Hey everyone! I just wanted to let you all know that chapter three of Adelaide and Shadow’s story is available to be read either below or at the link on the page 🙂 Enjoy and do let me know what you think!
War had commenced. And, inadvertently, so had the soiling of the pants. For the Denerspellians who had eaten too many treats were now beginning to fall ill to the effects. The army marched off into the hillside, far enough to be away from catapults and arrows, but close enough to shout insults and pull their tongues at the castle. The Denerspellian flag was planted and the land claimed for all Denerspell. Then latrines were built before camp was set, as many a stomach was grumbling and faces were clenching in pain. The prince, munching on what was supposed to be a peach but what actually was a soggy turnip, began wondering what was this mysterious ailment that was striking at his soldiers.
Night settled, and patrols were sent out to fetch food from the peasants. What they found was plenty of peasants willing to exchange food for trinkets from ‘beyond’ – and very grumpy fairies.
“We found a whole lot of them!” the commander bellowed as he burst into the prince’s tent.
The prince sat up from where he had been slumped in his chair. His expression had brightened strangely, but at the sight of was was being tugged in, he returned to being bitter.
“Fairies?” he said bitterly as he crossed his legs. “We already have one. How much more glitter do we need? Do you want us all to sparkle?”
“Let us go!” said the fairy chieftain, outraged at the rope that had clumsily been looped around her waist. “We have come to speak with you!”
“Why does everyone insist on talking so much?” the prince groaned. “I hate talking.”
The commander thought this as a chance to raise himself up in the ranks. “I agree! Slash slash stabbity is much more fun!”
The prince pressed his face into his palm, peering out between his fingers. He was not impressed. In the back of his mind, he made a note to demote the commander a rank or two.
The Fairy marched forward, tossing off the rope magically and kicking aside the commander. “Why did you not invade the castle?”
“That is none of your business,” the prince said coldly. Then, as villains are wont to do, he began explaining himself so that his plans were laid bare. “There was a trap. They opened the doors for us.”
The Fairy chieftain blinked repeatedly. The prince crossed his arms sourly. The commander imitated, thinking that his promotion would be soon.
“But the frogs!” The Fairy wailed.
The prince smirked. “Need help with something?”
The Fairy chieftain’s eyes narrowed. Behind her, the other fairies frowned and shuffled their wings in uneasiness. Was their chief going to make a pact with such a villainous figure? He wore black and red! He had long black hair! He had taken their messenger prisoner! He seemed quite villainous.
“I would speak with you alone,” said the Fairy Chief finally. The prince smirked.
“As you wish,” he said, waving out the commander and the other fairies.
The minute the curtain-like panel to the tent was closed, the fairy laid down the law, so to speak. “Now let me be clear with you, you little sprout,” she said while pointing a delicate finger between the prince’s eyes. “You would not be here without our help! It is thanks to us, and that poor messenger you’ve put in a cage, that you did not become a pile of warts in that blabbering marsh!”
“And I am so grateful,” the prince said without a shred of graciousness. He pushed aside the faries’ tiny hand in his much larger one.
The fairy snatched her hand back and prodded him between the eyes. “You are going to do exactly as I say! Invade that castle! Get! Rid! Of those! Frogs!” And with every of those words she prodded the prince again between the eyes.
The prince scowled and pushed her hand aside once more. “And what if I do not?”
The fairy drew herself up, hovering a little above the ground. She drew upon her majesty and made herself look as imposing as she could. “Then I will call upon the Fire Lady to come and rout you out! And then I will summon the Dark Queen of the Mountain elves – and she will pulverize you!”
The prince winced. “Alright. Fine. Have it your way. How am I supposed to get inside that castle?”
Wings fluttering in disdain, the fairy straightened imperiously. She looked the prince over. True, she reconsidered, now that the foolish prince had not taken the castle by surprise the frogs might be wary and prepared…
“I will show you a secret passage,” she said.
The prince could not help but grin. “A secret passage?” he repeated nastily, leaning forward in greed.
Night fell upon Farfadel, quaint and troublesome. For many of the folks of the land, the buzzers and bumblers and blitzers who magically roamed about on wings of magic, things were now lighted by way of the moon – and by way of the Denerspellian torches. There was quite a lot of these torches set up all around their hasty camp.
“It’s as if they want us to know that they are there,” muttered the seasoned (in books) commander within the Farfadelian castle. He stood upon the ramparts, squinting his eyes at the Denerspellians and chewing upon a straw.
