It's been a while since I've last written something that's not totally psychologically profound. I got some mind-play around here as well, but a lot of it is action, instead of psychological development. I'm trying something not completely new, but relatively unknown to me here xD
Alright, so... Cardverse!AU it is. I jumped the Cardverse bandwagon. So sue me. And it's a USUK! Hooray! (what else do I write, anyway? Hahaha, my IRL France would hate me if she saw me right now...)
A bigger summary would be: Alfred is a peasant that is chosen to be the next King of Spades. Unfortunately, he and his Queen don't seem to get along too well, and that affects their performance as leaders. No time to be fretting about issues of the heart, though, as a war is looming on the horizon, led by the dreaded kingdom of Clubs. If they want to survive this one, they'll have to learn together, decide together, fight together, and somewhere along the way, find the magic that binds them together. Because a strong King is a King that loves his people, his nation, and his Queen.
Also, I wanna give a warning that could possibly serve as a disclaimer, too. PLEASE READ:
I have recently seen a lot of Cardverse!AUs that have the same gist as mine, but I swear on my Flying Mint Bunny plushie that I didn't steal people's ideas. I mean, for hell's sake, I've been writing this fanfic since what, beginning February? There is no way anybody stole my ideas, or I stole anyone's. So any resemblance between this fic's concepts and another's is purely coincidental, trust me on this one. Also, I don't own Hetalia, because if I did, then USUK would be more than just canon. It would be... uhh... Very canon o_o
ANYWAYS. I've wasted enough time. More notes at the bottom!
Warnings: None for this chapter, a lot more in later ones.
"Your Majesty... It has struck once more."
"We know who is destined to be the next King."
"You mean my-"
"... Then find him. I refuse to be toppled. Find him and bring him to me. See if I will not kill this destiny with my own two hands."
And that was where it all degenerated.
It had started out as a pretty good day. The waking sun had tickled Alfred awake with its warm rays across his face, and they'd gotten running water in the district fountain that morning. After breakfast and having taken a bath, Alfred had started to get ready for work.
"Matthew, have you seen my shoes?" he called, not having to yell too loud since their house wasn't exactly the largest in town.
"How should I know where you keep your things, Al?" another quieter voice replied from the kitchen, another blond emerging from the door-less entrance in the wall.
"Well maybe you used them to go buy food yesterday, I don't know." Alfred huffed, getting on his knees to check under their shared bed.
"I didn't take your shoes, Al. Now hurry before you're late for work." His younger brother reminded him.
"Great. And today had started off so nicely." Alfred muttered. Later on, he regretted not biting his words, when suddenly, there was loud thumping on the front door.
"Who's that?" Matthew asked warily, freezing in his steps.
"I... Don't know." Alfred whispered, uncharacteristically silent as he got up, eyeing the door.
There was a small silence before another rather loud knock on the door echoed through the small house, this time accompanied by voices.
"In the name of His Majesty the King, open this door or we will force it open!"
"Alfred?" Matthew went white, backing towards the wall.
"I don't know." Alfred gulped down nervously, not wanting to admit that he was somewhat scared as well. What did the royal guards want with them? They'd paid their taxes, no matter how unfair, and they hadn't broken the law or anything, had they?
"You have three seconds to open this door!"
"I'm coming!" Alfred called, hoping his voice wasn't as shaky as he felt it to be. He cautiously put his hand on the doorknob and turned, stepping back swiftly. A smart move as soldiers immediately flooded in, about half a dozen in complete Spades uniform, armed and ready for combat.
"M-May I help you gentlemen?" Alfred started, but was immediately cut off as five spears were pointed towards him. Gulping down nervously, he raised his hands up in surrender, fearfully looking up at the last soldier that was looking at him cautiously.
"Alfred F Jones, citizen of the Spades Kingdom, inhabitant of the Ninth District, you are hereby formally put under arrest by direct order of his Majesty the King himself." The man recited.
"W-What?" Alfred's eyes grew wide. "W-Why?"
"You have the right to remain silent and follow us, lest you force us to use violence." The soldier replied.
"Wait, you can't just barge in here and arrest me without telling me what I've done! That's against the law!" Alfred protested vividly, clenching his fists.
"Alfred F Jones, Citizen of Spades-"
"Oh, don't give me that bullshit, just tell me what I'm accused of!" Alfred cut him off, irritated, and literally feeling the consequences of his brash actions when two grips enclosed his upper arms tightly. He winced and instinctively struggled against his captors, which prompted prodding with spears. "H-Hey, let me go!"
