The Passed Note Issue 1 June 2016 - Page 49

through delivered parcel from parents that maintained their love, support, and distance in the letters they sent.

It’d been his parents who mentioned a hermit with a similar affliction rumored to reside at the top of Mount Albot. Perhaps this recluse knew of a means to reverse the boys curse? If so, the boy could perhaps rejoin his parent’s side and birthright. The boy assumed it impossible given how miserable simple walks could be, but remaining indoors all his life, tucked away from the sun's vibrant warmth, felt impossible as well. The boy decided it was worth witnessing the impossibility with his own eyes, at the very least.

The boy crept unseen as he normally would until he reached the eastern edge of town. Right at the mouth of the path up Mount Albot sat Zestial in his carriage, counting his purses full of jangling gold. The boy knew of the fabric merchant’s wealth without having to see the gold he fingered – all the townspeople wore his eggplant-colored tunics and his cobalt blue dresses until they became a community of bruises. The town was always eager for the next ensemble Zestial would produce.

The boy himself wished to acquire one, but had been too fearful to purchase one in person, given how the townspeople reacted whenever they saw him. His parents outright refused to purchase any of the merchant’s garments, writing that they were likely cursed as well. They reasoned that every shade of beauteous color the people worn on the outside only represented what had been leeched from within.

"The prodigal son, forever late to his own party. I've heard much of you, boy," Zestial said, smirking. "What are you doing out here?"

The boy explained about the hermit that could possibly cure his affliction.

"I hope this hermit has found something in nature to correct one of Nature's most terrible of abominations. If that's indeed true, and should you come back to us cured, I think it’d be best if you had some new clothes to symbolize your triumphant return, no? A royal wearing the colors that his townspeople wear could go quite