saw true love shatter the illusions of the greatest black magician alive, it re-awakened hope in them. Not only did it awaken hope, it awakened rage. Rage against those like Artime that try, often with success, to shatter the bliss of lovers united in eternity. They were seriously pissed off jilted lovers inside seriously pissed off monkey bodies and Artime was the focus of their rage.

And so it was that Artime became aware of hundreds of monkeys surrounding him as he reached for the medallion.

“Hey, can’t you stupid monkeys give me some space? You’re cramping my style and I’m about to get some action here…” Artime spoke as if he were still in control of them because, he thought he was. The truth was seeing true love had destroyed his power over the monkeys and the souls that possessed them.

It was only as thousands of furry bodies leapt on him that he realized he was no longer in charge. The monkeys ripped every hair from his body, bit every surface so that a thousand holes dripped his blood, and when his screams began to hurt their ears they filled his mouth with his severed fingers. And then they took turns jumping on him.

The Princess with Futime on her shoulder watched in horror (but we must admit it was a fascinated horror.) It only took minutes before a blood covered mess lay on the ground. A large chimp held up his hands for the assemblage to stop…

His big, soulful brown eyes looked at the Princess and Futime. “Would you care to finish him off?” he asked.

“No, I couldn’t, not really, well maybe…” the Princess began to step forward wondering how deeply she could embed her high heels in Artime’s bloody face.

“Uh, sorry, I didn’t mean you Princess. I meant Futime.” The chimp seemed embarrassed as the tiny monkey jumped from the Princess’ shoulder and approached the terror filled eyes of Artime who was somehow still alive. She pulled the bloody fingers from his mouth and stroked his forehead with her tiny hands…”Why did you leave me Artime? For it is really me, Futime, the girl you claimed to love. Didn’t you love me?”

Artime’s ruined features relaxed into recognition…”It really is you. It wasn’t my fault, I tried to come, it was my father, I tried to come to you…”

“Well, you should have come sooner, Asshole.” Futime’s two tiny hands shot into Artime’s eye sockets and pulled out handfuls of his brain. Surprisingly, the look on his face was peaceful, as if he had finally found what he had been looking for all along. He was, of course, dead and the monkeys tore the rest of his body into thousands of pieces which they scattered throughout Slone in jubilant exhilaration.

What the monkeys didn’t know was that the blood of black magicians contains a fair amount of ultra-strong chlorine bleach. In shredding Artime and distributing his parts so widely, they covered Slone with the exact remedy it needed to rid itself of the horrible mold that had gripped it. But of course, there were still some problems left to be solved…

Chapter 11: The Melta Delta Transportay Stone

The Princess was exhausted and wanted to be alone. She locked herself in her chambers and fell into a deep sleep. When she woke, the sun was shining, the mold was gone, the people were singing, and the monkeys were playing a game of soccer with the local Sloner kids. She watched with pride as a young Sloner she had never seen, cleaned and dressed the scraped knee of a ferocious looking Orangutan.

It seemed that her work was done.

She grieved at the loss of her Vagabond, but she was happy to see that life for the Slonelies would be happy, the monkeys had found hope in love again, and the mold was gone forever.

Futime appeared at her window.

“Princess, I thought you might want this…as a token of gratitude for all you have done for us. I found it in the remains of Artime’s hut.”

The Princess looked at what Futime had handed her. It was a stone engraved with the words “Melta Delta Transportay Stone”.

“That should take you wherever you want to go Princess. Before you go though, we’d like you to stay and celebrate with us for one more night, will you?”

Knowing that she could do nothing to help the Vagabond now, she agreed.

“Where will you go when you leave us Princess?” Futime asked, assuming she already knew the answer.

“Paris.” The Princess said. After all, she was a Princess. “I think I’ll go to Paris.”

In fact, Randy wasn’t dead at all. He was far from dead. While the Princess spent her last night in Slone celebrating with Sloners and Monkeys (of course she mourned the loss of her one true love too!), Randy was being beat with a cat o’ nine tails by the irate Prince Wrecks who had somehow found out about his failure in Slone. Wrecks would dip the wisps into honey and then pull them through broken glass before striking the Vagabond with the wicked whip again and again.

Randy had never been happier and as Wrecks laughed, Randy’s screams of pain became a coughing fit masking the joy he felt at being tortured so terribly. It was all he could have wanted.

“I’m sure that you wish, Sir Vagabond, that I might kill you, but I shant, for thou art condemned to die by a disease most foul already. You have been infected with the horrid affliction known as bruniacoli. Soon your duodenum will deliver itself into my hands and join my collection of famous duodenums.”

Wrecks laughed again and lashed the side of Randy with the whip. “What do you say to that, Sir Vagabond? Hmmmmm?”

