The weather was beautiful yesterday! I joined Mom and the littles at the park that afternoon, and it was all kinds of fun! You don’t get too old for playgrounds, if you’re creative: I climbed around on top of monkey bars and walked on the fence rails. I felt like Dorothy. 🙂 (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, go watch The Wizard of Oz again.)
Moving on, here’s Part Ten of The Sacrifice! I had good intentions of posting Part Ten before today, but it didn’t happen. Weird how I get busier when I’m on Spring break. . . Anyway, Part Ten:
Part Tenth: Never Forget
Penelope came downstairs to breakfast several minutes later and managed to choke down a small amount of food before going back to her room to find boots and a cloak. She had decided to go out to the dragon, instead of letting it come for her, and had convinced her family to let her. It felt like her choice then, not his, and that made it easier.
The Shepherds had told them where the dragon’s lair was—and assured her it would be impossible to miss. It would take her hours to hike up to it, not to mention the ride across the Valley. Henry had insisted on riding with her to the foothills, but she found herself now at the inevitable farewell with her parents. However she managed it, she struggled through without crying, and Eleanor somehow kept her tears at bay as well. Before they left, the Queen placed a thin, silver circlet on her daughter’s head. “Never forget that you are a princess, Penelope,” she told her. “No matter what happens.”
They stepped out of the Castle and saw that the whole City had turned out to see them go. At the door to the Royal Stables, less than twenty feet away, stood Henry. He was holding Captain’s reins in one hand, and Snowflake’s in the other—both horses saddled. Penelope thought she had never seen her brother look so grave.
Reluctantly letting her hand slip out of her mother’s, the Princess walked from between her parents; fully aware that every person in the City was watching her, and trying hard to be graceful. Henry helped her onto her horse and then mounted himself. She judged from his nod that she was supposed to go first. Stiffly, numbly (and rather clumsily) she urged Snowflake to a walk. Henry came several paces behind her.
People had lined the streets all the way to the Gate, waiting for them to go by. Like a wave spreading out before her, the townsfolk knelt down in front of Penelope’s horse—bowing to their Princess. Penelope blinked back her tears, and looked ahead at the empty road before her.
The Gate was opened wordlessly before them, and as they rode out into the fresh, green Valley Henry urged Captain forward beside Snowflake. Penelope turned towards him, and sorrowful blue eyes stared into sorrowful blue eyes for a moment before they both turned away. She looked out across the fields, and gasped in surprise: the grass was cloaked in scarlet, purple, and yellow; dotted with daisies like white stars.
The flowers were in bloom.