Dedicated to the Dungeons and Dragons group, including the warlock with her two sugar daddies (patrons), the monk whose godly parent is one of those sugar daddies, the barbarian who poked a zombie and had to amputate her own arm, and of course the dungeon master who has watched me pull off some of the worst nat 20s in Dungeons and Dragons history.
The coronation party had been going swell, if you asked the Paladin. His queen had ascended to the throne, and the gala that followed featured some of the finest music and dancing, as well as exquisite foods from all over the kingdom. The Paladin stood at his queen’s right side, one of her champions that seized her throne back from the clutches of evil. He looked out over the party with a swelling feeling of warmth wrapping itself around his heart. His ragtag team of heathens, thieves, and the clinically mad may have had a rough start to the adventure, but when it came down to it, they pulled miracle after miracle to banish ancient deities and save the kingdom. Then the Paladin saw the Druid, and oh how he wished he could turn around and walk out. Instead he marched towards her, arms crossed and attempting to give off his best disappointed father energy.
“Oh, hey Paladin.” The Druid grinned around a mouth full of honey glazed figs. She held out her plate, piled with various hors d'oeuvres, “Hungry?”
“Why have you brought a swarm of bees into Her Majesty’s throne room?”
The Druid swallowed, “The queen bee wants to work out a trade deal. Of course the rest of the hive wanted to come along.”
The Paladin pinched the bridge of his nose and let out a long winded sigh.
“Can you please explain why you thought that now was the best time to bring the queen bee and her hive to the coronation party?”
“Well, Queen Mara’s in front of a crowd right now. It’s not like she can say no to the deal. Also when she says yes it’ll be good publicity for her.” The Druid put on a fake accent, “Look at the queen, fellow nobles, and see how her kindness will supply us with honey!”
“N-no, you can’t…” The Paladin felt another sigh bubbling up, and he suppressed the urge to swat the queen bee off the Druid’s shoulder. The Druid stared up at him, oblivious to the conflict between reason and violence that was tearing him apart.
“Monk? Warlock? Would you mind taking care of this?”
The Warlock turned around, gravy dripping from her chin as she chewed an ungodly amount of what used to be venison. She said something, distorted from the food in her mouth, and then went back to tearing into the plate in front of her. The Monk smiled a little too serenely, almost mockingly, “Warlock’s god is living vicariously through her. Since I’m busy guarding her, we won’t be able to help with your situation.”
A bee buzzed in the Paladin’s ear, and his eye started to twitch.
“Rogue? Wait, where’s Rogue?” The Paladin turned a full circle, looking for the Rogue in the throngs of nobility and townspeople.
“Oh, I think they disguised themself to get away from you.” The Druid said, offering a flower off the table decorations to some of her bees, “Something about a new scam?”
“Oh Spirits.” The Paladin buried his face in his hands, “Is anyone taking this seriously?”
“Well, Bard’s playing flute in front of a bunch of ladies, Barbarian’s trashing everyone in an eating contest, Artificer's putting a fancy looking gemstone into that telescope thing she’s been working on. Oh, hey Cleric!”
The Paladin’s head shot up, coming face to face with the Cleric. She tilted her head slightly, “You look ill. Is there anything I can do?”
“Can you…” The Paladin gestured weakly at the bees, “Can you please remove the bees?”
“Hey!” The Druid planted her hands on her hips and glared at the Paladin, “You’ll show the hive some respect!”
“I would remove the bees, but I heard they’re here on a trade deal. I’m a healer, not a politician, so I’m staying out of this.”
The Paladin was beginning to get a headache. Actually, he was in the middle of a fully fledged stress migraine, like someone was banging a shield against the inside of his skull.
Like there are bees in my brain.
He held up his hands in surrender, “I’m done. I’m going to my room. If Her Majesty asks, I’ll be screaming into a pillow.”
“Wait, what if we accidentally do a little crime?” The Druid latched onto the Paladin’s arm with strength beyond her tiny body.
