Finding Face~Ch 3~
"Just put the damn thing on, ____________," Arthur sighed. "If we're going to be an audience to the heir of Thursaunia, you have to look presentable. Presentability (that's not a word) equates to credibility."
"I still don't want to," you grumbled looking at the dress Arthur picked out for you. It was thick and frilly. The fabric looked uncomfortable and slippery.
You an Arthur had been arguing all morning about what attire was appropriate for you. Honestly, you had been in almost the same clothes ever since you could remember so you weren't about to go running off and changing into something as "fancy schmancy" as a dress.
"______________, mind you, we're on a time crunch," Arthur reminded you. "If you don't put this on in three seconds, I'lloh, bloody hell. This isn't going to work." He let out a heavy sigh. "Let's find something more practical for you then." He gave the dress back to the tailor and led you to the men's section of the store.
"Here. Try this," Arthur said holding up a (f/c) tunic. It looked comfortable and practical. Above all else, it was even your favorite color. You snatched it away and ran into the changing room.
"Don't peek!" you yelled behind the ringed curtains.
"I won't," you heard Arthur sigh as you gratefully threw off your old rags and began to put on the tunic. The fabric felt so light a clean against your skin. You could breathe easily now that you didn't have to worry about the stench that your old rags carried. When you were done, you flipped back the curtains to find Arthur who was waiting on a chair.
"How do I look, ArtI mean, Iggy?" you asked turning around excitedly. In case Arthur would need to hide his identity, he insisted that you call him "Iggy" in public; apparently, it was an older nickname his brothers used.
"You look practical, not presentable," Arthur said bluntly. "But since you seem to like it so much, I guess it'll do."
After paying, you and Arthur went to the stablesmaster to look for a horse. It would be too burdensome having one horse carry two people all the way to Thursaunia even with your light frame. You had initially protested, but Arthur reminded you that while a traitor, he was still a prince and you would have to obey him regardless.
"Obey him, my arse," you grumbled under your breath.
"I heard that," Arthur said in front of you.
Upon arriving at the stables, Arthur told you to try out a few of the smaller horses to see which one you preferred. Once you picked out your horse with the necessary equipment, Arthur led you away from the bulk of the village to teach you how to properly ride a steed.
"Don't be scared, ____________," he said watching you hesitantly mount your horse. "You were able to do it just fine yesterday."
"That's because I was being shot at by arrows and pursued by your brothers and the royal knights! I couldn't afford to be scared at the time!" you snapped.
Arthur let out a heavy sigh. This riding lesson was going to take a while.
"So what's Thursaunia like?" you asked as you and Arthur rode towards the Brysogwig Kingdom borders.
"It's a nice place," Arthur said. "The manners are alright, and the food is
" His voice trailed off.
"Artie?" you looked at the prince who suddenly was at a loss for words.
"It's decent," he finished. It didn't sound like that was what he had meant to say.
"Don't tell me they poison the food," you said half-joking, half-serious.
"They wouldn't dare," Arthur frowned. "In this time of unrest, Thursaunia would need all the allies they can get."
"So about this prince," you said changing the subject, "what's he like?"
"He's very prim and proper," Arthur answered.
"More so than yourself?"
Arthur cleared his throat. "I wouldn't admit it even if it were true."
You snorted. "Really
"I've still got my dignity, ___________," the rebellious prince said haughtily.
You rolled your eyes. "Judging by your statement, it sounds like he is."
Arthur growled and kept his eyes on the road ahead.
"The prince we are going to see is Roderich Edelstein," he answered. "He's currently next in line to the throne of the northwestern province of Thursaunia."
"Oh," you said. If you remembered correctly, Thursaunia was actually a unification of two lesser kingdoms that had combined under the purpose of protecting themselves against Dotriba. Brysogwig had done something similar.
"Do you think they've gotten word about your parents?" you asked.
Arthur bit his lips and hesitated. "I don't know," he admitted, "but in the case that they haven't, I think it would be best to keep this a secret from the public of Thursaunia until my brother is properly inaugurated. We don't want any political unrest in Thursaunia or Brysogwig anytime soon."
"No, we don't," you agreed.
After riding for the entire day, the two of you decided to take a break by a stream. Arthur was busy watering the horses and had instructed you to start a fire.
There's got to be some dry brush around here
you thought as you searched in the thicket not too far from the clearing.
