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SLq

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48 A Little More Kick Ass

About SLq

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    Validated

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  • Age in Years
    25
  • Gender
    Male
  • Sexuality
    Bisexual, leaning female
  • Location
    Tokyo, Japan
  • Interests
    reading, writing, drawing, exploring, travel

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  1. SLq

    Chapter 1

    Thank you!
  2. SLq

    Chapter 3

    I chuckled at the "needs a career change" bit Cannot say anything because of plot, but I like the way you think!
  3. SLq

    Chapter 3

    Glad you are enjoying! More characters will be introduced soonish, as will Saran's purpose Thank you for reading!
  4. SLq

    Chapter 3

    Prince James whistled to himself as he made his way into the castle courtyard. A soft-brown horse trotted at his side. Prince James kept one hand on its reins and the other gripping a wet burlap sack. The closer he came to the palace, the more audible the sound of forced revelry became. Prince James' steps slowed and slowed until he was finally still. His expression was one often found on men facing the hangman's noose. "Maybe I can drown in the moat. What do you think, Bella?" The horse snorted. Prince James sighed and resumed his forward march with great and obvious reluctance. "Let's find you a stable," the Prince muttered, "and me some wine." Preferably a barrel. He'd need at least that much to make it through the night. A sudden commotion tore Prince James from his morbid sulking. Voices echoed against stone, growing nearer right along with the metallic clang of drawn swords. Prince James dropped both Bella's reins and his soggy burden and drew the shortblade that hung at his waist. Two sharp whistles had Bella retreating behind her master. The mare's hooves beat uneasily at the ground. The armed party broke out into the open. Narrowed blue eyes swept over the assembled knights before widening with recognition. Familiar faces stared back at him from beneath helmets painted in atrocious blue. "Why, Gustav, what is the matter?" The large, sweaty man at the group's front let out a booming, "My Lord!" Some more jingling and grunting followed as the knights sheathed their weapons and waddled closer. Prince James watched them struggle against gravity at each step and thought it might be prudent to invest in better armor for the Royal Guard. There were certain things that simply did not get better with age. Iron was certainly one of them. Gustav halted an appropriate distance away from his Liege and took several deep, labored breaths. "The castle is under attack, my Lord!" Prince James looked around the empty courtyard. "Is it, now." "Well," Sir Kristoff amended, "Maybe not on a large scale." "How many intruders?" Prince James asked. The knights looked at each other, then at the ground. Prince James bit down a sigh. "Are there any victims?" he tried again. Sir Gustav brightened, pleased to have an answer. "One confirmed, Sire!" Sir Dimmons elbowed him meaningfully. The resulting clang was far from subtle. Prince James narrowed his eyes. "Who?" Sir Gustav cleared his throat. The other knights suddenly found the landscape fascinating. "I order you to speak," the Prince demanded. "Erm-" Sir Gustav gurgled, "That is-" Sir Kristoff stalled, "Maybe Your Highness should-" Sir Dimmons stammered at the ground. A sharp, repeated tak-tak-tak joined the frazzled muttering. The irritation swelling in Prince James' head melted away under a sudden burst of anxious fear. The prince threw a wild-eyed stare toward the castle. The knights quieted. "James." Prince James swallowed and held very, very still. Queen Beatrice's heels stabbed the ground, the pitiful whine of the marble floor steadily rising in pitch. The knights quickly shuffled away, allowing the Prince a clear view of his mother advancing on him. The Queen was flanked by her own guards. Her frilly dress and feathered curls bounced with each step. Her eyes blazed. "Where have you been?" Prince James opened his mouth. Queen Beatrice flicked her hand, nails glinting. "Quiet." Prince James' teeth clacked together. "You will be quiet, and you will do exactly as you are told. There is still hope of salvaging this forsaken situation." The Queen whirled around and stalked back toward the castle. Her guards fell in step behind her. The knights shuffled forward, armor clanking. Prince James turned yearning eyes toward Bella and considered abdicating the crown on the spot. "JAMES!" The victim of this mysterious attack, Prince James thought grimly, was one lucky bastard. Prince Simon did not so much as wake as shake aware. His room was cold and his bed was hard and something vicious roared in his head. Perhaps it was the dragon that had taken his sister. Prince Simon blearily compared the pros and cons of being carried away by a giant, winged lizard. There was the whole getting eaten alive thing but really, was that so much worse than what the rest of his life was shaping