Edited for better viewing pleasure, I bring you chapter 1 of Wolf in Sheep's Clothes. I've taken up the challenge of editing ALL of the early chapters to match the quality of those latest ones, and the ones I will(Hopefully) be starting in the very near future. If all goes well I should have one chapter edited per week, but if not, well...
Let's hope for less of a wait than last time, aye?
Chapter 1: The Wolf
Calculating eyes traced the city wall and a smirk played across a set of full, pale lips. This was far too easy for his liking. He'd expected a challenge–a rush! He had wanted a feeling of accomplishment for breaking into his rival's famed city.
With a rather melodramatic sigh, the man lunged forward and proceeded to perform an alarming array of gymnastic feats, flipping gracefully over the wooden gates and landing as soundly as though he were a cat upon the other side, standing straight to survey the Arabian landscape.
Taking his first confident steps into the city of Babylon, the man exuded an ambiance of darkness. He seemed to breathe it, even. He was back with a vengeance that could be quelled only by blood. He was dead set on restoring his stance of one-up, He had, once upon a time, been called the Prince of Babylon's 'Dark Side'. An accumulation of the sentiments most people lamented having, never fully adopting the dominion one was granted without a conscience. A grand thing, if he might be so bold.
And he might, for they all thought he was dead. The Dark Prince chuckled beneath his breath and continued on his merry way, drawing a handful of stares as he criss-crossed the marketplace. He glanced from side to side and observed the spectators blandly, matching their looks with one of his own.
As he walked, the entity's mind whirled in the aftermath of what had occurred. Though he was very glad to have been given a leave from oblivion, his cunning mind was still puzzling through the events that had led to his revival. He had(obviously) not witnessed it, but the logical portion of his mind screamed that it had been the Sands. It was, after all, the only reasonable answer, and yet that answer filled him with more questions and– Dare he say it– fear. The Sands– more precisely the Goddess ruling them-- would never commit a deed without there being some ulterior motive, and as the Dark Prince observed his new body, he found his uneasiness slip away once more beneath the waves of ecstacy.
His hair, as opposed to the dark brown common to most in these parts, was blonde and tickling a set of broad, strong shoulders, with a whisker of sun-bleached white mingled through the disarrayed strands. His body boasted a thin covering of tanned skin, though in comparison to the Babylonian citizens' deep brown hides he resembled nothing short of a phantasm. His eyes had been altered from their old flaming orange and now occupied his visage as silvery blue flecks of ice, freezing his complexion in a look of calculating cruelty.
Speaking from a selfish standpoint(The only one he knew), the Dark Prince would have much rathered to take on his truly malevolent form, to bear the daggertail, a true weapon as opposed to the pitiful rapier belted onto his waist.
Alas, simple clothes were all he adorned. Being a man with the financial standing of the lowest beggar, a tunic of black and thin pants of the same shade were all he had managed to filch from a traveling group. It had been quite humiliating to approach their loaded caravan with nothing but the skin on his bones and a hand to shield his appendages, but with appropriate thanks to his own cunning and stealth, the being had managed to pilfer clothes straight from the fools' bags.
His shoulder gently bumped another's, and he looked across the market of central Babylon. Cool eyes darted from stall to stall, looking for food that was neither unripe nor rotted. Babylon had always been plagued with bad crops, though a choice few who slaved over nothing but their wares had product worth attention. Those who did not have the funding to take care of such a garden were rewarded with disgusting, bitter fruits that rotted quickly and were rarely bought.
Finding a stall filled with promising stock, the Dark Prince sauntered to the left side of the street with a chipper smirk on his lips as he took in all the fare. He could not resist being giddy over his new body. He had never been quite able to imagine the ability to move without explaining what to do to an incompetent buffoon whose heart of gold did little but weigh him down.
The thought of eating in particular shivers down his back. He'd watched the Prince eat on many occasions, all sorts of wonderful looking things! The meat, the fruits the drinks... he had always wondered what the sensation of taste was like. The time had come, and the entity gave a soft giggle to himself as he seized a moderately sized pomegranate, tossing it up and down experimentally. The Prince had done that with his fruits before he purchased them... surely there was a clever reasoning behind it.
Squeezing the fruit once again, he drew his blade and sliced it down the center, watching it's liquid flow between his fingers, cool and sticky, before raising it to his lips and tentatively lapping the juice into his mouth, savoring the delightful plethora of flavor; the bitter yet sweet taste that senthis mind reeling as he took a bite, rind and all, chewing through the waxy tang, for he had no way to know what a pomegranate was meant to taste like. "Astonishing... Perhaps that Girl had better taste than I gave her credit for." He chuckled, turning away before the voice of the stall-owner rang through his ears
"Ah! You can't eat that without paying!" the vendor cried in outrage, thrusting out an open hand as the foreign ghost hesitated and turned back, "Cross my palm with silver or our Prince shall hear of this . . . this crime!"
The icy eyes or the Dark Prince narrowed thoughtfully and his rapier was soon pointed to the man's neck, pressing until any more would spill the Old Man's rotten life onto the sandy street and blood would pour onto the vendor's ugly, worn tunic. "I will pay nothing." He said coolly.
A look of horror flashed across the merchant's aged face and he proceeded to ask a baffling question, "Wh-who are you?"
