[Tentative]: Chapter 1
Copyright notice: All of this is based on the Jazz Jackrabbit franchise. All of the named protagonists and antagonists from Jazz Jackrabbit 2—namely Jazz, Spaz, Lori, Eva, Devan, Spaz's unnamed girlfriend (of whom I will name), and the sub-bosses—are not made by me, but from the creators of the game. Special thanks to Cliff Bleszinski (CliffyB, as some call him) for the idea of Jazz Jackrabbit. Every other character is copyrighted by me.
A dirt road was soundly disturbed when a blurred scarlet object streamed down it at an incredibly speedy pace. Thick billows of dust wafted into the air almost instantaneously in the object's wake, then blew steadily into the west in accordance to the wind. It was a pity that the road that the thing had been following was facing in the west. Numerous travelers that had been walking down that same path were caught in the cloud left by the fast-travelling thing, and had choked and hacked in the impenetrable dust storm. It was even more piteous that rain had not come down on the land for three entire days, and the dust, if it had a mind of its own, was sure to be happy about to pelt in the rain's stead on the pedestrians that it had been underneath before.
At the head of the cloud was what can be most probably be considered a rabbit. He had the ears, the nose, and front teeth of the well-known creature, and if he were walking barefoot, his feet as well, but that was as far as the description matched. His fur, completely matted and unwashed for what seemed to be months, had taken on a gangly appearance that left entire clumps jutting out from his form in various areas, most notably his jutting cheeks and his flax-coloured underbelly, which was noticeable since he was, other than his blue loose-fitting boots and cuffs around his hands, quite unclothed, though he had no need to be ashamed as that was the custom of the land; all of the male sentient beings of the land, be they turtle, rabbit, or another, generally walked about in their natural state, without being hampered by clothing. His eyes, a moderate shade of green that was tinged slightly with blue, were somewhat crossed and focused inwards towards his snout, which stuck just slightly out from the rest of his face. His tongue, like the rest of him, was very much dissimilar from the rest of his kind in the fact that it was so long that it flopped out of his mouth unceremoniously like a flag in the wind. His arms stuck out in front of him, holding what seemed to be an expensive present wrapped in pink and laced with blue ribbon. Right now, instead of focusing on what he was doing, he looked back uselessly into the gritty cloud that he made in his tracks.
"S-sorry guys!" he shouted over his shoulder in a slightly squeaky voice. "I have to get to the castle with my present! It is urg—ACK!"
With his eyes focused elsewhere than the road ahead, the red rabbit quickly misplaced his footing, fell face-first into the ground, and skidded to a halt a few hundred feet away from where he had tripped. Luckily for him, he landed off of the dusty road and into a soft meadow of plush grass. Unluckily, his head was not in grass, but rather in a small pile of cow dung, which was odd for him since the land was mostly developed for carrots and not cows. Luckily again, he did not get any of the stuff in his mouth, as it was already stuffed from the opening to the back with a large wad of collected grass. Unluckily again, he did not know how to breathe through his nose, and nearly suffocated on the vegetation.
"Ptooie!" he spat as he coughed out a large volume of greenery onto the ground in front of him, not paying any attention to the dung he ejected it upon. "That stuff tastes worse than Bro's cooking, and that's saying a lot!" he voiced in distaste, spitting out even more grass wads and sticking out his tongue again.
"Excuse me, but are you okay?" intoned a young girl's voice from behind him, causing him to look behind him, leap to his feet, and turn around at the same time.
In front of him was a youth roughly nineteen years of age in rabbit years, with mellow goldenrod fur and a wheat-brown mouth. She was garbed in a very purple blouse that covered her shoulders down to halfway between the knee and hip, had her ears each tied by purple bands just a few inches from either end and were directed downwards so that they looked like ponytails, and had a deep blue parasol held in both her hands yet locked underneath her arms. Her azure eyes seemed equally deep, yet warm with friendliness that was sure to not be extinguished. Her smile was toothy and wild, teeth popping out of her mouth even though her lips were certainly closed. Dark-brown freckles dappled across her cheeks, giving her a rustic charm that left him instantly infatuated.
"Uh, um, yeah, I'm fine!" laughed the red rabbit squeakily, his eyes fixated on hers even as he spun around where he stood without any apparent reason. "I just didn't expect that rock to be there!" he added with a grin that made sure all of his teeth, including the molars, were visible.
