A Reluctant Advisor and an Imbecile of a King
Court ladies swarm the gardens, fanning themselves with delicate silk fans. Their brightly colored, ankle-length dresses catch the sun and make you flinch, unable to look at them for a moment longer. You can hear their high-pitched giggles as they follow the king with their eyes, not bothering to spare you a single glance. Letting go a sigh, you trail the king into the palace.
Inside the king's grand courtroom, it's just you and King Kageyama; his guards and normal posse of people are nowhere to be seen. He seats himself in the throne, throwing his cape over the arm of the chair, his crown cocked precariously on his head. Said male busies himself with fiddling with the arrangement of his cape on his shoulder and a heavy silence falls upon the two of you as you watch him, barely able to suppress your impatience.
"Where are your other advisor candidates?" You break the loud silence, watching the king flinch from your demanding tone.
He recovers quickly, regaining his previous composure, Prussian-blue eyes flashing. "You do not speak unless spoken to first."
You mentally facepalm but nod your head. "Got it, Your Royal Highness. Thank you for enlightening this poor pleb."
His eye twitches but he says nothing.
A deafening silence blankets the room again until he interrupts the silence once more, startling you out of your daydream.
"You're the only advisor I want."
"Pardon?" You barely manage to catch the last part of that sentence. "What did you say?"
"Listen closely whenever I speak."
"I shall hang onto your every word, my lord. Please tell me what you just said," you say, mocking the king with your eyes.
He seems to take you seriously and nods, satisfied with your reply. "I said, you're the only advisor that I'll ever take on."
You reel back at this news but maintain a calm composure. "Alright."
"Do you understand what that means, girl?"
"No, Your Royal Highness."
Kageyama sighs. "You're to accompany me wherever I go."
"What are we, joined at the hip?" You hiss under your breath. "Got it, sir."
"Our first order of business is to go to the front lines and rally the troops," he says out loud. "That'll be in three days. Sugawara will help you settle in."
A butler appears out of nowhere, bowing to you, his mop of silver-gray hair flopping messily into his face. "I'm Sugawara. You will find that your things have been taken care of and put into your room; the same goes for your…" he pauses to think, looking for the right words, then cocks his head and smiles. "…for your wolf companion."
You smile. "Thanks."
Kageyama stands up, bringing the conversation to a dead pause; walking quickly, he strides out of the room. You watch his back disappear into the distance as Sugawara sighs besides you.
"His Royal Highness is very temperamental," he says. "Please take good care of him."
"Is he a baby or something? Am I his nursemaid now, what with this 'please take good care of him' stuff?" You mutter.
"Nothing of the sort. Here, I'll show you to your room."
Grumbling, you follow the butler to the lavish room, modestly furnished but adorned with items only royalty could afford. You plop onto the large bed, hearing it creak and moan under its new weight, and wrinkle your nose at the overpowering floral scent, probably from the vase of roses next to the desk.
"Has anyone lived here in this room?"
"No. His Royal Highness pulled out all the stops for you, my lady," Sugawara replies, smoothing out the wrinkles in the bedspread next to you.
"What's with this 'front lines' thing he was talking about?"
"Did you not know, Miss (First Name)? Karasuno, our kingdom, is at war with our neighboring countries, especially Nekoma. Surely you must've heard of this."
"I'm from the countryside," you mumble sheepishly. Turning to face him, you say, "I have heard of it, but I didn't think it was actually true…"
"Here." The male sits on the bed, patting the spot next to him. "Sit up. I'll tell you a little bit about this situation.
"King Kageyama is very ambitious, you see… he's a Napoleon, of sorts." Sugawara laughs sheepishly.
"Napoleon? The guy who wanted world domination?"
Sugawara nods. "Yeah, that guy. The kingdom's army is currently pushing against the kingdom of Nekoma; that's where the front lines are."
"Why Nekoma of all places?"
"Karasuno was always rivals with Nekoma and Kageyama took advantage of that to go to war with them, my lady. I'll leave the king to tell you everything else. Please, rest – you'll need your strength to manage His Royal Highness."
"Try to keep up with me, girlie," the king scowls at you. "Can you walk any slower?"
"I'm doing my best, Your Highness," you roll your eyes at him.
"Go faster. Your current effort won't help us win."
