My Ranking Points
Here is the eleventh chapter of my story, Girl Knight. Constructive criticism welcomed, if you want me to tag, just ask. I’ll be going home to the US soon so chapter 12 may be delayed:
“Mother!” yelped Arielle in shock. “What are you doing here?”
“Finding my beloved daughter of course.” she said, the picture of innocence, though Arielle heard the veiled threat.
“Well, mother.” said Arielle, trying to make her voice as calm and cold as her mother’s, while doing her best to pretend she wasn’t searching for an escape,“I’m afraid that your search was fruitless.”
“Indeed?” said Queen Diane. “I would ask why, but no doubt your response will be one of incredible sass and rebelliousness. Really darling, I know your stint at that dungheap of a place they call Oceancrest may have given you experience with villains, but for the last time, daughter, I am not a villain. I’m a queen, a fighter for the Golden Age of Good. So sweetheart, don’t insult my intelligence with feeble attempts to buy time and distract me while you attempt to escape. You know I’m only doing what’s best for you. But until you learn that, honey, I’m afraid that things are going to have to be painful. Very painful. Now, please don’t make this difficult for yourself. I’d hate to leave a scar on your pretty face, my dear. Guards!”
Arielle suddenly realized she was surrounded on all sides. Apparently Queen Diane had been distracting her with a sneering criticism of her distraction abilities, and she had fallen for it. The only method of escape was fighting her way out of this circle of enemies. She wished it wouldn’t have to come to this. She scanned around her, for a weak link, someone that could be easier to beat in hand-to-hand. All she saw was a dozen highly trained guards who had graduated with top marks in the Interwoods Ever Guard Academy with honors and looked strong enough to pound her into pulp. The only weak spot was the queen who stood in front of her, dressed in a fashionable but hard to fight in gown and hating sweaty armpits. Arielle mentally readied herself, and then lunged at her mother, ready to knock her out of the way. Queen Diane screamed and tried fighting her daughter, but Arielle was much stronger, and after overpowering her dashed towards the exit. She heard the rip of fabric and felt someone tugging her back, and turned to find the Queen of Glass Mountain clutching at the skirt of her gown in a very unladylike way. Arielle punched Queen Diana In the face in the face. A split second later she had a dozen swords at her throat.
Her mother lifted her head up slowly and looked Arielle in the eye. Queen Diane had a bleeding lip and a black eye so magnificent it made her look like half a panda. It made her look ugl.y. Being the daughter of Queen Diane had taught her some very important things about her mother. Such as the fact that the Queen of Glass Mountain was so incredibly vain that if you were indirectly responsible for even the slightest blemish on her lovely face, then, unless you were her beloved Claire, it would be in your best interests to leave the kingdom ASAP. What she would do to a girl even indirectly responsible for something as horribly disfiguring as a black eye, Arielle didn’t know and didn’t want to know.
“Give. Me. A. Mirror.” commanded Queen Diane, eyes flashing. “Now.”
“My queen, are you sure-” said one of the now terrified guards.
“If one of you doesn’t give me a mirror then everyone within reach of my voice is being sent to the dungeons!” said Queen Diane, raising her voice to a yell. This was a very bad sign, as Queen Diane never yelled.
Immediately a guard dashed upstairs to raid Dot’s apartment for a mirror. Arielle thought it was her chance to escape, but the guards almost instantly closed the momentary break in their formations. Several minutes later the trembling guard descended the stairs with a fragment of a hot pink plastic Sophie’s Beauty Essentials mirror. Dot, Hester, and Anadil closed their eyes as though blinded. Queen Diane raised an eyebrow.
“Your Highness, it was all I could find in the witch’s apartment.” he said hastily.
The Queen of Glass Mountain took the cheap mirror fragment into her hands and examined her reflection, going completely expressionless, like a mask. When she spoke, it was in a voice colder than a winter in Avalon.
“Well, I thought I could guide you down the right path through kindness and goodness but it seems that I was wrong.” said Queen Diane. She looked at the Captain of the Glass Mountain Royal Guard. “Captain, you and your men have permission to do whatever you want to her, as long as she remains good looking enough to attract a prince. Now, let us go. And if you even dream of disobeying, Arielle, than at midnight I will publicly fling you into the Endless Woods with nothing but the clothes you are wearing right now.”
