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Chapte Seven: Settle 1.1

by LadyMysterio


James looked up as someone knocked at his door, he'd just hung up his jacket after exploring the town for lunch.

"yes?" he peered at the crack under the door, some how thinking he could decipher whoever it was by their sliver of a shadow.

His gaze traveled up to the door handle as the door swing open, revealing an elegantly dressed Verena,"ah your in here James, good."

"Wow, you look, great, Verena!" James twired his finger, signalling her to spin. she did so reluctantly,"I feel very much under dressed now. Which is not something I thought I would ever say when I'm wearing a literal victorian suit."

He watched Verena look down at her dark blue, velvet gown, running her hands over her skirt, "thank you." She looked back up at him.

He gestures inward." I'd say your welcome to come in further, but there's not really much to come into honestly." he shrugged as Verena scanned the room.

"oh, I'm sorry James. I can put in a word if you want something,bigger?"

He shook his head,"this is fine really. Hey, I'll just sneak into your room.

Verena stayed in the door. Thumbing the pair of silk opera gloves she held.

He adjusted his suit jacket,"anyway, what brings you here?"

"Ah, well. Theres an Opera and a gala tonight, I'm going to accompany Princess Ailah, but I was told I was allowed to bring an companion."

He squinted,"And your coming to ask, me?

She nodded

He perked up"that'd be amazing! Wait I need to dress up. Uhhh how much time do I have untill we have to leave?"

Verena glanced at her watch, "30 minutes."

James bit his cheek,"ok. I can do 30 minutes. Anything else I should know?"

He recognized that look in her eyes, "yes I wont over consume pastries, or flit too much. I know this society and time are different. But lets be honest while im never the greatest at following those rules, have I ever really done that much damage? "

She would't stop looking at him, an eyebrow started to raise.

"Ok. OK. I will behave myself," James raised his hands in the air.

The look faded,"Good, Meet me in front of my room in 30 minutes!"

She turned and swept out of the room, the short train of her dress trailing after her.

He leaned on the doorway,"only a moderate amount of flirting and a small quantity of pastries will be consumed."

Turning he shut the door and considered his options, he recalled a dapper black suit that he'd tucked away. Donning it he peeked in the full length mirror, and decided his hair needed some work.

He flung open various drawers, looking for something that was the victorian equivalent of hair gel. Finding something that looked about right, labeled Hair Wax. He studied it then shrugged and decided to make it work. He warmed some up in his hands and hopped back to the mirror, slicking back his hair in a loosely held style. sticking back little stubborn bits. And finally, twisting out what he liked to call "his signature, flirty loose hair strand" that floated just above one eyebrow.

That should do the trick, he looked more or less closer to Verena look now. Besides he wasn't sure what else he could do. He smirked at his reflection. Can't improve on perfection much.

He arrived in front of Verena's door, leaned on the wall and checked his watch, Five minutes to go. As far as first day goes in a mission. This one he figured topped all the others. He got to wear a nice suit all day, pretend to be a butler, or something. But not really have any cemented tasks, he could explore so long as he had a good excuse, and now he was going to a high class gala!

Five minutes of day dreaming later, Verena stepped out, looked him up and down and nodded, apparently pleased."good, lets go. The Princess expects me downstairs now." she swiveled on her heel as they started to walk, pointing a finger back in his face."and limit the flirting with the other ladies."

James raised his hands,"yup will do."

"Serious?"

He pursed his lips,"for the most part."

"I can still flip you in a ball gown."She turned and started walking down the hall, heels clicking fast as James shiny shoes followed.

"Dually noted. My back remember the last time you flipped me."

"Good"

He nearly had to jump down the stairs to keep with Verenas fast paced decent. Which was impressive considering her shoes. Although she slowed into a paced gait when they neared the other ladies and the Princess waiting in the foyer of the manor.

After brief compliments were passed around, they were shuffled by footmen into various carriages,James was shoved into a separate carriage then Verena. She rode with the other Ladies and the Princess. while he rode with the Prince and another man, who he was introduced to as "Jarome Cohn" who he politely introduced himself back. Not much conversation was made. A few question of his home country asked. Which he answered as generally as he could. It wasn't everyday you were just placed in a carriage with a Prince and expected to make casual conversation.