"You know what else won't help us win? Your disgusting attitude," you mutter under your breath, soft enough so Kageyama doesn't hear you. You're trotting behind the tall, ebony-haired youth, going two or three steps to match his one long stride, huffing and watching your breath come out in small white puffs. His crimson cape flutters behind him, the fluffy sheep-white lining seemingly floating above the ground and above his patent-leather shoes. The gilded crown lurches precariously on his head, as always. You look to the side and note the evergreen grass, iced with the smallest bits of frost, and the frigid pallor of the entire landscape, rid of any vibrant color.
He suddenly stops in his tracks; you almost crash into him but manage to stop just in time. Mouthing curse words, you sidestep to stand next to him.
"General Sawamura, how's the army doing?"
The general, a tall male with dark hair and even darker eyes, nods at the king and smiles. "We're advancing well enough against Nekoma, Your Highness."
"Where are we? How far are we from storming their royal palace?"
"We aren't that far in yet, sir. It'll take a week, maybe, or two at the most."
"Is that it?" He glares, kicking a stone. The king meets the general's gaze head-on, Prussian-blue pools flashing against taupe orbs. "Make the soldiers stronger! Make them run faster and fight harder! I will not stand for this!" Kageyama barks at Sawamura, who stares back at him, unflinching in spite of the king's anger.
"Your Highness, the soldiers are doing their best."
"That's not enough." He stares at Sawamura, then turns to you abruptly. "Girl."
You start at the suddenness. "Y-Yes?"
"We're going to the front lines. Get my armor and my horse."
"I thought I was an advisor, not a servant," you grumble as you trot towards the encampment, breaking into a run.
You come back in fifteen minutes, atop your horse and leading the king's horse with you, the latter carrying the heavy armor. "My Lord, His Royal Highness, King Kageyama! I have your horse and your armor; what do you say I do with it?"
"Over here, girl. Took you long enough," he says, motioning at you with an impatient wave of his hand.
"Here you are, sir."
He does nothing, only watching you get down from the horse before saying, "Since you're so dead-set in being an 'advisor' and not just a servant tell me: What do you think of going to the front lines ourselves?"
"Ourselves? As in, I'm going as well?"
"You're my advisor. Of course you're coming."
"Well…" you tap your chin, thinking. "It'd be dangerous, but it could rally up the troops. We run the risk of injury or even death, but… I think it's worth it. Please don't be too harsh on your soldiers, Your Highness; it's a difficult enough job as it is, both fending off and invading Nekoma."
"Well thought out answer, girl."
"Thank you, My Lord."
"We're returning to the palace." He mounts his horse and rides off towards the camp, not bothering to wait for you.
"That was a waste of effort," you groan. "I got his armor for nothing. Stupid king. He doesn't even listen to me anyways. Why bother even asking me for help? Then again… he'd probably be a burden for the soldiers, seeing as how he may be more liable to be a target for the Nekoma troops to attack… they'd have to defend him and themselves while trying to push back and invade Nekoma." While musing this over, you get on your horse and gallop towards the camp, following the king's trail. "Did he think of that? Is that why he didn't go to the front lines?"
"Welcome back, Your Highness and my lady," Sugawara greets. "How was your trip?"
The king strides by, not a word said to the butler, but you smile and say, "Somewhat of a waste, but not entirely. I'll tell you about it tomorrow, okay?" You retreat to your room, flopping onto the bed and sighing in relief. "That was exhausting, keeping up with that prude of a king." Turning over onto your side, you close your eyes and try to sleep.
You wake up to a loud rapping on your door. "My lady! My lady! Come quickly! The king – it's the king!"
Complaining about that imbecile of a king, you roll out of bed, throw on your clothes, and pull open the door. "What do you want, Sugawara?"
"It's the king, my lady… he's enraged."
"Why is that my problem, exactly?" You roll your eyes for the umpteenth time, exasperated.
"Because… you're his advisor."
"Just because I'm his advisor doesn't mean I'm the go-to person for when he's angry," you complain, rubbing the sleep from your eyes and letting out a yawn while stretching your arms above your head. "What happened to make that idiot so angry?" You cock your head, leaning against the door frame.
"Well, you see…" Sugawara's eyes dart around, unsure of how to drop the bomb, then continues. It's just that… the army's deserted him and left the front lines… oh, and Nekoma's invading."