The Snake and the Fox Prince
In the peaceful kingdom of Joy, there lived a prince and his beautiful bride to be. She was the fairest, kindest creature the land had ever seen. In her time, her beauty inspired stories, songs and men to wage war for her heart. The prince was noble and strong, he ruled with his strength and because of that there was peace. The princess recognized that his love for his people outweighed his love for conquest or power, and so after a time of courting, they were to be married. It was the day before the wedding, the eve of Aria’s light where all things spring up and live again, when a stout messenger rushed into the king’s court. Huffing and out of breath he staggered and ran up to the Prince’s throne.
“S-sire,” He gasped and fell to his knees. “I bring grave news! Spree The Mighty Deceptor, has heard of your marriage to the Princess Fae and has sworn on his tongue to stop it! He claims, only he can keep a treasure like the princess. My lord... even now the evil serpent is headed here from the East!” The man shook in his boots, too afraid to look the Prince in the eye for fear the Prince may be angry with him for bringing such terrible news the night prior to his wedding. But the prince was a kind man, unlike most noble born. Contemplating for a moment, the Prince sat tall in his gold throne.
“Do not fear. Rise and look at me. You have done well, and I have use of you yet.” The Prince spoke sweet and determined.
“Morrow’s night is the first moon of Aria, and I am to marry the beautiful Princess Fae. This evil creature does not scare me, nor should it scare you. Tonight I ride to the Great Magi and with their granted power, I shall defeat the mighty serpent with the sword of gold. Like the Honest King once did, long ago.”
“The Great Magi?!” The messenger said in wonder. “I shall send a bird to them at once!”
“No need!” The Prince halted the man’s eager bounce. “They will already know of my coming. What I require of you is to go to the Keeper and have him ready me a stead that can handle a hard nights journey. Tell him not to pack provisions. I will not stop for a moments rest.”
Nodding eagerly, the messenger rushed off.
I have a task before I go. The Prince thought as he rose from his throne.
As tradition went, the soon to be Queen slept in the tallest tower of the kingdom the night before her wedding. The Peak it was called. All girls dreamed to one day stay the night there, for the following morning they would wake a queen. This ritual was defined so the queen could look down upon her people and begin to understand the responsibility that would come as a ruler.
“My beautiful love, the song in my heart, please peak down on me for I must speak with you.” The Prince called out.
Slowly the Princess Fae poked her head out from the great tower and gazed down at her handsome prince. “Dear sir, I believe you are lost and confused, morrow’s night is the grand event. We should not be speaking. We both need our rest” She said ruefully.
“O’ wise lady love how right you are. However, I must venture with haste to the west…”
“West?” The Princess interrupted. “Theres nothing to the west, save the Magi’s Domain…”
“Yes. Your wisdom does not betray you. I am headed to seek guidance and power from the Great Magi. A dire problem has arisen, that threatens our people, our land and our love-that must be dealt with.”
The Princess nodded to herself smiling. Without another word she rummaged about her things and hurried down the tower.
“What are these?” The Prince chuckled. “I wanted a kiss perhaps but gifts? This isn’t a celebration.” He mocked upon the sight of his princess, her arms full of random things.
“What ever do you mean? Is it not obvious? You are journeying to the Magi’s Domain and you have nothing but the clothes on your back and a crown on your head.”
“Ah! I will have a horse as well.” The Prince mused.
Blowing a long strand of hair from her face, the Princess Fae frowned at her husband to be. “O’ foolish Prince, you are quite charming, but not clever enough to get out of a gift.”
“A gift?” The Prince asked taking the things from the Princesses hands.
“The Great Magi require three gifts. They will listen to all problems but, they will only grant advise if the soul is truly desperate or barring three gifts. None can be of iron or music and must be given freely. They will not ask for them. So it is said and so it has been for their entire existence. So I have brought you the three things you need...” She kissed him lightly on his cheek. “For if I am to be Queen I must stand alongside the King and protect this land.”
“What am I to do with these?” The Prince laughed looking over what he held.
“You must be the clever one now my dear. I’ve done my part.” Fae smiled, skipping back to the tower steps.
The Prince tucked away the three trinkets into his coat. “Until morrow’s eve then.” The Prince bowed deeply, as humble as any would bow to him if not more so.
