Chapter 29 - The King's Announcement

“You didn’t realize that this could be a possibility before?” Bea asked. “Of course, just like Zinnals, all humans have their own personalities. Their own way of treating living creatures. Do you think we are free ourselves? Right now we’re in cages, Cylor. Not that I’m complaining, it’s still better for my life to end up this way. And like you said before, you’ve found the adjustment to this life rather pleasant. Let’s just be glad we aren’t owned by those average humans. Though, if I’m being honest even these Zinnals walking outside our carriage—most look happy right? I’m sure a majority are living a better life than those in the wilderness.”


If that were true, why were Bea and Halmont talking about how awful everything was underneath the surface? If a majority were living better lives, that wouldn’t make this place awful, right? The vehicle rattled as he continued staring out at the lively scenery around him.


Every human-made building they passed paled in comparison to the castle. The Royal Zinnals all lived in the largest building in the city, owned by the most important people that could grant them anything. The passersby outside the carriage wore dark and muddied clothing, their Zinnals too on closer inspection were covered in patches of dirt as they traipsed down the sidewalks. Cylor compared that attire to the royal humans seated ahead of them, laughing jovially in their pristine uniforms as they lounged on their cushions.


“Don’t think too hard about it, Cylor.” Bea waved a ribbon. “You’ll never be able to see what is truly happening from observing the streets.”


The ones on the street didn’t show any extreme signs of discomfort, even the one that was yanked by their human, quickly trotted back to their side with not even a hint of irritation. They all seemed eager to be next to their humans. Proud, even. Still, Bea had urged there was something more. Something invisible to him. But if she knew, why wouldn’t she tell him? Why was she hiding things from him?


“Remember what you told me about being in your village?” Bea said. “It sucked, right? Same with me. Here, our humans make sure we are loved, and I know you feel it too. And as long as we are loved and cared for, what else do we need to know? The only reason I’ve been telling you this is in the rare chance we see something… unpleasant. I don’t want you to freak out. Just remember we are getting the best treatment.”


Cylor had felt love from his parents, but sometimes he wondered if they only felt that way because they had to. Parents had to love their children no matter what, right? If he wasn’t their child, they would have treated him the same as the rest of the village did. These humans didn’t give birth to Zinnals, yet they provided them with everything they needed and more. And because of his tail, he was loved even more in the castle than he could have ever even dreamed of being possible. Perhaps it was the same for every human household with a Zinnal. Being owned was just a price to pay for a pleasant life.


“How are you two doing back there? I’m so sorry I have to have you caged up like that.” Alicia pouted as she looked behind from her seat. “But I promise it’ll all be over before you know it. I’ll even let you try the sweets I get from the citizens’ gifts.” She smiled and faced forward, talking with her parents and siblings.


Other cages of Zinnals sat around them, and Cylor noticed Halmont toward the back. In total, there were eight Royal Zinnals spaced around the backend of the vehicle. They all chatted amongst each other, stunned at all the magnificent structures that passed by through the windows.


Colored lights stationed every street corner, and as the carriage ventured into the depths of the city, he realized the brightly lit contraptions were not even close to as small as he imagined. People stood to the side of the light structures, tapping them to change the colors between purple, yellow, and green. With each change, the Zinnals pulling the vehicles reacted in different motions.


As their vehicle approached more populated areas, the residents’ attires sparkled with cleanliness. They all deeply bowed to the vehicle, spouting words Cylor couldn’t comprehend. Even their Zinnals stopped in respect.


“This is what we are truly a part of now,” Bea said. “We aren’t ordinary Zinnals anymore, we are part of the royal family, and soon we will be introduced to the whole country.”


From where Cylor’s head rested, there was no doubt that the people watching them pass by couldn’t see more than the top of his head and his horn. He was just a shadow in between the wood boards and the flapping purple flags that extended off of the sides of the vehicle. Everyone’s eyes fixated on the king and queen sitting at the helm of the long carriage as they waved and smiled, shouting out affirmative sounds.


Human children looked on in awe toward the royal family, as if they one day wished to be them. The adults had immense respect in their manners too, though their eyes didn’t sparkle like the children’s did.


One by one, the carriage traversed street after street. The hustle and bustle of humans and Zinnals never ceased. The Royal Zinnals grew accustomed to the sounds and soon many found themselves to pay little mind to their surroundings as a few of them dove deep into conversations with one another. Cylor couldn’t focus on anything except the outside world, however.


Two hours passed since the journey started and Alicia wobbled as she walked toward the Royal Zinnals. The rumble of the vehicle almost caused her to tumble. “We’re almost to our stop. I’ve been keeping this a secret from you two, but something important is going to happen to both of you.”


“What do you think it could be?” Cylor looked at Bea, and she shrugged.


The vehicle lowered its speed as they strolled up to a large elevated stage and ahead of the grand platform many humans and Zinnals scrambled to get into lines. Was the king about to make an important announcement? More and more people gathered until all that was in view was a sea of living things.


The carriage stopped, and guards descended, shouting and pushing the bystanders aside, creating a path for the Royal Family to march down. A guard rolled out purple carpet before them and applauds clamored as they waved to the cheering crowd and made their way to the stage. The king took the largest seat, and beside him sat the queen. Then the four children sat in smaller chairs a step lower, equal spacing between all of them.


Next, the guards brought each Royal Zinnal to their respective owners. Two to each child. The guards unlocked the cages and placed purple resting mats below their owners. Cylor glanced out at the deafening cheers. They were overwhelming. His stomach turned as he nestled up on the royal rug, but even such luxurious comfort couldn’t provide solace. What was about to happen? If Alicia agreed to it, it couldn’t be anything bad though, right?



Praises hushed as the king proclaimed something. He spoke at length, which caused all the Zinnals to shout out to one another, attempting to piece together any visual hints.


“Hey, I just wanna make sure. Can any of you understand him?” a purple Zinnal with four legs, sharp teeth, and a fin, said. They sat before Dandren, the oldest of the Royal Children, who tossed his long blonde hair to the wind as he watched over the adoring crowd. Cylor caught hints of muffled high pitched cheers from the crowd every time he played with his dancing hair.


Every Zinnal answered with negatives and continued to theorize why they might be on the stage. A few of them came to an agreement that perhaps they really were only here to be shown off.


Cylor and Bea remained silent.


“Guess we’ll just have to wait and find out,” Halmont said. “I find it funny though, after looking around at all of you. We all have something in common. We’re all purple.”


“That is the main color of Zalakar’s flag, though. It makes sense.” a snake-like Zinnal said.


“I guess so.” Halmont encroached close to the edge of his cushion. “What are those humans doing?”


Children in the crowd started fake fighting and laughing amongst one another. The older humans smirked, nodding along with whatever the king was saying. The Zinnals in the crowd were split; half wore similar expressions to the adult humans, though the other half looked terrified.


The guards marched forward and gestured to the eight Zinnals. The crowd roared. Each Royal Child stood up and raised their fists. The crowd responded the same.