“King Martin?” She nodded. “Of course. Would you ride with me?” Marcus swept his arm in the direction of his horse.
Russel bounced onto his toes, alert. This might be a ploy to escape.
“That would be marvelous,” she said, batting her eyes. Remembering Pandora's magic, Russel stayed on point.
“But first,” she slipped around Marcus, away from the horses and toward the dwarves. “Thank you all for your hospitality and for keeping me safe after the evil queen tried once again to kill me. I hope to come back and visit you, but I must see my father. I need to be sure he is no longer beguiled by Queen Ella, my wicked step-mother. You understand, don't you?”
Russel relaxed as the Princess shared hugs of farewell with all her friends. She wasn't going to run. He looked to the sun, still high in the sky. If they left now, they would be able to reach Martin's castle just after dusk. He had to stall, keep her here for an hour or two longer. Then, when they stopped in Haven at an inn, he could kick Marcus into her room and make sure he sealed the deal.
|yeah, not quite the right dwarves, but I couldn't resist!|
Russel stepped around him and addressed the dwarf with the longest white beard. “Would you be able to provision us? I am famished.”
Bianca put a hand to her middles and Marcus stifled a laugh.
“Provision? No! We will feast!” The females of the group ran for the dwellings while a few males headed off into the woods. The rest went in search of chairs to set around the altar that would serve as their table.
Marcus kissed Bianca's cheek. “Don't be embarrassed. How long has it been since you've eaten last?”
She blinked several times. “I have no idea.”
Russel took one of the first chairs fetched, stretching his legs out to avoid sitting with his knees in his armpits. The two could hardly be separated long enough for Bianca to visit the latrine. This would be far easier than he expected. Tomorrow, provided he bullied Marcus into take her tonight, he could start searching for Pandora.