Review Replies: Thank you for the praise, fireworksinmybackpocket, Divine Retribution, Kitty-Brdg, and Temblance! I'm also glad that Stab-Tony and Tsuki Yume find this interesting. Sorry I haven't been able to update this as regularly as I'd like, but I've been writing a bunch of chapters so hopefully this story will be a little more steady from now on. Okay--over and out. Your task, dear readers? Read and possibly review.

4. Revolution of the Eclair

It all started with the eclair...

Allison rested on the wrought-iron bench. As soon as she spotted Marina walking along the garden path, Allison shifted herself so that her legs sprawled across the bench and her arms dangled above her head. Marina stuck out her tongue, per ritual, and, not per ritual, showed Allison an eclair, one covered in chocolate icing.

"Move your ass," Marina declared, "Or I'll eat this fucking delicious eclair all my myself."

"Where the hell did you get that?" asked Allison, eyes wide. She moved to make room for Marina to sit down. Normally, the two girls flung insults at each other, and Allison would only move when Marina threatened to sit on Allison's knees. Today Allison felt kind, as real desserts were rare around the working class. The most a girl with insect wings could usually hope for was a bunch of grapes or an apple.

"Oh, I made it all by myself. I just felt so sick and tired of putting all this effort into making all these goddamn pastries for fancy-ass winged pricks. So, today...I stole my own damn eclair!"

Marina split the eclair, giving half to Allison. "Though you don't deserve it, you stupid wench. Think of it as a favor--you owe me!"

"I can't help that you just handed over to me," Allison smirked.

"Oh you sure as hell owe me, bitch," Marina laughed as she first licked out all the tasty cream from inside the eclair.

Allison nibbled at the smooth chocolate icing until Marina reminded her that several of the bird men and women often trolled this garden after working hours. At her words, Allison shrugged and practically inhaled the rest of the treat. Then she licked all the leftovers from her fingers. Marina masked a giggle. Allison's eyes darted to one side, and she blatantly wiped her hand on Marina's white robe.

"Hey!" Marina laughed, and shoved Allison.

After the eclair, Marina seemed to trust Allison that much more with little tricks and escapes with which to confuse the birdmen that Marina so despised. Even Allison was surprised at the heated vehemence that Marina reserved for those with feathered wings.

"Can't stand them," Marina once said, "Always flouncing about, when they do worse stuff than us...They get all the nicest food, and way better rooms than our dorms. But you see Royce feeling up all the girls and Cormorant kicks some of the boys arbitrarily and Eva engorges herself on fine food like a regular glutton. Bitches and bastards. I figure I'll just break all the rules I see...As long as no one gets hurt it's ok, right?"

Allison agreed. She had spent a couple of weeks after the eclair under Marina's wing, so to speak, and now the two girls hunted their way through a secret passage. Marina held a round lantern in her hand, which offered the only light in the cramped, angular tunnel.

"I think the kitchen's just around this corner," Marina said at last, "We'll just quietly slip through, and come out around the sinks. That's your station isn't it?"

"Yeah," Allison said. She marveled at Marina's knowledge of secret passageways and hidden areas in the castle. Because of Marina, Allison had seen what few of her coworkers could ever hope to find: She had seen the inner keep of the castle, and the nicer lawn that those with feathered wings enjoyed. This particular path within the kitchen, however, would help Allison grab that extra five minutes of sleep she was wont to crave. It was located between the kitchen and the bathroom in the dormitory for the kitchen girls. Allison simply had to twist the sinkheads in the bathroom so that they aligned exactly, and then the mirror would lift up, revealing a hidden doorway. Once inside the passage, all Allison had to do was press a switch with her thumb, and the mirror would slide down.

By the time Marina was finally caught, Allison knew about a dozen or more hidden pathways in the castle, and she also knew how to find more.

Their friendship lasted for the better part of the year. Most other girls avoided both Marina and Allison, calling them such names as 'snobs' and 'sinners' behind their backs. Both Luna Moth and Blue Morpho could not have cared less. As long as they had their fun, bending every rule to their whims, and escaping the notice of bird people, even the dirtiest vegetables and the most horrendous cakebaking sprees were manageable.

"Hi, how are you, heheh," freckly-faced Danielle Dragonfly fake-laughed her standard greeting after Allison had crept out of the passageway. Ever since her outburst about Fallow, Danielle had been trying to apologize by being extra nice. Allison had been okay with Danielle's new attitude for the first few months.