“Sir, you do not need to squint,” said the guard beside him. “They are plainly visible.”
“I will squint all I want to!” snapped the commander before striking a pose that he thought made him look like a mysterious and dangerous soldier. It gave him a strange hunch and made everyone else correct their posture. “Aye,” the commander monologued, impressing himself with his own knowledge “why, they’re up to something.”
The guards knew better than to answer, but many a snarky responses came to their minds and were shared later on in the night. For now, they sucked in their breaths and were forced to listen to the commander’s dramatic hero’s monologue.
“Why, here we are!, they cry out. Come and get us,” he said, leaning dramatically onto the rampart and nodding to himself. “And we shall. We shall.”
There was a healthy moment of pause wherein the commander wondered what his next thoughts were. When they came to him he was once again impressed by his own intelligence and clever tactics. “Tommorrow, at the crack of dawn, we will burn their battering ram before them! It will be a symbolic act of defeat! Yes, yes,” and he nodded to himself. Then he continued his terrible monologuing, waning and waxing on about the perils of siege warfare, and how every soldier had to be stout and – well, stout (the commander did not know all that many words, you see) and how everyone had to have “a stiff lower lip!”.
The soldiers groaned. They rolled their eyes and pretended to keep watch.
It was a terrible thing, really, for if they had actually kept watch instead of merely pretending to, they would have seen something interesting.
What they would have seen was a shrouded series of figures leaving the back of the Denerspellian camp. They were led by a figure holding a bird cage before itself, the bird cage glowing slightly through its hood-like cover. A tiny hand pointed the way through the folds that covered the cage. If one had looked closely, they would have had shivers down their spine at such a nasty and sneaky sight!
But of course, the Farfadelians did not notice, and their commander talked on and on into the night. Amongst the Denerspellians, a similar problem was happening, but in the inverse. It was the soldiers who could not be hushed, or more appropriately their stomachs.
“This is a stealth operation!” hissed the Denerspellian commander, just before his own stomach groaned and his bowels quivered and clenched. He grimaced, one eye growing larger than the other. The revenge of the honeycakes, it was being called.
The beautiful prince, of course, was having no such problem. He snuck on ahead stealthy and agile like a panther while the miserable captive fairy pointed the way. What way were they taking? Why, a mysterious way that led into the castle’s very cellar.
It was a way that led them winding through the valley, and into the Forbidden Mountains. It wound them round and round tree trunks and cairns and through little foot paths – all until they reached the gaping maw of a cave.
There, the hand pointed within. “This will lead you to the royal cellars. Climb the stairs, and seize the castle!”
“I know what to do,” hissed the prince. He glanced quickly over his shoulder to be sure his soldiers still were there. They were, and miserably so. They were grimacing, holding their tummies, and doing their best to put a chipper expression on a very miserable situation for all of them. The prince, thinking they were all just a lazy bunch of bums, set the bird cage down. As he did, the fairy jumped for joy.
“Freedom!” she squealed, shaking her tiny fists into the air. Silently, she also cried out “No more turnips!” for that was all that was being fed to her. That and barley meal. But the turnips were far worse than the barley meal was.
But the prince cruelly laughed. “No freedom for you!” he said spitefully. Then, stooping before the cage, he added. “You’re too useful!” Then, straightening, he called out to his men. “Someone stand watch over the fairy! The rest of you- with me!”
And he, rather bravely, led the way straight into the mouth of the cave. I say bravely, dear reader, for who knows what could have been in that cave? It could have housed a dragon! It could have housed golems and ghouls and given everyone the gout! It could have been the secret lair of a witch!
But alas, the fairy had led them true, as fairies were wont to do (unless, of course, you frustrate them, in which case they will play tricks upon you).
And so it was that the prince led the way into a perfectly empty cave. There was a handful of rats, a bit of bats, and even a cornucopia of cockroaches. But there was nothing really worth slaying and retelling. Instead, the prince lit a torch that illuminated his face in ghastly shapes. It made his soldiers recoil at the sight of him.
“This way,” he said eagerly, and he led on.
The soldiers, faint of heart and lacking in bravery, took a moment to reconsider. Did they really want to do this? But then they thought about how far he had led them- and they decided to follow him some more. After all, they muttered to each other, he was the first prince to lead the Denerspellians true through the marsh! He must be a true hero!
“If we go along, we will be heroes too,” they thought, hoping to leech some of his glory and power for themselves.
Oh, how wrong they were. The prince never shared anything.
But enough blabbering (I am not a marsh). Onwards, dear reader, let us follow them!
