Copyright 2001, 2011 SWL, SSL all rights reserved. As this is a remake, also protected is "Princess Hope" by Sarah Barndt.
Notes: This is a remake of "Princess Hope" by Sarah Barndt. I thank her for permission for using some of the story. There are other literary references as well. Some are direct quotes,others are paraphrases or reworked to fit the story. They include Psalms, Song of Songs (2), Esther, As You Like It, Taming of the Shrew, Lion in Winter, Man of All Seasons, Forever After (2), Wild Seed/Mind of My Mind, Farscape (Sci-Fi channel), The Procrustean Petard (a Star Trek TG story), Rocky Raccoon (Beatles White), the true trial of the century (20th), a double reference to the author of the Psalms, 5 common sayings: 3 normal and 2 fractured, the definition of 'chutzpah', and a song from the late 50's or early 60's the title of which is the reference. The hardest one is probably the reference to the movie Paper Moon. Finding these references is the puzzle part of the story. Some should be easy. Some should be hard. Have fun.
Hiding in Plain Sight
It was the beginning of the dark times. Hans and Gilda were on their way home after a profitable journey through the more northern lands that they traveled with their merchandise. They camped about a day's journey north of Mandenburg Castle, home of their friends, Count Dietric and his wife, Olga. They slept contently in their wagon, keeping each other warm. The campfire was already burning low. Suddenly there was the noise of someone approaching their wagon and, not taking any chances, Hans picked up his sword. Gilda was also awake holding a frying pan.
"May I come into your camp?" a female voice called.
Hans and Gilda lowered their weapons.
"Yes," he answered.
He regretted his reply when the figure of the woman emerged from the shadows. She was about 5' 2" with black curly hair that came down to her waist. Her 20-something body in her peasant dress exuded sex as she walked with a bundle in her hands toward the frightened couple. They recognized her as Bertha, the witch.
"I see that you know of my reputation, but do not be afraid of me, good people," she said as she approached the wagon. I am here tonight to give you a gift. I know that the 2 of you cannot have children. My skills and powers cannot fix that at this time. I am not as powerful as people say. When and if I can and if it is not too late for the 2 of you I will offer you to have a natural child. But this child needs a family now, and I can't think of better parents for this baby boy."
"Why us?" asked Hans.
"I have seen and dealt with you before. You 2 are kind and loving. You are merchants. To be merchants you know how to read, write and do arithmetic. That knowledge is the magic to learning. As merchants you meet millers and kings, peasants and tailors, innkeepers and fishermen. Yet as merchants you still care for you customers, a rare commodity. This boy will need to know about all kinds of people and how to deal with them fairly. This boy is special. He needs special upbringing."
"What do you think, Gilda?" Hans looked at his wife of 18. Her golden straight hair clashed with his auburn wavy locks.
"I don't know." She looked at the sleeping baby. "He's so adorable. How can I say 'no' to a little angel like that?"
"We'll take the child," whispered Hans. He lowered himself from his full 5' 5" frame and extended his strong arms to receive the bundle of joy and then handed him to his pretty wife. "And thank you for this gift."
"You must not say that I gave you the child," cautioned Bertha. “You must say that you met a young prostitute in our neighboring country and that she gave him to you. You MUST! A lot of good people died so this child could live. His mother, the people of my village of Puhl." She looked away from them as tears welled up in her eyes.
"Please stay," stated a concerned Hans. "Have some food, rest, and let us help you grieve."
"Thank you for the food," she ate as she talked. "Sometimes doing magic can take a lot of energy. However, I cannot stay long. My presence here will only endanger the child."
"Where will you go?"
"I'm going to hide in plain sight. It has worked before."
"Then could you help us not give his identity away?"
"I could change your memories."
"Yes, that will be good. What do you say, Gilda?"
"Anything for our baby." Her maternal instincts were already kicking in.
"Are you sure you want to do this?"
"Yes," said Gilda. "He's too precious a jewel to loose."
"Then sleep. When you waken you will believe that he is the son of a whore whom you have adopted. You will have the papers to prove that he is yours, now.” She handed the papers to them. They seemed to appear from thin air. "The only times the spell will be broken is when he has a legitimate need to know and then after when he is no longer in danger."
"Good by, sweet prince." Bertha kissed the baby and she was gone. She was there and then she wasn't. They took the baby, whom they named Maximillion, into the wagon and went back to sleep. They awoke to the sounds of their adopted son wailing for some food. After breakfast they rode the day's journey to the Mandenburg Castle and presented their new arrival to the Count and Countess. Their son, Kurt, who was almost a year older, met his best friend for the first time.
Maximillion grew up and learned all the things that a traveling merchant needed to make money. He was so good in his teens that his parents had him work the other parts of the town that they were in at the time. He more than doubled their profit. They were proud of him. He usually worked with his sister, Grettle, who was 4 years younger than Max. Max remembered that his parents had to visit the witch in the capital's castle about a year before she was born. The castle where Lord Paul von Criten, the Usurper as the locals called him, lived. Max tried to ask his parents and the witch about why they had to visit for Grettle several times, but each time he was about to ask one of them he forgot what he was about to ask.
Max seemed to enjoy the more domestic chores of the family, such as cooking. Until he grew up, when he was in town or relaxing alone or with his parents, he was found more often with the girls than with the boys. There was always one exception, his friend Kurt. When he was in Mandenburg Castle the 2 of them were inseparable.
Max wasn't effeminate. He was strong and knew how to deal with the men including ruffians. He easily learned the manly art of defending himself with is wits, his fists and with weapons. He also enjoyed hunting, especially with Kurt. He grew to be a handsome young man of 5' 6” that was tall for the times.
He once went to war to defend the kingdom. In one battle he might have saved Kurt's life by dragging him away from the battle and caring for him after Kurt was injured.
In his late teens Max usually had the girls in his lap and often in his bed. At Madenburg Castle Kurt often supplied his friend with a beautiful local girl. Sometimes the girls had to wait. The friends often talked into the wee hours and sometimes until dawn. Their parents' admonishment about keeping a girl waiting never made a difference to them.
Which brings me to my story. Just after my 20th birthday Mom, Grettle and I were traveling home from a very profitable journey to the North Country. Dad had died 2 years before from sickness. We were about an hour from our modest dwelling. Part of my gladness was that I was going to see Rachael, a local girl that I was beginning to like a lot. I could do nicely with her as my bride. Some knights approached us.
