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Realistic or Modern Royal Metanoia {Closed}

Sub Genres
  1. Adventure
  2. Magical
  3. Romance


Everything's Shiny Cap'n
The night air was cool and crisp against Ewan’s lungs, a harsh contrast to the occasional drag on the lit herbs wrapped between his fingers. Leaning on the rail of the balcony attached to his room Ewan considered the lights of the city in the distance, from his bedroom in the castle he could see the highrises and the warm glow of the streetlamps that lit the busy streets below. With a low chuckle Ewan flicked the remaining embers of those calming herbs into a tin can placed on the floor next to him.

With his mind hazy he found the concept of his position rather comical. If only the country of Ubor could see him now, would they find their crown prince at all worthy of the throne? Taking one last long look over the sparkle of the city Ewan turned on his heel and headed back towards the door to his bedroom. Noremeer castle stood proudly nestled in the hills a small drive away from the city, its silhouette proved to be the ideal artwork for the ten dollar bills there. It was a mesh of old and new architecture as the royal family made changes to keep up with the times. Ewan’s room was much the same, with ornate stone pillars framing the room, and smooth walls, posters of shows and bands were haphazardly taped to the ancient walls. Across from his large and lush bed stood a desk with a computer.

However the first thing one always noticed when walking into Ewan’s room was the plants. He’d taken great pride in adding hundreds of them all around, on shelves, hanging from the ceiling and on the floor when there was no other space for them.

“Harriet, Sally, Henry, Consuela, how are you my lovelies?” Ewan asked, his voice hoarse from breathing in all the smoke from earlier. Clearing his throat Ewan began his night time routine wishing all his plants well, and chatting as he trimmed and watered his friends. He went down the line remembering each of the plants names and speaking to them like he would an old friend.

He was just about finished when a knock came at the door. Blinking in surprise Ewan set down his watering pail and shuffled over to the door, his limbs heavy. He opened the wide wooden door and squinted into the bright light of the hallway trying to make out the visitor. It took a few blinks but Ewan finally managed to recognize the shape of one of the royal family's coordinators.

“Ah Emily.” Ewan said staying in place and not welcoming the short woman inside. He towered over her standing at his 6.2.

“My prince.” Emily said curtly, her knees barely bending in a curtsy. “I’ve been asked to remind you of tomorrow’s activities. A number of important guests from afar are visiting for political talks, news and media will be welcomed in for some of the talks, also-”

“There is to be a party in the evening, a lavish affair, and I am not to embarrass the good name of the Negaard family in any way.” Ewan finished helpfully, having heard this song and dance many times before.

“An appearance must be made, the queen has entrusted me to remind you of your expectations.” Emily frowned at Ewan clearly displeased with his attitude towards such an important event. “Take this.” Emily thrust out a piece of paper and Ewan sighed as he recognized paragraphs of his mothers handwriting.

“Thank you Emily.” He said but she had already begun hurrying off. Muttering to himself Ewan stepped back into his sanctuary and let the paper float down onto his bed before finishing up with the rest of his plants. As he spoke to them an onlooker might notice the leaves seemed to unfurl a little faster, or as his hands brushed over stems, roots would snake out further. He had a special talent with nature and enjoyed bringing life to the space around him. Each plant had abilities and uses that fascinated Ewan.

When he was finished he stripped down and got ready to snuggle into bed. The paper from his mother crunched and Ewan debated not reading it but decided if he valued his peace it would be better to appease mother. He took his time going over the details of the day, reading over the lecturing scrawl that he was not to talk about his plants in any way. He was not to show his talent, remain quiet unless spoken to. Mother had helpfully outlined a few responses to common questions he might hear. He was also reminded to practice his box step for the waltz. The final line begged him to do everything within his power to remain a source of pride to the family.

With dull eyes Ewan pushed the paper off the bed and brought the sheets up around him. His eyes fluttered closed and he slept a dreamless night.


Fern took a steadying breath as she waited with the crowd of other Debutantes. The large, ornately designed iron doors that lead to the ballroom were closed at present, though in a few moments they would be swung open for announcements. This would be the first time she was introduced into society. While her parents were hoping she would find a husband of higher status, Fern was excited to get into the system itself. The LaRose family was only a middling noble family, but even so, Fern hoped she could find something useful to contribute to the government.

Fern was pulled out of her thoughts by the eruption of music and the loud bang of the doors being flung open. The crier extended his hand as the Debutantes formed a line, and one by one he took them into the ballroom to announce. Fern smoothed down her white gown one last time, and adjusted her fluffy hair, which was bedecked with hundreds of heavy saltwater pearls, like her dress. The crier held out his hand to her, and she took it, putting on her best smile as they entered the dazzling light.

"Now announcing, Lady Fern LaRose!"

The ballroom was draped in white silks and glittered with everyone's finery, and stuffed to the brim with guests. The Debutantes were easily spotted by their white attire, but around them buzzed the seasoned nobles like vultures after prey. Fern stepped down from the doorway and was immediatly accosted by several older gentlemen. She greeted them each properly, but felt her skin crawl as their hungry eyes raked over her skin and their honeyed compliments stuck in her ears. The first hour or so of the ball was like that, mixing around to rub elbows with the elite and ingratiate yourself. Fern was starving, and managed to slip away long enough to pile H'orderves onto a small plate and slip out onto one of the many balconies to eat in peace. There was only thirty minutes before the first dance, so she had to eat quickly and then find a suitable partner.

The curtains swished out as she exited the ballroom, stuffing a small keesh into her mouth. Fern froze as she came face to face with an incredibly tall, lanky man, who looked down at her with a blank expression. He was well dressed in a dark blue suit...with the royal family crest pinned onto his right lapel?! Shit. Quickly swallowing her mouthful and wiping her mouth as dantily on her napkin, she gave him a smile and curtsied, careful not to spill her plate.

"Your highness, blessings of the Kingdom upon you. I am Fern LaRose, a debutante for this season." She kept her eyes on the floor and waited to be acknowledged.


Everything's Shiny Cap'n
The day had been nothing but a bore, Ewan did his best to keep awake for the morning meetings and the greetings with politicians. His head swirled with names and he did his best to remember which face belonged to which name. There were a lot of older men with greying hair and piercing eyes. Ewan felt small under their gazes but held firm until the ball. His cheeks hurt from plastering the fake smile to his face, and he wished desperately for a smoke. He knew the stench would stick to his suit however and told himself firmly to wait until after the affair had ended. The milling of bodies around him and the sea of faces had Ewan shrinking into his large form. The room was hot and he could feel his red hair sticking to his brow. With a meaningful look at his sister Sophie, Ewan gestured that he would be right back before he took an opportunity to slip out onto one of the balconies.

