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I tittered in annoyance. She had disappeared yet again. I needed to find her, and soon. I knew she needed to wander, and she needed her periods of respite. But this was urgent. And she had taken to leaving me at the most inopportune moments these days. If she didn’t return soon, we’d have to go hungry again. Cold days lay ahead.

Sighing, I realized there was nothing else for it…I’d have to go and find her. Luckily, I knew where to look.

Green. Of course she’d be here. We were so similar, in ways perhaps we’d never understand. But I saw flashes of them, now and then. This was why we were connected in the first place, wasn’t it? This was why she had chosen me. She must have sensed them. The similarities. Green. It was so serene, so resplendent. So inspiring. And familiar. For she had brought me here many times. Many a story had we woven here in this dale. Together.

Story. My heart skipped a beat, and the urgency returned. Softly, I called her name, hoping that the tremor of panic hadn’t entered my voice. There was no answer. No sound. No rustling of leaves or soft, playful footfalls. Frustrated, I repressed a sigh. She knew I was here, of that I was sure. Nothing ever escaped her here. She was the princess of this dale, and she knew it. No, she just wanted me to find her, as always. But this time, I couldn’t. There were more important things to be done. I called her again impatiently, louder this time. Silence.

Then at last, a giggle. The leaves in the laburnum in front of me parted gently, and a pair of big, dark blue eyes peered out. Blinked coyly, demurely, playfully. Rosy cheeks and lips followed, and then she extracted her delicately dimpled frame from the dewy bush. A crown of flowers sat on her head, iridescent like jewels. They certainly spoiled her here. She smiled at me warmly, welcoming.

Frowning, I grabbed her by the wrist. This was not the time for games, I chided her, and started back, pulling her along. She came without protest, keeping up with my urgent strides.

Opening my eyes, I took my pen and the words began to flow. Without protest, keeping up with my urgent thoughts.