[UNEDITED FIRST DRAFT] ??? (Clyde Story 1)

PLEASE NOTE: This is a ROUGH DRAFT. It is the VERY FIRST DRAFT OF THE STORY. YOU are the very first person to read it – I haven’t even read it in its entirety yet!

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.


His consciousness seemed to press against his brow as he stirred awake. His muscles seemed to creak like rusty as he started to slowly move around his limbs, gettin a feel for them once again. Cool air brushed against his exposed skin. A symphony of whirring murmurs sung all around him. He wondered to himself how long he had been out, sitting up on the hard bed beneath his body. His face briefly scrunched just before he opened his eyes. 

The light that quickly filled his vision transformed into a large warehouse filled with numerous electronic machines along the walls. He shifted his body to let his legs dangle over the bed. Just as he turned, a voice said, “oh, he’s awake.” 

He narrowed his eyes at the two people in front of him – one an older gentleman with a slightly hunched back and a large head, the other a rather androgynous person who looked no more than 15 years old. The older man had turned to face him fully, while the younger person turned enough to see a bit more than what they would’ve just looking over their shoulder. 

He looked down at himself, a scowl on his face, as he ran his fingers over the large stiches down his chest and all the way to the bottom of his stomach. He couldn’t exactly pinpoint why, but something about his blue skin made him feel slightly uneasy. 

“What do you remember?” asked the older man. His voice was kind, almost like what you would expect from a loving grandfather. 

He looked up, glaring at the man. “What do you mean ‘what do you remember’?”

“Anything really,” said the older man, walking towards him. “Name, hobbies, what you last did or ate. Anything, really.” 

He leaned back, using his arms to support him. His musles ached pretty badly, but he chose to ignore it. He was awake, after all – they would have to stop being so tight at some point. He swung one leg over the other, gently pulling the small white towel that covered his crotch. “What kind of ridiclious question is that? My name is Clyde.” 

The older man and the young person exchanged looks. Smiles rose on their faces. The younger person turned to the computer in front of them and began to clack away at the keyboard. 

“What else?” 

“Before I answer that, who are you?” 

“I am Dr. Gladier,” said the older man. He then extended his arm out to the younger person. “And this is Dr. Hadley. He helps me here in this lab.” 

Clyde looked at both doctors back and forth. “What would I be doing in a labortory with two doctors?” 

Dr. Gladier’s smile extended further. “Well, why do you think?” 

Clyde opened his mouth to speak. He managed to say “ah”, before pausing. He closed his mouth and turned his head away from the doctors. He began to run through his memories…only to find out, he had none. He grabbed his head and looked down towards the concrete floor, shocked. 

“I…I do not remember anything!” 

“Nothing else?” inquired Dr. Gladier. He frowned for a brief moment before smiling. He turned to Dr. Hadley. “It’s amazing he remembered his name.” 

“Heh, heh, amazing indeed.” 

“Is remembering my name so funny?” snapped Clyde.

Dr. Gladier put up a reassuring hand. “Not at all. You are the first dolly to remember anything more than how to speak.” 

Clyde’s tongue started to roll around in his mouth and saliva started to coat it. Clyde swallowed before glaring at Dr. Gladier. “Dolly? What is that supposed to mean? And remembering? I…I must remember more…” 

“Do you remember anything else?” 

Clyde’s tongue squirmed. “Tea…”

“Tea?”

“Yes, I want tea.” 

“Do you like tea?” 

Clyde’s eye lit up as his preference came flooding back to him. “I love tea. I love all kinds of tea. It does not matter what kind of tea it is, for I love and drink them all. I could use some peppermint tea at the moment, however.” 

Dr. Glaider clapped and turned to Hadley. “Did you hear that! Tea!” 

“Heh, heh, yes! Let me tell Victorina to get, heh, him some peppermint tea then,  heh heh!” 

“Very good, very good.” 

