The Immeasureable Distance


"Two loaves of pumpernickel bread, four packets of salted beef jerky, some dried mangoes and apples if you have some, and butter." The fat grumpy woman turned around to get our supplies and Freddy reached into his bag to get out a few gold coins. He placed two of them on the counter top, and when the woman came back she gave us a gleaming smile.

"Keep the change." I told her, giving her my best dashing smile and winking.

"Thank you! Come again!" She yelled happily, swiping up the gold as if she was afraid we would change our minds. We walked out of the shop into the bustling town of Ferdinand.

"You're getting good at this." Freddy complimented.

"I know." I smiled and tipped my hat a few passing girls. "Morning, pretty ladies."

"Morning." They chorused, blushing and giggling.

A ball hit my feet and I picked it up. It was quite crude, made out of some twine and sticks and string. A little boy walked up to me shyly and wrung his hands together. The boy was poor, I could tell, with his tattered pants and old worn out leather shoes. He wore no shirt, and his hair was matted with dirt and some little twigs. "H-Hi." He murmured. I crouched down to his height.

"Hi, little boy. Is this yours?" I asked him, holding up the ball.

"Yes..." I held it out for him and his little fingers clasped around it. "Thank you."

"Ah. Wait!" I said. I took the ball back and turned around so he couldn't see. From my pocket I took out four gold pieces and dropped it into a little extra pouch. I dropped the pouch into the ball and gave the ball back. "Give this to your daddy, and tell him that there's a prize inside." I told the little boy.

"I don't have a daddy." He bluntly pointed out.

"Then brother?" A shake of his head.

"What about sister?" He nodded, and then bolted off happily.

"You gave him gold, sir?" Freddy asked as we walked on.

"He seems like a good child. He might need it later on, for schooling or training." I pointed out. I looked around the town searching for some vacant housing.

"There are no hotels around here, sir, if that's what you're looking for." Freddy straightened out our map again and squinted at it. "We need to go get some medicine for that girl too. We'll probably have to ask for some housing for all of us..." He murmured.

"You need a house?" We turned around toward the voice to find the little boy I had given the pouch to.

"Why, hello." I said, crouching down again.

"My sister says thank you. Here's some of our famous jam." He held out a little jar full of grape jam and I took it happily. "So, mister, you need a house?"

"Yes. Do you know one?" I asked him.

"Come to my house?" He smiled a little, showing his cute dimples,

"Let's go ask." I said, picking up the lithe child. "So what is your name?"

"Arez. Rezzy, people call me." He tugged at my hair. "And yours, mister?"

"Prince Oliver." I jutted my chin to Freddy. "And that is my servant."

"Fredrick, but you may call me Freddy, child."

"My house is this way." Rezzy pointed toward a lonely dirt road, and I took it. I picked us up some sweet buns for the trip, and the little boy stared at it as if it was gold. He ate half of it, then just held it in his hand.

"Why don't you eat?" I asked him.

"The other half is for my sister." He pointed out. He slipped out of my hands and started to run to a house. He opened the door, screaming a name. An old one indeed. Rosa.

"Arez! Who are these men?" A voice shrieked, heavy with an accent I could not place a name upon.

"I'm Prince Oliver!" I announced, running over. I smiled at the girl named Penelope, and she just stared skeptically at my hand.

"Prince?" She asked, knitting her eyebrows together.

"And I'm his servant, Freddy." Freddy stuck out his hand, and she shook it. My hand dropped lamely to my side and I wondered why she didn't shake my hand.

"So, why are you two here?" The girl asked, ushering her brother behind us.

"They need a place to stay, RoRo." Rezzy announced. She chided her brother and he hid behind her green skirts.

"Yes, we need lodging tonight for us, and another friend of mine who has not arrived yet. We shall pay." I held out some gold coins and she raised a dark brown eyebrow.

"You want to pay me?" She asked. "You think I won't take you in because of the goodness of my heart?"

"Uh, no, that's not what we meant--" Freddy started before she cut him off with her hand.

"I am insulted. Just because you're a prince you think you can bring your spoiled attitude here and look down on us peasants?" She asked. A splinter of anger pierced me.

"Look here, woman." I said taking a step forward. "Though you are not in my kingdom, respect is still needed for a prince anywhere! So I suggest you pay me the due respect, Rosa."

"It's Miss Delveen to you!" She yelled before slamming the door.

"Sir, where did all that charm and charisma go?" Freddy asked, raising his eyebrows. "Did it suddenly get stepped upon and destroyed the moment we needed a place to spend the night?!"

"Oh, calm, calm, Freddy!" I snapped back. "I'm sure that someone in this town will house us!" I gave him a smile. "After all, I am royalty."

But out here, apparently nobody cared. We spent hours going door to door, asking for a place to stay, even shining our gold in whatever was left of the sunlight, and no one, absolutely no one let us in. Did we look like murderers? Was the spinach in my teeth? Did we smell bad from traveling in the woods? Was I ugly or repulsive?

The sun started to set, and I got a nudge from Freddy "Shall we return, sir?" he asks.

"We will have to." I said solemnly. "Unless she lets us back in."

"Shall we go back and beg like dogs, sir?" Freddy asked.

"No! I won't throw away my pride like that!" Freddy raised an eyebrow like me, and I couldn't help but laugh. "Let's go an beg, Freddy."

"Shall I do the tears or you?"

"I think she likes you better, so you do it this time!"
♠ ♠ ♠
Hah! Wow. Men.

Anyways, new chapter! I hope you enjoyed ^_^