Everyone in the kingdom of Galatia eagerly gathered to celebrate the birth of Princess Aria, the first born child of King Richard and Queen Gretel. The king and queen have prayed for many years to be blessed with either a healthy prince or a princess and now their wishes have finally been fulfilled. This meant the most grand festival the kingdom has ever seen.
King Richard and Queen Gretel made sure to invite everyone including the elves, the giants, the dwarfs, and the fairies, especially the fairies for they always presented the best gifts for newborn royalty one could possibly conceive of. Queen Gretel personally made the invitations for the fairies and made sure that they received a special greeting upon arrival. All the fairies were invited, except for one, Myrtle. This particular fairy was known for giving ghastly and sometimes even deadly gifts. Fearing for their newborn daughter’s safety, the king and queen decided it was best not to invite Myrtle and hoped that she would have no way of discovering the princess’s birth. Myrtle lived by herself in a dark tower and rarely made contact with the other fairies so it appeared unlikely the news would even reach her dangerous ears.
Adora felt so nervous she could barely feel her legs as she glided behind the other fairies. This will be the first time she has ever attended a royal newborn’s birthday party. She was expected to present this special child with an extraordinary gift. She knew these feelings were completely ludicrous for she is a fairy who possesses magic powers and could give this child anything she pleased. Unfortunately for Adora, that only put a heavier burden on her. At this moment, it seemed as though she were dragging a sack of bricks along behind her. She was worried her gift would not be as good as the other fairies’s since they more experience in these royal affairs.
Adora fidgeted her fingers as she gazed ahead anxiously at Verna, the head fairy, who just halted, turning around for discussion. She always seemed to have the most serious expression upon her face. Adora could not recall ever seeing Verna smile, not even once.
“Have you all thought of your gifts to Princess Aria?” demanded Verna, her chin pointed up, sternly.
Freya, flipping her ringlets of blond hair behind her shoulders, eagerly responded first. “I’m going to give her the gift of beauty, particularly her hair. I want her to be blessed with long golden hair. Oh, and I want her skin to be always fair as well and her lips to be rose red. With that, she will be the most beautiful girl in the kingdom in which any prince will be lucky to wed!”
Verna nodded with approval. “Very good, Freya. And what of the rest of you?”
“I will present her with the gift of music so it brings her joy even when she feels down,” answered Thelma, more humbly than Freya.
Verna responded, “Just remember, Thelma, to make this gift assist her in finding a prince. That way it will be suitable.”
“Okay, then.” Themla gazed down, pondering. “Anyone who hears her playing music will be drawn to it’s beautiful tone and with this gift she will be able to impress any prince she desires.”
As Verna approved this Adora sighed. All the gifts seemed to focus more on attracting some prince and less on princess herself. Every kingdom in Galatia had either a princess or a prince or both who were destined to be together and would eventually meet, get married and live happily ever after. Sure, every now and then, a princess may eat a poison apple or get locked in a tower with only her long golden hair as a way out but she would eventually get rescued by her prince and live happily ever after. It was all just so predictable. Adora wondered if things would ever change around here.
“Adora! Pay attention.” Verna demanded impatiently. “What gift do you plan on bestowing upon the newborn princess?”
“Umm…” Adora hesitated, now fidgeting her sweating hands even more rapidly. “I was thinking, um… maybe intelligence.”
“Intelligence!” laughed Verna, though Adora still did not see a smile. “What use does a princess have for intelligence? Most princes only care about beauty and some prefer their princesses to be able to play music but none of them care how smart she is.”
“I’m sorry, but I thought that these gifts were for the princess, not some prince she may meet one day,” snapped Adora before she realized her tone. Verna looked at her sharply with piercing eyes so she spoke more calmly. “It’s not as if she will be with her prince every moment of the day, especially if he becomes king and has to run the kingdom. Maybe the princess would enjoy reading or exploring during her spare time.”
“If you are concerned about Princess Aria’s free time then give her the gift of sewing or needlepoint. Something appropriate for a princess, or any lady for that matter,” replied Verna, as she turned back around, beckoning the others to follow.
“Fine. Sewing it is,” Adora muttered in agreement, as they began to head forward.
She secretly planned to give her intelligence anyway. What harm could possibly come of this? Verna would not dare lash out at her during the celebration in front of the king and queen. Adora would just have to face the consequences when they returned back to the fairies’ lair.
When the four fairies arrived at the kingdom gates, they were welcomed with blatant golden trumpets and shimmering fireworks. Everyone within was applauding as loud as they could. All the fairies kept their chins up and proceeded straight ahead to the castle, except Adora who lingered slightly behind admiring all the decorations. All the various colors and lights seemed blinding to her. Adora began to feel slightly disoriented.
