Chapter 40- Something She Likes
“What are your plans for today?” I asked her while we were eating breakfast.
“I’m going to read,”
“I thought you didn’t like reading?” I mumbled.
“You’re right, I don’t... but I have to learn about the current world and grow out of my historical self,” She had a determined look on her face as she ate a strawberry.
“And after that?”
“I’m not sure. Probably have some fun with Charlotte,” She shrugged.
“Good, so nothing important,” I smirked.
“Why? Do you need anything?” She finally asked and I nodded my head.
“Yes. I have to go to the animal sanctuary today,” I made sure to not blink when her eyes lit up at my words and smiled when I caught her reaction. “And I need you to come with me since you’re really good with animals,” She rapidly nodded her head in agreement with that.
“The sanctuary is mostly filled with wild animals. The workers could use your help with taming them, you don’t mind, do you?” She quickly shook her head.
“Great. We’ll leave after we finish eating. Meet me at the front of the palace,”
And so, half an hour after we had finished eating and gotten changed into some more casual clothing, I came down to the main entrance, thinking I was the first one here only to have Nora prove me wrong.
She must’ve been excited.
She was talking and stroking the mane of the two white horses that were stood in front of the carriage that we would be riding in.
“Oh! You’re here. You took your time on purpose, didn’t you?” She glared at me with crossed arms and I couldn’t help but roll my eyes, strolling down the stairs and stopping in front of her, leaning down to kiss the top of her head.
“Let’s go,” I whispered and she energetically nodded along as I helped her climb into the carriage. I didn’t really like riding carriages but it had to be done sometimes.
It didn’t take long to get to the sanctuary, just over half an hour but by the time we arrived at the place, Nora was nodding off and would have fallen asleep a second later if the driver hadn’t shouted our arrival.
“Say... what exactly is a King supposed to do at an animal sanctuary?” She asked curiously.
“Look at the animals,” I replied as we walked through the back entrance to meet up with the person in charge of the place.
“Is that all?”
“What kind of animals are there?”
“Can you not give a satisfying answer?” I finally turned to see her glaring at me lightly and chuckled, raising my hand to ruffle her hair.
“Your majesty. It is an honour to have you here,” The woman in charge rushed to greet us, dipping down into a low curtsy and I waved her off.
“But... If I may ask, what brings you here all of a sudden? You’ve never come to look at the animals yourself so it was quite a surprise...”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” I scoffed at the woman. Damn it, I should have told her beforehand to play along.
“What kind of animals do you have here?” Nora jumped to ask excitedly and I nodded along with her, wanting to get the confusing attention off of me.
“Who are you?” The woman hesitantly asked.
“This is Eleanora, my mage,” I answered, wrapping an arm around the said lady’s waist. “I expect you to treat her with the utmost respect,” I narrowed my gaze in warning.
“O-Of course. It is an honour to meet the lady who created our beloved Kingdom,” The woman dipped down into another deep curtsy and Nora was quick to curtsy back and I gulped back a laugh at that.
“Oh, please follow me,” The lady began walking and Nora and I followed. Nora being a lot more excited than me.
“In this sanctuary, we have a variety of different wild animals, ranging from both land animals to underwater animals. The animals here have gone through a rough life but us workers work to protect them for the rest of their lives and since the previous Queen loved animals, we were able to expand and grow our business, bringing in more animals,”
This isn’t good.
I was already drifting off but Nora looked to be having the time of her life. I guess that’s what matters the most right now since today is a special day.
“Here, we have birds. Golden eagles, blue macaws, Kingfishers and my personal favourite being the great horned owl. Different animals live in different climates and we separate the animals to that standard,”
I gulped back a yawn as we continued to walk.
“We have sharks, killer whales, stingrays and more over here,” I looked to see Nora leaning on the glass as she stared at the animals with wide eyes.
“Have you never seen these animals before?” I leaned down to ask and she shook her head.
“I lived on a floating city,” She reminded me. “And during Atticus’s time, technology wasn’t advanced enough to keep animals in places like this,” I hummed, interlocking my hands behind my back and stared at the animals.
We continued to walk around the place but when we reached the lion’s den, Nora was stuck there and unable to look any further.
“Do you like lions?” I asked curiously, sitting back on one of the picnic chairs and sipping on my tea as I watched her smiling and playing with the lions from behind the cage.
“I love all animals but lions hold a special place in my heart,”
“Is it because you had a pet lion?”
“He’s not a pet, he’s a friend... but yes. Being the youngest mage, I couldn’t make a lot of friends my age and Apollo was the closest to my age. We grew up together,” I smiled at the fondness that washed over her face.
“Why is that cub not doing anything?” I looked away from her face and to where she was pointing. A lion cub was simply sat there staring at Nora while all the other cubs were running and playing around with the adults.
“Ah, that’s Leo. We rescued him a few days ago, his parents died and he was left to fend for himself. He’s very quiet but if you get close he’ll become violent. We’ve had a lot of trouble with looking after him since his guard is always up,”
I smirked when I saw something light up in Nora’s eyes.
Before I knew it, she had vanished and re-appeared on the other side of the cage. While the woman was freaking out and begging me to do something, I simply sat back and watched Nora as she shut the woman up with a single smile.
The lion which everyone was having trouble taming became tame with a single smile from Nora and while the woman watched Nora sitting down near Leo and talking to him as if he were a human, I finished my tea.
“We’ll take him back with us,” I declared, standing up from my seat.
“W-What!? You can’t do that- this is a sanctuary, animals can’t be taken by anyone and besides- it’s a lion! A lion! You can’t-” One glare from me shut her right up.
“This is Eleanora. She can look after that cub far better than you. Go prepare for his departure,” I nudged my head and she was running off faster than thought possible.
I went and leaned forward on the fence, smiling at her through the gaps on the fence.
She caught my gaze and sent me a beautiful smile.
“Happy birthday, Nora,”