Warning: This story has characters that may not seem in character. Or rather, they ought to seem exceedingly like themselves, for this exaggerates character flaws. This is satirical in nature. I didn't put it under the "humor" category because I think it would be a disappointment to that, and it fit better under action/adventure anyway. Enjoy.

Dedication: This chapter is dedicated to Garowyn, considering this is your kind of humor (and mine!). Also, great job with your own humor fic!

Twice Upon a Time…

Chapter 1: Expository Nonsense

There was once a very near kingdom called Ferula which was experiencing some difficulties. Not just the usual boring wars or plagues, but something extraordinarily serious. You see, the royal family had some problems marrying off their middle daughter, Tranquility. Equanimity and Serenity were both settled in nicely with their respective husbands, but Tranquility did not, er, live up to her name.

So, doing what any desperate family does in a time of crisis, the monarchs decided to find the closest, most unsuspecting man they could, kidnap him, and force him into compliance. Otherwise, off with his head.

A very good plan according to all the diplomats of the castle, and the working of it began instantly. But, because of the blessing of the wicked troll godmother, nothing the family did ever worked out quite right.

That night, the royal guards in their masks of black brought in a sack that was still squirming. Before their king and queen, they emptied the contents onto the sacred castle ground.

Out rolled a small…boy. The king looked at the queen. The queen looked at the king. Then they both looked at the boy who was now on his feet and scowling at both of them. He was doing the Glare of Death, but being so young, he had not had time to really work on it, and instead of withering the royal couple, it merely made them blink.

"Let me out of here! All I was doing was walking home when these brigands seized me! You're so going to regret this. When my bigger, tougher, older brother Put'oh Gruff finds out, you're doomed!"

Now, the queen looked at the king, and the king looked back at her, and they knew exactly what the other was indicating. For, everyone knew the Gruff family. One of them had mastered the Glare of Death, though obviously not this one, so action needed to be taken immediately. Besides, no doubt the reason they knew of the Gruff family would come back to annoy them if they just kidnapped this boy.

Oh, yes, Put'oh Gruff was ever so famous. Or rather, infamous. He gave speeches on many things that were of vast important to saving the standard of living, protecting the environment, and overall just getting along. The monarchs never wanted to hear such boring speeches again. It may have indeed been that fear of boring speeches, and not of the Glare, that made their reaction so prompt. Of course, they would never say that.

If they did, the boy Gruff would tell older Gruff and older Gruff would make it a personal commitment to convince the king and queen of their selfish, rude actions and write them letters, create rallies, and do everything that just complicated the already-too-much-to-handle-without-gray-hairs (yes, they both had a couple) life of the king and queen. I mean, they were always trying to decide what to spend their money on and just who to go to war with for some miniscule detail, what outfits they should wear and make into a new fashion, not to mention the fact that making the plan for a seven-course banquet every night that was not repetitive was simply impossible.

"We'd better ask our witch what we should do. Everyone knows we can't just let this boy Gruff go. He'll tell his brother, and then everyone will be in danger of the Glare of Death. If only looks couldn't kill…" The king shook his head, wishing Put'oh would just lose his voice, his eyes, and his hands…heck, his mind. But knowing him, he'd find a way to continue with his mission regardless.

"I'll go round her up. Until then, keep this one in your sight. How long do you think we have until Gruff's brother arrives?"

A booming at the door answered the question for them. A few screams were abruptly silenced, and then a voice trying to be cold said through the main door, which fortunately was barred from within, "I know you have my little brother Gruff. And, until you give him back to me, I'll use my power of The Indestructible Glare on everyone in your household!"

Just hearing those simple words was enough to send the automatic "bored" signal to the brain, and the king stifled a yawn.

Meanwhile, the queen had gone for the witch, who was grumpily coming back. She hated getting up in the morning.

"It's easy," she explained, holding out a mirror with a yawn of her own. "Just turn this on the elder Gruff and his glare will reflect back to him and turn him to dust!"

The younger Gruff was not at all pleased by this, but a guard had gagged him so that there could be no communication between brothers.

The king took the mirror hesitantly, looking into it. To his surprise, a voice spoke out of it.

"What side of the bed did you get out of, you old wrinkly prune?"

"Not that mirror!" the witch said hastily, snatching it back and giving a different, silent reflective glass. Then, she used the first to put her long blonde hair back in order, smiling at the mirror's approving whistle. "I love you too, hon."

