[Story] Story a Week 40

[[ Prompt: A story about a secret

Some secrets are good! This is one. ]]

Vynlorin hurried down the market street, hoping to reach the chocolate shop before it closed for the evening. The lamps were already being lit, so he knew he didn’t have a lot of time. He already had two parcels. One, tucked under his arm, was the latest of the dragon books that Xarola liked so much. This one was about a nether dragon, the sort they’d seen in Shattrath on one of their school trips. He was certain she’d be excited to read it. The other parcel was much smaller, and hidden safely inside Vynlorin’s coat pocket. Every now and then he paused to make sure it was still there. It had cost a lot of gold, he’d been saving up since last year. Several months back, he’d made a trip into the city to visit the shop and see how close he was to being able to buy one. While he couldn’t get the biggest or fanciest ring, he was sure Xarola wouldn’t have liked one of those anyway. The one he chose was subtle and classic, a bright gold band with a ruby mounted above it.

It was also important that he talked to Xarola’s mother first. Though he’d met her before, he wanted to be sure she knew about his plan and was okay with it. He didn’t have to, of course, but he felt it was the right thing to do, especially because they were both so young. Standing on her porch, he almost lost his nerve, and then he wished he’d brought some sort of gift, like flowers or wine, to make things go better. Though she seemed puzzled to see him without Xarola, she let him in. Vynlorin didn’t want to just blurt it out the second he got there, so they talked about normal things first. She was worried about the school being safe with the demons; he told her about the wards and the ranger patrols, as well as the emergency portals. He also told her about the new greenhouse that had just finished being built. She could grow some of the more rare herbs there, even in the cold of winter. He and Xarola had already planned out what to plant in their section. To his great relief, she seemed to like the idea, at least when he explained that they wouldn’t have the wedding until they were both finished with their studies. Vynlorin understood just how hard she had worked to send Xarola to mage school, and how important it was to her. He wouldn’t do anything to jeopardize that, and he felt the same way. It had been his dream ever since he could remember. She said she didn’t want to have to pay more for one of the houses, though. Vynlorin didn’t think anyone paid more tuition for that, but he would have to check with the headmaster to be sure. He thought maybe he should wait until after he gave Xarola the ring though, just so fewer people knew about it beforehand. It should be a surprise. He already worried that she might have figured it out when he said he needed to go into the city alone. She’d definitely figure it out if her mother was there at the autumn ball. Vynlorin suggested that she could wear a mask, at least until he gave it to her. That way she could still be there, but wouldn’t give it away.

He had some ideas about that, too. He liked the idea of asking Terellion to make a special cake, but that would be yet another person he’d have to trust to keep the secret. Instead, he thought he might put the box inside one of the little pouches of candy. He would just have to slip it in before Xarola opened hers. Maybe there was a better idea, there was still time to think about it. He’d stopped for the chocolates and book partly to dispel any suspicions she might have, and just because he knew she would like them. And he had a little left over after buying the ring. He hadn’t been exactly sure what color stone she’d like best, but Xarola’s mother insisted she would like ruby the best. Now came the most difficult part — waiting for the autumn ball.

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