Ch. 11.5 Punishment — The guards appeared at the top of the stairs and marched towards them. Zelda’s maids rushed to her, fanning her and crying in their distress. One of them wrapped a second lace-edged handkerchief around the wound. Janine’s parents, brother and sisters, as well as the servants, maids and valets, all rushed into the hallway.
Janine’s father was furious. “What is going on here?”
Big, fat tears welled up in Zelda’s eyes as she clutched her arm, wrapped with the blood soaked handkerchiefs. “Oh, Daddy, her dog bit me, and Janine punched me. I think I’m going to have a black eye.” She began to sob pitifully.
King Henry turned to Janine, his expression thunderous. “Shame on you, Janine.”
“Silence! The guests will arrive in one hour. One hour, people. I can’t stress how important this ball is. Our treaty with the Lazy River Kingdom depends upon it, not to mention your sister’s future happiness. Guards, take this dog to the stable and cage it. We’ll deal with it later.”
“No!” Janine cried. “He was only protecting me. Zelda was trying to hurt me.”
“What? I would never hurt my dear little sister.”
One of the guards picked up the struggling hound. Poor Freddie howled in dismay as the guard wrapped a leather belt around his muzzle. “No! Let me go. Janine, help me. Mmmf, mmf.”
Janine swallowed down her sobs. Somehow she would find a way to rescue her dog.
Ch. 11.6 Zelda’s Revenge —
“Mother, see what she did to me?” said Zelda. “She ruined my hairdo — and just look at my dress. It’s torn and dirty and covered in dog hair.”
Queen Persimmon towered over Janine. “How could you? Zelda’s gown cost a fortune. Now she’s going to have to change and have her hair done again. Betty, find some cream for her poor face. That bruise looks awful.”
Janine stomped her foot. “What about my dress and hair? What about my bruises?”
The queen scowled at Janine. “You did this on purpose to get out of going to the ball, didn’t you?”
Karen’s eyes widened. She gasped and put her hands over her mouth. “Oh, Janine.” Then she burst into tears and fled towards her room.
King Henry called out, “Now, Karen, dear, please don’t cry. Everything will be all right.” He gestured, and Karen’s maids hurried after her.
The queen continued to glare at Janine. “It’s not going to work. You will go to the ball. You will be kind, gracious, and polite — as all princesses should be.”
Janine glanced over at Zelda, who was smirking at her. Then Zelda abruptly held out her bandaged arm and began to wail. “How can I dance with such a grievous wound? Why, I might die from some foul disease. I demand that savage dog be put to death.”
Feeling faint, Janine dropped to her knees. “No, Father. Please don’t. I’ll do anything. I’ll clean the whole castle. I’ll clean the dungeon.”
The queen’s face went red. “You will not. You’re not a child anymore, Janine. I expect you to behave yourself.”
Janine jumped to her feet and clenched her fists. “I’m only ten years old,” she shouted.
Everyone began to talk at once.
King Henry roared above the melee. “Enough.”
“Girls, go to your rooms. Your maids will repair the damage, and both of you will attend the ball. And Janine? You will behave yourself, or you will be cleaning the dungeon. I want this evening to be perfect. Do I make myself clear?”
“Yes, Father,” Janine lowered her tear-filled eyes.
“You’ll be so proud of me, Daddy,” Zelda said. She curtsied and then flounced away, accompanied by her flock of clucking maids.