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Without further ado, section seven of Alice & Alyssa!
Raynold came down from his room with freshly brushed hair and a broad grin. He gave his sister an affectionate kiss on her cheek before asking, “Where are the girls?”
Bettina returned his smile and answered, “They went out to the end of the field to work on something.”
“Ah!” Raynold nodded knowingly. “What’s for dinner?”
“Biscuits and beans.” Bettina replied. “One of your favorites!”
“That sounds delicious!” He smiled. “Where’s Cor?”
“He followed Diana outside. She said they were going to look for some chips of wood to play with. You know there’s hundreds around from chopping wood for our fireplace.”
“Splendid, splendid.” Raynold paused, resting his chin in his hand. “What do you think of the girls?”
Bettina considered her reply carefully. “Well,” She began, “they are very nice and mannerly. I would say they have been raised in a good home.”
Her brother sat down, his forehead creasing worriedly. “I’m worried about the mission they have to go on.” He said finally, expressing his concern. “It’s a long journey, and they will face many dangers.”
“You mean they’re going alone?” She asked.
“That’s what the council thought.” He replied.
“They can’t.” Bettina stated flatly. “And that’s all there is to it. Three girls cannot go on that mission alone. Even to save our world and you know it.”
“But who would be willing to go with them on such a dangerous trip?”
Bettina looked over at her brother knowingly. “You would.” She said.
“But what would the council say?”
“I think they would be wise in letting you go with them.” Bettina answered firmly. “After all, the life of our world depends on them completing this mission!”
Raynold gave in at last. “Very well. I shall ask the counsel at the first possible moment if I can accompany the girls on their mission.”
Alice lay on the ground, rubbing her wrists vigorously. “Oh come on!” she exclaimed in frustration. “I can’t have my wrists start hurting when there’s so much writing to do!”
Alyssa paced up and down in front of her. “I’ve got to have the Swamp Queen be good; otherwise we’ll get in more trouble than we already are.”
“Well I certainly don’t want her to be bad!” Alice agreed.
“But what will her name be?” Alyssa asked. “I’ve got to figure out a name!”
Alice rolled over onto her back and looked up at the sky. Alyssa sat down and rested her head in her hands. Both girls thought for a moment. Suddenly Corrine arrived, with Diana close behind.
“What are you doing?” he asked.
Alyssa picked her head up out of her hands and smiled at him. “We’re trying to think of a good name for somebody. It’s a hard task.”
“Is it a good person?”
“Well…” Alyssa glanced at Alice.
“Yes.” Alice answered for her hurriedly. “But the person is very ugly, even though she’s good.”
“Why not Gloria?” Corrine answered. “That’s the name of the Swamp Legion Queen, and she’s good, but very ugly.”
The sisters exchanged a significant look.
“Oh, I think that’s a perfect name!” Alyssa replied.
Alice wrote it down speedily, before either of them forgot it. “Thanks so much Cor, you are a big help.”
Cor stood up tall. “Ray told me that after I finished plowing a field all by myself!” He exclaimed proudly.
Diana looked over Alice’s shoulder. “Is that the story?” She inquired curiously.
Alice nodded. “Yes.”
“Well I certainly hope you finish it in time! I’d hate to die.”
Alyssa smiled. “We will finish it. And you won’t die. That’s a promise.”
Diana shook her head in disbelief. “It’s just so hard to believe that I’m not real. At least, I won’t be until you finish your story.”
“It’s hard for us to believe too!” Alyssa laughed. “This wasn’t exactly our plan.”
“What was your plan?” Cor plopped himself down on the ground.
“Just to make a book.” Alyssa replied.
“That’s all we wanted to do.” Alice agreed. “But we didn’t know the rules apparently.”
Diana took Cor’s hand in her own. “We’ll walk back to the house.” She said. “It’ll give you more time to work on your story.”
“Thank you very much.” Alyssa answered. “We do have a lot to work on.”
The sisters were alone again. Alyssa stood up and began pacing again; Alice massaged her wrists one more time before taking up a pencil and glancing at her twin expectantly.
“The girl looked around her in amazement at the Swamp Legion Palace.” Alyssa began, running her tongue over her lips to moisten them. “It seemed to be made completely out of swamp reeds and she was almost afraid that the whole palace would come down on her at the slightest breath of wind. A sharp jab from her captor jerked her attention back to the present problem and she found herself pushed, not very gently, into a large room. At the center sat a throne, and on the throne sat what was possibly the ugliest thing she had ever laid her eyes on. The girl drew the conclusion that this must be the Swamp Legion Queen.
