36. Fairytale
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“You truly are a Princess.”

Kathrine was sitting relaxed on the stupid log and observed us with an amused look, so I hid behind her - that creep would need to touch her first. After the lore keeper announced his suspicion, he moved as if a slow spell hit him. That gave me a small burst of confidence, so I responded, “Yes, I am a Princess. Princess Charlie, nice to meet you.”

“Wat? Guys, the hell?” My beautiful streamer crossed her arms and stand in front of me. How nice of her!

After her heroic last stand for me, the lore keeper finally found his lost wits and his deep grin vanished. Good. “Perhaps you are unaware of the power of names?” Katherine shrugged and returned to a log; she clearly hated being on her feet. The old man found his lost grace, changed his posture, and explained, “Child, when you know the name of someone, and if you speak about them, it gives them a power. No matter how insignificant power that might be, it is still a power.”

Then he walked back to the other log with children, so I returned next to Katherine. Being next to her is still surreal. The fire’s heat reached me again and a warm feeling spread even into my stiff hands. “So wat?” she cocked her head, her eyebrows danced, and touched my shoulder while asking, “Hey Charlie, ya understand?”

“Yeah! If millions talk about someone, perhaps the King or Queen - good or bad - it gives them power. We talk about gods, so they have power.” Naturally I knew it wasn’t a fair comparison, because the gods or demons had power beyond that, and even without people, they would crush any mortal. But was is important enough to confuse Katherine? Not everyone read hundred books like me.

We were so close I almost could see her mind working; her captivating eyes were darting from left to right. Obviously, because of her being Katherine, I could read her all emotions from her face - from understanding, to confusion, before she wildly gesticulated with her hands and said, “Thanks. But! You said Kingdom, not person!”

“Yes, my child. When they conquered us, the enemy knew the power of names, so they erased it from existence. Try it - say what Princess said, say ——” His last words were strange - his mouth moved, but no sound came out.

Katherine grinned at him and showed him her superiority by moving her nose up, inhaled insane amount of air and shouted, “——” Nothing came out. Her eyebrows knitted, and she continued, “——! Tff, garbage!” She settled down with a thud, deflated; to the sound of the keeper’s laughter.

Because of hers pitiful expression, an urge to hug her rose inside me, but I hadn’t given in. Instead I said calmly, “Eeleim.” If I had to bet, I could say it only because of Irwen’s power. She was a myth already - that meant the power of her tiara will only increase with time.

“Princess,” the keeper woke me from my internal pondering. “Would you kindly tell us a story about our Kingdom?”

“Yes!” The small critters joined. “Please! Princess!” The kid’s pleading reached an impossible-pitched category that almost tore my ears and they started chanting together, “Story! Story! Story!” It was so loud I nodded without thinking. Admins be dammed! I’ll create my quest!

Gently rising from my position, I smiled and asked, “Have you heard a story about Princess Tawera and a great magician prince Relando?”

As they screeched, they didn’t hear that, and want to hear it; I adjusted to stand like a Princess. Okay, it was hard to remember all the minor details royalty used, but standing shouldn’t be hard. I pushed one foot in front of the other. Right. Next, straight spine, chin slightly lifted, knees barely bent and shoulders back? … At least I tried, right?

Katherine turned on a camera - at least that was what an icon over her head showed. “Kat, it’s fine, record it, but please don’t stream.” I hadn’t even let her ask me. Let’s show Katherine the best story of her life and let’s hope I remember it correctly. Will anyone notice when I fill the blanks? Nah. Okay, John. Lately you were doing great; no need to get anxious now.

 

“Once upon a time there was a sacred kingdom, which we called Eeleim. It stretched from the deeps of the sea to the highest peaks in the center of the continent. The heart of Eeleim was a capital city called Yarriw. Since the dawn of times, the kings and queens ruled with benevolence and the kingdom prospered because they were caring for us.” Perhaps unconsciously, the old man was nodding with me and his eyes sparkled, thanks to the reflected fire - and tears - like two stars.

“Don’t be mistaken about who could inherit the royal title. Our kingdom wasn’t like the human’s, where they fought after the death of a ruler.” Yeah, it was worse. But all stories lie. “Prince or Princess could be granted to anyone, even you, and it was the highest appreciation by the ruler - because they inherit the crown in the order they were given the title.”

I pointed at my tiara and proudly stepped forward to let the light to twinkle. “At the time of our story, queen Tirel finally acknowledged her daughter Tawera after she finished a stunning painting. Tawera was working hard her entire life to get her title and finally, she was recognized as a princess. A first princess, the next queen!”

 

“The princess was humble, poets were composing ballads about her beauty, and she cared about her kingdom from deeps of her heart.” While I was telling the story, I tried to walk around as Empress used to.

Well, I even attended classes, it was a long time ago when the instructor told us how to walk and naturally I didn’t care about girl’s walk. Despite that, I tried to parade around with smooth steps and be as confident as I could. No half measures!

“One day, when she visited a local market at Yarriw, a young man caught her attention. Relando was charming, polite, and they spent the next week together on walks around the city, sometimes talking to the night, under the moons. Their eyes met, and they promised each other they will be forever together. How little they knew about the treachery of humans!”

