Lookit, I posted another chapter. And I have way too much description, don't I? (This is 5,700 words. WTH.) Leave feedback in the reviews; tell me if I'm just droning on, please.
Chapter Two: Dalek
Stupid party. Stupid clothing. Stupid Krys. He always thinks he's the boss. I'm the oldest one here! I don't act like a child.
I stomp towards my bedroom. Lucky for me that it's the farthest away from Gail's stupid room. I don't know whether I mean that truthfully or in sarcasm, but either way. It's the chamber near the back of the castle, up to the second floor. The most isolated room in the castle. Works fine with me.
I dash up the stairs, slamming my door behind me when I enter.
The air of the familiar room already calms me more than Gail's had, which was covered in décor and elegant designs all throughout the large place. Patterns on the walls, carpets, pillows, even. Ridiculously overdone. My room is plain and simple; smaller than my extravagant brother's oversized room too. The walls are gray, the carpet a dark red, and my pillows white. No elaborate covering on them or something stupid like that. Who even cares what your pillows look like? I just want to be able to sleep without some weird pattern distracting me.
The sun's glare comes through the window and hits a painting on the wall, reflecting the light in an uncomfortable way. I raise my hand to my forehead, trying to shield the sun from my eyes. Despite the discomfort, I'm grateful for a window in my room to see the outdoors; breathe in some fresh air.
Gail had no window, though his room is near the outer wall of the castle. He blocked it off, or something. Who would do such a thing? All you'd have is unnatural light or you'd be in pitch dark. And you don't get a view of the outside world. I don't think I'd be able to handle staying in such a large yet enclosed place. Too confining.
Still thinking about that, I glance around. My room is comfortable but not too small, which is fine by me. My luggage had been brought up and placed carefully atop my bed, which was somewhat a comfort, somewhat not. I didn't want to see any more baggage, but I was glad it had been brought up. I hadn't been able to return to my room since we arrived back, having been overwhelmed by preparations and work. It had been almost three hours since our return and I hadn't gotten to relax.
My stomach growls suddenly, bringing a gnawing hunger to my attention.
I hate this stupid party.
Trying to ignore the hunger, I take in everything about my room. The sight is comforting. Everything was left as it had been before our excursion. The wardrobe in the back corner sits with both doors half-open at different angles. A sleeve is hanging out of it, lying on the floor. The bed is still half-made and pushed into the far right corner, untouched besides the things placed on it today. And the window sill remains covered in possessions of mine—small figurines, letters, things of that sort.
The dragon figure is still towering over the knight, whose sword remains poised at the creatures plastic neck. Their carefully-detailed paint is peeling; they'd been that way for years. I don't plan on moving them. Beside them, a rather crumpled letter sits, half in the envelope, and half out of it.
At the sight of it, I finger the charm around my neck: a single tear-shaped emerald hanging from a leather cord. The letter is one from my mother, as is the necklace. I had been reading it before we left, which was about a month ago. On the ground below the sill, an old chest sat, filled with similar letters from her.
I inhale shakily; the letters were a few of the last things left by her in the castle. Gritting my teeth, I glance away, to my left, before walking that direction, entering the bathroom.
Still the same. Everything is still in place. The tube of gel, the comb, everything is still there.
I don't know why I expected something to be moved. Maybe because of our father's death.
But I take a deep breath, calmer now in my own sanctuary. Walking over to the sink, I turn it on, messing with the temperature slightly, and splash cool water onto my face. The stupid crown—or more like a circlet, as the top of it was open—that we were made to wear for our entrance still sits on my head. I haven't had any time to bother taking it off.
I study its design in the large mirror running up the wall. Simple and silver, with a single emerald placed in its middle. Plus, on the small diamond in place of the middle tier's point, there was a small emerald also set there. The crown looked ridiculous on me. My hair was slipping from it place, partly dripping with water, and my face was pale and wet.
I slip it off my head after a few moments of detangling it from my hair, which looks unruly and wild after today's events. The thought of our arrival brings a scowl to my face reflexively, though. That girl had absolutely no right to insult us like that—the least she could have done was said it in the privacy of her own home rather than as we passed by.