The night air was a welcome feeling against his flushed skin, and Ewan went to the far edge of the balcony taking deep breaths through his nose. He soaked up the silence for a long moment letting the sounds of the party fade away. He would only be a minute, he told himself. Time enough to cool down and gather himself for another few hours. After a while Ewan made the choice to return and was just about to enter through the curtains again when a form brushed past and blocked his path. He was greeted by one of the debutantes, her hair ornately woven with small things that sparkled in the evening air.

"Fern." He tried the name and found it suited her. "Welcome to my home. Many blessings on to you as well." Ewan said dryly. "I trust you are enjoying the party?" The helpful words his mother had provided despite his best efforts sounded uninterested and bored. He let his eyes move down to her plate then and saw she had keesh and a few other bites to eat. Surprised that anyone actually ate the food provided Ewan found he could not resist the temptation, manners be damned. He reached out then and plucked the keesh from her plate and tossed it into his mouth. "Hmm not bad. Most tend to ignore the food, too much milling and connections to be made. Debutant's especially, husband hunting is a sport all its own." Ewan told her. "Though I never get anything done on an empty stomach..." Ewan added not realizing he was rambling.


Fern blinked rapidly as the man spoke in a rough, candid manner. She straightened as he took a keesh form her plate, then rambled on for some time. Finally, she couldn't hold it in any longer and burst out into a strong laugh, her chest swelling with the sound. fern laughed so had that she had to bend over and brace her free hand on her stomach, raggedly gasping for breath. Finally, she was able to calm down and placed the plate on the edge of a planter. Looking up into his face, she traced it's outline as she calmed herself, beaming brightly and fanning her face the alleviate her blush.

"O-Oh--Forgive me, your highness! It's just that you haven't changed a single bit since we were small. I hardly expected it. Talking to you just now I feel as if no time has passed at all. Oh, one moment," She dug through the pockets of her dress and produced a small hand mirror. Taking one of Ewan's large hands, she laid his palm flat and opened the mirror, placing it there to check her makeup. Fern had been so flustered that she hadn't even recognized her old friend. While he was a good bit taller now, Ewan was still the same shape--all limbs with a tuft of red hair. He spoke so informally and still rambled when his mind began to wander. It was comforting--to find this small bit of familiarity in such a sea of new. After making sure her makeup was indeed intact, she took the mirror back. Picking up the plate again, she held it out to him.

"You must hate being here--if you're still as shy as you were?" The crown prince was staring it her in confusion, his mouth slightly agape. Fern placed another mall keesh in his still open palm. "I wholeheartedly agree, your highness." She continued "These events really are for not much other than hobnobbing. It's hardly a party, if I do say so myself. And you know me, I can hardly do anything without snacking every fifteen minutes. My mother is mortified that I've kept the habit so long." Fern gave him another smile and a small nod, encouraging him to eat more. "You're still too skinny anyway."


Everything's Shiny Cap'n
Her laughter was loud and joyful, something Ewan was not used to hearing. The noise brought him fully back to the present, his interest for once making an appearance. She spoke to him like an old friend and his brow lifted ad she placed a mirror in his hand and held on for a moment silently prompting him to hold still. As she leaned forward to inspect Ewan took the moment to observe the ebony woman before him. Her features were all round, and pleasing to the eye, still her cheeks were flushed with her mirth, but he found he could not place where he knew her from, though clearly she spoke as if they had interacted in the past.

When Fern finished she placed another keesh in his hand urging him to eat. He followed instruction obediently and munched thoughtfully, his dark eyes looking over her curiously.

"I don't remember you." He told her outright, tact and decorum not a part of his repertoire. "However if you have food with you often I am more than happy to rekindle what once was." He chuckled a little at his own joke and placed a hand in his pocket. It was interesting, this Fern woman didn't seem to scrutinize him like others did, her mannerisms put him quite at ease. "I am not too skinny." He added in protest, his free arm moved to flex. Ewan ignored the fact that the material of his arm did not increase in size in the slightest. "Pure muscle." He deadpanned, letting his arm drop.

"Have you see any good potential candidates for husbands?" He asked changing the topic as the notes of a song change from the dance floor reminded him of the party. "The lot seems rather... crusty."


Fern laughed again as Ewan dryly jokes, his sarcasm still sharp. He didn't remember her--but why would he? They had only interacted as children, and even that was before her transition. He ate and then asked her about husbands, and her face dropped a little into a look of mild disgust.

"Well you know, they're all technically 'good candidates'. We really don't have a choice as to who is here, so we need to pick from the lot. You're lucky to get someone only ten years your senior." She sighed dramatically and rolled her eyes, folding her arms across her chest as she huffed. "My parents insist I marry a Duke or higher. Anything less, like a Baron or an Earl--and I'll be scolded for it. It's so stupid." Fern grumbled. "It's not like nay of them want ME anyway. They all want my ability." She sighed "I know marrying for love is a fairy-tale, but I'd at least hope to like the person, you know?" A bitterness crept into her tone as she looked out across the palace grounds. Snapping back to her companion, Fern gave an apologetic smile. "I'm sorry, your highness, I'm sure you don't care to hear these things. You, of course, understand all this much better than me." The tune changed, and Fern looked back to the ballroom. Soon it would be time to pick her first official dance partner. They would have to remain together for the rest of the evening, and be suspect to gossip afterwards.

Despite it being their first appearance in society, Debutantes were most likely to marry that first dance partner. It was an unspoken rule taht the first had rights to submit the first marriage proposal to the family. Oh--why hadn't any of the eligible women looked her way?? At least then it wouldn't be some handsy old man out there with her..


Everything's Shiny Cap'n
The change in topic brought a veil to cover the freedom and mirth within Fern. It was clear she was not there of entirely her own choice, it was tradition and this was how it had been done since long before the two of them had ever been in existence. If there was one thing Ubor could be counted on, it was holding fast to tradition and waiting until the last possible moment to change. The song changed once more and Ewan realized he had likely been away from it too long and now mother might be on the cusp of noticing his absence, Fern seemed to have the same thought as her back turned to him and she looked towards the ballroom.

