I was Born the Unloved Twin
It has been an eventful time but I graciously bid adieu to the stuffy midway mansion of the Northern Federation's royal family.
I've always hated that place and a newly discovered crab feast source cannot change that. Those little things are quite tasty though. Oh well that's what travel and import are for.
We're back in the Ventrella capital mansion, two hours away from the stupid prince's seasonal palace. It's obviously not as obnoxiously grand but that's what makes it so much more comfortable. Also less stuff for grampa to accidentally break. There's a lack of nature and wild woods in the capital city but I can actually breathe here, figuratively of course.
Mother has been awaiting our return eagerly.
She's having a lovey dovey moment embracing Father right outside the driveway when the carriage Lilyanne and I were in pulled up. How scandalous mother!
I'm just joking, this is a standard sight for our household.
The 'noble' standards of decorum are awkwardly strict in some parts of this world. It gets worse as you go further North, at least till you reach the continent borders. There's a cold joke somewhere.
God forbid PDA, which may explain part of the stupid prince's personality. How did Lilyanne ever handle it? Maybe she took a page from mother's book and initiates first. The king and queen there have never even held hands outside of ceremonies.
My parents, on the other hand, are 'that' idiotic couple and always have been. I'm honestly surprised they never had more children after Lilyanne and I. They're just so sickly gross together.
When our carriage properly parked the door was flung open and in a very grampa like fashion, mother has us both in her arms, one on each side. Also in a grampa like fashion she proceeded to smother us to death, in suffocating boobs and fluffy rings of hair rather than bear muscles. Much softer, but no less deadly.
Mother please, I'm weak after the carriage ride....please... I need air.
"Pweeesk ack mama! "
I beg desperately, even Lilyanne can't breathe!
But mother overestimates our lung capacity and nuzzles us even further. Goodbye, cruel world, death by cuddles.
"My my little darlings, how was your stay? Was everything alright, did anyone mistreat you? Any bullies or harsh servants? You can tell mama everything and I'll punish who needs to be punished. Lily sweet did you listen well and clean your plate? Rosa my dear did you drink enough water during the ride, it helps with the sickness. Oh dear just look how weak you two are!"
"My love, I think you should loosen your grip a tad."
"Ohohohe Frederick darling don't be jealous of your own children. I've shown you plenty of public affection earlier."
"Maria while I do love your beautifully generous bosom but-"
"Frederick! Such language!"
"Dearest, the children's' small heads, and airways aren't large enough to survive your hugs. Perhaps another angle?"
Oxygen!!! Sweet sweet air!
Thank you father, please hold me, far far away from mother's chest. It's all yours.
While Lilyanne and I desperately regain our breathes everyone makes to move inside. Dizzy spell and oxygen deprivation aside I'm feeling rather decent for my usual motionsickness, the carriage ride only 2 hours long instead of something more torturous. I was also allowed to sit outside part of the time with the driver since we were accompanied by some of grampa's trusted guards.
He and the rest of his troops are still stationed there but will rejoin us in a few days time before we set off for home.
Sitting outside is much more bearable though the maids did wrap me up in the largest stupidest baby bonnet. Sun protection they said, which is a fair argument if they didn't have something umbrella me the whole way already.
Ah, the pampered life of a rich kid.
Refreshments have been served in the parlor for a light but comfortable family lunch.
I've been considered a rather odd child since I like to eat fresh vegetables raw. Like a rabbit they say.
It's called a salad people, get with the program.
Due to my insistence, our family meals have over time incorporated more fresh-cut vegetables on the side and as a garnish. Once mother noticed a beautifying effect when consuming more of these rabbit food 'salads' they've since become a mainstay at meals.
I think she's actually gotten more energetic and eating more regularly.
The menu for many noble houses does tend to be on the overly rich and fatty side, though I personally think our household isn't as bad. That's just my parents' tastes though.
Father's not particularly picky but he had a far stranger reaction to the veggies, as if he had never seen a whole raw cabbage before? What a strange man.
Since produce doesn't cost as much compared to milled grains or animal products, even the home staff have taken to regularly consuming 'salads' after I asked for help in creating 'dressing'. The variety of oils and vinaigrette dressings keep growing as the kitchen staff mix and match their creations.
Stay healthy everyone, if you don't eat your vegetables you will die.
I wonder what will happen if I ask them to make mayonnaise or ranch. I'm only 2 but I already miss mayonnaise. Egg salad would be good. I will just have to ask for it and find out when we get back home.
I'm interrupted from daydreaming about my future menus by a slightly worried mother.
"Rosalia dear, are you feeling aright after all?"
"Yes mother, the carriage ride is acceptable. If it's simply that short. I'm not feeling sick,"
Mother bites her lip and gives a not so subtle stare at father. Ohhhh she meant something else then, my unfortunate engagement most likely. Now that, my father understands immediately.
"Maria dearest, take my word, it will be alright. We've walked away with good conditions and the marriage isn't necessary set in stone. Think of it as a leased contract."
"Darling!!! Our child is not for rent?!?!!"
"Apologies my love, I used to wrong terms. Either way we gain more than we lose."
As long as they don't lose me for real. It's fine, I checked over the terms and details that father wrote out.
Even if it was I'd find a way to chip and break away that 'stone'. Hack and smash it to play sand. I can't imagine being in his company for an extended amount of time let alone married to that awful rock-like stupid prince.
"I know but... they're just so young. Oh, my girls how did you like meeting the Northern prince?"
"Fun! He my frwend!"
Just guess who said what? At least my parents have no problem telling. They have rather amusing expressions on their faces, a mixture of both conflicting and relieved.
