There were times when Dylan hated being born a royal.
Those times were constant. Sure, it was nice to have a comfortable bed to sleep in every night, and to have the most well-made clothing and food imaginable. But then there was the fact that every move they made was watched by everyone—the servants, visiting dignitaries, the court, their father… and most of all, their mother. Queen Anne of Hamelin. Out of everyone Dylan interacted with (and the kingdom being as big and important as it was, the list was not short), it was Anne who kept the closest eye, who scrutinized their every move with the disapproval that only came from a woman who believed the ground a royal walked on should turn to gold and jewels.
Dylan didn’t understand her most of the time. She had more than any person could ever demand in a lifetime and she still chose to want more. Dylan was never good enough in her eyes, no matter how much their father assured them they were a fine heir, and it stung that their own mother didn’t see them that way. Anne didn’t even want Dylan to be known as the heir yet, despite there not being any other options for the title.
Hence why they were currently stuck in a town a few days’ travel from the capital. They were alone at a school meant to teach boys how to be men, and that school was definitely not for Dylan. Dylan wasn’t a boy, or a man. Nor were they a girl or woman. They were a fifteen-year-old who was trapped in a situation that they definitely didn’t want to be in.
But how could they explain that to their mother?
"You're the prince, Dylan. The Crown Prince. You'll understand what that means if it ever becomes your turn on the throne."
Those words had stuck in their head for so long. They'd never asked to be born the heir. Certainly never to be the prince. There had been others meant to take the throne, they knew, but all of them had died or disappeared when Dylan was a baby. Their eldest cousin Piper and her younger sister Grace had vanished into thin air the night Dylan's uncle James and aunt Charlotte had been murdered. Just before Louis had taken the throne and Anne had become queen. Dylan wished Piper and Grace were still around. Either of them would do a better job than Dylan.
They rolled onto their other side, feeling the pillow rub uncomfortably against their dark brown hair.
I don't want to be heir. I just want to be Dylan. Is that too much to ask?
Yes. Yes it was.
Maybe things would look better in the morning. Their hazel eyes fluttered shut as sleep began to cast her spell over them.