Title: Once Upon A Time
Author: Jos Mous
RATING: PG, I guess, although where I live it would be ‘Alle Leeftijden’ (All Ages). But since I don’t know the rating for that I’ll just stick with PG. Possibly R, since really prudish Americans would not take the subtle (and not so subtle) hints to the act of love very lightly.
PAIRING: Sam/Brooke; Nicole/Lily; Carmen/Misty
DISCLAIMER: None of these characters belong to me, I’m not making any profit out of this, blahblahblah. Oh… wait… that’s not _entirely_ true. Jessica and Cassandra belong to me, but since I can’t really think of anyone else who’d like to use them, this particular mention is rather pointless.
NOTE: Any likeness to other fairytales is completely coincidental. This has not been inspired by Sleeping Beauty in any way. This story looks nothing like Sleeping Beauty. And anyone saying otherwise is completely wrong.
Once upon a time there was land called P’p’l’r. And, as everyone may already know, it was ruled by the noble Lord Sam. And there was much rejoicing going on in P’p’l’r since Lord Sam’s wife, Lady Brooke, had delivered an heir to the throne. A pretty little baby they had named Jessica. And on this day Lord Sam held a large feast to celebrate the birth of Prince Jessica. And Lord Sam received much congratulations from the inhabitants, who said that Prince Jessica would surely grow up to be a dashing and noble young man. And Lord Sam merely shook hands and smiled politely. Needless to say, Lord Sam was used to her subjects.
At this large royal feast there were a few guests who caught the attention of everyone. One of them was of course the huge dragon Julian playing a game with her daughter, but that was not who I meant. Five fairies were sitting at an honorary table and were happily munching away on their chicken when one wearing a red gown burped, looked around and said:
"Say, isn’t it about time we start to put some spells on the Prince?"
Lord Sam, who knew how fairytales tended to work, quickly rushed to say. "No, no, that’s not necessary. My daughter is already truly blessed by… err… having such great career perspectives."
But the fairy in red laughed at this. Well, it should be described as laughing. The matter of the fact is, however, that if she had dressed in pink everyone would’ve mistaken her for a pig. Even pigs would have mistaken her for a rather fat and ugly member of their species. So after the red fairy had finished making sounds that probably passed for laughing she said: "Nonsense my Lord. It is custom for us to bless him with a beneficial spell."
"It’s the way things are done." The blue fairy added.
Lord Sam groaned. "Very well, get on with it."
Lady Brooke leaned over to her love and whispered: "Look at it from the bright side. At least now we can actually get some sleep when we’re going to bed."
The red fairy waggled over to the crib and leaned over. The young Prince Jessica, very understandably, started to cry. "Isn’t he a cute little thing?" The red fairy said, blocking away the howls that came from the crib, since royal babies were always happy to see a real fairy. "Now then," The red fairy said, reaching for her wand. "Let’s see, what could a good soon-to-be ruler need?"
"An unlimited number of psychiatrists to help her overcome her identity crisis if everyone keeps calling her a boy would be nice." Lord Sam muttered.
"I know." The red fairy said. "You will be blessed with mightily good looks and all the girls will swoon before you."
"Let’s hope she turns out to be gay." Lady Brooke muttered.
There was a little waving of the wand, a few cheap special effects and some strange voices singing a song about mightily good looks and swooning girls. Then the red fairy sat back at her table and started trying to push a whole roasted boar down her throat.
Then the blue fairy rose from her seat. Unlike her red friend she was rather skinny. There was a thin line where her mouth was supposed to be and everything about her just screamed ‘Math Teacher’. She too looked over the crib and Prince Jessica swiped at the pointed nose of the blue fairy, trying to make the horrible thing go away. The blue fairy smiled. A practice she was clearly not accustomed to.
"Then I shall grant you an analytical mind and a knack for difficult mathematical problems." The blue fairy said.
"You know… that might actually be a little useful." Lady Brooke said.
Once again a wand was waved, cheap special effects appeared and a corny song that went something like ‘If f(x) = 2x² + 6, then F(x) = 2/3x³ + 6x + c and f’(x) = 4x’ filled the throne room.
Then the third fairy stood up. She was rather scantily dressed in green and looked like one of those types who talk to trees and listen to grass. She was also a fanatic ‘meatarian’ since she thought that the habit of eating plants was the cruellest practice imaginable.
"From me you shall receive the gift of communication with nature." The green fairy said.
"What’re all those trees gonna say?" Lord Sam muttered. "‘I was kinda standing in this exact spot all day and I was planning to do the same tomorrow.’?"
There was more wand-waving, more effects and another lame song about the beautiful gifts nature had to offer, leaving out such things as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, viruses and vicious killer bunnies.
The green fairy sat back down at the table and every fairy suddenly started staring intently at the fairy dressed in black. The black fairy looked at her colleagues and groaned.
"Oh, come on. Can’t she be the evil fairy this time?" She said, pointing at the white fairy.
"Now, now, you know very well the black fairy is always the evil one." The red fairy said.
"It’s just the way things are done." The blue fairy added.
"I’m not even evil!" The black fairy shouted. "I just look good in black." And she did look good in black. Really good even.
The black fairy received some more stares. "OK, fine, I’ll be the bad girl again." The black fairy grumbled. She stood up and walked over towards the crib. "Next time I’m wearing yellow." She muttered.
The black fairy leaned over the crib and Prince Jessica, already an excellent judge of character, smiled and laughed at her.
"Oh, wait." The black fairy said, turning towards Lord Sam. "You need to insult me."
"What?" Lord Sam said. "Why?"
"Well, I can’t go around cursing people that haven’t insulted me yet." The black fairy said.
"Well, what if I don’t insult you and we can all be friends?" Lord Sam offered.
"Oh no, you can’t do that." The red fairy said.
"It’s just not the way things are done." The blue fairy added.
"Alright…" Lord Sam said. "How about… You strongly remind me of court mage Cherry?"
The face of the black fairy clouded for a moment. "No need to get _too_ insulting." She said.
"Sorry." Lord Sam hastily apologised. "I didn’t mean it."
"Well, no matter." The black fairy said. "It’s sufficient." She looked over at Prince Jessica again. "Now, I can’t curse him to death by stinging, since he’s not a girl." The black fairy looked thoughtful for a moment. "I suppose I’ll just have to go with him growing up with the love of his life and the moment he realises it she pricks herself on a cactus and dies."
