Once I’d informed my three companions that Zira was Zira and not a hideous monstrosity of some sort, they calmed and soon educated me of how their families were adapting to this change in environment. So it seems the entire hyena population made it through the alteration just fine; with those loose ends tied up, I bade them farewell and made my way back home, Zira draped over my shoulders.

As I retraced my steps into the Pridelands, I passed the formerly-lower species area of the kingdom. Though this time when they spotted me they went about their business; must’ve figured out I wasn’t a threat anymore. I notice they’ve already taken up some hobbies in this new existence—one female had grown a medium-sized flower bed full of tulips. I could smell them but the aroma was faint; frankly, I’m surprised at how weak we’ve all gotten—no claws, no fangs, our sense of smell, night vision, and muscular anatomy is to laugh at, and not even any horns or sharp hooves for the ex- herbivores. And yet we’re able to compensate by all this fascinating paraphernalia. I pass a tall hedge with red roses, I have to literally dig my nose into the bloom just to get a decent scent.

One of the things I miss most about being a lion—one of the things I guess I took for granted—was the ability to pick up numerous aromas. Even the mild fragrance of fresh rain was deeply missed…listen to me, I sound like a bad greeting card.

When I finally made it home a bunch of girls were all waiting in the lobby. They turn, take one look at me, and start giggling. “Hi Taka.” A bunch of feminine sing-song voices greet. I take one look around, Mufasa’s not there—that’s why they’re paying attention. I let out an exasperated sigh and look for Sarabi or Sarafina, as I can’t exactly keep holding Zira up forever. Sarafina and I spot each other at the same time; she smiles and approaches me, though when she sees Zira her eyes widen.

“What happened to her?” She asked. I take Zira’s arm from off my shoulders and just hold her limp form bridal-style and explain what happened. “Um…she bumped her head.” Well, it was how she lost consciousness anyway; besides, who’s to say Shenzi, Banzai or Ed would even want to beat her up if they knew who she was at the time…right?

“Anyway, uh, could you just…do something with her?” She fixated a confused brow at me, crossing her arms. “What do you expect me to do exactly?” “I don’t know, take her at least. My arms are getting limp.” She laughs, obliging and setting Zira on an empty arm chair. “Will she be alright?” I ask. Sarafina pushes some of Zira’s hair aside and looks at her forehead.

“Sure, she’ll be ok. It’s just a bump.” I glanced at all the girls—former lionesses, all short-haired ranging from blonde to light brown—behind me, and noticed they formed a bulky line headed into the right archway. “What are they waiting for, exactly?” I asked.

“Oh, your father’s instating a dress code, so we’re all waiting to get fitted.” “I see.” “Yeah. Don’t worry about Zira, I’ll make sure she gets taken care of.” “Thanks.”

With that matter out of the way, I decided to see if Mufasa had succeeded in his little mission as well. I walked up the stairs and to the right, down the same hallway he took to find Zazu. Obviously by now he could be anywhere but this is all I have to start with so as I make my way further down the hall…I find him standing at the end. He hears my footsteps, looks behind him and is delighted to see me. “Great to see you back. Everything check out ok?” “They’re adjusting but no worse than us.” I reply.

“That’s good I guess. So, guess who I found?” Mufasa smiles, only to step aside and reveal someone about our age, about three inches shorter, with dark hair that’s slicked back, in a dark blue suit and black, polished shoes. For a 17 year-old, he looks pretty over-matured; I suppose I would be too if I constantly waited on Father hand and foot.

“Locked in a closet?” I assume; it was only half-serious since poking fun at our majordomo is a beloved pastime for the two of us. Mufasa doesn’t hesitate in joining in.

“The bathroom.” He chuckles. Zazu’s shoulders bristle, but I’m guessing if he was still a bird his feathers would be ruffling.

“I may be new to a lack of wings but I’m still a fully competent majordomo!” He insists. “And I can still as easily report your mockery to your father.”

“You think he’ll pay enough attention to care?” We both laugh. Zazu, who received a clipboard from some reason, clenches said clipboard and stamps his foot.

“I don’t have to take this!” He huffs, turning around, “I’m going to assist Ahadi.”

Mufasa takes his shoulder before he can get too far. “Take it easy, Zazu, we were just kidding.” He smiles. Our touchy majordomo indignantly shirks away from his grasp. My brother sighs and tries to patch things up.

