“Hey,” said Star Cat, “what is my friend doing in that machine?”
The Queen looked over at Star Cat and said, “Oh, he’s your friend, is he?”
Star Cat nodded and said, “Yeah, like, one of my best friends. He pretty much knows everything about me.”
“Well,” said the Queen, “your friend here has stolen from me in the past, and I have recently discovered that he has stolen from me again.” She pointed to Star Cat and said, “I would suggest you get yourself some new friends.”
“Wait just a minute,” said Slimey. “Yes, I am guilty of stealing from you before, and I did my time for that. But I did NOT steal from you again, Queen Sun Spot.”
“Then why were you hiding underneath that podium when you were here earlier?” asked the Queen. “Seems like some pretty suspicious behavior, if you ask me.”
“Well, I figured our meeting would go a lot quicker if you didn’t notice me, seeing how much you like me and all,” said Slimey. “But I didn’t steal anything!”
Queen Sun Spot was getting mad. “Then where did you sneak away to? Apparently, you were here, and then, ‘poof,’ you were gone!” she yelled. “And what hit the roof of my palace? Were you orchestrating an attack on my kingdom to get your revenge?”
Slimey rolled his big eye at all of the Queen’s questions. “Well,” he said with a sigh, “I snuck away because I was saving those two cats over there,” he said as he pointed to Chris and Jon, “from crashing into the roof of your palace.”
Chris and Jon nodded in agreement with Slimey, and Jon said, “It’s true Queen Sun Spot. We were driving too fast, and Slimey cushioned our impact. We still hit into the roof, and I am sorry about that. But it would have been much worse if Slimey hadn’t been there to catch us.”
The Queen’s eyelids narrowed with her growing skepticism and she said, “Well, then where is my key, huh? Can anybody answer that for me?” She spun around the room looking at everyone and waiting for an answer. “Nobody?” she asked.
Then Cheesy King Mouse asked, “Oh for goodness sake, Queen Sun Spot! Why don’t you just have a locksmith make you a new key if it’s that important? And can someone please cut me loose, NOW, so I can grab Princess Starry and her thieving cat accomplices?”
The Queen smiled for some reason and started walking briskly towards Star Cat and her brothers. “Okay,” she said, “if Slimey is really your friend, and if he really has changed, then let’s put it to the test.”
Cheesy King Mouse realized he was being blatantly ignored, which annoyed him, and so he tried to get the Queen’s attention by saying, “Hello? Queen Sun Spot, a little help please?”
Star Cat was enjoying the fact that Queen Sun Spot seemed to be ignoring CKM. Although, she was not sure where the Queen was going with this new testing idea, but she shrugged her shoulders and said, “Okay, sure. Why not?”
Then, Queen Sun Spot walked over to her throne and pulled out a note pad and a pen. She handed it to Star Cat and said, “I’ll give you a question, and you write down your answer. Don’t show your answer to Slimey. Once you have written down an answer, I’ll ask Slimey if he knows what you have written. If he is, indeed, your best friend, then this should be easy for him.”
Star Cat started jumping up and down and clapping and said, “Oh, I love a good game!”
Slimey wasn’t worried at all about this game. He would let Star Cat write down her answer and then quickly possess her to see what she wrote. She had so much slime on her fur that he could easily possess her for a quick millisecond. So, there was no way he could lose.
“Okay,” said the Queen, “here is the first question. Star Cat, what is your favorite color?”
Star Cat wrote down her answer, and as the Queen was looking at Slimey to make sure he wasn’t cheating, her Guard Dogs noticed that Star Cat’s eyes quickly flashed a bright green color.
“Get her!” screamed the Guard Dogs as they turned on their hoses and sprayed Star Cat from head to toe. You could see all the slime washing away from her. She had used so much of her so called “hair gel” that it took quite a bit of hosing before she was completely clean of slime.
The Queen chuckled and said, “I should have known you would try to cheat, Slimey. Now, let’s start over.”
[Narrator] Star Cat was so wet from all the hosing that even her underfur was wet. She had never been so drenched in all her life. She looked hilarious. Hahaha!
“Shut up, Narrator!” Star Cat screamed.