Lord Sam and Lady Brooke quickly glanced over at the dragon girl Cassandra, who was sleeping peacefully in Julian’s arms.
The black fairy waved her wand and cheap special effects made yet another appearance. No cheesy song started, though. The fairies all looked thoughtful for a moment.
"Oh, I know!" The green fairy shouted. "You need to laugh evilly and then disappear in a cloud of smoke while the guards rush at you."
"Do I have to?" The black fairy whined.
"It’s the way things are done." The blue fairy said.
The black fairy grumbled some more and then sighed. She looked up, laughed evilly, and just as the rushing guards were about to grab her she disappeared in a puff of smoke.
The voices started singing a depressing song about death and cacti.
The doors to the throne room opened, the black fairy walked inside, she sat down on her chair and continued eating.
The white fairy rose dramatically and strode towards the crib. She leaned down in her most majestic fashion.
"Oh, what cruel faith has befallen the young Prince." The white fairy exclaimed.
Lord Sam and Lady Brooke rolled their eyes simultaneously.
"And I fear my magics have been weakened since I’ve eaten too much and am slightly nauseous." She made it sound like the end of the world. "But fear not, for I have enough power in me to lessen that vile being’s spell."
"Hey! I’m right here!" The black fairy shouted. "So stop insulting me, or I’ll have to curse you too." Then she thought about it for a moment. "Please, keep insulting me." She said.
The white fairy continued undisturbed. "When the fair maiden this young Prince will fall in love with pricks herself at a cactus she will not die, but…" The white fairy tried to think of something that didn’t include sleeping for a few centuries. "She will be transported to a small room at the top of a large white tower with only one small window." The white fairy looked thoughtful for a moment. "No, that doesn’t sound very right." She muttered, in a most undramatic-like fashion. "When she pricks herself at the cactus she will fall in love with the first person she sees, leaving the Prince devastated and heart-broken. But there is a cure for cactus-induced love and that’s…"
"Hold up!" The red fairy shouted. "You’re not allowed to give that away. The Prince will have to go searching for it, otherwise it wouldn’t be a proper story."
"Quite right." Said the white fairy. "But, fortunately for the young, grieving prince there is a cure to cactus-induced love, but unfortunately I do not know what it is and he will have to search the globe to find it."
"Much better." The red fairy said.
And with that all five fairies disappeared, leaving a room with stunned guests, one unimpressed dragon and two equally unimpressed rulers.
"I suppose I should order the destruction of every cactus in my realm now." Lord Sam said.
"Ah shall see to it that it happens, oh cactus-fearing one." Court mage Cherry said. She would not have said this, if it weren’t for the fact that the narrator is bound by contract to have her say at least one sentence each episode.
"My love…" Lady Brooke said out of curiosity. "What did you get cursed with when you were born?"
"Nothing special." Lord Sam said. "Just your basic ‘I die when I turn eighteen because I got pricked by a wasp’. You?"
"I would never find happiness with a man." Lady Brooke said. "So, I guess there is at least one other person besides us and Julian who knows that you’re really a Lady." She added smiling.
Lord Sam rose from her throne and made her way to the crib. The throne room was already empty since all the partying extras had become redundant and were nicely asked to leave. Lord Sam bent down and picked up Prince Jessica.
"Time to get you to bed." She said. "We’ll see what happens in the morning, alright?"
Prince Jessica didn’t hear her mother since she was already sleeping, oblivious to the heartbreaking terrors that lay ahead of her…
NOTE: Any likeness to other fairytales is completely coincidental. This has not been inspired by Sleeping Beauty in any way. This story looks nothing like Sleeping Beauty. And anyone saying otherwise is completely wrong.
Five years passed in the blink of an eye. This could have been due to the fact that in the five previous years nothing happened and/or because the narrator leaves the whole baby-raising to those who can actually write that. So there Prince Jessica was, five years old and developing in what could be another nice addition to the ever expanded P'p'l'r universe. Because of the heinous curse the black fairy had cast on her Prince Jessica had never seen a cactus in her life. But, there were tongues who claimed that cacti thrive in deserts and other hot climates, and that the nice North-Western Europe climate which the realm of P'p'l'r had was not a suitable place for cacti. But, for the sake of the story, let us pretend Prince Jessica had never seen a cactus since her mother had ordered them all to be destroyed.
Currently Prince Jessica was sitting inside a small room located at the top of the highest tower of the Palace. The room belonged to court mage Cherry and Prince Jessica often came here to listen to her stories or look at all those books with pictures in them. She also came here when she wanted to work in quiet on a mathematical problem she had posed herself. While Prince Jessica was not capable of reading and writing words yet, she was more than able to solve any mathematical challenge posed to her. So here she was, writing down the exact number that other humans had come to known and fear as 'pi' and being quite happy in court mage Cherry's currently empty room. Well, the room wasn't _completely_ empty. In a corner of the room stood a fern Prince Jessica always ignored. She didn't think the fern was very nice since it always kept complaining about not getting enough light and the smell of incense constantly hanging in the air.
Just as Prince Jessica was about to write down the final number and solve the one question scientists all over the worlds had pondered over for aeons, the door opened and court mage Cherry stepped inside. Prince Jessica quickly left her piles of paper and walked over to her. She liked court mage Cherry. Sure, she could be a little odd sometimes, but she was nice.
"Hello Cherry." Prince Jessica greeted.
"Well hello there." Court mage Cherry said. "What good timing. Ah have been meaning tah show you something."
In the fashion of all five-year olds, Prince Jessica clapped her hands and said: "Ooh, what is it?"
Court mage Cherry rummaged around in her bottomless bag and took out a crystal ball. "It's mah new crystal ball." Court mage Cherry said. "Ah bought it yesterday at Precognition'R'Us."
"Wow." Prince Jessica said, with just enough awe in her voice to keep court mage Cherry talking.
Court mage Cherry walked over to the table, wiped 'pi' off the table and put the crystal ball on a special holder. Prince Jessica noted that it looked just like the world. An orb balanced on the backs of five wolves, who in turn stood on the back of the giant turtle J'Nubis, who slowly made his way through space in search of other turtles just like himself.
"Could you tell my future?" Prince Jessica asked.
"Of course Ah can." Court mage Cherry said. "I suppose you want to know all about your potential love interest, don't you?"
