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Young triplet princes, the descendants of legendary King Corv the Twenty-First, set off on their first sea voyage

Once upon a time, on a green, lush island in the middle of a raging blue sea sat a kingdom called Malvagor. It was a beautiful place. Sunbeams danced on the surface of its neighboring waters, and waves crashed on its pale, soft, sandy beaches. The sun above shone with a white, brilliant light which was marred by tall cliffsides that cast dark, fine shadows upon the rocky paths lined by thin woods of evergreens and apple trees; ivy curled around their tall, rough trunks like snakes coiling around the tips of boulders. White, fluffy clouds drifted lazily across the sky, such as water lilies would drift across a peaceful river, dancing slowly on the surface with no purpose or reason. Birds perched in the trees; frogs hopped in the ponds; deer danced in the meadows and through the forests. It was all a brilliant collage of color and nature and life. And yet, of course, every kingdom needs people, and here, in the glistening kingdom, atop the tallest hill on the whole island, in a towering medieval castle, is where our story begins.

A great wall surrounded the castle. It was crafted completely from stone, and every hundred yards or so, there was a tower with several guards standing in the open room at the top of it. They would occasionally walk along the top of the wall, from tower to tower, in the rare instances when replacements became necessary, giving them a break from the stuffiness of their stations and a taste of the crisp breeze that always seemed to be blowing across the island, no matter the season. The chirp of the birds and the calls of the monkeys in the forest were amazing sounds to hear, and they, combined with the beautiful images of the island, made for a wonderful experience for all who set foot upon the sacred grounds of this mysterious and beautiful haven in the middle of nowhere.

Back when people first discovered this wondrous place that I have described to you, of course they were excited. They saw endless opportunities of creation and expansion. And after many long years of debating and settling and farming and all the sorts of things that must be done to create the beginnings of a beautiful kingdom, there came the rise of the grand Kingdom of Malvagor, ruled by King Corv the Twenty-First, First King of Malvagor. And Malvagor became the Paradise of the Ocean.

Dangers and escapes, victories and defeats were woven together as an intricate quilt of stories that had no resemblance to truth and, after years of exaggeration, lost all sense of logic.

King Corv the Twenty-First became a legend to the people of the lands beyond. King Corv the Twenty-First had been a powerful adventurer until one day, all of his ships and warriors vanished, inspiring many searches. Travelers journeyed through raging seas, through two-story-tall waves emerging from the violent ocean like fangs jutting from a mouth, through thunderstorms that sent lightning racing through the air as if someone had cracked open the sky, with thunder booming so powerfully it would cause all the bravery of the bravest person in the world to vanish on the spot. Brave warriors, adventurers, voyagers, sailors, mapmakers, scholars, and plenty of others journeyed far and wide in search of King Corv the Twenty-First and his lost fleet. But finally, after much hunting and no finding, King Corv the Twenty-First was declared missing in action, and after a while, the searches and journeys and voyages and missions, and all that sort of thing, ended, and people seemed to accept that King Corv the Twenty-First was gone, lost forever.

Of course, among the people of the empires in the outer world, many tales were told about what had happened to King Corv the Twenty-First. Hardly any of them were even close to being true. Dangers and escapes, victories and defeats were woven together as an intricate quilt of stories that had no resemblance to truth and, after years of exaggeration, lost all sense of logic. Telling one of these stories became about as wise as saying 2+2 equals 3. But as the days, years, decades, and centuries went by, soon the story of King Corv the Twenty-First was forgotten.

This turned out to be a good thing for the descendants of King Corv the Twenty-First, because all those stories had made people much less likely to believe anything they were told about the Paradise of the Ocean and its current king. And of course, as the stories faded and vanished over time, his descendants had time to expand, settle, and renovate the island to make it better suited for the population, which was growing faster and faster. The Corv family was a good, kind one, one that respected nature and the animals they lived alongside. Soon the island came to be known as Corv Isle.

King Corv the Twenty-First’s tenth descendant, King Edmund Corv the Third, was a kind, loyal, but incredibly determined man. Sometimes he was so determined that he became a little stubborn. He was, of course, an excellent king, and his wife, Queen June, was there to calm him down when he needed it. Their children, however—triplets named Mar, Tar, and Var—inherited all of their father’s stubborn attitude and little of their mother’s gentle behavior. They looked practically identical—brown, rich skin, pale green eyes, black hair. If it weren’t for their crowns (Mar’s having a blue jewel, Tar’s having a black jewel, and Var’s having a white jewel), the citizens of Corv Isle would have never figured out who was who.

