The dragon lazily swung its head to glare at the little knight standing at the base of the mansion. Its yellow eyes burned holes into the knight’s head but, surprisingly, he didn’t back down. “Release the princess at once and maybe I’ll let you live, stink-breath!”
“God, I bet he spent all week thinking of that one.” The dragon hissed under her breath.
“Monster, I give you one chance! Release the princess or suffer!”
The dragon roared loudly, “Oh shut up!” before shooting a small blast of fire at the small man. He dropped his sword and scuttled away, probably to his Horse he had parked somewhere nearby. When her job was done, the dragon snorted disdainfully.
“Joy, what was he like?” An excited whisper floated from underneath the dragon.
Her expression softened. She swiftly entered the house to meet a bouncing girl who immediately lifted herself onto the dragon’s neck, “Was he cute?”
Joy shook her head, “He was old. Looked all wrinkly.”
The girl nodded approvingly, “Well I’m glad you got rid of him, he wasn’t very nice to you. Though you should’ve said the usual lines.”
The dragon sighed and the girl could feel it resonate throughout the hard body. “I would have but he was really annoying. I really just wanted to kill him.”
Once the words had left her mouth, she instantly regretted it. “Oh Joy, don’t say that. You’re trying to reform. Saying things like that won’t do you any good. And my father wouldn’t be happy if he heard you say that either!”
“I was kidding, Beth. You know I would never.” But her comforting words had no effect. Princess Beth had slid off the back of the young dragon and turned away. “Tell you what, let me go grab those berries you love. We can make a pie together.”
Joy heard the princess gasp and knew everything was resolved. “I shouldn’t have said that, I was just angry he called me ugly. He also said my breath stank.”
Beth giggled as she flung her arms around her friend, “Your breath certainly doesn’t stink, you brush twice a day! And I know for a fact that you’re the prettiest dragon around. That old fart had no idea what he was talking about.”
If the dragon could have turned any redder, she would have. Instead she opted to lightly press her lips against the girl’s forehead. “I’ll be right back,” and she sailed out the window.
Meanwhile, the princess danced happily throughout her mansion. She floated into the kitchen and spun in circles, pretending to be dancing with invisible partners who would treat her kindly and weren’t pursuing her just for her money. Joy hated it when she pretended such things but what else was a lonely princess to do? Joy hated anything that meant her leaving the safety of the castle. She understood why, of course, being the Crown Princess of the entire world was a huge position, one that anyone would kill to have.
The princess’ pretendings often left her oblivious to the world around her. With her eyes shut tight, she circled the kitchen. She knew every bit of the manor by heart, something that comes with eighteen years of living in it.
A knock at the door made her jump. She was jolted out of her dreams. Her heart skipped a beat. Nobody had ever knocked on the door before. Maybe because the door was fake.
“Pixie Pizza, delivery!” The knock came again, this time harder.
Beth started bouncing on her toes. Bolts of energy flew through her body. A prince? Could it be? She dusted her dress off and fixed her hair.
The door to the mansion was just painted onto a solid wall, her father brilliantly came up with the idea so knights couldn’t sneak in, but the window above was real. Beth had discovered that it could be opened just enough to fit through. She never left obviously, that would be suicide to go into the world, even if she was to rule over it.
“Hello.” She sang softly in a voice she had practiced alone just for this occasion. The purpose was to lure the prince to look up and call for her. So it wouldn’t appear as if she initiated contact.
The prince below kept knocking, “Pixie Pizza, I have your food!”
Beth felt a little hurt. The voice always worked in the books. She tried again and again but the prince didn’t respond. By now, both parties were getting frustrated. The prince abruptly ceased his knocking and turned away. “Guess it’s mine now,” he muttered.
What was she to do? Her prince was getting away. “Wait!” She cried, but her voice cracked and she choked on her words. But at least she got his attention. He looked back and saw her hanging out the window, fighting to hold back a cough.
“Are you… hold on,” he fumbled through his pockets while she struggled to regain her composure, “Got it… are you Barry Olga?” He squinted at the piece of paper he had just procured.
“Sure.” Beth smiled warmly, “Why don’t you come up?”
The poor prince looked alarmed. “Why don’t you just open the door? Or, how about this, I’ll just leave it here and you toss me the money.” He tried to place it on the ground in front of the fake door much to Beth’s disbelief.
“Money? Oh yes, money. I have them here. Come up.”
The prince furrowed his eyebrows, “Can you just open the door?”
“No I can’t. So come up and get your money.” Why was this so hard? In everything Beth had ever read the prince eagerly climbed the princess’ tower without so much as an invitation. She must’ve gotten herself a rather stubborn prince. It was clear she was going to have to do most of the work, “I’ll throw you a rope and you can climb it.”
“What about your pizza?”