Lancer and Spade King - 3.5k Words - May 2019
After the events of Chapter 1, the reality of his position as the new king begins to sink in for Lancer, but he's just too worried about his father locked away in prison to focus on anything else. So, as scared as he feels, he decides to check up on him.
(WRITTEN BEFORE CHAPTER 2 WAS RELEASED)
- Come back soon! - Lancer waved goodbye, laughing happily as his two new Lightener friends made their way to the dark fountain and back to their homeworld. So much had happened in that short time, and of all the ways he expected that day to turn out, becoming the new king was the last thing to occur in his mind.
With him as a ruler, certainly some changes were getting made, but as excited as he was, he couldn't help but feel the slightest bit overwhelmed by everything that was going on. On any other normal day, he’d be lying if he said that he had never tried to take the crown from his sleeping father, just so he practice his regal king poses and speeches in the mirror.
He figured that it would be easy, but now that the large crown rest on his small head, he was only beginning to sink into the reality of his situation. And he felt uneasy.
Naturally, he knew just what the people wanted, which would basically be him doing the opposite of everything that his own dad had ever done! Actually, when he put it that way, perhaps being king would easy! Just how hard could it possibly be to restore the crumbling card kingdom?
Yet, he felt a sour taste in his throat as he recalled the terrifying encounter and fight with his father. Reaching for his neck, Lancer still felt the tight grip when the king threatened to let him fall to his death like he was nothing.
His dad was strict, yes, distant too, but he was busy after all! Probably doing king stuff. But... he had never ever laid a finger on him, especially like that!
Everyone was so quick to accept that his father was a ruthless cruel tyrant, but Lancer knew he wasn't like that, this wasn’t like him at all... It was only when he began speaking of this "Knight" character that things began turning sour, but no one ever believed Lancer’s words whenever he told them his dad wasn't so bad.
The spade quickly snapped out of his trance, noticing the fellow goat prince looking at him curiously - Toothpaste boy! - Lancer grinned gladly - Have you come to say bye as well?
Ralsei offered a kind smile - Hello! Yes, I should get going back to my kingdom. I just noticed that you looked like you were contemplating something... Is everything alright?
- Yeah! Everything’s peachy, you sweet little muffin! - Lancer kicked his legs playfully as he sat on the large throne, but he soon stopped, looking around, as his subjects were all too distracted chatting with each other about the latest developments in the kingdom, too busy to be focusing on him.
Ralsei looked apologetic as he noticed the worry in the young spade prince’s face - Are you sure...? You don't look very "peachy"...
-Yeah... I lied, sorry... - Lancer looked up at him, hesitating for a bit and then beckoning him closer, lowering his voice - Can I tell you a secret...?
- S-Secret?? - Ralsei looked worried - Uhm... Sure! What’s on your mind? - The goat held his hands together, unsure of what dark secrets the spade prince was going to lay upon him.
Lancer felt ashamed to admit this, he should have been ready, but he wasn’t - I... I don't know how to be a king... - His tongue hung sadly after he spoke.
- Oh... Oh! - Ralsei was unsure of what he expected, was he venting or asking for advice? - Well I... I’m afraid I don't have any subjects in order to offer advice, but I know you have a good heart, Lancer! And you will be a great king! I just know it! - The goat offered a reassuring smile, but Lancer didn't seem convinced.
- I’m thinking that... Maybe I should go ask my dad...
- W-WHAT?! - Ralsei looked shocked, lowering his voice again not to get much attention - L-Lancer! The King is the last monster you should be speaking with right now! He was ready to kill you out there just moments ago! Did you already forget that? Do you want to be like him...?
The Spade prince just looked sadly at him - I know, b-but...! He was just really cranky because of the Lighteners...! He's not usually like that... - At least, he really wanted to believe so.
- I'm sure the other kings may have better advice! - Ralsei tried to comfort the small prince - I know you're upset about your dad, Lancer. But you'll see that this is for the best!
- I don’t think so... - He sighed and looked up again with a sad look - ...Do you think they'll come back...? Susie and the blue person...?
- I'm sure they will! They’re supposed to, at least... With the prophecy and all! - Ralsei looked happily as he noticed Lancer's smile returning.
