Outcasts: Part One
“Are you sure?” asked Mister Evensong, eyeing his daughter. He had stopped combing his mane, and the Royal Kougra set his comb down on the side table.
Madame Evensong fanned her luxurious tail, while adjusting her robes and crown. On her usually contented Peophin face sat an expression of puzzlement, one that had not graced the court’s presence for many years.
Before them stood their daughter. The Royal Girl Kyrii had rushed into their work quarters in a frenzied manner, unlike the normal semblance of calm indifference adopted by all of the nation’s Royals. Hectic spots of pink dotted her face, her mane was knotted like a rat’s nest, and bags were under her eyes. It was clear that she had stayed awake all night long.
She nodded in response to her father. “Yes, Father. I am sure.” Her tone was full of confidence.
“You want to leave, Daffodil? Do you have any idea what it is like there?”
“What does it matter? The whole point of leaving the nest is to learn,” she countered with her hands on her hips.
He sighed. His daughter had often inquired about this place. Perhaps it would be a good experience, he pondered. But she should at least have company.
“All right, then. But you must bathe before you leave. Goodness, you look dreadful! Have you not slept at all?”- she nodded sheepishly -“And Jarav is to go with you. You need to have some sort of contact with us, or else we won’t allow it.” Obviously, the royal ‘we’ was the head piece on the game board.
Daffodil sighed as though this was a burden, but in truth, she was inwardly doing something equivalent to fist-pumping the air. Jarav was the most dependable of all the attendants. He listened, protected, and always made sure one’s belongings were safe and in due order.
Not that the Gelert would be much of that sort of help where she was going, but it was nice to know that her parents had the kindness to send only the best bodyguard for her. He was also her best friend, although they appeared to be unaware of the fact. It seemed as though anything without lace or finely polished surfaces was below their notice.
The Blue Gelert stepped forward and bowed to Mister and Madame Evensong. “Thank you, Mister and Madame. I shall not fail you.”
“Go ahead and have Jarav pack your suitcase. We will send the paperwork and payment for you.” Her father waved dismissively as the Kyrii girl swept quickly and gracefully from the room.
“And don’t forget your Azzle Tea!” yelled Madame Evensong to her daughter’s retreating back.
Down the hallway, Jarav and Lady Daffodil opened the gilded door to her bedroom. It contained a magnificent fluff-down bed with netting curtains, much too large for her petite size, and a six foot tall mirror. The bed was inviting, as she had not slept, but the excitement of her departure had jolted her veins with adrenaline, and she felt too giddy to rest.
The enormous closet door was opened by Jarav, and he reached for the nearest dress to place it in the suitcase when Daffodil stopped him. “No, let me do it,” she said, shoving his paw out of the way and stepping into the closet.
Astonished, Jarav stuttered “M-my lady, why...?”
“Because it would be nice to do something for myself for a change,” she answered brusquely, sifting through the rows of over-extravagant robes and ball gowns.
The confusion cleared from the Gelert’s eyes. “So that’s what this is all about,” he mused aloud. “Independence again?”
Daffodil paused on a light blue, rather plain dress, and sighed. “Yes, Jarav, but not just that.” She unhooked the dress and dropped it into the suitcase. She did not look at him.
Jarav folded the disheveled gown and tucked it back in gently, as though apologetic for its rough treatment. “Then tell me, what is troubling you, milady?”
Daffodil plucked a faded purple dress similar to the blue one and tossed it in. She remained silent, recollecting her exhausted thoughts while jade green and sunny yellow dresses were added to the growing pile.
“Going for the simple look, Lady Daffodil?” The Gelert smiled. “I think I understand somewhat,” he muttered, folding dress after yet another dress. “You are tired of extravagance? Of overindulgence? Does the fancy and articulate bore you now?”
“It’s not that...,” she answered quietly, placing her one nightgown on the bed. “I have grown up, Jarav. I am an older Neopet now. I no longer need all of this-” she gestured to her entire room in general “- to survive.”
Jarav went for the nightgown, but again, she stopped him with a look. Not a glare – just a look that said STOP, and one that she had mastered since day one in the house of Royals and attendants.
“And you feel that this life is not the right one for you?” he prompted, retracting his paw.
