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A Princess and Her Lady

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Princess Iris was an enigma.

Anyone who had come across her would say the same. She was not the picture of royalty — unsophisticated, unmannered, excitable, mischievous — and yet she managed to capture the hearts of many. She was simultaneously brutally (often cruelly) honest and unrelentingly kind. Messy yet captivating. Someone who caused mischief on anyone who crossed her path but still worked to make the world a more beautiful place. She was an unrefined gem, beautiful and rough and real. And no one knew that better than her faithful lady-in-waiting Naomi.

At first glance, Naomi was everything that Iris was not. She was quiet, a loner through and through, with a reputation for being brisque to the point of rudeness towards anyone who dared disturb her. Everything from her hair to her outfit always looked immaculate and though her social skills lacked she was never anything short of the epitome of perfect manners. The two were similar in one key way, however: neither seemed to be capable of acquiring or maintaining close relations with others. 

Though Iris was charming, fun loving, and outgoing, her blunt and energetic nature put off many, as did the way she dismissed those she didn’t find interesting. It wasn’t that she was trying to hurt their feelings, but very few things (or people) could hold her attention for long and she never managed to grasp the back-and-forth of conversation others expected from her. Naomi, on the other hand, was distant by nature, content to sit on the sidelines and snap at anyone who got too close. 

When Naomi had been assigned to Iris, it had seemed more like a punishment than anything. Iris rarely kept maids around for long, driving them away either accidentally or on purpose through her flighty, blunt personality and ceaseless pranks. After frightening her last maids so badly they fled the castle entirely, her mothers had begun to look for ways to mitigate the problem. They loved their daughter dearly, but they knew they couldn’t allow the behavior to continue at the rate it was going. Iris was nearly of age, and what had once been acceptable when she was a child would no longer be tolerated once she was of a queenly age. Not to mention that very few maids in the castle were still willing to work with the eccentric girl.

Finally, during one of their searches, the two came across Naomi in all her stern, perfect glory. Hoping that some of her mannerisms could rub off on their daughter (and knowing they had few options left regardless), they assigned her to Iris, a position she accepted with grace knowing it would be an income increase for herself and her sister. 

The relationship began with an admittedly rocky start. The girls seemed far too different to properly get along. Naomi saw Iris as a spoiled brat with no idea how her actions affected others, while Iris saw Naomi as a humourless know-it-all who spent far too much time judging other people. They bickered constantly about everything from the princess’s disheveled outfits and disruptive pranks to the maid’s cold attitude and constant criticisms. It seemed to all around the two that the relationship would be over quickly and quite possibly with bloodshed.

And yet, Naomi continued to be Iris’s lady-in-waiting. Days passed, then weeks, then months. Slowly, she outlasted each that came before her and gossip began to spread about what on Earth happened between the two that would allow her to stay. Everything from blackmail to love affairs were suggested, but only Naomi and Iris knew what really happened those few months.

 

Above all else, Iris prided herself on her creativity. Whether it was in the paintings she loved to create or the pranks she loved to set, creativity permeated every part of her being and she wholeheartedly believed it made her both unique and interesting -- the two best things in the world to be. Today, she happened to put her creativity to what she considered to be good use (although those around her would probably disagree). She had the best idea for a prank from a book Naomi had told her about -- one where the heroine was trapped in a dollhouse where everything, though realistic, was fake and often stuck in place. Iris had thought about what it must be like, and suddenly had the idea to see how someone would react when everything in a room was either unusable or stuck in place, like a cup stuck to a table. Which was how she now found herself running through hallways and hidden passages, an empty bucket previously filled with glue in her hands and a giddy laugh escaping her. She darted into her room, shutting the door frantically behind her before breathing a sigh of relief as she relaxed against the door and dropped the bucket. She had done it! Now all she had to do was change into something more appropriate and watch the hidden cameras she had left behind.

“Where have you been?” Iris’s eyes shot open as she stared guiltily up at her lady-in-waiting. She gave the other girl a shaky smile, hoping to radiate innocence.

“Oh… heyy Naomi. What have you been up to?” The woman did not look amused, her arms crossed across her chest.

“Waiting for you,” she replied icily. “You were supposed to start getting ready for today’s meeting half an hour ago.”

“Oh was I?” Iris asked breezily, she walked past Naomi towards her bed which was covered in all manner of sketchbooks and dresses. “I must of lost track of time. My bad.”

“Iris,” It sounded like a warning. “What did you do?”

“Nothing!” the princess protested, holding a random dress up to her chest. “Now come on, I’ve got to get ready. You said you were waiting on me, and I’m here now, so let’s get started.”

Naomi intercepted her, grabbing her wrist as she tried to rush away. Naomi knew all of Iris’s tricks, and knew that she was currently using her boundless energy to try and confuse her opponent in order to get away with her crimes. Well, unfortunately for the princess Naomi was a master at managing chaotic environments. She wouldn’t have survived this long with the girl otherwise.

Iris looked off the side, before finally letting out a sigh, knowing she was caught. “Fine, you got me. I was setting up a prank in the West Wing.”

“Iris!” Naomi chided.

“What? It wasn’t that bad! I just glued a few objects down, that's all.” Iris defended, clutching her chosen dress closer to her chest as though it could protect her from her maid’s disapproval. 

Naomi pinched the bridge of her nose, exasperated. “We’ve talked about this, Iris. You can’t keep doing this. Not now.”

Iris pulled away, downcast and annoyed. “I know, I know. ‘Not with all these important people here.’ Trust me, I’ve been told about a million times.” She looked back at Naomi and bounced up on her heels. “But Naomi, it was such a good one! And I made sure no one would actually get hurt. It’s practically harmless, and I haven’t done one in so long.”

Naomi’s face softened just a bit, and Iris knew she was winning. She continued on, going in for the killing blow with the softest, sweetest voice she could muster. “I got the idea from that story you read me. The one about the dollhouse? Remember that one, lune?”

At the nickname, Naomi finally gave up, dropping her crossed arms and stern expression. “You can’t do that to me Iris. That’s not fair.” She didn’t sound all that upset, though, as a grin broke out on the princess’s face and she gleefully squealed as she hugged the taller woman. 

“You know you love me,” Iris teased from her place tucked under Naomi’s chin.

“Unfortunately,” Naomi quipped, although her smile and the way she wrapped her arms around the girl in recipiation said otherwise. 

Iris pulled away from the embrace just enough to look up at her maid without letting go. “Oh, but Naomi, you should have seen it! The room looked completely normal. They’re not going to know what hit them!”

Naomi huffed goodnaturedly at the girl in her arms before finally pulling away. “That’s all well and good, but you’ve still got to get ready, dear. Your mothers won’t be pleased if you’re late again.”

Iris sighed in mock agitation, crossing her arms over her chest as she pouted once more, “Yeah, yeah.” 

With a smile, Naomi leaned in and kissed the princess on the cheek, earning a blush and awed look from the other. As she walked away, she pulled the chest out of the other girl’s hands. It took Iris a few moments to get her senses back before she stumbled after her lady-in-waiting, her eyes a bright, brilliant yellow. “Wait! Ma lune, come back! We have a little time, don’t we?”

Naomi’s only response was to laugh.