Impending Invasions and Early Morning Escapes
You lose your footing, startled from the news, and almost topple over. "Nekoma's invading?! What happened to the army?!"
"I don't know! The king won't tell me anything!" Sugawara says, anxiety in his eyes as he wrings his hands back and forth, glancing at the floor and at the ceiling – anywhere but at you. "Go talk to him! Calm him down, please, my lady – only you will be able to!"
"Why am I the only one who can handle him?"
"I don't know – I get that feeling. That's beside the point, though – go talk to him and calm him down!" Sugawara looks you over. "Maybe put on some regular clothes first before you see him," he says, referring to your current pajama outfit. "He's shut himself in his room, down the hall and to the left. You can't miss it."
You scowl and turn back into your room, closing the door tightly behind you as you change your clothes and dash out the door again, running down the hall towards the king's bedroom.
Standing before the king's bedroom doorway, you gape in amazement. It's an elegantly carved, mahogany wood frame, complete with peals of flowers and eloquent vines and leaves, topped with a crown at the top. The doorknobs are pure gold, gleaming as they reflect the sun's early morning light streaming in through the narrow, cathedral-like glass window.
You raise a hesitant hand to the door, steel yourself against any possible reprimands from the king, and knock loudly. "King Kageyama? It's (First Name/Last Name). May I come in?"
There's no reply. You try the doorknob and the door slides open easily; you peek in and see the king slumped in a chair and watching the scene out his window.
"Your Royal Highness? I'm coming in." Pushing open the door, you step inside and close the door behind you, making your way to stand behind his chair.
There's a long pause as you stand there, unsure of what to say, until he breaks the silence.
"Yes, my lord?"
He stands up and turns to look at you, a tired look on his face and despondent pleas in his eyes. "What should I do?"
You blink rapidly, unsure of how to answer – he never asked you for advice in such a serious manner before, and you can tell that he isn't joking. You look at him again.
He continues after a long pause. "My army… my army deserted me and Karasuno's unprotected now; we're open to attack and invasion and Nekoma's taken advantage of that. They've broken past the border and are making steady progress towards the castle. The townspeople have left the town near this palace; there's no one within a 25-mile radius of this place. Aoba Jousai is coming as well and there's no one to stop neither Nekoma nor Aoba Jousai."
Kageyama stops and looks at you, pleading with his eyes for help. You silently take his hand and guide him to the bed, sitting and patting the spot next to you to invite the king to sit as well. He does so, waiting for your response.
"What happened to your army men?" you ask.
"They've left me. Deserted. Gone."
You blink, then say, "There's nothing for you to do. You're vulnerable and wide-open, susceptible to attack."
"Then what, now? Am I a sitting duck, an easy target for Nekoma and Aoba Jousai to pick off as they so please to?"
"You need to run away."
"Run away? I am Tobio Kageyama, king of the kingdom of Karasuno. I do not run away."
"Then don't consider this as 'running away.' Think of this as escaping the limelight for a bit, laying low and staying safe. You can come back and reclaim the throne later; I think Nekoma's only going to target the castle because that's what you did. You didn't cause chaos and destruction through the countryside."
He raises an eyebrow at this. "And if Nekoma takes control of the kingdom?"
"I'll help you get it back. I'm your advisor, after all, Your Royal Highness."
The king stares off into space, leaving your words hanging in the air and making you unsure if the king heard you or not. You stare at his side profile, noting his strong jawline and nose, his onyx fringe hanging in his equally dark blue eyes, the soft yet rough outline of his lips—
"What are you looking at?" His voice startles you, making you jump.
He grins at you, an evil glint in his eyes. "Are you sure?"
He pushes you down on the bed as he hovers above you, his face inches from your own. "You were watching me."
"Is that a question or a statement?" You blink.
"It's a command."
You study his face, watching the twinkle in his eyes flicker and flash in the harsh light streaming in from the partially closed curtain. Glancing at his lips, you look back at his eyes, Prussian blue pools clashing with deep (eye color) orbs. You open your mouth to say something, but decide against it.
Scowling and reaching up, you pull the king's lanky body to yours in a tight hug, your arms crossing his broad back and softly patting his head. "It's alright, Kageyama."
He says nothing, stiffening instead in your embrace.
"It's okay to be weak sometimes, my lord. Everyone is. You don't have to always be strong all the time, you know – I'm your advisor. I'll help you. Rely on me and I'll show you the way."
