If I were asked why I always listened to Biyn and did most of what he told me to do, reasonable or not, I wouldn’t be able to answer. I had always acted on instinct, and never thought to analyze my own actions. Analysis, in my view, was pointless. What’s been done, has been done.
One night, my peaceful, though hard, life, was disrupted once again, by none other than Biyn.
It was the night of the celebration. Celebration of the new king, whom I hadn’t yet met but didn’t quite like. He was by no means lenient to servants. But I was in no position to judge, either. Like the others, I worked in the kitchen, scurrying from here to there like a hurried rabbit. Due to my youth, I was one of the chosen kitchen girls who could change into slightly better clothes and serve at the guests’ table. The guests were all honorable people. If they were nice enough, they would even tip us, if only a little.
The table was a long one, and there were more than one of those long tables in the dining hall. However, anyone would know that the one in the middle was the table where the king and his queen sat. That was the first time I caught sight of them. Instead of a golden robe, the king wore a red robe. His hair was a shimmery silver, not from age, but more like a really pale blond. He had golden irises, though, in place of the golden robe he was probably expected to wear. The queen had a unique atmosphere about her. It was like the gentle breeze in the evening, as the sun is about to set. Her smile was soft and her gaze was kind, with a tint of sadness in her auburn eyes. Her hair matched that of the king’s, and her dress was made of high quality white silk with not too many decorations on it. It was, in fact, like a maiden’s wedding gown.
As I was serving some of the dishes, the queen caught my sight. Startled, I lowered my gaze and moved on. Yet, I felt the queen’s gaze stay on me for the rest of the night.
When the party was over, and when we finished cleaning up, it was already midnight. I was tired enough to have fallen asleep almost immediately. But again, I was awaken by Betty only–how long was it? Perhaps it was only two hours later.
“Your suitor is outside!” she hissed.
“What suitor?” I yawned, still groggy.
“The one who gave you that dress?”
“Biyn?” I sighed, and opened the door, slipping out.
“Marry me,” he said without even hesitating. “We’ll get you out of here and live somewhere nice.”
“Marry you?” I shook my head. “No.”
“Why not? Sigrun, I like you.” His tone was light, as if the words he spoke were of the same weight as “I like hats”.
“Why me? Why not the other girls in the neighborhood who aren’t working as servants?”
“I just like you. Come on.”
“You’re nuts.” I shook my head again, creasing my brows in disbelief and backing towards the door of the hut, ready to open it.
“What if I propose with this?” Biyn took something from his pocket. It was a tiny box. When he opened it in front of me, a ring was revealed, and it was not just any ring, it was a prestigious ring, a diamond ring, looking expensive enough for me to suspect that it was not Biyn’s.
“Where did you steal this from?” I accused.
“It fell out from the queen’s pocket when I went past her in the palace gardens. The palace was open tonight because of celebrations, you know? And I slipped in.”
“Thief,” I hissed. “I don’t want this. Put it back.”
But Biyn shoved it at me anyway, and at that moment, something knocked him off his feet. I raised my eyes from the box. Behind him were palace guards, some of whom I knew by name. They were shouting the same thing as I’d hissed just a moment ago– “Thief!”
“I didn’t steal anything!” Biyn protested as he struggled against the guards who pinned him to the wall. “Sigrun has the ring!”
My mouth dropped open. But I did have the ring. The guards who knew me seemed reluctant to believe that I would steal something, but the ones who didn’t know me, decided for them all to take both Biyn and I to the king himself.