After I finished my week (or eight days) of short story writing, I wasn’t quite ready to go back to my novel. I wrote about my break-out story, “The Princess Behind the Thorns,” and I didn’t feel like that was entirely done yet. Even when I wrote the apparently happy ending, I knew I left a lot unresolved, and things weren’t going to go smoothly for the characters in the immediate future.
So I decided to write that story, about what happens after the spell is lifted and Princess Rose and Prince Terrence go home. This became “The Princess Beyond the Thorns,” and the brief excerpt below may give you some idea of what they’re up against in this second part of the story.
The king. They were coming closer to the king now, and though Terrence had told her his father was a hard man, Rose found herself searching for something, some hope, in his face. Some hint of Terrence’s kindness. The king was older than her father had been. His hair was gray but his back was still straight, his hands strong as they grasped the arms of the throne. She could see something of Terrence in his eyebrows, in the shape of his jaw. But the eyes were dark, not Terrence’s blue, and they were coldly assessing her as she approached.
She and Terrence stopped a dozen feet from the dais, and he let go of her hand, stepping off a pace. “My lord,” he said into the silent room, inclining his head to his father. “I present the Princess Rose Amelia of Racova.” The faintest of whispers ran through the crowd. “I have rescued the Princess Behind Thorns.”
Very carefully, Rose curtsied, the precisely correct curtsy for the crown princess to the king, and not one inch lower.
And the king smiled. A broad smile, as he rose to his feet, descended from the dais, calling, “Our dear cousin. How glad we are to have you restored to us.”
He extended his hand, and she offered her own, for him to bend and kiss. It was a perfect, appropriate, courtly gesture. But his lips were dry and cold against her skin.