"Men, to the castle!" the leader of the soldiers simply ordered, turning around to leave.
"W-Wait!" A smaller voice called from the back, unnoticed. Matthew, realizing that nobody was hearing him, ran to the front and blocked the entrance. "Wait, you can't just do that to him! What's he accused of? Tell us!" he demanded in such a quietly enraged voice that the leader of the guards merely raised a brow and pushed him away like a mere bug.
"Get out of the way, kid." He huffed.
"No!" Matthew called, feeling tears of frustration and fear well up in his eyes as he watched the royal guards lead his one and only remaining family member out. "Alfred!"
"Yo, don't worry, Matt!" Alfred called back, laughing a bit shakily. "I'm just gonna go see what the guys want from me, and I'll be right back! Don't wait for me to leave for work!" he tried looking unstressed, but the occasional prod with the sharp tip of a spear did make him struggle still.
"Alfred..." Matthew called weakly, his frail body unable to take the shock of such a sudden turn of events. He felt paralyzed, stuck in place, watching helplessly as they tore him and his twin apart.
As he slowly lost sight of Alfred, the tears finally ran down his cheeks. The sun was still shining brightly through the window, and the birds were still singing. What a beautiful day indeed.
Alfred was led through the richer districts, closer and closer to the looming figure of the castle in the distance. After what felt like hours of walking under the sun with no shoes nor adequate protection, Alfred felt like crawling back into bed and sleeping it all off like some kind of nightmare. Yeah, that had to be it. A nightmare.
This couldn't really be happening to him, right? He hadn't done anything wrong, right?
"Are we there yet?" he rasped, his throat scratchy and dry.
"The castle, home to the royal family of Spades, is up ahead." The leader merely replied.
"Cool. You know you guys can let me go, though, right?" he struggled weakly in his captors' grip. "I kinda have no energy left for running, or anything. And my feet hurt. Can we sit down for a second? Oh, and would you guys happen to have some water? It would be nice of you to gimme some, y'know, a question of not fainting under the sun, or anything." He babbled on.
"Kindly remain quiet. We are almost there." The lead guard nodded to the gate attendant, and the gate to the castle swung open for them to enter.
From then on, Alfred's eyes widened, sun and fatigue and dehydration all but forgotten. His gaze was trained on the scenery around him, beautiful unlike anything he had ever seen before.
Hedges were cut up into spades, lining the cobblestone road to the steps. Neatly cut grass ruffled in the wind, and bushes of enchantingly blue roses grew sporadically, here and there. There were a few trees planted, small and leafy and budding with small, white flowers that sometimes floated down onto the ground with the wind. A large stone fountain stood in the middle of the road, separating it into two paths that rejoined afterwards to lead up to the main gates.
And stuck inside this ethereal, enchanting, entirely fake scenery, Alfred felt misplaced and nauseous. He was almost glad he was getting away from the smell of blue roses as he was led inside.
The main hall was huge. In itself, it was twice as large as Matthew's and his house, if not bigger. The carpet was a lush blue that appealed to the eye, and the walls were pale blue that didn't hurt the eyes much. Portraits of past Kings, Queens and Jacks adorned the walls, drawers lining the walls. A crystal chandelier hung overhead, and Alfred took a moment to do some basic math and calculate how much food he and Matthew could buy themselves by selling one of the hundred crystals on that chandelier.
Too busy looking around, he almost didn't notice he had been stopped in front of a large pair of double-doors, ornate and decorated with gold. Two servants were at the handles, dressed in a regular servants' uniform and at the signal of the lead guard, they pulled the double doors open.
"Announcing the arrival of his Majesty's requested prisoner." The lead guard announced before leading their entire party in.
Alfred only took a moment to gape at the rich decorations, gold linings, blue tapestries and white walls, enjoying the feeling of a soft blue carpet under his scratched feet. As soon as the feeling came, though, it left, one of the guards pushing him down on his knees.
Alfred looked up to grumble at him, but his head was immediately pushed downwards again. Facing the carpet, he mumbled under his breath.
"This is he?" a loud and powerful voice finally asked.
"Your Majesty." The lead guard stepped in front of Alfred and took him by the hair, pulling his head up. Alfred squeaked in pain, wincing, and glared defiantly at whoever was in front of him.
