The banquet was exquisite, nothing short of perfect. Not that he should have expected less. After all, it was his wedding night, and with Celendine of all people. He was the emperor of Parthevia. He? The son of a one-legged fisherman from Tison? It was still sinking in.
Celendine had been the one to suggest a political marriage. It would let her take back her country and see her brother as well as give Sinbad a shortcut to the throne of a powerful nation. She had even taken his disinterest in settling down into account when she proposed that he could have as many concubines as he wanted, as this was only political. No emotions involved.
Upon their arrival, Barbarossa had surprisingly accepted their proposal. He let Sinbad and Celendine take back the throne, but in exchange, they’d pardon his actions, which their group had decided to agree to. Anything to avoid unnecessary wars and deaths.
Speaking of the devil. Sinbad hadn’t seen Barbarossa all night. He looked around the room once more, not seeing the tall green-head. He glanced towards his goblet, only to find it empty, just his luck.
He loosened the ribbon around his neck. Heavy. The clothes of an emperor were far heavier than he thought they’d be. Celendine had said he could continue his travels, making more allies along the way, but these would definitely not be the clothes he did it in.
His wine goblet was empty and it wouldn’t be long before he’d be bombarded with questions. Ah, he was not drunk enough to deal with the questions coming his way. He reached over and tugged a little at one of Celen’s Kobi-pink locks, causing his wife to look at him with a questioning look.
“Yes, Sinbad?” She said, tilting her pretty face to the side. He continued twirling the short, pink lock between his fingers.
“I don’t think I’m drunk enough to deal with whatever questions those guys are gonna ask me. So, I’ll excuse myself.” He said, standing up from his seat. The crown gave him a good few inches, which really helped when dealing with nobles who still didn’t accept him as their emperor. Sinbad swore that a person's height really mattered in politics. No one takes short people seriously.
“It can’t be that bad?” She said, looking towards the noblemen that left her husband anxious about staying in the room any longer, “You know, on second thought. Go, I’ll cover for you.” She smiled at him. Sinbad knew he was lucky, having married a woman, who understood him and his struggles so well.
“Thank you!” He hurried out of the dinning hall and down the corridor, his long, heavy robes trailing him. Sinbad had yet to get used to the new way of walking, balancing the crown on his head. He pulled at the ribbon again, loosening it. It was too hot. Too heavy. He needed to get outside. He hurried down the hall and out onto the big balcony. He could see the entirety of Csitephon from here, and what a beautiful sight it was. Sinbad leaned against the railing, watching the city and all the pretty lights from the bonfire and different torches lining the steets, burning in celebration of his and Celendine’s marriage. He let out a sigh.
“Should have brought some wine…” He groaned, closing his eyes for a bit.
“The groom shouldn’t be groaning on his wedding night. Though I can’t say I didn’t complain about my own wedding” A familiar voice said, chuckling behind him. Sinbad turned around, standing face to face with Rashid. A smile made its way onto the emperor’s face.
“Your majesty.” He was about to bow, but Rashid shook his head.
“You’re an emperor, Sinbad. Don’t bow to me. It looks like you’re about to drop the crown?” The king chuckled and Sinbad quickly grabbed onto the headdress.
“I swear, it’s a lot harder than it looks! Wearing a crown.” He sighed and stood straight, letting go when he felt the crown was stable on his head. The king laughed, and soon Sinbad did too.
“I could go for another goblet of wine. Or a pitcher…” The teenage emperor sighed, looking to his friend. Rashid’s smile faded, watching his young friend.
“Aren’t you drinking a lot more lately? Are you okay?”
“Hmm?” Sinbad jolted a little, watching the king next to him. Was he okay? Okay? What did that even mean? What did it mean to be okay? He let out a sigh, and rested his head in his hands, watching the beautiful city beneath. “I don’t know anymore… I don’t remember what it feels like to be ‘okay’. Am I asking for too much? Shouldn’t I automatically be okay? I’m the emperor of my home country. I can change it now, yet here I am…” he let out another sigh, before Rashid’s hand wrapped around his wrist and he was pulled into a warm embrace. And embrace similar to-
Sinbad pushed the king away. He was trembling, shaking, his breaths came hard and he could feel his eyes start to sting. They stood like that for a while. Rashid, speechless and Sinbad, on the verge of a panic attack.
“I… I’m sorry… I...” He stuttered. He did it again. He pushed someone important to him away. He did it again. He did it again. He did it again. He grabbed at his own hair, his knees giving away beneath him. He dropped the crown, not even looking as it rolled away from him.
Rashid was there instantly, arms around him. He stroked his back, comforting the mess he had become. The mess she had created. That she had left him in. He was clinging to the king, as he slowly calmed in his arms.
