Crown: An ornament that brings heavy responsibilities and fame with it. Could it ever be described as something ‘light’?
Maybe. When it’s made of fluff.
“Look human! I made flower crowns!”, a dirt-covered Raon exclaimed cheerfully.
“Very good. Who taught you how to make flower crowns?” Cale indulged his son ahem his ward.
“Nobody! I learnt by watching other children making them. I am great and mighty, after all!” The chubby dragon was rightfully proud of his achievement.
Cale felt a little strange. Although Raon wasn’t necessarily alone , he didn’t have too many friends of his age. His only friends were On, Hong and Mary. On and Hong, were currently with Ron, in the eastern continent and Mary was in the Dark Elf City. This left Raon without any playmates. He could only watch other children playing with their peers and learn things like making origami or flower crowns from afar. Cale didn’t like that. It reminded him of his own childhood
“Next time you feel bored, you can come find me, alright?” Raon could’ve played with the wolf children, but they were too far from Harris Village. While Cale knew that he didn’t need to worry about Raon’s safety, it didn’t mean that he wasn’t concerned. Besides, Raon didn’t want to leave him alone in the capital of the Henituse territory either.
“Okay human!” Raon nodded, a bit confused. Then, he took out two similar looking flower crowns, put one over his own head and offered the other one to Cale.
Cale took the flower crown and casually put it on. He was a bit touched, but he’d never admit it.
“Alright, you’re too dirty. You have to wash up.” He ordered sternly, only to be subjected to a pout and trembling eyes of a seven year old chubby dragon.
“Aigoo, I’ve spoiled you too much” He sighed in defeat as he carried Raon and put him inside a water filled tub to wash him. Painstakingly, he washed the immature dragon who kept splashing water at him while laughing cheerfully. By the time he had finished bathing the mischievous child, he was already half soaked.
“Human! You are soaked!” Raon felt a bit guilty.
“And whose fault is that?” Cale grumbled as he rubbed the baby dragon with a soft, dry towel while making sure that his flower crown remained intact.
The guilty little child immediately dried his weak human with a flick of his paw. Then he snuggled comfortably into Cale’s warm embrace.
The weak human sighed in exasperation but didn’t push away the childish dragon. After all, he could catch a cold after playing outside for so long.
If Cale’s expression had unknowingly softened, then nobody had to know.
And that is how Choi Han and Alberu found the self proclaimed slacker and the ‘great and mighty’ baby dragon—cuddling each other while half asleep.
Cale woke up to someone clearing their throat. Even though he didn’t want to wake up, he reckoned that it must be something important. He vaguely heard Alberu’s voice whispering “My dongseng and nephew are so cute together” and Choi Han’s doting whisper of “I wish I had a camera”, but on second thought, maybe he had been dreaming. After all, such behaviour was unlike them, not to mention that it would be creepy.
He blinked at the two people who were guilty of disturbing his sleep. Yes, he was probably also imagining the similar soft looks Choi Han and Alberu shared.
“What happened?” Cale subconsciously lowered his voice so that their discussion won’t wake up the chubby dragon sleeping in his arms. They had slept wearing the flower crowns and now the flowers were a bit squished. They still retained their shape so Cale didn’t have to worry about dealing with a heartbroken Raon.
“Duke Fredo has invited us to another banquet.” Choi Han replied, looking away from the matching flower crowns Cale and Raon sported.
“Again? How many ‘banquets’ is he going to have?” This was the third banquet in the past 6 months.
“It’s his own way of incorporating the newly ‘discovered’ Endable Kingdom with the outside world. The best way to make their kingdom recognised is to open all the gates and take in visitors within a controlled environment. This way, the other kingdoms won’t treat them as an anomaly. It was also the best way to show that the Endable Kingdom was friendly and meant no harm to anybody.” Alberu explained.
It wasn’t as if Cale was against balls and celebrations, and he also understood why Duke Fredo was organising such events. It’s just that he was too lazy to attend those balls, which resulted in him suffering from Fredo’s repeated complaints. The vampire Duke always whined “Why should I suffer alone?”, then turned around and organised another torturous social event.
“Cale-nim, are you going to attend?” Choi Han asked, wondering if he’d have to listen to Fredo’s whingeing in the near future, again.
“……” Cale opened his mouth to refuse, but Alberu’s persistent stare stopped him. The smile on his face clearly said ‘if you refuse to go, then I’ll knock you out and drag you with me’. After all, as a newly coronated King as well as an ally of the Endable Kingdom, Alberu had to attend this banquet. And the new King of Roan Kingdom didn’t like to suffer alone.
“…… I’ll go” Cale was rewarded by a pleased smile from his hyung and a relieved smile from his dongseng/senior.
