Karen ran and ran, down the halls, through the gate, out to the gardens. What is wrong with you, she told herself. I don’t know!! I don’t know!!
Finally, she found it... her special tree, lost deep in the gardens. She sat under it, and thoughts came to her violently. Why would he do all that for me? She thought. Why would he risk his stupid neck just for me? Why why why?!? She cradled her head in one hand, and felt the tears flowing down her arm. I can’t believe he did all that!! Who is that fool anyways?!? Why did he do it?? For me?? ...all the princes run away... I hate them anyways... I always did...
But there was nowhere left to hide from anything anymore, and princess Karen put her face in her hands, the tears shuddering through her like a knife.
“She has to come out eventually,” the king said seriously, watching the gardens. “It will be night soon.”
Wendell went back to his room and fell into a deep, weary sleep.
In the morning, he reached for his dagger as always, but was surprised to find himself in a goose-stuffed bed, back in the castle. Then everything came back to him. He had done it! Kimberly was okay. There was a knock on the door, and he went to open it. It was a breakfast tray.
He realized he had had nothing to eat for a long, long time, and suddenly hunger overpowered him at the smell of the food, and he felt very weak. After nibbling at a muffin, he felt a little better.
He came out of his room, and wandered down the hall. Violet was walking past. She turned and gave him a smug glance.
“I knew you wouldn’t have the courage to choose me,” she said coolly. “Now look what you’re stuck with. A crazy girl who runs away from you.”
Wendell’s eyes burned with tears of hate, but he could think of no reply. She kept walking, and ran into a sitting room, laughing. Wendell suddenly turned and went into the sitting room as well, but she wasn’t there. He turned to leave again.
Someone was walking behind him. Violet was coming back to taunt him some more! But this time he would have something to say to that sister, that...
“Go away, you stupid...” he screamed, spinning around.
Karen stood holding some beautiful white flowers. Just a moment before she had been smiling, just like in the painting, but it faded from her face, and tears of shame stung her eyes. She dropped the flowers and ran away, crying horribly. Wendell stood, unable to move for a long time. Then, slowly, he went to the flowers and picked them up carefully. The silly yellow-haired girl, Tulip, came humming through another door, then stopped suddenly.
“Where did you get those?” she asked amazedly. “That’s from Karen’s special tree!! If I even touched one, she’d kill me!!” she said, fearfully.
Then Lily, the other twin, came through.
“Yes!! Don’t let her find out, or she’ll kick you for sure, you nice boy!!”
Wendell felt like saying something very rude, but for some reason he held his tongue.