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A note from dotturndot

Yup yup. My novel is pretty confusing. I'm hoping your minds would be blown once you know the whole plot of the story. My sister said my plot idea is quite original. IDK, is there anything original in this world?? I'm thinking this  would reach 200 chapters at least.. ugh.. it's my first novel but why did I decided for such a lengthy story...

"Here," Louise held a lustrous glass bottle filled with ale and poured it in a squeaky clean wine glass; Ale crafted and brewed in Haital. What brand? Who knew? She didn't care. All she knew was that the maids here said that this was a must-trymust-try.

"Thanks," Ellis lifted the glass and placed it to her lips, taking it down slowly, "Amazing, it's so fruity. It's the first time I've tasted this kind of wine, what is this?" rolling around her taste bud was a blend of citrus, grape and a minty punch. There was also that light kick of alcohol which sustained throughout.

Louise took the bottle and looked at the labelling, "Not sure, it states here, for use of the king. The brewing facility named after Hopskin? The ale itself is named Primaore Lavuiso, classy choice."

"Err..So it's a premium wine kind? Am I even allowed this, " Ellis put down her glass.

"If I'm allowed this then you surely are too. It's ale, not wine, by the way," Louise took a taste of the ale herself.

Encircling the arbour they chatting at was a man-made river. A bridge going to and from the area where they sat was just to the right of them. The stream meandering across the palace garden until it disappeared off towards the bush-covered path.

The source of the water came from one of the falling Sky Streams not too far from here. Which made Ellis ponder a bit about its origin. Water appearing from the sky; where did it come from?

'And what happens when it enters the abyss below?'

In front of them, an ochre mahogany table. Besides the bottle of ale placed to the side, there was a multi-decked desserts platter. An assortment of shortcakes, cheese sticks, macaroons and chocolate delicacies were arranged to prim detail. Fruit slices were arranged on a separate plate.

They were provided simple utensils. A miniature fork so cute, Ellis wished she could pilfer it back home.

'Bad idea.'

Her face showing grimace when she thought about that, was it really that cute?

"Um, Louise. Why are you treating me to all this? Out of all people? I'm just a normal person without any title," Ellis looked away from the baby fork.

"Oh, that?" Louise made a smile, "You haven't noticed yet?"

"No?"

"Since, chances are, he's listening, might as well say it just so he can hear," Louise tilted her head to look behind, at the direction of a flowering shrub before turning back to Ellis. For a second Ellis saw the shrub shaking, "It's about Curtis and Will."

"Huh?"

"What do you think are the similarities between those two?"

"The swirl on their hair?"

Louise tittered when she heard that. Ellis sure knows his Curtis. "Exactly. And— they are also both unorthodox mages."

Ellis found it hard to relate what she said to anything consequential. Besides the shock of knowing that Curtis was an unorthodox mage, Ellis found it quite normal actually. He had been a prodigy, ever since she knew him.

"You see. Will had always very secretive about his past. And I thought maybe Curtis was too. So being the girlfriend you are, perhaps we could exchange the pieces of information we know about each of them?" A sunshine smile plastered on Louise's face, with a tinge of— creepiness? Ellis saw the shrub in the distance froze? That had to be Will, hadn't it..

"Nmm..." Ellis pursed her lips.

True, Curtis was her boyfriend.

Louise laughed at her blush.

"Putting that aside for the time being, what I'm interested to know is, have you two had your first kiss yet?" Louise leaned over in anticipation. She had her ears ready to pick up the answer first hand. It would be overkill if she used wind magic to amplify Ellis' voice but— why not?

"That.." Ellis fell dejected at her question. Louise' anticipation slowly faded when she saw that. A moment of silence with the crips sounds of fluttering leaves and the flowing wind. "No, actually."

Louise sat upright, folded her arm with a flat expression to that. "Were in the same boat," her mouth then crooked a little to the side to form a bitter smile.

Ellis's eyes were wide open. She tilted her head at what she said.

'Louise likes Will?'

"Looks like someone is coming," Louise recovered her posture.

Faint clanks of footsteps could be heard from the direction of the sturdy wooden bridge that connected to the arbour.

Louise faked a surprise and jerked her head towards that person, "Oh. Prince Romeo," she stood up and made a light bow to greet him, "What brings you here?"

Feeling a sense of unease, Ellis too tried to mimic Louise. The difference was, she kept her mouth shut.

"Princess, " He bowed. Then directed his gaze to Ellis with a brow angled slightly higher than the other, "And you are?"

The second prince of Haital. Prince Romeo Hai. His blond hair blew in the wind, curving gently at the tips. Brown eyes filled with confidence and integrity. He had broad shoulders, accentuated by the lean muscles could be seen from underneath his royal clothing.