He could hear heavy steps approach them. The sound of armour hitting the stone floor. He didn’t dare look up. Hands pulling at bossanova locks, as he tried to catch his breath. The steps stopped and a series of metallic sounds followed along with a voice Sinbad was starting to grow familiar with.
“Has his majesty had too much to drink?” the man chuckled in a low, husky tone.
“Yes, it seems so, lieutenant.” Rashid replied, stroking Sinbad hair. Sinbad looked up, met by the sight of the tall, green haired lieutenant, Barbarossa. Drakon’s brother and Celen’s former fiancé. He was holding the young emperor’s crown in his hands. Sinbad watched the man tower over him. To his surprise, the lieutenant extended his hand to him. It was big. His fingers were long, nails were well kept, and the skin was thick, thick like his own, like any man having done a life worth of hard work. It took a little longer than he meant it to, but he took the hand in his and let the older man lead him back onto his feet, and then place the heavy crown back on his head again.
“I shall escort his majesty back to his bed then.” The nobleman’s smile made Sinbad’s heart skip a beat. Something about the lieutenant had caused him to lower his guard, despite knowing it was too early to trust the man who had tried to kill him, his friends and his wife. Too early to believe he didn’t have some secret agenda hidden behind those golden eyes. Those eyes that reminded the young ruler of the first dungeon, of Baal, of the dragon he defeated before heading onto conquering the dungeon.
Rashid nodded and got back up as well, leaving the young emperor in the care of the Parthevian Lieutenant. Sinbad turned his gaze from his friend and mentor towards the man who gave him the crown he now wore as he ruled one of the world’s greatest empires. At least, that’s how the other referred to the nation Sinbad was now answering to once again, but this time, not as the son of the ‘traitor’ Badr, but as the emperor, the ruler, the head of the country. Those were all words Barbarossa had used when talking about him. They scared him, those words. They sent chills down his spine and left him feeling so fragile, yet so powerful all at once, and oh how he loved that rush. Barbarossa wasn’t trustworthy yet. At least not fully, but the man knew how to use his words to win over the young emperor.
Chapter 2: Chapter 2
Continueing from where we left off last time, with Barb bringing Sinbad to the latters bedchambers and things get a little out of hand.
“Considering They were drunk enough to collapse like that earlier, They’re walking incredibly steadily, Their majesty.” The lieutenant chuckled softly, his strong hand firmly on Sinbad’s shoulder to support him, support he didn’t need. Sinbad didn’t want to tell Barbarossa about his panic attack, that wouldn’t look good and he didn’t trust the man, at least not yet. So it was an easy choice to play along with the excuse Rashid had given him.
“I am an amazing drunk, good sir. I can walk on my own.” He chuckled and glanced up at the taller man, trying to wiggle out of his grip, but the lieutenant wasn’t about to let him go that easily it seemed, as his grip became a little tighter.
“Their majesty, I cannot risk letting Them fall again, so please bear with me till we are at Their chambers?” That smile. Sinbad could feel his knees go weak at just the sight of that smile and knowing that it was directed at him. Lady Killer of the Seven Seas, Celen had called him that, and yet here he was, being strung along by Barbarossa of all people. What a joke.
The candles illuminating the long corridors flickered eagerly as they passed. Barbarossa’s steps were almost in sync with Sinbad’s own. Sinbad could tell it was purposefully, as every once in a while, a step wouldn’t match, and Sinbad would have to take two fast ones to not faceplant on the marble floor. When he was first shown around, he kept falling behind and the lieutenant kept teasing him for it, pointing out his short stature. It couldn’t be helped though. Sinbad was rather short for a Parthevian his age after all.
“They’re getting better at wearing the crown, I see? I suppose the hard practice was worth it in the end.” The soldier mused, golden eyes glancing towards the emperor. Sinbad felt his heart skip a beat, but quickly found his composure again. Even with the crown, he was still shorter than Barbarossa. He glanced to him briefly before looking straight ahead.
“It’s a lot harder than I thought it’d be. It’s really heavy!” Sinbad sighed and adjusted his crown a little. Barbarossa chuckled, stopping up in front of Sinbad’s bedchambers. The emperor brought out his golden key, the handle was highly detailed, the bow, made up of two lines bending around each other and a ruby placed in the middle, there were small carvings into the gold. Along the shoulder, it had the word ‘King’s Key’ written in Parthevian, carved into it. The cut itself was very intricate and unique in its appearance. Sinbad had seen similar designs in Heliohapt. He unlocked the door, entering the dark bedroom he had yet to get used to. Barbarossa began walking around the dark, lighting the many candles and oil lamps.
“Please sit down on the bed, Their majesty, I’ll be with Them shortly.” His voice was so pleasant, so calming and Sinbad thoroughly enjoyed listening to his speak. He nodded and sat down on the soft, silk covered bed, probably imported from Kou, he thought, before putting the crown on the nightstand. He loosened the ribbon around his neck again and let his eyes follow Barbarossa as he lit up the room.