The girl giggled slightly, patted her blouse down, and smiled at him kindly.
"So why were you in such a rush? I was afraid that I would be caught in the cloud as well had you not flown off of the road like that."
"Oh, I was on my way to my brother's wedding when I—oh no! The present! Jazz is going to kill me!" he screamed frantically, looking this way and that for the box he had held just a little while ago. It was a large present surrounded by a larger box, and though it had consisted of such bright colours, it was difficult to spot in the meadow, as everywhere one would look, there were thousands of blue and pink flowers staring back.
"Um-m-m, hmm . . ." mumbled the young lady as she set down her parasol onto the ground and started to search around the area.
The red rabbit smirked a smile, thankful to her for her helping him, and followed suit.
"Found it!" the girl squealed in joy minutes later, lifting the parcel from the ground and into the air for the red rabbit, who was scanning the area near the road, to see. In a blurred motion, he ran from his original position over to the girl's side. The present was a bit dented on a few sides, and more than a little dirty, but nothing else seemed to have happened to it, even though it took such a fall at the bursting speed. He smirked a smile and laughed whimsically in his usual shrill tone, causing the young lady to blush slightly in his presence. "Well, uhm, it's not too damaged, I hope."
"Nah, it's fine, really! This present can handle a fall like this, I'm sure! Thanks a lot!" he exclaimed happily. He exclaimed practically everything, unless he kept his voice in a whisper.
"You're welcome," she added with a second blush, handing over the present. "So you, uh, are Jazz Jackrabbit's brother, huh? That's neat . . . really neat. Now I know why you have the same speed as he does. A family thing, I would assume."
"Hee-yee-hee, yeah, Jazz is my brother, and I am his . . . mostly!"
"Mostly?" the girl spoke quizzically, tilting her head slightly. Her ponytail ears flopped slightly in the wind, making her appear more than a little cute, in the crimson rabbit's eyes.
"Eh, I don't know! We were sort of found together, as well as my sister! Oh crud, that reminds me! I have to get back! I am late for the early ceremonies! Lori will have my ears for this!" he shouted, winding up his legs slightly so that he could speedily run off in the direction of the road. However, he stopped doing so and looked back at the yellow maiden, who was still staring at him. He scratched the back of his head nervously and spoke in his usual manner again, "Say, what's your name? I never caught it! Mine's Spaz, by the way!"
"Amber . . ." the girl spoke, grinning a wildly toothy smile cutely at him. "Amber Rosetail. It was a pleasure to meet you," she added with a curtsy.
"Nice to meet you, too!" Spaz exclaimed with yet another high-pitched laugh. "I'll see if we could meet up again! Toodles!"
He burst off towards the road, generating an even larger amount of dust now that he was back on it, much to the distaste for the pedestrians that were walking down it who hacked and coughed anew. Amber giggled to herself, then walked over to where her parasol was and picked it up.
"Cute kid . . . a bit eccentric, but . . . cute anyways. I hope we meet again at the wedding," she smiled, placing the parasol, now fully outspread, over her head to shade herself from the beating sun. The castle was only a bit farther down the road, only a few more miles of walking. She heaved a soft sigh and continued heading towards it, somewhat more eager to join the festivities, now that she has met a new friend.
"Just where the dickens is he . . . ? He should be here by now. I mean, it's your wedding day!" exclaimed a lemon-yellow rabbit as she walked about on the dressing room floor. She was garbed in a long and elegant blue sleeveless dress that reached from the tips of her shoulders to just above the ankles, and she paced back and forth in the center of the room, her feet making soft padding sounds on the hardwood floor. She was incredibly nervous, as could be seen by her wringing her wrists and the slight bags under her bloodshot jet-black eyes. There was little doubt that she spent the night fretting of this day, and now that it had come, she felt unprepared. Her neatly combed hair, the front of which conglomerated into a swirl of follicles that hung just above her eyes and the rest of which was kept tied behind her with a purple ribbon and hung down to the base of her back, felt prickly to her, and she kept scratching the top of her head most fiercely to relieve herself of the tension.