The Vagabond looked at Wrecks and said. “Oooh oooh ooohhh ah ahhh ah hee oooh oooh oh. AHHHHH AHHHHHHH AHHHHHH.” He wasn’t trying to be cute. For when Artime had put the souls of jilted lovers in the poor monkeys, the poor monkey souls were left with no place to be. One can only guess where most of them went, but one of them was inhabiting the body of Randy. You see, when, in his delirium, the Vagabond thought the Princess had forsaken him, his soul had shriveled up to only a tiny fraction of the size it had been. It was at that moment, that a wandering monkey soul happened by and saw that there was space available. So he moved in.

When the Princess’ Falcon reported the doings of the Randy to the Princess, he was really reporting the doings of a crazy man who was about to lose consciousness to a wandering monkey soul. Still, perhaps the Vagabond did have a little bit to do with flinging feces in a certain someone’s face. We can at least hope so.

The monkey soul continued to ‘ooh ooh and ahh ahh’ and Wrecks finally became frustrated with these seemingly meaningless answers. The truth was the answers weren’t meaningless at all. Not only was the monkey saying “Stop hitting me you shit face!” but Randy was also saying “Keep hitting me you shit face!”. All of it sounded the same to Wrecks though and he quickly grew bored and left the vagabond shackled to the walls of the dungeon while he went to find a child to torment.

Once Wrecks left, the Randy-Monkey slumped down in his chains, sagging on the wall. It was only then, that a surprisingly happy sounding voice said “OOOOH, uhhhhh, AH AH AH!” which in monkeyspeak actually means “What kind of a man talks monkey?”

A battle of wills ensued as the monkey and the Randy both tried to answer. “I am a monkey” and “I don’t speak monkey” all said so that it sounded like “ohh, ah eeee aaa uh uh oh oh AHHHH!” At this point Randy’s soul expanded a bit and the monkey lost control of most of the motor functions of their shared body. Randy turned his head to see a gaunt old man chained to the wall about thirty feet to his left. The old man’s white beard couldn’t hide his huge grin.

“By Jove, I’ve been by myself down here for years, with only wretched Wrecks for company when he has brought some poor brute down to be tortured. None of them have lasted long enough for a decent conversation though…and now it seems I am given two companions in one! Tremendous.” The old man was obviously used to having long solitary monologues.

Now it was the Randy’s turn to ask the same question. “What kind of a man talks monkeyspeak?” he asked. “And how is it that you are so incredibly cheerful? Are you insane?”

“Oh yes, quite right, good one old boy, yes, of course, you’ve got me there. Yes you do. Asking me my own question, well, it won’t put me in a pickle no it won’t because I have an answer for you. Indeed I do. The answer is of course as simple as the question. One could of course get very philosophical and say that Man is in fact a part of the family of monkeys, so in fact, all men speak monkeyspeak… hmmm, yes but that would be a politician’s sort of answer and one should be more forthcoming if one is willing to ask such a question to begin with. So in the interest of science I will tell you that any man can…walk with the animals, talk with the animals, even chatter with a chimpanzee! It is all a matter of compassion my boy, compassion and a true heart. That is all it takes. Do I really seem cheerful? I must be insane. I think you’ve got it right. All of these years getting tortured and left alone…It’s the attention you know.”

Randy-Monkey was fascinated and disturbed and hated to interrupt but felt it was the only way to continue on.

“Sir, what is your name? Why are you here?”

“Name, oh heavens, I haven’t thought of that for a while now. Vard. Doctor Harvey Vard. Yes, that is my name, goodness, imagine that, I’m a doctor. Call me Harv. Did I happen to hear that you are going to cough up your duodenum?”

Randy-Monkey was having a hard time keeping up with the external/internal dialogue/monologue of Doc Vard but he did catch the name. The Princess had mentioned her beloved teacher to him in their conversations prior to their forced separation. He had only just learned that his duodenum had a reservation at Chez Wrecks but realized this crazy Doctor might be able to explain why.

“You were the teacher of the Princess.” At the thought of her his heart swelled and his strength seemed to return. Then he thought of her being gone from his life and he sagged again against the chains. “He can have my stupid duodenum, no one else wants it. I just want more pain.” He began coughing up bits of what looked like the lining of his stomach.

“My good man, I see you are in the final stages of bruniacoli. You are certainly lucky that your soul-friend the monkey stepped into your soul or you would surely have tossed yourself under the sharp hooves of a team of horses by now!” Doc Vard spoke with more strength and joviality than any man in irons in a dreaded dungeon should and the Randy-Monkey was fascinated despite himself.

