Princess Evie and Princess Charlotte were on the beaches of the river, a half days horse ride from Onipilif, near the great gorge cleaning up sea weed. The riverbank pixies were singing lovely songs and bringing the princesses sweet dew and fruits from the forest. They were very pleased that the seaweed was getting picked up. The booger miners live off of the slimy seaweed and whenever they’re around they fight with the riverbank pixies who just want to hang out in the long grass and sand all day sipping sweet dew and eating fruit.
“This isn’t such a bad punishment.” said Princess Charlotte.
“No, I’m quite content to stay here all day.” said Princess Evie as she sipped her sweet dew from a leaf.
Princess Charlotte, as usual, was wearing loose, comfortable clothes but it didn’t help. It was hot and she was uncomfortable. She looked at Princess Evie sitting on the riverbank with her poofy yellow and green dress. Evie’s hair had become extra curly in the humidity but didn’t seem to be bothering her. Charlotte’s hair was stuck to her face.
“Why did you wear that dress to clean up seaweed?” asked Princess Charlotte, grumpily, as she wiped her hair off her face.
“What’s wrong with this dress?” Princess Evie said as she looked down at her pristine dress.
“You’ll destroy it with seaweed stains.” said Charlotte.
“I’ve been here all morning and I haven’t gotten a single stain so….” Princess Evie said and then stuck her tongue out spat at Charlotte.
Princess Charlotte jumped up and grabbed the biggest pile of seaweed she could find. She was heading towards Evie when a horse and rider burst from the forest. Princess Charlotte dropped the seaweed immediately. As the rider neared the princesses could see it was King Daddy.
“Daddy!” the girls shouted.
“My daughters, what am I going to do with you?” said King Daddy.
“What’s wrong?” they asked.
“It seems this Ring Master business can only get worse and worse.” said King Daddy.
“What do you mean?” asked Princess Evie.
“It seems that one of you let out a panda bear. We didn’t know it at the time but this panda bear was very dangerous!”
“It wasn’t me!” the girls both shouted at the same time.
The girls looked at each other with befuddled amusement.
“It was so you!” they yelled at each other.
“Enough!” said King Daddy, “One of you is lying.”
With a little smirk Princess Charlotte said, “I think someone with curly hair and a poofy dress is lying.”
“I’m not lying Charlotte!” she screamed.
“It doesn’t matter!” said King Daddy, “Your new punishment is to find the panda, arrest him, and bring him back to me.”
“How do we do that?!” asked Princess Evie.
“Talk to Melanie, the witch under the waterfalls” replied King Daddy. “She knows what to do and she’ll tell you everything you need to know.”
As King Daddy turned and galloped back over the hill and up the beach toward Onipilif the girls were upset. They were quite enjoying their punishment and now it was over. Princess Charlotte and Princess Evie turned to head into the enchanted forest only to find that their usual path north was blocked by jungle vines. Princess Charlotte took out her sword, Jaguar, and slashed at the vines. They fell to the ground. Charlotte smiled and was about to sheath her sword when suddenly bamboo chutes shot from the ground and blocked the way even stronger than before.
“Maybe we should go up the river.” said Evie, a little nervous about the magic that had overtaken the enchanted forest.
“How are we going to do that, sister? We don’t have a boat.” said Charlotte as she pointed her sword up and down the beach.
Just as Princess Charlotte was about to start hacking her way through the bamboo wall that was in front of her a small group of woodland pixies struggled and pushed their way through the wall of vines.
“Oh! Princesses!” the Pixie said, “Thank goodness we’ve found you!”
The princesses immediately recognized their friends, Lanabark, the woodland pixie, and Slipperlilly, one of the riverbank pixies.
“My friends! Calm down and tell us what you have seen.” asked Princess Evie.
“The panda! He’s looking for our enchanted tree!”, panted Slipperlilly completely out of breath.
“Wait. I thought you can’t find it unless you know where it is.” asked Princess Charlotte.
“Princess! There’s no time to argue! You must help us, quick!” said Lanabark.
“We can’t get into the forest.” said Princess Charlotte, “See.” she said as she pointed with her sword at the bamboo wall.
“Oh dear.” said Slipperlilly. “This is indeed a troubling situation.”
“We can get help from the witch under the waterfalls, Melanie. She’s expecting us. She knows how to stop the panda.” said Princess Charlotte.
“Great!” said the pixies.
“The only problem is we can’t get there for days if we can’t go through the enchanted forest!” said Princess Evie.
“I think I can help you!” said Slipperlilly.
Slipperlilly flew towards the other riverbank pixies that were watching the princesses discussion. The all flew forward and began to swirl quickly over a particular spot in the sand. Their magic shown brightly and a wooden canoe slowly inched it’s way through the sand to the surface. When the canoe had reached the surface of the beach the pixies dumped all the sand out and stood proudly on the edge of it’s hull. It was a beautiful boat. Long and slender with carvings in the wood along the inside and outside. The bow of the boat had a long rope that was coiled and hung on the nose. As the princesses pushed the boat into the water they realized there was no oars.
“How will we paddle?” asked Princess Evie.
Just as soon as the question was asked it was also answered.