First draft disclaimer: This narrative is a first draft, and is therefor subject to grammar errors, repetitiveness, lack of clarity, and other issues. Later drafts will smooth such things over, but for now they remain. Please be tolerant.
Alice, Finch, Jithin and Crystal Jealousy had been in the Lussa city for over a day now, and so far Alice was disappointed.
“I thought you said this place was really unstable since the King died!”
“Alice, I’m sure there’s a reason it seems so… normal,” Finch told her.
“Yeah, well, tell me if you find oh!”
Alice didn’t reply, instead she pranced over to a policewoman.
The officer looked at her, then went back to staring straight ahead.
She was a little intimidated. In general, everyone was taller than Alice, but this woman was also in uniform, and purposefully unfriendly.
“Ah…” Alice crept back towards Finch.
“There’s no point trying to talk to any of them,” a man called out to her.
Jithin followed Crystal around the city. He was extremely impressed at her ability to gather information, it was as if she had been doing it for a lifetime. Jealousy would browse, purchase something inexpensive, and then ask the merchant about the city. Or she would buy something related to what she wanted to know, and then ask about it. She was patient, and didn’t mind learning nothing or hearing the same answers over and over. She simply put the same questions against different people until she got the information she wanted.
“Oh, you say the Prince himself sold this to you? I thought all the princes were female.” Jealousy tactfully posed her question as a statement.
“Listen, hon, every honourable,” emphasis on the word honourable, “citizen of this here kingdom recognizes Riley as a Prince, even if he’s adopted.”
Jithin watched her interaction with the merchant carefully, hoping to pick up a thing or two about speechcraft.
“Oh, the King adopted him? I guess some people really like children, huh.”
Jithin guessed she was prodding for information on when the Prince was adopted into the family. She would offer the merchant some partially false information and wait to be corrected. This merchant woman, it seemed, was all too happy to enlighten Jealousy. The merchant was tall, but also very fat, almost as wide as she was high. Her skin was black, and darkened further by her dedication to work. It seemed that half of her store was outside, mostly uncovered. Did it rain here?
“Oh no, no. The poor boy was sixteen when the King took him in.”
“Ah, the same age as the King’s eldest daughter!”
The merchant laughed, “honey, you are truly misinformed! The Lussa Queen is a couple of years older.”
“Oh really? And how old are they now?”
The merchant thought, rubbing her round cheeks, “oh, I’d have to say they’re both in their late twenties, early thirties?”
“Well, thank you very much. Please, keep the change.” Jealousy overpaid by more that twice the amount, and promptly left.
They walked together in silence for a moment, and the Jithin asked, “so, what is a queen?”
“Oh,” Jealousy looked at him, surprised, “It’s a lower honorific than prince. A queen will almost never take the throne. A princess is even lower.”
“What differentiates a princess from a queen?”
“A queen’s child can be a prince, but a princess has no ties whatsoever. A princess is like… a bonus royalty member, like a lord but closer to the family.”
“Are you a princess?” Jithin knew that Jealousy was a child of the Solune King, but not a child of his current wife.
“No, no. I am a Prince, but not very high up the inheritance. Anyway, I think we’re done, I found out what happened to the King and even some extra information. Let’s find our young lovers and inform them, shall we?”
“Nah man, I’m looking for a girl called Chloe. We were supposed to bring her to Riley, the Prince, but she went missing… I mean, we got split up.”
Alice looked at her new friend with interest, “oh no! So you’re going to go find her?”
“Well, I know that she’s in that district. That’s who these police are guarding.” Elliott made sure that the female officer from before could hear this conversation. He wanted someone to know that it was him who busted Chloe out.
“Oh yay!” Alice clapped her hands together, “and how are you going to get in?”
“Well, I’m touring the outside for a building to climb on. Then I’ll just take the rooftops to wherever she is.”
“But?” Finch guessed.
“But these buildings are well made. There aren’t many with cracks I can climb. Worse, most are two storeys high.”
“Not a problem!” Alice walked over to the man, who immediately stood up. Face to face she added, “you’re about my height! What’s your name?”
“Well, I am Alice, and this is Finch. Here.”
Alice grabbed the man by the waist and lifted him off the ground, “ready?”
“Uh,” Elliot gave her an expression of great confusion, but then, “yeah, do your thing.”
Alice launched the man upwards, and her arms tore through her shirt. Elliott flew three storeys high, and landed on top of a nearby building with a grunt.
“Al right,” he nodded to himself. He saw that down below, Alice was about to yell in excitement, so he put his finger to his lips and slipped away.