And Arielle was dragged into the royal coach by guards who pushed, poked, smacked, and shoved her just because they could.
If Kayla was stunned that Arielle, her resilient, intelligent, best friend, had gotten caught by her sadistic evil queen of a mother, then she couldn’t even begin to describe her feelings upon hearing that Prince Xavier of Camelot had tried to murder her BFF.
Of course she had always known that he was a **** and a dunce and incredibly annoying. But to kill? The very idea of someone trying to hurt, let alone murder her best friend was so infuriating that she wanted to storm into the chamber that Xavier was kept in and give him a very good punching. She almost wholeheartedly supported expelling him from the School for Good, taking away his rights to the Camelot Royal Crown, and chucking him in the royal dungeons for the rest of his life. However, there was one thing stopping her from leading an angry mob into storming the prince’s bedchambers; something was off about the whole business.
Yes, she had seen Arielle being carried into the Camelot Royal Hospital on a stretcher. Yes, she had heard Queen Diane explain to King Tedros and Queen Agatha that her son was a murderer. Yes, she had gotten a glimpse of all of the evidence against Xavier. But still, something in her gut told her that there was something fishy going on. And her instincts were usually right. Kayla wanted to get to the bottom of it, but there were only five hours to go before she would be discovered and the magical tracking device would be placed on her, She could not go back to prissy princess school.
“Um hellooo, earth to Lady Catherine” said Lady Lavender. Kayla was ****** out of her musings back into the quarters of Queen Agatha’s ladies-in-waiting.
Located in the Queen’s Wing,the ladies-in-waiting’s quarters composed of twenty-one rooms, 7 shared bathrooms (one to every three rooms), and a circular common room that contained doors to the ladies-in-waiting rooms, the main castle, and the Queen’s Bedchamber. Each bedroom had a four-poster bed with a silk canopy, an ivory desk, a closet the size of Kayla’s old dormitory at Oceancrest, a mirror wall, a vanity with a much smaller jeweled mirror, a crystal chandelier for light, Oriental rugs, and an antique rosewood nightstand over a thousand years old. The bathrooms had marble floors, a bathtub the size of a small pool, a makeup station, brackets in the walls containing candelabras with scented candles, and smelled of citrus and wildflowers. The common room was the most elegant, with its inlaid floors, gold framed artwork, murals and tapestries depicting scenes from King Arthur and The Tale of Sophie and Agatha, antique furniture upholstered in silk, satin, chiffon, and other expensive fabrics with floral designs, vast stained-glass windows, coffee tables of leaded glass inset with jewels, crystal orbs glowing in various shades of pastel, Persian carpets, and a stunning cupola of frosted glass, glowing gold in the late afternoon light. The truly amazing thing was that the Queen’s Residence was somehow even more grand. Right now all 21 ladies-in-waiting were lounging around in the common room, gossiping, nibbling on cucumber-watercress sandwiches and stuffed grape leaves and rampion salad that were being offered around by maids, sipping on dandelion fizz and watermelon juice and iced lemonade set at regular intervals along the bejeweled leaded-glass tables, working on their embroidery, painting, playing instruments, reading, and braiding each other’s hair.
“So, what do you think will happen to Prince Xavier?” asked Lady Lavender, once Kayla was back in reality.
“I do hope it’s nothing horrible.” said Lady Rachel. “He really is quite handsome.”
“But all the same,” said Lady Lily thoughtfully, “proper justice must be observed.”
All of a sudden there was a rude knock from a hidden entrance that was usually used by the maids. The ladies-in-waiting looked scandalized. After all, servants weren’t supposed to knock so brazenly and authoritatively.
“How dare she!” snapped Lady Fiona, as male servants rarely came through that entrance. “Really, whoever that woman is, she ought to be fired. Doesn’t she know her place?”
“If it were up to me, whoever that is would be tossed into the dungeons for life with the key tossed into Evil’s moat.” snipped Lady Helen.
“Probably some dumb scullery maid who has no understanding of royal protocol.” sneered Lady Vivian, as the mystery maid began pushing the door open. “Of course, as I always like to say, it all stems from bad blood. Really, I couldn’t expect more from stupid filthy peasant ****.”
At that moment the door was finally opened with a heave and swung open to reveal none other than Queen Agatha herself. The queen never visited the ladies-in-waiting’s residence. They all sprang up from their seats respectfully, Lady Fiona, Lady Helen, and Lady Vivian going white.
