Princess Charlotte was coming back from the Great Wall on Panana, her winged horse, in a freezing cold blizzard! She had mittens over top of gloves, a scarf over her face, two wool sweaters, a long overcoat, and a cape with a furry hood but she was still freezing! Panana had wool leg warmers, a face mask and a thick, long saddle blanket, but Princess Charlotte had the feeling that if she were to ask Panana she would probably say she was still very cold. Princess Charlotte usually brought her magic ring everywhere but when she woke up this morning she couldn’t find it and didn’t want to waste any time looking for it. Princess Charlotte had to hold onto Panana’s reigns very tightly against the wind. Sometimes it felt like the snow might pull her right off Panana’s back so she kept her head down and flew onward. Every once in a while Charlotte would hear the loud and grating cry of a raven but every time she looked around all she could see was white.
When Harrowsmith Castle finally came into sight Princess Charlotte was very relieved. She set down Panana in the courtyard and quickly dismounted. It felt very good to have her feet back on the ground. As she was walking Panana to the barn Princess Charlotte heard another loud caw. This time she looked and saw a large black raven sitting on the roof of the stable. Princess Charlotte looked at the raven and the raven looked right back at Princess Charlotte and cawed again. Charlotte put Panana inside the stable, threw some extra firewood into the wood stove that kept the barn warm and went inside the castle to look for some warmth!
Inside, when Queen Mommy saw Princess Charlotte, Queen Mommy said “My dear daughter! Come, come! You must get warm! Your lips are blue and you’re shaking.”
Princess Charlotte knew that her hands had been shaking for some time but she did not know that her lips had turned blue. She stepped out of her boots, dropped her shield and sword at the front door and walked in towards a fireplace. The biggest fireplace in the castle was in the den, a sunken room through a small door and down five stone steps off of the Great Hall. The den had three big windows with diamond shaped pieces of glass in many colours. Each piece of glass was completely covered in frost except for a circle in the centre. There were many chairs circled around a large fireplace and in the centre was a large, very comfortable, couch. Princess Charlotte took a seat on the couch and picked up a big, soft, wool blanket and wrapped it around herself before taking off her gloves and mittens. Queen Mommy came in shortly after with a large mug of steaming hot chocolate.
“Thanks mom!” Princess Charlotte said, accepting the mug.
“Mommy, have you seen my ring?” Charlotte asked.
“You have many rings Charlotte”, Mommy replied.
“The Croc-Tooth ring you made me.” Charlotte specified.
“Oh! I think I saw your sister walking with it this morning.” Queen Mommy said.
“Hmm…” Princess Charlotte thought to herself.
“Charlotte…” Queen Mommy warned, “You don’t need it, let her use it.”
“But what is she using if for? Where is she?”, Princess Charlotte asked.
“She’s practising her magic in my tower. Don’t worry. You’ll get it back.” said Queen Mommy.
As Princess Charlotte sipped her hot chocolate she heard the grating caw of the raven again. She looked and saw the raven staring at her through the clear section of one of the glass diamonds in the window.
“This is ridiculous.” said Charlotte, “that raven needs to tell me something. I need to get my ring back.”
After Princess Charlotte finished her hot chocolate and the fire had warmed her up she stood up to go find Princess Evie and get her magic ring back. She walked through the Great Hall and up the stairs to the tallest tower. When she had climbed enough stairs she stood before the door to Queen Mommy’s magic laboratory.
Bang! Bang! Bang! Princess Charlotte pounded on the door.
“Evie, open up! I know you’re in there. I need my ring!” said Princess Charlotte.
“Come back later. I’m very busy and I need your ring for a little while longer.” came Princess Evie’s voice from behind the door.
Charlotte was not impressed. She thought about what to do for a few seconds. Panana can fly, she can take me up to one of the tower windows, thought Princess Charlotte as she turned around and ran back down the stairs to the stable. When Princess Charlotte burst through the door of the stable, letting wind and snow bluster through, Panana ducked behind a wooden wall in some hay. Panana obviously did not want to go back outside.
Princess Charlotte walked over to her brave winged horse and said “I know you’re tired and cold but we’re not going far. I just need you to fly me to a window in the tallest tower.” Panana stared at Princess Charlotte blankly.
“Oh it’s no use!” Princess Charlotte spoke to herself, “Panana can’t understand me without my magic ring on.”
Just then a coiled rope hanging in the corner of the barn caught Princess Charlotte’s eye. She grabbed the rope and ran for the tower.