"I feel the same." He said his voice soft and regretful. He took a step and with one stride he stood next to her, his lanky body towering over her. He lifted an arm offering to escort her back to the room. When her hand rested on the bend of his elbow the two stepped through the curtain and returned to the party. In the distance Ewan noticed Sophie speaking to the queen. She gestured in Ewan's direction with her clutch and soon Ewan felt the piercing stare of his mothers gaze. Her keen eyes took in the sight and narrowed at the debutant on his arm. He was certain there was to be a barrage of lectures and questions both of which he did not feel like dealing with at the moment.

"Where is your dance card?" Ewan suddenly asked Fern. He dug through his pocket finding a pen and preparing to sign up for as many dances as he could with the woman whose presence was far more preferable than the rest around him.


Ewan lead her back into the ballroom, and instantly Fern could feel hundreds of eyes on them. His question distracted her, and Fern produced the card from her pocket.. The prince snatched it out of her hand eagerly, and to her great surprise, filled out the entire card. All eight dances, cementing her has his only partner for the evening. He handed it back, and Fern's mouth hung open slightly.

"Y-your highness.... you do realize what this means? Yes?" It was Ewan's third social season since debuting, and he had never shown interest in anyone, much less a debutante. Ewan didn't remember her, so he wasn't doing it out of nostalgia. He wasn't silly enough to do something so drastic out of appreciation for the food--was he? Ewan had always lived in his own world, perhaps he was unaware of what he was doing. Or perhaps he was and simply didn't care. Fern could hardly turn him away. For one, the deed was done. Secondly, he was her cherished childhood friend. Third, and most important, he was the crown prince of Ubor. Her mother would have a fit upon finding out tomorrow. Ewan simply gave her a smile, and held out his hand.

Fern took it, and they moved to the dance floor, taking up position as the music began. Whispers could be heard around them as they waltzed, and to ease her nerves, Fern spoke. "How are your plants, Ewan?" She asked, softly enough only for him to hear. It was a massive breach of protocol, of course, but considering the situation... "Do you still have that ivy vine--what did we name her? Harriet? I bet she's huge by now, right?" Fern gave him a bright smile. The one thing Ewan had always loved more than life was plants. The way he interacted with them was soft and full of joy. It was wonderful to see him happy. When they played together as children, it seemed that the only times he smiled was when they hid in the greenhouse. He could talk for hours about any plant she could point to.


Everything's Shiny Cap'n
The music was bright and happy, the waltz was meant to be a more joyful lilt as this celebrated the opening of the season and the start of a great number of talks to happen within government. Ewan had very little interest in either of course, but he found his partner to be quite pleasant. Her movements were practiced and they fell into an easy rhythm together.

"Harriet, oh she's thriving. I've propagated her quite a few times. Her pups have been living quite happily all over." He grinned down at her, his first true smile of the evening. "I hope to start some grafting soon with her, see what sort of new life we can bring." He was about to go on when suddenly his mouth shut and he observed her with a curious gaze. "We named her...?" He repeated the words she used and he could feel the start of a memory but his mind came up short, unable to solidify. With all this information she had it was clear she was telling the truth, he could not find a trace of falsehood in the way she looked at him with such familiarity. All around them eyes seemed to be peeled to their swaying bodies, Ewan glanced around them for a moment before returning his gaze to hers, finding comfort in the dark hazel of her eyes.

"Perhaps you'll have the pick of suitors from this evening, its not often I dance and the interest to meet you should be tenfold." As he spoke the words were true but he found he didn't really like the idea of them. His nose and tips of his ears flushed pink. Clearing his throat Ewan tried again with polite conversation but found he came up short, all his questions and topics of conversation went against party going protocol. "What other memories do you have of us?" He asked moving back to what felt like the safest topic.


Fern could see that Ewan was beginning to reach back into his memory for answers. She wasn't really surprised that he was struggling, but it would be no fun at all just to tell him outright. Perhaps she could give him a little push in the right direction. At his comment of suitors she smiled ruefully and rolled her eyes. A small laugh escaped her and she shook her head.

"Then, my prince, you have unintentionally increased my work. Now I'll have to sift through ten times as many people in hopes of finding one who is acceptable company." She looked at him meaningfully. "Though I do already have a candidate in mind." Fern smiled as he asked about their past, and hummed a little as she thought. "I have many memories, your highness. I used to visit you during the summer holidays, it was when my family would be granted an audience. Don't you remember that time we got stuck in that massive maple tree on the west grounds of the garden? i think there was a type of poison ivy growing on it, and you wanted to take samples to examine it. But, we climbed too far up and got stranded. We were there almost until dark, when your sister found us. After, I was in bed for almost two weeks covered in an awful rash. I was awfully jealous because you got out untouched."

The music changed again, and they transitioned into a Viennese waltz. The Debutantes formed a line, with their partners staggering themselves on either side. The Viennese waltz was a test of dancing skill--getting progressively faster as the song moved, and with a partner they had never seen before. When Fern and Ewan faced each other, she flashed him a confident smile. Soon they were moving smoothly to the music, pressed close together. It was easy to dance with Ewan, their bodies moved easily with practiced movements, and despite the height difference, Fern kept her eyes on his. The dancers moved like clockwork cogs, one way, then the other, then in-between, all perfectly timed to the music. "You are doing wonderfully, your highness." Fern spoke softly, a smile blooming across her face. Dancing was truly where she felt most at home. even with the stares and murmurs, all she had to do was focus on the steps and she was at peace.


Everything's Shiny Cap'n
Again came the familiar sense of kinship as Fern shared the story of the two of them up a tree, however something seemed off about it. He could have sworn the friend he had climbed up that tree was was not a woman. The person before him was so obviously feminine in all her charm and the way she commanded the crowds to look upon them. He found he had a bit of difficulty keeping focus, the way she moved seemed to command his attention especially when she mentioned a potential candidate. Confused at the strange feeling in his chest Ewan felt himself drawn away from the moment. Blinking in surprise as the song switched again to a more complicated dance Ewan shook his head and did his best to focus on keeping time with his partner and the music.

"Thank you." Ewan said softly his eyes moving down to the floor to keep track of their feet. "It's been some time since I've had to do this." They moved apart and wove through the other dancers coming together again. Fern's hand seemed so soft in his own. He was certain if they put their hands up to once another's her finger tips would just pass the second knuckles on his fingers. "So we were up a tree together..." He said finding pace with the tune, they moved apart again and he waited until she went into a guided spin before he spoke again. "I was no more than eight at the time... I think." At her noise of agreement his brows drew together.

