The Rebel's Heart: Part Two
“What in Neopia is the meaning of this?!”
Amaretta cringed as her father continued his ravings. To her dismay, this one was louder than most.
“I go to get a new robe and what do I find? I see Selena tailoring uniforms for soldiers! Now knowing why she is doing that, I ask her. And what does she say? She tells me that my daughter asked for them! You simply can’t listen to me, can you? I tell you not to do something and you go behind my back and do it anyway!”
Amaretta, tired of his seemingly endless ravings, spoke up.
“Are you done yelling? Perhaps Selena has not told you everything. Or, more likely, you wouldn’t listen to everything she had to say.” Amaretta muttered for a moment, “It wouldn’t be the first time.”
Realizing that her father would interrupt her in moments, Amaretta tried to hurriedly finish her own ravings.
“Darena and I wish to play as if a war has just ended. Why are there no dresses? Not only was I asking too much of Selena, but I also have plenty of dresses. Darena is my size, so she can fit in them and does not need any specially made for her. I wish that you would stop jumping to conclusions!”
Amaretta wanted to say more, but she knew that although she was the Princess, she would still be punished in some way or another if she did not watch what she said and did.
The King’s face was red and his eyes were bulging, “I don’t want you to train to be a knight, I don’t want you to look at knights, I don’t even want you to dress like one for your amusement!”
Amaretta decided to try to charm her father into relenting, “But, Father, I was planning on going on a health retreat in the forest soon. This is just so that I can enjoy myself for some time before I leave.”
The King stopped his ravings, as he had not yet been told about this retreat, “What are you talking about? I don’t know about any health retreat?”
Amaretta improvised, hoping for the support of her friends, “Oh, you know, Quiet is going with me. We’ll be going into the forest.”
King Tanis looked confused, as he had never before heard of a royal Flotsam going to a health retreat in the woods.
“What about Quiet? Won’t she need water?”
Amaretta was quick with her response, as if this had already been decided and talked about long ago, “Yes, but that’s why we’ve found a marvelous spot right next to a lake.”
“Is it only going to be the two of you?”
“Of course not; that would be irresponsible. It will be me, Darena, Quiet, her personal guard, and one of her servants.”
“What about your petpets?”
“We’re going to leave them with some of our servants.”
“How about we let Chocolatte Mousse take care of your petpets?”
Amaretta was trying to think of a good response, but none came, “Well, you see, I just don’t think that she’d like Tartuffa. After all, you know how she tends to bite pets that she doesn’t like. And I think she just got a mootix; she has been scratching quite a bit lately. I’d hate it if Souffle caught whatever Tartuffa has...”
The King gave Amaretta a long look, as if trying to figure out what she was really up to, “I’m still not so sure... I think that Chocolatte Mousse should go with you.”
Amaretta starting whining, “But, Dad, you know how Chocolatte-eats-only-mousse is about outdoors and retreats. She’s always eating gourmet food, and we wouldn’t have all the stuff that she’s used to. She’d want maids and servants tending to her every need, whereas Quiet and I are only taking one servant each and a single guard.”
The King thought over Amaretta’s words. “Well, I suppose you’re right. Fine, I will allow you to go on this retreat and dress up as a knight today, but this is the only time. Now go, I still have to get my new robe from Selena.”
Amaretta hurried out of the room, followed closely behind by Darena. Neither of them spoke until they got to Amaretta’s bedchamber, the room that now held all of the clothes that Amaretta and Darena had asked for.
Amaretta spoke to Darena first. “No doubt if we take these uniforms, Father will be suspicious. We have to first talk to Selena and make sure to remind her that we only ordered five pairs of clothing each. She had so much that she probably forgot. I hope so. Anyway, that will leave us with three pairs of uniforms. We should hide the three that we want now.”
Darena bowed slightly and chose the three outfits that she liked best, after Amaretta had chosen her favorite three. They then proceeded to hide them in some of Amaretta’s various drawers. Then they called Selena out to Amaretta’s bedchamber.
