I glared into the guiltless cup of coffee before me. "Well Michel yet again your Prince Charming's horse has thrown a shoe and you'll have to wait to be whisked off to a castle and be ravaged into insensibility." The coffee didn't reply, but then I didn't really expect it to.
I stood and strode towards the door, throwing on my coat and running a hand through my spiked hair.
"Have a nice day Ma'am." A waiter passing by the door juggled his tray of dishes to push it open for me.
I smiled at him, "Chivalry isn't dead apparently. Thank you."
His face flushed as he grinned back, "You're welcome."
'Now why can't all men be like that? Well apart from the obvious that is.' I grumped my way down the street. 'Course it's not like I'd have a chance with them anyway. They'd probably choose the Rapunszels over Frog Princesses like me.'
The world was abruptly blackened and I yelled as I crashed down onto a hard, wet surface. My forehead hurt; I felt around and found my sunglasses had shattered and scratched my head.
"Damn! Well at least they weren't expensive
" I examined the total darkness around me. Nothing; not even a bit of light from where I had fallen.
"Greeeeeaaaaaat. Well Michel I guess you should try and find a way out rather than sit here and talk to yourself
It is however the most intelligent conversation you'll have all day. What's that smell?"
I touched the area around me, wet and sloped; and, as the smell pervaded my nose, it all came together to reveal that I was in the sewer.
"Wow, this day can't get any better can it? First I'm stood up for a blind date and then I wind up with rats and faeces to consol me."
Standing carefully I found that I was sore but, aside from the cut on my forehead, I was unharmed. 'And now to get out of here.'
I held up one of my wet (I hoped it was just water) fingers and felt for a breeze of any sort. It was faint but, upon turning, I felt it on my face.
Shuffling along waving my hands in front of me wasn't the most dignified way of getting around but it beat being clobbered by a ledge or tripping on goodness knows what.
Ahead of me a dim glow appeared and the breeze increased.
The light grew until I burst through into
. Well it could only be described in the cliché terms of- another world.
Eyes peered from branches and hollows and if I had dropped a pin it would have echoed. 'Let's try a little horror movie cliché. And see what pops up to eat me.'
"Hello! Anybody out there? I'm lost." The leaves rustled and some of the smaller eyes vanished. "I'll take that as a no."
Venturing further into the clearing I looked back to examine where I had come from. A small cave gaped back. I pulled out my lipstick and marked the rock-face beside it with a bright purple cross. 'Well now I can find the right cave
Assuming there are other caves here to confuse it with.'
I froze and listened carefully. The silence had gone from simply quiet to ominious and any person who watches as many movies as I do will know that's never good.
Turning, I faced a scaled and fanged face regarding me suspiciously. I swallowed the urge to scream and flail, instead stepped slowly backwards.
It was a huge lizard, think of the biggest Discovery Channel star and times it by ten.
Its tongue flickered out, touching my arm, trying to work out what I was most likely. I stood perfectly still, deciding that when it went to eat me I would yell and wave my arms to try and scare it off. Turning its massive head it examined me once more before moving off. Apparently I don't taste all that good; I held out my arm and saw how much mud (I hoped it was mud) and grime I was covered in and wasn't surprised that the Jurassic Park reject didn't want to eat me.
The guy on the horse who had just appeared in the clearing could be another matter entirely. Watching the woods the lizard had disappeared into, I ran over.
"Hi, I'm Michel and you're probably going to get eaten by a huge lizard."
"Then I am close to the beast!" Vaulting gracefully down he landed lightly before falling to one knee in front of me. "I am Brainard, the Prince of this land," Grabbing my hand he wiped off some of the grime before kissing it, "And I have come to slay the monster that has been eating my people's livestock."
"Um, pleased to meet you Brainard." I retrieved my hand and pointed to where I had last seen the lizard. "It went that way but I'm only telling you this so we can both get out of here."
"Your concern is heart-warming my darling but even as the beginnings of love stir within, the feeling of rage overcomes; how dare this leviathan try to harm one as lovely as you? It shall be smote so we can return to my castle in safety."
"It didn't try to har- wait. Beginnings of love? But we've only just met Brainard."
"That is why it is only the beginnings sweet one; and please address me as Highness until we are married; it is customary."
"Seriously what, my blossom?"
your Highness." I felt a headache beginning.
"Now then my damsel; I do not wish for you to be harmed so I ask that you remain with Daran." With that he grabbed me around the waist and lifted me easily into the horse's saddle before stalking off into the woods.
"Daran?" The horse turned its head to look at me. "His Highness is a bit of an oddball hey?" The wicker I got by reply sounded like a yes.
The sounds of breaking trees and roaring came back from the forest soon after. "Let's go see how badly maimed he is." Gathering up the reigns I rode Daran towards the fight; arriving just as Brainard was pulling his sword from the lizard.
"Darling one you should have stayed away from danger as I asked!" Wiping blood from his sword he came back towards me.
"Actually you told me to stay with Daran and I did. No danger either from the looks of it." Dismounting, I approached the lifeless heap of scales; I felt quite sorry for the poor thing; if it had been a herbivore it would be alive.
"Now then, onwards to the castle!" I was swept off the ground to find myself riding side saddle in front of Brainard.
"Really? Couldn't I just go to a village or something?" I turned to look at him pleadingly. He was, however, not paying the least bit of attention to what I wanted.
"Do you not want to be cleaned and dressed in fineries? I understand that as a peasant you would not have experienced much of either but I feel you should."
I raised one eyebrow, "What makes you think I'm a peasant, your Majesty?"