He missed a small step as he searched through his memories but it seemed Fern was on top of things and helped to guide him back to the dance. He remained silent, not wishing to mess up anymore than he had. For once Ewan was thankful for the endless training he had been forced to endure before his arrival in society. The song ended and the couples bowed to one another, the faint giggling of elated debutants filled the room. It was announced the band would take a break before beginning again. Finding his throat parched Ewan offered his arm to Fern and the two made their way over to the beverage table. He offered Fern a flute of champagne and took one for himself. He was about to ask more questions regarding their past when his sisters familiar scent of cedar and oranges appeared. Turning his head Ewan regarded Sophie with a neutral expression.

Sophie was a tall woman, but Ewan still towered over her, her own red hair was styled back in an elegant braided knot at the top of her head. While Ewan's freckles seemed overwhelming and mismatched, her seemed like the sprinkle of powdered sugar over the finest desserts. Her green eyes sparkled with curiosity as she offered her hand out to Fern.

"Who is this charming creature?" Sophie asked her brother and not the woman in question.

"I'm certain she would be happy to introduce herself." Ewan muttered, resisting the urge to roll his eyes.

"Forgive my brothers rudeness." Sophie said turning her attention back to Fern. "It's not often we see him dancing with the debutants. What a curious spell you seem to have woven." Sophie said pointedly looking at the flush on her brothers cheeks and ears.


Fern could see Ewan's curiosity in his eyes as his mind worked furiously with the information he'd been given. He was a little rusty at the Viennese waltz, but Fern was able to subtly guide him through without incident. Out of practice as he was, the prince was still able to easily keep up. The dance ended and the band took a short break, when Ewan lead her over to the drink table. They were about to toast and continue their conversation, when Princess Sophia glided over. No doubt to do recon on the debutante who had captured her elusive brother.

Quickly, Fern dropped into a curtsy, bowing her head. "Greetings, your highness. Blessings of the Kingdom upon you. I am Fern LaRose, eldest of the house LaRose. It is an honor to be here." When the princess gave her a nod, she straightened, and offered her own glass of Champaign to her. Ewan silently handed Fern a new one, looking calm but irritated. Ewan's breach in etiquette didn't really come as a shock, and despite the princess's obvious annoyance, Fern was grateful. It was refreshing to be treated like a person instead of an accessory. "I promise, I have used no spell, my princess." Fern said hurriedly. "I am well aware that use of abilities is prohibited at such events." She gently swept some of her fluffy hair over her shoulder, the pearls woven in making a small bell-like noise as they clicked together.

"The prince and I have simply been reminiscing about childhood. And I must say it's wonderful to see you again as well. You are even more beautiful now than you were as a young girl." Sophia was stunning, slender with proud features and beautiful long hair. How envious she used to be of Sophia, and how she naturally had what Fern had spent so many long years trying to achieve. Fern pushed the thought out of her mind as the princess smiled, and regarded her with a careful look. Before the princess could respond, an older gentleman approached them.

"Blessings of the kingdom be upon you all." He greeted with a bow. After he straightened, he turned to Fern. "My dear, I have been so enraptured by your dancing thus far this evening. I certainly did not expect a woman of your size to move so elegantly. Please, may I have your dance card? I must experience being your partner myself." Fern had to grit her teeth, but smiled back pleasantly at him. He was an Earl of the northwest provinces. Widowed thrice, if she remembered correctly. The backhanded compliment about her weight made her blood boil, but she did as she was instructed. The Earl's eyes widened as he took the card.

"I am so sorry, my lord." Fern said in the sweetest tone she could "I'm afraid my card has been filled up for the evening. Maybe you can do me the honor of a dance next time." Picking his jaw up off the floor, he hurriedly returned the card before bowing deeply.

"Forgive me, my prince! I-I had no idea." Flustered, he nearly ran away as soon as he was excused. Curious, Sophia plucked the card from Fern's fingers, then looked at her brother with an astonished expression.


Everything's Shiny Cap'n
Sophie's brow's furrowed for a moment, the crease between her eyes making the makeup she had so painstakingly placed there crease. The look disappeared when the older duke came by and she smiled warmly at the widower. At the mention of Fern's weight the princess let out a small snort but hurriedly took a sip of Fern's original flute of champagne. Ewan stood between the small group feeling his anxiety flare as Fern gracefully handled both of their interruptions with tact. At the mention of the dance card his heart sank and he quickly downed the flute and grabbed another downing that one too. He was part way through chugging the third glass when Sophie cleared her throat catching his attention with a look of surprise.

"What on earth?" She managed, her voice a hushed whisper. She looked between the two of them and frowned at Fern. "I don't remember you as a child, you must be mistaken I'm afraid." Her tone was curt and rushed. "I think perhaps-" Before Sophie could finish what she thought was best Ewan found himself scrambling for an exit. In one fluid motion Ewan reached down to grab Fern's hand, their fingers lacing, while the other hand poured the remaining bit of his champagne down his sisters front.

"Ah I think the music is about to start again." Ewan muttered setting his glass down and dragging his partner away without so much as a proper farewell.

"Son of a-." Sophie hissed as she desperately grabbed for the cloth napkins at the table, doing her best to mop up the wet stain at the front of her silvery dress. However Ewan was long gone unable to hear her threat. Already he was occupying the dance floor moving awkwardly between his feet while the musicians set up once more. "Oh I don't think so." Sophie muttered pulling open the clutch she held at her side. Her phone was out in moments, selecting a contact a wicked grin flashed over her features.

To: Dell Hammond - Ubor Times
From: Sophie Negaard
Hot tip for you, get as many camera's as you can up to the castle. Give the men the code I gave you last time to enter. The prince should make the front page if you play your cards right.

Ewan let out a long sigh of relief as the music started up once again, a slower tune to get the dancers back into the swing of things. His longer hair fell forward over his brow as he looked down at Fern seeking some of the comfort he had felt earlier from her.

"I do not think your size has anything to do with how you dance." He told her plainly. "I certainly hope that was not the man you had your sights set on." He leaned down a bit further his eyes quite serious. "You could certainly do better than that."


There was a flurry of commotion and Fern was yanked back onto the dance floor haphazardly by Ewan. She could see he was flustered, but soon he bent closer and spoke softly to her. Fern's cheeks flushed at his closeness, and gently, she gave him a warm smile. Fern took his hands and rearranged them on her properly, his large spindly fingers resting on her hip and the other hand holding hers. They swayed together to the calm music and she responded.