out to be? "Just make it fast," the Prince muttered to the shadow looming over him. "Boy, you've got issues." It took a moment for the deep, sarcastic voice to register. Several more passed as the Prince's rather bruised head tried to connect it to a face. Brown eyes snapped open. "Good evening," Saran-the-assassin smiled. "Had a good nap?" Prince Simon lurched upward, hands straining for his captor's neck. Only his arms would not obey him and then the ground was rushing at him awfully fast. Prince Simon managed to angle his body so his side rather than face bore the brunt of gravity's wrath. He still ended up with dirt in his mouth. Saran chuckled. "Need a hand?" "Untie me," Prince Simon spat. "Yeah, that's not how kidnapping works, kid." "I am a prince, you lowlife basta-oof." Saran ground his heel deeper into the prince's back, right above where the prince's hands lay bound. Prince Simon clamped his teeth over a pained sob. A small whimper still escaped him, torn free as his tender stomach was forced against the hard ground. "Ready to be civil?" Saran asked evenly. Prince Simon nodded, throat tight with shame. Saran stepped aside. Prince Simon rolled on his back, awkwardly maneuvering to a sitting position. He did not dare attempt to stand. Even if Saran allowed it, the Prince's own legs might fail him. Still, to be sitting at the feet of this man like a dog- Prince Simon's hands clenched, nails biting into his palms. "Where are we?" "Far, far away." Brown eyes flicked up to the assassin's grinning face before turning back to examining their surroundings. There was not much to see: stone everywhere, glowing gold with the light of a small fire. Shadows hung heavy beyond the circle of warmth. Wind wailed in the distance, the sound muffled. The air they breathed was heavy and tasted stale. Prince Simon concluded that they were in a cave, and a rather deep one at that. His kidnapper had taken them north. To the mountains. Prince Simon glanced at Saran. The man knelt by the fire, examining the pair of rabbits roasting above the greedy flames. His eyes glinted. Once Saran noticed the Prince's attention, so did his teeth. "Hungry, Simon?" Prince Simon pressed his lips over an angry demand to be called by his title. His crown meant nothing to this man. "Yes." Simon he was, and so he would be until this nightmare ended. A man like any other. "Good. Now, I'm going to free your hands. You make life hard for me, I make breathing difficult for you. Get me?" Simon nodded. Saran's grin stretched. "Turn around." Simon hesitated briefly before obeying. Footsteps echoed behind him, purposefully loud. Simon's shoulders stiffened. The vulnerability of his position rankled, left him equal parts afraid and angry. "Terrible, isn't it?" Saran muttered, too close. "Being at someone else's mercy." Simon bowed his head. "What do you want me to say?" "Nothing. Hold still." Steel slid against Simon's sore wrists. The angle was awkward and the rope thick. Saran worked patiently, angling the dagger away from Simon's skin. He stepped away as soon as the rope loosened enough for Simon to pull his hands free. Simon cradled them in his lap. Thick, purple bruises twisted around his wrists. It hurt worse with the rope gone. A careful prod at his sore temple had flecks of dried blood dusting Simon's fingertips. Simon wondered if the wound was bad enough to leave a scar. The thought of bearing a physical reminder of this nightmare for his entire life had Simon's stomach lurching sickly. "Here." Saran's voice came from much closer than Simon had expected. Simon flinched away. The sudden movement pulled at his bruised stomach. The resulting wince had Saran frowning. The assassin's brows came together briefly. "Dinner." Simon nodded. The rabbit had already been skinned and decapitated. It did not make picking its corpse that much easier to stomach, but Simon was hungry. He knew he should be grateful that he was getting anything to eat at all. "Thank you," he forced out. Saran took a seat across the fire, a good distance away but still well within reach. He watched Simon eat for a while. Simon tried not to be too flustered over the attention. A derisive snort had Simon's hackles raising. "What?" he grumbled. "You eat so...prissy." Simon pinched another bit of flesh from the rabbit and brought it to his mouth. Saran followed the motion with his eyes. Simon swallowed. The air had grown stuffy, too-warm. "How do you eat, then?" Saran bit a chunk out of his own rabbit, teeth flashing, jaw unhinging over the animal's corpse. Simon stared, food forgotten. That was so- so- Saran chewed his mouthful, eyes on Simon. He raised an eyebrow in inquiry. "Barbaric!" Simon grumbled. Saran laughed, mouth full, lips glistening with grease. Simon looked away, focusing on his own dinner. "Eat up, princeling. Long day tomorrow." Simon ate, pushing thoughts of oncoming hardships away. He had to keep going. He would survive. His sister was already lost; the damn mountain was not taking him, too. There were hearts stitched in the tablecloth. Prince James traced the nearest one, seeking distraction from