Strange, unusual, rare; unfamiliar; marvellous, wondrous.
Prince George of Aevusia is third to the throne, and it is his lone duty to protect his people from the evil scourge of magic.
Oliver is his childhood friend, more so his servant, and he has a secret.
Ten years old
Light filters through colored panes and glass. There's the slow ascent of gold in the sky as dusk turns to dawn with every tick of the clock.
Soon, the townspeople began to flock to the streets and the city soon became bustling with noise and shouts at every corner. Windows flung open, doors creaked, footsteps echoing as the day went by.
Cast with hues of gleaming yellow, a castle looms in the heart of the kingdom, complete with spiraling towers and walls that could reach the heavens. Soon it became boisterous along with its people, as servants and maid went in and out preparing.
Just outside the fortress sits atop an orchard, blooming with trees and sprawling flowers that seem to hum along with the gentle breeze of wind. And among the twisting curves of trunks and branches, a young gangly boy stumbled upon heaps of swollen oak roots, a seemingly permanent grin on his face.
Musky rose flyaways are cradling his face, pink eyes that resemble a bouquet of roses. His breath comes out in huffs all the while persevering through the thick foliage. There's an echo behind him, then a voice, "Prince George!"
He only hastens his pace at the call of his name.
Perhaps running away from classes wearing a tunic with ruffles sewed in wasn't the morning drill he expected but he wasn't complaining.
'Not that I want to soldier through another lecture', he thinks to himself while heaving his body up a tree with strong enough support to carry his weight.
George is silent, letting a roll of wind cover his tracks as thundering footsteps made aware his spatial senses. He sees the familiar gold and red colors flashing before his eyes, and the glint of steel that holds the pride of protecting his people.
The knights were quick to discern the area then march forward, leaving him up in a tree all alone with rumpled clothes and ragged hair.
He's smiling when he made it back to the solid surface and with his shoes planted heavily against the ground, he turned the opposite way and ran, as fast as he could.
The laugh that threatened to bubble up in his mouth was jarring but he held his mouth shut, afraid someone would hear him.
But when he slowed to a jog and saw unfamiliar crevices and when he pulled to a halt and saw untouched land, he knew he was screwed.
"Oh, for Merlin's sake," George muttered and thought back to retrace his steps and when he did act on it, he swore he passed by the same fallen log thrice.
Huffing in exasperation, he sat down on the stone-covered earth and crossed his arms. It was almost a common occurrence, getting lost in the sea of leaves and wood.
He would wait till then until the knights come to retrieve him, "like a damsel in distress and it's back to lessons with Cecilia." He grumbled to himself mostly, – just uttering the name of his guardian felt worse than poison on his tongue, – and perhaps to the cicadas that were still out at the break of day.
There was quiet shuffling to his right and he weakly got off the ground to greet his shining armor, only to go slack when his vision swims with green.
Emerald eyes meet his, brown falls from the top to the tip of his nose like a slash. The brunette just stared at him with his hands carrying what looked like plants for practicing medicine, the fingers holding the woven basket tense as he stared straight in rose gold.
George began to open his mouth to speak, then the newcomer stumbled back into a tangle of limbs and strange vines on the floor. He would've been fretting over him, not only that his initial reaction was to burst out laughing.
Olive skin turned red and he's stuttering over his words, George had to take a moment to clamp his mouth shut and be a decent person to help him up.
"You okay?" His voice enters the space between them and the stranger just looks off to the mess of what is left behind of his gatherings.
"Uhm – yeah, sure," George was slightly taken aback by his accent but that surprise dwindled to nothing when the other had already bent down to pick up his items. So he helped.
Their fingers brushed as they worked their way to pluck the herbs off the ground, quiet, then George is speaking again with a clear of his throat.
"I don't think I've seen anyone else in the royal forest before." The boy tenses again when their gazes meet, his expression nervous.
"Uh – I, well," The brunette began as he swiped off a fallen stem. "I didn't think I ventured out so far to the woods to reach here. My apologies."
George just nodded, finishing up with one flick of his wrist and the basket is full again.
"Say, your accent, correct me if I'm wrong but you're not from around here, are you?" He spoke up as they walked side by side, mostly George following along as the boy weaved in and out and ducked in the cluster of lowly branches.
"Yeah, I'm from Esaenait. The northern kingdom from here." He slowed to look back, meeting George halfway.
The terrain seems to shift from underneath him and soon he's almost tripping to death by the number of jagged stones in their path. George steadies himself before continuing, "I didn't get your name by the way."
The boy just brushed the hazel out of his face and with all of the flurry of his smile and basket of evergreen, he says, "Oliver. What's yours?"
George was about to talk when he stopped in his tracks, eyes wide, while his companion continues to move forward, eyes still trained on George then there's the clink of metal and wool.
They both stare up at the knight towering both of them sheepishly.
Oliver looks terrified, to say the least, so he moved in between them with a cold look painted over his warm features. The knight does the same.
The knight just hardened her gaze and George feels his bone grow stiff under it.
"You missed your early period classes." George can feel the confused stare emitting from Oliver but he pays him no mind, just moving him further away from the iron clad woman.
"I did, what of it?"
"The future of the kingdom, that's what."
"I'm only ten, leave me alone." Odessa look utterly displeased with him and so, with the billow of her scarlet cloak, she eyes something behind him and he could practically feel the faint shiver of the boy he was shielding.
"Who's this." She demanded more than she questioned.
"And how come I've never seen this friend before in one of your escapist episodes?"
"I made him stay out of it." He said through gritted teeth and Odessa just glared down at him, then sighed before messing up his hair. He sputtered angrily and swatted her hand away, sticking out his tongue in retaliation at the grin she was sending him.
"Cecilia has been ranting my ear off nonstop for most of my morning, you owe me one kid."
"I already pay you by gold –“ A hand slaps him by the nape and he winces with a furrow of his eyebrows, frustrated.
"That's because of your brother." She sighs then slings over the holt of her sword, her boots screeching against the rocky pavement as she moved away from them.
"Say your goodbyes, we're going back."
When George came to greet Oliver, he was beyond relieved and puzzled, quizzically staring at George as if he grew a second head all the while as he patted him on the back with a tight grin.
"Well, this is where we part." The downcast look he received wasn't what he expected but it made him want to stay out longer, just for a second. Maybe a small escape.
He swiped one herbal leaf into his hands and Oliver shouted at him in protest. He chuckled as he caught up with Odessa, his balance heaved from one side to another as he threw him one last look. "Meet me here tomorrow and I'll give you back your weird plant!"
"Wait! –“ George looked back over his shoulder for the last time.
"I don't, I don't even know your name!"
He gave him one final grin as he skipped off, saying, "It's George!"
He disappeared into the outskirts of the forest.
Oliver trudged back home, a permanent look of surprise bunched in his face as the realization set in that he spent his morning gathering herbs for his grandmother with the third prince of Aevusia.