"Are you Maximillion, son of Hans the Merchant?" asked the leader.
"I have been called that," I replied. As I was adopted and that question could be used 2 ways, I was not going to be trapped in an apparent lie while telling the truth. That was especially true in these forbidden times.
"You must come with us, by order of the Regent."
"Please good sir, we are only an hour away from our home, and my mother and sister would have trouble getting our remaining merchandise into our house alone. Could we stop by there and help them unload? It is not much out of the way and the Regent would never know. There would be something in it for you and your men. Then I would go peacefully."
He thought for a minute. He had his orders, but he was not a cruel man. "Alright, we can do it your way."
We rode the distance to our home and unloaded the wagon. I paid the captain and asked that he distribute the money fairly to the rest of the soldiers. The only 'incident' was when my sister whispered to me that when they were unloading that she would ride quickly to Mandenburg Castle and inform Count Kurt of what the Regent was doing to me. I told her not to do anything rash, but to wait until they leave and discuss it with mom. I also told her to take care of our mother even if it risked my life. I suggested that she should take mom with her to the castle. She also promised me that she would give my apologies to Rachael. As I had promised, I got on one of the spare horses that the soldiers had, and rode with them to the capital. We arrived a week later.
I was brought into the Great Hall and made to wait for the Regent to come and talk to me. I admit that I was afraid. Although I have sold items to him and his castle in the past, I tried to avoid much contact with him. His bite is worse than his bark. I waited for what seemed several hours with nothing to do.
He finally came in with his witch, Hilda. The 50-year-old man was dressed impeccably in his tights and tunic. Covering his body was the King's royal robe of purple. This practice gave him the nickname of the Usurper. The witch looked like she was in her 40's, yet had a body that most men would drool over. I admit that I liked the way she looked in her white dress. She seemed to float towards me. She put her hand under my chin, picked it up slightly, and moved from side to side as she looked at it closely.
"He would do nicely," she said. "He has the look of your predecessor with the hint of his wife in him."
I looked back and forth between the two of them.
"You are Maximillion, son of Hans I presume," he said.
"I am called Maximillion. I am Hans's adopted son, my lord."
"Max, may I call you Max? Have you heard the story of my predecessors?"
"They died under mysterious circumstances and you took over."
"Those mysterious circumstances was my killing them," a matter of fact admission to murder. He was confident. "Did you hear that they had an heir?"
"There are rumors that there might be one. A girl about my age, I think."
"The girl's name is princess Anna. I have found this Princess Anna and in one month will present her in her true form to the public. That girl is you. Max, what you will do is become Princess Anna."
I starred at him in disbelief.
"Hilda will transform you from a young man into a young woman and as such become Princess Anna. You will be complete including the ability to have babies, my babies."
I shuddered at that statement. Having babies, especially of that pig, is not my idea of having fun.
"As princess Anna you will be heir to the throne, and when you marry me, which you will, I will be king in name as well as deed."
It was bad enough I had to marry a guy, which is a crazy enough thought. I had to marry that pig? Yuck.
"But I can't be Princess Anna. I was born to a whore in another country. My adoptive parents brought me into this land. My loyalty is here, though, as I served defending it proves."
"That's the beauty of it. Everyone will believe it anyway. Although we don't know the exact date of your birth, you were born within a month of her birth. You will be Princess Anna because they and we say you are."
"And if I don't? What will happen if I kill myself instead? After all, what is the difference of one bastard?"
"Take a look outside."
He pointed to a window. I walked to it and looked outside. On the ground were about 50 peasants lined up against a wall with their hands tied behind their backs. Some were crying. They all looked scared. About 10 feet away were soldiers with bows and arrows ready to shoot the hapless victims.
"I guess I have no choice," I told him with a sigh.
I hid my anger towards him. He was truly evil giving me the choice between evil and evil. I vowed vengeance. Not for me, but for the peasants. They deserve not to be pawns in his stupid chess game. Just like I was. I then realized that some of the soldiers could also have no choice because of something he had over them. Vengeance is not enough. I needed justice.
My musing was ended by him talking again, “I knew you'd see it my way. You will make a fine princess."
He then dragged me up the stairs and outside to the top of the wall as Hilda followed. He had his trumpeters blow their horns and waited as the crowd formed below. I felt like all the world's a stage, and I was pushed out of the curtain into the middle of it with no costume and no one telling me my lines.
"All my years as Regent I have been looking for the lost Princess Anna," he told the crowd. "Through thorough search and research I have discovered that Bertha, the witch, had transformed her into this young man when he was a baby. My witch, Hilda will be able to slowly break that spell on this lad, Maximillion. In about one month you will see before you Princess Anna instead of Maximillion, the traveling salesman." The crowd applauded as he said to his witch, "Hilda you may take him, or should I say her."
She took me back down the stairs to a room on the second floor of the castle. As we walked she explained what was going to happen to me.
"Max, you will be taking a potion twice a day. This potion is very powerful and could make you feel lightheaded or nauseous. I'm sorry, if I could do it another way, I would. Anyway, you will have to take this medicine for a month. In the end you will be completely a young woman. Expect your period then."
"Period?" Is there any end to the bad news?
"Yes, when a woman bleeds. It proves she is fertile, but not yet pregnant. Please understand that I do not want to do this to you. It pains me, but I have to survive. You don't live to be over 300 by not surviving. If I left before I did this, he would hunt me down and kill me, and anyone who helped me. My mortality I can deal with. I can't have another person's needless death on my conscious again."
She looked away from me and I thought I heard a tear.
"I'm sorry," I told her. "I was so caught up in what was happening to me that I couldn't see what's happening to you." I put my arm around her shoulders.
"I think we'll get along well, your highness."
"Not yet, I'm not."
We both smiled.
Then in a whisper I said, could I count on you to rid me of this meddlesome evil?"
"Don't ever ask that of anyone in the castle or within earshot of someone else," she whispered back.
I thought I saw her nod her head 'yes'. I wasn't sure. When we got to the room there were about 5 ladies of the realm sitting, standing and talking. They stopped the talking when they saw me enter the room and curtsied. I bowed to them. They giggled.
"Why?" I asked.
"Soon you will need to curtsey yourself," one of them said. I later found out that her name was Lady Wilma.
"Lady Frederica, please get the robe for our princess," said Hilda. Max, from now on we will call you Princess Anna. Please strip, your highness."
