Princesses' Rags

Princesses' Rags

A Story by Chelsea Schermerhorn

Princesses� Rags An adaption of The Grimm Brothers� �The Shoes that Were Danced to Pieces� By Chelsea Schermerhorn In Dedication to Diane �Aunt Sis� Britton


“Impossible!” bellowed the King, staring down his twelve daughters from his throne as they smiled, concealing their shared secret. “Twelve Guards...twelve! In the past three weeks, you have all but ruined twelve of the guards I have had placed beyond your door to protect you and keep you safe!”
“Perhaps, father,” spoke the eldest of the girls, adorned in a lush, velvety green dress, embroidered and hemmed with silver, “You have had too close a watch on us for our liking. Sleeping draughts do not ruin a man lest he drink so poorly and ask for more than one cup from a different daughter each time.”
“HA! You admit, then, being a menace to all of the guards and feeding them a concoction to keep your dealings secret?” The king asked of his daughters, angrily, turning away from them in shame.
“But father,” said the youngest of the twelve girls, “I beg of you father, be not disappointed in us. We merely seek freedom, enjoyment. All of our lives we have been cooped up within the confines of this very castle, which should feel like home, but seems more a prison with each passing day. Let us have this freedom, and no more shall any suffer from sleeping potions or even the wretched loneliness that fills a heart that is locked away.” The young girl, no older than fifteen years wiped tears from beneath her deep green eyes, speckled in brown such that they looked the very soul of an enchanted forest. Her auburn tresses quivered in the dim sunlight that filtered in through the painted windows of her father’s throne room as she shook her head towards her other sisters who moved to speak. She watched as her father turned around, a new resolve on his face.
“Laylea, I dare not pretend I have not noticed the toll your mother’s disappearance exacted on all of you, but I cannot allow my children free reign in a kingdom where a queen can be kidnapped. Long ago I was warned that misfortune would befall myself and all of my darlings should I continue on the path that was set down for me to follow by my father. But it seems, though I have not followed in his place that the curse would not exempt me from itself. I cannot allow any misfortune to befall any of you, especially when one of you is to be the queen after I retire unto heaven.” The king stepped down off of the dais towards his daughters, pleading with them in his eyes, begging for them to cease their outings at night. At last, the King spoke, “Should you refuse me the knowledge of your escapades, I will be forced to issue a decree to the entire kingdom. Answer me this, where do all of you go in the night and dance your shoes full of holes to the point they become as rags?”
All the king’s daughters shook their heads as they gazed at the ground, withholding their secret.
“Very well,” spoke the king, “Let it be sent to all reaches of my kingdom and further that if there be a man who can discover my daughters’ trips at night, let him come forth. I will clothe and feed him for three days, during which time he must uncover the secret the princesses mask, lest he be sent to the gallows and executed for the foolishness of trickery. Should a man succeed in this matter, he shall choose which princess he will for his bride, and upon naming her, he will be named my heir to the throne and shall become king at my passing. But this is no mission for the faint-hearted, for my daughters are able to beguile many a man.”
“Have it your way, father,” spoke Amelia, the eldest again, “We shall not become puppets of the kingdom for any man who might come along. Let us leave, sisters. Our father is occupied.” At her word, the twelve girls turned and departed the throne room silently until they reached the hallway in which they shared a suite that filled the entire level of the castle, but for one room that should belong to a maid that they had dismissed from their services long ago. “Let them chew on that for a while. By the time anyone should figure it out, we will all be married to our princes and be living a lavish and adventurous life.” The blonde beauty of only twenty-one years sat at her vanity and examined her grayish eyes which no longer held the shame and tears of a bereaved daughter.
“Ami, do you really think we ought to do this to him? Father is only concerned for our safety. Perhaps we should explain to our princes tonight that we can come no more, at least until this is over,” Laylea asked her sister, conviction strong in her voice.
Amelia turned to her younger sister and smiled, “Relax Leelee. Father will be fine. We will not be if we stop holding on to the sanity our nightly ventures bring us. Father doesn’t quite understand what a woman endures, especially young, independent women such as we are. If only mother…No, I should not speak of that.” Amelia hugged her little sister tightly. “I miss her, too, Lee. One day, maybe, we will see her again. Meanwhile, we better start brewing. We’ll need more draught than ever after Father’s declaration.”

