Cruz Castle, Windenburg, 2028
The Royal Family was holding an official reception, in aid of the 'Simoleans for Everyone' community project that Alex's cousin, Princess McKenzie was volunteering in overseas.
King Alexander greeted the guests, with Prince Killian, Prince Alfred, Princess McKenzie and Charlize, Duchess of Newcrest.
After he had greeted the guests and visited all the social circles, he slipped away to the back of the room, where the drinks were. Standing over the table of fruit punches, he reached into his inner coat pocket. All these people, aunty. All these... political leaders... dukes... military commanders... all here to support cousin McKenzie. Alexander took his hand out of his pocket. It's a shame you won't be able to support her after tonight, for you will be...
"Aunty," he replied, coldly.
Charlize walked swiftly up to him and lowered her voice.
"Alex, what are you doing back here, near the... drinks? You're supposed to be with the guests. The way you're behaving isn't very kingly!"
"What do you mean, aunty?" Alex scowled. "I've not been back here for very long!"
"Yes you have!" Charlize replied. "You've been hanging around here, staring at those drinks, for a whole ten minutes." She lowered her voice to a hiss. "People are beginning to think... well, they're noticing... you beside those drinks... and, after all that has happened... your parents and... well, you know... this is not a good sign, Alex."
Alex rolled his eyes. She should know I don't drink, but at least she doesn't assume I'm back here for... other reasons. "Quite frankly, aunty," said Alex, "I'm bored... In fact, I've been thinking. I'd like to do some military projects, plan a military campaign or two..."
Charlize chuckled. "Not until you're at least eighteen, Alex, now come and talk to the guests like a proper king."
Alex sighed and followed his aunt into the party. He was careful to stay close behind her, as he slipped his hand back into his inner jacket pocket, took out a small corked vial, the size of his thumb, and splashed the black liquid from the vial onto the lower back of her dress. He watched as the black smudge on Charlize's dress absorbed into nothing.
Later that evening, Alex was flicking through the tv channels in his rooms when a familiar ghost appeared at his door.
Alex put the remote down.
"Mama!" he cried.
"Hey treasure," the ghost of Queen Gemma beamed, then her smile faded to an expression of concern.
"Is she dead?" said Gemma. "Is your aunty dead?"
"Yes, mama, or, at least, she will be be... I poured the essence of death, you gave me, onto her dress. She should be dead in the morning," said Alex, thinking back to the vial of black liquid he splashed onto aunty's evening dress at the reception. The Grim Reaper must have gifted it to mama, he thought.
"Oh good," sighed his mother's ghost. She stared, lovingly, at Alex's face that bore many similarities to her own. "Now you will have more freedom to do what you need to do."
Alex humphed. "Mama," he sighed, "no one's going to allow me to conduct our 'mission' in Granite Falls. I'm too young, apparently."
"Yes they will," Gemma replied, "because you are the king in what will become your absolute monarchy. Don't let anyone tell you what you can or can't do. Besides, you don't have to tell the older royals and advisers... everything."
Alex narrowed his eyes. "What are you thinking, mama?"
"Let's say you're... oh, I don't know... doing a bit of travelling, visiting the places you'll be ruling, such as, Granite Falls..." she winked at Alex. "Oh, and, of course, promoting your policies, for when you are eighteen and the power falls absolutely in your hands... you have thought about your policies, haven't you? You'll be eighteen in a couple of months."
"No mama," Alex replied. "I've been thinking about our 'mission' - you know, how I handle 'the Hellewells.' The real reason why I need that trip to Granite Falls..."
"Right," said Gemma. "And have you thought about how you are going to bring the Hellewell children and the His Evil Services children to Granite Falls?"
