Jackrabbit

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 4 (v.1) - Chapter 4

Submitted: October 07, 2017

Reads: 149

Comments: 2

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Submitted: October 07, 2017

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“Ow!” I brought my finger to my lips, tasting the crimson blood that welled at the skin. Rachel needs to stop leaving her dumb hairpins around, I thought irritatedly while moving it back into place. It hadn’t been the first time I’d injured myself on her spare jewelry. For all the things she owned, she never seemed to wear any of them. Typical spoiled girl.

My eyes darted over to varying shades of color. Each stone was thin, like a coin, and the center was filled with a color. Purple, blue, red, green, and an assortment of others. They seemed like scrying stones. But that wasn’t right; scrying stones had been banned with the punishment of imprisonment if caught with one in your possession.

“What are you doing?” Rachel’s voice chimed out from the other side of the room as the door squeaked open.

“Why do you have scrying stones?” I asked, turning to face her with the evidence in hand. “These are illegal.”

At first, she merely froze. After several tense seconds, she allowed her gaze to fall. Her footfalls were completely silent as she approached slowly. “I don’t use them for scrying,” she admitted.

“Why else would you have them? To use them for jewelry?”

She shook her head. “Truth be told, I think I discovered something last year with the scrying stones.” Rachel rested her palm in mine before taking the stone. She held it up, the purple surface shining lightly. “Scrying stones allow you to see into the future because they can harness mana, 

right? But they’re a lot more flexible than that if you have good enough magical skill.” Her voice was beginning to get a tone of excitement in it. It must’ve been the first time she was confiding in someone else. “Last year, I was playing with one and I realized that scrying stones have many other purposes. You can store your mana in them to tap into later. Not to mention you can make delayed magical bombs with them.”

“Really?” I whistled. “I wish I could use those. If only I had one when I was younger.” Seeing her perplexed look, I continued. “I used to be able to use magic when I was younger. But then after an accident, I suddenly lost that ability.”

She pressed the stone to my palm, eyes shining. “I can measure your mana levels and magical potential with this scrying stone,” she said. “Would you like to try?”

“What if you hurt me?” I grumbled, pulling my hand away. But it was a halfhearted gesture.

She too could see that I was more intrigued than I was letting on. “Come on,” she coaxed, sitting me down on her plush bed. She pressed the thin stone to my palm with hers on top and shut her eyes. “Now, this may feel a bit weird,” she warned.

“I feel fine,” I replied. My palm felt the same as always.

After around 30 seconds on awkward silence, she pulled away and sighed. “This is strange to tell you, but you have no mana levels, nor prowess for magic.”

“Well of course. I lost it, remember?”

“No, Lennard.” Her gaze met mine with a sudden intensity. “It means that the stone is telling me you never could use magic. Your aptitude for it is zero.”

“That’s impossible. I used it when I was younger. Your dumb stone must not work.”

“Excuse me, but my scrying stones always work,” the princess retorted. “I didn’t come in here to listen to you whine about my skills.”

Before I could argue with her, Renault pushed open the door. “Sorry to intrude, Lady Rachel, but Master Henry is here.”

“Oooh!” Rachel sprang up, completely forgetting about me. “You didn’t tell me Henry was coming.”

“Who?” Even though I kept repeating the question, both of them ignored me. Rachel hesitated in front of the mirror, checking her appearance. She turned to me.

“Do I look acceptable?” In all honesty, she looked about average. Cute by most standards, though not my type.

“Sure,” I muttered, looking down. “And who is this Henry anyway?”

“He’s an old friend of mine,” Rachel replied, fiddling with her hair in the mirror. “He’s the prince of the neighboring kingdom, Lechasis.” At the talk of him, her cheeks turned a rosy red. “Anyway, you’ll be coming with me as I greet him.”

“Why?”

“Because it’s your job,” she sniffed, turning towards the door. “Now come; I don’t have time to deal with your laziness.”

The corridors were unusually cold, but it was ignored as we walked towards the main hall. At the far side, a young man stood laughing at something Renault said. He turned and looked at us while we approached, his blue eyes serene and calming. “Ah, Rachel, it’s so good to see you,” he said politely, kissing her hand.

Rachel blushed and looked away. “Oh, i-it’s good to see you too, Henry. I was just looking forward to your company the other day.”

He smiled, the braids in his hair shifting slightly. Henry was the kind of man who set people at ease with his gentle demeanor. The hawk feather perched behind his ear was tall and regal. “Is that so? Well, I’m glad you feel that way. I came here to discuss with His Majesty the trade negotiations between our two countries.”

“In place of King Lechasis? Is everything well at home?”

Henry nodded. “Oh yes, everything’s fine. Since I’m practically a man, my father decided to entrust the decision to me.”

“Oh I’m sure Father will be delighted,” Rachel agreed. She grasped her fingers around the sleeve of his tunic. “Henry, what are you doing right now?”

“Right now?” The prince scratched his head. “Well, nothing I guess. The journey here on horseback was a little tiring, I’ll admit.”

“Then let me go find you a room,” Rachel suggested in a honeyed tone. She brushed past me, dragging Henry with her. He accidentally brushed shoulders with me.

