In a world of hatred, schemes, and bald-faced lies it is a very rare thing to have anything clearly written on crisp parchment. There were always smudged words adding more circumstance or words written on another tongue designed to mislead.
But as the young girl hunched over the typewriter, the sweet clacking of keys filed the air, and there was no writing except the writing of her heart. And if she were to use the misleading language of the travel, it would only be to write poetry or pretty sounding music. Nowadays, in a time of politics, all people write for is to get a political point across- but here she was. Writing to convey a message yes- but not only for that. As she created a heroine and a cruel prince and a kingdom where fear ruled all… she created a source of pleasure.
Mila Rosales was from a humble family, destined to marry the highest bidder. She was not the kind of girl you fell in love with.
For one, she only smiled when happy. Not out of kindness or to keep up appearances, but only out of joy. Joy often found in her small shop with her fingers tapping on the keys.
For another, she was mute. Out of choice. Never once had she spoken a word to him. Not even when he visits her shop daily and buys the most expensive item. Sometimes she grants him a smile at his selection, sometimes he is granted a smile by just appearing but never once had she greeted him or even spoken the price out loud. But he has seen her, talking to her father, her sisters… her love interest.
She was no extraordinary beauty. Her hair was long and thick but the color was the same brown as the tree’s outside. And her eyes didn’t remind him of any prize jewels or anything remotely beautiful. Just the pale brown of a muddied lake. And her limbs were long and stuck out of her underfed body gauntly.
And the final reason that one doesn’t fall for her? She had ideas, thoughts, talents and if she were married she would not rely on her husband.
It made no sense. Why would he love her? He didn’t know her. He was surrounded by beautiful women with eyes of amethyst or hair of spun gold.
He was surrounded by women with strong intellect- if he wanted to marry an intelligent one. So why did his heart reach out for her? Why did he so desperately want to pursue her?
What…utter nonsense! No!
But even as he berated himself for having such foolish thoughts he still felt an aching as he watched her hands fly over the keys. Almost as if she felt his stare did she look up and turn to meet his gaze, the morning sun fell in from behind him. And, oh wow, at that moment he knew- he must have her. Her lips were spread in a devilish grin, her soft brown eyes were pools of amber and honey sunsets, her hair in thick waves that made her hair more triangular- gave it the look of being swept by the wind despite being indoors.
That was the last day she ever smiled at him.
She hasn’t said a word during the carriage ride. Hasn’t even looked at him. Her glare was shuttered and her lips pursed closed. Her arms crossed tightly across her chest and her jaw firmly clenched. She hasn’t even screamed at him when he came to pick her up. To be honest, Yevhen was expecting some disagreement or sheer joy at being stolen away from the smith’s son, Gawen.
Gawen was reasonably more intelligent, sensitive, and better-looking than the other doofuses in the town but his bidding for Mila didn’t nearly reach half of what Yevhen was willing to offer. And Yevhen wasn’t even marrying her!
Just… buying her companionship.
With the condition that she never marries.
A little harsh but- but when you see someone as radiant as Mila you have to act fast!
Besides Gawen didn’t truly love her. Yevhen saw him looking at the other women, where other girls stood. She would have been stuck in a hapless marriage. He was doing her a favor! But clearly, she didn’t care for any of his pleas, she just stared out the window. Her typewriter sat on her lap, untouched.
She hasn’t done much since the young duke brought her to the palace- where he will be staying for a month for the festivities of the holiday. She has only eaten the meals offered, changed into the clothes given, wandered the corridors she was allowed, and wrote.
She has received a few letters from her family. She has read all of them with a cool expression on her face, flickers of emotion passing through her face. He was feeling nothing from watching her, nothing but a longing for her to smile.
He didn’t expect a response from her, so he was surprised when she responded to his query.
“What happened?” he had asked “You used to shine so brightly. So beautifully. Now you have lost all passion in you. You aren’t even saddened. It’s like someone carved the heart out of your chest.” She was wearing a dreamy blue dress that modestly covered her like a governess. Her deep tan had paled and her hair was in a braid. She was staring at the book in her hands. “May I read that?” he added.
She lifted her pale brown eyes and said, voice high and husky with disuse “You aren’t allowed to do that.”
He perks up. She was finally speaking to him! “What was that, my dear?”
She turns away drawing closer to the fire “You aren’t allowed to treat me as if I am at fault for no longer being happy. You can’t trap a bird and expect it to not long for the skies.”
