Morning hit the King of the Goblins like a ton of rocks to the head… or more like his son's large fist impacting right into his nose.
"FATHPHAH! GET UPPFFTT! I DEMAND PPHHFFOOD! NOW!"
Froglip's voice shrieked like a buzzard into his father's large ears, and King Boggrat's eyes flew open to see his son Froglip sitting right over him in his and the Queen's bed, their son's eyes glaring right down at his poor father and his fist raised again in preparation for another assault. Froglip had his father's scrawny body locked in the vice-like grip of his long, powerful frog-like legs, while the twenty-something-year-old Prince had his large bat-like ears flattened somewhat under the flat surface of his father's giant stone crown which was sitting on top of his head.
His head dizzy and aching from the after effects of eating the strange whatever-the-hell-kind-a-plant-pod he did last night, as well as feeling the sores all over the rest of his body from the public beating from his wife, the Goblin King struggled to find his words as he uttered,
"A-ah, s-s-son! Uh, h-how are you this mor-mor-morning? And… uh… what are you doing with my crown on your head?" The King suddenly made note of his rightful piece of royalty on top of his son's head instead.
It was then that Froglip took up a prideful position upon the bed still sitting upon his father, but he placed a large, bony hand to his bare, muscular chest while using his other hand to steady the boulder crown upon his round head as he spoke,
"Fathphah, if(fpphh) you had any (ssspptt)sense of healthy recog(gpptt)nis(sshhpptt)sion like I (pptt)do, you would(pptt) remember pptthhat Mothah put me in ppttcharge of the Kingdom while (sshhpptt)she was(sshhpptt) away hunting today with(pptt) the oth(pphh)er girls. And now (pptt)that I am, (thpptt)this(sspptt) place(sspptt) is(sspptt) going to be diffffferent! (Pphh)progress(sspptt) (sspptt)shall be made! And that means(sspptt) you too! Now, get(ttpp) your lazzzzy self(pphh) up and get me (sspptt)some breakfasssstttt! I am 'da' King! And Mothah (sspptt)sayz' you haff' tah' lisspptten to me today!"
"AAOO!" The King cried out loudly as he was suddenly hit right on the top of his head by his son's angry fist.
Gripping his head and rubbing his now bruised and still heavily bandaged nose, the now apparently dethroned Goblin King wiggled out from under his son and scurried out of the room like a frightened rat, just as his son broke out in laughing and began to throw his loud ugly barks at the poor servant Goblins and guards who were now gathering at the room. Had it not been for the persistent headache he was having, Boggrat's normally stone-hard Goblin skull would have prevented him for experiencing any sort of pain; luckily though his nose was not damaged any further as he examined it in the (slightly cracked) mirror in royal washroom moments later; delicately peeling off the old bandages off his left nostril, Boggrat cringed as he lightly fingered at the deep cut which penetrated through the skin like a knife-cut. Wiping his head clear of a gathering cold sweat, Boggrat took his time re-bandaging his bulbous nose as well as using his Buzzard Bones Brush to comb his long side-tufts of reddish-brown hair, removing a tick or two in the process. Of course, it wasn't like dolling himself up would make his situation any better in the eyes of his Goblin citizens: he himself has been overthrown today by his rash son, Prince Froglip, and no doubt the Use-To-Be-King Boggrat would today be reduced to nothing more then a Goblin wretch to his own son today… at least until his mother got home.
Dragging himself out of the washroom and down the castle steps in the direction of where the Great Dam once stood, Boggrat sighed deeply and wore a dejected look on his long ape-like face to go along with his usual blue bear-pelt robe, long-legged, brown deer-hide pants and his Royal rock-tied-to-a-stick Staff. He could not help but still feel naked without his great regal boulder crown sitting atop his head, but as was usual in his family situation, it could be worse…
"AH-HA! There iss(ttpp) my (pptt)sstaffff(pphh)! (Pphhtt)thank you very much, Fathah!" Froglip laughed and spoke arrogantly as he immediately swiped away his father's staff and raised it up in false triumph as his poor Goblin father was left standing below his son, looking longingly at his staff in his son's fist as though he had just lost a best friend. And if that wasn't enough, the newly-appointed-King Froglip then made it a point to steal away his father's thick blue robe right off his bare back and throwing it upon himself to further make it apparent that he was the "official" Goblin King.
