Chapter 2 – Geography lessons
Evelynn was walking on the softest ground she had ever trod. Grass plants seemed to reach and sway toward the sky and rocks towered above her head. Her hair floated around her as if guided by some unknown wind and the sun was a blurry blob as it shone. Evelynn tried to skip happily in bliss, but found her limbs were too heavy
"Evie?" Her mother asked. "Can you hear me?" Evelynn's eyes fluttered open and was sorely disappointed.
What? No floating plants?!
"Where am I?" Evelynn wondered aloud without thinking as her eyes swam into focus.
"You're in your room baby," Marisue breathed, her voice annoyingly soothing.
"Huh?" Evelynn replied, giving her mother a puzzled look.
"You fainted, sweetheart," Her father told her. "A boy found you and brought you back up to the castle."
"A lovely boy," Her mother added. "with golden hair. Pity we didn't get his name, Yeatin. He could've been a noble, and then we could've added him to our tournament list of eligible bachelors trying to win Evelynn's hand."
"What?!" Evelynn exclaimed sitting up. "You're continuing with this?! I just fainted on a grassy glade due to… emotional distress!"
Her father exchanged a worried look with her mother. "The shock of courting really hit you that hard?" Evelynn was secretly leading a cheerleading squad inside. Her parents just might be fooled by this one.
"Yes," Evelynn said, falling back on her fluffy, white pillows.
"Maybe we should bring them in for a get to know you week darling," Her mother suggested. Evelynn, horrified, studied her mother.
"It was the shock of it being so soon," Evelynn told her in a low voice, trying her best to feign an expression which looked like she was on the verge of tears. She tried to make her baby-blue eyes look as sad as possible, in fact. She watched while the expressions on her mother and father's face turned from skepticism to sympathy. Evelynn's secret inner cheerleading squad applauded her awesome acting skills.
"Ok. Ok," Yeatin conceded. "How about we put no pressure on you to find a husband? Just get to know them and if there's one you particularly fancy, then you shall marry him."
"Yeatin!" Marisue protested.
Evelynn ignored her and cocked her head and looked at her father, her brows furrowed in the deepest throngs of indecision.
"I s'pose that would be ok," Evelynn said slowly, hoping just secretly that something better may come up.
Her mother looked completely perplexed. "But… but…"
"Don't worry, Mari darling," Her father said, patting her mother on the arm. "It's a good compromise."
"But she'll be a spinster by princess standards if she doesn't hurry up!" Queen Marisue blurted out, looking like she was about to cry.
"Thanks," Evelynn said dryly. "In case you didn't realise I'm still here…"
"Not that I meant it in a horrible way sweetheart," Marisue said quickly. "There are many likeable spinsters…"
"Darling, stop digging yourself into a hole from which you cannot get out of," Yeatin murmured to her.
"Honestly Yeatin, how can I be digging a hole?" Marisue asked. "Do I look like I have a spade?" Yeatin rolled his eyes while Evelynn suppressed her laughter with a coughing fit.
"How about we let our daughter get some rest, Mari?" Yeatin suggested. "It's been a trying day."
course," Marisue simpered and kissed Evelynn on the head. "Goodbye
sweetheart." They left the room arm in arm, bringing to the room a
nice silence. Evelynn liked quiet. Usually she never got a moment's
peace in between her mother, her father and her lessons. Perhaps she
should faint more often. Evelynn swung herself to the side of the
bed and put her feet on the floor experimentally and flinched at the
cold marble which met her feet. She walked toward her vanity and sat
down and picked up a brush. The handle and bristles protested and
groaned as it caught in the frizzy knots which were a consequence of
being vertical. After she'd finished brushing her natural
ringlets, Evelynn surveyed her upper body in the mirror closely. She
saw the same Evelynn she'd seen for the past 17 years staring back
at her: dark copper curls that reached her waist, blue eyes and milky
white skin with a peachy hue. She was not a wisp like some of the
court maidens she knew, but she wasn't fat either. And there was
no wrinkle in sight in her perfectly oval face. Evelynn smiled with
She was fine, despite what her mother said.
Evelynn sighed. Her beautiful, graceful, kind mother had been the bane of her life. Mainly because she expected Evelynn to be just like her, despite the fact that Marisue was the perfect fairytale princess and Evelynn… well, she was closer to being a fairytale toad.
Gods above, even Marisue and Yeatin's romance was of fairytale proportions.