When Princess Charlotte reached the rooftop of the tower she tied one end of her rope to the tower wall and the other around her waist. She stood on the side of the tower wall. It was very high up and the wind was blowing very hard. When Princess Charlotte bent over to throw the rest of the rope over the side of the tower she slipped and fell. Princess Charlotte managed to grab some of the rope in one hand and some more of it in the other. Her left leg was hooked over the rope and her right leg was hooked under it. She didn’t fall very far but when she stopped she was stuck, completely tangled, dangling from the tower outside the window into Queen Mommy’s laboratory.
Light was flashing out the window. Princess Charlotte could see Princess Evie surrounded by lots of glass containers filled with brightly coloured liquids. Princess Charlotte could also see that Princess Evie was wearing her magic ring and talking to someone. Princess Charlotte was starting to get worried about her predicament when the black raven that she had seen earlier came back again and this time landed right on the ropes that bound her. The raven looked at Princess Charlotte and once more let out a loud caw! Princess Charlotte tried to wiggle to get a hold of some rope so she could climb back to the rooftop but it was no use. The raven jumped off Charlotte and dove towards the courtyard. A few moments later Panana came flapping up toward her. Panana grabbed the rope in her teeth and began to pull Princess Charlotte away from the tower and the window. When Panana let go of the rope Princess Charlotte swung straight through the glass window and landed right on Princess Evie’s table, knocking over everything!
“Oh no, Charlotte!” screamed Princess Evie, “What have you done?”
Princess Charlotte looked around at the huge mess she had just made. The potions spilt all over a goose that was waddling around on the floor and made a big puddle! Charlotte saw that Princess Evie had not been talking to a person at all. A little spider monkey jumped on top of Princess Charlotte and squawked at Princes Evie. Princess Charlotte was still trying to get out of the mess of ropes when Princess Evie squawked back and tried to grab the monkey and missed. The little monkey landed right beside the goose in the puddle of potions and POOF! The goose and the monkey disappeared into a giant cloud of pink and purple smoke! When the smoke cleared the monkey, the goose and the puddle were gone!
“See, you should have just let me in.” said Charlotte, “look what you made me do!”
“Made YOU do!?” Princess Evie said, furiously, “Made YOU do?!”
“Can I have my ring back?” asked Charlotte.
“Your ring?! “Take it!” Princess Evie yelled, holding out her hand with the ring. “You ruined my experiment! Look at this mess! This will take me weeks to reset and I was pretty much done!”
A streak of feathers swooped across Princess Evie’s open hand and took the ring.
“What was that?!” the Princesses yelled, looking around.
It was still very smoky in the laboratory and the broken window was letting the wind come in and blow everything around.
“I can’t see anything.” said Princess Evie.
Princess Evie found her wand and pointed it at the window.
“Pu Nek!” said Princess Evie.
Magic spat forth from her wand and grabbed all the broken glass and window pieces and started to repair it before their eyes.
“There!” Princess Charlotte shouted and pointed to a white creature in the rafters of the tower.
Before either of the Princesses could see what it was it dove past them, landed on the table and jumped through the half-mended window.
“I think that was my experiment.” said Evie.
“You’re experiment just stole my magic ring!” said Charlott, “Come on!”
The Princesses sprinted down the stairs of the tower, across the great hall, they threw on their outside clothes and burst out the front door of Harrowsmith Castle. Panana had seen all the commotion and was on the wall watching where the white, winged creature was going. Princess Evie burst out of the stable on Curls wearing her favourite red riding cape. As soon as she yelled “Open the gate!” Princess Charlotte snapped Panana’s reigns and the winged horse leaped over the wall and into the air.
Princess Charlotte and Princess Evie could hardly see the little white, winged creature in the snowstorm. They chased shadows and shapes for the most part but every once in a while they’d see the little white, winged monster zip in front of them and they’d know they were catching up. By the time an hour had passed they had chased it east and west and north and south until they wound up at Onipilif. The snow was gone and the white, winged creature flew down and landed inside the castle walls. The princesses rode as hard as they could to the gates of Onipilif. The guards let them in and they looked everywhere for the little creature but it was nowhere to be found.
“Did you see a white creature fly into the castle?” Princess Charlotte asked one of the guards in the courtyard.
“I did.” the guard replied, “it ran and flew down to the dock and got on the ferry with Lord Marcus.”
“So you have it?!” asked the princesses.
