Tuesday, April 3, 2012

True Love's Kiss - Part 5

Previous Chapter - Part 4

True Love's Kiss - Part 5

“Focus!” Crespanal barked at me as I failed to duck another one his strikes. I dropped one of my hammers and rubbed my shoulder gently as a dull ache spread from where his practice sword had made impact. It had been two weeks since the shooting and it had taken only a matter of days before I went stark raving stir crazy. Eventually, I had convinced my bodyguard, Crespanal, that teaching me to fight was a better use of time than both of us crawling up the walls doing nothing.

He had me using hammers as my weapon of choice because that is what I was used to dealing with in the smithy. I saw he was in position once more, reached down to grab the hammer I had dropped and moved into position as well.

At his signal I slowly began moving around him, looking for an opening. We circled each other for a moment, until I decided to thrown caution to the wind and just go for it. I held one hammer in front of me, protecting me, ready to parry should he strike low and swung my other hammer in a tight arc towards his head. He blocked with his sword. We traded blows for a few more minutes, my confidence growing with every strike I blocked from his wicked practice sword. Finally, for the first time since we had begun training, I managed to get a hit through his defenses. A thrill of success shot through me but my triumph lasted mere seconds before Crespanal upped his game and had me flat on my back, his wooden sword at my throat.

“Better.” He said, with a crazy grin spreading across his grizzled face. He leaned down and offered one arm to me as I struggled to get upright again. When I had my balance again, I strode over to the side of the sparring room, grabbed up our canteens of water, and returned to where Crespanal was waiting. As I tilted back my head to drink deep of the water, I noticed a small movement out of the corner of my eye.

Since the shooting, I had been overly aware of my surroundings. I often felt like someone was watching me but this was the first time I had caught out the culprit. I dropped the canteen and spun around to catch whoever it was at the open door. I was shocked to find King Kalristian walking in the room like that had been his intention the entire time.

“Your Majesty.” Crespanal said as he slammed his fist against his chest in salute. I quickly followed suit. He nodded briefly at each of us then seemed unsure of what to do next.

After a few beats, I said, “What are you doing here?” at almost the exact moment that Crespanal said, “To what do we owe this pleasure, Your Majesty?”

Kalristian recovered quickly and replied, “I came to see how Master Bierni was faring.”

“I’m good. It’s a shame I can’t leave the castle but at least I’m not climbing the walls like before. Thank the Heavens Cresp finally agreed to teach me how to fight.”

In response to this, the King gave another one his little nods and turned to leave the room. Before he had made it one step though, he turned around again. A look of uncertainty flitted across his face and his cheeks turned that barely pink color once more. I was nigh on flabbergasted by his behavior at this point but didn’t have much chance to ponder it before he spoke.

“Master Bierni, would you care to accompany me on a tour of the Fairy Gardens this evening.” He paused. “It would be perfectly safe with my guards and you could leave the castle for a little while.”

Even without his heart squeezing blush I would have said yes in a heartbeat, just to get out of the castle. But as it was, I was able to say yes with a small and completely inexplicable smile on my face, despite my horrible first impression of him.


By the time we reached the garden we had sunk into a tense silence. It had taken all of two minutes for him to update me on the search for my shooter (making progress but no culprit yet) and after that it seemed he didn’t have much else to say. And for the life of me, I couldn’t manage to start a conversation either.

As we entered the gates, he ordered the bulk of his guards to stay there and watch the perimeter. Only two of his men followed us into the gardens, and those at respectful distance. When we approached the first sculpture, he launched into a relatively detailed monlogue on the piece’s creator and history. I let him talk for a good five minutes before I stopped him by putting a hand on his arm.

“Stop, Your Majesty.” He looked slightly bewildered as if no one had ever told him to do that before.

I decided to ask the question that had been burning in the back of my mind since he had asked me on this outing earlier that afternoon. “Why did you bring me here?”

He looked away and then back at me. “You wanted to get out of the castle.”

“Yes, but you didn’t have to bring me. You didn’t seem to like me at all the first time we met,” I explained. I saw him consciously fighting his face, willing his usual mask of emotionlessness away.

“I am…shy.” He said, practically stuttering. “It was a horrible day and you caught me by surprise. And you didn't seem to like me either.”

“Oh. Alright then.” We're all entitled to our bad days. And waking up after being asleep for 87 years to find everyone you know is dead seemed like a decent reason for his.

I turned so that we were standing face to face and put my hand out into the space between us. “Hello, my name is Bierni but my friends call me Be,” I said with a particular emphasis on the word friends.

A smile spread across his face, possibly the first real smile I had seen on him since we met. It lit up his eyes and made him glow. He was beautiful. My heart almost stopped in my chest when he reached out and took my hand in his and replied softly, “Hello Be, my name is Kalristian but my friends call me," he paused, "well, I don’t have any friends but your sister calls me Kal.” The light in his eyed dimmed a bit as he stopped talking.

I stepped a bit closer and whispered in a conspiratorial tone, “Well I can’t possibly call you the same thing Mils does so I guess I’ll have to call you Ris.” I winked at him, like I would if he were a good looking guy I had met back home and stepped back once more.

He seemed to struggle with how to react to my familiarity for a moment before he said, “Alright.”

