43 Chapter 43 Secret Mission
Joseph waited beside the suit of armor, as Stella checked to make sure the coast was clear. They were in one of the main halls, but it was empty at this time of the day. Everyone was preparing for the evening meal. Stella know the way to their destination, but Joseph didn't. If anyone saw them, the mission would be over, so they had to move carefully.
Pulling on the tight sleeves of his servant's outfit, Joseph almost missed her signal. Darting from behind the suit of armor, he dashed across the hall to a heavy tapestry that was hanging on the wall. It reached all the way to the floor, and the wall behind it was uneven, giving him just enough room to hide behind. Stella joined him, squeezed back against the wall, just as the sound of someone walking down the hall, reached their ears.
Joseph all but held his breath as the servant passed by, completely oblivious to their presence. He grinned wildly at Stella as she checked to make sure the way was clear again. He had no idea Sylva had been so sneaky.
They both dashed down the hall, trying to run as quietly as possible, pausing at the corner to make sure no one was around, before darting into an alcove that held a small statue.
Stella pointed at the small door hidden just behind a pillar, and Joseph nodded. This was so much fun! Like one of those spy movies he had watched in a previous life! He had never tried to sneak around his house before, since he was never restricted from anywhere in the house.
The door was a servant's entrance, that was very small, and thus not used very often. They shouldn't have any problems using it, but at this time in the day, not many other servants would be using it.
Voices down the hall, alerted them that there were people coming, heading to the dining room for supper. Because of the number of nobles who stayed at the castle on any given day, there was no way of knowing who was coming. They only had a few seconds to make up their minds. Darting across the hall, they hid behind the pillar as Stella pulled on the door. It was stuck.
With overwhelming panic, they both jerked on the door together, and it popped open. Jumping through the door, they barely had it shut before the prince and his retinue came around the corner. Listening from the other side of the door, they heard him complaining about how awful the food was everywhere else in the kingdom, except here. He was looking forward to his supper, they were serving his favorite, duck.
Glancing at each other, they grinned. So far, so good! Turning their backs to the door, they made their way down the stairs. They were stone steps, but worn in the middle, making the trip very hazardous. The stone was slick from countless feet having worn them away, so they moved slowly to keep their footing.
At the bottom of the stairs, there was a thin passage, very tight, and hard to walk along. If they encountered anyone, there would be no room to pass each other. Maybe that was why no one used this route anymore.
Pausing at the door, at the end of the hall, they listened to the bustle of countless of people. Joseph was up now. He moved to the door and peeked through a hole along the edge of the door. He had to be very careful how he did this, to make sure it worked just right. He wanted to create a diversion, but at the same time, he didn't want anyone to get in trouble.
A servant was stirring a large pot of water, balanced precariously over the fire in the stove. There were so many pots on the stove, this one was barely on the edge. The woman kept having to push it back on using a stick so as not to burn herself.
"Ready," murmured Stella, so softly, no one else would have a prayer of hearing it.
Joseph caused a flash of his magic to shoot up out of the pot into the woman's face. It startled her, causing her to give out a shout of surprise. She bumped the pot, tipping it over onto the fire, throwing steam and curses from everyone in the room into the air. During the chaos, they burst out of the doorway, the two of them grabbing different things as the servants all scrambled around, trying to salvage the food and fire, while trying not to step into the puddle of boiling hot water.
Jostled in the chaos, Joseph lost sight of Stella, but managed to make his way back to the door. She was already there, and they managed to close it without anyone the wiser. Making little happy dances, they made their way quickly, back to the stairs and started the laborious climb to the door on the second floor.
The hall outside was empty still, so they made their way back to Joseph's room very quickly. Once they arrived, the four guards had such a look of relief on their faces, they couldn't help but laugh.
"If you had been caught, Master Joseph, we would have been in a lot of trouble!" said Logan, one of the older guards. His blonde hair fell almost to his shoulders, and Joseph knew that a lot of the palace women had noticed him.
Dylan nodded, the other older guard. "Your father would have punished us for sure!" His small black eyes took away from his blonde hair, so he hadn't been noticed as much as his brother, with his blue eyes.
"I would have handled it," said Stella, setting her bundles down on the table. Joseph joined her, adding his bundles to hers.
"But, how?" asked Todd, coming forward, his face scrunched up in puzzlement.
"We dressed as servants," said Joseph, as if that explained everything. He knew it may not have worked, but there were so many people in the castle every day, he had hoped it would.
"What did you grab?" asked Sam, joining Todd at the end of the table.
"We grabbed supper for all of us," said Joseph with a grin, taking off a towel he had draped over the food. There were meats and cheeses, fruits, and breads.
"And," Stella pulled another towel off her platter, "All of the cookies slotted to go to Prince Reginald. I overheard some of the other servants talking about how a special platter was prepared for him each evening, so that he could enjoy his dessert in the peace of his rooms, without having to share them with everyone else."
On the platter was an assortment of dozens of different cookies, each one different and painstakingly decorated. They all gathered around it in delight. Even Logan and Dylan were drooling at the copious amounts of sweets on the tray.
Without another word of being in trouble, they all decided wholeheartedly, that they could enjoy the treats first. Stella promised to make the tray disappear so they wouldn't get in trouble for having it, as the beautiful detail work was revealed with the disappearance of the cookies.
Joseph knew he might have a stomach ache later, but at the moment, he didn't mind at all.