[UNEDITED FIRST DRAFT] ??? (Brent’s Story Part 2)

Short Story ROUGH DRAFTS – Free for All – See Terms of Use before reading

“What do you think of that? Perhaps it’s not as useful as tea, but that doesn’t matter. I think it’s quite beautiful.” 

Brent, without a second thought, stood up, walked up to her, and placed the rose in her hair. “You are beautiful.” 

Brent’s heart began to race watching Angelica’s cheeks flush. He pressed his lips together to prevent them from begging for anything more than looking at her face. He could see Angelica’s doing the same. Brent’s toes curled and he held his breath. I don’t doubt that she is my wife, but with our current status, I wish I could do more…

“If only we could kiss,” said Angelica, casting her gaze off to theside 

Brent turned his own gaze off to the other side. “Don’t you think it’s best to wait for your wedding night?” 

“Don’t you mean our wedding night?” 

Brent laughed. “Yes, our wedding night.” 

Angelica, her gaze still turned to the side, smiled. “In that case, yes, yes I do.” 

Brent then grabbed her hand and brought it to his lips. He kissed it gently, lingering on her skin more than he normally would. He then looked into directly into her eyes, as she had turned her’s back to him. “Let this tide you over until then.” 

“Ha… 

Then a bell tolled throughout the garden and the two of them frowned.

“What will you being doing today?” asked Brent, seeing the utter disappointment written on Angelica’s face. 

She rolled her eyes. “I’m doing a full review on the history of the kingdom.” 

“Again?!” 

Angelica giggled. “Yes, again. They want to be sure that the future queen is ready.” 

Brent held her hand, as if getting ready to escort her. “Shall I accompany you today?” 

Angelica hung her head. “No, not today. I’m being taken outside the castle walls to the local library in the village. From my understanding, they have a history collection we do not have here and it will fill in some gaps in my knowledge.” 

Brent frowned once more. “Aww…what a shame. I suppose when I have a chance, I should check that too.” 

Angelica stood close to him, wrapping her arm around his. She gave him a sly smile. “Getting ready to be my king still, I see.” 

“By the stars, I am.” 

Brent looked into Angelica’s eyes, seeing his own burning fire reflected back to him through her’s. The gaze was then broken by a sudden kiss on the cheek. Brent blushed. “A-angelica?!” 

Angelica held his hand and stood in front of him. “You always kiss my hand – who says I cannot kiss your cheek?” 

Brent bit his lip smiling.

“Now, clean this up. I must be going.” 

Brent nodded. “Yes, right away.” 

Angelica snapped her fingers. The barrier around the gazebo fell and disperased. Angelica put her fan into her pocket and grabbed her book and ran off. Brent fell into his seat, holding his cheek. She kissed my cheek… After a good moment’s pause, he had another thought. Why hadn’t she done that before?  

Brent grabbed his tea and finished drinking. He then gathered up all the materials onto the tray and left for the kitchen. 

He entered in through the side door that he had left through before. He walked in through the kitchen and went to the washroom. Despite it being his day off, he took it upon himself to clean the dishes. He didn’t mind at all, especially after having the relaxing drink and the kiss as a reward. 

He continued to sit with the relaxation and the way the kiss made him feel all through washing the dishes. His eyes seemed distant, but the relaxed grin on his face indicated that it wasn’t a bad thing. He finished washing the dishes and putting them aside to let them drip off and dry. He wiped his hands on a towel and turned towards the door. 

“There you are!” 

“Huh?” Brent saw one of the servants in the doorway. “What is it, Cerlyn?” 

Cerlyn yanked on her bun of ruby-red hair as she frowned. “I was told to get you from the maze.” 

“Oh, I’m off today.” 

“Gosh, I hate that place,” complained Cerlyn. She pushed back locks of her hair back onto the top of her head. “I guess I had just missed you.”

“I guess.” Brent shrugged. 

“Anyway, Bridget broke her arm on the way down to the storage rooms and was told to stay off work for the next 48 hours while the magic fixes everything. I know it’s your day off, but would you be able to finish off her shift? It’s just scrubbing down the storerooms.” 

I already studied and spent time with Angelica…. Brent nodded. “Sure, I would be happy to. I don’t have anything else to do today.” 

Cerlyn grined. “That would be great! Thank you!” 