Weeks passed into months as the princesses continued dancing into the night, and as much as they regretted the deaths of the many men who came to test the king’s trial, they refused to yield to their father’s hand or the hands of all of the suitors. Night by night, one by one, the princesses fed each man who came to discover their secret a sleeping draught of such power that the man, be he prince or peasant would not wake up until late the next morning, when the princesses would have retired to their beds and their shoes, again, would be full of tatters and holes so that the cloth had become no more than rags. No matter how strongly the man be warned, he would always drink of the cup the princesses offered.
One day many months later in a village only ten miles from the king’s palace, a young man of twenty-two years went to market for a local witch he had been serving for near two years. He had grown up as an orphan and the woman was the first to treat him somewhat like family. As he returned to her hut on the edge of the forest with the herbs and vegetables she had requested, she came tottering outside with bags so full that she nearly toppled over from the sheer bulk of them.
The young man, named Laiken rushed over to the woman and took several of the bags from her. “Maerin, what are you doing? You should not be carrying these in your condition.”
“Oh hush, Laiken,” the woman replied to him. Although middling in age, she was fair beyond comparison to the youngest of maidens with a rich red-blonde hair and the most beautiful blue-green eyes. “You know well that I am recovered from the winter sickness. I did not really need those things from the market. I had to prepare for your departure.”
“Departure? What are you speaking of?”
“You must go to the king’s palace. You are the one who will discover the princesses’ secret. Bring me those herbs. I will brew you a tonic that will render any concoction they give you useless. The vegetable, along with some herbs from the garden are for a spell that will cause you to be invisible to the princesses’ eyes as you follow them.” Maerin gave Laiken a list of herbs to trim from the garden for her spells. As he returned to the cabin, he noticed the witch digging through the bags she had removed from the inside of the cabin. “Here,” she said, “give me the herbs and find a cloak that will fit you among these.” She disappeared into the cabin for about an hour as he found a cloak and went about his chores, chopping wood and weeding. As she returned, she took the cloak he had laid out and went into the cabin for another fifteen minutes before coming back out, the cloak in hand. She beckoned to him to come over to her.
“Maerin, what makes you think I can succeed when so many others have failed at this?”
“You have my advice. Take it as sufficient for this task. Now, I warn you, this cloak will not protect you against all detection. You must be silent, else you will be discovered. Do not underestimate the girls. They may seem dim-witted baboons, but Laylea is in no way hare-brained. Ami is stubborn; she sees her way in all things and Braen will back her up no matter what. The quadruplets will give you little trouble, they follow Amelia. The twins are Braen’s and will follow her every order. The triplets follow none, but listen to Leelee more than any. She is who you must sway, for all of the princesses are protective of her and listen to her every whim. Laylea has the strongest intuition of all of them and the most intelligent. She brews the potions. Laylea must not suspect you, or you are doomed to fail. This clasp for the cloak will protect you as far as I could, but you must not let the king lay eyes on it.”
“Maerin, how do you know all of this? None of it is common knowledge and…”
“I lived in the palace before you found me. I was a maid to the queen.” Maerin’s eyes shifted to the ground. “I have humbled myself since then. You must not fail in this! You are the only hope in breaking an age-long curse on this kingdom.”
“I will not fail you. You have been as a mother to me these years. I thank you for that, only I wish you would not send me away so easily.” The kettle steam began to whistle from within the cabin.
“That means your tonic is ready. Come with me.” He followed her into the cabin and sat down on a stool as she removed the kettle from the heat of the fire as well as a cauldron, glowing bluish-purple from the tonic within. She began to fill several vials with the potion. “Once you drink this and drink it only as I tell you, you will fear drinking nothing from the girls. Drink one vial in the morning and one at night, directly before they offer you wine. None of their potions will work on you, but you must beware food they give you. When you make a home in the palace, go to the kitchen and find a woman named Sara. Tell her, ‘The time has come for the light to be restored,’ she will understand and be your faithful servant until the time you name your bride and will feed you unspoiled food. Can you remember that?”
Laiken repeated the phrase and nodded his head.
“Good, then,” Maerin hugged him, “Now, take these coins and go back to the market. Go to the stables and buy the best horse you find there. Tomorrow, you make your journey and begin the fulfillment of your destiny. Go now, and hurry. When you come back, the tonic will be ready for your first dose.”
The next day, at the dawn of sunlight, Laiken hugged the witch. “When I accomplish this, you will move into the palace with me, won’t you? You are the only family I’ve ever known…”
“Worry not about that, my dear. When the time comes for you to name your bride, and name who you will, you must reveal the cloak clasp to the king, along with this,” she removed a necklace and placed it over his head. “He will know at once who sent you and everything will be as it should. Go, now, and accomplish all that you can.”
As Laiken rode off into the distance, Maerin whispered, “Good luck, my son. May fortune smile upon this task of yours.”

