The gentle winds whimsically tugged and pushed themselves along, the sun’s tender touch at last peeking under the horizon to beckon dusk and her passionate dance as she once more painted the skies under the comfortably familiar black helm of night. Nothing but the sound of the ever-constant waves that kissed the soft, white bed of sand echoed across the hidden cove along the beach, save for the occasional rustle of aged paper and deep scrawling of a quill against it. There was a boy excitedly noting and drawing all he could onto the contents of the leather bound journal that sat by him, his chin resting on his free hand while he peered up at the sky above. His eyes were ones widened in wonderment as he watched and studied it, the slow and timid awakening of the white blinking orbs he knew to be the stars coming to life as he drew an exasperated breath.
“Beautiful,” he whispered.
The sight would never be one that he would tire of as he watched with eager anticipation when the moon hesitantly peeped from where her brother had since descended., using his free hand to turn the page with the one that didn’t have his chin propped up on it.
As if the moon would hear him, he gently encouraged,” Rise, light of the night. Don’t be afraid,” he quietly said, making certain to diagram the pattern of stars that now were being tugged amid the cordial embrace of night above him. Awe swelled within him like a familiar friend as he continued to scrawl diagrams and notes into the notebook, shifting so that was no longer lying on his stomach in his want to have a wider view of the skies. He didn’t want to miss anything, leaning his head back so that he had a full view of the skies before he continued,” follow your brother and take your place in the sky, moon.”
Truly, he never thought he’d ever see anything quite as wondrous as the slow ebb of the sea when her mother took to the skies, the moon’s comforting, silvery body quelling her now calm solace that settled only with the cold absence of the day.
When the moon rose so that her touch caressed the sea that slowly began to descend into a slowed sleep like the rest of the world, a small smile tugged at his lips as he rose, a familiar urge settling in his chest that grew with every beat of his kind heart as he continued to gaze up at the skies. Somewhere deep within him, he ached to be ever nearer to the stars as the earth’s tired sands lazily grasped while the warm ocean water lapped at his feet in their joined attempt to gain favor of his attention like a needful child that desired the notice of a parent.
Kneeling down, he allowed his smile to rise, the urge softly beating in his chest becoming persistent until he had no choice but to surrender to the song he always sung to the night sky as it lightly fell from his lips.
“Oh, sky above me, how far you must always be,
Allow the world to be as kind and free
As the winds and tide that willfully play at sea
Because among a place so wild yet leisurely, you may only have one destiny-“
He paused, closing his eyes to allow the warm ocean spray to settle around him like a watery veil as the stars above watched, a satisfied sigh leaving him as his shoulders fell, the tension that had wrapped itself around them loosening as the winds lightly caressed him and he heeded the elements that he silently hoped would become his affinity in the ceremony that was to come in the following hours where he would be chosen by one of the five elements amongst those of divination.
The boy continued only after the skies above encouraged him, the moon’s maternal and soothing stroke steadily rising to encase his strong, built form from under the cover of the mouth of the cove he had hidden away in, the silvery rays finally reaching him through the circular hole embedded in the ceiling that arched above him in her approval of his song that he sang to her every night, his mellifluous voice since marred by unrest as it was heavily seized by that which had heavily spread through his consciousness for the past few days. It was as if with the settlement of the sky above, his previous doubts suddenly came to life.
His voice had since shifted as the nerves began to rise again in the depths of his mind, the familiar words of dubiety flowing freely as the waters against his feet.
“While I am in my singularity, amongst a world brought about by one epiphany,
I hope that you, the skies and stars above, can find your serendipity,
Because for me, while I feel so far sheltered from blasphemous blight
I can’t help but to succumb to solidarity’s sight
Even with this euphoria that hides so I cannot take flight.”
While his voice was smooth and carried under the gentle winds, what stirred within him was rough with ambivalence, the deepness of it, he was sure, more extensive than any trench the ocean before may have had.
