In tight tempo with the draft of the castle, a maid sets down a tea tray, left to wait in a room that would otherwise seem empty of still living wakeful things, save the music box figure wearing away at it’s paper.
The maid leaves, knowing well how to greet her mistress, rarely, to respect her station.
A body strange and small crawls up to meet this intrusion on the space, glaring up at the stubborn grace of the only slightly disadvantaged attendant. A Princess couldn’t be cared for by a real honest peasant after all.
And so enthralled, not by any pertinence of figure but rather by her stature. The maid while not particularly tall for a human was certainly a more convenient size to traverse the room. Even on ugly soft slippers, or hard wooden clogs, there was grace to the alarming size of human beings.
The weight of cloth around such partial bodies was not a weakness, but admittance was if anything disregarded. Which in the moment left them with little to say. Emboldening a rather pathetic notion, being bigger, taller, walking a whole lot less carefully to the tray, and taking of the choice treats with much less struggle.
But Shelli also knew that they’d lack the grace to make such a change- ideal. If they so suddenly as the thought gotten their wish, if little Shelli were made big, they’d certainly lose their front teeth for their sudden gawkiness, and truly such would be unseemly alongside their Princess.
Even now they were not to be called graceful but by their most fooled strangers, even their Princess did know that. Ten years should do that for any two intelligent creatures, and certainly the Princess was never a well-fooled stranger.
They stir from their thoughts looking up at the Princess who was neatly seated at the bedroom table waiting on Shelli’s meandering. The acting Monarch had managed to make her own tea with little notice, taking a sip on cue.
“I quit!” they said deep but still an alto, rather absurd to hear from such a tiny thing as them, but it wasn’t to be argued by anyone who was familiar.
“W- Why?”, she asked in a much-royal flush, as Shelli flipped the other teacup.
“I’m not writing today. I give up! There’s not a muse’s word in my soul, I’m going back to bed.” Shelli said, ever so unhappy. Now languishing in the cup.
“Oh, please don’t then. That is a bit much as far as claims.” The Princess responded now much less concerned.
But Shelli would have none of it, “Doesn’t matter, I have no worthy thoughts today, and so I’ll go back to sleep.” They said, not making a move to leave the cup and do so.
At this the Princess picked them up, cup and all, to speak clearer and closer. “Goodness, won’t you have some tea at least. I’ve only just woken up, and I’d much rather have my time with you while you were wakeful.”
Shelli was a might bit shocked in her position, the cup vibrating with the Princesses nerves. “I’m certain you would. I’m rather entertaining, I'll have you know.”
Shelli had always concerned themself with their height, more over their distinct lack of it. Being small enough to squash incidentally, this was in large part the origin of their, temper. Catastrophizing. That was what they preferred to do.
But under the Princesses gaze, it was quite easy to trust, that her size might very well be erroneous. Even as the Princess made a point of their difference. “It’s a long way down.” Shelli continued, shoving the Princess right off from her intentions.
“Sorry. I’d gotten in a mood.” The Princess said, putting the cup down along with her friend.
“It’s alright.” Shelli said, trying to extract themself from the teacup as gracefully as possible. This wasn’t especially hard, but the main concern at their scale was throwing anything else on the tray down to the floor in the act.
Luckily they were at least well practiced in the traversing of cups, they rather had to be for hygiene’s sake.
“Father expects my presence at Court.” The Princess says forlorn. It was her great misfortune of course; such horrid expectations, teach the girl statecraft then seed a new runt just in time to die.
“Didn’t I just say I was off back to bed?”, Shelli said, offering leisure in lieu of entertainment. Watching their Princess.
The Princess smiles at this, as she drips a spoon full of her tea in the saucer. “Yes well, that’s hardly an invitation to dodge a King!”, she says in defense.
Like that was really an option under better circumstances, she could only be so happy that his mother was more broodmare than tactician.
What a wonder how they’d be seen if not for that.
“It is if it’s your brother.” Shelli says, as they drank from the saucer. A hand doused as they looked through the particulates. Pretty red ochre leaves suspended in the soft swell of water.
Shelli watched as the thought swam past her mind, amusement faltering to horror, dereliction of duty- the last she’d be aloud before marriage. Before becoming the lady of some foreign house.
Before giving away all her childish things. “Hardly, I’m acting Regent until that twerp grows some grass.”
“What then?” Shelli says, absently enjoying the taste of their tea’s leaves, gritty and bitter even with cream.
“Well, I might well lock myself away until I can become a nun.” She says glibly.
“I wonder, do they let fairies live in nunneries?” Shelli said, thinking of the shape of old abbesses out aways. The glamourous presents made dower by the more familiar human connotations.
“I’d rather not think of that.”
“And I’d rather not be left in that music-box while your off self-flagellating, or whatever lesser joys are bequeathed to merry-sisters of the cloth.” Shelli spilled, the words and the saucer.
Which was only really Shelli’s to concern themself with, as the Princess responded, “I’m certain it isn’t that interesting.”
“It should be, if it’s a worthy thing.” Shelli said, “Makes me wonder why it would be your only option.”
“If peasants are unseemly, aren’t spinsters more so?” the Princess asks, tilting her head to the door. It was a thought she’d voiced before, the untidy reason for such high-bound chastity.
Shelli continued with that youthful attitude, “But aren’t the abbesses just giant spinning wheels?”
“Of course, but it’s much less whorish to do such things in a nunnery.”
The fairy surrendered themselves to this notion, if only for now, “Well. If sleep is also, maybe I’ll take to your pocket and follow after.”
“And leave my pockets smelling of tea and milk?”
“It’s not as if the maid didn’t set me a bath. The water won’t take long to cool even now. That is, if you pour it for me.” They said, pointing to the water pitcher the maid had provided.
The pair had kept many secrets in the last ten years as heiress and entertainment, but the fairy’s bathing habits simply weren’t on the list. They couldn’t be, for their desired form of mess.
“I suppose it would serve us both if I left my tea under-sweet,” the Princess muses, as the water cools in the cup left clean for Shelli.
It was never going to happen, most with the luxury of sugar are bound to overuse it, even more so when stressed. Since the Princess was human it was unlikely she’d change even with Shelli as an inconvenience.
Shelli tilted themself in with greater care given the chance of a spill, and the Princess turned away rather fast, looking, likely enough for her over-things. Not the finery, simply her higher robes for presentation at court.
Shelli wondered, if they are to hide in the monarch’s pocket like they had when she was young, what kind of support were they?
“Certainly, it’d be unseemly to be big. Wouldn’t it?” Shelli muses, disregarding the notion. It was enough that they did not settle into true and proper sleep in the pocket across their princess’s hip. They were not showing at court, only stowing away, though truly either thing promised satisfactory boredom for rest.
Shelli scrubs at her hair and skin, working off the oils from the tea, the proteins from the milk, and their certain. What desire would there be to heat her princess's face if they were not so small?