Princess Tutu Fan Fiction ❯ Princess Tutu: the Diamond in the Rough ❯ Music: Swan Lake--Valse ( Chapter 5 )

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Chapter V
Music: Swan Lake—Waltz
Once at the palace, rooms were found for Duck, Freya, and Fakir. Joe was given a perch in Fakir's room, and quickly learned to sleep in that fashion. At the same time, Duck though about Joe, and realized that there would be things that he would need to know. When morning hit, she knew he would be hungry. Since this was the case, she knew that he probably had no gravel for his craw, which would make it impossible to him to digest his food. He would have to learn about that. In fact, he would have to learn all about being a bird if he was to make it, and there was actually much to learn for his own good. However, she began to think about what had happened to her. She was a girl again, but now, she had no way of going back, at least, no way until the story was over, and even that was no guarantee. At the same time, she wondered if going back was good at all. She took out the diamond and set it on the counter. She then went to the full length mirror and took off her dress. She wondered why she had advanced in age so quickly. Then the looked at her face, and stared at it for a long time. She looked more like Tutu than before, yet still younger. Yet, in her mind's eye, she superimposed her face now with Tutu and her true form, and asked herself, “Who is the real `me?'”
The next morning, there was a knock at the door, and she slipped the dress on, and opened the door. A butler stood there with three maids, a long rolling rack of clothes, and tape measures. “Your highness,” said the butler in a majestic fashion, “These ladies are here to take your measurements, and help you select your clothes.”
“Y…your highness?” asked Duck, quite surprised.
“Of course,” he said, “He explained that a cousin of his was visiting for a time, which would be you.”
“Um…thank you,” she said, “Is this his doing?”
“Most certainly, your highness,” said the butler, “I also would like to know, if you do not mind my forwardness in asking, how did you end up with a Japanese name like `Ahiru?'”
“Odd name,” she thought, “I'll have to ask what that's all about.”
She then said, “I...uh…have some Japanese blood in there…in the royal line…yes…um…my parents promised them that…um…they would name one child with a Japanese name…yeah, that's it!”
“Very good, your highness,” he said, (which she was relieved that he bought it,) “My name is Hans, and I shall be looking after your needs while here.”
“Thank you for your kindness,” she said, and Hans motioned the ladies in as he took his leave. Before he left, she said, “Could you hold for a moment, please?”
She too some paper and scrawled down a few things, and said, “Could you take this to Miss Freya, please?”
“With pleasure, your highness,” he said, and took his leave.
In the meantime, the maids began to take her measurements, and then they began to pick out outfits: formal wear, casual, business, and ballet clothes. When she asked why the ballet clothes were being selected, it was explained to her that they knew she danced ballet, and that she would be attending Goldkrone Academy, all on the prince's wishes. Now she was definitely going to be talking to the prince later! About this time, Freya and Joe emerged, and he looked quite sick. “Tried to eat without gravel, didn't you?” said Ahiru.
“Ugh!” said Joe, “I ate a peanut, and it's sitting on my stomach like a sack of wet rags!”
Ahiru said, “Could someone fetch his perch, please?”
One of the maids then quickly complied, and went to fetch the perch. Ahiru said, “A bird's digestive tract doesn't dissolve food like any other animal, so it has to ingest sand or small gravel to break down its food.”
Joe looked disgusted at this suggestion, and said, “You're kidding, right?”
“'Fraid not,” she said, with a sympathetic look on her face. About this time, the maids returned with the perch. Freya put Joe on the perch, and Ahiru saw the tray that held the gravel. She pointed, and said, “This is the stuff right here. All it will take is a couple of beak fills, and you'll be okay.”
Joe shuffled over to it, took one look, and stuck out his tongue. Then he felt the pain a bit more, and finally resigned himself to his fate. He dipped in his beak twice, and quickly swallowed. He shook his head as it went down rough. He then went to the water tray and dipped in his beak. He then realized that it was almost impossible to swallow. Ahiru reached over and tilted his head back so he could swallow. He coughed, and said, “Thank you.”
He then dipped in his beak again, and tilted his head back himself, having taken the hint. After about a minute of uncomfortable churning, he finally felt better. At this, Ahiru said, “If you're going to be stuck like that, I'm going to have to teach you how to survive as a bird, or else you're going to be in some misery!”
At this point, the maids had at least one casual dress ready to go, right about the time Hans returned. He knocked, entered, and said, “His highness wishes an audience with you three.”
“Thank you,' said Ahiru, and then said, `I'll go ahead and put this on, and be out in a minute.”
