What's this? Inconsistent uploading? Well Oh well. I don't own any of these characters except for the dumbass guard. Oh and I looked around various websites for that one thing about the sky.
Edd finally made his way to the Castle Grounds and for a little bit of time, all he could do was look at it. With immaculately and geographical lines, an exterior graced in shades of white and very little orange, - and from what he could make out, laminated labels - it seemed more like the brainchild of a modern, minimalist artist instead of the normal connotations that came from the words 'Castle' and 'Royal'. And that was being polite. If Edd had truly been impolite, then the first thought that would have come to him would have been 'hospital'. A mental hospital to be exact, the kind of place that was supposed to be a source of comfort and healing but shrouded in secrets , abuse and overall distrust that there was no point trying to put on a facade that this was a happy place. But as unhappy and just uncomfortable as it made him, at least hospitals had some kind of knowledge and the fact it wasn't as colorful as places he's seen could probably a sign of rationality or logic.
So he kept on, hoping that he was right about this. This was strange; he had never been wrong about much in his life and even if things didn't make sense here whatsoever, at least he could try to have faith in his own logic? Edd groaned; God, even justifying his own decision making skills were starting to vex him. A guard soon came into view. "Finally, another person." he thought, going over. "If you excuse me-" Edd tapped the shoulder of one of the guards. The guard barely turned his head to look at Edd before flinching, getting down to his knees, muttering some kind of apology of some sorts. A few seconds later, he was confused as to why Edd wasn't doing anything to him and looked back up and sighed. He seemed relieved that it wasn't who he thought it was but Edd had to wonder what exactly the guard was expecting to happen.
"May I help you?" The guard asked, putting Edd's musings on hold in favor for the real issue here.
Edd cleared his throat. "Yes, I was wondering if you could lead me to who's in charge." He asked, noticing more details about the guard. Other than the head to toe scheme of bleach and burnt orange, not to mention incredibly intricate stitching throughout the uniform itself, Edd could have easily mistaken him - or any other guard there - for a British Foot Guard.
The guard profusely shook his head. "Queen's not taking audience now." He said, going back to his business. So this was a matriarchal society; Edd made sure to keep that in mind. "We do not disturb the Queen." The guard added in, in case for some reason Edd seemed like he didn't get it the first time.
"Perhaps you could direct me to someone who cou-" A painful but distant scream stopped his words and had him instead focused on the guard's hands. One towel with stains of some red liquid that Edd wasn't sure he wanted to know the origin of; the other had a flawlessly white bottle labeled 'Disinfectant'. That was odd to say the least. "What are you doing?" he asked, hoping to make sense of it.
"Disinfecting the Roses." The guard said, his tone distracted and his focus clearly on the task at hand.
"Why?" Edd asked. Since when did a rose need disinfectant? Not to mention that the guard was spraying enough to clean an entire countertop with, all for oen rose.
"The queen hates when they're dirty or unsanitary." Another clipped yet disinterested answer from the guard.
"But that much disinfectant would surely kill the roses." Edd pointed out. But alas, it was in vain because the cards just ignored him and kept on. Like a new form of torture, the chemicals - stronger than Edd had expected - started the erosion process on their victims.. Edd could have sworn he heard screaming as the acid ate away into the delicate, flesh like petals. Anything that hadn't been dissolved completely left cuts and scars that he only wished could heal after it was all over. They continued to wither, their blood collecting into the metal pail that Edd saw was labeled 'Impurity'. What remained were pale corpses, scarred and unhealed shells of what they used to be. Edd didn't understand; something as simple - though pointless - as disinfecting a rose shouldn't have been so painful to watch. But here he was, holding his tongue, clearly the only one who had any concern about the well being of the fauna. Who would be so low as to want to disinfect - this wasn't even disinfecting, this was murdering - roses simply due to the color? If this queen wanted white roses instead of red, why didn't she just order white roses to be planted instead?
"The queen was never one for flowers anyway." The guard mentioned, just cutting the entire stem and putting it in a nearby basket neatly labeled 'Damaged'.
