The princess knocked politely, and smiled at the lady who opened the door.

"Good morning, Princess," said the lady.

"Good morning. I’d like to see the Royal Sorcerer, if he’s here."

"Oh, Hyu’s always here. He hasn’t left the palace in several hundred years. At least, not according to his appointment book." The princess entered the room and closed the door.

"I’m not sure I know you…" said the princess, as the lady sat behind a desk cluttered with paper.

"I’m Rhia, the sorcerer’s assistant," the lady replied. "As I said, the sorcerer is, in fact, here. He simply isn’t available at the moment. He’s buried himself in his work again."

"Buried himself?" asked the princess.

Rhia motioned for silence, then invited the princess to peek around the corner of a doorway into an inner office. The princess looked inside and saw what most parents would term a catastrophe.

The sorcerer’s office had started out as a modestly equipped laboratory, with a simple desk in the far corner of the room. Several black laboratory tables had been shoved against the far wall. Cabinets filled with mysterious flasks lined an adjacent wall. Another wall was decorated with empty bookshelves.

It wasn’t as if the sorcerer had anything against books–he had collected almost every known book in the world. It was simply that all of them were currently arranged in a great pile in the middle of the room. The pile was bigger around than the biggest dining room table the princess had ever seen, and tall enough to reach all the way to the ceiling.

"He never takes time to put them back where he got them," explained Rhia. "And occasionally he needs one from the bottom."

The princess looked a little closer at the pile, and discovered it was moving slightly.

"He’s probably dug out a small room in there somewhere, and he’s propped up on a pillow, reading about some magic spell or formula or something. He’ll crawl out in a few days."

"Well that’s too bad," said the princess. "I’d really hoped he could have helped solve a problem of mine."

"I’ll let him know you were here," offered Rhia helpfully.

"Thank you," said the princess, as she turned to leave. "Please tell him I said hello, and that I may be back to see him again in a few days." The princess closed the door behind her, and wandered through the palace for a while. She had never really noticed the fine paintings that decorated the halls. She paused before one after another, appreciating each unique work, forgetting, for the moment, her troubles.

The last painting in the hallway looked hastily drawn up, and the princess realized that it wasn’t actually art after all. It was, instead, an advertising poster, and it shouldn’t have been hanging where it was. She ought to have reported it, but something it said caught her attention.

Below a picture of a slightly disreputable looking man in a suit, was printed: Have you or a loved one been in a cart wreck, fallen into a mud puddle, or been otherwise injured? If so, you need to contact the Royal Attorney, Irwin. He’ll see to it that you get the financial compensation you deserve.

The poster concluded with directions to the attorney’s office, located in the basement next to the dungeons.

The princess thought about what the poster said. She didn’t feel that she needed any particular reward, but she had fallen in a mud puddle. Perhaps the attorney could help her anyway. She shrugged her shoulders, and made her way down to his office.

She knocked on the door, and then entered. No one was in the small outer office, so she walked up to the reception window and tapped the bell.

"Yeah, yeah, I’ll be right there," called a voice from inside. After a few seconds, the door opened, and a short, slightly-built man poked his head into the room. He had curly black hair, and wore wire-rimmed spectacles.

"Oh, good afternoon, Your Highness. I’m Irwin, the Royal Attorney," he said. "Come in."

The princess followed the attorney to his office, and sat down where he indicated.

"I’m sorry Mrs. Grumpfinger wasn’t there to meet you," he said, wrinkling his nose. "She’s out on an errand."

"Oh, that’s okay," said the princess, not quite sure who Mrs. Grumpfinger was.

"So what can I do for you?" asked the attorney, clasping his hands together and leaning back in his chair.

The princess outlined her problem. The attorney listened intently, nodding his head from time to time. As she finished, he rubbed his chin thoughtfully.

"I think I can get you a settlement, based on a reverse class-action suit, Princess Ugh vs. The Townspeople of Gnigst, or something like that."

"Oh, no," said the princess. "I don’t want any sort of money. I just want to be able to walk through the streets of my father’s royal city without being insulted any further."

The attorney frowned. "Hmm," he said. "Well, there’s not much money in that I’m afraid."

"I don’t care," said the princess.

"Yes, yes, I know you don’t. But I do."

"Can you help me?" she pleaded.

"Well," mused the attorney. He got up and paced back and forth behind his desk. "My status at court isn’t what it should be. If I help you, will you tell your father, the king? Point out that, when no one else would assist you, I did so. And at a reduced rate–Or, wait! Better yet–for no charge."

"But of course," said the princess.

"Deal," said the attorney. "Let’s get to work."

"What are we going to do?"

"We’re going to issue a proclamation, at the behest of the princess (and approved by the king, of course) making it illegal to insult you by calling you by your name."

"Oh, my," said the princess, who had never behested anything before in her life. The attorney quickly penned the proclamation, studied it for a moment, and then handed it to the princess for her approval.

"Oh, my," she said again, for it was very official looking, and full of a great many words. "I’m not even sure what it means," she admitted as she handed it back to him.

The attorney smiled at her. "It means that no one can ever call you Princess Ugh again," he said.

"Well, then, that’s fine. Thank you very much." With that, the princess excused herself. The attorney rubbed his chin, watching her leave.

"It also means," he said to himself, "that I just might become the next Crown Regent." The attorney straightened his desk and looked up as Mrs. Grumpfinger entered the room. "Ah, Mrs. Grumpfinger," he said.

The short plump woman plopped down her hand bag and looked up at him dourly. "Yes, Irwin," she said.

"I told you never to call me that," he grumbled.

"Yes, Irwin. What can I do for you?"

The attorney handed her the proclamation. "Could you get this over to the Royal Proof Reader right away, please? It needs to go out tomorrow morning."

"Yes, Sir. Right away, Sir." Mrs. Grumpfinger snatched the proclamation out of his hands and headed out the door. She took it to the Royal Proof Reader to have him prove it was readable. She also took it to the Content Advisor where it was given a PG rating for minor threat of violence. She had it signed by the office of the king, on his behalf. Finally, she slipped it into the in-box in the Department of Proclamation Final Processing, just ahead of the day’s deadline.

Happy with her success, Mrs. Grumpfinger went back to the office, grabbed her cloak, and headed out. She stopped at the pasta dealer to pick up some fettucine for dinner. Her son, Irwin the attorney, hated fettucine. Mrs. Grumpfinger chuckled to herself all the way home.

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