"Here, (Sspptt)Scum! Fetch(ttpp) me (sspptt)some more worms(pptt)!" Froglip barked down at his father as he retrieved a stone bowl from one of the guards standing around him and threw it right at his father's chest, knocking the wind out of him. "I am a very hungry King, you know. And make (sspptt)sure they are live worms(ssttpp)!"
As much as Boggrat wanted to even gather the courage to tell his son off for his behavior, (which he never could do in the first place), the old Goblin was at that point simply too tired, beaten-up, sore, and dizzy (mostly from eating the strange plant pod last night) to even try to think of a way of still making it out of this humiliating day with even a cent of what little dignity he ever had. Boggrat looked up at his tall, proud son, and could not help but feel a funny little bit of pride in his son Froglip's newfound status: it was his son after all, and it was Froglip's destiny to become the next King of the Goblins (albeit no one expected it to be this early).
Not forgetting, of course, that his son Froglip's reign would be over as soon as his mother got home that night.
Automatically excepting defeat and enslavement, Froglip's father took a bow and left for the castle yet again, crossing the many high stone bridges until he reached a spot in the living room where one of many stone couches sat, oft used by The Queen and Her Son, or just the King alone; sitting down and reaching up to pull out a large round stone from the carved out cave wall, and from the hole of the missing stone was a sudden flow of creeping and squirming insects, of many shapes, sizes and species; some simply fell to the floor while others took flight, but as soon as their compound eyes caught sight of the looming old Goblin in their mists, they all tried to flee back up the large hole in the wall and into smaller hole made by themselves as their only means of escaping the maw of a potentially hungry Goblin. All Goblins, of course, are natural pros at catching and snatching up tasty insects, and Boggrat was no exception to this as he delved his long bony fingers into the holes of just the worms and pulling them out with his sharp curved red claws.
As the Former Goblin King filled his son's bowl with the slimy worms, he tried not to feel so down despite the more-awful-then-usual treatment by his wife and son:
I suppose it's just their nerves… He thought. Winter is approaching us, and the harts have been moving around quite a bit, so it's been difficult for both my Lady and myself to hunt. And of course, the Sun-People have been more active at night as well in their own efforts to prepare for winter, which means it has become harder to make off with any of their things…
Boggrat paused for a moment to allow a long series of loud sneezes to rake his frail body before continuing his task:
But there cannot be too much worry now: my dear wife has gone hunting this time, and she has brought along her entire league of our top huntresses; if there is one Goblin who has never failed at bringing at least something more then just a chicken and a sack of plant pods home, it is my Queen! Like a lioness, she will persevere! Even if she does find another sack like mine to bring home along with it… and speaking of which…
The old Goblin rubbed his chin with his fingers and looked down at the pants he was wearing today; they were long-legged and brown pelt material, just like his other pair, but this pair had pockets, and within one of those pockets was a big rounded lump; Boggrat reached in a pulled it out: it was a Poppy pod, which he had slipped into his pants from the large sack of them which was hidden away in the Royal Washroom.
Boggrat sat and stared at the plant pod in his hand; it was a smaller one then the first one he ate, and it was a bit firmer, perhaps due to a longer time needed for becoming ripe. It was all the more tasty, as Boggrat had not had the chance to eat any breakfast himself, but after last night's embarrassing performance right in front of the Queen after devouring a whole one of these, the old Goblin was wise to this plant's power.
Suddenly, the Former King heard the trampling of thick Goblin feet running up one of the stone staircases, so he quickly hid his poppy pod behind his back and looked over just in time to see the Goblins Muk and Glump appear before him. Panting and looking scared out of their wits, the two collapsed at the feet of their former King as the goat-faced Muk was the first to speak:
"Ah! Begging the Old King's pardon! But your Son, (pant-pant) The Former-Prince Froglip, has chased us here! He-he demands his worms, your Highness!"
"(Pant-pant) Y-yeah!" Said the thicker, dog-faced Glump, "And the Former-Prince Froglip has already tried to st-stamp on our feet when we tried to offer him our snails instead! He-he has threatened to stamp all of our feet now, nyaa!"
