Opening Line Prompt #4

The Wise Princess

“I would have defeated the aliens if it weren’t for Lyla,” Princess Katrina said in an interview on one of the intergalactic news shows. Actually, she’d told the story a thousand times over the millennia, to anyone who would listen.

“A wall is a stupid idea, Princess,” Lyla had said. “Aliens can go over it, under it, around it. You can’t make a big enough wall to keep everybody out. Don’t waste your time.”

“What do you suggest,” the Princess had asked, annoyed at having had her most brilliant idea ever questioned by this – this — brunette.  

“I mean, you could invite them in, show them grace and magnanimity,” Lyla said, with the confidence of a woman who didn’t know that her hair was brown.

“Treat them like they’re friends? But how would that defeat them?” The Princess demanded.

Lyla shrugged. “They’d stop being enemies if you stopped treating them as though they are. Then you wouldn’t need to defeat them.”

The Princess was sure it wouldn’t work, and had only really done it to spitefully prove how dumb the idea was.

A couple of millennia later, the Princess’ own little corner of the universe was thriving and Lyla was the Princess’ most trusted advisor. Lyla was really just a head in a jar at this point, but that had always been the best part of her, aside from her heart, which the Princess kept in a separate jar.

At the moment, the Princess needed Lyla’s chilled head more than ever before. The doors to the jar room opened with a friendly whoosh. Her high heels clicked purposely against the metal floors as she walked past the jarred heads of her friends, advisors, enemies – anyone she’d wanted to keep around for sentimental reasons. Or to taunt when she was bored.

The Princess found Lyla snoozing, her forehead resting against the glass. Her snores were loud enough to rattle the jar she was in. Tiny bubbles flow out of her nose, as she breathed out the serum that kept her alive. She’d been sleeping more and more lately. The Princess feared that someday soon, she was going to have to grant the request Lyla had been asking of the Princess for centuries – to finally let her die.

But that day was not this day. The Princess tapped rapidly on the glass until Lyla’s milky eyes fluttered open.

“Lyla!” Sometimes Lyla didn’t recognize the Princess, but this day was a lucky day. The Princess was so overjoyed to see Lyla’s face settle into a wry smile, that she didn’t even mock the other woman’s horrific snoring. Though, she did make a mental note to do so, later. “I’m sorry to bother you,” the Princess said. “But I need your help. This may be the most important issue I’ve ever asked your advice on.”

“Alright,” Lyla said, with a gentle exhalation of bubbles.

“Okay.” The Princess backed up and twirled, letting the skirt of her ruby red dress float up. She lost herself in the movement but before she got too dizzy, she stopped, letting her dress settle in graceful swirls around her legs.

Lyla frowned. “What is it you need help with, Princess?”

“My shoes, of course!” The Princess said, pointing to her feet. “Black to contrast, or red to match?”

Lyla’s head hit the glass again as she angled her head to try to see the Princess’ feet. Everything about the Princess was a blur, but Lyla knew that the Princess wouldn’t stop asking until Lyla chose one of the colors. “I like the red?” she asked.

The Princess let out a contented sigh. “Thank you, Lyla. You have never steered me wrong.” The Princess turned to leave, and then spun back, the hem of her dress hitting her shapely calves. She’d chosen this body for that particular feature, after her last one had gotten too old to be attractive.

“Oh, one more thing, Lyla,” the Princess said. “I have a diplomatic mission first thing tomorrow morning. The fates of billions of people and aliens rest on the result of this mission. I need to know if, to open, I should compliment the super fat duke of Argona on his massive collection of chins, or if I shouldn’t bring them up at all. I know you’ve already answered this a bunch of times, but I keep forgetting!”

But Lyla’s eyelids had drifted closed again. The Princess frowned. No snoring noises shook the jar; no bubbles flowed from Lyla’s nose. Even though the Princess hadn’t given her permission to die, Lyla had stopped breathing.

“Oh no,” the Princess said, sorrow welling up in her eyes. She shook her head, shudders of grief impeding her own breathing. “I didn’t even ask her about my nail polish, and now I’ll never have the chance!”

Opening Line Prompt taken from here: https://www.plot-generator.org.uk/opening-line/

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