“Have you heard, Ami?” Gaela giggled, “There’s another suitor in the castle.”
“He’s quite handsome, too,” Flora added, “But he’s not Farien, and he’s not a prince.”
“Lee, is there another suitor?” Amelia asked her youngest sister.
“Yes, but something…something is different about him. While he is quite handsome, even more so than Laston, he has protection of some sort, but I do not know what it is,” Laylea answered. “Perhaps it is just a tonic he bought from a village witch, nothing to match our potions.”
“Are you sure, Leelee?” Braen asked, with the quadruplets Herisa, Izorana, Jesalea, and Katerine behind her.
“Positive,” Laylea answered. “We are safe.”
“They come! The guards are bringing the suitor to meet us,” Eleigha, one of the triplets, came running down the stairs. All of the girls rushed to hide their party dresses for the night. By the time the guards arrived in the princesses’ suite, all evidence had been concealed of the princesses’ intent to leave for the night. Behind the guards, in walked a young man more handsome than many of those who the girls courted. Darkly tanned and thickly muscled, he carried himself with a grace that few could put to even a prince. Laiken smiled at each of the princesses and bowed in turn to them.
“Good evening, your highnesses,” his voice poured over them like thick, warm honey over a stale piece of bread.
Raising her hand to prevent her sisters from speaking, Amelia rose from her seat to confront him. “You really believe that you can discover our secret? You might want to rethink and go back home, lest our father have you executed.”
He politely shook his head, accepting her challenge. “Thank you, Princess Amelia, but I believe I can do this.”
Laylea stood up and moved toward him, “What is your name, then, suitor? How are we to call you?”
“My name is Laiken, Princess Laylea.”
“Then let me escort you to your room.” Laylea led him to his nearby room and inquired whether he was hungry or thirsty. When he replied that he wold have some wine, but that he had already eaten, she left him in his room. Immediately as she left, he removed a vial of tonic from inside his shirt and drank it quickly. By the time one of the triplets, Caleigh if the description he had read in a book Maerin had packed for him was correct, the empty vial was hidden beneath his shirt once more. As he emptied the wine goblet’s contents down his throat, he remembered the folly of the other suitors in asking for more wine. As a precaution to the princesses’ suspicion, he asked her if he could have another goblet full. The princess with brown hair and eyes smiled at him sweetly and left the room to retrieve him more. As she returned, he had laid down upon the bed as if drowsy. He drank the other goblet full and laid back down as though to sleep. He heard her giggle as she skipped out of the room.
“He sleeps already,” Caleigh informed Laylea, “after only two goblets.” Laylea smiled and began donning her jewelry as Caleigh and Daphne went around telling all their sisters that they could dress now, without fear, for the suitor was sleeping. A few hours later, Amelia gently opened his door to ensure Laiken’s slumber and smiled as she observed a snoring idiot who would fail as so many others had.
“Come, sisters. Let us attend our ball.” She left Laiken’s door open and sauntered over to her bed, where she traced the engraving on the headboard. As she pressed down on several spots at once, the bed sunk into the floor and revealed a passageway leading out of the castle. Laiken quickly donned his cloak out of sight of the princesses and followed them out of the castle into a forest.
Before long, beneath the moonlight, Laiken followed the princesses onto a pathway that led through a forest of silver. From the roots to the leaves of the trees, the entire forest glistened in the pale moonlight, casting rays of lustrous beauty upon the already beautiful faces of the princesses. Quietly, Laiken reached up and snapped off a resplendent twig with several silver leaves as evidence of where the girls were going. The snap was louder than he intended, however, and Laylea turned around, peering into the darkness after him. “Ami!”
“Relax, Leelee, it’s only your imagination! Think of our princes, how splendid this night will be!”
Further on, the princesses took another turn that led through a forest of gold. A final turn led the assemblage through a forest of diamonds, up to a castle on a hilltop. In his rush to reach the magnificent palace, Laiken accidentally trod on the hem of Laylea’s dress. “Ami, my dress!”
“Leelee, you only snagged it on a nail. It’s fine. Listen, think of Laston, in there just waiting to take you in his arms and dance the night away.”
The princesses ran up to the moat of the castle where their princes each waited in a boat to carry them across to the castle. Laiken snuck in the boat with Laylea and her prince Laston. As the prince began rowing across the wide expanse of water that surrounded the palace, he noticed the boat seemed heavier this night than before. “Something must have attached itself to the bottom of the boat, for it is heavier tonight. The night is young, though, and you are beautiful. I must tell you, I have again won the prestige awards at the academy. Soon, I will inquire after your father, to gain your hand. Such things will impress him. I understand Alistair is on the verge of seeing the King, himself.”
“Laston, I am not ready for marriage. You must understand, I am but fifteen.” Laylea pleaded with him, “Please, confront not my father; neither he nor my sisters will take it well.”
“Relax, my love. Let us not ruin the evening’s festivities with such ideas. Come, we shall enjoy ourselves thoroughly, this night.” Laston handed her out of the boat and held his arm to escort her. She took it, hesitantly, but then smiled up at the moon. Laiken gazed upon her beauty and wanted to weep, for he knew who he should want to choose for his wife, but knew she would not have him or any other man. Quietly, Laiken stepped out of the boat and rushed into the castle.
The ballroom was magnificent in every aspect. Golden and silver gilt coated the walls and crystals hung from enormous chandeliers which refracted the candlelight into every color imaginable. All along the inner wall, mirrors reflected the dancers, adding to the surreal magic in the atmosphere. Silks and furs twirled and spun as the princesses began to dance with their princes and with each other.
The night went on accompanied by music, dancing, games, and all other forms of merriment one could think of. At first, Laiken saw nothing to be wrong with all of the proceedings, but then he began to realize that a haze covered the princes’ eyes as they danced and played with the beautiful girls. As he gazed harder at each of the princes, he noticed a cord that would be invisible to the eyes of the princesses connecting each prince and running down a corridor and down several flights of stairs. As the night was drawing to a close, Laiken resolved to inspect what he suspected was the source of the haze tomorrow night.
While the princesses bid farewell to their princes after crossing the moat, Laiken ran ahead of them through the forests. He hurried up the secret passageway into the princesses’ bedchamber and then into his own room where he immediately packed away his cloak where it had been hidden when he had feigned slumber. Again, he jumped in his bed and pretended to be asleep as the princesses returned up the passageway.
Amelia and Laylea turned to Laiken’s corner of their level of the castle and smiled as they beheld him sleeping as a babe. The girls laughed and told their sisters that they had nothing to worry about from this new suitor. Laylea closed Laiken’s door, smiling all the while.