Try as he might, he could not shake the nerves of incertitude that had since had time to settle deeply in his gut at the day’s dawn while they coiled within as the moon attempted to placate him, her presence, while serving to aid his physical tensions, only reminding him of the trial he was to face where he would establish his affinity for the divinatory magic passed only to that of his family. Whatever magic chose him, it would reside within him for the remainder of his life. It was a daunting thing to think about, really, but he’d done all he could to battle that adversary, pushing and ignoring such thoughts and emotions from his mind under the piercing glare of the sun while he’d tried to busy himself studying the planets and constellations within the opened ceiling of the observatory he made his home in when he wasn’t at the cove.
While those had certainly helped his spirits, he couldn’t entirely escape that which wanted to haunt him, the dubiety following him like a shadow he wished he could rid himself of.
With the sun’s blaring, cold absence and the moon’s calm, warm one, he had suddenly become restless in the deep anxiousness that dug into him like dragon talons in what magic would make itself as deeply a part of him as he was to be a part of it.
The boy wondered, not for the first time, if the stars, moon and sun ever doubted. If they ever had the thoughts that he did. He began again, the apprehension latched onto the slow, curious words that filled the night sky as he spun in a languid circle.
“While you are so resolved in your journey through the night,
Have you always been able to carry so much might?
So much life hinges on you, so knowledgeable and wise as you may be,
I wonder as I look up at you if you blink back with such glee
So help me to better see,
Are you locked in a cage of ennui?”
At his last word, he opened his eyes to notice one of the brighter stars blink fiercely at him, as if it wanted to tell him something. His mouth parted in surprise at the sky and how willingly it had answered him this time. It had been almost two weeks since the stars had heeded his song, but that didn’t stop the joy from swirling within him as he smiled tenderly upwards. The inquisitiveness carrying in his words like the ocean spray to his sun-kissed skin at the unspoken connection with the world above him, an invisible cord tugged tight at his chest.
He didn’t stop to wonder what that cord might be, too caught in the rapt attention of the night to fully notice as the want to better understand the now awakened skies as the stars above began to scintillate in a pattern that he could’ve sworn passed their light around to one another in that of circle that seemed to be trying to be engirdle something directly above him.
Tilting his head curiously with a small smile softening at the wondrous sight, the boy held out his arms as if to cradle the skies on his hands, his song becoming lighter now as empathy flooded him, a sudden realization hitting him that the stars, the moon’s beloved children, were trying to answer by way of blinking in the sky.
Of all things, the boy understood the necessity to be strong for others while having to keep all the loneliness and dubiety locked away in a cage within him for the sake of all who expected so much of him. Of that, he was certain he would share at least that sentiment with the quiet skies above.
It soothed him as the winds gently lapped against him with the waves and sand, the moon above smiling as the silvery rays warmed themselves around him as if to embrace him even deeper and closer than before.
“Ah, so that’s how you feel,” he whispered, the moon’s rays lending him strength as they settled on the skin his pants did not cover. He’d since shed the long black shirt in his seclusion from the world, needing to feel all that the skies and nature around him would give to him on his skin that had since began to itch with the anxiousness that gripped it.
The placidity was unhurried as it swept through him, doing away with the physical worry of his skin. He was grateful for it. The skies and nature around him seemed at peace with him as sat back on his knees, his eyes closing as he withdrew his arms from the sky.
He whispered, knowing the sky would not answer in form of a voice to respond, but he spoke anyway. He hoped if the sky could not talk, that it would listen with the same fervor it had since he was a child. “I would be lying if I said you didn’t help me to feel better, haneul, I only hope I can carry some of you with me when I go to the ceremony in a little while…”
He trailed off to hum his song once more, laying back on the bed of sand that welcomed him as the he lifted one arm to the moon as if in attempt to touch the source of the tender light that so warmly caressed him now.
