Picking Up the Exiled Prince
Read at Watashi wa Sugoi Desu!
Chapter 6: Nostalgic Memories
From the day he was hunted for a crime he did not commit …
To be exact, Alan couldn’t remember sleeping properly ever since his father, the king, was assassinated by someone.
Alan didn’t know when the day would come when he could calm down enough to sleep again. If he stayed in the castle as it was, the country that the king loved would be totally changed; Alan realized that as long as that man lived, he could never do what he wanted.
In the castle, Alan didn’t know who was his friend and who was his enemy. At the very least, Alan could avoid becoming Gabriel’s puppet and having his rule controlled by the whims of that man.
In the meantime, there was no time to breathe, and he was desperately running away. Eventually, Alan reached an alley in some corner and collapsed, fainting.
He hadn’t solved any of his problems yet, but it felt like, for the first time in a long while, that he could rely on someone to help him fall asleep.
The faint scent of lavender…
I miss it.
Oh right. That was…
In the garden on the castle grounds, the sky was so blue and sunny that not a cloud in the sky could be seen. The sun, temperature, and wind were all pleasant.
Even though it was such a beautiful day, young Alan was sitting in the garden, hidden by the plants and trees, burying his face into his knees.
As the prince destined to become the first heir, he had been subjected to a strict upbringing from an early age. As such, when he got fed up with it, he ran to the garden to hide.
His mother died of an illness early in life, and his stepmother always treated him harshly for she never had a child of her own.
Besides his father, there was only one other person who could lighten his heart during his childhood.
Alan was hiding in a whirlpool of grass and trees when he heard a rustling sound and shivered, wondering if he would be found.
“I know you’re in there. Come out quickly or I’ll get mad at you again.”
The voice did not belong to the maidservant or butler who were now desperately searching for the prince. Alan looked up to the familiar voice of a boy.
He had found the young prince at just the right moment, for through the shrubbery, Alan’s eyes met those of a boy not much older than the prince himself.
He had black hair and black eyes, a rare sight in this country, and his long hair was tied back in a single bun. The boy smiled and lightly swung his fist, hitting Alan on the head.
“Ouch!” Alan covered his head with his hand.
The black-haired boy sighed.
“You can’t embarrass the maids and butlers.”
“But…,” Alan’s face bulged as his mood soured.
The boy smiled softly as he patted Alan’s head. He let out a soft exhale, realizing that there was nothing more to be done.
“If you do what the maids and butlers tell you to do today, I’ll let you play with me later.”
When Alan heard this, his face, which had been sulking until just now, lit up.
“Really?” Alan looked at the boy with sparkling eyes, nodding while smiling back.
He stood up immediately and ran to the maids and butlers who were probably still looking for him.
He was busy with his studies, and being a prince, didn’t have any friends his age who would treat him like any other boy. Because of his position, his interaction with the boy would be a big deal if the maidservants and butlers saw.
The boy’s presence was a joy to Alan, as no one else would treat him as if he were just a normal kid. He also liked how the boy had patted him.
I think the boy was also wearing a lavender scent.
“Alan … Alan! Wake up!!!”
Alan opened his eyes, rubbing them as his body was jolted wide awake. His vision was still unclear, but a man with dark hair was calling out to him.
For a moment, the color of his hair overlapped with the color of the man he had dreamed about long ago.
“Huh? It’s not a good time to sleep. We’ll be out of here soon,” the man replied.
Alan noticed that the man had a similar figure to Danis. Suddenly, three knocks sounded from the front door.
“National Guards! Come out now!”
The soldier’s raspy voice made Alan jump. When Alan looked at Danis, the prince saw that he was already ready wearing a coat.
Why did the soldier come back? Have they found out that I’m here? Alan wondered impatiently.
As if to hurry him, Danis threw Alan his clothes and the brown wig he had worn when the soldiers came earlier.
“Hurry up and get dressed. We’ll be out of here soon.”
Alan hurriedly put his hands through the clothes Danis gave him. The clothes were simple, like those of a young boy one might find downtown. The wig he wore was too long, so he used a hair clip to pull his hair back and tie it loosely at the bottom.
Danis said they would leave soon, but there were already soldiers outside the door. No amount of disguise, Alan thought, could prevent the soldier’s from recognizing my face.
“How are we going to get out of here?” Alan asked.
By the time Alan had posed the question to Danis, he had already moved the desk and lightly kicked a nondescript wooden plank.
Pieces of the floor broke open and revealed a gap, wide enough for one person to pass through, and a staircase leading down.
It seems to be a so-called hidden passage.
Alan was surprised at the suddenness of the situation, as well as how Danis could have been prepared enough to create such a passage? He wondered why Danis was so good at getting rid of soldiers, but quickly realized how Danis didn’t feel like an ordinary person at all.
“What are you doing? They’re about to open the door,” Danis interjected.
After being hurried along, Alan rushed down the stairs of the hidden passage.
Danis followed behind, returning the floorboards to their original position while doing so.
A few minutes later, the heavy knocking stopped and was replaced with a sudden, loud bang. The door was kicked down. One of the soldiers clicked his tongue, disappointed at the sight of an empty room.
“They got away. Shit! If only I had known at that time … “
Danis listened to the soldier with his ears craned towards the floorboards. After confirming that the soldiers hadn’t noticed the hidden passage, he walked down the stairs, placing his steps carefully so as to not make a sound.
Out of the corner of his eye, Alan caught the curl of Danis’ lip lift slightly for a moment.
How could I have mistaken this person for that boy from my childhood, even if I was dreaming? Alan thought. The only things they have in common are their hair and eyes, but their personalities and character are far too different.
Alan wondered about his memories and his most recent dream.
But he knew that if it hadn’t been for this person, he probably wouldn’t have been able to escape like this.
The soldier, now standing in the empty room, called out to the leader in the crowd of soldiers.
“What should we do?”
‘We’ll go back and report to the captain,” the leader said.
“If it’s Danis Harvard, the black phantom who managed to control the country’s underworld at such a young age, then this won’t be a simple matter.”
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