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Zapp was pissed off. It was obvious the way he was stomping his way down the hallway; a cigar between his teeth and his hands curled into fists. He was not having it after what he had heard.

The more he replayed the conversation in his head, the more he wanted to break something. That does it! The whole estate was losing their goddamn minds! How can they….no.

How can that damn prince just decide something like that!?

--

Hours ago

It was morning and Zapp was already tired. He wondered if he can grab some food from the main kitchen before breakfast. As he rubbed the back of his head, he looked out of the huge window. “Another day, huh.” He yawned. “Ah, I’m so bored! I wish there was something to do.”

“Then how about you clean the floors with that face, shit monkey?”

He yelped and before he knew it, he was on the floor with pressure on his head. He growled before he exploded and got up, pushing the assailant off of him. “Chain, you tomboy bitch!”

“Who are you calling a tomboy bitch, you excuse of a person?” Chain clicked her tongue in disgust.

“WHY YOU--!”

“Ah, Sir Chain, Sir Zapp.” A butler with bandages on his face came up to the pair. “Good morning.”

“Morning Mr.Gilbert.”

“’Sup.”

The butler smiled. “I’m glad to run into you two. I have good news.” He was beaming a little happily. “I have received word that Sir Steven and Prince Klaus are returning.”

Chain smiled a little. “Is that so?”

“About damn time.” Zapp rolled his eyes.

Gilbert nodded. “Also, there is the other matter at hand.”

The two looked at him curiously.

“Eh? Like what?” Zapp asked.

The butler chuckled as he looked out the window. “It seems that we will be welcoming another one to the estate.”

True to Gilbert’s word, it wasn’t too long before the royal carriage arrived. The servants as well as the three ran down to the back of the castle to greet the two and see the new person that they brought with them. With the other servants, they stood firmly in line.

The carriage soon came to a stop just several feet away from them. The driver then stopped and got off his place before he went to the door to opened it.

When the door opened, everyone straightened themselves, even Zapp was aligned with everyone else.

“Welcome back, Sir Steven.” They greeted as the warlock stepped out.

“Ah, thank you.” Steven smiled as he looked around. “Glad to see you all.” He then walked forward with his staff in hand. “Gilbert, good to see you.”

“Thank you, sir.”

“Chain, looking lovely as usual.”

Chain nodded with a faint blush.

“And Zapp, what a surprise.” Steven just smiled at him.

“Well geez, don’t hurt yourself over seeing me.” Zapp rolled his eyes and grumbled.

Steven laughed before looking around. “Hmm, where’s K.K?”

“Madam had some personal things to attend to but she asked me to extend her welcome in her place.”

More like she didn’t want to be within a meter of this warlock.’ Zapp held back a sigh on that.

Madam K.K and Steven weren’t on the best of terms. Though in reality, she just hates his guts and the warlock unable to do anything about it. In fact, if it wasn’t for a certain person, she wouldn’t even dream of being near the man.

“I see.” Steven shrugged. “Well, I guess I’ll say hi to her when she comes around.” He then looked over his shoulder. “Besides, there is someone that we want you to meet.”

Soon enough, Klaus exited the carriage but before anyone can greet the prince, he extended his hand into the carriage. Everyone waited in anticipation and confusion before they all saw a small paler hand taking the prince’s hand and leading him down the makeshift steps to the ground.

It was so surprised to see the new person coming out that Zapp couldn’t help but snicker. “God, what a shrimp.” He got a whack from the back of the head for that one as he groaned and held his head.

“Mind your manners, you monkey.” Chain then stepped forward. “Welcome, Prince Klaus. It’s good to see you again.” She bowed, as did the servants.

“Ah, thank you Chain. It’s good to see you as well. Zapp And Gilbert as well.” Klaus smiled. He then turned to the newcomer. “Why don’t you introduce yourself to the others.”

The newcomer nodded before shyly turning to the others. “H-Hello! I’m Leonardo the Watcher. It’s nice to meet you all.” He then bowed his head in greeting.

Soon there was murmurs among the group of how cute and sweet the newcomer seemed to be.

“My my, what a polite young man.” Gilbert commented; making Leo blush. “So this is the newcomer, I assume.”

