PLEASE NOTE: This is a ROUGH DRAFT. It is the VERY FIRST DRAFT OF THE STORY.
You WILL come across numerous issues including:
- spelling mistakes;
- grammar issues;
- weak sentence structure;
- repeated words;
- unnecessary words;
- missing words;
- lack of details/descriptions;
- confusing details/descriptions;
Critiques/criticisms, while appreciated, most likely will be discarded at this stage! Thank you.
Additional Note: Doodles, Sketches, and Artwork may be added over time. These are not the story illustrations! They do feature characters and places within the story, however.
Astral Isles – where the stars shine down from the sky both day and night. The stars glistening rays kiss the lusious land with its gently rolling hills, scattered forest, and hundreds of flower-covered meadows. The sand on the beach and its watery companion that surround the isle always are twinkling back to the stars with a silent giggle.
Spread throughout the land were homes where hardworking people worked and played. You wouldn’t be able to tell from their medivial-style homes that they had many modern devices within.
Right in the center of Astral Isles – where the North Star shined down – stood a grand castle. It’s light gray stone walls piled high, reaching towards the star above that so kindly graced their prescence. The castle itself seemed to glitter like the stars throughout the day, as the sun’s rays kissed its walls.
Up on the second floor balcony of the castle (there were technically four floors, but some of the towers easily made it twelve), a young lady stood in a pool of water, completely naked, as the a waterfall poured onto her golden locks from the mouth of a lion statue. Soapy suds glided their way down her wheat-coloured skin and into the water below. As the soap finished washing out of her hair, she turned around and faced the waterfall. She slowly stepped underneath it, allowed it to gently wash over her face. She moved her hands of it, guiding the water to every part of her face.
“Princess, you mustn’t stay under the water for long.”
If her eyes had been opened, she would have rolled them. The young lady – a princess – whipped her head into the direction of the voice of the older woman. “I know, I know,” she said. She waved her hand towards the woman as if she was trying to shoo a fly. “My skin will prune if I do. I’ll be out in a second.”
After one quick wash to the face, she stepped a few steps backwards towards another woman who stood by the steps. The woman held a pink towel out to the princess with both hands, slightly bowing to her as she did. The princess thanked the woman, grabbed the towel, and began to dry off her body. She turned to the woman, only a couple of years older than her, with a smile. The woman bowed her head in acknowledgement to the princess’s position.
The older woman from earlier, with her graying blonde hair tied up high in a bun and high-collared dress, hissed to the princess. “Hurry, we do not have much time.”
The Princess glanced to the woman with slight disdain. She walked behind a changing screen, opened her arms wide to allow the towel she had wrapped around her loosely to fall to her feet. Another woman – older than the first one by the tub, but younger than the naggy one – grabbed a white bathrobe and helped the princess get into it. Once it was all tied up and the princess and the servant nodded in acknowledgement to the process being done, she headed off to re-enter the castle . The nagging older woman followed shortly behind.
“The guest will be arriving soon and you are not even close to being ready!”
“Is that not what the dressing room will get us to do?”
The older woman glared at the princess as they rounded the corner. “Your hair – ”
“Will be fine,” assured the Princess. “Just get me me a folding fan.”
Before the woman could say anything more, the princess burst through double doors. The room itself appeared to be long, but small – one side was set up with a large vanity, while the other side had a changing partition and a large mirror. However, in the middle of the wall directly across from the entrance way was the doors to the closet that house mannekins upon mannekins of royal wear specifically for the princess.
The princess turned to the servant woman that stood a few feet away from the door. “Please get me one of my folding fans.”
“Yes, right away, princess. Which colour would you like?”
“Make it the baby pink one with the darker pink sparkle.”
“As you wish.”
The older woman huffed. “I cancel that order – I will need her assistance! Princess, you do not have tiime!”
“Bedelia, do not raise your voice at me.” The princess spun around and held out a finger to the older woman. Bedelia paused for a moment. Her face paled for a brief moment before she groaned.
“Just get behind the partition.”
The princess did as she was told. Bedelia followed shortly behind. Before the princess could relax, Bedelia had pulled a hair tie from her apron and yanked the princess’s hair and twisted into a bun.
“Ouch! Do not be so rough!” cried the princess.
“Forgive me, Princess Angelica,” said Bedelia without an ounce of regret. “I do not want your sopping wet hair to ruin the dress.”
“As I said, there is no problem.”
“You cannot be so relient on magic. I understand that it’s a tradition that you are carrying on, but it has proven to be unreliable over the long run.”
“Unreliable for who?” Princess Angelica asked, glancing over her shoulder. She could see Bedelia’s eye subtly twitch.
Without saying a word, Bedelia finished with the princess’s hair and quickly opened the doors to the dressing room. “Brent, bring the dress, now!” she hissed.
“Yes, ma’am!” responded Brent. The blonde-hair teenage boy with a short goatee grabbed the waste of a mannekin and begun to roll it out. His sunflower-yellow locks of perfectly curled hair bounced as he pushed it down the middle of the closet and into the main changing room. The moment it was out of the closet, Bedelia yanked it from him and pushed it behind the curtain.
“Natalia, get back here!” Bedelia yelled.
“Yes, Ms. Bedelia!” replied the servant from earlier who had been standing near the door.
Natalia turned to Brent. “The princess requested her baby pink folding fan with the dark pink sparkles. I need you to grab it!” She rushed off.
Brent smirked as he watched the middle sillhouette behind the changing screen go from clothed to unclothed. He let out a quiet sigh and his face relaxed as he watched the middle sillhouette turn around, allowing the other two to put on articles of clothing. Princess Angelica yelping from her corset being pulled too tight brought him back to the reality that he was staring too lovingly at her sillhouette for far too long. He took a deep breath and rushed out of the room and down the corridor.
The moment Princess Angelica emerged from behind the screen, Brent reappeared back in the room with the requested fan. Princess Angelica’s face lit up as she saw his and the fan. She skipped up to him.
“Oh, Brent, you brought my fan!”
“Yes, of course Princess Angelica, anything you desire, I will do my best to fulfill your request,” replied Brent, holding out the fan to her with both hands.
