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PHINN LORE CONCLUSION: ‘NO USE RESISTING!’

The balcony gave a disconcerting creak under Phinn’s clawed bulk. Blackfeather drew his sword before bursting through the door to Princess Malene’s silken-pillowed, antique-furnished, monogrammed-everything room. The princess sat on a mahogany curule chair, her gown poofed over its sides, peering at her pretty young face in a silver mirror. The mirror reflected no shock when her abductor entered, though one of her eyebrows rose to a judgmental point when Blackfeather tore the rose from his teeth.

“Resistance is useless, Princess. I have come to …”

“Kidnap me, yes. For the bounty.” The princess stood, smoothed her dress and kicked over the curule chair. “It took you long enough.”

Blackfeather’s rose dropped to the plush carpet. “Aren’t you even going to scream? What kind of princess doesn’t scream?”

The princess swished ’round the room, mussing up bedcovers and papers. “Obviously I’ll scream. I’m no amateur. But if I scream too soon, the guards will… AAAHHmmmmff!

With a grand leap, Blackfeather slapped his palm over Princess Malene’s mouth as Phinn bent double to fit himself through the balcony door. “Are we having a giggle or a kidnapping, then?” Phinn grumbled.

The princess wrenched her face away from Blackfeather’s grasp. “What is that?”

That, your defenseless highness, is a river troll, the second of your captors.”

“And the handsomer,” muttered the princess, who tried to swish away from Blackfeather and was deterred by his blade at her throat.

“I’ll ignore that, seeing as how you are suffering such great trauma.”

Phinn stomped in his slow way to a gilded birdcage, inside of which perched a small white bird. “That’s a rare bird. Is it a Trostanian White?” he said, then whistled through the fork in his tongue.

Princess Malene bopped Blackfeather over the head with her mirror and, while he wailed, sashayed over to a ring box by her bed. “Obviously. One of fifty left in the world.”

“Pretty thing. Shouldn’t be in a cage. What’s its name?” Phinn unlatched the cage door with surprising dexterity and the bird hopped onto his head.

Blackfeather struck a daring, adventurous, lunging pose and began again. “It’s no use resisting! Away we go and no more delay!”

The princess whisked past Phinn and his newfound pet to rifle through another drawer. “Coocoo D’Etat.”

Blackfeather’s lunge drooped. “Ah … what?”

“It’s the bird’s name.”

Phinn shook his great scaley head. “I don’t like that. I’ll name it Susie, after my old uncle.”

“No use resisting!” Blackfeather tried a third time. “Away we…”

“I won’t go anywhere without my signet ring,” snapped Princess Malene. “How will you prove you have me if your ransom note doesn’t bear my insignia?”

“Ransom note?” asked Phinn.

“Ransom note?” asked Blackfeather.

The princess sighed. “Do either of you know anything about kidnapping, at all?”

The boys looked at one another, then back at her.

“No use resisting,” said Blackfeather, quieter this time.

“Ah! There it is.” Princess Malene slid the ring on her finger, threw back her head, and let loose a terrorized shriek. Phinn winced. Blackfeather jumped. The bird pooped on Phinn’s head. “No! Please! Do not take me! I’ll give you anything!” She swung out one arm and knocked down a blown-glass lamp; it shattered into a million shards on the floor below. “You filthy rogue! You beast! Unhand me!”

Guards pounded at the door and the three made a dash for the balcony, Princess Malene screaming her protests even as she rode down the chain, holding onto Phinn’s neck. Once they landed in the thorny maze, though, she smoothed out her dress and peered into the dark. “Which way to your hideout?”

“It’s almost as if you have ordered this enterprise done yourself,” complained Blackfeather.

“Of course I did,” huffed Princess Malene. “One can’t be a proper princess without being kidnapped for ransom.All the best ones are.

“Seems fair,” said Phinn as he jerked on the chain, pulling the anchor loose along with much of the balcony railing.

The roar of engines and barking dogs in the near distance sent the three running through the maze without further conversation.

Their story will continue …

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