“Look,” He says good-naturedly, “Father’s been insisting we all get to know this place as soon as possible; not just for adaptation purposes, but to become so genial it’ll be like this barely even happened. He says it’ll show our superiority. Anyway, since you have a natural talent for expertise, I was hoping you’d help me get to know this pla-”

“WHAT?!” I butt in. “We transform from any signs of our old existence—including anatomy, environment, and legion—get overexposure to unfamiliar apparatus and habitat, alter our lifestyle completely—all in not 24 hours—and he wants to pretend like nothing happened?! Is he insane?!”

The rest goes lethargically slow; sluggish; like some unhurried sitcom Mother Nature likes to play to indulge her sick desire of making my life a recurring train wreck. I barely have time to acknowledge the way Mufasa’s gaze moves behind me, or the way Zazu’s eyes widen just before he ducks behind my brother. I don’t even have enough time to be fully confused about their behavior, before something clashes into my ribcage. The force is so great, my back swings a door open and I keep going until my spine crushes against the wall, painfully slithering down until I hit the floor…


Ahadi turned to Mufasa and Zazu, the anger still burning within his eyes, “And you two are to know this kingdom hand and foot—not paw and pawhand and foot: by TOMORROW.”

The elder prince and majordomo uneasily nodded, before watching the king storm down the hall, his heavy footsteps overflowing the mansion. Mufasa turned to the room his brother had been battered into in one swipe, and gazed upon it with sorrow and regret…


I held my side as I let out a groan, the shirt was very little protection from my back half-shattering against the wall. You see? Father’s tyrannical, and anybody with a cerebral organ knows it. It’s whether they’ll vocally state it that makes any difference.

Shenzi, Banzai and Ed aren’t afraid to; of course, why wouldn’t they be? Since they’re forced to live in an area cut off from all other civilization, and leaving it to enter civilization—the same one my totalarian Father has complete power over—would be highly illegal. I cough as I try to take in a heavy breath, my lungs feel like they’ve been crushed. I’m sure one of my ribs is cracked. I try to breathe again but every time I do I have to fight not to cry out in pain.

I look around; it took me awhile to realize this is my room. It didn’t have my name on anything, but it felt like it. I try to get up to move, but my back heavily objects, and I bite down on my lip to stop myself in mid-yell. There’s something warm gradually traveling down my back, making my shirt stick to me.

I look up; there’s a nail jetting out of the wall. Perfect, so not only do I have a blood injury but it’s probably a good half-inch deep too. There’s a bed not too far from where I am, but I can’t walk. I curl up by the door, resting my hand in my palm. The hyenas knowing my predicaments with my father, they’ve had their share of experience with this sort of thing; especially their matriarch. I let out a quiet sigh, that female…or woman now, I suppose, has been like a 2nd mother to me. Ordinarily, being treated as an equal to a hyena was insulting or mortifying, but it’s the closest thing to dignity I’ve gotten in years. She’s also treated many a wound of mine, knowing full-well where I’ve received them.

As I close my eyes, I feel the sting of my gash again, and fall asleep hoping Safia can remedy it…


When I wake up I can still feel my shirt sticking to my back, but the blood has long-dried by now. I wince as I get to my feet. Mother probably expects me to be at breakfast soon but I can’t go down looking like this. I feebly walk over to this somewhat long, brown wooden object…a bureau. I pull open a drawer—the middle one—and find it full of pressed, blue shirts; only this time I scowl at that blasted symbol of royalty in the corner of every one of them. But I sigh and, knowing I don’t have time to angrily glance at clothing emblems, take one of them out and lay it on top, shutting the drawer afterward. I open a small door on the side and find it full of pants, and the first drawer is for socks and underneath attire.

I pile the sections of a clean outfit in front of me and pull the remnants of my old one off. When I yanked off my shirt, ignoring the pain of course, I stopped to notice the long tear made by the nail; probably identical to the wound in my back. There was a mirror on the back of the bureau and I turned around to glance at the equally-long gash that’d been left; nasty-looking, a few bruises left from my crash with the door and wall, and a few blotches of dried blood had veered off from the wound to stain a few parts of my back.

I sighed, knowing I’ll have to hide this in order to keep Mother from getting wise. She knows about Father’s terrible temper but…is unfortunately oblivious to how far he takes it. She’s never noticed a mark on me and that’s because Father’s ensured that she never does; I’d been convinced by him that if word got to her it would be too much of a shock for her to take. Imagine, her husband who she raised a family and kingdom with, abusing one of her beloved children; she’d be so heartbroken she’d be traumatized.