“Sorry,” he said quickly before following after the over-excited girl.

Looking after them, I couldn’t help an irritated feeling in my chest. While Prince Henry seemed like a perfectly fine man, something about him still irked me.

“Lennard, hurry up and clean the table,” Renault sighed. “Honestly, we have a guest. You should consider yourself lucky you’re even invited to sit at the table for dinner tonight.”

“Dinner? Why am I invited?”

“Dame Elincia has finally retired, and Lady Rachel needs someone to fill her place. Since Elincia was her nursemaid since birth, she’s a cherished servant. You’re new, but you’re the only one who’s had any sort of personal contact with Milady.” His eyebrows furrowed, as if he wasn’t too keen on giving the compliment.

Just to piss him off, I smiled smugly. “Why thank you. I’ll have to thank Lady Rachel personally for her kindness later.” Sarcasm dripped off every word, layered thick like honey. Of course, that oaf wouldn’t understand. But to my surprise, he narrowed his eyes in irritation.

“I’d kindly request that you keep your mouth shut during dinner. His Majesty would be appalled if you spoke like that to anyone.”

“Whatever.” Since he was starting to piss me off, I decided to go upstairs and find a way to pass the time. Muffled giggles could be heard inside a room. Stopping against the doorframe, I peered through a crack.

Rachel sat on the bed, talking animatedly while Henry surveyed the scrying stones sitting on the desk. He turned a purple one over, eyes surveying it with great interest. “Sorry,” Rachel apologized, “I forgot to put them away. I know they’re frowned upon and all, but I was testing something with them and forgot to put them back.”

“You know,” his fingers caressed the smooth surface, “these aren’t just frowned upon; they’re illegal. Nothing good comes from scrying stones.”

“I don’t use them for scrying,” she protested. “I think…I may have discovered a new type of magic.”

Wow, she’s certainly a lot more humble around him.

“What do you mean?”

Rachel twiddled her thumbs, looking down sheepishly. “Um, well scrying stones have mana deposits in them.”

“Of course. Any magic-adept learns that early on.”

“Well, what if we can deposit our own mana into them for use later? Like a delayed bomb? Or a way to measure someone else’s mana levels?”

The prince paused, running an absentminded finger through a small braid in his hair. “How ingenious. There haven’t been any methods so far to measure one’s aptitude for magic.”

“Right? I tested one of the servants earlier,” she bragged.

“Really? Did he show potential?”

“No.” Rachel sagged a little. “He claimed to have practiced magic when he was little, but the stone told me he had no aptitude for it. He said it must’ve been broken.”

The prince shook his head. “No, if you devised it, I’m sure it works.” He took her hand, causing the girl to blush a deep scarlet. “People always speak of your potential, but they never talk of your wit. I remember when we were younger,” he teased, “you used to tell me you wanted to be a magical engineer.”

“Oh, stop that,” Rachel exclaimed, shaking her head. “That was a long time ago.” Her eyes suddenly fell. “Back when Leon was slated to take the throne.”

Henry rested his hand on her head. “I’m sorry, Rachel. Leon was a good man, and he would’ve made a great king.

“But be happy. Be happy that you lived. I was too young to be good friends with Prince Leon and Sir Renault, but I still remember how kind they were to the two of us as children. Normally older children like them would’ve avoided us, but instead, they made an effort to keep us happy. So, Rachel, at least be happy that you lived in his stead. Be happy for me at least.”

Her hand was trembling as she gripped him. She almost looked…vulnerable. “His room is still untouched,” the princess sniffled. “Nobody has so much as entered it since.”

So that was the room Rachel had gotten so angry about. Now that I thought about it, I couldn’t help the twinge of guilt that flowed through me. I had dismissed her feelings without understanding the cause or reason behind it.

After several moments as she cried, Henry touched her shoulder. Looking down at the princess, he offered her a smile. “I’d best get settled and prepare for dinner later tonight. You should cheer up a little; crying doesn’t suit a face like yours.”

She swallowed nervously as he walked towards the door. Knowing he’d see me once he entered the hall, I pretended as if I had just turned the corner into the room. “Lady Rachel --” I broke off as I feigned a collision with him. I bowed lightly. “Sorry, Master Henry. Forgive my insolence.”

“No, it’s fine,” the prince replied before leaving.

Rachel glared at me, struggling to hide her tear-splotched face. “What do you want?”

“It’s nothing. It’s just that Renault informed me I’d be invited to dinner. I…don’t have anything to wear.”

She waved a hand dismissively. “You’ll get a fresh set of uniform clothes to wear. You’ll dress like usual, just make sure you don’t look like a slob.”

Once again, she had gone from a perfectly cute girl to an annoying brat. “You’re not cute at all, you know,” I sighed.

“What do I care?! Besides, I’m plenty cute in Henry’s eyes.”

“Oh, Henry,” I moaned in a teasing tone. “Henry, please, I want you sooooo badly.”

She slapped my shoulder, her face turning bright red. “Shut your mouth!” she shouted. “Now get ready for dinner. I don’t need your frivolous mocking.”

For some reason when I turned away, I found the strangest smile gracing my lips.

 


Prince Henry Lechasis


Prince Henry


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