This story is a sequel to "Don't Cry, Duchess", published in week 66. You
can read that here.
It's recommended that you read that story first. If you haven't, however, you
can go ahead and read on, though some of the things in this story may be a bit
A sudden flash of icy water jolted Camella from her peaceful
slumber, sending her into an abrupt state of awareness. Lifting her head towards
the cave’s exit somewhat despondently, she was able to see the current weather,
which was just as she had expected: Still raining, Camella thought to
herself. And there’s a leak in the ceiling, to boot.
Making sure to keep her eyes somewhat shut in
order to keep any water from potentially getting into them, Camella gazed above
at the dark roof of the cave. It had been only two days since she had fled her
home in her father’s palace, and this cave seemed to be the only adequate shelter
she could find in the vicinity. En Guarde, a son of one of the palace’s scribes,
had been Camella’s accompaniment since the start of her journey.
That brought a sudden thought to her mind. Camella
glanced down at the blanket over her legs and pushed it back a bit, standing
up suddenly. She hadn’t fallen asleep with the blanket on -- she was certain.
Camella stepped towards the entrance of the cave.
A green Krawk was sitting outside on a rock, quietly looking around. He seemed
completely unaware that it had to have been raining for at least an hour or
The Eyrie strolled outside, arms over her head
in a vain attempt to shield herself from the rain. "En Guarde..." she quietly
Instantly, the Krawk turned around. "Oh, it's
"Don't you know you're going to catch Neomonia
sitting outside like this?" Camella questioned. "Why weren't you in the cave?"
"I didn't think you were awake."
Camella shifted uncomfortably. "I wasn't until
"Well, then," En Guarde began. "The sooner we
leave, the better."
"Leave?" Camella inquired in disbelief. "In this
rain? We'll both get sick!"
"I doubt it," the Krawk replied. "The closest
town isn't far from here, you know."
Camella sighed, thinking of a warm bed -- a safe
place to stay, away from thieves and bandits of all sorts around the cave where
she stood. "Then let's go." She turned to the cave, thinking of what to take
with her. She had only packed a few things -- a small, blunt sword, a change
of clothes and the blanket under which she had previously been resting.
She walked into the dark cave and retrieved the
wet blanket, the dress that she had packed and the sword, which she gave to
En Guarde. "I can only carry so much," said Camella. "You take the lead."
The two young travelers set off for the nearby
village. Camella tried to keep herself as composed as she could -- even though
En Guarde already knew how hungry and tired she was. He felt the same.
En Guarde was always rather quiet and reserved,
for reasons Camella knew nothing of. She often tried to guess why -- En Guarde
wasn't mistreated at the palace. As far as she knew, of course.
The village was very nearby; it only took a few
minutes of walking to reach. It was bustling with activity, as the day had only
begun. "There's an inn!" Camella exclaimed, pointing.
"And you expect me to let you stay here with no money?"
Camella looked up at the innkeeper, a stout red
Skeith who seemed to show little to no sympathy for her and her friend. "Not
expecting, sir. Merely hoping."
The innkeeper laughed. "Show me the money everyone
else pays to stay here and you can hope to your little heart's content. Don't
and it's not going to happen." He frowned. "And you look a little young to be
staying at an inn all by yourselves. Where are your parents?"
Camella gave the innkeeper a rather nasty look.
"Since when did that concern you at all?"
"Don't talk that way to me!" the innkeeper shouted.
"You can take that smart mouth of yours and your little friend to another inn!"
"But there aren't any others in town, sir," En
"You should have reminded your friend
of that before she started getting sassy with me!" said the innkeeper. "Now
get out! Get out this instant!"
En Guarde silently complied, taking Camella with
him before she could start any more trouble. Camella glanced at his staid expression
as they left the inn, feeling a bit guilty. "It was just what he said to me--"
"It wasn't your fault, Camella," En Guarde interrupted.
"But..." Camella looked away. "Now where
are we going to stay?"
En Guarde simply shrugged. "How should I know?"
Camella turned her head skyward, thinking of
some sort of plan. She looked straight ahead and found a small bakery. "You
know, we could always get a job of some sort..."
"Actually, w'do have a job opening," said the manager of the establishment
when questioned. She was a short blue Bruce who wore an apron and the countenance
of a responsible woman.
"Do you?" inquired En Guarde. "That's wonderful
to hear. Um... doing what?"
"Eh?" the Bruce replied. "What do you think ya
be doing? Same s'everyone else, mm-hmm. Shoveling loaves in and out of the ovens,
attending to customers. Y'know. Takin' the job? I'll be more'n happy t'give
ya yer aprons so y'can start tomorrow mornin'."
"That's wonderful, thank you very much," Camella
murmured when prompted by En Guarde. "Umm..."