"Oh, really now. Why is that my dear?" asks mother to me specifically.
The attention has been unusually focused on me as of late but well it is my engagement after all.
There's no way to tell this story, it's a lifetime long. A rather short life but one none the less. I drop all polite pretense and grimace, disgust undisguised. I'm only 2 right now, I can make my dislike obvious.
"I just hate him."
"Did he bully you dear?"
Both father and I break out into snorts and laughter at mother's innocent question and confused expression. Lilyanne doesn't understand but she liked laughing and clapping along.
"Quite the opposite my love, it appears our Rosa is the one doing the bullying. They had a sword duel, all safe and supervised of course no worries. The poor boy needed a healer and was in absolute tears after, I laughed so hard when I read the report I offended half the present court."
"Oh? Is the child really that weak? Our Rosa barely started any lessons and certainly not swordplay."
"Perhaps but let's not doubt our girl's strength and violent enthusiasm."
Mother nods at that and I'm not sure if I should be offended at how quickly she accepts that. Or father for even mentioning it in the first place. Excuse you! Why am I so easily accepted as violent?!
Oh well as long as I don't get in trouble for it, father pats my head as he talks of my supposed violence. How encouraging?
"And was this before or after they were told?"
"Before it was all official of course."
"Mother, father I just don't like him! We can be engaged as long as I don't have to marry him in the end."
"Mawy? Dressy? No prettie dressy?"
No Lilyanne, the pretty dress can be yours. Keep me away from this mess. To lighten to mood, and to avoid stewing in my own past thought I redirect the conversation.
"He doesn't even know what a crab is!"
Yeah sure, that works, clear reason to not like a guy.
"Those delightful freshwater crabs you sent back by the crateful? They're quite delicate tasting"
"Yes those, he called them spiders. Can you believe that? Lily tell them!"
"Owie but crab yummy! "
"Right Lilyanne, crabs are so yummy.
The rest of the afternoon Lilyanne and I retell the tale of the crab hoards during our first meeting and our overall week to a doting pair f parents. It's deceptively nice. Even if I'm being sold again, it's not bad to settle into these peaceful moments. Where I can play house as if they're really my family, as if I had one.
But it's more than Rosalia ever had, and for that ghost girl, I'll fulfill her desperate wish for these little moments.
After a much needed nap and some self imposed exercise routine, I'm back the lounging around with mother in the kitchen.
Lilyanne is still resting but since I'm obviously wide awake mother has essentially put me in her pocket. The maids are very grateful for the supervision. I can't get into much trouble with the boss lady here.
"Your olive oil my lady."
"Oh thank you, I just simply did not bring enough for myself. It's been a while since I've come up here before summer, I near forgot how dry it gets."
"Yes, the climate is far dryer inland. We can't help but dip into the good cooking oil supply to use ourselves. Our hands would be sheer dreadful without it."
"And that's why we send plenty to keep in stock. I'll make sure to place an order shipment when we arrive back home."
As a woman, or well a girl now, myself I can't resist listening into beauty talks. Our capital residence gets a regular shipment of goods and supplies from our main house in the South, which includes the cooking staple of olive oil. It doubles in many other functions, such as the skincare mother uses.
Our territory is filled with olive trees and thus oil production is plentiful. In fact, it's a tent-pole product that the Ventrella family sells and exports. Prices can get quite high depending on taxes and how far it travels but for our household, it's as common as water.
I agree though that olive oil on it's own is a great beauty agent but even that isn't enough for mother's soft supple skin to survive in this frost dried climate. You have to admit it is much dryer up here than it is at home. In the past, we women would near slather ourselves in olive oil to fend off the dryness during the spring, or worse winter, engagement visits.
As great as olive oil is, isn't it too simple on its own? It's an important staple but it's not a miracle worker. Well, no product is but some better soap and lotions would do wonders.
Oh well, that gives me an idea.
"Mama just use something thicker! Something more moisturizing."
"What's that Rosalia dear?"
"Young Miss Rosalia, this old servant here has worked many years in the capital. I've tried many things recommended by various houses here but nothing works quite like our good old home's olive oil. Truly we are blessed to have a good thing."
"Mmm olive oil really is the best, but we can make it even better."
I can hear the curious halt of nearby staff and the somewhat tired sighing of familiar voices. Ah, my home team is nearby, they've long recognized the signs of 'Rosalia has another idea again'. My ideas are a little troublesome to procure in this world yes but they're worth it. The pizza was the result of one of them so no one can really complain.
The head maid of the capital mansion gives me a doubtful but accommodating look. What was her name again? She's a rather indifferent woman towards my past 'neglect' but she served me well when directed. She's a strict but competent worker and for that, I won't torment her directly by playing around.
"Mmm, I learned a few things while visiting the stupid prince's house. It's much dryer up where they're from."
"...Stupid prince? Oh dear, what is Frederick's rude mouth teaching you now."
Sorry but this particular mouth is all on me. But I won't mind father taking the fall and getting a lesson on his shitty language.
"Pardon, the royal residence you say?"
A little white lie, just to ease things along. I doubt they use what I'm thinking of, at least not as refined of a product anyways. No one has to know after the product is finished.
"Yes! We can use our own olive oil and home ingredients as a base to make it even better. If I could just get some helping hands and ingredients gathers I can show you."
She looks doubtful but with my mother's direct permission I have the authority here. My own regular staff is already getting on standby for another one of my perfectly reasonable and useful experiments.
Too bad it's not food this time.
No, we're going to make something a little more lasting.
We're going to make soap and cold cream.