Chapter 1: Your Highness!
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Antero walked into Octavius’s chamber and stared at the prince who was struggling to decide what to wear.

When Octavius saw Antero he said, “I have nothing to wear.”

Antero stared at him blankly and said, “You have over two hundred items of clothing made by the finest tailors, how is it possible that you have nothing to wear?”

Octavius walked over to his bed and flopped down. Looking up at the finely crafted ceiling, he sighed, “That’s it, I am not going.”

Antero rubbed his temples and walked over to the cupboard and scanned the items. He pulled out black jeans and a white shirt. He bent down and took out a pair of white sneakers then reached over and pulled a black and white jacket out of the cupboard. He went to the drawers and took out a pair of white socks.

He walked over to the bed and chucked the clothes at Octavius and said, “Don’t be a coward, I already arranged and paid for the park to be secretly closed, don’t waste the citizen’s tax money.”

Octavius glared at him as he sat up and asked, “How am I going to hide with a face like this?”

Antero reached into his pocket and threw a packet of black face masks at him and said, “You have thirty minutes to get ready, I will be outside waiting for you.”

Octavius stared at Antero’s retreating back and mumbled, “You always have an answer for everything!”

*

Octavius looked at himself in the mirror and said, “You can do this, you’ve been waiting to meet him for over a year now.”

After he made up his mind, he nodded his head and left his room. On his way out, he bumped into the head maid who bowed and said, “Your highness, your father wishes to speak to you.”

Octavius stared down at her and sighed, he looked down at the watch on his wrist and said, “Later, I’m leaving,” he barely had much time left and if he stayed any longer here, he would end up changing his mind.

“But your highness, the king?” She wanted to speak but he stalked out of the palace.

The head maid made her way to the king’s study and bowed, “Your majesty, Prince Octavius has a prior engagement and left before I could speak to him.”

King Demetrius turned his attention to his wife who was standing not too far from them and asked, “Do you know of this?”

She shook her head and said, “No, but I do know that he has kept his schedule open the entire day for some reason. When I asked, I was given silence as usual.”

Crown Prince Linus shook his head and said, “I do not understand why you two bother talking to him when you know how he is. Just leave him be.”

“Your brother is already twenty-seven years of age, when is he going to grow up?” The king asked.

“Your Majesty if I may, our son has never asked anything of us because our expectations have been in the Crown Prince and his older siblings, with Octavius being the middle child, he has made peace with him being a shadow. I think we should do something for him that would make him smile… It’s been years since I’ve seen my son smile.” The queen explained as she felt sad, as much as she tried to spend time with him, her duties and him pushing her away, got in the way of everything.

The king sighed and said, “I agree but what can we do?”

“Isn’t brother’s birthday coming up soon? How about we spend the day together away from the palace and our duties to the kingdom?” Prince Felix suggested.

*

“Urgh! This is so heavy,” Omari complained, carrying bags of food to the park.

He noticed that it was strangely quiet with only a few men and women in the park that were playing soccer.

He made his way to the centre of the park where the picnic benches were and sighed heavily when he placed everything down.

He sat down on the chair and looked up at the sky feeling refreshed. It may not look like it on the outside but he was particularly nervous.

Today he was finally meeting the person he met online on a gay dating app but he never saw this man’s face and with all these men here, he could only guess who his boyfriend was.

He took out his phone from his back pocket and scrolled through it. He texted a number telling them that he was here and the receiver texted back that he would be there soon.

Reading the message he grew extremely nervous and bowed his head looking at shoes, ‘What if he is some old man ready to kidnap me or sell my organs on the black market?’ He thought.

In the parking lot, Octavius was bent over feeling sick. Antero hit his back as he observed the surroundings and said, “You are a pathetic excuse for a prince, your highness.”

Octavius stood up and pointed his finger at Antero’s nose and said, “I swear I’ll get you beheaded.”

Antero smirked, “Now that you are feeling better, how about we go meet up with Omari?”

Octavius looked like he was about to cry and hugged Antero, “I don’t want to, I’m scared.”

“Scared of what? You’ve been flirting with him for so long and now you want to chicken out? Urgh, why do I have to serve under someone like you?” Antero complained and started walking leaving Octavius behind.

“What do you mean?” Octavius asked as he chased behind him.

