A breeze surged along the beach, twirling the red squirrel's tail. Her silk dress waved like the sea she was staring into, her cape fluttering in the wind. She sighed.
It's been an entire year. Night doesn't want to be King, but I'm not ready to be Queen. Not yet. I wish mum and da where still here.
Another Squirrel walked up behind her.
"What do you want?"
"I was just checking on you. You've been out here for quite a while."
"Well, ya. Sasha went swimming. I'm waiting for her to come back. I need her to help me for fitting." Sasha was the Princess's best friend, an otter.
"Star, please listen. You know I can't be King. It's just not right. I haven't been through the right training, especially not for being able to take charge like you have the past year. I could never do as good as you are doing right now."
"Sure, and that's supposed to make me feel better?"
A long silence followed. Star's gaze drifted along the shore. Finally, her eyes rested on a bobbing brown shape coming towards them.
Star picked up her friend's cape.
"Star! Night! You-you'll never believe this!"
"What is it?" Star asked as she held out her friends cape.
"It-it's Kardama. The prince! Actually, apparently now he's King. But--"
"Wait, how did you find that out?" Night interrupted.
"Well, maybe if you would listen she might tell us!"
"Thank you. Now. They are coming to the island. I haven't a clue why yet, but they are. And they told me to tell you," at which she pointed at Night, "to get ready to lose your throne… But I don't think they know that your not going to be King."
"Well, lets keep it that way."
* * *
Up in her tower room, three days later, Star gazed out her window at the palace "guests." They included Kardama, the new King of the Dark Isle; his brother Shadow, the prince; Senka, Kardama's betrothed; and others from the court of the Dark Isle. From her view, there looked to be about two dozen or so guards from the distant isle.
Great. This is just great. We have to figure out a treaty. I hate treaties. They are ALWAYS broken.
There was a knock at her door, and Sasha came in.
"Sorry to bother you, but you have a package."
"Oh, who from?" Star asked as she walked toward the otter.
"I don't know. It just says, 'from a friend.'"
"Maybe it's one of the guards from the Dark Isle," Star said in a funny voice.
Star opened the package to find a note.
Please accept this gift, even though we are very different. I remember you from when we met briefly last year, and I think of you every day. I hope you do to. Since you gave me your lucky green feather, This is for you. You are forever in my heart.
She opened a pocket in the wrapping of the package and found a sapphire flower on a silver chain.
"Oh. My. It can't be."
"What? Why did you say that? What is it?"
"It can't be. No. NO! No way. Oh, my!"
"Let me see!" Sasha yanked the note from her paw and read it, then looked at the necklace, and back at the signature at the bottom of the note.
"You have got to be kidding me!"
"I know, right?"
Blossom, the head healer at the palace, walked in.
"What is going on in here?"
Star showed her what she had gotten.
"We have to tell your brother!" Blossom gasped.
"No! I mean, not right now. I'm going to wear this to dinner and see how he reacts first," she told them, while pointing at Shadow's name.
"Fine. But I'm telling your brother after dinner."
"Fine Blossom. But not until after dinner."