For all the time and effort he put into attaining a life of luxury, Eugene had to admit that living like royalty was boring as hell.
He usually spent his time wandering around the palace, figuring out which secret passage ways led to nowhere, and swiping up tiny knickknacks and being really disappointed when nobody noticed.
Today he was balancing Pascal on his knee as he lounged in one of the palace's many sitting room while Rapunzel worked out some math assignment. She had shown him what she was learning, but the second he saw that there were letters involved with her numbers, he checked out.
The only math he knew was addition, for adding how much money you made in a heist. Subtraction, for how much lost in a heist. Multiplication, for how much more you can make when hitting other hot spots. And division, for figuring out how much went to each lousy partner you had to share it with.
This amount had served him fine for the majority of his life and he was not willing to learn more now, no matter how bored he was. However, today was different from most days, as today he was summoned by a messenger, the second time in his entire palace life.
"Now, you're sure the King wants to talk to me?" he asked the skinny looking page as they made their way to the King's oval office.
The page didn't answer him, his nose was held up so high Eugene was wondering if he could smell the ceiling. He shrugged it off, used to being treated like crap at the palace. It didn't matter, he wasn't here for them.
"Your majesty," the page said with a bow as they entered the office. "Mister Fitzherbert is here, as you requested."
The way the page emphasized the mister in his name almost made him roll his eyes, if there was one thing he couldn't stand was passive aggressiveness. He'd let it slide however, since punching the page would probably not score him many points from the ruler of Corona.
"Ah, splendid!" the King smiled, his beard brisling with merriment. "Take a seat, Eugene, my boy! I have wonderful news for you."
"You do?" he asked, taking a seat in front of the King's oversized desk. If there was one thing that surprised him during his stay at the palace was just how well the King and he had gotten along. Whether it be the consistently euphoric mood the monarch was in since his daughter's return, or the fact that he didn't have to waste time catching one of the kingdom's most wanted thieves, Eugene wasn't sure. Regardless, much like his daughter, the King always seemed to be able to share his positive vibes with the entire court.
The King nodded merrily, pacing his office as he checked over some documents. A second later the clanking of armor was heard as the Captain of the Guard entered through the door with a bow.
"My deepest apologies, Your Majesty," he huffed, before slowly rising to his full height, which by Eugene's standards wasn't very high at all. If anything he cheated with the helmet and its ridiculous headpiece. "Training the recruits took a little longer than I had expected."
"Never fret, Captain, take the seat," the King waved away the concerns with his passive hand. "I much rather you spend the extra time to make sure Corona is at its safest. I don't think you and Mr. Fitzherbert have properly met, that is, apart from the passing encounter of cops and robbers."
"Rider," the Captain grumbled, as he took a seat next to the younger man.
"Nice to see you too, Capt," Eugene nodded, with a smile that could curdle milk. "You know, prison bars do not do you justice."
"I could say the same to you," the Captain answered, his mustache flaring with annoyance. "Too bad I'd be lying."
"Now, now," the King interrupting before Eugene could spit out a come back. "I've invited the two of you here for a reason, and a very important one at that. One that requires your cooperation. Not just for your own benefit, but the entire kingdom itself."
"Is Corona in danger, Your Majesty?" the Captain asked urgently. "Are my men not doing enough to protect the kingdom?"
Eugene had an answer for that, but it consisted of a snort and a gesture that would cause his sissy manners tutor to faint.
"It would appear, Captain, that is not as safe as I would like it to be," the King sighed, looking between his two guest. "There seems to be an unrest in the criminal underworld of the kingdom, which is to be expected as its top three criminals, the Stabbingtons and Flynn Rider, have all been dealt with."
Eugene noticed the way the King looked at him and touched his throat tenderly, remembering just how close he came to sharing the fate of his former colleagues.
"In an ideal world, the crime would crumble from the top down, however I fear that is not as smooth of a transition as I would prefer," the King explained, moving towards the large window, looking over said Kingdom protectively. "I fear the safety of my Kingdom, but most of all I fear the safety of my daughter."
"Wait...Rapunzel?" Eugene croaked, sitting up in his chair as if it were on fire. "You think she's in danger?"
"I am not sure, but I know her return has brought much happiness to not just the Queen and myself, but hope to the entire kingdom," the King sighed, staring at Eugene intensely. "To jeopardize that in any way would cripple Corona as a whole."
"Are you asking us to increase our protection of Princess Rapunzel, Your Majesty?" Captain asked
"Well, it would seem we have gotten to the point of our meeting a bit sooner than expected," the King smiled, and Eugene felt the mood lift with his expression. "The increase of protection is not just for Rapunzel, but for all of Corona itself. I dream of my kingdom becoming a crime free environment, and while it is on the path to becoming a reality, I need you to hurry the process along."
"Where should my men begin?"
"You see, Captain, all I've been given are rumors. Rumors that I cannot trust, as they come from meager village gossip. If there's one thing the Royal Guards lack, Captain, it's a proper inside source."
"Your Majesty, with all due respect, my men and I have never used such methods simply because men like that cannot be trusted," the Captain made sure to stare as Eugene as he said the last words, before turning back to the King. "The risk behind a double-agent is too severe, especially when the princess's wellbeing is on the line! Who could we possibly find that we can trust not to betray us?"
"Ah, luckily Rapunzel has undergone such a quest on her own accord. I'd like to introduce you to your newest recruit," the King beamed, motioning to Eugene. "Eugene Fitzherbert, or as he's better known as, Flynn Rider!"
"WHAT?" Eugene and the Captain screamed, exchanging looks at each other then to the King. "ARE YOU SERIOUS?"
"As a heart attack," he nodded, staring back down at the documents in his hands. "Captain, Mr. Fitzherbert will act as your accomplice, aiding you in the nabbing of the petty criminals that still irritate my kingdom. It takes a thief to catch a thief, as they say."
"Well, of course, but," the Captain stammered, before pointing to Eugene. "But, HIM? Really? Are you sure this is a good idea?"
"Captain, are you questioning the decision made by the ruler of this state?" the King asked, raising an eyebrow.
"No!" the Captain said quickly, his mustache drooping as he began to sweat bullets. "No, of course not...I trust every decision you make."
"Happy you feel so," the King said with a nod, before throwing the documents on the Captain's lap. "For your first assignment begins today, and I expect you and Mr. Fitzherbert to become the best of friends."
Eugene stared at the Captain, still unable to fully process the situation he was just thrown into. While resting the fate of the Corona on his shoulders was crazy enough, the very idea that him and the Captain could ever be friends was simply insane.