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SIREN SONG (CHAPTER SIX)

Chapter Six of my book Siren Song: Elliot's Pride

STORIES

dihaan

7/21/20237 min read

Chapter Six

Elliot’s Pride

The silence in the room after Elliot left was overpowering. Queen Elswyth, forever the absolute monarch, stared after Elliot for a second, then regained her sense extraordinarily quickly, her face wiping itself of anger and embarrassment.

“Vienna Alcestis, I request you to pay no heed to my errant brother. Let us continue this dinner in peace, shall we?” she said quite calmly, sipping her cold strawberry sangria. The plates once more gleamed with a fresh round of desserts, and slowly, reluctantly, the dinner continued, but this time in silence, the only sound to be heard- forks and spoons clattering against gold. After everyone was finished and sat with their fingers intertwined on the table, not knowing what to do, Elswyth broke the silence.

“Vienna Alcestis, you can feel quite free exploring the castle, in fact, I encourage you. The only thing I ask of you is to remain slightly quite around Suite 13 on floor 5, however. Suite 5 is my younger sister, Eleanora’s sleeping quarters, and she is quite ill and indisposed, or I would have introduced you. I feel you two would get along very well. Is that alright with you, Vienna Alcestis?”

It was the first time Vienna had heard her hesitate, and she made sure to play along, assuring her that yes, she would remain quiet, and of course she would explore the castle, she was a Victorian age enthusiastic.

Dinner was adjourned.

Vienna traipsed out of the room slowly, with Zinnia and Lysistrata on her heels. Once everyone had filed out, including Elswyth, she surreptitiously leaned back against the hallway wall and spoke in the tone she had seen her school’s gossipmongers use while dissecting her classmates’ lives like they were dead frogs.

“What even was that?” Vienna asked.

“Well, I think it’d be better to discuss it in your room.” Zinnia hesitated. Vienna fished out her TP Token from the recesses of her gown and ran her hand over the smooth surface, and they were in her room.

“Now, tell me why it’s so secretive.”

“I overheard this from some of the maids who’ve been around since forever. Since Doyenne Elswyth came here, actually.” Zinnia said.

Vienna was baffled. “But I thought-”

Zinnia shook her head. “We don’t know about that. Anyway, the Royals are three siblings- Doyenne Elswyth, Prince Elliot, and Princess Eleanora. Prince Elliot and Princess Eleanora, they’re dizygotic twins, and they’re 15. Ever since I’ve started working, which was since I was 15 (at Lysistrata and Vienna’s startled looks, she retaliated with “I’m just 23!”), Princess Eleanora has had her meals up to her room. She was just 7 when I saw her for the first time, when she first arrived. I was working with my mother, rest her Acerbic Anomaly cor. She was awfully sweet, and she and Prince Elliot seemed awfully close, they played together all the time, at least until she fell sick and retreated to Suite 5, where she’s been all this time. But the word is that ever since she came to Niflheim, her immune system or whatever you humans call it couldn’t handle it.”

Lysistrata, who had been brooding quietly in a corner, taking it all in (perhaps she thought of it servants’ talk, Vienna would never know, spoke up.

“I think she’s nice. She’s probably my favorite cousin- even though she’s sick, she’s never been unkind.” Lysistrata said.

“She sounds like a good character.” Vienna said.

“She must be.” Zinnia added.

“She is.” Said Lysistrata.

“But seriously, why is Prince Elliot so spaced out all the time- like, brooding, bored, uncaring?” Vienna asked again.

“He and Nora are very close. I don’t think he likes Elswyth trying to mold him into a prince all the time. She hardly paid any attention to them before.” Lysistrata replied.

The three of them sat in silence for a while.

“We’ll leave you to get some sleep.” Zinnia finally said.

She was left alone with not a hint of sleep. After an hour of sketching, ordering food and chomping it down, writing short stories, and playing the guitar, she finally dropped off again. Sleep was light.

***

She woke up the next morning to find that the grounds outside were dazzled with a lovely autumn morning light. Ignoring the fact that she was in a completely different dimension, she followed her usual morning routine- brushed her teeth and hair, showered, picked her outfit of the day, and pondered on it for a while before dressing up and doing her hair. It was a dark emerald button down shirt with black slacks.

Maybe I shouldn’t be so obsessed with Slytherincore just because I am one.

Maybe I should shut up and wear this because I look totally awesome?

So she kept it on and wandered the halls for ten minutes (Is this a maze or what?) before she found the Dining Hall and walked in surreptitiously.

The Queen, graceful and commanding as always, was dressed in a Prussian Blue dress with a diamond-embedded hem at the waist, her hair loose and smooth.

One seat down, Prince Elliot was once again looking annoyed. He had on a charcoal-grey anorak, with a navy Oxford shirt and boots. His hair, unlike at dinnertime, wasn’t gelled, and seemed only brushed.

“You could have at least changed for breakfast.” Elswyth was telling Elliot, her eyebrows knit. Neither of them had noticed Vienna, Lysistrata was dozing on the table, and Zinnia hadn’t arrived yet. “Honestly, Elliot, we have an inter-dimensional guest- what’ll Vienna Alcestis think of you? But no, you’re obviously oblivious to everything!”

