Chapter 6 : Prejudice in Diagon Alley
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A small wizard with strange billowing robes was accompanying us down Diagon Alley. First he had led us through a pub where only one man tended the bar, though it seemed that there were no customers. The bartender had given us a dirty look and the little wizard – Flitter-wick I think? – had hurried us into the back where he tapped against a wall and the most amazing thing happened.
The bricks began to move, completely by themselves, and soon we were standing in front of a deserted street. I found that the silence and lack of people made me uneasy, but Flitter-wick hurried us along. First we needed robes for Marielle which was difficult because she was wearing a dress. So Flitter-wick thanked the lady working there and rushed us out to find Marielle’s school uniform first.
he witch at the robe shop had given us a dirty look too. So when we went back to her robe shop, I gave her one right back and she rolled her eyes. But we had successfully gotten Marielle’s robes and school books after a tedious two hours – guards never made things quick or easy, let alone with heels on – and we were on our way to find her an owl when a freckled red-head stopped our little guide, a frown on his face.
“Flitwick, how long is this supposed to take?” He asked, only looking at Marielle and I to shoot us a dirty look.
What was with these magic folk and giving us dirty looks? I mean, I realize we are royalty and they aren’t, but that is absolutely no reason to treat us like that. I had been polite to every single one of these people until they shot me those looks, so what was their problem?
Flitwick, not Flitter-wick, sniffed at the redhead. “Mr. Weasley, if it’s that much of a bother to you, we can visit Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes right now.”
“Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes?” I asked. “What does that sell?”
Mr. Weasley shot me another dirty look. “It’s a joke shop. There’s probably nothing that you would occupy yourself with, princess.”
He said the word princess like one would say broccoli. Like it tasted vile in his mouth. My hostrils flared as did my anger. While I didn’t mind if people treated me differently than what should be accepted as a royal (as I hate being so formal all the time), it was completely different when they assumed that I thought I was better than they were. Especially when they thought that they were better than me. And this Mr. Weasley definitely thought he was better than me.
“Excuse me, Mister Weasley,” I replied scathingly. “You see this crown on my head. That crown is for the queen. If you insist on regarding me as filth because of some prejudice you harbour, you better be sure to address me by my proper title. And my sister? Crown princess. And Mr. Flitwick, if it so pleases you, I don’t believe we will be stopping by Mr. Weasley’s joke shop. If the owner acts like this in public, who knows how he manages a business?”
With that, I turned on my heel and walked past my guards, pulling Marielle along with me. I could see tears forming in her eyes. She was extremely delicate having never really been in public. Our father shielded her notoriously. And these people treating us like dirt was really getting to her. Pulling her over to a bench on the side of the alley, I had the guards form a type of semi-circle in front of us. Kneeling on the ground in front of her as she sat on the bench, I put my hands on her cheeks, forcing her to look me straight in the eyes.
“Marielle, are you okay?” I asked as she nodded. “Because you have to ignore them. They believe we’re something we’re not and all we need to do is prove them wrong.”
She let a tear fall which I quickly wiped away, and cocked her head. “But Carolyn, you acted just as people think we do. You acted like Empress Talulah. That’s not proving them wrong.”
I pursed my lips. She was right. Empress Talulah, an empress of another small country off the coast of Ireland had come to visit us once and had completely appalled the entire castle. She expected my attendants and guards to succumb to her every whim, even when it directly jeopardized their safety.
I had finally put my foot down and sent her back to Quivene (her country), but ever since then, Marielle had always told me when I started acting a little bit like her. But I couldn’t say anything to how I was supposed to ‘prove them wrong.’ Then, as I was looking down at the dirt and wondering what Chancellor Evans would think if she saw me kneeling in the dirt with a dress on, I had an idea. My face lit up and I scooped some dirt off the ground.
“Trust me,” I told Marielle as I took some dirt and smeared it under each of her eyes
I then did the same to my own face and undid a curl in my hair to let it bounce freely in front of my face. Standing up, I wiped the rest of the dirt off my hands, took off my heels and requested that our guards let us through the almost impenetrable wall they had formed.
On the other side of it, a worried looking Flitwick and a disgruntled Mr. Weasley stood, staring at us. What I wouldn’t have given for Chancellor Evans to have seen me now, with dirt on my face, my hair unperfect and my heels in my hand, letting my dress gather even more dirt at the hem. Flitwick looked flabbergasted and Mr. Weasley seemed to be searching for words as he opened and closed his mouth like a fish.
“I heard there was a quaint little ice cream parlour somewhere around here?” I asked innocently, as if queens paraded around with dirt on their face and dresses, their hair undone and heels slung nonchalantly in their hands every day. “Because I could really go for some Rocky Road in a waffle cone. Possibly some sprinkles?”
I felt Marielle slip her hand into mine and I looked down at her. She just smirked at me.
“And don’t worry Mr. Weasley,” she said, turning to stare directly at the redhead, “if there aren’t any sprinkles we’ll fly some in from Peru. We might be able to scrounge up some extra money afterwards to pay for your surgery.”
Flitwick turned to Mr. Weasley, his forehead creased in confusion. “George, what it surgery?” He whispered, but I could still here.
“It’s where a doctor – someone who makes sick people better – cuts someone’s body open to take something out, put something in or fix something,” I clarified as both men looked at me in surprise. “In Mr. Weasley’s case,” I continued, squeezing Marielle’s hand, “they’re removing the stick from his arse.”
As Marielle snorted as she tried to stop herself from laughing, I turned to look at my guards. Not one had a straight face. As I turned back around, Flitwick looked appalled while Mr. Weasley (George, I guess) still had a sort of awestruck look to his freckled features. I fought hard to keep my laughter down, but couldn’t help the small smile that spread across my face. Taking a deep breath in, I started walking forward, dragging Marielle along and letting Flitwick and George to catch up if they wished.
“So, ice cream?”
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