Princess Julia stood as still as a statue. She held her bow and arrow, aiming at the target that was fifty feet away from her. Her feet were firmly planted in the dewy grass and her hair was blowing in the gentle breeze. She relaxed her tense shoulders, took a breath, and released her weapon. The arrow hit the center of the target before she could even exhale.
“Excellent. You truly are an archery master now.” A voice said. Julia turned around to see her friend Bonnie. She curtsied before the princess and adjusted the hat that hid her hair, still messy from sleep. Julia walked over and gave her a fierce hug.
“You know you don’t have to curtsy for me.” Julia said.
“Ah, but I do.” Bonnie said. She pulled away to meet Julia’s eyes. “I have students looking up to me. If I respect the Crown, then they will, too.” She raised her brows, knowing she proved her point.
“I suppose. It’s a bit early for you isn’t it? What are you doing out of bed?” Julia asked.
“I thought you could use some company. Today is you’re last day as Princess, after all. Tomorrow you’ll be Queen. Are you ready?” Julia looked at the trees in the distance.
“To tell you the truth, I don’t think I’ll ever be ready.” She said. Bonnie gestured toward the target in the distance.
“At the very least, you’re ready for the archery ceremony.”
“Well, you are the best archery master in the kingdom. I learned from the best. Speaking of which, you didn’t bring your bow. Did you want to borrow mine?” Julia asked. She was nervous about messing up during the ceremony tomorrow, so even though her technique was perfect, she felt herself becoming obsessive about practicing. She didn’t mind having a reason to take a break.
“As much as I would love to show off while using the royal bow, I am here on much more official business.” Bonnie said.
“And what official business is that?”
“To make your last day as Princess the best day ever. And the only way to do that is for us to leave the Castle grounds.” Julia laughed and shook her head.
“You must be joking. I can’t simply leave today of all days.” She said. Bonnie crossed her arms.
“When was the last time you left the castle?” She asked. Julia took a breath and thought about it.
“Last week. I went to read to children at the orphanage.”
“And the time before that?”
“I gave a speech in the Public Square to thank the soldiers who fought in the war.” Julia said. Bonnie raised her hands in the air.
“Exactly! You never leave this place unless you’re working. And when you do leave, you are surrounded by palace guards. Tomorrow you’ll have more responsibility than you’ve ever had before. You deserve to take a break.” Julia pulled another arrow from her quiver. She aimed at another target, this one a bit closer.
“I can’t simply take a break from being a princess.” She said, releasing her arrow. It hit the target, but just missed the bullseye.
“Which is why we should dress as commoners and just have a day to be carefree. We can buy pastries from the baker and take a boat onto the lake. We can dance while people play their instruments in the pub. Come on, we did it all the time when we were kids.” Bonnie said.
“Yes, and we also got into trouble.” Bonnie placed a hand on Julia’s shoulder.
“Tomorrow you’re going to be Queen. Who will punish you?” She asked. Julia grabbed another arrow and aimed for a target.
“Fine. I’ll do it. But on one condition.” She said. She released her arrow, hitting the bullseye she had missed before.
“What’s that?” Bonnie asked. Julia gave her a mischievous smile.
“I get to bring Freddie.”