A slave to myself.

please answer when I call
I know you’re waiting lately
I can’t live without you plainly
please don’t text me daily

don’t think I can get enough
you’ll never call me on my lies
and I can’t look you in the eye
these rings are poor disguise

we’re dying in our two way bluff
we need air but won’t come up
sly sly sly going back for more
please don’t let me come ashore

as low key as an after party
warm lips touch loss of control
perfect mix to sooth my soul
total loss my port of call

too much has been done
what’s said has been been said
let artful words go to your head
afraid to let a still dog lay dead

I’m drowning in our two way bluff
We need air but won’t come up.
sly sly sly going back for more
please don’t give me anymore

can’t handle what I’ve gotten
in a day we’ll have forgotten
can’t handle what I’ve gotten
in a week we’ll have forgotten
can’t handle what I’ve gotten
in a month we’ll have forgotten

Story 20 – Save the Goose Monkey!

Just outside of Ominerve, at a very hard to find Oasis, stood a large red circus tent. It was dirty, loosely tied, and beginning to wear. In the darkness of the circus tent, with the star filled sky shining through big holes in the canvas, the Ring Master paced around a large fire. He was angry and sour as he kicked over empty cages that used to contain animals. One of the cages struck another cage containing a strange creature, a goose monkey. A timid servant approached the Ring Master and asked if there was anything he needed before he left for the village. The Ring Master glared at his servant with contempt.

“I need to get my circus back on the road to make money.” said the Ring Master, ” but to do that I need animals and performers. Performers and animals cost money! I would steal animals but I have no magic knobs and I would make more magic knobs but I need brass for knobs and brass costs money!”

The servant quickly ran away fearing what the angry Ring Master would do next.

In the darkness the Ring Master shouted into the fire, “Smoke! Ash!”

Two fire pixies burst from the fire in plumes of flame.

“What do you command, master?” the pixies asked.

“Find the princesses of Harrowsmith.” commanded the Ring Master, “Bring them to me.”

“Master, humans can’t travel through fire.” said Smoke.

“Sure they can. They’ll just get burned.” said the Ring Master, “Now go.”

The fire pixies obviously didn’t want to hurt the Princesses but they had no choice. They dove into the fire. Sparks flew and the pixies disappeared. On the peak of the tent a black raven cawed and took flight.

The Ring Master saw the raven and sneered, “Try and stop me.”

Deep in the Secret Forest near Nanny and Grandpa’s cottage in the tree the princesses, Evie and Charlotte, were playing with a big bag of magic doorknobs. The sun was shining and it had been many months since their mischief at the circus and their run-in with the Ring Master. The princesses were grabbing the doorknobs and putting them onto the trunks of trees in the Secret Forest and opening them to see where they went. Some went high into the mountains while others opened to complete darkness. One even opened and began to pour water all over the ground leaving many puddles and the princesses soaking wet. The princesses were very curious to see what was through the doors but never entered. The princesses knew better than to go somewhere without telling someone. Especially if somewhere was through a magic door, made by a magic knob, that they stole from a mean magic man, just after releasing countless wild animals into the lands of Harrowsmith.

The princesses, being soaking wet, asked grandpa if they could build a fire to dry off and cook some lunch. Grandpa said they could use fire as a tool, not a toy, as long as an adult was supervising. This made the princesses very happy. They had never made a fire by themselves before. They collected wood and kindling from the piles near grandpa’s shed. They stacked them into a neat looking log cabin shape and filled the inside with dry leaves. Grandpa gave princess Evie a flint rock and stood back to watch. The flint made a small spark. It landed on the dry leaves and immediately caused the leaves to smoke. Princess Evie knelt down to softly blow on the small coals when a splash of water landed on them and drowned the fire completely.

“Hey! Charlotte!” said Princess Evie.

“It wasn’t me!” said Princess Charlotte, looking around.

“Grandpa, was it you?” asked Princess Evie.

“I wouldn’t do that to you.” said Grandpa, “That’s mean.”

Princess Charlotte replaced the wet leaves with dry ones and took the stone from Princess Evie to try and light the fire again. Once again there were sparks, coals, smoke, and then splash! Another dousing of water put out the fire.

