The princess made the most of her rest. Despite being cold and stuck in a strange place, she was exhausted and fell into a deep sleep. While she was out, her mind wandered. Flo could tell that Amanda was having vivid dreams. Every so often, the princess would flail her arms and legs and utter phrases like “I must get home.” Also, there were instances where she would smile. In those moments, Flo thought the princess looked very content. She thought Amanda must be thinking about getting home for Christmas. Flo imagined the wonderful Wassailia celebration that Amanda described. She knew that there was something very mysterious about the young princess.
At this point, nobody was awake but Flo. Tony and his family were tucked neatly in a pile next to the princess. Although Flo knew the princess needed her rest, she also knew that they couldn’t sleep too long. The forest could be brutal, and she could see that there was a storm on the horizon. The sun was rising under a pink sky. The fairy could smell snow clouds in the air. “This could spell trouble,” whispered Flo to herself.
Just as Flo was going to lightly tap Amanda with her wand to wake her up, the princess opened her eyes, sat up, and looked startled. “Flo. Flo. How long was I asleep? Oh my goodness! We must be on our way,” exclaimed Amanda. Flo explained that it was very early in the morning and that the sun just came up. She didn’t have the heart to tell Amanda that a large storm was on the way. Before a minute passed, the princess gathered the group of squirrels and grasped Flo in her hand. She and her friends were back on the path toward her home. With each step, the sky became darker and more ominous. Tony recognized the signs of the upcoming snow, but they all continued anyway without alerting Amanda. The wind was picking up, and more and more clouds rolled in. Large snowflakes started to fall. In no time, there were so many flakes flying that they couldn’t see where they were going. The princess exclaimed, “It’s a blizzard! What do we do now?” Flo replied, “We should take shelter under those thick trees.” Amanda said, “We can’t stop. I’ll never get home in time. We have to continue!” Tony knew that the princess would freeze in only her fur stole, so he and his family dragged a small tarp from a pile of rubble that they found near one of the trees. They brought it to Amanda and covered her shoulders so that she could stay warm while battling the snow. With the whiteout conditions, it was highly unlikely that they would be able to make it through the storm. It was extremely hard to see anything. The princess said, “I don’t like the cold. I don’t really like leaving my house. I thought running away would be a fun adventure, but it’s been nothing but a nightmare. My father travels a lot. It seems like he’s never home. He’s always visiting various parts of the world. Once, he took me and my family to the North Pole on business. I was very young, so I don’t remember much. However, it was cold and snowy like this.” Flo asked, “As a prince, what does your father do?” Amanda replied, “To be honest, I’m not sure. He tells me that he has great responsibilities, and it is our job to help others.” The princess started to look sad. She said, “Sometimes, I wish I had a regular family. I wish my father didn’t have to leave so often. I wish he could just go to an office like my friends’ parents. It would be nice to just sit on the couch once in a while and eat pizza together as a family. Instead, we always have fancy dinners. Guests always come to visit, and I have to be on my best behavior at all times.”
All of a sudden, Tony picked up a ball of snow and threw it right at Amanda. He laughed and said, “Snowball fight!” The princess was taken off guard. Flo asked, “You’ve never had a snowball fight?” “I was never allowed to do such a thing,” answered Amanda. Tony said, “Well, there’s nothing that will make you feel more like a real kid than a good snowball fight.” They all stood in the middle of the woods lobbing chunks of snow at each other. Flo was covered in ice crystals, and Tony’s fur was covered in white. All of the squirrels were scurrying and sliding down piles of snow. The princess had great aim and kept forming snowballs and throwing them as fast as her arms could go. Everyone was laughing. Even though the storm was bad, Amanda was smiling like she hadn’t done in a long time. For once, she didn’t have to act like a princess. It felt great to be a normal young girl. She wished that her brothers could play like that with her. She wished that her family didn’t have to be so serious.
Even though the snowball fight managed to take Amanda’s mind off of the situation for the moment, she quickly realized that they had to get back on their way. However, the weather was getting worse. The snow was piling up fast. They could no longer see any footprints in the path ahead of them. “I will never find my way home now,” lamented the princess. All of a sudden, a strong burst of wind blew by. It swept Flo, Amanda, and the squirrels into a hurricane-like state. As the princess was caught in the swirl of this wind tunnel, visions of her village’s special Wassailia celebration flashed before her eyes. Where would they end up? What if this took them farther away from Hazelwood? Would she miss Christmas? Would she ever see her family again?