‘Here you go,’ Damia said, placing a tray on the table by the door. Rowena was standing in front of the mirror, carefully checking her appearance in the mirror.
‘Do I look alright to you Damia?’ Rowena turned around, seeing the approval of the woman who had been her only companion for the last two years. Damia knew the Princess looked beautiful, and she felt a surge of anger inside. She could never look like Rowena.
‘I feel so sick,’ Rowena protested, looking at the food in front of her. ‘I’m not sure I’ll be able to keep anything down if I do manage to eat it. I’m so nervous.’
‘At least have some tea.’ Damia held out the cup to the Princess. ‘Vincent made it specially.’ A look of fear crossed over Rowena’s face as she realized how this must look.
‘You didn’t tell them why I was having breakfast this early did you? You didn’t say anything about the Prince?’
‘Of course not my lady. I didn’t breathe a word, I only said that you had risen early and wanted to breakfast earlier than usual.’
‘And they didn’t press you?’
‘I don’t think so.’ Damia was thankful she’d had a lot of time to practice her lying skills. Her voice was perfectly even, her face gave nothing away and she felt calm.
‘Good,’ Rowena sighed, feeling relieved to have that weight taken off her shoulders. She took the cup from Damia, lifted it to her lips and took a long sip of the tea. ‘That feels much better,’ she said, putting the empty cup back down on the tray. Turning to the window, Rowena was anxious to know how the Prince was progressing. He was very close now, she could make out the colour of his horse, a brilliant chestnut colour, and the way he was riding his horse, like a man who spent a lot of time in the saddle. ‘Look Damia, he’s nearly here.’
Rowena crossed her fingers in front of her where Damia couldn’t see them, praying that he would be able to reach her without drawing the attention of Narcissa. If Vincent saw him, there would be little he could do to stop the Prince from entering the tower and Rowena wasn’t sure if he wanted to stop her from escaping. After her ordeal with Narcissa, when she had been tortured for information, she had been less trusting of the man who kept the keys to her prison, but secretly she felt he wasn’t a villain at heart.
As Rowena moved away from the window, her head began to spin and she had to grab hold of a chair to steady herself.’
‘Crown Princess?’ Damia’s eyes were fixed on the Princess, knowing the reason for this sudden turn. ‘Are you alright?’
‘I think so. My head is feeling a little woozy, that’s all.’ She tried to move forward a few steps, but stumbled and Damia stepped forward to catch her.
‘You’ve obviously over exerted yourself my lady,’ Damia said, supporting the Princess on her right side and leaning on a chair to her left to keep her balance. ‘It’s all this excitement. It’s not good for you.’ She steered Rowena towards the bed. ‘I think you should lie down for a minute or two Princess.’
‘B-but the P-prince,’ Rowena said drowsily, her eyelids drooping.
‘It will take him some time to get past all those locks. You have time to rest for a few moments before he gets here. Don’t worry,’ she said as she laid the Princess’s limp body on the bed. ‘I’ll make sure I wake you up when he arrives.’
‘Thank you,’ Rowena slurred as she rolled over into a ball. ‘You’re such a good frie…’ Rowena’s eyes closed and her words tailed off.
Damia stood over the body of her mistress, checking she was well and truly knocked out before she hurried over to the closet, taking out one of the Princess’s dresses. Taking the scissors from her sewing box she made a cut in the hem of the dress, then, taking the material in both hands, she tugged on it hard. A horrid ripping sound echoed round the quiet room. She continued cutting and ripping, repeating the actions until the dress was ruined.
‘Time to play my part,’ Damia said to herself as she changed into the torn dress. She took one last look around the room, her eyes falling on the sleeping body of the Princess before she left, shutting the door firmly behind her.