Chapter Nine, Season One - Lorain (a)
Water started rushing in from every corner that I turned to. Running through the hallway, I was looking for the ones I’m currently with. Everyone was screaming, running for their very lives. All I could do was follow the direction where everyone was going.
“Robert!” someone shouted my name behind me.
I turned around to see who it was, only to be carried suddenly by a man.
“Hold onto me, son,” the man said, pulling my head closer to his shoulder. “I got you,” it was my father. He was running in the same direction I was already running in.
“Darling, hurry!” the woman in front of us shouted briefly, turning her head towards us. It was Mother, holding the hand of my sister as we all ran.
My father was about to catch up with them when he suddenly slipped. His grip on me got loose and I was submerged in water on our left.
“Robert! Hold on!” My father screamed as I tried with all my might to stay afloat.
“Robert!” Mother screamed my name as well.
After a few seconds, I was fully underwater.
I jolted awake, gasping for air. My shirt was drenched from sweat, my eyes wide open as I frantically looked around my well-lit room. What a nightmare that I just had. It felt like… it was real. It felt like… it did happen to me.
Did it happen?
I looked at the window and saw the sun was already up in the sky. It was already in the late morning and I’m already behind in time with my reports. Without wasting any more time, I ran to my bathroom and began my preparations for the day.
Sprinting through the halls of the castle, a voice stopped me from my tracks, “Your Highness?”
My left foot swung up in the air as I came to a sudden halt. I turned to see Gonzalo, carrying a tray with a tea set. “Yes, Gonzalo?” I asked.
Your mother has a message for you,” he said, walking towards me.
“Please make it quick, Gonzalo. I have a lot of things to do.”
“She has spoken to Her Royal Majesty Marta, the mother of Princess Lorain,” Gonzalo started. “According to the queen, you and your mother will be having a meeting with her in the kingdom of Middle Earth. You are to leave early tomorrow morning.”
I’ll be leaving tomorrow and Laura hasn’t answered my letter yet. It’s been a week and still, I’ve received no word from her.
“Thank you for letting me know, Gonzalo,” I replied. “Is my mother home?” I asked.
“Yes, she’s currently in the library with your sister. They just finished their tea together,” Gonzalo gave the tray a bit of a lift. “His Majesty also has something to tell you. Shall I continue?”
Ugh! I wonder what he has for me this very morning. “If you must,” I said after a long sigh.
“His Majesty is currently in his study right now. He was wondering if you have some time to spare in your schedule today,” Gonzalo continued with his report. “He said he would like to go fishing with you, preferably this afternoon.”
Fishing? Really? This is an attempt to connect with me?
“Well, I currently have my whole day planned but if something changes, tell him that I’ll reach out to him personally,” I responded.
Understood, young prince,” he nodded. “Do you have any other questions? Is there anything that I could get you?”
“Kindly bring my breakfast to my study, Gonzalo,” I answered. “Also, has Princess Lorain replied to my last letter?”
“I’ll ask the messenger, Your Highness. If there’s a reply, I’ll deliver it along with your meal,” he responded.
“Thank you. I’ll be in my study if you need me,” I bowed, excusing myself from the conversation, and proceeded to my study.
Carefully scanning through documents, Laura has been in my mind for the past hour and I can’t get her out of my mind. Her smile, her eyes, her hair… everything is just… it’s distracting me. I’ve been shaking my head to snap out of it but somehow, her image kept appearing.
I also kept an eye on the open window on my left. I never closed it ever since I sent her a letter. If she would follow the instructions properly, the smoke from the letter enclosed in the leaf with it will directly head straight here to my study.
I made sure that the spell on that leaf will bring the letter directly where it was originally written. And I’ve been waiting for seven days now and still, no reply.
Could this be a sign that she doesn’t want to see me? Even talk to me? Have I wounded her that much? Was I that rude for her to completely avoid me?
A knock came upon my door.
“Enter,” I put the reports aside, giving space to the food that I asked Gonzalo to bring.
The door opened wide and it was my page, carrying the tray of my meal. “Your Highness,” he greeted, preparing my food for me.
“Where’s Gonzalo?” I enquired.
“He said His Majesty requested his presence in his study immediately. A maid handed your meal over to me, saying that you requested for it,” he explained. “And here, Your Highness,” he handed over a letter after he finished preparing.
“Who’s this from?”
“The maid said it was the letter that you requested from Gonzalo,” my page said. “Gonzalo never mentioned who it was from. He only said you requested for it.”
Ah, this may be Princess Lorain’s response to my letter.
“Thank you, young man. You may go,” I smiled firmly.
He bowed and walked away, gently closing the door on his way out.
I carefully opened the letter, smelling the paper as I always do. Princess Lorain has this sort of way of sending her letters to me. Her papers always smell like roses and I appreciate that from her. Her letter reads:
I understand that your relationship with your father has not improved. It’s the same with my mother and me. It has become a frustration of mine. And I understand how you feel about them expecting too much from us.
It’s hard to be the perfect child when you know deep inside, you’re far from perfect. And even if you already told them you’re nothing close to perfection, they still try to shove the foot of perfection down our throats.
But enough about me and all of my woes. Let’s talk about you. I would like to know more about your thoughts as it distracts me from my mother’s leash. A strange sort of comfort for me, I know. But your words keep me filled with hope that one day, I will be gone from her grip and will be able to breathe again.
Hope to receive a swift reply from you soon! This castle is going to be the death of me.
Your friend, Lorain.
I’m not going to lie, I was smiling the whole time as I read her letter. She never hid the truth from me which is something you deeply appreciate in a person. People rarely give you honesty and when someone like this comes along, you’ll have a deep sense of appreciation for them.
And the best thing about us is that we understand each other because of our troubled relationship with one parent. She lost her father so her mother, as queen regent, has all the powers and has put all the pressure on her, not her two brothers. Her brothers always take her side but of course, they have no power against their mother.
I grabbed a blank paper and pulled my pen closer as I began to write my response,
To the lovely Princess Lorain,
Like you, I don’t understand why they have such unrealistic expectations of us. My nana did tell me that even immortals make mistakes. Why can’t they have that same belief for themselves and their children? Nothing is about being perfect, it’s about having the ability to learn from our mistakes.
I also received news that I will be visiting your kingdom. I hope to finally meet you in person and get to know each other more.
Your dear friend, Robert.
Putting the quill down, I folded the paper in three and stamped a royal seal on it. I put it on the side and started eating my breakfast. My stomach has been grumbling for the longest time and I feel like I’m close to fainting if I continue to skip my meal any longer.
A few minutes later, my meal was done and I got half of the reports done as well. Looking at the pile that was already reviewed, approved, and denied, I think they’re ready to be sent to James’ study. “Page?” I called out.
The door opened and my page rushed towards me, bowing as he arrived right in front of me.
“Would you be so kind as to ring the service bell for me as I prepare my soiled plate and utensils as well as my finished reports?” I requested, standing up from my chair. “I need Gonzalo for this task.”