“Hey!” said Princess Charlotte.

“I’m sorry princesses.” said a small voice from behind them.

The princesses looked behind them and saw a blue haired pixie relaxing in a puddle under a tree.

“What do you think you’re doing, pixie?” said Princess Charlotte, “We’re trying to light a fire, here.”

“Don’t call me pixie, human. My name is Spritz and you cannot light that fire. You must come with me.”

“You can’t tell them what to do, Spritz.” said Grandpa. “They are the Princesses of Harrowsmith.”

“I was sent by Elizabeth, the Rain Maker.” said Spritz, “The princesses are in grave danger.”

“Oh dear,” said Grandpa, “that is serious. You’d better go with her”

“There is no time to lose! Into the puddle princesses.” said Spritz as she hovered in the air just above the pig puddle she had come out of.

The princesses thought this little pixie was crazy. They leaned over the puddle and stared into it. They could see the bottom. There was grass and leaves floating around in it. They looked at the pixie in disbelief.

“It’s just a puddle.” said Princess Evie.

“Then you should have no fear about jumping right in.” said the pixie.

“This is silly.” said Princess Charlotte, “Out of my way!”

Princess Evie watched intently as Princess Charlotte jumped into the puddle. When Princess Charlotte landed in the puddle water engulfed her and she was gone! Princess Evie was immediately spooked.

“I don’t want to go in there.” Princess Evie said, “Can’t I ride Curls?”

Spritz quickly flew behind Princess Evie and flew right into her bum. Princess Evie was so surprised she shrieked and hopped forward right into the puddle. The puddle swallowed up Princess Evie just as it had Princess Charlotte. Spritz dove into the puddle and disappeared, leaving Grandpa all by himself.

“I guess I’ll go and have a nap.” said Grandpa.

The princesses were standing on stone platforms in the centre of a beautiful circular stone fountain. The fountain was in a circular room with shiny marble tile floor surrounded by many rows of circular pillars. Spitz popped out of the fountain and immediately flew out of sight without a word. Princess Evie and Princess Charlotte carefully stepped out of the fountain and looked around. They noticed their clothes, shoes, and hair were completely dry. The princesses weaved through row after row of pillars to try and catch Spitz. Suddenly they could see sky, and clouds, and the entire Kingdom of Harrowsmith beneath their feet! Spritz had taken them through the puddle to the top of the highest mountain to the home of the Rain Maker. The princesses could see the entire Kingdom from Harrowsmith Castle to the Great Wall and the Lake on the Mountain. The princesses were breathless.

“Do you like the view?” asked a voice from behind them.

“This is incredible.” said Princess Evie.

“Good. Because you’re going to be staying here until we find the Ring Master.” said Elizabeth

“How do you even know that we’re in danger?” asked Princess Evie.

“A mutual friend has warned me.” said Elizabeth.

“No way!” said Princess Charlotte. “I don’t believe you and I don’t want to stay.”

“It is for your own safety.” said Elizabeth.

The Princesses were furious! They didn’t know how to get home from the mountains by themselves. This could not be allowed to happen! But before the princesses could think of what to say the Rain Maker, Elizabeth, had left. Spritz floated though the air before them.

“I’ll show you to your rooms.” said Spritz.

As the princesses followed Spritz down the hall the water pixie turned to them to try and make them feel better.

“Every water pixie in Harrowsmith is looking for the Ring Master.” said Spritz, “This will all be sorted out in no time.”

The princesses were furious when they went to their rooms. They thought they were going to go on and adventure and now they were stuck! Princess Charlotte saw birds hopping around on the sill in her bedroom. She slipped on her magic ring and told the bird to fly to Nanny and Grandpa’s cottage in the Secret Forest and tell Panana that she’s trapped in the Rain Maker’s home on the mountain. After sending for Panana Princess Charlotte sneaked out of her bedroom and went looking for Elizabeth.

“Where are you going?” asked Princess Evie quietly as she ran after Princess Charlotte down the hallway.

“I’m going to go fix this myself.” said Charlotte.

The princesses found Elizabeth in the fountain room staring into the pools of water. The princesses could see that she was looking around the Kingdom of Harrowsmith through the water as if she was looking through a window. Suddenly a group of pixies burst from the pool and floated before Elizabeth.