the mismatched orchestra of voices vying for attention all around him. The heart was like all the rest - small, lopsided, and blue. Gold stitches outlined it. The silk yarn warmed under Prince James' fingers until it felt strangely like skin. "Ridiculous," King Alfred puffed. Prince James snatched his hand away. He glanced at a nearby clock; ten minutes on the dot since the last time his father had spoken. Prince James bet it would be ten more until King Alfred graced those present with another word of wisdom. The King had grown rather fond of rituals in recent years. He had also gained a propensity for monologues on a select group of topics, which had in turn led the castle staff to acquire an admirable level of stealth. There was, unfortunately, a learning curve. Early slips in vigilance had left Prince James with a wealth of knowledge about wine-making and berry-picking he had absolutely no idea what to do with. "Thank you, Alfred." Queen Beatrice smiled tightly at her husband. King Alfred hastily buried his nose in his goblet. Prince James sat straighter in his chair and attempted to focus on the proceedings. The frantic excitement that had sent guests scrambling for carriages and guards jumping at shadows had waned. A quiet, vicious, helpless anger gradually took its place. Prince James had the dubious pleasure of witnessing Queen Victoria interrogate her staff. A good number lost their jobs, including a pouch-bellied man by the name of Edward. Prince James had nodded with approval as the sobbing mess of a man was dragged out of the room. No manservant worth his salt would choose drunken revelry over attending to his Liege. A hurried investigation revealed several alarming facts. First, Mira's security was so lacking it was practically in the negative. Most of the guards Prince James had seen walking the halls upon entering the castle were outsiders hired for the occasion. The lot of them did not even know how Prince Simon looked, let alone when or how he had been removed from the premises. The sorry state of Prince Simon's rooms confirmed that the young prince had indeed been abducted. Rather violently too, judging by the slashed bedding and scratched walls. Prince James had felt the first stirrings of unease at the sight. He had been operating under the assumption that his fiancé had done a runner and Queen Victoria was trying to save face. If the boy was in fact in danger... Prince James watched Queen Victoria tap her nails over a map of Mira. Guilt gnawed at his insides. Prince Simon would not have been alone in his rooms had his betrothed been present at the ball. The unknown assailant would have certainly found Prince James a tougher opponent than the slight, scrawny thing portraits had revealed Prince Simon to be. "What could they possibly want?" King John wondered for the seventh time in half as many hours. Even the attendants were ignoring him at this point. The question tugged at something in Prince James' mind. There was no ransom note. No demands for money - no threats or vows of revenge. Prince James swallowed heavily. What could they possibly want, indeed. "We need to gather a search party immediately." The words rang loud in the tense silence. All eyes in the room turned to Prince James. "My Lord," one of the hired knights offered hesitantly, "No demands have been made. We have no clear direction, Sire, and not enough men to cover all possible routes the criminal could have taken." "We don't even know what the bastard looks like," Sir Geoffrey growled. Heat climbed Prince James' stubbled cheeks. "About that. I might have seen someone suspicious as I..." the blush burned brighter, "....prepared to meet my betrothed." Queen Beatrice buried her face in her hands, smothering a heartfelt curse. Prince James valiantly tried to hold Queen Victoria's eyes. "Do you believe my son's life is in danger, Prince James?" Prince James nodded once. Queen Victoria regarded him through narrowed eyes, gauging. "You will lead the search party," she said. It was not a question - something Queen Beatrice seemed ready to protest, judging by the tight curl of her lips. "Yes," Prince James said, ignoring his mother's hissed, James! "It is my duty." Queen Victoria held him pinned with her gaze for a moment longer before shifting her attention to a nearby attendant. "Have a painter brought in. Prince James, if you will oblige us with a description of the man you saw." Prince James nodded. "A sketch will be produced and a reward posted. That should restrict their movements. You will ride out tomorrow," she said to Prince James. "My Lord-" Sir Geoffrey protested. "It is too dangerous!" Queen Beatrice cried out. Prince James thought of the tales of brave knights he had read well past the age fairy tales were acceptable literature, thought of the gray drag of days spent in a citadel of stone with the occasional bat as his only adversary. He thought of the bloodstain on Prince Simon's floor. "Yes," he said. A quiet, anxious excitement bloomed in his chest. Adventure. At last. And all it took was getting engaged to a man. Who would have thought.
  5. SLq

