Maids bustled around busily.
A heavy curtain opened, brightening the room with the light of dawn. Soon after, the Prince’s personal attendant came to stand before the bed, where a boy with a face that showed his young age, slept.
When waking royalty, one must never lay their hands on them, neither should one make loud, sudden noises.
Instead, the servant, with a careful voice, spoke,
“Your Highness, it is time for you to wake up,”
The boy, who would usually wake up at the sound of the door opening– alert as though he was hunted prey– for some reason looked as though he was in no mind to wake up today.
‘He must have been very tired.’
While the attendant was thinking this, the maid beside him handed him a small golden bell. A soft jingle rang twice, and the boy’s eyes opened.
He blinked, pushing out of his sleep-induced daze before sitting up. The attendant, surprised at the sudden movement, lowered his waist slightly and greeted him,
“Did you have a good dream, Your Highness? It is now time for you to wake up,” he said, handing the prince his usual morning tea. He always liked waking himself up with a cup of strong black tea before washing up in the morning.
‘Since when did I have tea in the morning?‘ the boy– no– Bern thought even as he unconsciously took the tea that was being handed to him. He paused when he saw that his hand looked very strange.
The hands that had once been full of scars and calluses were gone and in their place were soft, pale hands with long, slim fingers. The disparity had Bern turning his head, looking for a scar on his left arm… he couldn’t find a single blemish, let alone a scar.
And then another thought– the scarless arm was not the problem here…
“This arm was cut off…”
Bern, who murmured this under his breath, bit his lip– because the voice that spoke those words was not his own.
“What a dreadful thing to say, did you perhaps have a nightmare?”
The fall of Secretia… could there even be a worse nightmare than that? But it was no time to answer the attendant’s question, even the shock of his suddenly re-attached arm could be examined later.
The most important thing to understand right now was what had happened to his dear brother and king, Chase.
“Where is my elder brother?”
Upon seeing the urgent look on Bern’s face, the servant replied uncertainly,
“Both are still in their rooms.”
This time, both Bern and the attendant had the same unsure look. He only had one brother, only Chase.
“His Highness, Prince Randell must now be getting dressed, the same for His Highness, Prince Franz.”
Randell and Franz.
Both names were unfamiliar– and yet it felt as though he knew them very well. In particular, there was one name that he hated down to the very marrow of his bones.
And Kyris’ King, Franz.
Bern’s eyes changed narrowed at the sound of that name, a fire alight in them that could not be doused – not even if he killed that man right now.
Upon seeing Bern like that, the servant opened his mouth once again,
“Your Highness, you must get ready first,”
The attendant still believed that he had not fully woken up and called the maid who was holding a washcloth.
Bern, watching this, muttered, “Yan,” as though speaking to himself.
“Yes, your Highness?” At the sound of his name, the attendant turned his head and answered.
An arm that had reappeared and an attendant he had never seen before.
Bern did not say anything more. Instead, he closed his mouth and began to think.
Bern had never seen that bell before.
In the name of Serenti, he had never seen the faces of any of these servants and maids before. And yet, he knew their names…
Unaware of Bern’s steadily growing confusion, the attendant poured water into the basin.
‘It was a bad dream.’ He recalled the words of the attendant he had called ‘Yan’ as he dipped his hands into the basin. He could pin this entire situation down to a mere bad dream.
Bern lowered his face to the sparkling water in the basin.
No matter how terrible the reality of things was… he could not run away into his imagination. That was not something Bern could do.
But upon seeing his reflection in the basin water, Bern’s hands stopped once again. The red eyes reflecting back at him in the water– they were not Bern’s.
“…mirror,” he spoke in a low murmur.
“Did you say a mirror, your highness?” Yan asked. Bern did not answer, eyes glued to the basin.
Yan quickly came to his senses, in the face of the prince that was so unlike his usual self, he seemed to have lowered his guard.
“My apologies, one shall be brought to you immediately,” he said, beckoning his hand behind his back to the maids who stood in attention by the door.
The maids had to bring a mirror from a different room as strangely, there were none in the Prince’s.
Yan held up the mirror for him, and Bern stared into it without a word.