We stood there staring at the beautiful colored lights coming off the piece of art for some time before he said, in almost a whisper, “It’s not supposed to be this hard.”

“Your Majesty?” I had no idea what he was talking about.

He gave me a sidelong glance. “I thought you were going to call me Ris.” That was going to take some getting used to.

“Sorry. Ris?” I said, with same questioning tone.

He was quiet again for what seemed like a long time before he spoke again.

“In the stories they make it sound like you get kissed and then live happily ever after with your one true love. But it’s not that easy. Not with real people. Part of me just wants to take you and force you to bond with me because I am so scared of being put to sleep again. But that would never work because it would kill us both if we don’t really love each other. I feel like I am being told to fall in love with you or die. And it must be even worse for you.” At this he gave up talking and a deep growl of frustration burst from his throat as he fruitlessly kicked the short wall bordering the path.

I was sort of surprised that he had said all that but if there was one thing I was learning about the Ki…Ris it was that he almost always surprised me. He was being openly honest and I figured I owed him the same in return.

“I don’t know if I believe that the curse can recognize your true love. I don’t know if I could ever be a person who falls in love like that.” Ris’ face fell a bit a this. “But I can say that we are friends now and that is more than I thought we could ever be, two weeks ago.” I reached out to take his hand. "And, I know I don't want you to die." I squeezed his fingers and let our hands fall back to our sides.

Ris accepted this with a nod and I decided to move the conversation on to less heavy topics. “So how do these work?” I said, waving at the sculpture. Up close I could see that they really didn’t have any source of fuel for the lights that illuminated the colored glass and various other materials.

He smiled and said, “Magic.”

I nudged him in the side and said, “How, dummy?”

“It is illusion magic, to make it appear as if there is colored light when there is none.” He waved his hand, whispering something under his breath, and the light from inside the piece of art disappeared. It was made completely of see through and colorless materials. “Originally, when these were created, enough people still had magic that it was expected that viewers would shift the colors to suit their own desires. At least here in the royal gardens where you would not have 15 people trying to shift the same sculpture at the same time.” He waved his hand, murmuring something else, and the sculpture lit up again, this time in a plethora of shades of blue. It was amazing.

I turned towards him, speechless from wonder. After a moment, I regained my voice and whispered, with no little bit of awe, “It’s beautiful.”

He smiled one of his smiles again and my heart jumped in my chest as he spoke softly. “Those are the colors I see in your eyes.”

It was sappy and ridiculous and so obviously an over the top statement that I couldn’t help but smile back. We stared goofily at one another for a moment before I broke away and asked him to take me to his favorite sculpture.

He tentatively grabbed my hand and guided me off into the garden. Ris led me around for almost two hours until I eventually collapsed on a conveniently placed benches next to one of the garden walls. I pulled him down beside me, tired from the long day and active evening.

“That was fun, Ris, thank you. It was nice to see you unbend a bit.” I almost regretted that last statement until I looked at his face to see how he had received it. He was still smiling so I guessed it was alright.

“It is nice to unbend sometimes,” he replied a little wryly. All of the sudden the damp evening air seemed to thicken with tension as our eyes met and didn’t skitter away from each other. He took a deep breath and I felt his exhale against my face. He leaned in, just a little, and shakily whispered, “I’m going to kiss you now, Be.”

“Okay.” I stayed stock still, mind frozen at yet another unexpected turn from Ris. He reached out and put his hand on the side of my head, threading his fingers through my hair. I could feel my pulse rocketing and warmth spread through me from where he touched me. He was leaning forward ever so slowly. My lips were tingling in expectation. Any moment now I would feel his soft lips against mine. Time slowed and it seemed an eternity would pass before our mouths met.

And then he jerked back, away from me and stood up. It took me a moment to move past the hurt and disappointment in order to notice the castle guard running towards us, yelling, “Your Majesty!” at the top of his voice.

The young guard stumbled to a stop in front of us, sweating and out of breath. “Your Majesty, Master Nullnomen has aprehended the shooter and requests your presence in the dungeons.”

To be continued…


  1. First, I was like, "D'aaaaaw", and then I was like, "Cockblocked! >:(" XD

    PS- Now that you have posted something, I can publicly state that I like your new background. IT'S OFFICIAL NOW.

    1. It's less than halfway through the story...I can't let them kiss yet!!!

      PS-Thanks, I really like the painted on rainbow. My theme was meant to be "April Showers" but somehow became a rainbow instead. =)

    2. Well, rainbows come after spring showers, so technically, you still stuck to your theme guns. >_> XD

  2. Replies
    1. I know. Muahaha...I promise they do get a real kiss somewhere in the next 2-3 chapters.

  3. PS- Why you no do Tattoo Tuesday? I have pictures all ready, but I can't just do it off some random person's blog. I AM DISSAPOINT.

    1. I promise I'll do a Tattoo Tuesday next week. Keep your pics til then. =)

    2. Duuuuude, I've been saving them since *last* week, when you didn't even have another post that I could complain about it on. XD Like, seriously, aren't we sisters anymore? :P

      Since I love you, though, I shall put up with this delay just once more. >:(

    3. There...I did a Tattoo Tuesday. Are you happy now???

    4. Yes, I am pleased. *goes to make own post*