• A band of glittering stars hovered in the sky. Silently, swiftly and gently, they sent the town of Meridelle into slumber. A boy, about the age of twelve smiled down upon this wonderful land. By his image he seemed much like a normal boulevardier: A tall top hat resting on his head and a cane in his gloved hand. But no, he was more than that. A child prodigy…a genius. He was a fine specimen of the magic realm and was adored by all. For he, himself, had created this wonderful land of Meridelle. He went by the name of Denver Colorado. Creative parents, don’t you think? Some say his parents were cruel rich people who could care a less about the name of their child and others say it is simply an alias. Our story begins not with Denver, but with a princess named Willow who abides in Meridelle.

    Willow looked in the mirror. Her long dark brown hair fell from her ponytail she had just pulled loose. “What a kingdom.” She sighed deeply to herself. “Father has gone half mad out of his mind over the silly people in the Shadow Kingdom.” Limmy, her black cat rose from his restful position. “Well I say, Princess, no need to worry. The people of shadows have no proper need to start a war.” He said. Limmy licked at his left paw and attempted to wash the back of his head, falling off Willow’s bureau in the process.
    “My Word!” He exclaimed. ‘I’ve never noticed how high your bureau really was!” Willow laughed but remained stiff. “But really, Lims. What if they do start a war?” “Then we give it all we’ve got!” Limmy exclaimed.

    There was a loud knock at Willow’s door. Willow threw Limmy a quick confused glance and opened the door. A worker about seventeen, one year older than Willow, with long blonde hair that fell all the way to his ankles stood at her doorway. “May I get you something for breakfast Princess?” He had a forced I’m-just-doing-this-for-the-money smile on his face. “No, Moonstone, I’m not hungry.” She pulled him inside and shut the door. “Nice formalities out there. Kind of plastic, though.” She joked. Moonstone smiled. “Well I have to do that to keep on your fathers good side, Princess- ” “I thought I told you not to call me Princess!” Moonstone folded his arms across his chest. “Ah, yes. I remember now. Willow it is.” Willow looked pleased.

    Moonstone paused, “Fogg, you know, your chef will be quite disappointed at your lack of appetite. Is everything okay, Willow?” Limmy Scowled. “Why of course she is okay, Goldilocks. Her mind is on war- not food.” There was a long pause. Limmy’s views on having servants were quite vehement. The slow ticking was mysterious- almost haunting. “Well, I suppose I am a bit worried but there is no need to brood on my behavior. I’m fine.” Willow stood with Limmy standing firm on her shoulder in front her window of which had a picturesque view of Meridelle. “Have you seen Caroline, Moonstone? We were planning on meeting at town square.” Willow broke the silence. “Why, no, I have not.” “Well perhaps you’d care to join us?” She asked looking hopeful. “I couldn’t. I have quite a bit of work to do.” Willow took his hand in hers. “No, I insist. You don’t have to worry about a decrease in your pay, I will handle that. Oh! Bring Fogg along with you! It’ll be like a party.” Moonstone swallowed hard. “Okay.” Willow politely led him out reminding him to dress in proper attire and to come at 1:30.

    She closed the door, leaned against it and sighed. A smile widened across her pale face. Limmy’s glowing yellow eyes rolled in disgust. “ So who is it, Miss Willow? Fogg or Moonstone?” Willow clasped her hands dramatically. “Whatever do you mean?” She teased and ruffled Limmy’s fur. “Let’s go. Caroline must be waiting. We wouldn’t want to ignite her fiery temper now would we?” Willow went on her way to town with Limmy walking briskly by her side. The soft pitter patter of his paws was a reassuring sound to Princess Willow. She soon noticed that she was the first one to arrive at town square. Gently, she laid down her parasol and sat at the water fountain. “I guess we were early…” Limmy pointed out. “Hopefully my pocket watch is correct.” Willow peered into the golden watch sitting open in her gloved hand. 1:39 was the time it read. The others were nine minutes late.

    Willow’s pocket watch ticked and ticked. “This isn’t like your friends.” Limmy scowled. “Why are they late?” A small light flickered in a nearby alley and a man dressed in all black emerged from It’s shadowy concealment. “And who is he?” Limmy complained some more in a whiny tone. “Shush.” Willow put a finger to her glittery lips. “He might hear you. And besides, That’s most definitely not a polite thing to say.” The man first looked; around until his eyes met with Willow’s. Willow flinched. “It’s not polite to stare.” Limmy smiled as he whispered teasingly into her ear. “Oh, hush.” She replied.

    The man started over towards Willow. He had shiny black hair, square black-rimmed glasses and a black cloak, similar to that of a watch salesman. “Hello. Good Morning , Princess.” He bowed reverently and lifted with a polite grin. “Good Morning.” She smiled awkwardly. “I have come with a message for you, Princess.” He said. Willow’s eyes lifted. “For me? From whom?” The man snickered. “You will have to see that for yourself.” He grabbed her arm and rushed her into the alley.

