“Do you ever wish Prince Zen wasn’t a prince?”
Hearing those words bring back some bad memories for Prince Zen. I don’t think Obi meant anything bad when he said that, but it did come off as a little rude and Shirayuki didn’t like that either. First things first, Zen appoints Obi to be Shirayuki’s bodyguard as the whole “Shirayuki is my fiancee” thing keeps rearing its ugly face about, with people trying to get on Shirayuki’s good side thinking they’ll have an easier time getting to the prince and whatnot. But it’s those words that brings us to a backstory of how Zen had to deal with being a prince growing up and the burdens that come along with it.
The Zen we saw in Mitsuhide’s past is a lot different than the Zen we know now. He was a lot more blunt, a little cold, and distant. Mitsuhide as we see came before Kiki and was appointed as Zen’s bodyguard, just like he still is now. Their meeting came off a little awkward as Zen knew from the start that Mitsuhide was disappointed in having to serve Zen and not Izana. Well what’s done is done and this is the arrangement. During the day, Zen sneaks off to visit a friend of his named Atri. He’s a boy around Zen’s age who is an archer guard, and when they can the two boys play around and just hang out. Zen says that being with Atri is probably the most fun and relaxing time he ever has, as being a prince he can’t really have any friends. So he’s lonely and rebels at being a prince.
But things go badly as Atri was actually part of a rebel group from a poor country that was made worse because of Clarines. Atri was switched the night shift and asked Zen if he could still sneak out then. Mitsuhide looks into Atri thinking he’s shifty, and he was right. He informs Izana and they both make it in time to there the nightly confrontation took place, where the rebel group was about to kill Zen and then Izana. Izana and Mitsuhide fight them off, and when Atri was about to shoot Zen, Mitsuhide dealt the finishing blow to him. Atri dies in Zen’s arms, his final words being that it would have been better if he weren’t a prince. Damn…after Obi had asked Shirayuki that questioned, it really bothered Zen and now we know why.
It’s great and all to be a prince, like having shelter, wealth, and food all the time. But growing up, Zen had to pay mind to many things that he couldn’t do like any other kid his age. He had to acknowledge different social statuses. What would people say if they saw the prince being friends with a lowly guard? Also being a prince, he doesn’t really have anyone around him to call a friend because everyone is older than him and only sees him as the prince. Of course that changes when he had Mitsuhide by his side. It all just comes back again, this time with Shirayuki. Wouldn’t it be better if he weren’t a prince, so their relationship wouldn’t have any of the problems it has right now? It’s pretty tough for Zen, and he had to deal with these things growing up. These type of royal problems probably still bother Zen but he seems to have a better attitude.
Also, I really understand why Izana was wary of Shirayuki. Seeing what happened to his little brother with Atri, I can see why he was intently watching over Shirayuki, to see if she were scheming anything too. Damn, I started off hating the guy but now I kinda like him.