Prince Virtue was most surprised to find a front door. In fairytales, there’s never a front door. There isn’t supposed to be a front door. How else is the prince going to prove his manliness other than climbing up a stone wall, clinging to vines, yet arriving at the princess’ room somehow pristine? It was quite ridiculous.
However, Prince Virtue decided that this front door was rather convenient, and also decided that he would make the most of it.
So he opened it and went in.
As this was all very anti-climatic, Prince Virtue donned his helmet and grunted a bit, adding pleasantly heroic sound effects to his ascent of the stairs. Shadows appeared on the walls and green smoke curled menacingly around his ankles as he closed in on the beautiful princess step by step. (It’s didn’t, but for his sake pretend it did. Makes the story more interesting.)
The closer he got to the princess, the stronger the thudding in his chest became, until it was louder than his footsteps. So absorbed was he in the sound of his heart, he almost didn’t notice the princess’ door before him.
Prince Virtue didn’t approve of easy entry, but decided there was no point complaining to the Fairytale Etiquette Committee for so small a problem.
From under the princess’ door came suddenly a dramatic rolling of drums, then a shattering and a scream. (The scream was shattering too, but for the sake of smooth storytelling I’ll leave that out.) Prince Virtue steeled himself on one foot, lifting the other dramatically. With a pleasantly impressive crack, the door burst open and the beautiful princess Valerie fainted into his arms. Laying her gently to one side, Prince Virtue brandished his sword and charged into her room.
“I command you to show yourself!”
Count Iniquitous looked frazzled. “Awfully sorry, I didn’t have time to hide. Would you mind awfully just saying that again in a moment?”
“Oh no, not at all.”
Prince Virtue averted his eyes as Count Iniquitous wriggled behind the lacy pink curtains.
“Certainly. Do continue.”
With a pleasantly impressive crack, the door burst open and the beautiful princess Valerie fainted into his arms. Laying her gently to one side, Prince Virtue brandished his sword and charged into her room.
“I command you to show yourself!”
An iniquitous rustling sounded from the pink lacy curtains in the corner of the room. Prince Virtue felt princess Valerie’s hand clasp his upper arm, nails digging into his flesh. Together they stood stalwart in the doorway as red light filled the princess’ bedroom, casting shadows that danced like people on the floor. (They were actually doing the boogie, but that has nothing to do with the story. They just wanted you to know.)
Count Iniquitous emerged in a clash of drums, face lit up by the lightning that now flashed through the tiny room. He radiated evil and bad cologne.
“Get your hands off the princess! She is my property!”
Prince Virtue flung himself in front of her. “Never! Thou art a villain and a bitch!”
There was a short silence.
“I meant that thou art a villain and a dog! You shall never have the princess! She is mine to protect!”
“MWA HA HA! That is what you think! But I, with the power of exclamation marks and capitalisation, shall defeat you and claim the princess as my own!”
Count Iniquitous readied himself for battle, sparks fizzing from his hands. The sound of a sword sliding out of its scabbard grated against Prince Virtue’s ears, but he stood steady, lowering the point to the Count’s chest.
They were just seconds away from defeating each other, when a voice piped up from behind Prince Virtue.
“I don’t actually belong to anyone, thank you very much.”
Count Iniquitous, Prince Virtue, and the narrator of this story stopped doing what they were doing and stared at her. In a parallel dimension, someone was scrubbing madly at a page with an eraser, changing the classic fairytale words and putting new ones into her mouth.
Princess Valerie stepped into the room, fabulously brushing stray lightning from her sleeve. She tore open her dress and stepped out of it, revealing combat clothing and a sheathed dagger.
“I was never meant to be a princess, but I never had any choice.” She eyed the other two. “That’s the reason I’m so terrible. I was meant to be a hunter. Cheerio chaps.” With that, she flung open her window and leapt into the air outside.
Count Iniquitous clapped, and dropped to the ground. Impressive hovering was tiring, and his legs were hurting from riding the Prince’s horse.
“I am so very glad I didn’t have to kill her. I’m not really a murderer. All I ever wanted to do was cultivate plants. Is flower arranging so bad?”
Prince Virtue let his sword fall to the ground with a clatter. “And I always felt happiest designing clothes, hence my fabulous outfit. Say babe, wanna start a flower slash clothing business, and pursue our own interests instead of conforming to fairytale standards?”
Count Iniquitous flung himself into the Prince’s arms. “Take it away, babe.”
And while they didn’t gallop off into the sunset or the sunrise, but rather rode away from the glare of the sun and to the nearest tea shop, their ending wasn’t unhappy.
In fact, they lived happily ever after.
And so did Gerald.