Status: In Progress

The Majesty of Choice


“Most people call me Frank,” Frank, who is the fucking Prince, says.

“Okay, but you’re the fucking Prince.”

“Yeah, I know that, I’m the Prince, but really it’s just Frank.”

“The fucking Prince just got his foot caught in a fox trap,” Gerard says.

“I’m aware of that.”

“The fucking Prince is an idiot,” Gerard says.

“I wouldn’t go that far,” he says.

“Dude, you got your foot stuck in a fox trap. Most foxes don’t get their feet stuck in traps.”

“I was... I’m new!”

“And you grew up in a castle, so you’re basically clueless of the world around you.”

“That’s not very nice,” Frank says.

“What are you gonna do, behead me?” Gerard asks, turning and walking back down the road to go straight home where he had intended to go in the first place, before this weird conundrum.

“I mean, I could do,” he says, and for some reason unknown to Gerard, he follows him. “I’m the Prince, like I have that power.”

“Oh dearie me, I quake in my boots,” Gerard replies.

“You’re awfully sarcastic,” Frank says.

“Well, I figure I’m probably safe from being beheaded because then you’ll have to admit that you got your foot stuck in a fox trap.”

“Fair point,” he says.

“Why are you following me?” Gerard asks him.

“I don’t know. Should I not?”

“Don’t you have lives to ruin and species to enslave or something?”

“Excuse me?” Frank asks.

“Am I not supposed to acknowledge the genocide? I’m sorry, next time, I’ll keep it between me and everyone else in the kingdom.”

“What are you talking about?”

“Please,” Gerard groans, “it’s your policies that have made this place hell on earth and you think people didn’t notice?”

“My policies... you do realize I’m not the King right? Like I have virtually no power over this place. I have about as much pull as you,” Frank says, “basically the only difference between me and you is that I sleep in a nicer bed. And have more manners, but that’s beside the point.”

“Are you calling me rude?”

“Yes,” Frank says.

Gerard grins, happy with himself for being rude to the Prince, which is not something he would have thought he’d get the opportunity to do.

“Why are you smiling?” Frank asks, unsure of why he’s also smiling at the look on this, admittedly, complete strangers face.

“I’m proud to have been called rude by the Prince,” Gerard says, “I mean it’s kind of ironic considering that one of us is a total piece of shit who’s murdered thousands of innocent lives and enslaved a bunch of others, but it’s funny that you think I’m the rude one because I state the obvious.”

Frank stops in his tracks, and Gerard really wishes he could bring himself to keep walking but he doesn’t. He stops too, turns around and looks at the Prince.

Frank doesn’t say anything for what feels like a couple of decades, maybe a millennia or two. Gerard can feel the leaves around them changing colors. His hair is practically turning grey just standing here looking scathingly at the fucking Prince who’s got this look on his face like Gerard just tried to explain a really complicated math expression to him. All in all, it’s probably about twenty seconds before Frank speaks up.

“You’re full of shit,” he says finally.

“Am I?” Gerard asks.


“You mean to tell me that you have no idea what’s going on in this kingdom? Your kingdom?”

“It’s my Uncle’s kingdom if you want to get technical,” Frank replies.

“Then you’re completely unaware of the tactics your uncle has taken to eradicate the Ogre population I suppose?”

“You know an Ogre killed my father, right?” he asks.

“Likely story,” Gerard says, “the alleged attack that killed your father doesn’t warrant the hunting down of, until recently, completely tame creatures. If Ogre’s are acting out against humans for the first time in all of history, it’s your Uncle’s actions that triggered it. A peaceful species don’t just decide willy nilly that they’re going to start attacking people that have cohabited the same space as them for thousands of years.”

“You don’t know what you’re talking about,” Frank says, crossing his arms.

“But alas, I’m actually the one who does know what he’s talking about here. Maybe you should pick up a history book once and a while, your highness,” Gerard says, in the most patronizing way he can muster.

“None of what you’re saying makes sense,” Frank replies, “How do you suppose my father could’ve died that would appear to be an Ogre attack if no such attack ever took place?”

“Oh I don’t know, couldn’t have anything to do with the long and bloody history of being fucking royalty,” Gerard replies, “I mean, I’m no expert, but I am pretty sure that the two people in this kingdom who have the biggest targets on their heads, maybe not for any good reason other than for their high status, are you and your Uncle. Before them, it was your father and yourself. When you die, it’ll be your kids, and so on. There isn’t always a good reason to murder someone, but if you’re going to kill a guy, go big or go home.”

“You know if my guards were with me right now they’d probably arrest you just for saying that.”

“Is that really you’re defense?” Gerard asks, “’My Uncle’s rule is so hostile that they’ll arrest a teenager for speaking the truth about the kingdom?’”

“Your skewed truth,” Frank says like he’s making a correction. Gerard rolls his eyes and turns back around, walking away again. He’s not even half way to his house, Frank having distracted him from really getting anywhere. He hears him following, and Gerard groans outwardly.

“It’s not my perspective that’s been skewed, your highness.”

“Don’t call me that, my name is Frank.”

