Banished to the royal lodge, Mirabelle discovered she enjoyed the hunt almost as much as kissing boys.
But, then Prince Mal from Tortuvia laid siege to her parent’s castle and demanded their surrender. Her father agreed, but worded the treaty carefully; it could only be sealed by Mirabelle’s kiss.
Upset at her father’s temerity, Mirabelle returned to the castle in a temper.
But when she saw the sneer on Prince Mal’s face at her hunting garb, she decided to listen to her father.
Prince Mal’s reign lasted seconds before he turned into a frog.
Mirabelle smiled. She liked kissing boys.
The warrior-princess bent down, kissing him on the lips. The spell unraveled and the prince awoke in bewilderment. The tattered curtains and mouldering sheets stank. The first thing she made him do was bathe, shave and cut his hair. Oversleeping for one hundred years was no excuse for shabby appearances.
“Somewhere — anywhere — else. I hate this place.”
—Seems like an okay place to me. Think you gave it a fair shot?
—Wherever it is you’re going … How will you know when you’re there?
“I’ll know it when I feel it.”
—How it will feel?
“Yeah, like knowing I’m where I’m supposed to be.”
—You think too much.
—Well, I’m going to miss you.
“Wait. You’re not coming?”
—Nah. I’m staying right here to enjoy the view.
None of us could stop Grandpa as he sprinted into the river.
How he saw that kid silently slipping beneath, I don’t know. I also wasn’t sure whether to believe his ranting about tentacles when he first hefted the child onto the riprap.
Still, Grandpa insisted on continuing the reunion picnic after the ambulance left.
But my curiosity wouldn’t let go. Later I raided his medicine cabinet and found the bottle labeled Fame Labs. In boldface, it read: Caution: active gut microbiota. Bacteroides fragilis, subspecies Ernesti Borgniniana.
For awhile after Grandpa’s new-found bravery, I pretended I’d never seen the pills.
By Joy Pixley
Lady Oraellenna entered flamboyantly, flaunting her new designer’s creations. Aster, her previous designer, assessed. Sparkling birds carried elaborate hair twists. Vines curled up her arms into a leafy tiara. Iridescent petals formed the gown, dancing in mesmerizing patterns, flashing enough skin to prompt whispers. Was she or wasn’t she?
Tacky, Aster thought. But, as Oraellenna said, he was old. Traditional. Boring.
Old for wizards also means experienced. Powerful.
Foolhardy woman, prioritizing style over security when commissioning floating clothes.
Aster examined the spells, found his moment. Everything fell at once.
Now that was worth the bribe to get in.
She split down at the bottom of her flesh.
Strings of ichor hung for a moment in the air before snapping. An egg the size of a bowling ball shuttered beneath, steaming in the grass in which it lay. I had thrown my pack down and run to the creek for water. Lit a fire to boil it, but too late. She died as I knew she would.
The question: To let the abomination break free on its own or to forgive it its first moment of weakness?
Or to bring down the boot before things got out of hand?