Aella Rose Mistral, properly known as Princess Aella Rose Mistral of the kingdom of AirDale. In other words, my sister is the princess of air. What the hell?! I want to shout, but I know that to show any signs of confusion, will for sure alert my parents.
“You ok? You haven’t even touched your breakfast?” Brenton asks me, his voice soft and calming as ever. I look up just as the morning sun starts it’s way into the dining hall, it surrounds Brenton in a halo of light, making him shine brightly.
“Yeah. Just...thinking.” I tell my half lie, at the other side of the table I can hear mother and father chattering with the Royals of FoxFire. It makes me want to stomp off and punch something. I shame myself for the sudden thought, and go back to staring at my soggy oatmeal in front of me. As soon as breakfast is over I will search for more information on Aella, I tell myself. It makes me feel a little better, but not really.
“Well...how’s the wedding planning coming?” King Mishan asks my mother, who nods and takes a sip of water.
“Very good. In fact...Anahita!” She beckons me over to where she sits, and I reluctantly drop Brenton’s hand from mine as I glide across the floor to her.
“Yes mother?” I ask politely, I’m taller than my mother, and while she sit’s it’s even clearer so.
“Your designer is here to design your wedding dress. So right after breakfast you will have your first dress fitting.” Mother squeaks in joy, clapping her hands eagerly. In my mind, I swear loudly. This definitely changed my plans of reading up on Aella.
“Of course mother.” I say through gritted teeth, willing myself with everything I have not to run out of the room. Instead, I walk back to where Brenton is, and place my hand back in his.
“What was that all about?” Brenton asks, a smile dancing over his face at my annoyed expression.
“Wedding dress stuff. But don’t tell mother I told you.” I answer, spooning up some oatmeal. It tastes like soggy flakes, and I resist the urge to spit it out of my mouth, swallowing it instead.
“It can’t be that bad.” Brenton nudges me with his elbow, tightening his grip on my hand.
“Oh yeah? Want to trade places?” I challenge him, and his face turns thoughtful for a moment before he answers.
“Nah. I’m good.” He smiles widely. I count the seconds as they pass by slowly, and after what feels like forever, mother finally stands from her seat, a new green dress falling in curtains beside her. She motions for me to do the same, and I do so willingly.
“Excuse us, but we’ve got a fitting to go to.” Mother tells everyone, and she slowly makes her way out of the room, me trailing right behind. She leads me through the palace, and we stop at a room I know like the back of my hand. My old chambers. Mother takes the door handle, and we enter together. I startle, nothing has changed since I moved out of here. The gold and white marble tile leading to my blue canopy bed, and all of my books and jewelry scatter the dresser in the corner. It’s just like I never left.
I move to the window of the center wall, the view of StormsEye impossible to ignore. It’s a beautiful sight, and I can see commoners in all sorts of colored clothes. It may seem strange, but Royalty can only wear one color. The color of their element power, or their birth kingdoms color. That is why I can only wear blue, and mother green. And as I watch the commoners milling around outside, I feel sadness creep up into my heart. If only my life were as simple as theirs.
“Anahita, this is Cheryl.” Mother gestures to a women in white robes, her frizzy red hair stands tall, and her grey eyes pierce into me. I bow my head in acknowledgment. “Cheryl will be designing your gown.” Mother adds, and I walk to where my mother stands by the door, wanting to put as much space between Cheryl and I as I can. There’s just something about her eyes, about the way they can pierce into me like daggers.
“So, where are we going to start?” Cheryl asks mother, her eyes not leaving my face.
“Right here.” Mother gestures towards a shimmering floor to ceiling mirror, and I step towards it, stripping out of my dress in one clean move over my head. Looking at myself in the mirror it’s almost impossible to imagine myself in a wedding dress. Let alone get married. Of course I’ve accepted the fact that I am to be wed. And I will, for the good of all the kingdoms. Because, if I don’t then both StormsEye and FoxFire will fall. My mother told me that StormsEye will be no more, but that shouldn’t mean that any other Kingdom has to fall with ours.
The only thing that I am confused on, is the fact that I didn’t notice it sooner. Because if 2 Royals marry, they must each have a sibling, to carry on the throne for each Kingdom. And their child, who inherits the stronger ability, will be the successor for the elemental Kingdom it was born to display. This way, both kingdoms will live on.
“Alright then.” Cheryl starts, unzipping her huge duffel bag to pull out layers and layers of silk and lace. “Have we already decided on the design? Or the colors?” She asks me carefully, already measuring my waist and arms for the perfect fit gown.
“Yes. I want to make it look as much like water as can be. And white fabric with a blue tint to it.” I tell her, straightening my arms out beside me to help with the measuring process. I’ve been through this all too many times to count.
“I’ll go get some refreshments.” Mother tells us, if only to excuse herself from the excruciating pain of having to watch the long process of custom design.
“Is lace good?” She asks, holding it up for me to see, and I nod at the pearls sewed into the thin material shimmering like stars in the night sky. Lace is a flower pattern I’ve come to except, but not on my dress. Instead of flowers, it resembles smooth pearls and seaweed-like material that wraps around my waist. “So, have you designed any other Royal outfits?” I start casually, listening to the sounds of lace against silk as Cheryl puts the material in place.
“Yes. I’ve designed many outfits for Royals.” Cheryl steps back to look at me.
