It had been sweltering and sunny the day I had left the Castle months ago and it was now nearing dinner time. The forests around the kingdom were whispering to one another, and the winds were relaying their messages far and wide. It was time for me to step into the embrace of my Princess. She had waited long for our reunion, and tonight her desires would be fulfilled. No royal alliances or meetings could stop me from spending time with my beloved.
I was craving to see her smile bloom across her face, and her eyes crinkle with joy at my arrival. She had sent me a messenger about a week back at the army camp requesting my presence at the Castle. The messenger had handed over a scroll to me which was inscripted with Cinderella's beautiful hand. She had wanted to relay a news of high import to me, and was expecting my arrival as soon as possible.
I pulled the reins of my steed and made him gallop as fast as he could. Splitting through the thick forest, we made quick work of the endless distance that stretched between me and Ella. As I neared the Castle's moat, I gazed at the flickering lights reflecting from the master bedchamber at the top of the east wing of the Castle. Ella must be waiting for me anxiously, I thought to myself and urged my steed to cover the last miles separating me and my destination.
Crossing the moat, I came to a startled stop as I realized that there was a carriage shaped like a pumpkin illuminated under the lights of the main entryway. There were no guards around, and I couldn't see any of the subjects that usually staked out before the entryway for an audience with me or the Princess.
Maybe this was the surprise that my love was planning for me. She must have thought that I had forgotten that wonderful ball where we had met. But obviously I hadn't forgotten anything at all. Her beautiful gown, her cascading hair, her gorgeous visage, and the wonderful magical carriage and its attendants, I still remembered every minute detail.
I got off my steed and saw it canter towards the stables. I walked towards the carriage and admired its beautiful white and golden carvings. The glowing wood work was a sight to behold. I caressed the passenger door and noticed the smooth surface slide under my hand. Suddenly it flung open and out jumped a hooded figure. I was startled and took half a step back in surprise, and placed a hand on my sheathed saber.
But instead of retreating, the hooded creature began to laugh loudly. And suddenly I was grasped by my arms from behind. I tried to turn back and look at the faces of the men who had taken me captive, but a burly sack cloth was pulled over my face. Darkness loomed before my eyes, and a loud shout erupted from my mouth. "Ella....Ella."
"Oh! Coward Prince, stop seeking the assistance of your dainty bride, for she is no match for me, the great Faeritayl. Stop shouting. You are giving me a headache."
I heard a croaking voice chuckle at my defenselessness and closed my eyes in dismay. I knew that I wasn't going to meet my love tonight.
I had been running the carpet thin in the master bedchamber, pacing across it for long periods of time. The Prime Minister had informed me that my Prince was on his way home, and I couldn't wait to tell him my great news. Or rather, our great news. The Prince and I were expecting our first child this coming spring and I could not be happier. It was like wings had been attached to my being. Like I could fly as high as the sky. And I couldn't wait for Charming to be a part of this happiness.
Just as the flames from the torches had started flickering in the breeze outside our balcony, I heard a muffled shout. "Ella...Ella."
It was Charming's voice. I could recognize it anywhere and at any moment. He was in some distress. I could sense it from his screams. I hoisted up my long gown and pranced down the winding staircase. Maybe he was injured or hurt. Oh! my. What could have happened to Charming, I thought to myself as I hurried down each step.
Having flown down nearly ten flights of dangerous stairs, I ran towards the main hall. Seeing nobody in the hall, I sprinted across the cavernous room towards the entryway. The doors were wide open and there were no guards in sight. My heart sank further as I noticed Charming's silk handkerchief lying near the door.
As I crossed the threshold and peered towards the moat, I saw a fabulous white carriage speeding away from the Castle. I ran after the carriage and shouted loudly, "Charming. Charming. Where are you, Charming?"
And just then I saw a hooded creature stick his neck out from a side window and guffaw loudly. A curtain at the back of the carriage moved and I saw Charming, bound and his face covered in a sack cloth slumped in the seat. And a scream escaped from my throat before I fainted in the middle of the path.