    Chapter 2

    Good catch with the man by the river! More shall be revealed soon. Simon is not safe, but hey - no adventure ever is! Updates are planned for every Sunday. Should be on time
  6. SLq

    Chapter 2

    Hahaha, yes, Simon's fate is very uncertain at the moment Thank you for your comment! I am glad the story is enjoyable
  7. SLq

    Chapter 2

    Hahaha, right? Although being carried off by an assassin seems like a bit too extreme of an escape plan.
  8. SLq

    Chapter 2

    This story has lots of twists and turns ahead Hope you enjoy them
  9. SLq

    Chapter 2

    “Why do I have to meet him? I don’t want to meet him. I don’t want to ever hear of him again, in fact,” Prince Simon grouched. His mother, busy straightening his shirt and trousers, swatted him quiet. “Do not whine, Simon, it is unbecoming,” she scolded, pulling so hard on the legs of his trousers that they slipped slightly down his ass. “You should be excited to meet your future spouse.” “Ha.” Prince Simon wheezed; his mother had moved onto tightening the ceremonial sash around his waist. He had obviously tied it wrong the first time around, seeing he had been able to breathe then. “Excited isn’t the word I’d use.” “But it will be the word you use while Prince James is here,” the Queen fixed him with a glare that pinned him in place more successfully than the actual needles that stuck out from his clothes. “I will not have you hurt this kingdom’s reputation by behaving like a brat.” “A brat?” a bit of color rose on the Prince’s pale cheeks. “May I remind you that I’m being married, against my will, to some loose bastard I don’t even know? It is not exactly a situation I find delightful!” There was more to be said on the topic, but a pinch of his mother’s nails reminded the Prince of his tone and he clenched his teeth shut, lips flattening into an unhappy line. The Queen rolled her eyes and straightened. “You will survive. We all do,” the Queen said, then added a thoughtful, “Well, not all.” Satisfied, she nodded to the aged tailor, patted the Prince on the head, and left in a flurry of diamond-dusted skirts. Properly encouraged, the Prince sighed and turned to face the mirrors. He grudgingly admitted the uniform was rather nice; he did not care much for the golden embroidery that curled over his neck and wrists, but the deep-red of the overcoat went quite well with his pale skin. On an unrelated topic, it would also do a sufficient job of hiding blood-stains. The tailor chose that moment to stick a needle in a place it did not need sticking. The Prince screeched and almost fell off the podium, vengeful thoughts momentarily forgotten. How invested the kingdom of Swan was in their Prince's betrothal became rather obvious the minute their caravan came into view of the castle walls. A larger, flashier congregation of nobility and bejeweled livestock had not been seen since the time Queen Katherine, Queen Victoria's younger sister, had visited Mira. Huddled in a dank watchtower, Prince Simon watched fat horses toddle through the castle's gates and hoped this visit will end the same way his aunt's had: with a terrible fight between host and guest, followed by vows of eternal hatred and no further communication on either party's side. "My lord. You're needed in the Great Hall." Prince Simon sighed heavily. "Thank you, Edward." Several moments passed. Prince Simon turned away from the window to eye his manservant, who continued to hover at the tower's door. "That will be all." "My lord, erm, that is..." Edward twisted his fingers in the hem of his shirt - a new shirt, smartly-pressed - and glanced nervously at his prince. "I am to...accompany you, Sire," he finished awkwardly, then cleared his throat for good measure. Prince Simon narrowed his eyes. "I see." He was on flight watch then, likely on his mother's orders. How embarrassing! More importantly, how inconvenient; how was he to make it out of this God-forsaken wedding with the servants watching his every move? Grudgingly setting thoughts of escape aside for the moment, Prince Simon stood up. He took the time to dust errant stalks of straw from the seat of his trousers and straighten his robes, then nodded to Edward. "Lead the way." Edward