I was embarrassed to be naked in front of the ladies, but they told me that I didn't have anything they didn't see before. That helped. As I removed my clothes Lady Frederica brought a very frilly, feminine, silk robe and helped me into it. It was tight around the shoulders and short. It came to my lower thighs. I was then handed a cup filled with a bluish liquid.
"Drink this, your highness. It's your first potion," said Hilda.
I did. It tasted chalky. I sat in a chair. They giggled again. My inquiry told me that I was sitting like a man and that I should learn to sit like a woman so that I wouldn't expose myself that much. I closed my legs as best as I could, but my legs naturally widened. About an hour later I felt nauseous. The women helped me to my bed and talked to me, and each other, while they cared for me during my first hour of crisis. I was thankful for that because it helped me forget my stomach. I also enjoyed their company and found that, except for my stomach, I could relax.
This routine of getting my drink was continued at dawn and dusk. Every time I drank the liquid I felt the nausea about an hour later. I was thankful that the women were there to help me through these minor crises. There were many times that I wanted to stop the potion, but the thought of the peasants stopped me. I could not have them on my consciousness. With each day I noticed that my shoulders were not as broad, my strength was less, I wasn't as tall, my hips were wider, and after 2 weeks my breasts grew. By that time my genitals were mostly inside me and I had to pee sitting down. By the second week I was a little taller than the women, but just barely. My body hair also changed. The second week I had peach fuzz on my face. The third I had no beard at all. My voice gradually became higher until it was normal for a woman my age. I also noticed that I was getting into the conversation of the women more and more. The second week also began my dressing in dresses and skirts. They finally began to fit. I also began my lessons of how to be a woman. I actually enjoyed these sessions, especially the talking. They talked about their families, their husbands (those that were married) or boyfriends. I began to want to have a man myself, but the one that I was destined for was a pig. I hated the thought.
At night, though, my dreams were of happier times with my friend, Kurt. By the third week I was a woman around him in my dreams. I even dreamed several times that I had sex with him. I awoke with hard nipples, my fingers in my vagina and a wetness on my bed near my crouch. In one dream I went about the city looking for him. I saw one of the watchmen and asked, "Have you seen him whom my soul loves?" I told the other women about my dreams. They told me that it was normal with a girl dreaming about her love and told me that he would eventually be mine. When I heard the last part I was happy each time the rest of the day. Even the Regent's presence would not dampen my mood.
Each day about noon the Regent took me to the top of the wall and showed me to the people of the city. They saw my transformation, and sometimes it embarrassed me. The most embarrassing part was the way he held me. He acted like I belonged to him. My flesh crawled whenever he touched me.
The 20th anniversary of the Regent's rule was at the beginning of the third week of my transformation. He held a banquet that many of the lords and ladies of the realm were required to attend. I was, of course, required to sit next to the Usurper. He outdid himself. Everyone seemed to enjoy the event. Although I enjoyed the company, except the Regent's, I wasn't able to eat much that evening. The Pig noticed my picking at the food and asked what was wrong with the food.
"I will speak plainly, my lord," I said. "My stomach cannot eat so much food. I do not know if it is the medicine that your witch gives me or the fact that I am more woman than man. It is probably both. If this event was not that important to you I would have begged off being here tonight. As it is, I will probably retire early. Please forgive me when I do, my lord."
I then turned around and began to talk to a handsome Barron that had tried to talk to me just before that...that.... words could not describe my loathing for him. Not feeling well later on, I eventually retired while the party was in full swing.
The next morning after my dose of medicine and upset stomach the Regent came into my room and demanded that the ladies leave. They looked at me. I nodded my head and said that I would be alright. He closed the door.
"You embarrassed me last night."
"How? You had a nice party and I enjoyed myself until I got sick. I mingled with the guests and they seemed pleased."
"You didn't pay any attention to me!"
"Better luck next time."
"You didn't promote my kingship. That is your job."
"In a few days you may marry me. Then you will have me as a wife IN NAME ONLY. I will not allow you into my bed, nor will I come to you."
"I killed my predecessor and his queen." He didn't realize it, but he gave me the proof to hang him when I became queen. "What makes you think that I would not do it to you?"
"I am way too valuable to you. Besides, you would be doing me a favor. Only the peasants stopped me that first day."
"You are too impudent."
"I'm allowed to be. I am a princess that will be queen. Now go away. I need to talk to my ladies in waiting."
"I will send them away."
"Including your witch? I won't be complete. The others help me through the tough parts of my day."
"Not now. Soon."
He left. I was crying when the other women returned. I explained to them his threat to us. We tried to cheer each other up. I knew I would miss them. I saw tears in their eyes.
"I know," said Lady Frederica after a while. "We could go shopping. We could get clothes."
"That should cheer us up,” said Lady Dina.
"I can't," I said. "Not enough time. It's too close to noon. He's going to take me onto that wall."
"Ignore him," said Lady Katerina. "It will prove that he doesn't own you."
"I also don't have money."
"Taken care of," said Hilda. Meet me at the main entrance in 5 minutes."
We were already cheerful and chatting away with each other. We descended the steps and met Hilda who had a large purse full of money.
"How did you get that much money? I could never repay you," I said.
"It's from YOUR treasury. I've been using it for years. For the poor, mainly. I also finance the resistance this way. I even use it pay for ransoms that he demands."
"Just do me a favor. Be honest about what you take when I'm queen."
"Sure." There was an impish grin on her face.
"Promise." She had a mock look of hurt on her face. I knew she would keep her word, sort of, I suspected that even when she would 'forget' she would do the right thing, usually.
We walked the 10 blocks to a tailor that had the best reputation in town. I had dealt with him constantly when I was Max to our mutual satisfaction. We walked in and he bowed to us.
"My ladies." Recognizing the ladies with me he said to me, "you must be the princess, your highness."
"Cut it out, Sam. It's me, Max under these skirts."
I hated the formality of the court almost as much as I hated that pig.
"I must say, your highness...err Max, you do look lovely."
He kissed my hand. I must admit it gave me pleasure and goose bumps. I sighed happily. Flattery will get you everywhere.
"Please, Sam, not now. This is not a formal occasion. Although I admit I liked what you did, we're just a bunch of women here to have you do your wonders. Where is your wife?"
"I guess we ARE among friends. Miriam is out delivering messages. We can't use you anymore."
I was not too surprised by his answer. I always suspected that as traveling merchants we had an unusual amount of mail to deliver within the kingdom.
"Is there anyone that supports this…this...bastard?"
There I said it. I may be one legally. He was one in actions.
