Julia and Bonnie stood in the busy marketplace. They were dressed in gray travelling cloaks. Julia wore an orange scarf on her head so that people would not recognize her. She held onto the reins that kept her black horse, Freddie, from wandering off. Freddie turned his head toward Bonnie and began sniffing at her head. Then, in one swift motion, he bit her hat and yanked it off.
“Freddie!” She shouted. She pulled the hat from the horse’s mouth and placed it back on her head. “I don’t know why you insisted on bringing him. Your bloody horse hates me.” Julia laughed.
“He’s only playing with you. Besides, I thought about what you said. About me never leaving the Castle grounds unless I’m working. He never gets to see the kingdom either, which is practically a crime. Freddie loves people.” Julia said.
“Yeah, people who aren’t me.” She was busy keeping a firm grip on her hat as Freddie began sniffing at her head again.
“Are you sure this scarf is enough to keep people from recognizing me?”
“People recognize your dresses and fine jewels. They recognize your long, silky hair and your silver crown.”
“And here I thought people recognized me for my kindness, grace and poise.”
“Trust me. People do see those things. I only mean that no one expects to see the princess walking around in a scarf and an old travelling cloak. Besides, look around. Are any of these people paying attention to you?” Julia looked around at the people walking through the market, buying and selling fruit, pastries, meat, swords, jewelry, and shoes. Vendors were shouting about their goods that were on sale. Children were clinging to their mothers’ hands. Men were haggling with shop owners, trying to buy their goods for a lower price. People carried baskets that held tomatoes, fire wood, or live chickens. Everyone was going about their business. No one seemed to notice her or Bonnie.
“I guess you’re right. We seem to be blending in.”
“I’m going to buy some fresh bread and salted meat. It’s greasier than anything you’ll ever eat at the Castle. Would you like some?”
“Yes, I’ll try it. While you do that, I’m going to look at these swords. I could use a pair of duel swords for my training.” Bonnie nodded and went over to one of the food stands. Julia led Freddie over to a booth where swords, knives, shields, and nun-chucks were on display. A man behind the booth was polishing a shield with a torn rag. He had a gray beard and stayed focused on his task.
“Pardon me.” Julia said. The man looked up. “You have a wonderful inventory. Do you have any duel swords?” The man coughed into his sleeve and gestured to a pair of swords on the far end of the booth.
“Hold ‘em in your hand. See how they feel. If you don’t like the weight, I can take a special order. You’d have to wait three days for ‘em, though.” He said. Julia picked up one of the duel swords. The handle was cool and had a nice grip. She pulled it from its sheath and admired the smoothness of the blade. Placing the sword back in its sheath, she realized it had been ages since she had bought her own things.
“How much?” She asked.
“Fifteen silver pieces.” The man said. Julia grabbed the money from her pocket and laid it on the table in front of him. She took the swords from the table and placed them in a bag that hung from Freddie’s saddle.
“I got our food. You’re going to love these sweet rolls.” Bonnie said. She carried a bag that had two small loaves of bread sticking out of it. “Did you buy something, too?”
“I got the duel swords I wanted. I’m quite hungry, too. Can I have some of that?”
“Sure.” Bonnie said. She reached into her bag when a voice called after them.
“Hey, you two!” A man said. “I know who you are!” Julia turned to look at the man. When he saw her face, he looked surprised, like he didn’t expect to find her here. It seemed that her disguise didn’t work as well as she and Bonnie thought it would.
“Perhaps you are mistaking us for someone else.” She said.
“No, I don’t think we are.” A woman said. She and the man were both wearing armor typically worn by guards. “And we have a picture to prove it.” Bonnie and Julia exchanged confused looks. The woman reached into her pocket and pulled out a rolled out piece of parchment. She unrolled it, revealing a drawing of two women and one black horse.
“You’re the Silver Bandits.” The man said. “And you’re under arrest for thievery.”