Make-believe becomes more interesting that it used to be.
Chapter 2 Prisoner of the Shadow Monsters
That evening, Sarah stopped by and asked if we wouldn't mind coming over to meet her parents. Mom and I followed her across the way to her house. Her mom greeted us at the door and welcomed us inside. The smell of freshly baked cookies filled the house, and I spotted a plate of them on the coffee table in the living room. Her dad sat in one of the chairs.
Mom and I sat down on the couch, and Mrs. Laurent took one of the other empty seats. Sarah passed around the cookies, then disappeared into the kitchen momentarily, returning with a tray carrying five glasses of milk.
As we sat around and ate the cookies, our two families got to know each other. Mr. Laurent was a regional manager for a construction company, and Mrs. Laurent was a teller at the bank. Sarah's dad had recently been promoted to his new position, which required him to move to a new city. Fortunately the bank where her mom worked was able to arrange for her to be transfered to a different branch in the new city. That left Sarah alone during the day. Both of them had been encouraging her to look for work, and she had put in a few applications around town, but with the move from out of state, she had been a little late and most of the summertime positions were already filled.
That brought up the subject of her "babysitting" me. I didn't really consider it babysitting, but I decided not to argue the point. I was old enough to know that most parents didn't like the idea of two teenagers of the opposite sex alone together. But if we emphasized the unequal nature of the relationship-- Sarah as the authority figure and me as the child-- then her parents were much more likely to go along with it. I sat there quietly, trying to be as childlike as possible.
It must have worked, because her parents readily agreed. They were especially happy that Sarah wouldn't even have to leave the neighborhood; like all parents they were just a little overprotective and wanted to know she was somewhere safe. They haggled on a price (by haggling I mean that Mom suggested a price and they all agreed immediately), which left only the details. Every weekday morning, Sarah would come over just before Mom left for work. Mom said I was allowed to go anywhere Sarah was willing to take me, but unfortunately, although she could drive she didn't have access to a car since both of her parents needed their two vehicles to get to work. That limited our options, but I really didn't mind. There was plenty to do around here. Maybe we would go explore the mountain one day, or make our way down into the valley to battle the barbarians.
That night, as I was getting ready for bed, I noticed the light on in Sarah's bedroom window across the way. I went to my window and peeked out. Despite her earlier promise to keep the curtains closed, she had them wide open. I could see her sitting there on her bed in just her bra and panties, thumbing through a magazine.
Before I could turn away, she glanced up and saw me there. I had been caught! It wasn't that I wanted to see her in her underwear-- Okay, I did, but that wasn't why I had looked out my window. I wasn't trying to spy on her. If she had given me half a second longer, I would have turned away like any gentleman. Or at the very least, I would have turned out my light and taken a step back into the darkness so she couldn't see me.
I expected her to get mad, or stomp to the window and close the curtains. Instead, she simply shook her finger at me in an accusatory fashion, but to my surprise she wore a mischievous grin on her face. Then she disappeared out of my view for a second on the other side of the room. When she returned, she wore a bathrobe. She came to the window and popped her head out.
"Hi Kenny," she said cheerfully. In the silence of the night, her voice was able to carry to my house.
"Um... hi Sarah," I replied, hoping the darkness of the night would cover my red face from the embarrassment of being caught peeking on her.
"Tomorrow we'll do the rescue scene, okay?"
"The rescue scene?"
"Yeah, where I get captured by the Shadow Monsters and you come and rescue me."
"So make sure you dream about it tonight, so you'll have it firmly in your mind for tomorrow. You have a better imagination than me, so you have to make up the details."
"Fine," I grinned. "Good night, Princess Allura."
"Good night, Kenny. Or should I say, my dearest Kenneth Shadowbane."
"Hey, you don't have to get all mushy," I complained.
"Oh, that's right. We won't get betrothed until after you rescue me. So you won't be 'my dearest' until then. Anyway, see you tomorrow." She blew me a kiss, then stepped back, closed the curtains, and turned out the lights.
