Hiding at the back of his pantry, behind empty bowls and tattered sacks of flour, the Sultan of Nujel'm nervously tried to remind himself why this had been a good idea in the first place; upstairs, Bladderstick the once jester now-effective dictator of the city was once more in a fuming rage, attempting to destroy furniture with his Chicken-On-A-Stick, and the Sultan wanted to keep out of his way as long as possible. Oh, it had been fun to tweak the nose of King Blackthorn certainly, and threatening to execute Koba had been simply delightful... how the populace of Britannia had howled about that! And for a while, the cream cakes and exotic pastries had come in like Bladderstick had promised once employed; but now there seemed to be no cake anywhere in the Palace, and executioners wandered the streets killing as they wished. And then Bladderstick had started going onto the mainland and pursuing anyone he thought might be dealing in his stolen book of Deadly Practical Jokes... "Fatso! Oi Fatso! Come here, damn you!" The Sultan shook in terror; that was the name Bladderstick used for him, hardly original but still hurtful. He pulled a sack over himself and tried to look like as much like flour as possible. But it was no use, there was never any flour in the pantry these days either. *BANG cluck! BANG cluck! BANG Cluckoooooo* went the door, as the Jester hammered on it with his stick "I know you're in there, you rotund waste of regency! Come out and look at this!" There was no escape, and so making an excuse that he was, as always just looking for food, the Sultan peered out the door and then found himself pulled by his collar into the corridor... Bladderstick was waving another book at him, one that seemed to have his name on the cover. It was, the Sultan noticed, another book of jokes. "Read this will you?!" raged Bladderstick "And tell me what you think of it, eh?!" The Sultan knew by now to be very, very careful to flatter the man, so with that in mind, he started turning the pages and pretending to laugh at what he saw within; a hard thing to do, as it was painfully unfunny, as always! Some of the pages look like they'd been torn out by the Jester's teeth, but the Sultan knew better than to point that out; "Ahah-ha-ha-HAAAAA" the Sultan gave a fake laugh again, "These jokes are certainly... er..." "BRILLIANT?" Demanded Bladderstick, "A work of comedy genius, never equalled in all of history?!" "Er, yes?" suggested the Sultan. "Too damn right!" roared Bladderstick, "And see there's my name on the cover, someone was passing these out at the last Council Du Roi... but do I get any royalties for these magnificent jokes?! NEVER! Not a penny! It's an outrage!" At this Bladderstick spun and smacked his chicken across a passing scullery maid; the Sultan winced, he may be dumb but he wasn't a cruel man. If only he were a bit braver he'd speak up for his staff! But... "No woman could ever write something this funny!" snarled Bladderstick, "So who is doing it? It's not me! It must be one of the Governor's! I'll kill them, I swear!" "Do you... do you think that's wise?" The Sultan timorously asked "They'll be exceptionally well guarded, especially if Blackthorn himself is there..." "The King?! I could take him with 3 bells tied behind my cap!" The Sultan nodded furiously, whilst trying to hide any sign of his inner thoughts. "Still, I don't think this handwriting looks like the King's. We should get the person stealing your jokes first eh? " "Yes!" Bladderstick started squeezing his chicken like a stress toy... "YES! And I shall work out how, just you wait!" At this, he stormed off again down a new corridor. When he was out of sight, the Sultan leant against the wall and breathed out. All of this for the odd iced fancy... no, it was too much. With any luck the wretched fellow would attack the Council directly and get himself killed. Or, perhaps it was time to start talking to the Royal Investigators himself; there had to be a way out of this nightmare, and back to the freedom to feast sensibly somehow!