By the position of the sun, Brent knew it was early afternoon. He had been in the library the entire time, taking notes on more of the history of Astral Isles. The library, while not particularly full, had more hustle and bustle in it now. All the lamps were now on and every part of the library was illuminated. He had grabbed a quick drink of water and was making his way back to his seat. Angelica should be free right about now, but I suspect she still would not be out of her room just yet. He scooped up the books from the table – including the history book he was in the middle of reading – and headed on out.
He made a quick stop to his room, placing the books on his desk, and made his way to Angelica’s room. His more neutral face began to light up just simply at the thought of the Princess.
He walked up a few flights of stairs and entered the corridor to Angelica’s room. He watched another servant leave the room and go further down the hallway into another direction. Brent scanned the hallway for signs of the other servants. His smile grew wider realizing he was in the clear. He hurried his step to Angelica’s room.
He opened the door a crack, looking into her wide-open room. He quietly sighed, relieved to see Angelica inside, fully-dressed and with no one else around. He opened the door more and slipped inside, closing the door behind him. His big smile started to shrink as he got closer to her. Is she alright? Angelica appeared to be staring at herself in the vanity mirror. Her shoulders seemed to droop slightly and her face matched it.
“Angelica?” Brent said, standing behind her.
Angelica jumped and turned around. “Oh, Brent! I didn’t know you were here.” Her eyes seemed to glint a slight bit, but Brent could see she was still distant.
Brent wanted to smile bigger, but he felt resistant. What’s going on with her? Brent then let out a sigh. “I’ve been busy for the past few weeks. Bedelia’s been working me hard recently.” He put his hand behind his head and began to scratch it. “I think she might have seen us all the ball. She seemed moody all week.”
“Ah yes. I have heard we were seen, but I heard my parents also defended us.”
“That’s good to know,” remarked Brent. “You know, the Queen requested that I make you happy that night.”
“Did she now?” Angelica smiled, but her gaze turned away from Brent.
Brent nodded. “indeed she did….Angelica, your hair is a bit messy. Mind if I help you?”
Angelica sat down in her chair in front of her mirror. “Go ahead…”
Brent grabbed a hair brush off from the vanity mirror table and began to run it through her hair. Her locks were silky smooth and slightly wavy. The flowery sent seemed to relax his own nerves, although, he could tell they weren’t relaxing her. His heart danced a little with excitement, but just like with his smile, he was resistant – something seemed too off about Angelica.
“I know we haven’t seen each other in a bit over the month, but I must ask…are you a’right?” Brent asked. He placed his hand on Angelica’s shoulder, leaning a bit forward as to place his chin slightly above her head, allowing him to get a good look at her face. “I noticed you seem a bit distant.”
Brent leaned back and removed one of his hands as Angelica whipped around to him. “You noticed?” The glow in her eyes seemed to be coming closer.
Brent smiled. “Of course I noticed. Anyone would.”
Angelica then turned back around, seeming to return to her previous state. “Oh, I suppose that is true…”
Brent frowned. He returned back to brushing her hair. By the stars, she is BEAUTIFUL, even when she is not smiling like the brightest star in the sky. “What are you thinking about?”
“It’s nothing to worry about.”
“It is something to worry about,” protested Brent. “It is causing you to be highly unlike yourself.”
“I don’t really want to say it…”
Brent’s own shoulder’s dropped, even further than Angelica’s. “Is…is it something you feel uncomfortable talking to me about?” Is there even someting like that?
Angelica turned to Brent. Brent could see the worry in her eyes “It’s not that. It’s more that I am worried about upsetting you.”
Brent gently smiled at her. “Angelica, there is nothing you can do that will upset me.”
Angelica laughed. “Alright, alright, I suppose I can tell you.”
Brent perked up. “I am listening.”
He felt like he wanted to sink when the brief smile from Angelica’s face was switch for a solemn expression. “I was thinking about your mother, Lillian, most recently…”
Brent froze for a moment. The memory of the blue flame showing up in the library crawled up his back and his mother’s painful screams started to cut their way through the forefront of his mind. He took in a quiet deep breath and turned his gaze to the floor. Why would she be thinking about…oh. “It is close to her death, isn’t it?”
