Ruby Red and Gentilberry Green: A Fantastical Romance - Part V

in #fiction6 years ago (edited)

This is the fifth part of an ongoing serial. Here are Parts One, Two, Three, and Four. Updates every two days.

“I didn’t think you’d have it in you, girl, but you’ve done it,” said Aunt Mattie, newly released from the pinkish hell of the floral bedsheets. “At this rate, you won’t even need Hearthunter.”

Anne stopped rummaging and glanced back through the darkness. The room looked less pink at night, at least, which was something of a relief, but conversation wasn’t exactly doing anything to help her find a proper nightie.

“Just so we’re clear, Aunt Mattie, I’m not trying to get him to fall for me. Alright?”

“Definitely,” said the unimpressed blob. “I just hope you’re fine with being stuck here forever, or at least for a good chunk of the rest of your life.”

Nothing. Anne slammed the wardrobe shut and stalked back to the bed.

“I don’t understand! He might as well be Grampaw, he’s so old, and you aren’t doing anything to help either. What does se…seducing him have to do with getting out of this stupid mansion?”

“If Necristo loses his heart, he loses his power. No doubt about it. Either it happens magically, or as a matter of course - think Merlyn and Vivien, if you will. Love is fatal to sorcerers.”

“Merlin and who?”

“I suppose that was a bit of a stretch,” sighed Aunt Mattie. “Alright, farmgirl, listen here. You told me that your Aunt - not me, the one from your plane and your family - was released safely, once she told Necristo she was bored with him.”

“That’s not exactly how he said it went,” frowned Anne, “but, well, more or less.”

“How do you know he wasn’t lying?”

The question was as blunt as a tent-peg to the temple. Anne flushed, opened her mouth to reply, then realized that she had no answer. Irritation welled up instead, laced with anger, burning her throat like bile.

“Well, how do you know that your stupid knife is going to work, then? You say it’s easy as getting close and sticking him good, but isn’t he a sorcerer? If he’s really so powerful, and I’m really so dumb, then just do it yourself!”

Anne threw herself face-first on the bed and fumed. She could barely hear anything save the pounding of her heart. Good. It was all she wanted to hear. This whole thing was stupid, so stupid. Necristo was stupid, Aunt Mattie was stupid, this pink fluffy room was stupid…

When she had lain for long enough to feel thoroughly idiotic about the whole display, there was a quiet rustling on the far side of the bed. Aunt Mattie was patting down the floor.

Anne turned over on her back and stared at the ceiling. She swallowed.

“Listen, Aunt Mattie, I…”

“Don’t,” came the reply, thrown straight up from below ear-level. “I know exactly how you feel. I used to be as passionate and stupid as you, only I never let it show. I wasn’t as smart as your mother, see. Now there was a hellcat.”

The Ma she knew was anything but a hellcat, but maybe time changed people. The planes sure did.

“I shouldn’t have hollered like that. We’re family, you and me. Folks don’t do that to each other.”

“They do, and you know it,” was the final reply. “Don’t even think of hiding that from me, Anne.”

It was the first time her Aunt had used her name. There was something strange in her weathered voice, like a chunk of swallowed grit, or a pinch of gravel.

“Was I… born before you left? Did you know me?”

Silence, as thick as the heady scent of perfume that filled the room, the stifling bouquet of too many flowers and not enough space.

“If Necristo knows I’m here,” said Aunt Mattie, “he’ll kill me with a snap of his fingers. If he sees me with Hearthunter, he’ll do worse. Do you understand, girl?”

“Do you?” asked Anne. “He said he tried to love you.”

No answer. Not from her Aunt, and not from herself. She rolled on her side and tried to sleep.

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Really fantastic writing series

Thanks! I'm glad to have been of service.

This series is absolutely fantastic. A brilliant piece of work. My Master, @markangeltrueman pointed me in the direction of this as he really really liked the whole lot and spent far too long reading them when he should have been doing what he calls, "real work" instead.

Anyway, congratulations. I have re-steemed this for you on the @steemsearch blog and given it my seal of approval... cue cheesy graphic......

CuratorSealOfApproval.png

Thank you so much, and thank your master for me too!

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