It had been two days since Lizzie had left the palace. She was tired. Her feet were sore. She had barely slept because the ground was hard and she kept hearing things in the woods. She knew she was getting close to Corona but she was so tired. Cornelia was going to pay for this big time when Lizzie got back. Lizzie was about ready to collapse when she saw a small little tavern and it had the sweetest name! The Snuggly Duckling! She was so excited she almost couldn't restrain herself. She burst through the door and almost gasped at what she found. The Snuggly duckling was not as snuggly as she assumed it would be. It was lined from ukuta to ukuta with thugs and probably well known criminals. She was definitely frightened but she didn't want to let that on so she pulled herself together and walked over to a kiti, kiti cha at the bar.
"What can I get ya Missy?" alisema a creepy looking man with an earring in his ear. Panic swept through Lizzie when she looked in his dark menacing eyes but she thought of her father and Cornelia and she straightened up and said, "Just water." She was zaidi parched than anything and had Lost her appetite once she entered the pub. Just then someone slid onto the kinyesi inayofuata to her. Lizzie looked over to see it was a boy about her age.
"First time at the Snuggly duckling huh? Don't worry, nothing here will make wewe sick except for the meat surprise." Then he called over to the bartender. "Hey Rick, get this girl something to eat. Just not the meatloaf surprise." Then he looked back at Lizzie "By the way I'm Ben. You?" Lizzie looked back at the boy. He seemed nice enough. He was tall with soft blue eyes, brown scruffy hair, and a slight beard.
"Ummm... Lizzie and thank wewe but I don't have any money to pay for that."
"Nonsense," he said. "My treat. So you're not from around here are you?"
"How could wewe tell?" Lizzie alisema with an edge to her voice.
"Well let's see. Everyone in Corona knows that if wewe want quality chakula wewe don't come to The Snuggly Duckling. Typically the only people who come out here are thugs hiding from the law and travelers who don't know better. So where ya from?"
Lizzie could not believe this boy was talking to her like that but then she remembered she wasn't a princess here.
"Andalasia." she replied. It was a good enough answer right? The bartender came kwa and placed a saladi in front of Lizzie. It wasn't the best meal Lizzie had in her life but Lizzie enjoyed talking to Ben. He was funny and interesting but most importantly he was kind and sweet.
"You know what Lizzie? I want to take wewe to town."
"Alright," Lizzie smiled. She couldn't think of anything else she would rather do. So Ben took Lizzie to Corona. It was the most fun time she had ever had. Ben took her to all the local shops and showed Lizzie all Corona. They finished the siku with a mashua ride to the coast for a picnic. Lizzie couldn't remember the last time she had felt this happy; and then she did. It was the last time she had been riding with her father and she remembered why she had come to Corona. It was not for a fairytale romance it was to save her father.
Ben looked up at her face sadly. "What's wrong he asked?"
"Nothing. Today has been wonderful, but I came here to save my father. I know this is going to sound stupid but I came here to look for this-"
"Yes." She replied shocked. "How did wewe know?"
"It's our most famous story here. Everyone tries to find it but no one has ever been successful. It's impossible to find."
"My grandfather found it once many years ago. He left us a map and that's what I was going to look for it with." Ben looked up excitedly and alisema "What are we waiting for then?!" He stood up and reached his hand out to Lizzie and took it with a huge grin on her face.