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The Princess and the Dragon

by Ari James

The following is a piece of writing submitted by Ari James on June 28, 2010

The Princess and the Dragon

Princess Adelaide (Addie to her parents, Adelaide to everyone else) was bored. She had been working on the same embroidery sampler for nearly three weeks now, and what little she'd gotten done was more snarl than stitch. It wasn't that she was bad at embroidery; she'd done a tapestry of the entire royal family tree when she was ten and her parents still proudly displayed it in the entryway of the royal castle. It was just that she wanted this one to be perfect, and so far, it wasn't.

She sighed, sticking her needle into the cloth and resting her chin on her hand. She had such a headache. She looked down below at the courtyard where Prince Myles, her fiance and quite possibly the most attractive man she'd ever met, and his squire, a slight, freckle-faced boy named Martin were sparring, using wooden swords. Myles looked up at her window, smiling broadly.

Adelaide's heart melted like a burning candle. She still couldn't quite believe her good luck at getting Myles to marry her. He was everything she'd ever dreamed of: handsome, chivalrous, brave-just look at how he handled that sword!-and a prince to boot. She sighed again, but this time it was a sigh of longing, not boredom.

A sharp rap at the door interrupted her thoughts. "Yes?" she called.

"Princess? It's time to get ready for your engagement ball!" It was Anna, her lady-in-waiting.

"All right!" she called back through the door, rising from her cushion by the window and crossing the room to the vast armoire that dominated the whole room. She pushed its carved mahogany doors open and pulled out the dress she was supposed to wear for the ball. It was a lovely dress: royal blue silk with a panel of embroidered gold in the center of the skirt, shoulder-skimming sleeves, and a fancy gold belt that cinched in to accent her tiny waist, the result of years of rigid corsets.

By the time Anna came in, Adelaide had managed to lace herself into the dress and had already sat down at her vanity table to touch up her makeup.

"Begging your pardon, Highness, but you really should wear another crinoline with that," Anna said, wringing her hands and standing uselessly around-something she did far too often for Adelaide's taste.

"Hand me that pot of rouge over there, will you?" the princess asked, ignoring her servant's advice. Another crinoline and the lower half of her body would probably snap off.

Anna handed her mistress the rouge, in a little alabaster pot decorated with roses-a gift from one of the many suitors who had come before Myles. Personally, Anna thought Prince Myles was a bit thick-headed, but of course she'd never tell the besotted princess that. She liked her position at the castle too well to do something so foolish.

The princess grabbed a brush and began to apply the soft powder to her smooth, ivory-colored cheeks. She was quite a beauty, with those piles of blonde hair, that sweet, full mouth, those smooth white hands. Every inch a princess.

Adelaide set the rouge pot down and grabbed a stick of kohl. She was about to swipe on a bit-it really did bring her eyes out-when she heard a scream. Her head jerked up, and there, at the now-shattered window, hovered a dragon. She shrieked and dropped the kohl onto the snow-white rug, creating a black splotch that the laundresses never would quite get out.

A massive claw shot into the room and wrapped itself around Adelaide's waist. Just before she fainted, she heard the dragon say, "Hello, gorgeous."

The following is a piece of writing submitted by Ari James on August 28, 2010

The Princess and the Dragon, part 2

Prince Myles was bored. Bored, bored, bored, bored, bored. Martin, his squire, was quite possibly the worst swordsman he'd ever met, and when you coupled that with the fact that they were using wooden training swords (the kind Myles had used as a ten-year-old learning to fence), it was enough to make him want to drop dead, just to spare himself the boredom.

His arm moved of its own accord to block another clumsy blow from Martin. This was too easy. I wish something exciting would happen, he thought to himself, glancing up at one of the castle's many towers. At the window sat his bride-to-be, Princess Adelaide. Just thinking about her made him feel a little light-headed. She was so beautiful...too beautiful. Tonight was their engagement ball. She was probably already getting ready.

"Sire, what do you suppose that is?" Martin asked, pointing at something in the sky. Myles looked up to see a dark greenish spot hovering next to the tower. He squinted, and nearly screamed when he realized what it was. A dragon. And it was heading towards Adelaide's tower! He screamed out a warning, but no sooner had it left his lips than a claw had torn through the wall and seized the now-unconscious princess around the waist. It flew away triumphantly, clutching its captive.

The whole castle was in an uproar. Nobles rushed around, screeching and hollering and joining King Nolan in trying to comfort Queen Audra, Adelaide's mother. "Just carried her off!" the hysterical queen sobbed. "He's probably eaten her already!"

"Nonsense, Honey Bun," King Nolan said to his wife. He had a rather annoying habit of calling his wife by strange pet names, the more normal of which were "my sweet little poopsy" and "cherry bumpkin." It gave Myles a strange pang in his chest to see his beloved sweetheart's parents so distressed. He was more than a little distressed himself, to be truthful. What would the dragon do to his dear princess? Eat her alive? Roast her to a crisp? Drop her to her death? There were too many ways for her to get hurt. And he did not want her to get hurt.

"Quiet everyone!" shouted the king.

All the knights and nobles and servants were silent. Their eyes were fixed on their sovereign's weathered face. The king cleared his throat. "I, uh, well, I suppose that you've all heard about what happened to Adelaide, my daughter. She was carried off this afternoon by a large green dragon. It is absolutely imperative that she be rescued at once. Any volunteers?"

For several moments, nobody even breathed. All the knights looked down at the floor or started shifting towards the door. Who wanted to go after a dragon?

Myles hesitated. He did not like the idea of confronting a dragon. But he liked the idea of his sweetheart being the prisoner of one even less. He stood to his feet, cleared his throat, and announced, "I will go to rescue the princess. My squire Martin will accompany me."

Everyone let out a collective sigh and began to clap. Everybody, that is, except Martin. He had already left.

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