Cow’s enormous palace is situated in front of a very big river. So, a bridge connects the palace grounds to the rest of the land beyond the river. Turmeric and Noir are sitting underneath the bridge during the dead of the night and waiting for the enemies to arrive to rob Cow and his kingdom. Noir has given instructions to the swordsmen to pounce on the robbers the moment they arrive; she and Turmeric are supposed to join them later to defend the palace.
Turmeric: These sacks of potatoes are very uncomfortable to sit on!
Noir: What? They are really cushy!
Turmeric: I don’t find them cushy. I think it would have been better if we sat on some poufs instead.
Noir: But I don’t want the enemies to notice us! If we sit on these sacks underneath the bridge then the darkness of the night will ensure that they don’t do so!
Turmeric: But poufs could have helped with that too!
Noir: No, they wouldn’t have! All our poufs are extremely colorful and expensive…don’t you think they would have noticed something that colorful and expensive-looking underneath the bridge? These sacks of potatoes we just brought from the palace kitchen just look like the chef’s apprentices have dumped them here after they bought them from the markets – you know, the robbers already know Cow has so much riches he can just afford to have two sacks of potatoes carelessly lie about underneath the bridge.
Turmeric: Yeah! It does sound like they would have noticed the poufs…this plan is better!
Twenty minutes later…
Turmeric: Oof! Noir, how long are we going to wait for the robbers? We are supposed to be in bed by now and sound asleep!
Noir: I know! Still no robbers…
Turmeric: I have a good mind to pick a fight with Butros! I…
A hoarse voice interrupts Turmeric…
James: Is this the palace of a great king?
Jacob: Who are you?
Turmeric: Who are you?
James: Why are you wasting your time with them? Let us just proceed and find out ourselves!
Jacob: Alright! Uh, thank you for your time!
Noir and Turmeric sit on and look at each other in silence.
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A party is going on at the Williams household. Many of their relatives have turned up to the party and Mother Williams is very busy entertaining all her guests this evening, whilst Grandfather Williams is in the kitchen – he is keeping an eye on the food which will be served at the party – it is still getting prepared. Meanwhile, Ink has locked herself up in her room with her three dogs because she cannot stand the thought of being around some of the people who have turned up at the party. She is writing an entry in her diary.
I feel as if it has been a long time since I shared with you stories about my life. Where do I start? Ummm…well, I was at Dimitri’s house a few days back and we did not do much: we were just lying next to each other in bed and spoke about things like markets and clothes. He is hoping that he can buy a new pair of socks, two white shirts and two pairs of dark-colored trousers this winter and take back with him to boarding school because he wears all of his old clothes now with patches on them. Poor chap!
I don’t think I can ask for any clothes to take back with me to boarding school this winter because of what happened between me and the nasty woman. I am afraid that when I go back I will be seen in last season’s clothes in front of all the girls at my school – they are almost always, without fail, decked out in the latest fashions. Oh!!! I think I will just explain to the girls my predicament and why I had to miss being seen in the latest fashions this year; I am sure they will understand…they might even lend me something to wear at our monthly ball.
I so wish I could have invited Dimitri to a ball at my boarding school already but I just keep dancing with total strangers. Both of our schools are in separate cities and they are so far apart. So, every month when there is a ball at my boarding school, boys from the same town come to it and dance with all the girls. Dimitri’s boarding school has never hosted any ball but every month they have a big cricket match against kids from other schools and Dimitri almost always wins it for his school; I have not seen him play yet but I am hoping that I can soon.
Only three weeks until boarding school…
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It is a sunny day. Ink is sitting on an upturned basket inside a shop at the market with three vegetable sandwiches on her lap. She had an argument with that nasty woman in the morning again, so she is at the market to talk to a friend regarding it, who works there – her name is Harmony. Ink and Harmony became friends because of their grandfathers; Harmony’s grandfather sells the harvest from Ink’s family farm at his shop – it is where Harmony works. Harmony is sitting on the floor next to Ink. She has just listened to Ink’s story on the nasty woman and she is unable to control her rage.
Harmony: So, why does your mother not say anything to this woman every time she behaves rude with you?
