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Let's Play Cinders


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Gloria: In her study. She said she didn't have time to wait for you forever. And you kept her waiting for quite some time.

Sophia: Oh no, we wouldn't want Carmosa's magnificent plans to be foiled just because of Cinders' laziness, would we!

Gloria: You might rethink your attitude. Mother wants to speak to you. I can't imagine how that is going to be a pleasant experience, considering.

Sophia: She said she wants to speak to me? Why?!

Gloria: Well, actually, she wants to speak to each of us. You're just supposed to go first.

Sophia: When I finally get to be the first at something, it's something I don't want. It's like receiving gifts. Good in principle yet always disappointing in reality.

Cinders: Why would she want to speak to each of us? And why separately? I have a bad feeling about this.

Gloria: Oh, stop complaining you two! And you should hurry up and go, Sophia. Unless you feel the need to make Mother angrier, of course.

Sophia: *sigh* I'm going, I'm going.

Gloria: If you did what you were supposed to, you wouldn't need to be nervous right now. Just a thought.

Cinders: Of course! Because everything is fair and honest around here. And I certainly won't get blamed for things I have no control over.

Gloria: I think you do enough on your own not to need any additional blame. Your constant rebelling should get most of Carmosa's attention.

Cinders: And how will Carmosa have an idea about who rebelled and what 'rebelling' actually means, huh?

Gloria: You are not seriously suggesting that I would tell on you, are you? I'm trying so hard to do well here and take care of you two.

And Sophia, she wouldn't just stab you in the back like that for no reason. Would she now?

Cinders: Well, I certainly do not feel as safe as you describe.

Gloria: Ok, so my sister might have an interesting idea of fun.

Cinders: True. But I think we did start some sort of connection, albeit weak.

Cinders: I'm not sure yet, but I certainly hope it's permanent, not some ploy to lower my awareness. I liked the feeling of having a sister.

Gloria: Oh, I'm so glad you say that. And I am happy that you and Sophia get along. Actually, I'm happy she is getting along with anyone.

Cinders: Happy? Why? You hardly ever talk to her yourself!

Gloria: That fact I don't have a good connection with her doesn't mean I can't care. I do wish for her to be happy. I'm glad she's finally able to make friends.

Cinders: I had no idea you cared so much. You're full of surprises.

Gloria: I don't think I need to explain myself.

Cinders: I was just asking, but fine.

Gloria: Let's just wait for Sophia to come out and see what she has to say.

Cinders: Well, it's not like we have many alternatives. I hate waiting.

Gloria: This shouldn't take long. Carmosa is not someone to beat around the bush.

Cinders: True, she's always to the point. No excuses, no diversions. No mercy.

Gloria: *sigh* Let's just wait.

Sophia: Aren't you happy to see me? I'm fine, sorry to disappoint you girls.

Gloria: So what was the talk about?

Sophia: You'll find out soon enough. It's your turn and I wouldn't keep Mother waiting if I were you.

Gloria: Alright. I'm off. Wish me luck.

Sophia: You might need it. So good luck, sister.

Cinders: Good luck.

Sophia: Carmosa swoops down on you like a hawk and submits you to great physical torture and tests your endurance. At one point she took this long needle and--

Cinders: Lovely. Thanks for that image, sis.

Sophia: You did get a little pale. But honestly, you'll be fine.

Cinders: So it wasn't that bad?

Sophia: Oh, don't get me wrong, it was no pleasure either. And Carmosa hatched a plan that will make me lose a lot of sleep till it's all over.

Cinders: This can't be good. I'm almost afraid to ask. What is it?

Sophia: Oh no. You need to be properly surprised when you hear it from Carmosa. That will prove I did not utter a word.

But you don't need to worry too much. Only Gloria and I get to fail Carmosa and her ridiculously high expectations this time. As far as I know, you will not be involved.

Cinders: I never thought I'd be happy to hear that someone forgot about me.