“Your Highness, we mistook you for a servant, it was a complete accident-” started Lady Fiona.
“W-we never meant to insult you, Your Majesty, and-”stammered Lady Helen.
“Please, Queen Agatha, we made a mistake, and had we known that it was Your Majesty at the door, we would have never been so rude and would have opened the door promptly.” said Lady Vivian breathlessly.
“Mistakes happen.” said Queen Agatha. “Once is forgivable, but I don’t want it to happen again.”
“Of course, Your Highness,” said Lady Vivian. “We promise that we will never again make the mistake of confusing Your Majesty with a lowly-”
“You’ve completely missed the point!” snapped Queen Agatha. “I’ve got no problem with you mistaking me for a servant; mistakes happen. But I have an issue with the fact that you three seem to think it’s okay to insult servants like that, just because they weren’t born into wealthy families. That I cannot tolerate, and please understand that no matter who we are or where we come from, we’re all deserving of respect. Now, let’s get back to work.”
The queen took a deep breath and resumed her former regal efficiency. “Tonight is the night of the ball, and according to the Camelot Castle Publicity Council and experts at the Camelot Courier, this ball must have all the pomp and splendor of any Camelot ball, if not more. My son being accused of murder is a terrible stain on Camelot’s history, but a fabulous ball will direct the attention away from the scandal…or at least that’s what they told me.”
Upon closer inspection, the queen seemed tired and strained. Kayla knew that this must have been incredibly difficult for Queen Agatha, and really did want to help, but as of right now there was nowhere more dangerous for her than Camelot Castle. Five hours, thirty-two minutes, 36 seconds until the charm would be complete. Five hours, thirty-two minutes, 35 seconds, five hours, thirty-two minutes, 34 seconds…
“Lavender, Vivian, Fiona, please go down to the kitchens and check the foods one last time. Clarrise, Lily, and Rachel, inspect the servants’ uniforms. Mary, Poppy, Helen, Lily, and Julianna, please check the decorations and place settings, and make sure that everything is in order. The rest of you, get ready quickly and welcome the guests graciously into Camelot Castle.
“What about you, Queen Agatha?” asked Lady Poppy.
“Well as a member of the school board, I’m personally welcoming the faculty of SGE” said Queen Agatha. “Catherine, I want a word. The rest of you, go on to your assigned tasks.”
As the ladies-in-waiting dispersed, Kayla made her way to Queen Agatha. Queen Agatha dismissed all of the maids with a curt nod, leaving the two of them alone.
“Catherine, you were Princess Arielle’s best friend, right?” asked Queen Agatha. Kayla nodded.
“Well, I’ll get straight to the point. Are you or are you not from Oceancrest?”
Kayla was stunned. How had she guessed? Then she remembered Oceancrest’s pact with Camelot Castle, and realized that if she was going to blend, why not take the cover story being offered up to her? In their espionage class she had learned that people are more likely to believe the things about you that they thought up themselves, and that when you lie, you are less likely to bungle it if you keep your story as true as possible, with only the few tweaks that were necessary to get them to believe the story you wanted them to.
“Yes, I am Your Highness.” said Kayla, inventing wildly while keeping in mind the Laws of Lies that they had learned in their Believable Fibs unit. “I was the number one student at Oceancrest, and since I placed top in Combat and Acting, they decided I would be one of your secret bodyguards.”
There. Most of it was true, and if Queen Agatha decided to look into it, she’d find nothing amiss unless she strongly suspected Kayla was lying, which she obviously didn’t.
“Impressive.” said Queen Agatha. “You know, I always thought that, apart from SGE, Oceancrest was the premiere institute of education in the Endless Woods. Well, I suppose you ought to be with me for security reasons. You are how old exactly?”
“Thirteen, Your Highness.”
“Indeed? To be honest, I’d take an Oceancrest graduate of any age over most of the beefy, burly guards that protect Camelot Castle. Well, I suppose as one of the Oceancrest operatives stationed in Camelot to protect me, you should probably stay with me. I’ll make up some excuse.”
So much for a handy cover story! Kayla wondered how on earth she was going to get out now that she would be with Queen Agatha the whole ball.
“So, I guess you should get ready for the ball. I myself have to go to a ‘royals only’ Pre-Ball Tea.” said the queen, looking absolutely miserable at the prospect.
