Brassica Valentine's Day Short Story

Hello! It's been some time since our last update again but we'll give you more details on the current state of things at BL+ next week.
For now, we have a special post for you!

Because it's Valentine's Day, we decided to release a little short story set in the Brassica universe. It takes place a few months before the game but aside from some recurring characters it's independent of the main story (though maybe not insignificant...)

If you haven't played the game, don't worry, this story doesn't need any knowledge of its plot.
If you have played the game, you might appreciate some of the details and hopefully enjoy this story that is a little more Ode-centric than the currently released acts.

(And as an aside, we are also on Tumblr now! Though there's nothing on there yet aside from this story)

But without further ado, here's the Brassica Valentine's Special:

A Valentine's Ballad

Walking into the room, it felt like entering another world. The festive decoration stretching through the entirety of the castle foyer, the exquisite looking food stacked on the tables in the main hall, and of course the colorful crowd of royals, dressed in extravagant suits, robes, and dresses—everything seemed to shimmer and gleam in the light of the chandeliers.
Ode certainly wasn’t new to these kinds of events but he still experienced a mild culture shock whenever he attended.

His cousin, Lord Valentine of Barah, had once again invited him to one of his famous birthday parties, or Valentine’s Day as many people called them.
It was an event that was famed for the bonds it created, both interpersonal and political, due to the gathering of many young royals and the chance to confess to a crush or to court someone you fancy. Valentine himself chose among about half of his guests a select few who were given a rose. This rose should then be given to someone else who caught your interest and it was looked down on people who left the event not having given away their rose. Similarly, not receiving one marked you as being socially inept, undesirable even as some harsh voices would put it.

Ode did not care much about this custom. Especially this time his mind was set on other matters because more than just attendance, gifts, and well wishes were expected of him: he had been asked to perform for all the guests.

His parents, the king and queen of Barah, liked to boast about Ode’s musical talents since he rarely concerned himself with politics and state affairs. Ode didn’t like to play the role of a musician, less so that of a performer. He liked music and singing, but his audience was usually just the local wildlife and his best friend Friedrich. And that was it. He had never meant to make music a defining part of his public persona.

Even so, Ode didn’t mind the request. If his cousin wanted to hear him sing, he would gladly rise to the occasion.
Or so the prince thought before he arrived. Now that he was amidst the cheerful crowd that was basking in the joy and the glory of attending an event as high-class as this one, Ode couldn’t help but nervously eye the stage he would soon be on, under the piercing gazes of everyone in the room.

Searching for his cousin to give his regards and discuss the details of his performance, the young prince of Barah looked around the hall. But with little success. It surely didn’t help that this was a masquerade ball!

In his search for Valentine, Ode passed many eccentric figures. Among them, a dashing royal in a dark suit embroidered with gold and complemented by his long turquoise hair and the rainbow of colors that was his crystal covered mask. A large group of what seemed to be avid admirers, flocked to the man and Ode made sure to steer clear of them as he rarely fared well with such people.
He could still hear them laugh as he passed the vegetarian side of the buffet where a lone, lean, golden figure stood. Between most other outfits his wide pants almost seemed exotic though they were still overshadowed by his lack of shoes.

“What a bold choice for a ball in February,” Ode thought to himself.

Taking another look at the dainty royal’s outfit and his mask full of triangular ornaments, Ode wondered where he might have come from to be dressed this way. But there were more pressing matters at hand!

His search continued for a while and subdued the nervousness regarding his performance.
When he finally found Valentine, the festivities were already well underway, and it didn’t take long until Ode found himself behind the stage, talking to the string quartet that had already been playing for most of the evening.
Now too they would provide the backdrop for his song. A ballad that had resonated deeply with Ode and so he wanted to recite it this evening. Clutching his flute to his chest and with a pounding heart, Ode walked onto the stage to Valentine’s excited announcement.

For a moment he looked at the audience that was quieting down, their expectant gazes locked onto the tall prince who was more than glad to be wearing a mask himself right now.

His nervousness spiked briefly before disappearing completely once the sound of a cello resonated through the hall, indicating the start of the song.

It was the first time they performed it together, but the string quartet was well practiced and it didn’t take long before Ode went along with their rhythm.
Unsteady as his flute play was sometimes, Ode had also been told it had character. He stopped to think and just played without worry; A melody a little solemn, if hopeful, he thought, to preface the first verse.

O friends, now I see, the morning draws near
The moon looks upon us and all we hold dear

How we will part ways, nobody could say,
How long we have left, no one could explain

The end though ’tis sure, is nothing to fear.

We sing and we dance despite illness and death
Make most of the time until our last breath

When lost and in pain, we shall not lose hope,
Stay resolute still at the end of our rope

’Cause as long as we breathe, there’s still some time left.

The deep voice of Barah’s youngest prince carried well throughout the room and by the time the next verse came around, Ode had nearly forgotten there were other people present, simply getting lost in the song.

But before too long it came to an end and for what felt like forever, the audience stayed quiet. Whispers began to spread among the guests and Ode could feel a wave of tension sweep through the entire hall.

