Part I


-in which a princess sulks-

that friend of yours is scared of the dark.
but you comfort her and tell her that there's
nothing to be afraid of.
when truth is,
she should be afraid of you.
but you don't remember that.


-several months earlier-


Everyone stopped to look at the fuming princess in the centre of the grand dining room. Her cheeks were flushed and she took quick breaths to try and calm herself down. It didn't seem to help though, for she continued to slam her fork on the table as she screamed at her parents. It didn't occur to her that they were flinching at the fragility of the cutlery. Upon looking down at the fork, she found to her slight amusement that it now looked more like a mangled, squashed, metal… thing.

"I will do no such-" the table was met with a barrage of thumps, "-thing! I am not ready for something like that!"

Despite her murderous scowl, her parents did nothing but look at each other's faces and sigh. That further irritated her. It was obvious what was fabricating through their minds right now - it was so clear! Oh, how their daughter was so childish, so selfish and thoughtless, and why in the world couldn't she have turned out like her brothers? Why must she be so stubborn? Wouldn't life be easier if her mother gave birth to all boys? Oh, the tragedy that was her family's life!

She snorted, engrossed in her sarcastically bitter thoughts.

"Jenna, you are nearing age of seventeen. You are growing into a young woman and-"

Jenna refused to listen anymore. It was always the same anyway. Her mother would then fall into the speech of responsibility and the importance of the kingdom and her people. She never really understood how she, a mere sixteen year old, needed to be responsible for a whole kingdom. Better yet, why did the whole kingdom need anyone to be responsible for it? People had their own lives. They didn't need kings and queens to fuss over them.

Why wasn't life that simple?

She sighed, letting her gaze scan the room as her mother continued whatever she was talking about.

As always, maids scurried about, carrying golden trays of food around the room as if they were gliding effortlessly. Sometimes, Jenna would watch and wait for one of them to bump into another but it never happened. It was disappointing, really, but she blamed it on the fact that the dining room was huge. With a room that could fit a thousand people, of course it would be near impossible to bump into someone with all that space.

But today she wasn't interested in the maids; she was looking for someone else. He wasn't here. Where in the world could he be?

Inwardly, she groaned. Lately, he hadn't been talking to her – actually, scratch that. Lately, he hadn't even been in the same room as her. As much as she wanted to deny it, a part of her felt empty and slightly angry. What if she was becoming a hindrance to him? He was three years older than her, and sometimes he acted as if it were ten years dividing them. Really, it aggravated her to no end but-

"Jenna, are you listening?" her mother snapped, interrupting her thoughts.

The princess huffed, blowing strands of her golden hair away from her eyes. "Yes, yes I am, mother!"

Her mother raised an eyebrow at her, unconvinced.

She resisted the urge to roll her eyes. Sometimes, she wondered how she managed to be related to her mother. They never agreed on anything; barely even spoke to each other at all. Sure, she had to admit that she did look quite like her mother. Jenna had inherited her mother's golden, curly hair and brown eyes, but that was all they had in common. Her mother's face was stern and looked like she didn't know the existence of laughter. Or smiling for that matter, Jenna added as an afterthought.

No, she did not like her mother. Jenna had always preferred her father more, simply because he nagged her less. It was only right now that she was not too fond of her father, too. Too often, her father just went along with her mother's wishes, not caring about anything else. It really was quite aggravating.

"Well then, what was I saying?" Her mother's voice was sharp and serious.

"Something unimportant."

Her mother looked like she wanted to strangle her.

"Now, Jennaline-"

With a loud groan, Jenna rose to her feet and gritted her teeth. She knew that once her mother started using her full name, she would be in this room for hours being lectured about her lack of manners.

Jenna left without looking back.


It was safe to say that Jenna was in a horrid mood for the rest of the day.

She remained in her room, sulking and imagining ways in which she could plan the demise of her parents. Yes, it was childish, but right now, she couldn't care any less. She spent all day lying on her bed, staring at the ceiling with a frown. There were stars on the ceiling; she remembered sticking them up there when she was younger. She had to jump endlessly on her bed, trying to slam the stickers on whilst he did nothing but watch her with an amused smile.

A sigh escaped her lips. Somehow, her thoughts always managed to end up thinking about him. Rolling her eyes, she decided to distract herself by scanning her room.