"E.. Ellis Rune," Ellis bowed again in desperation.

"She's my friend," Louise added, covering for Ellis.

"I see. So, what brings you here?"

"It seems you have been mistaken Prince Romeo, I was the one who brought her here."

Romeo nodded and swallowed his question back.

"Right," Louise setting the tone with a jolt in energy, "As a matter of fact, I had forgotten to ask you something. But were you perhaps the one who set off the trap I set yesterday?" Louise blinked at Romeo, "Because my mannequin's head was at the other end of my room."

"Wha..You.." Romeo retreated a few steps back.

"Ho? Also, I told you before, you can just call me Louise. It's fine without the honorifics." Louise said with a devilish smile. "Didn't think I'd find out about the culprit huh?"

Romeo looked away and sighed. Thinking back to the artificial doll, the fright he got when he saw that damn faceless figure. With his state of mind back then, only one word could describe it: disgusting.

He was no pervert. Not a chance! He only ran his finger through the hair of the mannequin's hair. That wasn't Louise. In no way would he ever get the chance to do that to her hair. No absolute way....

"Erm," Ellis couldn't help but wonder what in the world Louise meant by that. Trap? Mannequin? Ellis was only able to relate such a stunt to Louise's escapist stories.

"Enough of that. So, how did the conference go?" Louise poured ale into a glass, holding it up to Romeo, "Want some?"

Romeo made an exhale, "Gladly," he received it with a listless smile.

His reaction was a little over-baked if you asked Ellis. There was an obvious innuendo there.

"The conference went well. There were no impasses, fortunately."

Louise nodded, taking a seat, she chucked a piece of chocolate into her mouth.

Ellis did the same, not knowing exactly what she should do in front of the prince.

'Wow, this chocolate is amazing.'

"There were also mentions of Rozel Kingdom's duelling system? That, I found interesting. I believe you have participated in the duelling competitions before, Louise?" Romeo took a sip of ale.

"That's certainly the case," Louise beckoned Romeo to take a seat.

To that, Romeo, who had some ale in his mouth, almost spat it out. Little flustered actions leaking through his body language as he debated with himself to accept Louise's invite."If that's the case then.. You have my respect. I myself am not too certain of my own abilities to take it up on stage."

"I'm sure you'd do fine Romeo," Louise laughed; Romeo flinched, "I don't doubt the strength of Haital's next future king."

Romeo cleared his throat. "Even so. I believe— you could give me a few pointers?" Romeo shook his head. What was he thinking? Saying something so vague. Just man up and tell her what you want! "If possible, could we have spar sometime?"

"That..." Louise made a cute expression where her index finger was placed below her chin; her face tilted upwards with her eyes looking straight up—or not. The sun was there to gouge her retina out if she did, "I have a feeling that our spar may not be appropriate. After all, my speciality lies in far range assaults."

"But, I believe there are still a few things I could learn from you."

Louise blatantly rejected the prince, again. A three hundred sixty degree shift to the battle junkie Ellis though Louise to be when she sought to duel Curtis.

She had her eyes on Curtis since the day they met? It was Dean who introduced Louise to Curtis. Along the way, Dean may have told Louise about Curtis' being a mage excelling in combat using magic. Then, that duel really wasn't that much of a surprise huh?

"Though, I do have an alternative," there was a lightbulb in that blew up in Louise's head. Putting her hands together. "Will, would you please?"

"Understood. Princess."

Romeo stumbled over his chair at the appearance of a man standing beside Louise.

"This is my instructor, he could give you a few pointers perhaps?" Louise made a gallant smile as if showing off her prized collection of teddy bears. "I believe this would offer more benefits than what I can offer myself?"

'What the hell? Where did he come from? Thin air?'

"Will Everett. Your Excellency Prince Romeo pleased to make your acquaintance," Will made a bow.

"Pleasure is mine. Th... then, if that's the case," Romeo's voice drooping as he slowly got up.

Seeing Will's lustrous white hair sparkling like diamonds. The frosty blue of that had the essence of snow. His gaze, calm and sharp. With a mantle over his shoulders, exuding a mysterious aura, like a forgotten snow prince in some faraway land.

"It will do, " Romeo gulped down his decision.

No, It wouldn't do. Romeo accepted it out of courtesy lest he makes a fool of himself! From just one glance, Romeo could tell the kind of person Will was. He was the instructor for Louise, the singular instructor for the princess!

"Will, you can take a seat," Beckoning Will, but this time, making a very cute gesture, "Do you want some ale?"