He slowly pushes himself off of you, getting off of and standing next to the bed. Walking over to the window, he mutters, "Alright."
You smile sadly, knowing in your heart that he won't rely on you as much as he should. Standing up, you make your way towards the door. "I'll bring you to my village – you'll be safe there. Let's leave tonight, as soon as night falls."
It's pitch black outside as you peek your head out the stone door, the yellow warmth of light falling gently upon the dank, cold grassy ground. "King Kageyama?"
A softer voice appears behind you, making you jump. "My lady, what are you doing?"
You turn to look at the speaker, then let out a sigh, reaching down to reassure yourself of your wolf companion next to you, hearing its growling sounds. "Sugawara, it's just you! You gave me a heart attack." Pressing your hand to your heart and feeling it pound, you continue. "Don't tell anyone, but—" you cast a wary glance around the two of you, then carry on. "—I'm bringing the king to my village. Since Nekoma's invaded and apparently Aoba Jousai has, too, it's not safe for him here. He'll be killed." The wolf stiffens but continues to growl softly at the dark expanse of night.
"Do you want him to remain on the throne, Lady (First Name)?" The butler cocks his head to the side, his curious eyes watching you intently.
You shrug. "I'm his advisor; he chose me as so. Therefore, I'm obligated to help him. He trusts me, you know – it's sweet, despite how rude he seems."
The butler seems hesitant to believe you, but nods slowly. "Have you finished preparing?"
"Yes. I've got food and the like in this basket," you say, indicating the woven basket hanging from your arm. "We'll carry or wear the clothing we need, and we're dressed like servants so no one suspects anything. The horses are ready – I've gotten them and the equipment needed as well."
"And if someone comes upon the two of you running away from the palace?"
"The servants won't know. No one's awake at this hour of the night – when they wake up tomorrow, the king will be gone and all chaos will break loose. Sugawara, please let the servants go home safely. Leave the king to me."
Sugawara smiles, nodding. "Understood. And your disguises?"
"He'll pretend to be my deaf, mute cousin who I'm taking home with me – I'm a servant escaping from the royal palace. That's understandable, right?"
"Then… please get the king. Quietly."
King Kageyama arrives to the servants' exit, grumbling but clutching his crown tightly in his hand.
"Why do you have that crown?" You gesture at the pointy object.
"It's my crown. This is my palace. This is my kingdom."
"Whatever. Give it to me and I'll keep it safe until it's time for you to reclaim the throne; get on your horse and let's go," you say, holding out a hand for the crown.
He opens his mouth but says nothing, choosing not to object and instead quietly hands over the gilded crown. Stepping on the stirrup, Kageyama swings a foot over the horse and mounts as you do the same. Your wolf companion silently takes its place next to your steed.
The two of you ride through the night, not stopping until dawn peeks over the horizon to take a brief break. You hand him the food and water and he devours it, eating like a wolf gone wild. Laughing softly, you hand him your portion as well without saying a word; he eats it and lets out a sigh, standing up to mount his horse again. Tearing off a piece of jerky, you give it to the faithful wolf alongside you, eating what's left of the jerky.
"We're almost there, my lord," you say, breaking the silence and speaking over the pleasant chirps of songbirds.
"The village is right over that ridge over there," you say, pointing over the lush green hills. Your wolf companion runs off towards where you point, heading towards the village first.
"Let's go faster," he grumbles. "I'm tired." He turns and mounts his horse, waiting impatiently as you get atop your steed and embark on the way to the village.
You come across your wolf companion, sleeping soundly before your home. Dismounting from your horse, you take off your hood and lead Kageyama into your house.
"Mom? Dad? I'm home," you say, walking towards the kitchen. "I brought a visitor."
Your siblings run up to you, clamoring around your legs for attention; they glance at Kageyama, the tall stranger you brought with you, and shout excitedly: "(First Name)'s got a boyfriend! (First Name)'s got a boyfriend!"
Flushing a light pink, you bend down and shush the two energetic, gleeful children, pushing them off towards your parents' room to get them. You throw a side glance at the king. "Sorry about that," you mutter.
He looks off to the side, making you unable to see his expression. "It's fine."
"You're not really my boyfriend," you mumble, glancing at the kitchen table.
He says nothing in response, simply continuing to look at the side, but it feels like the aura coming from him is slightly darker than it was before.