The Princess of Flowers: Part Ten
You were very kind to poof us all the way to Terror Mountain, Nathaniel!” Mildred clapped excitedly. "I’ve always wanted to come here and admire the beautiful mountain landscapes.”
Rose coughed annoyingly. For the past twenty minutes, she and Mildred were following that idiotic Nathaniel as he led them up a steep trail that wound around a snow-covered mountain. Although the brute was polite enough to poof up snow boots and fur coats for the girls, Rose was very dissatisfied with her coat; the pink colour was much too dark, and did the fur trim really have to be pink, too? [This clod knows less about fashion than proper etiquette,] she fumed, stomping angrily in the crunching snow.
Nathaniel pointed ahead. "We have a little more to go, and then we’ll reach her.”
"Reach who?” asked Mildred.
"Ms. Margo, my tutor,” Nathaniel explained. "She knows everything about Faerie magic and relics.”
The trio continued to trudge through the snow, which was still descending steadily from the clouded sky. The trail they were travelling on was slightly covered with snow, and even as the elevation rose, there was—surprisingly—not a higher concentration of fallen snow. While Nathaniel and Rose kept quiet during the hike, Mildred kept annoying Rose by commenting on the passing scenery, the beautiful grey clouds that completely dominated the sky, and saying a friendly "Hello” to a Gnorbu they passed by. "Hasn’t this trip been a dream come true?” sighed Mildred. "I mean, just think of all the places we’ve seen so far! Both the Air Faerie Kingdom and Wobbleshire have been wonderful and exciting places, right?”
"They were fine,” said Rose flatly. Truth be told, she was excited about being in Terror Mountain. The scenery was gorgeous, the mountains were both fierce and intriguing, and the sport of ‘snow skiing’ seemed like an interesting pastime to try. There were only two things she couldn’t stand: Mildred’s constant yapping and Nathaniel’s presence. [They’re both gigantic twits,] Rose thought, smiling to herself. [How I wish somebody would come and take them—or just that insufferable Nathaniel—away so I can enjoy Terror Mountain in peace.]
"So Nathaniel, which mountain is your personal favourite?” asked Mildred.
"I don’t know,” said Nathaniel, shrugging. "I suppose I like all of them. They’re so beautiful.”
Rose scoffed. "As if somebody like [you] can say something’s beautiful,” she snarled.
"Well I think all the mountains are equally beautiful, too,” said Mildred. "They’re all so different…and yet, so wonderfully charming!"
"If that’s how you felt all long, why in Neopia did you ask the dunce which mountain [he] prefers?” Rose wondered. She kicked a rock at Nathaniel, but missed.
Mildred shrugged. "Don’t know, I suppose I was just trying to carry on a conversation.” Rose rolled her eyes. For the next part of the trek, the trio remained silent. Just as they were approaching the peek of the mountain, Mildred piped up, "This brown fur coat you chose for me is ever-so-comforting! How were you able to poof up such a wonderful coat?”
"I just thought it’d keep you nice and warm,” Nathaniel insisted.
"So you stole it from a shop, didn’t you?” asked Rose.
Nathanial shook his head. "Of course not.”
"And it was you who attacked that wraith Usul, correct?” Rose pressed.
"Wraith Usul?” gasped Mildred, looking around frantically. "Where? When?”
"Indeed, it was I,” said Nathaniel. "I just thought you needed the extra help.”
Rose kicked another rock. "So you didn’t believe I could have defeated that wretched Usul by myself? You thought you could be ‘prince charming’ and rescue me, right?”
"I was just at the right place at the right time,” Nathaniel insisted. "That’s all.”
"What were you doing at Wobbleshire?” asked Mildred.
"And how’d you get there?” asked Rose.
"I poofed myself there with the help of Ms. Margo,” Nathaniel explained. "She gave me the directions, and I followed them—”
"So you, too, possess magical abilities?” Rose interrupted. "And what exactly [were] you doing in the royal gardens of Floritua on that one horrible day??”
Nathaniel didn’t answer either question. Instead, he led the girls toward a wooden house located in the center of the mountain peek. "This is Ms. Margo’s home,” he explained.
"My, what a lovely home,” said Mildred.
"Too bad the lace curtains are two seasons outdated,” Rose remarked. Regardless, the two storey house seemed rather comfortable and it would be a much welcoming place to rest for the day. Not wishing to wait for Nathaniel, Rose made her way to the front door and knocked loudly three times.
In a few moments, a tall Faerie Lenny opened the door and peered down at the trio. "Nathaniel, are these girls your friends?” she asked, peering at Rose and Mildred through round spectacles.
"We are not his friends,” Rose insisted, "nor do I ever wish to be one.”
Mildred curtseyed. "How do you do, Ms. Margo?” she asked.
"Very well, thank you.” Ms. Margo eyed Rose and nodded. "Ah, so you’re the keeper of the Rose Rod: the Rose Princess of Floritua.”
"Yes…I am,” said Rose, feeling slightly stunned.
