I. The Impact of Her
By Author Nicole Marcina
Date: February 1, 2023
Ch. 3~ Two ~

“Is this a bad time to visit you, little brother?” she asked with a soothing voice as she walked towards me. Her hands were folded together in front of her elaborate skirt that was fashioned with frills that led from the torso, down to the hem of the dress. Elizabeth never failed to dazzle and catch the attention of various men of the court. She never shied away from the glamour of the court.
I, on the other hand, was always content on how I presented myself. On a usual day, I would allow my brown, wavy hair to be free as a contrast to the stretched and firm hair that I would wear during a ball. I preferred to wear loose shirts that Mother made over the posh and overdone suits that were needed for special festivities.
“There is no such thing as bad timing for my beloved sister,” I walked towards her, giving her a kiss on the cheek as I reached her. “Would you like to join me on the balcony?” I asked as I laid out my hand.
She nodded as she clung onto my arm and held my hand with her other.
“How are you feeling?” she asked as we reached the balcony.
I sighed as we stood beside each other. “If you don’t include the disastrous breakfast scenario then yes, I am fine,” I said.
“James isn’t that hard to get along with, if you ask me,” Elizabeth spoke with much gentleness and caution. “If you do what he wants, you two will get along quite well.”
“And that is where the problem lies, Elizabeth. I can’t just do what he wants,” I said. “At the same time, I don’t want that kind of life.”
“I don’t understand why you find that so hard to do. Look at me, I have been doing it for years,” she encouraged.
“Well, I’m not as perfect as you, Elizabeth. I’m not exactly the child that our parents wished for, especially when it came to obedience, as well as tolerance for our culture. But, I do wonder,” I said as I turned directly to her. I then asked, “How come you are able to do whatever it is that James wished you to do? How come you never showed any signs of resistance?”
She smiled to herself before she turned and looked out to the view. “I do everything for Mother,” she replied before she returned to me.
“For Mother?” I asked, with my brows furrowed.
Elizabeth let out a deep sigh and continued, “Long before you were born, she almost left James. There was a time where Mother felt that James never truly loved her. They were officially betrothed to one another when she was sixteen thousand years of age. And at that time, up to where I reached the age of three thousand years, Mother went along with everything.” Gently, she held my hand and continued, “The only thing that stopped her from leaving is the fact that she knew her children needed protection. Her children needed a home. Her children needed a father.”
Slowly, I pulled my hand back. “We don’t have a father,” I said as I reverted my attention back to the view.
She then put her hand on my shoulder. “Give me a chance, little one. You’ll see, he’s more than what you think of him.” She messed with my hair with a giggle; a usual sign of affection from her.
“Your Highness?” a voice called out into my room after a knock on my door.
Our heads turned to see Gonzalo enter the room.
“Yes, Gonzalo?” I asked as we made our way towards him.
“Her Majesty has been looking for you, Your Highnesses,” Gonzalo bowed. “She said it was time for the family to go and visit the school Her Majesty is supporting.”
“Is that so?” Elizabeth asked as soon as we reached him. “Where is she?” she asked another.
“She is currently waiting at the entrance with His Majesty,” Gonzalo replied.
After what happened during breakfast, I couldn’t believe that James still expected for me to accompany them on today’s visit. I wasn’t sure if he had already made his peace with that matter, or he was simply being insensitive towards my feelings.
“Kindly tell Her Majesty that we will be there in a moment,” Elizabeth smiled.
“Of course, Your Grace.” Gonzalo bowed. “Is there anything that I can do to make your preparations quicker?” he asked.
“Have some of the maids prepare my things for the visit. That would suffice,” Elizabeth answered.
“As you wish, Your Grace.” Gonzalo then turned to me and asked, “And as for you, Your Highness?”
“Have all the unfinished reports delivered here to my chambers,” I instructed. I continued, “I won’t be joining my family today. Kindly relay to Her Majesty that I still have something to take care of.”
Gonzalo bowed once more. “I shall take my leave, then.” And with that, he left Elizabeth and I to ourselves.
“Are you certain that you won’t be joining us?” Elizabeth asked as soon as the door closed behind Gonzalo.
“Dearest sister,” I said as we headed for the door, “James and I made such an impactful scene at breakfast. And frankly, I don’t want another one, especially in front of our townspeople.”
She giggled at my remark. “I understand completely.” I opened the door for her, and we stepped out of my room with her, right ahead of me. She continued, “In that case, I should go and start my preparations. I’ll also be the one to explain to our parents that you have reports to sort out.”