Queen Agatha left, and Kayla hurried off to her room. She needed time to think. A lady-in-waiting generally took two to three hours to get ready for a ball, so she had a maximum of three hours before Queen Agatha expected her to be ready, and perhaps another 15 minutes to get to wherever Queen Agatha was from the ladies-in-waiting’s quarters. By then, she had to be out of the palace, or better yet, out of Camelot. Then she would have until midnight to find a place where the tracking spell wouldn’t be able to find her. So she had about three hours and fifteen minutes to get out of Camelot Castle, and then another four hours to find a safe place. Those weren’t the best time constraints, but they weren’t the worst either. The actual getting out of Camelot Castle would be easy, provided she had a good enough excuse to leave the queen right before a royal ball.
Well, if she was going to escape, what was a better time than now? She left the ladies-in-waiting’s quarters and strode down the hallway, full of purposeful energy. She hurried past guards, none of them questioning her obvious haste, as they assumed she was rushing off to do an errand for Queen Agatha. Only two hallways away from the exit that led out of the Queen’s Wing, she froze suddenly at the high-security hallway that contained the room Prince Xavier was being kept in until the trial. It was such a stupid idea to let her escapade be hindered by him, but at the same time, she just had to check…
What was she thinking?! She had seen the evidence, hadn’t she, of Prince Xavier’s ruthless murder? She had watched King Tedros and Queen Agatha punish him and give the Captain of the Guard the order to imprison their son in a highly guarded chamber until the time of the trial. What kind of parents would do that without substantial proof? She was just being stupid.
However, the words from Clarissa Dovey’s wise and provocative speech just before the execution in The Lion and The Snake floated back to her. If there was really a force deep within her that was greater than good and evil, a guiding light in her soul that would guide her to do the right thing at the right time, for reasons that could only be learned once she had done it, than right now that mysterious force was telling that she should break into Xavier’s room and hear his side of the story.
So at the urging of this mysterious force and the loud protest of her sensible mind, she strutted down that corridor as though she belonged and sashayed right up to the guards, who were gaping at her in utter confusion.
“Hello, gentlemen,” said Kayla, the very epitome of a prim and proper lady-in-waiting, “I was wondering if I could see His Royal Highness Prince Xavier?”
After five hours of being trapped with no one but a pair of knights who said nothing and just stood there glowering at him, Xavier was starved for friendly company.
So when he heard the voice of a girl insisting on seeing him, he automatically perked up. Something about this girl’s voice was familiar, and appealing. He immediately decided that he liked this mystery girl, but also wondered where else had he heard her voice. Was it someone he knew? Ignoring the disapproving sniffs of the knights, he stood up, walked to the door, and pressed his ear against it.
“I-I’m very sorry, milady,” answered one of the guards. “The prince is currently a high-security prisoner, so I’m afraid we cannot permit you to see him, Lady Catherine.”
“Are you sure?” said Lady Catherine, who sounded disappointed. “I’m afraid that, high-security prisoner or not, I have to interview him for… official reasons. Surely you understand.”
“Really? Well, milady, would you care to share these official reasons?”
“I don’t think you are of sufficient authority, guard.”
“And why do you require a person to have special clearance to learn why you need to see a high-security prisoner, Lady Catherine?”
“With all due respect, you need to have the clearance to learn why to understand why a person needs clearance to learn why. I’d go directly to Queen Agatha, if she weren’t incredibly busy with the ball. Do you wish me to interrupt her?”
“If you indeed have authority from the queen, then surely you have signed documents confirming that.”
“Are you new or something? Everyone knows that Her Illustrious Majesty, Queen Agatha Pendragon, Co-ruler of the Kingdom of Camelot, Long May She Reign, absolutely hates official papers. If Her Highness doesn’t want to adhere to royal protocol, who are you to stop her>”
“Well, we must have some proof that you aren’t faking, mi-”]
“Proof! Do you have the nerve to suggest that I, Lady Catherine, Loyal Lady-in-Waiting to Her Illustrious Majesty, Queen Agatha Pendragon, Co-ruler of the Kingdom of Camelot, Long May She Reign, would ever lie about Her Highness’s wishes? The very idea of it is preposterous, and I think that I ought to report you to report you to the-”
“Alright, alright!” snapped one of the guards in exasperation. “You can come in! Just make it quick!”
