The Warrior Princess: The Coronation: Part One
Princess Clarity Ryan was sitting in the private study of the castle. Her tutor was droning on and on about the history of Altador and how it affects them. Clarity was growing weary. She hadn’t been sleeping well for the past week due to nightmares of the war and it made it quite hard to concentrate on what the tutor, Professor Wells, was saying. Not that he helped matters much.
Professor Wells was an old, yellow Draik who spoke in a monotone voice and always gave the hardest tests. While he was very wise, he was also very boring. The other teacher, Mrs. Tyler, had retired a few months ago. Clarity missed Mrs. Tyler. She made learning fun.
“Your Majesty, are you listening?”
Clarity snapped her attention back to Professor Wells. He had crossed his arms and was looking at her, waiting for her to respond.”
“Professor Wells, please forgive me. I haven’t been sleeping well, as of late and am very tired. I am having a hard time focusing, though I am trying.”
Professor Wells replied,” Well, please focus. The sooner the lesson is over, the sooner we can both leave.”
Clarity nodded and again tried to pay attention. She wrote down notes and listened obediently. Finally, after what felt like forever, the little timer Professor Wells kept near him went off, marking the end of study time.
“Princess Clarity, I expect to see that History of Altador report on my desk Monday morning.
Clarity replied,” Yes, sir, I will have it here Monday and will work diligently over the weekend.”
Clarity grabbed her things and rushed out of the room. She was hoping Ivy would be free. Ivy was the resident nurse and was a year older than Clarity. She had finished high school here in Alkuu while studying to be the castle nurse.
Clarity rushed down the hall and made it to the hospital, which was attached to the castle and also outside for the village. Ivy and the doctor, Doctor Janelle, were playing with a deck of cards.
Ivy noticed Clarity’s presence and said,” Hey, sweetie. You need something?”
Clarity shook her head. Ivy called everyone who was younger than her “sweetie”, but Clarity didn’t appreciate it. Clarity said,” No, I just wanted to see if you were busy.”
Ivy shook her head.” Just playing with some cards. Are we going dress shopping today?”
Clarity smiled.” I was hoping so. I asked Leah, the seamstress, if she could find a lavender fabric. She wants to take my measurements today and I wanted you to join, seeing as you were talking about needing a dress for the ball.”
Doctor Janelle said,” Go on ahead, Ivy. I don’t see anything big happening today.”
Ivy replied,” Thanks, doc. I’ll be back in a couple hours.”
Ivy followed Clarity to Clarity’s room. She placed her things on her bed and then they left to go to the main foyer. Queen Clarissa was there, speaking to a messenger. Clarity said,” Mother, we are going to the seamstress. We will be back soon.”
Queen Clarissa replied,” Okay, dear.”
Clarity and Ivy walked through the village toward the dress shop. The seamstress was sewing a pair of trousers when the girls came in.
“Princess Clarity, I see you are here for your measurements. Come. Stand on the pedestal and tell me how long you want the dress to be.”
Clarity stepped on to the pedestal and said,” I want it to flow perfectly to the ground, but I don’t want it to drag behind me. I would prefer it to have translucent sleeves and little adornments.”
Leah had her glasses sit on her nose and held measuring tape to measure Clarity’s slim body. After a few moments, Leah said,” I’m seeing a lavender dress that flows and gracefully brushed the ground. Some jewels will make a belt and bring out the color in your eyes. I think while the sheer sleeves you want will be a little difficult, I can make them so they can cover your arm. Sound good?”
Clarity smiled.” Perfect. It’s Ivy’s turn.”
Ivy self-consciously stepped onto the pedestal. Leah did the measurements. She asked,” Miss Ivy, what are you wanting?”
Ivy replied,” I hadn’t thought much. I would like a dress that falls to my knees, but I don’t know what fabric would do best.”
Leah stood straight for a moment. She twitched her Cybunny ears, then said,” I think I see a blue gown on you. It will be a little poofy on the bottom, but form fitting on the top. Some accent jewels will be on the bodice and the poofy skirt will have lace and be very complementing to you.”
Clarity pictured the gown and said,” Ivy, I think that will be wonderful for you.”
Ivy smiled happily and Leah asked,” Will that be all, Your Highness?”
Clarity replied,” Yes, ma’am. Thank you, Leah.”
Leah nodded and said,” They will be ready in two weeks. The coronation is in four, correct?”
Ivy replied happily,” Yes, it is. Thank you, Miss Leah.”
Leah bid the girls a good day and they left to return to the castle. Ivy asked,” Do you think I’ll like my dress?”
Clarity replied,” Of course! Leah is the best seamstress we’ve had. She knows a person’s personality very well just by looking at them.”
Ivy smiled and said happily,” You’re right. I’m excited for the ball. I wonder if anyone will ask me to dance.”
“Me too,” Clarity said. Ivy just shook her head and said,” You’re a princess, so there is bound to be some prince there who will dance with you.”
The girls arrived back at the castle and went their separate ways. Clarity went to her room to do her dreaded history report.*
Clarity was walking back from dinner. She had more of her report to do before curfew and wanted to finish. As she walked, she saw her brother walking toward his tower.