“If you’re not going to use the title, can I have it?” Gerard asks.

Frank actually laughs at that, “You want me to call you your highness?”

“I wouldn’t mind. Never had the honor.”

“Well alright then, your highness. You may be completely uneducated on your facts, but I like your wit.”

“Oh my wit makes up for your complete ignorance of the state of your own kingdom?”

“No, your wit makes up for your complete ignorance of the state of the kingdom,” Frank says, and he has to practically jog to keep up. Gerard has heard many things about the Prince, various things, down to the way he likes his tea, but never did anyone mention that he was that short. The dude could be an elf. He’s actually probably shorter than many elves.

“You know what, actually,” Gerard says, coming to a stop again, and he pulls his bag off from around his shoulder, pulling out one of the books inside it. “You can have this.”

“What is it?”

“It’s a book.”

“Well I figured that much out for myself, thanks.”

“You probably didn’t expect me to be able to read, did you?” Gerard asks, eyebrow cocked.

“It never crossed my mind that you might not,” Frank replies.

“You really are unfit to be King,” Gerard murmurs to himself, “you know nothing of the lack of proper education. Are you aware of the funding that your Uncle cut off when he took power which made most people growing in rural parts of the kingdom illiterate? That’s your Uncle’s fault. No question. Maybe he does believe an Ogre killed his brother, or maybe he doesn’t, but one thing that you cannot deny is that he does not care about the education of the people in this kingdom. He thinks if he keeps us dumbed down enough that we won’t figure out how corrupt he is.”

“I don’t like the way you talk about him, he’s my family you know,” Frank says.

“That’s too bad. We can’t choose family, huh? My point is that if you read that book,” Gerard points to the leather bound book in Frank’s hand, “you’re not going to be overly fond of your uncle either.”

“Why do you say that?”

“Your dear precious Uncle had the author of that book executed for spreading false information, or that’s what they tell you at least. It’s out of print, that’s one of the only surviving copies. Took me a few years to hunt down, but it’ll tell you the truth about this hellhole. The hellhole that your Uncle ruined. I don’t need it anymore, I understand the world in which I live, but you somehow don’t. This was a great place to live once, you know. Giants lived freely, as did elves, and Ogres. But then your uncle took the throne and trampled all over the peace. He is an evil man by all accounts, and if you open your eyes you’ll see that.”

“You’re just a radical, brainwashed by other radicals to believe lies fed to you in order to unsettle the common folk.”

“That’s all I am to you, isn’t it?” Gerard asks, “I’m a common folk. I’m a grass eating cow who you have made of game of entertaining, but you think yourself better than me.”

“I don’t.”

“You can deny it all you wish, but the way you hold yourself, the way you look at me, you look down on me. You look down on my town, and on my people, and you think us crude.”

“If that is how I think, it’s my opinion to hold,” Frank says.

“It’s not an opinion, it’s pure arrogance through and through. If you believe me inferior to you, that is your big mistake. Because I may be poor, and I may be a common folk, tending the earth and groveling to get by, but I have dignity where it counts, and when I wake up I know it is as a good person. Can you say the same?”

“You call my Uncle evil and now you say the same to me,” Frank states.

“I’m proud of you for picking that much up,” Gerard says. “My friend thinks I’m supposed to keep an open mind about you. He thinks that even though you’re royalty, you can be pure of heart, and kind. I’d like to believe it, but I don’t think you’re capable of it. I think your family is toxic to its descendants and to its people. I know you look down on me in pity, thinking me less for the amount of money I have to my name, but in the end, I’m not the one who should be looked down upon.”

“I really could have you hanged for these treasonous words,” Frank says.

“Go on then,” Gerard says, “I dare you.”

“I don’t want to give you the idea that you’re right about me.”

“Am I not?”

“No, you’re way off. You haven’t got a clue what I’m made of. You don’t know me as well as you think you do,” Frank says.

“I don’t?” Gerard asks, “And I suppose you think you can convince me you’re someone entirely different?”

“I think you would see that of me if you did not look at me with a mind already made,” Frank says. “You may think these things of my family, of my Uncle, and dare I say it, there may be a glimmer of truth in what you say, but that doesn’t change that you are one stubborn little shit.”

“Did the Prince seriously just call me that?” Gerard asks.

“I’ll say it again,” Frank says.

“Don’t bother,” Gerard says, shaking his head and smiling. He’s not sure how long he’s been stood here. He doesn’t have the will to move his feet. Frank hasn’t told him to stay put, but it’s almost like his own mind is the one who ordered him.

“I don’t know why I don’t punch you in the face,” Frank says, “I mean, you’ve earned it.”

“Even I can’t deny that I probably have,” Gerard shrugs.

“But I don’t want to do that. I don’t know, I don’t dislike you as much as I should. I like your confidence.”

“Well thank god it came across as confidence and not sheer disgust.”

“Disgust at me?”

“Disgust at the state of this world. Maybe you are not to blame, but your family is,” Gerard says.

“And what do you think of me then?”

“What?” Gerard asks.