"You're still a little thick in the head, aren't you old friend?" She laughed, the reverberation running through his chest too, as they were pressed close. "My dear prince, you are aware that by filling out my dance card you have first rights to a proposal for my hand?" She quirked a thick brow at him, and giggled as the realization finally dawned on his features. A heavy scarlet blush covered his face as his eyes grew round as saucer plates. "In fact, because you filled out the entire card, you have--unintentionally, I think--claimed that I am to be your wife. Even if you don't propose, all other suitors will have to wait three weeks to make an attempt out of respect for you." He still needed an interpreter, then. Ewan was very gentle and very intuitive, but lived too much in his own head for most social situations. When they were young, Fern often translated situations for him plainly, so he could understand. "The man I had in mind was you, your highness." She said.

The music continued, and she let him think for a while. Finally, she spoke again, in a gentle whisper only he could hear. "Ewan, I know you didn't intend for such a gesture. I won't be upset if you do not extend a proposal. My only worry is for you, and your happiness. As it has always been." Fern tilted her head back to look up into his eyes, her own dark brown ones glassy with emotion. The position reminded her of the day he saved her life. They were so young, but he hugged her tightly as she cried her heart out--confessing all the pent up emotions within her. How she felt as though she was born into the wrong body, how awful it felt waking up and seeing an alien in the mirror. How he name didn't fit in her own mouth. How terrified she was to tell anyone.

"You know." he said quietly, his back up against an tree trunk "Some plants have male and female anatomy, so they can reproduce by themselves. If you take away one, the whole thing dies because it isn't whole." Ewan held her awkwardly, his long limbs coming around her back. Like he was afraid of holding her too close--or too hard. "It's not your fault that this happened. It's not fair to make yourself live like this if you aren't happy." She looked up at him, tears streaming down her cheeks, lip quivering. He gave her a bittersweet smile, looking aged beyond his years. "You know, I can't do much good for anyone. But I think I might be able to help you. Would that be okay?"

That summer they were ten years old, and Ewan had marched her all the way to her parents rooms and held her hand so tightly as she told them. That very day they packed up and left the palace to begin her transition. That was the last day she saw him. Fern had even chosen her new name because of Ewan, and his kindness. He had told her once that ferns symbolized humility and sincerity. There was nothing that described him more. Fern squeezed his hand tightly, blinking the tears from her eyes and giving him a bright smile.

"You've saved me again, Ewan. Just by being yourself. All of this is so much less daunting after tonight. Thank you. I am so glad that you haven't changed." Noticing the music coming to an end, Fern squeezed his hand again, and gently tapped his leg with her foot. He swept her into a dip, his eyes locked onto hers with a mystified expression she couldn't quite read.


Everything's Shiny Cap'n
Her words seemed to drag his mind in two different directions and it was clear from how gently she was looking at him that she knew. She had always known, that gentle tone and clarifying words came from plenty of practice. It clicked then as she moved closer in his arms and his mind flashed back to the past. Two children hold each other close, both shedding tears over how lost one felt. Their hands held tightly as her parents nodded sagely, taking in the news. Ewan could see it so clearly then, the look of love and trust that her parents had had in her choice. It was powerful and he felt a little choked up in the moment.

"I... remember. Gods I remember." Ewan cleared his throat as his hand left Fern's hip to lift her jaw line. He head her steady there for a moment, not worried about the onlookers now or the gasps of surprise of the crowd around them, his eyes studying the face of an old friend he had forgotten. "You look..." There was no word or way to describe the feeling of pride and joy that swelled within him to see her now bloomed into the soul and body she deserved. He hoped the grin he shared with her shared everything. Letting his hand return to her waist he dipped her after her helpful nudge.

The flashes of light the blinded the both of them had them stumbling as they returned to a standing position.

"Crown Prince! Over here!" A voice called and Ewan blinked towards the voice only to be blinded once more.
"Whose the girl? What's her name?"
"Are you engaged?"
"How long has this been on?"
"Is she a decent lay?"

The camera shutters had Ewan frozen in place for a moment before instinct took over him and he stepped in front of Fern to guard her from the onslaught of press and voices. The questions continued to barrage him growing more and more inappropriate. Whirling around Ewan locked eyes with Fern for the briefest of moments, their arms both lifted towards each other and they clasped hands. Together they moved away from the press who were now being crowded back by security. There was a slight scuffle as one eager photographer tried to push past a guard only to be pushed back into a large pyramid of glasses all holding spirits. The crash of crystal hitting the floor had the party in a tizzy. Cries of surprise as debutants rushed away from the mess provided the perfect opportunity for Ewan and Fern to depart onto the first balcony they had met that evening.

"This way." Ewan said guiding Fern to the rail where a sturdy bunch of vine climbed up the old marble from the ground. "Just like old times." Ewan said hoisting himself over the rail and finding the foothold as they had done as children hiding away from the teachers that they wished to hear nothing from. He held Fern as she lifted her skirts to do the same. Together they wound their way down the vine landing softly on the earth. They scurried away from the noise of the party, the sounds of night taking over from the din of outrage from the guests. Weaving through gardens and past a hole in the fence they trudged away until they came upon a familiar hill covered in clover and wildflowers.

"How come I never understand?" A younger Ewan asked his friend as they lay side by side looking up at the stars. "They say things like I should automatically know them. Why couldn't I tell that man he had something in his teeth. It was bothering me; I didn't want to look at it." He huffed and crossed his arms as laughter came from next to him.
"I would have wanted to know if it was me. Did you see how everyone went quiet though!" More laughter tinkled out from the both of them.

With a puff of air Ewan settled on the cool clover and patted the ground next to him for Fern to sit. Digging through his pocket he found a small tin box and opened it; revealing a few neatly rolled papers and herbs. Happily he stuck one in his mouth and with a practiced flick brought a match to life. He took a deep drag and held it in before finally speaking, the smoke floating out with his words.

"Well that was certainly a party." He chuckled and looked over at Fern offering her the lit embers. Over and over in his head he could hear the words she had spoken before their interruption. Fern as his wife, his cheeks remained flushed under the star light and he looked away awkwardly. "I missed you." He told her his voice a little raspy, he told himself it was from the smoke. "You were the only one that I ever really got along with, I named an Orchid after you. But I'll change it to this new name, I like it much better. Tell me about everything I missed while you were off and away."