“The Ring Master is in Ominerve, near the oasis outside of town!” said one of the water pixies.

“Good work.” said Elizabeth, “I shall inform Queen Ann Marie.”

“Ominerve!” said Princess Charlotte. “That’s all I needed to know! 🙂

Princess Charlotte ran back to her room and jumped in bed to get some sleep. Princess Evie did the same. In the middle of the night Princess Charlotte heard a tapping at her window. When she woke up and looked outside there was Panana looking right back at her. Princess Charlotte jumped out of bed, grabbed her sword and ran out onto the balcony to find Panana, still wearing her pyjamas. Princess Charlotte found Panana waiting. She jumped on the back of her winged horse and galloped towards the edge. Just before Panana leaped over the edge Evie came tearing around the corner so fast her feet were slipping on the shiny marble.

“WAAAAAAAAIIIIIIIIIIIIIIT!” wailed Princess Evelyn.

Princess Charlotte waited patiently while Princess Evie jumped on the back of Panana and squeezed her sister tightly around the waist. Panana jumped over the edge of the castle wall and the princesses headed for Ominerve.

Princess Evie and Princess Charlotte glided down the side of the mountains on Panana. It was very dark outside and the air was very cold. Princess Evie wrapped her arms and cape around Princess Charlotte to keep warm. The entire Kingdom of Harrowsmith was still asleep. The princesses couldn’t hear or see anything. All the birds were asleep and all the campfires had burnt out. As they crossed over the south river into Ominverve Princess Charlotte and Princess Evie squinted their eyes to try and see the Ring Master’s tent. It didn’t take them long to find it. Even in the dark of night a giant red and white tent stands out. Princess Charlotte gently guided Panana to the outside edge of the sand dune surrounding the tent.

Princess Evie and Princess Charlotte scurried over the dunes and down the other side. Princess Evie was scared but Princess Charlotte was fearless, which made Princess Evie feel much better. Without making a sound the princesses slipped around the edge of the tent and peered in through the door. It was pitch black inside.

“I can’t see anything.” said Princess Charlotte, quietly.

“We shouldn’t go in there.” said Princess Evie. “We should go to Ominerve, gather some guards, and come back.”

“We’ll be fine.” said Charlotte, as she slowly and quietly drew her sword.

Princess Charlotte slipped through the doorway into the darkness. Princess Evie was too afraid to follow her.

“Charlotte!” hissed Evie, “Charlotte, please come back! I’m scared.”

It was too late. Princess Evie couldn’t hear or see Princess Charlotte any more.

Princess Charlotte tip toed as quietly as she could towards the centre of the tent. It was very difficult to be quiet because there were puddles everywhere from spilled water jugs. It looked like someone had made a really big mess and hadn’t cleaned it up yet. She heard a quiet rumbling that got louder and louder as she moved through the dark. The princess started to get nervous realizing how alone she was. She held her shield close, whispered “Hide. Hide. Hide!”, then vanished. When Princess Charlotte arrived at the centre of the tent she found the Ring Master, fast asleep and snoring on a big pile of empty cages. On his left side a large, thick candle was almost burnt out. On his other side a cage, the only cage with an animal left in it, held the goose monkey! The goose monkey was also fast asleep. Princess Charlotte went to work quickly. She sheathed her sword, took off her cape and tossed it over the goose monkey’s cage. Just as she had picked up the cage and was about to make her escape the tent door blew open and in stumbled Princess Evie surrounded by fire pixies. Princess Evie’s clothes were burnt all over. The fire pixies had obviously used fire to get Princess Evie to come with them. They lit up the room as each of them glowed brightly.

“We’ve found one! We’ve found a princess of Harrowsmith!” shouted the Pixies. Charlotte, still invisible, stood watching but could not do anything without showing everyone where she was. The Ring Master woke up immediately.

“What! Where? What’s going on?!” shouted the Ring Master, confused “Ah! Princess Evelyn! Good work!”

“Unhand me!” said Princess Evelyn

“Yeah! Unhand her!” said Princess Charlotte, dropping the goose monkey’s cage and drawing her sword.

“Grab her!” said the Ring Master.