"Why you wear so little clothing it is clear that you are too poor to buy or make more. And you must have sold your hair to a wig maker for food to have it so short."
I began to laugh but stopped when he leaned in to inform me that, "The tolling of bells and the songs of Nightingales are nothing compared to your radiant laugh."
I knew this was going to be hard but I had to explain what had happened and where I was from.
"Yes my dove?" He smiled happily at me. He really was quite handsome; full lips, sky blue eyes, tanned skin and long dark hair. The whole Disney shebang.
"I'm from another world." He stopped smiling so I pressed on before he threw me off the horse and had me stoned to death. When I finished he stopped Daran, gripped my chin gently and turned my head. Running his hand gently along my face he stopped at the scratch on my forehead.
"It is as I thought. You have a head injury and do not know your mind; this also explains your hesitation at our union." He smiled at me again, "Do not worry my love, I have physicians who will return your sanity and with your mind your heart will come to me."
When we reached the castle I was immediately dragged off by a gaggle of women who- despite my protesting- washed, perfumed and dressed me before topping it all off with a huge, twisting pile of hair to serve as a wig. The physician was next; I was prodded, the cut examined and I was told to eat two dried up beans a day until I wanted to marry Brainard.
I was then lead to the Prince's chambers.
"Enter my darling." Pushing the door open I found him sprawled shirtless on his bed reading.
"Oh my sweet, you look positively ravishing! Have you taken your medicine from the physician so you will feel better and marry me?"
I looked at him. He really was perfect; his small amount of chest hair lead down to the V of his pelvis. Which, in such tight pants, was even more wondrous. I sighed and looked away.
"This would be so much easier if I was menopausal."
"Menopause?" He came to his feet and slunk towards me. "What is that?"
I cleared my throat and forced myself to examine a tapestry over Brainard's shoulder. "Just a problem for some of the people from my world," He raised an eyebrow at me, waiting. "Your Highness."
"Thank you my dear. You will be a perfect Princess once you learn the courtly manners and overcome your head injury."
Pinching my nose to ward off the inevitable headache, I forced myself to look at him. "I'm sorry Brainard but I can't marry you."
His face fell as he looked at me. "But I love you. Isn't that enough? Is it another man? Because you know that he'll be killed later on so you can come to me for comfort and fall in love with me."
"No there's no other ma-
. Wait. What?"
"It has happened constantly with all my family. Even my sister married a Prince after the servant he was in love with died in a tragic carriage accident. Stay the night my love; once you do you'll want to spend eternity with me. I don't mind being used in such a way so long as I can be forever with you."
"Uhhhh, sorry, can't."
"Why not?" He drew himself up to his full, and slightly imposing, royal height.
"Did you really think we were going to sleep?" He advanced and I retreated towards the door.
"Well a hopeful part of me did." I slid my hands around behind me, feeling for a handle.
Brainard's posture softened as he looked at me. "I'm not going to force myself on you. I know you'll come around eventually. Pure love wins in the end and it always will."
"That was very pretty but I'm very tired. May I go to my room your Highness?" I found the handle and gripped it tightly.
He sighed and smiled gently, "Yes my love, I shall look forward to your presence on the 'morrow as fervently as I do the rising of the sun."
"Okay, thanks, night!" I screeched out of the room and into the arms of two armoured guards who marched me off to my room.
Once alone I ripped off my wig and scratched my head madly; that thing itched!
'And now to escape.'
Walking to the window I found that I was only fifteen feet from the ground. Unfortunately that is more than enough height for me to sprain something when gravity gets involved. I began pacing, kicking the wig along the floor like a hairy ball.
'Maybe I could tie some sheets together?' I looked at the bed and found it sheet-less.
Cursing under my breath I gave the wig a vicious kick. It bounced off the wall before rolling back to me trailing a length of hair. The penny dropped and I quickly began to unroll and plait the monstrosity.
An hour later I was the proud creator of a hair rope; while only a few metres long it was enough to stop me from breaking anything when I fell.
Climbing down the rope I reached the end of it with about eight feet or so to go. Hitting the ground I threw myself into a clumsy roll and took off running (which was difficult in my ridiculous dress). I listened for people following me, but there was nothing. Luckily they were trying to keep people out not in.
There was a full moon and I managed to trace my way back to the woods and, finally, to the cave mouth I had emerged from.
There was something different now though; a piece of parchment glowing brilliant white on the rock-wall.
I have written this because I know you will not stay with me. I do however know you will return to my kingdom and my love. Ours is a deep and pure romance that shall be written about for years to come. I shall ensure that.
Keep this with you always as it will guarantee your safety when you come back to me. Present this to myself to prove your identity and, as you know, my current wife shall be killed tragically and you shall be there for me in my time of grief.
Your Prince and humble servant
I laughed and tucked the letter into the sleeve of my dress.
More shuffling and trying not to breathe through my nose later, I saw a light ahead. When I reached it I clambered up the ladder it revealed; hoping it was going to lead to my world rather than another one with who knows what sort of whacko trying to get into my bodice.
Poking my head out I saw a little girl point at me.
"Mummy look! It's Princess Giselle!" I panicked for a moment, thinking things had gone from bad to downright awful. Then I realised I was wearing a puffy dress and emerging from a manhole.
Pulling out the letter I passed it to the young girl. "Prince Charming sends his regards."
She read it, amazed by her fairytale come true. She clutched it to her chest as she watched me ripped off the bottom half of my dress; kick off my shoes and walk away to find my own happily ever after.