Prompt: When I was younger I used to pray to every falling star to make me a bastard, now I just hope to die before I’m forced to wear the crown.
“Your parents are expecting you, your majesty.” I told the prince, standing in the doorway to his chambers. He was sitting curled up on his bed, reading.
He stood with a sigh. “Must I go? Couldn’t you tell them I’ve fallen ill?”
“No, my lord. Your fiancée is here to see you, and you are already running late. Your parents will not be pleased.” I said, trying to straighten his jacket as he walked.
He shrugged off my efforts to tidy his appearance and set off at a brisk walk. “I can hear them now,” he adopted a deeper, nasally tone. “A king is to be punctual. It demonstrates reliability.” he dropped the tone and made a face. “As if a king has nothing more to worry about.” he turned to face me, walking backwards. “Tell me, Eletta, do you envy my position?”
“My answer has not changed, my prince. I want for nothing as it is.”
He grinned. “Not even a respite from your stubborn charge?” I shook my head, smiling.
“I do believe their majesties would like to see your face as you enter, not your back.” I said. He shrugged and turned back around.
“You know,” he began quietly. “I used to pray to every falling star, every known god, to make me a bastard. Now I just hope to die before the burden of the crown falls to me.”
I was silent for a moment. “Sire, I do not like to think of your death. If I may propose a slight alternative?” I whispered as we reached the entrance to the throne room.
He turned around again and hugged me. “Tonight.” he muttered in my ear before striding confidently through the doors. I announced his arrival and returned to my chores.
He found me after dinner, as he often did. He sat down patiently at a nearby table as I prepared the next day’s meal.
“Do you know what Eletta means in Whebosh?” I asked.
“Little elf.” he translated. “Why?” I smiled, and for the first time since coming to the palace, I pushed my hair behind my ear. He inhaled sharply. “I see. What is your plan?”
“You say you’d rather die than wear the crown. I believe you, but I’d prefer to see you live. I propose a compromise, of sorts.”
“Fake your own death.” I said. “It musn’t look like an assassination, but I can make it look like you’re falling ill. We would leave just before you are buried.”
“Will they not notice a missing body?” he asked.
“You underestimate my magic, Prince Oryn. There will be a body buried.”
“Kill anyone?” I looked up from my work to meet his gaze. “Rob a grave? Of course not. I prefer more delicate methods.”
“Then how?” he insisted.
“Later. Cook will be here soon. Meet me in the stables tomorrow night.” I tossed him an apple before he left. “Sleep well, my prince.” I said, covering my ear once more.
“Goodnight, Eletta.” he said, looking thoughtful.