The brothers, known as the Corv Triplets, were loyal and kind people, of course, yet their temper caused many problems. It was like lava: it came out unpredictably, flowed in an unstoppable wave, and you never knew when it would cool. The triplets knew what people thought about their attitude, and understood it (being from the kind and generous Corv family), but not many things were done to change it.

Mar Corv, Tar Corv, and Var Corv: triplets. That was how they functioned— together. Or at least, they functioned together until things got unpredictably confusing, and events changed the course of the boys’ lives.

At the age of eleven, the boys were granted their first voyage. Led by Queen June’s most trusted captains, each boy entered his own boat, and each, along with a crew of twenty, sailed off into the vast, blue sea beyond Corv Isle.

The experience was exhilaratingly incredible. The cool breeze blew through the Corvs’ hair, the water whipped their faces, and the sound of the island cockatoos became more distant as the noise of the squawking seagulls above became clear. Soon, Corv Isle was no more than a speck of dust in the distance.

Their first night at sea, the children lay in hammocks below deck, eating fish and lobster and wondering what was to come in the days ahead. The stars cast brilliant bluish-whitish light upon the wooden decks of the three boats.

Around midnight, a horrible wind blew the boats off course. The captains and the crews struggled desperately to keep the boats together, but alas, their united efforts were useless against the storm’s wrath. A strong gust of wind caught in the soft sails of the boats, and the three vessels collided. Of course the Corv princes awoke with a start. The three, being brave and stubborn, climbed to the tops of their decks in search of what was causing all the shaking and the bumping until, one by one, they fell into the turbulent ocean below.

For a little while the waves seemed to play with their Corven victims, until finally, each of the three brothers hit shore. They slept until the sun shone down upon the sleeping world with a light that seemed to say, “Come! It’s playtime!” And of course the princes awoke.

I think we’d better start with the tale of Mar Corv. He was always more courageous than his brothers, and also more rebellious. He had a tendency to exaggerate the urgency of problems even to himself.

He awoke to find himself on a sandy beach, alone. This sand was more rough and coarse than the sand back at Corv Isle, and darker too. The brilliant blue sky stretched on and on above; clouds drifted past flocks of seagulls. Judging from the position of the sun, it was almost noon.

Mar stood up and took in his surroundings. Rocks stretched higher and higher until they became a cliffside. Seagulls nested in recesses in the rocky surface. The sharp stone looked like a warning to all who dared trespass. To a normal person—even a particularly brave person—it would have been intimidating.

To a person like Grand Prince Mar Corv of Corv Isle, however, it had the exact opposite effect. It immediately triggered his fight/flight/freeze instinct. He dashed toward the cliffside, scaring away seagulls and making them squawk at him (he squawked back) and began climbing the rough terrain.

Well, this isn’t so bad, he thought to himself. I hope my brothers, wherever they are, landed somewhere as nice as this.

When he reached the top—sweaty and pale but somehow more determined than he had been when he started off, if that was even possible—he discovered that a green hillside stretched out around him. Below him were fields of dandelions, a river snaking throughout the island, and a dense forest in the distance. He stared for a while, taking in the moist, soft grass and the sweet breeze with the faint smell of pineapple in the distance. It was an excellent place, and he was glad he was so lucky as to come across such a pleasant camping ground.

He immediately set off down the hill, following the river toward the dandelion fields. He walked at the brisk pace one walks if they are happy and yet also terribly determined, not stopping for a minute longer to enjoy the sounds of nature. Don’t you go smelling the roses, he scolded himself. You are a prince, a voyager, an explorer, and an adventurer. You are Grand Prince Mar Corv of Corv Isle. No time to stop. There might be wolves, or bears, or something else. This isn’t a walk through the monkey- infested forests back at home. This is real life.

The walk down was much longer than it had looked from above, and it took most of an hour to get down. Plopping down on the grass in the middle of the dandelion field, he took a short rest, during which he ate the whole of a protein bar from his pocket. Then he got up and gazed toward the forest in the distance. It looked like a good shelter.

Mar soon found that he was too tired to walk any further. He had not eaten anything all day except for the protein bar. He tried to force himself onward but was too sleepy, and lay down on the soft, green grass, the dandelions tickling his neck and ankles. No sooner had he collapsed than he drifted into a deep, deep sleep.

