Notes: This is my first story that I'm actually going to continue and work on, because I truly love it. Also, I have a lovely co-authoress. Her penname is squidgetee. We both worked on the idea and basic plot outline for this story and we're both writing it. It's not all mine, I'm not creative enough to have came up with this alone. I send her my luff!!!!!
"…And a five, six, seven, eight." The small, bright-eyed dwarf finished the dance with an extravagant bow. Which he immediately regretted. Bleh. Grabbing his broom from where he'd leant it against a table, he went back to sweeping up the unidentifiable things that people mistakenly took for food here off the floor. Letting out a sigh, the stablehand reached behind him for the old, wooden dustpan, but instead came in contact with something a bit more… alive. He jumped, spinning around and looking straight up into the naturally-scowling face of the Rusty Nail Tavern's owner. (At least, he thought it was naturally-scowling. It always seemed to be that way, even when he had his way with the tavern wench or any other poor creature that happened to be too close to him at the wrong time.) "Sir! Mi' 'pologies!" He said quickly, cowering a little and preparing to fend off the blows he was sure were coming.
However, the middle-aged tavernkeep, named Hrn, merely grunted. (Yes, his name is Hrn. There's a rather fascinating story behind it, really, but I'll save that for another time.) "Dwarf…" Dwarf carefully masked his surprise at being called by his name. Hrn never did that, unless he wanted something of him that he could not beat out of him.
He could tell Hrn was trying think, because whenever he did said action, his face began to look a bit like he'd just won a lemon-eating contest. "Eh… you're fired."
"Fired?!" Dwarf yelled, a little louder than he'd intended. "When did you ever hire me? Far's I c'n remember, you jus' picked me up off o' the street to work in this filthy place f'r naught but board and table scraps."
"Aye, but, that scum," he said, gesturing back towards the kitchen and the wench, Mey, "'as finally go' 'er kid big enou' to do enou' work to cover fer ye, so we'll be having no more need of ye. G'luck." And with that, the greasy old man picked up the pocket-sized magical creature and tossed him out into the street, where he landed in a large pile of manure and who knows what else. With a wince, Dwarf stood and glanced down at his miserable, hole-filled garments and decided that they were no worse off than they had been before the fall.
And then the full impact of Hrn's words sunk in. He had no shelter, nothing to eat, and no possessions to speak of, nothing to sell for money but himself. Shit. And not many humans can even physically manage that…. He shivered, though the warm early May morning was hardly cold.
"Well, standing 'round solves nothing," he muttered to himself, setting off at a brisk walk, weaving around and between human legs on his way, heading in no particular direction, except for away from the Rusty Nail, and away from his old life.
Dwarf curled up in an alley next to a small store of questionable goods, thankful for the fact that it was now mid-June, and all the nightly chill that had been so hard to bear in May was now totally gone. At the amazing age of sixteen, Dwarf was learning what most people didn't learn until they were married and well into their… early teens. Being alone sucks. Okay, so he was a little behind. Better late than never. Having been born an orphan (he assumed that was how one came to be one. He'd never heard otherwise. Some people/dwarves were born orphans, some weren't.), he seemed to be behind on a lot of things. He spent most of his childhood (as far as he knew. He couldn't quite remember.) in the Rusty Nail, working his metaphorical tail off for Hrn, his sad excuse for a "family". Then, his teenage years were spent... doing the exact same thing. It's really rather shocking, that a person can do the same thing every day for such a long time without a break in the cycle. Ah, but the cycle was broken, he thought bitterly. I was fired.
Hearing a dull rumbling sound, Dwarf remained curled up, assuming it to be the same rumbling he'd been hearing for the last month and half—his stomach throwing a fit over its lack of contents. The rumbling continued for longer than usual this time, and, a bit confused, he moved his hand onto his stomach, trying to comfort it into silence. Just then he was hit on the head by a rather large, spike-covered object.