- Great! The Fun Gang is getting back together! - He spoke excitedly - Hey, do you want to stay for dinner? I think they’re going to throw a party for the return of the other kings! - Lancer asked excitedly, but Ralsei simply shook his head
- Thank you for the invite, but I should get going home as well. I must to study the legend and see what to expect now... I will see you later. I hope you have fun!
- D’Aww... Well I’ll bring you the leftovers! Bye, Toothpaste boy!
- Ah, uhm... Thank you...! - Ralsei smiled confused and nodded - Goodbye then.
Lancer waved as Ralsei left, and his smile drooped once more as soon was alone with his thoughts.
Regardless of the entire court being present in the room, they weren’t his real friends, they ignored him and he felt truly alone.
- He is correcth. T's much safer for thou to stayeth far away from thy father. - A voice suddenly spoke as Lancer looked back, noticing the duke of puzzles, Rouxls Kaard, who slowly approached the throne, too big for the spade child.
- Lesser dad! Were you eavesdropping on our conversation?! - Lancer’s cheeks flushed blue in annoyance as he noticed Roulxs Kaard approaching the throne, the permanent smile on the duke’s face making his expression nearly unreadable.
- My apologies, young sire. I simply couldn'th help but to notice thy interest in seeking thy King's advice. We shan't be taking such a risk, his behaviour can become most unpredictable, and the result might proveth to be undesirable! - Rouxls spoke with a stern yet concerned tone that felt odd when the duke’s expression was unchanging.
This comment still made Lancer frown disappointed, they could dislike the King all they wanted, but that was still his dad that they were talking about!
He was about to protest but noticed the excited court and subjects gathering together and looking at him expectantly.
- Your majesty...? - Rouxls spoke with a smile - Your people are expecting you.
With this, the young prince looked decisively, some changes were getting made and it was time to make things right.
As quickly as the day had gone by, the speeches, the releasing of the other Kings, the plans to restore the card castle to its former glory, the creation of new laws, all those things seemed to be never-ending, tedious and boring tasks to someone like Lancer.
He craved something more exciting than to hang out with the other monarchs, as they almost seemed to dismiss his ideas and suggestions because of his young age.
Maybe if he wasn't a spitting image of his father, they wouldn't give him such belittling looks either. He could tell by the times that they got his name wrong that they weren’t seeing him, they were seeing his dad, and this was saddening.
After the huge party to celebrate the release of the Kings of Hearts, Clubs and Diamonds, Lancer was about ready to call it a day, walking out of the large room and making his way to his own little room.
He was beginning to understand why his dad was so cranky and tired all the time. But he also felt extremely uneasy, everything was so different all of the sudden, and he just felt more alone than ever.
He just thought about how much he already missed Susie and the others, if she was around, they'd be having so much fun, playing pranks, having a food fight during the big boring dinner, and he could show her around the castle, all without having to fear that his dad would find out about his friends and want to hurt them. His dad...
Lancer noticed how much more lively things had become in the castle, everyone seemed so much happier with the Spade King outside of the picture, but Lancer couldn't help but miss him... And apparently, he was the only one who did.
Walking down the empty halls, the sounds of lively conversation and partying could still be heard, no guards, no nothing around. Lancer noticed the elevator as a thought had come to his mind.
Did... Did dad have dinner?
Everyone was so out to get him, Lancer wouldn't be surprised if they intended to let him starve to death. That would be awful, but he didn’t doubt someone would do that without his knowledge. It wouldn’t hurt to check up on him.
Certainly, no one would question why he was carrying a tray of food into the prison floor, he was the King now anyway, he didn't owe anyone any explanations, no matter how much others tried to make him think he did!
Tray in hand, he stepped into the dark prison floor, his small footsteps echoed all around the corridors, only making him feel smaller and weaker as he walked by.
He tried to find out where his dad would be, and with the innocent prisoners being properly released, things felt quiet and unnerving. Lancer kept walking, tray in hand, and looking inside the empty cells.
He would take comfort in knowing someone else was in there with him, but that did not seem to be the case, and he could feel himself growing anxious with each eerily empty cell he passed by.
- WHO GOES THERE?! - A loud familiar voice called out and Lancer gasped startled, being quick to hide behind a pillar - SHOW YOURSELF! - It demanded and Lancer realized that it came from the dark cell at the very end of the room.
