“I will not marry you, Prince Abo. Go away.”
“You cannot stay in your tree forever, Princess Yasuko. You are of age now and our parents betrothed us to each other in our seventh year.”
“I don’t care. You are a pig. I will stay in the Empress Tree until I die if you don’t go away.”
“Oh my dear Yasuko. I have called the wood-cutter. Look, he approaches.”
It was true. Tradition required that once they were bonded by the arrangement of both their parents, Yasuko must marry Abo upon reaching her eighteenth year. She had been dreading this day since her Mother the Queen gave her the news eleven years ago.
She had grown up with Abo and knew him all too well. He was pampered and spoiled, demanded that his every whim be catered to immediately. Worse, he was cruel to animals, catching birds only to deprive them of their feathers and then freeing them in the courtyard as helpless prey for the cats.