The Princess of Flowers: Part Six
PART SIX: A MEETING WITH THE QUEEN
"What’s going on?” gasped Bre.
A few Air Faeries stopped walking to watch. Rose and Zack had gotten themselves in yet another fencing match, going back and forth as the growing crowd of Faeries swarmed around them. A tall Faerie with wavy, blonde hair turned to Mildred and asked, “What’s going on? Is this a street performance?”
“Well…I suppose you can call it that,” Mildred gulped.
“Ooh, and who should we be routing for?” asked another Air Faerie.
Bre shrugged. “I don’t know. Though that Zafara looks ever-so-charming, doesn’t he?” A few Faeries expressed their agreement.
“Idiots,” Rose muttered as she dodged Zack’s cane. While the gawking Faeries were cheering and clapping, Zack continued to strike at Rose with his hideous cane and Rose continued to dodge his attacks with the aid of her rod. “Are you seriously going to keep me occupied like this for the rest of the day?” she grunted.
Zack scoffed. “Just surrender your fancy Rose Stick, and I’ll-a let you go.” He continued fencing. “Besides, I have more than enough energy to continue this duel with ya, my friend.”
Rose whipped the cane out of his hand and smirked when it flew into the squabbling crowd of Air Faeries. “I am your friend, you stupid prick!” she declared with an air of confidence.
“Well, ain’t that a pickle,” Zack muttered, crossing his arms over his chest. He turned to the crowd and asked in his most charming tone, “Suppose any of you lovely ladies would like to give me my trusty cane? I promise I’ll reward you with, of course, an hour of my time.” Several Air Faeries, and Mildred, swooned and sighed.
Before an imbecile could hand Zack his cane, Rose pointed her Rose Rod at the Zafara and shouted, “Rose Blaster!” The crowd watched as Zack, who turned around with wide eyes, was swarmed by a sudden storm of rose petals. When the petals vanished, Zack was no longer within the crowd. “There, now everything’s right again,” Rose remarked, poofing her rod away.
Mildred stepped forward. “Is he really gone, Rose?” she asked.
Rose nodded. “A shame our duel had to be shortened so quickly,” she sighed. “Oh well.”
Bre and the other Air Faeries clapped and cheered enthusiastically. Rose thought they had no idea what they’d just witnessed, and had assumed the whole thing was just a performance done by a bunch of amateur entertainers. “That was absolutely amazing,” Bre breathed, shaking Rose’s hand. “Though I have to say, that Zafara was really something, wasn’t he?”
Rose pulled her hand away. “No, he was a giant pest. Now, will you be taking us to the Queen?”
“I can’t wait to see the royal palace,” Mildred said excitedly.
“Of course I’ll take you there,” Bre insisted. “In fact, let me take you two there right now!” She turned around. “Now, where’d your little friend go?”
“He’s gone,” Rose is bluntly. She tapped her foot impatiently. “Now then, let’s get going! I don’t want to keep idling here when we have an important matter at hand.”
“This looks so realistic!” Mildred breathed, staring up at the portrait of a short-haired Air Faerie. Bre had led the girls to the Queen’s her royal palace, which was—not surprisingly—made of the same blue crystal substance as all the other buildings in the city. Rose hadn’t cared to admire the sparkling palace walls or the various antiques displayed down the halls. Mildred, however, loved admiring every single thing Bre showed them, and she was especially impressed by the portrait that hung right outside the Queen’s office door. “And this door is so beautiful,” she sighed, admiring the intricate cloud patterns carved into the double crystal doors.
Bre nodded. “Everything in the palace is exquisite.” Hesitating a little, she approached the doors and knocked lightly. After both doors swung open, she turned to Rose and said, “You may go in now. Inform the Queen the purpose of your visit and then, very swiftly, leave before you anger Her Majesty. And please remember to curtsey when you enter and exit!”
“Why are you only telling all this?” Rose demanded.
“Because your friend is busy admiring her Majesty’s portrait,” said Bre. She bowed to the girls and, with her head bent low, trotted away.
Rose grabbed Mildred’s arm and pulled her into the Queen’s office. “Come now, you oaf. We mustn’t dilly-dally when we have an important meeting right now!”
Mildred blinked. “Why, this office space is spectacular!” She gazed up at the golden chandelier that hung above the Queen’s crystal desk; the floor-length windows and their velvet drapes; and the tall, short-haired Air Faerie whose eyebrows were furrowing at them. “Pleased to meet you, ma’am,” Mildred said softly, stepping forward and curtseying.
