The alliance was forming today.
The important alliance Alfor’s father had been talking about for phoebs now. The one including leaders and warriors and protecting the entire system. The one Alfor was joining- despite his protests and despite his stark inability to both lead and fight.
“Chin up, Alfor!” Coran said brightly, as Alfor tried to give himself some sort of threatening aura or something in the mirror. “It’s a great honour that your father’s chosen you for the task! He could have chosen your sister just as easily!”
“He should have chosen my sister,” muttered Alfor, tugging at his collar.
“All the others will be in the same ship!” Coran encouraged.
“The one falling out of the sky?” Alfor clarified. “And you can’t prove that. The others will probably be- well, they won’t be up-and-coming alchemists, for one, they’ll be soldiers and leaders, remember?”
“But they’ll need a good alchemist!” Coran chirped.
Alfor gave his best friend an exasperated look. “Coran, I’m not a good alchemist.”
“Yes, you are!” the other countered. “Remember, you made me that whatchamacallit that broke me out of my phase. And you made that magic thingamabobble for Fala-”
Alfor’s cheeks heated up. “It wasn’t magic-“
Coran waves him off. “These guys will love ya! Just don’t forget your old buddy Coran.”
“How could anyone forget you?” Alfor laughed. He sobered and glanced away. “I just hope I don’t mess this up. Father has been working for this alliance for forever it feels like.”
“If anyone can handle it, you can,” Coran assured him, laying a hand on Alfor’s shoulder. “And don’t worry. I’ll be there for support, and I took the liberty of inviting Fala-“
“What?” yelped Alfor, jumping away from his friend. “You invited Fala?”
“Yes?” said Coran. “You like her, don’t you?”
“Yes, but- but she doesn’t- I can’t let her see me fall on my face like this!” Alfor lamented. He dropped his head in defeat. “Now not only am I ruining Father’s important alliance, I’ll be making a fool of myself in front of Fala.”
Coran rolled his eyes and gave him a pointed look. “You’ll be fine, Alfor- as long as you quit glowering at the mirror like that.”
Alfor sighed and turned around, trying to give himself some sort of confident, leader-like posture as he did. Coran gave him a large grin and held out his thumbs. Alfor stared at him.
“What are you doing?” he asked warily.
“I think it’ll be all the rage!” said Coran brightly. “I call it the hold-your-thumb-upwards-for-encouragement gesture!”
“Maybe shorten that to, like, thumbs up,” chuckled Alfor. “Well. Here goes nothing.”
Alfor was really quite glad the ceremony of the alliance was being held in a familiar place. Getting lost in his own home would be quite a feat, and even he couldn’t manage that.
There were a lot of people in the crowd. Alfor ended up in the middle, with four other people who must have been the other four in the alliance. He caught sight of Coran and Fala nearby, and almost waved to them before he realised that this wasn’t the proper time for that. Fala caught him looking and offered a little smile and a wave, and Coran gave him that thumbs-up gesture again.
“So,” said the Galra, towering rather formally over Alfor. Actually, Alfor was definitely the shortest of them all, much to his chagrin. “You must be Prince Alfor of Altea.”
They recognised him, which he supposed was good, except he didn’t really recognise them.
“And you must be…?” he said awkwardly.
“Emperor Zarkon of Daibazaal,” the Galra said primly, as if Alfor should have recognised him right away.
“Hey,” said the Nalquodian, shooting Alfor a smile. “I’m Blaytz, good to meet you!”
“Um, you too,” said Alfor.
“I’m Gyrgan,” said the Rygnirathan, “of Rygnirath. It is a pleasure, Prince Alfor.”
“I am Trigel of the Dalterion Belt,” said the lady, inclining her head. “Your father did inform us that he would be sending you in his stead.”
Alfor tried to keep his smile plastered onto his face, even though he felt rather like panicking.
These were the leader-leaders of their worlds. Emperors and rulers. They were probably expecting his father, but instead got the alchemist prince who couldn’t fight to save his life.
So much for being on the same ship.
“Oh, um, it’s a pleasure to meet you as well, esteemed, um, colleagues?” Alfor mentally winced even as he said it. Colleagues? Really? Alfor was only a prince- they weren’t colleagues-
“Indeed,” said Emperor Zarkon, an almost unnoticeable smile forming. “I look forward to working with you, and all my other… colleagues.”
Then he held out a hand. Alfor stared at it for a moment, before quickly reaching out and grasping the other’s arms. Another moment passed, and Emperor Zarkon released his arm. Alfor was thrilled- he hadn’t messed it up.
He hadn’t messed it up!
“Let it be known,” said Emperor Zarkon regally and loudly, “that henceforth, our system is protected and defended by the greatest warriors in the galaxy. Our alliance shall stand as a symbol and defender of peace and unity.”
The rest of the room applauded, but Alfor gave the others of the alliance an uneasy look.
They had to be aware that he wasn’t a fighter, right? Surely his father wouldn’t have left that important piece of information out.
Blaytz of Nalquod slapped a hand onto Alfor’s shoulder, nearly bowling him over.
“Ready to defend the system, princey?” he asked jovially, voice lower than the cheers but still loud enough for Alfor to hear.
Alfor laughed awkwardly. “Oh, yeah. Yeah. You have- you have no idea.”