This is for Musicluvr for making the 15,000th comment! Haven’t read Part One of Wisdom’s Daughter? Head to A Tale of Two Slippers.
The Kingdom Of Larech
Part Two of Wisdom’s Daughter
I fell out of the air and landed on hard ground. I lay there, momentarily stunned from the fall. I breathed in the smell of dirt. I pushed myself up and looked around. My eyes had to adjust to it all as I realized where I was. I was in a field surrounded by a stadium. But I was not on a football field or surrounded by metal bleachers. I realized I was on a jousting field. The stadium was made of wood. There were about one-hundred people in the stands. They sat still. I thought they were watching me until I realized they were blankly staring straight ahead. It was like they were in a trance. I listened for noises and I could hear noise, a lot of noise, coming my way. Things fell into place and I realized I must have been in the part of the story which didn’t need attention.
The noise was approaching rapidly and I figured I needed to get out of there quickly. I put away the pen and hurried off the field just as the crowd around me burst into reality. A horse burst around the corner towards me. The horse and rider had on armor and he carried a lance. I dived out of the way as he almost trampled me. He shouted at me, but I couldn’t understand him. I hurried into the stands and took a seat at the end of one of the rows.
“The Prince will face our most valiant knight,” a man announced.
Another rider rode out from behind the stands. Inset into his helmet was a gold crown. This was clearly the Prince. Now where would Cinderella be? I scanned the audience looking for any evil stepsisters or stepmom. No one jumped out to me as being evil. All the women wore elegant clothes and the men wore their finest garments. They were dressed up for an occasion. I looked to the lady beside me. She was older in her late sixties or early seventies.
“Will there be a ball?” I asked.
She jumped as she became aware of me. She grabbed at her heart. “Oh dear child, you frightened me!” She had an English accent. She looked me up and down, frowning. “Dear me, why on earth are you dressed like a boy?”
“Uhh…” I was dressed in jeans and my Camp Half-Blood tee shirt. “I was robbed on the way here. They stole all my clothes. This is all I could find.”
“Oh poor girl! I take you have come from afar?”
I nodded. “Yes. I’ve come for the ball. Have I missed it?”
“It is tonight, but you cannot go dressed like that.” Her eyes bulged as she finished the sentence as if what I was wearing was disturbing.
“I’ll have to find something to wear.” I just hoped to sneak in or better yet find Cinderella before the ball.
“You look to be the same size as me when I was younger, how about you stop by my house before the ball and I’ll lend you one of my older dresses?”
“Thank you, but how will I find you?”
“You can’t miss it. You would have passed it on the way in. I run the orphanage. I’m the godmother to all those poor children.”
My eyes lit up. Was this the godmother in the story? I decided to go along with her and meet her at her house. I hoped it meant Cinderella would be around. I decided to be bold and cut to the chase.
“Do you know a girl named Cinderella?”
“Afraid not, dear.”
“What about Cindy or Ella?”
She smiled kindly. “I’m sorry, dear, but the name does not ring a bell.”
I was a little crestfallen. At the ball I knew I would find her. I turned my attention back to the jousting tournament. The Prince was winning against the knight. The horses ran at each other again. The men kept the lances steady. The Prince’s lance smacked into the chest of the knight, throwing him off his horse. The crowd applauded and shouted the Prince’s name.
The Prince rode around in victory then headed out of the stadium. All at once the sound stopped and everything went still. It had to be the end of the chapter which meant I had to find the next part. Everyone around me faded away until there was only me left. I ran to the top of the stadium and took a look at my surroundings. To my left was a large castle. Encircling it was a massive wall and moat. I could see guards on top of the walkway, but they held still. My eyes moved from the castle down into the village. I could hear the distant sound of movement. Birds flew above grass rooftops. It had to be Cinderella down in the village.
I left the jousting field and hurried down into the village. I spotted the orphanage, but there was not movement, so I went further into town, towards all the noise. The village came to life as I entered the market. It was packed with shoppers, buying goods. The sellers were shouting out their products and price, adding to the hustle and bustle. Cinderella had to be among the people. I focused on the women and girls. I thought I could be inconspicuous among the crowd, but with one look from a woman, the news that I was dressed in boy clothes spread like wildfire. I betted even my mom would have attracted less people. I might as well have been dressed in a zebra costume.
Over all the noise I heard singing. The voice was so beautiful, I stopped in my tracks. The voice was sweet like honey, slowly melting in my mouth. I could have been frozen in the trance forever, but I realized that had to be Cinderella. I pushed myself forward and headed for the voice. The crowd parted and my eyes found her.
She was blonde with strikingly blue eyes. She wore a dirty and worn blue dress and carried a basket full of bread. She sang and dance her way around the market. I looked at her shoes, but they were plain sandals. She must not have received the glass slippers yet. I moved to talk to her, but I was intercepted by two guards and they didn’t look too happy.
“What is your business within the Kingdom Of Larech?” the guard demanded from me.
To be continued in part three…