"Well…" Prince Jessica said hesitantly. "Not really."
"Splendid!" Court mage Cherry said. "Let's see…" The mage stared intently at the crystal ball. "Ah see… scales…"
"Scales?" Prince Jessica asked. "As in… fish?"
"White scales." Court mage Cherry continued. "And also black hair."
"A fish with black hair?" Prince Jessica asked sceptically. "Isn't that going to be a rather difficult romance?" Prince Jessica didn't know a lot of 'romance', but she knew it was going to be difficult if she lived on land and the other person lived in water. Prince Jessica didn't automatically think about the other as a 'he'. Having two moms will do that to a person.
"Ah see what Ah see." Court mage Cherry said. "But perhaps you will be lucky enough to meet some merfolk."
"That's still fish, right?"
"Well… yeah." Court mage Cherry said. "But they sure are tasty looking merfolk."
"Oh…" Prince Jessica said. "Well, I'd better get going. I don't really have any specific reason, but I just think it's a good idea."
"Well, off you go then." Court mage Cherry said.
Court mage Cherry waited patiently until the door slammed shut again before turning her attention back to the crystal ball. She changed the channel from 'future' to 'past' in order to catch a 'Xena' rerun.
She also grabbed a handkerchief, because previous experience had made her aware of the fact that she had to wipe some drool of her ball when the show was over.
Prince Jessica happily bounded down the stairs when she ran into Cassandra, the daughter of Lily and Julian. The two of them got along perfectly, which was very convenient since they were the only two kids in the Palace and so they tended to have a lot of fun together.
"Hey." Cassandra greeted.
"Hi." Jessica greeted back.
"You at Cherry's again?" Cassandra asked.
"Yep." Jessica answered.
"Anything interesting happen?" Cassandra asked, while the two of them started slowly descending the stairs again.
"Well… She did predict that I would fall in love with a white fish."
"Really?" Cassandra said, never surprised about anything that could come out of Cherry's mouth. "Weird."
This might be a good time to describe how the two girls looked. Prince Jessica was your basic five-year old. She had blonde hair, clear blue eyes and already it was obvious she would one day be a very beautiful woman. Cassandra on the other hand had a more… exotic… beauty. She had inherited Julian's eyes (meaning: they were completely and utterly red), but apart from that looked human enough. Only the white scales that covered parts of her body (including face, arms and legs) and her slowly growing tail and wings were other indications that she wasn't entirely human. Her hair was completely black, giving a nice contrast to the white scales. She too would be beautiful when she would grow up, although not many would probably be able to see it.
"Hey, wanna go play hide and seek?" Prince Jessica offered.
"Sure." Cassandra said. "You're it!" She yelled before rushing down the stairs.
Prince Jessica screamed with delight for a moment before she followed.
Meanwhile, somewhere above the realm of P'p'l'r, there flew a bird. This was not very special since lots of birds occasionally occupied P'p'l'r airspace. What was different about this bird was that it had come here from the desert. During its stay in the desert it had tried to eat a seed, but it had proved to be very persistent and the bird was still trying to swallow it. After a while the bird decided to give up and let the seed drop out of its beak.
The cactus seed fell and fell and landed in the garden of the Palace…
NOTE: Don't worry (or worry, it depends I suppose) this Lord Sam multi-part is _not_ going to be as long as the others. I hope.
Lord Sam looked out some random window, down at the courtyard. There she could see her daughter practising her archery skills along with priest-and-temporary-trainer Glass. A few minutes passed when Lord Sam could simply feel the presence of her wife nearby.
"What are you looking at?" Lady Brooke asked.
"Our daughter." Lord Sam simply answered.
"What is she doing?" Lady Brooke asked, hugging Lord Sam from behind her back and looking out the window as well.
"Archery." Lord Sam said. "She's shot an arrow about five minutes ago and now we're waiting for it hit the target."
"Don't arrows usually go faster?" Lady Brooke asked.
"Usually. But our daughter is not usual."
Suddenly a few clanging sound come from the courtyard below and Lord Sam started counting. "5… 4… 3… 2… 1…"p>The arrow drilled itself into the bulls-eye.
"Impressive." Lady Brooke said. "But isn't it a bit useless in battle?"
"Have you taken a good look at the shaft?" Lord Sam asked. "That apple, those two hats, that shirt and those four books weren't there when she shot the arrow."
"I told you that spell from the blue fairy might come in handy." Then Lady Brooke stared at her daughter a little more intensely, like she was just noticing something for the first time. "My love, how old is our daughter exactly?"
"Sixteen, you know that."
"And how old are we?"
"We're both twenty-one, why?" Then it dawned on Lord Sam. "Oh… I see your point."
"How do you think that is possible?"
"Well… you know how it goes." Lord Sam explained. It didn't wasn't an explanation, but Lord Sam's tone of voice suggested that it was an explanation. And that was good enough for Lady Brooke.
Lord Sam stared out of the window again, and suddenly her face became thoughtful. "You know… for a certain type of mind a situation like this would be ideal to write lots f/f smut, with a large dose of incest and possibly some bestiality, if you consider Julian to be an animal." Lord Sam said.
Lady Brooke merely smiled and nodded. She knew her love didn't have a dirty mind, it was just that it happened to be working in a rather interesting way. It tended to consider every single eventuality, even if those eventualities were rather… unusual. When Lord Sam was thinking like this she also had the habit of thinking out loud. But Lady Brooke had become used to it, and she fully forgave her wife for a minor flaw like that.
"Perhaps I should send messenger Carmen to some writers to explore the possibilities of such a tale." Lord Sam continued. "Maybe Carol Clarke. Or perhaps that Bryan Collins. Although I've heard Hope Libby is pretty good as well." She was silent for a few moments longer. "Then again… messenger Carmen and Misty are currently _living_ a smut fic, so I don't think she'll be interested in being sent off just to read about it later."
"Right you are honey." Lady Brooke said. Lord Sam's talking had set of a few of her own thoughts as well. "Why don't go to a little more private place so we can talk about in private."
Lord Sam briefly reviewed what she had just said. Then she smacked herself mentally in the head for saying it out loud. After that she considered all the eventualities of what her wife had meant. Then she smiled. "That's probably a good idea, my love."