Princess Angelica took the fan out of his hands slowly, letting her own brush against his. The two of them stared into each other’s eyes. Their smiles may have been small and humble, but their eyes told a completely different story.
Bedelia stepped in between them. She bore a spiteful gaze into Brent’s face as she spoke to Princess Angelica over her shoulder. “Princess, there is no time!”
“You keep saying that,” complained Princess Angelica. “It’ll take no time at all – just watch.”
The princess yanked the hair tie from her head and let her damp hair fall to her back. She rushed up to the vanity mirror and flicked open the fan. With a fell swoop on the left and on the right side of her body, heated air ran down from the top of her head to the ends. As the heated air was followed with a distinct sizzle, crackle, pop, and then utter silence. Her golden locks returned to their slightly wavy natural state. With a slight curved swoop on both sides of her bangs, they straighted and flared outward. It had taken her less than a minute to do all of this.
Bedelia stuck up her nose as the princess turned around, A smug look spread across the princess’s face. “I told you it would not take me all that long.”
Bedelia clicked her tongue.
Angelica turned her attention back to the vanity, looking at a tiara that perflected complimented her gown sitting on top of a velvet pillow. The tiara was one that sat across the forehead, rather than on top of the head. She slid it on and gazed in awe at its beauty in the lit mirror before her. “I would say my outfit is complete.”
“Oh, but princess! Your shoes!” exclaimed Natalia, caring heals from behind the changing partition.
“Thank you, Natalia,” said Princess Angelica as the servant woman knelt down and began to slide on her shoes.
Bedelia crossed her arms and frowned. “You are lucky that we have such efficient staff. Now, put on your gloves. We best be going.”
Princess Angelica grabbed the pair off from the vanity table and slipped them on. She grabbed her fan once more, spread it out, and waved towards Bendelia. “You and Natalia are dismissed.”
“Yes, Princess,” replied Natalia, bowing.
“Thank you for all your help.”
“You are too kind.”
Natalia slipped past Brent and Bedelia and out into the hallway.
Princess Angelica stared at Bedelia who seemed like an unmovable wall. “I dismissed you as well.”
Bedelia turned to Brent. “You are to head to the kitchen next.”
“Yes, ma’am,” replied Brent. His face seemed emotionless.
Princess Angelica walked up to both of them, standing into proximety to Brent. “Bedelia, I dismissed you, not Brent. I understand that you are head of all servants as appointed by my parents, but I am second to my parents in terms of final say. He is to stay with me until I dismiss him.”
“Princess Angelica, the cooks need help preparing the feast for tonight.”
Princess Angelica folded her hands and elevated her chest. She tilted her head back, appearing even more regal. “Brent is to stay with me until I dismiss him.”
Bedelia narrowed her gaze at the princess. “…as you wish. But please be aware, I shall bring this up to your parents.”
Princess Angelica stared Bedelia as she walked out from the room and disappeared into the hallway.
Brent and Princess Angelica stood in silence, listening to the disapeparing footsteps.
After a long moment, Princess Angelica whispered loudly, “is she gone?”
Brent peered out into the hallway both ways before stepping back inside. “Yes. No other servants besides from myself in sight.”
Princess Angelica grabbed both of Brent’s hands and looked deeply into his eyes. “How do I look?”
Brent looked over all of Angelica. The ballroom gown appeeared as if it had stepped right out of children’s fairytale. Her overall gown’s colour scheme was baby pink, complimented by dark pink sparkles scattered throughout the many layers of tulle. The top half of the gown was boned like a corset, with ruffles running down along the seams, making them a visual part of the dress. Her sleeves rested off her shoulders. While opaque fabric made up the upper part of the sleeves, the parts hanging off and cascading like a waterfall were made of more transluscent fabric. The skirt of her gown was round and multi-layered to an almost ridiclious degree. It was difficult to tell just how many layers there was. Don’t ask the dressmaker either – they don’t know how many layers either! However, the overall look was a very bubbly gown.
Brent smiled gently. He firmly grasped her glove-covered hands. “You are the most beautiful lady in all the land as always, Princess Angelica. It’s a shame I could not accompany you.”
Angelica sighed, casting her gaze off to the side. “Such a shame, indeed.”
“I am sure there will be many fine gentlemen there to your liking.”
“There may be,” Angelica returned her gaze to Brent’s eyes. “but not as fine a gentleman as you.”
Angelica and Brent both tightened their grip on each other’s hands. Brent then released his hand and gently carrassed Angelica’s cheek, who leaned into it. “I’ll still be there if you get bored, a’right? I’m still going to be there.” His voice was low and gentle, as if trying to hide the words from the walls.
Princess Angelica grabbed his arm and nodded, looking as if she was about to cry. “Yes, of course.” She bit her lip.
Brent’s eyes suddenly snapped open. “Oh, yes! I almost forgot!” He reached into his back pocket and pulled out a small, blue velvet bag. “A gift for you, Princess Angelica.”
Angelica took it with both hands. “Oh?” She peered inside and pulled out a choker made of tumbled rose quartz. “Brent!” she gasped.
“I have been slowly working on it during my downtime when I could not spend it with you. Once I knew the colour of your dress, I could not help but make you something that would compliment it.”
“You didn’t need to do this! You should have saved your money!”
“Perhaps, but I wanted to shower you with a gift.”
Princess Angelica held up the rose quartz choker, observing it closely. “Are you aware rose quartz is associated with love?”
Brent smirked. Angelica smirked back.
The princess then held out the choker to Brent. “Please, assist me with putting this on around my neck.”
Brent took it in his hands and walked around to the back of Princess Angelica. “As you wish.”
Princess Angelica brushed her glove-covered fingers against the rose quartz choker as she felt the warmth of Brent’s hands close to her bare skin. Her heart seemed to be anticipating something more, although she wasn’t expecting anything herself. The quiet clanking of the rose quartz beads did not help her either. They seemed to countdown towards whatever her heart was antcipating.
After a moment of silence, after the choker was placed around Angelica’s neck, Brent requested her to turn around. Princess Angelica fulfilled that request and faced Brent with slightly flushed cheeks.
“As I suspected – it looks stunning around you.”
“Thank you, Brent, for the kind gift.”
Brent grabbed Angelica’s left hand, got down on one knee, and smiled. “It was my pleasure.” He then kissed her hand.
