Princess & The Poem-Making Machine – A Dooku Series – Snippet Of My Life Episode 39

Author’s note: This Dooku series holds a special place in my heart. These are stories inspired by real-life events including things that I have observed. As always, all persons fictitious disclaimer applies.

In the Kingdom of Sun & Moon and a remote town far away from the palace, Dooku the inventor has quietly moved into an abandoned mansion. He has purchased his new home from the local office at a very good price. The three stories high mansion while more or less still functional is poorly maintained and had become state land. There is a fountain in front of the house but it no longer works. The garden surrounding the mansion overran by weeds. With a rusted gate that discourages wanderers to come close, the mansion in its entirety projects a sense of mystery and isolation.

The town people seldom meet Dooku, for the mad inventor – as they are nicknamed him – hardly leaves his mansion. Those who have seen him described him as ‘average-looking’ and ‘rather old’. There are boxes and boxes of undisclosed items delivered to his home every day or so. When the town people further pressed on, the delivery company representative replies, “These shipments come from faraway places, addresses that in my wildest imagination did not know they exist! Look. These parcels are delivered to our office at the border. We are just a local delivery team.”

As time drags on, the rumor mills flourish. “One time, I have seen corpses delivered to the mad inventor’s mansion!” says one housewife in front of her group of friends on a street near to a flee market. One man jumps in, “What does that mean? Our new migrant has been reanimating dead bodies under our noses?” Another woman chips in, “Yes, I recall we have more blackouts these days. There must be some crazy science experiment happening inside that house!” (Author’s note: The town does not keep such blackout record and no spike of blackouts has been reported in local papers. Hence, this womon’s comment could well be classified as fake news).

Another housewife asks the first one, “Are you sure you have seen the corpses?”. To which, the reply is, “Oh well. There were bags. I am sure there were corpses inside. What else can that be? Potatoes?”

On the day Dooku has decided to unveil his invention, the town people are drawn to the event out of curiosity. The poster does not tell all. In the background lies what appears as a mini-castle covered in a red velvet piece of cloth. The title reads, “A Magical Poem For Everyone – A Night You Won’t Forget!”

At night, Dooku’s mansion looks less rundown. With the electric light bulbs of red, green, yellow, and blue decorated on the facets of the mansion and the trees in the garden; rows of booths are set up to serve food and wine. This place looks less of a mad scientist’s mansion and more like a theme park. The fountain is gone. Instead, a wooden platform is built. At the center stands a mini-castle-like structure covered by literally red velvet cloth measured to three meters tall.

As the clock strikes seven in the evening, the average-looking and rather old Dooku approaches the platform and stands in front of the microphone. As soon as he speaks, loud feedback pierces through the audience’s ears. But no one seems to care. Everyone is curious. What is underneath that red velvet?

“And my latest invention is,” Dooku continues as he unveils his latest masterpiece, “the Poem-Making Machine!”

The crowd gasps, unable to comprehend. This machine is unlike anything the crowd has expected. A Steampunk styled mini-castle with five towers joined up to the main body. Each tower displays ten sets of flip cards that are arranged vertically. According to Dooku, different towers represent different themes: acts of God, external circumstances out of your control but under your influence, temporal, space, people, perception, emotion, internal quality, action, and spiritual elements. Each set contains twenty cards, which means there are a total of 1,000 cards! Just think of the astronomical numbers of combinations. At the base of the machine and at the arm level, there are five levers. Once a lever is lowered by the user – much like a slot machine – the respective tower would randomize ten cards. If that is not complex enough, the user can flip any of the levers back up and have one last chance to random the cards before …

“… the user presses the giant green button next to the levers for the machine to write a poem, customized to the state of mind suitable to the one who uses the machine according to the cards!” explains Dooku as he gestures towards an unmanned typewriter.

One after another, the crowd tries out the machine, receives a piece of poem that some describe as “a fine piece of art” while others, “a message from heaven”. Some cry. Others shake their heads in disbelief and acceptance. Whether the town people like Dooku or not – due to his appearance mostly – they have to admit, this is one fine invention.

Words spread fast. Soon, the Princess living in the palace hears of such wonder. And she is curious. She wants to know, “What kinds of poems will I get?”

The journey to the palace is not at all easy. It takes half a day and six strong horses to transport the machine from Dooku’s mansion into the palace. By the time the machine is set up in the palace garden with the appropriate decoration to the surroundings, it is early evening, which adds a sense of mystery. A magical sense of mystery that is.

As Dooku reads the first poem to the Princess, the Princess is enchanted, lost in words. As the second poem is read, the Princess is deeply moved, tears a little. When the third poem comes, she is drunk in the emotions evoked from these words of heaven. Many times she calls Dooku back and soon, a bond is formed between the two.