“Thank you, dear sister,” I smiled as I planted a light peck on her cheek. “I pray that you retain your sanity all throughout the visit, as well as a safe trip, back and forth.”
From the very moment I was born, Elizabeth has always looked out for me. And no words could ever be enough to express my gratitude at how much she protected me from all sides. To have a strong bond with my sibling was something that the other kingdoms marvelled at. At the same time, we never shied away from expressing our love for one another as brother and sister.
Without my older sister, life as a prince - life as an Immortal - imprisoned in this castle and shackled to my duty, wouldn’t be as bearable as of now.
“I shall see you once we return, young one,” she said as she gently kissed my forehead.
I nodded in response.
She then walked to the direction of her hallway. And after I watched her until she disappeared from sight, I returned to my room and waited for the reports to be delivered.
A long while has passed and in the middle of my reports, the trumpets’ fanfare played outside. I briefly glanced out my bedroom window, and watched as the royal carriage left the castle grounds, followed closely by the royal guards.
A knock then came upon my door, which caused me to turn in its direction. The door opened and Gonzalo entered. “Your Highness,” he bowed, “The royal family has officially left the premises. Her Majesty wanted me to inform you of their departure.”
I nodded briefly. “On the contrary, she didn’t have to,” I replied as I returned to my desk. “The fanfare was easily heard from here so I was well-acquainted when they left. But, thank you for letting me know,” I continued as I sat down and resumed reading the report that I was reading before I got distracted.
From the corner of my eye, Gonzalo nodded. “Is there anything that you would like to do after a bit of work, young master?” he asked as he stood beside me. “After all, you can have so much spare time today, with the absence of your family,” he added.
Gonzalo’s question indeed caught my attention, it made me put the report that was currently in my hand, down. I knew all too well that I had so much work to do. But, truth be told, I didn’t want to be stuck in my room, with nothing but documents and requests before me the entire day. And seeing that James wasn’t here to meddle with my affairs, I had the freedom to do whatever it was that I wanted.
I stood from my chair. “I would love to have a quick stroll beyond the castle grounds.” I said as I walked back to the window. Looking out of my window pane, I added, “Perhaps, a quick visit in the Mortal Realm could help me refresh my mind.”
“How many guards would you like to accompany you, Your Highness?” Gonzalo asked.
My brows furrowed as I turned to look at him. “I didn’t say I wanted any guards to accompany me, Gonzalo,” I remarked.
“But, Your Highness,” he walked towards me. “A being from our realm should never venture to the Mortal Realm alone, especially a prince such as yourself,” he explained, a bit frantic. He added, “You are, after all, the heir to our kingdom.”
“Gonzalo, ever since I was born, I was never given the chance to do anything on my own,” I said as I sorted out the reports. As I separated the finished reports from the unfinished ones, they piled up as I did so. “Guards would always surround me, reminding me endlessly that His Majesty would be furious if I went against his orders,” I continued.
“Your Highness, you must understand that it is all for your safety,” he protested once more.
Once I had finished sorting out the reports, I took a deep breath and turned to Gonzalo. “Gonzalo, I don’t want the guards to accompany me, simply because the mere presence of them can cause a commotion. And that is something I am desperately trying to avoid,” I explained as I approached him. As I reached him, I added, “I just want to go on a simple stroll my Lady. It is for the best that the mortals don’t see me as nothing but a normal traveller.”
“But, Your Highness–” he attempted on insisting what the rules wanted. But, I stood my ground and proceeded to stare at him, expressing heavily that I didn’t want anyone to be with me on my planned stroll.
“Gonzalo, is it entirely necessary for us to argue about this?” I asked.
His eyes roamed around my room in a panic, trying to find another reason to go against what I wanted to do. But, when he saw that there was no other way to persuade me, he bowed his head in defeat. “No, Your Highness,” he replied in a low voice. He raised his head and asked, “What would you like for me to do, Your Highness?”
“Kindly have a few servants prepare Lady for our stroll. Tell them that I will be the one to put the saddle on her,” I instructed.
Gonzalo took a bow and left me alone without another word.
After I took one final glance around my chambers, I returned to my desk and called out for my page.
Without a second to lose, my page immediately entered my room. “You called for me, Your Highness?” he asked with his head down.
“Draw me a bath while I choose something to wear,” I said.
“Right away, Your Highness.” The page then hurried out of my room.
Left to my own thoughts, I could only hope that my family wouldn’t return soon.

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