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Cursed (part 2)

Eris, 15 years later

“My dear, come away from the window. A cloudless night like this will cast an illness upon you before you know it,” the maid instructed ushering the girl away from it and towards a fire. She rolled her eyes and took one last glance at the moon as the old lady shut the curtains.

“I am fine, Helen. There was no need to worry, I just wanted to look at the full moon,” Eris replied hastily. She curled up in front of the fire wary of the lady’s frantic pacing around the room making sure everything is perfect.

“Sit up straight! You’re a princess, not a hooligan, I raised you better than this.” Eris sat up, but not after she flipped the maid off, disguising it as brushing her hair back behind her ear.

“I saw that,” the croon pointed out coldly, “I know you’re restless.”

“Hell yes, I’m restless! I’m never allowed to leave the walls of the castle, I don’t have any friends I don’t need to keep secret, and no matter how many ‘suitors’ my father sends; they can’t get over my eyes!” Eris snapped bitterly rising up.

“It’s not your eyes, It’s your temper they’re scared of. Your eyes are the most beautiful in this land. There is nothing else like them.” Eris glared not fooled at all. “Don’t scowl, save that for tomorrow during your history lessons, you’re tutor is expecting you to be well rested.” Helen sternly told her. She moaned and crawled into her bed.

“He fears my eyes too. They all do, even you! They’re too close, too close to the cursed eyes in the kingdom of Trinity.”

“Eris, darling. You’re a princess and you’re eyes are you’re most striking feature, don’t let paranoia get the better of you.”

The girl sighed irritated and glanced at the old lady. “I see the three moons and the stars in your eyes, any man should consider himself lucky to have met you.” Eris glared at her.

“Leave before you bore my ears off. I get that enough from my uncle. ‘Such splendid eyes! Only one truly worthy should have you’.” She mocked the words. The old lady laughed and went to the doors.

“Goodnight, my lady,” and shut the heavy doors behind her. Eris waited for several minutes before she got up again and tiptoed to the window. She opened the curtains and stared at the moon.

“They can try to control me all they want, but I won’t tolerate it forever,” she muttered and pressed her hand against the glass.

The next morning...

Eris was nearing death as the boredom she felt grew intense. Her tutor smacked her on the head for her to sit up.

“Are you a princess or a peasant? Pay attention, my dear and answer my question,” he sternly told her, thoroughly annoyed.

Eris thought a moment. “What was the question?” she asked innocently.

“Which kingdom sacrificed itself to seal off all the monsters and demons of the realm and what was the consequence of that sacrifice?” he asked again.

“The kingdom of Trinity was the kingdom and had asked the three divines to seal off the monsters. They did but only with a price that is continued to be paid to this day. Certain people born in the kingdom will have the power to defeat the creatures.They are ultimately the cursed.” Eris informed and added, “they have strange eyes. Or so I’m told.”

The instructor sighed, slightly put out, “that is correct, for the most part.” He shut the book and looked at her. “You’d be perfect to rule if only you were more interested in your studies.”

“I’d be perfect to rule if people knew I exist,” Eris replied mocking his tone. They stared at each other for a moment. He looked at her up and down frowning at her unruly personality.

“That is all for today, your highness,” he told her and packed up all the books and papers.

“Finally! Thank you professor Grant.” She bolted from the room and glided down to the kitchen to beg from the cook some of the baked goods. He looked at the door and smiled.

“She’s such a sweet girl too...”

Eris skidded to a halt right outside the back door to the kitchen and assumed the prim and proper posture of royalty. She opened the door and strolled in. She was met by the aroma of the stew cooking for lunch and the turkey being smoked for dinner. There were several ladies busying themselves, two were young children learning the basics. They were polishing the silver and drying the plates.

“I... Have arrived,” Eris announced grandly. They all looked up and a couple cracked a smile. The two girls jumped up excitedly and bowed. She waved them off and went straight to the older girl icing cupcakes. She was too focused in her duties she hadn’t heard Eris.

“You know... If the king or Queen came in here, you would be punished for not addressing them properly.” The girl jumped and looked at Eris, her glasses nearly falling right off. She brushed a lock of black hair away from her face.

“My lady... I’m sorry, it’s just these cupcakes take delicacy and time to make them perfect,” she stuttered. Eris rolled her eyes and picked up one of the cupcakes.

“Such delicacy of an artist.” She took a bite and savored the flavor for a moment. “Mmm.” She smiled and stuck a piece into the girl’s mouth.

“loosen up, Abby. I’m human... Somewhat. Don’t treat me like those ridiculous high end people,” Eris told her and sat on the counter.

“But, you’re the princess,” Abby replied filled with terror. Eris choked for a moment and turned to the girl.

