The Curious Tale of the Starry-Eyed Princess: Chapter One

01ChapterSm

Princess Maryn Su-Elsinor worries away at the embroidery in her tower, her stitches so terrible and absurd that no one pays her any mind when she hands off the scrambled images and jokes to a servant. No one notices as this servant leaves the castle and disappears into the mountainside. Certainly no one sees when the princess sneaks outside in the blizzard to catch odd-shaped snowflakes. Besides, if anyone saw her they might just blame the freak spring snowstorms driving everyone a little crazy. Ten foot snow drifts are enough to force anyone up a wall — occasionally quite literally.

It isn’t as if the king and queen pay much attention to their blind daughter so long as she stays within the safety of the castle grounds. She’s a beauty, of course, the contents of her deep blue eyes swirled to look like the distant galaxy you can spot on a clear night, the shock of color striking against her dark skin and plaits of black hair. But her father brought this country together at the tip of a war scythe, “saving” it from the creatures of the deep mountains that had held this land for so long. They don’t have time for the fragile heir to the throne.

Little did anyone in the kingdom know that our Princess Maryn could outdo her father any day.

Tonight she is stuck at a birthday ball her father threw for her. She has other things to worry about, but it’s best to keep up appearances if she plans to rule the kingdom someday. So she suffers of people telling her she has gorgeous eyes even though she will never see them, nor much cares to. They say how wonderful it is that she got her mother’s hair with her father’s skin. If only she were a capable warrior! Maryn smiles and is polite to their pity and praise as any good princess would, even if inside she imagines quite creative, grisly misfortunes for them.

What does that matter, anyway? She takes a teacup from the high table, sipping it and enjoying her moment of quiet. Her hair and skin could be completely turquoise for all she cares. As long as her plans for tonight come to fruition…

There’s a thunderous knock at the entrance to the grand hall.

Maryn frowns. This isn’t how it’s supposed to go. This can’t be it.

Taking her teacup, she moves close to the door, her thin cane mapping out a path for her.

“Who dares arrive late to my daughters day of birth?” the king roars, and the guests all laugh and chitter and cheer.

When she nears the servants by the door, Maryn hesitates. One of them walks toward her.

“Is everything all right, m’lady?” They whisper.

“More than likely not.” She taps her cane. “Are you sure that my messages were all delivered?”

The servant hesitates. “W-well, yes, of course.”

“But…?”

“Um… Well, the response to your suggestions weren’t enthusiastic…”

Maryn sighs and rubs her forehead. Of course it wasn’t. It dawns on Maryn as the doors to the hall open and her worst fear is confirmed, if you’re sure something is going to work out, then you can also be positive that something’s going to go wrong.

Entering one paw at a time, a great, glittering dragon of diamond-colored scales enters the room, a spiny crest around its head and ridges down its back all colored a pale purple. It takes up more than half the room, its paws the size of a full grown man. With black eyes, it takes in the festivities — or lack thereof at the moment.

Even though she can’t see it, Maryn despairs. Not because she thinks she’ll be eaten, she wouldn’t be that silly.  The darn beast is just too nice.

Though the smart thing to do probably would have been to run, or fight, or even scream, the entire hall fell into complete silence. Hadn’t all the dragons left with the war? The fearsome beasts were ones these people didn’t have to fight — they only terrified the southerners. Until now.

The dragon clears its throat, the sound of rocks grinding together, nails scraping along metal, a sword slicing through flesh, and says, “Um, excuse me, but I’m here for the Princess Maryn? I would very much like to kidnap her.”
If the hall went any quieter, it would cease to exist.

With a deep sign, Maryn stomps forward. “What is the meaning of this? I thought we had an agreement?”

The dragon shrinks from the small human, nodding as if it’s afraid the girl is the one that will start spitting fire. “Th-that’s what I’m doing!”

“What is going on here?” The king roars, finally standing from his throne.

This is the first thing Maryn cringes from. No matter how many deals with dragons you carefully plot, getting yelled at by a parent will always be scarier.

“Um, I believe I was pretty straightforward?” The dragon says with the confidence of an ugly potato. “I would like to kidnap your daughter. Please.”

The Princess tosses her teacup as she flings her arms in exasperation, the porcelain cracking against the dragon’s leg.

The dragon shrinks back into the doorway, looking like a giant, scared house cat. “Oh gosh, I’m so sorry. Is that lemon? Of course it’s lemon, I hate lemon.”

The king wrinkles his nose. “You hate lemon?”

“Yes, it’s just got that awful tang —”

Quiet! Both of you!” Maryn seethes, until she remembers her father is watching. “Please, daddy.”

Again, her father is quiet and Maryn wishes that she could read his mind to gauge if she’s in the do-the-castle’s-dishes-for-a-month type of trouble, or the locked-in-the-tower-until-her-wedding-day sort.