The carriage ride only lasted a few minutes. Perks to being royal carriages you were escorted and had the general right of way though public streets.

The Opera house was a large building, rivaling the castle in size, large marble pillars surrounded the entire building, making it look like the greek pantheon. They were dropped off at the front, carriages taken away into the distance to make room for more.

A red carpet lead from street level, up a flight of stairs and into the grand entrance to the opera house. Following the Prince he found Verena and the princess waiting at the top.

"This place is rather extravagant isn't it. How come they dont have architecture like this in our time?"

Venera shushed him,"Dont talk about our time when were around people!"

He shifted his weight from one foot to another,"So, what's the plan here."

Verena glanced at the Princess," I have to stay with her for the opera, all of us are sitting in one box, you're welcome to join, or just wander the opera house. I can be around you more during the gala after."

He nodded,"never been to an opera, I'll stick around the box as long as I can."

The princess and her Ladies started moving inward, Verena followed and James trailed behind. Close enough it was obvious he was with the group, but far enough away he wasn't intruding on anyone.

They were lead further into the foyer, up a flight of stairs, with halls ways on either side that other people streamed though. At the top of the stairs was a hallway, leading both left and right, eventually turning the corner. The hallway in front of them was lined with doors, leading to box seats James presumed that they headed to the other boxes on each side of the theatre.

Once the staff got them setted in their seat, the Princess and Prince at the front, the Ladies in waiting behind them, and James and this Jarome fellow in the back. Who turned out to be the Princes advisor and brother. James zoned out, enjoying the sounds of the orchestra warming up, untill the lights finally were dimmed and announcements made.

The theatre buzzed with muted excitement as everyone settled and sat in mild suspense. James leaned forward, intrigued.

The music started and a powerful voice rang out, James sat back in surprise. He heard opera singing before, through videos or songs, but never live. The theatre amplified the sound, letting it fill the space.

It was enchanting in away, even if it was loud, there was a melody, a sway almost. If it wasn't loud he probably could have fallen asleep to it. But he sat, leg tapping a count.

He was pulled out of his daze by the lights snapping back on and chatter growing from the lower sections of the theatre. He hopped up, deciding there must be a concession or bar or sorts somewhere in this rather fine establishment, and left, slipping around the filled halls of people stretching their legs, and down the stairs.

Heading for the entrance, he found a door on the right hand wall that various people started in and out off, he entered to find a full blown lounge.

Rubbing his hands together he purchased a simple cookie, not really sure what pastries were around yet. Then made his way back upstairs to the box, chewing gleefully. The lights dimmed once again as he sat.

Once finished his drink, he got bored and decided some explanation was an order. He snuck out, only noticed briefly by his row companion, Jerome, who didnt really seem to care. and slipped out into the hallway. The hallways proved boring, his guess about them only leading to other boxes around the sides of the theatre being correct.

He headed down the stairs, filled now only with a few staff wandering about or chatting.

He skirted the stairs and slunk into one of the side hallways. The one on the right lead to a pair of double doors that went into the theatre,

He discovered a door in the wall right before the double doors, which after some quick investigating he discovered were only a short cut under the stairs to the hallway on the left

Various other hallways either lead to locked doors or if they weren't, garnered him strange looks from the staff.

After some simple wandering, there wasn't mush left to explore in the theatre. Practically knew it like the back of his hand, and it was time to sit down.

James scurried back up stairs, slipping back into his seat. Jarome was asleep, propped up so if anyone from in front of him looked back, unless they really looked, they'd suspect nothing

As he let himself melt into his seat, musing his various thought, the opera like a wave of background sound. He came upon the realization that he hadn't had a bite or a whif of chocolate upon entering this time in space.

