Kanhai Vaidya, 13 years old, Aargau

The lady in front of the two siblings was the first to rise from her bow.

“Your Highness”, she greeted the newcomer with a stiff voice. “I was expecting you earlier.”

If the person in the blue dress had been really beautiful, the woman at the entrance was gorgeous. She had a regal aura that spread across the entire room. A slight smile played on her lips.

“Duchess, I must say, I was quite intrigued when I was informed that you were here. And that too, with guests.”

“Guests?” The duchess’ voice was strained as if she was trying hard to stay polite. “Your Highness, these two are prisoners. They were trespassing across the city’s borders. And they aren’t even from this world! They should be sent to the dungeons immediately!”

“Last time I checked, those decisions were mine. Or, am I wrong?”

The duchess was lost for words as the other woman walked across the room, towards the throne behind Rose and Violet.

She took a seat, and offered the two girls an apologetic smile, “Sorry about her”, she said, gesturing towards the fuming duchess. “Duchess Orchid tends to get a bit carried away in this castle. Let me introduce myself. I am Tierra, the princess of this land. What are your names?”

Violet piped up: “Rose and Violet James, Your Highness.”

The queen narrowed her eyes, casting a quick glance at the duchess.

“And why are you here, Rose and Violet James?”

“We don’t know, your Highness”, Rose answered honestly.
“I see.”

Tierra sighed, slumping back on her throne. She even slumped gracefully. She seemed to be in her late teens, but the worried expression on her face made her look older.
Her eyes scanned the room, and she then turned to a guard standing a few metres away from her.

“Kindly escort the duchess to her room, and prepare a room for our guests.” She emphasized the word ‘guests’, glancing at the woman in the blue dress before continuing, “It seems that they’ll be staying here until further notice.”

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