The next day came quickly and started out normal enough from working around the always tidy house, to writing imaginative ideas in her room after a quick breakfast till the afternoon came, meeting Cweru’s daughter tediously tending to her afternoon chores, washing the breakfast plates and laundry, re-placing remnant food from breakfast as side for lunch and what not.
All this while her father was still sobering up again, insisting alcohol helped him get rid of the unpleasantness of the night before, the shouting and fighting and sexual intention by every excuse of men there, according to him that is, the “real” men drank the least but bought drinks for all. But to her it sounded like they were just a bunch of dopes with the inability to hold their alcohol, she scoffed at the thought of being able to take them on in a drinking competition.
But as silly and stereotypical her brewing thoughts were, she felt bad for all the pressure her father was likely to undergo on a daily bases so she simply lingered around the house close enough to hear him calling so he could be his sad self without thinking he has to put on a happy façade for his daughter.
He seemed to be in a better mood when she went up to get his light-colored clothes and even threw in a somewhat seemingly forced toothy grin for her, all his stress relief methods that almost never work keeps her thinking of ways to get him to stop working, but knowing him, it was the equivalent as getting a pig to fly, even if you convince them, you still have to get them to do it.
Frustratedly, she dunked the collar of the shirt into the cold soap water in a black bucket, set at the backing of their home where she did all the laundry. she had been on this particular plain coloured garment for thirty minutes but the black and brown sweat streaks that decorated the collar vertically refused to leave by any means. This is what she gets for buying light coloured clothing for the town’s sweatiest fellow, well after the market square’s butcher, but in her defense, it did give him more volume because it wasn’t enough to tell people he wasn’t malnourished, just stubborn.
‘Good day kind Sir.’ Greeted an unfamiliar voice disrupting her aggravated washing. One of a man. One she didn’t recognize.
She dropped the shirt into the clean water ready to be rinsed, dried her hands on her apron and walked to the front door of the house through the kitchen back door where the buckets for washing were.
‘Yes, a good day it is. How may I be of assistance to you?’ Asked her father.
She had reached the place of conversation in less than 2 heartbeats but her father had “beat” her to it, get it? No? ok I’ll leave.
There in front of what was their neat home stood a man. A knight, a royal one, his silver metallic breast plate had the golden claw marks embedded on it, just like all of the apparels of workers for the royal family, which apparently signified the royal’s “spirit animal”, whatever that nonsense meant.
‘Good afternoon “kind” Sir. How may we help you?’ She asked curtly, her lips waning a resting frown before the man could respond.
‘Yes...’ He cleared his throat dryly. He looked repulsed by something he had seen, but tried to hide it, pulling on the collar of his armor like it were made out of cotton and not metal.
Father and daughter looked at each other with a knowing glint in their eyes, rolling it simultaneously. It was not new news to be revolted by her face, Cweru sighed heavily, his work smile deepened into a people grimace, he was growing tired of this prolonged and unnecessarily overdue conversation, so he shifted his non-existing weight to his right foot and let his mind wander.
Sensing the rapid depletion in his audience’s attention, the man unfurled rolled-up piece of paper, cleared his throat and composed himself.
‘Are you two Sir Cweru and Lady Acura Tucson by any chance?’ Asked the man, looking up only briefly, the tips of his fingers vibrating unsteadily.
‘That information is true. Now. How. May. We. Help. You?’ She asked crossing her arms in a quick defense, for all she knew, he just could be one of those crackheads the town folks have been gossiping about, the ones that indulge in having parties with cattle every Sunday.
‘Sir, Madam. You have been ordered to the castle by the crowned Prince.’
‘What...’ She began, with the intent to question the man’s mental health.
‘What for?’ She asked instead, calming her eye-twitches.
‘That...Madam, I cannot answer as it is the business of His Highness and then should only be discussed with His Highness.’ He replied, avoiding her eyes, or any part of her for that matter, she forgot to adorn her hoodie, not wanting it to get wet from washing.
‘...fine then.’ Acura gave in when she confirmed the varsity of this man as a carriage with the royal logo rolled up before their gate, how did she not notice that? It’s huge.
Oh shut up.
Cweru’s mood lightened up instantly at the thought of meeting the King once again, they had first met when her father was the entertainment host for a grand dinner the King had for all his vassal state representatives and his closest affiliates. But Acura could never bring herself to tell her father the King was long dead and it was his son, the Prince, that was ruling in his place. Her father had the tendency to be forgetful about these kind of things because the thought of the man that brought you up the social ladder with the upmost kindness, making sure you were always well off simply because you successfully made him laugh, passing away in his sleep is really depressing, so he lives with the idea that it was all a dream. But to be extra sure, she made sure her father went nowhere near the castle since then to avoid any complications, here they are now being ordered to the castle.
