Chapter 41- Flower Crowns
“Of course I did,”
I was surprised. He had remembered what I myself had forgotten.
My birthday? I’ve not celebrated that for over 400 years.
Atticus never asked me about it so he couldn’t have celebrated it but I didn’t blame him for it since I never really thought about it myself anyway.
The last time I celebrated my birthday was on Andreas with Arturo and all the other mages. I had turned 19 and received so many gifts, it was a fun day but only a week after that everything went away when Andreas fell.
After that, I hadn’t thought of my birthday even once. Not until Vince asked me about it.
“Thank you,” I smiled at him.
“If you’re thankful, give me a kiss,” He leaned down, puckering his lips and closing his eyes.
I didn’t hesitate and jumped forward happily, wrapping my arms around his waist and getting on my tiptoes to gently place my lips on his. He chuckled into the kiss, moving his hands from behind his back to place on my cheeks and kissed back deeper.
“Do you like your present?”
“My present?” I echoed.
“Yes, the cub. He’s yours if you want him and if you promise to look after him well. Don’t think of him as Apollo, think of him as Leo, your new friend,” He stroked my cheek, smiling down at me as my eyes glittered with unshed tears.
“Really?” I breathed out.
“Of course,” He hummed, kissing my forehead as I squeezed my eyes shut, pushing back the tears and laughed loudly, jumping forward to hug him tightly.
“Thank you, I love him,” I cried into his neck lightly and he laughed, stroking the back of my head and showering kisses all over the top.
And so, here I was. Having the time of my life as I ran around the garden in the palace with Leo who had become more energetic, 2 days after I became 20 years of age (kind of- since I still wouldn’t age).
Vince was currently drowning in work in his office and I had offered to help him but he only told me to go out and get some air while Donatello would stay and help him.
“Is that a lion cub?” I heard someone ask and paused with my laughter to turn and see Silas staring at Leo with his jaw on the ground, dressed in his knight’s uniform with the helmet in his hand.
“Yes, this is Leo. He’s my birthday present from Vince,” I got on my knees and stroked Leo’s fur. “Isn’t he lovely?” I laughed happily.
“Well, he does seem to make you smile and... wait... It’s your birthday?”
“My birthday was 2 days ago but I don’t think it matters since I won’t age anyway, not until I’m free,” I mumbled, the reality suddenly falling on me.
“When is Vince planning on making his wish? Do you think he’s forgotten?” Silas cautiously came to stand in front of me and kneeled beside me while stroking Leo’s fur. I shrugged at his question, going to fiddle with a few strands of grass on the ground.
“Let’s make a crown for each other,” Silas suddenly said, noticing my change of mood and wanting to change it back up.
“A crown?” I asked, confused.
“Yeah. Me and mum used to always make jewellery out of flowers for each other... although I do admit that her’s have always turned out better than mine,” He rolled his eyes at the memory and got comfortable on the ground while Leo came to lie down beside me and snuggled his head into my arm and I let him do as he pleased.
“Aren’t you busy?” I asked, copying him in picking a few daisies up.
“Not really, no. I’ve got some free time before I go train with the men,” I hummed, too busy concentrating on tying the flowers together to make a crown for him. “Not that they would want to be trained by me,” I heard him mumble and paused in what I was doing.
“Why do you say that?” I asked and he seemed surprised that I heard.
“Because I don’t have any qualities of a first-in-command,” He answered as if it were obvious and I tilted my head to the side as a gesture of telling him to expand.
“Have you ever heard of a knight that’s never killed? True, I may be able to fight well and train people well but when it comes to killing, I do anything to avoid it and simply injure the enemy instead. Why do you think it’s always Don that’s standing by Enzo’s side instead of me? Everyone says that I was only able to become the first-in-command because of my status as a prince and I don’t know if that’s true or not since I worked to become a knight as everyone else did...”
My mouth fell slightly agape in realisation. We were both quiet for a bit until I finally opened my mouth in hopes of making him feel better about himself.
“I’ve never heard of a knight that’s never killed before but I don’t think that’s anything to be ashamed of, in fact, it’s the opposite,”
“What do you mean?”
“I would know what it’s like first-hand on a battlefield, I’ve killed people before after all and it’s proved to be more difficult to simply injure someone than it is to kill them but if you’re able to easily injure someone instead of killing them then I have great respect for you,” His eyes lit up like a child and I felt my chest rise in pride.
“You’re perfectly suited for the first-in-command position and Vince knows that. That’s why Don’s his second-in-command and you first. It has nothing to do with the fact that you’re a prince,”
“Are you sure?”
“I believe so. The people we kill on the battlefield our only our enemies on the battlefield but outside of there, we’re all humans with equally important lives. I have to live with that burden for as long as I exist but you don’t because you saved their lives despite the fact that they were your enemies,” I chuckled.
He sighed, running a hand down his face and nodded at himself.
“Vince was right about you,” He mumbled.
“How?” I raised both my brows.
“That despite looking so young and innocent, you’ve seen much more of this world than any person should ever have to. It’s not your sword that’ll save this world, Eleanora... It’s your mind,” This time, I was the one left speechless.
We continued to chat after that about less heavy topics but it was still fun and while we talked, I was watching Silas make the flower crown and tried to do the same.
It took some time and it wasn’t really going well but I got the hang of it quite quickly and the end result was better than expected but Silas’s one still beat me easily.
“Don’t worry, I’ve been practising since I was a little, mischievous kid,” He assured, placing the flower crown he made on my head and fixing it to make it look pretty.
I did the same for him when he was done doing mine.
“There, you look like a princess,” He smirked and I laughed, giving him a thumbs up. “And you look like a prince,” I said.
“I am a prince,” He rolled his eyes.
“Oh yeah,” I sighed, a simple smile on my face.
“How old did you become?” He leaned back on his arms, the crown still on his head.
“410,” I replied.
“No, as in... how long have you lived for?” He asked.
“Oh, 20 years,” I tiled my head to the side. “I guess,”
“Hmm. So I’m 10 years older than you?” He leaned down close to me with a smirk.
“Why?” I asked.
“Just curious,” He hummed, getting up and wiping his armour down. “Well, I better get going. It was lovely spending some time with my future sister-in-law,” He bowed a gentleman’s bow and I waved after him as he walked away.
“Wasn’t that fun...?” I mumbled to myself when Silas was out of sight and touched the crown that sat on my head, momentarily turning to look at the sleeping cub beside me then went back to fiddling with strands of grass.
This was nice.
I felt like a normal human being and not a mage that’s been alive for hundreds of years. It was nice. I wish every day could be like this.
But alas, it can’t.
This happiness is too good to be true. It’s bound to go away soon.