For a while, he just laid there, basking in the fond nuzzle of the cool air that he was sure brought with it the benevolent, cordial light that felt as if it were cuddling against his very skin in attempt to soothe his spirits, the soft white sand beneath him supporting every curvature of a body corded with muscle after years of practice of climbing almost anything that he could in his adventures to be nearer to the sky as well as practice any weapon he’d been able to get his hands on ranging from swords, bows and spears.
Only a small dagger hung along his hip now, for the boy hardly figured there would be any feasible threat in escaping the palace to spend a few languorous moments amid his solace of the skies and sea.
After all, no one knew who he was even if they did somehow stumble along into the hidden cove that was embedded somewhere along the edge of Busan’s coast. No one had ever actually “seen” the youngest prince of Busan.
Jungkook himself didn’t agree with many of the practices his uncle, the king, had put forth, but he was appreciative of the rule in which the princes or royal children of Busan would not be revealed to the public until their eighteenth year in which was the year all youth of the age were claimed by their magical ability. In his uncle’s mind, it symbolized manhood. To him, it symbolized the end of his freedom and the ability to do as he pleased without worry over being watched by all, he thought with a groan.
While the young boy was thankful to live a life of royalty and had never taken his status for granted like so many other tainted nobility, he was loath to release the prerogative that came with being a hidden dweller among Busan’s skies. For he knew that his intrepid independence would be torn away from him the moment the townspeople were given their new prince.
And of all things, Jungkook would always value his freedom that would soon be taken away.
Alone with his thoughts that ran rampantly through his mind, the boy didn’t remember drifting off to the peaceful lull of the tired ocean waves, but when he woke, he simply laid there to listen to the sounds of the earth. It was peaceful, the gentle tap of the waves over his exposed feet and furtive winks that the stars would send his way even though he couldn’t see them to know for sure. Somewhere in the back of his mind, he enjoyed the serenity that was given to him in these quiet moments. He wondered if he would still be able to have these once he was revealed to the town of Busan that he was to be their next prince.
Although he hoped, he knew he would likely never be able to come to the sea and sky like this on his own ever again- his elder brother would ensure he was always watched over being the protective person that he was over his only brother. It was with the sudden gust of wind that blew against him that he hit the realization that he would, from this night on, always be watched, whether it be over his own guards or the townspeople of Busan.
While he knew he would be grateful to receive support and attention from his people, his mind went back to the stories his brother would tell him when he was first revealed to the world. How he was made to always be in the public eye with never a moment to still and have fleeting moments like these under the watchful eyes of their uncle and those he would one day rule over.
It wasn’t until he heard the amused chuckle behind hm that he had the faint inkling that he’d been watched for a little while, sure that his elder brother had used his magic to sense his troubled mind all the way out here. Then again, it could have been that the boy’s elder brother simply knew him so well that he didn’t need to use magic to know where he was. The boy figured it was probably the latter.
He kept his eyes closed to the world when a familiar voice reached him, his body slow to want to react in the sleep that still claimed it.
“You know, for someone who is so keen to be around his older brother all the time, you sure do like to disappear, little brother.”
The boy who laid in the sand did not speak at first, content with the sand that cradled him and a smirk that wanted to edge itself across his lips at the idea that he could fool his older brother into thinking he was still peacefully asleep.
At least then he would have more time to collect himself from what was to come.
After being as close as he was with his elder brother for eighteen years,though, he should have realized how readily the great Jeon Jung-Hyun would not fall for his antics.
A soft plop sounded from behind the boy, but he still remained motionless in the sand, hoping his act would steer his brother away in favor of giving him more time to soak up the calm of the skies. He wasn’t ready. Not yet.
It seemed, to his unfortunate dismay, that his brother had other plans.
“Don’t make me have to carry your sorry behind all the way back to the palace, Jungkook. You are far heavier than you look and I fear I may strain a muscle attempting to carry you there,” Jung-Hyun teased with a light lilt to his voice as he playfully jabbed at Jungkook’s left cheek.