The Dark Prince paused thoughtfully. Who was he? He couldn't say 'The Prince' . . . he needed a name that proved his superiority to that self-righteous windbag . . . Something that screamed power . . .
"Malik," He said with a vile, devilish smile, "I am Malik." The name rolled off his tongue like silken cream, and he felt the identity of owning a name swell within his chest. Malik... it could loosely translate into King in the Egyptian province. King was a proper title. Perfect, even.
"Release me or I will call our prince!" the vendor squawked again, eyes racing around the street, watering as the blade pressed deeper, still never breaking the skin. "He shall not hesitate to throw a foreigner like you into a cell!" The rapier was pressed tighter against the skin and in a far brutal fashion. The Dark Prince was losing his patience with this foolish old man . . .
"Call him." He challenged in a chipper voice, "Call your beloved Prince to save your worthless hide. Why should he even care, anyway? You're nothing but a source of taxes and," He sniffed and scrunched up his nose, "a peculiar stench." His blood boiled at the mention of the man he had come to kill. "Why is he not yet a king? Is he not good enough? Is Babylon not proud of him?"
"He will be king when the time for his crowning comes." The man squeaked, "His father was crowned in midsummer, therefore it is only acceptable that his be in summer as well!" Then, taking a massive breath, the elderly vendor began to cry for help. "Just you wait!" He said, "The Prince will have your–"
His voice died in awe as a disgustingly familiar sword banked at the Dark Prince's neck. He twisted his head slightly and caught a glimpse of two blue eyes and a lightly stubbled chin. A scowl set across the entity's visage as he slowly lowered his rapier and pulled a shining silver piece from his pocket– conveniently snatched from a passerby's purse. He held the coin up for his assailant to see clearly before laying it across the vendor's palm with a slight intake of breath as the blade at his neck drew an ounce of blood. "Do you see, Prince? I have paid my debt. Will you be justified in ripping my throat asunder?" He began to laugh quietly to himself while turning to come face to face with the Prince of Persia, who hadn't changed at all since their violent separation only months ago, beside him was (The Dark Prince felt a twang of irritation) Farah, looking between the two of them as though wondering whose side to be on.
The two of them seemed hardly on friendly terms, from his personal standpoint. Farah stood several feet from the Prince, and though his animosity towards him made the Dark Prince think poorly of his persona, it was quite odd for the ruler to draw his blade on a common thief. How sad. A smirk tickled the edges of his lips but he fought it away. No need to incur anymore anger than he had already.
"I have paid my due..." He felt the blood from his neck beginning to soak his tunic. "I see no reason for my continuing pain." In an outlandish gesture the Dark Prince brought up his rapier and pushed the Prince's sword away, watching as the Royal's eyes flared open in outrage and he swung in an arc, bringing the King's Sword down.
Trying to teach his better half a lesson? How sad.
The Dark Prince caught the blow easily, sliding the blades forward until they locked at the hilts. He smiled in false cordiality toward the Prince and relinquished his iron grasp on his blade, allowing it to be strewn across the street. He watched it's path in bemusement and backed away from the King's Blade, holding a hand up in helplessness. "My apologies," He said, grimacing as he bowed his head to his foe. "My years outside your city have hardened my instincts." He watched as Farah slapped the Prince's arm none-too-softly as he made the gesture to raise his blade again.
"Stop being such a brute." She accused sharply, gesturing to the Dark Prince. "This man deserves no more punishment than any other thief."
A growl tore through the Prince's lips and he looked at his counterpart venomously. "He drew a blade to me, as well as to one of my citizens."
Farah scoffed and folded her arms. "There have been those who have done the same without incurring this much wrath from you... besides, youdid draw your blade first."
"Are you taking his side? You think I should let this... Foreigner streetrat run loose in Babylon?" He brought up his arm toward the Dark Prince once more.
"Gods, Prince! Do you have some hidden vendetta against this man?" Farah hissed, slapping his arm down once more.
The Prince furrowed his brow and breathed in deeply. "None that I recall... but somehow I find myself..." He shook his head. "I've only felt this amount of hatred twice in my life."
Farah blinked and frowned deeply. "When–"
"The Vizier... and..." The Prince trailed off but gave Farah a distinct look, to which she brought up both eyebrows.
"You cannot judge a man on your feelings, Prince." She finally murmured. "That is not the way of a ruler."
The deep conversation had progressed enough and the Dark Prince watched them with evident boredom. In a stunning display of rudeness he folded his arms, snapping, "Internal strife? Or perhaps you enjoy acting like an old married couple?" Realizing his mistake, the innocent facade was up again, "I mean... not that you sound like that or anything... well, you do... but please don't hurt me!" He fell onto his knees and felt as though they had broken in the fall. On his knees before the Prince? It hurt him. It made the Dark Prince's very heart ache tremendously.
The Prince looked at Farah, then at 'Malik' pointedly, as if to bring across the reasoning for his doubt but nodded slowly nonetheless, keeping a weather eye on the blonde's movements. "You may remain in the city. But I warn you, if you cause any sort of turmoil in my streets I will let the outsiders have their way with you." With that said, both he and Farah turned and began striding away, though the ruler stopped shortly to glower at 'Malik' and shift the scabbard upon his waist threateningly.
The dark Prince, however, smirked wildly and ran a hand through his white-blonde hair. "No turmoil here, Prince." He murmured darkly, "Only old scores..."