The queen was in her carriage, zipping along White Oak Way, when she spotted something strange out the window.
Rapping sharply on the roof with her diamond-encrusted gold scepter, she commanded, “Stop!”
The horses screamed in protest when the driver furiously drew back on the reins. The accompanying half dozen guards halted as well. Queen Hester stuck her head out the window and gazed at the girl encased in the egg. She sat on a stone wall, her head sticking out one hole, and her legs dangling out two more at the bottom. “What are you doing up there?”
“Posing for my portrait,” the girl said sarcastically.
“I don’t think so.”
“Waiting for someone to break me into a pan and cook me for breakfast?”
Queen Hester narrowed her eyes. “I asked a serious question.”
“And I gave you two serious answers. Do with them what you will.”
Flustered, the queen stepped out of the carriage. “See here, girl. Tell me what you’re doing up there at once!”
“Waiting for someone to push me off the wall?”
“You are impossibly rude,” Queen Hester spluttered. “How dare you speak to me in that fashion. Come down from there at once.”
“Burford the Wizard stuck me up here, and here I have to stay until he gives me permission to leave.”
“I rule that wizard,” she pointed out, “as I rule you. Obey me this instant.”
The girl stared, not moving an inch.
Queen Hester pointed the scepter at her driver. “Finch! Climb that wall and get the girl down.”
“At once, Your Majesty.”
Finch crossed the overgrown verge and ascended the stone wall, slipping only twice. When he reached the top, where the girl in her egg rested, he moved up behind her and shoved. The egg didn’t budge. He tried again, pushing until he was red in the face and short of breath.
He straightened. “I’m afraid it’s no use, Your Majesty.”
Queen Hester was used to getting her way. “Then break the egg if you must, but do it. I’m late for my appointment with the royal dressmaker.”
“Why don’t you leave me here and go on then?” the girl asked impertinently. “It’s no skin off your nose if I’m trapped in an egg.”
Queen Hester was known to be stubborn, even bull-headed, and she would not be gainsaid. “Get her out of that thing, Finch, and hurry.”
When it was apparent smacking the shell with his hand had no effect, Finch said, “Maybe if I had more help?”
The queen sent up her guards to assist. They also had no luck.
“We’ll have to find a heavy stick or sharp rock,” Finch said and disappeared down the other side of the wall with the guards.
“The girl has gotten herself in quite the quandary,” someone said in the queen’s ear.
She whirled, taken by surprise. The young man dressed in peasant clothes had somehow snuck up on her. No one snuck up on the queen. She was about to bash him in the head with her scepter when he gestured sharply. Invisible ropes bound her arms to her sides, and when she tried to run, she realized she couldn’t move so much as a toe.
“I assume you are the infamous Wizard Burford,” the queen spat. “Release me at once, or I’ll have your head for this.”
Ignoring her, Burford glanced at the girl in the egg. “Ready to come out of there, Shelly?”
She grinned impishly. “Yes.”
The queen sniffed. “Shelly? As in egg shell? You must be joking.”
Burford waved an imperious hand, the egg cracked in two dozen pieces and fell away, and Shelly stood, though her stance was wobbly after being entrapped so long. The wizard bowed to her. “Queen Shelly, the throne awaits you.”
Burford brought Shelly down to the road with magic, and when she stood in front of Queen Hester, she said, “After all these months of trying to get to you, who knew all it would take was me on a wall in an egg to capture the interest of the pretender to the throne?”
The queen struggled against her unseen bonds. “This isn’t over. Not by a long shot!”
Shelly turned to Burford. “What will you do with her?”
“My dragon hasn’t eaten in a couple of weeks.” He waved at the deposed queen, and she was abruptly encased in an egg, her head sticking out one hole and her legs extending from two others. “What do you think, Shelly? Scrambled or fried?”
Word count: 759
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