From Princess to Pirate: Part Two
Polie spent the entire day painting. She had a sitting room next to her bedroom that overlooked a long sweeping hill with a little village at the top of it. Polie always enjoyed staring out at the open country. She often daydreamed she could run in the grass and play with other Neopians her age.
On the white canvas before her, she had already painted the sweeping hills most magnificently. She wanted the painting to be a gift for her mother when she returned.
As the sun began to set over Brightvale, the night became much cooler than the daytime had been. Once the stars began to twinkle above, Polie realized that she had to change for the dinner her father was preparing for her mother’s return. She took off the beige smock that she had been wearing and set down her paints on the table. The painting looked as best as she could have made it.
Polie wore a dark green satin gown with white frilly cloth on the edges. She twirled around in front of the mirror as Berna stood off slightly to the side and watched. Polie beamed excitedly as the time ticked on: closer and closer.
“How do I look?”
“I think you look exquisite,” Berna replied. She smiled softly and clasped a necklace around the Princess’s neck. “This was your mother’s. She used to wear it when she was young.”
Polie placed a hand on the pearl necklace. The tiny circular pearls were soft to the touch. Polie couldn’t wait to see her mother again. She had been away visiting her cousins in Altador and she had had a long voyage home.
“Thank you, Berna! It is a beautiful necklace.”
“For a beautiful young lady.”
Polie blushed. She knew that Berna was trying to make Polie see that she was growing up and that she had to start acting her age. Polie wished she could forever be the whimsical child she was now. She sighed and spun around again, a happy smile on her face.
“Shall we go down now? I can hear the music playing.” Indeed, the soft music of instruments was starting to trickle up through the castle to Polie’s room. Polie danced around lightly on her feet, humming to the music she heard. Berna simply shook her head, resisting the urge to smile at the young, naïve Kau.
“I think it is time, yes,” Berna conceded. She led the Princess out of her room, where two guards stood. There always seemed to be guards surrounding Polie when more people from the outside were around. Her father was very overprotective.
Polie glanced around the corners as best as she could as they approached the Grand Hall. She could hear the music more loudly now, echoing throughout the room and out the door. She smiled and craned her neck as she looked for any sight of her mother.
“Stop fidgeting,” Berna commanded. Polie took a deep breath and immediately obeyed. If she had learned anything from her mother, it had been that presenting oneself to the public should be done gracefully. The last thing that Polie wanted to do was let her mother down the day she returned.
Berna had a few careful words with a green Grarrl guard standing at the entranceway. He spoke to another green Grarrl off to the side who blew a horn, causing nearly the entire hall to come to a halt. Silence ensued and Polie could feel her heart fluttering in her chest. Desperately, she wished that the instruments had kept playing.
“The Princes Poliana.” The other Grarrl spoke loudly, echoing throughout the room.
Polie winced ever so slightly at her full name. Hardly any of her family or closest friends in the palace called her as such. But, the rest of the world knew her as Poliana. She stepped forward gracefully, holding her head high and her hands hanging lightly at her side.
She stepped forward as everyone watched, heading towards her father at the other end of the room. Polie couldn’t see her mother anywhere. She hoped that she had arrived and was simply detained getting ready. Her father smiled politely and took her hand, leading her around in a circle as the quartet picked up their instruments again and began to play a soft, soothing ballad.
“My daughter, you look all grown up,” her father commented, smiling as he guided her in a dance. “Much more so than the giggling girl you were this morning in the fountain.”
Polie blushed. Her father was never going to let her forget that. “It must have been the heat getting to me...” She tried to explain as she spun in a circle and did her best to remember the moves so that she wouldn’t step on her father’s feet. He was dressed handsomely in a black suit. “I already apologized!”
“I am only teasing you.”
“I know, but still...” Polie tried not to pout. Everyone seemed to be watching them.
“One day, you will enjoy being teased.” Her father spoke sagely. Polie had no idea what her father was talking about, but she decided to take his word for it.
“Where is Mother?” she asked as the ballad ended. She let her eyes wander the room, as the rest of the kingdom’s citizens took to the floor in another dance.
She couldn’t see her mother anywhere.
“She has yet to arrive.”
“I know,” her father interjected, “but it seems that her ship has been delayed. There is a storm off on the coast and it is a bit of a ride from there to here.”