Clyde rolled his head back to leer at Dr. Gladier. “Why did you call me a dolly?” 

“Ah yes, about that. You see, Clyde, you had been dead.” 

*** 

Clyde sipped his peppermint tea as Dr Gladier explained what the heck a dolly is and what he meant by that Clyde “had” been dead. 

“I’ve always been so saddened by the young people who have lost their lives to tragic deaths and have wanted to do something about it. I began running experiments back on my home planet, but alas, I became misunderstood and driven out from there and to here. I am quite foruntate that taking refuge in this place turned out to lead me to find my missing ingredients for a full revival.

I was able to build this lab and continue. It took many tries, but I finally had managed to give young person a second chance at life. However, I had not been prepared for the kind of second chance my experiment would lead me to – the first dolly could not even speak. She appeared to have the mind of an infant.

All hope had not been lost, as Dr. Hadley had been able to find a specialist to bring the young woman to where she needed to be in life in a small amount of time. I knew for my next dolly, however, I had not wanted to go through such a thing once more. After tweaking the revival formula, we proceeded once more and revived a young man. We were successful in bringing back his memory of acting his age, however, he could remember nothing else.” 

Clyde lowered the peppermint tea from his lips. “Which number dolly am I?” 

“You are number three. We tweaked the formula cautiously when deciding to revive you, hoping that you would retain more of your memory. It appears that we have been both successful and a bit too cautious. You only remembered two things about yourself from your previous lfe, after all.” 

Clyde gazed down into his tea, lookng at his reflection in the tinted water. His right eye was missing and instead, there was a giant hole. He had stitches on both sides of his mouth running all the way up to under his ears. His eyebrows were also made of stitches. His single dark blue eye turned to Dr. Gladier. 

“Why do you call us ‘dollys’? Are we not people?” 

Dr. Gladier laughed. “Of course you are people. I have called you ‘dollys’ because of the amount of stitching required for each and every one of you! I have chosen to focus on those who had a most unfornuate deaths. Many are mutilated in some form, including yourself.” 

Clyde could suddenly feel a pit in his stomach. He begun to feel cold as Dr. Gladier continued on. “The only stitches from cuts I made was your chest and stomach. As for the rest, your body came that way. I stitched it right back up – it is not right to leave someone in such a condition. I also fixed your eye socket that is missing an eye – it’s an inverted black half-sphere. I had not been sure if you would want a glass eye of some sort, so I left the option up to you.” 

“Well,” exsaperated Clyde. He looked up from his peppermint tea. “I am not quite sure what to make of all of this. I do not know if I should thank you for this second chance at life or condemn you for it.” 

Dr. Gladier’s smile twisted. “Whichever one you end up chosing is fine.” 

Clyde began to sip his tea again. 

I’m dead. Or rather, I was dead. I wasn’t just dead either – I had been mutilated in some way. What kind of life had I previously been living? A creeping tension began to work up his arms as he continued to gulp down the tea that didn’t seem to work very well on his nerves. I don’t think I want to know. 

“You must be cold,” said Dr. Gladier. 

Clyde lowered his tea. “No, I’m quite warm thanks to the tea.” 

Dr. Glaider chuckled. “You have been sitting naked for a long time.” He extended his hand towards Clyde. “That tea isn’t going to keep you warm forever, you know? Let’s get you into some clothes.” 

***

Victorina had brought in a set of black scrubs with two large, rectangular pockets towards the bottom of the top. Clyde slipped on the soft cotton fabric pretty quickly and stood on the cold, concrete floor with bare feet. The rest of him warmed up quickly. He patted the loose shirt lightly as Victorina, Dr. Hadley, and Dr. Glaldier looked on with delight. 

Victorina stuck up her nose. “I knew black would be perfect on you! It goes well with your pink hair and blue skin.” 

“Heh, heh, nice job, Victorina.” 

Victorina puffed out her chest and placed her right hand over it. “Of course!” 