“Til then, my prince. I shall eagerly await your return.” Princess Fae shouted as the prince departed the tower and headed to the stables where the Keeper awaited him.
“Your majesty!” The Keeper called in his burly voice as he rushed over with a white gale trotting beside him. “She is ready for the long nights venture. You should arrive at the Magi’s Domain before Aria’s first light.” He said, handing the prince the reigns.
“Thank you Keeper. Please, if there is ever anything you need of me all you need is to simply ask. You have my greatest appreciations.” The Prince praised, patting the man on his broad shoulder.
“Noble words from such a noble prince. All I could ever want for I already have thanks to ye and yer family.” Eyeing the Prince more closely he noticed he was carrying things inside of his coat. “Ah! Please lord let me tuck your things into your horses pouches, tis be a harsh journey for ye as well as she.” He said brushing the horses black mane.
Without any resistance the Prince handed over the trinkets to the Keeper, so he could safely store them away. Settled and ready the Prince finally disembarked. Leaving his kingdom, his people, and his beautiful love, he headed West to the Magi’s Domain with hope and determination.
Upon arriving, after a long nights ride through the Cheerful Forest and across the Harsh Brush-first light struck the Prince’s dirtied face as he gazed upon the dome of the Magi’s Domain. Tired, the Prince led his white gale to a water bucket. With a look at his reflection, he washed the dirt from his face and gathered the three trinkets. He put the two smaller ones in his pockets and placed the third over his shoulder. As he approached the small dome, he took care to step over the little stream that circled the structure. As the prince entered the dome he saw three old men standing at the end of the room, their long beards draped across the floor.
“Approach.” They spoke together. Their voices echoing all around the room in a hollow tone.
“It tis nice to see you prince. Your journey doesn’t look to have taken much of a toll on you, not yet anyway. As you know we have been expecting you.”
“Indeed we have. You’ve come to tell us your tale and with it you have a question.”
“A heavy thing you ask. Only a great price can help you with your task.” The three grinned and exchanged looks with one another through squinted eyes.
Bending down to one knee the prince bowed to the three robed men.
“O’ great everlasting and eternal Magi, I come with a heavy request as you say. The Mighty Deceptor Spree, is no longer bound by the golden blade. He approaches my kingdom from the East with a vow to destroy. I beg of thee three of ye, grant me the mystical golden sword that you granted to the Honest King, so that I may again seal the wretched serpent.”
“Beast from the East.” The left one giggled.
“Eager for a royal feast.” The right one laughed.
“The golden sword worries him not in the least.” The middle one scoffed.
“Whatever do you mean? Spree was trapped by the golden point, unable to move and unable to speak.” The Prince quoted stories told to him as a boy.
“As time has passed the golden steel has become one with the creature.”
“It is quite an interesting feature.”
“Both tongue and tail, a brilliant golden scale.”
The Magi’s words seemed to make sense to each other, each nodding in understanding, but the prince, still bowing, sat confused. They spoke in riddles. Talking of things that didn’t help at all. Had the stories been wrong? Are these men of magic or men of madness?
Suddenly aware of what he held, the Prince remembered what Princess Fae had said, “They will not ask.” Pulling the first trinket off of his shoulder, the prince laid a long and wide carpet in front of the three magi.
“What is this for, my feet?”
“Truly, it is exceptionally neat.”
“Why would you give us this sheet?” The three puzzled over the thing.
Clearing his throat, the Prince was caught off guard. He was not expecting them to ask why he brought them the gifts, he expected they simply would just take them. Quickly looking the men over he said, “This is for your posture-no longer must you stand and hurt your backs.”
Grumbling and moaning the three sat down. Their bones cracked and snapped as if it had been years since they last moved a step. The Prince smiled, pleased with himself. He normally wasn’t that quick on his feet, Princess Fae was the clever one.
“The second...” With a flourish, the prince pulled out a shimmering silver looking glass. “To help you see even further into the future than you could ever see before.” He said handing it to the magi.
“Awwwwwwww.” The three gleamed.
“Lastly,” Digging through his coat, the Prince held a handful of something. Rolling it to the three magi, they looked down at a pair of die. Puzzled faces met the Prince’s “This is so,” The Prince paused to think. “This is so that nothing is left up to chance and that everything will be, as it should be.”