“Hey, Cole, you excited for the ball?”
Cole frowned and said,” No, I don’t think I ‘m ready to be king just yet, but Father won’t listen.”
Clarity smiled.” You’ll make a great king.”
Cole just shook his head and walked toward his tower. Clarity didn’t know why Cole was upset. Being the ruler of the region sounded amazing. She only hoped he would accept his fate soon.
Clarity continued walking. She heard a loud thump from upstairs in Cole’s tower and decided to go check what had happened. She rushed up the stairs and knocked on his door. After a moment of no sound, she opened the door.
Cole was kneeling on the ground, picking up pieces of glass. He looked up and said,” I just dropped the vase I bought in Faerieland.”
Clarity helped him pick up the glass and said, “Cole, why don’t you want to be king?”
Cole frowned and replied, “I enjoy my travels and becoming king prevents me from leaving the village for more than just business and I want to explore the world.”
Clarity felt bad. Cole enjoyed traveling Neopia and made many friends. Clarity said slyly, “Well, Maya is coming to the ball. At least you’ll see her.”
Cole blushed and said,” Clare, get out. You’re trying to annoy me.”
Clarity smiled and said,” I only speak the truth.”
Clarity left the room. Cole smiled despite himself. It was true. He was very excited for Maya to come.*
Clarity awakened to the sun shining in her face. A year later and she still couldn’t be bothered to close the curtains at night. Clarity sat up and sighed. She got out of bed and walked to her bathroom. It was going to be a busy day. The coronation was in a month and the preparations would begin today. Clarity walked to her closet to find some clothes.
Meanwhile, Cole was looking for Professor Wells. He was usually in the library on Saturday mornings. Cole entered the library and saw the yellow Draik. He was, of course, in the history section.
The yellow Draik looked up from the book in his hand and saw Cole. "Good morning, Your Highness. I hear the coronation is coming up for you.”
Cole nodded and said,” Yes, but I was hoping you knew of a way I could avoid the whole coronation thing. I don’t think becoming a king is something that suits me well.”
Professor Wells placed the book back on the shelf and rubbed his chin. "You realize you would be giving up such an honor?”
Cole nodded and Professor Wells continued.” Well, while this rule is very legal, it has been a while since it has been used. It’s called the New Leader Law. If you are sure, I will explain what you need to do. Just remember, once you say the whole law to everyone and say you accept, you cannot go back and be king. It is something you will have to live with for the rest of your life. Are you sure this is what you want?”
Cole replied,” I’m sure.”
Professor Wells grabbed a book and opened it up to the law. Cole read it and smiled. Finally, he would be able to give up the throne and to someone he trusted. It would take place at his coronation.*
Clarity walked to breakfast. Once she arrived, she saw Cole in his seat. He looked extremely happy. King John and Queen Clarissa had yet to arrive. Clarity asked Cole,” Why are you so happy all of a sudden?”
Cole replied,” Because my future is something I am looking forward to.”
Clarity smiled.” I’m glad you accepted your new job.”
Cole smiled, but didn’t reply. Clarity noticed his hand twitch, and then he went back to reading the book he had in his hands. Cole’s hands twitched when he was hiding something and Clarity figured he was.
“What are you hiding?”
Cole replied, without looking up, "Nothing. I’m just happy today. Is that wrong?”
Clarity sat in her seat and said,” Only when you are hiding something that is causing you to act weird.”
Cole didn’t respond and Clarity sighed in defeat. Cole wasn’t going to tell her anything and she knew very well if he was set on being quiet, he would be quiet. His only mistake was the fact he was mostly an open book. She also knew if he confided in anyone, it would be her or his good friend, Terrence.
Terrence was a little younger than Cole, around Clarity’s age. He worked in the kitchen as the assistant chef. Cole and Terrence became great friends, though Clarity had never spoken to him. If she wanted to know anything, she would have to ask Terrence.
The king and queen came in and breakfast was served. Silence was in the room, but no one tried to break it. Clarity ate as quickly as she could without looking suspicious. After she had finished, she asked,” May I be excused?”
Queen Clarissa replied,” Yes, dear.”
Clarity walked out of the dining hall and made a turn toward the back door that led to the kitchen. She walked inside. It was a crazy circus of the chefs fluttering about, trying to clean and set up for lunch. Samantha, the lead chef, noticed Clarity’s presence and said,” Princess Clarity. What can I do for you?”
Clarity replied,” I’m looking for Terrence. My brother is great friends with him and I need to speak to him about my brother. Is he here?”
Before Samantha could reply, a deep voice behind Clarity said,” Yes, Princess.”
Clarity turned and saw a brown Xweetok. He was a little taller than Clarity, but not too much taller. He looked bored.
Clarity said,” I would prefer to speak in private, if it’s all right with you.”
Terrence sighed as though this pained him and led Clarity out of the kitchen and into the hall. Clarity said, after they were out of earshot, “My brother is acting strangely as of late and I am trying to figure out what has made him so…irritated.”