"Ow! What was tha' for?! I'm sorry to be sleepin' in your neighborhood, but I got no choice, y'see!" He uncurled and looked up into the face he assumed was the shop owners, but was surprised to see the lovely, ageless face of a woman, roughly three and a half feet tall and floating over the ground. Wait… floating? He examined the tiny woman more closely, noting the wings on her back, her small, glassy shoes, and the fit-for-a-queen gown she was wearing. Nope, definitely not the shop owner.
Glowering, the little woman put a tiny hand on each hip. It was rather intimidating actually. It seemed to imply that she was powerful, despite her size, and that she would be more than willing to use said power on an under-aged, underfed dwarf such as himself. "Ahem." She said sharply, actually saying the word rather than making the noise. "If you wouldn't mind paying attention," glare, "I would appreciate it if you would stop staring," glare, "Oh, bother." She hit him boldly over the head with the same rather large, spike-covered object, which he later noted to be a wand. "I SAID STOP STARING AND PAY ATTENTION. I'M TRYING TO SAVE YOUR UNWORTHY ARSE HERE!!!!!" The words, no doubt loud enough for the actual shop owner to hear, woke him from his pain/shock-induced trance. He snapped to attention, though continued cradling his head, nursing the growing lumps on it.
"Sorry, M'lady." He said meekly.
"Ahem. Well. Now that I've got your attention… I'm your fairy godmother." In that instant, she went from violent tendencies to the very picture of cheer and food will. And, of course, Dwarf's jaw dropped far enough that he chipped a tooth from the impact of it hitting the ground.
Tsking quietly, the Fairy fixed the tooth with a wave of her wand, then promptly hit him on the head with it to regain his attention. He promptly began nursing the third large lump of the day, though he was fast running out of hands.
"My name is Mindi, and my first act as your fairy godmother will be to…" She seemed to be thinking this over, as though she hadn't thought that far ahead. "Well, I suppose I'll just turn you into a prince. I mean, what kind of dwarf doesn't really want to be a human prince?" Dwarf sat and considered this for a moment. Being a prince would include all the food he could ever want, beautiful human women… basically, everything he could ever desire.
"Uh…. Okay. So go ahead. Poof me." The dwarf said lamely, waiting patiently for the changing to begin.
"Errrnghhhhm…." Mindi seemed to be thinking very hard. "Mhhhrnghmffff…."
"Sorry, it's just… this is my first real assignment, and y'see…. I'm not all that good at this whole changing people into humans thing yet. This is my first time."
The fairy blushed, continuing to wave her wand around and mutter unintelligible things under her breath. Suddenly, a few minutes later, there was a loud popping sound. "Ah!"
Just then, a stray dog further down the alley promptly disappeared in a large puff of purple-tinted smoke.
"…Do you think you could possible… hurry this up a bit? Or possibly poof someone here who actually knows what she's doing?" At this, the blushing fairy paled out, her eyes filling up with tears, which slowly turned into gems as they fell from her face. (Dwarf made a mental note to grab those once Mindi poofed herself away.)
"Ah! I'm sorry I didn't mean it. Please don't cry…" The dwarf soothed, trying to avoid gathering attention from the partially-empty streets. Everyone on the street seemed oblivious, though, and Dwarf had to wonder if the fairy hadn't put a spell on them, or something of the sort. The fairy sniffled loudly, her tears slowly coming to a stop.
Just then, the fairy gave her wand one last pitiful wave, which, according to the way of fairy tales, promptly turned the dwarf into a ravishing yet innocent-looking prince. His hair was a warm shade of brown and went down to the small of his back, faintly wavy and soft as down feathers. His eyes were a pale shade of green, wide and full of purity. He was roughly six feet tall, and slender. He was dressed in royal finery in shades of crimson and white, with silver trim and jewels set into the edges.
"Daaaamn! HOT." The fairy muttered to herself. Regaining control of herself, she realized she was staring a bit too hard, and swallowed quickly, looking down at the ground carefully. A face like that was far too charming, she attempted to convince herself. So she waves her wand once more and gave him a single pimple on his cream-colored forehead. There, she thought, perfect.
Dwarf did a quick survey of himself and could tell that his life would never be even vaguely similar to what it had been before.