‘Emma!’ called Meghan from downstairs, ‘tea!’
‘Mummy!’ exclaimed Emma rushing down the stairs as fast as her legs could carry her.
She hadn’t seen her parents in nearly two months, she had missed them so much and thought of them every single day. Even though she had had a wonderfully in Aeolgoyryn she still missed Sam and Meghan.
‘I’ve missed you!’
‘You were only upstairs an hour,’ laughed Meghan as Emma came running down the stairs and threw herself in for a hug.
‘What in the world are you wearing Cariad?’ asked Meghan looking Emma up and down as she hugged her.
Emma looked down and saw that she was still wearing the dress she had been wearing for Eirwen and Powyn’s coronation. In all her excitement to see Meghan and Sam, she had forgotten to get changed.
‘Oh, this thing,’ laughed Emma, ‘Mum and I bought in a charity shop, it was a bridesmaids dress. I was dressing up.’
‘Pretending to be a princess, were you?’ asked Meghan tucking a lock of Emma’s hair behind her ear.
Emma nodded her head.
‘She likes playing make-believe don’t you Emma?’ said Sam, ‘the stories she comes up with, fearsome dragons, brave knights, I’m trying to get her to write some of them down.’
‘So is that what you get up to when Sam’s working in the afternoons to stop yourself from getting bored?’ chuckled Meghan.
‘Make up stories and play dress up?’
‘Well, I suppose anything’s got to be better than watching endless television shows like most children your age.’
After dinner of pizza, Emma went upstairs to take a well-needed bath. She had washed when she was in Aeolgoyryn, but of course, a magical medieval kingdom didn’t have bubble baths.
She had a luxuriously long bath with marshmallow scented bubbles. When she got out of the bath, Sam was already waiting for her sitting on Emma’s bed. Sam wanted to hear all about the end of Emma’s first adventure. But they had had to wait until Meghan was watching her soap opera Holby City. Meghan loved watching Casualty and its spin-off Holby City, but Sam wasn’t particularly interested.
‘So, how’d it go?’ asked Sam.
‘How long were you gone for? Did you defeat the evil king? Did you fly on a dragon? Did Tim have a Scottish accent like Tim the Enchanter?’
Emma giggled slightly at Sam’s stream of questions, but then patiently answered them all.
‘It went fine,’ said Emma, ’none of us got hurt. Yes, we did defeat Gryffyn, he got sent to Castra.
‘Ashan did take me for a ride on his dragon Famri last week, it was really cool!’
‘And no Tim didn’t have a Scottish accent like John Cleese’s character in Monty Python. He was a lot less crazy and a lot more fun than Tim the Enchanter as well.’
‘That is so,’ started Sam.
‘Cool!’ they both laughed together.
‘It was pretty cool yeah,’ laughed Emma pulling at a strand of her hair.
‘Is there something wrong Ems?’
‘I don’t know,’ muttered Emma.
‘Why don’t you tell me about it whilst I brush your hair?’
Emma nodded, she had really missed these times, when Sam would brush her hair and they would talk about her day and what went well or badly. As Meghan said, she had only actually been upstairs for two hours, but she had been in the book for nearly two months.
‘I’ve missed you and Mummy loads whilst I’ve been away but….’
‘But you’re going to miss Eirwen and Elthered and the rest of your friends because you’re never going to see them again?’ suggested Sam.
‘Em’s I’ve been there, and I know what you’re going through. Don’t forget, I went into the book and made friends with all the characters in them when I was a kid. You can’t help yourself but become personally attached to the characters you meet, and it's hard to leave them behind.’
‘I don’t want to forget them,’ said Emma biting her lip and trying to stop herself from crying.
‘If I’m going to go on hundreds of adventures, I’ll forget Eirwen, and Powyn, and Awyss, and Evae and all the others.’
‘You won’t,’ said Sam, ‘that’s why I’ve given you the journal. I want you to write down everything you can remember about the story, and if you start to forget or miss any of them, just take a look through the book.’
‘You can add some drawings as well you’re a good artist.’
‘I’m not that good,’ said Emma.
‘You’re only nine,’ laughed Sam, ‘give it time and you’ll get better, it just takes practise. And what better way to practise than drawing dragons and knights and elves and whoever else you happen to meet.’
‘Thanks, Mum,’ said Emma hugging her, ‘you’re amazing.’
‘And that was a really good cover-up earlier me playing make-believe,’ said Emma.
‘You had a good cover-up too,’ said Sam, ‘charity shop bridesmaid dress.’
‘So Miss Smith,’ said Sam tucking Emma into bed, ‘what do you want your next adventure to be?’
‘I don’t know,’ shrugged Emma.
Emma fell asleep thinking about all the adventures she could have, travelling back in time, going to boarding schools, learning magic, solving mysteries. She didn’t know what was going to happen next but she was looking forward to finding out!
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