nodded stiffly. "Yes, Sire." Prince Simon made a note of the sympathetic looks the man threw over his shoulder every other step. Perhaps Edward will not be averse to looking the other way if his prince were to, say, slide a dagger into his betrothed's throat. By accident, of course. They passed through several hallways on the way to the Great Hall. Most of them were deserted but for a few maids here and there. Prince Simon was less pleased with their reactions, which involved an unnecessary amount of giggling and whispering. There were three entries to the Great Hall. The guests had arrived through the main doors along a hallway that began at the front gates. Queen Victoria and King John had come in through an overly-ornate door at the other side of the Hall, likely to the sound of trumpets and the fluttering of doves or some such nonsense. Prince Simon, apparently, was to be smuggled in through the servants' passageway like a common thief. "So sorry, Sire," Edward stammered as he led the Prince through the crowded kitchens. There were more people in that one room than Simon could recall ever seeing in the entire castle. "We are late, you see, and the Queen was very...vocal about not making a scene, as Her Highness put it..." Prince Simon narrowly avoided getting ran over by a servant balancing a small mountain of wine glasses. "Yes, fine, whatever," he muttered, scowl firmly in place and likely not to budge for the rest of this evening. Potentially the rest of his life. Someone pinched his ass. The Prince let out an undignified yelp and swiveled around. "Who did that!" About thirty maids, plus Tommy, paused in their various tasks in order to blink innocently at their Prince. "My Lord?" prompted Marie. Prince Simon tried not to look at her hands too much. Or the sheep carcass the cook was in the process of stuffing with rice. "What's the matter?" Prince Simon opened his mouth...and then closed it. "Nothing." His ears felt hot. There went the giggling. The Prince glared a nearby maid into silence. "Sire..." Edward glanced meaningfully toward the back wall, where a door gaped half-open. "Yes, yes!" Prince Simon stormed past his manservant and through the door, much to Edward's dismay. "My Lord, please wait! You are to make a quiet entry!" "I'll make whatever kind of entry I want!" Prince Simon snapped, then promptly sneezed. The passageway was quite dank and dusty, if a bit more spacious than the Prince had expected. He squinted at a fat spider dangling from a nearby pillar, lip curled in disgust. No matter. Straightening, Prince Simon stomped down the short hallway. Edward hurried after him. His stammered apologies mingled with the music emanating from the Great Hall. The whine of violins set the Prince's teeth on edge. Prince Simon paused as he reached the passage's end. "Where does this lead?" "The passage opens behind one of the banners at the back of the Hall, my Lord," panted Edward, clutching his not inconsiderable stomach as he came to a stop beside Prince Simon. Prince Simon thought Edward should probably leave off the sweet tarts. "Alright." Prince Simon puffed out his chest, preparing to sweep through the tiny doorway in a majestic fashion. Edward thrust himself forward, successfully barring the way. "Wait, Sire! Let me!" Prince Simon glared. Edward paled but did not budge. The Prince wondered what kind of threats his mother had made to make the man sweat so at the prospect of disobeying her. "Carry on," he sighed. "Yes, my Lord! Thank you!" Edward bowed clumsily and pushed through the dark doorway. Light spilled within as the heavy cloth blocking the passageway was lifted. Prince Simon caught a glimpse of brocaded tablecloths and a gaudy dress before Edward let the banner fall back into place. "Well?" the Prince demanded. "The guests seem to be congregated at the front of the Hall," Edward said. "My Lord should be able to enter unnoticed." "Sneak in, you mean." Prince Simon waved Edward's stuttered apology away and took a deep breath. "Let's go." Edward bowed again and swept the cloth aside. Prince Simon lifted his head high and stepped forward. No matter how upsetting this whole situation was, he was determined to emerge with his dignity. Perhaps Prince