Denali Chapter 2

Denali Chapter 2

Addyson Burkholder, Dedicated writer

                           

                The aroma of fresh pancakes wafted in her face as she strode into the dining room, with its long banquet tables and banners hanging from the ceiling. She sat down next to her father and practically sank into the congenial armchair. There hired chef de cuisine, Maxine threw open the doors to the kitchen and hurried in with her squeaky run-down cart that sagged with all the steaming platters of food it was carrying. 

 “Why Maxine you’ve outdone yourself!” My father said a big smile spread from ear to ear across his face. 

“Why thank you sir, ” she replied proudly, glancing at the bulging plates of food. Maxine was a short, plump woman with a round face and naturally rosy cheeks. Ephira cast her focus back on the food as the delicious aroma of warm cupcakes and English muffins wavered in her face. She eyed the giant fluffy golden pancakes, and muffins the size of goblets. She saw varieties of fruit spread on most of the dishes. There were many assortments of smoothies. She recognized a few as vegetable smoothies, fruit Smoothies, and chocolate smoothies. There were also foot-long bacon strips and giant bowls of warm golden eggs. 

“Why, how will we eat all this?” “And we can’t ignore the fact you fit all of it on that tiny cart of yours!” He added with a chuckle.

“Lots of practice has paid off, your Majesty,” Maxine proclaimed. “Well your Majesty I have plenty of dishes to clean so I wish you well today but I must be off,” and with that she strolled out of the room, the kitchen doors banging behind her.

               When Ephira was finally free to eat, she bit into a piece of pancake. It tasted like soft golden layers of goodness topped with ripe strawberries and creamy bananas. Next, she tried a fruit smoothie. It was creamy and sweet. 

               When she had finished her blueberry muffin, she stood up and linked arms with her father as they walked through the castle’s door and surrounding gardens, out toward the village, in sync with every step they took. They were almost in the village when they stopped to gaze at the trees which were bare and cold, their branches reaching out like they wanted to soak up the last of fall’s warmth before the long, dry winters started their wrath on the village. They passed some farmers harvesting the last of the season’s crops. The farmers tipped their hats as they passed. It wasn’t hard to prove the Endellions loved their king; he treated them like his family and in return, they gave him their loyalty. As they walked amongst so many citizens it was clear that they were all equal and that moment seemed so peaceful, she felt united among the kingdom and for once like she almost felt like belonged.

But then evil feeling that she didn’t belong began to swirl in her chest and creep along her spine. It refused to let her feel normal among other people like she should. It was a dark feeling, that could only be described as a black smoke that seemed to coil upward and destroy any sense of joy that might cross its path. It made her feel like no one else understood her, it made her feel unwanted and hated by the people around her. It made her feel alone. She knew the feeling of being alone could change people. It could make them only see the worst in someone, or it could destroy their path to happiness and leave a lingering feeling of hatred inside them. Ephira hoped to control the feeling. She would not tell her father, he was too busy and she didn’t want to distract him from his royal duties as a king. So for now she would stay quiet and try not to draw unwanted attention to herself. 

It was late evening when they started walking back to the Castle. Suddenly one of Her father’s servants ran up to them he was panting and had beads of sweat along his forehead. Before he said anything he grabbed a handkerchief from his pocket and dabbed the sweat off his head. He looked down at me and sniffed uncouthly as If I  had personally offended him by being there.  

“Sir! There you are, I’ve been looking for you all day!” 

“What is it Bartholomule?” 

“It is urgent, Sir, and should not be discussed with more ears than yourself!” he said, giving her a snooty look.  Ugh, she had never liked Bartholomule.  His face always looked like he had tasted something sour, and he always talked down to her. She knew it was bad to think of someone like that… but he was always pestering her!

“Okay then, you’ll be alright, Fi? Because it seems like I must get back to the castle,” her father said in a worried tone. 

“I’ll be fine Dad,” she reassured him, “The kingdom needs you more than I do.” 

“Thank you Ephira, I’ll be at the Castle if you need me, but be home by 7:00, ok?” 

“Yes Father I’ll be sure to,” she tried to say reassuringly even though what she planned on doing was the exact opposite.

“Be safe,” he said as he walked back to the castle with Bartholomule. Ephira was itching to know what had made the servant so anxious but she also knew it was probably better to be kept a secret if it was urgent. 

She made a right turn that she knew she shouldn’t make into the direction of the mysterious forbidden Yakushima forest that surrounded a lake other whys it was known as  Himitsu no mizūmi by a Japanese traveler who had discovered it. It had been banned because of mysterious activity happening near the lake. The fact that It was forbidden made it thrilling so as she stepped through the trees she didn’t feel a hint of intimidation. Then she disappeared through the dark and dense undergrowth.