Dr. Hadley flashed her a toothy smile. “Heh heh, I’m surprised it wasn’t, heh, more apple-themed!” 

Victorina glared at Hadley. “Shut up, ya old brat! I have good colour sense, you know! Who do you think planted all those luscious plants out in front of the building?” Victorina puffed her chest out once more. “Oh yes, that was me.” 

“Now, now, I don’t think Clyde wants to hear banter between the two of you,” said Dr. Gladier, putting his hand up to silence both of them.  

Dr. Hadley shot Victorina one more tooth grin and Victorina one more harsh glare before they both turned thier attention completely to Clyde. 

Clyde had a lot of questions, watching the interactions. Something seemed oddly casual between Victorina and Hadley, but he couldn’t tell why – they certainly looked nothing alike. He placed that question of to side as he redirected his attention to the comfy scrubs he was wearing. “I do like these myself. They are quite comfortable. Thank you for taking your time to pick them out for me, Victorina.” 

Victorina blushed and waved her hand. “Oh, you.” 

“Heh, heh, don’t say that to her! It’ll go to her head!” 

Victorina suddenly leapt at Hadley. “OH! THAT’S IT, YOU BRAT!” 

Dr. Hadley let out a giant laugh as he slid out the way in his rolling computer chair from Victorina’s leap. Victorina quickly caught her footing and begun to chase him around. Clyde’s eyes went wide and shifted, exchanging looks with Dr. Gladier. 

“You look like you are curious about their relationship.” 

“Quite.” 

“I’ll explain it on the way to the room you’ll be staying in.” 

Clyde’s ears perked up. “Oh? There is a room for me to sleep other than this one?” 

“Would you really want to sleep in here overnight?” 

“I suppose not.” 

“I thought so. Come.” 

Dr. Gladier motioned to Clyde. Clyde followed, leaving Victorina and Dr. Hadley behind. 

*** 

“You have just reawakened from Death’s cold embrace. To ensure that you are in good health, you must stay in this facility in the meantime so that I may monitor you for any complications,” explained Dr. Gladier as they walked down a short hallway. The finally stopped in front of a door on the left and wallked through. 

The room was decent-sized and appeared to be a cross between a hotel room and a hopsital. Numerous pieces of medical equipment were strategtically placed around the room to check vitals and repair minor issues at a moments notice. The rest of the room was rounded out with a well-made bed, couch, nightstand, and lamp. Mounted on the wall was a high-definition TV. Below the TV was a set of drawers and cabinet with a coffee brewing machine on top of it. In the left-hand corner of the room was a small bathroom with a stand-in shower, sink, and toilet. The bathroom was painted a pastel green, while the bedroom itself was a pastel indigo colour. 

“This is your sleeping quarters for the next month.” 

Clyde looked over the room. “Impressive for being a room to monitor my health. What will I be doing after a month?” 

Dr. Gladier clasped his hands together. “I will be working on getting you a permnant residency and occupation while you are here. Once a month has passed, you will move to your new home and start your new occupation.” 

“Sounds quite alright,” said Clyde, sitting down on the bed. He turned his attention back to Dr. Gladier. “And what would my occupation be?”

“During this month, we shall be running a series of test to determine what would be best for you.” 

Clyde cracked a smile. “I shall look forward to it.”

Clyde cast his gaze down to the floor. His smile slowly faded as he looked at the slightly worn tile. He listed to his mind for memories to come flooding back to him, but nothing other than longing curiousity surfaced. What had I been doing in my past life? 

After a moment, Dr. Gladier broke through the heavy silence. “Are you still curious about Dr. Hadley and Victorina’s relationship?” 

Clyde perked up. “Yes, I still am. Something appears off to me about them, but I cannot put my finger on it.” 

Dr. Gladier lifted up his finger. “Ah, the first thing you must understand is that looks can be decieving – especially when it comes to vampires. Dr. Hadley and Victorina have been a team for a very long time now. Dr. Hadley once told me he chose Victorina to be under his care simply because of her extensive knowledge of Vampires, Plant, and Fungi.” 

