Once Upon A Rose

Celsiana is smart, kind, brave…and also happens to be a princess.

In this clean/sweet fairytale novelette, a princess uncovers a plot against her kingdom and tries to stop it with the help of her friends.

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Chapter 1

Once upon a time there was a beautiful princess named Celsiana, who lived in a castle surrounded by gardens.  The queen, who loved flowers, named her daughter for a favorite rose bush that she and the king had received as a wedding gift.  Celsiana roses are pink and slowly turn white as they age, so it should have come as no surprise that their little princess would one day transform into a very capable young woman.

The gardens around the castle were quite large and completely surrounded by a high stone wall.   Beyond the wall, there was the village on one side and a meadow on the other.  A river wound along the edge of the village, then cut through the meadow before it disappeared into the woods beyond.

Celsiana loved the gardens almost as much as her mother did, but she often wished she could visit the young people in the village.  Her parents allowed a few girls to come to the castle, but they were always so in awe of the surroundings that they seemed more nervous than happy to be there.

Her two older brothers used to spend time with her, but now all they wanted to do was go hunting or travel to distant kingdoms.  Celsiana decided it was time to talk to her parents about visiting the village.

“But my dear, you do have companions,” her mother said, smiling at the king.  “Your father and I had some young ladies visit the castle only last week.”

“Yes, but I would like to visit them in the village,” Celsiana replied, tucking a strand of dark blonde hair into place.  “They seem so uncomfortable here in the castle, and I wish to visit this school they talk about.”

“The school?” her father repeated.  “Why would you want to go to a school, when we have the best tutors available right here?”

“Perhaps those tutors could work at the school,” Celsiana thought…then realized she’d said it out loud.

Her parents were looking at each other in shock.  “Send the tutors to the school…” her father said.  “Why would I do that?”

“Because then, I would fit in with the other girls.”  Celsiana stood tall and continued.  “I could go to school with them, and we would all learn about philosophy and science.”  She knew her father was very fond of both subjects.

Her mother smiled for a moment and took her husband’s hand.  “I remember feeling the same way before I met you.”  She glanced over at her daughter.  “Maybe we should invite some other royal families to the castle.  Soon, Celsiana will be old enough to marry…and meeting some eligible prospects now might be a good idea.”

Celsiana realized this conversation was not going as she’d hoped.  “Mother, I do not want to meet eligible young men.  I wish to be with people my own age.  Have girlfriends.  Be normal.”

Her parents both gasped.  “Normal?” her father asked.  “Why on earth would you want to be normal?  You are a princess.  Normal people want to be royalty, not the other way around.”

The queen put a hand on her husband’s arm.  “Calm down, Roderick.  We both know it’s been difficult for her having the boys gone.  She misses them.”

The king took a breath and nodded.  “Very well.  I will send for more young ladies to be brought up here for Celsiana to meet.”  He looked at his daughter.  “Find two or three you enjoy spending time with, and we will have them stay here for a few weeks.”

Celsiana nodded, then managed a smile.  It was not what she had hoped, but maybe spending a longer time in the castle would make the girls more comfortable.  And then, she might finally have some real friends.

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