Secret Children 6: Tea with the Lady

By Desert Mouse

Ruby walked up the final flight of stairs backwards, watching the much younger Sakura very carefully. She was concerned that the child would drop something, trip or otherwise cause an accident. And yet she was amazed that she made it three stories without anything happening.

"are you sure that you don't want some help?" Ruby offered again, just like the last few times Sakura shook her head with a bright smile.

"You make me wish I had a tail." Ruby laughed. Sakura giggled but she didn't allow herself to get distracted for long, she had a serious look on her face as she made the final steps to reach the fourth floor.

"The task was great, ascend hampered not yet refreshed. But when tray and tea arrive safely the journey is not yet complete." Sakura grinned widely.

"You did great, and we are almost there." Ruby cheered. She looked over at Jade whom was standing on the stairs with her back against the wall.
"Are you going to have tea with us?"

"Thank you but no, I was only making sure that Sakura made it up without hurting herself. And now I will leave the two of you alone." Jade replied, she gave Ruby a stern look.
"I entrust her safety to you now." She added before descending the stairs.

"Jade grows old before her time, heart weighted with concerns unseen. Sweet taste and soft fragrance await us onward" Sakura giggled. She walked deeper into the fourth floor, leaving Ruby behind.

"One day she's going to give Diamond a run for authority." Ruby smiled at the now empty stairwell. She hesitated only a moment before realizing that she was now alone and rushed after the ten-year old cat creature.

"Are you in a hurry?" she laughed catching up to the young one.

"Time takes its toll, stealing from taste." Sakura pointed out.

"That's true, but it's only a small delay." Ruby laughed

"Step with haste, the lady's spirit awaits." Sakura urged.

"I'm coming, I'm coming." Ruby rolled her eyes. The two of them walked down the hallway, stopping when they reached what at one time was the lady of the castle's sitting room.

Inside the lady's private area the paint was faded but the girls could still marvel at the elegant floral pattern gracing the walls. Sakura loved this room, it was pretty but the feelings that she got echoing between the walls were ones of loneliness.

The child put the tea on the table and the two of them sat down to enjoy the beverage. Sakura took three sips before becoming restless and standing up. She walked over to the back wall and touched the paint.

"Upon the stone walls where the head rests, dreary and grey I dream of still flowers such as the lady waits." She giggled at the faded paint.

"We don't have anything that could decorate your walls like this, so come back and drink your tea." Ruby sighed.

"The wall is a wall, but it's not? Something waits here." Sakura asked.

"Go drink, I'll take a look." Ruby stood up, she walked up behind Sakura and examined the wall while the child sat back down, but instead of finishing her tea she stared at Ruby.

"Interesting." Ruby commented
"It looks like an opening."

"A new way concealed by the darkness of a forgotten time? The hidden that you seek, against the binding of rules?" Sakura asked.

"It might be, let me see if I can open it." Ruby replied. She had a lot of experience trying to find the secret switches and doorways of the castle. She took a few minutes to examine the wall, and finding what she was looking for the wall clicked and a section swung open.

Sakura joined Ruby, and the two of them entered a room that had been sealed for ten years with a gasp. It was a long hallway with the most unusual and beautiful clothing they had ever seen. Many of them were made with types of cloth they never could have imagined, exotic things such as silk.

Sakura picked out a pretty pink dress that was too large for her and changed into it without thinking. Ruby got caught up in the magic and grabbed one for herself. The two of them didn't even look at the door on the other side of the wardrobe.

"This must have been the Lady's dressing room, maybe we should get Holly to peek at these dresses." Ruby smiled.  She looked at herself and Sakura, laughing at the poor fit of the childs dress. It was obvious that these outfits had never been intended for children to wear. Ruby took the dress off to try on another one.

"I heed the call of a dress unseen for too long. Time wears on its desire to be shared with all." Sakura announced and rushed out of the room.

"Wait..." Ruby tried to protest, but she was too late. Quickly she tried to get her own clothing back on to chase after Sakura before she did something stupid.

Sakura ran though the castle in the oversized dress, she stumbled on the hem a few times but never fell down. On the first floor she entered the dining area before Ruby could catch up, where she found Emerald, Holly and Diamond talking about something. The conversation stopped dead when she entered the room.

"Feast the eyes on the found, lost in secret to be unknown." She cheerfully told them.

"That's beautiful, where did you find that?" Holly asked, however Diamond wasn't amused.

"Ruby, I should have known." Diamond said when Ruby charged into the room after Sakura.

"I found a room attached to the Lady's sitting room filled with these clothing, I didn't intend for Sakura to run off but didn't see any harm in trying one on." Ruby tried to explain quickly, she didn't like the deadly stare that Diamond was giving her.

"Ruby's truth is shrouded in the imagination. I discovered the abandoned." Sakura protested.

"Now isn't the time." Ruby thought with dread. She knew that Diamond would punish them and that Sakura shouldn't get involved.

"It's my fault, I found the way to open it, and I was the one that suggested we show them to Holly. I thought that she could get some ideas for festival of renewal gowns." Ruby told them.

"Ruby hides me behind her back, to confuse she covers guilt. Claiming it her own." Sakura said.

"Enough, both of you." Diamond demanded.
"Ruby if this is her fault, don't make matters worse by trying to cover for her. You are already in enough trouble. I don't know what happened up there but she is the one wearing a dress from a forbidden area."

"But we bo…" Ruby tried to defend herself.

"I don't want to hear excuses. Go help Sapphire." Diamond said pointing to the door. For a split second Ruby considered pressing the point, but thought better of it. She was only going to make things worse, so the best thing she could do was go tell Jade what was happening. Ruby left the room without another word.

"I will let Holly see these dresses once. Then the Lady's sitting room, and the wardrobe will be locked and declared off limits. Sakura come with me to the kitchen, we have to discuss your part in this." Diamond announced, she grabbed Sakura's hand and led her into the kitchen.

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