I bet in reality it was the other way around.

“Relando returned home to his kingdom to prepare for their wedding and uniting of their kingdoms. When his father learned about the wedding, he was furious and ordered him to stop all that nonsense!” I created a healing spell on myself to make a point, and the light surprised my listeners.

Eyes of children sparkled, and they held their breath. Some even shouted that the king stinks. The amazement on children’s faces filled me with an unknown feeling. Is it pride? “Despite the king’s wishes, nobody could extinguish the fire of love in Relando’s heart.”

“Because he was a great magician, he created a beautiful ring, which he called eternal engagement ring as a gift for his bellowed. As long as she wore it, she could be with him anytime, no matter the distance, because he enchanted it with an ancient teleportation formula.”

 

“No human could hold him, so he escaped from his kingdom with ease, but that wasn’t the case with our capital. Our guards didn’t know about the promise to our bellowed princess, so they refused him to enter the palace.” I climbed up onto a log and continued, “After wandering for days and be unable to even see his bellowed, he asked for a help from his old friend.” I paused and glanced around at the faces of my listeners.

“His friend used to be a royal spy, so thanks to him, the prince could sneak into the palace the next day and his friend even cleared a way to a princess’ room.”

“Little did he know his friend was still working for his father, and the moment he reached Tawera’s room it was already late,” I said and lowered my tone, adding sadness.

“Why late? Because his father ordered assassins to eliminate her! Relando opened door with a hope to be reunited, only to find her on the floor, with a life escaping from her. He dashed towards her and held in his embrace, ignoring all the blood. She recognized him, gave him her last smile and passed away with last thoughts about him. Her death alerted the guards in the palace and shouting overtook the palace.”

“Relando bitterly smiled at his beloved, put his ring on her finger, not needing it anymore and faced the guards. Our brave elven warriors didn’t know any better and suspected him - he was holding her dead body. It didn’t take long and Queen barged in, fury in her eyes.” For the grand finale I decided on Ice Dance, that was the most flashy spell in my repertoire.

“She hadn’t hesitated and cast an ancient spell!” Finishing the runes wasn’t easy, but thanks to my practice, it was a success on first try again! A frost spread all around me, enveloping kids, the keeper, even a fire - what a spectacle! A fire with a frost. “Relando turned into a stone and Eeleim started mourning our lost princess.”

 

My story ended with a deep grin on my face, and the children erupted in a wave of cheers. Even the lore keeper joined. Woah, am I like a superb storyteller? “Wonderful story! The details differ from what I remember, but the gist is the same. Coming from a princess, it was an honor.” They all bowed to me, on one knee, just like the traitor Don.

“Stand up, I don’t deserve it…” Again, I felt my blood rushing to my cheeks, so I glanced away from them at Katherine. She ended her recording and was happily moving her body to an unknown rhythm, as she often used to do.

“Nonsense! I only hope to visit ——… I meant our former capital, at least once in my life. That was the goal of the elves of old.” His eyes again reflected more light than they would normally, thanks to his suppressed tears. “Alas, I’ll see my queen soon again.” Is everyone prepared to die? My enemies…

Someone placed an arm around my neck and shoulders - a smell of a fresh air gave Katherine away - and she asked, “Let’s go! Where is it?”

Despite I knew exactly where the ruin was, I stayed silent and watched him with my heart rate up. Don’t you dare to fail me now! “The wilderness claimed our capital, but if you head north towards the gigantic mountains, you might find it.” If I didn’t know where it was, we would get lost for days. Stupid old man! What was he thinking?

“Thanks! See ya!” Without waiting for my confirmation, she turned around and dragged me with her. My hasty wave was the only thing the group around fire got from me. I wanted to talk with him more, but she was pulling me with a lot of force. “Which way?”

“Katherine! You…” Pile of emotions wanted to pour out, but according to her innocent face, she didn’t think she was hasty or unconsidered. Typical Katherine. “Nevermind, what do you mean? Do you want to explore it?”

She was still pressing on me as we walked, so her exited voice reached my ears along with her hot breath. “Yeah! Sound fun. Story was amazin’!” She used more force and squeezed me. It was somewhat painful, but who would protest.

I returned favor by hugging her around her waist, but she might not feel it because of my strength and her armor… Stupid priest class. “Are you sure it’s fine if we go? It’s a long way from here!”

Katherine let me go; her emotions about walking surfaced, and she stiffened. “How long?”

“At least four hours of walking.” My last word hit her like a hammer; she slouched her shoulders and deflated. “Come on, my estimate was with fighting along the way.”

“Fights?” Her face brightened, and she even jumped up with joy. As always, her emotions surged, and she hid nothing. “I’ll get to level ten!”

“Kat, don’t worry. I’ll help you get even higher. Moreover, the loot will be awesome, maybe we can get that ring? I even heard about an ancient elven sword. It could be a marvel.”

Her ears perked up and eyes filled with hope. “Wat sword?”

“The Fearbringer.”

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