“I’ll slash any pixie that comes near me!” said Princess Charlotte.

The pixies stopped in mid-air and the Ring Master looked cross.

“It wasn’t enough you freed all of my animals and stole my doorknobs and dog! Now you’re planning on stealing my goose monkey?!”

“That’s our goose monkey!” shouted Princess Evie “I made him! Well… accidentally made him! But he’s our responsibility.”

Princess Charlotte reached into her pack and produced the bag of magic doorknobs.

“Here’s your knobs. You can have them back. We were only trying to protect the animals of Harrowsmith. But we’re taking back our goose monkey and you can’t have jib.”

“I’ll have what I like!” yelled the Ring Master.

The ring master clutched the small flame that burned on the candle in his hands like it was a baseball. He held it out in front of him and shot three small fireballs at Princess Charlotte. Princess Charlotte had lightning reflexes and lifted her shield just in time to block all three balls of fire. She charged the ringmaster and drew her sword back over her head to strike. Princess Charlotte was mid stroke when the puddle at her feet burst upward and knocked her backward. The flame in the Ring Master’s hand was quenched, as was the candle’s. Water pixies, which the princesses could now see glowed blue in the darkness dove out of the water and threw balls of water at the fire pixies, drenching them and forcing them to fall to the ground.

When the water had settled a figure stood in the centre of the now drenched tent. It was the Rain Maker, Lady Elizabeth.

“Please place Princess Charlotte, Princess Evie, and the Ring Master under arrest.” said Lady Elizabeth to her pixies.

Story 19 – Chadwick von Grim

Princess Charlotte and Princess Evie were fast asleep in their beds, late in the morning, on the most beautiful of winter days. They had dreams about Nanny and Grandpa in the Secret Forest and Grandma and Grandpa in a far away land. They dreamt about the Cat People and Dog People and Lady Emma. They dreamt about riding Panana and Curls all over the Kingdom. They dreamt about flying with the Cloud Folk and using their magic in the skies above the Secret Forest. They dreamt of the Grass, Riverbank and Wood Pixies all over the Kingdom of Harrowsmith, and they dreamt about Princess Evie’s magic bubble wand growing deep inside the Pixies magic tree, giving life to the forests of Harrowsmith. The princesses were deep in dreamland when they were awoken by a peculiar noise.

BOOM, BUMP, BOOM, BUMP, BOOM, BUMP, BOOM, BOOM, BUMP. The noise went.

Princess Charlotte rolled over and put her head under her pillow. Jib came running into their room and dove into Charlotte’s bed and under all the blankets.

“What’s the matter with you, Jib?” asked Princess Charlotte, now wrestling to find room in her bed with Jib.

“I don’t want to get up. You go! I was having a nice dream!” said Princess Evie.

“So was I.”

BOOM, BUMP, BOOM, BUMP, BOOM, BUMP, BOOM, BOOM, BUMP. The noise continued.

“OK! I’m up!” said Princess Evie, throwing her blankets back and touching her feet to the cold floor.

Princess Evie grabbed Charlotte’s blanket and ripped them right off of her. Princess Charlotte curled up in a little ball to preserve the last ounce of heat left in her bed but it was no use. She flailed her body onto her back with her arms and legs sprawled out then, staring at the ceiling, begrudgingly said “I’m up too.” As soon as the covers came off Jib had jumped off the bed and ran back out the door.

BOOM, BUMP, BOOM, BUMP, BOOM, BUMP, BOOM, BOOM, BUMP. The noise pressed on, over and over.

“What’s Jib so afraid of?” asked Evie, looking out her window.

“I don’t know.” said Charlotte, “It’s not like him to be so afraid.”

When Princess Evie saw what was outside she waved her arms at Charlotte and screamed, “Charlotte! Come see this! Come see!”

