The voices are coming from just around the corner. Steeling yourself, you march towards them (there are at least two people locked in argument; an older male, and a young, surly male voice).

As you round the corner, you almost walk into a stern-looking, grizzled old man in a grey cloak, busy haranguing a young man in livery. The particular unflattering shade of green used in the livery, coupled with the young man's sneer, gives the impression that this is a singularly unpleasant individual.

"... Never should have trusted you with the Prince," growls the older man, just as the younger man makes a derisive noise. "You know how the Prince gets when he's distracted--"

They turn to look at you, and cry at the same time:

Without even knowing why, you shout back:

The young man is the first to recover from the mutual shock. Turning to the older man, he whines, "See, I told you that he'd be at the Summer Castle! I bet he came back for his stupid Book of Dragons."

The older man raises a hand as if to strike the younger. "If I ever catch you insulting His Highness or his lifework again..."

"It's all right," you try to say, but the older man interrupts you.

"As for You, Your Highness," he scolds, grasping you by the arm, "You should know better than to wander off without telling us! Now, with all respect due the King and Queen, I'm aware that their Royal Picnics can be... less than captivating, but if you insist on leaving part way through, then in turn I must insist that you at least..."

The scolding continues as the retainer and the page walk you back to your parents' picnic.