“‘This is the girl you found trespassing?’ the queen gurgled.
“‘Yes your majesty.’ The guard replied.
“‘She doesn’t seem to be too dangerous looking, bring her closer. My eyes are not as good as they used to be.’
“The guard encouraged her closer to the queen with the sharp point on his spear. The girl obeyed the nudging, but she felt frightened. Her fate was in the hands of this… creature? She hardly dared to hope that she was good.
“‘Don’t be afraid child.’ The queen said, seeming to sense her fear. ‘I won’t hurt you.’
“‘Y-you won’t?’ the girl asked.
“The queen smiled, and her ugly features faded somewhat. In fact, she almost looked nice. ‘No.’ she answered. ‘I won’t hurt you.’
“Slowly, the girl came nearer. The queen looked her over.
“‘You’re quite young!’ She exclaimed. ‘And Raynold thinks you can complete a mission?’
“The girl nodded, getting over her surprise that the queen knew the cloaked stranger. ‘Yes, I’m young, but being small can help me do things that others can’t. I may not be as strong as some, but I can be very determined.’
“‘Maybe I am wrong…’ the queen admitted. ‘You are determined then?’ The girl nodded again. Smiling, the queen put out a hand. Gingerly, the girl took it to kiss it, as was the custom…”
Alice held up her hand. “Stop!”
Alyssa looked at her sister reproachfully. “You interrupted my train of thought!”
“I know, I’m sorry, but really Alyssa? Do we have to kiss her hand?”
“It’s all right.” Alyssa soothed. “Her hands are clean. She’s just ugly.”
“But she lives in a swamp!” Alice exclaimed.
“But she’s a queen. Queens are very careful about staying clean, even if they live in a swamp. Trust me; I’ve thought it all out.”
Alice sighed, and still looked doubtful, but her sister went on.
“Let’s see, now where was I? Ah yes! Gingerly the girl took it to kiss it as was the custom, shuddering slightly, sure that the hand would be dirty. To her surprise, the hand she was given looked and smelled exceptionally clean. She kissed it gently, returning it to the queen. The queen beckoned to her guard.
“‘Slumeff, make sure this girl gets through our land in peace. No harm shall come to her or any friend of hers.”
Alice mouthed “Thank you” to her sister, and Alyssa flashed a grin back at her before going on.
“The guard obediently untied the girl and started leading her back out of the palace when Raynold, the cloaked stranger burst into the door. At the sight of the girl, safe and sound he stopped suddenly and stood, breathing heavily.
“‘Where were you?’ the girl began. ‘You deserted me in my time of need! And you promised to protect me!’
“The stranger shook his head. ‘I’ll explain on our way out of here.’ He said after he had sufficient breath to do so. Turning to the swamp queen, he smiled. ‘Thank you for keeping her safe. I shall never forget your kindness.’
“The queen returned his smile. ‘I like this girl.’ She said. ‘Even if she had not been your friend, although that certainly helped her case, she is able to hide her fear well and is strong in ways that not many attain in their lifetime.’
“‘I’ll not argue with that fact!’ He answered with a light laugh. Motioning to the girl, both of them left the palace of reeds in peace, followed closely by Slumeff who had been ordered to ensure their safety.”
Alyssa paused to take a deep breath and Alice let out a groan of pain. “Oh, my wrists!” she complained.
“What’s wrong with them now?” Alyssa asked.
“They hurt so bad! I don’t think they’ve ever had to do this much writing in this little amount of time before!” Alice moaned, rubbing them vigorously.
Just then Diana appeared again with Cor. “Dinner is ready.” She said. “Bettina sent us up to tell you.”
“Alright.” Alyssa replied. “We need a break anyhow.”
Alice nodded. “My wrists are killing me!”
Cor looked at her with interest. “Betts has a salve for sore wrists.” He said suddenly. “I’m sure she’d let you put some on your wrists to make them feel better.”
“Thank you.” Alice smiled gratefully. “I’ll ask her as soon as dinner is finished.”
Together, the friends walked down the hill towards Raynold, who was standing outside the small hut, waving at them cheerfully.
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