Just then a thought entered the prince’s mind. Had this song really been suitable for such a celebration? What if he just embarrassed himself… his cousin… his kingdom?
Lord Valentine initiated a polite if quiet applause as he took the stage.

“My dear cousin, the fledgling prince of Barah, everyone! Now after such a… unique performance, how about we welcome tonight’s main act? I’m sure you have all heard the tales of the bard who single-handedly—”

Ode felt his fears confirmed as he was led off the stage. He really didn’t like gatherings where people valued tact above genuineness. Where a single misstep could mean one’s social death.
Had he cared more about the opinions of others, he might have been glum, but seeing Valentine trying intently to salvage the mood of his guests still made him feel like a disappointment.

The prince walked down the room, hearing the whispers and quiet sneers of other Royals behind him as he passed their tables.

Ode needed fresh air.

He left the hall just as the bard began to play and immediately felt relief as he stepped into the cold evening air. This wouldn’t have happened had he sung for the animals. At least they didn’t judge him and appreciated whatever he sang as long as it had heart!

Once he returned home, his parents would surely berate him for tonight’s events. If he could, Ode would just let go of all etiquette and responsibilities and leave the royal world. But whenever he came close to actually doing so, Friedrich told him to reconsider. Told him he was being rash.

Now was another of those moments. Anger rose within Ode that nobody seemed to have cared about his intentions. That nobody seemed to have seen what Ode saw in the song and instead focused only on its melancholic exterior.
Without his friend to talk to him, the prince took off his mask, sat down on a bench in the gardens, trying his best to calm down on his own.

Though he would only stay alone for a short moment.

Soon Ode could hear the footsteps of someone else approaching in the distance. They came ever closer before abruptly stopping just behind him.

“Oh… hello. You are Prince Ode, correct?”

The mellow voice enchanted Ode immediately. He turned around and saw a slender, red-haired woman in an elegant dress decorated all over with pearls and flowers.

“Y-yes. That is correct lady, uh—” he hesitantly replied, wondering why she would want to talk to him.

“Sappho. Though you might know me as Seraphina of Radix.”

Indeed, he had heard of her, the crown princess of Barah’s most powerful neighbor land. Although he had never imagined that the heiress of such a mighty kingdom would look so delicate and sweet.

“Don’t you want to listen to the bard, Princess Sappho?”

She snickered and sat down next to Ode.

“Oh no. I needed to go outside for a bit. I have little patience for such mindless racket.”

Ode’s heart jumped at hearing this. Was he maybe not alone in this after all?

“I see. I feel much the same way! Although this wasn’t the main reason I left…”

He stayed silent for a moment, trying his best not to think about the political consequences this conversation could have should he mess up again.

It wasn’t by any means an uncomfortable silence, but to his relief Princess Sappho broke it soon, anyway.

“Well, I have to say I enjoyed your little performance earlier. Genuinely, I mean.” The princess took off her shimmering, cat-like mask before continuing as Ode got lost in the gaze of her bright eyes.

“Few people would have had the courage to perform it here, let alone do so from the bottom of their heart.”

The last thing Ode had expected to be met with this evening was kindness, and he smiled enthusiastically at Sappho, feeling the confidence to openly speak his mind.

“Thank you, Princess Sappho! I was worried that I made a mistake, but your words reaffirm me that the others’ reaction was not my fault! Although… Maybe I am nonetheless unfit for such festivities.”

The princess laughed.

“So what? I have talked with many a royal tonight, but this is the first enjoyable conversation I had. Just because you are not like the rest, you are not any less valid! Contrary so. You should be proud of yourself, Prince Ode!”

Never before had Ode experienced anything like ‘love’. Not in the way it was always sung about. But this very moment he thought he had gotten a glimpse of what it was like.
As this realization set in, he took a deep breath to respond to the princess just to be cut short when she continued once more.

“But anyway, I’d happily go on with this conversation but I’m afraid I have to go. There is someone who is waiting for me right now and I cannot spare much more time.”

She stood up, turned to the prince and held out a rose towards him. The one she was supposed to give to someone special. Prince Ode could hardly believe it.

“Farewell Ode. I’m sure we will meet again some day.”

Hastily, Ode straightened his back and gratefully accepted the rose, looking at the princess with a multitude of feelings he could not yet fathom entirely. One of them disappointment that she was already about to leave.

“Farewell Princess Sappho! And thank you!”

A smile flashed on the Princess’s face just long enough that Ode could feel her grasp on his heart tighten. She turned around and walked away further down the path she had come from.

Ode watched her disappear in the shadows of the garden and just now noticed the quickened tempo of his heartbeat.

Long after she had left, Princess Sappho was still ever present in the prince’s mind. For a while he stayed outside, lost in his thoughts and the stars shining brightly above him.

It truly was the most special Valentine’s Day he had ever experienced. Full of determination, Ode made a silent vow. He would see her again.

And he would act upon the feelings that stirred up inside of him that day.
For they were far too precious to leave alone.

PECTIN + eZombo

The core team of BL+

brassica, valentines-day