Allura sighed. Being a servant was boring, and a lot harder than she had ever thought possible. People gave you an order, and expected you to do it immediately if not sooner! She almost never had a moment to herself, barely enough time to go to the bathroom, never mind snoop around the castle. And the uniform was hot and stifling, the black wool of the dress itchy. It was a floor length black dress, with the waist cutting off just before her breasts. Two large straps of material stretched up and over her shoulders, a white, long sleeved shirt under it. The white collar of the shirt scratching against her neck with it’s turtleneck collar.
“ROMMIE!!” screamed Maltilda, the woman in charge of assigning chores, and making sure everything ran smoothly. “I don’t hear anymore scrubbing over there! These floors aren’t getting any cleaner by themselves!”
“Yes mistress…right away mistress, I’m sorry mistress…” Allura mumbled, and began vigorously rubbing the sponge on the floor. So she had to do things she never ever had to do at home…a little hard work wouldn’t kill her. And the important thing was they had accepted her as one of them. They were so overworked with preparations for the wedding, they were grateful for any additional help they could get, and if an extra girl should happen along, as long as she made herself useful, they would not turn her in. They figured Rommie was some girl from a nearby village, hoping perhaps to see the prince and princess wedding firsthand, rather than read about it in the paper. She was quiet, did what she was told, and if she was ingenious enough to sneak into the castle, and rustle up a spare kitchen maid’s outfit, she could stay. Who knows, maybe if she lasted, there would be a permanent position in it for her. Castle wages were excellent!
“Matty, I need some girls to help me pack a lunch for the princess.” said Raoul, who was normally assigned to helping the maids, by lifting heavy furniture so they could clean under it.
“Pack a lunch?” Maltilda frowned. “What for? She shouldn’t be leaving the castle at a time like this!”
“She’s not going to.” replied Raoul. “She and the prince are going to go on a indoor picnic since he’s not allowed to leave the castle. The wedding coordinator is having a fit, that the decorations won’t be put in place in time, because she threw them out of the ballroom for this date of theirs.”
“What do they need to go on date for?” demanded Maltilda. “They can do all the dating they want, after the wedding! They’re just going to get in everyone’s way!”
“Do you want to tell the princess that?” asked Raoul.
“Er…no…Drat!” sighed Maltilda. “I hope she’s not expecting anything fancy for this picnic of hers. Cook and his crew is too busy working on the dishes for tonight’s engagement party, to take time away to whip something up. And none of my girls are exactly culinary marvels…if they were, they would be apprenticing under Cook.”
“I’m sure sandwiches will suffice.” Raoul said. “You know how young lovers are. Too focused on each other to notice anything else.”
“Hmm…I hope so.” Maltilda sighed. “Well, have Angela and…”
“Oh me! Me!” cried Allura. “I’ll do it!”
“Don’t be silly, Rommie. You still have dishes to clean. Not to mention you haven’t finished the floor.” It was Maltilda’s kind way of turning the girl down. There was no way she’d let a girl that hadn’t even put in a full day of work, get anywhere near food that was going to touch the royal’s lips. “Ask Lenneth. At least she’s proven she can boil water.”
“I can boil water…” muttered Allura. “I think…”
“All right Corral…can you remove the blindfold?” asked Lotor.
“Um…not yet…” He heard her giggle.
“Is this something kinky?” He teased her.
“Oh no!” She protested. And then he heard the whirring sound of the ball room’s ceiling peeling back, and realized where they were. “I just figured…since you can’t go outside…” She removed the blindfold. “I’d bring nature in to you.”
“Corral!” He exclaimed. “Thank you!”
“You’re welcome.” She blushed, happy to have pleased him. “Come on…” She tugged him over to where a blanket had been laid out. Along with several potted plants.
“Now what’s this?” Lotor asked.
“A picnic…” Corral replied, plopping down on the blanket. “Actually…I like it better indoors…no nasty insects to worry about getting into the food.”
“I’ve…never actually been on a picnic…” admitted Lotor. “Doom isn’t exactly ideal terrain for that sort of thing…always night out, and cold. The ground is too hard also, all rock and bare of grass.” He sat down on the blanket.
“Oh…” Corral felt sorry for him having to live on such a lifeless planet. “Well…now you can say you’ve been on one. In fact…” She scooted closer to him. “After we’re married…we can make a list and try all the things you’ve never been able to do on Doom.”
“I’d like that.” admitted Lotor.
“Good.” smiled Corral. “Now let’s see what’s packed in that basket!”
The picnic had been nice, a really sweet gesture on Corral’s part. And Lotor had been surprised to learn that she had something else to talk about besides the wedding. It seemed the poor girl had been so badly intimidated by his silence, she hadn’t known what to say! But once he had started to work his charm on her, she immediately opened up, and he had learned she had a wide variety of interests, even sharing one or two things in common with him. She really was a nice girl, better than nice, and beautiful to boot. Why if Lotor wasn’t already in love with someone else, he could see himself easily falling in love with Princess Corral. But that was not to be, he had his heart set on Allura, just as his mind had become set on escaping before the wedding this weekend. He felt guilty over having to deceive Corral. He hadn’t counted on that. He had spent the last few weeks resenting her…hating her, that when he had begun this charade, he had thought nothing of breaking her heart. And now he wished it didn’t have to be that way…he hated smooth talking her, and speaking of all they would do and see after they were married. But guilt alone was not enough to get him to stay and build a life with her.
Right now, his intentions were to lull everyone into believing the lies he had fabricated. That he was really starting to feel for Corral…like her…maybe even love her. It would get them to stop watching him so closely…and maybe…if his plan went well tonight…he’d finally be able to ditch his escort…with Corral’s help of course. As long as nothing went wrong, he should be on his way home this very night!
Allura sneaked about the kitchens, listening in on snatches of conversation. It seemed everyone was up in arms over the engagement party tonight. Maybe three hundred or so of the Royal family’s closest friends would be there. A small affair compared to the over one thousand guests invited for the weekend. This dinner tonight was nothing the castle’s regular staff could not manage. It should go off without a hitch. They were not expecting one very determined princess to throw a monkey wrench in the works.
Princess Allura was determined to be at that dinner tonight. She’d be able to finally get to Lotor…slip him a note perhaps…let him know she was here, here with Blue Lion…they’d be able to get away…if she could convince Maltilda to let her do such an important job tonight…
Which shouldn’t be too hard. Allura grinned, patting the pocket where her stash of sleeping pills were. She planned to drug several of the girls. Maltilda would HAVE to let her help serve dinner when they were shorthand five or six girls. Everything would work out for her. And by tonight, she’d be on her way home!