"Let's see. Name...Maude Clare. Profession...Princess. Age?" Melissa looks up as she reads this last
question, the first on the form that she doesn't answer herself.
"Twenty-five," says Maude Clare.
Melissa frowns. "Twenty-five? Look, I know everyone lies about their age on these things but isn't that going a bit far?"
"All right, OK, you're the princess," Melissa mutters. She writes "25" on the form. "Hobbies?"
Maude Clare thinks about this. Climbing trees? Too juvenile. Kissing guys? She isn't currently doing that, which is why they're filling out this ridiculous form. Swirling around paint on paper and making pictures that are sometimes pretty but never look like anything? "Abstract art?"
"Ooo, an artist just like the Queen! That's good!"
Maude Clare's mother's paintings are always both realistic and breathtakingly beautiful. Maude Clare has literally seen people cry looking at the Queen's paintings. "Not exactly like the Queen. Are you sure this dating profile is a good idea? Doesn't it seem a little desperate?"
Melissa laughs. "Desperate? No! Of course not. This is twenty-first century, Maude Clare! Online dating is the only practical way to do it. No one has time to go out and meet all their potential mates. My system is much more efficient. We'll find the right guy for you in no time!"
"Online?" Maude Clare has never actually seen a computer, but she gets the general idea and paper and ink aren't it. Also, she does probably have time to meet all of her potential mates. Her mother is always nagging her to go out and meet more of her subjects. There aren't that many of them. Of course, it might be difficult to find a good date in time for Thomas's wedding that way, but maybe she'd be better off going alone, anyway. Her plan is to drive him mad with jealousy, but sitting alone looking regal but sad might a better way of getting him to realize what he's missing. It's not like she won't be heart-stoppingly sexy either way. The goblin tailors are already working on a dress for her, and she'll be a knock out in it.
"OK, so not online," says Melissa, "since we're living in the stone age in Goblinton, but it works the same way. I do a personality assessment and match you with guys I know you'll be deeply compatible with. OK, so next question. Favorite band?"
"What? No!" Melissa sounds aghast. "I mean, I don't want to say they're terrible, but they're terrible!"
"Really, I think they're quite..."
"Not a Goblinton band, a real band, from the real world!"
Maude Clare hates it when people describe the other place as the "real world" like Goblinton is make believe. She glances around at the familiar trees and flowers of the castle garden where they sit. This is the real world to her. This is home. "Umm, The Beatles?" She's heard people talking about that band. It seems like a safe choice.
"The Beatles! How boring! And awfully old school for someone your age!"
A glare passes over Maude Clare's expression. "I'm twenty-five."
"I know," says Melissa, "and the Beatles are awfully old school for someone twenty-five."
"Oh, um, Marilyn Manson, then. I love her music."
Melissa raises an eyebrow, but writes it down without comment.
The interview goes on like that, with Maude Clare naming foods she's never eaten and movies she's never seen. She's getting more and more annoyed and flustered by the minute.
"OK," says Melissa, "this is one of the last questions and it's a bit sensitive, but people like to know this about potential partners. How long were you using goblin fruit before it sent you here?"
That is a sensitive question, but not for the reason Melissa thinks. Maude Clare has never tried the drug which sent all of her subjects to Goblinton. "I came here as a baby," she answers.
"So not long, then?"
Maude Clare decides that she will definitely go to Thomas's wedding alone.