“Princess, you can drop the whole proper speaking act. I know you don’t usually talk that way.”
Clarity sighed. The way he said “Princess” in a mocking tone bothered her. He shouldn’t speak to her in such a manner, but she said,” So what’s wrong with my brother then?”
Terrence shrugged. "He won’t talk to me. Hasn’t for a while. We got in a fight over a stupid thing and he’s stayed mad at me. Sorry, Princess.”
Clarity frowned.” What did you say that angered him so much?”
Terrence replied sheepishly,” It had to do with Maya. I made a joke and he’s super defensive when it comes to her. I only met her once. They looked perfect together, but I suppose a joke was out of line. Sorry, Princess, but I have to go back to work. If you need anything else, though, let me know.”
“Thank you, Terrence.”
Clarity walked down the hall. She momentarily forgot her anger at Terrence for calling her “Princess” in a mocking tone and began to focus on what her brother’s issue might have been. He was still acting as though it was the best day of his life. She couldn’t shake the feeling that he was up to something. She planned to find out.*
Ivy was playing cards with Janelle when Cole came in. Cole sometimes vented to Janelle. He would talk to her about problems he was having. It was almost like therapy, but he didn’t care if Ivy stayed in the room.
Today, however, was different. Cole came in smiling rather than scowling. He looked like he was the happiest person alive and Ivy knew something was up. Cole saw her and said,” I need to speak to Dr. Janelle alone today. I know you are friends with my sister and I would rather her not know what I’m saying.”
Ivy never revealed anything Cole had said. She believed in confidentiality, but it must have been a very huge thing if he didn’t trust her this time. Ivy nodded and got up from the stool she was sitting on. She walked out the room and closed the door snugly behind her.
At that moment, Terrence came around the corner. Ivy remembered he was the assistant chef and waved. She also remembered he was great friends with Cole.
“Terrence, why is Cole so happy?”
Terrence groaned like the question physically hurt him.” Why does everyone assume I’ll know what is on Cole’s mind? Ivy is it? It’s like I told Princess Clarity. I haven’t spoken to Cole in a month. He hasn’t wanted to talk to me. I’m no longer his confident, and apparently, neither are you.”
Ivy crossed her arms over her chest and retorted,” I never was. Today he wanted me out of the room, which is strange. I wouldn’t tell a soul about what he has said to Doctor Janelle, so I know what’s on his mind today must be pretty huge. Of course, when he would let me stay, I would hear plenty about you, too.”
Terrence grimaced and asked,” What did he say?”
Ivy shook her head and replied,” I cannot tell you. Doctor-patient confidentiality doesn’t allow me to say anything. Now, run along and go find some other people who can handle your sarcasm.”
Ivy walked down the hall and Terrence put a hand to his face. He was never good at socializing, but he shouldn’t have been so harsh to Ivy. He continued on his way, hoping whatever was up with Cole would be resolved. *
Cole just finished telling Dr. Janelle his plans. She sat on the stool, baffled. He had to tell someone and he thought she could be trusted.
Dr. Janelle said after a long time of silence,” Is that truly what you want?”
Cole nodded and she continued.” Well then, do it. You are the only one who can know what is good for you. If it is truly good for you, then do it. I can’t imagine your family is too happy about this.”
Cole grinned sheepishly and said,” I haven’t told them, but I know just the right time to tell them. It will work out perfectly.”
Dr. Janelle stood up and said,” Do what you must, but I do hope you are doing the right thing, Cole. Now, I have a card game to finish. Don’t worry, I won’t tell Ivy what you told me.”
Cole smiled and left. Ivy was coming back, looking infuriated. For a moment, Cole worried she heard something, but the she looked to him and said,” I see why you are no longer friends with Terrence. He’s a jerk.”
Cole frowned. Terrence hadn’t crossed his mind in the past month or so. After his joking around, they had a fight and Cole saw him as immature and not worth his time.
Ivy said,” I was asking him a question and his sarcasm is so annoying. He was irritated because your sister asked him the same question earlier today. If I never speak to him again, it will be too soon.”
Cole frowned. What had Clarity been doing around Terrence? True, he hadn’t told her he hadn’t spoken with Terrence in a month, but there had to be a reason she had been talking to him. Cole shook his head and made his way down the hall. He intended to find out.*
Clarity was walking Monday morning, her report in her hand. She was reading it one more time when she bumped into someone and they both fell. Clarity looked up and saw Terrence getting up off the floor.
“Sorry, Princess, I didn’t see you there. I was reading a recipe that Samantha is having me work on.”
Clarity shrugged. ”I’m fine. Sorry I didn’t see you, either. I have a history report I’m giving to my teacher. I just hope he won’t be so…annoying today.”
Terrence nodded.” I had Professor Wells, too, but he helped me graduate early. He might do the same for you. He used to work at the school in the village and offered me a chance to finish early so I could pursue my dream in cooking.
Terrence bent down and grabbed both papers, then handed one to Clarity. She thanked him and rushed off and entered the library. Professor Wells stood here, waiting for her.
Clarity looked at her report one more time, only to realize she had a recipe for soup.
To Be Continued...