Marisue was engaged to the prince of Ryoth, so war could be ceased between Ryoth and her country, Ilissia. This was fine until Marisue met Yeatin, then the prince of Allendry. Since the prince of Ryoth was in short a spoilt brat, Evelynn could understand why her mother threw herself at her father ("It was love at first sight!" her mother often protested). They knew their love had to be short-lived, but they knew they couldn't stand to be parted. When the prince of Allendry left to go home, Marisue and Yeatin were caught "emotionally parting ways" (they were snogging behind a rose bush) by the diplomat of Ryoth. Of course, this caused a diplomatic incident and war broke out anew. Marisue was kidnapped and held hostage in Ryoth, until Yeatin went in and risked his life to save her. The betrothal between Marisue and the prince of Ryoth was cancelled, she and Yeatin got married and they all lived happily ever after…
Until Evelynn came into the world, screaming her lungs out. Evelynn knew that throughout her life her parents had been disappointed in her. If only she was more like her mother…
Evelynn squished that thought. If she were her mother, she would have less than five brain cells. She sighed and put down her brush, stood up and walked toward her vast wardrobe. What would she wear today? She flicked through her wardrobe and picked out a blue gown and a pair of white slippers. Then, she looked around for her bell to ring her maid. It wasn't anywhere to be seen.
Evelynn overturned her bed. No bell. She picked up a pile of under garments. Still no bell. Evelynn gritted her teeth.
She was going to have to dress herself.
Evelynn slipped a shift over her head and put on her tights.
Why do I even need a maid for this? Evelynn wondered. Dressing oneself is so easy! She reached for the corset and clipped it around her body at the front. She reached behind her for the laces and pulled…
Only to lose balance and fall over.
"Your highness!" her maid, Jane, exclaimed, running over to her. "What on earth are you trying to do?"
"Dress myself," Evelynn told her through clenched teeth.
"That's not what young ladies do," Jane admonished, pulling her up. "That is jobs for ladies' maids like me. Although, you have done a very good job at putting on your other undergarments."
Evelynn braced herself for inexplicable pain as her maid pulled lightly on her corset strings. She tied them and stepped back, reaching for her choice of dress.
"Um… are you sure you've finished lacing
me in?" Evelynn asked.
"Yes, miss," Jane replied slowly. "I have orders from Queen Marisue not to lace you in too tight in fear you may faint again."
jolly good" Evelynn remarked, trying not to sound too ecstatic.
"But," Jane continued. "You are to be tighter laced when the princes are being brought in for your acquaintance."
"Of course," Evelynn demurred.
"I also have another message from your mother," Jane added "that you have the rest of the day off."
"Off? From what, life?" Evelynn muttered.
"Excuse me your highness?" Jane demanded."
"Oh I was just asking off from what." Evelynn amended, smiling sheepishly.
"Your lessons," Jane told her, as if she were dense. "The Queen requested that she speak with you after dinner. But until then, you are to do what you wish…"
"Thank you Jane!" Called Evelynn as she ran out the door.
"… so long as you rest," Jane finished as Evelynn slammed the door.
Evelynn went through shelves in the royal library. Everything was so disorganised! It looked like no one had gone through it for ages. While she was flicking through the maps rather quickly, two maps fell off the shelf. With a silent cry, Evelynn stood back as the maps landed at her feet. She unfurled the first map and read:
THE OFFICIALE MAPPE OF PEARLSEA
looked at the map and made a face at the old language. Pearlsea?
Where was that? Fingering the paper and noticing the yellowed edges,
Evelynn unfurled the map and quickly scanned it only to find it was
full of gibberish. She shook her head and tossed the map aside, and
reached for the second fallen map
MAP OF QUAYLIA, CAPITAL CITY OF ALLENDRY
Evelynn grinned and read the map more carefully than the one previously. Her grin broadened and she clutched the map in her hand triumphantly.
She had a score to settle.
That is, if the whole meeting with the mer prince thing hadn't been a dream. She quickened her pace to a run, but found due to the skirts, she couldn't exactly stride or run very fast.
I suppose that's why they made such big Evelynn mused as she slowed to a walk. I'm sure running isn't in Lady Nerilee's code of ladylike behaviour
She crept out one of the castle's many backdoors. The castle had so many backdoors that Evelynn constantly wondered whether or not that her ancestor that built it didn't have a paranoia complex. She was hit several times by the shrubbery which covered the steps as she descended the winding staircase.