But I had no right to lash out at her, and the thought makes me bite my cheek. Rather than bother with such a small peasant and make a large show, I could've just let it slip through the noise, pretending I hadn't heard it. It would have made everything simpler.
How could I have though? How could I let such a thing pass by?
'The oldest prince…Dalek—' She had practically shivered upon saying my name. '—with his hot temper and impatient manner… How is he fit for rule? What happens when he burns our town down with that heat of his? The three princes… What good can any of them bring to us?'
I clench my jaw. The condescending tone she had used—speaking as if she could do any better than I… Ridiculous. I pound my fist against the wet surface, allowing my hair to fall into my face. I couldn't let a thing like that slide, not from some random girl who looked like she could've lived on the streets. Peasants don't speak like that to us. It almost sounded as if she was thinking of overruling us; an impossible feat.
Her face flashes in my eyes, a perfect recollection of the girl. Piercing blue eyes glaring us down distastefully; short, messy brown hair falling into her face. She had a rather hard look to her: a slightly pronounced jawline, sharp cheekbones, thin lips. But her eyes were round and large, which amplified the intensity of the disgust reflected in them.
Practically glaring at her unreal image, I run a wet hand through my hair, trying to move it from my face in vain. The wet strands continue to fall in my way, and I give up after a minute of wasted effort. The crown was the only thing that held my hair in place besides gel, and even when it's on, it still doesn't stay.
The face in the mirror looks at me, its grey eyes staring me down with an unpleasant look; I return its gaze. A disagreeable expression was on its face; I scowl at it, annoyed. After a few more seconds of staring at my reflection, I glance away, turning off the water and picking up a small towel to dry my hair with. Slamming the door of the bathroom closed behind me, I fall back onto my bed, the towel around my neck. My head is pounding and my stomach growling as our unforgettable arrival returns to my thoughts.
Even when I directly confronted the girl, she had absolutely no respect towards me. She stood a head shorter than me, yet remained standing in her defiant pose, glaring up at me with her piercing blue eyes. Stupid girl! Her attitude wasn't that of accepted respect towards any noble. But her demeanor only reminds me of Krys himself, who just heightened the irritation.
I shift my focus to the wardrobe; I'm supposed to get clothes prepared for tonight's party. Why did I need a whole hour to do that? I didn't. Krys was being ridiculous, thinking we were incompetent again. I'd had enough of that overseas, and back at home, it leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I frown, annoyed with him.
He acts so arrogantly even for being the youngest. He may not voice it, but his body actions show just how much better he thinks he is. Who does he even think he is to boss us around? He's certainly not the king of this land! I won't let him take the role. He doesn't deserve the crown; his haughty pride will get in the way. Our kingdom will fall under his rule.
I roll over onto my stomach, almost wincing, before propping myself up on my elbows and leaning my head on my hand. My view of the world is turned sideways. I glance at the window. From my angle, I can see the sky, its dark clouds practically invisible against it. The sun was set, and the celebrating would be starting soon. A celebration for death makes no sense; though, perhaps in this case, it does.
Thanks a lot, Father. Thanks for dying. Thanks for your stupid views. Thanks for nothing.
I sigh deeply, thinking of all the hell I'll have to go through tomorrow. Tonight is very well the last day I'll be able to act as I wish. Not that I really can, what, with Krys peering over my shoulder every second of the day.
Slightly paranoid, I glance behind me. Of course there's nothing there. Why would there be?
And, of, course, no more telling off bratty girls from tomorrow on either. Not that I would be associating with any of them. Each and every move of ours will be monitored, and from then on, we will all be acting as competitors for the throne. Which means that I'll have to retain some ounce of control over my temper.
Nobody to thank but you, Father. I'm wondering if this would have ever happened had mother lived… Of course it would have. Nobody could have influenced your decisions.
In one swift movement, rolling onto my back, I get to my feet, brushing at my clothes. Wrinkles appeared after my few moments of just lying there. Krys would be fuming if he knew; and I chuckle at the thought. A clock on the wall shows I have only half an hour left to ready myself, and, with a resigned sigh, I start rummaging through the wardrobe.
"Stupid clothes. Who cares what I wear anyway? Ridiculous." I toss a dress shirt behind me, uncaring of where it lands. It's followed by a full outfit ready for tonight's event. The dresser's door is slammed closed as I turn around, gathering the clothing and spreading it out on the bed. The party is almost impossibly important to the race, and if I wanted a chance to win, I'd have to make a good impression, somehow.
