Author: KayMacD PM
Once upon a time, a princess could turn people into birds. When a boy is given to an evil wizard in exchange for her demise, they are both placed in a forest and forgotten about. With giant spiders, forced marriages, and strange new characters, will they ever make it home?Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Fantasy/Humor - Chapters: 40 - Words: 88,159 - Reviews: 75 - Favs: 7 - Follows: 12 - Updated: 01-02-13 - Published: 07-06-12 - Status: Complete - id: 3039255
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Another big thanks to Shadowedzone for reviewing. This chapter's officially dedicated to you.
And if any of you are wondering what exactly happened to Argon (which I don't really think you should be, but I'm just trying to be suave…) you can just look down to the first line of the chapter.
"He got roasted alive?" shouted Simon.
Felt shushed him quickly and then whispered, "Yes."
"She said he was endangering Thea."
"Would you keep it down?" Felt whispered furiously. "Echlys is right under us!"
"Hearing every word," said the voice of Echlys as it echoed through the cavern.
"What if she kills us?" Simon asked nervously.
"I'm not going to kill you" said Echlys in reply, "yet."
"Do you mind?" Felt demanded. And Echlys was silent. "She's not going to kill us, Simon," he said to his friend.
"But she killed Argon, and I don't know where Theodora is…"
"Thea will be back," said Echlys. "She just needs some time to cool down, as do you. You will be reunited with her in less than an hour. There is nothing to fear."
"Will you stop doing that?" Simon shrieked.
"Where is Thea, then?" Felt demanded.
"With me. She is safe. Don't worry, Frederick. You have nothing to fear here."
Felt opened his mouth to say something, but then he closed it again. Echlys was right. Nothing could hurt him while he was in the dragon's cave, nothing but the dragon herself. And, for some reason, her only intention seemed to be to keep them all safe.
And from what?
Thea opened her eyes.
She was in a room made entirely of gold that glistened in the dim light of the cavern. When she looked up, she saw more gold that, strangely enough, didn't fall on her. There were no treasures here, just a room for Echlys to be in when she wasn't in the cavern above. It was an odd little room, with no real purpose really, and yet Thea felt strangely safer there than in the room above.
"So you are awake," said Echlys. Thea gasped and spun around to face her. In this room, Echlys was not green or blue, pink or gray. She was a brilliant golden color, just like the room she lived in and the treasures she collected.
"Where am I?" Thea asked softly.
"I think you already know," said Echlys as she looked up. Thea could help but follow her gaze.
"Is Felt there?" she asked gently.
The dragon seemed to smile. "Yes, princess," she said. "Felt is there, and your friend Simon, too. Before you go up, I must invite you to come down here to visit me sometime. Whenever you want to be alone, you may come down here with me. You and only you. It gets tiring for me to move from one room to another, you know."
"How do I get up?" Thea asked.
"I will help you," said Echlys. "Step onto my tail."
Thea obeyed, and she closed her eyes tightly in anticipation of what was to come. She felt, rather than saw, herself moving rapidly upward through the coins until she had reached the surface of them, and then, and only then, did she dare to open her eyes.
Simon was awake, his blind eyes silently searching, with Felt fast asleep beside him. Thea breathed a sigh of relief. "You're alright," she exclaimed.
"Theodora?" said Simon, who still couldn't see. "Is that you?"
"Yes, it's me," said Thea, ignoring the simplicity of the question. Then she looked at Felt. "What happened to him?" she gasped.
"Felt?" said Simon, crinkling his nose in confusion. "He was in a fight with Argon, remember?"
"How can a spider make someone's nose look like that?"
"What? What's wrong with his nose?"
"It's…crooked," said Thea.
Simon's face dropped. "Uh-oh," he said.
"What? What's that mean?"
Simon hesitated, and then he said quickly, "Oh, nothing. Nothing out of the ordinary. It'll heal like any normal, straight nose would…"
She stared at him hard. It had no effect. "You're sure?" she said slowly.
"Um…sure," said Simon.
Thea sighed, but she said no more.
Felt was dreaming.
Maybe it was because of the intense pain, or just because of Argon's death, but he dreamed hard that night there in the dragon's den.
He dreamed about Argon, visiting him the way he used to do when he was alive, appearing next to his head while he slept, dipping down from a tree branch when he was searching for food, emerging out from behind a log while he was exploring.
And every time he appeared, Argon would grin and say, "Hello, Frederick."
Felt hated being called Frederick, simply because Argon was the only one who ever did it. And oh, what Argon did.
Felt remembered the year he was ten, Argon came more often than usual. And he would always trap him in the corner, his fangs glistening in the sun, and he'd say, "Frederick, has anything unusual occurred?"
Most of the time, Felt was too scared to reply. And yet, every month without fail Argon would come and still ask, "Has anything unusual occurred?"
Felt still didn't know what that meant, unusual. It wasn't a word he often used, and it certainly wasn't a word he liked. And if Argon kept saying it, month after month without fail until the day he turned eleven, it must be a very terrible word indeed.
Philander was feeling uneasy.
The amulet around his neck was tugging at him strongly, more strongly than it ever had before the deeper Philander and the strange yellow-bearded man went into the forest.
"Are you sure you know where we're going?" he asked anxiously.