Fern stumbled as the cameras flashed, blinking away the stars in her eyes. The room was filled with prying questions, and suddenly Ewan's slender back was shielding her. He looked over his shoulder, his eyes bright with worry, and the reach for each other simultaneously. Holding on like a lifeline, Fern shrieked as the glass tower shattered. Ewan pulled her along quickly, not waiting for a second chance to escape. Her dance card had fallen out of her pocket when he dipped her. One of the reporters managed to get close enough to snatch it up before being shoved back behind the security line.

Ewan lead her back to the balcony, and as he threw himself onto the vine Fern quickly took off her shoes, leaving them there to climb down. Once they were on the patio below, Ewan grasped her hand as they fled across the grounds. Finally, he stopped and plopped down, patting the ground next to him. She obliged, not caring for the stain the grass would leave on her dress. He offered her some herbs, but she declined. His face was flushed--perhaps from the run. But he spoke softly and eagerly, seeming to come alive once he recognized her. Fern could still feel the gentle warmth of his fingers touching her chin.

"I missed you, too." She replied. Fern placed her hand over his, and leaned her head onto his shoulder as she looked up at the stars. The familiar comfort made her smile grow. Fern told him of her treatments; hormones, therapy, and her many surgeries and their complications. How she'd almost been unable to dance again after a doctor's misstep. She told him of her recovery and her advancement in dancing, and how she hoped to try out for the Ubor Royal Ballet Company that year. She told him of how the rush from the palace taht summer had damaged her family's reputation with the crown, which was why she hadn't been back. She's even written him letters every week, though she couldn't send them. "That's why my parents put so much pressure on me about the debut." Fern said. "If I marry high up enough, I can begin to work my way into court to restore my family's name. They gave me an ultimatum. Marry a Duke or higher, and they'll let me try out for the company. If not, I have to give up dancing and dedicate my life to politics to fix our status." She sighed, shrugging slightly as she removed her head from his arm. "We'll see how everything goes from here I suppose. But what about you? I've done so much talking, please, tell me how you've been." She looked up to him eagerly, her hand squeezing his just a little.


Everything's Shiny Cap'n
Fern was warm against his side, the pleasant pressure of his head against his shoulder had him at peace far quicker than any herbal concoction he could have made. The moon moved overhead them, reaching its apex in the sky and then beginning to dip lower. He listened to all her stories taking in the life she had lived, how strong she had been to fight her for her passions. He let out a long sigh as she explained the price she must then pay. He wanted to comment on it, speak more of the potential future that they might have but she asked him for the tales of his passage of time since their departure. Happy to dwell on an easier topic for the moment he squeezed her hand in return and laid back on the clover. Fern followed him and he lifted his hand out of hers to put around her as she nestled into the crook of his arm. They had done this as kids too, found nestled together in the greenhouse or in the beds of grass Ewan enjoyed laying in. It felt just as natural now as it had been then.

"Well..." Ewan began and he spoke of growing up in the palace. How often he had practiced those dances and all manor of etiquette, how he had been gifted an extension to the greenhouse on his 18th birthday for preforming so well at political talks overseas. He told her how much he had enjoyed traveling for all those royal stints, how the sea further south was so much warmer than the breath stealing deep blue ocean that bordered their country. He spent some time regaling her of desert plants and how much they fascinated him before returning back to his past. He confessed to Fern of the online course he had taken for years, and how he was so proud of the little slip of paper decreeing his masters in horticulture and botany. His family did not know of those long nights writing papers and test taking but it was such a joy to share with Fern now of his accomplishment.

"It's been rather quiet for the past year a bit." Ewan said his eyes closing, the red curl of his lashes resting against his cheek. "Mother's been pushing me to find a partner. Dad's been sick, in and out of the hospital. Sophie always seems to have some new gaggle around her. I don't know how she does it." He waited a beat before confessing one last thing. "I've been given two more years of this, then I am expected to take my birthright. King Ewan as it were." He said dryly the words sounding strange on his tongue.


Laying with him was easy, listening to the lilt of his voice as she spoke excitedly about his journey and his degree made her chest warm. Her dress was stained with grass and dirt, clovers sticking to her hair. She didn't care at all. She could feel his energy change as he talked about ascending the throne, his unease was clear in his tone.

"I think that you will make a wonderful king." She said softly, tilting her head up to look at his face. Fern smiled at him as he opened his eyes and looked toward her. "More important than war and boundaries is life. And plants are life itself, aren't they? You can focus on the welfare of the people, making sure they eat and have work. Be yourself, Ewan. Everyone will come to love you, I know they will." She propped herself up on her elbows and edged closer to him. Gently, she leaned over and pressed a gentle kiss to his cheek. "And that is for your degree. Congratulations, Ewan! That's an amazing achievement." He flushed at her action as she pulled away, averting his eyes and murmuring thanks. There was suddenly voices shouting and lights coming towards them. Fern sat up, peering over the hill as they came closer. It was the royal guard, and one let out a shout as he spotted them.

"Your highness! It's almost 2 am, we've been looking for you everywhere for you!" Fern didn't even get a chance to say goodbye, they were soon surrounded and escorted back separately. After undressing, she collapsed into bed with Peaches, who grumbled at her being so late.

The next morning, headlines broke.

The Prince's Secret Woman?!
The heir to the disgraced LaRose family seen dancing with Crown Prince Ewan ALL NIGHT at the Debutante Ball for this year's season. They were seen acting intimately, as shown below. The Crown Prince filled out the entirety of her dance card for the evening, and while escaping from the press's questions, the lady's shoes were discarded on the balcony?? How long has this affair been going on? Does the prince have any intention of announcing a proposal? Is this just a fling? Is she using him to regain her family's lost status? We have quotes from the party goers. The eye of the nation will be upon them this social season for developments.

"The prince was acting smitten!" Says one woman "I've never seen him look remotely interested in anyone, but the way he was holding her as they danced, there must be more to this."

"I don't know what that woman wants, but it can't be anything good!" Says another "She's obviously beguiling him into some kind of deal."

Included were pictures of Ewan and Fern, one where he was dipping her, one where he was holding her face and smiling, and one of him shielding her with his body from the cameras, looking agitated. There was also a picture of her discarded shoes on the balcony, and of her dance card covered in his scrawl.


