The Rebel's Heart: Part Three
Amaretta spoke quickly and could only hope that her racing heartbeat could not be heard. “But Father, this is supposed to be a health retreat, a time for relaxing and enjoying Neopia. If a knight comes, then the peace of nature will be threatened.”
The King frowned. “I do not agree. I do not wish for you to be left alone.”
Amaretta whined just a bit, hoping that it would sway her father. “But Daddy, I won’t be alone. Besides, you had Darena trained very well. Quiet’s servant, Ziana, will be with us as well. Both Darena and Ziana have been trained to protect us. You know that, you ordered Darena’s training and made sure that she was extremely powerful. Do you now doubt yourself?”
The King lightly scratched his chin, a habit that he had been trying to break himself of. “I do not doubt myself, but you are my daughter and a Princess. I don’t want anything to happen to you. You may never forget that you are a Princess first, my daughter second, and a girl third. Your position is who you are, regardless of whether you like it or not. Now go, I will make my decision and tell you tomorrow.”
Amaretta groaned, “But Dad, we were supposed to leave right after saying goodbye to you, which I have just done.”
Her father gave her a long look as he tried to decide what to do. “Very well. You may go on this retreat with Quiet, Ziana, and Darena. But if the war with Darigan comes before your time to be home, I will not allow you to stay in the forest. You must come home immediately.”
Amaretta bowed. “Very well, goodbye your majesties. Goodbye mom and dad.”
Amaretta then whirled around and walked away with her head held high, acting like the Princess that she was born to be.
“That was SO close, I nearly thought my plan was done for.”
Quiet stifled a chuckle and said harshly to Amaretta, “Your plan was done for the second that you conceived it. I cannot believe that you are going through with this, but fine. Amaretta, I will let off you and Darena once we enter the woods. There, you will find a place to change into the villager clothing that Ziana bought for you two a few days ago. You will carry your uniforms over your shoulders. Don’t forget, the uniforms belonged to your father, but he died not long ago. No matter what, you must remember that at the training camp, you are nothing. You are not a Princess, not an heir to any throne, not anybody.”
Amaretta nodded solemnly. “Yes, I know. But it is what I want more than anything in the world.”
Quiet shook her head. “Fine. It’s clear I won’t be able to change your mind.”
Quiet then looked towards the front of the carriage, to Ziana.
“Hey, Ziana, are we almost there?”
“We almost are, and it’s a good thing too. These cursed Unis are getting pretty tired.”
Amaretta looked at Quiet. “Cursed Unis?”
Quiet nodded. “Yes. I don’t know how it came to be, but these Unis were cursed by a dark faerie. They cannot speak and they have weak minds. We treat them well, but I had to make sure that no normal Uni would pull the carriage. Normal ones will only tell either your father or mine about what we’re up to.”
“Oh, that makes sense. Well, it seems like we’re here. Come on Darena, let’s go.”
Amaretta and Darena stumbled out of the Carriage and gathered up their belongings. Just before leaving, Amaretta went and talked to the Unis. “If it’s possible, I’ll try to find a way to de-curse you, once I return. Hopefully then you can be the normal Unis you once were.”
Amaretta and Darena, after changing and gathering their clothes, walked to the village.
Darena inhaled deeply, enjoying the fresh air, then said to Amaretta, “How am I to speak from now on? I want to speak respectfully, but if I do, people will ask questions. Also, how shall I speak around others? Slang is quite common. As much as I am not used to it, I will speak that way if necessary.”
Amaretta’s eyes lit with the fire that can be created only by joy. “Darena, speak however you want. I’ll speak like I always have. If anybody asks, you were the Princess’ servant, but when she grew up, she replaced you.”
Darena gasped, “But my Princess, that makes you look horrible.”
Amaretta barked, “That’s Amaretta to you, peasant.”
Darena looked shocked for only a moment before understanding overtook her mind and her facial features, “Fine then, Amaretta, whatever you want, your royal majesty.”
Amaretta and Darena laughed together.
“But Amaretta, aren’t you worried that someone might recognize you?”
Amaretta shrugged. “Only a little. Only you, a few servants, and my parents know how I really talk and act. Most people think of me as ‘that royal Uni that lives in the castle’.”
Darena chuckled. “Well, that isn’t too far from the truth. I would know; I used to work for that Uni.”
Amaretta laughed as well. “It’s nice to know how everybody else thinks I act. Of course, you can’t really blame them for thinking what they think. Father can’t stand how I act. Like he’d really let all of his subjects know how rebellious I tend to be. I could walk up to just about anybody other than my parents and tell them that I’m the Princess. They’d laugh me out of Neopia. My father made sure that I had a low profile. I’ve rarely been out of the castle, and usually only with guards surrounding me and servants following me. Few ‘common’ pets have ever seen me. Most pets think of me as stuck up and prissy. You know that I’m not, but most pets don’t. That is what will work to our advantage at this camp.”
“Welcome, new recruits. As I’m sure you know, we are about to be at war with Darigan. He has been attacking cities all around our borders as well as our southern border. We must be prepared to fight, and that is why this training camp has been set up. Attendance is not mandatory, but it is encouraged. We are here to learn how to fight and how to defend this great land!”
Amaretta and Darena cheered along with all the other pets present, but Amaretta cheered even more than anybody else. It was her dream to learn how to fight. Her ultimate dream was to be a knight, but she realized that she would not turn into a knight without first learning how to fight and defend her kingdom.
A pirate Krawk addressed the assembled pets, “Now, recruits, we will start out by assigning everybody a number, shelter, and basic weapons. Please line up at the welcoming station to receive what you will need for your first two weeks here. Afterwards, you may increase in skill and you will learn different things. You will all learn at your own paces, but for the first two weeks you will be training with those around you, regardless of your skills. Now, please form an orderly line by the welcoming station. Thank you and good luck to all!”
Amaretta and Darena got in line and waited for their information. As they waited, they fantasized about what they would learn and what their beginning weapons would be.
“They’re probably going to give us a Wooden Blocking Shield and a Sword Of Domar.”
“Well, probably to start out anyway.”
The two pets kept talking until they arrived at the station. Amaretta was in line first and waited as the Draik handed her a small piece of paper with her information.”
“Ok, Uni, your number is 648 and your quarters are just to the East of the information center. You will be in cabin 49 and you will have bunk 5. Your weapons will be an Engraved Broad Sword and a Leaf Shield. You will find those on your bunk. Good luck; pets everywhere are counting on us.”
Next, Darena received her information from the shadow Draik.
“Zafara, your number is 493. Your quarters are at the Northernmost part of the camp. You will be in cabin 94 and you will have bunk 7. Your weapons will be an Engraved Broad Sword and a Leaf Shield. You will find those on your bunk. Good luck; pets everywhere are counting on us.”
As Darena and Amaretta walked together, they realized that they were going to be very far apart. The information center was at the southeast of the camp, and Amaretta’s cabin was just east of the center. The camp was large, and Darena would be at the northernmost part of the camp. The two pets wanted to be housed together, but they knew that the Draik just grabbed the cards randomly and gave them out to the pets. It wasn’t his choice where the pets were housed.
“Come on, all we have to do is ask to be housed together. I’m sure that the head of the camp will allow us to be together.”
Amaretta reasoned, “Perhaps, but first he’ll want to know why we deserve special treatment and get to choose where we are housed. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want the entire camp to know who we are. We’re just normal pets now. I’m sure that we’ll get to see ourselves during our training, and we can always eat together. We just won’t be bunked together.”
Darena sighed. “Yes, I suppose that you’re right. We should get our things in our cabins and go to sleep. We have a big day ahead of us tomorrow.”
To be continued...