The words had been said; the question, at last, had been asked.

We first go back in time a moment, to when Mig was still convinced that all her dreams could come true.

“Maybe,” said Mig, “before I lock her up, her and me could switch outfits, so we could start already with her being me and me being a princess.”

“Oh, yes,” said Roscuro. “Certainly. A wonderful idea, Miss Miggery. Princess, take off your crown and give it to the serving girl.”

The Pea sighed and took off her crown and handed it to Mig, and Mig put it on and it slid immediately right down her small head and came to rest, quite painfully, on her poor abused ears. “It’s a biggish thing,” she said, “and painful-like.”

“Well, well,” said Roscuro.

“How do I look?” said Mig, smiling at him.

“Ridiculous,” he said. “Laughable.”

Mig stood blinking back tears. “You mean I don’t look like a princess?”

“I mean,” said Roscuro, “you will never look like a princess, no matter how big a crown you put on your tiny head. You look exactly like the fool you are and always will be. Now, make yourself useful and chain the princess up. Dress-up time is over.

Roscuro may not be an inherently evil person, but he is still a product of his culture. Tormenting people is just par for the course in the dungeon – but he may have overplayed his hand here. He still needs Mig to help enact his vengeance, even if they are on his turf at this point.

“And now, Princess,” he said, “I’m afraid that the time for your truth has arrived. I will now tell you what your future holds. As you consigned me to darkness, so I consign you, too, to a life spent in the dungeon.”

Mig looked up. “Ain’t she going upstairs to be a serving maid?”

“No,” said Roscuro.

“Ain’t I going to be a princess, then?”

“No,” said Roscuro.

“But I want to be a princess.”

“No one,” said Roscuro, “cares what you want.”

As you know, reader, Miggery Sow had heard this sentiment expressed many times in her short life. But now, in the dungeon, it hit her full force: The rat was right. No one cared what she wanted. No one had ever cared. And perhaps, worst of all, no one ever would care.

“I want!” cried Mig.

“Shhhh,” said the princess.

“Shut up,” said the rat.

“I want . . . ,” sobbed Mig. “I want . . . I want . . .”

At first, the princess tries to calm her down, until she realizes how desperately Mig wants for something. Then she asks the titular question.

“What do you want, Miggery Sow?!” the princess shouted.

“Don’t ask her that!” said Roscuro. “Shut up. Shut up.”

But it was too late. The words had been said; the question, at last, had been asked. The world stopped spinning and all of creation held its breath, waiting to hear what it was Miggery Sow wanted.

“I want . . . ,” said Mig.

“Yes?” shouted the Pea.

“I want my ma!” cried Mig, into the silent, waiting world. “I want my ma!”

“Oh,” said the princess. She held out her hand to Mig.

Mig took hold of it.

“I want my mother, too,” said the princess softly. And she squeezed Mig’s hand.

Naturally, Mig finally rebels – but as Roscuro points out, they’re still at his mercy in the dungeon, and he doesn’t intend to give up on his vengeance so easily. Hence, they remain at an impasse.

And so, the rat and the princess and the serving girl sat together in the dungeon as, outside, the sun rose and moved through the sky and sank to the earth again and night fell. They sat together until the candle had burned out and another one had to be lit. They sat together in the dungeon. They sat. And sat.

And, reader, truthfully, they might be sitting there still, if a mouse had not arrived.

Until next time…


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