“Well…” said the guard sheepishly, “Lord Marcus was startled, he didn’t know what it was, and he threw his helmet at it. After that it jumped into the air and flew south over the river.”
Princess Charlotte and Princess Evie were more than upset. Not with the guard and not with Lord Marcus. Not with the white, winged, creature either.
Princess Charlotte turned to Princess Evie and Princess Evie turned to Princess Charlotte and at the same time they said “This is all your fault!”
“My fault?!” they both replied to each other.
“Yes! Your fault!” said Evie, “You ruined my experiment and lost my pets!”
“Your experiment?!” Charlotte said, “You lost my magic ring to that… that… thing you created! Oh, I’m so mad!”
“Well I’m mad too.” said Princess Evie.
After that the princesses stopped talking to each other. A minute went by. Then two. Then five. Soon a half hour went by and still not a peep. It wasn’t until Lord Marcus pulled the ferry up to the dock that they were able to speak again but they didn’t speak to each other.
“Marcus! Please! We’re very sorry to ask you but can you make a special trip across the river to Ominerve?” said Evie.
“That was the last trip. The sun is going down. Daddy, Lord Mike says no crossings after dark.”
The princesses were so upset.
“It’s not your fault.” Princess Evie said to Marcus.
They turned around and went inside the castle to talk to Lord Mike. When they were greeted by their aunt, Lady Millie, they decided to ask her instead.
“Aunt Millie, can Marcus or Logan take us across the river? We know the sun is going down and we know that it’s not allowed but we really need to go!”
“Why?” asked Lady Millie.
Charlotte took a deep breath and Evie took a deep breath. They both started talking over top of each other in a giant muddled mess. Lady Millie could only make out
“Let me get this straight” said Lady Millie, “Evie was in Queen Ann Marie’s magic tower and had a very cold Charlotte tied up in ropes and drinking hot chocolate. That’s when Evie sawed through a window looking for a ring while Panana was flying around with a goose and a monkey. Is that right?”
“Close enough.” said Princess Charlotte, “now the creature’s gone to Ominerve and if we don’t get it back my ring will be gone forever.”
“I didn’t mean for my magic to make this creature either. It’s probably very scared. I need to talk to it.” said Evie.
“Well that is admirable.” said Lady Millie, “but rules are rules. You’ll have to go in the morning.”
The girls were disappointed as they climbed the stair to their rooms for the night. They laid in bed by a big open window looking at the stars the girls thought about the white, winged, creature. Princess Charlotte thought about her lost ring and Princess Evie thought about the mess in mommy’s laboratory. Princess Charlotte was hoping to get the ring back tomorrow and Princess Evie wanted to get the creature back safely.
The girls heard a large caw as the raven softly landed on the window sill. Princess Evie tried to shoe it away, but Princess Charlotte, having seen the bird many times already today stopped her. When Princess Charlotte looked closer she saw the raven had something in her mouth. It was Princess Charlotte’s ring. The raven dropped the ring on the sill. Princess Charlotte grabbed it and put it on. Princess Charlotte was going to ask the crow why it was following her all this time but before she could the little black raven simply said “Come. Now.”
Before Charlotte could ask the raven any questions it jumped off the sill and disappeared into the night’s sky. Charlotte was very pleased with the return of her ring. Princess Evie had many questions.
“Was that bird yours, Charlotte?” asked Evie.
“No.” said Charlotte, playing with her ring.
“Do you know who’s the owner?” asked Evie.
“No.” said Charlotte, still playing with her ring.
“We’re going to have to find out.” said Princess Evie.
“Well let’s go” said princess Charlotte.
“Now?” asked Evie
“The longer we wait the further away that creature can run.”
“OK.” said Evie, “Let’s go!”
The princesses slipped out of bed and slowly and very quietly got dressed. They quickly and very quietly jogged down to the front door of the castle on their tip-toes. They slipped through he doorway and looked around. Panana and curls were in the Onipilif stables. Princess Evie and Princess Charlotte hid under Charlotte’s magic shield to get past the guards. They slipped into the stable undetected.
“What are we doing in here?” asked Princess Evie, “Curls can’t fly over the water. We need the ferry!”
“I know that.” said Princess Charlotte, slipping on her magic ring.
Princess Charlotte woke up Panana. Panana snorted and scuffed her hooves and Princess Charlotte could tell she just wanted to sleep.
“Please Panana, we need you to create a diversion.” said Princess Charlotte.