If I can simply manage that, though, my chances are raised a lot. Krys will probably be acting as normal, considering he already finds himself so mature. Perhaps the arrogance may be kicked up a notch—what, with him being surrounded by other arrogant nobles—and he'll make only havoc for himself.
I sit down, careful not to crease any clothing, and run a hand through my hair, which had dried, at least somewhat. I shake my head, trying to remove the hair from my eyes. It reminds me that I'll have to simply restyle it and put the silly crown back atop my head.
The prompt that I have yet to do that motivates me to move. Perhaps I should have left myself extra time to do this at a lax pace. No time for that. As I quickly redress in fresh clothing, I can't help but keep glancing at the clock, watching as the time to ready myself diminishes.
I stand, tossing my used clothes to the side. The maids can get them later. My clock reads 9:13pm; I've little more than sixteen minutes to make myself decent. The horses are scheduled to arrive at half past the hour, and the ride there takes just over thirty minutes, the residence being somewhere throughout the larger, wealthier area. We would arrive at the exact starting point of the party. If there are no delays.
I hurry over to the bathroom, fumbling to pick up the crown that still sits on the sink's counter. It slips from my grasp and the silver ornament begins its rapid descent to the floor. I stare at it for a second, panicky, and grab at it, just barely catching it before it hits the floor. I sigh in relief; it wouldn't cause damage to the crown itself had it fallen, but the tear-shaped emerald would have cracked this time, surely.
I study the jewel closer. Already, cracks had formed in the smooth, green surface of the gem. I had dropped the crown multiple times already, and a few times, thrown it. Exhaling, I finger the gem, finding the thin cracks before placing it back onto the surface. Having a broken jewel at a rather important party was not a good thing, and I can only imagine the abhorrence that Krys would express.
But his opinion didn't matter, no; not to me.
My reflection stares back at me again, perhaps looking a bit calmer than before. I run a brush through my hair, loosening the knots that had formed with a few grunts. "Stupid brush," I murmur, tossing it back onto the counter. At least it's not so much of a mess as it was.
I hate messing with my hair though. It's difficult to keep it up and takes a mixture of clips and gel, a substance that absolutely repulses me. I gaze at my reflection; straight brown hair streaked with a hint of caramel reaches down to just above my shoulders and my bangs continuously fall in my face. Despite my many arguments of simply leaving my hair as it is, I know that every reason Krys and my parents had offered were reasonable. I could barely see through my bangs, which brushed just below my eyes, and my hair still retained a rather wild look despite having brushed it.
I snort. Krys being right? It was never good when it came to that.
Picking up a thinner comb, I brush my hair all to the left. Trying to keep it from flipping back over to its natural part with one hand, I manage to coat my other hand in the sticky gel that smelled faintly of eucalyptus. I hated both the substance and smell.
The gel on my hair holds everything in place, somewhat, as I push my bangs in the same direction, where it ends in a slightly spiked clump. Grumbling about the rules I was given earlier by the maids, I also flatten the rest of my hair down to the ends, resulting in a rather clingy look as it sticks to my neck.
With still-sticky hands, I go over my hair once more. Gladly, I rinse the stuff off of my hands, thoroughly making sure it's all off. As soon as my hair manages to dry into a repulsive hard substance I slip the crown back onto my head. I glance at my reflection briefly, pondering the look indecisively. I can't help but say that maybe I did look decent enough for a party, or any occasion, in fact. I simply disliked the process; but maybe I did look civil enough for even Krys.
"Prince Dalek! Come here! Hurry up and get downstairs!" A female voice brings my attention to the clock, where only a minute is left to spare before I'm supposed to be downstairs with my brothers, who probably also went through the same process as I. Krys dislikes waiting. And tardiness.
"I'm coming! Tell him to wait!" I grab a bag prepared for tonight, unsure of its contents, and start down the stairs at a furious pace, rushing past the maid that stood at the foot of the steps and through the maze of rooms until I reach the door. I shoulder the bag for more convenience as I dash outside and out past the rather large garden. The vibrant colors blur past me, but I have no time to take in the beauty of the flowers as I come to a halt on the edge of the stone pavement.