Did they have chocolate in the 1800s? they must, how could they not. Yes, they must have chocolate. He'd have to sneak down to the kitchen and see if there was any in the pantry when they returned. Unless, there was chocolate at the gala? He was fantasizing about a chocolate fountain when the room dramatically brightened and the clamour of voices once again arose. The second and final part of the opera had passed.

Once everyone had hustled down the stairs and out the opera house, battling the crowd of people. It helps when everyone gives Royalty a way through.They one again stepped into the carriages.

Since entering the Opera house, the streets had grown dark, only warmed by oil lamps that lined the streets, creating an almost sleepy atmosphere as the carriage trundled past them.

Much to his surprise they arrived back at the castle, which now had a lined of carriages outside the main entrance, slowing moving away as various guests in shining gowns and dapper suits stepped out and up the castle stairs.

He watched Verena and the Ladies step out from the carriage in front, and scurried to catch up as soon as his carriage pulled up, nearly knocking down the poor footman who opened the door. James sides up to Verena and the Ladies, who were waiting as the Prince approached them, offering the Princess his arm and leading the entrance up the stairs and in to the castle.

The foyer was now decorated brightly, and they followed the stream of people to the left, though a large doorway where they stood upon a small set of stairs. The Prince and the Princess were announced, which caused a defining applause, during which they ascend the stairs and wandered off into the crowd, leaving the Ladies in waiting and James to do as they please untill they were needed.

James trailed after Verena, her destination he did not care to know, for he was too busy examining the room partly in awe, partly in search for something with at least a bit of chocolate on it.

Turns out she was leading them to the buffet tables, which were lined with small pastries and finger sandwiches, with punch and wine being served at one end. He napped a small pastry that appeared to have a chocolate filling, as Verena scanned the room. He offered her a pastry, but she choose a small sandwich instead.

"Learn anything new?" she took a bite.

James shrugged," not really, operas are cool, the theatre was boring. You?"

Now it was her turn to shrug,"Not much. but we should compare information. What have you told people?"

He grabbed another pastry,"food for thought," then mulled over the question,"uhh well, I said we were from Dothmire,which was in the file, also said that we have donuts there."

She blinked quizzically at him,"ok. Anything else"

He shook his eat, inhaling a third pastry.

She picked up another sandwich,"well, only thing I've said is that your a childhood friend, we've lived in Dothmire all our lives, and Im widowed."

Jame looked at her in mock surprise." Your widowed??? since when?"

"Since yesterday apparently. Had to say something to not get match made, if they think I'm not over my dead husband yet, they’ll leave me, mostly, alone" she watched James pick up another pastry,"If you keep eating those your gonna get sick."

He shrugged,"but who knows how many untill I do. Besides, thats what the punch is for."

Verena wandered off the get herself some wine.

It was then he spotted it

The glorious five foot chocolate foundation, straight from his dreams.

He was pretty sure he was drawn to it like a cartoon character drawn to a sweet. Floating in the air, following the scent with ones nose.

However he got there, it was quick and decisive. Around the fountain was an assortment of dipping choices, strawberries, cookies, even pineapple. Which must have been a delicacy where ever they were. He was almost positive one couldn't grow pineapples in this areas drowsy weather.

Far to quickly, Verena found him, he saw her watching him out of the corner of his eye, probably wondering how she'd gotten stuck with him in the first place. Then she took a large swig of wine and tapped his shoulder

He attempted a “yes” though a mouthful of chocolate.

“Your gonna get chocolate in your pretty suit.”

“And it would be been worth it”, he finally tore away from the foundation, satisfied for the time being.

“Uh-huh, you'll definitely think that when you run into an attractive woman.”

“Wait, where.” he whipped his head around, scanning, but only saw thongs of neatly, well dressed women, none of whom really stood out.

She swatted him” kidding! No flirting. Your my Butler and my partner. Keep it to that.”

He shrugged,” I just think flirting is fun.”

She furrowed her eyebrows, then frowned as a thought seemed to settle on her face.

“Jameson” his last name snapped him to attention.

“Yes?”

“In the file who is our target.?”

He lowered the cookie that he held,”A influence heir of the Prince and Princess, and heir of the crown.”

