“We are still talking about the sword aren’t we Jazzy?” Joshua answered wickedly.
The princess pushed her brother away from her and pulled a disgusted face. “Ewww, Joshy I love you dearly but I would not talk about your dangly bits and neither should you.”
Jasmine retuned the sword to its holder and faced her brother. “The only good thing about being a girl is that there are no dangly bits.”
Joshua raised an eyebrow. “Funny I was going to say they were the only good thing about being a boy.” He made a crude pumping action over his groin causing Jasmine to pale and scream Ewww again.
“Good morning children.”
“Good morning father,” the prince and princess said together. “You look tired father,” Jasmine said, mentioning a fact that she and Joshua had discussed at length. The old king had aged a great deal since the queen had passed away the year before.
“These old bones just ache a little more that’s all. What were you doing before I arrived? Don’t stop because of me.” the king lowered himself with a relieved sigh into an overstuffed easy chair.
“Joshua was teaching me how to hold a sword daddy.” Jasmine's eyes gleamed naughtily at her brother who gave her a pained look back.
“That’s very nice of you Joshua but Princesses don’t need a sword, that’s why there are Princes.” The king gave his daughter an adoring grin and she tried desperately not to roll her eyes and say something she would regret later.
“Have you been sewing in Joshua's room again Jasmine. I saw the tapestry you are working on. It’s very good you know.”
The princess hid a snigger and sucked her cheeks into her mouth to stop from blurting out loud that she wouldn’t be caught dead with a needle. “The light is so much better by Josh’s window father,” she replied instead. Beside her Joshua sighed with temporary relief.
“You should probably swap rooms,” the king suggested helpfully.
“No, I don’t mind Jazzy using my window so she can pursue her girly hobbies.”
Jasmine glared at her brother, then smiled sweetly. “Why don’t you ask Joshua to show you how good he has become with a sword daddy?”
Beside her Joshua started to choke and grasped at his throat as his face began to turn bright red through lack of air. The king leaped to his feet, calling for help.
Jasmine rolled her eyes for the second time that day. “Men!” she said in exasperation as she slapped her brother hard on his back.
“Tell me again why it’s so important that I rescue this girl.” Prince Justin raced down the dim hallway that was lined with suits of shiny armour, in an attempt to keep up with his father.
“Because you are a prince and princes rescue fair maidens from towers,” the king snapped back without breaking his stride.
Justin panted as he increased his step to close the gap that was rapidly opening between him and his sire. “What if she doesn’t want rescuing?”
“Of course she wants rescuing, she’s a princess!” The king rounded the corner he had come to and began striding down another long hallway, his arms pumping at his side.
“What are you doing?” Justin gasped, demanding to know why he was having to chase his father through the castle.
“Power walking,” the king said his stride increasing again. “Got to keep the old heart pumping.”
Justin stopped walking his hand clenched to the stitch that had developed in his side and bent double panting noisily, looking up to see his father getting further and further away. “I’m not doing it,” he shouted after him.
“My spies say she is in the highest tower in King Royston’s castle. There’s a secret passage in and out. Good luck my boy.” The King rounded another corner and disappeared.
Justin sat on the floor and glared after him. “I’m not going,” he shouted. “I’m not, nah ha no way. Not in a million years. Not in two million years.”
Two hours later he was sitting astride his pure white charger thinking “How do I get myself into these situations.”
“Girls!” Joshua huffed as he finished arranging his belongings in the highest tower. Jasmine had been complaining about all the stairs she had to transverse to get to her room for years. He walked over to the window and took in the breathtaking view of the town some two hundred foot below him and sighed. It wasn’t fair; Jasmine was more of a man than he would ever be. She could out fight, out run and out think him even on her bad days. That’s how he ended up having to switch rooms with her. She challenged him to an arm wrestling match in front of their father, winner gets the best room. She won of course. Later his father had congratulating him on putting on such a good show and letting her think she had won fair and square. It was then Joshua realised his father really didn’t have a clue when it came to his children.
Joshua sighed again and draped himself over a chair and gazed out dreamily over the surrounding area. The small town, well more of a village, ok ten rows of houses were lost in the greenery of the countryside. Rolling hills faded into the distance and just on the horizon he could make out the neighbouring village nestled in a deep valley twenty seven miles away.
He sighed again and leaned out the window as far as he dared, straining to see the courtyard below. “I feel like Rupunzil,” he huffed out loud. “I bet it must have hurt having some dude using your hair for a rope ladder. And for what so he could rescue you and take you back to his tower. Great fun I bet.” Joshua groaned yet again as a person in full body armour mounted his white stallion. “Great! Jazzy’s going riding now I’m stuck in here till she gets back.” Incredibly peeved Joshua stomped over to his new bed and flopped down on the firm mattress. He pulled a face at the hardness and immediately thought about nipping back down to his own room and stealing his old mattress and dragging it up to his room but the prospect of dragging it up the ‘twenty thousand steps’ to his new room put him off that idea. He gave another big sigh. He was bored now and with Jazzy off pretending to be him again he was stuck. If he went downstairs someone would see him and then he’d get his sister into trouble. He lay back on the bed and stared at the ceiling.
What exactly did these princesses do all day, locked in their towers? “Sleeping beauty slept” he thought. She had the right idea. He got up and wondered around looking for something to sleep in, swearing softly when he realised all his clothes were still in his old room. The only thing he could find that looked halfway comfortable was a long white cotton nightdress. “Fuck it” he thought as he stripped then slipped the soft fabric over his head. He kicked off his slippers and curled up on the bed hugging his pillow to his chest.
A silvery light twinkled above the sleeping prince and materialised into the fairy godmother. The magical lady floated above Joshua briefly and then settled down next to him.
“Darling,” she whispered. “When you were born I made a tinsy little mistake giving you the gift that was meant for another. So now on the eve of your eighteenth birthday I put it right.” She waved her wand and a shower of pink fairydust sprinkled over the sleeping figure. “You will be the best princess in all the land and soon your prince will come and sweep you away.” The sound of footsteps on the stairs prompted her to fade out of view. Jasmine bounded into the room and jumped on her sleeping brother, scaring him half to death.
The fairy god mother slapped her forehead and shook her head despairingly. “Oh crap! Not again,” she sighed as she returned from whence she had come.