Recap: Polly, while impersonating the princess, has been kidnapped by an enchanter and his trainee, and taken far, far away from her home… where she meets the very princess she was impersonating. Further discoveries reveal that Polly, the princess, the Enchanter and his trainee are all being threatened by a malevolent magical being known as a jadess… Chapter 1 is here..
Chapter 6A: Interlude – Longing for Bread
I got up the next morning and looked at my dress with some trepidation. Whatever material the princess’s dress had been made of wrinkled awfully easily, and the under-dress I’d been wearing looked odd with wrinkled blue bands around the edges. The sash was even worse; it was no longer usable.
Blast those princesses and their delicate fabrics, I sighed. I looked over at the chest in the corner. I hadn’t tried on a single one of those robes, though Paulina wore them all the time. I didn’t dare – especially after what Stefan had said about the Peak. If the dresses were created and maintained by magic, like the rest of the house, I wasn’t sure I fancied wearing something that would disappear if they forgot to maintain it. But there was nothing else to wear.
Paulina wears them quite safely, I told myself sternly. So I sighed and put one on. It was cherry red, with dark blossoms embroidered at the shoulders and long, trailing sleeves. It was pretty, but it made me feel even more uncomfortable than the princess’s dresses had. It was so – foreign.
Paulina smiled at my dress when I came down for breakfast. Breakfast was doughy paste with spicy syrup again. We had run out of figs, so Stefan said he’d have to go out and get some more. I sighed at this. Stefan, Casper’s errand-runner; I couldn’t understand it. But I also sighed because figs were becoming less appealing every day.
“Don’t you ever get anything else?” I asked.
“The market doesn’t have anything else,” Stefan muttered. “Nothing that doesn’t require cooking.”
“Well,” I stood up. “I guess I have to cook. At least I know how. Let me see your pantry.”
“We don’t have one,” Stefan replied.
I sighed again and looked around. Casper was still sleeping, so he wasn’t there. Looking at the empty shelves I said, “I guess I’ll just have to make a list and you can pick it all up at the market when you get figs.”
“You’ll have to wait till Casper gets up before I go,” he replied.
“Do seriously still think we’ll try to escape if you guys aren’t around to watch us?” Paulina asked. “We’ll be fine. Besides, I doubt your magic would let us out of the gates unless you wanted it to.”
Stefan’s head jerked around to stare at her. “You saw the spells there?”
“No,” she replied. “It just makes sense, knowing you two.”
So I made a list of ingredients I used in cooking back in Angaria, hoping Stefan would be able to find them here. If only I could go shopping myself! But at least I could do something about the meals. Flour, I wrote down, eggs, milk…
Stefan came back with most of the ingredients, and I was relieved to see they looked almost the same as back home. I unpacked them and arranged them on the shelves in the first floor room. From now on this would be the kitchen. I certainly wasn’t using the dark, messy room upstairs.
Bread, I thought, that’s what we need. Nice, fresh, normal bread, not little wafers or biscuits. With jam, but I wasn’t sure if there was jam here.
With exasperation I realised there were no utensils. Not even a bowl! I thought, looking around. Blasted impractical enchanters. Whatever Casper had used when he’d tried to cook before it wasn’t around anymore. Quite likely he’d only been using magic.
So instead I emptied out a large flowerpot, washed it out, and began mixing bread dough up in it. My sleeves got in the way so I tied them around my elbows, humming as I worked. I poured in the flour and began to knead.
“Drat you, girl, what are you doing in here now?”
Casper was standing in the door, doing his best to appear long-suffering. I groaned.
“Why don’t you just sleep in the rest of the day?” I told him. I could tell he was irritated. Radagast, who’d been lying on a rug by the window, sat up and looked at him.
Casper sighed and ran a hand through his reddish hair. “What a day to decide to finally accept that chest of clothing.”
I reddened slightly as I looked down at my floured red dress.
“I didn’t dare to before,” I replied, “If it was made by your magic.”
The Enchanter stared at me, then laughed. The teardrop in his ear swung.
“That’s what you were worried about, was it?” he said, with amusement. “You needn’t worry.”
I crossed my arms and glared. That was a bad idea. Flour from my arms now coated the front of my dress completely.
“How well you think of me!” he said. “Was there anything else you wanted to ask?”
“Where’s your oven?” I asked.
“Upstairs,” he replied. “With the rest of my cooking stuff. Whatever possessed you to do your cooking in here?”
“It looks more like a kitchen,” I retorted. “Well, can you get me an oven, or do I have to roast this in the fireplace?”
Casper gave a long sigh and lazily lifted his arms. There was a flash and a beautifully shiny oven appeared in the corner. His sharp eyes glittered as he looked at me.
“Satisfied?” he asked. Turning he swept out of the room, his swirling coat billowing behind him.