9

1.4K 90 5
                                    

None of it felt real. Returning to your norm of chores and whatnot, the mystical aura of the toy shop faded into the background of daily life. With stepmothers' orders and your stepsisters' whining voices calling on you, you were too busy to think deeply about that one vivid memory of father. Even at night while you laid down by the hearth were you too worn out to think. Maybe this was a sign that your paths wouldn't cross with Wellington anymore. Not that... you longed for it.

Today was one of those days where you were the customer rather than the seller. You were demanded to go to the market to buy meat and vegetables, so that was what you went to do. Dressed as a young man once more - since bartering for prices were easier as a male - you left the house and trampled down the roads once more.

Though unlike the usual route you went, you went left of your house. There was another market on the edge of town where they sold the kind of meat Rosa only liked. It was much farther than the one where you sold fruits at, but it would have to make do. Each time you made a trip there, your legs would sore, but if you didn't go, you would get in big trouble.

While you were on your way, a weight suddenly rammed into your back. Toppling over when your feet unbalanced themselves, you crashed onto the cement. Bumping your arms and scratching them through your thin sleeves, you let out a pained groan. You weren't too seriously injured though - it could've been a lot worse.

Luckily you were on a pretty deserted road, so you couldn't feel too many eyes on you. Placing your palms against the dusty, rough surface of the ground, you heaved yourself up. Brushing your hands off, before moving onto your clothes, you almost jumped when you heard a voice behind you.

"I'm terribly sorry! Are you... are you okay?"

You whirled around and froze when you met eyes with a girl around your age. Platinum blonde hair tied into a long braid fell over her right shoulder. Bright, blue orbs lined with long, natural lashes surrounding them were staring at you in worry. Wearing an emerald gown and a large petticoat, you could already see her as a daughter of a nobleman. She was so very beautiful too.

"I'm fine. Thank you for asking," you politely responded.

Her concern seeped away and a dazzling smile took over her lips. "I'm so glad. It's just that I've been chased by my coachmen and I was running too fast that I wasn't watching where I was going. Once again, I deeply apologize."

Furrowing your forehead, you analyzed her for a few seconds. The unnecessary information that she had just spewed out caught your attention, and you couldn't go on without prodding about it. She seemed to be quite the talkative person. "Why were you getting chased?"

Her expression instantly saddened and you began to fear you had went too far. To your surprise though, she answered your question nevertheless. "I'm getting married off to an arrange marriage to someone I don't love. The wedding is approaching soon, which meant I had to go dress shopping today. It's been suffocating lately and I didn't want to go home just yet, so I decided to have a little getaway first."

You blinked at her for a few seconds in bewilderment. She was young... too young to have her freedom taken away like this. Your stomach twisted at the thought of having to submit to a loveless marriage already. The familiar green feeling of envy that sat on your chest earlier quickly dissipated, now replaced with pity. She lived in a whole other world, a girl rich and high in status, but at the same time... she was rather similar to you. Expectations laid on both of you, trapping the two of you in tight cages.

"Hey, don't look so sad! It's not as horrible as it sounds," she tried to assure you. Her face brightened up, but you could see the tense clench of her jaw. She then let out a small gasp, her small, rosy lips parting gently. "Oh! How rude of me! I've never introduced myself. My name is Ira. What's yours?"

Ashes of CinderWhere stories live. Discover now