This issue is adapted from a story by Anthony Hope Hawkins and feels very much like a stand alone story!
This issue is adapted from a story by Anthony Hope Hawkins and feels very much like a stand alone story!
On a hot day in the tiny country of Daldonia Diana Prince stops off at an out door cafe after a hectic morning of sight seeing. As she sits down at a table rubbing her sore feet the waiter comes over. As soon as he sees her he becomes very flustered and hurries away with her order.
Diana wonders what he is so nervous about and notices that the excited waiter is gesturing frantically to the proprietor who in turn stares at Diana too! The Amazon Princess is perplexed by the reaction she is causing and wonders if she has done something wrong and broken a local custom or something.
Soon the waiter returns with her drink, bowing to her before placing it on the table. He tells her there is no charge as it is with the compliments of the management. She thanks him and wonders why he seems to act as if he knows her. As she sips her drink and ponders her “royal treatment” a car pulls up and several armed thugs disembark. One of them grabs Diana roughly as the rest train guns on the other customers. He drags her backwards towards the car and she reacts instinctively, throwing him over her shoulder before laying into the other stunned gang members. Soon they are laying in a daze on the floor as she trains one of their own weapons on them.
A police car screeches to a halt outside the cafe and as the police captain demands to know what is going on he sees Diana and salutes, apologising for his abruptness. He ushers her into the police car saying that they must get her back to the palace and tell General Rudolph, her uncle, about the attempted kidnap. She tries to explain that there must be some mistake but they are soon racing off up the road as the other officers take the gang into custody.
In the car the police captain tells her that she was not supposed to leave the palace alone and she realises she has obviously been mistaken for some member of the royal family! Soon they arrive at the palace and Diana is quickly escorted up the stairs and inside the grand building. She attempts to explain again but the agitated police captain pays no attention as he rushes her through the palace.
Finally they arrive in a study where a grey haired man bedecked in military attire awaits them. The police captain tells General Rudolph that the princess is safe but there had been an attempt to kidnap her. Rudolph tells Diana, who he mistakes for Princess Fabiola, that she had been told to never leave the palace unless accompanied by his men. What happened today could have turned out so much more tragically for her.
Suddenly he hears a girl’s voice behind him say “Were you speaking to me, Uncle Rudolph” and he turns to see the real Princess Fabiola standing there! Both he, Diana and the police captain are amazed at the striking similarity between the princess and the Amazon. A smiling Diana tells them that she had been trying to tell them all along that she was not who they thought she was! An amazed Fabiola tells Diana that they could be twins and the Amazon realises why she had been the subject of so much attention at the cafe…
Meanwhile in another part of the palace a shadowy figure is speaking on the phone. They are told that the kidnap attempt had failed and that the gang had been captured. The figure says that the gang members must be silenced and that one of the guards at the prison will help. They then instruct the caller to come to the palace at midnight and the door in the North Wall will be left unlocked for them. The Princess must be taken tonight! They cannot afford to fail because her wedding is in two days time. The figure adds that they will put something in Fabiola’s food to make her feel ill and retire to bed early. Once she has been nabbed she should be taken to the secret room and left there…
Back in the Drawing Room Fabiola and Diana are getting to know each other. The Amazon learns about Fabiola’s wedding to be held soon and she jokes that Fabiola’s new husband would be able to tell the difference between them for sure. Just then there is a knock at the door and General Rudolph ushers Diana into another room so that she and Fabiola will not be seen together, as it could cause “all manner of complications”. He then instructs Fabiola to pretend it had been her who had nearly been kidnapped that afternoon.
The door opens and Cousin Helmut and Freida enter the room. They tell Fabiola that they had heard about the “terrible experience” she had suffered earlier and wanted to check she was alright. She replies that she is a little shaken but otherwise fine. Rudolph adds that the Princess needs some rest and the two cousins bow before making their exit. As he watches them leave Rudolph thinks to himself that he very much doubts they were glad to see that Fabiola was safe and sound…because being the next in line to the throne they would be rulers of Daldonia!
Keeping his thoughts to himself though the general checks on Diana in the other room and asks her a favour. He requests that she stays in the palace a few days longer until after the wedding as he has a strange premonition she may be needed. She agrees but asks what happens if anyone sees her. He assures her that only the ones he trusts will know she is here and they will see to her every want. He tells her he must go and join Fabiola for dinner but will arrange for Diana’s meal to be sent up to her.
A few minutes later as the General enters the dining room though he finds the guests crowded around Fabiola at the head of the table. He asks what the matter is and is told that the Princess feels unwell. As he checks on her the girl faints and he takes her up to her room, ordering the watching guests to call the court physician. Soon Fabiola is resting quietly in her bed as the doctor diagnoses a case of pre wedding nerves. He tells Rudolph that he has given her a sedative to sleep and as the doctor leaves, the general muses to himself that he hopes it really is a case of nerves and not something more sinister. He chastises himself though, thinking that nobody would dare try anything here in the palace itself. He then wishes Fabiola sweet dreams before leaving her in her slumbers.
A few hours later however a gate is left unlocked and a masked figure sneaks into the palace grounds. Slipping quietly through the sleeping palace they are led by the shadowy figure to Fabiola’s bedroom…
Next morning General Rudolph is making his usual morning rounds when he passes the Princess’s room. He sees the housemaid, Helga, rushing out in a panic and is told that Fabiola is gone! Rushing into the bedroom he realises he has underestimated his opponent and tells Helga to mention nothing of this to anyone else, reassuring her that they will have Fabiola back in time for the wedding before anybody notices she is missing.