There were a lot of rules, Sinbad was not fond of, and one of those was the rule that dictated he could not dress or undress himself. Barbarossa had laughed at him, and said that when he had the time, he could change the law himself and fix it to his liking, but that he might want to wait until he has made some changes for the people first. He sat there on the bed, waiting for the soldier to return to him.
The clanking sound of the armor against the stone floor suddenly stop and Sinbad shuddered. A large hand fell upon his shoulder and Barbarossa walked to the other side of the bed, kneeling down before him. He gave him such a handsome smile and began to undo the ribbon around his neck. He helped him out of the heavy outer robe and placed it on the stool at the foot of the bed. Sinbad watched him closely.
“Forgive me, Their majesty, but may I ask a question?” The lieutenant looked up briefly, before returning to his task. Sinbad nodded, watching him closely. Those golden eyes. He felt his heart starting to race.
“They are not really drunk, are They?” The question surprised the young emperor and he blinked his eyes a few times, but he once again, quickly regained his composure.
“That is none of your business, Barbarossa.” He retorted, not fond of the other man’s accusation, despite how true it was. Sinbad had only had a single cup of wine, so at most, he was a little tipsy, but far from drunk enough to collapse or need support to walk.
The soldier nodded and continued undressing his emperor. Sinbad wasn’t one to get embarrassed from by his body being exposed. After all, he spent a long time in the Valley of the Dead with Mystras and Ja’far, completely naked, except for a single leaf. But for some reason, which he didn’t understand, being undressed by Barbarossa like this was getting to him.
“I suppose They are right.” The lieutenant concluded and finished his undressing of his emperor, putting the clothes on the stool. He picked up the younger man’s nightgown and dressed him in it. Sinbad watched the man closely, as his hands moved to undo his hair, letting it down. Not only the ponytail, but also his braided bangs. The soldier picked up a hairbrush, and gently let it travel through the emperor’s soft, bossanova locks.
It felt nice, having Barbarossa brush his hair like this. He closed his eyes and let himself enjoy the feeling. The brush eventually returned to the dresser and Sinbad laid down on the soft bed, sinking ever so slightly into the mattress, resting his head on the soft pillows. He opened his amber eyes again and rested his gaze upon Barbarossa’s face. The lieutenant smiled and walked off to the blow out the candles.
Sinbad’s gaze travelled to the curtains of his canopy bed. He had yet to draw them once. “Barbarossa?” The nobleman turned towards him and walked over to his side, kneeling down.
“Yes, Their majesty?” He asked, watching him. He spoke softly and his voice made butterflies flutter in Sinbad’s stomach.
“What are tomorrow’s arrangements?” Sinbad’s voice sounded more tired than he thought he was, but he could feel the panic attack taking its toll on him.
“As things stand now, there is morning exercises at 7:30 till 9 o’clock. Then there is breakfast from 9 till 10:30. Paperwork till half past one in the afternoon, then its lunch, and then They should have some free time until dinner at 7 o’clock in the evening.” He smiled at his emperor, and Sinbad nodded.
“I see. Thank you, Barbarossa” The young emperor reached out his hand and let his slim, yet rough fingers travel through the other’s green locks, only noticing too late what he was doing, after which, he quickly retracted his hand and apologized, cheeks ever so red with embarrassment. Barbarossa chuckled softly and moved closer.
“Does his majesty like me, I wonder~?” he teased and stroked the embarrassed teen’s hair. Sinbad averted his face and didn’t answer. Barbarossa’s gaze fell on the bruises still apparent on the other’s neck. When Sinbad felt Barbarossa’s warm lips against his bruised neck, his heart skipped a beat and he shivered from the feeling, not stopping the older man.
Time seemed to stand still, so when Barbarossa pulled away, it felt like it had been so long, and yet the moment felt so painfully brief. Sinbad turned his head to face him, cheeks still red with embarrassment.
“That… That felt nice…” He confessed, incredibly embarrassed by all of this, but he didn’t want to lie and risk not feeling that again, those lips against his skin. Barbarossa smiled softly and stroked his hair before getting up.
“I can imagine.” He chuckled and bowed to Sinbad before turning to leave. “Goodnight, Their majesty.” He smiled, about to blow out the candle.
“’Sinbad’ is fine.” The young emperor watched the man, who’s features seemed to retract into a menacing grin, but as he blinked, Barbarossa’s face bore a gentle, caring smile and Sinbad concluded it was just the light of the candle messing with him.
“Understood. Very well, goodnight Sinbad.” He said and blew out the candle, before then leaving the room and closing the door behind him.
“Goodnight, Barbarossa.” Sinbad said, as the darkness engulfed him and he was left all alone.