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Chapter 2

On the way she passed many stalls full of fabrics, jewels, scents, and other things from travelers. Coming up to the black smith, she heard the clanging of his hammer and felt the heat from his forging fire. “Excuse me sir.” The smith stopped and looked up at Bell, his face was red with heat and covered with sweat and ashes. “I’m here to pick up an order for Gauzette.”

“Yes, the necklace and the pin.” He put down his tools and yelled, “MARY! A GIRL IS HERE FOR AN ORDER!” Next thing Bell knew a plump woman came running out of the house that was behind the blacksmith’s work place. “How can I help you dear?” the lady asked sweetly

“I’m here to pick up an order for Lady Gauzette. She ordered a hair pin and a necklace.”

“Ah yes, we just finished those this morning.” The plump woman ran back into the house and came out with a small red velvet pouch with a gold rope. She opened it up so that Bell could see the beautiful handcrafted treasures within. The hairpin was gold, and had a large red flower on it. The necklace was also gold, but had small red flowers going around it and a large red butterfly in the middle. Paying the lady ten gold coins, Bell left the blacksmith’s workshop and went into the farmers market near the castle gates. Browsing the stalls of the traveling merchant, Bell tried to find a nice gift for Harmacy. Walking along she found a plain gold chain. After all the fancy gifts Gauzette was getting for her daughter, Bell thought it would be the perfect thing to get Harmacy. Pulling out her pouch of coins, trumpets sounded from the castle as the grand gates opened and out came the royal family. The queen and her daughter road inside a carriage, and the king and his two sons road on horse back in front of the carriage. Many people lined the road to get a chance to say hello to the family. Getting a glance of the royal family, someone walked in front of Bell, and she felt her coin pouch get ripped out of her hands. “Hey!” she shouted to the person, it was a man, average age, but he was fast, Bell went chasing after him. From the corner of her eye she saw a large brown beast come up and run past her, soon it was ahead of the thief. As it stopped Bell saw it was a horse, and a man jumped off it. It was Prince Dustin, the older of the two princes. He had short wavy blond hair that shined in the sun, and brown eyes. He effortlessly drew his sword from its sheath of his black royal uniform. The thief stopped in fear. “I believe the pouch belongs to the lady.” He commanded. Bell stopped shortly behind the man. He smelled of liquor and a horse stall. Bell could tell he was kicked out of the tavern the night before. Prince Dustin came closer to the man, “Y…y…you sttttay back.” The man stuttered. He looked back at Bell “I..I’ve been watching you all day. You’ve been buying pretty things, you must be rich.”

“Sir, please calm down. I’m just picking up orders for my mistress.” Bell said putting her hands out in front of her in a calming motion “N…no, you’re rich. What master of a house would give a servant so many gold coins? You have m-more.” He then grabbed Bells left arm and pulled her in, putting a knife to her throat. “Give me your money.” The man’s breath was thick with the smell of ale, worse than Bell thought. Bell heard more swords being drawn, she tried to turn her head, but the man only pressed the knife to her throat more, she felt warm blood tricking down. King Jasper and the younger prince, Price Adam, came into view as they came to help Prince Dustin. A small crown sat on King jasper’s head; he and Prince Adam also wore royal uniforms. Their swords also pointed at the man. Bell was scared to move as the man pressed the knife closer on her neck. “Sir, let the Lady go. What do you want?” King Jasper asked, Bell looked over with her eyes at Prince Dustin who slightly shook his head. A gloved hand then came over the man’s hand and pulled it away, and Bell was pushed forward with force and started to fall to the ground. Prince Dustin dropped his sword to the ground and caught her. “Are you alright?” the prince asked as the man was captured by castle guards. Setting his hands on Bell’s shoulders, she couldn’t believe she was this close to royalty. His eyes were soft and he had laugh lines around his mouth. “I…I’m fine you majesty,” Bell quickly curtsied,

“Come now, no need for that, you were almost killed.” Prince Dustin spoke. King Jasper came up to them, “This is your pouch I presume, my lady?” He asked holding the bag of coins out to Bell, Prince Dustin looked so much like his father, but the king had shorter hair with streaks of white.

“Thank you, your highness.” Bell curtsied.

“You said you were a servant, which house hold do you work for?” The King asked, “I want to see that that cut on your neck is cared for, we shall escort you back.”

Bell was quick to pull out her handkerchief, but Prince Dustin was quicker. He whipped out a white cloth, embroidered with the royal crest of a bear and a lion fighting, on each corner.

“The House of Lady Gauzette my king.” Bell spoke as she took the handkerchief out of the prince’s hand and pressed it to the wound on her neck.

“But before I can leave, I must buy a gift of one of my ladies of the house.”

“Very well, Dustin, I’m afraid that matters we were to attend too cannot wait longer, you stay with this young lady and I will see to the problem.” King Jasper commanded. The king jumped on his horse and gathered his guards and the carriage.

