Wednesday, February 7, 2018

FRACTURED FAIRYTALE: CINDERBOY CH. 3

Hello my reader and writerlings! It's been forever and a day--or so it must seem! But really it's only been....um....3 weeks. So that equals to practically forever and a day, but not quite!

But you're not her to talk time schemantics! You're here to read! And thank goodness for that or I'd be out of a job!

........Kinda.

If you're new to the show and need to catch up (I mean, you could just start here, but you'd be missing some prime fairytale set up and snark and awkward flirting) you can read chapters 1 and 2 here and here. Go on, I'll wait while you catch up.

........

You good?  Great!


When last we left Agate he had gotten thoroughly lost in the Dark Woods, his clothes had been tattered, and he was contemplating visiting a singing village to find his way to the castle where the Dark Prince was hosting a ball. His ears were saved from this fate when an attractive but obviously lying man comes to his rescue, professing to be his fairy godmother. Agate does not believe him, but he's given new clothes for the ball, a way to get there, and been commanded to dance with the Dark Prince all night.

And now he's arrived at the ball! but can he keep his promise to his not-fairy-godmother? And why does he know about Snowflake's obsession with flowers? And why does Aunt Wentle hate him so much? Find out (maybe) in chapter three!


CINDERBOY

Ch. 3

(In Which Agate Makes His Grand Entrance Poorly)




      Now, I don't mean to be one to brag, but before I was put under Aunt Wentle's care I lived in a nice home. Or rather, a nice mansion. Or, if you're an angry villager who's also highly superstitious, I lived in an imposing, dark, cursed mansion. Which is ridiculous, because my house had hundreds of windows, and the only cursed item we had was locked in silver chains down in the dungeon. But it was imposing, which kept villagers from coming too close to it.

      But as grand and imposing as my home had been, it was nothing compared to the castle that the Dark Prince lived in. When I crossed the lowered drawbridge I saw that the moat had not one, but two water dragons that made the dark water foam white when they thrashed their tails and gnashed their teeth. There was a long line of guards on either side of the bridge whose black armor gleamed thanks to floating white lanterns dangling above, and the air smelled like snow and food and perfume. It was actually a really unsettling scent.

      The inside of the castle was just as imposing as the outside, with cold marble floors I could feel through my boots, dozens of crystal chandeliers shaped like icicles--clearly he was really running with the 'winter' theme--and so many mysterious nooks that I even caught one nook sneaking into another. There were some people milling about, but no one I recognized yet, which was a relief. I wasn't sure how quickly the news of my parents death had spread, or what rumors were being circulated. Yet another failing of being carted off to live in the Dark Woods.

      A young woman with a dress that looked more like a snowball than a fashion forward statement bumped into me from behind. I stiffened and thought for the briefest of moments of side stepping and letting her fall. I hated strangers touching me. You didn't know where their hands had been--or when they'd last cleaned them. Instead I did the polite thing and steadied her.

     "Are you alright?" I asked politely.
   
     "Oh yes, I'm just....oh."

      I smiled, hoping it came across as mysterious and knowing, instead of tight and strained. I hated that women reacted this way towards me. Imagine if your most annoying cousin suddenly fancied you and wanted to kiss you and chased you around no matter where you went. That's how it felt when women looked at me like this woman was looking at me now. She batted her eyes and tucked a perfectly placed curl behind her ear. Her ears were a bit pointy. She really should have left the curl in front of it.

      "I haven't seen you before, sir.....what is your name?"

      I thought quickly. I really didn't want her knowing my real name, at least for as long as was humanly possible. She was smiling up at me between her lashes. I'm sure to other men she would be very pretty. Unfortunately for her I wasn't most men. I stood a bit taller, smiled a bit deeper.

     "Egbeth." There. That sounded horrifying enough. Girls really didn't like boys with weird names.

     "What a..." She was searching for a nice thing to say to me. "Unique name."

     "Yes, my aunt picked it out. For a troll she has a remarkable imagination."

     "A troll you say?"

     "Yes. On my father's side."

    "Oh. Yes. I....oh my, is that my friend? Do excuse me Sir...er...Egbeth."

     I bowed and smiled as I watched her hurry away to the other side of the room where there didn't seem to be anyone waiting for her. It was then I noticed the grand stairway to the right. Those who weren't milling about were going up it, where two giants stood watch in front of a heavy black curtain. More terrifying than the giants with their giant tusks and balding heads was the man dressed in the palace colors taking the invitations. He was tiny, perhaps only coming to my knee, and had sharp mean eyes. I groaned. There was no mistaking that face, and it was the last one I wanted to see, next to Aunt Wentle.

     I'd been on Rumpelstiltskin's bad side ever since I told a princess his name. But I had only told her so she would put in a good word about me to her handsome brother. Not only did she forget to tell him about me, she also told Rumpelstiltskin I'd told her his name. Even with my invitation I doubted he'd let me pass. There had to be another way in.