And despite never having seen any member of the royal family beforehand, he knew that the large, imposing old man in front of him, dressed in rich blue, gold and indigo clothes, was most definitely the king. The bejeweled crown on his head was also a small detail to consider.
"It does look like it." The King nodded after a moment of studying Alfred's pained expression. "What is your name, peasant?"
"Well you're the one that called for me, you know my name's Alfred." Alfred immediately responded, raising a brow at the King, and receiving a shove towards the ground as a reward for his valiant efforts. His forehead hit the ground, and if it weren't for the carpet, it would surely have bruised.
"Show respect to his Majesty! And apologize!"
"Sorry." Alfred huffed, realizing it wasn't enough when a foot came down on one of his hands, pressing down harshly. "M-My apologies, Your Majesty." He repeated, glaring up at the guard stepping on his hand and making his bones crack. Apparently satisfied with his answer, the guard removed the pressure, making Alfred gasp in relief.
The King eyed his bowed figure for a moment longer, and then laughed derisively.
"And to think that such a simple peasant was the one chosen by the Clockwork of Spades. If this is the one chosen, then I fear for the future of Spades royalty. Pure blood will not be upheld much longer if the Clockwork picks commoners again." He mocked.
Alfred, disinterested, let his eyes wander, until they fell on a figure he hadn't noticed before. Standing behind the King quietly, perfectly straight, eyes cold, the young man with acidic green eyes was surveying the scene carefully. Their gazes crossed for a second, and Alfred noticed the huge eyebrows that were poking out from beneath that choppy blond hair of his. The second thing he noticed was his attire, less decorated than the King's enormous robes, but the same colours, minus the gold. One thing he spent a while questioning himself on was the small hat perched delicately on top of the boy's head, and how it held against gravity.
But, Alfred decided as he turned his attention back to the King, it was probably just another snobby noble, here to watch a simple peasant be put down by royalty. How noble indeed.
"This decides it." The King's voice dragged him back into full attention. "I will not let anybody take over, especially a simpleton like this fool. This kingdom is mine and will stay mine, and destiny will do nothing to change this." The man walked slowly towards Alfred, drawing an ornate, sharp silver sword out of its sheath.
And suddenly, everything made sense to Alfred as he watched the light glint off the metal of the sword, and the reflection of his wide, terrified eyes as the sword came close enough for him to see. Frozen in fear, he felt himself trembling, but refused to look back down.
"Sorry, Matthew." He thought, gritting his teeth. "You're going to have to do the dishes again tonight."
The King raised his sword above his head, and Alfred glared up at him defiantly, heart thumping a thousand miles a minute. It was clear to him now. He was going to die here.
"My King, wait one moment, please."
Or perhaps not?
All attention immediately went to the other figure, the noble Alfred had spotted beforehand.
"Let us leave the boy alive." The young man suggested, holding his ground fiercely.
"Are you questioning my authority?" the King asked, turning around and going for the young noble instead.
"No Sire." The blond replied, watching as the King came closer and closer without even blinking. "Merely a suggestion that I would personally highly recommend."
"Oh really now. A recommendation. For me. For my decisions." The King let out a small laugh, glaring down at the noble. The atmosphere was tense, and Alfred had leaned over a bit to watch the happenings like it was some kind of show.
A battle was going on between their gazes, locked and unmoving. None of them blinked, simply glaring at each other, trying to see who would falter first.
It seemed like it was the King that did, for a moment later, he let out a short, humourless laugh.
"Don't make me laugh." And he raised his hand.
Alfred, judging by the way the noble's eyes slightly widened, then narrowed, the faint gritting of his teeth and the clenching of his fists, could deduce that the young man saw it coming from afar, but purposefully stood in his place. He couldn't fathom why, though, as a moment later, he was backhanded, the sheer force of the blow sending him toppling to the ground silently.
"Must I remind you, my Queen, that between us, it is I that had the ultimate power? You bow to me, not the other way around." The King spat, leaving the Queen on the ground as he turned back to Alfred.
Whose eyes were wide in surprise and horror as he watched what had turned out to be the Queen of Spades touch his cheek tenderly and stand back up shakily, straightening.
"This boy will die."
"No, this is final!"
"Please, your Highness-"
"There will be none of that!"
