Take one stubborn prince (who really does not want to marry). Add a dash of interfering mother. Stir in one lost, injured girl who shows up in the forest. Liberally apply some miracles. Fold in an evil enchantress in two batches. Allow to simmer slowly in a palace before adding the most important ingredient of all – some magic peas. The Princess and the Pea, like never before. Ho-hum.

PEAS

By Le Tigre

- Now before we embark upon our tale of romance, adventure, magic and…vegetables, I must forewarn you that even grown-ups can be very idiotic at times and not eat their vegetables. I strongly advise you to do so, as though they do not always taste pleasant (and are often a rather unappetising shade of green); they help you grow big and strong. So always eat your vegetables - do not use them in the capacity in which they are used within this story. I am certain that nobody will take kindly to any squashed peas under your mattress, and quite honestly, chances are you are not a princess -

Once Upon a Time…

Actually, our tale begins more recently, so not so long ago and in a land quite far away where there lived a young prince -handsome and kind-hearted, he was well loved by his people.

However, due to his father's ailing health; the kingdom was cast into great sorrow as well as rendering the prince void of his usual spirit and feeling quite dismal. The King wished for his son to accede the throne as soon as was royally possible. The Kingdom though would have to await the Prince's coronation as to become King he must have chosen a bride. In these matters, it seemed hopeless, for preoccupied with his father's illness, the prince seemed incapable of falling in love (though he also seemed to have the extraordinary talent for finding fault in every maiden he met).

In a last desperate attempt to prevent naming another successor, the King called upon his trusted friend and servant; the Miracle Man. It fell as a great coincidence that the Miracle Man had two beautiful daughters that the young Prince had never met; due to having been raised away from the Castle at an academy for young ladies. The young Prince remained convinced that he could not fall in love but, with great reluctance, he met with the two daughters.

The eldest daughter became immediately entranced by the young Prince, yearning for his attention. Like her father, she was a very powerful magician and every night she would perform a small ritual for the stars, wishing that he could learn to love her in return but despite the warmth of her affections towards him, the prince thought her cold and cruel in her nature.

Instead, the young Prince was drawn to the younger sister - truly the most beautiful in all the land, with skin like rich cocoa and hair that was the darkest of ebonies. Where she lacked her sister's magical prowess, she made up for with a warm countenance and a strong, independent mind – traits the prince admired greatly.
It seemed the Prince had found the woman that he would and so the two were married; crowned King and Queen.

Filled with jealous rage, the eldest sister vanished but before she did, she swore that she would bring revenge down upon their Kingdom.
However, nothing seemed to come of the threat and a year passed peacefully, little occurring until the Queen gave birth to a beautiful baby girl; like her mother, she had skin of the richest cocoa and hair blacker than coal itself.

As if Fate herself had planned it, a Castle chambermaid gave birth to a boy on the self same day. The Princess first encountered him in the castle gardens as she was learning to walk and the two instantly became friends. It was a friendship that only grew stronger as they grew themselves, wreaking havoc upon the castle with their mischievous ways.

Yet soon after the Princess' fifth birthday, tragedy struck. The Queen fell gravely ill; so ill that not even the Miracle Man could cure his own daughter. The King blamed the Queen's sister, the enchantress, and vowed to do all in his power to protect his daughter from harm. He was deeply upset by the death of his wife and from that day on the Princess and he seldom appeared outside of the castle. The Kingdom still prospered in these years, bringing forth bountiful harvests, booming foreign trade and many advancements in living standards that ensured a happy populous.

Despite her confinement, the Princess was carefree with the permission to roam about the castle as she pleased, causing trouble with her friend, the servant boy. By the time they were grown, the pair were nigh inseparable.

Then, as often unfortunately happens, everything changed, and not for the better. It was the evening of the Princess' birthday banquet, when all the nobles and servants within the castle were full and merry, that the castle lay siege to a vicious army. Enchanted beings and cursed humans swarmed the walls and the scores of guards were slain.

The enchantress found the man she once loved. He saw that the years of bitterness had warped her into a calculating monster that did not think twice of murdering him.
She crowned herself Queen of the realm and placed a terrible curse upon its people.

As for the Princess, she and her friend eluded the captors and were never seen again…

AN: Many thanks to Helen, for editing this. This story is already completed, so updates will happen weekly (touch wood) as it just needs editing.