Ch. 48.2 The Real Princess — “Do you remember anything about before?” Natalie asked. “Your real mother and father?”
Mole couldn’t remember what they looked like, but she had a faint memory of sitting on her mother’s lap, listening to her sing. She knew she had a brother and sisters, but they were just shadows.
Mole struggled with a language she hadn’t used for a long time as she described her recollections to Natalie. “I was wearing a yellow dress. Mommy and Daddy were in the house. I went outside to play in the yard with Gumpy. Then they came. The trolls.”
“Who is Gumpy?”
How could she describe him? He had been her companion from birth, always there, ready to play or snuggle or eat treats. She had sang to him and read him stories, and in return he had loved her. She thought about his brown eyes, soft brown fur, and floppy ears. “He was my friend. He loved me and kept me safe. Even after they killed him, his skin kept me warm in the tunnels.”
“Was he a dog or a cat?”
Mole shook her head. “Gumpy was… I don’t know what he was. He’s gone now.” Zelda had thrown his pelt in the fire. Sadness filled her.
She looked over at Natalie. “Zelda captured a boy named Eli. She keeps him in the castle and forces him to obey her.” She remembered the anger in Eli’s eyes when Zelda had been cruel to her, and how he had given her back her voice. She felt sorry for him, doomed to be another of the trolls’ playthings. “Will the gnomes rescue him too?”
Natalie nodded. “Yes. My youngest son has a plan.”
Mole remembered Ezra, who had come with the gnomes. Natalie had cried when she had seen him, and they had hugged for a long time. Mole felt wistful. No one had ever hugged her like that. At least not that she could remember.
Natalie touched her arm. “We’ll get him back, don’t worry. Now, Ezra said that you are the missing princess. That means your real name is Mary Zelda. You are the daughter of King Henry and Queen Persimmon of Saltonia. When you were kidnapped, the fake Zelda took your name, form, and place in your family. It was part of the plan to overthrow the Five Kingdoms.”
Mole shuddered. “I hate that name. I don’t want it. I don’t want anything to do with her.”
Natalie looked sad. “What if I call you Mary?”
After a moment, she nodded. “I guess it is better than Mole.”