The screams from her death was replaced by an embarassed “BRENT!” in his head. Oh goodness, he remembered just how many times he embarassed his mother, especially with his love for Angelica. Despite the repeated embarassment, she took great care of him. Despite the haphazard schedule of the servant life, she made sure all his needs were met repeatedly and always ensured that, even though it often caused her great embarassment, he had playtime with Angelica. (It probably helped too that the King and Queen loved him so much too.) If he was in the mood to tear up, he would have, but nothing came out.
“I knew they were just rumours,” mumbled Angelica.
Brent came out of his fond rememberance of his mother. “…rumours?”
Angelica turned back towards the mirror and flipped all parts of her hair that she could to her back. Brent felt confused, watching Angelica turn up her nose. “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.”
Brent frozen once more. By the stars, please do not let me look guilty. He moved his gaze towards Angelica’s hair, hoping he was acting as normal. He lifted up the brush and put it to her hair. “Of course I would ever murder her. I loved her very much.”
“Was that what was bothering you?”
“Yes. A bit ridiclious, yes?”
Brent paused for a moment, gently stroking her hair. “I suppose,” he replied back, almost in a whisper.
“You suppose? I think it absolutely is!”
Brent and Angelica looked at each other through the mirror and began to laugh.
Brent’s chest seemed to swell with love and he hugged her over her shoulders. “Feeling better now?”
Angelica touched his hand holding the brush and face flushed. Yes, thank you for uplifting my mood and taking time out of your day to check on me.”
“It is truly my pleasure. Anything for you.”
Brent released his hug on her. Angelica turned to him with curled lips. Brent gave her a confused smile back.
“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.”
Brent’s brows raised, then his lips, and then he grinned. “As you wish.” He grabbed Angelica’s hand and kissed it.
“What are you doing?” asked Aaron, one of the chefs in the kitchen. Brent was inside of the herbal storage room, opening jars and placing different herbs and spices into small bowls placed on a tray. On the tray was also two tea cups, a tea pot, and a bowl of lemon slices. “I thought you were off today.”
“Bothering the princess again?”
Brent smirked. “She demanded my company today. It is almost time for us to meet.”
“When are you supposed to meet?”
“An hour afternoon,” replied Brent.
Aaron leaned back out of the door. “It’s 10 minutes past.”
Brent’s eyes widened as he slammed the last jar of herbs back onto the shelf. “Thanks, Aaron.” He stood up and grabbed the tray. He rushed by. Aaron sighed as Brent slipped out the door.
Brent walked out the door of the kitchen that lead outside. The door itself lead outside to an outside oven area that was used for grilling and baking in a large stone oven. However, there was a gate to the right-side of the area that one could walk out of and head towards the gardens, which was exactly where Brent was heading towards.
It wasn’t uncommon for the royal family to eat outdoors during nicer weather. Princess Angelica in particularly loved to have tea in the garden’s maze.
Brent pushed through the gates and turned into the garden, walking through the maze of crimson roses and deep green bushes. The maze itself was expertly crafted – many servants have gotten lost when trying to head to the gazebo in the middle. However, Brent was familiar with the pattern at this point. He turned each corner without hesitation and soon, the cream-coloured gazebo with the light green roof appeared full-bodied in his view.
Brent grinned seeing Princess Angelica casually leaning back in her chair reading a book. As he approached closer, he could hear her mumbling the words of the book underneath her breath.
Brent walked into the gazebo. “Is that such a way for a princess to be reading?” he asked, placing the tray down onto the table.
Angelica sat up straight, grabbed her bookmark, and shut her book. She gave him a crooked smile. “Is that really anyway for a servant to greet their master?”
Brent grabbed Angelica’s hand, got down on one knee, and kissed it. “My apologizes, Princess Angelica.”
Angelica placed her book onto the table as Brent stood back up. They both exchanged laughs before Angelica stood up and pulled out one of her fans. Brent watched curiously as she walked around the gazebo in silence. His eyes continued to widened, watching sparkles of yellow, blue, and pink appear from her fan and run over the walls of the gazebo. Just as they disappeared, walls of solid light flashed and quieted down. Brent walked over to the wall and touched it. Light reverberated on the invisible wall. “It’s solid?” he said in disbelief. He stepped out of the way as Angelica came around once more.