"Ye ain't got no place t'stay?" asked the Bruce.
"Y'can stay upstairs -- there's a bit of a... makeshift room up there." She
chuckled inwardly. "Y'll be wearin' these." She tossed two aprons and a hairnet
for Camella to the two pets. "Name's Melody, by the way. I'm sure this'll be
a... rewarding experience for all three of us."
Camella and En Guarde awoke early the next morning to Melody's screaming.
"YE'LL BE WAKIN' UP NOW! GET YER TAILS DOWN 'ERE!"
The rain outside had stopped, much to Camella's
delight. She would have loved at that moment to run outside and play among the
flowers in her father's garden, (her parents willing). She sighed.
She couldn't now. She had a job, just
like the common pets.
Unwillingly, she stepped out of bed. As Camella
tucked her long, red hair into the hairnet provided by Melody the previous day,
En Guarde, who had opted to sleep on the floor, stood up and followed her out
the door and downstairs to the kitchen.
Melody was already there, tapping her foot against
the cold stone floor. "I called y'down earlier. Why didn't y'get down here then?"
she inquired suspiciously.
"Didn't hear you." Camella folded her arms, regaining
her sour attitude. "What do you want?"
En Guarde slightly nudged her for her curtness
as Melody responded. "Ye start work t'day. Y'forget?" She frowned, a crease
forming in her brow as she pointed at Camella. "You, the smart Eyrie, you're
makin' sure that dough gets rolled into the right shape and size. And your friend
will be baking it. Leave it in any longer than fifteen minutes and I'll see
to it that yer out of 'ere in an instant. Then take it out to the front, cause
a customer's waitin' for it. Now get to work, and don't let me see you slacking
off at all."
Camella strolled to her designated spot where
a bowl of bread dough was already sitting on the countertop. She stared at it
for a while with disgust and idly turned the bowl over, leaving the misshapen
pile of dough sitting on the counter. Camella groaned as she patted the lump
with her paws, trying--failing--to shape it somehow. She finally gave up and
lifted the long-handed peel, urging En Guarde to take it. "Just put it in the
oven. That's as shapely as it's going to get."
En Guarde complied as Camella continued her work.
Fifteen minutes quickly passed and En Guarde took the bread from the oven to
find it twice as large as it had been before. "C-Camella, er -- is it supposed
to be this size?"
"If it isn't, Melody can just deal with it,"
Camella spat, working on shaping the next loaf. She left the loaf at the counter
for a moment. "Let's take it out to the front to give it to the customer."
Camella and En Guarde took the heavy loaf of
bread out to the front of the shop, where an orange Aisha was already waiting.
"This is yours?" inquired Camella.
"I would certainly hope not!" the Aisha exclaimed.
"Shouldn't it be sliced? I wanted it sliced! And not that huge!"
"Slice it when you get home!" Camella shouted,
tossing the loaf against the counter. "You have knives, don't you? I'm not your
The Aisha gasped, appalled. "Where's the manager
of this establishment? I'll not tolerate your speaking to me like that!"
It wasn't long before Melody reached the scene
of the argument. "What's goin' on out 'ere? Ya yellin' at the customers?" she
questioned. "Faerieland! What did you do to that loaf of bread?!"
"It wouldn't get any smaller!" Camella tried
to explain. "I-I didn't think the customer would care!"
"Melody, please, it's not her fault!" En Guarde
Melody ignored this comment. "This.. .employee
of yours screamed at me!" the Aisha at the counter cried. "And just because
I wanted my bread sliced!"
"Yelled at her!" Melody repeated. "Y'can't just
do that! Yer workin' here!"
Camella frowned, throwing her hairnet against
the floor. "Not anymore! I'm a princess! I don't deserve to live like this!
To be treated like this! To work like..."
She paused in mid-sentence, dropping the wooden
peel she was holding. It clattered against the ground as she felt a cold tear
present in her eye. She turned from Melody and the Aisha customer as she ran
out of the bakery, bursting into tears as the bell on the front door jingled
Melody turned to En Guarde. "Y'gonna bail on
"Excuse her, please," En Guarde murmured, leaving
the bakery. "She's... um... not used to these surroundings."
Camella was quickly found outside, weeping under
a tree. "Camella, what's the matter?" En Guarde inquired. Camella looked up
"What do you think is the matter?" she
asked, sniffling. "I left home because I thought it would be better.
Because I thought I would be happier... but I'm not. I haven't eaten
in four days and the last time I slept peacefully in a warm bed was nearly
a month ago. I'm supposed to be a princess. I'm supposed to be happy.
But I'm not. I've been reduced to working in a bakery because I'm too poor to
stay in an inn for one night."
En Guarde sighed. "Camella, you can't go back.
We've come too far, and it's not going to get better if we go back." He turned
to the bakery. "It won't get any better if we stay here, either."
