I didn’t know what to do on my way home. I felt scared. Of course – I have to tell the rest of the family. When the nobles are in the marking, don’t they give their opinions before the people? So tomorrow she’ll be evaluated by them?
I tried remembering their names; I could hardly remember any other than Simone.
When I finally reached home, before I said anything mom sent me to the baker. I walked towards the place with my hands filled with golden coins. Mom told me to be careful “Some still don’t like her… and you are her defender”
So I was careful – I was wearing my cape, which covered my face just a bit.
The baker wasn’t busy – he was resting on a chair near the disk. I placed the money on it, and told him what mom asked me to get. He started to bag it, while I looked after. I almost laughed, but a little plushy was sitting at the desk – green eyes, dark hair, long dress. He apparently saw me stare and he smiled. “The kids love them. They get their parents to buy one” He told me. I didn’t answer but just turned around at looked at his wall. There was what you would normally see in a store in the human world – Magazines. Five or four different kinds, besides that there was a poster-version. Filled with posters of her. I found some money in my pocket and took one out – the last one actually. I kept looking at the wall – on the top, you could see more of those plushy, There was even one where she had short hair, and looked like a lizard. There was dolls versions of her – even one who had a piano with it, and the doll was chained to it.
“That’s-“ I started “A lot of…”
He laughed. “Yeah, the people wanted it... the posters are sold out now. I had 350 issues… they was delivered yesterday” He told me smiling.
My worries started to fade, and I took my hood off. “The lizard plushy… what does it cost?” I asked him. Quinn would love one – I’m sure.
“7 gold coins” He said “I’m sorry – I know it’s expensive”
I looked in my pocket – I had 5 gold coins. I smiled “Maybe another day, then”.
He smiled and handed me the bag. “I know who you are, and wish her good luck” He smiled as I left the bakery. I walked home with the poster-magazine. It had cost 3 gold coins, so now I only have 2.
At the table, when I got home, we ate and ate. I didn’t tell anyone about the doll and poster things.
“How is she?” My mom asked “Is she well?”
I told about the news of the markings final, and my mom almost started crying. My dad had to go with her outside – just to make her calm down. Quinn was more calm, but a bit to calm, and Crish started talking about “How we should have taken her away” before we arrived. Vergile got angry, but he ended up just shaking his head.
Later that night I gave the posters to Quinn – she is more the fan girl kind of type than me.
The next morning, I was finally allowed to visit her by myself – I brought her some clothes.
Some dress I found her in her suitcase. We didn’t talk about “This is maybe our last chance alone”, and her death. She just thanked me, and changed. All the different kind of bandages on her body made me sad, but not enough to make me cry. The dress fitted almost perfectly – but it didn’t hide the bandages.
I ran to my dad’s office. I had trouble seeing other than red – I wanted to yell at him, tell him that what he was doing was wrong – but when I saw him, all I could do was stare. Dad was sleeping with his head over the desk. His ‘nice’ traditional clothing was thrown over a chair, and books was surrounding him in tons.
I just stopped and stared at him for a while. The first girl I have ever loved – he is maybe giving the sentence to get her killed. Not that she is scared – actually she is the opposite. I just… I broke. I fell together on the floor and started to cry. My hands was over my mouth, so I didn’t wake him up. Why is my heart split into these pieces? One half of my heart wants to help dad – this I clearly hard for him, giving the sentence to his best friends daughter. It must be tougher than anything else in the world! I tried picturing it – my best friend’s daughter, maybe being accused of being evil. Then taken into custody, and you have to point fingers at her.
But my heart is also with her – she didn’t ask for any of this, and she either doesn’t have the strength or the will to survive it. I want to help her get up from that dark hole she is buried in, and I want to hold her close. I want to tell her it will be alright.
I got up and followed her lead. I took my dad’s clothing, and hanged it in his closet. I marked the pages in the books, and cleaned it up – they were now standing on the floor near the door, in a nice pile. I made his bed, ready for him. As a son, I did my duties, just as she have always done.
My hands got on my dad’s back and I helped him over to the bed, by waking him a little bit.
He got in, and I tucked him in good, before turning of the light, and making sure that his windows were lock, and there was guards outside the door.
Rachael don’t want history repeated, and I’m sure dad shares her viewpoint. My feet took me to the prisons, were I walked with the head of security, telling me about people who had tried to break out, and if anything out of normal had happened. Dad usually does that, but since he fell asleep, I took his place – otherwise Vince has as duty to keep waiting for him, right there. After that, I walked to the kitchen and got the menu for the day, I talked with the guards, made sure the kingdom was secured, and then walked to the library to study. The only reason I made it through all of it was because I kept reminding myself: It is what she wants. After studying, I talked with my brothers and divided the duties of the king out amongst them. I told them dad was sleeping – and that he needed it, so we should help him out. The only one who refused was my youngest brother – but to be fair I wasn’t going to ask him to do anything. Since he wouldn’t do it anyway. The cleaners were done in the marking hall, so I had to go check it out. I checked everything in the room and it was fine – they had done a fantastic job, and that is what I told them. Knowing where dad holds his things, I laid the menu on his desk and checked his list of “Unregularly duties”. Here he talks about things he doesn’t have time for, because of so many other things he has to do.