“Yes.” Klaus nodded. “See to it that he is situated in a room first, it has been a tiring time for him.”

“E-Eh? I’m fine, though.” Leo argued but he had to cover up a yawn with his hand. “I’m fine…”

“Lad,” Steven placed a hand on Leo’s shoulder. “I think it’s best not to argue with Klaus about this. Look how worried he is for you.”

The young man looked up and sure enough, the prince was already fretting about his well-being. “A-Ah, alright! Alright! I’ll get some rest…” He pouted; outdone by an expression of a puppy. “T-Thank you for inviting me to the castle.” He was then surprised as a hand went down on his head.

“Think nothing of it.” Klaus smiled down at him as he ruffled his hair. Looking up, he nodded at the warlock who nodded back. “I’ll have to attend to a couple of things but I hope we all can have dinner together tonight.”

“Duh.”

“Of course.”

“No worries.”

“Eh, together?” Leo then asked.

“Yes, I always dine with my fellow men. If you want, you can either have the meal in your new room or with us.” Klaus replied as everyone waited with silent breath.

Leo looked a little flustered. “W-Well…I wouldn’t mind eating with you and the others.” He smiled shyly.

“I’ll tell Head Maid Bates to add another plate to the second dining room.” Gilbert nodded. “Come along young man, I’ll show you to your room.”

“Ah, okay!” Grabbing his bag, he bowed to both Klaus and Steven quickly before he quickly followed the butler.

Everyone else started to leave as well as Klaus who was taking big quick steps to go somewhere within the castle.

“Hold it, you two.” Steven called out to Chain and Zapp who were about to leave as well. “You’re coming with me to the conference room. Klaus asked me to tell you about the last trip, and about the lad.”

Chain looked at Steven with slightly narrowed eyes. “Sir Steven, not that I mind the newcomer but I must admit, I am confused about the prince’s actions just now.”

“Yeah, who the hell is that shortie and why does the chief bring someone like him here?”

Steven sighed. “I’ll explain to you both when we get to the room. But know this, you shouldn’t doubt Klaus and his actions. There is always a reason.”

--

HUH?”

“For once, I agree with the screaming monkey.” Chain had to cover her ears.

Steven nodded. “I’m telling you both the truth. He is what Klaus has been seeking for years.” His hands were folded and on the polished wooden table. “If I hadn’t seen it with my own two eyes, I would have doubted it as well. I suppose I was expecting a different sort of person when it happened.” He admitted.

“It’s all so strange. It’s just…the newcomer…Leo…doesn’t seem to look like someone of that kind.”

“Of course not!” Zapp scoffed. “I bet even the wind can knock him off his feet!” That newcomer looked so short and thin that it was impossible to think he can be what Klaus was looking for.

“As I said before, while I do admit it is a bit unusual, it’s true. I don’t believe that sort of information has sunken in for the lad. Maybe it might have been the magic casting of another onto him but I have my doubts as well. Nonetheless, when the time comes, he might be able to protect Klaus.”

“There’s no way that short stuff is one of those things!” Zapp shouted. “He doesn’t look like he can protect himself, much less the Chief.”

“The chief is a prince, Zapp, and I can see why it can cause some concerns but sadly it’s not up to you.”

“You can’t be serious, Steven!”

“I am. Leonardo the Watcher is going to be Prince Klaus’s right hand man.”

--

Present

Zapp burst out of the room and stomped away; leaving the doors a little unhinged.

Chain silently went to the doors and closed it behind her. She then turned to Steven. “Is that true?”

“….I was going to say that it’s not confirmed but it is was Klaus’s wish to have that happen.” Steven sighed as leaned back. Zapp was such a hot head. “Not saying that the prince is a wall but I must admit I don’t know everything that goes on in that head of his. I have a few guesses though.”

Nodding, Chain went back to her seat and moved it so she was sitting next to Steven. “Then, what do you think? Is it a good idea to have some stranger be at the prince’s side?”

Good question.

Humming in thought, Steven leaned forward a bit. “I think…I want to get to know the lad more before I can really answer that.” He was just as unsure as the others but he knew his dear friend for years as well. If anything, he will have faith in the prince’s decisions.