"We only have to watch out for some of his spies," said Lady Katerina.
"How do you know that I'm not a spy, Sam?"
"What do you think the letters are about?" he asked. "You and your peace, but soon we will rid us of this usurper."
"After you're finished changing," the witch said to me. "Not before."
"I still need to find a way to do it peacefully," I sighed. "Promise you won't do anything until I try it that way? I want to prevent the bloodshed." I looked at each one individually. "I am the princess of the realm, soon to be queen. Let me at least try."
They were silent for a long time.
Finally Hilda said, "We will wait a reasonable time."
"But we can't have him too much longer," Lady Katerina added. “He's hurting us all. I see my peasants suffer and it hurts me inside. We will give you until the end of your second period."
"Enough of politics. What can you do for us?" asked Lady Frederica getting us back to our purpose.
"First let's look at the material," Sam told us.
We looked at bolts and bolts of material as we talked. We told him how we wanted the dresses made. He suggested how they were wearing it in Paris, Warsaw, Berlin, and Milan. Liking some of what he said we made some changes. Each of our dresses was different. He then measured us so that we could have perfect fits.
During the measurements a young lad from the castle entered the shop. He was about 12 years old. He was all of 5' and skinny. His golden locks went down to his neck.
"I have been ordered by the Regent to take you back to the castle, your highness."
"Can't you say you didn't find us?" asked Lady Katerina.
"Or find us, say, in an hour or two?" asked Lady Frederica.
"If I did I would not see tomorrow, my ladies."
We all went silent. I had to think as if I was already queen.
"I can't follow his evil ways. I must seek peace and pursue it."
I looked at Sam and the other ladies. The girls gave me a smile.
"May you be as beloved as my father who said that nearly 2000 years ago," replied Sam.
"I just hope to do a good job when I'm queen. Then I turned to the boy. "What is your name, son?"
"Gá¼nter, your highness."
"Gá¼nter, how would you like to be a squire at another castle? One that I know you will be safe from this regent."
"Yes, I don't like what I see here. Too many bad things."
"Sam, give me a pen and some paper."
Sam went to his desk and gave me what I needed. I wrote a note that said,
Protect this boy, Gá¼nter.
I asked him to put the letter in his shirt and go as fast as he could to Mandenburg Castle.
"What does it say?"
"It says that you can be the squire of the count Mandenburg or one of his knights. Please don't let anyone see the letter in your shirt."
"That castle is too far. I don't have the means to get there, your highness."
I looked at Hilda who still held the money purse. She nodded her head and took some of the money out.
"Gá¼nter, take this money and buy a horse and some food. Ride as fast as you can without hurting the horse to Mandenburg castle. Tell the count that Maxi sent you."
"Don't worry. He'll know."
As the child left I turned to Sam and said, "Sam, I think we will be a little short. Could you trust us with the rest?"
"You have trusted me in the past, and I can afford to wait. That was beautiful, your highness. You will be a great queen."
"I don't know. The thought of ruling scares me."
"You acted like you were already queen."
"That scares me too."
Sam finished the measurements. He then draped each cloth around us so that we had an idea of what the dresses would finally look like. I admit I was pleased by what I saw in the mirror. He promised that the dresses would be finished within a week. How he was going to do that with his wife away amazed me. When we left the tailor we were in great moods. I knew that even that
Bastard (I said it easier that time) could not change it.
Finally the day came that I took the last of the medicine. I was glad when I drank the last of the potion that morning. My hour of upset stomach would be my last, or so I thought. That evening
I was unusually happy as I went down to the Great Hall and sat in my usual place next to that pig. I knew that he could not change my attitude. All went well and I was able to eat a little more than I had over the recent month. When I was finishing eating I felt a cramp in my abdomen. It hurt almost as bad as my stomach did in the past. It affected my stomach and I almost threw up. I was scared. What kind of sickness did I have? I excused myself and tried to get up. I felt dizzy and sat down. The Ladies in Waiting and the witch helped me up.
As they did Lady Wilma said, "That's why. You have our little visitor, the problem of women. Now, let's get you to your room and get you cleaned up." Then to the Regent, "Please have the cook bring some broth, my lord. And also have someone bring warm wet towels. She will be indisposed for a while."
"I don't know. Hours, days," replied Lady Frederica.
"Don't you have any compassion?" asked Lady Katerina.
He started to slap her with the back of his hand.
"Don't," I said.
For some reason he stopped. Maybe he could be controlled.
"What's happening to me?" I cried when we were in the hallway.
"You have become a woman," said Hilda. "The rest of us learned about this when we were 10 to 14. It means you can have babies."
"Not by that pig. Please, you have to help me."
"He already knows," said the witch. "That is why he smiled. This is your first. With your permission I could make it less painful."
"Your period. You will have more like this, once a month, like every other woman. Next time you could be bitchy just before it happens."
Great, I could bite off the head of some fabulous guy one week before I need him to take care of me. That's a no win situation.
I was finally in my room and the ladies helped me off with my dress. I screamed when I saw the blood. I saw it first on the dress and petticoats. When I saw it coming from me I screamed louder.
"It's all very normal," Lady Frederica said. "We'll clean you up and then have your clothes cleaned. Put this between your legs."
It was a warm wet towel. I felt no better with it. How do women endure this every month?
They stayed the night helping me throughout this nightmare. The broth with some of Hilda's herbs calmed my stomach, which was reacting to the pain further down. It was so bad that I was indisposed for 3 days.
I was told that he went up to the wall and announced that I had my period. They said that he said that is why I was not with him. They said he gloated. How gross. Later that first few days of my period I was told that he was happy and dancing. Only HE could be happy about someone else's misery.
The day after my period ended he again took me up to the wall for everyone to see. I tried to worm my way away from him, but he was physically too strong. I admit I was more afraid than normal. As usual he had his trumpeters announce a message he was to give the crowd. I still struggled. When the crowd gathered to its largest strength he let me go and went to the wall.
"I have great news for you all," he shouted with a happy voice. "Princess Anna and I are going to be married."
"WE ARE NOT!" I shouted. "WE ARE NOT... mmphf"
He grabbed me and put his hand on my mouth. I broke away. Where I got the strength from I don't know.
"I WILL NOT MARRY HIM! I WILL NOT MARRY THIS PIG!"
He grabbed me and threw me around. I fell and felt pain in my left arm. Fortunately it did not break. I got up again and went to the wall.
