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KIDNAP1  9' The princess is kidnapped before her wedding

"Come quickly!" the king's messenger shouted, "The princess has
disappeared!"

Michaela, the world's greatest detective hurried to the royal
palace. The king brought Michaela up to the Princess' bedroom.
"She was last seen up here late last night. How could she have
just disappeared?!" asked the king.

Michaela examined the room. She noticed that a small amount of
dust on the floor outlined a large rectangle near the bed. Then
she stooped and ran her finger through the dust on the stone
floor to see how easily the dust could be wiped away. "Aha!" she
exclaimed.

"What is it?!" Asked the king.

"The rug on the floor has been removed. Is this the way the room
was when you found it?" ask Michaela.

"Yes. Noone has touched a thing."

Michaela immediately examined the windowsills. Seeing something
unusual, she pulled out her magnifying glass and examined a
small green strand. "Aha!" she exclaimed.

"What is it?!" Asked the king.

Michaela replied, "This small strand is green. It's a broken
blade of fresh grass."

"How could that be?!" asked the king, "We're on the second
floor."

Michaela opened the window and looked out.

"What is it?!" Asked the king.

Michaela replied, "Here's what happened: the princess has been
kidnapped."

"Kidnapped?!" exclaimed the king.

Michaela explained, "The kidnapper walked across the lawn down
below and climbed up a ladder and climbed in the window. When he
stepped on the windowsill, a broken blade of grass from is shoe
fell off his shoe and onto the windowsill. Then he wrapped the
princess in the rug, put the rug over his shoulder and, climbed
back down the ladder after he closed the window."

"Oh dear!" exclaimed the king. "The princess is supposed to be
married tomorrow. What shall we do?"

Michaela ran out the bedroom door and down the stairs.

The king ran to the railing and shouted to Michaela below,
"Where are you going?!"

"Time is of the essence, Your Majesty. I will find the princess
and have her back here in time for the wedding." answered
Michaela as she ran out of the palace.

She ran around to the back lawn of the palace to where the
ladder was still leaning against the wall. She followed the
footprints away from the palace, across the lawn and behind a
hedge. There she found wagon wheel tracks and horse tracks in
the lawn. She followed the wagon tracks down the slope to the
ocean's edge. When she arrived at the ocean, the wagon and the
horse were tied up at a tree, but the kidnapper and the princess
were gone.

Michaela examined the sand along the shore and found dents in
the sand.

"Aha!" exclaimed Michaela.

By now, the king had caught up with Michaela in the royal coach.

"What is it?!" Asked the king.

Michaela pointed at the dent in the sand and replied, "This mark
in the sand is from the keel of a row boat." She pointed at
smaller marks in the sand on both sides and explained, "These
other marks are from the oars of the row boat. The kidnapper
rowed out to a sailing ship off shore."

Michaela took out the telescope in her bag and scanned the
ocean, then asked,"Your Majesty, may I borrow the royal yacht?"

"Yes, of course." replied the King, "but where will you go?"

Michaela pointed, "I saw the tip of a sail in that direction."

Michaela rode on the royal coach to the harbor where she boarded
the royal yacht and set sail toward the kidnappers sailing ship.
Fortunately, the king's yacht was the fastest ship on the ocean.
She followed the kidnappers ship to an island. But by the time
the yacht arrived in the harbor, noone was left on board the
ship.

Michaela hurried off the yacht and went to the hotel nearby and
asked, "Do you know whose ship that is in the harbor?"

"Yes," the clerk replied. "That ship belongs to the dragon
lady."

"The dragon lady?" ask Michaela.

"Yes, the dragon lady is the daughter of the king. She lives in
a castle on the far end of the island." the clerk replied and
pointed.

"Wait a minute." said Michaela. "The king's daughter is getting
married tomorrow."

The clerk replied, "I'm talking about the king's older daughter.
The king banished her to this island because she did bad things.
He won't allow anyone to call her princess anymore. Why do you
want her?" asked the clerk.