"Father!" the Queen yelled finally, eyes going wide as he clamped a hand over his mouth in horror, dropping it as soon as if came. Alfred's eyes went wide as well, and he shook his head, wondering if he'd heard right. The King and Queen were... father and son? How did that even make sense?
"I thought I ordered you..." the King seethed. "To address me by my proper title, Queen!"
"Y-Your Majesty, I-I-"
"My King, listen!" the Queen yelled louder, taking only a small breath before continuing before he could be cut off. "Imprisoning the boy will prove your power! Killing him would mean you are submitting to destiny, fighting a defensive war against it! Imprisoning him until the destined day would be much wiser, as if would show your graceful leniency and your power and control over the entire kingdom. What say you, my King? Let us show the world how imposing you truly are." He finished, panting for breath.
And Alfred didn't know whether he hated this Queen for not getting him out of trouble, or he loved him for saving his life.
And the worst part was, during the silence that followed, everybody realized that the King was considering the Queen's words after all.
"Will if really show my power?" he finally asked, unsure.
"Yes, Milord, most definitely. Keeping under your control your greatest opponent, has it never meant power? By killing him, you get rid of the problem. By imprisoning him, you control it." The Queen quickly added, eyes stuck hopefully on the King.
The King looked at his Queen, then at the prisoner, then back at his Queen, and finally nodded.
"Take him to the dungeons, then."
As Alfred was dragged away, to be locked up for an indefinite amount of time in a dark, dingy cell, he glared at the Queen, his opinion having been made.
He hated this Queen of Spades already.
Alfred had counted three hundred and seventeen drip-drops of water from the ceiling by the time the door to the dungeons opened again and footsteps echoed against the cold stone walls. Deciding he was tired of counting drops of water, he closed his eyes, lying on the ground and facing the wall, back to the bars that kept him from the outside word. If he didn't know better he'd say he was sulking.
"Hello. Are you awake?"
Ah, and now, he was most definitely sulking.
Crossing his arms and curling up tighter against the cold invading his body, Alfred refused to turn around.
"Such a child." The Queen huffed. "Then I guess you don't want your lunch..."
"Lunch?" Alfred exclaimed, immediately jumping up and rushing to the bars, unfortunately forgetting the chain around his ankle and tripping face-first onto the ground.
The Queen snickered at the amusing scene and rolled his eyes before unlocking the small hatch on the ground for food and pushing in a small plate and utensils.
"There." He motioned with his head, watching as Alfred crawled to the plate of food and took it in his hands to smell it.
"Smells good." He simply commented, grabbing a fork and tasting a bit. "Tastes good, too. Do all your prisoners get this sort of treatment, or is it just me?"
"Just you." The Queen shook his head.
"I feel special." Alfred snickered.
"I... I guess I wanted to apologize for my rash decisions back there." The Queen mumbled. "I... Didn't want to see you killed for something you couldn't control."
"Speaking of which, why DID I get in this mess, anyways? There's something I'm not being told, huh?" Alfred remarked obviously, munching on his food and enjoying the smooth taste of refined food.
"I can't tell you. Not yet." The Queen shook his head.
"Dandy. So I'm just gonna chill in here if you need me, awaiting my death at any given moment, trying not to freeze my toes black... Oh, but at least I've got good food!" he raised a brow sarcastically.
"It's a start, isn't it?" the blond growled, one of his huge eyebrows raising as he asked himself who in hell this Alfred F Jones really was.
"Cool." Alfred munched on more of his food, staring at the wall. "I don't trust you, you know." He commented out of the blue, not even turning to look at the Queen.
"As expected." The other male shook his head. "Perhaps you're not as dumb as you first looked."
"I take offense in that." Alfred protested, scrubbing off the last bits of food on his plate using his fork and sighing in content. "Thanks for the food."
"My pleasure." The Queen's lips twitched slightly upwards, just for a moment.
"Okay, so now I must get home to my little brother, make sure he's okay and eating enough and not overworking himself. Think you can let me out?" he asked hopefully, grinning brightly.
"You know I cannot let you out." The Queen replied coldly, although his tone warmed slightly up afterwards. "But... I had brothers... So I can say I can understand what you feel. I will visit this brother of yours and tell him you're alright. Just get some rest, as much as you can." The blond told him, pulling a pocket watch out of his breast pocket to check the time. "I must leave now. Duties to tend to."
