Queen Penelope's PoV
That arrogant, snobby, disgusting, distasteful, pretentious, cocky, vain, self obsessed Prince Lucas is really starting to get on my nerves. The way he treats Lillia and Gen. Like she's a prize to be won or something to be conquered. But from the looks shared between Lillia and Gen I'd say Gen isn't exactly jumping at the chance to be courted by him, let alone marry him. And I'm glad. He's horrible. Plus she's meant to be with Lillia. They're hopelessly in love and I think they might just know it. At least that's going by the looks shared between them and the fact that they were holding hands under the table. Which is adorable. And now Lillia is going to be training with Gen to become a lady-in-waiting and that would mean they could be open about their relationship and omm (oh my monarch!) would that be brilliant.
Walking through the corridors to our rooms, a deep voice from behind me echoes "Lillia!" I turn to see the King dressed in his cloak and his suit with his crown slightly wonky on top of his head, which makes me smile. I say, holding back laughter, "Yes Your majesty?"
"I wanted to talk to you about your lady-in-waiting training."
Nodding he carries on "Well, Gen here will be training you, and you can use any rooms you wish but you'll have 4 months of training and then 2 months of practical work for the Princess and then you'll have your exam in front of me and Nelly, and then you'll have a ceremony. Does that make sense?"
I take a second to process it, Ginger's hand tightening on my own, and then I say "Yes thank you. Makes perfect sense."
We turn around but then with a deep chuckle the King says "And please, if were not with guests, or if it's just Lucas, just to spite him, call me and the Queen Alex and Nelly. You're practically family."
Blushing I nod and then Ginger and me set off back to our rooms.
Upon reaching them, we see that Lucas has attempted to court Ginger again by leaving a teddy bear with a single rose and a note saying "Please meet me in the gardens at midnight."
Sighing I check the time, "It's nine so you've got three hours, you can sleep or you can stay up and then after an hour complain that you're tired and we can come back."
"Someone doesn't want me to be near him."
"No I don't because he looks at you like you're a quest and I hate that. And anyway, you're mine."
I open the door and walk in only to immediately have Ginger grab my arm and spin me around to face her. Without hesitation my lips meet hers in a tender kiss, her smell of citrus filling my nose. I pull away and say firmly "Come on. Stop kissing me because you need sleep."
She smiles anything but innocently before saying "Well, I've decided to go with plan B and stay up in order to get out as soon as possible. So... that means we've got two and a half hours before I've got to meet him which means I can kiss you as many times as I like."
Sighing I walk over to her and kiss her forcefully on her lips. Then I break away, pick up a deck of cards and say "You can have a kiss... every time you win a game."
She pouts in protest but I sit on the floor and say whilst dealing the cards "Well? Do you want kisses or not? Because if you just stand there you're never going to get any."
Then she sits down and picking up her hand she says confidently "Kisses here I come."
Thirty three games of go fish later, and I still haven't won a single match. Lillia checks the clock and says reluctantly "It's 23:55, we'd better get going."
Protesting I say "But I haven't had any kisses yet."
She stops near in the doorway before turning and pulling me into her for a gentle kiss.
Then she takes my hand and we leave for the gardens.
Upon reaching the entrance, we see Lucas stood in a tail suit that doesn't at all flatter him, his hair slicked back making his forehead look massive. He spots us and smiles a horrifying smile at me, then he beckons me towards him and so I go, taking slow steps to prolong him from speaking to me, with Lillia's presence right behind me. Reaching him he looks to Lillia and then looks to me as though waiting for me to order her to leave but like hell I'm going to do that. Lillia says calmly "I have to be a maximum of five paces away from the Princess."
He glares and grunts before taking my arm and starting to walk through the royal maze. Having been walking for a long time and listening to Lucas talk about himself, like how he defeated a dragon with one hand, when dragons don't exist. At least not in his kingdom. Or mine. And he was so engaged with it I swear he believe he actually did. Suddenly not feeling Lillia's presence behind me I turn in a panic, immediately letting go of Lucas' arm. Running back the way we came I find Lillia collapsed on the floor a few turns behind, her hair sprayed behind her, her eyes closed. Skidding on my knees to a stop before her, I shake her, attempting to wake her up. When that doesn't work I put her in the recovery position while trying to calm myself down and remember what to do. Lucas rounds the corner and starts complaining to me "Ugh! Come one! She's just a stupid maid! Leave her there and get someone later! She's not dead! This is a complete waste of time."
