He sat up. Easily. That was strange. He had expected every bone in his body to be broken, or, at the very least, to be bruised, cut, grazed. Or something.
Instead, he moved easily, if anything, more easily than before. But that was not all. He looked down at what he was wearing. It certainly was not what he'd had on before. It wasn't his usual style either. In fact, he'd never even seen clothing like this, let alone worn anything like it. He ran his hands over his legs, clad in metallic light gold fabric, cool to the touch. His top half was covered in a similar fabric, but greenish gold - a sort of tunic, And the shoes... The shoes were just plain weird. His baseball boots had been replaced by something that closely resembled soccer boots, complete with studs, except that the toes were pointed, and plated in a metal he did not recognise. A dull black metal, but not iron, or lead. The studs were made of another metal, still black, but glossy.
He put his hands up to his neck. There was something hanging there. A pendant. He fingered it, then brought it up to his eyes, knowing before he even looked, that it was the cat with diamond eyes he had found on the train. But the clasp had been broken, he was certain of it. He looked at the eyes of the cat. The diamonds, if that was what they were, sparkled in the sunlight. The cat appeared to be grinning at him, but not with any malice. Rather, it was extreme amusement.
''Who are you?'' he asked it, softly. The grin seemed to fade, a little, then returned full force, and he saw the diamond eyes shift, seeming to be looking over his left shoulder. No, surely that was his imagination. This was a piece of jewellery, albeit an unusual one. It wasn't capable of changing facial expressions. But just as he thought this, the eyes came back to meet his again, then shifted to look over his shoulder again. Am I going crazy. Am I unconscious,and this is some sort of brain-injured dream I'm having? The cat was looking at him again, and winked.
Then he felt a touch on his shoulder, the very shoulder over which the cat had been looking.
''Derrian?'' said a soft, female voice.
He started, and whipped his head round, to look at the owner of the voice. A young girl stood over him, concern in her eyes. She was dressed in clothing similar to what he was wearing, except that her tunic was blue-gold. She wore a similar pendant, too, except that her cat had ruby eyes. Nonetheless, it too was grinning at him, mischief in it's eyes.
''Come, Derrian, the stewards are are waiting for you. The coronation ceremony begins in less than one hour, and you're not even ready. She looked down at his feet. ''You surely were not planning on playing Rendi today, of all days? Honestly, Derrian! Mother will be furious. Quickly, come along and change.''
''What.... what are you talking about. My name isn't Derrian. It's ...''
''Silly boy!'' the girl said. ''What did I do to deserve a joker of a brother like you?'' She shook her head at him, and put her hand out to help him up. ''Prince Derrian, the Clown! That's what the people will call you, she laughed. ''Now, hurry. There's lots to do. I can sneak you in through the kitchen, so Mother won't see your Rendi boots.''
The girl turned and ran along a winding path, and he followed. After a minute or two, a large, grey building came into view, with countless multicoloured flags flying from its many turrets. He heard music playing, and the sound of a large crowd, chattering, singing and laughing.
This must be a dream, he thought, as he followed the girl who seemed to think she was his sister.