- Your highness, are voa listening to me ?
As though caught in the act, Zélée snapped her head around and away from the window and with her sweet smile so charming, but a bit contracted :
- Yes, of course.
Her teacher fetched a weary sigh, eyes lifted up :
- My lesson is boring voa, Io know that. But how will voa manage the planet without knowing anything about it ?!
Zélée whispered to herself, always impressed by this kind of reflection about her future, which was coming nearer and nearer :
- Iam aware of that
- So, in 2123
At last, she could leave this room of which she knew every cleft on the walls, for she spent so much time detailling them in her dreams. She saw Mimisha at the end of the corridor, and she came to her :
- Yoa have come to support me during the exit of my classes now ?
- Ia took pity on voa. Especially when Ia saw the weather today. So ideal ! Ia thought this morning would be a real torture and voa would look outside a lot
- Totally right.
- To forget all this and to relax voa, what do voa think of a walk ?
- Wonderful ! Ia was thinking of that too. Prepare Goba for me, but Ia first must see the queen.
Entering into the throne room, she passed beyond several fellows (it was the complaints day !), and they all inclined in front of her. It has always been this way; everybody was in her service and prostrated before her, but she had never gotten used to it and always wondered how to react. In the end she decided to act like there was nothing going on.
- Your highness, Iam absenting myself from my company Lady.
- Voa can go out, but do not loiter on the way. About your servant : Ia need her. Send her to me.
- Sure, my mother.
She kissed the front of the queen and hurried to the stables. Mimisha was waiting for her there with Goba and another bolbolkwo, and the princess told her to join the queen.
After a ride at full speed, cut by some dismounts and a walk, Zélée halted in the right middle of the pampa where the cyme of the trees let some sunlight pass. She stayed for admirating this scene, serene.
A smashing noise made her jump but before she realized anything, Goba reared, made her fall on the ground, and ran away. Trees near her were uprooted and others were lying down. The dust scattered, and at about ten meters from her, she discovered a crashed spaceship.
With terror, she realized she was alone : she called after Goba unsuccessfully and finally she thought about the travellers who could be inside.
Zélée came near the front window-pane, fissured and flimsy but not broken, wiped the dirt covering it and caught a glimpse of a leg in the cockpit. She looked quickly to see where the entryway was and went ahead to it. The door, distorted by the impact, offered an opening, one which she tried to enlarge by applying as much pressure against it as she could with her legs. All she was able to do was move it a little, but it was enough to thread a way.
She found only one traveller : the pilot. The uplean princess examined him quickly to verify he had no important wounds, and then pulled him by the arms to extract him from the ship.
When she came back outside : Goba had returned. He was coming around shyly to her. Zélée set the pilot down slowly and came near her bolbolkwo, took his bridle sweetly, made him lie on the ground, and hoisted the traveller up on her mount's back arduously.
Holding Goba with his bridle she entered in a sub-gallery, a true labyrinth she knew by heart. In a bigger cavity, she layed down the pilot and went out to gather some twigs and long blades of grass to weave the survivor a pillow :
- Mimisha, never would I have thought your little manual works would be helpful one day !/blockquote>
When she finished installing her protected one, she realized what time it must be and jumped on Gobas back and left in a hurry.
Mimisha, behind the gate of the stable, was waiting for her with impatience. Zélée had just enough time to get down before a squire took Goba and Mimisha pulled her rapidly away by the arm. Mimisha did not answer the innumerable questions her mistress was asking her; the situation was beyond Zélée.
Arriving in the princess suite, Mimisha gave Zélée her ceremony clothes, which she had to hastily pull on.
Zélée was executing all her orders with a good grace, but she wondered with inward irritation as to who was the servant and who was the princess.
Ready at last, Mimisha led her again with a strong hand, almost brutally, and only released her in the antechamber of the temple where her mother was waiting for her.
- Ia would like to understand whats going on !
- Ia told voa to not loiter on the way ! Voa will have to learn to be punctual, my daughter !
The main door of the temple opened on them, Zéninuma inhaled shortly, held her daughter's arm, and led her solemnly to the altar.
Zélée finally understood what was happening. She stood in front of the Devos, who took her right arm delicately and began to thread the bangle, making her officially the future queen of Upleas.
Then he took the ruby, representing the heirs of the crown, and drove it into her flesh. The dauphiness would hold it for her entire life. Her arm was in pain, her lip was tight and her eyelids squeezed closed in an attempt to contain the misery she was feeling under the pressure of this stone, which was taking its place on her anterior member.
Once the ceremony finished, the subjects of the court inclined when she was led into the main lane to go outside, and the people acclaimed her.
The royal couple was standing a few inches behind her. The queen was proud and commited to her husband :
- No sound. We heard no scream of pain. Vshe is strong, our daughter. Ia dont think that ever happened
After the festivities and after she recovered of all her emotions, Zélée prayed her parents to receive her and to grant her the possibility to spend all her afternoons outside to practice her art - drawing - her only passion.
First, her mother was disappointed, she would have loved her daughter to now spend her free time managing the planet. Zélée proposed to take care of that in the morning, in alternance with her lessons.
- Practice is better than theory.
Her parents thought that this was a good argument and in one sense, it would be a nice way to introduce her into what will be her everyday life in a few years.
Even if nobody ever saw her pieces, the taste of the princess for art was very known, and her father, who enjoyed seeing her happy, would have defended her against the queen if she had forbidden this "little" favor.
- That could only be a benefit for her.
Added Idlé, with an intonation a bit bantering when Zélée left the room.</blockquote>
End of the first chapter