Character Interview- First Pea

Posted: December 27, 2017 in Uncategorized

The first of the anthology interviews! First up is a character from Nanea Knott’s contribution to the book (which I look forward to reading soon; the official release date is January 2nd, and all proceeds go to the Global Scoliosis Fund. Feel free to add it to your Want-To-Read list on Goodreads!).

“First Pea…” Travis muttered to himself as he looked at the list. The monkey/human hybrid made his way into the castle, a tall, slim, and rather exhausted young man with glasses in tow. He’d teleported the two there, but was still getting used to trips of that range.

“Need a break, Spence?”

“Yeah.”

“Alright, fair enough.”

The two were heading for the castle’s receiving area, Travis thinking over what sorts of questions he might ask. He did sort of wonder about what kind of royal title “Pea” was, but would get to that soon. He had his long hair pulled back and–astonishingly enough–had remembered to wear a shirt this time.  

“Is there a ‘First Pea’ around here?” he called as he entered and looked around, his tail twitching a little.

A grizzled man named Douglas stood in the receiving area waiting for the stranger to arrive. He had been instructed by First Pea to bring him and his companion to the sitting room for The Royal Peas where First Pea would receive them there. Douglas tried to smooth his hair and straighten his shirt and dust off his pants. First Pea had told him to expect a man who would be half-monkey, but Douglas had no idea what that was. He would look for two men who looked out of place and he would bring them to First Pea.

Douglas saw a flash of light and there stood two men, one with glasses, another with a tail. These must be the visitors. He approached them with what he hoped was a friendly smile while trying to ignore the strangers curling tail. He wondered if the man spoke a common language. Douglas was relieved to hear him ask for First Pea. “Yes, First Pea is here and if you would follow me, I can take you to him.”

The two followed him. Travis considered asking Douglas why they called First Pea “First Pea”, but figured that might be best asked directly. “Thanks for the escort,” Travis told him, giving a friendly smile of his own.

Douglas took them to the sitting room. First Pea was sitting on his red velvet cushion. The one used for impressing honored guests. “Welcome, Mr. Malone,” greeted First Pea. “I hope your journey here was pleasant. Please make yourself comfortable. Your friend may join us or perhaps our library would be more to his liking, Douglas can show him the way.”

Travis looked around for a moment. And then he realized that the voice was coming from an actual pea, his large green eyes becoming somewhat larger.

“…Pea’s not just a unique title, is it…?” he murmured, sitting down.

“Might be a good idea for me to stay with him,” Spencer replied.

After taking a few breaths, Travis spoke up again. “SO, first off, thanks for taking the time to talk to me.”

First Pea was a little concerned over the hungry look Mr. Malone was giving him, but Douglas was nearby assuring his safety.  “Mr. Malone, you are very welcome and we are pleased for your visit. I am indeed a vegetable. I am but one part of The Royal Peas.” First Pea rolled forward a little on his cushion. “We were given a prestigious task by our queen of helping her to find a suitable princess for our prince. We were successful. There are five of us, of which I am the largest and thus designated as First Pea.”

And Spencer was there to make sure Travis didn’t cause any sort of incident with The Kingdom. “I see… How is it you all ended up with that task? Is it a tradition around here?” the half-monkey asked, head tilting to the side.

First Pea was a little hesitant to answer. It was not widely known that they were given the task by the Queen to discourage the process of princess selection. “The Queen wanted to ensure that only the best and brightest princess would be able to spend time with our prince. My siblings and I were to be the final test of the worthiness of any candidate. That is, providing they past the other tests of the Queen’s choosing. It was not a tradition of The Kingdom for determining our future monarchs.”

Now quite curious, Travis leaned in a little more. But not too far; Spencer had created a barrier between him and First Pea for safety reasons. “How is it you do that?” he asked. “Or would you rather not say?”

First Pea was a little disturbed by the look of eagerness on Mr. Malone’s face and grateful for the barrier put up by his magical friend.  “The Queen’s thought was that a worthy woman of royal blood would be unable to sleep on anything except a bed of exceptional comfort. She wouldn’t be able to sleep on a lumpy mattress.” First Pea was reluctant to say that there were several mattresses, but it had already become public knowledge. “The mattresses were stacked high and one my siblings was to be smuggled beneath the bottom mattress. The thought being that if the princess were worthy, she wouldn’t be able to sleep for the lump in the bed created by us.”

