Chapter Five: Saved by Calvin Klein Model
A shout came from behind the mass of men and women who were watching my interrogation. I look at the scary lady. My queen? She's a queen? Well, someone before said "her majesty." Maybe yelling at her probably wasn't a good idea.
Then, once again today, I was hit by another thought. I remember now! I felt like an idiot. The woman, who was now standing to her feet and searching the crowd, was Queen Elizabeth the First of England. I saw her portrait in a text book in Global History class last year. I felt the same way about her as I feel now. She's thoroughly intimidating. She could make a grown man quake in his shoes with her stare. But why here? Did I land in some sort of movie set? No… I was in class. Was this some sort of dream?
"Who said that?" the queen said, still scanning the crowd. "Come forward!"
A man stepped out from the mass. He was wearing similar medieval clothing as the other men. He had white breeches with matching a green coat-like shirt with separate white sleeves. Two rows of light green stripes bedazzled with gems ran down each side.
The newcomer could have came out of a Calvin Klein magazine if the model suddenly decided he wanted to try out for Romeo and Juliet. That was how good looking he was. I didn't have to see him to know that he was well liked because all ladies were gasping, whispering, and blushing as he cut through the parting crowd. This guy was most likely on the Top Ten Hunk List for these ladies. His shoulder- length, soft, brown hair bounced up and down as he walking towards the throne. It was if different from the other hairstyles of the room which were higher cut. Every aspect of this man was godlike, his face, his charming smile, his buff, physical form and broad shoulder was appealing. Even the way he walked was perfect. He walked was as if he was walking on air; so gracefully and confidently. Everyone seemed to be fond of this man. Even the Queen herself had calmed down when he finally reached her throne.
"Sir Robert." Queen Elizabeth nodded to him. She acknowledged with complete respect and honor. This Robert guy must be a noble. Why would such a revered man such as this Sir Robert save me? Could this day get any more confusing?!
"My queen." He said softly. With one swift movement, h knelt down to one knee and kissed her hand.
"You may rise. Do you know this young lady?" the queen asked him when he rose.
"Yes, I do your majesty." Sir Robert walked towards me. "Play along." He quickly whispered in my ear.
"Well, no crap, Sherlock!" I whispered back. I received a look that was a mix of "What the heck?" and "Shut up."
Robert took a deep breath, and then began his explanation. He shouted like he just found the greatest discovery ever in the history of mankind. "She's from the humble island of Majorca, my queen."
I glanced around the room. It seemed that the crowd appeared to buy the excuse! Maybe I was going to make it out of here alive.
"That might be true, but how do we know that she is not a spy?"
The person who spoke out had a voice that was soft but commanded attention. There was another session of whispering and gasping. I rolled my eyes. These people were ridiculous!
"Lord Nicholi." Sir Robert acknowledged someone behind me. He sounded tense at the name. What happened to the Mr. Confident that stood next to me just a minute ago? Puzzled, I turned to see who Sir Robert was talking to. I didn't turn far because a tall man in an red and black era outfit was standing not even a foot behind me.
His thin arms were crossed over his chest as he loomed over me. His two pale gray eyes were watching me intently. Short locks of blonde hair were only inches from my face. Shocked at this guy's abrupt appearance, I instantly cringed backwards. Where did he come from? I didn't even hear him! I immediately guessed that this he was the "Lord Nicholi" that Robert was speaking to. Nicholi continued staring at me. Was he trying to scare me? If he was, it was defiantly working!
"How do you know that she is a spy?" Sir Robert asked Nicholi.
"Well, because Majorca, which is where this lady is claimed to be from, is actually an island beside Spain." he said in a matter-of- fact way. The word Spain brought another gasp from the audience. I winced, realizing that Sir Nicholi was correct. Majorca was not far from Spain. The main problem is that Spain and England are huge enemies. Even I, who got a C in Global History, knew that. Why did Sir Idiot say that I was from an island by Spain?! And of all places, Spain! I looked at my "savior". Was he trying to pull?
Robert too could also feel the tension build up in the room. He had to make up something good and fast; before things became much worse than it already was. A second later light bulb apparently went off in his head, because the sure smile and attitude was back on his face. Lord Nicholi too saw the change in Robert. He stiffened his posture as if ready to block his opponent's next attack.
"She isn't. I should know." Robert said simply.
"Why should YOU know?" said Nicholi.
