The marketplace was an almost overwhelming experience. Lovino was not unaccustomed to seeing so many people, but to actually be walking among them like a normal citizen was entirely different. The noise, the chatter, the shouting venders, the pure life and energy that bustled through the crowded streets. It was everything the prince had dreamed of and more.
He could smell grilling meat and freshly caught fish. He could hear laughter and normal conversation amongst friends and neighbors. He could feel the wind whip dirt and sand past his feet and the sun beat down from its midday position in the sky. There were live animals and carts of food too cheap to keep in the palace kitchen and street performers who danced on beds of nails or swallowed fire and nobody was bowing or forcing smiles for his sake.
It was the single most amazing place Lovino had ever gotten lost in.
"WHY, in the name of all that is holy, is the hallway absolutely covered in this grotty filth?"
A familiar English accent alerted the Sultan to the man that had stepped into his kitchen, trying desperately to scrape the mushy remnants of some overlooked fruit off the bottom of his shoe with as much dignity as possible. Though his dark robes, pointed shoulders, and perpetual frown of disapproval would hint at an unfriendly - if not somewhat suspicious - character, Feliciano was quite certain that his Royal Vizier was one of the most trustworthy men under his employment. Because of this, he couldn’t help but flash a bright smile at the blonde, turning from his tedious stirring of sauce at the counter to better face the man.
"Ve~ Arthur! I was wondering where you were. I feel like we haven’t seen you in days!" The greeting was met by a small grunt of acknowledgement and a deliberate attempt to avoid direct eye contact. The journey back from the Cave of Wonders had taken significantly more time than he’d initially hoped, and along the way he’d nearly been robbed three times, molested twice, and got caught up in a conversation with an offputting fellow who kept asking him to become one (wait did that count as molestation?). Needless to say, he’d been busy.
The interior of the royal palace was every bit as extravagant and colorful as it was rumored to be. Once up the steep front staircase and through the tall, heavy, mahogany doors, the small group of foreigners found themselves standing in the middle of an impressively spacious throne room. The ceiling was high and the walls were decorated with gorgeous tapestries and paintings, exotic and breathtaking pieces of artwork. Bright, vibrant plants dotted the room and adjacent hallways. The richly-colored drapery swayed slightly with the constant breeze that came from the balcony which made up one side of the room, and must have overlooked a pleasant view of the city outside those tall palace walls. All in all, it was a pretty sight with a rather serene feel to it.
On the other side of the room, at the end of a long, ruby-red carpet, stood an elaborate throne, whose occupant sat straight and proud in silence. He was a young man, looking somewhat out of place in the broad-shouldered robes and the round, feathered turban that were customary for the Sultan to wear. A neutral expression was plastered on his face, golden eyes fixed on the newly arrived procession and a single wayward curl bouncing slightly as he tilted his head up to look at them curiously. Off to the side, one of the palace guards that had let them in announced the group.
The relative peace of another warm day in the Agrabah marketplace was abruptly shattered when a small fruit stand all but exploded. An ominous tearing sound in the overhanging tarp was followed almost immediately by a man-sized figure crashing into a display of melons, sending bits and pieces of fruit and wood everywhere. For a few seconds, the merchant could only gape in shock, but after recovering launched into a flurry of outraged shouts and curses at the young man that was clumsily pushing himself up out of the mess.
"Aha ha ha, sorry about that!" Antonio laughed sheepishly, brushing off the small chunks of melon innard that clung to his tanned skin and already dirty clothes. He glanced around, then skywards, to the giant hole through which he could see the edge of the building he’d just leapt off of. Luckily, it was only a couple of stories or that fall might have been quite a bit nastier. He could also make out the faces of one of the royal guards he’d been trying to elude, taking a shameful amount of pleasure in seeing the frustration of that blonde-haired man with the icey blue eyes. He always appeared to be scowling regardless, but Antonio liked to think that he put Ludwig in a particularily foul mood with his antics.
Arthur heaved an impatient sigh as he adjusted his cloak to better shield himself from the chilly night air. It was an aggravating mystery, where all the infamous desert heat disappeared to as soon as the sun set and the moon began it’s shift. Though he couldn’t complain too much. Afterall, the Royal Vizier, trusted advisor to the Sultan of Agrabah, wasn’t exactly supposed to be wandering around outside palace walls while the rest of the kingdom slept peacefully.
He was just about to consider turning his horse around and heading back to the warm comfort of his own bed when the soft sound of hoofbeats caught his ears, only audiable in the deafening silence of midnight. Within a few moments, he could make out a figure on horseback, steadily making their way towards him. When they finally came to a stop a couple of yards away and dismounted, Arthur greeted them with a sneer.