"I AM PRINCESS ABOUT TO BE QUEEN OF THE REALM. I WILL MARRY WHOM I CHOOSE."
He grabbed me and threw me down. I hit my head. The rest was fuzzy. Somehow Hilda was there and she quickly threw a protection spell on me and somehow quieted the anger of Lord
Paul. I was lucky more damage wasn't done to me. Somehow I got to my room. I think she helped me. I was dizzy by then. I blanked out.
Slowly I awoke from my ordeal. I saw a worried Lady Katerina leaning over me. My head and arm were not the only places that hurt, only the worst. I felt a scrape here, a bruise there. I'd probably feel more achy tomorrow.
"You're awake," and then she sighed with relief.
"You nearly got yourself killed," replied Lady Maria. That's what you did."
"I mean, how did I get here?"
"I stopped him with a calming spell. I put a protection spell on you."
"I thought I felt the spell. Is it still there?"
"It will be for days."
"What about him?"
"He's happy as a lark." I frowned. "I also made him forget what happened to you until I remove it. That will protect you when he sees you. He will probably ask what happened to you. Tell him you fell down some stairs."
"That was a very dangerous thing you did," said Lady Frederica. I instinctively rubbed my arm. "And very brave."
"The doctor will be coming soon," said Lady Dina.
"The archbishop already knows that you don't want him," said Lady Maria. "Sam was in the crowd. When the fight was over he first told the doctor. Then he told his rabbi. The two of them informed the archbishop. The archbishop promised that he would not perform the marriage and will let the other priests know that they can't do it either. He promised the threat of excommunication if they did marry you against your will. His protection will end when you speak to him in private.
"I am grateful for what he did. I will send a letter to the Pope praising his integrity when I have a chance."
"He is also with us. We have used the priests to send messages before," said Lady Maria.
"Why couldn't you topple him before? It seems like his reign is like a house of cards."
"No one to lead us," replied Lady Wilma.
"What about Count von Mandenburg?"
Just mentioning his name made me feel better, at least inside.
"Too far away. By the time he'd arrive here von Criten would know. His defenses are too strong."
Lady Frederica's remark made me realize that this had to be an inside job.
"Here's the doctor," said Hilda.
"May I see the damage, your highness?"
As I showed him the bump on my head the other ladies took off my dress and my petticoats. I discovered that the dress was torn in several places. It felt awkward to undress before a strange man, something that I wouldn't think about only a few weeks before. I did it anyway. He noted the big bruise on my arm and several scrapes that included my rear and legs.
"I see you met your match."
"Doc, it's only a scratch."
"I agree. I don't think that the damage is that great, but just in case I would like to stay at the castle tonight. I'm worried about internal bleeding and things like that which we can't see. Maybe I could have a bed just outside your door."
He turned to Hilda.
"Hilda, I think you can do more that I can. I would like to speak to you after I'm finished."
I looked at him worried.
"No need, your highness. I just want to explain to her what I observed so that she could take care of you better. I bow to her greater ability in healing. I also have a salve that should care for the wounds."
"I have to stop Lord Paul," I said when he left. "I need to form a plan."
I tried to get up, but it hurt too much. I lay back down.
"Look what we found," Lady Dina said.
She was holding a few dresses that had the smell of having been stored for a long time.
"Where did you get these?" asked Lady Frederica.
"I went exploring on one of the towers. There are more like these there with jewelry and shoes."
"They should fit you," Hilda said to me.
"These belonged to Queen Opal. I turned you into Princess Anna, not just any girl."
"Is that why I think the way I do?"
"It is a part. How about you try them on."
This was better than going to Sam the tailor. I tried the 4 dresses on. Two fit exactly and two were a little big in the bosom.
"These all belong to my mother?"
I had to make the assumption.
"I guess so," replied Hilda. "Why?"
"Two different breasts sizes."
"Some could be pre-you and some could be post-you," Lady Katerina said. "A woman's got to nurse, you know. She gets bigger here for her child." She touched her breasts.
"This is going to be fun," I said.
Among the items found was a beautiful wedding dress. I just held it up to my body and looked in the mirror. I knew I wanted to wear it soon, but not for that bastard. There was another dress
that was in royal purple and had a removable cape on the shoulders. It had an empire cut that was not really out of style. I tried it on and discovered it had the larger top, but it had drawstrings around the neck so I could make it tighter. When it was on me, Lady Wilma took the crown she found in the jewelry case and put it on my head. I looked in the mirror and realized that I looked complete. I turned around and saw each of the other women curtsey. It was a strange experience. I cried.
"Ladies, you are my friends. In the future you only have to curtsey to me in formal occasions. It is bad enough then."
Happily I shared the jewelry.
The ladies got me ready to wear the dress, fixing my hair and putting rogue on my face.
"I wish you didn't have to do this," said Lady Katerina.
"So do I, but I must."
"There has to be another way," said Lady Frederica.
"We've been over this already."
"Can't you have someone else do it?" asked Lady Gwendolyn.
"Who could I send that would have as much chance to succeed?"
"We're afraid," said Lady Dina.
"I have no choice."
But you are right. You should be afraid.
"You had no choice when he had me turn you into a woman," I reminded Hilda. "You did it because of him."
"I'm still doing it because of HIM. Now it is also because of you...and them. The rest of my kingdom."
"The ladies helped me into her dress. The royal purple one that belonged to Queen Opal. The low cut in the front showed off the top of my pert breasts nicely although that area was the only loose part. In my shoes, her shoes that fit me perfectly, the length of the skirt ended just over the floor. In it I looked like the dress was mine and not my mother's. Was she my mother? Was I told a pack of lies about my birth? If that was true it was done to protect me. I can't blame anyone for that. I hope to live long enough to know the truth.
"Are you sure everything is ready?" I asked as they added the purple tunic that completed the outfit.
I now had my costume and knew my lines.
"Yes, but we are still afraid for your life," replied Lady Katerina.
"If I die, I die."
Inside I was so afraid I was shaking. I had to sound confident at least for them.
"When you first came here you were a means to an end. Now you are a friend. One that I know we would miss if something happens to you," she told me.
"I will be alright."
"Are you sure there isn't another way?" asked Lady Frederica again.
"I have to end this absurdity. Preferably as queen. If not, as the reason for the revolt."
"You're risking too much," Lady Wilma said.
"I am princess of the realm, about to be queen. If I can't do this I shouldn't be queen. This is MY kingdom and I must do what is right for MY people."
