“Princess Bala! Princess Bala! It’s me, Z, from the bar, remember?” I call, but she doesn’t seem to hear. I jump and wave my hands in the air, trying to get her attention. She still doesn’t notice me.
“Hey, you! Get back into position.” General Mandible commands, but I ignore him.
“Princess Bala, I have come to see you.” I wave again. Her head turns my way, and her eyes go wide. She has spotted me. I wave at her, but she just looks at me. I push past the soldiers to get closer to her.
“Soldier, get back into position!” General Mandible shouts again. I continue pushing past the soldiers. “Soldier, do you hear me? Get back into position, or there will be consequences.”
“Princess B-” I begin, but I am interrupted by General Mandible.
“Get him out!” he roars, “How dare you ignore my orders. You will expect a visit from me tomorrow morning, you are going to prison.”
Two soldiers appear at my sides, and carry me away by my arms.
I can’t believe Princess Bala didn’t even try to stop General Mandible. She obviously doesn’t feel the same about me as I feel about her. Weaver was right, what chance do I have with a princess? I am just a neurotic worker ant with a negative attitude.
Suddenly I remember something- the crazy old man at the bar. There is a better place, Insectopia. Head for the monolith! The streets are paved with food. His words echo in my head. It sounds better than prison…considerably better than prison. I just need to find a way to get past the guards at the entrance of the colony.
I pace up and down, trying to think of a way to distract them.
“Psst, Z,” someone whispers.
I stop pacing and squint at the dark corner of the room. My eyes can just make out a figure standing there. The figure steps into the light. “Princess Bala?” I gush in surprise.
“Shh, no one can know I’m here.” She says, “I am sorry about General Mandible, but you shouldn’t have come for me. I really like you, Z, but I’m getting married soon-”
“What? Married? To whom?” I interrupt.
“General Mandible, of course…”
“You like that guy?” I chide.
“No, but I don’t exactly have a choice, it’s my duty to the colony” She grimaces. “I would take any opportunity to get away, though.”
“Alright, I guess you should go back to General Mandible, then. He probably has the whole colony looking for you. I need to get out of this place before morning.”
She beams at me. “Take me with you!”
“Sorry, but it’s hard enough getting one person past the guards at the entrance, never mind the princess.”
“I can help! Please, I don’t want to get married to General Mandible.” She pleads.
I bite my lip, and say, “Alright, fine, let’s do this!”