When he awoke, he saw the sun was almost setting. For the first time, he wished for his brothers. They would have been good company. He wondered what faraway islands they must have landed on. He got up, brushed the grass off his brown jeans and blue T-shirt, and set off once again for the forest.

It was not long before he reached the outskirts of the woods, the area where the trees are thin and far apart and a good amount of sunshine can come through the spaces between the trees. This seemed like an excellent place. He looked toward the deeper woods, realizing he’d need a campfire if he wanted to survive in such a place. The deeper parts of the forest looked like perfect places to gather firewood and berries and the sort of necessities you might need if you were in such a difficult situation as Mar.

Eventually, when he reached the heart of the woods, where there was no light at all, a noise came from ahead of him. He heard twigs crack and something heavy crash into a tree. Mar grabbed a stick for defense but then tripped, rolling downhill, sticks and leaves scraping and bruising him until he landed at the very bottom, where he promptly threw up.

And now we must leave Mar for a little while and learn the story of our next prince: Tar. Now, Tar wasn’t nearly as curious or adventurous as Mar. But he was incredibly wise. He valued knowledge; some would say this increased his chances of success, and others would say it lessened them. My opinion? Well, I know it affected his decisions greatly, as you’ll soon see.

When Tar woke up, he didn’t open his eyes for a good five minutes. Finally, he stood up, brushed sand off his dirty jeans, and took in his surroundings.

He appeared to be on a beach. A peaceful ocean stretched out in every direction. He could see hints of coral through the cool, clear water. He quickly washed off his hands, feet, and head; shook himself off; and looked toward the island for the first time.

Grassy hills stretched up and up as far as the eye could see. Rabbits hopped across the smooth, wet grass. Parrots rested on the branches of the peach trees that dotted the beach.

Tar walked across the rough sand, careful to watch for seashells, toward the nearest peach tree. He snatched a peach off of a branch and took a big bite out of it. It had a sweet taste, as if it had been dunked in sunshine, so sweet it was a little sour. After taking a few more quick bites, wiping the peach juice from his mouth, and throwing the core to the ground, he set off quickly up the hills.

The sweet fragrance of the roses and the lilies and the violets hit him sharply. He breathed in and sighed happily. Unlike Mar, he was very into nature, no matter what the situation. He was content. The beautiful smells of the flowers and the sweet aftertaste of the peach, along with the salty breeze, created an interesting effect. It was nothing like the one back at Corv Isle. That experience was the sweet, happy kind; this one was sharp and sleepy. It was overwhelming.

He remembered Mar and Var, and wondered where they had gotten to. Only now, it seemed, did the reality of his situation begin to sink in.


Finally, he came to the top of the hill. Staring up at the sky, he noted that it was probably around one o’clock in the afternoon. He stared into the distance. More hills stretched up far away, on the opposite end of the island. Below the hills was a field of dandelions, and closest to him was a thick forest.

Well, this isn’t so bad, he thought to himself. I hope my brothers, wherever they are, landed somewhere as nice as this.

He decided to journey toward the forest below. Setting off quickly, he walked for a long while until he finally reached the outskirts of the woods, the sort of place that would make a good camping ground. He didn’t stop there, except to quickly grab a protein bar from his pocket; he journeyed farther and farther into the woods.

In the heart of the forest, he accidentally bumped into a tree. Rubbing his head, he suddenly heard a series of loud crashes straight ahead of him. He tried to run from them, but slipped and tumbled downhill with a loud THUMP, THUMP, THUMP.

When Tar realized who he was lying on top of, and he and Mar both realized what had happened, they burst out laughing at themselves.

*        *          *

And now, of course, we must learn what happened to Var, the third and final brother. Mar had found himself on the northern side of the island, and Tar on the southern, but Var had landed to the west. When he awoke and saw where he was, he didn’t waste a moment before beginning his climb up hills similar to the ones Tar had faced. He climbed and climbed, never stopping to take in his surroundings, until he reached the stream that flowed across the island. Unfortunately, he fell into the stream and ended up leaving a trail of muddy footprints through the forest (which, of course, was what Mar and Tar had tripped on in the woods). Var was the smartest of the brothers and knew there must be food somewhere (he had not noticed the peach trees in his hurry to get to high ground). He searched for food while Mar and Tar searched for him, until finally the three crossed paths in the dandelion field. They all told their stories, and they laughed (all except Var, who was much too serious to laugh about such things).

Soon a ship reached the island’s shore and carried the three princes back toward Corv Isle, and back toward home. From then on, the island they left behind became known as the Island of the Three Princes.