“Oh? How long?” 

“Several hundred years.” 

*** 

The machines in the room were nearly silent. The loudest machines looeked the clunkiest and oldest. Clyde laid in bed, staring up at the ceiling. No light was on in the room whatsoever, although light from the hallway peeked underneath the crack under the door. This did not bother Clyde one bit. In a way, it helped him to know that he was alive and that he could see. 

His mind was blank. Echoes of the conversations of the day floated in and out of his consciusness. He didn’t pay much mind to them whatsoever, as he knew his mind was just filtering them. He was more interested in seeing if anything from his previous life would resurface. 

My name is Clyde. And I like tea. 

And just like earlier in the day, that was all he could remember.

He flipped over to his left-hand side and dozed off in time to the quietly whirring machines.

***END*** 

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[UNEDITED FIRST DRAFT] Record Deal with a Demon

PLEASE NOTE: This is a ROUGH DRAFT. It is the VERY FIRST DRAFT OF THE STORY. YOU are the very first person to read it – I haven’t even read it in its entirety yet!

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.


Violet behind the curtain of the stage, inspecting her violin one more time. Well-polished, well-tuned…everything was in place. And of course it was – this was Violet after all. The violin prodigy! If Foreligis had been more connected, she would be better know – but it was fine. At least her home, the large city-village of Aurum, had enough space for her…supposed. 

She turned to the mirror that stood beside her, posing with her violin. Her purple hair rained down her shoulders and she gently brushed it away to brush it off from one of her many precious violins. Excitement almost immeditately bubbled up through her stomach and into her heart. Soon it was circulating into her system, transforming from nervous-excitement to pure energy. She lowered her violin and her bow, smiling widely in the mirror in front of her – she was ready to perform. 

“…um’s prodigy, VIOLET BAUM!” 

Applause thundered so loudly, the whole stage shook underneath Violet’s feet. This served only to cause her steps to lighten even more as she placed her violin on her shoulder and began to play intensely for every person in Aurum, even if they weren’t attending. She stepped out in almost a skip, quickly silencing the outdoor concert hall. She swung her body in time to the music, dancing along with the sound she produced with just herself, the bow, and the violin. 

She stepped along the stage, allowing the flow of her dancing to energize her very core. The audience began to clap again, adding an additional layer behind her. She giggled to herself, remember the brief thought she used to have when she was just a young child – the very annoyance at the clapping before she was done and how distracting it once seemed that they would be clapping along with her music. But now they’re a part of my performance.

CREEEEAK

Violet’s gut pinched at the sound of creaking from around her. Tension hugged her upper arms, but she kept on playing anyway. It’s nothing, ignore it. She told herself, mentally pushing herself back into the music. She took a few steps towards the back of the stage, walking backwards to amp up a powerful, speedy performance. The crowd cheered, yelped, and clapped. She began to spin around and around, swinging her head.

CREEEEEAK CREEEEEEEEEEEEAK CREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAK

The stage and its surroundings moaned once more. Violet’s gut pinched and twisted again. Although her face was smiling, internally, she was starting to get really angry. Her ears moved from the music to the unharmonious creaks of the stage. How dare you! she spat in her head as she continued to smile and play on the outside, hoping underneath no one was going to notice her anger. You’re messing up my rhythm! 

CREEEEEEEEEEEEEAK CREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAK CREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAK

Up from her stomach shot up a single word to her head: DANGER. 

CREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAK

And what did she do? Attempt to push it down – she was at the best part in the song! 

CREEEEEEEEAK CREAK CREEEEEAK CREAK CREAK CREAAAAAK CREAK

She began to slam her foot to the ground to each note that she played, banging her head in the air as she did so. The audience clapped along. Her notes became hire and she turned around, looking up at the ceiling with her up body, leaning her head back. Normally, she’d look briefly at the audience, but that obnoxious creeeeeeaking caught her attention instead. 