The next morning, the princesses’ shoes which had been new the day before were danced to rags, but the king did not approach Laiken, though he was becoming extremely impatient and worried for his daughters. As true to his idea, Laiken slept through part of the day so exhaustion would not overcome him when he began to search for the source of the magical cords that connected the princes.
When he awoke, after dining with the princesses, Laiken came upon the library and went inside to pass the afternoon. Through the giant window that made up most of the outer wall, he noticed that it rained and it rained heavily but snow also mixed with the rain. Not fearful of the bad omen, Laiken picked up a book sitting on the window seat. It was both new and old, a compilation of several volumes over centuries stuffed into one cover: The Misfortunes and Curse on the Family D’gheunt. Intrigued by the memory of Maerin’s warning and the brooch she had given him for protection, he sat down and read through the book thoroughly.
He learned that for centuries, a curse had been placed upon the King’s family, dooming them to heartache and destruction because of past deeds further along the lines of the King’s fathers. A legend had said that the Greatest great father of the King had offended one of the Great Faeries and that since, misfortune would always befall one of the family such that grief would strike in the hearts of all the rest so strongly that the offense would be felt thousands of times, in each and every heart. It seemed strange that the princesses should be in danger because the offense had already been paid for with the disappearance of the queen.
As Laiken turned the page, he froze where he sat. For five minutes he stared at the picture on the page until the clock rang the hour for dinner. On the page was a picture of the queen who had disappeared only two years ago. Laiken laid down the book back on the window seat, open for the world to see a picture of Maerin, dressed in silks and jewelry.
Laiken took his evening meal alone and pondered over his discovery. He knew now how Maerin had known all that she had. He knew how Laylea had learned to brew potions. He knew that he had to break the curse on the family. But he did not know why Maerin had sent him. After dining, Laiken went down to his room early, putting on a face of giddiness and drunken foolery to show the princesses that he did indeed drink their potions. The night went much the same as the previous night had, with Laiken drinking his tonic and then downing the potion the princesses brought to him and asking for more. Again, Laiken faked sleep as the princesses dressed in furs and silks and their new shoes the King had given them in the morning. Again, the Princesses checked on him to make certain he remained deep in slumber and as they wandered down the passageway, he donned the cloak and followed them.
This night, Laiken snapped off a leaf of gold from the forests and rode in the boat with Amelia and Alistair. As all of them came into the castle, Laiken again looked for the invisible cords that connected each prince. Quickly he followed the cord down the corridor and down the stairs. After several flights of stairs, the cord disappeared into a room behind a large wooden door. As Laiken entered the room, he encountered more stairs this time leading up where the cord snaked its way. He followed the cord further and came into a room where he was certain was placed on the other side of the wall of mirrors. In the center of the room stood a dark magician, cloaked in a robe of black and silver with his wavy black hair falling to his shoulders. As the evil wizard observed the happenings of the ball, he laughed in his glory. A few more days, and his plan would be complete. He would hold not just the throne of the princesses’ father, but also of several of the princes’ kingdoms. Laiken watched the magician closely and observed every feature so that he might identify him and research the means of killing him. As the wizard watched and Laiken struck the man’s every feature into his memory, Laylea danced up to the mirror directly in front of where they stood. Laughter and gaiety covered her face as she traced the gilt on the mirror with her finger. The dark magician held his hand up to the glass where hers was. “She will be my bride,” he murmured, “I will take her as my wife and forevermore she will belong to me.
A flaming hatred flared in Laiken’s heart and mind as he observed the magician’s stare at his Leelee. Laiken hurriedly but silently fled from the room, tears stinging his eyes. He must defeat this magician, never mind about breaking the curse. He could not allow that bright and colorful light which filled his mind and heart to be cloaked in darkness. Laiken rushed into the boat with one of the triplets, Daphne if he remembered correctly, and fumed silently. He ran through the forests and into his room and hid the evidence of his leaving the castle once more and pretended to sleep as he planned out a rescue for the princesses on the next night.