"But where do we go?" asked Camella. "Unless
we just go out into the forest -- we can't do that. There are thieves and bandits
and all sorts of bad stuff in there!"
"But it's the only place we have to go."
Camella sniffled and finally nodded, standing
up. After returning to the bakery to retrieve their things, the Eyrie and Krawk
set off for the forest together. After they had been walking for a while and
the sun was starting to set, Camella sat down in a clearing.
"I'm tired," she mused. "Let's stay here for
En Guarde only nodded as Camella set down the
blanket and lay on it. She gazed up into the starry sky, dreaming about the
day that was still to come. As she rolled over to one side, En Guarde decided
to leave the clearing.
Moments later, he found a small stream and sat
on a mossy rock next to it. Though he never let Camella know, he almost missed
living at the palace. It was much more an inviting and comforting place to live
than the woods. He almost wanted to head back...
But he would never tell Camella. They had been
close friends for as long as either of them could remember, and he didn't want
to disappoint his (only) friend -- not after she had gotten so far... even with
such a sudden proposal as what Camella had presented him with that night they
left home. She merely told him she was leaving and asked him to come with.
He had never seen her happier than that night.
She was so eager to leave the "awful place" where she had been for all her life...
he couldn't say no. And he wouldn't now.
"Noooo! Give that back; it's my only other
The voice was instantly recognized as Camella's.
When En Guarde reached the clearing, he found the Eyrie desperately trying to
pull her second dress away from a green Techo. Camella turned around. "En Guarde!
There you are!"
Just then, En Guarde could have sworn that he
saw the Techo hide a sword behind his back. He ran to pull Camella away from
him -- and her dress. "What are you doing?" she inquired hysterically. "I have
to get my dress back!"
"Not that way," En Guarde replied. "You'll get
Camella frowned. "En Guarde, if I can't get my
dress back, what am I going to wear tomorrow? If I can't get my blanket back,
what am I going to sleep on tomorrow? If I can't get my sword back, how am I
going to defend myself tomorrow?" She struggled and pulled herself away from
her friend. "Maybe I don't need all of it right now, but I need to think about
She ran towards the thief again, determined to
retrieve her belongings. The Techo revealed his sword to Camella, raising it
above his head. She backed away as he brought it down, but not nearly far enough.
Her hair was cut to shoulder-length.
"Camella, are you all right?" En Guarde quickly
questioned, thinking she had been hurt.
But she was speechless. She groped for her hair,
determined to prove to herself that this was a horrible dream. But it wasn't.
Her hair, once long and beautiful, was lost to her forever.
The thief smirked. "You'll grow it back." With
that, he left the clearing.
"Camella, say something!"
But she was already lost in tears. She fell to
the ground, clutching her hair and weeping bitterly. She looked up as En Guarde
came to her side. "Camella, don't cry..."
"Don't cry?" she asked. "Don't cry? I
have every reason in the world to cry! I've lost everything! My home, my money,
my belongings -- if I can't even keep my hair, what can I keep? And now
I'm going to be deprived of the right to a good cry?" She promptly returned
to wailing. "I'm not a princess -- I have to face it sooner or later. Princesses
get to keep their things. Maybe they get taken away and locked up -- but sooner
or later, they get it all back. Their friends, their family, their dignity...
but I haven't gotten any of that back. I'm still friendless, without a supporting
family and undignified to top it all off. I'm not a princess. I'm a lonesome
"You're not lonesome. I'm still here."
Camella looked up, sniffling. She burst into
tears. "En Guarde, I should have never made you do this -- come along with me
on this silly little 'journey' of mine. I don't even know where I'm going.
There's no guarantee that we'll actually find a home, jobs, a normal life...
there's no guarantee we'll find any of that." She paused. "You... you can go
En Guarde shook his head. "Why would I do that?
We've already come a long way -- and you're my friend. I'd never leave you alone
so far from home, you know."
Camella said nothing.
"And even if there's no guarantee that we'll
ever live normal lives, there's always a guarantee that we'll be friends."
Camella said nothing.
"Now, Camella, you need to stop crying. We'll
never get anywhere if you keep crying."
Camella sighed. "You're right. Maybe there's
no guarantee that we'll find a home, or live a normal life, or any of that...
but we need to at least keep going. We don't know what we'll find."
She sat down, gathering a few leaves into an
adequate pillow. En Guarde followed suit. Camella smiled. "Now, are we going
to get some sleep or not?"
Camella lay down on her back, gazing at the stars.
"If I don't get my dress back, so what? If I never grow my hair back, so what?
If I never find a good home or live a normal life, so what? Even if I'm not
guaranteed all of that, I need to keep going.
"Even if we aren't guaranteed all of that,
there's still a chance."