"Hey, if you ever wanna chat with the 'peasant' again, feel free to drop by, Queenie!" Alfred called from behind him as he walked off, irritated.
"Kindly call me by my real title, and not some stupid variant of it!"
"Then tell me your name, things'll be much easier that way." Alfred suggested.
"I shan't! Address me properly!" the Queen yelled back, stopping at the door to the dungeons and waiting a moment. When no reply came from Alfred, he smiled sadly and pushed the door open. "Until tomorrow, Alfred."
It was only the next morning that the Queen of Spades remembered his promise. As he was awoken by a nameless maid, Alfred's face flashed in his mind, and aside from the wondering of why he would think of Alfred first thing in the morning, he recalled his promise to go appease his brother's worries.
At first, he thought of sending a soldier, or a stable boy, to pass on the simple message. After all, why would he, the Queen of Spades, actually need to go all the way down to the Ninth District to pass on a message?
Perhaps it was because of his conscience dictating him to do so? Maybe it was because he knew that it was his fault that the poor boy's brother was stuck in the castle dungeons for the next week. Maybe because he kept telling himself that without him, the boy would already be home to his brother (alright, so he would be in a body bag, but... He'd be home nonetheless, right?) and for good.
Whatever it was, he soon found himself getting changed into something less noticeable and grabbing a cloak, slipping out of his chambers and outside the castle. He grabbed his personal mare, Britannia, out of the stables, briefly wishing her a good morning before he passed the saddle straps under her belly and adjusted them. The horse, as if knowing exactly what to do, waited until her master was ready and mounted, reins in hands, before tossing her mane and getting into a fast trot towards the exit. Adjusting his body to move with the horse's rhythm, the Queen of Spades led his horse into the woods circling the castle, deciding to avoid the front gates. He didn't need his father to know he was out this morning.
He slowed Britannia down a bit so he could manoeuvre her through the branches hanging overhead, and as he usually did when he used this well-known passage through the forest, he let out a sigh of relief when the first signs of civilization appeared again.
Once he was out, he put his cloak hood up and kicked his mare into a gallop. The first district he crossed was the Fourth District, the Second and the Third being more to its left. Skirting the district, he managed to cross it without being seen by too many inhabitants. The sun had risen an hour or so ago, so the richer districts had less people already up than the poorer ones. The Queen noticed this when he was forced to slow his ride down, passing through the Seventh District. People were already up, going to work, or setting up shop.
Trying to keep out of crowds to keep attention off of him, he used the back alleys, always cautious of his surroundings just in case some hooligans decided to ambush him. His trip to the Ninth District was uneventful, though, as it seemed that it was too early for even the thieves to be up and prowling.
He dismounted as he crossed the bounds from the Eighth to the Ninth District, and led his mare by the reins to what he figured was a bakery. The smell of fresh bread wafted from it, and he sidestepped to avoid some running children on his way to the shop. Tethering his mare to one of the porch's poles, he petted her and promised to be back real quick before walking inside.
There was a fairly old woman behind the counter, humming to herself as she worked the uncooked bread between her deft fingers. She noticed the hooded stranger a moment after he came in, and despite his general shady appearance, didn't fail to greet him.
"G'mornin', sir! May I help ya?" she asked, giving him a smile that, despite lacking a tooth here and there, was gentle and kind.
"I'm looking for the house of Alfred F Jones, would you know where I could find it?" the Queen immediately got to the point, his eyes trailing across the few varieties of bread lined behind the glass.
"Alfred Jones? Yes, I know him. Such a helpful boy, that Alfred Jones." The woman nodded, thinking. "It ain't far from here. You walk outta here and walk to the other side of the square, then go through the alley next to the tailor's shop. Turn left on the second alley there, and it's at the end. A small, wooden house, apart from all the others, if I recall correctly." The woman explained.
"Thank you." The Queen nodded.
"Not at all. Now, it's early in the morning, so perhaps you're hungry..." the woman trailed off, only to receive a gold coin slammed onto her counter.
"I don't have time. But here. For your help, madam." The Queen tipped his invisible hat as a sign of respect, then walked out without saying goodbye. He knew the woman would be too captivated by the gold to even hear him.
He untied his ride's reins and led her across the square, ignoring the whispers of people that probably wondered what a man rich enough to own a horse was doing in the Ninth District. The children seemed to have picked up the same vibes, because they steered clear of him. Once, a ball has rolled into his path, and the Queen had stopped to pick it up, looking at the children huddled up, looking up at him fearfully.