Ink: The woman is her relative and my mother told me that she is just like that – very rude and just plain horrible, and there is not a thing I can do regarding that.
Harmony: But the woman is wrong and…
Ink: My mother knows that. But you know my mother is powerless to stop the woman from behaving rude with me. You know, my mother is really soft-spoken and the woman is just always rude. Also, the nasty woman is like four times my mother’s size and she has eight children who are just as big and foul as her. And then there are others in my mother’s family who is just like that foul woman. How can one woman and one little girl do something against so many foul people?
Harmony: What about your grandfather?
Ink: My grandfather, for a start, is so old, you know. So, if I had asked him to do something regarding the woman and the people you know he cannot because it is still going to be only three people against a lot of nasty people. All of the foul woman’s kids are also married to people who are just as nasty and from nasty families too. How can only three people put a stop to this much nastiness – we are quite clearly outnumbered.
Harmony: I understand.
Ink: Is it alright if I just sit here quietly and eat my sandwiches? I am not in a very good mood today and really don’t feel like going back home.
Harmony: Sure! I am just going to get back to work now. I need to shelve a lot of vegetables today.
Five minutes pass…
Ink (thinks to herself): I think I will save one vegetable sandwich for Dimitri. If I drop by his house and give him a sandwich, I think he will really like it. But first I must let Harmony know I am leaving for Dimitri’s home now.
It is early morning and Cow has just had his breakfast: cereal with some portions of sliced apples and fresh milk. He has grown really tired of contemplating just when robbers will come to rob his palace. He has made Noir work very hard for this over the last few days: she has been spending sleepless nights going through one plan after another with the kingdom’s swordsmen so that they can pounce on the robbers the moment that they come to the palace to get their hands on the king’s riches.
Turmeric: Okay, so what I am going to do is…I will make sure that I keep my eyes wide open and myself without some sleep for just a few more days before I quit waiting and waiting and more waiting for some exciting action to happen but nothing.
Cow (roars): Wait a little longer!
Turmeric: But I can’t! I would like to do something else!
Prince Eric (interrupts): Cow, can we have something else for breakfast tomorrow? I would like to change the menu to something salty, especially for Noir. We have not spoken a lot since you received that message from Butros. But I think she will like the change.
Cow: What salty food did you want to include for the breakfast plan?
Prince Eric: I was thinking sandwiches with tomatoes, carrots and onions.
Noir: Yuck! How much more vegetables will you make me eat?
Turmeric (exclaims): Noir! You missed breakfast again! I refrigerated yours…I will bring it to the table for you.
Noir: Thanks! I will…
Prince Eric: Why don’t you just come and sit next to me at the table. I think it’s good to have a change for what we eat, Noir.
Noir: Well, I don’t.
Cow: Me neither. Prince Eric, is your surname Cabbage? Because it might as well be since you keep asserting that eating vegetables three times a day now will be better than eating something sweet for one of our meals.
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Ink and Dimitri are hanging out at the latter’s house. Dimitri is showing her his collection of leaves: he likes to go on walks alone in the evening and when he is doing so, he likes to collect the leaves that fall to the ground; he has amassed many leaves that way and some are even brown in color.
Dimitri: So, do you like it?
Ink: Yeah! I thought it would be so boring but I actually somehow had fun.
Dimitri: Really? I am happy that you did.
Ink: Yeah! Me too!
Dimitri: Would you like to eat something?
Ink: No! Why?
Dimitri: I thought maybe you would like to.
Ink: It’s not even lunchtime. Why do I look really weak or something?
Dimitri: No! Not really! But I am hungry…let me get you something. You wait here! Don’t go anywhere!
Dimitri leaves Ink his room and she instantly gets busy looking through his shoe collection. As he walks down rickety stairs, he feels really elated that Ink has come for a visit this weekend. Dimitri was quite worried about his friend the last time the two spoke and is really glad that she is doing the usual things she likes to do, even when she is experiencing a rough phase in her life.
He heads to the kitchen to make some cheese sandwiches for the both of them; his mother recently brought in some cheese from Switzerland for the two of them, when her sister was there in the country on a holiday. Meanwhile, Ink is busy guessing where Dimitri buys all his shoes from because they all look almost the same.