Lancer took a deep breath and walked to the source of the voice, still nervously holding the tray. What if his dad was still mad at him for overthrowing him and getting him in prison? He didn’t mean it badly.
As he approached the cell, he noticed that it was quite large on the inside, and very dark. But yet darker was a silhouette of a round monster, the King of Spades himself, sitting against the wall, crownless and legs chained, his head hanging low as he was staring at his own hands, his expression unreadable, veiled in the darkness.
The cell itself looked clawed at and worn like someone had recently struggled within. Thrashing and lashing out, his dad most likely being the culprit.
It had been many long hours since he had been imprisoned, perhaps he tired himself out from demanding to get released. With no guards around either, the King was truly isolated, even more alone than Lancer himself.
- All I ask is for you to let me see my son. I need to warn him. You idiots are going to get us all killed! - He spoke in the darkness, Lancer realizing that the King wasn't actually bothering looking at him, not noticing his presence.
- D-Dad...? I'm right here... - The boy spoke timidly yet confused, the King looked up from his hands, his expression still covered in shadow.
- Lancer...! You... - He spoke darkly and Lancer flinched back when the King made his way to the bars, firmly holding onto them. the sound of chains echoing in the corridors. Lancer almost let the tray fall but held onto it, visibly shaken, the King seemed to be taken back by his reaction - Lancer... Are yo-
- Hi dad! I brought you dinner! - Lancer quickly spoke, interrupting him and laughing uncomfortably, it was just his dad, there was nothing to be scared of!
- Lancer... - The King muttered, but the prince seemed to want to pretend not to listen
- There's this huge celebration going on in the castle...! B-Because you're no longer t-the King and also it was Clover's birthday, so there was extra food a-and...
- W-Well there was plenty of snacks, a-and cake and, w-well I didn't know if you had dinner yet, so I...
- LANCER. - The King raised his voice, the boy growing silent, his smile quivering
- I-I just thought t-that... -
- Are you alright? - The King firmly asked, his expression in shadow once more, the concern in the question caught Lancer off guard as he just expected his dad for getting mad for putting him in prison.
- D-Dad, I'm sorry...! Please don't be mad...! I couldn't let you hurt my friends...!
- I don't care for the Lighteners! Lancer, are you hurt? - The King placed a hand on his own neck, a gesture that Lancer mimicked as he felt tense. The light blue hand-shaped bruise on the prince's neck would still take a few days to disappear, no one had confronted him about it, but he wasn't stupid, he could tell how others' eyes actively avoided it. It was an eyesore for whoever looked at him.
- It only hurts a bit... But it's fine! - He offered the biggest smile he could but seemed unsure as to why his dad seemed so distressed by this. He'd have much worse bruises from crashing his bike and his dad would just tell him to heal it and try again, but not this time.
- No... It's not fine... I'm sorry, I... I do not expect you to forgive me, my son... But I promise you that I never intended to harm you like that...
- Y-Yeah I knew you were bluffing, you didn't actually want to drop me to my death...! You wouldn't actually do that...
- Lancer... - The King muttered - Please do not make the same mistakes I did... - He slowly reached with a large claw toward the prince, who just stepped back
- Dad... What are you talking about...? - The boy seemed worried.
- The Knight... The Knight is not who he seems... Lancer, do not let him deceive you too... Don't let him make you hurt someone you might really care about...
- I wouldn't do that... What's going on, dad...? You were never like this...!
- I know, son. I did a terrible mistake... But please know that as your father... your REAL father, I love you so much...
- Dad, I... - The boy got overwhelmed, almost whimpering
- My prince... - He got down on one knee - I ask that you keep my cell locked at all costs.
- No... Dad no... - he whimpered softly - I don't want to keep you locked here forever...! You can be good and not fight the Lighteners! You can be better if you just try...!
- No, Lancer... It's out of my control... - The large hand held one of the bars - The Knight is the one controlling me, the fight weakened him, but soon he'll have control over me again. Which is why you MUST increase the security of this cell as soon as possible. I don't know what he will do when he's back, but if I can keep him locked down here, where no one else will be hurt, then there might just be hope for... - He paused - Uhm... Lancer...? - The King questioned worriedly as he noticed his small prince, who had put the tray on the ground and simply leaned against his father's hand - What are you doing...?
- ...I missed you, dad... - He sniffed.