After a third time around, Angelica sat back down in her seat. “Well?”
Brent touched the wall again. “What…what is this?” He watched the solid invisible wall light up underneath his fingers touching it. He ran his finger hard against it, causing a line of light similar to a meteor run across it. He poked the wall a bit harder, finally noticing that it wasn’t completely invisilble, but had the faintest lights of yellow, blue, and pink pulsating through it that became brighter with each touch, He looked back at Angelica. “Did you jsut shield us?”
Angelica smirked. “I put up warding from prying eyes. Wouldn’t want someone interrupting us now, would we?”
Brent’s mouth dropped.
“Sit,” commanded Angelica, pointing to the chair across from her with her shut folding fan. Brent obeyed.
Brent sat in silence as he watched Angelica stand back up and look over the ingredients. He watched her longer, slender fingers remove the lid of the tea pot, unfold her fan every so slightly, and do a circular motion above it. Brent quietly gasped, watching steam rise from the pot. He then watch Angelica 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,” she said. With that, each ingredient floated into the air and into the pot. After that, she unfolded her fan fully and directed the lemon wedges towards the steaming teapot, then quickly shutting her fan and squeezing the juices from them. After one final twirl to heat up the pot even more, she was done, she poured the tea into the cups and put a few tablespoons of coconut milk. To Brent’s surprise, once Angelica was done, she used her finger to direct the magic that swirled the coconut milk into the tea.
Angelica took a sip and Brent watched her whole demeanor change – her intenseness from the concentration completely withered away and she looked like she was melting into her seat.
“Brent, it’s your turn now.”
Brent took the cup in his hands, looking at Angelica and then at the cup of steaming tea with awe. “Thank you, Angelica, this is too much.” He carefully brought the steaming tea to his lips and took a slow sip. The mixture coated his tongue and down his throat. All of him seemed to warm up in waves. Every part of him became relaxed to the point he couldn’t help but grin. He placed the cup back down for a moment and scooped a few more tablespoons of coconutmilk and a bit of sugar. I can’t believe she made all of this, plus the shield, without a word. When did she practice all of this?!
He looked at Angelica. “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!”
Princess Angelica scoffed. “This time?” She then laughed. “The last time I did anything like this was a bit more than three years ago. Of course I have improved.”
Brent lifted the tea back to his lips. “And improved much, you have.” He took a sip.
“Don’t flatter me so much without my fan in my hand!”
“But you deserve it all, Angelica.”
“It’s perfectly blended, I would say/”
“I would say that as well.”
“The herbs you picked out, I must say, were what we just needed.”
“I thought they would be.” What else would she need than something to drink to relax?
The two of them melted further into their seats with each sip they took. All of the tension that had been left in Brent’s body from earlier in the day – no, even earlier than that – completely disappeared under the warmth of the tea mixture. His body trembled in waves, ending at the bottom of his feet. What intentions did she inject into each ingredient? I had my own, but there was no way that I had influenced it too. Just how powerful has she gotten in her practice?
After letting the thought linger a bit more, Brent asked, “what else have you been practicing?”
Angelica stood up and grabbed her fan. Brent quickly placed down his cup and partially stood up, reaching out a head towards her. Wait, what is she doing? “You don’t need to demonstrate! You can just tell me.”
“I think it is more fun this way, don’t you think?”
Brent’s heart fluttered seeing the wonderous glitter of excitement in Angelica’s eyes. Why am I even… Brent’s eyes glanced down at her tea. “That may be true, but what about your tea?”
“It’s just as easy for me to warm it back up.”
Angelica then moved her fan in a large c-motion above her head. As she did so, she chanted, “flower snow, appear right here, rain down upon me, out of air.”
Brent looked upwards to the roof of the gazbo, only to be hit in a face with a flower. He brushed it off from his face and let it tumbled to the ground. He looked up, seeing an array of flowers falling at different speeds towards the ground. He looked over each flower and frowned. What are all these flowers? He looked at the ones that had scattered onto the table in front of him. Not a single one he knew the name of and had never seen tem before. He sat back in his chair in disbelief. What have I been doing with my own life?
A single red rose landed in his lap. He lifted it up with both of his hands and looked down with it. A warm smile spread across his face. Loving her. He looked up at Angelica, who snapped her fan shut.