Arc 1: Your Kingdom
(4) In the Blue Light
The prince let out a small gasp.
“Something…is on my face.”
“That is the wind. It’s not that strong today, so it felt like it brushed against your cheek. Like this, right?”
Fernand demonstrated by sliding his finger across the prince’s cheek. It felt the same as the wind but warmer. It tickled, so the prince twisted his neck, rubbing his cheek against his shoulder.
It was Fernand who proposed that they go out to the garden. The prince would have never imagined that he could go outside this quickly, but he feigned calmness in hopes of disguising this surprise. He worried that if his true feelings were discovered, he would be told, “On second thought, let’s not.”
The prince stood underneath the beautiful archway leading outside, overwhelmed by the vast green world before his eyes. The wind gently caressed his face, neck, wrists, and any part not covered by his clothes and blew past, inviting the boy to come outside. If he took a few steps forward, he would surely feel the softness of the grass through his scarlet satin shoes.
The prince lagged behind as he used the tip of his shoes to trace the patterns on the tiles on the corridor floor. It probably wasn’t the case that the prince was scared to step on the grass.
…Rather, it was more likely that he was hesitant to step on it because plants breathe.
“It can’t be helped then… Please hold on tightly.”
Fernand crouched, guided the prince’s arms to wrap around his own neck, and picked him up. Because Fernand had often done this in the room, the prince wasn’t frightened when his feet no longer touched the ground. Inside these arms, he wasn’t scared of the shift in elevation.
Fernand proceeded to the garden. Their surroundings grew bright along with the sound of the crisp grass underneath. They had gone outside.
The sky overhead was like an expansive blue ceiling, and its sheer height overwhelmed the prince.
“There is a small gazebo just past these rose hedges. I’m sure Milly is preparing tea for us there, so let’s take a walk around the area.”
Although he said, “Let’s take a walk,” Fernand didn’t release the prince. This relieved the prince as he gazed at his surroundings. The various colored rose buds popped their heads out between the leaves and resembled the trumpets in the sky.
—I wonder when they’ll bloom.
The prince’s heart pounded, excited that they might bloom right now. If they did bloom at this very moment, he might get startled and fall… So, he clung to the wide chest beside him.
“What do you think, prince? They’re still buds, but they’re beautiful, right? Ah, this one looks like it’s about to open…”
Fernand said and leaned his body forward, placing his lips near the white petals about to open.
“It smells sweet… Here, prince.”
The prince timidly extended his finger and touched the petal near Fernand’s lips. It was nice and cool, a wonderful feeling.
He mistakenly touched a thorn, injuring his fingertip. The prince stared at the drop of red blood forming as if it belonged to someone else.
Fernand grabbed the prince’s hand and put his mouth over the injured finger. The moist and warm feeling caused the prince to frown in bewilderment, “That tickles.”
“Alright, I have finished disinfecting it… Do you think you can walk by yourself now?”
“It’s alright. Even if you step on the grass, it can still breathe.”
Because the prince didn’t answer his question, Fernand whispered this reassurance in his ear. And for a second, he grazed his lips against the earlobe. This gesture reminded the prince of when he touched the rose, so he panicked, pushed himself away from Fernand, and jumped down from his arms.
“Not so fast. Make sure you don’t fall…”
His first step on top of grass was something he had never felt. The feeling made him think he was walking on top of a cloud.
“What are you looking at?”
Fernand tenderly asked the prince whose gaze was fixed on the ivy twirling around the gazebo’s pillars.
“I was wondering why they’re not blue.”
The prince pouted his lips as he turned over leaf after leaf, fervently checking them. He cocked his head at this impossibility.
“There’s a blue light turned on in the sky, so I had thought that they would look a little bit blue, but… I only see green…”
The prince recalled his life in the basement in Maillard and frowned. Light came in only through a window on the ceiling, so when that dimmed, he immediately turned on a tiny lamp. The lamp’s light was a bright red with a yellow tinge. The white walls, sheets, and his hand placed on top of those sheets looked to be stained red.
“I’d thought that because of the sky looked like a giant blue lamp, everywhere would turn blue…”
He gradually lost confidence and his words tapered off. When that happened, Fernand softly stroked the prince’s head.
“It’ll be dyed blue right before the sun sets, though it will only be for a moment.”
“You’ve seen it before?”
Had he seen the moment when the trees, buildings, people outside…everything turns blue? The prince had read about such in a book once. He peered into Fernand’s eyes with envy. There was a blue light residing in there as well. A clear blue – the same as the sky.
“So, you’ve also been bathed in blue light. That’s why you have such beautiful blue eyes, right? Just like the blue in the sky.”
“…That may be the case.”
The tea had been prepared, so the prince was led by the hand to the gazebo. Along the way, this thought drifted in his mind,
–I wonder if my eyes turned black because I’ve always looked at the darkness.
As he looked at the fresh green over his shoulder, he solemnly closed his eyes, “I wish they were dyed in that color though.”
Sorry for the super long delay between chapters. As I’ve mentioned on my own blog, I’m shifting around my schedule and I completely focused on another series that I forgot to upload this chapter that I had finished last month…
Previous Chapter | Next Chapter