Sophia: I wonder what Gloria will tell. Aren't you worried?

Cinders: I'm not sure. She seemed fine when we talked.

Sophia: As odd as it may be, you might be right. My silly sister babbled a lot about how she finally got through to you. What a success it was to finally come to some sort of understanding.

The most pathetic part was when she decided this 'understanding' was important enough to make it the topic of the day.

Cinders: I'm glad she felt that way. I thought it made for a nice change of pace, as well.

Sophia: The only thing missing from this picture is holding hands and singing. And dancing. Possibly in circles. In the middle of a flowery meadow.

I think I might throw up.

Cinders: I think you could use some hand holding and singing. Having friends doesn't hurt you know. At least it works better for me than isolation works for you.

Sophia: Oh shut up. Let's just wait for Gloria. It shouldn't be too long.

Gloria: What do you mean?

Cinders: Well. Was it, I don't know, unpleasant?

Gloria: Of course not. Why would it be? It was just a normal conversation.

Sophia: Normal for you, perhaps.

Cinders: Come on, Gloria, I can tell it wasn't that smooth.

Sophia: Stop being so nosy! And start asking proper questions. Did Carmosa tell you about her plans?

Gloria: In fact, she did.

Cinders: Sophia, please.

Sophia: Shush now, Cinders. So what do you think of Mother's latest great plot?

You would think she had learned not to expect the impossible of us. Or anything big, really.

Gloria: And maybe it's time to live up to her expectations? You are a grown-up now, Sophia. It's time for you to work on managing your responsibilities.

Sophia: You're hopeless and stupid! Some of us are simply not built for greatness.

Sophia: You must speak plainly. I'm too stupid to understand complex sentences.

Cinders: So what are Carmosa's plans exactly?

Gloria: Oh, I'm sure she'll explain everything in a moment. Now hurry, don't keep her waiting.

You know how angry she gets when someone's late.

Cinders: Oh yes. I feel like this is going to be quite an adventure. And I'm about to enter the beast's lair.

Gloria: You don't need to worry. I didn't tell her about your little excursions.

I did tell her, however you behaved in a responsible and trustworthy manner.

Sophia: Which I'm sure Mother has immediately taken to be true, since she values your opinion so highly.

Cinders: Alright then, I'm going. Wish me luck.

Lady Carmosa: Yes, I did. Come in and close the door. I'd like you to explain something to me.

Weren't you the busy little bee when I was gone?

Cinders: I'm not sure I follow--

Lady Carmosa: I've just talked with your sisters and they both vouched for your good behavior during my absence.

Cinders: They did? Oh, that's--

Lady Carmosa: Surprising? Bah! I realize that! Surely you must have played your cards well, if you befriended them both so quickly.

Cinders: I don't recall playing cards, I just took some time to talk with them and try to understand them for a change. I guess it worked.

Lady Carmosa: How lovely. But I really couldn't care less about that. The important thing is that you didn't do anything stupid or manage to get yourself into some trouble, like I was expecting.

Cinders: I'm-- I mean, thank you, Ma'am.

Lady Carmosa: Regardless of what you may be thinking right now, adding wood to the roaring blaze of that ego of yours isn't the purpose of this talk. Praise means nothing save the purpose it serves -- remember that.

There are important matters I need to tell you about. It has to do with my plans for our family.

Two days from now, a Grand Ball will be taking place in the Royal Palace. Any royal business is very important of course, but this particular ball will be very important even for His Royal Highness. It means very careful preparations.

Cinders: The Royal Masquerade, I might have heard about it, yes.

Lady Carmosa: Oh... You have? This is very surprising indeed.

Cinders: Is it? Recently, I've learned that it isn't that difficult to obtain sensitive information.

One simply has to pay attention to what is going on around them, watch carefully who is meeting with whom.

Especially when it comes to certain shady-looking characters fetching rumours like a trained hound.