Princess Angelica whipped out her fan from a hidden pocket, flicked it open, and started fanning herself, looking away from Brent with a face that was now a few shades off from being beet red.
The ball was in full swing. The orchaestra played loudly and harmously inside with the chatter of the party guests. Dozens of suitors for Princess Angelica were mingingly with the crowd, awaiting a chance to court the princess.
The Princess herself?
She was out on the balcony, leaning over the banister.
Angelica let out a rather irritated sigh. Out of mindless habit, she was fanning herself. Her eyes looked out past the castle walls through a window and out into the glittering fields of grass that looked just like the nighttime sky. Her shoulders dropped and she let the banister support her as she brooded.
“I thought you might be out here.”
Angelica turned over her shoulder to see Brent behind her. Even though he was there, the smile still did not return to her face. Instead, she looked back forward and let her head fall into her folded arms. She groaned.
Brent walked closer to her, careful not to touch her with the other guest around (unless absolutely necessary, of course). “The King and Queen requested I come find you. You have been missing for a long while and they are becoming worried.”
“…I hate these kinds of parties.”
Brent stood next to her and looked up to the sky. After a moment’s pause, he said, “Is that something a Princess should be saying?”
“Do not judge me, Brent.”
Brent laughed. “As you command, Princess.”
Princess Angelica huffed. She pushed herself up from the banister and turned to Brent. “Why can’t a Princess complain about something so…shallow?”
Brent gently smiled at her. He took a step forward and entered into her personal space, still retaining an acceptable distance away from her. “It is because you are a Princess. Princess Angelica, Lady of Astral Isles.”
“Yes, and a fine one at that.”
Princess Angelica covered face with her fan. “Oh, you flatter me!”
“But it’s true! Having known you since we were 6, I can assure you that it is not just flattery.”
Angelica slightly lowered her fan, letting her eyes meet with Brent’s. The sincereity in his eyes greatly touched her, as it normally did. It didn’t matter even if Brent joked around – he always brought back the conversation to sincere honesty with her.
However, she didn’t like the solemn look that suddenly appeared in his eyes. Even though his lips were smiling, she could tell a thought had popped into his mind that he didn’t like very much. She knew she wasn’t going to like it very much either, but couldn’t help but be curious. “What are you thinking about?”
Brent placed a hand on the banister and turned his gaze out to the castle walls. “I’m just thinking you’ll make a fine Queen and Wife one day.”
Angelica began to feel like someone was stabbing her with needles. “I’m…I’m sure I will.” She leaned over the banister once more, looking at the same spot Brent appeared to be staring.
“There are many suitors here for your hand, you know?”
“Did my father and mother request you to come get me? For just that reason?” scoffed Princess Angelica.
Brent was a bit taken aback. “Princess A –”
Angelica gripped the banister and whipped her head at Brent. “I understand that one of the aims for the ball tonight was to continue to assist in helping me find a suitor. Even though my parents know fully well who I want to be with, they still are attempting to give me an option to choose. Yet, they know my choice full and well. Do you understand how difficult it is for me? I can’t be with the one I love and I won’t choose someone I don’t. I’ll most likely end up being forced into a marriage to some stuffy, rich nobleman who I could never love.” Her eyes glossed over, although tears had not come out of them.
“Angelica,” Brent whispered. “I know fully well of that hurt because I can’t be with you either.” Brent brought his hand close to Princess Angelica’s, linking his thumb with her’s. His voice heightened. “The King and Queen just want you to be happy, but they also want to do what they feel is best for the kingdom.”
Princess Angelica turned away, turning back to the outer castle walls. “Why couldn’t you have been born a noble?” she asked under her breath.
Brent grabbed Princess Angelica’s hand, holding it tightly with his. Princess Angelica gazed into his intense eyes that seemed to say “I would if I could” to her.
As they read each other’s eyes, a waltz began to fill their ears. The tension that had been within them blasted away as the music covered them like being submerged in water. They both shivered and Angelica gasped.
“How beautful!” remarked Princess Angelica. “I have not heard this one before.”
Brent’s face lit up. “Ah, I heard from Oran that there would be a new waltz performed today.”
“Did he say that now?”
“Yeah, he did. He told me a weeks ago.”
The party’s mingling guest had mostly stopped talking to dance together instead. Even though the song was brand new, the choreography done was made up from older dances, all rearranged in time to the new song. The movement of each partnership on the floor was awe-inspiring. On the outskirts of the dancing partnerships were other teenagers, mostly prettied-up sons of noblemen, who looked around the room, eager to join in the fun.
Brent placed a hand on Princess Angelica’s back, attempting to usher her folder. “I am sure they are waiting for you.”
Princess Angelica frowned. She whipped around, grabbed Brent’s wrist and pulled him forward. “As Princess of Astral Isles, I order you to dance the waltz with me!”
Brent lifted his finger to point behind him to the noblemen sons on the look out for someone like her. “But, the noblemen – ”
Princess Angelica glared at him. His panicked expression faded, replaced by a much more playful one. “As you wish, Princess Angelica.” Brent got down on one knee, gently holding her hand. “May I have this dance?” He asked bowing his head at her.
“Yes,” replied Angelica. She held out her other hand to him. “You may.”
He grasped it, standing up. “I apologize I am not dressed for the occassion.” Despite his apology, a genuine smile of joy was plastered across his face.
Princess Angelica’s guffawed. “As if I care about that!”
“You’re right!” replied Brent. He laughed along wth her, gently starting to lead the dance.
The two of them danced to the harmonic waltz in time with the many others inside who were dancing along. For them, at that moment, the only two people in the world was each other. They hadn’t noticed Bedelia, Natalia, and a few other of the servants observing them from inside the ballroom and the balcony above. Bedelia gritted her teeth and her face flushed, seeing the joyful sight. Natalia watched on, worriedly.
The flames dancing in the fireplace tinted the room reddish-orange. The colour deepened and eventually got engulfed in the darkness of the edges of the room, towards the door. The room was long and spacious, with a tall ceiling easily the height of three tall people stack on top of each other. You couldn’t tell at night and with the fireplace’s red embers, but the walls were decorated with pastel pink wallpaper with specks of darker pink, accented with white crown moulding and frames around the room. Receeding into the darkness as a long couch, a coffee table made of marble, and a small, but packed library. A bit further back was a door to Princess Angelica’s own personal bathroom. Diagonal from the fireplace was a small armoire, filled with Princess Angelica’s casual wear and pajamas, allowing her to look decent without having to go to the main closet.
