Long past was the time when Korean royalty were dressed in colourful royal gowns and bowed and curtsied. In today's society, royals wore Gucci. Well, one royal in particular. “Kyong Kim, put down that ball and get inside. You have a meeting to attend to.” He rolled my eyes and let the basketball my his hand dribble to the ground.
He made eyes with his best friend Louella Lee, who looked at me reassuringly, “Remember, your mother said you were the special one. The one that possessed the eyes of the Dragon.” Green eyes had been passed down the royal family for hundreds of years, and in this case, had skipped a few generations. His brother had missed out. Ha. He missed out on a lot of things - wit being one of them. But, Kyong supposed he couldn’t help it - he had a different mother. The woman that had graciously stepped in and ruined his life after his mother died.
“Kyong.” His Coutier prompted again. Courtier had been on his fathers payroll since he was little - attending to all of his royal needs and everything else in between, that included getting on his case when he disobeyed my father, because his father was too busy to discipline Kyong himself. He rolled my eyes at Louella and followed Coutier, who was now standing on the cusp of the driveway that he was playing on. “Why do you play outside in the blaring sun when you have an entire basketball court inside? You father paid good-”
“I’m going to stop you right there.” Kyong eyeballed him before shrugging, “I wanted to work on my tan.” Now Courtier was rolling his eyes.
“Wash up, you have a business meeting to attend to. Your father will be discussing the downfall of respect for royals in this country.” He lowered his voice to a whisper, “Which I attain partly to you.”
“Hmm?” he mused, only half listening.
“Nevermind, just go and wash up. Your father is expecting you.”
Kyong lay in his bed, a purple velvet dressing gown draped across his body. He thought of himself as the most successful and sought after teen in all of Korea. He was seventeen now and in his eyes, there was never a better time to be seventeen. His social media accounts were popping and everyone loved him. And to top it off, he didn’t have the responsibility of being king - just yet - so he could just enjoy the wealth and glamour of his current title, ‘Prince.’
He flicked through his phone, admiring himself in the myriad of selfies he had taken over the past few days. His Instagram account was skyrocketing in followers 9mil currently, and likes abounding. The thought brought a smile to his dimpled cheeks. He bit his lip, realising he could see himself in 3-D in the mirrored ceiling above him. He turned to his side, pulling a barely dressed girl on top of him. Girls were an easy attainment in the world of royalty. Every girl longed to have a piece of him, and he didn’t mind one bit. The girl giggled as a different voice cleared in the doorway. His maid walked through the chamber doors with no shame about what she was interrupting. “Prince, sir,” She gave him a right angled bow, lips tightening at the scantily clad girl.
“Yes, maid, what do you want?” He sighed, throwing a casual glance in her direction.
“Your father calls for you, your excellency. He said you missed the meeting one last time, and that he is going to take action.” she looked down, no doubt judging him for the company he was keeping.
“Very well”, “Off with you, get out...” Kyong waved his hand at the girl that was now next to him on his very large bed. A triple king bed to be precise. Ironical.
She scurried off, as did the maid who gave a hurried curtsey on her way out, mumbling under her breath, “What a brat.” She thought he couldn’t hear her. Or perhaps she meant for him to hear her… Old witch. Either way, it didn’t matter. He would rule this place one day and fire her and all the other old wrinkled servants that got in his way of happiness. He would bring in his own people. Attractive people. Young and successful people.
He looked at himself in the mirror, admiring the chiselled body he had acquired, through his open robe. “I am so handsome, everyone wants to be me,” he chanted his daily affirmations before making his way out to his walk-in wardrobe to pick out an outfit for the day. He settled on a blue Velour tracksuit and walked toward his door, catching a glimpse of himself in one of the many mirrored walls of his large bedroom apartment, on the way out. He paused for a few long seconds before looking back toward the entrance of his bedroom. His father and courtier were there to meet him. He sighed, “Father”.
“Kyong, it is time you grew up. Stop it with this frivolous spending and messing around with unsensible girls. You need to find a proper wife with a lot of wealth to add to our kingdom.”
“What?” he gasped, “I am only eighteen, father” he shook his head in mock shame.
“I am serious! This behaviour stops at once, and your Courtier is here to make sure you make the required changes and stick to them.” His father's face was screwed up and his forehead lined. He really should stop pulling faces like that if he didn’t want to end up looking like one of the servants - one hundred years old.
“What about your friend, Louella?” Courtier suggested.
Father narrowed his eyes, interested.
“She is from wealth,” Courtier continued.
“She is my friend…” Kyong blurted, disgusted.
His father huffed, walking off and leaving Coutier and Kyong to discuss the new arrangements. How could you even suggest-” Kyong started,
“I was only trying to help.” Courtier interrupted, “You should see some of the options your father has been looking at.”
“Agh,” Kyong grunted, walking over to his bed and slumping into it.
When he turned his head and noticed that Courtier was still there he was more than irritated, “Well?” he snapped, “How long must you bother me before I can get on with my day?”
“Your excellency,” he scurried to Kyong’s side, papers in hand “We must go over your Social Media growth and budget. I am afraid you are not making enough appearances or brand deals. We would have discussed it with you in the meeting earlier, but you didn’t attend.” He informed, letting himself into Kyong’s room and sitting at his desk.
Kyong narrowed his eyes, “Fine,” he groaned finally, getting up and rolling his eyes back at the tedious nature of the project, “So boring!”
“First things first,” Courtier continued, tone rushed and completely bypassing Kyong’s complaint. “We need to look at your social media accounts. Your brand deals have dropped dramatically, and your posts aren’t reaching the engagement level that we’re after.”
“I don’t like the brands that want to work with me. They are so boring and outdated. I want something fun and cool like the brands I used to work with.” Kyong rubbed at his temples.
