0: Summary and Reminders
No this isn't a prologue. No prologues for this one. It's just that before you start reading, I just figured you'd want to have a rough idea of what this insanity is all about, so here it goes:
Cinderella's half-sisters, Drizella and Helvet Stillone learn that they are facing an unknown threat—one that reeks of malicious magic. They discover that their mother is a very powerful mage; that Cinderella is a spy; that they are mages and they smell—I mean, that their scents have changed—and that they are to be abducted by Dwarrows—whatever those creatures are.
All three Stillone sisters (Drizella, in particular) are thrown into an adventure of meeting the oddest creatures of the magical land of Ziervox as they try to figure out the mysteries that they are forced to face, clueless of the cryptic plot looming over all of them—and yes, they get partners, there's always room for partners, but these partners won't just tag along.
Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel, and many other fairy tale characters all in one twisted, insane and fiery adventure—but sadly for them, they're not the protagonists here. Yup, this is going to be one hell of a Fierytale.
Find out how it all actually happened.
REMINDER: This is written in first person, I switch perspective from character to character at times. To the people who are not familiar with this format, just note that the bold-styled name after the horizontal rule (like the line below) is the narrator for that part. Hope you enjoy it! ^_^
By Feyerah Klydell Evvs
1: She's so not a Fairy
I woke up before everybody else. I started to look around like I always do every morning when my head was still fuzzy and my mind, still disorganized. The soft sunlight entered through the window right beside my lofty bed. Outside, the blue birds flew actively from nest to nest.
It was a perfect Saturday morning—until the waking bell rang furiously, resonating throughout the mansion sounding quite more demanding than it needed to be. My pulse quickened. A normal waking bell wouldn't astound or make me panic, but a furious waking bell was practically a disaster signal.
The ringing stopped. I felt my hope for a wonderful, peaceful weekend slowly crumbling to dust as my mother's loud shrill voice rang through the corridor screeching, "Cinderellaaa!"
I sighed exasperatedly and mumbled under my breath, "Not again!"
I rolled out of my bed, and began to right myself up from my sleepy appearance. I must get out of the room. Mother's voice wasn't exactly the first thing you'd want to hear in the morning, and I wasn't planning on having my beautiful weekend busted. I did not know what I was supposed to do but I knew I should get out of bed then perhaps I could think of possible ways to stop this morning madness.
Mother coming to Cinderella's quarters in the morning was the prelude to a waking nightmare, the kind where you live like being in a creepy, scary dreamland all day long—and usually a half-day or two beyond that. You see, a sermon from Mother would never fail to last for hours (unless somebody could convince her to stop, but who would dare?) and Cinderella's attitude wasn't even the least bit helpful in the situation, either.
"Cinderellaaa!" she yelled again, clearer and crisper this time. I heard her footsteps clip-clopping hollowly as she blazed up the wooden stairs which led towards the top of the tower.
I burst out of my room and ran down the hall towards the small space between two walls at end of the left wing, my long silk nightgown interfering with every step I took.
When I reached the foot of the narrow stairs, I yelled, "Mother, stop!" My cry echoed up the stairs, the narrow hollow space made it sound so loud and firm it seemed to have taken on a rude commanding tone. With the sudden burst of a somewhat unprepared disrespectful yell, I would have thought, Sure go on command your mother like the queen of Faedor, see if she doesn't spank you, but no, instead I thought, I must stop this impending doom at all costs.
Heh, as if my pending beautiful Saturday would still matter when my mother would decide to kill me.
Mother, already at the top of the stairs, turned to me in response. Her vivid and striking eyes looking down on me, boring into my very face. I was petrified with her gaze. From my view down the stairs, she looked like a strict lady general ready to pounce on the enemy so close. Her hair was tied up in a messy bun, with stray strands that gave her an intimidating quality pretty much similar to that of a mad witch. To sum it up, she simply looked like she would kill me for "commanding" her to stop.
My will left me motionless. I was just staring back at her eyes, frightened to make any more moves. Right, I thought to myself sarcastically, stop Mother at all costs, Drizella, and you would end up a nicely cooked turkey for dinner.
"Go back to your room, Drizella," Mother said menacingly, threat dripping viscously from her voice, "At least fix yourself up before you go scampering around the halls."