The door swung open, and in entered Lady Catherine. “Please leave.” she informed the guards. “I suggest you to leave as well.” she added to the two knight. “The contents of this interview are only for higher ranking members of the Round Table.”
The two knights and the ten guards left the room looking extremely curious. Lady Catherine turned her heavily made-up face to Xavier, who felt a surge of shocking recognition. It was Kayla.
She saw his face, and before the idiot could say anything, made a ‘shhh’ sign to quiet him. Then she discreetly cast a spell so that guards would hear only a bunch of random noises if they cared to listen in, allowing her to interrogate Xavier.
“Before you ask where I’ve been and why I’m pretending to be a lady-in-waiting in your parents’ castle, it’s a long story that I’d be delighted to tell you once we’re in a safe place where I won’t get caught and sent back to SGE. But for now, shut up and listen.”
“But, what are you even doing here?” asked Xavier. “How did you know I was innocent?”
“Gut feeling. Now, here’s the plan: We’re going to smash that window, climb down, get as far as we can from Camelot Castle, and then I’ll brief you on what to do from there.”
Kayla felt odd giving instructions, and wondered whether or not Xavier was the sort of guy who had issues listening to a girl. Thankfully he seemed to have no problem with obeying her.
“Um, how do we break the window?” asked Xavier. “The glass was designed to be difficult to shatter, and I haven’t been at the gym lately. Do you have the strength to-”
His question was answered by the sound of shattered glass as Kayla’s high heeled foot flew into the window. “Okay.” he said, blinking, “That was an antique three-hundred year old window designed personally by the Master Glassblower of Putsi, handcrafted by the finest glassblowers in the Endless Woods, and inset with rare Akgul rubies, but maybe we can get a refund.”
“Whatever.” said Kayla. It was hardly her fault that royalty had to have everything in their view boast of wealth and luxury. “Let’s go.”
The pair climbed onto the window sill, and Kayla gaped at the stunning view. Sapphire blue waves battered rolling green hills, and below them were the proud buildings and people of one of the most prosperous and mighty kingdoms. To the west was the endless expanse of the breathtaking Savage Sea, To the east was a lush green forest, slowly increasing in elevation with less and less trees so that it was difficult to see where the forest ended and the magnificent snowcapped mountains began. Ahead of them stretched a metropolis, which fizzled to towns of various sizes, with vast stretches of rural villages, interrupted by towns and the occasional city, existing as living, working evidence of a thriving and happy kingdom. Behind her stood the towers and turrets of a grand castle that stood tall and proud for centuries, through even the darkest of times, and above her stretched the vast sky, crimson and gold and orange and pink, a whirlwind of colors in the autumn sunset, the bloodred sun sinking into the depths of the sea, casting golden rays over the ocean. She was hit by the conflicting desires to stay on this little ledge admiring the view forever and explore every inch of the land before her.
“Pretty, isn’t it?” said Xavier, watching her reaction to this splendor. “You know,” he added pointedly, “the Queen’s Wing has a rooftop 360 degree observatory, where you can see all of this and more and you won’t believe the views the mega-suite built for the future Crown Princess of Camelot has.”
Kayla rolled her eyes. Why did this guy seem so bent on annoying her with countless tales of his royal richness? And why was he always gaping at her with a stupid expression on her face? It was so dumb. As much as she would love to stand on this windowsill and gaze at this sight all day, she had work to do.
“Come on,” she said, “let’s go!”
Kayla and Xavier climbed down onto the decorative glass ledge below them, pressing their bodies against the turret. Adrenaline coursing through her, Kayla shuffled along the ledge, which ran around the turret, searching for a way down. She was suddenly very aware of the fact that this ledge was not built to hold the weight of two teenagers; it was meant to look pretty and beautify the castle, and could crack under the strain of their weight any second. She crouched down and ran her hand along the smooth-as-glass stone, trying to search for a rough part, or perhaps a finger-sized crack that she could use her extensive rock climbing training on. To her extreme irritation, she heard Xavier snigger somewhere behind her. She carefully turned to find him hanging out on the roof of another tower.
