Authors Note: Sorry it has taken so long! School, college applications, and everything else has been crazy the last few months. But now I have time to finish up this story! Of course, there are a lot more chapters that need to be written... it's not over yet! )
Hope you enjoy this chapter. Reviews would be nice! I like to know that people read my story.
Aurian looked around at his surroundings, noticing that even fifty feet below the surface, light still found its way down beneath the waves of the ocean. There were fish everywhere, some swimming around lazily while others were swimming quickly in groups, acting as if they had somewhere important to go. Looking down below, he saw vibrantly colored plants swaying in imaginary wind that was created by the small fish passing by them. Pink and purple coral snuck itself in every open spot available on the surface of the sea, barely leaving enough room for a pathway made of flat stones. Ahead, lay a castle made of seashells that looked as if it took many years to coordinate the colors and design of. The castle looked so delicate, and seemed as if a single push could make it topple over. Everything looked so serene and peaceful. It was a paradise below the sea…
And oh how he hated it. Aurian despised every grain of sand and every pesky little fish that swam by. He was sick of living in the same surrounding and looking at the same beautiful landscape every day. It did not matter that humans thought of this place as perfect, they did not have to live here. After many years of being around this, the magic of the place disappeared for him. A castle made of shells seemed fascinating when he was younger. But not now, not after spending years sleeping on hard seashell floors and accidentally cutting himself on sharp edges. Watching and playing with the fish seemed like a fun game when he was younger, but at seventeen years old, his imagination left him. The pathway was more a nuisance than useful, for no one ever used it. It acted as more of a guide to the castle and yet, no one ever needed guidance. Their feet never even touched it, for all of the water nymphs swam.
Because of his relation to the queen, Aurian had no control over his destiny. It had already been planned out for him, as tradition normally goes for members of the royal family. As the son of Titania, queen of the sea, he was kept under careful watch. Everyone knew he was the next in line for the position of the Silent One, and wanted no harm to come to him. All of his mother's advisors made sure that no one grew attached to him and no danger would come in his path, to make sure there were no obstacles in the way of his duty. Aurian had no friends. All he really knew was the kingdom grounds, for he was forbidden from adventure. He was sick of it all, and he wanted out.
Aurian arrived at the castle in a short period of time. Reaching the entrance, he noticed all of his mother's advisors milling about, waiting to be allowed into the throne room. They all glanced up and noticed him, their faces brightening up with eagerness to speak to him. He groaned, sinking down to the floor in hopes of avoiding them. It was too early in the morning to be awake, let alone handle the kingdom's advisors. Why his mother would want to speak to him this early, he had no clue. All he wanted at the moment was to be left alone. But alas, the advisors thought otherwise.
The advisors, a group of five bulky old men, swam towards Aurian, excited to see that he was staying put instead of swimming the other direction. They crowded around him, all determined to get him to listen. Aurian instantly put on a fake, cheery smile and began to speak to them.
"Well hello fellows. How are you on this fine, fine morning?"
One of the men spoke up. "Good morning, Aurian. I am doing well, thank you, as are the others."
Another man cut in, "Since you are here Aurian, and with no pressing matters to attend to, mind sparing us a few moments?"
Aurian sighed, answering defeatingly, "Do I have a choice?"
The man ignored him, proceeding, "Aurian, there have been rumors going around that you are not happy with your present situation. Now, I can not and will not sympathize for you. There is no reason for you to be upset, or act like some spoiled human just to get what you want. We, that is, your mother and us, her fellow advisors, have run by this orderly system for centuries and it has been perfectly well." Aurian rolled his eyes, sighing silently to himself. He did not want to listen to these annoying old men, but to be polite, he allowed them to continue.
"Aurian, all of your other brothers were perfectly happy to be the Silent One. In fact, most of them were honored to be a part of something so big, so important. You are the only one that has been causing us trouble. The whole kingdom has been speaking of it. They are afraid that you might mess things up if you continue with that sulking attitude of yours."
The others nodded in agreement. Glaring at the men, Aurian began to defend himself, "Now listen here, you old grumpy men. I deserve some sympathy. It's not all fun and games, being the prince, as well as the heir to the position of the Silent One. How would you feel if you were locked away for a hundred years? You would go mad for sure, all of you would."
All of the men, baffled, began speaking at once, causing mayhem by the doorway to the throne room. Aurian was barely able to distinguish one voice from another.
"Aurian! How dare you say something so disrespectful! Think of the kingdom, think of everyone who depends on you! Do not be so greedy!—"
"—Aurian, there must be something wrong with you for you to be saying such things! Are you ill? Did something happen? Are you okay?—"
"—Nonsense, he's fine. Aurian! Think of what your mother would say if she heard you speak like this—"
"Enough!" Aurian cried out, "Stop! All of you! You do not understand! No matter what you all say, nothing is going to change how I feel about my future. I would rather live among the humans than spend the rest of my life in solitude. And I will go and sulk however much I want, so quit complaining".
