Second hand princess, p.1
By Lorraine J. Anderson
"Second Hand Princess" Copyright 2011 by Lorraine J. Anderson
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...And so it was that Prince Aarach the Bold slew the fierce dragon and rescued the maiden.
After many uncomfortable days and nights (the Princess didn't like sleeping on acorns at all), they arrived at the front gate of Aarach's home and started to ride in.
"Halt!" yelled the guards. They rushed after him and poked at him with their spears.
The Princess looked up at Aarach from her perch on the Prince's lap. "Halt? Your guards tell you to halt?"
Aarach blushed. "I've been gone a long time," he muttered. He reached around to a bag hanging from the saddle and pulled out a paper. "I am Prince Aarach. This will prove my identity, my good men," he boomed.
The taller of the guards took the paper. After investigating it front wards, backwards, and upside down, he glowered up at the Prince. "I can't read."
He handed it to the other guard, a little mousy looking man who squinted at the paper. "I can't read, either, Sire, but the handwriting is pretty."
The Princess sighed. "Let me look at it."
With a bow, they handed it to her. She looked it over, chewed her lip, then looked imperiously down at the guards. "Of course, the bearer of this paper is Aarach. It also says that if free passage is not granted, the impeder will be turned into a ferret."
The two guards looked green and withdrew their spears.
As Aarach rode away from the gate and across the outer courtyard to the palace, the Princess looked around at the Prince. "Why does this piece of paper have the alphabet on it?"
The Prince blushed again. "I was practicing."
"You forgot m, n, q, and z."
He looked at the paper. "I did?" He started to grab the paper, but she held it away and raised her eyebrows. Well, she thought, so he's a little uneducated. He still was a hunk. She hoped. She had to admit that she had been with the dragon a long time and lacked a frame of reference.
They rode onward. The Princess stared at the third pig farm they passed, looked askance at the Prince, and then gazed at the palace, which was still a mile away. She wondered whether being rescued was such a good thing, but it was what she had wanted, after all.
Finally, they arrived at the front door of the palace. The Princess looked around. Then she slipped painfully off the horse after she saw the Prince wasn't going to help her. She cocked her head. Looking at the wall, she said, "It's not symmetrical."
"...What...my love?" asked the Prince. He was still on the horse, rubbing and pounding his legs where she had sat, apparently attempting to restore circulation.
"It's not symmetrical," the Princess repeated slowly. "See that tower on the far side? That window should be moved to the left a few feet."
"Ah," the prince said, staring at the tower blankly, his eyes wide, his cheek twitching. He looked shocked. "We'll have it moved," he finally decided.
She sighed. "No, dear, that's quite all right." She sighed again. "I'll just have to live with it." She strode into the castle.
Aarach looked up at the tower again. "I can't see anything wrong."
"You ain't a woman," a groom said from behind him.
Aarach jumped and whirled, pulling out his sword, then sheathed it. "I'm not. I'm a Prince. And that means I don't build castles, I go on quests. And women don't get to go on quests. Do they?"
The groom shook his head, not quite smothering a grin.
Aarach smiled proudly. He dismounted carefully and limped in after his Princess, leaving behind his horse and the highly amused groom.
He found her at the entrance to the Great Hall, her mouth wide open. He grinned until her mouth shut and her expression turned into one of frowning determination.
"What are...these?" she said, stepping into the Great Hall, her arms outstretched to indicate the tapestries on the walls.
Aarach rubbed his legs. "It's the Great Hall," he said.
The Princess rolled her eyes. She spoke slowly and emphatically. "Yes, I know...darling." She took several strides to one wall and grasped a tapestry. "These are what I was talking about." A look of distaste came on her face, and she gingerly unclenched her hand, letting the tapestry squish back into the wall. She tried to wipe her hand off on the next tapestry; but since it was as dirty as the first, she had to content herself with rubbing her hand with a scented handkerchief.
She sighed and thought of the Dragon. At least the Dragon's lair was clean. She had made sure of that. She sighed again, blinked back a tear. She started towards an exit, then caught a motion to one side. She glanced that way, shrieked, and almost fainted into Aarach's arms. "What is...that?!" she squeaked.
"That's my great-great-great-great Uncle Arthur."
"But... but... I can see through him!" She stared at the spot where he had disappeared.
"Of course. He's a ghost. Would you like to meet him?"
"NO!" Aarach looked disappointed, so she added, "No. Thank you. Maybe some other time."
"He's very nice."
"I should freshen up."
"Oh." Aarach gravely considered it. "Yes," he finally decided.
"Your parents will be attending supper, will they not?"
He thought a moment. "They may. Sometimes they don't."
She smiled, as if she had found a couple of kindred spirits. "Light eaters?"
Again, he thought a moment before he replied. "No," he said hesitantly.
She looked at him.
Second-Hand Princess by Lorraine J. Anderson / Fantasy / Humor / History & Fiction have rating 2.7 out of 5 / Based on38 votes