As the entered the palace King Richard stood up from his throne. “Welcome Verna, Freya, Thelma! Ah, and I see we have a forth fairy now. Come child, what is your name?”
“Adora,” she spoke shyly with difficulty meeting the king’s eyes. “I, uh, just finished training to use my magic so this will be my first time giving a magical gift.”
“Wonderful!” King Richard beamed. “Just in time for my daughter’s birthday celebration. I hope you all have something lovely to give her!”
“We sure do,” Verna replied, proudly. “Allow me to give her my gift first, if that is as Your Majesty wishes, and then each of my sisters will bestow theirs.”
King Richard glanced at his wife and then nodded. “Proceed.”
Verna floated up to princess’s cradle and lifted her hands over the infant’s head. “I give to you, Princess Aria, the gift of poise. Good posture will always be natural for you as it should be for all royalty.”
Adora rolled her eyes. Only Verna would come up with the most appropriate, yet dull, gift imaginable. Queen Gretel, on the other hand, seemed quite impressed. She beamed as Verna bowed down to Princess Aria and her parents before rejoining the other fairies.
Thelma went next. “Princess Aria, I give you the gift of music. May this gift bring you peace and joy at all times, especially when you are feeling down.”
As Verna cleared her throat at Thelma, she quickly added, “And may it charm any man who’s ears it falls upon.”
Once again, Adora’s eyes rolled.
After that it was Freya’s turn. “Princess Aria, from me you will have the gift of beauty. Let her hair grow long and luscious never to change, her skin will always be fair, and her lips will be deep red as a rose. With this gift any prince will instantly fall head over heels in love with her.”
The king and queen smiled and thanked her her while everyone in the courtroom clapped their hands together, softly. Adora then inhaled a deep breath and gradually went up to give the princess her gift. Verna looked at her with stone cold eyes, but Adora’s mind was made up. Princess Aria should have something for herself, not some prince.
“Princess Aria, my gift to you is…”
Suddenly there was a loud bang as the castle doors bursts wide open, all the candle lights went out, and a tall faired skinned woman dressed in black robes with long dark hair entered the palace, her golden eyes glowing in flames. A chilled feeling seem to spread throughout the thrown room.
“Why was I not invited to this grand celebration for the newborn princess?” Myrtle demanded, smiling slyly in pretentious disappointment. “I must say, I am quite hurt by your rejection. I was indeed looking forward to meeting the lovely Princess Aria. I always enjoy a good party, but it seems I am never invited to one.”
Nobody, not even the king and queen dared to meet this fairy’s deadly eyes.
Finally after a few, long, awkward moments the King Richard spoke. “Well, Myrtle, we, um, were not sure if you, um…” he tried desperately to think of some excuse but nothing came to him.
“Did you assume that I would not want to come celebrate the birth of this beautiful princess? Did you not think that I, too, would have something wonderful to offer to her?” Myrtle gave an evil grin and started to move towards Princess Aria.
Adora remained by the cradle, deciding that it was best to hold her ground. Unfortunately for her, Myrtle was much more powerful and was easily able to use her magic to get her out of the way.
“Princess Aria, I see you have been given beauty, music, and poise,” Myrtle snickered, stroking the infant’s forehead with her long, bony fingers. “Fortunately for me, these foolish fairies did not bother to give you and long and healthy life.” She shot the fairies a brief sneering glance. “You made this way too easy for me.” She then turned her head back down to the princess. “I hereby declare, that on the day of Aria’s sixteenth birthday she will prick her on a spinning wheel and die. Don’t even bother destroying of all the spinning wheels. When the time comes I will personally ensure that the princess is near a spinning wheel and she will indeed prick her finger and then meet her doom.”
The whole courtroom gasped clasping their hands over their mouth in horror. Queen Gretel burst into a flood of tears and threw herself into her husband’s arms as he tried to console her. Myrtle satisfied with everyone’s reactions left the castle abruptly, the doors slamming shut behind her.
“What are we going to do?” sobbed the queen. “I cannot bear the fact that my own daughter will die when she is just sixteen!”
Adora looked up at the distressed parents of this poor infant child. “I still have not given my gift to the princess.”
The king looked down at her, his eyes suddenly hopeful. “Please, dear child, is there any way you can take away this curse so that my daughter can live.”