In addition, the kingdom might be affected. Think about it—king and queen having serious marital problems, possibly setting for divorce—it could cause a real crisis. Opportunist invaders, back-stabbing residents, trespassers (not that I’d blame a few certain ones), and I would’ve been the one to cause all of it.

…The worst part is I’m still convinced of that.

I throw the shirt underneath my bed, hissing when the dry blood cracks as I kneel down, and slip into my clean clothes as fast as possible. I rush out the door, down the hall, and directly to the stairs descending to the lobby.


I saw a lot of former lionesses as I walked down the hallway—many of them had taken on other various roles once being part of a hunting party became obsolete. Some of them were guards, some of them were caretakers, and the rest were just servants; each wore uniforms fitting to their position—guards wore red, caretakers wore orange, and servants wore gold. They bowed in acknowledgement as I walked past.

When I saw the girls as I walked downstairs, they were all dressed differently—by which I mean from the first time I saw them. Now they’re all dressed alike: red button-up shirts with collars, ruffled blue skirts reaching down below their knees, and white or black dress shoes. Apparently Father wants to keep things strict even when relating to casual dress code.

When they see me they all greet, “Good morning Taka” in unison; Sarafina in her friendly voice, Sarabi in her soft one, and Zira in…her one. I nod in acknowledgement, trying to smile politely, and keep heading downstairs.

The kitchen is the first door on the left when you reach the bottom of the steps, when I walk in I see everybody sitting at the breakfast bar. Mother’s buttering a piece of toast, Zazu’s munching on a bagel though focused on his clipboard, and Mufasa is staring at a plate of bacon and eggs. Father is nowhere in sight (thankfully).

Mother smiles at the first glimpse of me, “Good morning dear.” She turns to Zazu and Mufasa, “Boys, say good morning.” Zazu mumbles something between his concentration and his full mouth, waving halfheartedly. Mufasa does nothing.

I sit next to my brother, but he doesn’t glance up to look at me. …He looks ashamed for some reason. I stare at him in confusion, until Mother asks, “Did you sleep well, son?” I slept well…for someone who was nearly butchered last night, tenderized and sliced open, and too in pain to even move to my own bed.

But naturally I reply, “Wonderfully Mother. Thanks for asking.” Mufasa looks up. “May I be excused?” All of us, but Zazu—whose gaze I almost fail to notice turns soft and piteously albeit it stays on the clipboard—stare in perplexity. “Why Muffy? You’ve not even touched your food.” “I’m just not feeling hungry this morning. …Still soaking in the change I guess.” Mother nods. “It is a lot to take in. Alright, go see what your father’s up to. I’ll be upstairs shortly.”

Mufasa scoots out of his chair while a servant girl pushes it back in and another takes his plate to the sink. Zazu, having torn his gaze from the clipboard to watch him leave, glances back at Mother, “Your highness, I feel I’ll be more needed upstairs than down here stuffing my gullet. Though my gratitude is sent; it was a lovely meal all the same.” Mother nods, “You’re excused.” He gets up to leave, politely waving the servant girls away as he takes care of his own plate and chair.

I glance down at my plate, thinking about what I’d do today. I’m sort of not in the mood to face Dad after last night (who would be?), so after I down a glass of milk and a couple strips of bacon I tell Mother, “Mother, I’d like to spend some time at the Elephant Graveyard today. Father did say we should go about our routines as though things were usual.” I still thought that was a foolish idea, but I smiled just the same. Mother’s smile is much less enthusiastic; she looks down and sips something hot from a mug…coffee.

“It’s a foolish idea,” I hear her speak quietly. Great minds think alike. We look up and hold each other’s gazes. “Your father has the proposal that if we—the creatures at the top of the food chain—are the same ones to adapt the fastest, we’ll retain our reputation as the sovereigns of all species.

“But isn’t he the least bit worried about whether this could be permanent?” Evidently no. “If we were to stay like this for the rest of our lives, we would lose every inch of our roots Taka. We have no natural presence here, we’d be the exact opposite type of thing your father is trying to achieve—a husk of a population. We’d be a people without a culture.”

I most definitely take after Mother. I glance at her understandingly. She smiles at me and takes another sip from her mug. “Go and visit your friends if you must, I don’t think the kingdom will change by the time you get back—it’d be more of a blessing if it did.” She gets up from her chair, kisses me on the temple, and leaves the kitchen. As the lionesses start to clean up, I’m about to leave as well, then pause…I didn’t exactly see many eateries over at the graveyard, not even food carts. Who’s to say, with things being the way they always were, that that meant my friends as well as everybody else would still be starving? I can’t exactly feed everyone at the current moment, but I should definitely see that Shenzi, Banzai and Ed are taken care of.

