chapter 5

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Chapter 5

Imagine a nice, pleasant way to wake up. Good, now throw that image out the window, and imaging somebody throwing a bucket of water over you to wake you up. This was exactly what Helena did when she pretty much tried to drown me that morning.

What is the matter with you, woman?! I screamed at her after catching my breath.

She tried to hide her amusement, failing miserably. Well, you sleep like a bear in hibernation. Get up, we haven't got all day! I want to go to the bathing house before anybody else."

I sat up, knowing very well that once Helena had an idea, I'd just have to go along with it.

"There is a perfectly fine bathtub here. You can use it if you please. Besides, I took a bath last night, and another one just now, thanks to you. Anyway, you just want to look good for my brother, "

I teased.

I knew that Nathaniel loved Helena, and I kind of suspected that she also reciprocated those feelings. However, since she was the daughter of a low-standing duke, my parents were against the match. Although she tried to hide it, I knew that she just didn't want to get hurt.

"I most certainly do not," she said blushing.

"Fine, I'll use your bath, but you have to talk while I take it. You have some explaining to do."

I couldn't help but smile. Helena may get up early, but to this day she was still the laziest person I knew.

"Sure, I'll ask Mariam to find somebody to fill the bath. I'll also ask her for some breakfast. Do you want any? "

As I expected, she nodded eagerly.

15 minutes later, the tub was filled and the food was on the coffee table in the sitting room. My chambers consisted of a bedroom, a sitting room, a bathroom, and a walk-in closet. Mariam, my maid, also had a little room next to mine.

As far as my mother knew, I spent a lot of my time in my chambers when I wasn't at court. If I had my way, she would never know otherwise.

Normally I would sneak down to the kitchen and have my breakfast, but mother had ears everywhere when we had important visitors, which also meant no visits to the orphanage for the time being.

"Are you going to eat that" Helena pointed at the apple in front of me. I shook my head. She took it and walked into the bathroom, and minutes later, I heard a splash.

"So what was up with you and prince Zrahals friend yesterday? What was his name again?"

Of course she had to ask just as I took a big bite of my bread, but I managed to mumble his name before I swallowed. "His name is Tristan. And I dont know, he just got on my nerves."

I loved Helena, but you could read her like an open book. Because of that, I had decided not to tell her about my secret trips to town, nor would I tell her about my meeting last night with Tristan.

"It kind of looked like you like him."

I nearly choked.

"Excuse me? Were you at the same banquet as me? I'm engaged. Now, look at the time. You need to get up."

It wasn't a lie, really. She really did need to get out of the bath, but it didn't hurt that it also changed the subject.

15 minutes later, we were walking out to the stables, and were greeted by three camels and the men. Lady Miranda was nowhere in sight. Helena and I were dressed in light dresses that made it easy to ride.

"Good morning. Have you heard from lady Miranda?" Prince Zrahal asked, just as I spotted her walking towards us.

I tried my best not to laugh when my eyes fell on what she was wearing.

Her dress was big and flashy and looked more like something one would wear at a ball, rather than for a ride to town.

"Does she really expect to ride in that? I think she'll need a camel of her own, or there won't be enough space."

Everyone tried to hide their smiles, like the good noble men and women that they were.

"I'll ride with prince Zrahal," Miranda said, and I could see the horror in his face at the thought of riding with that dress, let alone the person in it.

Before I had the chance to say that I wanted to ride with my brother, he said, "I'll ride with lady Helena."

I swear that boy is like a love sick puppy. Knowing very well where that left me, I turned to face Tristan, only to see him smirking at me.

"Guess that leaves us, Princess."

I followed him over to the nearest camel, which was already lying down.

"This is Daisy. She is very loyal and very spoiled. " He introduced me, and looked at it with loving eyes.

"Watch what the other do while I help prince Nathaniel and lady Helena. "

I watched Prince Zrahal struggle as he tried to sit behind Miranda, a task that wasnt easy because of that immense dress. When he finally managed to do it, the camel stood up, first with it's hind legs and then with its front ones. Miranda nearly fell off.

I turned around, trying to hide my laughter. Helena and Nathaniel did so much more gracefully, and then it was our turn. I sat in front, and Tristan behind me. He wrapped his arms around me and took the reins, as he whispered in my ear, "We can switch places if you want to hold on to me."

Before I had the chance to answer, Daisy stood up, giving me a big shock. I already dreaded when we would have to get down again. I pushed the thought out of my head, and enjoyed the ride.

Riding on a camel was very different from riding a horse. You're higher up and sway more from side to side.

To my surprise, we rode down close to where the orphanage was, and I purposefully jammed my elbow into Tristans stomach.

"You did this on purpose!" I hissed, low enough that only he could hear. I could feel him laughing behind me.

"I have absolutely no idea what you're talking about," he said, trying to act offended.

I soon stopped worrying about him when one of the little girls from the orphanage came running toward us.

"Isa, help! A big man came and took Timmy away!"


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