Your tired eyes wide, you felt your hair ruffle to the side in the airy breeze that teased and toyed with people’s clothes. Attempting to speak, but failing and you were left with your mouth slightly ajar as you tried to find a suitable greeting with which to strike up a conversation with the quivering young man. Eventually you reach out to him, setting a soft hand on his cloaked form where you presumed his shoulder was. “You alright?” You managed to rasp, crouching down next to where he was concealed between several large barrels.
A sole, frightened squeak being your response, you presumed he was in some kind of trouble. You sat yourself down next to him, keeping part of him hidden from prying eyes as well as making sure that if he felt threatened, he could run out. “You okay, lad?” You asked again, bending and twisting your spine so you could try to catch a glimpse of what lay under the scruffy brown cloak. Yet to no avail, all you could see was his chin and part of his jaw, which you might add, were quite fine indeed.
You watched his every move, so you saw with perfect clarity how his bottom lip trembled before he tried to reply to your inquiries. “I-I,” He muttered, a small puff of smoke coming from his mouth as he spoke, it may have been spring but the mornings and evenings were still incredibly cold.
Frost no longer dotted the ground though and you were incredibly thankful for that little fact; it was your prince’s coronation after all and had the weather been too cold, you wouldn’t have been able to prepare for it. Being but a simple farmer using what land your father had left you, you made lots of money on occasions such as these. You were well respected and often called upon to supply for the royal kitchens; in fact that was the very reason you were there. Though at that moment your various carts were being unloaded and the hoards being taken to the kitchens.
“I-I’m fine,” he eventually ended up muttering and you were nonplussed at the tone of impudence in that small sentence. Did this boy think you to be inferior to him? “Well I’m sorry to have been worried about you, my liege,” you answered with acid laced in the last address, standing up rather brusquely and dusting some accumulated dust in the folds of your long dress.
Had he not said or done anything, you would have left none the wiser and would have probably continued your day without a second thought directed to the rude stranger, but he did something that drastically changed that. He reached out to grasp hold of the dirty hem of your dress. He didn’t do anything more than that. He just held on.
But by doing so, he told you a lot more than he had wanted to. In his desperate actions, he made it clear that he wanted, no he needed help. So, being the wonderfully goodhearted fellow, you turned and sank back to your knees beside him on the dirty ground. “You’re not alright, are you?”
It wasn’t a question that was meant to be answered, yet he still shook his head. His fists tightened until his knuckles went white and to comfort him, you placed your own warm palms upon his. “What’s wrong?” You murmured, blinking in confusion when he suddenly went rigid. Was he really about to ask advice from a stranger?! And a peasant to boost?! He thought to himself furiously, his heart beating a mile a minute. Under normal circumstances he wouldn’t have ever been able to dream he’d be in a situation like this, but then again these weren’t normal circumstances at all.
He glanced up when he’d made his resolve and he opened his mouth to speak as you first had, freezing in the act when he realised something. There would be no way you wouldn’t recognise him surely? He had kept his hood up this entire time, but perhaps when you heard his voice, you’d recognise him for whom he was. Keeping his voice as low as possible, he leant forward and whispered quietly. “D-do you promise not to tell anyone you saw me?” He asked tentatively, hoping against all hopes that you would say yes.
After having narrowed your eyes slightly, you cocked your head to the side. Was he a wanted criminal or something? “Only if you promise not to hurt me or do anything bad.” You replied equally quietly, your palms sweating as you imagined all kind of scenarios in which he could hurt you. “Hurt you? Why would I-.....” he suddenly realised what you meant and decided it might be better just to go along with it. “Ah, yes, well just don’t do anything stupid that might alert the guards.” He told you gruffly, morphing his voice into a lower one.
“Alright then, I promise not to tell anyone. So what’s wrong?” You whispered, seating yourself beside him so you wouldn’t block anyone’s path. The man fell silent for a moment and stared at his hands. “I-I’m scared.”
“Scared?” You echoed, looking at him in concern and reaching to touch his shoulder, but he flinched back so you chose to drop your hand in your lap. “Yes, I’m scared.” He admitted, his voice weaker than before. “What for?” You continued your interrogation, pursing your lips as you waited for his reply.
“I’ve, I’ve got something important coming up in the near future and I don’t want to mess it up. But! I know I will! I always end up messing things up!” He told you, hiding his face in his pulled-up knees and biting back the sobs that threatened to take over his composure. “If you’re this upset about it then it must be pretty important,” you noted, patting his back awkwardly.
His head jerked up and down for a second, before he rested it against his knees again. “You know, it’s alright for you to feel nervous and scared. I don’t think I’d be able to count the amount of times I’ve been frightened or nervous about something, it’s happened so often!” You tried your best to lighten his mood. “It’s normal and everyone feels it at some point.”
“Really?” He asked, forgetting to distort his voice. “Yes, really. But you know something?” Shifting closer, he shook his head, not really noticing that he was hanging onto your every word. “I know you won’t mess it up. Do you think you’ll mess it up?” All of a sudden a strong wind blew up that made you cringe and hide against the barrels. He yelped in surprise and you glanced up to see his now uncovered face.
His golden hair was unruly, several strands stubbornly sticking up. His wide, surprised eyes were of a most exquisite emerald colour you’d ever encountered before. Quickly, he grabbed the hood and dragged it back down over his face, though you could see his flushed cheeks due to the jaunty angle of the rim. He coughed to bring himself and you back to your question. “I-I don’t want to mess up.”
“Then you won’t.” You said with a gentle smile, grinning at him whilst coming your hair back that had flown away in the wind. The boy’s hand extended towards your face and carefully tucked back a lock of hair behind your ear. “Thank you.” He said, a soft upturning on his lips thanking you as well. “It was my pleasure.” You replied, taking his hand and shaking it in a mock business-like manner.
The skin of his palm was soft and the skin-to-skin contact felt more intimate than it should have done. “Thank you.” He whispered again, bringing your hand up gracefully to press a brief kiss on your knuckles. “I should be going, love.” With that he straightened up and started to walk away from you, though he paused when he was a couple of steps away. He turned to you. “If we should ever meet again, my name is Arthur.” And with a small wave in farewell, he disappeared into the alleyways. “Arthur...” you muttered under your breath, tasting his name for a moment when you froze.
Wait a moment, his name was Arthur. Blond. Green eyes. Something big coming up that he doesn’t want to mess up. You clapped a hand to your mouth in shock. The prince Arthur?!
Arthur took a deep breath, clearing his throat and rectifying his posture. The large red cloak that draped around his shoulders followed a step behind him as he walked down the aisle of the church and it crowded around him when he sunk down on one knee. You were standing outside in the crowd, all eager to see your new king. You were eager too, though not for the same reason. You needed to make sure if the man you had reassured and comforted was in fact the same person as the king.
The large double doors opened to the church and the crowd pushed and pulsed with excitement, all cheering for their new leader. “Ouch! Don’t push!” You cried but the deafening roars drowned it out. “Aah!” It was there, someone had finally pushed you and you’d lost your balance. Landing painfully on your elbows, you winced as you felt someone kick your legs. Suddenly all went quiet around you and you felt yourself being lifted up.
“You alright?” You heard, your eyes widening to the size of saucers. Arthur chuckled lightly, setting you back on your feet and patting your back to comfort you. Just like you had done to comfort him. “Now then, I should be going love.” With a parting wink, he smiled and stepped further into the crowd, leaving you alone and very red-faced.