The action emitted a deep sigh from Jungkook, who opened his eyes to his older brother who crouched down beside him. A grin was spread over the elder brother’s face and, while the younger boy had had a retort ready, he cast it away at the twinge of doubt that coiled itself in his gut at the excitement that bounded behind his brother’s countenance.
A wistful smile was all he was able to give to his elder brother as he sat up, not able to meet his brother’s eyes as he uttered, “I’m not ready, Jung-Hyun. I… I need more time to-“
Jungkook didn’t finish his sentence before his brother sat down, placing a hand on the younger’s shoulder to say,” Jungkook.”
It was all the younger could do to keep his eyes on the sand he absentmindedly was fiddling with as if it were the most interesting thing in the world, his brother’s voice clemently compassionate as he pressed again,” Hey, this about the ceremony, isn’t it?”
A slight nod was all Jungkook could give to the elder brother that peered down at his form that he’d made smaller by curling into himself as if that would block out the doubt that kept nipping at him. Understanding rolled forth in Jung-Hyun, the elder gently squeezing the younger’s shoulder as he looked above at the sky that Jungkook had always found so fascinating.
“It’s beautiful, isn’t it?” He simply asked, knowing the answer his younger brother was want to give to him before the words left his mouth.
“Yes,” Jungkook sincerely agreed, tilting his head upward to watch the bright, youthful constellation of Virgo twinkling brighter than the sun as she beckoned to Capricorn, his own stars and their counterparts flashing along as he tried to drift closer to waiting palm. Jungkook gazed up in the awe that twined itself around his words when he continued after some moments passed, “It is.”
The ease to which his younger brother spoke with such fondness elicited a chuckle from Jung-Hyun as he curiously noted the change in Jungkook when the subject was shifted away from the center of his worry to that of his utter fascination of the skies since childhood.
He was glad there was something that offered such serendipity for his younger brother.
Jong-Hyun was slow to speak once a comfortable silence had settled between them, the ocean’s hum a soft one as the waves reached along their feet, “You know, he started, sitting back to give his brother the space he needed to settle down,” When I was your age, I was worried about what magic would choose me, too. It was a strange, yet nerve-wracking day, to be sure.” His brother told him.
Jungkook’s eyes widened when he looked up at his elder brother at the new information Jung-Hyun had shared; his brother had always boasted about how his selection day had been one of pride and happy anticipation,” You…You were nervous, too?”
A chuckle carried in the air around them as his brother nodded, Jungkook’s dubiety taking a blow at the admission,” Oh, of course I was, little brother. I was so terrified, I locked myself in my room and didn’t let anyone in for an entire day until father had to have the doors to my room knocked down for fear of my health.”
Jungkook winced at that. He’d been only five or so at the time of his brother’s trial to which he had been chosen by divinatory magic as was custom of the royal family. Their parents had since passed on, their uncle taking the throne in their father and mother’s stead.
He had no memory of that period, had no memories of his father or mother as his elder brother did. For something so precious that he had missed, Jungkook would always envy his brother who had had time to spend and grow with them before they’d been so cruelly taken away.
Jung-Hyun was never reluctant to tell him of how beautifully bright his memories with their parents had been, the light and nostalgic air that surrounded his brother as he tenderly spoke of them brought with it nothing but peace and affection to Jungkook’s warm heart for the parents he’d never gotten to know.
He briefly wondered what his parents would have told him on this night of his claiming. If they would be so reassuring and loving as he imagined them to be from the way his brother always spoke so kindly of them. Deep within him, he knew they were looking on wherever they were, watching him with the same attention that he knew they always had.
The wind carefully brushed his cheek as if a mother reaching out to calm her child, and he is grateful for it.
When he looked back to his brother, he looked fondly upon Jungkook as he rose, holding out a hand in a silent offer to pull him up.