"Because she is my cousin and I am now her guardian." Another gasp from the crowd. I even heard "Lucky!" from one of the girls.
Nicholi shook his head and smiled. "You're just saying that to protect her."
"I have proof!" Robert reached into his shirt and pulled out an old piece of paper. He gave it to an officer who then handed it to the queen.
"What Sir Robert says is true." she said a few moments later. "Her home was burned with her parents inside during a Spanish raid." She folded the paper and gave it back to Robert. She looked at me with sympathy… "She has come here to stay live with Sir Robert because the rest of her relatives were also killed in the Spanish raid." I took that as a cue to look as innocent as I could.
"But my queen!" Nicholi butted in. I felt my face grow hot. Come on! What more did this guy have to say? "How do we know what the letter says is true? As your advisor I-"
"Your majesty," Robert went forward and bowed at the Queen's feet. "I have been your humble servant for years now. Would I do anything that might bring you any harm? I swear on my life before you and the Gracious One above that my sweet cousin Catharine is as harmless as a butterfly."
Nicholi didn't say anything more. He stood there, silent as the night. I almost forgot he was there. The newcomer seemed to be calm despite the clear defeat which did scared me a bit. I began to study him. Was he planning something behind those gray eyes?
I returned my attention to Queen Elizabeth. "Yes – um- your highness?"
"You can stay in the palace for now." She kept her sad look for a moment before turning to Robert. "And Sir Robert."
"Come to my study where we can discuss this matter in private." Her eyes scanned the court. "Lady Cavendish? Grace!"
A girl appeared from the crowd of people. She looked about my age or at least a year younger than me. She had long mousy brown hair that was tied in a high bun. The nice long dress she was wearing was yellow and white, better than most of the other ladies of the court. She approached the throne. "Yes, my queen?"
"Take Lady Catharine to one of the guest rooms to…" she glanced down at my dress. A look of disapproval flashed across her face. "find her something appropriate to wear. Then show her around the palace."
Lady Grace curtsied and said, "Yes, your majesty."
"Very well then. Court dismissed!" The Queen and her court walked out of the room. I turned around to look for Lord Nicholi but he disappeared like a ghost. A few minutes later, Robert and I were the only ones left standing in the throne room other than the guards.
"Wow. That was something wasn't it?" he said to me, rubbing the back of his head and walking towards me.
Robert had a hurt look. "Hey! It was all I could think of. You came out of nowhere and I just arrived. I only had seconds to come up with something! Besides," He leaned to me and grinned. "it worked out in the end, didn't it?"
That was true. "Yeah, whatever. Anyways, why did you even help me out in the first place?"
"Let's just say that I was ordered to last minute. Plus, I saw that mark on your hand."
"What mark?" I looked blankly on my hand and I suddenly remembered what. "Right! The animal. The…" What's it called? I knew I saw it before in the movie, Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. "The gippen? Greffan?"
Robert chuckled. "Close enough. It's called a griffin."
"What is it for?"
"It's a mark that indicates a spell and who put it." He took my hand. They were warm. I squirmed. "Well, you got a Language Spell put on you." he said after studying it.
"How can you tell?" I peeked at where the spell mark once was. There was nothing there. Was he pulling my leg? He could see it? How?
"There are little words that say so."
"It immediately translates any foreign language into something you can understand. For example, it translates Old English into what you call modern English."
I blinked. "It can do that?"
"Yes. So, no matter where you go, you can understand the people around you. Not only that, they can understand anything you say."
"Nice!" I sized him up. His big grin told me that he knew something I didn't. I decided to push my luck. There were so many questions to ask. He seemed to have all the answers. My head was spinning in wonder and curiosity. Still, finding out what I'm doing here and why appeared most important and urgent.
"So, since you seem to know everything." I took my hand back. "Can you tell me what I'm doing here on this set? Am I dreaming?"
Robert's grin faded. "Dreaming? Set? Do you think-"
"Think what? This can't be real. I must be dreaming or gotten myself cast in something that I forgot about. Right?"
Robert shook his head. "Damn. I didn't think you were this clueless. You're really just as-"
"All I can tell you is that this is real." He held up my hand. "All this," he motioned the room around us. "is real. This isn't a dream. You are really in London, England in the reign of Queen Elizabeth Tudor the First."
I burst out laughing thinking he was joking. A moment later, I was still the only one laughing. Slowly, and painfully, it dawned on me that he wasn't kidding. I stepped back and took another look around the room with new vision. Robert held my shoulders as the realization hit me with full force. "Oh. My. God." I said, almost out of breath. "You're serious. Aren't you?"