“As for me being happy? Why shouldn’t I be happy? I’ve been denying that savage semi-sovereign the pleasure of watching me die for years. That should be enough to make anyone happy.” His laugh echoed through the empty dungeon and somehow was infectious. Soon Doc Vard and the Randy-Monkey were both laughing like a couple of idiots. Neither of them could stop laughing. After what seemed like hours, the laughter stopped. The Randy-Monkey looked down at his body which should have been covered with welts, cuts, and bruises from the lashings and the abuse Wrecks had put on him with the cat-o-tine-tails but, amazingly, there were no marks on his body. He felt great.

“How did you do that? How did you heal me?” He asked the smiling Doctor Vard.

“Easily.” Doctor Vard started laughing again. “Laughter is the best medicine. Haven’t you ever heard that?” They both laughed themselves to sleep while chained to the walls.

Chapter 12: Sir Wrecks A Lot

When Prince Wrecks heard that the Princess had left Slone, he was even more furious than he had been when the Randy-Monkey threw poo in his face. His anger grew as he read that the Slonelies were now healthy and happy and the monkeys had torn his contract black magician to shreds. He’d never get the deposit back now.

His agents in Slone had written one last report to him before fleeing for their lives. The monkeys were systematically hunting down those who opposed true love. His anger was growing by the moment as he read it but then…he had a realization…

“Hey, if Artime is dead, at least I don’t have to pay him the rest!” He was still angry, but like most greedy people, the thought of getting over on a business associate made him feel good. Even if it meant he was a jerk. To be honest, Wrecks was sort of proud about being a jerk. The worst jerks always are.

“It will take that brat at least a week to get back here.” He knew because he had once traveled from Slone to the Island further from Anywhere than Anywhere. (Obviously, dear reader, Wrecks knew nothing of the Melta Delta Transportay Stone…it was one of Artime’s gadgets.)

He had to act quickly in order to put the entire Kingdom under his control before she returned or she could ruin everything. First he made a royal decree that anyone caught eating without official permission would be executed. Permission was easy to get, but always given in the following way “You may eat by order of the Princess of Slone.”

Next he raised taxes by 600%. Finally he made it illegal for anyone to sing. He signed all of the decrees “By order of the Princess of Slone.”

He knew that by the time the Princess arrived home, the people would be against her. It would be then, that he would step in and offer to become King. After all, she hadn’t found a man to marry yet anyway. Not one that would be alive when she returned anyway. Amused by his own cleverness, he went into the dungeon to see if the Randy-Monkey had choked on his duodenum yet. It certainly must have happened by now.

The sores and welts had been healed, but such is the severity of bruiacoli that even laughter couldn’t stop it’s deadly progress. There was only one way to stop bruniacoli, but only two people knew that…rather three people because Doc Vard was still alive. Unfortunately for the Vagabond, the cure was rather complex and unable to be performed by a laughing man hanging in chains 20 feet away. Even if he was a jolly, crazy sort of man who knew the cure.

It so happened that as Wrecks crept down the passageway he heard a bit of conversation between Doc Vard and the Randy-Monkey…

“…and when he found out he was sterile he begged me for a solution, but you know, the little soldiers simply weren’t able to fight. Hard to believe in such an old trooper as he was and the desperation in his voice as he begged me to help him beget an heir led me to suggest something, that between you and me, I’d always wanted to have a go at anyway. Yes, sirree, you guessed it. I told him it would probably be best if I shagged the Queen! And would you believe it, he gave me the green light!”

Wrecks could not have heard anything in the world that would have satisfied him more. That stuck up little Princess was not even a direct descendant of the royal line! She was the daughter of a commoner that had married a Prince and a commoner that had become the Royal Physician! She was a commoner! He was the true heir! He was justified in everything he had done. The Royal Blood was on his side. He was meant to be king!

Wrecks ran back up the stairs giddy with excitement. At least, he was as giddy as an evil man like Wrecks could be. Doc Vard and the Randy-Monkey had no idea they had been overheard. In fact, the Randy-Monkey had no idea of anything. He had fallen into a babbling delirium due to his bruniacoli. He would laugh and cry and shout and rattle his chains but no word said could reach him.

Doc Vard tried to explain how to save his life and cure his dreadful disease, but Randy was beyond hearing. The Monkey inside him however, was still aware of his surroundings. Doc Vard carefully explained to the monkey (in monkeyspeak of course) how to save the life of the body both souls possessed.

“UH OOOOH AH,” the Monkey said. Which meant I understand, in monkeyspeak.

Chapter 12: Fate Plays a Hand

As fate would have it, several key events transpired to occur all at once. Wrecks scheduled a State of the Island Further from Anywhere than Anywhere Address in which he planned to denounce the Princess as a commoner and permanently seize power. It was a slam dunk as far as he could tell, but he wanted to witness the emergence of the Vagabond’s Duodenum and knew that it would be soon. He didn’t want it to happen while he was giving his speech and he wanted Doc Vard to witness his beloved Princess being defamed for the commoner she had turned out to be which would give him license to finally kill the old man for laying with the queen.