Boggrat had a hard time speaking through his nervousness and his stuffed-up nose, but he knew this would happen eventually, knowing his son. He quickly handed over the bowl of squirming worms to Muk, saying, "Ah-aeh-heh, hear, just take them; Eya-I'm s-sure these will be enough to satisfy him for now."
As a very thankful Muk took the bowl, Glump then added, "But the Prince… er, I mean, the King Froglip says he wants to see his Father back as well!"
Still keeping the green pod behind his back, Boggrat stammered, "Y-y-ye-e-es-s-s, very w-we-ell! T-tell him I will be there sh-sh-shortly, now be off!"
With a few waves of his hand, Boggrat sent the two Goblins off back to the underground fields, where Froglip no doubt was running a slave-drive.
Left alone once again, Boggrat could safely bring his pod back to his front, where he examined it again. This time around, though, his thoughts took a deviation:
My son has asked for me. Which means I can now look forward to a whole day of nothing but abuse, all the while he carries my staff, wears my robe, and wears my crown…
Boggrat slumped down into the stone couch, staring off for a moment with dread.
... And all this because I couldn't bring dinner home. Dear Erlking! What must I do to make my Wife and Son happy with me? Wasn't it enough that I brought back something rather then nothing? A chicken and these plant pods… which make me wonder… what was that Sun-Man doing with these in his barn in the first place? What good would his work animals be in the fields if he was feeding them this stuff? He must have been eating them himself, or giving them to his Sun-Family, or something…
Suddenly, the Former Goblin King had a rare spark of good thought.
Wait! What if I gave these plant pods to my own family?! Why, these plant pods made me feel absolutely wonderful the first time I ate one, so maybe if I give them to my Wife and Son, it will put them in better moods! Which means they won't beat me up anymore! Yes! Yes!
"Yeah! That's it, yeah! Now I know how to ah-ah-AH-CHOO!"
One body-jarring, wall-shaking sneeze later: "(Sniff!) …Make my family satisfied. I now have something that will make my family satisfied!" King Boggrat said to himself, rubbing his nose above a smile. His plan was set.
But now he had to face reality again, but what better then with a little help from his little friend?
Hearing the angry yelling of his son, old Boggrat cut open an opening in the poppy, just big enough so that the white liquids would not escape it, and so Boggrat could just suck the intoxicating liquids from it a little at a time without becoming too drunken by it and without it spilling whilst he kept it in his pants.
And so that was how he carried on his day under the oppression of his own son, Froglip, who spared no chance to try and make his old father's life as miserable as possible; but of course, unbeknownced to "King" Froglip, his father Boggrat was in a state of physical numbness and a mental state of empty happiness, all the pain and aches of his life had been gradually lifted from his old body and mind and replaced with sweet tingling and a head full of air. Froglip's father was a different Goblin while under the influence of the plant (which Froglip was unaware that his father even had), and thus it soon became apparent to the young Prince that his father was acting quite strange when he so calmly accepted the harsh orders that had been given to him throughout the long hot day around the Underground Kingdom.
"(Sspp)Snorelan, come (ptt)to my (spsps)side." Froglip said, but not in his usual barking tone. This time he spoke in an undertone so that only his closest guards who stood around him could hear him.
The Goblin Guard who went by the title appeared to the young Prince, saying, "What be your wishes, Our Young King Froglip?" (He had a voice like a cat's claws scratching on tree bark.)
At first Froglip could not find the words to say as he stared, bug-eyed and perk-eared, at his old father many yards away gathering some water from one of the large rivers that ran though the Goblin Village, then he finally asked,
"Guard… have you notic(sspptt)ed my (ph)Fathah acting (sspptt)strange today?"
After glancing over at the Goblin that was once his King, the Guard responded,
"Well, yes, my Lord… slightly. I see he has not sneezed even once since he has been down here working among the Servants (a good thing, we all can agree). But I have also seen him with a smile plastered on his face! And there even seems to be a sort of 'care-free' skip step in his gait. My Lord Froglip, I know I am not one to make judgments, but I do fear that your Father, the Old King, has been driven insane from his enslavement."