A pang spiked through his heart. Did he really induce so much fear to his own citizens? What had the world become?
"Here, child." He whispered soothingly, taking a step forward towards the tallest boy, behind whom were hiding the smaller ones, siblings, probably. He knelt down to his size and gently put the ball out for him to take.
The little boy, no older than ten, probably, looked at his toy, then at the stranger, then back at his toy, and quickly snatched it out of the stranger's hands as if he would bite him if he stayed too long.
"T-Thank you." He whispered nonetheless before speeding off to play.
Shaking his head in both sadness and amusement, the Queen got up and brushed himself off, continuing his journey. The small, dark alleys here and there were certainly bad omens, but he avoided them easily as he followed the path given to him by the baker. Soon enough, the streets were clear of people, and the houses, so far all squished together, started getting more spaced. As the Queen progressed towards his final destination, houses started showing signs of vegetable gardens or small barns.
The Queen guessed he had gotten to the richer area of the poorest district.
And there, he found the house he was looking for, small, wooden, with a wood and straw roof that obviously didn't do much for rain, a homey fence circling a small plot of land where greens were growing. It wouldn't have looked any different than the others, but it did give off a strangely comforting vibe.
Tethering his mare to the fence, the Queen wasted no time in walking up to the stone front porch and knocking softly on the door.
At first, there was nothing, so the Queen knocked again. He just hoped this brother of Alfred's was there. He didn't feel like coming back another time.
Just when he started complaining in his head, the door swung open.
Well, at least he got the right house.
"O-Oh." The young man at the door corrected himself, blushing. "I'm sorry. I mistook you for someone..."
"Your brother?" the Queen confirmed, watching the boy's eyes grow wide, and his head bob up and down nervously.
"Do you know him? Do you know where he is? How is he? Is he alright? Where is he? He didn't come home last night." The boy's questions got more and more frantic as they came, which forced the Queen to put a finger to his lips to keep him silent.
"Could we talk inside, if possible...?" he requested, looking around. The current conversation was not for prying ears.
"M-Matthew. Matthew Williams. But yes. Please, step inside." The boy quietly opened the doorway to grant access into their humble abode.
The first thing the Queen noticed was the lack of furniture, but that was to be expected. There was a coffee table with one couch by the window, a mattress on the ground by the corner with sheets and two pillows strewn across it. A worn-looking wooden drawer was next to it, some random objects set on it. There was a door to what the Queen guessed was the bathroom. And there was an exit that led to what he figured was the kitchen.
"E-Ehh... Excuse me..." he suddenly heard, turning around to face the boy, who was twiddling his thumbs nervously.
"Did you say something?" the Queen asked, deciding that it was safe to remove his hood.
"Y-Yes, I asked you if-" but he never finished his sentence, because when he noticed the huge brows under sandy blond hair, Matthew stopped. His throat went dry as his mind conjured up the identity of only one person in the entire kingdom that looked like that.
"Yes?" the Queen asked, ruffling his hair, when suddenly, to his mild surprise, Matthew dropped to his knees.
"Y-Your Highness, I-I... I didn't know it was y-you, a-and... O-Oh, my manners, p-please, s-sit down! I-I can see if we have anything t-to offer..." he stammered nervously, obviously embarrassed.
"Rise." The Queen ordered with practiced grace. "That'll be fine. I'm just here for a few minutes, anyways." He waited until Matthew was back on his feet to start. "Your brother is being held in the castle dungeons at this very moment."
Matthew opened his mouth immediately, most probably to ask why, but the Queen stopped him with a wave of his hand.
"He will be let out in six days, one way or another."
"W-What do you mean, Y-Your Highness?"
"Dead or alive."
Matthew couldn't help but stifle a gasp in his hand, shaking and looking as though he would fall any time. The Queen couldn't help but pity him. The quieter brother surely depended on his twin a lot.
"W-Why?" he asked, echoing what his brother had been parroting all this time.
But unlike for Alfred, the Queen had the liberty of answering to Matthew.
"You mustn't tell anyone." He had the feeling Matthew wouldn't, even if the Queen hadn't mentioned it. "But the Clockworks of Spades have struck once more."