Princess Charlotte looked out the window of their bedroom, which looked over the courtyard and the Village of Charvlyn, and saw a circus! In the very centre of the Village of Charvlyn, where the village square would have been, stood two massive tents! One red and one blue, both with white stripes and flags. The tents were taller than the highest buildings in Charvlyn. Carts, wagons, donkey’s and mules were arriving in town, one by one, from a line that stretched out so long the princesses couldn’t see the end. The princesses squealed with excitement as they rushed to get ready. They had never gotten dressed so fast in their entire life! Princess Evie put on a blue dress with long white gloves and Princess Charlotte put on her favourite red dress. Princess Evie tucked her magic wand into one of her long white gloves. Princess Charlotte sheathed her magic bubble sword, Jaguar, into a secret sheath in her dress. All of Princess Charlotte’s dresses were now made, at Princess Charlotte’s request, to conceal Jaguar in its folds.

“It’s a shame I can’t build a secret pocket for my shield too.” said Charlotte, but Evie was already out the door; hair and teeth brushed. Princess Charlotte brushed her teeth and hair as fast as she could and chased after her sister down the hall.

The Great Hall was buzzing with activity. Everyone was getting ready to go and enjoy the circus. The Jester, Francis was doing back flips, juggling, telling jokes, and walking around on his hands. He tried hard to make the princesses smile but they were in too much of a rush to get to the circus. As they pushed through the people in the Great Hall Charlotte heard them talking about Francis.

“I haven’t seen Francis this busy in years” one person said.

“He must be afraid someone from the circus is going to catch King Andrew’s attention and take his job.” said another.

“I hear there are going to be fire breathers, sword swallowers and troll tamers!” said another.

“Did you hear that Evie!” said Princess Charlotte, excitedly, “There’s going to be a troll!”

“I wonder where they got a troll.” said Princess Evie.

“Who cares!” shouted Charlotte as she pulled Evie’s hand through the courtyard and into the stable.

“Let’s go Panana!” shouted Princess Charlotte as she burst through the stable door, scaring Panana half to death!

As the girls burst out of the stable on their magical animals Queen Mommy came running out of the castle.

“Don’t you want anything to eat?!” she shouted.

“No!” said Princess Charlotte, “We’ll get some food at the circus!”

The girls didn’t have to go far to get to the circus but when they got there they were glad they rode their horses. There were people everywhere. The streets were packed. Panana tucked her wings in tight and her and Curls pushed through the crowd. All the people from Bi’Vrin, Daddoo, Charvlyn, Ominerve, Abbeyvale, Onipilif, and maybe even people from beyond the wall had come to see the circus. The princesses’ tummies were rumbling because they hadn’t had breakfast yet. The circus and all the shopkeepers of Charvlyn had set up shops of all sorts around the big blue tent making it the biggest market the princesses had ever seen. As Princess Charlotte and Princess Evie moved through the crowd good smells filled their noses while people from every direction called for them to buy something. They stopped for a minute to watch some coal walkers and fire jugglers. They threw some gold coins into their baskets and pressed on through the crowd.

Princess Charlotte saw what she had been looking for, a noodle cart! She rode Panana up to the cart, a small boy asked Princess Charlotte what she would like.

“One order of glass noodles and two won ton dumplings!” said Charlotte, excitedly.

“And for your friend?” the little boy asked, looking at Princess Evie.

“Unicorn rolls!” Princess Evie said excitedly.

The little boy prepared their food. Princess Charlotte paid for it and took their food. As they moved through the crowd towards the entrance of the big blue tent they ate their noodles, dumplings and sushi rolls.

“What do you think is in the red tent?” asked Charlotte.

“I don’t know.” said Evie.

“I feel an adventure coming on.” said Princess Charlotte.

“Oh, no!” said Princess Evie.

The princesses paid for their tickets at the front gate of the big blue tent. When the princesses asked one of the guards what was inside the red tent he just barked that they were not to go near the red tent and that it was off limits. This just made Princess Evie and Princess Charlotte more curious. Just before going inside the big blue tent with everyone else Princess Charlotte slipped on her magic ring and told Panana and Curls to wait for them on the other side of the red tent.

Inside the blue tent was spectacular! There was thousands of seats around three rings that circled performers in the centre of the tent. There was a Ring Master in the centre ring dressed very fancy and carrying a long pointy baton. He was asking everyone to be seated. Princess Charlotte felt like she had seen him somewhere before but couldn’t quite remember.

