EXASPERATED THIRD PRINCE
Annel was a Prince, a revered person even in the most dominating Dynasty of the Eastern Continent, yet now he stood dressed as a normal commoner with makeup covering his facial features. Next to him stood his younger sister, Evelyn, who was doing her hardest yet again not to burst out laughing.
“... are you sure you want to do this?” she asked with an odd expression.
“I have to do this!” Annel exclaimed more so to convince himself than to reply to her question. “He’s crossed the line!”
“He only made a few women cry...”
“Few?! He made every woman west of Flaggen Chapel cry! That’s hundreds of people, Eve!”
“... khm, yeah, my bad. You should definitely dress up as a commoner and bait him. Wouldn’t it be more appropriate if I went? He seems to go after women, after all.”
“I can’t risk it,” Annel said, shaking his head. “Who knows what he does to them? You’re too precious to be a bait.”
“Ah... whatever. Have fun, I suppose.”
“Fun? I’m not doing this to have fun!”
“Yeah, sure, whatever...”
Evelyn turned around and left, leaving Annel standing alone just outside the royal compound’s walls. He watched streams of people moving left and right, all of whom would kneel before him any time of the day if he dressed and looked as per usual. Yet, now, they all ignored him as though he was an ant. It was truly a new experience for him.
He moved toward the southern part of the city where residences of mostly middle-class people were built. There, a notorious web of alleyways was the flame of rumors as of recently, named ‘Kingdom of King of Beggars’. Apparently, that’s what beggar himself requested they call the place.
Though Annel found it amusing, he couldn’t bring himself to smile; it was fine for now, but what if he moved further north and started harassing Ladies of Marquises and Dukes? Wouldn’t that spiral the city into a civil war? It certainly would! Those vixens, after all, have such short fuse even Annel doesn’t dare look at them wrongly.
It took him nearly an hour of walking to get to the fabled alleyways. They were quite ordinary, cutting in-between houses built out of limestone and courtyards filled with greenery and flowers of all colors. Occasionally he’d spot a stray animal or two, but, after walking around for nearly half an hour, he was yet to run into any beggar, let alone the beggar.
Feeling slightly annoyed and tired, he took a deep breath and sat down onto the street. Unlike his older brothers, Annel wasn’t hellbent on always maintaining proper decorum; he sometimes ate with his hands, drank directly from the fountain, climbed the trees like a monkey and tended to do whatever tickled his fancy: such as dressing as a complete commoner to track down a beggar and his dog.
“Eh? What are you doing, sitting there? Are you contemplating life?” a voice jolted Annel from his thoughts, causing him to look up toward the alley’s entrance. There, standing with his arms on his hips, was a man dressed in shabby clothes, with disheveled hair and beard covering his entire face save for the black eyes. And, right next to the man’s leg, was a dog of silver fur and ocean-blue eyes. It’s them! He immediately concluded, a strange shine glinting in his eyes. “Can I join you? I love contemplating life.”
“Hah! I finally caught you, you damned beggar!” Annel exclaimed, rising onto his feet and pointing his finger at the beggar.
“Eh? You were looking for me?”
“Oh, I didn’t know I’d already gotten so famous,” the beggar chuckled, suddenly scratching his nose as though embarrassed. “I’m flattered, really, but I don’t do autographs.”
“We can share a meal, if you want, or talk about life,” the beggar continued. “That should be enough for you, right?”
“W-what are you talking about?! I’m not your fan!” Annel exclaimed, feeling his cheeks growing warmer.
“Ah? You’re not?! Ah, my bad, my bad. Geez, this is embarrassing. I always just jump to conclusions... I’m sorry...”
“As-as long as you understand it! I’m actually the Third Prince of Divine Dynasty, Annel En’gar, and I’m here to arrest you!” suddenly, there was silence; when Annel looked at beggar’s expression yet again, he saw an odd one... with eyes filled with a solitary feeling: pity. “W-what are you looking at me like that for?!”
“Aii... brother... dear... dear brother. Just how far down have you fallen to pretend to be a Prince?” the beggar said, shaking his head; as though to emphasize the true sadness of the situation, even the damned dog shook his head. “I mean, I thought I had it bad, but you, you brother... I’m sorry. I’m honestly broke myself; but, if I ever do come across some riches, I’ll give them all to you. You obviously need them.”
“W-what... what...” Annel felt defeated. It was one thing for the beggar to think he was fan, but a completely another for him to make fun of Annel. W-wait, my face! Annel realize. It’s makeup! A handkerchief suddenly appeared in Annel’s hand, spurring a strange glint in beggar’s eyes which Annel missed. He quickly reached for his face and wiped it clean, revealing his rather handsome appearance. “See? I’m really a Prince!”
