26. In Plain Sight (Part 3)


When Captain Levi emerged from the public restroom in his newly purchased habiliments, half a dozen by-standing women fainted. Having traded his typical white poet shirt for a single light grey vest, his bronze, mesomorphic torso was on display for the world to see. He suspended his ankle-length, black slacks; sword; and compass with a turquoise sash that matched this silk bandana. To complete his disguise, Levi had grudgingly shaved away his boyhood’s conceptual symbol of masculinity ─ his facial hair ─ and lopped off half of his silver tresses so that his locks gently tickled his shoulders. The only likeness he shared with his portrait on the WANTED poster was the old, leather eyepatch, which was incorrectly drawn on the left side instead of the right. Only a trained eye could identify him from the outdated image, now.

With his auburn hair tied at the top of his head, Prince Tarin exited the washroom shortly after the captain with the innate aplomb of royalty, but not one woman gave him a second glance. The dull brown fabric of a simple peasant ensemble masked his sovereignty like a scarf over a kiss-mark on a secret lover’s neck. He was now as plain as any passerby on the street ─ save for his sapphire studded sword ─ a perfect cover. Antenor, costumed in a pristine overcoat and top hat garnished with a cobalt sash, followed suit accompanied by Firious, who wore a hooded midnight blue smock shirt and a decorated baldric to bear his sword. To complete the procession of men, Kurt and Cedric stumbled out of the loo behind them. The scraggy man had opted not to purchase any accessories save for a bundle of cornflowers from an elderly florist to adorn his slovenly hat due to a shortage in cash, but Cedy had chosen to empty his pockets on an expensive, aqua keffiyeh turban from a foreign merchant. Onlookers weren’t quite sure of what to make of this unusual band of eccentrics.

Folding his arms across his chest, Levi refused to look at the prince, who was scratching his arm at the hem of his coarse sleeve, but muttered under his breath, “Scratching like that won’t make it itch any less, you know.”

The sound of nails against skin ceased. “I’m not scratching.”

“You should ask for your money back.”

“No, no. I wouldn’t want anyone to think I was taking advantage of an innocent peddler by stealing from him.”

“No, of course you wouldn’t want anyone to think that. You’d just want them to nod their little, empty heads in agreement with you, or at least turn a blind eye.”

“It was your suggestion, in the first place.”

“I was just testing yo─.”


“What?” Levi scowled in confusion and turned to glare at the prince, but his expression morphed into awe when he saw the subject of Tarin’s interjection.

The End

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