Brent finished loading everything he wanted to bring into his knapsack. He had ensured that all the books he had been borrowing were brought back to the library and that everything else in the room was clean. He cleared out what little belongings he had, including his clothes, all packed into the backpack. He may have said not to bring them, but I don’t know what I will be wearing once I arrive.
Brent put on his jacket and tossed the knapsack of his shoulder. He opened the door to the hallway and looked to both sides. He pointed his finger towards the lamp with looking and it shut off, making the room pitch black. Brent slid out from the room and quietly closed the door behind him. He snuck down the corridor and down the stairwell, slipping past everyone.
Soon enough, he was out in the castle courtyard, heading towards the east entrance. He took in the crisp fall air and took one look at the castle. The full moon illuminated the walls of the castle in its beautiful, but eerie blue light. The gentle breeze of the night rustled the leaves of the trees expertly placed around the courtyard. Brent placed a hand over his chest and let out a sigh. It’s only going to be for about a year, he assured himself before turning back around and heading off. Angelica, I will miss you the whole time.
He only took a few steps when he heard “BRENT!” echo from behind him. He jumped, turned around, seeing Princess Angelica look exhastperated. Brent felt his heart sunk.
“Brent, what’s wrong?”
Brent’s cheeks slightly flushed, seeing Angelica’s thin nightgown dance in the breeze. He balled his fist, trying to negate the pain in his heart. “…Angelica, you really should be inside. It’s not proper for a lady such as yourself such as yourself to be dressed in your nightgown.”
“I am not worried about that. We are still in the castle walls, after all.”
“It’s late for you too!”
I can’t tell her, thought Brent. He stared up into her eyes and pressed his lips hard together. The rumours are too grand about my father and the last thing I need is for her to think of me as murderer, even if that is what I did.
“Brent are you feeling alright?”
Brent froze, feeling himself pulled into a million directions. The only thing that brought back was the quiet sound of the ticking clock in the courtyard. He turned his head to it, seeing its illuminated face ticking away. It’s just past one now… He turned to Angelica. “I really must be going.”
Brent bit his lip and turned around, walking off. Tears threatened to push out of his eyes. He rubbed them, attempting to surpress them.
The next thing he knew, he was being yanked back by his jacket. He gasped and turned around, seeing Angelica tearing up and covered her mouth with a hand. “Are you leaving me?” she asked, her voice cracking.
Panicked, Brent grabbed both of her shoulders. “No!” I am not.
“T-then why are you carrying a bag? And your jacket? It’s too late for anything to be open!”
Brent took one look into her crying face and pulled her in close. He shut his own eyes heard, trying to not to cry as his heart sunk deeper. He stroked the back of her head.
Angelica attempted to pull away. “Where are you going Tell me!” she cried, her voice changing in volume every few syllables.
Brent grabbed her hands. “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 and tightened his grip around Angelica’s hands. What can I say to her? He gently stroked them with his thumb and then looked at her in the eye. Then the words floated to his mind. “I’m going somewhere to make our dream a happen.”
“I’m going somewhere that will allow me to do my part in making our dream come true.”
“W-what is that supposed to mean? How does leaving make our dream happen?”
Brent gave her a gentle smile. His aching heart relaxed and instead seemed to swell with love. He placed a hand on her cheek and gazed into her beautiful eyes that reflected the moon and stars above. “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. 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’s smile stretched and he chuckled. Oh goodness. “Due to my inexperience, it is estimated I will be there for a year and three months.”
Angelica stared at him, bug-eyed. “Inexperience?”
Brent’s smile became gentle once more and leaned into her face. He could feel Angelica’s grip tighten around his hand. In a low voice, he said to her, “I will explain it all to you when I see you again.” He glanced at her slightly agape lips and brushed his thumb over it. He could feel her shiver.
Brent glanced over his shoulder at the clock. Ack! It’s already been 10 minutes?! “I must go.” He kissed Angelica’s hand and parted ways with her, walking down the cobblestone path to the exit. The breeze felt extra cold against his cheeks – he was crying.
“Hey, you must be Brent!”
Brent wiped his eyes and turned, seeing a smiling older gentleman and a resting-faced younger person just a short distance behind him. Brent sniffled. “Yes, that would be me.”
“Wow,” said the older gentleman, followed by a whistle. “You really look like both Master Kegan and Lillian!” The man then leered at Brent. “Why you cryin’. lover boy?”
Brent brushed his face again, removing most of the moisture from his face. “You must be Ivan.”
“Heeeeey, you know my name!”
