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The story of A Girl and Her King, joins the young protagonist as she grows in her commitment towards her good king. She is young and he is old. He teaches, her watches over her, protects her. He has taken her to the battlefield, the arena, and now asks her to find her place inside the calm environment of her old home, where challenges abound to test her dedication to him in even in the smallest matters. She does not yet know what form their love will take, if he will one day bring her to live with him in the palace, or request she stay in that quiet home forever. But willing to wait, she receives the lessons he has in store for her.

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The wind was knocked out of her. It was a fast hit, so fast Philothea did not anticipate it. Then it was hard to breathe. She struggled and suffered and lay in the king’s arms, gasping for breath. He held her, held her arms and whispered to her, calming her. She could not make out his words—she did not understand. Philothea’s arm began to shake. She pushed herself closer to him. Attempting to swallow her breath she asked, “what happened?”

“You were attacked.” the king told her.

“Yes. Yes.” She said beginning to cry.

She turned herself over and hid herself in him, sobbing.

Philothea thought, he didn’t save me. She quickly cast, threw, the thoughts away from her. They fell and they shattered. A little beast ran and hid behind a bush.

No! she thought, not against him. Philothea must not turn on the king when she needed him most. She buried herself deeper inside of him, inside his robes, trying to escape the air around her.

“We’re surrounded,” he whispered. “Stay strong.” Philothea wrapped her arm around the king, continually moving closer.

He is the king, she reminded herself.

She kept her eyes shut. The darkness was too dark. The valley?

Philothea was too scared to see.

“Shhh. Shhh.” He soothed her. The king leaned close to her ear, “look around.”

She kept her eyes shut. She dug deeper trying to disappear.

“No” he said. “I don’t want you to be afraid.” It seemed so dangerous to her yet he seemed perfectly safe. The king knew nothing could really happen to them.

She peeked out with one eye. Yes, it was dark. She shut her eye and turned her head back over.

“I know it’s dark,” she told him. “Why look any longer?”

“You’re eyes will adjust and you’ll see things. We may be here for any amount of time.”

“You won’t tell me.”

“No, I don’t think you’ll ask. Shhh, it’s okay. I’m here.” He cradled her into him like a baby. “You’re so big to be so little.” All the while he was okay that she stayed, eyes shut. He was okay that her little piece of heart burned a hole in her pocket occasionally. He was okay that—well, he was understanding that it collected dirt or thoughts against him. He did not really like that. But, he did not love her less. It was not okay. One creature got a hold of it and left a tooth mark when it was going after her. That was why she hid with so much fear. She almost lost her love.

It was better that she hid from the demons. She believed this. What more could she do? But she knew she had to be strong, that she had to keep fighting. “Peace won’t come on it’s own. Sometimes you must fight for it.” Te king told Philothea. “I did take you out to the battlefield, but aren’t you fighting so much more here?”

“So much more,” she repeated. He held onto her heart in his hands, pleased that she gave him every piece. “You’re safe,” he told her. “Really, it’s beautiful here.” And she peeked out again with that same eye.

 …

Soon, the king had her walking. They were still in the valley. She clung to him, often still hiding herself and her face in his robes. Without saying anything he gently pushed her away from him. Philothea was startled by it and when she opened her frightened eyes, she was bathed in sunlight. “King!” She smiled exuberantly. He stood with her. She hugged him joyfully. He was happy she liked it. She found herself enraptured by the warmth and light. Philothea danced and began to dance with him.

She took one step beyond the light. In the dark and cool, she suddenly felt very frightened. The king held her again. “Look,” he said. She saw a friend approaching. “You two should talk.” And he whispered, “talk about me.” They did. She confessed her fear in the valley with him. All would be better. During the conversation she realized how deeply she trusted him, how scared she was, yet the depth at which she knew it would be okay.

“Ready?” He asked. She wrapped her arms around him, prepared, but found herself not so frightened in the darkness. There were places where the shadows were darker, the air colder. She had everything she needed to know. Philothea had joy.

“You see,” the king told her. “I have wanted so much for you to see the battle you are fighting here. It is a mightier battle. I knew you could fight it.”

“Only because you keep holding up my sword.”

“Well, what else could I do? Besides, not everyone lets me.”