RotP Excerpt: Return to School

As the end of school rolls around for thousands of students, I thought it would be fun to post a humorous excerpt about the return to school. I’d love to hear your thoughts and critiques. As always, this isn’t edited, so beware. All material is Copyright 2012 Evangeline Warren.

Juliana? Cyrus’s voice broke through her thoughts as she and James continued on their leisurely ride towards Laydia.

Yeah? She replied absentmindedly.

I have some news for you and James, however I can’t maintain contact with both of you at the same time, can you add him in? Cyrus asked a little tentatively.

No problem! Juliana answered, welcoming the distraction that her friend offered. With James here we might be able to fight the issue of distance.

Quickly pulled into the conversation by Juliana, James greeted his friends. What’s up, Cyrus?

Well, I need your advice and I’ve come to trust both of you. A tinge of embarrassment colored his statement as he reviled a part of his heart. Father has given me the option to transfer to another academy for my last two years. I want to go to Laydian with you two, but how do I convince him?

Use the same reason my father did, Master Theodore. James offered. He’ll definitely be here for a few more years so you’ll get wonderful battle training from him. Not to mention that your two best friends go here.

A very good point! James and Juliana could hear a bit of his laughter as it travelled across the connection.

What about you, Juliana? Do you have any advice? Cyrus could feel her unease. Even after spending the summer living with royalty, she still was not comfortable offering her opinion unless explicitly asked for it. Cyrus thought that this was a combination of the fact that Juliana was from a small village, an orphan and a girl, a lethal combination when it came to self-confidence among those deemed higher up.

Don’t laugh at how ‘girly’ this will sound, but I recommend telling the King that you are just following your heart. The king loves you, and if he thinks that you will be happier in Laydia, I’m sure he’ll let you come.

Thanks so much, you two… James and Juliana felt the gratitude that the prince was exuding from his end of the bond. Hopefully I’ll see you in a few days! Until—“ And, as Juliana, James and their escort travelled farther from the palace, the prince’s voice faded.

Arriving at the college a week later, they were not surprised to find their friend waiting for them. His father, as was his nature, had pulled some strings and arrange the three ‘boys’ to have room next to each other. Cyrus had the biggest room, as befitted his station, and James and Juliana’s rooms flanked his. The three all shared an anteroom and door out to the main hallway, essentially giving them their own private suite of rooms.

After some of the members of the school’s resident staff dropped off their bags and they unpacked, or in James’ case left it all as it was, James and Juliana met with Cyrus in the lounge area of his room. They had, of course, seen each other in passing after the travelers arrived, and communicated mentally, but the trio had yet to sit down and just talk, face to face.

“How did you get here so quickly?” James asked, his curiosity getting the better of the platitudes normally found in conversation, as he plopped down into one of the two chairs by the fireplace.

“Great to see you too, Jamie!” Cyrus replied, reminding his friend and quasi-brother of the nickname that could oh, so easily, be spread around the school.

“I know… It generally is…” James ignored the implied threat and continued on, paying no attention to Juliana who, sitting on Cyrus’ bed, had dissolved into gales of laughter the minute that the absurd exchange had started when James had entered the room. “But seriously, how?”

“My father is the king.” Cyrus pointed out, joining his friend by the fire. James gestured, as if to say ‘get on with it.’ “He has weather mages at his disposal and when he wants, he can manipulate the weather to either hinder or aid, as was my case, travelers.”

“Hey James!” Juliana recovered from her giggles for a moment to address a problem that had been plaguing her mind. “Do you think that the king did the same for us when we came from Cerroria?”

Cyrus smiled, knowing the answer and awed at his friend’s astuteness. James pondered the facts for a second, “I guess… But that’s not important. What’s important is the fact that Cyrus is here at the academy with us and now everyone, even the not so nice people, will want to be friends with him-“

“Wait, I thought you said my travel details were important!” Cyrus teasingly interrupted his friend.

“Hush, you! That was so two minutes ago, where are we, Fadarin?” James asked, referring to a state in the center of the country whose inhabitants were notorious for always being late to events. The epidemic of tardiness was so widespread that the king had instructed his non-Fadarinian advisors to show up to meetings ten minutes later than the listed times so that they would not spend too much time waiting around. James continued, “Now, back to what I was saying before I was so rudely interrupted. I just know that Philip and his gang will want to cozy up to the Princling.”

