Sweet Waters Throne -
Chapter 6: Chapter 0
The kitchen is where Aurora spent most of her days with other servants preparing food for the king, the princess and other nobles who visited Maldonia. Ever since she was a young girl Aurora was assigned to the kitchen as a female scullion – there was a specification of work amongst the servants. The tasks inside the palace of Maldonia included tasks such as working in the gardens, cleaning the halls of the palace and that’s included every room and every corridor hence many servants were assigned to this task – over two hundred male servants took part in the cleaning of the palace everyday. Fetching water needed to cook or to clean, looking after the horses and usually this was done by males, and the kitchen consisted of only females and they were all young girls.
The head scullion, Mrs Gibilis was a canny middle aged woman in her late fifties. She has been a servant ever since she was a young girl and she has served King Arteides with her fine cooking for decades – no one could take the kitchen away from her because only Mrs Gibilis knew how much water to put into a stew and how much sugar is needed to make cupcakes. Artemis has eaten Mrs Gibilis’s cooking ever since he was a whipper to a full grown man, and he always praised her for the best cooking in the kingdom.
Even the lemon cake which Aurora made for Artemis that day she learned it from Mrs Gibilis. There’s literally nothing that Mrs Gibilis couldn’t make – and handle. She handled over thirty kitchen wenches inside her big kitchen and there wasn’t even a day when she messed up lunch, or the king complained about the food. The scullions were girls in their early twenties just like Aurora and they treated Mrs Gibilis like their grandmother. The kitchen was full of jokes on daily basis and that’s because they were doing something which they loved while getting paid for it. All the servants inside the palace of Maldonia were paid good and they lived two times better than normal citizens who traded or lived off their crops and animals.
This is why people fought to be chosen to work inside the palace, however few lucky ones were chosen while the rest lived off the palace. Aurora was chosen as a scullion because her father before he turned into a drunkard pig, he used to be a servant too. He walked in cleaning the stalls of the palace and that’s how he knew Mrs Gibilis, these two were old friends and since it was Mrs Gibilis who chose the girls she wanted in her kitchen, it was easy for Aurora to be chosen and hired to work in the palace. Mrs Gibilis knew very well of the affair going on between Aurora and Artemis, few girls in the kitchen also knew.
But that was when he was a prince, and princes are usually known for fooling around with girls. That’s why Mrs Gibilis let it pass when Artemis was just a prince, but after the coronation she knew she had to say something to Aurora.
The moment she walked inside the kitchen, Mrs Gibilis called Aurora. “Aurora... get over here” while she was pounding a dough of wheat floor, she was making breads for dinner tonight because of the ball.
The kitchen was so busy and every scullion was cooking something. This one was making chicken stew, while the other made beef stew, and roasted chicken, roasted beef, breads of various sorts, cooked mushrooms, potatoes, cheese, cakes, desserts and main courses – it was hectic and everything smelled so good. Aurora walked a little bit from the main door to where Mrs Gibilis was at the back of the kitchen. The girls looked at her as she passed through, perhaps one of them saw her with Artemis at the halls and brought back the gossip into the kitchen. However Aurora ignored them and focused on getting to Mrs Gibilis.
“Mrs Gibilis...” she called out softly.
“Where have you been? There’s too much work to do today” Mrs Gibilis was angry at her. Then she looked at the plate Aurora was holding “What’s that?” she asked.
Aurora blushed “It’s... nothing, just – a lemon cake”
“You made a lemon cake?”
It was at that time Aurora knew she made a huge mistake admitting that she made a cake. But the truth was out and she had nowhere to hide.
“Did you made it for him?”
Unsure of what to say, Aurora placed her eyes down and slowly muttered “Yes”
Mrs Gibilis noticed the stares from the girls, they wanted to know so bad what was going on between her and Aurora. Hence she blurted out to them “Keep your eyes on what you are cooking, before I pull them out of your sockets” and quickly the girls went back to cooking and baking. Then she took the plate from Aurora and placed it on the table.
Perhaps the reason why Mrs Gibilis was being civil to Aurora was because of her father who was in a bad shape. His drunkardness behavior made Mrs Gibilis sad because he was her friend, a good friend and adviser but the old person was gone. She felt Aurora was perhaps going through the same thing and that’s why she was civil with her.
After she exhaled and made sure no one was listening. Mrs Gibilis whispered to Aurora “This fling that you have with the king needs to stop. I was okay with it when he was a prince... we all know how fool princes are but he is a king now. And a King has duties and responsibilities to fulfill for the good of Maldonia and all of us. He can’t marry you so why even break your heart over someone you can’t have. I am telling you this because I think of you as my own. For the good of yourself I beseech you to stop. Do you understand Aurora?”
Aurora took her time before she agreed reluctantly “Yes I do Mrs Gibilis” and went back to work. Mrs Gibilis assigned her to bake a yeast bread for the guests tonight and she obliged although she was somber.
Few minutes later after her arrival, Lancet bursted inside the kitchen with haste. He looked like he lost his way for the way he was shocked looking at the scullions doing their tasks.
Suddenly they all stopped and stood firmly, their hands in front of them. Mrs Gibilis took charge. “Can I help you with anything Sir Lancet?” she asked from the back of the kitchen but one needn’t worry about Mrs Gibilis’s voice because she could speak and the whole crowd would hear no matter where they stayed.
“I’m afraid so Mrs Gibilis. Where is Aurora?” asked Lancet looking around.
Mrs Gibilis pointed at Aurora. “She’s here”
“Bring her to me”
Lancet’s voice came out as an order instead of asking. He was indeed going through something and he didn’t want to hide it, the hate he carried for Aurora was deep. Maybe deeper than the love he had for his best friend.
Aurora slowly approached Lancet, her hands were full of wheat floor and the apron she was wearing was stained with stew, and other stuffs from the previous cooking. Her hair was carefully tied up and she looked like she was really working. At the very first glance Lancet made his intentions towards Aurora known and his disapproval too.
“My Lord” Aurora slowly bowed before Lancet because he was a knight.
Lancet acted like he didn’t notice the bow “You seem to be back where you belong”
“Did you need anything... or is there something I can do for you?”
It turned out the question Aurora asked felt like a disrespect to Lancet. He didn’t want to be asked what Aurora can do for him, who did she think she was. Hence without even thinking Lancet suddenly slapped Aurora. No one expected that hence they were shocked, Mrs Gibilis gasped loudly. She wanted to intervene but she knew better to keep herself away from the dramas especially if they involved Lancet. The whole place knew how proud he carried himself and ruthless he can be, sometime.
Aurora held her right cheek and slowly looked back at Lancet. Tears fell down between her cheeks, she knew Lancet hated her because Artemis was in love with her. This was all because of the love she shared with Artemis that perhaps was too much for Lancet to take considering she was nothing but a servant.
“Who are you, Aurora?” asked Lancet. When she was silent, he screamed “I ask you who are you?”
“I am a servant, my Lord”
“And what do servants do? Tell me...” Lancet held Aurora’s chin and lifted it up. He couldn’t care less that she was crying or hurting, and mostly he didn’t care what she will say to Artemis later. He could always deny the accusations and call her a liar.
Many times he’s done things worse than torturing Aurora and he’s gotten away with all of them, while Artemis knew nothing of.
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