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Airo chapter one
Outside these walls is what I have craved since I was a child. The morning air is warm, and the sweet rich sound of a child’s joyful laughter sings from outside my window. Within these walls is a cold place that makes a bright future grow dim. Living as a prince, I know that I can buy many things with the money that the kingdom feeds us, but not even all the money the kingdom has can afford the one thing that I desire most, freedom. My childhood ended when my brother disappeared on the worst night in history, when the bloodiest massacre happened in our kingdom nine years ago. He was heir to the thrown until he was assumed dead, so now I claim that title. After the incident, I started to take more classes at home, have more hours in home schooling, and have tutors to watch my every move. Leaving the castle area is forbidden due to safety precautions. Even though I’m now a teenager, I still wish I could spend the rest of my childhood that I had left before it was taken away. Since I was little, making inventions has been my hobby.
I stand up from my chair and take out my Murdock style tools that are lying in my desk drawer. The tools are scattered everywhere. I’m not very organized, as you can tell from all my books stacked up like a tower on the shelves and the mix of a variety of clothes shoved in dresser drawers. The tools may not be organized, but I don’t have too much trouble finding the tools I need. I wish it were the same for finding my clothes. I take out my unfinished machine that has been set in my closet, and then I open up a book about planes. I hardly remember the last time I saw a plane up in the sky. I rarely go outside, so I don’t always get a chance to go outside and see an airplane fly across the sky. Seeing an airplane is just a reminder of where I stand, in this cage that’s known as my home, with heavy chains of burden causing morose restraint with some belief that I can break free. Sometimes I laugh at myself, thinking that I could ever be in that position in my life, but it does make time go faster for me, making inventions seem quick.
I take a screw from the drawer and tighten it on the spinner I have placed on the nose of the plane. My invention is finally complete. The plane feels well sculpted and delicate on my palms. It took a few hours to paint the plane to match one of my favorite designs in the book. The plane is coated black with a long white stripe that goes straight across the plane’s side, and it has red wings spray-painted to make the plane look like it is flying like a rocket. I let the plane sit on my desk to dry. While waiting for the paint to dry, I am staring at the picture of the plane I copied to make my invention. Being patient is difficult for me, especially when I am anxious to try out something new.
The clock looks like it is moving slower and slower by the second when I look at the clock here and there. It is annoying and starts to get frustrating as well. Whenever I get to a point of frustration, I look at the back of the book, which holds photos of the author’s home. The writer lives in a cabin up in the mountains with his family. It gives me a clement feeling, seeing how settling the place looks. The pictures show a couple of airplanes, clear blue sky above land that is far from any town, including the writer with his family, who are passing smiles with one another as they take pictures together. Just seeing the happiness on their faces and knowing they can share it with others stirs up jealousy towards them. Any place where I could be comforted by others who love me would feel like home. Too bad my lips are too cold to crack a smile in here like those people in the picture.
After a few hours pass, the plane at last feels dry enough to handle. I grab the remote from my bed (that took me all night to work on) and start it up. The plane runs across the wide room in circles, turning at every corner in my control, but still it won’t fly. I try another approach, making a ramp out of my books. With one hand controlling the remote and the other crossing fingers, I watch the plane run from one side of the room to the next. Once it runs up the ramp, it jumps back to the floor. Then it leaps up in the air. I am in an emotional rollercoaster, going from disappointment to joy. The plane flies like a bird around the room until all of a sudden I can’t control the remote anymore. The plane doesn’t follow the remote’s signal, and then it smashes into the wall. Grey smoke comes out from its engine, but the smoke isn’t as grey as my sorrow. I pick up my destroyed creation and throw it in a large cardboard box inside my closet with the rest of the inventions that have given up on me. “How can everything I make let me down?” I ask myself. I go back to bed, hoping that I can get a little rest before the day starts, and then someone knocks at the door. I roll my eyes and cover my head with a blanket.
“Airo, it’s time for breakfast. You need to be down in the dining room,” a servant woman says.
The woman keeps nagging on and on about me needing to get up, and after about ten minutes of it, I give in and tell her I will be down in a few minutes. I don’t know why I keep doing this. I barely get any sleep when I work on my inventions at night and work with homeschooling during the day. This is a bad routine, but I’m addicted to it. I uncover myself from the warm blanket and wash up. Looking in the bathroom mirror, I stare at myself, which is like looking at an old bloodhound. Waking up early is torture, but hearing one of the servants nagging nonstop is worse. After about ten minutes pass, I head down for the dining room. Before I walk in, I can hear the television on in the kitchen across the dining room. My mind is somewhere else. I am walking in one direction and then looking in another. Without noticing, I walk into one of my tutors named Bento, who is waiting for me. I know I will never hear the end of this.
“Where are your manners? You’re a prince not some dirty merchant; don’t be a bloody fool,” Bento says.
“Yes sir,” I say.
“Don’t stare at me; it’s disrespectful of you.”
I only glance at him for a second; he doesn’t give me a straight look because of his poor eyesight. Bento has a long scar on his left cheek that he hates for someone to stare at. I try as hard as I can to not to give him a certain look, to prevent any fuss with Bento, for it is the last thing I need to deal with each day.
