The prince followed the faint line down the trail, listening to the birds chirping. He followed as the line turned from the path through the trees and in between two large boulders. He emerged on the other side to see a beautiful large area surrounded by large rock walls or cliff faces.
Virgil was, to put it simply. Panicking. He wasn't sure how much time had passed since he ran out of the house but knew he couldn't avoid it forever, as much as he wished he could. Maybe he could sleep out here tonight and then send Logan with a letter or something? Was that a cowardly thing to do? He paced around the large fire in the firepit he had made, wings twitching nervously.
He glanced over to one of his many gardens, wondering if he should try to get some weeding done to calm himself. Nah, he felt like carving today.
He picked up a suitable piece of wood he had already cut up and separated from the firewood, pulling out his knife and a pencil to draw the rough outline. He decided on a large flat cross-section from the tree trunk. The near perfectly circular trunk slice made a perfect canvas as he began to sketch on its surface, sitting down on a large fallen log.
As the prince took a few steps into the grotto, he easily saw the smoke from a fire close by. After stepping through a few trees, his eyes landed on the other, and his breath hitched. wings!! The prince remembered the blur of them, but seeing them now, they were truly stunning. It seems the witch in question was too caught up in whatever he was doing and hadn't heard the prince through the trees.
"You know for a man with such a breathtakingly unique appearance, your a surprisingly hard man to track down," Roman said with a smile as he appeared on the other side of the clearing.
Virgil gasped, jumping in surprise as his eyes darted up to meet the prince. "P-prince Roman" he stuttered, eyes wide in shock.
"Awww what happened to my endearing nickname?" Roman pouted, and Virgil couldn't help the small blush in response to the cute face in front of him. He swallowed, a small smile on his face. "...Princey" Virgil smiled more seeing the prince's face light up.
"Virgil right?" Roman asked as If he didn't know, leaning against a tree casually. He was really struggling to keep his eyes focused on the man, and not letting them drift to the two pitch-black appendages behind him.
Virgil simply nodded, trying to ignore the blush and the butterflies he felt hearing the prince say his name. "I Uhm, I'm sorry for running, or well-, flying away on your last night... I kinda panicked...."
"Its quite alright" Roman replied with a brilliant smile. "I uh, I don't mean to push so you don't have to answer if your uncomfortable but if you don't mind me asking was there anything, in particular, you were panicking about?" Roman really didn't want to pry, but he wanted to know if there was anything he could ease the others worry about.
"I uh- well" Virgil began, a little shocked that the prince was asking, he spread his wings slightly, before gesturing with them, as if to say 'these'.
"You didn't know about the whole witch thing and I mean, your royalty, I'm-.... well I'm nothing so after the Uhm... yea... I panicked and usually, that causes my magic to go haywire. Luckily I had the necklace Logan gave me to help control it, but the fear of it giving out only made me panic more"
"Oh speaking of which!" Roman said after the other was done "here's your necklace" he reached into his pocket, pulling it up and walking over to the other to hand it to them.
"Oh, thank you" Virgil replied as he took it, stuffing it into his pocket.
"I'm not sure if this is too forward," Roman said as he leaned back against a tree next to the other "but I for one think your wings are gorgeous"
He couldn't help but relish in the colour that overtook Virgils face as the witch's brain seemed to stop working.
"I- what- really?" He replied, his tone a mix of shocked and suspicious.
The prince nodded "Yes! They are stunning! They are dark like raven feathers, yet shimmer this soft purple colour. And they are huge! And they look so soft! You look like a literal real-life angel" he didn't feel as guilty for being so forward that time, the witch had asked after all.
Virgil at this point swore he was probably a tomato. "I, uh, wow, t-thank you"
They sat in silence for a few minutes, as they watched the flames in the fire dance.
"I really do like you Virgil" the prince stated like a fact as he broke the silence. "I don't want you to feel pressured into something just because I'm the prince, however. If you don't share the same feelings I will understand"
But Virgil was already shaking his head. "No no it's not that, I Uhm, I do like you" he blushed at his words but continued, "that's not the reason I keep panicking. Its, well, your a prince, and I'm no one, but more than that, I'm a witch and even though it's really nice that your cool with it, especially the wings, not everyone will be. So many other kingdoms still ban them, and many people even here still discriminate against us. Can you imagine the uproar that would happen if the prince and future king got with a witch? Not only that but a freak of one, with uncontrollable powers and a huge pair of wings? It's just, it's a bad idea. You can do so, so much better, and save yourself all the hassle and headache I would inevitably cause you and the kingdom. I mean, it's really sweet that you still found me and everything but....."
"Okay, well, I don't care if your a royal or not, that doesn't make any difference to me. Sure some other royal family's may look down on it, but not ours, we never have. My father's mother was a palace servant for example" Roman replied "furthermore, despite knowing that some people might disagree, I hope to get more people to see how truly wonderful witches are, including other kingdoms. My goal will be to look after every citizen and that includes both the magical and the mundane. I won't tolerate discrimination, regardless of whether my partner is a witch or not."
