Well, I had to write it first in Spanish and then translate it with some friends, but... here it is, my entry for the contest. I really hope there aren't much grammatical mistakes and such... And I surely hope it's not 'retarded english' like I predicted earlier!
A different birthday
“Elodie! Elodie?! For God's sake... where's she now?”
The shouts and footsteps of the marquis teacher of Decorum & Elegance classes resounded all over the galleries and corridors of the castle. I even heard him from my chamber. Any other person would have first looked for me there, but marquis D'Sinch... was not precisely your average person. He was a good person, though. A bit eccentric, with those curlers on his spotless white wig, and those pink tights he wore but... he really was a nice guy. It wasn’t his fault that I skipped his lessons. It was because I wasn’t in the mood. Yes, I know it wouldn't be the first time where I attended class without listening to the teacher, but this time it was really different. This time was my mother's first birthday... ever since her death.
Formerly, bells and trumpets would announce the big celebration of this event throughout the entire city. Commoners would have been invited to the exteriors of the royal castle, where a big fair would take place and a big feast would be given for all of those who could afford a seat. Large quantities of minstrels, merchants and comedians would assemble and open all kinds of stands. There would have been shops filled with chocolate, performances of music and poetry, jousts and archery competitions. Each year I would give my mother a hand-made gift. Nothing too complicated, for sure, since I insisted on doing it all by myself, with no help at all. The very first gift I made was a scarf. Well… I TRIED to make a scarf. I was too young and didn't know how to either sew nor knit. But somehow I managed to get some clothing cutting out a curtain, glue them together and gave them the shape of a scarf. When father saw what I done, he scolded me first, but he later praised me. “A gift done by yourself will always be more valuable than any treasure you may find”, he said.
Every year my mother would make me wear my hair loose, put my on a hood and take me secretly with her through the fair, so that I could play and get to know the commoners first hand. But this year... not only there wouldn’t be any fairs… but also my mother would no longer accompany me. How could I attend classes like this?
I yank opened the door and left my bedroom half-resigned half-upset. Then I saw D'Sinch arriving through the hall.
“Princess Elodie! Finally I found you! Have you perchance forgotten that...?”
“I appreciate the reminder, marquis, but your services will not be needed today.” I told him politely, with a tone so full of sternness and determination that even I got impressed.
“Oh. Sure. I get it” he said, though it was clear that he didn’t quite well understand a thing. “Is it because our last classes? Oh, Elodie, if my suggestion of the tutu for the dance classes disturbed you, you only have to tell me and...”
“No, no!” I answered, laughing. “I assure you it has nothing to do with you.”
“Ah, ok! That's a different problem! If it’s your will, then there will be no lessons for you today. Remember: you are the mistress. I'm just a modest teacher!”
And after that, D'Sinch left happily via the same way where he came. I could even hear him whistling. Much more serene now, I relaxed my shoulders and sighed, getting ready to hear the mocking remarks of the captain of the guard, my personal bodyguard Leon Luminière, the Knight of the Black Suit.
“Wow, Elodie. Such an insolent way to avoid your lessons. Do you really know everything that’s there to know about decorum and elegance? Have you learnt to behave with the perfect modesty and dignity of a true princess? Learnt how to move with the gracefulness of a swan? Because I would rather say that your movements resemble much more like a duck...”
“Humph. At least I know more about gallantry than you, my loyal knight.” I answered him, giving him back the taunt in a friendly way. Luminière loved sarcasm, and I loved his frankness, so… eventually we became engaged in a healthy 'snide competition'. We were good friends, but I would have never guessed the gift he would offer me that day.
Later, he would tell me that everything was Julianna’s of Ursul idea. She was my mother's guardian, she knew her quite well. She was also a good friend of my knight, to whom a long time ago she gave a deep black saxophone as a token of their friendship. The two of them had been as two peas in a pod since they were kids, and that became an unbreakable relationship of friendship when they reached adulthood. Even nowadays Luminière still carried that saxophone everywhere. My mother told Julianna how much her birthday meant for the both of us. How much we enjoyed each other.
So Julianna organized, without me noticing it, a little celebration for today... and Luminière had accepted, reluctantly, to be the one responsible of making me leave the castle without spilling the beans.
“It's almost Winter. You can't get out of the castle that way.” he said, entering my chambers (without asking me for permission, by the way), taking one of the coats that were hanging and putting it on my hands.
“Here, put this on.” he said. I looked at him incredulous, waiting for an explanation, but he simply insisted “Come on, quickly!”
Without even giving me the time to analyze the situation, he began to walk away through the hall, striding, so I had to put on the coat while running to catch him.
“What's going on? Where are we going?” I asked him.
“Outside the castle”
“A powerful seer has requested an audience with you. Alone”
He took me as fast as possible through the halls, grabbing my shoulders and pushing me to follow his route, which by the way was not the shortest one to exit the castle. Outside, we saw a little stand in which a mysterious hooded figure was seated, with a crystal ball in front of him.
“Princess Elodie... I've come to foresee you a brilliant future...”
That voice... where had I heard that voice before?
“I see you... as a famous model of renowned artists. Fabulous hairstyles, excellent dresses and astonishing discoveries await you if you attend marquis D'Sinch's lessons...”
Seated opposite of the seer I tried to lower my head to look him in the face, but when I did that, he bent his head backwards. When I bent to a side, he did the same to the other side. This went on until I tricked him and raised his hood. I doubt there's any need to say who was hiding under the hood.
“Oh my gosh, Princess! You have found me out!”
Luminière brought his hand to his face. I just simply kept looking at D'Sinch. The expression of my face surely was intimidating, since D'Sinch bolted quickly out of the stage with a guilty smile on his face. I looked at Luminière, who tilted his head. He pushed down the hood of my coat, took me by my arm and started to walk away from the castle.
“Aw aw aw! What's the matter now?”
“It's over! I'm sick of playing dumb. We're going to visit your mother right now”.
“You conceal it quite well, Elodie, but it's fairly obvious that you're depressed over this whole thing of your mother’s birthday. And we're going to fix that right now”.
“How... how do you know that?”
He didn't answer. He just pulled my arm and took me again into the castle. My mother’s tomb had come to be marvelous, full of flowers and clothings, giving it the appearance of a true grave for a queen. There we found Julianna, D'Sinch… and even the musician. So this was what they all had been plotting?
“Guys... I had no idea. It's so beautiful...” I turned to Luminière, who had his arms crossed, and he pointed to the front. I hadn’t seen him before, but father was also there. He took me by my hand and we walked together towards the grave. He was holding on his clenched hand a Lumen crystal.
“Elodie, there's still one detail missing… your gift”.
“Happy birthday... mom” I took the new scarf I made and put it over the tomb with care. For a moment it seemed to be that my mother's silhouette was at my side, with a maternal expression on her face. No, I'm really sure I saw her.
“We couldn't offer you a festival, but... I thought we could at least give you a last farewell” explained my father.
“It’s ok…” I answered, drying my tears. “As you always said... the best gifts are those made by hand... from the bottom of your heart.”