“... wow, you even wear makeup,” the beggar suddenly took a step back as though terrified. “Uh, it’s, uh, it’s your choice, so do whatever you want with your life. All the power to you, brother--uh, sister? Whatever, I’m fucking out.”
“No, wait, please! Just wait a second!! I’m really here to arrest you!!”
“... why would you arrest me?”
“What do you mean why?!”
“I’m completely innocent of any crime whatsoever.” the beggar said with a straightforward expression.
“There are literally hundreds of reports against you!!” Annel was staring to slowly lose it.
“What do you mean? That’s heresy!! False accusations!! I damn them all to hell! How dare they tarnish my great name?! Humph, lowly bastards! Here I am, feeding stray dogs and offering strangers wisdom of life whenever I can, and they accuse me of crimes! Who?! Tell me their names!”
“Sigh...” Annel sighed weakly, realizing the stories he’d heard weren’t exaggerated at all. The beggar truly was... shameless. Shameless beyond reason. “Can... can we just stop this?”
“Ah, alright, fine. I’m running low on food anyway,” the beggar said, scratching his head. “So, what’s prison like? Do you guys have food? Can I contemplate life with other prisoners?”
“What’s with you and contemplating life?!!”
“Whoa, where’s this anger coming from? Calm down, brother.”
“It’s coming from you! And I’m not your damned brother!”
“Alright, alright, settle down,” the beggar said. “Tell me. What’s bugging you? Is life as a fake Prince truly too hard? If you want, I can kneel down and call you ‘Your Highness’.”
“That’s what you’re supposed to do!!” Annel exclaimed, feeling his eyes growing warmer as though he was on the verge of tears.
“... dude, are you really about to cry?”
“No, no I’m not! Shut up!”
“... I... I don’t have to take you to prison,” Annel said. “If you could do me a solid.”
“Wow, are you really thinking of patricide?”
“What?! Are you insane?!! Why would I want to kill my Royal Father?!!”
“Well, let’s see,” the beggar said, stroking his beard. “You say you’re a Third Prince of this huge, massive Empire, right?”
“And that you have power to arrest people?”
“And most-likely have all sorts of resources at your disposal?”
“Yeah. Where are you going with this?”
“... then why the fuck are you scouring the city for a random beggar to ask him for a favor?!”
“I... it’s a delicate situation,” Annel said, sighing yet again. “Do you think I’d pardon all your filthy crimes if it wasn’t?”
“By delicate you mean politically charged?”
“Yeah. Do you care?”
“Not really,” the beggar shook his head. “Anyway, I don’t need any pardoning. I want riches, women and glory!”
“I’ll pay you a hundred gold.”
“Deal! Who am I killing?”
“K-killing?! Why would you be killing anyone?”
“Eh? Then why are you hiring me?”
“... khm, it’s, uh, it’s about my Younger Sister--”
“Sorry, I’m not interested in dating spoiled brats.” the beggar interrupted.
“... you know what dude? Fuck you. Fuck you to ten thousand hells! You goddamned, filthy, loud-mouthed piece of shit! Burn in hell you fucking cocksucker!”
“... wow. I suddenly have a shred of respect for you.”
“... I... ah, whatever.” Annel realized his outburst, but decided to just let it go. He’ll pretend as though none of this ever, ever happened, anyway. “I’m not asking you to date my sister. As though I’d ever let that happen, you moron. There’s a guy who’s been pestering her recently. As he’s Duke’s son, there’s little I can do without causing conflict, and Royal Father’s remained mum on the issue. I don’t want you to kill him, just... make him leave my sister alone. I don’t care how you do it so long as you don’t mention my hiring you.”
“... what’s the guy’s name?” the beggar asked, suddenly turning serious for some reason.
“Felix. Felix Dongrauth. He’s the son of Duke Dongrauth of Northern Frontier.”
“Alright,” the beggar nodded. “I’ll make it happen. Good luck, Prince Annel.” the beggar suddenly turned and left.
“Eh? What about your paym---wait, you bastard, you always knew I was the Prince, didn’t you?! And you still disrespected me like that?!! Come back, you bastard!!” however, the beggar was long gone, leaving Annel fuming all on his own. Hah, hah, whatever. Let him be. Hopefully, he makes something happen. If not... I’ll really have to escalate the conflict. Even if his father is defending the Northern Frontier, it doesn’t give him freedom to do whatever he wants in my Empire...