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.
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?”
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.
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.
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.
“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…”
“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.