I woke up the next morning as excited as if it were Christmas. I really wanted to see Sarah again. That surprised me; in the past couple of years I had begun to recognize the beauty of the opposite sex, and even started having certain feelings toward them, but for the most part I didn't particularly like them. I had absolutely nothing in common with girls my age after all. But Sarah was different. She was the first girl I had ever met who was actually fun to be around.
I went downstairs to breakfast. Mom was in a rush, with only a few minutes to spare before she had to leave for work. She was still new on the job, so wanted to get there early to make a good impression. I have to admit, I wasn't much more patient, so anxious was I to see Sarah again and spend the day with her.
When I heard a knock at the door, I immediately hopped up and practically dashed out of the kitchen to answer it. There stood Sarah, her face brightening up with a big smile when she saw me. "Hi Kenny," she beamed. Then she peeked into the dining room and saw my mother there. "Hi Mrs. Grant!" she called.
Mom came to the door. "Hello, Sarah," she said. "Thanks for coming by."
"It's no problem, Mrs. Grant," said Sarah. "I don't mind babysitting Kenny. He and I get along really well."
"He's a good kid. Just a little over-imaginative."
"That's what I like about him. He's got a great imagination. It reminds me of myself when I was his age."
"Well then, I'll leave you two here. Do me a favor, Sarah. For now, keep him here or over at your house. Later we can talk about going on outings."
"Sure," agreed Sarah. "I was thinking of spending the day with him over at my house anyway. In fact, we can go over there right now if it's all right."
"It's all right with me," I replied. Mom agreed, so Sarah and I left my castle and ventured across the land to Silverfen Castle. The king and queen of Silverfen had already departed, I could see, leaving the whole realm available for our adventures.
First we sat down on the couch to make plans for the capture and rescue. She asked me plenty of questions about the Shadow Monsters, and I was a little embarrassed to admit that I hadn't thought of some of the things she asked about. But she didn't seem to mind; in fact, she was more than happy to help me flesh out my ideas. It was fun to collaborate with someone else on my world. Until now, it had always just been me and my imagination. That had always been enough, until I met Sarah and discovered what I had been missing. I hadn't realized just how lonely I had been in my fantasy world, until I met this princess with whom I could share it.
Of course, it didn't hurt that she was pretty. She really did look like my idea of a princess, a beautiful damsel that would cause any man to fall at her feet or swear to protect her upon first seeing her. But she had chosen me, Kenneth Shadowbane, out of all the princes and heroes of all the realms, and that made me feel good.
As we sat and talked, my mind kept drifting back to that first time I had seen her. Yes, it was because of what she had been wearing, or not wearing, more precisely. I was a thirteen-year-old boy, just learning to appreciate the fairer sex, and finding mystery and excitement in their beautiful form, especially since I had no prior experience seeing a girl's body before.
But Sarah was more than just a body, or a face. Her friendliness and enthusiasm had both surprised and captivated me; I had never met a girl quite like her. I think even if she were the most hideous creature on the planet, I still would have enjoyed her company.
I was having so much fun that I didn't even realize how much time had passed until Sarah announced that it was time for lunch. We dined on such royal delicacies as microwave burritos and apple juice.
After lunch, she suggested I run next door to retrieve my sword. I was about to do battle with a bunch of monsters after all. I hurried across to my castle and then made my way back to Silverfen, where I found her upstairs in her bedroom. She patted the bed next to her as an invitation to sit down. I did so.
"So let's see..." said Sarah. "If the Shadow Monsters captured me, where would they keep me?"
"Probably underground," I replied. "That's where they live. They like it where it's dark, because the light hurts them."
"Okay, so my bedroom is the cave where they're holding me captive. You're going to come in, fight them off, then untie me and carry me off back to your kingdom."
"Yes. They'll need to tie me up to keep me from escaping. Of course, you're going to have to do it for them, since they don't really exist."
"Oh. Okay," I shrugged. Having never been a Boy Scout or a sailor, I didn't know much about tying knots, but how hard could it be?