Someone ought to freaking clean the steps… Evelynn thought furiously. She would tell one of the under-gardeners to do it, perhaps. No. Then her parents would find out. Evelynn strode down the glade to the sea and stood at the exact spot where she was previously.
"Hello-o-o!" Evelynn called. "Mer Prince!! Prince… Mervin!"
"Prince Mervin!" She called again. "Get your scaled ass up here!"
Still no response.
Evelynn thought hard. "I'm trespassing all over these mossy rocks… all over your LAND I believe…" Suddenly there was a woosh of water and Evelynn had to step back to make sure she didn't get it on her map… and on her dress, of course.
"What?" Prince Mervin snapped crossly, tossing wet hair out of his eyes. "Oh it's you. I don't know what's worse; a lecture from my father for missing the ridiculous water ballet yesterday or a trespassing human who faints at the sight of me."
"We have a score to settle," Evelynn told him smugly.
"We do?" Prince Mervin asked stupidly. "And you got me out of the water for that?"
"Absolutely," Evelynn replied.
Mervin groaned. "Have a heart woman; this sun is taxing on my skin."
rolled her eyes. "Vanity is so unattractive. Here, I found
a map of the boundaries of the capital of Allendry."
"Come again?" Mervin wanted to know, obviously confused.
"The capital of Allendry. The country I live in," Evelynn clarified.
"I'm so confused," Mervin stated, shaking his head.
"The. Main. City. Of. My. Country," Evelynn said slowly and carefully, as if he were two.
Mervin's confused expression turned knowledgeable. "Ah, right."
Evelynn unfurled the map. "See? The border is here, at the edge of these rocks."
"Bollocks! Let me see!" Evelynn pointed to the city boundary. "You're still trespassing."
"I am not!" Evelynn protested.
"Don't they say that female humans can't read maps?" Mervin shot back. "Have a look. I don't think the map accommodates tides."
"Well, that doesn't explain why it says 'THE ROCKS' in bold capitals at the bottom, now does it?" Evelynn retorted smugly.
Mervin went red. "Oh, yes, I see now." Evelynn furled the map up with an air of victory. Making this merman smug was so satisfying.
"Ha." Evelynn said and sat down.
"Well, I better let you stay then," Mervin said to no one in particular. "It was only a joke after all.
Evelynn bit back a giggle. "Oh of course."
"So, mysterious girl human," Prince Mervin began. "Before you fainted, you didn't give me your name. So unless you want to be mysterious girl human for the rest of my time in the sea in my mind, a name would be nice."
"Evie," Evelynn replied quickly, without thinking.
"So does Evie have any other names?" Mervin pressed. "Like Princess Evelynn Lucia Allenda Tellina Equavorial Delator for example?"
Oh no. "Uh…"
"Oh come on, I did cart you back up the hill you know," Mervin reminded her. "Your parents are lovely people. Much more interesting than the water ballet I was supposed to be at. So different to my father, who blows a gasket whenever I leave the palace."
"How so?" Evelynn asked, brushing a raindrop from her nose."Look to the horizon," Mervin told her. Evelynn saw rather large waves and a stormy sky.
"Ah." Evelynn remarked. "Well, you should probably be getting back."
"Nice of you to be concerned," Mervin said, smiling. "I'm flattered."
"Dream on, mermaid," Evelynn shot back. "I'm worried about my dress."
"Pity," Mervin began. "I was under the impression you fancied me and was imagining us in several compromising positions."
Evelynn flushed beetroot and made a face. "Ew. I'm not even going to think about how you'd do that."
"I have my ways," Mervin told her. "See ya, Princess." He dove back into the water, his green tail flicking into the air.
I'm so sorry that took so long!! Damned college (we call it uni as in university, for future reference) the minute I had two seconds to myself one of my lecturers hands out another freaking assignment/test!!
But to my reviewers…
Uris – yes, I apologise for the pleasure of not being able to flame me for clichés. I made the grammar and spelling watertight just in case! Lol. Cheers for the review.
JesterKing'sPrawn – Thank you. I do try . I'm sorry I didn't update soon, but I have updated at last so I hope you enjoyed it!
LaBlondeSirene – I am very impressed with your name! It's very cool. A constant reviewer would be lovely so if you want to step into that role, go right ahead! Thanks heaps for the review.
Updating will get more regular as exams/finals trickle away (last one next Saturday oh yeah)