Simon should have been more concerned with the task immediately before him. The servant who attempted to enter the passageway at the same time the Prince tried to exit it certainly should have minded his way, although he could find some excuse in not being able to see over the top of a tray piled high with dirty dishes. In any case, the two collided head-first and made a commotion of the sort that had every person in the near vicinity turning to look. "So terribly sorry, m'Lord!" quivered the servant. "Here, Sire, let me have your hand!" begged Edward. Queen Beatrice threw a barbed, "That is your son?" to Queen Victoria. Prince Simon, sat amid broken china and scattered cutlery, wondered if it was possible to perish from sheer mortification. The Prince was eventually pulled to his feet. He regarded the gathered nobility coolly, bowed once, and set off for the nearest servant carrying alcohol. The music resumed to a chorus of sneering laughter. "Simon," Queen Victoria intoned, materializing between the Prince and a terrified looking servant clutching a bottle of wine. "Yes, Mother." The Prince tired his best to avoid Queen Victoria's murderous glare and beckoned the servant closer. The man swayed forward, just to draw back with a startled meep! as the Queen snapped the decorative fan she held in one hand shut. The sound echoed fearsomely, the fan itself suddenly seeming more a weapon than an accessory. "I would like to introduce you to Queen Beatrice," Queen Victoria's smile contained too many teeth to be considered friendly. Wine and servant beat a hasty retreat, ignoring his Prince's sad stare. Prince Simon sighed and trailed in his mother's wake. The crowd parted around them, powdered women giggling behind fluffy fans while their husbands looked down their (often considerable) noses at the young man passing by. Prince Simon bore it all with a grace beaten into him through years of etiquette lessons, aided by bloody and gruesome thoughts. "Beatrice, allow me to present our son, Simon de Briar." Prince Simon bowed stiffly. "Vastly pleased to meet Your Highness." Queen Beatrice inclined her head. Her delicate features tightened slightly, her gaze growing sharp and cold. Prince Simon tried not to look directly into her eyes. The thought that his sister might have looked like this - cold and cruel and a tiny bit evil - had she survived her childhood made him reassess his opinion regarding dragons. Then again, growing up heartless certainly beat being eaten alive. "He will do," Queen Beatrice finally sniffed, adding a sharp, "Not that we have a choice." Prince Simon thought he should probably feel insulted, but found he lacked the will to do so. Queen Victoria had no such problems. Her polite smile melted into a sneer. Prince Simon felt the temperature in the room drop several degrees. Unwilling to be dragged into a passive-aggressive exchange of insults, Prince Simon floundered for a change of topic. "My betrothed!" he exclaimed, a tad too loudly. The two Queens broke their telepathic battle to level twin glares at him. "I look forward to... meeting him," the Prince finished. His right hand made an aborted gesture toward his absent sword. "Yes," Queen Victoria smiled, slow and poisonous. "Where is your son, Beatrice?" Queen Beatrice drew to her full and inconsiderable height. "James is here," she announced - rather unconvincingly, Prince Simon thought. "I did not see him come in," pushed Queen Victoria. She had sniffed out a weakness, and was not likely to let go until there was blood. Queen Beatrice's eyes swept the Hall in what she believed to be a covert gesture. "It is bad luck to see the bride before the wedding," she said. "A peasant custom," Queen Victoria dismissed. "Furthermore, that only applies the day of the wedding." "Our customs are different!" Queen Beatrice insisted. "Your son is not even here, is he!" exclaimed Queen Victoria, sounding equal parts victorious and affronted. "He is here!" thundered Queen Beatrice. "Perhaps he found this farce too embarrassing to attend, and I would not blame him!" "He found it embarrassing?" Queen Victoria squealed. "Remind me, whose fault is it that he has no one else to marry?" The royal-blue dress Queen Beatrice wore seemed