The Enchantress and The Beast

The Enchantress and The BeastIn a distant land, and another time…

“RRRRAAAaaargh! What has happened to me?”

“It is I, proud prince, who have transformed your body into that of a vile beast–so that you now appear on the outside as you always were on the inside.”

“But… why?!”

“To teach you that appearances do not always describe one’s worth.”

“And my courtiers, my servants, what have you done to them?!”

“I have transformed them into furniture, common everyday furniture.”

“Murderess! To visit your vengeance on my own head may be considered just, but to slaughter dozens, nay, nearly a hundred–”

“They are not dead, prince. They still live in mind and soul, but in the form of furniture.”

“But… yet, still, is not an eternity trapped, unfeeling, unmoving–”

“Oh, they can still move, my presumptuous prince.”

“Oh. Uh… they what?”

“Eet ees true, my lord. We are still here and able to talk and move… to varying degrees. Comme ci, comme ça. Eet’s not ideal, but…”

“You see I do not lie, prince. They will live as they are, immortal, unaging.”

“That’s… that’s… alright, I admit that I don’t know what to think of that. But to stay in that form forever? Even once I am dead and turned to dust–”

“You shall not age either.”

“Oh. Okay…”

“Not until the last petal falls from this rose–and then you shall die!”

“Is that the rose you tried to sell me just now?”

“Yes.”

“Oh, mortality! To live the span of a plucked rose… just a few short days–”

“Years.”

“Pardon?”

“A few short… well, it will be ten years. Ten years exactly. And in that time, if you have not learned to love, and to be loved in return, then surely you shall die.”

“I– hold up. Are you saying there’s a way to break the curse?”

“I am.”

“Oh. Oh! Good then. So I must learn to love. Very well. But, hang on. Did you say that someone else also has to fall in love with me?”

“Yes. Correct.”

“That seems… I understand why I would need to learn to love, but why is the spell contingent on someone else also learning to love?”

“Because… it… is!”

“Can it be anyone?”

“Anyone. Almost anyone.”

“Can it be one of my servants?”

“No.”

“Huh. Very well. Ten years is a goodly time. I shall dispense messengers to every corner of my kingdom, and…”

“You shall not. I am placing an enchantment on this castle so that all outside of it will forget that it has ever existed!”

“That… strikes me as particularly unfair. But still, I am man enough for the challenge. In that time there is bound to be many a visiting wanderer who will take word of my circumstance to others.”

“Ha ha! Scornful princeling! Not as many as you may think, for I shall also disguise the road and thwart any that may come upon the castle perchance.”

“That’s–whooh. That’s particularly spiteful. Truly, you are as cruel as you are vindictive, vile witch.One might even say vindictive to an unwarranted extent, considering the circumstances.”

“Perhaps. And then again perhaps not, for I shall leave you some items to aid you in your plight.”

“By my ‘plight’ you mean this curse you placed on me to teach me a lesson, one that will potentially, almost certainly it sounds, kill me–me and the eighty some people in this castle–due to the additional codicils you seem to have added. This is the ‘plight’ you mentioned.”

“Yes. As I said, I am leaving you two enchanted items to aid you in your plight.”

“Just so I’m absolutely clear: you have cursed me and placed impossible obstacles in front of me to make sure that I’m completely doomed, but you are also leaving me some objects to help me break the curse.”

“I am.”

“A part of me is rather grateful that you have stayed here to explain this to me, else I never would have figured all this out. But say on, you were about to explain about these items.”

“Items of rare, and powerful enchantment, such as this land has rare seen.”

“…Go on.”

“This here is a magic mirror. Merely by holding it in your hand and speaking to it what you wish to see, you shall instantly view what your heart desires.”

“…Okay. Um, thank you. That’s really incredible. You’re going to leave that here? For me?”

“I shall. And the other object is a book. An enchanted book, that shall allow you to visit any place in the world that you wish to go to. Merely open this book, think of that place, and you shall be transported there.”

“…Really? That’s…. that’s beyond incredible. I almost don’t need the mirror if I have that. And I can go anywhere I want?”

“Yes.”

“Then why bother to… nevermind. Okay, a book and a mirror. Anything else?”

“The rose. Don’t forget the rose. You’ll want to keep that safe. Here, I’ll leave a glass jar for it as well. If you wouldn’t mind–no, I’ll just put it on this table over here.”

“The table that used to be, a courtier, or lowly butler, mayhap?”

“No, the tables are all just tables.”

“Ooh! It’s floating. Did you do that? That’s clever. Anything else?”

“Is this all not enough?”

“Damned if I know. I’ll admit to you, witch, even just living my remaining days as a beast would have seemed punishment enough. I’m not quite sure I deserve death, but you have shown yourself powerful and bitter so… so be it. The rest of it seems needlessly complicated. Especially the part with my servants. And also the part with… I mean are you sure you want to leave me the mirror and the book? Not that I’m not grateful…”

“I have gifted and shall not ungift.”

“Right-ho. So… are you going to stay now? Shall I have one of my… furnitures prepare you a room?”

“I must depart hence on the hour.”

“I see. It’s just… well, you started all this by wanting a place to stay in exchange for a flower, but, okay. You know your business best.”

“I shall return again this night, ten years from now.”

“…Of course you will.”

“Farewell… Beast!”

“Cheerio.”

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