|Re: The Beauty of a Song (Updated 7/6)|
Subject: Re: The Beauty of a Song (Updated 7/6)
by Rena on 2009/7/13 6:36:35
When much of the food she had brought out was gone—Brian for one had the appetite of a horse—Lynia realized that her parents were still not out of their room yet. “That’s strange,” she muttered. She excused herself from the conversation and walked back to the door. Without saying a word, she swung it open.
Her mother stumbled out of the room, nearly falling onto her. Her father regained his balance faster than she did. Neither looked very proud of themselves, especially when they realized that their daughter was quite furious with them.
“Mother!” she hissed. “Father! What do you think you are doing?”
“I’m sorry,” her mother whispered, “but we couldn’t resist! It sounds like you’re doing such a good job of getting along with them, and we didn’t want to ruin it!”
“But Mother, he came here to meet with all of us, not just me!”
“You know,” her mother continued, a gleam in her eye, “we’ve heard that he’s looking for a bride. Something about the last one not working out for some reason… Maybe he’ll pick you!”
“Mother! Now you’ll go and get your hopes up,” Lynia replied, exasperated. She thought she might do this. It looked as if her fears were not as groundless as she had hoped they were. “Mother, he’s a prince,” she said, “and I’m… Well, look at me! I am not princess material. He’s supposed to marry some foreign beauty and gain control of another kingdom when he becomes king. He is most definitely not supposed to marry some girl as common and unattractive as I am.”
Before her mother could reply, Lynia dragged her parents out in to the kitchen, where she introduced them to the prince and his companion. They were all quite polite, though the parents were still rather starstruck by the handsome young man who had been sitting at their kitchen table, calmly eating a roll, before standing up to shake their hands. They were almost equally impressed with Brian, who was well known as a trusted member of the royal court, despite his preference to stay in a more military position.
Matthew and Brian stayed and talked with the family about all manner of things, from the weather’s effects on the crops of the farm to the quality of the ale in the tavern to the advantages and disadvantages of living in a castle. It seemed to be only a few minutes before it was midday. Matthew and Brian stood, looking rather regretful, and said that they had promised to be back in time for lunch at the castle.
“Although I must say, I think I might prefer the food here,” Brian said. “The castle cook’s a personal friend of mine, and I do adore him, but his food’s been off ever since his wife became pregnant. I imagine she runs him ragged everyday—the quality of the food has taken a bit of a dive recently.”
Lynia’s family was delighted when they requested—requested!—to be able to return for a proper meal. They were informed that they were welcome to stop by anytime that they wished and stay as long as they wanted. They would be only to eager to do the kingdom’s hospitable reputation justice.
They returned the next day. This time, Matthew was accompanied by the same small band of guards that had been with him the first time they had passed by Lynia’s home. The company arrived an hour or so before midday, time during which Lynia’s family was introduced to the guard and treated with many stories about life in the castle.
When the time for the meal arrived, the guards, though they insisted that they had brought food with them, were treated to bread hot from the oven and vegetables that had been picked that morning. It was all quite good, and perhaps what brought more men along for the next trip.
This time, Matthew refused to let them be fed simply on the family’s good will. “At the rate the men are coming,” he said with a smile, “the entire castle will be dining here within days. We cannot have you turned out of your home because some guards want a free meal, you know.”
Lynia’s mother took the coins with a smile so bright it was almost glowing.
The prince continued to visit the family regularly. The rate of the visits decreased some, as the family had expected—he could not reasonably come every day—and quickly stabilized at three a week. Her parents found it quite helpful as well as being gratifying—the townspeople heard of the prince’s fondness for the food and took to purchasing it. That, as well as the prince’s continued purchases for the men of the castle, which he said would most likely last until the cook’s baby was a good year or two old, led to the family being able to finally open an official stall in the town square. They found a pair of brothers who were quite happy to cart the goods from the house to the stall, man it, and return later with the money. It helped that the brothers had been quite impressed by their new employers’ connections when a group of royal guards showed up on the first day. These guards did the stall the favor of making it obviously Lynia’s family’s as well as making sure the brothers were honest, as Matthew had asked them to do.
Lynia found herself becoming more and more attached to Matthew as his visits continued. It had not been long before Matthew told her she could simply call him by his name, something only the royal family, guard, and tutors were permitted to do. She had been quite shocked at this—it meant that he trusted her.
Indeed, he did. Matthew often brought along the exercises his parents assigned him. They were mock situations a king might be put in, and he was to figure out the most diplomatic method of solving them. He always took Lynia’s opinion into consideration—she had a natural talent at seeing ways to avoid angering people.
It was not long before the pair connected musically, either. She allowed him to hear her sing, and he was quite as entranced as he had been the first time he had heard her, though he refrained from leaping over or through any tables or walls to get to her. Oftentimes he would bring along an instrument or two of his own, with which he both accompanied her singing and played his own compositions. His talent was evident. They helped each other to become much stronger musicians. This was where their bond was strongest.
After a few months, the visits started to increase in frequency again. Lynia simply assumed that he wanted more time away from his responsibilities in the castle, something she did not blame him for. He was the only prince the kingdom had, after all—there was plenty of pressure on him. She did not think it had much to do with who he was going to see as much as where he was leaving.
That was why she was the one who was most surprised when he asked her to come and live in the castle with him.
“As my bride,” he said, his hands trembling even as they held hers. Matthew was quite nervous. There are some things that you can never be truly prepared for, and this was one of them. Lynia was unlike any girl he had ever met—if anyone had the will to refuse a prince if his desires did not match hers, it was her. “As my queen. As my other half. As the angel you are, to be the voice to my music.”
An expression of true happiness burst onto his face at her reply, though her voice was choked with happy tears.
“Yes. Of course. Nothing could stop me.”