WRITER'S NOTE: This is a retrospective of Esther when she first meets King Reuben Grealth of the Northern Kingdom of Rissindell. This short story will be added to one of my future books; one of them being a prequel to The Blacksmith's Nephew. Please enjoy the reading.
It's a busy and hot day at the marketplace here in the Capital of Rissindell. The streets were full of people, either vendors or buyers or tourists, that left little to no elbow room.
I cautiously pulled a wooden wagon full of milk cartons. As I have done so, I was trying to find a open spot to set up shop and not to collide with anyone or anything. People from all over the Rissindell country were here today from what it has seemed. I noticed people with the colors of yellow and orange clothing indicating they are from the Southern Kingdom of Rissindell. While I too saw people with blue and green clothing which happens to be the colors for the Northern Kingdom of Rissindell. Meanwhile the locals wore all black, white and gray. I myself was wearing a gray dress with a white arpon today.
After excusing myself through this crowd in the midsection of the Capital, I finally came across a open vendor. But before I had a chance to park my wagon, a middle aged with a beer belly man quickly set his mech onto the table. From his mech, it appears to be that he was selling belts from what I could see.
Without getting annoyed, I kindly ask: "Excuse me, sir, but can I please use that open spot for my shop?"
He turns to me and waved his hand replying back: "Sorry darling but this spot is already taken. I've got my hands full here. You might as well look elsewhere."
"Oh, okay. Well have a good sell," I softly replied. I then proceeded to pull my wagon to find another open spot.
If only I had Flavia by my side, I would have gotten that spot. Right now she is currently busy entertaining people with her band the Fanjesters. I knew if she was here, she would have chew that man's ear off and he would have caved in after having her wrath. She probably use one of his belt to reason with her. That would have been an interesting scene. Some people in the Capital can be really generous, while others, such as that belt vendor, can't be for some reason.
While I continue the path to find another open spot, I could feel the palms of my hands sweat as well as felt some streaming down my back. The sun was literally out today without a cloud in the sky. It didn't help much that this wagon was getting heavy every meter either. My hands were starting to get bristles from carrying this wagon for quite some time. A half hour at least.
As far as I could see and with all of the pulling I've been doing, there was no open spot for me to place my milk. Expect for one. It was near the water fountain amongst the wall. Seeing that water coming out of that faucet made my mouth watered. I quickly but carefully made my way to the wall foundation. But before I could touch the water, the faucet stopped. I frowned but considering I have finally got a open spot, I now can sell my milk. And since I was quite thirsty, I just opened a milk jar instead. It isn't the same as water but at least I wasn't dying of thrist after drinking it now. The milk I drunk was produced from a cow.
After drinking my jar of milk, I set up shop in a matter of minutes. I had cow milk, goat milk, buffalo milk, rice milk, any milk you could think of, I have it. I get all of the milk from the local farmers; all organic!
Eventually I set up and start yelling: "Come One, Come All! Come get your Milk from the local farmers of Rissindell! All different varieties from different Kingdoms and all organic with no chemicals! Free Samples!" Yet with all that convincing shouting, not a single person came over to me to purchase anything. I guess people are more interested into other things than a variety of fresh milk.
'I mean, come on, for heaven sakes: I am giving away free samples,' I thought this to myself. That would surely get people's attention but apparently not so much as of today.
A hour passed and I was bored out of my mind. Not even a single person came up to me about the milks I was selling. Before I realized I started making conversations with the jars of milk. Now I'm going insane. So I decided to try my second attempt to convince people with the same promotion but just I was about done, I get poked at my sides. I literally yelped: "Free Samplooo!"
I turn around to find Gerlard standing there with his sinister grin. Next thing I did, I smacked him unto his left arm for scaring me which I literally regret doing afterwards when I felt the pain from my hand thanks to his arm guard he wore.
Softly, he goes: "What's a matter, Esther dear? Did I startled you?"
"You nearly give me a heart attack," I replied with annoyance. Gerlard was the last person I want to be here.
"Awww, my poor love is just as scare as a church mouse," Gerlard says as he whispered it all in my ear while coming close to embrace me.
"Back off Gerlard!" I yelled at him while rejecting his attempt. "I am not your love nor a church mouse!"
He replied back with a smile: "Whatever you say, hun. You will always be the same. Say, do you still do free samples?"
"Yes, I still do but will you be buying this time?" I asked out of a professional yet irritated tone. He always takes samples of my milk but never once purchases one jar.
"Unfortunately no, my dear. I got some savings to do."
"It's always the same answer from you."
"You try being a knight and then we can talk," Gerlard said as he grabbed one of the nearby milk jars. Gerlard processes to open and drink from it. But once he had drink his first slip, he spat out the milk from his mouth.
"Yuck," he cries. "It tastes sour."
"It's all fresh Gerlard. You probably don't have a taste for almond milk."