“I don’t care your reasons!” she lashed, cheeks a splotchy red “You made me this way! Now watch as I die, inside out.”
His response was cut short as the fire spiked- fed by a book. A book that took years to write, no doubt. A book that she has just burned...in defiance, of him.
The next week there was a thin bound book, only a few pages, on his desk, signed by Mila.
He opens it and begins to read;
On a cold dreary night, Azura attempted the heist of her life. She was to rob a prince. A cruel prince who thought the world owed him nothing but the best. It was at a bar close to the castle, she snuck behind him as her friend seduced him.
Her heart pounded as she swiftly slipped her hand into his coat pocket- no matter how swift however he still caught her. He made a fool out of her, publicly exposing her- then taking her with him into the night.
The treck to the castle was painful, there was cold snow on the floor and it bit her feet turning them blue from the cold. The prince wore fine clothes that would keep him warm. Azura was not as lucky, she nearly passed out- twice. But that was only the beginning of her night of horrors- for that night, she became the prince’s spy.
The royal family wasn’t loving- it was a cruel game of whoever survived and impressed the King the best. The cruel prince- second eldest- was the most favored. And he was determined to keep it that way. He sent her on trips to bars, gala’s, black markets to look for secrets, weaknesses.
She served him well. For no one ever suspects a woman to amount to anything. One night she came back, bloody and beaten- a dagger in her midsection. The prince helped stitch her up.
“Who did this to you?” he demanded, voice thundering off the walls.
A bloody smile splits her face, lifting her head- blond hair looking brown, matted with mud, blood, and dirt and knotted to the side, she said “You did.”
“Don’t be ridiculous,” he barks- temple throbbing, a flush spreading across his ivory skin. “Tell me and I’ll-”
“Kill them?” she guessed “Or have someone like me do that for you?”
The prince’s blue-black eyes glittered with an unknown emotion, “That-”
“Is besides the point?" She laughs a terrible laugh, an echo of the Prince's "You aren’t allowed to act like my hero when you are my greatest enemy.”
“Yes,” she interrupts “you are.”
He stares at her, his handsome face conveying shock and not cruel languid smirks.
“You made me this way. A murderer, you dumped me into a world of lies and blood and danger.” She glared at the stiff-faced prince “you aren’t allowed to act surprised when I get hurt.”
He wasn’t surprised that she was hurt, he realized, he was surprised that he cared so much that she was.
Turning on his heel the prince- Erebus- left the room. And when he came back the next day, he found her sitting on her balcony rails, waiting for him.
She looked over her shoulder at him. Her thin air-like blonde hair was clean and flowing with the morning breeze. Her pale skin clean with a recent bath, her smile was bright. But her eyes- her eyes were cold and held no fondness.
“I thought,” she explained, “that you can be here to see me fly.”
He started forward and she did too, the difference was that his next step was across the room to her- and hers was through the air and to the ground, she knew there was a reason she had the highest floor in the castle.
She knew, before her death that she couldn’t go anywhere without him finding her. So she went to the only place where he could not follow.
Yevhen’s hands shook and he darted to her room, expecting to see her on her balcony… but she wasn’t there. She wasn’t anywhere. Everything in her room was still in place… except for her typewriter.
Panicked, he rushed for the balcony- to see as far as he could- and found her sitting in the garden. Writing, a small smile on her lips. Yevhen fell in love again… unfortunately, so did the Prince. And the Prince had a deeper pocket than the duke.
The Prince was able to pay the family better and he didn’t have to steal her away- for she was already taken. The Prince, without the duke’s realizing it- had fallen and chosen Mila as his love. And he was, without the duke realizing it, persuading her to chose him back.
Poor girl- forever being pursued. All because she wrote words sweeter than honey. And told stories more valuable than gold. As the Queen, the whole world heard her stories- the most popular being the one of a trapped spy and a cruel prince. A tragedy. The one Yevhen read, over and over, was of a man who wanted something but was too afraid to touch it, to get his hands dirty trying to deserve it- and he ended up with nothing but his own fantasies. Another tragedy.
The Prince wasn’t the last one to love her. Many fell for her quiet calm- but none managed to win her away from the Prince. For the Prince wasn’t afraid to get his hands dirty and he fought… to give her a choice.
Of course, she would choose him.
So... which love was the most surprising?
All of them- since love is the greatest mystery. And there is never a clear path.