“Do not do crime. Do not even think about doing crime. I remember what you all did when that poor mayor wouldn’t pay what he promised.”
“To be fair, he did send us to an island where some of us picked up a few various traumas.” The Cleric said, “And it’s his fault we found out that Monk is a demigod.”
“Also he was hiding the good kush.” The Druid said, nodding sagely. The Paladin did not grace this with an answer. Instead, he turned around and marched out of the throne room, determined to leave the madness behind for someone else to deal with.
After a long nap, lulled to sleep by the sounds of screaming and yelling from the throne room, the Paladin rose like the dead to greet the mess he was sure he would find. Tables were overturned, there was food splattered on the carpet, and the few guests that remained were being chased around by swarms of bees. Queen Mara joined the Paladin in the doorway.
“I think this was a success.”
“You’re joking.” The Paladin looked down at his queen and raised an eyebrow, “You’re not joking?”
“I am dead serious. Half the men here only attended to court me, and the women kept making comments about the decor. It was a boring party.”
Queen Mara spread her arms out over the chaos, “This is more my style.”
The Barbarian sat with an empty bowl piled high with chicken bones. He burped, and waved at the Paladin before falling over. The Artificer’s telescope was actually some sort of gun, which she was demonstrating before the Rogue, whose dress hung heavy with illegally obtained gold. The Bard was missing, which may have been for the better considering what the Bard got up to in his spare time, and judging from the screams from outside, the Warlock and the Monk were preaching about the Warlock's patron. The Druid made eye contact with the Paladin and skipped over. A cloud of bees followed her, and good gods how many bees did she have?
“The trade deal went well.” The Druid said with a serious expression, as though she was talking about a deal between two countries and not a new queen and a hive of bees.
“Is that so?”
The Paladin was still in that floaty, post-nap mindset. He was untouchable by stress, he was above the pains of mortal existence.
He was going to stop that train of thought before he angered some petty god on a revenge trip.
“I’m surprised this didn’t get out of hand earlier.” The Cleric said, appearing next to the Paladin, who jumped at her voice.
“I’m going to put a bell on you one of these days.” He threatened.
“There was a good ten minutes after you left where the bees were only targeting people who insulted the hive.” The Cleric continued as if no threats to her unnecessary stealth were made, “After that everyone was fair game.”
“I can see that.” The Paladin made eye contact with a man hunched over in a corner. The man reached out and mouthed help me before the bees swarmed in again.
“This is horrific.”
“Hm, yes.” The Cleric folded her hands in front of her, “Truly.”
“I think it’s fine. Better than the last rulers, at least.” Queen Mara said with a dismissive wave of her hand.
“That’s true, they did have a party where they sacrificed all the guests to a dark deity.” The Cleric admitted.
“Yes, but this is absolutely horrific.” The Paladin argued. He looked down at a tug on his sleeve. The Druid was pouting.
“I want cake.”
“They didn’t get to bring the cake out because you set bees on the party.” The Paladin explained patiently.
“I want cake though.” The Druid said, “The queen bee wants cake too.”
“I suppose we could go to the kitchens and find the cake. After all, we’ve already ruined the party.” The Paladin clapped his hands loudly, “Soldiers, we’re getting cake!”
The Barbarian launched himself to his feet and instantly fell over. The Rogue tore off their wig and ran over, dress jingling as the gold in the hidden pockets was jostled.
“I seduced an assassin.” The Rogue declared proudly, “We’re dating now.”
“That’s wonderful. Where-” The Cleric was cut off as a Yuan-ti approached and put her hand in the Rogue’s. The Artificer approached, “I’m going to be the maid of honor at their wedding.”
“Yes, interesting.” The Paladin started walking in the direction of the kitchen, “Cake time.”
“Cake time!” Came the unholy roar from behind him. Queen Mara laughed, and gods her laugh was beautiful. Hearing her laugh, so unlike the one she had been using with the nobility, made the Paladin think that maybe this disaster of a party wasn’t such a disaster after all.