Both Gail and Krys turn their heads toward me, and Krys looks me up and down before turning away again. "Glad you made it," he said, glaring at each position guard in turn.
The six guards all stand in two columns of three, facing the direction we were to go. All of them stand in complete silence, waiting for a command or the horses to arrive. Or perhaps an intruder.
I glance at the watch on my wrist. It reads 9:33pm. I was late by three minutes, but even with my late arrival, the horses hadn't arrived, and Gail is simply irked by it.
He stands with his arms crossed over his chest, his back completely straight and stiff. His green eyes threaten to burn holes through the guards' heavy armor and some fidget as he turns his gaze on them. Krys shifts his weight from foot to foot constantly. But it was a very subtle movement.
Both of my brothers are in formal outfits for the party. They're much like the ones from our arrival, but they retain a more mature look for the occasion. Both had fixed themselves up more as well, and each had their ridiculous crowns on.
Gail, with his usually messy blonde hair, has his hair tamed and slicked straight down, clinging to his neck similarly. His bangs were off to his right in a few stiff clumps of well-placed gel. The crown on his head was grey, similar in color to mine, but lacking the silver shine. Set in the middle was an oval-shaped sapphire, while two smaller sapphires were set at an angle on the two visible outer tiers.
He glances between us, as if waiting for an argument to break out. Slightly, he shifts his weight. He looks calm but the lateness of the horses also seems to bother him. Maybe because he doubted that Krys and I could avoid a shouting match of some sort, or perhaps he's already annoyed with us.
He puts his hands in his pockets and the jangling bracelets on his wrists catch my attention. The two were familiar to me, as he wore them often when out. A silver chain was wrapped around his right wrist, diamond–cylinder shaped rubies hanging from it. Around his left was a leather cord with tear-shaped emeralds.
I finger the necklace that hangs from my neck. Much like Gail's bracelet, the cord is leather and the charm of the same gem and shape. Gail's bracelets were that in a sort of memory to our parents, their stones each a ruby and an emerald.
Still fingering the similar gem around my neck, I glance at Krys, who continuously moves around, tapping his foot with his arms crossed over his chest. The elaborate golden adornment that sits atop his hair shimmers in the dimming light. The gems set in it give off a similar eye-catching glow. With an elongated octagon shape, a rather large ruby stone sits in the middle. Circling the base of the crown are alternating sapphires and emeralds, shaped as triangles and squares. The top of the tiers are tipped with curved triangle shapes, adding to the fancy décor it already retains compared to both Gail's and mine.
I shoot a glare at the shimmering jewels. His crown was overdone after all. What right should he have to wear such an elaborate thing? I recall our father having gifted it to him on his sixteenth birthday. It retained a nobler look to it, much like our father's. It also was the only one that had the golden color in it. All the more reason to make him think that he was better than us.
Krys's pale face expressed furious annoyance. Two minutes had passed since my arrival, which made the horses five minutes late. Already a similar aggravation had made its way to me. The celebration was to take place in about twenty-five minutes. Showing up late was not an option. Not on such an important night, that is.
Standing in silence isn't a comfort to me, and rather, it sets me more on edge than when there's talk going about. With few things to talk about and the silence deafening, I tap my foot impatiently, my boot keeping a silent rhythm against the cobblestones. I glance at my watch; 9:38pm.
Irritably, I shift my gaze around the guards, who seem to be doing their best to ignore both my and Krys's glares. Their slight movements showed that they were also impatient for the horses to arrive. Krys's sharp gaze settles on me, his eyes narrowed as if the late horses were my fault. I snarled at him, returning the glare, before being tugged to my right by Gail, who urged me to move out of Krys's striking range. Reluctantly, I break the eye contact and stomp over to Gail's right, arms crossed. Krys scoffs at the action, as if he was so much better.
I can feel his glare on my back before noticing that they settle on Gail instead, who simply smiles and infuriating smile. Krys frowns at the action.
The distant sound of hoof beats reaches my ears, thankfully. They were ten minutes late. I stood, awaiting the horses to come into view.
