“I haven’t even seen King Lulouis but he’s got to be hopping mad about last night,” said Spentiff the clerk over his morning breakfast at the diner.
“Both the princes are in hot water, so no kidding. What the hell is that kid’s deal anyway?” wondered Banonono the greengrocer.
“He’s just being annoying for the hell of it, little brat,” grumbled old lady Loleth from another table, before she went back to sipping her morning milkshake.
“I think he just wants the festival to happen,” Flake the cook called from the kitchen across the counter.
Loleth almost spewed shake from her nose. Slamming her palm on the table, she sputtered, “I-it’s blackmail!”
“More importantly, why does this kid care more about the festival than we do!? Enough to go against King Lulouis. Anyone smart would have ducked their head down with the reward an all,” Spentiff grumbled.
Leaning back in his seat, Banonono mumbled, “He’s just doing what he wants, I guess.” Looking about, he wondered, “What do we want?”
BAM. The door clattered opened, Prince Alliant poking his head through, his normally prim hair unkept as though brought through the wind, his expression hectic rather than refined. Not finding what he was looking for, he left without so much as a word.
Storming through the city streets, Alliant acted as though a flash of red and neon green would fly out of the alleyways like a firework, creeping around corners like a cat.
Rico, what is wrong with you? I can’t figure your game at all! Alliant battled mentally. Rico had seemed like an honest sort after all, but now he was an...outlaw. Allaint flinched at the realization, thinking back to his conversation with the young man on the day they met, Alliant opening up about his concerns for the island. Rico was possessed by the powers of the devil, so...Alliant had made a deal with him? Alliant didn’t even offer him anything! And more importantly…
“This is...my fault?” the young prince moaned.
“I can’t sleep at night! How can you have failed, even knowing where he’d strike!” Lulouis wailed, fist pounding on the armrest of his throne.
“Father, there was no guarantee he would strike from the lake yet again, but this time there will be no mistake! Rico will be captured!” Petre promised.
“If so much as one firework goes off I’ll-” Lulouis began, before erupting into a coughing fit. As he hacked away, Petre waited in complete stillness until his father calmed down, breathing heavily. “I’m retiring to my quarters for a short while. Deal with this devil boy!”
Atop his trusted mount, Prince Petre and his men circled the lake, just as before. This time, the sun was still sinking, the rowboat Rico had used flipped upside down and kept right behind Petre. The King had been restless for two years, but Petre would still do all he could to give the man something close to a peaceful night.
Within an hour of the sun setting, there was a brusque cry from the edge of the clearing. “Aw dang, you guys aren’t gonna make this easy for me, huh?” Moving after the voice, Petre stopped as he saw a rather haggard looking Rico, the boy doubled over, leaves and twigs jammed into his hair and clothes.
“...Were you out here all night?”
“Y-yeah! And until that festival starts, I’ve got a fireworks show to put on!” Rico declared.
Petre studied the boy, shaking his head. “If you surrender, I’ll request amnesty.” His men balked at the claim, many of them already having their weapons out.
“I am hungry enough to wonder how amnesty tastes, but no thanks. I can’t do that.”
Petre growled, “You may be a simple fool and a devil of chaos, but there’s no reason that you’d come right at us like this it you truly meant harm! This lake is the only spot on the island you can shoot your fireworks without starting a wildfire, is it not?”
Rico crossed his arms over his chest. “Welp, got me there. Kinda hard to host a festival if the smoke is from a burning field and not tasty barbecue.” Pulling his leg back and raising a fist, Rico took a fighting stance, as two men charged forward with the blunt edges of their blades. Their blades whiffing through Rico’s body with a scattering of fizzling sparks, the young man smiled. “Too bad for you: once a firework has started, you can’t stop it.”
Despite himself, Petre gave a wide smile. “I thought you were a thoughtless oaf, but there’s something about you I can’t hate.”
“Sir, hold on!” called one of the knights, interrupting the mounting battle. Petre followed the pointed hand of one of his subordinates, aiming right back to the capitol city, the buildings alight with far too much noise and merriment. Realization dawned on all: “They’ve started the festival against the King’s demands!”
The knights chattered amongst one another, but they were quickly silenced. “LET’S FUCKING GOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” Rico cheered, dropped down to his knees, his cry piercing the night. He flopped down to the ground, giving Petre’s knights a moment to discuss things among themselves.
Quieting his men, Rico sat up suddenly, a dour expression on his face. “Aw hell. I can’t take part if I’m an outlaw, huh?”
“You just realized that!?” gasped one of the knights.
With a smile, Rico hopped to his feet, staggering slightly in his fatigue. “Oh well, can’t go back now, not after such a cool line.”
Petre chortled. “I cannot fall back either. We’ve received orders to deal with you as we see fit, but there have been no such orders to quell the joy of the citizens. You’re quite crafty, to plan this far ahead.”
“No, I wasn’t kidding, I just wanna party,” Rico whined. “I’m so hungry I could eat your horse.” Pillbox the Bright’s long jaw dropped and his eyes shot open in fear, snot dripping from his nostril.
Petre didn’t balk, raising his hand in command. “FIND THE LIMIT OF THIS BOY’S DEVIL POWERS AND BRING HIM IN!”
“BRING IT OOOONNNNN!”