“Oh nothing, if I had a choice I would have preferred serving under the Crown Prince or even prince Felix. Here I am stuck with a grown child who does not know what he wants to do with his life and still has everything,” Antero taunted him.

Octavius glared at his back and said, “I swear if it wasn’t because we are best friends, you wouldn’t have dared to say that to me.”

Antero stopped walking and turned to him, with a smile on his face he said, “And I always do things for your sake, here we are.”

“What?” Octavius asked, confused and saw the person sitting at a picnic bench with his hands covering his face.

Antero handed Octavius his phone back and said, “He seems to be nervous just as you are, how about you meet with him while I make sure no one followed us.”

He left Octavius to stand there and walked away. He reached the top of the staircase and narrowed his eyes as he saw Octavius finally making his way towards the table then smiled as he thought, ‘I hope this works out.’

Octavius sat down opposite Omari who did not know he was there and just stared at him. He closed his eyes as everyone stopped what they were doing and looked at them.

“Hi,” Octavius greeted as he opened his eyes.

Omari snapped out of his thoughts and sat up frightened and looked at the man before him. It was awkward for a moment until Omari asked, unsure, “Ezra?”

Octavius chuckled and nodded his head, “Yes and no.”

Omari stared at him waiting for him to answer but there was nothing. Omari chuckled and asked, “Are you going to kidnap me and sell my organs?”

“Why would I do that?” Octavius asked him confused.

Omari shook his head nervously and said, “It’s nothing, I’ve been thinking too much.”

Octavius looked at the packets and asked, “I see you brought us something to eat, what is it?”

Omari looked at the packets and smirked, “Well, everything I told you I’d buy since you live under a rock and have yet to try it.”

He stood up and started unpacking the bags. He placed the bowls in front of Octavius, lining them up in two rows and handed him chopsticks. He sat down and opened all the lids and said, “Here we have fried shrimp, fried octopus, tuna salad, pork stew, beef stew, fried chicken, fried pork skins, tonkatsu, mutton curry and finally a bowl of fermented garlic to wash the palate.”

Octavius chuckled and said, “Now I feel guilty, I made you pay for all of this.”

Omari cocked a brow, “Oh please, I can afford it, so I will pay.”

Octavius nodded his head and said, “Just promise me that you will let me pay next time.”

Omari nodded his head while breaking the chopsticks and said, “Aren’t you going to eat?”

“Mn,” he hummed and watched as Omari picked up shrimp and ate it. He hesitantly reached over and grabbed a shrimp pulling down his mask.

Omari was still in his own world when he reached over and picked up a garlic clove and looked over at Ezra who seemed reluctant to eat.

As he put the garlic clove into his mouth, it registered what he was seeing and suddenly started choking and began coughing frantically. He stood up while hitting his chest that was burning.

Octavius quickly stood up and went up to him but Omari held his hand out for him to not approach him while still coughing.

“Why are you choking?” Octavius asked worriedly and all Omari could do was shake his head.

Antero came running over after seeing what happened and snaked his arms around Omari’s waist doing three Heimlich manoeuvres forcing the garlic clove out that landed at Octavius’s feet.

Omari dropped to the ground and turned back to see who it was that saved him and instantly dreaded seeing Antero’s poker face.

He raised his head and looked at Octavius who stood beside Antero and asked, “Your Highness, are you Ezra?”

Octavius nodded his head, “I’m sorry you had to find out like this, are you okay?”

Omari immediately paled and said, “I’ve been secretly dating the fourth prince, oh fuck what have I done?”

Octavius grew scared and knelt down, he cupped Omari’s face and said, “Look at me, you did nothing. This is all on me okay.”

Omari looked at him and saw the frightened look on his face and was confused, “What do you mean?”

Octavius exhaled and said, “Let’s eat and talk about this okay? I want to explain everything to you.”

Omari nodded his head slowly and stood up with the help of Octavius. Octavius leads him by the hand to the table and the minute he sat down, Omari ran away surprising him. Octavius looked at Antero for help but the fool said, “Oh I saved his life already, I’m not chasing after him.”

Octavius stood up and ran after Omari who was too slow for him. He grabbed him by the arm and asked, “Why are you running away now?”

“Your father is going to kill me if he finds out, what do you mean?” Omari asked him.

“What about all that we’ve been through?” Octavius asked him. “I thought you said you loved me, why else would I have risked my safety to come out and meet you?”