The show started. Music from the band began to play. Acrobats swung in giant net swings from one platform to another. There were jugglers and elephant riders. The people of the Kingdom of Harrowsmith went crazy with laughter, excitement and applause. As the show went on many other fantastic acts followed. There was a magician and a hypnotist. Then finally, the moment the princesses had been waiting for arrived. Two elephants wheeled in a big wooden wagon with a large white sheet draped over it. When it was in the large centre ring the sheets came off and there stood a giant troll! He was twice as big as daddy, green skinned and had hair all over! The troll just looked sad.

“This is boring.” said Charlotte, “the troll isn’t doing anything.”

“What can he do?” asked Evie, “he’s stuck in a cage.”

The Ring Master, sensing the crowds dissatisfaction took his long pointy baton and stuck it in the cage at the troll. It poked the troll right in the bum and the troll flew into a rage!

“ROOOOOAAAAAAR!” screamed the troll, grabbing the bars of his cage, stomping, and shaking the cart.

Everyone was so startled they jumped in their seats. Even the elephants were scared! It wasn’t too long after that that the sheet was thrown back over the cage of the big troll and he was wheeled back out.

“That’s horrible.” said Princess Evie, “they hurt that poor troll just to get him to roar.”

“Makes me sick.” said Princess Charlotte.

The show finished off with a big song and dance number but the princesses weren’t interested. They sneaked out of the blue tent and ran around to the back of red tent. They looked both ways to make sure the coast was clear. Princess Evie lifted the bottom of the tent up. Princes Charlotte dove under and Princess Evie followed. What they found inside the red tent shocked them! All of the animals that performed in the circus were in cages, just like the troll had been. Princess Evie and Princess Charlotte walked around looking at all the sad, tired animals. Great cheers came from the crowd. Princess Charlotte heard performers coming and took cover behind some squawking birds. The tent door flapped open. The two elephants wheeled in the troll, followed by many performers and the Ring Master.

“Get ready for the next show!” yelled the Ring Master, “we’re back on in 1 hour!”

“Master,” said one of the performers.

“What!” snapped the Ring Master.

“Well, my monkey… he’s escaped.” said the the performer sheepishly.

“I’ll get you another one before show time! Leave me in peace.” said the Ring Master.

Once all the performers had left the Ring Master pulled bag out of a black trunk on the other side of the tent. The princesses watched intently as he produced a shiny brass knob from the bag and held it up.

“That’s it!” Princess Charlotte whispered.”He’s the man I saw through the door that Jib came through. He’s the man who makes the magic doors! He stole our goose-monkey!”

The Ring Master’s knob glowed brightly and a small green door appeared. The Ring Master turned the knob, opened the door, reached in and pulled out a monkey, kicking and shrieking.

“Well that explains why Jib was so scared this morning.” said Princess Evie, “that’s his former master! He’s a mean, mean, man!”

“He stole all these animals!” said Charlotte.

“We have to do something.” said Princess Evie.

“Let’s set them all free!” said Charlotte.

Just as they were about to start opening cages the princesses noticed the white sheet covering the troll. Princess Evie slowly pulled the sheet back until it slipped off the cage. Inside the troll was crying.

“Don’t cry.” said Princess Charlotte.

“Well you’re not going to let me out.” said the troll.

“Who said we’re not?” said Princess Evie.

“Well, aren’t you scared of me?” cried the troll.

“A little bit scared, yeah. What’s your name?” asked Princess Charlotte.

“My name is Chadwik… Chadwik von Grim. I’m not a mean troll. It’s just that when people poke me I get really mad and I rage!”

“If you promise to go home and not hurt anyone I’ll let you out.” said Princess Charlotte.

“Charlotte, no!” warned Princess Evie. “Trolls can’t be trusted.”

“Do you promise?” asked Princess Charlotte.

“I do.” said Chadwik von Grim.

Princess Charlotte opened the gate to Chadwik’s cage and Chadwik burst out. He grabbed the white sheet and ran for the door. Chadwik turned to the princesses.

“Come find me in the Secret Forest. I have a gift to thank you.” said Chadwik von Grim, “my home is under the big wooden bridge in the north part of the woods.”

