Chapter Seven (Edited)

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“Here, let me take some of those for you,” the Prince says while taking some of the gifts that he received out of my hands. I fumble awkwardly as he take the bags out of my hands, trying to avoid having direct contact with him.

MaKing it to his bedroom, I set his presents on a table in a neat pile, while he does the same.

I nod my head, dip into a slight curtsey, and turn away towards the door, ready to be out of the presence of royalty. But before I make it to the door, the Prince says, “Wait!”

I turn back around, expecting another order that I will have to carry out. “I would like to ask you some questions, if that is alright? Would you please sit down?” Noah says in a soft voice.

I look up, despite my better judgment, and see the Prince sitting in a chair and gesturing across from him, where I am assuming he wants me to sit.

Sitting across the Prince in such a causal manner would be completely inappropriate, but I could get in even more trouble if I don’t follow out an order. So I hesitantly take my place across from him and wait for whatever he is to do next.

“I would like to ask you some questions about the well being of the Kingdom. You have lived in the Kingdom all your life and you know what is going on outside of the palace. And if I am to become King by the end of the social season, I should be expected to know what improvements I must make.”

Silence lingers between us as I wait for permission to speak my discomforts.

The Prince finally says, “I’m sorry. I forgot, once again. You may speak.”

As soon as he says those words, I jump at the opportunity and say, “Prince Noah, I don’t think-”

“Noah,” the Prince interrupts, politely.

I look up at him and see him staring at me with bright eyes, “I’m sorry?”

“Forgive me for my interruption, but I would like this to be a casual conversation. You call me Noah and I’ll call you Seraphina.”

I’m surprised that he actually remembered my name and I can’t help but feel my stomach flutter a bit, but I quickly swallow my emotions down, afraid of what is to happen next. “Noah, I don’t think this is a good idea.”

A smile crosses his face as he takes off his suit jacket, maKing himself more comfortable. “This is all between me and you. As a King I need to know what is going on in my Kingdom, the Kingdom which you have lived in. By helping me, you will be helping everyone else.”

I look at him in his eyes, waiting for the catch. Waiting for the trick. But his eyes continue to look at me with eagerness. Eyes that seem so dark, but also so light. Like the ocean right after a storm. It was comforting, but scary.

I swallow my fear though. This is my chance to speak what the Kingdom has been trying to say for years. “What do you need to know?”

A smile lights up his face and he leans forward, as if telling me a secret.

“Everything.”

I take a deep breath, preparing myself to lay all the problems on his shoulders. “The people need a better income. Most families do not make enough money to feed everyone in a home. People, where I live, are considered lucky if they are able to have one full meal a day to distribute amongst everyone in a household. People are dying everyday because of it.”

Noah’s face no longer holds a smile, but has turned pale. “Many have died because of this? Have you known anyone who has passed because of these reasons?”

I gulp back tears, trying to hold myself together and not seem weak, “My father.”

Noah’s hand automatically reaches over, covering my hand with his in a comforting way, “I’m so sorry.”

I shake my head only allowing a single tear to fall, “I’m lucky. Most children lose both of their parents because of this. I, at least, have my mother. My father worked so that we could have a life. Even if that meant that he wouldn’t be in it.”

Noah takes away his hand and reaches over to grab a pen and paper from the table that holds his presents. He starts to write feverishly, “Please. Tell me what else there is.”

“There is no protection,” I state boldly, aggressively wiping away the tear. “People come from the forest to steal food, clothing, and animals. These are necessities for our survival. But, what is even worse, they sometimes they take children. No one has found the reason for it, but no one can prevent it from happening.”

Noah is still writing notes to himself. Seeming to be deep in thought.

“They took my sister.”

Noah looks up at me once again, but this time he does not reach out.

“They took her the day before her test. Her name is… was Devina, but everyone called her Dev. She, and all the other kids, did not deserve to be taken from their homes. No one should have to go to bed every night with empty stomachs and fear for what will come next.”

Noah drops his paper and pen and grabs both of my hands, kneeling in front of me, and starring me square in the eyes, “I am going to fix this. I don’t care if I have to stay up day and night, my people will not have to suffer any longer. I promise you this.”

Having no words to give, I squeeze his hands as a way of showing my appreciation. I know that this is wrong and I shouldn’t be having and contact with the Prince, but I have no other way to describe the thanks I have for him.

Noah pulls me closer to me, then wraps his arms around me. Almost as if he is really sorry for all that has happened. But, I don’t allow the hug to last much longer than a moment.

I quickly stand up, pulling myself out of his embrace. Knowing that there is probably not much more to say, I make my way to his bedroom door to leave.

“Seraphina.”

I turn around and see him standing now as well. “Please call me Noah, and do not feel the need to have permission to talk to me. And I would love your feedback whenever you would like to give it to me.”

I smile at him, “Call me Sera.”

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