Omari looked up into his eyes and saw the sadness, he felt ashamed for running away but it was only instinct, “I do love you but I love Ezra not the fourth prince of Saule Lec.”

“What is the difference between the two? If you want, you can call me Ezra, I do not mind,” Octavius begged him.

Omari felt that he could go limp anytime soon and shook his head, looking into Octavius’s eyes he asked, “Are you really gay?”

Octavius took in a shuddering breath and nodded his head, “Yes I am and no one knows besides Antero and my personal guards, them being the only people here with us.”

Omari looked around and it all clicked, he turned back to Octavius and asked, “So this is why it seemed strange that it was empty today, what did you do?”

Octavius chuckled, shaking his head he answered, “It’s not what I did but what Antero did, to be honest with you, I wouldn’t even have had the courage to speak to you if it wasn’t for him downloading the app and messaging you on my behalf, I only started speaking to you when I got that message from you about your cat that died.”

Omari turned and glared at Antero and said, “He has a poker face, just like he does on the t.v.”

Octavius nodded in agreement, “True, I need to behead him.”

Omari didn’t answer, this prince said those words too easily.

“Won’t you stay and hear me out?” Octavius asked him.

Omari stared into his eyes reluctantly and as if knowing that he would say no, Octavius wrapped his arm around Omari’s shoulder and dragged him back to the table saying, “You did promise that you would let me pay for the next meal, now sit and let’s eat!”

Octavius sat down opposite him and said as he pointed his chopsticks at him, “I will behead you too if you run away again.”

“You are not allowed to behead anyone!” Omari hissed at him.

“Is that any way to talk to your boyfriend?” Octavius asked him and Omari immediately went silent and blushed.

Octavius smirked and took the bowl of tuna and mumbled, “You are pretty cute when you blush.”

Omari’s eyes snapped over to him and asked, “Who are you calling cute?”

“Oh I didn’t say anything like that,” Octavius answered seriously.

Omari rolled his eyes and said as he ate from the shrimp, “Start explaining yourself.”

Octavius stared at him briefly then sat up straight and started, “I was never attracted to any man or woman growing up until I watched porn one day.”

Omari stared at the prince before him dumbfounded, who knew that someone who should be prim and proper actually did such things.

Octavius couldn’t hide his smile and said, “Don’t look at me like that, I still watch porn till today.”

“I didn’t say anything,” Omari defended himself.

Octavius gave him a knowing look and continued, “So while watching porn I found myself on a video of two men doing it in a nightclub and I just couldn’t stop watching it. So as a man, I reacted as I should and continued on watching gay porn until I was caught masturbating by Antero who lectured my ear off. He threatened to take my phone from me and when he did, he saw what I was watching and then I became the silent prince everyone adores.”

“Is that really why you went mute?” Omari asked, surprised.

Octavius chuckled and shook his head, “No, I’ve always been silent as a child because I was ignored. It’s only once I finished school and was given the mines to oversee that my parents started paying attention to me and this is years after I found out that I am interested in men.”

“So you’ve never dated another man before?” Omari asked.

“You are my first,” Octavius said with a shake of his head.

Omari was secretly happy but didn’t let it show, or at least that’s what he thought. From where Octavius was sitting, he could see how happy Omari was to hear that he was his first.

“But there are many females interested in you and the kingdom is talking about you possibly marrying soon,” Omari suddenly said with a frown on his face.

Octavius frowned too as he chewed on the tuna and said, “That is the gossip I have been hearing too in the palace but it is not official. I was furious at Antero for contacting you but relieved at the same time. Whenever I wake up, the first one I get to speak to is you and the same at night. You made me want to be with someone and after a year of being official online, do you see yourself being official with me now in real life?”

Omari stared at him and asked, “Do you plan on introducing me to your family?”

Octavius nodded slowly, “Yes but I want to work on us first. Truth be told, I cannot fight for a relationship I have yet to experience so once I can fully commit myself to you, then I’d like to meet your parents and introduce you to mine.”

“So you are serious about us?” Omari asked.

Octavius nodded his head, “Yes and from now on, we’ll be video calling with you seeing my face and not just below my neck and my voice.”

“That’s the last of our problems,” Omari mumbled.

Episode 1 of the webtoon can be found through the link on my message board.

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