Writing this down, Travis thought about his next question. “So when you’re not involved in the whole princess selection thing, what do you tend to do? Like, any hobbies at all?” he asked.

First Pea rolled back on his cushion. He was so enjoying this. “My siblings and I have many interests. We are taken outside to enjoy the weather, we float in a bowl of water at least once a day to keep us from drying out and the Prince often comes to read to us. My brother Fifth is becoming quite the scholar. Princess Viola, our chosen Princess, comes to speak to my sisters Second and Fourth regarding the latest gossip and fashion in the kingdom. My brother Third enjoys watching our soldiers training. I enjoy the quiet myself. While the Princess Tests were going on, it was quite noisy listening to all princesses grunt from exertion in the courtyard below, poor dears.”

Tapping his pencil on the notepad, Travis thought over the next one. “So…sorry if this is, y’know, a weird question or anything, but what would you say is the most challenging thing about being, well, a pea?”

Looking at Mr. Malone’s hungry stare, First Pea replied, “Possibly being eaten. It is a logical fear of ours that one day we will end up in,” First Pea almost couldn’t say it. “soup. Although the Queen has assured us that would never happen, we know it is always a possibility.”

He nodded, understanding. “Yeah, I can get that. Sorry if I’ve been creeping you out at all, by the way. Seriously not my intention! It’s just that I kinda haven’t eaten for a bit. I have a feeling that it’s probably your worst fear, too, so I’m probably not going to ask that one. But how about regrets? What would you say is your biggest one?”

First Pea rolled to the side a little contemplating the question.  There was a regret that he and his siblings had discussed at length. “The biggest regret is that we were witness to some of the tests assigned by the Queen and unable to do anything about it. Some of the tasks were cringe worthy and despite our exalted position. We are only peas. We wished we could have done more.”

“Now, when you say cringe-worthy…just how bad are we talkin’, here?” he asked.

“The tests were designed to ‘challenge’ the contestants, although some would say ‘eliminate’ was a better word. The Queen had spies in the castle tell her the weaknesses of the princesses. She made one poor portly princess attempt to climb a vertical rope to retrieve an egg at the top. The poor girl ran from the castle with yolk in her hair. Another princess, rail thin, was to retrieve a heavy iron ring from the bottom of the moat. Poor thing probably gain a few pounds from all the water she swallowed.” First Pea cleared his throat. “The Queen was a brutal task master. The most dreaded was climbing a greased pole to retrieve a teacup. So many were broken we had to requisition more.”

“Wow…” he replied. “So, is the Queen just that particular about who her son marries?”

First Pea was hesitant to the tell the truth. He had no wish to cast his Queen in an unfavorable light, however, it had all turned out for the best. “The Queen’s original plan was for the Prince never to marry. She wanted to continue to be Queen until it was no longer possible. We Peas were tasked with assisting her. In the end, we saw how much our prince and Princess Viola were well matched and we did what was necessary to encourage the match.

“Ah. Some resistance to change…I can get that. Now, one more question before I go: If you weren’t given the task that you’d been given, what would you want to do in life? Like, if your being a pea weren’t a factor at all?” he asked, tapping the pencil on his notepad again.

First Pea considered the question. It was something he had never been asked before. “If I were born a human instead of a pea, I think I would like to have liked to be a gardener. I would enjoy walking. I already have an appreciation for flowers, trees and all things growing. I would enjoy eating the fruits of my labor, but it goes without saying, I would never eat peas.”

He nodded. “Thanks again for taking the time out for this interview. Was nice to eat–MEET! I mean MEET you!” He stood up, blushing a little at that particular slip of the tongue. And then he looked at Douglas. “…Please note that I have absolutely no intention of hurting anyone here,” he said, tail curling around Spencer’s leg.

First Pea shifted nervously on his cushion. His words left him in a rush. “Yes…well…Thank you for coming Mr. Malone, Mr. Spencer, thank the heavens for you. Douglas will see you out.”

Spencer got up with Travis, nodding to First Pea. And the two of them were ready to follow Douglas’ lead out of there.

Douglas escorted them back to the receiving area of the castle. “Mr. Malone, Mr. Spencer. It’s been an honor. Thank you for you time and for not eating First Pea. We would be distraught without him.” Douglas waved goodbye and watched the strangers disappear in a flash of light and a audible pop.

And you can follow Nanea Knott on Facebook or her website. Another interview will be here tomorrow!

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