Prince Dustin quickly then turned to Bell, “Please forgive me, but in the hast of the action, I forgot to ask of your name.” he begged

“Bell, your highness.” Bell curtsied again. The prince gave a laugh, “Please, please enough with the curtsying, and the your highness, and majesty. Please just call me Dustin. Bell looked up in surprise, “y-yes your maj- I mean yes Dustin.” Bell stood up, and took the Princes handkerchief away from her neck, but the prince quickly grabbed her hand and placed it back on the wound. “It still needs time to heal.” Bell blushed. The two began to walk to the shopping stalls; Bell felt uncomfortable walking next to the prince.

“You said that you worked for Lady Gauzette, she was once married to Sir John if I remember.”

Bell was surprised that the Prince remembered her father. “Y-yes.”

“He was a good man, funny as well. I enjoyed it when he was at the castle.” The Prince smiled. “You had a good master of your house, may he rest.”

“My father was a kind man, I enjoyed it when he was home.” Dustin looked down as Bell, “Your father, you mean your Lord Johns daughter, but you’re a servant?” The prince was confused.

“When my father married Lady Gauzette she fired most the servants for lack of money, and when he passed, she fired the rest and placed me as the house servant. I don’t mind it though; I have a roof to live under and food to eat. I have more than some can have.”

Dustin stopped and gave a small bow, “You Lady Bell, are one of the noblest Ladies I have ever had the pleasure of meeting.” Bell could feel her cheeks warming as the prince stood up again. They continued to walk along the stalls in silent and when the prince turned to look at some brooches, Bell quickly looked for a messenger boy.

“I will give you three gold pieces if you run to the estate of Lady Gauzette and tell her that Prince Dustin shall arrive with in the next half hour.” The boy gave an excited node as Bell continued, “When you have given the message, go and wait in the barn, I will come as soon as I can with your payment take my carriage so you may get there faster.” The boy quickly ran off and Bell turned to look back at the stalls. “So what gift were you looking to get your lady?”

“I’m not fully sure, with all the extravagate gifts Gauzette has had specially made for her daughter, I wanted to get her something simple, but still nice. But now that I think about it, I should get Harmacy something that matches the theme of her gifts. May be a red butterfly or flower.”

“Well let’s look.” Dustin smiled. Bell did the best she could to stall the Prince so her stepmother and sister would have time to get ready. Eventually though Bell found a bracelet with a little red butterfly on it.

Walking to the castle gates, Bell turned to Dustin, “Prince Dustin, I must let you know, I sent a messenger boy ahead to tell my Mistress and Ladies of your arrival.”

“Then we shall have to take royal carriage and-“

“No, no, no, don’t waste a royal carriage on me, if you loan me a horse I shall be just fine, plus mustn’t you go and meet your father? A carriage will only get in the way.”

The prince gave a big laugh, “You Lady Bell are truly unlike any person I have ever met. Yes, if that is what you wish then guards, bring me my horse and a fine stallion for my Lady.” Bells heart stopped, his lady? She had never been called someone’s lady before, except for her father and the servants of the house. She was surprised at how kind the prince was.

Not a moment after the prince gave the order, did two servants bring out the horses, Dustin’s was a fine large brown beast, and Bell’s a beauty of black. Dustin got down on one knee and helped Bell up on her saddle. Once she was settled on, a massager boy came to the Prince.

“Your majesty, the king requires your assistance, your brother has ran off again, leaving the king alone.”

Dustin sighed “Tell him I shall join shortly, as I am escorting Lady Bell home.” The messenger boy gave a deep bow and ran off. As the prince climbed on his horse he spoke to Bell, “It is unknown to me why Adam keeps running off, especially now with a dead giant in our Kingdome.”

“A giant sir?” Bell said frightfully.

“Yes, a boy named Jack killed it, said it lived in a kingdom up in the clouds, clams he’s reached it with magic beans. Apparently there is also an old woman trying to get the giants shoe to make a house for her and her children.”

“How odd. Is that what shook the kingdom a few days ago?”

“I believe so, and what’s worse is that Adam keeps running off into the forest.”

“That must really be hard, working then your brother disappears.”

Dustin sighed, “We get by. When I talk to him about it he says he’ll tell me everything soon, then locks himself in his chambers.”

Coming up on a hill Bell could see her home just ahead, a large three-story house that had vines growing up the sides. The land dropped behind the house that held the servants quarters where Bell lived. As Dustin and Bell came up to the front doors, Dustin pulled Bells horse to his and lifted up her chin.

