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Gambling on an Amphibian
We fell into Vegas, year 2008, in the middle of a sizzling sidewalk. Nobody seemed to notice us, thankfully, because I had no time to answer questions. Tumbling out of the timeline of life always leaves one a little befuddled, and I didn't have the patience to deal with meddlesome strangers.
Focus. I breathed. Focus. The frog. You want the frog.
I steadied myself, brushing the dust off my flowing gown, but the heat pulsed impatiently at my skin and coated my lace pantalets. I narrowed my eyes, searching between the legs that swished hurriedly by for a glimpse of green.
"You!" My hands were clenched into white-knuckled fists as I spoke to my unfortunate companion, who stood unhelpfully behind me. "It's your fault that we're here. If I die of heatstroke, I'm blaming you."
"Oh, be quiet, will you?" replied the butler wearily. "It's your fault for being so pernickety."
"I was not being pernickety!" I stamped my foot, but immediately regretted it. Medieval shoes were not made to be stamped, and they pinched my toes vindictively. "Honestly. Father's going to be angry, you know."
The butler rolled his eyes. "Master Edward doesn't ever get angry with me."
"Which leaves me to be angry at, of course!" I paused, still not looking back at the butler. Where would a frog go, in the middle of a city? The people were moving so quickly in their suits and revealing dresses that I couldn't concentrate. Focus. "Frog! Oh, sir Frog!"
The butler snorted. "People are staring, miss."
I saw the mocking looks they tossed at me, heard them whispering, "It must be an improv act! Look at what she's wearing..."
I flared up, turning to give them a piece of my mind. "I'll have you know, this is the highest fashion in the kingdom of – "
The butler interrupted me with a nervous laugh, clapping his hand over my mouth. "Remember, we have a task at hand..." We continued down the sidewalks, searching, searching. "Please remember that you draw attention, miss."
"Oh, I don't mind! I'm more worried about what Father will do to me. It's not everyday that I'm allowed to time-travel, and he gets absolutely furious if I sneak into the future too often."
"And," added the butler calmly, "you don't want to anger a magician."
"Don't remind me!" I pleaded. I stopped a guards-man who stood eating outside a box-like building (not to complain, of course, but I do prefer our turrets). "Kind sir, have you seen a frog around here?"
The guards-man choked on his roll, staring with confusion at my headdress and outfit. "Frog? In the middle of Vegas? Good luck, lady..."
The butler and I navigated a few more streets. My anxiety increased steadily. We passed a noisy fountain, and I jumped from its watery line of fire.
"Why!" I wailed, glaring at the butler and patting desperately at the new water stains on my dress, "Why did you have to invite him in? Everything was perfect – I even dressed for the occasion!"
"What, you would have done it by a murky lake? You'd probably end up swallowing a fly! Besides, it's not my fault he leaped right into the fountain of time."
"He didn't know it was a fountain of time!" I said desperately. "He's a frog! Frogs. Like. Water!"
"Well, I was – "
Then came my moment of sheer lucidity and utter perspicacity. "I know where he is!" I shrieked, grabbing the surprised butler by his hand. "Frog!" I called, pushing alarmed tourists from my path.
This time, I headed straight for the fountain, clambering in and searching the clear waters. There he was, a dart of green.
I caught the frog up in my arms. "You're not escaping me, oh no, you're not," I grimaced. I patted my hair where a tiara would soon lie and puckered up. "Make me a princess."