Thankfully, that was all I got from her—a hellish glare—but then I thought it was odd for her to talk about me fixing my appearance up—she wasn't the least bit properly dressed up, herself, at least I tried to comb my hair before putting it into a bun—but I guessed she was so angry she could only afford to critique and see everything but her own appearance.
She turned to the door to Cinderella's quarters and marched to it. With the eye contact broken, I recovered from her petrifying spell. I was reminded once again of the beautiful Saturday that I wanted badly, so I ran up the stairs, thundering through the wooden steps, crying, "Mother, please stop!" every three or four steps.
When I got inside Cinderella's room, a dirty red pillow landed on my feet. It must have hit Mother's face since she was all dusty, like ground charcoal had replaced her face powder.
"—Out of my room!" Cinderella's beautiful soprano came. There was no doubt about it. If my mother's was a high-pitched, indistinguishable screeching, Cinderella's was a nice melodic lyre. Unless my mother switched to her thunderous tone, her voice would pale in comparison to Cinderella's.
"How dare you yell to me like that!" My mother thundered. Oh, so apparently, she had taken on her loud, low-pitched booming voice, which was way more than pleasant against her screeching one, if not more than intimidating.
"Why not?" Cinderella snapped back, irritation was clearly fuelled into her words. "What idiot would not yell when some old hag suddenly comes barging in her room without knocking. If you aren't well too blind, I am changing."
My mother, however proud and intimidating as she always was, blushed for a second. You need to give Cinderella the score for that retort. It was always Mother making someone blush, not the other way around.
On the changing screen, Cinderella's shadow stopped short, and her head popped out at the screen's side. "Are you really so wont into watching me naked?"
"I'd rather go with the devil," my mother spat. Her tone had changed from booming to deadly serious. "We need to talk now."
Here is how it really went into the fright scale: my mother's screeching voice, my mother's booming voice and finally, her calm but dead serious voice. You would not really want to cross her when she switched to the third—she rarely did. It was like the calm before the storm.
"I'm serious, Cinderella, we are all in terrible danger, people are going to die" she hissed. I was just behind her, frozen and unsure of what to do. People were going to die. Forget the beautiful Saturday, there definitely is something wrong before I even had the illusion of my perfect weekend.
Cinderella, sensing the tone, frowned and went back to changing. "I know Urs," she said, with the slightest hint of worry framing her voice. She didn't sound irritated any longer—she was as serious as my mother. "but there's no turning back."
She stepped out of the screen when she finished pulling up her skirt, her face revealed to be paler than it was a few moments ago. "She never listened to anything I said. It had been long undecided, apparently, and it can never be changed now that she had made up her mind."
I didn't notice my mother was holding a blue letter envelope until she held it up for Cinderella to see. I wasn't able to catch the seal's look.
I was about to ask who the sender was when a soft, fragile voice came whispering to me from behind, "What is this ruckus on such a beautiful morning?" It was Helvet, my older sister.
"I don't know, but it must be terrible for us" I replied, even though I'm not sure if my sister should know about the situation. She was a weak and sickly woman, and she fainted at the slightest bad news, like when Lucifer, our large Himalayan cat, acquired fleas.
"Don't you think they should know?" Cinderella, arms akimbo, nodded to Helvet's and my direction. "They're involved deep enough, in my opinion."
My mother scowled at her, "Nobody asked for your opinion. You're just my stepdaughter."
"Right," Cinderella frowned and replied mockingly, "Just don't blame this stepdaughter"—she pointed her forefinger to herself—"when everything gets worse for them. Father knew the day would come. Don't say I didn't warn you, Ursula."
With that, Mother turned to us and told us to get out. I gave her a protesting look, but hers was firmer, stricter. She told us it was a private and dangerous conversation (as if I didn't know that already), so Helvet and I had no choice but to obey. We turned and went down the stairs. When we reached the the hallway, I heard her close the door. Stubborn, I ran back up the stairs silently and listened through the door. Helvet followed.
Call it eavesdropping, but would you not do that if you know that people were talking about you?
"Why would I trust you?" Mother asked, her voice, even though muffled through the wooden barrier, was spiteful and rhetorical, but even I could tell that she was worried. "You're a spy. I can't be sure you really side with us."
"Why wouldn't you?" Cinderella's muffled voice came, owning a proud and dignified tone. "After all, I was the one sent out there, wasn't I? You've no other source of information but this spy."
"I should've sent Opheia."
