When they made it to the cliff beside the waterfall, the girls breathed a sigh of relief. Julia climbed down from the saddle and helped Bonnie to get down as well. Julia was used to riding horses, but Bonnie’s legs felt stiff as she tried to walk again. They looked out at the waterfall that fell into a fresh water spring. In front of the waterfall, a rainbow arced over the spring. The cave behind the waterfall was large and made of gray stone. There were stones along the cave wall that glistened in the sunlight.
“It’s just as beautiful as I remember it.” Julia said. Freddie huffed, as if in agreement.
“You’re right. It is.”
“We travelled so far through the forest. And they weren’t even keeping up with us. I think we’ll be safe here, even if we don’t go in the cave.” Julia reached into her bag and pulled out a canteen. “You must be thirsty. Let’s go fill this up.” They walked toward the cave until they were just a few feet away from the waterfall. Mist from the water cooled their skin. Julia reached out and placed her canteen under the water, waiting for it to fill up. Bonnie reached out and cupped her hands. When they filled with water, she brought them to her mouth and made a loud slurp. Julia burst out laughing.
“You are so uncivilized.” She said. When her canteen was filled, she took a long drink of the cool water.
“I’m starving. And the guards took my food.” Bonnie said. Julia looked around.
“Look there. There’s fruit hanging from those trees. Come on.” She said. She walked back over to Freddie and pulled her bow and arrow out of her bag. “Luckily, the guards didn’t take any of my things.” She pulled a rope out of her bag and tied it to one of her arrows. “Remember when you first started training me? You made me practice shooting apples off of trees.”
“I remember.” Bonnie said.
“Well, let’s see if it comes in handy.” Julia said. She took her stance and aimed her arrow at the highest apple on the tree. When she released, the arrow pierced the apple. She yanked on the rope, pulling the fruit to the ground.
“Nice shot.” Bonnie said. Julia retrieved a few more apples from the tree and washed them in the waterfall. She fed a few to Freddie who ate them with enthusiasm. Julia and Bonnie sat in the grass and ate in silence. It was the sweetest fruit they had ever tasted. They looked at the colorful rainbow that rested in front of the waterfall. This was the most peaceful place in the whole kingdom.
“I almost wish we could stay here forever.” Julia said.
“Me too. It’s nice. And a much needed break. I never knew how exhausting it was to be a wanted criminal.” Bonnie said. They both laughed.
“Yes. I can honestly say that today was reckless, dangerous, and possibly the worst idea you have ever come up with.” Bonnie slumped her shoulders.
“I know. I really screwed up.” She said. Julia placed a hand on her shoulder.
“Thank you.” Bonnie furrowed her brows.
“For giving me the most interesting day of my life.” She finished chewing a bite of apple and then continued. “I wasn’t sure earlier, but I feel like I’m ready to be Queen. I’m ready for the uncertainty, the unpredictability, and the journey that comes with it. I’ve been training for this my whole life. I don’t know what will happen, but I care about this kingdom. I care about my people. And I have faith that things will work out.”
“I’m glad to hear that.” Bonnie said. She sipped some water from Julia’s canteen.
“That said, I think we should be heading back to the castle.”
“Why? The sun doesn’t set for a few hours.” Julia smoothed her hair.
“Yes, but it’s my last day as Princess. That means that there will be an extra-large spread of food at dinner tonight. And because I am the Princess, I can request that dinner be served early.”
“I think that may be the best idea you have ever had.” Bonnie said. She wiped her sticky hands onto her cloak. Julia took one last look at the rainbow and adjusted Freddie’s saddle.
“We should come back here. Once a year. Maybe twice. Queens deserve a break every now and again, too, right?” Julia asked. Bonnie brushed the grass off of her cloak.
“Yes. As long as we don’t get arrested again.” She said.
“Agreed.” They got on Freddie’s back and made their way back to the castle. The sun was still shining and the rainbow still rested in front of the waterfall. This day had been an adventure, as all days should be.