The more the Guard spoke his thoughts, the more alarmed Froglip became; his long bony fingers fidgeted with one-another while his large ears twitched, as did his eyelids. Froglip was none concerned about his Father's mental health, but it was the reaction of his Mother when she would come home to a vegetable for a husband is what the young Goblin Prince feared.
With his mother coming home in just a few hours (depending on how much game they managed to catch/steal), the Temporary King Froglip did the only thing his young, inexperienced mind could think of: he called his Guards to seize his Father, take him back up to the Great Castle, and lock him up in the Royal Bedroom until the Queen came back. And that is just what was done.
With his Father safely away to perhaps pull himself together, Froglip then continued on with the rest of his little rein of terror, slave-driving the common Goblins (including any females, pregnant or nursing, who the Queen left behind) and some of their Pets into polishing up the Great Hall, cleaning up the Prince's room (something his Mother could never get him to do), sweeping the steps of the Castle, and fetching him more worms. All the while, Froglip rode upon the back of the great brute, Glump, who uttered no words of complaint (not out of fear, but more out of nonchalance, as he had always served as the unofficial "steed" of the real Goblin King for as long as anyone could remember).
At last, hours later just as the Common Goblins were beginning to wonder when their enslavements would ever end, their Queen came home:
UUUURRRRBRRRREEEERRRR-BURRRR-BRRRREEEERRRRUUUURRRR! Went the all too familiar sound of the white-skinned, white-haired Trumpet-Goblin's trumpet, which he blew at the time of Royal business; his presence upon the high cave cliff overlooking everyone else, his loud trumpeting sending echoes down the endless corridors and caves of the Goblin's world was like a welcome breath of air to the village of Goblins all drowning in toils from the days rock-hard work.
Then came the small eruptions of celebrating roars and bellowing from their throats as the Goblins all dropped whatever they were doing and stampeded through the caves and spilling out like rivers into the main caverns until they made it to the Great Hall; there, they all formed two walls of bodies, both thick and limber, separated by a large walking space reserved for the convoy of proud huntresses and their Matriarch returning home, each individual female Goblin carrying some kind of large or small game animal, from stolen farm geese to wild-caught deer. The crowds of Working Goblins all gave praise, all eyeing the freshly caught animals with the hungry eyes of hyenas, while others asked each other, "Where is the King? And where is the Prince? They should not miss this great returning of the Queen, so successful!"
Indeed, though, Froglip was there, arriving by Glump-back just in time to spot a speck of bright vibrant pink making its way down the cleared path leading up to the Celestial Stage where the Royal Thrones and The Head of Erlking backdrop were located. Sitting as high up as he was, Froglip knew instantly that little pink speck was his Mother; a son could never mistake his mother, of course. As Froglip gazed out and oversaw all the excitement, he spoke rather calmly,
"Hm… Mothah'sspt home early."
"Grrhhm?" Said Glump over all the noise. "You say your surprised your mum's 'ome early, Prince Froglip? Aeh. Your mum's got tah' be quite the stalker, that she is. And maybe today's just been ripe for pickin's, eh?"
"Could be." Froglip spoke lightly, rubbing his chin. Then he added, "Or maybe Mothah'sspt just been averagegsspptt today, and Fathah'sspt juststpp way outtpp of hisspptt league thesespt daysspptt."
With that, Froglip hopped down (no pun intended) from the friendly Glump and shoved his way through the crowds of other Goblins to make his way to the Celestial Stage to meet up with his Mother.
Down the parade of Huntresses with their kills came the most anticipated one: the Goblin Queen, the familiar scraping and clanking of her stone clogs upon the hard floor announced to all her arrival home; wearing a big, arrogant smile upon her thick pink lips and hippo-like face, she carried upon her own back what could have been the most impressive-sized Grizzly bear anyone could have seen! From the call-outs from the insubordinate female Goblins in the march, they say the Queen took out the bear all by herself, no aid! But of course, knowing the power of their leaders for almost their whole lives, most of the Goblin community could clearly see this taking place.
And the Goblin Queen herself was most please, of course:
Ha! I told him it would be this easy, I told everyone the same! My sweet slimy little Froggie will be so pleased when he sees what his Mummy has brought him, and when I get a hold of that deadbeat father of his I'll wring his neck!