Her eyes watched as the creaking metal above her swayed violently. 

Her gut shouted to her DANGER, DANGER, DANGER! 

Her eyes widened, watching everything become unhindged and then…

CRAAAAAAAAAAAAASH! 

Screams came from behind Violet, but she couldn’t see where – on top of her was metal and wood. And in her. 

[UNEDITED FIRST DRAFT] The Princess and the Shark Boy

PLEASE NOTE: This is a ROUGH DRAFT. It is the VERY FIRST DRAFT OF THE STORY. YOU are the very first person to read it – I haven’t even read it in its entirety yet!

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.


Midnight Star sat on the rock bench, leaned back against the warm stone. All around her seaweed of numerous shades of green swayed in the gentle ocean current, almost hypnotizing her to relax with their rhythm. Some of the leaves gentle brushed her from behind, tickling her shoulders over the fabric of her crop-top. Although her gaze was softened and her body calm, she moved to touch a long piece of seaweed that was draped over her shoulder. She held it in her hands, her fingers running over the varied surface of the green plant. The texture was like a bunch of cracks, similar to the stone bench she sat on, but much more uniform. 

Each time she ran her fingers over the seaweed, feeling every single detail, she further relaxed. Her breathing slowed and her consciousness seemed to sink deeper and deeper into the depths of her being. And her eyes weren’t even closed! But oh, did they want to close. The silence of the seaweed garden, the ocean currents moving like underwater wind, and the beauty of the small details all around relaxed her deeper with each passing moment. A peaceful smile slowly spread across her face as her shoulders fell. She slipped down from her seat – just enough to still feel fully supported and comfortable. 

Time stopped as her eyes flickered closed. 

Then YANK! 

Midnight Star jolted awake and jumped up, whipping around, seeing a boy around her age snickering at her. Midnight Star snarled at the shark merman in front of her, “NEN!”

Nen laughed. “You better wake up, otherwise some fishermen is going to think he lost his rope!” 

Midnight Star slapped his hand away as Nen tried to reach for her hair once more. Her mouth spread across in a straight line and she closed her eyes. “Nen, do you think that is funny AGAIN?” She then turned a bit, folding her arms, pouting, “And I wasn’t sleeping.” 

Nen grabbed one of her pigtail braids. “Every time,” he replied. He laughed again. “It really IS like a rope – do you see how big and long this braid is?” 

Midnight Star snatched it back. “I really don’t like when you do that…” 

“What? Touch your hair or call it a rope?” 

“Both.” 

The blue-gray shark merman swam up from behind the bench and lowered himself down onto it. He leaned back, one arm resting across the backboard. His other hand was halfway in the air as he spoke. “But have you looked at it though?” 

“…” Midnight Star pursed her lips. “All I see is questionable genes.” 

“I know, I know,” Nen threw his head back. “You wear them in braids to hide the fact you’re the only one in your family with straight hair.” 

Midnight Star took one of her braids in her own hand, gently stroking it. From her heart to stomach seemed to be swirling with nausea, she couldn’t help it either – every single time she sees her hair, she questions it. Brown and straight – was she really a member of the royal family? She lightly tugged on the braid.

“Rope hair.” 

Anger rose up from her stomach and spat out of her mouth. “If I’m rope hair, then you’re a curve-boy!” 

Nen flinched. Midnight Star, cheeks flushed from her anger, watched him hug his body and eyes glaze over. Nen, indeed, did have curves. He curved higher up than the average male. Something about his overall physic was much more androgynous and feminine than anything else about him. 

Nen’s eyes shifted around for a moment. Midnight Star watched him carefully. He’s about to do som–

With a twist smile and mischievous furrowed brows, Nen sprung up from the stone bench and yanked the blue star hair clip from her hair. 