Jenna loved her room. It was her way of escaping the prison of the palace. It was large with white walls the colour of snow. The carpet was thick and velvety, and whenever she walked on it with no shoes, it always felt like clouds enveloping her feet. Various dolls and toys were cluttered on the tables and drawers, smiling at her with large grins and open arms. She remembered the days in which she used to play with them, but now, they were merely nothing but abandoned items. Her mother often used to nag her to throw away her dolls, but Jenna refused. The memories that clung to those dolls were irreplaceable. She would never ever think of throwing them away.

For the hundredth time that day, she sighed. Her eyes fell on the large grandfather clock in the corner of the room. It was nearly midnight. Her eyes widened, she hadn't realised she had spent that long sulking in her room.

By the Gods, she was hungry. Unknowingly, she had missed dinner and now her stomach decided to make its hunger known. Clutching her rumbling stomach, she debated whether she should sneak downstairs, when someone knocked on the door.

Pausing, she narrowed her eyes and speculated if she should just ignore it until whomever it was decided to leave her alone.

After a long silence of nothing, she heard a sigh come from the other side of the room. "Princess, it's me."

In two seconds, she ran to the door and flung it open. She was about to greet him when her face was suddenly met with a loaf of bread.

"Huh?" Jenna looked up, snatching the food from his hand.

He gave her a lazy smile, stuffing his hands in his worn pockets. "I thought you might be hungry, since you weren't in dinner today."

Well, this was unexpected.

"Thanks…" she gave him a grin, pleased that he returned it immediately. "Come in."

He took his hands out of his pockets, looked around to see if there was anyone watching them, and nodded. "I suppose talking out here wouldn't do."

It was rare that he was able to sneak into her room. Recently, her parents had decided to be protective over her. Honestly though, just because she was nearing womanhood did not mean she needed more protection. If anything, it should be the other way around! With clear confidence, Jenna was certain that she could easily take care of herself.

Jenna stepped out of the way as he edged himself into her room, briefly looking around it like he always did.

She watched him as he sat in one of her chairs, staring down at his dirty knuckles with pale blue eyes. Really, she couldn't help it. She had known him most her life and yet she still couldn't help but study his face every now and then. Her friend was pale, very pale. Although, it wasn't a sickly kind of paleness, but more like a skin tone that showed he rarely went out in the sun. Unlike his skin, his hair was very dark, almost black. It was unruly, often curly and covering his eyes (to which he would proceed to brush them away, only to have them falling back once again). For someone his age, she guessed he was pretty muscled. Not too much that it seemed strange, but he didn't look weak. Sometimes, if he glared hard enough, he would pass as being intimidating. All in all, she had to admit that her best friend had grown into a handsome young man.

As if noticing her stare, he looked up and Jenna quickly grinned impishly at him.

"Eidan, what are you doing here?" Jenna asked as she sat back down on her bed, ripping chunks off the bread and nibbling on them.

Eidan tilted his head slightly, raising one eyebrow. "I was under the impression that you wished to talk to me, Princess."

A frown appeared on Jenna's face. "What do you mean?"

"When I finished with work today, Master told me you were looking for me."

Jenna blinked. "Oh."

Eidan's face broke into a small smile. "So, what did you wish to talk about, Princess?"

He was always so formal. Jenna secretly wished he'd call her by her name at least once in a while. But no, it was always 'Princess' or 'Your Highness'. Jenna was beginning to wonder if he actually remembered her name… Reminiscing back to the old days, she remembered forlornly that her nickname from him used to be Jen.

"Nothing much," Jenna started. "It's just that we hardly talk nowadays…"

She watched him from the corner of her eyes; Eidan merely gave a half-hearted shrug.

"I've been rather busy with the apprenticeship recently…" He ran a hand through his hair, sweeping it away from his eyes. "So, I apologize if it seems like I've been deliberately not talking to you-"

"Oh no! I didn't think that at all!"


Jenna gave a nervous laugh, pushing away her silly thoughts. She shoved the remaining chunk of bread down her mouth and quickly devoured it. "So… how is the apprenticeship going?"

Again, Eidan shrugged causing Jenna to frown at him. If she remembered correctly, he had never been this evasive before. Eidan was usually more talkative (well, perhaps not as much as her) and keen to answer. Today, he just seemed… distracted?

He noticed her expression and sighed. "It's going well, I suppose. Of course, it's hard and it will take me a while to make myself useful."

"Have you made anything yourself yet?" Jenna's voice was eager as always.

Smiling, Eidan shook his head. "No, I'm not meant to. I'm only meant to be helping out or following Master's orders. However…" He stopped, trailing off into silence.

"Yes..?" Motioning for him to carry on, Jenna sat a bit closer to him. "Go on."

"Well, don't tell him but I did manage to make something behind his back the other day."