“Princeling?!” Cyrus was indignant. “I am His Royal Highness, Cyrus, Crown Prince of the Land of Alinzar and Heir apparent to the Throne of the Beautiful country of Aliznar.” Juliana, who had managed to rein in her laughter, exploded into giggles again at the title of her friend. Her outburst was so sudden that the two boys jumped and turned to face the girl who was currently rolling around on top of Cyrus’s sheets, laughing slightly maniacally.

“Ummm, Jules?” James had taken to shortening her name when they were in private. She held up a finger, asking for a moment to compose herself. As she lay on her stomach, shoulders still shaking with barely controlled laughter, James and Cyrus communicated mentally.

Should we? Cyrus asked his mischievous friend

I know where… James replied. I say go for it. I know that she’ll enjoy it!

Okay then… One, two, three, go! On go, the pair jumped on top of their friend and started tickling her. Her shrieks of laughter only brought laughter gurgling from them and her retaliation elicited ‘guffaws’ from both James and Cyrus.

“What’s going on in here?” James and Juliana’s favorite master burst into the room. “This is an institution of study, quiet must be maintained! You broke my meditative trance!” Master Marcus glared at the trio before realizing who one of the ‘boys’ on the was. He swept a ridiculously low bow, “Your Highness, I apologize for seeming harsh, however that your highness, in your infinite wisdom, can see why I request such conditions.”

“Of course, Master-“ Cyrus replied.

“Marcus, milord.” He offered.

“Thank you. Of course, Master Marcus.” He continued. “I know that those that master the art of meditation require exquisite conditions for maintaining their concentration. I can only imagine how harsh it would have been to be pulled from such a place of peace and calm to the brutal world that we call reality.”

Suck up! James projected into his friends’ minds.

“I knew that you would understand, Your Highness.” Master Marcus swept another low bow. “I hope that you will be joining me in one of my classes sometime this year, although I am sure that Your Highness has already surpassed the bar I set for those boys lucky enough to be accepted into my class.”

James and Juliana found themselves in a situation very much similar to that which occurred the night that they first met. They attempted to not look at each other while simultaneously holding in the laughter that was threatening to spill out at every subsequent word that their Master uttered.

Cyrus got up and opened the door for Marcus, hoping that the master would leave.“Thank you for sharing your concern, Master Marcus.” When he did not, Cyrus added a regal nod of his head and said, “You are dismissed.” Realizing that his audience with the  prince was over, Marcus made yet another sweeping bow before backing out of the room, careful never to show the prince his back.

The minute that the door swung shut behind the rapidly retreating professor, Juliana quickly cast a muffling spell and the trio burst into laughter at the unintentional hilarity of the master of meditation.

“Just wait until you have meditation with him…” Juliana trailed off, remembering all of the unproductive, but entertaining classes she had been a member of in meditation.

“Trust me,” Cyrus replied, gasping for breath, “I cannot wait…”

The unofficial truce that the arrival of Marcus had necessitated ended as James joined the conversation, shouting “Tickle War!” at the top of his lungs. It was with that sentiment that the two boys and Juliana restarted the battle of their generation.

As she tried to fend off an attack from Cyrus while simultaneously attacking James, Juliana realized that she was truly happy for the first time that she could remember in her entire life. Finally conquering James, after fighting valiantly he bowed out of the contest and judged the match between his two closest friend, Juliana went on to attempt victory over Cyrus. Rolling on top of him, she straddled his hips and attacked his chest and stomach. This however, left her torso and back open to attack and he retaliated swiftly, sitting up and flopping her down on the bed with maintaining a constant attack on her lower ribs.

“I yield!” Juliana finally cried out.

James hurried over to Cyrus from his spot on the sidelines. “The winner!” He gestured to Cyrus as if announcing his victory to an invisible crowd. “Okay!” James said after giving Cyrus his time in the imaginary spotlight, “Who’s ready for dinner? My stomach’s making noises.”

“How are you already onto the next thing!” Juliana gave JAmes a wide eyed look. “I’ve barely stopped laughing!”

“Come on, Julesie!” Cyrus cajoled her, mocking James. “I’m hungry! Mommy, I want food!” Slinging one arm over her shoulders and another over James’, Cyrus led his friends out of their rooms. He adopted a more serious tone, “I am hungry though. I am a growing boy after all…”

Before entering the packed dinning hall, it was the first night back, after all, James turned to face his friends. “Same thing, same time, same place next week? We have a tickle tournament to continue!”

“Yeah, I need to avenge my loss!” Juliana added, turning to the slightly taller boy to her right, “What do you think, Cy?”

“Eh, why not!” Cyrus replied, after pretending to spend time thinking. “I do, after all, have to defend my title.”

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