to puff up with the woman's anger. Across from her, Queen Victoria hissed, the numerous emeralds decorating her green robes sparkling like scales. Prince Simon slowly backed away from the two women and the circle of onlookers that had formed around them. When no one stopped him, he backed away some more - right out of the hall. Marie threw a curious, "The party's over already?" after him. Prince Simon waved noncommittally and hightailed it out of the kitchens before Edward - in the process of drinking himself stupid - could notice him. Prince Simon took the long way around to his rooms. He snuck down dusty hallways, climbed and descended a dozen staircases, all at a pace that had him panting for breath. His legs were shaking by the time he reached his doors. Filled with the exuberance that came with pulling off a successful escape, the Prince giggled madly to himself as he urged the sturdy oak open. "My Lord?" "Gah!" The Prince whirled around, eyes scanning the corridor before focusing on the tiny, mousy woman before him. Recognizing her uniform, the Prince relaxed his stance. Just a maid. He cleared his throat. "Yes?" "I was wondering if my Lord needed his bed made?" the woman said, eyes bouncing from the floor to the Prince's face and back. The Prince raised an eyebrow. He was certain Edward had already made his bed. It was a part of his responsibility as the Prince's manservant, after all. "No, thank you," he told the woman and turned to go. "What about the fireplace? It's dirty, isn't it?" The woman surged forward. Prince Simon flinched, pressing his back against the door. "Or perhaps a bath? Would my Lord not like a bath?" She batted her eyelashes hard enough to set the bangs hanging over her eyes fluttering. Prince Simon blinked in bewilderment. "No, thank you," he repeated, slower this time. Perhaps she had problems with her hearing? The woman pouted - pouted! - up at him. Prince Simon narrowed his eyes. "But my Lord..." "I am rather busy," the Prince interjected, cutting through the woman's warbling. "If you do not mind..." he made a shooing gesture. "Yes?" the woman breathed and fluttered her lashes some more. Prince Simon glared. "Go away." The woman dropped her eyes with a sad, "Oh." Prince Simon harrumphed and turned to enter his quarters. "So it is true," he heard, just before the door closed behind him. Struck by a terrible thought, the Prince ripped the door open and stuck his head out, ready to demand an explanation. The maid was already a good distance away, however. The sound of footsteps and echoes of, "Prince Simon?" in the near distance had the Prince slamming his doors shut and then locking them for good measure. The Prince sighed. Suddenly weary beyond reason, he trudged the short distance between the door and his desk and collapsed in a padded chair. Morose thoughts pulled his expression into a frown even as his eyes glinted in anger. Prince Simon had long given up the fancy that his marriage would be anything but a political move on his parents' - correction; on his mother's - side. Still, this was a bit too much. Add the insult of having his fiancée refuse to meet him, and the nightmare was complete. "Bastard," Prince Simon concluded. "Now, now," admonished a deep voice, "we haven't even been properly introduced yet." Prince Simon jumped, sending the chair tumbling in his haste to turn around. The sight of a tall, darkly-clad man leaning next to an open window had him grinding his teeth. Muscles shifted beneath the man's tunic as he pushed off the wall, green eyes glinting above a smirking mouth. His hair was long, in the style many nobles preferred. Tied back, it fell a bit past the man's wide shoulders. So this was the errant Prince James. Prince Simon glared up at the man, refusing to feel intimidated. "What the hell are you doing here?" Prince James grinned in response, teeth glinting against sun-darkened skin. "I like your spark, Princeling." He raised a dark eyebrow, leaning forward to examine Prince Simon's flushed face. "You are Prince Simon, aren't you?" Nearly apoplectic with rage, Prince Simon snarled, "Yes, I am. You would have known that, had you come to your own engagement ball!" Prince James tilted his head, expression smoothing. He