"I don't know I-just- I feel like there are so many bad things that could happen. It's a bad idea...."
Roman nodded, giving a soft hum as he thought. Before giving a defeated sigh.
"I'll tell you what," he said, before crouching in front of the witch.
"I could stand here all night and assure you your fears are unfounded, and anything that did happen, we would work through together. I don't want to pressure it or force you though." He continued, taking Virgil's hand in his own gloves one gently, fighting a smile at the blush the action gave the witch.
"So how about this, there's another ball tomorrow. Your more than welcome to come in case you change your mind, which I really and truly hope you do. Though just in case..." he said before pausing, pulling one of his various rings from his hand, slipping it onto Virgil's finger smoothly.
"You at least have something to remember me by," the prince said with a smile, before standing and taking a few steps back.
"I'd love to stay and continue to chat, but I have to get back to your place before my escort becomes worried." The prince continued, turning to take a few steps before turning back a last time. "I hope you have a wonderful night Virgil, thank you for talking with me, and I really do hope I'll see you at the ball tomorrow night"
With that, the prince turned and walked out of the grotto back towards the witch's house.
Virgil simply sat, completely frozen as his brain malfunctioned and watched the other go. What had just happened? Was he dreaming?
He reached down and felt the ring on his finger with the opposite hand.
Nope, it was real. But now that left Virgil with a very hard choice. Did he go to the ball tomorrow?
Virgil continued to work on his carving to give his hands something to do while his thoughts raced. It was about an hour later he finally began to head down the mountain. This was going to be interesting.
When Virgil opened the back door, he was immediately greeted by two pairs of eyes, who seemed to have been restlessly waiting for him to come back.
Before he could even get a word out, Patton lept from his chair.
"Virgil! How did it go?! I hope you aren't mad that we told him where to find you. He said that he invited you to a ball tomorrow?! Are you gonna go meet up with him again!?" Patton rambled excitedly, most likely squealing at a pitch only bats could hear.
Virgil put his hands out in front of him in the 'stop' gesture. "whoa popstar slow down! I- Uhm...." He took a deep breath, trying to sort through all the questions that had been asked and where to even begin.
"How about you start from the beginning, Virgil?" Logan suggested as if reading his thoughts.
"Okay, well, um, It's not all that exciting? I mean we talked, he's okay with the whole witch thing, even said he liked my wings" Virgil said as he gestured to them, a slight blush on his face. "I apologized for running off, but he said it was okay. We both do like each other..." He blushed more " but I told him us being together would be a bad idea, and would cause him a lot of extra hassle and problems. He countered most of my points but I still wasn't sure, so he said he didn't want to pressure me and invited me to the ball tomorrow in case I change my mind, and then gave me this ring to I guess remember him by in case I don't go?"
Logan immediately perked up at the last part. "wait, ring? May I see it?"
Logan and Patton exchanged a knowing look before Logan stepped forward to look at the ring on Virgil's hand. Logan chuckled under his breath, unable to stop a small smirk gracing his features.
"I see," he said, glancing at Patton again. Patton had a huge cheeky smile on his face.
"What?" Virgil asked nervously, "What is it? Is something wrong or-'
He was cut off by Patton shaking his head. "No no not at all Virge! It's uh..." Patton bit his lip.
"That's a promise ring" Logan stated, before turning away and returning to his previous seat.
"What the heck does a promise ring mean?" Virgil asked as he looked at the ring on his finger.
"Well it can mean a number of things" Logan began "but they are almost always used as a romantic gesture"
"yeah!" Patton joined "It's kinda a different way of just promising something. He could be promising to keep you safe, love you forever, always be there for you, promising that they mean something they said, ect"
"It also doesn't always have an exact promise attached to it" Logan continued. "Oftentimes it can be used as just a meaningful gesture, almost like flowers. For example, I gave Patton a promise ring on our one-year anniversary"
"yep!" Patton said with a smile, pointing to one of the two rings he wore.
Just as Virgil thought he understood, however, Logan threw him for a loop.
"The prince's promise ring, however...." Logan looked up, Virgil could see the faint smirk he was trying to hide.
"What?" Virgil asked in a slight panic "Does the prince's ring mean something else?"
"Not exactly..." Patton replied, sharing a look with his husband again.
"Would you two stop being cryptic for two god damn seconds and just tell me what it means?!" Virgil replied.
"Hey! Language!" Patton corrected before Logan spoke up.
"A Prince receives a promise ring when they turn 18 and promise to protect and serve their kingdom. Said ring is usually reserved until it is given to whoever the prince believes is 'the one'," Logan replied, and even though his typical monotone voice, Virgil could hear the smugness.
Virgil was beet red, unsure how to respond to such a thing.
"Aka..." Patton continued after a moment of silence, the cheeky smile back on his face. " He's really really hoping you're going to show up tomorrow. I'm, sure he'd be royally disappointed if you didn't. "
Virgil just groaned, hiding his red face behind his hands before retreating to his bedroom, leaving a giggling Patton behind him.
Virgil just collapsed in bed, willing his wings away as he buried his face in his pillow.
What was he supposed to do now?