Wide grins covered the old mens faces, deepening the wrinkles on their faces.
“Everything will be as it should be...” They echoed. A statement truer than the prince expected.
“I must ask though, if I am not to receive a golden sword, how ever will I defeat the mighty serpent?” Questioned the Prince. Each magi spoke, one after the other.
“You may not have a sword that shines, but your wits surely are just as sharp.”
“Aria’s light is upon us, bringing grand change to all. With it you will stand taller than trees and your people will speak great tales of you.”
“Stand fast Prince. The snake is slippery and be it gift or curse, everyday it lives the snake shall grow. Lies are spoken constantly, it cannot be stopped. Each deception brings him strength. Simply remember why you fight at all and you shall prevail.”
For my kingdom, my people, and my love. The prince thought, thinking of the oath he had taken as a boy, to forever put all those he cared for before himself. “Thank you Great Magi. Still I do not understand. What is your gift to me?” Straight to the point. The Prince tired of the magi’s riddles; fearing that every moment that passed the mighty Deceptor grew closer to his lands, his people and his princess love.
“Quiet down boy!” One snapped.
“Your eagerness will leave you bruised fool Prince. Do be settled.” Another taunted
“Step out into the light Prince. Like the flowers you to shall spring. Give it a moment. We understand you’re not the patient type” The final one said, giving somewhat of a direct answer.
With a final “Thank you!” the Prince rushed out of the little dome and bathed in the sun.
Aria had finally come and the world knew. Birds chirped about, fluttering through the blossoming flowers. Deer pranced through the sprawling brush as green grass began to grow, covering the dirt entirely. The breeze smelt like honey and the air tasted just as sweet. Looking up at the blue sky, not a cloud blemished its perfect face. Aria was truly a wonderful time to behold.
The Prince didn’t notice any of it. He stood tapping his feet, looking about in all directions. Like most nobles, he was not very patient.
“What am I waiting for?” He asked his stead. “Maybe they forgot? They are as old as time itself. I’m sure it isn’t easy to remember everything.” He waited a few minutes. Nothing. He waited some more. Still nothing. Am I missing something? They said to wait in the sun. I’m waiting…!
After so long the Prince believed midday to be upon him. He had thought he would have been able to deal with the serpent by this time. Irritated, the Prince decided to demand his price from the magi. This was a grave thing to behold and they thought it to be no more than a game. He had brought them gifts and they only wished to laugh at him. Briskly the Prince approached the door to the dome of the Magi’s Domain. As he reached for the silver handle, a great shock rippled through his body. The magic had finally begun to course through him.
Falling to his knees, the Prince let out a yelp as his hands and feet grew into paws. His arms and legs began to stretch longer and longer. His shout became a howl as his mouth transformed into a snout. His orange coat and golden crown grew into him, making a brilliant bronze fur and giving him long golden ears. The noble Prince had become a giant fox.
With the power granted to him by the magi, the Fox Prince bounded back East, toward his kingdom, his people, and his beautiful love. With just a few jumps the nights ride disappeared beneath the prince’s enormous paws. The Fox Prince arrived in the Cheerful Forest and unlike it’s usual self the trees stood silent, the little critters that danced and sang-hushed. There was something wrong. Crouching down into the trees the Fox Prince looked about his kingdom, it too was silent. The normal joyous sound was not even a murmur.
“Had the Mighty Serpent already come?” The Fox Prince pondered, when suddenly he felt something soft wrap around his ankle.
“Sssssso the young prince returnssssss. You too ssssseem blesssssed by magic.” A slithering voice spoke from behind the Prince. “You ssssshould know I am not sssssomeone to be trifled with.”
Trying to slip his foot out of what ever held him, the Fox Prince couldn’t do much more than stay crouched as he was. Unable to turn and look at the Mighty Deceptor he grew tense. He had never met someone stronger than he.
“Spree. I presume?” Growled the Prince.
“Ssssso you know of me. Yet who hassssssn’t heard of the Mighty Deceptor Ssssspree and my great defeat at the handsssss of the Honessssst King? Forfeit now and I sssssshall ssssspare you and your people. I only wisssssh to have the Princesssss Fae. Her beauty isssss sssssomething that not even a ssssstory could dessssscribe. But try to besssssst me and you will be very disssssappointed.” Spree’s grip tightened around the Prince’s ankle.
