Part 1: HERE
Part 2: HERE
Part 3: HERE
Princess Marigold was kept away from King Franz whenever possible, kept busy with duties in the kitchens or sent away to her room. Her father, King Midas, also elected to keep his visitor King Franz by his side whenever possible. Through these arrangements, he severely limited their daily interactions to mealtime greetings for the first week of their visit. But, even the powerful King Midas could not control everything.
The morning after their arrival, the Princess Marigold stopped John in the corridor after breakfast.
“My good sir. You are the manservant of King Franz, are you not?” She asked, her veil fluttering lightly with her breath.
“Indeed Princess. How may I be of service to you?”
“I wish to know more about our guest so that I might prepare meals and entertainment for his liking.”
“What do you wish to know, Princess?” John asked politely, guessing her inquires were more personal than political.
“Perhaps it would be best if you accompanied me to the kitchens, so that I might plan with the cooks. Do you have the time?”
“Of course, my lady”
John followed the princess at a respectful distance, where she asked many questions about the lad he tended from a tender age.
“King Franz, is he a good man? A good, kind, and generous man?”
“My lady, I have known him from birth and have never known a more affectionate and cheerful boy.”
“He must be so to inspire such loyalty in his manservant.” She replied, blushing under her veil.
“Pray, deliver this to your king.” She whispered, and handed John a letter, carefully folded to be easily concealed within her sleeve. She turned smoothly and left John in the kitchen yard to discuss matters of menus and bedclothes with the chamberlains and cooks.
“It is an honor to be of service to my King and Hostess” he replied, bowing deeply and tucking the note in his tunic.
Letters between the visiting monarch and the veiled princess were traded twice a day for several weeks by John’s hands. As the head servant of a visiting dignitary, he had the means and the excuse to wander accomplish this task discreetly.
“She is my angel” Franz confided to John upon reading the Princess’s correspondence. “She recalls seeing my face in her dreams, and describes the scene exactly as I recall from my own. This is fate, John!”
“It appears so, my boy.” John smiled weakly at the boyish face, alight with love. Remembering the similar look on Stefan’s face many years before.
“She wishes to join me on my journey home.” Franz gestured for his trusted advisor to sit in the chair opposite his own. “I am glad she asked it, as I did not know how to ask it of her.”
“Yes. She is a sweet girl. Asking her for such a sacrifice would be difficult, but this will make our plan all the easier to accomplish.” John replied.
“She warns that her father has sentaries all over the castle and the surrounding lands. She says she is watched at every moment.” Franz read from her latest letter, mining it for important details to aid in their deception.
“We will have to make her escape appear to be an abduction, so that the princess’s movements are not suspected.”
“She says that the only watchers she can trust are the trained ravens. They love her above her father, and will offer aid.”
“Then shall we proceed with the plan?” John asked, rising from his seat to begin preparations.
“Yes, John. Let us bring our new Queen home.”