Bells rang out high above the city, Redwood, in the kingdom of Yalelia. It was something that Lucas had grown used to hearing, growing up in his castle. He sat in the small clover field that was walled off from the rest of the courtyard that rested behind the large stonewalls of the castle. Lucas stared up at the passing clouds in the vast blue sky with his oceanic-colored eyes.
“Lucas!” a shrill voice called out to him.
Lucas blinked, seemingly breaking away from his thoughts. He turned his head, looking towards his sister running towards him. Her chestnut brown hair flowed out behind her as she happily stared out at him with her own shining blue eyes. She wore a bright pink Victorian-styled dress as she approached him, taking a seat down in the field beside her brother. Lucas smiled brightly at his sister.
“Rose, I thought you were in the middle of etiquette lessons with Marie right now. What happened?” he asked curiously, smiling politely. He reached around with his small hands, tightening his small chestnut brown ponytail.
Rose pouted, folding her arms over her chest. She looked off to the side, huffing a bit, “I hate those classes! Lucas, why aren’t you in those classes? Don’t you need those to be the king?” she asked.
Letting out a small sigh, Lucas looked down at the green clovers that surrounded the two, his hands falling into his lap. He couldn’t figure out a suitable answer for his twin sister, and he didn’t want to upset her. He could hear the church bells stop ringing as Rose tugged on the sleeve of his jacket.
“Lucas, I want us to play together, okay?” she smiled at him.
He glanced up at her from the green clovers. He stared at her for a moment, smiling at her brightly. He nodded, an idea popping into his mind, “Rose, I have a game we could play. We should try to find a four-leaf clover to bring us good luck. The first one to find the four-leaf clover wins, okay?”
Rose released Lucas’ jacket sleeve, nodding as she smiled at him. “Alright, Lucas. I’m ready! Ready? Go!” she giggled as she began looking the green field over carefully for the clover, turning away from her brother.
Lucas chuckled as he watched his sister for a few seconds. He realized she was too preoccupied trying to find the four-leaf clover, instead of looking back at him to see if he was even participating in the game, before turning his back to her. He reached into his jacket pocket and fished out a small glass bottle that had a small cork in it. Inside of the glass bottle was a small parchment letter that he had written to his twin sister beforehand. On the neck of the bottle was a small four-leaf clover that Lucas had found earlier that he had tied neatly and carefully in order to present it to his sister.
He turned towards Rose, noticing the young six-year old girl with her hands buried in the green plants. Her bright blue eyes scanning around carefully as she tried hard to try to find the small plant. Lucas let out a small chuckle.
“Rose, I have a present for you.”
She gasped and looked over at him. Shock swept over her face as she watched him, smirking at her, “No way! You found it already? But how?” she asked curiously.
Lucas smiled and handed the bottle to her, “I found it this morning when you went to your etiquette lessons. Here. This is for you, Rose,” he said, “Take it.”
Rose gasped, and grabbed the glass bottle gently from his hand. She examined it carefully before looking up at Lucas, “Am I allowed to open it?” she asked. When Lucas nodded, Rose smiled and hugged her brother happily, “Oh, thank you, Lucas! I’m so happy that you gave this to me! Thank you!” she giggled brightly.
Lucas hugged his sister back, laughing brightly with her. Someone cleared her throat behind the two, causing their laughter to cease instantly. Lucas released his sister and sat back in the clovers, looking up towards an old woman that stood on a dirt path near them. The old woman wore a dark blue Victorian dress, her arms were folded over her chest, and her eyebrows furrowed down at them.
“Lady Rose, how many times have I told you not to leave in the middle of etiquette lessons?” the old woman croaked bitterly.
Rose lowered her gaze to the ground, her hands falling into her lap, concealing the small present, “I am terribly sorry-“
“Look at me when you are talking, Princess Rose!”
The young girl gasped and jolted a little. Her head flew up, her eyes locking with the old woman’s as she stared at her nervously, “I-I’m terribly sorry I left early!” she stammered.