"I think there's some string out in the garage," suggested Sarah. We left the room and headed out to the garage to search through the shelves of tools and supplies that her dad kept out there. After about five minutes of searching, we found some twine that would serve well enough. It looked kind of rough and probably wouldn't feel too good on the skin, but Sarah said she had some handkerchiefs that she could wrap around her wrists to keep the twine from actually touching her.
We headed back to her room then, and she went over to her dresser to retrieve several handkerchiefs, then sat down on the bed. "Okay," she smiled. "Let's say they tie me onto a stone table, like they're going to try to cut out my heart or something. We'll use my bed because it's much more comfortable."
I agreed, so she lay down and spread her arms and legs out toward the bedposts. I had expected to just tie her wrists together, maybe behind her back, but apparently she had other ideas. I didn't mind; there was something particularly sexy about seeing her lying there prone, completely open and vulnerable.
I took one of the handkerchiefs and wrapped it around her wrist, then pulled out my pocket knife and cut a piece of twine and wound one end around her wrist over the top of the handkerchief. I managed a halfway decent knot, then reached over to fasten it to the bed post.
"Wait," said Sarah, and I stopped. I wondered if she had changed her mind after all. Maybe she didn't trust me yet enough to have me tie her up.
"What?" I asked.
"Something's not right," she said. "The Shadow Monsters went through all the work to capture me and bring them back to their cave, and all they're going to do is kill me? Why didn't they just do that at first?"
"I don't know," I shrugged. "You're the one who wanted to get captured."
"Okay, let's think. There are three reasons why you would kidnap a princess. The most obvious is ransom."
"The Shadow Monsters have no need of money," I told her.
"Right. So scratch that one. The second is intimidation. To make the king afraid, to show him that they can come in at any time and take what they want from him."
"But the Shadow Monsters aren't that powerful. It was just a fluke that you got captured."
"Okay, so then the only other reason I can think of is to make the king angry."
"Yes. So that he'll send out his army to rescue me. The Shadow Monsters are probably planning an ambush. Once the army is destroyed, they can take over the kingdom."
I thought about it. That sounded plausible enough. I nodded, and Sarah smiled.
"Okay," she said, "then they probably wouldn't just leave me here tied up. They would want to make the king really mad."
"What do you mean?" I asked.
"They're going to torture me."
"Yeah. Hot iron pokers, pincers, needles, the usual stuff. At least, that's their plan. But you're going to come in just in the nick of time. That way I'll be so overwhelmed by your heroism that I'll fall madly in love with you."
Normally I would have been turned off by all that sappy romantic lovey-dovey stuff, but with Sarah I didn't mind so much. I wondered if she would want to do some cuddling or snuggling later. Girls liked that sort of thing, and I realized that with her, I might actually enjoy it too.
"Okay, so they're going try to torture you," I agreed. "And I'm going to come in--"
"Just as they're about to start jabbing me all over my body with hot iron pokers."
"You know, you've got a really twisted imagination," I grinned.
Sarah laughed. "It's not me, it's the Shadow Monsters."
"Okay," I conceded, chuckling. Yes, Sarah really was fun to be around. I was really looking forward to spending every weekday with her for the rest of the summer. Maybe even when school started in the fall, we could still play together after school.
Then she did something completely unexpected. She reached down, took hold of the bottom of her shirt, then lifted it over her head and pulled it off. I stared in astonishment at her chest, now clad only in a lacy bra.
"What..." I gasped, my mouth dropping open and my eyes wide.
"The first thing the Shadow Monsters would do is strip me," she said casually. "It makes the torture that much worse if I'm completely exposed and at their mercy like that."
"I..." I stammered, still gaping.
"What's wrong?" asked Sarah.
"I..." I repeated, somehow not being able to get past that one word.
"Oh, come on. Don't be so bashful. You're not the one taking your clothes off, after all. Besides, this isn't the first time you've seen me naked."
"Well... I mean... that was different."
"Why?" she asked. "Because you were spying on me the first time?"
"I wasn't spying!"
"Okay, you weren't spying. Either way, I don't mind you seeing my body. We're going to be married soon anyway, then we'll have our wedding night."
"W... Wedding night?" I asked.
