"Preposterous." Lotor muttered, circling his glass of wine. "Must I truly marry that dreadful child, father?" He looked up from where he was staring to look at the king.

Zarkon only raised a brow as his hand stopped midway up his mouth with a fork in between his fingers. "You chose him and he was the only one close to your age."

"Sophia's closer. So is Natalia." Lotor muttered again, this time picking at his food with his fork.

"And he is next in line to be king." The servants and solders that stood by shivered, but the booming voice of his father did nothing to deter him. Instead he continued on picking at his food like he never spoke. "And besides, you chose him." Zarkon straightened, feeling satisfied with how his son's grip on the fork tightened, his hand going still.

Lotor glared. "I was only six then, nothing but a mere child."

"And you chose well." The galran said after he swallowed his food. The sudden praise took the prince off guard - but he wouldn't let his father enjoy that pleasure. He immediately straightened his face. "We'll send out word of your engagement ball so all can attend and celebrate," He said the word with great distaste. "Get married the week after and be rid ourselves of the alteans the next day. It's simple. Just make sure that you don't mess up." His voice was stern, glaring daggers at the prince.

He had been planning this ever since Lotor was born, to take over Altea by 'uniting' them. It was just as he had said. Dark days will loom over kingdoms, they will triumph in battles and conquer lands as far as they eye could see. His plan was fool proof. It also helped that the altean prince was gullible and childish, accepting the engagement since he learned what the word meant.

"Yes, yes, I know." Lotor said with a sigh, still playing with his food.

°•°•°•°•°•°•°•°

Outside was less gloomy, unlike the dining room. It wasn't sunny, but the grey clouds that were up hiding the sky were peaceful and merciful enough to let a few stray sun rays hit the ground. Oddly enough, it didn't seem like it would rain.

It's the weather that Cam liked the most. It wasn't sunny enough to be hot but it wasn't so cold as to wear too many layers. The wind blew softly as his ebony hair went with it, pushing it out of his face. He stood facing the wind for another moment, basket in hand and resting on his hip before going back inside.

He set down the wood from the basket by the fireplace, along with the last of the straw that he had collected into the grinding room by the small kitchen.

Where he was wasn't much, but it was enough. There were three doors on three stone walls by each other. The first door led to the inside of the Galra castle. The second on the wall by it led to the outside where the stalls were kept down the small hill.

The third door led to a room where they grinded straw to make flower for bread and cakes and tasty goods. A very small window in the far corner of the room showed the outside world where a big wooden wheel was spinning from the small lake under it.

In the kitchen were two more windows, both bigger and closer to the second door but one on the third wall and the other on the second one. The river could be seen clearer there and if you looked at your left you'd find a small shelter where wood was stacked up.

The kitchen itself wasn't much. A wooden table was in the middle of the stone room, a fireplace between the window and the door on the third wall. Cabinets were placed around it for storage of food or blankets and a drawer with a broken mirror was placed in the middle of the second wall.

It's where Cam would go in the mornings to freshen up and brush his hair, confirming he was presentable enough before leaving his small home.

Home.

It's something he longed for, his dark violet eyes dancing around the place, taking in every detail that he could. There was a crack on the wall by the fireplace, a cobweb was etched between the first and forth wall, the curtains of the window were filled with holes and had raggedy edges, the rug he'd sleep on by the fireplace was dusty and old.

This is the only home he'd known. And he'd grown attached to it, no matter how much he disliked it.

He planned on leaving the castle once he had enough money and food. He'd leave at night when almost everyone was asleep. He'd explore the world, see it's wonders and what it has to offer. Climb the mountains and cross the seas, looking for something he didn't know. He'd climb the trees in the jungles, dance around on sand by the water then sit down on the highest tree he could find to watch the sunset in peaceful silence.

It's wasn't as though he disliked anyone here, it was quite the opposite really. As his kitchen was small, it was mostly used by the stable boys and a few of the gardeners. They didn't stay much, an hour and a half at most only to get back to work. They'd usually come for lunch as Cam would've already had either a pot brewing or bread baking in the fire. Sometimes, however, they'd come to just see him and talk.

