Title: Moxie’s Problem (Book #1)
Author: Hank Quense
Do you enjoy untypical coming-of-age stories? Well you find one more untypical that Moxie’s Problem. Moxie is an obnoxious, teen-age princess who has never been outside her father’s castle. Until now. The real world is quite different and she struggles to come to grips with reality. The story takes place against a backdrop of Camelot. But it isn’t the Camelot of legends. It’s Camelot in a parallel universe. So, all bets are off!
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About the Author:
Hank Quense writes humorous and satiric scifi and fantasy stories. He also writes about fiction writing and self-publishing. He has published 14 books and 50 short stories along with a few dozen articles. He often lectures on fiction writing and publishing and has a series of guides covering the basics on each subject. He is currently working on a series of two humorous novels that take place in the Camelot era.
He and his wife, Pat, usually vacation in another galaxy or parallel universe. They also time travel occasionally when Hank is searching for new story ideas.
Visit Hank's websites: http://hank-quense.com/wp and http://strangeworldsonline.com/wp
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This episode is taken from my novel Moxie’s Problem.
Moxie is an obnoxious teen-age princess who has never been outside her father’s castle. Her father, King Smedley, has arranged her betrothal to a Count Gamel who lives a distance away. Smedley hires three Knights of the Round Table to escort Moxie to Gamal’s lands. Gareth is a knightly chef, uses a spatula and a skillet instead of a sword and shield. Bors is also an accountant and Percivale makes drawings of his adventures and battles.
The journey is Moxie’s first taste of the outside world
~ ~ ~
Percivale stopped his horse at the edge of a tree line. From there he could see a small, dreary settlement nestled at the bottom of the hill. Beyond the village, more hills sparkled in the light of the setting sun. In the cluster of mud huts, a few people roamed the dirt streets. Percivale counted only two wooden buildings.
"Why are we standing around?”
Percivale flinched at the shrill voice of Princess Moxie as if someone had picked at an open sore. He didn't have to see her to know she had one hand on an ample hip while the other lashed the ends of the reins against her saddle. Percivale had trouble accepting that it had been only four days since they rode out of Smedley's castle in the middle of the night. Somehow, the four days on the road with Moxie seemed like four months.
"Why are we standing around?" Moxie repeated the question in a more strident voice. "Why aren't we moving?”
"I wanna make sure this village isn't filled with bandits," Percivale replied.
"Well, I'm tired and thirsty, so stop stalling and get on with it. I want to sleep in a bed, not on the ground.”
Percivale's lips curled in disgust before he looked over his shoulder. The princess gave him a withering stare to which he had grown accustomed. Behind Moxie, Bors rolled his eyes and Gareth shook his head with a grim smile.
"Percivale is right, Princess," Bors said. "Your father charged us not to place you in danger.”
Moxie made a face at the comment.
Percivale shrugged and nudged Onyx forward to descend the hill. He wished he had more time to study the village, but a bandit trap was preferable to listening to more of Moxie's whining.
"I'll hang back a bit in case there's trouble." Gareth stopped his horse at the edge of the trees.
By the time Percivale, Moxie and Bors reached the village, three men in threadbare clothes had gathered in the road. They looked fearful as the riders approached. Percivale slid off his horse and held up empty hands palms forward. "We're travelers and we come in peace. We're lookin' for a place to spend the night.”
"A clean place." Moxie leaned down over the horse's neck and talked out of the corner of her mouth. "Tell him!”
Percivale ignored her.
"Travelers who come in peace are welcome," the man in the middle said. "The inn is the last house on the road.”
"The guy on the right." Moxie hissed and kicked Percivale in the shoulder. "He's thinking dirty thoughts about me. How dare a peasant do that. Kill him!”
Percivale's jaw dropped open. The villager did stare at Moxie. Her long dark hair had been done up in an intricate design that hadn't traveled well. Her messed-up hair and her unpleasant facial features combined with a figure resembling an ale barrel — short, squat and strong — made for a frightful-looking woman. "Umm, maybe he's never seen a royal before." Percivale didn't think Moxie looked very royal with road dust covering her gray blouse and black trews.
"Anythin' wrong?" Gareth moved his mount alongside Moxie’s.
"No," Percivale said as he climbed back on his horse.
"Kill him!" Moxie said in a low, determined voice.
The villagers shuffled their feet and exchanged glances.
"Not a chance," Percivale said through compressed lips.
"You insolent lout! You disobey an order from a royal princess?”
Percivale resisted the urge to tell her where to stick her complaint. He gave the villagers a nod and rode through the village.