"It doesn't count if you're already planning your defeat."
"Well, what else am I supposed to do? It's not like I can just march up to the queen and ask nicely to give us the country back. 'Oh, your majesty, can I have the country back? Oh, no, and you're going to chop my head off for saying it?"
Grey grumbled beside me. "So instead you're going to have her make you her slave?"
"Not exactly, more like…. Yeah, never mind that's exactly what I'm going to do. But I'm not planning my defeat, my plan is my defeat."
Grey sighed. "Sara, I will never understand you. I'm going home before we get in trouble." Grey walked back to the dark side of the town square.
I hated that stupid rule about the "commonplace" and the "elites" while I may have it off good being an elite, it was hard to see Grey, my brother, wearing dirty clothes and living in a place where he had to sleep on straw mats on the floor while I had a whole floor of my house to myself. See, the thing is when we were babies our parents disappeared and we were adopted by different families. I had learned that Grey was my brother when I went on an adventure, there was this whole thing and… I can't relive that. Anyway, the commonplace and the elites are not allowed to meet according to law so Grey and I have to meet in secret. I had just told him my plan. I knew the plan was crazy but I had kind of hoped Grey would help me. I didn't really want to do it myself. I walked back to my house with its elegant white marble walls and tall columns. I stepped through the beautiful wooden door, engraved with polished gleaming flowers. As I stepped up the luxurious wooden steps, a servant took my coat. I hate this place. It wasn't like my adoptive parents were bad, or that I hated them, but I hated the putting on of a big fake smile and dressing up like a pretty pink princess all day. It was so tiring and fake. I walked into my father's study. Even though my father was one of the highest ranked elites with the most amount of money, I could see the toll of the war on his face. His eyes seemed to droop and his brow creased while he looked at papers spread out on his desk.
"Hi papa," I said, stepping in the giant office.
"Hey sweetheart. I'm sorry I couldn't go with you to the market, somehow all the papers messed up and I couldn't find anything."
It wasn't like I wanted to cause him more stress, but I knew he would never approve of me seeing Grey, I had to get him to stay so I could go alone. Although he was a nice person and helped some of the commonplace, it would be bad for the daughter of the Queen's right hand man to be seen talking to commonplace. Although, I guess he wasn't really the Queen's right hand man anymore. I traced my finger across the dark mahogany shelves that lay all across the room. Spotless. Of course. The maids would have cleaned it while my father was working outside. I scowled.
"Okay." My father got up and sighed deeply. "Do you want to go to the farm? I bet they still have some ice cream left for you."
I smiled back at him. "Perfect."
As we sat down to eat on the small wooden benches, I smiled. This was one of the only places where I could feel normal, like I didn’t have a father who was the highest elite next to the Queen. Like I could just be myself. I didn’t want to do this, but I worked up the courage to ask my father,
“Can I go with you to see the Queen next time?”
My father sighed. “I don’t know Sara, it could be the meeting that helps us win the war.”
I put on my pretty princess smile. “Please daddy? Wouldn’t it be great publicity to bring your daughter to an important meeting? It would show you care about your family."
"Alright, alright, cogitationem pessimism meus. You always find a way to trick me.”
My dad taught me latin when I was growing up and cogitationem pessimism meus means my mischievous. I smiled back at him, a hint of sadness in my eyes that I didn’t let him see. Step one of my plan, complete. I didn’t know what to feel. On one hand, my plan had taken course. But on the other hand….I wasn’t elated at the idea of being a slave. I mean, who would? But I knew the plan was necessary to get the country back. To get back my home.
"Bye mama!" I waved at my mother as I walked to the carriage that would take me to the Queen. I felt sad knowing that I might never see my mother again, but I still kept a smile on my face as I waved at her.
"Let me take your bags, m'lady." a familiar voice said. I turned.
"Grey! I thought you weren't coming!"
"Well, I couldn't let my sister go to the Queen without me there to stop her from killing herself."
I smiled. "Thanks Grey."
"You'd do the same for me. Now let's get going, before someone sees us talking."
My hands shook as I sat in the carriage, and not just from the shaking. My dad had gone to sit in the front and I made up an excuse that I needed Grey to help me hold the bags down so they would bonk around every time we hit a pothole. Which I wasn't lying about by the way, I did make Grey hold all the bags down.
"So what's the plan?" Grey said, his voice straining from holding the heavy suitcases. "And why are you making me hold down these bags?"
"Because it seems more believable." I said, a smirk playing on my lips.
"Ugh." Grey let go of the bags. "So what's the plan?"
I had avoided talking about this, since I didn’t have a super formal plan, but I guess now was a good time to make one.
"Well, we march into the palace, become her slaves, steal the crown, and save the country.”
“Sure.” Grey rolled his eyes. “Because this is the best way to save the country.” He said, mimicking my voice at the end.
“I do not sound like that! And can you think of any better way to do this? My father is a good negotiator, but not good enough to--”
I jumped. Grey scooched away from me and pretended to hold the bags down.
“Sara.” My adoptive father stepped inside the carriage. “We’re here.”
I stepped out of the carriage and gasped. The castle was huge. It was marble white, reaching high as the clouds, and purple drapes hung from balconies with elegant vines growing up the castle walls. It was magnificent. Inside the castle, guards stood attentive, dressed in the purple and gold colors of the Queen’s most trusted. Jewels sparkled on tall columns and a chandelier threw light in every direction, dotting the whole room with sparkles of light. I wished my brother were here to see this. Grey would have loved it but commonplace weren't allowed in the palace except for the servants. I caught my breath. There, in the middle, on a regal throne made of velvet, sat the Queen. She held herself regally and wore a purple elegant flowing dress that seemed to be made for her. She looked at me and her eyes seemed to widen as a look of recognition passed across her face. But just as soon as it had come, it passed.
“Come,” The Queen said, still looking at me. I was mesmerized as I stepped towards the Queen until I was standing in front of her. She looked at me intently, then smiled.
“Hello, my daughter.”