“Prepared” is what they said I was. They couldn’t train me any more for this moment than they already had.

I’m calling bull.

Princesses are supposed to be captured by dragons. Not disgusting, smelly, mechanical ogres. Uhg.

“Princess,” one creaks, reaching a hand out toward me.  “This can either be easy or hard, you —”

I kick out a leg, jamming it into their arm and sending them flat onto the ground.

“That was totally unfair and mean of you to kidnap me.” I cross my arms. “Apologize. Or else.”

The whole half-dozen of them blink in unison, all creepy-like.

The leader — or I assume it’s the leader as it’s the largest — takes a small step forward. “But… you’re sixteen, your parents sent you off to get kidnapped, did they not?

“Well yeah, duh.” I roll my eyes. “To be kidnapped by magical creatures who would whisk me away so I can finish my training and become the queen that rules the world. Not to get knocked out from behind,” I glare at them and they wince, “by some gross, human-made ogres with no magic powers who’ll probably rust out before the year ends.”

They bristle, you know, as much as metal can.

Man, maybe this is my fault. Just a little. How could I let myself get taken by such pathetic creatures?

“Um, but, princess… we did capture you. Tell you what, we’ll post your ransom as soon as we get back to our hideout, and maybe your parents will answer quickly and you can get kidnapped by your ideal monster?” It seemed less like a statement, and more like a terrified question.

Pathetic. If this is my first kidnapping, I’m going to be a laughingstock at the court. “I’m afraid I’m going to have to turn you down.”

It tries to smile, or at least, I think it does. “What?”

I flick my hair out of my face, then let my training kick in. My arms and legs swing and connect to the metal bodies before I can think about my movements. I mean, it isn’t flawless, I’m gonna have bruises which sucks. But their movements are super slow, and they may be denting me, but I’m really denting them. Like, they’ve gotta be made of tin or something with how my steel-toed heels are knocking in their gears and armor.

All in all, the fight takes about two minutes. Not my best time, but I’m still upset about them capturing me in the first place so I blame that.

I place my fists on my hips, eyeing the lumps of metal. “And let that serve to teach you that you do not mess with a princess without her permission.”

“Oh?” A voice rumbles behind me. “Then may I have permission, my lady?”

I turn to see a great black dragon crouched behind me, the size of all six of the ogres put together.

For a second I stare. Then I squeal and run forward to hug the beast. “Georgiana! I thought you said you were done with kidnappings!”

“How can I not make an exception for my goddaughter?” She puffs some smoke into my face. “Especially one who can take on six ogres with little issue.”

“Well,” I let go of her, walking around and using her elbow to heft myself up onto the back of the dragon, “I did bruise up my shins. So not really perfect.”

She snorts, a ball of flame escaping from her mouth and touching the remains of the ogres, who wail slightly and try to roll away in their pummeled forms. “Well, it’s sure to be an adventure with you on my back.”



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