There once existed a prince named Onew who lost his crown. He was the leader of a kingdom known as SHINee World, named for its shining streets and perpetually happy residents. Onew had four disciples, all younger than him: Jonghyun, the short but steadfast captain of the guard, Key, the royal dressmaker, Minho, the most handsome man in the kingdom, and Taemin, Onew’s sweet younger brother. His small kingdom sat peacefully between the glittering pink queendom of the SONEs and a vibrant red kingdom thrown into civil war. Aqua green was his nation’s color and it could be seen in all parts of his domain, from the furniture cluttering his home to the wind-ruffled banners atop his castle to the shiny badges worn by all his citizens, known as Shawols. Onew was a good ruler: cheerful, playful, and compassionate, and his people loved him. However, it came to be that Onew, for a short period of time, lost his crown.
Duty is a burden and no one, not even the always smiling king of the Shawols, can stay happy forever. There came a time when Prince Onew grew dissatisfied with his responsibilities and of all the pressure surrounding him. His life was perfectly ordered and structured. From the moment he woke up to the moment he went to bed, he was on a tight schedule not set by himself. He had very little freedom outside of his job, and although he loved his work and his people dearly, he eventually became exasperated with expectations thrust upon him. Worse yet, he couldn’t even express his frustrations or sadness, because royals are required to always present a happy image to their people. And so it happened that Prince Onew ran away, disappearing from SHINee World, to recollect himself.
Onew ran deep into Sherlock Forest, the thick wood to the east of SHINee World, separating it from the feuding red kingdom. He rode his noble horse, Juliette, until he arrived at a desolate old manor known as Lucifer’s Castle. Once there, he put Juliette safely into the stables and went inside. In one of the old rooms, he found a wardrobe filled with clothing entirely unlike the brightly colored skinny jeans and T-shirts worn in SHINee World. The clothing was darker and thicker, made of wool and leather, but Onew didn’t mind. He liked the change, glad to be rid of his tight clothing for once. He first chose to wear an odd-patched coat with an absurdly long collar. In one drawer he found a green hat, which he put lightly on his head. He knew Key would hate him for this outfit and the thought filled him with pleasure, happy to be rebellious for a change. The next day, however, Onew decided to dress more like a gentleman. He put on slacks, a waistcoat, a heavy overcoat, and a hat. Underneath it all he wore a crisp white shirt with a tall collar. Pleased with his handsome appearance, Onew went outside to sit on a wall and think.
During his stay at Lucifer Castle, Onew found a small vial of red hair dye. There wasn’t enough to completely dye his hair, and so Onew instead chose to only put a few streaks in his brown hair. He looked a little more edgy than he did before, and the new color stood out against his somber clothing. Again, Onew wore black, choosing a long leather coat to skulk around the mansion in. He knew the coat was rather ridiculous but did not care. Onew often found himself standing or sitting alone, completely immobile, staring off forlornly into nothing at all. He thought of Shawols and SHINee World and his disciples and responsibilities. He thought of how tired he felt but how his people needed him. One day, as he stood in the messy courtyard, wearing a dark brown coat, he thought about never going back.
Gradually his mood lifted as the days went by, until one evening Minho found Onew sitting up in a tree. Minho and the other disciples had been searching for Onew, first checking with the other kingdoms to see if he was with them. Minho had been on his way to the battle-torn red kingdom when he looked up and saw a person sitting in a tree. Upon closer inspection, he saw that it was Onew, wearing a leather jacket and plaid pants. Onew had been too caught up in his thoughts to see Minho approaching, and was so shocked by Minho’s voice when he called out to him that he fell. Luckily, Minho was as athletic as he was handsome and caught the young prince. He told Onew that it was time to go home and Onew agreed, knowing that his Shawols missed him. He went and fetched Juliette from the stables and rode with Minho back to SHINee World, where a great welcoming party was held in honor of his return.