Our saga of Princess Crowley and Freeman the Dragon continues:

 

They set off again and Princess Crowley began to recite a poem.

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“Now, forest is home.

Though I love trees and flowers,

I wish for a friend.”

 

Freeman nodded, “ Haiku. One of my favorite forms. Nicely done, your majesty. A succinct version of your story. Do you have more?”

 

She smiled. “ I have created quite a number. It is difficult to recall them all since I could not write them down. That is why I am eager for a pencil. How about if I attempt to come up with one as we walk? Then perhaps, you will favor me with one of your stories.”

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“An excellent plan, Princess.” Freeman stopped at the stream’s edge. “ For now I am all for a wash-up and a nice drink of water. My paws are quite sticky…” He bowed low. ”And if you pardon my saying so, your highness, you have blackberry juice on your chin and neck.”

 

Princess Crowley laughed. “ Of course, I do! I was known around the castle as ‘the princess with the dirty face.’ Drove the Queen to distraction.” She pushed up the sleeves of her gown and thrust her hands into the cool water and gave her face and neck a good scrubbing.

 

Freeman waded into the water and sat in a small pool . “ Ah, that is nice. “

 

Princess Crowley sat on the bank, removed her brocade slippers and dangled her feet in the stream. “ You are lucky that you do not have to worry about clothing, Freeman. I would love to take a swim, but then I this gown would be even heavier. If you were not here I would be tempted to skinny-dip.”

 

 

Freeman blushed, opened his mouth to reply and then closed it again. He rubbed one paw across his snout and looked away.

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“Don’t look so shocked. You should be getting used to the idea that I am not a conventional princess. I wonder if I might find a way to get some clothing more suitable to the outdoors. I would love to just have some comfortable breeches, a tunic, and boots. In fact for now, I am going barefoot. “ She took her slippers and flung them into the stream and watched them float away.

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Freeman stepped out of the water. “ Well, perhaps we can find someone in Warrenden who can help with a new wardrobe for you, majesty. I agree that your finery is not the best choice for the outdoors, but I hope you do not regret tossing away your shoes. The terrain gets rough soon.”

 

“ I spent many days barefoot as a young girl, whenever I could escape my nanny. I’ll be fine.” She removed her crown and snapped it in two. “I’d get rid of this silly thing as well, but I will use it for currency to purchase what I need. “ She tucked the pieces into the sash about her waist. “ Let’s go.” She strode forward.

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Freeman scratched his head, picked up his pencil and backpack and followed.

 

Princess Crowley looked over she shoulder and gave him a sly grin. “ My next poem has a message for you:

 

No more ‘Majesty’

Crowley is who I will be.

I renounce my crown.

 

What do you say to that?”

 

Before Freeman could reply a shower of arrows sailed over their heads.

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Come back next week for the next installment!