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The Mental Ward - When Freedom is Almost in Your Grasp (35)

     "And this princess was guarded by men and demons, each having a different purpose for her imprisonment," Emery continued the story.  "But the princess did not know that.  All she knew is that she was forever tormented and held captive by them, with no hope of escape."
      "And then came another shining armor," Beth filled in.
     Emery shook her head.  "No, not a princess.  A daughter of a very brave knight.  And though her father was courageous, she was very timid.  She had not the makings of a knight in her blood.  Instead, she took a role as a humble servant, minding her work and keeping out of everyone else's way.  She did not expect to ever wield a sword or vanquish an enemy.  She only hoped to do enough laundry to bring home some food for her mother and brother and sisters."
     "That's brave, too," Beth commented.  Her voice was nonchalant, but she was chewing on her finger and staring into every rustling bush that they passed.  
      Emery paused her story and watched Beth for a moment.  The girl seemed more uneasy than usual.  Emery scanned the road ahead and behind them, but saw nothing to cause alarm.
     "What's the matter, Beth?"
     Beth shrugged her shoulders as if shaking off a bad feeling, but her face was worried.  "I don't know.  I don't like it."  She chewed her finger even harder.  "Maybe it will go away if you keep talking."
     Emery pressed her lips together, wishing she could erase the fretful pucker in Beth's brow.  "I said the princess had no hope, but that's not entirely true.  Something deep inside her was still alive, still reaching up toward the light, still fighting for life.  And one day, when the demons and guards battled each other, the princess slipped out of her tower."
     Beth's eyes flickered in recognition, and the pucker in her forehead smoothed ever so slightly.
     "But the demons had her bound in chains that could not be broken by human weapons.  So even if she tried to run, there was no escape."  Emery ducked under an overhanging branch of shrubbery and felt her way along a stone path.  If her memory served her right, the gardener's gate to the Carlysle estate was just ahead.  "The knight's daughter had a sheath tied to her waist, and in that sheath was a sword.  But the sword was locked in its sheath, and she had learned long ago that she was not strong enough to pull the sword free.  No one was."  Emery stopped and stood up straight, looking down at Beth.
      "Then the princess found the knight's daughter," Beth filled in.
      "The knight's daughter felt compassion for the trapped princess.  And you know what?  When compassion welled up inside of her, something clicked in the sheath.  And the knight's daughter grasped her sword, pulling it free.  As its blade flashed in the light, both the princess and the knight's daughter saw that it was no ordinary sword.  Desperate for freedom, the princess spread out her demon chains before the sword, and the knight's daughter swung its blade with all her might.  The demons swarmed in, furious against this attempt to free their prisoner.  But they were too late.  The sword came crashing down on the demon chains, and they shattered.  And the shrapnel shot across the room, vanquishing every demon.  The princess was free."
     Both girls were quiet.  Then, "Is that the end of the story?" Beth asked.
      Tears welled in Emery's eyes and she wiped them away.  "No, there's one more part," she murmured. "There's the part where the princess goes home.  And here we are, Beth."  Emery turned and took half a dozen more steps.  Her hands grasped hold of the cool metal bars of a gate.  "The latch is on the left if I remember correctly.
        Light flashed in Emery's eyes -- painful, blinding light.  She threw her hands up, trying to shield her face.  Beside her, she heard Beth's shriek.
      "Who would have thought we would find you here?" a man's voice sneered.


  1. Oh no! I just wanted them to get home safely...

    And I like the fact that Emery's sword broke free when her compassion welled up; the incentive was big enough to give her strength she didn't know she had.


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