There was a little boy in the mirror staring back at him. The boy had black hair and ruby eyes that glinted behind dark, and long bangs.
Bern raised his head, observing around himself – there was a crest engraved on the servant’s clothes that definitely belonged to Kyris. It was only upon seeing that symbol that Bern realised the attendant had called him ‘Prince’, not ‘Crown Prince’.
His lips fell into a thin white line, feeling as if they had been burned.
“Your Highness? Prince Cailin?”
Yan, silently holding the mirror through all of Bern’s thoughts, called out to him.
‘No, I am Prince Bern.’ he wanted to say.
As though not wanting to forget himself, Bern repeated his own name – but as though to oppose that – like the memory of a whisper in his ear, a long name he had never learned came out of his mouth,
“Calian Rain Kyris,”
Not Bern, but rather, Calian, the third prince of Kyris– that was my name.
Bern furrowed his brow and turned that frown to Yan,
“What did you say my name was?”
Yan, as if thinking Bern must have been joking with him, answered with a slight smile,
“You are Prince Calian, and I am the servant who must bring you to the dining room to serve you breakfast, your attendant Yan,”
And as though Yan’s answer had been an invitation, unfamiliar memories flooded into his head.
The Kyris royal court, the etiquettes, weather, schedule, magic, the queen, this palace and even two elder brothers.
Yan was right, he could not be late for breakfast. That was what these memories were telling him – that he must get up immediately, that he must not be later than the other princes.
And now, the one for whom Calian had become his name, asked quietly,
“What’s today’s date?”
“It is the twenty-eighth day of the fourth month. The weather is very nice today, Your Highness,” Yan answered,
Hearing those words and noting the relaxed atmosphere, he felt this did not feel like the palace of a prince currently at war with Secretia. Calian asked,
“And the year?”
“The year is 522, Your Highness,”
Calian’s gaze shook heavily. Kyris’ calendar at the year 522 was the year 525 by Secretia’s calendar. It was not the year in which he had died but rather-–
He was 10 years into the past… and the three princes of Kyris…
As if urging him to hurry, the memories of the two princes kept pouring into his brain. When Calian, lost in thought remained standing still, Yan could no longer wait and reached for the Prince’s sleeve. He had intended to help the Prince up–
Calian smacked his hand away instinctively, his own palm beginning to redden. Not used to such harsh actions, the Prince’s palm stung painfully.
“Why have you done this, Your Highness?” Yan asked, looking a second away from tears.
“Ah, sorry, I did it without thinking,”
Yan was so surprised by the slap that he had not even picked up on the change in the Prince’s speech and instead answered quickly,
“More importantly, Your Highness, you must get ready quickly. Shall I help–?”
Calian did not let him finish his sentence, instead swiftly standing with a shake of his head. The persistent urging of his memories that implored he must not be later than those horrible ‘brothers’ of his was enough to make him move along. It seems he would also need to find away to send that attendant, Yan away for a while. Just so he could get his thoughts straight.
Calian immersed his entire head in the basin of water, before rising up and patting both cheeks sharply.
“I’ll be ready,”
– the manner of speech is strange; I did not speak like this –
As though to tell him this, memories came pushing into his brain. A moment passed before Calian spoke again.
“No, my apologies. I will get ready now,”
“Not at all, Your Highness. Today you seem to have apologised more than usual – allow me to attend to your clothes,”
The maids moved in with a subtle gesture from Yan, holding a full set of clothing. As one dressed the prince, another approached to fix his black hair, carefully arranged to cover up his eyes.
Having normally tied his long silver hair back, Bern felt uncomfortable with the current fringe that came down his forehead. But he knew– from the memories continuously trickling into his brain– the reason he kept his hair frustratingly long was Franz.
Prince Franz, one of his two elder brothers, hated his red eyes– and so, Calian kept his hair like this. To be so afraid of his brother’s hatred that he would hide his own gaze… without even realising it, Calian clicked his tongue.
‘Even though I already got the gist, he truly lived like a fool.’
And then, unknowingly, he laughed as he thought of that man,
‘Franz hates these eyes.’
The enemy he hated the most – the Mad King Franz.