Everything's Shiny Cap'n
Ewan spent the night awake reliving the press of her lips to his cheek, the feel of her hair brushing his forehead as she had leaned down to do so. She had looked like starlight itself in that moment, the glint of the pearls in her hair and dress, the gleam of her bright smile as she had congratulated him. She had been so adamant in his ability to lead, the trust and admiration had rocked him speechless. His hand curled at the memory of the two of them herded away from one another. He had tried to shout to her but it was lost in the voices of the guards who ushered them away. Ewan had been unceremoniously pushed into his room and he heard the familiar slide of the lock on the other side of the door.

He wished he had gotten her number or some way to contact her, and spent the night looking through the rare photos of the two of them. He was about to crawl into bed when a knock sounded at the door and the lock was slid open. Ewan stood as his mother and father entered the room.

"Good morning Ewan. Did you sleep well?" Queen Sara asked, she moved to press him in a tight hug which he awkwardly returned.

"Sorry again son, your mother tells me it was a bit of a mess last night. I am not sure how the press found their way in. We're doing a full investigation of course." King Archie said kindly as he sat heavily down on the edge of Edgars bed. His old bones weary even from the journey up the tower to Ewan's room.

"Uh, thanks dad..." Ewan said letting go of his mother and offering his desk chair for her to sit in. Sara declined and went to join her husband.

"We have some things we wanted to talk to you about." Sara stared, looking to her husband for support. "First off, congrats on making the front page." Sara said her tone sarcastic but not enough for Ewan to catch on. His brow raised in surprise at his mothers words but he stayed silent and instead accepted the magazine with his own picture on the front. Ewan was used to Sophie making the front page; his sister had been photographed in all manner of dress and occupation. This however was a rare occasion, the front page picture was of the moment Ewan had swept Fern into a dip. His fingers brushed down the sweep of her dress.

"A LaRose girl hey? I didn't realize the eldest was a daughter, I remember a son who played with you." Archie said.

"She is the eldest." Ewan said not offering more information.

"Remember love we spoke about this, this morning. The LaRose family left as their daughter transitioned." Queen Sara said to her husband and both wife and son watched as the king grappled with the information. His forehead creased with the effort of the memory.

"We... did?" Was all Archie managed, he rubbed a hand frustrated against his knee, Sara took it before the hand could become a fist.

"You filled out her dance card Ewan, I must ask do you have feelings for her?" Sara got to the point, doing her best to soothe her husband as well. She noticed her son flush and felt her heart sink a little. "You must know, to court with her is to invite scandal. I had meant to tell you this tomorrow, but my son I've invited Lady Celeste Cardiff to the castle for a month, so she might get to know her future... husband." Sara looked meaningfully at Ewan as he did his best to figure out what she meant. He had never done will with tone of voice or unheard meaning's, he felt frustration bubble up in him as he wondered what on earth she might mean.

"What do you mean mother?" He asked, his voice a low growl.

"I mean to say... well dear, I mean to say I found you a wife."


The magazine the next day had the other debutantes skirting around Fern in a cloud of whispers. She simply put her shoulders back and did her best to ignore it, taking breakfast in her room and the morning studying by herself. The wing of the castle that housed the socialites for the season was sprawling. After lunch Fern spent time with Peaches, her cat, wandering around. Eventually, she found an empty room that looked to be used for dance lessons. Perfect! She returned to her room and put on her tights and leotard. She did her hair up in a large poofy bun and brought along her point shoes.

As she was warming up, Fern heard some girls gossiping outside.

"Didn't you hear? The queen invited Celeste Cardiff to the palace personally!! I think she's setting up a match for the crown prince."

"After that scandal yesterday I'm not surprised at all."

Fern was on the floor in a split, and as she bent her torso flat against the floor she sighed. Celeste was a perfect match for a crown prince. She was from a powerful family that had been close to the throne for decades. She was well versed in all the country's affairs, and never had a scandal or a lack of suitors. A perfect fit for queen. Perhaps... She thought bitterly Perhaps we can still be friends, like we used to. Fern was surprised how bitter she felt about the rumor. After finally finding her old friend again, it felt like he was being ripped away too soon. Fern stood, and leaned out the window, gently plucking a large fern leaf off of a plant below.

She knelt as Peaches trotted up to her, and gently attached the leaf to his collar. "Can you find the person you smelled on my dress last night?" She asked quietly. "Bring him here if he isn't busy, please." The Serval cat made a low grumbling noise before turning and leaping out the open widow. Fern opened the rest of the windows for the fresh air, then turned on music on her phone. It was of a solo she'd memorized long ago, La Belle from Sleeping Beauty, her favorite ballet. She closed her eyes as the music began and she took position. Aurora, so smooth and elegant, while still somehow moving like clockwork. Trapped blissfully in a dream, dancing to her heart's content. Unaware of the outside world. Fern wished nothing more than to be so disconnected herself, in that moment. Instead of standing in the spotlight of the public eye. Taking a deep breath, she did her best to lose herself in the dance.

Peaches moved through the brush in the grounds with silent ease, prowling with his nose to the ground. He managed to pick up a faint trail after some time, and followed it quickly to the outer greenhouse. There was angry muttering noises coming from within. Circling the greenhouse several times, Peaches eventually found an open window. He jumped through, his lithe body squeezing through the frame. He padded through the plants until he found the source of the heady, herb-filled smell. A tall man. Peaches sat down beside him and let out several chirping meows to gain his attention.


Everything's Shiny Cap'n
Soil and dirt grounded him, Ewan reveled in how deeply he could breath when surrounded by the plants the loved. He snipped away at a few browning leaves of a hasta before misting at the rich brown soil that housed the plant. It took him a moment to recognize the chirps as something trying to capture his attention. Looking down in surprise at the cat, Ewan settled back on his haunches and regarded the creature with silent curiosity. The cat purred slightly and moved forward to rub her head against his knee. He reached forward and was about to pet the cat when he remembered the dirt on his hand. Giving his pants a few wipes he then let his fingers move through the soft fur behind the cats ears. As his hand moved down his skin caught the texture of of the leaf attached to the cats collar. With a careful hand he pulled the Fern leaf out and let the soft leaf trail over the bearded line of his jaw. The cat seemed to chirp at him a bit more, running back and forth between the door and him. Ewan chuckled to himself and stood, opening his hands out in a gesture for the cat to proceed.

"Message received my friend." He said as the cat trotted away from him and out the greenhouse. Keeping the fern leaf close to his heart Ewan followed.