"Could I at least put a protection spell on you?"
"He would know. I can't risk your life to save mine."
"I already have."
"Besides the other day?"
"I'll tell you everything when this is over. You have a right to know. Don't ask me before."
I looked at her with questions in my eyes.
"Can you at least take a weapon?" Lady Maria asked.
"We've gone over this before. NO!"
"Will you reconsider?" asked Lady Frederica.
"Or delay?" asked Lady Katerina.
I knew they were trying to save me from a potential disaster.
"Do I have to pull rank on you?"
They all curtsied. It surprised me. I didn't expect what they did. It was then I realized I was truly their queen. They and all the rest were MY responsibility, which is why I had to do this. I then noticed that my hands were shaking.
Lady Wilma came over and massaged my shoulders from the back.
"Take a deep breath. That's it. Hold it. Now let it out, slowly."
I felt better.
"Wish me luck."
"Luck!" they all said.
They each gave me a hug. Their eyes were wet and there was fear in their faces. I turned and stepped out the door into the hall looking for the Regent. The die was cast. The cast was drawn.
There was no turning back. I finally found him near his quarters.
"My, aren't we looking regal today."
He looked at me appreciatively. Yuck. I had to ignore what he said.
"My lord, I wish to speak to you in private."
"What is this all about?" he asked.
"You have created a monster, my lord, ME."
"You are a monster? That's interesting. You are a very pretty monster. Would you like to come into my chamber to discuss it?"
"Without your sword and dagger, please."
"I'm not one to carry one yet. You can have that witch of yours search me if you wish."
"That won't be necessary. Guards watch my room while Princess Anna and I talk for a while."
We entered his room. He sat down in a chair and gestured that I do the same with one at right angles to him. I obliged. As I was sitting I felt him eyeing me up and down like a piece of meat. It made my stomach turn.
"Before I begin, you may wish to kill or torture me for what I say. If you do you will not leave this room alive."
"That's strange. I thought I was in control."
"Like I said outside you have created a monster. Otherwise I could not make such a statement. I do not know if I really am Princess Anna. Although I am not sure, your witch may know the truth. However as you said before I was transformed, most of the peasants believe that I am her and the rest don't care. Some of the nobles believe that I am, and like the peasants, the rest don't care. But both groups are supporting me because of what you are. What both the peasants and the nobles want is to get rid of you. You have been too cruel over these last 20 years. They would have started the rebellion already, except that I have stopped them."
"You say you have stopped them. I'm impressed."
"Thank you. No matter what the truth of my birth is, I am now Princess Anna by default. I started to become Princess Anna when you threatened me with the peasants' deaths. I felt responsible for them."
"The peasants. Maybe I should have killed some. I might have prevented this."
"That would not make a difference because now I feel responsible for far more. I want to stop the terrible effect of a revolution. More important is that there will be too many deaths on both sides in any revolt that would occur if you don't agree. Most of them good people. As their monarch..."
"As their monarch? You presume a lot."
"Yes, as their monarch, I would prefer this not to happen. For you see, I now feel responsible for this entire kingdom. I thank you for that."
"You're welcome, I think. What do you have in mind?"
"What I propose is peace."
"Something tells me that I will not like this 'peace'."
"I give you 2 choices. Either way I am queen. One way would be for you to be king. To do that you will have to make changes. These changes will cost you wealth now, but make you richer over time. You would start by lowering the taxes on the peasants. This will enable them to amass more wealth for themselves, eventually allowing you to have more money for yourself. You are also to start public works projects that my nobles and I suggest and should have happened long ago. This will again increase the economic base. I would guess that for every 4 marks that you spend you will eventually get back 5. Third, you will rescind the orders that are sending my Ladies in waiting away. They need to stop packing. I need their company. It is also a symbol to the nobles that you have accepted my terms. I also know that you wish me to be your queen. You would like to ravish me and make me have your children. One day, if you only pretend to accept this choice, I will have a dagger under my petticoats, and after you have taken me and are asleep, I will stick you like the pig you are. If I am with child or have a child then I will make sure that he will despise you. What I am proposing is that you reign in name only."
"Not a great choice. Is there room for negotiation?"
"We will listen to your input, but in general, no."
"I assume the second choice is worse."
"You may not think so. The second choice is for you to resign as Regent. I will officially thank you for your service and pardon you for any and all misdeeds that you have done while performing your duty. You will be exiled out of the country with enough of our treasury that you could live like a king for the rest of your life. It would be worth the money to rid us of you. However, your lands will be forfeited to the crown. I have a sister that will become a princess and could use your lands as a dowry. Be aware. If you try to regain my throne by raising an army, rest assured, you and everyone who is captured with you will be hanged immediately without trial."
"How could you defend yourself against a pretender to the throne such as your cousin, von Madenburg."
"Like I said before, I do not know if I really am Princess Anna or a pretender that you set up. It is of no importance. In order to assure peace in the realm, I have decided to marry that cousin you mentioned. We will reign together. He is, after all, my closest friend. It will be a marriage both of convenience and love, a rare combination for royalty. He once told me that when he was with a woman for the night he felt like he was cheating. He couldn't understand why. I now do. The best part of the convince idea of the marriage is that when we die our son will know that he is the legitimate heir to the throne and not care if it is through his mother or father."
"I will think about what you said and give you my decision."
"Not too long. Sometime over this next month the revolt will begin with or without my acquiescence."
"I have learned a lot today. It will help me in my future plans." He got out of his chair and opened the door to the room. "Guards, arrest this imposter!"
His guards entered his room and brandished their swords against HIM. He was very surprised. One placed his sword against his throat, another against his heart. The other 2 were aiming their swords at his lungs through his back. They took him down to the dungeon where before he had other people tortured. I asked that he get a stroke for each person he has tortured over the score of years he has usurped the throne as I patted the Usurper's face. I wished the torturer to have fun and ordered him to make sure that Lord Paul was awake for each lashing.
All the nobility that was in the castle at the time quickly pledged their loyalty to me. They were followed by my entire army that was present and finally the witch. She gave me a hug, the hug of a mother for her child. I then went up to the ramparts of the castle with the lords and ladies and other important people that were there at the time. I had the bugler sound an announcement. I waited for the crowd to appear.