So I go back and look through the cabinets, find a few plastic containers, and store a few uneaten meals nobody touched, including Mufasa’s plate. I slip them in a small knapsack, drape it over my shoulder, and head out the door.

I sighed, wishing the Elephant Graveyard wasn’t so far away. You’d think I’d develop muscles or something from all this daily on-foot traveling but no—still lean and scrawny as ever. What’s more with all these advances in technology, I was hoping that included new methods of transportation…and my hopes just might’ve been answered.

I look up ahead to see this strange, long, metal thing, with adjoining carts linked together, sitting on a single-lane track. Curious, I walk up to a uniformed man standing in front of one of the doors. “Pardon me?”

He starts at first, and upon examining him further I realize he used to be a warthog—he is a bit round in stature. Eventually he stops shaking and clears his throat, “Yes?”

“What do you call this device?” I ask, glancing toward the large machine. “Oh,” He calms a bit and gazes at it as well, “this here’s called a monorail. Gets ya anywhere in time that puts walking-pace to shame.” “How fast?” “This thing made a cheetah cry.” Wow…

He looks at a clipboard in his hand, “Next trip leaves in 5 minutes. Care to climb aboard?” “How far does it go?” “Well it runs through about 3 different kingdoms, there’s a pit stop a few miles after this, but I would probably wait for the next one.” “Why’s that?” “Because the first one’s only a mile from the Elephant Graveyard.” Holy Spirits—this must’ve been my lucky day. I grin at the man. “I think I will climb aboard.”


I could see all the onlookers staring at me like I was crazy, even though I didn’t have to glimpse back, as I boarded off the first pit stop. The monorail pulls away and shrinks along the tracks before disappearing somewhere on the horizon. I look up ahead; the Elephant Graveyard right in front of me. I smile, overjoyed at the first object of technology I found useful.


Shenzi, Banzai and Ed were more than happy I brought food—apparently it is no different from before save a few appearances. Banzai inhales the eggs prior to him and Ed fighting over the last strip of bacon; Shenzi rolls her eyes, glancing at them wearily as she nibbles on an egg she slapped on a bagel. She tries to make conversation with me, but I know it’s just to divert her attention from them.

“So, what’s new in your life?” I set the empty containers in the bag and put it aside. “Nothing really, Father’s insisting we keep it that way.” She tilts her head at me, her left cheek bulging slightly. “What’re you talkin’ about?” I grin sardonically just thinking about my dad’s nonsensical theory.

“Malleability is essential.” She swallows down the rest of the bagel, but continues to stare at me. “Wha?”

“My dad thinks if we lions are the first species to fully adapt he won’t have as many problems controlling his kingdom.” “Oh. That makes sense. …For the first five minutes.” She smirks at me. “Does your dad have the word ‘lineage’ in his vocab?” I laugh, “Apparently not. He’s already instating new laws and regulations for this new life.”

“S’why I’m glad I don’t live under the monarchy.” Shenzi states. “Lemme guess, he’s got all the girls wearin’ skirts and blouses?” “Collar shirts.” I answer. “And the first day I walked in our lobby a huge horde was lined up to be uniformed, there had to be at least every lioness in our kingdom in there.” She half-smiled. “All huddled in the same room, huh? Was there bloodshed?”

“Actually, they were mostly pretty bored,” I look off to the side self-consciously, rubbing my neck, “until they saw me…”

“Wow, being surrounded by tons of girls who wanna get it on with you. I hate it when that happens!” Banzai exclaims, every word dripping with sarcasm. Ed “laughs”, his shoulders bobbing. Neither of them have let go of the bacon.

“It’s not as glamorous as you think.” I counter. Judging by the look he and Ed exchange after I say that, they’re still a little cynical about believing me. I roll my eyes. Shenzi turns to them.

“You know if I were you two I’d cut the prince here a little slack; he’s the one who brings food, remember?” Ed’s mocking expression immediately disappears and he quickly puts his hands up in apology…barely stopping Banzai who took advantage of the opportunity when Ed let go of the bacon to dangle the strip over his mouth. The two begin wrestling each other for it again. Shenzi shakes her head, I smile. She looks up at me, feigning interest.

