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By Rebecca Hahn

Sixteen-year-old Marni lives together with her Gramps in a one-room shack, cultivating a powerful flower backyard that draws villagers and noblemen alike. simply the invasive blue dragon plants in her backyard belie Marni’s mystery: She is the niece of the king and the daughter of a dragon. whilst occasions strength Marni to assert her rightful position as princess in her uncle’s courtroom, King Roderick eyes the dragon-born lady with suspicion, blaming her for the enchanted, swiftly encroaching woods which are destroying his state. Will the king kill Marni, as he did her mom, or will Marni get her revenge first? A wealthy, compelling fable for the wild at heart.

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I do know the stubbornness in his eyes. He’ll now not be telling me one other factor. So I swallow my questions, and that i pat the pinnacle of his head with my hand, the best way he used to do to me sooner than I grew tall, and that i exit to stroll and imagine my techniques within the woods. The woods at present of day are lengthy and unfolded, the silence sufferer. when you hum as you stroll, you may fail to remember what number eyes are observing you. I don’t imagine, as I step over fallen logs, round bramble thickets, in regards to the scowl at the king’s face. I don’t take into consideration what he and my Gramps have been conversing approximately, neither. now not on the best of my brain. beneath, there’s a voice that whispers to me, phrases I can’t make out, yet they slide in any way, and that i be aware of from the texture of them they’re approximately my mom. those half-formed techniques mix with the rustle of the leaves, the scurry of the creatures during the undergrowth. They swirl and sift via me until eventually I’m whispering to myself, the tale that pulses in my blood, the item that tells me who i'm. My Gramps doesn’t wish to speak of it a lot, yet i do know it inside and outside, all he’s advised me. My Gramps, he used to be the king then, and my mom was once a princess. there has been a prince, too, Gramps’s son, her brother. My uncle, who’s now the king. you are going to bear in mind what I acknowledged in regards to the ladies who vanish into the woods never discovering their long ago domestic. It’s actual. It was once actual for Annel, and it’s real for the majority the women who bypass off into the timber. just about all, yet now not really. One obtained misplaced, simply because the hundred ladies prior to her did. One ran away, following amusing at the wind, believing in a wild dream, and her kinfolk fell into soreness, simply because the households of all these ladies do. yet this one, ten months later, because the snows have been melting, this one got here again. She stumbled, shivering, out of the bushes and ran the entire manner domestic, and her father close to didn’t realize her, and her brother cried and cried with pleasure to determine that she but lived. Then it was once with pleasure. Later the tears grew to become to worry, after which the phobia to rage. See, this one woman didn’t come again by myself. She was once wearing me inside her—the baby of the woods, the kid of the dragon. it can were higher, might be, if I’d been fathered through a village lad. at the least then he could were from our state. at the least then he may were human. because it used to be, it struck the prince as whatever fairly like treason. My Gramps attempted to calm his son down, preserve him moderate. however the prince wouldn’t pay attention. Wouldn’t be grew to become from his direction, wouldn’t cease telling every body what she had performed to them, to him. quickly adequate, part the king’s military was once after her, and the king’s son as offended as a hornet. I’ve requested Gramps, and he says there has been not anything he may do, now not with no risking his personal males turning on him. So the princess was once on her personal, only one younger woman now not that a lot older than i'm now, and he or she was once operating from a complete immense kingdom. and she or he escaped. for lots of lengthy months she stored hidden—I reckon she should have been smart to maintain clear of them for thus lengthy. i used to be virtually one by the point they discovered us, and they’d been having a look when you consider that prior to i used to be born.

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