As Lord Sam and Lady Brooke made their way down the corridor another thought occurred to Lord Sam. "My love…"
"Since when do we have a fully-grown cactus in the garden?"
Meanwhile, someplace else, in a small room at the very top of a completely different tower than the one court mage Cherry resided in, four fairies were looking at a crystal ball. The red fairy was closest and it was her job to tell whatever she saw to the other three. In a corner of the room sat the black fairy, reading a book about a very naive investigative journalist and being incredibly annoyed by the behaviour of her four colleagues.
"So how does Glass' face look exactly?" The blue fairy asked excitedly.
"Forget Glass." The white fairy said. "Where's Cassandra?"
"Quiet my sisters." The red fairy said. "Let me concentrate."
"Well? Well?" The green fairy insisted. "What's going on?"
"OK… Glass is inspecting the arrow and Prince Jessica just stands there looking smug."
"And? And?" The green fairy said.
"And that's it." There was a little sigh of disappointment. "Wait!"
Suddenly everyone except the black fairy was interested again.
"Someone's coming! It's… Cassandra!"
Four fairies cheered. One rolled her eyes.
"What's she saying?" The white fairy asked.
"She's asking him for walk!" The red fairy exclaimed.
"Go Cass!" The green fairy cheered.
"Sssssh, quiet." The blue fairy hissed. "I want to know what they're saying."
"OK, they're walking through the flower garden." The red fairy said.
The silence was intense and only disturbed by the snickering of the black fairy who had gone back to reading her book. "He takes her hand… They look at each other…"
Four fairies held their breaths.
"He tells her he loves her… She tells him she loves her too!"
Four fairies cheered and roared and shouted and partied.
"Oh, look, they're kissing!" The green fairy said, who had managed to take the red fairy's spot during the sudden party. "Now they're walking again… They're approaching the cactus."
Once again several fairies held their breath.
"She pricks herself…"
"Who's the first person she sees?" The blue fairy asked.
"I love you."
"I love you too."
"WHAT!" Four fairies exclaimed.
"That wasn't supposed to happen!"
"That's not how it should be going!"
"They're making a complete mess of the story!"
"That's not the way things are done!"
The black fairy closed her book and lay it aside. "Will you just give it a rest?" She asked. "Just let them live happily every after, alright?"
"But they can't live happily ever after!" The red fairy said. "Not yet!"
"There must be hardships!" The blue fairy said.
"Their love must be tested!" The white fairy added.
"There have to rose-bushes!" The green fairy said.
"Isn't it enough we already had to curse her?" The black fairy said. "Just let them be happy."
"That's unacceptable." The red fairy said.
"We have to do something." The white fairy said.
"We must take matters into our own hands." The blue fairy said.
"Let's get going girls." The green fairy said.
"Wait a minute." The black fairy said. "What are you going to do?" But the four fairies were already gone. The black fairy stood up, glared at the empty spots that had not been empty a short while ago and said: "Crap."
Prince Jessica couldn't believe her luck. Here she was, walking with the most beautiful girl in all the world and she just told her she loved her. Prince Jessica was truly happy and even the constant whining of the grass couldn't bother her. Suddenly a portal opened and four fairies fell out of it. They quickly climbed back to her feet and looked at the happy couple.
"You restrain him, while we get to her." The red fairy said.
The green fairy nodded and waved her wand. Vines shot out of the ground and tightly wound themselves around Prince Jessica's ankles and wrists. The other three quickly grabbed Cassandra and were slowly dragging her back into the portal. Prince Jessica fought with all her might against the hold of the vines, but she couldn't budge an inch.
"Why are you doing this!?" Prince Jessica cried desperately.
"It must be done!" The red fairy said, trying to dodge Cassandra's tail, which constantly flew towards the direction of her head. "It's for the good of the story!"
And with that the four fairies jumped back into the portal, taking the light in Prince Jessica's life with them. The vines released their hold and disappeared. Prince Jessica fell to the ground, crying.
The portal opened again and the head of the red fairy appeared. "By the way, we live in the largest tower in the Rim Mountains. So if you are to go questing to find your love back than you should be going there, got it?" The red fairy briefly smiled. "Cheer up, I know you can do it. Good luck." And with that the red fairy disappeared again.
NOTE: Hmmm… This story is starting to move out of the Popular-fic realm and into that of original fic. Hope you don't mind. And if you do, well, I fear that in that case I'll have to stop the story completely since there's no way I am letting Lord Sam save Prince Jessica's girl (It's just not the way things are done).
Cassandra was pushed into a small room. Looking around she saw a bed, a mirror, a desk with accompanying chair, a door that led to the bathroom (how there could be plumbing in the middle of dragon-controlled mountains was something Cassandra was unwilling to think about) and one large closet. In fact, there was only one thing missing about this room.
Cassandra already missed her dearly. But as much as she felt like sitting down and crying her guts out she knew it wouldn't be helpful. And she'd be damned if she'd go play the 'damsel in distress'. She walked over to the window and examined it. To her satisfaction she found that she could easily smash it with her tail if she had to. Then she looked outside. They seemed to be atop some mountain. There were no other signs of any kind of life, but Cassandra gambled her wings could take her out of here and reach some sort of civilisation. But unfortunately the heavy snowfall would make flight impossible.
Cassandra felt herself getting very angry and her dragon side screamed she should kick in the door and flame those nieces of female dogs who had taken her away from her human love. Her human side on the other hand reminded her that she was unable to produce flame and that there was truly nothing she could do at the moment. In a rather hopeless attempt Cassandra tried to smash open the door with her tail, but it proved to be too sturdy.
The dragon girl sighed and walked over to her bed. She could hear several voices downstairs. It sounded like an argument. But Cassandra couldn't care. Right now she did feel like playing the damsel in distress. To be daydreaming about how her love would heroically sweep in and save her. Cassandra growled and stood up again, trying to formulate a plan to get out of here after all.
Prince Jessica strode confidently into the throne room. Her mothers had just finished the daily audiences and were about to leave, when they noticed her coming at them.
"Hello, honey." Lady Brooke said.
"Hey mom." Prince Jessica greeted. "Where's Cherry?"
Lord Sam shrugged. "Somewhere." She said. "I heard her muttering something about 'contract violations' and 'that guy's gonna pay through the nose for this'."
"Oh." Prince Jessica said. "Hey, can I borrow Mike?"