“I’m afraid that I am unable to completely undo Myrtle’s magic for she is far more powerful than I, but I am able to adjust it.” Adora gained more confidence and looked down at the child. “Princess Aria, you will prick your finger on a spinning wheel on your sixteenth birthday. That part I am unable to change. However, you will not die. Instead you will fall into a deep sleep. Only from true love’s kiss, will you awaken.” Adora looked up at the king and queen with a half smile. “I am sorry, but I’m afraid that is the best I can do for your daughter.”
“Thank you, Adora, for doing what you could,” Verna said proudly. This was the first time Verna seemed truly pleased with something Adora had done and the closest she came to an actual smile. She looked up at the king and queen. “Unfortunately, Myrtle will still come for the princess when she turns sixteen. If you wish for more assurance on preventing this curse it is best that we take her to a place where Myrtle cannot find her until we find a way to permanently put an end to her evil magic.”
The queen looked down at Verna, still concerned. “Where can we hide our daughter that Myrtle cannot reach her?”
“I know of a place,” answered Verna in a hushed tone, “but I must speak with you privately. Please follow me.”
King Richard and Queen Gretel both followed Verna into a private chamber. The remaining fairies appeared bedazzled but stayed put. None of them had any idea what sort of place Verna could be talking about and why it had to be kept a secret. They also did not know if Verna wanted them to follow her or not. Verna then looked back at them.
“Adora, come with us. Freya and Thelma, stay where you are,” the head fairy instructed.
Adora became even more confused. Why would Verna want her to come and not Freya or Thelma? She quickly went into the chamber and waited for Verna’s instructions.
The moment Adora closed the door behind her, Verna began, “There is another world and I am the only one that knows how to access it. Not even Myrtle knows of its existence. If we take your daughter there, she will be safe from Myrtle.”
“Another world?” King Richard put his hand on his head in a daze. “How do we get to this other world?”
“I’m afraid I cannot tell you. The fewer people that know of it’s existence the better. If people were to start constantly traveling between worlds then it would only lead to utter chaos. Adora will be the one to take her and find her a decent him, if that is alright with you.”
The king and queen looked deeply into each other’s eyes before Queen Gretel turned her gaze to Adora and spoke, “Your gift saved our dear Princess Aria’s life. I believe you truly care for her and therefore with all my heart trust you with her. Please, my dear, please just keep her safe. That’s all I ask.”
Adora bowed down, promising she will do whatever it takes to ensure the princess’s safety.
Adora held Princess Aria close to her as she followed Verna to the entrance to the other world. Verna then stopped and pointed at a lake and stated, “This is the place. This lake does not appear on any maps and is very difficult to locate. This is the portal to the other world. Now, Adora listen to me carefully. You are to take the princess to the other world and find her a warm, loving family to care for her. Stay close to her, but do not tell her who she really is or show her any magic. The people in this other world do not believe in the existence of magic and for now, the princess will be safer if she does not know the truth. I will come find you when Myrtle is defeated and you will then bring the princess back to her family here in Galatia. Do you understand?”
Adora’s mind spun vigorously, overwhelmed by all this information. There were so many questions she had for Verna about what life was like in this other world, but she knew there was no time so she just nodded and slowly carried Princess Aria into the lake, desperately wishing Verna would accompany her.
Traveling to the other world was probably the most odd experience Adora had ever had. She was surrounded by water, yet she remained dry and could breath just fine. She felt a sudden jerk downward as though something had grabbed and yanked on her feet. She was then thrusted straight upward. She held the child close to her chest tightly assuring her safety as closed her own eyes. When she opened them, she realized she was standing in a fountain. This must be the other world, Adora thought to herself. She carefully stepped out of the fountain and began to look around at her new surroundings. The fountain was in a dark, empty building that seemed unkept with cobwebs covering the stone walls. Adora pointed her wand to unlock the door and went outside.
Adora did not know what to make of this world. There were lit up carriages of various colors and shapes that somehow moved all by themselves without need of a horse, people wore strange mismatched clothing, and there were tall buildings everywhere.
Then Adora remembered her mission. She had to find a family to care for Aria. She then spotted a young man knelt down before a beautiful young woman. He took out a small velvet box and opened it. Inside this box, was a sparkling diamond ring. Adora could not hear what they were saying but she saw the woman’s eyes light up as the man put the ring on her finger and they embraced each other both smiling. Adora smiled too. This must be what Verna meant about a warm loving family. Adora then prepared a letter for the family and used magic to form a basket to place the princess in. When she realized the couple was not yet married she kept the infant until they were officially wedded and moved into their own house. Months later, Adora placed the woven basket containing the princess and the letter by the doorstep, knocked on the door, and then disappeared. She still, however, intended to remain close by, and keep a watchful eye on the fair princess.
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