“So its the child?”

James looked at the floor.” No there has to be another one their hiding, maybe their at a school or abroad.”

She started at him,” Don't you think I would know that by now? Someone would have told me.”

He looked up, he was probably doing that big eye thing Verena hated,” Wait. We need to wait and blend in more. How much time do we even have in the mission.”

Verena sighed ad sipped more wine,” we have three weeks.”

James put his cookie down,”THREE WEEKS?”

Verena slapped her hand over his mouth,”quiet!”

He spoke though her hand,”this is ridiculous, why is this even a mission.”

Verena downed her wine,”we are assigned a mission, we carry out said mission thats our job. Its not our job to be empathetic towards our targets.”

James pursed his lips,”I'm looking ove that file again tonight, you do the same, we need to figure this out.” He looked at her once more and walked away. Pushing through the crowd, he needed air, some space. His head felt too full too crowded, this room was too thick and stuffy. He tugged at his collar.

He didn't feel cool and suave anymore, he felt. Dirty.

James navigated his way to the delicate french doors leaving to the small balcony outside the ball room. It over looked the dark garden, giving a brilliant view of the night sy if you strayed to the blancony. it was mostly empty, a few couples whispered close affections.

He strode to the far corner and leaned against the railing peering at the sky.

If he took away the grand balcony, imagined there wasn't music in the background, and forgot to feel the suit, it was almost like he was back home. Looking at the night sky, waiting for Verena to come back, ready to go if need be. To speed away into the traffic. Another thrill-full mission completed with out second thought.

He sighed, he really need some sleep, or alcohol. A dangourous, endearing,indulgent, thought. But a thought.

He bit his cheek and bowed his head, exshaed, he’d basically vowed to Verena he’d stay away from the drink. He wasn't sure if being that loyal to her was really good or not.


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Wed Jun 05, 2024 3:23 pm
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goodolnoah wrote a review...



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Hello there, one of King Koopa’s loyal henchmen, here!

Hello again! ~ Writing Commentary

He recognized that look in her eyes, "yes I wont over consume pastries, or flit too much. I know this society and time are different. But lets be honest while im never the greatest at following those rules, have I ever really done that much damage? "


It’s interesting to see James show a little bit of humility here! I don’t think this side of him has ever been shown, and it tells me that he is aware of his flaws. Perhaps he is aware of them but does not see them as a hindrance, based on his comments. I wonder if there will come a time when they will be a problem for he and Verena…

Oh, and I think you would want to change “flit” to “flirt”. There’s also a won’t, an I’m and the let’s should have an apostrophe.

He flung open various drawers, looking for something that was the victorian equivalent of hair gel. Finding something that looked about right, labeled Hair Wax. He studied it then shrugged and decided to make it work. He warmed some up in his hands and hopped back to the mirror, slicking back his hair in a loosely held style. sticking back little stubborn bits. And finally, twisting out what he liked to call "his signature, flirty loose hair strand" that floated just above one eyebrow.


This is a cool little description of James preparing for the opera. I like how you added that they have to use “equivalents” to what the items would be in the real world. Nice attention to detail!

It was enchanting in away, even if it was loud, there was a melody, a sway almost. If it wasn't loud he probably could have fallen asleep to it. But he sat, leg tapping a count.


Ooo. I like the description of the opera being “enchanting”.

However he got there, it was quick and decisive. Around the fountain was an assortment of dipping choices, strawberries, cookies, even pineapple. Which must have been a delicacy where ever they were. He was almost positive one couldn't grow pineapples in this areas drowsy weather.


Haha! I like the childlike wonder James feels when he gets near this chocolate fountain!

Some recommendations…

That should do the trick, he looked more or less closer to Verena look now


I think you mean “Verena’s”

“My back remember the last time you flipped me."


I think you mean “My back remembers the last time you flipped me”

He nearly had to jump down the stairs to keep with Verenas fast paced decent


“Decent” would be spelt like “descent”. They may sound similar, but decent implies something that is good, not something that is falling. Kinda like a desert dessert kind of situation,lol.

