Peter stood quiet at the door with Edmund and Trumpkin, listening to the conversation on the other side. Something seemed amiss, of that much he was certain, but he couldn't yet put his finger on exactly what. The voices Trumpkin said belonged to Trufflehunter and Nikabrik were currently engaged in a somewhat heated argument, until Caspian cut in, telling them both to stop it, and wondering who the two strangers Nikabrik had brought were.

It wasn't much longer before one of them spoke for herself. A soft, charming voice floated through the doorway, making Peter's heart beat slightly faster. Each word fell upon his ears like a musical note. "Oh handsome prince," she was saying, "I am but a poor girl, scorned by her family and seeking refuge from my tragic past. I have but little skill of magic and have handled the bow and sword, but for you... I shall do all in my power to help you. You have already stolen my heart."

Something seemed familiar about this to Peter. But what? He glanced to Edmund, who returned Peter's look with a skeptical one of his own. Before Peter could process thing further, though, another voice spoke, this one the deep voice of what was probably a rather husky man. "I'm strength. I'm cleverness. I'm perfection itself."

Perfection... why did that stir a feeling of foreboding within him?

The voice continued. "I can defeat entire armies single-handedly with one arm behind my back. I can outshoot any man with a bow aiming for as small a target as you choose. I am the ultimate in every way imaginable. Show me your enemies."

Nikabrik's voice broke in again. "Yes, yes, that will do. No need to overdo it. Anyway, it is through these two and those like them that I intend to execute my plan. We have tried one link in the chain of legends. It is time to use another power."

Silence.

Peter could only wait for the answer to his unspoken question.

Seconds dragged into minutes, and the wheezy breath of the Badger only added to his tension.

"I speak of a power even Aslan couldn't keep away. A power even the Kings of old could not resist."

A pair of gasps from the other side of the door.

Trufflehunter's voice was shocked. "You can't mean..."

"Of course he can't!" Cornelius interrupted. "They're only stories!"

"Stories, aye. But it was stories that brought these two here."

Peter could almost visualize the smirk of glee on the Nikabrik's face as he continued. "These and others like them brought whole kingdoms to their knees. They had royalty under their great power. With them, Miraz's kingdom doesn't stand a chance!"

Cornelius was not convinced. "And neither will Caspian's! They will be the ruin of us all!"

Then the woman's voice came again, gentle and soothing as the coo of a dove: "You believe in us, don't you Caspian dear? You know we're right... how can you deny your true love?"

Oh, just wonderful.

In that instant Peter recognized the threat. With a whispered, "Dear Aslan, not again," he burst through the door, a livid Edmund and rather confused but still ready to fight Trumpkin not far behind.

The scene before them was not quite what they were expecting, to say the least. Caspian stood transfixed, gazing at a woman of impossible beauty. He was staring deep into her sometimes emerald green, sometimes sapphire blue, sometimes one of any number of jewel-tone-colored eyes, seemingly unaware of all around him. Her long, flowing, too-many-other-adjectives-to-list hair floated in a nonexistent breeze, and her shimmering pink gown could have taken pages of writing to properly describe. She simply smiled sweetly, her enchanting voice weaving its spell as she called again: "Dear Caspian, you know you can love no other... we were simply meant to be! Come, Caspian, join with me, and we shall conquer and rule together, and I will be your Queen!"

Off to the side was a tall, well-built man, each dark hair perfectly in place and his pearly white teeth pulled into a dashingly handsome smile as he took in the rather silly lovestruck expression creeping onto the prince's face. Upon the entrance of the kings and dwarf, however, it quickly turned into a sneer. He swiftly produced a sword (Peter had no idea where it came from) and launched himself at the High King.

Peter had little time to react, but it was barely enough to draw Rhindon and block the strike. The two clashed fiercely for a time, but it wasn't too terribly long before a loud BANG fell on their ears, a piercing (but still utterly beautiful) SQUEEEE-like shriek tearing the air. Both Peter and his opponent stopped to search out the source. Edmund was standing over the crumpled form of the girl, holding a rather thick book in his hands. Apparently he'd just conked her on the head with it.

Peter's opponent lost all interest in the duel, shouting out a prolonged, dramatic cry of "NOOOOOO!" which was soon lost as Peter bashed him on the head with his shield. Edmund quickly made his way over and smacked the stunned man with the book as well.

A loud POOF-like sound filled the air, and soon there was nothing left of the defeated pair except a thick pink fog, which smelled obnoxiously sweet and made everyone cough. Nikabrik was nowhere to be seen either.

Caspian shook himself out of his state and glanced about at his surroundings, while Peter turned to his brother. "What is that book anyway, Ed?"

Edmund only grinned. "Literary criticism. Sues can't stand it."

Peter chuckled. "Ingenious."

"Thought it might come in handy after... the last time..."

"How very wise of you. Glad you had it."

Peter looked over to the prince, who stared at them with wide eyes. "What... what were those.. those things?"

A grimace accompanied the response. "They're known as Mary Sues. Or Gary Stus, depending, but you won't have to worry about the Stus much. They'll turn you into a simpering dolt that's nothing like yourself if you're not careful."

"Yeah, you should know about that."

Peter shot a glare at the smirking Edmund. "Oh do stop it. It's happened to you too." He turned back to Caspian. "Bottom line, they will indeed help you defeat Miraz with their impressive sword skills, phenomenal archery abilities, and unmatched magical capabilities, but in exchange for your heart and the very essence of who you are. You become twisted and not at all a noble king, and... that's a steep price." He paused briefly. "You'll likely come across more. Best to always be on the alert."

"You... you mean there's more of them?"

Peter sighed, walking over and putting a reassuring and sympathetic hand on the prince's shoulder. "Comes with the job. Sorry, mate... you're stuck with the swarms of Sues until the next adventure."

Aslan help him... he's going to NEED it.


A/N: Ay yi yi, and I've delved back into bonking Sues on the head... again, no idea WHAT I was thinking in doing this, but it at least was fun to write. Poor Caspian...