Hope everyone is fine today. I have a short story today! It's set in the new world I am creating-Mistwoods. This time you get to meet the Summer King. Hope you enjoy and if you want to leave me some tea money at the end, that would be great. Happy reading!
The Summer King
It was the strongest of hearts that could turn him down. The first day of summer or in their world the summer solstice which marked tradition with a certain someone. That is when he made himself seen to those that might be.
This day was the day that he always hoped he would find his queen. As of yet all those that did not hold the summer heart turned into cold hearts. This time he felt that this time might be different. He had followed a certain someone for a while at a safe distance and it was time for him to make himself known to her.
He learned her name was Leila and she worked at this small bookshop. Today he decided to pay her a visit to the bookshop and perhaps talk with her. As soon as he stepped in the little bells rung announcing his arrival.
Leila happened to be at the counter and looked over to see who was coming in. Their eyes met and he felt this jump inside his heart. She smiled warmly at him and welcomed him. He smiled back and thanked her.
He decided to look around first and observe her at work. The smells around him tickled his nose. There was more than just books in this little shop. There were scented candles tucked in here and there. He could tell from out the corner of his eye that she was watching him. Did that mean she was curious enough to talk to him?
He casually made his way over to where she was working or was pretending to. He caught her scent of rose and oleander. Wonderful summer scents. He watched for a few more moments before speaking. “I was wondering if you could help me with finding a certain book on herbs.” He didn’t really need to read up on herbs as he was taught about them growing up but she appeared like she would know of such things.
She smiled warmly back at him. “Of course, I can show you what we have.” She started to make her way towards the wall of books that had gardening as its section name. He watched her pull out some books even without looking at the spine. That told him she knew of such things already. “Is there something specific that you are looking for?”
She continued to pull a few more book down. “I am looking for herbs that can be used for medical purposes.” She quickly threw him a look. He smiled and said, “I’m interested in some mild uses of the herbs for skin irritations and other minor ailments.”
She nodded back at him like she approved of that. He couldn’t help but laugh within as he somewhat pitied the humans that didn’t possess magic. They had to rely on the medicines that they had to make for themselves. And even then it failed to save them sometimes.
He handed her a few books with pictures of the herbs and their Latin names underneath. The summer king knew them all by heart as his grandmother taught them to him and without reading underneath the pictures, he could tell her what each one was and what you could use it for. Her hazelnut colored eyes settled on him as if studying him.
“I haven’t seen you around here before. Did you just move here?”
He wanted to say that he had been here far longer than she had been in existence or even her whole family. “I just got here a while ago. I don’t live here but come back once a year to visit.”
Leila nodded at him. “I hope your visit goes well then. Is one of the books what you are looking for?”
He eyed each one that she had given to him and he didn’t’ really want any of them but decided on the ones with the pictures. “I’ll take this one.”
She smiled. “Perfect, I’ll take that up front for you.” When she went to take the books out of his hands, their fingers touched. Her eyes flew up to his and stayed there for what felt like minutes but when he spoke it broke the silence and she quickly put the books back that he was not going to take and took the one that he wanted to the front.
Very quickly Leila rang up the book and he paid for it. He smiled at her. “Thank you and maybe I will see you again.”
She did not reply back. He walked out and stood on the steps with his new book until he decided that he had given her enough time to stare out the window to study him some more. Then he moved on.
The summer day was heating up and the smell of lilacs filled the air as he walked down the street. There were celebrations taking place celebrating the first of spring in the small town. They always did and this was what attracted him to come and take part. All the fine ladies would be there. It always ended up disappointing of course because none of them were suitable.
Something about Leila though convinced him that this year’s celebrations would bring promise. He was guessing that she would be there so he got himself ready for the event and would wait for the perfect opportunity to talk to her again.
It was late afternoon now and the celebrations were now starting. The summer king stayed in the shadows watching and keeping an eye out for Leila. Fortunately he did not have to wait as she arrived carrying a baskets of spring flowers—tulips, daffodils, and lilacs. She was also dressed for the occasion as well.
Leila looked like she stepped out of faerie to join the humans. She wore shimmery wings and long flowing summer dress. On her head she wore a wreath of flowers. Her soft brown hair flowed between her wings. She had her hair tied up in the store. He decided he liked her hair down. It made her look so much more ethereal.
