My new master led me along a series of hallways, which I had traveled before on my way to his chambers. That time, things had seemed larger and scarier. I had lurked through every shadow I could find, fearing that each one shrouded an armed guard ready to snatch me and escort me out of the castle. This time was much different. I was being led by the King’s Mage. This time no one would stop me, and no one would dare throw me out.
I had to hurry to keep up with his strides. I’d expected him to be slower and less sure of his way around, but I had to keep reminding myself that he wasn’t really blind as long as his lynx was by his side. She trotted beside him happily, scanning her surroundings diligently.
When we finally stopped outside a door, my master gave one knock and entered.
“Kareena!” he called.
As I entered behind him, a stout women bounced into view. She had a pleasant, round face that was accented by pink cheeks. Her thin hair was pulled up in two buns on the back of her head, but wisps of it that were too short to be contained floated freely in the air as she moved.
“Is this the girl?” asked the woman as she came forward.
“This is my apprentice, yes,” Seiya answered.
“Come, come let me look at you,” said the woman, taking my hand and leading me forward. She held my arms apart, looking me up and down.
“How long is it going to take, Kareena?” Seiya asked.
“I’ll work as fast as I can, you know,” Kareena said absent-mindedly. “Do you have a particular color in mind?”
Seiya spread his fingers. “I should know?”
“Sorry, honey, I always forget.” Looking straight at me this time, Kareena asked, “How do you feel about white, sweetheart? It would complement your complexion.”
I nodded my head, excited just to have a new dress. “That would be wonderful.”
“What!” came a cry so loud that everyone in the room turned their head toward the sound. Prince Dietwolf barreled through the door, slightly out of breath, catching himself on Seiya’s shoulders. “Did,” he said between gasps, “I hear—you say—white?”
“Yes,” Kareena said, drawing herself up to her full height, which still wasn’t very significant. “You certainly did, my prince.”
“Gods above, I’m glad I came when I did! Don’t put her in white! She’ll look like a corpse. Put some color on her!”
“Get off, Wolf!” the Blind Mage said, shaking his friend from his shoulders.
Kareena scoffed. “She’ll look nothing of the sort. You may be the prince, but remember who makes and mends your clothing, young man!”
“Ah, if my brother only knew how I let you all talk to me,” said Dietwolf, shaking his head with a smile.
With a sniff, Kareena flounced over to a basket and pulled out a length of string. Coming back to measure me, she said, “Fine, I’ll add some color, but I’m still going to make her a white gown. What color shall the trimming be, my prince?”
I waited while Prince Dietwolf squinted his eyes at me and tilted his head. Behind him, Seiya looked annoyed and was shaking his head in a silent sigh.
“Green,” said Dietwolf. “Green will be best for Miss Frisk.”
“Then green it shall be,” Kareena agreed.
“Malin,” said my master, “I have some things to attend to, but I’ll be back for you before Kareena is finished with you.”
“Yes, Master,” I replied.
“Out you get too, young prince,” Kareena said.
“Are you patronizing me, Madam Seamstress?” Dietwolf asked playfully. “I think I’d rather stay.”
“Oh, no you don’t,” said the older woman, shooing the prince out. “Go along and find some way to amuse yourself away from this young lady. Out!” I couldn’t help but laugh as Kareena threatened the Prince with a shiny sewing needle.
“All right, fine!” he said.
Seiya stood on the other side of the door with a wide smile on his face.
“And why are you smiling, Seiya?” asked the Prince. “You realize this means that I’m going to follow you around all morning.”
“Of course,” Seiya chuckled, “because as the prince you have no other duties to perform.”
Kareena shut the door with the men on the other side then looked at me and rubbed her pudgy hands together. “Now, let’s make a gown, shall we?”