Once Upon A Time in Brightvale: Part Two
***Part Two: Friends?***
"OH, MOTHER!!!!" Violette cried in rage and steaming anger. "THEY BROKE MY VASE!"
They sat in the big room. Avey stared in shame at the ground and Phillip sat quietly with his lip trembling.
Rosalina Siara sat in the golden silk chair with no expression on her face. She was terribly upset.
Monroe sat quietly, wondering what would happen to Avey and his little brother. The dungeon, perhaps?
Rosalina Siara finally spoke. "Phillip," she said sternly in anger. She was trying her best to remain calm. "What were you doing in the Gallery Room?"
Phillip's face puckered and he cried, "Oh, Mother! I didn't mean to! I was giving Avey a tour and-"
"PHILLIP! Why would you go in there when you know it's not allowed? You know Violette's vase cost me a fortune and it was very valuable."
"Oh, Mother!" Phillip sobbed. Tears were running down his face. "I'm sorry!"
Violette got in his face and yelled, "Yeah, you should be, you little mess! You broke my vase and you're going to PAY!"
"Violetta!" Rosalina Siara yelled. "Stop yelling this instant."
Monroe stood in silence. What could he say? This didn't concern him.
"But Mother!" Violette cried. "He should be punished and-"
"No," Avey said. "He shouldn't. Phillip didn't do it. I broke the vase. It was me." She looked at Violette in a hard gaze.
Violette clenched her teeth in anger. "Of course it was you! See, Mother! See?! She's not fit for the castle! She needs to leave this instant."
Rosalina Siara sat in thought for a moment; many moments. "Very well," she said quietly. "All of you, to your rooms. There will be no punishment this time."
Avey went out the balcony and cried. She was a disgrace and didn't deserve living in this castle. Violette was right; she needed to leave. But leave where? She had no where to go. She decided to stay in her room as much as she could.
She did chores to pass the time. She helped the Lenny maid Belinda with laundry and cooking and cleaning. One day while she was folding laundry, Belinda started asking her questions.
"So, Avey, where do you come from, dear?" She folded a royal gown of Violette's. Her voice was friendly and Avey knew she was just trying to get closer to her through a nice conversation.
"Faraway," Avey said. "In the Lost Desert." She remembered all the lonely days and weeks she spent alone; Stacy going out looking for jobs. Her face clouded with many memories. "Stacy loved the desert. We lived in an old sand dusted cabin. It was a small house but I enjoyed it greatly. Stacy wouldn't be home much but I found ways to occupy myself. We were poor, Belinda." She frowned.
Belinda spoke kind, gentle words. "Oh, dear Avey. This must be so much for you, coming all this way."
Avey shrugged. "Yeah, it is." She chuckled slightly. "Just think, it was only a few weeks ago when I was reading about castles in a book, and here I am in a real one. It's very lovely."
"Why, yes. It is." They washed the laundry in silence for a few moments, then Avey asked, "Belinda, why doesn't Violette like me? What did I do?"
Belinda stopped and looked at Avey for a moment before she turned back to her work. "Well, dear, there's one thing you should know about Violette. She doesn't like sharing. She doesn't like sharing her castle, her mother, her eating table, and even her brothers."
Avey frowned, remembering how much time she had been spending with Phillip.
"Don't worry, dear," Belinda said joyfully. "She'll come around. She just needs to get used to having a another girl in the castle." She scrubbed a shirt of Phillip's in thought. "And there's one other thing too you should know about Violette, dear."
"Oh, yeah? What is that?"
"She doesn't like change."
"Oh," Avey said. That made sense... kind of. "Stacy said that Rosalina Siara had a daughter, and I'd expected her to like me." Suddenly she missed Stacy very much. Tears came to her eyes.
"Oh, honey. Do you miss Stacy?" Belinda patted her comfortingly on her shoulder.
Avey nodded silently. When she could speak, she said, "Stacy was my dear friend and I miss her greatly and more greatly every day. I know she only did this to help me but... I don't know."
Belinda put her hand on Avey's face. "Do not worry, dear Avey, everything will be okay."
"Really?" Avey sniffed. "Do you think that maybe... maybe one day Violette will like me?"
"I do, dear. I do."
Suddenly there was a Shoyru at the door and Monroe said, "Come, Avey. Mother wants you right away."
Avey followed without question, glancing a look at Belinda who shrugged. What could Rosalina Siara possibly want?
Avey carried her suitcase up the stairs in worry. How could she do this? How could she possibly share a room with Violette? Violette had been avoiding her all the time she was here.
Rosalina Siara had been terribly sorry that there would be new guests arriving at the castle and Avey would have to stay with Violette. Avey thought the whole thing was simply crazy and hoped Violette wouldn't be to upset because, after all, this wasn't her fault.
She sighed and held her breath as she pushed the door open. The room was beautiful and big. The walls were painted purple and there were pretty flower vases and portraits everywhere.
Violette sat under her canopy bed, scribbling in her journal. Avey wondered what she could be writing about. Suddenly she stumbled with a yelp, her suitcase making a loud thud as it tumbled to the ground.
