Secret Children 8: Shimmering Sapphire

By Desert Mouse

Sapphire walked across the second floor hallway with a broom in her hand and a dusting rag hanging over her left shoulder. Each day she worked hard to keep the castle clean, and she enjoyed every minute of it. To her it was better then the idea of sitting around doing nothing all day.

She made her way to the common room, there was always lots of work that needed to be done there. But it was also one of the four most used areas of the castle, that's why she needed to clean up in there at least once a day. But when she reached the common room, it was already done. She looked around desperately to make sure, maybe it had not been used much since last nights cleaning? But she found that it was spotless.

"every time the festival comes near, they do this to me." She grumbled leaving the room. It was all the festival of renewals fault. And unfortunately she didn't even know who was responsible for the common room.

"I'll just go upstairs." She decided turning towards the staircase. She shifted the broom in her hands and swung it over her shoulder. She was going to start on the forth floor hallways and work her way down, sweeping the floors and the staircase. But she grew concerned while she walked up the stairs. They didn't seem like they were that dirty, and when she reached the forth floor her concerns were confirmed. The floor had already been swept.

"Not again…" she groaned. There had to be something she could clean. Sapphire started to panic a little, she searched the forth and third floors desperately trying to find something that had not been cleaned already.

"I know I can't be mad at them." She sighed.
"they are just trying to help, but I have to keep busy." She only had faint memories before she had been brought to the castle, but she was always busy and the girls around her had been even more so. One thing that she did remember because it persisted for the first few years they had been in the castle, was a feeling of fear when she sat idle. like if she had stopped working someone would hurt her.

"It's not the case anymore. The only consequences for not doing anything now are a dirty castle. But I can't help feeling restless when I'm not doing anything." She thought descending stairs. She walked past the old king's audience chamber and went directly to the main dining area. Holly would be cooking supper in a few hours so perhaps it wouldn't hurt to get some work done in there before the girls crowed in.

"oh no." Sapphire thought entering the dining room. Standing beside the table with a washcloth in hand was Rose, smiling while she worked in silence. Sapphire looked at her carefully for several moments, trying to decide what she should do. This was the only room she could find that needed her attention, and someone else was already doing it.

"Hey Rose, can you come here for a minute." Sapphire said. Over at the table Rose stopped what she was doing and looked at her curiously.  She walked around the table and came face to face with Sapphire.

"You should go visit with Sakura and let me handle things in here." She insisted. However Rose just shook her head.

"I know you just want to help, but let me do this. You earned a break." Sapphire tried. Rose still seemed hesitant but Sapphire pushed her point by taking the wash cloth and gently nudging Rose towards the door.

When Rose was gone, Sapphire smiled and started working. She didn't feel guilty about pushing the silent girl out, she would probably enjoy resting with one of the others more anyway.

Several minutes later when she was finished the table and starting on the fireplace mantle. Diamond entered the dining room.

"A word with you Sapphire." She said seriously.

"Can it wait?"

"No actually. Please come here." Diamond insisted. Sapphire sighed and approached her.

"Rose told me that you kicked her out. I need to know if she is mistaken." Diamond said.

"Well not exactly." Sapphire admitted. She hesitated then continued because of the look she was receiving.
"There isn't anywhere else to clean, and Rose doesn't really need to be here. Why should she have to do it?" she asked.

"So you kicked Rose out of the dining room because you wanted to clean what she was?" Diamond asked.


"Rose was here first. You will just have to find somewhere else." Diamond explained.

"But there isn't anywhere else. I have already looked everywhere." Sapphire protested.

"Then you will just have to find something else to do. Unless she willingly gives you permission to take over you can't just take over someone else's job. I suggest that you go to the common room and enjoy your night off."

"But keeping the castle clean is my job." Sapphire protested.

"Says who? There is nothing in the castle rules that state you are responsible for cleaning the castle. That is a chore that you alone decided to do.  I don't have a problem with that, but it doesn't give you the right to forcefully interfere when someone else wishes to help." Diamond told her.

"You don't…" Sapphire started to say, but she was quickly cut off by Diamond.

"Leave and do not return until supper. I don't care what you decide to do with your night off, but you are to do no more chores tonight."

"Yes Diamond." Sapphire said quietly. She left the dining room defeated, but she knew that she had to obey and take the rest of the night off or Diamond would take more drastic measures then just forbidding her from working.

"I guess I'll go see Holly about a new gown for next year's festival. She may have seen some new ideas from visiting the lady's dressing room." Sapphire decided.

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