The cave was dark. The cave was dank. The cave, dear reader, was full of humongous spiders and bats! It twisted and turned, it writhed and grovelled through the bowels of the earth, and at some point it became a flight of stairs slipping and tripping everyone straight down. There was moss and lichens along the stair that cackled and hissed bad wishes at them as they made their way down. The moss, why, it even tried to blow out their torches!
It was a most terrifying descent for many a soldier- but not for the prince. He, as villains were prone to do, ushered his second in command to his side with a curling of the finger.
“This moss,” he said as the commander tripped to the prince’s side (for the prince was walking fast down these treacherous stairs!) “it is very much like the marsh we crossed. In that it talks.”
“Well yes, your highness! How observative of you!” praised the commander, still hoping for a promotion. The prince gave him the stink eye, not caring for hollow praise today.
“When I am King of all the lands, remind me to delegate permits for talking if one is not a human. That way all these marshes will have to say proper things, or they will not be allowed to speak!” Those last words he said to the moss most crossly, causing the marsh to shrivel and shrink from his presence.
But as soon as the prince had gone a few more steps the moss pulled its tongue at his back.
“Sire, your highness and majestic majesty,” the commander prattled, banging and clattering after him, “how will these marshes be given permits? And what ought they to say?”
“Encouraging things,” muttered the prince under his breath “that, and the time of day. Think of it. Wouldn’t it be useful? That way whenever you are traveling you will know the time of day and when supper is.”
The commander nodded, thinking indeed that it was always good to know when supper was.
“That, and they should tell you where you are if you ask-”
“You’re in a tunnel!” shrieked the moss.
“Only if asked!” snapped the prince most bad-temperedly, arguing with the wall. “And they should use proper titles and honorifics!”
“Your blathering high’n’up!” wailed the moss. “Your bamboozling bluffityness! Your turnip-eating snarfittysnarf!”
“Argl!” the prince snarled, shoving his torch at the stone wall. With a yelp that most pesky cluster of moss jumped up and crawled away to the ceiling. There it pulled its tongue at the prince and made ‘bla bla bla’ sounds.
With a huff the prince continued his walk, descending down down down, and arriving at a little gateway. It was not much, just a tightening in the tunnel where a curtain of roots and lichens hung like a curtain.
“Are you going to talk back to me too?” the prince asked the lichens and roots most snippily.
“No,” said the roots, shaking themselves to the side and out of his way.
“Good,” the prince muttered before passing through.
What the prince entered was a tiny room, round and earthen, with a sign on the wall that said ‘forest that way’. Before the sign was a flight of crooked and cranky wooden stairs leading up.
A most terrible feeling settled in the prince. No, it was not the revenge of the honeycakes. It was the revenge of the stairs. For now he was realizing that all those stairs that they had walked down – would have to be walked up now to get into the castle. And then presumable down and up again on their way out.
“Oh bugger it all,” he muttered as he stomped forward and up onto the stairs. “Come along, you louts!”
“Huzzah!” cheered the soldiers, for ‘louts’ was a rather encouraging insult in Denerspellian talk. It was a kind insult, and they, unlike the prince, were not exactly realizing that stairs meant more walking. They just thought they were finally within the castle.
Mercifully, the prince was stout, the prince was strong, and he was fuelled by something far stronger than his soldiers were, apparently (turnips and barley is rather good for the constitution).
For he alone made it to the top of his stairs. He alone, bad tempered and sore, reached a small door atop these cranky and crooked stairs. He alone stood there, looking back on the flight after flight that descended down, filled with aching and sore soldiers who were suffering attacks of the honeycakes.
“Why do I even have soldiers?” grumbled the prince.
“Bla bla bla!” shouted the moss from down under.
“Bugger it all,” muttered the prince as he turned and stomped through the door.
Now, fate being fateful and all that good stuff, the prince was rather lucky to not have had his army with him just then. For when he stepped through that door he was instantly in a rather large wine cellar.
Well, that in itself wasn’t particularly lucky. What was lucky was that after he left the wine cellar, climbing still more stairs (“fudging stairs” he muttered angrily under his breath) he met very few Farfadelian guards.
For, gentle reader, a great deal of the guards had been posted out of doors and upon the walls. For “This is war!” the commander proclaimed, and thereby he insisted that every able-bodied soldier be up and about and doing soldier-y stuff. Like keeping watch.
Those who were lucky enough to be indoors were busy making fun of the commander, and being pleasantly warm on this chilly night. They did not particularly pay attention to what they thought was another unfortunate being sent out of doors.