“And that stopped us before?” She scoffed in horror. She jumped down from the counter. “If I wanted to be treated like a princess I would hang out with my cousins.” Abby bowed her head upset and Eris snatched her into a hug. “It is precisely why I’m the princess that I can order you to treat me like a normal person.” Abby then smiled and continued to decorate the cupcakes.

“What did you mean by ‘somewhat human’?” Abby asked confused. Eris laughed and patted her on the back.

“To be human, is to be flawed... So therefore, I am not human, because I am perfect,” she replied with a devilish smile. All the ladies chuckled and snickered as Abby looked at her perplexed.

“That’s not vain at all.” The oldest lady laughed. “Abigail, that’s enough cupcakes for today. You’re free to go.” She winked and went back to chopping some vegetables.

“Now what do we do?” Abby asked Eris.

She smiled devilishly again, “we go find some trouble, that’s what! Maybe we could bully a knight to give us archery lessons again.” They snickered and ran out. “Bye Raven, bye Robin, go ahead and sneak a cupcake. My treat, but don’t let them see!” Eris whispered to the kids. They grinned in excitement and waved goodbye.

They ran down the hallways to the training area, not worried about the disapproving eyes that pass by. They skid to a halt before the doors of the armory, their dress skirts ruffling around their legs catching up to them.

Eris gestured for Abby to be the look out as she peeked into the keyhole. She saw the odd knight-in-training or two practicing on straw dummies. She jiggled the doorknob to make sure it wasn’t locked. It wasn’t and she snicked in towing Abby behind her.

One of the knights noticed the two girls. “Princess, you’re not supposed to be in here. The king has strictly forbidden us to teach you anymore inappropriate, un-princess like behavior.” One bowed.

Eris laughed, “it’s not a behavior. It’s a skill and what he doesn’t know won’t hurt him. Plus, I think it’s smart for the ladies of the castle to learn how to defend themselves.” He was silent thinking about it. “Anyway, I’m thinking worst-case scenario here. What if the only difference between me and bleeding on the floor is an arrow that I desperately needed to know how to shoot?” The knight was baffled and backed away a few paces. He stared directly into her burning green eyes, feeling the markings etching themselves into his very soul. “You will teach us. I’ll take on my father if I have to,” she finished and the knight complied.

She grabbed a finely carved ebony bow and Abby grabbed a simple oak one. The knight then showed them the proper way to handle the bow when notching an arrow.

“I wonder who the next suitor, my father will try to introduce me to at dinner, will be,” Eris said absently releasing an arrow.

“Somebody of great importance from what I heard. They never tell me any names unfortunately, so I can’t forewarn you.” Abby apologized and she weakly shot an arrow. It fell short of the target.

They practiced aiming and shooting for several minutes, until Abby just got the hang of it and they moved on to do something new.

“Thank you,” Abby bowed before the knight, Eris dragged her away. They rounded the corner and ran into Helen.

“What are you doing here? You’re supposed to be upstairs getting ready for your afternoon tea with the queen. March young lady!” she ordered, pointing down the hall. “Good evening Abigail. Get on home now.” Eris watched as her friend scampered away.

“Thanks a lot! Now I have to talk to my cousins. And since when have you ever started giving me orders!” Eris snapped.

“Since always,” the old maid crossly told her. She grabbed her hand and dragged her back to her room. “You weren’t secretly getting archery lessons again, were you?” she suspiciously asked, eyeing the girl.

“Helen, I would never!” Eris lied.

“Mmhmm.” She didn’t look convinced.

“I’m telling you. Nothing happened.” Eris smirked and looked out of a window as they passed.

She saw the gardens and castle wall, beyond that manors and large houses other high end people lived at. There was another less grander wall separating them and a bustling market town and finally another wall. beyond that one was poorly built shacks and lots of farmland. Cutting through the middle was a wide river that allowed the kingdom to import and export goods.

Helen dragged her further and lead her back to her room. She sat Eris down at the makeup table and began to brush out the knots in her hair.

Eris sat there glowering at the old lady through the reflection, feeling the rough pull of her hair against the brush. Eventually, it was silky smooth and Helen wound it into a braid circlet on her head. She pinned a tiara on her head and Eris was finally stuffed into a tight corset.

“I thought it was only tea.” She huffed as her breath was squeezed out of her. The old croon didn’t answer. She tied her off and fetched the dress.

She presented it to the unruly princess.

“No. No! We promised to never bring out that one!” Eris cried taking in the bright shimmering red and gold dress.

“The king requested for you to wear it,” Helen answered and tackled Eris to the floor. After much struggle Helen looked at her satisfied examining the dress from all angles. Eris stood there glaring straight ahead.

“Smile dear. You’ll scare everyone with that face,” Helen told her.

“Good. That’s what I wanted,” Eris coldly replied.

“How did I know you’d say that.”

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