“Are you sure she’s the one?” Abenaleb asked.
“She is,” answered Geormongio. “She is the one they call Rose Gamgee.”
“She can’t be. King Sadenious called her Rosa. And he said her name was Cotton.”
“Her name was Cotton. But that was before she married the one called Samwise. Now don’t talk anymore or you will wake them.” Geormongio silently picked up Rosie while Abenaleb stuffed a cloth into her mouth. They tied her hands and feet, slipped her into a bag, and crept silently out of Bag End.
“Mr. Frodo! Mr. Frodo!” Sam yelled.
“Sam, calm yourself. What’s the matter?” Frodo said.
“Oh Mr. Frodo, Rosie has left me.”
“What?! But Rosie has been the most devoted wife.”
“I know, but she’s left me. There’re no more explanations.”
“She could be at the market.”
“I’ve been there and talked with all the merchants. No one has seen her.”
“The Green Dragon,” Frodo suggested. Sam shook his head.
“Have you checked with the Cottons?”
Frodo thought for a minute. “Why Sam, we have been such fools! Why would she leave you and not take Elanor?”
“You’re right, Mr. Frodo. She would take Elanor with her if she left me.”
Frodo smiled. Sometimes Sam had these moments when he acted like the hobbit he had been before they went on the quest. He wished he could have those moments.
“That’s right, Sam. Rosie’s probably visiting her parents and she’ll be back before second breakfast.”
Sam smiled but his face fell again. “Mr. Frodo, if she were visiting her parents, she would’ve taken Elanor.”
Rosie awoke to the sound of a harp. She could smell something sweet in the air. Someone was running a brush gently through her hair. She was enjoying this, but something wasn’t quite right. Rosie reached out to touch a sweet face on the pillow beside her, but the only thing her fingers found was a silken pillow. Her eyes flew open.
“Ah Lady Rosa, you’re awake.” Rosie looked up to see several young women tending her.
“What am I doing here?” she asked shakily.
“My lady, you are in Zebadin. King Sadenious has taken a fancy to you. He hopes you will become his queen.” one young women said.
“I don’t want to be anybody’s queen! Where’s my Sam?”
“Oh, he is not here. They left him in your land. But do not worry. You will be King Sadenious’s queen and he will give you everything your heart desires.”
“I don’t want everything my heart desires; I want my Sam.” Rosie started to get out of the bed when she noticed her feet. All the hair was gone and her toenails had been painted a bright pink. She screamed and fainted.
“I’m sorry, Sam, but Rosie has not been here,” Mrs. Cotton said as she poured some tea.
“You say the last time you saw Rosie was when you went to sleep?” Mr. Cotton asked.
“Oh Tom, Rosie wouldn’t run away. And she wouldn’t leave the baby if she did.” Mrs. Cotton said.
“I know she wouldn’t. I was just trying to see what happened.
Jolly Cotton entered with a young hobbit. “This young lad thinks he knows something about Rosie’s disappearence.”
“What’s your name, lad?” Mr. Cotton asked.
“Matty Proudfoot, sir,” the lad replied shakily.
“Do you know something about where my wife is?” Sam asked.
“Well Mr. Gamgee, I was playing with my marbles yesterday when two Big-folk came up to me. One asked if I knew where Rosa Cotton lived. ‘Oh you mean Rosie Cotton, only she’s Rosie Gamgee now,” I said. They looked at me for a little while, then the one that spoke to me gave a description of Mrs. Gamgee. ‘That’s Rosie Gamgee,’ I said. They asked me where she lived. ‘She lives in Bag End.’ They asked where it was. ‘Oh it’s only the finest hobbit-hole in the Shire; you can’t miss it.” They said, ‘thank you,’ and rode away.”
“Did they say what they wanted?”
Sam sat back, pondering this. “Rosie has been kidnapped,” he said quietly. “Matty, those riders, could you see their faces?”
“Oh yes sir. I could describe them if you like.”
“Please. Mrs. Cotton, would you write this down?” Matty gave a thorough description of the two men.
“I think I will have to go on another quest. Mr. Frodo, will you come with me?”
“At your side.”
“We’ll see if Merry and Pippin will come too. Mrs. Cotton, will you take care of Elanor?”
“We’ll leave first thing tomorrow morning.”
“There now, Lady Rosa. I guess that was a little bit of a shock for you.”
“The hair on my feet is gone.”
“Now it’s just one thing. It will grow back. Now let’s get you dressed to see the king.” The maid helped Rosie out of bed and led her to a dressing room.
“What is your name?” Rosie asked.
“Thank you.” Myria motioned for Rosie to sit down.
“We have made many dresses for you, Rosa. We shall bring one out at a time and you can pick the one you want to wear.” Rosie’s eyes grew wide as the colorful parade swirled around her.
“That one.” It was a beautiful shade of pale green. A green like Goldberry would wear.
“Oh, a good choice,” Myria said.
They helped Rosie into the dress. It was the most beautiful thing Rosie had ever worn in her life. The maids slipped silver and mithril jewelry on her. “Not too much,” Rosie said. They sprayed perfume on her. Rosie closed her eyes and breathed in the scent. Roses, her namesake.
“She is ready,” Myria said.
Four guards helped her into a litter. Rosie’s eyes took in the wonders of this place she was living in. So many sights and sounds. Where was she?
The litter halted in the throne room. The guards helped her out of the litter. Rosie saw the king. “How young!” she thought. The king about twenty-five. His fair hair fell around his head like a crown. His clear blue eyes glistened when he saw her.
Rosie curtsied before him. “King Sadenious,” she whispered. Sadenious stood up. He cupped her chin and raised her up.
“Saden,” he whispered.
“I know that your name in your homeland is Rosie, but may I call you Rosa.”
“Yes.” Saden bent down and kissed both her cheeks.
“I love you, Rosa. Will you marry me.”
“Let me think about it, Saden.” Rosie said tenderly. “Oh Sam come quickly,” she thought.