Across from the fireplace was Princess Angelica’s canaopy bed. The posts stood half as tall as the ceiling. Medium-weight fabric drapped from the canopy all the way down to the floor. Each section of fabric was secured to the nearest bed post, appearing almost like the curtains of a large window. Natalia worked her way around the bed, pushing the dark pink comforter underneath the mattress. Princess Angelica sat in bed, turning the lamp up next to her more as her eyes intensely worked over every word in the book she was reading.
“Princess Angelica, are you sure it’s okay to keep such artifical light on?”
“‘Tis fine, Natalia. I’ll be going to sleep soon,” replied Angelica, stretching her arms. “I’m quite tired after today’s ball, you know?”
A smile rose on Natalia’s face. “Oh yes! Especially the way you and Brent were dancing together during the waltz!”
Princess Angelica froze for a moment, letting her hands holding her book plop into her lap. She looked at Natalia with the same intensity she had for the words in the book. She watched Natalia’s cheerful face rhythmically tucking her into the bed, ensuring not a single unnecessary wrinkle was there. “Natalia?”
“Yes, Princess Angelica?”
“You saw us dancing?”
“Yes, of course! Oh, lots of us saw you too! It was quite heartwarming warming to watch, as you seemed so down earlier in the night. I love the way you and Brent just light each other up.” Natalia then let out a sigh. She touched her hand to her cheek with a worried look, pausing for a moment before she finished tucking the princess in. “Bedelia was not happy one bit. I heard she went to your parents afterward, but that just made her more mad.” Natalia looked up.
Princess Angelica frowned. She shoved the bookmark laying next to her back into the book, shut it, and placed the book on her nightstand beside her, near the lamp. Her face had gone from red to pale from red again. “Of course that wretched head servant did such a thing! What did my parents say to her?”
Natalia’s face softened, giving Angelica a gentle smile. “I heard they defended you and Brent, Princess Angelica. It’s no secret that you two are in love with each other.”
Angelica let herself fall backwards, the upper part of her back resting against the headboard. She stared off into the dancing flames. Natalia resumed to tucking her into bed as the pregnant silence continued to grow. Just as Natalia finished, while stilling gazing at the flames, Angelica asked in a small voice, “…is it really that obvious?”
Natalia folded her hands. “Princess, if I may say something a bit out of line?”
“…go ahead. You have my permission.”
“Despite the hush whispers about Brent, it seems to me that you two were put on this planet to be together. It is so clear that Brent only has eyes for you and you only have eyes for him. Your parents routinely defend the both of you, yet there is also a pressure for you to go with someone else – I do understand the worry about the impression it will make on the kingdom as a whole. If I had to be quite honest, I think a big reason you two haven’t gotten married by now is because Bedelia continously reminds your parents that it ‘will not look good’ if you marry a servant boy.”
As Natalia spoke, Princess Angelica’s face increasingly became flushed. She was filled with bashfulness, which gradually turned into bitter anger by the end.
“I would like to know why Bedelia is so against Brent and me? I understand the need to make a good impression on our subjects, however, my mother was a peasant prior to marrying my father! What other reason could she have?”
“Perhaps she’s worried about you, Princess?”
“Worried about me? I suppose the kingdom could harshly judge us and fail to follow my rule otherwise…”
“Oh no, Princess, not just that.”
Princess Angelica raised an eyebrow. “What else could it be?”
“Brent is the number one suspect in the murder of his mother.”
Angelica’s face twisted and she let out an awkward, forceful laugh. “Brent? Murder his mother? He loved her! What sort of baseless accusation is that?!”
Natalia was surprised. “You never heard about it?”
“Of course not! It’s preposterous. Brent, murdering his own mother…”
Natalia lightly put her fist to her lips in thought. She seemed slightly concerned. “I suppose that makes sense. It was only a few years ago, after all…perhaps people shielded you from the suggestion.”
Despite the burning fire, Angelica felt cold. She wanted to shiver, but held her posture. Inside, she was ready to start screaming, but she retained a neutral expression on the outside. Her lips pressed hard together as her mind wandered into dangerous territory. “What…were the accusations against Brent?”
Natalia folded her hands. “Are you sure you want to know?”
Natalia eyes darted to the side. “I am not so sure I should say anything.”
Princess Angelica furrowed her brow. “I need to know. Otherwise, I will not stop thinking about it for days on end until I find out why he was accused. What am I missing?”
“I understand, Princess Angelica. Please brace yourself.”
Angelica nodded. She leaned forward, eager to listen.
Natalia took in a deep breath. “The night Brent’s mother was murdered and she was found, the only one in the room with her was Brent. His mother was a mangled, bloody corpse with numerous sharp objects from around the room protruding out of her. Despite how close he had been to his mother’s body, there was not a speck of blood on him.”
Princess Angelica relaxed a bit. “I’ve heard that much before. I understand the oddness of the situation, but I don’t think that is enough for murder.”
“That wasn’t all there is to it, Princess.”
“What else could there be?”
“Have you heard about Brent’s father?”
Princess Angelica paused for a moment. She ran over her conversations with Brent and his mother in her head. Her face softened. “Oh, Brent’s father? I have not heard much. I am aware Brent does not know him, but only knows of him. I recall Addie looking very fond of him when she spoke of him. What does this have to do with him?”
“From our understanding, his father…” Natalia trailed off with hesitation. With silent urging from Princess Angelica’s, she continued on. “…his father was involved with evil magic.”
Princess Angelica was confused. “I am not sure why that information is relevant to the accusation that Brent killed his mother.”
“From my understanding, it is thought Brent inherited his powers from his father and used it to kill his mother. It was the only explanation as to how he could be in such proximeity to his mother without a speck of blood. It also explains why her body was as mangled as it was.”
Princess Angelica let out a single laugh, startling Natalia. “What kind of ridiclious rumour is that? Was Bedelia behind such an accusation?” Angelica then shook her head. “It does not matter.” Princess Angelica put on her hand. “I request that the rumours that Brent killed his mother be stopped to the extent that they can.”