Lucas clenched his fists tightly. He scrambled to his feet, standing protectively in front of his younger sister, “Marie, please! She’s the princess, not you! So don’t talk down to her!” he growled.
Marie gasped loudly, taking a step back. She opened her mouth to say something, only to be interrupted by a loud booming voice from nearby.
“That’s enough!” the voice barked.
Everyone’s attention turned towards a middle-aged man walking towards the clover field. He had stern jade-colored eyes, light chestnut brown hair with strands of gray combed through it, and wore dark violet robes. Rose pulled herself to her feet as she brushed passed Lucas and Marie. She ran towards him, her arms outstretched.
“Daddy!” she called out, wailing.
The king knelt down, hugging Rose gently as she hugged him tightly, “There, there, Rose… Don’t cry. A princess must try to keep a brave face in front of all of her subjects, and her family,” he soothed in a deep voice.
Rose nodded, sniffling as she pulled back, wiping her eyes with her balled fists. Lucas ran over towards them, hugging Rose to try to comfort her.
“Father, Marie… She was yelling at Rose, and talking down to her, and-!”
“Lucas, please. That’s enough. That is what Marie is hired to do. Marie is hired to help teach Rose what it is to be a proper young lady. Sometimes, she has to be harsh. That will be all for today, Marie,” the king ordered, nodding towards Marie.
Marie nodded at the king, and curtsied towards them, “Have a wonderful day, Your Highness. Princess Rose, please practice at looking in the eyes of people when you speak with them,” she informed before walking passed them, out of the courtyard.
Rose sniffled and shook her head at Marie’s orders, “I don’t want to do that… Why do I have to go through this…?” she asked in a shrill, wavering voice.
Their father sighed heavily. He gently placed a hand on both of their shoulders. He looked over at Lucas, then over at Rose.
“Children, please… Listen to me. Yalelia is blessed to have you both here. Honestly, I wish you both could rule this kingdom in your own way, but there are rules that need to be upheld… There is something that I do need to talk to you about, but not here, okay? Perhaps after dinner, all right? Come now, children, it’s time to come inside. In case you haven’t noticed, the sky is getting dark, and dinner will be ready shortly.”
“-and so Lucas and I were trying to find a four-leaf clover, but neither of us could find one, and that was when Marie showed up,” Rose explained happily, waving her fork around. On the end of her fork was a piece of cooked ham that came from her plate.
Lucas quietly ate from his plate as the king and queen listened to Rose quietly. The king raised an eyebrow at her. He smiled brightly at her, chuckling, “Oh, is that so, Rose? Not even Lucas could find a four-leaf clover?” he asked curiously.
Rose shook her head, “No way. He couldn’t find a single one!”
“How odd. Lucas is such a bright young man already. He’d able to spot a four-leaf clover a mile away if he could,” the king chuckled.
Lucas gulped down the food that was in his mouth, smiling at his father, “Thanks, Father. I learned from you!” he admitted proudly.
The king smiled proudly at him before his smile faded. He let out a small sigh, “Lucas… Rose… You know what twins mean to Yalelia, right?” he asked.
Lucas nodded quietly as Rose spoke up, “Of course! Twins mean that Yalelia will be led right into a bright future for as long as the twins will both live.”
He smiled over at her, “That’s right, Rose. Good job. Now, that means in order for this kingdom to prosper and live peacefully, you both will need to live happy, healthy, and safe lives. No wars for you both, do you understand?”
“Wars?” Rose asked, tilting her head a bit, much like a puppy. A look of confusion swept over her face. Lucas looked over at Rose, then over at his father, also trying to understand what he was saying.
The queen let out a heavy sigh, “Darling, please… The children are too young for this. They won’t remember when they’re older.”
“I know, but now is the time to tell them, because tomorrow, Lucas will start his training.”
Lucas gasped, smiling, “Do I get to start my training to be a great king, like you?” he asked hopefully.
The queen opened her mouth to say something, but quickly shut it. She turned her head away, unsure of how to break the news to her young son. The king paused, letting out a very heavy sigh. He leaned back in his large wooden seat, his jade eyes gazing down at the plate of partially eaten food.