The summer king made his way to towards the festival and mingled in the crowd hiding from her for a bit. He wanted them to meet casually again and then he walk to her. Leila was now a booth handing out flowers to everyone. He decided to go up to her booth.
Leila caught sight of him before he got there. Their eyes held each other till he got there. She did give him a warm smile. “Welcome.”
He smiled back at her. “Why thank you, this is wonderful and you look beautiful. Her face beamed as she thanked him. He was taken back a bit as he expected her to blush or something but she did not. It was like she was in her element. She handed him a bright yellow daffodil.
“Thank you. I will see you later I hope.”
“Oh yes, there is dancing!”
He laughed at her excitement. “That’s good to hear as I am good dancer. Maybe we can have a dance?”
Her eyes caught his breath. It was like they changed and twinkled in front of him. He was going to stay with her but decided not to frighten her but his Leila was not what he thought she was.
As the evening wore, the feast was getting ready to be served. A lot of the human food didn’t interest him. He found Leila helping out. He watched her nose wrinkle a few times as if she didn’t care for some of it either. That intrigued him or she was just fussy. Nevertheless he would find out a little later. People helped themselves and he observed what she had on her plate. It made him take notice. She had brown mushrooms and some mixed greens that had dandelion in it. That seemed to be her favorite. The summer king moved closer to her and thought maybe they might be able to eat together.
“May I sit here with you?”
She looked up at him with those eyes again. She smiled and said yes. He couldn’t help but notice when he sat down that she had some moss on her plate. He didn’t mention it to her.
“How are you enjoying it so far?”
“It has been most interesting. Do you help with this all the time?”
“Yes, I do. This is my favorite day of the year.”
His eyes glanced over her wings and when she bent over slightly his eyes went wide. They were attached to her like a real faerie. He sucked in air and that made Leila look back up at him. “Is there something wrong?”
“Oh no, not at all. I just made a wonderful discovery and I couldn’t be happier.”
She smiled and was about to say something when the music started up. Leila leaped up and looked at him and he didn’t need for her to ask, he got up and took her hand and off they went to dance. They danced do the lively music and she laughed.
It was quite the transformation from the young lady he saw at the bookshop. If she was faerie why did she not pick up on him? So, he decided to test her a bit and let a little bit of his glamour fade to see if she would notice.
They danced for a bit more and then she wanted a drink. So he picked her up a drink of what was a punch of sorts. She wrinkled her nose at it but drank it. “Would you like something else to drink?”
“Oh no this is fine.”
“Are you sure as I’m sure I can find something for suitable.”
Leila gave him a look and it ws then that she took notice and almost dropped her drink. She quickly looked around and then at him. She started to back away with this frightened look on her face. Suddenly she turned and ran for it.
He was right behind her and they were now in the woods in the park all alone. He caught her before she leaped into the air. “Don’t run from me. There is nothing to be afraid of I promise. I will not harm you.”
He thought she was going to fight him. She was breathing heavy but he could feel the strength in her. “I promise not to harm you,” he said again, trying to reassure her.
She threw up her chin at him. “You know what I am.”
He nodded. “It’s okay. You can be what you really are in front of me. Show me yourself, I want to see you in your natural beauty.”
She gave him a wary look. But slowly her glamour started to fade. Her skin was soft greens and mottled browns. Her soft brown hair shimmered in the filtered sunlight. Her eyes were hazel with green hues mixed in. They were wild and he was stunned.
“You’re a late summer faerie. Why are you here?”
She looked away. “I ran away.”
“I did not want to be married off to someone I did not love. So I came here and hid. No one has been the wiser as to where I disappeared until you showed up.”
“I see. Your secret is safe with me. Let’s sit and talk some more.”
They sat on a fallen tree log by a small creek. He learned that she was to marry the fall prince. He told her he heard about his intended mate fleeing. The prince was quite hurt by it and somewhat insulted.
“I’m not going back and that’s it.”
The summer king was amused by her determination but he also knew she would not survive here forever. “I’ll tell you what Leila, why not let me smooth things over with the prince and perhaps he will have another intended by now. Then you will be free to be with whoever you want.”
Her eyes went wide. “You would do that for me?”
“Yes, I would. But there is something I would like in return for this favor.”
“What is that?”
He stood up in front of her and let his glamour completely disappear. She gasped.
“You are the summer king.”
“Yes I am.”
“What is the favor my king?”
“I want you to be my summer queen.”