Some of them were friends with his mother and they grew up influencing his life in almost every possible way. Some were like brothers, usually the younger ones, others like uncles and fathers and grandfathers, but those were limited as only two more men worked here who were of old age.

The kitchen was also an easy access to the castle instead of walking around to the entry way. Many of the servants would come to pass into the outside world through the small kitchen. Cam paid them no mind.

He didn't care who went and who came as long as they didn't disturb him too much. Most days he'd be here in his small kitchen, either tending to the fire or cooking food for the workers to come or just sitting there with his three companions.

A mouse, a dove and a rooster.

Odd choice of friends, yes, but he didn't mind. He was an odd one too. He'd talk to them and they'd listen. The rooster would sometimes be in his own mind, plucking away at the ants and seeds on the ground. The dove was a beautiful thing, her feathers white and shining, but she'd sometimes leave when it got too dark outside. The mouse was the only one that stayed, never leaving his side. Almost like he was his guardian.

They'd sometimes put on small shows for Cam when he was feeling down or just angry with the prince. The shows always happened at night under the light of a candle. He'd sit at the head of the table, his three odd friends in front of him and the candle behind at the far end. The rooster would act like a dragon - he thought - the dove a princess and the mouse a knight. He'd tear a small pinprick from the wooden table and use it as a sword. The boy didn't know how, but the mouse had amazing sword skills.

Other times they'd do a funny act where they all tumbled and fell and stacked on top of each other with flips and jumps. It would either make Cam smile a little or laugh till his stomach ached. Sometimes even he would join in on those little games at night before sleep, jumping around and singing songs, dancing and going to balls and wearing beautiful dresses and suits.

Cam would turn his old rags and messy hair into the most beautiful gowns and silky ebony hair, adorned with golden ornaments and silver rings on his fingers.

But those nights when he didn't feel the energy and excitement, he'd curl up in front of the fire with his three odd friends, all under a blanket and sit with his back pressed against the legs of a chair. He'd tell stories he'd made up, dreams he dreamt or sing his song.

The song his mother used to sing him before sleep. He memorized it when he was young before his mother passed away, remembered every word and every note and when he felt the most lonely, he'd sing it. It made him feel like his mother was here in the grinding room, humming the tune with him as she worked with the seeds while he was in his small kitchen, tending to the fire.

He wouldn't even notice his tears falling until his friends nudged him or wiped his cheeks. He'd apologize and smile, hugging them close and staring into the fire in comfortable silence.

Yes, that's how some nights went. But it's not night now. Rather, it was the middle of the day with grey clouds and breezy winds. He smiled in his seat at the table when he saw his three odd friends come from the grinding room.

"Good morning, sleepy heads." He greeted them.

The dove flew up to his shoulder and sat down, enjoying his dark fluffy hair against her feathers. The rooster clucked away at the few fallen corn seeds on the ground and the mouse frowned, stepping by the leg of the table with his arms crossed. Cam chuckled softly and swept him off the ground, the dove on his shoulder flying up and shuffling her feathers from the sudden movement.

"You know I'm up since dawn, right?" The mouse asked, still frowning in the hand of the galran boy.

He chuckled softly. "Of course I know, Shiro. You're always up protecting me." He patted the head of the mouse.

"I wouldn't forgive myself if I wasn't, your highness." He said in a firm tone, standing to attention like a solder.

Now the dove giggled. "Oh Shiro, you're too stiff! Lighten up a little." She hid her small smile behind her wing.

"Allura's - ouf!" The rooster began, climbing up the chair and onto the table, but failing as he fell back down on the seat. He jumped again, fluttering his feathers and stood on the table. "Right, Shiro. You do need to loosen up a bit." He smiled brightly.

The mouse just sighed, shaking his head. Cam chuckled again and smiled at his odd friend's bickering.

Thunder softly rumbled out in the distance, beyond the mountains. White flashes flickered like a candle as a strong breeze blew by, rattling the curtains from the windows.

The conversation paused for a moment, each one of the four friends turning heads in their seats to look at the sky above from the window.

Cam huffed. "Looks like it's gonna rain after all."