A Tale of Two Tethered

When the prince of the woodland kingdom of Arleandra is thrown into an unexpected turn of events he finds himself choosing between two possible futures. True love and adventure, or his family and kingdom. Which path will he choose... or is there a way to have both?

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1. Chapter one: Introduction

 

     I opened my eyes to the morning light streaming through the french doors from the balcony. My butler went about his business as usual, getting my clothes ready for the day, and helping with the preparations for a diplomatic meeting this week. I listened to the birds chirp as they pecked at the bird feeder and played in the bird bath.

     The date is May first, and the air is beginning to warm up. My morning walks to the school are beginning to become more pleasant as the days get nicer. The light shines through the trees at just the right angle, and the smell of blooming flowers is starting to fill the air. I look forward to todays lesson because the class is going to be outside. We are going to study how different wild flowers smell and what animals they attract.

      I got out of bed, stretched, and got ready for school. Mr. Perrinson ushered me into the dining area and insisted I hurry.

"Today you have a very busy day. You must look your best. Once school is over you must hurry back as quickly... no, the coach will pick you up and take you back to the palace at once." He said hastily.

"Why, Is something happening?" I asked clueless as to what my schedule was for the day.

"Why you are to be visiting princesses as a suitor!" he exclaimed gleefully.

      I nearly choked on my food as he spoke, quickly drinking some orange juice. For some reason the thought was incredibly preposterous to me. I couldn't believe my ears. Me? A suitor?

"Mr. Perrinson I am only 17 years old, I don't think that I can marry at such a young age."

"Nonsense! You are almost into adult hood. Besides, this is your fathers doing. I was not at all involved with the matter."

"Oh, my apologies... I will be on my way. Goodbye Mr. Perrinson," I said.

      I finished the last bits of food off of my plate, grabbed my school bag and started to school. I decided to take the longer route today since I need to think. I made my way through the palaces back garden, over to the south gate, noticing the garden as I walked. The tulips are beginning to bloom, I thought. From there I made my way through the forest trail and over a few hills until I got to the school house.

     The school is a one room building that is tucked away in a small clearing in the forest. It is about a mile from the palaces east gate, but a mile and a half from the south gate (where I left from today). The students were slowly making their way to the house or sitting on the steps waiting for class to start. Since I had extra time I sat under a tree at the edge of the clearing and pulled out a book to read.

     I was just getting to the best part when someone startled me, disrupting my train of thought. I looked up to see one of the other students coming over.

"Hi, may I sit with you?" asked a girl with blonde braids.

"Of course, go right ahead," I replied.

     She sat rather awkwardly for a while and fiddled with a piece of grass that was growing by her shoe. She looked up at me and broke the silence. 

"So what might your name be?" she asked.

"Jaimison, but you can call me Jaimes for short, what is your name?"

"Suzelle"

"Well it's nice to meet you Suzelle."

"It's nice to meet you too... What book is that?"

"Oh, this? This is just a book that I read to take my mind off of stuff," I sighed as I set the book down.

"If you would like to talk about it you are welcome to," she offered as she pulled strands of grass into small strips.

"Really? That would be nice. Thank you."

"So, what seems to be on your mind?"

"Well, as you may have heard, I am attending a diplomatic meeting this weekend and I will be unable to resume my usual schedule until mid summer. I may be getting private lessons in order to complete school. As you can probably tell, it really is quite tiresome."

"Oh, you're prince Jaimison?" she asked realizing who I am.

"Yes... Although pay no mind to it. The only difference between you and I are our schedules and where we live." I said matter-of-factly, which seemed to relieve her a bit.

"Right..." she trailed off as she began pulling grass again.

"This morning however, Mr. Perrinson, my butler told me that I will, by days end, be visiting princesses as a suitor. This makes me very worried because I am hardly 17 years old and I do not believe that I am ready to marry-" the bell rang halting me, and signaling the beginning of the school day.

"We should get to class," she whispered as she nearly jumped from her sitting position.

     We got up and headed over to the school house along with a flood of other students. I entered and took my seat as roll call was being taken. Once all the names were called we left our bags at our desks and headed out to the clearing behind the school. Wild flowers were blooming left and right leaving hardly any walking space. There were tiny white bell flowers growing amongst little, blue, six petaled flowers. 

     The teacher handed everyone papers to write notes on, then assigned each person a partner for the project. I immediately went to work classifying different plants, entirely forgetting to find my partner. I was so enveloped in the project that I finished the paper by the time my partner, Suzelle, came by.

"I hope you are alright with it, but I went ahead and completed the paper..." she said sheepishly,"I was really excited to work on it..."

"I do not mind at all," I replied,"In fact, I also completed mine... This sort of stuff fascinates me. It is much more interesting than learning how to manage a government, although it is important information."

"So what do you suppose we do now?"

"We could ask if there are any more lessons for the day, and if not I should be on my way. I have quite the schedule and Mr. Perrinson would be relieved to see my early return to the palace." I said.

     We asked our teacher if there were any other lessons. Seeing as there was nothing else left for the day she allowed us to leave early. Before I left I took Suzelle aside.

"I will not be back for a month at least, however, after I return, if you would like to come by you are welcome at any time," I said.

"Thank you, I will. I hope you have a good trip," she replied.

"I will. Thank you." I turned around, said goodbye to my fellow classmates, and went on my way.

***

      By the time I arrived at the east doors of the palace it must have been just after noon. My stomach grumbled as I entered through the main gate. I hurried to the kitchen, requested something to eat, and took a seat at the table awaiting my meal.

      The platter of food exited the kitchen doors, along with Mr. Perrinson. He set the food down and looked at me beaming.

"I am very glad to see you return so early. First we must finish packing your bags, then we will get you ready for this evening. As soon as you are ready we will leave at once. There is no time to waste."

     I finish my food and go to my room. Upon entering my room I find my clothes on my bed, neatly packed away in a case. I walk out onto the balcony and lean against the stone ledge. Sighing, I enjoy the gentle breeze that passes by. I look past the castle walls and see the sky. It is blue and there are only a few clouds dotting the horizon, a beautiful day.

    I cannot believe that I am to be a suitor. I can not fathom the idea of being engaged, I thought. There must be some other way. I should go directly to my father about this...

     Just as the thought crossed my mind, a carriage bearing the royal seal left the palace grounds.

"Mr. Perrinson? Is that my father leaving?" I asked. 

"Why I do believe so, he is leaving early for the diplomatic meeting this weekend," replied Mr. Perrinson as he quickly popped his head in the room.

"Okay, thank you." I called.

    I went back to the balcony and thought to myself for a while. Am I really ready to marry? I do not want to marry yet, let alone run a kingdom. If I could I would much rather be a medicinal herb specialist. They seem to have more fun. But the wish is simply nonsense, it could never come true...

***

      The time came when I had to leave my fathers kingdom. I loaded into the carriage and watched the trees and fields pass by. I pull out my favourite book and read for what must have been hours. I looked up to see the sun begin to sink beyond the horizon turning the sky various shades of red and orange. The sound of cattle in a nearby field calling their calves to rest for the evening lull me to sleep.

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