Princess between Worlds

BOOK: Princess between Worlds
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This book is dedicated to Kim, Victoria, Brett, and all my fans who wanted to know what happened to Millie and Audun.

CONTENTS

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Also by E. D. Baker

CHAPTER 1

“I have an idea,” Liam said as he spread a map across the table in King Halbert's meeting room. “Instead of going on our grand tour by horse or carriage, let's charter a ship at Kenless and travel down the coast to Scrimsea.” After placing paperweights to hold down the corners, he leaned over the map to trace the coastline with his finger.

“I would love to travel by sea!” Annie exclaimed. Although she had glimpsed the large ships from a distance, she had never actually been on one. The thought of sailing on that vast ocean was so exciting! She moved closer to study the small print and irregular coastline, placing her finger beside Liam's. “From Scrimsea we can go to Bellaroost. I've heard that Izbeki is lovely this time of year.”

Liam nodded. “Maybe we'll be there for one of their celebrations. I visited Izbeki a few years ago when they
were holding a boating festival. It was great fun. They had a sailing contest in the bay and the entire royal family took part.”

“Should we stop in Dorinocco after that?” Annie asked.

“I'd be insulted if you didn't,” King Montague said from the doorway. Liam's father was the king of Dorinocco and had told Liam many times how much he liked Annie.

“When do you plan to leave?” King Halbert said as he and King Montague came into the room.

“As soon as we can get it all arranged,” Liam told his father-in-law.

“And how long do you plan to be gone?” asked King Montague.

“Two or three months,” said Liam. “There's so much I want to show Annie.”

“There's something I want to tell you before you leave,” said his father. “I've decided to hand my crown over to you when you return from your grand tour. I'm old and tired, and with all my ailments, I'm not able to do all that I should. You've proven beyond any doubt how well suited you are for the crown. I think it's time you began your reign.”

Annie glanced at Liam. They'd known that he was going to be king of Dorinocco sooner or later, but they'd thought it wouldn't be for many years. For a moment, Liam looked as surprised as she felt. Then he straightened
his back, bowed his head to his father, and said, “As you wish, Your Majesty.”

King Montague beamed. “You don't know how relieved I am to hear you say that! I thought you might ask me to delay the day, but you've always been one to shoulder responsibility when asked. Very good, my boy! We'll arrange it all when you return from your tour. Now Halbert,” he said, turning to Annie's father. “How about that game of chess you've been promising me? I think I'm up to beating you this time!”

As their fathers left the room, Annie noticed how worried Liam looked. Placing her hand on his arm, she said, “Is something bothering you? I'm sure your father is right. You'll make a wonderful king!”

“Nothing's wrong,” Liam said with a shrug. “It's just that I'm not sure what I'll do with my mother and brother. I can't leave them locked in the tower indefinitely, but I don't trust them enough to let them out.”

After Queen Lenore and Prince Clarence had tried to take over Annie's home kingdom of Treecrest, King Montague had locked his wife in the tower. Prince Clarence had run off to sea, but had returned with the evil wizard Rotan, in yet another attempt against Treecrest. The queen and the prince were now both locked in the tower, and no one wanted to let them out.

“You don't have to make any decisions about them yet,” Annie told Liam. “There's still plenty of time to think about it. I'm sure you'll come up with something.”

“You're probably right,” he said, and patted her hand. “So, back to the map. How far west do you want to travel?”

They were talking about the other kingdoms they'd like to visit when there was a knock on the door and a young page with red hair and freckles peeked into the room. “There's someone to see you, Your Highnesses. I told her to wait in the great hall, but she insists that she has to talk to you right away.”

“Who is it, Ewan?” asked Liam.

“She says her name is Holly,” said Ewan. “I think she's a witch. Three guards are watching her just in case she's here to do something bad.”

“If she's that dangerous, I suppose we should talk to her in the hall, rather than up here,” Liam told Annie. “We'll follow you, Ewan. Lead the way!”

The page looked very self-important as he escorted the prince and princess through the corridors of the castle. Liam dismissed him once they reached the hall; the boy looked disappointed when he left.

“I don't think I've ever seen her before,” Liam said, spotting the tiny woman seated at a table with three guards standing around her.

“I know I haven't,” said Annie.

The woman stood as Annie and Liam crossed the hall. Her gown was made of layers of brown and green, with pockets in every layer. Her hem was short enough to reveal the tips of her shoes and the moss growing on the toes. She wore leaves in her hair, and Annie could smell the scent of pine even before they were close.

“There you are!” the woman sang out, and started toward them until one of the guards blocked her way. Tilting her head to the side, she peered around the guard's broad shoulders. “I came for the wedding, but they tell me I'm a day late. I did so want to see a royal wedding. Or any wedding, actually. I don't get out much.”

The guard stepped aside so Annie and Liam could see her, but held up his hand so the woman couldn't walk any closer. Annie was prepared for some kind of witchcraft, but she was startled when a baby squirrel peeked out of the woman's bodice. The woman patted the little head absentmindedly, not noticing the leaf that fluttered from her hair or the cricket that started chirping from the folds of her gown.

“I live in the woods by myself, and few people know I'm even there. My name is Holly,” she said, and gave Annie and Liam each a playful wave. “I'm a woods witch and I rarely go anywhere except the local market to sell what I make. Sometimes it's lotions or potions, but I specialize in medicine like tinctures, tonics, and balms.
I haven't been more than ten miles from my cottage in years. It's been weeks since I even spoke to another person. Imagine my surprise when I received your invitation! I don't know much about royalty, but I do know that when you're invited to a wedding of any sort, you're supposed to bring a gift. I thought about making something for you, only there wasn't time. Then I remembered all the wonderful things they have at the Magic Marketplace. I was a young girl when I went there last. My great-aunt took me as a birthday treat. The market has grown since I was there, though, and now there's even more to choose from. It took me forever to decide what to get you. Is the wedding really over?”

BOOK: Princess between Worlds
6.01Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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