Bish! A purple blob thing splatters over the screen. Bash! A green blob thing splotters. Bosh! A black blob splooters. It’s designed to make me want to wipe the screen clean but I’ve learned to resist it. “You could just ground me?” I'm sat on the sofa in Dad's office with my feet up. Using my foot I play with the threadbare bit on the arm. Bosh. “Yes, a black one! It's what normal parents do, ground their children.” I grin and shoot at another green one. “You could even confine me to my bedroom for a few days.” Gorse readjusts his position on my shoulder and goes back to snoring.
“No chance.” Dad looks up. He's working at his desk. “You're not getting out of tonight's banquet. Your duty as a prince requires you to be there.” He goes back to signing his name over and over again in a desperate and futile attempt to reduce the paper mountain in his in box. It's a daily chore for a king.
“Whatever. Don't see why you need me there. It will all go as planned without me. Fantastic – I squished the lot.” I send it off in a cask to ferment in the cellar. “I'm just the spare to your other heirs… fifth, I think.” There's a break between levels so I count on my fingers. “Socrates, the boy wonder; Evelyn, the witch troll and the sprogs Qing, Daisy then the screw up… yep fifth. It's official I'm surplus to requirements.”
“Don't be rude about your sister and my grandchildren.” Pulling his tie out from the collar of his shirt, Dad stands up and walks round his vast desk. Although the furniture in his office is polished wood, it's a long time since anyone gave it a good polish. He rolls up his tie and shoves it in his pocket. “Angus, put that thing away. You're in trouble.” With a swift move that would have seen me flat on my backside, he unbuttons his soft leather belt and removes his trousers. "Big trouble."
I ignore him and start on the next level. Nut cracking. The sound of the nuts cracking makes me wince, it reminds me of when I broke my arm last year.
“Angus...” His voice has an edge to it. He unbuttons his bright white shirt. “Put that away. I... I mean we have to talk about your behaviour today.”
“I just needed to escape you know. Have a piss without the world watching.”
He grabs my PC POCKET out of my hand before I have time to protest. For all his mild mannered appearance he is an accomplished soldier and stronger than he looks. “Sit up.” In just his boxers with his shirt hanging open to reveal his hairy chest he sits on the coffee table. “You can't keep escaping your warriors. It's not safe especially at the moment.” He slaps my legs. It stings.
Gorse growls at him.
“It just gets... claustrophobic... you know.”
“I understand that. I told you to sit up. You need to stop defying me, young man.”
“Or what?” I swing my legs round and sit looking down at my hands which are in my lap. “You'll have me beaten?”
“Don't be ridiculous. Although the nation seems to think a bit of corporal punishment is what you need, I know we all suffered enough of that at the hands of your grandfather. There's nothing I can, in all conscience, dish out that you haven't experienced far worse of.” He grabs my knee in what is meant to be an affectionate move. “Angus, son, with the delegates here for the trade talks you're in danger. You'd make a valuable hostage. Don't have me in a position where I have to choose between you and twenty million other people.”
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.