4 Chapter III

It was yet another day filled with serenity, with each of the civilians doing their daily routines, opening up shops and selling goods to patrons, smiling and thanking them as they go by.

Amidst the crowd of people, there stood two familiar heads, one with chocolate-brown locks and the other white. They were happily browsing for ingredients that the mage have recently needed to require, hoping for her current experiment to be finished by the end of day. She couldn’t believe that she forgot to purchase and fill her cupboards last week, mentally scolding her own self in the process.

“Big sister, you’re awfully so quiet. Is there something that bothers you?”, Brixton queried, grabbing her sleeves with his free hand, eyes focused on her as they walked along the cobbled grounds. The young prince have always been observant to his surroundings, eventually reading the atmosphere as quick as lightning whenever he does.

She snapped back to reality, abandoning her whirling winds of thoughts that clouded her mind. For a second, she forgot the reason, questioning herself about their current whereabouts. Fortunately enough, she was able to remember it fast, concerning that she may or may not have a short-term memory, especially when she is high up in her own clouds.

“Mhmm? Yes, yes! I’m alright, just thinking of a few unimportant things. . .”, Clementine huffed, shaking her head to rid of whatever she was thinking of. She smiled down to her companion, ruffling his already unruly amber locks in hopes of reassuring the child. And much to her delight, it did the trick.

“If you say so”, Brixton shrugged, humming a few tunes as they continued to tread down the path, stopping here and there to check some stalls that may contain a good variety of ingredients. It was a fairly cloudy day, with the clouds looming over the lands, obscuring the sun from blessing the townsfolk with it’s warm rays— a rather perfect day for purchasing things in the market, in her own opinion that is.

“Don’t you have classes today, young sir?”, The lady asked, glancing at his short figure before averting her gaze up ahead, ignoring the stares and gossips from some merchants and customers. This made the silver-eyed lass sigh, regretting her decisions of bringing the youngest prince of Celeste in her small shopping spree.

“I don’t! It’s big brother’s session today, so I’m mainly free. . . besides, I want to see the town! And joining you is a perfect getaway for that!”, He exclaimed enthusiastically, sparkles were evident on his obsidian orbs, twinkling in child-like wonder and excitement over the smallest thing possible. Well, she couldn’t blame the child at all, concerning that the rules restricts them from going outside. “I want to witness how they work throughout the day. I want to see what kind of goods do they sell. It’s. . . it’s fascinating for me. Seeing how they work hard in order to sustain their family needs”,

Clementine warmly smiled at this, patting his head softly. However, it wasn’t long for the familiar frown to nestle on her visage, whilst she glared daggers on one stall wherein merchant sneered at the sight of the youngest prince. “Does it not bother you one bit? The way they address you and your mother like some sort of garbage worth to be thrown?”, She asked out of the blue, snapping her fingers secretly, only to hear some faint cursing from the aforementioned stall. Thus made her smile in triumph.

“Even if I’m young. A mere ten years-old. The fact that I could read the atmosphere of this town whenever me or my mother are around, hear the gossips, the mocking. . .all those painful things. . .”, he trailed off, lips curling into a small sad smile that had the magician pursing her lips in pity, with his hands now clenched into tight fist, as if preventing himself from bursting out in the open. . . It was very saddening for such child to experience the cruelty of reality— makes the magician wonder, how he manages to survive through day and night.

“I know that they dislike me, but hey! My world doesn’t revolve around them! Even if they hate me, I still have some people who eventually loves me! Most importantly, I have you!”, Brixton added, grinning ear to ear while hugging the teen, earning a gasp of surprise from the magician who almost tripped from the impact. Luckily, the goods weren’t damage, bags filled with important necessities now floated up in mid-air, enchanted with a levitating spell, the moment he threw his arms around her.

“For a young child, you sure do have a huge understanding in life and it’s works. Now I’m thinking— why don’t we visit your mother? I’m sure that she’ll sure be delighted to see you”, Clementine mentioned, observing the young boy who brightened up into a shining beacon of light upon hearing the lass. Poor boy have always wanted to see his mom, but due to the emperor’s orders, he wasn’t really given a chance to witness her.

“Are you sure that it’s okay? I mean—isn’t it against rules for me to go and see my mother?”, He inquired, pursing his lips as he recalled hearing his father— ordering all the servants and guards to block all possible entrance and prevent the former handmaid to enter the castle wall, giving her no privilege of growing her own child or even seeing him even for the slightest. “I’d love to see if she’s doing great, but at the same time— I wouldn’t want for you to get into trouble”,

“Nonsense”, she waved her hands, shrugging off the part where she’d get into trouble. Clementine— however— appreciates the prince’s concern, prompting her to smile and pat him on the head, once again. The magician never gets tired of running her hands on his soft silky locks, finding it satisfying and fuzzy. “I’m a magician, I could do any—“,

“Hold it. You’re planning on bringing him to that wench, weren’t you?”,

The youngest prince made a gasp of surprise, turning his head only to get greeted by the intimidating gaze of a cloaked figure. However, even with the person’s covered up silhouette, his cold voice gave away all the hints of his true identity. The child unknowingly clutched the hem of the lass’ clothes, sheepish as he glanced back on the ground and forth to the first prince whom he looked up to the most— his older brother.

