Jul. 25th, 2011

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The Hour House

One
The Courtyard


The roar outside the palace was deafening. Inside the once still air vibrated with noise like water. Though Madgelie was deep inside the palace walls the trembling air only seemed to make her insides quiver in a similar fashion. She had always known the gravity of her choice, but until that moment it never weighed on her so profoundly. Outside there were people who had been briefly liberated by an idea of hope her father had given them. His reign as Emperor had been but a short three year affair. This seemed to be merely a moment in time compared to the lengthy period of war and unrest her uncle had churned along.

How could she make the citizens outside understand that those dark days were not returning? Despite their enthusiasm they had to be a bit worried about what she would tell them. She felt something snaking around in her stomach, threatening to rise to her throat and out through her mouth. Madgelie ran for the garden. She was losing confidence, she had to regain it—too late, she was already retching into a rosebush. She started to right herself again, thinking the worst had passed, but she was hit with another bought of nausea and she vomited again.

Out of the corner of her eye she saw him coming. She hastily tried to wipe her mouth but he had seen. He offered her a handkerchief and she took it and wiped the remains of the vomit from her face.

“Thank you, Al,” she said.

“I was going to hold back your hair, but you have it in such a tight ponytail, I didn’t think my assistance was needed,” Alfred replied. She took out her compact mirror from her jacket pocket, fixed her red lipstick and adjusted her military cap.

“Is my uniform okay?” she asked.

“Don’t be so nervous. Everything will be fine, I promise you. We all worked hard on this.”

“Alfred, will it be enough? Is what I’m doing really enough?”

He smiled and put a hand on her shoulder, “You’re giving an entire nation of people hope all over again.”

Madgelie gazed at her friend in his Military Science Army uniform. A hazy memory of the disheveled young man he had once been upon their first meeting flashed across her mind and she smiled despite herself. If she had learned anything from being friends with Alfred, it was that respect had to be earned. When they met and she gave her name and rank, her high sounding title only made him suspicious of her. Madgelie decided that day that she would eventually earn Alfred’s trust. Years later he was still working with her, a testament to how their friendship grew in adversity.

“I won’t let you down,” he said, running his thumb just under her right eye. Her eyes were her most distinctive feature on her face: her left was brown, her right was a milky yellow green. She pushed his hand away.

“I know you won’t. I hope I don’t disappoint you,” she replied.

“Just give your speech, I’ll take care of the rest.”

Madgelie breathed deeply and gripped his shoulders before they went back into the palace. They walked together for a while and lingered in the main hall. She looked at him and closed her left eye so only her right was showing.

I’ll watch for you with my good eye )

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