Arianne walked out of the dress shop with Cilia right behind her, some bags of new clothes in hand. Arianne had hoped to get the tailor to make her some trousers, but Cilia would have none of that. So, they ended up leaving with four new dresses that she absolutely despised. They were nicely made, but didn't match her personality at all, not that is mattered. So long as her father approved of it, it was fine...
As soon as they stepped out, they were instantly surrounded by four guards that were ordered to watch over the Judge's daughter at all times, and to not allow anyone suspicious to walk up to her. Arianne found it embarrassing, and quite frankly hated it. She was being treated like a porcelain doll, when she most definitely was not one.
On their way to the large dark carriage, Arianne noticed some children a ways off pointing at her and whispering to each other. They laughed, and she felt her cheeks become hot. Had she been an emotional person, she would have cried, but she sucked it up and moved on and into the carriage.
"You'll look stunning in these, miss." Cilia said happily as the door closed and the carriage moved forward. Arianne hummed as a response and looked out the window. The guards now flanked the carriage on their horses, and they looked suspiciously at everyone who passed. As they rolled along, Cilia spoke of how many different pieces of jewelry would match her new dresses, and she just kept her eyes on the outside.
The outside; something that was almost foreign to her. She'd never just walked the streets, meeting people. It was either home, tailors, or Notre Dame. And she was never left unaccompanied. The guards were always there, and so was Cilia. Arianne loved the old caretaker, but she sometimes felt smothered by Cilia's care and attention. Oh, the life of the Judge's daughter...
While she thought, Arianne looked down a small rode they passed that lead to the front of la Notre Dame. In front was a small caravan she hadn't noticed before on her trips to the cathedral. Children surrounded it, and she could barely make out the form of a person inside the caravan. Her brow raised when she saw he was a Gypsy, performing what she saw to be a puppet show. Before she could discern anything else, the road was passed, and she saw now only shops and homes. She sighed and slouched in her seat, feeling depressed.
"What's the matter, miss?" Cilia asked some minutes later. Arianne went to answer, when a sudden jerk from the carriage nearly caused her to fall off her seat. She and Cilia paused, and both gasped as the carriage thunked down in the back right corner, resting it at an angle. The guards shouted and one ripped open the carriage door to help the ladies out of it.
"Are you ladies alright?" he asked as he set Arianne down on the cobble road. She felt odd, and a bit out of place in the middle of the street. Some peasants gathered around the carriage and whispered and pointed at Arianne.
"The Judge's daughter."
"Is she alright?"
"Frollo will be furious..."
They said all this and more, and Arianne looked quickly at the carriage. The spokes of the wheel were bent, and the wheel snapped and bent out of place. Arianne raised a brow at it in wonder. Cilia was bickering with the driver, and the guards were busy either warning people to back off, or looking at the broken wheel.
She was unattended.
Arianne remembered the colorful caravan back at Notre Dame, and she slowly inched away from the excitement, not caring that the peasants were watching her. When she was far enough away, she ran off down the street towards the cathedral. On her way, she tripped and fell, scraping her elbow on the street. Passing people gasped lightly when they saw the bleeding wound, but Arianne barely noticed it. She stood up, and kept running until she finally turned down the road that lead to the cathedral. The caravan was still there, and was still surrounded by children. Arianne laughed with relief and lowered her speed to a jog, and she eventually began to walk.
When she reached the crowd of children, she stayed in the back, not wanting to attract their attention. She looked up at the opening of the colorful caravan and at the Gypsy who was telling stories with a small puppet that resembled himself. Arianne's eyes widened when she saw he was only some years older than she was, perhaps fourteen or fifteen. Her surprise was replaced by joy when he bonked the puppet he held with a stick, and it said 'Owie' loudly, making the children, including herself, laugh. She didn't care that Cilia was probably finding out that she was missing, nor did she care that she may suffer horribly later for her acts. Right now all she could do was focus on the little play being performed and the laughter she was experiencing.
"Alright, kids! That's that story. Do I have any requests?" the Gypsy boy said when the story ended. Some children called out odd names for stories that must have been his.
"The Lady and the Ox!"
"Mary's Talking Flower!"
"The Lion's Thorn!"
"Hey, that girl's arm is bleeding!" said a small boy next to Arianne. The Gypsy frowned in confusion.
"I've never heard of that story." he said lightly. The little boy shook his head and pointed at Arianne's arm.
"No, not a story. Her arm really is bleeding." he said. Arianne looked down at her elbow. It was only a scratch, and there was only a small amount of blood. Nothing to worry about.
"I-I'm fine, really-" she began to say, when another girl interrupted her.
"Hey, that's Judge Frollo's little girl." she said in a squeaky voice. The children gasped and backed away, making Arianne feel awkward.
"Yeah, so?" she asked quietly, and looked up at the Gypsy. "C-could you please tell another story?" she asked. The Gypsy studied her for a moment, then smiled.
"Come here, petite fleur." he said brightly. Arianne hesitated before walking forward towards him. When she reached the caravan, she looked up at him.
"Y-yes, sir?" she asked nervously. As a response, she was scooped up and seated on the little stage. The children gawked, and watched as the Gypsy wrapped a colorful bit of cloth around her elbow.
"We would not want your dear papa finding that this was not cared for even a little. This should help, eh?" he said kindly after tying the cloth into a little bow. Arianne gulped and nodded.
"Yes, sir. Thank you, sir." she said.
"Hey, no calling me sir! I'm not old! I'm only fifteen, for Maria's sakes!" he said, and set her back down on the ground.
"Then what do I call you?" she asked. The Gypsy beamed and took off his purple hat to bow.