The Queen ascended the steps to the Stage and when turned around to face the crowd, she lifted up the enormous dead bear off her back and heaved it to the side like a ragdoll, much to the delightful cheering of the crowds.
"QUIET!" The Queen shouted, her tusk-like teeth snapping and her strong arms needed waved only once to quiet them. Then she spoke as her convoy of Goblins dropped off their bloody kills at the stage:
"My children of darkness! Tonight, we eat like lions! Just as I have promised, I have brought back food, bounties of it. So now not only will my Son eat, but so will the rest of you; keep in mind however that winter is approaching us, so eat your stony hearts' desire, but store what you don't devour. Now, where is my dear son?"
Hipposowlea need not look for too long, for her son Froglip came bounding up the steps like a happy hound, all wrapped up in his back cape but still wearing his Father's boulder crown upon his head, and his Father's blue bear-pelt robe upon his back. Froglip had on a smile that stretched from one big ear to the other.
"Mothah! There you are!" Chirped Froglip as he submitted himself to his mother's inevitable embrace and sloppy kisses. "I have got ppttsso muchpptt pptto ppttell you: why, in ttppjust one ppttday, I have inssppttsspired the entire Goblin communittpptty into ssssprucing up the placepptt! I even gottpptt pptthem to mop up pptthe lower Castle levelsspptt!"
"Wonderful to hear, my little slimy son!" The Queen praised. "And lo, here I see you have taken up your Father's royal garbs; does this mean my Son has decided he is ready for the throne, hmmmmm?"
"Well, why nottpptt, Mothah?" Froglip asked in an innocent sounding tone as he wiggled around like an actual frog trapped between his mother's voluminous breasts. "Am I nottpptt the pppprim and pppproper Pppprince that you ssppttsso ssppttssacrificed yoursssself to raise pptto be a King, Mothah?"
"Oh, of course I did, my gracious baby boy!" The Goblin Queen squealed as she reached up a bear's-blood stained hand to pinch her son's green cheek (which Froglip didn't seem to mind). "But as much as I would love to have you at the throne right beside me, my son, our ancestry and The Goblin Tradition would not approve, no more then they would approve of me killing that hapless fool, your Father, in order to give it to you. … And speaking of your Father, son, where is he?"
Indeed, it suddenly occurred to the Goblin Queen that her husband was nowhere to be seen. Even more amazing, she never once heard his very familiar hurricane-force sneezes when she returned home. As Hipposowlea looked around the crowded Great Hall, genuinely concerned, Froglip shot a nervous glance at the one Guard in the Guardsmen lineup whom he had spoken to earlier that day regarding his Father's strange behavior. When he only got the same scared look back, Froglip's big ears perked back up when he so said to his mother,
"Ah, Mothah… Fathah is… ah, ILL! Yesspptt! He isspptt ppttjusssst nottpp feeling very well today, Mothah. I, uh, ppttried to gettpp him pptto work, buttpp he justtpp kepttpp ssssneezing everywhere! It wasspptt awful, Mummy. Sssso… I jusssst ppssent him to hispptt room! Ha-ha! Pptthat is where you will find him, Mothah; no need pptto worry yoursssself over him, and no need to bring him into any ssssort of importance, Mothah! You and I and all the Goblinssss will eat well tonighttpp and for many nightssss, thankssss to you, Mothah."
Froglip planted a slimy kiss in the middle of his mother's forehead, and gave a goofy grin as his mother chuckled and said,
"Ah, very well then. I only worried for a second on his behalf because, Erlking-forbid, I should have to run this place by myself… though at least I will have you, my little carnivorous king! Now lets you and I feast together up in the castle with this bear I have caught and killed with only my claws and let the rest of the Goblin Kingdom work themselves out."
The Queen spoke clear enough so that the entire Great Hall suddenly erupted into a bloodbath of Goblins grabbing at the animal's carcasses and ripping them apart as they all filled each other's bellies with their meat and tendons. And with that, the Goblin Queen took up the great dead grizzly and, with her beloved son held close to her side, Mother and Son strolled away into darkness.