    There was a flash of light and suddenly Willow was standing on a patch of grass. All above her were splendorous iridescent stars dancing in a dark crystal blue night sky. She peered to the ground. The only solid ground was the patch of Earth she was currently standing on, floating above the rest of the world. She let out a shrill scream. The man in the cloak was gone. Nowhere to be seen. Limmy was missing also. “W-where am I?” She managed to say with trembling lips.

    A loud voice, a voice so discreetly familiar, boomed in her ears. “I have called you here, to make a proposal.” It said. Even the stars seemed to tremble. “And w-what is that proposal?” Willow looked around to find that there was nothing there.

    “You want to get away from life as a princess, do you not?”

    She nodded. “Yes, more than anything.”

    “What if I told you, that you could. For a while.”

    “I’d be quite happy.”

    “Very Well.”

    “What do you mean ‘Very well’?” Willow asked getting more confused.

    There was a long silence.

    “Be careful and watch out for those who are heartless. Their love seems like beauty until you find that they’re lies.”

    Before Willow could say anything, she was pushed off of the green patch and before she knew it she was blinking open her eyes, laying on the side of the water fountain in the center of town. Where she was before.

    Limmy blinked curiously at her face as he stood by her hair. “You fall asleep quickly.” He muttered. Willow made a surprised face. “That man! He took me to the alley. And the stars, and that voice! “ Willow looked around herself frantically. “It wasn’t a dream!”

    Limmy looked at her wide-eyed. “Calm down, Princess Willow.” He licked her hand gently. It felt warm, but a tad slimy. Willow pulled her hand away. “What time is it?” She looked to her pocket watch. It was 1:20. “But, but! Last time I checked it was nearly 1:40!” Limmy held out his paw. “Don’t get all weird on me now. Your friends are coming. Act normal for once.” He rolled his eyes and rubbed against Willow’s arm as she arose to greet her friends.

    Moonstone, Fogg and Caroline walked casually towards Limmy and Willow. Moonstone looked as usual. His long to-the-ankles blonde hair blew strongly with each passing step. Fogg on the other hand, was no picture of elegance. Each step was bouncy and a bit uneven to match his goofy, care-free smile and unnaturally long legs. Caroline walked with a sense of authority and pride. She had short, sharply cut black hair that remained still with each stride.

    “Hey you guys!” Willow stood up and ran to her friends. “Hey Willow.” Moonstone said with a small smile. Caroline shot Willow a fierce, almost scary, smile. It was like how your worst enemy would evilly smile at you when they had something up their sleeve. But, Willow knew better than to believe that her best friend Caroline would ever hurt her. Caroline just had a very angry look about her. Willow looked up to see Fogg’s wide happy grin. “Hello, Princess!” He bowed, holding out a hand. Willow let out a stifled laugh. “Umm, Fogg-sweetie, there’s no need to bow to me. We’re not in the castle.” She said gently, still trying to act in a royal manner. “But you’re the Princess! I’ll be executed or something if I don’t give you my utmost respect!” He said worriedly, but still keeping that happy grin. “In the castle I’m your boss, the princess, and when I’m not in the castle I’m your friend.” Willow said.

    There was a short period of silence. “You mean we’re friends?!” Fogg blurted out. “Umm yeah, sure. Friends.” Willow said, not very sure what in the world this guy was thinking. There were some more happy excited comments from Fogg as Caroline and Moonstone just stood, not amused in the least bit. “So what are we doing?” Moonstone asked, looking at his watch. Willow grabbed his wrist. “No looking at you’re watch when you’re talking to me. It makes me feel like you have better things to be doing.”
    Moonstone looked at Willow in a sarcastic way that seemed to say “I have a million better things to be doing!”

    Moonstone asked again keeping eye contact. “What are we doing?” Willow looked over to Caroline who was looking at her with the same sly expression. “Well,” Willow paused, “To be honest, Caroline and I were planning on escaping today.” Moonstone looked shocked. He looked at Caroline and then back to Willow. “Escape? Where to?”
    “Anywhere, really.” Willow said stretching her arms in the air casually.
    “I didn’t have anything to do with this.” Limmy chimed in.
    Caroline walked up to Moonstone and put her arm around his shoulders. “You ain’t afraid are you?”
    Moonstone shrugged her off. “Of course not. I’m in.”
    Willow looked surprised. Is my kingdom really that horrible? She thought. And then nodded. “So we’re all going?” Everyone nodded and Fogg chimed in with an enthusiastic “Yeah!”.

    The group of friends decided to travel to the border of the kingdom, which luckily, was not very far away.
    Caroline took out a map and led the way. They walked past the high grassy plains which seemed just as determined to get away, swaying side to side. Willow looked around, noticing for the first time, how unhappy the inhabitants of Meridelle actually were. Caroline led the others to a somewhat high gate, or wall made of brown Earth. Willow saw this and her expression was horror-struck. “How on Earth are we supposed to get all the way up there?”

    Caroline snickered and replied “We will climb the tree, of course.” Willow looked around. “Caroline, there are no trees.” Caroline turned sharply to look me in the eye. “I meant Fogg.” Fogg’s face was confused and a bit worried. “But Caroline, how will I get up there?”

    Caroline’s expression was impatient and sarcastic.
    “Can you do pull-ups?” she asked Fogg.
    “Of course I can!”
    “Well then. There you go!