“Oh but I’m so tired!” said Panana.
“It will only take a minute.” said Princess Charlotte, “We just need to get to the ferry, unnoticed.”
“What do you need?” asked Panana.
“Do what you do best.”said Charlotte.
A few moments after the princesses had snuck from the barn the barn door burst open and Panana came charging out. She was jumping and flying like she had gotten a bee stuck in her mane. The guards went nuts. They were all afraid Princess Charlotte’s winged horse would run of fly away on their watch and they’d get in trouble. They called for the guards on the other side of the ferry dock to help. They came running. When they opened up the locked gate guarding the ferry the princesses sneaked in. Princess Evie and Princess Charlotte ran down to the ferry and started to unfasten the ropes that were holding it to the dock. It didn’t take long for the princesses to find out that the biggest rope was not a rope at all. It was an iron chain and it was fastened to the dock with a lock. Princess Charlotte and Princess Evie did not have the key. When they discovered the lock their hopes were dashed. Before either of them had time to think of their next plan a dark figure emerged from the shadows.
“Need a hand?” asked Lord Logan, holding up the key to the lock.
“Logan!” the princesses shouted as they ran and gave their husband a big hug.
“We need to…” the princesses began but Lord Logan stopped them short.
“I know. Marcus told be everything. As soon as he fell asleep I came here knowing that you two would never be able to wait until morning.” Lord Logan smiled.
The princesses helped Logan set loose the remaining ties and push off from the dock. Lord Logan did most of the work because Charlotte and Evelyn had never operated the ferry before. But they were helping and learning as much as they could.
When they reached the other side of the river it was very warm. The south side of the river was always much warmer. It never snowed in Ominerve. The princesses helped pull the ferry up to the empty dock. They could all hear the sound of boats bouncing on the docks and the waves as they crashed on the short but that was all. Other than that there was silence. There were no walls around Ominerve so the princesses strolled right into the centre of town. Everyone was asleep and all the lanterns, candles, and fires were out. The centre of town had a lookout tower built from one solid piece of stone. It had three legs, one of which had stairs on it, leading up to a beautiful ornately carved gazebo. The princesses and Logan climbed up to the top. Princess Evie took out her telescope and looked around. It was too dark to see anything.
“Great. We can’t do anything until morning.” Princess Evie said.
“What are we looking for?” asked Logan.
“We’re not sure.” said Princess Charlotte, “but we have to find it. All we know is that it’s an animal, it’s white, and it can fly and climb really well.”
“Like a monkey?” asked Logan
“More like a goose AND a monkey.” said Princess Evie.
“Oh, a Goose-Monkey!” said Logan, trying to sound very smart.
“Yes, that’s it. A goose-monkey!” said the princesses, not knowing what to call it themselves.
The princesses and Logan were so tired they fell asleep in the watchtower. When the sun started to creep over the horizon the raven appeared again on the edge of the stone. It squawked and only Charlotte understood what it was saying.
“The goose-monkey is south of the city in the orchards.” Charlotte said to Logan and Evie as they all yawned a big yawns and wiped the sleep out of their eyes. It was a good thing I had my ring on Charlotte thought.
The three noble children left the tower and started to walk down the dirt road to the orchard. Along the way a passer-by in a wagon offered the princesses and Lord Logan a ride so they hopped on the back. The cart bumped and wiggled all the way down the road. When they had arrived at the orchard a short time later they looked and looked until finally they heard splashing by the riverside. The three of them slowly crept over the bank and got their first good look at the goose-monkey! It looked like a monkey and a goose put together. It loved to climb, it loved to swim. It was climbing up the apple and banana trees, eating apples and bananas and diving back into the water.
Princess Charlotte stepped forward with her ring on and said “We don’t want to hurt you but you have to come home with us.”
“I love friends!”said the goose-monkey, “but I’m not going anywhere!”
“Can you come home with us?” asked Princess Charlotte.
“It’s too cold there!” said the goose-monkey, “I like it here!”
Suddenly a magic door appeared and Princess Evie screamed! She had never seen a magic door appear out of nowhere. The door flew open. Charlotte dove to grab the goose monkey but a pair of hands reached out from the door and grabbed the goose monkey. It screamed as it was ripped through the door. Charlotte tried to get to the door as quick as she could but it was no use. The door slammed shut and disappeared before their eyes.
“What was that!” screamed Evie.
“That was not good.” said Princess Charlotte.