Doreen looked at the status board in disbelief. She covered her mouth and said, "I can't believe this... I can't let anyone know." She gasped, "Noo, what if Guy or Madeline check their status, how am I going to hide it?" Doreen seriously considered destroying the status board just to hide it.
She looked around and then grabbed Diggory who shouted, "What are you doing you crazy woman!?" She dragged him to the status board and pressed his hand on it erasing her status.
Doreen glared at him and asked in a low growl, "Did you see that?"
Diggory snorted, "Like I care who you are dating!"
Doreen glared at him and said, "We aren't dating and don't you dare say anything to anyone or I'll hit your head until you forget what you saw."
"Why would a sweet young woman like her want to be with a brute like you anyway!" Diggory grunted back. Another glare from Doreen sent him scurrying back to his corner of the room.
Guy, the chief engineer, and his crew gathered around the workshop table with the damage lists and what would need to be done to salvage the airship. Guy looked each of them in the eye and asked, "I need to know the truth, are we better off scrapping the Montgolfier and going to the updated design or is she airworthy as she is?"
The engineer sighed and the spoke up, "Mage Montfort, I believe with what we saw after the gate accident, I think version two is the better way to do this. I think with your magic the first design had major issues. The second design is something we are more familiar with and would be able to more effectively manage in dangerous situations."
One of the crew spoke up, "The second design uses the wind, and steam so we wouldn't have as heavy a burden with our ballast issues. We could keep the engines off until we hit dead air."
Guy frowned and said, "But the second design idea seems wrong somehow. I want my airship to look like an airship, not a sailboat."
Another crewmember spoke up, "Mage Montfort sir, um, beggin' yer pardon, but I've an idea, ye could use the Montgolfier still. I think we just need to use the space more effectively. We should 'ave floors in the big 'ollow section instead of leaving it as a yuge cargo 'old. Like on a ship sir. I think ye could combine the ideas is what I mean. Sir."
Guy tipped his head back and laughed, "Give that man a raise. You are a ****ing genius. I was so married to the idea of making it authentic I forgot about magic." He facepalmed, "Murphy, we're working late, it's time to redesign the ship. We are increasing passenger and crew capacity as well as installing additional viewing areas." He laughed loudly, "I'll make her even more amazing!"
They worked right up until dinner time when Guy snuck out for a couple of hours to have the sit-down dinner he had promised to Madeline. The new ship design was less like a traditional airship and more like a sky hotel. The engineers had added in an improved took shop and damage control center and the captain asked for several control improvements and redundancies.
Doreen giggled and hugged her pillow her heart was beating fast as she thought about her last time seeing her and hugging her. The soft way she spoke and the look in her eyes as they talked softly about themselves. Doreen couldn't wait to see her again. It was the first time in a long time that she had felt this way about another person. She just couldn't understand why it ended up being her of all people. She was afraid it would cause drama for everyone. Especially with weddings coming up so soon. Doreen bit her thumb but all she could think of was her delicate touch the smell of her hair. She sighed and then looked out her window.
"Doreen? Are you here?" Madeline smiled as she entered her friend's room.
Doreen set her pillow down and recovered her usual grace, she softly voiced out, "Hello Maddy, I'm here, how can I help you?" She smiled.
Madeline couldn't help smiling herself, "Guy told me that he is rebuilding the Montgolfier and it's going to be improved and even nicer than before. You were right, with just a good night's rest and some time, the pain lessened. Diggory gave me potions for the injured crew. I also made sure that Guy took care of them financially."
Doreen smiled happily and nodded, "I told you, it was just an accident."
"Do you have time to come shopping with me today? I need to find some things for Guy. I need a second opinion from you. I have really bad taste in these things," Madeline laughed.
Doreen thought about it for a while, "Alright, but I really need to be back before dinner."
At dinner that night Doreen felt very anxious, she looked to her right and smiled, holding her hand a little tighter, she thought to herself, 'They were going to find out about us eventually anyway. Guy would have figured things out with one look at his status.' She took a deep breath and together they walked in hand in hand.
Everyone at the table looked at them with open mouths. Claude and Alicia almost looked angry. Guy stood up and asked, "Doreen?"
Madeline smiled sweetly and giggled, "I didn't tell them yet, Doreen, I was going to let you break the news to everyone."
Doreen blushed and then said, "Everyone, this is my girlfriend, Princess Viana." She looked at Claude, and said, "I'm sorry, I hope this won't be uncomfortable for you. I know you lost your father in the war, just remember, she also lost her family when we destroyed the palace." Claude sighed and then nodded.
Alicia stood up and said, "Welcome Princess Viana, please join us." She motioned to the seats left for Doreen and her guest. It didn't take long for everyone to warm up to each other. By the end of the meal, it became obvious to everyone why Doreen had become close to Princess Viana who was absolutely charming.
She even managed to charm Claude who was standoffish from the beginning. At the end of the meal Claude, said, "It was a pleasure meeting you, Princess. I hope you'll join us again."
First Mage Diggory snorted and said, "Be careful of that she-devil, she's a violent brutish woman, don't let her clever facade fool you."
Doreen made a feint of punching Diggory which caused him to flinch away. She smiled and batted her lashes when Princess Viana looked her way. Doreen said sweetly, "Don't worry about that lecher, he just wants to keep me for himself. Did I tell you about the time he used his auto painter to capture my image in the nude?"