"Please come in and have so tea,” urged Ms. Margo. "We’ll talk then.” Rose and Mildred followed her inside, with Nathaniel right behind. Although Rose disliked the long-sleeved black dress Ms. Margo was wearing—and thought the black and purple lace trim was gaudy—the living room was quite charming, especially because of the velveteen settees, the golden-maple table and the blazing stone fireplace. "Nathaniel, please take these girls’ coats and seat them in the living room,” instructed Ms. Margo.
Rose tossed her coat to the ground and made her way to the settee closest to the fireplace. Mildred took a seat on the settee across from her, and Nathaniel sat beside her. There was an awkward silence, and Rose kept contemplating about whether or not she should just get her confrontation with the uncivilized Nathaniel over with. After Mildred was done gushing over the fireplace—and acting as smitten as when she met Zack, Rose’s second mortal enemy—Rose finally mustered all of her courage and asked Nathaniel, "Well, must we have this discussion or what?”
"A discussion over what?” asked Nathaniel.
"Oh would you STOP acting so dumb!?” Rose snarled. "You know [exactly] what I’m talking about!”
After a few minutes of silence, Nathaniel coughed and said, "Oh yes…now I remember.”
"What happened?” Mildred looked over from Nathaniel to Rose. Then, with a sense of realization, she gasped, "You don’t mean?”
Rose stood up and folded her arms over her chest. "Well ‘prince charming’,” she sniffed, "aren’t you going to try defending your offensive and insensitive words? Or shall you take your leave and never speak to thee for as long as we both remain in this forsaken tundra?”
Nathaniel twiddled with his gloved thumbs for a few moments. Then, through his shaggy mop of a hairstyle, he peered up at Rose and sighed, "You haven’t learned a thing, haven’t you?”
"Oh yes, because [I’m] the one who needs morals here!” Rose scoffed.
"I can also tell you’re still in your relentless pursuit for—what you call—true beauty, correct?” asked Nathaniel.
Mildred sighed. "My, you have a wonderful way with words!”
"No he doesn’t!” Rose felt her anger boiling—like a pot overflowing with boiling water because of the mistake of an absent-minded cook—and she didn’t know whether or not she could control her tongue. Regardless, a part of her knew one thing: this fool-of-a-witch-wannabe wasn’t going to get away with acting like such a dolt anymore. "You should be ashamed of yourself, you stupid oaf!” Rose chided. "First you broke into the royal gardens of Floritua, and then you had the absolute nerve to insult the Rose Princess!” She clucked. "And yet here you are, acting like you’ve done nothing wrong, and all because you bothered to poof us up to Terror Mountain and then force us to hike all the way up a mountain trail! Are you really THIS draft? Or are you just acting this stupid to get on my nerves?”
"Now Rose, don’t be too hasty,” Mildred insisted. "Nathaniel has been a wonderful gentleman and a very helpful friend—”
"He was NEVER a friend of mine,” Rose countered, "and heaven forbid [you] consider yourself one, too!”
Mildred gasped. "W-what do you mean?” she asked softly, gripping her apron.
Rose shrugged. "It’s just that I never really cared that much about you. In fact, during this entire time, I was waiting you to shut your mouth and stop your frivolous ‘oohing’ and ‘ahhing’! I viewed your desire to please and befriend total strangers to be completely childlike, and I personally cannot wait for this forsake journey of ours to end so that I can live the rest of my life without talking with YOU!”
Mildred bowed her head.
During yet another period of insufferable silence, Rose looked around the living room, wondering where Ms. Margo was and why she was delaying with the tea. Not wanting to stay in the same room as Mildred and ‘the wannabe prince’, Rose decided to make her way to the kitchen—making sure nobody was following her. Just as she opened the kitchen door, Rose halted and gasped. Standing by the stove—with no boiling pot—was Ms. Margo, completely encased in purple crystal. The Lenny had a smile on her face, as if she wasn’t aware of what had happened to her. Feeling uneasy, Rose made her way back to the living room, where Mildred—her head still bowed—was also encased in the same crystal substance. "Back so soon?” asked Nathaniel.
"What in Neopia is going on here??” Rose demanded.
"She’s doing this,” Nathaniel explained.
"Who?” Rose pressed.
"Mira, the Darkest Faerie.” Nathaniel approached Rose and took her hand. "Come with me, and I’ll take you somewhere safe—”
Rose yanked her hand away. "Like I’d ever place my trust in such a rambunctious brute as you!” she snarled. "Besides, I still don’t know who you are—or WHAT you are—and why you were in Floritua.”
Nathaniel sighed. "If it’ll make you happy, then I shall share everything with you.” He approached the staircase. "When I do, however, I wish to remain upstairs. So if you want to learn more about me, then please follow me.”
Rose hesitated and grumbled to herself as she followed Nathaniel up the creaking, wooden staircase. [He better tell me everything,] she thought, [or else I won’t show him any mercy!]
To be continued…