Laiken did not sleep late into the next day as he had on the second day. He awoke early and broke his nightly fast with a few biscuits and then rushed into the library where he searched all day for a means to defeat and kill the magician. He came upon his answer in the early afternoon, just after his midday repast. The magician was apparently a cursed enemy of the Faeries and had disappeared for after raiding multiple sacred havens of the Faeries only two years ago. In some way, he had managed to place the Faeries’ rage upon a royal family, causing them to kidnap the Queen and forbid her to return until the deed was undone, however powerless she was to rectify it.
Reading on, past several portraits of the magician and of the woman he knew as Maerin, Laiken discovered exactly what he had been searching for. The only way to kill the wizard was to drive a silver, gold, and diamond blade through his heart. But magical protection would be needed because the retaliation, though short, would be fatal. Before she had disappeared, the Queen had just such protection, the reason the magician had focused the Faeries’ anger on her, but it appeared he had not acquired it. ‘No, he hasn’t,’ Laiken thought as he held the brooch for his cloak tightly in his hand.
Putting the book away, Laiken ran to the armory of the castle and searched for such a blade that would kill the wizard. He found a full silver sword and a full gold sword and several daggers with diamonds embedded in the hilts. After browsing the complete armory for a couple of hours, he came upon a ceremonious sword hidden in a dark corner that fit the description of the weapon that could kill the wizard perfectly. Reading the sword’s label, he uncovered that the sword had been made for the queen soon before her disappearance. One half of the blade was made completely of silver and the other completely of gold, and in the middle on the edges of where the two metals met, a large diamond was melded into the blade completely. This was no sword for combat as the metals were too soft for anything but ceremony, but the edge and tip of the sword were as sharp as if the sword had seen a whetstone only the day before. Looking around him as a precaution and seeing no one, Laiken hid the sword within his regular cloak that he wore about the castle.
Laiken dined with both the King and princesses that night on an enormous feast held in his honor. The King said nothing concerning his deadline and the princesses spoke not of their nightly forays. Laiken laughed and joked along with the family as though nothing was amiss and he was a part of the relation. Several times in the meal, Laylea smiled apologetically to him and seemed remorseful as she believed he would be executed on the following day. Laiken smiled at her, knowledge and wisdom in his eyes. She shook her head in disbelief, but he nodded, affirming that he knew. Again, she shook her head and he pulled out the golden leaf and twig he had plucked from the forest the night before and allowed her alone to see his trinket. Her eyes went wide with surprise and shock, but she quickly hid her new knowledge.

