• Published 22nd May 2022
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Paradise in Limbo - Undome Tinwe

In Limbo, a Gardener cultivates a place of peace for a Lost Princess.

  • ...

The Just Rulers

"A toast, to victory!"

The Garden had always been a place of peace and tranquillity, home to only a small handful of visitors at a time. It wasn't meant to be a venue for a loud, cacophonous celebration attended by over a dozen souls.

But nothing in Limbo was fixed, and the Gardener felt that current events warranted an exception.

"Here here!" The Legionnaire raised his glass as well. "It's been an honour fighting with you all."

"Aye," the Mighty Helm chimed in. "I've not had a fight like that in far too long." He wrapped a foreleg around his lover and pulled him into a tight embrace. "I couldn't have picked a better set of warriors for it, too. Especially you, my love."

The crowd cheered as the two of them kissed, their spirits still drunk on the high of their achievements.

"Well, that was good for some entertainment at least," the Commander said as she finished her drink. "Does this sort of thing happen all the time around here?"

"I don't think we've had anything that exciting since the Frozen Founders managed to bring a whole swarm of Windigo spirits into this realm, bless their hearts," the Healer said, chuckling. "That was a real fine mess to sort out."

"I'm just happy to be able to help," the Mailmare chipped in cheerily.

"We all fought with valour," the Beacon of Hope said, though her gaze was fixed on the Fallen Princess. "And I thank you, your majesty, for uniting the souls of the lost to our side. We would not have won without their help."

The Fallen Princess nodded. "I just did my part, like the rest of us. Each of us is responsible for driving the Tyrant back."

"By my calculations, he should be forced to recover his strength for quite some time," the Sorcerer said. "And those souls were only placed in a temporary stasis, so they should all be pulled back to the other realm before he can marshall another offensive."

"Good," the Legionnaire said. "And we'll keep watch to make sure he doesn't try anything sneaky in the meantime. But that's a worry for later. Now, we drink!"

There was another cheer as the festivities continued, and the Gardener allowed herself to enjoy the revelry, though a part of her noted that the Fallen Princess remained relatively quiet, and had eventually retreated back to the pond. Of course, the Garden was still a place of peace, so she let her be, and focused her attentions on her other friends, new and old, until it was time for them to take their leave. Promises were exchanged to meet again, and then it was just one familiar soul left for the Gardener to tend to.

"Penny for your thoughts?" she asked, sitting down beside the Fallen Princess. "This victory would not have been so decisive without you."

"I know," the Fallen Princess replied, idly plucking at the grass beneath her.

"Then what is it that troubles you?" the Gardener asked, plucking a dandelion from the floor and twirling it in her hooves.

"They spoke to me afterwards." There was a pause as the Fallen Princess collected herself, before speaking slowly. "I was asked to be their leader, now that the Tyrant has been banished."

"I see." The Gardener did not wish to presume to know all, though she could see much, and so she asked, "How do you feel about it?"

"Scared," the Fallen Princess replied. "I won't bore you with the details of the potential failures should I accept this position. Surely you understand the magnitude of what I have been asked to do."

The Gardener nodded solemnly. "That I do. Heavy is the head that wears the crown, and it is not something to be considered lightly."

Her friend's lips curled up into a small smirk. "No words about how you believe I am beyond failure, Gardener?"

The Gardener chuckled lightly. "Would that I could say those words, but such outcomes are beyond the control of any one soul. Instead, I will simply ask if you believe you can rule justly, from the heart, and if you can put your people's needs above your own, as all rulers should."

Another silence. "I believe I can try my best," the Fallen Princess replied. "But I do not know if it will be enough."

"That you are so hesitant speaks greatly of your character," the Gardener said. "And it may come to pass that you will have to give all you can give and more. If it comes to that, will you do so?"

"Without question." There was no hesitation in that answer.

The Gardener smiled. "Then I believe you have your answer."

The Princess Triumphant stood up, eyes ablaze with love and might. "I do. There may come a time when someone more worthy comes to take my place, but until then, I shall guide my people as best I can, and follow my heart until the end."

"Then go, and greet your people, your majesty." With a flick of her hoof, the Gardener commanded the gates of her domain to open.

The Princess Triumphant looked towards the exit, then turned back to extend a hoof out to the Gardener. "Come with me, my friend," she said.

The Gardener glanced back at her garden. "But..."

"If you have tended to your charges well, they will flourish even without your constant care," the Princess Triumphant said. "And there are so many more sights for you to see. Come, and let me show you the wonders this realm has to offer, starting with the city my souls are building for themselves."

The Gardener could not deny the Princess Triumphant's will, not when she yearned for what was offered. "Very well," she said, taking her hoof.

And so, the two souls strode off with renewed purpose, ready to embrace their new future.