Chapter Seven, CrazyOnYou’s Multiple Writers Project
Dinner was a silent affair. On Hunter’s arm, we entered the same room as before, with the huge round table, filled with the same people, the Lords and Ladies, King and Queen, Charlotte and Dave, only this time, Sienna was there too. When we had entered through the magnificent oak doors, stepping regally in time with each other, the Queen stood up, spread her arms and sang (quite literally, sang) “Welcome! Please, Lady Lilly, sit,” She was smiling hugely, like she really was pleased to see me. It was actually kind of creepy.
No one spoke after that. At all. And it wasn’t one of those “Comfortable Silences” that you read about. I don’t think they exist. I don’t remember much of the food. Only that I was pretty apprehensive about eating it, I knew it was something I’d never seen before but when I tried some (I mean, these people wanted me as their Priestess, right? They wouldn’t poison me.) it was the most delicious thing I’d ever tasted and there was not a smear on my plate after I was done. When everyone had been excused by the King and Queen all the matching couples went separate ways out of the Great Dining Room.
I don’t remember anything else of that evening, only waking up to beautiful birdsong the next morning. I’ve never really heard a bird singing before, as of my residence in a bustling city (just call me Carrie Bradshaw!) but I knew instantly what it was, even if I didn’t know instantly where I was. I washed and dressed the same as I would any other day, except when I emerged from (what was now) my room, I was wearing a green silk dress not unlike Princess Fiona’s in Shrek.
I felt like I needed to know more about this castle, more about what it was, where it was, who lived there and, most importantly, how I could get out. Endless stone corridors, crumbling stone battlements, draughty, empty stone towers. Was this freaking city made of stone? I was day-dreaming, staring up at the blue-as-blue-could-be sky and walking forward at the same time when I walked into someone else. Sienna.
“I am so very sorry, Priestess, are you well?” she asked worriedly. Okay, she may be perfectly normal but she was getting on my nerves a little. “I’m fine, thanks.” Shouldn’t it be a crime that this woman was so beautiful? Underneath the crystal clear sky, Sienna’s eyes seemed like the missing pieces of a world of periwinkle. She was wearing a dress scarily like mine but in a deep, midnight blue and, although it was a bit less princess-ey and a bit more day-to-day-ish, she looked better than all the supermodels in the (real) world put together. Honestly.
“Perhaps the Priestess would like, how you say, a tour of the castle and grounds?” When she’d said ‘how you say’ I had an image in my head of a Chinese or Japanese person trying to converse in American and I choked on my laughter, I bit my lip as to not offend her. “Uh, yeah. Sure.” Without a second thought, Sienna slipped her twig-like arm through mine and steered me towards the steps leading down to a garden below the palace that I hadn’t even noticed before. Sienna was running a commentary the whole time...
“And over here is the magnificent flower garden, home to many creatures, but the King and Queen do not mind, they love all the animals...” She was actually giving me a headache.
“Um, Sienna?” I wasn’t sure what I was going to ask or say yet but she had to stop talking. She stopped and looked at me expectantly, waiting for me to say something. Anything. Umm... I decided to go bold and demanding; I was the Priestess, right? “Why am I here?”
She looked affronted and kind of sympathetic, like she was about to explain why you mustn’t touch fire to a three-year-old. That single look made me feel tiny, an ant in a field, a guppy in the ocean. I hated it.
“Why, Lilly, you are here to be the Priestess, surely you know that? You are here to be one of the many over lookers of the kingdom. A part of the Royal Family.” I knew complicated questions wouldn’t get me anywhere. “Okay then, where am I?”
She was about to say something, I knew it but she stopped dead. We’d reached some magnificent golden gates, like you’d imagine would be the way to Heaven. The rock-hard gold wove in intricate patterns, leaves, flowers and spirals materialized in front of my eyes while I admired them.
But that wasn’t what she was staring at.
Just outside the gates, almost leaning against them was an old man. He looked dishevelled, weary and positively beat up. He had bags under his eyes the size of Texas and dirty matted grey hair that clung weakly to his leather-y skin. I looked back at Sienna to see if she knew this guy but her eyes were rolled into slits and she looked fuming. This man obviously wasn’t supposed to be here.
“WILFRED! You are not to be near this castle, off with you. The King will hear about this, he will set the dogs on you! Go on, away with you!” he didn’t really move, just shuffled his way around the wall so he was out of sight from the garden and I could hear him mumbling to himself but the words were indistinguishable.
Sienna lost some of her angry colour when he was no longer in her line of vision and made a sound somewhere in between a sigh and a groan. Only when she had stalked off (to tell the King, I’m guessing) and I was left on my own with the sweet lily flowers and the humming of the insects was that I realized...she never answered my question.
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