“Father? Aren’t I training to be a king?”
With another heavy sigh, the king raised his gaze, his eyes meeting Lucas’. Lucas felt his heart drop into the pit of his stomach as his smile faded.
“No, my son. I’m sorry, but… You’ll be sent to the other side of the city for a while to train under a man named Darius Black. He is going to train you to be the finest butler of them all, and you will return here to serve under your sister… I’m sorry, Lucas, but you will not be the king. Rose, here, will be the one to inherit the throne.”
Lucas lowered his gaze, leaning back in his seat. He was silent. He didn’t know what to say to his father after taking the news. He wanted to be a great king, like his father was, with his sister ruling beside him as a wonderful queen, but it wasn’t going work like he had imagined.
Rose stood up from her seat, slamming her hands onto the table. The fork she once held in her hand clattered onto the floor. Tears welled up in her eyes, and a couple even trickled down her cheeks, “No! I want Lucas to be a king! He’s my brother, not a servant!” she wailed.
“Rose, please calm down,” her father tried to soothe her.
“No! I don’t want Lucas to leave me! He’s a great brother and he’ll be a great king, too!” Rose pushed herself away from the dining table and ran out of the dining hall, crying loudly.
Lucas looked over where towards his sister’s seat, letting out a small sigh. He stood up, looking over towards his father, “Father, I want to be excused so I can find Rose.”
The king nodded quietly as Lucas ran out of the dining hall after Rose. The queen leaned back in her seat, looking across the table at her husband. A look of despair mixed with disappointment washed over her face.
“Why did you tell the children about the training now instead of tomorrow when they are going to be separated?” she asked.
The king closed his eyes, gently lying his fork down on his plate, “I had to do it, my dear. They’re twins. Twins have a deeper connection than anyone, and we must come to terms with that. So, I want to give them this last little bit together before we do separate them, in order to train them to become great adults.”
Lucas ran up a large spiral staircase, and down the hallway, making a sharp left towards his sister’s bedroom. He panted a bit as he knocked on the door. He could hear Rose sobbing on the other side.
“Go away!” she wailed.
“Rose, it’s Lucas…” he panted.
There was a pause on the other side, soon followed by a quick pitter-patter of feet. Before Lucas knew it, the door flew open and Rose hugged him tightly. Lucas gently hugged her back.
“Come on, Rose, let me go so I can come in,” he said, breaking out a small smile, trying his best to cheer her up.
Rose sniffled and pulled back a bit, holding onto his hand as she pulled her twin brother into her bedchambers. She made sure to close the door behind him. Her bedchambers were huge. A large queen-sized bed that sat near a dressing table, a wardrobe on the other side of the room that sat near a bird cage that housed a small golden canary, and two large window paned doors that led outside to her balcony. Rose walked over towards her bed, climbing on top of it, sniffling.
“Lucas, I don’t understand… Why does this have to happen…?” she asked.
Lucas crawled up onto the bed beside her, letting out a small sigh. He tried to blink back his own tears, trying to keep up a brave face for her, “I… I honestly don’t know, Rose. I don’t like it, either… I want to be a king, too… But, I’ll be happy as long as you’re a queen,” he declared, clearing his throat.
His twin looked over at him, a few tears rolling down her cheeks, “What do you mean?”
“If I were king, that would mean you would have to be my servant, right? So, I would rather have you be the queen so I can be your servant. Besides, we’re always so nice to our servants anyways, so you’ll be nice to me, too.”
Rose’s tears slowly stopped as she let out a small giggle. She wiped her eyes with her balled fists, one of them still tightly clamped onto Lucas’ hand, “Lucas… You’re so silly…”
Lucas chuckled a bit. He stopped and smiled more widely at her, “Rose, did you open your present yet?”
She gasped and shook her head. Rose reached onto her bed, grabbing the small glass bottle. Rose was careful not to damage the four-leaf clover that was neatly tied around the neck of the bottle as she pulled the cork off of the bottle. She dropped the cork and dumped the small piece of paper out of the small glass bottle. As she unrolled it, Lucas put his hands on the back of his head, watching Rose read each word carefully.