To Jungkook, his brother was nothing short of the hero that, time and time again, used his gift to safeguard and protect the kingdom of Busan in all the tales that he had heard the townspeople adoringly relay to their children in his many undercover visits to simply explore and learn more of the city and it’s people. No one in the kingdom had ever seen him, for it was custom of children of the royal family to remain unknown and unseen from the kingdom until they had become of age to be claimed by their magic, which was the eighteenth year of life.
For him, he wanted to be just like his brother. He wanted to make his brother as proud of him as he was of Jung-Hyun. After all, Jung-Hyun had basically raised him since birth. He owed it to his elder brother to live up to that which he’d spent all these years raising. Such was a difficult place to fill in his deep-seeded pride and love for his brother that swelled with affection when his brother would spill his stories, secrets wisdom with Jungkook as he shifted to look into the kind eyes of Jung-Hyun while grasping his hand.
Jungkook is swiftly pulled upwards, his brother’s hand moving somewhere when Jung-Hyun says, “You will be fine, Kookie-ah. Big brother says you will be, so please believe him.”
When Jungkook dipped his head, the gnawing of the doubt as strong as the force to which he had begun to chew on his cheek, Jung-Hyn moved back to shake his head, a smirk turning one of his lips up at his brother’s apprehensiveness.
Meekly, Jungkook replied,” What if the people don’t like me?”
Placing a hand on Jungkook’s head, Jung-Hyun ruffled the dark hazel hair until it fuzzed under his fingertips, “They will love you as your brother loves you, alright? Now, don’t push yourself like that, brother. I can almost hear all those thoughts buzzing around in that hard head of yours.” Jung-Hyun said, continuing in attempt to reassure the younger brother,” I know it’s hard, but you can do this. Your elder brother believes very strongly in you, little one.”
It was an intimidating thing- to be seen for the first time while simultaneously being obliged to earn the respects of all through a magical affinity. Still, such was the way of life in the kingdom of Busan, where magic existed to some form in all who dwelled there with the exception of an affinity for the elements of fire, water, earth and air. Such power had faded into extinction over time as had the existence of mythological creatures that once inhabited the seas and skies as the only creatures that possessed the strength to harness them.
It was only under the divinatory class of magic that Jungkook knew he would gain his affinity from, which had been worrying him sick over the last few days in the anxious anticipation that had come with his trial that had drawn closer and closer.
While the sea and sky had certainly been like salve to a wound in his nervous spirits, he couldn’t entirely erase the feeling that buried itself in his gut.
His elder brother must have sensed his lingering unease as it pulsed within him, deciding to tease him to lighten the heavy tension that had settled around them as he picked up the abandoned leather bound notebook to make a show of browsing the pages filled with ink in Jungkook’s utter devotion to his study,” Your notes are so hard to read I can barely make out the letters, by the way. Did something in the sky so profoundly catch the attention of you, little brother?”
At that, Jungkook’s eyes widened in surprise at his brother’s sudden change in behavior, running up to his elder brother in effort to take it from him,” Hey! Give it back, pabo!
Clucking his tongue in disapproval, Jung-Hyun, placed a hand out, effectively catching his brother’s forehead against his palm while Jungkook made every effort to take back the book in the form of him flailing his arms around. Momentarily forgetting that which had been a heavy weight for the last few days, a plan unfurled itself in Jungkook’s mind, his hands finding the white sand beneath him to curl around it as a playful grin edged along his lips.
“You should give that back to your little brother if you don’t want me to throw something at you,” Jungkook teased, flicking a brow of his own upward in his acquiesce to the dare.
A mischievous smile soon tugged at Jung-Hyun’s lips as he inclined his head, narrowing his eyes in a challenge,” Oh, I dare, little brother. If you want this notebook back,” he paused to lift the book higher in the air above Jungkook’s reach with an arch of a brow,” then come get it.”
