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The_English_Student t1_j4pol2z wrote

"Hey, mom?"

The Witch of The Plains looked up from her cauldron. It wasn't her potions cauldron, luckily. Rather, it was the one she used whenever she was making soup. It was much smaller than the potion one, and therefore much easier to handle.

"Yes, dear?" the witch responded. She cast an emerald eye on her son. She received him when he was just a babe, given willingly as the payment for her help from years before. "You know I don't like to talk when I'm making dinner."

The boy, whom she named Kinni, fidgeted before he spoke. He averted his gaze several times, glancing off at the other corners of the room. The Witch frowned.

"Come now, you know I didn't teach you to be that way. Tell me what's on your mind, child."

Kinni still didn't seem as if he wanted to talk, but eventually he managed to gather his nerves. He turned his eyes, which weren't blessed with magic as of yet, that shone as blue as a cloudless summer sky. "Mom. Do you ever... regret... that the Queen gave me instead of the crown princess?"

The Witch stopped her stirring of the soup and looked at her son. Her eyes flashed green for a moment, shining in the shade of her house.

"What do you mean?" she asked, a dangerous glint in her tone. "Who put such an idea in your head? It was the fae, wasn't it? The mischievous little things were always little troublemakers. I told you not the hang out with them. They're not to be trusted, you know?"

Kinni rolled his eyes, already tired of the conversation that his mother was bearing down on him. It was one that she had tried to convey to him multiple times, and one that he was sure to ignore once more.

"It wasn't the fae," he said. He thumped his fingers against the table, a habit that his mom knew meant that he was nervous. "It's just... something I was thinking about. I was roaming the capital city earlier this month and..."

"Why were you wandering the capital city?" the witch snapped, her attention fully wrested from her meal now. "I told you not the enter there without my permission. You really were with the fae, weren't you? They're the only creatures around here brave enough to ignore my words!"

Once again, Kinni ignored her. He rolled his eyes once more and turned his gaze out the window. It was a wonderful day. The sky was practically clear and the sun was shining bright.

"Mom, that isn't the point right now."

The Witch glared at her son before slowly starting to mix at her pot once more. "Be that as it may, it will be a problem later. I will not forget about this. Are we understood?"

Kinni didn't answer. Instead, he continued. "I was walking through the capital city earlier this month and I overheard the people walking through the streets. They were talking about how the wise queen outsmarted an evil witch into giving her the first son..." His voice trailed off as his nerve left him. The Witch stopped staring once more to stare at him. His nerve returned. "... was I... an accident? I mean, I don't know why you would choose me over my sister. Unless you didn't know... I mean, it's okay if you didn't know. I hear that most other kingdoms have men as the leader. So I understand if you didn't mean to get me and..."

The boy's mouth closes, wispy purple lights floating around his lips. This wasn't the first time that his mother had cast magic on him, so he wasn't surprised by it. He just stared at the table until he looked back up at her.

"Shush," she said, her voice a whisper, "Of course I knew about your sister's claim to the throne. I know that I don't look it, but I was born and raised in this kingdom. I've always known about the order of succession. It was taught to us in grade school."

Kinni looked like he wanted to protest, but his mouth was still kept shut by the magic. She listened to his muffled words for a few seconds before waving them off.

"Listen, I have no need of a princess or a monarch. But I do have need of a child. While a little princess would have been nice, I would have had to fight an entire kingdom that would have wanted her back. If I took a son, however..."

The witch trailed off, her attention returning to the pot. She stirred at it once more before grabbing some diced herbs off the nearby table and dropping them carelessly into the pot.

"... well, if I took a son I wouldn't have to worry about anyone coming to get you. I could raise my son as I wished. And... well... I don't suppose you don't know how they treat the male royalty in this kingdom?"

His confused face told her everything she needed to know about that. She sighed.

"If I left you there, you'd be little more than a slave, milling about to be used as either your mother or your sister pleased. You'd maintain your freedom and you'd have all the luxuries of being a royal member of the family, but that would all be in name, only. Are you telling me that you would rather a life like that?"

Kinni pondered the question, before shrugging. "I don't know," he said. "Maybe. If I lived there."

The witch didn't have anything to say to that. She grabbed some spices from the cutting board and added it to the cauldron. It bubbled for a few seconds before turning a slightly lighter shade of brown. The smell that bubbled into the air made Kinni's stomach grumble.

"How much longer until lunch is ready?" he asked.

The witch cackled. "Depends. Are you still entertaining those silly thoughts in your head?"

Kinni rolled his eyes as he rose from his seat. He went to go and gather their bowls and set them on the table. They spent the final few moments of the afternoon in silence, simply enjoying the day.

"Oh, and don't hang out with those damn fae ever again."

Kinni rolled his eyes.