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Very, very slowly, Ashley opened the thick, light pink envelope.
"Let me do it," I begged. The excitement was killing me. I reached for the envelope. It was addressed to the two of us.
"No way, Mary-Kate!" my twin sister answered. "You'll rip it. And I want the royal seal for our scrapbook."
I couldn't wait. I jumped up from my seat and raced around to the other side of the kitchen table. "Hurry, hurry, hurry!" I chanted. But Ashley didn't speed up at all!
Sometimes I can't believe how different Ashley and I are. We look exactly the samesame blond hair and blue eyes, same nose, same mouth. But in some ways we're re total opposites. For example, I'm an envelope ripper. Ashley is a non-ripper. She puts her pinkie finger under the envelope flap. Then she carefully, carefully pulls the flap away from the rest of the envelope.
Finally, Ashley got the envelope open. She pulled out a darker pink card. It had gold trim all the way around it.
"What does it say?" I cried.
"You're not going to believe this!" Ashley answered. She read out loud: "'Princess Glorianna of Pomeroy requests the honor of your presence at her Friends of All Nations Ball on May twelfth at eight o'clock. The Marsdon Mansion, Old River, Georgia. Formal dress. RSVP.'"
"Princess Glorianna. Wow!" I breathed."I've seen her on TV. I can't believe she invited us to her ball!"
"I know!" Ashley cried. "A real princess! She's only thirteen, but she's so amazing. She travels all over the world and meets famous people."
"Mary-Kate! Ashley! I'm home," our mothercalled. A moment later she stepped into the kitchen. She held two boxes in her arms. "These are for you," she told, us.
"What are they?" I asked.
"You'll have to open them and see," our mom answered. "I'm just the delivery person. They were on the front porch."
I grabbed the one with my name on it. I had it open in about two seconds. "Oh, Wow!" I gasped.Inside was the most beautiful dress I'd ever seen. It was one of those long ones that go all the way to the floor. It was maroon satin and velvet, with tiny pearls around the neck and hem.
"My goodness, who would send you something like that?" our mother asked.
"Princess Glorianna!" Ashley answered. She pulled out a matching dress in green.
"The Princess Glorianna?" our mother repeated. "Why would she send you dresses? We don't even know her."
"She invited us to a fancy ball," Ashley explained. "And she guessed our sizes perfectly," she added, holding up her dress.
"I bet she invited the whole family," I added. "You got an envelope with a royal seal, too." I picked up the envelope from the kitchen table and handed it to her.
Mom's a ripper, like me. She had the envelope open in a flash. "There are plane tickets to Georgia for the whole family in here," she told us. "It says that Princess Glorianna is giving a special ball for fifty outstanding kids from all over the United States. You two were chosen for your great detective work."
"All right!" I exclaimed. Ashley and Islapped a high five. We run our own detective agency, Olsen and Olsen, out of our house. Our dog, Clue, helps us.
"You'll stay at the mansion for the whole weekend," our mom continued. "The rest, of us will be staying at a hotel at the Red Balloons amusement park, nearby."
Ashley blinked and shook her head. "Am I dreaming?" she asked.
"We'll have to get you some gloves. And new shoes," our mom told us. "And you'll have to learn how to curtsy. It's not every day you get introduced to royalty."
Ashley and I grinned at each other. I could hardly believe this was happening. We, the Trenchcoat Twins, were going to meet a real, live princess!
Three weeks later, Ashley and I stoodinside Marsdon Mansion. We were at the end of a long line of kids, all waiting to meet the princess.
"Can you see her yet?" Ashley asked.
"No," I replied. "There are too many kids in front of us."
"Isn't the mansion amazing?" Ashley looked around the huge drawing room.
"Look at that statue of Glorianna, " I said.
"It's made of ice. Isn't that cool Ashley asked.
I giggled as the line moved forward. "Ice is always cool, Ashley," I told her. She cracked up.
A girl with dark brown hair turned around and smiled at us. "I'm so nervous about meeting the princess," she said.
A waiter glided up to us. He balanced a silver tray on one hand. "Would you ladies care for a cucumber sandwich?" he asked.
Each of us took one. The waiter glided away.
"I've never had a cucumber sandwich, the dark-haired girl confided.
"Neither have we," Ashley said. "But they sure are awfully yummy!"
The line inched forward again. The girl moved up. Ashley and I followed her. I did a quick count. There were only twelve people ahead of us now. We were almost there!
The dark-haired girl turned back to us."I'm Jen Diaz, by the way. Chess champ."
"I'm Ashley Olsen. And this is my sister, Mary-Kate. We're detectives," Ashley added.
We all took three steps forward. There were only six people ahead of us now. I was starting to feel a little nervous myself. I grabbed Ashley's hand and squeezed hard. We were about to meet the princess!
The waiter glided up again. "Would any of you care for a frosted chocolate cookie?"
I decided not-to take a cookie. I didn't want to do my curtsy covered in chocolate crumbs!