Midnight Star gasped as a few lose pieces of hair swayed in front of her like a miniature seaweed garden. “NEN!” she gasped. 

Nen stuck out his tongue. “Come and get it, if you want it so bad!” 

Midnight Star grumbled. She lunged forward to grab the clip, but Nen gracefully moved out of the way. “Give it back! Ugh! I hate when you do this!” 

Nen’s only response to was to laugh. 

Midnight Star and Nen kept going around in a circle, zigzagging each and every way. Midnight Star grabbed and grabbed and grabbed, but Nen always managed to get the clip out of her grasps. Her stomach turned and the tightness of panic overwhelmed her chest. “I don’t want you to break it!” 

“I’m not going to break it. If it breaks, it’s YOUR fault!” 

“No, it’s your fault because if you didn’t take it, it would have been safely holding my hair back!” 

Nen laughed, swiping it away from Midnight Star once more. 

Midnight Star stopped and looked up, watching Nen bump into a gorgeous woman with mystical air about her. The half-swordfish merwoman looked down at Nen, unamused. 

“There you are,” she said. 

“M-mom!” exclaimed Nen, startled. He quickly turned around and looked at her nervously. 

Nen’s mother’s eyes darted to the clip in Nen’s hand, promptly swiping it. She rubbed it with the cloth of her arm band, cleaning off any grim that had been stuck to it. She then swam over to Midnight Star and presented it with both hands. “Princess Midnight Star, I am sorry that my son keeps doing these things to you.” 

Midnight Star leaned slightly over, seeing Nen’s nervous wide-eyes. His bottom lip was quivering. “He called my hair a rope again,” said Midnight Star, flatly. 

Midnight Star bowed her head in thanks as she took the hair clip from Nen’s mother’s hands. “Thank you, Lady Medeba.” 

“The pleasure is mine, Princess Midnight Star,” Lady Medeba replied, curtesying. Her attentiveness was soon shifted to annoyance as she turned to Nen with a forced smile. 

Lady Medeba yanked Nen by his upper arm fin. 

“Ow! Mom…” 

Lady Medeba’s forced smile never faded. A vein clearly popped out from her forehead. “My son, please stop harassing the Princess. I fear the engagement will be called off otherwise.” 

“What? No way!” objected Nen. “She knows I’m just joking around!” 

Lady Medeba turned to Princess Midnight Star. “Do you know he’s just joking around?” 

Midnight Star frowned. It doesn’t feel like it. 

Lady Medeba whipped her head back forward. “I’m going to take that as a ‘no’.” 

Nen attempted to protest, but no words came out from his mouth. Lady Medeba pulled him towards the garden exit. “Come, I need you to help me with something.” 

Nen slapped his mother hand on his fin, repeatedly saying, “Mom, that hurts, let go!” 

Lady Medeba, unmoved, turned her head to Midnight Star. “Oh, yes! I almost forgot – Princess, the King and Queen are looking for you.” 

Midnight Star looked confused. “Thank you,” she said to Lady Medeba. 

“See you for lessons,” replied Lady Medeba, dragging Nen away – moving her hand from his fin to his wrist. 

Midnight Star giggled, watching Nen shake off his mother’s hand and the two of them laughing. She could barely make out Nen nagging her for yanking on his fin again. Their voices faded off and once again the seaweed garden was full of silence. 

Midnight Star began to lull off where she floated. A jolt ran through her and her eyes popped open. “My parents!” she gasped, scurrying off towards the castle. I wonder what’s wrong? Did I get in trouble for something? I don’t think I did anything wrong…

***

Midnight Star sighed with relief as she swam out of the courtroom. I’m not in trouble…good. She laughed to herself. Of course I’m not in trouble, I didn’t do anything wrong, right? I don’t think I ever did…

“You look like you’re overthinking again.” 