Lady Carmosa: Let's hope you'll forge this little success in collecting information into a permanent quality, a quality which I'm sure you'll find useful in life.

Cinders: Being well-informed surely beats being kept in the dark.

Folk say that 'truth shines like light and ignorance is the darkest night'. It's a fitting comparison. After all, night is the time of fear, vulnerability and powerlessness.

I learned quite a few things these days. I feel much safer and more powerful already.

Lady Carmosa: What matters here, is that the Ball is very near and there is litle time left.

It means that I will be expecting our entire family, and I do mean ALL of us, to give their best.

Cinders: Very well. And what is my part in this plan, then? Will I be going to the Ball as well, member of our family that I am?

Lady Carmosa: Don't be absurd. Royal affairs aren't your arena.

Cinders: I see. Then what is my arena, Ma'am?

Lady Carmosa: Why the house of course! If everything goes smoothly, the Ball should mark the point of our family coming back into high society.

And that means one thing: guests.

We will need combined effort to make the residence spotless. But your role in this will be crucial.

Cinders: I see, my lady. Would you also like me to hid in the wardrobe or pretend I'm a statue when the guests come?

Or maybe being a statue would pose too much of a competition for your charming and intelligent daughters?

Lady Carmosa: I understand your anger and your reasons, now you must understand mine.

Lady Carmosa: You may play all sanctimonious with me now, but either now or in ten years you'll understand my perspective. And you will agree with my decision.

Also, I don't see a single reason to yield to your complaints, if all I get from you is recklessness and childish moods. Start supporting the family, and maybe the family will do the same for you.

Cinders: You like to refer to all of us as family, but only if it means I have to do something.

Lady Carmosa: Don't get melodramatic, girl. You sound like a bad novel.

Even if I wanted to, I wouldn't be able to prepare three young ladies for the ball organised by the future king.



Almost determinedly non-useful
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Much as our earlier knowledge seemed to impress Carmosa, best to keep it under our hat for now.


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Much as I want a happy ending for our protagonist, I don't want to cause drama for the two stepsisters who we just managed to get something of a tentative truce/friendship with. Confronting Carmoda here might be overplaying one's hand far too early in a way that might have blowback with the stepsisters.

Better not


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Lady Carmosa: Listen to me, girl, and listen good. I am the rightful owner of this house.

And as unfortunate as it may be, your father -- bless his soul eternal -- is dead. No mother would put an orphan before her own children!

Cinders: I am not just some orphan! And contrary to your REAL children, I am not afraid to think and speak for myself!

You're truly blind if you really can't see my potential and how useful I could be. Also for you.

Lady Carmosa: Enough of this idle chatter. We have a very important task ahead of us and little time left.

Since you're thinking so highly of yourself and your skills, why don't you show us your pragmatic side and start cleaning the house and helping with preparations?

Cinders: That's it? Do you really believe that is all I can be good at?

Lady Carmosa: Demons! Snap out of that constant daydreaming, girl! And start paying attention!

Do you think that even if you were the lady of this house, you wouldn't need to keep it clean? Are you really selfish enough to believe that?

Besides, the terrible burden of dusting and doing the dishes is minuscule in comparison with my responsibilities. Be grateful for having such a simple life.

Cinders: Oh, yes. Very grate--

Lady Carmosa: Shush! Not a word.

Get the girls together and call the servants. Wait for me in the hall. I will bring you your orders in a moment.

Cinders: Finally! It's so clean you could positively dine from it!

I'm tired but it's still better than washing all those dishes was. I hate doing dishes!

Sophia: She's been back for little more than one hour and here we are, scrubbing the floor on all fours.

Cinders: Cleaning the windows.

Sophia: Polishing silverware.

Cinders: Twice.

Sophia: And dusting, dusting everything!

Cinders: And did I mention doing the dishes?

Sophia: You might have.

Cinders: I hate that.