"Lori, just stay calm, okay?" spoke the only other person in the room, a lime-green rabbit dressed in a full white tuxedo that was fit for a prince to be married in. A red bandana was wrapped around his head just because he liked having it so, giving his bangs a rough lift so that his green hair conglomerated into a thick mass. Golden cuffs, hidden slightly underneath his white sleeves, wrapped around his wrists as if they were tight-fitting bracers, and he was so used to their weight that he forgot all about them sometimes. He grinned at her widely as he folded his arms over his chest, quite forgetting how tight the suit was on his body. "Our brother is just getting the ring from the shop, and it would be expected that he would miss the opening ceremony, given his—how shall I put it?—nature. And besides, I should be more anxious than you!"
"Then why aren't you, Jazz?" Lori retorted with an agley frown, facing him fully so that he took the full blow of her bloodshot stare.
"Because you did all of it for me. . . . I mean, you did all of the wedding preparations, planning, dressed Eva and me up in these formal monkey-suits, and, heck, consoled us when we had cold feet!" laughed Jazz heartily. "You have done so much for me, Sis, and Eva as well! But you really need to take a rest and leave the worrying to me for once, okay? Just take a quick nap and—"
"But what if I don't wake up in time? What if I miss the entire wedding? Oh, no, that won't do, that won't do. I cannot miss my brother's wedding for anything!" She sat down onto a nearby chair, placed her hands on her forehead, and propped her aching head on her lap. She was close to sobbing, but the pressure of a hand on her shoulder restrained her from doing so.
"Hey, hey, don't worry even about that, Sis," Jazz consoled with a smile that only a sibling would understand the true warmth of, leaving his hand on her shoulder comfortingly. "I can always wake you up before the wedding anyways. It is two hours or so away, so that should give you plenty of time to rest yourself up."
"Well, if you insist on it . . . I suppose some rest would do me good. But make me a video tape just in case I don't—"
Lori sighed and nodded slightly.
"Yeah, I know . . ." she agreed, rising off of the chair with ease and pulling her brother into a hug. "It's just that . . . this will be the end of the life that you knew for so long. I could hardly believe that you are twenty-five and now are to be married to somebody as wonderful as Princess Earlong. I'm just proud of you and—"
"Lori . . . you are crushing my spine," Jazz gasped painfully.
"O-oh, so sorry!" she stuttered as she let her brother go, who backed a pace away to stretch his back free from the pain. "I guess that was just my sisterly instinct kicking in. . . ."
"Powerful instinct, that," admitted Jazz with a silly smile on his face. "Just get the most rest you can, and I'll definitely wake you when the time comes for the wedding to start. And, ah, wish me luck that I don't mess this up, okay?"
"You can bet your whiskers that I'll do that," grinned Lori as she turned towards the door, but stopped as it opened quickly and slammed into the wall beside it with a loud "whump." Directly over the threshold was Spaz, standing in the middle of the door breathing heavily with the present still in his hands. Lori stamped her right foot and frowned at him, then, when he did not pay any attention to her and kept wheezing, walked over to his side and yanked his left ear so that he tilted with the pull.
"Yow! . . . What . . . was that . . . for?" Spaz uttered hastily in his squeaky yet still wheezing voice, tears forming in his eyes from the sudden tug.
"You know perfectly well what!" Lori spat as she let go of his ear. "This is your brother's wedding, and you are late?"
"It's not entirely my fault, you know!" Spaz riposted, now no longer out of breath. "I never knew the bird salesrabbit was going to be in town!"
"What kind of an excuse is that?"
"I had to eat, of course! It is tiring running that long without any food or water, I was hungry, and I had some money on my person! So I bought a few songbirds! Who cares?"
"You ate songbirds?" Lori gasped in disgust. "How dare you eat such lovely creatures in the middle of a carrot paradise! Why didn't you eat a carrot like anyone else would do?"
"Carrots are disgusting, that's why! Bluebirds, however, are sumptuous, tasty, mouthwatering, feathery . . . not to mention that they like me and I like them! Granted, there is a difference between the two, but—"
"Songbirds are for song! Game birds are for eating!"
Jazz stood in the background with his hand plastered against his forehead. There they go yet again, he thought with a scowl. If he had sweat glands, he would have had beads dripping down his forehead and neck. The decision to stop their argument or let it proceed was a difficult one, because either way he was sure to be yelled at.
"Guys, would you knock it off, please?" he bellowed in a very annoyed voice which made the siblings stop bickering for the moment. "This is an important day, and I just wish you both would stop arguing with each other on it!"