Courtier rubbed his own eyes, in obvious frustration.“Your Excellency… Kyong.” He toyed with the idea of being benign blunt and chose yes, “in order to keep your engagement at a growing rate, you need to work with brands that want to work with you. Gone are the times when you could have your pick of brands. You lost that opportunity when you stopped posting relevant content and started missing deadlines.”
“Excuse me?” Kyong deadpanned, his mouth falling as open as his eyes. Courtier may work for his father, but he couldn’t talk to him like that. Who did he think he was? They were not on the same level.
Courtier sighed, pushing a piece of paper across the table. “Have you looked at the approved list I sent over? There’s a new social platform on the scene, Tik Tik. Basically, you learn dance routines and post them. There are some brands that would be interested in sponsoring you there.”
“Agh, another boring app. I haven’t had time. I am too busy living the life of an eligible prince. And that… Tik Tok, sounds stupid. It’s your job to make me look good to the public; not mine. If I don’t look good, it’s your fault and you better work on it.”
Courtier breathed through his nose, “Okay, let’s move on. How about we look at your budget? You currently have a 1000 won per week allowance, to spend on whatever you wish. With the loss of your social media audience, and therefore paid sponsorships, we need to reassess. I was thinking we could drop it to 900 won per week for the time being and reassess later.” Courtier raised an eyebrow.
“What? Jeez, don’t be so rash! I need all of that money.” Kyong choked, “What about my designer shoes?” He was shaking his head now, “I need to keep up appearances. You will send me lower on the social media scale. So if you are worried about that at all, then leave it as it is.” Kyong waved a hand to dismiss him.
Courtier stood, clearing his throat, “Sir, you are going to be running this kingdom one day.” he paused, “Well, you or your brother…” He mumbled, the last part. “You need to learn some sense of responsibility.” he gritted teeth.
“Don’t mention that low life to me.” Kyong spat. “My brother won’t get his hands on this kingdom if it kills me to ensure it.”
Courtier bypassed this conversation and dropped the mention of school. “I haven't told you father this, for your benefit, but you haven't completed any of your classes, and that was my responsibility. Now that you're falling behind, I might need to bring it up…”
Kyong glared and so Courtier took that as his leave. “We are having a board meeting later, you are expected to join.” He walked out of his room, stopping short, at the door, “Please attend this one,” leaving Kyong with the paper statistics in front of him. He hit them across the table.
The whole kingdom thought of him as a joke, and something needed to change. He fell back onto his bed, kicking off his matching velour slides and biting his lip. He needed to devise a plan. No one would expect him to take any of this seriously, so actually taking it seriously would shock them beyond recovery. It was be the best plan of attack. He would get back into social media, and this time, he would be the most relevant person on the internet. He would get back the brand deals he wanted and be the best in the game, and while doing so, he would beat his brother and get his full allowance back.
When Four pm came around, it was time for the board meeting. No one would expect him to be there, so naturally, he would show up - early.
He entered the board room, taking a seat at the overly large round table. Board members of the family trust were already sitting at the table, along with some of his father's advisers. Kyong’s father looked at him, pained. “You wore slippers?” He rubbed his eyes like he was in obvious pain.
“You know nothing about fashion, father. These are velour slides.” Kyong chuckled to himself, shaking his head.
“Regardless of what they are, you are not to wear them in this room!” father pounded his fist on the table angrily. “You are to attend these meetings in full business attire. A suit and tie.”
Kyong winced against him, “Sorry to offend, Father. I will dress differently from now on.” He slumped in his chair, eyes wide to the floor. His feet were still straight out on the table in front of him. He found it in him to get over his father's rath and look over to the associate to his left with a wide grin, but was met with a glare. He obviously didn’t share Kyong’s enthusiasm. “My gosh,” he turned his eyes to father as he began to conduct the meeting. There was a strategically placed platter of fruit just begging to be touched. The only problem was, it was in the centre of the table. His mouth watered. He reached out to grab a piece of watermelon, but when his fingers made contact, a deep growl sounded in his father throat. Kyong looked up to an angry king whos eyes were filled with enough hate to start a war, so he cowered back into his chair, watermelon-less.
“As most of you know -being close to me in business and life- one of my sons will be taking over my role as King once I retire or die, whichever comes first.” Kyong gleamed at my father’s words, looking around the room a shred of shared enthusiasm, but all he got were eye rolls. “That being said, Kyong will be attending these meetings from now on, so that he can learn his role in how to run this business that is the kingdom.” Kin-woo continued. “This role is much more than just sitting on a throne and giving people orders,” he spoke his words in his sons direction, eyes tight. Kyong sensed his fathers frustration, but he was always frustrated, it was nothing Kyong couldn’t handle. He pulled out his phone to start an Instagram live - he may as well start now with his Instagram engagement levels, being in a meeting and all - the people could see that he had started his training as the future king of Seoul. “Kyong!” his father’s voice boomed through the room, worrying business partners and maids alike, who came running in.
Kyong slammed his phone onto the table like he was child that had just been caught stealing, “Yes father?” he whimpered.
“This is not any time to be taking selfies!” he seethed.
“Oh, I wasn’t taking selfies, I was updating my Instagram following about how i’m in a business meeting. Courtier said it is important for me to-”
“This is not the place or time, Kyong!”, “At this rate, I am ashamed to call you my son, let alone the next king of Seoul.”
“What?” Kyong’s heart panged. He had never been spoken to with such harsh intent.
“You obviously are not getting the gravity or urgency of the situation, Kyong.” His father’s voice dropped a few octaves. “I may be gone sooner than you think. It’s time that you grow up and stop being so self-centred.”