"Look, Kenny," she told me sternly. "We're doing all of this in your world. This is your game. I'm willing to go along with anything you say, and all I ask in return is just one scene. I don't even care if we act out the ceremony; it's the wedding night that I'm interested in. If you won't let me have that, then I don't want to play with you any more."
"Hey!" I exclaimed. "There's no need to be rude about it."
"I'm sorry, Kenny," she said, her voice softened. "It's just that you're acting like you don't want to do this with me. When we talked about it yesterday I got all excited about it, and now you're ruining it."
"I'm not trying to ruin it," I apologized. "I do want to do it with you. I just didn't realize... I mean... On the wedding night, you're supposed to..."
"Oh, we can work out the details later. Just promise me we'll at least do that scene, okay?"
"Okay," I nodded, wondering what I was getting into. What was she thinking? Did she really understand what we would be doing? Or maybe it would just end up being some snuggling. Yes, that was probably it. We would hold each other in our arms for a few minutes, and then the scene would be over. That might even feel nice, with someone like Sarah.
Her face lit up again immediately as soon as I agreed. I really liked to see her smiling at me, especially after feeling bad about making her unhappy. Sarah's smile could brighten up even the gloomiest day.
"Well then, now that that's settled..." she continued, then slid her pants down and off. I couldn't help but stare at her beautiful, long legs and her white, lacy panties. I even shuddered as I thought of the delights underneath.
Sarah giggled, then wiggled her finger at me. "I know what you're thinking," she grinned.
"Hey, you're the one stripping in front of me," I complained.
"So do you want me to stop?"
"See? You are a pervert after all."
I could have pointed out the hypocrisy of calling me a pervert even while she was taking off her clothes, but she said it in such a playful and friendly tone that I couldn't help but just laugh.
When she reached behind her back, I knew what was coming up. I knew it wasn't polite to stare, but I couldn't help it. My eyes were locked on her chest as she slipped her bra off, exposing her beautiful boobs to my eyes. I had seen them yesterday, but only at a distance. Now I had a perfect view of her perfectly formed tits, so round and soft and capped by a perfect pair of delicious-looking nipples.
Then she pulled down her panties, and I stared even harder. I don't know what I was expecting, but that beautiful V-shape covered in a neatly trimmed mat of dark hair was perhaps the most gorgeous thing I had ever seen. My god, she wasn't just a princess, she was an angel!
"When you're done ogling me," grinned Sarah, "I need you to tie me up." She lay down on the bed, spreading her arms and legs to the bedposts again and giving me an even better view of her body.
"T.. tie... you up?" I stammered.
"You know, because of the Shadow Monsters. Kenny, is your brain frozen or something?" she grinned.
"Pretty much," I answered, and she laughed.
In a daze, I grabbed the handkerchiefs and proceeded to tie her down. I managed some halfway decent knots, making sure to wrap the handkerchiefs around her wrists and ankles so as not to give her rope burns with the twin, and several minutes later I had her bound snugly but loosely. Technically, she could have slipped her wrists out of either of the knots if she wanted to, but I wasn't really trying to prevent her from escaping after all.
"Okay, now you leave the room," she said. "I'll call you when the shadow monsters are about to have their way with me."
Nodding dumbly, I stepped outside the room, and even descended the stairs. It wouldn't do to hear her calling for help from just a few feet away; I needed to hear her from a distance, or it would wreck the whole atmosphere.
Despite the fact that no one was around to see me, once I reached the bottom of the stairs, I drew my sword and slew my first Shadow Monster of the day. It only took a moment before Kenny Grant faded into the back of my mind and I became Kenneth Shadowbane once more, on a quest into the darkest caverns of Elderhaven to rescue the fair princess Allura. I prayed that I wasn't too late to save her.
Here in the darkness, where the power of the Shadow Monsters was strongest, I could feel the icy fingers of the ancient evil that had plagued the Elder World since the dawn of time. The creatures of blackness, who had long feared my blade, rose up in defiance. Those who ventured too near tasted the bite of my steel. But I wasn't here to kill monsters. Perhaps I would return one day to seek vengeance against the creatures who had kidnapped the princess, but right now my only concern was her welfare.