--

Leo was startled as he heard slamming not too far from where he and the butler were walking on. He felt so small compared to the castle. He figured one can fit the whole town in this place alone. And here he was, holding his one big bag of his belongings and the clothes on his back, staying in the castle for who knows how long. “U-Um, excuse me…um…”

“Yes?” Gilbert turned to the young man as they continued walking.

“I-Is the prince always like that? So…” Leo gestured vaguely. “I-I mean….he’s so nice and all….”
 If the ride to the castle was anything.

The butler chuckled. “Young prince Klaus has always been a very kind man. The Von Reinherz family’s greatest virtue is their kindness. With him being the baby of the family, he is more so then anyone in the family.”

Leo stopped dead cold as the butler turned to him in confusion. “He…He’s the baby of the family!?” He thought that Prince Klaus was the oldest!

“Ah yes, I suppose not everyone would know. Prince Klaus is the youngest of the family. Youngest of four siblings after his two older brothers and older sister. I assume you will meet them soon enough, along with the king and queen, of course.”

Wow, if the prince was the youngest then he can’t imagine what the rest of the main family would look like. “Wait, where are the others?”

“Oh, they were on a trip to visit the extended family. Prince Klaus insisted on staying behind to hold the fort down, so to speak though it wasn’t needed. I now understand why he did.” He glanced at Leo before they continued walking.

“Ah…I see.” Leo nodded hesitantly. Ah boy, maybe it was his fault that the Prince wasn’t able to go and enjoy the trip with the rest of his family.

“Nevertheless, he seemed to be a lot happier now than when he left. For that, I am thankful.”

Leo fell silent at that. He didn’t want to think too much into that statement. Wasn’t the prince always happy?

“Alright, this will be your new room.” Gilbert stood next to the door before opening it.

Peeking inside, Leo was then amazed at the size of his room. He walked inside in a slight daze. “Wow, this is huge!” He can fit his whole family in here and there would still be room left. There was a bed, a dresser, a closet and a huge window with a sill. “T-This is my room?”

“Of course.” Gilbert chuckled; amused. “Now, I will return in a few hours to take you to the second dining room. Until then, is there anything else you need?”

“A-Ah…no, no!” Leo waved his hands frantically. “I’ll be fine. Thank you.”

The butler nodded. “Very well. I’ll see you again soon.” He then closed the door behind him, leaving the young man by himself.

Leo placed the bag next to the bed once he walked up to it. He then jumped and flopped onto the bed. He groaned as he felt how soft it was. “This is so nice….” He sighed into the mattress. His mind was reeling with questions but his body was at its limit. He was exhausted and should take a nap before dinner.

“Michella….” He murmured as he started drifting off. “I’ll write that letter soon enough.”

--

“No, you mustn’t go.”

He found himself in a bedroom where he turned around to face someone. “I have to go. All of this wouldn’t have happened if it weren’t for me!”

“That’s not true! No one would have foreseen this!”

“And yet I let it happen!” He screamed; causing the other to be silent. “That’s why….I have to leave. I’ll fix this! Then we can be together in peace.”

The other started to tear up. “Please….don’t leave…” They cried out softly.

He went up to the other and placed a kiss on their forehead. “I’ll return. I promise…” He hugged the other close.

--

“…promise…” Leo murmured in his sleep; unaware that a figure was close to his bed for only a moment before he was alone again.

--

“A-Are you sure it’s okay to wear this?”

“Of course. Dinner is a semi-formal event so you must look your best.”

Leo wasn’t fully convinced but as he looked at himself in the huge mirror, he supposed he was looking good. What he didn’t see was Gilbert chuckling silently in amusement.

“Now then, let’s get going, shall we?”

“Ah, right!” Leo quickly followed the butler.

--

“If it wasn’t for the prince, I would have eaten my meal in peace.” Zapp grumbled.

“No one forced you to eat here and you know it.” Chain sighed.

“Shut up, no one asked you.” He grumbled.

“Now, now. Let’s have a peaceful dinner. For Klaus’s sake, at least.”

Zapp clicked his tongue and leaned back on his chair.