     I scanned the many nooks and saw one on the left that looked like it might go through the back and around the ballroom. And if there was a window or balcony I could easily climb over it and into the ball room. Perfect. I headed towards the left, hoping I blended in well.

     "Agate."

     The voice calling my name was nasal and dripping in feigned friendliness. I spun around to see Rumpelstiltskin motioning me over. I couldn't ignore him now. Drat. I kept my smile on my face and headed over to him. He had a smile on his face, the nasty kind that meant he had a trick up his sleeve.

    "Didn't think I'd see you here, m'boy." He said, his beady eyes flashing. "Heard you weren't invited."

    "As you can see, I am." I withdrew the invitation and some of his smile deflated. "How are you? How are the kids?"

    "The ones you keep getting from princess."

    "Oh those." He grimaced. "Gone, all of em. Thanks to you the princesses all got them back."

   "I....." I lost my voice for a moment. Why....why he looked to be tearing up!  "I thought you hated children. You hated me."

    "Of course I hate children you dunderhead! But now I have such a dirty house to take care of no one to clean it for free! And it's no thanks to you!"

     I was certain he was going to tear up my invitation. Instead he opened it and withdrew a white card with scrawling writing. He sniffed it, then narrowed his eyes at me as he leaned closer, sniffing the air around me. Insulted doesn't even begin to describe how I was feeling. I could feel heat creeping up my neck and down my arms. My fingers began to tingle as  I tried to keep my temper in check.

     "Little Agate you smell like a wish."

     "Excuse me?"

     "You heard me. Have you been hanging around genies?"

     "I've never even met a...." I thought back to the man with golden eyes and caramel skin.

     "Never what?"

    "I've never hung around a genie. This coat is borrowed is all. Are you going to let me in or not?"

    "Hmph." Taking the card he tapped it against his leg, then grunted. "I supposed I have to, don't I. I can't lose this job. Step on through Agate. I do hope you have a good time."

    "Thank you."

     I said it with as much genuine emotion as he did--which meant not at all. He snapped his fingers and the giant behind him raised the black curtain, revealing a scene right out of my nightmares. Ice sculptures everywhere, magicked snow was floating down from high above, and glittering icicles were securely strung around every window; of where there were dozens.

     There was a grand staircase leading down to the main floor, where most people were dancing. To the right and left of the dancers guests milled about drinking and laughing and trying to stay warm. And on a dais build and surrounded by ice sculptures of prancing deer sat the queen and king. I could practically feel my blood freezing to a stop.

     "Oh do hurry up!" said a female voice behind me.

      I took a step forward, only to find the glittering white world wobble and spin as my feet tripped over something. By all the dark shadows above, I was falling down the stairs! Months of dodging Aunt Wentle's cane kept me from getting truly hurt as I rolled, and I stood up fast enough from my bumpy all that I felt that perhaps not too many people had noticed. My cheek was scraped, and my head a bit banged, but I hadn't broken or twisted anything. I glared up at Rumpelstiltskin who simply smiled and closed the curtain.

      A dozen pair of eyes or more were staring at me, and I tugged my coat back into place and ran a hand through my hair.

    "Well," I said with a smile, "That was a much faster way to use the stairs than walking them."

    A few people laughed and the slight hush that had fallen around me picked up once more. It is always better to make the first joke about yourself than to let someone else do it for you. After all, its better to have people laugh with you than to laugh at you. 

     "Are you alright? That was quite a fall."

     If the midnight hour had a voice, it would sound like the voice behind him. Dark, powerful, exciting. I felt as if my whole body had been wrapped in silk. It took quite a bit of courage to turn around, but when I did was grateful I had. The most beautiful man I had ever seen--and I had seen quite a few--was staring down at me in concern.

     He was perhaps a little older than myself, with skin was the color of hot chocolate, eyes the color of a spring leaf, and ebony that hair hung over his left shoulder in a thick braid was studded in droplets of ice crystals.

    It was, of course, the prince.

    All of the words I had ever acquired since birth fled my head and left me with nothing. Not one ounce of wit was left to save me. This was far worse than a tumble down the stairs.

   
    "I...."

     His hand reached forward, his fingers warm as they brushed against my scrapped cheek. I winced at the sting and he frowned.

     "Really, we should have made sure the stairs had carpet. Come with me....what is your name?"

    "Agate." I blinked, trying to clear the fog from my mind. "Agate of Edgemore."

    "Agate." The way he said my name was like a thousand dark and stormy nights. "It's an unusual name."

   "I'm an unusual person."

   It was the best I could come with, and I immediately felt like turning into an ice sculpture. The Dark Prince smiled and led me away from the stairs, his hand on my back.

   "Of that, I have no doubt."

     

2 comments:

  1. "and so many mysterious nooks that I even caught one nook sneaking into another."

    LOL

    Also,

    Can I have a dark prince plz?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. HAHAHA RIGHT!? RIIIIIIIIGHT!?!?!?! I want him too (and I made him!) Sadly neither of us can have him because he likes boys. You can totally have a fit. I did. ;)

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