With that the troll turned and ran out the door. People began to scream and run in every direction! Princess Evie and Princess Charlotte started to open the rest of the cages. They let out all the monkeys and the birds, they let out the lions and the tigers. Princess Charlotte put on her magic ring and told them all to run back home and never look back. Charlotte opened the black trunk and grabbed the sack with all of the Ring Master’s magic doorknobs just as the Ring Master burst back into the tent!

“What the devil is going on here!?” he screamed,

“Run, Evie!” said Princess Charlotte.

When the Ring Master saw Charlotte he instantly recognized her.

“YOU! You stole my puppy!” shouted the Ring Master, running for Charlotte.

Princess Charlotte was scared. She bolted through the cages into the back of the tent with Princess Evie right behind her. Realizing she held the bag of knobs in her hands the Ring Master shouted even louder “My knobs! STOP, THIEF!” Princess Charlotte pulled Jaguar from her dress and slashed a hole in the side of the tent before bursting into the daylight. Panana and Curls were waiting! They jumped on top of their magical animals in one motion.

“To Nanny’s!” yelled Charlotte.

Princess Evie touched Curls’ horn and Panana spread her wings and they ran and took to the sky for the secret forest.

When they came to the fork in the road at the edge of the forest the princesses stopped. Princess Evie wanted to go left to Nanny and Grandpa’s cottage. Princess Charlotte wanted to go right and find Chadwik’s bridge and claim her prize.

“Don’t even think about it.” said Princess Evie, “You can’t trust trolls!”

“I think he was nice. If he wanted to hurt us he would have hurt us already!” said Charlotte, heading down the path to the right.

Princess Evie did not want to let her sister go alone and she knew she couldn’t change Charlotte’s mind. Princess Charlotte was too stubborn. So Princess Evie pulled Curls to the right and followed her sister. On their way down the path, where the path got really hard to see, Princess Evie and Princess Charlotte saw the caves where they had been pushed in by Daniel McEvil. Before long the Princesses arrived at a very big, wooden bridge. The princesses walked out onto the wooden bridge. It creaked and cracked under their feet.

“ROAR!” screamed the troll, Chadwik von Grim, as he leaped from his hiding spot under the bridge!

The princesses jumped back!

“Stop! You told us to come get our prize.” said Princess Charlotte, “where is it?”

“Oh. Princesses… I didn’t expect you to come.” Chadwik von Grim said, devilishly “You’ll have to come into my cave to get it.”

“Charlotte, no.” said Princess Evie, practically shaking in her boots. “You can’t trust a troll!”

“Ok.” said Princess Charlotte. “Let’s go.”

Chadwik von Grim led the princesses around the side of the bridge and down the slope of very sharp rocks. They followed the troll underneath the wooden bridge. He pointed to a dark hole in the rock. The air coming from the hole was cold, damp and rotten.

“Charlotte…no.” Evie said nervously.

“I don’t think we can go in there!” said Princess Charlotte, turning to leave.

“It’s too late for that now! You’re trapped!” said Chadwik von Grim “and I haven’t had a good princess soup in ages!”

As the troll tried to grab them Princess Evie screamed and reached for her magic wand! She pointed her wand at his big troll hands and said shouted “prickles!” sharp thorns shot forth, stuck into Chadwik’s skin, and forced him to recoil. Before he could grab for them again Princess Charlotte poked him in the belly with Jaguar and then punched him on the nose. The big troll fell backwards and the princesses jumped over his big belly to safety. The scurried up the side of the bridge, got back on their magic animals and rode for Nanny and Grandpa’s cottage in the tree. On the way there princess Charlotte looked deep in thought. When she finally spoke she was very sorry.

“I guess you can’t trust trolls.” said Princess Charlotte, reaching a hand to Princess Evie.

“It’s okay Charlotte.” said Princess Evie, taking Charlotte’s hand. “Let’s never do that again.”

“Agreed.” said Princess Charlotte. “Are you going to tell Nanny?”

“I think it’s best if we keep it between us.” said Princess Evie. “No one knows and that’s the way it should stay.”

A familiar, loud, shrill caw rung out from the behind them in the path.

When the princesses turned to look, perched on a branch was the large, black raven.

The raven instantly reminded Princess Evie and Princess Charlotte of the last time they had seen the Ring Master’s doors.

“Hey! Where in the haystack is our goose monkey!?”