They fitted me up pretty quickly. And I mean really fast. They found the perfect dress- a sky blue floor-length with stitched ruffles and a floaty material sewed on top. My mother pinned my hair up in a falling-apart sort of updo, and they even painted my toenails just for me. When the crew was finished, they ushered my mother and me out the door with hurried smiles and pricked fingers(from sewing).
As we walk out of the palace and down some worn stone steps, I can't help but notice that my mother keeps throwing hazardous glances over her shoulder and has had her hand pressed hard against my back for, like, ever. Suddenly she jerks to the left, towards the entrance to the gardens. Instead though, she guides me around a large thorny rosebush and descends a few dirt steps. I duck under a couple branches of the low-hanging bushes and ask, "Where are we going? I thought we had to hurry to the ceremony."
She says, "Not at..the moment. We have....more important things to....to do." She continues half escorting half dragging me beside her. Now we are gliding down a long dirt path, with leafy grape vines strung above our heads, dappling the warm afternoon sunlight. We turn into a small chamber off the side of the path, with thick bushes for walls and a miniscule carved bench against the opposite side. I sit down and star at her intently. Finally she plops down, grabs my hand, and says, "Bri, listen. You have to understand. I will not be attending the ceremony. Niether will you're father. I recieved an urgent message from the government about...certain things. Now-you have to know, our life on Earth was much simpler. But since we have returned to Bri-topia---"
A blaring, tuneless trumpet horn interupts her and she quickly drops my hand as though burned by it. "Good Lord!" she stutters. "the Ceremony! You had better get going! And sweetie-" she bends down to kiss my cheek and whispers, "take care of yourself." Then she whips around through the branches and is gone.
"Mother?" I call, anticipation growing inside me. "Mother! What's been happening? Why-" I stand up and run around the corner. She is gone.
Um. Right. I am standing smack dab in the center of basically all of Bri-Topia. In front of me is the longest white carpet I have ever seen, leading up to a marble stage with gold streamers and an orchestra. As the violins begin a waltz-like tune, I slowly and unsurely take a few tentative steps across the carpet. Okay. A few more. Doing good. I finally stand at the hem of the stage.
The orchestra stops playing. The hum of the audiance ceases. The pastor asks me to kneel down. I scramble to my knees and bow my head. Then I place my sweaty hand over a large, yellowing book. I slowly repeat what he is saying. He told me, before the procession, that is was a promise I was making to the people, as a duty of my princess-being. I understand none of it, because it is in Latin. He says a few more words in Latin and places a shimmering white tiara over my head. I stand, the audiance claps heartily, and immediantly dozens of camaras start clicking, the orchestra whips up a happy jig, and people surround me and give me words of welcome and thanks.
I push past all of them and tear up the steps to the castle. I have no idea where I am going, but I do know one thing.
I need to find my mother.