The huge doors were opened by a pair of smartly dressed men who nodded respectfully at the prince. Beyond the doors there was a rather large room with plush couches on one side and what appeared to be a dance floor on the other. Between the two branched of a large staircase that curved inward, sat a woman behind a large white desk. Everything about the room seemed clean and glistening. The mirrored walls were broken only by thin columns of gold that ran upwards to meet in the center of the domed ceiling. Beneath our feet was a red rug leading from the door to the front desk. While I was gaping at the beautiful place, Christian was explaining the situation to the woman. Three young ladies would be requiring a suite for the duration of the festivities.
"Of course, your highness," The woman said. "It is always a pleasure to serve the royal family in any way possible. The Crocodile Room is all prepared for guests. I'm sure you remember the way."
Christian nodded his thanks and we left the front desk. I followed him up one of the staircases branches and down one of the hallways that branched off the balcony. The hallways were just as grand as the entry hall but instead of glass ceilings there were murals and paintings lining the walls. Lanterns hanging from the wall lit the hall every few feet. I examined the lanterns and it seemed that there was no fuel source for the fire to remain lit.
Christian noticed and explained how the curious contraptions worked. "They are fairy-made. The light will never burn out unless the lamp is destroyed. It is rather convenient for lighting the rooms. There are a lot of fairy made contraptions here. The architect was actually half fairy and had fairy craftsmen working for him."
"Magic?" I gasped. Where I came from, magic was rare at best and even then it was not as impressive as the eternally burning lanterns that lined these walls. Pharyss was a rich city indeed.
We stopped at an arched green door that read "Crocodile Room" on a small golden nameplate. After seeing how lavishly the halls of the Gilded Leopard were decorated, I was feeling a bit nervous at what the room would look like. I had never been in a place so richly decorated with magic. "So crocodile, that doesn't sound very pleasant." I said before opening the door.
"You'll love it," Christian said as he grabbed the crocodile head doorknob.
He was right, I was instantly in love with the room. Despite what the name suggested the Crocodile Room was hardly like the animal. From the hallway I could see that the walls of the room were white with wooden paneling on the bottom. A delicate vine print was painted around the edges where the wall met the ceiling. The furniture was forest green and dark wood. Light streamed into the room from a large window that showed a small balcony on the other side of the glass. The opposite walls of the room each had a door similar to the one I had just opened. I stepped into the room and gasped. The floor felt as if I was stepping onto a cloud, as if I was hardly stepping on ground at all. I was afraid to touch anything for fear I would ruin the beautiful way the room was decorated.
"What's through the doors?" I asked.
Christian went to open one. They were bedrooms with similar furniture as the sitting room. The beds were large canopy beds situated so that when the window was open the bed was covered in light. As of now, the heavy curtains were closed and the room was lit by the fairy lanterns. I felt the satin sheets that lay on one of the beds; they were buttery smooth and very inviting after a long day of travel.
"This is so kind of you," I said to the prince. "I and my sisters are so grateful for all your help. I cannot think of a way to repay you."
Christian shook his head. "There is no need for reparations. If I had not gotten you a room here, my sister would have surely insisted. I can tell she and your stepsisters are going to be great friends during your stay here. It is very lucky that we came across your carriage when we did."
I nodded and continued to stare in awe at the wonderful room. I could not believe our luck today. This trip would be even better than expected.
Two young men brought the luggage from the carriage to our room. I was informed by one of the young men that the driver had taken the carriage back to the castleto escort Victoria and Giselle here when their dinner was over. Christian stayed until the very last bag was carried in. He proposed to stay longer and help me get settled, but I insisted that he return to his own family and that I was fine. Even then he seemed unwilling to leave; with him gone the room seemed very empty. Moments after he departed I decided that I would go to sleep. Giselle and Victoria would not care if I waited up for them. I sorted my luggage from the pile and pulled out the things I would need. In one of the bedrooms there was a small washroom with a marble bathtub. I took my nightgown out of my luggage and drew a bath. It had been a long day on the road and a nice warm bath would be nice. It took me a bit to figure out the knobs and levers that were all around the bathtub, this too was obviously a fairy made contraption. Warm water and pink soap filled the tub from the spout as I undressed. When the tub was full I climbed in and enjoyed getting clean. After my bath, I got into my nightgown and crawled into the large bed. It was as comfortable as I had imagined and I was soon asleep.