The double doors opened, revealing Gilbert and the newcomer.

“Here we are.” Gilbert turned to Leo. “Now, feel free to sit wherever you like at the table.” With that, the butler left.

Leo looked around the dining room, marveling at how huge and grand it was though it made him even smaller than before. At the table, he saw the warlock sitting on one side with another guy. Zapp, was it? On the other side was that lady, Chain he believed her name to be. He hesitantly moved and sat down next to Chain as he gulped. “G-Good evening.”

The one named Zapp tched as he ignored him entirely.

“Evening, Lad. Rest well?” Steven asked politely.

Leo nodded. “Yes, thank you. The best sleep I had in a while.” He smiled widely.

Chain couldn’t help but smile a bit in return.

“Splendid.” Steven nodded. “Oh right, let me introduce you to the others.” He gestured to the man next to him. “This is Sir Zapp. A fighter and magic caster.”

“Hi.”

Zapp didn’t respond to that.

“And this is Sir Chain. She is a spy and shapeshifter.”

“Whoa really?” Leo turned to her with an excited smile. “That’s so cool!”

That threw Chain off a bit as she blushed. “T-Thank you. I assure you it’s not that amazing.” She giggled softly.

The dark-skinned man glared at the young man. Like buttering people up is going to help him.

“Presenting Prince Klaus.”

The three stood up immediately as Leo scrambled to do the same. In came Klaus in his formal attire though not as grand as he was when the young man met him. It was weird, never in his dreams that he would be dining with one of the princes of the Von Reinherz family. Yet, here he was.

Klaus sat at the head of the table, between Steven and Chain. “Welcome all, and thank you for joining me for dinner.” He turned to Leo and smiled. “I hope this meal will be satisfactory for you.”

“A-Ah, sure. Um, any food is good food!” Leo chuckled a bit nervously. “Ah, well I mean---!”

Steven laughed and Chain covered her hand to hide her own laughter. What a lad.

Even Klaus was chuckling a little.

Zapp’s glare lessened only a bit.

--

“Ah~ That was good~” Leo sighed with a smile. “I don’t think I can eat for a week~” It was a grand meal in his opinion. Dish after dish after dish, he just couldn’t get enough. Even the company was great. It was a little embarrassing to share stories about his family and his childhood but it was all in good fun.

He was just glad he didn’t insult the prince the entire time.

Now he can just change and go to bed.

“Hey, short stuff.”

Leo stopped and turned around to see Sir Zapp just a couple steps behind him. “Ah, Sir Zapp. What’s---”

A hand slammed right next to his head, hitting the wall and causing an echo throughout the grand hallway. Leo was silent as he looked up and saw those gray eyes glare down at him.

“Let me make this very clear to you, shortie. I don’t know you and frankly I don’t like you.” Zapp started. “Steven keeps saying that you’re something else but I have my doubts. The thought of some punk ass stranger coming into the estate is stupid and I will not have it.”

Leo didn’t say a word so Zapp continued.

“The chief is someone very important and it’s not just because he’s a prince. I owe him and the family a lot and I’m indebted to them. Bottom line is, if you do anything to hurt anyone, especially the prince, I will incinerate you where you stand.”

The young man’s body was shaking but something about what the other had said struck a chord with him. He soon curled his hands into fists and gulped.

Go ahead.”

Zapp was mildly surprised as he saw a determined face looking up at him.

“I know that I’m not much use to anyone. I can understand how a stranger coming into your home would irk you.” Then Leo huffed. “But don’t assume you know anything about me! Don’t go and put a label on me just because you don’t like me being here.” He looked to the side. “Besides, I would never imagine doing such a thing to Prince Klaus. He has been nothing but kind to me. If anything, I would hurt myself then to even come close to hurting him.” He then looked back at Zapp. “Count on it.”

A moment of silence stretched on between the two.

Finally, Leo got a rough ruffle in response.

“That’s some spunk you have, short stuff.” Zapp was grinning. “But don’t go saying things you can’t back that up with actions. Want me to say I’m wrong? Prove it. Actions speak louder than words so you better start soon.”

Leo held his head with a pout as the man started walking away.