"What for?" Lord Sam asked slightly suspicious, like every parent does when the child wants to borrow their mode of transportation.
"Oh, you know, someone kidnapped the love of my life and I'm gonna make them pay dearly for it."
"Aren't you a little young for that?" Lord Sam asked.
"Mom, I'm sixteen. You married mom when you were just a year older. Come on, I'll promise I'll take care of Mike."
"Well, I don't know." Lord Sam said. "Maybe someone else should be sent to deal with this."
"Mom!" Prince Jessica yelled. "This is MY girlfriend you're talking about! You can't just send someone else to rescue her for me!"
"Come on," Lady Brooke said quietly. "Let her. It's obviously important to her."
"Well, alright." Lord Sam said. "But you better be back before dinner young lady."
Jessica smiled brightly. "Consider it done." She said, while mentally keeping her fingers crossed.
And so off Prince Jessica went on Mike. Her journey started sunny and with a really nice temperature. Soon she arrived at a forest, but the trees kept quiet and Prince Jessica was grateful for that. One tiny bird landed on a branch close to the road and her songs echoed through the trees. Other people might've found that to be a very nice experience, but all Prince Jessica could hear was: "My tree! My tree! My tree!"
Prince Jessica drove her heels a little deeper into Mike's flanks and hurried onward.
A few days later Prince Jessica finally found herself outside the P'p'l'r borders. The landscape changed immediately. P'p'l'r was green and blue and sunny and alive. The neighbouring realm clearly wasn't. Prince Jessica looked backwards towards the waving green grass and the singing birds. Then she looked forward, at the blackened road and the dead tree stumps. Prince Jessica had heard of this place. It was said that it was ruled by some evil lord and that his reign had brought this unnatural darkness over the land. Prince Jessica had once asked her mother why the inhabitants didn't rise up to overthrow such a man.
She could still hear the answer her mother gave her ringing in her head.
"That man is very, very rich." Her mother had said. "And every time there are elections he spent millions upon millions on his election campaign and the people fall for it every single time."
"But aren't there other candidates?" Jessica had asked.
"Yes, there are." Her mother had answered. "But they only present variations on a theme. The overall message is always the same. It's truly tragic that nations like that exist in the world."
"But aren't there other candidates?" Jessica had asked.
"Yes, there are." Her mother had answered. "But they only present variations on a theme. The overall message is always the same. It's truly tragic that nations like that exist in the world."
Now that Prince Jessica actually rode through the barren landscape she could do nothing except pity the inhabitants and their unjust governmental system. But Prince Jessica did not have the time to mourn for human stupidity. She could almost see her red-eyed lover in front of her, calling out to her to hurry.
Prince Jessica shook her head and the image disappeared. The pollution here was starting to make her hallucinate.
A few days later Prince Jessica was still in this dismal realm and she was starting to look forward to the Rim Mountains with their chilly winds and fiery dragons. Then she noted someone ahead of her. It was a man by the looks of it. He was fully dressed in a black armour and the visor of his helmet was down so that Prince Jessica could not see his face. He sat on a black horse. The horse looked rather sickly. She could almost look through the skin and see the bones.
"Who are you?" The knight asked. His voice sounded hollow. "Who are you to look so lively in a realm filled with so much death?"
"I'm Jessica." Jessica said. "Heir to the throne of P'p'l'r. Who might you be?"
"Merely a wandering knight seeking redemption for his crimes." The knight said.
"That's nice." Prince Jessica said. "But what is your name?"
"I used to be called Sir Mort." The knight said.
"Really? That's an… interesting name."
"Are you in need of help?" The knight asked. "And thereby bringing me closer to my ultimate reward?"
"What are you talking about?" Sir Mort opened his visor. What Prince Jessica saw was a mere skull. "I see." She said. "How long have you been dead?"
Sir Mort closed his visor again. "Longer than I wish to remember."
"And still no redemption?" Prince Jessica said. "I take it you were one of those guys who liked to loot, rape, pillage and murder."
"Oh no." Sir Mort said. "It was worse. Much, much worse."
Sir Mort was silent for a few moments. Then he spoke hesitantly.
"Tea?" Prince Jessica repeated unbelieving.
Sir Mort nodded vehemently, which caused a clanging sound as his helmet constantly collided with his armour. "Tea." He said again. "I know it's wrong, but… I just can't help myself."
"Tea? Just plain simple tea?"
Sir Mort sighed. "It's number 53 of the 10672 deadly and almost unforgivable sins."
"You walk the earth in torment because you like tea?"
"Yes." Sir Mort said. "But I shall not falter. My God is always right in all things and if He claims tea is bad for the soul, than I have no choice but to accept that."
Prince Jessica patted the knight on his shoulder. "My friend, you have chosen the wrong religion. Is there anything I can do to help?"
"Perhaps." Sir Mort said. "In order to find forgiveness in the eyes of the Great One I am to help all in need. Are you in need?" He asked hopefully.
"Well… My girlfriend got kidnapped."
"Really?" Sir Mort said rather cheerful. "I mean… how dreadful. Do you happen to know where this fair lady is being held captive?"
"Somewhere in the Rim Mountains." Prince Jessica said.
"The Rim Mountains." Sir Mort pondered. "Dragon territory, is it not?"
"Not a lot of tea there, if I'm not mistaken."
"I wouldn't count on it."
"Splendid." Sir Mort said. "Then on we go!"
And so Sir Mort joined Prince Jessica's cause. And together they set forth to the Rim Mountains where they would surely find many hardships that needed to be overcome, and very little tea that would tempt the soul.
Somewhere, next to the path, sitting on the branch of a dead tree, a crow had watched the exchange between Prince Jessica and Sir Mort. The crow titled its head slightly, as if thinking about something. Then it flapped its wings and flew from its branch, following the two.
NOTE: As my dear sister pointed out to me, this is starting to look like a 'Discworld' story. And you know what, she's right. Except for the fact that Terry Pratchett is a thousand times better than I am.
"Number 592 is knitting," Sir Mort counted. "Number 593 is collecting stamps,"
At this current moment Prince Jessica really regretted asking her undead companion about the 10672 deadly and almost unforgivable sins. They just didn’t make sense. That God Sir Mort worshipped was a complete lunatic!
"Number 600 is really one of the most lethal ones." Sir Mort said.
"Really?" Prince Jessica asked, only slightly bored.