"You know very well how incapable Opheia is. She's only got a wand and some shape-shifting magic, not a head."
"She's your godmother."
"You care for my godmother? What about your daughters? They're my half-sisters!"
"As you said, Cinderella, they're my daughters. I am more than enough to protect them. Now that I think of it, I don't understand why Albert's been insistent on having you protect them too."
Cinderella scoffed, "I wonder why you say that. It's either you're undervaluing your daughters or you're overestimating yourself. You're old Ursula. You were a brilliant mage yourself, I admit, but now you're old. Helvet and Drizella are giving off their scents already. It won't be long before the dwarrows find and abduct them."
"They're humans. I had seen to it."
"Don't fool yourself. Ever since Driz had turned eighteen, their human scents have unexpectedly been turned to who they really are. Even my birds can't tell me why this had suddenly occurred. Perhaps your magic is wearing—"
"That's an insult! My magic is not—"
"Accept it! Even you can tell that the protection spells you gave this mansion is getting weaker. My magic is waning as well, despite my youth. I can't do any better than you do when you're gone. Who would protect them then?"
There was a pause, and I can hear Cinderella sobbing, however much she seemed to control it. It was not the pitiful kind of sob that one did out of pitying oneself, it sounded like the kind of sob where one was angry because the situation was helpless. Helvet shifted uneasily. I didn't know how her health is going to respond to this. We've heard some surprising things about Mother, Cinderella, the mansion, and we've also learned that dwarrows are gong to come and get us. It could be more than terrible if our strong half-sister, the only one who could stand up to our mother, could cry about it.
Then Cinderella said in a surprisingly pleading voice, one I never heard her use before, "Please, Ursula, you have to tell them now. The gifts aren't going to hold out for much longer."
"I'm sorry Cinderella. There has to be another way. I won't tell them."
Cinderella sighed sadly. "Fine, if that's what you wish." Then in a calmer voice, she said, "I see letter's been sent directly. By the look of the seal, I should say a Blue Jay delivered it."
"Why do you think did they not use an Owl?"
"That's perhaps because the Owls have been hunted. That's what my Hummingbirds have told me. Whoever hunts them, we still don't know, perhaps they're enemies. My best guess is that this letter needs to be inconspicuous, and they needed to make sure the letter gets sent to the intended receivers, not to the Owl hunters."
"But there are other birds, like your Hummingbirds. A Blue Jay delivering this letter meant—"
"I know," Cinderella said in a horribly worried tone, as if the world's end was coming, "they're dreadfully serious. I just wish…I just wish Helvet and Drizella will be safe."
I didn't listen to anything after that. I just went down to my quarters and Helvet followed in silence. Looking at her face, I knew my sister was also worried. She was shaking, gazing down the marble flooring, her beautiful brown brows knitted and her weak countenance looked even frailer.
She caught my eyes and she smiled at me, "Don't worry, Drizzy," she told me, trying to sound upbeat even though her soft, weak voice obviously failed at the attempt. "It cannot be that bad. I'm sure mother will do anything. You heard Cinderella, mother's a brilliant mage. We also have a protective half-sister, so everything will be fine."
I tried to agree to her, but I couldn't. By the way how their private conversation went, I could tell there won't be any perfect weekend for the rest of my life.
It was already night time. I had a lot of questions in my mind. I spent all day trying to answer them, to no avail. There was no way it would all make sense when I don't even have a clue about the letter.
The things I figured from their conversation so far: Mother was a mage, and a powerful one at that; Cinderella is a spy and can talk to her Hummingbirds (and probably other birds); this mansion has protective spells but it's weakening; and dwarrows are coming to abduct us.
The things I wanted to know: What the letter was all about and who the sender was; what dwarrows were and why they would abduct us; what I and my sister really were; what a Blue Jay delivering a letter would meant; what Cinderella was; how father was involved in this; and who Opheia was.
So far, I haven't figured out the most pressing question: what exactly were we dealing with?
Also, there was something said about my age—or was it about my birthday? What had Cinderella said?
"Ever since Driz had turned eighteen, their human scents have unexpectedly been turned to who they really are."
Eighteen? I thought. I've only been eighteen for a week. So for the past week, I've been smelling like—what, exactly? Dirty socks?
My eighteenth birthday was exactly just seven days ago. I tried to think what happed during that day. Perhaps I could get a clue on this "scent" they were talking about.