He doesn’t give Jung-Hyun the chance to flee before the sand that he’d balled up in his palm is hurled at his face, heavy laughter emitted from the elder brother as a cascade of sand falls around him upon making contact with his face as Jungkook shouted,” I’m not done with you, yet, hyung!”
Spitting the sand that had made it’s home in his mouth, Jung-Hyun loudly teased,” We’ll see about that, my little welkin!”
A victorious thrumming passing through his center at the successful hit to his brother, Jungkook was left with a face full of sand in Jung-Hyun’s wake that flurried around him at the hard retreat of his brother along the hidden rocky trail that led out of the cove, no hesitation in the younger brother’s now smiling face as he swiftly made to follow the footsteps of Jong-Hyun with another load of ammunition balled in his hand.
“I’ll get you for that, brother!” Jungkook exclaimed as his feet began to carry him away from the sea. Surely there were worse things than being nervous over a trial. If his brother could do it, so could he. After all, the thought that he had his brother to support him filled his heart with a light contentedness he hadn’t known he could feel despite the coming trial.
It was with that thought that he released a light laugh into the tranquil night, a boy with hair the color of an azure sky during a spring day and warm, kind eyes tenderly watching on from the sea that Jungkook left behind him.
It took all but five minutes for Jungkook to slip back into the palace, opting to scale the walls up and over the greyed stone gates after sending a cocky grin to his brother who, in his defeat, made a feigned attempt of exasperation as he’d clutched at his chest before clumsily tripping over himself in his effort to escape Jungkook’s playful advance. The younger prince had tried to keep the airy laugh from tumbling under his lips, utterly failing as his brother made himself a new home on the ground, his hindquarters making contact on the stone with a thud.
Jungkook had been powerless to stop the deep laughter that fell rom his lips, a grin so wide claiming his cheeks that it hurt when he asked if his brother was alright, knowing from the stifled chuckle his brother emitted that he hadn’t been injured. A feeling of relief washed over him at the knowledge that no pain had come to his brother when Jong-Hyun had told him that he was unharmed.
It wasn’t before Jong-Hyun had tried to shoo Jungkook off with a flick of the wrist that the younger prince had all but tackled his elder brother into ground as Jong-Hyun finally chose to “surrender to the might of his kid brother.” With a final wave and nod to his elder brother, Jungkook had his precious journal returned to him before continuing on towards his quarters.
The nerves had been quick to claim him the moment Jungkook was alone again. Intent on keeping the rapidly growing nervousness from infecting his brother, Jungkook had decided to keep it to himself. He figured his brother had too many other things to worry about as he watched Jung-Hyn’s advisor lead him off as he’d sent his elder brother a final wave.
The young boy knew he needed to return to quarters quickly, lest he incur the wrath of the one who assisted him in these types of formal affairs. Not that Jungkook wasn’t capable of dressing himself or lightly painting his skin to give off a look of pure and utter perfection, but it was a measure his uncle required so that the king “had an image to give to the people so that he didn’t need to break his back trying to reign in a horse too wild for his control.”
Perhaps it was Jungkook’s innate want to simply be equal with those around him, or maybe it was that he was too kind to think of his caretaker as a servant like his uncle did, but he himself never called on an assistant unless he had to, preferring to give them the freedom he always craved when he was forced to remain enclosed within the palace’s walls like a caged bird waiting to fly away. Still, if ever he were made to call on an assistant, it was always the same one.
Said caretaker, he knew, was going to have a fit at his tardiness. He didn’t need to look at the skies or position of the moon to know he was late for his dressing. The fact sent a frustrated huff out of him as he prepared himself to be lectured for the next few hours or however long his attendant would deem fit to scold him for.
Still, he had come to deeply appreciate his attendant’s maternal presence. She was, perhaps, the only one in the entire palace other than his elder brother that he could say shared a bond with him as the one who had raised him beside his brother when Jung-Hyun was away on the affairs and political disputes their uncle often sent him away on. She’d been the one who always supported his love of studying the skies, encouraging him to note everything he theorized or thought after she’d helped him learn how to read and write.
