Raucous laughter, the stench of strong alcohol that prickled your nose, the random zigzagging pattern he didn’t mean to use; Sinbad, King of Sindria, the hero who’d sailed the Seven Seas and who’d also started the Seven Seas alliance, was very drunk indeed. He was a hard boozing idiot anyway, but even by his own low standards he’d gotten heroically sloshed today. He was telling half-started jokes that he couldn’t finish, had a girl on each arm, and was incredibly red in the face. All of this, in your tavern.
He’d often come to visit you, have a drink or two (or three or four or …) but usually he left before too many customers came in. Presumably he did this to help you, to allow you to tend to your paying guests, rather than catching up with one who didn’t have to pay. You set down a glass heavily, gritting your teeth together as another round of drunken cheers went up. This however he would have to pay you. Who the hell gives the bar a free round, when they don’t even pay?!
No, you were certain this time. This time, you’d make him pay in more ways than one!
“Alright, break it up guys! It’s closing time!” You shouted across the room, dismissing the disappointed cries. It took them a few minutes to drain their glasses, finishing conversation until the scraping of chairs was ensued, grumbles and greetings spoken in a slurred manner. Finally, it was quiet again. A sigh escaped you, a combination of relief and exhaustion as you wet a dishrag and started wiping down the tables, collecting glasses and setting chairs on tables, so you could sweep up.
The table in the corner wasn’t empty however. When you reached it, you noticed the huddle of a drunk on the table, already asleep. Expression sour, you went over to him and yanked on his hair. “Wake up, you drunk of a King!”
With a snort and a jump, Sinbad sat up blinking bleary at you. “Sorry- did I fall asleep?” Hands set on your hips, you squared your jaw. “You did. Now get out of my pub.” He winced at your tone, and looked up at you with big innocent eyes. Before he could say anything however, you’d dragged him from his chair and pushed him to the door. “Out. Now.”
“Geez, I am the King, your King, you know.” Bent over the table, you spat your reply back: “So what?” The King leant against the door-frame, an expression of superiority on his face. Or well, an expression of as much superiority as he could muster anyway. “So, I order you to help me home. I can’t walk straight.”
Who did he think he was?! Coming in here, drinking all your booze and ordering you around to top it off? He may have been sweet to you on a couple occasions, well quite a few occasions actually, but this was too much!
On the other hand though, if he ended up sleeping outside, getting sick or perhaps even getting killed, you wouldn’t hear the end of it.
“Ja’far will hear of this.” You growled, throwing down your rag and wiping your hands on your apron. You swiped the keys from behind the bar, shooing him outside so you could lock up. Then, with a resigned sigh you supported your King, one arm around his back. “Come on then, my King.”
Even in his drunken state, he could sense the sarcasm in your voice.
His feet dropped on the dirt ground heavily, swaying to this side and that. Should you have not been there, he would have surely tumbled to the ground the moment he stepped out of your tavern.
You’d been walking for about five minutes, his weight getting increasingly heavier on your shoulders, when he veered to the side. “Hey, don’t fall over!” You snapped at him, watching as he reached for his head. “Can I just – can I sit down for a bit?” He asked, already tottering to a low wall. Heavily he sat down on it, his expression nauseated.
“I thought you could take your liquor?” You told him, standing with your arms crossed and gazing out over the bay. The great harbours of Sindria were at a standstill now, the only light coming from those few taverns and brothels still open. When you closed your eyes, you could hear the sea, and the soft swishing of the vegetation, low and reverent hoots coming from all manner of night birds closing in on their prey.
“It sure is quiet now.” You remarked to no one in particular, breathing deeply through your nose. The smell of sand, the crispy cold of the sea water brine invaded your nostrils, contrasting to the damp humidity of the forest which you could feel on the nape of your neck.
“You almost ready, oh King?”
Sinbad shook his head, patting the spot next to you. At first you refused, but his next look compelled you to sit beside him, eyes on your feet. You didn’t look at him, sure he was trying to pull some seduction technique on you, which he’d no doubt used on countless other girls. Pressure on your lap, made your head snap at him, only to find him lying his head on your lap. The nerve of him! You’d raised your fist for a strike, when his thick voice sounded. “I wonder if there really is such a thing as soul mates.” Your fist trembled with force, before you sighed deeply and lowered it to your side. “Where did that come from?” You muttered, scowling to the side and refusing to acknowledge the dull blush that was slowly coating your cheeks.
“Nowhere especially. I just wonder sometimes.” He answered, his voice still covered with the slurring drag of alcohol. “Like where she’d be, what her friends would be like. If she’d have long, sweeping hair and dark skin, or pale skin with curly hair.” He burbled, his eyes closing and opening like a tired dog. “Or if she’s looking up at the same stars as I am, or if the sun is shining where she is.”
As he was angled up, he could watch the faraway constellations with ease, but you had to crane your neck back to get the same view as he had. “It’s beautiful.” You sighed, eyes reflecting the light of what could be long dead suns and exploding stars.
A short chuckle sounded beneath you and you glanced down to see a large smile on his lips. “What?” You asked, your voice suspicious. What he spotted some dirt beneath your chin or something?
“Nothing really…. It’s just,” his smile became mischievous. “She was. Looking up at the same stars, I mean.” It was at this point that you realised how sharp his eyes were, his breath hot but no longer ridden with the stench of alcohol. He was suddenly speaking a lot more easily as well. You gasped, and then pushed him from you as you stood up. With an ungraceful bit of flailing and a loud yelp, he hit the ground, holding his head. “Hey! You can’t just drop your King!”
Your heart hammering in your chest, you kicked at some dust before him, making non-sensical strangling gestures with your hands before shrieking at him in fury. That no-good flirt of a King!
“Ja’far will hear of this!!”