The King stared in silence, his previously limp hand reaching to pet the boy's head, a rare display of affection that the prince wholeheartedly accepted.
- I just got you back... I don't want to lock you away...! Just tell the Knight to stop! - He cried out but the King was only able to offer a pitying look.
- I'm afraid that for now, this is the only option...
- N-No! Susie and the others will save you...! We'll find a way, I promise...!
- No buts...! - He talked back, still shaking as he did - I-I'm the king now...! And I order you to be hopeful, prince... prisoner!
The king's hopeless look was hidden by a weak smile - Yes. Protect them, Lancer. Don't let hatred get to you as it did to me...
- Hmm... It's alright dad... The Lighteners are good guys...! Oh...! - He seemed reminded of something and reached for the tray he had brought down with him - Are you hungry...?
- Son, it's fine... - He spoke, but as if on cue, his second mouth let out a low grumble sound, his embarrassed expression was only met by an expectant expression from Lancer.
- As your king...! I order you to eat! And try the Lancer cookies! Susie helped me make them!
- Don't stretch it... Wait... Cookies...?
- How do I get the tray through without making a mess...?
- And you're saying the Lightener helped you...
- If stealing an oven counts! I also got you more sweets from the party.
The King sat down, closer to Lancer's level and glanced at the tray, of course, that a meal prepared by a child would consist of nothing but sweets and junk food.
But he was pensive, staring at the small boy, although the Knight's influence was temporarily lifted, he was still very much adamant about Lancer forming attachments to these Lighteners. He was only setting himself up to get heartbroken, and the boy's excitement for this Susie character only reminded him of his own experiences, of the Lightener friends that had abandoned him and his people, of the despair he felt when the Knight told him they were never coming back.
As cruel as he could be, that wasn't a fate that he wanted for his son.
Lancer simply stared back, looking worried - You do still like sweets, right? Should I bring something else?
- No, it is fine. But son... About these Lightener friends...
The boy grew defensive with this - I told you, dad...! They're good guys...
- Do you know if they'll ever come back? - He asked sternly
- What...? Of course they will! - he spoke quickly, but deep down a feeling of doubt still lingered - ...At least... Prince Ralsei said they would... They're the heroes of the prophecy! They have to come back!
- And if they don't?
- I-I know they will! - Lancer insisted, if only he could change his dad's mind - They're the best friends I ever had...
The King let out a sigh, remaining quiet for a bit - You barely knew them. Plus you have friends here, do you not?
- Not really... - Lancer spoke timidly, much to the King's surprise
- What do you mean "not really"? There are still plenty of monsters in the kingdom that you can befriend.
- It's just not the same... I actually felt like I belonged for once! That they cared for me...
The King wanted to keep on insisting, but upon noticing the boy's gloomy look, he stopped himself, even though there was no point in getting his son's hopes up, he couldn't keep doing this to him, deep down he too was still soft.
Lancer seemed to crave affection just like a starving child, of course that he was going to jump at the opportunity of making new friends. Ruddins and Hathys just weren't doing it for him.
- They... No... - The King cleared his throat - Actually... Lancer. Would you... like... to talk about your friends? - The King asked reluctantly, yet his attempt at being a decent caring and interested parent was honest.
Lancer beamed with this question, yet a bit suspicious of his father's sudden interest, but he wasn't going to let it pass.
- You want to know about my friends? - He poked out his tongue curious yet suspiciously - Why...?
- Is there a problem?
- N-No! Of course not!
Much to his dismay, the King's belly grumbled hungrily once again, reminding the prince of the meal - Oh, I almost forgot your food!
- Lancer, it's fine...
- Your King commands you! - He said as he carefully passed the tray through an opening in the bars - There... we... go...! Dinner time! - He wiped his hands - Now uhm... Dad, just so you know... I'm not telling you my friends' weaknesses! Mostly because I wasn't paying attention!
The king simply glanced at the tray, a large clawed hand reaching to pick up a small teardrop-shaped cookie decorated with blue frosting made to look like Lancer's face, as the boy simply stared expectantly at his father - You said you and your friend made these...
- Yeah! It was super fun! We had a whole unseen sequence about it! Please try them, they're really good!
The king took a sniff out of the cookie, then a bite, noticing the boy's beaming look at him, it was quite good - ...Thank you, Lancer...