The Steampunk Story of Sleeping Beauty

All Rights Reserved ©

Chapter 5

Through her raven’s eyes, Malena saw the princess’ door open just a crack, and some sort of disassembled machinery was pushed through. Having also been watching the arrival of the king’s cousin, and knowing that his room was next to Aurora’s, she suspected him right away. She assumed he was the next in line for the throne, after all. She wanted to send her ravens after him and attack him, but she knew that she would be the one suspected if her ravens were seen by anyone else. She looked around at her inventions, wondering what she should do.

The steam carriage came to an abrupt halt. Getting down from his seat, Phillip looked around the dark street. He thought he saw a shadow move out of the corner of his eye, but he couldn’t be sure. No sooner had Phillip stepped off of the steam carriage, than he realized what was wrong. Someone had punctured the steam tank. And right when he was nearly to the castle, too. Though he had no idea where he could get his vehicle repaired at such an early hour, he knew that sitting there alone was the last thing he should be doing.

Making sure to take the bag containing the antidote he had prepared, he began walking in the direction of the palace, hoping to find a mechanic on the way, or else wait until a decent hour for a train.

It was not long before he found one. The sign was a bit worn out, but he could tell what it said, nonetheless.

Knocking on the door, he shouted “please, let me in! My carriage needs repairs! It’s urgent!”

The girl who answered was no taller than him, and with her goggles over her face, he could hardly determine her age. Were it not for the goggles and gloves she wore, he would never have thought that this was the mechanic who ran the shop.

“I’m so sorry,” Phillip clutched his bag with both hands. “My name is Phillip, and my steam tank has been punctured. But I need to get to the castle as soon as possible, otherwise I wouldn’t bother you at this early hour.”

“The castle?” the girl’s voice showed that she was older than he was, otherwise he would never have guessed. “Wait, did you say your name was Phillip?”

Phillip nodded.

“Phillip the 16-year-old science prodigy?” she clarified.

Again, Phillip nodded.

The girl beckoned for him to follow her inside.

“Then I will take you there myself,” she began rummaging through a pile of parts. “We can fix your steam tank later. This will be faster.”

Parts in one hand, the girl turned to a giant pile of black sheet blocking one wall of the garage. When she yanked the sheet off, Phillip gasped.

“Is that what we’re riding?”

“You bet it is,” the girl began attaching one leg of the dragon to its body.

“How long did it take to build that?”

The girl laughed. “I started building it before you were born.”

Aurora woke up early, not wanting to miss even a moment of the day. Stepping out of bed, she noticed something in the corner of her room, next to the door. She couldn’t tell what it was, exactly, seeing as it lay in pieces and looked like a pile of wood. Was it there before? She had not noticed. Kneeling next to it, she peered at her reflection in one of its parts.

This couldn’t be a machine that she was warned about. After all, it didn’t seem to do anything, didn’t make the noise that the airship had, and was so small. Picking it up, she gasped as it burned her skin. As she dropped it, one of the gears scraped her hand. The cut hurt more than it should have.

“She won’t wake up,” Faun was cradling Aurora in her arms.

Mary stood with her arms folded. “It has to be because she touched that spindle. Who on earth brought that in here?”

The door flew open, and Fleur, Briar and Stephen appeared.

“What is going on?” Stephen barked. “Did she really cut herself on something?”

“We should have waited to bring her back, until the antidote was already here,” Briar mused. “I was just so excited to finally see her, that I sent for her the moment the antidote was developed.”

“It’s not your fault,” Fleur tried to comfort her. “I feel like someone put that spindle in her room on purpose.”

“All we can do now,” Mary reminded them, “is wait for the antidote to get here.”

“But don’t you remember what Malena said?” Briar’s face was white with fear. “If she cuts herself on machinery, she will die.”

Faun looked into the princess’s face. “She’s still breathing now, so don’t assume she’ll die yet.”

Stephen was looking at his sleeping daughter, when a noise from outside made him look out the window.

“What the hell is that?”

The control room in the dragon’s head was a tight fit for Malena and Phillip, as Malena had built it for one person, but they made it work. With Phillip in the way, Malena could not reach half of the controls, and needed Phillip to help her control the dragon. She had also not had enough time to find glass to cover the control room window with, so the wind blew through it.

Though the dragon was small enough that it fit out the door of Malena’s garage while on all fours, it was also tall enough while standing upright that she could look into the higher windows on many of the buildings. Phillip and Malena were also the first to see the rising sun as it rose above the hills.

“This is amazing!” Phillip pushed a lever forward to make the dragon continue walking. “We’re almost to the palace already!”

Malena noticed that any people outside, no matter how far away they were from the dragon, were running away.

“That makes it easier,” Malena smirked. “There’s no traffic.”

When the palace stood right before them, Malena smiled. But her smile died on her lips when an airship flew towards them.

“Stop terrorizing the city, Malena, or we will shoot you down!”

If only the dragon was big enough to grab that airship in one hand.

Malena had brought a separate loudspeaker just in case, as the dragon did not have one built in. Turning it on, she said “I have Phillip and his antidote here with me. If you shoot me down, you will lose the—”

The airship fired a warning shot anyway, shaking the dragon as it whizzed past.

“I guess I have no choice,” Malena reached over Phillip to pull the lever above his head.

Flames erupted from the dragon’s mouth, roasting the airship’s rudder and sending it tumbling to the ground.

“That was awesome!” Phillip looked over the window to watch the airship land, damaged, on the ground. “Can I do it next time?”

“No,” Malena pushed him back into the seat. “You have to know where to aim the fire so it won’t hurt them too badly. The last thing we want to do is make the people in the palace mad enough to not let us in.”

“Okay,” Phillip sat back in the seat.

Malena couldn’t help but notice that one of the people getting out of the damaged airship was Prince Albert, the king’s cousin. With one dragon arm, Malena picked him up, wrapping the mechanical claws around his middle, ignoring his screams.

“It was you, wasn’t it?” Malena said into the loudspeaker. “You poisoned the princess.”

“You made the poison,” Albert was screaming, but not loud enough for anyone but her and Phillip to hear.

“Oh, shut up! Your mercenaries held a gun to my head, or didn’t you know?” Malena pushed the lever to make the dragon keep walking, leaving Albert in the beast’s mechanical grip.

Getting closer to the castle, Malena and Phillip aimed for the battlements. When the dragon’s neck stretched out as far as it could, it could just barely reach.

“Phillip,” Malena was poised over the controls, working to keep the dragon in that position and not slide down the incline. “Take the antidote, and get out. Be careful.”

Nodding, Phillip jumped out the window, slid down the dragon’s nose, and landed on the battlements.

Running inside of the castle, Phillip found a servant, who led him to the princess’ room. The princess, in bed asleep, was surrounded by people. People who all looked up at Phillip. No one spoke. They knew why he was there.

Taking the antidote from his coat pocket, he approached the sleeping princess. She lay still, as if she were dead, but he could see that she was breathing. Uncorking the bottle, he opened her mouth and poured a few drops of the antidote in, before closing her mouth so that she would swallow. He did this again and again until the bottle was empty.

When she did not wake up, Phillip kept staring at her. He couldn’t turn around and face her parents and the room’s other occupants. He couldn’t tell them that the antidote wasn’t working. Not after everything Malena had done to get him there. It had to work.

Another few moments passed, and Aurora’s eyes opened.
Continue Reading

About Us

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered publisher, providing a platform to discover hidden talents and turn them into globally successful authors. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books our readers love most on our sister app, GALATEA and other formats.