Soon the general is in conference with the police captain, saying that he has a plan. They need time to locate Fabiola and Diana may be their chance to win that time. Diana is secretly summoned and told about Fabiola’s kidnap. Rudolph explains that his men are searching the palace high and low but nobody must suspect the Princess is missing. He realises it is a gamble but he asks Diana to play the role of Fabiola!
She replies that she will never get away with it. He replies that they cannot let the throne fall into the hands of Helmut’s family. They will plunder and rob and finally destroy this country and its people. Diana must help them to stop that! She says that she might make any number of mistakes that give her away. Surely that would be worse than the people finding out that Fabiola is gone and that an impostor is taking her place. He reassures her that he will be at her side every moment. He will see to it that she does not make a mistake and if she does he will cover for her.
Diana ponders for a moment and finally agrees to the plan. Soon she is dressed in a royal gown and is standing with General Rudolph at her side, mingling with guests. The doorman announces the arrival of Prince Rupert and Diana whispers into Rudolph’s ear, asking who the dashing young man is. The general replies that Prince Rupert is who Fabiola is supposed to be marrying!
Striding up the stairs she sees how handsome the Prince is and the Amazon Princess muses to herself that Fabiola is a lucky bride! As Prince Rupert leans forward and lovingly kisses her he suddenly stiffens. Whispering in her ear so nobody else can hear he says “You are not Fabiola are you?”. She whispers back that she can explain everything and to act naturally until she and the general can speak to him in private.
Linking arms with Prince Rupert and General Rudolph, Diana leads them to the library and away from the guests. There the prince hears about the recent events and agrees with the plan. He adds though that while he can go along with the impersonation for now, what about the wedding the following day? What if they do not find Fabiola in time? Rudolph replies that they will ask Diana to some to their aid again for the good of Daldonia. A shocked Diana responds that she cannot marry the prince as she is a commoner. General Rudolph tells her that it is too late to turn back now. Everyone has seen her and believes she is Fabiola. Even if they do not find Fabiola before the ceremony begins, once Diana and Rupert are married the plotters’ plans will have failed. Then they will release Fabiola who will be of no further use to them. Then, with complete discretion and secrecy, all will be resolved correctly.
Meanwhile in a secret room inside the palace the shadowy figure tells the bound Fabiola that it is so amazing how alike Diana and Fabiola are, that it is impossible to tell which is which. As they cannot be sure there is only one real way to solve the issue – both the girls must die! First they will kill the one at the wedding and then they will take care of her.
Back in the library an anxious Diana listens as Rudolph answers call after call from his men, telling him that they have found no trace of the Princess. Hours go by and still no joy and the general tries to reassure the Amazon that they will have found Fabiola by the morning.
That night Diana tries to sleep and after some fitful tossing and turning she dozes off. After what seems like only a few minutes though she is awoken by Helga the house maid at her door. Diana asks her what the matter is and is shocked when Helga says it is morning! Time has sped by so quickly!
More women enter her bedroom carrying boxes containing her wedding outfit and soon Diana is admiring her gown in the mirror. Rudolph then enters and tells her it is time. Her hand resting on the General’s arm, Diana slowly descends the great main staircase to the palace chapel. Inside, the entire court and the honour guard await them as Diana walks up the aisle.
Suddenly the swords of two of the guardsmen, a moment before held in a respectful salute to their Princess, rise and with a yell of hate swoop towards Diana! The Amazon Princess thanks the gods for this break as she dodges the attack. In the panic that follows, one of the traitorous guards shoves the general aside and lunges at Diana. She blinds him momentarily with her bridal bouquet before taking him down with a swift karate chop. As the general and the prince grab the other would be assassin, a third guard appears on the scene. The masked guard opens fire with a pistol but Diana’s lightning reflexes save her. As her attacker turns and runs amid a volley of shots from the general’s men, Diana decides to give chase.
Although hampered in her pursuit by her flowing wedding gown she still manages to keep the assassin in her sights. Down seemingly endless passages she chases her foe deep into the depths of the palace, dodging the occasional shot aimed her way. Suddenly as she rounds a corner she spots a boot disappearing into the darkness of a secret opening in the wall. Running her fingers along the scrollwork of the panel she finds a switch and the panel swings open. She steps into a torch lit stone walled tunnel and as she enters the room at the end, a shadow on the wall warns her of imminent danger.
Her hand instinctively darts to the wall grabbing one of the ornamental sabers hanging there. Just in time she parries a blow from her attacker’s sword and they proceed to fight. As the duel continues Diana notices Fabiola bound in the corner. Again Diana’s wedding gown interferes but this time instead of hampering her it trips her, saving her life as another blow from her opponent’s sword just misses her head and shatters on the stone floor. With her own sword now trained on the assassin she removes the mask to reveal cousin Freida! Freida spits that if it had not been for Diana she would have been queen and Fabiola would be dead!
Diana unties Fabiola and uses the rope to bind Freida. She and Fabiola then quickly swap clothes and soon a beaming Prince Rupert and the real Princess Fabiola, in a slightly disheveled gown, are once again walking down the aisle! The wedding proceeds without a hitch while Diana watches unseen from the balcony above. She ponders what it might have been like to be a queen but she is sure that the general would never have actually made her go through with the ceremony. Surely?
Some time later General Rudolph thanks Diana in private and passes on the gratitude of Prince Rupert and Princess Fabiola too. He says that Freida has been banished for life from Daldonia and Helmut, although knowing nothing of his wife’s scheming, has gone with her. Later, under the cover of darkness, Diana is secretly escorted out of the palace.
Next morning Diana’s flight arrives back in America and she is greeted by the smiling faces of I Ching and Cathy. As they take a cab home I Ching asks if her trip had gone well. Diana replies that she had enjoyed it immensely but is glad to be home. She muses to herself that if she tells them she had almost become a queen they would never believe her!