Thomas had lived in Corona for most of his life. He considered himself one of the King and Queen's people as much as anyone else who lived in the capitol city. He'd celebrated festivals and plentiful harvests, survived life-destroying storms and floods, and helped rebuild in the aftermath of both. He'd witnessed firsthand the decisions and consequences of his rulers and loved them fiercely for it. When the princess was taken, the entire kingdom mourned, even those in the farthest provinces.

For eighteen years, life continued only slightly off-kilter from usual. Talk of the beloved royals held more sadness than joy, fair-haired foreigners became less frequent, and children were held a bit tighter. And then the girl arrived.

The people of Corona may be simple, peace-loving folk, but they aren't stupid. When a teenage girl comes waltzing into town with impossible golden hair and a wanted thief in tow on the Princess' birthday -however strange and suspicious it may seem- they can put two and two together. So they watch over her. They let the children paint the square with her, they dance, they distract the royal guards, and they conveniently don't see the thief break into Thomas' bookshop.

Rider was good. Thomas would give him that. He couldn't even tell the lock had been jimmied. But that didn't mean he'd leave a thief alone with that young lady. Even if said thief did have excellent taste in fictional characters. The Cooper girls had taken a liking to the girl, after all.

"I never knew the world was so big," came her voice through the crack he'd opened in the doorway, "There's just so much of it. What's this?"

"That," answered Rider, "is Agrabah. It's in a giant desert. Why they built a kingdom there I'll never understand. It can't be good for the skin."

"What's a desert like?" she asked.

"It's…it's very dry, and filled with lots of sand. And it's hot, really hot."

"What kind of plants grow there?"

"Uh, nothing really. Not exactly a plant-friendly environment. I did see a cactus once, though. They have those is the desert. It was sort of small and shriveled, and covered in these spines that, let me tell you, not fun -don't touch."

"Like the porcupine?" Thomas couldn't see her face, but she sounded sheepish.

"Yeah, Blondie," Rider said, tone weary but kind, "Exactly like the porcupine."

Thomas carefully closed the door to his shop, hoping Rider wasn't as good as he'd thought. Or was distracted, which was more likely. As he headed back to the main square, he tried to remember if he'd ever told the Cooper girls the legend he'd found in an old manuscript about a place called the Cave of Wonders.

I really hope I'm formatting this correctly. This is my first fanfiction. It's short and flows oddly, but I rather like it. Also, I'm sick of looking at it.

Hope you enjoyed it.