The Rebel's Heart: Part One
Thank you teera_misu for allowing me to write this about your pets and have my story published in the Neopian Times!
“For the last time, NO!” The King’s face was red with annoyance at his daughter’s request. “How many times must I answer your question before you will stop asking me and accept my decision?!”
“Your majesties?” A voice cut through the King’s dramatic show of displeasure.
The King whirled around to see an attendant standing in the doorway. After momentarily considering what to do, he motioned to the attendant, giving him the permission to speak.
The attendant nodded toward the Princess as he bowed before her, “If her majesty, the Princess Amaretta Creme, would allow me to speak with the King and Queen alone?”
The spotted Uni rolled her eyes and snorted as she exited the throne room and entered the hallway that led to it. As soon as she was sure that she was alone, she hurried down another corridor that was rarely used. After she went down another hallway, she continued down it until she found the door that she was looking for. It led to a deserted room. She entered that room and locked the door behind her.
She held her ear against the wall, hoping to hear the voices that she knew were there.
“I bring news from the commander.”
Amaretta recognized the voice and knew that it belonged to the attendant.
“What is it?”
“Well...” The attendant clearly wanted to delay the news for as long as possible.
“Spit it out, man. We don’t have all day, you know.”
Amaretta could easily imagine her mother giving her father a long glare for that remark.
“Please, tell it to us. Unlike my husband here, I can wait until you’re ready to tell us the news that you have.”
“Well, it seems that Darigan’s attack on our southern border was just a decoy. We have just learned that various cities just outside our borders have been overrun by Darigan’s army. He clearly wants to take over by force.”
The King chastised him lightly. “It was also clear that he was attacking our southern border, correct?”
“I suppose so, your majesty. What shall I tell the commander?”
“Tell her that I will be scouting for warriors. Darigan wants a war, and we cannot defend ourselves without fighting.”
“Of course. I shall inform him immediately.”
The fire Eyrie was about to turn and walk away when the King started speaking again. “Him? I was under the impression that our commander was Freyalise.”
“It was, but the pirate Uni was wounded in battle. She will not die, but her second in command has taken her place.”
“So Vankorve is now acting as commander?”
“Very well, you may go and inform him of what I have said.”
“May your lives never end, your majesties.”
Amaretta, knowing that the conversation was over, exited the room and walked as quietly and quickly as possible to her room. Once she got there, she started muttering to herself, “If I ever wanted to be a knight, I won’t have a chance now; with the pending war, Father will NEVER let me train to be a knight. It figures; now is when I could get in without being recognized.”
Amaretta’s eyes lit up at the words she had just spoken. She started tapping the floor with one of her hooves until the idea in her mind had followed its course.
“I could join now! I could tell Father that I’m going into the forest for a health retreat, but instead, I can join the village warriors in their training. I know a few people who can help me convince Father that I’ll be resting the whole time. This is perfect!”
Amaretta opened the door and checked the hallway. She was relieved to see that nobody was there because she was worried that her loud voice had alerted somebody lurking in the halls.
She closed the door and turned around. As soon as she did, she saw her personal attendant sitting in a chair with her head down.
“You heard me, didn’t you?”
When her attendant didn’t answer, Amaretta lifted the Zafara’s head so that their eyes met.
“Come now, Darena, you know that you can tell me the truth. But I suppose that your silence answered my question sufficiently. But now I ask you another question. Can I trust you to keep my secret?”
“Of course, Princess Amaretta.”
“Then let’s go to the royal designer and play dress-up.”
Amaretta laughed, but she stopped when she realized that Darena hadn’t understood what she meant.
“That, Darena, means that we’ll be trying on some knight’s clothing, but we tell the royal designer and her assistants that we’re just playing.”
“Of course, SOMEBODY there will have to know my secret. Otherwise, I might end up telling everybody there myself!”
Amaretta laughed again, mostly at her joy of finally being on the road to becoming a knight.
“How may I help you today? Oh! Hello, dear Princess.”