After the feast, Laylea pulled Laiken to the side of the corridor into a small room there. “How?” she immediately asked.
“I was forewarned,” Laiken told her, “and I was given protection and information a suitor would die for.”
“But you drank the potion; I watched you drink it! There is no possible way…”
Laiken cut her off, pulling out the brooch Maerin had given him.
“Where did you get that?” tears filled Laylea’s eyes.
“A woman named Maerin gave it to me so that I might succeed in this endeavor.” Laylea looked up at him with excited tears overflowing her eyes. “Leelee, you must not go tonight. You above the others will be in danger of the worst sort. Please, I beg you. I could not bear to see you hurt.”
“There is no danger but that of being kissed by Laston,” she laughed.
“Laylea, there is a worse danger than you know. A wizard has an enchantment upon the princes and his eyes are upon you for a bride. My only guess as to why you and your sisters are not under the spell is that Maerin gave you a source of protection before she was kidnapped,” Laiken pleaded with her, “I beg you Leelee, go not tonight. Feign sickness as I will feign sleep yet again. Tonight, I go to defeat and kill the wizard and in the morn I will present my evidence to your father.”
“Is mother truly alive?” Laylea asked, tears in her eyes once more.
“Aye, and she told me to choose who I would for my wife when the time comes, but I must ask you first, will you have me as your husband should I conquer this magician and bring your mother back to you?”
“Yes!” Laylea cried, jumping in his arms, “I would even should you not triumph and my father has to send men to kill this creature. I wish nothing more than to marry a man my mother should favor.”
Laiken took his Leelee in his arms and kissed her quickly, “Go. You must feign sickness this night, else the wizard capture you and hold you. I will see that your sisters are protected, but do not reveal my secret.” Laylea shook her head and kissed him again. She rushed out of the room, putting on a façade of anger and slight despair as though she had argued with him about his giving up and leaving lest he should be executed the next day.
“Really, sister, you should not try,” Braen hugged her beautiful younger sister, “Lee, every time you try, the man is too much of stubborn mule head to listen. Come, let us prepare for tonight.”
“I feel not well, Braen. My stomach feels as if I ate something foul,” Laylea clutched her middle tightly. “Take me to the infirmary.” The second oldest sister escorted Laylea to the wing of the castle where several doctors resided.