was a bit unnerving like this, Prince Simon thought - too cold, somehow. "I believe," the man said, "that there has been a misunderstanding." "What sort of misunderstanding?" asked Prince Simon. He took a step backward, suddenly wary. Prince James advanced, matching Prince Simon step for step. "You seem to have me mistaken for someone else." "You are not Prince James," Prince Simon startled as his back hit the wall, the rest of the question emerging a bit high-pitched, "my betrothed?" "My name is Saran," the man replied, smile wider and toothier than the one that had twisted his lips before. "I'm an assassin." Prince Simon ducked. Something slammed into the wall where his head had been, the object ringing dully against stone. There was no time to think, no time at all to lament the lack of weapons and guards. Prince Simon darted to the left a breath before the man's large hand could close around his neck and made a break for the door. When a knife whished by his ear to embed in the thick oak, the Prince changed course and dove for the bed some feet away. He had stashed his sword there yesternight, no longer trusting the "Royal Armory" with its upkeep. Rolling beneath the wooden frame, Prince Simon grasped the hilt of his sword and turned to face his attacker. "Come on," Saran sighed. He waved the short blade he held in his right hand toward the bed that separated him from his quarry. A matching sword hung in a sheath over his right hip. "Really?" "I will fight until I draw breath!" Prince Simon hissed. Realizing what the man had insinuated, he colored. "And no, not really!" "You misunderstand again," Saran said, slowly circling the bed. Prince Simon matched him, eyes on the man's hands. He still missed the moment when Saran drew a dagger, but was at least able to duck out of the way before it could tear into his shoulder. "I do not mean to kill you." "Could have fooled me," Prince Simon swiveled in time to evade a thrust of the man's sword. The action imbalanced him slightly. He stumbled backward as Saran jumped on the bed and charged forward, awkwardly parrying the larger man's attacks. "Truly," Saran said between swipes of his glinting blade, "I do not." He fainted a right and struck left. The Prince was able to meet his blow - an impressive feat that nonetheless left his right side wide open. The Prince groaned as the hilt of Saran's second sword collided with his temple, and was silent. Saran caught the Prince's body when it fell forward, green eyes narrowing over a cheerless smile. "Well, not yet at any rate." The assassin deposited the Prince's insensate body on the bed. A thin cover and a bit of rope, and Prince Simon was safely disguised as a rather fashionable sack of potatoes. Shouldering the royal burden, Saran swung over the sill of the opened window, grabbed a rope hooked through a stone gargoyle, and proceeded to scale three stories down the castle's wall. A quiet whistle had a silver-gray horse grazing nearby trotting forward. Saran shrugged the Prince onto the horse and mounted himself. He patted the animal's muscled neck and urged it forward, through the castle's open gates. A young man fishing near the castle's sorry excuse for a moat lifted a hand in greeting as Saran rode overhead. The assassin waved back, cheerful. Truly, Mira's security was abysmal. They deserved to have their royalty stolen from beneath their noses.
  10. SLq

    Chapter 1

    Thank you! Glad to hear you are enjoying the story
  11. SLq

    Chapter 1

    Thank you! Next chapter is written, I plan to update every Sunday if I can
  12. SLq

    Chapter 1

    I am so happy to hear the story made you laugh! I really wanted to write something light and funny, even if there will be a few twists and turns along the way (I cannot help myself ).
  13. SLq

    Chapter 1

    Thank you Prince Simon is kind of used to his parents' strange ways, but this is a bit over the top even for them
  14. SLq

    Chapter 1

    Thank you! I am glad the story was an enjoyable read. The other prince will be introduced soon (ish)
  15. Emi GS

    Welcome to GA... :) ~Emi.

    1. SLq

      SLq

      Thank you! Happy to have found this site ^_^

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