But, alas, the prince was a prince. His armor was black and dastardly as his soul, and his hair was long and flowing and spreading the scent of his shampoo all around himself.
“Stop right there!” shouted the first set of guards that the prince reached in the corridor that the cellar let out onto.
“Bugger off!” said the prince, in a terrible mood now on account of the mosses and stairs. And with his good hand, he clouted them both about the head and knocked them unconscious.
Then on marched the prince.
Up and up he marched, up and up more stairs, then up and up until he could smell the stench of frogs.
“Ah ha!” he said to himself, poking his head out of a door.
“Ah?” said the series of Farfadelian guards that were guarding the rooms of the princesses.
“Ah?” echoed the rows of tiny frogs that were guarding the room of their King’s bride-to-be.
“Hah!” said the prince, throwing his torch forward first. It exploded across the floor, giving him the element of surprise.
“Oh goodness!” said the guards as all their fancy trappings and fringes threatened to catch fire. They jumped and jostled, banging around and creating quite the havoc as they tried to put out this fire.
“Rubbit rubbit!” squealed the frogs, hopping this way and that away from the sparks.
Without uttering an evil catch phrase or even an evil laugh, the prince lurched forward into action. Whump! Whack! Whop! He knocked the guards unconscious. Then punt! Punt! Punt! He kicked the little but extremely annoying frogs out of the way.
Let it be noted, dear reader, that the torch did not catch fire to the floor. It had been magically treated so as to not catch fire, on account of a bad-tempered visit from the Fire Lady one yonder day. Due to this, the torch and sparks merely smoldered and stewed on the floor before dousing themselves off to sleep.
But in the moment, the prince did not care about that. He wouldn’t have cared if the whole castle had burnt down! “Hah!” the prince said, taking a moment to look over his disaster with a gleeful glimmer to his eye. But then there was a creak.
“Whatever is the – oh!” said the youngest and fairest princess as she opened the door to her bedchamber.
The prince drew his sword and poked the pointy end towards her. “You are coming with me!” he ordered.
The fair princess was so mortified she might as well have fainted. The prince seized her by the wrist and dragged her out. Then, holding her and still pointing his sword at her, he knocked on the other door (there was three in total, dear reader). “Out you come!” he barked. “Or I will slay your sister!”
And out came one princess, the eldest. “Oh my!” she shrieked. “Guards!” And then she looked down at the unconscious guards on the floor. “Guards?” she moaned.
Then the evil prince kicked on the last door. “Out with you too!” he barked.
The third door opened. The middle princess presented herself. She, too, was in her nightgown, but now she was drawing a traveling cape over her shoulders. “Goodness,” she muttered dryly under her breath as she glared down the prince. But then her eyes alighted on the unconscious frogs, and she sneered.
The prince then jostled and pushed the princesses before him, waving his very pointy and sharp sword at them. And so in this way he forced them down stairs upon stairs upon stairs and all the way down into the cellar. There he forced them through the door and down more stairs where his soldiers were now recuperating and groaning from their honeycake attacks.
Meanwhile, alarm horns were beginning to be blown. Unconscious guards had been found! The princesses were missing!
“This! Is! WAR!” a certain commander was heard bellowing.
“Oh goodness!” squealed the oldest princess. The youngest one, completely overcome by everything, fainted against the wall.
“Oh bugger it all!” said the prince. And so he brushed his long locks of hair out of his (very handsome) face, and he scooped up the middle princess in his arms. “Carry them!” he ordered to his soldiers before darting down the stairs.
And so, in a mad dash, he rushed headlong down down down the stairs. Then up up up the stairs with the moss wailing at him that he would never make it.
“You’re too slow!”
“Walking funny, eh?”
“My uncle walks faster!”
And all sorts of nasty things, that moss said.
The princess, for her part, said not a word. She clung to the dastardly prince’s neck and was silent the entire rush with the army through the tunnels.
Finally, the prince burst up out of the tunnels, well ahead of the rest of his army (they were all rather slovenly even in their fright).
“Oh no!” squealed the fairy at the sight of the kidnapped princesses. “But you were supposed to defeat the Frog King!”
“Bah!” said the prince. “Point the way back home!”
“But but,” and the poor fairy began having a fit as she saw the rest of the army returning with even more kidnapped princesses. “What have you done?”
“What did you think I was going to do?” snapped the prince. And he drew his sword and pointed it at the cage. “Point the way to the camp!”
Shaking with fright, the poor fairy did as she was told.