When Selena arrived, she hesitantly walked in, fearing that some horrible mistake had been made. She was relieved to see that Amaretta looked like her usual pleasant self. When she saw Amaretta, she bowed and nodded slightly towards Darena to acknowledge her presence.
Darena spoke up, as was customary in such a situation, “Seamstress Darena, the good Princess has called you here only to inform you about the amount of costumes that were made. And that is done only to avoid any misunderstandings between the Princess and the King. Princess Amaretta wishes to inform you that you have made a total of ten uniforms, no more, no less. Please record this for her highness’ sake. Thank you.”
Selena bowed as she was about to exit the room, “I fear my memory is hazy, as I recall making sixteen uniforms, but I am a busy Cybunny and am occasionally forgetful. Thank you for informing me of this. Goodbye Darena, good day, my dear and kind Princess.”
Selena left the room, leaving Darena and Amaretta to make their plans.
As Amaretta and Darena were planning, Amaretta had realized something very important. “I haven’t talked to Quiet about this yet.”
“You are SO lucky that I’m willing to cover for you. What if I had said no? Your little plan would be gone, that’s what. I don’t know whether I should be happy that you trust me or disgusted that you’re actually trying something so silly, so dangerous!”
Amaretta cringed as she listened to Quiet’s lecture about her behavior. As much as she didn’t want to admit it, the royal Flotsam had a point. What she was doing was silly and potentially dangerous. What if she did well at the training camp? She’d be sent out to the war, if there was one. Her life, not to mention the life of Darena, would be in danger. But she didn’t care about her own risk, only about Darena’s. Amaretta hated to think that her somewhat childish actions might lead to the death of her dear friend. Though Amaretta could never admit it, Darena was more than Amaretta’s servant or slave. She was Amaretta’s friend, and Amaretta was finally realizing that this venture could injure or even kill one or both of them.
When Quiet finished her lecture, Amaretta looked at her. “Yes, I know. I should have thought more about it, but I’m already committed. Quiet, this is something that I’ve wanted to do for my entire life. I need your support in this. I want to be a knight more than anything. Sure it’s fun to be a Princess, sole heir to the throne and all that stuff. But I want to be a knight. I don’t want to go to war, but I want to be trained. I want to know how to defend myself.”
Quiet shook her head slowly and sighed. “I won’t change your mind, will I? Very well. I’ll cover for you. Please be safe. You only have a few weeks to participate in the villager training. Be careful, and don’t forget, you won’t be a Princess.”
Amaretta gulped. “I know.”
Darena looked around Amaretta’s room, trying to find anything that they might need that they had not yet thought to pack for their trip.
Quiet spoke softly. “Darena, Amaretta, the time for you to leave is now. You’ll go with me in my carriage until we get to the edge of town. I know a place where we can hide and you two can change. I’ll have Ziana drive the carriage. She is to me like Darena is to you. She won’t betray either of us. I don’t trust anybody else. It’ll have to work. And you told your father that we’re each bringing a guard? Well... Darena and Ziana are both well trained. They’ll be considered both servants and guards, at least for the purpose of this scheme of yours.”
Amaretta gulped and nodded. “Either it works, or we give up everything. Let’s go. That is, right after I say my whole stupid formal goodbye to everybody.”
Amaretta rolled her eyes at the knowledge and walked out of the room with Quiet, Darena, and Ziana trailing behind her.
“The Princess Amaretta Creme, the Duchess Quiet, and their servants have arrived.”
Amaretta wanted to cringe at her introduction, but she ignored it as she approached her parents.
“We are ready to leave, your highnesses. We shall be gone for a few weeks, we are not completely sure, but we have plenty of provisions and are in a nice spot for a health retreat. I shall miss you and I wish you long lives. Goodbye, Mother and Father.”
Amaretta bowed low as she finished her speech. She was about to turn and leave when she heard her father speak.
“Just one moment, Amaretta. I would like to have one of our knights accompany you; I don’t like the thought of you and Quiet being all alone. I shall summon him immediately.”
In her mind, Amaretta was screaming. This would ruin everything!
To be continued...