Ink (thinks to herself): Why? It’s as if I am seeing the same pair of shoes meant for walking six times already…and there are some more I can sight underneath the bed…let me try looking at…
Dimitri: Ink! I made some cheese sandwiches for you.
Ink (hits her head on Dimitri’s bed): Oof! I am under your bed! Wait a second…
Dimitri: Why? Did you hurt yourself?
Ink (tries to crawl out from under the bed): A little bit! I was checking out your many shoes.
Dimitiri: Wait there! I will show you more I have locked inside my brown trunk under the bed!
It is is a sunshine-filled day: Ink, Andrew and Dimitri and are sitting atop a green valley. Ink has only finished sharing this piece of news with her two friends that she is in trouble because of her refusal to share a pot of rice with a nasty woman. Dimitri has brought more vegetable rolls for Ink because she really enjoyed them the last time that his mother had made some for him. Whilst Ink munches on the vegetable rolls, a sudden breeze wafts a thistle through the sky.
Dimitri: I don’t think a lot can be done. I was in trouble recently too for refusing to speak to this nasty woman and her many children, who had all come to my house for a visit. The scolding that I got later for it is an event I would really like to never remember.
Andrew: I have had a lot of those very horrible experiences myself too. I honestly just hate these kind of visits that our families have to entertain. It sounds to me that the woman you are on about Ink is just one of those nasty people who absolutely just must have a public meltdown because you are so posh. I say, so be it.
Ink: I think that even if you were a fool, you must still work on being smart regarding it. You know, people like that will always try to find a way to put you into trouble even when you did nothing wrong at all.
Andrew: But that makes no sense. Why must a person suffer when somebody else is the one who is doing something wrong and that also to them?
Dimitri: Who cares? I just don’t care. I only know that an innocent person sometimes has to suffer in life because of the people they hate.
Ink: Oh! It is more than just about suffering, you know. Because the nasty woman comes around a lot, it is also about being refused to eat anything tasty, except for the vegetable rolls that you gave me just now, plus the raspberry cake that my mother bakes when the family is actually alone for once and she is in the mood for something sweet.
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On a dark and breezy night, Ink is sat at her desk and trying to listen in on the conversations happening outside of her room: she is also simultaneously, with the help of candlelight, writing an entry in her diary about all the miserable experiences she is having.
I do not really know how to begin. I feel really upset – I seem to be repenting for something that I never did wrong and that is just the most unfair of circumstances ever.
It all started with a visit from a woman, who I have never liked. She is my aunt – this middle-aged woman who is as tall as Dimitri but really fat and not somebody that I have ever known properly. I recently got into a lot of trouble for rudely refusing the woman a pot of rice – for that, she spread word through my extended family that I am an unkind little lady, who had refused to give some rice to a poor woman. Although, it was nothing more than nasty gossip, which is usually the kind that I am often embroiled in, the episode has had a lasting impression on my mind. Also, since then, I have to spend most of my time away from the sitting room, whenever the lady is at my house for a visit and inside of my room because of what I did wrong – mother thought it was best because my aunt told my mother that she will never forgive me.
The woman is at my house this evening. I feel really angry and lonely regarding that. I did nothing wrong by refusing the woman a pot of rice – she has a nasty character and I have grown up with the knowledge that she has always found some reason or the other to be jealous of me. If it isn’t my looks, then it is my character, which is obviously good, but the woman will always find some reason to lie and act the opposite is true. No wonder the woman never got married, even though that was what she had hoped to do in life, really, unlike me – I have always wanted to be somebody in life. Anybody, who isn’t only interested in getting married. I have seen too much of that – how is this horrible woman even related to my mother? I feel ashamed to even talk to any of my friends about a woman like that only because we are related. It is besides the point that the woman is poor – what about the fact that she is a nasty woman and what about my feelings?
I hope I get to have dinner tonight, without feeling even more hurt and also without having to listen from my mother, anything else that that nasty women has been getting busy spreading around about me.
I smell fish soup and bread, and it smells good – I hope that’s for dinner tonight.