Blinks of dumbfoundedness only lasted for a few seconds before Edd had had just about enough of this guard. It was amazing what all of the sheer confusion of what he's experienced was doing to his patience. "Then what in damnation is the point of painting red roses only to bleach them and get rid of them when you know the chemical process will destroy them?" Had all of these people really lost their minds?
A deep, foreboding bell started to ring clearly through the sky. "It's time." Again with the screams. Edd swore that this wasn't his imagination this time and for once in a while here, he was right; Nine other creatures (humanoid, animal like and one Edd swore looked like a chocolate chip cookie with a mustache) were pulled in by other guards
Edd quickly glanced around him. "Time? Time for what?" He said, finding himself forcefully ushered to a seat by two more of the guards. Seeing how calm he was, some of the others looked at him like he had a death wish or something. And he soon saw why.
"Welcome to the Bowl. Answer these ten questions correctly and you don't die." A voice from overhead announced.
Edd's eyes widened in an obvious panic. "I must be hearing things. I could have sworn he used death in that sentenced..." he chuckled nervously, not getting any kind of response. Not even a contemptuous glare from any of the other nine; they were too focused on being terrified as they were handed tablets.
"Use the tablets to answer and submit. No revealing answers out loud. Whoever answers incorrectly and or with the most time used per round is executed on the spot."
And that's when Edd snapped. "Excuse me?!" He got to his feet immediately. "Exactly what the hell kind of a game is this?! I wasn't aware we were in the Capital!" Edd shouted. "I refuse to be a part of this!" his yelling got louder, more fervent only to stop with a spear barely a millimeter away from his neck.
"Discontinuation of the game for any reason results with on-the-spot execution." The guard said with a snarl. Well that certainly put a damper on Edd's plan of trying to leave so soon. With a hard gulp, Edd sat back down, trying to get comfortable with the tablet in hand. "The Game will begin with the first question." The guard started, going into the center of the circle the victims formed.
"A change of the DNA in an organism that results in a new trait is known as"
"A Mutation" Edd answered almost impulsively, and would have said it out loud if not for the rule being ... highly enforced by the guards and their rather large and pointy spears. He scribbled down an answer and was the first to lock in. Others locked in after him and before Edd had time to blink, a guard twirled his spear, piercing straight through the skull of one of the humanoid creatures without a word. It sank out of the chair and onto it's knees before it hit the ground, blood filling up the stab-hole and overflowing in record time. And they just left it there. Left it there as the blood poured from the hole and flowed past the hairline and onto the grass or running down various parts of skin. Edd held his mouth, wishing he could find a place to throw up after what he just saw.
Question after question came. A lot - if not all of the rest - of the questions asked were things Edd could have easily seen on a high school science exam or placement test. He was actually very relieved that these were things he actually knew and could answer rather well. After all, his life did depend on getting these right or putting down a wrong answer with as little time as possible. And as another breath of relief passed his lips from survival, his only regret was for the ones who weren't so lucky, those who answered incorrectly and had some kind of cruel, unjust fate. Soon it came to him being the only one left. Edd swallowed another hard gulp. Was this really going to be what decided his fate? "Final Question. For this you may speak. Why is the sky blue?" The guard said.
Edd cleared his throat. "The sky's blue color is a result of the effect of Rayleigh scattering. Shorter-wavelength blue light is more strongly scattered in the earth's atmosphere than longer-wavelength red light. The human eye perceives the color blue when looking at the sky as a result. " He knew he was correct and the guards didn't fight it. Edd expected some kind of positive acknowledgement or a prize for surviving this long. What he got however, were ominous glares from the guards around him. It only took the glares to turn from ominous to downright wicked for Edd to realize that this wasn't just a test.
Twinges of fear came to him as the thoughts came racing as well. "No one was supposed to pass." He got out of his seat slowly to try and avoid suspicion "We were all supposed to die." Yet he was still there, alive and grabbing the wrong type of attention. "What does that mean for me?" He gulped. Considering that the guards were under specific orders of the Queen - who they mentioned several times in their worrisome decision-making process - and this didn't happen often enough for them to be well prepared for this, Edd figured he had one option and one option alone. "Is that your queen?" He asked, pointing towards the castle.
As soon as their backs were turned, he ran.
I have a feeling that you know who the Queen is but whatever.