Unlike what he thought, neither shouted back at him. Both siblings looked at the other, Lori with a tired rolling of the eyes and Spaz with his, well, normal appearance, his tongue protruding from his mouth in an indecent manner and his entire body swaying without noticeable rhythm. He was in his own world at the moment, and Jazz knew that his younger brother stayed in that state for so long, it would take hours to wake him from his Spazzy trance without the aid of food.
Jazz smiled lightly as he saw his younger brother and rolled his blue eyes along with Lori before breaking the silence: "Well, Lori, this is about the best time to go and get some rest at the moment, and don't forget"—he winked his right eye and nodded synchronously—"that I will wake you just before it ever happens. Now go on, else I'll lock the door on you," he added playfully as she hesitated to go.
Lori laughed in a soft, melodious tone, albeit sleepily, and went out of the door in good spirits. She still was unsure that Jazz would handle all of the preparations that were left on his own, but, knowing her brother, she was sure that he was capable of finding a way to do them, with or without her help. The thought of sleep soothed her nerves, and she soon found her way into the bedroom that was so hospitably given her by Eva and her mother, Queen Earlong.
Jazz loved to hear his sister laugh, as he heard it so rarely whenever they were together. She always was shy in other people's company, and bickering and bossy when she argued with Spaz, but with him she was more at home for some odd reason, and vice versa. He pondered the reason why for a second or two, then shrugged his shoulders and quickly snapped his fingers, bringing his spaced-out brother back into reality.
"Eh? What? Oh, Jazz! What's up?" Spaz burst out squeakily as if nothing had happened within the past minute—nothing at all.
Jazz rolled his eyes again, but took Spaz's lack of attention lightly, as there was nothing to be gained from rattling an empty can like his brother. Instead of getting angry and shaking his brother around a bit, it was much easier to simply talk to him as if he were not absent-minded in the slightest.
"Nothing much, just a wedding to deal with," he uttered sarcastically with an added shrug, then pointed towards the present that Spaz still held in his hands. "That is the ring that you have there, right? Please say that it is and not a pile of bluebird bones. . . ."
Spaz seemed hurt by the comment for a split-second, but quickly changed back into his Spazzy composure as his tongue rolled out of his mouth again.
"Nope! It's the ring all right!" he shouted almost giddily, holding the present on the tips of his fingers with his left hand and, surprisingly, keeping it very still, even though his body swayed ever so slightly. Spaz was well-known in the castle to be unpredictable, and though he showed signs of lunacy commonly he had his bouts of sanity as well.
"That's good," Jazz sighed with relief, swiping his hand over his bandana and very large jackrabbit ears inadvertently. "Could you hand it here?"
"Sure thing!" Spaz chirruped as he tossed the box into the air towards his brother from the fingertips yet again, who caught it just before it hit the ground.
Jazz was close to scowling after the dive to get the box, but got up without a fuss and opened it up in one swift motion. Inside was a blue jewelry box that was about the width, length, and height of his hand with the thumb stretched outwards, and inside that, he discovered the ring itself. Contrary to his anatomical nature, sweat actually did bead on his brow now that he had seen the contents of the box, seeming that the band of heavily pounded gold and silver was attached to the largest diamond he had ever seen. The stone itself was much larger than his fist, and weighed down his hand as he held it.
"Jeez! I thought I asked for a diamond worth ten thousand carrots, not this behemoth!" he exclaimed with a shudder, not even daring to imagine how much it would cost him and Princess Eva after they were quite married.
"Are you sure you didn't mean carats?" asked Spaz, still in his much more logical mood swing as he stepped into the center of the room, just a few paces away from Jazz himself.
"What's the difference . . . ?" Jazz asked as he started to turn nearly as pale as his tuxedo and his eyes narrowed into pinpoints.
"A carat is a sort of weight for diamonds, I think! I might have . . . not pronounced that right when I ordered the ring!" Spaz spoke nervously, laughing immediately afterwards in the same manner.
So I have a diamond worth ten thousand carats? How many carrots make up enough coins for a carat?"
"About one hundred coins per carat, I heard from the guy!" Spaz recited with his annoyingly shrill voice without the slightest hint of any emotion other than sheer giddiness.
