C1 Losing Everything
Wandering the streets of the royal capital Tracy, Gianni’s hunger overwhelms his senses. His family disowned him after finishing second at the Gallia Academy of Medicine. He comes from a long family of doctors, all of whom finished first on the prestigious institution.
He traipses along the cold stone pathway and searches the gloomy alleys for food. He has hypoglycemia, which he developed after traversing the streets without eating anything. His consciousness is about to flee him. He searches and searches for anything that might fill even the tiniest space of his grumbling gut. He finds a rotten apple, but its stench kills his hunger. He longs for when he was still a part of his clan, the noble house, House Saint-Amour.
He continues his search, enduring the sheer chills of the evening breeze. He desperately holds on to consciousness as he begs God for food. He kneels and prays that he may find something to satisfy his needs.
With the sudden stream of the southern wind, the starry night sky becomes a dark void. Then moments later, cold rain showers the streets of the Capital. Gianni is greatly disheartened.
What can go worse? He thought. He walks on the stone-cut road, where carriages and chariots ride.
He wishes for his demise. His hunger, the cold, and all the pain are just too much for him. He kneels and looks at the rain-drenched sky. His ears become deaf and his skin numb. He can still clearly see but the rain decreases his visibility.
He shifts his sight from above to ahead of him. He sees a white horse with a rider, heading towards him at full speed. He knows he is going to be hit but his numbness makes him unable to move. Alas! The rider gets closer. Gianni tries to move but he has a hard time. He wishes to die, but still, he clings to life. He wants to continue living no matter how painful and difficult it may be. Then, with the last of his strength, he manages to move just in time to avoid the horse.
Gianni falls unconscious and the rider that nearly hit him comes back. The rider wears very fine clothes. A vividly red tunic embroidered with golden designs. A golden cape flows freely on his back. A cravat with a blue diamond bearing the symbol of the royal family on his neck.
The stranger easily lifts Gianni and carries him to his horse. He places him on top of the horse and walks towards a certain street. He pulls the reins of the horse under the torrent of the rain. The street of his destination is the same place where Gianni failed to get first place. The street that houses the Gallia Academy of Medicine.
The stranger carries Gianni and goes inside the building. He places him on the nearest bed, calling on the most skilled doctors to attend to Gianni. The doctors exactly knew what to do, diagnosing Gianni with hypothermia and hypoglycemia. They also believe he is severely malnourished, having nothing to eat after wandering the streets of the Capital. They treat him until Gianni feels comfortable.
He regains a part of his consciousness and overhears two people talking.
“Are you sure about this, your Highness?” says one to the other. “He was banished from his house.”
“I’m sure…” the other replies as Gianni loses his consciousness once more.
The other two, meanwhile, continue their discussion.
“He graduated today, Your Highness.” the first person says. “He finished second place in his graduating class.”
“Second place, for some people it can be considered an honor.” the other replies. “But to his family, it is a disgrace.”
“Yes,” the other agrees, “it is such a shame how brilliant minds with passionate hearts fall to the mundaneness of society.”
“Does he have nowhere else left to go?” the other asks looking at Gianni. His heart feels pity for the man sleeping soundly on the hospital bed. “He can render great service to the kingdom.”
“He no longer has a place to go, your Highness.”
“Then I shall…” the infirmary door slams open. Inside come the Royal Guards and the physicians of House Saint-Amour.
“Are you all right, Your Highness?” the captain of the guard asks. “Are you unhurt?”
“I’m not the one who is injured, he is,” pointing to Gianni. The physicians of Saint-Amour cries in shock. “What is with that reaction?”
“Your Highness, that man must be hanged immediately!” the head doctor says. “He must be punished for his crimes.”
“No,” he replies sternly. “I do not wish to harm someone who has not wronged me.”
The room becomes silent.
“He shall serve me,” he continues. “If he has nowhere else to go, then he shall serve me as my butler.” With this declaration, the guards and the doctors exit the room most properly.