***

The smile plastered on Brent’s face seemed to hum a silent tune as he scrubbed the dark, stone walls of the storeroom. The tea he had drunk with Princess Angelica not too long ago filled him with joy and relaxation he had not felt while doing his work for a while. 

However, the sudden slam of the heavy door to the storeroom made him jump, nearly dropping the large sponge in his hand. He turned around, only to find himself quickly cornered by Bedelia. The old woman’s face twisted as she leaned into his. 

“What were you doing with the princess?” 

“Excuse me?”

“What were you doing the princess? Neglecting your duties once again? Trying to tempt her?” 

Brent, extremely uncomfortable with the lack of distance between himself and Bedelia, ducked underneath her arm and took a few steps back. “What kind of absurd accusations are those? I am off today. Am I not allowed to see her?” 

“Do NOT talk back to me, Brent – you are not to go near the princess.” 

“She requested me specifically. Is it not our duty to –” 

“Don’t play ignorant with me, boy! There is not a soul in this castle who does not know that you are attempting to lead her astray.” 

“What?!” Brent’s brows furrowed. He opened his arms and opened his mouth, getting read to fight back. 

“Once you are finished with this, report to the servant quarters and check your schedule. It has been changed.” 

“Changed to what?” 

“You no longer have time to see the princess. You shall spend all your waking hours working and they all shall be within my proxmiety so I can monitor you. I cannot have you getting your unworthy paws on the princess.” 

Brent felt numerous muscles within him tighten in anger. His fist squeezed the sponge so tight, a suddsy waterfall poured onto the floor beside him. A cold smile spread itself across Bedelia’s face as she fixed her glasses. She turned on her heel and headed towards the door. 

“You can’t do this,” said Brent, turning towards her. “What about the mandatory days off?” 

“Your time will be split over several days, during hours when you cannot meet with her.” 

Brent balled his fists. “I will let the King and Queen know what you have done.” 

Bedelia’s smile twisted upward. “With what time?” 

With that, Bedelia walked out the door and slammed it shut. 

Brent took a small breath of air through his nose and held it for a moment, listening to Bedelia’s footsteps disappear into the distance.

Then he let out a high-pitched, painful scream. He chucked the sponge against the wall, which promptly bounced back towards him and off to the side. He fell to his knees and hit it with his fist. 

It is no mistake. Bedelia is purposely keeping me away, preventing me from seeing her. ‘Tempt her’? Is that what it looks like? Does it look like I am tempting Angelica? But how? Have I ever even once made a gesture that could be misinterpreted by both of us? I cannot even see the king and queen. Perhaps if I went now, but…what would Bedelia do if I did? 

Brent let his body keel over, laying down almost as if he was a rag doll. The stone floor underneath him was chilly, but it did nothing to sooth the heat of his anger. The most he could do was scream. A fountain of self-hatred began to rain down at him. The stone ceiling staring back at him seemed to mocking him. “Why couldn’t I have been born a noble?” His voice trailed off. 

He covered his face with his hands as tears began fall from his eyes. The room seemed to hold its breath with each quiet sob he made. 

Then a caw caught through the silence. Brent rubbed his eyes and looked towards the open window. There sat perched a raven with dark purple-black feathers and an ever-so-slight purple glow. Attached to its foot was an envelope clearly made of high quality paper. The raven stared at Brent and Brent stared back at the raven. 

Angelica does not have any ravens, does she? I don’t think we use birds as messengers. Brent wiped the remaining dampness of his tears and walked over to the window. Cautiously and curiously, he reached out towards the bird, who followed him with its eyes. 

“May I?” he asked, his fingers hovering just above the envelope. The raven cawed in response. Brent grasped the enevelope firmly enough to detach it from the bird’s anklet. He pulled it to his chest. The raven continued to stare at him. 

Brent turned over the envelope to the front. On it was his name, written in some of the most beautiful calligraphy he had even seen. Who’s handwriting is this? 

He flipped the envelope back to the back and carefully opened up the flap, which had a reinforced seal of wax, stamped with an emblem that made him slightly uneasy. He saw it somewhere before, but he could not pinpoint exactly where.

He slid out the paper perfectly folded inside. The paper was just as high quality as the envelope had been. He was impressed with the thickness of it and the indiviudal fibers that stood out, perfectly interwoven into each other. The writing inside of it matched the beautiful calligraphy of the outside. It took Brent a few moments to adjust to the style, but soon, his eyes were reading each word carefully. His eyes widened more and more with each sentence. He then reached the end of the letter.

