Sir Charles Eustace Fotheringhay Le Malvois III had come across a unicorn exactly once in his life. A real unicorn that was, not the UnIkornes fighting the Llyons over who would have the Red King's throne- those, he had seen far too many of. But a real unicorn was something he'd only seen once.

He'd been a young man at the time, and in the middle of a 'hey nonny nonny' that would have put his Nana to shame when the creature had hurled itself out of the shrubbery.

"Hey you!" it yelled. "You, singing! Stop that before you explode!"

He did stop, if only because his jaw had dropped down too low to articulate properly.

"Thank you," the unicorn said. Then, after a moment's pause, added "Though, I have to admit, the staring is a little creepy."

Charles found his tongue. "Greeting noble creature!" he said, sweeping into a low bow. "I am Sir Charles Eustace Fotheringhay Le Malvois III."

"Charlie," it replied.

Charles blinked. "Well, yes I suppose you could call me-"

"No, my name is Charlie," Charlie said quickly.

"Really?" Charles asked.

"I am very sure," Charlie told him. "I'm constantly reminded of it."

"Ah." Charles was just contemplating what significance this momentous occasion might hold, and why it shared a name with him when Charlie replied "That's it? 'Ah?' You're not going to light up and crown me Banana King again?"

"I could read your toe nails?" Charles offered.

Charlie looked down, reminding Charles that he had no toenails. "Really?"

"Well, the same principles should apply to hooves," Charles guessed. "I am very well-versed in the Black Arts, you know."

"That's more like it," Charlie said, raising his front right hoof. "Absolutely. Read away, black artisan."

Charles inspected the hoof, which was uniformly black and shiny, and therefore yielded him exactly nothing. "You said you were the Banana King?" he said, hoping to distract him with small talk.

"Sure," Charlie replied. "There were bananas yelling in my ear and everything."

"That must have been nice," Charles said. "Passing laws, heading parades, giving boons-"

Charlie tugged his hoof away, his eyes narrowing in suspicion. "Boon? Is that what you're after? Do you want a boon?"

"I-" Charles thought about it for a moment. "Well, if you're giving them out…"

"And what exactly does a boon look like, anyway?" Charlie demanded.

Charles hadn't the foggiest idea. "I believe it's like a title, or a blessing?" he suggested, trying to remember some of the ones the White Queen had given out. "Defender of the Bell? Utmost of the Bowmen?"

"Right," Charlie said. "You're the Guardian of the Curtsey. Nice meeting you."

"I think there needs to be more ceremony than that," Charles suggested, rather attached to the idea now that it had presented itself to him.

Charlie stopped on the brink of leaving the clearing, and gave him a put-upon frown. "Like what?"

"A tap with a sword?" Charles offered.

"How am I supposed to hold a sword?" Charlie demanded.

"You could use your horn?" Charles said.

Charlie trotted back over to him, and rolling his eyes, touched his horn to Charles' escutcheon. "You're now the Guardian of the Curtsey. Good on you."

When he pulled away, his horn broke off and fell to the ground. Charles stared.

"Uh," Charlie said. "If you could pick that up…"

Charles bent and held it out. Charlie bit onto it.

"Thanks," he probably said around the horn, and mumbled something that sounded like but couldn't have been "Fucking snowman."

He disappeared back into the shrubbery, and Charles never saw him again.