For the past week I've been trying to formulate a plan to get to the kingdom of AirDale, with my parents permission of course. But so far, I've come up with nothing. And my heart feel's like it's about to break at any second. So today, I'm going to finally take action.
"Mother, father." I announce myself from the doorway to their chamber. "May I enter?"
"Yes, of course darling." Mother speaks from inside, and I open the doors to find only my mother sitting on the bed, as if she's been waiting for me.
"What's wrong?" I ask my mother, as she fiddles with something in her hands. A tiny bracelet of some kind. I take a small step forward, and close the door softly behind me.
"Come, sit." Mother pats the spot next to her, and I take a few more steps towards her.
"Mother, I need to ask something of you." I begin, nervously twitching my hands at my sides. And my mother's eyes don't miss it. "I was thinking, maybe we could make a Royal Tour around all 4 kingdoms, and meet with each Royal family. It would show that we are united and strong. And it would also give Brenton and I a chance to the public's eye." I conclude my rehearsed speech, my eyes never leaving my mothers.
"That sounds alright. But I'll still have to ask your father and the Royals of FoxFire before we can make anything official." Mother smiles weakly at me, and I sit down on the bed beside her. My plan may have actually worked!
"Mother? Are you alright?" I ask again, brushing a strand of strawberry blonde hair behind my mother's ear gently. My mother's eye's water, but they don't spill over. She is not weak. And neither am I.
"Yes Anahita." Mother nods with her words, her eyes on the floor. It is so unlike her not to address me by looking straight at me, that I almost fall over in shock. But I manage to stay upright, and I put a hand comfortingly on my mother's shoulder to steady me.
"So, the wedding's only a short time away." I change the subject. And my mother's face perks up a little.
"Yes, only 2 months now." She claps her hands lightly in excitement. "Aren't you happy?" She adds, finally looking me in the eye. Her eye's are dry now, and there is no trace of the sadness she carried with her just a few seconds earlier.
"Of course." I lie. How could she think that I'd be excited for such a thing? I barely even know Brenton, and she is aware as well. But at least I can admit to myself that I may be catching feelings for him, ever since that night in the kitchen.
"And have you seen your dress?" She asks, her brows pushed together in thought.
"I have not seen the finished product yet." I admit. And I don't want to, I think to myself. That dress would soon symbolize the peace between FoxFire and StormsEye, but it would also be the symbol of StormsEye's fall, and a new Queens rise. I shake off the thoughts as they tear through my mind as quick as a bullet.
"Well you will soon enough." Mother smiles at me, taking my hand in hers. I get up slowly, turning to the door.
"Thank you mother." I look back, before slipping out the door and to the hall, mother doing the same, gasping a sigh of relief as soon as I'm out of earshot of the Queen. Soon, I might meet my sister. If my mother convinces everyone of the Royal Tour I had suggested of course. I know Queen Pele and King Mishan will agree right away. But my father? Not so much.
"Hey, there you are." Brenton says behind me. I'd recognize his voice anywhere. And as I turn around, he catches my hand in his. Pulling me with him to the dining hall. The palace is dark, with the only source of light the moon shining above us. And as we walk, I can't help but stare up at it in wonder. If only I could go outside more often. Come to think of it, I hadn't been outside the palace in over a month, of course if your not counting my unexpected balcony proclamation with Brenton.
"Sorry. I was just presenting an idea to my mother." I explain, and as I talk Brenton looks down at me listening intently. Princesses may have to wear dresses the color of their element, but Princes wear black dress uniforms, badges covering their chests to symbolize their strength, and are required a long cape in the color of their element. It suits Brenton, and as we walk I can hear his cape billowing behind him in the wind, my dress floating around us both.
"And what idea was that?" He asks, sliding one hand to my waist, while the other still hold's me hand. His brown hair looks lighter in the moonlight, and his golden eyes shine even brighter. I wonder if I shimmer in the light as well. Probably, with all the makeup I'm forced to wear to hide my scars.
"A Royal Tour. We would meet with the Royal's of each kingdom, and show our unity. And people could finally get a glimpse of the both of us together." I explain, blushing with my last words. Brenton's eye's widen, but he nods his head as I know he will. He's not a fool, and as much as he doesn't want to be in the publics spotlight, he knows that it will do good for the kingdoms.
"That's a great idea." He agrees, his voice lower than before. And I don't miss the way he casts his eye's down to the floor. I tighten my grip on his hand, as if that will make everything better. It won't, and I know it.
"Thanks." I smile at him, and he finally returns my stare. We stop at the dining hall, and from the voices heard inside, we aren't the first one's to arrive.
"...It's a great idea." I hear my mother's voice say, and two more voices chime in, agreeing with her.
"It's dangerous." My father practically shouts, and I can hear his chair screech behind him as he stands up.
"But it will help more than if we didn't do anything at all." Queen Pele admits, and I hear her chair slide behind her as she get's up as well. The other's are silent, and Brenton grips my waist tighter than before as we stand outside the closed doors, waiting for the King's response.
