Finally reached the 10,000 mark. THREE DAYS BEHIND SCHEDULE! (╯°□°）╯︵ ┻━┻
A week passed without much fanfare. The days after the encounter with the ogre head and the stormstone passed through without much fanfare. Helen went through her usual lessons with her instructors.
“Now, I must give you high marks for the gift you gave to the prince,” Tyra, the Etiquette teacher said the day after. “But according to Murice, you did not give him the proper tone or the correct wrapping in presenting it.” Her skirts rustled as she walked to the room’s library and pulled out several thick, musty tomes. “Now, if it pleases you, I would like you to write a three-page essay on what would be the correct tone of the message and the correct wrapping of the gift, depending on the events yesterday. Please, make sure you use proper syntax.” She placed the books next to Helen’s seat, and the princess had no choice than to do the paper.
“I understand you did a growth potion with Sage,” Grover, the Horticulturist teacher said a few days after. He leaned forward and peered through glasses of thick slabs of quartz, giving him a look of a perpetually scowling owl. “And that you did it good and proper, also. Now, that you finished that, we can use the bottle for the more difficult graftings and buddings. Now, put your gloves on, and we’ll begin.” Thus started a laborious two hours as Helen tried to propagate various plants with limited success.
“I do not know why I would be trying to grow those kind of plants, anyway,” Helen said to Sage the class after. They were wearing glasses that covered their eyes and they wore light leather gloves. She lifted her Alabaster potion she made and gently poured in a few drops of a clear liquid. She noticed slowly turned translucent. “These are plants that I don’t think I will ever grow, much less try to identify.”
Sage smiled and passed Helen a glass rod that she used to stir the potion. “I am sure that you will in the future. Those plants are native in the Prince’s principality, and you will no doubt will need to grow them eventually. Not too much stirring, Highness,” she warned, placing a hand over Helen’s to stop the rod. “We are making a healing potion, not a salad dressing.
Still later on…
“Now,” Murice pacing in front of a large slab of black slate scribbled with cramped handwriting and occasional diagrams. “we will continue the lesson we had last week concerning the ogre head.” He waved to a large, oddly-shaped skull, the upper part sloping cone-like to the top. “Now, if you can turn to The Index of Bones for this, I would like you to write a two-page essay on how this skull differentiates from a normal, human skull.”
“I do not know why I keep on doing this,” Helen said during lunch that day.
The queen smiled slightly, but kept quiet.
“It is because you are a princess,” said Tytus, who already finished his trip and now back at home.
Helen glanced at him.
Tytus’ deep-set, slanted brown eyes twinkled mischievously. “Yes?”
Clarissa patted Helen’s hand. “Do not worry, sister. When I was your age, I had to go through the entire thing. It was such a chore.”
Rubella nodded in agreement. “And it will be your nineteenth birthday in a few days, also. Almost a week or so. You will be given the choice to either stick to your studies or to leave them.”
“Speaking of which,” the king said, “what would you want for your birthday?”
Helen sighed and glanced down at her sandwich of grilled ewecheese and tomato. “I do not know. I am very happy with what I have now.”
But that was a lie. What she wanted most of all was a dragon of her own. However, that is not possible: Women could not allowed to become dragoneers. For some reason, all of the dragons focused on the male aristocrats to become riders, and no one knew why.
“What about a dragon statue?” Rubella asked. She tilted her head a bit, shifting her impeccable coiffure of curls and charms down to the shoulders. “You are indeed fascinated with the creatures. I am sure we can ask a stonemaster to create a statue of one for your bedroom.”
Clarissa clapped her hands together joyfully. “I know that the glassmakers would be thrilled to use their talents to make a glass statue. Mayhaps as a lamp?”
Tytus reached over to rub Helen’s shoulder. Unlike the sisters, he knew of her dream to become a dragoneer. “Seeing it will be your birthday, what about a trip to the Academy so you can see how dragons are raised. I’m sure Sir Cedric would not mind bringing my sibling over, especially one who is interested in them.”
“Absolutely not,” the king said, bringing his fist down. A sandwich of roast beef and red-edged cheese sat half-eaten at his elbow. “No lady, no matter her lineage, is allowed to step foot there. Tradition as well as law state so.”
Tytus sighed. “Can we at least invite Sir Cedric to come over to visit during her party?”
The king took a bite and chewed thoughtfully. “I do not see why not. I am sure that Helen can ask plenty of questions.”
“Sir Cedric?” Clarissa squealed. “He is so handsome and dreamy.” Rubella nodded in agreement.
“That is if the party is going to happen,” the queen said, sipping her tea. “We still need to send out the invitations, plan the motifs, set up the menu—”
“Oh mother, let us not get that complicated,” Rubella interjected. “Just have Tytus send out the invitations and we’ll take care of the rest.” She rose up from her seat. “In fact, let me ask for the scribe. I mean,” she hastily added due to her mother’s glare. She cleared her throat. “If it pleases you, sister, I would like to help with your birthday event.
A faint smile played over Helen’s lips. “I would be honored, sister. Perhaps Clarissa would like to assist.”
“I would be also honored,” she said, rising along Rubella. “Come, sister, let us help each other with this endeavor. Dragons are the theme, is it not?” Helen nodded. “Excellent. Then we shall indeed make this a party to remember.”
A few minutes after the two left, another person came in, escorting a tall, athletically built woman. The man gazed at the four remaining with beady blue eyes. His silky, straight, medium-length hair is the color of dark chocolate. He wore a simple black tunic and leggings with silver embroidery at the cuffs.
The lady smiled, slight lines appearing at the corners of her deep-set violet eyes. Her luxurious, wavy, midnight black hair cascaded over her shoulders and down her back. A gloriously styled mauve dress of finely worked wool caressed her figure.
“Edward! Lady Mariel!” The king stood up and walked over to the duo, the queen following after.
“Father,” Edward said, embracing the king while the queen embraced Mariel. “I met up with my sisters a moment ago. They were mentioning something about Helen’s birthday?”
Helen came over to hug both. “Yes, brother, they want to help plan for it. I gave them my permission to. I am sure that the queen would help with it also later on.” The queen smiled gently.
“A birthday?” Mariel asked, her husky voice more suited for the bedroom than the dining room. “How thrilling. I am sure that my family would love to be invited.”
“We will be sending out invitations in a few days,” the queen said. “We will invite all of the Provinces.”
“How is Silvi?” Helen asked.
“She is doing fine,” Edward said. “However, she is in season, and she will be needing to be let go while she finds a mate.”
“Oh?” Helen asked. “Does that mean she will be laying eggs soon?”
The duo blushed at the direct question. “I would not know,” Edward said stiffly. “Murice might know. But I hear he is fascinated with the find your betrothed discovered.”
Helen rolled her eyes and gave an unprincessly sigh, something that caused the queen’s eyes to momentarily close to warning slits. “It is all he is talking about now. He wants measurements, essays, and other things that I rather not discuss with anyone.”
Mariel giggled a bit, covering her smile with a lace-swathed hand. “I remember when my teacher found a new species of bird. He caught several of them, and he had my brother and I write everything about them. It was even worse when we found that they were already on the records.”
“Then you already know how I am right now,” Helen said, a sympathetic smile appearing. Mariel nodded.
“We are straying from the reason why we are here,” Edward said. “It grieves me to report that Elred the Green has passed away.”