“Why?” His tone is a deep rumble, impossible to decipher his anger level.
This isn’t working as planned, but maybe the odds are still in her favor. She grins. “Because, if you let me go the winter will finally end.”

Whispers echo through the room. The snows never last this long, people were beginning to wonder when or if it was going to end. And Maryn was counting on that.

“This dragon has been holding our town hostage through blizzards and ice — and I noticed. So I began negotiating with the dragon, but the only thing the beast was interested in was me.” It was quite the opposite of the truth, but it might just work. After a second of silence, the Princess raises an eyebrow at the dragon and adds, “Right?”

“Y-yes, of course!” The dragon stretches out its neck a little, shaking its head. “I strong-armed the innocent Princess into following me, but she refused, so now I’m here to bargain with you. Her in exchange for your kingdom. Or, you know, not. Whichever works for you.”

Resisting the urge to bury her face and groan as she desperately wants to, Maryn stands tall. “I’m willing to make the trade, father. Let me live up to my lineage.”

“Hmm…” The king’s voice rumbles.

Maryn tries not to smile. Kick him where it hurts, right in the genetics.

“Are you sure about this darling? We could just kill it.”

The dragon squeaks, claws scritching the ground as it trembles, onlookers confused as the ridges along its back and mane turn a faint grey. The Princess really needs to make sure she uses a much more terrifying creature next time she’d like some time away from the castle. Perhaps an actual house cat would do better.

Letting out a small sigh, Maryn curls her hands into fists. “Let me prove myself father. I will show you the future of our kingdom.”

“Oh, just let her spread her wings a little bit, Freddy.” The queen sounds like she has a smile in her voice, like she probably knows a little more than she should about the frightened dragon and the pragmatic princess. “Hadn’t you already killed a dragon by the time you were her age? Besides, there might be some nice treasure in the thing’s hoard when she kills it.”

The dragon lets out a wheeze, shaking intensifying. If she doesn’t hurry this up, the thing’s going to faint. She’s tried to ask them to let her go on an adventure before, but nothing else has gotten her this far. Last resort it is, then.

“Please, father?” Maryn widens her eyes, the galaxies within them like hundreds of little puppy’s eyes begging him to let her go.

Against what may or may not be better judgment — depending on who you ask — the king gives a long sigh and says, “I concede. We do want this winter to end, and it wouldn’t be too very entertaining if whatever nest mate the beast has decides to take revenge after it’s dead. You can just take care of that while you’re there. If you are positive that you’re up to this, darling.”

Maryn nods, victory tingling through her veins. “I am positive.”

“Very well, dragon. In exchange for spring, you may take my daughter until she kills you.”

“Oh…Thank you so much, your highness.”

The servant Maryn nearly forgot was there tugs on her sleeve. “Are you sure of this?”

The Princess grins. “Of course. I’ve been planning it for five years, I know what I’m doing.”

At that point the dragon nearly jumps out of its scales in eagerness to get out of this mess, and extends its neck so that the princess can climb up and leave her people to stare worriedly after her. But their anxiety is useless. She knows exactly what she is doing and what she wants, there is no need to worry.

Obviously, it’s not like any other of her plans just came out completely different than what she expected.

With relieved wings, the dragon leaves the castle and flies into the dim evening sky, leaving the rattling sound of thunderclouds and the end of winter in its wake. As the castle celebrates the end of the cold and the massive snow drifts melt away, they don’t worry about their dragon-napped princess, they know her parents too well. They certainly don’t worry about the water flooding from their mountains, and into the cities below…


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Table of Contents

Prompts Used:

(And quick note about prompts I forgot to warn about for the prompt short story veterans! I will NOT be using all of the prompts in every chapter because first, there’s a word limit, and second, it would be harder to keep it consistent. Some things (especially songs and poems) will be used as inspiration for a few chapters and I may hold off on saying I’m using them because they’re super thematically relevant and may actually spoil it. Or I may tell you and let you suffer. If I haven’t used your prompt in a few weeks, do feel free to ask if I got it. OKAY, done rambling.)

I am wicked
and you are wet
and we can never be
together.

I am sorrow, wicked,
worn and tossed
about.

I am dry and dust
clings, and you
are draft drinking
down.

I dream of you in drops.
I close my eyes and see
you pool
around my heart.

I am broken, wicked,
worn and battle-scarred
to prove

I don’t need you.

Author’s Note:

I did it? I still feel SUPER unsure about the voice, I’ve never written anything other than first person. I hope you guys like it, though. The next chapter is going to be wonderfully ludicrous.

Thank you SO MUCH to everyone who prompted!

Also, if you actually did like it, please consider prompting/sharing? I hate asking this sort of thing, but I’m terrified that by the end of this no one will be reading. And if no one’s reading, there’s no prompts, and it’ll never be finished. So pretty please with dragons on top?

Bacon, out.

Bus

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