I could always hear the excitement in Camille’s voice. Sometimes I wished to be by her side, if only to escape my responsibilities for a day. But that quickly ended when she was ambushed by bandits. Ever ready for a challenge, and, admittedly, a fight, Camille was brash enough to go four against one. I had always though Camille and Andalissa were out rolling in mud and swinging in trees when they abandoned me to Adrian and James, but I was wrong. Camille learned how to use a sword and dagger. It saved her life.
The chandelier tinkled merrily around her as she half buried her head in it, her feet thankfully firmly planted on the sturdiest ladder Geoffrey had been able to find. Muriel had decided the crystals weren’t brilliant enough, so had ordered Camille to clean them. One by one. All three hundred of them.
Camille nearly fell off the ladder at the sudden sound of the door opening. She clutched at the top of the ladder and carefully turned her head. Abigail was standing there, gaping up at her, a basket clasped in her hands and the hood of her cloak resting along her shoulders.
“What are you doing up there?” Abigail asked.
Camille grimaced. “Why do you think?”
Abigail shook her head. “Doesn’t Violet have the crystals cleaned every week?”
“Apparently not well enough.” Camille cast a stern look over at her sister. “Where have you been? It’s been ages, Abigail.”
“You won’t believe it, Camille,” Abigail said, stepping closer and idly rubbing one wrist vigorously against the side of her gown. “The prince’s family is back in the city. I ran into Adrian at the markets and he insisted I help him find a gift for the mermaid princess.”
A small smile cracked Camille’s face. “That must have been nice. To see an old friend.”
Abigail’s gaze fell to her basket. “Yes, well, he didn’t recognize me,” she muttered.
Camille sighed. “And you being you didn’t say anything more than necessary.”
Abigail glared up at her. “You know how chatty he is. He hasn’t changed. I suppose, if he’s back, Andalissa must be as well.”
Camille waved at the chandelier. “It’s highly unlikely Muriel will let me see an old friend,” she said dryly. “Though it’s nice to know they’re back. Maybe I can catch up with her at the engagement ball.” She smiled, a little maliciously, or so she liked to think. “Muriel can’t stop us from going. We’re blood cousins to the king.”
Abigail kept rubbing her wrist against her gown, an anxious look growing on her face. “You haven’t seen Madeline around, have you?”
“No. Not since she scampered out of here when you left.”
“Wait, have you been here the entire time I was gone?”
Camille looked up sharply at her sister’s disbelieving voice. “This is why you must not cross Muriel.”
Her sister swallowed and nodded before turning to leave. “Don’t worry. I’ll keep to the kitchens. If you see Madeline…”
“I’ll let her know you’re back,” Camille said, quickly and efficiently as she went to back to carefully cleaning the crystals.
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