Michaela replied, "I think the dragon lady had her henchmen
kidnap the princess. And now I know why."

The clerk asked, "Why?"

Michaela replied, "I think the dragon lady wants to marry the
prince."

Michaela ran back to the royal yacht and gave instructions to
the crew to turn the yacht around and be ready to sail back to
the mainland at a moment's notice. Then she borrowed some rope
and a long sword. Then she rented a horse and wagon and drove
across the island to the dragon lady's castle.

Michaela arrived at the castle at dusk. She hid in the bushes
until it was dark. Then she sneaked up to the castle and found
that it was surrounded by a mote, a pool of water completely
surrounding the castle walls. But the bridge over the mote,
called a drawbridge, was pulled up, so there seemed to be no way
into the castle.

Michaela walked around the mote until she found a place where
one of the guards up on the wall had fallen asleep. She looped
the rope and threw the loop over the battlement on the wall.
Then she swung on the rope across the mote to the wall and
climbed up the rope to the top of the wall.

Then Michaela sneaked down the stairs and searched for the
princess. After sneaking and searching for several hours in the
dark, she found the princess in the dungeon underground. She
picked the lock on the cell door, then led the princess to the
drawbridge. With one slice of Michaela's sword, she cut the rope
holding the drawbridge up. Then the drawbridge fell across the
mote with a crash. Michaela and the princess ran across the
drawbridge to the hidden wagon. They jumped into the wagon and
off they rode at a gallop.

Meanwhile, the crashing drawbridge woke up everybody in the
castle.

"The princess has been released!" shouted a guard.

So, the soldiers saddled their horses to give chase to the
princess. And they all chased the princess at full gallop.

The wagon was slower than the horses from the castle, so they
almost caught the princess at the harbor. So, Michaela decided
not to get out of the wagon and run to the ship. Instead, she
drove the wagon out onto the wharf and stopped next to the ship.
The crew of the royal yacht lifted the princess and Michaela off
the wagon and onto the boat as other crew members cast off the
mooring ropes while other crew members set the sails.

When the soldiers galloped onto the wharf they arrived to late.
The yacht was out of reach. So, they galloped to the dragon
lady's sailing ship and climbed on board. But Michaela ordered
the crew of the royal yacht to shoot its cannon and blow a hole
in the side of the dragon lady's ship. Sea water rushed into the
hole in the ship and the ship sank to the bottom of the harbor.

Then the crew trimmed the sails of the royal yacht for maximum
speed.

"Do you think we'll get back home in time for the wedding?"
asked the Princess.

"I promised your father." said Michaela, the world's greatest
detective.

The royal yacht arrived at the harbor just as the church bells
began to ring all over the city. Michaela and the princess
rushed through the city in the royal coach while Michaela helped
the princess change into her wedding dress.

When they arrived at the church the pipe organ was playing and
the choir was singing. Michaela kicked open the double doors at
the back of the church and shouted, "Stop the wedding!"

The choir stopped singing and the pipe organ stopped playing.

The priest at the front of the church shouted, "What's the
meaning of this?"

Michaela pointed to the veiled woman next to the prince at the
front of the church and shouted, "That woman is NOT the
princess!"

The crowd grumbled.

The priest shouted, "Of course this is the princess! This is the
wedding of the princess."

Michaela ran to the front of the church and lifted the veil on
the bride. The crowd gasped, "The dragon lady!"

The king shouted, "Arrest that woman!"

The palace guard hauled the dragon lady away.

The priest demanded, "Where is the REAL princess?!"

Michaela pointed to the back of the church and shouted, "There."

The princess walked through the back door carrying a bouquet of
flowers. Michaela shouted "Let the wedding begin!"

The pipe organ began playing. The choir began singing. The
prince married the princess. And they all lived happily ever
after.

2013 Bob Snook. Conditions for use:
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http://www.bobsnook.org  email: bob@bobsnook.org

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