That night when on as the nights before had, only without Laylea. Many times before had one of the princesses been sick but the others went on, to their princes. This time, after Amelia had checked to ensure his slumber, Laiken belted the sword he had taken from the armory underneath the enchanted cloak. When the entourage passed through the forest of diamonds, he took several leaves and twigs this time and hid them within his cloak. Crossing the moat, he rode in the boat with Izorana and her prince Isaron. Laston seemed downcast that his beautiful princess was not present, but danced with many of her sisters. Away from the wall of mirrors, Laiken snuck a goblet from the feasting table and a set of dining utensils beneath his cloak for further proof to show the King the following morning.
Nearer to the end of the night, Laiken rushed down the corridor and stairs and back up into the room behind the mirrors. Again, the wizard was watching the merriment, but not as happily as the night before because his gem had fallen ill and had to remain home. He would have to wait until she returned to reveal his presence to the rest, but even so, he became impatient at the thought of taking Laylea as his own. Quietly, still invisible to the world, Laiken snuck upon the evil magician. The magician heard a noise and turned quickly toward Laiken, and saw the residues of the magic on the cloak, though everything else was invisible. “AHA!” The wizard yelled and made to form a spell against Laiken, but Laiken had already driven the golden, silver, diamond sword through the wizard’s chest. Laiken felt a pressure build up in the room and something akin to an explosion, but nothing touched him as the brooch still held together the cloak around his shoulders. The magician fell to the floor, a dead glaze covering his eyes. Through the mirror, Laiken could see the merriment had ceased for a moment, as the princes grew confused as to their whereabouts, but had started up again, more fervent than before.
Reaching down to the evil magician, Laiken removed an amulet from around his neck and a ring from his finger and hid them beneath his cloak with the other trinkets from these nights. Leaving with the princesses, Laiken rushed ahead not to once more feign slumber as the princesses returned. Immediately entering the castle, Laiken ran to Laylea in the infirmary where she sat wide awake, bored as a stone, and worried as a mother hen. Upon seeing Laiken she jumped from the bed and into his arms.

As the sun rose and Laiken and Laylea explained to the princesses what had happened during the night, the King arrived into his daughters’ suite and observed that once again, the princesses’ slippers had been reduced to rags from dancing the night away. The girls all looked down at the floor, now aware that they had indeed been in danger and had put the entire kingdom at risk in the mix. The King approached Laiken, “Have you an explanation for this?”
“Indeed, I do, my lord,” Laiken pulled out all of the evidence he had gathered over the past three nights and presented it to the King, telling the story of the secret passageway, the forests of silver, gold, and diamonds, the enchanted castle, and the evil wizard.
“How did you achieve this when so many others have failed at even getting beyond my castle walls?”
“I had assistance, your majesty.” At last, Laiken removed the cloak pin from his pocket and handed to the King. “I believe you will have a visitor today to the castle.”
At that moment, a servant raced down the stairs and to the King, “My Lord! You will not believe it! Just now… The Queen!”
The King, followed by all of his daughters ran up the stairs and corridor into the Great Hall. Upon the Queen’s throne, which had been empty for so long sat Maerin in a plain skirt and blouse and smiling brightly upon her family. “Choose your wife, Laiken,” she said, “And choose who you will, for my daughters should be proud to call husband the man who has cared for me these past two years, when so many turned me away when the Faeries would not allow me to return home.” The King fell to the ground on his knees in tears as the girls all stood staring at their mother, tears of joy splashing their silks they had worn in the night.
Laiken approached Laylea and knelt before her, kissing her hand, “You know what I would ask of you, Leelee” he said, “Marry me.” Laylea fell to her knees and flung her arms around Laiken and kissed him passionately with all the love she had.
“Thank you,” she whispered in his ear, “Thank you so much.”

Eventually, all of the princesses found true husbands, some in their princes, but eventually, it would be Laylea and Laiken who would sit upon the thrones as Queen and King. From that moment on, they all lived Happily Ever After.

© 2009 Chelsea Schermerhorn

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Added on July 31, 2009


Chelsea Schermerhorn
Chelsea Schermerhorn

Bruceville-Eddy, TX

I like books of all sorts, old and new, I love it when the words of a book draw pictures in my mind, I love movies of all genres except horror, learning about all things, including history, pop cultur.. more..