After my encounter with Lillia in the gardens we'd both gone back to the ball. It was just about to finish and Lillia had to be there. For family purposes. I stand once again at the edge of the ball, Lillia stood by the thrones with her family, smiling directly at me. Leon stands and addresses the crowd "Thank you all so much for coming! It's been wonderful to be able to share the wonderful events of the past few weeks with you all. If any of you wish to stay the night, I know it's very late then please inform one of our butlers or maids and they will show you to your rooms. If you are leaving us tonight please be patient for a bit while we get your carriages ready, and please travel safely. Again thank you all for coming and we hope you had a lovely time."
A round of applause is given before people start looking around for butlers and maids. And turns out they're everywhere, like everywhere you look there was a butler or a maid, all prepared to help. Groups of people started leaving the hall to be escorted to their rooms, a few staying behind to leave tonight.
My family stand talking to Lola and Leon, Lillia stood with them so I push myself off the wall and go to join them. Dalia turns to me smiley as always, one hand linked to Miles as I approach.
"Sis, come one, Lillia is going to show you to your rooms."
I smile before following my family as Lillia leads the way through the halls. She drops Owen, Rhys and my parents to their rooms and before I know it it's just me and Lillia again. We walk in silence, neither of us knowing what to say. Eventually we reach a set of ornate, fire red, double doors with yellow and orange flames painted at the bottom. She turns to me and says "Well this is you. I'm just down the corridor. You know, if you need anything."
I nod my head before Lillia smiles and walks down the corridor, entering her chambers a few metres down. I open my doors and walk into a rose pink room filled with pale grey furniture. A sofa sits to one side, a small table and armchair to the other, under a window is a window seat that has white curtains framing it.
I walk through to the bedroom that has blue and purple walls with a pink, lace edged bedspread.
The bathroom has gold finish and a bath big enough to swim in. There's a room for all my clothes and shoes and a dressing room that's adjacent to the wardrobe. All full of bright colours splattered all over the place.
I collapse on the bed and the next thing I know my eyes are closing and I'm drifting off to sleep.
As soon as I entered my room I kick my heels off and change into the comfiest clothes I own. I grab the book I'm reading and curl into the window seat, quickly falling asleep.
Yawning I stretch my arms as I clamber out of bed checking the clock to see that it's eleven o'clock. I quickly throw on the nearest clothes, grey sweatpants and a pink sweatshirt that's too big but so comfy, and then barefoot I pad through the corridors towards the breakfast hall.
As I walk the smells of different foods mingle together to create the most wonderful smell. As I enter the hall I see maids and butlers laying the table full of food for at least 100 people.
One of the maids comes up from the kitchen with her arms so full of plates of food that she can't see. I rush over to her and take platters from her, delicately balancing them up my arm, until she's able to see. She sighs, relieved, before looking at me and then realising who I am.
"Princess! No no. You can't do that. It's my job." She says hectically.
I reply in a calm voice "Well I insist. Whoever ordered for you to take this much I need to speak to but for now. I'll help you set up. People will be arriving soon and I'm sure some of them aren't as nice as me."
She nods sheepishly, and we go to the table laying the food out. The girl can't be more than 12 years old, with short blonde hair and storm blue eyes. She's got bags under her eyes that show how little sleep she gets, yet her face shows her youthfulness. She turns to go back to the kitchen and I follow her down the familiar small halls and cramped stairs. As we enter the kitchen the heat of all the people in it hits me along with the wonderful smell of all the food being cooked or prepared in here. It's not long before they all notice me, they turn in unison and curtsy before staying silent when I realise they expect me to have come down here for a reason.
Quickly I say "No, no, I don't need or want anything just came down to see."
One of the maids with long brown hair, says to the girl, "Annabelle, he wants to see you."
She nods reluctantly before walking around the corner and out of my sight.
Out of nowhere I feel a tugging at me trousers. I look down to see a boy of no more than 4 years with the same blonde hair and storm eyes as Annabelle. He tugs on my trousers once again before putting his arms out as a request to be lifted. I do as he asks, lifting him up to rest on my hip.
Annabelle returns with a solemn look on her face before seeing that I'm holding the boy and saying "No. George, I told you not to bother people. I'm sorry Princess."
I shake my head "It's fine, he's adorable. Your brother?"
She nods and it's then that I notice she has a gash on her eyebrow, just above her eye.
