FROM HIS SPOT INSIDE HIS BESTOWED SUITE, SUNGHOON COULD HEAR THE CACOPHONOUS RUSTLING OF LEAVES IN THE CRISP AIR.
A couple of clouds were scattered across the sky above, prompting the chance of a little rain in the next couple of days. It wasn't as wintry as Sunghoon was accustomed to back in the winter lands of the North, where it snowed nine months of the year. At least he wasn't in the South or West, where the weather was too warm for him to bear. Still, he missed the cold breeze that came from the mountains of the North. The closest he could get to that was opening the balcony doors to allow the bit of cold this Queendom could give him.
His suite compared to the others in the castle, was closer to the tall stone walls that impede any breathing thing from entering. It gave him the opportunity to catch a glimpse of the mysterious forest on the other side, once a while being able to spot magical beasts or creatures that traveled past.
High up on a tree top sat the most beautiful bird Sunghoon has ever seen. It was a bright hue of cerulean which was hard to miss in the clutter of green trees. All birds in his Queendom were white as snow, lacking any other colors of the rainbow as most things in the North. So the sight of such a colorful songbird caused great wonder in Sunghoon. The bird trilled into the sky, its sound as bright as its feathers, enchanting Sunghoon to do nothing but stare from afar.
The cerulean bird repeated the sound before it began to spread its wings, preparing itself to launch itself into the air and glide with the wind. Sunghoon didn't blink, watching as it finally took the leap and flew off out of his sight.
"Lucky." Sunghoon whispered, so quietly that he could barely even hear himself. "Having wings to fly to freedom while I'm stuck here in a cage."
In the back of his mind, he heard his Father's voice telling him how remarkable birds were. Their wings gave them a sense of freedom no human could ever have— they can leave the earth and fly up to the heavens whenever their little hearts desired. They can let go of all their worries once they take flight, and see the world in a whole new perspective. If only he was born as a bird rather than a Prince.
He sighed and leaned back into his seat. He hated the feeling of pitying himself, but that was exactly what he was doing. Longing to be back home, running freely in the tundras of the North with a book and a quill, sketching out his very own map of the land like an explorer would. Sunghoon never wanted anything else but a good adventure, even if he'd ventured the same place multiple times as a child. And now he was in foreign land, a place he's never explored before. But even then he was trapped in a castle and without the freedom to venture out into the woods.
Sunghoon shook his head and forced the doors to the balcony to close with a quick spell, all the wind and sound that were flooding into his room ceased to still silence. Sunghoon stared at the tea set in front of him that was brought to his room by a pair of maids near his age. They had told him it was a welcoming gift to show how elated they were with his stay. But he knew it was a subtle attempt to flirt with him. It wasn't that he was repulsed by their acts, rather the fact he truly didn't want to lead them on. Sunghoon already made up in his mind that he wouldn't settle down in the next couple years as his heart yearned for more. And as ungracious as it sounded, a partner would only weigh him down.
Sunghoon had no idea for how long he had been dazed in his empty stare, when suddenly the wall beside him began to move, the barrier opening up soundlessly into a makeshift doorway that connected his room to the one beside it. Through the doorway walked in Jongseong, his companion to his lamentable stay.
"You should try to avoid using Magic so openly like that." Sunghoon warned simply from his seat as his cousin approached the tea table, not bothering with a proper greeting. "The King has a ban on Magic in the castle, remember? It wouldn't be good if you got on his bad side."
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❝ DESTINY ALWAYS FINDS A WAY. ❞ ━━━━━━━━━━━ Seeking to strengthen the East Kingdom, the Princess of the East is to be betrothed to one of the three Princes of Arcadia after the course of five months in which she will get to choose a suitor. However...