"Oh yes, mama," replied Alex, "but I don't necessarily need to do that first. I could always just call Paris, the Grandmaster, and ask 'him' or 'her' - whichever the fool is that day - to let the Sweglords know that I offer to pay double of whoever's paying them, if they stop killing us." He paused, as his mother raised an eyebrow. "Now, Paris may refuse the offer - by making an excuse, such as, 'him' or 'her' not being the leader of the Sweglords and so cannot possibly persuade the gang to 'accept' my offer, even though Paris is the Grandmaster and should be able to do whatever 'Paris' pleases. That is when I will make the next offer, which is the 'mission' we are talking about. I want Paris to, somehow, get the Hellewell children to Granite Falls, without their parents worrying. I, on the other hand, will deal with getting the Evil Genius children and descendants of His Evil Services to Granite Falls. You see, mama, I want to end this feud by, hopefully, reasoning with my generation (adults won't easily listen to me at my age). I want to give them an option to be on the same side... and if they won't obey.... well, I am an Evil Genius, mama... hence, I need them all away from home... But first, I will call Paris."
The next morning, Oracle High School, Newcrest, 2028
Toni was furious. No, more than furious, she was outraged. How in Simsland did the school think it was okay to let Cas dance with Victor at the talent quest? She will not dance at that competition. Not if I can help it.
Toni marched into the principal's office.
"Can I help you?" said a familiar cold voice from behind the desk.
"Paris?" Toni gasped.
Paris looked up from behind the computer and frowned. "Toni, aren't you a bit early for parent-teacher interviews?"
"Wha-what the... What are you doing here? You're not the principal!"
"Why ever not?" said Paris. "I have the qualifications; sharp teeth for chewing my way through naughty children and for sharpening pencils, and of course I have a charming personality and a fund of homilies for bluffing my way through assemblies and meetings."
Toni placed her head in her hands. "Where's the principal?"
Paris glanced sideways. "Retired... of sorts."
Right," said Toni. She narrowed her eyes in thought. "This is all part of a plan, isn't it?" She looked at him hopefully. "Tell me this plan's in my favour. You're saving Cas? You're going to cancel the talent quest, you're going to kick that little Sneaklo..." She stopped herself short. Stupid Toni, you don't use that word in front of a Sweglord. She waited uncomfortably for Paris to react, but he carried on staring at her with his intense green eyes.
"Am I going to kick Victor out?" he said, the room becoming cold for a moment as he calmly mused over the possibility.
"Yes," said Toni.
"Out of what? School? Or the talent quest?"
"School, hopefully. He's meddling with Cas. Goodness only knows what he's been doing with her."
"Have you asked her?"
"What do you mean, 'have I asked her?' Of course I have, but she's not answering. She's just sulking in her room - she's even locked the door. I'm really regretting those locks."
"Toni," Paris sighed. "Have you tried listening to her?"
"Listening to her?" Toni cried. "Of course I've listened to her! She blabbed a bit about Victor and how he's 'different' Hah! No daughter of mine is falling for that!"
Paris pondered thoughtfully. "Do you want to hear my plan?"
"Yes, very much!" cried Toni, exasperated.
"I'm organising a camping trip to Granite Falls next term. Only a select few can go. I've chosen them; Victor, Henry, and my nieces, Madelyn and Kristen. They will be gone for the term, along with Lauren who's already over there. With the Hellewell children out of the way, we adults can concentrate on each other... you know... arguing, fighting, killing, what we've always done... but more importantly we can attempt to end all that by ending the feud between us Sweglords and you from His Evil Services."
Toni let out a sigh of relief. "I like that idea, Paris. Thank you very much."
Paris gasped. "Really? That's so awesome! I actually thought you weren't going to like it, because I'm only allowing Hellewells on this camping trip and parents might think that's unfair."
Toni blinked. Paris's spurts of excitement always caught her off-guard.
She then thought about his words in more depth. He has a point.
"They know you're a Hellewell though, don't they? So it's not surprising, isn't it? That you're being biased with your choice of students."
"No, they don't know who I am," said Paris, still a bit too eager, "because no one's allowed to see me, except the teachers, and they don't dare question my decisions."
"Well, that explains it," said Toni.
"Yes it does," he replied. There was silence between them.
"Right, I'm off to pick up Adelyn and Housten from Camel Mount High. If only there was room in that school for Cas too."
Toni left the principal's office.
Paris watched her leave; a mischievous smile spreading across his face.
If only she knew what Alex and I have discussed. I don't think she'd think it a good idea then.