"Yes. It is about weaponry."
"You're not allowed to own weaponry?" Prince Jessica asked. Now that really didn't make any sense compared to the previous sins.
"No, no, quite the contrary. You're not allowed to _not_ own weaponry."
Prince Jessica rolled her eyes. "I take it this God of yours is one of those guys with really big swords and really little brains."
"Yes he is." Sir Mort said, and Jessica could almost feel the devotion radiate through his closed helmet.
"And I take it he's also one of those guys who would sweep in, decapitate as many people as they can find, rescue some damsel -willing or unwilling-, impregnates her -probably against her will- and then leaves to repeat the process all over again somewhere else?" Prince Jessica sounded slightly disgusted.
"Well… yes." Sir Mort said, doubt creeping in his voice.
"He's not much of a God, is he?"
"Well… err… no, not really."
"Then why do you worship him?" Prince Jessica the Open Minded asked.
"I… don't really know exactly." Sir Mort said. Then he shrugged. "I was raised to believe in him, so I believe in him." Then he looked at Jessica. "Who do you worship, anyway?"
"My girlfriend." Prince Jessica simply responded.
"Is she a Goddess?" Sir Mort asked. "Then why is she in need of rescue?"
Prince Jessica laughed. "She's not a Goddess, she's something better."
"Better? What then?"
"She's in love with me too."
Prince Jessica and Sir Mort rode in silence for a few hours longer. Suddenly a black crow flew over their heads, cawing loudly. This struck Prince Jessica as very odd. She actually heard the crow caw. It wasn’t saying anything, it just made sounds. Prince Jessica followed the crow with her eyes and noted that ot was circling above a small bush at the side of the road. Then Prince Jessica thought she saw the faint glimmer of steel.
"An ambush." Prince Jessica said.
"Of course there's an ambush." Sir Mort said. "It wouldn't be a very heroic rescue if we wouldn't get ambushed a few times, now is it?"
Prince Jessica groaned. And here she thought those moronic fairy godmothers were the only ones with ideas like this.
"Well, come on." Sir Mort said briskly, as he drove his heels into the flanks of his skeletal horse.
"Wait, where are you going?" Prince Jessica asked.
"Well isn't it obvious?" Sir Mort said surprised. "I am going to ride into that ambush completely unprepared for an attack. This will give me the advantage of surprise."
"I see." Prince Jessica said. She didn’t really see anything at all, but thought it sounded appropriate. "And what if I had a better idea?"
"A better idea than riding into the ambush completely unprepared?"
Prince Jessica nodded.
"Well, why not." Sir Mort said. "It is your quest after all, I suppose we'll have to handle this your way."
"Thank you." Prince Jessica said as she dismounted Mike. She took her bow and quiver out of the saddlebags. She looked up at the sky for a moment before putting an arrow onto her bow and aiming.
"How much do you think on achieving by shooting a single arrow?" Sir Mort asked.
"Sssh." Prince Jessica hissed as she perfected her aim. She closed one eye, pulled the string, took a 180 degrees turn and fired.
"Nice shot." Sir Mort said. "Completely in the wrong direction, but still a nice shot."
"Just you wait." Prince Jessica said.
"Alright." Sir Mort said. Being dead for a few centuries teaches patience to any man. Unless that man is in a hurry to do something, of course.
A few minutes later a burning arrow whirred past the heads of Sir Mort and Prince Jessica, heading straight for the spot where the ambush was lain. Prince Jessica started to count soundlessly and when her mouth formed the word 'zero' they could suddenly hear voices shouting 'Fire! Fire!'
"It seems our ambushers are being ambushed by a fire."
"Yes, they are." Prince Jessica said smiling as she mounted Mike again.
"I suppose we should hurry onwards now before we are enclosed by flame." Sir Mort said.
"No need. We simply have to wait until those thugs have crossed that hill over there."
"Why do we…" The last thug crossed the hill and suddenly rain started pouring down upon them. "Very impressive." Sir Mort said. "Tell me, which deity other than your girlfriend do you worship to receive such assistance?"
Prince Jessica laughed again as the two of them started moving again. "This didn't come about by some sort of divine intervention. It's all just simple mathematics."
"You are truly an exceptional person." Sir Mort said.
"Why thank you." Prince Jessica said.
"Yes, I fear I must admit that you are making me question deadly and almost unforgivable sin number 9837."
"And which one would that be?"
"'Failing to keep them barefoot and pregnant'."
NOTE: The End is coming! Not yet, but it’s coming!
So, finally, after weeks of riding through the dismal and unnamed neighbouring country to P'p'l'r, Prince Jessica and Sir Mort at long last arrived at the snow-covered Rim Mountains.
"This is not going to be easy." Sir Mort stated. "Not with all those dragons around here."
"It's not the dragons you should worry about." Prince Jessica said. "You see, dragons like to stay on the inside of mountains. They don't really like the cold very much."
"Really?" Sir Mort said, in something resembling a whine. "But what about the heroic slaying of a dragon? There has to be the slaying of some sort of monster, you know."
"Dragons are not monsters." Prince Jessica said threateningly. "Remember that."
Sir Mort shook his head. "Sorry. Deadly and almost unforgivable sin 639: 'Learning something that has nothing to do with either sex or violence'."
Prince Jessica looked at him for a moment, then at the sky. "If any of you guys are listening, please kick his God out of heaven."
And so Prince Jessica and Sir Mort rode for days on end. And during those days Prince Jessica learned more and more about Sir Mort's religion. And as she learned more and more she prayed harder and harder to get Sir Mort's God kicked out of the heavens. But her prayers went unanswered. Possibly because she didn't really worship some divine being to be praying to. And as Sir Mort ranted on Prince Jessica was starting to get desperate to find a priest who might initiate her into some religion so that she did have a deity to pray to. Unfortunately the Rim Mountains weren't exactly inhabited on the outside, so Prince Jessica was hoping in vain.
And when Prince Jessica was seriously considering putting her sword somewhere between two ribs of a certain skeletal knight she once again heard a crow cawing. Once again the crow flew over their heads, circled above a spot for some time, then flew back. Prince Jessica immediately halted.
"Have you seen that?" Prince Jessica asked.
"Yes." Sir Mort said seriously. "It is quite an abomination, isn't it?"
"Not really." Prince Jessica said. "Just slightly out of place."
