LN Part 21: What's Going On? by RedPhantom ()
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The next morning, Ann and Andy returned to Ann’s room early and had breakfast sent up. They were still eating when there was a knock on the door. A page delivered a piece of parchment carefully folded and sealed with three seals. Andy handed it to Ann. She looked at the seals and frowned.
“What’s wrong?” He asked.
“I don’t recognize the center seal.” She told him. “The first is my father’s. The last is Pt’this’s, but I don’t know if I’ve ever seen this middle one.” She stared at it a moment longer.
“Should we open it and see if there’s a clue inside?” Andy asked.
“I should know all of these.” She took a knife and cut the seals. She read the message and frowned.
“Well?” Andy asked.
“It doesn’t say.” She said not looking up.
“What does it say?” He prodded.
“It’s a formal summons. We’re to appear this morning in my father’s audience hall.”
“It doesn’t say.”
“You don’t suppose he found out about the night you woke up?”
“If he had, he’d send guards, not pages.”
“When do we need to be there?”
“A couple of hours. Time to eat and get dressed.”
They continued eating. After a while, there was another knock on the door. It was Sapphire.
“Decided to use the stairs today?” Ann teased.
Sapphire shrugged. “Well, the gardeners are out. I figured I’d keep out of their way.” She sat down with them. Ann offered her some food.
“I just got this.” She handed Ann a parchment like the one they had received. Ann showed her theirs.
“Do you know the center seal?” Ann asked.
“You’re a princess and an ambassador, and you’re asking me?”
“Just hoping you’d seen it on something Pt’this received.”
“Do you know what this is about?”
Ann shook her head. “No idea. I thought maybe you’d know since it had Pt’this’s seal on it.”
“It’s got your dad’s too.” Sapphire pointed out.
“Yeah, but you actually see Pt’this.”
“Good point, but he didn’t say anything about it. He left early this morning before I woke up.”
“I didn’t think this was what he meant by ‘other things,’” Andy said.
“What?” Sapphire looked surprised.
“Oh, last night, after you fell asleep, I felt bad for monopolizing your evening, figuring you guys had other things planned. He said the other things could wait until morning,” Andy explained.
Sapphire blushed but said nothing.
“What’s he feeling?” Ann asked.
“Several things, most are normal for when he’s with your father, but he’s anxious about something and a little excited. I don’t mean ‘other things’ excited, just like something’s going to happen.”
“Let me contact him,” Ann offered. She spoke aloud so her friends could hear at least half the conversation.
'Good morning. Did you sleep well?'
“Very. Thank you for letting us use a bed.”
'No problem. Did you need something?'
“Just wondering where you are. Sapphire was looking for you.”
'I’m in court.'
'Busy day. Tell Sapphire I love her and will see her later.'
“He said he’s in court.”
“At this hour? Your dad doesn’t hold court this early.” Sapphire frowned.
“I know. Pt’this also usually blocks me when he’s in court. He said they had a busy day. He also said to tell you he loves you and would see you later.”
“He didn’t say anything about the summons?” Andy asked.
“No, not a word.”
“He was surprised when you said I was looking for him. I think he was expecting you to ask about the summons.”
“What’s he feeling now? Anything different?”
“He’s amused about something.”
“This is a formal summons right?” Sapphire asked after a moment.
“That’s what it says.” Ann nodded, looking over the message again.
“That means formal dress, doesn’t it?”
“I haven’t been home since we went to Resdelk. All my dresses are in Thager.”
“That could be a problem. We don’t have time to buy you a new one now. You and Mother are the same size. We could see if she has something you could borrow.”
“I can’t wear the queen’s clothes. It wouldn’t be proper.”
“What about Irkali’s?”
“Like she would let me.”
“Then I guess you’re going to have to just wear whatever you do have that’s clean. My clothes won’t fit you.”
“I guess I’ll have to. I don’t have much choice.”
There was another knock. This time it was a valet requesting Andy’s presence in his own room for getting ready. While they had been gone, several outfits had been made for him, and the final fittings had been done over that last several days. He hadn’t worn any of them yet, being more comfortable in his jeans and shirts from home. Andy followed the valet.
The valet was followed by two maids and a page carrying a large box.
“Lady Sapphire?” The page asked.
“Lady?” Ann echoed with an amused smile. Sapphire shrugged, looking amused by the title too, and stepped forward.
“Sir Pt’this asked me to give this to you,” the page said.
“Thank you.” She took the box and laid it on the bed to open it. Inside was one of her dresses.
“What in the world?” She asked. She held up the dress.
“At least now you have something to wear.” Ann pointed out.
“But how did he get it?”
“Do you want me to ask him?”
“No, that’s okay.”
While they were talking one of the maids had picked out two dresses for Ann to choose from. Ann disliked both. She picked the lesser of the two evils.
The maids helped them change and do their hair. She could feel discomfort coming from Andy. He wasn’t used to having someone help him dress.
'Ann, is Sapphire with you still?' Pt’this sent.
'Is she okay?'
'Let me ask.' “Pt’this wants to know if you’re okay.”
“I’m fine,” Sapphire said stiffly.
'She says she’s fine. She’s not used to someone dressing her. Andy’s having the same problem.'
'Okay. Thank you. Would you tell her I’ll explain about the dress later?'
'Sure.' She relayed the message.
“He better,” Sapphire muttered. “Don’t tell him that,” she added quickly.
They met Andy when they were through. “The next time that valet comes to help me he had better take me to dinner first,” he muttered. Ann hugged him sympathetically.
“You two look very nice. You found a dress I see, Sapphire. You clean up nicely,” he told them as they went to the audience hall.
“You’ve seen me clean before,” Sapphire said indignantly. “I bathe frequently.”
“No. I’m sorry. It’s an expression. It just means you look very nice dressed up. It’s been a while since I’ve seen you dressed so nicely.”
“Oh, thank you.”