“You’re such a party boomer!”, Clementine whined, ruffling her locks with a sigh of what it seems to be frustration. She mumbled a few incoherent words afterwards, tapping her sole on the cobblestoned path, while glancing at the crowd. Good, they haven’t recognized him yet. “Let’s go back. We don’t want to garner any attention with your presence and all”, she added, mentally doing an incantation that made a surge of magic to circle on their forms, engulfing them whole and blinding the citizens nearby.

At the same time, all memories and recollection of the three were erased in the crowd’s minds, making it look like they weren’t there, buying goods in the first place. The perks of being a magician. Somewhere in the castle, they arrived, standing in the middle of a closed vicinity whom Brixton immediately recognizes as his older brother’s room. His obsidian optics shone in awe and amazement, scanning over his surroundings, marvelling at the intricate interior and furniture. This is his first time, normally— Aethan wouldn’t let him near the door nor the hall.

Deaf silence engulfed the whole area, with only the sound of the ticking clock and the faint rustling of clothes— as Aethan removed the cloak— were heard. It was suffocating, having a tensioned room without enough ventilation from the cold air outside to cool them off. The first prince was obviously angered at the fact that Clementine brought the youngest prince outside the castle walls.

Noiselessly, Aethan averted his gaze on the brunette, glaring at him and at the door, telling him to leave the room. Breath hitching at this, the poor prince immediately tugged on the silver-eyed lass’ cloak, mumbling a faint good-bye before silently walking out of the premises. This made Clementine frown, watching as the doors opened and closed at the wake of Brixton.

Within a blink of an eye, at the same time the doors clicked, locking it from the outside— two teens stood against each other, sabers against each of their throats in an alarming manner. Aethan turned to glower on his companion, blushing in furiousness at the fact that she dared to spend the day with his sibling. On the other hand, Clementine wore nothing but a playfully smirk, silently gauging the expression of the lad before her.

“I have been waiting for you after my session, but you were gone— no where to be found, as well as that midget. It makes me wonder. . .”, He trailed of stepping forward, which had the magician stepping back— gaze nor expression faltering at the alarming nearness of the tip of his weapon on her neck. “Thus lead me to ask the ghost residing in the library, only for Sire Paul to inform me of your whereabouts”,

She scoffed, stiffling out her laughter whilst she incredulously gazed back into his pair of mesmerizing obsidian eyes, clashing with her own set of silver ones that glowed even in the dimless of light. “You asked Sire Paul? That ghost knows nothing but to play and frighten servants alike, even guards cower in fear. He’s a stubborn one. He won’t even listen to me for once”,

“He owes me something. Let us leave it there”, Aethan sighed, lowering his sword to his side, only to reach his other hand to adjust the collar of his shirt, frowning when he caught a glimpse of a snickering magician, who have yet brought her sword down.

“What are you laughing at?”,

“It’s just. . . nothing, forget about it”, Clementine chuckled, grinning at the lad who merely rolled his eyes as a response to her antics. “Mhmm, however it does bother my mind. . .how in the name of racoons did you managed to get out? Security is tight within each gate, I even need to teleport both Brix and I outside castle walls”, she mused, tapping her chin in an inquisitive manner whilst she observed the prince.

“I asked the ghost to make way for me”,

“More like threatened!”,

The two of them jolted in surprise, mouth gaping at the sight of the apparition, appearing out of the blue hence their startled expressions. The ghost huffed, accusingly pointing his index towards the direction of the prince, smoke clearly coming out of his ears. “That annoying prince terrorized me by calling his aunt! The Countess Amelia, who is an exorcist!”,

“Countess Amelia. . .”, Clementine paused, trying to figure out the name, and where she had heard of it. Sure, she does know a few exorcists here and there, and she is quite positive that she had heard or seen that name somewhere. Let’s see. “Amelia. . .Amelia Vaygne of Aradelle? The one who wrote that book, ‘Thousand Souls’?”,

“Yes! That’s it! That’s her!”, Sire Paul exclaimed, nodding his head again and again in recognition.

Clementine unsurely glanced at both spirit and prince, nose scrunched and brows knitted into confusion. “How? I mean— the countess have long since passed years ago? His son, Alexis Vaygne replaced her after she died”, the magician pointed out, snapping her fingers, wherein a newspaper poofed in a cloud of smoke, floating into the non-existent hands of the apparition whose gaze travelled from left to right, reading the paper thoroughly.

At the same time, Aethan shook his head, grabbing Clementine by her hand and dragging her out of the room, already knowing what’ll happen next. The magician looked at him quizzically, heels clacking on the marbled floor as their distance grew in measure with each step that they made. Suddenly, a loud booming noise emitted from the prince’s room, making the prince sigh in both relief and defeat.

“You son of a bit--!!”,,

“Let’s go, Clementine. Let’s have some tea in your tower”, and with that, the two friends set off, hurrying to the east wing wherein the magician lived, totally forgetting of the fact that they just left a poltergeist inside the royal room.

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