The Queen nodded. “I see you’ve finally decided to visit our little kingdom, princess?” she asked Rose, smirking.
Rose stepped forward. “I beg your pardon?”
“It’s just that, I’m surprised the Rose Princess of Floritua would ever wish to step outside of her land to visit the Air Faerie Kingdom,” the Queen explained. “Your parents, as far as I remember them, were very reclusive.”
“I see.” Rose arched an eyebrow. Why was this Queen saying such things about the King and Queen of Floritua? Were they meant to be insulting, or was she just stating facts? Rose decided.
“Well, your Majesty,” said Mildred. “My friend and I have actually come to ask for your assistance with a peculiar problem we’ve had.”
The Queen nodded. “And what is this ‘problem’ you speak of?” she acquired. “Also, for this conversation’s sake, you may address me as Cassandra.”
“Of course, Cassandra,” Mildred agreed.
“Anyways,” said Rose, placing her hands on her hips, “we’ve noticed that all the citizens of Floritua—including my parents—have mysteriously vanished. There aren’t any clues given to suggest the purpose of the disappearances, and we were thinking that, if we came to see you, that you could assist us in some way.”
“I see,” said Cassandra. “And why have you decided to grace me with your presence? How can I help you solve this mystery?”
“Your kingdom is known for its rare antiquities, correct?” asked Rose.
“It is?” Mildred gasped.
Cassandra nodded. “Why yes, that’s absolutely correct.”
“So maybe,” Rose continued, “your kingdom has some sort of relic that can aid our quest—as well as assisting us with defeating future enemies.”
Cassandra looked over at the girls as she considered the suggestion, her eyes narrowing specifically at Rose. Mildred twisted her apron in her hands while Rose looked around the office, silently critiquing the Queen’s interior decorating. After a few minutes of pondering, Cassandra sighed and said, “I’m sorry girls, but I don’t think I can assist you with your search for answers. Yes, I can understand that the Air Faerie Kingdom may have sounded like the ideal place where one can find ways to solve their problems, but even I cannot lend you anything that could reslove your current troubles.”
Rose fumed. She glared over at Mildred, who looked crestfallen.
“However,” Cassandra piped up, “I can offer you two some advice.” She took a few minutes to ponder, and then said, “Yes, if it’s answers that you seek, then there is a secret library that is widely unknown to the rest of Neopia. It is in a town called Wobbleshire, and only I know how you can visit it.”
“Isn’t there a library here that can help us?” asked Mildred.
“I’m afraid us Air Faeries don’t spend a lot of our time reading,” Cassandra fretted. “However, I can offer you girls a map to the location of Wobbleshire.”
“I always assumed that Jelly World was a nonexistent place made up by conspiracy theorists,” Rose mused.
Cassandra nodded firmly. “Jelly World is just a figment of one's imagination. Wobbleshire, however, real and, like I’ve said two times already, I can lead you two there if you wish to.”
“Yes, of course,” Mildred said eagerly. She curtseyed again. “Thank you, Your Majesty.”
Rose scoffed. Do they really need to visit yet another “hidden land”? And even if Wobbleshire was a real place, will it really hold the answers to the location of Floritua’s citizens? Pondering over Cassandra’s suggestion, Rose looked at the various portraits hung around the office. One in particular caught her attention: Cassandra was holding a silver hand mirror that, surprisingly, resembled the hand mirror she had broken only a few days ago. Everything—even the roses carved into the mirror’s frame—matched Rose’s now-useless mirror to a tee. Startled, Rose immediately pointed to the portrait and asked, “What’s that thing you’re holding in that painting? A mirror?”
“Yes, and I haven’t seen it in ages,” Cassandra explained. Her eyebrows furrowed again. “The relic in that painting is the Mirror of Reflection. Unfortunately it was given away years ago, and I can’t recall who it was gifted to. All I remember, though, is that within the mirror is a dangerous entity; one that, if released, would plague Neopia with much misfortune.”
“Oh dear heavens,” Mildred gasped.
Cassandra shrugged. “It really is a shame I never took track of where that mirror ended up,” she sighed. “I suppose I was just careless back then.”
Rose gulped. she feared.
“Now that Zack’s been defeated, I suppose it’s now up to me to even the score!”
To be continued...
To be continued…