The Lives of Kings

MPP #59 – King for a Day

Briar wandered the streets of Hajra, hands in his pockets as he whistled merrily. His nonchalant attitude, carefully adopted, didn't betray the tumultuous emotions inside. There was a time when Briar had thought he'd never leave Hajra – and after leaving, he thought he would never return. Coming back after four years was reviving stirrings of Roach he hadn't known still existed. Perhaps that was why Rosethorn had seemed so reluctant to let Briar go out on his own. But if she was concerned that he would return to his old gang stomping grounds, she needn't have worried. Briar had no intention of ever going back there, no matter how much fun it would have been to walk past the guards and give them a cocky smile, knowing they couldn't touch him.

The one place Briar would have liked to have visited was the house in which he had lived with his mother. Sadly, he couldn't remember where that was, so he contented himself with wandering the avenues surrounding the King's palace. This was a place he had visited several times before. He and his gang mates had taken advantage of the crowded avenues to pick a few pockets. Afterwards, they would sit on the wall opposite the palace and talk about what it would be like to be the king.

Briar paused by that very same wall and gazed at the palace. It hadn't even been five years since he was last here, but it felt like everything was different. First and foremost was the lack of hunger; something he had lived with every day back then. There were other little things too – no one looking at him like he didn't belong there; not feeling the need to seize up the passersby and rank them in wealth and ease of mark.

But most noticeable of all was the difference he felt when he looked at the palace. Back then, he would have given everything he had to live inside those walls, even for just one day. Now, though, he couldn't imagine losing the life he had made for himself. He loved his garden, his home, his family. Maybe he would never be as rich as king, with a magnificent palace and a treasure trove, but he had riches a king couldn't even have dreamed of. And he would rather have that for a lifetime, than be king for a day.