“What?” he said, in response to her raised eyebrows, “It’s my castle. Don’t you think I’d know it pretty well? Besides, did you even imagine for a second that I sat in the Royal Classroom like a good boy and listened to my tutors drone on and on about the history of stamps or how to blow your nose in a regal way or the name of every princess in the Endless Woods? Go around a little more, than jump onto the spire of Blue Tower, then jump onto the roof of this tower. One of these jumbo-tiles is loose, and we’ll pry it open and jump down to the floor. Then we’ll go into the ******* chute and land in the royal dumpster. Then we’ll get out and escape the castle grounds.”
“Okay.” said Kayla. She jumped onto the Blue Tower spire, and then with another leap joined Xavier on the Turret of Queen Vellatara. “So,” she asked, “Where is this loose tile?”
“That’s what I’m trying to find out. I know it was here somewhere.” He felt around, and finally found it. With a heave, he pushed the giant emerald-inlaid roof tile up. “After you, milady.” he said playfully, jerking his head at the opening. Rolling her eyes, Kayla slid down and found herself in the prettiest suite she had ever seen. This turret was close to the ocean, and the floor-to-ceiling windows offered a gorgeous view of the Savage Sea’s rich blue waters. This was evidently the bedchamber, and Kayla gazed at a magnificent four poster bed, with a canopy of turquoise silk with gold, pearl, and sapphire embroidery. If this was a bed, then her bed back at Oceancrest was a heap of straw. It was practically the only thing that screamed royal in this place. The floor, instead of carpet, was made of lush green grass, smooth as a luxurious lawn, that rippled attractively in a nonexistent breeze. Large, colorful butterflies of every color fluttered lazily around. A couple of beautiful deer nibbled on the grass, and on the large bonsai trees whose tops brushed the soaring ceiling twittered dozens of different birds. The sound of rushing water man-made waterfalls in the room provided soothing background noise. Basking in the rich, warm glow of the vast bonfire in the center of the room, she went to explore the rest of the suite, careful not to step on the pretty flowers of every variety that grew higgledy-piggledy around the room. There were little, or rather, large and luxuriant alcoves that each served a different purpose. Kayla couldn’t resist poking her head into each and every one of them.
One alcove was a study with the same grassy floor as the bedchamber, but with floor to ceiling bookshelves, rough stone walls, an antique crystal chandelier, and a handsome mahogany desk at the end with a stack of crisp gold-leaf parchment, silver inkwells of enchanted color-change griffon-scale ink, and a peacock feather quill.
Another alcove was an enormous wardrobe, and while Kayla expected gowns, she was shocked to find a prevalence of her favored tunics, cloaks, boota, and leggings. Unlike the clothing she usually wore, these garments were made of only the finest material and had elaborate patterns and elegant designs that indicated craftsmanship of a quality that the average person wouldn’t be able to afford. The walls and ceiling were made of crystal mirrors, the room was lit by a diamond chandelier, and at the end was a rounded shelf upon which various plaster mannequin body parts were arranged, modeling various pieces of jewelry. On the first level there were rings, on the second, bracelets and bangles, on the third, amulets, necklaces, chokers, pendants, and lockets, on the fourth, earrings, from tiny studs to dangles so heavy that Kayla would have to go through cosmetic surgery if she tried to wear them, and on the fifth level, circlets, tiaras, and diadems of every size and shape. The shoes were kept in a small side-wing.
The third side-chamber’s entrance wasn’t made of forest green silk curtains but a polished oak door with a gold handle. Kayla pushed it open and found a sumptuous bathroom that was even better than the bathrooms in the ladies-in-waiting’s quarters. Themed with the sea, below the glass beneath her feet was a dazzling aquarium, where fish swam dreamily underneath her. Floating multicolored glass statues of gorgeous mermaids swam through the air, cleaning the bathtub, scrubbing the floor, or dusting off the colorful glowing crystal orbs in every shade of the rainbow that lit the bathroom. The domed ceiling was decorated with plaster designs of mermaids, fish, whales, dolphins, seabirds, octopuses, seabirds, kelp, crabs, and various other plants and animals of the ocean, The walls were in a rich blue gradient composed of tiny glittering square tiles made of lapis lazuli, blue jade, pale emeralds, aquamarine, sapphire, mother-of-pearl, diamond, and turquoise. There was also a vanity station, platinum racks of various expensive lotions and creams that Kayla wouldn’t mind slathering on after a grueling Swordplay tournament, and a stall made of palm wood contained what was possibly the fanciest toilet in the history of toilets.
