“Toady, I need your help!” Gilbert shouted, bursting into Toadmila's bedroom the next morning.
Patch jumped out of the bed, startled, and Kitty pulled the blanket over her head. Toadmila waved her hand and a gust of wind burst forth, pushing Gilbert out of the room and shutting the door behind him.
“You can wait until we're properly dressed!” she shouted through the door.
She pulled her uniform over her nightgown, trying not to leave her employer waiting for too long. Kitty curled up and pulled the blanket tighter around herself. Patch was still rubbing his eyes.
“I'll let you two sleep a little longer,” Toadmila said, grabbing her hat and her wand and squeezing through the half-open door into the antechamber.
She found Gilbert inspecting the room.
“Where's your bird?” he asked.
Toadmila shrugged and put on her hat.
“Probably with Lefroy,” she said. “Did you want something?”
She gave the prince a long look. Gilbert was dressed in his undergarments, and wearing two sheets of sparkly cloth, draped over each shoulder.
“I'm having my clothes made, for the wedding,” he said. “What do you think: cloth of gold or cloth of silver?”
Toadmila rolled her eyes.
“This is serious, Toady,” Gilbert insisted. “The whole kingdom is going to be there, or at least all the noblemen and as many peasants as we can gather, and all the ambassadors from all kingdoms of the known world. You're my adviser, advise me! What should I wear?”
“Russet, like the villagers,” Toadmila said coldly. “They are your people. If they can be there, they need to know that you're one of them, that you'll work for them as they work for you, that you'll protect them and their rights, not squander the money you make off their backs on cloth of gold and silver.”
“The peasants don't matter, Toady,” Gilbert said, pouting. “If the noblemen see me in beggar's clothes, they'll have no respect left for me. And it's the noblemen that can usurp the throne, not some peasants.”
“It's the peasants who put food on your table,” Toadmila pointed out.
“Yes, but they don't have swords,” Gilbert answered. “Or daggers, or poison, or armies of their own. The noblemen do, both ours and those from other kingdoms. I need something that tells them that I'm just as strong, just as powerful, that they shouldn't mess with me.”
“A suit of armor, then,” Toadmila suggested.