I had just finished packing supplies, when Prince Ceran strode into the kitchens, looking every inch the valiant royal. I could understand why Gina went all gooey over him, with his flowing golden locks, strong chin... blah, blah, blah: but seriously, he was such a cliché, it was like some hero from a Disney cartoon brought to life.
"Are the preparations nearly complete, ladies?" I saluted him jokingly.
"It's all good in the Ellivor hood." Ceran gave me a bemused look, and turned to Gina for reassurance.
"She means yes." My friend sighed, shooting me an evil glare. I smiled back and shrugged, whilst Caitlyn giggled beside me.
"Yeah C-man, chill, we got it covered." Caitlyn added, mimicking Gina's voice exactly. I swear at that moment, I could see steam billowing from Gina's diamond studded ears: she was not a happy bunny.
"Excuse me Ceran; I just need to speak with my friends in private." Gina said sweetly, waiting until her beloved had left until she unleashed her anger upon us.
"Seriously guys, could you please treat Ceran with some respect? He's helping us get home and you're just making fun of him." I shook my head slightly.
"G, c'mon, we're only having a laugh."
"Yeah, how often do we get to travel to mysterious lands and slag off Princes, hmm?" Caitlyn argued, looking to me for support.
"Cait's right, this is a once in a lifetime taunting experience and if we can't slag off Westley, then what is the world coming to?" I held up my hand for a high-five which Caitlyn duly delivered. Gina stared at me, confusion written across her face.
"Westley?" I nodded and sat down on a rickety old chair.
"Yeah, that's what me and Cait have decided to call his royal Princiness from now on, because he so reminds us of Westley from The Princess Bride." Gina smiled and brushed a hand through her long hair.
"You two are such freaks," She said affectionately, turning to fasten up one of the leather satchels containing bread, "But just so you know, I really like this guy, so can you both please give it a rest for today?" I turned to Caitlyn and smiled mischievously.
"As you wish." We quoted Westley in unison, receiving a loaf of bread to the skull for our efforts.
When we finally strolled into the courtyard, the stable boys were just loading the last of the equipment- and I was still picking crumbs out of my hair.
"Good evening." Stables called out pleasantly, smirking at me atop his well-groomed steed.
"Whatever you say." I muttered, crossing my arms. I just wanted to get this show on the road. I watched as Caitlyn bade farewell to the kitchen staff who had gathered to see her off, she really had made a good impression in there; that girl really knew her French Fries from her Focaccia.
As I watched Gina and Caitlyn climb astride their mounts, I realised we were one horse short. I mean, the dozen guards who were accompanying us had horses, as did Drenton, the Prince's manservant, so they couldn't have forgotten me, right?
"You're riding with me Tabitha." Stables called down to me, making my heart sink like the Titanic. What did I do to deserve this torture? Hearing those dreaded words felt worse than the time I ate all my Easter eggs in one sitting.
"Lady Tabitha, it's only right after what happened this morning, it's not safe to let you ride alone." I glared at the Prince, it wasn't his fault, but I was on the verge of having a diva fit of Elton John proportions.
"Can't I just ride in the supplies cart?" I suggested, praying that would be acceptable. Drenton's toady eyes peered down at me, an unpleasant expression plastered across his pudgy face.
"You should know better than to question his highness's orders." He sneered, making me instantly remember why I didn't like him in the first place.
"And you should know better than to wear green and red together." I retorted, hearing Gina mumble "So true!" in agreement. Without another word, I sloped over to Stable's horse and clambered on, ignoring his offers of assistance. My pride had taken enough of a battering for that day.
"Hold on," He instructed softly, as I loosely wrapped my hands around his waist, "You'll have to hold on tighter than that- unless you wish to fall off?" I grudgingly increased my grip and emitted a weary groan-this was so humiliating, I felt like some bimbo-tastic damsel in distress; all I needed was one of those cone-shaped hats.
The Prince called for order amongst the chatter. "We shall ride until nightfall, and then set up camp in the forest for the night, Lord Stables will lead the way." The next thing I knew, there was a great clatter of hooves and we were off.
And so my journey home had officially begun...and what a journey it was!
End Of Part One
Part Two starts tomorrow, aka the magical journey to the Elder woods, expect randomness ;)