“When….do..we have to go?” The young slacker asked in a pained voice, as if the question was pulling his teeth.
“In two days! Come on, you should start packing. Maybe we can disguise ourselves and wander in the streets again.” Alberu’s eyes glowed with cheer. Of course he would look forward to his visit to Endable Kingdom. That was one of the few places he could let loose and act like a young man (and a proper hyung), shedding his tiring identity as a King.
Both Cale and Choi Han were well aware of the fact that Alberu loved visiting the ‘newly’ discovered kingdom and they always felt happy for the King who never got to enjoy a proper childhood.
“Two days? And you’re only telling this to me now?” Cale unconsciously raised his voice.
“That’s because you’ll find an excuse to not go if you get some time to scheme. Don’t think that I don’t know you, my dongseng.” Alberu replied knowingly.
“As if you won’t do the same” Cale snorted in response.
“Are we going on a trip again?” An excited voice interrupted their discussion.
Cale, Choi Han and Alberu looked down at Raon who had woken up sometime during their ‘discussion’ and was now peeking out from within his weak human’s arms.
“Ah yes! We are going on a holiday to Endable Kingdom. I’ll buy you more cookies and desserts from there. I remember that you liked the apple pies from a particular restaurant.” Alberu extended a bag filled with cookies to Raon. Ever since he had heard from Cale that the White Star brought better cookies, he always brought different kinds of cookies to meet Cale and Raon. The fact that he met his dongseng and nephew at least once a day wasn’t worth mentioning.
Raon immediately opened the bag of cookies, offered it to the people present and started munching on the delicious treats. Cale had taught him that sharing was caring.
“Raon, what do you say to the person who gives you gifts?” Cale reminded Raon.
“Thank you Uncle Cookie!” The baby dragon sincerely gave his thanks to his ‘Uncle Cookie’ and lost himself in the desserts.
“Ha ha ha! My dongseng is such a great father!”
“Of course, I am always the best in whatever I do.” Cale replied reflexively, without much thought.
Choi Han smiled softly at his family and munched on his favourite butter cookies.
Raon suddenly remembered something important.
“Ah! I made you flower crowns!” He took out two well-made crowns from his magical storage and offered them to his two uncles.
The black haired Swordsmaster solemnly took the slightly flattened flower crown as if holding a delicate treasure and put it over his head. He had a rather happy expression on his face.
On the other hand Alberu walked towards Raon and bowed.
“Why don’t you put it on my head yourself?” He suggested with a smile. The black dragon nodded and ‘crowned’ the King.
For some reason, this crown made Alberu infinitely happier than his own coronation. It must be because the crown was so beautiful. After all, a wreath made by his nephew who carefully picked flowers and crafted it with the utmost dedication and concentration was several times better than a crown made from cold metal.
While the cold crown made from precious jewels and metals made his shoulders heavy with responsibilities, the flowery wreath made by the young dragon made him feel light with joy. There was a clear distinction between them, but they made similar feelings of protectiveness surge within him.
Deep within his mind, he promised himself that he’d shield his family with everything he had, including his life. He looked back at his instructor-nim, only to find a similar determination in his eyes.
“Now that you got your flower crowns, help me prepare for the trip. Shoo shoo” Cale unconsciously interrupted their rather emotional thoughts in the worst way possible.
“Aigoo look at this punk! Absolutely no respect for his elders!” Alberu shook his head in mock disapproval.
“Are you calling yourself an old man? Fine by me.” The young slacker raised his eyebrows and shrugged with a ‘what can I do’ expression on his face.
Choi Han and Raon munched on their cookies as they watched the pair of sworn brothers bicker like overgrown children.
“Why are they fighting like children, again?” The only child in the room questioned Choi Han.
“Heh, let them live out their childhoods. Besides, it’s entertaining.” The black haired swordsman replied, amused. This was prime entertainment. He suddenly wished he had popcorn.
“Raon, do you want to make something new?” Choi Han immediately came up with a ‘brilliant’ idea.
“Will Cale like it?” The mighty baby dragon asked, feeling curious.
One Swordsman and one baby dragon stared at each other with matching mischievous smiles.
What happened next would be ‘fondly’ remembered by Beacrox as the Great Corn Disaster. But that’s a story for another day.
Yes, I am aware that Alberu seems too ooc in this fic. That’s because I was still new to writing tcf fanfics at that time and I was also particularly excited about it. It was written almost an year ago and this is where the nickname ‘uncle cookie’ gained traction (I’m still so proud about that fact. You can take away this achievement from my cold dead fingers ಥ‿ಥ)
Please forgive me if this fic seems cringey, almost all my works of fiction written in the past are a source of constant embarrassment for me. Well, that just means I have grown as a fangirl. Hehe.I
If you like this fic, and you want to read more of my works, then you can go here.