He bit his cheek and bowed his head, exshaed, he’d basically vowed to Verena he’d stay away from the drink. He wasn't sure if being that loyal to her was really good or not.


I think you mean “exhausted” instead of “exshaed”

Chocolate… ~ Closer

The ending here gives me some things to think about…though. I like how James is exhausted by the end of the chapter, nevermind that their mission is on a strict time limit. I’m excited to see them look more into their mission!

Ooooo, it’s goodolnoah from the future here! I will admit, this chapter did move a bit slow in comparison to the next chapter. I actually really like how you basically sped things up in the next chapter to really get into the main conflict!

Also, I see the improvement in descriptions, but they feel a little more “beat-by-beat” in this chapter. Like in the Opera segment with James. He sits down to go watch the Opera, goes down for a cookie, goes back up, walks into the halls, decides to look for chocolate, etc. If there was more thoughts, metaphor, etc, it may be more interesting. Honestly, it’s hard to put into words. I do think your descriptions improve by a large margin next chapter, though!




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Mon Jun 03, 2024 7:11 pm
Spearmint wrote a review...



Hihi Lady!! It’s mint, back with another review :] I feel like there was a bit of a lull in the action here, but that’s fair enough considering Verena and James probably need some time to adjust and blend in. Of course, I’m delighted at the sweets (something James and I have in common xD) And I’m curious whether James exploring the opera house will come up again later in the story. If so, that’d be very cool :>

Alright, on to specifics…

some how thinking he could decipher whoever it was by their sliver of a shadow.

Lol. James, I think you’d have more success figuring out who it is based on the pattern of the knock or something xD

Theres an Opera and a gala tonight, I'm going to accompany Princess Ailah

So first thing— there should be an apostrophe in “There’s” since it’s a contraction of “There is”! Second, I remember you mentioned you were deciding between Aliyah and Ailah for the princess’s name? Once you decide, don’t forget to make it consistent =P (I struggle with consistency myself, lol.)

yes I wont over consume pastries, or flit too much. I know this society and time are different. But lets be honest while im never the greatest at following those rules, have I ever really done that much damage? "

She would't stop looking at him, an eyebrow started to raise.

Ahahaha I wonder if that eyebrow raise is just Verena judging him, or if she's implying that he has done damage… Some interesting stories behind that, I bet.

And finally, twisting out what he liked to call "his signature, flirty loose hair strand" that floated just above one eyebrow.

LOL James is so silly XD I like silly characters though. =P

"I can still flip you in a ball gown."

If there was a contest to choose one phrase to represent Verena, I feel like this would be a strong contender >.> She is very cool :>

She rode with the other Ladies and the Princess. while he rode with the Prince and another man, who he was introduced to as "Jarome Cohn" who he politely introduced himself back.

Oh interesting. I wouldn't think James would ride with the prince because of their difference in status? Unless perhaps they were thinking he could offer his butler services to the prince or something...

"This place is rather extravagant isn't it. How come they dont have architecture like this in our time?"

Venera shushed him,"Dont talk about our time when were around people!"

Here, I'd love to know the reactions of the princess and any other people who were around! Did they hear James? Hear but ignore him? Not hear him? Also, I am getting rather worried that James will accidentally say something and give away their mission @_@ I would like to trust him, but with what happened just now,,,

The music started and a powerful voice rang out, James sat back in surprise. He heard opera singing before, through videos or songs, but never live. The theatre amplified the sound, letting it fill the space.

It was enchanting in away, even if it was loud, there was a melody, a sway almost. If it wasn't loud he probably could have fallen asleep to it. But he sat, leg tapping a count.

Ooooooh. I haven't been to an opera myself, so I enjoyed reading this description.

Rubbing his hands together he purchased a simple cookie, not really sure what pastries were around yet. Then made his way back upstairs to the box, chewing gleefully. The lights dimmed once again as he sat.

Once finished his drink, he got bored and decided some explanation was an order.

Haha it's delightful to see James so happy about a cookie. Also, in the last sentence here, did you mean "cookie" instead of "drink"?

