She agreed to travel with the twelfth prince under one condition: he made sure she knew where he was at all times, either by staying beside her, or through her tracking spell.
There were times when he chafed under the restriction, but he dutifully honoured their agreement for the past five months. So when he vanished while they were shopping for supplies, she began her search immediately.
Even though he was unlikely to ever become king, royal blood still flowed in the twelfth prince’s veins. A tracking spell was only one of her many precautions against losing his highness. Her eyes flashed as they synced with the fragment of herself that was attached to the prince.
Hidden in a dark alley that saw no sun, a group of four cloaked men stuffed an unconscious prince into a large chest.
Since his highness wasn’t in immediate danger, she waited until she arrived in their inn before activating her next safeguard. The couple ring around her thumb hummed in resonation with its pair hidden around the prince’s toe.
By the time the chest left the market district, she had the prince tucked safely in his bed, and invisible markers behind the neck of each of the kidnappers. She would have plenty of time to catch them later after they led her to their buyer.
Until then, she settled into the couch and waited for her travelling companion to wake.
She froze as the glass plate she just engraved crunched under her boot.
One week of hand cramping work, one month of painstaking design, destroyed in one moment. She pressed her lips together, holding tightly to a blank mask, but no amount of tensing could stop the tears welling in her eyes.
Her friend quickly swept every glittering shard into small box, then set her down in front of a fresh plate.
“It’s alright, you can try again,” he said with a smile.
She didn’t share the same optimism. The shattered piece the best she’d done since she started the craft, with the best parts birthed out of happy coincidence rather than skill. But a plate was what she promised as a birthday present, so a plate she would make.
She shook out her tensed hands and tried again.
Genre: slice of life
They say that the third young master is hopeless at archery.
It’s not talent that he’s lacking. It’s motivation.
“Ready. Set. Go.”
Three pre-filled balloons soar into the air. On the podium, an archer fires a single arrow. All three targets burst into clouds of colourful confetti.
The third young master grins and nocks his next arrow.
Genre: slice of life
The amulet is a national treasure that magnifies the wearer’s trait. With it, even a toddler can throw a horse across a river. There are only two flaws.
First, not everyone can receiving the amulet’s blessing.
Second, the wearer can’t control what gets amplified.
Over the kingdom’s centuries of history, battles physical and political are won and loss based on the amulet’s random blessings. Like the absurdly advantageous treaty signed because of their diplomat’s irresistible charisma, or the time they lost a seaport for one month because the general’s dislike of getting wet transformed into a crippling fear of water.
The good news is that resetting bad luck is as easy as taking the amulet off and putting it back on again. The problem is that some people have the kind of luck that’s so uncanny it’s like a curse.
“What is it this time?”
“Increased sense of smell. That’s fifty times in a row.”
“I’ve had enough. Everyone line up. Let’s see if anyone else has a hidden calling as a candidate.”
They do find one, only for their second amulet wearer to get their sense of smell magnified another ten times in a row. And that’s how they lost the pungent marshlands to the bandits.
There is a thief in her pantry.
Armed with a broom, she turns on the light. The warm glow reveals her error and she throws herself prostate to the kitchen floor.
There is a prince in her pantry.
“You servant humbly greets the First Prince,” she says to the dark tiles. Her mind races for any crimes she might have committed but the worst thing she has done is bring the unwanted offcuts back home with her to share with her family.
There is a guard in her kitchen.
He bursts through the entrance and tackles the crown prince to the floor. The guard presses a ring to the prince’s neck, and the heir to the throne disappears in a cloud of steam.
There is a kind face in front of her.
“Don’t be alarmed. That was just a copy. There is a rogue enchantment duplicating the crown prince. If you see his royal highness, alert your closest guard.”
There is a story for her to tell.
“You won’t believe what happened to me today.”
Genre: slice of life, fantasy