The Prince In Peril, Part Two
WAIT! Before you read this story, check out The Prince In Peril, Part One first!
Fae kept her eyes on the sky as Zephyr sped towards Lady Morgan’s volcano fortress. She tried to formulate a plan, but the threat of her aunt’s Dragon was far too distracting. She looked away for a moment to see where they were. The Princess didn’t need to worry about the path or rocks or trees, for Zephyr was the fastest and smartest horse in either kingdom. After she had saddled him, Fae whispered her destination in his fuzzy white ear, and the rest was left to Zephyr. Before she could look back up, a giant pair of talons yanked her from Zephyr, who seemed to shrink as she was lifted higher and higher into the sky. Her horse sped along, struggling to keep up with the Dragon that had taken his rider.
“Go home,” Fae called down to him. “Looks like I’m taking the direct route.”
Fae watched the forest pass under her dangling feet. The wind whipped her face. It was so much colder miles in the air.
“Are we there yet?” she shouted after a few moments passed.
The Dragon bent its long neck down and sighed at Fae. Its breath was hot and rotten. The Dragon stopped flapping its giant wings and glided down to the rocky base of Morgan’s volcano lair. It dropped Fae on the ground before it landed a few feet away.
Fae stood up and straightened her armor. She drew her sword, “Alright, let’s do this.”
The Dragon took a step back, “Whoa, Whoa, whoa. Put that away. Someone’s going to get hurt.”
“I know,” she slashed at the air and approached the giant beast.
The Dragon put its front claws up, “Hey, Lady Morgan told me to grab you if I saw you, okay? I’m not looking for a fight.”
Fae lowered her sword and slumped her shoulders, “Really?”
“I was hoping to try out my sword against Dragon scales.”
The Dragon wrapped itself up in its wings, “Not against these scales, lady.”
“‘Lady’? Do you know who I am?”
“Other than a trespasser? Nope.”
“I’m the Princess of the East! The future Queen of All the Land! Morgan’s niece!”
The Dragon’s eyes widened, “Oh! Does have anything to do with that boy she stole?”
“Yes!” Fae exclaimed, “He’s to be my husband! Do you know where she’s keeping him?”
“Not really. She just fire poofed down here with that guy this morning, told me to be on the lookout and fire poofed away.”
“Yeah, you know that thing when there’s a fireball, and she just appears? That’s a fire poof. At least that’s what I call it.”
“Where is she now?” Fae put her sword back in it’s sheath and took a few steps closer to the Dragon.
“I don’t know. If I had to guess, I’d say in her chambers up there”, the Dragon pointed a claw up at the top of the volcano. “She looked pretty tired. I bet she’s taking a nap.”
“Listen, I know you’re her servant, but do you think…"
The Dragon’s fast twisted in confusion, “Servant? What?”
“You know a lackey? A goon? A henchman?"
“I know what you mean,” it bent down to look Fae in the eyes,”Why do you think I’m her servant?”
“You know, she’s a fire witch. You’re a Dragon. You’re both..."
“Evil?” the Dragon sighed.
“I mean, yeah. Right?”
“Listen your highness. First off, we’re friends. She’s not my boss. I’m not her pet. Second, and most importantly, I am not evil, okay? Have you ever seen me attack your castle? Or any castle for that matter?”
“Well,” Fae tried to think of an instance, “No…”
“Burn down a village?”
“Not ever, your highness, but does that stop you people from being terrified of me?” The Dragon turned its back to the Princess and slumped its head down. “No. I can’t even fly overhead in the East or West with out a giant stone getting launched at me. Which, by the way, hurts.”
Fae put a hand on its massive back, “I didn’t…"
“And just because I hang around with Morgan, the only human who has ever treated me nicely, now I’m even more evil? Give me a break.” The Dragon shook off her hand curled up on the ground.
The Dragon lifted its head and puffed steam at her, “Go rescue your boyfriend.”
Fae stood very still as she thought about all the Dragon had said. “I should apologize. Not just for me but for everyone. You don’t deserve that. I know I can’t make up for what we did wrong in the past, but I know very well that we can do better in the future.” Fae then gazed up the mountain, “and I don’t think you’re the only one to whom we owe an apology. Can you take me to my Aunt Morgan? Please?”
The Dragon smiled and nodded as it lowered a wing. Fae climbed up and sat down on its back. Within a few moments the pair soared up the side of the fortress to opening of a cave.
The Dragon hovered and looked to his passenger, “Here you go. Obviously, this is where I leave you. I’ll be waiting down there when you need me.”
“When and not if?” Fae asked. “You think I can convince my aunt not to burn me to a crisp?”
It smiled, “I have a feeling I’m not the only misunderstood monster around these parts.”
