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  1. ‘Pardon the puddles. Wanted to swing by in style, but had to hike up after I got carjacked halfway by some samsengs!’ she offered by way of explanation as the prince handed her fluffy yellow towels.
  2. A quick police report revealed her stolen car to be registered under the king of a prosperous neighbouring island. A true princess!
  3. When she had been made warm and comfortable, the prince showed her around, saving the royal family’s pride and joy for last: their vintage car collection.
  4. The princess eyed a cun convertible. ‘Nais. I would say that this one drags a bit, but her purr and paintwork make up for it, don’t they?’
  5. Startled at her spot on commentary, the prince handed her the keys. He dared the princess to take a spin through his circuit – but not before sliding a small pea onto the roof of his favourite roadster.
  6. But she noticed his sly movements. ‘Apehal ni? I’ve had enough of conmen today, thanks very much,’ she snorted.
  7. The prince stammered an apology and came clean about the test, to her amusement.
  8. ‘Challenge accepted.’ The princess clambered into the car, her eyes gleaming with excitement at the circuit before her.
  9. The rain had stopped shortly after her arrival, but the grounds were still dangerously slippery. His heart sank to his stomach as the car roared to life.
  10. But such worries were unwarranted! The prince watched in wide-eyed wonder as the princess made easy work of the hairpins, chicanes, and deep potholes that had previously sent many peas flying.
  11. The pea was still on the roof when the princess drove up to him; but his heart was displaced – it was lost to her.
  12. ‘Surprise me – if you please,’ said the prince as he slid into place beside her, happily – and finally – taking the passenger’s seat.
  13. ‘No better way than the open road,’ said the princess, bright-eyed with beginnings.
  14. There, that is a true story.


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