“Which Royals?” I ask, bored to the bone with this whole dress fitting.
“Well, I’ve made outfits for Prince Cassius and of course Princess Aella.” She smiles at the thought of the Royal Prince and Princess. But now I’m interested. What better than to have someone who’s met the Princess before explain everything about her?
“Princess Aella?” I start, trying to keep still, although my heart is doing the opposite, pounding in my chest so hard I think I might explode.
“Yes, I’ve made many dresses for her. All light pink, as is the color of her element.” Cheryl tightens the silk around my waist, her hair brushing up against my back in the process, as I struggle to find the right words to ask how the Princess is.
“What is AirDale like?” I ask instead, ever since I was a little kid, I had wanted to travel there one day. In the books, it was said to be one of the most beautiful places on the globe. With it’s extraordinary gardens, and carefully crafted cottages most people mistakened it for BloomsRidge, the kingdom of the element Earth.
“It certainly is a splendid place.” Cheryl admits, lost in memory. “Did you know they have clouds so low there, you could touch it with your hands if you wanted to?” She asks me, her voice rising with each word.
“That is magnificent.” I breathe, looking at myself in the mirror with a sigh. The dress is coming together nicely.
“And the Royal family...they are extremely kind and good people.” Cheryl continues, sewing more lace onto my silky gown.
“Ok, I’m back.” Mother pops her head back into the room, balancing a tray of champagne in her hands. And that’s my cue to be silent, and to only think about Aella and her kingdom, while my mother thinks everything is fine. Even though it’s not.
The fitting took until dusk, and now I’m alone sitting in the library. In my hands are every recent book I could find on AirDale and every other kingdom, and the Royal families that currently resides deep within the walls of every palace. Trapped, even if they don’t know it yet. I open the thick book on the top, reading the fine print of the first line.
Princess Aella Rose Mistral of the kingdom of AirDale was born on February 16th, 6062 to Queen Aerin and King Aponivi, Princess Aella is Currently 16 years old
Prince Cassius Ali Cly of the kingdom of BloomsRidge was born on March 15, 6054 to Queen Ethne and King Alo, Prince Cassius is currently 24 years old
Prince Brenton Kai Uriel of the kingdom of FoxFire was born on October 3, 6056 to Queen Pele and King Mishan, Prince Brenton is currently 22 years old
Princess Anahita Aqua Cascade of the kingdom of StormsEye was born on January 8, 6060 to Queen Gerda and King Atticus, Princess Anahita is currently 18 years old
I continue to read to myself silently, the minutes passing by quickly, as I read up on the 4 kingdoms, and their rulers.
"Hey, aren't you tired?" Someone asks from the doorway, and I jump in my seat, startled. Brenton leans in the doorway, a smile across his lips. My heart does a weird flip when I see him, and I drop the books on my seat, walking towards him.
"Yes, but I need to figure something out." I explain, wrapping my arm's around his chest and he does the same around my waist. Whenever I'm with Brenton I feel safe, and tonight is of no exception. My stomach grumbles before I can stop it, and Brenton laughs down at me.
"How long have you been up here?" He asks, twirling my long ponytail around his fingers, and I glance up at the clock on the far corner of the room. It reads 9:00 PM, I've been up here for 3 hours. Blushing, I take Brenton's hand and we walk out of the library together, heading towards the kitchen.
"A long time." I answer his question, my eyes on the floor as we continue to move along the halls of the palace.
"And how much is that?" He urges me, his other hand finding it's way to my shoulder. I turn even redder, not daring to answer his question. I turn through the last corridor, walking through the door's of the kitchen and finding myself a stool by the large island in the middle of the room. The kitchen staff has gone home for the night, or at least to the staff chambers outside the palace opposite the servants quarters. So it's just Brenton and I in the kitchen.
Brenton grabs an apple and cuts it up quickly, placing the slices in a bowl. He slides it to me quickly, and then comes to sit next to me.
"Thanks." I tell him gratefully, already grabbing a slice of juicy apple from the bowl. He watches me as I eat, but it isn't creepy at all, just strangely comforting.
"Are you sure there isn't anything you want to talk about?" He asks me, resting an elbow on the island.
"Well..." I start, debating on whether or not to tell him about Aella. Can I trust him? Yes, yes, I think so. But I still won't risk it. "No, I think I'm just stressed out is all." I lie, keeping my eyes on the big bowl of apples in front of me.
"You know...you can trust me right?" He asks softly, taking my hand in his. I smile slightly, nodding my head yes. Of course I knew that, I mean...it's Brenton. My friend, and my...the thought stops me cold.
My first love.
Could it be possible, that I really do have feelings for Brenton? No, I won't let myself think that way. What we are doing is only an act to save as many people as we can from the clutches of the war I'd only just learned about. We don't have time for any sort of romance. And besides, even if I do have feelings for Brenton, I won't put my guard down. Not now, not ever. My parents had just proven that you can't trust anyone. Because if you do, then you will be bitterly disappointed.
From all the lies I've been fed, I don't think I'll be able to trust anyone ever again. The only thing that I truly can trust is the facts. Like how my sister is out there somewhere, and I need to find her, and tell her the truth. I need to do what my parents won't. I need to save the world of the war, and any other lie that anyone's ever told me before.
"I trust you." I smile at Brenton, as he pulls me into a tight embrace. That's a lie.
I don't trust anyone.