You sniffed and brushed a cobweb off your recently-purchased tunic and looked down to watch your footing. As you kept going deeper, the temperature of the air dropped with the large leaves overhead blocking out any excess sunlight. You had never been in such a wide expanse of wilderness before. Throughout your entire life, you had spent your time rummaging through the streets, feeding off of other people's garbage like a parasite.
You were worse than a parasite. At least parasites took something that was good. You just took people's trash, things they wouldn't miss.
You gripped the belt of your tunic with a determined fist. Arthur had told you that he wanted you to help him avenge his parents. He, a prince of all things, had wanted your help. Perhaps he was right. This really could be your calling, your new purpose in life. Arthur had saved you from a meaningless death; the least you could do was aid him in the best way possible.
Right, you thought. The brush
You proceeded to move forwards when you bumped into something unexpectedly soft.
"Oi, what's this?"
A few moments later, you saw Arthur burst into the thicket with his sword drawn out. He raised his thick eyebrows in surprise and lowered his sword slightly.
"L-L-Logan?!" he cried, baffled. "What the bloody hell are you doing here?"
"G'day, Artie," the man with wild brown hair and a rough-looking expression you presumed to be Logan greeted with a strange accent. "Dyl' sent me to find you."
Arthur made a face and gave Logan a hard stare.
"Look, Logan," he said calmly, "I don't know what our brothers promised you, but I really need you let us be."
"Why should I, Artie?" Logan asked unmoved. He gave you a nudge earning an impatient growl through your teeth. "Ain't this the wee thief that murdered Ma an' Pa?"
"She didn't," Arthur said and dragged your hand in order to pull you away from Logan. "We're trying to find out the real reason why Mum and Da were murdered."
Logan raised his eyebrows that were just as thick and prominent as Arthur's. "What're you trying to say, Artie?"
"I'm saying ___________, here, isn't the real culprit," Arthur replied. "We're going to Thursaunia to find some answers."
"Blimey, that's right!" Logan cried out suddenly. "Dyl' wanted me t' tell you somethin'."
"And what would that be?" Arthur asked sounding less-than enthusiastic.
Logan rummaged through his tattered shirt and searched his inner breast pockets. After some searching, he whipped out a folded piece of parchment and handed it to Arthur.
You watched as your traveling companion hesitantly unfolded it. When it was completely unfolded, a small, but powerful burst of smoke poofed out of the parchment and sprayed itself onto Arthur's face making him gag.
"Gack! Pffftt!" Arthur spat.
You yelped as Logan latched onto your arm and yanked you away going to the clearing of the thicket
but not before giving Arthur a quick kick to his backside.
"Artie!" you screamed and tried to free yourself.
"Feisty, little thing, arntcha?" Logan sneered and hurled you to the ground. While you spurted and spat out some dust, he pulled out some thin rope and began to wrap your limbs together like a hunter tying live game up.
"What the freakin' hell?!" you coughed as your captor lifted you on his shoulder and tossed you on your horse.
"A'right. Now I can get Artie back home," you heard Logan murmur. When you were securely fastened in place, he gave a quick slap to your horse's hindquarters, and you began to lurch up and down as his taunting image got smaller and smaller.
"You git!" you yelled and began to throw a slew of curses to no one in particular as your horse carried your further away.
"I refuse to marry any of those domineering Kirklands!" the princess of the southeastern province of Thursaunia huffed.
"But, what about Dotriba, Lizzy?" Elizabeta's best friend*, Bella, asked nervously.
*(A.N.: I've used Bella as Elizabeta's sister before, but for the sake of the plot, they're friends in this one.)
Elizabeta let out a heavy sigh and tore off the pins and jewels in her hair until only a barrette with flowers was left.
"Bella, I don't want to go through with this, either way," she said. "I already told you. I
" She hesitated to say the last part that would project her true feelings, but her close friend and princess of the kingdom of Belethren knew what she was feeling deep in her heart.
"You're in love with Roderich, aren't you?" Bella said.
Elizabeta pressed her lips together and nodded. "Oh, Bella, how am I supposed to tell my parents? You know they wouldn't want to go through with this! And if it isn't the Kirklands, then it will be one of the suitors from Dotriba!"
"I know, I know," Bella said trying to calm her distraught friend down.
Elizabeta let out another sigh and undid her hair completely until her soft brown locks were flowing down to her waist.
"I'm going for a ride," she said. "Perhaps I can gather my thoughts together before I finally have to make a decision."
"Would you like me to go with you?" Bella asked.
Elizabeta smiled and shook her head. "That's very sweet of you, Bella, but I need some time alone."
"Oh," Bella said and toyed with her large green headband in her short, wavy blonde hair. "If you don't need me, then I suppose I will be returning to Belethren."