Realizing that the snake had wrapped around the Fox Prince, he knew he would not let the Mighty Serpent take everything from him, he thought especially of his beloved Princess Fae. There was no chance of Spree sparing him and his people, it was just a lie to make the prince go silently. Using all his might the Fox Prince leaped into the air, his ankle still wrapped by the Mighty Deceptor. In the distance the snake became visible. It’s tail was longer than the Prince’s entire body, trailing with him into the sky and down to the ground, he could see the snake itself circled the Cheerful Forest. Spree smiled at the Fox Prince with his shining gold teeth as he watched the pathetic attempt. The Fox lunged in mid air trying to bite the snakes golden tail, but the Mighty Serpent was much larger and stronger than he. Using not even all of his force, Spree pulled the fox back down to the ground, slamming him into the trees.
Splinters and branches flew as a multitude of trees were demolished by the Prince’s large body. Bruised and hurt, the Fox Prince stood tall not giving in. Striking again the Prince leaped toward Spree, his fangs bare and ready to bite. With a whip of his tail, Spree sent the giant fox flailing through the air and crashing back to the ground.
“Fool Prince, you have no ssssstrength left. Sssssubmit. You do not wisssssh the Princesssssss to have to sssssee her old lover die the day of her wedding.” The Mighty Deceptor mocked. Wrapping around the wounded prince, Spree lifted him so that they were face to face. “I mussssst sssssay, you are very brave to fight me. Only the Honest King ever had the power to defeat me, but now as ssssstrong asssss I have become, not even he would ssssstand a chance.”
The Prince squirmed in the snake’s grip unable to move an inch.
“You have my pity young Prince. I will ssssspare you, but I cassssst you out. You will no longer be a prince, you will forever only be a fox...a very large one, yet ssssstill a fox.” Rising to survey his new domain, Spree the Mighty Deceptor flung the Giant Fox Prince far away to the North. “PEOPLE OF JOY! I AM SSSSSPREE!” His voice echoed throughout the kingdom bouncing off of walls and filling the people’s homes.
“ I AM YOUR NEW KING!”
A year passed, then five years, and then a decade. Spree the Mighty Serpent still reigned supreme. With his ever expanding body, he took lands from the East and the West, and with the Prince’s absence the South fell. The Great Magi fled their Domain as the creature approached. After this, the Deceptor circled his land with his long self preventing anyone to flee his rule or anyone to provide rescue to his dominion. Soon the Kingdom of Joy lost all hope of their beloved prince’s return.
Not long after that, afraid she would never see her prince again, Spree’s bride the Queen Fae ran away. She too pursued the Magi in hopes they could guide her to her true love. Yet with all the destruction that Spree had brought, the Great Magi could not be found. No one knew if the Queen ever found them and after being gone so long the people assumed she was dead.
The new rule was as foul as the Mighty Serpent was vile. People only were able to scrape by, even the noble families lost their riches to the mighty beast. He would swallow the treasure hole, keeping the gold and such locked away at the bottom of his tail. Some believed him to be greedy and others presumed he was just afraid of being locked away again.
When the noble Prince’s rule became no more than a memory, rumors and stories began to circle the lands. They told of a giant fox with a golden crown, who would one day return to defeat Spree and bring the Kingdom back to what it once was. Yet these were no more than tall tales the people would tell to their children, from the way things have been for ten years, things did not look like they would ever change..
The North was all that was left for Spree to conquer and the people believed that once he took over the Giant Forest that nothing else would stand in his way. Little did they know that up North, deep in the Giant Forest, inside of a huge cave slumbered the Giant Fox Prince.
“Excuse me Sir?” An unknown voice echoed through the cave.
“Hm?” Grumbled the fox.
“I’M SLEEPING!!!!” He roared. His shout gusting out from the cave.
“That is no way to speak to someone. Please step outside, I wish to talk to you.” The voice lectured.
“LEAVE! I DO NOT DESIRE TO HEAR WHAT YOU HAVE TO SAY!” Again the Fox Prince howled out, not only sending out a gust of wind but shaking the huge cave and the ground around it. His anger was palpable.