Natalia nodded. “Yes, of course, Princess Angelica. I will do my best if the rumour does come about once more.”
“I thank you for your assitance.”
Just then, a small bell rang loudly in the corner of the room. Princess Angelica and Natalia turned to it, before looking back to each other. Natalia bowed.
“It looks like I am being summoned. Have a wonderful sleep, Princess Angelica.”
“Thank you, Natalia. You are dismissed for the evening.”
Natalia quietly exited the room.
Princess Angelica slid down underneath the comforter. She shut off the lamp beside her and stared up into the red-tinted ceiling, Her insides felt all twisted and her thoughts were trying to make sense of everything she had just been told. At the end of it, she had a single question: he would actually murder his mother, would he?
The last servant in the room finished putting the clothes away in the changing room and left. Princess Angelica sat alone in front of the mirror, staring off into nothingness. She attempted to quiet her mind, but it still whispered what she heard a bit over a week ago.
Princess Angelica jumped, turning around, seeing Brent’s smiling face behind her. She felt elated, but distant. “Oh, Brent! I didn’t know you were here.”
Brent let out a sigh. “I’ve been busy all week. Bedelia’s been working me hard recently.” He put his hand behind is head, scratching it lightly. He was slightly blushing. “I think she might have seen us all the ball. She seemed moody all week.”
“Ah, yes,” Princess Angelica replied. “I have heard we were seen, but I heard my parents also defended us.”
Brent walked up to the vanity and grabbed a large hairbrush from the table. He began to brush Angelica’s hair.
Angelica settle down into her chair. While she felt much calmer with Brent around, her mind was not allowing her too be too comfortable. Murdered her, he murdered her, he murdered his own mother. The thoughts kept whispering as Brent gently brushed her slightly wavy hair.
“I know we have not had much time to spend with each other this week, but are you doing a’right? I noticed you seem distant.”
Angelica’s heart warmed. She turned around, causing Brent to stop brushing. “You noticed?” she gasped. Her eyes lit up.
Brent was taken aback a bit, but quickly smiled at her. “Of course I noticed. Anyone would.”
Princess Angelica turned back around and sulked. “Oh, I suppose that is true…”
He returned to brushing her hair. “What are you thinking about?”
Princess Angelica sighed. “It’s nothing to worry about.”
“It is something to worry about – it is causing you to be highly unlike yourself.”
“I don’t really want to say it.”
“Is it something you don’t feel comfortable talking about to me?”
Angelica turned back to Brent, looking into his eyes. “It’s not that. It’s more that I am worried about upsetting you.”
Brent gave her a reassuring smile. “Angelica, there is nothing you can do that will upset me.”
Angelica laughed. “Alright, alright. I suppose I can tell you.”
“I am listening.”
Princess Angelica’s face became solmen. “I was thinking about your mother, Addie, most recently.”
While Brent maintained his smile, he’s eyes were downcasting towards the floor. “It is close to her death, isn’t it?”
Princess Angelica watched Brent’s face, looking out for anything that might betray him. Yet, all she could find in his face was a fondness and love for his mother. Her heart and mind began to ease. “I knew they were just rumours,” she mumbled.
Princess Angelica flipped back around, flipping her hair as an indication for Brent to continue. “Yes. There was a preposterous rumour going around that you killed your mother and it was done through the means of evil magic you inherited from your father. Ridiclious. You would never murder your mother.”
Princess Angelica was too focused on reassuring herself that she missed the faintest hint of guilt twitching in his face. After a moment of silence, Brent finally said, “of course I would never murder her. I loved her very much.”
“Was that what was bothering you all week?”
Princess Angelica rolled her eyes. “Yes. A bit ridlcious, yes?”
“You suppose? I think it absolutely is!”
Brent and Angelica looked at each other and began to laugh.
“Feeling better now?” asked Brent.
Angelica grabbed his hand, still holding the brush, and looked into his eyes. Her cheeks slightly flushed. “Yes, thank you uplifting my mood and taking time out of your day to check on me.”
“It is truly my pleasure. Anything for you.”
Angelica’s lips curled. “You are to join me in the courtyard for tea today. Bring me tea, but do not put it together – I am looking to practice my magic today.”
“As you wish.”
Brent lifted Angelica’s hand kissed it.
The vibrant blue afternoon sky was dotted with white clouds, adding to the contrast of the maze of crimson roses and deep green bushes below. The maze itself was the backyard of the castle and was half the size of it, but twice as big as the courtyard. In the middle of the maze stood a small, cream-coloured gazebo with a light green roof. Inside the wide-open gazebo was exquisite furniture that appeared to be a bit too high quality to be around the elements.
Lounging in one of the cushion backed chairs that matched the roof sat Princess Angelica, reading a book. The hardcover, cloth-bound book matched the blue of the sky and was accented with the colours of the sun’s rays. It was slightly worn around the edges – as expected of a book tucked away in the back of the royal library, on the bottom shelf. She unconsciously read the words on the page under her breath aloud as her eyes worked their way from one word to another.
“Is that such a way for a princess to be reading?”
Princess Angelica sat up and gave Brent a half smile. She swiped off her bookmark from the table in front of her, just as Brent placed down a tray full of everything that was needed to make tea. “Is that really anyway for a servant to greet their master?”
Brent grabbed Angelica’s hand, got down on one knee, and bowed his head. “My apologizes, Princess Angelica,” he replied. He kissed her hand, standing back up.
Princess Angelica placed the book she had been reading onto the chair as she sat up. She pulled one of her fans – this time a hot pink one that matched her typical princess attire of a hot pink halter dress that reached to the floor, with black straps and a skirt tapestry of sorts with the official emblem of Astral Isles in hot pink embrodiered into it – from her dress pocket.
Brent watched Angelica curiously as she elegantly flicked the fan open and walked around the gazebo in a circle. She didn’t even say anything – sparkles in yellow, blue, and pink appeared, running all the way up to the top of the gazebo, giving a brief flash of solid light before disappearing. Brent’s eyes widened in observation as she went around two more times before returning back to her seat. In one go, she lifted up her book, sat down, and held up her fan to her chest.