I was woken much too soon by two pair of hands shaking me. Giselle and Victoria had returned. "Ebony, get up." They were saying.
It took me a moment to wake up from the deep, comfortable sleep I was in. I sat up and rubbed my eyes. "What time is it?"
"It is just past midnight," Giselle said hurriedly. "We are dreadfully tired." Then she looked to Victoria. Being the eldest, Victoria seemed to be in charge most of the time. It was normally her that gave orders.
"We discussed it and we think that you should sleep in the sitting room. There are only two rooms you know and Elle and I have such a hard time sleeping away from home. It would be best for all of us if we could have the bedrooms and you can have the middle room." Victoria said. The two were pulling me out of bed by my arms. It seemed I had no choice in the matter.
"Can't two of us share a bed?" I asked. I did not want to give up the nice warm comfort of those luxurious beds.
They both looked horrified. "Of course we can't!" They exclaimed.
Victoria took a breath and explained her reasoning. "We most certainly cannot share either bed. Imagine what would happen if one of us was a violent sleeper, or if we rolled over in our sleep. We could end up seriously injured and that simply cannot happen; we have planned to spend most of our days at the castle with Joslynn and it would be horrendous if we were to show up injured."
"Tomorrow we are going to get a tour of the castle." Giselle said excitedly. "And we need our rest, so if you could just go to the sitting room we can get to sleep. Don't worry; we've already moved the luggage into our rooms so you don't have to worry about that."
"Why can't one of you sleep in the sitting room then?" I asked again. I knew it was probably hopeless, but I still hoped in my half awake state that one of them would give up one of the beds.
This idea seemed equally appalling to them. They claimed to have bad backs and aching joints and simply had to sleep in a proper bed. They explained all their ailments as they pushed me from the room and closed the door in my face. They had said that they were each going to take a bath and then go to bed. I was too tired to argue about it anymore tonight so I just turned and faced my new room. The furniture in this room was unorthodox. One of the chairs sat three seats back to back in a sort of triangular shape with armrests in between. No hope of sleeping on that. The only other seating was four oddly shaped matching chairs. One sat in the very corner of the room. The low back of all the chairs formed right angles and looked every uncomfortable. The seats of the chairs were curved unevenly to a point. There had to be something to lie on in this room other than the floor, which seemed to be made of air but would not do for sleeping. The more I examined the four strange chairs, the more I wondered at their purpose. I sat in one of them; they were a bit longer than regular chairs so I thought it might be comfortable enough. I was wrong. I sat on the odd chair and examined its mates. I ran my hand down the curve of the seat. It looked as if it would go together with another one of the chairs like a puzzle piece. All the chairs would fit together that way to make a square – a square perfect for sleeping in. It would be different because I would have to literally climb into it over the chair backs but it was all there was. I would have to move the round table a bit; I was going to put them all together in the corner so I wouldn't have to move that one chair. It was hard to move the table but eventually I managed. By the time I had moved the chairs though I just fell into the bed I had made and left my legs hanging over the edge. I was breathing heavily. Giselle walked out of the bedroom then and looked at my hard work. "Very clever, you made a bed. Goodnight." She said curtly and went into the other bedroom. Luckily there was a thick blanket over one of the arms of the three-person chair and a pillow on one of the bed chairs. I pulled them into my boxy bed and fell asleep for the second time that night.
The next day Giselle and Victoria were awake and preparing for another day at the castle. They were going on and on to me about their relations with the princess and how glad they were that they were becoming good friends. When they had left, I remained in the room wondering what I could spend the day doing. I got dressed slowly while I pondered about how to spend my time. I was standing in front of a mirror that hung on the wall brushing my hair when a knock on the door made me jump. I slowly opened the door and a young girl was there. She was about thirteen and dressed in a servant's frock.
The girl curtsied. "Good morning, miss. I was sent to inform you that you have a visitor waiting down in the main hall."
"A visitor," I asked. I wondered who it could be, I did not know anyone here. The girl nodded and I stepped out into the hall and closed the room door behind me.
Hello, again! I figured since I wrote another chapter that I had better post another chapter and it's been awhile hasn't it? I've been kind of distracted recently because of a little show called Community and I'm doing homework now cause you know school and I have a book to read which is an all too rare occurrence. But how about this, I try and finish the next chapter tonight while I feel like typing? Sounds good so onward to the writing!
...I'm a bit tired so I don't know how this is going to turn out, should be fun.