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The Greatest Power
By Stacey Lemonds

Saleena lay on her four-posted canopy bed reading her newest discovery from the castle library. "Spells for the Beginning Wizard." It was an old, leather-bound book, covered with layers of dust, undisturbed from centuries of non-use probably. Her father, King Topaz, would give her a terrible scolding if he found her studying magic. Such things were simply unheard of for princesses, and her father was certain to make her do things “by the book” as he put it, time and time again. Why he had to be king and why she had to princess was beyond her. Being a princess “by the book” was so dull, and boring. Nothing but needle point and music lessons, both of which she hated. Not only that, but the continuous suitors her parents insisted she receive on an almost daily bases. “I want to be sure you will be in good hands when I am gone” her father always said. And it wasn’t as if she could get any help from her mother, Queen Ruby. She was the one who had suggested the dreaded music lessons and insisted the terrible needlepoint, from which she was always pricking herself. Her fingers were often numb for days after spending hours with her stitchery. “Ha!” She laughed to herself as the thoughts drifted through her mind, “If dearest father only new of all the things I do secretly that aren’t “by the book”. Once she had asked her father exactly “what dratted book he kept referring to”. She was scolded and sent to her room for back-talking the king and for unprincessly behavior and speech. (“dratted” was NOT a word in a princess’s vocabulary) Actually, though, she did many things her father would not approve of. Anything from fencing lessons, to cooking lessons, to magic lessons, to juggling, to tumbling, to riding a horse the “guy way” as she told the stable boy who had taught her. In fact, she was probably putting them all in danger, not just herself, but the fencing instructor, the cook, the court sorcerer, the court jester, and the stable hand. If her father but knew, they would probably all be banished from the kingdom. Of course, Saleena wouldn’t mind being banished. Then she could do “unprincessly things” to her heart’s content.