Will shook his head. Nobody could tell if it was because of the way Louise's treated the prince in comparison to him or the fact that Will wasn't in the mood for a drink, Or, it might just be both.

In any case, Will took a seat. Now, it was complete. Louise seating in opposite to Ellis; Will seating in opposite to the prince.

And Louise was obvious seated closer to Will's side...

"I'm free for the occasion, so you can pick the time as you see fit for the spar Your Excellency," Will responded with his arms crossed.

Even though the main reason for their visit was for the conference between Haital and Rozel Kingdom, the extra time here would be for them to laze around, much like a holiday.

"Then let's have a bout this evening."

Will nodded, "I look forward to it," his chill voice waned as he spoke. Relaxing in the comfy chair.

Just then.

"Romeo!" A comely voice beaming with joy.

Looking to the bridge, hopping over was a girl with silky blonde hair, tied into a ponytail with an embroidered scrunchy, trailing behind with the wind.

She wore a one-piece marigold dress. An ocher lace tied around her waist. She has her collar bone exposed and her chest wasn't the overbearing kind, which gave off an air of youth and innocence. She looked to be about 15 years in age.

Her rabbit-like movement came to a stop when she saw Will. Her eyes dazzled curiously, sparkling in the sunlight.

"Ah, Princess Juliet," Louise made a smile in greeting, it looked rather forced, "Would you like to join us?"

"Please excuse me," Romeo got up from his seat, "Will, I'll be waiting at the training site later," flashing a smile, "I'll be off then, wouldn't want my sister to ruin your party would I?"

More so was that he didn't want her sister saying any unnecessary things. Why did the princess' he always knew had an eccentric, open-witted attitude?

Will nodded.

"Hey, no fair!" Juliet retorted, Romeo dragging her away.

"Address me properly in front of others," a faint reply which would normally not be heard echoing in the surrounding air.

"Please, please! I'll behave myself big brother, please!"

Louise showed a shrewd smile.

And when the prince and princess left the vicinity.

"Change of topics. What's the situation on Curtis?" Louise twisted her body and looked at Will with her head upside down.

"Curtis is fine for the most part. Asides from what seems to be mana fatigue."

Ellis froze when she heard that.

"Though, something did happen to his sister," Will turned to Ellis, "But she's fine, don't worry about it. It's fortunate she only fainted."

"Ff.. fainted?" Ellis squeaked. This was fortunate?! She wondered if she had made the right decision to continue accompanying Louise.

"From what I have been told, Curtis used {Bloodlust}. A spell that induces fear in people, which was the cause of his sister fainting," Will gloated over the information, "And I'm very sure that isn't something a normal mage can do."

"He can use that spell? So our assumptions have been confirmed?"

"I've already confirmed it when you duelled him, just that.." Will didn't add further, words left dangling.

"Bloodlust?" Ellis swimming around in her thought. Partly excited because of how it related to the novel she had read recently; and partly worried because of how it affected Ruth. "Just what happened in the library?"

"I went there for a bit to check. The culprits were the people you met yesterday."

"The thugs?"

"More or less," members of an underground organization—could they be called thugs? Will wasn't too sure, "Bloodlust was most probably used to create a hiccup in their focus."

"Wait, that means..." Louise widened her eyes.

The two gazes met.

"Means what?" Ellis could feel a bad air coming on.

"He got into big trouble."

Will shook his head the moment Louise said that, "No, he got himself out of trouble."

They looked at each other again.

""What??""

"Ugh.." Wrong. Ellis felt like a rotten wood chunk drifting in the river. With Curtis' situation still, quite blur to her, and the two were making a pink space for themselves. How nice..

"Ellis, Please don't worry too much, if Will had already confirmed his condition, I'm sure he's alright. An unorthodox mage wouldn't go down that easily," Louise said in concern.

"Hopefully."

"Regarding that.." Will cut in between. His face looked unpleasant with a little sourness to it.

"Curtis, or rather, His Highness—"

Ellis blinked at Will.

"I can't say he's fine... something doesn't feel right about him," he wasn't the Curtis Will knew from the past.

"What do you mean?" Louise looked at Will with a serious expression. This was the first time she had heard Will call someone other than her family member using, 'His Highness'.

"Ellis," Will looked at her, "Has Curtis ever told you that he wasn't from this world?"

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A note from dotturndot

Oh yeah. I'm super excited to write my second story! Even thought I haven't even completed this one! Yeah! The plot idea I have for that story is just as confusing as this! Yeah! Mystery is awesome! And so is slice of life! Yeah! Sorry, just assume that all of this was written by a goldfish-- bloop.


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