Creatures who lived in these forests knew not to come near this cave. Every year on the first moon of Aria where all life was to begin again, this cave cried out in screams and howls, for a life lost that would never be returned with the rising sun and changing seasons. The fox prince did not know of his princesses marriage or her disappearance, but the distance between them was unbearable. For this mysterious caller to come to the Giant Fox Prince on the very day the moon before Aria is to rise, it was a very foolish and dangerous thing to do.
“No. I shall not leave.” Spoke the voice without even a quiver of fear. “Tonight will rise the first moon of Aria and with it Spree will begin his invasion of the North.”
“Why do I care? None will come into my cave, even thee is too afraid to approach any closer than the entrance. What am I to fear from a stinking snake?” Growled the Prince, his pride wounded and masked by anger.
“This matters because you are the Giant Fox Prince! You are the one the elders speak of to their children, you are a hero! Not just that, no one can defeat the Mighty Serpent cept you. Your people need you, you have a duty to your lands! A duty to your bride...” The stranger urged.
“I have no lands! No people! And no Love! I have this cave...Leave, I shall not waste any more time speaking of forgotten memories. I am a fox not a prince.”
“I will not leave Sir. This is too important for you to simply slumber through.” The voice said and sat in the dirt with a “humph!”
A mighty and grand roar grew deep in the huge cave, it sent tremors through the ground and with a shout the Giant Fox Prince leaped from it’s darkness. His once soft and kind eyes, turned red with a decade of tears. His once smooth coat of fur, grimy and tangled. This fox had become a tramp.
“I beckoned you leave me be! Yet you continue to berate me!” Glancing down at the stranger in front of him the fox was surprised. “A little wolf?” He barked a laugh. “This is what sits at my door? Not a troll or an ogre afraid of losing it’s home? HA! You bring me such tall tales and you’re but a child yourself.” The Fox Prince bared his huge white fangs and came close to the little white wolf.
Looking him in the eye, the wolf glared with more intensity than any normal man could take.
“You would let all things you swore your life to protect end? You’d let Spree defeat you once again?” She glanced to the fox’s ears. The golden color of them shined with a brilliant heir in the light like a golden crown.
“Do not! Speak to me of battles you know nothing of!” The Prince roared, shaking the trees.
Turning away, the wolf yawned. “The magi did not turn you into a hare to run away, they turned you into a FOX! You can’t defeat the Mighty Deceptor with strength, you must use your brain and be clever! If you are to let the world and all it’s beautiful things burn, I shall let you. However, I will not watch.” With the wolf’s final words, it rose up and left the fox behind. Never once turning back.
With a puff the Fox Prince returned to his huge cave for a nights rest. Yet something tugged at his heart and he could not sleep. When he was a man he remembered looking out at the Kingdom of Joy and making a promise to forever protect his land, his people, and his one day lady love, to keep them safe above all else as his father had done. The Fox Prince remembered his beautiful Princess Fae, and tears fell as he thought of her alone, abandoned by her prince. How could he defeat Spree if his strength had failed him before? There was no way.
“She is right...I can’t just sleep?” He thought rising up. “I must do something…”
Stepping out into the forest, the Prince stood tall above the giant trees, and looking up to the sky that once was blue and pure-it now lay covered in a blanket of grey clouds. The air that was once sweet and soft, tasted bitter and smelt of fire and ash. A storm spread across the land, as far as the Mighty Serpent did. Inside the fox, a sense of purpose reignited, a sense of duty. He would not cry any longer for the things he had lost, for every day Spree reigned thousands of families felt the same pain he did. It was finally time for the Fox Prince to confront the Mighty Deceptor.
Heading South the Prince had left the Giant Forest and entered the Dry Desert. It didn’t take long for him to see the wall of Spree. It was a large scaly section of the serpent that surrounded all of his kingdom. It stood taller than the highest towers and was as wide as the Magi’s Domain.
“Ssssso, the fox returnssssss. No longer a prince. Ssssso why are you here?” The evil voice fell all around like a heavy snow in Holly. “What beckonsssss thee? Do you wissssssh to have me sssssspare your Giant Foressssst? I have done you one favor enough letting you live. Another would put you in my debt even further…”
“No. I have returned to bring back peace to these lands. Your foul and vile rule shall end as Aria begins.” Howled the Prince.
