The Risen Queen and Fallen King (Unedited)

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~The Ring

Josie's POV

The rest of the day, I do as much as I can to avoid any contact with anyone. Especially Jabeth and the rest of our visitors. The very next day, I attend breakfast but find only stares and a silent room. Which didn’t do much to bring down my blush.

So I go where I normally do when I’m down or anxious. The library. I guess you could say it’s my happy place.

Ever since I was born. I have always had this thirst for knowledge. To see more, and more.

The only time my thirst for knowledge was in vain, was when my mother gave me.. the talk. Apparently the human description for describing sexual intercourse between the opposite sex. Although we call it just that, the talk.

Let’s just say I had nightmares for weeks.

I stroll through the library. My brown leather calf boots tapping against the polished marble floor. Not a soul is in the library.

I almost do a happy dance, actually scratch that. I’m doing it right now. Perfect!

I go for the very book I was reading the day Darby ran through the garden. It sits on a table, right where I left it.

I pick it up and flip through, plopping into a chair while finding my page again. Aha.

I nestle into the cushion and sigh, starting over again.

‘What’s in a name, by which we would call a rose by any other name that would smell as sweet. So Romeo would, were he not Romeo called. ’

I think I even sigh.

‘Retain that dear perfection which he owes. Without that title, Romeo doff thy name. And for that name, which is no part of thee. Take all myself.’

I feel my heart leap as I read the next line.

Romeo jumps out of the bushes and yells, ‘I take thee at thy word. Call me but love, and I’ll be new baptized. Henceforth, I never will be Romeo.’

I sigh again and close my eyes, imagining a girl. Juliet Capulet, sighing as well as she stares out into the night. Stars shining as she speaks her thoughts aloud, proclaiming her love. High above the ground while her beloved listens below.

It’s so-

“Romeo and Juliet?”

I jump at the voice.

I clench the book and look up to find Jerny looking down at me, with disapproval or admiration. I cannot tell.

I scowl and dog ear the page, closing the book. I stand and hold the poem to my chest. “What do you want?”

He smirks. I am your mentor, or did you forget?

I sigh. “Yes, yes.. I apologize. I was just..” I blush. “At a really good part.”

He smirks. “Let me guess, the part where they make love?”

I frown deeply, then open my mouth to object until he cuts me off.

“You and your hormones.” He chuckles before starting down the library for his shop.

I race after him, book in hand. “No! It was the part where Juliet.. proclaims her love..” My voice grows quieter.

He turns to me and nods, hands behind his back, clasped. “Yes, I know. I was just teasing with you.”

I snort. Sure.

He smiles and gestures towards his shop door, the old rustic wooden arched frame sits in the shadows of the bookcases. I open the door and head in, Jerny following me suit.

The inside is the usual. A cobblestone floor with bookshelves against the circular curve of the wall. Then a staircase slightly spirals upward to a second open floor with three large windows and Jerny’s room. The main floor of his shop holds millions of books concerning spell’s, charms, elixirs and human history. The last one is my favorite.

I smile, setting down my book on his table. Jerny goes to the bookshelf and takes down a novel. He looks at the cover, and flips the pages before holding it out to me. “Here.”

I take the book and look at the front. A woman smiles to herself while a man gazes at the back of her head.

I give a confused expression, looking up at Jerny. “Pride and Prune juice?”

He chuckles, tapping the cover. “Pride and Prejudiced.”

I blink and look back down at the cover, mouthing the name.

He grins and walks over to his desk. “It is also a very old romance novel by a woman by the name of Jane Austen. A human, english novelist with a thing for showing critique for the wealthy British. Her novels consisted of women in pursuit of stable marriages and love.”

He goes to another bookshelf, pulling out another novel and setting it in front of me on the table. “This is my favorite. I highly recommend it.”

The title, ‘Emma’ is written in beautiful cursive with a full but gracious woman on the front.

I smile, “I didn’t know you like human romance’s, especially old ones.”

Jerny gives a faked offended look “I have class.”

I laugh and look at the cover of, ‘Emma’. “What’s it about.”

He wags a finger, “Wouldn’t want to spoil it, you bookworm.”

I wack the book in the air. “Tell me, come on.” I smirk. “I’ll slip to the end.”

He whirls on me. “You wouldn’t... alright, alright. It’s about a female matchmaker who makes a humongous mess of the romance in the Highbury society.”

I nod, my lips in a pout. Hm.. not bad. I would rather read that then ‘Pride and Pre-judged’. Sounds simpler and easier. But my curiosity kills the cat. I point to Pride and.. whats its name. “What is this one about?”

His eyes light up. “Oh, it’s about a man and woman who have to put behind their difficulties in order to be together.”

I nod. Yep, definitely gonna read ‘Emma’ instead.

Jerny scratches his temple and clasps his hands behind his back. "It almost reminds me of you, and.." he trails off. I shoot him a glare so hard it could kill, but I know he's only jesting, and so am I.

I look around Jerny’s office. Random human artifacts are stored in display cases. Like ‘coffee mugs’, said to hold a designated drink that gave you a boost of energy. Definitely a elixir of some sort.

Then there’s the very chainsaw I played with as a child, its small metal triangles glinting a friendly hello at me.

Then, there is a ring.

I blink. That wasn’t there before.

I walk towards the case, opening it and taking out the ring. I hold it between my fingers, staring at it. It’s a round band of gold with a sparkly..

I gasp at the realization. A gemstone..

I lean closer towards it when suddenly a hand snatches it from my grasp. “What, do you think you’re doing?”

I look behind me to see Jerny holding the ring in his hands. I stare at it. “What is that?”

He scowls and looks at the ring. “It’s something you shouldn’t be touching.”

I shake away the warning like a leaf. “N-No, what is it?”

He sighs. “It’s an engagement ring.”

I scowl too, and look at the ring on my hand. It’s silver glints, but I don’t notice it's usual sparkly mocking, I’m too transfixed on the ring Jerny holds currently.

I hold up my hand, confused. “Then what-”

He sighs. “That’s the Realms engagement ring. This is a humans.”

I blink. Still not getting it.

He sighs again and takes my hand, “Ever since the Ruination, the Realms have decided on official engagement rings, like this one. In the human realm, a man could go out and pick the ring he wanted to give his fiance. He would get on one knee, as human tradition, and propose. If the woman said yes, then they would become officially engaged. No ceremony needed, that would be it.”

I gape at him. Whoa, just like that?

I sigh.. I wish..

I give a weak smile. Jerny’s eyes are deep in thought as he hands the ring to me. “Put this back in the case please.”

I nod, taking it from him and standing in front of the display box.

I look to see Jerny flipping through a spell book. I then take the oppurtunity to slip it on my finger. It winks at me with a beautiful sparkles. But after a few moments, I take it off and place it back in it's place inside the display case.

I grab my book and dash out of his shop, into the library. Saying my goodbye’s while I head for the chair again.

I take my seat, and before I start again, look down at my ring. The silver shines, but no longer burns as it used to.

It makes me sigh, a little sad, before opening my book and reading.

I had always dreamed of my engagement ceremony.

Now I have something else to add to my dream.

A proposal.

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