Sophia: Playing the little princess she will never be, and trying on that ridiculous dress Carmosa bought her.

Cinders: First of all, you never saw that dress, and second -- who knows, maybe the Prince will fall in love with her and you'll end up being the queen's sister?

Sophia: I doubt even that amount of noble blood can make a person dense enough to fall for Gloria. Although, maybe if she kept silent?

Cinders: You're terrible. Besides, for all we know, the Princes could be denser than lead.

Also, I didn't know you cared about balls and dresses?

Sophia: Compared to this, I think I prefer the Royal Circus.

Cinders: Sophia, I need to thank you for putting in a word for me when you spoke with Carmosa. I appreciate it.

Sophia: Don't mention it. And don't overestimate my good will. I find myself just as surprised by my behavior as you are.

Cinders: I'm sure some dark power possessed you that brief moment you actually did something nice for another person. Anyway, I appreciate it.

Lady Carmosa: Well then stop talking and get to work. This place has to be worthy of the Emperor!

Sophia: You seem very confident that people will suddenly crave visits to our house, Mother. Just because they met us at the Ball?

Will they be so taken by Gloria's charming sense of humour and my kind and sunny disposition?

Lady Carmosa: There goes my wonderful Sophia, always heavy as a storm cloud. Are you finished? Because there's work to be done.

Also, frankly dear, I had stopped paying attention to your theatrics a very long time ago.

Sophia: I'm sorry my acting isn't up to your standards, Mother.

Lady Carmosa: I have waited for far too long and invested much too much to let this chance slip.

So stop whining and start being serious about it! Or do you want to end up with no money and just the clothes on your back, like Cinders here?

Sophia: Don't get your hopes too high...

Lady Carmosa: What did you say? Are you whispering in my presence?

Sophia: Nothing, Mother.

Gloria: Mother! Where are you? I need you to see this.

Lady Carmosa: What is it again?

Gloria: I'm sweeping the floors with my every move! And if I ever have to dance in it, I risk serious injury or worse.

Cinders: Wow! Personally I think you look very pretty, Gloria.

Gloria: Thank you, Cinders. It's still not my size. Imagine how it's going to look after even a brief stroll in the Royal Garden.

Lady Carmosa: What is this?! Demons, the man is clearly an amateur! I gave that crook all the numbers and made sure he got them right several times.

Gloria: I'm sorry, Mother. But I really can't go wearing this. What are we going to do?

Lady Carmosa: No reason to lose your head, Gloria. Perhaps visiting the tailor without you was a mistake after all.

But we can still salvage this situation. There's still time. We'll all go to the tailor tomorrow and make sure he gets it right this time.

Sophia: A trip to the tailor, how very entertaining.

Lady Carmosa: Stop whispering behind my back and try your dress on! We have to know if it fits.

And you, Cinders: stop loitering and get back to cleaning!

Cinders: Just great...

Cinders: Sure! 'Why don't we all relax and enjoy ourselves while Cinders scrubs the floors and walls.' I can't believe I'm back to this again!

Those past few days have been amazing. Now I know there's more to life than this and not only in fairy tales.

I need to change something instead of just bending to Carmosa's will and going back to what is called 'normal' around here. How can I just forget about freedom now?

Because let's be honest, Carmosa won't ever 'release' me. She doesn't even consider me in her plans, I'm no one to her.

[pounding noise]

Cinders: What was that!? Who would knock on my window at this hour? Some shady character it must be! Let's see...

Perrault: Hey, Cinders! It's me, Perrault!

Cinders: And he seemed like such a composed man. Oh well, let's do something about him before Carmosa kills me.

Come inside before anyone sees you! Do you want to be a reason for domestic violence by provoking Carmosa into ripping me to pieces?

Cinders: Oh, so you provoke violence to have something to resolve? Nice way to provide yourself with work. This way you'll always be needed.

Perrault: I-- *sigh* I'm sorry to bother you. You've hit a soft spot there. I have no idea whether I have a job anymore. Or a purpose for that matter.

