Cimorine in Destreham

War is ready to break out in the kingdom of Moonhigh, between the ragged and motley villagers of Destreham and the prudely clean army of Moonhigh. Destreham's citizens and bravest warriors fight for justice to return to their village and freedom to speak their minds without direct execution. In the alternate universe we call our home, Cimorine is a teenage girl hoping to inherit her family's bakery business and run the shop like her family has for generations. When the new boy in school calls upon the attention of her and her best friend Lola that her missing father had never been truly missing and needs her help to save Destreham, the kingdom of Moonhigh, and her father, Cimorine agrees to go on a quest to find the Dark Wood's Forest's deepest secrets to uncover the Necklace of Araset and gain the knowledge of how King Farstoff had come to be ruler, why her father had left so suddenly, and the truth behind her mysteriously quiet older brother.

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3. Faramond's Arrival

    “Hey, Cici!” Lola called to Cimorine in the middle of the hallway. “How’d your cake turn out?” Lola was holding a cake carrier of her own, but Cimorine knew as well as most of their class that Lola was not a chef as much as she was a decorator. Their class always licked off the frosting on their slice or posted pictures of it to Instagram rather than ate the cake itself.

    “I think I did well with it... but I don’t know if Mrs. Peregrine will think so...” Cimorine said shyly, turning inside of the classroom with Lola by her side. The first two things Cimorine noticed were that Mrs. Peregrine wasn’t inside, a relief, and a new kid was sitting in the back of the classroom by himself.

    Cimorine sat in her stool towards the front and discreetly looked back at him some more. His dark hair shadowed most of his face, and his style in clothing was in varying shades of brown, including his brown-shoed feet kicked onto the table. Something about him made Cimorine’s nose wrinkle in disgust, but a bigger part of her wanted to stare at him forever.

    “Did you want to show me your cake or not?” Lola asked, breaking Cimorine’s train of thought like a twig under her foot. Cimorine blushed and nodded, unclicking the lid. The smell of fresh strawberries and pound cake wafted out and caught the attention of most.

    “Wow, Cici!” Lola praised, walking around it. Her bangle bracelets shifted with each shake of excited jazz hands. “The delicacy of that strawberry rose in the middle is perfectly placed, welcomed hospitably by the buttercream frosting to surround it... The sugary smell of pound cake... absolutely divine! It’s almost a sin to eat it!”

    “I don’t know if I’d say that...” Cimorine laughed, embarrassed by the attention drawn to her. The class started to turn towards Cimorine and Lola and look at the cake, too. When the kids started to get up, Cimorine noticed that the new boy hadn’t moved at all from where he sat. He had, however, lifted his head to look at her, but when she looked his way he looked away once more. Cimorine tried not to think of it and focused her attention of saying her thank-yous to the complementors of her hard work that morning.

***

    Faramond kept looking between his artist’s interpretation and the real thing as discreetly as possible. Yes, it was her; he was sure of it. Nobody else could have blonde hair as light as hers. Something felt off, however; Faramond had been told of bravery, exceptional cooking skill, and an outgoing nature in her personality. Faramond looked at this girl, an exact copy of what had been described to him to draw, but this girl looked like she’d rather be at home than be fawned over for her talents. He wondered when the perfect moment to talk to her would be. Passing the time for the cloud of people to disperse, he began to sketch a body based on what he could see of her.

    “Hey, did you bake anything?” asked a girl’s voice. Faramond looked up quickly, shielding his work. He realized too late that he had engaged her primal curiosity. With each movement she made to see the picture she jingled like the bells during King’s Day. She ran up behind him, took her index fingers, and poked pressure points in his stomach. After he dropped the picture instinctively, the girl picked it up and held it out of his reach so she could see it.

    “Excuse me, I will need that back.” Faramond hissed, reaching around her and grasping for it with his hands.

    “What, no contractions?” the girl said, giggling. Her bracelets kept jingling on and on, taunting Faramond with each click.

    “Please, I implore you to give it back!” Faramond said. The bracelet-wearing girl stood on top of the countertop for what was probably the ability to look without shaking. Finally, she leapt down and gave it back. He folded it up quickly and stuffed it in his pocket.

    “That’s really good. Why didn’t you sign up to be in art class?” asked the bracelet-wearing girl. Faramond was becoming fidgety; if he answered any of the questions oddly, she would become suspicious of him. Anyway, she wasn’t who he was looking for. He needed the one with the blonde hair and praised confection; at the moment, she looked desperate for help from the bracelet-girl, but Bracelet Girl was busy being a thorn in his side.

    “Silly me; I forgot, the roster is closed.” Bracelets giggled. He wasn’t paying her too much attention, though; he was trying to use willpower to make the crowd disperse - or, at least, the bell ring. He also thought of how to get her alone to deliver the message from Jax.

    “Are you even listening to me?!” Bracelets scoffed. Faramond shook out of the daze he had been in.
    “Not particularly. What was it that you said?” Faramond said, saving himself a lecture on manners that his mom had given him ten times too many. Bracelets approved of the attitude adjustment.
    “I asked you if it was love at first sight... you know, with that picture you drew of Cimorine?” Bracelets asked. Faramond's cheeks heated up at the mere thought of that.
    “N-No! I’m here for something completely different than infatuation, and I like someone back home anyway!” Faramond hissed. Bracelets giggled and shrugged sarcastically.
    “O-kay... I ‘believe’ you...” Bracelets said, making air quotes of sarcasm. Faramond scoffed and watched as a middle-aged woman walked into the room and called for everyone to be seated.

    “Talk to you later, new kid.”
    “I’ll see you around, Bracelets.” Faramond said kindly, masking his boredom with a smile. Bracelets giggled at her new nickname and sat with Cimorine. Faramond rolled his eyes in disgust once her back was turned; girls were so frivolous and practically breathing dopamine hormones when it came to people of their interested gender. Faramond unfolded his informational artwork and wrote down the name he’d been given.
Cimorine was scribbled on the paper in his best handwriting so he could identify it later. With the supposed power she had welled inside of her, he’d need to.

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