First, my mind was on the television; now it’s on the food. My stomach roars with hunger, growling to be fed. The scrumptious smell is so tempting; my mouth is watering like a river fall at the fresh cooked hickory bacon, warm bright yellow scrambled eggs, homemade bread straight from the oven, and hot cinnamon buns glazed with warm dazzling icing. I always have an appetite, but this morning, without thinking, I shove almost half the plate in my mouth. My parents, who are sitting across from me, gasp. Bento walks up behind me and slaps the back of my head with one of his white gloves. After I feel the sting, I stop eating and stare at my plate. It surprises me that I wasn’t thinking about my table manners. I slowly put down my silverware and swallow my food. Soon everybody is staring at me silently with their irritated looks on their faces. Bento sits himself down next to Mother and Father and just watches me like a hawk. Eventually, everybody loses disinterest in me and continue to eat breakfast. While I start eating again slowly this time, I hear the T.V again in the kitchen. I lift my eyes up, looking in the kitchen in front of me, and see a few of our chefs and some servants all gathered around the television.
I look at the small T.V box that was put up on a shelf in the kitchen and see a news reporter. He is a great speaker, and he is talking about this Sunday.
“This is going to be the best flying demonstration we will ever see with our own eyes,” the reporter says.
“Starting this coming up Sunday, we will be having the most professional pilots fly their airplanes from around the world at Roseland town in the Kingdom of Shikoba! This is your chance to see these daredevils take flight and blow your minds. So come, those daredevils can only stay put until Sunday!”
He moves on with other news, but I’m not paying attention to anything else he says other than the airplane show. I try to think of how I can convince my parents to let me go. As I am about to ask them, Akira arrives with a letter. She has been working as a servant for us since she was a little girl. I have known her almost my whole life. We are about the same age.
“Your highness, I received a message from Kennedy, Airo’s last tutor,” Akira says.
“Well, I wonder how Ken is holding up with his new students in Europe,” Mother says.
Akira takes out a letter knife from her apron pocket and opens the envelope. She reads the letter aloud for us while we eat.
“Dear my forever king and queen, I have been promoted to teaching students in college and become a trainer for those students to be suited for their place in life. I ask if you will allow Airo to join me, so I may continue to teach him in Europe and allow his mind to learn life outside the castle. Your son will be safe with me. He will be occupied with a share of my student’s work outside of school to help support themselves with heat, food, and shelter. This will be a good experience for the young prince. From yours truly, Kennedy.”
My heart holds its breath while waiting for a response. I have never had a favorite tutor, but Ken rather understands me. He just never shows me that he did.
“Throw that away. My son has no need to be out working with lower people,” Father says.
“That’s right, the last thing we need is for our son to have thoughts of going out and getting beaten by the street animals. The answer is no! Kennedy will figure out sooner or later what we think,” says Mother.
After that, I close my lips tightly and let my heart take a breather. I figured that my parents will be too stubborn to let me go far from home. I have given up hope for convincing them to let me go.
After breakfast, Bento starts teaching history, starting with a lecture about the kings that ruled before my father. While he is lecturing, I look out the window. I hear the school bell ring and see children playing with their friends joyfully. I can read their laughter from their smiling lips. Just seeing them play almost makes me jealous. All that remains of my old childhood is the anger for not being able to grasp it. Later that evening, I hear the bell ring again. The children are dismissed from school and run to their loved ones with open arms. They walk home, holding hands and, along the way, the children release themselves to run ahead, playing in the autumn leaves. It is colder in this castle than it is outside close to winter season. It almost seems like, as long as I carry this burden, it will always be cold beneath my skin.
Once Bento finishes his lesson for today, he follows me to the dining room for dinner. The table is full of gourmet food as usual, and Bento eats and checks up on my table manners. This time my head is not distracted by the T.V or anything, so there are not any disgusted looks for me. Tomorrow, it will be Sunday, and every Sunday morning my parents and I go to church for a service that usually lasts for about three hours. We have a few guards come along with us, and it is Bento’s day off. The dining room is on the top floor of the castle, giving us a great view of the kingdom below. While eating dinner, I’ll look out the window for airplanes or anything else that could be interesting. The sky is close to midnight blue, the moon appears from behind the grey clouds, and the streetlights begin to light up. The church’s multi-colored glass windows light up from the Saturday night service they have inside. All the windows are painted with all the colors of the rainbow except for the bathroom window.
I stare out the window for a great period of time, and it probably would go on longer if Mother didn’t interrupt me once I start laughing.
“What are you laughing about son?” asks Mother.
“Nothing, I’m just thinking.”
“About what? It’s rude to act immature, young man.”
My mother is very demanding and expects an answer right when she wants it, and that’s usually immediately, so I have to think fast.
“Well, I was just wondering who placed a cow in our tea garden this morning. I saw it through my window.”
“How dare you call me a cow!” Mother says. “I was having a tea party at the garden with the ladies, and my new outfit was very well liked.”
“Those parked vans were your party guests?” I mumble. Unfortunately, Mother hears my quiet mumble and orders me to go to my room.
Akira makes a loud giggle after hearing that joke. She looks at me with her young face glowing red that she tries to cover with her hands. Once Mother quickly gives her a stubborn look, the girl’s smile is killed in a heartbeat. While everyone else goes back to their meals, I sneak a tablespoon from my plate into my inside pocket before I leave. No one notices, not even Bento, and he always catches me when I do anything that seems inappropriate to him. Luckily, he isn’t paying too close attention tonight.
I head straight to my room, preparing for bed. After looking at the church’s bathroom window, I feel that I have found the answer to my problem. While setting out my church clothes for tomorrow, I set aside another set of clothes that I will wear while working with my inventions. The tablespoon from dinner was placed on top of the rag clothes, and I place a plastic bag from the newly changed garbage can in the bathroom, wrapping it around the tablespoon. Tomorrow is going to be a new day for me and, hopefully, finding Roseland town won’t be too much of a workout.