Brent nodded. “Yes. My father provided me both of your names.” Brent leaned over to look at the younger person behind Ivan. “And you are Charlie, I presume.”
“Yes,” replied Charlie. “It is a pleasure to be in the presence of the Master’s only child.”
Ivan placed his arm over Brent’s shoulder. Brent leered at him and frowned.
“Ivan, get off the Master’s child,” snapped Charlie.
Ivan laughed. “Yeah, yeah.” He leaned in towards Brent. “What took you so long? I thought we were going to get frostbite before you arrived.”
Brent pulled away from Ivan and stood in front of him. Before he opened his mouth, Charlie piped up behind him. “Did you not hear their conversation? He was very clearly with the Princess.”
Ivan lifted up his hand. “My bad!” He stuck his pinky into his left ear. “I’m legally deaf in this ear. Can’t hear too well anymore.”
Charlie stuck up their nose before turning to Brent. “I apologize for Ivan’s behaviour. He is too overly familiar.”
Brent shook his hand. “That is a’right. I figured as much from his photo. I suppose that is why my father sends him as an informant.”
Ivan slapped his hands together and rubbed them together. “You got that right!”
“He certainly knows how to weaseal his way in and out of places,” said Charlie.
“You know it!”
Brent looked between the both of them. “It looks like my father treats you both well.”
“Of course Master Kegan does,” said Charlie. “I suspect his kindness is on-par with the King and Queen of this kingdom. Ivan talks about them all the time.”
Brent felt like he wanted to cry again. He placed a hand over his heart. “Yes, that would be right. They are very kind. I feel sad leaving them. I hope they will accept me when I come back.”
Charlie nodded. “They will. They must. If they love you as much as it sounds.”
Brent grinned with a tinge of melancholy.
Ivan yanked Brent’s bag from his shoulder’s, causing him to jump. “Hey, now! Don’t be gettin’ all sad on us. You’re about to meet your father for the first time. We better get going – he’s expecting you soon and we’ve got a half hour ride to the opening.”
“Opening?” asked Brent.
“Yeah, a realm opening – one of the doors,” replied Ivan. “I thought they were teaching you stuff.”
Brent racked his brain. As he scanned what he could remember from lessons, he could remember from the numerous books on the history of Astral Isles that there were mentions of doors to other worlds, but they were called by a different name in Astral Isles. “Ah, do you mean the vortexes?”
Ivan smiled and snapped his fingers. “Yeah, that’s right!”
“Are they common knowledged?” asked Brent.
Ivan and Charlie began to walk, Brent following close behind them. Ivan nodded. Charlie put up their finger. “The knowledge of them varies world to world. Tarhé, for instance, has almost no knowledge save for a few indiviudals. From my own studies, Kehllee’s knowledge of them seems to be drastically varied depending on where you live.”
Ivan yawned. “Your boring me with your intellect.”
Charlie flicked Ivan who yelped. “I am speaking to Master Brent, not you.”
Brent’s face flushed and warmed. ‘Master’ Brent…
Charlie pulled out a compact mirror and faced it towards Brent, slightly looking over their shoulder. “Your father will catch you up on what you need to know. While I am sure that you have received a well-rounded education here, it will need to be expanded.”
“You seem to be well-educated yourself,” remarked Brent. “Did my father provide you with one as well?”
“No, although he does assist me when I choose to learn more,” replied Charlie.
Ivan chuckled. “Your speaking to Charlie as if they’re around your age.”
“How old is Charlie then?”
“Me? I’m 35,” replied Charlie abnormally casual.
Brent was dumbfounded.
The three of them stopped at the end of the walkway, in front of a carriage. The carriage appeared fairly basic, although high quality with a few silver embellishments here and there. Attached to it were two horses with glowing green eyes. Brent pointed to them with a furrowed brow. What are these?
“Oh, don’t worry about them,” said Ivan, slapping Brent on the back while walking to the carriage door. “They’re just tamed fairy horses.”
“Ah” was the only thing Brent managed to say. Tamed? Can you even do that? thought Brent.
Ivan opened the door and bowed. “Right this way, Master Brent.”
Brent blushed once more and stepped into the carriage. “Thank you.”
Brent settled into the red-velvet adorned carriage. Ivan stepped inside and shut the door. He leaned back and knocked on the window behind him. Brent could see the bottom of Charlie’s overskirt in the window’s view. A moment later, the carriage began moving, the faery horse’s hooves quietly clomping against the cobblestone streets of Astral Isles and into the night.
*** END ***
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