“Well?” she asked, smiling.
Brent looked around. It was kind of hard to see, but translucent walls of yellow, blue, and pink pulsated from nothing to just visible though the eyes. “What…what is this?” he asked, turning to her. “Did you just shield us?”
Angelica lifted her chest and smirked, fanning herself. She turned her head as if to look away from Brent. She looked at him with her eyes. “I put up warding from prying eyes. Wouldn’t want someone interrupting us now, would we?”
Brent’s mouth stayed gapping up until Angelica snapped her fan shut. She pointed to the cushioned chair across from her. “Sit.”
Without saying anything, he sat down. Princess Angelica, in turn, stood up. She leaned over the tray of ingredients, observing each one. There were numerous dried herbs, all that she knew would make an excellent tea for relaxation. She placed her hand onto the tea pot, feeling its cool surface.
Princess Angelica removed the tea pot’s cover and placed it off to the side. She unfolded her fan once more, ever so slightly and began to make a circular motion over the pot. After few twirls of her wrist, steam began to come off from the teapot. From there, she began to tap the air above each ingredient. “Lavendar for relaxation, rose petals for love for us and for the self, and some earl gray for balance and joy.” Each ingredient floated upwards. As if she was directly a symphony, the ingredients moved in rhythm to her fan’s direction, gracefully twirling into the teapot.
She then turned her fan to a plate of lemon wedges. She grasped the sides of her fans with both hands and spread it all the way out. As if she was flipping food in a pan, she flicked the fan upward twice, causing two lemon wedges to rise. She slightly turned her fan towards the pot, the lemon wedges floating above the steaming pot. She then opened and closed her fan twice, squeezing all the juice out of the lemons. She paused for a moment before grabbing the lemon peels from the air and palcing them back down on the tray.
She then moved her fan in a circular motion once more above the pot. Yellow and orange sparkles dances around the sides and the steam increased. Soon, the teapot was shrieking and steam was coming out from it like an angry person. Princess Angelica fully unfolded her fan with a flick of the wrist, holding it in one hand. She lifted the fan up as if she was moving up the pot, allowing it to come up with her movements. She carefully poured, while holding the pot in the air with her magic, into each of the cups.
Angelica closed her fan, flicked it towards the small bowl of coconut milk. Two tablespoons of coconut milk leapt from the bowl and into her cup. She sat back down in her chair and took her tea into her hand. She placed her fan down on the table and used her finger instead to direct the magic allowing her to mix together all her ingredients.
She took a sip of her tea. Her shoulders began to relax. “Brent, it is your turn now.”
Brent’s eyes were wide in awe. “Thank you, Angelica, this is too much,” he said. taking the cup into his hand. He slowly took a sip. Angelica watched as his eyebrows rose, then fell as he tasted the tea.
Angelica giggled right before taking another sip herself.
Brent removed the tea cup from his lips and scooped in a teaspoon of sugar and two tablespoons of coconut milk. “Angelica, I am impressed how you made this. From the shield to this tea – you did not even have to say a word this time!”
“This time?” Princess Angelica scoffed. A laugh followed shortly after. “The last time I did anything like this was a bit more than three years ago. Of course I have improved.”
“And improved much, you have.”
Angelica blushed, holding the tea cup with both hands closed to her face, hiding her blushing cheeks. “Don’t flatter me so much without my fan in my hand!”
“But you deserve it all, Angelica.”
Angelica breathed a laugh before taking another sip of her tea. “It’s perfectly blended, I would say/”
“I would say that as well.”
“The iherbs you picked out, I must say, were what we just needed.”
“I thought they would be.”
Angelica and Brent both let out a relaxd sigh as they melted into their seats. They sat in silence for a few moments, enjoying the warmth of the tea and each other’s company.
“What else have you practicing?”
Princess Angelica placed down her tea back onto the tray and stood back up once more. She grabbed her fan. Brent jumped and partially stood up from his seat, reaching out his hand. “You don’t need to demonstrate! You can just tell me.”
Princess Angelica smiled at him, her face seeming to glitter. “I think it is more fun that way, don’t you think.”
“That may be true, but what about your tea?”
“It’s just as easy for me to warm it back up.”
Princess Angelica unfolded her fan. She moved her hand in a c-shaped motion, chanting: “flower snow, appear right here, rain down upon me, out of air.”
Brent looked up as various flower heads gently floated down from the top of the gazebo down towards the ground. There were so many different varieties, he didn’t know which ones were which. However, he did know one – a single red rose floated its way down and into his lap. He lifted it from his lap with both hands, looking at it, then looking at Angelica.
“What do you think of that?” she said, snapping her fan shut. She smiled. “Perhaps it’s not as useful as tea, but that doesn’t matter. I think it’s quite beautiful.”
Brent stood up and walked up to Angelica. He slid the rose into her hair, giving her a gentle smile back. “You are beautiful.”
Angelica’s cheeks became rosy. The slow bat of her eyelashes reflected just how bashful she was. Her lips pressed together as she looked into Brent’s eyes. Brent’s lips did the same.
Angelica then cast her gaze off to the side. “If only we could kiss.”
“Don’t you think it best to wait for your wedding night?”
“Yes, I do.”
Brent took Angelica’s slender fingers into his hand. He gently ran his thumb across each one as he brought her hand up to his lips and kissed it. He then looked at her in the eye. “Let this tide you over until then.”
Princess Angelica let out a single “ha”.
Then a bell tolled throughout the garden. Angelica and Brent exchanged disappointed frowns.
“Looks like it is time for me to change tasks.”
“I will be requesting you once more.”
“Of course, Princess Angelica.”
It had been a whole month since Princess Angelica had any close interaction with Brent. The day after she had tea with him in the garden maze, his work shifts seemed to have suddenly increased. It wasn’t as if he wasn’t busy before, but something seemed off – terribly off. The one hint? The amount of time Bedelia showed up and ushered Brent away to other tasks. The most Angelica had been able to do was give him a friendly wave and smile from a distance.
Angelica’s mood had plummeted to the point she was snapping at the servants. She shooed away all but Natalia for the remainder of the day. Natalia poured the princess a cup of hot tea. Angelica was sprawled out on the couch in her room, looking up at the high ceilings. She turned her head to the table, seeing the steam from the tea. “Thanks, Natalia.”