“Go on. If you had to say what you really thought of me. Beyond your blind hatred of me, what do you think I am? Do you think I’m genuinely apathetic of you or of everything, or do you think maybe you were a little harsh in your judgement?”

“I don’t know you,” Gerard says, “I’m merely looking in on a mind that’s already been twisted in whatever way it has.”

“But you don’t know if it’s good or bad.”

“I don’t, you’re right, but I don’t have much hope.”

“Tell me then, is there anything remotely good about me?”

Gerard thinks, knowing he has to say something. The only thing that comes to him is that Frank’s eyes look amazing in this light, and he doesn’t know why on earth he would even notice a thing like that.

“You have... okay hair.”

Frank actually snorts, actually makes a snorting sound and then starts laughing at Gerard, and Gerard is both unimpressed and kind of embarrassed.

“So my personality is shit, but my hair isn’t too bad. It’s just okay though? If you’re going to say everything about me is complete crap, could I at least get a more thoughtful assessment of my hair?”

“Fine,” Gerard says, “your hair is slightly better than most people’s hair.”

Frank grins again, “that’s probably the best compliment I’ve ever been given.”

“You don’t get compliments that often then do you?”

“I said it was the best compliment, I never said it was a good one,” Frank replies.

“Alright,” Gerard says, finally finding the will to start walking again.

“Stop! Wait up,” Frank says, and Gerard sighs as his body stops immediately at the words. “You’ve got to let me walk you home.”

“I’ve got to?”

“Well... I mean it’s not an order, but it would be nice of you,” Frank says. Gerard thinks for a second that maybe he isn’t that bad when he says that. Gerard really appreciates not being told what to do, but that doesn’t entirely change that he’s pretty sure Frank is probably a huge dick.

“Why do you need to walk me home?”

“It’s the gentlemanly thing to do,” Frank replies, “your highness.”

Gerard grins to himself. Being called ‘your highness’ does have a slight appeal to it. He’s starting to like the sound of it.

Gerard’s mind flickers to how unbelievable all of this is. He cannot believe he is actually meeting the Prince, and telling him off like this. How is this possible? Why is he not dead already for it? Patrick is literally not going to believe any of this when Gerard tells him tomorrow.

“You know what, there is actually something I’d like you to do when I get home.”

“And what is that?” Frank asks.

“I have this stepsister problem,” Gerard says, “and uh, well, long story short, my stepsisters are in love with you.”

“They’re what?” Frank asks.

“Irrevocably in love with you. They think you’re quite the looker,” Gerard says, almost laughing at his own words and how dumb they sound to him.

“Oh,” Frank says, “Well that’s... that’s, I don’t know. That seems wildly undesirable.”

“Ah, but they’re the co-presidents of your fan club,” Gerard snickers, “I’m fairly sure Hattie has a poster of you on her door, or my door, or never mind.”

“That seems even more unpleasant,” Frank says, “I don’t like the whole swooning girls and fanaticism thing.

“Oh my, save it,” Gerard says, rolling his eyes, “hundreds of adoring girls who would still marry you if you ran over them with a horse? No way does one protest to that.”

“Trust me, I’m not really one for the screaming, crying, ogling girls,” he replies.

“Why not?”

“There’s no appeal to it. I don’t like the... well, it’s complicated. How do you feel?”

“Concerning what?”

“I would think it’s obvious. About your sister’s wild zeal for me.”

“I think it’s disgusting,” Gerard replies.

“That was not my question.”

“Do you mean do I think you’re dreamy?” Gerard asks, incredulous.

Frank shrugs, and says merely, “Well?”

“I don’t know if you noticed this, but I am not a maiden.”

“Is that compulsory?”

“Compulsory of me being in love with you as my stepsisters are? I would think so,” Gerard replies.

“Maybe your thoughts aren’t as radical as I’d given you credit for. Maybe you think very politically, but do you consider the day to day as much as you do the grand scheme?”

“I don’t understand your meaning,” Gerard replies.

“Then it’s unimportant,” Frank replies.

“I disagree,” Gerard says.

“Well it’s too bad, because you have to understand by yourself, it’s not fair if I shove my own thoughts down your throat. I have a feeling that’s something you frown upon most sternly.”

“But I’m asking you,” Gerard asks, “I’m not some weak thing you can choke with words. What do you mean I think too broadly?”

“Just that maybe you consider others more than you do yourself,” Frank says, “and on the outside that sounds grand. To put others before oneself sounds all humble and good, but then you come to the dilemma that you are always putting yourself second.”

“I do not need a lesson in self-appreciation from one who appreciates himself too much,” Gerard says.

“Alright, maybe not, but consider making thinking yourself through more thoroughly.”

“And what is it that you want me to be searching for in this self-evaluation you propose?”

“You’ll know it when you find it,” Frank replies.

“Alright, Mr. Cryptic,” Gerard says shaking his head. He doesn’t understand Frank for one second. It’s not an exaggeration to say that they are truly from two different worlds. Most extremely, Gerard doesn’t understand what on earth Frank is talking about. That makes two of them.
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