“I'm Angus.” I dump my school bag on the ground opposite her. With my back against the black granite wall of the Jing-Ore Towers, I sink into a sitting position on the damp ground and lay my skateboard across my knees. I've managed to avoid the suspicious and smelly puddles either side of me.
Cough. Cough. Cough. Her body is wracked and the wolf-squirrel is sent airborne. Bright green phlegm comes from her mouth and I give her my handkerchief. She eventually stops.
“You need to see a doctor.”
She examines the insignia on my handkerchief. “Can't afford one.”
“We can help each other. I'll give you the contents of my wallet if you give me the change in your purse so I can get the bus home? I've enough for a reasonable hospital stay.” I lean to the side and take my wallet out of my jeans pocket. Thoughtless as always, I brandish it but then remember her situation and try to be more discreet.
“They'd think I'd stole it, Your Highness.”
“Angus, please, I'll write you a letter.”
“You're the 'Royal Oaf' the selfish one nobody likes. Why would you help me?” On her shoulder, Gorse sneers, bares his teeth and growls at me. The woman's eyes are suspicious and she glares at me. “They say you killed your mother and love nobody but yourself and trample on all of us.”
I shrug. “Not everything in the media is true.” In an attempt to win her confidence I remove my hood and lower the pollution mask. From my bag I take a pad, a pen, a lighter and sealing wax. My skateboard makes a useful table. “Look my dad gives me these massive denomination notes, because he thinks it'll stop me escaping because the shopkeepers outside of the Royal Quarter don't carry enough money to change them. If I can use your change instead it'll help me out. Dad doesn't know what a bus is but someone told him I need coins to use one so he won't give me any. This is entirely selfish.”
“Your dad's plan is working well.” Her voice drips with sarcasm. She coughs a little and spits up phlegm into her… I mean my handkerchief. Her chest heaves and she makes a funny wheezing noise but she doesn't cough again. Gorse glares at me. “I really can't take your money.”
“Yes you can.” I write on the pad:
To Whomever it May Concern
I have given …
“What's your full name?”
“I don't tell anyone my name.” She moves the blanket and tucks herself in.
“Look, you're about to find out mine and nothing can be that embarrassing… I need it for the letter.”
So she can see me she pushes the blanket down further. “Huh?”
“I've got enough names to populate an entire boys school. Yours can't be that bad”
She sits up and laughs a little. The laughing kicks off another epic coughing fit. The phlegm stinks. Smells like the rubbish bins either side of her. I wait for her to finish and to settle.
With my pen poised, I say, “Name?”
“Ursula. Ursula Phinn.”
“That's the surname of my father's valet. Any relation?”
“Don't think so.” She looks suspicious. Although she doesn't look like a foreigner if she isn't from round here then she will be deported. Foreign people have to have my father's special permission to live in the city.
“I won't tell anyone. Right...”
...I have gifted four hundred Brine in four one hundred Brine notes to Ursula Phinn to do with as she…
“That's too much.” She moves forward so she can see what I am writing. Clearly, she can read upside down.
“I won't miss it.” The sentence is crass but it's true. I get that much every few weeks and most of the time I don't know how to spend it. A present for my girlfriend, t-shirts with my favourite band, The Skuas, on them and electronic bits and pieces don't come close to what my father gives me.
...to do with as she please. If she requires more medical care please contact Dr Falmouth at Seatown General and request he contact myself.
His Royal Highness, Prince Angus Athen Thomas Frederick Lukas Marine Lorenzo of Covesea Island and Associated Territories.
“See I told you. My name is way worse than yours.”
She laughs and her body braces. I pause to see if she's going to cough again but she doesn't. Her body and expression relaxes and she lets out a big breath.
I watch the lighter flame melt the wax; it drops into a puddle on the paper. My falcon ring provides the official seal.
A night of blood, mayhem and magic thrust Prince Angus, the youngest son of the king, onto the throne of Covesea Island. He's never wanted to be king. Social media calls King Angus a clown. His subjects don't rate his ability to lead them in the trade negotiations with one of the planet's superpowers.