Pt 3 - Encouter
By nightfall, the princess really wanted to go home. It was getting cold, and she didn't have a cloak or a shawl. Her feet were hurting - this was the most walking she'd done in years and she hadn't thought to change her shoes before leaving the tower. And it had started to rain.
With a sigh, the Princess took advantage of the rain and washed her bloody elbows as she walked, stumbled through the forest. In the distance, there was a light glowing in the growing darkness and she hoped it was a cottage or a cabin or something that would give her shelter.
It was a small cabin, she saw. She knocked on the door, and waited in the pouring rain. It never occured to her to wonder what type of person might live here.
Fortunately for her it was a little old woman [this time] who opened the door.
"My goodness! Get in out of the rain girl!" the old woman exclaimed, pulling her inside.
The princess' teeth was chattering too hard for her to answer right away. The old woman immediately set about caring for the cold princess. In minutes, the princes was sitting in front of the fire, in dry clothes, wrapped in a blanket and was having a hot bowl of soup pushed into her hands.
"So," the old woman said, sitting in the chair across from her. "You've finally decided to flee the tower."
The princess looked up, surprised. "You knew I was there?"
"Of course. I've been watching you sit at your window for years now. I've been waiting."
The princess was quiet.
"I suppose you're wondering why no one has tried to help you."
The princess nodded.
"You can't help one that doesn't want to be free."
"But I did!" she protested.
The old woman shook her head. "It wasn't until you actually climbed down the side that you decided you really wanted freedom. But it still calls you doesn't it? The tower, I mean."
The princess nodded in shame.
"It will get worse before it gets better," the old woman said.
The princess began to cry into her soup.
The old woman shook her head. "Ain't nothing to cry about, girl. Finish your soup and get to bed. I'll help you on your way in the morning."
"Why should I bother? If it's only going to get worse..."
"You giving up already?"
"Good. Now finish your soup."