The Genie and the Princess

An aged man sat in a vast room, his fingertips pressed together in front of his face. He was not fit, but he was certainly not starved either, and a particularly observant person would note see that at one point in his life, the man had certainly been a formidable physical specimen. Now, however, his long grey beard, brittle bones, generous stomach, and wrinkled skin offered no evidence of who he was. But for the look of his eyes, he could have simply been a beggar on the streets.

Of course, he didn't have only his eyes as evidence of who he was. The crown he wore, the sceptre he held, and the throne he sat on in the castle he owned were all dead giveaways; this man was a king, if one beyond his prime.

There were a few other important things about this king to be known; for one, he was not a virtuous king. There was a reason the years hadn't been kind to him; he had been cruel, quick to pass judgement and declare war, greedy and miserly with his gold, and had alienated his citizens. He had maintained order only through fear of punishment, and the new presence in his throne room knew this. Which brings us to the other important thing; this man was not patient.

"I want to be young again. I want power beyond measure. I want to be immortal, a god," he said in his standard dangerous tone, speaking from behind his hands. "I want to crush the other kings and throw them in the dungeon to rot!"

"I'm afraid you'll have to phrase that in the form of a wish," said a smiling young man in the middle of the room. He was dressed as a noble, and was at least as good looking, but it was evident he was in no position of favour with the king; as he had shackles on his arms and feet. Granted, they were chained to nothing, but it seemed that they were symbols, at least, of the man's captivity.

The king looked about to stand, but it seemed his body didn't approve of him moving, and instead he merely shook with rage. "You are mine now, genie, and you will do as I say!" he said, practically frothing at the mouth.

"Rules are rules," the man said, shrugging apologetically. "Besides, I technically belong to him..." he pointed at a frightened looking guard who was holding small metal device in his hand, "...until he gives you my lamp."

The guard was already moving by this point, and the Inventor's head lazily swivelled to watch as he approached the throne, bent on one knee, and placed the steel dome on the floor in front of the king. The king then gestured for his page, who picked up the device, which was clearly not any ordinary sort of lamp, and placed it in the king's waiting hands.

The king stared greedily at it, but before he could manage any words, the doors to the throne room were thrown open with a great deal of noise. A young woman strode impatiently through them, and two assistants followed behind her, struggling to keep up as they held the train of her dress up off the ground.

"I'm sorry, sire, but Princess Jessica demanded an audience with you!"

The king sighed exasperatedly but put on his best smile, a look that was only ever present after a victory on the battlefield or in the presence of his spoiled-rotten daughter.

"Daddyyyyy." she whined impressively, still moving across the large room, her assistants now abandoned, "my seamstress said you found a genie! I told her she was a filthy liar because I hadn't heard anything about it and my daddy would never hide anything from me. Isn't that right, daddy?" She pouted then, clearly a rehearsed gesture. It had suggestive overtones, and although the same words may have come from a sweet spoiled brat, it was clear with Princess Jessica that the sweet part was all an act; she merely knew how to play her father.

"Have the seamstress executed," the king whispered to his assistant, who in turn passed the message to a runner, who abruptly left the room. Meanwhile, the king smiled gloriously at his daughter. "Darling, I wasn't hiding anything from you! I merely wanted it to be a surprise!"

"So there is a genie!" Jessica's eyes narrowed dangerously. "Where is it?" she demanded, her gaze passing around the room. It stopped briefly on the shackled man, and immediately took on a seductive feel as she noted the man's good looks, but she had more important things on her mind, and so her gaze swept by him after a short pause, eventually falling on her father again.

The king was already nodding his head toward man Jessica had taken an immediate liking to, and so she spun back around to face him. He was smiling and waving slightly at her, looking entirely at ease in the situation, perhaps even mildly entertained. Jessica's eyes widened in disbelief and she wheeled around to look at her father once more. "That is the genie?" There was almost a hungry tone to her voice.

The king simply nodded in answer, though he did open his mouth to say something else.

Of course, Jessica continued on as if she was the only person that mattered anyway. "I want him," she said simply, and when her father seemed ready to protest, she added, "Give him to me." and stormed up to the throne.

When the king caved and handed her the steel object, she stared at it curiously, almost angrily. "He's mine now?" she said, half question half statement. When her father nodded, a falsely bright smile returned to her face once again and she kissed the old man on the cheek. "Thank you daddy!" she said, in an almost singsong manner.

The king simply sighed as his daughter left the throne and approached the genie.

"Genie! I want..." she thought for a moment. What did she want? Everything! "I want everything!" she ordered, and just for good measure, "Give it to me!"

When the genie seemed unfazed, she made a high-pitched, affronted sort of noise of protest, to which the genie simply replied, "You'll have to say, 'I wish...' But if I were you, I wouldn't ask for everything."

Jessica looked upset that the genie would question her for a moment, but she seemed to realize that asking for everything would give her all the bad things, too! Like age and ugliness! She didn't want to end up like her father.

Her father...

"I wish my father was young again," she said, shooting a smile at the king. Uncharacteristically selfless of her, perhaps, but she had the old man to thank for who she was today. She could have been born to some blacksmith or something.

The Inventor smiled and pointed to the throne, where there was now a baby sitting in the king's robes, gnawing on the royal crown. The entirety of the room, excluding Jessica and the genie, moved to the king's side, making alarmed gestures and sounds. The genie was busy grinning, and the princess was busy glaring at him.

"Put him back!" she ordered.

"'I wish...'" the genie prompted smugly.

"I wish you would put him back!" she screamed.

A moment later the king was shooing the various occupants of the room away from him annoyedly, and Jessica had returned to simply glaring. After a few more wishes gone awry and returned to normal, she seemed to have given up.

"I wish you'd be more cooperative..." Jessica growled sarcastically.

"Thank you!" the genie cried, cupping Jessica's face in his hands and kissing her on the lips. She looked almost angry, but there was an embarrassed sort of blush on her face as well that suggested the experience hadn't been entirely unpleasant.

However, when the genie stood in the middle of the room a moment later, shackles gone and his 'lamp' in his hand, nobody looked happy.

"Wish very much granted! I'm bound to be more cooperative in general now that I'm free again. I really am grateful for your decision to let me go, princess, but I'm afraid I have things to do, so I must really be going. Farewell!"

Utter pandemonium broke out as the genie disappeared in a puff of smoke. The captain of the guard yelled orders to search the entire building, one of the king's advisers called for the Council to use their magic to locate the being, the king yelled, "Execute... execute... someone!" to anyone who would listen, sputtering all the while, and above it all, Princess Jessica shrieked with frustration.

From his position relaxing on the roof, The genie could hear the scream, and he smiled appreciatively. It was good to be free.

The End

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