"Oh, what is it?"

Eidan looked at her with a wary expression, frowning slightly. She wasn't sure why he was looking at her like that. It was as if he was debating whether he should tell her or not – which was ridiculous because why would he need to? She wouldn't tell anyone.

"You'll have to find out yourself," was all he said before he looked away. Jenna wasn't sure, but was he smiling? If so, why?

Nevertheless, she shrugged it away.

After a while, Eidan returned his gaze to her, then at the grandfather clock in the corner. "It's getting late, Princess. You should sleep.

As if by perfect timing, Jenna started to yawn. She covered her mouth whilst Eidan smiled at her with amused eyes. "I suppose I should..." she smiled back, rubbing her tired eyes.

"I'll be leaving now, then. Do you want me to blow out your candle on the way out-"

"No!" She snapped, giving him a fierce glare.

Her sudden outburst caused Eidan to look at her with wide eyes, raising one eyebrow in confusion.

"It's just…" she began to fiddle, feeling her cheeks grow red as she wondered whether she should explain. "I just… don't like the dark. Keep the candle going."

Eidan nodded slowly, and Jenna began to feel pathetic. She was nearly seventeen and she still found the dark frightening. How stupid. Useless. Pathetic.


"It's alright, you know." Eidan's voice pulled her from her thoughts and she looked up to find him in front of her. He kneeled down to her level, gently taking her hands in his. She couldn't help but revel at how warm his skin was. They were surprisingly soft, but tough (obviously working as a blacksmith's apprentice would toughen up your hands, right..?).

"What do you mean?" she whispered, looking at his pale eyes. Soon, she turned away, not sure whether it was right to look at him straight in the face. However, she couldn't ignore the comforting warmth that had waved over her when she delved into the depth of his eyes.

"The dark. There's nothing out there to be afraid of. It's just your imagination, Princess." His voice was gentle and Jenna felt tense underneath his gaze. A part of her wished he would look away. No doubt he would now be able to see the embarrassed blush creeping onto her face.

A stubborn pout crossed her features. "Easy for you to say. You love the dark." She always found it strange that Eidan despised the sun, and yet he loved being in darkness. It was mad; who would enjoy being blinded by shadows?

Eidan, apparently.

He gave yet another lazy shrug. "Well, I won't blow out the candle, then. Although, you should be careful in case it catches something on fire, Princess."

Jenna sighed, looking down at their hands. Hers looked so small in his, almost fragile and weak. She supposed everyone always thought of her as childish and immature, but she couldn't help it. She had grown up in her daydreams about how her Prince Charming would appear out of nowhere and sweep her away. It was a typical princess' dream; being swept away from her dreary life by the man of her dreams.

But now, everything was too… realistic.

"Mother told me I would need to get married soon." Her voice was nothing but a whisper, although she was convinced that Eidan heard. His grip on her hands loosened slightly.

"As in… an arranged marriage?"

Keeping her eyes down, Jenna nodded. "I suppose it's not very surprising. I mean, that's what happens to most princes and princesses, right? They get forced to marry strangers for the sake of their country… All my older brothers have been arranged into marriage, but I did hope that my case would be different… I guess not."

Eidan sucked in a deep breath, releasing her hands. Hesitantly, Jenna brought her own back to her lap, trying to ignore the sudden loss of warmth.

"Well," he started, running a hand through his thick hair, "I suppose it is the duty of a princess."

"…Yeah. I suppose."

They both fell into silence, staring off into space. In her thoughts, Jenna was fiercely battling the disappointment that threatened to bubble over her. What had she been hoping for? That Eidan would protest against it and save her from her impending doom? Just because he was her best friend did not mean that he would be the solution to all her problems. She chastised herself for even daring to hope that he would at least comfort her, perhaps take her in his arms and rock her back and forth like he used to when they were kids.

Eidan would never do that now though.

He suddenly stood up, nodding once at her. "I suppose I should be off now, Princess. Good night."

Jenna gave a small timid smile that didn't meet her eyes. "Yeah, good night."

Without sparing another look, Eidan left and closed the door behind him.

For a while, she stayed there, sitting on her bed as she listened to his retreating footsteps. She listened until all she heard was the hollow silence of the night, indicating that she was now alone. Sighing, the princess dropped down into her bed and stared at the stars on the ceiling. She couldn't see them now. It was far too dark and the candle in the other side of her room was beginning to grow weak.

Jenna shuddered in the near darkness.


you are living in a world
so innocent and empty.
you don't belong with her.

please remember that.