The Princess Detective: Excerpt 6

Cordelia, thought the Princess, would love nothing more than to provoke a princess to fight. The Princess wouldn’t give Cordelia the satisfaction.

Finally cutting Cordelia’s throat wasn’t what she needed to do. Focus on what you need, her father always said, not on what you want.

She hadn’t wanted to be a princess and she didn’t see how she or anyone could need her to be. The Princess sighed and stared into the woods. Cordelia’s house behind her. Not doubt Cordelia was watching, but the Princess wouldn’t turn to see.

Night fell early in the woods. The Princess pulled her black cloak tighter and chose her path. She wished she had a way to know if the wolves were hungry.

*

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The Princess Detective: Excerpt Five

The Princess inspects her knives before she leaves her home. The one she keeps in her boot is dull, and she takes the time to sharpen it. You can’t be too careful at the edge of the woods.

When the Princess approaches the candy-colored house, music drifts through the windows. The woman the Princess wants to see works in her garden, thrusting the spade into to soil, a pile of lilies waiting nearby.

“Hello, Cordelia,” the Princess says from the gate. She doesn’t enter without being asked.

Cordelia, frail and fair, nods, but she doesn’t stop the rhythm of digging holes in the earth.

“Your garden is beautiful as always,” the Princess says. The garden is always beautiful. The flowers there never stop blooming, even in winter.

“I know why you’re shadowing me, Princess. I’ve nothing to say about the Prince.”

“You were the last to see him alive.”

“You were the first to see him dead,” Cordelia says. “And I’ve never had blood on my hands.”

The Princess looks away, and Cordelia stops her work. She walks over to the Princess. She reaches up and pulls a strand of hair from the Princess’ neck.

The Princess flinches. “You’re not innocent, Cordelia.”

“I only said I don’t have blood on my hands.”

“You don’t know anything about my hands.” The Princess resists pulling back on her hair.

“I know when I dream my hands are clean.” The flowers around Cordelia are bright.

The Princess doesn’t know where she wants to look, but she forces herself to look at Cordelia.”That’s because when you dream nothing but lies.” She holds Cordelia’s gaze. “And you were the first person to see the Prince dead. You and I both know it.”

Cordelia laughed. “There’s so much you don’t know, Princess. The Prince was right about you.”

*

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The Princess Detective: Excerpt Four

I talked to the knife dealer today. He hates me. I can tell by the way he watches me pass by. He evades my questions even though he knows he must answer. Everyone must answer–I’m searching for the truth.

I asked him if any knives had gone missing. When he couldn’t tell me I asked what kind of dealer he was not to know such a fact as that. Every knife from one end of the forrest to the other has to be accounted for. It’s the law. I don’t make the law.

The knife dealer said he didn’t speak to the prince the day he died. But I knew that already.

I know who the prince spoke to that day. I’ll go talk to her next. Maybe then I’ll be ready for the wolves.