Worse, Worser, Wurst #2
Nancy Krulik; Illustrated by Ben Balistreri
Princess Pulverizer may not be a knight yet, but she won't let that stop her from saving the day!
There's trouble in the kingdom of Salamistonia! Ever since an evil wizard kidnapped Lester the jester, laughter and smiles have disappeared. Now Princess Pulverizer has the perfect opportunity to complete the next good deed on her Quest of Kindness: a rescue mission! With her friends Lucas and Dribble by her side, can Princess Pulverizer defeat the wizard, free Lester, and bring fun back to Salamistonia?
Excerpt from Worse, Worser, Wurst #2
“AAAAAHHH! There’s a MONSTER in that tree!” Lucas cried out. “A hairy, creepy-crawly MONSTER!”
The scared knight-in-training dropped the grilled cheese sandwich he’d been snacking on and ran off as fast as he could.
“A monster?” Princess Pulverizer repeated. But she did not sound scared at all.
Nothing scared Princess Pulverizer.
Well, very little scared her, anyway.
“Y-y-yes,” Lucas answered from his favorite hiding spot—crouched behind his best friend, Dribble the dragon. “I hate things that creep and crawl!”
“I’ll defeat it!” Princess Pulverizer said, leaping to her feet.
“H-h-how?” Lucas stammered nervously. “You don’t have any weapons.”
“Sure I do.” The princess bent her arms to show off her muscles. “These!”
Lucas and Dribble did not seem particularly impressed.
But that wasn’t stopping Princess Pulverizer. “Watch out, monster! You are no match for me,” she shouted.
Princess Pulverizer looked up into the tree. But she didn’t see a monster. She didn’t see anything other than the usual branches, leaves, and blossoms.
Hmmm . . . Maybe the monster was hiding.
The princess leaped into the air and grabbed a tree branch. She pulled herself up and began climbing, searching for a monster hidden in the leaves.
But there was no monster anywhere.
Suddenly, out of the corner of her eye, Princess Pulverizer noticed a black, white, and yellow hairy creature creeping and crawling on a branch.
Wait a minute.
Oh brother. Lucas hadn’t seen a monster at all. He’d seen a caterpillar.
Princess Pulverizer wasn’t surprised that Lucas was afraid of an insect. Lucas was afraid of everything.
The princess let the little caterpillar crawl onto her finger. She tucked him in her pocket and slid down to the ground.
Princess Pulverizer walked over to her friends and dangled the tiny creature in front of Lucas’s nose. “Is this your monster?”
Lucas shuddered. “Get that away from me!” he cried out.
Princess Pulverizer laughed.
Dribble looked from the caterpillar to Lucas and back again. He clenched his dragon lips together tightly, trying not to laugh. But he couldn’t help himself.
“Ha-ha-ha-ha . . .” SNORT! Dribble laughed so hard, the ground shook beneath him.
“This isn’t a monster,” Princess Pulverizer told Lucas. “It’s a caterpillar.” She placed the stunned insect back on a low-hanging tree branch.
Lucas turned red with embarrassment. “I really hate things that creep and crawl,” he said timidly.
“Aaaachoooo!” Suddenly, Dribble let out a loud, powerful sneeze.
“Gesundheit,” Lucas said. “Are you getting a cold?”
The dragon shook his head. “It’s those apple blossoms. I’m allergic. Aaachoooo!”
That last sneeze was so strong, it blew Lucas over. He fell backward onto the ground.
“Sorry,” Dribble apologized as Lucas scrambled back to his feet.
“It’s okay,” Lucas assured him.
The dragon looked down at the grilled cheese sandwich his friend had dropped. “What a waste of cheese,” he said. “It’s too bad you didn’t finish it. Gouda grilled cheese is my specialty.”
“I’m sorry,” Lucas apologized. “But it’s not a total waste. The ants seem to be enjoying it.”
“I’m sorry, too,” Princess Pulverizer grumbled. “I’m sorry I couldn’t save you from a creepy-crawly, hairy monster. Because that would have been a good deed.”
“A very good deed indeed,” Lucas agreed.
“But saving you from a caterpillar is not the same thing,” Princess Pulverizer said sadly. “Now I still need to do seven more good deeds before I can go to Knight School.”
Lucas and Dribble knew what Princess Pulverizer meant. Before they had met her, she had spent her days with Lady Frump at the Royal School of Ladylike Manners, where she was taught to pour tea properly and dance the saltarello at royal balls. Things all princesses needed to know.
Only Princess Pulverizer didn’t want to be a princess.
She wanted to be a knight.
So she had begged her father, King Alexander of Empiria, to let her go to Knight School. Unfortunately, the king told her she couldn’t go—at least not until she went on a Quest of Kindness and performed eight good deeds.
So far, the princess had only completed one good deed—retrieving the Queen of Shmergermeister’s jewels from the evil ogre who had stolen them.
That left seven more deeds to go. Which Princess Pulverizer was sure she could accomplish—especially since she now had Lucas and Dribble to help her.
To an outsider, Dribble and Lucas probably didn’t seem like they would be very helpful. After all, Lucas was such a fraidy-cat, the other boys had nicknamed him Lucas the Lily-Livered and laughed him out of Knight School. And Dribble had been thrown out of his lair because the other dragons didn’t like that he used his fire for making grilled cheese sandwiches rather than burning villages.
But Lucas and Dribble were loyal.
And really willing to help.
They were just the kind of pals a girl trying to get into Knight School needed to have around.
“This place is boring,” Princess Pulverizer told her friends. She pulled a toothpick from her knapsack and used the thin sliver of wood to pick rye bread seeds out from between her teeth.
“I don’t think Lady Frump would have liked to see you doing that,” Dribble teased her.
Princess Pulverizer laughed. “Lady Frump didn’t like anything I did. I was her worst student ever.”
“But you’ll do great in Knight School,” Lucas assured her.
“I won’t get to go to Knight School if we don’t find someone who needs my help,” Princess Pulverizer told him. “I’m ready for a new adventure.”
“That makes one of us,” Lucas muttered under his breath.
“Aaaachooo!” Dribble sneezed again.
The dragon’s powerful sneeze blew the caterpillar right out of the tree and onto the ground. That poor guy was not having a good day at all.
“Come on!” Princess Pulverizer said as she started walking out of the forest.
Despite the fact that they weren’t looking for adventure, Dribble and Lucas followed close behind her.
Just as the princess knew they would.
After all, nobody argued with Princess Pulverizer.
Well, almost nobody, anyway.