He appreciated her more than he cared to admit. Next to Jong-Hyun, they were the two most important people in the world to him, for he’d never had the time or ability to befriend anyone outside the palace at the cold discouragement and forbiddance to mingle closely with the common folk as Jungkook’s uncle was always so keen to stipulate on the times that the young prince was, to his frustrated dismay, summoned for insubordination on the few incursions his uncle extracted himself from deep within the palace to ensure that young prince was within the gates of the grounds.
The irony was never lost on Jungkook that he had never had qualms with going against the will of his authoritative uncle, but Jungkook had never liked his uncle nor respected him, anyway. The man had a different woman in his bed every night, or so the handmaidens and guards would tell him when they quietly allowed him to be free from his cage to explore the world during the night.
It was only when he carefully padded across wooden floor and slid the dark timbered door back into place once he’d stepped inside the large rectangular room of his chambers did he release a breathe of relief, falling against the door before his eyes settled on his attendant, a hard scowl set on her wrinkled, aged face as she shook her head with frustrated disdain. The heavy stone earrings attached to her ears moved with the vigor of a tiger as quickly as she moved her head.
Amused, boy simply smiled and rose his arms over his head as if to hand over his defeat,” Sorry I’m late, lady Mavis. The skies called for me, again,” truthfully tumbling from his lips before her face softened and she began to ready him for the ceremony, his heart beginning to speed within his chest the longer that she worked.
If she noticed his discomfort she said nothing of it, giving him the time he needed to sort out his thoughts that were beginning to run wild as the dubiety began to weigh heavily down on him.
“Be calm, child,” was all that she’d said with a gentle and reassuring squeeze to his hand.
Throughout his preparation, she had not allowed him to look at her handiwork. It struck him as odd for her to do that, for she’d always given him the option to watch her work in the mirror on the rare occasions she had to ready him for any formal event. Still, he had an inkling that she had her reasons for doing what she was. He wasn’t one to go against her, choosing to remain still as she worked after earning five light taps to the hand and a frustrated glare from her when he’d tried to turn his chair around in the mirror. With a chuckle, he’d relented his attempts in teasing her, knowing that she wanted to complete his look just as much as he wanted to get out of it so he could tell her all that he’d learned from the skies.
She was always so fascinated by the knowledge and tales he continually told her.
By the time she was finished, he widened his eyes upon seeing the image that greeted him. He hardly recognized the hair that was black as a raven’s wing, it’s tamed edges curled upwards and to the sides so that one side fell along his forehead to give him an air of delicacy before the rest of it tumbled behind in soft waves.
His face had been painted to match the tone of his natural skin, but an oil she’d just applied made his skin look so alive as he were glowing against the soft light that touched his face as he absentmindedly touched his cheek, the silkiness of it emitting a surprised gasp as he let his hand fall to his side.
A light blush was powdered over his cheeks and a dab of silver coated along his eyes that reminded him of the pewter he would find embedded in the rocks of the cove he so often frequented. The material had been blended lightly underneath the end of his eyes and along the outer eyelid, catching in the golden firelight that emanated from the corner of his room where a fire blazed to life, the color adorning his eyes glowing a color that reminded him the moonlight as it caught in it.
That alone stirred a pang of affection to beat through his chest, one of his hands rising to gently squeeze her own,” I…thank you, Mavis. It-it’s wonderful,” he managed to get out through the warmness that began to blur his vision.
He knew Mavis had chosen that color purposely, and he silently thanked her once more for it. Perhaps she hoped that the reminder of the skies would give him strength. It did, he mused with a smile that reached all the way to his cheeks, his chest flooding with affection for his caretaker as he took in the rest of himself in the mirror set before him.
Gone was the ragged long, loose linen shirt and even looser frayed pants that allowed the air to journey between the openness they allowed, instead replaced by expensive, colorful silks and satin.
