Series: The Pony-Mad Princess: Book 8
By Diana Kimpton
Princess Ellie and the Palace Plot
“Come on, Angel,” said Princess Ellie, patting the skewbald foal’s brown and white neck. Angel’s tiny hooves crunched on the gravel as she walked up the palace drive. Ellie was on one side of the foal and her best friend, Kate, was on the other.
Kate grinned. “She’s getting good at being led.” She held up the lead rope to show how slack it was. “Look! She’s not pulling at all.”
“We could try going faster,” suggested Ellie. “But that’s up to you. She’s your pony.”
Kate made a clicking noise with her tongue and started to run. Angel pricked up her ears, arched her neck and broke into a trot.
Suddenly, Ellie heard the sound of an engine. She looked round quickly and saw a bright red sports car racing up behind them. She waved at it to slow down.
To her annoyance, the driver just waved back. He didn’t adjust his speed at all. Ellie waved again, more urgently this time. Surely he could see Angel was only a foal. She wasn’t used to traffic.
But the driver still took no notice. He gave a long, loud blast on the car’s horn. Then he roared past, waving cheerfully. The wheels of the red car sent up a shower of gravel.
The combination of the noise, the speed and the stinging stones was too much for Angel. She jumped away from the bright red monster and nearly knocked Kate over. Then she threw herself backwards, pulling hard on the rope and trying to break free.
Ellie lunged forward and grabbed hold of Angel’s headcollar. “Steady, girl,” she said in a soothing voice. “It’s gone now.”
“There’s nothing to be frightened of,” added Kate, gently stroking the foal’s face.
Angel relaxed a little. She stopped trying to pull away, but she was obviously still scared. She was breathing fast, and her neck was damp with sweat.
There was no sign of the car now. It had sped away towards the palace and disappeared round a bend. Ellie glowered after it. “Silly fool! I wonder who he is.”
Kate looked thoughtful. “The guards at the gate let him in so he must be visiting someone at the palace.”
“That’s true,” replied Ellie. “But he obviously doesn’t know anything about horses or he wouldn’t have frightened Angel.”
Kate turned the foal towards the stables. “Let’s get out of the way quickly before he comes back.”
Meg, the palace groom, was sweeping the yard when they arrived. She stopped as soon as she saw them and asked, “How did Angel’s lesson go?” Then she listened with concern as Ellie and Kate described what had happened. “Thank goodness she wasn’t hurt,” she said, when they had finished.
“She could have been if she’d run away,” said Kate. “She was really scared.”
“But she’s calmed down now,” said Ellie. “Shall we turn her out in the field with Starlight?”
“That’s a good idea,” said Meg. “She’ll be pleased to be back with her mum.”
Starlight whinnied a welcome and trotted to the gate to meet her daughter. As soon as Kate had unfastened Angel’s headcollar, the two of them cantered side by side to their favourite spot in the shade of the oak tree. Starlight was the largest of Ellie’s five ponies but Angel’s spindly legs were so long that she could easily keep up with her mother.
The other four ponies were standing on the far side of the field, swishing their tails gently to keep the flies away. Shadow, the greedy Shetland, was the only one eating the grass. His best friend, Sundance, dozed beside him while Moonbeam and Rainbow stood side by side, watching Angel.
Suddenly a polite cough made Ellie jump and a deep voice said, “Excuse me, Princess Aurelia.”
She spun round and saw Higginbottom, the butler, standing behind her. She’d been so busy watching the ponies that she hadn’t heard his footsteps on the grass.
Higginbottom gave a deep bow. As usual he was wearing his black evening suit and white gloves. She had never seen him in any other clothes and she had never managed to persuade him to call her Ellie. Like everyone else at the palace, he insisted on calling her by her real name.
He straightened up and announced, “The King and Queen would like you to join them for tea in the parlour as soon as possible. The new royal designer has arrived and they want you to meet him.”
“Bother,” said Ellie. “Why now?” she thought. She hated having to miss time at the stables. “I was going to clean Starlight’s saddle before supper.”
“Never mind,” said Kate. “It can wait until tomorrow. And the royal designer might be interesting. I wonder what he’s going to design?”
“No one’s told me yet,” replied Ellie. She suddenly felt very keen to find out. But as she ran back to the palace, she remembered the horrid driver of the red sports car. “I hope he’s not the designer,” she thought. She’d already seen enough of that man for one day.
When designer Lord Leo arrives to give the palace a makeover, Ellie escapes to the stables to avoid all the fuss. Ellie soon discovers that there's something strange about Lord Leo, and she suspects there is more to his plans than meets the eye. Can her pony, Starlight, help Ellie uncover the palace plot?
Diana Kimpton has two passions - horses and writing. So it is no wonder that Diana creates brilliant pony stories, which demonstrate her own love and understanding of ponies. Diana also has a mischievous sense of fun, not unlike Princess Ellie! Diana has written a number of books and television scripts for children. She lives on the Isle of Wight, just a short walk from the sea.
Visit www.dianakimpton.co.uk to find out more.
“A heady cocktail of princesses, horses and mystery is enough to make any girl giddy. The text trots along with humour and enough horsey fact to hold the attention, while the lovely drawings help fit faces to story.”
“Full of authentic pony facts and sparkly princessy detail this series is sure to set the mind of any pony mad or aspiring pony mad child alight from around 6+.”
“A sparkling new series of books from Diana Kimpton all about ponies, adventure and being a princess - they're full of authentic details about riding and looking after horses, as well as Princess Ellie's palace life (which isn't always as fun as it might seem)!”
Pretty Pony Club Magazine