So, as Prince Wrecks stepped onto his podium, the people of the kingdom were somewhat surprised to see the chained and manacled men behind him. One of them (the Randy-Monkey) was coughing constantly and occasionally would spit out what looked to be chunks of kidney.

He rattled his chains and screamed “AHHHH AHHHH AHHHH!” The other, a very skinny old man with a white beard wore nothing but a huge grin. It was a strange sort of event right from the beginning.

The people of the kingdom were anxious to hear what the Prince had to say and hoping to find out why the Princess had made such horrible decrees and started to call herself the Princess of Slone (the people of Slone really had made her their Princess, but Wrecks was only saying that to make her seem more distant from her subjects.)

“My dear and loyal subjects, “he began. “You have suffered long under the horrible rule of the Princess of Slone. I feel your pain. I know you are hungry. I want you to know, that the Princess is…..”

And it was just then, that the Princess appeared next to him holding her Melta Delta Transportay Stone. She looked around to see where she had landed and was surprised to see two men in chains. It took her a minute to recognize them as her Vagabond and her old friend Doc Vard.

Wrecks was not to be stopped, however. It was too late for the Princess because his plan was fail proof. He grabbed the Princess. The crowd gasped.

“The Princess is a commoner. This is her father….this nude maniac. She is no better than any of you. Nothing but common trash.” Wrecks shouted it triumphantly knowing that he had finally won.

The crowd, of course, didn’t consider themselves common trash. And they hadn’t been fooled by Wrecks fake decrees. They booed. Wrecks thought they were booing the Princess, but instead they were booing him. He just didn’t know it. For the moment, Wrecks was very, very happy.

And then, as if to crown his glory, the Vagabond moved into the final stage of bruniacoli. He began to cough and spasm. The coughs were powerful. One could almost see the duodenum as it came up. The Princess tried to rush to him but Wrecks still held her. The Vagabond was alone except for the monkey inside him. As the duodenum comes up, the victim wants to expel it, but the duodenum does not leave a live body, only a dead one. Therefore, the harder the victim tries to expel it, the more they choke and ultimately they die, coughing out the duodenum on the last breath. It’s a truly horrible way to die.

Doc Vard had explained this to the monkey. The procedure to save the Vagabond was really quite simple. It was just counter intuitive. Instead of trying to spit it up, the monkey swallowed the duodenum. The Vagabond awoke. It really was the Vagabond because the Monkey had politely stepped aside and Randy had been swallowed along with the duodenum.

Everyone was shocked..everyone except Doc Vard, that is. The crowd had all expected him to die. So had Prince Wrecks. The boos that had been coming from the crowd suddenly turned to cheers. Wrecks still had the illusion that he was victorious and that true love had been defeated but he had no idea why that blasted duodenum hadn’t come up. The man shouldn’t have been able to do it on his own. He stared at the Vagabond in puzzlement as the masses converged on the podium.

Dear reader. You must know that true love survives many Wrecks and a Randy-Monkey can often succeed where a loose duodenum cannot. As the crowd rushed the small podium, Wrecks realized his mistake and called upon his loyal guards to kill any who came near him. Sadly, for him, they had already fled. They were too far outnumbered.

It was then, and only at that point when he realized that even his guards had been won over by the nobility of The Princess, Doc Vard, and the Vagabond. I won’t go into details, dear reader, but suffice to say, Wrecks fate was far worse than any we have witnessed thus far in this tale of love and tragedy. It involved red hot irons and thousands of bed bugs. In fact, by the time it was over, he had been made to swallow his entire collection of famous duodenums.
The masses lifted Doc Vard and their beloved Princess into their arms while they carried Wrecks away to loot his dungeon and keep. In a matter of days they had crowned Doc Vard as King of the Island Further From Anywhere than Anywhere. This was fortunate, for the Princess had actually been afraid she would have to become a Queen, and quite frankly dear readers…she preferred to be a Princess.
Using all of her love, compassion, and healing skills, she nursed the Vagabond back into health. She also found that she quite enjoyed having the Randy-Monkey as a companion and so neither were evicted from the Vagabond’s body. Eventually, she brought him back and he was even better than he had ever been before.

The Princess had suffered much hardship in her own right and you can be sure that a lessor woman would not have survived. But then, the Princess was anything but ordinary. She was Extra-Ordinary.
That was why she stayed a Princess for the rest of her life and lived happily ever after with the Randy-Monkey-Vagabond as her constant companion and personal-monkey-secretary. As for the Randy-Monkey-Vagabond, he was titled Baron of the Vagabonds and Randy Prince of the Sloner Monkeys.
And they lived sort of happily after for a while. Because that’s how life works.

THE END

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