“That was a nice face you got on. Show that more often and I won’t dislike you that much.” Zapp waved as he walked away; leaving the young man alone.

As Leo rubbed his head, Chain was around the corner peeking in. At first, she wanted to drop kick the dumb monkey for threatening the newcomer but found herself oddly content.

Normally people would be scared of the man’s threats but Leo proved himself to not back down. While she doubted that he can physically fight the man as he was now, the young man had heart and a good head on his shoulders. Leaning on the wall, she smiled. Steven will be glad to hear about this.

--

“Tch. I can’t get close to that castle. Guess I have no choice but to sit and wait.”

--

Leo couldn’t sleep. He was tossing and turning but nothing. He sighed as he got out of bed and walked out of his room. Maybe some exercise would burn some energy.

Which would have been a great idea if not for the fact that he didn’t know the whole place yet. He ended up getting lost.

“Oh my stars, I’m an idiot.” Leo groaned. He was sure he passed that same picture just minutes ago. “At this rate I’ll be sleeping on a pillar!” He hung his head.

Soon, a faint scent got his attention.

“Mm?” He sniffed the air and gasped. “Smells like…”

--

“I was right.” Leo smiled. He followed the scent until he let himself into a room that was filled to the brim to plant life. He was standing in front of a rose bush that was filled with white roses. He leaned in and took in the scent. He smiled. “Mm~”

“Lovely, aren’t they?”

Leo was startled as he turned to see the Prince who was holding a watering can. “A-Ah, I’m so sorry. I just got lost and I just thought I smelled flowers and….I-I’ll go now.” He bowed his head and started to walk around the other when he felt a hand grab his arm. He looked up to see Klaus holding him back.

Though it didn’t last long as the prince let go of him as quickly as he grabbed it.

“M-My apologies! I didn’t mean to do such a thing!” The older man explained.

“Ah, no no! You’re okay! It just startled me is all.” Leo reassured the man.

The prince fiddled his fingers together. “C-Care to assist me in watering the plants?”

“Eh, you sure about that?”

Klaus nodded. “I would like nothing more than some help if that is okay with you.”

While Leo thought he should have politely decline, he also figured that watering a couple of plants wouldn’t hurt. “Then sure, I’ll help you with the plants.”

The smile Klaus gave him was nothing short of dazzling. “Thank you.”

--

Watering and tending to the plants was more fun than Leonardo expected. After the two got past the awkwardness of meeting alone, they ease themselves into a light conversation that was mostly about plants but Leo didn’t mind.

As long as he got to see a smile on the prince’s face, it was fine.

“Say, your grace…”

“Please, call me Klaus. I do not mind the informality.” He smiled.

Blushing a bit, Leo nodded. “So K-Klaus,” With encouraging smile from the prince, he continued. “Is it really okay to be at the estate? I mean I would have been fine in the capital or any place really. I just…don’t want to be a bother to you and everyone else.” He ducked his head.

“….Is that so.” Klaus then gently took the other’s chin. With silent encouragement, he looked at the other head on. “Leonardo the Watcher, I can assure you that you are not a bother being here. It might take some getting used to but you are not unwanted here. When we say we will protect you, we mean it and staying here at the castle will give you the best protection ever.”

“Will my family really be okay too?” Leo couldn’t help but ask.

“Worry not. I can promise you that their safety as well as a high of priority as your own.” Klaus nodded seriously. “I do not say such things without meaning them. I will never give you empty words or lie to you. Understand?”

Leo almost didn’t hear what other said as that hand was so warm that he can sleep sitting up if that kept up.

Klaus must have noticed how quiet he was because he let go of the other’s chin. “Is everything alright?”

“Huh? O-Oh yeah, fine!” Leo then shyly smiled. “T-Thank you. You and the others are doing a lot for me and my family. I wish I can do something in return.”

With a soft smile, Klaus shook his head. “You’ve done more than enough just by being here.”

While he didn’t get what the prince was talking about, he felt a lot better hearing those words. “Right.” He nodded.

--

Outside the door, Gilbert watched the whole thing through the crack of the double doors before smiling to himself. ‘My youngest prince, it is so good to see you in better spirits. I’m happy for you.’

--

END