The music reached his ears before Ewan entered the room. The cat had led him away from the family quarters and down a few empty halls, before finally disappearing into a room where the strings of violins and brass trickled. Ewan peeked through the doorframe and felt his breath catch. Fern was a sight to behold, her presence filling the room as she moved to the music. She seemed almost ethereal, the glow of the afternoon sun silhouetting her as she raised onto her point shoes, her arms gracefully flowing from up high to her sides as she spun. Ewan could only watch as her leg lifted high and then returned to the ground as she spun once more. The music reached its crescendo and Fern gracefully flowed from one end of the room to the other pausing as the music reached its conclusion.

Finally able to return to his own body Ewan quietly slipped into the room and shut the door behind him. He clapped a few times drawing her attention up to him. Ewan could not stop the smile of pride he had for her.

"That was beautiful Fern." He went to her as her cat wound its way through Fern's legs. "Clever friend you have there." He said looking down at the creature. "Listen... I'm so sorry for how tings ended last night. I hope you were not hurt?"


Fern blinked rapidly as soft clapping filled the room. She smiled brightly as Ewan stood before her. Without answering, she swept him up into a strong hug, and let him go as Peaches made a noise of annoyance. Fern knelt and gently pet between the cat's ears, looking up at Ewan with a bittersweet smile.

"No, no, I'm fine. I'm sorry if you got into trouble--I know the headlines must not be favorable to you." She stood, and clasped her hands together before her, her eyes looking away. "Listen, I heard about Lady Cardiff coming. She's a wonderful match, and a lovely lady from what I know." Her fingers fiddled nervously as she sighed. "My parents want to pull me from the season early. It'll be a month before anyone is allowed to propose, so they just want to wait out this year and try again next year. Hopefully all this will have died down by then. Maybe...maybe I could write to you? I hope that we can still be friends after all this, but I understand if it's too complicated." A melancholy piece from swan lake began to play over her phone. The Pas De Duex of the ballet-- 'the dying swan'. Fern fell into silence as the music played, still unable to look at Ewan. She began to trace the steps with her feet in order to self soothe, but stayed where she was.


Everything's Shiny Cap'n
Ewan leaned into the hug and felt a small tug of dismay as she pulled away from him. He lifted a hand to his neck to stop himself from reaching out to her again, at her words he felt his heart crumple slightly as she told him about leaving the season early. Everything in her posture told him how she felt about it, unable to stop himself moving closer to her Ewan stepped further into her space. The song now quiet yet something so sorrowful with how it lilted through them.

"I messed things up royally for you haven't I?" He asked, tone morose. Looking down he noticed the sway and subtle motions of her feet, it made him smile despite everything. "Mother has informed me Lady Cardiff is indeed on her way. It's also been made clear that while everyone intends for us to marry it is still entirely our choice if we were to go through with it. Do... do you truly think it is a good match?" He asked falling into temptation to reach out and clasp her small gentle hands, he wasn't sure what he wanted to her to say. Somehow it felt even more devastating that one night Fern would say one thing and then point him in another direction the next. She was warm against his soil stained skin and he treasured the comforting feeling. "What does this mean for your ability to try for the Ubor Ballet Company?"

"I would love nothing more than to share letters with you friend. I'll ensure that you are given all of my information. I vow not to get in the way of your suitor search the next season."


Ewan's body was still with sadness, even the way he held her hands. He seemed wilted like one of his flowers when they lacked something important--sunlight or water. Fern smiled up at him, squeezing his hands gently.

"I have to tell you--selfishly I was excited about us possibly being together." She blushed heavily at the statement. "I was excited to watch you grow into the incredible king and man I know you will become. I was excited to start making up for lost time. Even if we wouldn't marry for love--the next best thing is marrying your best friend, right? Oh.. I have missed you, Ewan. Even all these years later you are still the only person I considered my best friend. But we aren't children anymore, and it would be unfair of me to be selfish now. You deserve a wonderful life, especially with such a burden to fall upon your shoulders. I don't know if she'll be a good match for you. I can only hope that she takes the time to know you as I have. That she's patient and takes part in your interests. A king is a figurehead for his country, it's true. But underneath his mantle he is still just a man who deserves someone to support him wholeheartedly. I can only hope she understands that." Fern drew away from him a little, blushing still and laughing a little. "Listen to me ramble. I'm sorry, Ewan. I know I must sound confusing to you. What I'm trying to say is that I want you to be happy." Fern strode across the room and picked up her towel, wiping off her neck and sitting on the floor. She took a drink from her water bottle and patted the ground beside her. Ewan crossed the room to sit beside her.

"As for your other question--it's not really your fault at all. I have terrible luck with these things. I knew trying out for the Company was a pipe dream. It's not really fit for a lady of the court to have a job at all, let alone a job like that." She sighed, but turned to him with a small, sad smile. "Even if all we can do is write letters and wave across crowded rooms, I am thrilled to have you in my life again. Thank you, truly, for doing what you did this season. Everything was worth it--to me, at least--to be able to meet again." Peaches came and laid down between the two, his long tail swishing across their laps.


Everything's Shiny Cap'n
Fern took her time explaining how she truly felt and Ewan was grateful for it. Too often he was left in the dark about others feelings towards him, Fern had always been able to be clear with him and now the pieces of where they both stood felt far more understandable. He could agree that even based on a single night with her, a life together would be far more rewarding than any other marriage opportunity that had been presented before. He sat next to her when she prompted and he slid so they were shoulder to shoulder, hip to hip. The cat joined them and Ewan reached out to sweep his hand down the tail that swished occasionally over his leg.

"I feel less alone in this." Ewan confessed. "I don't think anyone's ever asked about what makes me happy... it's always what my duty must be. When I'm around you I feel less selfish for wanting that." He met her gaze as she turned to look at him and nodded. "It was worth it, all this aftermath to have spent a peaceful eve with you. I'll treasure it, as I'll treasure this moment." An idea occurred to him then and he dug his phone out of his back pocket and switched on the camera. Without a word he lifted his long arm and tried to fit them both in the frame. The cat seemed to want in on the fun as well and sat up, her large eyes peering up at the screen. The two of them smiled and the shutter clicked.

Old friends exchanged numbers, addresses and all forms of communication they could think of. Promising to one another to write as often as they could. They remained in the room for a long while, missing lunch and chatting about old memories and dreams. Fern's music continued to lull them into a peaceful state until finally there came a sharp knock at the door and the royal staff rushed in to escort Ewan off to get ready for dinner in the great hall. The two whispered their farewells and Ewan continued to look back at her as he was herded off.

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