Blocking him out I pick up her delicate body bridal style and start to carry her out of the maze as quickly as I can back to the castle. Upon reaching the castle, not caring about the time I scream out "HELP! Somebody help! Please!"
Immediately some guards come and I explain what I know and then they say to take her to my chambers and they'll send the nurse. Breathing rapidly I lay her gently on my bed and sit holding her hand tightly. A few minutes later the nurse maid enters and smiles warmly at me. After a few vital checks and a temperature check she says to me "Well, she's going to be fine. She just passed out. Throughout the night she'll need regular checks and cold flannels pressed on her forehead and neck every hour. If you want to get some sleep I can stay and do it.." I cut her off saying "No, I won't sleep anyways."
She smiles again before leaving my chambers. Grabbing a book I sit reading softly out loud with her hand still firmly clasped in mine.
Waking up I move my hand to my head as I feel something cold being pressed against it. "Ah ah. Don't move it, you've still got a temperature."
Smiling I open my eyes to see Ginger stood over me with a relieved look on her face, a cold flannel in her hand. "What happened? The last thing I remember is you walking with Lucas and looking very much like you hated it."
"Oh I did. But you passed out that's all. But you scared me to death. I turned around and you weren't there and then I found you collapsed on the floor, and you weren't responding. But the nurse says your ok when your temperature reaches 36 degrees. Which it just has so you should be ok but take it easy for today ok? We can postpone your first day of training till tomorrow."
"Ok." I say sitting up. Climbing out of bed I almost fall down again but Ginger catches me saying "But your balance might be a bit off."
Using her as an anchor I get ready and then say out of the blue "I'm really hungry."
She laughs before we set off to the breakfast hall, with her holding me up by my waist in case I fall over again.
Entering the breakfast hall, I see Lucas looking particularly stony faced and sour this morning, I'm assuming because Ginger left him half way through their date. Ginger helps me sit down and then the Queen says "Gen honey, Lucas here says you left him last night? For no reason?"
Piping up I say "Actually that's my fault..." Ginger cuts in with "You couldn't help it."
"... Nelly I passed out that's all. And Ginger was helping me recover. But I'm fine now."
Nelly says concerned "Are you sure dear?" I nod firmly and she smiles warmly before turning to Lucas and saying "So you're saying that Lillia here is the 'no reason' because if you were then you are on your last strike young man before being sent home."
He looks down sheepishly, knowing that if he got sent home then he'd be shamed by his kingdom and probably have his title removed, which would remove all the privileges he gets now.
Looking over at Ginger I see her eating a plate full of food, and listening to her parents have a conversation about something. Just as the silence prevails over the table Nelly announces "So on Friday there will be a ball. And you're all attending. It's mandatory. The dress code is formal as always, so girls get those ball gowns out and boys prepare those tail suits. There will be a dance from the Princess with her chosen person, who can be absolutely anyone. Anyone at all." She smiles at me as though she knows something before carrying on "Then afterwards there will be a banquet at which there will be food galore. And the guest count so far is 250 people and so therefore will take place in the courtyard outside, with the banquet set up in the large east wing hall room."
Next to me Ginger sighs although I suppose this is the millionth ball she's attended but I'm excited. Really rather excited, I mean I've never been to a ball before. I mean, all the times I've imagine going to one when I'm setting one up, and you can hear the music downstairs in the kitchen but this time I'm going to be in the hall. With the music, and the people. Oh monarch, the people. Nelly said 250. And that's a lot of people. But I do have till Friday to prepare myself. And all day Friday is what we have to prepare for the ball.
A cough brings me back to reality as I see Nelly looking at me expectantly, "Sorry, I zoned out for a minute can you please repeat the question?"
She smiles before saying slowly "I asked dear, are you excited for your first day of training?"
At this point Ginger speaks for the first time in a while in others presence "Oh it's cancelled because Lillia has to rest for a day."
Lucas' face goes red as she speaks, then he says tightly "So you speak to her? But not me?"
Ginger goes quiet so I speak for her as she requested so many moons ago "The Princess can speak to whomever she wants and she can also choose not to speak to certain people. And she also doesn't appreciate being pushed to talk."
Without warning my vision blurs and I instinctively reach out for Ginger her hand catching mine. She holds my shoulder, steadying me as Nelly says concerned "You had better go and lie down for a bit Lillia. We'll see you at lunch only, only, if you're up to it."
Nodding I attempt to stand but but fall immediately into Ginger's arms. Again. Laughing I say "You know you really have a habit of catching me when I fall."
She smiles before helping me stand and walking us back to the chambers.