“So, they still at your beck and call?” “Yeah,” I answer, “they’re our servants now. They’re under command to do anything a royal wants.”

Shenzi doesn’t hesitate in raising a brow as Banzai and Ed each promptly quit fighting over that bacon to stare at me. I immediately get what they’re assuming.

“No, not like THAT!” I hastily shout.

“Awww,” Banzai fakes a groan, smiling, whilst Ed just-as-falsely slumps his shoulders, “you mean you don’t get any fun over there?” He playfully slaps my back: I instantly—loudly—yell out in pain. They all leap back, surprised. Shenzi turns to glare at Banzai, who looks bewildered.

“I didn’t hit ‘im that hard.” He insists. It’s true, he didn’t, but any contact with my back felt like a bed of nails laced with acid. I hiss from the aching, trying not to move. Shenzi steps forward, all of them still staring at me apprehensively. “Taka?”

I attempt to hide it, I look at the ground like nothing’s bothering me, but I can’t help clenching my teeth and fists from the pain. Those bruises were throbbing, and I’m sure some areas of my gash were re-opened. They didn’t buy it, that I don’t need to look up to perceive. Shenzi steadily begins to walk past me; when she’s at the rear of me, I can start to feel my shirt sliding up, but that’s where I end it. Quickly I pulled away from her and turned so my back was…now facing Banzai and Ed.

They both don’t waste time grabbing me from behind, each clutching one of my arms. I feel one of them take hold of the hem of my shirt, I look back to see it’s Banzai. He swiftly lifts it up…

Ed’s eyes bulged.

Banzai’s eyes widened too, his jaw slacks, “…Holy…”

And at seeing their petrified expressions Shenzi immediately came around me to see what the matter was. Still looking back, I see her jaw drop instantaneously. Banzai and Ed let go of my arms and my shirt falls halfway down, but Shenzi recaptures it in not a second flat, pulling it back up as her face grows horrified.

“WHAT DID HE DO TO YOU?!” She reaches up to touch my wounds but I immediately turn and grab her wrist; it’s so thin, even compared to mine. I glance down at her firmly…but I can’t be defensive with her; she’s just trying to look out for me. I know she hates to see me like this; Banzai and Ed do too.

And every time this happens they always have the same thing to say:


“Tell your mother.” Shenzi, Banzai (and Ed) demand as Safia—Shenzi’s mom, who looks near-exactly like her and is wearing a long-sleeved, black v-neck and thin jeans with old sewn-on designs going down the outer legs, starting to come unthreaded—rubs some kind of greenish salve on my back. My shirt’s hanging over one of the two straw-woven chairs across from each other at the musty, rarely-used dinner table. The third one, its red dyed straw faded and its plain-colored straw starting to unweave like the others, was the one I was sitting on as Safia finished applying the liniment to my injury.

Shenzi’s house is the more studier of the other slums; at least the ancient boards in her home are the thickest and don’t have as many cracks in them. It’s a very compact 3-room house—the doors were just long, ragged cloths hanging from two nails—with one room being Safia and Bakari’s (her mate), the other being Shenzi’s, and the third being…whatever they wanted it to. And right now it was posing as an amateur medical center.

Safia wipes her hands on her pants—as the Graveyard can’t afford luxuries like fabrics or cloths of trivial purposes—and puts the lid back on an old glass jar. “Ok honey,” she sighs half-heartedly, “you’re all patched up.” I smile in gratitude. “Thank you matriarch.”

She kindly puts her hand on my shoulder and kisses my cheek, “For the last time, you can call me Safia.” She smiles at her daughter and her two companions, before exiting out the dusty doorway. When she’s gone Shenzi turns to me. “This shoulda stopped too long ago.”

I hardly acknowledge her comment and look at my shirt still hanging over the chair. I hope no blood is on it; fortunately there’s not. I reach over for it but Shenzi quickly grabs it and clenches it in her fingers, glowering at me. I sigh, “Shenzi, please give me my shirt back.”

“You know what you have to do to get it back. Until then, you can walk around half-naked!” She turns to the two boys standing nearby her. “Banzai, Ed, don’t lend him any shirts! Got it?” They nod, before Banzai cackles.

“I think his dad would like it better if he came home half-naked than with a Graveyarder’s shirt on.” I shrug; I have to give him that one. Nonetheless, I turn back to Shenzi firmly, holding out my hand. “Please give me it back, and this is the last time I’ll ask nicely.”