Cinders: What happened?

Perrault: I shouldn't bother you this late at night. I am extremely sorry.

Cinders: No need to apologize, you're always welcome. But what happened? What brings you here? And how were you even able to find me?

Perrault: That is a lot of questions. You might consider a career as an interrogator.

Finding you was easy, as it's not a secret where Lady Carmosa lives.

Cinders: Ha! I'll laugh at them and convince them it was their imagination. But what brings you here?

Perrault: Can we talk somewhere else where no one will interrupt us? Again, I'm sorry to bother you, it's just I have no one else to talk to.

Cinders: It's no bother. Would you like to go on a walk with me? I know the most beautiful place in the forest.

Perrault: Oh, so you can sneak out? That would be... Thank you.

Cinders: Of course I can. Look.

Perrault: Yes, these woods are ancient and have been a part of the Royal Domain for centuries. Since the first King, they've always belonged to the Crown.

Cinders: That's not what I meant. When I was little and my father was still alive, he used to tell me stories about fairies living in this part of the forest.

Perrault: Sprites or not, I can't deny the air this place has. It's very soothing.

Cinders: That's why I called it 'my place', I come here to relax. And I need that quite often. But you wanted to talk about something.

I get the feeling it must be something disturbing, you were very quiet on our way here.

Perrault: Was I? Yes, I was.

It's just something that happened yesterday. You might say I was caught off-guard.

Cinders: Was there another fight in Town? Did you have to--

Perrault: No, it wasn't a fight and I didn't kill anyone. It was just a talk.

Perrault: The Prince. It's so strange that I'm going to discuss this with you.

Cinders: Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't want to be nosey. If it's some kind of secret affair of state then you're right, you shouldn't be telling me anything.

Perrault: It's not about secrets. And you're not nosey.

I said it's strange because I don't know a single person other than you with whom I could speak right now. Now isn't that odd?

Cinders: You told me yourself that your duty defines you. I guess friends don't really fit into such a picture?

Perrault: Perhaps I finally traded one for the other?

Cinders: What do you mean?

Perrault: My Prince summoned me today. He told me about his plans. Plans for the Kingdom and for me.

Plainly speaking, he told me that I'm no longer needed. That my position is obsolete. And that he wants me take up another job, a different job.

Perrault: Lie. He wants me to become his Master Spy.

Cinders: I see. So what did you tell him?

Perrault: That I will think about his proposal.

Cinders: I can see you're very upset about this. Why is that? I thought you wanted to serve and protect the future King?

And yet, you are clearly conflicted.

Perrault: That's what makes it so upsetting. The fact that I can't make a choice.

I know my duty and I honor my allegiance, he is my Prince and he has my sword and my bow.

Perrault: Yes! I'm not made for intrigues and court politics and even if I were, I don't think it's an honorable kind of duty.

Cinders: It must have been difficult to hear your liege ask you to accept it then.

Perrault: Not only that. He also said that there is no need for my current service.

But this is everything I know, everything I am. I trained to be the Captain like my ancestors before me, since I was a little boy.

How am I supposed to change all of that for a hooded cloak?

Cinders: I don't know, it does sound like a life-changing decision.

Perrault: Maybe I should simply retire? Leave the scene before I become a joke? The Prince gave me that option as well.

Cinders: Whatever his reasons may be, I'm sure this wasn't an easy decision for the Prince either. He did give you a choice after all. Carmosa doesn't ask me what I want.

From what I gathered, you're more than just a subject to him.

Perrault: Perhaps you're right.



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I like Perrault. I'd rather him retire than take on a job he feels isn't right for him.



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I think Perrault is underestimating his own abilities. The Prince has faith in him: take the offer.


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Take the offer. He's looking at it from the wrong perspective; seeing himself as a liar, rather than as a person who looks for the lies in others. He could work this!
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