I have to admit, I did feel a little like a girl being carried on Cavan’s back. I hadn’t meant to fall over, I just... I was far too exhausted, and Cavan insisted on walking much too fast for me to get used to it in time. And then the next thing I knew, I’d fallen flat on my face in the dirt. We kept walking for a couple more hours before Cavan for a drink.
"Want some yet?" he asked and I nodded a little.
He handed me a water container after taking another gulp from it himself. I thanked him, only drinking enough to ensure I wouldn’t pass out, before handing it back to him as an awkward silence descended upon us.
"...So, where are we going?" I asked and he thought for a while.
"Shafordale. That's where I met the person who gave me the quest."
"Shafordale... I think I've heard of it"
"Well, itisthe government’s capital!" he laughed. "You must have forgotten many things in your absence."
"The government...?" I asked confusedly. What on earth was a government? And why did it have a capital?
He let out a sad sigh. "Well... since, um, the King passed away, with no heir, the government took over. They're a group of the King's advisors who now run the kingdom..."
"Father... passed away..."
When I’d been sent into my slumber, my father had been alive and well. He’d been saddened at the fact that his only son was being put through what I was going to go through, but he was still laughing, and trying to make it fun for me.
He reached back for my hand. "I'm so sorry, Amria. But it has been twenty years...” he said and I fell quiet. Why had no one thought to wake me? Cavan stopped and squeezed my hand. “I honestly don’t know what to say.”
"It's fine" I said quietly.
"No it's not fine! Stop trying to be so humble! Be upset!" he flared up, before blushing. “Sorry”
"It's okay. And I am upset, I just know better than to show it in public"
I had been taught, even as a young boy, to never show negative emotions in public, as it will affect the public in the wrong ways.
"It's not like you’re a prince anymore, and everyone'll just think you’re a woman anyway..." he muttered.
"I am still a Prince" I said a little defiantly.
"There is no royal family anymore.'
"There is. I'm still here, aren't I? And if this "government" were royal advisors, then they'll know who I am"
“...Even so. You may be a prince... but I certainly don't remember you.”
I frowned. "You must do"
"I remember there being word of a poor cursed princess - or as I have just discovered, prince - who was sent into an eternal slumber in a derelict castle." Cavan said, frowning as well.
"Yes, but... I don't quite recall him having any relation to the King! Even less, he's your father! I'm sure, I, as a citizen of the Kingdom, I'd know something as important as there being an heir!" he said, looking back at me. "And you look quite young."
"Well, I have been asleep for nearly twenty years"
"Then shouldn't you look like an old man? It seems all that aging had gone straight to your hair!"
"I'm not that old" I pouted.
"Then how old are you?" he asked teasingly. "You look like a boy, so you must have had the spell cast upon you at such a young age. Either that or you just didn't age!”
"A little of both, I think. Until I can figure it out properly, I think I'm twenty seven"
"Twenty seven?" he spluttered. "How in God's name are you older than me?" he asked and I shrugged. He shook his head in disbelief. “Unbelievable...”
"You look so young, still a boy I'd deem you if I saw you walking down the road."
"I guess I don't look my age. I can't say I've really seen my reflection"
He paused, scowling. "Next time we pass any form of running water, you have to look at yourself." He said, smiling playfully. "But, hey, if the government doesn't accept you as the King; you could always become a Public house whore with a face like that!"
My cheeks flushed a bright tomato red at that. Forgive me for being old-fashioned, but I was still a firm believer that you should wait until you’re married to have sex. Cavan laughed freely and I hid my face in his back, embarrassed.
“Don't say that"
"I was only joking..." he let out a low whistle. "But, seriously, consider taking extremes like that if they reject you. This kingdom's infrastructure had gone to the dogs."
"What do you mean?" I asked, intrigued.
"We all gotta do what we gotta do" he said darkly. "The government only care for the rich. The poor are all either dying or resorting to more drastic measures to gain money."
I frowned at that. "And you say this government were my father's advisors?"
"Um, yeah. They were all the King's advisors."
I frowned a little more, choosing to ignore the fact that Cavan seemed to be ignoring that the King was my father. "I must do something about this"
"What could you do in a state like that? And before you go making statements like that, we better get to the capital first."
"Right" I said, and the two of use headed off on our way again, while I tried to think of ways to fix this whole mess.