The stable boy walks timidly up to Krys, holding out the reins of his horse shakily. "Finally," Krys mutters, roughly snatching the reins form the boy's grasp. "Can nobody think for themselves anymore? What idiots. Ten minutes late; ridiculous."
The boy, still trembling slightly, hands the ever-smiling Gail the reins, perhaps looking a little calmer from the warm smile Gail gives him. I scoff quietly, glaring at Gail. How can he never drop that smile?
From the corner of my eye, I notice the boy's expression fading into that of nervousness. It was almost as if he expected me to hit him. Stupid. Still glaring at Gail, who simply flashes me a smile, I scowl, tearing the reins from the boy's hand. The boy scurries off and I mount my mare. She whinnies in protest at my abrupt mount and I grit my teeth, lightly patting her on the snout.
Krys shoots me a look of disgust, sneering, before turning away and oh-so elegantly mounting his steed. Both he and his horse are arrogant idiots, both holding their heads high. I glare at them, and his horse simply stamps his foot and snort while Krys twists around at me, returning the stare.
Gail mounts quickly, and finally we begin to move. Finally, we were making progress towards the one party that might just determine who the rightful owner of the crown was. I grit my teeth. I had to win the race, no way could I allow Krys to become king.
But this party works in my haughty brother's favor. He was ridiculously smooth at conversing with others. The only chance of him making a bad impression would be from his arrogance.
My grip tightens on the reins, and I faintly notice as my mare's walking becomes unsteady, losing the rhythm.
"You're going to kill your horse," Gail says quietly, glancing back at me. Biting my lip, I loosen the reins and pull up beside my brother. At least he could manage to speak to others without sounding as if he was talking to scum. glaring at Krys's back.
"Arrogant jerk," I mutter, glaring at him and his horse. In response, Gail hums a note that sounds much too cheery. I scoff; "He thinks he's just so much better than us. Stupid!"
Gail simply smiles and turns his head towards me. "But of course, Dalek," he says. "Otherwise, it wouldn't be Krys we're talking about." The annoying grin had a horrible point, and I transfer my glare to Krys's back once again, only to meet his eyes as he twists to face us.
The demeaning expression he wears is focused on me, and it reminds me of the similarly irksome facial expression that our haughty father used to wear. The horrible monster whose throne we now fight for.
All he cared for was his money—and the only reason I hadn't directly inherited the throne was because of the favoritism he had shown Krys. He assumed my by bratty little brother would win since he was modeled after the king, after all. I'll show him that he can't always be right and that our kingdom could use a change.
Krys's stupid crown glints in the dimming light. The golden ornament taunts me, just as its owner's eyes do. I will certainly knock him down from that platform he thinks he stands on. He'll hit the ground hard.
Gail snickers lightly and I glance at him, annoyed. "What are you grinning about?" I ask. There was no need for some stupid grin when Krys looked about to murder him. In fact, the demon himself rolls his eyes as I say that and slows his pace down until he rides even with us.
"Oh look, Krys has brought himself down to the lower levels. How admirable," I hiss caustically, ignoring the ridiculous attempt Gail was making to not laugh. My eyes were trained on Krys, glaring him down, but he simply shook his head infuriatingly as if he was speaking to a child.
"Maybe your juvenile insults will subside once you realize just who has the lead in this race," he spits, making no effort to glance at me. He fakes a contemplating look before saying, "Oh, wait, I should clarify this for you; in case you didn't understand. I meant, who will be your king." Only then did he bother to lean forward to catch my expression from around Gail. I switch my gaze forwards though, and clench the reins tightly, gritting my teeth. The jerk.
With a satisfied smirk, he leans back again, not finding it worth the effort. "You'll need all the respect you can get, Dalek. But even if you manage to gain any, you'd only just make it into the running."
I bite my tongue. There would be no point in fighting back. But his words roll around in my mind and after only one second of silence, I snap. "Shut up Krys! You should shut your haughty mouth before you spew something that will get us all in trouble," I snarl, practically growling at him. "Ha! Imagine that? Krys Vouz, the oh-so mature youngest prince of Cerevian mouthing off to the system, saying how incompetent the rest of the world is compared to you. What do you think your chances are then? Do you think the kingdom will even bother to acknowledge you?"