The final alcove was an armory/weapons training room. Kayla felt a sense of giddy delight seeing it all. There was a Woodwide Archery Authority mandated contest target, in the center of the room, a ***** woven of briar thorns. Hanging on the racks were bows and arrows of every model, custom made by the Sherwood Forest Archer Company, knives, daggers, greatswords, broadswords, and classic swords made of Foxwood steel, with jewels at the hilt, staffs, spears, pikes, javelins,and lances made of Gillikin wood and tipped with Nupur Lala iron, and along the walls were suits of high-quality, durable armor of the sort that Kayla had dreamed of wearing.
At the other end of the bedchamber was a stylish set of gold-and-emerald double doors, Kayla pushed them open to reveal a beautiful sitting room. While the bedchamber looked like a forest with the occasional human touch, the sitting room looked like a palace taken over by the forest. Moonlight spilled from the high windows onto the polished stone floor, with flowers and grass poking out between each slab. Ivy crawled up the white marble pillars, glowing orangey gold in the warm firelight of the magnificent fireplace. Birds fluttered around, and at the center of the room were blue taffeta armchairs and loveseats with gold brocade, clustered around a round, polished wooden table heaped with dishes of fruit, platters of sandwiches, trays of sweetmeats, vials of sparkling juices, and pots of flower teas. The sitting room was hung with tapestries depicting the mountains, the forest, the beach, the desert, and the jungle, and the animals native to the place shown going about their daily business. Taking in every inch of the sitting room, Kayla felt envious of whoever lived in this suite and felt as though the place was her dream home. As though it were meant for her.
“Like it?” said a voice behind her. Xavier stood at the entrance to the bedchamber, grinning at her obvious delight.
“It’s amazing!” said Kayla breathlessly. “What is this place? Who is it for? What incredibly lucky person lives here?”
Xavier laughed. “No one.” he said simply. “Not yet at least. This is the suite for my future girlfriend, and I’m glad you like it so much.”
“Oh.” said Kayla, her enthusiasm for the room draining away. Hmph. She wasn’t going to be the girlfriend of an idiot like Xavier, even if this room was amazing.
“Well, we’ve wasted enough time. Lets go.” she said firmly, shaking her head as though to clear all thoughts of this amazing room. “Um, where is this ******* chute?”
Xavier pointed at a bejeweled silver flap in the corner that Kayla hadn’t noticed. Kayla walked over and pushed it open Xavier stood there awkwardly.
“Come on!” said Kayla in irritation. “Look, I know you don’t want to get your fancy prince outfit ruined by trash, but that’s not what’s important. You and I are wanted, and though they may be looking for us for different reasons, if they catch us they’ll send both of us to places where we don’t want to go. So I know you care about your looks, Mr.Handsome, but if we don’t get a move on-”
“It’s not that.” said Xavier. “It’s just, according to my Chivalry tutors and Professor Lukas, going ahead of the lady is unchivalrous. So you should probably go first.”
“That’s what you’re worried about?!” said Kayla, even more exasperated. “Seriously, is trying to maintain your perfect record of gallantry the most important thing right now? Look, if it really bothers you, I’ll go first.”
Kayla jumped into the ******* chute. A thud behind her and a loud “Ooof!” confirmed that Xavier had entered the chute. The interior was slick, dark, and slimy, and the ******* steadily increased as they progressed downwards. It would have been pitch black inside were it not for the many instances where servants, guests, and royal court members opened their flap to toss some trash in. The worst part was when they went under the ballroom, which was as of right now the busiest part of the castle. Kayla dodged shellfish tails, cupcake wrappers, ruined napkins, broken plates and glasses, fruit peels, and even an unfinished cake. Finally, they zinged under the West Tower, when the chute flap opened yet again. A few used tubes of lip gloss were thrown in, and they caught a glimpse of the person who had thrown them in. She had lustrous blonde hair which was styled into an elegant half chignon , stunning blue eyes complemented by pink eyeshadow, lips painted a tantalizing crimson, atop her head a beautiful tiara of gold and diamonds, and was dressed in a pretty pink Von Zarachin gown embroidered with freshwater pearls. In the split second that they saw each other, before Kayla and Xavier zoomed down, the princess gazed at them with the same fear and shock as they gazed at her. They had been spotted by Claire DeCrowne.