Fae jumped from the beast’s back and into the opening of the cave. It was dark and cold. The further she explored, the warmer the air became. She stopped when she walked into a smooth, flat wall. It wasn’t rocky like everything else, but it was still hard. She felt around until she discovered bolts and handle. It was a very solid and very locked door, so Fae took a few steps back and charged towards it, exploding into a bright, hot room. She landed in the middle of Morgan’s lair. Shards of broken wood littered the floor.
“You’re paying for that!” Morgan screamed, getting up from her chair.
Fae stood and drew her sword, “Are you sure it’s a fight you want?”
“Not what I meant,” Morgan put her hand on her forehead. “You will literally pay to replace that door. It was hand-crafted by carpenter elves from the tallest felled oak in All The Land. Do you know how much it cost? Well, you will when I send your father his highness the bill.”
“You’re upset about your door? You kidnapped my fiancé.”
Morgan took a step back, “No I didn’t.”
“Yes you did! He’s tied up over there by your cauldron,’ Fae pointed to the bound and gagged Nelson who was laying on his side, squirming.
“Okay, so what?”
“So what? So what? You ruined my wedding! I thought I’d never see the love of my life again! I was scared. I’m sure Nelson was scared.”
Nelson stopped squirming and nodded his head.
Morgan turned her back to her niece and crossed her arms, “Sorry.”
“Sorry? That’s all?”
“Take him and go. Have a wonderful re-do wedding,” she plopped back down in her chair.
After she freed Nelson, Fae stared at her aunt for a few moments, until finally she asked, “Why, Aunt Morgan? Why did you ruin our wedding? Why did you kidnap my fiance?”
A tear ran down Morgan’s cheek, “That’s what I was supposed to do, right? Try to ruin your big day? Steal your boyfriend and laugh maniacally as I dangle him over a boiling cauldron or threaten to feed him to my dragon or force him to marry me? Wasn’t that what everyone expected? Isn’t that why I wasn’t invited? Isn’t that why you had it on the first day of Winter? So you’d be safe?” Morgan turned stood. Her lower lip quivered. Tears streamed down her face now, “From me?”
Fae crossed to Morgan. She put her hand on her aunt’s shoulder, “I’m sorry. I really am. I shouldn’t have went along with...”
“It’s not your fault. All your life you’ve been told how evil and wicked I am, but I’m not Fae, I’m not! I’m just...”
“Yes, and apparently enough to make me feared and hated to everyone in All the Land.”
Fae hugged her aunt. She couldn’t think of anything to say to make her hurt go away or make up for her peoples’ mistakes, but she did think of something. “Aunt Morgan, would you like to go to a wedding?”
The already tense guards standing outside the walls of the King of the East’s castle flew into a panic when the saw the approaching Dragon. The men and women in armor scrambled to their battlements. The sentry peered through her looking glass to see Princess Fae and Prince Nelson were upon its back. “Stay your arms,” she screamed. “Hold your fire!”
The Dragon landed in the center of the courtyard. Guards surrounded it as Fae and Nelson climbed down.
“Stand down,” Fae commanded, “It means you no harm!”
The guards lowered their weapons and parted for the Kings and Queens of the East and West. The parents swarmed, embraced, inspected, and kissed the Princess and Prince.
With a flash of light, Morgan appeared. She grabbed her head and stumbled. The guards drew their weapons and began to approach her.
“No!” Fae roared.
Prince Nelson ran to Morgan’s aid to help her stand. “Should’ve rode with you guys on the Dragon. Or took a nap first,” she muttered.
Fae stood between her and the guards, “Put them away. She is my guest!” Fae looked around at the townspeople peering through their windows. “She is my aunt!” The Princess turned to her father, “And she is your sister. Not our enemy.”
The King of the East stammered, “But she kidnapped Prince...”
“Yes, but before today what evil has she done? How has she wronged us?”
“She throws fire from her finger tips! She has a pet Dragon! She lives in a blasted volcano!” the King of the West exclaimed.
“Not her pet” the Dragon said as he rolled his eyes.
“So? Is any of that a crime?” Fae asked.
He thought for a moment and shuffled his feet, “Well, not technically, no. “
The Princess turned back to her father, “Then why have we been treating her like a criminal?”
“I don’t know,” his voice wavered.
“How has she wronged us?”
The King sighed and looked to his wife, but the Queen just lowered her head. “I suppose she hasn’t” he whispered.
Morgan walked to her brother with her arms outstretched, “Your highness?”
The King wiped away a few tears as he embraced his sister for the first time in several decades. “I’m so, so sorry, Morgan. Can you ever forgive us?”
Morgan smiled, “Perhaps we can discuss some things after the reception, little brother.”
And they did. It wasn’t easy, and it took some time, but Morgan forgave her brother and her people, and they all lived happily ever after.