I had just about given up hope when I heard her voice from afar, echoing through the caverns. My heart sank as I realized that the sound came from another cave at the top of an inclined wall. It would be a struggle to climb it, especially with the demons attacking me on every side.
But I couldn't give up now. I had come too far, and I was so close to my goal. I would save her or die trying.
I sheathed my sword and leaped upon the wall, grasping at any handhold I could find as I climbed out of the reach of the monsters below me. They wailed in fury and scrambled after me, but I was too quick for them. My eyes lifted to the slope above me and I immediately saw that this would not go smoothly. A handful of Shadow Monsters gathered at the top, barring my way to the cave where they held the princess.
Despite needing to hang on with one hand, I drew my sword and slashed at the nearest creature. He fell screaming into the abyss below. Somehow I managed to move another foot up the slope toward my destination before another monster lunged at me.
Fighting my way one step at a time, I approached the ledge where they stood. I just knew if I could make it there, I would have a chance against my foes. But I was rapidly losing strength. I didn't know how long I could last.
Somehow through sheer will and a determination to save the princess, I fought the final few steps to the ledge. Now, on even footing with the creatures, I found renewed strength to challenge them. They weren't about to give up, but I could see that they feared me, and now I was free to fight my way into the alcove from where I could hear Princess Allura's terrified voice.
I entered the cave surrounded by a dozen imaginary monsters. My sword slashed through them ruthlessly as my princess looked on with admiration. The creatures didn't stand a chance against the blade of Kenneth Shadowbane.
Those that didn't die at my hand fled in terror at this enemy that had penetrated right to the heart of their lair. Soon I found myself alone with Princess Allura. As I gazed down upon her body, nude and bound and helpless, I felt an excited feeling run through me. She looked so sexy there as she gazed back up at me with wonder and gratitude.
"Are you hurt, Princess Allura?" I asked.
"No," she breathed, "but I hate to think of what the monsters would have done if you hadn't shown up. You've saved me from unknown torment."
"Let's get you out of here before they come back in greater numbers." I reached out to the string binding one of her wrists.
"Before you untie me, Kenneth Shadowbane," she said, "let me reward you with a kiss."
A kiss? She actually wanted me to kiss her? I had never kissed a girl before; I didn't know what to do. But as I gazed upon her beautiful face smiling up at me, I didn't care. It didn't matter whether I completely screwed it up. Just the possibility of sharing a kiss with this beautiful girl was worth it.
I leaned over, bringing my lips close to hers. She raised her head up and pressed her lips to mine, and I realized at that moment that there really wasn't much to it. I relaxed, allowing myself to enjoy my first kiss, no longer worried about my technique or whether she enjoyed it as much as I did. There was something completely honest and nonjudgmental in Sarah; I knew that no matter how inexperienced I was, she wouldn't laugh at me or make fun of me or judge me in any way.
As I continued to kiss her, I realized that I had slipped out of the fantasy and had begun to think of her as Sarah again, rather than Allura. It was not a kiss between the hero and the princess, but between Kenny Grant and Sarah Laurent.
Maybe it wasn't the same with her. Maybe she was still acting her role. Maybe Sarah would never even think of kissing me as herself. Right now, though, I didn't care. It felt too nice to worry about her feelings for me.
I drew back and spent a while just gazing into her eyes. She looked up at me with admiration and perhaps a little attraction. I couldn't tell for sure; having zero experience with girls, I really didn't know how to read the signs.
"Kenneth!" she suddenly exclaimed, her gaze dropping to my chest. "You're hurt!" She reached out and placed a hand on my chest. I glanced down, surprised at her words. I hadn't even realized I had been wounded in the fight.
"These scratches from the claws of the monsters are too deep to be left untreated," she continued.
"I'll be all right," I told her bravely. "I've had far worse than this before."
"Nevertheless, I must repay the kindness you've shown me. From my elven ancestry, I have inherited some healing magic, though I'm afraid it's not as strong as that of my forefathers. I know of a place not too far from here, a grove guarded by magical wards from the ancient elves of the Elder World. The shadow monsters have no power in such a grove. There we can rest, if we can make it, and there I will take care of you."