The Kyrii picked up the nightgown and folded it, although clumsily. “Yes, Jarav. It is no longer where I belong. After all, I am a teenager now – it’s perfectly natural to feel this way. Or, at least in a normal life, in any case.”
The Gelert attendant nodded sagely. Lady Daffodil had always been an unusual Royal. Unlike her grown sisters, as a child, Daffodil had never been satisfied with the toys that were sparkly, or shiny, or more new than the others. She preferred to play the more challenging games with the older, simply-built toys, such as what the commoners called ‘paddleball’. The members of the court had bestowed the unusual device a new name – ‘annoyance’. The whacking noise soon drove everyone mad, and Daffodil even hit a couple of guests with the rubber ball by accident, which resulted in its banning from the residence.
But she had not lost her childhood happiness because of a paddleball. For even after the loss of a favorite pastime, she had discovered another, more difficult game to play: the use of her imagination.
It soon became clear to the young Daffodil that imagination, like every other popular game, has rules and boundaries one does not cross. For instance, imagination was frowned upon if it went against the status quo. And one could not be vocal about one's ideals unless one wished to risk angry looks and a scolding.
Such was the life of a Royal, and Daffodil wanted to live a different one that was not so stuffed with finery.
“Well, Daffodil, I certainly hope that you are making the right choice. Either way, I will accompany you to ease your worry. Oh, milady! Before I forget myself on this matter, you must pack your bathroom supplies. I shall wait out here for you.”
The Royal girl Kyrii smiled. “Why, thank you for reminding me, Jarav. I will be just a minute – I must brush out my fur as well, so my parents don’t have a heart attack before we leave.”
As soon as her back disappeared behind the bathroom wall, the attendant rushed to the side of the room, searching. After a quick glance at the door to make sure she was still preoccupied, he snatched a framed photograph from the tabletop. Carefully placing it in between two of her outfits, he zipped the opening and closed the clasps, arranging the baggage back to its old appearance. She’ll thank me for this later, he thought, pleased with himself.
At that moment, Daffodil returned with a small bag containing her toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, and a washcloth. Her mane had lost the hectic curls, and the bags of exhaustion under her eyes had diminished somewhat.
She attempted to raise the heavy suitcase, with ‘Evensong’ embroidered in golden thread on the side, from the carpet. She succeeded in a height of two inches before it plopped back to the ground.
Jarav chuckled and, hefting the suitcase with both paws, he grunted under the weight. Daffodil chuckled as he tried to open the door with one of his feet, and she opened it for him. With a bow, she waited for him to try to exit. Due to the two-ton suitcase in his arms, all the Gelert could manage was an amused nod.
Shuffling out the door, Jarav was barely able to reach the Whinny carriage before releasing his burden into the trunk with a WHUMP noise. Lady Daffodil stood patiently while he climbed to the front drivers’ seat, and he said with a tip of his chauffeur cap, “You may now board the carriage, milady.”
With an ecstatic smile, Lady Daffodil leapt into the carriage and Jarav cracked the whip.
The door of the carriage opened, and a rather elegant Royal girl Kyrii stepped onto the pavement. Never before had her bare feet touched concrete – the cold surface sent a chill up her spine, but a pleasant sensation as the same time.
“Lady Daffodil, are you sure you want to do that?” asked Jarav nervously. The Gelert attendant flicked his ears as he eyed her shoeless feet. It was so strange that he had trouble comprehending the very concept of walking on the bare ground with no protection.
“Jarav, you know what my mother told you before. Very few pets here even own proper clothing, much less shoes. I want to experience their life, as it is now mine as well. And one more thing – these pets are not to know that you are my attendant. It is uncommon for this particular place. We’ll say that you are... my brother, cousin or something of the like. We can stay in a motel or an apartment until we can get our accommodations sorted out.”
Jarav nodded. “A normal life is what you wanted, and now you have it, Lady Evensong.”
Pets were swarming all around, rushing to who-knows-where. Somewhere in the distance, a bell rang, announcing ten minutes until the start of the semester.
High school, and a new life, had begun.
To be continued...
Yay, fourth submission :D! Happy holidays, and a happy new year to all who are reading :).