“Enough!” yelled the Queen. Everyone became silent, and the Queen gave Star Cat a nice new dry notepad and pen. “Try not to get too much water on that notepad, Star Cat,” said the Queen. “I need to be able to read your answers.”
[Narrator] Slimey was starting to sweat with anxiety. Although, I’m not sure how a ball of slime could sweat, but he was sweating alright. Now what was he going to do? I mean, he tried to listen to all of Star Cat’s nonsense while they were trapped together on the hovercraft, but what if he couldn’t remember anything?
“Let’s try this again,” said the Queen. “Star Cat, what is your favorite food?” Star Cat started drooling thinking about all her favorite foods. Though, you couldn’t really tell she was drooling because her fur was still all wet which in this case worked out in her favor, I think.
“Wait!” yelled Slimey, “That question is too broad. Star Cat has several favorite foods. You should specifically ask her about her favorite appetizer, main dish, or desert. Otherwise, it is not a fair question.”
The Queen rolled her eyes with frustration, and said, “Alright, then Star Cat, what is your favorite flavor of ice cream?” Then she turned to Slimey and asked, “There, is that specific enough for you?”
Slimey nodded to the Queen while Star Cat was trying to write down her answer. The Queen looked at Star Cat’s written response which remained out of Slimey’s view, and said, “Okay, Slimey, what is her answer?”
“Well, it depends,” said Slimey, “sometimes her favorite flavor is vanilla and other times it is chocolate. If given the opportunity to combine chocolate and vanilla, then that is her favorite flavor which is commonly referred to as ‘a swirl’.”
Queen Sun Spot looked back at Star Cat’s notepad to make sure she wasn’t dreaming, but Slimey was right. Star Cat wrote, “Chocolate + Vanilla = Swirl.” She was not happy about Slimey’s correct answer and said, “Lucky guess. Let’s make this game the best two out of three. Ready for the second question, Star Cat?”
Star Cat flipped to the next page in the notepad and said, “Yep. This game is fun!”
“Star Cat, what is your middle name?” asked the Queen.
Once Star Cat finished writing down her answer, the Queen checked her notepad to see her answer. The Queen smiled smugly, looked over at Slimey and said, “Well, Slimey, what is her middle name?” She was sure he would get this answer wrong.
Slimey hesitated for a second, but then said, “She doesn’t have a middle name. Her first name is Star and her last name is Cat, but her family prefers to call her by her full name, Star Cat, because being called ‘Star’ all the time goes straight to her head. They think she becomes too pompous. According to Star Cat, however, she is merely confident.”
Star Cat’s eyes started welling up with tears as she turned her notepad around. Slimey was exactly correct. She was so overwhelmed with joy because most people stop listening to her stories after a while, but not Slimey. “You <sniff> really are <sniff> my best friend!” Star Cat said to Slimey as she tried to hold back happy tears.
Slimey smiled and said, “Well of course I am! Now Queeny, can you let me out of here please? I answered two questions correctly, proving that I really am just here to help my friends, and that I didn’t come here to rob you.”
Queen Sun Spot thought about it for another second, and said, “Well, then why did you possess Cheesy King Mouse to sneak back into my palace?”
Slimey looked at the Queen and said, “As you may already know, I tend not to think things through very well. So, to begin with, I thought it would be a fun and easy way to get back inside the palace since you, Queen Sun Spot, locked it down. Additionally, I wanted to possess CKM to give Star Cat and Cheese more time escape. CKM has been chasing after them for a while now. While I was possessing the Mouse King though, I thought I would spend a few hours here with you before un-possessing CKM. That way, Star Cat and everyone else would have plenty of time to escape.”
“That makes sense so far,” said the Queen, “but I still don’t understand why you think your friends need help. Why would CKM chase after Star Cat and her brothers? Also, they are in no danger here in my palace.”
Princess Sunny Dog started growling in disagreement with Queen Sun Spot. She barked and then pointed to Cheesy King Mouse.
“So, Slimey really was trying to stop CKM from getting Star Cat?” asked the Queen.
Cheese stepped up and said, “Yes, your majesty. My father, as you know, can act a bit crazy at times.”