"Of course I do," said the man. "We're going to some of my friends. They can help you."
"Th-they can?" the wizard stammered.
"They can," said the man. He turned back to look at him, his eyes of sea-green glinting in the sun. "I'm Wood, by the way," he said.
"I'm Philander," said the wizard.
Wood stared at him. "Philander?" he said slowly.
"Do you know what that means?"
Philander opened his mouth to answer, but he never got the chance. Because right then, right there in front of him, where the four biggest, meanest, and scariest-looking men he had ever seen in his life.
And all of them had bows.
For the first time in her life, Gwyneth was not sure of her plan.
Not that she had much of one. It was mainly just to get Cucumbus to marry the princess at all costs.
But there was something about that plan, that one goal she had set her sights on for so long, that sounded unappealing.
She didn't really know what it was. Maybe she was worried about him. What if Theodora yelled at him? What if she was a terrible wife that made him miserable until the end of his days? What if she turned him into a bird? There'd be no way to turn him back. The people would explode with rage, the two countries would engulf in war….
But there was something in the young girl's mind that told her this was not the cause of her doubt. Something instinctive and strong.
"Gwyneth," Cucumbus yelled.
"What?" she asked, snapping out of her reverie.
"I asked if this is a good place to camp," Cucumbus said irritably of a small spot on the ground.
"Um…yeah. That's fine," Gwyneth said half-heartedly.
He looked at her peculiarly. "Are you okay?" he asked.
"Yeah, I'm fine. I'm just thinking," said Gwyneth.
It was strange. Cucumbus had gotten a lot thinner since they'd started out on the quest. In only a week his face had lost some of its roundness, and a lot of its redness too, and he overall looked much more physically fit than before. It wasn't like he was winning any tournaments, but he was actually looking like a normal person. And his odd haircut had faded away too. It looked much more natural now, like any other peasant boy's. But it was nice.
"Gwyneth," he shouted again.
"Are you sure you're okay?" Cucumbus asked doubtfully, a hint of concern taking over his face.
Why did she even care if he was worried about her? "I'm fine," said Gwyneth, hardness taking over her again. "This actually isn't a good place to camp. Too small. We should move over there."
Cucumbus shook his head in disbelief as she began to search for a better camping spot. "Girls," he muttered.
"You've ambushed me," said Philander in shock.
"I don't have a choice," said Wood helplessly. "All our jobs have been taken away. If we don't find that prince, we'll never survive."
"I told you, I don't know where the prince is," said the wizard, nervously looking at the five arrows pointed straight at his head.
"I believe you," said Wood. "But we could use everything we can get." He looked at the other men. "Take everything's he's got," he said darkly.
One man forced off his fanny pack, searching through each of the pockets while the other men looked for other possessions. "All he has in here is weird magic stuff," said the man, handing the pack to Wood.
"That's alright," said Wood. "We can sell it after we find the prince."
"He's got nothing else on him," said another man. "Should we kill him?"
Philander looked at Wood with panic in his eyes.
Wood shook his head. "No," he said. "Let him go."
Philander staggered backwards, betrayal clear on his face, and turned to go.
"Hold on a second," said one of the men. Philander stopped, feeling the edge of the arrow on his neck. "What's that?"
Philander felt something pulling at his amulet, and he squeezed his eyes shut as the chord passed over his ears, across his eyes, and finally over his head for the first time since he was sixteen.
"It's a necklace," said one of the men. But Philander heard no more after that, because suddenly his body was hurdled through space, twisted through itself and back again, until his feet were back on the ground.
He opened his eyes.
And everything was different.
He was back in Thelma's chambers, but it was not as friendly as he remembered it. The curtains were black and foreboding, covering the window and the blue skies behind it. The carpet was blood red, but from actual blood, Philander did not know. The door was thick and dangerous, and the walls were not keeping danger out. They were keeping it in.
In front of him was Lady Rubella Pimplebottom III, looking the same as he remembered her. But her face was dreadfully angry, and she was not flirtatious anymore.
"Philander," she said, her voice shaking. "Where are the ingredients?"
The wizard blinked, looked at his old, withered hands, looked back at Rubella.
"This place smells of dark magic," he murmured.
Rubella shook with fury. Her lips turned from their plump redness to a taunt pink. Her skin paled, and her clothes slowly changed. And her hair turned from its bleached blonde to the bright, obviously fake pink color it truly was.
And Thelma said again, "Where are the ingredients?"
Philander took a step back, tripped on himself and fell to the ground. "You cursed me," he murmured. "You've always cursed me, ever since I arrived."
Thelma stopped. "Your amulet," she said. "Where is it?"
"How long?" he whispered.
She stepped towards him, her face looming directly above his. "Where is it?" she growled.
I'm just gonna cut in right here. And, for the record, philander is a verb. It means 'to womanize.' Did I know this when I first wrote it down? No. But, like I said in Fun Fact #7, I didn't really spend a lot of time on the whole 'name' thing. But I think it's kinda funny. The only other name besides Philander that's a real word, by the way, is Gregarious. It's an adjective, meaning 'social.' Did I know this? Still no.
I could go on rambling, but…I have a feeling you'd all get annoyed with me. So I'll save anything else I have to say for next time. Remember to review, and I might dedicate a chapter to you!