Thinking back, it started just about the same: Mother getting all angry at Cinderella, and Cinderella snapping back at her, but that was not because of a letter delivered by a Blue Jay, it was because Cinderella forgot to wake up early to start preparing the party. (I was forced to have a birthday party, no matter how much I was against it.)
During the party, Helvet kissed me on the cheek and gave me a wonderful book. I was so excited that I went on and read it during the party, ignoring the sons of Duke Pomfridem, Klark and Godfrey, who came from two mountains south just to wish me a happy birthday. My mother reprimanded me so I had to stop reading and had a short talk with them.
Klark had his eye on Helvet all the time while Godfrey lost his interest in me and watched Cinderella serve beverages. That wasn't really a memorable conversation, and it was literally short. I didn't mind, I was just glad it ended sooner than I expected so I could get back on the book Helvet gave me.
It was a fine party. The stars of the show were Cinderella and Helvet, because they were beautiful. I, the birthday celebrant, was just in the corner, unattractive, wearing glasses and reading a book.
From time to time, guests would come by my corner and greet me. I would just smile and thank them before getting back to the book, ending any possible sparks of conversation between them and me.
The party went on just like that. Nothing was weird—except for my uncooperative nature. So what happened during that day that changed our scent? I thought.
Suddenly I remembered how different Cinderella's behavior was after that. The next day, she had this weird confused look as she stared at me when I came in her room to serve her breakfast. It was my turn to do the chores that day. I remembered she asked if I applied any perfume. I had thought it was a joke and told her it would be odd for me to apply perfume when all I was going to do the whole day was attend to the chores.
That was it. That was probably the first time she sensed that my scent changed. I was glad because Cinderella was asking about perfume, not smelly socks. That meant I smelled good, but it didn't answer how my scent changed. There's no changing the ironic fact that this pleasant scent made me the dwarrows' target. I went on again and tried to remember anything unusual that happened during my birthday, then I remembered that during the party, an old woman's voice asked me the oddest question, "Want some Pumpkin Juice, dear?"
I thought offering Pumpkin Juice was odd because we didn't serve it during the party. The voice was familiar, but I couldn't remember whose it was. I tried to match the voices from the old women I knew (the list wasn't long as I was not as sociable as a normal person) but nobody matched it. I knew I heard it during the party, but I couldn't remember how exactly I heard it. Perhaps I was reading and a guest tried to offer me Pumpkin Juice—Wait, I thought, realizing suddenly that there was a more pressing question, did I drink the juice?
Out of nowhere, the very same mysterious voice greeted me, "Hello, Drizella, my dear!"
I shivered and looked about my room. It was so familiar that I was very sure I know the owner of the voice, even though I couldn't figure out whose it was. There was something eerie in the air, a coldness that bit through my skin. Then in front of me, an old plump woman materialized. She was dressed in a dirty white tunic and skirt, and a brown conic hat that must've had been white sat on her head. She held a crooked stick in her left hand and a small grimy purse with her right. She stank and her face was as ugly as a troll's. She beamed at me. At the situation I was in, it was amazing how I managed to notice she lacked many teeth.
"Why am I so glad we finally get to talk!" she said with that mysterious voice. "Oh my, how many years has it been, eighteen?"
I stared at her, and I wasn't sure if my mouth was agape or not. She was the owner of the voice, which meant she was present during my birthday. With her creepy appearance, I immediately thought she was one of the dwarrows—whatever they were—that would come and get me and my sister.
She watched my horrified expression shortly before she giggled. It was a real, bubbly warm-hearted giggle. Well, she didn't sound evil. I was used to thinking evil witches do the evil laugh, I doubt if they actually do evil bubbly giggles.
"My, my," she said, "You look frightened, it's just me! I even gave you a present during your eighteenth birthday! You would not happen to forget about your fairy godmother Opheia now would you, Drizzy?"
A/N: Gaaaahh! Editing this chap is so tiring what with the document manager getting stubborn again. T_T
Anyway, just so you know, I'm particularly biased with Drizella. She's my favorite. I guess half the story will be narrated by her.
So...I really, really, REALLY wanna know what you think about this, since I think it's the first time I used first person narrative in a story. Do you like it? Or hate it? Or perhaps it was too long? Too boring? Tell me your thoughts...flares are very welcome too. =)