Jazz held back his desire to strangle his brother by biting the inside of his cheek and clenching his fists so that it hurt to do so any further. He reeled on his feet and fell back on a chair next to the wall. His face underneath the green hair of his was as white as a sheet now, contrasting with the rest of his body vividly.
"And five carrots make a coin, so I owe five million carrots to the guy. . ." he groaned as he leaned back on the chair, staring up at the ceiling as if the debt, from out of the blue, were going to fall on him like a ton of bricks. "I can always return the diamond and have the ring have another, much cheaper diamond, but that would take too long. . . . And returning the ring for another after a wedding is even worse! Queen Earlong will have my head on a platter!"
"Not if Mother doesn't find out . . ." commented a voice from the door in a very soft and feminine voice, causing Spaz to leap so high upwards that he hit the ceiling and Jazz to jump out of the chair and, by sheer circumstance, onto his feet.
The voice, they knew, belonged to no one other than Eva Earlong herself, the princess of the realm and the successor to the throne of Carrotus, the world which all of rabbitdom, excepting a few more eccentric beings of the family, as well as turtledom had claimed as their home world. She was dressed from head to toe in the brilliantly white wedding regalia that Lori had dressed her up in, and was positively beaming in radiance even off the altar. Her ochre hair was tied up in a French braid, and hung over her shoulder down to the center of her back, clashing slightly, though in a very pretty way, with her cyan skin and fur. A spiked golden tiara, inset with only a single amethyst gem in the center spike, rested on the top of her head. Her eyes, just a shade lighter than Jazz's deep blue set, were locked with calm and collected composure normally, but, whenever she saw her fiancé, they glowed with a light of happiness and playfulness.
"How—what—when—how much did you hear?" Jazz sputtered nervously, his buck teeth clicking against the bottom set rather loudly. Spaz simply muttered distantly, as his head was trapped in the ceiling and he could barely say—or even hear—a thing.
Eva shrugged her shoulders as best as she was able, given the limitations of the wedding dress she was garbed in, and smiled lightly at Jazz, admiring the suit that he was wearing for a brief instant before answering the question.
"Only that you were thinking of returning the ring for another one and the fact that Mother would probably mount your head," she grinned in a laughable manner. "So the ring that they provided you had too small a stone for your liking, huh?"
"Well, uh . . . why don't you see for yourself?" Jazz answered, twice as nervous as before and offering the jewelry box, now closed, for her observance.
Eva laughed through her nose at the gesture, and stepped forward to take the jewelry box from his outstretched hand.
"Oh, come on, how small can the gem be? I'd love it anyways, since you gave it to me, but . . . why is it so heavy?" she questioned, lifting the cover of the jewelry box and looking down in stunned silence at the contents.
"Yeah . . . that's why," admitted Jazz as he walked over to her side, suddenly feeling a lot better now that the worst was over with. "It seems the jeweler had a bit of fun with the order Spaz and I sent in. . . ."
Spaz uttered a series of squeals and soft screeches as he tried to get his head out of the hole in the ceiling that he had just created. He pushed against the sides of the ceiling with his hands, and sometimes his feet as well, but for some reason his head was stuck like glue. Jazz and Eva took this as an affirmative answer, and continued discussing the ring.
"It's so huge . . . I don't even know if that could fit on my finger. . . ."
"Only one way to find out with that . . ." Jazz answered mildly as he took the sides of the brilliant-cut diamond and extracted it, ring and all, from the ring-box. Eva looked at him as if he were joking, then realized his sincerity and stuck her ring finger into the loop of the dwarfed loop of gold and silver.
"Well . . . it looks pretty, sure, but . . . don't you think it is a little too big?" Eva uttered as Jazz let go of the diamond's surface and allowed it to drop. Her hand was outstretched and immobile, and both her wrist and hand sagged underneath the massive weight of the ring.
"That's the understatement of the day," he laughed, unable to keep in the hilarity that was building up in his chest ever since he saw the dreadfully beautiful ten-thousand-carat gem atop the tiny ring. "I'm sure that the choice is simple to make, huh?"
"Yeah, quite simple," agreed Eva, smirking a smile as she removed the ring from her finger and set it back into the jewelry case. "However, the wedding must go on. We'll use it then and return it immediately afterwards. Mother needn't know a thing about it after the wedding."
"That's a relief," grinned Jazz in response before getting kicked in the face by one of Spaz's flailing limbs, the owner of which spun around like a propeller with his head as the center of rotation.