“Very good,” he said, and everyone left, as the maids took away the rack for alterations.
Everyone sat at a grand table as breakfast was served. The first thing that happened was the Freya and Joe was brought up to speed on all that had transpired. Then something odd happened. Freya had this look on her face like her head was swimming, and she then shook her head, as if she were awaking from a long sleep. She then said, “Oh my! I remember…I remember it all!”
“How is that possible?” asked Rue.
Siegfried thought for a moment, and then said, “It seems contact with this new story, and your involvement in the old one, combined with this reminder, must have snapped the amnesia the closing of the previous story caused.”
“Makes sense to me,” said Fakir.
Freya then looked over to Ahiru, and said, “That means,” she hesitated, and then said, “That means you saved my life twice! You're Princess Tutu!” She jumped up and embraced her, saying again, “You saved my life twice! I owe you so much!”
Surprised, Ahiru returned the embrace, and said, “You're repayment to me will be to keep that pretty garden happy and healthy for me and all who love your flowers.”
“Oh, I will…I WILL!” she said gleefully, and kissed Ahiru's cheek. It was then Ahiru sought for her questions to be answered. The first was, “Why the bluff, prince, and, what's with the name?”
“By saying that you were a visiting princess, I knew that they would treat you well, and it is a good disguise for you. Second, `Ahiru' is the Japanese word for `duck,' and I think that it sounds prettier than just calling you `Princess Duck!'”
Everyone got a laugh out of this, and she said, “Okay, Ahiru it is.”
Siegfried continued, “I do hope, however, that Princess Tutu is not far behind. We could use her help.”
“If what your mother mentioned is correct, I don't think that that will be an issue,” said Fakir. Ahiru was not so sure that this was the truth, but she knew that it would only be matter of time before she found out. Ahiru then asked, “Then, why does it seem that I have aged a few years since the last time I was a girl?”
Thinking for a minute, Fakir said, “Since ducks don't live as long as humans, then you, as a girl, must have been proportionally aged when you were changed.”
That rattled her, and for two reasons. The first was because she did not realize the aging process. The second was that she suddenly realized that her time with Fakir would not be as long as a duck as it would be if she was human. This indeed frightened her. Now, she wondered all the more if being a duck once more when all was said and done would be wise. She knew that everyone needed to be his or herself, and she knew that her being human robbed Joe from being himself as well. Yet, what other options were there?
The next matter for discussion was formulating a plan to capture the six rebellious souls. The main question was how to recognize a threat. Rue the said, “Well, remember that Adelheid said they could not attack anyone directly. She did say that the go after one's mental weaknesses to get the job done.”
“Then we simply have to look for people who are having serious problems along with many near brushes with disaster,” said Siegfried, “Yet, we have to be careful and not make assumptions. By the way, Fakir, where is the manuscript?”
“One step ahead of you,” said Fakir, “I had it sealed air tight in a bag, and then had it set in one of your most secure vaults.”
“Good,” said Siegfried, “At least that factor has been removed.”
“Yet, how are we going to cover the whole town?” asked Freya, “Goldkronesburg is sizeable.”
Joe then said, “Hey, if they want targets, they don't have to look further than the academy. I mean, man, talk about your ammo dump of neurotics!”
The words hit like a ton of bricks. Of course, the school made sense as the best target. Furthermore, if Drosselmyer had any inkling of revenge, then going after their peers would be something too delicious for him to pass up. After about a minute of silence, Siegfried then said, “Then that means we cannot stay here. We have to live on campus in order to keep a full-time vigil.”
“Yet, what are they going to say about the web-footed wonder here when she shows up in her place?” said Joe, with Ahiru giving him a dirty look. He then said, “What will they say about me?”
Ahiru then said, “There is a possibility that with a new story started, and it having us as the principles, there may be a possibility that no one would notice.”
“This is something that will have to be dealt with later,” said Siegfried, “and we'll just have to play it by ear.”
He then slapped the table, and said, “Then it is settled. I will insure that we shall all be lodged on campus from now on, and then we get to work on Monday, unless something happens that needs us right away.”
Ahiru then said, “However, Joe, we have to work on you first.”
“Uh…what?” he asked, “What do you mean?”
Ahiru sauntered up with an evil grin on her face, got right into Joe's, and said, “Since you have already shown that you know nothing about being a bird, the `web footed wonder' here is going to have to teach you everything you will need to know to survive!”
By this point, Joe and Ahiru were nose to beak, Ahiru still having the same smile on her face, staring him right in the eyes. Joe now deeply regretted the comment.
