The Land of Stories: Gleefully Ever After

Heart of Stone

In which the Evil Queen lives up to her title…

After a long and silent march – punctuated only by the growls of the wolves if one of their prisoners showed the slightest inclination to make a sound or step out of line – the travelers arrived at a decrepit castle. The wolves began to howl, and a drawbridge was slowly lowered across the moat.

A tall man, dressed in animal skins and carrying a crossbow, came out to meet them. As he drew near, Chris recognized the Huntsman as Will Schuester.

“The Evil Queen is waiting for you,” the Huntsman said. “Come with me.”

Surrounded by the wolves, whose fur all seemed to be standing on end at the mention of the Evil Queen, Chris, Darren, and Kurt followed Will into the run-down castle. He led them through a dusty, cobweb-festooned corridor, and into a great hall.

As they entered the hall, all eyes immediately fell on the Evil Queen. Chris had to suppress an inappropriate fit of giggles when he saw that she was wearing a bright red tracksuit. Apparently, you could take Sue Sylvester out of Glee, but you couldn’t get her out of that costume.

“You’re late!” the Evil Queen snapped. “You wolves should be wetting yourselves with shame!”

Several of the wolves looked as if they were, indeed, about to wet themselves – if not with shame, then with fear. Rick the Stick, however, gathered his courage and growled, “We’ve brought you the two men you asked for, and we’re throwing in Kurt Hummelocks as a bonus. Now give us Queen Red Riding Hood, like you promised.”

“You’ll get her when I’m satisfied. And I am NOT satisfied. Give me that!” she demanded, grabbing the sheepskin satchel out of the mouth of a terrified wolf.

As she held up the satchel, the Evil Queen wrinkled her nose in disgust. “Eww. Even your breath stinks of mediocrity. There’d better not be any drool on the Wishing Spell items, or I’m going to have a whole wardrobe full of new fur-trimmed tracksuits.”

There was some discontented grumbling from the wolves, but the Evil Queen silenced them with a scornful glare. “I want you all to sniff your own butts. That’s the smell of failure, and it’s stinking up my castle. Now go wait outside!

The wolves slunk away, and the Evil Queen turned her attention to the Huntsman. “What are you waiting for? Why aren’t my prisoners tied up yet? Worst henchman ever!”

“I’m sorry, My Queen,” Will said obsequiously. “My daughter and I will take care of that right away.”

Tearing his eyes away from the spectacle of Evil Queen Sue, Chris noticed Santana standing on the far side of the room, next to a chair on which a bound and gagged Rachel was sitting forlornly. Santana strode over and seized Kurt, who was obviously the biggest threat amongst them. Holding a dagger to his throat, she forced him into a chair that was back-to-back with Rachel’s. Then she tied his hands behind his back and his ankles to the legs of the chair.

Chris and Darren stood rooted to the spot, as the Huntsman kept his crossbow trained on them. Once she was finished with Kurt, Santana gave Chris and Darren the same treatment, tying them in back-to-back chairs as well.

“That’s more like it,” Sue gloated, as she surveyed her captives. “You imbeciles are helpless, and I’m engorged with venom and triumph. Now, let’s see if you’ve managed to collect all of the items I need for my wish.”

Sue opened up the sheepskin satchel and began removing the Wishing Spell items. She held each one up and examined it before placing it on a black cloth draped over a nearby table. The last thing she removed from the satchel was the tiny glass vial containing the tears of Warbler Trent.

“Ah,” Sue crowed. “Once these tears touch the cloth, the Wishing Spell will be complete, and I will be granted the deepest desire of my stone cold heart.”

While Sue had been focused on the Wishing Spell items, Chris had managed to surreptitiously wiggle one foot free. Now, as she stood poised to remove the stopper, he gave a high kick that would have made Zach Woodlee proud, knocking the vial from her hand.

Everyone stared as the vial flew into the air, and then arced back down toward the hard stone floor. Will leapt to catch it, but he was too late. The vial shattered, and the tears were lost.

Sue turned furiously on Will. “How could you miss that?!! Are you trying to make me horny with rage?!!”

“I’m sorry, My Queen. It was an innocent mistake.”

“And what if I were to just innocently murder you, Will? I’d still have to go to trial. Probably get off with justifiable homicide. But what does that matter? I’m already the most wanted fugitive in the land.” Then, glancing at Kurt, she added, “No offense to you, Porcelain.”

“None taken. You’re welcome to the title.”

“And you!” Sue snarled, turning on Santana. “I knew you were dumb, but I didn’t realize you were stupid. What part of tying up the prisoners didn’t you understand? ‘Cause it seems to be the part where they’re supposed to stay tied up!”

Santana’s eyes flashed, but she said nothing.

“Well, apparently, if I want anything done right around here, I’ll have to do it myself,” Sue complained, binding Chris’s leg to the chair with a ridiculously long rope worked into a series of elaborate knots.

Once she was certain that Chris was properly restrained, Sue turned back to Will. “How long will it take you and your loser of a daughter to get me some more tears from one of those preposterous singing prepprechauns?”

“If we leave right away, we could be back by tomorrow afternoon, My Queen.”

“Unacceptable! There has to be a way for me to get my wish today.”

A wicked gleam came into Sue’s eyes as she glanced from Darren, to Chris, and then back again…

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