Midnight Star looked up fom the ground she had been looking at, seeing Nen smirking at her. He leaned against the door frame, his blue-gray hair swaying in the ocean currents that ran through the castle. Midnight Star blushed. “Yeah, I guess I am…” 

“Come on, let’s head to class.” 

Nen extended his hand to Midnight Star and she took it. The two swam together down the hallways to the other side of the castle, where the study was located. 

“What did your parents want anyway?” asked Nen. 

“Oh, um…I thought I was going to get in trouble, but it turned out to be about Glitter Light’s graduation.” 

Nen chuckled. “Why would you get in trouble?” 

Midnight Star shrugged. She placed a hand over her beating her. “I don’t know. Maybe I forgot about something? I don’t always have the best memory…” She slightly trembled. 

Nen’s hand tightened around her’s. “I think everyone knows you need reminders, so I don’t think that’s a problem.” 

Midnight Star felt a stab in her stomach. Oh, I suck. No one should have to remind me…what’s wrong with me? 

There was a moment of silence as Midnight Star ran through her head. I have straight, brown hair. I can barely remember things. I don’t really have any majour duties. I get to marry the Official Court Witch’s son. I mean, that’s definitely not the worst and I love Nen and all, but aaaaaaaah, do my parents have any confidence in me? I’m such a disappointment…

“Um…what was it about Glitter Light’s graduation?” 

Midnight Star jumped as her line of thought broke. “Oh! Um…it was…it was about food. They were asking me if I had any special request for dinner during the celebration. It’s a small celebration and it’s not for me, so I don’t know why they’re asking me.” 

Nen laughed. “They should be asking Glitter Light!” 

“Right?!” exclaimed Midnight Star. She laughed too. “I thought the same thing! Why ask me? It’s her celebration!” 

The two laughed for a moment more before Midnight Star changed the subject. “Lady Medeba wanted you too, right?” 

Nen nodded. “Uh-huh,” he grumbled. 

“Uh-oh, what did she make you do?” 

Nen suddenly stopped and turned to Midnight Star, grabbing both of her hands. Midnight Star’s eyes widened and she glanced around, seeing the servants in the castle pass-by with only the slightest of glances. Oh no, they’re all staring at us. Wait…that’s okay. That’s fine. We’re engaged, it’s normal. It’s normal. “Um…” What is he doing? Why did we stop? Wait, what’s he doing with my other hand?? Oh, he’s just taking it…but why? 

“Mom chewed me out for making fun of you again,” replied Nen. His eyes darted to the side and he slightly blushed. Midnight Star held her breath, unsure where he was going with his actions. Nen tightened his grip on Midnight Star’s hands. “She’s really worried that one day I’ll take it too far and the engagement will get called off.” 

“No!” yelped Midnight Star. Nen jumped. She took one of her hands back and covered her mouth. “Ah! Sorry! I didn’t mean to make you jump. I just, um, know that’s not going to happen. I don’t think you could even take it that far. And even if you did, I don’t think that would happen.” 

A warm smile spread across Nen’s face. His eyes gazed at her lovingly. “You don’t think it would?” 

“No.” I don’t think my parents love me all that much to call it off…NO, wait! I’m fine with this arrangement, right? Midnight Star shut her eyes really tight. Yes, I am. I think…AH! I DON’T KNOW.

“Mid-Star?” 

“Ah, sorry.” 

“You don’t need to apologize…are you okay?” 

“Yeah, sorry…I mean…ah sorry! Err, um….” Midnight Star let out a sigh. She gave Nen an awkward smile. “I think I relaxed too much today because my head is freaking out.” 

Midnight Star flinched as Nen took her on both sides of her head. “I wish my head was freaking out! My mom had me rearrange her ENTIRE bottle collection in 20 minutes by size, shape, coloured, and design.” 

Midnight Star’s face scrunch and she stuck out her tongue.  “Ew, that sounds AWFUL.” 