The king glanced at his wife and muttered, "I knew we should have gone with the ball for all peasant males."

"It would never have worked, dear," the woman replied. "There's just no romance in meeting a person at a ball, seeing their beauty, and instantly feeling the heart beat faster as you take that first, inevitable kiss. Trust me; threats are the best way to make certain a marriage is going to last and be truly romantic. Or else, find a really warty toad for our daughter so she can transform into one herself since that is closer to her personality."

Resignedly, the king agreed. "You always know best, my dear. After all, it was you who swore you would lay siege to my castle and burn everyone within unless I married you, and I can't say I could ask for a better mate!"

They looked fondly at each other from the memories before the boy Gruff attempted his Glare of Death again and made them sigh. The guard holding him loosely put his other hand over the boy's eyes, but the moment was lost.

With the elder Gruff still waiting outside the door, politely and patiently waiting to be responded to, the king took the mirror and went over to the door.

He called out, "I'll have you know that we indeed have your brother captive, and if you won't do as I say, we're going to marry him into our family!"

There was a quick inhale. "How dare you! You'd never! I'd rather see his throat slit than married to that danger-seeking wench! Besides, there are at least seven years' difference between them! And, he's not old enough to be married! You're going to overpopulate the entire globe if you continue to marry at such a young age—right in the midst of the most fertile years."

The queen shrugged, not understanding what the big deal was. Her eldest daughter had been married when she was six. And the more children, the better off the world. Who didn't like children?

"Do you think we care about the rest of the globe? All that matters is our own kingdom and our own wants! If this causes problems for our children later, they can deal with it. I'll be dead and gone by then."

Such ignorant selfish dolts…Put'oh could never cease being astounded by the actions of those around him. So much for just waiting patiently for them to see reason.

"Look, just return my brother to me."

"Only if you marry our daughter instead of him."

Another hiss of breath came from the other side of the door. Some people just didn't understand…why would he ever want to marry the princess after what he had just said about her and the growing population? Voice again taut, he asked, "Can I compromise? What if I find someone else to marry her?"

The king looked back at the queen (okay, now how much can really be exchanged in a look? And just who do they think they are, telling secrets before everyone that no one else understands? I think they just like to try to see their reflection in the others' eyes.), who raised her eyebrows at the king, and he turned back to the door. "Okay. If you find someone who will marry her, we'll give you back your brother, Mr. Gruff."

"You'd better keep your word. There are enough separated parents in today's society without adding stolen brothers to it. I'll be back…"

&&

"No one will ever marry that girl. I have to dupe someone quick in order to get back Muggy!" Put'oh Gruff pounded a fist into his hand as he paced onward in the overcrowded village, proof that the monarchs were not the only ones thinking selfishly. "Now, where do I find the nearest gullible person?"

"Eh? What's that? You're going to go guzzle someone! That's nasty! Cutting them into such small chunks you could actually guzzle them like a drink…" the speaker, fair-haired and in armor, suddenly drew his sword. "I will make you regret wanting to guzzle someone!"

Put'oh stopped walking. "Obviously, not very far."

The Gruff looked over his enemy without appearing very impressed. One, he could always use his Glare to make this fool die where he stood. But, two, there wasn't even a need to waste such power because this one didn't even realize he held his sword backwards.

Now, most swords had two-edged sides, but, as was very evident just from sight, one edge of this sword was extremely dull. Judging from the rest of his appearance—the scuffed-up armor and dented helm—Put'oh could already imagine why one edge was blunt.

"You're the perfect person." His eyes roving all over the get-up, Put'oh Gruff grabbed the young man's blonde hair and dragged him after him.

&&

Note: All right, if you have read this excerpt, there is no reason not to review. None. (Do you know there are people who have me on favorites or author alert whom I have never gotten a review from? They did not all do it anonymously!) You should at least give the author some indication that your interest was attracted enough to scan over the page. Why not review? Just say one word and it will make this writer blissfully happy that she has mail of some sort. Flame for all I care. I can't make this story better in your terms if you don't tell me what you think. And, if you really don't know what to say, answer this question: Do you understand the names? Don't worry; I'll explain them if I must after there are more names involved, for fear not, more characters are coming into the story, and it gets better once they do!

Thanks if you do review!

All the questions you have...they will be answered soon. And this does relate to YGO, believe ir or not. I was hoping you'd notice the characters are the same...well, some of them.