He was the king of Kyris – no, since this was 10 years in the past, he is a mere Prince now – and he was the mastermind behind the attack on Secretia.
‘Franz… the fact that you are breathing right now makes my skin scrawl,’
Calian could not bear to release that hateful name from his lips.
This place was the royal palace of Kyris. It still felt like he was wandering around a dream, but for now, he is the third prince of Kyris. Because of this, Calian repeated the same words in his head multiple times:
‘Even if I see him, I can’t kill him right now. I have to endure it.’
It would be truly ridiculous if this were not a dream. But if it were reality – and Calian’s head went rolling because of his impatient actions – it would truly be a shame.
The maids, who had no way of knowing the types of thoughts that were swimming in Calian’s head, completed the final touches on his clothes – even trimming and hemming them to make sure they fit perfectly. The preparation was so thorough that it made him wonder if this was truly just getting ready to go and eat breakfast.
How much must they all have suffered, simply because of his clothing, that they were preparing his clothes with such painful precision?
Eventually, all the preparations were complete and Calian took a deep breath before stepping outside of his door. He followed the hall, down the grand central staircase and headed into the dining hall to the far right.
No matter how much he tried to recall, the strangely flowing memories never revealed to him his age. He wondered if Calian had lived his life so far without even counting his own age. Eventually, he decided to just ask Yan,
“Yes, Your Highness?”
“How old am I?”
It was an abrupt question to Yan, who thought the prince had been asking him unusual questions since this morning.
“You’re 14 years old – there are 4 months left before you become an adult,”
“Hm, I see,” Calian nodded his head in thought, no wonder he looked so young. To the Prince, who was lost in his own thoughts, Yan asked,
“Your Highness, did you perhaps read the novel about the knight last night?” with a troubled tone – he had asked this because the Prince’s manner of speech had changed.
The original Calian had been afraid of horses. Since there was a riding lesson set tomorrow, the Prince may have been anxious about his performance in class and read the novel of the Knight to quell his anxiety.
Calian shook his head, “No, I don’t care for such a story,”
With that reply, Calian entered the dining hall. There were servants already lining the walls of the room, but there was no sign of any other Prince. Calian’s gaze found Yan.
‘Why did they make such a fuss about leaving early,’ Calian wondered if it were simply to make him hurry with his preparations so that he would not be late.
By the large window, there was a wide, round dining table at which the princes would eat breakfast every morning under the orders of King Rumain. For the previous Calian, it was also the most horrible place.
A servant from the dining hall pulled a chair out. Realising it was his seat, Calian went and sat down, turning his gaze to the unfamiliar landscape outside the window.
‘As I had heard, the land here is considerable,”
Of the four kingdoms within the Continent of Shisterra, the Kingdom of Kyris was the largest, and even within those lands, the Royal Grounds were considerably vast. It differed largely with Secretia, where the royal grounds consisted of some large buildings and two annexes.
The royal family lived in six buildings, each a palace in its own right. There were also other buildings with their various purposes, along with gardens and even synthetic lakes– all within the Royal Grounds.
The Chermil Palace, where Prince Calian resided, was considered to be on the smaller side even among the Kyris palaces. Nevertheless, there was a garden and a man-made lake within Calian’s palace grounds that were still quite large.
The sunshine that reflected on the water flooded through the window.
Just like that, staring blankly out of the window, ten minutes passed and finally, the First Prince, Randell arrived. Another thirty minutes passed, and then arrived the Second Prince, Franz.
Calian watched the Second Prince, who walked over to them and sat down without a word, his eyes wide.
‘What on earth…’
What the hell kind of nonsense was this?
Upon seeing that unimaginable appearance, Calian frowned.
Whoop, that took ages. It’s really hard to convey the differences in Bern and Calian’s speech – Bern talks assertively and more casually, Calian’s speech is passive. I tried to show the differences in formal and informal speech by using contractions and stuff though I don’t really know how well it came across.
Meh whatever, let me know what to you think. I will most likely upload at least one chapter by Sunday each week but don’t hold me to that because I am a flawed human being who does not know how to schedule.
Okay thanks for reading, bye for now