The night passes. The sun slowly makes its way from the horizon. The charismatic redolence of carnation wafts throughout the room Gianni is staying in. His head is still spinning. When he opens his eyes, he realizes that he is inside a building. The comfy pillow that he lays his head on, the warmth of the flannel blanket that covers him, the comfort of the soft fluffy bed he is on. He finally feels inner peace after all the pain he went through.
He closes his eyes and tries to catch a snooze. He suddenly hears footsteps approaching his premise. He plays asleep. As the faint footsteps get closer and louder, he smells the familiar scent of bouillabaisse. A soup that his chef would make for him when rainy days pervade the months. The fragrance of carnation and the smell of the bouillabaisse dance along the corner where Gianni is. The stranger who brings the stew dish places it on the bedside table.
As the stranger places it, Gianni’s stomach rumbles loudly.
“It seems you are hungry,” the stranger says with a silent smile.
“I am,” Gianni stops his acting. He sits on his bed.
“Oh,” the stranger is greatly taken aback. “You are already awake. Have you been awake all this time?”
“I was pretending to sleep until I smelled the fragrance of that bouillabaisse stew.”
“You must be hungry,” the stranger says as he moves the bedside table closer to Gianni. “You can eat now.”
At last, Gianni’s empty stomach is going to be filled. He reaches for the spoon beside the stew, but as he tries to lift it, he immediately drops it. It falls on the dirty floor. Its metallic ringing echoes throughout the large room, which they are privately using.
“You dropped your spoon,” the stranger says as he grabs it. “I’ll go get another,” and the stranger goes to fetch another.
When he gets back, Gianni is clinging to life because of his hunger. He is barely managing his posture. Quickly, the stranger gives the spoon to him. But as soon as it reaches the latter’s trembling hand, it falls to his bedsheets.
“I can’t hold a spoon,” Gianni is despairingly disheartened.
Moments of silence fill the air until the stranger’s warm hand holds Gianni’s chin open.
“Open your mouth,” the stranger says as he feeds him with a spoonful of bouillabaisse.
Surprised, Gianni feels the luxury of comfort once more. The stranger’s hand is so warm and comforting. He could not help but feel shy and embarrassed.
“I’m sorry,” Gianni silently says. “I’ve caused you too much burden.”
“It’s no problem,” the stranger wildly smiled. His smile makes Gianni’s heartthrob faster than a fleeting flame.
“You should regain back your strength,” the stranger continues feeding Gianni, “so that you can repay your debt with your life.”
“With my life?” Gianni gulps and coughs. The revelation completely surprises him. “What do you mean?”
“Your family disowned you. You have nowhere to go. You do not have any money on you nor any possessions to repay that service that I have done for you,” the stranger explains. “Thus, you shall pay back by serving as a butler.”
“A butler?” Gianni gulps. “Whose butler?”
“The person who saved you, of course,” the stranger smiles. “The crown prince of Gallia, His Highness Julien S. Montmirail.”
“The crown prince?” Now Gianni is eminently surprised. Nobody knows what the crown prince looks like. Nobody ever hears what the crown prince does. But there are numerous rumors of him being a delinquent and causing trouble in the kingdom.
Gianni’s heart fills with great surprise. His life is just too full of melodrama. His mind drifts on and on as the stranger continues to feed him with the stew.
When he finishes eating, the stranger lets Gianni drink water. Then, he slowly moves his head towards the latter whispering, “The prince has taken a liking to you.”
And with that, Gianni feels a mix of emotions. He feels gladness because of the welcoming reception, sadness because of the unexpected turn of events, and thrill as serving royalty is always a nerve-wracking moment.
The stranger stands and goes away. He lets out a faint smile as he goes. Gianni spends the next moments in silence. Perhaps this is going to be his last moment of silence. He looks around and notices the familiarity of the room he is staying in.
This room is perturbingly familiar, he thinks.
The stranger comes back, bringing a black suit with a black bow tie.
“You are going to wear this from this day forth,” the stranger says, “as the prince’s butler.”