“You ssssstood no chance before when I was no bigger than the Eassssst. Now I sssssprawl acrossssssss all landssssss. How do you think you will fare?” Hissed the Serpent, his voice like lightning struck all around bringing up the dirt into a mighty sandstorm. “With each day I grow! I can ssssssurround all the world if i wissssssh it. Sssssoon I’ll even be able to sssssswallow it whole. Like all other treasssssuresssss, I’ll keep it at the end of my tail.”
Suddenly the wall began to move as the world started to shake. Rising from the depths beneath the sand, rose the enormous head of the Mighty Serpent. It’s cold black eyes focused on the little Fox Prince, it was like staring into an endless void.
Without a moments hesitation the snake sprang forward, snapping it’s jaws as it lunged for the fox. Leaping the prince bounded down the back of the Mighty Deceptor, down towards it’s tail. Whipping back and forth the snake tried to shake off the annoying fox as it ran down his scaly sides. Light and nimble the Fox Prince danced down, swerving and pivoting with each step.
“HOLD SSSSSTILL!” The serpent screamed. “YOU CAN NOT DEFEAT ME LITTLE HARE! I WILL SSSSSWALLOW YOU THISSSSS TIME!”
Stretching out, the Mighty Serpent realizing he couldn’t catch up to the fox, decided to trick him. Spree would continue to shake his body to make the fox keep running, all the while he would be traveling the opposite way, back to the East so that when the Giant Fox Prince fully crossed the West he would be there waiting for the fox.
Unaware of the snake’s plan the Prince continued to run with all haste down the spine of the evil creature, to the tip of it’s golden tail. As he neared the end of the Mighty Serpent a wave began to rise up beyond the horizon. Four golden fangs gleamed amongst a scaley face. Spree laughed as he saw the fox began to slow.
“DID YOU NOT EXPECT THISSSSS? I AM SSSSSPREE! I AM EVERYWHERE!!!!” With a swoop of his tail the Fox Prince was thrusted into the air, straight for the serpent’s open mouth. Their eyes met in the final moments. Spree’s black and menacing, the Fox Prince’s blue and brave.
Then, when the Mighty Serpent expected the Fox Prince to fall down his throat, he saw the fox fly passed with a smile.
Too late to realize what was happening the Mighty Deceptor swallowed his own tail, his teeth sinking into the treasure that he had stored there. the gold inside wrapping around his teeth trapping his mouth closed. The gold of all the lands he had conquered, horded for years, was too heavy to move-all his greed brought a weight not even someone as strong he could carry. The Mighty Spree, the Mighty Serpent, the Mighty Deceptor had been beat. Outsmarted by a fox.
Climbing to his eye, the two gazed at one another. Unable to speak and unable to move, Spree listened to the Prince's final words.
“I wasn’t ready the first time we met and you got the best of me. I believed the strength of my body was greater than the strength of my mind. For whatever reason you spared my life, so in return I shall spare yours. You will forever continue to grow I know this, but you will only fill your own belly with each inch. So be proud giant snake for one day you will be full and with that I hope you will feel satisfied.”
After so long the Fox Prince finally returned to his lost kingdom. The sky above became it's familiar blue once more and the people called out with cheers of joy and glee as they looked out to the Giant Fox standing in the Cheerful Forest. Birds chirped and butterflies fluttered about. All the stories that were told were true in the end, the fox beat the snake and peace reigned.
Looking to his feet the wolf, the stranger from before, had returned.
"I apologize for how I acted before o' wise one. If not for you I'd have lost all of this all over again. I thank thee for opening my eyes."
Curasing his paw with a friendly handshake the wolf called up to the prince.
"Please peak down on me so that I might speak to you." The wolf said.
Lowering his muzzle to the ground the wolf kissed the prince, just as the first moon of Aria started to light the sky. A shining glow covered all the land for a brief moment and standing there in the end, was the Prince back as his human self and holding him, kissing him, was his beautiful bride to be the Princess Fae. She had found the Great Magi and they had turned her into the wolf to not only find her prince love but to also guide him once more.
The people of all the lands celebrated the Prince’s great feat and graciously welcomed him and princess Fae back as king and queen. Finally after so many years the new king and his beloved the Princess Fae were able to marry. The two reigned over the South letting any who wished to return to the East or West with free passage. They brought back hope and love and joy to the world, forging a new age of peace.