Various other hallways either lead to locked doors or if they weren't, garnered him strange looks from the staff.

After some simple wandering, there wasn't mush left to explore in the theatre. Practically knew it like the back of his hand, and it was time to sit down.

Okay, so while I'm a fan of exploration and discovering secrets, I'm not quite sure what the purpose of this scene (James walking around the opera house) is. If the opera house will come into play later, or if something that happens here will be relevant later (such as if James notices something strange), then by all means, keep it in! But otherwise, I feel like it could be shortened a little. ^^ Just my thoughts!

Since entering the Opera house, the streets had grown dark, only warmed by oil lamps that lined the streets, creating an almost sleepy atmosphere as the carriage trundled past them.

Ahh this is lovely. I could really picture the scene here!

The Prince and the Princess were announced, which caused a defining applause, during which they ascend the stairs and wandered off into the crowd, leaving the Ladies in waiting and James to do as they please untill they were needed.

Just a few things! (1) "defining" should probably be "deafening" (2) "ascend" should be "ascended" since the rest of the novel is in past tense, and same with "please" -> "pleased" (3) there's a typo with "untill" (should be "until")
Reading things out loud often helps me catch grammar and spelling errors! :]

Now it was her turn to shrug,"Not much. but we should compare information. What have you told people?"

Yesss good idea. Gotta keep their stories consistent.

"Since yesterday apparently. Had to say something to not get match made, if they think I'm not over my dead husband yet, they’ll leave me, mostly, alone"

XDD

The glorious five foot chocolate foundation, straight from his dreams.

He was pretty sure he was drawn to it like a cartoon character drawn to a sweet. Floating in the air, following the scent with ones nose.

Yayyyyy, chocolate fountain!! :D Also, love that simile XD

“So its the child?”

James looked at the floor.” No there has to be another one their hiding, maybe their at a school or abroad.”

Ah </3 It's the child, isn't it. ;-; I mean, I can see that reasoning--people are easier to assassinate when they're defenseless children--but still, not a pleasant job... Though I suppose assassination isn't generally one.

James put his cookie down,”THREE WEEKS?”

...So, this wasn't mentioned in the file he spent a whole night reading? xD

His head felt too full too crowded, this room was too thick and stuffy. He tugged at his collar.

He didn't feel cool and suave anymore, he felt. Dirty.

Ah, this is a great way to show the effect the revelation had on James! He's a good person at heart. I wonder if they'll go through with their mission... I suspect some hints of a larger plot will show up before then, though, so maybe they won't have to kill the child? :eyes:

He bit his cheek and bowed his head, exshaed, he’d basically vowed to Verena he’d stay away from the drink. He wasn't sure if being that loyal to her was really good or not.

Oho, and here we have another dimension to the relationship between James and Verena. I really like how you show James's doubts here. Previously, they've seemed like great buddies, maybe ones that occasionally get on each other's nerves, but still friends and partners. But it's true that Verena does scold James and try to put restrictions on him. Good job adding this complexity! Excited to read on.

Overall, great work! Keep writing! =D




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Mon Jun 03, 2024 12:18 pm
vampricone6783 wrote a review...



Hello there, human! I'm reviewing using the YWS S'more Method today!

Shalt we commence with the spooky S’more?

Top Graham Cracker - Verena and James attend an opera, James explores the theater and eats some delicious pastries, and…they may both have to kill a child. :<

Slightly Burnt Marshmallow - There was an extra L in “until”, but that is just one little thing.

Chocolate Bar - The chocolate fountain was absolutely iconic! I love how James is searching for something with chocolate, that’s absolutely important for the mission XD. Chocolate pastries will be eaten! :>

Closing Graham Cracker - While there was the fun of being in the past and eating pastries, there looms the thought that the child may very well be the target. Why a child is the target is something I do not understand yet, but will have to find out later.

I wish you an amazing day/night! ^v^




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Thu May 23, 2024 4:43 am
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Spearmint says...



chocolate fountains !!! :D





Forever is composed of nows.
— Emily Dickenson