Quiet as ever were the winds in the village. The princess of this very town looked over it as waiting for a little excitement. Familiar voices caught his attention, seeing tiny figures run up to the tower where he sat.
“Took you long enough! Where were you two?” He exclaimed from above. The prince tried to catch her breath before responding.
“Sorry, Chris.” She smiled wearily, patting the village boy beside her. “Russell woke up just a tad bit late! Plus, Miss Yumi wasn’t there so his home was locked shut.”
Chris watched as the blonde rub his eyes tiredly. He wondered just how Russell even managed to run all the way to his village after waking up. Gardenia extended her hands out as if to call the princess down.
“Hurry up! I’ve got a place to show you two.” She was rather jumpy about it. The princess was a bit unsure what his friend wanted him to do only to realize—
“You expect me to jump and let you catch me?” His expression looked almost distasteful. Gardenia frowned, disappointed by the answer she got. Putting her hands on her waist and puffing her cheeks, she glared at Chris intensely.
“You let Russell do it all the time! C’mon, you know I’m strong.” Bringing her hands out again. The village boy turned his gaze back to Gardenia then to Chris. Although he’s been silent the whole time, he was always attentively listening to the two bicker. They are childhood friends after all. The princess blushed, yet still he retorted.
“Y-you’re a girl, though…” He was running out of comebacks.
“I’m not a girl. I’m a prince.” She corrected. “And what do princes do?” She asked grinning. Gardenia knew she won this argument. Hearing the sigh of defeat made her want to celebrate.
“They save princesses…” He answered very ‘enthusiastically’. Chris began to climb up the windowsill and prepared to jump and hopefully, be caught by Gardenia. She focused carefully as she watched him fall and caught him without breaking a sweat.
“Success!” She rejoiced as she twirled around a few times with Chris. Russell clapped his hands lightly, keeping his usual plain expression. She placed her friend down and bowed at her audience. “Thank you!”
“So where to, Prince Gardenia?” Chris asked as he fixed his dress. She simply smiled and answered with silence. She walked past the two and began walking on her own. “An answer would help, you know?” He groaned and began to follow her, the village boy walking closely behind.
The princess felt a tap on his shoulder. He turned and looked at his small friend. Russell’s been silent the whole time he and Gardenia were talking, so he was obviously curious what he has to say.
“Do you still have feelings for her?” Russell looked at him intently. He watched his friend turn red, which sort of amused him in ways. Chris cleared his throat and looked the other way.
“Geez, Russ… Did you have to bring that up?” The princess wondered why he’d even ask that. “Look, it’s been years… We’re 14 now and— Ugh, it’s complicated okay? Royalty problems and all that.”
Russell looked down to his feet, as he felt ashamed he asked that question. Noticing his friend sulking, he placed his hand atop his head and gave him a few pats. The blonde understood and calmed down a little. He was glad Chris could understand how he feels right away even without saying a word. He’s always been kind ever since they first met, even if that day wasn’t pleasant to look back on.
“We should hurry. Gardenia’s probably mad we’re far behind.” Chris said, breaking Russell’s thoughts. The village boy nodded in agreement and began to head off alongside the princess.
“So, how much longer…?” It’s been at least minutes, maybe hours, and Chris is already tired on his feet. Wearing heels isn’t quite an advantage when you’re taking long walks, especially when going uphill. The prince merely smiled, she was silent the whole trip. He turned to look at Russell, obviously wearing the same expression but he could tell he was dying for a break.
“Okay, Gardenia. Enough games—“
“Here we are!” Finally the prince has spoken. The three stopped in their steps as they gazed upon the scenery. There was nothing inhabiting the area and the field was completely empty. All there was were the field of blue lilies and the three children. “Welcome to our secret base!” Gardenia chimed, spreading her arms open.
“Secret base?” Russell looked confused. It’s quite open for a secret base.
“It is a secret base! No one ever has been to this place but me… Well, us now.” She replied. “Besides, I feel like this could be a place we could always meet up, tell our stories, and play.”
“But there’s barely anything here.” Chris didn’t really see the use of a field. He looked at Russell, expecting him to agree with his statement. The boy thought otherwise.
“I like it.” It was barely audible but it did catch the attention of the two. Gardenia grabbed him to her side as she smiled brightly.
“Two against one.” No explanations needed.
“What is up with me loosing all the time…?” The princess sighed before he laid back and let his body rest upon the ground. The rest followed as they all gazed at the sky. A comfortable silence emerged as the children were too focused on their own thoughts.
“Say,” Gardenia broke the silence. “We’ll always be like this, right?” The question made the blonde curious.
“What do you mean?”
“You know, like, friends. Friends forever. That kind of stuff.” She began to mumble the rest. For once, she didn’t sound like herself. Her tone became more serious compared to her jolly side. It seemed like she was worried that something so precious would fade away. Russell could understand. Gardenia was a prince of Nameless Village and unlike Chris; she doesn’t have as much time as they do. She never had time for herself nor had real friends besides them.
Another moment of silence was in the air. Russell looked at his friends; on the right was Chris, the left was Gardenia. He gave it some thought. These two were childhood friends and he only came into their lives when he was seven. Had Chris not have found him in his beaten state, had Gardenia not accepted him into her village, he wouldn’t have found happiness again. The boy realized that this is something to be grateful for. He sat up and looked at Gardenia’s concerned face. When their eyes met, the prince’s face changed into a surprised expression.
‘Russell’s smiling.’ She thought. Chris was rather shocked too. They sat up as well.
“We’ll always be friends. You two are my happiness.” The words hit hard. His friends looked at him with gratitude; Gardenia’s eyes welling up in tears while Chris trying to hide his red face.
“Russell…” The princess, although happy, looked away in embarrassment. His face was only getting redder at this point. The prince jumped into the blonde’s embrace.
“Oh, Russ! I didn’t know you felt that way…” She sobbed. “I’m so happy you’re my friend! Both of you!”
The boy could only rest his head on her shoulder in response, patting her head to comfort her.
“Make room will you?” The princess approached them and joined in. Although not many words were expressed after this point, the three understood well what they all wanted to say. That they were the most important thing to them in the world and nothing would break their friendship.
After a long session of hugging (and sobbing in Gardenia’s case), the three began to walk their separate ways. Each waving goodbye to the other as they returned to their homes.
To Princess Chris
From Prince Gardenia
Russell and I are planning to go to our second home A.K.A. our secret base! You better come tomorrow and make sure your mom doesn’t know. We have tons of stories to tell! Especially me, you know, royalty gossip. At dawn, all right? Don’t oversleep like Russell!
To Princess Chris
Miss Yumi taught me how to use a gun again today. I was less scared this time, but the sound of it still makes me anxious. Also, I hope you got Gardenia’s letter. Did you see some tears on them? Mine had. Maybe she’s not over what happened? I wonder if I said something wrong… I hope I see you tomorrow.
To Prince Gardenia
From Princess Chris
I don’t recall naming the secret base “Second Home” but it does have a ring to it. But I will see you there, and I’ll make sure my mom doesn’t hunt me down.
P.S. I don’t sleep like a log like Russell. I’m kind of surprised you think that.
From Princess Chris
I’m glad Miss Yumi is trying her best to make you face your fears. But you should really stop calling her ‘Miss Yumi’ don’t you think? I mean… she IS your adoptive mom now. Why not give it a try the next time she comes home? And yeah, my letter had tears on them too. Gardenia was just really touched by your words, Russ. Don’t worry. I was too… and I’m glad you opened up. See you!