"Did he slap you?" I say coldly.
"No" but she replies too quickly giving herself away.
"Sit down let me clean it." I say more gently.
"No really it's fine, it's just a small cut."
More forcefully this time I say "Annabelle sit down."
She does as I say, hearing the authority in my tone. I walk to the sink taking a bowl from a cupboard and filling it with warm water. Then I take a cloth and a stool and sit in front of Annabelle, the bowl at my feet. Wringing out the cloth, I gently press it to her temple, cleaning some of the blood from it. She grimaces as I press slightly harder to clean the actual cut. Once I've cleaned the blood I take a look at the wound to see that it's not deep which is good but then I feel an anger at whoever did this.
"He's in there?" I ask in a steel voice.
She nods slowly and I throw the cloth into the bowl causing the remaining bloodied water to splash.
"I'll pay him a visit after breakfast."
Then I hear laughing from upstairs and realise breakfast must have started. Sighing I bid my goodbyes to all the maids, Annabelle and George before ascending the stairs back up to the breakfast hall.
Entering I see everyone is dressed just as casually as I am and I sigh a breath of relief.
A young maid comes up the stairs behind me and I ask "Is this the last platter?"
She nods her head as I take it from her saying "Go back down and enjoy anything that's left. All of you ok?"
She smiles gratefully before turning and practically skipping down the steps. I turn and carrying the platter to the table I see an empty space for it and place it down for people to enjoy. Then I see that people's glasses are empty so slipping into my old role I take the jug from a maid stood at the end the of the room, telling her to enjoy some food downstairs. I pour nobility drinks and no one seems to notice that I'm me, mostly because no one ever seems to notice maids behind them. I reach Soraya and filling up her drink she turns to me about to say thank you but sees my face and looks at me perplexed.
"What?!" She says.
Placing a finger to my lips I shush her, "Wait to see who notices."
Then I move on, leaving her smirking at me.
I carry on around the table until everyone has sufficient drinks and food, and until I realise that I'm actually hungry myself. So I am pouring my last drink when one of the nobles says to me "Hey girl! Why aren't you wearing maids uniform?"
I smirk at Soraya before saying "Sorry Sir but I don't work here as a maid. I was simply being a good host. I think you'll find my name is Princess Lillia."
He turns a beetroot red before apologising profusely but I dissmiss it taking my seat and tucking into the food.
After breakfast people quickly return to their rooms idly but I am a woman on a mission, I get back to my rooms, change into a blood red gown with my hair delicately pinned up, then I take a crown with blood rubies that match my dress and storm back down to the kitchens. Ignoring all the shocked gasps I round the corner that Annabelle went around to see a door that says "Slave Master"
And it riles me more than it should have.
Not bothering to knock I storm in to see a frightened Annabelle pushed against a wall the Slave Master leering over her inches away from kissing her.
Now seething I say in a cold threatening voice "Get off of her. Now."
He doesn't hear me so I say it louder "Get off of her. Now."
This time he hears and quickly steps back straightening his jacket and saying as though he's done nothing wrong "My lady. I didn't realise you wished to see me."
I don't answer him instead beckoning Annabelle over to me and enveloping her in my arms. I call for another maid to take her out and then turn my attention to this monster.
"It's Your Highness to you."
He looks confused so I elaborate for him.
"My name is Crown Princess Lillia Quartz. And I wish to have a word with you over your position here."
He pales slightly before pulling out a chair for me and then sitting down himself.
I say simply "Let me put this simply for you. You don't have a job here anymore. Not after the way I've seen you treat your maids and butlers. Working them too hard. Hitting them. Raping them."
"Princess. They're just maids. They don't mean anything. Why should you care?"
At his flippant comment I lose my temper, rage taking over my bones and a blood red mist descending over my eyes.
I'm sat in the dining hall, casually drinking some raspberry fruit tea when a young maid no more than twelve years of age comes up to me and starts tugging for me to go with her. She looks so scared I follow her down to the kitchen where one of the other maids explains.
"Princess Lillia went in there half an hour ago to see the slave master but there's been shouting and now we just heard the draw of a blade and we don't know what to do."
Quickly I go to the door and open it.
What I see shocks me. There's a scrawny, weasel looking man with greasy black hair and unkind eyes looking frightened as Lillia stands, her eyes blood red, a jewelled dagger held in her hand against the defenceless man.