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Gina and Lola on the Bridge-Ada

Grabbing you in rough, barkstrewn arms, the tree holds you tightly and lifts you off the ground. You see that the Princess is in similar straits, held apart from you.

"No!" Lola squeals. "Oh, evil Gina! She wouldn't dare!"

You gasp for air, a limb pressed against your throat. "Who...is...Gina?"

"My naughty, obnoxious cousin. Who also happens to be a, well, harpy, for want of a better description."

Wonderful, you stew.

Gina strolls up to the scene, a feral grin flashing. "I was just spying on you two and I think I wish to hear the laughter of true lovers. Is this your new boyfriend, cousin? Couldn't find a froggy prince anywhere?"

"Leave him alone. Torture me if you must, but he is innocent!"

You crane your neck. "Can't we just wish to be released...?"

"Doesn't work that way," Lola informs you. "Her wish is dominant at the moment, I'm afraid."

Gina flutters a wing very near your very ticklish feet. "Has my babbling cousin given you the location of our family treasure?"

"No," you answer quickly. "She's been true to your... oath."

"You can tickle any secret out of her, I'm afraid. Just watch."

You see abject fear in the widening eyes of your love.

"Say the location," demands Gina, teasing feathers brushing over and under Lola's helpless feet.

"Stop!" yells the Princess, exploding into cascading, ticklish peals of laughter. "The bridge! The bridge! Bridge-Ada of the Lonely Passage of Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!"

"Close enough," relents Gina, and the tree unceremoniously drops the two of you. "The bridge is at the end of that trail," she elaborates, pointing a wing.

"I find it difficult to believe you have any love in your heart," you tell the harpy. "Or is it dreaming you excel at?"

"Did Lola tell you that love mattered? You'll believe anything!" With that, the strange woman-creature flew away.

"What is going on?" you rail. "Why did she make you tell where the gold is? Why did she take the trouble to point it out to me, then leave? Why is she in that form? What kind of family do you come from? I don't know what to make of anything."

"I wish I was dead," mutters Lola, slapping a hand to her mouth, too late.

Written by Cathal (edited by wanderer)

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