After a half hour, I sat at the table with my brothers again and told them about my plan to get this load of dad’s chest. Jonathan looked surprised at me, and almost all of my brothers was in on it. I gave them different kinds of job – most of them required almost no knowledge of the subject, and to be honest it was relieving. One day I will be king – dad loves to say that! – and I thought it was harder than this. Surely it is, but right now… it’s quiet. Jonathan was the first to choose on the list of jobs – he choose to be in charge of the schools. Apparently they need books, supplies and all of them a paint job. Jonathan was going to find the right people and talk with the suppliers, so that he could give them all of that. My other brother – Xen – chose to hire some people for the jobs opening in the stalls. Horses needs new shoes, and no one is taking care of the hay they are getting. Henry choose to find an expert in water, since more and more wells in the area is poisoned by the farmers. The jobs kept getting taking – and it felt great to be able to set a check mark at each one of them. I personally had to sign stuff – when my brothers were done they needed to use money and that needs to be signed by either dad or me – the crowned prince. After signing what seemed to be a million documents, I was done – and the list had only one thing on it. “Renewing the uniform of the princes”. We hate that, but we made it happen anyway. At the end of the night, I was in a brand new traditional uniform, filled with my medals and honors. My brothers was too – after redressing to my regular clothing I hanged it in the clothes and made sure the preparation for tomorrow was in place. I left the list of stuff we had made next to the menu on dad’s desk signed by all of us. With a note saying “A gift from your sons”.
I left dad to his sleep, and went to get some of my own.
When I was awakened by someone, I threw on the clothing and walked to breakfast. We were all sitting in our new clothes, and dad was smiling proudly when he walked in. It made the rest of my brothers happy to see him well rested and happy again – it has been a while since he was that.
But somehow my heart was still with Rachael, probably sitting in her bed, waiting to get her judgment.
I ate, and I laughed, and I talked with my brothers, and I pretended to have fun. When I then was leaving for the marking something made me stop up and rethink it. Is this how she fells all the time? Doing things that she doesn’t really enjoy – for other peoples sake? To make everyone else fell better? Following her duties…
I stood there with a smile on my face when she entered. I could see the bandages and so could the people. She walked – far from perfect – to the Jem, and stood there with a smile on her face, looking directly into my dad’s eyes.
“You look jolly!” She said before anything else was said.
“So do you” Dad noticed smiling “Considering” He looked down at the bandages.
“Don’t worry” She said “I’m fine”.
Suddenly her eyes turned towards mine and she smiled happy to me. It was like her eyes was thanking me. I got embarrassed and looked into the ground. Does she know I followed her lifestyle?
“Okay, so today the nobles are going to judge you” Dad noticed with a smile on his face. “Before doing this, do you want to bet on any judgment?”
Rachael looked surprised but then smiled. “I already did”.
People was looking confused at both of them. No one could know why the two of them were happy.
“Let’s get started then” Dad looked down in his papers “The noble man Gerimon”
A light was shown on a seat, and he stepped forward with a smile on his lips. “I call not guilty”
Rachael did a thanking bow and he smiled. “Of being a dark lighter”.
He walked back, and dad continues “The noble man Verimon”
He was smiling bright to the people. “Hello Rachael, as Gerimon just said – I call no guilty of being a dark lighter”
The next two was Julia and Mira, who both surprisingly said “I’m sorry, but I have to vote you dark”. Rachael didn’t hold no grudge and just said “Fair enough”.
Qan, looked weird after them. “I have known her my entire life, and she is not a dark lighter”.
Androsali stood up after him. “Rachael is defiantly a dark lighter” She said with some kind of glimpse in her eyes.
“And you are a sore loser” Rachael answered to that remark, then smiling and shrugging her shoulders as the woman started to look angry. One arm from the back where we couldn’t see pulled Androsali back.
Mist and Dean was with Rachael, but Cyanite and Xavier wasn’t, Simone was clearly with Rachael , and the last vote going to the noble woman Melissa would decide it. The kingdom was at it toes, holding in their breath as Melissa stepped a head with a neutral expression. The only one not worried was dad – but he was still anxious to hear the answer. Rachael was looking down in the ground hiding her face, like she was already voted dark by her. What is he judgment?