On this abnormally muggy day Persephone was set to again meet with the doctor Jeanie. All was quiet in the kingdom as Persephone and Doouge walked through the marketplace that was once alive but now sat dormant. No children were laughing, playing as they normally would, only the clanking of armor and the villager’s breakfasts being forced out could be heard. The fruit stands sat unattended and contents in the early stages of molding, leaving a sour smell lingering in the usually floral air.

A pair of doves cooed their somber tune as they watched the fully armored knight and princess trudge a softly worn muddy path to the doctor’s home on the outskirts of the kingdom. Ever so peaceful, even the soft sounds of rain weren’t enough to distract Persephone in her silent thoughts. There had been so much the doctor still seemed to be avoiding telling her but so much to remember, making her brain want to burst. Doouge, still uncomfortable with it all dared to speak through the silence, “So…Do you think she’ll let me inside yet?” Persephone walked on but Doouge halted, “You’ve been so cold, always so deep in thought! Why can’t you talk to me anymore? We all get that you’re scared but you can’t let that make you close everyone out! Your father needs you to be strong, your mother would have never allowed this and you know it!” At this Persephone stopped dead in her tracks, “Don’t you see?! I’m a princess, a property to be owned! I’d never have had a say to begin with! I can’t save my kingdom, it will be some people I’m not even sure I can trust!” She ran so fast that in an instant she was gone.  Doouge slid up his face protector, hiding his red face and ran after her.

Persephone had yet to find any comfort in Sir Doouge or anyone’s words so instead the past few weeks, let thoughts drift in and out of her mind.  Nothing could be beautiful as her homeland had been, even in shambles her home was more incredible then any land she’d ever drempt of. Nothing seemed to make sense anymore. As they walked past an ill kept rose garden, memories of a time when the garden was great flooded her mind.

—-

“Shhh….,” Doouge hissed as he pressed his hand to young Persephone’s mouth. The hour was late and the full moon reached through her bedroom window. She had an instinct to scream but when she realized it was Doouge who sat beside her she bit hard on his hand. 

“Ouch! What was that for!?” Doouge loudly snapped. Persephone regretted her action as soon as footsteps sounded in the hallway. “You need to get out of here! How did you even get in here?” She could see the young boy hanging in the gallows for visiting a princess at this time of night. His eyes sparkled and a bright white grin broke across his face, ” It’s ok, I’ve got it all under control. My father is standing outside and keeping guard. I have something to show you. If you can keep quiet, come with me.” 

 He jumped down from her bed, and motioned for her to follow. She spoke no words but slid out of the bed with ease. For some reason he went to a corner and began inspecting the floor.  “What on earth are you doing?” She growled at him, still groggy from sleep. He shot her a glance that meant, I thought you said you’d be quiet. She merely nodded and let him continue picking the stones of her floor.  He seemed to find the right spot as he sighed happily and tapped it three times. The floor began to fall away, leaving a hole large enough for a decent sized man to fit in. Almost as though sensing the princess’s desire to scream, Doouge took her hand and pulled her to his chest,  plunging into the hole. The hole closed just as they fell through and prevented any noises from being heard. 

They tumbled down a long tunnel, Persephone screaming and the young knight laughing hysterically. There was a soft glow growing brighter towards the end of the fall and twigs and roots began snapping at their clothes as they moved towards the light. The two rolled out of a bush and Persephone suddenly realized where they were. 

“How did you do that?” She gasped as the sweet sent of the rose garden filled her nostrils, everything came into view with help from the moon’s light, it was miles from the castle and nobody was allowed there but royal blood.  Typical Doouge smiled a wide smile, ” my father told me the castle is magic, I didn’t believe it but here we are! We will find every exit from the castle so you can escape if ever the time comes.” The mere word magic made Persephone fear, “but magic is forbidden!” Doouge shook his head,”Nobody has to know.” It felt exciting to have this secret and somehow the danger didn’t seem to bother her.

She marveled at the garden under the moonlight. Every shade of the rainbow was visible in the garden’s botanical array, each rose held it’s own unique smell that was no less sweet then the last. Doouge, noticing her looking at a single white rose, swiftly plucked it off the vine and handed it to her in a mockingly romantic way. Persephone bowed sweetly taking the rose, both of them chuckling. “Ouch!” the rose bit her and was thrown to the ground. Tarnished with red, the rose sat abandoned beside the ivory archway. Doouge kept apologizing through the laughter and as dawn approached a realization hit Persephone,”Doogie..how are we going to get inside?”

—-

Since that day they had found many holes in the castle, each one leading somewhere new in the kingdom but there was only one entrance. Imagine King Meccio’s suprise waking up to Persephone and Doouge in his chamber, luckily Doouge was a quick thinker. She was going to miss her castle and the adventurous young man she had come to see as her best  friend.

They had made it to the old doctor’s home; a small cottage surrounded in flowers that seemed to bloom too big for their stalks, herbs that made the air aromatic when touched, and abundant fruits and vegetables. The whole atmosphere changed, suddenly the marriage seemed years away and all that mattered was the sweet woman that the princess had grown very fond of in the weeks leading up to her current visit.
To Be Continued….

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