Polie did her best not to pout, but it was very hard. She had been looking forward to spending the evening with her mother and later asking her many questions about her adventure. She felt shorted.
“I am positive she will arrive this evening, but it might not be until late. You will already be asleep.”
Polie really did pout when she heard that. She vowed she would stay up until her mother returned. It was the least she could do after going to all the trouble to make her such a wonderful painting. Or... maybe, she thought, she would put the painting in her mother’s chambers as a surprise before she went to “sleep.”
Polie smiled at her great idea.
“That’s the spirit,” her father replied to her smiling. “Now, there is no reason not to enjoy such a wonderful evening.”
“You are quite right,” Polie replied.
She gazed around at the others and watched them dance. Her stomach growled only slightly and she excused herself from her father’s side and headed toward a long buffet table. There was an assortment of foods and drinks on the table, with various servers ready to get anything Polie wanted.
Polie reached out for a piece of pie when she heard a squealing from her side.
“Princess Poliana! Princess Poliana!” Polie turned to see a bright eyed Korbat speeding to her side. All she saw was a stream of gold, from how stylishly she was dressed, as the Korbat ended at her side. Polie knew who the red Korbat was immediately.
“Tiria,” she said, a slight grin on her face. Tiria was of royal blood. She was a distant relative of Polie’s mother. Whenever Tiria came to the castle at Brightvale, she always managed to get Polie into some kind of trouble.
“I’m staying the week! Aren’t you excited?”
Polie smiled broadly. “Of course I am! I have been so bored.”
“I can imagine. Is your father keeping you all locked up? My father lets me go out all on my own...”
Polie resisted the urge to frown at her cousin’s remark. It was hard, but she put on a brave face. Polie knew what her father did was for her own good. Wasn’t it?
“He means well.”
“That just must be what he tells you,” Tiria replied as she spun in her glowing golden dress. It sparkled so much in the light of the hall that Polie was afraid she would have to shield her eyes from it for the rest of the evening.
Polie pulled the red Korbat aside and the two giggled as the watched the dancers spin round and round. Polie would eye her father every once in a while and the door to the Hall afterwards. She was worried.
Shaking her head in an attempt to shake the worry away, Polie inquired of her cousin, “Do you want to see the painting I made for my mother?”
Tiria’s eyes went wide. “You are still painting up there? Why don’t you do something fun? Like... chase the entire clan of mutant Boweens! That’s more fun!”
“No, that’s mean!” Polie replied, pursing her lips in dissatisfaction. Taking her cousin’s hand, she pulled her away and the two girls tiptoed past the snoozing guards. As the evening wore on, they became bored and sleepy, and Polie knew it was easiest to get past them during those times.
Tiria couldn’t help giggling and snorting with laughter. Polie had to shush her a few times so that they would not bring attention to themselves. As soon as they passed the two guards at the door, they slowly slipped towards the chambers of the castle.
There was an eerie silence throughout the marbled halls. Polie walked softly, caring not to bring attention to heavy footsteps on the hard floor. Her cousin flew by her side, her wings flapping noiselessly.
No one stopped the two privileged girls. Once inside Polie’s room, both pairs of eyes immediately fell upon the finished painting. Tiria smiled and turned to her cousin. “Maybe I was wrong. You should paint. It looks great.”
“Thank you, Tiria. That means a lot to me.”
“I’m sure your mother will like it too.”
The young Kau beamed. She hoped her mother would like it as well. She hastened over to the painting and grabbed it, ushering Tiria down the hall two doors. When she determined that the coast was clear, she slipped inside the door and ushered Tiria to follow.
All of the lights were out in her mother’s bedchamber. The room seemed musty as Polie tried to find a place to put the painting. She leaned it up against her mother’s pillow and nodded her head approvingly.
“This looks like a good spot.”
Tiria shrugged and peered around the room. Immediately, she spotted Polie’s mother’s jewelry box. As she flipped open the lid, voices echoed through the open doorway. Tiria let her finger fall from the box and it snapped tightly closed.
Polie winced as the voices quieted. The two hid in the shadows as the creaking of floorboards made both of their hearts flutter. Polie knew one of the voices would come to check what had been the matter.
To be continued...