The Game

(which you lost)

Chapter 1

"Mommy, why do you say 'I lose' all the time?" asked the child.

"Well," began the mommy, "it's a long story. Twice upon two times, there was a magical kingdom. Of course, this kingdom had a 'handsome' prince (the 'hero' of our story) and a 'beautiful' princess (the 'damsel in distress'). And, like all magical kingdoms, it had a big scary monster to be slain.

"Once, the princess was in a random tower that was too tall to serve any purpose, and besides, they didn't have the technology to build those towers back then. But it was a magical kingdom, so that explains everything. So anyways, the princess was stuck up there, being guarded by the monster. So of course the prince rides up in shining armor, slays the beast with a sword, and comes up to save the princess.

"'What did you do that for?' asked the princess.

"'Because that's what always happens!' said the prince.

"'But it shouldn't. Besides, that monster was my friend. Ze actually cares about me — unlike you, who just wants'—"

The child interrupted the story, saying, "Hold on, is this actually going to get us anywhere?"

"No, but I did say two times. Okay, I'll skip to the second time. This time, the prince was in the tower. He randomly took out his sword and slew the monster.

"Just then the princess came along.

"'Hey — I was supposed to save you', said the princess, in shining armor carrying a sword.

"'And then we'd get married and live happily ever after?'

"'No! Of course not! I'd never feel comfortable entering any relationship where one person saved the other's life!', she said as she rode back to the castle."

Chapter 2

The mother continued the story: "That night there was a huge rainstorm. The inexplicably tall tower made creaking sounds, waking up the prince. Just then, lightning struck. The prince, who had, all his life, been spoiled and sheltered, became afraid. What if that was really an alien spacecraft crashing down? (Oh, I forgot to mention — he's not entirely sane.)

"Meanwhile, the princess, who had been enjoying the storm ('water helps things grow', she would say), decided to take her mind off the math problem she was working on and go downstairs.

"When she got downstairs, she looked and saw, to her surprise, two little green people outside the door. They looked lonely, so she let them in.

"'Take me to your leader', said one of them.

"'Speaking', said the princess, for she was their leader.

"'May we come in and spend the night?' they said.

"'Certainly', said the princess. The aliens walked up to their rooms.

"Meanwhile, the prince heard footsteps outside his door. 'It must be them', he thought. Just then, the princess came into his room (she knocked first, of course). The prince told the princess his concern about possible aliens.

"'Nonsense', said the princess after she'd heard the prince. 'The noise was just a crack of thunder.'

"She went back to her own room.

"Next morning at breakfast, the prince looked at the visitors and whispered something to the princess about aliens.

"'No', said the princess. 'These people are here to fix our furnace.'

"'Actually we're here to abduct the furnace and replace it with a new high-efficiency one that won't contribute to global warming.'

"'See?' said the princess. 'These people are here to help. Oh, and don't use the word abduct; it scares the prince.'

"'Sorry', said the green person."

Chapter 3

"But what about the game? I didn't hear anything about that", said the child.

"Well, we'll get there", said the mother. "The next day the princess decided to go to a village she had never gone to before. A girl who lived in the village came up to the princess and yawned.

"'I don't know why I have that effect on people', said the princess. 'It seems I have a curse of boredom placed on me.'

"'Or maybe because yawning is a sign of respect here in Onceuponatimia?' said the girl.

"'Or that', said the princess. 'Personally I don't like it. It's not like I chose to be a princess.'

"'Actually, I'm sort of surprised that you would visit a poor Súiⱥcúili person like me.'

"'Wait — you're Súiⱥcúili? I've always wanted to meet one of those people.'

"'Wait — you're not going to put me into the dungeon or anything?'

"'Why would I do that?' asked the princess.

"'Well, Súiⱥcúil and Onceuponatimia haven't exactly been getting along very well. Did you know that Hxa is planning an invasion on Onceuponatimia?'

"'Correction: Onceuponatimia and H́x́ haven't been getting along very well. Just because I don't like your country's leader doesn't mean I don't like you. Oh, and thanks. You saved my life.'


"'By telling me that H́x́ was going to attack.'"

The child interrupted the story: "I wanna know more about the game!"

The mother continued: "I'm getting there. So anyways, the king fought battles in a peculiar way. For example, each person could only move a particular way. When the battle was over, the green people came to the princess and asked if she wanted to play chess. Well, of course she had never played chess before, so the green people taught her, at which point she pointed out that chess was the way she had made up to fight battles."

"Wait, wasn't it the king who fought the battle?"

"That's what the green person said, but it turns out the princess can control people's minds. She had done that to get the king to fight battles strangely, and she demonstrated on the green people just then, by making them say 'I lose' every time they thought about it, and that game spread to earth."

"You just made all of this up, didn't you."

"Sigh, yes I did", said the mother, over the whisper of "I lose" by the little green person hiding where neither of them could see.