The year-worn Cybunny bowed before Amaretta. “And good to see you again, Darena.”
“It’s nice to see you too.”
Amaretta and Darena spoke simultaneously, then chuckled together.
Amaretta regained her composure first and spoke to the Cybunny. “Selena, we are here because my boredom refuses to cease, and Darena and I grow weary of childish games. Therefore, we come to you earnestly requesting your help to end this misery that we are forced to endure.”
Selena chuckled. “Allow me to guess. Her majesty and Darena would like to have some clothing made for them to wear in a play?”
Amaretta chuckled. “You got it.”
Darena and Amaretta walked into Selena’s backroom. It was a room notorious for its many articles of clothing and sketches cluttering the floor.
Amaretta told Darena to be sure that they chose a large variety of outfits. They decided to make it a theme that was not unlike Amaretta. It would be a ceremony for the warriors and knights following a war. So Amaretta chose various uniforms and dresses. When all the outfits had been chosen, Amaretta and Darena went to Selena and presented them to her.
Selena looked at the pile and gulped. “I may not be able to have these for you by tomorrow, and I couldn’t do two pairs of each, either.”
Amaretta pretended to think about it, having already thought that through, before she responded, “Well, I have plenty of dresses, so we can use those. How about two of everything else?”
The Cybunny looked at the pile again. “I think I’ll be able to manage that.”
Darena looked out of a window and saw the position of the sun. “Princess, we’re late for lunch!”
Amaretta snorted and groaned in frustration, but she still hastened her speed to the dining room.
When she arrived, she tried to get in quietly. However, she winced when she heard the butler announce her presence.
“Her royal highness, Princes Amaretta Creme, has arrived.”
Amaretta slowly dragged herself to the table, trying to avoid the looks on her parents’ faces.
Her father spoke first. “How nice of you to join us.”
Amaretta muttered her response. “Nice to see you too.”
It didn’t take long for her mother to reply, “How many times do we have to tell you to not be late for family meals or other family activities?”
Amaretta thought about it for a moment. “Uh... a lot?”
“Did Darena forget to tell you again?”
The King gave a quick glare to Darena, who was sitting with the other servants.
Amaretta rolled her eyes. “Come on, Dad. That only happened one time. Though you punished her as if it had been more.”
Amaretta saw Darena shudder slightly. She remembered the tired, hungry Zafara working in the stables for nearly a full day, receiving no food for meals, as punishment for causing the Princess to be late for a meal and punishment for being slow. After that, Amaretta took the blame for not only what she did wrong, but also for Darena’s occasional mistakes.
After eating lunch, Amaretta excused herself and took Darena with her to her private pool.
Amaretta was trying to coax Darena into the pool when she spoke to Darena about her plans for the first time since going to the royal designer.
“Darena, I have always valued your opinion, so I want you to tell me the truth. Do you think my plan will really work?”
“It might, but if either one of us is revealed, we would both be punished.”
“You would probably be banished... Are you willing to take that risk?”
“For you, yes.”
“Then I guess we’d better not get caught.”
Darena was about to respond when someone knocking on the door interrupted her thoughts.
Amaretta yelled out to the person, “Come in! It’s unlocked!”
She saw her father’s servant walk in and she sighed, annoyed.
The ghost Gelert formally addressed Amaretta. “Queen Karalana and King Tanis request your presence in the throne room immediately.”
Amaretta sighed. “Tell him I’ll be there in a minute.”
She was done, but then she thought of something else to say, “Hey, Latfta, thanks for knocking.”
He bowed in response and left.
Amaretta and Darena walked to Amaretta’s room. Amaretta changed into one of her least favorite dresses that Darena had appropriately dubbed the “Princess’ Uniform.”
Knowing that being called by her parents was rarely a good thing, Amaretta tried to look as young and innocent as possible before she dared to venture into the halls that led to the throne room.
After Amaretta had left the room, Darena changed into the appropriate clothing and left to take her position among the other servants in the throne room.
To be continued...