The Princess Detective: excerpt 7

You shouldn’t visit the wolves when the moon is full.

The Princess knows this. Every child is told. Keep your knives clean and sharp. Listen when your elders tell you their dreams. Eat well. Ask permission. Stay out of the woods–especially when the moon is full.

Most houses have these rules on a wall in their house.

The winter air slipped under the folds of her coat. She wasn’t sure she’d see her house again. How, she wondered, did the Prince feel the last time he walked in the woods? Cold, probably. And as if he’d walk out again.

Footsteps in the dark behind the trees made her forget the Prince. She focused on the unhurried steps and kept walking.

The Princess Detective: a narrative break

The townspeople dream of killing the wolves. The wolves, able to do as they please, dream of very little.

Every few years to town sends a fighter to challenge a wolf. Sometimes the wolf allows the fighter to live. But the Prince was no fighter. He had no reason to approach the wolves.

The wolves, the townspeople concluded, must have approached him. The more the townspeople talk about it, the more convinced they become that promises were made and broken. Everyone knows you can’t trust wolves. How, they wondered, did the Prince forget this basic truth of their lives?

Another truth of their lives that they were quite keen to remind the Princess of at every opportunity was chosen to find the truth. They waited for her to do her job. When she walked into a room, they looked at her expectantly.

The Princess realized the moment the crown was placed on her head that while she was expected to find the truth, nothing in the all of the documents and scriptures of the town said that she had to share it.