Paradox here again. This princess story is indeed turning out longer and slightly weirder than I thought it would (surprised, I am not). Oh well. I'll try to wrap it up within the next installment or two, unless someone has major objections. I feel like it's been kind of pointlessly rambling in places.
Okay, one of two things will happen here. One, I will get along famously with the Lieutenant and I’ll find the castle and everyone will live happily ever after and all that sweet stuff that makes me gag. Two, the Lieutenant and I will fight like homeless cats the entire time as I attempt to find the castle, get lost multiple times, and end up getting found and shot—is that the right word?—by some soldier. I’m afraid the latter is the more likely option. We’ll see, but the look on Fowler’s face is not exactly promising.
We’ve gone back into the woods, pretty close to the place where I was found. My memory of the encounter is vague at best; I’ve had to reread this journal several times to make sure that things actually happened. It’s strange; as I’ve noted previously, my life in my homeland seems more and more dreamlike as time here goes on. I’m starting to question what I really am. Am I actually a terrorist? Was I brainwashed or drugged into thinking I was some fairytale princess? I don’t know what to believe now. I sure hope I’m actually a princess, because, well, it’d be awkward if I do turn out to be some terrorist. From what I hear, though, no known terrorists have white-blond frizzy hair, so I guess I have that going for me.
Lieutenant Fowler has left in search of what I assume is a suitable place to relieve himself. Thus, I’m sitting here, alone, and I’m getting kind of nervous. There’s something strange in the air here. It smells different, I think, and not in a good way. If I were to be honest with myself, I’d say it smells like dragon breath, but I doubt that’s possible. If there was a dragon somewhere nearby, I’d have heard it by now. I may not be the brightest thread in the tapestry, but I can sure hear a dragon trying to be sneaky.
Fowler has just come back. He’s breathing hard and his face is about the color of mayonnaise.
“There’s a… there’s a thing… there’s something…” He’s gesturing vaguely in the direction from which he came. I hear the sound of a massive creature giving stealth its best shot. Apparently my friend the dragon has stalked me.
“It’s okay,” I tell him. “It’s just a dragon.” My brain processes for a minute before I realize several things, the most pertinent being that the dragon won’t recognize me or Fowler and will therefore see us as a couple of tantalizing hors d’oeuvres. This is when I start feeling like a blundering dunderhead. I should have thought that one through a little better.
“Maybe we should, you know, run. Now. Very fast,” I blurt. Fowler nods and takes off toward the dragon. I start to shout to him that he’s going the wrong way, but then I hear a roar and see a column of fire paint the twilit sky orange. A few milliseconds later, Fowler comes running back toward me, screaming like a little girl. I guess he figured it out on his own. As he warps past me just a little slower than the speed of light, I grab his hand and divert him slightly onto a new path through the now-familiar woods. I’m back in my home—I’ve got this. I think.
When I was little, I used to explore this part of the country quite a bit, so I know a cave system that won’t admit a dragon and has multiple entrances and exits. Best of all, I know the system as well as I know dragons, which is pretty well, considering I’ve been cooped up with one for years. I know, I know, but it’s still a sore point, okay?
I don’t know if my legs have ever moved so fast in my life. I’m now sitting next to Fowler in a cave, panting like an overweight dog forced to take an impromptu exercise session. Fortunately the dragon who had previously been keeping me in my castle isn’t any too bright; otherwise we would have been people kebabs. The dragon ran after us instead of flying, as any intelligent dragon would have. I’m not complaining, though, since that stupidity has saved both Fowler and me. We made it to the cave just when the dragon caught up with us. I could almost feel my hair getting scorched again as the dragon drew a breath in preparation to barbeque us. Thank heaven we ran into the cave just in time and were able to get into a side passage where the dragon’s fire can’t reach us. I can still hear it through tons of solid earth. It’s a bit upset right now, for obvious reasons.
Anyway, I’ve now located the room in which my friend and I used to store candles and matches and so forth when we were little and liked exploring caves and such. Fortunately, there’s quite a store of candles here, so I’m writing this by candlelight. Fowler still looks like he’s about to go crazy. I’ve told him he now knows how I felt when I wandered into his world. I don’t know how much is getting through to him; his eyes are slightly blank and he keeps trying to form sentences, but they come out as gibberish. Hopefully his condition improves or I might have to take him to the local potion brewery, and I have no idea what our potions would do to him. I guess I’ll put that castle under siege if and when I come to it.
He’s trying to talk now, and it sounds more like proper speech than it has for a while. I’d better listen in case he says something other than “Wha… wha… I… huuuuhhhh?”