"I am Princess Anna. I declare a month long celebration during which the castle will be open for all who wish to enter. The end of the celebration will be my coronation as Queen Anna. Lord Paul von Criten has been arrested and is being tried for many heinous crimes. He will be brought to the permanent scaffold tomorrow for sentencing. All the decrees that he made during the time he illegally controlled the throne will be reviewed. There will be some changes. Most of the changes will be the release of some prisoners and the lowering of some taxes. The rest I will try to rectify. Please be patient as there are 20 years of records to review. More details will be published on the castle main entrance in a few days."
All those who were on the ramparts and in the square below cheered and applauded. The celebrations were throughout the city. They lasted past dawn. It was the best lack of sleep that I ever had.
That morning bleary eyes I sent lord Paul to the scaffold. I then went to the ramparts and waited for the bugler to announce the event and the crowd to appear.
"Lord Paul von Criten, you have been found guilty of squandering the country's funds," I shouted to the boisterous crowd so they could hear. I sentence you to exile."
He sighed relief. As he did, I noticed a line of knights approaching. I put my hand up and told the crowd that we would wait for them to arrive. The leader stopped his men and removed his helmet. I recognized his light brown hair and beard instantly.
"KURT!" I shouted with a wide grin. I felt my heart pounding and a stirring in my loins. "I mean Count Mandenburg. What brings you here in full battle gear?"
"I was told you needed help. It seems that I am mistaken." His grin was a wide as mine.
"Didn't you get my message?"
"What message, your highness?"
"That I would try a peaceful method first."
"No, your highness."
"Stop with the 'your highness' bit. Inside this dress is your friend, Maxi. We never used titles."
"Except in formal occasions. This is a formal occasion, Maxi."
"Where are my mother and sister?"
"Safe at Eisenhorn Castle."
That was a 3 day's journey from the capital. I would see them within the week.
"I will send for them immediately."
"No need, your highness. I have already sent a horseman back when I discovered that you were not in danger."
I then notice that his squire was Gá¼nter.
"And your squire? Is that how you protect my friends I have charged you with?"
"He insisted he come, your highness. He said that you protected him, so he should protect you. Although I tried, he would not take 'no' for an answer. Some of my knights could learn determination from him."
"You are forgiven, my love. And of your former squire?"
He is the knight I sent back to Eisenhorn. His youth and the speed of his horse made the most sense. He begs your forgiveness."
"Forgive him for bring my family here? He deserves thanks instead. Your men are free to freshen up or watch the proceedings as they choose."
"Thank, you your highness."
"Enough of this chatter. Would you be kind enough to join me on this wall?"
"As you wish, your highness."
"No, as YOU wish, my lord."
"I do wish, Maxi."
"Meet Sir Destin at the entrance."
He got off his horse, took off his armor, and with a spring in his step started towards the castle entrance.
"Your squire may also come up here if he wishes."
The boy jumped off his horse and ran to the entrance. Most of the square applauded cheered and laughed.
When Kurt arrived I went over to him, put my arms around his neck and kissed him. He had his arms around my waist and pulled me into him as we kissed. His kiss was sweeter than wine. I even liked his tongue pressing against mine ant the feeling of him growing below. After what seemed like a glorious eternity we disengaged, I wanted to continue this in a more private condition. His look and touch made me believe that he wanted the same. I knew then that he was mine and I was his.
"Please don't argue about what I do with this man, "I whispered to Kurt. "This is the only time I will dispense justice like this."
I went back to the side of the wall.
"Lord Paul von Criten you have been found guilty of misappropriating the country's funds and taking it for your own gains. I sentence you to loose all your holdings both in this country and abroad."
He had a slight look of concern.
"Lord Paul von Criten you have been found guilty of illegally ruling this country. I sentence you to slavery. As a slave cannot hold a title, you have lost your title. Also, as part of your punishment, when you die and are buried, you must have an unmarked grave.
He looked down, dejected.
"Paul of Criten," I purposefully didn't use his formal title to make sure he understood the severity of my actions. "As you have fully admitted to me when you were Lord Paul von Criten, you have been found guilty of the murder of my father, King Sven. I sentence you to death by hanging.
He was frightened.
"Paul of Criten, as you have fully admitted to me when you were Lord Paul von Criten, you have been found guilty of the murder of my mother, Queen Opal. I sentence you to death by hanging."
He was terrified.
"Paul of Criten, as the murder of the king is always treason, you have been found guilty of treason. I sentence you to death by hanging. Paul of Criten, as the murder of the queen is usually
treason, and this case does not warrant extenuating circumstances, you have been found guilty of treason. I sentence you to death by hanging. Paul of Criten, as the murders of my mother and father was part of a plot to overthrow the legitimate government of this country, you have been found guilty of 2 counts of treason. I sentence you to death by hanging for both of these crimes. Paul of Criten, you have been found guilty of having illegally kidnapped the man known as Maximillion. I sentence you to loose your right hand."
With this person I agreed with the Islamic form of justice in regards to steeling.
"Paul of Criten, as that kidnapping was part of a plot to insure your illegal rule over my country, you have been found guilty of treason. I sentence you to death by hanging. Paul of Criten, 20
years ago you had your soldiers massacre the residents of the village of Puhl in the Southern district. Of the 538 residents there at the time, 537 were killed. You have been found guilty of 537 counts of murder in that incident. I sentence you to death by hanging for each of these deaths."
He went white.
"How do you know about that village? You were just an infant at the time."
"Ask your witch."
The witch, Hilda stepped over to the edge of the wall and leaned over.
"You know me as the Witch, Hilda. I am a witch, but my real name is Bertha. I had to disguise my self in order to save my life and the life of your princess who will soon be your queen. Those
500 residents of my home town were all relatives of mine including descendents. Most were friends. They died so that your queen could live. I have lived with the pain of their deaths and my responsibility of being at the wrong place at the wrong time since."
"I believe that the statements by the 2 of you convicts you, Paul of Criten," I stated. "As these lives were lost to save my life, you have been found guilty of 537 counts of treason. I sentence you to death by hanging for each of those deaths. These are the crimes that we are aware of."
I purposely chose not to use the incident on the wall as he still had no memory of that time.
"Should you survive today and we find other crimes that we believe you are connected to, you will be tried according to your station. Is that understood?"
He shook his head 'yes'. He was physically shaking. He couldn't speak.
"I am unaware of any mitigating circumstances. Can you offer anything in your defense?"
"I ask for mercy," he barely whispered.
"MERCY?" I asked incredulously. "Did you show mercy when you jabbed my father several times with your sword that he would die a slow and painful death? Did you show mercy when you tortured my mother for the information of my whereabouts until she died? Did you show mercy to the residents of Puhl?"
