Quick Disclaimer: I do not own these characters or the world they inhabit. They were created by the fabulous people at Zombie Orpheus for their equally fabulous RPG, Masters of the Metaverse! Be sure to tune in to Twitch.TV/zombieorpheus every Monday at 6PM PST to see more!
It was a simply glorious day. The air was crisp, the sun was shining, and she was running the fastest mile she had ever run. Annie Oakley laughed out loud as she charged ahead, glancing at the awed expressions of the citizens of Yosemite as she went by. Let them stare! Let them watch in amazement! Who wouldn’t be momentarily stunned into silence and stillness when witnessing her speed and skill? As she went past a few royal attendants, she caught the words “runaway train” and made a mental note to ask King Teddy if he needed anyone to take care of the obvious safety issues plaguing the local train depot. Continuing on, she encountered a man who was so impressed by what he was witnessing that he felt compelled to step forward in an attempt to emulate her athletic display. She acknowledged his effort with a gentle pat on the head as she ran by, leaving him behind to cover his face in an obvious attempt to hide his tears of emotion.
Reaching the grand staircase of The Ranch, Annie bounded up the stairs two at a time and in through the grand doorway. Rounding the corner, she reached the royal office and slammed open the heavy wooden doors. King Teddy was seated at his desk but he looked up as soon as the doors opened, warned no doubt by the exclamation of joy from the attendant closest to them. Annie stood before him grinning and jogging in place.
“Ah! Miss Oakley! And how did the exercises go this morning?”
“Absolutely fantastic your majesty, top notch! I would go so far as to say that today was some of my best work so far! Why, if you had seen the speeds I reached at the top of the hills you would have been astonished!”
“Bully! And Franklin?”
“Oh! Franklin! Yes. I must have left him somewhat behind in my travels.” She slowed her jogging, trying to recall when she had last seen the young Roosevelt.
At that moment the sound of slow, heavy footsteps and slight wheezing was heard and Franklin entered the room. He did not speak to nor look at either Annie or his cousin, but instead walked directly to his roll top desk in the corner of the room. Reaching the desk, he sat down heavily and brought his forehead down onto the wooden surface with a solid thunk.
Annie turned back to the king and smiled. Clapping her hands together, she took a seat in the chair that a royal attendant presented to her.
“Well then, Miss Oakley! Tell me of the mantastic trials you set before young Franklin today! I hope that they were sufficiently challenging because as you know, I am determined that Franklin will become a Roosevelt worthy of his own big stick.”
A slight squeak now came from the corner of the room as Franklin, still face down on the desk, reached down and opened a drawer. He removed a small pouch and slowly closed the drawer.
“We began the day with some tracking and hiking in the forest.” Annie said, “And while I, of course, was far superior to him, your cousin was quite satisfactory in his ability to climb a tree.”
“She punched a moose on the nose.” Franklin’s voice was muffled by the wood of the desk.
“Certain creatures need to learn their place in the hierarchy of nature. No better way to learn that than a quick shot to the nose.” she said, matter of factly.
King Teddy laughed. “Bully! Well done indeed Miss Oakley! I could not have said it better! I, myself have punched many members of the animal kingdom in various parts of their anatomy over the years. I can only hope that next time you encounter such a beast that it is young Franklin who strikes the first blow!”
A clacking sound started as Franklin, having taken his stress balls out of the small pouch, began quickly moving them about in his hand. Annie thought that she heard a slight whimper as well and attributed it to Franklin’s overwhelming disappointment of not having punched the moose himself. Well, there was always tomorrow.
“After the forest, we headed for the target range to do a bit of shooting. Franklin is very good at standing stock still on command, a very useful skill especially when holding a match in his teeth. You will be pleased to learn your majesty, that I was able to light an entire matchbook in this manner.”
The clacking from the corner intensified.
“We then proceeded to the obstacle course. Now, my time of course was quite impressive. Franklin did try his best but he was constantly at my side. Bless him, I think he was just so inspired by my actions that he did not want to stray too far lest he miss something.”
“She tried to shoot the obstacles while she was running at them. There were other people around. There are no walls around the obstacle course. We need walls around the obstacle course.” Franklin said, miserably.
King Teddy turned to the semi-prone form on the roll top desk. “Well, Franklin wouldn’t that be your job? If you feel that the obstacle course needs walls, though I cannot imagine why, then see to it! However, if there must be walls let them at least be see-through so that everyone might be able to watch and be inspired by the great feats of athleticism taking place within! Perhaps plate glass?”
Franklin moaned and the clacking increased even more.
“Continue Miss Oakley.”
Annie smiled, “We then embarked on our mile run which, as you saw, I won handily. But the day was a vast improvement for Franklin. He neither cried nor vomited.”
“Well done, Franklin! Bully! I have every confidence that we shall make a real man out of you yet! In fact, I think that tomorrow I might join you for your training regimen. Give you something to strive for!”
Franklin sat bolt upright, having turned a frightening shade of white, and stared at this cousin.
“Why wait?” Annie jumped up, “The sun is still up! We can do the whole thing again but in reverse this time!”
Franklin made a choking sound and dropped his stress balls.
Franklin was scrambling for some papers on his desk. After some quick rummaging, he found what he was looking for and briefly scanned his notes.
“While the idea of running over hills and punching obstacles and wildlife with you both sounds wonderful, I unfortunately have a great deal of paperwork to finish.” he said, “Some new safety procedures to enact. The royal guards were discussing a newly discovered set of rapids upriver. They said that they are some of the most treacherous and challenging rapids ever found. In fact, no one has been able to ride them yet.”
Annie’s eyes lit up and, glancing across the desk, she saw the king looking delighted as well.
“Your majesty will excuse me.” she said as she stood up and bolted from the room, King Teddy in hot pursuit. Left alone, Franklin collapsed backward into his chair and breathed a deep sigh of relief.