Prince Jessica and Sir Mort, located near the top of a vast snow-covered mountain where nothing lived looked at their obstacle.
"I hate rosebushes." Prince Jessica said.
"Well then," Sir Mort said, while he drew his sword. "Let's get chopping."
Prince Jessica drew her sword as well and soon they had easily cleared a path through the thorny bushes.
"Well, that was easy." Prince Jessica said while putting away her sword.
Suddenly she heard a loud lamenting behind her. Prince Jessica and Sir Mort turned around to see the green fairy despairing besides the remains of the bushes.
"My rosebushes." She sniffed. "My lovely rosebushes. Brutally slaughtered."
"You!" Prince Jessica said, turning Mike and advancing on the green fairy. "Tell me where Cassandra is!"
The green fairy got up and looked at her. "Over there, in the tower." She said through her tears. "Why did you have to murder my lovely bushes?" She asked.
Prince Jessica grinned. "Isn't that how stories are supposed to go? Isn't Prince Charming supposed to hack through the bushes in order to reach the castle?" Prince Jessica realised her mocking tone of voice was kinda cruel, but the fairy deserved it in her opinion.
"You could've just asked, you know." The green fairy said. "We're not that bad."
"You kidnapped my girlfriend." Prince Jessica growled. "That makes you very evil in my book." She turned Mike around again. "Come on Mort. Let's get going."
"But, but, but," Sir Mort interjected. "Aren't we going to rape her?"
"MORT!" Prince Jessica shouted angrily. "We're going."
Sir Mort sighed. "What a relief. I never really liked raping anyway."
"I take it you're being punished for not raping too."
"Yep." Sir Mort said.
Prince Jessica and Sir Mort rode onwards, leaving the green fairy behind to mourn over her precious rosebushes, that had been killed in cold blood.
Prince Jessica and Sir Mort arrived at the tower. Prince Jessica looked up to see if there was a window. There was indeed a window, but unfortunately it contained glass and it had no hair hanging out of it. So instead Prince Jessica opted for Plan B: Kicking in the door. After kicking in the door Prince Jessica stepped into a very large hallway. In front of her were several stairs and close to the ceiling there were several large balconies.
"I'll bet you anything that any time now there will appear several hundred men on those balconies with bows and crossbows." Prince Jessica said.
"You're on." Sir Mort said. "How much?"
"Five gold coins?"
Prince Jessica and Sir Mort stepped forward and suddenly a hundred guards appeared on the balconies, coming out of hiding and aiming their bows and crossbows at our two heroes.
"I win." Prince Jessica said smugly.
Sir Mort grumbled a bit, reached down his pockets and handed over five gold coins.
"Thanks." Prince Jessica said. "Let's get going."
"Aren't you concerned about those archers?" Sir Mort asked.
"Nope." Prince Jessica said. "I'm the hero who's going to save the girl, so I bet those crazy fairies ordered them not to shoot me."
"If you say so." Sir Mort said, following her.
Above the guards looked at each other uncomfortably. They had been told to stop the girl down there at all costs, but they weren't allowed to actually hit her. Then, as a collective thought entered their minds, the guards aimed and fired.
"Oh no!" Sir Mort cried. "This is going to cost me a fortune in armour repairs!" He added as he tried to yank all the arrows out of his chest plate.
Prince Jessica merely smiled and kept walking, not knowing what terrors the tower might throw at her next.
NOTE: OK, so I'm sorta borrowing a few lines from 'Buffy, the Vampire Slayer' season 6, episode 7. Which, by the way, I don't own either. This part is kind of my first attempt at a song fic, but only in the way that it absolutely isn't one.
Prince Jessica and Sir Mort entered what experienced gamers would call 'the next room'. In this room there stood two large statues of ferocious-looking warriors next to the exit. And while Prince Jessica was not familiar with videogames, she had read enough bad fantasy to know that this could mean only one thing.
"OK, Mort. Let's not touch those statues when we head for the door, alright?"
"You got it."
And so Prince Jessica and Sir Mort carefully, yet easily avoided the statues. Prince Jessica reached out to open the door, then found out that she couldn’t. She drew her sword, ready to smash in the door with it when someone tapped on her shoulder.
"Not now, Mort."
"Excuse me." A rather strange and unfamiliar voice said.
Prince Jessica turned around and saw that it was one of the statues. "What do you want?" She asked, sighing.
"Well…" The statue started. "I'm not particularly happy with this myself, but that door can only open if we have a fight to the death."
Prince Jessica groaned. "Say it isn't so."
"Sorry, but it is." The statue said.
"Alright, alright. Let's get this over with."
The two statues jumped from their respective spots and approached our cornered heroes, swords drawn. The statues swung their swords at our desperate heroes in an overly dramatic way. Prince Jessica and Sir Mort easily avoided the rather ineffectual blows. After that our two heroes went on the offence, making sure their blades would only hit the statues' swords so that lots of impressive sparks would fly and everyone would think this fight was serious.
"You know, we're just making a show of trading blows." Prince Jessica said bored as she ducked a swing towards her head.
"Well, let us hope no-one knows we're just going through the motions." Sir Mort said as he jumped out of the way of a stab towards the chest.
Mort and Jessica looked at each other for a moment.
"Let's just finish this, shall we?"
Sir Mort nodded and our two heroes simultaneously beheaded the statues. The door swung open and our two heroes walked away.
"That was not exactly a heroic struggle, was it?" Sir Mort said.
"So this means I am no closer to my redemption."
The door closed and in the room the two statues stood up and picked up their heads.
"I hate it when they do that." Statue number one said. "It always takes ages to glue my head back on."
"Be glad we didn't crumble." Statue number two said. "That'd be a whole lot worse."
Statue number one shivered. "I don't even want to think about that."
"Well, what do you think?" Prince Jessica asked.
"One small corridor, two doors, one of which we came through." Sir Mort said. "I'd say we're either about to be ambushed or our goal is behind that very door."
Prince Jessica and Sir Mort carefully walked forward when all of the sudden the entire corridor was ablaze. Fire literally surrounded our two heroes.
"Seems we are trapped." Sir Mort deadpanned.
"No." Prince Jessica said. "We're heading towards a happy ending whether we like it or not." She stepped forward and carefully stuck out her hand.
"What are you doing?"