"Fine. If you really think it will help." My father finally answers, sitting back down with a thud. Brenton and I stand there in silence a minute longer, before I nod at the guards and they slide the doors open for us. Everyone is sitting down at the head table, talking to each other silently as we approach.
"Good news Anahita!" My mother tells me, grabbing my hand anxiously. "We're starting the tour tomorrow." I startle with her words. Tomorrow? That seems awfully soon.
"Tomorrow?" I ask my mother, my forehead scrunched together. And I can feel sweat start to make it's way onto my neck with worry.
"Yes. Everyone has decided that your idea is a great opportunity for us, and why not act on it sooner than later? Plus, the wedding is coming up. And we want to get the tour set before the wedding happens." Mother explains carefully, and my eyes drift to father. He just sit's there staring ahead, his eyes blank and his hands in fists in front of him. He knows that we will meet Aella during the tour, and see's the risk of it where the other's don't.
"Thank you." I bow my head to my mother, and sit down beside her, Brenton taking the other side next to me. In front of me is a bowl of hot chicken soup and a sourdough roll fresh and buttered. I reach past the meal, and take a cool sip of water, the ice melting on my tongue and turning into water in a second.
"Well, I'm sorry we didn't wait for you two. But right now I am getting tired, and I think I best pack for the road and then get some sleep." Queen Pele stands up, and her husband does the same, my father following behind them slowly, a shadow.
Stuffing a few more new dresses into my wheel suitcase, I turn to my reflection. I look tired, but nothing that a little makeup can't fix. My closet still looks full. I could go a lifetime wearing a new dress every day, and I would never run out of new options for myself to wear. Every dress that I've ever worn is new, and once a wear one dress once, I always donate it to charities.
I grab my toothbrush and makeup from the counter, and then I walk out of the bathroom, my single suitcase full and bulging. Unlike Queen Pele and my mother, who have loads and loads of bags, I only need one. Besides, it's not like we're going to be gone forever. And I don't want to weigh myself down with all my little trinkets, like the other women do.
Brenton walks beside me as we leave our Quarters, and descend the twisting staircase to the main level of the palace. My heart beats fast in my chest. Excitement getting the better of me. And as we approach the huge main doors to the entrance of the palace, I can't help but walk a little faster. The guards push open the doors for us, and I am blinded by the sudden light bursting inside the palace. But I soon recover, stepping down the large staircase to the palace, my heels clicking loudly on the marble steps, and my dress lifting around me.
"You excited?" Queen Pele asks her son, jealously watching as I carry my suitcase effortlessly down to the hard ground. Three limos line the entrance to the palace, awaiting our arrival, and I can see many people lined up outside the palace gates, straining to get a look at us as we leave. Newscasters stand in front of them all, talking into their mics robotically.
"Yeah, very." Brenton nods at his mom, and his arm bushes mine as we set our luggage on the ground in front of us, servants hurrying around us to carry them into the trunks of the limos. I spot Laura in the crowd, and resist the urge to wave to her. This would be on live T.V and I couldn't be caught talking with a servant.
"Brenton and you will share a limo." Mother tells me, pointing to the limo in the back of the line. "I will be in the first car with your father, and Brenton's parents in the middle." She explains, struggling to hold all of her suitcases, and maids bustle all around her, trying to help.
I take Brenton's hand in a friendly gesture, and lead him to our limo quietly. The driver holds open the door for us, and as we get in, shuts the door, getting into his seat in the front swiftly. The limo is a beautiful sight, the seat a long strip of white, curving around in the back. And there is a small table in the center, supporting a big bottle of champagne, and two glasses.
"This is comfy." Brenton starts, trying to make some sort of conversation, as the silence becomes unbearable. I scoot closer to him, resting my head on his shoulder and closing my eyes. His hand begins to stroke my cheek lightly, calming my nerves.
"Yeah." I mutter under my breath. Even the scent of the limo is new, and I wonder to myself just how much a limo costs. I shake off the question, instead focusing on the real reason for the whole stupid tour idea.
Aella. Of course I've seen pictures of her before, but I have never met the young princess. And I now know why. In photo's, Aella supports beautifully tanned skin, olive green eyes, and breast length brown-blonde hair. From the way she stands tall it is hard to tell exactly what height she is, but from my interpretation, she may be an inch or two shorter than me.
But even through photos and broadcasts, that she never speaks through, there are still so many things I don't know about the young girl who carries a crown. Like her voice, and her personality. All things that I hope I will get to experience soon.
"What are you thinking about?" Brenton asks me, sliding an arm around my shoulders. I almost forgot he was there, I think to myself as he speaks.
"Nothing and everything." I answer, keeping my eyes on the full crowd, as the limo line starts to drive through StormsEye. I smile for the newscasts, and wave at people that I don't know. But all through it, I'm only thinking one thing.
How will the world react when they discover that the Princess of water and the Princess of air are sisters? I have no answer for that.
Because I am just as stuck on the question as anyone else.