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The Day of the Opening Ceremony
The day of the Opening Ceremony is here, but Hanna's last day of preparations doesn't quite go to plan...
Hi and welcome!
It’s the day of the Opening Ceremony for the Fire Festival and Hanna wants to spend it with her dad, except, out of nowhere, it turns out he’s busy and has to go to a meeting! Livid, Hanna decides to go along as her dad meets with the King of Scale City. Eventually, however, Hanna realises why the meeting is so important…
Here’s a link to the very first part in the Princess Hanna series:
And here’s a link to the previous part:
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After the night market, while Hanna slept in late, the preparations for the Opening Ceremony took over the Plaza.
The food stalls were rapidly packed up and tucked away. The whole space had to be cleared.
Once the stalls were taken out, it was time for the stands to be brought in. The seating was set up around the edge of the plaza, row upon row of gradually higher wooden benches, like a giant staircase.
The cobblestone of the Plaza floor was swept clean and scrubbed.
In a field just outside the city the royal marching was going through a final rehearsal.
When Hanna finally woke up and saw the preparations in the Plaza, she couldn’t help but feel a resurgence of nervousness that had been briefly paused by the wonder of the markets.
She walked through to the living room of the apartment and found the painfully familiar sight of her dad sitting down at a table that was covered with books and paper, completely lost in his own world.
He didn’t even look up when she walked in. She wanted to say something to him, but she stopped herself.
She sat down across from him and only when she forced a huffy sigh did he finally notice her and look up.
“Oh, good morning,” he said cheerfully.
“Good morning,” she said.
He smiled cluelessly and then looked back down at his work.
“I’m sorry, but I’m going to be busy for most of today,” he said. “I have a big meeting with the King of Scale City.”
“But the Opening Ceremony is today,” said Hanna.
“I know,” he said. “I’ll be done by then. I promise.”
“I thought we’d check out more of the city today…” said Hanna. “I thought you’d maybe give me some tips and training before the Fire Festival starts tomorrow…”
There was genuine sorrow in his voice and eyes.
“I’m sorry, Hanna,” he said, “but I need to do this. One day you’ll understand. You can either stay here or come along, but you will have to stay in the waiting room.”
She lifted her chin stubbornly.
“I’ll go,” she said.
After breakfast, Hanna and her dad took off into the air from their apartment and flew across the Plaza. The place was still a busy beehive of activity.
They crossed the Plaza to the tallest and nicest building in the square — the King’s palace. It was an astonishing building. The building was covered with beautiful colourful tiles that looked like dragon scales. The tiles came together to form wavy streaks of dragon fire amid a clear blue sky.
Hanna and her dad landed on a ledge halfway up the building.
They walked inside and there was a dragon who led them to the King of Scale City.
They walked into a little waiting room outside of the office of the King. The King’s assistant was sitting behind a desk inside the waiting room.
“You must be the King of Courage Town,” she said. “The King of Scale City will be ready for you in a moment.”
“Thank you,” said Hanna’s dad. “I was wondering if my daughter could stay in here while I’m gone.”
“No problem,” said the assistant with a smile. “We have some puzzles in the box over there.”
Hanna rolled her eyes.
“Thanks,” said Hanna’s dad.
The two of them then sat down. Hanna’s dad was taking a last look over some of the notes he had brought.
Hanna was already bored to tears.
A couple of minutes passed and then the door to the main room opened.
Two dragons walked out — one of them wearing a crown.
Hanna’s dad immediately shot to his feet; Hanna scrambled to follow suit. She had never had to stand up for anyone before.
The King of Scale City gave Hanna’s dad and her a very brief smile of acknowledgement.
“Take care now,” he said to the other dragon that was leaving.
“Thank you, your Majesty,” the exiting dragon said. “And I look forward to the Opening Ceremony.”
The dragon left the waiting room and the King of Scale City turned his attention to Hanna’s dad.
“Dan, good to see you,” he said to Hanna’s dad.
“And you, your Majesty,” he replied.
“You must be Hanna,” said the King. “I hear you’re going to be competing in the Fire Carnival.”
Hanna nodded. Suddenly, her voice had disappeared.
“I wish you the very best of luck then,” he said with a smile.
The two Kings went into the office and closed the door behind them. The boredom was instant from the moment Hanna took her first breath after sitting down. The stillness of the waiting room was oppressive. She was itching for movement, for action.
The meeting dragged on and Hanna fell into a bored daze, staring out the window from her seat at nothing.
Suddenly, the assistant stood up and Hanna was snapped out of her trance.
“I just need to go get paperwork,” she said. “I’ll be right back.”
Hanna smiled politely as the assistant left the room.
Now was Hanna’s chance. She waited for one long ear-ringing moment of silence and then she pounced. She snuck up to the door to the King’s room and pressed her ear against it.
She could hear her dad talking.
“Your Majesty, a library in Courage Town is going to change everything. We just don’t have the money. We need Scale City’s help. I’ve written up a list of books and everything we’ll need to build the structure. It doesn’t have to be glamorous. And as far books go, we barely have any right now and those we do have are old and dull and dissolving to nothing.”
There was a pause.
“Your Majesty, Courage Town needs knowledge,” said Hanna’s dad. “New knowledge. We need our kids to know what’s out there in the world.”
Hanna then heard the sound of footsteps coming down the hallway.
She jumped back from the door and acted like she was just strolling around the waiting room and checking the place out. The assistant was reading some paperwork as she walked in and didn’t notice what Hanna was up to.
After a bit more very unconvincing acting, Hanna meandered her way back to her seat.
The meeting went on for a little while longer and then Hanna and her dad went back to the apartment to eat some supper before the Opening Ceremony. Hanna was very quiet for the rest of the afternoon. Any grumpiness she had had at the start of the day was gone.
Dusk took over the sky and the Plaza Opening Ceremony was about to begin. The whole city was one big bubbling cauldron of excitement.
Hanna and her dad went out onto the ledge of the apartment to watch.
There were rows and rows of packed benches all around the edge of the Plaza. The ledges of every apartment surrounding the Plaza had dragons on them too, watching and waiting. Even the rooftops were covered.
Hanna had never seen so many dragons in her whole life. Thousands and thousands of them.
The Ceremony began with a flock of dragons assembling themselves in the air above the Plaza and flying in a linked circle. They all released an upward torrent of fire and together they formed what looked like a flaming whirlpool.
As Hanna and her dad sat and watched the spectacle unfold, Hanna rested her head against her dad’s shoulder.
Thanks for reading and have a fantastic week!
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