Prince Jessica touched the fire. "It freezes me." She said.
"What? Freezing fire? That's new."
"You know, when you look into it, it's black." Prince Jessica looked at her hand in wonder. "My skin should crack and peel."
"Be glad it doesn't."
Suddenly a certain crow breezed into the corridor, flew straight through the flames and the fire disappeared.
A voice Prince Jessica recognised as belonging to the red fairy shouted. "I want the fire back!"
And, sure enough, the fire came back. A knocking sound could be heard from behind the door on the other side.
"Jessica! That you?"
Prince Jessica looked at the door through the flames and smiled. "Now through the smoke she calls to me. To make my way across the flame. To save the day or maybe melt away."
"Jessica? Are you alright?" Sir Mort’s undead voice sounded rather worried.
Prince Jessica looked at him, still with a rather curious smile on her face. "We are caught in the fire, at the point of no return. So we will walk through the fire and let it burn."
"Are you sure about this?" Sir Mort asked.
Prince Jessica nodded. "Positive."
Under his closed helmet, the skull that was the only thing remaining of Sir Mort’s face grinned even more. "These endless days are finally ending in a blaze."
Cassandra sat on a chair, playing the role of the damsel in distress and really not happy about that fact. Suddenly she heard voices at the other side of the door. She stood up and let her ears perform the function they were designed for. One of the voices sounded very familiar. She knocked on the door.
"Jessica! Is that you?"
The voices continued and Cassandra stepped away from the door, knowing that when it would open it would fling inside and Cassandra had this strange feeling that she might not like the feeling of a door slamming in her face.
The door crashed down and two figures could be seen, but Cassandra could not clearly see who it were since there was a whole lot of fire burning behind them. Probably placed there to make their entrance more dramatic.
"Cass?" A voice said hesitantly.
Cassandra immediately recognised it. "Took you long enough." She said.
Much hugging and kissing ensued.
Jessica put her arm around Cassandra’s shoulder and smiled at her. "Ready to go?"
They were all about to leave again when Prince Jessica suddenly stopped dead in her tracks. "Mort." She said.
"What?" The knight in black armour asked.
"Really? Well, it's about time." Sir Mort said. "See you in the afterlife." He saluted once and disappeared.
"See you around." Prince Jessica said to the empty air.
"Who was that?" Cassandra asked.
"I'll tell you all about it when we get home."
And so Prince Jessica and Cassandra suddenly found themselves outside the tower. They were about to mount Mike and leave when all of the sudden, with lots of special effects and some insane cackling the green fairy appeared.
Prince Jessica sighed. "Now what?"
"You murdered my rosebushes!" The green fairy screamed. "You'll pay for that!"
"Whatever." Prince Jessica said, as she started to close in on the green fairy.
Meanwhile, in court mage Cherry's room, four people were sitting near a window, looking at the crystal ball sitting atop the window-still. There was also one dragon looking at the crystal ball, but she was on the outside of that room at the very top of the tallest tower of the Palace. This sudden change of scene has really no relevance, but to make the final battle perhaps a little more imposing.
"I don't think Jessica is realising that the fairy is really out to kill her." Lady Brooke said worried.
"Perhaps Ah can send a warning?" Court mage Cherry suggested.
"Will that do a thing to change her?" Lord Sam said. "Change her mind." She added, wondering why she hadn't finished that sentence properly the first time.
"Are we leaving Cass in danger?" Shield-bearer Lily wondered.
"Is our daughter too far gone to care?" Lady Brooke said troubled.
"What if Jessie can't defeat it?" Lord Sam said.
"Beady Eyes is right, we're needed." Julian boomed. "Or we could just sit around and glare." She added at seeing the stares everyone gave her.
Prince Jessica got the wind knocked out of her by a huge Venus Flytrap that the green fairy had summoned to attack her with. Prince Jessica quickly struggled back to her feet and with a few quick strokes changed the plant into a salad.
"That all you got?" She said taunting.
The green fairy screamed in outrage. The ground burst open and thorny vines quickly wrapped themselves around Prince Jessica, puncturing her skin and overall make her feel very uncomfortable. The green fairy laughed hysterically. Then she stopped laughing since she got knocked down from behind. Her eyes shot fire and more vines appeared, trapping Cassandra as well. The green fairy stood up.
"Prepare to die." She exclaimed dramatically. Then she laughed maniacally once more just for good measure.
The sound of flapping wings suddenly filled the air and as the crow flew over Prince Jessica and Cassandra the vines withered and died. The green fairy screamed. Out of agony this time.
The crow started to land and before long the black fairy set her foot on the ground.
"You!" The green fairy shouted.
"Me." The black fairy said simply. "This game has gone on long enough, hasn't it?" She said.
The ground opened and swallowed the green fairy whole.
"Well, that was a disappointing fight." Prince Jessica said.
"Those are always the best ones." The black fairy said.
"Thanks anyway." Prince Jessica said.
"No prob. Now get going."
Then, in one last twist to the plot, a certain knight in shining black armour appeared once again atop the frozen mountain.
"Mort!?" Prince Jessica exclaimed. "Aren't you supposed to be in Heaven?"
"I got expelled." Sir Mort said simply. "And good riddance too." He added. "That bloody wanker just wanted to impress his equally moronic mates with all those stupid rules." Sir Mort grumbled. "So I made sure I got kicked out again."
"So now your tormented soul is going to walk the earth in torment." Prince Jessica said, just to be clear on the matter.
"Thankfully yes. I lived in Hell, because I was sent to Heaven."
"I don't believe we have been properly introduced." The black fairy said.
"Sir Mort." Sir Mort said, while making a graceful bow.
"The black fairy." The black fairy said, while she bowed as well.
"A pleasure to meet you." Sir Mort said.
"The pleasure is entirely mine."
"Guys, can we go now?" Prince Jessica asked.
"I fear we only have two horses." The black fairy said. "Would you mind sharing your horse with me?" She asked sweetly.
"I would be honoured." Sir Mort said.
Prince Jessica groaned briefly and started to move with Cassandra sitting behind her.
And as our heroes rode off into the sunset there was only one thing remaining to say.
"How come you were allowed to leave to search for me?"
"I told them I would be back for dinner."
"I think you're a bit late."
"I didn't specify which dinner."
"We are so grounded when get home."
"I really couldn't care less."
And so they all lived happily ever after.
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