All of the advisors were offended by his disrespect. Glaring at him, they all attempted to speak again at once, but failed for at that exact moment, the throne room door opened. The queen swam out and instantly, everyone went silent, afraid of how she would react.
After a few moments of silence, she finally spoke, "Aurian, go into the throne room. I am ready to speak with you. And believe me, we have a lot more to talk about after this incident that just happened".
Aurian gave a slight nod and left his spot by the door, heading into the room. The advisors faces became cheery again, and they all swam towards the queen, hoping for approval. She gave them an icy and threatening glare, daring them to come closer. They all hesitated and waited for her to speak to them.
"My faithful advisors," she stated harshly, "You have gone too far this time. Leave for the time being, or there will be hell to pay".
All of the men scurried away, leaving the queen by herself outside the throne room door. Nodding briefly at what she accomplished in just a few short moments, the queen swam back into the throne room and closed the door.
Letting out a deep sigh, Aurian swam towards his mother's throne, placing himself gently in it. Fish kept swimming past him and occasionally bumping into his face. Aurian began swatting them away with his fingertips, but was only able to catch their bubbles.
Groaning, Aurian called out to his mother, "You should do something about the over breeding of fish this season; they're everywhere." Smirking, Aurian added, "And I'm certainly not the first to complain, I keep hearing your so-called advisors muttering it under their breath now and then. Of course, they would never tell you that… their precious queen."
"Oh hush Aurian," the queen replied, "Don't think you are getting off so easy from before." She began wandering around the edges of the room, glancing around occasionally while continuously speaking, "My 'so-called advisors' as you put it, are right; your sulking has been noticed by most of the kingdom. People are going to start questioning you, and whether or not you will be as good as your brothers." She hesitated for a moment before continuing, "You do still want to be the Silent One, right? It is an honor many would die for."
"Well good for them!" Aurian spat out angrily, his humorous nature disappearing almost instantly. "They can have my spot then! I don't want it."
"You don't mean that my dear," she stated calmly, swimming near him, "You were destined to be great and because of this, you can not be unhappy." Worry crossed her face, and she began collecting sea lilies to distract herself.
Sighing to himself, Aurian began to relax; he knew his mother meant the best; she truly did not understand his unhappiness. He could not blame her for that, not when she was only able to see the good side of everything. He waited for a moment before speaking, watching his mother pick out the finest, brightest flowers growing near her throne.
Finally, Aurian spoke out, "It's not that I don't feel honored, mother. I know that I am blessed to have such a lucky Fate, and I would not want it any other way. I only wish…" He hesitated.
His mother glanced up sharply, catching on. "Only wish what?" She swam up to him, a bouquet in her hand. She urged him to continue.
"…I only wish I could experience a normal life before it is time for me to begin my position. I want to be able to taste freedom, not just watch others foolishly do so."
Smiling slightly, his mother spoke up, "And this is why I asked you to come today. Now, I have granted this privilege only to some of your brothers, but I know you have been having a difficult time accepting your Fate."
"Mother, what are you talking about?" Aurian asked confused. His mother waved him off, ignoring the fact that he asked her a question.
"Of course, they weren't as disrespectful, and were a lot more obedient; but I am sure we can ignore that!" The words rushed out of the queen's mouth, excitement growing, "Oh don't you see Aurian? You are only seventeen, you still have some time before your eighteenth birthday and before everything changes."
"Mother," Aurian sighed, "I honestly have no idea what you are talking about…"
"Your freedom Aurian!" she replied excitedly, "You want the freedom to meet people and go on adventures right? To explore the sea? I am granting you permission to do so for the next few months, as long as you return to the castle before your eighteenth birthday."
Aurian did not know what to say. He certainly was not expecting to hear this when he came to visit his mother today. He nodded to his mother, not sure on how to react.
"Go on, Aurian! Shoo! Time is ticking away, and yet you are still here. There is an entire ocean waiting to be explored." His mother began nudging him up out of her seat, laughing at his expression of bewilderment and confusion. It still hadn't fully sunk in yet. Aurian gave his mother a slight smile and got up, heading towards the throne doors. He wasn't sure what he should be saying to his mother. He stopped midway and turned around.
"Thanks mother, this means a lot to me," he stated softly. His mother laughed and tossed him the bouquet of flowers.
"Just go plant those for me, would you? Somewhere that isn't my throne room." Aurian laughed with her and nodded.
"Of course, mother." And then he left the throne room, and left the castle itself.
By the time he reached the edge of the castle grounds, a smile had formed on his face; his mother did not say whether or not he had limitations; of course, there were forbidden places but he was, after all, royalty. He found a secluded spot that looked very bare, and placed his mother's flowers there. Instantly, they grabbed onto the rocks nearby, and held themselves in place. Aurian swam away, laughing at how much things have changed in just one day.
He knew his mother wanted him to explore the ocean, and be able to have that taste of freedom. But he never told his mother that tasting freedom was only a small piece of what he wanted; oh, he wanted more than that. Aurian wanted to taste, feel, see, and hear freedom, but most of all, Aurian wanted to breathe in freedom… with air.