"My lord, you will have to confront her sometime soon." My manservant advised, hurrying to keep up with me. "Her attitude towards you grows more amorous each time she sees you. You must tell her that you do not share those feelings."

I scowled. "Shut up. I know what I'm doing." The manservant closed his mouth into a tight line and walked away. I turned and headed outside, to the gardens. Massive trees, hedge mazes, fountains fountains fountains. It was beautiful. I loved France. It was beautifully blue and green in the summer, the language flowed from tongue to tongue, I was taking pains to learn it, though my people's translators made that unnecessary.

I had lied to Salina. I had no important business to take care of, they sent me to this backwater planet so that I would stay out of trouble while the king sorted out the dissent on our home's neighboring planet. If it turned to war I'd be called back home, but until then, it was just keeping me here, where I had no responsibilities. I was grateful, I guess.

Wandering around, lost in thought, something caught my eye near one of the flowerbeds. It was the new girl, in her new uniform, a full length dress with apron and coat. It wasnt particularly conventional, everyone wore lighter fabrics on my home planet but it was better in this climate to dress warmer, and it fit the environment of the palace. She was kneeling on the path, getting her skirt dirty, as she picked flowers clumsily, pulling them up near the bottoms of their stems and laying them on the gravel beside her. Bright yellow tulips, orange marigolds, blue and white violets.

"Oh, no." I said, interrupting her work. She looked up at me.

"What?" The single syllable was violent, rude. I ignored the tone and knelt beside her.

"Salina hates violets. She claimes they make her nose itch, I think she just doesnt like purple blue or white, so avoid lavender as well." She stared at me. I ignored her and plowed on.  "The marigolds should never mix with tulips, so many petals on one flower, so few on another. Tulips go well with daffodils and lilies. The tiger lilies with the orange petals will do nicely, as will the yellow daffodils. Take the marigolds and put them in a bouquet with roses, of any color, particularly pink and yellows."

She gathered her flowers, leaving the violets on the ground. She looked down at me for the first time. I did not stand.

"Thanks." She said, apparently with some difficulty, then strode off toward another flower bed covered in the flowers I'd described. I stood, taking the violets with me, heading back inside.

"Oh, Salina doesnt like roses. Those are for me." I said as I walked past her, smiling. Perhaps I would take a transport to the Eiffel Tower later and survey my kingdom from the heights of its top.

The End

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