Waiting is painful, forgetting is painful, but not knowing which one to do, is the worse kind of pain - Paul Coelho
"Elena we're going to go for a delegate's journey through the country, wouldn't that be fun?" Elena's father encouraged her, he was definitely worried, in the past two weeks Elena had been very distracted, and he had an inkling feeling it was because of a certain man of Carabas, too bad no-one knew where that was except Puss-In-Boots who had also seemed to disappear.
He frowned, as for the Marquis, he had liked the guy, but he wasn't happy that he was making his beautiful daughter so sad. If he knew where he was he would find him and bring him to her immediately, but even after trying for two weeks the Marquis of Carabas was still as great a mystery as he was when Puss in Boots first appeared. Perhaps on their journey through the land he'd learn a lot more about that, his kingdom was quite terribly isolated from further lands and noblemen who didn't wish to make themselves known. The king sighed and looked to his beloved wife for support, she smiled sadly in return, she would move mountains to get those two together, but now there was nothing even his busy body wife could do. All they could do was bring her along on a trip around the area to distract her, which they had been planning to do for about a week now.
"I'm fine really," Elena lied, both of her parents looked at her tiredly, she had never been the best liar. She sighed and looked at one of the children of the house help, and remembered the day by the garden she met the servant boy, which led her to think again of the Marquis, how he hadn't even sent Puss in a week, and more so how he didn't come back either...everything seemed to lead her back to that thought. She wasn't fine, even just knowing him for one night, she missed him, she missed him being flustered, she missed the look his eyes got even if she just smiled, she missed his underhanded comments about his cat Puss, she missed it all, and she didn't even know it all, she wanted to know more, so she could love him more, so she could miss him more. She stopped, in two weeks her thoughts had escalated to love...she realized, she knew love was a very deep emotion not to be flung around stupidly--but his ups, his downs, his strengths, his weaknesses, she wanted to know them all, so she could decide to love him. She sighed, but maybe the Marquis was as good at wooing as Puss In Boots let on, and perhaps she was fooled into thinking she could love him. She had been waiting for him without word for weeks!
"Elena?" her mother tried again, they had been talking about something when she zoned out she realized, she really did have it bad.
"Alright, I'll go,"she agreed, standing from her seat, she needed something to distract her from the Marquis, well the Marquis was nobleman, if she spent her time in the country with the non-nobles or royals, there shouldn't be anything that reminded her of the Marquis she decided. "I'd like to travel the country with you, father."
Elena was enjoying herself as she had expected there was precious little that reminded her of the Marquis in the civilians area. The carriage came across a farm, and for a few moments she and her father got out to walk around, there were civilians watching her, but the guards with them ensured that they didn't get very close. Her eyes wandered to a small cat it was black not orange like Puss, crap she wasn't supposed to think about him, but despite herself she found her eyes following the cat as it pranced around the farm high, mighty and proud, and something in its antics reminded her of Puss again, even the expressions it gave the farm boys who tried to feed it, was one of mocking, and she could imagine Puss doing that. Puss always acted polite with the royals, but she could always sense a slight conceit underneath, that he thought he was awesome, she had found it cute about the Puss in Boots, and his master appeared to have noticed it as well.
One of the boys managed to catch it, and a middle aged man walked out looking up and yelling at his help that he'd fire them because they didn't work hard enough.Elena vaguely recognized the middle aged man as one of the farmers who she had seen enter the courts to greet her parents after delivering his produce. She was also aware of the chubby woman who came up behind him soon after, shaking her head when she looked at the man's expression. Something about how they acted made Elena want to eavesdrop especially since they were so engrossed in each other they had yet to notice the royal entourage.
"You see, James that's what you get for firing a good worker," the lady was saying, clearly feeling no pity for the man, "If you'd kept your cool, Jake would still be here," she chastised, "And I wouldn't have to work with these ruffians."
"But Jake missed the entire day~" the man argued back, but Elena could tell he was losing his steam fast, it was almost interesting.
"Oh boo, one day in 8 years, he's got a better rapport than doctors, just admit it you lost your cool stupidly, and now you lost us a good, handsome worker." The man frown in return not bothering to respond, "He's even completely left the village a few weeks ago too, so you can't even go crying for him to come back," she shook her head dismissively, "Man, you messed that up, James, that's why I told you to treat that boy good!" she turned and walked back into the house and the man James turned and followed her seemingly calling after her, quite upset.
"Elena!" Elena heard her father, call she turned away from the couple and walked quickly over to the carriage. There was something in their conversation that caught her attention, Jake? Where had she heard that name before...surely it was the Marquis' first name...still... "Elena!" her father called her again from inside the carriage since she had stopped to think.
"Are we ready?" she asked, her father nodded, and in a few moments they were back on the road, going further and further from their castle. Aside from lifting her spirits, a part of the reason her father wanted to do the road trip was because in the castle it was hard to get an accurate idea of the state of the country, and who owned what land, who was who and what not...by travelling they were able to get up to date information, usually they'd send scouts or delegates but occasionally they would do it themselves, since it showed the villagers in neighbouring towns that they cared. Travelling could however end up being a few days journey, so they always carried spare clothes and would stop at a local inn, if they reached in time, but she recalled it was usually fun. Although most neighbouring villages loved the royals from the Denver kingdom, she was aware that some rulers in the area did not, so the king's guards were generally always on alert, although there hadn't been any rumors of danger in this village of Corte.
The carriage trudged on slowly and Elena's eyes stayed on the horizon, her thoughts elsewhere but fighting to go to the one place they wanted to Marquis. She refused to think about him but as if fate had another thought in mind, she heard shouting.
"Help!Help!" there was a squeaky yet commanding voice calling out to their carriage, and her head turned instantly in the direction along with their entire entourage. Her eyes saw two small boots first, and then they flew up to see a two foot, orange cat with a smart hat on, and an expression of horror and fear on his face, "Help us please, my master, the Marquis of Carabas, he's drowning," he was speaking quickly, terror in his voice, almost to the point she wasn't sure he recognized just whose carriage he had stopped. Her father reacted first jumping out of the carriage having recognized the name, and she followed also, Puss' eyes widened slightly having seen them.
"Help Sir Puss-In-Boots save the Marquis!" her father roared the order, two guards ran behind the cat who crouched to run as a normal cat, just so he'd be faster. Elena felt her heart rate speed up and she went after them, but her father placed a hand in front to stop her, she gave him a perplexed stare earning her a quick response. "There could be danger, stay with the carriage," her father ordered her, leaving her there with the two remaining guards as he also followed Puss into the thicket. She bit her lip again silently praying, this time for the Marquis' life.