He nodded. "Take a deep breath." He told me.
I did. It sort of helped my rising panic.
"I know this all too much to take in but I can't tell you much right now except that you'll find out things soon enough. For now, stay with the Queen, "He paused and sighed. "and don't do anything stupid."
Robert took a glimpse over my shoulder. Someone was coming towards us. Robert's voice dropped into a whisper. "I have to go out of town for a while but I promise I'll be back to answer your questions." He glanced back again. "Be careful."
The light footsteps stopped behind me. "Lady Grace." Robert bowed to her. Grace curtsied in returned.
I turned around, stuffing any remaining feeling of shock within myself. "Grace!" Robert lightly elbowed me. "I mean, Lady Cavendish."
"It's alright. You can call me Grace." she said with a bright smile. "We should be heading off now." She also added.
"Okay." I said nodding.
Robert placed a hand on my shoulder. I squirmed again. "And I should too. Her majesty is probably wondering where I am." He then said in a soft voice, eyes shining, "Lady Grace, please take care of my cousin. She is all that I have left."
"It would be an honor, Sir Robert." she said with a straight face but there was a hint of sympathy on it. I could tell that this girl was much different to the other girls I have met so far in this… time period.
Sir Robert sucked in a breath and turned me around. "Goodbye, Catherine." He said to me and gently kissed my forehead. The name Catherine and the kiss made me want to scream because we weren't really related at all. I slightly shifted away from him. "I will be back soon." He added to the act by putting his hand on my cheek. "I promise you those raiders will pay for what they've done with their lives." He told me with conviction. Grace and I then watched Robert angrily "storm" out of the room in silence and little bit of awe.
"Convincing." I whispered to myself.
"I beg your pardon?" Grace had a questioning look on her face.
I laughed nervously. "Oh, nothing."
She turned back to the doors that Robert went through. "You are lucky to have Sir Robert as your cousin."
"I am? Why?"
"You don't know?" Grace asked me in surprise.
"Honestly, this is the second time I am seeing Sir Robert in my life." I lied instantly. "My parents…never really talked about the outside family that much. They were too busy with… business." I thought back to the last moment with Robert kissing my head. "But, he used to visit when I was little. I was his favorite and he would send me great presents all the time…" I stopped there, out dry with ideas.
"That makes sense. I'm sorry about what happened to your home. I can't imagine how you feel right now." Grace had a similar depressed expression on her face like the queen. Did I say something wrong? I immediately felt terrible about lying to such an empathetic person.
"Don't worry about it." I told her. "They are in a better place now." Her bright smile returned and she took my hand.
"I'll show you to your room!"
"Okay?" I said. This girl was as hyper as the cheerleaders at my school. She was my Sharon in Elizabethan clothing. How is that even possible?! Grace made sure that no one was looking and she ran out the doors, with me holding on to her hand for dear life.
My stomach felt weird and I knew it wasn't because of Grace's mad run. Fear was beginning to take its grip on me as I realized that there was nothing I could do about this time traveling situation. All I could do though is to wait for a solution and for Sir Robert to explain everything. Till then, I had to play my cards properly in order to survive. I have entered a whole new world with whole new rules. A little voice in my head told me that my purpose was even bigger than me. Chills ran up my skin. Could it be true? Well, I had to wait and see.
"There is something suspicious about that girl, Nicholi."
"What do you want me to do about it, sir?" Lord Nicholi asked the shadow standing beside him on a balcony overlooking the palace gardens. The men watched as Lady Grace Cavendish and Callie ran below them, across the snow. Grace's excited yells could be heard loud and clear from where they were standing. The freezing temperatures of February didn't seem to affect them.
The shadow didn't answer for a few moments. Nicholi didn't need to see it to know that it was thinking hard about a decision. His master usually would have a plan ready to go before he would finish his debriefing. Nicholi continued to wait patiently for a reply. His words still hung in the air.
"Watch her for the time being. Inform me if anything happens. Knowing you that shouldn't take long. Then I'll give you the final orders."
Nicholi nodded. "Yes, my liege."
The dark figure vanished, leaving Nicholi alone in the sunshine and the breeze. He quietly premeditated his moves and walked off with a smirk slowly playing across his face. He had a feeling that this was going to be interesting. It was finally time to play.