“Dear Rose,” she started to read aloud, “you’re the best sister in the world. I love you. Love Lucas. Oh, Lucas, that was the best present ever!” she declared, leaning over and tackling him into a hug.
Lucas fell backwards onto the bed, laughing as Rose fell beside him, “I’m happy you like it, Rose.”
Rose smiled more, “You’re the best brother in the world, too!”
The two laughed happily, seemingly having forgotten about the upcoming heartache that had destined to tear them apart.
The following afternoon, Lucas and Rose were playing in the clover field once more. That was their favorite place to play whenever Rose could get away from her etiquette lessons from Marie, though it seemed that Marie wasn’t even in the castle for the day. The twins were excited about Rose having time to play, and ran all over the walled-off field, their laughter filling the air.
Rose ran over and tried to reach out to Lucas, “I almost got you, Lucas!” she laughed.
Lucas laughed, moving backwards as he ran, “You haven’t tagged me yet, Rose,” he declared. He continued to run backwards, making sure to watch his sister.
As he ran backwards, he bumped into a person that stood behind him. As he did so, he quickly turned around, looking up at a strange man that he had never seen before. Lucas raised an eyebrow at him in confusion. The queen stood beside the man, smiling down at Lucas.
“Lucas, I see you and Rose are playing a game of tag, right?” she asked.
He nodded, “Yes, Mother,” he said.
Rose ran over towards them. As she approached them, she hugged onto Lucas’ arm gently, looking up at the strange man, “Mommy, who is this man?” she asked.
The queen gestured towards the man, “This man’s name is Darius Black. He’s come to meet you, Lucas, and then take you for training,” she said.
Lucas continued to stare up at Darius, studying his features. Darius was a handsome young man, with high cheekbones, and pitch black hair that cascaded down over one shoulder into a loose ponytail. His eyes were a dark brown color with a stern look in them, and there wasn’t a hint of a smile coming from the man’s lips.
“No! I don’t want Lucas to leave!” Rose whined, hugging Lucas’ arm tighter, breaking Lucas from staring at Darius.
The queen sighed, walking around the two, and kneeling down on the other side of Rose. She gently tucked a lock of her chestnut brown hair behind her ear, “You have to, Rose… It’s for Yalelia.”
“Rose, I’ll be back before you know it. I promise,” Lucas smiled at her, turning around to face her, “You still have my present, right? Whenever you feel lonely, you can just read it, and you won’t feel lonely anymore.”
Rose’s blue eyes welled up with tears as she shook her head, “Lucas will feel lonely, too… I don’t want you to go!” she cried, wrapping her arms around him tightly.
Lucas hugged his sister back tightly, closing his eyes. He could feel his own tears welling up in his own eyes, “Please don’t cry, Rose…” he whispered.
The queen looked up at Darius, “Please grab Lucas and go. Train him for as long as you need and bring him back when he is ready,” she ordered.
She reached over, grabbing Rose as she pried her away from Lucas. Rose tried her best to pull herself away from her mother, reaching out towards her brother. Tears rolled down her face as she cried. Rose kicked and cried as she tried to reach out towards Lucas. Lucas reached back towards Rose, attempting to hug her one last time, only to have Darius kneel down, grabbing Lucas around his midsection. Lucas wriggled around, trying to pull himself away from Darius as he was being carried away.
Darius let out a small sigh as he quickly walked away from the crying princess and the queen, “You’re going to be difficult, aren’t you? If you want to come back quickly, then do as I say, and do it well. Got it?” he growled irritably.
Lucas stopped struggling after hearing those words. He opened his mouth to say something, but quickly shut it as Darius crawled into the carriage that was waiting for them just outside of the gardens, having Lucas sit beside him.
“Let’s go,” Darius ordered the driver.
The carriage soon started pulling away from the castle. As Lucas looked back, his twin sister was nowhere in sight.