He’d traded them for pants that hung loose around his legs, black like the night sky. His undershirt was tighter around his muscular form, a silver design weaving itself down his chest in a pattern resembling that of a fish’s scales to symbolize trade and wealth of Busan. Jungkook was caught in awe of the color of it as he moved- like that of his eyes, it seemed to call light toward it and glow brightly like the moon. His outer garment hung open on his chest, the black silk giving freer movement of his arms with the sleeves that hung loosely at his side. Accenting it all was a piece of silk that had been draped over his neck to sit atop his out garment, it’s length so long that he it touched his knees when he moved. The color of it was chrome, accenting the rest of his dark attire wonderfully as it, too, glimmered in the light of his quarters.
It was beautiful, the boy thought. He would have voiced as such, but he feared his voice would betray his emotion that began to flood him, opting instead to give a smile to his caretaker she returned it before moving away to open a moderately sized black box that sat upon the shelf carved into the wall sitting to the immediate right of his door.
Quirking his head in curiosity, he didn’t have time to rise to meet her before she turned back around, a warmness swimming in her eyes as she looked fondly at Jungkook who, the question prominent in his expression as he’d tilted his head to stare at her curiously at her, asked,” Mavis? What is that?”
“The final touch, moonlight,” She kindly answered before producing one of the only things his parents had left for him.
The diadem was his favorite piece of jewelry, calling all to its attention in the craftsmanship to which it had been borne, and the boy couldn’t help but wonder what his mother would say as his attendant lowered the thin silver band down over his hair until it rested against his temples, a delicate pattern embedded within it to resemble that of the night sky, small white diamonds encrusted inside to accent the teardrop shaped diamond black as the darkness that fell between his brows.
It was a beautiful thing, left to him by his mother for this very day.
He didn’t have to ask to know that his attendant had brought this for him on her own thought. His uncle likely had no idea the pretty little thing even existed, for he was too self-involved to really care about anything but himself.
Not that Jungkook could care about that right now, not with the kind look that she fixed him with as she came close with a tender hug, careful not to mess with her handiwork as she let out a shaky breath, “Be strong, moonlight. Be strong,” she whispered.
Compassion surged through him at her touch, her voice causing the heat that pooled in his eyes to break free of their captor, one tear trailing down his cheek as he hugged back with just as much vigor. All the anxiousness and nerves clutched at him when he pulled her in for a deeper embrace as if that would keep them at bay, but he was nothing if not in need of her reassurance as he tentatively spoke,” I don’t know if I can do this, Mavis… what if I can’t summon-“
He is silenced when a bony finger is placed against his lips, fiercely shaking her head to the side as her earrings clinked against themselves as she moved in a speed that shouldn’t have been possible for a woman so old. The sight caused a light laugh from the boy and she looked on in fondness as he did, speaking only when he’d quieted and the smile still lingered on his lips.
“You can and you will, my boy. Do not cry for that which you fear,” Her free hand gently wiping away at the tear that had slid down his cheek,” Your brother, nor I, have a single shred of doubt in you, moonlight.”
Her words rung true in his ears as they settled upon him. He knew that, despite his wavering confidence, he had Mavis and Jung-Hyun to support him. It was as if with that realization that some of the weight left his shoulders as he exhaled, returning Mavis’ kind smile with his own as he told her, “I will try to be strong.”
She nodded with a soft,” I’ll there the whole time, moonlight.” He hardly had time to bow to show her his respects before she all but pushed him out of his quarters into the waiting company of two guards that would escort him to the ceremony.
Each step closer to the courtyard brought with it unease that gripped Jungkook so fiercely he felt as if his legs might betray him, his breaths slowly becoming ragged and uneven as a boy with azure hair looked on from the shadows. With eyes as golden as the sun alight with interest, his deep voice was tinged in the waiting eagerness as he all but purred,” See you soon, young prince."