My hands were in fists that were white with anger. My nails dug into the flesh of my palms causing bleeding. My anger was getting the best of me. Seeing what was happening, Kurt gently grabbed my hand and put his in mine. He calmed me down. Slowly, I composed my self. I thought for a while.
"Who will buy this slave for 1 mark?" I asked.
"Too soft!” came a remark from the crowd below.
"Isn't worth the cost of food to feed him."
"He wouldn't work."
"Couldn't even lift half a bag of grain."
"Pay me to take him."
There were other more vulgar remarks. I raised my hands to silence the crowd.
"Paul of Criten, I tried to give you a life of a slave. At least you would live. No one wants you. Are there any extenuating circumstances?"
"No, your highness."
"I am your QUEEN!"
"Sorry, your majesty."
His transformation was now complete. I would have to wait a little longer for mine. But not too long. My beloved was next to me and I could smell his manliness.
"Apology accepted, but remember that for as long as you shall live."
I let those words register in his mind, and as expected he thought that he was not going to be executed.
When I was sure that was what he believed I exclaimed, "This is summary justice, the kind that this slave gave you when he illegally took the throne from my parents. This is the first and last time that I will use such methods in judging a case. In the future, a defendant shall have the right to defend him or her self and be allowed to disprove an accusation. Mr. Executioner, the slave before you has been sentenced to death. Please carry out that sentence, and then have this scaffold dismantled. And make sure the undertaker has him before nightfall."
I didn't want to see the execution, so I walked away from the wall and down the stairs holding Kurt's arm followed by those assembled. I heard the floor of the scaffold drop from under Paul the Usurper as we went. I dismissed everyone except for Kurt. I asked him into my private room. When we closed the doors we both spoke at once.
"You first, Kurt."
"No you first, you are a princess about to be queen. I will stand by rank for this matter."
He was right. Although I didn't feel any difference between us, I was legally his superior.
"MY lord, I first must thank you for taking care of my mother and sister."
"So formal, your highness"
"This is hard to do. I have trepidation. Please let me finish in my own way. These past few weeks my family has probably gone through almost as much anguish as I have. I will also be thankful to see them again. There is no greater friend to me than you."
"I hope to always be that kind of friend to you, my soon to be queen."
"You are right. I hate the formality as much as you, but being queen is connected to why I asked you to come into my private room. I know that you did for me and my family out of friendship, and expect no reward. You may think that what I am to say next might be considered a reward. However, what you did is symbolic of why I am requesting this. There are other reasons. I need peace and would ask you this for my kingdom even if I didn't need you as a woman needs her man."
He started to speak. I held my hand up.
"When I was still male we considered each other best friends. Your family has always had a warm spot for mine and vise versa. I always felt that you and your family consider us as equals despite the differences in our station. Part of our conversation earlier today indicates that it is still so. I also noted that your rule over your lands always had a feeling of caring for your people. Letting the poor slide with their taxes is just one example of your compassion. You have always shown loyalty to our country as that scar on your face testifies to."
"You made sure that it was only be a scar and not a death blow."
"Thank you. You are making this harder for me."
"Sorry, Maxi. Please don't ask me to marry you. It is my job to ask you. I have a yearning for you since I've arrived here and saw you today. I need you now and forever. I believe that you are mine as much as I am yours." He went onto the floor and grabbed my hands with his. "I'm not asking you for the title of King. That is less important to me than you. Please consent to be my wife."
"As I was saying, while I have been telling you what I have, I consider you very handsome. Your presence even makes me have needs that I, as a woman, believe that only you as a man could satisfy. I need someone who can share my throne and its responsibilities. What I am saying in too many words and fumbling over is yes, I will marry you. You will be my husband, and you will be king and share the throne with me."
That was the worst acceptance of marriage I ever heard. Fear does that to you sometimes. But why should I fear the one I love? Kurt got himself and me up and we kissed. As he pulled me toward him, I felt myself wanting him to take me. His movements and his growth below made me think that he wanted to. We both knew that this was not the time or place. With our passions temporally on simmer we disengaged and I grabbed his arm as we walked out of my room. We entered the Great Hall where many of the visiting gentry and peasants were assembled. They all bowed.
"Ladies and gentlemen," I announced as I continued to hold onto his arm. "I wish to introduce you to my future husband and your future king, Kurt, Count von Mandenburg."
The applause lasted an hour.
Note: Again, this is a remake of "Princess Hope" by Sarah Barndt.
I thank her for permission to rework the story.
Psalms: 34 Shun evil and do good; Seek peace and pursue it.
Song of Songs: 1) the watchman dream. 2) the 2 reference to "my beloved is mine and I am my beloved's
Esther: If I die I die.
As You Like It: all the world's a stage
Taming of the Shrew: especially the Elizabeth Taylor movie: the wall fight as reminiscent of Taylor's attempt to reject marriage
Lion in Winter: movie quote: "Not yet, you're not!"
Man of All Seasons: movie quote: "Will someone rid me of this meddlesome priest?"
Forever After: 1) "I was told you needed help. It seems that I am mistaken." 2) both Princess Anna and the character played by Barrymore were strong women that still were able to love her man
Farscape: Criten, Crichen
The Procrustean Petard: "I am princess of the realm about to be queen. If I can't do this I shouldn't be queen." Kurt said something similar about her (right sex at this time in the story) ability to command.
Rocky Raccoon: "I see you met your match" "Doc it's only a scratch"
Trial of the century: referring to Nuremberg the massacre at Puhl. Unfortunately there has been too many needs for etceteras both before and after. As I sent this, Borneo was occurring.
Author: David whose name means beloved lived 3000 years ago.
1) Tell him you fell down the stairs.
2) The die is cast. The cast is drawn.
3) House of cards.
1) His bite is worse than his bark.
2) Flattery will get you everywhere.
Wild Seed/Mind of My Mind: the fact that Puhl were descendents.
Chutzpah: unmitigated gaul. It is said that a person has chutzpah if he kills his mother and father and then throws himself at the mercy of the court because he is an orphan.
Song: Kisses Sweater Than Wine.
Paper Moon: When Hollywood makes a major movie it makes at least 2 versions. In Paper Moon you are not sure if the character played by Tatium O'Neil is the daughter of the character played by Ryan O'Neil. In one version she is, the other she isn't. This is true as far as is she the true princess with both "Princess Hope" and "Hiding in Plain Sight."
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