Joe had no idea at all in what was involved in being a bird. He already leaned he had to relearn how to eat; now he realized he would have to relearn just about everything. He had to learn how to do a lot with his feet, how to groom, how to preen, even how to bathe. Though Ahiru initially acted like she was going to get revenge for his snide remarks, he found her to be quite a patient teacher. Then came the big lesson. She then said to Joe, “Okay, now extend your wings please.”
He did, and she examined them closely. “Good,” she said, “you still have all your flight feathers.”
“Are you saying I can fly?” asked Joe, suspiciously.
“You have the equipment,” she answered, “and there is no reason why you shouldn't learn. Besides, if you want to be more mobile, it is best you learn.”
“Where do we start?” he asked.
“Okay,” she answered, “lean straight forward, fan out your tail and flap. When you feel lift, let go of the perch and tuck in your legs.”
He did, and managed to rise up about four feet. Just as he let go, she said, “Now stop,” knowing that he would be a good distance up by the time he stopped, “and curl your wings. It will act like a parachute.”
This he did, and descended, but it was still a landing with an impact. Ahiru then said, “If it feels like you are dropping too fast, flap a couple of times. You'll get the feel for it.”
He gave it a couple more tries, and figured out how to stay somewhat in control. He knew practice would help. Ahiru then said, “Now, to actually fly, you have to jump and flap, but do it as if you were swimming the butterfly. To glide, just hold your wings out straight. The air will hold up your wings, so your wings won't get tired. And then…”
But before she could finish, Joe gave it a go. “Wait!” said Ahiru, but he was already airborne. Things went well enough, until he headed for a wall. Just before he hit it, Freya put her hands out and caught him. “I think there was something else she was trying to tell you.”
“Let me guess,” said Joe, “It had something to do with steering, right?”
The two girls laughed as Freya let him perch on his hand. “Okay, this is how you turn: point the left wing down to go left, and twist the right wing the other way. Right turns are the opposite. Diving is tilting both wings up, and swooping up is tilting down.”
The lesson continued on, and they kept Joe at it until he seemed to have the knack for it. He then began to enjoy flying, and Ahiru was amused as she heard him laugh and have a good time with it. As a test, they took him outside to deal with a little breeze. At first, the wind got the better of him, but he then figured out how aerodynamic he really was, and then began to turn the wind to his favor. He was then beginning to perform tricks and turns. He now truly learned what it meant to be “free as a bird.”
While all this was going on, Drosselmyer was talking with the five warlocks: Adolph, Helmut, Heinrich, Felix, and Rolf. Felix, (who was their leader,) demanded, “Who are you, and why have you brought us here?”
“Because I can,” said Drosselmyer, and he chuckled. Felix was not amused. “This is not time for jokes, you old goat!” he thundered.
“Temper, temper,” said Drosselmyer, “I have great hopes for you!”
“This better not be some trick, or…” said Adolph.
“Worry not, dear friend,” said Drosselmyer, all gushingly, “I only want to aid you in your work.”
“What's in it for you if we let you?” said Heinrich.
“Nothing, but the enjoyment of seeing a good tragedy played out,” said Drosselmyer, and he mused over Heinrich's forward thinking.
“I think he's more twisted than we are,” said Rolf, “Which is all the more delicious,” said Helmut.
He then turned his attention to Drosselmyer, and said, “How shall this be done?”
“It's so simple,” said Drosselmyer, “Just watch the cogs, and when you see something you like, just tell me, and I shall send you.”
What he did not want to tell them was that they were inside the mechanics of the story itself, and all they had to do was subdue Drosselmyer, and real misery would start. Tragedy was fine as long as he did not end up on the wrong end of the deal. However, none of this escaped a pair of curious eyes and ears, and now she wanted to find out what it was all about. She sauntered up to Felix and said, “What are you watching-zura?”
Felix nearly came out of his skin when Uzzura came up from behind. “Away, child,” he threatened, “You are a nuisance!”
Uzzura started pounding on her drum, and shouted, “I wanna know-zura!”
“GO AWAY!” he shouted, and shoved her aside. Uzzura was upset at this mean person, but knew better than to press it. She instead listened to the comments, and then realized that these were bad people. Worse, they wanted to do bad things to her old friends. Uzzura was unlike any of Drosselmyer's puppets, for this one possessed a free will, and a heart of her own. She was naïve in many things, but she was on the ball enough to know trouble when she saw it. She had remembered how Drosselmyer took trips into the other world, and figured that this is what she needed to do. Thus, when no one was looking, she snuck to one of the clocks, took it, and sent it back once she arrived. Now she went to seek her friends, who had taught her all about lovey-dovey!