The words spill from my mouth in a flow of hot anger that still burns in my face. My eyes are trained on Krys, who has finally shut up. He remains sitting in such a prideful posture and I grit my teeth, glaring at him.
A moment of silence passes before Krys turns his green eyes on me. They burn with pure malice, and I wouldn't doubt if he was ready to kill. Almost reflexively, my hand moves to my hip, only to find that my sheath is missing from my belt.
As Krys opens his mouth, Gail clears his throat, breaking the heavy silence. Both Krys and I change our gaze over to him as he waves his hands in our faces. "Now now boys," he clucks, shaking his head. "This is no time for fighting."
Krys glares at him before turning his head forward again, muttering, "He's the one that started it. Immature."
Gail shoots me a look, telling me to be quiet, but I ignore him, murmuring, "I'm still older than you."
He snorts, and Gail flicks his gaze over to Krys, who mumbles back, "You still don't act like it." The corner of his mouth twitches up to a small smirk and I shoot him a glare. He ignores me and instead focuses straight ahead.
I open my mouth but am interrupted by Gail, who shoots me a look. "Dalek, try not to pull you horse backwards."
I bite my lip and loosen my tight grip on the reins, much to the relief of my mare, who snorts. Krys sounds like a horse, imitating the beast-like snort as my face turns red.
I observe my two brothers, whose faces were becoming hard to see in the dimming light. The glow of their crowns illuminated parts of their faces and both were grinning. Idiots. I turn my gaze away from them and glance at my watch. I can only barely make out the time. 10:05pm. The party has and we were still a few minutes away.
Krys cleared his throat, breaking the minute of pure silence. I glance at him and he returns my gaze, a smirk on his face and a devilish look in his eye.
"So, Dalek," he starts, grinning. I keep my gaze on him, thoroughly confused and somewhat dreading what he had to say next. Gail's expression mimics mine, but shows less worry than curiosity. "So then, I'm sure—no, positive—that you'll find this piece of information quite...interesting." He smirks and I glare at him. "In fact, I think you'll appreciate it greatly."
I grit my teeth, doubting the statement. Anything Krys had to say was never good for me.
His smirk lasts for a second as he looks me over, waiting to phrase his words just right. "I'm sure this news will be charming, don't you think Gail?" His eyes flicker over to him for a second before returning to me. "A—well, I suppose—special," he coughs, "guest will be attending."
I choke on nothing, wishing that by a special guest, he really meant a special guest. "Who?" I manage to bark, a sense of dread coming upon me.
My curly-haired brother simply scoffs, though he still smiles. The things he would do to throw me off...
"I don't honestly believe deserve much of a right to know—not with the way you're acting, obviously." He pauses, as if considering his next move. "But then again, I think you should be forewarned, just because you'll need to prepare yourself to act respectfully. After all, she is our highly-esteemed guest."
She. My face twitches at the word as I mentally beg that he hasn't invited her. The one horribly insulting girl.
"I'll tell you, I suppose, if you promise to act oh-so gentleman-like towards her tonight." The smirk never leaves his face and I feel just about ready to strangle him.
The party was already going to be difficult, but with this new curveball, that Krys threw in, everything would be just that much harder. But Krys gets to just sit back and relax, and this was all for his amusement.
Gail sighs beside me, but I focus my anger on Krys, my body tense. Idly, I notice as my horse stamps her feet and Gail reaches over to pat her head, but I dismiss it as I addressed Krys.
"You did what?" I shout, eyes wide. "How could you even... How could you even think to invite that girl?"
My glare is met with a blank, indifferent expression, as if I had spoke another language. The only thing he bothers to say in response is, "Aria."
I stare at him, as if he'd gone insane, before realizing he had gone insane. To invite a commoner to this party—let alone the one that I hold anger towards!
Abruptly, and in explanation, Gail clarified. "It's her name, Dalek," he says, as I turn my head towards him. "Aria is 'that girl's' name."
Krys simply nods in approval, and his smirk soon reclaims it spot on his face. "Nice job, Gail," he praises, as if it had been a test. "I'd thought you'd only been flirting the whole time."
Gail smiles tightly and I refocus my glare on him. This game was ridiculous.
"And why, you ask?" he says, looking back towards me. "Simple. Because I've a feeling that things might just be getting interesting."