"I am Prince Trouillefou! Fear me!" he said loudly, and the children laughed. He frowned playfully at their reactions. "You dare laugh at the prince?"
"You're no prince, Clopin!" said a girl.
"Prince of Puppets, maybe!" said another. The Gypsy known as Clopin rubbed his chin, which was barely showing signs of a small beard, thoughtfully.
"The Prince of Puppets, eh? Sounds good enough to me!" he said, then lifted his little puppet in the air.
"You're no prince of mine!" it said in a tiny voice. Clopin hit it over the head with his stick again, and the children laughed, forgetting Arianne and returning their attention Clopin as he began another story.
When all was finally finished, Clopin ended the tales for the day, and the children dispersed, leaving only Arianne with him as he closed up his caravan and went to steer it away. She ran up to him dug into the small pocket on her dress. She pulled out her three remaining silver coins, and handed them to him. He blinked wildly before accepting them.
"Tre genereux! You have my undying gratitude!" he said, bowing low to her. When he stood again, she noticed he was only about a foot taller than she was.
"And you have mine. I've never seen anything like that, nor have I been around so many children. It was fun! Thank you!" she said. Clopin nodded and grinned at her.
"You are always welcome to my caravan, my dear!" he said, and bowed once again to her before steering his caravan away down the street. Arianne looked down at the cloth that wrapped her elbow and smiled before making her way back to the carriage.
Half way there, Arianne was stopped by guards, who escorted her the rest of the way. She really didn't care, as her mind wandered back to the stories and jokes Clopin told. She barely even noticed returning to the carriage, where another was waiting to bring her home, and Cilia's angry and relieved cries at the girl were no louder than a bee's buzzing wings.
When they reached home, Cilia kept bickering at her until they reached the door. Cilia opened it and lead her inside, then brought her to the kitchen, where she tended to Arianne's elbow.
"Very kind, the person is who did this." she said as she removed the cloth and set it on the table.
"His name is Clopin." Arianne said.
"If you ever see him again, remember to thank the good sir."
"I did, and he's not a sir. He's just a boy!" Arianne said. Cilia winked at her.
"Just a boy, hmm?" she said. Arianne frowned at the suggestive comment.
"Fifteen years old." she said. Cilia nodded as she took some ointment and a rag from the shelf.
"Well that's a shame. One can dream though, aye? A knight in shining armor rescuing the little princess. Was he cute, at least?" she asked.
"If I said 'yes', what would you say?" Arianne replied. Cilia smiled like a little girl.
"Ah, your first crush. So cute, Arianne. Where were you though? I was worried to death."
"Notre Dame? What, did you go to pray for the carriage wheel's sakes?"
"No, Clopin was performing a puppet show right next to it."
"Yeah, he's the Prince of Puppets."
"My, perhaps we could go and see one of his shows next time we are out, since you enjoyed it so much, hmm?"
"No, we can't." Arianne said, becoming a bit sad.
"Clopin's a Gypsy, and father doesn't want me near any of them." she said. Cilia gasped.
"Oh, miss Arianne, why did you got there in the first place then?" she asked in a hushed voice.
"Yes, why did you go there, child..." came a dangerously calm voice. Arianne's head shot up to see her father standing in the doorway. Her mind went numb instantly.
"Judge Frollo..." Cilia said quietly.
"Leave us, caretaker."
"Yes sir." she said quietly, and began to leave.
"And when I say leave, I mean leave this household. Your services are no longer necessary." he said. Celia flinched slightly, and nodded sadly.
"No!" Arianne yelled, not able to stop herself, and looked desperately at Cilia, who smiled sadly at her before leaving her alone with her father. Arianne shook her head. "Father, no, it wasn't her fault. I ran away-"
Frollo smacked her hard enough that she nearly toppled over. She leaned on the counter for support, tears in her eyes.
"You dare argue with me?" he asked coldly, then began to pace around her. "First, I'm informed that my daughter is missing, and then I'm told you were seen with Gypsy scum!"
"It was only a puppet show. There were other children!" she explained, earning another slap.
"Hold your tongue, girl! You are not the same as the other children. You are pure! Innocent! And I'll have you around people who are otherwise, especially Gypsies!" he yelled. Arianne began to cry, her hands covering her hurting face. Frollo knelt down and lifted her chin to make her face him. "I am only protecting you from the cruelties of the world. Your innocence makes you blind to the evils that Gypsies are guilty of. That Gypsy only meant to trick and play games with your mind! I am the only one you can trust in this harsh world of damnable evils." he finished softly. Arianne had enough of his accusations, and she looked defiantly back at him.
"You're the one who's blind, father. Your close-minded views are corrupting you, can't you see that? It was just a puppet show!" she said loudly, and sobbed louder as she awaited the beating of a lifetime.
"I see he has poisoned your mind already." Frollo said gently, and stood up. "You are in need of a 'cleansing'. You will wait in your room for me. Until then you are ordered to pray the the Lord God for His mercy and forgiveness. You are never to see that Gypsy puppeteer again." he said. Arianne stood shakily, and began to walk for the door, on her way out, she snuck the cloth Clopin gave her off of the counter.
When she reached her room, she walked to her bed and knelt down at the edge. Still holding the colorful cloth, she began to pray.
Some minutes later, she heard the door open then close behind her. She hid the scarf under the blankets before facing her father. She looked at the whip he held in his hands, and went numb.
"Have you prayed, child?" he asked seriously.
"Yes, father." she said.
"The lashes will be even more painful than normal; we can only take extra precaution to rid you of the evil that the Gypsy placed in your soul."
Arianne closed her eyes as the lashing began, hoping that her prayer to God for Cilia and Clopin's good health reached Him.