One of Nen’s hands fell to Midnight Star’s shoulder, while her put the other on his head. “I was so bored and all I want to do is sleep, but then I had to come pick you up. Mom knew I had class today and she’s teaching!” He balled the fist that had been on his head in the air. “It’s her fault if I can’t think because she gave me something so boring to do!” 

Midnight Star giggled. At the same time, she became increasingly nervous. “Nen, we should probably get going…lessons are going to start soon.” 

“Ah, yeah, we probably should.” 

Midnight Star began to swim once more, but was yanked back by Nen. “Um, Nen…”

“Sorry.” 

“…huh?” 

“Um, I’m sorry for earlier. And any time before that. I’m really just playing around, but you didn’t really take it that way, right? Your hair is like how I feel about my body.” 

Midnight Star held up both of her hands. She felt her upper back and chest tighten and her stomach flipped. “Oh no! Oh, no, no, no! You don’t need to apologize! You really don’t! I don’t need an apology…you don’t need to apologize!” 

“But I hurt you, right?” Nen looked into Midnight Star’s eyes.

Midnight Star swallowed, staring back at him. Her heart winced. No words came out of her mouth. Only in the depths of her being could she even admit that yes, he did. But her mind’s response quickly shut her down: you obviously deserve it. 

Midnight Star cast her gaze back down. THe only thing to bring it back up was Nen gently taking ahold of one of her braids. She trembled a slight bit, nervous about what he was doing. His gaze was still soft and loving, no different from when she had been touching the seaweed.

“Nen, what are you doing?” she asked, holding her breath.

“…” He continued to gentle stroke her hair. His cheeks slightly flushed. “I…wish you would wear your hair down. They really do look like giant ropes.” 

Midnight Star could feel the fire of anger start to rise up from her stomach. She yanked her braids back and took in the biggest gulp of water she could. “Just ignore them,” she snapped unwillingly. Wait, was I too mean? But he just apologized and he said that. He..he wasn’t serious, was he? She threw the pigtail behind her. “Let’s…let’s just get to class!” Her anger made its way up to her eyes and began to push out as tears. She went to swim off once more, but Nen stopped her once again. 

“Crap,” mumbled. Nen. “Ugh, I’m not good at this, am I?” 

Midnight Star avoided looking him in the eyes.

“How do I…hmm…” 

Midnight Star cautiously turned to Nen, looking at his face. His cheeks were slightly flushed. Her gut twisted with anticipation. 

“I really…like your hair. It’s different and unique.” 

Midnight Star flushed herself, looking at Nen slightly covering his face. She looked around in a panic, relieved to see no one in the hallway at the moment. “N-nen! We’re in the middle of the hallway!” 

“What, I can’t compliment you?” 

“You can, but…this is the hallway? What if someone hears us?” 

“Does that matter?” 

“Um…I just don’t like it.” 

Nen grabbed one of Midnight Star’s hands and held it, keeping his other hand on his face, partially covering his mouth. “I just wanted to tell you I want to see you wear your hair down because I like it.” 

Midnight Star shook. “T-thank you, b-but I’ll still be wearing my braids.” She looked down.

Nen nodded. “I figured as much…” 

Midnight Star tightened her grip around Nen’s hand, who appeared to be startled by the action. Midnight Star took in a gulp of water and nodded. “Nen, I don’t feel confident enough to wear my hair down.” She pulled him off to the side of the hallway and leaned into his ear. “I used to hear all the time people question if my dad is really my dad because of my hair. I’m the only one who looks different.” I don’t want to have to go through that all over again…

Nen frowned. He nodded. “I know.” He then gave her a soft smile. “Hopefully one day, that will change.” 

Midnight Star cast her gaze down to the ground. I doubt it. 

Nen gentle pulled her. “Hey, let’s get to class before mom comes and finds us!” 

Midnight Star nodded and let herself be guided down the halls by Nen. 

The hand being held by Nen’s felt calm, but the rest of her body was tense and tight. A fear stirred up in her core – I am no good.