“The pleasure is all mine.” Natalia bowed her head.
Angelica sat up just enough to sip her tea without drinking it. Natalia stood close by the table, watching her drink in silence. After a moment, Natalia cut through the thick silence. “Princess Angelica, how are you feeling?”
Angelica whipped her head to Natalia with a frown. “Irritated. Annoyed. Angry, even.” She shrugged her shoulders. “I’ve been trying to see Brent for a month and every time I get even close enough to see him, Bedelia shows up to drag him away.”
Natalia opened her mouth to speak, but Angelica put up a finger. “I do not think it’s because of the relocating of assets. I understand that is long and difficult work, but it does not explain the oddity of the situation.” She placed her hand on her cheek. “I’m worried about Brent at this point. Each time I see him, the more worn out he appears to be. He is a hard worker generally speaking, but even this has gone to far.”
A few beads of sweat dropped down Natalia’s face. “I am aware that there had been a mid-week schedule switch a few weeks ago.”
“Did my parents order it?”
“I am not aware of the reason behind the decision.”
Princess Angelica continued to sip her tea. Her eyes stared off into the air. Nothing really made sense to her. Could my parents have ordered the schedule re-arrangements? No, I would not think so. I am certain they are fully aware of how important Brent is to me.
Angelica’s eyes narrowed. “It was Bedelia,” she mumbled.
Princess Angelica sipped the last of her tea and placed it back down on the tray, She then stood up and headed towards the door.
“Where are you going?” inquired Natalia. A hint of panic surfaced in her voice.
Angelica held onto the door frame of the open door, allowing the light from the hallway to illuminate her. She turned half her body to Natalia.
“To my parents,” she replied.
Princess Angelica disappeared down the hallway.
Princess Angelica stood outside the throne room, watching as a group of villagers gleefully exited from the large double doors. She slid over to the door and peered inside. The grandiose throneroom was mostly whites and light blues, with tall pillars and a ceiling made from glass, allowing the sun’s natural rays to illuminate the whole room. At the end of a long, dark blue carpet was the thrones. Sitting up them was the king and queen – Angelica’s parents.
“Hello, Arwinwalde?” Princess Angelica said quietly, leaning in behind the doors.
A young man with grayish-brown hair, glasses, and a prim stature turned to her. “Oh, Princess Angelica! What a surprise to see you during the day. What brings you to the throneroom today?”
“I need to speak with my parents. When is the next appointment?”
Arwinwalde opened the book in his hands. He smiled after a quick glance. “There is an hour and twenty three minutes left before the next meeting. Would you like to speak to them now?”
“Most certainly.” Arwinwalde nodded.
Arwinwalde knelt down beside him and pulled a small trumpet from the floor. He stood back up and blew into it, producing a melody that matched the grandoise appearance of the room. “Announcing, Princess Angelica!”
The King and Queen both perked up in their seats, smiles spreading across their faces. The few staff members neatly stationed around the room knelt down on one knee and bowed their heads. Princess Angelica held her head high and walked down the carpet towards her parents. When she approached the raised platform which her parents stood on, the knights standing in front of them parted and Angelica took a step onto the platform.
Immeditately, the King and Queen hugged her.
“Angelica! What a surprise!” exclaimed her mother. “It is so wonderful seeing you during daylight.”
Her father grabbed her shoulders and took a good luck at Angelica. “As beautiful as ever!”
Angelica gave him a smile that was clearly laced with sadness.
“What’s wrong?” he asked.
Angelica’s browed furrowed as she looked at both of her parents. “I first must ask – did you request Brent to work additional time on the storage rearrangements?”
The King and Queen exchanged looks before looking back to her, shaking their heads. “No.”
The princess cleared her throat. “I have been trying to reach Brent for a month now and every time I see him from a distance, Bedelia comes out from the side and whisks him off somewhere else. Every time I look at him, he looks more and more drained. I suspect he is being overworked on purpose, rather than necessitiy. The other servants appear to be well-rested and an abudance of free time in comparison.”
The queen covered her mouth. “Oh dear.”
The King pulled away from his daughter. “That does seem a bit odd. You don’t think Brent would have volunteered more time, do you?”
“No, I do not.” Angelica let out a heavy sigh. “From my understanding, his hours increased not too long after the ball. I am aware that Bedelia saw Brent and I dancing outside on the balcony and increased his hours in regards to that.”
The King frowned. “Are you sure?”
“Yes, I am quite certain, father. I suspected she saw Brent and I in the garden about a month ago and punished him directly for that. I was practicing my magic and had him accompany me and bring tea.”
The King and Queen both did not look particularly happy. If anything, they looked as if they had heard this all before. However, they hadn’t, at least not from Angelica quite like this – her usual complaints were much shorter and a minor annoyance, not a serious accusation like this. Most of their dismay was directed towards Bedelia.
“Have you tried to speak to Bedelia about this?”
Angelica scowled. “She seems to be avoiding me as well. I never seem to get close to her enough to say something.”
The king and queen nodded to each other. The king placed his hands on his daughter’s shoulder. “My precious daughter, we will see to it that we speak to Bedelia about this matter. She is just looking out for the best interest of the kingdom, but she seems to have gone a tad too far.”
“A tad?!” scoffed Angelica. “She clearly has been increasingly hostile!”
“We will see to it that we sort the matter out.”
The king clapped his hands twice. “Arwinwalde! We must speak to Bedelia as soon as possible. When is our schedule the most open to accompany a long discussion as I anticipate we shall have?”
Arwinwalde ran up to the the king and bowed. “Yes, your highness.” He opened his book and began to flip through it. He lifted up his finger. “It looks like tomorrow, you have an open 5-hour window in the morning.”
The king and queen clapped. “Well, that shall be when we speak to Bedelia,” announced the king.
“Tomorrow morning, yes,” confirmed Arwinwalde, scribbling down the details of the day. “When shall I inform Bedelia?”
“Inform her this evening as the servants are heading to their sleeping quarters.” replied the queen.
The king agreed. “Yes. Send Luké to her tonight.”
“Yes, your royal highness.”
“Angelica,” said the king. “we will take care of this matter for you.”
