The princess went into the sacred pool and disappeared beneath the murky water.
The priests held their collective breaths. The animal companion selected by the princess would be both a protector and an augur of her expected reign. She emerged a few minutes later, carrying a baby crocodile in both hands.
The priests gasped. It was an albino with bone-white scales and red eyes and markings. Such a beast was a portent of great change, for good or ill. Only time would tell which was coming.
“This is Mister Chompers,” the princess said. “I shall protect him with my life.”

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