The Solune Prince (Act I, Scene ii)

Chloe led the two Lussa men back into the crowded foyer, and then left to a staircase. At the base of the stairs was the door to the clinic, but she didn’t take them there. They went up to the second floor. She opened it up and revealed a hallway, not unlike a hotel. On the right side was a row of rooms, the left a couple doors that lead to closets. The throne room was two storeys tall, so there was no place for much on the left side.

Chloe put the tall man in the nearest room, and he entered and thanked her. Most of the floor was technically vacant at the moment, although Chloe liked to keep the next room empty for emergencies, and the room after it was eternally reserved for one of the five Solune Legends, Yaska May Rheya Däwngale. The final room on the right side was a classroom, so they turned the corner.

Chloe used to have a personal library next to her room. It hadn’t moved up with her bedroom, so now it was just stranded in the middle of empty living spaces. She decided to put the shorter man in the place to its right.

“Here you go.” She smiled

He looked at her and then flinched. He composed himself and said, “My name is Ellliott.”

“I’m Chloe Yaska Rhye, seventh Prince of the Solune.” She said proudly.

“Okay, nice.” He said, taking in that she was the youngest of seven. He wondered if she had more siblings that were younger.

“So, can I ask what exactly they intend to do with this member of royalty?”

Ellliott nodded, “Yeah, they want to use them as a temp. Something to calm the city until we find the heir.”

This made sense, so she did not question it. “Alright, why does the city need calming?”

“Well… We’re going to explain that to your father tomorrow,” He took one look at her face and then added, “Which is why it would be totally find for me to tell you now.”

He glanced around the hallway, and then pulled Chloe into his room. She might have reacted with astonished dignity, but instead she just felt embarrassed surprise. This was the first time she had been touched by a man that had not been either a family member, or trying to kill her.

Ellliott closed the door and spoke. He didn’t whisper or even lower his voice. He said, “Okay, see, we have a problem. We sent half of the police force out into the desert to find Rottts, the heir. She became a mercenary, which was all well and good before the King was killed, but now not so much, you know?”

“Right.” Chloe liked this man, how casually he spoke. She felt like she had known him since childhood. Whenever he said something like, you know? She immediately found that she did, in fact, know.

“Okay, so they return, half of them dead the other half traumatized, okay? Like, that’s as nuts where I come from as it sounds to you. Not at all normal, not something that happens all the time, every  day, you know?”

Chloe bobbed her head.

“Right, so the leader Reagannt reports that they failed to find her. He reported to Riley, and Riley spread the word. Well, shortly after that Reagannt starts acting all weird. He tightens security, enforces a curfew, like gets really strict. That’s not normal. The pops usually just chase people around and yell at them. Our courts are so backed up that they generally don’t like to arrest people, for the sanity of the judges. Do you have police here?”

“It sounds like a police person is like a guard. We have guards.”

“Right, yeah, sort of. It’s like a guard mixed with a soldier. Anyway, that’s not the important part. It’s like they had become our overbearing parents. People started to get agitated. Listen, the real reason we were brought here is to get another member of royalty in the city, just in case, you know?”

This time Chloe did not know, but she desperately wanted to. “Ah! What? Why? Tell me!”

“The cops are… well, they’re doing everything you would expect a group to do before…” He leaned in and whispered in her ear, causing Chloe to shudder with excitement, “before they overthrow a government.”

Chloe stepped back, mostly so that he wasn’t so close, “The guards, ah, the police are trying to take over?”

“We don’t know,” he said, “but Riley’s getting nervous. We followed his bloodline back and found that you are the only living heirs. The rest were hunted down it seems. Like, for the last hundred years or so the were killed off, to make it seem random almost.”

“And you don’t think it is, even though it was over a century.” This was a statement.

“Well, I don’t. But no one else is willing to consider it.”

“Because no one else knows that there are immortal people walking the planet.”

Ellliott gave her a skeptical look, and Chloe waved it off. She was surprised when his face actually obeyed her order and returned to a neutral state.

“So, Riley just wants more people on his side. Okay, that makes sense. Well, I’ll let you rest, can’t be standing at your door all night.”

She laughed. Ellliott reached a hand out, to shake. Chloe stared at it.

“What?”

Ellliott looked at his hand and then back at Chloe. She had not reacted to his gesture.

“Shake hands?”

Chloe gave him a suspicious look, and then gave him jazz hands. Ellliott almost laughed, but then thought better of it.

“No, look.” He took her hand in his, “and then you shake once, like this.”

They shook hands, or rather Chloe let Ellliott move her hand up and down. He let go, but she didn’t.

“Umm, do you not shake hands on the Overside?”

Chloe shook her head. Ellliott looked down again. Her grip was stronger than his. Finally, she released him.

“No, we do this,” She lifted her middle and ring finger and then thrust it upwards.

“That’s a salute, isn’t it?”

“Yeah.”

Ellliott shrugged, and politely opened the door for her. She exited.

He didn’t close the door, and Chloe watched him for a bit. He carried a ratty brown backpack, and he began pulling old clothes out of it. It seemed he was wearing the only set that was in good condition. Was this man poor? After that, he pulled out a couple of metal cylinders and twirled one of them around in his hand. He glanced at Chloe, and she looked away sharply, then closed the door.

She was originally planning on going to her room afterwards, but she decided to head next door to her library instead. She opened a book on races and looked through the table of contents for Lussa. Then, she checked the index at the back. Then she closed the book and put it back on the shelf. Her materials were organized by topic, so she grabbed the entire shelf and plopped the stack on her desk.

She sat down and leaned back with a sigh.

Then she heard the man through the wall. He was whistling. She tried to place what kind of tune it was, but it seemed sort of alien. It sounded like heavy metal mixed with folk, which made no sense to her. But it sounded catchy. She stood and opened her window. Maybe she would hear it better through there?

She did. His whistling drifted out through the sky and dissipated over the capital.

He stopped then started talking to himself, “I wonder if I’d get in trouble if I sprayed a wall? Does this place even have graffiti, or laws against it? These guards seem way more organized than the ones back home. I’d better not test my limits. I wonder if there’s a library around here.”

She heard metal on metal as he put the two cylinders back in his bag.

“Guess I’ll go to bed. I wonder if I can sneak a conversation with that Prince girl again tomorrow.”

That Prince girl. She kind of liked the sound of that.

Chloe left the stack of textbooks on her desk and quietly exited the library. This time, she really was heading to her room.

Daniel Triumph.

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