“Once upon a time, there was a little princess. Every day she ran away from her home to climb the oldest tree in the forest. Every day she wished for someone to be her friend.”
Lydia groaned and rolled her eyes. “You always tell this story,” she said. “You met Mama in the forest and you both lived happily ever after. Blah, blah, blah. It’s boooring.”
Mikayla pulled her thumb out of her mouth. “Tell ‘bout Grampa Thor.”
“I like the one where he found you in Samuel’s shop and carried you away,” Lydia added.
“How do you know that one?” Kieran asked.
“Grampa Thor likes to tell it.”
Kieran was going to have to talk to Grampa Thor about the kinds of stories he told the girls. At six and four, Kieran hardly thought it was appropriate for them to hear the details of his death.
Lydia stood on the bed and brandished a pretend sword. “And then you came back to life and cut off of the evil queen’s head.”
Mikayla clapped. Kieran groaned.
He was definitely going to have to talk to Arathor.
“Cut off her head.” Mikayla added a maniacal laugh.
Lydia smiled and waved her “sword” around. “Ciara melted into the floor and—”
“She never melt—no!”
“But Grampa Thor said—”
“Enough! Time for bed.”
Mikayla stuck her thumb back in her mouth. “Not sleepy.”
“And I want to stay up to read.”
“It’s late,” Kieran said. “And you both need your rest.”
“Grampa Thor lets us stay up late,” Lydia said.
Grampa Thor was going to get a stern talking to. “I’m your papa. It’s time for bed.”
Lydia pressed her lips together. Please Papa?
No, Lydia. No arguments tonight.
Lydia put on her best princess pout before lying down next to Mikayla. Kieran pulled the quilt up to their chins and gave them each a kiss on the cheek. Telling the girls a story and tucking them in at night helped him forget for a few minutes that he was a king—though at least the new city magistrates didn’t argue with him half as much as his daughters did.