The royal Gelert's head shot up in surprise. Her eyes narrowed in disgust. Avey quickly picked up her suitcase and felt her neck going red with embarrassment. She stood in the door way unsure of what to do or say. "Uhh, hi Violette-" she stammered.
Violette pointed at the extra bed in the opposite corner of the room. "Look," she said. "I hate this, and I'm sure you do too. But I have rules that you should know, okay? Stay over there; don't touch my stuff; don't be loud; don't snore when you sleep; don't wake me up before ten; and especially don't talk to me, ever. Got it?" She turned carelessly back to her journal.
Avey nodded solemnly and walked to her side of the room. She placed her suitcase on the bed and got out her precious rag plushie, Mitten. She placed Mitten on the bed and her suitcase on the floor, just as Violette turned off the light.
Avey shivered as she pulled the quilt covers over herself. She cuddled Mitten close. Mitten felt like home; her old sandy bed back in the Lost Desert. Avey felt tears running down her face. She rolled over so wouldn't to look at Violette; Violette did the same. She stared at the wall and cried softly. She was scared, homesick, and confused. Why did Violette hate her so? The little Xweetok sighed, whispered sweet dreams into Mitten's ear, and told herself things would be better in the morning before she fell into a restless sleep.
Avey blinked sleep from her eyes. She glanced at the clock. 6:26. She yawned and stretched, carefully stepping out of bed. She grabbed her newsboy cap and then, remembering not to wake Violette, she scampered out of the room to the kitchen to help Belinda and Mary with breakfast.
"Good morning, Avey. Sleep well?" Mary the Acara asked as she stirred muffin batter.
Avey nodded and then noticed Phillip sitting in one the chairs with a thermometer in his mouth. "What's the matter with Phillip?" she asked.
"Just a bit under the weather, dear," Mary said.
Belinda walked into the room with a bowl of steaming soup and tea with honey. "How are you feeling, little one?" she asked as she placed a wing to his head. "Why, you're burning up!"
Phillip sniffled. "My throat hurts," he rasped.
"Oh, dear," said Mary. "The poor soul shouldn't be up." She motioned Phillip to leave. "Go to your room, dear. I'll neomail the doctor."
Avey was cracking eggs when Dr. G. Lert arrived at the castle. She quickly finished and ran to see if Phillip was okay.
"Just a bit of the sneezles," the Gelert doctor said, packing away his bag. A stethoscope hung limp from his neck. "It's not bad, but I would advise he stay in bed awhile so it doesn't get worse."
Rosalina Siara nodded. "Of course. Thank you, Dr. Lert."
For the last few days, Avey had been like a maid for Phillip. She brought him food, fluffed his pillow, read him stories, and just kept him company. Phillip was getting stronger each day and his minor case of the sneezles was passing.
"How are you feeling, Phillip?" she asked one day as she came in with a steaming hot bowl of chowder. "You look better."
"Okay," he sputtered, coughing vigorously. It sounded better than it had a few days ago.
"Wow, that's a nasty cough you've got there, isn't it?"
"Yeah," he rasped. "Thanks for the soup."
Avey smiled. "You're welcome. Hope you feel better."
When her afternoon work was done, Avey skipped to her room to read. Violette was nowhere to be seen, and she was glad. She shuffled in her suitcase for her favorite book; the one about the white Uni.
"The white Uni lived in the glamorous castle on the far side on Meridell. She was the prince's dear friend and was called Runningwind. She ran through the deep woods of Meridell, the wind in her mane and the whispers of the grass running with her hooves as she clopped-"
"Oh, please! That's a baby book," a bossy voice behind her scoffed.
Avey jumped and turned around to see Violette. She looked greatly annoyed.
"Really. Even Phillip wouldn't read those books, and he's six!"
Avey looked away in shame and clutched her book to her chest. She didn't speak.
"Seriously," Violette continued. "You need to grow up. When are you going to realize life is not a faerie tale?"
Suddenly they heard frantic steps thumping up the stairs and Monroe collapsed into the room, breathless.
"Violette, Avey! Come quickly. Phillip is ill!"
The young royal Zafara lay unmoving in his bed. His breath came out in painful spouts and his cough was worse than ever. Dr. Lert frowned over him.
"Neomonia," he said. "A bad case of it, too." He sighed.
Avey's eyes filled with tears. Phillip looked more smaller and helpless then ever. Avey knew this was serious.
"Is... is he going to be okay?" Violette asked Dr. Lert. Her gaze turned back to her brother. Monroe sat solemnly in the corner.
Dr. Lert sighed again. "You can never tell. Phillip's got it bad, though." He packed up his things to leave.
Rosalina Siara followed him out the door. Their voices were muffled, but the three children could hear them faintly in the other room.
"Oh, please, Dr. Lert! What will become of my baby?" Rosalina Siara asked worriedly.
"There's nothing I can do," Dr. Lert said. "We'll just have to wait."
Avey looked at Monroe, who shook his head and left. It was only her and Violette. Avey hesitated, then laid a comforting paw on Violette's shoulder.
Violette spun around immediately and pushed her away. "Get out of here!" she spat. "He isn't your brother, so go! Leave!"
Avey was taken aback and, with tears in her eyes, she ran.
To be continued...