The queen sheepishly looked at her daughter. “We know just how much you love Brent.” She leaned into Angelica’s hear and whispered “as you know, he’s our top choice as well.” She covered her mouth and giggled, as if spilling a secret.
Princess Angelica blushed. “I-i am aware mother. I am also aware of the potential conflict it may cause if we were to get together…”
“There is no reason that boy should be overworked and Bedelia avoiding you,” said the King.
Angelica gave her parents a hug, feeling herself relax. “Thank you.”
The fireplace had long gone out and Angelica had just been left staring at the dark ceiling. She was exhausted, yet her body refused to settle down. She couldn’t exactly pinpoint what was causing the antsiness within her, but she wanted to get up and move her limbs. She tosseed and she turned, but no matter what way she laid, she could not get comfortable.
After doing this for hours, she finally sat up, got out of bed, and turned on the artificial lamp next to her bed. She opened her amoire and pulled a white satin robe from a hook. She slipped it on, shut off the light, and headed towards the hallway.
Natalia, who had been sitting by the door reading a book, looked at Angelica with surprise. “Princess Angelica, you are awake?”
“I couldn’t sleep.”
“Oh, goodness! Was there anything wrong with your bed?”
“No, I just couldn’t sleep. I feel…restless. I’m going to take a short walk.”
Natalia stood up and put down her book. Angelica waved her hand at her dismissively. “You do not need to accompany. I am only going to the balcony at the end of the hall. Please stay right here.”
Natalia eyebrows gave away her real emotions. “As you wish, Princess Angelica.” She sat back down and returned to reading.
Princess Angelica continued down the hall. The low lights of the lanterns hanging on the wall casted tall shadows all over the place, setting the entire tone. Although walking was calming the antsiness in her limbs, it wasn’t helping the anxiety in her stomach. She couldn’t really explain it, but she knew she just needed to go to the balcony.
She reached the glass double doors at the end of the hallway, where the bright light of the full moon and stars illuminated just a small portion of hte hallway in blue light. She opened one of them and stepped out on the balcony. She walked right to the banister and leaned over it. The gentle breeze of the night kissed her cheeks. She took in a deep breath, letting the cool air fill her lungs.
Her eyes snapped to a figure walking out from under her. Her face lit up, seeing the familiar blonde hair of Brent’s being lightly tossed by the wind. “Brent!” she exclaimed.
Brent jumped and looked up.
Angelica’s unbashed smile quickly started to fade looking into Brent’s somber face. “Brent, what’s wrong?”
Brent cast his gaze over to the side. “Princess Angelica, you really should be inside. It’s not proper for a lady such as yourself to be dress in your nightgown.”
Angelica swiped her hand in the air. “I am not worried about that. We are still in the castle walls, after all.”
“It’s late for you too!”
Why does he look stuck? thought Princess Angelica. She leaned a bit more forward over the banister, taking a good look at his moonlit face. “Brent, are you feeling alright?”
Brent looked over his shoulder. Angelica followed his gaze over to a large clock to the side of the pathway. He looked back up to her and said, “I really must be going.”
A chill ran through Angelica’s body. “What?”
Brent turned around and began to walk once more.
With each step he took, rage over came Angelica. Knowing, however, she could not well scream in the middle of the night lest she wake people up, she simply took a step back, rubbed her hands together, and began to chant. “Wind, carry me, down to the ground; be sturdy and solid like a well made slide; help me to reach where I decide.”
Sparkles of blue and yellow flew out of her palms. They whirled around her and she was swiftly lifted into the air and carried over the banister and onto the ground, just a short distance from Brent. She immeditately ran up to him, yanking him by his jacket.
She could finally see Brent up close: he was carrying a knapsack and was wearing a heavy jacket. She left one hand on his jacket and placed one hand over her mouth as tears began to swell up in her eyes.
“Are you leaving me?” her voice cracked.
Brent turned around and grabbed Angelica by the shoulders. He looked into her eyes with life that Angelica hadn’t seen for a while. “No!” exclaimed Brent.
The tears began to flow. “T-then why are you carrying a bag? And your jacket? It’s too late for anything to be open!”
Brent pulled Angelica closer into his arms. He looked like he was about to cry himself.
Angelica pulled away from him. “Where are you going? Tell me!” she cried. Her voice kept changing volume as she spoke. With two words, it was low, then on another, it was loud. She was having difficulty controlling herself.
Brent then grabbed her hand. “My lady, Princess Angelica, I –”
“Brent, stop it with the ‘lady’ and ‘princess’ speak!”
“But if someone hears us…”
“I do not care about that! Let them all hear! Everyone knows we are in love anyway. It does not matter. Just…where are you going?!”
Brent took a deep breath. Angelica’s hands tightened with his, both hands forming sweat underneath the tight grasp. He turned to her and looked at her in the eye. “I’m going somewhere to make our dream a happen.”
Princess Angelica’s tears halted. “What?”
“I’m going somewhere that will allow me to do my part in making our dream come true.”
Angelica sniffled. “W-what is that supposed to mean? How does leaving make our dream happen?”
Brent’s smile was gentle. The blue of reflection of the moonlight illuminated it, making it appear even gentlier. He released one hand from Angelica’s grasp and placed it on her cheek. Angelica leaned into it as a few more tears rolled down her cheeks. “I’m going somewhere that is similar to this, but not the same. It’s somewhere where I’ll be able to gain all that I need to come back and fight.”
“Are you going to another castle?”
“No,” assured Brent. “As I said, it’s somewhere similar, but it’s not the same.”
“Why do you have to leave?”
“Because there is something I must do there.”
“A-and how long will you be gone?”
Brent chuckled. “Due to my inexperience, it is estimated I will be there for a year and three months.”
Brent leaned into her face. In a low voice, he said, “I will explain it all to you when I see you again.” His thumb then ran over her lips. Angelica shivered.
“I must go.” Brent kissed Angelica’s hand good-bye and walked off into the night.
Angelica fell to her knees, staring at Brent’s sillhouette being engulfed into the darkness of the knight.
*** END ***
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© Kelly Mulry (TrainerKelly). All Rights Reserved.
This story is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, situations, and incidents are the products of my imagination OR are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons (living or dead) is entirely coincidental.