“Oblivious about what?” Elliot started, but when Vienna formally entered the room both of them ceased talk. Elswyth and Elliot exchanged angry glances and redirected their attention to Vienna.

“Good morning, your Majesties.” She said, seating herself down in her usual seat, waking up a tousled-looking Lysistrata.

“What’s wrong with you, cousin?” Prince Elliot said, frowning.

“Nothing as much as you, cousin.” Lysistrata replied, swatting at her hair.

“I hope you had a good night’s sleep, Vienna Alcestis.” Elswyth told Vienna, ignoring both Lysistrata and Elliot.

“I did, Doyenne. Thank you.” Vienna said, shooting Lysistrata a glance, who shrugged. After Zinnia ran in five seconds later, the breakfast started. After the customary four courses, Elswyth asked Vienna what she would like to do today.

“You could tour the grounds. Or perhaps Elliot could take you hunting.” Elswyth said, giving Elliot a threatening look.

“Hunting? What for?” Elliot replied, looking irked. “I can’t, not today anyway. I’m going to hunt turkeys.”

Vienna, her fork paused over a crème brulee, thought that was rather rude, and it probably showed on her face, because Elswyth caught up quick.

“You are going hunting, and you will take Vienna Alcestis.” Said Elswyth in a voice Vienna knew quite well: Mother Knows Best.

“Since Vienna Alcestis arrived, you have shown none of the Niflheim hospitality I have reared you to show, especially that which must be shown by a Royal. I say you will take Vienna Alcestis hunting, and there is no other alternative.”

Elliot slammed down his spoon, but at the last moment caught himself and put it down on his plate, next to his creamed potatoes.

“Well, alright. Vienna Alcestis, Lysistrata, Zinnia Emerson, meet me in the grounds XXX minuta later.” He said, and resumed his meal as if nothing occurred.

“Lysistrata, Zinnia Emerson, I assume both of you are quite free 30 minutes later?” Elswyth asked.

“Of course Your Royal Doyenne.” Zinnia and Lysistrata chorused in sync.

The rest of breakfast ploughed on with no other exceptional conversation, except a harmless debate between Elliot and Lysistrata as to whether (the sky in Niflheim and the sky in Terra) were alike, as neither of them remembered it. A few minutes of this resulted in Elswyth shutting them down on the basis of inessentiality. It was just banter but it seemed to annoy the Queen.

Interesting, thought Vienna, taking mental notes. Perhaps she left because she hated it on Earth, and perhaps Elliot, Lysistrata, and (Elliot’s twin sister???) had no say in it.

***

A few minutes later, as dinner ended, Vienna was once more met more with the looming prospect of dressing again in something she didn’t want to wear. Zinnia and Lyss met up in her room, and racked their brains.

“Maybe dress like Elliot does.” Lysistrata said.

“No!” Zinnia scoffed. “Why would Vienna Alcestis dress like the Prince? She’s not a boy, is she?”

“I meant take inspo from his fits.” Lyss said, slightly vexed.

For the first time, Vienna wondered why Elswyth had put a 23 year old and a 13 year old in charge of her personal safety and comfort. What would they know? One was young and the other was old. The age difference: 10 years. There was no way they would ever agree on something. Vienna saw it now.

“I’ll just see if something works out.” Vienna said, annoyed. Leaving Lysistrata and Zinnia to bicker, she dove into the walk in closet and rummaged amongst the wardrobe labeled ‘Sportswear’. There was everything, from full-body swimsuits, to scuba-gear, to riding breeches. Instead of picking out everything she found under Riding, she chose an animal print jacket, a black top, and black denims underneath.

Booties for sure, thought Vienna, pulling boots onto her feet as the sounds of Zinnia and Lysistrata’s bickering became quieter and stopped.

“Vienna, that’s perfect!” Lysistrata cried.

“Thank you.” Vienna said with good grace.

“But we were too busy arguing to help out.” Zinnia said, looking guilty.

“It’s alright. It worked out, didn’t it, Zinnia?” Vienna said, smiling.

After Lysistrata and Zinnia marveled over her look like she was a toddler who had dressed herself for the first time, they helped her braid her hair (which she couldn’t do), brushed the slightest make-up on her face, and then practically shoved her out the door towards the entrance. Then they headed down the hallways, Zinnia and Lyss feeding her tidbits on Elliot’s behavior.

“My cousin is not very hospitable, so he probably won’t talk to you much.” Lysistrata warned.

“Prince Elliot usually just hunts in silence, and returns.” Zinnia offered. “By way of conversation, he will bid you hello and goodbye and that’s all.”

“He’ll definitely not help you on or off your horse. He’s a tad…insensitive.” Lysistrata added.

“Don’t worry, I can deal with Prince Elliot.” Vienna said, and noticed that they had reached the Front Entrance, which she had never seen, having teleported in when she arrived. It was a giant cut out portion of the wall, two massive rosewood gates hanging on either side, the morning light filtering in and giving the enormous hall a golden hue, with crimson carpet in the middle leading to the gate, and massive flower displays on each side, suits of armor, huge painted scenes of unknown lands, the works.

“Who designed this castle?” Vienna asked, staring at the impressive décor.

“No one knows.” giggled Lyss mysteriously. “Now let’s get you to my errant cousin.”