And he gasped. 

My father?! 

He began to tremble. The letter was from his father – a man he knew existed and whom his mother would occassionally talk about fondly, as if she were still deeply in love with him. He somehow had only just heard that his mother had passed away three years ago and was now inviting him to go live with him at his villa on a neighboring world. 

Brent was surprised at himself. He never thought his father would reach out to him. Sure, he had imagined before how he would feel if that had happened, but he never thought it actually would. Not to mention, his reaction was nothing like he thought it would be. He imagined he would be more angry or nonchalant about it. 

But instead, Brent felt as if a lightning bolt had run down inside of his body, jolting him up. For him, the letter was clearly a door to what he needed to do next, an answer to a cry to the stars. 

He pulled the letter tightly to his chest, turning to the raven. “Please reach out to me tonight at midnight. I shall write him a response.” 

The raven cawed and nodded its head, before suddenly disappeared into a puff of purple smoke. Brent looked at the disappearing purple smoke with slight fright, before looking down at his own hands. 

***

After Brent took a look at the updated schedule, with urgency in his step. He crept quickly through the corridor and up the steps towards his room. He didn’t even look around, a sense of fear that if he did, he would lose time. Once he was at his bedroom door, he opened and closed it swiftly, as not to draw attention. He turned on his lamp and sat down at his desk, pulling out the letter earlier from his father.

He reviewed the letter once more ensuring he understood each word and each sentence written on the fine paper. “A villa,” Brent mumbled. Is this the truth? Who is this man? Brent stared at the invite once more. Did the stars truly answer my call? 

He placed the letter aside towards the back of his desk and took a piece of stationary himself and began writing: Dear Father, please forgive my handwriting and the low-quality paper I write on. I have been living the past 10 years a servant to the Royal family of Astral Isles. Brent paused for a moment and shrunk back – he felt inadequate. A glance outside up at the stars, however, kept him going.

They have treated me well and I have favour with them. The King and Queen treat me almost as if I were family. The Princess, Princess Angelica, and I are best friends… He cracked a smile. And very much in love. Neither one of us can shake off that we are meant to be together. The only reason we are not marrying this year is because our social standings are holding us back. I suspect that there is more going on than it appears, but I cannot confirm it. 

I am replying back to you to exxpress interest in living with you in your villa. Although my life here in Astral Isles is better than I could have asked for, the barrier to my love keeps getting greater. I do not know much about you, besides that you are my father and mother, when she spoke of you, spoke fondly of you. I would like to get to know you better. 

Brent tapped his pen to his mouth. His face lit up as another question formed in his mind. As you said, mother died 3 years ago. Who informed you of her death and why so late? I am curious if I know who they are. I also must ask – why does the raven disappear in purple smoke? 

Brent re-read the letter and gave it a nod of approval. Awaiting for your response, Brent. 

He fanned the paper in the air, folded it, and slipped it into an envelope. He then wrote “Father” on it in the neatest handwriting he could manage. As he finished off the “r” in father, the bell tolled, signalling midnight. Brent sealed the envelope and turned to his window, seeing a puff of purple smoke form into a raven. 

Brent opened the window. “Right on time,” he said, taking the envelope and securing it to the band around it’s leg. “There you go.” 

The crow gave him a gurgling croak and disappeared into the purple smoke once more. 

Brent shut the window and collapsed onto his bed. He stared up onto the faintly lit ceiling. He watched the dancing light of his lap fade and brighten haphazardly upon it. I don’t want to leave Angelica, but if this is…if this is at all possible, that he could be of someone of higher social standing…could it be possible for Angelica and I to wed? 

Brent sat up from his bed and moved over to his desk. He took out an empty medium-sized box from his shelf and stored the letter from his father inside it. A warm smile grew on his face – his mother had done something similar whenever she had gotten letters. Brent put the box away and pulled the stack of books from earlier in the day towards him. 

Brent cocked his head. Why is this pile so… He then gasped. The small pile of books contained three, rather than the two he was expecting: his notebook, the history of Astral Isles, and the book that brought started to set off the blue flame. He jumped up from his chair and stumbled backwards, taking a look at the book from afar, completely baffeled. How did that get there? I left it in the library. 

Brent stared at the book with fear for a few more moments before he shoved the books to the back of his desk, got undressed and into his night clothes, and shut off the light. He hopped into bed and pulled his head underneath, as if trying to hide. What is going on…

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