Her friend's green eyes grew wide. "So soon?" she asked. "But you've only been here for two days!"
"I know," Bella smiled cheekily. "But my brothers wanted me to go back as soon as possible."
Elizabeta frowned and gave her friend a long hug. "Write to me when possible, alright, Bella?"
"I will, Lizzy," Bella giggled. As soon as she left, Elizabeta began to prepare for her trip.
"Bloody wanker!" Arthur spat and repeatedly struck his brother with his fist. "Release me at once! I'm trying to save our kingdom!"
"The kingdom's fine, Artie," Logan said dismissively. "Allistor's got his faults 'ere an' there, but things will work out for the better. Just be glad I di'n' follow Dyl's exact orders."
Arthur groaned and rolled his eyes. "And what would those be?"
Logan eyed his brother with a mock-sadistic grin. "He told me to give you a clobberin' you soon wouldn't forget," he answered. "An' he told me to take care of the wee thief, too."
"Oh, hell," Arthur sighed. "For the last time, she wasn't the murderer. Don't you believe me?"
"What's there to believe if there ain't any proof?" Logan pointed out.
"YouIshe" But try as Arthur did, he couldn't find any exact physical evidence as to why ____________ was innocentnot yet, anyway.
"Exactly!" Logan laughed. "Now be a good mate and stay still! Dyl' was very specific 'bout keepin' you alive."
"Did he, now?" Arthur asked unenthusiastically. He cursed silently to himself. He needed to find a way to get away from Logan, but knowing his vast experience in hunting and tracking, that would be close to impossible. He would have to wait. He only hoped __________ hadn't run into any trouble. She wasn't in the best position to defend herself against any dangers.
You struggled to stay on your horse with your limbs tied stubbornly together. If you fell off your horse, that would be it; you would just end up lying on the side of the road like a dead lump of flesh.
Bloody git, you growled in your head.
Suddenly, your horse let out a shrill neigh and stopped in its tracks.
"What now?" you asked aloud.
"Halt!" a voice cried. "Who goes there?!"
Do I seriously look like I'd be a threat? you wondered miserably to yourself.
"Hold down her steed!" another voice ordered.
You watched as some men threw two ropes around your horse's neck. Then, the newcomers began to approach you. You saw two well-dressed men, one with dark-brown hair and violet eyes behind spectacles and one with shoulder-length blonde hair and green eyes alongside some guards. They looked different than the ones from Brysogwig.
"State your name," the blonde-haired fancily-dressed man ordered.
"_____________," you answered.
"Surname?" the blonde-haired man then asked.
"I see no reason to state it," you said. You were lying. You actually didn't have one.
The men raised their eyebrows.
"Pray tell us what you are doing in such an uncommon position," the violet-eyed one said.
You began to search for a good answer. If you told them that Logan had tied you up like this, they might get suspicious. From the way Arthur was talking to him, it sounded like they were close.
"I was robbed by some bandits," you answered. "They stripped me of my valuables and possessions and tried me shamelessly onto their lesser steed and took off with my stallion."
"Is that so?" the violet-eyed one said. "This is most unfortunate. Cut her loose, please."
You winced as some of the men brought out small daggers and began to cut away at your ropes.
When you were free, you thanked the men and asked for directions to Thursaunia. The men began to exchange confused and bemused looks.
"Do you think she's mad in the head?" the blonde one whispered to the violet-eyes one.
The violet-eyed one stole an amused look at you and smiled. "I'm sure she's functional," he said. Then, he redirected his full attention at you.
"Miss __________," he said, "you are already deep within Thursaunia's borders."
You began to feel foolish and embarrassed. "I see
Thank you for informing me of that, sir."
The blonde one scowled. "Do you not know when to address proper royalty when you see it?"
You looked confused. Goodness, you must've looked stupid in front of them.
I apologize," you said trying to put on your best formal voice. "Are you implying that you are royalty?"
The blonde one scowled again and threw you an impatient look.
"She is mad in the head," he hissed into the violet-eyed one's ear.
Another smile crept across the violet-eyed one's mouth.
"I think not," he said. "Miss ___________, if you must know, we, as in Vash and I, are, in fact, royalty."
You blinked. For fuck's sake, I'm screwed.
"Roderich, why bother with this dimwit?!" Vash snapped impatiently. "We have better things to be doing out here!"
Your mouth dropped open.
You're Roderich Edelstein?!"
Vash rolled his eyes. "Who else would it be?"