"This is almond milk!?" he baffled. "I think you should make sure that the milk you are selling ain't spolied for your customers."
"They're clearly not, Gerlard! My milk has always been freshed! Never have I gave anyone spolied milk!"
"Well, clearly I don't believe you darling. And you call yourself an establishment. I might as well get rid of this disgusting thing." Gerlard then processes to drop the jar with almond milk unto the ground which caused it to shatter.
"You're going to pay for that, Gerlard!" I snapped.
"Don't need to unless you want that second date we both promise a month ago..." he said with a disturbing grin.
"As I told you last night: I am no longer interested!"
"Then so be it. I might as well go my merry way. Got a lot of knight stuff to do. See ya later my love," Gerlard says as he turns around and walks away.
I proceeded to pick up the mess that Gerlard has left for me. Quickly I swipe up the mess with a small broom and dustpan. Next I grabbed a rag and cleaned up the milk content. This took me a few minutes to clean up the mess.
By the time I was done someone was standing over me asking: "Are you okay, madame?"
I looked up to find a man with a nice trim black beard and long black hair. He aquired blue and green colors clothing which made him look like a royal. Next to the good looking man was a guard wearing the same color with his sword at his right side covered in a emerald scabbard.
"I'm-I'm fine," I shutter. "J-just cleaning up this m-mess."
The man replied with a slight yet welcoming smile: "Good, I'm glad to hear you're doing fine at the least. I can see that with the rag you got there. What's a pretty like you selling?"
With a redden face, I nervously go: "I'm selling milk products. All fresh and organic from the local farmers of Rissindell. There's also free samples."
"Mind if I try a sample from you today?" he asked politely.
"Absolutely, what would you like to try?" I asked while standing up.
"What all do you got, miss..."
"Oh, my name is Esther. And I got cow milk, goat milk, rice milk, buffalo milk, almond milk, coconut milk, any milk you desire."
"It's a pleasure meeting you Esther," he said with a bow. "The name is Reuben Grealth. I happen to be visiting here to get supply for my people. As you can see with this clothing, I am a royal. I'm actually am the High Ruler of the Northern Kingdom of Rissindell."
"A King!?" I asked with a surprised look on my face.
"Yes, I am the King but enough about me. Let's do business. I think I would like to try out that rice milk you have mentioned."
"Most certainly," I said as I reached to grab the sample jar of the rice milk. I then pour some into a disposable cup and gave it to the King.
"Thank you Beautiful," he responded.
I replied with no hesitation: "You're welcome Handsome."
Reuben then drinks the sample and once he was done, he made a surprise expression.
"What!? What is it, sire?"
"This has got to be the sweetest milk I ever did tasted."
"Well, rice milk is the sweetest milk that's out there."
"And is that honey I'm tasting?"
"None should have any honey in it..." I go with a confused look upon my face.
The King then chopped his lips and replies with a chuckle: "Oh goodness me. I have some honey on the edge of mustache. I just recently tasted some honey not too long ago from the vendor down the street.
I laughed but quickly shut my mouth up by grabbing my hand over it.
The kind King softly reaches for my hand and gently lowers it down while replying: "No need to hide your expressions my dear. You have the most beautiful smile I had ever seen."
My face vot even more red. I responded: "Thank you, Your Majesty."
"You're welcome, Esther."
"So are you interested into buying anything, my good sir?"
"Yes, I would like to buy all of them."
Stunned by the reply, I go: "All of them as in all of my milk?"
"Yes, darling. I would like to give my people these great stuff for we are currently running low on milk at the moment."
"But there's other vendors that sell milk, why chose me?"
"I've tasted a lot of free sample milk in my life but this one here, has to be the sweetest one I have ever drunk in my entire life. Plus: I have taking a liking of you as well to be quite frank."
"A liking to me? I'm just a milkmaid, Your Grace."
"A milkmaid who stole my heart. One is just as sweet as this rice milk, maybe even sweeter. I would love it if you would accompany me tonight for the ball."
"I don't know what to say."
"I promise you'll never regret it. I've been told I'm an excellent dance partner," he said with a conceiving wink.
"Alright, I shall especially since I have been taken a liking of you as well," I said as I try to hide my redden face with some of my hair.
"Splendid! How much for all the jars my dear?"
Next thing I know I told him the amount and Reuben paid triplefold. I allowed him for his polite guard to take the load of milk to their ship they were sailing on.
He asked me directly: "Would you like to see my ship, Esther?"
"Absolutely, Reuben dear!" I smiled.
As we walked, Reuben and I scrolled down the street with our arms linking together. This has got to be the happiest day of my life. I still couldn't believe that this was all happening. It felt like a dream. As the two of us continue to walk our way to Reuben's ship, I could feel a presence but I decided to ignore it. Nothing was going to take this happiness away from me. Not a thing or no one in that matter.