Raven the Shieldmaiden is the first one who speaks up, “I don’t think this is right!” Rhino the Infiltrator concurs, “I agreed. Our Princess is falling for a commoner!”

To that, Raven continues, “Indeed! Look at Dooku status. This is an ill fated relationship, for sure”.

“What shall we do?” asks Rhino.

“You should infiltrate Dooku’s mansion as our Kingdom’s Chief of Spy and find out more about that heretic machine. It must be a fraud. There must be a weakness somewhere. We must take it down!” replies Raven.

And so, Rhino infiltrates Dooku’s mansion one night, blends into the shadow at all times. Inside the study room, Rhino discovers a notebook titled “The Operation Manual of Dooku’s Poem-Making Machine”.

When Rhino returns from his mission, cannot help from wearing a gimmick on his face, he says to Raven, “I know how we can defeat this monstrous machine and have our Princess freed from this voodoo charm of a commoner!”

“What would that be?!” Raven the Shieldmaiden asks.

Rhino the Infiltrator smiles and whispers something into Raven’s ear.

It is late autumn. The leaves turn yellow and the fallen leaves painted the road brown. As Dooku makes – what in the future be known as – his last trip to the palace, he whistles, appears in a good mood. Dooku sees himself as an entertainer to the Princess (good money too). More so, Dooku is liking the Princess, perhaps starting to fall in love.

Just like any other day as Dooku sets up the machine at the palace garden, in this particular late autumn evening, Dooku witnesses Rhino and Riven matching towards him with the Imperial Guards. As the troop stops in front of Dooku and the Poem-making Machine, Raven shouts, “This cannot continue! As the protector of the Kingdom of Sun & Moon and the protector of our Princess, we must disable this machine! Our Princess cannot be with someone without status and this must be stopped! This. Is. Black. Magic!”

Dooku is shocked! Lost in words. Before he can internalize this entire encounter, Riven springs into action, climbs up the machine, pulls a hidden lever as instructed by the Operation Manual, and then, a pair of hidden doors open at the center tower.

Lo and behold, a crystalized angel figurine one feet of height is on display!

“This,” says Riven, “is the heart of the machine. Once I smash it, this machine will no longer work. Our Princess will be freed!”

At this very moment, the Princess emerges from her residence and screams, “No! Please don’t!”

And at the same moment, Dooku rushes to the machine and screams, “No! Please don’t!”

The Princess means a lot to Dooku. So is the crystalized angel figurine.

Rhino steps in and stops the Princess from going any further. Raven punches Dooku’s face hard so much so that Dooku instantly collapses onto the ground with blood on his face. Raven raises her shield, aims it at the heart of the machine, and smashes the crystalized angel figurine into thousands of pieces. The Poem-machine made impotence, unable to produce any more poems. The reason for the two being together – Dooku and the Princess – is no more. Dooku can no longer please the Princess with poems that move her.

Unless …

Determined to be by the Princess’s side no matter what, Dooku casts one final melancholy smile to the Princess, directs his eyes onto the empty chamber now filled with broken crystal, he dashes towards the machine with eyes to the heaven whispering words that only Dooku can understand. One moment he is a man. Another moment, as the light radiance from his body, Dooku shrinks into one foot of height and crystalized in front of everyone as he reaches the heart of the machine. As soon as Dooku – the crystalized version that is – settles into that hidden chamber, the machine springs into action. It locks the doors and the cards randomize on their own, flipped frantically yet purposely like the reels of a slot machine.

Tears are streaming from the Princess’s eyes. The Poem-Making Machine restored sitting permanently in the palace garden with Dooku no more. One by one, the cards show themselves. The unmanned typewriter prints out a poem that reads something like:

No more do I wish to live without seeing you
Even though this is wrong but it feels so right
I treasure each moment when I am with you
I want to live each day holding you tight

I like you and I know you feel the same way too
I want to see you in the day and at night
No matter what others say about me and you
I will always be by your side

You are my princess and I can be your prince
We can build a castle where no one would expect
We can hold hands all day and kiss all night
The world can crumble but why should we even care

No more do I wish to live without missing you
Every song we share lead me back to you
If this is a burden I must take
I would gladly consume this pain of yours and mine

Every dream of mine you have been by my side
I can’t think of a moment I am not thinking of you
You are a poison that I want to take
You are an addiction I so readily obliged

You are my princess and I can be your prince
We can build a castle where no one would expect
We can hold hands all day and kiss all night
The world can crumble but why should we even care

“You Are My Princess And I Can Be Your Prince”

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