The old man heard the rapid footsteps of someone running his way. He put down the tools, got up from his workbench, and walked to the door, meeting the runner at the doorway. It was a boy, about 14 years of age, and his face told the old man enough to skip all of the usual questions.
"What trouble is it this time?" the old man, leading the boy inside and sitting him down.
The boy took a moment to gather himself. "A girl."
The old man took a pair of bottles out of a small refrigerator. Handing one to the boy, he said "That's not unexpected at your age. Slow down, have a drink, and start at the beginning."
The boy took the bottle, popped off the top, and took a big swig. "Dad told me to head into town to pick up some power converters, so I did. I was about to head back to the house when I saw this girl burst into the market square. She had some guys after her, a lot of them. She looked rich, really rich, which is why I thought the guys were after her. Given that they weren't shooting at her, I figured they wanted her alive."
"Rich girl, running from thugs, through the center of town." the old man said, sitting down, "So, what did you do?"
The boy perked up, smiling. "I cut between her and them, knocking a bunch of them down with the car, and told her to get in. Then I floored it out of there."
"And how!" the boy said, "They came after us in three cars, and a fourth in a supercar soon joined. Then we had the cops after us."
The old man observed the lack of a rich girl, or a car. "So, what happened?"
"I took them into Beggar's Canyon, and I forced the three cars to wreck despite them shooting at us. The fourth car had guns mount on it, and I didn't expect that. He was good, real good, and he got us when I tried that hairpin turn you told me about. We wrecked, and that's when we got separated."
"Your father's going to be mad about this."
The boy sighed. "I know, but if he only saw her face he'd understand."
"So you came to me first." the old man said, with a chuckle, "Did you get the girl's name?"
The boy nodded. "Better, I got her picture too." He pulled out a palm-sized holoviewer, and he produced the bust of the girl in question: long red hair, about shoulder-length, eyes blue like purest water, and skin like smooth marble. The old man stood there, remembering another like this from long ago, and then blinked himself back to the moment.
"Nadia." the boy said, "She said she's a princess from off-world."
The old man nodded along. "Okay, now what?"
"The last thing she said before we got separated was that if I could find someone called 'The Rose Knight', tell him to look for a golden yacht in the starport district."
The old man went to his safe, opened it, and retrieved an old photo of an armored man and a girl much like the boy's princess.
"You found him." the old man said, "Drink up, we've got princesses to save."