As time passes at Praaven Castle, Velsa begins to win the affections of Queen Elsbeth....
And Martin continues courting the friendship of Prince Seth. Seth feels like nobody apart from Martin understands his complex personality.
Martin values the friendship too as it keeps him in favour with King Marcadius, thus shielding him from being sent off into battle.
Since the last chapter, Martin has tried his best to ignore Velsa, but nowadays Praaven Castle seems to have shrunk in size since the days when he wasn't avoiding her.
However, a year passes almost without incident.
Today Velsa is asking her mother what chores she can do to help out around the castle.
"Clean the bath-house if you like my lovely." is Catherine's suggestion. So off Velsa goes.
"I deeply apologise Majesty!" Velsa turns away faster than her cheeks can turn a deep Blossom Pink.
"Nonsense!" Yells Prince Seth and turns to Martin:
"Hey Old Boaty, do you mind? These wenches have to work or they'll become The Devil's Host!"
Martin has no valid reason to disagree with The Prince's suggestion. Inside he is panicking but quickly manages to mask his shock with a vacant, uninterested-looking nod.
Anxious to propitiate The Prince, Velsa quickly sets about cleaning up. The Prince, however, is in the mood for some entertainment:
"Tell me something Girl: What is it like to be so poor and having to clean up for somebody so rich? Tell me emotions, details - I want details!"
"Well, Majesty, I don't see myself as poor when I am so lucky as to keep the company of Your Royal Highness's here at the castle."
Martin marvels at her eloquent, albeit faked, reply. He is completely beguiled by the overwhelming beauty that accompanies her voice. Prince Seth is not nearly as impressed:
"Oh that's a stupid answer, and you're a stupid girl for thinking of such nonsense!"
Velsa cringes with dreadful anticipation; unfortunately she has encountered The Prince's mood swings far too many times.
"What do you say Old Boaty? This one needs flushing with the rats! Are you game?" But before Martin can think of an objection,
something happens that ALWAYS ruins Seth's day and he immediately leaps out of the water, like a frog from a boiling cauldren:
"MARGARET! CAN'T YOU CONTROL YOUR CHILDREN? EVERYONE OUT OF THE WATER!"
Margaret's clucking responses don't warrant the reply Seth needs so his rant continues:
"WAS IT YOU ALDERUS? Let me guess, BARBORINA!? YOU POOPED IN MY BATH AGAIN! YOU NAUGHTY, NAUGHTY CHICKLINGS!!"
Velsa tries to hide her smile as she watches the fresh remnants of chicken poop float to the bottom of the tub, though all too quickly her stifled amusement begins to dissipate. "Fetch my sword Boaty!" bellows The Prince.
Velsa turns away so as not to witness the needless execution of Seth's baby chicks.
She couldn't have been more wrong. . .
"Come here girl!" Seth seethes.
"My bath requires a deep cleanse, and we all know the best way to fulfill that task is with the blood of a virgin!"
Martin can't stand to see his crazy companion behave so stupidly towards Velsa and takes a crazy risk to save her, though he dare not entertain the motives controlling his behavior right now.
"Seth, you dumpling! That's WRONG! Only water can be cleansed with the blood of a noble, not a virgin!"
The Prince looks confused for a moment but quickly realises his error:
"Of course! Because a noble's blood outranks all peasant virgins'!"
"Exactly!" Replies Martin, and holds out his arm.
"There, lucky your blood isn't worthy! Thank Sir Boaty for taking your place why don't you?"
Velsa manages a muffled "Thank You" before picking up her broom and dashing away.
What does this mean? Velsa feels deranged with confusion: Martin ALWAYS goes along with what The Prince wants, so why did he do that to spare her?
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