“They never meant any harm”
Lael says, leaning against the rail of our balcony. His eyes shift to me when he sighs. “You know that, right?”
“I don’t care” The words come out as a low grumble, barely audible.
I drive a hand through my hair, almost ripping it out in the process. I don’t know what to do, anger still simmers within me and it doesn’t look like it’s going away anytime soon.
I knew they wouldn’t take it lightly… I knew they would not understand - why am I angry then? As much as I ravage my head for answers, all I get is a mess of emotions, never a straight answer. Maybe a part of me held on to this foolish idea that we would huddle around a fire and sing happy tunes and everything would be fine.
“I just wish they would have understood,” I say. “I didn’t want to fight with anyone”
Lael’s form of a response is to cuddle me by throwing a hand around my shoulders and bringing me to his chest. His body feels warm. The air outside is slightly chilly, the city lays before us in a cast of light, expanding left and right and reflecting In the ocean just ahead.
It’s a beautiful sight, which manages to calm me down, even if just a little. Gazing upwards, I catch Lael staring at the city with just as much intrigue.
“Lael” I call.
“When is your coronation taking place?”
He goes silent for a moment, so I continue – “I thought you were supposed to be crowned months ago”
“That clearly didn’t happen” he chuckles. “With everything going on… It wasn’t the right time and still isn’t” he lets go of me, turning around so that his back hits the rail. “How do you think people would feel? With Yivakla protesting for independence and the Loyalists attacking - It’s not time for any kind of celebration, less so a coronation”
That sucks… he’s right, but it still sucks. I know how much he loaned to become king, all the classes he took all the meetings, Lords. Lael was the most solicited and overworked person out of all three of us.
No one ever bothered me like they bothered Lael, and I don’t even know the whole extent of it. Tori was always the rebellious child, so no one really dared to force him to meetings and such.
Ugh… Tori, that idiot still thinks he can do whatever he wants, not only with his life but with mine also. It’s about time he learns I’m not his play toy, he can’t tell me what to do.
“We should go back inside” Lael calls, already making his way through the door.
I watch the garden bellow, how the breeze runs through trees and nicely trimmed bushes. How lights spread around the space, giving in an almost mysterious air. “You go on without me; I have something I need to do”
Be truthful with me, walking alone through the garden at midnight wouldn’t be considered suspicious, right? How about digging up a bag underneath a tree at midnight. Would that be suspicious?
Because I sure as hell think, it is! Throwing my head from side to side, making sure nobody is watching me this time, I dig up the souvenir bag from under the tree. “All right, let’s see what you’ve got”
From the outside, nothing seems different when taking out the actual items though – “Woah!”
A glittery glow emits from within the stones. The shine is not strong, but certainly not weak either. It lingers, It’s as if there’s a host of fireflies swaying within. It feels both magical and realistic at the same time.
The glow doesn’t just stop at the stones though, taking a closer look, the eyes of the animal give off a shine of their own, less luminous but still as glamorous.
I did not know quartz shines like this – maybe this isn’t even quartz. Whatever it is though, it’s worth the money. Now, only if I were not mad at my parents, I could have gifted the souvenirs straight away.
Ugh, but it would feel so awkward. Hey, I know we had a fight and we probably don’t want to see each other for the rest of the night, but here, a gift – absolutely not.
I just hope this shine lasts until tomorrow, when, hopefully, the anger has subsided. A sudden chill passes through me, eliciting goosebumps all over my skin. Strange, usually nights are warmer here, maybe I brought the cold with me – “What are you doing!”
“Ahh!” I jump back in horror as a cackle sounds beside me. “Ellis, that wasn’t funny!” I scream, my breath coming out in heavy pants. My heart nearly jumped out of my chest!
“Yes, yes it was” his cackle turns into boisterous laughter, which lasts a couple of moments before dying down. All the while, I’m sitting here, hands on my hips and staring him down. If looks could kill, he would be ten feet underground by now.
“Oh come on, it was funny” he attempts to grab my shoulder, but I step aside. “Seriously though, what are you doing here?”
“It’s not any of your business”
It’s incredible how he doesn’t seem even the tiniest bit bothered by the fight we had. Quite the opposite, he acts as if nothing happened! “What I do shouldn’t concern you,” I add.
Ellis sighs. “Alright… alright” he raises his hands. “I just wanted to say hi”
I snort. “And that’s how you say hi? By nearly giving me a heart attack?”
“I tried” A grin crosses his lips.
Oh no, why does he have to smile like that? His smile is so contagious! I want to stay mad at him, I really do. Unfortunately, my mouth seems not to care for it stretches into a grin of its own.
His eyes shift to the necklaces in my grasp – “What’s that?” he steps closer.
“Oh, um. A couple of souvenirs for mom and dad. They looked cool so-“
“And you didn’t get any for your older brothers?”
My grin falters before breaking down into a frown. I gently lower the souvenirs back in their bag and turn around. “I’m going to bed”
“Wait – Yuidan” Ellis jumps before grabbing my shoulder. “Listen, I wanted to talk to you about… about dinner”
Ah, so now he wants to talk. I turn around to face him. “I’m listening…”
His face breaks down in a look of discomfort, his eyebrows furrow over his low casted eyes. He can’t seem to stay still, for he rocks back and forward and fidgets with his hands. “I never wanted to, you know, hurt you. I was just-“
He shrugs seemingly lost in his own thoughts. “-I was just surprised, that’s all”
The fire that I thought to be extinguished comes back again; I can feel it gathering in the pit of my stomach. “Being surprised is no excuse for- for treating me like shit!”
“Do you? Do you really know?”
Ellis sighs. “I know, Yuidan. I know I said some harsh words. But I didn’t mean them”
“They still hurt…”
Instead of speaking, he settles for a nod.
Ellis has always been the rebellious child; he never liked listening to mom’s advice or dad’s lectures. That’s what prompted him to do some shitty stuff and to get involved with the wrong crowd.
I remember that because I was always on his tail. A chuckle almost escapes me when thinking about how naïve I was as a child, always trusting him, even when he was in the wrong. It took me a while to realize I shouldn’t have gotten involved with him. When I did realize though, I stopped following his every decision.
He tried getting me back in his little group of friends, who were much older than I was, but with my growing anxiety, I learned to stray away from them. This exact scenario reminds me of those moments, but this time I’m pushing back.
“I forgive you, but don’t tell me what I can and cannot do ever again. I won’t forgive you next time”
Those words must have struck a chord inside him, for his neck snaps up towards me. His eyes widen for a moment, before settling in a look of understanding. He grabs my shoulder once again, “Let’s go back inside, it’s starting to get a little cold out here”
“If you think this is cold, you should see Elfia right now”
“No, thank you”
We walk side by side to the entrance, the fire within me having extinguished once again, and this time, I think it’s for real.
Yuidan certainly ain’t messing around! He told Ellis straight how it is. Sometimes we need to enforce our boundaries for healthier relationships, and Yuidan did just that.
This chapter felt necessary, especially the talk between Ellis and Yuidan. I had a lot of fun writing it, and I hope you had just as much fun reading it!
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Thank you for reading, and see you in the next one!
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