Zalair returned to the guest bedroom, sitting on the bed. He made no sound, but the mattress did let out a long sigh as it adjusted to the slow weight coming on it suddenly.
His forest green eyes stared at the empty socket for a long time.
As he stared he felt emotions welling up through him, as if the oceans in the chasms deep under his surface were suddenly rocked about by an earthquake and were now rushing to the surface out the tiny opening.
First shock. Then sadness. Then slowly came anger.
Everyone knew Prince Zalair Kazuki was particularly fond of his ten wondrous rubies that adorned his most favorite ensemble. But only few knew the actual reasoning; his mother, Juniper and Keigo.
When Zalair turned six, that same year Keigo began to shun him, the three children Juniper, Keigo and Zalair, watched as Queen Rose gave Zalair a very special box.
It was fine rosewood carved with roses and leaves all over. Golden lining and hinges. Just the box itself was a fine present.
As Zalair opened it slowly, the other two children watched quietly. All their mouths opened in shock as they looked inside at the white silken pillow. The inside lining of the box was a soft red velvet plush with a white pillow at the base of the box. Inside, were ten fine rubies.
“These rubies,” said the Queen, “Are special.” She smiled to the children. “My grandfather was a Priest. He performed exorcisms countless times, and for his most treasured spirit friends, he found and carved these rubies.”
“Woooow~” the children sang, afraid to touch even one.
“Zalair, I’m giving you this as a gift.” She said. “But know that if one ever breaks, the soul inside will die.”
“But I thought rubies couldn’t break,” asked Juniper, a smart little girl.
“Yes, they can’t.” the Queen smiled back to her, “They can’t. But these are rubies made of the very souls of the spirits.”
“I’ll keep them safe!” Zalair promised.
“Why are they different sizes?” asked Keigo.
“Because, no soul is exactly like another, though they may be similar.” She smiled.
Zalair nodded, “Can I give June and Kei the box?”
Zalair since had the rubies on his favorite clothes, and the box was kept safe by Keigo and Juniper.
I wonder what’s happened to that box since then, wondered Zalair.
Then, his thoughts turned more sour. He didn’t want to see Keigo again. One of the ten rubies was broken, and now Zalair held a steadfast hate in his heart.
Keigo could feel the anger being directed at him. After slowly getting out of his shock, Keigo looked down to the broken shards. He wasn’t sure what to do with them, so he just gathered them up, careful to get every shard he could.
He returned to his bedroom in the south-eastern corner of the castle, and went to his wooden hutch. He pulled open one of the doors and pulled out the finely crafted rose box. After carefully sitting it down, Keigo opened the box and gently poured in the shards of the ruby.
He sighed, knowing nothing could make this situation better, and slowly shut the lid down.