I didn't know of any magical groves near the caves of the Shadow Monsters; in fact, I didn't know of any magical groves at all. For that matter, I didn't know that elves had healing magic. But then, I really didn't mind Sarah changing the rules like that. Besides, if a naked girl offers to "take care of you," you don't argue.
"Follow me," I said. "I'll lead you back to the surface, then we can look for your grove."
I admit freely that I was hoping Sarah wouldn't put her clothes back on, and fortunately she didn't. After I untied her, she took my hand (and I discovered that holding hands with a girl was more pleasant than I had expected), then I led her back to the surface, slaying the occasional Shadow Monster along the way.
I grew weaker from loss of blood as we traveled, mostly due to "Princess Allura" reminding me that I was wounded. She eventually took my nearest arm and threw it over her shoulder, wrapping her own arm around me to help support my weight. Now I found myself quite close to her nude body, and it was every bit as enjoyable as one might imagine.
Somehow we made it out of the cave and into the sunlight (though technically we never left the house). We were temporarily safe, though if we didn't reach the grove before nightfall, the demons would pursue us with a vengeance. Sarah, or rather Princess Allura, assured me that the grove's magic would protect us all night.
Just as the last rays of sun vanished behind the distant mountains, we reached our destination. Considering that it was Sarah's bedroom again, it bore a remarkable resemblance to the cave in which she had been imprisoned. But where there had been cold, black stone before, now there was a thick wall of trees, with an undergrowth of soft ferns and grass.
"We're safe," the princess announced, and I collapsed on the ground, or rather, on her bed. She climbed in beside me, reclining next to me.
"Just in time, too," I told her. "I couldn't walk another step."
"You poor dear. You nearly died to save me. You're such a brave hero, Kenneth Shadowbane. I know you've been training me to defend myself, but perhaps when all this is over, you can visit me in Silverfen as just a friend. I would love to get to know you a little better socially instead of as my teacher in swordplay."
"Sure," I smiled, happy at the invitation.
"But now I must see to your wounds." She reached for the bottom of my shirt.
"What are you doing, Sarah?" I asked.
"Sarah? Who is this Sarah person? I'm Princess Allura," she grinned. "I must remove your shirt to get to your injuries."
I considered that for a moment. And when I say a moment, I mean that a moment was all it took for me to decide that I would love to have my shirt off, with her lying naked beside me. Maybe there would be some incidental contact.
I managed to sit up momentarily to help her remove my tunic, then lay down again, staring at her beautiful face and wondering what she would do now. She placed one arm on my chest and began to gently rub me.
It felt good. It felt very good. A sigh escaped my lips, and I was delighted to see Princess Allura smile when she heard that.
"I'm glad you enjoy my touch," she said. "It's the healing magic of the elves."
"Of course," I agreed, playing along.
"You just relax and let the magic fill you. You've done your job, and now it's time for you to rest."
I closed my eyes and basked in the feeling of her hand massaging me all over the chest. I couldn't believe that I was lying here with a real live naked girl fawning all over me, especially one as beautiful as Sarah. I can honestly say that thus far, it was a high point in my life.
It was even better when she stopped, because she immediately lay down next to me, pressing her body against mine. "It can get cold in the woods at night," she said. "I hope I'm not being too forward, Kenneth, but would you put your arm around me?"
"Of course I will," I said, trying to sound more gallant than enthusiastic. I held her to me, loving the softness of her body.
I can feel her tits! I thought with excitement. No, it wasn't a particularly gallant thought, but I guess I can be excused since I was a thirteen-year-old boy.
We closed our eyes and lay there for a while, neither of us speaking. I could feel her breath on my cheek, so warm and pleasant. The only drawback to this position was that I was feeling rather tight in the pants. If I had been more confident I might have made a move, but I was still completely confused by her attention toward me and I didn't want to ruin things between us. So I suffered in silence, if one could call it suffering. I certainly didn't.