Examining her cut he said “The bleeding has stopped for the most part, but I would put a bandage on it when you inside. The horses came to a halt and Dustin hopped off, coming to Bell, he assisted her in getting down from her horse. No sooner had her feet hit the ground than did Cora come out the front door, she was wearing light green dress with her shoved into a tiny corset to show off her figure. Her hair was pinned up high above her head. “What a surprise and an honor having Prince Dustin come to our home, welcome your majesty.” Cora gave as deep a curtsy as she could to show off her chest. Gauzette and Harmacy were right behind her curtsying as well; Harmacy gave a small dip while Gauzette gave a low bow as Cora. Harmacy was wearing a light pink dress with flowers embroidered on the seam. Her hair was in curls that framed her face. Gauzette was wearing a dress that was similar to Cora’s, but a much darker green, and her hair was in a braided bun.

Dustin gave a bow, “Thank you for allowing me to your home.”

“What, pray ask, brings his royal highness to our humble abode? Has our servant girl done something wrong?” Gauzette asked coming up next to Cora.

“She has gotten into a bit of trouble today in the market.” Gauzette sent a glair towards Bell, “Luckily the thief who stole her coins hadn’t killed her. The royal guards have locked him away.”

“Oh Bell, are you okay?” Harmacy ran over to Bell.

“I am fine Lady Harmacy, I just have a small cut.” Bell assured her.

Cora came up next to Harmacy, “Harmacy, dear sister, Bell is a servant, you mustn’t be so worried.” Even though Cora was smiling, Bell could tell she was disgusted.

Thunder sounded in the distance as dark clouds started to roll in. Prince Dustin came up next to Bell and spoke, “I am sorry, but I must leave, I have kept my father waiting long enough. I enjoyed meeting you.” He took Cora’s hand, gave a bow and a small kiss on the back. He did the same with Harmacy. “And happy birthday Lady Harmacy.” This was nothing new to Bell, many men kissed the back of her sisters hand, but what did surprise Bell was he then turned to her, bowed, and gave a peck on the back of her hand. Her cheeks flushed, and she gave an awkward curtsy. He then hopped up on his horse, grabbed the reins of Bells horse and rode off. A light ran started to fall and Bell’s mother and sisters ran inside. Bell slowly walked into the house dazed at what just happened. No one had ever kissed her hand before, after her father passed, nobles barley gave Bell a second glance. As she closed the door behind her, Bell could her sisters talking excitedly about what just took place.

“I can’t believe it, Prince Dustin came to our house!!” Cora exclaimed.

“He wished me a happy birthday!” Harmacy squealed.

“Yes, yes it was all exciting, but thank your sister for warning us ahead so we could make a good impression.” Gauzette stated as Bell entered the room.

“Bell how ever did you meet the prince?” Harmacy asked excitedly.

“Well I was buying your gift when the royal family came out of the gates, I turned to look at them when a man passed in front of me and ripped the pouch out of my hands.” Bell explained. “When the guards had the man in custody, King Jasper told Prince Dustin to escort me home, to make sure I made it safely.” I then sent a messenger boy ahead to tell you that he was coming and stalled the Prince as long as I could.” She finished.

Gauzette then spoke, “Well at least you’ve done something right for once. Now we must work on Cora seeing Prince Dustin again. What about Prince Adam, did you get anything from him?”

“Prince Dustin told me that Prince Adam has been running off many times. And the royal family is unsure as to why.” Bell responded.

“Well then, we’ll work on Harmacy meeting him later, for now, our guests should be arriving soon, is everything ready for Harmacy’s party?”

“Yes ma’am.”

“Good then you shall assist the girls in getting ready. Look at their hair, frizzing in this rain.” Gauzette said with a pout. “This is not the hair future queens should have.”

Bell curtsied and followed Cora and Harmacy up to their chambers. Cora dragged Bell into her room first. She could tell that Cora had a fit about what to were when she met the prince. Dresses, underskirts, petite coats, and stalking’s were thrown all around the room. Perfume bottles were in disarray, and hairpieces were in a mess on her bed. “Yes, I was in quite a panic when the messenger boy came.” Cora mused, “I want this all cleaned up during the party when you’re not helping us. I want it cleaned before the party’s over.”

Bell sighed, “Yes ma’am.” Cora sat down at her vanity and Bell started to undo her hair. As it came out of its style, her hair started to curl around her face. Bell went to pick up the brush when Cora quickly put her hand on it. “Leave it curled, just tie up two strands in the back.”

Bell picked up a ribbon and ties two strands of Cora’s hair back. When Cora was satisfied she released Bell to Harmacy.

To Bells relief Harmacy’s room was clean as ever. “Are you satisfied?” Harmacy joked, “Cora and Mother were in a fit about the Prince coming. Cora was throwing everything everywhere and screaming at mother. ‘I need the right dress, I need the right dress!’” she mimicked. Bell smiled as she picked up Harmacy’s brush. “Can you just brush out the curls and tie it back, I don’t want anything fancy.” Bell pulled the brush through Harmacy’s dark brown hair as her locks turned from curls to waves that were tied back with a light pink ribbon. When Harmacy dismissed her, Bell went down to but a bandage on her neck then brought up the food and pastries for her sisters party.

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