Approximately 40 pages
A dark and modern day retelling of Tennyson’s “The Lady of Shalott”
There’s something strange about the girl Ryan meets in the forest. It wasn’t just her clothes or her peculiar manner or the fact that she seems untouched by the modern world. Perhaps it had to do with the tower she lives in by the lake that’s not supposed to exist. Moved by her friendship, he makes her a rash promise he fails to honor. Only until years later does Ryan discover the repercussions of his forgotten oath and what befell the girl in the tower.
No Loyal Knight and True is also included in Belle Noir: Tales of Love and Magic.
Ryan walked to the girl, who was underneath one of the apple trees that surrounded them, and stood facing her. Questions were trying to burst forth from him, but he held his tongue.
Smiling slightly, she reached and plucked a green apple from a bough hanging low. She held it between them with one hand while from her trousers she pulled out a small knife. The sweet scent of the fruit stoked his hunger.
Cutting the apple in two, the girl offered him one piece, which Ryan took. He saw that in its white heart, one blood-red seed was neatly cleaved, its half in the piece she held. He bit into the apple the same time she did, cool sugared juices flooding his mouth. He had never tasted anything so sweet.
“Never again will you be lost in this forest. You will always find your way. Everything hidden will reveal itself to you.”
He met her eyes, the color of the green apples on the boughs, the leaves in the forest, the grass and ivy, moss and fern, all the shades of verdant green in the world held in them.