They were given time to tend to their affairs. Finish the washing in a hurry, hang up the clothing and lock up the house, just in time for Acura to grab her hoodie.
The father and daughter pair, adorned in their best clothing, boarded the comfortable royal carriage to Wiagha, the capital of Almero to see the ruler of the land.
Ketan was attending to his princely work when a servant came in and informed him that his very good friend, Lord Wattzit wished to see him.
The prince immediately rose from his work table to attend to his visitor even though he was leaving his work unattended. Yeah, sure, the homeless can wait.
Lord Wattzit was way older than the Prince and even desired to have the Prince as his son-in-law. Now, Prince Ketan had just had one particular problem with this. See, the daughters of Lord Wattzit were the fairest in the land, it was quite hard to tell whose trait was better, Blema’s figure or Prota’s beauty. The problem the Prince situated overtime was that both were spoilt to the core.
The two families where been long term friends and Lord Wattzit was the late king’s best friend and right-hand man for a long time.
Which meant the two maidens and the Prince were well acquainted.
Blema, with her robust bosom and rump that bounced whenever she walked, causing sensational waves that overlapped each other gracefully not getting the chance to settle before her next lustrous step, and her thin waist with a curve that slid onto her hips that could balance a glass cup pyramid on each side, still had the heart of a demon. She was evil, sardonic and quite a callous creature. She would always pull dirty tricks on her father’s servants, the kinds of tricks that could leave them in the care of baffled physicians who wonder how such a lady could permanently incapacitate human beings with no second thought.
And on the other hand, was her younger sister, Prota. Her beauty massacred others and when it came to facials, she outmatched her sister, though her body didn’t measure up to the perfection that was Blema’s.
She had an elusive way of talking that persuaded you to do just what she wants without realizing it. She had white pearly teeth that shimmered whenever she smiled. Her cheekbones looked like it was specially sculpted by the gods, her skin tone on her worst days like pure honey and her lips, luscious and red like that of a freshly picked strawberry. Her eyes were crystal blue, that shined whenever she got her way, like the calm before a storm. And it went along perfectly with her honey blonde hair that was always impeccable. But under all that prettiness was pettiness beyond all levels, she was selfish, stubborn, always envious and above all rude. She had the kind of beauty that allured you before leading you into her trap.
The only child of Lord Wattzit that didn’t annoy Ketan was his son Bankle, the youngest. Lady Wattzit died shortly after the birth of her son, so Lord Wattzit gifts his children with whatever they desire and turns a blind eye to their faults. They reminded him so dearly of his deceased wife, that he couldn’t help but to spoil them. Blema’s figure was a perfect copy of their mother’s figure, every dent and stretch mark, while Prota could have passed off as her mother’s twin due to their similar facial features, Bankle on the other hand, although spoilt by his father, grew up to be a kind-natured being like his mother. He had a heart of gold, always ready to give, cleaning up after his siblings and seeing to it that their victims were well taken care of.
That’s someone like whom the Prince wanted to marry. Why did Bankle have to be the one with the heart of gold? Even he didn’t favor his sisters as much as strangers did whenever the two fair maidens passed by.
The Prince greeted the family. Genuine smiles for the men and the plastic ones for the girls, it was a matter of honesty in his book.
Prota was eyeing herself in a hand mirror while Blema was checking her waist in the tall hall mirror, Bankle was seated by the tall bookshelf, a romance novel in his hands and his tea placed in front of him.
All this was happening while Ketan was having a heated discussion with Lord Wattzit.
‘Speaking of which...’ continued the Prince. ‘How is Lady Zolo?’ He asked of the Lord’s sister.
‘Oh. Splendid, she is splendid...oh my that reminds me. You will not believe it at all.’ The man suddenly perked up.
‘What is it?’ Queried Ketan with curiosity, which made him lean closer.
‘I heard of a woman who can spin gold out of straw.’
‘You did, now did you?’ He sank back into the chair, somewhat disappointed because he had hoped for better news like he had found other suitors for his devil daughters. ‘And where did you hear such information from?’ Asked the Prince doubtful.
‘Oh...I heard it from my sister when she came to visit who heard it from one of her maids, who heard from the baker, who heard the milkman, who heard from a farmer who attended a pub in the town Belmazore and just happened to hear of this information.’
The Prince did not fully believe, but his father’s friend said all this with all seriousness and no sign of joking on his face. Smiling, he decides he has to see it for himself, give the thought the benefit of the doubt, if this were in any way true, it would benefit him in more ways than one.
‘Do you know what she is called by?’
‘Oh, Acura Tucson.’
‘Right. Send for this Acura person, would you Dweli?’ He commanded his chief servant who immediately obliged and informed the coachman and a guard about the Prince’s immediate task.