She throws it to Ed, who catches it indecisively, before frowning at me. “You want it? Go get it.” I sigh. “Shenzi, I have a lot better things to do than play monkey-in-the-middle for a shirt.”

“Yeah, like tellin’ your mom how hard she should pound your dad once you tell her what’s been going on!” “My mother doesn’t need to know.”


Banzai and Ed turn to glance at me. “It’s gotta come out sometime, man.” He states. Ed nods. “Better she finds out from you than from your cold, beaten body.” Shenzi glares.

“Don’t foresee stuff like that Shenzi, just don’t.” I plead, running my hand through my hair exasperatedly. She doesn’t let up. “Well that’s what’s gonna happen and you know it! This keeps up, one day you’ll go home from the graveyard…and you won’t come back…” She bites her lip, tilting her head toward the ground.

I blink, examining her change in expression. Is she…trying to hide something? Banzai’s gaze stayed with her the minute she mentioned my could-be demise. We both move forward to placate her but before either of us can do anything she viciously tears the shirt from Ed’s hands and hurls it at me. “There! Take your precious shirt! And go home to your bone-breakin’ daddy! I hope you don’t come back!” She shouts, before storming off in the opposite direction. Banzai wastes not a breath in going after her.

Ed and I just stand there awkwardly…

After a minute I uneasily pull my shirt back on and we stare at each other. …Then he just feebly waves me goodbye and shoves his hands in his pockets as he walks off.


My return-trip on the monorail was to not be compared to my first one; I arrived home less enthusiastic and much more frustrated than before. I dumped the plastic containers into the sink once I got to the kitchen, slinging the bag to a corner of the floor for any patrolling servant girl to find. I leaned against the counter and sighed, feeling the emolument starting to take some effect, but the pain that moved from my back merely found another place to stay. I walked away from the kitchen and up the steps from the atrium.

As I reach the top of the stairs I see Mufasa in the right hall—the one leading to my room. He’s staring into another mirror, much larger than the one in the lobby, square instead of oval-shaped, and bordered in molded gold. He’s not gazing at his reflection with as much vanity as a humanized peacock; no, he’s just…staring into it…gazing past it. I walk up to his side, placing my hand on his shoulder. “Hi.”

He jumps, grunting in surprise; making me flinch back from astonishment as well. When he turns and sees me his expression melts. “Oh, you’re home…” I grin, “Yup, just in the nick of time, like always.”

He hums in response, not saying much else and looking back into the mirror. I glance at it too, hoping some antics with my brother will take my mind off the pessimistic events in the Elephant Graveyard today. “See anything you like?” I joke.

His gaze travels downward to the floor, one of his hands ducking into his pocket. “I’m sorry…” I hear him say. Sorry? For what? “…I should’ve helped you.”

…My eyes widen; subsequently I turn to face him and his regretful expression. His sad eyes turn to the floor again and he grips my shoulder a moment, before walking back the way I came.

I scowl; does everybody feel sorry for me today? Who’s next, Zazu?

He walks by and actually manages a sad smile in my direction, then heads to one of the studies.

I try to snarl in aggravation, but it comes out as a grouchy breath. I inhale sharply, and indomitably head for my room.

I kick open the door and irately grab my shirt, wrenching it off. I throw it against the wall and kick my shoes off next, they hit the same wall I did the other night, making two semi-loud thumps before they fall to the carpet. I glare at the nail that’d dug into my back, then slam the door behind me and yank open the top drawer of the bureau for some nighttime apparel.


I fall back against the bed, pulling the white sheet up to my chin, leaving the blue comforter that lay on top reaching up to my chest. I fold my arms underneath my head and try to relax; letting out a breath of frustration, inhaling calmly, then exhaling again as I look around my room.

It’s like my own palace really; very spacious with a white rug, white walls, long white curtains on the right side of the room covering up the exit to a small balcony overlooking one of the gardens, the emblem “Pr. Taka” engraved into the headboard of my bed, a large bureau, and an equally large closet to store personal things in. Only royalty can be treated as good as this.

I let my breathing relax. I don’t know what I have to be so depressed about; I’m an important prince, I live in the most acclaimed part of town, my bedroom is huge. I don’t even know why I’m keeping myself up at night…

…I’m depressed because I’m not even the 2nd-bit.

…I’m depressed because all these material things mean nothing if part of my family hates me.

…I’m depressed because…I’ve hurt one of my friends very badly. And I never meant to let it get that far.

I roll onto my side, reminding myself to apologize to her if she’ll even see me…or beat my brains out first.