"T-The C-Clockworks of S-Spades?" Matthew stammered, going whiter than he had before. "I-I've read about it once..." Ah, so the boy was cultured, after all. Shame Alfred hadn't seemed to share that passion for learning like his brother had. "I-Isn't that the t-thing that announces t-the-"
"Yes." The Queen briskly cut him off, eyes darting around suspiciously. "We'll only know the outcome in six days. Destiny is being tampered with, so I cannot say. I will try to, however, return your brother to you by any means necessary."
"T-Thank you, your Grace." The younger blond stammered, lowering his head, obviously in shock from all the new information thrown at him.
"Digest this information, lad. You have six days until it gets even more hectic." The Queen then turned around and immediately went to the door. Matthew made a move to get it for him, but the Queen raised his hand. "That's alright. I'll get it." He told him before exiting.
By the time Matthew had shaken himself out of his trance and had run to look out the door, the Queen of Spades was already nowhere in sight.
Later, the Queen found himself back in the dungeons, carrying a plate of leftovers that he snuck out from the kitchen after lunch. It suddenly struck him that he was sneaking around for a peasant's sake. And when he thought about it in deep, it didn't really bother him. He didn't know why, though.
He quickly found Alfred's cell, it being one of the rare ones that were occupied. He found the boy leaning against the wall, playing with his dirtied fingernails idly. Alfred lifted his gaze when the Queen appeared in front of his cell again, and asides from a lifted brow, he didn't do anything that acknowledged the Queen's presence.
"Stop sulking. I brought food." The Queen immediately pacified, slipping the plate and utensils through the same hole from the day before.
Alfred looked at him a while longer before stretching out and taking the plate, silently starting to eat. Feeling somewhat awkward and misplaced, the Queen cleared his throat.
"You're in a pissy mood." No reaction from Alfred. This disappointed the Queen greatly, for some reason. "I... I went to see your brother today." He tried, knowing he'd hit the jackpot when Alfred's head turned upwards fast.
"M-Matthew?" he spluttered, choking on a piece of food that he'd swallowed wrong. "Y-You went to see him?" his gaze was distrustful although his tone was hopeful.
"I told you I would, didn't I?" the Queen raised a brow, crossing his arms. "I can't believe you didn't trust me."
"You locked me up in a cell without a valid reason, or any reason at all, really. I don't feel like trusting you much." The blond huffed back.
"The faith you put in me is astounding." The older blond rolled his eyes.
"I just told you I didn't trust you." The prisoner repeated, obviously having missed the sarcasm in the Queen's words. The latter got the reflex to smack his face with his palm, but barely retained himself and let it slip.
"Anyways. Don't you want to know how your brother was?" that seemed to catch Alfred's attention, as he left his food alone for a moment in favour of looking at the Queen. "He was doing fine." He continued once he had the other's attention. "Worried about you, most obviously, and confused. But otherwise dealing well."
"Did you tell him I was alright?" Alfred interjected quickly, gaze shining, practically begging.
"I did. And I told him you'd be out in six days." The Queen confirmed.
"Six days? Really? I'm gonna be free in six days?" Alfred asked, letting a wide grin bleed onto his radiant face.
And the Queen's heart ached, for he couldn't tell Alfred that he didn't know in what condition he'd be out. He just knew that something was going to happen in six days, and that it was something big.
"Yes, you'll be out in six days, I promise." He whispered, turning around and starting to walk away so he wouldn't have to explain the guilt in his eyes to Alfred. Instead, he only mumbled to himself when he was far enough, "Be it in a body bag or with the kingdom at your feet".
Like all my other stories, the first chapter is a complete turn-off from the story. I do promise it gets good, though :D
Also, let me just warn you that I'm going a bit trigger-happy with timeskips in this story xD Just cause I wanna skip the mundane things of everyday life.
For those of you who read 'Beautiful Nightmare', first of all, let me say: your support was astounding. You guys are really amazing, thank you so much for reading and reviewing! I just hope you'll enjoy this story as well (: Second of all: This story is going to be very axed on the development of Alfred's and Arthur's bond, and like any other story, will have its ups and downs. Unlike 'Beautiful Nightmare', though, their relationship won't be dark or twisted, or unhealthy. Which means that this story is going to have relatively less psychological depth to it.
Anyways, I will stop blabbing now. I hope the start was okay for you guys. I promise it gets much better :D Well then... as usual, I will now proceed to getting on my knees and begging you for reviews! *gets on knees and begs for reviews* Onwards, cheers to a brand new story!