The Queen rolled her eyes, and said under her breath, “More like all the time.”
CKM was getting upset with this conversation so he interjected by saying, “Hello, I can hear you all! And I am not crazy! Someone give me the scissors so I can stand up, NOW!”
“Dad,” said Cheese to the King, “You kidnapped Star Cat and thought she was Princess Starry. However, Star Cat is not Princess Starry, and she tried to tell you that several times. But, of course, you wouldn’t listen. So, I decided to help her escape...”
“HOW DARE YOU DEFY ME!” yelled the King, interrupting Cheese.
Cheese paused for a moment to make sure his father was done interrupting him, and he continued by saying, “And then we came here to get some metal to build a hideout on an asteroid. Our plan was to stay there for a while until CKM gave up looking for us. On the way here, we met Slimey, and yeah. That’s pretty much the whole story from my standpoint.”
The Queen looked over at CKM, shook her head, and said, “You kidnapped someone else? I thought we talked about this, CKM. You can’t just go kidnapping everyone to get your power fix!”
Cheesy King Mouse’s ears turned down with guilt, and he was still sitting on the floor because his robes were still melted there. He just looked down at his hands and didn’t say anything else.
“Now, where was I?” asked the Queen to herself. “Ah yes, my key. Okay everybody, see that portrait of me with my crystal key?” Queen Sun Spot pointed to a painting of herself holding a beautifully crafted key. “Let’s all start looking for it together.”
“Wait,” said Star Cat as she reached into her pocket, “is this your key?” She pulled out the key that I, the Narrator, had narrated into existence when we were down in Cheesy King Mouse’s dungeon. Remember the key that didn’t work to open up Star Cat’s cell, but instead set off all the alarms?
The Queen smiled and ran over to Star Cat and grabbed the key. She sniffed it and looked it over, and then said, “Why, yes! It is my key! Where did you find it?”
Star Cat said, “We found it in Cheesy King Mouse’s dungeon. One of his Mouse Guards had it in his pocket.”
Queen Sun Spot’s face went from happy to neutral as she slowly looked over at Cheesy King Mouse who was still melted to the floor. “Oh,” said the Queen in disappointment. “You know what, I think the King and I need to have a little chat. Don’t give him the scissors,” she said to her Guard Dogs, “Cheesy King Mouse needs to stay on the floor for a while and think about what he’s done.” Queen Sun Spot walked over to CKM and started scolding him for stealing her key, “Did you take my key the last time you stopped over for tea? You can’t go kidnapping innocent people or stealing keys from your royal friends to make you feel more powerful!”
CKM didn’t say anything to the Queen. He knew she was right, and he figured the scolding would end a lot sooner if he didn’t try to argue with her. So, he decided he might as well get comfortable since he would be glued to the floor for a bit while the Queen continued scolding him. He bunched up he robes like a pillow and laid his head down on them with an emotionless expression on his face. His eyes seemed to glaze over while the Queen continued disciplining him.
From the other side of the room, Star Cat leaned over to Cheese and whispered, “I think your dad might be a psychopath.”
“I don’t know about that,” said Cheese, “but definitely a kleptomaniac. He obviously enjoys stealing all sorts of things, living or nonliving.”
Then, Star Cat looked over to me, giggled a little bit and said, “Hey Narrator, guess your powers don’t work after all, huh? That key must have already been in the Mouse Guard’s pocket when you tried to narrate one into existence. Otherwise you’d be a lot prettier right about now! Hahaha!”
[Narrator] Whatever, Star Cat. It was your silly idea, remember? You’re the one who told me to try to narrate things into existence. It’s not my fault that we coincidentally found a stolen key. And right now, between the two of us, I look way better than you do!
“I was hosed down against my will, Narrator!” shouted Star Cat.
Cheese moved between us and said, “Ladies, please stop fighting. All is well that ends well.”
But of course, all was not well. No, all was not well at all. “Guys,” said Jon, “we’re late for dinner.” Upon hearing that, Star Cat, Chris, and Jon suddenly had a very somber air about them.
“Oh no,” whispered Chris, “not again.”