He scowled up at the ceiling, covered his eye with one hand, and grabbed one of Spaz's flying legs with the other, tugging it downwards forcefully. Spaz was very much surprised by this, and fell down squealing as his head popped out of the hole, followed by a large amount of dust and plaster. Eva stifled a laugh at the scene and stepped up to assist Spaz in getting up on his feet.
"Ah, thanks for that!" gulped Spaz with both hapless abandon and a tinge of mixed fear, his tongue sticking out in his usual way. "There were spiders the size of my hand up there! And they were the ugliest things you ever would see! What happened to you, Bro?" he questioned, pointing towards his brother's injured eye.
"The usual incident," growled Jazz with an added frown before waving the matter off. "Eva, you should go. It is bad luck to see me before the wedding."
"I would think that should be my line," Eva laughed, tossing a wide grin at him. "See you in two hours, hubby."
"Sure, sure, honey pot," chuckled Jazz, tossing the other half of the sweetheart nicknames they called each other oftentimes. Spaz was clueless as to what was happening, as his eyes, vacant of much intelligence though they may be, darted from one to the other as if searching for an explanation.
Eva giggled and left the room as quickly as she entered, leaving the ring box on the side table next to the door before crossing the threshold. Jazz stood absolutely still, dazed by love, whereas Spaz swayed irregularly again, thinking of honey, bluebirds, roast chicken, and whatever else he was craving at the moment. Jazz was the first to snap to his senses, and flicked his fingers together to bring his brother back similarly.
"Spaz, you're next. If you could bring that to the minister"—he pointed at the jewelry case on the table—"that would be lovely. I will have a lot of things to do in the meantime, and if you do that, well, that's one less thing off my chest."
"All right, Bro!" grinned Spaz, revealing all of his teeth before squealing happily and turning around towards the door to exit, ring box in hand.
Jazz was left in the room with only his thoughts for company, and that was more than welcome to the jackrabbit. Lori hounded him like a dog all day, and, as sweet as she was, he desired more than a little to be alone from even her. He was a free spirit for the longest time, an adventurer that had spanned the universe with only his multifariously purposeful gun in hand, searching hither and yon for the meaning of his existence. He hardly visited his brother and sister when they stayed back here on Carrotus, and left for months at a time sweeping the planets free from the evils of the universe, especially from that evil Devan Shell.
He ground his teeth as he recalled that name. He hated the turtle for all of the scientific misdeeds that he had done, the experiments that he had performed on creatures of all types, especially both turtle- and rabbit-kind, for his sick, malevolent purposes. Devan always harboured a hatred for rabbits just as he used to have a hatred for turtles, and they became instant rivals when they first met.
Jazz pounded the arm of one of the solid chairs of the room, silently wishing that it had been the turtle's face, but reminded himself that if Devan had never existed, he would have never met Eva. He recalled the fateful day when Devan had held the princess at gunpoint, claiming that he never had experimented on a princess before and thought of it, as well as blowing up all of Carrotus, as a fitting way to get back at rabbit-kind for what it "did" to him. He recalled the anger he felt against him then, for abducting a girl in the prime of her life. He recalled the instance connection that Eva and he had together as he continued fighting one planet after another to rescue her from the clutches of that madman.
He had achieved his goal in the end, simultaneously stopping Devan from his own, and eventually made his way up the social ranks to princedom when he started dating Princess Eva. Being a future member of the royal family and associating himself with them was hardly his idea of enjoyment, but Eva changed everything. He no longer was purely a killing machine and legendary war hero, but a lover and soon-to-be king of all of Carrotus, and that scared him slightly.
What if the world needs me yet again to save it? he thought more often than not, looking down at his tuxedo and heaving a sigh. Every time he asked himself that question, he answered himself immediately afterwards that Lori and Spaz both have the same amount of ability that he had, whether it be agility, stamina, and, best of all, gunmanship. They were more than enough to save the world numerous times over, so why did he question this? He instantly felt the knot in his stomach unravel, and he felt more at peace with his decision than ever before: he was going to marry Eva today.
A smile crept up on his face. Married life was no easy task and neither was kinghood, but with Eva at his side, he was sure to succeed. Slowly, calmly, he stepped out of the room, ready to complete the last remaining plans so that he could savour the moment all the longer. He was getting married.