"Fine," Allison said. As usual. What did Danielle expect, honestly? Any different replies from previous days? And how long had she kept up this meek and innocent act now, the better part of a year? "Eep! Marina! You bitch..."

Allison, laughing fiercely, engaged a silly slappy-fight, where she flailed her hands at Marina and the mothgirl thwapped back. They were just hitting each other's hands.

"Maybe you shouldn't stand like such a slut," Marina grinned and winked 'seductively.' "I couldn't help myself...You have a niiiiice ass."

Danielle stared at the volleys, blinking twice, taking it all in.

"My sluttiness has nothing to do with your wandering hands! Now go bake cookies you--"

"Why are you guys doing that?" Danielle blurted.

Marina had been about to retort, "Oh! So you admit you have sluttiness now don't you! Well at least you're an honest whore." Due to the interruption, however, Marina had to swallow her brilliant reply. Her long, slender hands froze, as did Allison's, mid-flappity-flap. Danielle shrank under the combined glares of lavender and blue eyes.

"I mean...it's kind of unladylike," finished Danielle, who quickly averted her plain brown eyes and pretended to be intensely absorbed in scrubbing a mushroom.

Peace reigned for a full twenty seconds.

"GOTCHA!"

"Allie! Nuuu!"

"Hehehe!"

"NUUUU!"

"We're unladylike sluts! GO US!"

"Hehe, well maybe YOU are, Allison..."

"Girls, girls girls!" Fallow Nighthawk stepped in as soon as he had finished organizing what he called a 'pudding team,' "Calm down now! Get to work, please." The man, almost as tall as Marina but not quite, patted her shoulder, then curled his arm around Allison. "No wonder you're stuck up here, doing holy kitchen duty! Did you always fight like this back home, wherever you came from!"

Allison made a face and attempted to push Fallow away before...oh, too late, he rubbed his fist in her hair. NOOGIE! Only then did he release Allison, offering an arm to Marina and ushering her over to the ovens. Allison calmed her giggle attack with a few deep breaths, while she patted her blonde hair back into place and clapped her wings together.

Danielle glared.

"What are you looking at, bitch?" Allison's thin eyebrows arched.

Danielle threw a vegetable on the ground. "Don't say those dirty words! Don't act like such a child! Do you want to be punished? Why do you act like such a fool?"

"Gee I don't know, I just don't know," Allison said, kneeling and scooping the dropped tomato into her lap. "You bruised the bloody thing. Now it's no good."

The blue morpho hunted about for a disposal of some kind, but the birdmen expected every vegetable ordered to make it to their table. Waste receptacles did not exist within the castle. "Great! What do we do with this one?"

"Eat it, I guess," Danielle bit her lip.

So dragonfly and butterfly split the tomato in half, and Allison thought it was the most putrid thing she had ever eaten. Danielle's face told her that she felt the same as Allison.

Then it was back to washing, washing, washing...

Marina complained, that day on the wrought-iron bench, "I HATE dealing with Danielle!"

"Oh I know!" Allison said. She settled in the grass and ripped petals off a yellow dandelion.

"She's so...prude! And she acts like some stupid cow, always doing what she's told. Always asking what we're doing...It's SO annoying."

"Yeah, and she always tells me off for being around Fallow," Allison added, crushing the dandelion between her fingers. Yellow pollen and mangled petals stuck to her skin. She wiped off the plant stuff on the grass.

"Well, everyone here annoys me, even Fallow," Marina curled her fingers so they resembled claws.

"And if we stay here for-fucking-ever," Allison mused, "What if we end up -like- them all?"

"Goddamn, I don't think I could stand that. We've got to get out of here!"

Neither of the girls noticed, but far away on a bench sat a man in fancy dress, who toyed with the golden curls on his head while watching them and smiling. Royce only saw their plump lips moving, he heard none of their schemes. He paid more attention to the blonde, the Blue Morpho, because he liked her blonde hair and the shape of her body. Marina was more of a twig, too dusty for Royce's taste. Pale green wings? Pfft. Now, big flickering blue ones were more Royce's style. Royce felt himself blushing the more he thought about Allison. Pity, really, that she had been transferred to the kitchens last-minute. Her feisty way of speaking, and how shy she became when away from Marina...Mmmm...

Ahh, it's nice to be in love again, Royce thought as he inhaled the sweetest breath of his life.

Allison and Marina continued to plot their escape over another filched eclair. Royce would do nothing to report their stolen dessert.